Here's our weekly roundup of the new products CNET reviewers liked best.
Samsung Nexus S 4G (Sprint)
Editors' rating: 4 out of 5
The good: The Samsung Nexus S 4G offers a brilliant display, WiMax support, and agreeable performance. It gains a number of usability improvements from the Gingerbread OS, and its straight Google interface will appeal to Android purists.
The bad: The Samsung Nexus S 4G feels rather fragile, and it lacks a memory card slot and LED notifications. We were hoping for more new features over the Nexus One, and its 4G connection was spotty at times.
The bottom line: The Samsung Nexus S 4G offers a great combination of design, features, and performance. The 4G connection could be more reliable, but the Gingerbread OS, stock Android UI, and admirable call quality make for a satisfying smartphone.
The good: The good-looking IoSafe Rugged Portable hard drive is designed to safeguard your mobile data against extreme conditions and includes a data recovery plan that covers up to $5,000 worth of damage. The drive supports USB 3.0 and comes with all necessary cables.
The bad: The Rugged Portable is rather expensive, doesn't protect data against extreme heat, and requires a separate cable to work with USB 2.0. Its performance, though fast, could be better.
The bottom line: Relatively compact and ultrarugged, the IoSafe Rugged Portable could be a great investment for someone who's constantly on the go or works in a challenging environment such as a ship, an oil rig, construction sites, or even war zones. For others, it would probably be overkill.
The good: The Pioneer VSX-1021-K's feature set is one of the best, including built-in AirPlay, five HDMI inputs, and DLNA compatibility. It can be networked via its Ethernet port or an optional Wi-Fi dongle, as well as controlled by Pioneer's iControlAV2 app for Apple iOS devices. The graphical user interface, while not great, is better than Denon's. And, most importantly, its sound quality is excellent.
The bad: Pioneer only offers a one-year warranty, while competitors offer two. Many competitors also have one more HDMI port, including a handy front panel HDMI port. There's little built-in support for streaming music services compared to other models, so it's really geared toward those with iOS devices that can use AirPlay. And while we like the option to add Wi-Fi, the dongle costs an unreasonable $150.
The bottom line: Pioneer's VSX-1012-K is an excellent AV receiver with built-in AirPlay and top-notch sound quality, but Denon's AVR-1912 is just a little better.
The good: Seagate's good-looking and compact GoFlex Satellite is a new breed of external hard drives that can stream digital content stored on it via a built-in Wi-Fi network. As an external hard drive, the device features USB 3.0, is relatively fast, compact, flexible, and offers uncompromising support for both Macs and PCs.
The bad: The GoFlex Satellite supports only three wireless clients at a time, doesn't allow for Internet access, and its USB 3.0 performance could be better. The drive's included GoFlex Media iPad app takes a long time to load photos and doesn't work in the background.
The bottom line: Despite a few minor shortcomings, the GoFlex Satellite makes an excellent direct-attach external storage solution for anyone and a must-have for those who frequently travel with Apple's iPad.
The good: The Samsung Infuse 4G features a large and vibrant 4.5-inch touch screen that's great for browsing and videos. The Android smartphone is ultrathin and has an 8-megapixel camera and snappy performance.
The bad: The lower-resolution screen makes text look a bit pixelated. AT&T's 4G data speeds are slow.
The bottom line: The Samsung Infuse 4G disappoints in some areas, but it's still a very good Android smartphone for AT&T customers as long as you're OK with the larger design.
The good: The Samsung SyncMaster C23A750X is a monitor and wireless docking station that, when it works, provides unique and useful functionality. It features a number of connection options and the display performs well; USB Super Charging is a welcome bonus.
The bad: We experienced a few frustrating bugs on one test system, and didn't find quite the same visual quality over wireless that we did with HDMI. Also, a very wobbly footstand plagues what is otherwise a well-designed package.
The bottom line: Despite some bugs, the Samsung SyncMaster C23A750X succeeds as both a monitor and a wireless docking station.
The good: The 2011 Hyundai Equus offers such luxuries as rear-seat entertainment, air suspension, a superb Lexicon audio system, and a small refrigerator. Driver assistance features include adaptive cruise control and a forward-facing camera.
The bad: Relying on a big V-8 engine for power, the Equus gets mediocre fuel economy. The navigation system only shows 2D maps, and audio sources are limited.
The bottom line: Although it does not push the tech envelope, the 2011 Hyundai Equus has a well-rounded set of features and comes in at an extremely low price for this segment.
The good: A tremendously powerful supercharged engine accelerates the 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe into near-supercar territory, while a magnetic suspension keeps it firmly grounded. The OnStar app offers remote unlocking and car start, along with other features.
The bad: As expected with such a big engine, fuel economy earns a gas guzzler tax. The Bluetooth phone system lacks a modern feature set.
The bottom line: If it weren't for the poor fuel economy, the 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe would work well as both a weekend racer and a daily commute car, combining exceptional sport performance with practical cabin tech.
The good: Thin and sturdy with a rock-solid feel and clean design, the ThinkPad X1 stands out from other ThinkPads. Its backlit keyboard, fast Core i5 CPU, fast-charging battery, and low-light Webcam are also pluses.
The bad: The integrated battery doesn't last as long as we would expect, and the Gorilla Glass-covered screen produces a lot of glare. For a thin laptop, the X1 isn't as lightweight as it could be, thanks to its dense construction.
The bottom line: The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 is the thinnest ThinkPad ever made, and it's a slim, cleanly designed 13-incher worth a look for business travelers--but it's not as thin as a MacBook Air, and its battery life isn't as good, either.