Macworld's Top 5
1GHz PowerBook G4, 17-inch ($3,299), from Apple Computer (www.apple.com): It pushes the limits of portability, but the 17-inch PowerBook is the best combination of features and performance in any PowerBook. It's an excellent workstation for video pros and designers (June 2003).
867MHz PowerBook G4, 12-inch ($1,799), from Apple Computer (www.apple.com): Speedier than the iBook but smaller than the Titanium PowerBook, this model is ideal for mobile pros who need a small, light laptop (April 2003).
Page Sender 3.0 ($30), from Smile Software (www .smilesoftware.com): This easy-to-use, OS X-compatible fax application knocked our socks off by doing everything a fax machine does -- except getting jammed (June 2003).
SketchUp 2.2 ($495), from @Last Software (www .sketchup.com): SketchUp is CAD software for the rest of us: we recommend it to anyone who has a desire to visualize in 3-D (June 2003).
Final Cut Express 1.0 ($300), from Apple Computer (www.apple.com): At a third of Final Cut Pro's price, this DV-only video-editing package brings professional features to users looking to move up from iMovie (May 2003).
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Cleaner 6.0 ($599), from Discreet (www.discreet .com): Improvements in performance and codec, as well as OS X compatibility, make this video-encoding utility essential for anyone who needs flexibility and power (June 2003).
Color LaserJet 2500L ($1,000), from Hewlett-Packard (www.hp.com): This color laser printer's crisp, clean laser output and truly reasonable price mean that small workgroups with big printing needs can benefit from color laser technology without putting too large a dent in their budgets (March 2003).
CopyPaste-X 1.5 ($20), from Script Software (www .scriptsoftware.com): CopyPaste-X goes well beyond just providing multiple Clipboard items that are available regardless of the app you're using. One nice extra is the basic word processor with support for fonts, colors, and text styles (June 2003).
d2 FireWire DVD-Rewritable Drive ($379), from LaCie (www.lacie.com): This fast, solidly built DVD-R drive has a slim, stackable case design and includes Mac-compatible DVD-authoring software (May 2003).
Devideon ($399), from Formac (www.formac.com): The Devideon FireWire DVD-R drive includes Mac DVD-authoring software but no blank media (May 2003).
Director MX ($1,199), from Macromedia (www .macromedia.com): While this isn't a revolutionary release in terms of new features, Director MX is an excellent upgrade for existing Director users. It now works with OS X, for both authoring and playback (June 2003).
Dual-1.25GHz Power Mac G4, FW 800 ($1,999), from Apple Computer (www.apple.com): The dual-1.25GHz Power Mac G4 supports new Apple technologies, namely FireWire 800 and AirPort Extreme. It's an excellent value and performs very well. Also, it's reasonably quiet (May 2003).
Dual-1.42GHz Power Mac G4 ($2,699), from Apple Computer (www.apple.com): This Power Mac G4 is not astonishingly faster than the dual-1.25GHz -- but for $700 more, you get nice extras that make it an outstanding value (June 2003).
ExecutiveSync 1.2 ($20), from Jason Weber (www.executivesync.com): ExecutiveSync uses Time And State synchronization to detect any changes in a file and provide you with accurate backups. But be warned: the program is slow, and it doesn't have a scheduling feature (May 2003).
HL 5070N ($499), from Brother (www.brother .com/usa/index.html): This monochrome networked laser printer's low price, excellent text printing, and Rendezvous capabilities make it a great choice if you want an inexpensive printer (June 2003).
iDVD 3 ($49), from Apple Computer (www.apple .com): iDVD 3 is a marvel -- it lets you create stylish, professional-looking DVDs easily and quickly, and it's well worth its price (April 2003).
Inspiration 7 ($69), from Inspiration Software (www .inspiration.com): If you've ever lost a great idea in a brainstorming session's tsunami, Inspiration 7 will blow you away. This easy-to-use chart-drawing program handles the grunt work for you, so you can concentrate on being inspired (March 2003).
Keyboard Maestro 1.2 ($20), from Michael F. Kamprath (www.keyboardmaestro.com): Keyboard Maestro not only provides a great keyboard-based application switcher, but also gives you the ability to automate, via keystrokes, almost anything you can do on your computer (May 2003).
LaserJet 4300n ($1879), from Hewlett-Packard (www.hp.com): The LaserJet 4300n workgroup printer is more expensive than the Xerox Phaser 4400N, but it ships with more RAM and has a higher duty cycle. Also, it's Rendezvous-enabled (June 2003).
Marble Blast ($15), from Garage Games (www .garagegames.com): Marble Blast is a refreshing bit of arcade fun; you roll through a maze from the point of view of the marble. It's got a lot of challenging levels, but it may be too difficult for younger players (June 2003).
MP3 Rage 5.4 ($25), from Chaotic Software (www .chaoticsoftware.com): MP3 Rage is the Swiss Army Knife of MP3 utilities. It helps you look up and fix improper ID3 tag data, rename files based on that data, look up lyrics and album covers, find duplicates, create a catalog file, and even convert MP3 files to other audio formats (April 2003).
PGP Personal 8.0 ($50), from PGP Corporation (www.pgp.com): PGP Personal 8.0 is an excellent and inexpensive solution for those who need to send and receive secure documents or simply protect the contents of files. The rewards for mastering the system are peace of mind and industrial-grade protection (April 2003).
Phaser 4400N ($1,400), from Xerox (www.xerox .com): This networked monochrome laser printer produces excellent text and very good graphics (June 2003).
PowerShot S45 ($649), from Canon (www.canon .com): The PowerShot S45 has the same CCD and image-processing chip as Canon's flagship PowerShot G3, but it's smaller and has only a 3x zoom lens. Its movie mode is very good, and it sports an AF illuminator. Red-eye is sometimes a problem, though (April 2003).
Pro Tools LE 6 ($75), from Digidesign (www.digi design.com): Pro Tools LE 6 doesn't hold any surprises, but it does provide a comfortable transition to OS X. Its new file-management tools and MIDI capabilities are excellent additions (June 2003).
Reunion 8 ($99), from Leister Productions (www .leisterpro.com): Even if you're a novice, you'll be able to learn this genealogy program in a matter of minutes. For current users, OS X compatibility and first-class charting features make it a compelling upgrade. There is no easier way to track your family's history (March 2003).
Sony Ericsson Clicker 1.5 ($10), from Salling Software (www.salling.com): This preference pane lets you use your Sony Ericsson phone to control your Mac remotely, making it one of those wondrous little utilities that demonstrate the power of interconnected technologies (June 2003).
SPSS 11 ($1,145), from SPSS (www.spss.com): SPSS is uniquely designed for people who have mountains of social-sciences or business data to analyze. For large-scale statistical problems, it's the best choice available on the Mac (June 2003).
SuperCard 4.0 ($179), from Solutions Etcetera (www .supercard.us): SuperCard 4 arrives in an arena already populated by RealBasic and Revolution, but so far SuperCard is the easiest to use, and it delivers extremely professional-looking Mac applications (April 2003).
Traktor DJ Studio 2.0 ($199), from Native Instruments (www.nativeinstruments.com): Traktor DJ Studio lets you mix, speed up or slow down, and apply cool filter effects to your songs. It's easy and fun to use, and a great alternative to lugging around your DJ hardware (June 2003).
Tungsten T ($399), from Palm Computing (www .palm.com): The Tungsten T is designed for people who want entertainment, expandability, and flexibility in a PDA. If you want a PDA that can easily speak with the other peripherals in your digital hub, you'll find that the Tungsten T can reach out in many ways (May 2003).
Virtual PC 6 ($219), from Microsoft (www.microsoft .com): This release doesn't make Windows emulation on the Mac much faster, just a little better. Integration with OS X's Dock and desktop mounting of disk images are nice additions (April 2003).
World Book 2003 Jaguar Edition ($68), from World Book (www.worldbook.com): Software MacKiev has updated World Book's stellar multimedia reference software to take advantage of OS X 10.2. It capitalizes on the Mac's graphics prowess and sports new and improved features that make this package even more compelling than before (May 2003).
X-Plane 6.5 ($60), from Laminar Research (www.x-plane.com): X-Plane is the king of the hill in Mac flight simulators. It's not a game, so expect to spend a few hours learning the basics and the interface. It's worth the effort (June 2003).
You can also check our main MiniFinders page for a list of more than 400 Macworld product ratings from the past year, complete with mouse ratings and capsule reviews.