Consumer Reports Top 10 Products of 2008

Consumer Reports

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Laptop computer
Apple MacBook Air
The lightest, thinnest notebook around, just 3 pounds and less than an inch thick. It has excellent ergonomics and a 13.3-inch display, plus a 4.5-hour battery life. It's shy on features, but hey, it's super skinny.

 

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Wireless headphones
Sennheiser MX W1
Among the first to use Kleer wireless technology, these earbuds were the best wireless headphones in our tests. Twist-and-fit design locks into the outer ear cavity. Can be recharged on the go in their portable docking station.

 

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Subcompact point-and-shoot camera
Canon PowerShot SD1100
Weighing just 5 ounces, this 8-megapixel subcompact doesn't sacrifice performance for size. Compared with other subcompacts, it's faster, and can take better pictures in low light without flash.

 

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Wireless digital frame
Samsung SPF-83V
This easy-to-use frame offers very good picture quality, but its key distinction is the ability to display pictures from your computer with no wires, thanks to built-in Wi-Fi capability.

 

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Coffeemaker
Black & Decker Smart Brew DCM2500
A CR Best Buy, this drip coffeemaker was tops among the 8-to-12-cup models we tested. It has programmable settings, and pouring was easy, helpful if you're a little clumsy before that first cup.

 

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Portable grill
Weber Q 200 396002
This compact gas grill will be the toast of any tailgate. It heats very evenly, turning out perfect pre-game bratwurst, hot dogs, and more, and it's equally capable at low-temperature cooking.

 

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Luggage
Delsey Helium Fusion 22274
This carry-on was the only CR Best Buy among the 12 small rolling suitcases we tested. It got an excellent score for capacity, a big deal now that most airlines are charging for checked baggage. It also has a comfortable handle and was easy to pull.

 

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50-inch and 42-inch plasma TVs
Panasonic TH-50PZ800U
Panasonic plasmas consistently score well in our tests, and this 1080p set and its 42-inch sibling ($1,200) continue the trend. The THX setting provides theaterlike picture quality with vibrant colors, exquisite detail, and rich blacks.

 

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Cell phone with versatile screen
LG Dare, from Verizon
This phone's bright, 3-inch touch screen provides direct access to its many features, including an HTML Web browser and a 3.1-megapixel camera with face recognition and autofocus. Enter text on a virtual keyboard or draw on the screen with your fingertip.

 

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DVD recorder with hard drive
Philips DVDR3575H/37
One of the few DVD recorders that can also record to a DVR (160GB), this offers TiVo-like functionality and the ability to save or share programs on DVD.

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