A week in reviews: 19 - 23 May
Ever the varied week, it's a mixture of all kinds of goodies on Pocket-lint this week, headed by the surprise announcement from Microsoft that the Surface 3 is a larger format device than its predecessor.
And while that might boggle the mind, you should try playing Wolfenstein: The New Order to see how messed up it will make your brain. A homage to the original, it's an ultra-violent adventure on the insane-go-round.
From darkness to light: we also review the Canon SX700 HS compact in sunny Portugal and take the BMW 435i Convertible for an extended spin through neighbouring Spain. Because sometimes letting the hair down is exactly what the doctor ordered.
Elsewhere we've reviewed a 720p short-throw projector from Philips and the latest set-top box alternative from Roku: the simply named Streaming Stick. Are either up to the task of beating a modern day smart telly?
Wolfenstein: The New Order review
Quick review: Wolfenstein: The New Order is a dark, distinctive and often brilliant first person shooter. It's not exactly reinvented the wheel but it does bring just enough refreshing twists to a genre that in 2014 could otherwise be considered stale. The game doesn't ignore its original roots either, and as much as nostalgia can skew the vision of reality, if one thing's not changed it's that mowing down Nazis, robodogs and giant mechanised droids is just as fun as it ever was. If not more so now than ever.
Pros: Enough gameplay variation, more than just another shooter, develops classic title into a memorable modern, dark & distinctive style
Cons: No multiplayer mode, occasional glitches, not reinventing the wheel, violence may ruffle some feathers
Full article: Wolfenstein 2014 review
Canon PowerShot SX700 HS review
Quick review: The Canon PowerShot SX700 HS might not be a budget buy, but it cleverly undercuts the main competition from Panasonic and Sony by enough to make us stand up and pay attention. It not-so-cleverly also sits behind them by offering fewer features and a more simplistic operation, despite generally strong performance. Thing is, we can’t help but think its SX280 HS predecessor, with its less significant zoom lens, was a more sensible all-round prospect. The SX700’s “30x zoom” badge may appeal, but the maximum zoom has its limitations and Canon has negated to boost its general features.
Pros: Point and shoot ease or full manual control, close-up macro mode, good image stabilisation, decent image quality
Cons: Limited autofocus options, no raw capture, 30x zoom limitations at longer extension, no touchscreen, more basic than Panasonic TZ60
Full article: Canon SX700 review
Roku Streaming Stick review
Quick review: If you are looking to enhance your living room then the Roku Streaming Stick does a good job at providing full support of services like Netflix, Now TV, Sky Store, Demand 5, and 4oD. Unlike Google Chromecast you don't need to have your phone present and the included remote makes Roku a more traditional TV-centric experience. That will be perfect for some users depending on your stance - we like the Roku and feel Google's Chromecast has a slightly different take.
Pros: Small size, remains out of sight, easy to use, plenty of free catch-up and pay-for service access, responsive remote isn't IR based, use app to ping personal content to TV
Cons: Requires separate power source, no headphone-capable remote, Chromecast competition, non-HDMI tellies won't work, nine tiles per UI screen limit
Full article: Roku Streaming Stick review
BMW 435i M Sport Convertible review
Quick review: It's a credit to BMW's engineers that chopping the roof off the 4-Series has dented its core qualities very little. We could argue that between Coupe and Convertible, the latter is the one to buy. Being able to fold the roof brings an entirely new dimension to the experience of driving this car and loses very little in insulative qualities when the roof is up. It does add to the weight, though, which can be felt. If having a convertible but getting as close as possible to a coupe feel when the roof is up is what you're looking for, this the 435i is as good as it gets. The automotive equivalent of having your cake and eating it, you might say.
Pros: Loses little to the coupe, well-equipped, can do wafting or spirited driving with equal aplomb, cabin remains ergonomically brilliant with leading interface and navigation system
Cons: Care needed with the options so as not to ramp the price up, weight blunts the performance and fuel economy, doesn’t feel £50k special
Price: £50,785 as tested
Full article: BMW 435i Convertible review
Philips Screeneo Smart LED projector review
Quick review: For an affordable way to get a 100-inch display in your living room the Philips Screeneo LED projector is a great option. But for all its great points as a projector some of those positive moments are marred by various issues. With the 4K revolution at our doorsteps the Philips' 720p resolution isn't on course and the internal playback of media wasn't silky smooth either. If you've got the cash to splash and you're not relying on its DLNA abilities, then the Philips Screeneo is a lot of fun for those movie nights and monster gaming sessions though.
Pros: Long-life of LED format, short-throw for smaller spaces, decent enough brightness, portable design, built-in Dolby Digital 2.1, Android OS, giant image potential
Cons: DLNA Wi-Fi streaming delivers laggy playback issues, 2D to 3D upscaling is dizzying, needs to be viewed in darkness for best results, not Full HD, pricier than 60in 1080p TV
Full article: Philips HDP1590 review