The Best Home Theater and AV Gear

In the absence of the side-by-side benchmark comparisons when you find when shopping for computers, home theater gear can be particularly hard to get a handle on. Giz has your back.
The Best GadgetsBest Big Screen 3D HDTV
The Panasonic VT50 delivers unrivaled picture quality. Incredibly deep blacks stand up in bright rooms. The 96mHz refresh rate handles 1080P with minimal fast-motion blur and enough clarity to count the whiskers on Baumgarner's face in the post-game interview.

The Best GadgetsBest Budget TV
The well-loved Vizio's XVT3SV series is a cheapass's dream come true. Its matte screen especially drew high praise. (Dec 9, 2010)

The Best GadgetsBest Blu-ray Player
The LG BD570's key virtue is file compatiblity-you can use this thing pretty much like an HD media player, a full-fledged Apple TV killer. The PS3 still holds its own, though. (May 13, 2010)

The Best GadgetsBest Receiver
The Pioneer VSX-1020-K is controlled by your iPhone, and anyone who's slagged through their fair share of shitty AV receiver menus-whether on screen or on the receiver itself-knows what a boon it is to have a nice GUI in the palm of your hand. (Mar 4, 2010)
The Best GadgetsBest Game Console
The new Xbox 360 is smaller, has more ports, runs quieter and costs the same: $300. It has a 250GB hard drive and built-in 802.11n Wi-Fi. (Jun 14, 2010)

The Best GadgetsThe Best TV Streaming Box
Despite its ugly new interface, the Apple TV is still the best of its breed. But thanks to its newfound stellar video quality, it now straddles two categories-sure, it's the best streaming box, but it might actually give you a reason to avoid (or ditch) a Blu-ray player. (March 2012)

The Best GadgetsBest Affordable Amplifier
The Topping TP-30 is the best audiophile-worthy amplifier to be had for under $500.

The Best GadgetsBest All-in-One Home Entertainment
The home theater doesn't have to be a patchwork affair of gear you put together one layaway at a time. The LG LHB976 all-in-one does a downright enviable job, with solid speakers, a great user interface and an iPod dock.

The Best GadgetsBest MP3 Player
When Apple reshuffled the iPod lineup, the iPod Touch became something else. It's not the expensive, fancy iPod. Or the cheap, gimped iPhone anymore. It's the iPod.

The Best GadgetsBest iPod Dock
The Octiv 650 nails a near perfect harmony between sound quality, easiness, and price with a few unique features to boot. If speaker docks are unremarkable almost by definition, the Octiv 650 is a shooting star.

The Best GadgetsBest Speakers
Audioengine's been proving that you don't need to spend thousands of dollars on a good set of speakers for a while now. Their A5 speakers last year were our favorites, and the A5+s are a direct upgrade. They have an improved cabinet design, better thermal management, a remote control, and a bunch of other nice improvements.

The Best GadgetsThe Best Lightweight Portable Headphones
Every detail has been attended to on the Sennheiser PX 100-IIs. The headphones fold into a slim compact package. Their build is sturdy. Though the earphones are only lightly foamed, they're not the least bit irritating. The PX 100-II's deliver lovely, textured bass of the kind you'd expect from much more expensive headphones. But what's really impressive is that the PX 100-II sound full-bodied without losing a bit of detail from the music.

The Best GadgetsBest Headphones
We're finally recommending an official pick for cans, Bowers & Wilkins P5s—and they're a doozy. As our Joe Brown says, they are, in a word, "DOPE." (March 22, 2010)

The Best GadgetsBest Headphones for Running
Sennheiser PMX 680i Sports

The 680 Sports series from Sennheiser/Adidas simply give you the most boom for your buck, and by boom we mean bass. These pack some of the heaviest bass we've heard on earbuds, and they're loud, too.

The Best GadgetsBest Budget Headphones
With a closed-back, over-the-ear design, and a durable design that has some portability, the Sennheiser HD280 cans are the king of the budget earphone mountain. They're not the cheapest, or the smallest, or the best looking, but they strike the best balance between clarity and resolution and the ability to handle multiple genres of music old and new. (December, 2011)

The Best GadgetsBest Home Audio Streaming
We've added the dreamy Sonos system to our end of year list—read Brian's lifechanger-status writeup and you'll understand why. (Nov 26, 2010)

The Best GadgetsBest Portable Bluetooth Speaker
The Braven 625s is cheaper than the Jambox for basically identical sound quality, with better connectivity and battery life. Braven makes a less expensive, bare aluminum model 600-go for the 625s, but the rugged casing is worth it. More» (July 2012)


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