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KitGuru Annual Awards 2012

Best of the Rest

Having covered all of the most popular categories, we wanted to take a step back – consider every other product that has graced the KitGuru Labs in 2012 – and pick our favourite.

Notable mentions in this category go to products like the Nexus 7 that Asus manufactured on behalf of Google. Solid build quality, alongside a very attractive £159 launch price showed just how much competition Apple can expect in 2013. Having mentioned the big boys themselves, KitGuru is happy to confess an iPad addiction, but we’ve yet to be won over by the iPhone. Roll on the 5s.

For those into photography, we got excellent results from AData’s Premier Pro UHS-I U1 SD cards and even the ultra-fast 32GB version is only £25. If you’re into gaming and want to capture everything in real time and full HD, then the AverMedia game Capture HD is interesting, albeit £100.

As Intel began to push its 4″x4″ systems for 2013, Sapphire stepped up its game with the Edge VS8 – featuring an A8 APU – but it definitely needs a solid state drive to reach its potential.

Touching again on Asus, it really pushed out the boat this year to show it can master more than one market. Its next generation RT-AC66U wireless router managed to offer 876Mbps in the same room and even when we moved 15 metres away (with 3 walls in between), it was still peaking up near 400Mbps. It costs £190 now, but that kind of spec will become much more affordable going forward.

We saw some very encouraging signs from local system builders like PC Specialist, Aria, Dino PC, OcUK and MESH. Winning in 2013 is something that will require a huge effort in the face of not only massive competition from multi-billion dollar competitors like HP and Dell – but a listless economy and move toward tablet systems.

We also cracked a big smile when we saw professional guitar amplifier company, Orange, deliver a fully featured PC to KitGuru Labs that had been modded into one of its amp units. Very impressive.

Lastly, just before we reveal our ‘Best of the Rest’ award, we’d like to send words of encouragement to companies that push style forward. We’ve got Thermaltake’s BMW designed Tt eSports Level 10M mouse. It might be heavy and expensive, but it really does look different and comes in a range of colours.

For the ‘Best of the Rest’ in 2012, we’re going to recognise two products, one hardware and the other software.

While more famously known for its performance memory and SSD product, Patriot provided an interesting and refreshing surprise to the KitGuru Labs in December. It was a simple looking device called the Patriot Gauntlet Node and it retails for £79 at the time of writing. Technically, it’s a wireless data and media streaming device with a battery life of up to 5.5 hours. It works with both SSD and regular 2.5″ hard drives – and the range is more a function of ‘line of site’ than physical distance. It supports 802.11 b, g and n and has a USB port for fast transfer from your main PC. It weighs just 182 grams, is guaranteed for 2 years, works with everything from the Kindle Fire to the iPad and is guaranteed for 2 years. Our Hardware winner for Product of the Year goes to the Patriot Gauntlet Node.

The software award goes to the latest version of a set of tools upon which so many businesses are now built, including KitGuru. From the very first desktop publishing suites to the CS6 package that Adobe unloaded on the public in Spring 2012, the evolution has been amazing. Even the early versions of Creative Suite were wobbly and could crash without warning.

These days, Adobe provides a solid set of tools for every creative professional – from animators to film makers and from web designers to photo editors. It’s something that we all touch on a daily basis, so we’re giving our ‘Best of the Rest’ award to the cloud-enabled Adobe Creative Studio 6.

We wanted to recognise one piece of hardware and a software package that caught our attention in 2012. On the software side, Adobe's latest version of Creative Suite was a genuine generation ahead of CS5 - very impressive - and Patriot's clever, wireless media streamer with 5 hour battery life, includes the kind of innovation that we love to see companies delivering to market.

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