Functionally, the iPad Air is nearly identical to last year’s model, offering only faster performance and better video chatting. But factor in design and aesthetics, and the iPad Air is on another planet. It’s the best full-size consumer tablet on the market.
The slimmer body and higher-res screen of the original Retina MacBook Pro were a revolutionary leap. This revamp adds modest internal upgrades for modest improvements, but price cuts to both the 13-inch and 15-inch models sweeten the deal.
If you're a dedicated Windows 8 hater, the update to Windows 8.1 isn't going to change your mind. For everyone else, this collection of tweaks, fixes, and new features is useful, but everything here should have shipped in the original version last year.
The Nike+ FuelBand SE is a minor upgrade to last year's FuelBand, adding Bluetooth 4.0 and a few new motivational wrinkles to its software, but the band's design is more successful than its package of features.
If you can find a desk to accommodate its large size, the HP Officejet Pro 8600 Plus all-in-one printer serves up top-shelf output quality at rapid print speeds, suitable for offices, home users, and photo enthusiasts hunting for an upgrade.
While it's fairly expensive at $200, the Bose SoundLink Mini is one of few standout products in the ultracompact wireless speaker category, featuring a top-notch design and very good sound for its tiny size.
The iPhone 5 completely rebuilds the iPhone on a framework of new features and design, addressing its major previous shortcomings. It's absolutely the best iPhone to date, and it easily secures its place in the top tier of the smartphone universe.
Netgear announces its latest Smart Wi-Fi Router, the Nighthawk R7000, that can do a lot more than just sharing the Internet. The new device is capable of delivering fast Wi-Fi performance, and working as a powerful storage server when coupled with an USB 3.0 external hard drive.
Although its battery life remains a weak point and its price has gone up a bit, the second-generation Flip is an improvement over the original and one of the best mini portable Bluetooth speakers currently available.
The Asus Transformer Book T100 revives the Netbook value proposition (and Netbook usability issues) in a budget-price 10-inch laptop that doubles as a tablet. You won’t love it, but for sheer bang for the buck, it’s hard to beat.
If you’re just looking for an all-around excellently made Windows touch ultrabook and don’t mind that it's on the expensive side (and doesn’t convert to a tablet), the improved Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus is worth the investment.
With an excellent user interface, a vast amount of features, and stellar performance, the Synology DS412+ is the best choice for now if you want a four-bay network storage device for your home or small office.
Microsoft's subtly updated Windows 8.1 tablet feels more like Surface Pro 1.5 -- improved battery life and better accessories make it a worthwhile (albeit pricey) laptop replacement, but it's still not an iPad-level category killer.
Its high price and imperfect voice control and TV integration keep the Xbox One short of must-have territory, but the inclusion of Titanfall for free (for new purchases) helps Microsoft's console hold the line against Sony's compelling PS4.
Betting on a full 1080p display partly justifies the Dell Venue 11 Pro's higher price compared to other Atom-powered tablets. But the keyboard dock add-on, which should turn this into a functional laptop alternative, is too expensive and occasionally frustrating to use.
Lenovo tries something new with the semi-hybrid IdeaPad Flex 14. The fold-back hinge is of dubious practical use, as it doesn't fold all the way down into a tablet, but if you pick the right configuration, this is still a good, inexpensive Core i5 laptop, even without the gimmicks.
Despite some downsides, including a high price, the Bose QuietComfort 20 offers the best noise-canceling in an in-ear headphone and should tempt frequent travelers looking for a more compact alternative to full-size NC headphones.