This week's hottest reviews on TechRadar
28th Apr 2012 | 07:00
All the latest kit reviewed and rated
The endless conveyor belt of tech has been moving fairly rapidly of late, and this week it was the turn of Intel's Ivy Bridge CPUs and Amazon's Kindle Touch to take centre stage.
Check out our in-depth reviews of these products and more...
There's no doubt that the Kindle Touch is a great ebook reader. It's not a question of whether we recommend it or not – we do – but whether it's the right Kindle model for you. For academic use, we recommend the Kindle Touch over its £89 sibling. It's so much easier to search, highlight and annotate using the touch interface that it's no competition. Similarly, if you like to buy a lot of books on your device on the go, the fact that there's a 3G option could sway you.
However, if you just want a simple high-quality ebook reader for taking everywhere in your bag and reading your library, the cheaper, smaller, lighter £89 Kindle might be the way to go. You won't be disappointed with either.
In Intel's Tick-Tock parlance, Ivy Bridge is a Tick and that means a new process. In simple terms, it's the 22nm follow up to Intel's searingly successful 32nm Sandy Bridge processors, which launched a little over a year ago. What Intel hasn't done, however, is add any more cores. The top Ivy Bridge model, like the Intel Core i7 3770K, sticks with four cores, just like existing 2nd Gen mainstream Core i7 chips for the LGA1155 socket.
The truth is, this Intel Core i7 770K is barely any faster than existing Sandy Bridge chips like the Core i7 2600K. Given how well optimised Sandy Bridge already is, that's not a surprise. That said, we had hoped the new 22nm process would enable higher overclocks, much lower power consumption or maybe a bit of both. On this first viewing, it doesn't deliver much of either.
Flying pretty high up the 2012 Viera range, the Panasonic TX-L47DT50 is jam packed with enthusiast-friendly features. It's also unquestionably the best-looking Viera TV ever made.
Its Freesat tuner is ideal for lapsed Sky subscribers or free-to-air viewers unable to access Freeview come the completion of the digital switchover in the UK. Its multimedia and smart TV talents are diverse, and its classy look finally puts Panasonic on a design par with many of its rivals. It might not raise the bar in terms of design, usability and features but it keeps Panasonic up with its rivals. You'd be hard pressed to guess that Panasonic has no previous form in the 47-inch LCD sector before this year.
Costing £700 in the UK or $800 in the US, with a kit lens, the launch price of the Sony Alpha a57 seems a little steep, particularly given that you can pick up the 24.3MP, GPS-enabled Sony Alpha SLT-a65 for roughly the same price, or even less if you shop around online. That said, once the newcomer has been on the market a short while, the street price will no doubt settle at a more realistic point, bringing it more into line with its DSLR rivals such as the Nikon D5100 and Canon EOS 600D. When it comes to features, however, we don't feel at all short changed.
Although there may be a few issues that could be improved upon, such as the non-standard USB interface and the iESP metering system's propensity for overexposure, the Olympus SZ-14 still represents good value for the price.