The hottest kit of the year!

Welcome to the Windows Top 100 - your only guide to the very best IT products on the market right here and now in the Middle East. We've rounded up the outstanding products we've seen in the past year so you can pick from the cream of the crop

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By  Peter Branton Published  October 8, 2003

|~||~||~|Windows Middle East prides itself on being the definitive computer products buyers’ magazine for the region. This issue, we’ve decided to round up the most impressive products we’ve looked at over the course of the year, to give you, our valued readers, a quick and easy guide to the very best offerings in the most important categories. Don’t forget, you can also keep up to date with the most crucial buys in IT every month in the Buyer’s guide section of the magazine.

We have structured the Top 100 into ten product categories, starting with components. This segment has been dominated by Intel’s release of the 865 and 875 chipsets. Thanks to these advanced chipsets, PC builders in the Middle East have never had a better time to get cracking on a new customised model.

In the desktop arena, we’ve seen some outstanding models but none more than the mini wonders such as the AtoZ EZgo, which have revolutionised our concept of the PC. Now we can have living room friendly PCs that are little bigger than biscuit tins. We’ll also look at the peripherals area, which this year has featured some outstanding network products such as Compex’s LAN party friendly 16 port switch. Printing has been one of the most active product areas in the last year, with HP and OKI both prominent with outstanding innovations. For instance, the HP deskjet 450cbi caught our eye by bringing Bluetooth and battery power to inkjets. It has also been a bright year in software, with perhaps the most delectable delight just around the corner with the release of Microsoft Office 2003. We have had a look at the beta version of Office 2003 and it looks every inch a champion.

Flash drives made quite a splash in storage this year, breaking into the mainstream and usurping the floppy disk in many people’s affections. And of course they are handy for carrying digital photos. Cameras such as the Canon PowerShot G3, one of the highlights of our digital imaging section, are just the thing for taking them.

Handhelds are always a favourite and it’s one section that has been shaken up considerably in the last year. The big talking point is the battle between PDAs and smartphones. We’ve got fine examples of both represented here, so whichever side of the fence you fall on you’ll have some authoritative recommendations to take away with you. The Sony Ericsson P800 is a fantastic camera phone with some PC functionality, while the Palm’s Tungsten’s C is a fully-fledged office on the move for the smart businessman.

In the monitors section, we have got a full range of products to cater for every taste. There are both LCD and CRT models and a variety of budgets are also catered for. Finally we’ll look at notebooks, which is always one of the most sparkling of our sections. Again there is a wide variety of approaches represented here, from notebook offshoot tablet PCs, to ultra-portable Centrino-based notebooks, to power-packed desktop replacements. We’ve seen many good models throughout the year but a couple stand out. Acer’s TravelMate C111TCi is a second-generation tablet PC that has out-grown some of the teething problems that came with the first wave. Another outstanding model is the just released HP Compaq NX7000 - a Centrino notebook that excels in terms of battery life but brooks no compromise when it comes to features, coming with a mammoth 15.4” widescreen. Read this month’s Windows Middle East for the full lowdown on this notebook and 99 other examples of IT excellence.

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