Ratings and Reliability

CONTENTS
Product Ratings 19O 4-year CONSUMER REPORTS index 295 Buying Guide index 299

QUICK GUIDE Air conditioners 191 Cell phones 193 Computers, desktops 196 Computers, laptops 199 Computers, netbooks 203 Cooktops 205 Cordless drills & drivers 207 Deck stains 2O9 Digital cameras, point & shoot.. 210 Digital cameras, SLR 216 Digital picture frames 218 Dishwashers Z20 Dryers 224 DVD players 230 Flooring 234 Gas grills 236 GPS navigators Lawn mowers Lawn tractors Monitors Paints, exterior Paints, interior Printers, all-in-one Ranges Refrigerators Smart phones TVs, L C D , . , TVs, Plasma Vacuum cleaners Wall ovens Washers 238 241 245 247 249 251 253 255 261 268 J....271 279 283 287 289

190

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PRODUCT RATINGS AND BRAND RELIABILITY

T

he product rating and brand reliability information that follows is designed to help you zero in on the model you want to buy. Start by reading the general buying advice for the product you're interested in. The page numbers for these reports are noted on each Ratings page. Then turn to the Ratings chart to get the big picture on performance.
Every year we survey readers on repairs and other problems they encounter with household products. From their responses, we derive the percentage ofa brand's products that have been repaired or had a serious problem. The reliability graphs that accompany the Ratings give brand repair rates for 16 product categories. Our findings have been consistent over the 30-plus years we've surveyed brand reliability, though Ihey are not infallible predictors. A brands repair history includes data on many models, some of which may have been more or less reliable than others. And surveys ofa brand's past models can't anticipate design or manufacturing changes in its new model-s. Still, you can improve your chances of getting a trouble-free product by getting a brand that has been reliable in the past. Product categories inciude appliances, such as washers and ranges; electronics, such as computers, digital cameras, televisions, and DVD players; and power equipment, such as lawn mowers and tractors. Note that repair histories for different products are not directly comparable.

For some products you'll find full Ratings charts that inciude every currently available modei we tested. For other products, you'll find Select Ratings charts that include the models Recommended for mosi people pius models that we designated as Best Buys. Tbe Select Katings Overview explains why these models are your best choices. The Overview is included with full Ratings charts as well as Select Ratings charts. Products with equal scores are listed alphabetically. CüNSUMiiR RhPORTS checked lo make sure most of the producís rated in this Buying Guide were still availabie when the book was published. However, depending on how long after publication you use this book, you may find a Ruling for a product that is no longer available. Or, you may not find a Rating for a model that is avaiiabie because it hadn't been tested as of publication. Besides checking tor similar models, yi)U tan also refer to the brand repair history charts for some products. Most products today are pretty reliable, but some brands have been more reliable than others.

AIR

CONDITIONERS

191

AIR CONDITIONERS
!-ine cooling performance is a given. Top-scoring room air conditioners are also energy efficienl and reialively quiet. An air conditioner's air direction matters more il your window is not centered in your room. Check the Airflow left and Airflow right in the Ratings for this information. Below are Select Ratings.
Brand & model Price Overall score Test results
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-eis

±i

g lu leaed model. = s< g 0 100 f Ä ^ p I F I G IVCI E ~ 5,000 TO 6.000 BTU/HR. (Cools 100 300 sq. ft,) Friedrich © © © © O © • 0,000 10,7 21 . 36 58 CP06EIO ! Sharp AF-S60PX © © © O O © • 6,000 10.7 22 ' 3-1 -19 Frigidaire 180 E ^ ^ ^ H © O O © © O O 5.200 11.0 2^. 36. 46 FAÄ05BP7A 7,000 TO 8.200 BTU/HR. (Cools ^50-400 sq. ft.) Frigidaire © © © © O O © 8,000 10.8 23
(Lowe's) Kenmore 76081 1

36 S 3 39 65

ia7 M

Q Q
.

9.800 TO 12,500 BTU/HR. {Cools 350-650 sq. ft.) Kenmore © © O © O © O 10.000 10,8 21 39 80
7510! 1

Kenmore
1 Has slideiHJt Chassis.

© © O © © © O 12,000 10.8 27

39 83

See report, page 55. Ratings Key ©Excsilent ©Verysood OGood OFalr • P o o r D CR Best Buy These models olter ttie best combinador» of perfomiance and price. All are recommended. p i Recomrnencled These are hisl>-pertormingmadets that stand out.

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Guide to the Ratings
Overall score is based mainly on comfort, noise, and energy eiticiency. Ttie displayed score is out ot a total of 100 points. Comfort is temperature and tiumidity controi on iow cool. Indoor rtolse low and Indoor noise hlqh combine an objective measurement of noise at the low-cooi and high-coof settings using a decibei meter with a sutijeclive assessment ol noise quality (how annoying or grating the psrticuiar sounds were). Brownout gauges the unit's abiiity to run and restart during extreme heat and iow voltage. Ease of use refiects controt-panel layout, including the ciarity of its markings, as weil as how easy and intuitive the controls were to operate. Airflow left and Airflow rlqht show how weil the louvers can direct air to the left or rigiit of the unit when the user is lacing it, EER is the energy-efficiency ratio as supp(ied by the manufacturer and as certified by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers.

Select Ratings Overview
Best small air conditioners; Whiie ail will keep you cool, models with a very good or better noise score are quiet enough that all you might hear is the fan. The Friedrich CP06E10, $260, and Sharp AF-S60PX, S)90, are the guietest. Consider Ihe Friedrich or Friqidafre FAA055P7A, $l80, if you iive m an area prone to brownouts. Best midsized air conditioners: AH of the tested models excel in cooling. The Fritjidaire FAA087S7A, S200, and the Kenmore 76081, $200, a CR Best Buy, also easily handle brownouts and operate puletiy on low. Best larqe air conditioners; both arc CR Best Buys: Brownouts aren't a problem for the Kenmore 7S101, $240, or the Kenmore 75121, S300. Both are quiet when set on low..Choose the Kenmore 75121 for its ease of use.

Brand Repair History
Centrai air conditioners Fewer repairs The graph shows the percentage of units without hpat pumps for each of the 11 brands that were ever repaired or had a serious problem, based on the experiences of 32,550 readers who bought systems between 2002 and 2008. Differences of less than 5 points aren't meaningful. Unils instailed by builders broke down more often than owner-installed ones. Data were adjusted to elimínate differences linked solely to age and usage. Models within a bfand can vary, and design or manufacture changes might affect future reliability. Stiii, choosing a brand with a good repair history can improve your odds of getting a reliable model.
5% 20% 25%

10%

Source: Annual Product Reliability Survey, Consumer Reports National Research Center.

CELL

PHONES

193

CELL PHONES
Choose a conventional model ifyou need only voice and text messages, or want to limit cost and size (most models are compact andaré priced between $20 and SI 50 or come frcL' with a two-year contract). Most phones work only with a specific carrier, so you must decide whether to slay with your current provider or select a new one when shopping for a phone. Below are Select Ratings.
Brand & model Price Overaii score Test resuits Features g £

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IDO P I F t G I Vbl E

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ÄTST CEU PHONES LG Xenon Samsung Impression Samsung Eternity llatoroia Tundra Pantech Breeze
SPRINT NEXTEL CELL PHONES

O m
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l')

HSDPA V.D.S

3.t HSDPA V.D.S
3.1 0.3 HSDPfi V.D.S EDGE U,D 1.9 HSDPA V.D.S

B

Samsung instinct Samsung Rant Samsung Behold Samsung Ueiiioir MotorDlaROKREa Nokia 6301 LGenV Touch LGDare samsangAlias2

100 50

O

o

o
O © O

1-9

EV-DO V.D,S Ev-DO v.as

T-MOBrLE CELL PHONES HSOPA V.D.S

8
1.9 1-9

HSDPA V.D,S EDCE V.O.S EDGE V,0¿

O 30

O O

VERIZON CELL PHONES
O © O 3.1 EV-DO V,D.S

O © © 80 O # a

3.1 E - O v.as VD 15 E - O v.as VD

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Brand S model

Price

Overall score

Test results

Features

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VERIZON CELL PHONES continued
LCenV3 IGVX8360
Verizon wireless

50

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3.1 1.2 1.2

EV-DO V,D,S EV-DO V,D,S EV-DO V,£LS

Fzone Boulder
Jitterbug J See report, page 77.

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RatinfsKey ©E^elienl ©Very good OGood ©Fair • P o o f Q CR Be5t Buy Tnese modeis offer the best combitiation of performance ana price. AN are recommended. bd Recommended These are (wgn-periatnung models that slartd out.

Guide to the Ratings
Overall score is ba^ed maiiilv on ease of use, voice quality, messaging, and battery lite. The displayeij score is out of a total of 100 points. Phones are listed in performance order, wlttiin categories. Due to test upgracfes, results may vary from past Ratings. Ease of use mainly considers how easy it is to access the phone's various features and modes, the iiumber of step-saving functions for making and receiving calls, and display and keypad readability under different lighting conditions, We also factor in features and capabilities, such as camera, music, and GPS navigation. Web browsing and broadband connections, as well as the phone's size and weight. Voice quality considers iistening quaiity which refiects what you hear; talking, what's heard by other phones. Tests were conducted in noisy and quiet environments using live phone calls indicated by carrier used. We show the lower score between listening and talking. Messaqinq mainly assesses keyboard and keypad ergonomics, text-messaging features, its support for Microsoft Outlook, and wtiether or not the ptione can open various e-mail attachments. Battery life represents mainly an average of talk time from tests with strong and weak network signais, and aiso considers standby, display times, and other factors. Taik time is an average to the nearest quarter-hour from tests with strorig and weak network signals. Average price from carriers and independent online retailers is based on a two-year contract, including rebates. Most carriers also offer one-year contracts. Phones with SO for price are offered free of charge by the carrier or an online retailer with a new two-year contract. Some phones can also be purchased without a service commitment. Under Bluetooth, V=Voice, D=Data. S=Stereo,

CELL

PHONES

195

Select Ratings Overview
Best choices for AT&T: Al $100, LG Xenon is an impressive phone wilh strong messaging capabilities. Samsunq Impression, $150. is a very qood phone that deftly integrates its impressive leiephony. texling, and entertainment (eatures, its document-handiinq capabiiities are a plus for busy professionals. Samsunq Eternity, $50. is a very good choice for those iooking to step up lo a f uii touch-screen phone with a fine camera and advanced muitimedia features, its docuinenthandling capabiiities are another plus for busy profess iorials, Motorola Tundra, S200, is very good companion lo bave on roiigti~and nolsylerrain. But pricey. At $30. the Pantech Breeze Is a good rhoice for people who want a simpie, no-frills phone with clearly labeled butions. Best choices for Sprint Nextel: The STOO Samsung Instinct is a very qood choice for multimedia addicts in the market for a very capable phone with advanced features. The Samsung Rant, $50. is a good phone for frequent texters. Its document-handling capabilities are a plus tor busy professionals. Best choices for T-Mobile: The Samsung Behold, $130. is a sharplooking touch-screen model with a line camera and robust multimedia capabilities. The $200 Samsung Memoir has one of the besl cameras we've seen on a phone, with tin impressive array of other features that would make a smart phone jealous. A fine, though pricey, choice If you plan on printing what you shoot. The Motorola ROKR ES is a smartly designed phone with a very capable media player. And you can't go wrong with the price-free with a 2-year service contract and rebates. The $30 Nokia 6301 phone's dualnetwork capabiiity is an intr-iguing idea (or improving coverage. Best choices for Verizon: The LG enV Touch, $100, is an impressive phone and multimedia device enhanced with touch-screen navigation and a QWERTY keyboard for easier e-mailing and texting. Its document-handling capabilities are another plus for busy professionals. The LG Dare, S80, is an impressive phone and multimedia device enhanced with a long talk time and simple touch-screen navigation. The virtual keyboard and handwrilingrecognition feature make e-mailing and texting a snap. A clever approach to the cluttered keypad problem make the $80 Samsunq Alias 2 a very good choice for heavy texters. The LG enV 3, S80. is a solid, pocketfriendly cell pfione with a generously proportioned keypad and a well-spaced QWERTY keyboard. The $50 LG VX8360 is an austere-looking flipper that takes its phone duties seriously. The soiid Verizon Wireiess G'zOne Boulder, at S150, is a good companion on rough terraifi. If simplicity is paramount: The $147 Sanfisung Jttterbuq J is a good choice for people who want a simple phone with a high level of service support.

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COMPUTERS, Desktops
Our Recommended models are based on test results and features. We also consider brand reliability, tech support, and overall value.
Brands model Similar mocieK, in imali Price Overall score Test results

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HP Pavilion Elite m96S0f HP Pavilion Elfie
e9120f Pavilion Eliiee9l2llï

NA NA Core i7 920 PfienümllX4 core2Quad PhenomX4 core 2 Quad 08200 Core20ua[i
1024 51Z

Gateway LX6810-01 Gateway DX43OO-O3 Dell Inspiron IS4S006B Asus Essentio

52 1

Compaq Presario C05U0F HP Pavilion a6700v i HP Pavilion p6!40l Gateway DX420O-O9 Compaq Presario SR571OV 1; HP Pavilion p6tiOf
Pavilion p61iay

MA NA Athlon X275SO NA
111 u> NA NA PheilomX4 g^5j)^ ... NA

Q82O0 PhenomX4
Athlon 64X2 ^^5Qp, Pentium DualCûreE530O ,.. NA .,, ^^

eMachliMH ET 1161-05 eMactiinesETI810-01 COMPACT [71 HP Pavilion Slimline s5160t [7] Gateway SX280O 01 Acer Aspire AX17OO-U37OOA

300

NA O Athlon If-1620 NA NA NA Celeron 420 NA

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COMPUTERS.

DESKTOPS

t97

Brand & model

Price

Overall score

Test results

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COMPACT continued

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P i F I GIVGI E

HP Pavilion Slimline Dell insptron 537s Apple Mac mini MB463LL/A.a eMachines ELUOOG-Olw Compaq Presario CQ20O9F 1
ALL-IN-ONE
•^ MB418LL/A ' ''^'^^

O r\

© O O NA NA Athlon X2 7750 NA e, A c fit r\ Pentium Oual^.

O O O © N • A © © O Ô N O A
• a O • NA NA

^^"nír^ N A *']2°5f
AiamN230 N A

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HP TouchSmari 10804 1,600 lenovo ideaCentre A600 sany VAio VGC-LV240J/S Dell studio One 19 Apple lUac 20-mch MB417U/A Sony VAIO VGC-JS23OJ/T Averatec DlOOEAlE-l eMachfnes EZ1601 01 Asustt'e Top

o o o a © © ©
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2Ouo Core 2 Dúo T5850 Core 2 Dúo T64O0

N A
256 51Í NA • • •

© © ©

Q

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0

© ^ £7400 _ Pentium Dual- 256 O •-J CoreBÍOO
N A

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© ©

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• • •

-^ Pentium DualO •^ CoreE5200 NA A e 0 Alom N270 N • Atom N27O N A o

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Atüm N^70

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1 Pnce include speakers purchased separately. 12 Buiil-ín mono speaker. Price indudes keyboard and mouse. I3i Has &. the fastest tonnection toi external hard drives. See report, page 82. Ratings Key @£xcehent ©Verygood OGood OPaír #Poor D CR Best Buy These models offer the besl combination oí performance arrct price. All are recommended. (Zl Recommended ne^i- are hlgi)-perfDimlng models that stand out.

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Guide to the Ratings
Overaii score reflects all the Ratinqs factors. Displayed scores are rounBed; models are listed in oröer of precise score. Performance reflects speed whiite running productivity and muitimedia software, plus power consumption. Ergonomics is how easily you can access features, plus the absence of noise. Versatility includes hardware features such as memorycard slots. AV connections, and speakers, software features such as security programs, and tech support and warranty provisions. 3D gaming covers performance whiie running 3D qames. For all-in-ones, dispiay is our judgment ot clarity, color, brightness, and viewing angle. Speakers covers fidelity, bass response, and loudness.

Seiect Ratinqs Overview
Fastest: HP Pavfiton Elite m9650l, $1,150: This system uses the latest processor, has a large hard drive, and includes an extra 5!Í!GB of video memory, making it a very good system for powerTjsers and gamers alike. There are ¿liso lots of extras included. ruli'featured and affordable: HP Pavtiion Elite e9120f. S740: This computer is loaded with features, including a larqe 1TB hard drive, 8GB ot RAM, a Biu-ray orive, and extra video memory. It's qood enough for productivity, entertainment, and qaminq, without breaking the bank. But you'll have to add speakers. Barqain for gamers; Gateway tX6810-01, S650: Gamers will appreciate the quad-core processor, 1GB of video memory, and 8GB of memory. This system includes lots of extra teatures. And it all comes at a reasonable price. No-frilis budget: Compag Presario C05110F, S370: This budget-priced computer is a CR Best Buy. Despite its low price, you qet 3GB of memory. But don't expect many extras beyond that. Fast and compact: HP Pavfiion Slimilne s5160t S820: It costs more than other compact computers we tested, but it's got a large hard drive and tots of RAM. The Biu-ray player makes it appealing as an entertainment system. Extra video memory makes it a good platform for gaming. Affordable compacts: Gateway SX2800-01, S490; A space-saver as well as a money-saver, this compact Gateway will meet demand for most computinq tasks. But gamers should ipok for a system with extra video memory. Acer Aspire AX17O0-U3700A, $390: Thir, compact system is a space-saver that doesn't skimp on features. It's got a large hard drive. extra video memory, and plenty of outputs for home theater. The mouse has an odd shape. Best ait-in-ones: Apple iMac MB418LL/A, $1,460: Apples iMacs are fast and competitively priced for an all-in-one. The 24-inch iMac has an excellent display. Apple was the most reliable desktop brand, and had the best tech support. HP TouchSmart, 10804, $1.600: The very good touclvscreen display makes this ail-in-one system a qood choice, especially (or families. The display is also the largest we've tested a\ 25.5 inches. Lenovo IdeaCentre A600, $1.100: With a stylish desiqn, this all-in-one packs a lot of features, including a larqe 1TB hard drive and extra video memory. It does so while remaining in the middle of the pack in price. Value all-in'one: Dell Studio One 19, $870: This very good ail-in-one system is a great deal with good performance. The 18.5-inch screen is smaller than many other all-in-one displays, but could be a benefit to those with little space.

COMPUTERS.

LAPTOPS

199

COMPUTERS, Laptops
I,aptop reliability has been mostly undistinguished. Apple has been best for laptop tccii support. DfU and Lcnovo were among the better lech-support providers for Windows-based laptops. Dell was an above-average problem-solver for laptops. Below are Select Ratings.
Branii & model Price Overall score Test results

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I I g " ^ I- f ^
100

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[71 [71 [7] [71 [71

12- TO 13-INCH MODELS Apple MdcBook Pro 13-inch HB990LL/A sonyVAio VGN-SR42OD/H Apple MacBook UB466LUA Apple MacQook Ail MC233Lt/A HP Pavilion

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Dell Inspiron 1318

e o e Q g 3J 4.9 ^";^"° N A
2.4GHZ Core 2 DUO Core 2 Ouo P8600 P8600 Core 2 Duo Core 2 Duo Pentium SU270O

14- TO 16-IWCH MODEIS
Apple MacBook Pro l5-inül MB47OLL/A Lenovo IdeaPad Y65O-8343UT

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525 5.5

© © © © O 2.75 5.6

M A

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NA

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I545-012B

Pentium O O O © Ô 3J 5.9 Dual-Cnre NA T4200

Ratings Key ©Ejcellenl ©Varygood Üüood ttf^'air • P o o f Q CR Best Buy These models offer the best combination ot pertormaiwe and price. Ail aro rocommanded. [ ^ Recommended These are ineh-pertorming models that stand out.

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Brand & model Similsí iraxíels. m sirull lYPCirecom lesiwJ model.

Price

Overall score

Test resuits E ^

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KK) P I F I G IVril [

17-TO 18INCH MODELS
Apple MacBook Pro ]7-inchMB604LL/A .-.,,.,, *""" © e e o o 3.5 Core 2 Duo •^"^ Core 2 7.5 Ouact 1024 Q9000

0
[71

HP Pavilion
dv7-21ßOtiS IIPG7D-460U5 67tM68NR

e e e e O 3^ 73 X^¿' .

N A

171 Toshiba Satellite ^ L355-S79O2 See report, page 86.

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Guide to the Ratings
Overall score is based on a number of factors, such as performance, ergonomics, portability, and versatility. The displayed score is out of a total of 100 points. Performance is basecf on running productivity applications, multimedia applications, and 3D qames. Ergonomics represents^ the quality of the keyboard and touchpad and accessibility of features, Versatlllty includes hardware such as memory-card slots and AV connections, software such as security programs and productiyity applications, and tech support and warranty provisions. Display covers display size, clarity, color, contrast, brightness, and glare. Speakers covers speaker fidelity, bass response, and loudness.

Select Ratings Overview
Best 13-Inch: Apple MacBook Pro 13-Inch MB990LLyA, $1,200: The top performer In the 13-inch category, this laptop is very well-rounded witfi an above-average display and set of speakers. Sony VAIO, VGN-SR420D/H, $1.200: A well-rounded 13.3-inch laptop, this Sony is a top Windows performer in this class. The extra video merWory makes it appealing to qamers who want a small, portable system. Apple MacBook MB466LL/A, $1,000: This lower-priced MacBook option is very competitive with other laptops in the 13-inch cateqory.HP Pavilion dv3-2150us, $800: Although it's a bit heavy for a 13.3-inch laptop, this system has long battery life and is well-priced (or its size. There's also a large SOOGB hard disk. Dell Inspiron 1318, $625: Great price for .i 13-inch laptop, but there's no webcam. Best llqhtwelght: Apple Macbook Air MC233LL/A, $1.500: This laptop IS suitable lor those who are willing to pay a premium for netbook-like portability and notebook-like performance. It ie^.tures a very good display but lacks basic features like an optical drive and memory-card reader.

Best 14-liKh:
Dell Inspiron 14, $725: If you're looking for a lightweight 14-inch laptop, this Defl was a very good performer. Features are a bit limited, however.

COMPUTERS.

LAPTOPS

201

Select Ratings Overview
Best 15-Inch: Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch MB470LL/A, 51,500; Scored tops amonq its category, with t>xcellent performance, long battery life, very good display and speakers, and relatively fight weight. Acer Aspire Timeline AS5810-46S7. 5550: Thin, tight, and inexpensive, it also has some of the best battery life In its class. But performance is worse than most laptops 'on the market and only marginally better than a netbooh. Dell Inspiron I545-0I2B. S400: Good performanue and a budget price maKe it a CR Best Buy. The I60GB hard drive is smaller than others in its class, but should he sufficient for most uses. Best 16-lneh: Lenovo ideaPad Y650-B343UT, S900: With excellent ergonomics and very good performance, versatility, display, and speakers, this well-rouncted laptop offers plenty of functionality. Although battery fife was comparatively 5hort, the laptop is lightweight for its size. Deil Studio XPS SX16-2313, Sl,125: Excelleni performance distinguishes this 16-inch laptop. Video memory and a Blu-ray player give it appeal for gaming and movie viewing. Toshiba Satellit« AS05-S6960, S650: This CR Best Buy l6-inch laptop has a large display and a full spectrum o( features. Performance was only qood and it's heavy in its class, but battery life was long. Best17Hneh: Appie MacBook Pro 17-inch MB604LL/A, $2.200: Consistently performs at the top of our Ratings, with excellent performance, long battery life, a very good display, and excellent sound. HP Paviiion dv7-21B0us, S1,35O: Costs more than olher Windows laptops in its size that we tested, but this HP system offers IGB of video memory for gamers, a large. 500GB hard drive, and 6GB of memory. The result was excellent performance. HP G70-460US, $650: This well-priced 17-inch laptop had very good performance, Toshiba Sateilfte L355-S79O2, $600: Inexpensive for a Windows laptop this size, its ergonomics and versatility make it a very good desktop replacement.

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Brand Repair History
Desktops
h'W! Laptops Fewer reoairs More

More

Apple CompâQ cMachínes

Gatevfav HcwlMI-Pückaíí

Q%

5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30%

5%

10% 15% 20% 25%

Apple has been a m o n g the more reliable brands of desktop computers. That's what we f o u n d out w h e n we ask^d more than 4 7 , 0 0 0 readers who bought a desktop computer between 2 0 0 4 and 2 0 0 8 a b o u t their experiences. This graph shows the percentage of brands that have ever been repaired or had a serious problem, Differences of less than 4 points aren't meaningful. Models w i t h i n a brand may varv, and changes in design or manufacture might affect reliabiiity. Still, choosing a brand w i t h a good repair history can improve your odds of g e t t i n g a reliable model. Source: Annual Product HeliabiHtv Survey, Consumer Reports National Researcti Center.

No one brand stood o u t as ttie most reliable among laptop brands. That's what we found out when we asked more than 6 3 , 0 0 0 readers who bought a laptop between 2 0 0 4 and 2 0 0 8 a b o u t their experiences. This graph shows t h e percentage of brands that have ever been repaired or had a serious problem. Differences o l less than 3 points aren't m e a n i n g f u l . Models w i t h i n a tirand may vary, and changes in design or manufacture might affect reliability. Still, choosing a brand w i t h a g o o d repair history can improve your odds of g e t t i n g a reliable model. Source: Annual Product Reliabililv Survev, Consumer Reports National Research Center

COMPUTERS,

NETBOOKS

203

COMPUTERS, Netbooks
kecommended netbooks are suitable as secondary systems for performing routine iasks. The hesl otFer lighter weight, larger keyboards and trackpads, and longer battery
lift'. All inoliidf il memorv-Ccirii render .ind webcam.
Brand S model Price Overall score Test results

1 i
D ion P I F I G IVGl F [•il \7\ SamsungNI2O-I2GBK ÎAOÙ Toshiba Wim Samsung KÍ10-12PBK pj AsusFeePClOOSHA Samsung NC10-t4GB [71 Acer Aspire One AOOlM-1165 Acer Aspire One D250-1990 Asus tee PC lOOOHE HP Mini 1I0-1O30NF) Samsung NQO-aiGBK MSI Wind U120-024US Dell Inspiron Mini lOv Dell Inspiron Mini 10 Acer Aspire One AOA15O-1635 Acer Aspire One AO751h-1259 MSIMrnd U100-641U5 . 400 415 390 „„ "" ,_n ^^^ VÚ 350 500 320 300 3S0 ,_. ^^" -... "^ •*""

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2.8 AtomN270 160 2.9 AtomN28Q 160 2.8 AtomN27D 160 2A AtomN28ü 160 M AtomN27O 160 2.9 AtomN27O tÖO 2.7 AtomW7O 16Ü 3.2 A:omN28O 160 2.9 AlomN270 160 Nano 3.3 160 2.S AtomN27O 160 2.6 2.5 AtomZ530 160 12 AlomN27O 160 2.7 AlomZ52O 250 ¿5 AtomN27O 160

204

C O N S U M E R

R E P O R T S

B U Y I N G

G U I D E

2 0 1 0

Brand 8 model

Price

Overall score

Test results ^

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IDO F I &1VCI E
Averatec Buddy N1030EA1E-1 ienovo ideaPad 510-12ÜUW HPMinÍlU6NF< HPMÍnílO3ONR See report, page 86. Ratings Key ©Excelienl ©Ve;v EPOd OGood ©Fair • P o o r D Q CR Best Buy These models offer the best combinalicin ol performance arid price. All are recommended. Recommended These are hign.-performing models that stand out.

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Guide to the Ratings
Overall score is based on a number of factors, such as ergonotnics, performance, portability, and versatility. Ttie displayed score is out ot a total of lOO points. Portabltlty is based on battery life and weight. Erqonomlcs represents the quality of the keyboard and touctipad and accessibility of features. Performance is based on running productivity applications. Versatility includes hardware features such as memory-card slots and AV connections, software features such as security programs, and tech support and warranty provisions. Display covers display size, clarity, color, contrast, brightness, and glare. Speakers covers fidelity, bass response, and loudness.

Select Ratings Overview
Samsunq N120-12GBK, $400: II portability and ergonomics are your priorities, this netbook, with its long battery life and relatively large keyboard, is a good choice. But those features come at a premium price. ToshilM Mini NB20S-N210, $3S0: Very Qood portability, long battery, and inexpensive price tag make this a great ctioice. especially for those on a budget. Asus E M PC lOOeHA, S41S: This thin and lightweight netbook has good ergonomics (or its class. Acer Aspire One A001S0-1165, 5330: With the longest battery life in the group, this netbook will keep you going on the road. But Che keyboard and touchpad were ^mailer than average.

COOKTOPS

205

COOKTOPS
All electric cooktops performed well overaii. Tliere are many competent gas cooktops to choose from, too. Like gas cotiktops. electric smoothtop models can'l malch ihc quick heating and instant response of inducUon models. But as the price column shows, induction cooktops typically arc more expensive. Below are Select Ratings.
Brands model Price Overall score Test results
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Features
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30-INCH ELECTRIC SMOOTHTOP MODELS Electrolux Icon EÎ0EC65EÎSSI Kenmore (Sears) 4273IZI 500 1.050

1

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¿ 2 2

0

«

PiOfile PP945BMIBBÍ

2

0 0

INDUaiON COOKTOPS
Kenmore (SearsI Line GEP!Of¡lePHP900DU|BB| KeumoreíSeari) Elite 4Í80I0I 1.745 1.700

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1.575

Brands model

Price

Overall score

Test results^ features

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36-INCH GAS COOKTOPS

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100 p I F I G I VGl t

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GE Profile JGP'J/'.WEKIWWI GE Protile

Ratings Key ©Exceilani ©Very good OGood Ofsir • ? < } « D S CR Best Buy These models ofler Ihe besl combination ol perfoimance and ptice. Ail are racontmenijed. Recommended These am high-performing models that stand oui.

206

C O N S U M E R

R E P O R T S

B U Y I N G

G U I O E 2 0 1 0

Guide to the Ratings
Overaii score reflects cooktop performance at high and low heat. The displayed score is out ot a total of 100 points. Hiqh h«at reflects how quickly the highest-povuered element heated water to near-boiling. Low heat reriects how well the lowest-powered element melted and held chocolate without scorching and how the most powerful eiement, set to tow, held tomato sauce below a boil.

Select Ratings Overview
30-inch electric cooktops: All are top performers. Paying more for the EJectrolux Icon E30EC65E[SS], $1,200, buys you five elements instead of four; the GE Proflie PP945BM[BB]. $1,050. adds smooth touch controls. The Kenmore 427312], S500, offers the most performance for the price. 30-inch Induction coohtops: All three offer ultrafast healing at a relatively low price for induction. At Si.575. the Kenmore Eittt 4 2 e 0 [ 0 ] costs the least but has less convenient controls. 36-lnch qss coolttops: Between the Kenmore Eitte 324919], $1,150, and the GE Profiie JGP975WEK[WW], Sl,100, choose the Kenmore for its taster heating. The GE JGP637WEJIWW] trades some convenience features and some simmering performance for a much lower price; at S800, it's the best value.

Brand Repair iHistory
Electric Cooktops repairs Kenmote (Sears)

Mwe

Whirlpool KitcIienAiil

Gas Cooittops
repairs WtlillpODi ^ m d More fep.iiii

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Dacor and Viking have been ttie most repair-prone gas brands; Jenn-Air has been among the more repair-prone electric brands. That's what we found when we asked almost 19,000 readers who bought a cooktop between 2004 and 2008 about their experiences. The graph shows the percentage of brands that needed a repair or had a serious problem. Differences of less than 4 points aren't meaningful, and we've adjusted the data to eliminate differences linked solely to the age of the cooktop. Note Ihat we have no data on induction cooktops. Models within a brand miqht vary, and design or manufacture changes mighl affect future reliability. Still, choosing a brand with a good repair history can Improve your odds of getting a reliable model.
Source: Annual Product Reliability Survey, Consumer Reports Nationa! Research Center.

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C O R D L E S S

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D R I V E R S

207

CORDLESS DRILLS & DRIVERS
Decide whether the projects you handle warrant the higher power and price of the latest technology. Note that drills that deliver added speed, power, and run time are heavier as well. Also decide whether you're willing to wear earplugs; models that scored a fair in our noise tests were at or above the 85-decibel level at which we recommend hearing,protection. Below are Select Ratings.
Brand & model Price Volts Cell Weight Overallscore Testresults * .E .s —^ ^
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DRILLS FOR GENERAL USE
_ Q 0 Q 0 Ptirter-CablerciSODK? llyoWP815 Craftstttanll'jaa Hitachi DS12DVF3 5Z00 100 160 120 80 15.6 NiMH 18 18 19.2 12 NiCll U-lon NiCrt NiCd 4.8 5.1 55 'O 'iA

DRILLS FOR TOUGHER JOBS

0
Hitachi DS18DMR MakHa LXT BDF451

18

NiCd NiMK li-lon NiCd MiMH NiCd

6.1 fi.H 4.9 Vi 5.4 0.7 5.5

• • •

Bosch J.)618-?G Uahitaó347DWDE DeWalt DCD WOKX Craftsman 11543^,^;^,

200 280 200 200 200 130

18 18 18 18 19.2

14.4 "NlCil

Ratings Key ©Excellent ©VerygooQ OGood ÔFair #Poor D CR Best 8uy These models offer t.lie best combination of performance ar>d price. All are recommencled. [ ^ Recommended These are hlgh-peifarming models that stand out.

208

C O N S U M E R

R E P O R T S Price

B U Y I N G

G U I D E Overallscore

2 0 1 0 Testresults

Brand S model

Volts Cell weight type' (ib.)

P I CORDLESS IMPACT DRIVERS

RyohlP230C

$220 UO

12 18

NiMH NiCit

i.b 4.6

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• Li-loo=iiltilum-ion. NiCd • niEkel-cadmium, NiMH • nickel-meial hydride. See report, page 56,

Guide to the Ratings
Overall score is for speed, power, run and charge times, handling, and noise at ear ievei. Displayed scores for all tools are rounded; models listed by precise overall score. Speed is . (or drilling holes and driving screws. Power (torque) is twisting force. Run time is work , per battery charge. Charge time is to recharge fully discharged battery. Handling is weight. baiance, and effort to position head. Noise is at ear levei.

Select Ratinqs Overview
Best drills for most: Paying more buys added run time for the Panasonic' EY6432G0KW, $200, and less weight tor the Ryobi P815, 5160. But the Porter-Cabte PC1800K-2, $100, and Craftsman 1158B. S120, deliver the best performance tor the price. Note that the Ryobi and Craftsman can power other tools with the same batteries. Lighter weight for tighter-duty Jobs: The Hitachi DS12DVF3, SSO. is among the lightest, lowest-priced drills that are still reasonably fast with quick recharging. For serious do-it-yourselfers: Choose the DeWalt DCO 940KX. S280, for Ihe ultimate in performance and the Maklta LXT BDF4S1, S280, for its lightness. Otherwise, you'll get comparable performance with any of the $200 models listed as drills for tougher jabs. Choose the Craftsman 11543, S130, if ymiYe willing to trade some run time for a hammer-drill feature and a muct^lower price. If YOU want an Impact driver: The Makita 698bFDWDE, $220. and the Ryobi P230C, Si30. add power and enough noise to require hearing protection. Choose the Makita for its light weight and the Ryobi for its low price.

D E C K

S T A I N S

209

DECK STAINS
Our three-year tests in sun. snow, and rain yielded several top picks that can protecl both your deck and yflur house. Match stain to your local conditions. Pick a mildew resistant product ifyour home is in the shade and a dirt-resistant one il it's iñ an urban ,irea. Below are Select Uatings.
Type Price Overall score Appearance Resists

0

100

P I f I G IVCI E

FULLY TESTED Completed the equivalent of up lo nine vear5' exposure.
Behr [Jerk Plus tok, fence fliirt Siding 200 line Sears Wcjttieibeater Oeck, íono.'í; Silling Thompsofl'swaterSeal Deck & House rpprjit, pflcje 65. Ratings Key ©Excellent Q^ery^xiú OGODCI OFair • P o o r opaque opai)ue semitransparent

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Q CR Best Buy These models offer Ihe besi combination of performance and price. All are r [•'] Recommended roese are high-pertormmgrnoaels that stand cut.

Guide to the Ratings
Overall scor« is a three-year weighted performance averaige using the number of coats manuliicturers suggest; in these cases, two coats were applied. Type stiows whether a treatment rovers wooia grain (opaque) or shows some grain (semitransparent). All are latex-based stains that clean up with water. Appearance iS judged over as long as three years. Resists cracking shows which best prevent cracks In our pressure-treated boards. Resists color ctianqe --hows which fade or change color least. Resists dirt shows which collect little dirt. Resists mildew •ihows which minimize mildew buildup.

Select Ratings Overview
Ihp Behr Deck, Fence & Siding 200 iine, opaque, S23 per gallon and sold a( Home Depot, iiisted longest in our decking and siding tests. The Sears Weatherbeater Deck, Fence and SIdInq opaque did nearly as weii as !he Behr. costs just $16 per gallon, and has roughly one-lhird the volatile organic compounds, which have been linked to pollution. Thompson's WaterSeal Deck & House semitransparent, S20 per gallon, protected best among semitransparent finishes on both decking and siding.

210

C O N S U M E R

R E P O R T S

B U Y I N G

G U I D E 2 0 1 0

DIGITAL CAMERAS, Point & Shoot
The Ratings list models by overall performance. Recommended models stand oui for their combination of price and performance, or other reajions noted. All models offer good or very good overall performance and image quality. Most get 200 to 350 shots per battery charge (none got fewer ihan 100) and have V/i inches or so of LCD screen.
Brand & model Price Overall scDre Test results
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D I G I T A L
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LeitaClUX3
Samsung TUOO Sony Cyber stiot DSC-W220

212

C O N S U M E R
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R E P O R T S

B U Y I N G

G U I D E

2 0 1 0

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214

C O N S U M E R

R E P O R T S

B U Y I N G

G U I D E

2 0 1 0

Guide to the Ratings
Overall score Í5 based mainly on image quality, the presence of useful features, battery life, and weight. Displayed scores are rounded; models are listed in orijer of precise overall score. Megapixels is unit of measurement that shows how many million pixels an image sensor has. As 3 rule, the more megapixels you have, the larger you can print your image, or enlarge parts of an image without losing detail or Image gualily. Weiqht (oz.) is total weight of the camera body, including battery and memory card. Imaqe qualfty combines analytical tests and expert judgments on a reference monitor of images made with the camera's best resolution and compression. Ovnamlc ranqe and maximum ISO with best quality are factors, for point and shoots, first-shot delay (often referred to as shutter lag) is how quickly the camera can take ¡ts first shot once powered up. The fastest were virtually instantaneous; the slowest took 1 second or longer. Next-shot delay is how quickly the camera can take its next photo. Models at least as quick ¿is 1 second were rated excellent; 3, very good; 5, good; and 7, fair. For SLRs, ease ot use is our measure of how convenient it is to use the camera's essential features, Vlewflnder is Ihe score of viewfinder specifications and the measurement of the viewfinder's brightness. Versatility reflects our assessment of a camera's physical controls, useful features, menu system, and the degree to which you can adjust settings. Max. ISO with best quality indicates the highest ISO that can produce a gootJ-puality image. It's based on analytical tests of an image's flaws (unwanted "grain" or specks of false color) and indicates which models should excel in low light. Dynamic range indicates how wide a range of dark, middle, and light tones a camera captures in a scene, while stiil producing a good-quality image and fine detail. Battery life (shots) indicates the number of hiqh-resoiutlon shots the camera takes with the batteries supplied.

Select Ratings Overview
Best polnt-and-shoots for $150 or less: For the price, the Canon PowerShot A1000 IS, at SlSO, offers you very good image quality, producing images with excellent sharpness although we did notice some visible noise. It also has decent performance and excellent dynamic range, which allows this camera to shoot photos in a wide variety of situations. Best underwater oolnt-and-shoots: The waterproof and shockproof Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS1, S400, maintains very good Image quality and, for the most part, performance, it has a non-telescoping zoom lens that also has wide-angle capability and more optical zoom than many compacts. However, it Is a bit heavy and pricey for a compact. The waterproof and shockproof Canon PowerShot DIO, $330, maintains very good image quality and has better performance than most compacts. It has a non-telescoping zoom lens. However, it does have lower battery lile than most compacts, which may be a problem if you use it for long periods of time away from the battery charger. For a camera that fits in a pocket: The Canon PowerShot SD1200 IS ELPH, S200, offers a winning combination of strong performance and value. It includes new technologies, such as a face detection self-timer feature that won't begin the countdown until it "recognizes" an additional face. But it doesn't ignore practicai features, such as an optical viewfinder, which can be helpful when composing in bright light, ft has very good image quality, producing images with excellent sharpness, although we did notice some noise. It performs very well in next-shot delay, which is very short, though it did have some firstshot delay. It also has excellent dynamic range, which aiiows this camera to shoot photos in

D I G I T A L

C A M E R A S ,

P O I N T

&

S H O O T

215

Select Ratings Overview
.'. ill' variety of shooting situations. I he Fujifilm FinePix F200EXR, 2320. tias a special sensor that can adapt to various •ihootmq situations. It has verv good image i-iuality, producing images with excellent sharpness, although we did notice some notse. It has excellent dynamic range, which .-tllows this camera to shoot photos in a wide variety of shooting situations, and it performs very well in next-stiot delay, which is very .hort, though it did have some (irst-shot delay. It has manual controls, which make this cami?ra more versatile than other modeis. it also includes wide-angle capabiiities, usetui for landscapes and group portraits, and an output for HDTV. The very slim Casio EKitim Card EX-S12, 5200. offers speedy performance and very good Image guallty at a reiativeiy low price. It even includes manual focus, which makes It more versatiie than other models. The Canon PowerShot SD780 iS ELPK, 5230, J5 one of the few point-and-shoots that can capture high-guality images in very low light without a flash. Its excellent dynamic range allows Ihis camera to take photos in a wide variety of shooting situations, and the optical viewfinder can be heipful when composing in bright light. If a Ionq zoom Is a priority: Ihc Canon PowerShot SX1 IS, S560, is a,very pricey, but powerful superzoom with unique leatures th3t let you control many exposure settings and take better or more creative photos. Like an SLR, it can save images in RAW format, whlcli allows you more creative control over editing images, it has a hot shoe for an optionai external fiash, which is rare on point-and-shoots. It can even capture high-definition video at a greater resolution (1920 X 1080) than most cameras, it's big anc heavy, but it's loaded with features. With its speedy performance, very good image quaiity, and decent quality in iow light, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H20, $250, is a fine value. It doesn't have wide-angle capability, a feature found on most in its ciass. But it's a light, portable superzoom ât an attractive price. For a relatively inexpensive superzoom, the Canon PowerShot SX110 IS. $230, produces images with very good sharpness. although we did notice some visible noise. Performance is mixed, with short next-shot delay but some first-shot delay. Excellent dynamic range lets you shoot photos in a wide variety of situations. Manual controls and manual focus make this camera more versatile than other modeis. AithouQh ttie Samsunq HZ10W, $280. Is light and compact for a superzoom, it has some powerlui features, such as a very wide 24-mm iens, which can be usefui for landscapes and group portraits. It has very good image quality, producing images with good sharpness, although we did notice some noise The camera has very short next-shot deiay, but did have some first-shot delay. It has excel lent dynamic range, which allows this camern to shoot photos in a wide variety of shooting situations. It also has manual controls, whicti makes this camera more versatile than othei models, as well as manual focus.

Z16

C O N S U M E R

R E P O R T S

B U Y i N G

G U I D E 2 0 1 0

DIGITAL CAMERAS, SLR
Most models were fine overall performers. Image-quality scores aren't comparable with those of point-and-shoots because the two types are factored differently. Below are Seiecl Ralinj;s,
Brand «model Price Overall score Testresuits

.c

Ci.

PIF I G
BA5IC

LîlJ CaooB EOS Rebel Tli 0 0 MikonD5000 Penta«K2000
ADVANCED [Z\ 0 p] "Nikon D300 Oiympus Ë-3 0igital canon EOS 40D Dígita!

© © © e O 15 18.6 1600 400 • © © © e O 12 2i.6 3200 510 • © © © © O 10 24J 800 400

3.4 4 Z.8

© © © 12 2 3200 1000 •
© © © ^ O 10 316 800 6iO • 10 28.8 8O0 800

6
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See report, page 19. Ratings Key ©Eiceilent ©Verygood OGood ©Fair #Poor Q CR Best Buy These models offer the best combination ot performance and price. All are recommended. bd Recommended These are hlgh-pertorming models ihat stand out

Select Ratings Overview
For a baste SLR: The Canon EOS Rebel Til, $650. is one of only a few basic SLRs with excellent image quality. It has the ability to capture HO-resolution video, allhough at a slower rate than others, which can compromise video quality. It's also better than most SLRs at shooting in lowlight situations without a fiasti. The Nikon D5000, $730. with its combination of live-view functionailjty, swiveling display, and ability to shoot HD-resolution video, offers you a very intuitive way of taking video, as well as very good photos, with one device. It's also relatively inexpensive and better ttian most SLRs In low-tight situations without a flash. The camera body of the Ptntax K200D, $700, although plastic, includes environmental seals, which means it will do a better job at Keeping moisture and dust from entering ttie camera white the lens is attached. It's very easy to use with access to many functions through external buttons and controls. But it does not have live*vrew capabilities. With a buffer size that allows for only 4 JPEGs, smaller than what most other tiasic SLRs have, you

D I G I T A L

C A M E R A S .

S L R

21

Select Ratings Overview
Will most likely see a slowinij in Irames per second when shooting in continuous shooting mode, lt'5 one ot the few SLRs that runs on AA batteries. For « more advanced SLR: With its ability to capture excellent imaqe quality, shoot quichiy. and perform in lowlight conditions, plus excellent dynamic range. Ihe Nikon D300, $1,600. is worth its tilgh price tag. Although it was a long time in coming to market, this top-ot-the-iine, moderately priced Olympus E-3 Diqltsl, S1.250, was worth the wait. It includes unique features such as a swiveiing LCD with live view. It also has 11 AF points to give you ample opportunity to keep up with active subjects. It includes a sturdy body and lots of fite storage and compression options. The Canon EOS 40D Digital, S900. has one of the fastest burst modes, being able to fire o(f 6.5 frames per second for as many as 75 JPEGs or up to 17 RAW files. It has excellent image guality. a large live-view LCD and excellent battery life.

Brand Repair History Point-and-shoot
Most cameras are very reliable, and few differences exist among brands. That's what we lound out when we asked more than 275.000 readers who bought a digital camera between 2004 and 2008 about their experiences. The graphs show the percentage of brands that needed a repair or had a serious problem. Differences of less than 3 points aren't meaningtul. Models within a brand might vary, and design or manufacture changes might affect future reliability. Still, choosing a brand with a good repair history can improve your odtís of getting a reliable model.
Source; Annual Product Reiiabiiity Survey. Consumei Reports National Research Center. 0% SLR
Morí'

FuiifiliTi

Olympus
Canon

Nikon

10%

15%

218

C O N S U M E R

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B U Y I N G

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2 0 1 0

DIGITAL PICTURE FRAMES
Picture quality is by far the most important feature to consider when you're buying a digital frame. You might also want to look for a frame with built-in Wi-Fi to make it easier to grab photos from your computer or an online photo-sha ring service. Extra memory is also a plus. Below are Select Ratings.
Brand S model Price Overall score Test results Features

3

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P I F I G iVGl t [^^ Digital Specmim
Memory Frame HF80Í Ë ipevo Kaieido R7 PAN70000W 0 GiiNit Slope CiN-81? 90

f >
© Ö © 8,0X1.4
10.0X
800x SaMMC.MS. 512 6Û0 XD.U5B ÖOOx SD, MMC, MS. 480 USB 800x 50. MMC. MS. 1024 600 XO.USB BOOx 5D,MMCMS. 128 600 CF.xD.-U5B

e Ô e e ô e o o ©

7.8« 6.8x3.0

[7! Pandi^tal

93X .8.1x1.4
9ix 6.0x0.8

See report, pace 24. Rating5 Key ^Excellent ©Very good OGood © F a » # P o o r D CR Best Buy These models offer the best combination ot performance and price. Al) are raconimentled. 11! R e c o m m e n d e d TTiese are high-performing models that stand out,

Guide to the Ratinqs
Overall 5core is in performance order, based on picture Quality, vtewinq angle, and versatiiity. Picture quality includes image clarity, color accuracy, and contrast. It's based mainly on the judgments of a panel that viewed photographs on each device, as well as iab measurements. Viewing anqlc indicates the quaiity of images when viewed from 45 degrees of the center iine both horizontally and vertically. This is important if you are standing above the irame and looking down, sitting at an angle to the frame, or sitting with the frame positioned above you. Versatility mainly includes characteristics thai aid in versatiiity and convenience. Those include the presence of hardware and menu-based navigation features. Aiso considered are the number of memory-card and USB siots; built-in memory; brightness, color, and contrast controls; wireless remote control; portrait and iandscape stands; removabie picture frames and any extra frames included; audio and video playback; audio and video connections; PC-to-device image transfer speeds; number and duration of slideshow timings; the ability to deiete images; image quantity; size and format limitations; and handling of non-compatible image formats.

D I G I T A L

P I C T U R E

F R A M E S

219

Select Ratings Overview
Very qood picture quality at a low prie*: Ar^ additional trame and malte plus the ability to use ready-made frames make ttie Dlqltal Spectrum Memory Frame MF-801, $80, a qood choice if you want to match ttie frame to your décor, Ttie low price makes ttiis frame a good value, and picture quality was very qood. A wide range of convenient features makes it easy to use. Wi-Fi connected to qet photos from your computer and from select online services: At first qiance, you might think you're looking at trie worfcl's smallest LCD monitor. The Ipevo Kareldo R7, S200, will look good in an office or if your home décor leans toward tectino-chic. But it's among the highest-priced frames we rated. It comes with built-in Wi-Fi connectivity that lets you view photos stored on your computer or on select online services. Its 512MB of memory provides a substantial amount of storage space. Widescreen aspect ratio makes picture-viewinq problematic. Lots of storage on the frame so you can reuse your memory cards: A gigabyte of memoiy gives you plenty of room for storing pholos on the Pandiqitai PAN70000W, SSO. The low price makes this frame a good value. An optional Wi-Fi adapter lets you get ptiotos from your computer and specific photo-sharinq sites. For people looktnq to stmply show their photos: If you're like many people who simply want a digital frame to show pictures, the CiiNIi Slope GN-aT2, S90. is a very goDd bet. Its crisp-iookinq screen and low price make it a CR Best Buy.

220

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GUIDE 2 0 1 0

DISHWASHERS
You'll save money on your new dishwasher by passing on the hidden controls and stainless-steel tub. Targeted spray jets, adjustable racks, and other features designed to improve loading and washing peribrmance will also add to the price of many dishwashers, but some high-scoring models in this report are equipped with those conveniences and cost less.
Brand&model
Siniiläf mOek. In smalt
OÍ C:

Price

Overallstore

Testresults

Features

I .H g ¡w ^ ~

S

S

0 Bosch SHX98M0{9|
UCSHFüaMOtltK

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P 1 F I G IVGU

s
Some

3

Bosch Evolution 500 Asko Encore DÍ531XLHDÍSS] Kenmore (Sear^) Elite
lllIi,iW,ishHE1315[2|

Kenmore IG 5team LDF7932[ST1 KitcbenAlil KUDE7OCV[SS1
KUDf'OfV

Thermador HO Series Kenmore (Sears) Pro 131713] Kenmore (Sears) KitchenAid KUDS40CVIWH1 Kenmore (Sears) 131812] GE Profile PDWT5I0PIWW1 KitchenAid KUDE60FVIWH1 Bosch SKE33M0ß|

DISHWASHERS

221

Brand & model

Price

Overall score

Test results
^ cy

Features
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41

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Q 100

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Si

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Whirlpool c>ol(j Giiiaooxivioi Whirlpool Gold
(,LIÎ(J0UXTV101

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500 550

Kenmore (Sears) I389Í21 Whirlpool Gold KitctienAid KU0S3ÜIVÍWHÍ Asko O5253XXL LG LDS482I Kenmore (Spars)

675 1,300 600 690 400 900 .^,,f.

Whirlpool
DU1O55XÎVIO] Bosch SHE58C0[2]llC Fisher RPaykel Miele lns|]ir<i G2H2SCIWHI Bosch SHE45COU11JC Kenmore (Sears) Bosch SHX6AP0(2|UC GE Profile PDWF780PIWW) Electrolux Wave-Toiich EWDW6505G1WI Maytag Mr)F17609flW|W] Whirlpool DUliOOXTVlQi Samsung DMR77LHIWI Maytag ML1B8751BW1WI Hotpoînt HL04000N[WW1 Maytag

I

700

700

g^

ftll

222

C O N S U M E R

R E P O R T S

B U Y I N G

G U I D E

2 0 1 0

BrandSmcaei

Price

Overall score

Testresults

Features

tesiPd model. Q J -o S-

o
P I F I GlVGi f Dacor Epicure ED?4[S) Jenn-Air JOBIlOSAWiWI GEGLD5900NIWW] GEGLDS800PIWW] Samsung DMR57LF[W] Maytag UDB660iAW|Wl GEGLD6700NIWW] KJtchenAid KUDD03DÎIWH1 Haier ESD310 Maytag MDPaOOOftWfSl See report, p^ge 39. Ratings Key ©Excellent ©Verygooú OGood ©FsEr • P o o r O CR Best Buy Thüse modeis offer the t>est cambmation of peffarmarice arx] price. A)l are recommended. [Zl Recommended These aie high-periorming models that stand cait $1550

Guide to the Ratings
Overall score, based mainly on washing, also lactors in noise, energy and water use, loading, and more. The displayed score is out of a total of TOO points. Washing was tested using our standard, very dirty, lull load. Because we switched to an enzyme-based deterijent for our tests. Ratings for models that appear here and in archived reports may differ. Enerqy use is for a normal cycle, mostly for heating water, both at the water heater and in the machine. Nols« was judged during fill, wash, and drain, mainly by a listenjng panel. Ease of use includes rdck adjustability, the ability to hold extra place settings and oversized Items such as platters and talt glasses. Cycl« time is based on a normal cycle including heated dry. where that feature is available. Under brand & model, a bracketed tetter or number is a color code.

DISHWASHERS

Z23

Select Ratings Overview
, fuli-featured modeis that excel at cleaning: • Kenmore 1374[2], S720. CR Best Buy • Bosch SHE33M0I2ÏUC, S600. CR Best Buy - Whiripooi Goid GU2300XTV[0], S550. CR Best Buy The Kenmore has targeted spray jets but the Whiripooi offers better drying performance. Both have adjustable top shelves. The Bosch was the most efficient, with the shortest cycle time and a stainless-steel interior, But you'il occasionaily have to clean its filter öy hand. Budget-frfendiy dishwashers that perform weli: • Kenmore 1389Í2], $500 • Whirlpool DU1O55XTV[Q], $400 These lower-priced models were excellent at cleaning. The capacity of the Whirlpool is iimited by the lack of fold-down tines. The Kenmore has bidden controls.

Brand Repair History
Fisher & Paykel was the most repair-prone brand, and Maytag was among the more repair-prone brands. That's what we found when we asked almost 135.000 readers who bought a dishwasher between 2004 and 2008 about their experiences. Although we lacked sufficient historical cfata to include the company in the chart, LG has been a repair-prone brand, according to our analysis. The graph shows the percentage ot models for each brand ttiat were repaired or had a serious problem. Differences of less than 3 points aren't meaningful, and we've adjusted the' data Eo eliminate differences linked solely to the age and usage of the dishwasher. Models within a brand can vary, and design or manufacture changes might affect future reliability Still, choosing a brand with a good repair history can improve your odds of getting a reliable model. Source: Annual PrtxJuctfielialillilySutvey, Consumer Reports National Research Center.

ii'pait!

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more (Sears} I H H ^ H

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0% ii% lO'fc 15% JU% ; 5 % 30%

224

C O N S U f ^ E R

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B U Y I N G

G U I D E

2 0 1 0

DRYERS
Most of the dryers we tested scored at least very good for drying performance. Those that scored excellent were better at drying delicate clothes at low temperatures and leaving loads damp enough for ironing. While we test only electric dryers, we've found ihat g-as and electric dryers perform similarly. Electric dryers require a heavy-duty 240 volt line. Gas dryers cost more but are less expensive to operate, so you'll recoup the added expense quickly
Brand & model
^iiïiiiiît mcniels. in imal) lype. Ate im»[urabie lo ts'Avä inodel.

Price

Overall score

Test results

i

e

s

ÎO 5 E ,S

F l G ELEaRiC DRYERS Kenmore (Sears) Elite HE3 Sl,400 Steam 86MUI Kenmore (Seaf5) Elite HE5 1,300 Steam 8772|1|
E!ilpHt.!jSrpjniS771(|

e ©

6E Profile Harmony OPGT750ECIWW] Kenmore (Sears) Oasis Steam 6806[2|
íMii;SiíPjiní>Si»(l

UTromm DLE8377IW1 Maytag 5000 Series steam MEDE500VIW1

1,050
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900 EE 1.400

0
[7]

LGDLE39S5IW1 IG SteamOrver DLEX300IÎWI Kenmore (Sears) Elite Oasis 6703121 titeOäsis «041 i,Ete Whirlpool Duet Steam WED'JöOOTIWI DV4'IBAE[W1 LG OLE25t6(Wl Kenmore (Sears) 800 Series 698212] aoo^nes 698311

DflY

ERS

225

Brand Smoriei i nioiJeis, m ímill 1)¡K. ne tompsrdQi? to tested model.

Price

Overall score

Testresulls Sis ~ È

O

100

P I F I GlVGÍ f

ELECTRIC DRYERS continued GEP;ofileOPVH890EJ|WW] Whirlpool Cabrio Steam WED6600V[Wl GE Profile OPSESlOEGIWn Maytag Bravos MEDô-lOOTlOl Maytag Epic UED9700SI8I Siemens uiiraSensG Bosch Nexxl 500 Plus Senes WTMCS3ï(0lUS MFDR800VIQI Whirlpool Duel Sport Í1,?OÜ

Amana NED72O0TIW1 Whirlpool Cabrio Kenmore (Sears) HEZ Bosch N e m 800 WTMC832U1US Electrotux Perfect Steam EWMED65HIIW1 GE DCVH640EJ[WW| Miele TOL)íhlroiiiíT%00 Frigidaire GüIlefY CiLERlCI4FS(S| Kenmore (Sears) 69W12)

(71

Whirlpool WED58O0Srwi
«FO'i'IXlVll

o

226

C O N S U M E R

R E P O R T S

B U Y I N G

G U I D E 2 0 1 0

Brands model
g H 'jimiür models. I are comparable »iKiedf

Price

Overall score

lest results
S'a >•

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a

100 p'l F I GIVGl Í

ELECTRIC DRYERS continued
Frigidaire LE0Z152HSI

$600
700

O O e ©

Fri^daire Ainnitv
AE06000EIS1 AtrimtyAEOBWoai ( B « BUïl. Aflinrty lEOMKlOtl I

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© 0

Fi5herSPavkelDE62TGl
BÍWÍ37G

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© 0 © © © © © © 0

Fisher & Paykel Iniiiilive 0E1X2 Asho rL751XXL|Wl
MEDC500VÍW]

1,000

0
0

GEDTSR49SEFÍGG)
Prolite I>RSR4'<5GG|ÍG| Fisher« PavkelDEGX2
GE DRSR483EG[WW)

0
0 9 0

© © 0

e
© © ©

0 © 0 © 0

0 0 0

Kenmore ¡Sears) 6952[2l Amana NED4800VIQ1 SUber HXO^3O4£ GA5 DRYERS Kenmore (Sears) Elite H B Steam 9674[2] Kenmore (Sears) Elite HE5 SIMIH 9772111 GE Profile Harmony DPGT750GC[WWl Kenmore (Sears) Oasis Steam 7808[î] LGTrommDLG8388[W] Maytag 5000 Series Steam MGnE50ÜV¡W¡ L6 DLGS955IWI IG SteamDryer DíCiX3OO2|W] Kenmore (Sears) Elite Oasis 7703m i'

9
Q

e
0

DRYERS

227

Brand S model 1)0 •rtiiiilainiodeis. in small lype, life cOTiparatíle lu iwtEd moäei.

Price

Overaltscore

Testresults
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tac

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V. a: GAS DRYERS continuetj
WrjD9600T|W] Samsung Sieain

Pli

SI,470 1.220

Q
Q p] Q
Kenmore (Se^irs) 800 Series 798^121 GE Profile DPVH890GJ[WW] Whirlpool Cabrio steain W&D6Ó00VIWI GEProtiieDPSE8lOGGlffT! Maytag Bravos MGD6400IIOI Maytag Epie UGD97005IB] Siemens un taSense WTXD5122UC Bosch Nexxl 500 Plus series WTMC553I01US Maytag Bravos Steam M[,O880nviOI Whirlpool Duet sport WGD83OOSIfH Amana NGD72OOTIW] Whirlpool Cabrío WGD62OOSÍW1 Kenmore (Sears) HE2 Bosch Nexxl 800 Eiectrolux Perfect Steam tWM0D6!.H|lW| GE DCVH640G][WW| Miele IoiichlionlcT9820 pi Frigidaire Gallery GLGR104FSIS! 1.180 1.250

0 0

Kenmore (Sears) 7963¡2| Whirlpool WGD5700VIW]

226

C O N S U M E R

R E P O R T S

B U Y I N G

G U I D E

2 0 1 0

Brand & model

Price

Overall score

Testrestjits
.^'

features
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'M <rte comtfflatile lu tansl moûel

D P i f I G IVGl E

GAS DRYERS continued frigidaire LGO215MS1 (Lowe's)
Frigidaire AffînJtv ACQÖOOOEIS)

O O

Fisher &PavkelDG6?TGi
Fislier & Paykel Intuitive DGIX2 ASÎCOTL751G)(XL{W1 Maytag Centennial M&DC500VIW1 GE 0RSR495&GIWW] Fisher & Paykel DGGX2 GEI]RSß-483GG[WWl Kenmore (Sears) 7952121 Amana NE¡DdS0OV[Q| Staber HXt)a304G

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See report, page 48, Ratings Key ©EAnelleni ©verypiod OOood ©Fair #Poor D 0 CR Best Buy These modeis otfef ihe besl combimilion ot periormance and pnce. All are racommended, Recommended These are high-pertormlng modeis thai starid oui.

Guide to the Ratinqs
Overall score is based primarily on dryinq performance, drum volume, and noise. The displayed score is out of a total of 100 points. Dryfnq performance combines performance on four types of launöry loads of different sizes and fabric mixes. Among models we tested, drum volume capacity varied from about 5 cubic feet lo 8 cubic leet. Convenien« takes into account controts and ergonomics, such as ease of loadinq and unloadinq, servicing the lint filter, whettier the door could clear a tall basket, and whether tfie machine has a raised edge to contain spills. Noise level, both sound quality and volume, was determined while machines dried an Q-pound load. Prfc* for electric and gas dryers is approximate retail.

DRYERS

Select Ratinas Overview
(The pGtfOf manct' of each tirand's qas model is equivalent to Ihe electric model we tested. Most of the dryers we tested scorecJ at least very çood for drying performance. Those that scored excellent were better at dryinq delicate clotties at low temperatures and leaving loads damp enougti for ironing.) For performance: The GE Profile Harmony DPGT75OEC[WW1, S950, and the LG D L E : 5 9 5 5 [ W ] , S90Û, have a stainless-steel drum. Kenmore (Sears> Elite OBSfs â703[21, $800, has a rusl-resistant porcelain top. The Whiripooi Cabrio Steam WED6600V[W], S900, is the least-expensive modei we tested that offers a steam cycle to remove odors and wrinkles, but lacks a dryinq rach and blocked lint filter Indicator. For price and performance The LG DLE2516IW], S700. has electronic pushbutton and rotary dial controls and a digital timer. The Konmore (Sears) 8 0 0 Series 69e2[2}, $600. has a spacious drui The GE Proftie DPSE810EG[WTJ, $625, h.i a stainless-steel drum and a porcelain top. The Amana NED7200T[W], S600, is very quiet, but iacks a drying rack and drum light. For affordabliity: These economy modeis were very good at dryinq and at Ipast good in all categories: the Frigidaire Gallery GLER104FS[S], $450; the Kenmore (Sears) 696212], $490; and the Whiripooi WED5800S[W], $480. The Gallery has a stainless-steel drum. The Kenmore lacks a drying rack and blocked lint filter indicator.

Brand Repair History
We found oniy modest differences in the brand repair rates of both gas and electric dryers. That's what we found when we asked over 105,000 readers who bought a dryer between 2004 and 2008 about their experiences. The graph shows Ihe percentage of brands that needed a repair or had a serious problem. Differences of less than 3 points aren't meaningful, and we've adjusted the data to eliminate differences linked solely to age and use of the dryer. Models within a brand may vary, and design or manufacture changes may affect future reliability. Still, choosing a brand with a good repair history can improve your odds of getting a reliable model.
Dryers, gas Fewer repairs r.E UOfe

Source: Annual Product Reliability Survey, Consumer Reports National Resean:h Cenler.

230

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DVD PLAYERS
Standard DVD players continue to remain popular, partly because Blu-ray highdefinition players still cost quite a bit more. And they can give you a very enjoyable viewing experience—the best picture you'll ever see on a standard-definition TV, and a nicely detaiJed image on an HDTV. Below are Select Ratings,
Brand&model Price Overall score Test results

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PROGRESSIVE-SCAN SINGLE-DISC P U Y E R S Pioneer DV-410V LG0NS98

$100

e
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Overall score Test results Features

0

Toshiba XD-E5Û0 Philips DVP599Z/37

100 50

Brand & model

Price

QJ

.=

-s

0
PORTABLE DVD PLAYERS [^ Toshiba SD-P9ÍS

IDO P I F I G I Vt^l (

O o O

O o O o O

O

43 1.23 4

9 8 8.5

3.75 Conv. 2.75 Conv. ¿5 Conv,

2 2 2 _•

3-Dec Ï-Dec 3-Dec

0 0

Sony DVP-FX820 lfiDP885

See report, page 15, • Ratings Key ©Excellent ©Very good OGood ©Fait • P o o r Q CR Best Buy These models offer Ihe best combination of performance and price. All are recommendetf, l£] Recommended These are high-períorming nwdeis ttiat stand out.

DVD

PLAYERS

231

Brand & model

Pnce

Overall score

Testresuits

Ail Olltpul a maximum
video resolKiion of i080p

i á I a ° f, É
100 P i. F C IV6I i

.'a iS o Í:Í ä

BLU-RAY PLAYERS [)oibv DigiMl 5.1. Dotliv niiii7.1.DTSDfgiiai5.1,DrS'HD High RKOliiîion aufiio 7.1. DTS-HD Master audio 7.1 OoiiîV Oigitül S.I.ft3lbvDißitai Plus 7.1, Dolhv rrueHO 7.1. DTS Digital S.1,DTS-HO Hißh Resolution audio 71. DTSHD Master audio 7,1 Doíbv Dígita! 5.1,Dnlby Digital Plus 7.1, DollivlrueHt) 7.1.DÍSDigi[aí3.1.DISHD High ResoiiiiJon audio 7.1

Panasonic OMP-BD80

- • •

!•

-

'

.

-

0

LGBD390

400

Sony
BOP-S36O
Samsui^

e © •

tone OolbyDigllalilDolhy Distal Plus 7.1. DolbvlrueHD 7J.0TS Digital 5.1. DTS-HO High fte-ioiution audio 7.1, DIS HI) Hâitei audio 7.1 Dolby Oi^ital 5.1. DTS Digital S.l None

BO-P36OO

e © •
\7] Sharp
Aqios BD-HP2ÍU 1 HasoniyBamisView.noBDLive.

Guide to the Ratings
Overall score is based mainly on picture quality and ease of use. The displayed score is out of a total of 100 points. Fllin DVD at 480p: Scores of this picture-quality test indicate ttie sharpness and detail of images on HDTVs when the unit plays prerecorded tilm-basetJ DVDs (most movies) at 480p video resolution. Video DVD at 480p indicates the sharpness and detail of images on HDTVs when the unit plays video-based DVDs (many prerecorded TV series compila lions or concert videos, and home recordings) at 4B0p video resolution. Film DVD at 4801 indicates the sharpness and detail of images on regular TVs when the unit plays lilm-based DVDs (most movies) at 480i resolution. Video DVD at 4801 indicates the sharpness and detail of images on regular TVs when the unit plays vtdeo-based DVDs (many prerecorded TV series compilations or concert videos, and home recordings) at 480i resolution. E«$e of use is our assessment of the user-friendliness of the remote control unit, console front panel, setup menu, and Key playback functions, as welt as the number of useful features included.

232

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2 0 1 0

Guide t o t h e Ratings tcontinueci)
For Portable DVD players: Overall score 15 mainly based on picture qualily, sound quality, ease of use, and battery life. Picture quality indicates picture quality of built-in display. Sound quality indicates performance of players' tiuilt-in speakers. Eas« ol us* considers normal and low-light use of controls on the unit and the remote. Battery life is our measurement of how long the unit played on its iully charged battery. For Btu-ray players: Overall score is based primarily on picture clarity and ease of use. The displayed score is out of 3 total of 100 points. HD picture quality indicates the sharpness and detail of images on HDTVs when the unit plays prerecorded high-definition Blu-ray videodiscs at lOSOp video resolution via an HOMI connection. OVO picture quality indicates the sharpness and detail ot images on HDTVs when the unit plays standard DVDs and outputs the signal via an HDMI connection at an upconverted (quasi-1080p) resolution. Remote assesses the user-friendliness of the unit's remote control for basic playback and control functions. Menu assesses the usertriendliness of the unit's onscr&en menus for basic playback and setup functions.

Select Ratings Overview DVD players
Best for most consumers: The top-rated.Pioneer DV-410V, SIOO, is an excellent overall performer, with top-notch picture quality for progressive-scan and standard-det. It has a USB port for playing digital music, videos, and photos stored on a removable flash drive. The LG DN898, $60. is an excellent overalt perforp-ier, with top-notch picture quality for progressive-scan and standard-def. It has a USB port for playing digital music, videos, and photos stored on a removable flash drive. Look to the Toshiba XD-E500, SIOO, for very good overall performance and an excellent choice for an HDTV with HDMI inputs or a standard-definition TV. Not the model to pick for HDTVs that don't have HDMI inputs. You'll qet very good overall performance with the Philips 0VP5992/37. S50, a good choice for use with an HDTV; but there are better choices for use with a standarddefinition TV.

Blu-ray players
Great full-featured choices: Tne Oppo BDP*83, S500, is the !op-rated performer in our Ratings. Although pricey. It delivers excellent audio and video quality, and offers a lot of step-up features. including the ability to play all disc types, including SACDs and DVD-Audios. It's a BD-Live model, and includes 7.1-channel analog audio outputs. Ttie Panasonic DMP-BD80, S350, offers excellent overall performance. It includes Panasonic's Viera Cast online service, for access to videos from YouTube, digital photos from Picasa, and soon, Amazon Video On Demand. II has internal decoding of Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD lossless audio, and 7.1-channel anatoq outputs, it includes an SD card slot and can play back AVCHD video files. The LG B0390, $400, a BD-Live model, offers excellent overall performance, and improved picture quality compared to its predecessor, the BD300, It's the only model

DVD

PLAYERS

233

Select Ratings Overview
in Ihe Ratings witti built-in Wi-Fi í802.Un, dralt version), so it can wirelessly connect to (he Internet. Includes LG's NetCast online access tor streaming movies and videos from CinemaNow, Netftix, and YouTube. ThE' Samsung BD-P3600, S35O, delivers excellent overall performance. It's functionally the same as its hiqher-priced sibling, but with more connectivity options-inclutJinq a component-video connection, which the P4600 laci(s-and a more conventional flesign tt\ai will save you $50. Like its brandmate. it comes with a USB Wl-ri doncjle, and can access Netllix instant videos and Pandora streaming internet radio. Good budget choices: Sony's entry-level Blu-ray player, the BDPS360, S250, is an attractive BD-Live-ready mode!, though not the most feature-laden. Picture quality is excellent, and it can internally decode Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio contained on 6lu-ray discs, though not some older DTS formats. The Philips BDP5010, S250. ¡s a wellpriced, middle-of-the-pack model with excellent picture quaiity and a unique look, with silver trim accents encircling the face of the player. The Sharp Aquos BD-HP21U, S200, olfeis excellent picture quality at a relatively low price. It lacks BD-Live, a feature found on mosl newer players, and additionai memory is needed for BonusView (picture-in-picture) operation.

Portable DVD players
Best choices tor most: These three models all have good picture quality, qood sound quality from [heir speakers, and two headphone jacks. Battery life is at least 4 hours, enough to keep you going through a few movies. The Toshiba SD-P91S, S180, has a 9-(nch.screen; the Sony DVPFXB20, S180. screen is 8 inches, and Ihe LG DP8B5, SlBO, is 8.5 ihches. All are convertible models with screens that can be lifted up like a laptop display or folded flat like a writinq tablet. The LG's USB port cah access photos or music from a flash drive.

234

C O N S U M E R

R E P O R T S

B U Y i N G

G U I D E

2 0 1 0

FLOORING
Top performers did best in our eyeryday abuse tests. For baths, we suggest vinyl or ceramic tile for its moisture resistance. Below are Select Ratings.
Brand & model Price Overall score Test results

S

o
p I F I G I vr.l

tou
f

ENGINEERED WOOD
[7] pi pi 0 Armstrong Locking Hardwood Bamboo CarboniMfi Natural EL58ßCCNLG i Shaw Epic H.inlwooil Symphonic SWll? 774 Reri Oak Natural -• Mannington American Classics Collection Oregon Oak Ptank BR-m Brazilian Cherry PFENGBU z

o
©
26
©

a
O ©
© O
5.70

O

33

PUSTICUMINATE
Q [7] Armstrong Nntüre's Gallery American Duel L65Z¿-N8i Naiural Oak (narrow) Wifsonart Estate Plus Harvest Oak

© ©
© ©

© ©
O O

13 20
23 2^

W3oooin
Q [7] 12]

... © ©

PREFiNISHED SOLID WOOD EcoTlmber Woven Honey < Teragren Syriprgv Wheal TPF-SWN-WHT{Sirand) • Brute Dundee Plank Natural CBIZIO

© O

e

o

a

o 3 2

VINYL
g pi Q p i Congoleum DuraCeramtc Sierra Slate 51-74 Golden Greige Congoleum OuraStone HPF Hannlngton Adura Vintage Oak Ptank HaícoBmerLIvií^ColíedionPemiaStone Natural Slate NS-660 Sand Stone 1. Bamboo prwtua s CaimMbeftoaied.

See report, page 58. Ratings Key ©Encellenl ©Verygood OGood ©Fair %Pr,ai D CR Best Buy These models offer the best comtimation of perfofmance and price. All are recommended. [EJ Recommended These aie hi^-[»rformine models that stand oui.

LOO RIN G

Guide to the Ratings
Overall score isfaaseOmainly on resistance to wear, scratches, dents, stains, sunlight, moisture, and slips. Moisture resistance, not shown, is based on a damp sponge left overnight (minor spills) and soaked samples (long exposure). Slip resistance, not shown, is friction level using an industry machine with leather and Neolite, Displayed scores are rounded; models are listed Ir order of precise overall score. Wear denotes how quickfy surface wear was noticeable after abrasion machine was used. Scratches is ability to withstand dragged ot)ject simufation. Dent' IS resistance to blunt and pointed weights dropped from various heights. Suntlqht (UV) is exfj sure to high levels of ultraviolet light for roughly two weeks. Price per sq. tt. is based mainly on price paid. Sq. f t . per box Is as claimed.

Select Ratings Overview
Real wood with easier Installation: These use a veneer of bamboo or wood over wood substrate. Choose Armstrong LocKinq Hardwood Bamboo at S7.50/sq, ft, if you w,3nt a top bamboo, and it must be floated. Shaw Epic Hardwood Symphonic at $7.25/ sq. ft. and Manninqton American Classics Collection at 55/5q. ft. are besl among oah and can be nailed or glued; Mannington can also be floated or stapled. BR-111 Brazitian Cherry at S5.70/sq. ft. must be nailed; choose it if you value Brazilian cherry over stain resistance. For laminate's style and touqhness: Impressive wear resistance and a low price make Armstrong Nature's Gallery American Duet, S3.5O/sq, ft., a CR Best Buy. Choose Wilsonart Estate Plus, S5.5O/sq. tt., if you need superb dent resistance. If you want solid wood or bamboo: Among bamboo, EcoTimber Woven Honey at S5.50/sq. (t,. a CR Best Buy, offers better dent resistance and costs less than Teragren Synerqy Wheat at SaSO/sq. It, Choose Bruce Dundee Plank Natural at $5,70/sq. ft,, if oak is worth less than deni andUV resistance. For baths or a Kitchen on a budget: Congoleum DuraCeramIc Sierra Slate, S4/sq. tt., a CR Best Buy; Congoleum DuraStone HPF, S5,?0/sq. ft,; Manninqton Adura, S4.80/sq. ft., a CR Best Buy; and Nafco Better Livinq Coiiectlon at S5/sq, ft. are all tiles or planks, which are easier to Install than sheet vinyl. Both Congoleums and Nafco mimic stone better than many; choose Mannington ¡f you want a wood look.

I

236

C O N S U M E R

R E P O R T S

B U Y I N G

G U I O t

2 0 1 0

GAS GRILLS
You'll pay $300 to $500 for a grill that can handle most of your cooking needs. Spending more will get you more stainless-steel styling and additional convenience features, but not necessarily better performance. Several midsized modeis that cost less than $500 performed as well inourtestsasothers that cost much more. Below are Select Ratings.
Brand & model
Similar moilels. in smsil tVf», atecDinparablp to

Price

Overall score

Test results Features
^ ûi r^ w ai

E

E

100
Pl F

G I VGI E

URGE MODELS Fiesta Blue Ernt^r ¡QUE F&Q65O7')-11403 [Item #1522021 (Lowe's)
M ( S l

e e
500

Rotiss,

Char-Broil Commercial Quantum 463247209 [item #66829] (Lowe's)

© e e

Main turn.

MEDIUM-SIZED MODELS

[71

Weber Genesis E320
Qvmw EÎIO

» - • none
• ^ - ,• ^ none Main twrn. none none

Vermont Castings

Q
[Pi

Signature Sei-iesVCS35O7P

Q

Char-Broil Red 4632S{H)9 (Home Depot) Brinkmann aiO-841OS (Home Depol) Kenmore (Sears) 16641 Char-Broil Commercial Series 463268008 B [Item 9242266] (Lowe's) Commercial SWWS 463247009

¿00

• •

300

PORTABLE OR SMALL MODELS |71 Char-Brati Select 463620208 0 Weber Q 200 396002^ B Discontinued. See report, page 60. Ratings Key ©Excellent ©Verygood OGood ©Fair • P o o r Q 0 CR Best Buy These models dfet the best combination of periorrflance and price. All are recommended, Recommended These are high-performing models that stand out.

e ©O

none
none

e e o

GAS

GRILLS

237

Guide to the Ratings
Overall score denotes performance, features, and convenience. DisplayecJ scores are rounded,' models are listed in order of precise overall score. We tested evenness at hiqh and low settings. Low-temperature qrlllinq is ttie ability to cook on low wittiout burnihg. Convenience includes construcfion and materials, shelves, rack space, flare-up, and ease of use.

Select Ratings Overview
l( you often cooK for a crowd: me Fiesta Blue Ember lOue FG065079U403 [Item «152202) (Lowe's), $900, is a very good grill. In our tests, it scored very good for healing evenness and good for low grilling. It has a very sturdy cart, an infrared rôtisserie burner, an electronic fuel gauqe, and a built-in temperature probe. But it flared up more than others when loaded witti greasy loods. Overaii. the Char-Broil Commercial Quantum 463247209 [Item » 6 6 6 2 9 ] (Lowe's), $500. a CR Best Buy, is a very good large grill that provicies very good heating evenness of the main cooking area and low-temperature grilling. Fine performinq midsized models: Overall, tlie Weber Genesis E320, $700. is an excellent, three-burner, medium-sized grill that provides excellent heating evenness of the main cooking area and tow-temperature grilling. Note: The E320 was recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission in 2007 because of a fire hazard with a gas nose; Weber is replacinq the hose for free, Vermont Castings Stqnature Series VCS3507P, S700. is an excellent, three-burner, medium-sized grill ttiat provides excellent healing evenness of the main cooking area and low-temperature grilling. The Char-Broil Red 463250509, (Home Oepot), S450. is an excellent medium-sized grill that provides excellent heating evenness of the main cooking area and very good lowtemperature grilling. The Brinkmann 8t0-8410S. (Home Depot), S200, IS a very good grill that provides excellent heating evenness of (he main cooking area and very good !ow-temperature grilling. Its a CR Best Buy. The Kenmore (Sears) 16641, S3S0, a CR Best Buy, is a very good mediumsized grill that provides very good heating evenness of the main cooking area and low-temperature qrilling. The Char-Broil Commercial Series 463247009 [Item «2964501 (Lowe's), $300, a CH Best Buy, is a very good grill that provides very good heating evenness of the main cooking area and excellent low-temperature grilling. If you Khe to taliqate: The Weber 0 2 0 0 396002, S200. is a very good grill that provides very good heating evenness of the main cooking area and very good low-temperature grilling. No frills small qrlll: The Char-Broil Select 463620208, $100, scored a very good lor heating evenness and excellent at low-temperature grilling. We judged its carl less sturdy than others, and its handle got very hot and could not be touched without using an oven mitt. Its price makes It a good value.

238

CONSUMER

REPORTS

BUYING

GUIDE

2 0 1 0

GPS NAVIGATORS
Portable GPS navigation systems diíFer most in ease of use and their features. For our Ratings, we heavily factor in the qualities that make it easy to input destinations and give the mosl helpful directions. Below are Select Rallngs,
Brand & modei •3 ivpp,ais[ompar3ble[D teled moöel. Price Overall score Test results ^ £ Kffi

^ i 1
P t F I GlVGl E

,2 S ^ S

3

g

NAVIGATORS WITH TRAFFIC OPTIONAL TomTom One 140 S Magelian RoatlMaie!440 TomTom One 140 Magellan RoadMatG 1220 TRAFFIC READY NAVIGATORS

3.5

© a © e

oo
60ü 400 ^ Q 250 200

ee aa aa

4.4

15

0 E

GarnilnNuvi885T TomTom do 740 Uve Garmin Nuvi 76ST

O Garmin Nuvi 760

earmln Nuvi ?65T

See report, page 89. Ratings Key ©Excellent ©very pwd OGoôd ©Fair • P o o r D CR Best Buy These moctels öfter ttie best combination of performance and price. All are recommended. 1 ^ Recommended Ttiese ate high-performir^ models that stand out.

GPS

NAVIGATORS

Z39

Guide to the Ratings
Overall score reflects how easy a navigation system is to use. combined with factors such as information given, portability, and routing options. Ttie displayed score is out of a total of 100 points. Entering destlnatron/POl is based on Ehe ioqic and ease of programming an address or point-oi-interesl into the system. Inciudes whether the database allows dynamic searchinq for addresses. If letters are grayed out, ease of entering into navigation menus upon start-up, and ease of finding POls, Info tor driver is based on the onscreen and audible information given to the user during navigation. Includes type and font size of onscreen information, abiiity lo speak proper street names, languages supported, ano amount of audibiinformation given including descriptions of the next maneuver. Routing options is based on ti number ot options for fine-tuning the route plotted by the system. Includes multitJestination routing, avoidance of toll roads, bihing routes, walking routes, and RV/truck use. Also includes availability of foreign map databases. Use of controls, based on the design of the physical interface with the system, includes size of onscreen icons, presence of hard keys, need to use a stylus instead of a fingertip, and ease of adjusting common (unctions like volume, brightness, and map zoom setting. Mount design considers how the mount is engineered, factoring size, security, and ease of insialiation. Display includes size, brightness, contrast, and glare/ reflections ¡n bright sunlight. Considers ratio of screen size to overall device size for packaging efficiency. Portability, based on size, determines how easily the mount can be detached for packing, flouting time is based on measurements of calculation time for plotting various trips with GPS reception active. Also includes system response time when operating data-entry menus, such as POI searching. Traffic interface rates the presentation of the traffic informatioi and the ability to put ifie data into use. Rating factors include antenna design, color coding for traffic severity, depth of information, estimated time for delay, and tools for rerouting around congestion. However, we do not rate the accuracy or timeliness of the traffic information itsett.

Select Ratings Overview
Best overall: The Garmin Nuvi 885T, S500, ts an improvement over the previously tested Nuvi 880, It has the latest Garmin software that includes a reality view and lane guidance to help navigate through major, potentially confusing intersections, sucfi as when changing highways. The voice recognition is fully integrated, allowing the user to operate all menus, wtiejeas most voice recognition systems are typically limited to address entry. Although there is room for improvement, it is the most effective, fuli-function voice recognition system on the portable market. The TomTom Go 740 Live, S400, provides very good navigation abilities with almost every feature available for OPS units on the market. It is a good choice for a buyer looking for an upscale GPS unit, but a monthly fee is essential to ceaiize its lull potential. The Garmin Nuvi 765T, S450, is a premium, full-featured navigator with free, ad-based traffic services. The Nuyi 765T has reaiity view and lane guidance to help naviijate through potentially contusing major intersections, such as when changing highways. Many of the same qualities can be found in lower-priced Garmin units. The Garmin Nuvi 775T and the Gartnin Nuvi 785T have the same features as the Nuvi 765T. In addition, the Nuvi 775T adds preloaded European maps, and the Nuvi 785T includes an MSN traffic receiver enabling weather, gas, and movie information. The Garmin Nuvi 755T differs from the Nuvi 760, because it lacks Bluetooth hands-free calling. The Garmin Nuvi 760, S250, a CR Best Buy, is a premium, full-featured navigator

240

C O N S U M E R

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G U I D E

2 0 1 0

Select Ratings Overview
that doesn't have the latest Garmin software, like the 765T, but stiii offers good value, flaws. The Garmin Nuvi 770 and ttie Gaimin Nuvi 7B0 have the same features as the Nuvi 760, In addition, ttie Nuvi 770 adds preloaded European maps, and the Nuvi 780 includes an MSN traffic receiver enabling weather, gas, and movie information. The Garmin Nuvi 750 differs from the Nuvi 760 because it lacks Bluetooth hands-free caliinq, and there is no trafiic receiver included in the box. Best on a budqet: The Garmin Nuvi 265T, $200, a CR Best Buy, shoulct be on the short list of choices for anyone in the market fot a full-featured GPS unit with traffic services. It adheres to the essv-to-usé Garmin tradition, and it includes some useful features, like spoken street names. Bluetooth hands-iree calling, traffic receiver, and free traffic services. Although there are advertisements, they are not too intrusive, and may be worth the trade-off to eliminate a monthly 'ee. The TomTom One 140S, $t70. improves upon the previously tested One 130S. It combines spoken street names with qood performance and portability, but more significant, it now includes features such as lane assistance and reality views that were previously found on more expensive modeis. Like othef TomToms, the One 140S offers nice extras such as map sharinq and allowing users to install customized voices. The TomTom One 140, SWO, a CR Best Buy, improves upon the One !30. It provides good performance and portatiility, but more significant, it now includes features such as lane assistance and reality views that were previously found on more expensive models, like other TomToms, the One 140 offers nice extras such as map sharing and allowing users to install customized woices. The Maqeilan RoBdMate 1440, S)60, impresses with crisp graphics, attractive user interface, and highway lane assist, but it does not include multimedia features or Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free caliinq. This unit is a marked improvement over previously tested fvlagellan devices. Small touches, such as shortcut keys, help but more Important, the overall presentation is on par with top-rated units. However, we have (ound that the RoadMate 1440 may provide unusual routes at times. The Magellan RoadMate 1220. $125, is an entry-level navlqator with the ability lo speak proper street names. It does not include multimedia features or Bluetooth connectivity for hands-tree calling, bul it does have crisp graphics and a user-friendly interface.

LAWN

MOWERS

24;

LAWN MOWERS
Decide on a gas or electric (corded or cordless) mower based on your needs. Then sei out Selecl Ratings for high-scoring models with specific strengths and value.
Brand «model Pnce Overall score Testresuits

* •S P I F I G IVGI E

.S

S

SELF-PROPELIED
Honda KRX?17?HXA Q Toro Recycler 20333 Honda KRX2172VKA Honda HRR216K3VXA Q Toro Recycler 20332 Craftsman Í7659 Craftsman 37104 Honda HRÍÍ2I6K3TDA Q Q Toro liecycler 20330 Craftsman 37435 Craftsman 37654 John Deere i^Vi John Own JS25 snapper SPVH2Í67S Cub Cadet t2AtSMC Craftsman 57077 Craftsman 37639 0 Lawn-Boy 10641 Snapper SPV21675E í''] Craftsman 37624 Snapper SPV22675HW Craftsman l'rofession.-il 88921 cubcaileti2AEiaM Husqvarna 5S21CHV Variable Rear Rear 21 72 19C 19(1 190 160 190 190 175 160 190 t90 160 190 190 190

©© e ©©o e e

variable Variable Variable

Rear
Rear

a
21 22 22 22 21 22 22 22 21 21 21 19 2\ 22 20 21 22

Variable Rear Variahle front Variable Rear Rear

I

1
variable Variable Var¡able Variable variable variable I 1

Front Rear Front Real Rear Rear Rear Rear Front Rear Rear Front

173
190 J90 190 190 190 190 179

Variable 1

Front 22
500 290 450

e O e ©e e

6

Rear

21

e oe oo e ooooo o

i
1

Rear 19 173 Front 21 160

242

C O N S U M E R Brands model

R E P O R T S

B U Y I N G

G U I D E 2 0 1 0

Price

overall score

Testresults

.E .5 g E 5 I es

tiD

t

10 0

p I F I G I V6I
SELf-PROPELLED continued Craftsman Î7648 Troy-Bilt 1 ME 1890 John Deere ]S4B Trov-Bilt UAI839F Craftsman 889B Brute BTPVZ2675E Brute BTP2267SHW Ariens 0HZISP/91115Í Snapper RP2167519BDV Brand & model

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i 0 0 © © Vsríatile •1 0 ©

Front Rear Rear Rear

¿2 19

190 190 190 175 344 190 190 173

a
21

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Rear
Frant Rear

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Variable From

22

2 2
21

o 0 o o 0 0
490
Price

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Overall score Testresults
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Variable Rear 21 160

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c* c" K

0 P 1 F I G I Vil E GAS POWERED PUSH MODELS

S

0 0

Lawn-Soy 10640 Cub Cadet 11A-18MC Bolens 11A-4I4A PoulanPro96i340008 Craftsman 38905 Craftsman 38820 Craftsman 38901 Trov-BHt 11A-542O Ariens 901360006 Yard Machines 1IA-54MÏ Brute BT2265HW

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20 190CC 19 173CC 2! 15Brt 2! 158a 21 I90CC 21 158CC a I90CC 21 160Cf .21 M9CC ?i I73CC

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LAWN

MOWERS

24.

Brand & model

Price

Overall score

Test results

IS E .p

g t 1 -I 'g

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0 It» P I F I G IVGl E ELECTRIC PUSH MODELS
Black & Decker CUM[20a Black & Decker MM875 ' Craftsman 37048

o a o © © o o a ©© o ©

19 ¿4v
19 12amp 19 19 19 48v ^4v 36V

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Worn m 780
Earthwise 60120

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20 Mv 20 I2amp

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Ratings Key ©Excelfent ©Vefygood ÛGood ©Fair • P o o r Q CR Best Buy The^e modeis otter the üesl combination of oer'ormance and price. All are recommetided, Í1.I Recommended These are htgh-pertorming models that stand out.

Guide to the Ratings
Overall score influöes mostfy cutting performance, tiandling. ease of use. Displayed scores .ife rounded; models listed in order o( pretise overall score. Evenness shows average cutting performance for available modes. Mulching is how well clippings were cut and how evenly they were spread into lawn. Bsgqinq is effective capacity with full baq or bags or clogged chute. Side discharqc is how evenly clippings were dispersed onto lawn surface. Handlinq for mowers includes ease of using drive controls, pushing, pulling, U-turns, ancf other maneuvers. Ease ot use for mowers is ease of startinq, using blade-stopping controls, shifting speeds (for selfpropelledi, and adjusting Ihe cutting height.

Select Ratinqs Overview Best for most smaller lawns;
Amonq qas push mowers, choose the LawnBoy 10640, $260, for its better mulching and side-discharging, the Cub C«det 1IA-IBMC, $260, for its bagging. Between electrics, paying more for the Black & Decker CHMIZOO, $400, buys cordless cutting. Among seif-propelled mowers, all three Toros offer top performance for relatively little money: The Toro Recycler 20333, S420, has a blade-brake clutch. The Toro Recycler 20332, $390, IS relatively similar but iacks the clutch, while the Toro Recycler 20330, S32O, is front-drive-fine tor reiatively flat lawns, though rear-drive provides better traclion uphill. The Craftsman 37435, $300, Lawn-Boy 10641, $290, and front-drive, electric-start Craftsman 37624, S300, give up some performance but cost a bit less and are fine choices.

244

C O N S U M E R

R E P O R T S

B U Y I N G

G U I D E

2 0 1 0

Brand Repair Historv
Mowers, push
lepar, " (ore rewiri

Hna H H H S od TofoHHgg Craftsman iSaars) • ^ • H

U nB v • ^ ^ • 1 w- o
0% S%

I 1 B!
30%

¡0%

Mowers, self-propelled
Fewpr

aatemanlSeary
Tnjï-Bill >ían1 MattiineVVard-Man

Bolens was among the more repair-prone push-type mower brands, John Deere was among the more repair prone brands of self-propelled mower. That's what we found wtien we asked 18,134 people who purchased push and 48,969 people who purchased self-propelled mowers between 2004 and 2008 about their experiences. The graph shows the percentage of models for each brand that were repaired or had a serious problem. Differences of less fhan 5 points aren't meaningful, and we've adjusted the data to eliminate differences linked solely to the age and usage (number of hours) of the mower. Models within a brand can vary, and design or manufacture changes might affect future reliability. Still, choosing a brand with a good repair history can improve your odds of getting a reliable model.
Source; Annual Product Reliabllltv Survey. Consumer Reports NatlDnal Research Center.

10%

15% 20% iWfc

30%

LAWN

TRACTORS

245

LAWN TRACTORS
The Ratings rank tractors and zero-turn-radius mowers by overall score. While th liigher-priced tractors indude tighter turning, several others perform similarly wil for huiulrods ot\lo!lars less. Below are SCIL'CI Ratings. Brand&model
fe, in small iwnS model, O 100 P I F i GlVbl í AUTOMATIC-DRIVE UOOELS John Deere X3O4 Craftîman m'a

Price

Overall store Test results
tu ce cu

S B


0 D 0 0 0 0 0

iottn Deere LAtls Craftsman ?98¿8 /ms cub cadet LTX1040 Craftsman 287^4 mi* Craftsman 28934 Craftsman 28910 ZERO TURN-RADIUS MODELS A2 JohnOeereZ225 Toro 25000 !sow 19 18.S 2] 42 20

O

a e e e

42 50

•jet' leptirt. i

Ratings Key ©Exr.alJent ©Very good OGood OFair •Poor Q CR Best Buy These mccJeis olfer the best combmalion of pertormance and price. Alt are lecommaniJeii. lid Recommended These are high-pertomima models that stand out. Guide to the Ratings Overari score includes mostiy cutting pertormance. tiandling, ease of use. Oispfayed scores jre rounded; models listed in order of precise overall score. Evenness is how close the tractors came to even, carpet-like mowing. Side dtsctiarqe is how evenly clippings were dispersed onto idwn surface. Mutchlnq is how well clippings were cut and how evenly they were spread ipito ¡<jwn, Baqqinq is effective capacity with full bag or bags or clogged chute. Handiing includes clutching or drive engagement, braking, steering, turn radius, and stabiiity. Ease of use include.s leg room and seat and steering-wheel comfort, as well as ease of blade engagement, cut-height adiustment. parking brake engagement, bag removal, and cutting-mode changes.

246

C O N S U M E R

R E P O R T S

B U Y I N G

G U I D E

2 0 1 0

Select Ratings Overview
Best for most: All three CR Best Buys offer top performance: the John Deere LA115, Si,750; the Cub Cadet LTX1040 13RX90AR, Si,500: and Craftsman 26724, $1,500, The Craftsman 28B28, $1,700, and Craftsman 28724 take a wider bite wilh each pass; while the Craftsman 28828 is discontinuecJ, its similar model is available. Cfioose the Craftsman 28934, $1,600. or Craftsman 28910, $1,300, if top mulching is less important: note that the Craftsman 28910 trades a foot-pedal ground-speed control for a less-con'venlent lever. If you want tighter turning: Both the John Deere X304, $3,600, and the Craftsman 28933, S3,000. turn almost as tightly as a zero-turn-radius riding mower, yet they indude more-intuitive controls. Either is fine for lawns with lots of obstacles. For flatter lawns only: We advise buyinq a tractor for slopes 10 to 15 degrees or greater. But ii your mowing is relatively fiat and you don't mind levers for steering and speed, consider the Toro Z4200, $2.600. or John Deere Z2Z5, $3,000. tor their evenness, the Toro Z5000, $2.800, for wider mowing, (The Z5000 is discontinued, but its simiiar modet is availabia)

Brand Repair History
Lawn tractors
ffVVPf Morp J o h n Deere has been among the more reliable brands of lawn tractors, That's what we found when we asked almost 18.600 readers who bought a lawn tractor between 2 0 0 4 and 2 0 0 8 about their experiences. The graph shows the percentage of models for each brand that were repaired or had a serious problem. Differences of less than 6 points aren't meaningful, and we've adjusted the data to eliminate differences linked to the age and use of the lawn tractor. Although we lacked sufficient historicai data t o inciude Kubota iawn tractors in the chart, our data indicate that this brand had an average repair rate. Similarly, while we reQUire additional historical data to include any zero-turn-radius mower brands in this chart, preliminary findings suggest that they are no more repair-prone than lawn tractors. Modeis within a brand can vary, and design or manufacture changes might affect future reliability, Stili. choosing a brand with a good repair history can improve your odds of gettirig a re i ia ble model.

0%

5%

10%

15%

20% 25% 30%

Source; Annual Product Reliaülllty Survey, Consumer Reports National Research Center.

MONITORS

MONITORS
Ihese Ratings select, from among 24 tested monitors, those models that were vet good or better and offered exceptional features, value, or both.
Brand & model Price Overall score Testresults Features

1 1
o
TO 20 INCH MODELS LCD20 AcerPI91W Compaq Presario WF1907 BenQ FP92W 100 Q =•

I -I
IT!

p I F I CIVSi E

Gateway FPD1976W ViewSonic V6930m Gateway HD190G DEillJllr3Sharp?009W HPLIVOSw AOC9I7VW

22 TO 26-INCH MODELS
Apple ¿4" LED Cinema ÜiMiliiV Lenovo ThinkVision ViewSonic VX2240W Samsung SyntUasier Deil S2409W ViewSonic VX2260wm LCD22WMGX AOC ?2m Gateway HD22O1

248

C O N S U M E R

R E P O R T S

B U Y I N G

G U I D E 2 0 1 0

Brand & model

Price

Overall score

Test results
~ dû

Features

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22- TO 26-INCH MODELS continued
NeurokOplics22"iZ30 Gateway FHD24gi_ Virio VMM26 See report, page 94. Ratings Key ^Eicellent OVerygooú OGood d F a i r #Poor D CR Best Buy Tfiese models offer ttie best combination ol pertarmance and price. All are recammended. [HI Recommended These are high-performing models that startd out. 415 400

e o e •
© ô- Q _r © 0 0 " f _ _• • • •

Guide to the Ratinqs
Overall score is based mainly on display quality and ease of use, with viewing angle and tealdres also considered. Display quality reflecls image clarity, color accuracv. and contrast. Vlewinq angle indicates quality of images wtien viewed irom positions 45 degrees of the center line, most important for group viewing. Ease of ust Indicates usability of controls on the display and in onscreen menus.

Select Ratinqs Overview
Ttie 19-inch Acer P191W, a CR Best Buy at S140; the Compaq Presarlo WF)907, Sl60; and the 22->r\ct\ ViewSonic VX2240w, S23O, are all fine performers priced fo move. Even some newer models witti very good displays, such as tfie 19 inch Gateway HD1900, $150. and 22-inch AOC Z217V, S150, are priced well below $200. Step-up models, such as fhe Dell UltraStiarp 2009W, and the $220, Unovo TtilnkVlston LZ240P, 5330. both of which can be adjusted in height and can rotate between landscape and portrait orientation, run $70 fo almost $200 more, as does the 24-inch Dell S2A09W, $335. If nothing short of the best wiH do, the 24 inch Apple 24" LED Cinema Display, 5900, was fhe only monifor we tested wiih excelient display quality.

PAINTS,

EXTERIOR

249

PAINTS, Exterior
Flat and satin finishes are usually applied to the body of the house; semigloss, to doors, windows, irim, und shutters for added protection and visual interest. Match paint to your local conditions: Pick a mildew-resistant paint if your home is in the shade and a dirt-resistant one if it's in an urhan area. Below are Select Ratings.
Price Overall score Appearance Resists

S

Í5

S

^
0 100 ** p I F I GIVGl E

^
•*

S.

^ 1

FUILY TESTED Completed the equivalent of nine years' exposure.
[^ Q • 12] M.A.B. sea shore Satin KHz U-ÍU3Í Colüís Semigloss Kllz Casual Colors Flat Valspar ultra Premium Duramax Sa(ifi*

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CalKomia 2010 Flat

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See report, page 6S. Ratings Key ©E«celienl ©Very good OGood ©Fair #Poof B H CR Best Buy These models ofleí'lfie best combination of patfofmance and price. All are recommended. Recommended Tnesa we high-performlni models that stantJ out.

Guide to the Ratings
Overall score tor paints is a weighted average of each year's appearance for a white, a blue, and a brown version. Except for self-priming paints, we apply two coats over primed pineclapboard siding. Overall score for stains is a weighted average of appearance for a red, a qreen, and a white version, where available. We apply one or two coats of stain to untreated pine-clapboard siding according to manufacturers' directions. Fully tested finishes undergo accelerated weathering for three years or until their appearance has fallen to "fair." which would require reapplication. Each year of testing equates to about three years on vertical surfaces; performance on decks and other horizontal surfaces might differ. Displayed scores are rounded; models are listed fh order of precise overall score. Type for paint is sheen listed by manufacturer; if we disagree, our assessment is in parentheses. Type for stains Is opague or semitransparent, ranging from tinted to almost opaque. App«ar«nc« scores summarize long-term testing. Price is the approximate retail per gallon.

zo s

CONSUMER

REPORTS

BUYING

GUIDE

2010

Select Ratings Overview
Best tiat and satin paints: • M.A.B. Sea Shore Satin, $40 • Kill Casual Colors Flat, $20. CR Best Buy • Val5par Ultra Premium Duramax Satin, $33 - California 2010 Flat, $33 • Kilz Casual Colors Satin, $22. CR Best Buy All were impressive at resisting cracking. KHz Casual Colors Flat was particularly good for sunny locations, and Valspar Ultra Premium Doramax Satin and Kilr Casual Colors Satin were better for steady or urban areas. M.A.B. Sea Shore Satin and California 2010 Flat are also top performers but cost more. Best semlqloss paint: • Kilz Casuai Coiors Semiqioss, S23. CR Best Buy This top-rated product performed better than more expensive brands.

PAINTS,

INTERIOR

Zl.

PAINTS, Interior
No single interior paint can work for al) of your household projects. Some finisli, excel at hiding, making them ideal for painting over dark surface-s with a Ught-coloi. paint. Others are hetter at resisting mildew, key (or use in damp areas, such as a hal I room. Below are Select Ratings.
Brands model Price Overall score Testresuits
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100 P i f i GiVGiE •^

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LOW-IUSTER (SATIN AND EGGSHELL FINISHES) Best for most applications.
Behr P[emiiim Plus En.ime! iHome Depot) ^ Benjamin Moore Regai i


0

Kil2 casual colors (Wai~Mart)ï Benjamin Moore Aiin TrueValuetasyCiire ^ Dutch Boy Home (Wai-Hart) \^^

FLAT Besi for low-lraffic areas.
Behr Premium Plus Enamel (Homp Depol) ValsparSiyiititiiie Coinrs (Lowe's) Olympic Premium (Lowe's)

22
„ ^' 17

SEMIGLOSS Best for trim, doors, and shelves. Sears Best Easy Living LJitra IS Valspar llilta Piemium (Lowe's) M Behr Premium Plus Enamel (Home Depot) Olympic PremumJLowe's) IÎ
i^Flatterthanlatreled. i Gtossierttiantabbed. See report, page 67. Ratings Key ©ExcellEnt ©Very good OGood ©Fair • p o o r D CR Best Buy These models oHei the best combination ol performance and price, Alt are recommended. b d Recomnotended These are tiigh-pertorm)ng models that stand oui.

252

C O N S U M E R

R E P O R T S

B U Y I N G

G U i D E

2 0 1 0

Guide to the Ratings
Overall score includes primarily a paint's hiding performance, surface smoothness, and resistance to staining, scrubbing, gloss change, sticking, mildew, and fading, VOC level does not factor into the overall score. Most results were developed from tests of white, pastel, and medium-tint bases. HIdInq reflects how well a paint covers a contrasting color with one coat and wiih two coats. (The one-coat results are weighted more heavily.) Surface smoothness represents an absence of roller marks when the paint is dry. Staining shows how well a paint resists a greasy stain. Scrubblnq shows how a paint holds up to an abrasive cleaner, Gloss change notes the change in appearance when a paint is cleaned with a hard-surface cleaner. Sticklnq indicates a paint's tendency to not remain soft or tacky even when dry. Mildew is a paint's ability to inhibll mildew growth. Fading reflects the lightening of color when a paint is exposed to UV light. Claimed VOCs indicates the manufacturer's stated level of volatile orqanic compounds in the untinted base coat, meastired in grams per liter (g/l). No untinted zero-VOC paint exceeded 50 g/l. Price is the approximate retail cost per gallon. We also test lor spattering, which Is not shown in the Ratings but Is a small part of the overall score. To assess spatter, a technician, wearing a new, clear-plastic disposable glove for each paint, uses a roller with a quarter-inch nap to apply the paint to a hiding chart. We compare each glove to a six-glove reference set, measuring the droplets that fly off the roller and onto the glove. Every paint did at least a very good job at preventing spattering.

Select Ratings Overview
Best value within each qloss leve): • Behr Premium Plus Enamel, S24, CR Be5t Buy • K)lz Casual Colors, $23. CR Best Buy • Dutch Boy Home, $17. CR Best Buy • Behr Premium Plus Enamel, S22, CR Best Buy ' Sears Best Easy Llvlnq Ultra, 525, CR Best Buy - Olympic Premium, $21, CR Best Buy Ad were impressive at resisting staining and scrubbing and are good tor high-traffic areas. Winners Irt one-coat ability: • Behr Premium Plus Enanwl, S24, CR Best Buy • Kllz Casual Colors, $ZX CR Best Buy - Benjamin Moore Aura, $57 • Behr Premium Plus Enamel, $22, CR Best Buy • Sears Best Easy Lfvinq Ultra, S25, CR Best Buy These paints were best at hiding with a single coat, especially when applied over a lighter color. Benjamin Moore Aura and Sears Best Easy Living Ultra are lower-VOC paints. Suited to sunny spaces: - Benjamin Moore Reqal, $45 • Valspar Signature Colors, S27 - Olympic Premium, $17, CR Best Buy • Valspar Ultra Premium, $26 These withstood exposure to UV light and are the best values within the category. Smoothest-ftnfsh paints: • Behr Premium Plus Enamel, $24, CR Best Buy ' Behr Premtum Plus Enamd, 525 These top-choice paints leave behind the fewest marks from application, providing a neat look. Top low-VOC finishes: • Benjamin Moore Aura, $57 • True Vatue Easy Care, $25 • Olympic Premium, $17. CR Best Buy • Sears Best Easy LIvinq Uitra, $25. CR Best Buy These earned good to exceiient scores in most tests we perform.

PRINTERS,

A L L - I N - O N E

25.

PRINTERS, ALL-IN-ONE
If all you'do is print, you can save money and space by purchasing a dedicated prinfi But if there's any chance you niighf want to copy or scan, it's worth investigating , ail-in-one. While most model-s are bigger than the typical new stand alone prinli fhey take up less space and cost less than a separate printer, scanner, and copier, Iioln arcSclecl Ratings.
Brand« model Price Overall score Tesf results

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LASER MODELS

Brother
•"' MFC-7340 See report, page 96':

NA

O O O *

Ratings Key ©Excellent ©Veiygood OGood ©Fair D S CR Best Buy These models offer the b«st combination of performance and priGS. All are reconHniind«(l. Recommended These are higli-performirgmoaelsttiat stand oui.

254

C O N S U M E R

R E P O R T S

B U Y I N G

G U I D E

2 0 1 0

Guide to the Ratings
Overall score is based on speed and quality of print, scan, and copy functions, plus ease of use. The dispiayeö score is out of a total of 100 points. Photo quality is our assessment of the appearance of eacti photo. Models with higher scores produce more natural looking photos. with smoother changes in shading and fewer problems with banding. 4 x 6 photo time (min.) measures, to the nearest half minute, how long it took each printer to output a 4x5 borderless photo. 8x10 photo time (min.) is our measurement ol how long it took eacH full-sized printer to output an 8x10 color photo, at the printer's best setting. Text quallty indícales how crisply and dearly a printer produced black text in a variety ol Ivpetaces, sires, and styles. Models with higher scores produce more uniform type, with sharper edges and smoother curves. Tlext speed (ppm) is our calculation of the printer's typical output In pages per minute (ppm) for a five-page document. Speeds generally range from 3 to 9 ppm for inkjets and faster for lasers. Graphics quality is our assessment of the appearance of color graphics produced by the inkjet printer. Models with higher scores produce graphics with colors that are brighter, more uniform, and less prone to band or bleed Into one another on the page. Lasers were judged on black and white graphics, Scan fluaUty is for color photos, graphics, and text scanned at each model's default settings. Copy quality is ^or photos, graphics, and text. Power saving Indicates how well the printer conserves power between uses.

Select Ratings Overview
Best all-in-one inkjets: The Canon Pixma MP970, S270, Is pricey but includes lots of features. It has a large 2.5-inch LCD viewer that lets you edil photos from the printer, it prints excellent 4x6 snapshots quickly, although at a slightly higher cost than some other models, PictBridge, infrared. Ethernet, and optional Bluetooth, along with memory-card support, provide a variety of connectivity options. Best values under $200: The HP PhotoSmart C63eO, $180. is a full(ealured multifunction printer with reasonable printing costs. Text and photo guality were very good, and printing costs for text were lower than most other all-in-ones. Its LCD viewer is 2.0 inches. It includes Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity, although Bluetooth is optional. You can set It up on a network as well, Tor networked wireless printing: You can share the Epson Artisan 8 0 0 , S300, over a home network wirelessly and use it over an Ethernet connection. It prints very good photos and graphics, and lias good text quality. There's a very conyenient touch screen for all controis and a buiit-infax. Best «li-in-one laser: The Brother MFC-7340. S200, is a good choice for printing excellent text quickly and at tow cost. It includes an automatic document feeder and a built-in fax.

RANGES

255

RANGES
You can find a high-performing electric range without spending a bundle. Several models we tested costing $450 to $1,400 outperformed ranges costing $1,600 or more.
Brand s model Pnce Overall score Test results

O

^

D

100

4^

11
A .2;
E 'S oi

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- ai a

i'

P I F I G I VGI E 30-INCH COIL MODELS $700 C

0

Kenmore (Sears) Hotpoint RB757WH[WW| Whirlpool

500

30-fNCH INDUCTION MODELS Kwimore (Sears) Elite 9991131 3D-INCH SMOOTHTOP MODELS

3

1

0

«

Q D D

GECafé CS980SNISSI GEJE1700DNIWW] Electrolux tW3O£f65GIWI Kenmore (Sears) F h le 980219) Kenmore (Sears) 964|¡íl%4J|l Kenmore (Sears) 974S191 FC0321HTUX GE JBP81SLISSI Illf SISMI I GEJSP't2DN|WW] Amana AER6011VAS

2

GE ISP46DMWW1 GE PB970SMISSI

256

C O N S U M E R

R E P O R T S

B U Y I N G

G U I D E 2 0 1 0

Brand & model dcli. in smjil type, are tonipaïahli' lo •3 tötetl model.

Price

Overail score

Testresuits

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ca. i

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1 Ü D

P I F I GIVGI E 30-INCH SMOOTHTOP MODELS continued JB968TKIWW1 Maytag Gemini

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GE PB975SM|SS1 Frigidaire Galiery Kenmore (Sears) Kenmore {Searsi 9800[3l Whirlpool WFr371LVB Maytag MER5752BA[W] ElearotuK EW1OFS65G[W| ienn-Air J£R88SSRA|SI GEÍSP42WKIWW1 GEJBP64SMISS] Maytag KitchenAid Architocl Series KERS8O7S1SS! Whirlpool Gold GYÎ99LXU[Q| Hotpoint RB787WH[WW! Jenn-Air JES885OBA[W1 Bosch HES71I5I2

K8-34Z5LS

^'^^^

30-INCH DUAL-FUEL MODELS

0 0

BOSçhHOS71i5]2 GE Profile J2B918WEK[WW1

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RANGES

257

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30-INCH DUAL-FUEL MODELS continued

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Kenmore (Sears) Pro Wotf DF304 GECale C2S980SEMISS1 Viking VOSC53OISS] Jeiin-Air JDSa860BD[Pl Dacor Epicure Efl30D KitchenAid Architea Series KDRP707filSSI 6,000 4,300 4.000 5.200 2,800 5,500 2,750 O

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30-INCH GAS MODELS G£JGQP&8DtM|WW¡ Kenmore (Sears) Kenmore (Sears) 71Ï819] GE Prolilc Hotpoint RGB745WEHIWW1 Kenmore (Sears) 7744|9| Maytag MGS5775Ba[Sl Amana AGRftOiivos GE IGBP36OEMÍSS1 Thermador ;'i0fessioii,ilPG304B[S) Kenmore (Sears) Eiectrotux EW3OCF65GIWI GE Profile IGBP9Î8WEKIWW! FrigtifaireFGi^óSGlS] 600

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258

C O N S U M E R

R E P O R T S

B U Y I N G

G U I D E 2 0 1 0

Brand & model
Similar models, j

Pnce

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Test results

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0 Pi F I 30-INCH GAS MODELS continued GE Cafe S2.7DO CGS9aOSEM|SS] Frigidaire Gaiief y C.LGF3860!S] Maytag UGRä75IAD(Wl Bosch HGS7U5]2

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IGR8890ADIP] Electrolux EW30GS6SGIW] GEPG5975SEMI5SJ Whirlpool Gold GW399LXUWI Wtliripool SF265LXTIQ1
DCS RGTC305SS

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© © © 9 9 9

Maytag Gemini MGR6775BDfS] KJUhenAld Architect J í r i e s KGflS8O7S[SS] Kenmore (Sears) Pro 7962Í7] KitchenAJd Arctiitect series KDRP462U5SÍ
ArchtectScflesKDBPtóWSSL fcdlitffl Seró KDBP467KIS51

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36-INCH DUAL-FUEL ÍMODELS

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6050
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36-INCH GAS MODELS Ttwrniador Pro Grand PG366BrSl PÍO
riraml PGJMGtBS. Pío

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Fr^ilalre Professional PL6F659EC
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Ratings Key ©Excellent ©Very good OGood QFair #Poor Q [^ CR Be5t Buy These models ofler Ihe best combination ol pertormance and price. All are recommended. Recofîimended These are high-performing modeis tfiat stand out.

RANGES

299

Guide to the Ratings
Overall score is based on oven capacity, cooktop speed and simmer performance, and oven bâkinq, broiling, and self-cleaning performance. The displayed score is out of a total of 100 points. Cooiitop high reflects how quickly the most powerful element could raise a 6-liter (6/3 quart) pot of water from room temperature to a near boil. Cooktop iow reflects the ability ol the lowest power element to melt and hold chocolate without scorching it. We also set the most powerful element to its lowest setting to test its ability to hold a larqe pot of tomato sauce below a boil. Baking reflects the evenness of cookies and cakes in mulll-rack baking tests. Broiling indicates upper-elemeni evenness as well as high-temperature searing, using a broiier pan full of hamburgers. Oven capacity evaluates usable space, including shell area and verticai space for casseroles. For dual-oven models, the score Includes both ovens. Oven eieaning is i3 gauge of the self-cleaning cycle's effectiveness after the oven is coated with a mixture of eggs, lard, cherry-pie {illlnq, cheese, tomato puree, and tapioca.

Select Ratings Overview
Best smoothtops tor most: i IP GE: JB700DNIWW]. $800, and the Kenmore 9641[21, $750, deliver superb i.uoktop performance: choose the GE tor Ils bakifig. fhe Kenmote for its broiling, The Kenmore 9745[9], S800, and the Amana AER6OIIVAS, $820, include conveclion toi far less than most. Best electric-coil ranges: ThP GE JBP35SMISS], $700, baked best. The Kenmore 9421[2]. $550, and the Hotpoint RB757WHÍWW]. $450, cook almost as weil for less; consider the Hotpoint if stainless isn't a priority. More features, more money: Amonq smoothtops, the GE Café CS9B0SN[SS], S2,800, offers high style and a small oven drawer (also on ihe Electrolux EW30EF6SG[W], $2,000); the Kenmore Elite 9802[91, $1,500, has larger dual ovens, though the lower one is very low, and self-cleaning was just fair. Choose the Kenmore Elite 9991[3], $2700, for induction and convection. Best gas ranqes for most: Between convection models, the Kenmore (Sears) Elite 7753[9], $1,450, offers better simmering, baking and broiling; the Friqidaire Gallery GLGF3B6D[S], $900, has iaster,coohtop heating. The GE Profiie PGB910SEMtSS], $1,800, offers more stainless Ihan most; choose the Hotpotnt RGB745WEHtWW]. $600. if stainless isn't critical. If you want a dual-fuel or pro-style model: Our extensive tests have revealed no clear benefits to dual-fuei ranges. 8ul if you want one of those modeis, consider the Bosch H0S7U5)2, $2,000, for its broiling performance or the GE Profile J2B91BWEK[WW], $1,700, lor its faster cooktop heating. Pro-style ranges continue to be a poor value overall. But if you wanl a 36-Inch pro-style range, consider the Thermador Pro Grand PG366B(SI, $5,900. for its fine performance, and the lower priced Frigidaire Professional PLGF659EC, $1,900, if you're willing to trade some oven space for a lower price.

260

C O N S U M E R

R E P O R T S

B U Y I N G

G U I D E 2 0 1 0

Brand Repair History Ranges, electric
FPWOI ^

Ranges, gas
More repat«

Fewer

repairs

repairs

Hotpom! ^ 1 1 OEEH W il o l • • • hrp o Frigidaire H I H ^ I KetimaiF (Sears) H I ^ ^ K MaviagHHK Kt Vl i ^ m ^ ^ Q H ^ Q ld tAO Jn- r I B ^ H H H B e nA i
5% 10%
2'i%

0%

5%

KitchenAid and Jenn-Air have been among the most repair-prone brands of electric range. That's what we found when we asked almost 75,000 readers who bought an electric range between 2002 and 2008 about their experiences. The graph shows the percentage of models for each brand that were repaired or had a serious problem. Differences of less than 3 points aren't meaningful, and we've adjusted the data to eliminate differences linked solely to the age of the electric range. Although we lacked sufficient historical data to include these brands in the chart, Bosch has been repair-prone and LG about average, according to our analysis. Models within a brand can vary, and design or manufacture changes might affect future reiiabiiity. Still, choosing a brand with a good repair history can improve your odds of getting a reliable model.
Source: Annual Pfoduct Reliability Survey, Consumer Reports National Research Center.

KitchenAid has been the most repair-prone brand of gas range, while Maytag has been among the more repair-prone brands. That's what we found when we asked more than 26,000 readers who bought a gas range between 2002 and 2008 about their experiences with these appliances. Although we lacked sufficient historical data for ail years to include Viking gas ranges in the chart, our data indicate it has been a repair prone brand. Similarly, our data show that among dual fuei ranges Frigidaire, General Electric, and Kenmore have been reiiabie, but JennAir has been repair-prone. The graph shows the percentage of brands thai needed a repair or had a serious problem. Differences of less than 3 points aren't meaningful, and we've adjusted the data to eliminate differences linked solely to the age of the gas range. Models within a brand may vary, and design or manufacture changes may affect future reliability. Still, choosing a brand with a good repair history can impnave your odds of gettinq a reliable modei.
Source: Annual Product Reliability Survey, Consumer Reports National Research Center.

REFRIGERATORS

261

REFRIGERATORS
Unce you know how much space you have, particularly the width, our Ratings will help you find models ihat fit in thai space. Models that have higher energy-etïiciency scores use less electricity for their capacity. And if your household isn't large, remember that a smaller refrigerator is likely lo use less electricity overall than a larger model.
Brand & model Price Overall score Testresuits
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REFRIGERATORS

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264

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B U Y I N G

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2 0 1 0

overall score

Test results

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RE F R I G E R A T O RS

265

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MEDIUM COMPACT REFRIGERATORS ¿J 0 i'^ Kenmore 927719] Sanyo Sfi •2S70M HaierHSBOSfB] Frigidaire FRCO3LZ0[Wl TALL C O M P A a REFRIGERATORS ^ 0 [7] Frigidaire fHCOSlSOIBl Haier HNSE05[B! GE Spacemaker GMR04AAM|88| Kenmore 9467|9| Magic Chef MCBR44SIW11 Haier HWSE03WA[WW| Avanti 3O8YWT report, paije 46. Ratings Key ©Exreltenl ©Very good OGood ©Fair • P o o r Q CR 8est Buy These models oiler ttte l>est combinaiton of performance and price. All are recommended, W Recommended These ora high-performing models that stand out. ' O O 2.7 26x19x19 4J

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Guide to the Ratinqs
Overall score is based mainly on temperature performance and energy efficiency. Noise and fase of use are also considered. Displayed scores are rouncîed; models are listect in order of precise overall score. Tcmptrature performance is how uniformly each maintained 37" F in the refrigerator and 0° F in the treeïer at different room temperatures. Energy efficiency is electricity use based on measurements and usable capacity. Noise is with the compressor runntfig. Ease of use assesses features and design. Enerqy cost ¡s estimated cost in dollars, based on the average national electricity rate. Usable capacity is the volume, in cubic feet, of interior space, including ice-makers in the storage measurements for top-freezer anä bottom-freezer models, but not for side-by-sides. For compacts, refriqerator performance is the ability to .jchieve and maintain a desired temperature, tennperature uniformity inside, the ability to comppnsate for variations in ambient temperature, and reserve capacity under extreme conditions. Freezer performance is how close the freezer compartments could come to zero degrees.

266

C O N S U M E R

R E P O R T S

B U Y I N G

G U I D E

2 0 1 0

Select Ratings Overview

Top-freezer
Small (30 Inches wide): The 17.9-cubic-foot GE GTHISKBXtWW], Si.OOO, has spillproof shelves and is Energy Star qualified. At S650, the Frigidaire FRT18S6A[W] costs less than most other 30-inch-wide top-freezers but has less usable freezer capacity than most. The 20.5-cutiic-foot Kenmore (Sears) 7419[2], $680. lacks spillpfool shelves. It has pultout shelves only in the refrigerator and does not have half/split shelves. It is not Energy Star qualified. Midsized (33 Incties wide): The GE Profile PTS22LHR[WW],'Sl.35a has ampîe features and more usabte fridge capacity than most, but it's pricey. The 21-cubic-toot Whirlpool ET1FTEXV[0]. $1,500, has spillproof shelves and is Energy Star qualified.

quiet, with excellent temperature performance and very good energy efficiency. The Amana AFD25350E[WJ, $1,500, is very good, with excellent temperature performance.

Built-in
Larqe (36 inches wide or wider): The Mieie KF1901VÍ, $7,200, is a very good refrigerator with excellent temperature performance. It is especially quiet. The KitchenAid KBFC42FtSS], $7.500. is very good, with excellent temperature performance though mediocre energy efficiency. The Electrolux Icon E42BS75EP[S], $6,600 is a very good and especially quiet built-in refrigerator, though it has mediocre energy efficiency.

Side-by-side
Midsized (33 to 35 inches wide): Overall, Ihe Hotpoint HSS22GFT[WW1, $1,100, is very good with excellent temperature performance. Larqe (36 inches wide or wider); The Samsung RS275AC[WP]. $1300, Is very good and very quiet. The Whiripooi Ep5HVEXV[0], $900, is very good, but was not especially energy-efficient and not especially quiet. The Jenn-AIr JCD2Z90HE[W]. S2.3OO, is very good, but offers less usable capacity overall than most and isn't especially energy-efficient. The Kenmore (Sears) 5 8 0 2 [ 2 ] , $1.450. is very good and very guiet, thougfi not especially energy-efficient. The LG LSC27910ESW], $1.100, is very good and very guiet, but not especially energy-efficient. The GE GSH25JFX[WW], $1.100, is good, with very good temperature performance. Compact Consider the Haier HNSE05IB1, $150, and GE Spacemaker GMR04AAM[BB], S16O, for cooling, not freezing. For a smaller motíel, go with the Kenmore 927719], S1<^O. Sanyo SR-2570M, $130, and Haier HSB03[B]. $12Ü.

Bottom-freezer
Small (30 Inches wide): Overall, the Amana ABB1921DE[W]. $900, i5 very good, with excellent temperature perfor• manee and very quiet operation but mediocre energy efficiency. Midsized (33 inches wide): Thf Amana ABB2221FEtW], Si.020. provides excellent temperature performance and very good energy efliciency. It is somewhat noisy. The Kenmore (Sears) Eilte 7625[21, $1,400, provides excellent temperature performance. Larqe (36 Inches wide or wider): The Kenmore (Sears) Eilte 7759[2J, $1.950, has excellent temperature performance and energy-efficiency scores. The Whirlpool GoW GX5FHTXV101, $1,700, has excellent temper ature performance and energy efficiency, but is somewhat noisy and pricey. The Samsunq RF266AB[WP], $1600, is very good and very

R E T R I G E R A T O R S

267

Brand Repair History
Refrigerators, top-freezer
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FríBidaire Maytag Whirliioûl Frigidaire Gi

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7 1 5% it 1 10% M e m

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Refrigerators, bottom-freezer

Maytag has been the most repair-prone brand of top-freezer models without icemakers. We have also sufficient dala to conclude that their modeis with icemalters have also been repair-prone. That's what we found when we asked over 64,000 readers who bouqht a refrigerator between 2004 and 2008 about their experiences. The graph shows the percentage of models for each brand Ihat were repaired or had a serious probiem. Differences of less than 5 points aren't meaningful, and we've adiusted the data to eliminate differences linked solely to the age of the refrigerator. Although we lacked sufficient historical data to include'Sub-Zero side-t)y-sides in the chart, they have not been repair-prone in receñí years, according to our analysis. Models within a brand can vary, and design or manufacture changes might affect future reliability. Slill, choosing a brand with a good repair history can Improve your odds of getting a reliable model. Source: Annual Product Reliability Survey. Consumer Reports National Researcft Center.

Hi

10%

IS%

20% 25%

Refrigerators, s i d e - b y s i d e

2 6 8

C O N S U M E R

R E P O R T S

B J Y I N G

G U I D E

2 0 1 0

SMART PHONES
Decide how "smart" a phone you wanl. Some phones offer busîness-foirused capabilities in a palm-fiuing package. Other.s are geared toward personal use. They'refinetor playing music and other multimedia, reading e-mail messages, and opening Office-type attachments, but they don't allow you to create or edit documents and spreadsheets. Below are Select Ratings.
Brand & model
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overall score

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[71 T-Mobile
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[71 BlackBerry Bold — (AT&T) ¡ 7 ] Samsung EpiK (ATST) [71 Palm Pre [7] (Sprint Nextel) BlackBerry Curve 8900 (T-Mobile) Fiip82Z0(Htotlile) BtockBerry Pearl

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Ratings Key ©Eitcellenl ©Verygood OGood ©Fair • P a a r Q E CR Best Buy Ttiese mudéis olfer the best combination cf performance and pnce. All afe recommended. Recommended These are hígh-periwming models that stand oui.

SMART

PHONES

Z69

Guide to the Ratings
Overall score i5 based mainly on display, navigation, voice quality, phoning, messaging. Web irowslnq. multimedia, and battery life, and also considers document editinq as well as ttie I'hone's siîe and weight. The displayed score is out of a totdl of 100 points. Phones are listed Ml performance order. Due to test upgrades, results may vary from past Raíings. Display : i?presents a weighted combination of display size, resolution, and evaluations of how well the Lüsplay can be seen under different lighting conditions. Navigation mainly considers how i?3Sy it is to access the phone's various features and modes, such as phoning, messaging, Web browsing, the camera, and music player. We also consider programmable shortcuts, touch screens, and user manuals and reference cards. Voice quality considers listening quality which reflects wfiat you hear; talking, what's heard bv other phones. Tests were conducted In noisy ¿ind quiet environments using live phone calls indicated by carrier used. We show the lower score between listening and talking. Phoning considers the number of step-saving (unctions (ot making and receiving calls. These Include hands-free capabilities such as voice command ¡iná Bluetooth, speed dialing, DTMF and ringer controls, call timers, security options, and other features. We also evaluated keypad readability under different lighting conditions. Messaging mainly assesses keyboard ergonomics, e-mad readability, attachment capabilities, and textpiiessaqing features. It also considers how easy It is to synchronize the phone with a computer and access applications while on a call. Web browsing mainly assesses browser capabilities, including the phone's ability to handle more Ihan one browser. Rash Video, and Java, as well lis data connections such as 3G and Wi-Ti. Multimedia mainly considers camera and music player capabilities and features, as well as GP5 navigation, voice memo, streaming or live audio iind/or video. Battery life represents mainly an average of talk time from tests with strong and weak network signals, and also considers standby, display times, and other (actors. Talk time is ,in average to the nearest quarter-hour from tests with strong and weak network signals. For phones using AT&T's or T-Moblle's 3G HSDPA network, expect talk times to be shorter Most phones work only with a specific carrier, so you must decide whether to stay with your current provider or select a new one when shopping for a phone.

Select Ratings Overview
Best choices for Offlce-rike tasKs: 1 he pilones listed here take theif PDA öulies seriously. All allow you to create and edit documents and e-mail attachments and are very good choices for heavy e-mail and Microsoft Office users. From Verizon rile Samsung Omnia, $100, is a very good, teaturepacked smart phone with heavy-duty e mail and Office and multimedia capabilities. With its unique interface and powerful business and entertainment features, the BlackBarry Storm, SlOO, is a worthy sidekick (or qlot)e trotting Verizon customers. From AT&T The BlackBerry Bold, $300, is a very good choice (or heavy-duty Office and BlackBerry e-mail users. But pricey. The Samsung Epix, Si80, is a line choice for heavy-duty e-mail and Office users who need lots of talk time. From T-Moblle The BtackBerry Curve, Sl50, Is a very good choice (or heavy-duty Office and BlackBerry messaginq users. Also, the Wi-Fi connection comes in handy for voice calls, surfing the Web, and downloading large files.

270

C O N S U M E R

R E P O R T S

B U Y I N G

G U I D E

2 0 1 0

Select Ratings Overview
Best choices for multimedia use: The following phones have a flair for fun. combining large displays, desktop-class Web browsers, and a powerltil array of music, video.and gaming capabilities. And they make it easy to keep ttie fun flowing, witti their online-store connections to millions of songs, qames, applications, and ottier forms of entertainment. The Apple IPhone 3G S (16GS), $200, is a high-scoring, versatile, and innovative smart phone thafs a sliver better than Its 3G predecessor. A very good choice for multimedia addicts-and even some corporate users. The Appie IPhone 3G (BG8), $100, is a high-scoring, versatile, and innovative smart phone with a few warts. A very good ctioice for multimedia addicts-and even some corporate users. Ttie T-Mobite myTouch 3G, S200. is a higti-scoring smart phone loaded with intriguing features and capabilities. A very good choice for Web browsing addicts-and even some corporate users. The T-Moblle G1, $150, Is a high-scoring smart phone loaded with intriguing features and capabilities, though not for corporate users. Best compact choices: These are some of ttie smaliest, and lowestpriced smart phones on ttie market, which makes it worth putting up with their smallish displays and tiny QWERTY keyboards. From T'Mobile The BiackBerry Pearl flip 8220, $50, is a petite, inexpensive smart ptione packed witti lots of smart BiackBerry features, and the Wi-Fi connection comes in handy for voice calls, surfing the Web. and downloading large files, though ttie condensed keyboard may oe cumbersome for some users. The BiackBerry Pear) B120, $80, is a petite smart phone crammed with lots of smart BiackBerry features, and the Wi-Fi connection comes in handy for voice calls, surfing the Web and downloading large files, though ttie compact keyboard may be too small for some users. From Sprint Nextel The Palm Pre, $200, is a palm friendly smart phone packed with lots of useful capabilities and features, though the smallish keyboard may be a challenge lor some people. The BiackBerry Pearl 8130, $50, crams lots of smart BiackBerry features into a small package-and Is relatively inexpensive. The compact keyboard may be too small for some users.

T V s ,

L C D

271

TVs, LCD
Most of the TVs in the Ratings have very good or excellent picture quality, so there arc I'lcnly of good choices available. Still, check detailed results for the highest-scoring models if you want top picture quality. All tested sets 37 inches and up. and many of the 32-inchers. have 1080p resolution, ITiis has become the norm. In smaller sets. 720p resolution is still common, and it's all you need, unless you want U) use the TV as a computer monitor, in which case higher
rcMilLitimi is a plus.
Branda model Price OveralKcore Test results
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272

C O N S U M E R

R E P O R T S

B U Y I N G

G U I D E 2 0 1 0

Brand&model

Price

Overall score

Test results

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600

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46 TO 47-INCH MODELS Sony Bravia KDLflfiXBRS Samsung UN4ÖB7000 Samsung UN46B6000 JVCLT-')6P300 Samsung U46B650 Sony Bravia t(Dt-46VS100 Samsung UN46B8O00 Philips LG47LHS5 Sharp Aquos LCC4677UN Sony Bravia KDL-46KBR9 Insignia NS-LC047HD-09 I V I Samsung Q Toshiba Regia bS¿V6[0U Sony Bravia K0LWXBR9 [7] Sharp ftquos LCÜ277U!L See report, pa^e 26. 1.Í.00 l,!00 2.200 800

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52-INCH AND LARGER MODELS

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Rating5 Key ©Excellünl ©Very good OGood ©Fair #Poor D CR Best Buy These models offer tfie best combination of performance arid price. All are recommended. 0 Recommended These are tiigh-performirtg models that stand out.

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Guide to the Ratings for LCD and Plasma TVs
Overall score is based primarily on picture quality; sound quality, ease of use, viewing angle, aivi versatility are also figured in. The displayed score Is out of a total of 100 points, HD picture quality is based on a trained viewing panel's evaluation of the TV's picture clarity and color accuracy, using known references, when displaying a lOSOi HD signal. The picture's quality rating is determined by how well it displays all the attributes of an HD signal, including the fine details you would expect from HD. All signals were sent through the HDMI input, which can be used io connect a high-def DVD player, digital-cable box. satellite receiver, or off-air digital receiver/tuner to the TV. SD picture quallty indicates how a TV displays "regular," non-HD TV programming. This picture quality score is based on a standard-definition TV signal, known as 4801, sent through the TV's HDMI inputs, except where indicated. The standard-tJef images are evaluated by trained panelists, using known references. Common sources of this standarddefinition signal are digital-cable boxes and satellite boxes. Viewlnq anqle for LCDs indicates our evaluation of picture quality for clarity and color accuracy at various horizontal and vertical yiewinq angles. Sound quality is measured from the set's built-in speakers using compulerdriven test equipment, with additional subjective testing by a listening panel. You can get better stereo sound if you bypass the built-in speakers and route ¡he TV's sound to a receiver and external speakers. With a multichannel sound system, you can get the enveloping experience of surround sound from digital broadcasts anü also DVD movies. Remote ease of use is an assessment of the usability of the TV's remote control, considering button layout. labeling, and practical features. Onscreen menu ease of use is an assessment of the usability of the TV's onscreen menu, considering its interaction with the remote, menu layout, and practical features. Versatility indicates features that increase a plasma TV's utility or capabilities. These might include the presence of more HD-capabie inputs, a headphone jack, a base that swivels, exten* sive Internet connectivity, slldeshow functionality for digital pictures, iPod docking, and so on. Enerqy cost is estimated cost per year in dollars, calculated for S hours a day turned on and 16 hours in the off (standby) mode, based on the current year's national average electricity rate. Your usage and local rates will affect your costs. Note that the energy scores are for a plasma TV optimized for the besi picture quality, not using any energy-saving technology included in the set.

Select Ratings Overview

TVs,

LCD

26-inch sets: Sony Bravia KDL-26L5000, S500: This 26-inch 720p (1366x768) set from Sony's entry-level L5000 series delivers top-notch performance at a competitive price (for a Sony), However, its narrower-than-averaqe viewing angle may be an issue m rooms where some viewers may be situated offangle from the screen. ViewSonic N2690w, S450: This 26-inch 720p (1366x768) LCD from ViewSonic is a solid across-the-board performer at a competitive price. However, Its very narrow

viewing angle may limit its appeal In rooms wtiere some viewers will be off-angle, and it has a limited number o( inputs. Inslqnia NS-L260-10A. S300: This 26-inch 720p (1366x768) LCD from Insignia, Best Buy's house brand, deiivers v&ry good picture quality at a low price, though its viewing angle is narrower than most sets we've tested, Sanyo DP26649, S295: This 26-inch 720p (1366x768) LCD TV from Sanyo is a CR Best Buy, offering excellent picture at a very low price. It has fewer features than pricier sets and a narrow viewing angle, but If you'll be

TVs, L C D

275

Select Ratinqs Overview
il head on, that's nol d concern, Samsung LN26B460, $450; This 26-inch 72Op (1366x768) LCD from Samsung offers excellent picture quality and an exceilent onscreen menu system. However, it has a narrower-than-averaqe viewing anqle, and poor sound, much worse than most of the other spts we've tested. 32-Inch sets: Samsung LN32B650, $1,000: This 32-inch i060p LCD ftom Samsung is a top-notch performer with excellent picture quality, but it's pricey for the size. It has 120Hz technology, plus InfoLink, Samsung's entry-level Internet service that provides RSS feeds of news, weather, and sports information, Panasonic Viera TC-L32S1, $715: Ttlis wellpriced 32 incti lOSOp LCD from Panasonic offers very good overall picture quality, with top-notch detail and very accurate colors. Like other Panasonic LCDs we're tested it has a wider-than-averaqe viewinq angle, though not quite as wide as the best Panasonic sets. Sony Bravia KDL-32XBR9, $870: This 32inch 1080p LCD from Sony is a top-notch performer with excellent picture quality, but like other X8R models it costs a tDit more than most othef sets this size. It includes t20Hz lechnology to reduce motion blur, fairly rare in ttlis size. Insignia NS-L322Q-10A, S500: This 32-inch 1080p LCO from Insignia, Best Buy's house brand, ofiers excellent overall picture quality, and is very iow priced, especially for a 1080p set. Its viewing anqle, thouqh, is narrower than most. VIzto VO320E, S400: Ttlis 32-inch 720p (1366x768) Vizio deiivers excellent picture quality and a fairly wide viewing angle at an especially low price, making it a CR 8«st Buy. Its sound was good, unlike its 37-inch sibling's, fine for typical TV programming. JVC LT-32J3OO, $600: This 32-inch 1080p LCD from JVC is a winner, offering very qood picture quaiity and better-than-averaqe view inq angle and sound at a competitive price. Sony Bravia KDL-32S5tOO, $730: This 32-inch Sony, part of its entry-level 1080p S-series, delivers the goods-excellent high-def picture quality, ¡mage detail, and color-at a competitive price, (hough it wasn't without some flaws, as noted. 37-inch sets: Samsung LN37B650, $1.200: This 37-inch Samsung 1080p LCD is a very good overall performer. It's pricier than other sets this size, but it inciudes I 2 0 H Ï technology (unusual in this size) and InfoLinh Internet connectivity that provides RSS news, stock, and weather feeds from USA Today. Panasonic Viera TC-L37SI, S775: This 37-inch 1080p LCD from Panasonic is a very good overall performer that's weli-priced for a major brand. Like other Panasonic LCDs we've tested it has a wider-than-average viewing anqle, though not quite as wide as the best Panasonic sets. LG 37LH30, $850: This 37-inch LCD is LG's entry-level lOBOp set, and it delivers very good overall picture quaiity. Brightness level was only fair, dimmer than most, so it's t)estsuited for a darker room, VIzio V0370M, $600: This 37-inch Vizlo t060p LCD set has exceilent picture quality and a fairly wide viewing anqle, plus a very low price. However, its sound quality is poor, so consider pairing it with an external sound system.

276

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2 0 ) 0

Select Ratings Overview 40- and 42-Inch sets:
Toshiba Reqza 42XV540U. S1,1OO: This 42 inch loaop Toshiba boasts excellent HD picture quality, and is well-priced for a set with I20HZ technology, which reduces motion blur. HD content was detailed and had'great color and a satisfying level of brightness. It also has a betterthan-averaqe viewing angle. Samsunt) UN40B6000, $1,600: This 40inch lOaOp ôOOO-series LCD from Samsunq delivers excellent picture quality and detail, with very accuiate colors. Like 8000- and 7000-series sets, it uses edge-mounted LEDs rather than conventional lamps, which accounts for its slim profile and higher price. Unlike those models, though, it includes RSS feeds from USA Today rather than the full Medl#2.0 Internet service. It also has 120Hz technology to reduce motion biyr. JVC LT-42P300, S850: This 42-inch 1080p LCD from JVC is a CR Best Buy, offering very good picture quality ät a very low price, plus an iPod dock. An illuminated remote would have been helpful though, since the iPod's functions can be controlled with it. insignia NS-L420-10A, $700: This 42-inch 1080p LCD from Insignia, Best Buy's house brand, delivers excellent picture quality and a lot of performance for a (airly low price, making it a CR B«st Buy, though It's not the best choice for a brightly lit room. Sony Bravia KLV-40ZX1M, $2,200: This super-slim 1080p Sony LCD is a showpiece model that borrows some design elements from Sony's It-inch OLED TV. The set, which uses edge LED backlighling, delivers excellent overall picture quality, albeit at a fairly high price. It also includes i20Hz technology to reduce motion blur. It would have scored higher except for its narrower-than-average viewing angle and so-so remote. Also, it's a monitor with no tuner, so it requires an external tuner to receive over-the-air broadcasts. It has only one HOMI as its input, so consider pairing It with a digital receiver. 46- and 47-incti sets: Sony Bravia KDL-46XBRe, S3,000: This 46-inch XBR-series lOBOp set from Sony is a clear, if pricey, winner. It uses a full-array LED backlight rather than a conventional lamp, which enables the set to produce excellent deep black levels, on par with the best sets we've tested, it has Sony's MotionFlow I20HZ technology to reduce motion blur, and will accept an optional Bravia Internet link for access to online content, Samsunq UN46B7000, $2,300: This 46inch 1080p LCD from Samsung Is a top-notch set with excellent picture quality_and detail and very accurate colors. Like Samsung's 8000- and 6000-series sets, it uses edgemounted LEDs rather than conventional lamps, which accounts for its slim profile and higher price. The 120HZ feature reduces motion blur, and internet connectivity provides access to various online services. The DLNA feature aiiows it to browse and play content sent over your home network. Samsung UN46B6000, S2,100; This 46Inch tOBOp LCD from Samsung is a top-notch set with excellent HO picture quality and detail and very accurate colors. Its performance with standard-def programs was a notch below its 7000-series sibling. Like that set. It uses edge-mounted LEDs rather than conventional lamps, which accounts for its slim profile and higher price. It also includes l20Hz technology that reduces motion biur. The set comes with RSS feeds from USA Today rather than the full Medi@i2.0 Internet service on the 7000-series. But that difference will save you a few hundred dollars.

TVs.

LCD

277

Select Ratings Overview
Sony Bravia KDL-46V5100, Sl,400: This A6-inch V-series Sony is a fine 1080p set with excellent HD^ictufe quality, despite a few flaws as noted. It has 120H2 technology, which reduces motion blur, but it's still a bit pricey compared to simitar TVs. Sharp Aquos LC-C4677UN, SHOO: This -ló-inch 1080p Aquos LCD TV from Sharp delivers excellent picture quality at a fairly low price tor a major brand, though its viewing angle and sound quality scores were below average. Also, its 120Hï technology provided little improvement in motion blur over standard 60H2 sets. It has five HDMI inputs, the most we've seen. 5Z-inch and tarqer sets; Samsunq LN55A950, S3,600: This 55-inch 1080p 5amsunq, a top-notch flagship model offering excellent picture quality, is an excellent big-screen choice for those looking for staie-of-f he-art performance, thouqh its very narrow viewing angle may be of concern it It will be regularly viewed off-angle. Its fullarray LED backlight with local dimming helps produce some of the best black levels we've seen on an LCO, but also adds to the price. Its use of Auto Motion PJus T20Hz technology reduces motion blur, Toshiba REGZA 55ZV650U, $2,000: This 55-¡nch Toshiba Regza lOSOp LCD is a top-notch performer offered at a very attractive price for its size and leatures, making it a CR Best Buy. This model has a wider view-ing angle than many LCDs, and tts quasi-240Hz technology does a good job reducing motion blur. Sharp Aquos LC-C5277UN, S1500: This 52-inch 1080p Aquos LCD TV from Sharp delivers excellent picture quality at a surprisingly low price for a major brand, thouqti it has a narrower viewing angle and sound quality wasn't as good as on many other sets this size. Also, we found its 120H2 technology provided little improvement over standard 60Hz sets. It has five HDMI inputs, the most we've seen.

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Brand Repair History
TVs. LCD fewer Mure Flat panel TVs have been extremely reliable, althouqh it's w o r t h noting that I h e vast majority of purchases vZ&re recent. That's what we f o u n d w h e n we analyzed over 168,000 reader experiences with flat panel TVs bought between 2 0 0 5 and 2 0 0 8 , The graph shows the percentage of brands that needed a repair or had a serious problem. Differences of less than 3 points aren't meaningful, a n d we've adjusted t h e data t o eliminate differences linked solely to age of the TV. Models w i t h i n a brand mav vary, and design o r manufacture ctianges may affect future reliabititv- Still, choosing a brand with a good repair history can improve your odds of getting a reliable modet. Source: Annual Product Reliability Survey. Consumer Reports National Research Center.

Mitsubishi

TVs.

PLASMA

279

TVs, Plasma
Plasma TVs are well worth consideration, especially in 50-Inch and larger sizes, wher. they offer a strong alternative to LCD sets. In fact, when you factor in their unlimited viewing angle and the generally superior hlack level and shadow detail of the betti models, plus their ability to handle fast motion with virtually no visible blurring plasma displays oflcr meaningful advantages over LCDs. The plasma TVs we tested did very well, as you can see from the excellent and ver\ good picture quality scores on the chart. Given the overall high quality, it's hard to g^ too tar wrong with any of the TVs in the Ratings.
Brand S model Price Overall score Test results 2: ¿r
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IO D G IVGI E 42 TO 46-INCH (Panasonic Viera TCP42S1 Panasonic Viera rcMöSi Panasonic Viera TC-P42G10 Panasonic Viera T[P46Gl'i Panasonic Viera TC-P42X1 LG 42PO3O MODELS ,, , „ , , *^''^^ , .,,, ' ^

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B U Y I N G

G U I D E 2 0 1 0

Brand & model

Price

Overall score

Test results

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50

54-INCH AND LARGER MODELS

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Samsung PN5SB650 Panasonk Viera ÎC-P54V10 Samsung PN58B850 Panasonic Vier<i TC-P54S1 Panasonic Viera
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Ratings Key #£M:ellent Qverygood OGood ^ F a l r • P o o r Q 0 CR Best Buy Ttiesemodelsoffer the tresl combination of peftormance and pnce. All are recommended. Recommended These are tiign-per(o/ming models that stand out.

Select Ratinqs Overview

TVs, Plasma
42- to 46'inch models: Panasonic Viera TC-P42S1, $1.100: This 42-inch 1080(3 plasma from Panasonic offers excellent picture-quality performance at a fairly low price for a major brand. Part of the Sl-sertes that replaced the old PZ80 models, these are Panasonic's entry-level mainstream lOBOp sets, which claim improved brightness, contrast, and energy efficiency thanks to the new Neo PDP panels. Panasonic Viera TC-P46S1, 51,400: This 46-inch lOBOp plasma-from Panasonic's SI

series, which replaced last year's PX80/PZ80 models-offers excellent overall HD picture quality and image detail. The 46-incti size, unusual for a plasma TV, is designed to compete with 46- and 47-inch LCDs. Panasonic Viera TC-P42G10, $1,150: This 42-inch 1080p Panasonic plasma, part of the step-up GIQ series that replaced Z85/PZ800 sets, has excellent picture quality across the board and many features, it is one of the new Internet-enabled TVs, It's also a THXcertified model with a THX mode preset mode optimized for movie viewing, and has an SD

TVs,

PLASMA

Seiect Ratings Overview
c^rd reader that can play high-def video files. Sound, however, was only fair, so you may wanl to consider an external sound system. Panasonic Viera TC-P46C15, $1.400: This 46-inch TOBOp pfasma from Panasonic, part of fhe step-up G)5 series sold through regional dealers and A/V specially stores, is a top-notch performer in another screen size unique to Panasonic. It delivers excellent picture guality and lots of features-including THX certification and the company's Viera Cast Internet service-but only fair sound,, so consider pairing it with an external sound system. It also has an SD card slot, and can play high-def AVCHD video files. Panasonic Viera TC-P42X1, $750: This 72Op (1024x768) Panasonic plasma, part ot the company's entry-level Xl series (which repiaced the PXBO-series sets) offers very good overall picture quality at a fairly low price for a maior brand. LG 4ZPQ30. S700: This 42-inch 720p 11024x768] LG plasma is well-priced, and delivers very good overall picture quaiity. Features include a sensor that adjusts the TV's brightness to room conditions. 50-Inch models: Samsunq PN50B650, $1,700: This 50inch 1080p plasma set from Samsung, like its 58-inch sibling. Is a top-notch perlormer, amcmq Ihe best TVs we've tested, and a CR Best Buy. It offers excellent picture quality, with a great menu system and remote. It is one of the new Internet-enabled TVs with various data services, such as Samsung's Medi^a.O Internet service, which uses Vahoo widgets to access Internet content. Santsunq PN5OB850. $2,200: Like its 58-inch sibling, this flagship 50-inch lOSOp plasma sel from Samsung is a top-notch performer with excellent picture quality, thoui. you pay a premium for its ultraslim design. It is one of the new Internet-enabled TVs wi' various data services. Like the more conven tionallv designed but lower-priced 650-seri> sets, it has the witJqet-based Medi#2.0 I n t f net service l o access Internet content. Unlih. the 5a-inch B850 set, which had among the worst sound of any TV we've tested, sound '• this model was good, if not inspiring. Panasonic Viera TC-PS0G10, $1,800: This 5( inch lOBOp plasma from Panasonic, part of the step-up GlO-series that replaced Z85/PZ8L • sets, is a top-notch performer with some extra features. For example, it has Panasonn Viera Cast IPTV service, which now includes Amazon Video On Demand, plus an SD card reader that can play high-def video flies. Panasonic Viera TC-P50X1, Sl,050: This 50-inch Panasonic plasma, a 720p (1366x76. set, is the part of the company's mainstream entry-tevel XI series that replaced the PX80 series sets. This set delivers excellent overa' picture quality at a low price for a major bran Since its sound guality is below tha't of mos! other sets, you might consider pairing it witt: an external sound system. Panasonic Vfera TC-P50C1, S990: This 50-inch 720 plasma from Panasonic's entrylevel Cl series delivers exceiient picture quality at a fairly low price for a major brand, though its brightness was dimmer than most making It best-suited for a darker room, Sound is only fair, so you might consider an external sound system. It has two HDMI inputs, fewer than most sets this size, 54-inch and larger models: Samsunq PN58B650, S2,7OO: This 58mcti 1080p plasma set from Samsung is a topnotch performer, among the best TVs we've tested. It offers excellent picture quality, a

f

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Select Ratings Overview
great menu system and remote, and it includes Samsung's Medii§i2.0 Internet service, which uses Yahoo widgets to access Internet content, Panasonic Viera TC-P54V10, $2,300: This 54-inch ioaop Panasonic piasma-a screen size unique to the brand-is a top-notch performer with excellent picture quality, despite a minor quibtjle. It's a pricier, flagship model (that replaced the old PZ850 series) with extra features, such as THX certification, access to the Viera Cast online service, and an SD card slot with the ability to play highdef AVCHO video files. Samsunq PN58B850, S3,400: This ultraslim i1.5-inch deep) flagship 58-inch 1080p plasma set trom Samsung is a top-notch performer with excellent picture guaiity, though you pay a premium for its design. Like its 650-series sibling it has the widget-based Medi@2.0 Internet service to access Internet content. But ils sound was among the worst in our Ratings-we'd recommend pairinq it with an external sound system that can do juslice to its excellent images. PanBsonk Viere TC-P54CtO, $1,900: This 54-inch I080p plasma from Panasonic-a size unique to the company-delivers excellent picture quality at a competitive price, though like its Si-series brandmate, has below-average sound. The set is psrt of a step-up G1O series, which has THX certification and the company's Viera Cast Internet service. It also has an SO card slot with AVCHO video playback. A CR Best Buy.

Brand Repair History
TVs, Plasma fewer jepaiR ^ More Flat panel TVs have been extremely reliable, although it's worth noting that the vast majority of purchases were recent. That's what we found when we analyzed over 168,000 reader experiences with fiat panel TVs bouqht between 2005 and 2008, The graph shov^is the percentage of brands that needed a repair or had a serious problem. Differences of less than 3 points aren't meaningful, and we've adjusted the data to eliminate differences linked solely to age ot the TV. Models within a brand may vary, and design or manufacture changes may affect future reliability. Still, choosing a brand with a good repair history can improve your odds of getting a reliable model. Source: Annual PfotJuct Reliability Survey, Consumer Reports National Reseafcti Center,

Panasonic H g Pioneer M g HlldCtli I ^ ^ B SaiTKungMH^B

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10%

15%

VACUUM

CLEANERS

VACUUM CLEANERS
New designs and features are producing increasingly high-tech vacuums, but high•, feature-laden machines don't necessarily clean better. Below are select ratings
Brand & model Prke Owerall score Testresuits

il " ^
D 100 P I F I GiVGl E UPRIGHTS Hoover WincITunnel Annive5(ii-V Edition UÓ485-90O
n IIK5DCI00

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Hoover wiiiöruiinel A E I l t 1-900 Kenmore Progressive
36932 PpogrMsiwj6W3

• ••

Eureka 8oss Smart Vac Hoover WindTunnel Aiinivprs3iy Edition Bagiess U5786'900
WiralliKinfl JiDnlmiWfY Fdllton B.lglMSUH4006i.Win(IlUtinel l

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Eureha Comfort Clean OtiM?î5|| Dfrt Devil Fiîatherlite BaEiessM0S5845 (Target) ai5sell Momentiim 82G7I
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See report, page 72. Ratings Key ©Ficellent ©Very good OGood ÔFair • P o o r D CR Best Buy These models offer the best egmt3ination of performance and price. All are recommended. bd Recomntended Tícese are iiigh-performing models tuat stand out.

264

C O N S U M E R Brand & mo(tel
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R E P O R T S Price

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2 0 1 0

Overall score

Test results
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Hoover WimlTunnel S3670 Hoover windTunnel Bagless S3765-040
WM'uiinel teHlW S37S5 -1 Self-|iropelled. '£ D o e not accept tools.

2 2

Guide to the Ratings
Overall score is based mainly on cleaning performance and ease of use. The displayed score Is out of a total of 100 points. Carpet shows how much embedded talc and sand a vacuum cleaner lifted from a medium-pile carpet. Bare floors indicates how well a vacuum cleaner picked up sand without dispersing it on bare floors. Tool airflow indicates the strength of airflow through the hose. Notee is based on measurements in decibels. Emissions is a measurement of the quantity ol small particles that are released under two conditions: first, only when the motor is turned on, and second, while vacuuming. Handling reflects how easy it is to push, pull, and carry a vacuum. P«t half reflects how well a vacuum picks up pet hair from medium-pile carpet.

Select Ratings Overview
Best upriqhts for most: The Hoover WindTunnet Anniversary Edition U64e5-900, $230, is a very good upright vacuum that excelled at clearing both carpets and bare floors and had excellent airflow for cleaning with tools. It also was excellent at keeping its emissions low, though It was fairly noisy. Hoover, however, has been among the less reliable brands of upright vacuums. The Kenmore Progressive 3S922, $350. a CR Best BuVi is a very good upright vacuum that excelled at cleaning bare floors and picking up pet hair. It was also excellent at keeping its emissions low. The Kenmore Progressive 36932, $350, also a CR Best Buy, is a very good upright vacuum that excelled at cleaning bare floors and picking up pet hair. It was also excellent at keeping its emissions low. The Eureka Boss SmartVac 4870, $170, a CR 8est Buy, is a very good upright vacuum that excelled at cleaning bare floors and picking up pet hair, it was also excellent at keeping its emissions low. It was only fair in handling.

VACUUM

CLEANERS

26

Select Ratinqs Overview
Iiu- Hoover WindTunnel Anniversary Edition Bagiess U57e6-900, $160, is a very ijood uijfight vacuum that excelled at cleaning carpets and picking up pet hair. It was also excellent at keeping Its emissions low. Hoover, however, has been amonq the less retiatjie brands of upriqht vacuums, A CR Best Buy, the- Eureka Comfort Ciean OhI 4235, $140, is a very good upright vacuum designed so that the user should never need to bend to use any feature. It had excellent airflow for tools and excelled at keeping emissions low. For iess weight with some trade-offs: The Hoover Piatinum Bagçed UH30010COM, S400, is a very good upriqht vacimm that excelled at cleaning both carpets and bare floors. It aiso was excellent at picking up pet hair. While Hoover has been among the less reliable brands of upright vacuums, this modei is amonq newer designs from TTI Floor Care, which also makes Dirt Devil. The Hoover WindTunnel Anniversary Edition Baqged U5491-900, S14O, Is a very good upf iqhf vdcuum Ihat excelled at cleaning bofh carpets and bare floors. It also was excellent at picking up peí hair and keeping its emissions low. Hoover, however, has been amonq tfie less reliable brands ol upriqht yacuums. The Dirt Devil Featheriite Baqless M085e45 (Tarqet), S60, is a very good biisic upriqhl vacuum that excelled at cieanmg bare floors and picking up pef hair and keeping its emissions low. It was fairly noisy. The Bissen Momentum 82G71, $120, is a very good upright vacuum that excelled at keeping its emissions low. Best canisters for most: The Kenmore Intuition 26014, $600, is a ver good, though heavy, canister vacuum that excelled at cleaning bare floors, keeping its emissions Içw, and picking up pet hair. It alsr had excellent airflow for tools, A CR Best Buy, the Kttimore Progressive 27514, at $300, is a very qood canister vacuum whose strengths were chiefly ciean ing bare tioors, keeping its emissions tow. and picking up pet hair. Our anecdotal onlinr user reviews include model-specific durabilit. complaints that may not show up in our tests or surveys. A numbei of those reviews noted such issues for this model, but our follow-up research revealed that those concerns did not track with our survey.;.. Another CR Best Buy, Ihe Hoover WindTunnel S3670, $300, is a very qood canistei vacuum that excelled at cleaning bare floors and keeping its emissions low. It was only faii for handling. The Hoover WindTunnel Bagiess S3765040, $250, atso a CR Best Buy, is a very qood canister vacuum that excelled at cleaning bare floors. It also had excellent airflow for tools. Our anecdotal online user reviews Include model-specific durability complaints that may not show up in our tests or surveys. A number of those reviews noted such issues for this model, but our follow-up research revealed thai those concerns did not track with our surveys.

266

C O N S U M E R

R E P O R T S

B U Y I N G

G U I D E 2 0 1 0

Brand Repair History
Vacuums, canister
Fewer repaie

Vacuums, upright
More

Rainbow

20% Rainbow a n d Dyson have been a m o n g the m o r e reliable brands of full-sized canister vacuums. Kirbv and Dyson have been a m o n g the more reliable brands of upright vacuums, Electrolux, Hoover and Simplicity among the less reliable. That's what we found w h e n we asked 156,000 readers w h o bought a vacuum between 2 0 0 4 a n d 2 0 0 8 about their experiences. The graph shows t h e percentage of brands that needed a repair or had a serious p r o b l e m . (Belt replacement isn't included because it's usually an inexpensive fix.) Differences of less t h a n 4 points aren't m e a n i n g f u l , a n d we've

0%

5%

m^

1S%

«Mb

adjusted the data to eliminate differences linked solely to age and use of the vacuum. Models within a brand may vary, and design or manufacture changes may affect future reliability. Still, choosing a brand with a good repair history can improve your odds of getting a reliable model, Source: Annual Product Reliability Survey, Consumer Reports Nalional Research Center.

WALL

OVENS

287

WALL OVENS
Electric wall ovens are another appliance where price can have little to do with performance. While the lop-scoring Thermador is pricey, several models cooked nearly as well tor hundreds tif.dollars less. Note that mosi wall ovens are available wilh stainless-steel trim {typically $100 to $3t)0 extra).
Brand&model
small Tvpf^ moiM

Overall score

Test results

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PÎ> ri'pori, Plage Ai. Ratings Key SExcellent ©Verv good OGood OFair • P o o r D CR Best Buy These models otter Ihe best combination ol performance and price. All are recommorHjed. l i i Recommended These are high-pertorming models thai stand out.

288

C O N S U M E R

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B U Y I N G

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Guide to the Ratings
Overall score reflects oven capacity and baking, broiling, and self-cleaning ability. (Selfcleaning ability ¡s not shown.) Ttie displayed score is out of a total of 100 points. Oven capacity is our measurement of usabte space. Bakinq reflects whether cahes and cookies tjai<ed on two racks were evenly browned. Brolllnq is based on even browning of a pan of burgers and hiqh-heat searing ability,

Select Ratings Overview
Top p«rforminq wall ovens: Till; Kenmore Elite 4 8 0 4 [ 3 ] , S2,100. and thp GE Profile PT925DN{eB], S2.300, have a slow-cook feature. Choose the Kenmore for its better tJaking and broiling, the GE for its dual ovens and its pizza setting: the GE's oven self-cíeanlnij-vías only fair. The Bosch HBL54[50IUC, $1,900. and the Kenmare Pro 4100[3], $2,000, offer well' rounded performance. Good wall ovens for less: Choose the GE JTP70SM(SS], $1,550, if you're willing lo givf up some bíiking evenness, the Frigidaire Gallery 6LEB30S9FIS], S1,400. ff you don't mind a bit less capacity.

Brand Repair History
Wall ovens Ttiermador, Jenn-Air, and Dacor have been among the most repair-prone brands of electric wall oven. That's what we found when we asKed almost 26,000 readers who bougtil an electric wall oven between 2003 and 2008 about their experiences. The graph shows the percentage of models (or each brand that were repaired or had a serious problem, Differences of less than 3 points aren't meaningful, and we've adjusted the data to elimínale differences linked solely lo the age of the electric wall oven. Although we lacked sufficient historical data to include Wolt in the chart, this brand has been repair-prone, according to our analysis. Similarly, Ihere appears to be little difference between gas and electric wall ovens, although we lacked enough data to analyze these differences by brand. Models within a brand can vary, and design or manufacture changes miqht affect future reliat]ility. Still, choosing a brand with a good repair history can Improve your odds of getting a reliable model. Source: Annual Product Relialjllity Survey, Consumer Reports National Researcn Centet.

G£ Kenmore Tfiqidaire Maytag Whirlpoo! KilchenAid Oacof Jenn-Ai[ Thermador 0% i% 10% 15% Z0% 25% 30%

WASHERS

289

WASHERS
Great washing isn't a given, especially in top-loaders, so check our washing-performance scores. Each improvement in energy-efliciency scares, from good to very g(M>d, for instance, cuts an average of $10 to $20 from your annual energy expenditllre^, More-efficient washers also extract more water from each load, shortening drying time, llie higher the capacity, the fewer loads you'll need to do. And the shorter the cycle time, the greater chance you can finish multiple loads in a day.
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290

C O N S U M E R

R E P O R T S

B U Y I N G

G U I D E 2 0 1 0

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WASHERS

291

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292

C O N S U M E R

R E P O R T S

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G U I D E

2 0 1 0

Brand & model modBis, m sïïiiili ••romparaùiew

Price

Overall score

Test results

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GEWhfDÍÍÍÍ418G[WWl (Home Depot) Kenmore (Sears) 400 Sef ies 294212] Estate ETW4400W(Oi GEWLSR22OOJ1WWI RoperRTW4440V[Cli Kenmore (Sears) 800 Series 2982(31 Whirlpool WTW57ESVÍW1 GEWWSË524O(^[WW1 Kenmore (Sears) 500 Series 2952Í21 Hotpoint VWSR4160G[WW) GEWHDSH1O9J(WW1 Frigidaire FWS1233F[Sj Whirlpool WTW53OOVIW] See report, page 4 6 . Ratings Key ©Dc«lient ©Very good OGood ©Fair • P o o r D 0 CR Best Buy These moüels aller the best combinalion ol performance and price. Alt are recommendeü. Recommended These are fitgh-performitig models that stand oui.

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WASHERS

29;

Guide to the Ratings
Overall score (or washers is based mainly on washing ability, efficiency, capacity, and noise. Ihe displayed score is out of a total of 100 points. Washini) performance reflects the degree ci color change to swatches of f3bric that were included in an S-pound and maximum capacity te' load of mixed cotlon items using the machines' most aggressive normal cycle. (We do rol use special cycle or option buttons.) Energy etticlency is based on the energy needed to heat the water for S-pound and maximum loads using a warm wash and cold rinse, the electricity needt' lo run the washer and energy needed for drying. Washers that extract more water are scored higher. Water elflclencv denotes how much water it took to wash our 8-pound load and each Fnachine's maximum load. On models that didn't set the IÍII level automatically, we used the lowest fill setting that sufficed tor the 8-pound load. We then calculated water used per pound QI clothing. For top-loaders, capacity is based on how well the washer agitates increasingly large loads. For front-loaders, the score is based on our judgment of the maximum-slïed load that the washer holds. Models that earned lower scores tor qentleness are more likely to treat vour clothes roughly, causing wear and tear. Noise refiects judgments by panelists during the fill, wash, and spin cycles. Vibration reflects usage on a suspended wooden floor. Cycle time {mtn.), rounded to the nearest five minutes, is the time it takes to complete the most aggressiv^ normal cycle with our 8-pound load. (We do not use special cycle or option buttons,)

Select Ratings Overview

Front^loading
For cleaninq ability and efficiency: GE WCVH6800J[WW], SSOO, CR Best Buy • Overall, this washer was excellent. • Washing performance is very good. • Energy efficiency is excellent. • Water efficiency is excellent. • Capacity is excellent. • Gentleness is very good. • Noise is very good. • Vibration is just good. • Has a cycle time of 70 minutes. • Comes with a ! year warranty. Friqidaire Gallery GLTF2940F(S], $650 • Overall, this washer was vDiy good. • Washing performance is very good. • Energy efficiency is excellent. • Water efficiency is very good. • Capacity is very good. • Gentleness is very good. • Noise is very good. • Vibration is ¡ust good. • Has a cycle time of 65 minutes. • Comes with a 1 year warranty. GE WBVH5300KÍWW], $700 • Overall, this washer was very good. • Washing performance is very good. • Energy efficiency is excellent. • Water efficiency is excellent. • Capacity is excellent. • Gentleness is very good. • Noise is very good. • Vibration is just good. • Has a cycle time of 69 minutes, • Comes with a 1 year warranty. For qentleness; LG WM2016CtWl, $800 • Overall, this washer was very good. • Washing performance is very good, • Energy efficiency is very good. • Water efficiency is exceilent. • Capacity is excellent. • Gentleness is excellent, • Noise is very good. • Vibration is just good. • Has a cycle time of 90 minutes. • Comes with a 1 year warranty.

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Select Ratings Overview
For budqet-friendiv prices: Amana NFW7200T[W], S600 • Overall, this washer was very good. • Washing performance Is very good. • Energy efficiency is very good. • Water efficiency is excellent. • Capacity is excellent, • Gentleness is very good. • Noise is very good. • Vibration is ¡ust fair. • Has a cycle time of 85 minutes, • Comes with a 1 year warranty.

Top-loading
For budqet-frlendly prices: GE WJRE5500G[WW], S480. CR Best Buy • Overall, this washer was very good, • Washing performance is very good. • Energy efficiency is just good. • Capacity is very good. • Gentleness is just good. • Noise ts ¡ust good. • vibration is excellent. • Has a cycle time of 45 minutes. • Comes with a 1 year warranty.

Brand Repair History
Washers
•PWPt

repairs

More repairs

Whirlpool i H I I H ^ m ! Frigidaire ^ • • H H I D ".enmore (Sears) ^ • ^ ^ • ¡ ^ B M ya L^ggjjuim atg
ù n r i tieclric ^ H ^ H ^ I ^ I F Fa Roper Frigidaire Kenmore (Sears) General Electnc Whirlpool Maytag Amana Fisher & Paykei 0%
FRONT-LOAD WASH£f!

1

'—

<i

Amana and Fisher & Paykei have been among the repair-prone top-loading brands. That's what we found when we asked over 100,000 readers who bought a washer between 20O4 and 2008 about their experiences. The graph shows the percentage of brands that needed a repair or had a serious problem. Differences of less than 4 points aren't meaningful, and we've adjusted the data to eliminate differences linked solely to age and use of the washer. Models within a brand may vary, and design or manufacture changes may affect future reliability. Still, choosing a brand with a good repair history can improve your odds of getting a reliable model.
Source: Annual Product Rellabilily Survey, Consumer Reports National Research Center.

.4 10%

15%

20%

TOP-IOAO WASHES

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