A week in reviews: 2 - 6 September

In a week busy with announcements from the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin, we've thumbing through great innovations and, inevitably, technological chaff.

But not so with this week's bevy of reviews. Kicking things off with the wunderbar Canon EOS 70D - it pretty much redefines mid-level DSLR cameras - we've been blessed with a variety of other goodies too.

Samsung has come in strong and not just off the back of its IFA Unpacked event and press conference. Ever the company to release bags of products, we've homed in on just two of its more prolific current spectacles: the Galaxy Mega 6.3-inch smartphone and rather lovely, albeit pricey, 55-inch 8000 series TV.

Wrap that lot up with some gaming goodies - including Rayman: Legends and the rather curious Wikipad gaming tablet - and, as ever, it's been a varied week of non-stop techie fun here on the 'Lint.

It's also been the week of no sleep with so much to see at IFA. The tech machine keeps on turning and many of these just-announced products will line the review pages of Pocket-lint in the coming months. Exciting times.

Canon EOS 70D

The 70D represents the DSLR in the post-mirror age... and it's really astounded us. If you're looking for an all-rounder when it comes to both still images and movie capture then there's no other pure DSLR out there that can offer such a varied and successful feature set.

It's the camera's autofocus systems that really wins. The Dual Pixel AF system - on-sensor phase-detection via live view and a different phase-detection system via 19-point AF system through the viewfinder - truly closes the gap on the compact system camera market. The two systems work independently depending on how you use the camera. And there's no compromise between one or the other - a revelation when considering how poorly the Canon EOS M functioned.

It's a shame that the 70D's viewfinder doesn't offer a 100 per cent field-of-view, but otherwise a strong feature set - including a 3-inch, tilt-angle touchscreen - counters at almost every other avenue.

Price: £1,079 (body only)

Quick verdict: Great new technology, great image quality, and just great to use - there are only a few nitpick shortcomings to the Canon EOS 70D. Otherwise it's as close to redefining the mid-level DSLR as we've seen in recent years. Top stuff.

Full review: Canon EOS 70D review

Rayman: Legends

For the Rayman completist Legends is the ultimate platforming package. It's a wild ride through the unhinged imagination of Michael Ancel and his team that often threatens to out-Nintendo Nintendo.

Super-cutesy and murder-free it may be, but don't let that fool you: this is one hard game to beat. It's aimed at ages 7 and up, but we reckon the most hardened of gamers will find it tricky. But that's part of its pleasure: it's a retro throwback - when games were tricky - that shuns the brown-grey sludge of today's more typical and popular warfare titles.

Price: £40

Quick verdict: Rayman may have no arms, but he is sticking two fingers up to modern gaming. You'll end up with sore thumbs of your own along the way given how tough the game is to beat.

Full review: Rayman Legends review

Samsung Galaxy Mega

As good as the Mega is, it's not going to be for everyone. We can't give it a bad mark just because it's big, because it also succeeds in being really rather good.

If you know you want a big phone then the Galaxy Mega makes sense but it does has few downsides: the 8GB internal storage is cut to almost 4GB from the off, which is a problem if you want to download stacks of apps, the build is a little plasticky and the screen resolution far from high-end.

But there are plenty of positives too: inevitably the screen is large, which makes for great movie playback; the battery life is impressive, and there's also enough power on board for great browsing and gaming.

But we do wonder if people considering this phone might be better off with the Galaxy Note 2, a phone with more features that can be bought for not a huge amount more cash these days.

Price: £327

Quick verdict: We like the Mega. But there's no doubt in our minds that it will be just too big for most people, and it lacks some of the cool features of something like the Note 2 - the pen most notably - but it's still a great device. That internal storage issue isn't going to go away though, and it will limit a lot of users.

Full review: Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 review
 

Wikipad gaming tablet

It sounds a bit like Wikipedia, but it's not: say hello to the Wikipad, an Android tablet and controller rolled into one.

This 7-inch, Tegra 3-powered gaming tablet can slide in and out of a portable controller dock and it's a fun thing to fully realise the Android platform and all those Google Play titles available.

But not all tablet/smartphone games are designed to be used with analogue controllers so there are limits to the titles that will play out as well as they otherwise could. We wouldn't mind so much if all this didn't come in at a £250 price tag. It sure isn't cheap, but then you do snap up a fairly decent tablet for the price.

It's a bit of a leap of faith, really: as more developers hone titles to work as best as possible with proper controllers the Wikipad could become more valuable over time. But it's trusting in the early stages at the moment. And in the PS4 and Xbox One year that is 2013 we're not entirely convinced by it. 

Price: £250

Quick verdict: If you love mobile gaming, need a tablet, and don't mind lugging about the controller - and being seen in public with it - then the Wikipad could be for you. But with the Nvidia Shield and Razer Edge Pro already owning the top-end of Android mobile gaming - and each of those has their own shortcomings too - this budget version offers you little more than a controller and HDMI-out.

Full review: Wikipad review

Vacion CineTrack Pro camera slider

We love a bit of video here at Pocket-lint, so anything that makes capture look all the more special is a grand thing in our book.

The Vaction CineTrack Pro is one such device. It's a tracking rail "slider" perfect for slip-sliding a small camera rig - camcorder, DSLR or even smartphone - to capture smooth and quality footage.

It's best when hooked up to a tripod - which adds to the cost, but is an inevitability in production - and while there are some "bugs" to get used to when it comes to manual tracking and friction control, a bit of practise and you'll soon be getting TV-quality shots.

Price: £320

Quick verdict: A fantastic addition to any filmmaker's arsenal. The Vacion is a simple and reliable way of getting much more interesting shots than you would usually with a static camera. Just remember to get a decent tripod head to go with it for proper results.

Full review: Vacion CineTrack Pro camera slider review



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