Over at DigitalVersus, they're just as serious as we are about testing their equipment--but they look at a whole range of consumer electronics, rather than individual components. In this weekly round-up, you'll find everything from digital cameras and mobile phones to laptops and HD TVs.
And for today, something for the girls! The Diva S7070, one of two phones currently in Samsung's Diva range along with the S5150. A dumb blonde?
The Diva range has been designed with style in mind, if you like that sort of thing. Pearly white padding, fake pearls anyone? It has a 2.8-inch touch screen and 3.2 Mpixel camera with connectivity limited to GSM. You won't be doing a great deal of browsing on it then, but if you're out ticking off the items on your wish list widget (in-house Samsung TouchWiz interface), perhaps it has what it needs to appeal.
> Test: Samsung Diva S7070
From hard drives to flash drives, storage capacities are always on the rise, and memory cards are no exception the trend.
There’s something for everyone in today’s test. First up are a couple of high-capacity cards with the PNY SDHC Optima Class 4 and the Transcend SDHC Ultimate Class 10. We’ve also got something for speed freaks who don’t need 16 GB of storage with the Panasonic SDHC 4 GB Class 10 card.
The PNY SDHC Optima 16 GB Class 4 offers a high storage capacity at an affordable price.
The Panasonic SDHC 4 GB Class 10 has a lower capacity but its data transfer speeds will blow you away!
We’ve saved the best until last with the Transcend SDHC Ultimate 16 GB Class 10, as this memory card got our top five-star score!
> SDHC Card Test: Panasonic, PNY and Transcend
If there's one computer peripheral that just about everybody has lying around somewhere, it's a USB key. Although external hard drives are getting smaller and smaller, it's still one of the most popular ways of getting files from place to another.
Our round-up today includes three different keys from two of PNY's ranges:
First up are the 16 GB and 32 GB versions of the PNY Attaché Original key, both of which are small on the outside but offer plenty of storage inside.
Next is the 4 GB version of the Micro Attaché City series, which is so small we were afraid we'd lose it.
It's incredible to think that these tiny devices can store as many files as my very first hard drive ...
> PNY Tests: one manufacturer, two ranges and three USB keys
We’ve got two Western Digital external hard drives to add to our product survey. These latest additions offer fast data transfer with the My Book USB 3.0 1 TB and compact storage with the My Passport Essential SE 750 GB.
Hot on the heels of the Buffalo Drive Station USB 3.0, Western Digital’s My Book 3.0 features the SuperSpeed USB 3.0 interface. According to its spec, this new USB standard should make for transfer speeds up to ten times faster than with USB 2.0.
Western Digital’s My Passport Essential SE 750 GB, on the other hand, is a 2.5-inch external hard drive that packs a large storage capacity into a compact drive case, but just how good are its transfer speeds?
> External Hard Drive Test: USB 3.0 and compact models from WD
We've added a couple of multimedia centres to our survey. Seagate has entered the segment for the first time with an HD box and our second review is an NMT.
Seagate is a major player on the internal hard disk drive market. Seeing the company move into the multimedia centre sector makes you think of Western Digital and the success of the WD TV HD. So then, is the FreeAgent Theater+ ready to explode onto the market or rather a damp squib?
The Storex NMT is a first gen NMT (network media tank). It has the same internal software and components as the PopcornHour A-110. What added value is there? Answers in our article.
Remember we've recently introduced multimedia boxes into our face-offs. Both of the models tested here have been added and are available for comparison with the other models in the survey.
> Multimedia centre test: the Seagate HD box and the Storex NMT
Our tests today include a pair of Creative headphones from a range that's come back from the dead as well as the latest members of Klipsch's Image range, the S4 and S4i headphones.
The EP-630s from Creative kept the ears of mobile phone and MP3 player owners sweet for a long time, but after months of silence, Creative is back with their replacement, the new EP-650s.
Klipsch, by contrast, doesn't seem to have stopped putting out new models, and its new Image S4, or Image S4i for the iPhone, headphones comfortably fit the bill of a decent pair of headphones for under a hundred pounds.
> In-Ear Headphones Test: Creative EP-650 and Klipsch Image S4
Panasonic and Olympus were perfectly happy working together to produce the micro four-thirds standard, supported by their GH1, GF1 and Pen cameras, but Samsung has made things more complicated with its own new standard for compact digital cameras with interchangeable lenses. The NX format, which isn't compatible with micro four-thirds, has a larger APS-C format sensor. Will that be enough to win us over?
Leaving the world of SLR cameras behind--for the time being at least--Samsung has decided to get involved in the world of smaller camera bodies with interchangeable lenses, and its first attempt, the NX10, looks very good on paper. To name just a few of its promising features, it includes the same large format APS-C sensor as most enthusiast-level SLRs, a 3'' AMOLED display, an electronic viewfinder and a 720p video mode …
Could micro four-thirds cameras have their first serious rival? Let's take a look …
> Camera Test: Samsung NX10, the first real rival to Micro 4/3?
If your TV’s starting to look a bit small and you really want to bring the cinema home, then our video projectors buyer’s guide is just what you need.
We’ve picked out the best models from our two product surveys on HD Ready projectors and Full HD projectors. You’ll find fewer and fewer HD Ready projectors on the market as Full HD models become more affordable and more readily available. There are, however, a few veteran HD Ready projectors that are still worth taking a look at. Only five products made it into our exclusive final selection, and when faced with tough competition, manufacturers will have to work hard to keep their products in one of our top spots.
> Buyer's Guide: our pick of the best video projectors
It’s been a while since we’ve tested an Olympus entry-level camera, but we were won over by the compact FE-5020's interesting-looking spec sheet, notably its versatile 5x 24-120 mm zoom.
This Olympus compact camera features the tried-and-tested 12-Megapixel sensor found in most digital cameras released in 2009, as well as a decent-sized 2.7” screen with 230,000-pixel resolution.
It also includes a selection of the latest handy functions, such as automatic scene selection, subject tracking and digital filters for creating all kinds of effects with no need for a computer.
But with no optical image stabiliser, is the FE-5020 really such a good deal? Find out more in our product test.
> Camera Test: Olympus FE-5020
On the menu today, the Medion Akoya E54009. This 21.5-inch will have to struggle to match the Acer T230H and the Iiyama ProLite T2250MTS. All three are in the new(ish) multipoint touch screen category.
One of its major advantages is its base, of a type rarely to be found on monitors. As with the LG W2230S, this Medion screen uses a digital photo frame type base, which is less tiring for touch use. This is however a 5 ms and it'll have to be irreprochable on all other points to make up for this!
> Multipoint touch screen test: Medion Akoya E54009
USB keys are so handy that lots of us can't live without them these days. Today, we're testing three that are small enough to fit on a keyring and offer 4 GB of storage for your files.
French manufacturer LaCie is expanding its range with the CooKey and IamaKey, both of which can hold 4 GB but also another 4 GB of free online storage during for two years. Both are designed to look like regular keys and slot easily onto your existing keyring.
Kingston, on the other hand, has decided to make the smallest possible device, with a key measuring just 42.94 x 21.33 x 16.25 mm. The USB connector slides back inside the case, meaning there's no cover to lose.
> USB Keys: LaCie and Kingston go mini
Light, compact computers with extensive battery life at an affordable price doesn’t necessarily mean a netbook. You’ll also find very fine ultra notebooks with larger screens and good levels of performance. The Asus UL30A is one of these. For mobility enthusiasists, well worth a look.
Stylish, slim, light, the 13.3 inch Asus UL30A also gives decent performance. With its ultra low energy dual-core processor, it has the sort of battery life you’d expect on the best netbooks.
> Laptop Test: Asus UL30A, ultra-portable with record battery life
On the programme: large storage capacities with the LaCie Starck Desktop Hard Drive 1 TB and Western Digital My Book Essential 2 TB. We're not ignoring mobility either with the Starck Mobile Hard Drive 320 GB.
The two LaCie models offer an atypical Phillipe Starck design, without however compromising on robustness.
As for the Western Digital My Book Essential 2 TB, it retains the look of older My Book generations. What about performance levels? Read out test to find out.
> External hard drive test: LaCie and Western Digital