Here's our weekly roundup of the new products CNET reviewers liked best.
Samsung Alias 2 SCH-U750 (Verizon Wireless)
Editors' rating: 4
The good: The Samsung Alias 2 has an innovative keypad that takes different forms depending on how you're using the phone. Its feature set is well-stocked and its overall performance for calls, video, and music is satisfying.
The bad: The Samsung Alias 2's navigation controls take acclimation. The phone lacks Wi-Fi and POP3 e-mail access is limited to a Web-based interface. Also, adding up the various data features is expensive.
The bottom line: The Samsung Alias 2 is an inventive update to Samsung's previous messaging phone. Provided you can afford it, and learn how to use it, it's a powerful messaging device with reliable performance.
The good: Reproduces deep black levels; accurate color, commendable picture uniformity for an LCD; very good dejudder processing; extensive feature set with Yahoo Widgets, network streaming and built-in content; solid connectivity with four HDMI and one PC input.
The bad: Somewhat expensive; benefits of 240Hz difficult to discern; dark areas tinged bluer; shiny screen can cause reflections in bright rooms; no S-Video inputs.
The bottom line: The Samsung LNB750 series can't beat the picture quality of the best plasmas and LED-based LCDs, but for a conventional LCD, it's one of the best we've tested.
The good: The Samsung SBH-600 stereo Bluetooth headset fits very comfortably on the ear and has excellent audio quality. We also like the 3.5-millimeter headset jack that lets you use it with non-Bluetooth devices.
The bad: The Samsung SBH-600's call quality could be improved.
The bottom line: Though it doesn't have the best call quality, its comfortable fit and fantastic audio quality makes the Samsung SBH-600 one of the best stereo Bluetooth headsets for listening to music.
The good: VESA wall mount compatible out of the box; dedicated HDMI input lets you input video from other devices; strong application performance.
The bad: Not a great multitasker.
The bottom line: You can find more-cost-effective large-screen all-in-ones for general productivity, but Sony's Vaio LV250B is our favorite for home entertainment. Loaded with unique features geared toward digital media convenience, this system will meet the needs of anyone looking for a PC to use as an entertainment hub.
The good: Space-saving design; robust software; interactive LCD menu; dual-paper feeds; fast graphics and photo prints; auto-duplexer included.
The bad: Poor print quality; expensive; no fax machine; flimsy paper cassette; slow text output speed; unreliable wireless performance; unique gray ink can be hard to find.
The bottom line: The Canon Pixma MP980 multifunction printer, copier, and scanner are a step up from its predecessor, but the print quality isn't up to standard and it doesn't perform as quickly as the competition. The HP Photosmart Premium Fax all-in-one is a less expensive alternative that adds value with a fax machine and faster, higher quality output.
The good: The Geomate.jr is extremely easy for youth (and adults) to use thanks to its no-setup design and huge database of preloaded cache coordinates. Water-resistant and shockproof design should handle the occasional drop and splash with ease. The capability to save a Home location means that the Geomate.jr won't leave you lost in the woods
The bad: The lack of an internal compass means you have to be moving to get accurate direction information. Having to purchase a proprietary connection to update the cache database is slightly annoying. USB would be better, we think.
The bottom line: The Geomate.jr sits in a class of its own as a child-friendly and easy-to-use handheld, geocaching device.
The good: The Voyager Q hard-drive-docking station supports both 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch SATA hard drives. It features a practical design, all the existing connections (USB, FireWire 400, FireWire 800, and eSATA), and performs very well in our tests.
The bad: The Voyager Q doesn't support ATA (IDE) hard drives and comes with a bulky power adapter.
The bottom line: The Voyager Q is a versatile hard-drive-docking station for people who work with more than one internal hard drive. It saves time and spares you from having to open the computer's case.
The good: The TomTom XL 340 S has advanced features such as lane guidance, downloadable fuel prices, and user updated maps from TomTom Map Share. Its large 4.3-inch WXGA touch screen is easy to read and to enter addresses on. Text-to-speech enhances the device's safety.
The bad: The larger size, combined with additional thickness added by an EasyPort mount, somewhat limits its portability. Routing from a moving vehicle is considerably slower than from a stationary one.
The bottom line: The TomTom XL 340 S introduces a few advanced features to TomTom's midrange lineup, while staying well below the premium price bracket.