Intel has slowly been rolling out its third-generation Core i5 and i7 processors, and Consumer Reports has rated several laptops and desktops that use this series. We’ve found that they boost performance up to 20 percent for certain tasks compared with the previous generation’s same speed Core processors

Some HDTVs now have the smarts to connect to the Internet to stream video and keep users up to date with social-network sites like Facebook.

During Internet Week in New York, senior electronics editor Jim Willcox had a chance to I try LG’s new Google TVs briefly, to see how well they performed and what the Google TV platform added to LG’s already robust Smart TV Internet service. He was pleased with what he saw: They’re stylish and full-featured sets with lots of advanced features, including gesture-based remote controls and full access to Google apps.

What a relief: We’re happy to see more lower-priced, smaller, decent-performing tablets appearing on the market. Samsung has a new entry for that group: the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0, an update to its original 7-inch tablet. It’s the most inexpensive Galaxy Tab yet, at $250 with 8GB of storage

Are netbooks a dying breed? (audio)


Netbooks could be going the way of the rotary phone: We’ve seen very few new models in the past several months, and that’s not surprising. After all, the Apple iPad and some Android tablets are much more elegant solutions for most of the tasks you’d do on a netbook, and thin-and-light laptops such as Ultrabooks are squeezing netbooks from the other end. The Asus Eee PC Flare 1025C features a powerful processor, long battery life, and a low price

The Nokia Lumia 900, one of the first Windows phones to run on both of AT&T’s high-speed networks (the 4G LTE as well as HSPA+ 4G networks), is the best Windows phone he’s seen so far, said Consumer Reports senior editor Mike Gikas after trying out a review sample of the phone. Mike visited Dave Graveline at the Into Tomorrow radio show to elaborate on the pluses (as well as a few negatives) of this new phone. Listen to our Sound Byte podcast for details

With the increase in texting, apps, sophisticated cameras, and more, improving smart-phone voice quality has been a low priority for manufacturers and carriers, as demonstrated by the generally ho-hum scores for that attribute in our Ratings.

Packaging all your home services—telecommunications, Internet, and cable TV—into one plan from a single provider promises a big cash savings on monthly bills. But which provider offers the best plans for your limited bucks? Consumer Reports Electronics Editor Paul Reynolds stopped by the Into Tomorrow show to discuss the latest findings from our annual survey of Consumer Reports readers.

Sound Byte: The new Apple TV


Apple recently announced a new version of its streaming media player, the Apple TV. In addition to getting a new, faster processor, the big news was really that the latest version of Apple TV has a streamlined, icon-driven interface—available to second-generation Apple TVs as an upgrade—and it now supports 1080p video. For Apple fans, another bonus was that despite the new features, the Apple TV’s price held firm at $99

Sound Byte: The dual-screen Sony Tablet P


Consumer Reports recently posted new tablet Ratings, and among the tested products was the Sony Tablet P: Shaped somewhat like a large eyeglass case, the Tablet P is a foldable, dual-screen device, sort of like the Nintendo DS. We found that this design can work for some tasks, but it impedes others. The Sony Tablet P ($550) works for reading e-books in a more traditional, two-page “book” format.