As well as the new iPad review, we’ve also got a whole host of other reviews awaiting your perusal on TechRadar.
We’ve checked out several new Intel Ultrabooks including Dell’s XPS 13 and the Samsung Series 5 as well as the thin-and-light but officially not an Ultrabook Samsung Series 9.
And then there’s the Panasonic DMP-BDT220 Blu-ray player among plenty of other cool kit. Check out the full list below.
There’s only so cheap you can go with a thin and light chassis, Intel Core i7 under the hood, 4GB of memory and a 128/256GB SSD. Dell hasn’t managed to make the XPS 13 as cheap as some competing Ultrabooks but this shouldn’t be a message of doom and gloom – we think Dell will manage to bring prices down. And despite the price, we think the XPS 13 is the most desirable Ultrabook we’ve yet seen.
And, because of its corporate-friendly features we think it’ll become a fixture in many boardrooms. But it’s far from being just good for business. It’s an excellent choice for anyone wanting a highly powered, highly portable machine. We’ve just found our next PC. How about you?
We think Apple’s new iPad is magnificent. It’s definitely the best iPad ever, with a brilliant new pin-sharp Retina display and more powerful graphics the stand-out new features. A consequence of these upgrades is that it’s slightly thicker and heavier than the iPad 2, but if you want one of those, Apple is leaving the 16GB Wi-Fi model on the market.
Let’s face it, though, you don’t want one of those. You want one of the new ones, especially as the new iPad is only a little more expensive and offers a visual experience you have to see to believe. Apple’s MO is evolution rather than revolution, so owners of older models need not worry – there’s plenty of life in them yet. But for anyone else looking for a new play thing, this is it.
Designed for use in the home as well as on the move, Philips is hoping the new Fidelio L1s will strike a chord with that rare beast: the iPod owner who really cares about sound quality.
A lot of the music we put through the L1 cans sounded absolutely stunning. Acoustic tracks sound first class across the board. The A-minor twang of a guitar, the snap of a snare drum, the wail of a Roger Waters – it’s all as sonically pure as any other headphones we’ve tested in recent times. But for as many tracks as we could find that made the L1s sound like the best headphones in the world, there were as many that brought them back down into the realms of normality due to a lack of punch at the low-end.
The Samsung Series 9 900X3B is a fantastic-looking laptop that doesn’t sacrifice usability like many ultra-portable laptops. Yes, there’s a lack of power here, battery life is uninspiring and the price is colossal. Those things usually equate to a bad review, but the Series 9 commands a certain respect. The engineering and vision that’s gone into making something beautiful and unique goes beyond benchmark scores and gripes over price. We made excuses for the original Apple MacBook Air, which wasn’t usable as a main machine.
While the DBP-BDT220 has a seductively low price, it’s by no means a budget proposition. Panasonic has produced a high-performance Blu-ray player that doesn’t disgrace itself when partnered with equipment from higher up the food chain.
TV accessoriesRead More...
The beginning of March traditionally marks the start of new products season in the world of tech. It’s the time when all the exciting gadgets that were announced at IFA at the end of last year and at CES in January starts making its way onto the shelves and into our testing labs.
We probably won’t have to tell you that Apple’s new iPad is one of these products. It was only announced on Tuesday but it’ll go on sale at the end of next week.
You can also expect graphics cards, TVs, Blu-ray players, tablets, phones, cameras… You get the idea. It’s the start of the reviews season! Let’s go!
We’re still calling it the iPad 3, how about you? Whatever you end up knowing it as, be it iPad 3 or new iPad, you’ve not heard the last of it. Not by a long shot. That’s because it’s the most impressive iPad ever, and it’s going to sell more units than an Irish pub on St Paddy’s Day.
The stand-out feature is that retina display, which offers up a resolution of 2048 x 1536 at 264 pixels per inch. It’s also got more powerful graphics to drive that higher resolution which should lead to some very pretty games and apps. On the downside it’s also slightly thicker and marginally heavier than the iPad 2, which can now be had for as little as £329.
The AMD Radeon HD 7870 arrives alongside the Radeon HD 7850 to complete the line-up of AMD’s next-gen graphics cards. The 7870 is a step down from the 7970 and a step up from the 7770, theoretically putting it firmly in the performance/price sweet spot.
The fact AMD has included the full Graphics Core Next feature set is something to be applauded. It may not have the straight performance edge over the previous generation, but it’s got a lot more extras to back it up. We can’t ignore the awesome overclocking potential in the Pitcairn chip either. There’s no guarantee all AMD Radeon HD 7870s will be able to clock this high, but there is at least precedence.
The UE55ES8000 is Samsung’s most uncompromising TV yet. From the moment you first behold its almost sci-fi design and bold, dynamic pictures, you’ll be entranced. Crucial to this performance is the introduction of a dual-core processor to the Samsung UE55ES8000, since this makes the smart TV services more comprehensive and slick to navigate and delivers palpable benefits to picture quality.
Admittedly you’ll need to calm these pictures for normal domestic viewing, but once that’s done pictures still look hugely impressive. And your admiration only grows as you explore the TV’s revolutionary interfaces and the depth of its online and multimedia functionality. There are still things Samsung can improve, but as the first true next generation TV of 2012, the Samsung UE55ES8000 throws down a terrifyingly big gauntlet for the following pack to pick up.
The fact AMD has filled out these lower-caste cards with all the same features as their higher-end brethren is refreshing, as is the fact that we’ll get all the HD 7850 goodness in such small footprints as 7.8-inches. Again, it’s the same Graphics Core Next story – the overclocking headroom is immense. The OC path is the only way to get the most out of these cards. Sadly that’s also part of the problem. At stock speeds both the HD 7870 and this AMD HD 7850 are rather uninspiring, and it takes ramping up clockspeeds yourself to get the real performance out of them. That’s a bit of a shame as most people probably wont take the risk with their new hardware. These pint-sized cards pack some impressive punch for sub-£200 GPUs, but only if you take the risk overclocking them.
Sorry N910 – it’s not us, it’s you. You feel cheap and insubstantial to hold, you’re chunky and you don’t even work properly. We’re prepared to give you a second chance, but if these annoyances continue in our full ZTE N910 review, then we’re sorry but it’s over.
It’s been an exciting week, especially for gamers.
That’s because the highly-anticipated Sony PS Vita has finally landed on UK and US shores.
It’s an excellent handheld gaming console and we had tons of fun reviewing it. But will the wobbly battery life and lack of polish with some of the software put gamers off?
Elsewhere we’ve also had our paws on the latest mobile handset from Motorola, the Droid 4. In our eyes it could well be the stand-out best QWERTY phone out there right now, but sadly it’s only out in the US for the time being.
Netflix has also been heavily on the radar this week, and Philips has launched a very interesting little streamer designed especially for users of this service.
We love the PS Vita – it’s everything you could want in a modern handheld console. It’s super-powered by quad core CPU and GPUs. It has a stunning OLED display. Control inputs are plentiful including dual analogue sticks, accelerometer, capacitive touchscreen and of course that unique touch-sensitive rear of the year.
And what this means is that you can play touchscreen minis like Angry Birds if you want (that one’s not available on the platform yet though) but you can also play full-blown gaming juggernauts like Uncharted and FIFA Football. We don’t even think it’s expensive when you take a look at the prices of other mobile gadgets out there. The biggest question mark comes in the form of battery life – 4 hours of full-on gaming will see you drain the battery to nothing. This won’t concern some, while others will find it a hindrance. But one thing’s for sure, for hardcore gamers, there is simply no better mobile device out there. And you know what, we think the softcore gamers are going to like it too…
The first thing anyone will notice about the phone is how sleek and Razr-esque it feels in your hand. It’s a QWERTY phone with a slide-out keyboard, but upon first handle it felt a bit like a slightly chunky touch phone. That’s because at .5-inches it’s surprisingly thin – thin enough for Motorola to bill it as the world’s thinnest LTE QWERTY phone.
But all that wouldn’t much matter if the keyboard was garbage, and we’re happy to report that we were able to quickly type on it, without having to relearn much of anything. It’s a truly excellent keyboard and the keys are edge lit so you can type in the dark with rounded keys that help you find the tiny buttons you’re looking to type. The phone comes running Android 2.3.5, but should get a bump to Android 4.0 in the coming months. It’s slightly more powerful than its predecessor as well, with a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM on board, and we tested a variety of intensive apps and each were smooth and fast.
In terms of usability, Netflix has a good little service. While we like the simplicity of sign up and how easy it is to use, we can see that the catalogue issue is going to be a real sticking point for a lot of people – there’s a lot of stuff missing.
If Netflix doesn’t have the films and TV shows you want right now, you could do worse than to check back in a few months and see how it’s getting on, the only way is up after all. We’d advise home cinema buffs to hang on to the Blu-rays they’ve amassed – Netflix’s currently patchy HD streaming won’t keep you satisfied. But once Netflix has a few more content deals in place (and we’ve no doubt that it will) and with a price tag of only £5.99 a month, you could pretty much replace that DVD collection if you wanted.
If you’re just getting onboard with Netflix and want an easy way to throw it up onto your TV, the Philips HMP2000 could be the box for you. It’s teeny tiny and easier to set up than one of those a self-erecting tents. It’ll also play YouTube and digital files from a USB stick, but that’s it. There are no more features. So if you think that’s enough for you, it’s £50 well spent. But for others with more complicated needs, it could be a bit too simple. And the remote control is just ghastly.
Priced at £699 (RRP) in the UK and 9.99 in the US, the Canon PowerShot G1X costs more than some entry-level DSLRs, so Canon’s really taking a gamble when it comes to estimating the level of appeal this unprecedented new compact camera will have. Thankfully, however, the manufacturer has backed up the Canon G1 X’s price tag with a whole host of high-end features that go a long way towards justifying its cost.
You’ll need deep pockets to invest in this prestigious camera, but – if you can stretch to it – you’ll be glad you did. That’s because it impresses on all fronts, delivering excellent handling and great results across its comprehensive range of exposure modes. Pricey it may be, but this camera’s real-world performance goes a long way towards justifying its price tag.
This week’s other reviews…
Mobile phone accessories
Big news last week was Mountain Lion’s sneaking out the gate without a big hoopedy doo Keynote. There’s been little news on that front since then, but there are a few pieces to the puzzle, along with iCloud follies, and a few Apple TV tips (which might just be Apple’s next big thing). Let’s see what’s cookin’ in the hot stories this week.Read More...
Well, that quiet little sneak, Mountain Lion certainly got people riled up once it showed itself out in the open. It comes in on its quiet cat feet, then suddenly it’s on you. Well, we’re not complaining. We kinda like turning down the volume once in a while, so we can focus on the heat. And do we have a week’s worth of hot for y’all. Of course, with cats.Read More...
This week we’ve reviewed Apple’s new iBooks creation app for the Mac as well as a cracking pair of cameras and a cracking pair of graphics cards to boot.
There’s also a great phone for the US, the Motorola Droid Razr Maxx which takes the existing Razr and adds a huge battery.
Here’s our full list of this week’s reviews from the site.
Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes and Noble’s Nook, and even Apple’s iBooks have been working on moving us away from reading physical books and embracing the digital revolution. But until now, there was very little to convince us how good an idea this could be, since the digital versions looked very much like their real-world counterparts, right down to the page turning effect.
But this is what Apple is trying to change with its new content creation app, iBooks Author. Its aim is to revolutionise modern textbooks by bringing interactivity to the learning experience.
Always liked the idea of an all-in-one camera with a massive zoom capability, but hated the often all too-plastic feel? Fuji’s X-S1 may, nay will, cause you to re-evaluate the humble bridge camera. Whereas Fuji has previously applied an ‘X’ – its signifier of a premium camera
- to the Leica-like FinePix X10, for the first time it gives a superzoom that same distinction.
This means that the new 26x optical zoom Fuji X-S1 figuratively sits above the existing Fuji HS20 and HS30 models, even though the latter boast 30x zoom (maximum 720mm equivalent telephoto setting in 35mm terms).
AMD showed its hand first in this year’s GPU arms race with Nvidia by turning it into last year’s arms race. While Nvidia has kept shtum about its upcoming new ‘Kepler’ architecture and looks to do so until spring, AMD stole the march and released the first of its new 7-series cards, the AMD HD 7970, a few days before Christmas 2011.
That sure was odd timing, but it taught us a lot about AMD’s new Southern Islands architecture, specifically the ‘Tahiti’ chip. The HD 7970′s whopping £440 price made all those neat features all but irrelevant to the gaming masses though, so we’re putting our hopes on this HD 7770 to deliver the best bits of the new AMD architecture for a more palatable price.
The new Canon PowerShot G1 X – commonly shortened to Canon G1 X, or even Canon G1X – occupies the top spot in Canon’s prestigious G-series compact camera range, offering a truly impressive array of high-end features.
Launched at CES earlier this year, the new digital camera is aimed at advanced photographers in search of a high-quality, take-anywhere primary camera and/or backup for their DSLR. It may not be the compact system camera (CSC) that everyone was expecting to see from Canon, nor is it a direct replacement for the highly popular Canon PowerShot G12 – rather, it’s something in between.
The Motorola Droid Razr Maxx is the newest Razr to be released on the Verizon network. It takes everything you love about the Droid Razr, and fattens it up a bit with a whopping 3,300 mAh battery. That’s a battery that’s capable of 21 hours of talk time on a single charge.
And while we’re excited to finally disconnect from that required midday charge, the true power of a battery that size comes in the form of 7 hours of LTE browsing per charge.
This week’s other reviews