HotHardware's Best Of 2009 Awards

Introduction - The Best Of The Best In 2009

2009. It's the end of a decade, but just the beginning of an era. A lot has changed since Y2K frightened the world and then made us all look like fools for being worried, and it's safe to say that 2009 ushered in some of the most advanced technology this world has ever seen. More so than in years past, this year's tech innovations had a more direct impact on the average Joe. It used to be that technology was most appreciated by enthusiasts--nerds and geeks who could appreciate the thinking and planning that went into such things as iPods and cell phones.

Today though, moms and grandmothers are just as likely to be taking advantage of technology. Just think of the
Peek--an email only handheld designed for those who didn't grow up with the Internet running through their veins. Or the netbook: a notebook for almost everyone. Or the smartphone, which is becoming more than a status symbol, and more like a necessity. It's easier than ever to stay connected, and social networks have allowed exactly that. And let's not forget the impact that Twitter and Facebook have had.

Clearly 2009 has been a watershed year for all of technology, and we'd be remiss of our duties if we didn't break down our favorites in our most closely watched segments to close out the decade. Read on to see which products and technologies raised the bar and garnered our praise in 2009--from CPUs to SSDs to peripherals, it's all here. Our top picks represent the best bang for the buck and / or most impressive products in a category, while the runners-up require some sort of compromise in one area or another, whether it be price, features, or performance.

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