We asked you to tell us which devices had accomplished something different and innovative in the last 12 months and you had plenty to say. Our shortlist contains the cleverest bits of kit, which were bold enough to take their own path instead of following the herd.
Samsung Galaxy S 4
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” wrote science-fiction author Arthur C Clarke. With the Galaxy S 4, Samsung has reached that level of advancement. A phone that pauses a movie when you look away, scrolls down a webpage after a nod of the head and can preview information simply by hovering a finger over the screen wouldn’t just wow 15th Century peasants – it seems pretty damn magical to us, too.
With so much to like about the Samsung Galaxy S 4, the feature that makes it truly innovative is that series of air gestures. With your phone lying dormant, simply hovering your hand over it brings up a screen telling you the time and if there are any texts, messages or missed calls – much less antisocial than picking the phone up to check it. Scrolling up and down web pages (Air Jump) with a flick of the hand is also neat, as is being able to flick between tabs (Air Browse) by swiping your hand left or right, which works with music and photos too. Once you get the gestures perfected, it’s seamless.
However, the real stand-out is Air View, which presents information when you hover a finger over the screen. This feature originally appeared on Samsung’s Galaxy Note 2, but needed the stylus – now just a bony digit will suffice. Magic.
Our phone of the year (see page 16) only narrowly missed out on this prize. Its own brand of witchcraft comes in the form of the Zoe photo system, which snaps 20 photos and a three-second video when you press the shutter. Those blend together to create a living, breathing moment in your gallery.
Asus Padfone 2
Asus might already have something called the Transformer, but the Padfone 2 could make a play for that title. Give it a fondle and you’d swear it’s just a normal mobile, but combine it with the special ‘station’ dock and it suddenly becomes a 10-inch tablet, with 3G/4G connectivity. Nice.
Nokia Lumia 925
Nokia has expanded Windows Phone 8’s capabilities with some unique features of its own, including the impressive Here suite of apps. Here Maps is our fave, a clean and helpful replacement for Bing Maps, while Here Drive+ does the same when you’re carbound. Wireless charging is still a hit, too.
Samsung Galaxy Note II
A larger screen without being bigger overall, a double-speed processor, twice as much RAM and multiple fancy software tweaks, the Note II is still cutting edge. Throw in the S-Pen’s capabilities and the AirView features (see the S 4) and it’s a truly impressive device.
Sony Xperia Z
Innovation? That would be submerging your smartphone in liquid for half an hour – with no ill effects. The Xperia Z has gone through some rigorous military-grade resistance testing, and its watertight nature will do much more than protect it poolside or when you’re blogging in the bath.
Congratulations to all of the winners. You can find all of the incriminating photos on our official MCAwards 2013 website, and a full list of the 2013 Mobile Choice Award winners can be found here!