This week's hottest reviews on TechRadar
1st Sep 2012 | 07:00
All the latest kit reviewed and rated
IFA used to be a home entertainment show but this year it's been dominated by mobile products, Windows 8 ones in particular.
It seems if it doesn't run Windows 8 and come with a keyboard dock, it's not worth having at this year's show. The confusing part though has been working out exactly 'what' some of the products actually are.
We've seen ultrabooks that detach from keyboards to become tablets and we've seen tablets that attach to keyboards to become notebooks. What's the difference?
We'll try and work that out when we get more of them in for the full TechRadar review treatment but in the meantime, here are the best and most exciting reviews and hands-ons we've written this past week.
Google TV is potentially compelling, but even in the world of regular firmware updates and new apps, is that enough? It's should fetch video from disparate websites and present it in a source-neutral way. Chrome doesn't do that, and nor does a motley collection of mostly smartphone-centric Google Play apps help in that mission. So is it better than the cheaper options, Apple TV or an Xbox 360? Hardware-wise, absolutely not - and the software is not as impressive, either - though with a friendlier, far more streamlined remote and a growing list of apps on Google Play there could be a future.
A great browser it might have, but even a clever Chrome can't locate enough compelling answers to the key question about Google TV; what's it for?
Asus has fired its off its opening salvo of Windows 8 tablets with a new range of 'Transformer' style devices dubbed the Asus Vivo Tab. Like the Asus Transformer Pad range, the Vivo is a tablet-cum-laptop hybrid where a tablet device docks into a keyboard base-station to become a netbook-sized laptop. Those who are as concerned with etymology as we are will be interested to know that Vivo comes from the Latin verb meaning 'to live', so it's just as well Asus is touting this as a device for both work and play.
Build quality is exceptional, and we prefer the solid keyboard dock to that of the Asus Transformer Prime. It felt solid, and our impression was that the keys had a tad more cushioning and refinement than its Android cousin.
It's about time we saw a camera from a leading brand running Android and we like the look of the Samsung Galaxy Camera a lot. With the popularity of uploading pictures to Facebook and Twitter using apps like Instagram, it makes a lot of sense to release an Android device that can both take brilliant 16MP snaps and upload them straight to your social networking profiles.
The 16-million pixel CMOS sensor inside the camera is a 1/2.3 inch device, the same size as in many compact cameras and considerably bigger than those in the average phone. This should mean that the Galaxy Camera is capable of recording a respectable level of detail with reasonably well controlled noise.
The speed of the Note 2 is phenomenal. This is, hands down, the best media and internet browsing portable machine we've seen in ages. It's still a bit big to be used as a normal phone – people will still think you're more than slightly odd holding it to your face – but for texting, browsing, emailing, watching movies and more, we haven't seen much better than this. We'll reserve proper judgement obviously until the price emerges – if it's anything like the first Note, we're in for a high-priced shock.
However, get this to the £30 mark and, coupled with some serious marketing again from Samsung, we should have a winner on our hands.
This phone is set to sit above the Desire C, but below the HTC One V, in the range of products from the Taiwanese manufacturer. And while we predictably couldn't get HTC to confirm it, the Desire X could come in for just £15-£20 a month on contract, or £180-£200 on pay as you go deals. This would be a real howitzer of a handset to throw at that segment, as while the HTC name doesn't command the same level of fervour among smartphone users, those wanting to stick with the Desire name will love the idea of halving their bills.
The HTC Desire X release date is set for mid-September in the UK, so it won't be long before we get to update this hands on with a full, in-depth review of a possible mid-range marvel.