Here's our weekly roundup of the new products CNET reviewers liked most.
Apple iMac 27-inch (27-inch, 2.8GHz Intel Core i7, fall 2009)
Editors' rating: 4 out of 5
The good: Fastest all-in-one; largest all-in-one display; bidirectional Mini DisplayPort input lets the iMac double as a second monitor; SD card slot (finally); wireless mouse and keyboard included.
The bad: No Blu-ray; no support for external HDMI device input out-of-the-box; lame support policies.
The bottom line: We're a little late to the Core i7 iMac review party, but that doesn't make Apple's highest-end all-in-one any less impressive. With the fastest CPU and the largest display in its category, we find that our criticisms of this system mostly wash away in a tide of pixels and best-in-class performance. Anyone with a productivity focus will appreciate what this iMac has to offer.
The good: The Infiniti FX35 can be equipped with some serious safety tech, including Lane Departure Prevention and Distance Control Assist.
Infiniti's infotainment interface has received a much-needed refresh, with the 2010 model year. Nearly all modern AV sources are available, including Bluetooth, USB, iPod, and DVD video and audio discs.
The bad: No HD radio available and only 800MB available for audio ripping, regardless of hard-drive size.
The bottom line: The Infiniti FX35 is a triple threat, with high levels of technology (safety and infotainment), luxury, and performance.
The good: Excellent Blu-ray image quality; Netflix, Vudu, YouTube, and Pandora media streaming, plus the expandable Samsung Apps platform; built-in Wi-Fi; 7.1 analog audio outputs; 1GB onboard storage.
The bad: Sluggish operational speed; competing Sony players offer 3D for about the same price; last year's Samsung Blu-ray players had questionable reliability.
The bottom line: Samsung's BD-C6500 Blu-ray player has excellent image quality, outstanding features for the price, and a slick design--we just wish it were a little faster.
The good: Suspension and all-wheel-drive technology give the 2010 Acura ZDX excellent cornering ability. The powerful audio system produces very good sound, and iPod integration lets you request specific songs by voice command.
The bad: The navigation system doesn't have 3D maps. Access to the rear seats is tight.
The bottom line: The 2010 Acura ZDX cuts a distinct figure, and a solid suite of cabin and driver aid technology proves quite useful, especially as a road trip car.
The good: The Palm Pre Plus brings the magic of WebOS to AT&T, including true multitasking and great contact management. The smartphone also ships with an inductive back cover for Touchstone charging and features an improved QWERTY keyboard over the original Pre. The 3-megapixel camera takes excellent photos and offers easy video editing.
The bad: The AT&T Palm Pre Plus doesn't support the Palm Mobile Hotspot app. Battery life still isn't that great.
The bottom line: With the great capabilities of WebOS, the Palm Pre Plus is one of AT&T's better touch-screen smartphones, but its price tag may be off-putting for many.
The good: Superb black-level performance; accurate primary colors in THX mode; great color saturation; effective antireflective screen; uses less power than previous 1080p plasmas; VieraCast provides access to select Internet services and improved customization.
The bad: Last year's Panasonic plasmas lost black-level performance over relatively short periods of time; cannot properly handle 1080p/24 sources; fewer streaming services and apps than the competition; uses more power than LCDs.
The bottom line: Panasonic's TC-PG20/25 series offers a highly tempting mix of features, value, and initial picture quality, but long-term black-level performance is still an open question.
The good: Excellent high-ISO-sensitivity photo quality; quiet, fast lenses good for shooting video and comfortable for manual focus; compact, with a nice physical design and control layout; large, tilting LCD.
The bad: No EVF option; frequently annoying user interface; unusual amount of distortion on 18-55mm kit lens; no neutral image color settings.
The bottom line: For a lot of people, the excellent high-sensitivity photo quality, competitive performance, and an ultracompact body will likely outweigh the Sony Alpha NEX-5's quirks and operational annoyances.