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The highest-rated products of 2013 (pictures)

Of all the new wearable gadgets, smart light bulbs, TVs, decked-out cars, and other consumer electronics we reviewed this year, these are the ones that truly stood out.

Jennifer Guevin
Jennifer Guevin was a managing editor at CNET, overseeing the ever-helpful How To section, special packages and front-page programming. As a writer, she gravitated toward science, quirky geek culture stories, robots and food. In real life, she mostly just gravitates toward food.
Jennifer Guevin
1 of 32 Sarah Tew/CNET

Panasonic TC-P55ST60

We review hundreds of products each year. In CNET offices across the country, our expert editors spend countless hours testing everything from smart light bulbs and coffee makers to budget tablets and high-performance gaming laptops. Among all those products, we've found some real duds -- and some true gems. Here we've rounded up the consumer tech products that received the highest overall ratings and those that received our coveted Editors' Choice award in the past year.

We begin with the only TV to ever receive a perfect 5-star rating. This series of Panasonic plasmas -- with its deep black levels, accurate colors, and strong performance in less-than-perfect conditions -- won our strongest recommendation for a TV ever. There's just one problem: earlier this year Panasonic announced it's getting out of the plasma game. So if you want to take advantage of this great buy, you'll need to do it fast.
2 of 32 Sarah Tew/CNET

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro

We already loved the original Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga, with its clever fold-back laptop-turned-tablet design. But this year's model managed to do even better with an ultrahigh-res 13.3-inch display. Anyone looking for a thin, light laptop in the $1,000 price range would do well to consider the Yoga 2 Pro.
3 of 32 Sarah Tew/CNET

Monoprice 9774

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is: The Monoprice 9774 scored a CNET Editors' Choice by delivering nearly identical sound quality to our earlier favorite 5.1 speaker system, the Energy Take Classic, at an even lower price. But the product was "nearly identical" in more ways than one: it was pulled from the market after Klipsch (Energy's parent company) accused Monoprice of patent infringement. Monoprice returned later in the year with the similar 10565 speaker system, which was apparently different enough from the Energy to avoid a legal challenge.
4 of 32 Josh Miller/CNET

Google Nexus 7

Put simply, the Nexus 7 is the best small tablet you can buy. It has a gorgeous screen, excellent gaming performance, and since it's a Google-branded tablet, it'll always be first in line for the latest version of Android.
5 of 32 Sarah Tew/CNET

iPad Mini with Retina Display

It's amazing to think that, just a year ago, the iPad Mini was positioned as a smaller, cheaper, less powerful iPad. In the time since, the smaller iPad has become a true top-tier tablet, with a 2,048x1,526-pixel Retina Display that's exactly the same resolution as the larger iPad, and a far faster 64-bit A7 CPU that parallels what's in the iPhone 5S and iPad Air.
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Apple iPad Air

The iPad Air was the first significantly redesigned iPad to appear in years, and we liked what we saw.
7 of 32 Sarah Tew/CNET


As a company, HTC had a pretty tough 2013. But the HTC One was a bright spot in the Taiwanese manufacturer's year. When CNET editor Brian Bennett reviewed it earlier this year, he called it "the fastest, most beautiful phone [he'd] ever used."
8 of 32 Sarah Tew/CNET

Dell XPS 27

Desktop PCs don't get the same kind of attention as tablets, phones, and modern-style hybrid laptops. But manufacturers have made great strides in the desktop realm, and today's tabletop PCs are a fry cry from the old beige towers of yore. The Dell XPS 27 is well-built, easy to use, and can capably serve as the central hub for household computing, or as a one-stop entertainment device.
9 of 32 Josh Miller/CNET

Samsung Galaxy S4

Compared to the gorgeous HTC One and iPhone 5, the Samsung Galaxy S4 leaves something to be desired on the design front. But its blazing quad-core processor, colorful 5-inch HD screen, sharp-shooting 13-megapixel camera, and mile-high stack of software extras make the Galaxy S4 the most powerful superphone anywhere in the world. This phone has just about everything for just about everyone.
10 of 32 Sarah Tew/CNET

Motorola Droid Maxx

The battery life of Motorola's Droid Maxx isn't its only great feature, but it is the thing that sets it apart from an increasingly crowded market of well-built, nicely designed, high-performing smartphones.
11 of 32 Colin West McDonald/CNET

SimpliSafe Home Security

Our appliances team tested a lot of do-it-yourself home security kits. But none was quite so easy to install or comprehensive as this one.
12 of 32 Wayne Cunningham/CNET

2013 Audi S7

This year, Audi's already stupendous A7 got a higher output engine and sport modifications.
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2013 Audi S6 Quattro

Beneath the 2013 Audi S6's conservative styling you'll find gobs of performance and a sharp array of cabin technology.
14 of 32 Lindsey Turrentine/CNET

Nest Protect

It's hard to make a smoke detector cool. But Nest gave the ubiquitous old smoke alarm a tech makeover this year, including Wi-Fi connectivity and app support in its Protect smoke detector.
15 of 32 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x

16 of 32 Dong Ngo/CNET

Asus RT-AC68U router

You probably don't need a home networking device as advanced as the new Asus RT-AC68U Dual-band Wireless-AC1900 Gigabit Router, but you want it. And when you get it, you'll love it.
17 of 32 Dong Ngo/CNET

Synology DiskStation DS1513+

The five-bay Synology DiskStation DS1513+ would be overkill for many people. But it is an excellent storage system that could be a game-changer for consumers and small or medium-size businesses looking for a server upgrade.
18 of 32 Josh Miller/CNET

Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display

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2014 Mercedes S550

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Buffalo DriveStation DDR

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Pioneer SP-SB23W

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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II

24 of 32 Colin West McDonald / CNET

Bunn My Cafe MCU

25 of 32 Dong Ngo/CNET

Samsung LTE Mobile HotSpot Pro

26 of 32 Sarah Tew/CNET

Sonos Play:1

27 of 32 Sarah Tew/CNET

V-Moda Remix Remote in-ear headphones

28 of 32 Sarah Tew/CNET


It might seem ridiculous to some of us, but plenty of iPad owners do use their tablets to take pictures and shoot movie clips. If you're in that camp, the Padcaster case might be a worthy purchase.
29 of 32 Sarah Tew/CNET
30 of 32 Sarah Tew/CNET

Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 5020

31 of 32 Dong Ngo/CNET

Samsung 840 Evo

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Sony STR-DN840 AV receiver

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