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With the Sony A77 II DSLR camera, you'll be able to take incredible shots like this one. / Reviewed.com

This week at Reviewed.com, we got our hands on a number of exciting new gadgets and home appliances. It was a big week for vacuums: Two superlative cleaners, the Miele S7260 Cat & Dog and the Kenmore Elite 31150, stole the spotlight and nabbed our Editor's Choice awards. Sony's Alpha A77 II camera was equally impressive, and staked its claim to being the best camera in its class. Phiaton's Fusion MS 430 headphones are billed as premium travel headphones, and follow through on that claim-for the most part. Lastly, GE's Artistry ABE20EGEBS fridge brought both excellent performance and something you don't usually see in fridges: beautiful design.

In our news and features department, we learned that Microsoft is trying to revive the Mac vs. PC ad wars of the mid-2000s, but on its own terms. We also covered the summer ratings slump that has TV execs scrambling, a burger-making robot that could put fast food workers out of jobs, and an app that makes grocery store purchases political. And for the college crowd, we offered advice on which gaming console will make you the most popular person in your dorm.

Microsoft reignites the Mac vs. PC advertising war

If you remember the mid-2000s, even a little bit, then you'll remember Apple's ubiquitous "I'm a Mac. I'm a PC." ad campaign. Well, now that advertising strategy is being revived-by Microsoft, sort of. To promote their new Surface Pro 3 tablet hybrid, Microsoft mimics the dialogue of those old ads, but this time, its product comes out the winner over Apple's MacBook Air. So far, it remains to be seen whether this tactic helps Microsoft or backfires.

Miele S7260 Cat & Dog vacuum has the agility of a cat

A vacuum cleaner that sells for more than $700 seems tough to justify, but the Miele S7260 upright vacuum manages to do just that. The S7260 glides across carpets and tiles with ease, and its performance in picking up dirt is superb. Somehow, this agile cleaner makes tedious housecleaning an almost pleasurable experience. As long as your pockets are deep enough, it's hard to find fault with it.

Summer ratings slump should have TV execs sweating

As TV networks air reruns over the summer, ratings are down. That's to be expected, but what's distressing for TV executives is just how much these numbers have dropped, compared to previous years. The culprits? DVR and streaming services. To fight back, execs are trying to change the way ratings are publicized, by touting measures like live plus 3-day viewership. But so far, advertisers aren't buying it.

Sony A77 II camera is the head of its class

When it comes to cameras, Sony has slowly become a powerful force. Whether it's point-and-shoot, full-frame, or more traditional DSLR cameras, Sony's models consistently stand at the head of their class. The new Alpha A77 II DSLR continues to carry that torch for Sony. With its excellent performance, accessible features, and reasonable price point, this is a camera that will satisfy photography newbies and veterans alike.

Will this burger bot smash American fast food jobs?

A San Francisco startup has created a robot that makes burgers automatically, in about 10 seconds. In fact, it can do most things a fast food line cook can do, only better. This burger bot could make fast food workers obsolete-its maker even says so on its website, and is unapologetic about it. Could this spell the beginning of the end for the fast food economy as we know it?

Kenmore Elite vacuum is an all-around performer

At about $300, this upright vacuum performs better than other vacuums five times as expensive. Even better, it does a bang-up job cleaning on a wide variety of surfaces, from shag carpets to hardwood floors. It does have some minor drawbacks: It's gratingly loud, and its bulky design doesn't lend itself to quick maneuvering. Still, with the kind of cleaning prowess it offers, those flaws are easy to overlook.

Would you pay $400 for a wearable personal trainer?

Hiring a personal trainer is a great step toward improving your workout regimen, but it can also be expensive. Now two Canadian electrical engineers have a personal trainer solution-and it's wearable. Athos tracks your fitness progress through sensor-equipped clothing that sends workout data to your smartphone or tablet. It then analyzes that data to determine whether you're training properly or not, so you can step up your workout without being yelled at.

Phiaton headphones make a solid commute companion

The new Fusion MS 430 headphones from Phiaton are a rarity in the headphone world: premium travel headphones. And for the most part, they live up to that billing. Their sound is only above average rather than great, but they offer lots of other benefits. With their surprising comfort, excellent durability, and ability to block outside noise, they'll make a valuable companion for most commuters.

New app brings partisan politics to the grocery store

Just when you thought partisan politics couldn't infiltrate our lives any further, there's an app that brings Washington's squabbles to the grocery store. The BuyPartisan app scans barcodes of grocery items, and allows you to uncover the political donations made by its producer. The app's makers claim it allows you to "spend how you believe," but it also raises some questions: Is more politicization really necessary? And will this app actually influence corporate behavior?

This GE Artistry is a fridge with flair

GE took a risk by naming a series of fridges with the "Artistry" label. After all, we don't usually associate style with those bulky food storage boxes. But the new Artistry ABE20EGEBS actually manages to live up to its name-and offers great performance to boot. With its appealing retro flourishes, this bottom freezer fridge stands out from the pack visually, and is also more affordable than most other bottom freezers.

What's the best gaming console for your dorm?

Gaming consoles have one distinct advantage over PCs: The ability to play games with your friends in the same room. This quality is what makes people flock to your room for late night trash-talking sessions over Mario Kart. Of the three current generation consoles, which one will make you the most popular person in your dorm? Our staff gaming expert offers his judgment.



Copyright 2014USAToday

Read the original story: The week in Reviewed: Mac vs. PC edition

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