Best of 2017

It was a wonderful year to be a Windows user.

The year 2017 saw many of the leading PC makers, including Microsoft, release new or updated laptops, desktops, 2-in-1s, and convertibles, some of them deliciously drool-worthy. Microsoft released a powerful new Xbox console and took 4K gaming centerstage. The company also debuted Windows Mixed Reality. PC gaming reached new heights. And we can't even begin to list all the awesome accessories released in 2017 that make our other devices that much better.

It was not easy to identify the best products in any of these categories. But that's exactly what we did. The following devices are quite simply the best of the best, and every one truly deserves to be called one of Windows Central's Best of 2017.

Best PC

Best overall laptop

Surface Book 2

The Surface Book 2 is arguably the best all-around PC on the market today. Inking, mixed reality, acting as a tablet, and even gaming is all possible with this newly perfected laptop. The only drawback is the high price, but it's worth it. — Daniel Rubino, executive editor

More: Surface Book 2 review

Runner-up: Surface Laptop

Best Ultrabook

Surface Laptop

With its breathtaking design featuring Alcantara and aluminum, a high-resolution 3:2 display and powerful specifications, the Surface Laptop is our pick for best Ultrabook 2017. — Zac Bowden, senior writer

More: Surface Laptop review

Runner-up: Razer Blade Stealth

Best convertible laptop

Yoga 920

With its unique watchband hinge, 4K touch display, and slim, light design, Lenovo's Yoga 920 is the finest convertible laptop we've used this year. It also has the hardware inside required to tackle a day's work. — Cale Hunt, staff writer

More: Yoga 920 review

Runner-up: Surface Book 2

Best 2-in-1

Surface Pro (2017)

Microsoft's updated Surface Pro is quite simply a work of art from a design and usability perspective. It's everything we want in a 2-in-1: thin, light, portable, functional, versatile, reliable, and good-looking. Combined with the Surface Pen, it's an indispensable tool for artists, designers and creators. — Al Sacco, managing editor

More: Surface Pro review

Best gaming laptop

Razer Blade 14

The Blade from Razer has everything you need to be productive while mobile and even game a little on the side. Configurations can include a 4K display and all models come packing a powerful NVIDIA GTX 1060. — Rich Edmonds, staff reviewer

More: Razer Blade 14 4K display reivew

Best desktop tower

HP Omen X

A big, powerful desktop PC should make a statement. In the world of pre-built desktops, the HP Omen X is definitely a stand-out example. Sure, it's pretty big, but that's part of its appeal, with space inside for a truly monstrous, 100-percent-customizable PC.
— Richard Devine, reviews editor

Runner-up: IdeaCentre Y710 Cube

Best desktop all-in-one

Dell XPS 27 All-in-One

That Dell made a great all-in-one PC is of no surprise, but the latest XPS 27 is exceptional. It's got a large, gorgeous 4K display, immense power inside and out front, TEN speakers. That's how to stand out from the crowd. — Richard Devine

More: XPS 27 review

Runner-up: Surface Studio

Best Windows accessories

Best monitor

AOC Agon AG271QG

Sporting an IPS panel, a 165Hz refresh rate, support for NVIDIA G-Sync with compatible graphics cards, and all the ports you'll need, the AOC AG271QG is hard to beat when it comes to gaming. It's also fairly good at work. — Rich Edmonds

Runners-up: LG 38UC99-W Philips Momentum 326m

Best keyboard

Surface Keyboard

The Surface Keyboard is everything a wireless keypad should be. It's simple, and though it doesn't have many bells and whistles, that's a good thing. We love the key travel and appreciate the number pad. Battery life is great, too — though we wish it was rechargeable. And it fits the Surface aesthetic perfectly. — Al Sacco

Runner-up: Alienware Pro Gaming

Best mouse

Logitech MX Master 2S

Able to work across three PCs simultaneously, the Logitech MX Master 2S is THE wireless mouse for professionals (and anyone who likes a comfortable mouse). The battery lasts up to 70 days on a full charge, and extra customizable buttons are ready for your shortcuts. — Cale Hunt

Runner-up: Surface Precision Mouse

Best wearable

Fitbit Ionic

The Fitbit Ionic — as its name implies — is mostly geared toward fitness, but the new Fitbit OS adds many smartwatch features to make it the best wearable of 2017. Whether it's tap to pay, getting the weather, or controlling your Philips Hue lights, the Ionic is an outstanding choice. — Daniel Rubino

More: Fitbit Ionic review

Runner-up: Apple Watch

Best microphone

Blue Yeti Pro

The Blue Yeti line of mcirophones are PC and user-friendly, offering high quality audio capture without casuing pain by requring amps, cabling and adapters. Simply plug and play, or sing. The Blue Yeti Pro takes things to the net level with even higher quality recordings now possible. Perfect for professional sittings. — Rich Edmonds

Best Bluetooth speaker

Anker Soundcore 2

The beach isn't just great fun wtih company and the sun shining, it's also the ideal place to pump some tunes into the air. The Anker Soundcore 2 is a durable Bluetooth speaker that boasts stunning battery life and solid performance you can rely on. — Rich Edmonds

Best headphones

Bose Quiet Comfort 35 II

Updated for 2017, the Series II Bose QuietComfort 35 headphones are still delivering ridiculous sound over Bluetooth. New features include adjustable noise cancellation and a button for quick access to your digital assistant. — Cale Hunt

Runner-up: Turtle Beach Elite Pro Tournament

Best laptop bag

GT Omega Racing backpack

It may be targeted at gamers, but this is a laptop bag for everyone. It has so many pockets you'll struggle to fill them all, it's well made, comfortable to carry and extremely affordable. — Richard Devine

Runner-up: WaterField Bolt Crossbody

Best external drive

Seagate 8TB Game Drive Hub

You like games, we like games – but games are big on Xbox One. Seagate's aptly named "Game Drive Hub" offers a staggering 8TB of storage for console gamers, in sleek Xbox-inspired design. It might not come cheap, but offers overwhelming storage solution – especially great for those Xbox One X 4K assets. — Matt Brown, writer

Runner-up: Western Digital WD Easystore 8TB USB 3.0

Best Windows features and Microsoft services

Best new Windows 10 feature

Windows Mixed Reality

Windows Mixed Reality brings the Windows experience to virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). With dedicated headmounted displays, you can use Windows in a fully immersive, 3D environment. It's still early days, but it's already glorious. — Zac Bowden

Runner-up: Fluent Design System

Best new Microsoft service

Microsoft Edge browsers for iOS and Android

Microsoft Edge hitting iOS and Android came as a complete surprise. But after a short beta period, Edge is now not only a great app, it's an app that's getting a lot of user attention. And the ability to go between your phone and PC is just the icing on the cake. — Richard Devine

Runner-up: Xbox Game Pass

Most improved Microsoft service

Microsoft Launcher for Android

Previously known as "Arrow Launcher," the Microsoft Launcher for Android underwent some major changes this year. Providing a snappy clean interface that's packed with functionality, and best of all, available for free, the Microsoft Launcher is a must-try for Windows users in the Android world. — Matt Brown

Runner-up: Mixer (formerly Beam)

Best Windows 10 apps

Best photography app

Photoshop Elements 2018

Many people think they need Adobe Photoshop for editing their photos, but all they need is the streamlined and efficient Adobe Photoshop Elements 2018. The refreshed app is now in the Microsoft Store and is our go-to photo editing app every day. — Daniel Rubino

Runner up: Affinity Photo

Best weather app

MSN Weather

Times when you don't need to know what the weather will be like in an hour's time are few and far between, which is why you need to have access to accurate forecasts, and Microsoft's Weather app presents all this information in a clean, clutterless experience. — Rich Edmonds

Runner-up: Perfect Weather Universal

Best social app

Tweeten

For those aiming to get the most out of Twitter, Tweeten is an unrivaled solution for management and efficiency. Built off the TweetDeck experience, Tweeten offers a sleek interface and improved features, easily surpassing the company's official offering. — Matt Brown

Runner-up: GroupMe

Best news app

MSN News

Microsoft's built-in News app is fully featured, with a clean design and lightweight performance. You can't go wrong with Microsoft News. — Zac Bowden

Runner-up: USA Today

Best Windows 10 game

Forza Motorsport 7

Forza's greatness is no longer just for the console, and this year's game is the first in the Motorsport line to hit the PC. And what a game it is. Unlocked frame rates, stunning visuals, over 700 cars and enough gameplay to keep you hooked until Forza 8 is why this is the best game that hit Windows 10 in 2017. — Richard Devine

Runner-up: Cuphead

Best of Windows Mixed Reality

Best Mixed Reality headset

HP Windows Mixed Reality headset

It's lightweight, it's comfortable, and it's your portal into Windows Mixed Reality. HP's headset is our overall favorite of the bunch, providing us with hours on end of VR fun. — Cale Hunt

Runner-up: Samsung HMD Odyssey headset

Best Mixed Reality game

Superhot VR

Superhot was a tremendous shooter title on the Xbox One, but it really stands proud as a VR title, and it fully supports Windows Mixed Reality. In Superhot, time only moves when you move, creating maddeningly difficult slow-motion puzzles. So far, VR hasn't gotten better than this. — Jez Corden, games editor

Runner-up: Fallout 4 VR

Best Mixed Reality app

SteamVR

While Windows Mixed Reality is still in its early days, support for SteamVR has bolstered the platform's relevance out of the gate. With access to hundreds of VR titles and open ecosystem for multiple headset brands, SteamVR converges everything VR into a single location.— Matt Brown

Runner-up: Next VR

Best of Xbox

Best Xbox console

Xbox One X

The Xbox One X is the ultimate video game console, complete with 4K media playback, and most importantly, full 4K gaming. Games come to live in vivid 4K resolution with HDR, and many of them are picking up "performance" modes, bringing benefits to non-UHD TVs. This is the culmination of everything Microsoft has worked towards. — Jez Corden

More: Xbox One X review

Runner-up: Limited Edition Minecraft Xbox One S

Best Xbox controller

Razer Wolverine

For those looking for a pro-level, wired console controller with advanced customization for precision and accuracy, you can't do much better than the Razer Wolverine Ultimate for the Xbox One. Did we mention it lights up, too? — Daniel Rubino

More: Wolverine review

Runner up: Minecraft Pig Xbox controller

Best Xbox accessory

PDP Talon Remote

Microsoft's Xbox media remote is distinctly … pedestrian. Anyone who relies on Xbox for streaming and in-home entertainment needs (deserves?) something better. The Windows Central team agrees that something should be PDP's Talon Xbox Media Remote. It's simple, it lights up in the dark, and it costs $20. 'Nuff said. — Al Sacco

More: Talon Remote review

Runner-up: Turtle Beach Elite Pro Tournament

Best of gaming

Best Xbox game

Assassin's Creed Origins

Assassin's Creed Origins is our pick for best Xbox One game this year, putting the open world stealth franchise back to the fore. Ubisoft's brilliantly realized take on Ancient Egypt truly comes to life on Xbox One X in 4K, complete with compelling RPG mechanics and satisfying combat. This is arguably the best game in the series. — Jez Corden

More: Windows Central's full list of 2017 game awards

Runners-up: Prey Resident Evil 7 Biohazard

Best indie Xbox game

Cuphead

Cuphead took the world by storm this year, with its retro-styled side-scrolling shooter combat, incredible hand-drawn art work and maddening difficulty. Every boss kill in Cuphead feels blissfully rewarding, as you slog through a crazy world of living cakes, violent vegetables, and oh, Satan himself. This was the best indie game of 2017. — Jez Corden

More: Windows Central's full list of 2017 game awards

Runners-up: The Long Dark Ruiner

Most underated Xbox game

Prey

Out of every unfairly overlooked game this year, none stung as hard as Arkane Studios' Prey. While imperfect, Prey's misunderstood methodical FPS combat, layered RPG mechanics and incredibly atmosphetic sci-fi world really deserved more attention, and that's why it's our pick for most underrated game of 2017. — Jez Corden

More: Windows Central's full list of 2017 game awards

Runner-up: Halo Wars 2

Most anticipated Xbox game

Sea of Thieves

The most recent Sea of Thieves gameplay demos from Rare have us shivering with anticipation. Sea of Thieves is a connected world pirate simulator, complete with treasure hunting and trading. The game remains shrouded in mystery, but it could prove to be a real hit for Microsoft in 2018. — Jez Corden

More: Windows Central's full list of 2017 game awards

Runners-up: Ashen Surviving Mars