The best tech of 2019 (so far)

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We’re only halfway through 2019 and we’ve already seen a crazy number of cool, innovative tech releases. 

From camera-packed Android phones to long-lasting wireless earbuds to immersive wireless VR, there’s been no shortage of impressive gadgets to drool over. Once again, we awarded the very best with our Mashable Choice seal of approval.

There’s a lot more exciting tech on the horizon, but for now, these are the 10 best products of the year.

The OnePlus 7 Pro leapfrogged its competitors in several ways.

Zlata Ivleva / Mashable

10. DJI Osmo Action

Having conquered drones, DJI’s now setting its sights on GoPro with its Osmo Action. The action camera bests GoPro’s impressive Hero 7 Black with a color LCD screen on the front (perfect for selfies and vlogging) and back, super smooth in-body electronic stabilization, and a lens design that supports neutral density (ND) filters for capturing better footage in bright situations. Also nice: It’s $50 less than a Hero 7 Black.

Price: $349

9. Dyson V11 Torque Drive

The V11 Torque Drive is pricey, but nobody builds a vacuum like Dyson. At first glance, the V11 Torque Drive wireless vacuum looks nearly identical to the Cyclone V10 — it still resembles a ray gun! But look deeper and you’ll find a handful of notable upgrades, including suction that’s 20 percent more powerful, a 40 percent larger dust bin, and an LCD screen that displays battery life in real time.

Price: $699

8. Beats Powerbeats Pro

AirPods are great wireless earbuds for pretty much everyone, but if they don’t cut it for you, we highly recommend Beats Powerbeats Pro. Powered by the same Apple H1 chip as AirPods 2, the Powerbeats seamlessly connect to iOS devices and support faster audio switching between iOS and Mac devices. The wireless earbuds aren’t as compact as AirPods, but they do provide better fit, superior sound, and longer battery life (up to 9 hours versus 5 hours on a single charge).

Price: $249

The Oculus Quest and its built-in hand tracking made VR cool again in 2019.

Zlata Ivleva / Mashable

7. iPad mini 5 and iPad Air 3

The iPad mini (fifth-generation) and iPad Air (third-generation) may not look new — they’re rocking old designs — but they’re improved where it counts: inside. Besides differences in screen size, the iPad mini 5 and iPad Air 3 are virtually identical to their predecessors and are built to last for years to come. Both have powerful A12 Bionic chips, long-lasting battery life, and Apple Pencil (first-gen) support. These aren’t merely great tablets for watching video, playing games, and reading; iPadOS coming later this fall will make them even more capable alternatives to a laptop.

Price: Starting at $399 (iPad mini 5) and starting at $499 (iPad Air 3)

6. AirPods 2

Despite not adding any improvements to sound quality or listening time, Apple’s second-generation AirPods are still the best wireless earbuds for most people. The new wireless earbuds retain the same compact design, easy connectivity, and long-lasting battery life as the original, but improve talk time by an hour. AirPods 2 also have hands-free Siri voice controls and can be purchased with a wireless charging case.

Price: Starting at $159 (standard non-wireless charging case)

5. Huawei P30 Pro

Trump’s trade war with China continues to cripple Huawei, but that doesn’t change the fact that the P30 Pro has arguably the most impressive smartphone camera system ever crammed into a slab of metal and glass. Using a new “SuperSpectrum” image sensor and periscope system consisting of lenses and mirrors, the P30 Pro can shoot incredible nighttime photos and zoom all the way up to 50x.

Price: $818

The Galaxy S10’s three cameras make it as versatile as a DSLR.

Zlata Ivleva / Mashable

4. Google Pixel 3a and 3a XL

While everyone’s busy cramming in more features to justify ballooning prices, Google went in the opposite direction with the Pixel 3a and 3a XL. The materials aren’t as premium (plastic instead of metal and glass) and the performance is slower, but they still offer a best-in-class camera with Night Sight. The two mid-range Pixel 3a phones also come with a feature their more expensive siblings don’t have: headphone jacks.

Price: Starting at $399

3. Samsung Galaxy S10

A decade after releasing the first Galaxy phone, Samsung proved it hasn’t run out of steam yet. The company’s Galaxy S10all four of them — is easily the most uncompromising smartphone release of the year. Whereas other phones removed features to make room for new ones, Samsung added more without cutting anything. Big and gorgeous screens, versatile cameras, fast performance, headphone jacks, 5G — you name a feature and at least one of the S10’s probably has it.

Price: Starting at $749

2. OnePlus 7 Pro

After setting an impossibly high bar with the OnePlus 6 and 6T in 2018, OnePlus returned with the OnePlus 7 Pro, another beast of a phone. Not only does the OnePlus 7 Pro continue to undercut other flagship phones on price, it leapfrogs them with features such as a stunning notch-free display with a silky smooth 90Hz refresh rate, a rear camera system with three lenses (wide, ultra-wide, and telephoto), a pop-up selfie camera, and unmatched performance.

Price: Starting at $669

AirPods 2 are still the best overall wireless earbuds for most people.

Zlata Ivleva / Mashable

1. Oculus Quest

Believe us when we say we weren’t expecting Facebook’s Oculus Quest to be one of our top gadgets of 2019. The VR headset blew us away when we tried it at CES and then again when we got to play an extensive library of immersive VR games (like Beatsaber and Super Hot) when it launched in the spring. Quest isn’t a breakthrough for VR simply because it doesn’t require a beefy PC or smartphone or external sensors to track your head and hand movements. It’s a new milestone for VR because it’s actually fun to play with. The same can’t be said for pretty much all other VR headsets.

Price: Starting at $399

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Watch the OnePlus 7 Pro's pop-up camera lift 49 pounds of cement

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Richard Lai/Engadget

If you can get your hands on the OnePlus 7 Pro — one of two flagship phones released today — one of the first things you’ll notice is that it’s done away with the front-facing notch camera. Instead, OnePlus opted for a pop-up camera. And to prove just how durable it is, the company released a video of the camera lifting a 49.2-pound block of cement.

The pop-up camera, which has a 16-megapixel sensor, makes the OnePlus a true, all-screen smartphone. And it’s reportedly been tested to withstand over 300,000 movements, which suggests it will last for more than five years of heavy use. The camera is also able to retract automatically when the phone detects a fall.

The video released today is meant to be a testament to that durability. But tests like these are heavily controlled and fabricated with a clear intent, so the video isn’t the best indicator of the pop-up camera’s strength. After all, this spring, we watched Samsung repeatedly open and close the Galaxy Fold to prove that it could withstand at least 200,000 folds and unfolds. Shortly afterward, Samsung delayed the phone’s launch due to display issues. And as Engadget editor Richard Lai pointed out, there’s the risk of dust, or potentially liquid, getting trapped in the pop-up camera’s compartment over time.

With a $699 base price, the One Plus 7 Pro is the company’s most expensive phone yet. Hopefully, users get their money’s worth from the pop-up camera. At the very least, the One Plus 7 and One Plus 7 Pro solve many of the 6T’s problems, and so far, our selfies have been crisp.

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OnePlus explains the 7's lack of a water resistance rating

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Don’t expect OnePlus to slap water and dust resistance ratings on its phones any time soon. Co-founder Carl Pei has posted the company’s rationale for declining to get an IP rating. The company wanted to do things based on “what you really need” rather than the industry, Pei said. An IP rating would be the “simplest” way to prove resistance, but OnePlus figured it was better to show what phones can “bring to you in real life.”

An accompanying video also claimed that water resistance ratings “cost you money,” and showed a OnePlus 7 model being dunked in a bucket as ‘proof’ of its ability to survive immersion.

Pei didn’t rule out IP ratings in the future, and didn’t want customers to try submerging their own phones.

Whether or not this persuades anyone is another story. It doesn’t necessarily cost the buyer money to get an IP rating — it’s up to the company to decide how that cost affects profits. And IP ratings can be particularly important if you’re a fan of the outdoors. They give you an at-a-glance understanding of whether or not a phone will survive your excursions, helping you make informed purchases. Although the absence of an IP rating doesn’t necessarily mean a phone is fragile, it won’t be very reassuring.

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OnePlus 7 series event set for May 14th


OnePlus

OnePlus has confirmed when it will showcase the OnePlus 7 lineup for the first time. On May 14th at 11 AM Eastern Time, the company will unveil its latest handsets at simultaneous events in four cities: New York, London, Beijing and Bangalore.

OnePlus is using the tagline “Go Beyond Speed” for the announcement, which marries with CEO Pete Lao claiming there’ll be a 5G version of the OnePlus 7 Pro. He also said that device will include a new type of display (rumors suggest it’ll have a 90 Hz refresh rate). The handsets may have a pop-up selfie camera too.

OnePlus is selling tickets to the events, but if you’re interested and can’t make it in person, you’ll be able to stream it through the company’s website, YouTube, Facebook or Twitter. Of course, Engadget will have everything you need to know about the OnePlus 7 lineup too.

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OnePlus 7 rumors, leaks include Pro and 5G editions


@OnLeaks

If you’re eagerly awaiting word of the next OnePlus handset, a few leakers who have been reliable in the past have information for you. Between @OnLeaks/Pricebaba and Ishan Agarwal, they’ve claiming we can expect a global launch event on May 14th, with up to three variants of the device on display: the OnePlus 7, the OnePlus 7 Pro and a OnePlus 7 Pro 5G model.

While renderings should be taken with a grain of salt, the designs shown include a 6.4-inch OnePlus 7 with a teardrop camera up front and dual 48 MP rear camera that looks similar to the current 6T. That includes an in-display fingerprint sensor and up to 10GB of RAM like the 6T McLaren Edition, along with a Snapdragon 855 CPU and 4,150 mAh battery inside.

The OnePlus 7 Pro specs, similar to earlier leaks, list it as larger, at 6.64-inches with a notchless curved glass design, a pop-up camera, plus a triple rear 48 MP camera setup that uses its additional lenses for telephoto and ultrawide pictures. Finally, according to @OnLeaks, there will also be a 5G-ready variant of the Pro.

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