This year marks the 7th edition of the annual HWM+HardwareZone.com Tech Awards, the tech industry's premier event where we recognize the best brands, products, and services. 37 Editor’s Choice and 40 Readers’ Choice awards are presented this year, in categories ranging from computers and consumer electronics to digital entertainment, communications, and services. Also presented are 4 Innovation awards (part of the Editor's Choice categories) to recognize innovative products and cutting-edge technologies that have emerged during the eligibility period.
For the Editor's Choice awards, more than 150 products spread across 33 categories introduced between January 2015 and December 2015 were shortlisted. After many months of evaluation by the HWM and HardwareZone.com editorial team, winners were chosen based on the performance, value, and quality of experience they brought to their users. In addition, voting for the 40 Readers’ Choice categories was opened to all readers of HWM and HardwareZone.com. With nearly 200 brand nominations, it remains one of the most comprehensive brand recognition surveys in the industry.
This year also sees the inclusion of video games merit categories, for the first time presented in collaboration with GameAxis.com. In addition to the Best Gaming Console Brand award introduced last year, a Best Gaming Publisher award was available for public voting among this year’s Readers’ Choice brand nominees. Four new video games categories were also considered for Editor’s Choice awards: Best PC Game, Best Console Game, Best Online Game, and Game of the Year.
Without further ado, in this first of three articles, let us first take a look at the detailed results of our Readers’ Choice polls.
Mobile SoCs are getting faster every single day; but for desktops, Intel’s chips still rule the roost. In June last year, we saw the launch of chipzilla’s 5th-gen Core processors (Broadwell) based on a 14nm process, as well as the very power-efficient Core M line that has a thermal power envelope as low as 4.5W. But it wasn’t long (in August, actually) before we saw the arrival of the company's 6th-gen Core processor family (Skylake) that’s focused on increasing core performance output with a bigger, wider core. In fact, Skylake is designed to power a wide range of devices, from mobile devices all the way to desktops - which is smart, considering worldwide PC sales are expected to plummet further. That said, mindshare-wise, it’s hard to see Intel losing its grip in this Readers' Choice category though.
With 48% of the votes, this is the seventh straight year ASUS has walked home with our Readers’ Choice award for Best Graphics Card Brand. Once again, we think ASUS’ popularity boils down to its ability to churn out a wide range of graphics cards for both NVIDIA and AMD fans. For example, we’ve seen Maxwell-based cards like the ASUS Strix GeForce GTX 960 2GB GDDR5, the Strix GeForce GTX 980 OC Edition, and of course, its own version of the GTX Titan X; as well as the Strix Radeon R9 370 and 380, and Strix Radeon R9 380X, for users who prefer AMD’s GPU offerings.
What most of our readers like about ASUS’ graphics cards (variety, performance, reliability) also apply to the company’s motherboards. For example, the company has an impressive line of Intel Z170 Skylake motherboards for high-end system builders, as well as a comprehensive line of H170 and B150 boards, with each of them further segmented into ASUS’ usual Signature, The Ultimate Force (TUF), and Pro Gaming lineups. With quick support for the latest features (e.g., DDR4, USB Type-C, USB 3.1), it’s no wonder why our readers love ASUS’ motherboards.
Another brand that has made an award its own is Kingston, who has won the Best PC Memory Brand award for the sixth consecutive year. In fact, its share of votes (42%) is the same as last year, and twice that of second-place Corsair (20%). If you’re looking for memory for your new Skylake machine, know that the company has recently released new high-speed, high-capacity Savage DDR4 and Predator DDR4 memory, as well as the cost-efficient Fury DDR4 kits with automatic overclocking up to 2,666MHz. And for low voltage memory or memory for notebooks and small form factor PCs, look no further than to Kington’s HyperX Fury DDR3L memory kits and Impact DDR4 SO-DIMMs respectively.