Consumer Reports' Top Products of 2008
During the past year, Consumer Reports' testers have rated literally thousands of products, some of which earned a near-perfect score and others which performed extremely poorly. Here is a sampling of our 100 standouts in electronics, cars, appliances, and dozens of other categories. To see Consumer Reports' full list of Top 100 products, subscribe to ConsumerReports.org.
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. See more on laptops from ConsumerReports.org.
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. See more on headphones from ConsumerReports.org.
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. See more on digital cameras from ConsumerReports.org.
Wireless digital frame
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. See more on digital picture frames from ConsumerReports.org.
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. See more on coffeemakers from ConsumerReports.org.
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. See more on portable grills from ConsumerReports.org.
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. See more on luggage from ConsumerReports.org.
50-inch and 42-inch plasma TVs
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. See more on flat-screen TVs from ConsumerReports.org.
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. See more on cell phones from ConsumerReports.org.
DVD recorder with hard drive
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. See more on DVD recorders from ConsumerReports.org.