A week in reviews: 5 - 9 August
This week we've been banging out the tunes via Beats' latest Studio headphones while taking a look at some top-spec camera kit. But it's also the week that we bring you the verdict on the Motorola Moto X. The all-American and, indeed, America-only smartphone from the now Google-owned company might not match up to some of the mightier-spec competition, but does this matter? Read on for this week's assortment of review delights.
Sony Cyber-shot RX100 II
Compact cameras don't come much pricier than Mark II of the Sony RX100. Aptly titled the Cyber-shot RX100 II, this £649 beastie delivers a whole lot for the cash: a brand new 1-inch sensor, tilt-angle LCD screen and hotshoe for attaching accessories or an optional viewfinder.
There are only small moans to be had, such as the lack of precision focus in low light, but that's forgivable considering just how great the image quality is overall. It's one of the best compacts available to buy today - but you do have to pay out the cash for such kit.
Quick verdict: We may have a fistful of smaller niggles that hold the RX100 II back from perfection, but there's no getting around it: it's among the best compact cameras on the market today. But to own this wonderful slice of compact camera pie you'll need to fork out the cash. Is it worth it? Just take a look at the excellent image quality and it's hard to ignore just how good a compact the RX100 II truly is.
Full review: Sony Cyber-shot RX100 II review
Camera number two on this week's list is the ultra-specialist Ricoh GR. The company that took over Pentax not so long ago might not be the biggest household name compared to some of its rivals, but that's irrelevant: this is one serious customer.
With a DSLR-size APS-C sensor under the hood and a 28mm equivalent f/2.8 lens - no zoom here folks - specialist is the word. That marriage of sensor and lens creates astoundingly good image quality and compared to similar models such as the Nikon Coolpix A. The only things that really holds it back is so-so autofocus speed and a poor battery life.
Quick verdict: A fixed focal length, large sensor compact is a rare beast - but it's these features that see the Ricoh GR sit pretty in this niche space. Image quality is truly exceptional, but so-so autofocus, clunky manual focus and a poor battery life limit what is otherwise a great specialist compact camera.
Full review: Ricoh GR review
Beats Studio 2013
Booming bass is what Beats are all about. Beats Studio - the "remastered for 2013" version - sure do deliver on that promise.
They won't be for everyone and they certainly won't suit all kinds of music, but these charge-up-and-go 20-hour battery-driven 'phones pump out the beats hard.
However the plasticky exterior - a magnet for fingerprints - doesn't match up to the £270 asking price in our view, particularly for such a fashion-focused brand.
Quick verdict: Bassheads will love the low-end boom from the "remastered" Beats Studio headphones and they're a comfortable wear. But for a brand that's as much about design as it is audio, we feel that the plasticky, fingerprint-magnet finish and £270 price tag is at odds with the image. And let's get it straight: Beats are for beats, they won't suit all genres of music.
Full review: Beats Studio (2013) review
Motorola Moto X
The all-American smartphone is here… well, it is if you happen to live in America. It's a shame that the Moto X won't be making its way to UK shores and beyond as we see potential in this handset.
Customisation is key to the product concept, and while some might shrug that off as an unwanted extra, we think it will fit a slightly different audience.
Even if the Moto X adds the kind of superpowers of the HTC One it doesn't really reflect much in the real world. Benchmarking is one thing, but we're all about real-world use and found the Moto X to be buttery smooth. It's a quality device even if its spec doesn't entirely suggest that it is.
Price: $199 USD (not available in UK)
Quick verdict: There are plenty of other similar-priced options out there such as the HTC One that bury the Moto X under mightier specs. But even so, and while it's not quite to that level, we've really enjoyed adopting the Moto X. It's smart and still powerful enough - plus it avoids too much bloatware as per the Samsung Galaxy S4. Motorola's customisation options will also tick the box for some - we think they're cool - and that gives this phone that middle-ground appeal that nothing else in the market has.
Full review: Motorola Moto X review
Cambridge Audio Minx Go
Minx: a word that doesn't typically rouse thoughts of speaker systems. Cambridge Audio begs to differ: its Minx Go portable Bluetooth speaker system is a chunk of plastic that's been flirting in and around the Pocket-lint offices for a couple of weeks. For £100 it's an impressive unit that proves budget doesn't mean audio has to be bad. There's plenty of bass delivery and aural pleasures for the cash outlay.
Quick verdict: It may not look all that exciting, but for the £100 asking price the Cambridge Audio Minx Go more than delivers. Booming bass considering the small scale proves that budget audio systems needn't sound bad. Some crunchy high-end is its low point, but otherwise there's a lot of lovin' to be had here.