Here are a few of CNET Reviews' favorite items from the past week including the Wacom Intuos4, Onkyo HT-S9100THX home theater system, and the 2009 BMW 335d.
CNET Reviews staff
2009 BMW 335d
Here's our weekly roundup of the new products CNET reviewers liked best.
2009 BMW 335d
Editors' rating: 4
The good: The 2009 BMW 335d's diesel engine delivers excellent fuel economy, with little performance compromise. The new iDrive controller works very well, and hard-drive-based navigation provides very detailed maps. iPod integration and Bluetooth phone support prove capable and easy to use.
The bad: BMW puts too much control on initial acceleration. Options run up the price of the car quickly.
The bottom line: The 2009 BMW 335d is an economical performance car with room for four people and cabin electronics that measure up with the latest and greatest.
The good: The 2009 Nissan Maxima features sporty performance thanks to its V-6 engine and finely tuned continuously variable transmission. The cabin tech is highlighted by a hard-drive-based navigation system showing live traffic. Audio sources include onboard music storage and excellent iPod integration.
The bad: The Bluetooth phone integration doesn't import cell phone contact lists, and the navigation system doesn't automatically reroute around traffic incidents.
The bottom line: Nissan gives the 2009 Maxima a serious performance treatment, making the car fun to drive while offering practical cabin technology in this comfortable sedan.
The good: Outstanding audio quality; 7.1 surround sound speaker system with full-size speakers and subwoofer; component-style AV receiver included; four HDMI inputs, onboard decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio; can upconvert analog sources to 1080i.
The bad: Upconverting video quality is mediocre; speakers are large and boxy, so they need a lot of room and may detract from your decor.
The bottom line: The Onkyo HT-S91000THX breaks the HTIB mold, offering four HDMI inputs, full-size speakers, and the best sound we've heard to date from an all-in-one system.
The good: Triple layered chassis protection; cheap; quick transfer speeds; convenient one touch backup; two year warranty.
The bad: No FireWire port.
The bottom line: The Transcend StoreJet 25 Mobile stomps the competition and lives to fight another day, thanks to its rugged military-grade exterior. It also delivers chart topping transfer speeds and offers the cheapest cost per gigabyte on the market today. We fully recommend this tough little drive.
The good: Beautiful, slim and well-thought-out new design; extremely fluid pen operation.
The bad: Schmutz very visible on black pen grip; buttons could use a bit more tactile differentiation; mouse still a bit awkward; still pricey; need more real-time feedback when configuring; glossy plastic panel shows fingerprints.
The bottom line: With a beautiful and more functional new design, Wacom's Intuos4 tablet demonstrates that a lack of competition doesn't necessarily keep you from innovating.
The good: Best in-class gaming performance; strong day-to-day application performance; plenty of upgrade room; compact, attractive case.
The bad: No Blu-ray drive option; outpaced on multithreaded applications and multitasking by a competing Dell of the same price.
The bottom line: By tweaking its internal components to achieve maximum 3D performance, Velocity Micro has made its $999 Edge Z5 one of the most impressive lower-end gaming desktops we've ever seen. As long as you don't mind sacrificing a bit of productivity speed to get it, we recommend this system to any PC gamer on a budget.