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Fit for purpose

Reviews round-up

Who would deny that the hottest topic in consumer electronics right now is the tablet PC? And since there’s only one tablet PC onsale that – in my opinion, anyway – fulfils the description ‘fit for purpose’, we must inevitably turn toward the iPad.

Since my slate-ish musings last month, Acer and Motorola have now launched tablets in the UK. Acer’s two Windows- and Android-based offerings are an unknown quantity as I write this. But based on a brief encounter with the clunky Windows-saddled Iconia W500 at the products’ pre-release event in March, Acer will be another also-ran in the prevailing one-horse race.

What of the Motorola? I’ve now tried one, and can personally confirm some findings of our review published in February: Android Honeycomb needs work. And the Xoom still can’t find its own microSD card slot.

If you’re tired of hearing about Apple’s innovation and would rather slate PCs just went away, then whatever you do, do not click the following link to read our first UK review of the second-generation iPad 2. But fear not, slateophobes, because we still have plenty of reviews of more traditional PCs, peripherals and gadgets.

Mobile computing in all sizes, from 3.5in-screen smartphones to 10in tablets to 15in laptops, is drawing the public’s attention, all without needing much ‘sell’ from manufacturers to convince us how such tech can benefit our lives.

Much harder to sell is 3D display technology. And it’s not just because the panels able to conjure the illusion of three dimensions from a flat span of plastic are more expensive than everyday displays. It’s partly because getting that apparition of real-life depth remains physically uncomfortable. Many people can’t help but experience eyestrain after a little use, and the results are often marred by visual artefacts. And, whatever way you look at it, wearing today’s outsized 3D specs still makes you feel like a torch-wielding welder.

But, in the interest of retesting the waters, we bring you a selection of current 3D tech, in the form of Sony’s best 3D laptop, the Vaio VPCF21Z1E/B, and a trio of full-size, 3D- and internet-ready TVs - see the Sony KDL-40NX713, Panasonic TX-P50VT20 and Samsung LED 8000. Also sneaking in 3D compatibility is a versatile business/entertainment video projector from InFocus and a rakishly thin Acer media-centre PC. Now, how long before we start mixing workable 3D with the tablet PC?

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Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina review (2.6GHz, 128GB, mid-2014)