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PCMag's Best Products of the Year

Every year PC Magazine ( 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.

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3M Mobile Projector MP410

Aspect Ratio: 1.60:1
Model: MP410
PartNumber: MP410
Bright, shiny and incredibly tiny. Impress when you share presentations and videos with this cool business tool. Success today means using tablets, laptops, smartphones and many other devices. The 3M Mobile Projector MP410 connects to almost any device, making it possible to present at a moment's notice.

Acer AM3470-UC30P

$599.99 Based on AMD's A8 Llano technology with on-chip Radeon graphics, the Acer AM3470-UC30P mainstream desktop is a great deal for users looking for a complete desktop system with everything you need to get running out of the box. It comes with a nice 23-inch monitor, forward-thinking USB 3.0 ports, built in WiFi, and a sizable hard driveLaarni Almendrala Ragaza

Acer Aspire 3935 (6504)

This system ushers in a new era for Acerone of sleek design. The metallic cover, the 1-inch-thick chassis, and the sheer portability of this system are qualities that customers have been yearning for but hadn't been able to get in such a sweet deal.

Acer Aspire 5349-2635

$349 If you thought you could only afford a netbook, the rock-bottom-priced Acer Aspire 5349-2635 is the ultra-budget laptop that will change your mind. The Aspire 5349-2635 is a mainstream laptop with a 15.6-inch screen and a full 4GB of memory, as well as an Intel Celeron processor and 320GB hard drive. It's no barn-burner, but the Aspire's bang-for-the-buck is impressive.Brian Westover

Acer Aspire S7-392-6411

If you're looking for a svelte laptop to show off, yet still be able to do real work in Windows 8, the Acer Aspire S7-392-6411 is the ultrabook you want. It's the current pinnacle of the ultrabook trend and shows the brilliance PC makers can return under Intel's increasingly stringent standards for ultrabooks.BW

Acer B296CL

If you're tired of dealing with the clutter of multiple monitors and their associated cables and power bricks, the time is right to upgrade to an ultra-wide monitor such as the Acer B296CL. It's a reasonably priced 29-inch ultra-wide monitor offering a generous selection of ports, solid IPS color performance, and an ergonomic stand. The panel loses some luminance when viewed from an extreme vertical angle and the monitor does not have an auto-rotate feature, but these are trivial issues. Laarni Almendrala Ragaza

Acer C7 Chromebook (C710-2055)

Google's Chromebooks have long promised affordability and simplicity, and the Acer C7 Chromebook (C710-2055) delivers in spades. It's faster, better, and lasts longer than other Chromebooks on the market, plus it offers a host of online and offline tools with a healthy mix of local and cloud storage.Brian Westover

ACT! by Sage 2010

The most powerful contact management program for small and medium businesses now also sports a sleek, modern interface. This new look and feel makes its multitude of features easy to use even for newbies who may have been overwhelmed by earlier versions. This latest edition retains all its amazing powers to organize, link, and display data on contacts and companies, together with its tight integration with Microsoft Outlook. And for the first time, it adds the ability to link to social networking sites like Facebook or LinkedIn and online services like Google Maps.

Adobe Acrobat X

Adobe Acrobat is the leading software for creating, reading, and managing PDF documents and is now truly the best due to the latest improvements to speed and the interface, not to mention powerful automation features and the ability to gather data from PDF forms.

Adobe Photoshop CC

The gold standard in digital image editing never ceases to amaze us with its ability to top the previous year's release. Not only is 2013's Photoshop CC the first version to be offered in subscription-only format for a reasonable $19.99 a month, but it offers exciting new imaging possibilities with the impressive Camera Shake Reduction feature, Smart Sharpen, Intelligent Up Sampling, and Camera Raw as a filter. Many of the new features target professional designers with more CSS support, automated asset slicing, and conditional actions. No longer are high-end tools restricted to Photoshop Extended edition; you get every Photoshop tool with the subscription, including 3D, video, and image analysis.Michael Muchmore

Adobe Photoshop CS5 Extended

How can you argue with the king? The swath of new features Adobe has implemented in its unparalleled photo editor make what was already the best even better, and more magical. The latest implements features that aid in selection, painting, and high dynamic range (HDR) photography and a capability that's pure digital prestidigitation: A Content-Aware Fill to excise foreground elements while preserving an image's background.

Adobe Photoshop CS6

$699 Just when we thought that the standard-bearer among image-editing apps couldn't get any better, Photoshop CS6 comes along with a better interface, more powerful tools, and faster performance. The professional media-editing giant has done anything but sit on its laurels. Content-aware move and patch, an updated Camera Raw utility, powerful and flexible text and design tools, and a new layer search capability will have longtime users craving the update. Photographers get plenty of new goodies, too, with perfected tonal adjustments, lens-profile-based distortion corrections, better auto-correct, an improved crop tool, and perspective correction. On top of the still image advances, full video editing and adjustment is now included.Michael Muchmore

AKG K 490 NC

$249.95 Move over, BoseAKG has figured out how to best the industry leader in noise-cancelling headphones with better sound quality and a lower price. Long a top name in studio headphones, AKG has designed its latest consumer model with effective active noise cancellation, a comfortable design, USB recharging, stellar audio performance, andin a nod to the company's mixing-room pedigreezero distortion even at high volumes.JL

Alienware Area-51 m15x

The smart appearance of the m15x ($4,499 direct) is accompanied by some of the best mobile performance and hardware money can buy. Even better, it's all squeezed into a relatively light (for a high-octane gaming laptop) 7.8-pound chassis. The Intel Core 2 Extreme processor plus Intel's 965GM integrated graphics and nVidia's GeForce 8800M GTX, an ultrasharp 1080p screen, and a high-speed hard drive make this the system for demanding fraggers on the go.

Alienware M17x

For most gamers, looks aren't as important as power. But the M17x delivers both, with a frame completely covered in aluminum metals, an Intel Core 2 Extreme quad-core processor, and the ability to switch between a low-powered and a ridiculously powerful Nvidia graphics card.

Aliph Jawbone Icon

Aliph does it again with the Jawbone Icon, a svelte, refined Bluetooth headset that sounds great and looks great due to six design options and is uniquely extensible because of what it can do with the unique MyTalk app platform. It even costs less than previous Jawbone headsets.

Altec Lansing Mix iMT800

With a built-in subwoofer and user-adjustable EQ, this big boombox is a likely candidate for high-volume distortion, yet, even when blasting tunes at dance-party listening levels, the bass remains clean and the highs crisp. Despite minor quibbles like its girth, and a limited remote control, the Mix iMT800 delivers audio that's well worth its price tag.

Amazon Kindle (3G + Wi-Fi)

The latest edition's improvements aren't revolutionary, but the Amazon Kindle remains the best ebook reader on the market. (Definitely worth a look: The Amazon Kindle with Wi-Fi only for $139.) You can also buy them at Target, Staples, and Best Buy.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

Amazon rewrites the Kindle again to great effect. The revised Kindle Paperwhite is considerably faster and more refined than last year's model, with brighter edge lighting and a useful new Page Flip feature that makes it easier to locate your spot. It's comfortable to hold and lasts for weeks on a battery charge. Plus, Amazon's ebook store and overall app ecosystem remain the best in the business.Jamie Lendino

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (Wi-Fi)

$119 Amazon really nailed it with the Kindle Paperwhite, the company's first ebook reader with a built-in light for reading in the dark. The new screen is brighter, has more contrast, is more responsive to the touch, and faster to refresh than Barnes & Noble's GlowLight-equipped Nook. Amazon also finally revamped the home screen, making it much more inviting, and Amazon's Kindle ebook ecosystem remains second to none.Jamie Lendino

Apple Final Cut Pro X 10.0.3

$299.99 direct Final Cut Pro X is a drastic change from its predecessors, and the abrupt break upset the pro video community. But the new nonlinear video editing system signaled a new, far more intuitive paradigm, along with far better (background-rendered) performance. New yet sensible concepts like a Magnetic Timeline, Auditions, Compound Clips and Media Stems catapult the application beyond all the completion, while its price undercuts the rest.MM

Apple iMac (24-inch Penryn)

This iteration ($1,799 direct) is powered by the Intel Penryn Core 2 Duo CPU, which means lower energy usage and enough speed to do serious work. The extra power helps the iMac maintain its place in the vanguard of all-in-one PCs. Resolution is the same as a Mac Pro with an Apple 23-inch Cinema HD screen, big enough to view true HD video content.

Apple iMac 27-inch (Core i5)

The Apple iMac 27-inch (Core i5) gives you speedy quad-core power, 5GHz 802.11n support, better 3D graphics at a 2,560 by 1,440 resolution, and the same large screen as the previous 27-inch (Core i7) for a couple hundred bucks less.

Apple iOS 6

Free Apple's beautiful mobile OS does it againalthough it was really close. Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is more customizable and just as responsive; its Google Now feature is more capable than Siri; and Google Maps Navigation blows away Apple Maps. But it's almost impossible to get Jelly Bean. If you argue that Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (a far more popular OS at retail) represents Android instead, iOS 6 has a much smoother UI and Siri. And regardless of the Android version, Apple's SDK and App Store let developers write, distribute, and profit from apps much more easilyhence the higher-quality wares you'll find available for iOS.Jamie Lendino

Apple iPad (Wi-Fi)

Once it was difficult to pinpoint a target customer for this product, but it turns out the customer is everyone who likes cool technology. iPad sets the bar high for competing Internet tablets with its sleek design, sharp and accurate touch screen, and amazing iPad-specific apps for music, surfing, photos, and video. If it supported Adobe Flash and had a camera built in, it would be just about perfect.

Apple iPad Air

Apple's iPad Air isn't a radical break from previous iPads, but it doesn't need to be. It's a well-built, slim, and light platform for a terrific range of tablet apps, with an unusually fast processor and a much lighter frame than last year's model, but no loss of battery life. As with previous iPads, it's close to a no-brainer.Sascha Segan

Apple iPhone 3G

The 3G ($199 to $299 list) is one of the best handheld computers ever. True GPS, media capabilities, and hundreds of programs through the App Store give it an edge. The phone isn't the greatest, but it's a big improvement. By now Apple should have fixed the bugs that marred some of the initial units.

Apple iPhone 3GS (AT&T)

If you like apps or the Internet, you need the iPhone 3GS. Its processor and graphics chipset significantly boost the iPhone's speed for everything from Web browsing to games, cementing the iPhone's role as the nation's most flexible handheld computer. It still isn't the world's best phone, but is fulfilling Apple's mission to bring handheld computing to the masses.

Apple iPod nano (2012)

$149.99 Apple has redeemed itself with the new iPod nano. The previous model was one of Apple's few recent missteps; thankfully, the new one returns the proper vertical form factor while adding an oversize 2.5-inch color touch screen. The iPod nano is amazingly thin and lightjust 1.1 ounceyet packs in 16GB of storage, stereo Bluetooth support, an FM radio, a pedometer, and over 33 hours of continuous musicening on a single charge.Jamie Lendino

Apple iPod touch

Smartphones are hogging the spotlight now, but there's still plenty of demand for dedicated music players. The Apple iPod touch (16GB) delivers much more than that. It's basically an iPhone stripped of its calling capability and GPSmeaning you can still run almost all of the 900,000-plus third-party apps and games in Apple's App Store. A dual-core A5 processor, 1,136-by-640-pixel 4-inch display, and excellent-sounding Apple EarPods help seal the deal. Oh, and it's great for playing music and watching TV shows and movies.Jamie Lendino

Apple iPod touch (2012)

$299 and up The iPod touch gives you all of the advantages of a high-end smartphone, without the pesky phone contract. The new body design is stunningly slim and colorful, it runs hundreds of thousands of apps, andoh yeahit plays music and video, too. Compared to this design, competitors look like amateur hour.Sascha Segan

Apple iPod touch (2nd generation)

The iPod touch ($229 to $329 list) remains the best portable media player on the market, period. Looking at photos on the iPod touch is a joy with the iPhone-style pinch-and-expand method of zooming. And watching video is the best viewing experience currently available on a portable media player. The glass screen is crisper, brighter, and larger than that of any other device out there.

Apple iPod touch (4th Gen. with Camera)

The already superb iPod touch gets its most significant update in years, adding photo and video capture via two cameras, along with FaceTime video chat and an ultra-high-res Retina display. It is, quite simply, a joy to behold.

Apple MacBook Air 13-Inch (Mid 2013)

Equipped with a fourth-generation Intel Core i5 processor, the latest MacBook Air 13-inch shows decent performance gains. But it's the ultraportable's 15-plus hours of battery life that blows away the competition.BW

Apple Macbook Pro 13-inch

Looks like Apple actually heard all the whining about Windows laptops costing less and offer more. This system brings back the FireWire port, includes a SecureDigital (SD) slot, and has a lower price.

Apple MacBook Pro 13-Inch (Retina Display)

$1,999 The Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch (Retina Display) gives the insanely picky visual artist a new, more portable sidekick. It's pricey, but it is the most portable machine for those with projects that need all those pixels on the screen and the powerful components to back them up. If you need a display with greater-than-HD resolution and you'll be taking that show on the road, you want this ultraportable laptop.Laarni Almendrala Ragaza

Apple MacBook Pro 15-Inch (2013)

The Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch (2013) is the Retina display-equipped system that power users have been waiting for. It takes last year's excellent Retina display upgrade and thinner chassis and adds a powerful Intel Core i7 processor with integrated graphics that performs like discrete graphics. Plus the nine-hour battery life is more than adequate for a day's work. It's the pinnacle of laptops designed for uber-picky power users who need to take their time-sensitive projects with them.BW

Apple OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion

$19.99 Apple's latest desktop OS may not look any different from its king of the felines predecessor, but digging in reveals over 200 improvements that enhance sharing, messaging, cloud-based synchronization, security, Web browsing, instant notifications, and accessibility. Much of what's new was taken from the best of iOSa notification sidebar, Messages that interact with iPhones and iPads, voice input, and iCloud syncing. You can use it with Apple TV for the biggest possible desktop screen, and a new Safari syncs with the browser on your other iDevices, for a completely integrated Apple ecosystem.MM

Apple OS X 10.9 Mavericks

Microsoft made some impressive strides this year with Windows 8.1, but OS X remains the smoothest, most reliable, most convenient, and most manageable consumer-level desktop operating system on the planet. Top-notch, unobtrusive security is a major plus; so is its tight integration with social media and the ability to run Windows applications through third-party apps. Mavericks is loaded with useful features and, best of all, it's completely free.MM
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