You can consider the Stuff Gadget Awards the official final word on tech in 2020 – you’ll find parts 1 and 2 right here – but actually it’s not quite, because we’ve given you your own ‘And finally’ moment.
The Readers’ Phone of the Year and Readers’ Gadget of the Year are always hotly contested and 2020 was no exception – in the freakiest of occurrences we even had a joint third place. You’ll find the results below, but as proceedings come to a thrilling, tiered climax in a year we’d be happy to bury in the concrete, it’s worth reflecting on a gadget industry that has at least provided some rare glimmers of joy in an otherwise calamity of a 12-month calendar window.
We’ve had once in a decade next-gen consoles, more 5G phones than you can shake a mast at, the arrival of Apple Silicon, better OLED TVs than ever, better noise-cancelling headphones than ever, smartwatches tracking stress, blood oxygen levels and heart palpitations, a soundbar with built-in streaming capabilities, and even an electric car that lets you play Mario Kart on its infotainment system.
So while major events like Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and E3 in Los Angeles bit the dust, major launches like the iPhone 12 got delayed (Okay it was only month, but still) and the chances of bagging a PlayStation 5 in time for Christmas were slimmer than seeing your mum on the big day, on reflection tech has had a pretty good time of it. With that in mind, we were determined to end 2020 on a high, but to do that we really needed your help to choose which shiny objects were worthy of the prestigious readers’ titles – and like Son Heung-min completing mandatory military service, thanks for doing your duty.
Readers’ phone of the year: Samsung Galaxy S20 5G
You came, you clicked and you voted in your droves. In fact, in the closest readers’ vote we’ve had in a long time, we’re delighted to announce – mainly because it vindicates our own decision – that the Samsung Galaxy S20 5G is your phone of the year. Narrowly edging out the way more affordable OnePlus Nord and way more compact Apple iPhone 12 Mini, the S20 was clearly your flagship phone of 2020 and it’s easy to understand why. It feels comfortable in its flagship skin, with exceptional specs throughout – and even though the S20 range was launched way back at the beginning of March (you know, before The Event), it still feels like a pack leader now.
£899 / samsung.com
OnePlus Nord (2nd place) Apple iPhone 12 Mini (3rd place)
Readers’ gadget of the year: Sony PlayStation 5
Amazing what a bit of hype can do, isn’t it? Most of you won’t even have got your hands on one, and yet we fully understand why the PlayStation 5 edged out the MacBook Air (M1) as your gadget of the year – it’s all about desire. Sony has not only delivered an almighty powerful console to transform loading times and take HDR gaming to the next level – with all the ultra-realistic joys of ray-tracing – but it’s done so with a mouthwatering selection of launch titles, a haptic DualSense controller that’s central to the extra-sensory experience, and a price that isn’t as scary as we thought it might be. The wait may have been excruciating (just imagine if we’d had it last Christmas before Covid kicked off!), but Sony definitely delivered – even if the courier didn’t.
£450 / playstation.com
Apple MacBook Air (M1) (2nd place) OnePlus Nord & Marshall Emberton (joint 3rd place)