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So you've been saving to buy a big-ticket surprise for a special someone (or — shhh — for yourself). To help you find cool stuff that's worth the cash, we teamed with Consumer Reports to create a holiday dream list that includes the best computers, cameras — even cars — for your money.


Courtesy Subaru


Subaru Forester 2.5XT Limited (About $29,500, well-equipped)

The top-rated Forester offers the most comfortable ride of any small SUV, has excellent crash-test scores, and gets about 21 mpg. (And yes, the roof is big enough for one of those giant red gift bows.)

Runner-up: The zippy Ford Fusion Hybrid (about $31,000, well-equipped) ranks among the best family sedans, with superb handling, an excellent safety record and a fuel-friendly 34 mpg.

Go to page 2 for our best e-reader and best laptop/tablet picks.



Courtesy Amazon

Amazon Kindle ($189)

Ready to read Shakespeare on a screen? The latest Amazon Kindle has crisp text, simple controls, and easy-to-follow e-book buying instructions. It'll even read to you: The Kindle has a text-to-speech feature for the sight impaired.




Courtesy Toshiba

Toshiba Satellite A665-S6070 ($1,020)

With its 640GB hard drive and warp speed Intel Core i7 processor, this laptop packs big power in a small space.

Runner-up: Apple's iPad ($500 to $800) combines the features of a laptop with an e-reader and mobile device — in one lightweight package.

Go to page 3 for our best digital camera and best high-def camcorder picks.

Digital Camera


Courtesy Canon


Canon EOS Rebel T2i ($900)

Now that Kodachrome is no longer being manufactured, all of you 35 mm holdouts ought to spring for a digital camera. This one accommo ­dates a wide assortment of lenses — zoom, telephoto, and wide angle — and even takes high-definition video.

Runner-up: For the point-and-shooters among us, Nikon's Coolpix P100 ($400) has a long zoom and very good image quality.


High-Def Camcorder


Courtesy JVC


JVC Everio GZ-HM550 ($800)

You'll capture every eyelash with this supersharp high-definition video camera, even in low-light conditions. It comes with 32 GBs of internal flash memory for nearly 15 hours of video. You can add more time with an optional memory card — but please, spare your friends all that footage of your family reunion.

Runner-up: Canon's FS31 ($350) camcorder doesn't do high-def, though it's lightweight and has excellent image stabilization for the price.

Go to page 4 for our best coffeemaker and best blender picks.



Courtesy Cuisinart

Cuisinart Brew Central DCC-1200 ($80)

Coffee snobs, this fully programmable machine is just for you: It tested the highest out of 36 coffeemakers in its ability to reach the exact temperature needed to extract the most flavor from coffee.

Runner-up: Barista wannabes may prefer the easy-to-clean Emerson CCM901 ($90) — it makes consistently high-quality coffee and espresso.




Courtesy Vita-Mix


Vita-Mix 5200 ($450)

Reclaim some kitchen counter space with this blender that can double as a food processor. The Vita-Mix crushes ice, purees vegetables, and blends smoothies. Plus, it makes ice cream, heats soup, and pulverizes nuts, seeds, or rice in seconds.

Runner-up: For a blender that simply blends, the Oster BCBG08 ($40) is an exceptional basic model with eight speeds and 450 watts of ice-crushing power.

Go to page 5 for our best bike and best treadmill picks.



Courtesy Fuji


Fuji Absolute 3.0 ($480)

Lightweight with easy handling and shifting, this is the perfect hybrid fitness bike at a great price. The Fuji is also extra stable at higher downhill speeds (but wear a helmet anyway).

Runner-up: For about half the price the Schwinn Midmoor ($250) handles well and has good shock absorption for all those little bumps on the road to getting fit.




Courtesy PaceMaster


PaceMaster Platinum Pro VR ($2,200)

Whether you're a walker or a runner, this is one terrific treadmill: Easy to set up, it has a built-in heart-rate monitor and adjusts to a wide range of speeds. It's also superquiet and has not one but two cup holders plus a reading shelf.

Runner-up: For those who have tighter spaces (and budgets), the $1,000 Sole F63 folds for easy storage and accommodates a variety of fitness levels.

Go to page 6 for our best television and best elliptical trainer picks.



Courtesy Sony


Sony Bravia KDL-52NX800 ($2,450)

This 52-inch model earned the highest marks of any LCD TV for its overall picture quality and loads of additional features, including LED backlight, 240Hz technology, Wi-Fi, and built-in access to streaming movies from Amazon and Netflix.

Runner-up: Smaller, simpler, and cheaper, the 40-inch Samsung LN40C530 ($750) delivers supersharp HD picture quality.


Elliptical Trainer


Courtesy Sole

Sole E35 ($1,300)

It has an adjustable incline, changeable pedal angles, and controls on the handgrips, but its best feature may be that it's whisper quiet: The only sound your family will hear is your grunting.

Runner-up: A little noisier than the Sole yet still a good value, the NordicTrack Audiostrider 990 PRO ($990) is a fine basic elliptical with easy-to-use features and adjustable controls.