Here's our weekly roundup of the new products CNET reviewers liked best.
2011 Mercedes-Benz CL550 4Matic
Editors' rating: 4 out of 5
The good: Air suspension and standard all-wheel drive keep the 2011 Mercedes-Benz CL550 composed, while massage seats pamper occupants. The navigation system delivers 3D detail, and the Harman Kardon stereo sounds excellent. Night vision and adaptive cruise control add safety and comfort.
The bad: New engine accelerates sluggishly at slow speeds, and still gets gas-guzzler tax. The suspension's Sport mode button is inconveniently placed, and the split-view video option causes degraded resolution on the LCD.
The bottom line: Although expensive, the 2011 Mercedes-Benz CL550 comes loaded with cutting-edge tech while delivering an incredibly comfortable ride, but the car needs better tuning for low-speed driving.
The good: The RIM BlackBerry Bold 9780 ships with BlackBerry OS 6. The smartphone offers double the flash memory and a higher-megapixel camera than the Bold 9700. There's also support for Wi-Fi calling.
The bad: Hardware isn't much different from the Bold 9700.
The bottom line: The RIM BlackBerry Bold 9780 is a solid messaging smartphone and ships with the latest BlackBerry OS, but it's not necessarily worth the upgrade.
The good: Sleek, attractive design; built-in Intel Wireless Display and WiMax; great specs for the price.
The bad: Bulky body; no Bluetooth; lower screen resolution.
The bottom line: Offering a complete package of performance, design, and even Intel Wireless Display at a very attractive price, the Samsung SF510-A01 is one of the best laptop values we've seen all year.
The good: The LG Optimus U has a simple and slim design with a very attractive display. It ships with Android 2.2, and has Wi-Fi with hot-spot and tethering capabilities, EV-DO Rev. A, GPS, and a 3.2-megapixel camera. It is very affordable, too.
The bad: The LG Optimus U lacks built-in Flash video in the browser. The camera does not have LED flash.
The bottom line: The LG Optimus U is a wonderful entry-level smartphone that combines great features with a bargain price.
The good: Audio is clean and exceptionally balanced; ideal for home studio recording, but also great for general listening; detachable, replaceable cable; affordable price.
The bad: Overall retro and plastic design; clunky cable weighs down the headset; uncomfortable for long-term use; exposed small wires running from the headband to the earcup.
The bottom line: The Shure SRH440 headphones might not appeal to people who use higher-end equipment or who want skull-shattering bass, but as a step into the world of home studio recording, they sound great with a wide range of musical genres--and the price is right.
The good: The JVC KW-NT3HDT's inclusion of an HD Radio receiver affords it the advantages of digital FM tuning, including increased audio quality, HD substations, and iTunes tagging. The unit features a wide variety of audio sources, such as USB, SD card, Bluetooth streaming, and CD/DVD playback. Hands-free calling quality is good. GPS reception is enhanced by a three-axis gyro and a speed pulse sensor.
The bad: The KW-NT3HDT's display is a bit low-resolution for our tastes. The POI search interface can be clunky and unintuitive. USB port cover seems unnecessary and can be difficult remove.
The bottom line: The JVC KW-NT3HDT stands apart from the competition, both with its impressive feature set that includes HD Radio and traffic data and its rare detachable faceplate. Despite a few hardware and software quirks, we think there's a lot to like about this unit.
The good: Works well to mirror laptop screen onto TV without wires; HDMI output; simple setup; plug-and-play operation; thoughtful design; solid connection with few dropouts or crashes; works with both Windows and Mac.
The bad: Somewhat expensive; requires newer, robust laptop; screencast function monopolizes laptop; softer and has more artifact-prone picture than wired HDMI cable connection or Intel Wirelss Display; screencasting lag means it won't work for gaming, Web surfing, or other input-dependent PC tasks; won't play copy-protected Blu-ray or DVD discs.
The bottom line: Despite some picture quality, lag, and compatibility issues, Veebeam HD puts laptop-based streaming video onto TV screens more conveniently than ever.
The good: Affordable bring-your-own storage network file server; connect to home network via Wi-Fi or Ethernet; tons of features, ranging from media streaming to cloud printing; can be accessed online from a wide range of smartphones and devices, including the iOS and Android models.
The bad: Awkward and unintuitive media browsing experience; unreliable and choppy playback and file format compatibility makes audio and especially video streaming unreliable; unattractive design; many of the advanced features like cloud printing and media streaming don't work reliably.
The bottom line: The Pogoplug Pro adds Wi-Fi and costs $30 less than its predecessor, and remains a unique and easy-to-set-up device for sharing files online. However, many of its higher-end features (printing, media streaming) remain buggy and unreliable.