Every year PC Magazine (http:www.pcmag.com) editors rank the best PCs, HDTVs, components, sites, and services. Plus: the products they are looking forward to next year, and which technologies are rising and falling.
This unusual network device combines a wireless-n router (the Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station 802.11n) with a network-accessible hard drive. It's extremely quiet, has good wireless range, and its drive is delightfully simple to set up for networks using Windows or Mac OS Xor a mix thereof. Many businesses (and some home users) can benefit from the ability the device gives them to create a distributed wireless network and to entirely automate backup of Mac clients.
A lower price, a more compact design, and the ability to stream content from iOS devices and rent 99-cent TV shows make Apple's latest Apple TV set-top box an excellent option for iTunes and Netflix users.
$99 While iOS device owners will get the most out of the Apple TV, the now-1080p Apple media hub is a great choice for any TV or movie watcher. It has a handful of great online services and offers access to iTunes' extensive library of movies and music. It also supports AirPlay, so you can stream your favorite content from your iPad or iPhone to your HDTV with ease.WG
$4.99 If anyone tells you a phone can't play console-quality games, show 'em Asphalt 7: Heat. The stellar visuals deliver a real sense of speed. Between the races, time-trials, and position elimination modes, there's enough variety to keep you engaged for hours, with 60 cars, 15 tracks, and 150 events in all. Even the sound design is unusually well done, with car-appropriate motor sounds and metal-crunching collision effects.Jamie Lendino
The consumer ultra-low voltage (CULV) processor revolution is about to quiet all the buzz netbooks have created. CULV processors favor battery life and don't necessarily come with optical drivesjust like netbooks. This CULV based laptop is cheap, super-thin, and offers over 10 hours of battery life.
$399 These powered speakers offer audiophile-quality sound in a two-monitor set that costs less than many single high-end bookshelf speakers. They're larger, heavier, and more expensive than your average desktop speaker, but their flexibility, power, and excellent flat response justify the investment.Will Greenwald
Free for users of AVG Family Safety for desktop, or $19.99/year AVG Family Safety is an Editors' Choice for parental control on the PC, so it's no surprise that AVG's iPhone app also impresses. The mobile version blocks an impressive amount of inappropriate content and malware, and lets you monitor your child's mobile browsing behavior. It's a very good deal for the price.Sara Yin
Beatbox by Dr. Dre is Monster's first foray into the realm of iPod speaker docks, and while there are some glaring omissions for such an expensive dock (specifically the disappointing remote control), the fabulous audio quality makes up for it. It is simply the most powerful iPod dock we've tested.
Keyboard cases for the iPad generally come in either traditional folio or thin-and-light cover styles, but both have their drawbacks. The Belkin Ultimate Keyboard Case splits the difference, combining great protection, sleek design, and a comfortable keyboard all in one great package.Eugene Kim
The most impressive palmtop projector available, the GP1 is built around a DLP chip along with an LED light source meant to last for the life of the projector. It ably shows photos, graphic files, and full-motion video on a USB key.
The third installment in Irrational Games' impressive saga exploring the devastating effects of isolation (and isolationism) on the human psyche, BioShock Infinite combines familiar gameplay elements with exciting new mechanics, an engrossing story, and stunning graphics that make it surprisingly complex and powerful even by the high standards of the BioShock series.Matthew Murray
Bitdefender's antivirus technology routinely takes top scores in tests by independent antivirus labs, and also scored well in PCMag's hands-on testing. It's one of a very few products that detects phishing sites better than Norton and it can optionally prevent transmission of private data out of your computer. The new Bitdefender Wallet stores passwords and personal data, the SafePay secure browser protects financial transactions, and Bitdefender SafeGo flags dangerous links in your Facebook profile. It even finds unpatched security vulnerabilities. There's definitely a reason for the "Plus" in this product's name.NJR
To fully protect your phone, a security app needs to bring together protection from malicious software as well as tools to keep your phone safe from loss and theft. Bitdefender for Android does both gracefully, and at a reasonable $9.99 per yearfar less than many other big-name competitors. With it, you can also use SMS commands to take control of your phone when it's missing and evaluate how much of your private information each app accesses. It's lightweight and laser-focused on security.Max Eddy
Available on every major carrier, the Curves ($179 to $599 list) are swift, stable smartphones that keep you connected via voice, e-mail, and the Web. Near-perfect design meets a well-balanced feature set, including an excellent QWERTY keyboard, GPS, camera, and the best mobile e-mail options around.
It's a modest evolution of the first version and that's fine, since the original was great to begin with. At just under three pounds, the Bose SoundLink Bluetooth Mobile Speaker II is compact and easy to tote. It folds up nicely with the attached cover which doubles as a power switch, and delivers smooth, balanced sound throughout the frequency spectrum. It also gets surprisingly loud and can easily fill a sizable room with music.JL
For a speaker that's only seven inches long, we won't blame you for thinking the Bose SoundLink Mini expensive. But of all the tiny portable Bluetooth speakers we've tested, it simply sounds the best, with surprisingly full, rich bass and a smooth midrange. The sturdy aluminum enclosure recalls the design of 1960s tabletop radios, yet sleeker and updated for today. It's ideal for a desk or nearby bookshelf, and thanks to the included charging cradle, the SoundLink Mini is easy to bring along for tunes on the go.JL
Bowers & Wilkins, long known for its luxurious high-end audio speakers, takes its first shot at an over-the-ear (circumaural) headphoneand nails it. The P7 sounds exemplary with all kinds of music. Not only that, but the black leather and aluminum design exudes luxury, and is extremely comfortable to wear for long periods of time. The P7 isn't cheap by any means, but you get everything you pay for, and more.JL
$300 The Brother HL-6180DW provides a winning combination of solid speed and output quality, copious standard and optional paper capacity, a low cost per page, and both Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity. This monochrome laser printer is a good fit for heavy-duty printing in a micro or small office or workgroup.TH
For the small office that needs to print and scan at tabloid size (11 by 17 inches), Brother's all-in-one MFC-6490CW ($300 street) makes it very affordable. The device prints, scans, and faxes over a network; works as a standalone fax machine/copier; and can attach a scanned document to an e-mail.
$600 The Brother MFC-8950DW provides excellent paper handling and can serve as a heavy-duty mono laser MFP in a micro or small office. The touch-screen controls are convenient, especially if you expect to use the standalone copier and fax features often. This machine supports Gigabit Ethernet, which could make a difference in the print speeds across a network.TH
If you need a tabloid-size (11-by-17 inch) multifunction printer that's both inexpensive and loaded with features, the Brother MFC-J6920DW may be what you're looking for. It's the flagship model of Brother's new Business Smart Pro series and is perfect for a micro or small office needing to print and scan at tabloid size. Its combination of duplex scanning, NFC, and large touch screen make it an appealing choice for users who need any or all of these features.TH
Buffalo's AirStation Extreme AC1750 Gigabit Dual Band Wireless Router offers good performance and the latest wireless networking standard, 802.11ac. An extremely well-designed and feature-rich user interface caps off this premium, dual-band router, which can also operate as an access point or wireless bridge. Takeaway features include Web filtering and parental controls, Quality-of-Service, scheduled Internet access, and Eco mode, an energy-savings option that allows you to turn off LED, wired LAN, or WLAN on a schedule. Buffalo Technologies stepped up its game since its debut 11ac router, delivering a more mature 11ac router complete with great new management software, good performance, and lots of cool features.Samara Lynn
The MF8350Cdn multi-function printer (MFP), or all-in-one (AIO) if you prefer, delivers highquality output at exceptionally fast speedespecially considering its price, which includes a 1-year on-site warranty. It falters on some minor usability issues, but the performance alone makes it a good fit for the small to mediumsize office it is meant for.
$199.99 Canon's first foray into the pancake lens market is darned impressive, especially when you consider its low price. The compact lens is extremely sharp and can be used with full-frame and APS-C cameras. Its STM motor delivers smooth, quiet autofocus when recording video with the EOS Rebel T4i. It isn't the fastest prime lens, but don't let that stop you from adding it to your kit, especially for $200.JF
Full-frame cameras feature image sensors that match 35mm film in terms of sizethat's roughly twice as big as the sensors in entry-level SLRs. They've long been the tools of pros, but the Canon EOS 6D brings full-frame to the masses at a price point that, while not cheap, is within reach of enthusiastic photographers. The huge image sensor does a great job in low light, and when paired with a wide-aperture lens delivers an impressively shallow depth of field. The 6D can shoot at 4.5fps and adds an integrated GPS and Wi-Fiand its body is impressively compact, not that much bigger than top-end APS-C (Advanced Photo System type-C) SLRs. JF
Offering image quality and a robust feature set typically found in pricier prosumer-level D-SLRs, this Canon model is a game changer. Its 15.1-megapixel CMOS sensor takes fantastic pictures, and it has a big, high-res VGA screen and offers high-definition video capture.
The Canon imageFormula DR-2020U more than makes up for a few shortcomings in setup with an impressive collection of features and performance. That includes a flatbed option and duplex scanning options. If you need a flatbed document scanner for a small office or workgroup, it definitely belongs near the top of your short list.
$495 The Canon imageFormula DR-C125's combination of speed, OCR accuracy, and business card handling is impressive for its price. Even more impressive is its ability to recognize text and save to searchable PDF format without slowing down. This makes it potentially a better choice than faster, more expensive scanners that slow down when recognizing text.Tony Hoffman
Despite the Scan-tini name, this relatively large portable scanner is almost 2.1 pounds, but it more than justifies its size with fast speed of 15 pages per minute for black and white documents, an automatic document feeder, and the ability to scan both sides of a page.
$325 The Canon imageFormula P-215 Scan-tini is impressive either as a portable scanner or for personal desktop use. It's fast, particularly for scanning to searchable PDF format, offers a 20-sheet ADF and duplexing, and its text recognition is unusually accurate. It can scan hard plastic cards such as embossed ID cards and driver licenses, though it's not the best scanner for use with ordinary business cards.TH
At $199, this is the least expensive 10-megapixel camera from Canon, and it's an excellent choice for people who do most of their shooting in automatic mode. Even if you're a more advanced photog, you'll appreciate how quickly you can focus, snap, and repeat.
If you're looking to spend around $100 for a digital camera, the AA-powered Canon PowerShot A1400 is a solid choice. Like other CCD cameras it's not the best in low light, but it does pack a sharp 5x zoom lens, and it's one of the few compact cameras with an optical viewfinder.JF
$159.99 There are times when you can afford to drop a few hundred dollars on a camera, and times when your budget is limited. The Canon PowerShot A2400 IS is available at an attractive price and, as long as you keep its ISO setting at 400 or below, you have a budget shooter that is capable of capturing very sharp photos.JF
The Canon PowerSHot Elph 330 HS is the camera to get if you're looking for something compact without breaking the bank. It's the best camera we saw this year for less than $250, thanks to sharp optics, impressive performance in low light, an 8x zoom lens, and built-in Wi-Fi.Jim Fisher
Canon's sleek 10-megapixel PowerShot SD790 IS ($349.99 list) pumps out outstanding images that are likely to please just about everyone. The newly designed click-wheel control is fast and effective (once you get used to it), and motion-detection technology adjusts exposure for action shots.
The 12.1-megapixel SD970 IS has a top-of-theline price, but backs that up with plenty of high-end features. Canon's flagship point-and-shooter pairs amazing still images with high quality HD video capture, and throws in a lot more, including a big, beautiful LCD, and an user interface that blows away the competition.
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