In this week's top reviews we've reviewed several new cameras including the PowerShot A3200 IS and A800 from Canon as well as the latest PEN from Olympus.
We've also looked at a high-performance Medion Core i7 laptop as well as the new super slim Lenovo X1.
It's budget compact season in the world of Japanese giant, Canon! The latest snazzy snapper to hop off the cheap train is the Canon PowerShot A800. The A800 is Canon's entry-level compact camera, and as you'd expect for 60 quid, it's a no-frills affair. No-frills doesn't necessarily mean dumbed-down, however, and there's actually quite a lot to like about this device. Indeed, the specifications belie the bargain-bucket price and include a 10-megapixel sensor, 3x optical zoom, Digic III processor and Smart Auto mode. At this end of the market, Canon is competing against camera phones, so does the A800 offer enough to persuade punters not to put the money towards an iPhone instead?
Like the MSI GT680 and the diminutive Alienware M11x, the 15.6-inch Medion Erazer X6813 laptop is designed to offer gamers the kind of frame rates they're used to on desktop machines, but on the go. Some notebooks compromise practicality for sheer performance, but the Medion boasts both practicality and power. Like MSI's GT680, the GPU that Medion has opted for with the Erazer X6813 is Nvidia's GeForce GTX 460M and it provides a lot of gaming poke for your money.
When we first laid hands on the Lenovo ThinkPad X1, we were impressed. The conventional plain black design remains, but the firm body measures just 27mm at its thickest point and weighs a mere 1.8kg, making it effortlessly portable. In typical ThinkPad style, it's also one of the most rugged ultra-portables we've seen. Sure, the X1 lacks the immediate beauty of the Samsung 9 Series or Apple MacBook Air, but it's solidly built in all areas, from the impressively tough lid to the rubberised frame and it performs well, too.
The second silly season snapper off the canon conveyor belt is the budget PowerShot A3200 IS. Costing £40 more than the A800 above, it comes with image stabilisation. You get a lot more besides, including a 14.1-megapixel sensor, 5x optical zoom, 720p HD video recording, better-looking slimmer metal case, 5x optical zoom and Advanced Scene Detection modes. The A3200 is an upgrade of the A3100 IS camera, which had 12.1 megapixels, 4 x optical zoom lacked HD video capability. So are these extra features worth the upgrade? We think it is – the A3200 is a fantastic little camera, offering decent image quality and good battery life and a sturdy compact design.
The new PEN E-PL3 slots into the middle of the new Olympus PEN range, a halfway house between its older brother, the E-P3 and its smaller sibling, the E-PM1 (PEN mini). The Lite uses the same 12-million pixel sensor and 35 point autofocus system as the other models in the new line-up, so the main differences come in the way of its shape and a few minor tweaks in the operation and menu of the camera. Further testing is required when we get our hands on a final production model, but the PEN E-PL3 seems to handle most lighting and exposure conditions well.
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