5 Best Gadgets 2009
For those looking to be overcome by techno-lust, we present our choices for the 5 best gadgets of 2009. It was a good year for portable technology, with the PS3 Slim being the only stationary item on our list. Our advice? Buy pants with more pockets.
- Barnes & Noble’s Nook eBook reader. There is no doubt that eBook readers are one of the hottest on the market right now, but for a while it looked like Amazon’s Kindle was going to have an unbreakable monopoly on the market. Publishers, writers, and consumers alike worried that Amazon would be the first and final word in eBooks. Then along came the Nook. The device is not without its problems (it’s a bit slow, for one thing) but it is an attractive and thoroughly capable reader with its own eBook ecosystem that easily rivals that of Amazon’s. With Apple also getting into the game with their iPad, there is now real competition in the eBook reader market.
- Motorola Droid phone for Verizon. Finally, a real contender to the iPhone. The Droid may not be as pretty as Apple’s king of the smartphones, but it is every bit as functional. With the inclusion of such features as multitasking and Google Maps with turn-by-turn directions, the Droid even exceeded the iPhone in some areas. Where it falls short, though, is its apps market, which still has quite a ways to go before it catches up with Apple’s. Even so, it was impressive enough for us to consider it one of the best gadgets of 2009.
- Sony’s PlayStation 3 Slim. Maybe you had been considering buy a PlayStation but the thought of having such a behemoth of a console in your entertainment center turned you off. Well, 2009 was your year. Sony released a slimmer, sexier version of their current-gen console with a matte finish that attracted considerably less fingerprints and dust than the glossy finish of its predecessor. It was also cheaper and more energy-efficient. The only downside was the lack of PlayStation 2 backwards compatibility. But hey, it’s still the best Blu-Ray player on the market, and it has some great games, too.
- Nintendo DSi. While Sony made a major flop with its new UMD-less PSP in 2009, Nintendo proved itself the handheld gaming leader once again with the newest iteration of its DS hardware. Gone was the extra slot for Game Boy Advance games, which was a real loss for those of us who had built up our GBA collection, but in its place was new wireless connectivity and a downloadable game market much like the one found on the Nintendo Wii. In addition, it had two cameras, a bigger screen, and a variety of built-in non gaming apps for pictures and sound. We think the trade-off is worth it, so we consider the DSi one of the best gadgets of 2009.
- Microsoft’s Zune HD. Apple still has a stranglehold on the personal media player market, but Microsoft is sure giving them a run for their money with the latest iteration of their own multimedia gadget. With its crisp OLED display, speedy Tegra processor and attractive new user interface, the Zune HD is more than just an also-ran to the iPod; it's one of the best gadgets of the year.