The Coolest Electronic Gadgets for 2012

BOSTON ( MainStreet) -- Electronics fans willing to pay big bucks for cool devices can expect super-thin TVs, high-tech headphones and professional-grade home theater systems to be hot this year.

"Manufacturers are offering a bunch of luxury products for 2012," says David Carnoy, of market tracker "From high-end speakers to $600 earbud headphones to the highest-end Apple ( AAPL) Macs, if you're willing to pay for the latest and greatest you can be just a little bit ahead of everyone from a performance standpoint."
Organic light-emitting diodes allow supercrisp video in TVs thinner than anything ever seen. LG's EM9600 is just one-eighth of an inch thick.

But beware: This year's cutting-edge products will likely wind up in the bargain bin in a year or two when manufacturers come out with even better versions.

"Unfortunately, that's a big downside to being an early adopter," Carnoy says. "You pay in a lot of cases for technology that's going to be surpassed in a few years by something better -- and a lot cheaper."

That said, here's a look at four cool high-end devices Carnoy thinks will be hot sellers in 2012:

JVC DLA-X90R home-theater system
Price: Around $12,000
This top-of-the-line home projection TV system can play 2-D and 3-D video with cutting-edge precision.

Using the latest "4K" technology, the X90 converts 2 million-pixel 1080p high-definition signals into 8 million-pixel images -- offering four times the resolution of already-crisp HDTV.

"It's just a great projector for the money," Carnoy says.

If $12,000 is beyond your budget, consider the $3,500 entry-level JVC DLA-X30. Carnoy, who's buying a DLA-X30 himself, says the less-expensive system is "probably the best deal around" because it only lacks "some of those gimmicky things that early adopters are paying extra for" in the X90R.

LG 55-inch EM9600 OLED TV
Price: Around $8,000 to $10,000
Due out around September, this state-of-the-art TV premiered in January at the annual International Consumer Electronic Show -- winning CNET's "Best of CES" award.

It's the first large-screen TV to use organic light-emitting diodes, or OLEDs -- the latest technology in video display. They allow manufacturers to provide supercrisp video in TVs thinner than anything ever seen. The LG EM9600 is just one-eighth of an inch thick.

"OLEDs are superthin, but produce a potentially better picture than a plasma TV or an LCD," Carnoy says.

Audeo PFE 232 earphones
Price: $599
These high-tech earbuds are made by Swiss company Phonak, which knows a thing or two about sound and ears because it primarily makes hearing aids.

PFE 232s come with three tiny, color-coded acoustic filters that you can put in or take out to customize your listening experience. The green filter adds extra bass, the gray filter boosts midrange frequencies and the black one increases bass and treble.

"PFE 232s are great for 'tweakheads' who love to adjust the sound of their earphones," Carnoy says.

The high-tech headphones also include two sets of ear "tips." The foam tips will filter out surrounding noises during normal use, while the silicone tips will help keep your PFE 232s from slipping off during exercise.

Bose SoundLink wireless mobile speaker
Price: $350
CNET recently declared the Bose SoundLink "the iPhone of portable Bluetooth speakers."

Using Bluetooth wireless technology, the portable SoundLink allows you to play music, movies or other offerings on your smartphone, iTouch, iPad or other tablet in high fidelity. The tiny speaker measures just 5 inches tall, 9.5 inches wide and 2 inches thick, but offers a mighty big sound.

"The Bose SoundLink works well and sounds good," Carnoy says. "You can set it up in your house or outdoors and simply move it around."

The speaker can pick up audio from smartphones or tablets as much as 30 feet away, and comes with a built-in lithium-ion battery that provides up to four hours of listening time between charges.

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