A week in reviews: June 3 - 7

June is the month when the summer sun should come out in the UK. It's also the month when we've brought you a variety of product reviews - some ideal for soaking up the rays outdoors such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT, others such as Naughty Dog's PS3 epic The Last Of Us for those overcast days in.

As Computex 2013 showered Taiwan with all the latest forthcoming laptops and computing goodies, we focused on some recent-to-market models: from the HP Chromebook to the Asus VivoBook and our pick of the bunch - the outstanding Windows 8 Dell XPS 12.

Plus with the rays finally breaking through the cloud what better week to go and shoot some pictures? The Olympus XZ-10 and Fujifilm F900EXR are the two snappers to grace the Lint offices this week.

Fujifilm FinePix F900EXR

The travel zoom to finally put some oomph into Fujifilm's F-series, this 20x optical zoom snapper has a full feature set for its £279 asking price.

Price: £279

Quick verdict: The F900EXR isn't quite the champion of its category, but through the series' progressive ironing-out of bugs and shortcomings we feel it's a step ahead of its F800EXR predecessor. In short this is a decent travel compact with plenty of quirks - some good, some bad - that amounts to a genuinely solid slice of photographic pie.

Full review: Fujifilm FinePix F900EXR review

 

Olympus Stylus XZ-10

We were excited when we first saw the XZ-10 back at the beginning of this year. It's smaller than Olympus' other high-spec compacts and looks a charm.

Price: £299

Quick verdict: It's got the style but it's not quite got all the features - although, arguably, that's where this sub-£300 advanced compact is supposed to exist. The XZ-10 is like the "XZ-2 mini" and although it packs slightly less of a punch due to lack of lens-based stabilisation and a standard size 1/2.3-inch sensor, we're otherwise impressed with what this stylish little number can do.

Full review: Olympus Stylus XZ-10 review

 

Asus VivoBook S500

Amid the stacks of Windows 8 machines it's hard to find one with the right balance of power, design and price. Asus's all-rounder isn't bad by any means, but it lacks the power that can see off its rivals.

Price: £570

Quick verdict: A solid family PC here, with touch control that works brilliantly with Windows 8 and all the power you need for most day-to-day tasks. Gamers, or those who want to do high-power video editing, however, should look elsewhere.

Full review: Asus VivoBook S500 review

 

The Last Of Us

Games don't come any bigger and this PS3 exclusive - released just ahead of the PS4's release this Christmas - has set tongues wagging from the off. It's like a real-life survival movie. Great acting, great gameplay - a modern masterpiece.

Price: £40

Quick verdict: As the PS3 prepares to be replaced by the PS4, it's pleasing to see that games like The Last of Us are pushing the envelope and making our jaws drop. It's not perfect due to some repetitious gameplay, but it still is a must-have game that shows the PS3 at its very best.

Full review: The Last Of Us review

 

HP Pavilion Chromebook 14

We've seen each and every Chromebook since the devices were launched mid-2012. None has really got us all that excited, and while the HP Pavilion - the largest Chromebook on the market with a 14-inch screen - gets plenty right for the price, it still falls into that same restricted and average place. If it's right for you it's great, it just won't be for all.

Price: £249

Quick verdict: The HP Chromebook has glimmers - and we don't mean the sparkly plastic exterior - of best-in-class. But when that renders an ultimately average experience it's not too much to shout about. For us Chromebook still lacks the excitement factor and the HP has familiar problems with limited storage space, a poor viewing angle and limited screen resolution.

Full review: HP Pavilion Chromebook 14 review

 

Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT

Hench. That's the first word that springs to mind. This 6.4-litre, V8 Jeep, which we drove Stateside, is a fattened-up American muscle car. It's big, it's brash, and it's quite brilliant.

Price: £59,000 (predicted)

Quick verdict: As American as Apple pie, the Grand Cherokee SRT is updated as a 2014 model with styling changes, an upgraded interior and an 8-speed gearbox. For an SUV it’s fun to drive and is unnervingly fast. "Hemi" engine makes a great noise, though likes a drink. Rest of the package appeals overall and usefully undercuts the German opposition although it doesn’t feel as premium. Allow yourself to be won over by its character though, and none of this matters.

Full review: Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT review

 

Dell XPS 12

Bend me, shape me, any way you want me. An apt lyrical intro to a laptop equally lyrical in its excellent delivery: the Dell XPS 12 is a powerful laptop with a varible 1080p screen that not only looks great it's practical in any number of situations - on the go, at home, or wherever you need to compute. It just works.

Price: £1300

Quick verdict: The 1080p screen makes the XPS 12 the ideal multimedia laptop, with a screen flexibility ideal for use in a load of different situations. There's more than enough power here, even for the demanding user, and the screen resolution and quality is staggering. This is a fantastic laptop that has a party trick. It will suit those who want to use that screen in all manner of positions, and those who want to use it as a straight laptop.

Full review: Dell XPS 12 review



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