The good: The LG enV Touch has two beautiful displays, a nice touch-screen interface, and a great QWERTY keyboard. It has impressive features, such as a 3.2-megapixel camera, EV-DO Rev. A, and a full HTML Web browser.
The bad: The LG enV Touch's touch-screen interface could use some refinement, and the Web browser experience is not as smooth as we would like. Visual Voice Mail and corporate e-mail support costs additional monthly fees. The lack of Wi-Fi is disappointing.
The bottom line: The LG enV Touch's combination of great design and top-notch features makes it one of the top Verizon Wireless Wireless phones we've ever seen.
The good: The LG enV3 has a slim and sleek appearance, with a spacious QWERTY keyboard, colorful dual displays, easy-to-use controls, plus it has updated features like a HTML Web browser and a 3.0-megapixel camera tricked out with special shot modes. Call quality is excellent as well.
The bad: The LG enV3's number keypad is a little flat to the surface, and we would've preferred a faster way to enter URLs in the Web browser. Also, Visual Voice Mail and corporate e-mail support have monthly fees.
The bottom line: The LG enV3 has an impressive design and feature set that make it one of Verizon's top messaging phones.
The good: Excellent sound quality for its size; unique color screen that displays album art; full Rhapsody integration; provides access to thousands of Internet radio stations; stylish exterior design; easy setup to stream music from connected PCs.
The bad: Interface can get sluggish with large music libraries; slight delay between tracks; no support for Pandora, Last.fm, or Slacker; included remote occasionally confusing.
The bottom line: The Philips NP2900 is a great-sounding Wi-Fi radio with a unique color display, but it doesn't offer enough features to justify its price premium over competitors.
The good: The hybrid power train in the 2009 Toyota Camry Hybrid delivers excellent mileage and smooth operation. Navigation and a Bluetooth phone system are available.
The bad: Even with the premium stereo, audio output is poor. The only input for an MP3 player is an auxiliary audio jack. The navigation system lacks advanced features such as live traffic.
The bottom line: Although its cabin tech is behind the times, the 2009 Toyota Camry Hybrid provides an easy and comfortable driving experience while delivering excellent fuel economy and extremely low emissions.
The good: Large color LCD supports digital photos and video playback; included software development kit opens LCD up to homebrew and community-made apps; 16 million color options for backlit keys; built-in USB 2.0 ports; improved macro recording capabilities with support for five simultaneous key presses.
The bad: High price could limit adoption and thus hurt community software momentum; configuration software needs consolidation.
The bottom line: Logitech's $200 G19 Gaming Keyboard boasts a built-in color LCD with exciting capabilities, as well as lots of little improvements over previous models. But with few apps--thus far--that take advantage of the screen in a meaningful way, the G19's potential remains largely untapped. Until the community software effort gets rolling, we can't recommend spending this much on a keyboard that, while flashy, has yet to realize its full potential.
The good: The Samsung Jitterbug J is incredibly easy to use. It has a bright display, a large font size, a roomy keypad with big buttons, and even a dial tone to make it similar to a landline telephone. The Jitterbug J improves on the original model with text messaging and Bluetooth support. Also, the Jitterbug services provide customers with operator services.
The bad: The Jitterbug service can be pricey, especially if you add in the cost of premium services. Text messaging on the Jitterbug J can be tedious, and you only get 50 phonebook entries.
The bottom line: The Samsung Jitterbug J is the perfect phone for seniors, but it's also a great phone for anyone who doesn't want the hassle of modern cell phones. Just be wary of the expensive service fees.
The good: The Palm Pre's multitasking capabilities and notifications system are unparalleled. The smartphone features a vibrant display with multitouch functionality as well as a solid Web browser and good multimedia integration. The Pre offered good call quality and wireless options include 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS.
The bad:The Pre's keyboard is cramped. Battery life drains quickly and the smartphone can be sluggish at times. Lacks expansion slot, video-recording capabilities, onscreen keyboard, and Flash support. The Pre App Catalog is still in beta with a limited number of titles.
The bottom line: Despite some missing features and performance issues that make it less than ideal for on-the-go professionals, the Palm Pre offers gadget lovers and consumers well-integrated features and unparalled multitasking capabilities. The hardware could be better, but more importantly, Palm has developed a solid OS that not only rivals the competition but also sets a new standard in the way smartphones handle tasks and manage information.
The good: The Nokia E75 offers a compact design while managing to fit in a full QWERTY keyboard. The smartphone ships with Nokia's new messaging client, which features push delivery for all accounts. Other highlights include 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and a 3.2-megapixel camera.
The bad: The E75 is expensive. Call quality wasn't the best, and the dialpad on front is cramped.
The bottom line: The Nokia E75 is a nice alternative to the current crop of slate QWERTY messaging smartphones, offering a compact design without sacrificing the keyboard or e-mail capabilities. However, without carrier backing, the unlocked phone is a bit expensive.
The good: An efficient, turbocharged engine gives the 2009 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen 2.0T ready power and decent fuel economy. An optional navigation system shows traffic conditions. Music can be played from the car's hard drive or from an iPod.
The bad: Bluetooth phone support is absent from the Jetta SportWagen. Destination input with the navigation system can be quirky.
The bottom line: The 2009 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen combines practicality and quick performance with some good cabin tech options, although the lack of a phone system might be a deal breaker.