PC Pro's favourite tech products of 2011

30 Dec 2011

We pick the ten products that most excited us in 2011

You can easily find out the best products to buy this Christmas – that’s what the PC Pro A-List is for. But while we could spent a feature summarising the latest minor feature update that keeps product X on the top of its category, we'd rather focus on the products that actually excited us this year.

They may not have taken the awards, they may not even have had any impact beyond the walls of the PC Pro Labs, but these ten products all have that something special about them that got us talking in 2011.

Intel Sandy Bridge

It was the very first review of 2011 to appear on this website, and there’s no doubt Sandy Bridge utterly dominated the PC and laptop markets for the entire year. It hauled processor performance up a notch, extended laptop battery life, and even gave us that rare thing: integrated graphics that could handle Full HD video and light gaming.

Intel Sandy Bridge

We’re now used to seeing group tests where 100% of submitted systems run on Intel chips, and the frightening thing for rival AMD is that nothing it released in 2011 came within a mile of challenging Sandy Bridge. That gap is only going to widen when Ivy Bridge arrives.

Lexmark Genesis S815

We’ll freely admit it wasn’t the best all-in-one printer for quality or speed, but the sheer novelty of the amazing scanner in the Lexmark Genesis made it more interesting than any A-List device. Its physical design was totally different, created from scratch to be placed front of house for all to see rather than hidden away in a back room.

Lexmark Genesis S815

With an upright platen, a 4.3in touchscreen on the front complete with apps, and a 10-megapixel camera inside to capture “scans” in under a second, it was the all-in-one that everyone in the office wanted to play with. We’re still not sure we’d buy one with our own money, but congratulations to Lexmark for somehow making printers interesting again.

Asus Eee Pad Transformer

The Motorola Xoom was the first Honeycomb tablet to arrive, but there’s no doubt it was the Asus Eee Pad Transformer that lapped up all the attention. Not content with being a better Android tablet than the Xoom, it also achieved what Acer and Dell couldn’t, and came up with a hybrid tablet/netbook design that actually worked. It’s still one of the more popular tablets now, and the arrival of the quad-core Transformer Prime update will take Asus happily into 2012.

Asus Eee Pad Transformer

An honourable mention must go to the iPad 2, which didn’t innovate a great deal on the original but remains the best all-round hardware and software combination on the market. And also to the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, which proved so popular with both reviewers and shoppers that Apple tried to get it banned. Stock up the fridge and get yourself comfortable, as round two may kick off when the iPad 3 arrives next year.

Read more

Analysis