It’s been an exciting year in technology and we’ve been so floored by the incredible evolution of consumer hardware, we’ve decided to slap stickers onto a few of them. For the first time since GWW turned the lights on in 2010, we bring you the GWW Editor’s Choice Awards for Consumer Hardware.
Joe: Best Ultrabook
While the Ultrabook label has been around since 2011, it feels like 2015 was the year that Ultrabooks really started coming together. With devices like the Razer Blade Stealth and Dell XPS 13 starting to show a sufficient amount of power and battery life for the size. The whole purpose behind an Ultrabook is to get your traditional laptop, or even desktop, work done on the go in a portable fashion. Considering that, we’ve decided to make the Yoga 900 the winner of our first ever Editor’s Choice Award for Ultrabooks. We found the unique 2-1 design made presentations and working on a plane easier than other Ultrabooks. Combined with an excellent 4K display and above average battery life, the Yoga 900 is a solid choice for the working professional.
Joe: Best Crazy PC Peripheral
Ok, so this isn’t the best category title of all-time. But, I don’t think the Razer Orbweaver is in a category that is easy to understand. Allow me to make my point: this is a quarter-keyboard with a thumbstick that really helped my wrist. I suppose it’s the best “gamer-wrist assistant device”. Anyhow, this thing is like a +10 to dexterity in Diablo. It’s a crossbow instead of a longbow. It’s a compass instead of mapping the sun and stars. I dig it, and recommend it to anyone having wrist issues while gaming as well as folks that are crazy into macros.
Kyle, The Geekin Dad: Manufacturers
This year I’ve had the chance to work with parts and hardware from most of the major players in the PC space, but two manufacturers come to mind: Fractal Design and EVGA.
Fractal Design has always been a no-nonsense PC Case manufacturer (among other things), and the popular Define R5 Windowed is still the case to my personal rig. This case, while attempted by others, hasn’t been matched. This year, they took the popular Define Series Micro, with the Define S Nano, an M-ITX case for both water cooling enthusiasts and silent computing purists alike. Having the opportunity to build a system in one, it’s an elegant solution to the growing trend of M-ITX custom PCs. From the dedication and attention to the detail of the rolled edges inside the case to the completely tool less design, temps stay cool while acoustics stay quiet. Not to mention it looks great on a desk and can be left simple for a professional look, which is a plus in my book, and why Fractal Design is one of my picks for Editor’s Choice.
The second pick might be a tad controversial, so let me clear the air now, EVGA has not sent me or TheGWW.com hardware or compensation of any sort. I’ve been a long time user and fan of the hardware from EVGA, and even with graphics card scandal, they still take the cake in terms of customer support, quality of product, and just how active they are in the community from the gamer’s perspective as well as the hardware enthusiast’s perspective. The EVGA Z170 Stinger and the new ACX 3.0 cooler on their GPUs bring best in class performance in terms of both stability and overclock ability. Add to that the brilliant design idea of the PowerLink, the user with their cards now have the option to run cables to the GPU in two different methods, giving more and more customization and usability to their products for end users. Add this to their growing line of the extremely popular and well-built Power Supplies, their introduction of the Laptop market with the SC17, EVGA has been a company that rivals Razer, in my eyes, in their passion for their market, and for these reasons they take my second pick for Editor’s Choice.
Danny Benavides – Headset
Hyper X Cloud Revolver
I had put aside getting a new pair of gaming headphones for some time now, and I had already worn out my Turtle Beach headphones. They weren’t the most comfortable, in fact, I remember picking them up because they were the only option available at the store when I had first picked up my Xbox One. This time around I had done some homework on what my next set of headphones would be. I wanted to invest in something durable, comfortable around the ears, and within a reasonable budget. I came across the new Hyper X headphones during Pax South last January and was immediately impressed by the overall performance of the new headphones. I had heard great things about their previous Cloud headphones but this was my first hands on experience. In terms of durability, the headset is very lightweight and the base is a steel frame. It comes with a detachable noise-cancelling microphone. My favorite feature of the pair was actually how comfortable the memory foam ear cups are, and they are huge! I’ve worn these headphones for hours at a time without any discomfort, which was pretty common with my previous headphones. Also, I should note, I wear glasses, sometimes a hat, and they fit perfectly over both. The sound is amazingly clear. They can work on console and PC. I’ve also used these to listen to music. If you are looking for a good pair of headphones without breaking the bank, I would suggest these.