The 100 Best Products of 2008

32. Intel Penryn (processor line, prices vary) Starting with its Core 2 Duo design, Intel shrinks its chips to a 45-nanometer core for desktop, server, and mobile CPUs. The result: better performance and larger caches, without any increase in power consumption. News and reviews links

33. Apple iChat (instant messaging, $129) Included in Mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard," iChat takes instant messaging to a new level with a slick interface, cool video, custom backdrops, and special effects. Review

34. Creative Zen (MP3 player; $130-$300) Amazingly, the Zen manages to fit all of the functionality of the older Zen Vision M (FM, a built-in microphone, video, and more) into a device the size of a business-card case. Review | Check prices

35. Verizon FiOS (high-speed Internet access, $160/month or less) Verizon's fiber-powered FiOS is the speediest consumer broadband service available in this broadband-challenged part of the world. The fastest FiOS plan in most markets promises 30-mbps downloads and 15-mbps uploads. Site

36. Pandora (streaming music site, free or $36/year subscription)1. Enter your favorite artist's name. 2. Click Create. 3. Listen as Pandora plays a custom radio station full of well-known and obscure music that's eerily well-matched to your tastes. A paid subscription delivers mobile and home streaming support. Review

37. Canon EOS 40D (digital SLR camera, $1500 with kit lens) Excellent image quality and killer features--such as a burst mode that captures images at up to 6.5 frames per second--make the EOS 40D the digital SLR to beat for enthusiasts and professionals alike. Review | Check prices

38. LG Electronics L196WTY-BF (19-inch LCD monitor, $220) LG's flat panel comes with a mechanism that permits almost 360-degree swivel--a capability that people who use their monitors as presentation tools will welcome. Review | Check prices

39. TiVo HD (digital video recorder, $300; service, $13/month) With its excellent user interface and its ability to record high-def programs, the TiVo HD box might be all the DVR you need. Review | Check prices

40. Data Robotics Drobo DRO4DU10 (external hard drive, $500 without drives) This storage device uses disk and storage virtualization algorithms instead of RAID 5 to provide data redundancy. Review | Check prices

The 100 Best Products, Numbers 41 through 50

41. Google Gmail (e-mail, free) Google scores another coup by adding IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) support to its free e-mail service, enabling users to read Gmail messages on mobile devices and on other desktop mail clients. Site

42. Electronic Arts Rock Band Controllers (game controllers, Guitar $60, Drums $80) Much of Rock Band's success involves the accompanying toy musical gear--a microphone, faux Fender guitar, and a (very fun) plastic drum kit--for playing the game. Electronic Arts manufactures and markets the controllers, which are available both bundled and separately, under a codevelopment agreement between EA and Rock Band developer Harmonix (which is owned by MTV Networks). Video review | Check prices

43. Mozilla Thunderbird (e-mail, free) Thunderbird 2 has a strong feature set, is easy to customize, and has solid defenses against spam and phishing. Review | Download

44. Dell XPS 420 (desktop PC, $2730) The XPS 420 multimedia computer--with Intel's 2.83-GHz Penryn Q9550 processor inside--handles everyday tasks with aplomb and even lets you indulge in some fairly hard-core gaming. Review | Check prices

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