I hope 2018 has been a good year for everyone. Much like 2017, 2018 was a crazy year. Moving in late 2017 caused a slowdown early on and I don’t think I have gotten back up to the production level that I would like. The 58 articles published this year backed that up, down from last years 117 and 80 the year before that. In 2018 LanOC reached the 10th anniversary of publishing reviews, planning for the huge giveaways we did with that also cut into normal publication time. So my goal in 2019 is to get my workflow worked out to get more coverage up including more smaller side projects like our Nixie clock project. 2019 looks like it will be just as exciting with leaks of launches already coming from the big three.
Anyhow every year at the start of the year (yeah I know a little late already, not the best start lol) I take a look back at 2018’s coverage, specifically winners of our Editors Choice award. I give that award out to products, no matter their price that looks like they will find heavy use in personal projects and around the office. Then at the end of the year, I revisit them and see how they worked out long-term and look through other reviews to see if anything deserved the award looking back but didn’t get it. I also go back and look through past Editors Choice awards from previous years and see if they are still being used.
Title: A look back at 2018’s award winners
Asus ROG Strix Z390-I Gaming
I think everyone by now knows my love for ITX motherboards, so one of the many boards launched this year was bound to win The Asus ROG Strix Z390-I Gaming stood out though with its use of an integrated rear I/O cover into the cooling. It checked all of the other boxes and ran great with our 9900K which not every Z390 board could say that, no matter their size. It went right into a new D-Frame build paired up with the 9900K and water cooling and has made it out to two LANs already, hopefully, more in the coming year.
Well, this is one of two award winners that I’m sure might turn a few heads. The 9900K launch was filled with drama and even I didn’t give the CPU a recommendation. That wasn’t because of its performance, it is the best possible CPU for pure gaming performance. But Intel priced it out of the range of most people in addition to the CPU pulling a ton of power and running hot. But the editors choice award has nothing to do with pricing, just on what I planned on putting to use right after the review and it was put into a built right after the launch. It is still in use as well and has performed extremely well, not that I would recommend it for anything but a full on crazy build.
Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition
The RTX 2080 Ti launch was a lot like the Intel launch really. Extremely expensive, out of the range of almost everyone, and not even available soon after its launch. But just like the 9900K, the RTX 2080 Ti is a monster when it comes to gaming performance. Even with almost no games taking advantage of the ray tracing capabilities or AI cores. If you need the best GPU on the market, this is still the go-to for 4k gaming or high refresh rate 1440p. But you better get out a loan for it. I’ve been using the RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition in my personal build from right after the launch on. There have been more issues with driver issues but the performance has been too good to pass up.
SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless
For years I have been on the hunt for the perfect wireless headset and the Arctis 7’s were close but I still would always forget to plug them in to be charged. SteelSeries bringing out the Arctis Pro Wireless fixed that issue and brought improved audio and an even better microphone. The price is still a lot more than I would ever personally spend, but 4 months after my review I still use them daily and they have been holding up very well. More importantly, I have never been without my headset because I forgot to charge it.
Intel Hades Canyon NUC8i7HVK
I’m starting to see a trend here with winners being expensive hardware well overpriced for what you get. I the Hades Canyon NUC is in the same boat, only you can buy this entire thing less than what that RTX 2080 Ti would cost you. I loved this portable PC with the weird Intel and AMD collaboration that paired Intel's good CPU performance with AMD graphics. I loved the form factor and for most of the year, I have been using it in my basement maker space as a powerful PC for use with our 3D printers, CNC Machine, and vinyl plotter. It has been more than powerful for any of that workflow and it has the power for me to get a little gaming in when I’m down there as well, when needed. I had planned on using this as a VR PC and that might still happen, especially with our current VR PC taking up space next to our TV stand.
Logitech PowerPlay Wireless Charging
I’ll take products I never thought I would still be using for 100 Alex. When I reviewed the PowerPlay from Logitech I loved not having to ever charge my wireless mouse. I always end up back to using a wired mouse because I hate having to plug wireless mice in and the PowerPlay mat fixed that. The problem though was it didn’t fit well on my desk and when paired with the hard pad it was very thick and hurt my wrist. Not to mention the mouse pad and powerplay sliding in two different directions when gaming. Well what 7 months later I’m still using it. I’ve just put up with those issues because the wireless charging has been worth it. Now the G703 I used with it originally, it developed the double clicking issue and was replaced and later I replaced it with the Pro Wireless which now has the same double clicking issue as well. I suspect the only reason I stop using the PowerPlay is if I get tired of the issues I’ve been having with Logitech’s mice, or if they bring out a new model that fixes some of my issues.
Out of the two Nest products I reviewed only the Nest Protect won the Editors Choice award. That was because of how it let me not worry as much about issues at our house when traveling or even away for the day which I always had some anxiety about. I’ve really only even thought about the protect when it does it automatic tests and that is what is so great about it. You don’t have to worry about battery life because it will let you know when to change that. Speaking of, I am still on my original battery over a year later and the only downside I’ve run into is that I really should buy a few more (one of these days right?).