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Gadgets

Editors' Choice January 2009 winners

It's back! Our pick of the creme de la creme, the top bananas, the uber-gadgets that stood head and shoulders above the rest of the dross we reviewed in December and January

Welcome back to our regular look at the very best kit we've reviewed. The Christmas break may have delayed our Editors' Choice by a month, but we're back on track now to deliver a sprinkling of awards every month.

The January 2009 Editors' Choice awards have been awarded to products we reviewed in December 2008 and January 2009. As always, these products are not only the best in their class, they have also affected their respective markets in a significant way.

Here's the full list of winners.

 

Asus N10
The N10 ain't no ordinary netbook. It's small and light, sure, but when's the last time you saw a machine this size capable of running Half-Life 2? It's one of very few laptops with switchable graphics -- an integrated Intel chip for browsing the Web and prolonging battery life, plus an Nvidia GeForce 9200M for when you want to lay the polygonal smackdown. A capacious hard drive, HDMI output, comfortable keyboard and styling to die for complete the package.

Asus G71V
The G71V is the world's first laptop to sport a mobile quad-core CPU, so saying it's 'pretty quick' is something of an understatement. It is, by some distance, the quickest laptop we've tested. It 'only' has a single Nvidia GeForce 9700M GT graphics card, but with twin 500GB hard drives, Blu-ray playback capability, and a high-resolution 17-inch display, it'll make mincemeat of its rivals.

Sony BDP-S350
This is the first time we've actually fallen in love with a Sony Blu-ray player. Despite Sony's very obvious investment in the technology of the new HD format, thus far its line-up has been fairly lacklustre and distinctly over-priced. At around £170, the BDP-S350 is a sensible price, while still packing features such as BD Live, decent picture quality and a beautifully crafted menu system that feels modern and well designed. It might be a little late, but Sony has finally brought something to the Blu-ray party that isn't the PS3.

Pioneer Kuro KRP-500
It's not much of a surprise that we rate the Pioneer Kuro KRP-500 so highly. It is, after all, essentially the same panel as the one used in our much loved LX-5090 reference TV. The KRP-500 does, however, bring something new to the party. We really like the separate media receiver, which connects to the TV with a single cable. If you're keen to wall-mount your TV, this will be a real blessing. We approve of the updated menu system and addition of a built-in satellite tuner. The TV's ability to monitor the colour and intensity of light in your TV room and adjust its picture automatically also impressed us. Although it's slightly more expensive than the LX-5090, there's enough here to make it worthwhile.

Klipsch Image X5
To us, the X5s sound even sweeter than their more expensive brother the X10s, and they cost several tenners less. Their extraordinary comfort and superb sound quality for most types of music complement their brilliant price point, making them one of the finest mid-range earphones on the market. Either as a first or second upgrade to the budget earphones that come in the boxes of all new MP3 players, we felt the Klipsch Image X5s hit several nails on the head, earning them only the second ever Editors' Choice award to go to a pair of earphones.

Canon HG21
The Canon HG21 is all the camcorder you'll ever need -- and more. Sure it's expensive -- there's a recession on, apparently -- but you get stunning 1,920x1,080-pixel video, optical image stabilisation, a sliding viewfinder, an accessory shoe and a giant 120GB hard disk drive -- as well as SD card recording. Thrilling stuff, and that's why we've named it as an Editor's Choice.