This week has been all about E3, gaming, and the next gen consoles.
The internet has been going bonkers crazy for PS4 this week, and the Xbox One is looking pretty darn awesome too.
We've had a play with both of them and can report excellent things! Whichever console you've got your eye on, we don't think you're going to be disappointed. So check out our first look reviews of both to see what you have in store.
There's more to the Xbox One than meets the eye. Sure, Microsoft's E3 2013 press conference revealed a price that was higher than the PS4, and then Sony's media briefing brought down the house by making fun of its rival's insistence on daily check-ins and used games-crippling DRM. But the good news for Microsoft is that while all of the E3 theatrics were an unwanted distraction, the Xbox One console and its games provide serious next-generation innovations that no one else is doing right now. Xbox One doesn't have that Halo 5 launch title as a killer app, but what it does boast is horsepower to make its game and entertainment experiences that much better. Even the company's first-party titles look as if they're able to compete with Sony's in-house software without having to be named Halo or Gears of War.
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This generation's console war is still in the arms race phase, but the PlayStation 4 has found its big guns. At Sony's press conference on Monday, the crowd roared with approval when SCEA President Jack Tretton announced that the new console would allow used games, disc sharing and not require any sort of online check-in. On the show floor at E3 2013, we had the chance to scope out the PlayStation 4's angular design, put our hands on the redesigned DualShock 4 controller and play some of the titles for Sony's new system. We have to say, it's all looking marvellous. The pad itself is improved, the graphics looks stunning and the games we've seen so far are innovative and suitable next gen. We have concerns over the potency of the PS Eye and its integration into the console experience – we think Kinect has the edge there – but the PS4 certainly seems well placed to take the next gen by storm.
There is the seed of something very good indeed in the Dell XPS 18 all-in-one touchscreen PC. It's a weird one, and it's easy to question why you would want a portable desktop PC, but once you've used one, the question feels more like, 'why not have this option?'. Right now, the main reasons why not are the connectivity and price relative to power. But they can change. Dell has got the basics right in making it nicely thin and giving it a stunning screen, so if what you want is a flexible entertainment centre PC, the Dell XPS 18 is well worth checking out. In terms of raw power, it's well off the mark for a pure all in one, with the slightly more expensive iMac battering it for CPU and GPU power. But this isn't just an all-in-one. It's portable too, so perhaps it's fairer to pit it against Ultrabooks. We don't think £999 / US$1,349.99 is an unreasonable amount of money for a premium portable all-in-one, either, but we'd expect a little more than this for the price tag.
The 2013 MacBook Air has got cheaper (for the 13-inch), faster and will last longer. It's an improvement on an already terrific laptop and, though we always love to see a new design, the only thing we'd like to see dramatically different is the screen resolution. The specification is stunning and we're really looking forward to seeing how it copes in our battery life and performance tests.
And this week's other reviews...