The year will officially be over in a matter of hours and that means a few different things. Many people will be ready to start making good on their New Year's resolutions, but more relative to the tech industry is that CES is one day closer as it starts on Monday, and with it will come a slew of new products and devices ranging from smartphones to connected home devices and much more. Although plenty of new devices will be on their way towards release in the months to come, many of 2015's devices are still relevant and will be for quite a while. Some of 2015's flagship mobile tech is still fairly new and no more than a few months old, and the same goes for some of the apps and games.
While we could sit around all day and deliberate what we thought was the best for each category in our awards list, we always enjoy hearing the thoughts of the readers too. Over the last several weeks we've been running polls to get the opinions of the readers on which devices, apps, and games they thought were the best of 2015, and the results are in.
Best Smartphone of 2015
Based on votes from the readers the best smartphone of 2015 is the Nexus 6P from Huawei and Google. It won, perhaps unsurprisingly, by an overwhelming amount of 48% of all the votes. Also included in the category were the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, the LG G4, the OnePlus 2, the Moto X Pure Edition, Sony Xperia Z5, DROID Turbo 2, LG V10, Samsung Galaxy Note 5, and Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus. With a sleek metal body design, a fingerprint reader, great camera, and stock Android experience on the newest software, the Nexus 6P was a tough device to beat.
Best Budget Smartphone of 2015
There were quite a few budget smartphones in 2015 worth taking a look at, and while a high-end device would be a nice thing to have, not everyone can or wants to pick one up as their daily driver. According to the reader's the best budget smartphone of 2015 was the OnePlus X, followed by the Moto G 3rd Gen in a close second, and the ASUS ZenFone 2 in third place. While the OnePlus X was thought of by many as just a newer model of the original OnePlus One with a smaller form factor, that doesn't make it any less of a great budget device.
Best Chinese Smartphone of 2015
Chinese smartphones are often overlooked by a large portion of the consumer populace here in the U.S., and that's OK as they generally aren't phones anyone is going to be able to get their hands on. 2015 has seen a huge push from Chinese device manufacturers though, with goals to put out great quality devices for a lesser cost, making quite a few worthy of attention. According to the readers, the best Chinese smartphone of 2015 was the OnePlus 2 by almost half, raking in 49% of the votes from readers. While the OnePlus 2 isn't for everyone, it's still a decent device and offers quite a bit for the money compared to other Chinese smartphone options.
Best Smartphone Camera of 2015
There were more than a few good smartphone cameras this year, and ultimately many of them are probably going to be pretty close to each other in quality of images. There are some which stand out from the pack though, and the readers' votes point to the camera on the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ & Galaxy Note 5 as the devices with the best camera. Both options are lumped together because they have the same camera sensor inside. While many might have thought of the Sony Xperia Z5 to be a clear winner as they are known for their camera sensors in smartphones, Samsung have stepped it up a notch and produced great cameras for their devices this year. Coming in at a very close second was the Nexus 6P, with the Sony Xperia Z5 coming in at third place.
Best Smartphone Battery Life of 2015
Battery life might just be the most important detail of any smartphone, because no matter how good everything else is you can't use it if your smartphone battery is dead, right? It's this particular detail which causes tons of people to look at battery life every single year when choosing a new device. According to the readers, the smartphone with the best battery life this year was Nexus 6P. With a 3450mAh battery inside and Android 6.0 marshmallow software with the doze mode feature, the Nexus 6P was well equipped to deliver a good experience that lasts. Coming in second was the DROID Turbo 2 from Motorola.
Best Tablet of 2015
There weren't nearly as many tablet releases this year as there were smartphones, but there were still enough to make a poll and figure out which you all thought was the best offering. Although to many the Google Pixel C looks the best in terms of style, it actually came in second place, with the largest portion of readers voting for the SHIELD K1 tablet from NVIDIA as the winner for 2015's best tablet. The SHIELD K1 may not have an anodized aluminum body but it does come with one of the most powerful mobile processors around, the Tegra K1, and it pumps out some serious gaming performance. It's also now been updated to Android 6.0 Marshmallow and it comes in at $199, which makes it a hard tablet to pass up.
Best Smartwatch of 2015
2015 was a big year for smartwatches and a good number of new ones were released, although 2016 is poised to be even bigger. For 2015, according to the readers the best smartwatch in 2015 was the Moto 360 2nd Gen., although the Huawei Watch nearly took 1st place and was just shy of passing up Motorola's sophomore offering. The Moto 360 2nd Gen brings in a wide range of new customization options this year making it possible to have the same device as someone else but still have a unique look.
Best Fitness Tracker of 2015
Smartwatches aren't for everyone, as some users would rather have a wearable that does a little bit less and focuses more on health and fitness goals. There were quite a few good fitness trackers this year worth looking into but the overwhelming population of readers have voted for the Charge HR from Fitbit as the best tracker of 2015. It's slim, comes in two sizes and multiple colors, and offers up a robust feature set with even more functionality when paired with the companion app. It also features a heart rate sensor, and it comes in at a decent price of $149.
Best Chromebook of 2015
Acer without a doubt produced the most Chromebooks this year, which is no surprise as they have been pumping out the most Chromebooks for a year or two. This hasn't won them the best Chromebook of 2015 though. According to the readers, the best Chromebook of 2015 is the Chromebook Pixel from Google, despite the really high price tag. Although it is expensive, the combination of a sleek metal design, powerful hardware, and an all around great Chrome OS experience make it the winner by quite a bit. Acer, however, does come in second with their Chromebook 15, available for much cheaper and still offering a good user experience.
Best App of 2015
Loads of apps were launched this year which might make it seem impossible to pick just one winner. There were plenty of good ones and we'd love to pick them all, probably just like you guys, but the readers have spoken and the best app of 2015 is Google Photos.With unlimited photo storage, smart tagging and a list of other awesome features, millions of users will be storing their photos within the Google Photos app for years to come. Coming in second was Periscope, allowing users to share their world by live streaming pretty much anything and everything.
Best Game of 2015
If you're a gamer, it was likely hard to pick just one good game. There were so many awesome launches in 2015. According to the readers though, the best game of 2015 was Need for Speed No Limits. It does come with a few unpleasant qualities, but it is also free, comes with excellent graphics, and it's still a fun game to play giving all the makings of a winner for best game. Coming in second and third place were Bethesda's Fallout Shelter, and Lara Croft GO from Square Enix. If you haven't checked out any of these games yet, definitely look into them as they're quite fun.
Best Carrier of 2015
Our last award was for best U.S. carrier of 2015, and although not everyone is going to agree, according to the readers the best wireless carrier in the states this past year has been T-Mobile. With all of the changes they have made from improving their network and 4G speeds to serving up wireless plans for a lower cost than their competitors, T-Mobile has really done some good this year for their subscribers. Coming in second place was Google's Project Fi, which is actually quite amazing considering how new it is. In third place was Verizon Wireless, likely due to their excellent coverage over vast areas.