Sometimes nothing says "I love you" like no-holds-barred extravagance. We've got some quality indulgences for anyone who's ready to be a big spender.
Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the December 2016 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.
Vaio Z Flip
Who says a high-end laptop has to be all business? This Vaio combines an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and Intel’s Iris Graphics tech to handle video editing and video game playing with ease. The 256GB solid-state drive loads files with superb speed. And the integrated hinge lets you flip the high-resolution touch screen to transform the laptop into a tablet. (An earlier version of this article incorrectly referred to the Vaio Flip Z laptop as the Sony Vaio Flip Z laptop.)
Apple MacBook 12-inch MF855LL/A
The jewel in Apple’s revived MacBook line, this 12-inch laptop offers an excellent Retina display, a fast, efficient solid-state drive, and more than 16 hours of battery life. There’s no optical drive for handling CDs or DVDs, but it does handle web browsing, video editing, and midrange gaming with effortless speed. Best of all, it weighs only 2 pounds.
Microsoft Surface Book
A hip look, bountiful features, and a detachable screen make this Microsoft Surface a go-to gift for creative types who want a tablet with the power of a traditional laptop. The high-resolution touch-screen display, Intel Core i5 processor, and 8GB of RAM are ideal for photo and video editing. And the included Surface Pen makes old-fashioned drawing and note-taking easy and precise.
Dell XPS 27"
This all-in-one desktop is flush with features everyone will appreciate. It has a high-resolution touch-screen monitor and plenty of processing power for editing, gaming, and streaming. The 1TB hard drive offers ample room for movies, music, and photos. Plus there’s a DVD burner, a webcam, and a two-piece speaker system with better-than-you’d-expect sound.
This dressy version of Apple’s new smartwatch ($650) is encased in stainless steel (rather than aluminum) and comes with an elegant Milanese mesh band, elevating the techie timepiece to a fashion accessory. Hardworking as well as handsome, it’s water-resistant to 50 meters, offers built-in GPS, heart-rate monitor and step-tracking features, and allows workout data sharing.
This 55-inch 4K UHD TV topped our ratings this past year—a testament to organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology. Blessed with best-in-class deep black levels and an unlimited viewing angle no LED LCD can match, it delivers excellent high-def picture quality and ultra-high-def performance.
When you spring for a top-notch camera you want options, and this Nikon provides plenty. Set it on auto and let it do all of the work. Or take control by shifting to one of several manual modes. The viewfinder and spacious swiveling touch-screen display are both excellent, and the image quality and 4K video got high marks in our tests.
This model is quiet, not meek, with a window that lights up at the end of a cycle to announce that the dishes are done. Cleaning and efficiency are first-rate.
Napoleon Prestige Pro 665RSIB
No Napoleon complex here: This large grill is the sole representative of its stature to earn our recommendation. Its cooking surface heats evenly and can fit at least 28 burgers. But it’s not merely a high-BTU brute. The five main burners possess enough finesse to snag an excellent score in our indirect-cooking and temperature-range tests.
Thanks to an innovative design, Bodyguard shrank the footprint of this elegant elliptical down to 62 inches—at least a foot shorter than our other top picks. There’s no sacrifice in performance, and our testers were impressed with the durable construction.
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