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The 100 best products of 2012

PCWorld staff | Nov. 28, 2012
Around this time each year, the editors at PCWorld and TechHive gather to recognize the best new tech products—the hardware, software, gadgets, and devices that had the biggest impact on the world. The process starts out casually enough, because editors get to name their favorites from their respective beats, and everything is included in the first pass.

77. Asus Xonar Essence One (DAC and headphone amp)

Asus bills this device as a USB DAC and headphone amp, but its much more than that. Yes, it will drive even 600-ohm headphones, but it also boasts balanced XLR outputs so you can connect it to the finest analog amplifiers. It is an exquisite piece of gear.

78. HP Officejet 150 Mobile All-in-One Printer (printer) 

This is the first truly portable inkjet multifunction, squeezing a sheet-fed scanner into its compact form and including a full battery for on-the-go usage. Its neither fast nor cheap, but its printing and scanning are top-notch. Bluetooth connectivity lets you print from mobile phones and tablets.

79. Razer Naga Expert MMO Gaming Mouse (computer mouse)

Playing World of Warcraft with an ordinary mouse after playing with the Razer Naga will feel like bringing a banana to a knife fight. The 17 programmable buttons under one hand leaves the other hand free to concentrate on using your QWERTY keyboard's WASD keys to move within the game world.

80. Hero Academy (videogame) 

Robot Entertainment's turn-based, board-like game of swords and magic requires at least two players; but if you tire of waiting for your opponent(s) to move, you can start independent games with other partners and play them all simultaneously. Outwit your opponents through brute force or calculated strikes.

81. Sony Handycam HDR-PJ760V (camcorder)

Falling squarely between the consumer and prosumer worlds, this camcorder performs like a champ. It boasts extraordinary ability to produce crisp videos in challenging shooting situations, and the optical image stabilization works phenomenally well. Auto-focus struggles occasionally, but color accuracy stays spot-on.

82. Damn Small Linux (operating system) 

We saw a flurry of new Linux distros in 2012, but DSL is particularly notable because of its size. This operating system will run on older computers that would collapse under the weight of Windows or any other mainstream OS. As such, it can breathe new life into old hardware.

83. Axis P1344 (IP video camera)

Small-business owners looking for professional-quality video surveillance will appreciate the features Axis delivers with its model P1344 IP camera: This model delivers precision optics, true HDTV resolution, and h.264 video encoding. And with power-over-ethernet support, youll need just one low-voltage cable to set it up.

84. Stardock Multiplicity 2.0 (multisystem-control software) 

Software doing the work of hardware almost never satisfies, but here's an exception: The free version of Multiplicity 2.0 lets you control two computers using a single mouse and keyboard every bit as effectively as an expensive USB keyboard/mouse switch. Spring for the paid version ($40), and you can control up to nine computers.

85. Apple TV (network media streamer)

This third-gen Apple TV sports a new processor capable of playing video at 1080p, but the real star of the show is the new software update that will run on the older 720p Apple TV, too. If you like AirPlay and the iTunes store, this is the video streamer to buy.


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