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Top-rated reviews of the week (pictures)

Dull? Featureless? Industrial? Never. It's easy to be a design snob about black boxes. They may not make for the sexiest photos, but CNET's editors found dark blocks of hardware irresistible this week. From an ominously Vader-esque AV receiver to a portable gaming console that folds up into Batman's spare handbag, these understated beauties hold a lot of secrets. And we're here to spill them.

CNET Reviews staff
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1 of 10 Sarah Tew/CNET

Motorola Moto X

Motorola Moto X

While in screen quality and storage capacity it lags behind rival superphones, the Motorola Moto X's superbly compact and comfortable design, whizz-bang voice controls, and long battery life make it a worthy Android contender. Read the review.

(And enjoy all this color: it's black and gray boxes for the rest of the slideshow.)

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2 of 10 Sarah Tew/CNET

Sony STR-DN840

Sony STR-DN840

The imposing Sony STR-DN840 is by far the best AV receiver value of the year, offering tons of wireless connectivity and six HDMI inputs for well under $500. Read the review.

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3 of 10 Sarah Tew/CNET

Falcon Northwest FragBox

Falcon Northwest FragBox

High-end, high-priced gaming desktops are rarer than ever, but with the latest Intel and Nvidia parts inside, at least the significant money you'll put into a Falcon Northwest FragBox will be well-spent. Read the review.

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4 of 10 Dong Ngo/CNET

Netgear Zing

Netgear Zing

The Netgear Zing is a robust and capable mobile cellular router (with a touch screen, fancy!), though make sure you're happy with Sprint's currently limited 4G LTE coverage first. Read the review.

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5 of 10 Dong Ngo/CNET

Samsung 840 Evo

Samsung 840 Evo

If you're looking for a fast solid-state drive that offers top capacity at low cost, the Samsung 840 Evo is your SSD. It also comes in Desktop Kit and Laptop Kit versions, which include the accessories you need to clone and then abandon your stodgy hard drive. Read the review.

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6 of 10 Jason Parker/CNET

Ridiculous Fishing (for iOS)

Ridiculous Fishing - A Tale of Redemption

Ridiculous Fishing is a fun and funny diversion, with upgrades that suck you in, and the kind of arcade action that makes it easy to recommend to any iOS gamer. We're refusing to say, "You'll be hooked." But that could happen. Read the review.

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7 of 10 Screenshot by Jaymar Cabebe/CNET

The Walking Dead: Assault

The Walking Dead: Assault

With its impressive controls and gameplay, The Walking Dead: Assault (for Android or iOS) is a zombie-themed comic-book-based strategy game that is easily worth the $2.99 download cost. Read the review.

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8 of 10 Sarah Tew/CNET

Logitech Harmony Ultimate

Logitech Harmony Ultimate

Despite its high price and a handful of drawbacks, the Logitech Harmony Ultimate is an impressive, feature-rich universal remote that's well worth the investment, particularly if you have a lot of components in your system. Read the review.

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9 of 10 Josh Miller/CNET

Nvidia Shield

Nvidia Shield

Incredible performance, excellent speakers, a touch screen, expandable storage...the Nvidia Shield brings console-level quality to portable Android gaming. Now, it needs more games. Read the review.

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10 of 10 Sarah Tew/CNET

Toshiba Qosmio X75-A7298

Toshiba Qosmio X75-A7298

This black box lights up red! A multimedia and gaming laptop, the Toshiba Qosmio X75-A7298 packs up-to-date, high-end components in a more old-school body, giving great performance at a reasonable price. Read the review.

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