Prius' new kingpin, 3D printers impress CNET reviewers

We review thousands of tech products. Every week, CNET Reviews Editor in Chief Lindsey Turrentine tells you which gear impresses us right now and why.

Last week, CNET reviewed some classic consumer technology: a smartphone, a camera, some speakers. This week, we ventured into less-traveled tech territory and unearthed some gems.

The best Prius of them all
Let's start with a car. The drivers behind CNET Car Tech have been working their way through the new, expanded 2012 Prius lineup, reviewing the smaller Prius C and larger Prius V. This week, they returned to the flagship Prius, not too radically different since the last major model overhaul in 2010, and explained in their four-star Prius review that there's no Prius like the old Prius.

The intrepid Antuan Goodwin tried to bust Toyota's mileage claims by driving the Prius like a bat out of hell, but ended up proving only that Prius is still the MPG king. (Seriously, read the review. Highly entertaining.) That -- and some improved cabin tech -- is why we awarded the 2012 Prius our CNET Editors' Choice award.

Print your own whatever, whenever
OK, the Prius is great and all, but we all know cars. Cars have been around forever. Whatever. Let's talk about blow-your-mind cool new technology: 3D home printers. More specifically, let's talk about the Internet's first-ever rated review of the MakerBot Replicator.

The MakerBot Replicator gets our first-ever rated review of a 3D printer. Sarah Tew/CBS Interactive

Remember back at CES 2012, when a whole flight of reasonably priced 3D printers were announced? (OK, $2,000 isn't cheap, but it's about as much as a really high-end laptop.) We got really excited because for the first time, inventors and hobbyists -- or even bored tinkerers who just feel like making their own toys -- could prototype new objects at home. Senior Editor Rich Brown even built our own printer from a kit and printed some test objects .

This week, we got our hands on a major player in this space: The MakerBot Replicator, and we reviewed it, and we loved it. We figure it'll be a while before you can afford to actually buy and use one of these puppies, but we still love this thing, and we think you should pay attention to 3D printing. It's not going away, especially given some cheaper entrants into the space, including this sub-$500 Solidoodle 3D printer. (We know: "Solidoodle" could use a naming consultant.)

Of course, we found other, more traditional, devices to love this week, too. Roku's new HD model caught our attention, plus some headphones. Find out more in our full slideshow.

 

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