It's that time of year in which we look back on the months that proceeded this, the last month of the year and the keeper of many a filler post, intended to inform, entertain and give us just a moment's pause between the maelstrom that was and the tempest that is about to be in 2015.
In other words, it's that weird week between Christmas and the new year.
So let's take a quick look back at our five most-viewed videos of 2014, as seen by you fine folks on YouTube. (And as a reminder: Now would be an excellent time to subscribe to our YouTube channel!)
No. 5 — The Moto 360 versus the LG G Watch R
Fun fact: This video was shot in Las Vegas in September during what was a long 10 days of travel for myself and Andrew. We'd started in New York City for the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Note Edge, then went straight to Chicago for the Moto 360 and Moto X and Moto G. Home for a couple days, then back out to Las Vegas for the Super Mobility Week Conference (formerly CTIA). We weren't expecting all that much in Vegas, and the conference unfortunately lived up to that expectation.
But we did manage this one little nugget: Some alone time with the [LG G Watch R](/lg-g-watch-r] (which had just been shown off at the IFA conference in Berlin the week before), next to our newly acquired Moto 360. Round watch versus round watch.
And these are both among our favorite Android Wear smartwatches you can buy today.
No. 4 — HTC Desire 816
This year HTC introduced a new strategy for its mid-range stuff, and the first major device in this line was the Desire 816. Dubbed a "mid-range flagship," we got our first look at the Desire 816 at Mobile World Congress in February before it went on sale in late Spring.
The 816 brings an enormous 5.5-inch display -- though at 720p resolution -- along with HTC's trademark BoomSound speaker setup, and the latest Sense UI. It wasn't long before the Desire 816 was superseded by the sleeker, faster Desire 820, but nevertheless this was an important turning point for HTC in the mid-range space.
No. 3 — Samsung Galaxy Note 4 hands-on
Not much surprise to see the Galaxy Note 4 among our top 5 videos of the year. And, truthfully, if it'd come earlier in the year it might well be higher than third. The Note 4 was part of a pretty major Samsung event in New York City, where we also got the likes of the Note Edge, the Gear S watch and the Gear Circle headphones — and the Gear VR virtual reality headset.
So, yeah. There was a lot going on.
And there was a lot going on for the Note 4. Better design. Better internal specs. Even more (and better refined) software features. Just about the best Android camera you can get today. And we could easily make the argument that the Note 4 is now Samsung's flagship smartphone — never mind that it's still the leader of that oversized "phablet" category.
No. 2 — Samsung Galaxy Note Edge hands-on
No surprise here — another one out of that September Samsung event. The Note Edge brings that funky curved display that's either the coolest thing you've seen in a while, or just another entry into the "Thing that should not be" category. As far as first impressions go, it was pretty cool. I remember we joked about using the edge of your phone for a ruler — but you could use the edge of your phone for a ruler!
Otherwise, it's pretty much a Note 4 on the inside.
The question is how long will this sort of edge screen stick around?
No. 1 — The Samsung Galaxy S5
You math majors out there are already screaming — "Of course this is your top video! It's also the oldest of the bunch!" This is true. We got our first look at the Galaxy S5 at Mobile World Congress in February in Barcelona. And our initial impressions were pretty good. A good hardware iteration, and I, for one, was absolutely digging the new soft-touch back. And those colors. While the U.S. carriers stuck with the more boring black and white, the blue and gold numbers were striking. Never mind the Band-Aid jokes. The blue was (and still is — I imported a back cover) very striking.
After spending some quality time with the GS5 our opinion was a bit tempered by the disappointing camera. But the excitement for the phone was evident, warts and all.
Samsung doesn't do anything small, and this was part of another multi-release event, so we were a little rushed. But as far as first looks go, I was plenty happy with it. It was a hell of a way to kick off Mobile World Congress, and a hell of a start to the 2014 phone release cycle.