Great-sounding headphones have never been more affordable. Even the least expensive headphone model on this list, the Panasonic RP HJE 355 in-ear, has oodles of detail and decent bass punch. For me the most important thing when evaluating headphones is sound balance; no frequency range should call attention to itself, so I don't like overly bassy headphones, or ones that overemphasize treble. Headphones should sound clear, not muffled or fuzzy. I prefer spacious stereo imaging over sound that's stuck inside my head. Headphones that allow music's soft-to-loud dynamics to bloom are better than ones that constrict dynamics. … Read more
You know how big a TV you want, but you just can't decide which one. Here are a few suggestions.
The list below collects the highest-rated TVs we've reviewed so far this year, starting at 32 inches and going up to 70. CNET's TV ratings incorporate Value, so these aren't necessarily the hands-down best in picture quality--click here if you want those. I intentionally kept Sharp's 80-inch behemoth off the list since we didn't really like it much. The smallest TV we've rated this year, the 26-inch Samsung UN26EH4000, doesn't deserve a spot either since our hands-on review was of its 32-inch series mate, and we never compared other 26-inchers.
The rest of these sets fall between that range, and appear in ascending order of screen size. We also threw in a runner-up--the second-highest rated TV available for sale in each size range--for people who don't like door number one. Speaking of door number one, it's the Panasonic ST50 for anyone who wants a TV from 50 to 65 inches.
We also updated this list since initial publication, subbing in the still-available HX850 for the discontinued Vizio M3D470KD.
No matter how small or how affordable Apple can make the iPad, nothing can change the fact that it's a newcomer to the market of mini tablets.
Small, inexpensive Android tablets have been around for years and are finally hitting their stride. Through trial and error, manufacturers have figured out the sweet spot of features, design, and performance that seems to be resonating with customers.
What's more surprising is that the players in this space aren't the typical cast of characters that Apple is used to fighting. Sure, Samsung makes an appearance, but so does Amazon and … Read more
One undeniable trend in TVs is bigger screens for less money, and 2012's crop of LCD and plasma models goes bigger than ever.
For example, I reviewed a 60-inch Smart LED TV from Vizio that clocked in right beneath the magic $1,000 barrier, and its picture was better than that of many spendier LED sets. Even better is the same-size, same-price U50 plasma from Panasonic that trades smarts for improved picture quality. Meanwhile, one of the most popular TVs around is LG's own 60-inch, $999 PA6500 plasma, and while it can't beat either of those in a picture quality race, it's still a pretty good deal.
Below you'll find in-depth reviews of all three of these TVs, as well as two other sub-$1,000 sets that also qualify as "very good" values in my book (a 7 or higher in the Value subcategory) and still make the "big-screen" cut -- larger than 50 inches in this case. I've arranged them in descending order of overall CNET rating.
A hundred greenbacks is a respectable chunk of change, but when you consider what a piece of machinery a smartphone can be, $100 on contract (before taxes and fees) is a darn good deal. Since the smartphone operating system remains the same across handsets from the most entry-level to the most premium, what a price hike usually gives you is a step up in hardware features -- like a faster processor, more-premium camera components, and a higher-resolution screen.
Sometimes you'll get a break on last season's high-end devices; other times, you'll find excellent phones that are made for this middle cost.
Here are some of today's top picks for carriers with two-year contracts (off-contract pricing is its own kettle of fish). Smartphone prices fluctuate all the time because of slow sales or short-term promotions, so keep your eyes peeled for seasonal deals.… Read more
A Tesla Model S is a very hard car for reviewers to get significant time with. The company has exactly two press cars for the globe, prioritizing all other production to deliver to patient buyers. So it was with no small pleasure when Tesla's Shanna Hendriks let me know she had an S ready for me to play with for a full day (which turned out to be more like a day and a half). I hope you'll find my take a little refreshing as this car has been talked about and bloviated over like nothing this side … Read more
If you're looking for a cheap TV 42 inches or larger, there are a lot of advantages to buying a plasma instead of an LCD.
The biggest is picture quality: an LCD is typically not able to reproduce the black levels and contrast of an equivalently priced plasma, and plasma always trounces LCD for viewing angle and uniformity. Entry-level 720p plasmas are also more energy-efficient than more expensive 1080p plasmas, and while they use a lot more power than LCDs, they still only cost about $20 to $30 per year to run.
We recently reviewed a bunch of entry- and midlevel plasma TVs, and our favorites are collected below. There were a few that didn't make the cut, including the LG PA6500 and PA4500 as well as the Panasonic X5. The latter was a surprise as every other plasma in the Panasonic range is superb for the price, and the X5 is simply...well...poor. Its picture quality was very disappointing even for the money, especially compared with that of our new budget star, the Samsung E450.… Read more
A hundred greenbacks is a respectable chunk of change, but when it comes to personal electronics like the ultra-personal smartphone, $100 (before taxes and fees) is a darn good deal. Since the smartphone operating system remains the same across handsets from the most entry-level to the most premium, what a price hike usually gives you is a step up in features -- like LTE or HSPA+ 42 support, a faster processor, and more premium camera components, for example.
Here are some of today's top picks.… Read more
If you're looking to improve the quality of your music, headphones are the most important link in the chain. Today's phones, tablets, and computers are capable of spectacular audio quality that was unthinkable just 10 years ago, but you're not going to hear it with the headphones that came in the box.
Fortunately, you don't have to spend a lot of money to hear a dramatic improvement in headphone audio quality. In this Top 5, we have the best headphones for under $50, as selected by CNET … Read more