Here's our weekly roundup of the new products CNET reviewers liked best.
Dell Inspiron 14z
Editors' rating: 4 out of 5
The good: A clean, slim design, a backlit keyboard, very good battery life, strong performance, and an affordable price make the Dell Inspiron 14z more useful than most thinned-down laptops.
The bad: Limited upgrade options and no dedicated graphics might turn off some who need more flexibility, and flip-down port doors are a minor annoyance.
The bottom line: The Dell Inspiron 14z thins down the bulky look of the average Inspiron laptop while sacrificing none of the performance or battery life, adding up to an affordable mainstream notebook that's an excellent late consideration for back-to-school shopping.
The good: The Samsung Epic 4G Touch boasts a large and bright 4.5-inch Super AMOLED Plus display. With a dual-core 1.2GHz processor, the Android smartphone is fast and 4G-capable. Camera quality is also excellent.
The bad: Call quality could be better. The phone is large and has a plastic build.
The bottom line: The Samsung Epic 4G Touch offers speedy performance, a beautiful screen, and a great multimedia experience to make it one of Sprint's top Android phones, but its large size won't be for everyone.
The good: The Samsung SyncMaster T27A950D looks damn sexy with a smooth and sleek silver finish and a striking design. The OSD and Smart Hub options are plentiful and useful, movies look great on it, and it includes 3D support for movies and games. Also, the built-in speakers are powerful and clear.
The bad: 3D performance in games on the monitor is disappointing with no DVI dual-link connection included. Also, its price is high for a TN display.
The bottom line: The Samsung SyncMaster T27A950D is an HDTV/monitor meant for movies and TV with tons of features and a beautiful design, but some will find its price too high.
The good: The Sony Tablet S goes above and beyond the typical Honeycomb tablet experience by offering exclusive apps, ergonomic design, PlayStation certification for mobile gaming, DLNA video and music streaming, and an integrated IR universal remote control.
The bad: It's on the pricey side, the charging adapter is proprietary, and screen brightness isn't what it could be.
The bottom line: Sony took its time with Tablet S, and it shows. The industrial design is smart, and the software refinements are both practical and restrained.
The good: The RIM BlackBerry Torch 9850's svelte design and sharp screen give it consumer-level appeal. Features like 720p HD video capture, world phone capabilities, and an enhanced operating system are welcome. Call quality is good as well.
The bad: The Torch 9850 suffers from the occasional sluggishness, and there are times when the touch screen isn't as responsive as we would like.
The bottom line: The RIM BlackBerry Torch 9850 for Verizon Wireless is a laudable midrange smartphone, but it faces stiff competition.
The good: The Samsung Convoy 2 has a sturdy design, push-to-talk capability, a flashlight, and a built-in music player.
The bad: The phone doesn't seem as durable as it could be, and both the call quality and camera quality need work. It's disappointing that the Convoy 2 still has a 2.5mm headset jack.
The bottom line: Certified to withstand the elements, the Samsung Convoy 2 is also a ruggedly attractive handset with a fair number of creature comforts; however, the headset jack is a disappointment and there are more rough-and-tumble phones out there.
The good: The Toshiba Qosmio F755-3D290 offers surprisingly good glasses-free 3D video playback, built into a decent high-end midsize laptop, with eye-tracking software to adjust the image on the fly.
The bad: The 3D effect works best for a single viewer, and can still be finicky at times. Games and online 3D video don't work yet, although future updates are promised. Playback of 3D content is at a lower resolution than 2D content.
The bottom line: More of a proof-of-concept than anything else, the glasses-free 15-inch 3D display on the Toshiba Qosmio F755 can be impressive when paired with the right content.
The good: The Harman Kardon SoundSticks III 2.1 speakers equip music lovers with four drivers in each satellite and a large subwoofer to pump extra bass.
The bad: There's no external jack for plugging in headphones, the bass controls are mounted on the subwoofer itself, and there's no way to turn off the translucent lighting without powering down the entire system.
The bottom line: The $170 SoundSticks III speakers offer light cosmetic upgrades (and unfortunately retain a few irritations) from the previous model, but if you're a fan of the iridescent design, this speaker system won't disappoint.