It’s been four weeks since we announced our 102 Best Buys of 2018, and tonight at our annual Awards ceremony 25 of those have been singled out as our absolute favourites. Our Products of the Year, if you will.
They say good things come in threes, and Sony can’t argue with that idiom tonight. The most successful brand at the What Hi-Fi? Awards this year, it has picked up three of the prestigious gongs for its WH-1000XM3 wireless headphones, STR-DN1080 budget home cinema amplifier and UBP-X700 4K Blu-ray player.
KEF also has both hands full tonight, with Product of the Year trophies for its exceptional R3 standmounts and KEF LS50 Wireless hi-fi system.
We’re also grabbing for plurals when it comes to the achievements of Apple and Audio Pro too.
The Cupertino giant’s iPhone XS and iPad triumph in their respective categories, while the relative new-kid-on-the-audio-block shines above Sonos as our favourite multi-room system - a system which also happens to include this year’s best standalone wireless speaker, the Audio Pro Addon C10, too.
Sonos doesn’t go home empty handed, though, its Sonos Beam flexing its sonic and smart muscles to secure its Product of the Year status in our soundbar category.
Elsewhere, OLED TVs rule the day once more as LG’s mid-ranging OLED55C8PLA wins our TV Product of the Year Award; Chord retains its formidable title in the DAC category, this year for the Qutest; and we welcome Klipsch to the stage for its £90 R6i II in-ear headphones.
We could gush for another few hundred words over the rest of this year’s wonderful winners, but, forgive us, we have some glasses to chink and hair to let down.
The full list of 25 Product of the Year winners can be found below, and don't forget, the special Awards edition of the magazine goes on sale tomorrow!
But before we go, a quick – but very special – mention of tonight’s 26th, 27th, 28th, 29th and 30th winners, who, last but not least, have claimed our five special annual Awards.
Our second seat in our Hall of Fame (next to the KEF LS50 Wireless system we placed there last year) goes to the aforementioned Sony STR-DN1080, while the award for our favourite Temptation (i.e. super-expensive, high-end) product is awarded to PMC’s Cor amplifier.
Our 2018 Innovation of the Year is deservedly the BBC’s for its iPlayer 4K live streaming of sport over the summer, and your votes for the Readers’ Award have championed the Monitor Audio Silver 100 standmount speakers crowd favourites.
It’s not only Sony’s products we’re celebrating tonight, but also one special member of its staff. Eric Kingdon has been decorated with our Outstanding Contribution trophy for his tireless work behind the scenes at Sony since 1984, to help develop hi-fi and home cinema products that people can not only afford, but that sound fabulous too. Congratulations, Eric.
All 25 What HiFi? 2018 Products of the Year
Best wireless headphones over £300
Sony WH-1000XM3 (£330)
Best in-ear headphones £50-£100
Klipsch R6i II (£90)
Apple iPhone XS Max (£1099)
Best portable music player £250-£750
Astell & Kern A&norma SR15 (£599)
Best portable on-ear headphones under £100
AKG Y50 (£60)
Best video streaming service
Best tablet over £200
Apple iPad (£319)
Best wireless speaker £250-£500
Audio Pro Addon C10 (£300)
Best radio over £100
Roberts Stream 94i (£170)
Best CD player under £500
Marantz CD6006 UK Edition (£339)
Best music streamer £1000-£1500
Cambridge Audio Azur 851N (£1399)
Best turntable £500-£1000
Rega Planar 3 / Elys 2 (£625)
Best DAC £500-£1200
Chord Qutest (£1195)
Best stereo amplifier £400-£700
Rega Brio (£599)
Best standmount speaker £1000-£2000
KEF R3 (£1300)
Best all-in-one system
KEF LS50 Wireless (£1999)
Best multi-room system under £1000
Best speaker cable
AudioQuest Rocket 11 (£12.50/m)
Best 55in TV
LG OLED55C8PLA (£2000)
Best soundbar £300-£500
Sonos Beam (£399)
Best subscription box
Best Blu-ray player under £500
Sony UBP-X700 (£189)
Best home cinema amplifier under £500
Sony STR-DN1080 (£429)
Best speaker package £1000-£2000
Q Acoustics 3050i 5.1 Cinema Pack (£1349)
Best projector under £1500
Optoma UHD40 (£1200)