CRN’s 2021 Products Of The Year
Wade Tyler Millward, Kyle Alspach
CRN staff compiled the top partner-friendly products that launched over the past year, then turned to solution providers to choose the winners.
HP ELITE DRAGONFLY MAX
HP’s Elite Dragonfly Max debuted this year and—in addition to being the top pick of solution providers for our Products of the Year awards— the notebook ranked as our favorite business laptop of 2021 at the CRN Test Center. Along with offering a portable design and strong performance via 11th-gen Intel processors, the Elite Dragonfly Max stands out in the crowded laptop market with enhanced collaboration features. Those features include a 5-megapixel webcam and four wide-range mics optimized for conferencing, as well as a quad-speaker system driven by four amplifiers. Optional 5G connectivity and up to 16.5 hours of battery life are among the other great features for remote workers—as is the laptop’s 13.3-inch touch display with up to 1,000 nits of brightness and reduced blue light technology. And on portability, the notebook is both lightweight (at 2.49 pounds) and thin (at 0.63 of an inch)—while still allowing for work-friendly ports including USB-A and HDMI in addition to USB-C.
Subcategory Winner—Technology, Customer Need: Apple MacBook Pro (M1)
Apple’s entry-level, 13.3-inch MacBook Pro was among the first Macs to get the company’s high-performance, in-house M1 chip—which has delivered 2.8X better CPU performance and up to 5X improvement on GPU performance, versus the prior Intel-based version. Apple also promises up to 20 hours of video playback for the M1-powered MacBook Pro, doubling the promise of 10 hours for the previous model.
Finalist: Dell Latitude 9420
Available as a convertible QHD+ model or a clamshell FHD+ model, Dell‘s Latitude 9420 offers a 14-inch display with a 16:10 aspect ratio for a 5-percent larger viewing area and brightness of 500 nits. Key capabilities include optional support for 5G or LTE; a built-in speakerphone, dedicated mute and mic keys, and an enhanced webcam; and ExpressSign-in 2.0, which leverages Intel Visual Sensing Technology to enable faster auto-wake and auto-lock.
Finalist: Dynabook Satellite Pro L50
Dynabook Americas, formerly Toshiba America Client Solutions, recently revived Toshiba’s former Satellite Pro laptop series with new business-focused models including the Dynabook Satellite Pro L50. The notebook features a 15.6-inch FHD display, a 10th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, discrete Nvidia GeForce MX250 graphics, 16 GB of RAM and 512 GB of storage.
Finalist: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano
Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Nano is the lightest ThinkPad to date, with a starting weight of just 2 pounds, while measuring just over a half-inch thick. The 13-inch display features a 16:10 aspect ratio that makes the display taller—providing a greater amount of usable workspace—while also offering sharp resolution (2,160 x 1,350) and high brightness (450 nits). Other features include up to 17 hours of battery life, four speakers and four mics, enhanced security (including a match-on-sensor fingerprint reader) and optional 5G.
Finalist: Microsoft Surface Laptop 4
Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 4 is offered with a choice of 13.5-inch or 15-inch touch displays and battery life of up to 19 hours for the 13.5-inch model, or up to 17.5 hours for the 15-inch model. The notebook also stands out by offering a choice of Intel or AMD CPUs, with options between 11th-gen Intel Core i chips or AMD Ryzen 4000 processors.