This week's hottest reviews on TechRadar
15th Dec 2012 | 08:00
All the latest gear reviewed and rated
If you haven't done your Christmas shopping yet it really is time to start panicking - it's only 10 days until the Big J's big day.
If you're feeling flushed, you might like to check out some of the awesome tech we've been testing this week. If you're not feeling flushed, you should probably check them out anyway just to be safe.
It may not be the best compact camera on the market, but the Samsung Galaxy Camera is certainly one of the easiest and most fun to use. The image quality is also good, way beyond what the average phone can produce and on a par with some of the most popular compact cameras on the market. Enthusiasts are likely to be willing to forgive it any image quality shortcomings because they want it to take more creative shots than their phone can manage and then share them with their friends and followers. It is also smaller, lighter and better connected than DSLRs and CSCs. For the moment the price seems very high compared with compact cameras such as the Panasonic TZ30, although it is low in comparison with a smartphone such as the iPhone 5. When Samsung first announced the Samsung Galaxy Camera, we were told the price would be around £100/$160 less than it is on sale for now. While we can expect the price to drop over the coming months, consumers are currently being asked to pay a high premium for the camera's connectivity and Android operating system.
The Sony Xperia Tablet S does so many things right but many other things wrong. As a portable music player it's almost unrivalled, it's pretty good for video too in a lot of ways, but the poor screen resolution holds it back from being brilliant. The build quality is great; it's got a powerful 1.3GHz quad-core processor and the inclusion of an SD card slot helps set it apart from the iPad 4 and the Nexus range. But the battery life is terrible and the camera is glitchy, plus it's a bit of a disappointment even when it does work. All in all it's a tablet of two halves, and some of its missteps are forgivable given the fairly reasonable price tag of £329/AU$539/US$399.99 for the 16GB Wi-Fi version. But others are harder to overlook.
Wrapped in both the finest brushed metallic build quality around and an Ambilight glow, and supplied with an innovative and powerful speaker system, the Philips 46PFL9707 is special in so many ways. A new user interface proves flexible, and the TV's keyboard-backed pointer remote dazzles, though it's mixed brightness sequences and total black that are this Direct LED-backlit LCD TV's clear highlights. It's just such a shame that Net TV offers few apps and, worse, that 3D is plagued by crosstalk. Still, spin a Blu-ray disc and the Philips 46PFL9707 is capable of producing the best-ever black levels, contrast and detail from an LED-backlit LCD TV. Mixed brightness sequences amaze, and rarely look processed. Net TV is much improved, largely because of the new double-sided remote control - another slab of high quality hardware - and its clever cursor-style navigation.
When it comes to Windows 8 a user's experience will be tied directly to the device that they're using. To that end, the Acer Aspire S7 is a great way to experience Windows 8. With its sleek design and top-notch specifications this is the perfect companion for road warriors. We really liked the inclusion of the Intel Core i7-3517U processor, it's super fast and efficient, and the lovely 13.3-inch screen and 256GB are both pleasing features. The battery life with this device is great and the fact that it's only 2.9lbs means that we'll be rocking this baby for a while. But we were somewhat disappointed with the flimsy Bluetooth mouse and iffy touchpad, and it's a bit expensive, too. We don't think these drawbacks should be deal breakers.