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  • Cheryl Tan

Top 5 of 2019: Phones, Cameras, Audio, Laptops

Updated: Aug 19, 2021

2019 is almost over, and what better way to close out the year than to take a look at our top 5 picks of phones (flagship and mid-range), cameras, audio products and laptops?

Flagship Phones

1. iPhone 11 Pro / Pro Max

Much better battery life, great build quality, excellent cameras and the best part is that each software update comes to the phone instantly since Apple controls it. These two phones are, to us, the best overall phones of 2019, and we’re hardpressed to find anything to complain about them.

There isn’t much competition on the innovation front, the Samsung Galaxy Fold pretty much takes the cake here. No other brand has come out with a foldable smartphone that’s available in market right now (aside from Huawei, but it’s only available in China and that doesn’t look to be changing any time soon). We can’t wait to see the next generation of this foldable smartphone.

We can’t say any other phone is more powerful than the ASUS ROG Phone 2. Running on a Snapdragon 855+ processor, up to 12GB of RAM, up to 1TB of storage and a 6,000mAh battery, this is a beast of a phone if you don’t mind the gamer aesthetics.

4. iPhone 11

This is the best bang-for-buck flagship phone that you can get right now. With an A13 processor, great cameras and image quality, a beautiful display, you’re not going to see the difference between this and the iPhone 11 Pro unless you have them side by side.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 does everything from a business perspective to the consumer’s perspective, and that’s why this is our pick for the best utility phone of 2019. We personally prefer the Note 10 over the Note 10+ because of the smaller footprint and how it’s easier to hold in the hand, but to each their own.


We know, it’s an expensive camera, but this is the only other full-frame camera on the market aside from the Panasonic S1H that can shoot up to 5K for video. The build quality on the Leica SL also beats out any other camera. This camera hits all the checkboxes we’re looking for on a camera.

2. Fujifilm GFX 100

It’s a 100MP medium format sensor with optical image stabilisation, 4K video and film simulations. It’s the GFX 1000. This camera comes in a compact body and Fujifilm has knocked it out of the park with this camera.

3. Fujifilm X-Pro 3

There are a number of APS-C cameras from Sony and Canon and Fujifilm this year. The X-Pro 3 is our pick for the best APS-C camera because Fujifilm has nailed everything about this camera, from the processor to image quality and film simulations.

What we liked about the Canon EOS RP are the ergonomics, and the fact that it’s a simple camera to use. Even if you’ve never used a Canon camera before, it’s a relatively easy process. Dials are understandable to use and you’ll be able to get the hang of using the camera in 5 minutes.

5. Hasselblad X1D Mark 2

If you’ve never had the chance to hold the Hasselblad X1D II, you’re missing out. It has the best grip, ergonomics and balance in the hand. Hasselblad has nailed it with this camera.

Camera Lenses

1. Leica APO-Summicron-SL 35mm f/2

This is our pick for the best overall lens of 2019, the Leica APO-Summicron-SL 35mm f/2. Once you shoot with this lens, you’ll understand why we picked it. It’s expensive, but it’s small with excellent build quality and the image quality punches way above its class.

Portrait images from the Canon RF 85mm f/1.2 just stood out from the rest every time and that’s why we think this is the best portrait lens. Autofocus at f/1.2 is available and image quality is great.

There were a lot of contenders in the zoom lens category, but we’ve picked the Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8 because this lens checked all our boxes for weight, price and image quality. It’s a versatile lens and gimbal users and photographers will love this lens.

This is what we call the most mouth-watering lens. Not everybody will want this lens, but it’s for people who have the means to afford this and want that image quality. It’s heavy at 2kg and only uses manual focus, but images out of this lens have a magical look to them.

This is the best wide-angle zoom lens and Sigma has been doing some fantastic things with their lenses. It isn’t a light lens by any stretch of the imagination, but the image quality is phenomenal.


Apple users, look no further. The latest and greatest AirPods Pro are the best fit, especially if you’re already using iPhones. Pairing is a breeze and the noise-cancellation, while not the best, works well and doesn’t affect sound quality too much.

Want to truly block out as much noise as possible? The Sony WF-1000XM3 is the one for you. Drawing on the excellent noise-cancellation from the full-sized WH-1000XM3 headphones, these have the best active noise-cancellation (ANC) of the


For something that not only sounds good but looks premium, the Master & Dynamic MW07 Plus is definitely for those who value style. We particularly like the white marble faceplate option, but you’ll be glad to know the company didn’t sacrifice sound for style, with the same great sound quality still being retained from the older MW07.

Want to hear your music in all its glory? The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless delivers in spades. With a neutral tuning and excellent reproduction, you’ll love the accuracy and clarity that these earbuds provide.

If you just want something that sounds good, is affordable and has outrageous battery life, check out the X-Mini Liberty+. With 54 hours total of battery life, you’ll never have to worry about running out of juice with these. Sound quality is also much better than you would expect from a pair of sub-S$150 true wireless earbuds.

Mid-range phones under $1000

This phone was brought along on a vacation and we absolutely loved the bokeh feature available on the selfie camera. For those looking for a mid-range phone that can give you beautiful selfies, this is the one.

The Huawei Nova 5T stunned us when it was announced. Using the same processor found in the P30 Pro, this S$599 phone also has a beautiful design for the back and a capable 32MP front camera for selfies.

Bokeh features on the selfie camera only work if you’re taking a selfie with one other person. What if you want to take a selfie with 4 of your friends? That’s when the wide-angle selfie cam on the Vivo V17 Pro comes in handy.

108MP, that’s right. Xiaomi’s Mi Note 10 is the first-ever phone with a 108MP rear camera and the quality is actually pretty decent. But honestly, if you want bragging rights, this phone will be the one you look at. How many of your friends own a 108MP phone? I daresay not that many.

The Pixel series is pretty pricey, but Google came out with their mid-range phones mid-2019 and have allowed consumers to enjoy the stock Android experience at a more palatable price. That’s not to mean that you don’t get the full feature set though. There’s still the famed Night Sight, and photos taken with the 3a XL are still good, if just a tad slow when processing.


If you enjoy a minimalistic laptop similar to Apple’s MacBook Air, the Surface Laptop 3 is a good contender. And if you’ve ever wanted a Surface Laptop but held out for a bigger version, the 15″ is finally here. It offers a good typing experience and is a great portable laptop for everyday use.

2. Razer Blade 15

The Razer Blade 15 is an absolute lightweight powerhouse, with excellent performance when it comes to both gaming and work. Video editing and even 3D animation and graphics won’t be an issue for this laptop. You’ll also get a pretty unique typing experience with this laptop, seeing as it’s the first-ever laptop to come with optical keyboard switches.

Don’t want to settle for a normal desktop like everybody else? The ROG Mothership will definitely give you a unique experience. It’s powerful enough to be a true desktop replacement, but the hefty pricetag is a huge hurdle to get over.

This laptop is designed for creatives who work with dual screens. The ScreenPad Plus display near the keyboard works great if you have a use for it. The 4K OLED main display is beautiful and resolves colours nicely as well.

For the budget gamer, the Lenovo L340 Gaming laptop is perfect. With decent specs at an affordable price point, this laptop will handle games like Dota, CS:GO and more, making it the perfect laptop for budding gamers who still want portability.

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