Here's our weekly roundup of the new products CNET reviewers liked best.
2011 BMW 740i
Editors' rating: 4 out of 5
The good: The standard navigation system in the 2011 BMW 740i looks and works excellently. The Bluetooth phone system downloads contact lists and offers dial-by-name voice command. With the optional active suspension, the 740i handles like a sports car.
The bad: Cabin tech interfaces, most notably for points of interest and music selection, are not the most intuitive. BMW charges extra for little things such as iPod integration.
The bottom line: The 2011 BMW 740i proves that you don't need a V-8 in an executive sedan. It offers first-rate cabin electronics and driver assistance features, and preserves BMW's sports car reputation.
The good: The HTC Inspire 4G is affordably priced and boasts a large display. The Android 2.2 smartphone runs on AT&T's HSPA+ network and offers mobile hot-spot capabilities. New HTC Sense provides faster boot time and other enhancements. It also has an 8-megapixel camera that takes excellent photos.
The bad: The smartphone is rather large and heavy, and the battery cover is difficult to remove. We didn't experience great 4G speeds. AT&T blocks third-party apps. Lacks a front-facing camera.
The bottom line: Though dual-core smartphones are on the way, the HTC Inspire 4G stands as one of AT&T's best, high-end Android devices and is an incredible value.
The good: The Motorola Atrix 4G features a dual-core processor and a sharp qHD (quarter HD) display. The Android 2.2 smartphone has a sleek design and a 5-megapixel camera, a front-facing camera for video calls, and an HDMI port.
The bad: No 1080p HD video recording or playback at launch. You can't install non-Market third-party apps. We didn't experience great HSPA+ 4G data speeds.
The bottom line: The laptop dock is a decidedly cool (and pricey) feature, but the dual-core Motorola Atrix 4G has plenty to offer on its own. The smartphone packs speed and high-end features into a sleek package and earns its place at the top of AT&T's Android lineup.
The good: Optical viewfinder; articulated LCD; built-in neutral-density filter; very good photo quality for its class.
The bad: Shot-to-shot performance still a little sluggish; some annoying controls.
The bottom line: Relatively unchanged from its predecessor, save the addition of 720p video, the Canon PowerShot G12 remains a very good, more-or-less compact model, designed to please photo enthusiasts.
The good: Budget-priced Netbook with solid construction; excellent battery life; comfortable keyboard.
The bad: Lacks HDMI; single-core Atom CPU; narrow touch pad; limited customization; ultimately, still a plain old single-core Netbook.
The bottom line: If you're looking for a budget-level Netbook with a long battery life, the HP Mini 1103 offers a very affordable package compared with other HP Netbooks. Just be forewarned: there isn't anything here you haven't seen before.
The good: Responsive touch-screen interface with no glare or contrast issues; high-contrast 7-inch E-Ink Pearl display; both Wi-Fi and 3G wireless connectivity; zippier performance than its predecessor; integration with Sony e-book store; good battery life (up to 22 days); supports EPUB e-book standard, which enables e-book downloads from libraries and other third parties; audio capabilities; SD and Memory Stick Duo memory expansion slots; charges via Micro-USB port.
The bad: Expensive compared with the competition; Sony online store isn't as robust as Amazon's; Sony Reader app not available on many other platforms; no protective cover included.
The bottom line: Sony's flagship e-reader, the Daily Edition PRS-950, is a capable, well-designed e-reader that offers both Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity--but at $300, it's too expensive.