A week in reviews: 18 - 22 November
This week it's all about the gaming. We've crunched through both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One console reviews, alongside a stack of games to get you in the mood for next-gen.
But we're far more versatile than that. Never the one-trick pony, we've also been hanging out in St Lucia testing out the latest Sony cameras, including the Alpha A7 full-frame compact system camera.
We've been running with the Nike+ FuelBand SE, using the budget yet brilliant Motorola Moto G, have taken delivery of the first Nokia phablet, the 1520, and with the Tokyo Motor Show 2013 under way we've thrown a couple of cars - the Vauxhall Adam and Mazda MX-5 - into the review mix too.
It's about to get messy on the gaming wars front. Best defence? Maybe the Dyson Digital Slim DC59 vacuum - also reviewed this week - ought to save your bacon. And speaking of bacon, we just happen to have been cooking our way through stacks of meat using the Tefal OptiGrill.
Like we say: versatile. Never a boring week of reading wonder here at the 'Lint. Read on to see which next-gen console ticks our boxes the most.
PlayStation 4 review
Quick review: There is no doubting that the PS4 is a powerful machine that has masses of potential. The graphics on the day one games we've played are a definite cut above - but we're sure there's a lot more to come. The biggest problem this side of Christmas is that the PS4 just lacks those must-have games. Give it until next spring or this time next year and it will most likely be the console to own.
Pros: Fast, powerful, small, masses of potential, Remote Play via PS Vita is fun.
Cons: Lacklustre launch line-up, no 3D Blu-ray playback, no media streaming.
Full article: PS4 review
Xbox One review
Quick review: The Xbox One marks the start of a new generation of entertainment, one that's centred around your big screen and one that wants to give you everything from gaming to music, to movies and more. As it is, the Xbox One is a hugely impressive package on day one because of a launch line-up that puts Sony on the back foot. The future is here and we love it.
Pros: Voice controls are comprehensive, games are incredibly smooth, Blu-ray player included, new controller design more refined, Kinect offers lots of clever features, turns your TV into a smarter TV, Skype experience is excellent, switching apps is smooth and fast.
Cons: Gets hot, separate power brick needs accommodating, you need to have the console on to watch TV using pass-through, voice sometimes ignores you, parents will need to keep a closer eye on kids.
Full article: Xbox One review
Lego Marvel Super Heroes review
Quick review: Lego Marvel Super Heroes is a playful title that’s a lot of fun. It’s repetitive in places, but there’s still enough here to keep you coming back for more. And although it will appeal to kids, there’s scope for more avid gamers looking for a laugh, as well as Marvel and Lego fans looking to see how Warner Bros Interactive has handled these much-loved franchises - and the answer is with great care.
Pros: Very cool Lego-brick design concept, lots of replay value within levels, looks great in 1080p on PS4, funny dialogue, great Lego depictions of Marvel characters.
Cons: Repetitive in places, characters have similar/same powers, can’t die so far too easy, swapping between characters should be neater, flying controls are fussy.
Full article: Lego Marvel Superheroes (PS4) review
Quick review: Knack is a misfire. We’ve tried and tried again over five separate days to prise some joy from the title, but it just hasn’t taken with us. It’s a game that fails to engage the player with its story as much as it fails to engage the PS4’s fullest potential. But perhaps most striking is how difficult the game is. Some will love the challenge, but given the cartoony graphics the apparent kids appeal feels like a misconnect.
Pros: Very challenging, 1080p resolution for crisp visuals, Knack’s varying size can be fun.
Cons: It’s really difficult and so won’t be much good for young children, repetitive play, frame rate drops apparent, doesn’t look next-gen to us.
Full article: Knack review
Forza Motorsport 5 review
Quick review: As an exclusive Xbox One launch title, Forza Motorsport 5 is in the spotlight. If you're a Forza fan, or a racing fan, then you'll find Forza Motorsport 5 perfectly addictive. It's one of those games that will bring you back to the track, while your friends and family question what you find so appealing about driving the same track again and again.
Pros: Sumptuous looks, sounds great, plenty of cars, customisation.
Cons: Might be too serious for some, loading times are still a little long, in-game purchases seem to be the only way to get to top cars.
Full article: Forza 5 review
Dead Rising 3 review
Quick review: Dead Rising 3 is like a video game version of the movie World War Z, with huge numbers of zombies that give the game a different scope, difficulty and pace compared to its predecessors. It’s great fun, with vehicle and weapon customisation helping to retain the series’ sense of humour and experimentation beneath the obviously more serious tone.
Pros: Good mix of humour and horror, incredible numbers of zombies, weapon and vehicle customisation.
Cons: Frame rate issues, annoying motion-based quicktime events, frustrating boss battles.
Full article: Dead Rising 3 review
Motorola Moto G review
Quick review: For the price, the Moto G is a fantastic device. It has a beautiful display with bright, vibrant and detailed images, the sound quality is great and the battery capacity will give you a good 14 hours use in our experience. If you're looking for a shortcoming, the lack of support for microSD is a disappointment and there's no 4G on offer - not that that will be a huge concern for those looking to save money.
Pros: Fantastic price, lovely design, good performance, beautiful vibrant display, good camera and sound, Moto Migrate makes set up easy, 50GB free Google Drive storage, great customising options, Android 4.4 upgrade guaranteed.
Cons: No microSD support, switching between front and rear cameras sluggish, battery good but not 24 hours, no NFC.
Price: £135 (8GB)
Full article: Motorola Moto G review
Nike+ FuelBand SE review
Quick review: If you're new to the FuelBand concept, then the SE is a strong contender in the fitness category. It tracks your daily motion and you can set goals to try to achieve in order to live a healthier lifestyle. If you're an original FuelBand user, then the main reason to upgrade to the SE is for Hours and Sessions, the more water-resistant shell, and better connectivity to the iPhone app than before. If not, then then now's a good time to jump on board.
Pros: Helps track your fitness, makes you part of a "club", comfortable to wear, good battery.
Cons: Need an iPhone to make the most of it, expensive compared to the alternatives.
Full article: Nike FuelBand SE review
Nokia Lumia 1520 review
Quick review: The Lumia 1520 is the best Nokia Lumia device to date and certainly the best Windows Phone we've had the pleasure of using. Nokia's Lumia Black OS brings with it some updates, including the quality Pro Camera, Here Maps, Storyteller and more. It's a fast and easy to use user experience on a fantastic Full HD 6-inch screen. But that's the thing: it is massive, and if you're fearful of phablets then this is one to steer clear of.
Pros: Excellent build, fantastic camera and options, beautiful screen, good battery life, Glance screen, Black OS will bring plenty more with it - including raw file capture from camera.
Cons: Switching connections on and off is a pain, might be too big for some, could be missing a few apps you want.
Full article: Nokia Lumia 1520 review
Vauxhall Adam review
Quick review: When Vauxhall first told us about the Adam, we weren't convinced. Our first drive wasn't inspiring either, because the car is so oddly geared. But once you drive it for a bit, get to know how it works, then you start to understand the point of it. It’s a city car, and a terrific one at that.
Pros: Amazing style, plenty of equipment, customisation options, great town car.
Cons: Fairly expensive, engine geared for economy instead of speed.
Price: £13,770 as tested
Full article: Vauxhall Adam Slam 1.4 Ecoflex review
Mazda MX-5 review
Quick review: This is a car that's affordable enough and practical enough to be a reality for lots of people. You could buy an older one for next to nothing, or a new one for the full whack. Either way, what you're getting is a car that, for us, developed into something we'd describe as almost perfect. It's got a solid engine, solid design, solid bodywork, all of which play their part in delivering such epic levels of fun, you won't believe it for the cash outlay.
Pros: Fabulous to drive, great bang-for-buck motoring, decent technology in this model, total and complete fun.
Cons: Basic cabin by modern standards, it's not a car for traffic, steering less direct than some might like.
Full article: Mazda MX-5 2.0 Sport Tech review
Dyson Digital Slim DC59 review
Quick review: The Dyson DC59 is a great device and a worthy replacement for your standard cleaner, especially if your house is small and you don't want a big floor-standing unit eating up your storage space. Or perhaps you don't do much cleaning anyway and want something you can hide away in the cupboard for emergencies.
Pros: Portable, lightweight, good suction, boost button, plenty of accessories in the box.
Cons: Maximum 20-minute battery life, no power gauge, no swappable battery, small bin.
Full article: Dyson Digital Slim DC59 review
Tefal OptiGrill review
Quick review: The OptiGrill is very big and will dominate any kitchen counter you put it on but this intelligent grill - which can "sense" how long to cook various cuts - does produce great results, especially when it comes to steak. Thing is, it's an expensive alternative to a pan and a bit of attention. We suspect that most people will be happy with a hot griddle pan on the cooker hob instead.
Pros: Easy to use, cooks steaks to desired cook.
Cons: Very big, plates need to be clean before cooking for OptiGrill feature to work.
Full article: Tefal OptiGrill review