2013 was a great year for tech and is one we’d like to call the “Year Of The Local Smartphone” as a lot of new and old brands have made this year their battleground to compete for affordability, specs, and design. Interestingly, towards the end of the year we can clearly see these local companies building niche’s of their own. Over in the international space we can see some variation and resurgence in competition from underdog brands preventing Samsung from running away with the lead. And then there are the Innovations, the Flops, and of course the Best use of NFC. Much to discuss, much to talk about. So which device got the Best Budget Smartphone Award, Best Budget Tablet, Smartphone of the Year, or any of our other distinctions? Hop on over the jump to find out! (Check out the video discussion, or iTunes, and/or audio player/download below!)
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AND THE WINNERS ARE:
Best Budget Smartphone turned out to be quite a battleground this year as 2013 has seen a whole lot of budget devices coming out. Ultimately the Cherry Mobile Apollo beat out the competition for having the best overall rounded specs of the lot combined with a great camera and design. Our runner up is the Cherry Mobile Flare 2X with its Quad-Core performance and 1GB RAM at a really low price point. Great work, Cherry! That’s two years in a row you’ve won our budget category.
The Best Local Flagship is a new category this year as it signifies the growth our market has experienced in just 12 months. Last year consumers wouldn’t look at local phones for a flagship device, but this year its all about those local hero machines. So which one is the best? The Starmobile Knight wins with its overall design, build, and very competitive performance. ‘Til this day no phone has gotten us the same reactions we get when we pull the Knight out of our pockets and have given Starmobile the reputation of quality in our local space. Our runner up is another build-quality monster called the MyPhone Agua Vortex. The brand has been associating itself with well-built aluminum phones and the Vortex is by far one of our favorites. So Congrats to Starmobile and Myphone!
The Best Flagship Smartphone Category is a fairly interesting one – it’s a phone segment where we like the overall features of the device for a flagship of a company. LG came back this year from a slump and gave us some amazing devices which include the LG G2. Even if you’re not a fan of their highly skinned interface or the rear-facing buttons, you can’t deny that the Korean company has brought out one of the best flagships this year. Of course, Samsung isn’t taking this sitting down and the Note 3 is just as much as a flagship phone – though it is a little bit more iterative. Either way, congrats to Korea! (Samsung & LG)
Surprisingly, Best Budget Tablet didn’t go to any local brands. It all went to Asus and their extremely competitive devices. Our favorite this year is the Asus Memo Pad HD7 as it packs an HD screen, Quad-Core processor, and near-Nexus 7 quality for an exceedingly cheap price. The runner up is one of their phone-capable Intel-powered devices in the Fonepad 8GB. While we would probably spring up another few G’s for the 16GB variant (with a faster processor), it still beat out everything else in the competition. Asus is definitely on a roll. Congrats!
Best Innovation goes to another Asus product – the Transformer Pad T100. As we look into the future of computing, we’ll likely see variants of the Transformer emerge and become the norm of computers from here on in. And this is why the T100 is our Innovation of the year – it’s the first in the line of computers that will free us from our desks and take our productivity into the next generation. And our second best innovation would be the LG G-Flex. Not merely a tech demo, we’d really like to see where the “Self Healing” back plastic will lead us to in the future. Props again to LG and Asus for this small taste of the Jetsons.
Our Flop of the Year is awarded to the brands and devices that didn’t succeed. And this year, that’s pretty much the definition of Blackberry. While they’ve come out with decent devices with BB OS 10, they’ve failed to rejuvenate the brand and is now hemorrhaging money left and right. Next in our line is the Samsung Galaxy Gear. It’s a promising gadget but its also expensive and very limited. We don’t know about you, but when we think smartwatches, we want it to do more than just tell us we got a new e-mail. Best of luck to you guys in 2014.
The Best Use of NFC award is pretty simple. Raf likes NFC. Only the Rave 2.0 really did have a use for it. Congrats.
In a sort of repeat of last year, Tablet of the Year goes to another Nexus 7 product, and its runner up is another iPad Mini. We do have to commend the new Nexus 7 for being such an amazing device – we still love ours to this day and its still as fast as ever. (Plus we got the Kitkat update already.) On the other front, Apple stepped up its game with a Retina display iPad Mini. Can’t say we didn’t expect that, but good on ya anyway. Congrats Asus & Apple!
And finally we have our Smartphone of the Year. Different from our Best Flagship Smartphone, Smartphone of the Year is the combination of popularity, sales, overall appeal, and ease-of-use. Simply put, the Samsung Note line has been around for 3 iterations now and it shows. Fans will still get the same great features they love, in a more up to date device in the Note 3. Not to be left behind, LG’s G2 is still an amazing phone that will definitely win some new users – maybe even from the Samsung camp. So Congrats again to the Koreans!
Alright, so that about wraps it up for 2013 and our Big Time Show awards. Its been a great year, and we look forward to what 2014 holds. We’re already seeing some new devices come out of the pipeline with Octa-Core and all that – so stay tuned and watch more BTS episodes to keep up to date!
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