Here are a few of CNET Reviews' favorite items from the past week, including the 2011 Audi A8, the newest Amazon Kindle, and the Nikon Coolpix S6000.
CNET Reviews staff
Amazon Kindle (3G/Wi-Fi, graphite)
Here's our weekly roundup of the new products CNET reviewers liked best.
Amazon Kindle (3G/Wi-Fi, graphite)
Editors' rating: 4 out of 5
The good: Slimmer, more compact design than previous Kindle; improved screen with higher contrast and faster page turns; native PDF support; large library of hundreds of thousands of e-books, newspapers, magazines, and blogs via Amazon's familiar online store; built-in free 3G wireless "Whispernet" data network, plus Wi-Fi; built-in keyboard for notes; with 4GB (3.3 usable) of internal memory, it's capable of storing 3,500 electronic books; eight fonts available, including two new extra-large sizes; excellent battery life; displays image files, and plays MP3 and AAC audio.
The bad: No expansion slot for adding more memory; no support for EPUB book files; no Nook-like lending feature; no protective carrying case included; battery is sealed into the device and isn't removable.
The bottom line: The third-generation Kindle's winning combination of noteworthy upgrades--an improved screen, better battery life, lighter weight, and lower price--vaults it to the top of the e-book reader category.
The good: Ultrathin profile; minimal footprint; simple Bluetooth pairing; top row keys offers one-touch access to popular Mac features; automatic shut off conserves energy.
The bad: Lacks number pad; small keys may feel cramped for some users.
The bottom line: Apple bundles its Wireless Keyboard with every new iMac because it matches the computer's strengths in terms of minimal design and simple functionality. While some may bemoan its lack of extra features, the Apple Wireless Keyboard does the job and looks good doing it.
The good: The 2011 Audi A8's direct-injection V-8 gives it plenty of power, and its eight-speed transmission gets it good highway fuel economy. Active suspension, all-wheel-drive, and dynamic steering make it handle exceedingly well. The navigation system incorporates beautifully detailed 3D maps and next year will integrate with Google maps. The audio system delivers clean sound.
The bad: The transmission does not stay in manual mode. We noticed some rattle when playing music with deep bass. The navigation system routing is not always the most efficient.
The bottom line: The 2011 Audi A8 is an exceptional luxury sedan, with top-of-the-line infotainment and driver assistance features and performance tech that makes it handle like a sports car.
The good: ALPS mechanical switches make satisfying click; laser-etched keys won't fade; strong build; three integrated USB 2.0 ports; compatible with PC and Mac (with drivers).
The bad: Expensive; clicking sound irritates neighbors.
The bottom line: Fans of Apple's legendary Extended II keyboard will love the Matias TactilePro 3.0's sculpted keys and satisfying click. Its sturdy build and laser-etched keys also ensure a long lifespan. If you get past the $150 price, the Matias TactilePro 3.0 makes a solid replacement for the stock Apple keyboard.
The good: Compact remote control with slide-out QWERTY keyboard; uses Bluetooth wireless, which eliminates need for line-of-sight infrared; solid feel and good overall ergonomics; backlit keys; incorporates all buttons and same basic design found on classic TiVo "peanut" remote; allows for TV or AV receiver volume and input controls.
The bad: Somewhat pricey; can't completely replace a full-featured universal remote control.
The bottom line: The TiVo Slide is a must-have remote for owners of compatible TiVo DVRs.
The good: Less expensive than other local dimming LED-based LCDs; reproduces relatively deep black levels with very good shadow detail; accurate, well-saturated color; excellent bright-room performance; solid uniformity; superb streaming and widget content via well-integrated Apps platform; includes unique Bluetooth remote with slide-out QWERTY keyboard; integrated Wi-Fi.
The bad: More blooming than some local dimming LEDs; black areas tinged blue; couldn't handle 1080p/24 content properly; poor off-angle viewing; fewer picture controls than some high-end HDTVs; generic looks.
The bottom line: The Vizio XVT3SV series' excellent picture quality, thoughtful design, scads of features, and reasonable price combine to make it the best value among high-end LED-based LCD TVs today.
The good: Networked media streamer; playback up to 1080p; built-in Internet channels like YouTube and Flickr; support for Play-On; room for a 3.5-inch SATA hard drive; two digital-audio-outs (optical and coaxial); HDMI, component-, and composite-out; supports BitTorrent; wide range of file-type playback; can act as a file server.
The bad: USB Wi-Fi adapter sold separately; BitTorrent client is a bit rough; bulkier than other similar products; confusing onscreen and remote icons; some services rely on separately purchased hard drive.
The bottom line: Priced competitively with similar products, the M200 is a great networked media streamer for the do-it-yourself content guru.