Archive for Mike Lowe

Mini Cooper Convertible (2016) first drive: Topless fun

Mini Cooper Convertible (2016) first drive: Topless fun

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It's almost hard to believe that the BMW-reimagined Mini is now in its 15th year. Call it a birthday, if you will, that the Cooper Convertible arrives this month in its third-generation and best-looking guise to date; a little puppy fat, cute looks, bags... >>

Libratone Zipp review: A sound Scandinavian success
4.5 stars

Libratone Zipp review: A sound Scandinavian success

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Libratone is a Scandinavian company and does things a little differently. First, it likes its materials: whether woolly coats or similar, like with its Diva soundbar. Second, its products aren't as outlandishly expensive as most things in Copenhagen.... >>

Panasonic Lumix TZ100 review: Imaging liberation meet lens limitation
4.0 stars

Panasonic Lumix TZ100 review: Imaging liberation meet lens limitation

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The Panasonic Lumix TZ100 (known as ZS100 in the US) joins an increasing raft of cameras built around a 1-inch sensor size, promising upgraded image quality over what you would normally expect from a standard compact. Most prominent camera companies are... >>

Oppo F1 review: Pole position or pit stop for this affordable phone?
4.0 stars

Oppo F1 review: Pole position or pit stop for this affordable phone?

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When you look back at how phones have progressed over the last few years, it's easy to just focus on the top models: your iPhones and Samsung Galaxy S-es. However, for your average person who wants a phone but doesn't want to blow a massive hole in their... >>

Far Cry Primal review: Kings of the Stone Age
4.5 stars

Far Cry Primal review: Kings of the Stone Age

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In the modern games industry, once a publisher has a hit and follows it up with a successful sequel, all thoughts of risk and reward go out of the window. For that marks the point at which a new "franchise" is established, and we all know what those are... >>

Nikon DL: Trio of 1-inch sensor cameras, can Nikon finally make its mark in compacts?

Nikon DL: Trio of 1-inch sensor cameras, can Nikon finally make its mark in compacts?

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As one of the biggest camera manufacturers in the world, Nikon compacts have, by and large, been uninspiring and lost out to better competition. Until now, thanks to the announcement of a trio of 1-inch sensor compacts, called Nikon DL. It's an interesting... >>

Microsoft Surface Book review: One for the books
4.0 stars

Microsoft Surface Book review: One for the books

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After picking up the Microsoft Surface Book the bag in which it was placed promptly ripped through at the handles as we wandered down the street. Ah, this isn't a lightweight tablet-esque Surface product and, we suppose, we learnt that the hard way before... >>

Denon AH-MM400 headphones review: Wonderful or just wooden?
4.0 stars

Denon AH-MM400 headphones review: Wonderful or just wooden?

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Tired of plasticky headphones? Well, here's your chance to buy into some with a wooden exterior - Denon's new AH-MM400 reference over-ears. Which, some might think, look somewhat mad. Apt, then, that they top the "Music Maniac" range, we suppose. We've... >>

Canon PowerShot SX720 HS preview: Putting 40x zoom in the palm of your hand

Canon PowerShot SX720 HS preview: Putting 40x zoom in the palm of your hand

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Ah, the compact superzoom. Over the years they've got smaller yet, somehow, have managed to cram more and more features in. In the case of the Canon PowerShot SX720 HS it's all about the zoom - 40x optical zoom, no less. Which is quite a feat. In the... >>

Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II: Upping the high-end compact ante

Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II: Upping the high-end compact ante

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When we first used the Canon PowerShot G7 X, the company's first 1-inch sensor compact, it felt like Canon's attempt to deflect a strong Sony line-up - namely the RX100 series. Some 18-months later and it's time for round two, with the G7 X Mark II upping... >>

Beats Pill+ review: A pricey pill to swallow
3.5 stars

Beats Pill+ review: A pricey pill to swallow

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Portable Bluetooth speakers are available in abundance right now. Whether ones made by companies you've heard of, or ones that you haven't, the price and ability of such speakers hugely varies. With Beats now owned by Apple adding a sense of extra kudos... >>

Samsung is launching a Wi-Fi and touchscreen-toting fridge in the UK. Yep, a refrigerator with Wi-Fi

Samsung is launching a Wi-Fi and touchscreen-toting fridge in the UK. Yep, a refrigerator with Wi-Fi

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What's the thing clearly missing from your fridge? And no, it's not a pint of milk. It's Wi-Fi. And cameras. And a touchscreen. Which is exactly what the catchily-named Samsung F-Hub RB38J7755B1 - which is the single-stack UK slant on the double-stack... >>

Samsung Pay coming to UK ‘very soon’, to coincide with Galaxy S7 launch

Samsung Pay coming to UK ‘very soon’, to coincide with Galaxy S7 launch

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Fuelling the march towards the Samsung Galaxy S7 phone launch, the Korean company dangled a Samsung Pay UK release date carrot at its European Forum 2016. Nathalie Oestmann, Head of Samsung Pay Europe, announced on stage that the mobile payment tech will... >>

Philips PUS8601 4K TV with 4-sided Ambilight review: Colour us impressed
4.5 stars

Philips PUS8601 4K TV with 4-sided Ambilight review: Colour us impressed

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It can take quite a lot for a TV to stand-out from the crowd. Philips' approach? Plonk some LED lights around all four sides of its rear - aka Ambilight, used to real-time project coloured lighting in sync with the image on screen - and, no doubt, you've... >>

Panasonic Lumix TZ80 review: Can't Touch This
4.5 stars

Panasonic Lumix TZ80 review: Can't Touch This

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The Panasonic TZ range is hugely popular when it comes to dedicated compact cameras, especially if you're looking for big zoom in a relatively small package. In 2016 the range is diversifying: 2015's TZ70 is replaced by the similar TZ80 (or SZ60 for our... >>

Sony A6300 shows what system cameras can do: 425-point autofocus, 4K video, 11fps burst and more

Sony A6300 shows what system cameras can do: 425-point autofocus, 4K video, 11fps burst and more

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We've long been expecting a Sony Alpha A7000 to replace 2010's NEX-7, but Sony has other plans, instead announcing the A6300. But it doesn't scrimp on the features at any level. Touting the "world's fastest autofocus" at just 0.05-seconds - although it... >>

Canon EOS 1D X Mark II vs 1D X: What's new?

Canon EOS 1D X Mark II vs 1D X: What's new?

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In 2016 it's the year of the pro DSLR once again: the Canon EOS 1D X Mark II follows hot on the heels of the Nikon D5, which was announced a month earlier at CES 2016, but how does this full-frame pro-spec DSLR compare to its 1D X original? We handled... >>

Huawei Mate 8 review: Big beauty
4.5 stars

Huawei Mate 8 review: Big beauty

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Not so long ago the idea of a 6-inch phone sounded like a bonkers one. Now it's the norm for many, helped along by the iPhone 6S Plus, and with devices as powerful and refined as the Huawei Mate 8 also coming to market it's perhaps a more appealing concept... >>

Audi Q7 e-tron first drive: Electro efficiency

Audi Q7 e-tron first drive: Electro efficiency

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Plug-in electric vehicles are on the rise, with the Audi Q7 e-tron joining the A3 Sportback e-tron and R8 e-tron - taking the German maker's count up to three. There's clearly momentum behind electric, thanks to its efficiency, environmental and fuel-saving... >>

Motorola Moto Force review: Not all it’s cracked up to be
3.5 stars

Motorola Moto Force review: Not all it’s cracked up to be

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Butterfingers? The Moto Force might be the ideal flagship phone for those prone to dropping their smartphone on the regs, as its the first handset to offer a shatterproof screen. Well, if you discount the Droid Turbo 2, the name of the very same handset... >>

Fujifilm X-E2S official: It's S for subtle performance push

Fujifilm X-E2S official: It's S for subtle performance push

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In tech it seems that tacking an "S" onto the end of a product means "it's new, it's a bit better than the last one, but not by loads". We only need to look at Apple and the annual iPhone updates to see that. Now it's the turn of Fujiiflm with its X-E2S,... >>

Fujifilm X-Pro2 vs X-Pro1: What's the difference?

Fujifilm X-Pro2 vs X-Pro1: What's the difference?

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Four years in the making, the Fujifilm X-Pro2 is the company's highest-ranking compact system camera. But have those four years been worth the wait, or is the latest model barely different to its X-Pro1 predecessor? We've handled both cameras to break... >>

HP EliteBook Folio preview: Super-slim laptop means business

HP EliteBook Folio preview: Super-slim laptop means business

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It may well be a business laptop, but the HP EliteBook Folio sure does mean business. This slender workhorse is a mere 12.4mm thin - making it even more trim than the 12-inch MacBook. How's that possible? As the EliteBook Folio uses an Intel Core M processor... >>

Bang & Olufsen BeoSound 35 preview: Pentagonal powerhouse

Bang & Olufsen BeoSound 35 preview: Pentagonal powerhouse

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Danish audio maker Bang & Olufsen is known for its high-end materials and finish in its products. That's something the BeoSound 35 soundbar-esque multi-room music system strives to achieve, but with a somewhat harsher-looking pentagonal form than the... >>

HP Spectre x360 (2016) preview: OLED ace might be the best looking laptop ever

HP Spectre x360 (2016) preview: OLED ace might be the best looking laptop ever

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The original Spectre x360 saw HP assert its strengths in the laptop market. It was, and is, one great looking, great functioning laptop. For 2016 it's gone one better for the refresh by incorporating a 13.3-inch OLED panel into the design. And boy does... >>