Your guide to the best tech of 2013 – the TVs, tablets and computers our experts love



Buying tech can be confusing but we’re helping you decide which of this year’s TVs, cameras and laptops are for you by compiling a few of those we love the most

Whether you want a new TV for catching the latest must-see telly, a tablet for your train ride to work or a laptop for your - well - lap, choosing new tech can be pretty daunting.

You may still wake in a cold sweat over that time you blew a month's wages on a laserdisc player or a Sega Dreamcast, but from today you can dismiss such fears with a hearty laugh. For we're helping you decide which of this year's new TVs, cameras and laptops are for you by compiling a few of those we love the most in one handy guide.

That's right, we spent our weekend diligently listing our favourite new products of 2013 - and with most of these now in store you'll be able to spend your weekend taking a closer look at them online or in our bricks and mortar branches.

So, without further ado, here's some of our favourite tech of 2013.

Our favourite TVs of 2013 - Samsung F8500

Samsung F8500



We've all heard the term smart TV, and you may well have wondered 'how smart can a TV be?' Well, we reckon the Samsung F8500 is clever enough to get into Oxford.

Smart TV is the name given to televisions which connect to the internet. They're best known for letting us watch iPlayer and KNOWHOW Movies via our TV.

But the F8500 takes things so much further than mere on-demand viewing.  
It can be controlled by talking to it, recommends shows it thinks you'll like to watch and even upgrades itself with the latest software from the comfort of your living room. And that's before you've even talked about the picture - which packs 1920x1080p of full HD into an ultra-slim, futuristic-looking 55-inch frame.

Choosing what to watch on TV is easy as apple pie with the F8500. Its S-Recommendation technology searches live TV listings and on-demand content to find shows based on what you've previously watched.

In the same way your better half knows you inside out after spending a few years together, S-Recommendation will know your taste in TV like the back of its hand after a few months.

As well as knowing what you want to watch it also knows what you want to do, or don't want to do - i.e. buy a new top-of-the-range TV every year.

The guys at Samsung know what an investment a new TV is, and have devised Smart Evolution technology to keep your new pride and joy updated with the latest tech. That means the F8500 will upgrade itself with the latest features from the comfort of your living room.

Samsung Smart Evolution 3


James Parker, Assistant Category Manager for LSTVs at Currys PC World, tells us why he loves the F8500, highlighting S-Recommendation and voice interaction as favourite features.

"The exceptionally stunning design matches the incredible smart performance that lets you discover more of the TV you love. Built-in S-Recommendation technology with voice interaction instantly searches live TV, video on demand and apps for TV and web content suited to you."

Our favourite convertible laptops of 2013 - the HP Envy x2

HP Envy X 2 Convertible


Choosing between a tablet and a laptop can be difficult, but a new generation of devices is easing the pain by combining the two in one awesome package.

Called convertibles or hybrids, they work by converting from laptop to tablet and back again. The HP Envy x2 is one such device, and it has been racking up plaudits like Lady Gaga does number ones.

A lot of this is to do with the cool way it morphs between devices.

The screen lifts right off the keyboard to become a tablet, meaning you can enjoy some 'me time' on the train home and leave your work where it belongs after 5pm - on your office desk.

For Simon Boice, Computing Expert at Currys PC World, the HP Envy is all about flexibility.

He said: "A laptop with a bright, vivid HD touch display and a tablet that slides off for those times when you want less to carry."

Another thing we love about the Envy x2 is a battery that seems to go on and on and on. When a CNET reviewer road-tested the tablet they enjoyed seven hours and 32 minutes of battery power - enough to see you through your commute and a long, indulgent evening of online shopping and social surfing. When the keyboard base was also attached the battery extended to more than 10 hours.

The new Envy is also great for checking out Microsoft's Windows 8 - the revolutionary new operating system which blends regular mouse-and-keyboard computing with tablet-style touchscreen controls.

In Win8 your apps and programmes sit behind colourful tiles which look like sweets; swipe your way through these on the Envy's touchscreen, switching from work documents to showbiz gossip with less effort than it takes to click your fingers. Some of these tiles are live too, meaning they update with the latest news and weather, and all the gossip from your social networks.

Our favourite digital cameras of 2013 - Samsung WB200F

Samsung WB200F2
It's the time of year when our minds wander from work to white beaches, from the bus stop to barbecued lamb and from a carry-out from the off-licence to an exotic array or cocktails in a sun-kissed bar.

That's right - we're all gearing up for our holidays (if we've not already been). But what's a holiday without photos to remember it by?
With the Samsung WB200F you can ensure every moment is captured.

So why do we love it?

Its sharing nature is one of the main things seeing us swoon like a smitten schoolgirl. Once you've taken your picture it can be posted to your Facebook page directly from the camera - no leads, laptops or plug adapters to contend with.

Pictures can also be sent your iPhone or tablet, while an app allows you to take the photo from your phone - meaning you never have to be the missing face in a picture again. After all, people remember those in the shot rather than whoever was kind enough to take it.

If you've been working out in the run up to hitting the beach you'll pleased to know the camera's 18x zoom is capable of rendering your toned abs in up-close-and-personal detail.

Alternatively if you'd rather capture the local landscapes than yourself, the wide-angle lens will do a much better job of depicting sweeping Tuscan panoramas than your half-baked explanations on the sofa back home.
Mark Parrott, Category Manager for Imaging at Currys PC World, said it was all about the sharing capabilities and impressive zoom.

"Our Experts Love the Samsung WB200F  for its SMART direct hot key that allows you to share and email your photos to friends, family or your social network sites plus its powerful 18x zoom to get you even closer to the action."  
 
Our favourite laptops of 2013 - Acer Aspire S7

If you like your laptop to be more slender than a catwalk model then you're going to love the Acer Aspire S7.

Acer Aspire S7
It's very thin, it's very light - a real skinny latte of the ultrabook world. With a brushed aluminium finish to add to slimness it's the perfect accessory for business-folk who fancy themselves as having a bit of style.

But style is nothing without substance, whether we're talking catwalk models, would-be yuppies or laptop computers.

The S7 may be a thing of beauty to look at, but the guys at Acer clearly know the importance of depth too. It has enough in the can to stand up to the toughest of boardroom grillings from Lord Sugar himself.

First, its 11.6-inch screen makes it perfect for those who end up working on the go - whether that's a Virgin Atlantic flight to LA for the high fliers among us or a table seat on the 07:30 to Kings Cross.

With full fat Windows 8 built in, the Aspire should be able to handle whatever task Lord Sugar throws at you - or at least those urgent reports that needed to be done, like, yesterday. And with the ultrabook-standard set-up of Intel Core i5-3317U and four GB of memory you can bet your job those papers will be processed before the close of play.

PCmag.com described it as a 'road warrior's ultrabook' but before you start thinking of barbarians and car chases this is a slightly cooler way of saying it's good for commuters and business travellers.

So we're not the only ones picking up this Yuppie vibe. If you're using the Aspire to work on the go you'll also be left feeling pretty smug about its Windows 8 operating system. For as well as the benefits of touchscreen computing for responding to emails on crowded trains, there's also the cloud - no, not those things up in the sky; the virtual cloud, which allows you to store your documents online.

If you've saved your work on your Win8 desktop PC in the office and need to get at it when you get home for some last minute tweaks, you can find it in the cloud on the Aspire. A backlit keyboard and smooth keys typing is a joy any time of the day - taking the sting out of those begrudged late night report-writing sessions for those days when the clock just seems to have it in for you.

Simon Boice, Computing Expert at Currys PC World, praised the Aspire S7's usability and said its blend of slender and tough build is a winning combination for those who want tech that's as robust as it is attractive.

He added: "Beautifully slim, lightweight and tough, its light-sensing backlit screen automatically adjusts for optimised viewing"


So, this is just a selection of the tech that grabbed us by the lapels hard enough this year to see us stamp it with an Our Experts Love tag. Find out more either online or in-store.