1st Place: Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1
The day before publishing this article the office majority had voted the iMac as our product of the year 2009. However, after a night's troubled sleep enough members of the team had changed their minds to swing the vote the other way and Panasonic's stellar new camera prevailed. As an example of a product that truly felt revolutionary rather than evolutionary, the GF1 just edged past Apple's excellent new iMac.
The Lumix GF1 has all the flexibility, manual control, and image quality of an SLR but in a more compact body that eschews the mirrors and prisms of the older system. Many of the interchangeable lenses boast Panasonic's excellent Optical Image Stabilisation, while lenses from both Olympus and Leica can also be used with an adapter. What Panasonic has created with the GF1 is an SLR type camera for people that don't want an SLR, while matching those larger, more traditional cameras when it comes to features and image quality.
Last year the Panasonic Lumix LX3 was a runner up in the Product of the Year category, but this year the Lumix GF1 showed us what the Micro Four Thirds system is capable of and wins the top prize in the process.
2nd Place: Apple iMac 27in
The 27in iMac is indisputably Apple's finest to date. The combination of that excellent LED-backlit, 2,560 x 1,440 pixel display and an array of powerful components in a sleek, attractive, well designed chassis makes it a unique proposition. Its size does mean it will dominate all but the largest of desks, but it does so in style. The bundled Magic Mouse has divided opinion a little more, but there are those among us who reckon it might just spark a revolution.
Better still, the starting price of £1,349 makes the 27in iMac if not affordable, certainly great value for money when you consider what's on offer. As already mentioned, there aren't actually any alternatives but the next best choice - buying a 30in monitor and PC separately - definitely won't be any cheaper and even if it were, it would sacrifice elegance to be so. Perfection this may not be, but you can just about see it on a clear day.
3rd Place: Microsoft Windows 7
Call it "Vista as it should have been" if you will, it matters not. What's important is that once again Microsoft has an operating system of which it can be proud. Windows 7 is fast, simple and has a wide range of useful functionality - such as Libraries and Jump Lists. The summation of these factors makes it a veritable pleasure to use, whether you're an expert or first time Windows user.
Put simply; if you use your computer on more than an annual basis, don't have a Mac and don't want to find yourself screaming in frustration every time what should be a simple task takes the patience of a rock and the duration of a lunar cycle, you need to be running Windows 7.