Call us shallow, but we love good design – and not just because it’s a pretty face. Great products allure with their looks, but the key to brilliant design is the marriage of form and function. Here's our shortlist for the year's best pieces of design.
The Alphasphere doesn't just improve the synthesiser, it completely reinvents it as a futuristic 3D space-bongo.
Nu Desine AlphaSphere
Take the simple beauty of Windows Phone 7, blow it to desktop proportions, and voila: the most exciting design move in operating systems for a decade.
Thinner and more colourful than the iPad, with expandable memory, a kickstand and a type-friendly cover, is the Surface the new benchmark in tablet design?
Microsoft Windows 8 'Metro' Interface
A metal sphere broken by a line of pulsing LEDs that separates the volume control from the main body: probably the best-looking music streamer ever devised.
From £1150 symbolaudio.com
A handcrafted turntable and tube amp for the old-school, wireless streaming for the new, and all built into a stunning, speaker-and-sub toting walnut cabinet. We want.
Microsoft Surface tablets
Sleeker, more powerful and more articulated than an iMac, the A720 will even fold down flat so you can finally live out those touchscreen tabletop dreams.
To our eyes this looks like an alien hypercubian entity, poised to unfold and consume the planet. Which, in a world full of me-too AirPlay speaker docks, is refreshing.
Google Nexus Q
From £990 chordelectronics.co.uk
Combine the dinky Index with the Scamp amp, then whack it in this aluminium case and you’ve got one helluva pretty music streaming system.
From £7000 renault.co.uk
It lacks mod-cons (even doors are optional), but this electric quadricycle is go-kart style fun. Forget the eco benefits and embrace the crazy concept-made-real look.
Symbol Audio Modern Record Console
Carved from a bright hunk of solid polycarbonate, with a none-more-black screen, the debut Lumia is the newest smartphone icon.
Check out the Stuff Gadget Awards 2012 – and don't forget to come back on November 1st, when we'll be announcing the winners!