Here's our weekly roundup of the new products CNET reviewers liked best.
Editors' rating: 4.5 out of 5
The good: The Pioneer SP-PK21BS is the best-sounding 5.1 speaker system we've tested at this price. It's sold direct from Pioneer with free shipping at a very affordable price. The system offers the kind of solid performance on movies and music we generally find only on more expensive systems.
The bad: It's a huge speaker system that will overwhelm many living rooms. If you're looking for a lifestyle system, this isn't it.
The bottom line: If you can handle its big and burly speakers, the Pioneer SP-PK21BS is the absolutely best-sounding speaker package we've heard at anywhere near this price.
The good: The Altec Lansing Mix BoomBox iMT810 has a distinct, retrolicious design, excellent sound for a system its size, built-in FM radio, two auxiliary inputs placed on the top of the unit for easy access, a portable power option (eight D batteries), and a slot for storing the included remote, which also clips onto a belt.
The bad: The system is somewhat pricey, has no AM radio or video outputs, and no included rechargeable battery option.
The bottom line: The Altec Lansing BoomBox iMT810's winning combination of good performance, lots of oomph, and portability makes it one of the best boom-box-style bass-heavy speaker options you can buy.
The good: The Logitech Tablet Keyboard for the iPad has a sturdy feel and iPad-specific control buttons, and its magnetic slipcover doubles as an iPad stand, tilting to multiple angles.
The bad: The full-size keyboard's not as portable as a keyboard case solution. The plastic chassis feels a bit creaky on the edges, and the stand uses a fragile flip-out plastic piece. Some might prefer Apple's keyboard instead.
The bottom line: Priced to compete with Apple's Bluetooth keyboard, the Logitech Tablet Keyboard for iPad is a similarly shaped, well-functioning writing tool with a twist: its case doubles as an iPad stand.
The good: The Netgear Powerline AV+ 500 Adapter XAV5501 offers superb performance and has a pass-through power socket.
The bad: The XAV5501 is very bulky.
The bottom line: If you want to get the best data throughput speeds out of your home electrical wiring and don't mind the oversize design, the Netgear Powerline AV+ 500 Adapter XAV5501 would make an excellent buy.
The good: The Sony XBR-HX929 series produces deeper black levels than any current LCD or plasma TV, giving excellent overall picture quality. It evinces accurate shadow detail and color; offers plenty of video processing options; and can properly handle 1080p/24 sources. It has a beautiful, thin-profile exterior design with Gorilla Glass, and its Internet suite includes numerous streaming services and widgets as well as built-in Wi-Fi.
The bad: The extremely expensive XBR-HX929 shows some blooming artifacts, and its picture deteriorates more noticeably than usual when seen from off-angle. Its menu and Internet service design is lackluster, and Sony does not include 3D glasses.
The bottom line: One of the best-performing LED-based LCDs we've ever tested, the expensive local-dimming Sony XBR-HX929 competes well with the top plasmas.
The good:Sony makes some of the best-looking and best-feeling hardware in the industry, which is especially welcome in a budget-minded system such as the Sony Vaio EB44FX. Intel's Wireless Display is included, and optional keyboard skins add a bit of flair.
The bad: Why, halfway into 2011, is Sony still selling laptops with 2010 versions of Intel's Core i-series CPU?
The bottom line: Sony's Vaio line of laptops, including the midpriced EB series, look great and include some high-end features--we just wish the CPU had been updated for the sake of better battery life.