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What happens when you give a group of gadget experts some powerful analysis tools and tell them to pick the best products of 2008? The result is the Retrevo Pulse Awards which are named after some new data mining and analysis technology, called, “The Retrevo Pulse,” that looks at the behavior of millions of users along with their level of interest, reviews from experts and users and pricing data, and determines the trends for all popular consumer electronics products.
The Pulse Awards go to products that have been recognized for high quality, high level of demand (user interest), rich feature sets, and most importantly, high value. Results of all this data and analysis go to Retrevo gadget experts who make the final call. This year we pick products from the most active categories including HDTV, Digital Cameras, GPS, Laptops, and more. So here you go:
Samsung LN46A650 (LCD)
The Samsung LN46A650 is a 46 inch LCD TV that gets a very strong “Positive” sentiment from the community of users and experts on the web. Experts give it high marks for image quality and the 4 HDMI ports make it easy to accommodate most of your accessories like a gaming console or Blu-ray player without a lot of plugging and unplugging. The 120Hz refresh makes 24 fps movies look good and helps minimize blurring on fast action scenes. And for under $1,500 with deals, consumers have been flocking to this and smaller sizes in this series of fantastic LCD HDTVs.
Panasonic VIERA TH-50PZ80U (Plasma)
LCD Flat Panel TVs with LED backlighting are coming closer to Plasma’s great image quality but it’s still hard to beat to the deep blacks, contrast and rich warm colors of a Plasma TV especially this 50 inch VIERA Plasma from Panasonics. It gets very high marks from users and experts and is currently selling right around $1,000 with deals, making it an exceptionally good value.
Canon SD1100 IS
The Canon SD1100 IS fits in most pockets, takes excellent pictures, and can be purchased for around $150. It has a 3X optical zoom, optical image stabilization, face detection, and Canon's image processor. It even takes 30 fps video. The Canon SD 1100 is a great take-along camera that makes it hard to take a bad picture. And for under $175 with deals, this camera has garnered tremendous interest from consumers everywhere in 2008.
The Nikon D90 is not inexpensive but for under $900, you can own the state-of-the-art in DSLRs. The specs are impressive; you get a 12.3 megapixel camera with a big image sensor, an 11-point focusing system with face priority, and it even shoots 720p high definition videos which could make this camera a serious camcorder competitor. It is a good value in its category, has exhibited tremendous user interest and has been rated highly by both users and experts.
Garmin Nuvi 360
This top rated GPS has come down dramatically in price and you can now buy one for around $170. The 3.5 inch 320 x 240 display makes it easy on the eye yet this device is small enough to carry around in your pocket or pocket book. The nuvi 360 adds Bluetooth so you can use this GPS as a speakerphone in your car. The slightly less expensive nuvi 350 lacks Bluetooth. You get turn-by-turn guidance along with real time traffic and weather info. It gets consistent high marks from experts and users for ease-of-use and high quality. Did we mention a really good value at $170?
Asus Eee PC 901
More travelers are leaving their laptops at home and taking along very portable netbook computers. Asus is the clear leader in this category with its line of Eee PCs. For a little over $400, you can get an Asus Eee PC 901 that weighs a very light two and a half pounds, has an 8.9 inch 1024 x 600 display, built-in WiFi and webcam, and it will run for up to 8 hours on a charge. Experts and users have praised this product highly despite netbooks being such a new sub-category creating ongoing strong demand for this product.
HP Pavilion dv5t
If flashy style is high on your priority list, than the HP Pavilion dvt5 with its shiny chrome and onyx case should appeal to you. The 15.4 inch screen can display up to 1680 x 1050 resolution. You get a lot of laptop for your money with the Pavilion dv5t including a 2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of RAM, 250GB hard drive, and even a built-in webcam. This laptop gets very good reviews including an Editors’ Choice award from Laptop Magazine. And for a little under $900, demand has been strong for this product.
Choosing the right Blu-ray player this year has been challenging. First there was the format war which ended with a Blu-ray victory however, high prices and evolving Blu-ray "Profiles," have led consumers to wait for cheaper players that support the latest Profile 2.0. Until recently the Sony Playstation was the smartest way to get a Profile 2.0 Blu-ray player but now reasonably priced players are starting to emerge. The Sony BDP-S350 has good ratings from experts and users, will support Profile 2.0, can be purchased for under $250 making it a good value, and hey, it's a Sony!
Flip Video Mino
No wonder the Flip Video camcorders are the most popular camcorders on amazon.com, they offer super ease of use, very good video quality in a reasonably priced device that fits in your shirt pocket. As much as we like this great little camcorder we have our eye on Flip Videos latest HD version that takes an hour’s worth of 720p video in the same sized package as the standard def Mino. The Flip video mino costs around $150, has a strong demand behind it and has received good reviews from users and experts alike.
iPhone 3G 8GB
What can we say? We had to break our rules and select this smart phone even though some people love it and some people love-hate it. Apple iPhone changed the definition, usage and price points for smart phones forever. It's not perfect but it's probably the most fun cell phone on the market. In fact, the iPhone is more like a computer that fits in your pocket and happens to have a cell phone built-in. We hear of more and more iPhone owners using their computers less and less. Whether it’s the design or the third party apps that sets this phone apart, who can say? All we know is it’s the reigning King of the Hill for smart phones.
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