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Christmas Gift Guide

Barnes & Noble Nook Color

NetGear Powerline Av 200 Wireless-N Extender Kit XAVNB2001

HP Envy 100

HP Pavilion Slimline s5660f

LG Octane (Verizon Wireless)

LG Optimus S - charcoal (Sprint)

Samsung Galaxy Tab (T-Mobile)

Sony SLT-A55V (with 18-55mm lens)

Samsung 470 (256GB, SSD)

Soundfreaq Sound Platform

Here's our weekly roundup of the new products CNET reviewers liked best.

Barnes & Noble Nook Color

Editors' rating: 4 out of 5

The good: Color e-book reader with vibrant 7-inch touch screen; zippy performance; built-in Wi-Fi; Barnes & Noble Nookbook store; 8GB onboard memory, plus microSD expansion slot; built-in Web browser works well; supports PDF, Word, and ePub files; displays images and some video formats; support for audio and MP3 playback.

The bad: Eight hours battery life for reading pales in comparison with battery life on e-ink readers; no access to Android Marketplace (or similar app store); more apps should have been available at launch; no Flash support (yet); battery isn't user-replaceable.

The bottom line: Barnes & Noble's Nook Color is a very capable color touch-screen e-book reader--and delivers some notable extras--for half the price of an iPad.

Read CNET's full review
Price range: $249.00

Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

NetGear Powerline Av 200 Wireless-N Extender Kit XAVNB2001

Editors' rating: 4 out of 5

The good: The Netgear XAVNB2001 offers a combined solution for both powerline and wireless networking. It has good performance, long range, and is convenient to use. It's also compatible with other HomePlug AV powerline adapters.

The bad: The Netgear XAVNB2001 kit's setup instructions are not clear. The kit has no power pass-through socket and needs to be plugged directly into the wall. As an access point, it doesn't support dual band. The kit's included adapters are also bulky and have only one Ethernet port each.

The bottom line: The Netgear Powerline Av 200 Wireless-N Extender Kit XAVNB2001 extends both your wired and wireless network to any far corners of house, making it an excellent product for any large property. Get ready to fiddle a little with the setup process in some cases, however, as its included instructions aren't clear.

Read CNET's full review
Price: $159.99

Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

HP Envy 100

Editors' rating: 3.5 out of 5

The good: New ePrint feature enables wireless printing by e-mail; Web-based ePrintCenter offers expanded functionality via downloadable apps; ePrintCenter with free app store offers versatile functionality; enclosed cartridge bay for quiet printing; slick design with low-profile footprint.

The bad: Slow print speed; tricky wireless setup; two-ink cartridge bay produces mediocre photo quality; low-volume paper input tray can only hold 80 sheets at a time.

The bottom line: Boasting a touch-screen display, an app store, and ePrint, a remote printing service, the HP Envy 100 features loads of innovation in a slickly designed chassis. We wouldn't buy this printer for its image quality, but the convenience of ePrint and the potential of the ePrintCenter app store earn the HP Envy 100 our recommendation.

Read CNET's full review
Price range: $207.99 - $249.00

Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

HP Pavilion Slimline s5660f

Editors' rating: 3.5 out of 5

The good: All of the features we'd want in a living-room-friendly slim tower; fast computing performance; budget video card will play HD video and most 3D games.

The bad: No FireWire or eSATA ports; power hog.

The bottom line: From fast performance, to a Blu-ray drive, to plentiful other features, HP's Pavilion Slimline includes almost everything we'd ask for in our ideal living-room slim tower PC. It will seem expensive if you're more inclined to get a Nettop or a set-top box, but for committed PC media enthusiasts, this HP offers the complete package.

Read CNET's full review
Price range: $729.00 - $799.99

Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

LG Octane (Verizon Wireless)

Editors' rating: 3.5 out of 5

The good: The LG Octane is a simple messaging phone with EV-DO, a 3.2-megapixel camera, GPS, and more. It has a great keyboard, dual displays, and an external number keypad.

The bad: The LG Octane is a bit bulky, and it doesn't have a 3.5mm headset jack.

The bottom line: The LG Octane is a great messaging phone for Verizon Wireless.

Read CNET's full review
Price range: $0.01 - $289.99

Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

LG Optimus S - charcoal (Sprint)

Editors' rating: 3.5 out of 5

The good: The LG Optimus S has an attractive, slim profile with features that include GPS, EV-DO Rev. A, and Wi-Fi with tethering capabilities. It also has a 3.2-megapixel camera and it ships with Android 2.2.

The bad: The LG Optimus S' slower processor means it doesn't have Flash video in the browser. The camera doesn't have HD video capture or an LED flash. Call quality was mixed.

The bottom line: The LG Optimus S is an affordable yet full-featured Android smartphone for Sprint, but we did wish the call quality were better.

Read CNET's full review
Price range: $49.99

Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

Samsung Galaxy Tab (T-Mobile)

Editors' rating: 3.5 out of 5

The good: Samsung's 7-inch Android tablet is a serious competitor to the Apple iPad, boasting two cameras, Flash compatibility, and a more convenient size.

The bad: The Tab behaves more like a supersize Android phone than a Netbook alternative. The Android OS and its apps aren't yet optimized for the larger screen. Depending on your plan, you may be in for a two-year contract and a commitment to monthly charges.

The bottom line: The Galaxy Tab is a beautiful product with features that will make iPad owners envious, but its in-between size and possible carrier commitments hold it back from broad appeal.

Read CNET's full review
Price range: $599.99

Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

Sony SLT-A55V (with 18-55mm lens)

Editors' rating: 3.5 out of 5

The good: Fast, especially for burst shooting; articulating display; relatively straightforward, streamlined interface; really nice virtual-level implementation.

The bad: Poor battery life; limited manual video-capture controls.

The bottom line: Expensive and probably a bit large for the typical point-and-shoot upgrader, the Sony Alpha SLT-A55V nevertheless delivers the performance and photo quality boost those shooters are expecting.

Read CNET's full review
Price range: $849.00

Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

Samsung 470 (256GB, SSD)

Editors' rating: 3.5 out of 5

The good: Samsung's 470 solid-state drive (SSD) is light and good-looking, and offers great performance. The drive supports the traditional 2.5-inch design and works in any application where other SATA hard drives with the same design are used.

The bad: The Samsung 470 SSD is significantly more expensive than traditional hard drives, and its storage capacity caps at only 256GB. The drive doesn't support the new SATA 6Gbps data transfer rate.

The bottom line: If you want something that's fast, energy-efficient, lightweight, and durable, and don't mind the hefty prices, the Samsung 470's outstanding performance will make it worth the investment.

Read CNET's full review
Price range: Not yet available

Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

Soundfreaq Sound Platform

Editors' rating: 3.5 out of 5

The good: The Sound Platform speaker dock will spoil you with its design details and extensive features, including Bluetooth support, FM radio, iPhone compatibility, a dedicated app, and remote control.

The bad: Sound quality doesn't hold together at high volumes, the app isn't worth your time, and the integrated screen is dim.

The bottom line: You'll have a hard time finding a more stylish and feature-packed speaker choice in this price range. The inclusion of Bluetooth support makes it an attractive buy for iPad and smartphone owners.

Read CNET's full review
Price range: $249.00

Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
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