A week in reviews: 28 April - 2 May
It's the week when Sony's flagship Xperia Z2 smartphone finally lands in UK stores. Is this waterproof "glass sandwich" design the Android phone to go for? Perhaps our HTC One (M8) vs Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Sony Xperia Z2 comparison will help you make up your mind.
Elsewhere this week we've been hanging out in New York to get our hands on Acer's latest Aspire Switch 10 and exploring Manhattan and Washington DC to test out the Panasonic Lumix GH4.
In rainy Blighty we've been driving the 2014 Range Rover Sport to see whether it's the king of off-road, snapping our hearts out with the pro-spec Nikon D4S DSLR, using the "four in one" HP Pavilion x360 and then winding down watching Sony's first "wedge design" telly, the 55-inch W95.
With the long bank holiday weekend ahead, we'll be praying for sun. But next week it'll be raining tech reviews on the site, which is a shower worth getting caught in.
Panasonic Lumix GH4 review
Quick review: The GH4 sees the GH series finally land with a bang. It's not a budget device, but there are points of brilliance throughout all its important areas. It's really the best-in-class video mode that makes the GH4 one serious camera to be reckoned with. It's no longer so much "compact system vs DSLR", it's about which camera is best, and the GH4 ticks so many boxes it'll be known as one of the best cameras to arrive in 2014.
Pros: Fast in all conditions, 12fps burst mode, silent electronic shutter option, movie mode as good as it gets and will sell the camera alone, fully featured screen and electronic viewfinder, pinpoint and customisable autofocus options
Cons: Lacks smooth gradation in images, needs better battery life, some button placement cramped, would like a larger viewfinder, price may seem a lot if you're not here for 4K video, autofocus generalisation in low-light conditions
Price: £1299 (body only)
Full article: Panasonic GH4 review
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
Range Rover Sport 2014 review
Quick review: The brief for a Range Rover Sport is a tough one. It needs to be as imperious as a Range Rover and true to that car's title. Yet must add a dash of dynamism and driving difference into the mix. All the while upholding the Land Rover/Range Rover pedigree of being able to more than just "cut it" off road. It's a tough mix to get right, but the 2014 Sport gets it damn near all right.
Pros: Looks far better than the old car, great interior, incredible optional hi-fi, fun to drive, surprisingly efficient
Cons: Touchscreen interface feels old, 22-inch wheels feel a little oversized, people might still hate you
Price: from £75,005 | £84,445 (as tested)
Full article: Range Rover Sport review
Nikon D4S review
Quick review: The Nikon D4S is an evolutionary rather than revolutionary continuation of the earlier D4 model. But that's not to take anything away from it: as full-frame professional cameras go this is as good as they come. For the average consumer it's the Ferrari of cameras: out of reach in both price and realistic use; for the pros out there it will be a potentially priceless tool, albeit one that only a handful will see as an immediate upgrade necessity.
Pros: Almost indefatigable battery life, autofocus improvements for outstanding performance, great image quality, well designed
Cons: Big, heavy, expensive, still no USB 3 out, minor update over earlier D4, Canon 1D X has faster burst rate
Price: £5,200 (body only)
Full article: Nikon D4S review
HP Pavilion x360 review
Quick review: Conceptually the HP Pavilion x360 gets a lot right. It's got full Windows 8.1, it's affordable, has plenty of physical connection ports, makes light work of typing, and the multi-positional screen idea is integrated well, even if it's not an entirely original concept. It's the delivery where issues arise: a poor screen, limited battery life and overall size and weight when being used outside of its laptop formation fails to enhance what is already on offer in the market.
Pros: Looks pretty nifty in red, affordable for Windows 8.1, 360-degree concept is interesting, enough connection ports
Cons: Poor screen viewing angle, limited battery life, low resolution display, big screen bezel, bulky and heavy as a tablet-esque device, can be slow in use
Full article: HP x360 review
Sony KDL-55W955 LED Smart TV review
Quick review: The Sony W95 is a convincing advert for Sony's unconventional wedge design. If you want a telly that's visually different and exciting then Sony is on the ball with the W95. Good job it's a World Cup year then, although the W95 doesn't score as spectacular a goal as it could given black levels and flaky multimedia playback. It's a star performer for watching sports on, though, thanks to smooth motion playback.
Pros: Sony’s innovative wedge design reaps big rewards when it comes to audio performance, motion handling and colour fidelity are top notch, a raft of Smart connectivity options ensure you’ll always have something to watch
Cons: Multimedia playback is disappointingly flaky (particularly via network NAS), Smart proposition lacks ITV Player and 4OD, Social View and Skype implementations not entirely convincing, images unable to deliver deepest black levels
Full article: Sony W95 TV review