Google's Chromecast, a $35 plug-in media streaming device, beat stiff competition from Apple, Microsoft and Nokia to claim the top spot as Time's gadget of the year.

In explaining its decision, Time highlighted the gadget's simplicity and focus and said that "Lots of companies have built devices to do this; Chromecast is the first one that gets it right."

Apple failed to take the top spot in the publication's annual list for the first time since 2010. However, the iPad Air and iPad Mini made it to second place, with Time describing them as the "best tablet you can buy, in two convenient sizes."

And with the iPhone 5S grabbing fifth place, Apple is the only company with two products in the top 10. Nokia's Lumia 1020 handset, with its extraordinary 41-megapixel camera, is the only other smartphone in the list (at number 10).

In terms of tablets, the only other device to make the grade is the latest Amazon Kindle Fire HDX, which made it to seventh palce and was praised for its polished look and feel and for the innovative ‘Mayday' feature, which allows users to video call a tech expert when problems arise.

Otherwise, the list was thankfully phone and slate-free. The Oculus Rift Development Kit virtual reality headset -- which technically speaking won't launch in consumer form until sometime in 2014 -- is in third place.

The Pebble crowd-funded smartwatch found itself in fourth place, while the other headline-grabbing gizmo of 2013, the Leap Motion Controller, which translates hand and individual finger movements into PC commands, managed to make it to ninth place, despite the fact that although it clearly has massive potential, it's not quite polished and bug-free yet.

Time's Top 10 Gadgets, the list in full

1. Google Chromecast

2. Apple's new iPads

3. Oculus Rift Development Kit

4. Pebble Smartwatch

5. Apple iPhone 5s

6. Microsoft Xbox One

7. Amazon Kindle Fire HDX

8. Nest Protect

9. Leap Motion Controller

10. Nokia Lumia 1020