Here are a few of CNET Reviews' favorite items from the past week, including the 2009 Honda Civic Si, the Microsoft Explorer Mouse, and the Kodak EasyShare W1020 wireless photo frame.
CNET Reviews staff
2009 Honda Civic Si
2009 Honda Civic Si
Editors' rating: 4
The good: An impressive gearbox and good handling make the 2009 Honda Civic Si a blast to drive. An intuitive voice-command system makes hands-free use of the navigation system easy, and the new iPod/USB drive connectivity is a good update to the music system.
The bad: We have few problems with the Civic Si, besides the rough look of the navigation system and the cheap steering wheel. A little more torque would also be nice.
The bottom line: If you like a fun, fast ride, the 2009 Honda Civic Si will make you smile. With navigation, phone connectivity, and modern digital music sources, it also makes a practical daily driver.
The good: Relatively large screen area; solid display quality; built-in Wi-Fi; zippy performance; easy to set up; supports MP3 and video playback.
The bad: Cheap plastic frame; no remote; Mac owners can't wirelessly connect to their computers.
The bottom line: Kodak may have cut some corners on the build quality of the EasyShare W1020 Wireless Digital Frame, but it offers decent image quality, performance, and a strong feature set for the money.
The good: New BlueTrack mouse sensor works on almost any surface; well-designed rechargeable base station; included rechargeable battery; snap-in USB receiver.
The bad: No dpi toggle button; mushy scroll wheel.
The bottom line: The Microsoft Explorer Mouse deserves your attention for its BlueTrack sensor technology that lets you use it on surfaces where other mice fail. Laptop owners, or anyone else who uses a nondeskbound computer, will benefit from Microsoft's innovative new technology.
Here's our weekly roundup of the new products CNET reviewers liked best.
Editors' rating: 3.5
The good: The Baylis Revolution is a wind-up MP3 player that features video playback, a photo viewer, an FM radio, a voice recorder, a line input recorder, a text reader, expandable memory, and a flashlight. You can even use it to charge your cell phone.
The bad: The Baylis Revolution is bulky, the music player does not support DRM-protected music or video, and winding the player makes an obnoxious amount of noise.
The bottom line: The Baylis Revolution may be overkill for recreational camping, but it's a perfect boredom-buster for globe trekkers, outdoorsmen, and fans of green energy.
The good: Largest screen among mainstream all-in-one PCs; unique touch-based interface; public TouchSmart development kit could expand touch software library; convenient expandable hard-drive bay.
The bad: Weak audio output; performs like a $600 desktop; non-VESA-standard wall mount.
The bottom line: No other all-in-one PC can offer touch-based input or an LCD screen as large as that of the HP TouchSmart IQ816. It's hard to deny that those features make this a compelling desktop for families with a place to put it. Weak performance hinders its suitability for work, and it's not the best digital entertainment center, but we recommend this system to anyone looking to get in early on the touch-computing experiment.
The good: The Sony SRS-M50 Portable Speakers offer good stereo separation and clear audio without any distortion at high volumes. They're cute, compact, and come in a few color options. The speakers work with any music source and can be powered by batteries or a wall adapter.
The bad: The Sony SRS-M50 Portable Speakers offer little in the way of bass, and there's no carrying case contained in the package. Batteries are not included, and the wires tangle easily.
The bottom line: The Sony SRS-M50 Portable Speakers feature clear audio quality, good stereo separation, and a compact, travel-friendly design. They're a great option for the hotel room or the office.
The good: The 2008 Toyota Prius has an iconic shape that will only be confused with other Priuses. Gas mileage and the emissions rating are extraordinarily good for a car of this size.
The bad: As the current model is at the end of its cycle, the cabin tech is dated, lacking any advanced features. The handling doesn't impress.
The bottom line: Although still a fuel economy champion, the 2008 Toyota Prius is about to be replaced by a new generation that should be better in every way. The car is a great commuter, but wait for the 2010 model.
The good: Speaker system built into a base for small and midsize TVs; five 2-inch drivers, plus one 5.5-inch subwoofer; subwoofer output jack for use with separate subwoofer; zero setup/calibration required.
The bad: Only supports two analog stereo inputs; base can't handle TVs heavier than 90 pounds; finicky remote needs to be pointed directly toward the speaker to work; no built-in controls means you're screwed if you lose the remote.
The bottom line: In addition to delivering solid sonics, the Zvox Z-Base 550 sets itself apart from competing single-speaker units with the unique capability to double as a stand for your TV.