This week's hottest reviews on TechRadar
17th Nov 2012 | 09:26
All the latest gear reviewed and rated
It's only 8 days until Christmas! What do you mean you've not started your Christmas shopping yet?
OK so it's a little more than 8 days until Christmas. But let this serve as a kick up the behind to get your creative juices flowing - it's been a great year for tech, and there are lots of cool gadgets out there for you to either give... or ask for!
Here's the best of all the new gear we've looked at this week, starting with the new GoPro!
Compared to the competition, such as the £100 cheaper Sony HDR-AS15, which already has Wi-Fi built in for live streaming, identical frame rates at 1080p and 720p plus a stereo microphone and speaker compared to the GoPro's mono and no speaker; and the £160 cheaper Drift HD which has a built in colour screen and more buttons for menu navigation, is the GoPro worth the extra money?
Yes. Especially if you're a professional videographer, because of the wide range of resolutions and frame rates it offers. And yes again, if you want a small, light camera that is capable across a wide range of environmental conditions. It's an amazing and robust camera that can go all the places you can, and some places you can't. Better, faster, and now with higher-end video modes more suited to the pro market, it's a serious little piece of kit.
When Amazon introduced the Kindle into the virtually nonexistent ebook reader landscape five years ago, it changed the way many of us view and consume literature. Several years on, and minor issues aside, Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite is more aces than not. It has the same primary advantage of every Kindle and Amazon device: the largest selection of digital reading material anywhere. That alone puts the Paperwhite among the best devices of its kind.
With a wonderful physical design, a legitimately impressive screen, an operating system that gets out of the way, and the largest selection of digital reading material anywhere, the Amazon Paperwhite is the best pure ebook reader currently available. It might not let you to visit Facebook, send Tweets, watch YouTube, or download the latest Kanye West album, but it displays ebooks, and in the absolute best manner possible. If that's all you're looking for, you can't go wrong with the Paperwhite.
Although handling the XZ-2 isn't as straightforward as Canon's Powershots or as intuitive as Nikon's Coolpix range, it does offer a plethora of shooting choice to cater for all levels of shooter; with manual and semi-manual controls for advanced enthusiasts, a dedicated auto mode (iAuto) and scene selector for novices, plus an art palette for keen creatives. Thanks to the lens, it's an absolute must for low-light enthusiasts as it catalogues impressively crisp captures, even at lower ISOs, helped by the camera's image stabilisation technology that cements details even when shot at noticeably slow shutter speeds, and when executed hand-held.
Overall the price tag is a little steep, considering that some low-end to mid-range DSLRs and CSCs can cost a lot less, but for those seeking an all-encompassing compact camera with a solid lens performance the Olympus Stylus XZ-2 has to be one of the best currently on the market.
While we're all for the idea of cutting down the smartphone experience to make the cost a little bit more palatable, the Galaxy S3 mini is still too expensive to be considered an ideal choice if you don't want the heft of its larger brother. Be it the lack of auto-brightness, the slightly less sharp screen or the fact it takes a normal-sized SIM (which will annoy those that have made the jump to microSIM already and want to move onto this budget option) there's definitely a feeling that £300 for a phone of this quality is a little high.
Scrub off £50 and we can see a Christmas hit on the cards - although given the branding afforded to it, there's a strong chance that will happen anyway - and we like to see consumers getting a fair deal, especially around the holiday season.
Other reviews on TechRadar this week:
Digital TV recorders
In Car Gadgets
Mobile phone accessories