The magazine that is synonymous with objectivity and excellence has put this year's electronic product offerings through their rigorous tests. Now, Consumer Reports has named its top 10 electronics products of 2012 based on performance and innovation.
The magazine tested more than 600 smart phones, tablets, TVs and more for its December Annual Electronics Issue. The issue features 30 pages of buying advice and ratings and reviews of more than 600 of the hottest electronics products including tablets, laptops, smart phones, e-book readers, printers, digital cameras and camcorders, headphones, Blu-ray players, and home-theater systems.
Some familiar names are on the top 10 list, including Nikon and Samsung. The lesser-known Sonos joins American tech company Vizio on the list as well.
1. Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
16GB, Starting at $470 on Yahoo! Shopping
The 10-inch Galaxy Note adds capabilities that no other tablet, not even the Apple iPad, currently offers. The magazine called the tablet an excellent performer overall.
The Galaxy Note 10.1 nearly matches the superb battery life of the iPad and has a memory-card slot not found on Apple's tablet.
Starting at $327 on Yahoo! Shopping
Consumer Reports calls the S800c the world's smartest camera. This 16-megapixel, Wi-Fi-enabled point-and-shoot camera is the first that they've seen that runs Google's Android operating system and the apps that go with it.
The apps enable users to edit an image, quickly and easily post it to Facebook and create a slideshow with music. The magazine notes that their tests weren't fully completed by press time, but said the S800c looks promising overall.
3. Vizio CinemaWIDE XVT3D
Starting at $1530 at Walmart.com
This ultrawide TV is aimed at movie buffs who want to see films on a 21:9 display that mimics the shape of a movie-theater screen. This means most wide-format movies will fit on the screen without the black bars you see on other TVs.
It comes with a great HD picture, good (but not the best) 3D performance and extras such as 3D glasses and a Bluetooth remote with a keyboard. At 58 inches, it's plenty big, too.
16GB, $200 at att.com
The magazine called Apple's latest phone the best one yet because it builds on its predecessors' strengths and adds new features, putting it head and shoulders above previous iPhones.
The phone has a bigger, sharper screen, a thinner profile, 4G access, and an expanded role for Siri, the super voice assistant. Also, it's the best phone camera Consumer Reports' testers have seen yet.
5. Sonos Play:3
Starting at $300 (plus $50 for wireless adapter) on Yahoo! Shopping
Compact stereo systems are a dime a dozen, but Consumer Reports said this one is a great, easy way to enjoy music throughout the house. If you pair it with the Sonos Bridge adapter you can wirelessly access streaming Internet radio stations and music from a computer that's on your Wi-Fi network.
With one speaker, you'll get very good sound quality. If you set up two in one room as a two-speaker pair you'll get excellent sound that rivals what testers have heard from any home-theater system.
The next 5 electronics picks are available to Consumer Reports subscribers. See more information about the Top 10 Electronics on ConsumerReports.org.