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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.

68. Maingear Shift Super Stock (desktop PC) 

Maingear pulled out all the stops to build this super-powered PC, which tore through our benchmarks to generate a Worldbench 7 score of 205105 percent faster than our baseline. The top-shelf components in this rig should keep any gamer satisfied for a least a couple of years.

69. Panasonic HC-V700M (camcorder)

Heres an easy-to-use compact camcorder that shoots great video. The built-in video light and flash work exceptionally well, capturing clean, crisp video and still shots from as far as 10 feet. Colors appear realistic with little or no oversaturation, and with hardly any blurring during fast pans.

70. Sony XQD S Series (memory card) 

Speed is key for some photographers, and the Sony XQD S Series delivers that in spades, with read and write transfer speeds of up to 168 MBps. Thats faster than any high-end CompactFlash card. Nikon is an early adopter, supporting XQD in its Nikon D4.

71. XCOM: Enemy Unknown (video game)

If you think turn-based strategy is too old-school, youre missing a nail-biter of a gaming experience. Firaxis makes the classic genre feel brand new: The game rewards patience and strategic thinking while you build up your forces to repel an alien invasion.

72. V-Moda VAMP (DAC and headphone amp)

Dont buy the iPhone 5! This audiophile DAC, headphone amp, supplemental battery, and case is compatible only with the iPhone 4/4S. It connects to the iPhones docking port, taps its digital audio output, and upsamples that signal before converting it to analog and amplifying it. Expensive? Oh yeah. Worth it? Hell yeah!

73. Synology DiskStation 712+ (network-attached storage)

This NAS box lets you start small and scale up. It has only two drive bays, but you can add two or five more by connecting it to Synologys DX213 or DX513, respectively. A great NAS for both home and business.

74. Microsoft Sculpt Touch Mouse (computer mouse) 

Windows 8s emphasis on touch controls will change how you use your computer. If youre not ready to invest in a touchscreen display, Microsofts Sculpt Mouse has a touch-sensitive strip in its middle mouse button that can move the cursor up and down and left to right.

75. Lowes Iris (home control/security system)

If youre interested in home security automation without paying for central-office monitoring, take a look at Lowes Iris system. This DIY package is reasonably priced, exceptionally well thought out, and very easy to install. The best kit comes with a local alarm; door, window, and motion sensors; a thermostat; and basic lighting controls.

76. Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920 (webcam) 

Webcams that deliver video at 1080p resolution are a dime a dozen. What separates Logitechs C920 from the crowd is its ability to support Skype HD video calls at 1080p, too. This well-designed, well-engineered webcam also has a versatile mounting clip that keeps it securely fastened to your display.

 

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