A week in reviews: 12 - 16 May

This week smartphones are the big news. In addition to our full review of the affordable and often brilliant Huawei Ascend P7, we've seen the new budget Motorola Moto E and small-scale HTC One mini 2 announced too.

We've also been driving in sunny Portugal with Nissan - Juke (2014) and X-Trail (2014) pieces will be on the site in the coming weeks - and getting down with the latest Peugeot 308 on UK shores. Is the 308 the car to see The Lion roar once more after a lull in recent years?

Just ahead of World Cup fever we also get the latest YouView box from BT installed to see whether it's that much better than the original, while in the world of tablets we take a look at the Toshiba Encore and its approach to delivering Windows 8.1 on a budget.

Closing out the week was an announcement from Sony unveiling the Cyber-shot RX100 III high-end compact camera. And boy oh boy does it look like a cracker. We've been playing with one to bring you our initial verdict. Camera of the year?

Huawei Ascend P7 review

Quick review: Huawei has made a decent smartphone in the Ascend P7. It's a considerable step up from the earlier P6 model thanks to a larger scale 1080p screen and a design that avoids treading into the "oversized" category. It might struggle to stand out in the premium space and battery life isn't all that, but for a top-tier bargain this is a definite consideration.

Pros: Thin and light design, ample performance, price point should be competitive, decent cameras front and rear, call blacklist options, quality screen

Cons: Battery life and continual consumption warnings, flat design not most comfortable in hand, some camera gimmickry, will struggle to stand out in premier pack

Price: £400 (TBC)

Full article: Huawei P7 review

 

Peugeot 308 review (2014)

Quick review: There's not one amazingly standout element about the new Peugeot 308, but spend time with it and you begin to appreciate just what a fine all round job Peugeot has done. It has very few week points, especially if you get on with its driving position and the touchscreen interface. Perhaps Peugeot's greatest triumph with the 308 is to make it feel a good deal more premium than some decidedly premium-badged German machinery. It even manages to make them look decidedly poor value.

Pros: Looks sophisticated and elegant, high quality interior, refined and relaxing to drive, well equipped and good value

Cons: Touchscreen control is something we still don’t love, no real standout element, objectively still not quite as good as a Golf

Price: from £14,495 | 1.6 THP 156 Allure from £19,745 | £21,090 (as tested)

Full article: Peugeot 308 review

 

Toshiba Encore review

Quick review: The Toshiba Encore tablet lacks ambition, but also ticks enough boxes to make it a viable purchase. If you want an affordable Windows 8.1 device with a bright screen that delivers ample viewing angles then the Encore is a genuine option. Quirks such as a micro HDMI out and microSD slot go some way towards a point of differentiation, but the device's resolution, battery life, thickness and overall performance are all middling. It's more elevator jazz than A-list band. Nothing wrong with that, but it is what it is. 

Pros: Affordable, full Windows 8.1 tablet, microSD slot and micro HDMI port, good screen viewing angles, ample screen brightness

Cons: Just fails to stand out, no USB port, performance can be slow, some bloatware, no stylus support, not most responsive touchscreen

Price: £219

Full article: Toshiba Encore review

 

BT YouView+ Humax DTR-T2100 review

Quick review: The YouView+ experience from BT is not only sleeker and faster than before, it offers more channels and more catch-up content than before too. This is YouView coming of age and with the BT channels thrown into the mix it's the strongest YouView package out there right now. It's well worth it, even if there's still some confusion surrounding the extras that you'll need to pay for.

Pros: Small size, quiet operation, faster navigation than before, good remote included, will work with older TVs

Cons: There's potential for confusion with the BT TV packages, front lights are too bright

Price: £Varies

Full article: BT YouView+ T2100 review