Inspect-a-Gadget has been busy reviewing and commenting on a wide range of gadgets over the past 12 months and it has definitely been another big year in the world of technology.
Apple has yet again been launching new versions of its phones and tablets to an array of hype and hysteria, but let’s not forget about the other new arrivals of 2012.
We’ve seen innovation in the form of tablets, phones and software from the likes of Google, Nokia, Samsung and Microsoft, as well as many other big players.
Spring and autumn made up for a summer that was dominated by athletes instead of geeks. We had the Consumer Electronics Show and MWC early on, as well as a multitude of mobile and tablet launches later in the year, as well as a whole new speed of mobile internet in the UK with 4G. The year has sped past in a haze of gadgetry.
Oh, it’s a hard job reviewing and commenting on the latest tech, but someone’s got to do it - here's the round-up of gadget posts in 2012, which have continued to keep you informed on the latest gadgets and hi-tech toys for business.
1 Hands on: The BlackBerry Bold 9790. Just how "Bold" are RIM being with this new handset?
BlackBerry have not had the best 18 months, beginning with falling sales, competition from Android and maligned as the communication of choice for rioting youths in London in the summer of 2011. But the company stormed into 2012 with a new handset – the BlackBerry Bold 9790. The slimmer and lighter handset failed to make an impression on Inspect-a-Gadget though and BlackBerry seemed to be losing in the smartphone battle throughout the year. Will the launch of BlackBerry 10 in January 2013 be the resurrection of the company? We will soon find out.
2 BlackBerry: Why ditching the consumer market is the wrong decision
Inspect-a-Gadget believes that BlackBerry panicked at the beginning of the year when it pulled out of the consumer market. BlackBerry’s portfolio of devices was actually still very appealing to the consumer market. BBM is very popular with kids, and not just the ASBO, tracksuit-wearing variety that descended on London during the riots, while the BlackBerry PlayBook was also starting to make its position known in the consumer space. While businesses turned to iOS and Android devices, BlackBerry should have been expanding its capabilities, not reducing them.
3 Top 10: Smartphone do's and don'ts of the office
Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) has been around since the launch of the iPhone over five years ago, but it wasn’t really until 2012 that company IT departments began to feel really pressured into allowing employees to use their mobile devices in the work environment. This led to a whole new way of working, and therefore a whole new set of “rules” to follow.
Inspect-a-Gadget gave you the lowdown of the dos and don’ts of using your smartphone in the office, from avoiding offensive ringtones to taking advantage of portable communications tools.
4 HTC One X White: Reviewed - Cool, strong and fantastic
HTC’s 2012 flagship Android was durable, comfortable and stylish and did make a very good impression on Inspect-a-Gadget. Running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich with HTC Sense, this phone was also one of the slimmest phones in the world, at a mere 7.9mm thick.
It was a phone that put HTC back in the spotlight and while it may not have got quite as much attention as the Samsung Galaxy or Apple’s latest and greatest, it should still take pride as a top-of-the-range smartphone and deserves the respect and praise.
5 Five of the world's most expensive mobile phones
This post has been an Inspect-a-Gadget favourite this year. While most of us can afford the latest high-end smartphone if we lock ourselves into a £40-per-month, two-year contract, if you had more money than sense would you choose a diamond-encrusted handset? It would set you back £827,060! Or how about a more affordable £167,567 for a ruby-encrusted handset? No camera and only 1MP of internal memory, but the handset does showcase a decorative snake. Well, they do say that money can’t buy you class.
6 Review: Logitech BCC950 ConferenceCam (RRP: £199.99)
With the trend of remote working on the increase, communicating with work colleagues has become even more important. During the summer of sport, the London Chamber of Commerce estimated 1.5 million people stayed at home rather than battling the crowds on the tubes and buses to reach their offices. Civil servants and employees of private companies alike took advantage of flexible working rules to ease the burden on the city’s transport system, with Microsoft claiming that 90% of UK businesses now regularly allow flexible working. With its HD and widescreen camera and lightweight base, gadgets like the Logitech BCC950 made keeping in touch with the office much easier and more pleasurable.
7 Hands on: Apple's iPhone 5 and why I seem to be the only one who's not impressed
While everyone else was going berserk and using sickly, gushing descriptions for Apple’s newest smartphone – the iPhone 5 – Inspect-a-Gadget was left unimpressed, believing everybody else had actually lost their marbles.
Once the innovator of the technology market, the newest addition to the iPhone family was lacking in inspiration, design and statement and while the world described the thinner and lighter iPhone as “beautiful” again and again, Inspect-a-Gadget was left thoroughly perplexed.
8 Nokia Lumia 920 - sleek and sexy, but does it have the pulling power?
Another autumn smartphone launch, however, this beauty showed so much more innovation than Apple did. Running Windows Phone 8 operating system (OS) and featuring wireless charging and augmented reality maps, this device was really pushing the boundaries. The collaboration with the new OS could possibly see Nokia back at the top of the smartphone leaderboard in 2013.
9 Samsung Galaxy Note II - Is this love that I'm feeling?
Launched at the end of the year, the Samsung Galaxy Note II is a very large smartphone or a very small tablet – also known as a phablet. But however you decide to describe it, Inspect-a-Gadget was very upset at being parted from this device post-review. It may not be for everybody with its whopping 5.5" screen, but the Galaxy Note II has the space to comfortably use all of its great and intuitive features.
10 Review: Microsoft's Surface tablet, RRP £479 (inc cover)
Microsoft released its long-awaited new OS, Windows 8, at the end of October and the Surface was Microsoft’s tablet offering in the hardware department. It was heavy but sturdy and the device was running the RT version of Windows 8, which was designed to be used on a touch interface, so the experience was very pleasant.
There has been a surge of convertible tablets and laptops taking advantage of the Windows 8 touchscreen features and this could push companies to establish a more mobile workforce as the devices should be much easier to integrate into a company’s IT portfolio that is generally dominated by Windows PCs.