Smartphones dominate this year’s list of the most popular reviews among V3 readers. The top spot goes to January’s three-way brawl between the iPhone 6 Plus, Nexus 6 and Samsung Galaxy Note 4, while a couple of latecomers, the Nexus 5X and iPhone 6S Plus, snatch the eighth and ninth positions.
It seems that there was also a taste for new mobile operating systems. Our Windows 10 Mobile impressions and review of the Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition – which was as much of an advert for Canonical’s OS as it was a smartphone – proved popular.
The rest of the list is filled out, mostly, by premium laptops, particularly those of the 360-degree rotating variety, suggesting that the industry is on to something with its growing range of rotating ultrabooks.
Thanks to all our readers this year, and we look forward to finding out your picks of 2016.
iPhone 6 Plus vs Nexus 6 vs Galaxy Note 4 review
Apple and Google debuted their first phablets towards the end of 2014, and we brought in the new year with a big head-to-head-to-head between the iPhone 6 Plus, Nexus 6 and Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4.
The sleek and secure iPhone 6 Plus ended up as the winner, although only after contending with the Nexus 6’s superior cameras and the Galaxy Note 4’s higher-res, Super AMOLED display. A close fight between three very good handsets.
Dell XPS 13 hands-on review
Packing a new Thunderbolt 3-ready USB-C port and speedy Intel Skylake chips, Dell’s refreshed XPS 13 looked like a winner the minute we got hold of it.
Our hands-on with the XPS 13 showed that the remarkably compact, ultra-sharp 13.3in laptop would be one to watch when it launched later in the year, its top-tier quality being confirmed once and for all in our final review.
Still, it was that first look that drew the most attention from V3 readers, showing that even a fairly straightforward clamshell machine can still prove exciting.
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge review
Samsung threw a curveball – if you’ll forgive the expression – at the Android market by announcing that the Galaxy S6 would be accompanied by the Galaxy S6 Edge, a moderately mad-looking variant with two rounded edges to its screen.
It shouldn’t be surprising that readers were curious about this unusual, though technically impressive, smartphone. Indeed, our review found the Galaxy S6 Edge to be a powerful premium handset and a viable alternative to the standard Galaxy S6, albeit at a considerably inflated price.
Windows 10 Mobile Insider Preview hands-on
Microsoft’s Windows Insider programme gave us the opportunity for an early look at the then-unreleased Windows 10 Mobile OS, one half of Redmond’s attempts to unify its mobile and PC operating systems.
Sadly, its unfinished state couldn’t have been more apparent. Even then, Windows 10 Mobile had introduced a number of improvements over Windows Phone 8.1, but it was still riddled with bugs and performance problems, from aps failing to open to downloads getting stuck in perpetual limbo.
A few months of polishing eventually saw Windows 10 Mobile launch in considerably better shape but, as those who read the hands-on test will know, it was a long and hard road to get there.
Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition
This was only the third Ubuntu-powered smartphone in existence, as well as Chinese firm Meizu’s first major release in Europe, so V3 readers were eager to find out how the MX4 Ubuntu Edition would fare.
The results were mixed, but ultimately respectable; this was a very powerful smartphone for the price, and there’s no denying that Ubuntu brings something different to the two-party state that is the Android market. Even so, a lack of apps and a short battery life meant that third time wasn’t quite the charm.
CES 2015: Lenovo Yoga 3 hands-on review
Lenovo used CES 2015 to reveal new, thinner and lighter editions of its rotatable Yoga 3. Heading to the show floor for a hands-on test, we were interested to see how the 14in model performed as, evidently, were our readers.
The good news was that the new Yoga 3 was a worthwhile update, afforded a speed boost by an Intel Broadwell Core i7 processor. It still suffered from the affliction of many 360-degree convertibles, though – being too thick and too heavy to comfortably use like a tablet. Lenovo would later go some way towards remedying this with the Yoga 900 – we like to think they might have been reading this as well.
Lenovo Yoga 900 hands-on review
Speak of the devil, the Yoga 900 also ended up as one of V3‘s most-read reviews. This ‘watchband’-hinged convertible doesn’t come cheap – it starts at £1,200 – but its specs are as high-end as they come, with options for an Intel Skylake Core i7 chip, up to 512GB of SSD storage and a vibrant UHD+ touchscreen display.
It’s also 14.9mm thick and weighs just 1.3kg, making it one of the more portable rotating laptops around. The Yoga 900 does lack the business focus of many other Lenovo machines, but its excellent design and nimble performance means it’s no wonder that it appears on this list.
Google Nexus 5X hands-on review
When Google announced its new smartphones for 2015, the Nexus 6P phablet and the mid-range Nexus 5X, we frankly expected that more people would be interested in the high-end option. Not so, as our hands-on test with the Nexus 5X was met with a rush of interest in the more affordable handset.
In fairness, this was no half-baked budget entry in the Nexus line, packing high-end features like a fingerprint sensor and USB-C port, as well as a 5.2in FHD display and a hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 chip.
Of course, the Nexus 5X’s status as one of the first smartphones to launch with Android 6.0 Marshmallow probably had something to do with the post’s popularity too.
iPhone 6S Plus review
The V3 readership’s fondness for phablets was also apparent in the response to our iPhone 6S Plus review. This again was well deserved, as Apple’s 5.5in, 3D Touch-enabled creation impressed us with its new tech and staggeringly fast benchmark performances.
It must be encouraging for phablet advocates to see that, even after sharing a stage with the main iPhone 6S and the iPad Pro at Apple’s event in September, the iPhone 6S Plus still managed to come out on top in terms of consumer interest.
Microsoft Edge review
Rounding out V3‘s most-read reviews of 2015 is, of all things, an appraisal of a web browser. Microsoft Edge launched together with Windows 10 as a much-needed replacement for the slow, vulnerability-filled Internet Explorer and, as we said in our review, makes for a much more pleasant browsing experience.
Unfortunately for Microsoft, Edge hasn’t turned out to be the Chrome-killer it was hoping for, but it does appear that even the most fervent IE hater – especially them, perhaps – couldn’t resist checking out what the new browser would be like on release.