Time to Trade Up? ShopSmart Highlights the Latest Advances in Appliances and Electronics

Jun 07, 2010, 18:00 ET from ShopSmart Magazine

Cool New Product Features to Make Your Life Easier - and More Fun

YONKERS, N.Y., June 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- It's not always easy to part with a trusty old computer or fridge, but the latest innovations in home products offer plenty of reasons to consider an upgrade. A new guide in the July 2010 issue of ShopSmart, from the publisher of Consumer Reports, shares the latest and greatest developments in appliances and electronics to help consumers decide if trading up is worth the money.

"Appliances are getting faster, smarter, and more energy efficient," said Lisa Lee Freeman, editor-in- chief of ShopSmart. "So ShopSmart has put together a lineup of the most recent improvements in all major categories of home products along with the latest brand data, to ensure that readers know which products are reliable—and which they should avoid. Best of all, many upscale features are now available on lower-priced models. "

ShopSmart's "Time To Trade Up!" features new developments across 12 categories of appliances and electronic gadgets, which brands needed the fewest (and the most) repairs, the latest brand data based on surveys of more than a million readers, the magazine's picks for the best products in each category, as well as a sneak peek into the next generation of gadgets. Below is a sampling of some of ShopSmart's advice.

What's New in Appliances

RANGES

  • More double ovens: Ovens are being made big enough for turkeys, roasts, and multiple dishes with the added bonus of an additional oven designed for single frozen entrees, pizza, or a batch of brownies.
  • Steam-cleaning cycles: They're best for spot-cleaning right after you cook so that you don't have to run the longer self-cleaning cycle. But you'll still have to wipe up the spill.
  • Griddle pans: A griddle spanning two burners or an oval burner is ideal for making batches of pancakes, eggs, paninis, or grilled-cheese sandwiches.
  • Convection for less: Ovens with convection help reduce roasting time, and instead of the usual $1,200 and up, you can now find the feature on ranges for $800 to $900, such as the Kenmore 9745 and Amana AER6011VA.

MICROWAVE OVENS

  • More shortcut keys:  Besides old standbys like popcorn and pizza, there are now some models with over 100 automatic options.
  • Oven capabilities: Some units combine the browning and baking abilities of a convection oven with the speed of a microwave. GE's Advantium, about $750, uses microwaves and high-powered lights to bake, broil, grill, and brown like a conventional oven, but in about a quarter of the time.

CLOTHES WASHERS AND DRYERS

  • Bigger capacity: Some new washers are now big enough to hold hefty 18-pound-and-up laundry loads and bulky comforters—they haven't gotten wider, just a couple of inches deeper.
  • Energy-saving cycles: These cycles have gotten shorter and use less energy than regular cycles.
  • Smarter detergent dispensers: These hold six months' worth of detergent and figure out how much you need, based on the load size, water level and hardness, and even the kind of fabric. A ShopSmart top pick is GE's Profile steam washer WPDH8900J, $1,000.

What's New in Electronics

TVS

  • 3D: The quality is movie-theater impressive. Watch for 3D programs on ESPN and other channels and 3D movies on Blu-ray discs.
  • Internet connectivity: You can get streaming video from Netflix and others; photo albums from Flickr and Picasa; and access to YouTube, Twitter, and Skype.
  • Energy-saving features: Look for LED backlighting on LCD sets, motion sensors that shut off power in an empty room, and new Energy Star 4.0 certifications that meet stricter government guidelines.
  • Better LCDs: Many sets now have 120Hz or 240Hz frame rates, which reduce motion blur in fast-action scenes. We like the Samsung LN46C630, a 46-inch, 120Hz LCD, $1,000.

CAMERAS

  • Digital SLRs that shoot high-def video: Don't juggle a camera and camcorder; take both photos and video with an SLR, using a telephoto or wide-angle lens.
  • Slim SLRs: The new SLR/point-and-shoot hybrids give you advanced features in a compact camera.
  • Super-tough shells: Some of the newest cameras are waterproof, dropproof, freezeproof, and shockproof. ShopSmart's top rated is the Canon's PowerShot D10, $400.

PHONES

  • 4G technology: This high-speed network makes it possible to send high-def photos and videos.
  • Touch screens: Many new phones can be operated with the pinch, poke, or swipe of your finger.
  • Improved GPS: Phones with higher resolution, larger screens—up to 4.3 inches—and improved maps and features might make separate GPS devices a thing of the past.
  • Built-in Wi-Fi hot spots: Use phones like Verizon's Palm Pre Plus, $30, and Pixi Plus, $30, to create portable wireless Internet hot spots for your laptop.
  • More iPhone-like models: Android phones are now offered by all major carriers. The HTC Droid Incredible, $200, even has a larger display and a higher-megapixel camera than the iPhone.

About ShopSmart magazine:

Launched in Fall 2006 by Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, ShopSmart draws upon Consumer  Reports'  celebrated  tradition  of  accepting  no  advertisements  and  providing  unbiased  product reviews. The magazine features product reviews, shopping tips on how to get the most out of products and "best of the best" lists. ShopSmart is ideal for busy shoppers who place a premium on time. ShopSmart has a newsstand price of $4.99 and is available nationwide at major retailers including Barnes & Noble, Wal-Mart, Borders, Kroger, Safeway and Publix. ShopSmart is available by subscription at www.shopsmartmag.org.

ShopSmart is now available 10 times a year. Subscribe at www.ShopSmartmag.org

SOURCE ShopSmart Magazine



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