Here's our weekly roundup of the new products CNET reviewers liked best.
HP EliteBook Mobile Workstation 8560w - Core i7-2720QM 2.2GHz - 15.6-inch TFT
Editors' rating: 4 out of 5
The good: The HP EliteBook 8560w Mobile Workstation offers excellent configuration options including a color-accurate LCD, comes with great tools for fine-tuning performance and power usage, and has a tough but attractive design.
The bad: Like most mobile workstations, the EliteBook 8560w is large, heavy, and potentially very expensive.
The bottom line: HP's versatile EliteBook 8560w shows that a mobile workstation can be rugged and a solid performer and still look good.
The good: The Soul by Ludacris SL300s competes with other celebrity-endorsed headphones with active noise cancellation, a comfortably padded headband, and a generous array of accessories.
The bad: An overbearing bass bump drowns out the clarity of the sonic profile, especially in songs with electronic instruments.
The bottom line: Although they won't satisfy audiophiles and purists, we prefer the Soul by Ludacris SL300 headphones over the competition for their sexy light-up earpieces, supreme comfort, and street-savvy noise cancellation.
The good: The updated Maingear Vybe Super Stock will charm PC gamers with its attractive new case, an innovative drive-access speed boost, and buyer-friendly support policies.
The bad: We'd like more flexibility from Maingear's online configurator.
The bottom line: The handsome new Maingear Vybe Super Stock offers everything we like to see in a modern gaming PC, and we'd recommend it particularly to those looking for a well-rounded performance computer.
The good: The Nikon 1 J1 delivers excellent video and low-ISO photo quality, plus some aspects of the camera's performance lead its class.
The bad: The CX lens system drops manual focus rings on the lenses; you can't use flash above 1/60 sec; and there's no option for an EVF.
The bottom line: The Nikon 1 J1 is a fine camera, but there's nothing here that screams out "buy it" over similar competitors. It's also on the expensive side for a point-and-shoot upgrader, but has drawbacks for the more advanced user.
The good: The EcoBoost engine in the 2011 Ford F-150 Lariat SuperCab 4x4 lends plenty of power, and a solid four-wheel drive system has high and low settings. The cabin tech provides data including weather, traffic, and fuel prices. The Sony audio system adds some unexpectedly high-quality sound.
The bad: The drivetrain leads to some slight hesitation during acceleration and the four-wheel drive binds when the steering is at its lock point.
The bottom line: The 2011 Ford F-150 takes advantage of modern technology and loses none of its practical working capabilities. Nice touches include the EcoBoost engine's power and the Sony audio system's quality.
The good: The Huawei Impulse 4G is a decent budget smartphone with a colorful and intuitive touch-screen display, 720p HD video capture, a 5-megapixel camera, Wi-Fi, and support for AT&T's HSPA+ network. It's also very affordable.
The bad: The Huawei Impulse 4G only has Android 2.2, and we experienced inconsistent HSPA+ speeds.
The bottom line: The Huawei Impulse 4G satisfies the basics of most Android phones, but its outdated software and inconsistent speeds keep us from fully recommending it despite its bargain price.
The good: The Asus Eee Pad Slider SL101's keyboard mechanism is well-implemented and useful to those frustrated with typing on a tablet screen. Also, the inclusion of Mini-HDMI, a microSD card slot, USB 2.0, and the latest version of Honeycomb makes this tablet worth its price.
The bad: The Slider is bulky and heavy for a tablet and can't be detached from the keyboard plate. Also, the typing environment feels cramped and the curved design on the keyboard plate blocks the spacebar. No LED flash on the camera means no nighttime picture taking.
The bottom line: Though it prevents a "pure" tablet experience, the Asus Eee Pad Slider's built-in keyboard is a welcome feature for those who break into cold sweats whenever typing on a tablet is mentioned.
The good: The Atari Arcade, a small, compact docking joystick, detaches easily from the iPad and can fit in a backpack; no batteries are required, either.
The bad: Buttons and joystick feel stiff and less comfortable than true arcade equivalents like the iCade. The dock forces the iPad into portrait orientation, and it's only compatible with the Atari Greatest Hits app.
The bottom line: The compact Atari Arcade joystick dock ably converts the iPad into an old-school video game machine that doesn't require batteries, as long as all you're planning to do is play Atari games.