Thanks to 16MP smartphone cameras and the mirrorless revolution, the old point-and-shoot has been headed towards extinction. Well, that’s not the way Sony sees things. They stubbornly released the best damn pocket camera in the world, the RX100, last year. The mighty marvel’s massive one-inch sensor paired with a fast f/1.8 Zeiss lens effortlessly produced rich 20MP images, even in the novice hands of doting grandparents and hapless tourists. Hell, even jaded SLR devotees and Leica-toting hipsters lined up to sing its praises. How did Sony respond? They released the RX100 II, which is even better.
Sony was smart not to mess with near perfection. After all, the RX100 is a rare example of how to do things right the first time around. They kept the rugged aluminum body that feels weighty in the hand but is small enough to slip into a pocket; they also kept the multifunction lens ring, the massive rear LCD, the intuitive menu system and the PASM wheel that allows for full manual shooting or idiot-proof auto imaging. Of course, the Zeiss glass and huge sensor carry over. It's the point-and-shoot equivalent of bringing a gun to a knife fight.
So what’s new? With the RX100 II, Sony tweaked the sensor’s low-light performance, built in wi-fi capability and added a hot shoe to the top of the case for the addition of Sony’s viewfinder or an external flash unit. The LCD now also has a tilt function for odd-angle shooting. This is the camera we reached for when climbing a 14,000-foot mountain and crewing on a heeled-over 12-meter sailboat, where a full-on SLR or even a mirrorless camera would have proved too heavy and difficult to stow quickly and a smartphone wouldn’t have been up to the task. The Sony worked flawlessly every time, living up to its raison d’être. Point. Shoot. Repeat.
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