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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.

59. Netgear NeoTV Max (media streamer)

The year 2012 wasnt a big one for new media streamers, but the NeoTV Max is a honey. It can stream nearly anything over your network (with the exception of DVD and Blu-ray ISO images); plus, you can send audio and video to your TV from any laptop outfitted with Intels WiDi technology.

60. Scrivener for Windows (word processor/project organizer) 

Few writers can brain-dump an entire novel or research proposal straight into a word processor. Scrivener for Windows, a PC version of the popular Mac program, helps you organize your ideas and notes. You can switch between corkboard, outline, and continuous-flow "scrivening" views to see how your opus is shaping up.

61. ADT Pulse Premier (home control/security system)

ADTs home security and automation system is almost as good as Vivints; plus, ADT will install in-wall lighting controls if you prefer. The company added electronic door locks, a new touch-screen control panel, and more advanced cameras, too. ADTs up-front costs are higher, but its contracts are shorter.

62. Intuit QuickBooks Pro (accounting software) 

Woe to the small-business owner who doesnt balance the ledger. QuickBooks isnt the most powerful software for the task, but its very easy for novices to set up and use. If it doesnt handle a function you need, a third-party add-on probably does.

63. Epson WorkForce WP-4540 (multifunction printer)

This fast, capable, business-minded inkjet multifunction is a leader among the new generation of no-regrets inkjets for the office. The best-balanced among many strong contenders, it brings swift performance, spiffy output quality, and a whopping 580 sheets of standard input. Ink is cheap, too. Low-end color lasers should be worried.

64. Lytro Light-Field Camera (digital camera) 

Despite a few usability hiccups in its first-generation camera, Lytro's core technology is truly groundbreaking. This tube-like camera lets you shoot photos quickly and decide where to focus (and refocus) later. Lytros manual shutter control, added via a free firmware update, delivers even more fun tricks.

65. Microsoft Type Cover (tablet keyboard)

If you decide to take the plunge into Microsofts Surface (pun intended), spend the extra ten bucks to buy the Type Cover. Its a tad thicker than the less-expensive Touch Cover, but this keyboard has authentic keys that deliver genuine tactile feedback. Your fingertips will thank you.

66. Western Digital My Passport 2TB (portable hard drive) 

Cloud storage is greatuntil you cant access the cloud. When you need to take a lot of data on the go, Western Digitals biggest My Passport drive packs two terabytes into a 2.5-inch chassis, and it draws all its power over a USB connection.

67. Pinterest (online social sharing service)

"Pinning" entered the lexicon in 2012 as Pinterest users built online pinboards to collect, organize, and share everything interesting they found on the web. The versatility of this serviceyou can also use it for event planning and building shopping listsrendered Pinterest the fastest-growing website to date.

 

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