Here are a few of CNET Reviews' favorite items from the past week, including the latest Alienware M11X, the Vizio VHT510 sound bar, and the hot new HTC Evo 3D smartphone.
Here's our weekly roundup of the new products CNET reviewers liked best.
Editors' rating: 4 out of 5
The good: This year's version of the Alienware M11x has markedly improved graphics performance and battery life, and the laptop's solid build, USB 3.0 ports, and impressive 5.1 surround-sound Klipsch speakers are also pluses.
The bad: The M11x still has a chunky chassis; also, the lack of an optical drive isn't a dealbreaker, but can be frustrating when installing games.
The bottom line: Don't be fooled by its unchanged looks: the 2011 Alienware M11x makes big leaps forward in performance, graphics, and battery life, while keeping a reasonable price. Anyone looking for a portable gaming-ready laptop will have a hard time resisting the urge to pick one of these up.
The good: The HTC Evo 3D improves on its predecessor with a dual-core 1.2GHz processor and a larger battery. The Android Gingerbread smartphone also features a glasses-free 3D display and can capture 3D photos and video.
The bad: The smartphone doesn't offer much internal memory, and call quality could be better. The glasses-free 3D display has limited viewing angles and depth of field.
The bottom line: The 3D features are a fun addition, but it's the HTC Evo 3D's zippy performance and improved battery life that make this Android smartphone one of Sprint's best.
The good: The Vizio VHT510 has outstanding sound quality for a budget sound bar system, including rear speakers that deliver a true surround-sound experience. The system also includes a wireless subwoofer and the best remote we've seen on a sound bar.
The bad: The front-panel lights often break, according to widespread online reviews, although Vizio says the issue has been fixed. The VHT510's rear speakers also add complexity that style-oriented buyers might not want. And connectivity options are limited, with only an optical input and analog input.
The bottom line: While we'd prefer more input options, the Vizio VHT510 adds rear speakers to the traditional sound bar design, resulting in outstanding sound quality at a very affordable price.
The good: Fans of 7-inch tablets will appreciate the HTC Evo View 4G's screen quality, durable construction, HD video recording, and unique features, such as digital pen compatibility and HTC's Sense UI customization.
The bad: The Evo View 4G is small, thick, and pricey, and isn't running Google's Android 3.0 tablet OS. Its most unique feature, the Magic Pen, may not come included and is expensive to replace.
The bottom line: The HTC Evo View 4G puts a new spin on the 7-inch Android tablet, but its high price and smartphone-style OS are a tough sell next to its bigger, cheaper Honeycomb kin.
OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G solid-state drive (480GB)
OWC Mercury Extreme Pro solid-state drive
Editors' rating: 3.5 out of 5
The good: The Mercury Extreme Pro 6G solid-sate drive (SSD) supports SATA 6Gbps and offers fast performance. The drive works in any SATA-based storage application, and its top 480GB capacity version is relatively affordable.
The bad: The Extreme Pro 6G's performance as a main drive could be better. The drive takes a long time to be formatted, doesn't come with a drive bay converter to work with desktop computers, and its 120GB and 240GB capacities are comparatively expensive.
The bottom line: Offering fast SATA 3 performance and compatibility, the Mercury Extreme Pro 6G SSD makes a very good replacement hard drive for any computer, especially one that has built-in support for SATA 6Gbps.
The good: The QNAP TS-412 Turbo NAS server has an excellent drive bay design. The server is relatively fast and offers lots of advanced features, such as RAID configurations, iSCSI, the MyCloudNAS service, and support for Apple's Time Machine and four IP cameras for a surveillance system.
The bad: The QNAP TS-412's performance could be better and its surveillance application could use some improvement. The server isn't for novice users and its operating system is selectively buggy.
The bottom line: The QNAP TS-412 makes a very good NAS server for environments where advanced network storage is needed.
The good: The 11.6-inch Samsung Series 9 has the same thin, stylish, sturdy design as the 13-inch version, along with a backlit keyboard.
The bad: The 11.6-inch Series 9 is more expensive and has shorter battery life than the similar 11.6-inch MacBook Air.
The bottom line: The smaller, 11.6-inch version of Samsung's excellent Series 9 laptop is thin and light, and has a few features the MacBook Air lacks, but it's more expensive and doesn't trump the competition where it counts.
The good: City Safety collision prevention comes standard on the 2011 Volvo XC60 T6, and adaptive cruise control is available. The turbocharged engine strikes a good balance between fuel economy and power.
The bad: The navigation system does not display traffic information on its maps, and the automatic transmission is slow to downshift.
The bottom line: The 2011 Volvo XC60 T6 is a very practical car with good fuel economy. Tech options are cutting-edge when it comes to safety, but mundane for infotainment.