The PC World 100: Best Products of 2009
The PC World 100: #31-#40
31. Xmarks (Firefox add-on, free) Formerly a Firefox-only add-on called Foxmarks, Xmarks now works with Internet Explorer and Safari. This is a must-have tool for anyone who runs multiple PCs (and/or Macs) and wants to keep a consistent, automatically updated set of bookmarks on all of them. It also makes your bookmarks available online from any PC, smartphone, or similar device. Just be sure to check the settings before you perform the initial synchronization; Xmarks gives you the option of merging or overwriting bookmarks in one direction or the other. You should also give some thought as to how the first sync should go. Unfortunately, the IE and Safari versions of Xmarks lack one key feature of the Firefox version: password synchronization.
32. Alienware M15x (laptop, base price $1499) Thanks to its Core i7 processor, the M15x gaming laptop achieves the same degree of panache and power as its predecessor, the M17x--a huge gaming laptop with a striking design--but inside a smaller frame.
33. AirCell GoGo (in-flight Wi-Fi service, prices vary by airline) In-flight Wi-Fi is the best thing to happen to flying techies since jet engines supplanted turboprops. I've streamed breaking news and Hulu offerings, updated Facebook, and caught up on e-mail--all while at an altitude of 38,000 feet somewhere over the Rockies. The service has been rock-solid, delivering consistent performance throughout the year. Suddenly, economy class may be bearable again.
34. Seesmic Desktop (social media software, free) The ubiquity of Facebook and Twitter demands an app that can manage both of them effectively--like Seesmic Desktop. Seesmic consolidates your accounts on both services into a single interface that turns all of your friends' tweets and status updates into a continuous stream. And unlike some similar client apps, Seesmic includes robust commenting and sharing options for Facebook content.
35. Avira AntiVir Personal (security software, free) This was the best free antivirus program we tested in 2009. Not only was its detection rate (98.9 percent) tops among the free antivirus software programs we appraised, but it also posted the fastest scan times in its competitive set. AntiVir's interface is somewhat clumsy, but considering its top-notch malware detection, that's not a bad trade-off.
36. iGo Netbook Anywhere (charger, $70) Aftermarket chargers abound, but this one is smaller and lighter than a standard power brick, and only slightly larger than the power brick that may have come with your netbook. But the Netbook Anywhere adds a USB port for charging additional devices, as well as airplane and AC adapter connections. If you have another iGo charger (for your full-size laptop, say), you can share this device's tips with that charger).
37. 3M MPro120 (digital projector, $349) One of the best miniprojectors available, the MPro120 delivers excellent image quality and such robust features as 12 lumens of brightness, a 20,000-hour LED light source, VGA resolution, 2- to 4-hour battery life, and stereo speakers. Attached to a laptop, digital camera, or other device with video output, the projector excels in displaying colorful photos, videos, and presentations on any light-colored surface at small-screen size, in darkened or subdued light. (updated 10/27/09)
38. Twitpic (photo-sharing software, free) Twitpic is an excellent tool for posting and sharing photos via Twitter. Since Twitter is just text and links, an easy-to-use photo element enlivens the experience considerably. Users can use Twitpic to post photos to Twitter from their Website (using the Twitpic API), from their phone, or from the Twitpic site.
39. Qik.com (online video service, free) Qik is a Web service that allows you to shoot live video on your mobile device and then stream it to your friends via the service's Website. The video remains archived at the site for future viewing. As such, Qik can give far-away people a first-hand look at landmark happenings like sporting events or your baby's first steps.
40. Canon PowerShot G11 (digital camera, $500) The PowerShot G11 ($500) is a fully loaded compact camera for people who already own a digital SLR and are looking for a portable powerhouse--or who want to learn advanced camera settings despite being novices. The G11 shoots .raw images, has a flip-out LCD screen, offers a full range of manual settings, and permits quick access to ISO adjustments via a top-mounted dial. Its 5X optical zoom extends from 28mm to 140mm.