A week in reviews: 14 - 18 April
It's a big week for phones. Not only has the developer preview for Windows Phone 8.1 been unleashed - which, but of course, we've reviewed - but we've unveiled our review of the flagship Sony Xperia Z2. Waterproof, premium, powerful - is it the flagship smartphone to go for?
And if the 5.2-inch screen isn't big enough for your aspirations then we've also got the lowdown on the Xperia Tablet Z2 as well. Is it 10.1-inches of waterproof wonderment, or does excessive bezel get in the way?
To finish off the week we've taken a look at the high-end Nikon P7800 camera and have been all thumbs playing the rather excellent Hitman Go on the iPad. And, no, it's nothing like earlier Hitman games, but instead twists the franchise on its head by revealing itself as a turn-based puzzle board game. No, really.
Elsewhere our eclectic week has seen us sample the new British Airways entertainment system, eye-up the Canon EOS 100D White DSLR camera, handle the Samsung Galaxy S5 Copper Gold model (available on Vodafone in the UK if you want to track one down), and grab a bunch of footie-themed Sky+ HD remote controls ahead of the long bank holiday weekend's big games.
Sony Xperia Z2 review
Quick review: The Sony Xperia Z2 has the same design downfall that the Z1 did: this is a big device and it's less comfortable to hold than its rivals. That's something we feel detracts from the day-to-day experience because a smaller body design could have housed the same 5.2-inch screen in a more user friendly way. However, Sony has opted for best-in-class waterproofing, a premium build, stacks of power and future-proof features like 4K video capture. Overall the Z2 is a definite step forward for the series.
Pros: Plenty of power, solid battery life, premium build and looks, good camera performance, waterproofing
Cons: Size, colour saturation excess, uncomfortable to hold, Sony bloat software, vibration alert is over the top
Full article: Sony Xperia Z2
Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet review
Quick review: From a features perspective the Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet has a long list of positives: waterproofing, that new slimmer and lighter design, a quality construction and all the power of the Snapdragon 801 processor. It's premium, priced as such, and waves a Sony flag that's sure to lure people in. But once in the hand the Z2 Tablet presents its obvious weakness: that excessive bezel and screen resolution that's now behind the competition.
Pros: Waterproof, slim and light, microSD slot, plenty of power, quality construction, software improvements
Cons: Bezel size to excess, display resolution behind the competition, display is warm, reflective glass
Full article: Sony Z2 Tablet review
Windows Phone 8.1 review
Quick review: Windows Phone 8.1 brings the operating system up to date. It's more colourful, more customisable, more intelligent and more usable than before. If anything it's more Android and iOS than before, but with that Windows twist and some additional quirks.
Pros: Action centre notifications, multiple tile rows for all devices, prettier Start screen, Cortana works as well as its competitors and Notebook personalisation is positive, Wi-Fi sense can take the pain out of laborious sign-up
Cons: Would like more tile customisation, more quick actions wanted, dual maps software seems confused, calendar sync issues with Gmail delegate accounts, will we genuinely use Cortana's speech?
Price: free update
Full article: Windows Phone 8.1 review
Nikon Coolpix P7800 review
Quick review: If you're after a high-end compact camera with an abundance of features then the Nikon Coolpix P7800 certainly ticks all the boxes, but it just doesn't quite excel in every department. But that's a reflection of its price in many ways: the P7800 avoids the ever-increasing price wall within this camera category and delivers a good raft of features for the price point.
Pros: 28-200mm f/2.0-4.0 lens range and brightness, sharp images of a good quality, vari-angle screen, built-in viewfinder, physical controls
Cons: Chunky design won’t suit all, viewfinder quality limitations, price considering competition, some exposure oddities, no physical lens ring
Full article: Nikon P7800 review
Hitman Go review
Quick review: Hitman Go takes the gaming franchise down a whole different path for iPad and iPhone. It's not a port of an earlier title, but a turn based puzzle in a board game style. Yes you read that right. Square Enix could have made an action Hitman, but we've never been fan of touch controls for 3D first or third person shooters, which is why we've fallen in love with this concept.
Pros: Clever use of the licence, great art style, each puzzle element is nicely broken down, plenty of levels to unlock
Cons: It has in-app purchases but they are not overt nor necessary, no Android just yet
Full article: Hitman Go iOS review