Here are a few of CNET Reviews' favorite items from the past week, including the LG Spectrum, the 2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Autobahn, and the PowerMat Dual 1850 Rechargeable Backup Battery.
Here's our weekly roundup of the new products CNET reviewers liked best.
Editors' rating: 4 out of 5
The good: The LG Spectrum has fast LTE speeds, a dual-core processor, Android 2.3, and lots of HD video features, including a stellar 4.5-inch HD display.
The bad: Call quality and camera quality are inconsistent, and the Spectrum's interface can be cumbersome at times.
The bottom line: The LG Spectrum's clean design brings preppy style to some of the fastest 4G LTE data speeds around. The smartphone's attention to HD is admirable, but a few interface and performance flaws could scare away some.
The good: With its dual-clutch transmission and turbocharged 2-liter engine, the 2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLI delivers enjoyable and economical performance. The Fender audio system produces incredibly good sound, the best available for cars in this segment.
The bad: Unlike its sibling GTI, the Jetta GLI lacks launch control and a hatchback. The iPod connector is placed inconveniently in the glove box.
The bottom line: Cabin tech in the 2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLI may not be cutting-edge, but the Fender audio system sounds excellent. The boring sedan body belies the superior handling and quick-shifting gearbox.
The good: The Klipsch Gallery G-17 Air is a great-sounding wireless speaker with Air Play functionality. It can stream audio from any source that has iTunes installed, along with any iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch. It'll also play audio over USB with Apple devices, and has an auxiliary input. The G-17 is also very easy to set up and offers a free iOS app for help with the initial setup.
The bad: The worst thing about the G-17 is its $550 price tag, which makes it one of the higher-priced Air Play units on the market. USB playback works only with Apple products, not with any USB device. The included remote feels a bit cheap.
The bottom line: While it packs an impressive punch in terms of sound performance and feature set, the G-17 is more expensive than an iPad and doesn't seem worth its $550 price tag.
The good: The Pogoplug Series 4 is an adapter that lets you access any 2.5-inch hard drive, USB storage device, or SD card from anywhere online. It's easy to set up, attractively small, and smartly designed. Files can be accessed via browser or apps, and automatic backup of photos and videos from a phone or iPad using the Pogoplug app works surprisingly well, too.
The bad: Video playback on a TV is still a weird and kludgy experience, and video formats don't all work perfectly; automated file backup isn't as smooth and transparent as on an Apple Time Capsule or other NAS device; USB 3 flash drives got extremely hot when plugged in.
The bottom line: The Pogoplug Series 4 is a cleverly simple device for getting files and media from your hard drive, USB drive, or SD card online and making them shareable with smartphones, tablets, and PCs. While many may find it redundant with cloud storage services, the Series 4 is easily the best version of the Pogoplug to date.
The good: The PowerMat Dual 1850 Rechargeable Backup Battery has a simple, compact design. It can power two devices at once and can deliver emergency juice when you're on the go.
The bad: The Backup Battery's 30-pin connector doesn't have a secure fit and you can't charge non-Apple devices that lack a Micro-USB port. Though economical by itself, the Backup Battery is expensive when you add up the related accessories.
The bottom line: Provided you can afford it and it's compatible with your gadgets, the PowerMat Dual 1850 Rechargeable Backup Battery is a fresh, efficient, and convenient way to charge multiple devices when at home and on the go.
The good: With a Blu-ray drive, Nvidia GeForce 540M graphics, and a full 1,080-pixel resolution display, the Sony Vaio F Series is a full-featured movie and gaming machine, with a sharp look and useful preloaded software.
The bad: The 16-inch screen can sit uncomfortably between midsize and desktop replacement laptops, and the Sony price premium is nearly on par with Apple's. Plus, the battery life is disappointingly weak.
The bottom line: If the size is right for you, the Vaio F Series is a well-made high-end laptop, and is a good reminder that Sony is one of the few brands that comes close to Apple on design and polish.
The good: The D-Link Amplifi HD Media Router 2000 DIR-827 is a true dual-band router that offers USB 3.0 and an HD feature that automatically prioritizes Internet traffic for HD media streaming, VoIP applications, and gaming. The router also comes with a good set of other features that are available with other D-Link routers, such as SharePort Plus, guest networking, and OpenDNS parental controls.
The bad: The D-Link DIR-827's firmware is a little buggy. The router doesn't support the 450Mbps Wi-Fi standard, and its performance on the 2.4GHz band could use some improvement.
The bottom line: The D-Link DIR-827 is a very good true dual-band router that needs a firmware upgrade so it can live up to its potential.