The 100 Best Products of 2006

Products Reviewed

(64 items)

At a Glance

Uses the same CMOS sensor as the 20D, but has a larger LCD and a spot meter. Controls are intuitive and easy to use.

Price when rated: $1,399 (body only)

Pros

  • High quality RAW conversion
  • Excellent interface

Cons

  • Software's RAW conversion is slow
  • Auto-bracketing limited to three stops
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Price when rated: $429; upgrade $229

Pros

  • Interface improvements
  • Excellent Snap-to-Path feature
  • Sophisticated new oil brushes
  • Dramatically better performance than that of previous versions

Cons

  • Weak history feature
  • Steep upgrade price
  • No 16-bit-color support
 Compare
Price when rated: $399.00
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At a Glance

Very fast, expensive PC with two graphics cards will appeal to hard-core gamers and graphics pros with deep pockets.

Pros

  • Fast PC
  • Easy to upgrade

Cons

  • Open PCI Express X1 slots are blocked
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At a Glance

Fast and cleanly designed SATA drive comes with a PCI controller that provides external SATA connections.

Pros

  • Fast, cleanly designed drive

Cons

  • Relatively expensive
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Pros

  • Works with AIM, ICQ, IRC, MSN, Yahoo
  • Terrific photo- and file-sharing features

Cons

  • Icons make services appear too similar
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At a Glance

A big color LCD and two-sided printing make the well-designed iP6600D attractive. It prints high-quality photos quickly.

Price when rated: $200

Pros

  • Big color LCD display
  • Very high quality photo prints

Cons

  • Lacks PictBridge support
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At a Glance

Delivers top-notch image quality, but the autofocus behaved unpredictably, the zoom range is limited, and the price is high.

Price when rated: $999

Pros

  • Top-notch image quality

Cons

  • Autofocus is unpredictable
  • Zoom range is limited
 Compare

At a Glance

This elegant model has high audio quality and native photo support. But it's pricey and limits you to the iTunes Music Store.

Pros

  • Elegant design
  • High audio quality

Cons

  • Limits you to iTunes Music Store
 Compare

At a Glance

The MP950 has a nice 3.6-inch LCD and great paper handling, and delivers quality text and photos. Scan results were mixed.

Pros

  • Stunning 3.6-inch color LCD screen
  • Supports film scanning

Cons

  • Lacks faxing and an ADF
  • Scan quality could be more consistent
 Compare

Pros

  • Excellent malware detection

Cons

  • Slow scan speed
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At a Glance

DLP set aced our image-quality tests handily, and has unique, easily accessible front-mounted ports.

Pros

  • Excellent image quality
  • Front-mounted ports
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At a Glance

Bright high-quality images and enhanced color capabilities justify this projector's premium price.

Price when rated: $999.00

Pros

  • Supports multiple PCs inputs
  • Great image quality

Cons

  • High price makes it less competitive
 Compare

At a Glance

Powerful card competes well against rival GeForce 7-series top dogs, but it'll cost you.

Pros

  • Top-notch performance

Cons

  • Top-shelf pricing
 Compare

At a Glance

Delivers high image quality and many controls. However, the price is high and image editing software is limited.

Price when rated: $410

Pros

  • Quick access to commonly used controls
  • Many manual controls

Cons

  • Need two hands to operate menus
  • Pop-up flash feels a little flimsy
 Compare

Pros

  • Innovative heat pipe cooling system
  • Has eSATA port for external SATA drives

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Some larger heat sinks may not fit
 Compare

At a Glance

This big display showed extremely sharp text and bright graphics, and it has plenty of media card slots and USB ports.

Pros

  • Offers excellent image quality
  • Includes media card slots

Cons

  • Does not have any OSD controls
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At a Glance

The VisionM has a touchpad and delivers great-looking video. However, it needs a dongle to sync files.

Pros

  • High audio quality High audio quality
  • Great screen for photos and video

Cons

  • Audio codec support somewhat limited
  • Requires dongle to charge and sync files
 Compare

At a Glance

Simple and useful Web-based budgeting software

Pros

  • No cumbersome installation of software
  • Offers mobile access to your info

Cons

  • Performance can be sluggish
  • No investment tools
 Compare

At a Glance

This bulky handset offers built-in Wi-Fi, so you can browse the Web and send e-mail and instant messages quickly and easily.

Pros

  • Bulit-in Wi-Fi for easy Web access
  • Impressive battery life

Cons

  • Some keys are small and cramped
 Compare

At a Glance

Bright, high-quality screen and sleek, piano-black cabinet make this TV a proud living-room centerpiece.

Pros

  • Attractive model with swiveling base
  • Graphic equalizer, useful menu tooltips

Cons

  • Switching between HDMI inputs isn't easy
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At a Glance

Strong performance, battery life, and keyboard make this expensive business notebook a winner.

Pros

  • Very fast
  • Well designed

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • No touchpad
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At a Glance

The hefty G35-AV600 has one-touch TV, a nice display, and terrific sound and battery life; gaming performance was dissapointi

Pros

  • One-touch TV; nice display

Cons

  • Disappointing gaming performance
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At a Glance

Standout LCD plus good optic and image quality, but there's no LCD status display and lens options are limited.

Price when rated: $1,000

Pros

  • LCD screen can be used as a viewfinder
  • Unlimited continuous shooting

Cons

  • Rear-mounted LCD can be distracting
  • Limited lens selection
 Compare
Where to buy
Price when rated: $550
Lowest price: $700.00 via Sears.com

Pros

  • Dual lens system allows for transparency scans of up to 6,400 dpi
  • Speedy

Cons

  • Colors in images skew toward red
 Compare
Price when rated: $250
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At a Glance

Amp-less, lower-cost ZonePlayer for Sonos' complete home music system.

Price when rated: $349

Pros

  • Provides nearly all the features and benefits of the ZonePlayer 100 to an existing stereo system for a lower price and in a much smaller package

Cons

  • Digital Music System requires at least one ZonePlayer be connected to your computer, router, or wireless bridge
  • Digital Music System still has a few minor limitations noted in
  • No headphone jack
 Compare

At a Glance

Unlike the single-core 1.5GHz Intel-based Mac mini, this model is powered by a 1.66GHz Intel Core Duo chip. It also features more storage capacity and an 8X dual-layer SuperDrive. Other features -- an integrated graphics processor that shares memory with the system RAM, built-in wireless networking capabilities, and the Front Row multimedia management program -- are the same as what you get with the 1.5GHz Mac mini.

Price when rated: $799

Pros

  • Two processing cores
  • Analog- and digital-audio input and output
  • Four USB 2.0 ports
  • Built-in AirPort Extreme and Bluetooth 2.0
  • Front Row software with Apple Remote
  • Improved performance in many native applications
  • Built-in SuperDrive
  • Gigabit Ethernet

Cons

  • RAM is difficult to upgrade
  • Integrated graphics reduces available RAM
 Compare

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