Here's our weekly roundup of the new products CNET reviewers liked best.
2011 Chevrolet Volt
Editors' rating: 4 out of 5
The good: The weight of its battery gives the 2011 Chevrolet Volt a planted feel, and its electric power train can greatly reduce gasoline usage. The hard-drive-based navigation system warns of traffic problems. A smartphone app lets you set charging times and offers other features, such as car location.
The bad: The Volt brakes unevenly, which can lead to panic stops. The cabin interface buttons are strewn around the center stack with no apparent logic, and the navigation system does not list electric-car charging stations.
The bottom line: Although pricey, the 2011 Chevrolet Volt will work excellently for anyone who commutes less than 40 miles, as it requires almost no gas during a typical week while providing a comfortable ride.
The good: The Seagate GoFlex Slim external hard drive is fast, compact, sturdy, flexible, and relatively affordable. The drive supports USB 3.0 and includes software that enables both Macs and PCs to have full access to it without the need to change the drive's file system.
The bad: The GoFlex Slim caps at only 320GB of storage.
The bottom line: With an ultrathin, sturdy design and fast performance, the Seagate GoFlex Slim external hard drive makes a great companion for a laptop that has built-in support for USB 3.0.
The good: The lightweight Sennheiser PX100-IIi improves on an earlier design with reinforced hinges for extra durability, an in-line remote, and single-sided cabling for tangle-free transportation and storage in the included carrying bag.
The bad: A prevalent midbass hump muddies the low-end spectrum and adds misplaced sonic weight for music with homophonic melodies, such as classical and jazz.
The bottom line: Despite their lightweight structure, the Sennheiser PX100-IIi headphones are surprisingly powerful, and we recommend them for travelers, students, and anyone else shopping for new open-backed headphones.
The good: The Linksys E1500 Wireless-N Router with SpeedBoost has a nice, compact design and offers good performance. It's affordable and comes with Cisco Connect, an intuitive software application that helps you set up and manage a home wireless network with ease.
The bad: The Linksys E1500 lacks advanced features such as dual-band, Gigabit Ethernet, and support for USB devices. Its Guest Networking feature only supports a maximum of 10 clients at a time.
The bottom line: Relatively fast and very easy to use, the Linksys E1500 Wireless-N Router with SpeedBoost is a good fit for home users, especially those with little networking know-how.
The good: The Nokia Astound boasts a sleek, premium design and affordable price tag. Call quality is good, and the phone's 8-megapixel camera takes great photos and video.
The bad: The smartphone can be sluggish and the Symbian 3 operating system is still behind the curve in ease of use and functionality.
The bottom line: The Nokia Astound is a beautifully designed and affordable smartphone for T-Mobile, but there are other budget-friendly options available with better performance and that are easier to use.
The good: The Samsung UND6400 series offers beautiful, compact styling with an ultrathin bezel and panel for a nearly all-picture look. It produces relatively deep black levels for an edge-lit LED-based LCD TV, with accurate color in bright areas, excellent video processing, and improved 3D picture quality. The Smart Hub Internet portal boasts more apps and streaming services than the competition.
The bad: This Samsung LED TV is relatively expensive. Its picture suffers from imperfect screen uniformity and blue-tinged darker areas, while its glossy screen reflects a lot of ambient light. The UND6400's Smart Hub lacks Amazon Instant, its search is next to useless, and its interface can be cluttered and confusing.
The bottom line: Solid overall 2D and 3D picture quality, as well as a wealth of features and beautiful looks, mark the Samsung UND6400 as one of the better edge-lit LED-based LCD TVs we've tested.