Tom's Guide Awards 2023: The best computing and home office products of the year

Tom's Guide Awards 2023: MacBook Air 15-inch M2 open on a bench
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Computing technologies witnessed major innovations in the past year. Apple pushed its silicon chips further, released the MacBook Air 15-inch, and upgraded multiple powerful machines. Lenovo embraced an inventive spirit with a versatile dual-screen laptop. Dell, Acer and Asus debuted mighty 18-inch machines. Samsung impressed us with ultra-wide monitors that are smarter than ever, too.

Meanwhile, Google showed us that a tablet can be more than just a tech slate to tote around. And let's not forget that we tested top-rated standing desks, computer chairs, and routers, helping you round out the ultimate home office. 

Help us celebrate the very best in computing and home office by checking out all of the winners below. For more categories and champions, see the entire list of winners of the Tom’s Guide Awards 2023. 

Best laptop

Best laptop: MacBook Air 15-inch M2

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The MacBook Air 15-inch might just be a larger version of the 13-inch MacBook Air M2 released last year, but Apple’s latest slim-and-light machine is arguably the best laptop for the money. The Apple M2 chip provides plenty of power for everyday computing, light video editing and even gaming. It also has a gorgeous Liquid Retina display that delivers solid picture quality. You get all of that in a chassis that’s both elegant and portable. As we said in our review, the MacBook Air 15-inch M2 offers a near-perfect mix of performance, display quality, portability and battery life.

Best value laptop

Best value laptop: Acer Aspire 5

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The Acer Aspire 5 is far from the fastest, sleekest or flashiest laptop on the market. But this plucky little machine runs Windows 11 on a 1080p 14-inch display, a modern Intel Core i3 processor, 8GB of RAM and a reasonable 256GB of storage space, all for roughly $500, and at that price it’s an excellent choice and the best budget laptop you can buy. What the Aspire 5 lacks in overall performance and battery life compared to more expensive laptops, it makes in value and flexibility. The Aspire 5 is a great entry-level laptop for students and others on a budget, giving you a nice port selection and a surpsily responsive keyboard at a killer price.

Best 2-in-1

Best 2-in-1: Lenovo Yoga Book 9i

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Most laptops, even the best 2-in-1 laptops, often have interchangeable designs. That would be an understatement for the Lenovo Yoga Book 9i, which is easily one of the most intriguing laptops (and products) we’ve ever reviewed. This is a compelling alternative to foldable screen laptops because you get two 13-inch displays in one package, supporting multiple user modes. You can use it like a regular laptop or tablet, or enter tent mode for presentations. With the included folio kickstand, you can position the Yoga Book 9i with its two displays stacked on top of each other or spread the two panels side by side like a book. The included keyboard and mouse provide additional functionality. If you’re looking for the Swiss Army knife of laptops, the Lenovo Yoga Book 9i has you covered.

Best gaming laptop

Best gaming laptop: Alienware m18

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The enormous Alienware m18 takes the mantra of “go big or go home” literally. This 18-inch gaming laptop is not only gargantuan, but it packs plenty of power to rival even the best gaming PCs thanks to its 13th Gen Intel Core CPU and Nvidia GeForce RTX 40-series GPU. And since its display is so expansive, it can function as a desktop replacement — which is about right considering this laptop is anything but portable. While pricy, this behemoth has everything you could want in a gaming laptop, and more. Big-ass laptops are back and the Alienware m18 is among the best out there you can buy.

Best tablet

Best tablet: Google Pixel Tablet

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On its own, the Google Pixel Tablet is nothing special. The benchmark performance scores, display, and battery life are all pretty much average among tablets. However, the Pixel Tablet has something all others don’t: a charging dock with a built-in speaker that turns the Pixel Tablet into a smart display with some great audio. The tablet’s Tensor G2 chip enables some great photo-editing features, and a camera that can track you around the room makes it handy for video calls. The Pixel Tablet is also the first with Chromecast built-in, so you can even use it as a mini smart TV of sorts. Best of all? A special screen lets you control all your smart home devices, making the Pixel Tablet the best tablet for homebodies. 

Best monitor

Best monitor: Samsung Odyssey OLED G8

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If you’re looking for the best monitor for productivity and gaming, the Samsung Odyssey OLED G8 is a sure bet.Though pricey at $1,799, this curved 34 inch monitor delivers a bright and vivid picture at a sharp 3,440 x 1,440 resolution. On top of that, games run buttery smooth and fast thanks to the fluid 175Hz refresh rate and low 0.03ms response time. While marketed as a gaming monitor, the ultra-wide panel also gives you plenty space for work. For what it offers, the Samsung Odyssey OLED G8 is a monitor worth considering. 

Best standing desk

Best standing desk: Vari Curve Electric Standing Desk

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The original Vari Electric Standing Desk has remained at the top of our best standing desk page for some time now and the Vari Curve Electric Standing Desk builds upon its predecessor with some welcome new features. Besides the waterfall edge at the front that makes typing a lot more comfortable, it also has grommets on either end to make it easier to run cables up to the top of the desk. Vari’s streamlined assembly process is the best in the business and the Curve Electric Standing Desk can be put together in less than 15 minutes using just eight bolts. It’s worth noting that Vari’s Curve Electric Standing Desk has since been replaced by its new Ergo Electric Standing Desk which is slightly smaller and comes in darkwood but has the exact same features.

Best office chair

Best office chair: Branch Verve Chair

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The Branch Verve Chair combines style and comfort to make an exceptional office chair that will turn heads. A winner of an iF Design Award, the chair’s V-shaped suspended back also houses its adjustable lumbar rest while its arms curve outward, unlike most other office chairs. The unique 3D knit fabric on its backrest keeps you cool while working and Branch Furniture designed this chair for 8+ hours of comfortable use. In addition to the coral color seen here, the Verve Chair is also available in mint and cobalt as well as black and white if you’d rather have it blend in with your other furniture instead of standing out.

Best router

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After wowing us earlier this year with one of the best Wi-Fi routers at CES 2023, TP-Link released the Deco BE85 which in addition to being one of the first Wi-Fi 7 capable devices is also a mesh router. In our TP-Link Deco BE85 review, we were impressed by the device’s quick setup process and its excellent performance. There are also plenty of multi-gig ports at the back including two 10Gbps ones along with a 2.5Gbps one and even a SFP+ port for fiber internet. The future of Wi-Fi is here and the Deco BE85 is one of the best mesh Wi-Fi systems if you want to fill your whole home with high-speed internet.

Best antivirus

Best antivirus: Norton 360 Deluxe

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Norton 360 Deluxe is currently our pick for the best antivirus software you can buy today and it’s also quite high up on our list of the best Mac antivirus software. The reason being is that this antivirus software suite packs in plenty of useful tools to keep you safe online like a password manager, a VPN, parental control software, a firewall and even cloud backup. Norton also throws in dark web monitoring and a way to erase any of your personal information that may have ended up in the hands of data brokers. Norton 360 Deluxe may be more expensive than the competition but you’re getting the best protection for up to five devices including Windows PCs, Macs, Android smartphones and Apple’s iPhone.

Best VPN

Best VPN: ExpressVPN

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Of all the best VPN services out there, ExpressVPN has remained in the top spot based on our in-depth testing. The company has more than 3,000 servers across 94 countries around the world, meaning it can bypass practically all the region blocks you need it to. We also like the fact that ExpressVPN’s open-source Lightway protocol is able to deliver blazing fast speeds without compromising your security thanks to the inclusion of AES-256 encryption. Besides apps for desktop and mobile, there’s also support for smart TVs and game consoles as well as apps for routers. Being able to easily reach ExpresssVPN’s support team is another big plus for us with live chat available 24/7 and experts available to walk you through even the most complex configurations. 

Tom's Guide Staff

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