The best gadgets and tech innovations of 2023 — Windows Central Tech Awards 2023

The best tech of 2023: Windows Central Tech Awards
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Best Awards 2023

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As another year comes to an end, it's time to take a look back on a fantastic year in tech. 

This year was dominated by a vast expansion in AI tools, led by products like ChatGPT and Windows Copilot. We saw a huge range of refined ultrabooks, PC components, headphones, and much more hit the fray. We also saw the first foldable screen laptops, as the tech around flexible displays matures. 

We came together as a team and thought we'd recap all of our favorite tech, accessories, gadgets, and beyond — all from products we've personally tested and used. Congrats to all the winners, and to everyone, have an epic holiday season from the Windows Central team! 

Related: Also check out our Windows Central Game Awards for 2023

Best Tech Innovation of 2023

Windows Central Tech Awards 2023

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ChatGPT 4See at: OpenAI

ChatGPT 4
Tech Innovation of the Year 2023

2023 is the year AI truly emerged and OpenAI was a huge part of that with ChatGPT. It grabbed attention on a massive scale, but also helped redefine using the web. The idea that a simple text prompt can generate content, code, summarize document, help plan a vacation, and so many other things, ChatGPT has pushed the boundaries of what our online life can be. It even got into South Park, which really means it made it. OpenAI has continued to develop its tech (which also powers Microsoft Copilot) and with plugins, image generation, and custom GPTs just some of the more recent additions, 2024 is going to be an exciting year for generative AI, and ChatGPT will be leading the way.

See at: OpenAI

Best Laptop of 2023

Windows Central Tech Awards 2023

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HP Spectre Fold
Best Laptop of 2023

HP swung big with the HP Spectre Fold and while its $5,000 price puts it out of reach for many let’s get this straight: It NAILED the hardware design. The 17” OLED display is gorgeous, there’s barely a crease, the keyboard wirelessly charges, it has a pen, and when folded as a laptop the 12.5” display is PERFECT for plane flights. More surprising? Battery life is phenomenal thanks to its 94WHr battery. Speakers, keyboard, front-facing camera, overall build quality and design shows that HP did its homework and did not cut corners. If PCs with foldable displays become a thing the HP Spectre Fold was the first to get it right. It’s a game changer for people who travel and need the flexibility of three PCs in one.

See at: HP

HP Spectre Fold
Best Laptop of 2023

HP swung big with the HP Spectre Fold and while its $5,000 price puts it out of reach for many let’s get this straight: It NAILED the hardware design. The 17” OLED display is gorgeous, there’s barely a crease, the keyboard wirelessly charges, it has a pen, and when folded as a laptop the 12.5” display is PERFECT for plane flights. More surprising? Battery life is phenomenal thanks to its 94WHr battery. Speakers, keyboard, front-facing camera, overall build quality and design shows that HP did its homework and did not cut corners. If PCs with foldable displays become a thing the HP Spectre Fold was the first to get it right. It’s a game changer for people who travel and need the flexibility of three PCs in one.

See at:
HP

Best Ultrabook of 2023

Windows Central Tech Awards 2023

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Lenovo Yoga 9i (2023)
Best Ultrabook of 2023

Naming the best Ultrabook is always challenging since there are so many contenders, but Lenovo’s Yoga 9i (Gen 8) is perfect. You get up to a 4K 14” OLED display with perfect color calibration and Dolby Vision with HDR True Black 500, thin bezels, a sold webcam, an Intel 13th Gen processor, quad speakers (including that famed soundbar hinge), plenty of ports and an outstanding keyboard with touchpad. Plus, it’s a 2-in-1 convertible with a pen with a beautiful, rounded chassis and classy oatmeal colorway. The only thing it's missing is a discrete GPU, but it wouldn’t be the best Ultrabook, would it? Don’t take my word for it; go read user reviews for it. It’s perfect.

See at: Lenovo 

Best Business Laptop of 2023

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HP Dragonfly G4
Best Business Laptop

Here’s the test: Which laptop do I ALWAYS take when I travel? I’d say the Spectre Fold lately, but it’s missing LTE and 5G, which I prefer, so my go-to business laptop is the HP Dragonfly G4. I took it to South Korea, Malaysia, Seattle, and multiple trips to New York City in 2023. It has incredible battery life, optional cellular connectivity, the rare 3:2 display, and it weighs just 2.22 lbs., making it one of the lightest full-featured laptops. It has every port you need, including HDMI and the keyboard and touchpad are PERFECT. It even has excellent audio, which you rarely get in a business laptop. But besides myself, I can tell you other people in tech media ALSO exclusively use the Dragonfly G4 because it’s that good.

See at: HP

Best Phone of 2023

Windows Central Tech Awards 2023

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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
Best Phone of 2023

As seen by many as a ‘minor’ upgrade, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 is the culmination of many tweaks that took me from returning the Fold 4 to keeping the Fold 5. Closing flat, slightly lighter, better display and longer battery life, it feels on par with the Samsung flagship Galaxy S23 Ultra in every way (save for the cameras, which are ‘OK’). I’ve had Pixels, iPhones, Flip 5, and the S23 Ultra, and I can’t give up that gorgeous 7.6-inch screen. While the aspect ratio is still weird, I appreciate the one-handed use of the narrower outer display, which I use much more often than I’d thought. Combined with the recent One UI 6.0 and Android 14, Samsung has firmly established the foldable phone for the masses. But let’s get that price down for the rest of us.
See at: Samsung

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
Best Phone of 2023

As seen by many as a ‘minor’ upgrade, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 is the culmination of many tweaks that took me from returning the Fold 4 to keeping the Fold 5. Closing flat, slightly lighter, better display and longer battery life, it feels on par with the Samsung flagship Galaxy S23 Ultra in every way (save for the cameras, which are ‘OK’). I’ve had Pixels, iPhones, Flip 5, and the S23 Ultra, and I can’t give up that gorgeous 7.6-inch screen. While the aspect ratio is still weird, I appreciate the one-handed use of the narrower outer display, which I use much more often than I’d thought. Combined with the recent One UI 6.0 and Android 14, Samsung has firmly established the foldable phone for the masses. But let’s get that price down for the rest of us.
See at: Samsung

Best Desktop All-in-One of 2023

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HP Envy Move
Best Desktop All-in-One of 2023

A genuine surprise, HP created the perfect family-oriented PC with this unique all-in-one with a twist: it has a battery! 4.5 hours of portable use might seem slim compared to laptops, but the Envy Move features phenomenal B&O speakers and a 24-inch touchscreen that's perfect for young kids to navigate Windows 11 easily. It's far better suited as a shared machine and is genuinely portable, with automatic pop-out feet and a cute pouch for the included lapboard to fit any room and occasion. I wish these were around when I was young so I didn't have to share a boring beige desktop, and I've already recommended it to friends with new families of their own.

See at: HP

Best Tech Accessory of 2023

Windows Central Tech Awards 2023

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XREAL Air 2 Pro
Best Tech Accessory

While our full review of the XREAL Air 2 Pro is still in progress, it's hard to deny just how incredibly fabulous this thing is. This represents augmented reality as it should have been implemented by HoloLens — sleek and incredibly close to a regular pair of sunglasses, lightweight, complete with prescription lens options. Combined with the XREAL Beam attachment or practically any modern Android smartphone, you get an entire additional augmented display right in your field of view. Incredibly sharp visuals, complete with resize options, this is the ultimate accessory for productivity or play on the go. The Pro version even comes with insanely futuristic electro magnetic lens dimming options, which needs to be seen to be believed. Incredible stuff.

See at: XREAL | Amazon

Best Mouse of 2023

Windows Central Tech Awards 2023

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Razer Viper Mini (Signature Edition)
Best Mouse of 2023

Razer's now-legendary Viper Mini Signature Edition is an absolutely insane, ultra-premium, high-performance wireless gaming mouse. It boasts some of the best specs in the business with ludicrous sensitivity and industry-leading 8,000Hz wireless polling rates, but what really makes this mouse special is the ridiculously low weight (just 49 grams!), the unique magnesium alloy build, and its fast charging capabilities. It's an absurdly stunning mouse made for the most passionate, hardcore gamers, so it's no wonder it costs as much as it does.

See at: Razer

Best Monitor of 2023

Dell Ultrasharp 32

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Dell Ultrasharp 32 6K Monitor (U3224KB)
Best Monitor of 2023

There are displays, and then there is the Dell Ultrasharp 32 6K Monitor (U3224KB). There is nothing like it on the market, and it’s my monitor of choice for daily work. As the name suggests, it has a massive 32-inch 6K IPS Black display with 500 nits of brightness and a built-in hub for connectivity options (including acting as a KVM switch). What makes 6K here so great is the 220 pixels-per-inch (PPI), even at 32-inches. Most companies peak at 4K displays, where the larger you go, the worse the PPI gets, negating the “high resolution” effect. Not Here! But the real surprise? The sound bar on the top and the massive 4K camera (which tilts, has Windows Hello IR, and has a mechanical lens cover) are out of this world. Most display speakers are trash, but Dell did a good enough job that I rely on these speakers for all my video calls. And that webcam? It’s the best I have ever used. Period. I used it on every podcast from May 2023 until last week, and it’s simply amazing. It can even detect when you’re in front of it, which is wild. Nothing touches Dell’s bold Ultrasharp 32 6K Monitor (U3224KB) if you need the BEST monitor for work and graphic work.

See at:
Dell

Best Webcam of 2023

Windows Central Tech Awards 2023

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OSBOT Tiny 2
Best Webcam of 2023

Webcams are a dime a dozen, and it can be hard to pick out the very best. Right now, OBSBOT handily earns that distinction with the Tiny 2, an incredible 4K HDR webcam with a 2-axis gimbal for smooth tracking, a premium and compact design perfect for travel, feature-packed software with plenty of AI tools and tricks, and optional accesories to make your experience even better. It's expensive, but the OBSBOT Tiny 2 can do it all for those that need it. 

See at: Amazon

OSBOT Tiny 2
Best Webcam of 2023

Webcams are a dime a dozen, and it can be hard to pick out the very best. Right now, OBSBOT handily earns that distinction with the Tiny 2, an incredible 4K HDR webcam with a 2-axis gimbal for smooth tracking, a premium and compact design perfect for travel, feature-packed software with plenty of AI tools and tricks, and optional accesories to make your experience even better. It's expensive, but the OBSBOT Tiny 2 can do it all for those that need it.

See at: Amazon

Best Windows PC App of 2023

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Microsoft / Bing Copilot
Best Windows PC app of 2023

Microsoft Copilot took the world by storm this year. First announced in February as the "Bing Copilot," before morphing into the universal "Microsoft Copilot" and now shipping as part of Windows 11. Microsoft' AI efforts are incredible, allowing users to conduct complex searches with multiple queries, find out information, and even have it create things such as emails, letters, stories, and images. It's still a new technology, so there are issues that need to be ironed out, but we think Copilot is the beginning of a new era for Windows computing.

See at:
Microsoft Copilot

Best Mobile App for Windows Users of 2023

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Microsoft Phone Link
Best Mobile App for Windows Users of 2023

I believe this isn't the first time we've given Phone Link an award like this, but refinements over the past year have made Phone Link far more reliable than it was at launch, and have made it an utterly essential part of day to day life. When combined with a modern Android phone, Microsoft Phone Link lets you leave your smartphone in the drawer, pulling your texts, notifications, and more right into your Windows PC.

See at: Microsoft Store

Best Keyboard of 2023

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Razer Blackwidow V4 ProSee at: Razer

Razer Blackwidow V4 Pro
Best Keyboard of 2023

Razer continues to refine its keyboard excellence year-over-year, and the BlackWidow V4 Pro is one of the best the company has ever made. The typing and gaming experience is phenomenal, the design is spectacular (and glistening with RGB lights), the wrist rest is extremely comfortable, and there's no end to the extra buttons, dials, and knobs you can customize. It's a gaming keyboard by trade, but it's just a great all-around keyboard no matter who you are, as long as you're willing to pay the price.

See at: Razer

Best Microphone of 2023

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HyperX Quadcast S
Best Microphone

HyperX QuadCast is the microhone we choose to use for all our video and podcast content on Windows Central. We absolutely love the plug-and-play nature of the QuadCast, which uses USB to connect to either a PC or Mac. Plus, it delivers excellent high quality audio, with stereo, omnidirectional, cardioid, and bidirectional pickup patterns. It even has RGB built in, a touch sensitive mute toggle on the very top, and comes in white or black colors, making it look amazing on any desk.

See at: Amazon

Best Gaming Laptop of 2023

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Razer Blade 16 (2023)
Best Gaming Laptop

Razer is no slouch for premium gaming laptops, which is why it keeps winning awards from us. But its new Razer Blade 16, first announced at CES in 2023, brings all its best in laptop design into one device. The show's real star, however, is the dual-mode mini-LED display, which can instantly switch between UHD+ at 120Hz and FHD+ at 240Hz. Previously, you had to choose between a high-resolution (but slow display) or a fast display (but low resolution) when buying a gaming laptop. Razer solved that, making the perfect laptop for gamers AND creators who need a powerhouse laptop that is also flexible for modern workflows. Sure, going up to an RTX 4090 GPU, 64GB of RAM, 4TB SSD, and a beastly 13th Gen Intel Core i9-13950HX also makes it one incredible workstation or the perfect fragging machine for all the latest AA titles. With Razer’s signature design and style, Blade 16 has a bright future going into 2024 (trust me).
See at: Razer

Razer Blade 16 (2023)
Best Gaming Laptop

Razer is no slouch for premium gaming laptops, which is why it keeps winning awards from us. But its new Razer Blade 16, first announced at CES in 2023, brings all its best in laptop design into one device. The show's real star, however, is the dual-mode mini-LED display, which can instantly switch between UHD+ at 120Hz and FHD+ at 240Hz. Previously, you had to choose between a high-resolution (but slow display) or a fast display (but low resolution) when buying a gaming laptop. Razer solved that, making the perfect laptop for gamers AND creators who need a powerhouse laptop that is also flexible for modern workflows. Sure, going up to an RTX 4090 GPU, 64GB of RAM, 4TB SSD, and a beastly 13th Gen Intel Core i9-13950HX also makes it one incredible workstation or the perfect fragging machine for all the latest AA titles. With Razer’s signature design and style, Blade 16 has a bright future going into 2024 (trust me).
See at: Razer

Best Gaming Hardware of 2023

Windows Central Tech Awards 2023

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ASUS ROG AllySee at: Best Buy | Amazon | ASUS

ASUS ROG Ally
Best Gaming Hardware of 2023

The ASUS ROG Ally and the Z1 Extreme is charting a new course for what it means to be a PC gamer. The ROG Ally is a device that my younger self could only dream of. Console-quality graphics in a true gaming handheld, a price point that is fair and affordable, overall hardware quality that doesn't compromise, and the full power of Windows. Thousands upon thousands of games dating back decades, old and new, anywhere and everywhere. What a dream. ASUS absolutely killed it, and we're hyped for the future.

See at: Best Buy | Amazon | ASUS

Best Gaming Display of 2023

Alienware Oled

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Alienware 34 QD-OLED (2023)
Best Gaming Display

We are now entering the era of amazing OLED gaming monitors. Alienware's 34-inch, QD-OLED, widescreen option is the best for most people thanks to its brilliant balance of image quality, gaming performance, design and build quality, and price tag. It looks good, it's smartly designed, it's amazing for gaming, and it can do everything else we need our monitors to be able to do with aplomb. On top of that, it's reasonably priced for a premium OLED monitor.

See at: Dell

Best Pre-Built Gaming PC of 2023

Windows Central Tech Awards 2023

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Lenovo Legion Tower 7i (Gen 8)See at: Lenovo

Lenovo Legion Tower 7i (Gen 8)
Best Pre-Built Gaming PC

Lenovo may not be your first thought when searching for a high-quality gaming PC, but the company's Legion line has been proving people wrong for years. The Legion Tower 7i's latest iteration is immensely powerful, perfectly cooled, and provides plenty of avenues for users to upgrade it themselves in the future. It's a near-perfect pre-built gaming desktop, but be sure to up that RAM speed when setting it up. Overall, a great option from Lenovo, whose PC gaming efforts are really in full bloom lately.

See at: Lenovo

Best Gaming Input of 2023

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Razer Kishi V2 Pro
Best Gaming Input

The Razer Kishi was a pioneer in the space when it launched a little while ago, but a collection of shortcomings frustrated the package. The Razer Kishi V2 Pro does away with all the frustration, and delivers what is easily the best and most innovative controller for 2023. Take your Xbox or PC gaming on the go with the Kishi V2 Pro. Adaptable for any smart phone practically, the Kishi V2 Pro delivers Xbox-like controls to streaming games across Xbox Cloud Gaming and NVIDIA GeForce Now, while also elevating native iPhone or Android games too.

See at:
Razer

Best Gaming Headset of 2023

Windows Central Tech Awards 2023

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Turtle Beach Stealth Pro
Best Gaming Headset

The Turtle Beach Stealth Pro is an explosive return to the high-end for the 'Beach, with a headset that boasts a truly incredible feature set without sacrificing on big sound and big comfort. The Stealth Pro incorporates hot swap batteries, ANC, Bluetooth support, and much more, making this a headset that is pretty much great in every scenario, even beyond gaming.

See at: Turtle Beach

Best Gaming Accessory of 2023

Windows Central Tech Awards 2023

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JSAUX Steam Deck / ROG Ally DockSee at: Amazon

JSAUX Steam Deck / ROG Ally Dock
Best Gaming Accessory

If there's one company that hit the ground running when the new wave of PC gaming handhelds started dropping, it's without a doubt JSAUX. While you can use basically any USB-C dock with the ASUS ROG Ally or Steam Deck, JSAUX set about creating accessories that were truly fit for purpose, which is why the JSAUX Steam Deck / ASUS ROG Ally dock is taking home our best gaming accessory award this year. These docks are cheaper than the solutions offered by the original manufacturers, without compromising on quality and features. JSAUX's entire product range has been nothing short of excellent, and they definitely deserve your attention if you're a Steam Deck or ROG Ally user.

See at: Amazon

And that's a wrap! 

2023 was a strange year in tech for a variety of reasons. As the pandemic becomes a memory, companies that went all-in on remote working are now having to course correct. The PC and accessory market slumped hard as demand for home offices dried up, and many of the biggest tech companies endured layoffs in its wake. 

As we head into 2024, there's a huge amount of promise for chip innovation, as competition for low energy processing gets increasingly aggressive. Demand for servers to power AI innovations has never been higher, and for the first time ever, we've been able to get full-blown high-quality gaming PCs squashed into devices almost as svelte as a Nintendo Switch. 

What are you most excited for in 2024? What was your favorite gadget in 2023? Hit the comments, let us know, and if you celebrate, have an awesome Christmas!

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

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