The Best Products: Readers' Favorites

From March 14 to April 14, 2008, we asked our readers to participate in a survey rating their favorite products in more than 60 technology categories. Here are the ones that they rated highest in 15 of the most popular categories.

Media Player: Apple iPod Touch

It's like an iPhone without the phone (and the camera)--same 802.11b/g support, same 3.5-inch Multitouch screen, same stylish cachet. But the iPod Touch is above all a portable MP3 player, video player, and Web browser. Our readers found it beautiful to look at and fun to use.

Don't miss our annual roundup of the top products of the year, "The 100 Best Products of 2008."

Smart Phone: BlackBerry Curve 8300 Series

The BlackBerry family of smart phones has long dominated the field among business professionals, thanks to its typically well-designed keyboards and excellent features. The BlackBerry Curve 8300 series of smart phones caught our readers' fancy for its stronger consumer orientation (it includes a camera and desktop media management software)--but the Curves also live up to their predecessors in various areas of traditional BlackBerry strength (such as phone quality and e-mail support).

Digital Camera: Canon PowerShot TX1

You hold it vertically, like a camcorder, but the Canon PowerShot TX1 excels at still photography. The price ($500 when it debuted last summer) may seem high for a 7.1-megapixel model, but don't underestimate the power of the 10X optical zoom. This Canon is comfortable to use and delivers superb color accuracy.

23-Inch or Larger LCD Monitor: Dell UltraSharp 3007WFP-HC

Our readers admired the top-notch text rendering delivered by this 30-inch LCD. The Dell UltraSharp 3007WFP-HC does indeed come through with ultrasharp characters in a range of font sizes, and its V-shaped silver stand tilts and swivels smoothly.

Inkjet Multifunction Printer: Canon Pixma MX700

Our readers' favorite color inkjet multifunction printer was the Canon Pixma MX700, a model whose strong overall performance is highlighted by the fast, good-looking photos it prints on plain paper. A clearly labeled front panel and a (mostly) intuitive design put you in control quickly.

Game: Crysis

A masterpiece of beautiful imagery (a richly textured tropical island is the setting), realistic visual effects (leaves tremble as bullets wing past, a shroud of dust lingers and gradually descends after an explosion), and challenging tactics (enemies are well coordinated and devious), Crysis, won more plaudits from our readers this year than any other new game.

Photo-Sharing Site: Flickr

We've been fans of the Flickr photo-sharing and photo-browsing Web site for years--and it keeps getting better. Our readers appreciate the large number of views their photos get on the site and they like Flickr's convenient image and community tools. And the site is now branching into a new area: video sharing!

Office Suite: Google Docs

Google earned special accolades from our readers for its online office suite, Google Docs. A major component of Google's software-as-a-service strategy, Docs supplies easy-to-use, globally accessible word processing and spreadsheet programs. And the suite's latest new trick is the ability to let users take files offline to work on them.

Desktop PC: Apple iMac

An all-in-one desktop computer that looks like an all-in-one flat-panel monitor (with a keyboard thrown in), the 24-inch Apple iMac is an impressive piece of engineering. Whereas its earliest predecessors had the shape of a 1960s-era Zenith black-and-white TV, only in a tangerine case, the new iMac eschews cute and dumpy in favor of handsome and sleek. Screen quality is much improved, too.

Digital Music Site: iTunes

If Google Docs shows our readers in their revolutionary aspect, overthrowing the old regime of Microsoft Office, their taste in digital music sites shows them as traditionalists. iTunes, the dominant service in its category, continues to provide intuitive controls, a reliable storage system, and seamless integration with the equally beloved iTunes Store.

Security Software Suite: Kaspersky Internet Security 7.0

The top vote getter among security suites in this year's readers' poll, Kaspersky Internet Security 7.0 is nicely designed and provides solid security protection. Though its scanning speed is a bit...unhurried, the Kaspersky suite responds to malware outbreaks by delivering new security signatures very quickly.

Operating System: Apple Mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard"

A sweeping update to its Mac OS X operating system, Apple's Mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard" introduces interface enhancements, an automatic backup feature called Time Machine, improved Boot Camp functionality, workspace innovations, and more. Obviously our readers liked what they saw. Or maybe they just couldn't get over their dislike of Windows Vista.

Power Laptop: Apple MacBook Pro

Okay, this makes 5 Apple products and services out of 15 items on our Best of Readers' Choices list. Does this qualify as a trend? The 17-inch Apple MacBook Pro certainly has a lot going for it: a powerful processor, a top-of-the-line graphics board, and the ability to run either Windows (through Boot Camp) or Mac OS X. And of course its elegant design makes it look really good.

Browser: Mozilla Firefox

Behold the power of open source. Mozilla's Firefox browser continues to appeal to our readers, whether in the form of version 2 or Firefox 3 (still in development). No wonder: It's clean, it's fast, and it's free.

LCD TV: Sony Bravia KDL-52XBR4

In the big, big LCD TV sweepstakes, our readers settled on the 52-inch Sony Bravia KDL-52XBR4 as their favorite. It's easy to see why. In our PC World Test Center tests, the Bravia KDL-52XBR4 earned the highest marks for image quality in its category. The TV's impressive, full-sounding speakers contribute to an outstanding audiovisual experience.

Don't miss our annual roundup of the top products of the year, "The 100 Best Products of 2008."

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