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The best tech of 2020: meet TechRadar’s Product of the Year award winners

(Image credit: Future)

Before we close out the year we felt it was our duty – and it's our pleasure – to pick out what we think is the very best tech of 2020: the 30 most impressive and/or groundbreaking devices we've reviewed across 30 categories.

Our list includes the best laptop, smartphone, tablet, TV, fitness tracker, headphones, and a host of other products, with the list of winners whittled down from the hundreds of products our team has tested over the last 12 months.

The goal of this list is three-fold: first, we want to help you pick the best products, period – that’s TechRadar’s mantra, after all. Second, we want to highlight the best tech in the industry, celebrating the innovation and vision of the world’s top tech companies. And lastly, consider this a time capsule – a snapshot of the best tech of today against which future devices and gadgets can be judged. It's worth noting that, due to time constraints, we haven’t yet seen what November and December have in store for us – some of the products that will be released in the coming weeks may be even better than their counterparts below, and we’ll do our best to update this list if that’s the case. 

That said, all the products below have scored highly with our expert reviewers, and receive our whole-hearted recommendation – we hope you enjoy this list as much as we've enjoyed putting it together. 

Best Laptop 2020 | Dell XPS 15 (2020) 

The Dell XPS 15 finally adopted the design philosophy the company had been using for its 13-inch laptops in 2020.  This made for a much smaller footprint, a less dated appearance and bezels that practically disappear into the display – and all of this without compromising on the raw horsepower that makes Dell’s latest the pinnacle of laptop design. 

Best 2-in-1 2020 | HP Elite Dragonfly 

The HP Elite Dragonfly is primarily aimed at traveling professionals, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have mainstream appeal. This thin and light beauty is attractive enough for everyone to find something to love about it, even if the price tag may be a little high for some.

Best Flagship Phone 2020 | Samsung Galaxy S20 

The Samsung Galaxy S20 packs the best overall combination of specs, cameras, battery, and interface of any phone that’s come out this year, including new perks like a 120Hz display refresh rate and 5G connectivity. Plus, the 30x ‘Space Zoom’ capability is largely unmatched. 

Best Budget Phone 2020 | iPhone SE 2020 

The iPhone SE 2020 packs the leading A13 Bionic chipset found in the iPhone 11 handsets, but at around half the price. While the design hasn’t changed since the iPhone 6, the new iPhone SE is a powerful yet affordable handset for folks who want to enjoy iOS 14 at a serious discount. 

Best Foldable Phone 2020 | Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 is a marked upgrade oover its predecessor, primarily due to its full 6.2-inch front screen – the size of the screen on typical phones, making it easy to perform just about any task without needing to open the phone. But other improvements, like a stronger hinge and 120Hz internal display (which is slightly larger at 7.6 inches), plus 5G connectivity, make it a notably better phone than its predecessor – and thus the best foldable on the market. Clamshell folding phones may be cool, but they don’t have the utility of the Galaxy Z Fold 2. 

Best 5G Phone 2020 | Samsung Galaxy S20

The Samsung Galaxy S20 has already appeared above in this guide, and it's simply the best 5G phone as well as being the best overall smartphone. It outshines the competition in almost every way: its 6.2-inch OLED display is the perfect size for most and it has a fantastic resolution with a gorgeous 120Hz refresh rate. The rear camera is one of the best we've seen on a smartphone in 2020, and the battery life is impressive too. If you're after a 5G-ready phone that boasts the benefits of next-gen connectivity then this is the choice for you.

Best Tablet 2020 | iPad 10.2 (2020) 

The new iPad 10.2 isn't a must-have gadget if you bought last year's equivalent from Apple, but the minor changes the company has made for its 2020 edition solidify it as the best tablet for those who don't want a flagship device. The iPad Pro and iPad Air may be technically more impressive, but the iPad 10.2 is powerful enough for the average person, has an affordable price and still works with a variety of accessories including the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard. If you're after a new tablet in 2020 and you don't need the very best features, the new iPad 10.2 is made for you.

Best Smartwatch 2020 | Samsung Galaxy Watch 3

Samsung’s latest iteration of its smartwatch is the best yet, with a dazzling design, a genuinely useful rotating bezel, far better fitness features than most smartwatches, and more. Plus, there’s the fact it works well with your smartphone whether you’re on iPhone or Android. The Apple Watch is better for those with an iPhone, but the Galaxy Watch 3 still works fantastically well, and it's our favorite piece of smart wristwear in 2020. 

Best Fitness Tracker 2020 | Fitbit Charge 4

The Fitbit Charge 4 might look almost identical to the Charge 3, but there's one very important difference: the newer device includes on-board GPS, so you can track your runs and leave your phone at home. There's also Fitbit Pay for contactless payments, and if you do decide to take your phone along, you can control your Spotify playlist from your wrist. Slim, neat and packed with features, the Charge 4 bridges the gap between activity bands and serious running watches, and is truly a fitness tracker for everyone.

Best Flagship TV 2020 | Samsung Q950TS QLED TV

It’s not cheap by any stretch of the imagination, but there’s little doubt that the Samsung Q950TS is the TV of the year: with its 8K resolution, QLED technology that Samsung has been refining year on year, and its innovative new Object Tracking Sound+ audio tech, the Samsung Q950TS is an engineering marvel. If you have the budget, Samsung has produced a future-focused screen that will keep any home cinema enthusiast royally entertained.

Best Budget TV 2020 | TCL 6-Series QLED with MiniLED 

What the TCL 6-Series QLED (R635) delivers is incredible: it’s a QLED 4K HDR TV with MiniLED technology that costs half as much as QLEDs from Samsung and LG. Its color vibrancy is off the charts, its contrast is exceptional thanks to MiniLED, and its brightness is competitive in the mid-range segment. It’s the best TV that most folks can reasonably afford, and while it’s not exactly ready for 4K/120Hz gaming, gamers will absolutely love its VRR support and auto-low latency mode. 

Best OLED TV 2020 | LG CX OLED  

Considering the place OLED TVs hold in the pantheon of tech products, we’d be remiss if we didn’t honor them in some way in our 2020 awards – and to that end we present the award for the best OLED TV of the year to the LG CX, the mid-range wunderkind that's turned heads as an affordable alternative to LG’s higher-cost models. Packing all the latest and greatest tech LG has to offer, including the new Alpha A9 III processor and HDMI 2.1, the CX is ready to tackle the HD content of yesterday as well as the 4K content of tomorrow. 

  • Read our in-depth LG CX review

Best Headphones 2020 | Sony WH-1000XM4 

The Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones deliver everything we could have possibly wanted in a pair of cans this year. With exceptional noise cancellation and Hi-Res Audio support, they're as good at keeping outside noise to a whisper as they are at making your music collection sound its best. Add to that a 30-hour battery life and Sony’s new 360 Reality Audio format, which enables spatial audio in a stereo headset, and you’ve got an inspired pair of headphones that we recommend to anyone and everyone. 

Best Projector 2020 | Vava 4K Laser Projector 

Vava’s crowdfunded 4K laser projector was a surprise breakout model in 2020, but there’s no denying that its mix of stylish design, bright HDR images, and massive 150-inch picture makes for a great all-round viewing experience, while built-in 60W audio from Harman Kardon ensures that you're not scrimping on the sound for the sake of a good picture. With 2,500 lumens brightness and 8-bit HDR (rather than 10-bit), there are some projectors that just inch past it in terms of specs – but not by enough to upstage the all-round quality and performance of this 4K projector. 

Best Soundbar 2020 | Sonos Arc 

For years, Sonos was at the cutting edge of audio with its multi-room technology, but recently it had begun to fall behind as more and more manufacturers adopted Dolby Atmos and DTS:X object-based surround sound. Thankfully, Sonos has righted the ship and caught back up to the pack with the new Sonos Arc, a streamlined soundbar that combines the latest in immersive audio with Sonos’ tried and true multi-room tech.

Best Bluetooth Speaker 2020 | UE Hyperboom  

Throwing parties may not be at the top of everyone’s to-do list right now, but a decent party speaker is a must-have device for any music lover – and the new UE Hyperboom Bluetooth speaker is the best model we’ve reviewed this year. With powerful sound that exceeded our expectations, a smart dual connectivity feature, and a stylish unassuming design, it’s hard not to fall in love with this bombastic speaker – and once parties are back on the menu, we’ll be wheeling it out for our friends to enjoy, too. 

Best 4K Streaming Player 2020 | Nvidia Shield TV

In an area as competitive as streaming devices, the Nvidia Shield TV is something special. Instead of simply offering popular streaming services in 4K HDR, Nvidia’s streamer takes things one step further by upscaling HD sources using the company’s revolutionary AI Enhanced technology. The result is that, whether you watch something in HD SDR or 4K HDR, you’re getting the best picture a streaming device can offer in 2020. 

Best VR Headset 2020 | Oculus Quest 2 

The original Oculus Quest was impressive enough, offering a complete, free-roaming and wire-free virtual reality experience in a standalone headset – but that fact that roughly a year after its release a sequel would come along and improve upon its predecessor in almost every way was remarkable. Lighter, faster, and with better graphics, a higher-resolution screen and a cheaper price tag, the Oculus Quest 2 is not only a perfect introduction to virtual reality for the VR curious – it’s also feature-rich enough to challenge the likes of premium headsets like the Valve Index. A remarkable achievement. 

Best Camera 2020 | Fujifilm X-T4 

The biggest trend in cameras this year was full-frame powerhouses, but it was the smaller Fujifilm X-T4 that actually gave us the clearest glimpse of the future. A true hybrid camera that’s equally comfortable shooting photos and video, the X-T4 is one of the best all-rounders we’ve ever tested. Sure, its APS-C sensor is smaller than those of its full-frame rivals, but it’s also the key that allows the X-T4 to pack pro-quality video specs and IBIS into a small, stylish body. Truly two cameras in one, the X-T4 is a joy to shoot with. 

Best Security Camera 2020 | Anker eufyCam 2 

The smart home is an ever-evolving space, with newcomers barging in every week or two. Home security cameras are a key area of innovation, and of all the models we’ve tested this year it’s the Anker eufyCam 2 that’s impressed us the most. While it only captures 1080p video, the eufyCam 2 offers local storage that you can upgrade yourself without paying a monthly fee, while the 365-day battery life means you don’t have to worry about leaving it up for months at a time, making it perfect for both homeowners and renters looking for a dead-simple security solution. 

  • Read our in-depth  review

Best Router 2020 | Asus RT-AX86U 

Ever since the Wi-Fi 6 certification came out in 2019, routers supporting the standard have been pretty inaccessible, and while the Asus RT-AX86U isn’t cheap by any means, its Wi-Fi 6 compatibility, combined with a wealth of gaming features, makes for the best router release in years – as long as you’re happy to have its gaming aesthetic on display in your home or office. 

Best Drone 2020 | DJI Mavic Air 2 

It can sometimes feel like DJI is chiefly competing with itself when it comes to drones, but the DJI Mavic Air 2 shows it definitely hasn’t lost its competitive edge. The best mid-range flying camera we’ve seen so far, the Mavic Air 2 is a significant upgrade over its predecessor, and a fantastic, backpack-friendly sidekick for both photographers and videographers. Obstacle sensors and geofencing make it simple and safe to fly, and the Mavic Air 2 even has the audacity to outperform its larger Mavic 2 Pro sibling thanks to features like 4K/60p video. 

Best Home Tech 2020 | Dyson V11 Absolute 

Dyson has for years been the class leader when it comes to cordless vacuum cleaners, and it asserted its dominance again in 2020 with the Dyson V11 Absolute. It has enough suction power to take on the toughest of cleaning jobs, comes complete with a wide array of heads for different surfaces, offers hour-long battery life, and even has an LCD screen that enables you to monitor performance and alerts you to any filter maintenance you may need to attend to. It’s expensive, but it’s simply the best. 

Best eBike 2020 | Ribble Hybrid AL e 

With its road-inspired design and offering a super-smooth ride, the Ribble Hybrid AL e is our tip for the best electric bike available right now. Whether you're looking for something to take the sweat out of your daily commute, or a bike for long weekend rides, this electric hybrid could be just the ticket. Electric bikes often aren't particularly stylish, and their chunky frame-mounted batteries are common targets for mean-spirited vandals, but the Ribble Hybrid AL e could easily pass as a conventional push-bike. Its drive system weighs a mere 3.5kg, making the bike surprisingly light), and only a discreet power button and slightly thicker than usual downtube give it away. If that's not enough, this is also one of the most affordable e-bikes you can find. Highly recommended, and hugely enjoyable to ride. 

Best Monitor 2020 | LG UltraGear 38GN950 

The LG UltraGear 38GN950 is a gaming monitor that's designed to enhance everything that’s awesome about PC gaming. Offering an immersive ultra-wide aspect ratio that’s far wider than standard widescreen, this is a behemoth of a screen that really makes you feel like you’re in the center of the action. With a maximum 160Hz refresh rate, you’re also getting incredibly fast and responsive gameplay, and thanks to G-Sync technology there’s not a screen tear or dropped frame to be seen. All of this makes the LG UltraGear 38GN950 not only the best gaming monitor, but the best monitor of 2020 in our view. 

Best Motherboard 2020 | Asus ROG Maximus XII HERO 

Every year, Asus launches its ROG Maximus line of high-end motherboards, and this year’s launch, supporting Intel’s 10th-generation Comet Lake processors, is just as good as any other entry, if not better. Every single motherboard feature you would want is present here, along with strong enough VRMs for powerful overclocking capabilities. 

Best External Storage 2020 | Samsung T7 Touch

Samsung’s external SSDs have always been some of the best on the market, combining excellent speed with form factors that make them easy to use when you're on the move, and the T7 Touch has a built-in fingerprint scanner, ensure that access to your data is both fast and secure.  

Best Mouse 2020 | Corsair Dark Core RGB Pro Wireless 

Wireless gaming mice have long attracted something of a stigma, with much greater latency and higher prices than their wired siblings. However, with the Dark Core RGB Pro Wireless, Corsair has hit upon a winning formula, managing to combine long battery life with excellent comfort and low latency.  

Best Streaming Service 2020 | Netflix 

In an uncertain year for theaters, Netflix's volley of originals has proven to be a blessing. The world's biggest premium video streaming service is well worth the subscription fee, keeping us occupied in a turbulent year with shows like Tiger King, The Umbrella Academy season 2, Unsolved Mysteries, Ratched and many others. Meanwhile, films like Extraction and The Old Guard did just about enough to scratch that blockbuster itch while Hollywood kept pushing movies down the release schedule. Netflix may have more competitors than ever, but it's still the best streaming service, with the biggest content offering. 

Best Printer 2020 | Canon Pixma TR8550 

The Canon Pixma TR8550 ticks off all the features you might need for your home office, including duplex printing, separate paper feeds for plain and photo paper, and an ADF. Bluetooth, in addition to Wi-Fi, ensures easy connection to the helpful Canon Print app, and its extra pigment black ink cartridge gives every text document a crisp and bold finish, while photos appear rich and vivid. The size and style of this surprisingly compact printer will endear it to anyone who works in a cramped office, while the enormous 4.3-inch touchscreen makes everything from setup to checking your workflow at a glance just a little bit easier.