Here's our weekly roundup of the new products CNET reviewers liked best.
2010 Mercury Milan Hybrid
Editors' rating: 4.5
The good: The power train in the 2010 Mercury Milan Hybrid is a remarkable bit of engineering, economical and satisfying. The stellar combination of Sync and Sirius Travel Link gets complemented by a new blind-spot warning system, and the instrument panel is like nothing available in other cars.
The bad: Our minor complaints include body roll in turns and a bland exterior.
The bottom line: As a tech car, the 2010 Mercury Milan Hybrid hits all the right notes, providing comfortable and economical driving while offering an incredible array of convenience for the driver and passengers with its cabin tech.
Apple MacBook Pro Summer 2009 (Core 2 Duo 2.8GHz, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, NVIDIA GeForce 9400M + 9600M GT with 512MB, 15-inch)
Editors' rating: 4
The good: Price cut from previous version; new SD card slot; keeps the same solid unibody construction and oversized trackpad.
The bad: Loses the ExpressCard slot; switching GPUs not as seamless as it should be.
The bottom line: Apple's 15-inch MacBook Pro makes only minor tweaks to the previous version, but cutting prices and swapping the ExpressCard slot for an SD card slot are enough to make it a solid improvement over its predecessor.
The good: The Casio Exilim C721 is slim and stylish, yet it's military-certified to withstand the elements. It also has an innovative rotating display that makes it look and feel like a camera. The 5.1-megapixel camera takes great pictures. Features include EV-DO Rev. A, GPS, and a HTML Web browser. Call quality is great as well.
The bad: The Casio Exilim C721 requires a dock to sync with the PC, the Web browsing experience is a little clunky, and it's quite pricey.
The bottom line: If you don't mind its expensive cost, the Casio Exilim C721 is a sleek yet durable phone with a great megapixel camera and plenty of high-end features.
The good: The Eclipse AVN726e features beautifully rendered maps with elevation data and 3D buildings. The color touch screen is remarkably bright and saturated. The unit has a fantastic list of standard features, including USB/iPod integration, Bluetooth hands-free calling and audio streaming, and DVD/DivX playback.
The bad: Displaying iPod video requires an add-on cable. Adding traffic data to the navigation requires the addition of the Sirius satellite radio module. Lack of detachable faceplate will be a security issue for some users.
The bottom line: The Eclipse AVN726e will cover most users hands-free calling, navigation, audio/visual needs in a single installation, while also being an excellent starting point for system builders.
The good: Superb black-level performance with excellent shadow detail; relatively accurate color in Custom mode after adjustment; great color saturation; properly handles 1080p/24 sources without flicker; uses less power than previous 1080p plasmas; VieraCast provides access to select Internet services; plenty of connectivity with four HDMI and one PC input.
The bad: Expensive; less accurate primary and secondary colors in non-THX modes; somewhat limited picture controls; still less efficient than comparable LCDs.
The bottom line: The high-end Panasonic TC-PV10 series of plasmas delivers the overall best picture quality of any flat-panel HDTV we've tested so far this year.
The good: Small footprint; lightweight; fast transfer speeds; eSATA and USB 2.0 connectivity.
The bad: Expensive; traditional external hard drives offer four times the storage space for 13 times less; proprietary cord required for eSATA connection.
The bottom line: Although the Transcend SSD18M solid-state drive is astronomically expensive, the price is balanced with its tiny footprint and impressive transfer speeds. It's easy to geek out on the beauty of the design, and even though hardcore nerds will love its versatility, the simple fact is that bargain-hunting consumers can get much higher capacities for a lot less, at least for now.
The good: The Kindle DX offers 2.5 times the screen real estate as the Kindle 2; native PDF support; you can switch from portrait to landscape mode by just turning the device; large library of tens of thousands of e-books, newspapers, magazines, and blogs via Amazon's familiar online store; built-in free wireless "Whispernet" data network--no PC needed; built-in keyboard for notes; faster processor speeds up the device; with 4GB (3.3 usable) of internal memory, it's capable of storing 3,500 electronic books; font size is adjustable; decent battery life; displays image files, and plays MP3 and AAC audio.
The bad: Expensive; somewhat heavy compared with the Kindle 2; no expansion slot for adding more memory; no protective carrying case included; battery is sealed into the device and isn't removable.
The bottom line: The pricey Kindle DX offers improvements over the Kindle 2, but its larger chassis has its pluses and minuses.
The good: The RIM BlackBerry Curve 8900 offers a sleeker design and a vibrant display. The smartphone features Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS, and brings new productivity tools, a full HTML Web browser, and a 3.2-megapixel camera. There's also support for the BlackBerry App World and AT&T Navigator.
The bad: The BlackBerry Curve 8900 lacks 3G.
The bottom line: The RIM BlackBerry Curve 8900 brings a number of improvements and additions to make it a nice upgrade to the Curve 8300 series. That said, AT&T offers other QWERTY smartphones that include 3G support and for less.
Verizon Wireless MiFi 2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot
Verizon Wireless MiFi 2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot
Editors' rating: 3.5
The good: The Verizon Wireless MiFi 2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot offers a great mobile broadband solution for individuals or a small group of people. It's tiny, easy to use, and offers instant Internet access virtually anywhere in the U.S.
The bad: The Verizon Wireless MiFi 2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot supports up to five Wi-Fi devices only at a time and its wireless LAN throughput speed and range could be faster. It comes with expensive and limited data plans.
The bottom line: If you can afford the required service plans and keep within the required data limits, the Verizon Wireless MiFi 2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot is an excellent product for mobile Internet access.