Fifteen hot reviews for summer's hottest days
If you're still enjoying the dog days of summer, sitting by the pool drinking lemonade (hard or otherwise), good for you. But here in CNET-land, we're already gearing up for the fall rush. This week, we've had our noses to the grindstone reviewing Samsung's most lovely laptop, as well as do-it-all NAS drives, among other tech products. We had a little fun too, though, with an iPhone case you can use in that pool should you decide you absolutely have to surf the Web while you surf the waves. (You don't by the way, but hey, sometimes it's cool to know you can.)
This week's roundup of top-rated gear includes everything we've awarded 3.5 stars or above in our rating scale. Visit our slideshow for the full rundown, but I'd like to highlight a few that caught my eye and that should catch yours. For starters, check out the Editors' Choice-winning Ford Focus Electric. If you've been watching Ford for the past year or two, you know how much the company values tech. The Focus Electric mixes dashboard tech that we admire; Ford's much-envied, voice-activated Sync system; and an electric engine that transportation trailblazers will love. The car does require some trade-offs, however -- namely, you can drive only 76 miles before charging again. And accelerating on a hill? Let's just say that we hope you're not in a hurry to reach the top. Still, as a cutting-edge commute car, Ford's Focus is at the top of the electric game.
Samsung's Air fighter
Next up, the Samsung Series 9. Samsung doesn't call this ultrabook an ultrabook, but it is, and it's a beauty at that. Scott Stein says the Series 9 is the thinnest, lightest 13-inch machine he's reviewed, and that it's an enviable choice for a road-ready Windows laptop. On the other hand, it costs $100 more than the 13-inch Macbook Air and heaps more -- in the hundreds of dollars -- than the average 2012 Windows ultrabook. Save your pennies. This laptop is definitely a luxury purchase.
According to the manufacturer of the waterproof, shockproof, dirtproof, and snowproof LifeProof case for iPhone 4/4S, the case cost millions of dollars to design. With that in mind, the case's $60 price tag seems a little less crazy. This case is slimmer than its tough-case competitors thanks to a clear plastic shield that protects your screen and your iPhone from the elements. The plastic shield is flexible, too -- it feels like thick plastic food wrap under the fingers, but less sticky and more durable.