Here's our weekly roundup of the new products CNET reviewers liked best.
Barnes & Noble Nook Touch Reader (Wi-Fi)
Editors' rating: 4 out of 5
The good: The 2011 Nook is a compact and lightweight e-book reader with a responsive high-contrast Pearl e-ink touch screen that offers quick page turns. It's got built-in Wi-Fi for direct access to the online Barnes & Noble store, an expansion slot for additional memory, and long battery life (up to two months). The Nook supports e-book lending and EPUB loans from libraries, and it offers some enhanced social-networking features.
The bad: The 2011 Nook has no support for audio, no 3G option, and no Web browser. The rubberized finish on the back of device attracts fingerprints.
The bottom line: The new touch-screen Nook is a major advancement over its predecessor and offers some real advantages over the current Kindle.
The good: The Panasonic TC-PVT30 has outstanding overall picture quality, with superior black-level performance, very good shadow detail and accurate color points in THX mode. It can handle 1080p/24 sources and bright rooms well and exhibits the nearly perfect screen uniformity of plasma, as well as very good 3D picture quality. It includes one pair of 3D glasses and a Wi-Fi dongle. Its Internet suite is simple to use yet content-rich, and its styling is understated and classy with a single-pane design.
The bad: The VT30 is very expensive, and last year's Panasonic plasmas lost black-level performance over relatively short periods of time. Its color is not as good as the best current plasmas and it uses significantly more power than LCD TVs.
The bottom line: Superb all-around picture quality, anchored by the deepest plasma black levels of the year, make the Panasonic TC-PVT30 series the best-performing TV we've tested in 2011.
Series information: We performed a hands-on evaluation of the 55-inch Panasonic TC-P55VT30, but this review also applies to the 65-inch model in the series. Both sizes have identical specs and according to the manufacturer should provide very similar picture quality.
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX9
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX9 (Silver)
Editors' rating: 4 out of 5
The good: The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX9 offers excellent features for automatic snapshots and speedy shooting performance, and nice photo and video quality for its class.
The bad: The WX9's controls might be too small for some users and its photos aren't sharp enough for pixel peepers.
The bottom line: The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX9 is a lot of camera--with solid shooting performance and photo and movie quality--for the money.
The good: The 5-liter V-8 pumps out big power and makes a delightful sound while the suspension keeps the 2011 Ford Mustang GT well-grounded. Sync offers excellent integration with phones and MP3 players, along with telematics services.
The bad: Real-world fuel economy means lots of time at the gas pump. The transmission has a tendency to redirect shifts.
The bottom line: An excellent modern take on a muscle car, the 2011 Ford Mustang GT can be equipped with an excellent set of cabin tech. Poor fuel economy encourages hypermiling, which takes all the fun out of this car.
The good: Thanks to great photo quality, a clever hybrid viewfinder, and a cool, retro design, there's a lot to like about the Fujifilm FinePix X100.
The bad: Sluggish performance, especially for such a high-priced camera, and a frustrating navigation control make shooting with the camera a lot less fluid than it should be.
The bottom line: If you have the bucks and you want the best photo quality possible, the Fujifilm FinePix X100 delivers. But definitely try before you buy to make sure the focusing systems won't make you crazy.
The good: The HTC Trophy features a compact design and world roaming capabilities. Windows Phone offers a user-friendly interface, as well as good integration with Zune and Office.
The bad: Camera quality is disappointing. Battery life could be better.
The bottom line: The HTC Trophy isn't Verizon's most powerful or advanced smartphone, but if you don't need all the bells and whistles, the Windows Phone offers great ease of use and good integration of features in a sleek package.
The good: The LG Revolution has a great 4.3-inch display, 4G LTE speeds, and both a front and rear camera. It also has rich multimedia offerings that include HDMI, DLNA, 720p HD video, and a preinstalled Netflix app.
The bad: The LG Revolution's search and maps are powered by Bing instead of Google, the default Android keyboard is unavailable, and the Verizon apps are not removable. Call quality is mediocre. It doesn't have the high-end feature set to match its high price.
The bottom line: The LG Revolution may not be the revolutionary handset it claims to be, but it's still a solid Verizon 4G Android phone with the bonus of the Netflix app.
The good: The Nike+ SportWatch GPS is very easy to use and has an attractive design. The watch has good battery life, and the Web component is a great resource for tracking workouts and getting training tips.
The bad: It's expensive. We had some initial problems with GPS, and positioning wasn't always accurate.
The bottom line: For runners looking to keep track of their workouts, the Nike+ SportWatch GPS offers a very attractive and simple solution, but it's on the pricier side.
The good: The Sony BDP-S580 is a faster-than-average Blu-ray player and its exterior design is one of our favorites. The BDP-S580 has built-in Wi-Fi and the best current lineup of streaming-media services, including Netflix, Amazon Instant, Hulu Plus, Vudu, Slacker, and CinemaNow, and the free iOS and Android control app can search some streaming services.
The bad: The BDP-S580's user interface can be tedious to navigate. And even once you load a streaming service like Netflix, Sony's custom interface displays small cover art that can be tough to read. The BDP-S580 also lacks the popular MLB.TV service, as well as onboard memory for accessing BD-Live features.
The bottom line: The Sony BDP-S580 has built-in Wi-Fi and more streaming services than all competing Blu-ray players, but its user interface is mediocre.