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Last Updated: Monday, 25 December 2006, 01:06 GMT
Hot picks: the best tech of 2006
Toshiba prototype headgear
Some gadgets became more mainstream than others in 2006
The last year has seen a rush of high profile launches for device, software and gadget lovers.

Apple's MacBook made a big impression on many earlier in the year, whilst many people are eager to get their hands on Microsoft's latest offering, Windows Vista.

In the run up to Christmas both Nintendo and Sony launched their new games consoles.

So what was the best of 2006? Our panel of technology experts guides you through their picks of the last year.

FRASER MACDONALD, EDITOR, STUFF MAGAZINE

Sony PlayStation 3
After many delays the PlayStation 3 was launched in Japan and America

The product we've been talking about this year has been Sony's PlayStation 3.

It's a fantastic coming together of next generation gaming technology, next generation Blu-ray DVD technology, wi-fi and home media technology. It really is an iconic gadget for Stuff readers.

Traditionally I've been a Nintendo man and have always been sceptical of the PlayStation, but the games really are magnificent. The one I've been playing most is MotorStorm, which is real eye candy.

So technology wise the PS3 is the most interesting of the new consoles. But Nintendo Wii has also had a massive impact.

It's got something which will take it beyond what the PlayStation and Xbox are striving to achieve. I genuinely think that the Wii will sell to people who would not have previously considered buying a console.

There is so much build up to games console launches because they happen so infrequently, and as an editor you worry that when they happen they will be a bit flat. Happily, all the new consoles have been fantastic.

MARTIN LYNCH, EDITOR, GIZMODO

InFocus IN76
There are many ways to watch high definition TV

Many people think that the only way to get high definition content into their living rooms is by forking out for a LCD or plasma HDTV. There is an alternative though and it comes in the form of a high-definition projector.

Not only can it be hooked up to PCs, DVD players, set-top boxes and games consoles, but it's the only way to recreate that cinema feeling.

After all, why spend 1,300 on a skinny TV with a 42in screen when the same money will get you a glorious 15ft image?

One of the best looking products this year was the InFocus IN76 Play Big HD projector. The company certainly overhauled what mainstream projectors can look like, with its sleek, glossy black shell.

The good looks were also matched in the performance stakes. Images from HD content (and standard DVDs) are pin-sharp and colour reproduction is cinema-quality.

It also doesn't care what size room you have. It will produce a 36in image from just three feet away and unlike a back-breaking HDTV, you can pop it under your arm and take it wherever you like when you're done.

KATIE LEE, EDITOR, SHINY SHINY

The Nintendo Wii has been the success story of 2006. I think for a long time Nintendo has been classed as the underdog in the games console market, but the Wii has changed that.

Nintendo have come out with a really innovative games console. They've done something different and unusual.

VOTE RESULTS
Which of our expert's choices was your pick of 2006?
PlayStation 3
 21.32% 
HD projector
 11.72% 
Nintendo Wii
 57.81% 
Parallels software
 9.15% 
39074 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

I think it was a really brave and exciting move.

Lots of people are talking about the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox, but for those consoles you have to be a gamer. The great thing about the Nintendo is that it is for everyone.

Friends and family that don't normally play games want to have a go. The whole idea of the Wiimote and waving it around to control the games is so inclusive.

I think the PlayStation 3 will be the gadget of next year, but for 2006 it definitely has to be the Wii.

GINA TRAPANI, EDITOR, LIFEHACKER

Mac user
Parallels allows users to run windows applications on their Macs

With Apple Macs now using Intel chips, the once-impossible has become a reality: a computer that runs both Mac and Windows operating systems.

While Apple's Boot Camp allowed users to do precisely that, it has its faults; namely the fact that you have to reboot every time you want to switch from OS X to Windows.

With Parallels Desktop, however, you can have the best of both operating systems at your fingertips.

You can run them on separate desktops or in Coherence mode that allows you to run Windows programs on your Mac desktop.

This is the reason that any on-the-fence switchers with cash for Apple hardware and an affinity for a Windows application can now make the jump to a shiny new Mac.

It is also the reason why Parallels is my application of 2006.

JAMES BEECHINOR-COLLINS, EDITOR, T3 MAGAZINE

Models play Nintendo Wii
The Nintendo Wii uses an innovative game controller

My choice of 2006 would definitely be the Nintendo Wii. In my opinion it genuinely demonstrates next generation gaming.

It's a brand new approach and it opens up gaming to a whole new group of people who you would not think of traditionally as gamers.

Anyone can now get involved with video games.

The Wii is also not just about being faster or having better graphics. Nintendo have really sat down and thought about how they can do something genuinely different. That for me is what next generation gaming is all about.

I also think it sits alongside the Xbox and PS3, rather than competing against them. Microsoft and Sony have gone in one direction and Nintendo have gone the other way and I really think it's going to pay off for them.




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