PCWorld Staff Favorites of 2011

Here are the laptops, printers, phones, tablets, and other gear that the PCWorld editors really liked this year. Tell us if you agree with these top picks.

Holiday Favorites

It’s the season to be merry, and to receive. Here are 15 tech items--ranging from tablets to mobile hotspots to cameras--that the PCWorld staff has been eyeing all year.

AT&T Mobile Hotspot Elevate 4G

Picked by Megan Geuss, PCWorld staff editor

This device is especially useful for the laptop owner who needs fast Internet access on the go. The Elevate 4G allows the user to access a cellular network from locations with weak Wi-Fi support.

AT&T’s 4G LTE network delivers data speeds that should be ten times as fast as those on the service’s HSPA+ network.

AT&T Mobile Hotspot Elevate 4G

HTC Evo 3D

Picked by Ginny Mies, PCWorld associate editor

The first 3D phone to hit the U.S. market, the Evo 3D is a powerful handset. It has a gorgeous design, and it impresses with a dual-core processor, a sharp qHD display, and 3D effects.

Livescribe Echo 2GB

Picked by Elsa Wenzel, PCWorld senior associate editor

This digital pen lets you take notes the old-fashioned way, after which the device memorizes and digitizes them. You can then save and sync your digital notes--or even your doodles--onto other services or devices, including Google Docs, Evernote, or your Apple iPad.

Sony Tablet S

Picked by Melissa J. Perenson, PCWorld senior editor

Sony dares to be different with this 9.4-inch tablet, also known as the S1. Departing from the typical slate design, this model offers an elegant wedge shape that makes holding it comfortable. The tablet is also brimming with custom apps, and it's PlayStation certified--a boon for the gaming crowd.

Toshiba Qosmio F750

Picked by Megan Geuss, PCWorld staff editor

This portable is the world’s first glasses-free 3D laptop. The Qosmio F750’s high-def webcam follows your eye movements to adjust the 3D effects. In addition, the screen can display a 3D movie on one side while you browse 2D programs on the other.

Toshiba Qosmio F750

Canon Pixma MG8220 Wireless Inkjet Photo

Picked by Melissa Riofrio, PCWorld senior editor

The Pixma MG8220 is cool in its ability to receive print jobs wirelessly from an Android or iPhone app. It also comes with CD/DVD printing, slide and negative scanning, cloud-printing capabilities, multiple connectivity options, dual input trays, auto-duplexing, and touchpad controls.

Acer Revo 100

Picked by Nate Ralph, PCWorld assistant editor

Want an entertainment-oriented PC that looks more like a game console? The slender Acer Revo 100 is quiet and powerful enough for home-theater use. It comes with an innovative remote that toggles from touchpad to touch keyboard, enabling easy navigation and typing, respectively.

Canon EOS Rebel T3i

Picked by Tim Moynihan, PCWorld senior editor

The best DSLR we've seen this year, the T3i produced some of the finest images scored in our lab tests. The secret to this camera's high-quality images is in the superior kit lens, the “starter” lens included with the purchase.

HP TouchSmart 610 Quad

Picked by Nate Ralph, PCWorld assistant editor

Touchscreens on PCs are great in theory, but doing a lot of poking and prodding on a vertical screen gets tiresome. The TouchSmart 610 Quad screen reclines by sliding forward and all the way down, so you end up with an almost tablet-like 23-inch horizontal surface that’s easier to work on.

LG Bluetooth Stereo Headset

Picked by Edward N. Albro, PCWorld editor

Is there anything more annoying than getting caught up in the wires of your headphones? LG’s HBS-700 headphones use Bluetooth to break the umbilical cord to your phone, but they stick with the earbud design that lots of people like. Plus, they sound fabulous.

LG Bluetooth Stereo Headset HBS-700

RockMelt Browser

Picked by Patrick Miller, PCWorld associate editor

Need an easier way to procrastinate at work? RockMelt can help. With it, you don’t have to check separate social networking sites: The browser has Facebook built in, as well as an easy-to-use plug-in for Twitter.

In addition to social networks, this Chromium-based browser has built-in hooks to blogs and news Websites, so you can keep tabs on your world without having to open a new browser window.

RockMelt Browser

Lenovo IdeaPad U300s

Picked by Jason Cross, PCWorld senior editor

If you have to pick one laptop to buy today, it should be Lenovo's Ultrabook, the IdeaPad U300s. It's slim, light, and durable, and it has everything you need to work on the go. It also boasts the best keyboard and touchpad of any of the Ultrabooks we've tested so far.

The $1100 Core i5 version would be a better choice than the more expensive Core i7 model that we looked at in our tests, though.

Lenovo IdeaPad U300s

Canon Pixma iP4920 Inkjet Photo Printer

Picked by Melissa Riofrio, PCWorld senior editor

The Canon Pixma iP4920 is great for people who simply want to print, and don't need any extra features. The iP4920 provides decent speed, better-than-average paper handling, and the ability to print on specially coated CD/DVD media. It does have some drawbacks, however, in that it lacks ethernet, Wi-Fi, and the mobile-printing capabilities of some of its more expensive, multifunction cousins.

Nikon Coolpix S9100

Picked by Tim Moynihan, PCWorld senior editor

This camera is great for casual users who don’t care for manual controls but still wish to take good-looking and creative photos. More-experienced users shouldn't rule the S9100 out, however--it has the image quality, lens versatility, and creative modes to keep even higher-level photographers engaged.

LG Infinia 47LW6500

Picked by Patrick Miller, PCWorld associate editor

The LG Infinia 47LW6500 is one of our favorite HDTV sets of the year. It offers a slick design, a 47-inch LED-backlit screen, excellent features, and attractive passive-3D performance.

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