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Best Products of 2016: Computing

You have permission to get excited about PCs again, and these will do the trick

best products of 2016 computing surface studio pc hero2 v4

Microsoft Surface Studio

It’s not every day, or even every year, we see a computer that changes how we think the PC should work. Microsoft’s Surface Studio is exactly that kind of device. Its ingenious hinge, huge touchscreen, and outstanding display quality, make the Studio more virtual drafting table than traditional computer.

The internals, surprisingly, are just mediocre – fast, but not amazing. Instead, the focus is on Windows 10 itself. Microsoft’s operating system has the chance to strut its stuff, especially when used in conjunction with the Surface Pen (included) and Surface Dial (a $100 add-on).

But you’ll forgive modest hardware once you lay hands on the screen. The “zero-gravity” hinge design makes it easy to swing the 28-inch display up or down with just one fingertip. Yes, it really does work like shown on stage. It’s a beautiful screen to look at and use, too. Its incredible resolution, high contrast ratio, and near-perfect color accuracy mark it among the best PC displays we’ve ever tested.

To be sure, the Studio is a niche product, but that’s okay. Not every revolutionary device needs to be built for everyone. The Studio is expensive, and more capable than most people need – yet for those who do need it, it will change how they work every day. That’s the very picture of a revolutionary PC.

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Best of Computing 2016Runner Up
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga with OLED display

2016 isn’t the year OLED caught on, but it is the year it became available in mainstream computers. Among these, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga was our favorite.

That’s for two reasons. First, the ThinkPad X1 Yoga is a great laptop. It’s svelte, with an excellent keyboard and fast processor. Second, OLED was affordable, making it a preferred option.

Alas, the OLED display is out of production, for now. We hope it’ll return in the next generation of X1 Yoga.

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Best of Computing 2016Runner Up
Dell XPS 13

You may be tired of hearing about Dell’s XPS 13. We’ve praised it since the current incarnation was released in early 2015.

Blame Dell. Its design was so ahead of the curve that two years after its re-design, it’s still among the smallest 13-inch laptops around. And the latest update, just a few months old, was among the first to adopt Intel’s 7th-generation Core.

It’s thoroughly modern system, among the most portable and most powerful in its class. And it starts at just $800.

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Whew! Rough year. Fortunately, we got some amazing tech out of it. Digital Trends’ expert editors picked the most amazing gadgets in their respective categories, then convened as a panel to pick the one that towered above them all. Join us every day between now and Jan. 1 as we recap our favorites, and build up to the big Best of 2016 reveal!

Editors' Recommendations