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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.

23. Stardock Start8 (Windows 8 add-on)

Many early Windows 8 adopters complain about the lack of a Start Menu. Stardock, known for desktop customization software Fences and ObjectDock, responded with Start8, an inexpensive utility that adds a StartMenu to the new OS and allows you to disable the new hot corners to make your transition less jarring.

24. Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display (laptop)

Apples flagship laptop delivers stunning performance and effortless portability. This was not only the fastest overall Mac we've ever tested, but its spectacular IPS screen with 2880 by 1800 pixel resolution reveals so much detail that even desktop icons become something to marvel over.

25. Kickstarter (website)

Were recognizing this three-year-old crowd-funding site because it opened the crowd-funding floodgates in 2012. Marquee products such as the Pebble E-Paper Watch and the Ouya game console raised millions, demonstrating that Kickstarter isn't just for amateurs and side projects; its changing the way new products get funded.

26. B&N Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight (e-reader)

Thoughtful design and an ethereal yet effective built-in reading light make this e-reader one of the best you can buy. Its also the most flexible, with a MicroSD card slot on board. And unlike Amazon, B&N doesnt charge extra for an AC adapter.

27. Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Gaming Keyboard

This is easily the best mechanical gaming keyboard weve tested this year. Its durable, useful, and just plain satisfying to use, whether youre playing games or powering through email. If you havent upgraded to a fully mechanical keyboard yet, this is the one to buy.

28. Western Digital MyBook Thunderbolt Duo (storage device)

If you need a lot of storage right at your desktop, and your computer is equipped with a Thunderbolt port, take a long look at WDs Thunderbolt MyBook Duo. This dual-drive device is available in 4-, 6-, and 8TB configurations with a blistering-fast Thunderbolt interface.

29. Linksys WUMC710 Media Connector (wireless bridge)

Most 802.11ac router manufacturers expect consumers to buy two of their routers and configure one as a bridge. Thats an expensive and unnecessarily complicated solution. Linksys was a little late to the 802.11ac party, but it arrived with the absolute best product for the client side.

30. Lenevo IdeaCentre A720 (all-in-one PC)

Squeezing the A720s guts into a base the size of a small pizza box allowed Lenovo to flatten the 27-inch, 10-point multitouch display to less than one-inch thick. Whats more, you can lay the articulated display completely flat and use the computer like a giant stationary tablet.

31. Sonos Sub (wireless subwoofer)

Craving a milkshake? Eat some ice cream, drink some milk, play your favorite funk on a Sonos multi-room audio system, and stand next to the Sub. The dual Class D amps and two force-canceling speakers in this 36-pound networked subwoofer will do the rest. Yeah, we dig it.

 

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