A week in reviews: May 27 - 31
Dual-SIM phones are something we get asked about a lot. There aren't very many of them, and a lot of the ones we've seen have been distinctly sub-standard. Happily, this week we got our hands on a decent one, the Prestigio 4500 Duo, we really liked it, and apart from its battery life, we think it's just about the best dual-SIM handset we've seen.
Also on the agenda this week was a phone that makes the Galaxy Note II look like a tiddler, a Sony Tablet that proves the company is back on track, and a Samsung TV that offers just about the best picture quality you can expect from an LCD TV. Oh, and there were some wooden headphones too.
Huawei Ascend Mate
It's big and cheap and we utterly loved this phone. It might not have enough power to do a good job of Real Racing 3, but for a device aimed at media playback and general internet functionality, we think it's a solid performer. At £330, it's a lot cheaper than the Note II as well, and while it doesn't have a lot of the advanced features, it will certainly scratch and itch for those who like big phones.
Quick verdict: While its size will put most off, if you're keen on a big phone this offers loads. It might not have the pen features of the Note II, but if you can live without that, then this phone offers you many of the same advantages. Watching video on it is an absolute joy, and for browsing the web out and about, it feels like you've almost got a laptop with you. A solid effort from Huawei, and a phone we're very happy to recommend.
Full review: Huawei Ascend Mate review
Sony Xperia Tablet Z
Sony is on a roll at the moment. Good TVs are on sale, its phone business is on the up, people are generally looking forward to the PS4 and its tablets have improved from its first generation disasters, into devices we'd happily pay to own. Oh, and this one is waterproof too, and that's a fist in big-name tablets. We think this one is well worth a look.
Quick verdict: Excellent design and specification at an impressive price, the Sony Xperia Tablet Z is a great Android tablet with plenty on offer
Full review: Sony Xperia Tablet Z review
Samsung UE55F8000 LCD TV
Samsung is proud of its TVs, and rightly so, it's made huge progress, has one of the best online "smart" platforms and is beating everyone in terms of picture quality too. That said, its 55-inch monster F8000 series TV has some flaws, the price being a big one, because it's almost as massive as the TV.
Quick verdict: The UE55F8000 is a luxury LED screen engineered to impress. There are so many features onboard, you’ll probably not get around to using them all, and as a Smart TV proposition it sets the pace. Particularly significant is the provision of Samsung’s Smart Evolution upgrade slot, which means that when there are significant advances a year of two down the road, you can always update to the latest processor and interface. Full HD image quality is impressive, and, in all, it’s a highly desirable telly.
Full review: Samsung UE55F8000 LCD TV review
Prestigio Multiphone 4500 Duo
Dual-SIM phones are very handy if you travel or have a business number and a personal line you want to be able to have with you at the same time, but without two phones. The big problem for the Prestigio is that having two SIM cards means massive battery drain. The good news is, this phone is a solid Android device that you won't hate using. A big thumbs up from us.
Quick verdict: Dual-SIM phones are essential for some, and handy for others. If you travel, it will give you access to local SIM cards for data, while keeping your phone number for calls and texts from those who need to get in touch. Of course, this comes at a price, and it's not about money, but about battery life, which sufferers enormously with both SIM cards turned on. This is just par for the course though, and you could buy backup batteries if it's a big probl
Full review: Prestigio Multiphone 4500 Duo review
Meze 66 Classics headphones
They're made of wood, have a unique sound and fit nicely. The Meze 66 Classics are certainly eye-catching, and happily their performance is solid for headphones in this price range too. We liked the fact that EQ tweaks bring out their low-end power, and we think they're good performers if you're after a clean, pure sound too.
Quick verdict: Perhaps a bit more expensive than they should be, but the wood used and the overall build quality suggest that they're properly made and should last a long time. They sound good, but don't throw duff MP3s at them, or you'll hear all the problems straight away. Capable of good bass and clear sound
Full review: Meze 66 Classics headphones review