Here are a few of CNET Reviews' favorite items from the past week, including BMW Z4, Toshiba SDP93S portable DVD player, and Samsung Reclaim cell phone.
CNET Reviews staff
2009 BMW Z4 sDrive35i
Here's our weekly roundup of the new products CNET reviewers liked best.
2009 BMW Z4 sDrive35i
Editors' rating: 4 out of 5
The good: BMW packs a lot of tech into the 2010 BMW Z4 sDrive35i, with a twin clutch transmission, twin turbo six cylinder engine, and three mode suspension, resulting in spectacular performance. Cabin tech includes a stellar premium audio system, iPod integration, and HD radio. The navigation system has very good-looking maps and route guidance that avoids traffic jams.
The bad: The iDrive interface, although improved from earlier versions, is still not the most intuitive. Trunk space is compromised by the convertible hard top.
The bottom line: The 2010 BMW Z4 sDrive35i delivers incredible driving performance while incorporating practical cabin gadgets to inform and entertain.
The good: The Motorola Karma QA1 has a great keyboard and a wide array of features like 3G speeds, a full HTML browser with Flash Lite support, GPS, stereo Bluetooth, and more. We also like the 3.5-millimeter headset jack, the quick access to Facebook and other social networks, and the excellent call quality.
The bad: The Motorola Karma QA1's photo quality could be improved and we weren't pleased with the streaming video quality.
The bottom line: The Motorola Karma QA1 belies its cute appearance with high-end features that put it above just an ordinary messaging phone.
The good: Outstanding performance in day-to-day software as well as 3D games; affordable.
The bad: Motherboard and power supply don't accommodate upgrades as well as other midrange gaming PCs; large case not for everyone; phone support hours and online support in general need help.
The bottom line: Asus crafted the Essentio CG5290-BP007 to serve as a no-frills gaming desktop for just more than $1,000. And while the boutique PC vendors have a bit more polish for not too much more money, Asus can at least claim that this PC is one of the fastest on the retail shelves. You might have a hard time arguing the necessity of such a fast gaming box for back-to-school, but we can at least recommend this system as a speedy bargain.
The good: Rugged design with rubber cover; touch-screen option.
The bad: Tiny keyboard; big and heavy for a Netbook.
The bottom line: Aimed primarily at school kids, the Dell Latitude 2100 is an interesting new take on the Netbook. It's worth a look if the unique features--including an especially rugged design and a touch screen--are important to you.
The good: Nearly day-long battery life; compact design; includes small Media Center remote control; imprint finish helps it stand out from the laptop crowd.
The bad: Massive 9-cell battery is awkward and uncomfortable; lacks 802.11n Wi-Fi and Gigabit Ethernet; glossy touch pad is uncomfortable.
The bottom line: Its massive battery extends awkwardly from the bottom of the laptop, but the HP Pavilion dv3-2155mx is an otherwise compact thin-and-light laptop that should get students to class and back on a single charge.
The good: The JayBird Endorphin Rush Earphones offer a durable cable design with a thick cord, a reinforced L-plug, and a slider to prevent tangles. The package includes a hard-sided case, a cable manager, various eartips, and removable earclips that make for a supersecure fit. The earphones offer deep bass.
The bad: The earpieces of the Jaybird Endorphin Earphones are large and may not fit all users comfortably, and some music comes across sounding hollow and lacking in warmth.
The bottom line: The JayBird Endorphin Rush earphones are a good choice for active people who want secure fitting earbuds without sacrificing bass or overall sound quality.
The good: 7.1 home theater system with tall-boy front speakers; built-in Blu-ray player; very good sound quality for an HTIB; excellent image quality on Blu-rays and DVDs; iPod dock built into AV receiver; Amazon Video On-Demand and YouTube streaming.
The bad: No Netflix or Pandora streaming; auto setup mic is too short; no video inputs; lacks Wi-Fi.
The bottom line: Panasonic's SC-BT300 is a 7.1 home theater system with built-in Blu-ray and its tall-boy speakers help deliver very good sound quality, but it doesn't have the Netflix streaming found on some of its similarly priced competitors.
The good: The RIM BlackBerry Curve 8520 features a responsive optical trackpad and dedicated media controls. The smartphone also offers Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a 2-megapixel camera, and good call quality.
The bad: Lacks 3G support and GPS. You can only save downloaded apps to the phone's main memory.
The bottom line: The RIM BlackBerry Curve 8520 is a sleek entry-level smartphone that delivers some nice design enhancements and great performance. While available directly from T-Mobile, Wal-Mart offers the better value on the smartphone.