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Apple iPod (fifth-generation, 80GB)2. Apple iPod (fifth-generation, 80GB)
Editors' rating: 8.3
The good: The enhanced iPod has the same sleek design with improved video battery life and brighter screen; it brings gapless playback to the masses; up to 80GB; new features such as instant search and enhanced games; movies now available in iTunes 7; excellent overall value.
The bad: The Apple iPod has added no major functions such as FM radio, wireless, recording; small screen not conducive to movie viewing; proprietary USB cable; narrow native video-format compatibility; body is still scratch prone.
The bottom line: The amazingly low priced updated Apple iPod gets many under-the-hood improvements, but it's still not a true video player.
Pioneer S-A4SPT-PM3. Pioneer S-A4SPT-PM
Editors' rating: 8.0
The good: The Pioneer S-A4SPT-PM speakers are audiophile-grade compact speakers housed in luxurious, finished cabinets made from aged whiskey-barrel wood. Each speaker boasts a high-quality woofer and tweeter and all-metal speaker wire connectors.
The bad: The whiskey-barrel speakers are expensive, and there are no matching center speakers or subwoofers.
The bottom line: Made from old oak whiskey barrels, Pioneer's S-A4SPT-PM speakers deliver a rich and clear sound that belies their small size.
Sony KDL-46XBR24. Sony KDL-46XBR2
Editors' rating: 7.9
The good: Accurate color decoding; extremely sharp and detailed picture, thanks to true 1,920x1,080 resolution; delivers deep blacks for an LCD; comprehensive feature package with numerous picture controls; great connectivity with three HDMI inputs and a PC input; unique styling.
The bad: Expensive; noisy standard-def video processing.
The bottom line: Although more expensive than most similarly sized HDTVs on the market, the stylish Sony KDL-46XBR2 delivers one of the best pictures we've ever seem from an LCD flat-panel.