The 100 best products of 2012

The top tech products of 2012, in categories ranging from PCs to productivity software.

By PCWorld staff, PC World |  Hardware

Few developers add new features to a top-shelf product and then slice the products price tag in half, but thats what Adobe did with Lightroom. Notable new tools include photo categorization by geolocation, the ability to output photos using self-publishing books, and easier-to-use filters. Lightroom 4.5 is no small upgrade.

43. Asus RT-N66U (wireless router)

Hey, we get it. Not everyone is ready to embrace a draft networking standard. If you need a new router, but want to stick with the tried-and-true 802.11n, theres no better model than the dual-band Asus RT-N66U. When it comes to performance and features, nothing else comes close.

44. Velodyne vPulse (earbuds) 

Loudspeaker aficionados will be familiar with Velodynes high-end subwoofersspeakers designed solely to reproduce very low frequencies. So it should come as no surprise that the vPulse delivers plenty of low-end oomph. But these buds are more than bass monstersthey deliver a detailed midrange performance and crisp highs, too.

45. Vizio CA27-A1 (all-in-one PC)

Vizio entered the desktop PC market with this stylish all-in-one that delivered a Worldbench 7 score of 122 (that is, 22% faster than our baseline system), thanks to a Core i5 CPU, a discrete Nvidia GPU, and a 32GB SSD cache. Extras include a multitouchpad instead of a mouse.

46. Apple iPod touch (5th generation) 

No other digital media player has managed to knock the iPod off its perch. Now, it's more than a media player: Its also a very good digital camera, camcorder, handheld gaming device, and, when connected to a Wi-Fi network, a personal digital assistant (Siri).

47. Astro A50 Wireless Headset (gaming headset)

This is the best wireless gaming headset weve heard this year, thanks to impeccable design and Astros decision to use KleerNet wireless technology. The A50 works with both PCs and gaming consoles, it sounds great, and its comfortable enough to wear during marathon entertainment sessions.

48. Apple iPad Mini (tablet) 

While it lacks a Retina display, Apple's smallish tablet is a joy to use, delivering a higher resolution than the first two generations of iPads. It would rank much higher on our list if its price were closer to that of the Nexus 7.

49. Google Hangouts (video-chat service)

Yes, this free video-chat service debuted in late last year, but it really took off in 2012. It supports up to 10 callers equipped with browsers, webcams, and Google+ accounts. Its a fun way to connect with friends, and its a fabulous workplace collaboration tool. Participants can share a screen and view joint presentations.


Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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