As the UK was pounded by a constant stream of uninterrupted raindrops this week, we've been huddling inside testing tech as always. And it's been a good week, too. Damp yes, but good.
We've had our first taste of the sexy new touchscreen Canon 650D, we've loved the hell out of Sony's amazing RX100 premium compact camera and we've gazed longingly at sunny distant, sunny climes on the big screen TVs we've been testing.
See for yourself...
We have to admit, we're pretty excited about the Canon EOS 650D. It seems that Canon has decided to stick with existing pixel counts (or close to them in the case of the 5D Mark III) and concentrate on making its DSLRs more user-friendly by improving ergonomics and adding new features. Although we want to do plenty of testing with a full-production sample, the early signs for Canon's Live View and video Hybrid AF system are good. Judging by our experience with the 40mm f/2.8 lens, videographers will find that it works particularly well with the new STM lenses.
Although the EOS 650D sits below the EOS 60D in the Canon lineup, the new model is a pretty enticing option, with an impressive feature set that really gives the 60D a run for its money.
The TomTom Start 60 is easily one of the best sat navs we've reviewed. The large screen, clear navigation and accuracy of the maps makes it a joy to use. The voice navigation, complete with spoken street names, is calm and clear, and it's easy to switch to a different voice if you're not happy. We did find the mounting a little fiddly, and would have preferred the power button to be located on the opposite edge to the mounting system, but you will get used to this with time.
The camera warnings from the map share community need some fiddling with to get right as well, although again it isn't too difficult to get this right over time. Overall, these minor negatives don't upset the fact that this sets the standard for car navigation right now.
The Panasonic P50ST50 gets off to a fine start by managing to be both slimmer and more glamorous than you'd usually expect a Panasonic plasma TV to be. It's decently well connected too, including all the options you need to put the TV at the heart of a modern multimedia home.
You can play most sorts of multimedia files from USB flash drives or SD cards, stream in from a DLNA PC, or delve into either Panasonic's ring-fenced Viera Connect online service or other pages of the world wide web via a built-in browser. What really makes the Panasonic P50ST50 special, though, is its picture quality, since Panasonic's latest plasma panel design produces contrast and clarity to die for. The set works best in relatively dark rooms, but aside from this it's an unmitigated success.
For those looking for a back-up camera for when the DSLR is too bulky or inconvenient, Sony has produced a truly great camera that should also appeal to anybody wanting to trade up from a mobile phone or budget compact camera.
Improved passive 3D, seven pairs of 3D specs and a tempting Dual Play feature that banishes split-screen gaming are the highlights on this versatile and incredibly user-friendly Edge LED telly that puts smart TV services and streaming at its core.
And here are all the others...
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