Best of TechRadar: this week's star features and hottest reviews
11th Jan 2014 | 10:30
Our best words from the last 7 days...
Is hydrogen really the future of car fuels?
Is fuel cell tech a wonderful world of water emissions?
So, Toyota is planning to take hydrogen cars into the mainstream. It's launching a full-blown hydrogen-powered car in 2015. But is the world ready for hydrogen fuel cell cars? And even if it is, will fuel cells live up to the low-carbon hype? Continue reading...
Why the PlayStation 5 could be the cheapest games console ever
Sony's PS5 could be a cheap little streaming box
While 4K TVs, Steam Machines and cool car tech are all well and good, by far the most exciting thing to come out of CES this week is the launch of Sony's PlayStation Now. It's not only an exciting new gaming service, but also a mesmerising hint at the destiny of the PlayStation brand and the future of gaming in general. This is the beginning of a cosmic shift in the paradigm of gaming, and it's happening right here, right now. Be excited. Continue reading...
CES is where innovation goes to die
You're doing it wrong, tech industry!
Did you see the Michael Bay thing? Michael Bay. Walked off stage he did. The Transformers guy. Stage fright or something. Just lost it. Walked right off. Of course you saw it. It was one of the few pieces of news from CES 2014 that managed to break out of the Las Vegas Convention Center into popular consciousness. While footage of a man normally associated with giant robots and fiery explosions struck dumb by a combination of technical failure and social awkwardness managed to go viral, the product Bay was there to help flog (some manner of Samsung TV) earned only a passing mention in those reports where it figured at all. Continue reading...
Google+: resistance is futile!
Ain't no party like a compulsory Google+ party
This week's attempt to push the poor man's Facebook involves making it really easy for any old stranger to email you. Yes, Google is enabling anybody with a Google+ account to email you by automatically enrolling you in a scheme apparently designed for spammers and hiding the opt-out in the depths of your email settings. Continue reading...
Why is Samsung hiding its best iPad competitor yet?
Too many tablets spoiling the techno-broth
Samsung has called 2014 "a year in which Samsung truly establishes its leadership in the tablet market", yet this market segmentation is going to prevent it from doing just that – this is a company that needs a streamlined tablet range to challenge the likes of the iPads and Surfaces of this world, not confuse consumers with different ranges seemingly offering the same things. Continue reading...
Why you should be suspicious of cheap 4K TVs
4K is amazing, but that doesn't mean all 4K TVs are
No one likes 4K more than me and that is a fact. Like many people, I'm a total sucker for thrilling visuals and find native 4K pictures absolutely spellbinding. Sports, movies, TV shows - it all looks totally mesmeric and awesome. But that doesn't mean the cheapo 4K TVs announced at CES will be anything other than disappointing. Continue reading...
15 best bits of tech to come out of CES 2014
Technology that grabs you by the eyeballs and doesn't let go
You don't need a crystal ball to see what the future of technology holds. Every Consumer Electronics Show lays it out for you. You've just got to know where to look. So judging by CES 2014, we can expect a future where 8K is the new 4K, consumer-friendly Steam Machines battle the PS4 and Xbox One for living room shelf-space, and everybody wears a fitness tracker. Heck, even the idea of the digital home is making a comeback, while VR continues to enjoy the coolest of reboots.
Get marathon fit with your smartphone: Pt 1
Get up and running with the basics in mobile fitness tech
Your smartphone has revolutionised everything. From the way you work to how you shop, it's now the weapon of choice for most of life's battles. With innovations in motion-sensing, the arrival of Bluetooth LE and improved GPS chips, it now even has the power to transform you from sofa-dweller to marathon machine. That's right, even you. Thanks to lighter handsets, more powerful processing and better sensors, smartphone-powered fitness has exploded. Continue reading...
Get marathon fit with your smartphone: Pt 2
Build up to your first 5K run
So you've done the hard part. You've successfully taken the first steps on your journey to becoming a fitter, leaner running machine. By now you'll have logged a few runs on your Endomondo app and be able to confidently run for a full thirty minutes. Now it's time to move up a gear and start thinking about your first race. Continue reading...
The wearable tech that got pulses racing at CES 2014
There's a big future in small devices
It might not look like it, but we stand on the verge of another mobile revolution, the likes of which we haven't seen since Apple launched the iPhone in 2007. Give it a year (maybe two) and wearable technology could be everywhere, in all shapes and sizes, and capable of far more than counting steps or guessing how well you slept last night. Continue reading...
Leaving Las Vegas: the best tech take-aways from CES 2014
Big tablets, tiny PCs, wonderful wearables and super-smart cars
It's time to look back on the most wonderful time of the year. No, not Christmas - CES 2014! The annual show is where electronics firms show off their most exciting new stuff, and while bendy TVs and Bluetooth toothbrushes have hogged the headlines, we saw plenty of things to get really excited about. Continue reading...
This week's hottest reviews...
Asus Transformer Book T100
This hybrid Windows 8 tablet/laptop is beyond reasonably priced
The T100 is a versatile laptop and tablet hybrid that arrives with full Windows 8.1 and an eye-catching price tag, making it a winner. That said, be aware of its cramped keyboard and average internal horsepower. Read: Asus Transformer Book T100 review
Stream PS3 games to your PlayStation 4 console? Yes please
Despite all the unknowns and the graphical half step backwards, PlayStation Now is one of the most exciting bits of gaming news to come out of CES. As life-long gamers, we sorely miss backwards compatibility. Having Sony's amazing back catalog at my disposal would be incredible, especially for a flat fee. This could be the Netflix of video games, and I'm excited to hear more about the lineup, and when I'll be able to play The Last of Us on my Vita. Sony has a closed beta planned for the end of January; expect more news once that kicks off. Hands on:PlayStation Now review
Valve's Steam pad
Can it really replace the mouse and keyboard in PC gaming?
Valve's Steam Box controller is impressively precise and uniquely creative. Playing with one for just a short while reminded us of the first time we used the single analog stick on the Nintendo 64. Tangling up an AT-AT with my tow cable in Shadows of the Empire was difficult, frustrating at times, but we could sense miles of gaming depth just below the surface. If it catches on it could be a sea change for all gaming, not just on PCs. Hands on:Steam Machine Controller review
TomTom Go 5000
The five-inch member of TomTom's new range is pure navigation at its best
Dedicated navigation devices have gone through something of a crisis of confidence. That's thanks to the rise of the smartphone. With almost everyone now toting smartphones with navigation ability, who needs a TomTom? For a while, it seemed like the answer was every more complex nav devices that mirrored the functionality of smartphones. But TomTom's latest have proved what a dead end that idea is. The real answer is to makes navs so good at actually being navigation devices, they're worth having as well as a smartphone. The TomTom Go 5000 does just that. It's very probably our favourite navigation device. Read: TomTom Go 5000 review
Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2
A larger premium tablet fit for the S Pen
The foot-long screen of the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 provides enough room for proper S Pen markup. Likewise, the ability to open up four Multi Windows without any slowdown thanks to its just as large specs makes it a business friendly or productivity focused tablet choice. Hands on:Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 review
Humax HB-1000S review
For UK readers only, a Freesat box with Freetime, but no PVR features
Ultimately, the HB-1000S should be considered a modestly fabulous alternative to pay-TV propositions from the likes of Sky, Virgin Media et al as well as Freesat's own PVRs. It's just the ticket for those looking for a low price way to shed the yoke of subscription TV. Unlike YouView, this box can even double as a competent media streamer, and its catch-up is comprehensive enough for us not to bemoan the absence of a local hard drive. All things considered, the Humax HB-1000S offers a surprisingly superior TV experience for a paltry £99.95. It truly is a tiny telly titan. Read: Humax HB-1000S review
An excellent value TV that isn't quite perfect
Though the viewing angle of the panel isn't great, it's an endemic issue with motion blur – not helped by the LED Clear Motion feature – that we found the major disappointment ton the UE42F5500. The over-reliance of Smart Hub's pages on the contents of Samsung;s VideoHub on-demand app – despite it not even being installed on the UE42F5500 – is a little confusing. Samsung UE42F5500 review
Nokia Asha 503
A bargain handset that's full of features but not that smart
Nokia has managed to design and produce a solid device for under £100, and for the price it's hard to complain about the problems. The bulky frame can be taken one of two ways. Either you think it feels rugged and durable, or chunky and a waste of space. Read: Nokia Asha 503 review
There's life in the old plasma yet
Don't be put off by the lack of glamour exhibited by the P42ST60's exterior: inside beats a home cinema heart of gold with levels of contrast, light uniformity and colour accuracy you get only with a Panasonic plasma. This is joined, moreover, by a good 3D performance, above average audio, and a brilliantly friendly smart TV interface. Read: Panasonic TX-P42ST60 review
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro
Samsung unleashes a new range of Android tablets for pro users
The Galaxy Tab Pro 12.2 is large and in charge but it's ably backed up by the 10.1- and 8.4-inch versions. We like the look of all three, with the smallest and largest really offering something different, and the raw power under the hood is going to impress a lot of people. However, we're not sure what makes these tablets truly 'pro', nor why there's such a lag in the interface at this stage of the product design. We're just hoping Samsung prices these things sensibly - it's a long shot, given the brand's usual method of trying to match the iPad (and the fact that largest screen isn't going to be cheap) but should these undercut the competition enough we can see them turning at least one or two heads. Hands on:Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro review
We look back on more highlights from CES 2014 in our Week in Tech show - check it out below: