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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.

5. Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (e-reader)

The Paperwhite's best feature is the integrated light that brightly and evenly illuminates the page, even in daylight. But Amazon has made other improvements to its e-reader: The E Ink display boasts higher resolution, the fonts are better, and the underlying software has been significantly overhauled.

6. Samsung Galaxy S III (Android smartphone) 

You don't get to be the best-selling Android phone by being average, and the Galaxy S III definitely has what it takes to move ahead of the Android pack. With a speedy processor, an eye-catching display, and loads of attractive features, it's our favorite smartphone of 2012.

7. Intel Ivy Bridge CPUs

Intel brings its 22nm fabrication process to the mass market. Though these CPUs sip power, they pack a big performance punch. Desktop systems idling at under 70 watts and laptops delivering 8-hour battery life are practically commonplace now. Ivy Bridge sets a new standard for performance per watt.

8. Panasonic Smart Viera VT50 HDTVs 

When it comes to big-screen HDTVs, plasma technology still delivers the best price/performance ratio. Panasonic has practically defined the state of the art in plasma, and the VT50 series is the companys best, delivering top-notch image quality, THX certification, comprehensive calibration controls, and a bevy of online services.

9. Asus RT-AC66U (router)

Ready to make the leap to the fledgling 802.11ac standard? Asus has the fastest router with the most features, including a cloud-storage service that allows you to sync files on any device, and provides remote access to any PC on your network.

10. Lenovo IdeaPad Y580 (laptop) 

This laptop does it all, without breaking your budget or your back. Packing a quad-core processor, a Geforce GTX 660M GPU, and a 15.6-inch, 1080p LCD into a 6.2-pound chassis, this well-balanced system can handle digital media editingand PC gaming, too.

11. Microsoft Surface RT (tablet)

As Maxwell Smart might have said, the Surface RT misses our top-10 by that much. Thats no surprise, considering that this is Microsofts rookie effort at building a retail computer; it's number 11 because the Surface has successfully redefined what a tablet can be.

12. Audioengine 5+ (speaker system)

The original 5 system was one of the best near-field, powered studio monitors wed ever heard. The new 5+ is every bit as splendid, thanks to the dual 50-watt Class AB monolithic amplifiers driving the 5-inch Kevlar woofers and 0.79-inch silk-dome tweeters. Absolutely superb.

13. Amazon Kindle Fire HD (tablet)

Amazon vastly improved its tablet user experience, rendering this 16GB model even more suitable for consuming content from Amazons vast digital storefront. More important, the company is selling the Kindle Fire HD at an incredibly low price for a tablet with an expensive optically bonded display.

 

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