The Technology Excellence Awards 2017: We crown the best brands and pick the top products of the year

The Technology Excellence Awards 2017: We crown the best brands and pick the top products of the year

2017 has been a bumper year of new products – not only for laptops and phones, but in the business world, too. Here are the picks from editors at Alphr, Expert Reviews and PC Pro.

SMARTPHONE OF THE YEAR – Sponsored by Alphr

Samsung Galaxy S8

Samsung Galaxy S8 review side

“It’s tough coming up with market-leading smartphone designs, year after year, but that’s exactly what Samsung has done with the Galaxy S8,” explained Jonathan Bray, reviews editor of Alphr, who certainly wasn’t short of praise for the device. “The Galaxy S8 is simply stupendous in every regard: gorgeous to look at and hold in your hand, superfast where you need it and it has a cracking camera and superb battery life. With waterproofing, microSD expansion and that glorious bezel-free display to top it all off, there’s simply no other phone that comes close this year.”

LAPTOP OF THE YEAR – Sponsored by Expert Reviews

Dell XPS 13

Dell XPS 13 review: Lead image

We think this is a first: for a piece of hardware design to be so market-leading that it wins our Laptop of the Year award for the third year running, with just minor tweaks along the way. “While Dell has added a 2-in-1 version of the XPS 13, the original is still the best,” said Sasha Muller, senior editor of Expert Reviews. “It’s faster than ever and that 13.3in, edge-to-edge screen remains a joy to behold.”



You only need to read any of our reviews – or the group test in this month’s PC Pro (it’s on p76 if you already have a copy to hand) – to realise why the iPad takes our Tablet of the Year accolade. If you don’t need the iPad Pro’s 120Hz screen or superior power, the updated iPad – now with a lower price, too – will likely offer everything you need in a tablet. Add one of the many third-party keyboard accessories available (yet another of Apple’s strengths) and it turns into a cheap alternative to a laptop.

CONVERTIBLE OF THE YEAR: HP EliteBook x360 1030 G2


“This isn’t some over-styled, underpowered fashionista laptop,” said Stuart Andrews, one of PC Pro’s long-term testers of laptops. “While slim it’s by no means the slimmest, it’s low on gimmicks and it hasn’t got the highest-resolution display. What matters, though, is that it’s usable in every way: speedy, light, with a great screen and keyboard and all the battery life and connectivity you’d want. It looks fantastic and it’s built to get serious work done.



“Adobe Creative Cloud has very little in the way of competition when it comes to professional creative software,” said PC Pro’s contributing editor Paul Ockenden. “Normally such a monopolistic position would be a problem, as it tends to stifle innovation, but that’s not the case here – each year brings a new release bristling with genuinely useful features, and 2017 was no exception.”

Products of the Year 2017: The best of the rest

Server of the Year: Fujitsu Server Primergy TX1320 M3

“Small but perfectly formed, Fujitsu’s Server Primergy TX1320 M3 pedestal server is the ideal choice for space-constrained small businesses,” said Dave Mitchell, PC Pro’s business hardware expert. “It squeezes a remarkable specification into an ultra-compact and quiet chassis while a clever internal design leaves plenty of room to grow.”

Business Software of the Year: 3CX Phone System v15

PC Pro’s contributing editor Jon Honeyball has been using 3CX for years, but after the release of v15 felt the time was right to move to the cloud. So why does he love it? “Mature, feature filled, excellently supported, rapid feature improvements, and tight integration with quality phones. And the cloud service moves everything, except for the phone, off premises.”

Workstation of the Year: Scan 3XS WI6600 Viz

“The Scan 3XS WI6600 Viz [which PC Pro reviewed as the 3XS Classic 3D] with its Intel Core i9 processor update provides the perfect balance of class-leading modelling with huge amounts of CPU rendering power,” explained our resident workstation guru, James Morris. But it’s not just about the hardware. “All this is backed by a three-year warranty with technical support bene ting from Scan’s years of experience supplying systems to the content creation market.”

Business Hardware of the Year: Polycom RealPresence Trio 8800


“With so much talk about remote working and reducing travel costs, it’s great to see a slick product that can actually make this happen,” said editor-in-chief Tim Danton. “You get everything you need for voice and videoconferencing in this kit, which means instant, no-fuss calls with high-quality audio and video.”

Read our full review of the Polycom RealPresence Trio 8800

Gaming PC of the Year: Yoyotech Redback N6

“I’m not a hardcore gamer,” said PC Pro’s associate editor Darien Graham-Smith, “but if I were to splash out on a gaming PC it would look a lot like this one. The N6 has the power to tear through games and productivity applications alike, and while many systems turn me off with their lights and futuristic stylings, Yoyotech’s is a more tasteful design for grown-up gamers.”

Desktop PC of the Year: PC Specialist Vulcan X 02

“The Ryzen 5 1600X may nominally be a mid-range CPU, but with six cores and a screaming maximum frequency of 4GHz the Vulcan X 02 is one heck of a performer,” explained Darien Graham-Smith. “PC Specialist also throws in a smartly chosen graphics card and an excellent, highly expandable motherboard: it’s a real do-everything PC, and for under a grand it’s unbeatable value.”

Security Product of the Year: iStorage diskAshur Pro 2

“Portable data should be encrypted, that’s a given; but encryption comes in many flavours and ‘hardware’ is the tastiest,” says PC Pro’s security expert Davey Winder. “With PINs and keys encrypted at rest, physical protection against external tampering and being fully GDPR compliant, the diskAshur Pro 2 is the most secure hard drive I’ve ever seen.”

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