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While "Consumer Reports" tested more than 600 smart phones, tablets, TVs and more for its December Annual Electronics Issue, only 10 standout products made the short list for performance and innovation. The iPhone 5 is among them.
The Consumer Reports Top Ten Electronics list calls out an Android smart phone champion, a tip-top 58-inch LCD HDTV, a loaded lightweight digital camera, and a superb stereo speaker system that's a Wi-Fi winner, among other distinguished products. The full list can be found online at www.ConsumerReports.org and in the December 2012 issue of "Consumer Reports,"which is on newsstands now. Product highlights from the list include:
° Apple's best phone yet. iPhone 5 (16GB, $200). The iPhone 5 builds on its predecessors' strengths and adds new features, putting it head and shoulders above previous iPhones. It has a bigger screen with excellent sharpness, 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. Requires two-year contract.
° Groundbreaking tablet. Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (16GB, $500). The 10-inch Galaxy Note adds capabilities that no other tablet, not even the Apple iPad, currently offers. An excellent performer overall, it almost matches the superb battery life of the iPad and adds a memory-card slot that its rival lacks.
° The world's smartest camera. Nikon Coolpix S800c ($350) This 16-megapixel, Wi-Fi-enabled point-and-shoot camera is the first that CR has 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 on Facebook and create a slideshow with music. CR's tests weren't fully completed by press time, but the S800c looks promising overall.
° First ultrawide TV. Vizio CinemaWide XVT3D580CM ($2,000) Cinephiles finally have a TV that displays flicks in all their wide-screen splendor. This 58-inch LCD set is the first Consumer Reports has tested with an ultrawide, 21:9 display that mimics the shape of a movie-theater screen.