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2013 in Review: Top 10 products covered on ZDNet Mobile News

Dozens of laptops, tablets, and other mobile products come through the door each year for review. These 10 made the best impressions in 2013.
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1 of 12 James Kendrick/ZDNet

Year in Review: Top 10 products covered on ZDNet Mobile News

Sometimes it seems there's a revolving door at the home office, with laptops, tablets, and other mobile devices constantly arriving and departing. That's a good thing, as it means dozens of items are reviewed over the year to give readers a look at new and innovative products. 

With so many products covered in 2013, there are a few that were so good they left a lasting impression. The first review included in this list covered two products, so there's actually 11 mentioned in the 10 selected reviews. The 10 listed in this collection are the best of the lot, and in many cases got me to open my wallet.

Step in the time machine and have a look at the 10 best products reviewed here this year, in no particular order. When multiple articles were written on a given product, all of them will be listed for your convenience.

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2 of 12 James Kendrick/ZDNet

Yoga 8 and 10 Tablets by Lenovo

The first review in this collection is a two-fer. Lenovo has been making tablets for years, and this year they introduced an innovative design in the Yoga 8 and 10 Tablets. The two tablets, 8 and 10-inch, have an integrated stand and cylindrical grip that impressed me with how useful they are.

These Android tablets have a solid design, yet Lenovo has kept the price at a very competitive level.

Coverage:

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 8 and 10: Unique design on a budget (hands on)

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3 of 12 James Kendrick/ZDNet

Yoga 8 and 10 Tablet

The unique stands on both Yoga tablets by Lenovo are demonstrated in the image above. The Yoga 8 is on the left (side view) and the Yoga 10 on the right.

Coverage:

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 8 and 10: Unique design on a budget (hands on)

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4 of 12 James Kendrick/ZDNet

MacBook Air with Haswell inside by Apple

Apple was the first major OEM to get a laptop to market with Intel's latest Haswell technology and that got me to open my wallet. It was a purchase I am very happy with, as the MacBook Air is one of the best laptops I've ever used.

Extended Coverage:

New MacBook Air: Haswell ups the game (review)

MacBook Air revisited: 12 weeks in

Top 3 tech purchases of 2013

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5 of 12 James Kendrick/ZDNet

ThinkPad Tablet 2 by Lenovo

When I reviewed the ThinkPad Tablet 2 early in 2013 it made such a lasting impression I ended up buying one. It was decent running Windows 8 as shipped but really came into its own when 8.1 was released. That upgrade made it faster and a better tablet.

Note that both the external portable keyboard and desktop dock (shown above) were reviewed with the Tablet 2. Both accessories add a lot of value to the tablet.

Extended Coverage:

Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2: First impressions (review)

Windows 8.1: Makes the ThinkPad Tablet 2 even better

ThinkPad Tablet 2: Best Windows tablet

10 reasons the ThinkPad Tablet 2 is a top Windows tablet

Top 3 tech purchases of 2013

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6 of 12 James Kendrick/ZDNet

MacBook Pro with Retina Display by Apple

The MacBook Pro line of laptops is the very definition of desktop replacements, and the 13-inch model I purchased this year is a great notebook. Even though this was purchased before the current crop with Haswell technology inside, it is a solid performer with good battery life.

Coverage:

MacBook Pro with Retina display: 45 days in

MacBook Pro (Retina Display) vs. Chromebook Pixel on video

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7 of 12 James Kendrick/ZDNet

ThinkPad X240 by Lenovo

ThinkPads have been around for years, and this one is as good as they get. Including a fine keyboard in an ultra-portable form while maintaining rugged construction, Lenovo has produced a great ThinkPad in the X240.

This one has a surprise inside, as it uses Lenovo's Power Bridge technology that has both a sealed battery and a user replaceable second battery. The two together can keep this ThinkPad running for over 17 hours, an impressive feat for such a light laptop.

Coverage:

Hands on with the ThinkPad X240: Two batteries are better than one 

 

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8 of 12 James Kendrick/ZDNet

ZAGGkeys Cover for the iPad mini

I have used an iPad with keyboard for a long time, but I never thought I would be able to do that with the small iPad mini. That changed with the release of this accessory, which enabled me to use the iPad mini for writing work when the bigger iPad was back at home.

This keyboard is surprisingly good given its size, and it has become a common fixture in my gear bag.

Coverage:

Two keyboard cases for iPad mini from ZAGG change the game

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9 of 12 James Kendrick/ZDNet

ZAGGkeys Folio for the iPad Air

The folks at ZAGG know how to make good keyboards for tablets, and this one for the new iPad Air is very good indeed. It puts a fantastic keyboard in a protective folio case that adds little bulk and weight to the svelte iPad Air. It turns the new iPad into a productive work system that is as portable as they can get.

Extended Coverage:

ZAGGkeys Folio: Perfect keyboard companion for the iPad Air (hands on)

2013 in perspective: Doing real work with the iPad

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10 of 12 James Kendrick/ZDNet

C720 Chromebook by Acer

My work style is a perfect fit for the Chromebook and when this new model from Acer was released I jumped on the opportunity to review it. The low price and inclusion of Haswell technology make this a Chromebook to be reckoned with, as it has fast performance and long battery life.

Coverage:

Acer C720 Chromebook first impressions: Fast and cheap

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11 of 12 James Kendrick/ZDNet

Chromebook Pixel by Google

When Google released the Chromebook Pixel, the price threw everyone for a loop. Hidden behind that high price is a laptop that has top-of-the-line design, and no-compromise components, and that was readily apparent when reviewed. Not very many people will be willing to spend over $1,200 for a Chromebook, but those who do quickly find the Pixel to be a great laptop in every way.

Extended Coverage:

Chromebook Pixel from Google: Pushing the cloud to the limit

Chromebook Pixel hands on (photos)

Chromebook Pixel: 5 tips and tricks (including pinch to zoom)

Chromebook Pixel running Windows 8 remotely (video)

Chromebook Pixel: Spoiling me for other chromebooks

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12 of 12 James Kendrick/ZDNet

iPad Air by Apple

The iPad Air, only recently released, has already become the best mobile tech purchase I made this year. The power and battery life crammed into such a thin package weighing only a pound is impressive. It's the fastest iPad yet, and that makes it better than previous generation iPads.

Extended coverage:

iPad Air: Best tablet ever made

iPad Air: One week in

Lure of the iPad Air

iPad Air: Color me surprised

iPad Air: No Apple keyboard needed

2013 in perspective: Doing real work with the iPad

Top 3 tech purchases of 2013

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