This week's hottest reviews on TechRadar
28th Jul 2012 | 07:00
All the latest kit reviewed and rated
This week has been TV-tastic with a whole range of brilliant TVs at different sizes making their way through the TechRadar office.
We've also been putting OX X 10.8 Mountain Lion through its paces.
Although it's not much of a step up from the Wildfire S and Explorer, the HTC Desire C is a well rounded budget handset which offers more than enough at its price point, even if it is a little under powered compared to some of its rivals. So it's better than the handsets it's come in to replace… but not by much. The intuitive interface, attractive design and competitive price tag means the Desire C certainly has the opportunity to do well at the low end of the market – especially against the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Y and LG Optimus L3. But for those who need a little more bang for their buck, you might want to see what the Ascend G300 or BlackBerry Curve 9320 have to offer.
Packed with extra features it may be, but smart apps, web browsing and cute designs can be bought for less cash; buying the Panasonic TX-P50GT50 is all about a serious quest for picture quality prowess. And, boy, does this 50-inch plasma TV deliver. It's a class-leading plasma TV at an affordable price and it's impossible to think of a better screen on which to watch both 2D and 3D Blu-ray. Standard definition sources are coped with unusually well, too, and while the image isn't as immediately bright as an LCD/LED TV, a picture this good shouldn't be difficult to live with in any setting. However, the user interface is a little drab, and we're sad to see no 3D specs in the box but a picture completely lacking in motion blur and with awesome black levels makes this a reference-level television.
If there's one feature that makes it worth upgrading your Mac to Mountain Lion, it's Notification Center. At £13.99, Mountain Lion is a real bargain for that alone, though the true cost might be higher if you have to upgrade from Leopard, or upgrade any of your applications to make them compatible. The rearrangement of Notes and Reminders into their own apps is very welcome if you also use an iOS device, and the swathe of other minor tweaks around the system are positive as a whole. Apple needs to rethink iCloud document libraries before we're willing to start putting work online though. Using iCloud to store documents is entirely optional, and it can be supplanted with alternatives such as Google Drive and Dropbox, which offer a more flexible file system.
Although judged purely on picture quality the PS60E6500 isn't in quite the same league as Panasonic's high-end plasmas, it's a closer run thing than we'd imagined. As smart as any TV out there, the PS60E6500 excels with 3D. We're talking smooth, depth-filled images that are comfortable to watch, though 2D action is none too shabby either. It's great to see both Freesat HD and Freevew HD tuners inside, too, with HD channels playing a star role against standard definition channels that somehow look watchable on a 60-inch screen.
One of Samsung's best-looking TVs both inside and out, the Samsung UE40ES7000's Freesat & Freeview HD tuners grace a versatile and innovation-packed effort. Voice control impresses, as does a Smart Touch remote and clever smartphone app. The Smart Hub can feel busy, but there's plenty on this high-end TV to wow – not least its contrast-rich, detailed pictures, solid upscaling and immersive 3D images.
Choosing an HD-ready TV over a Full HD version is risky if you plan to watch Blu-rays, but this 32-inch television from Panasonic's low-resolution panel proves capable at hiding the video nasties emanating from the soft, low resolution, low bit-rate standard definition channels that still make up the majority of most people's TV viewing. There is some endemic motion blur on the Panasonic TX-L32X5 and it's a shame the Freeview HD electronic programme guide lacks a live TV thumbnail, but overall this is a reasonably good value attempt at a living room telly.