This week's hottest reviews on TechRadar
13th Oct 2012 | 07:00
The best kit we've reviewed this week
This week it's all about TV - we've got a tremendous new plasma from Panasonic and a stunning new 46-inch from Toshiba.
Then there's a full assessment of Samsung's new Series 7 Gamer - a powerful new gaming laptop from the Korean manufacturer.
And we're also hands on with Amazon's new Kindle Paperwhite; a stunning new model in the Kindle ereader range that has a higher definition screen. Plus there's plenty more besides: read on for a full rundown of the entire week's reviews on TechRadar.
Among home cinema aficionados the talk is always of the importance of a TV's ability to produce pure black. And while there can be too much emphasis on this, there's no doubting how much more nuanced, detailed and believable a well-made film appears when viewed on a top spec plasma. And this 50-inch Panasonic VT50 Series plasma is exactly that.
Plasma, for now, is king among AV perfectionists who want as near to total accuracy as possible. The traditional downsides to plasma technology are largely aesthetic and to do with wider bezels and fatter chassis, but on the Panasonic TX-P50VT50 we're struggling to see where the problem is.
Although Toshiba isn't afraid to dabble with seriously fancy stuff at the very top of its TV range - including the remarkably cutting-edge Toshiba 55ZL2, with its 4K resolution and glasses-free 3D - it knows better than to muck about when it comes to the mainstream heart of its business.
Take this Toshiba 46TL963, for example. On paper, at least, this new 46-inch TV looks as if someone has taken all of the most important points on our TV wish list and assembled them together into a single, potentially irresistible product.
With its blue backlit keyboard and i7 processor, Samsung's Series 7 Gamer laptop is a big shiny box of power. At 17 inches wide, it's more of a semi-portable desktop replacement than a truly portable laptop. Still, this is a gaming computer, and with great power generally comes some serious bulk and a hefty down payment.
The first thing you'll notice about the Series 7 Gamer are all the blue lights, and a silver dial on the right side, near the monitor. This lets you cycle the computer into one of four modes: Gaming, Balanced, Library and Green Mode. The Series 7 Gamer isn't cheap, but it's also not the priciest mobile gaming solution on the market. A little under two grand is pretty much par for the course with any machine that's (partially) portable and capable of running Skyrim at a respectable resolution.
Amazon's media-friendly Kindle Fire took off like nobody's business when it was introduced in 2011, but the bookseller isn't abandoning the traditional, books-only Kindle by any stretch of the imagination. The 6-inch Kindle Paperwhite represents the next iteration of the company's iconic brand of e-readers.
The most important factor of any device that you're going to be staring at for hours on end is the screen, and the Kindle Paperwhite sports a new display with the highest contrast and resolution and least glare of any Kindle screen yet. Amazon's new patented light guide tech directs light down toward the screen, reducing ambient light emitted by the Kindle Paperwhite – it worked well in environments.
Fuji created quite a stir when it released its FinePix X100 in March 2011. The combination of a retro-styled metal body, APS-C sized sensor, fixed 23mm f/2 lens and a unique hybrid viewfinder caused plenty of interest among enthusiast and professional photographers alike. Now Fuji's X10 sits below the X100 in the range, sporting similar retro styling, but sacrificing the large APS-C sensor and fixed lens in favour of a 2/3-inch EXR CMOS sensor and a 4x zoom lens providing an angle of view equivalent to a 28-112mm lens on a 35mm camera.
A positive point to glean from this specification is that the price is much more modest. It is much more reasonably priced than its bigger brother, so it will be interesting to see how it fares when it comes to image quality. Fuji's EXR CMOS technology uses a different pixel arrangement to conventional image sensors. This enables the camera to either take pictures at the full 12MP resolution, or to combine neighbouring pixels to increase image quality in low light conditions.
Other reviews this week: