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What's the hottest device of the Season? What would you recommend?

Whether its smartphones, Android Wear, tablets or accessories -- we've seen a lot of cool stuff unveiled this summer. With that in mind, which products were your favorite and what would you recommend to others?
By
September 19, 2014
samsung galaxy note 4 vs lg g3 quick look aa (2 of 2)

There’s been a lot of great new mobile devices released during the summer, and things have heated up even more in the last moth. With this in mind, for this Friday Debate we talk about which handsets are the hottest of the season. Additionally we talk about the handsets we’d recommend, or the tablets and accessories we are most looking forward to this year including devices like Gear VR, Android Wear watches and the list goes on.

Be sure to check out our teams responses and then share your own thoughts in the comment section!

Robert Triggs

There’s a ton of good stuff out now or just about to arrive, so I’m going to try my best to be very picky.

The Galaxy Note 4 is an obvious choice for one of the hottest smartphones right now, and deservedly so. The hardware and design are top notch, and Samsung’s software looks quite useful in this larger form factor.

But if you’re in the market for a big device and don’t want to spend a small fortune, the Huawei Ascend Mate 7 is probably a better value proposition. I’ve really started to come around to the value offered by Lenovo, Xiaomi and the like, providing that you are living in a region where devices are actually available.

For slightly “smaller” flagship devices, the LG G3 still tops my picks from the big bands. However, a smartphone that has sadly been overlooked a bit is the HTC Butterfly 2. It is such a shame that this amazing handset isn’t more widely available, as I’m positive that it would fly off the shelves.

If you’re looking for a phone that will actually fit in your pocket, then the Xperia Z3 Compact is my phone of choice. Whilst the Galaxy Alpha also packs top of the line specs and a swanky metal finish, the Z3 Compact’s camera and beefy battery give this handset the edge in the sub-5” category
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Smartwatches are looking better all the time, but I still just can’t hype myself up enough to buy one, let alone recommend one to someone else. So I’ll have to pass.

Joseph Hindy

The hottest device of the seasons is, without a doubt, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The attention they’ve generated makes it the most talked about device on both sides of the mobile OS camp (iOS and Android). It’s kind of ironic really. With all the Android fans talking about Apple (even if it’s bad), it’s still publicity Apple is getting for free. Without a doubt, Apple wins the popularity contest. I haven’t seen anyone say anything about a Nexus in two weeks and that’s actually kind of frightening. In a distant second would be the Note 4 and Note Edge.

If I had to recommend a normal sized phone right now, it’d be the HTC One M8 because I think HTC did a great job with that device. The phablet market continues to be dominated by the Note 4 although the iPhone 6 Plus does have its benefits. The Moto X and LG G3 are pretty decent “larger than 5-inch” phones this year too. I wouldn’t recommend anything but an NVIDIA SHIELD tablet right now. What do I look forward to the most? That’s a good question because things are pretty open ended right now. It seems 64-bit will be a thing that happens in the next 365 days and I’m looking forward to that. I don’t know what the future of curved displays holds and that could get really interesting (especially if the Note Edge sells well). Tablet technology seems to be getting better with the NVIDIA SHIELD and I believe that’s going to help motivate OEMs to focus more on the form factor (instead of just making gigantic version of their flagship phones which, let’s face it, only worked well for the Galaxy Note line up because of S-Pen).

I would love to see more game accessories. Like a detachable keyboard for tablets that let you map functions so you could play Android games like computer games. Or more (and better) controller accessories for smartphones. Gaming on Android has been getting consistently better (not quickly, but consistently) and it would be nice to see the accessories evolve with the platform because aside from Moga, they really haven’t.

Otherwise it’s really steady as she goes right now. The only really big release left this year is the Nexus devices and there’s no point in stating that I’m excited about those because everyone is. I haven’t really seen a Nexus phone I’ve been super stoked about since the Galaxy Nexus but I’m sure it’s still going to be awesome.

TL;DR – Everything is awesome right now. Except gaming accessories.

Andrew Grush

The hottest devices of the season are pretty obvious: Note 4 for the Android camp, and iPhone 6 (and Plus) for the Apple camp — at least if we are judging purely by popularity. Of course, Motorola’s Moto X is also no slouch, taking everything we loved about the Moto X experience and bringing its specs up to date with what you’d expect from a modern 2014 flagship.

Personally, however, I haven’t been blown away by anything released in 2014. Don’t get me wrong, there’s been good stuff (LG G3, One M8, Moto X, Note 4, GS5, etc) that is worth picking up for many folks — but nothing that leaves me with my mouth dropped open, drooling and reaching for my wallet. The closest product to have done that would be the OnePlus One, which gave us a solid phone with Nexus-like pricing, tons of official ROM choices and a form factor that, while a little bigger than I’d prefer, still isn’t gigantic either. Unfortunately, its invite system, touchscreen complaints and PR disasters make me reluctant to recommend the device or company just yet, as I’ve heard an equal mix of good and bad from real owners of the handset.

Ultimately, I’m a Nexus man, though I’m more than willing to admit there’s value in many custom skins, they just aren’t what I’m personally looking for. So if I had to recommend a device, it’d still be the Nexus 5, though I’m really curious about the future of Nexus and hope to see new drool-worthy Nexus products this year (both from HTC in the tablet realm, and perhaps from Motorola in the phone realm). I also have to say I’d strongly suggest the Moto G for anyone who isn’t a power user, I haven’t had any time with the 2nd gen model, but my wife absolutely loves her 1st gen handset.

As far as smartwatches are concerned? I’m still not completely convinced that they are worth the investment, though I admit personally I have been tempted by the Moto 360 and G Watch R. What’s really stopping me from recommending either is battery life, a weakness of all Android Wear watches at this time.