For many of us, the holidays are an opportunity to upgrade devices for ourselves and our loved ones because almost everything is on sale. This is just after Apple, Google and Samsung updated their offerings. As Gizmodo’s resident smartphone expert, I think now’s the best time to toss out the old and trade in the new, but only if it’s truly time for an upgrade.
Every piece of hardware that arrived on my desk in 2023 felt like a launch that was finally big enough to warrant moving on from a three-, four-, or five-year-old device. I still have family members on the iPhone 8; I want to convince them to upgrade to the standard iPhone 15 this holiday, the first Apple smartphone to use the universal USB-C standard and a colorful revival of last year’s popular iPhone 14 Pro. The Pixel 8 is also a great consideration if you want to buy a small Android phone, and it pairs well with the Pixel Watch 2, which is basically everything its predecessor should have been.
Here’s a list of devices worth upgrading this year. I chose not to include flagship devices like the iPhone 15 Pro Maxwith the new 5x optical zoom, or the Pixel 8 Pro, because they are impressive devices, but they are not necessary for most people.
The best iPhone for most users
You can’t deny that iPhone 15 Pro Max contains the best of everything Apple offers, but the iPhone is for die-hard users, people who wouldn’t look to you for upgrade advice.
This year, I’m telling iPhone users 12 or older to consider iPhone15, even though it is only the first generation with USB-C. Removing all those Lightning cables will be a chore, but the iPhone 15 is basically the iPhone 14 Pro renewed and recharged. I also like that it comes in an accessible range of colors. Additionally, next-generation iPhone features are supported such as Emergency SOS via satellite and the intelligent Dynamic Island. Price: Starts at $800 Or buy: Apple
Small phone with big performance
Are you tired of big, gigantic phones? Me too. That’s why I don’t use any of the big phones daily. Right now I’m on the Pixel 8. It’s only a tenth smaller than the Pixel 7, but the difference is noticeable.
The material inside is reminiscent of Pixel 8 Pro with the new Google Tensor processor and AI-enabled photo editing. Google has also committed to seven years of Android updates to its Pixel line, which is a great guarantee if you’re someone who’s just upgrading. Price: From $700 Or buy: Google Store
AirPods Pro with USB-C:
The best headphones you can give
THE AirPods Pro 2nd generation with USB-C worth the upgrade, even with new ones imminent in the next two years.
If you’re still holding onto a crusty old pair of AirPods, or maybe the first-gen variant is starting to crackle, the $250 AirPods Pro will guarantee you MagSafe charging and a USB-C port to match all future iPhones and iPads. Price: $250 Or buy: Apple
Sonos Era 300:
The best AirPlay compatible Bluetooth speaker
If you enjoy living in your well-suited walled garden, the Sonos era 300 is a nice addition to any home using AirPlay. The Era 300 features six speakers, all positioned to ensure music and sound reach every corner of the room. Amazon Alexa is also available as an optional smart home controller. Price: $450 Or buy: His bone
The best non-Apple tablet worth buying
The new one from Google Pixel Tablet runs on Android, but the software improves with each new feature. It’s a chameleon: you can use it to work with a keyboard and Bluetooth support, connect a controller for cloud gaming, or perpetually dock it as a centralized smart home controller. Price: $499 for 128 GB version Or buy: Google Store
Apple Watch Series 9:
A smartwatch worth upgrading
The Apple Watch is the best smartwatch for any Apple user. But this year Series 9 The release is exciting with its Double Tap gesture, which makes one-handed use with the smartwatch seem like a magic trick. The smartwatch also offers offline Siri commands, which provide instant access to everyday actions on the Apple Watch by voice. Price: Starting at $400 for the 41mm, $430 for the 45mm Or buy: Apple
Apple Pencil with sliding USB-C:
A stylus for the artist in your life
The artist in your life deserves an easier way to charge their powerful Apple Pencil. The good news is that the Apple Pencil 3 is now available with USB-C, so you don’t need to carry more than one cable on your digital drawing excursions. Price: $80 Or buy: Apple