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The Week's Hottest Reviews on TechRadar

Dell XPS 13

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.

Dell XPS 13 review

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?

New iPad review

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.

Philips Fidelio L1 review

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.

Samsung Series 9 review

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.

Panasonic DMP-BDT220 review

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.

Other reviews

Blu-ray players

Panasonic DMP-BDT220 review

Cameras

Hands on: Sigma 30mm f/2.8 EX DN lens review

Hands on: Nikon D4 review review

CCTV

D-Link Home Network Camera DCS-942L review

Compact cameras

Canon IXUS 125 HS review

Hybrids

Fuji X-Pro1 review

Laptops

Samsung Series 5 Ultra review

Printers

HP TopShot LaserJet Pro M275 review

Speakers

Fidelio SoundRing DS3800W review

Storage

Seagate GoFlex Desk 4TB review

Televisions

Samsung UE55ES8000 review

TV accessories

Datacolor Spyder4 Express review

News

This Week's Hottest Reviews on TechRadar

Radeon HD 7850

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!

Hands on: New iPad review

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.

AMD Radeon HD 7870 review

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.

Samsung UE55ES8000 review

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.

AMD Radeon HD 7850 review

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.

Hands on: ZTE N910 review

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.

Cameras

Hands on: Canon 5D Mark III review

Hands on: Sigma 30mm f/2.8 EX DN lens review

Gamepads

SteelSeries Simraceway SRW-S1 Steering Wheel review

Headsets

SteelSeries Diablo III Headset review

Keyboards

HP Slim Keyboard review

Mice

HP 2.4GHz Wireless Laser Mobile Mouse review

Mobile phones

Nokia Asha 201 review

Hands on: HTC Sensation XE Ice Cream Sandwich review

Sony Xperia S review

Scanners

Doxie Go review

Speakers

Krator Neso N4-20U05 review

Webcams

HP Webcam HD 5210 review

News

The Week's Hottest Reviews on TechRadar

PS Vita

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.

ps vita

Sony PS Vita review

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…

Motorola Droid 4 review

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.

Netflix review

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.

philips hmp2000

Philips HMP2000 review

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.

Canon G1 X review

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…

Camera accessories

Kenro Flash Meter review

Ray Flash Rotator review

Lastolite TriGrip 1-stop Diffuser review

Lastolite VH Flip Bracket review

Lastolite Ezybox Hotshoe review

X-Rite i1 Display Pro review

Integral UltimaPro SDXC 64GB review

Micromuff review

LowePro Photo Sport AW review

Camera lenses

Kenko Teleplus Pro 300 AF DGX 2x review

Cameras

Hands on: Olympus OM-D E-M5 review

CCTV

Y-Cam Bullet HD review

Headsets

Steelseries 7H Fnatic Limited Edition review

Razer Megalodon review

Sony DR-GA500 review

Keyboards

QPAD MK-85 keyboard review

Memory

AMD Memory Entertainment Edition 8GB review

Mobile phone accessories

Fitbit Ultra review

Mobile phones

LG Prada 3.0 review

Hands on: Panasonic Eluga review

Storage

Samsung SSD 830 512GB (Notebook Kit) review

Tripods

Velbon Ultra Rexi L review

Velbon QHD-61Q review

News

This Week's Hottest Reviews on TechRadar

iBook author

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.

Apple iBooks Author

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.

Fuji X-S1

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 Radeon HD7770

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.

Canon G1 X

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.

Motorola Droid Razr Maxx

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.

Razr maxx

This week’s other reviews

Audio systems

Edifier Luna5 encore dock review

Camera accessories

Kenro Flash Meter review

Camera lenses

Kenko Teleplus Pro 300 AF DGX 2x review

Desktops

Packard Bell OneTwo L review

Graphics cards

AMD Radeon HD 7750 review

AMD radeon hd 7750 review

Mobile phones

Samsung Galaxy W review

Samsung Galaxy Xcover Extreme S5690 review

Samsung Galaxy Y review

Monitors

Hanns.G HL229DPB review

Scanners

Reflecta iScan 3600 review

Software

Apple Final Cut Pro X 10.0.3 review

Storage

Samsung SSD 830 512GB (Notebook Kit) review

Televisions

Kogan LED55 review

Tripods

Velbon Ultra Rexi L review

Velbon QHD-61Q review

Velbon qhd-61q

News

The Week's Hottest Reviews on TechRadar

PS Vita

We published our PS Vita review this week. The Vita has generated as much buzz over the years as any of the top smartphones, and it’s easy to see why. Its specs are top of the line, and offer a mobile gaming experience far beyond anything that’s been possible up to now.

But it’s not all been about the Vita this week. We’ve also been playing with the Nokia Lumia 710, a budget Windows Phone aiming to do battle with the likes of the HTC Radar. And the budget theme is continued with the Kogan TV we reviewed yesterday.

A 55-inch LED, Freeview HD TV for under 00. You’ve got to be kidding, right?

PlayStation Vita review

We still don’t know if anyone’s going to buy one, but there is no doubt that the PS Vita is an absolutely fantastic piece of hardware. Combining a brilliant 5-inch touchscreen OLED display, a quad core CPU, a quad core GPU, dual analogue sticks and a touch-sensitive rear, it’s the most advanced handheld gaming device the world has ever seen. We even think the price is reasonable — considering the power, quality and polish the Vita brings with it, it’s still much cheaper than many mobile phones that offer inferior components. But has the world moved on from 0+ handheld gaming consoles? With smartphones offering excellent games for less than a quid, convincing the public they should buy one and then drop 40 bob on a game is a big ask.

Nokia Lumia 710 review

The Lumia 710 is a budget Windows Phone. Although we would buy it over the HTC Radar, it’s overshadowed by the Nokia Lumia 800, which impressed us a lot more and makes the 710 feel more like its cheaper relative than we would have liked. We know that the phone costs less, but the cost savings feel too apparent. For the small drop in price and the expectation that both phones are to drop in price, we’re left feeling that you’re better off buying the 800 instead. However, based on the recent announcements from Nokia, it’s likely this will remain the budget option for the foreseeable future — a little bit more of a price drop and we’ll be a lot more impressed with this otherwise decent handset.

Kogan LED55 review

In a world ravaged by recession, it goes without saying that the word ‘bargain’ has become the marketing industry’s favourite word. We know you haven’t got much money, but this is awesome and cheap and you should buy it! This Kogan TV measures a hefty 55-inches, sports a Freeview HD tuner, 100Hz processing and Edge LED backlighting. And it costs just £999. That’s an astonishing price for such a large TV, but would you be better off spending less on a smaller TV from a more reliable brand? Read the review to find out!

HP Envy 14 Spectre review

We’re deep into the second round of Ultrabook releases by now, and we feel the HP Envy 14 Spectre sits alongside the Dell XPS 13 at the top of the heap. But these are two different machines with different focuses. The HP Envy 14 Spectre is the most media-centred Ultrabook, with a larger 14-inch screen, 1600 x 900 pixel resolution and Beats audio technology. But it won’t win over fans looking for performance and portability, due to the lower spec processor and bulky Gorilla Glass chassis. If you can overcome the steep asking price then the HP Envy 14 Spectre is a well-built and stylish way to transport and enjoy your music, movies and do a spot of image editing.

Kogan led55 review

This week’s other reviews:

Cameras

Hands on: Nikon D800 review

Hands on: Olympus OM-D E-M5 review

Desktop PCs

Hands on: Alienware X51 review

OCUK Ultima 9450i Mosasaur MKII review

Laptops

Toshiba Qosmio F750 review

Compaq Presario CQ57-366SA review

Monitors

Philips Brilliance 241P4QPYES review

Philips Brilliance 241P4QPYES review

Network adaptors

GigaRunner USB remote access drive review

Storage

Plextor M3 256GB SSD review

Plextor M3 256GB SSD review review

Intel SSD 520 Series 120GB review review

Intel SSD 520 Series 240GB review review

News

This Week's Hottest Reviews on TechRadar

Sony Cybershot DSC-HX9V

This week we’ve been testing a lot of computing kit, with several Intel and AMD CPU and APUs passing through our testing lab.

We’ve also been very busy reviewing Sony’s impressive new gaming handheld, the PS Vita. Check in with TechRadar to read our full Vita review very soon.

But in the meantime, let’s recap what we’ve been up to for the past seven days!

Sony HX9V review

With the Sony Cyber-Shot HX9V boasting an asking price of £269 in the UK and 9.99 in the US, it falls between the likes of a Canon PowerShot S100 and a regular point and shoot compact such as the Nikon Coolpix S6200 in cost.

Sony has packed a lot into this high-performance travel zoom that poses very serious competition for the likes of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20, Fuji FinePix F600 EXR, plus a host of rival compact cameras that similarly incorporate a broad focal range with built-in GPS and pocket sized proportions. Though not 100% perfect in each and every regard, the Sony Cyber-Shot HX9V nonetheless comes very close in most.

Intel Core i7 3820 review

The Intel Core i7 3820 performs at around the same sort of levels as the top-end standard Sandy Bridge CPUs. And we have to say, that’s a bit of a disappointment. This is supposed to be the serious enthusiast processors for Intel’s desktop faithful, but the more mainstream, soon-to-be-replaced Sandy Bridge setup is just as good at the quad-core level.

The fact that Intel has put the chip out for the same price as the top-end Sandy Bridge i7 2700K is impressive, and thoroughly welcome. It’s a decent chip, offering the extra bandwidth of the Sandy Bridge E platform for straight Sandy Bridge prices. But the vast majority of us don’t need that bandwidth.

Corsair Vengeance M60 review

There are two mice in Corsair’s fledgling range – the M90 caters for the MMO gamer’s needs, and as such sports fifteen programmable buttons. This M60 sets its sights square and true on the first-person shooter afficionado, for whom split seconds and DPI figures are everything.

With that said, even the grouchiest CS:S gamer will be happy with the Corsair Vengeance M60′s performance. Primarily, you want a comfortable mouse that doesn’t have a ton of buttons you’ll keep accidentally pressing at a fair price, and Corsair’s rodent ticks all those boxes with confidence. The adjustable DPI and sniper button are useful additions in a layout that otherwise shows restraint, and it feels like it could survive a nuclear blast.

AMD A8-3970K Black Edition APU review

While its flagship FX processors are failing to shine it does seem a little on unfair on AMD that at the other end of the market it has a chip which really ought be cleaning up. Its Llano Fusion APUs, which combine a multi-core CPU and a Radeon graphics part on one die, are actually rather good.

They may be based on an older processor architecture, but quad core examples like this A8-3870 hold their own against Intel’s similarly priced dual core Core i3s in CPU benchmarks. When it comes to 3D tasks like gaming, the on board HD6550D is simply in a different league to Intel’s laggardly HD Graphics 3000 cores.

Devolo dLAN 500 AVtriple+ review

The Devolo dLAN 500 AVtriple+ comes at a high price, at over £100, so is certainly at the higher end of the powerline adaptor market in terms of cost. But if you’re after a speedy network across your home and have a few devices that need to be connected, then it’s going to be money well spent.

western-digital-wd-livewire-baby0000nbk-review

This week’s other reviews:

Cameras

Hands on: Samsung WB150F review

General networking

Nextivity Cel-Fi RS2 3G review

Hard disk drives

Zalman SSD-F1 Series 240GB review

LaCie Little Big Disk Thunderbolt Series 240GB SSD review

Headphones

Urbanista London Headphones review

Input devices

StarTech 2 Port USB VGA KVM Switch with File Transfer and PIP review

Keyboards

Corsair Vengeance K60 gaming keyboard review

Lenses

Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM review

Media streaming devices

Iomega TV with Boxee review

Memory cards

Samsung 16GB SDHC Plus Class 10 review

SteelSeries Kinzu V2 Pro Edition review

Mobile phone accessories

Tascam iM2 review

Mobile phones

Hands on: ZTE Tania review

Network adaptors

Western Digital WD Livewire review

Scanners

Canon imageFORMULA P-215 review

Software

Hands on: iBooks Author review review

Hands on: Pure Music review

Corel PaintShop Pro X4 review

Speakers

iLuv Boom Cubes review

Logitech Mini Boombox review

Microlab X16 review

Sony SRS-DB500 review

Logitech Z623 review

Televisions

Hands on: LG 84LM960V review

Web cams

Karotz Smart Rabbit review

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This Week's Hottest Reviews on TechRadar

Viewsonic Viewpad 10e

This week we’ve reviewed a new budget tablet from Viewsonic, the latest-gen BlackBerry Bold as well as a plethora of other tech.

We also got hands on with a whole bunch of TVs over at CES in Las Vegas, in addition to checking out the UK debut of Netflix.

Let’s get on with checking out all this week’s reviews from TechRadar.

ViewSonic ViewPad 10e review

One of the best-looking budget Android tablets on the market, the ViewSonic ViewPad 10e has traded a sleek, ultra-thin form more reminiscent of its higher-end competitors for basic function. Having compromised on a number of key components, primarily the uncertified Android operating system, smooth user interaction is never quite on the cards. While to achieve such a low price point we know some corners must be cut, such poor craftsmanship to the point where the screen is easily coming free from the frame is inexcusable, no matter how much money it saves.

That said, for just £199 the ViewSonic ViewPad 10e is a well positioned entry-level tablet for those looking for the latest plaything and little else.

BlackBerry Bold 9790 review

It’s hard to be massively excited about the BlackBerry Bold 9790. The Bold 9900 was a mobile phone to be excited about, since it was the obvious successor to the Bold 9700 and 9780 handsets, which seemed like they’d been around forever. But if you were to take the BlackBerry Bold 9900 out of the equation and judge the BlackBerry Bold 9790 on its own merits, you could quite confidently say it’s a cracking little phone.

We’re not massively excited by it but, geek-speak aside, just the specs alone make it worthy of a £350/0 SIM-free price tag. If we were torn between the BlackBerry Bold 9790 and the Bold 9900, we’d pick this, albeit at the risk of grumbling about a smaller screen.

Hannspree SE40LMNB review

Can an app-less telly eschewing any semblance of home networking and smart TV cut it? Selling for less than £350, the SE40LMNB’s is a bare bones experience indeed, though for owners of Sky, Virgin or Freeview HD set-top boxes and PVRs, it could be the stripped-down HDTV bargain you’ve been looking for.

The user interface in general is attractive and well designed, and there’s no doubting that the SE40LMNB is easy to use. We particularly liked the speed of setup, the nicely designed EPG’s thumbnail of the live TV channel, and the ability to customise the names of each input. Pictures lack sparkle, for sure, but contrast is decent and Blu-ray in particular is excellent. Besides, this is a 40-inch TV for less than £350.

LG 55EM960V review

This 55-inch OLED TV is jaw dropping. It’s just 4mm thick and has the most amazing picture we’ve ever seen on a TV. We’re excited, and so should you be. If you start saving now, you might be able to afford one by the time it goes on sale.

Samsung Series 8 S27A850D review

This is a seriously excellent computer monitor. While it’s not quite at the very sharp end of technical innovation, it still packs some dazzling features and an excellent display.

Samsung series 8 s27a850d review

This week’s other reviews

Audio systems

Bayan Audio Bayan 7 review

Desktop PCs

Hands on: HP Omni27 review

Hard drives

Seagate Momentus XT 750GB, 2nd Generation review

Input devices

E-pens Mobile Notes for Mac review

Laptops

Hands on: Toshiba Qosmio F755 review

Hands on: Compal prototype Ultrabook review

Media streaming devices

Iomega TV with Boxee review

Iomega tv with boxee review

Mobile phones

BlackBerry Bold 9790 review

Orange San Francisco 2 review

Monitors

BenQ RL2240H review

BenQ EW2730V review

Philips Brilliance 248C3LHSB review

Samsung Series 8 S27A850D review

ViewSonic VP2365-LED review

BenQ RL2240H review

BenQ EW2730V review

Philips Brilliance 248C3LHSB review

Samsung Series 8 S27A850D review

Software

Hands on: Netflix UK review

Hands on: BlueStacks on Windows 8 tablet review

Microsoft Security Essentials review

Tablets

Hands on: Kupa X11 review

Motorola Xoom 2 Media Edition review

Televisions

Hands on: LG 55EM960V OLED TV review

Hannspree SE40LMNB review

Hannspree se40lmnb review

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This Week's Hottest Reviews on TechRadar

It’s been an exciting week for new products, with CES bringing wave after wave of product launches from the big names.

We’ve been able to have a gander at some of the most interesting products being shown off at CES, while also reviewing some really excellent products back at home as well.

We’ve got a lovely Toshiba TV for you, which offers brilliant performance and good looks at a bargainous price, as well as the new Asus Eee Pad Transformer, and an exciting new Sony Android phone.

Hands on: Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime 700 review

The Eee Pad Transformer Prime TF201 is our favourite Android tablet and has recently been updated to Android 4.0. But instead of basking in the glory of past products, Asus has its attention set firmly on future endeavours and has already shown off the next evolution – the Prime 700 series.

It packs the same Tegra 3 quad-core CPU, but to make better use of the power has a much higher res screen. Out goes the TF201′s 1,280 x 800 display and in comes a 1,920 x 1,200 panel. That makes it capable of both playing back and displaying full HD video which makes it extremely desirable – first impressions are very positive indeed.

Hands on: Sony Xperia S review

Sony announced the Xperia S a few days ago and we’ve had a look at it on the show floor at CES. It’s the second Android phone Sony has launched since it parted ways with Ericsson, and packs a 12MP camera, a dual core 1.5GHz processor, the ability to record in 1080p (on the rear), but sadly it only runs on Android 2.3 at launch.

The phone will however, be updated to Android 4.0 but not until the second half of 2012. It’ll go on sale in March and we’ll bring you a full review very soon but in the meantime check out our first impressions!

Toshiba 46TL868B review

For its money, the Toshiba 46TL868B is a really excellent TV. It cunningly ticks all of the key feature boxes right now – Freeview HD tuner, active 3D playback, USB and network multimedia playback, Edge LED lighting – and encases them in a fashionably thin chassis that wouldn’t look out of place on a TV costing twice as much.

Toshiba 46tl868b

As if that wasn’t enough, it also delivers HD 2D and 3D picture performances so clean, bright, colourful and sharp that they make the efforts of many other ‘budget’ LCD TVs seem positively grubby by comparison. The Toshiba 46TL868B is one of Toshiba’s biggest bargains yet.

Leica D-Lux 5 Titanium review

The Leica D-Lux 5 Titanium is based on Panasonic’s excellent LX5 compact camera. The two cameras are essentially the same, with the Leica badge adding a premium of about 100% to the price. So, brand loyalty aside, the Leica D-Lux 5 Titanium is incredibly expensive for what could be classed as a glorified snapshot camera. And for all its metal-bodied luxury it really is that at its core – it fits in your pocket and the lens on the front cannot be changed. But at least it is a well above average one.

Hands on: Dell XPS 13 review

Intel seems to have the entire notebook industry under the Ultrabook’s thrall, and Dell is no exception with the launch of the Dell XPS 13. It might not come with LG’s over-enthusiastic Super prefix, but the XPS 13 is a nice bit of kit – 18mm at its thickest point and with a 13.3-inch Gorilla glass display housed in the chassis of a 12-incher it certainly looks the part.

It’s an Ultrabook so of course it comes with an Intel Core i7 processor with Intel HD 3000 graphics and fast boot facilitated by Intel rapid start. We have misgivings over the quality of the screen but we reserve final judgement until we’ve seen the final model.

This week’s other reviews

Cameras

Hands on: Nikon D4 review

Hands on: Canon G1 X review

Hands on: Fuji X-Pro1 review

Fuji x-pro1 review

Cases

Fractal Design Core 3000 review

Cloud computing

Hands on: OnLive Desktop review

Desktop PCs

Hands on: HP Omni27 review

Desktops

CyberPower Liquid Xtreme GT review

Graphics cards

HIS 6670 Fan 1GB GDDR5 review

Laptops

Hands on: Acer Aspire S5 review

Hands on: Lenovo IdeaPad U310 and IdeaPad U410 review

Hands on: HP Envy 14 Spectre review

Hands on: HP Folio 13 review

Hands on: Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga review

Hands on: LG Z330 and Z430 Super Ultrabook review

Hands on: Samsung Series 5 Ultra review

Hands on: Samsung 9 Series review

Hands on: Toshiba Qosmio F755 review

Hands on: Compal prototype Ultrabook review

Media streaming

Hands on: Griffin Twenty review

Hands on: Kivic One review

Memory

Patriot Viper Xtreme Division 4 review

Kingston HyperX Genesis 2133MHZ 16GB review

Mobile phones

Hands on: LG Spectrum review

Hands on: Huawei Ascend P1 S review

Huawei ascend p1 s review

Hands on: Lenovo K800 review

Hands on: Sony Xperia Ion review

Hands on: Nokia Lumia 900 review

Hands on: HTC Titan II review

Hands on: Motorola Defy Mini review

Hands on: Motorola Droid 4 review

Hands on: Motorola Motoluxe review

Monitors

BenQ RL2240H review

Motherboards

Asus P9X79 Pro review

Asus Rampage IV Formula review

Projectors

Hands on: Optoma PK32 review

Tablets

Hands on: Acer Iconia Tab A700 review

Hands on: Lenovo IdeaTab S2 review

Hands on: Lenovo IdeaTab K2 review

Hands on: ViewSonic ViewPad E70 review

Hands on: Toshiba Excite X10 review

Toshibe excite x10 review

Hands on: Aigopad m803 review

Hands on: Asus MeMo review

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This Week's Hottest Reviews on TechRadar

sony-alpha-a65-review

This week we’ve a bumper selection of reviews for you, including Sony’s new Alpha a65 SLT camera and a hands on review with LG’s new Prada phone.

For those looking to get started with photography, the Canon Powershot AS40 HS is a fantastic, fuss-free choice.

And there’s plenty more besides — read on to see all this week’s reviews.

Sony Alpha a65 review

Sony’s online shop price for the A65 stands at £789 (body only) or £869 (with 18-55mm lens). This places the A65 in the same arena as mid-entry-level DSLRs like the Canon EOS 600D and Nikon D5100 – albeit at a higher price-point that’s justified by its raft of high-end features. In essence, the A65 attracts largely the same points of praise and criticism as the more expensive A77, due to the fact that it shares much of the same technology underneath its unassuming plastic outer shell.

For a lower price, you don’t miss out on that many features, so if you’re not bothered about having a weather-sealed camera body, top LCD panel, marginally faster continuous burst mode or more sophisticated AF system than the (still very good) one that the A65 offers, then it makes perfect sense to save some cash and plump for the A65.

Samsung PS51D8000 review

We’re pretty sure the ‘new kind of TV’ promised by Apple TV and Sony, among others, will improve on Samsung’s Smart Hub – but, for now, it’s a good place to start. Boasting enough features to be deemed at least a mid-to-high-end TV, the Samsung PS51D8000 keeps plasma at the forefront for anyone after picture perfection, but it’s 3D that this set excels with. Sensibly – in our view – sticking to active shutter 3D while the slow trickle to the less impressive passive 3D tech continues, Samsung is quickly becoming as known for its good value 3D plasma as it is for its impossibly slim LED TVs.

It’s sculpted another stunner with the Samsung PS51D8000, and although Smart Hub could do with debugging and super-charging, this is an easy-to-use TV with all the latest features – and a cracking 3D performance.

LG Prada 3.0 review

The Prada 3.0 has a 4.3-inch NOVA display, which might not have the wow-factor of a Super AMOLED from Samsung, but does still offer superb brightness and a thin form factor, previously seen on the sadly unloved LG Optimus Black.

A 1GHz dual-core, dual-channel processor is on board too and while it might not sound as flashy as the 1.5GHz CPUs being bandied around these days, it’s not lacking in grunt. But it’s not the specs that this phone will be sold on – it’s the fashion house tag associated with it. To that end, Prada ‘Saffiano’ decoration adorns the back, a Prada docking station and Bluetooth headset, plus a ‘fashionable Prada bag’ too for the 8.5mm-slim handset. There’s also a customised Android overlay atop Google’s Gingerbread OS – which LG has promised will be upgraded to Ice Cream Sandwich in due course.

Canon Powershot AS40 HS review

It’s worth noting that while you can pick up an entry level DSLR, such as the Canon EOS 1100D for around the same price, which will give better image quality overall, you do get the incredible zoom range in a smaller and lighter body that isn’t part of a more expensive system.

Orange San Francisco 2 review

Is the Orange San Francisco 2 the best phone on the market? No, not by a long way. But for most people, the whole ‘money is no option’ argument doesn’t come across when it’s time to buy a new phone, and pound for pound, the San Fran 2 seems to be, once again, one of the bargain buys of the year.

Orange san francisco

This week’s other reviews

Compact cameras

Fuji FinePix F600 EXR review

Samsung MV800 review

Nikon Coolpix S6200 review

Cooling

Deepcool Fiend Shark review

DSLRs/Hybrids

Canon Powershot SX40 HS review

Graphics cards

Sapphire HD 6970 Dual Fan Edition review

Sapphire hd 6970 dual fan edition

Hard drives

OCZ Octane 512GB review

iPod and MP3 players

Apple iPod touch 4th Generation review

Laptops

Toshiba Portégé R830-138 review

Media Streaming Devices

ACRyan VEOLO review

Memory

Corsair Vengeance Racing Red 16GB review

Motherboards

ASRock X79 Extreme4 review

PC cases

Corsair Carbide 500R White review

Printers

Kodak Hero 9.1 review

Software

Alien Skin Bokeh 2 review

Kaspersky ONE Internet Secuity review

Speakers

Sony SRS-BTV25 review review

Hands ons

Hands on: New Xbox 360 dashboard review

Xbox dashboard

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This week's hottest reviews on TechRadar

TF201 Gold

We’ve had some fantastic gear in the TechRadar offices this week, including the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime, the Motorola Xoom 2 and the splendid Samsung UE46D8000 TV,

Read on for this week’s most popular reviews on TechRadar.

Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime review

The original Asus Eee Pad Transformer is still one of the best Android tablets around, but the Prime is the best of them all. It’s one step better than its predecessor in every respect, and is the first tablet to launch with Nvidia’s quad-core Tegra 3 CPU which adds super-powers and increased power efficiency.

It’s also the thinnest tablet we’ve yet seen, and comes with a gorgeous keyboard dock which adds an additional 8-hours of battery life to the tablet unit’s 9-hours. It’s the best Android tablet yet launched, and it’ll be unleashed on the UK in January in one single 32GB flavour with keyboard dock and a £499 price tag.

Motorola Xoom 2 review

The Motorola Xoom 2′s most noticeable upgrade might be in the chassis, but it’s also had an upgrade to a 1.2GHz CPU, along with Android 3.2. This has produced a tablet that’s quite snappy overall, though it does still suffer from the odd moment where swipes take a moment to register.

In all honesty, we’re rather disappointed with the Xoom 2. It’s not the all-conquering tablet we were hoping it was going to be. It doesn’t quite match the best Android tablets out there or the iPad for quality, and many good Android tablets have it beaten for price. Ultimately, the Xoom 2 is an improvement over the original Xoom, but not over the competition.

Motorola xoom

Samsung Galaxy Y review

The Samsung Galaxy Y is yet another low-cost smartphone. It doesn’t have any features that stand out particularly, and indeed it has some which make it rather less attractive than other low cost options.

The small screen we can forgive. After all, costs have to be kept down. But the low resolution is not something we forgive so lightly. Over a year ago Orange produced its 480 x 800 3.5-inch screened San Francisco, and against it the Samsung Galaxy Y’s screen looks pedestrian. The camera is poor too. We weren’t able to test video recording, but its low resolution is a worry, and at 2 megapixels for stills we aren’t impressed.

Samsung galaxy y

Samsung UE46D8000 review

From the moment you first lay eyes on it, the UE46D8000 is a very special TV. The thin bezel, super-slim profile and gorgeous silver stand make it an absolute stunner design-wise. But its feature list is equally attractive, offering the latest mod cons like network media streaming and Smart Hub, as well as support for 3D, external HDD recording and multimedia formats.

But there’s substance behind the style too. In terms of picture quality it may not boast the direct LED backlighting of its higher-end brethren, but it deploys its edge LEDs to devastating effect, bringing you sharp, nuanced and deep hi-def pictures with both 2D and 3D material.

UE46D8000

Samsung MV800 review

The key feature of the Samsung MV800 is of course its tilting screen, which makes it one of the only compact cameras to feature an adjustable screen, especially at this price point. While other screens articulate round to the side of a camera, the Samsung MV800′s flips up to the top, making it the world’s first compact camera to feature such a screen.

But ultimately for the price point we think it’s a disappointment and would encourage anyone thinking of buying this compact camera to wait and see if it reduces in price first.

MV800

Also reviewed this week…

AV accessories

Epson Moverio BT-100 review

Compact cameras

Fuji FinePix X10 review

Fuji FinePix F600 EXR review

DSLRs/Hybrids

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 review

Hi-Fi accessories

Logitech Wireless Speaker Adaptor review

iPod and MP3 players

Apple iPod touch 4th Generation review

Laptops

Samsung NS310 review

Acer Aspire 5560G review

Acer Aspire 5749 review

Dell Inspiron 14z review

Lenovo Z570 review

Sony VAIO VPCEH2F1E 15.5″ E Series review

HP Pavilion dm1-4027ea review

Samsung Series 3 review

="http://www.techradar.com/reviews/pc-mac/laptops-portable-pcs/laptops-and-netbooks/samsung-rf511-1045703/review">Samsung RF511 review

Toshiba Portégé R830-138 review

Mice

SteelSeries Diablo III Mouse review

Logitech Optical Gaming Mouse G400 review

Mobile phones

HTC Explorer review

Modem routers

Buffalo AirStation N-Technology HighPower ADSL2+ Modem Router review

Processors

Intel Core i7 3930K review

Software

Nik Software Color Efex Pro 4 review review

Alien Skin Bokeh 2 review

Tablet accesories

Kensington KeyFolio Pro Performance Keyboard Case for iPad 2 review

Kensington SecureBack Security Case review

Kensington AbsolutePower Laptop, Phone, Tablet Charger review

Logitech Fold-up Keyboard for iPad 2 review

Televisions

Sony KDL-46HX923 review

Hands on reviews…

Consoles

Hands on: New Xbox 360 dashboard review

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Liked this? Then check out CES 2012: what to expect

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