CNET's reviewers give the low-down on the Palm Pre Plus, HP Mini 5102, Aliph Jawbone Icon, and more.
CNET Reviews staff
Aliph Jawbone Icon (Catch)
Here's our weekly roundup of the new products CNET reviewers liked best.
Aliph Jawbone Icon (Catch)
Editors' rating: 4 out of 5
The good: The Aliph Jawbone Icon comes in a variety of beautiful jewellike designs; it has a dedicated on/off switch; and it comes with several ear-fit options. It has many advanced features, which include an iPhone battery meter and is highly customizable with certain Audio and Dial "apps" via Jawbone's own MyTalk Web site. It has amazing sound quality and excellent canceling of wind noise.
The bad: The Aliph Jawbone Icon doesn't have a manual volume rocker and the ear fit could be a bit more comfortable.
The bottom line: Not only is the Aliph Jawbone Icon attractive and affordable with great call quality, but it is also highly customizable with advanced features that makes it the most innovative Bluetooth headset we've seen to date.
The good: Fast print speeds; inexpensive; easy wireless setup; comprehensive driver features.
The bad: Lacks automatic document feeder; small LCD screen.
The bottom line: The Lexmark Impact S305's low price tag, simple setup, and straightforward features are sure to draw in budget customers with intermittent printing needs. With extra features like wireless printing and a media card reader, the Impact earns a solid recommendation.
The good: The LG Lotus Elite has a striking design, with an external touch screen, a great QWERTY keyboard, and plenty of messaging and multimedia features. It has great call quality as well.
The bad: The LG Lotus Elite has features similar to those of its predecessor. We think the photo quality could be improved. We also wished the speakerphone had better audio quality. Plus, the LG Lotus Elite's unique look might not be for everyone.
The bottom line: The LG Lotus Elite's stylish design, healthy feature set, and excellent performance makes it a great messaging phone choice for Sprint customers.
The good: The Palm Pre Plus offers double the storage capacity and double the RAM of the Palm Pre. The smartphone also ships with an inductive back cover for Touchstone tcharging and features an improved QWERTY keyboard.
The bad: Speakerphone volume is too soft. We'd like to see a landscape keyboard and camera editing options. No support for V Cast Music or Video. The phone can run a bit hot.
The bottom line: The Palm Pre Plus earns its place as the top WebOS device, improving on the Pre with a better design and performance, and upgraded features. Verizon customers looking for a versatile smartphone to balance their personal and work lives will be well-served by the Pre Plus.
The good: The Acer Aspire EasyStore H340 offers fast performance and is a good storage and backup solution at an affordable price. Its storage capacity is easily expandable and its remote over-the-Internet access is useful and convenient. The server is also quiet and aesthetically pleasing.
The bad: Acer's Aspire EasyStore H340 is just a basic Home Server-based network-attached storage server (NAS) without any special features. The server doesn't offer RAID, an IP camera, or printer support, and its initial setup was a bit buggy. It doesn't support Apple Time Machine, either.
The bottom line: The Acer Aspire EasyStore H340 is an affordable and flexible NAS solution for both homes and small businesses that don't require advanced features from their networks.
The good: Dual-core Atom processor, solid gaming graphics for a Netbook, large screen, affordable for its features.
The bad: Awkward touch pad, mediocre battery life.
The bottom line: As one of the few Netbooks with a dual-core Atom processor and Nvidia Ion graphics, the 12.1-inch EeePC 1201N has superior performance compared with most Atom-based machines, but any higher-level ULV thin-and-light will still do better.
The good: The Palm Pixi Plus brings the addition of Wi-Fi and the capability to use the smartphone as a mobile hot spot. The sleek handset also offers Bluetooth, 3G, and GPS. The multitasking features of Palm WebOS continues to be one of the highlights.
The bad: The smartphone can be sluggish. The camera lacks editing options, and picture quality is pretty poor. No expansion slot.
The bottom line: While not a major overhaul, the Palm Pixi Plus adds built-in Wi-Fi and gives customers making the jump from a feature phone to a smartphone even more functionality without breaking the bank.
The good: The Thinksound Thunder 10mm headphones feature an environmentally friendly design, right down to the packaging. The earpieces are very compact and should offer most people a comfortable fit. Music sounds natural, and there's plenty of bass.
The bad: The Thinksound Thunder earphones may not fit people with larger ears, mids can be a bit overly forward at times, and the low-end is slightly distorted on certain tracks. Sound may not be bright or crisp enough for some.
The bottom line: The Thinksound Thunder 10mm headphones are a good value at their street price and should be a top consideration for those who like plenty of bass and natural sound.
The good: The TomTom XXL 540 S has advanced features such as lane guidance and user-updated maps from TomTom Map Share. Its huge 5-inch touch screen is easy to read and to input addresses. Text-to-speech enhances the device's safety.
The bad: With a wide 5-inch screen and a thick EasyPort mount, pocketability goes out of the window. Routing from a moving vehicle is considerably slower than from a stationary one.
The bottom line: The TomTom XXL 540 S improves on the TomTom XL line by keeping the features we love while improving screen visibility; but the bigger size comes with compromised portability.