A week in reviews: 3 - 7 February
It's the week of everything. Like a lucky dip of tech.
As February rolls on the headline-grabbing product this week is the launch of the Sony PS Vita Slim, available right now. Perfect for enhancing the PlayStation 4 experience, but stronger than its even been in its own right for Vita-only games. The Slim is an interesting prospect, however, as it's not entirely better than the original it replaces.
Talking of updates, we've refreshed the Pebble smartwatch review to reflect what 2.0 and a whole host of app store enhancements bring. It's still the smartwatch of the bunch, only a little better than before. And all for no extra cost. Winner.
There's also been the unveiling of the 4K-capable Panasonic Lumix GH4 that we've had a preview touch and try with. Exciting stuff.
Elsewhere we've been driving in the Vauxhall Mokka, drinking coffee and hot chocolate to amuse ourselves, tapping and typing on the Toshiba Excite Pro tablet-meets-laptop, and shooting insanely cool macro shots with the Olloclip macro lens for the iPhone 5.
Vauxhall Mokka SE 1.7 CDTi 4x4 review
Quick review: The Mokka may sound like a misspelled caffeinated drink, but it's actually a crossover SUV. Just like those sweet, chocolately drinks from the coffee shops when you start to add all the extras it gets pricey compared to a normal cup of instant.
But despite the big price the Mokka lacks the sugar and caffeine hit of excitement that we expected for this price. No car feels like it’s yet nailed the crossover SUV segment to us, and that's much the same story here, despite its positives.
Pros: Good looks, long warranty when buying new, specification at entry price
Cons: Choppy ride, diesel behind the class leaders, some of the tech is fiddly and frustrating, expensive for higher-end trim
Price: From £15,999 | £25,045 as tested
Full article: Vauxhall Mokka review
Pebble 2.0 review
Quick review: The Pebble app store is live and so we thought it only right to go back and look at Pebble with fresh eyes. It's still the great smartwatch it always was, but now a step better. It's fun to use and, more importantly, feels like it does enough to compliment your smartphone rather than duplicate it.
Pros: A great customisable platform, battery life means you'll get a week from it, water resistance, affordable price
Cons: Design may divide opinion, bespoke charger means you'll need to carry an extra cable, it's not as fully-featured as some rival smartwatches
Full article: Pebble 2.0 review
Toshiba Excite Pro 10.1 review
Quick review: The Excite Pro has some exciting specs: the 10.1-inch Android slate comes with a super-high resolution IPS panel that looks great, and Tegra 4 behind the scenes sees things bouncing along at pace. But it's also a lot of cash given the competition out there. And it's that, along with some small niggles that hold it back from greater things.
Pros: Slim design, huge screen resolution looks great, comfortable grip, Android system suitable for work and play, solid battery life
Cons: Speaker position, runs hot, somewhat vanilla design doesn't stand out, screen reflections, not inconsiderable price (32GB), bunched up keyboard, slow camera
Price: £475 (32GB)
Full article: Toshiba Excite Pro review
Sony PS Vita Slim review
Quick review: Surfing in off the back of the PlayStation 4 launch, the UK arrival of the PS Vita Slim seems positioned to push forward Sony's handheld console on its own merits as well as push the PS4's appeal thanks to the Remote Play feature.
If you're new to Vita then think of it as a handheld that can mirror PS4 games when the TV is needed for someone else, in addition to running Vita-specific games and all that usual multimedia stuff.
It's thinner and lighter than the original, and even if the LCD screen isn't as good as the OLED original we think the Vita Slim will reinvigorate interest in the handheld and push forth PlayStation to a wider audience. The PS Vita Slim is a great device that's now stronger than ever, but with all that said it's one that's still limited in its appeal.
Pros: Lighter, thinner, micro USB charging, 1GB storage, Remote Play is great
Cons: LCD rather than OLED screen, no 3G version in UK
Full article: PlayStation Vita Slim review
Olloclip Macro 3-in-1 Photo Lens review
Quick review: If you want to get up close - and we mean really close - with various subjects, the Olloclip Macro is the tool for you. Well, it is if you're an iPhone 5 or 5S user as it's only designed to slip onto those two devices at present. The 3-in-1 does what is says on the tin: offers three magnification lenses in one device that magnify by 7x, 14x and 21x for close-up shots so detailed you'll be able to see the pores on a dog's paw or the scratches on a 1-pence piece. It's niche, but it's amazing.
Pros: Easy to use, huge magnification for close-up shots, three macro options
Cons: Limited use, only fits the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S
Full article: Olloclip Macro 3-in-1 for iPhone 5 review