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HolidayBuyer's Guide

The best in gadgets this week

CNET Reviews Editor in Chief Lindsey Turrentine highlights the tech our editors loved this week. She also has an important question for you.

The best tech we reviewed this week is just that: the best. But these devices aren't without a few contradictions.

For example, Wayne Cunningham reviewed one of the most lovely-looking cars on the outside, the 2012 BMW 335i, which comes with a top-notch stereo and pleasing dashboard tech but a shockingly bland interior. Then Jessica Dolcourt took a hard look at T-Mobile's version of the Samsung Galaxy Note, which arrived at the carrier last Monday. The Note, we note (yeah, see what I did there? I'm sorry. Couldn't help it.), is a polarizing paradox of a phone that behaves, in many ways, like a tablet.

We like hybrid device. We approved of the phone when it came out earlier this year on AT&T's network, and we do now. The Note's 5.3 inch screen really does make media look lovely, and if you're the kind of smart phone fan who never really uses the phone part of the device, you should consider the Note for casual surfing and fiddling with images. All that said, this Android Ice Cream Sandwich-loaded device doesn't show the same upload speeds in our tests that the AT&T version does, so be careful in your carrier choice.

This week we also spent some time with a monitor that, at first, sounds a little boring. The Asus PA248Q does pretty much what a monitor should: it displays colors reliably accurately without hogging power, and it lets you fiddle with the tilt and angle of the screen to make it comfortable for intense work. It also throws in extras, like a number of USB 3.0 ports and some handy on-screen display features. But more importantly, it does all of this for less than $350--a deal compared to many similar monitors. The combo of good price and exceedingly solid performance earns the Asus PA248Q our prestigious Editors' Choice award. Believe me, that's no small feat.
Asus PA248Q
The Asus PA248Q wins our Editors' Choice award. Josh Miller/CNET

What does Editors' Choice mean?
Which leads me to an important discussion about the meaning of the Editors' Choice award. Here's what the EC means coming from a CNET editor right now: An Editors' Choice product is the best device within its class at the moment. It's the product we recommend you buy if you're going to make a practical decision today. Is it the best product ever made? Maybe, but not always.

In this case, the Asus PA248Q is your best budget choice, not the best monitor ever made or even the best on the market. That monitor, the freaking phenomenal HP DreamColor LP2480zx--reviewed way back in 2010--costs thousands of dollars and also earns an Editors' Choice. To this day, the HP DreamColor is the best monitor money can buy, though we don't give it a perfect five-star rating because we think it should cost less despite its excellence.

So what do you think? Do you think an Editors' Choice device should be the best product money can buy, bar none? Do you think that every Editors' Choice product should be perfection and rate five stars? Or do you think we should award even more Editors' Choice badgets to give you more high-quality options? Chime in in the comments. I'd love to hear your opinion.