From tablets to phones to computers, meet the best tech you can touch.
We checked in with the heaviest hitters in consumer electronics to see their finest devices for your fingers. Just try to keep the smudge marks to a minimum.
Samsung Galaxy S5
Ever the cornerstone of Samsung’s lineup, this year’s Galaxy S entry feels thinner and lighter than ever, but also beefs up its processing power, battery life, and screen size. The end result more than fills the shoes of last year’s S4 after adding health monitoring capabilities and a fingerprint scanning security feature that is significantly more secure and useful than the face-recognition unlock that was introduced last year.
Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2
Holy shit, is this thing huge. At first, we thought we’d be disappointed by the Note Pro’s beefy size but nothing could be further from the truth. Its XL screen has made us believers in the upcoming heyday of the oversized tablet. Add in the Note Pro’s quad core processing and 3 GB of RAM to power all that extra screen real estate, and there’s no tablet we’d rather have with us on the couch or at our desks. Just don’t expect to take it to the beach without packing an extra bag.
HTC One (M8)
We honestly weren’t sure if HTC’s One belonged on this list, but after spending time with the rough-and-tumble One, we have to give HTC the credit it’s due. Not only have they designed some fantastic hardware that feels sturdy and strong, they’ve also worked around some of the most annoying aspects of Android to really make the phone feel like HTC’s own and not a generic black glass slate with the same old operating system. Don’t believe us? Slap on HTC’s case/cover and watch the One shine.
Nokia Lumia Icon
Forsaking Nokia’s typical number-naming system isn’t the only thing that sets the Icon apart. This large touchscreen phone is the culmination of Nokia’s pioneering in the space; terrific camera quality, intelligent implementation of the Windows 8 mobile platform and the die-hard toughness of Nokia’s heritage are all on full display in the Icon – and we’re happy to see Nokia throwing its weight around, even if it was just acquired by Microsoft. If there’s a device on this list that might stop a bullet from ripping through our fragile forms, we’d place our bet on the Icon.
Nokia Lumia 2520 Tablet
Similar to the Icon, the Lumia tablet brings together Nokia’s heritage – only this time, it’s in a significantly larger form-factor. And that’s OK in our book, because we dig the way the 2520 rocks Windows 8, putting it on a level playing field with so many of the Windows 8 laptops we’ve seen out in the wild. This is a great tablet for productivity and portability, and, unlike our propensity to take shots in between beers, that’s a mix we feel comfortable telling our bosses about.
Sony Xperia Tablet Z
It’s been a long time since Sony ruled the consumer electronics world, but even though your Walkman is no longer a status symbol, it doesn’t mean that Sony isn’t delivering powerful gear for your daily life. The Xperia Z tablet is a perfect example of Sony’s tenacity on this playing field. Playing to the company’s strengths, the Z is crazy thin and super vivid, because when it comes to displays, Sony still knows its shit. Couple that with some neat (albeit pricey) accessories, and the Z transitions into a proper laptop without much fuss. And less fuss is really important to us.
Sony Xperia Z1S Smartphone
We’ve talked about durability but there’s only one phone on this list that’ll take a dip with you and survive, and that’s the Xperia Z1S. Yup, this bad boy can actually stay submerged for up to 30 minutes before you need to soak it in the world’s biggest bowl of rice. (FYI, putting a wet phone in the silica you find in a shoebox is actually a better strategy.) Air-tightness isn’t the only boast the Z1S can make, thanks to a crazy long battery life that harks back to the days of Motorola flip phones, when you could last nearly a week on a single charge. If we could have one phone to use on vacation to shoot pictures underwater and never have to worry about charging, the Z1S would definitely be our travel buddy.
What can we say, there’s simply no other way to get Apple’s magnificent iOS on a tablet than to go with an iPad, and the latest iteration of Steve Jobs’ final gift to consumer electronics, the iPad Air, certainly puts its predecessors to shame. The high pixel density display, the tremendous amount of content in the App Store, and the simple, intuitive operating system transform the streamlined slate into almost any kind of device your heart desires. Let’s just hope your heart desires the awesome creative capabilities of the iPad (like iMovie or Garage Band) and not more, errrr, sordid things.
When the iPhone 5S first launched, Apple touted its fingerprint scanner security as a primary feature. Now that other competitors have found level footing on that front, it’s easier to see the iPhone 5S for what it really is: a versatile cradle for your social life that packs a wallop in the battery and processing departments and gives you a really great excuse to take slo-mo videos and panoramic pictures. Anyone with an iPhone knows how hard it is to jump into bed with another brand after a relationship with Apple’s ecosystem. Luckily, the 5S, like a supermodel who cooks your favorite food, makes it easy to stay loyal.
Microsoft Surface Pro 2
You can point to Microsoft’s hardware failures like the Zune or WebTV all you want, but sometimes MS just gets things exactly right, and the Surface is the latest in a somewhat sparse history of the software giant jumping into the tangible world that went perfectly according to plan. The Surface Pro 2 continues the legacy of a tablet that just fits with Windows 8, giving consumers the right size screen, heft, and build-quality that we knew was possible but weren’t sure we’d get. You can also poo poo the optional, external battery pack, but don’t you dare speak ill of the smartcover keyboard, because we love having the option to flip that little mofo out and quickly bang out emails. Now if they’d just shitcan Internet Explorer we could really throw our support behind them.
Razer Blade 14”
The only full-blown laptop that made this list is also one of the beastliest computers we’ve ever had the pleasure of putting through the paces. Is it fair to compare an extremely high-end laptop to tablets and phones when it would blow away almost every other laptop on the market? No, definitely not. Then again, our dad told us life’s not fair, and since he never came back from getting that pack of cigarettes back in ‘96, we’re sure he was right. The fact that something as top of the line as the 14” Razer Blade actually exists, and absolutely kills it for PC-gaming, rocks a beautiful, high-res touchscreen, and is so thin you might confuse it for a tablet, really does sort of help us forget about our crippling childhood memories.
More on Maxim.com:
5 Jobs That Should Never Be Taken By Robots
What You Need to Know About Alibaba and the IPO