2013 has been the year of the smart TV. Internet connectivity officially transitioned from fun toy to absolute essential; streaming audio and video became everyday tools for living room binge watching and impromptu Toto listening parties. TV manufacturers may have integrated smart features into their sets, but set-top boxes easily dominate both performance and design, and a lack of full commitment from big manufacturers like Apple and Google has opened up the market for innovative, strong upstarts to flourish. Count Roku among those iconoclastic newcomers. Released in the first quarter of the year, the newest box from the California company is a massive leap forward for the set-top box -- and it arrived at a price lower than the competition.
The Roku 3 caters to media junkies with over 750 channels of audio, video, sports and social media, but some of its most impressive features are hidden among the details. A beautifully designed user interface includes one-stop search, which trawls every channel for content and saves users from bouncing between Hulu, Amazon, Netflix and Vudu while trying to find Point Break. It's not just clever hardware, either: blasting through seven seasons of The West Wing won't disturb your significant other (assuming they don't leave you after season five) thanks to a headphone port integrated into the Twinkie-esque remote. That remote also has console-gaming features like motion control and dedicated buttons built in for apps that include Jeopardy! and Angry Birds. Pair all of these thoughtful design elements with capable processing power, 1080p output and an impressive iOS and Android app, and Roku has cooked up the best option for streaming entertainment available today.
Excellence, innovation, craftsmanship, and an unwavering desire to challenge expectations -- these are the constants that have captivated our attention since Gear Patrol's inception in 2007. This year we're proud to announce the next step in our role as a champion of quality in product design and execution: welcome to the GP100. Our inaugural product awards are dedicated to honoring the 100 best consumer products released during the calendar year by companies of all sizes and scope.
The GP100 is not a ranking or a contest. These selections represent the collective expertise of our entire editorial staff, who have scoured every corner of the vast product universe -- from automotive and electronics, to men's style essentials, home goods, spirits and outdoors -- to find the inspiring and the practical, the ground-breaking and the traditional, the priceless and the accessible. In short: products that define or defy their respective categories to better the life of the modern man.
The GP100 is not a contest influenced by marketers or brands, nor is it a ranking by specifications as determined by uniform tests. Instead, it starts with a comprehensive list of nominees released in the calendar year, researched and compiled by our editorial team of obsessed experts across all of Gear Patrol's major areas of interest including Motoring, Technology, Style, Home, Spirits, Outdoor and Watches. Brands are not part of the selection process. Nominees are then debated in context of the past, present and future of their respective fields. Which selections stand as significant innovations, category busters or faithful monuments to the icons of history? Do they adhere to Gear Patrol's core tenets of excellence, design, utility and the spirit of adventure? Distilled to the following 100 items, the GP100 represents the best products on earth released in 2013 -- easily inspiring consumers and creators alike during their search for guideposts of excellence in a vast world of products.
Motoring Watches Style Technology Sports Outdoors Home Spirits
Jeremy BergerBen Bowers