roundup: new OLED TV is above and beyond

For nearly 15 years, has tested thousands of products all to help consumers buy, use, and understand electronics, appliances, and now cars. This week we tested a whole bunch of sexy TVs and cameras, some yawn-inducing fridges and cooktops, and a luxury car.

Samsung KN55S9C Curved OLED TV Review

It’s finally here: The Samsung KN55S9C Curved OLED – one of two OLED TVs available in the U.S., the other being the LG 55EA9800. If you don’t know what OLED technology is, educate yourself. Then read our review of the Samsung S9, which is now the top-tested TV on

There’s no way around it, the S9 is expensive (MSRP $8,999.99). But still $6,000 less than LG’s competing OLED display. And it certainly performs above and beyond any other TV we’ve seen. Black levels are essentially perfect-that is, completely black, with no incidental light emission whatsoever. Equally impressive is the contrast, which doesn’t falter even in a brightly lit room, meaning the Battle of Hoth will look great even on a bright wintery afternoon. Finally, the design is impeccable. You may find yourself hypnotized by the demo photos before remembering you can watch actually TV on this sucker.

Nikon Coolpix A Digital Camera Review

If it were the only large-sensor compact on the market, we’d heartily recommend the Nikon Coolpix A (MSRP $1,099.95) for photographers who want excellent image quality in a pocketable camera. Unfortunately for Nikon, buyers have a lot of options these days, and the Coolpix A is outclassed. It’s a beautifully designed compact that takes gorgeous photos thanks to its 16-megapixel APS-C image sensor and 28mm f/2.8 lens. But it’s not nearly as flexible as a camera like the Ricoh GR, which is superior is virtually every way, and still somehow costs $300 less. We’d pick a handful of other cameras before this one-photographers who are willing to spend this much on a camera demand excellence these days.

2013 Lexus LS 460 AWD: Invisible Touches

The 2013 Lexus LS 460 is a study in piecemeal improvements over three decades of research and development. The attention to detail is everywhere, and the engineering top-notch. It’s true that the LS 460 has been surpassed by its competitors in a lot of key categories-including on-board tech, style, and plain old driving enjoyability-but it’s a well crafted machine that holds its own. Another caveat: price. The LS starts at $72,140, and can easily break $110,000 with options.

Kenmore 41152 Refrigerator Review

A straightforward side-by-side from a straightforward appliance brand, the Kenmore 41152 will keep your food cool, period. If you’re somewhat bored by the design, you should admire the price; it can be found for as low as $1,150. That investment will get you a fridge with consistent temperature performance and impressive efficiency to save you even more money in the long run. It doesn’t have a lot of nifty features, but the price and dependability should more than make up for that minor shortcoming.

Asus Taichi 21 Laptop Review

The Asus Taichi 21 is advertised as the world’s first dual-screen laptop/tablet hybrid. That may be, but when it comes to consumer tech, innovation is nothing without good execution, and the Taichi is poorly executed. It’s a solid performer, and slimly designed, but the touch response is inconsistent to the point of being infuriating. We were also disappointed by the battery life, as it lasted a little over 3 hours with basic web browsing and a half-lit screen. If you really like the idea of dropping $1,600 on a hybrid laptop-tablet combo, go ahead. But we weren’t too impressed.

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Copyright 2013

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