Panasonic DMP-BDT230 review
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Released: October 2013
The B&W P7 headphones aren't for everyone. Some might find them uncomfortable, some might find that the lack of audio isolation spoils things. But for sound quality alone, these headphones are superb and that's why they're in this list.
If we were to judge them on audio quality alone – sitting here, listening to the warm, layered, nuanced balm of Lambchop washing over us; pausing every now and then as a line, a chord, an arpeggio we've hitherto missed suddenly strikes us – then they'd undoubtedly score a perfect five stars.
Regardless, the ultimate test of any product is whether you'd be happy to receive it as a gift or whether it would sit unloved in a drawer or be surreptitiously returned to the shop, and if someone gave us a set of B&W P7s, we'd give them a big kiss. B&W P7 review
Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus
Best in class: Ultrabook
Released: September 2013
The best Ultrabook of the year is the Samsung Atic Book 9 Plus. It offers a great package for those looking for a laptop that can be both a workhorse and an exemplary home entertainment machine. It's powerful, the battery life is stunning - all-day capable, even - and it has an incredible screen.
The only fly-in-the-ointment here is whether you buy the cheaper Macbook Air, which is similarly specced, or the Sony Vaio Pro 13, which is almost identical on paper, but about £200 cheaper. You can even get the Core i7 version of the Sony for just £100 extra.
Neither of these options have the amazing detail of the Ativ's screen, but we're not convinced it's a necessity, especially at this screen size. And we're not sure a business user would mind either, unless they were looking to maximise their screen real estate. Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus review
HP Envy TouchSmart 15
Best in class: Mainstream laptop
Released: September 2013
Recently, the Envy line has been a bit hit and miss, but the Envy TouchSmart 15-j004ea is definitely a hit with us and it has become an office favourite at TechRadar Towers.
It packs strong performance and great features at a price that's pretty reasonable: a 1080p screen, decent graphics card and latest-gen quad-core CPU are a great combination for under a grand. There are some slightly better value machines for power (Lenovo's IdeaPad Z500 Touch, for example), but you won't find quite this balance of specs for any less.
It's not perfect, of course – anything that impresses on price is probably going to have a downside - but it's a great choice for those who want a Full HD screen and the power to back it up without breaking the bank.
HP Envy TouchSmart 15 review
MacBook Pro 15
Best in class: High-end laptop
Released: December 2013
No surprises as to which product gets our best high-end laptop award. The main improvement offered by the October refresh of the 15-inch MacBook Pro is the switch to Haswell processors, which boost battery life by using less energy than the last generation of Core-i chips. They have better graphics too, with an integrated Intel Iris Pro chipset in both models. The cheaper version reviewed here doesn't have a discrete GPU.
While a 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina screen is still a substantial investment, for professional users, graphic designers and video editors, it's an excellent solution for computing on the move. Battery life is even better than before, lasting an astonishingly long time on a single charge, and it's one of the most portable 15-inch notebooks around. We wish it were cheaper, but even at its current prices, you're certainly getting a lot of notebook for your money. Apple MacBook Pro 15 review