I've always loved "cost is no object" high-end audio gear, but I'm equally passionate about awesome sounding bargains. I try to review as many as I can, and my readers and friends are always on the lookout for outstanding gear. Here's a Top 10 list of great sounding audio bargains, and most are priced under $100!
When you listen to stereo speakers, you always hear both channels with your two ears. Headphones don't have that problem; the left channel is only heard by the left ear, and the right channel only by the right ear. That's why stereo sounds smaller over headphones, and of course it's all, or mostly, in your head.
And once the sound is there, the headphones' job is done, but with speakers you're always hearing the speakers' sound, plus the sound bouncing around the room. The closer you are to the speakers, the more direct sound you'll … Read more
The demand for dirt-cheap alternatives to the iPad 2 is undeniable. At the outset of the tablet wars, the majority of sub-$300 tablets being sold were pretty awful. Their bad screens and slow processors fundamentally crippled the entire tablet experience and had us begging for our laptops, or even a decent smartphone.
Fortunately, there's now an abundance of tablets that are both cheap and worthwhile. Sure, their screens are not as big as the iPad's or a 10-inch Honeycomb tablet, and their Internet connections may be limited to Wi-Fi. But through all their skimping, they still preserve the fundamentals of what a good tablet should deliver: Web, e-mail, and fun.
For some, a monitor is a monitor, and the lower the price, the better. As long as it pumps images from their PCs into their eyes at a reasonable quality, they're good. Thing is, there are cheap monitors and then there are cheap monitors.
And by cheap I mean "the last time I saw my power button was when it went flying past my face immediately after pressing it for the first time." Yes, this actually happened to me some years ago. I pressed the power button on an older monitor, only to have it pop off and nearly take out an eye on its way to some now forgotten crevice in CNET Labs.
Luckily, I've not had that experience with any monitor on this list. At least not yet. The list features the best monitors priced under $200.
The only criterion for the list is that each monitor has to be available from a major retailer for $199 or less. From there, the four best monitors I've reviewed were chosen.
Dig in.… Read more
The Kyros line of Android tablets from Coby encompasses a variety of screen sizes and configurations. They are relatively inexpensive but suffer from a number of hardware and software sacrifices compared to CNET's preferred list of Android tablets.
The tablet wars of 2011 were waged on two fronts. On one side you had well-funded heavyweights (HP, Samsung, RIM, Asus) assaulting the iPad with equally ambitious and expensive creations. On the other side you had budget-minded manufacturers trying desperately to create a viable, cheap tablet alternative.
The Velocity Micro Cruz series is the result of the latter warfront. In 2011, the company launched no less than six low-priced tablets, running the gamut from $119 resistive screen clunkers like the Cruz R100, all the way up to the $299 10-inch Cruz T410.
Whether marketed as e-book readers or Android tablets, … Read more
Audio gifts are always a great idea for anyone who likes music or home theater. Here's a quick round up of affordable goodies, priced from $100 or less!
Logitech Mini Boombox First thing, the "Boombox" name might be a little misleading; this tiny thing can't boom, but the Logitech Mini Boombox does sound better than I could have imagined for its size, and price, $100. I'm not of fan micro speakers, but this one ain't bad.
Budget tech is one of our favorite categories here at CNET, so that's why we're running not one, but two budget tech gift roundups this year.
My compadre John Falcone put together a list of the 10 best el-cheapo tech products out there with his Best tech gifts under $50 feature.
I get a little more wiggle room with a $99.99 budget, which is why this list should really be called "Best tech gifts between $50 and $100." But more people are looking on Google for "best tech gifts under $100," so we'… Read more
Gadgets make great gifts--for the recipients, at least. For the gift giver, however, tech products often mean a sizable bite out of the wallet. It's great to get an iPad--it's decidedly less enticing to pay for one.
Thankfully, there are some great tech gifts you can buy at far more reasonable prices--less than $50, to be precise.
We've scoured the Internet to find 10 worthy gifts that will cost you less than a Ulysses S. Grant. The list includes MP3 players, headphones, one great game for each major game console, and--our current favorite video streamer--the Roku LT (pictured above).
Got a favorite bargain gift that we skipped over? Let us know your suggestion in the comments.
Here's a little secret: an LED TV is just an LCD TV with a fancy backlight.
While it usually provides a thinner design and improved energy efficiency, an LED backlight doesn't necessarily provide better picture quality. In fact, sometimes LED TVs perform worse than their non-LED cousins. But they never cost less.
With those facts in mind, here's a quintet of budget-friendly, LED-free TVs ranked in descending order of overall CNET rating. In other words, we like the ones at the top best.… Read more