Tablets buying guide

In the market for a tablet? Your first choice should be the iPad Air. It has the best overall performance, the deepest software catalog, and a fantastic ecosystem supporting access to an incredible number of apps, games, music, and video. However, if you like the idea of a high-performing tablet, but you're not one for adding more cash to Apple's already substantial coffers, the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 might be up your alley. With its incredibly high-resolution screen, fast Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, Amazon's robust ecosystem and huge catalog of movies and TV shows, it … Read more

The Audiophiliac's favorite budget headphones

Great-sounding headphones have never been more affordable. Even the least expensive headphone model on this list, the Panasonic RP HJE 355 in-ear, has oodles of detail and decent bass punch. For me the most important thing when evaluating headphones is sound balance; no frequency range should call attention to itself, so I don't like overly bassy headphones, or ones that overemphasize treble. Headphones should sound clear, not muffled or fuzzy. I prefer spacious stereo imaging over sound that's stuck inside my head. Headphones that allow music's soft-to-loud dynamics to bloom are better than ones that constrict dynamics. … Read more

Get prepared for Windows 8

Thursday's CNET Update prepares for a new era:

Windows 8 arrives at 12:01 a.m. local time Friday -- are you ready? CNET has everything you need to prepare for the new system, including a buying guide, as well as tips and tricks to navigating the new interface.

Microsoft's Surface RT tablet also arrives Friday, but Surface is just the start of a new line of devices from Microsoft. CEO Steve Ballmer has said Microsoft will build more devices under its name. So maybe we'll see a Surface Mini someday, or even a Microsoft Phone.

Google … Read more

What you need to know about Windows 8

Friday's CNET Update is charmed:

Brace yourselves: Windows 8 is coming. Today's tech news roundup goes over the new Windows operating system, available Friday Oct. 26. Be sure to read up on CNET's complete guide to using Windows 8 before upgrading. And if you are in the market for one of the many Windows 8 computers, don't get tripped up by the different versions of Windows 8. Just remember: Anything with "Windows RT" will not run your older Windows software. The Windows RT version of the Surface tablet is already facing shipping delays. However, … Read more

Hybrids vs. convertibles: CNET's field guide to Windows 8 hardware

Coming soon, a veritable evolutionary explosion of Windows 8 devices will be bearing down on you. Big small, tablety, not tablety, full of touch, and ready to fold into strange shapes for your general amusement.

Welcome to the Windows 8 Field Guide, an Audubon's Birds-style attempt to help you identify the classifications and subphyla of this odd new computing world. It's not as hard as you think, once you break down the various common types. Be forewarned: these classifications are works in progress, and there could very well be more evolutionary variants coming soon. But, hopefully, this should help classify some of the multipurpose strangeness you're already starting to see on preorder pages.

Of course, you still have laptops, desktops, and tablets. Some of these tablets will have one of two operating systems: Windows 8 or Windows RT.

After that, the classifications get a little more diffused.… Read more

Desktop buying guide

Desktop starter kit Want to skip all the details and research and just buy a great desktop? Dell's high-end XPS One 27 has the largest screen resolution of any Windows 8 all-in-one PC. For gamers, check out the small-yet-powerful Origin Chronos. I can also recommend Apple's new Mac Mini to those looking to spend under $1,000.

See CNET's full list of best desktop PCs

Who still wants a desktop PC? Despite the recent shift to mobile computing, many PC old-schoolers, gamers, and professionals remain loyal to the desktop platform due to familiarity, performance and/or feature … Read more

TV buying guide

Shopping for a new television can be an overwhelming experience. Confusion plagues even the most careful shoppers, and TV manufacturers, retailers, salespeople and numerous Internet sources can create more uncertainty as they push extra features, new technologies, and add-ons in the incessant pursuit of profit.

I hope that this guide, which I created in 2002 and have updated many times since, will help you cut through the confusion with unbiased information so that you can select a new television. It won't answer every question, and when you read it, it won't tell you "the perfect TV for … Read more

Digital camera buying guide

For many people, buying a camera isn't an easy thing to do. It's not really a one-model-fits-all kind of product, so there's not just a single camera you can point to and say, "Buy this!"

In fact, it's the opposite; with such a range of types, sizes, features, and prices, unless you know your exact needs, you could very well end up disappointed with your purchase. And that's what this guide is all about: Helping you make the best camera purchase for your needs and budget.

For people who just want some good … Read more

Printer buying guide

Choosing the right printer can be a daunting task. There are several types of printing technologies to choose from, each suited for different needs. Printers come in all shapes and sizes, from tiny travel companions to work group workhorses; some are geared toward photographers, others are for multitaskers. And the many specifications for resolution and speed can be misleading. As a loose rule of thumb, inkjet printers like the HP Photosmart 7510 and the Canon Pixma MG3220 are a must for vibrant colors and long-lasting photos, whereas Canon's ImageClass MF3010 and similar laser printers are best at producing speedy … Read more

Finding flaws in the iPhone 5

Monday's CNET Update is a bit scratchy:

Apple sold more than 5 million iPhone 5 units as of the first weekend. That's a million more than the launch of the iPhone 4S. But looks like Apple could have sold many more if there was enough supply. Several retail stores in major cities had only 8 or 10, according to reports, and didn't get enough to fulfill preorders.

When you have millions of people around the world racing to be the first to have one, there are high standards. So there's been quite a bit of press … Read more