A week in reviews: April 29 - May 3
After much waiting, the BlackBerry Q10 went on sale. To say that this is a make or break device for BlackBerry isn't overstating it. This is the product that will either save the firm, or push it further into the abyss. Why? Because this is its Qwerty handset, and it's the one that those business folk are used to prodding every minute of every day. Touchscreen phones are all well and good, but when you live in email, you need a proper keyboard. We took a look to see if it could stand up to scrutiny.
There were also some exciting cars, a Panasonic camcorder you wear on your head to give a unique perspective to your videos and a pair of Sony's delightful NEX cameras. We also got to review Huawei's budget, £130 G510 to find out if it was a bargain or just another irksome lump of plastic.
For a little more than a good compact camera, Sony offers you an interchangeable lens system camera that has bundles of great features, a wide selection of lenses and stunning picture quality.
While the cost might be a little high for some, this camera offers near DSLR performance in a package that's smaller and arguably more user friendly
Quick verdict: The NEX-5R offers fantastic image quality in a small package. It may not be quite as lightning quick as some of its competitors in the autofocus department and the menu system is still a bit clunky, but otherwise the new on-body controls go a good way to keeping Sony well and truly in the compact system camera game.
Full review: Sony NEX-5R
Citroen DS3 DSport 155 Red
It looks the part, that's for sure, and the engine is certainly enough fun. There are some problems though: the interior equipment is at times a little confusing, especially with the fuel economy information being shown on the stereo if you don't get the sat nav installed as an option.
Still, it makes a change from the German automobile. Here the passion and excitement of the old-school French cars shines through. You can believe this was built by the same company that thought the 2CV was a funky looking motor, and we have to say we're thrilled to see a car that looks like it was designed by a human, not a wind tunnel.
Quick verdict: One of the best three-door city cars you can buy and price-wise, it's not a bad deal either
Full review: Citroen DS3 DSport 155 Red
This is the evolution of where BlackBerry began. A phone with a Qwertykeypad, designed for those who spend their days answering emails or pinging questions via BBM. Certainly, it looks like the original devices, although we think it's fair to say it's a more-stylish keyboard phone than almost any other we've seen.
The problems with BlackBerry as a whole persist though, the app situation is still laughably bad, and there's not a lot here to tempt people away from a touchscreen smartphone running Android, iOS or even, arguably, Windows Phone. That said, it remains the pefect device for those who need a keyboard to dispatch regular mails to their teams, and the security to match. Expect this to be popular with governments across the world.
Quick verdict: The BlackBerry Q10 is our BlackBerry of choice, delivering a great communication experience. But it lacks alongside rival smartphone platforms in other areas.
Full review: BlackBerry Q10
Mini Cooper S Paceman
The Mini remains one of the best-selling, and best-loved cars in the UK. It might have little or nothing to do with the original, but the spirit has certainly been passed from the old generation to the new. The Paceman is a bit of a weird looking thing though, it's massive for one thing - and the regular Mini was never a small car. But if you're looking to hoon it around with another three full-sized humans, it's a solid choice.
It's likely to appeal to young, cool families who would rather die than be seen in a SUV or "softroader". It's not badly priced though, and it will certainly hold on to a lot of its value when you come to sell it on in a few years.
Quick verdict: If you have a family and fancy a Mini, then this could be for you. But alternatives do better.
Full review: Mini Cooper S Paceman
The most interesting thing about this camcorder is the footage you get, and the way it looks. It's bolted to your head, so where you look, the camera looks. From this perspective, viewers will find it compelling.
Quality is okay, but we think those looking for the best in video will be happier with something like a GoPro, which has far sharper images despite a few image demons of its own. Still, this Panasonic is reasonably priced and it's different enough to be worth considering.
Quick verdict: The great form factor of this camera means the footage you shoot feels very personal, it's comfortable and the battery life is reasonable - although not brilliant. The only real problem is that the picture quality isn't as sharp as we'd like
Full review: Panasonic HX-A100
Stunning picture quality means that this camera wins our respect straight away. There are few downsides apart from some slightly annoying issues with Wi-Fi and lenses that won't withstand the same abuse as a more solid DSLRs might. Any disadvantage here though, is nicely countered by the weight and size reduction you get with this tiny but mighty camera.
Add to that the fact that the built-in viewfinder is amazing, there's the solid screen to back it up and with a decent image resolution of 16-megapixels and we're sold.
Quick verdict: The NEX-6 is our favourite model in the series yet. Some autofocus shortcomings, battery life ailments and sloppy Wi-Fi do give rise to some issues and competitors certainly give Sony a run for its money. But it's the mix of decent 16-megapixel image quality and the built-in viewfinder make it a winner
Full review: Sony NEX-6
Huawei Ascend G510
The G510 is solid in every way and costs £130. From that point of view, it's really hard to find all that much to complain about. If you forget about the price though, it starts to look like a much more generic phone, and one that's hard to get excited about.
We like the look of the UI, and when it comes to important things like call quality and battery life there are no significant complaints to make. It might not be thrilling, but it is a good all-rounder.
Quick verdict: A solid phone that will serve budget users well. The only real problem we have with it is that it's fairly standard
Full review: Huawei Ascend G510