Here's our weekly roundup of the new products CNET reviewers liked best.
Acer Aspire TimelineX AS3830TG-6431
Editors' rating: 4 out of 5
The good: At under $800, the Acer Aspire TimelineX 3830TG-6431 is one of the most affordable thin laptops we've seen. It makes few compromises and packs impressive Nvidia graphics into a very compact, portable design.
The bad: The lack of an optical drive is frustrating, since other laptops of similar size such as the Sony Vaio S and Toshiba Portege R835 do include one.
The bottom line: The aggressively priced Acer Aspire TimelineX 3830TG-6431's combination of gaming-ready graphics and a fast processor in a 13-inch body offers a great punch for a good price, provided you can live without a DVD drive.
The good: TomTom's Live Services provide top-notch HD Traffic reporting and other useful services in a safe manner. The glass capacitive touch screen of the TomTom Go 2535 M Live is extremely responsive and does a good job of showing off the updated interface's crisp graphics. Bluetooth hands-free calling, free traffic and map updates, and voice command for control and address entry round out a strong feature set.
The bad: While TomTom's updated interface is much easier to use than the old version, it can still be a bit confusing at first.
The bottom line: With its connected services and HD Traffic, the TomTom Go 2535 M Live performs well as a GPS navigator, whether you like to plan ahead or set destinations with voice command while you're on the road.
The good: The revamped Sony Vaio Z adds an inventive docking station with Blu-ray and discrete graphics. Even without it, this is a sleek, powerful, high-end laptop.
The bad: The Vaio Z starts expensive and goes up from there. Between the various power connections and AC adapters, you may end up with a confusing mess of wires, and the shallow keyboard isn't great for long-form typing.
The bottom line: Sony's high-end Z series laptop lives up to its luxury reputation, with a slim, lightweight body, plenty of processing power, and a highly specialized GPU dock.
The good: The 2011 Audi A4's eight-speed automatic transmission and direct-injection engine work together to deliver economical power. An optional Bang & Olufsen audio system makes music sweet, and the navigation system maps show excellent graphics.
The bad: The voice recognition system offers limited control options, and there is no search for the points-of-interest database.
The bottom line: The 2011 Audi A4 comes with a high-tech engine and transmission, and some excellent cabin tech features, making it an easy driver and very comfortable.
The good: The Harman Kardon HKTS 20BQ is one of the sleekest 5.1 speaker systems available in this price range. The six-piece, 5.1 satellite/subwoofer system includes four two-way satellites, one two-way center channel, and a 200-watt, 8-inch powered subwoofer. Harman also includes convenient swivel wall-mounts for the speakers.
The bad: The subwoofer isn't as powerful as some competitors. The speaker connectors also only accept bare wire, so you can't use banana plugs. And the Energy Take Classic system sounds a little better for less money.
The bottom line: The Harman Kardon HKTS 20BQ is a very stylish and affordable 5.1 speaker system with a particularly detailed sound, but it's not our top pick for a system this size.
The good: The Sony Vaio SA21GX packs a lot of computer into a light and thin frame, without setting the price too high. A high-res display, optional Blu-ray, and AMD graphics round out a complete package.
The bad: The screen hinge feels too wobbly for our tastes, and the throwback, slightly angular design might not appeal to everybody.
The bottom line: Sony's revamped Vaio S series laptops have slimmed down, but still offer plenty of high-end features, creating an affordable alternative to the attractive-but-expensive Vaio Z.
The good: The Toshiba Thrive's very aggressive pricing gives it an advantage over most other tablets. Its grooved back, full HDMI and USB support, full SD card slot, and replaceable battery justify its very bulky design. Also, its built-in file management system makes finding and accessing files in Honeycomb easier.
The bad: The Thrive's bulky design and hefty weight are not for everyone. Also, awkward back camera placement and a difficult panel removal process make us wish more time had been spent in the design phase. The LED lights on the bezel can be distracting.
The bottom line: The Toshiba Thrive is a bulky but aggressively priced Honeycomb tablet that earns its girth with full port support and a removable battery.
The good: The Eizo FlexScan T2351W-L has a beautiful, glossy screen, accurate color reproduction, and impeccable build quality. Some unique OSD options and its multitouch touch-screen support further highlight the monitor.
The bad: The monitor's high price is a lot to pay for a 23-incher. Also, its OSD design is archaic, the screen is super-reflective, and some of its OSD presets are ill-conceived.
The bottom line: The Eizo FlexScan T2351W-L is a well-designed touch-screen monitor that prices itself out of most users' grasp.
The good: The Kingston Wi-Drive is supercompact and provides extra storage space for the iPad and other mobile devices via Wireless-N. The drive also works with an existing Wi-Fi network to allow its connected clients to access the Internet.
The bad: The Kingston Wi-Drive offers limited amount of storage space (up to 32GB), doesn't support USB 3.0, is slow as an external drive, and has a short battery life. The device is rather expensive, can support only three concurrent users, and its iPad app is a little buggy and sluggish.
The bottom line: Compact, Internet-ready, and well-designed, the Wi-Drive makes a convenient companion for frequent travelers who have one or a few tablets and a moderate library of digital content.