Here's our weekly roundup of the new products CNET reviewers liked best.
Amazon Kindle 2
Editors' rating: 4
The good: Slimmer and sleeker looking than the original Kindle; 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 and navigation; a faster processor speeds up the device; with 2GB of internal memory, it's capable of storing 1,500 electronic books; font size is adjustable; improved battery life; displays image files and plays MP3 and AAC audio; compatible with Windows and Mac machines; new Text-to-Speech feature allows you to have text read aloud.
The bad: No expansion slot for adding more memory or accessing files; files such as PDFs and Word documents aren't natively supported, and need to be converted at 10 cents a pop by Amazon; no protective carrying case included; battery is sealed into the device and isn't removable; hardware and content is still too expensive.
The bottom line: While it's still short of perfection--and has a price tag that's too high--the Amazon Kindle 2 offers a range of improvements that makes it the best overall e-book reader we've seen to date.
The good: With its phenomenally powerful engine and well-designed suspension, the 2009 Cadillac CTS-V serves up blistering acceleration and very stable handling. The navigation system offers excellently integrated traffic and also shows weather conditions. The Bose stereo delivers great clarity.
The bad: Gear shift buttons on the steering wheel are poorly placed and gas mileage is in the mid-teens.
The bottom line: As a high-performance, luxury sedan, the 2009 Cadillac CTS-V sets a benchmark. It's blisteringly fast and handles extraordinarily well, and offers an excellent set of cabin gadgets.
The good: Unique, polished case design; easily accessible interior; solid performance for its price; amazing power efficiency; strong features assortment.
The bad: No expansion card upgrade path; chokes on more demanding games at higher resolutions; no 5.1 analog audio outputs.
The bottom line: HP's Firebird 803 brings the influence of its Voodoo PC acquisition to the mainstream with a compelling design, admirable power efficiency, and strong bang-for-the-buck. What it lacks is any sort of graphics upgrade path. For some, the limited upgradeability kills the deal. For those still interested, this PC offers a complete gaming PC with conversation-piece design.
The good: The Samsung Memoir has a handsome and slim design with a styling that makes it look like a camera. The TouchWiz interface makes navigation a breeze and we love that you can upload your photos directly to online sharing sites. The photo quality is top-notch, and the overall feature set is very impressive. It has great performance as well.
The bad: The Samsung Memoir lacks Wi-Fi, its Web browser is not the greatest, and the touch-screen interface takes some acclimation. You are limited to preloaded TouchWiz widgets.
The bottom line: If you don't mind the price, the Samsung Memoir lives up to its promise as a top-notch camera phone.
The good: Very fast throughput; loads of features; robust and intuitive Web interface; RAID 1 and RAID 0 support; great expandability; Download Station supports eMule, BitTorrent and Web sites that require authentication.
The bad: Requires some networking knowhow to use and take advantage of its advanced features; Surveillance Station supports only one camera out of the box; eSATA port located on the front; requires a tool to install hard drives; expensive.
The bottom line: Although expensive and difficult to use for networking novices, the Synology DS209+ offers awesome throughput speed and nearly all the features you could ever need in a NAS server.
The good: Excellent battery life; improved keyboard; competitively priced.
The bad: Slightly faster Intel Atom CPU fails to impress; other Netbook-makers have shown more innovation.
The bottom line: Asus practically invented the Netbook market, and the Eee PC 1000HE is an overdue overhaul that offers a new CPU and great battery life, but misses some of the competition's bells and whistles.
The good: Unique small form factor case design; best deal among SFF gaming PCs at this price.
The bad: Outperformed by older, less-expensive standard tower desktops; massive power hog; no upgrade room; a few missed living room-friendliness opportunities.
The bottom line: Maingear's X-Cube small form factor game PC has received a cleverly redesigned case and boasts strong bang for the buck in its niche. We wouldn't necessarily pick this configuration, and you can find a better deal in a standard-sized gaming desktop, but you still might be charmed by its unique looks and its decent value.
Sony Ericsson HBH-IS800 Wireless Stereo Headphones
Sony Ericsson HBH-IS800 Wireless Stereo Headphones
Editors' rating: 3.5
The good: The Sony Ericsson HBH-IS800 headphones are ultracompact and let you cut the cord from your A2DP-compatible music phone. The earbuds offer deep bass and generally solid sound quality, and the package includes a storage box.
The bad: The Sony Ericsson HBH-IS800 headphones may not fit all users well, they're pricey, and the sound quality is not on par with wired models.
The bottom line: The solid-sounding Sony Ericsson HBH-IS800 Wireless Stereo Headphones are an excellent option for anyone looking for the very smallest Bluetooth headset money can buy to use with an A2DP-compatible music phone or MP3 player.