Wednesday, February 21, 2024
HomeLifestyleBest tech of 2023 revealed: Apple, Samsung and Sky come out on...

Best tech of 2023 revealed: Apple, Samsung and Sky come out on top


Images of tech products and a five star award sign

Express.co.uk’s tech editors have picked their 10 favourite tech products of the year (Image: Apple/Samsung/Sky/Sony)

Our tech editors hand out awards to the best tech products of 2023, picking winners and runners-up in tech categories

Another big year for tech is coming to a close, so what better time to announce Express.co.uk’s best tech of 2023 awards? We’ve seen, used, and reviewed tons of top level technology this year, from smartphones to earbuds, streaming boxes to laptops, and everything in between – which is why picking the best of the best is such a tough job.

2023 saw smartphones truly peak, with some of the best handsets ever released still going strong as we hit December.

The streaming services wars continued deep into the year, with each major player offering exclusive shows and sports to keep your wallet groaning under the strain of multiple subscriptions.

Personal audio is also as good as it has ever been as wireless headphones and earbuds bring incredible quality to iPhone and Android users alike.

Here are our top 10 picks for the very best tech of 2023.

Best smartphone

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

The Galaxy S23 Ultra stood out for its huge range of features (Image: Samsung)

WINNER: Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

Runner-up: Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max

It was neck and neck with Apple but this year Samsung has made the very best smartphone of 2023 – and probably ever. It’s the kitchen sink phone, with absolutely everything you could want (except iMessage, of course) – S Pen stylus, beautiful screen, top performance, long battery life, and the most versatile camera including a 10x optical zoom lens that’ll change how you take mobile photos.

It’s expensive, but with the right contract deal the S23 Ultra was the phone to beat in 2023. Impressive given it came out in February. We can’t wait for the Galaxy S24 Ultra now.

Read our Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra review

Best folding phone

OnePlus Open

The OnePlus Open is incredibly good for the company’s first foldable (Image: OnePlus)

WINNER: OnePlus Open

Runner-up: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5

At the start of the year we probably wouldn’t have believed you if you said our favourite folding phone of 2023 would be made by OnePlus, but here we are. The Chinese smartphone maker’s first ever foldable is better than the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 and the Google Pixel Fold, with the perfect combination of great build quality, sensible screen sizes, and excellent cameras.

Book-style foldables usually have weirdly thin outer displays, but the Open has a normal smartphone-sized screen that unfolds into a tablet with hardly any visible crease. The price is high but still undercuts its main rivals. Bravo.

Read our OnePlus Open review

Best laptop

Apple MacBook Air 15-inch

The MacBook Air 15-inch is a near-perfect laptop (Image: Apple)

WINNER: Apple MacBook Air 15-inch

Runner-up: Apple MacBook Pro 14-inch M3

If you want a portable powerhouse of a PC then we can’t recommend the new 15-inch MacBook Air highly enough. This laptop from Apple features an expansive 15.3-inch Liquid Retina display packed into a supremely lightweight design. It’s actually nearly 40 percent thinner and 200g lighter than comparable PC laptops.

It has the M2 processor tucked under its aluminium shell which will blast through tasks such as photo and video editing with undeniable ease and that Apple silicon is also ludicrously efficient so you won’t need to go near a plug all day. There’s also MagSafe charging, two USB-C Thunderbolt ports, a 1080p FaceTime HD Camera and Six-Speaker Sound System.

Apple’s new MacBook Pro 14-inch might be more powerful but the 15-inch Air is £300 cheaper, looks stunning and is our top choice for 2023.

Read our Apple MacBook Air 15-inch review

Best tablet

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE

The Galaxy Tab S9 FE has everything you need for a fair price (Image: Samsung)

WINNER: Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE+

Runner-up: iPad Air

Tech firms don’t always release a tablet every year – a cycle we’d encourage smartphone manufacturers to adopt, to be honest – but we were seriously impressed with Samsung’s mid-range tablet, the Galaxy Tab S9 FE+. It takes all the things you really need like a good quality screen, good battery life, and 128GB storage as minimum, and gets rid of the things you don’t, like a high-end processor, 120Hz refresh rate, and phone-quality cameras.

Those things are nice to have, but not necessary for most on a tablet. The larger FE+’s 12.4-inch screen is great for multitasking apps, and works with Samsung DeX to operate Android more like a Windows laptop. It even has the S Pen stylus in the box. The Tab stands out in a year Apple released no new iPads, though we still recommend the similarly-priced 2022 iPad Air.

Read our Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE+ review

Best smartwatch

Apple Watch Ultra 2

The Apple Watch Ultra 2 is the most complete smartwatch ever made (Image: Apple)

WINNER: Apple Watch Ultra 2

Runner-up: Google Pixel Watch 2

The Apple Watch Ultra had a reboot this year which has made it even more powerful thanks to its S9 processor. This upgrade not only improves performance but also brings the clever double tap gesture allowing you to interact with the screen without physically touching it. Speaking of the display, it’s now even brighter than before, 50 percent to be precise, so there’s no trouble telling the time in the midday sun.

We still love its rugged design, longer battery life and other exclusive features such as the useful Action Button, unique watch faces and SOS alarm. Yes, it’s very expensive and it still needs charging every other day but this is still our go-to wearable. It’s easy to use, is packed with features and can survive even the toughest of tests when strapped to your wrist.

Best speaker

Sonos Era 300

The Era 300 is the best sounding Sonos speaker yet (Image: Sonos)

WINNER: Sonos Era 300

Runner-up: Sonos Era 100

Sonos ushered in a new, ahem, era of speakers this year including its brilliant Era 100. However, our top pick is its bigger brother. The Era 300 offers epic audio that’s capable of filling rooms with immersive, loud and crystal-clear sound. That’s all thanks to the inclusion of technology such as Spatial Audio and Dolby Atmos which makes it appear as if the music is hitting your ears from all directions.

A new design does all this without being too big, brash or dominating in the room. Set-up is also a breeze, the simple controls on the top make it easy to change tracks and we really like the new sunken volume Touch Bar which runs across the top of the speaker. Other extras include Bluetooth connectivity plus there’s now a USB-C port on the back which makes it simple to plug in external devices such as turntables.

If you are after big sound from a compact speaker then this one booming brilliant speaker.

Read our Sonos Era 300 review

Best earbuds

Sony WF-1000XM5

Sony’s wireless earbuds sound great and block out ambient noise (Image: Sony)

WINNER: Sony WF-1000XM5

Runner-up: Apple AirPods Pro (USB-C)

We are living in the age of the wireless earbud. Apple popularised them with AirPods, whose recent Pro version is excellent, but our pick of the best Bluetooth buds to shove in your ears this year are Sony’s WF-1000XM5. Don’t let the weird product name put you off – these are incredible earphones with top drawer noise cancellation and sound quality.

The key here is customisation, with four tip sizes in the box for the best fit, and tons of changeable settings using the companion app to adjust EQ and sound, as well as support for Hi-Res audio.

Read our Sony WF-1000XM5 review

Best headphones

Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones

Bose has taken the QuietComfort range to new levels with the Ultra Headphones (Image: Bose)

WINNER: Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones

Runner-up: Beats Studio Pro

Just like wireless earbuds, over-ear headphones are also two a penny these days, and it’s hard to know which ones are best. They aren’t the cheapest out there, but the very best headphones we’ve used in 2023 are the Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones, thanks to class-leading noise cancellation for noisy flights, flats, offices, or pubs, and Bose’s excellent new Immersive Audio.

It doesn’t get it right 100% of the time, but it can turn all music into spatial audio. Coupled with very good sound quality and the Bose Music app, you can tune your favourite music exactly how you want it – add the all-day comfort in and these cans are hard to beat.

Read our Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones review

Best set-top box

Sky Stream

Sky Stream offers a truly complete TV package (Image: Sky)

WINNER: Sky Stream

Runner-up: Apple TV 4K

For the second year running Sky Stream wins our best TV set-top box award. This diddy device continues to offer a simple way to access free and premium content with it featuring full access to live and on-demand channels along with streaming apps such as Netflix, Disney+ and Apple TV+. The easy DIY set-up, neat design, backlit remote and eye-pleasing visuals all add to its appeal as well as the price.

Things start from as little as £26 per month making this one of the cheapest ways to get Sky beamed into your home – you can even opt to pay per month rather than taking out a long-term contract. Sky Stream remains a tough device to beat.

Read our Sky Stream review

Best streaming service

Disney

Disney has an ever-growing and impressive catalogue of TV and movies (Image: Disney)

WINNER: Disney+

Runner-up: Apple TV+

For the second year in a row, Disney+ has convinced us it’s the best streaming service available in the UK (despite a price hike) thanks to its Simpsons, Star Wars and Marvel back catalogues, alongside classic film series such as Alien and Indiana Jones, and brand new masterpieces like The Banshees of Inisherin.

There’s also more adult themed stuff to stream thanks to the Star network of content, so Disney+ is also home to great series The Bear and Only Murders In the Building, as well as classics 24, Lost, Sons of Anarchy, and Desperate Housewives. Apple TV+ also impressed us this year with Severance and The Morning Show as standout originals, but Disney+ has it beat for the depth and quality of its catalogue.

RELATED ARTICLES

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Recent Comments