Monday, June 2, 2008

Top Rated I.T. Products for 08

Top Rated I.T. Products for 08

The 100 Best Products of the Year // Mozilla Firefox  (© PC World)
21. Mozilla Firefox 3 (browser, free)

Firefox 3, in beta, builds on its predecessor's strengths by adding better security and new tools for storing and accessing your bookmarks and your browsing history. Review | Download
The 100 Best Products of the Year // Safari  (© PC World)
22. Safari (mobile browser, free)
This mobile version of the Safari browser may be the true killer app of the iPhone and iPod Touch. United with the iPhone's multitouch gesture support, the spacious Safari browser makes surfing the Web on a 4-inch screen feel like an immersive experience. Site | Download

23. (news site, free)
Welcome to the online home of NPR's lauded national news coverage and commentary, special reports and documentaries. NPR's site has done a lot in a short time to convey its rich content in compelling digital formats such as podcasts and live and recorded streams. Site
The 100 Best Products of the Year // Photoshop (© PC World)
24. Photoshop CS3 (image-editing software, $650)
A fresh, simplified interface, new editing tools and better integration with Adobe's Creative Suite help Photoshop remain the gold standard in image editing programs. Review | Check prices

25. Google Maps -- Street View (mapping software, free)
Google's Street View brought a new dimension to mapping this year, offering users real-life images from ground level. Site
26. Apple MacBook Pro (Penryn) (Laptop series, from $1,999)
What a difference a chip makes: With Intel's Penryn processor inside, the new MacBook Pros handily outperform not only older Mac laptops, but also many Windows-based notebooks. Review | Check prices
27. Google Docs & Spreadsheets (Web-based productivity suite, free)
Arguably the best of a new breed of online, collaborative app suites challenging the supremacy of Microsoft Office, Google Docs & Spreadsheets permits users to edit, share and store word processing, spreadsheet and presentation documents from any machine -- fixed or mobile -- that can run a Web browser. Site
28. Apple Final Cut Studio 2 (video production suite, $1,299) Available for Mac OS X only, this package includes Final Cut Pro 6.02, Apple's highly rated, de facto industry-standard application for digital video editing. Site
29. Linksys Dual-Band Wireless-N Gigabit Router WRT600N (wireless router, $200)
Here's the first router that serves both older 2.4-GHz 802.11b/g gear and newer devices that stream over the 5-GHz band. Review | Check prices
30. Flickr (photo-sharing site, 200 photos free, unlimited photos and storage $25/year)
Like most photo sharing sites, Yahoo's Flickr makes organizing, sharing and tagging photos easy. Better, the site's many users translate into a wide array of active user groups -- and you won't have to wait long before someone discovers and comments on your photos. Site

31. Sony KDL-52XBR4 (52-inch LCD HDTV, $3,500)
Sony has a reputation for great design, but what makes this big-screen beauty a real standout is its truly impressive performance. Review | Check prices
32. Intel Penryn (processor line, prices vary)
Starting with its Core 2 Duo design, Intel shrinks its chips to a 45-nanometer core for desktop, server and mobile CPUs. The result: better performance and larger caches, without any increase in power consumption. News and reviews links
33. Apple iChat (instant messaging, $129)
Included in Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, iChat takes instant messaging to a new level with a slick interface, cool video, custom backdrops and special effects. Review
The 100 Best Products of the Year // Creative Zen and Intel Penryn (© PC World)
34. Creative Zen (MP3 player; $130-$300)
Amazingly, the Zen manages to fit all of the functionality of the older Zen Vision M (FM, a built-in microphone, video and more) into a device the size of a business-card case. Review | Check prices

35. Verizon FiOS (high-speed Internet access, $160/month or less)
Verizon's fiber-powered FiOS is the speediest consumer broadband service available in this broadband-challenged part of the world. The fastest FiOS plan in most markets promises 30-mbps downloads and 15-mbps uploads. Site
36. Pandora (streaming music site, free or $36/year subscription)
1. Enter your favorite artist's name. 2. Click Create. 3. Listen as Pandora plays a custom radio station full of well-known and obscure music that's eerily well-matched to your tastes. A paid subscription delivers mobile and home streaming support. Review
37. Canon EOS 40D (digital SLR camera, $1,500 with kit lens)
Excellent image quality and killer features -- such as a burst mode that captures images at up to 6.5 frames per second -- make the EOS 40D the digital SLR to beat for enthusiasts and professionals alike. Review | Check prices
38. LG Electronics L196WTY-BF (19-inch LCD monitor, $220)
LG's flat panel comes with a mechanism that permits almost 360-degree swivel -- a capability that people who use their monitors as presentation tools will welcome. Review | Check prices
The 100 Best Products of the Year // Tivo and Linksys  (© PC World)
39. TiVo HD (digital video recorder, $300; service, $13/month)
With its excellent user interface and its ability to record high-def programs, the TiVo HD box might be all the DVR you need. Review | Check prices

40. Data Robotics Drobo DRO4DU10 (external hard drive, $500 without drives)
This storage device uses disk and storage virtualization algorithms instead of RAID 5 to provide data redundancy. Review | Check prices

41. Google Gmail (e-mail, free)
Google scores another coup by adding IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) support to its free e-mail service, enabling users to read Gmail messages on mobile devices and on other desktop mail clients. Site
42. Electronic Arts "Rock Band" Controllers (game controllers, Guitar $60, Drums $80)
Much of "Rock Band's" success involves the accompanying toy musical gear -- a microphone, faux Fender guitar and a (very fun) plastic drum kit -- for playing the game. Electronic Arts manufactures and markets the controllers, which are available both bundled and separately, under a codevelopment agreement between EA and "Rock Band" developer Harmonix (which is owned by MTV Networks). Video review | Check prices
43. Mozilla Thunderbird (e-mail, free)
Thunderbird 2 has a strong feature set, is easy to customize and has solid defenses against spam and phishing. Review | Download
44. Dell XPS 420 (desktop PC, $2,730)
The XPS 420 multimedia computer -- with Intel's 2.83-GHz Penryn Q9550 processor inside -- handles everyday tasks with aplomb and even lets you indulge in some fairly hard-core gaming. Review | Check prices
45. Washington Post (news site, free)
The Post has made the most of its consistently fine coverage of government, policy and politics by posting it on an easily navigable Web site -- and through narrated slide shows and video. Site
46. (online social reviews, free)
At Yelp, customers write critical appraisals of everything from theaters to public restrooms. It's the "wisdom of the crowd" in action. Bravo. Site
47. Nikon D60 (digital SLR camera, $750)
This small, easy-to-use model supports 10.2 megapixels of detail and offers convenient extras such as in-camera editing and stop-motion animation. Review | Check prices
48. The Consumerist (blog, free)
Part news, part activism and part how-to, this site supplies you with the tools you need to be an informed -- and in all likelihood outraged -- consumer. Tagline: "Shoppers Bite Back." Site
49. AdventNet Zoho (office suite app, free)
Zoho's seemingly endless array of free online office applications has brought sharing and collaboration to business software. Review
50. OpenDNS PhishTank (security site, free)
PhishTank is an information clearinghouse where you can report or find data on phishers, spammers and anybody else who's trying to rip off nice people on the Internet. Site

51. Western Digital VelociRaptor (internal hard drive, $300)
Spinning at 10,000 revolutions per minute, this swift and capacious (300GB) hard drive blew away the competition in our PC World Test Center evaluations. Review | Check prices
52. (news site, free)
The Gray Lady of print journalism has crafted a strong, user-friendly online presence spiced with engaging interactive graphics and first-rate news video. Site
53. Motorola MotoRokr T505 (car speakerphone, $140)
This Bluetooth gadget not only permits you to dial by voice and to chat hands-free while driving, it also streams music from your music phone to your car's stereo system via its FM transmitter. Nice. Review | Check prices
54. SanDisk Cruzer Titanium Plus (thumb drive, $60; online backup, $30/year)
When you move your files onto the rugged Cruzer thumb drive via a USB slot, the files automatically upload, for backup, to a BeInSync server on the Web. Site | Check prices
The 100 Best Products of the Year // Dash Navigation and Motorola MotoRokr  (© PC World)
55. Dash Navigation Dash Express (GPS navigation system, $400; service, $10-$13/month)
Offering seamless Internet access via its built-in cellular (GPRS) or Wi-Fi connectivity, the Dash Express can provide real-time traffic data; on top of that, it finds area businesses through Yahoo Local search. Review | Check prices

56. Panasonic TH-42PZ700U (42-inch plasma HDTV, $1,400)
The first 1080p, 42-inch plasma TV, this Panasonic model boasts rich colors, deep blacks and superb picture detail. Review | Check prices
57. Netgear ReadyNAS Duo (network-attached storage, $400)
In our tests, the ReadyNAS Duo outperformed even its sibling, the top-of-the line ReadyNAS NV+. Review | Check prices
58. Symantec Norton Internet Security 2008 (security suite, $60)
Symantec's suite offers solid security protection. Features include strong behavior-based defense against unknown threats. Review | Check prices
The 100 Best Products of the Year // RIM Blackberry Curve (© PC World)
59. RIM BlackBerry Curve 8300 Series (smart phone, $250 with two-year AT&T wireless contract)
Research in Motion's Curve line delivers both a QWERTY keyboard and RIM's increasingly popular smart-phone operating system -- the best of its kind for handling corporate e-mail -- in a compact and chic handset. Review (8300) | Review (8320) | Check prices (8300) | Check prices (8320)

60. Vimeo (video-sharing site, free)
Vimeo invites you to upload and share your wide-screen HD video (up to 500MB per week) with the world for free. After the sudden departure of Stage6, Vimeo has become a very important site indeed. Review

61. SideStep (travel site, free)
SideStep scans more than 200 other travel-focused Web sites, looking for low-priced flights, hotels, rental cars and cruises. The bottom line: It's surprisingly effective at finding deals. Site
The 100 Best Products of the Year // Area51 (© PC World)
62. Alienware Area-51 m15x (gaming laptop, starts at $1,500)
Beneath the unearthly glow of its facade, this scary-powerful gaming-oriented notebook houses two high-end nVidia GeForce 8800m GTX graphics boards. Site

63. TellMe (mobile search, free)
Mobile search apps with voice recognition have a bright future, and Microsoft's Tellme -- which bases the results it returns (including contact data and maps) on your voice requests and location -- works better than any competing software we've seen so far. Review
The 100 Best Products of the Year // Amazon  (© PC World)
64. Amazon MP3 (digital music site, $0.99 per song, most full albums $10)
Amazon's MP3 shop rivals iTunes in the breadth of its music selections -- and Amazon sells its files without the confining DRM wrapper. Site

65. Samsung SyncMaster 305T (30-inch LCD monitor, $1,300)
The wide-screen SyncMaster 305T delivers first-rate image quality and excellent screen resolution (2560 by 1600 pixels) at an appealing price, for its size. Review | Check prices
66. Apple Logic Studio (music production suite, $499)
Apple's OS X-only Logic Studio contains everything you need to record, edit, mix and produce music, along with software, synthesizers, effects and 18,000 loop samples. Site | Check prices
67. Gateway XHD3000 (30-inch LCD monitor, $1,700)
This wide-screen LCD comes with more input options, more screen adjustment controls and more extras (like HDCP support) than most other 30-inch LCDs we've seen. Review | Check prices
68. HP Photosmart C5280 (inkjet multifunction printer, $150)
At a modest price, the all-in-one C5280 offers a nice package of features (such as CD/DVD printing) and outstanding photo quality. Review | Check prices
69. USB Safely Remove 3.3 (utilities, shareware)
This shareware program greatly extends the functionality of your Safely Remove Hardware icon. Download
70. Samsung LN-T4061 (40-inch LCD HDTV, $1,300)
This Samsung model makes our list on the strength of good performance, dual tuners and a nice array of inputs and outputs, including three HDMI and USB 2.0 ports. Review | Check prices

The 100 Best Products of the Year // nVidia GeForce 8800 GT  (© PC World)
71. nVidia GeForce 8800 GT (graphics board, $250)
The 8800 GT had a big impact on the market, thanks to its moderate price, low power consumption and strong gaming performance. Site | Check prices

72. Cerulean Studios Trillian (instant messaging, free)
A handy, streamlined app for chatting across AIM, ICQ, MSN and Yahoo, Trillian just gets better with age. Download
The 100 Best Products of the Year // Nvidea GeForce, Creative Aurvana, Canon Vixia  (© PC World)
73. Creative Aurvana X-Fi (headphones, $300
Fueled by two AAA batteries, Creative's noise-canceling Aurvana X-Fi cans rock your dome with deep, rich sound processing. Review | Check prices

74. Olympus SP-570 UZ (advanced digital camera, $500)
The new king of megazoom point-and-shoot cameras, the SP-570 UZ uses a 20x optical zoom lens to take close-ups to the extreme. Site | Check prices
75. Apple iMac (desktop computer, from $1,199)
This model eschews the cheap-looking plastic chassis of earlier entries in the iMac line in favor of a sleek anodized aluminum one. It's a hard worker, too. Review | Check prices
76. Samsung 2263DX (22-inch LCD display, $550)
This unique 22-incher sports a side- or top-mountable 7-inch secondary screen that you can use to view instant messaging clients, music or movie players or photo viewers. Review
The 100 Best Products of the Year // Canon Vixia HF10  (© PC World)
77. Canon Vixia HF10 (high-definition camcorder, $1,100)
The tiny-but-mighty Canon Vixia HF10 records high-def video directly to an internal 16GB flash drive or a high-capacity SD card. Site | Check prices

78. Mint (personal finance site, free)
This smart Web tool details exactly where your money is coming from -- and where it's going. Review
The 100 Best Products of the Year // VMWare Fusion  (© PC World)
79. VMWare Fusion (virtualization software, $80)
VMWare edges out Parallels Desktop as the simplest, easiest way to expand the capabilities of a Mac OS system so that it can run Windows programs. Site | Check prices

80. Apple TV Take 2 (media-streaming device, $229 and up)
A new software update enables Apple's streamer to download movies (standard- and high-def) directly from the Internet. Review | Check prices

81. YouTube (viral video site, free)
Sure, the video quality won't remind you of the Criterion Collection, but the advertising on the site is scarcely noticeable, and the sheer amount and variety of content available for viewing at YouTube are utterly astonishing. Review
82. Chestnut Hill Sound George (iPod speaker dock, $499)
Of the many iPod speaker docks clamoring for consumer attention, this one strikes our ears as the biggest-sounding and best. Site
83. Microsoft Office 2007 (office suite, $150-$680, depending on edition)
Microsoft's workhorse troika of productivity apps (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) won't thrill anyone (and we're still waiting for Microsoft to put some of their power online), but the suite's overhaul last year made creating nice-looking documents far easier. Review | Check prices
84. Intel SkullTrail Dual Socket Extreme Desktop (motherboard, $650)
Run multiple CPUs or graphics cards on this bad mother … board. Review | Check prices
The 100 Best Products of the Year // Canon Pixma MX700  (© PC World)
85. Canon Pixma MX700 (inkjet multifunction printer, $160)
The MX700 stuffs a lot of functions into a fairly user-friendly package and offers scads of software to help you along toward MFP proficiency. Review | Check prices
86. AT&T Tilt 8925 by HTC (smart phone, $400 with two-year AT&T wireless contract)
This uber-phone bowls you over with features like a QWERTY keyboard, office apps, Wi-Fi, GPS and stereo Bluetooth for music headphones. Review
87. Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS (digital camera, $250)
This pocketable 8-megapixel camera offers a feature set and a level of image quality that you'd expect of a far more expensive camera. Review | Check prices
88. Vizio GV42LF (42-inch LCD HDTV, $1,200)
This roomy 1080p LCD HDTV beats almost the entire plasma television crowd in picture quality -- and it does so at a far, far lower price. Review | Check prices
89. Apple MacBook Air (ultraportable laptop, $1,799)
No optical drive, no Penryn chip, only one USB port, no Ethernet port and merely average performance. So would you like to own an Air? You bet, because it's cool. Review | Check prices
90. Ubuntu Linux (operating system, free)
Linux isn't just for nerds anymore, thanks to Ubuntu's Microsoft-refugee-friendly distribution. But hard-core (hard-kernel?) Linux devotees will surely note that Ubuntu earns a spot on our list while Windows Vista doesn't. Review | Download

91. Electronic Arts The Orange Box (games, $60 PS3 or Xbox 360, $50 PC)
You get five full games -- "Half-Life 2" and its first two follow-up episodes, plus two other first-person shooters ("Team Fortress 2" and "Portal") -- wrapped up in a pretty orange box. Warning: Extended time off from work not included. Site | Check prices
92. Digg (social news site, free)
Digg continues to serve denizens of the Web as the most reliable barometer of must-read news on the Internet. Site
93. Asus U2E (ultraportable laptop, $2,000)
In its cute/handsome leather shell, this 2.9-pounder bristles with outputs and has more flexibility than most other models in its class. Review | Check prices
94. Meebo (Web-based instant messaging, free)
Ditch your desktop instant messaging client in favor of this sleek Web-based one, which offers access to AIM, Google Talk, MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger and more. Review
The 100 Best Products of the Year // HP Blackbird 002 (© PC World)
95. HP Blackbird 002 (desktop PC, $2,300 and up)
The stunningly designed Blackbird simply flies when you throw high-performance tasks at it -- if, that is, you can stop staring at this PC long enough to hit the power button. Review | Check prices

96. Partition Logic (partitioning software, free)
To shrink existing partitions so you'll have room for a new one, just use the third-party partitioning program Partition Logic. Download

97. Palm Centro (smart phone, $150 with two-year Sprint wireless contract)
Sprint's smart phone delivers EvDO mobile broadband in an affordable, contemporary-looking package. Review | Check prices
98. Audacity (audio editor, free)
This all-purpose, open-source multitrack recording application lets you record, play and edit digital files like a pro. Review | Download
99. Lifehacker (blog, free)
Read Lifehacker to glean time-management tricks, internalivity downloads and easier ways to get stuff done. Site
100. Jing Project (image/video production app, free)
Jing Project allows you to create little narrated movies (called "screencasts") of anything that's happening on your PC desktop, and then share them with friends. Site


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