Around $200 is the current sweet spot for an ultracompact digital camera, but with Sony's wide-angle 5x zoom lens, large LCD, and very good feature set, it's worth going the extra $30 to $50 to pick up the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W290.
The capability of a TV to reproduce a dark shade of black is the No. 1 criteria for awarding a good picture quality score here at CNET. Panasonic's newest line of entry-level plasmas, which includes the Panasonic TC-P50X1, reproduces superb blacks and excellent shadow detail as well as more expensive HDTVs while costing a relative pittance.
The Plantronics Voyager Pro might not look like much, but it has the best sound quality of any Bluetooth headset we've tried--and when it comes to headsets, quality matters. Cheap headsets will fall apart quickly and lead to frustration, but a well-thought-out unit will last years.
The good-old iPod Nano, while not as fancy as the iPod Touch or other high-end portable video players, is also not as fragile or expensive. Plus, the Nano does an impressive array of things such as video rental, podcasts, and audiobooks--all hard to find in lower-cost alternatives.
If you're pinching pennies but want to rework your home entertainment system, consider a media-focused PC. Sony's Vaio LV250B is our favorite large-screen, all-in-one PC for home entertainment. Loaded with unique features geared toward digital media convenience, this system will meet the needs of anyone looking for a PC to use as an entertainment hub.
While it's more expensive than its sub-$600 competitors, the Canon Vixia HF200 camcorder delivers a broad manual feature set unusual in a camcorder its size, plus excellent video quality, and an attractive, functional design. (The HF200, which lacks internal memory, is probably a better buy than the closely related HF20.)
In the hotly contested single-speaker audio category, the Sony HT-CT100 home theater system is a standout. The two-part (speaker plus subwoofer) 3.1-channel system is one of the smallest soundbar speakers we've tested to date. Best of all, it costs just $300, and--considering that modest price tag--it sounds great.
The Energy Take Classic is an incredible-sounding 5.1 speaker system that provides for an unmatched listening experience at around $600--a third as much as other all-in-one home theaters with the same super sound quality.
The Dell G2410 flat-panel monitor won't win any beauty contests with its plain design, and it lacks both ergonomic features and an HDMI connection, but it makes up for these shortcomings with great performance in movies and by offering energy options that let you track and control your energy footprint.