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About the Tools You Use and the Toys That Make Life Interesting

Tools Toys and Technology - About the Tools You Use and the Toys That Make Life Interesting

Best Tech Products of 2013

PC World magazine just published an article on: “The 50 best tech products of 2013.” You can read the entire article here.

Of the 50, there are several that I think TTT readers will find particularly interesting. Thanks to PC World for providing these reviews.

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#2. Microsoft Surface Pro 2

I’ve had my hands on one of these. I love it!

  • It’s a tablet
  • It’s a laptop
  • It’s a desktop

I’ll be doing a full review article on this in the near future. In the meantime, here’s what PC World has to say:

Other Windows 8.1 hybrid devices might be cheaper, but few are as beautifully designed or as portable as Microsoft’s top-of-the-line Surface tablet.

At a half-inch thick, the Surface Pro 2 still manages to pack in as much as 8GB of RAM, 512GB of solid-state storage, and an Ultrabook-caliber Core i5 Haswell-class processor. The included stylus is a nice touch, but even more interesting is Microsoft’s new Type Cover with backlit keys.

Pair everything with Microsoft’s upcoming Docking Station, and the Surface Pro 2 becomes a single device that performs tablet, notebook, and even desktop duties.

#3. Amazon Kindle Fire HDX

The original Kindle Fire blazed the trail for low cost tablets a couple of years ago. Now it’s raised the bar for high quality along with low cost.

PC World:

Packed with a Retina-quality high-definition display, a speedy 2.2GHz processor, and copious battery life, the 7-inch version of Amazon’s tablet has strong enough hardware specs to give potential iPad buyers pause.

But what really pushes the Kindle Fire HDX to the top of our list is software innovation. Amazon’s new X-Ray feature offers a remarkable set of “second screen” content tools that provide interesting contextual information when you’re watching movies and reading books.

But even X-Ray seems conventional compared to the new Mayday feature, which provides free, real-time video tech support at the touch of a button. It’s like having an Apple Genius Bar technician at your beck and call. That’s a service not even Apple provides.

#14. Windows 8.1

I just did a review on Windows 8.1 … a New User’s Perspective. This product deserves to be on the top 50 list.

PC World:

If you can put aside its disappointing app store inventory and confusing Live Tile interface, Windows 8 has always been a solid operating system—precisely because its desktop features improve on Windows 7.

You get an improved file system, speedy performance, and elegant cloud integration. And now, with Windows 8.1, Microsoft offers traditional PC users even more, including a boot-to-desktop option and various features that make the schism between “old” and “new” Windows less pronounced.

Microsoft still has a long way to go in perfecting its new Windows vision, but Windows 8.1 is definitely a product of the year—on notoriety if not on merit.

# 16. Roku 3

Streaming TV has been a popular topic on this blog, and my preference for Roku has been oft stated. Here’s what PC World has to say:

Cord cutters, take note: The Roku 3 is one of the best streaming video devices you can buy, period.

With support for dual-band Wi-Fi, 7.1 surround sound, and more than 750 content sources (including Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and PBS), this tiny black puck might just replace your cable or satellite box.

But best of all, Roku 3 comes with an overhauled and simplified user interface that shores up one of the platform’s historical weak points, and a bundled remote comes with a headphone jack so you can watch streaming content without disturbing anyone else in the room.

#43. Office 365 Home Premium

I have been a subscriber to Office 365 since shortly after it came out. Whether this software subscription model (vs. software “ownership”) is right for you depends on a number of factors. Most notably, if you wish to run office on a number of computers, Office 365 is probably for you. PC World says:

Microsoft Office is nothing new—but Office as a service is.

Office 365 Home Premium lets you subscribe to the productivity suite for $10 per month or $100 per year. While the stand-alone (not to mention pricey) Office 2013 software works only on a single machine, an Office 365 subscription gives you the right to install the full-blown Office Professional 2013 suite on up to five PCs and Macs, plus five more Android or Apple phones.

Plus, Office 365 includes synced settings and files, instant updates, Office on Demand, 20GB of additional SkyDrive space, and 60 monthly Skype world minutes.

Sure, you might not “own” Office 365 the way you do Office 2013 proper, but that’s still one sweet deal.

To see the entire list of 50 top products, click here.

Category: Gear