The best tech of 2024 so far – the 11 finest gadgets we’ve tested and what’s coming next

The best tech of 2024 so far – the 11 finest gadgets we’ve tested and what’s coming next

You may have seen that 2024’s progress bar recently hit 50%. To mark that mildly terrifying milestone, we’ve decided to cast our eye back over the past six months pick out our biggest tech highlights of the year so far.

There’s been no shortage of those – from the arrival of Microsoft‘s new generation of AI-equipped Windows 11 laptops to Apple‘s latest iPad Pros, we’ve been given some real tech treats already.

You can jump straight into our list of the 11 best products we’ve tested so far this year below, with the list covering everything from Bluetooth speakers to OLED TVs and cameras.

Alternatively, if you’re simply looking for a quick shot of buying advice in a particular tech genre, you can use the links on the left to jump to our mid-year tech roundups. They round up the highlights of 2024 so far across everything from MacBooks to wireless earbuds, and also take a look at what’s coming in the next six months according to the rumor mill.

Whatever you’re looking to buy this year as we approach the Prime Day 2024 sales, you’ll find some timely mid-year advice from TechRadar’s experts below…

The best tech of 2024 so far

What are the best things TechRadar has tested and reviewed in 2024 so far? There have been a lot of contenders, but we’ve picked out the very top ones below. 

And yes, the order is a little arbitrary, but the tope three have all been given a coveted five-star TechRadar rating… 


  • The best premium compact for most people (if you can find one)

(Image credit: Future)

Following up the Fujifilm X100V which went viral on TikTok last year, the much-hyped Fujifilm X100VI enjoyed record-breaking pre-order numbers when it was launched in February, and it’s still on back order now. 

Thankfully, the retro premium compact’s appeal is justified and more than skin deep: it’s a major update with best-in-class 40MP sensor, 6.2K video, in-body image stabilization (finally) and Fujifilm’s best ever autofocus. Naturally you still get the superb hybrid viewfinder and retro exposure dials that have made the X100-series so popular. 

We really enjoyed putting together our Fujifilm X100VI review and now rate it as the best compact camera you can buy. An honorable mention also goes to the Pentax Film Project with its mission to create a new film camera for Gen Z. That vision was recently realized with the new Pentax 17, a charming half-frame compact film camera. 2024 already feels like a big year for photography.


  • The most exciting phone design we’ve seen this year

Motorola Razr and Razr Plus 2024 folded and open in various colors

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)

The best phones usually arrive in the latter half of the year, but that didn’t stop Motorola from making a splash with its newest Motorola Razr 2024, arriving 20 years after the original Razr set a new standard of cool for flip phones. 

The Motorola Razr 2024 and the Razr Plus 2024 are both extra durable this year – water resistant to take a dunk – with the camera improvements we’ve been hoping to see. Today’s Razr is very enticing, with bright colors and a huge cover display that runs all of your favorite apps, making the Razr a truly unique little communicator. 

We’re still testing these in Future Labs, but we’ve spent hands-on time with Motorola’s latest flip foldable phones, and we’re already impressed enough to call these the coolest phones we’ve seen so far in 2024.


  • The best AI-powered wearable so far by quite some distance

The Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses sat on a shelf

(Image credit: Future)

Yes, the Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses launched at the end of 2023, but a huge Meta AI update that came in April this year has transformed them into almost an entirely different device. You can still use them to capture video, snap photos and listen to music, but you can now also interact with the Meta AI bot – they’re basically a pair of sunglasses with built-in ChatGPT.

Our favorite feature has to be Look and Ask. It allows the glasses to take a picture to give the AI some additional context for your query – such as identify landmarks you can see, translate signs, recommend recipes based on what’s in your fridge and perform a whole host of tasks.

Like other AI its assistance isn’t always perfect, but we’ve found these glasses to be the best AI wearable out there right now – especially since even when they’re powered off or out of charge they’re a stylish pair of Ray-Ban shades.


  • A punchy Bluetooth speaker to make your party pop

Bose SoundLink Max Bluetooth speaker on wooden table

(Image credit: Future / Simon Lucas)

The year so far in Bluetooth speakers has one clear winner. The Bose SoundLink Max is hardly the most wallet-friendly option at $399 / £399 / AU$599, and it’s far from the most portable, at over 2kg heavy. 

The thing is, we’re just as picky about Bluetooth speakers as we are when it comes to audiophile-grade DACs, passive speakers, wired IEMs and the like, and for features and sound quality Bose has knocked it out the park here. 

The SoundLink Max offers USB-C charging out (if your phone’s running low) plus all of the volume and low-end clout you could wish for at your next outdoor soirée – but it is delivered with panache, sensitivity and support for the better-sounding aptX Adaptive codec. Bravo, Bose! 


  • A class-leading portable 4K projector with style

LG Cinebeam Q projector on table

(Image credit: Future)

The LG CineBeam Q stands out in the crowded world of portable projectors by way of its style – while most portables are cheap-looking plastic jobs, the CineBeam Q is clad in a striking aluminum case with a swiveling metal carrying handle/stand. Notably, it also has 4K resolution, whereas many other portables top out at 1080p (HD) resolution.

In our LG CineBeam Q review, we appreciated its bright image and accurate color in Filmmaker Mode. It also features the same webOS smart TV platform found in the company’s TVs for streaming, which gives you access to Disney Plus, Prime Video, Netflix, Apple TV Plus, YouTube, and other essential apps. At $1,299 / £1,299 / AU$2,499, it’s not exactly cheap, but sometimes you have to pay more for the best.


  • Finally, a Wear OS watch with staying power

OnePlus Watch 2 screen

(Image credit: Luke Baker)

The OnePlus Watch 2 is notable for two reasons. For one, it’s a massive improvement over the frankly lackluster original, nabbing 4.5 stars in our OnePlus Watch 2 review and even displacing the Ticwatch Pro 5 on our best smartwatches list. 

For another, its crafty use of dual operating systems allows it to break a ceiling no other Wear OS watch – or Apple Watch, for that matter – has been able to break until now. It can reach 100 hours of battery life in smartwatch mode. 

It’s able to do this by running a simpler RTOS system from a low-power BES2700BP chip. However, when it needs full Wear OS functionality, its battery-sucking Snapdragon W5 kicks in, ensuring it only uses the more powerful chip as needed. Clever stuff, and the best smartwatch innovation of the year so far.


  • An absolute powerhouse of a tablet

iPad Pro 13-inch with M4 chip on a wooden table

(Image credit: Future)

Apple’s iPad Pro was already the most powerful tablet you could buy, so how did Apple improve its premiere iPad for 2024? With a little magic, of course. The latest iPad Pro is somehow the thinnest device Apple has ever made, and that’s even counting those little iPod nano music players from 2016. As you can read in our iPad Pro 13-inch (2024) review, it’s also unimaginably (and some might say excessively) fast. 

The future looks bright for the iPad Pro, thanks to the amazing tandem OLED display and all the upcoming software Apple previewed at WWDC 2024. As the debut device for Apple’s latest Apple M4 processor, we’re still learning about everything the iPad Pro will be able to do once Apple launches Apple Intelligence and all the other new features coming soon to iPadOS.


  • The best Dolby Atmos soundbar, and now perfect for PS5 and Xbox Series X

Samsung HW-Q990D soundbar, subwoofer and rear speakers

The Samsung HW-Q990D comprises a soundbar, subwoofer and two surrounds, with 11.1.4 channels across 22 speakers. (Image credit: Future)

The Samsung HW-Q990D carries on the legacy of its predecessor, the Samsung HW-Q990C, and adds much sought after gaming features, with an 120Hz compatible HDMI 2.1 port. In our Samsung HW-Q990D review, we found it to be not only the best way to boost your movie viewing experience, but it also served as an excellent companion for music as well. 

Bass levels are weighty but with a nuanced touch, speech is clear, trebles and mids can breathe and Dolby Atmos surround sound is incredibly immersive, with excellent placement and a real sense of direction. An 11.1.4 speaker array, spread across 22 speakers and some genius processing make the Q990D quite simply, the best Dolby Atmos soundbar we’ve tested so far in 2024. 


  • Mellow yellow earbuds to herald Nothing’s purple patch

The Nothing Ear and Nothing Ear (a) against a purple backdrop.

(Image credit: Future)

When it comes to the year so far in wireless earbuds, we’re so torn on picking a standout set that we’re cheating and giving you two. 

In the budget sector, it’s impossible to ignore the five-star plucky little Nothing ‘buds with the transparent case, great sound, solid noise-cancellation and pinch-to-speak to ChatGPT in the stems. They’re called (as you probably know by now) the Nothing Ear (a) and when we heard them upon their release in April, they ripped up the rule-book on what we thought possible in the best budget earbuds realm – including that world-first ChatGPT integration. 

But if you’re prepared to scale the food chain just a little, the March-issue Cambridge Audio Melomania M100 offer beautifully detailed sound, much better noise cancellation than they should (considering it’s the first time Cambridge has wanted to offer it), an ergonomic classy build and What We Do in the Shadows’ Matt Berry on voice prompts. Look, it’s impossible to choose between the two, OK? 


  • Microsoft’s MacBook-killer is finally here

A Surface Laptop 7 on a table

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

If you’d asked us last month what the best laptop of 2024 so far is, we’d have said the MacBook Air (M3). But a lot can change in the world of laptops, and since then we’ve seen an influx of brilliant Windows 11 laptops powered by the new Snapdragon X chips from Qualcomm. These ARM-based chips offer similar benefits to Apple’s M3, and we’ve been blown away by the performance and battery lives of the models we’ve tested so far.

Of this new generation of Windows 11 laptops, Microsoft’s own Surface Laptop 7 is the one that impressed us the most – so much so that it’s our pick as the best laptop of 2024 so far. That’s right, Microsoft has finally come up with a MacBook-killer after years of trying and failing. In our Microsoft Surface Laptop 7 review, we were particularly impressed with its performance and battery life. 

The design, which is very inspired by the MacBook, shows that Windows laptops can look just as good as Apple products, and the price is competitive as well. The big selling point – artificial intelligence integration via Copilot – works well, but time will tell if it’s really that impressive. Overall, this is a brilliant new laptop from Microsoft (the company believes it’s a big enough reboot to refer to it simply as the ‘Surface Laptop’, after all). With rumors of M4 MacBooks on the horizon, Microsoft’s time at the top might be short-lived, but if you’re after the best laptop of the year so far, you’ll want the Surface Laptop 7.


  • The future of OLED TVs has arrived

The Samsung S95D tv showing a picture of a city at night

(Image credit: Future)

The Samsung S95D OLED TV is the next step in the evolution of the company’s QD-OLED display technology, and it’s a big one. Our Samsung S95D review found the new flagship OLED to be significantly brighter than last year’s S95C. We also appreciated its Glare Free OLED tech, which makes viewing in bright rooms possible without the picture quality-reducing effects of screen reflections.

A new NQ4 AI Gen2 processor in the S95D uses AI to improve all aspects of its picture, from upscaling to high dynamic range, and it also improves sound. Add to this the complete set of gaming features found throughout Samsung’s TV lineup and you get the best TV TechRadar has yet tested in 2024.


Our mid-year roundups

Bluetooth speakers in 2024: the year so far

A Beats speaker on a table, a hand holding a Bose speaker and a Wondeboom speaker being attached to a rucksack

(Image credit: Beats / Bose / Ultimate Ears)

Looking for a Bluetooth speaker? You’ve got a lot to choose from – this year has been pretty great for those who like their speakers to be a little weird, really loud, or a bit of both.

Read our guide to the biggest Bluetooth speaker launches we’ve seen in 2024 for a taste of the finest ones so far, plus a look ahead to what’s coming in the next six months.

MacBooks in 2024: the year so far

A MacBook Pro and a MacBook Air sitting on a table

(Image credit: Future)

It’s been a relatively quiet year so far for MacBooks, with just two new models landing: the 13-inch MacBook Air and its 15-inch sibling. But that’s likely to change dramatically later this year, if the rumors are true.

Read our mid-year guide to MacBooks in 2024 for the full skinny on which models we expect to get an M4 upgrade. 

Android phones in 2024: the year so far

Three Android phones

(Image credit: Future)

We’re very close to the small matter of the next Samsung Unpacked 2024 on July 10, which means new foldables and more. But before that kicks off, it’s a good time to look back at the Android phone story so far.

Read our guide to the biggest Android phone launches of 2024 so far and you’ll get just that, plus a look ahead to the post-Unpacked landscape – including Google’s imminent Pixel 9 series.

Smartwatches in 2024: the year so far

Three smartwatches from Samsung, OnePlus and Apple

(Image credit: Samsung / OnePlus / Apple)

The best smartwatches of 2024 may well be to come, but there have already some real highlights – including the OnePlus Watch 2 (see no.6 in our list above) and the Garmin Forerunner 165.

If you’re in the market for a new techy timepiece, check out our guide to the biggest smartwatch launches of 2024 and what’s coming next.

Wireless earbuds in 2024: the year so far

Wireless earbuds from Final, Iyo and Nothing

(Image credit: Final / Iyo / Nothing)

We’re only six months into 2024, but we’re already seriously impressed with the latest batch of wireless earbuds. Whether it’s ones with open-ear designs or new noise-canceling stars, there’s never been more choice.

For a handy snapshot of everything that’s happened so far, check out our guide to the year so far in wireless earbuds for our favorite eight launches and a look ahead to what’s coming in the next six months.

Projectors in 2024: the year so far

Three projectors sitting on tables

(Image credit: LG / XGIMI / Samsung)

It’s been a pretty big year for projectors already this year – we’ve seen some high-quality options arriving from the likes of LG, Samsung and BenQ, with LG’s CineBeam Q projector making our list of the top tech we’ve reviewed so far (see no.7 above).

As we hit the halfway point of 2024, it’s time to look back at those and gaze ahead to the announcements that are coming – and you can do just that in our mid-year guide to projectors in 2024.

EVs in 2024: the year so far

The Alpine A290 and 2024 Audi S e-tron GT on the road

(Image credit: Renault / Audi)

Tesla is no longer dominating EVs – and in 2024, we’ve already started to see what that means for electric cars. In short, it means variety and an impending influx from China, which the US and EU are trying to put the brakes on.

For a quick but informative guide to what’s happened so far and where we can expect to see EVs go in the next six months, check out our guide to the year so far in EVs.

OLED TVS in 2024: the year so far

The LG C4 OLED TV showing artwork in ambient mode

(Image credit: Future)

OLED TVs haven’t waited around to tackle their new year’s resolutions in 2024, with some major releases from LG, Samsung and Sony all taking a deserved spot in our guide to the best TVs.

For a snapshot of everything that’s happened so far, and how the next six months are looking, head to our guide to the year so far in OLED TVs.

AI in 2024: the year so far

A hand holding a phone running the ChatGPT app, the Rabbit R1 on a grey background, and a Humane AI Pin on someone's lapel

(Image credit: OpenAI / Rabbit / Humane)

AI has again been the big tech story of 2024 so far – from ill-judged hardware launches like the Humane AI Pin to ChatGPT’s impressive (and now delayed) new Voice Mode, there’s never been a quiet moment in artificial intelligence.

It’s all a little overwhelming, so for a quick catchup check out our guide to the year so far in AI, which includes a look ahead to the next six months. Spoiler: it’s looking busy, fun and controversial again.

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