We tested over 1,000 products in 2019. These are the best.

Wireless earbuds are widely available, and widely awesome. Laptops have become multi-core performance monsters. And OLED televisions are now visual stunners that deliver dreamy picture quality with only the most minor drawbacks.

That’s good news for you. No matter what you have an eye for this holiday, there’s gear that meets your needs. And it likely blows away similar hardware that would’ve cost twice as much just a few years ago.

The competition was fierce, but after long debates and hundreds of hours hands-on with over 1,000 products, we settled on the standouts for 2019. This is the best tech you can buy this year. And, in most categories, it’s by far the best tech ever made.

If you think a particular product is missing from this list — or want to let us know which of these you really love — we’re now accepting nominations for our 2019 Readers’ Choice Award.

Apple iPhone 11 Pro

Best Smartphone: Apple iPhone 11 Pro

In a world where phone prices continue to balloon, and cutting-edge features come to us more often from software than hardware, the iPhone 11 Pro Max finds harmony by offering the highest-end materials with software to match, all while keeping the price at a steady $1,000.

The iPhone 11 Pro holds a distinct advantage over any Android device in speed, fluidity, and reliability thanks to the streamlined and widely supported iOS ecosystem. That’s is a perk you’ll find on every iPhone, but in 2019 Apple finally brought the iPhone back to the front of the camera pack with not just an additional wide-angle lens, but a bit of software magic that takes photography to new heights.

Apple is the clear winner of this year’s smartphone shootout. If you want a great Android phone, however, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus is worth attention. Budget options are strong, too, with the OnePlus 7T taking top honors.
Best Smartphone of 2019 Award
Apple iPhone 11 Pro

The introduction of a true-to-life night mode and a wide-angle camera give the iPhone all that any competitor can offer and does so with Apple’s signature polish and reliability. Best of all, Apple added bigger batteries in the Pro and Pro Max, which can easily lead you into a second day of moderate use.

Buying an iPhone 11 Pro in 2019 will snag you a phone that can last for years.

-By Corey Gaskin

Dell XPS 13

Best Laptop: Dell XPS 13

In 2019, the Dell XPS 13 went from great to nearly perfect. That’s a level of polish few devices ever achieve.

Finally, there’s a fix for the awkward placement of the webcam, which was always this laptop’s biggest hurdle. Through some old-fashioned engineering, it now resides inside that top bezel, where it belongs.

Dell’s XPS 13 has reigned at the top of our laptop rankings, but there are alternatives. Microsoft’s Surface Pro 7 is still the 2-in-1 to buy, and Apple’s MacBook lineup has returned to glory with the new MacBook Pro 16.
Best Laptop of 2019 Award
Dell XPS 13

Super-thin bezels and sleek design aren’t enough to earn our award for the best laptop, however. A laptop needs to be powerful yet portable. Comfortable yet cutting edge. The XPS 13 fits the bill on all accounts.

The Dell XPS 13 offers an enjoyable typing experience, long-lasting battery life, and fantastic display options, all in a footprint designed for small spaces. Even performance has been dialed up to eleven, with a six-core version now on offer. You can’t find a more powerful PC at this (very popular) size, and that makes the Dell XPS 13 the best laptop you can buy right now.

-By Luke Larsen

Apple AirPods Pro

Best Headphones: Apple AirPods Pro

True wireless, fully wireless, totally wireless — whatever you call them, 2019 was the year these buds finally broke out and essentially killed the wire for good. Following plenty of duds, and years in which only a few pairs were even worth considering, there’s now an impressive array of great true wireless earbuds at your disposal. Yet, somehow, Apple surprised us all with the best damn buds of the year. And not just by sales numbers, either.

Released in October, the AirPods Pro seemed to come out of nowhere, upgrading just about every feature over their lackluster predecessor, the AirPods 2. That includes a better fit, much better sound, water resistance, and even noise cancelling and transparency modes that rank among the best around. In short, these buds blow the classic AirPods out of the water.

This was our toughest category of 2019. Everyone brought their A-game, so there’s an awesome pick at every price point. Sony’s WH-1000MX3 are outstanding if you have more to spend, while Amazon’s Echo Buds set a high bar for budget audio.
Best Headphones of 2019 Award
Apple AirPods Pro

True wireless, fully wireless, totally wireless — whatever you call them, 2019 was the year these buds finally broke out and essentially killed the wire for good. Following plenty of duds, and years in which only a few pairs were even worth considering, there’s now an impressive array of great true wireless earbuds at your disposal. Yet, somehow, Apple surprised us all with the best damn buds of the year. And not just by sales numbers, either.

Released in October, the AirPods Pro seemed to come out of nowhere, upgrading just about every feature over their lackluster predecessor, the AirPods 2. That includes a better fit, much better sound, water resistance, and even noise cancelling and transparency modes that rank among the best around. In short, these buds blow the classic AirPods out of the water.

-By Ryan Waniata

Sony A9G Master Series

Best TV: Sony A9G Master Series

We’ve tested all the finest TVs this year, and while many of them were gems, one TV stood out. Sony’s A9G Master Series 4K HDR OLED is the best television in a very good year.

There’s a lot to like about the A9G. It’s beautiful. It has a speaker system hidden in the screen which sounds surprisingly good. Its X1 Ultimate picture processor is the best in the business. Yet none of these alone are the reason it excels. What is the thing that makes the Sony A9G so special? In a word, it’s Sony.

This was a competitive year for televisions. LG’s C9 series offers great value in an entry-level OLED, and Samsung’s Q9FN is a stand-out television for gaming. Sony is supreme, but you have alternatives if you can’t afford the pricey Master Series A9G.
Best TV of 2019 Award
Sony A9G Master Series

Sony’s engineers are the best in the business. They’ve been in the TV game for a long time, and they know how to blend hundreds of elements together for the ultimate viewing experience.

The Sony A9G offers perfect black levels, excellent shadow detail, sparkling HDR highlights, remarkable color, outstanding upscaling, and one of the cleanest, noise-free pictures we’ve seen. Sure, it’s a luxury (and priced as one), but that’s no accident. Sony’s created a TV that outclasses the rest.

-By Caleb Denison

Jaguar I-Pace

Best Car: Jaguar I-Pace

The most exciting car in 2019 isn’t a million-dollar supercar, a broad-shouldered truck, or a seven-passenger SUV. In fact, the best car to buy right now isn’t brand new for 2019. In fact, the car that deserves the world’s attention is an all-electric crossover from British automaker Jaguar.

Contemporary EVs have several performance advantages over their gas-powered brethren, and Jaguar turns each into a weapon. It starts with the platform, which stretches the I-Pace’s 90 kilowatt-hour battery pack across the floor. That gives the vehicle an ultra-low center of gravity and disperses weight evenly front and rear. Without the burdens of an engine and transmission, Jaguar was also able to push the wheels to the absolute ends of the body, improving cornering.

The Jaguar I-Pace is incredible, but it’s built for people who need a jack-of-all-trades daily driver. Our favorite cars of 2019 include a wide range of alternatives, from the affordable Mazda3 to the high-tech Tesla Model 3.
Best Car of 2019 Award
Jaguar I-Pace

While it doesn’t have better range than a Tesla Model X, or the cargo capacity of the Mazda CX-5, the I-Pace stands out for its overall dynamics, packaging, and driving experience. The car is comfortable and tame when commuting but can hustle through tight turns.

It’s the best of all worlds. That’s why the Jaguar I-Pace deserves your attention.

-By Adam Kaslikowski

Best Camera: Sony A7R IV

Call it overhyped, call it overkill, call it the obvious choice, but the Sony A7R IV is simply the best camera released in 2019. No other manufacturer continues to push technical boundaries like Sony, and the A7R IV represents the best of what the brand has to offer.

The sensor, with 61 megapixels, is the highest-resolution chip of any full-frame camera. Despite the bandwidth all those pixels require, the A7R IV hasn’t slowed down a bit. It shoots continuous bursts up to 10 frames per second. But while those headline-grabbing numbers are fun, there’s much more to the A7R IV. Sony’s Real-Time autofocus, which uses artificial intelligence to recognize and track subjects, makes the A7R IV as easy to use as it is powerful. It’s the most reliable autofocus system we’ve tested.

Sony came away with the win, but its peers shouldn’t be ignored. Nikon’s D850 is a versatile go-to DSLR, while the Panasonic Lumix GH5 shines if you need a camera that can also shoot great video.
Best Camrea of 2019 Award
Sony A7R IV

We also love its beautiful, 5.76-million-dot OLED electronic viewfinder, its 670-shot battery life, and its new physical design with improved weather sealing. Simply put, the A7R IV is the benchmark against which other cameras will be compared for years.

-By Daven Mathies

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Best Game: Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Fire Emblem, a franchise that faded from notoriety over the last decade, returned to the spotlight in 2019 with Fire Emblem: Three Houses, a game that satisfied long-time fans and lured in new blood.

Three Houses gives you the role of professor at an academy that trains the world’s future leaders. Your skill commanding students in battle is key, but your skill as a mentor is just as important. Over time, through lectures and tea parties, you’ll build bonds of friendship that last the test of time.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses isn’t for everyone. It’s a Switch exclusive, for starters. Our favorite games list adds alternatives for PS4 and Xbox owners. This year’s highlights include a PlayStation 4 exclusive, Death Stranding, and Gears 5 for Xbox One.
Best Game of 2019 Award
Fire Emblem: Three Houses

That’s what makes Fire Emblem: Three Houses an outstanding game. None of the game’s battles and tasks are remarkable on their own, but together they create a web of connections that work perfectly with the game’s epic story.

And your choices matter. As the game’s name implies, you can choose to lead one of three houses in the academy, each with a unique story and cast of characters. Multiple play-throughs are rewarded with drastically different endings.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses is the must-have game of 2019, and yet another reason to buy a Nintendo Switch.

-By Matthew S. Smith

Google Nest Hub Max

Best Smart Home Device: Google Nest Hub Max

There are smart displays. And then there’s the Google Nest Hub Max.

Fundamentally, it’s an outstanding Google Assistant powered smart display that’s great at being a centerpiece in a living room. It’s also the one smart home gadget that manages to be multi-functional. Instead of having to buy dedicated smart home devices, like a security camera or smart speaker, the Nest Hub Max packages them all in one.

Google’s Nest Hub Max was the easy pick for 2019. The only problem is its size. It’s big. Our favorite smart displays include many smaller options that fit better on a narrow shelf or crowded nightstand.
Best Smart Home of 2019 Award
Google Nest Hub Max

You’re getting a smart speaker, digital photo frame, and security camera in a single sleek device. Some folks may be quick to dismiss it as just a bigger, more powerful version of the previous Nest Hub, but the introduction of a built-in camera expands its features. For starters, the camera can intelligently track and keep you in frame while taking video calls. It even doubles as a Nest Cam, to offer peace of mind while you’re away.

Many smart displays arrived this year, and most were competent entries sold at reasonable prices. The Google Nest Hub Max goes the extra mile and leaves its peers behind.

-By John Velasco

Apple iPad 2019

Best Tablet: Apple iPad 10.2 inch

The iPad took important steps towards becoming computer-like with the release of iPadOS. Adding support for external storage devices, Bluetooth mice, and a more streamlined multi-tasking workflow, iPads took a big step forward.

The new iPad isn’t the top-of-the-line tablet of Apple’s lineup. That distinction is reserved for the iPad Pro. Still, it makes a solid case for best value. Starting at $329, the iPad is nearly $200 less than the iPad Air and almost $400 less than the least expensive iPad Pro. Plus, it frequently goes on sale.

The tablet story in 2019 was, frankly, the same as 2018. Apple continues to dominate at every price point. Samsung does offer great picks for Android superfans, however, and Amazon’s Fire tablets remain the most affordable.
Best Tablet of 2019 Award
Apple iPad Pro 11-inch

Technically, the iPad’s A10 Fusion chip is old-fashioned next to Apple’s latest A12 Bionic. And with only 32 GB of base storage (you can pay $429 for the 128 GB version), drive space is limited. However, Android competitors aren’t quicker at this price.

Known for polish and great support, the most affordable iPad will offer a premium experience with tons of content and games to play. And now, with iPadOS, it can take the place of a laptop – if you stick to less demanding tasks.

-By Corey Gaskin

Apple Watch Series 5

Best Wearable: Apple Watch Series 5

The Apple Watch’s dominance in the smartwatch world is hard to overstate. Simply put, you’ll not get more app integrations, more features, or a better “leave-your-phone-at-home” experience than when you have an Apple Watch strapped on your wrist.

Want a wearable for health and wellness? The Apple Watch has every sensor you could ask for, including an ECG monitor. That feature still eludes Apple’s competition. You’ll also enjoy excellent app support, from first-party period tracking, to the myriad of third-party fitness apps in the dedicated Apple Watch App Store. Take it on swims, take it on hikes, take it to work.

The Apple Watch Series 5 is the best smartwatch. Nothing else comes close. Other wearables can compete in specific areas, however. Garmin is still king of fitness, while Misfit’s affordable Vapor X is a great budget buy.
Best Wearable of 2019 Award
Apple Watch Series 5

This year Apple gave us always-on watch faces which, in true Apple fashion, look beautiful and dynamic in a variety of compatible watch faces. Thankfully, battery life wasn’t impacted by this, and still lasts a day.

The Apple Watch is the king of smartwatches.

-By Corey Gaskin

Gazelle Ultimate T10

Tech for Change: Gazelle Ultimate T10

Most gadgets claim to improve your life. Most fail. A new laptop or fancy phone might be fun, but life-changing? Not really.

Gazelle’s Ultimate T10 is a different story. This can legitimately make your life better. Its life-changing power comes from the bike’s electric motor. Studies have proven electric bikes are nearly as effective a workout as riding a regular bike, yet you can pedal faster and long than you could otherwise. The Ultimate T10 can cruise up to 20 miles per hour and has between 30 and 60 miles of range.

The bike doesn’t just help you, either. It helps everyone. Commuting on a bike cuts the environmental impact of your daily trips to work. Both you, and the planet, become healthier at the same time.

Companies across a wide spectrum of products made concrete steps to improve sustainability in 2019. Electric cars and bikes provide low-carbon transportation. Meanwhile, companies like Apple and Dell lead the charge on building products from recyclable materials.
Tech for Change of 2019 Award
Gazelle Ultimate T10

At $3,799, this might seem expensive next to budget ebikes on Amazon. It’s far more durable, however, and comes with everything a commuter needs. Lights, rack, fenders, even an integrated lock. It’s all there.

The Gazelle Ultimate T10 will make you healthier and happier. What smartphone can claim that?

-By Matthew S. Smith

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