Best tech: Ivy Bridge rigs, slim iPad keyboard case

CNET Reviews Editor in Chief Lindsey Turrentine walks you through this week's top-reviewed devices, explaining what matters right now and why.

Sometimes, CNET goes weeks without bestowing an Editors' Choice award. We give the badges only to tech that we love so much, we'd personally buy these devices. There must be some magic in the air (or our drinks) this week, because we doled out not one, but three CNET Editors' Choice awards.

But before I walk you through our award winners (a surprising and diverse group in their own right), I'd like to point out two non-winners that deserve your attention. These two four-star computers, the Origin Genesis and the Origin EON17-S are a desktop and a laptop respectively, both in the vanguard of PCs outfitted with Intel's brand-new, quad-core third-gen Core i7 chips (previously code-named "Ivy Bridge"). We haven't seen any mainstream Ivy Bridge machines yet, so we'll try to satisfy your curiosity with these gaming rigs.

Origin, a gaming PC company founded by two Alienware graduates, pays extra-special detail to the speed and power behind its machines. The Origin Genesis tower, specifically, wowed us with its awesome speed. It's one of the fastest gaming computers we've seen, and that's saying something given that you can't really overclock an Ivy Bridge processor.

A case for a keyboard case
But enough feeds and speeds. The three Editors' choice devices we reviewed this week include something for everyone and for every budget.

The single most lovely iPad keyboard case

The first is a lowly iPad accessory turned glam CNET favorite. Scott Stein declares that the magnetized, Smart-cover-like Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover "might be the best keyboard accessory ever made for the iPad." There are bizillions of iPad keyboards on the market, so that's saying something.

This one is thin and relatively spacious for an iPad keyboard and, more importantly, it looks beautiful, using magnets to attach to the iPad in order to keep bulk down. The case does cost $99 -- not cheap -- but that's a standard price for a keyboard case these days, even a case not intended to protect your tablet. I've held off on buying an iPad keyboard myself because they were all bulky and ugly compared to my laptop's keyboard until now. I'm convinced.

Shining example of an e-reader
Our second CNET Editors' Choice winner is the Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight, the Barnes and Noble e-reader with a deceptively simple e-ink screen that lights up when you're reading in the dark to keep you buried in your book and your bed-mate blissfully asleep.

Now, if you already have an e-reader without a light, stick with it. You can buy an attachable lamp for much less, but if you're replacing a broken e-book or buying a gift, look at the Nook. (Sorry for that. I couldn't help it.) Our critic (and published novelist) David Carnoy says this reader "sets the standard for e-ink e-readers going forward and is well worth the extra money if you do a lot of nighttime reading."

And finally, we've chosen a rare Editors' Choice tech car. The 2012 Toyota Prius C overcame our intense skepticism and does what I feared impossible: It makes the Prius cool. This small, sporty hybrid drips with tech, gets more than 50 MPG, and fits anywhere. Plus, you can buy it in orange. OK, orange is controversial. But at least it's bold.

We've uncovered a few more treasures this week, so browse our slideshow to see them all.

 

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