Friday 28 October 2016

Adrian Weckler picks his best gadgets of 2015

Published 26/12/2015 | 02:30

iPhone 6S PLUS
iPhone 6S PLUS
Moto X
Sony 23
Surface Pro
iPad Pro
MacBook Air 13
Apple Watch

Our technology editor picks his best smartphones, cameras, laptops, smartwatches and headphones of the past 12 months.

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Best phones

iPhone 6S Plus 

Price: from €869 unlocked or subsidised with operators

Reason: It's the best overall phone you can get. It may be the joint priciest model around (Samsung's S6 Edge Plus is similarly costly) but the combination of an improved camera, 3D Touch and build quality puts it just ahead of Android rivals. Battery is a bit better too.

Moto X Play

Price: €350 unlocked from Argos

Reason: Alongside the OnePlus 2, this is the best phone you can get for under €400. But unlike the latter, you can walk into an Irish shop to get this one. It has the best battery life of any smartphone on the market. Its 21-megapixel camera is good and its screen is superb.

Best cameras

Panasonic Lumix LX100

Price: €750 from Conns Cameras

Reason: It's the best advanced handheld camera available for under €800. The LX100's big sensor and controls make it easy to learn how to control your photographs more expertly. It has a 3x zoom and its fixed lens is superb. It's also made of metal which makes it tough. Canon's G5X comes close but is €100 dearer.

Canon G9X

Price: from €420 from The Camera Centre

Reason: It's the best pocket camera you can get under €500. The recently-launched G9X has the same large sensor as its sibling G5X and easily fits in a pocket. That's a killer combination for anyone who wants high-end photos on the go. It compromises a bit on zoom (3x) and aperture (f2.8-4.9) but is top notch.

Best headphones


Price: from €499 from

Reason: They're the best quality overhead headphones under €500 on the Irish market. With leather to make them super comfortable, they are well made and have planar magnetic technology which normally costs a lot more. They won't suit everyone because they're cabled, but if you're looking for audio quality, these are great.


Price: €150 from Argos

Reason: They're high quality wireless Bluetooth headphones at a manageable price. Such wireless headphones can come at a big premium. But Sony managed to put together a pair of good leather cans for half the cost of a set of Beats headphones. They have controls for each earcup and there's a microphone for making or taking calls.

Best laptops

MacBook Air 13

Price: €1,179 from

Reason: The best overall laptop you can buy. While Apple launched a new laptop this year (simply called the MacBook), it is considerably pricier than the Air with not nearly as much power. The 13-inch Air remains super slim, relatively light and comes with one of the best keyboards you can get. The benchmark for what most laptops should be.

Microsoft Surface Pro 4

Price: from €1,029 at Harvey Norman

Reason: It combines a powerful laptop with an effective touchscreen tablet that results in the best 'hybrid' device on the market. New processors give the Surface Pro 4 more battery life while the redesigned keyboard has a larger touchpad, something badly needed from previous Surface Pro versions. A great machine.

Best tablets

iPad Pro

Price: €939 from

Reason: It's a transformative product that changes the role of the tablet and could rescue iPad fortunes in future. While a 13-inch tablet sounds eccentric, the quality of the screen has to be seen to be believed. Best device on the market for looking at photos, videos and for reading on an LCD screen.

Sony Z3 Compact Tablet

Price: from €299 from Power City

Reason: Its super-skinny, super-light form factor makes it incredibly easy to pack into a bag wherever you're going. When travelling on a plane, every extra gram counts. The 8-inch Z3 Compact's astonishingly low 260g weight makes it stand out. Has a great screen, good audio and is waterproof.

Best smartwatches

Apple Watch

Price: €429

Reason: It's the best smartwatch to use with an iPhone, which suits around a third of Irish people. The watch handles notifications from social media, email and SMS via a wireless connection to your phone. It does health apps well and it has a microphone and speaker built in, so you can use it as a handsfree unit for calls.

Moto 360

Price: from €299

Reason: It's the best all-round Android smartwatch of the year, especially given its reasonable price. It connects to any Android phone via Android Wear and can run various apps, including health, messaging and social media. The screen is bright and it comes with a nice leather strap.

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