Here's our weekly roundup of the new products CNET reviewers liked best.
Sharp Elite PRO-60X5FD
Editors' rating: 4.5 out of 5
The good: The picture of the Sharp Elite PRO-X5FD LED TV delivers deeper black levels and better contrast than any other LCD or plasma on the market. Unlike other full-array local dimming TVs, it maintains its superior picture from normal viewing angles and blooming artifacts are virtually nonexistent. Color is relatively accurate, shadow detail is excellent and video processing does everything we expect. The screen maintains black levels well under ambient light. No-nonsense styling, best-ever energy efficiency and a nearly-complete feature set, including two pairs of 3D glasses, ice the cake tastefully.
The bad: Even with its superb performance, it's impossible to call the gratuitously expensive Elite a good value. Blue/green areas are less accurate than we expect from a TV of this caliber, uniformity and off-angle aren't quite as good as plasma, and its screen creates relatively bright reflections.
The bottom line: The overpriced Sharp Elite LED-based LCD produces the best overall picture quality of any TV we've reviewed since 2008.
The good: The bargain-price Fluance FiSDK500 delivers high-quality sound from a retro-style iPod speaker, which is solidly built with a medium-density fiberboard cabinet and a high-gloss black finish. It plays loud without distorting, is simple to operate, and has composite and S-video outputs.
The bad: It's bigger than most iPod speakers and doesn't offer such extra features as Bluetooth.
The bottom line: You'd be hard-pressed to find an iPhone/iPod speaker-dock system that performs as well as Fluance FiSDK500 for $200.
The good: The OCZ Octane SSD offers a large amount of storage at a relatively low price. The drive supports SATA 3 (6Gbps), performs very well, has up to 1TB of storage space, and works with all popular platforms, including Windows, Mac OS, and Linux.
The bad: The OCZ Octane SSD is comparatively slower in terms of data transfer speed than other SATA 3-based solid-state drives. The drive is significantly more expensive than traditional hard drives of the same capacity.
The bottom line: The OCZ Octane SSD makes an excellent host drive for any laptop or desktop. It offers great value in terms of performance and cost, especially for an SSD.
The good: The Bose OE2i Headphones are more compact than the original OE ("on-ear") headphones. They're lightweight, very comfortable, and feature a fold-up design with an included carrying case, a detachable headphone cord, and an inline remote and microphone for iPhone users. They also offer very good sound quality.
The bad: The fidelity comes up short on bass resonance.
The bottom line: You can debate the price, but the iPhone-friendly Bose OE2is are very comfortable everyday-use headphones with a compact frame and balanced, detailed sound.
The good: The Asus Transformer Prime sports an iPad 2-inspired design that's even thinner and nearly as light, while also managing to include microSD and Micro-HDMI support. The Prime delivers smooth and clear 1080p video, and the 8-megapixel camera captures detail and color more accurately than any other tablet we've reviewed. Feature highlights include being able to play games on HDTVs via a game pad and to throttle CPU speeds to save battery life.
The bad: Not every game takes advantage of the quad-core CPU, and frame rates can suffer as a result. When connected to the dock keyboard, the tablet is top-heavy and can easily slide off a lap or table if you're not careful.
The bottom line: The Asus Transformer Prime is the best full-featured Android tablet yet, with a sexy design, thoughtful features, and an impressive camera.
The good: Fast performance and excellent raw photo quality, combined with Panasonic's veteran touch-screen/direct-control hybrid interface, make the Lumix DMC-GX1 a strong ILC choice.
The bad: The new X-series PZ kit lens could use some design tweaks, and Panasonic's JPEG processing, though much better than before, could still use a little work.
The bottom line: A well-designed camera with an interface that creative photographers can customize to their liking, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 deserves serious consideration if you're looking for a modestly compact interchangeable-lens model.
The good: With Intel's new six-core CPUs and a pair of strong graphics cards, the Velocity Micro Raptor Z90 delivers on its promise of fast gaming and multithreaded processing performance.
The bad: Intel's new six-core chips don't offer many benefits to gamers, who can still get a great deal from Intel's older quad core Core i7's.
The bottom line: Velocity Micro's Raptor Z90 offers everything we expect given its high-end components, but Intel's latest CPUs lack the value of its older chips, making this system and others like it recommendable to buyers with niche performance needs.
The good: The voice command system in the 2012 Toyota Camry XLS supports dial by name with the phone system and artist/album request from portable music players. Data services such as fuel prices, weather, and traffic come in through satellite radio, while Entune supports Bing searches, Pandora radio, and other apps.
The bad: Entune is often slow, and the car did not want to recognize our iPhone 3G S through its cabled connection. The engine's power and fuel economy are only average, as Toyota has not pushed into more efficient technologies.
The bottom line: The 2012 Toyota Camry XLE lives up to the solid reputation of the model, but the new Entune system's problems kept it from cabin tech excellence. Overall, the Camry Hybrid seems a much better bet for fuel economy and power.