This week's hottest reviews on TechRadar
29th Sep 2012 | 07:00
All the latest kit reviewed and rated
This week we've got plenty of new reviews for you. As well as Apple's new iPhone 5, there's the Galaxy Mini 2 at the following end of the price spectrum.
Then there's Adobe's brand new version of Photoshop Elements, which is sure to be a big seller in the run-up to Christmas.
Check out everything we've reviewed this week below.
The 105g Samsung Galaxy Mini 2 slides in at the lower end of Samsung's range and can be picked up for around £150 ($200) SIM-free. It's also available for free on contract starting at just £10.50 per month. The Galaxy Mini 2 isn't Samsung's entry level handset - that accolade goes to the Galaxy Y – which means it lines up against the likes of the Nokia Lumia 610, HTC Desire C and Sony Xperia U.
Pick up the Galaxy Mini 2 and you're met with that undeniably plastic finish which graces Samsung's whole range of smartphones from the quad-core Galaxy S3 flagship, all the way down to the likes of the Galaxy Ace 2 and Galaxy Y. There's a 3.27-inch TFT display with a 320 x 480 resolution. It's a good looking, budget handset with a strong build quality and manageable size – and the bright colour option for the rear cover will probably resonate with fashion-conscious teens.
Having developed its own passive Cinema 3D system and stuffed its TV ranges largely with Edge LED screens, you'd be forgiven for thinking that plasma tech is a low priority for LG. And you'd probably be right, but the 50-inch, Full HD and thoroughly feature-packed LG 50PM670T plasma TV represents - at least on paper - an increasingly tempting trend on the part of a handful of TV manufacturers of issuing low-key but huge plasma screens at startlingly low prices.
Elsewhere, the LG 50PM670T is a typical example of an all-round living room TV, strapped with an extensive array of smart TV apps and LG's excellent new networking-friendly user interface called SmartShare, plus a Freeview HD tuner and a Full HD resolution. For a mid-range TV priced at £749.99 (around $1,214), that's not at all a bad haul of features.
Adobe Photoshop CS6 may have gathered all the attention, but its baby brother Photoshop Elements has been quietly growing up. Now at version 11, it's a mature, sophisticated image-editing program that provides 90 per cent of the functionality of the full Photoshop, at a fraction of the cost. Pricing for new Photoshop Elements users is £79.10, or £119.14 for an Elements & Premiere Elements bundle. If you're upgrading from a previous copy of Photoshop Elements, it will cost £64.81, or £98.16 for the bundle.
This time around, there are only a handful of new features - although these are very much worth having - since Adobe has concentrated on the look and feel of the program. Gone is the dark, grey-on-grey look of previous versions; in comes a bright, fresh livery with much more readable text, clear tool icons, and a far fresher and more appealing look overall.
While every man and his dog is throwing SATA 6Gbps interfaced SSDs at us as if there's no tomorrow, where does that leave everyone that are still packing SATA 3Gbps systems? Surely they deserve some modern SSD love too? This is the premise behind Crucial's latest v4 family of drives: build a 3Gbps SSD at a good price so people with 3Gbps systems don't have to buy expensive 6Gbps models with features and performance they can't tap into. Seems vaguely sensible, right? While that would have been a sound idea when 6Gbps drives were relatively expensive, real life has dealt the Crucial v4 a kick where it hurts. The SSD market has become a little more cut throat sooner then most people expected and more than many ever thought possible.
Nikon has been rather busy over the past year, having already released the D4 and D800 in quick succession. But the company isn't taking a break just yet. The Nikon D600 aims to fill the gap between the hugely capable and professional Nikon D800 and the enthusiast-level Nikon D7000. The D600 is Nikon's first 'accessible' full-frame DSLR. Its £1,955.99/$2,099.95 price tag comfortably undercuts the full price of the Nikon D800 or Canon EOS 5D Mark III, while the size and weight of the Nikon D600 are only a marginal increase over the cropped-sensor Nikon D7000.
At the heart of the Nikon D600 is a new 24.3-million pixel, FX format CMOS sensor. It may seem quite a reduction from the 36.3MP chip in the Nikon D800, but it's still enough to outdo a Nikon D4 or Canon EOS 5D Mark III in terms of outright resolution. But has Nikon cut any corners to produce its smallest and least expensive full-frame offering?
This week's other reviews