Friday, July 18, 2014

TechRadar Phone Awards shortlist announced

TechRadar Phone Awards shortlist announced

We're just hours away from the first TechRadar Phone Awards, where a host of winners will be crowned on July 17 at an exclusive event in London, and to get you ready for the glitz and glamour we've announced the shortlist for the six categories.

Tonight we'll be celebrating the best budget phone, best budget tablet, best app, best innovation and of course the two big prizes: the best tablet and the best phone of the past 12 months.

Our expert panel of judges deliberated extensively on all six categories, narrowing contenders down to a series of shortlists and then performing the tricky business of actually deciding the winners.

The good news is that - after much discussion, tears, laughter and hard graft - we have picked our winners and all will be revealed on July 17.

Best phone

It's the award they all want to win - the prestigious TechRadar Best Phone Award. This award highlights the pinnacle of smartphone achievement from design and innovation to performance and usability.

Over the past 12 months we've seen manufacturers push the boundaries of our smartphones once again, producing some stunning devices and any one in our shortlist is a worthy winner.

Best tablet

Tablets huh. Just a few years ago tablet computers were nothing more than an extravagant slice of seriously geeky tech, but now they fill every home, boardroom and backpack from here to Hong Kong and back.

There are some many to choose from in terms of prize, screen size, operating system, brand and build - but there are a few which rise above the rest as truly standout slates and it's these select few which are honoured here.

  • Amazon Kindle Fire HDX
  • 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Maps
  • Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
  • Real Racing 3
  • Sky Go/Sky+
  • Spotify
  • Swiftkey
  • Uber

Best innovation

Best innovation is where we looked at the best the industry created, celebrating the achievements that make our phones, tablets and mobile life amazing.

  • Android Wear by Google
  • Boomsound by HTC
  • Chromecast by Google
  • Pureview by Nokia
  • Snapdragon 801 by Qualcomm
  • Touch ID by Apple

HTC One M8 wins TechRadar's Phone of the Year

HTC One M8 wins TechRadar's Phone of the Year

The first TechRadar Phone Awards took place in the awesome Ticketmaster Offices in London tonight – complete with slide – and a packed room saw some of the biggest names being rewarded for their impressive efforts.

Poor attempts at humour from Phones and Tablets Editor Gareth Beavis and Editor in Chief Patrick Goss aside, a great time was had by all – especially the winners.

Innovation of the year

Snapdragon 801

The first award went to Qualcomm for its excellent Snapdragon 801 System on a Chip. Here's what the judges had to say:

"The Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 System on a chip has changed the game in the mobile phone space, be it through power upgrades, better graphics or most importantly, more battery life for our phones."

Best app

Spotify

This category speaks for itself: the app that either brought the best innovation, design, user experience or game-changing element to the mobile landscape - and it was Spotify which won the judge's hearts on the night.

Our judges said: "Spotify is fast becoming the de facto music service for any smartphone or tablet user, and the recent UI update has made things even cleaner and easier to use."

  • Read our Spotify review

Best budget tablet

Google Nexus 7

With so many affordable tablets available today this category looks beyond the spec and works out which slate offers the best value for money under £200 and our judges agreed that the Google Nexus 7 (2013) tops the bill.

"Pound for pound, the Nexus 7 brings stunning specs and follows on brilliantly from the original disruptive tablet that changed the budget market."

  • Read our Google Nexus 7 review

Best budget phone

Motorola Moto G

This category was really tough as the budget mobile market has exploded over the past 12 months with a vast array of excellent smartphones available for under £200.

After much deliberation our judges selected the Motorola Moto G as the worthy winner. Here's what they had to say:

"People are still wondering how the Moto G packs in so many great specs at a low price. The judges liked the fact it now comes in 4G and with a memory card slot, giving the users choice to get what they want."

  • Read out Motorola Moto G review

Best tablet

iPad Air

Quite obviously this category celebrates the tablet that impressed the judges the most, taking into account style, power, price and build quality and this year it was the iPad Air from Apple which stole the show.

"The most unanimous award among the judges, the iPad Air is still streets ahead of its rivals, with an amazing design, slick functionality – and backed by one of the best app collections out there."

  • Read our iPad Air review

Best phone

HTC One M8

And finally, the big prize of the night went to the excellent HTC One M8, which fought off a fantastic array of handsets to be crowned as the best phone.

The judges looked for the handset they thought was most powerful, well-designed, impressive, and most importantly, offering a brilliant experience for the user.

The judges lauded it for having the 'best build quality', 'great design', 'packed with simple innovation', and just being a really, really good phone to have in your pocket.

  • Read our HTC One M8 review