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.