Best holiday tech gifts: Consumer Reports list
Out of the thousands of electronics Consumer Reports tested in 2013, the independent rating magazine picked 10 that it felt were particularly innovative and bar-raising. See the list below and head to ConsumerReports.org for more technology device ratings.
Samsung KN55S9C OLED TV, $9,000
This TV uses Organic LED technology, which Consumer Reports says combines the best attributes of plasma and LCD TVs without any of the shortcomings. "Images jump off the screen," the magazine raved. The "eye-catching" curved screen offers unlimited viewing angles and the best 3-D performance on the market. Granted, it's high-priced, but this is "the best TV we've ever seen," according to Consumer Reports.
LG G2, $0 - $200
Consumer Reports loves this phone for its "stunning" 5.2-inch display and the battery life to support the display. The phone also wins praise for its ergonomic button placement, its automatic answering feature and an "ultrasmart" camcorder.
Amazon Kindle Fire HDX, $230
The latest seven-inch Kindle earns praise from Consumer Reports for its high resolution, its X-ray feature (which lets you pull up extra features in movies, songs and books) and its 24/7 on screen tech support.
Canon EOS Rebel SL1, $750
This camera is incredibly small and light -- comparable, according to Consumer Reports, to mirrorless, SLR-like models but with all the features of a full-fledged SLR. The price includes an 18- to 55-mm kit lens.
Google Chromecast, $35
Google's thumb-drive-sized video streamer eliminates the need for another blackbox; it plugs directly into an HDMI input and either a USB port or AC outlet for power and is controlled by a phone, tablet or laptop. Consumer Reports praises the device's low price and wide compatibility.
iPhone 5S, $200
Consumer Reports calls the iPhone 5S Apple's best phone yet. It raves about the camera quality, the fingerprint reader and the new operating system, but notes that it lacks some of the cutting-edge features offered by the competition.
Sonos Playbar, $700
The Sonos Playbar can be used as a wireless speaker to stream audio from a home network or directly from Pandora and other online music services. Consumer Reports lauds the device for delivering the rare combination of "great music playback" and "satisfying TV and movie sound."
Sony Bravia XBR-55X900A, $4,000
Consumer Reports calls this 55-inch Sony the "highest-definition TV." The Ultra HD TV, also known as 4K sets, has four times as many pixels as 1080p screens and looks "incredibly lifelike." In addition to the picture quality, the TV delivers great sound and a solid smart TV Internet platform. But beware: there isn't much Ultra HD content just yet.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX50V, $450
This camera combines the portability of a smartphone with the picture quality of a high-end camera. It packs a 30x optical zoom lens and very wide-angle capabilities into a 1.5-inch thick frame. Consumer Reports notes the camera can take high-speed photos at full resolution has built-in Wi-Fi to connect to hot spots and mobile devices.
TDK Life on Record, $150
Unlike most wireless speakers, this system doesn't sacrifice sound quality for portability, according to Consumer Reports. The TDK model is waterproof and a compact 4 inches high by 9.5 inches wide.