The Canon Powershot S95 is an advanced compact point-and-shoot digital camera, promising great low-light shooting and a host of manual controls. The key differentiators for the Canon S95 are in the 10.4 megapixels CCD image sensor and the lens that it incorporates. With a sensor size of 1/1.7-inch vs the standard sensor size of 1/2.5-inch found in most other compact digital cameras, the Powershot S95 has a clear edge in terms of image quality. Coupled with this is a bright F2.0, 28-105mm lens. Here again, with the lens aperture being F2.0 at 28mm, the S95 promises faster performance in low-light situations.
The S95 is fairly loaded with features such as wide-angle lens (28mm), HD video recording at 24 fps, hybrid image stabilization, RAW shooting mode, a 3-inch LCD, HDMI connectivity and a control ring to toggle settings such as ISO, shutter speed and aperture. It does miss out on some of the latest features, such as geo-tagging and wireless controls. Usability and design are its strengths; with a metal body and robust, high-quality construction, the S95 feels secure and solid. The interface and controls are well implemented, ensuring flexibility and intuitive operation across all shooting modes. In our performance tests, the Canon S95 did a commendable job with crisp images along with accurate colour saturation in most test scenes. The biggest advantage was seen in low-light shooting; ISO 400 shots had minimal noise and we were even able to capture fairly good images at ISO 800 with very little noise.
Canon Powershot S95: It’s good for low-light shooting.
So is the Canon S95 a good buy? Yes, especially if you are looking for a compact point-and-shoot that will not falter in low light and offers full manual mode with RAW support. What comes in the way of an otherwise excellent product is its price tag—the Canon S95 is over-priced.
Sensor: 10.4 megapixels
ISO range: 80–3,200
Screen: 3 inches, 461,000 pixels
Optical zoom: 3.8x
Video recording: HD 1280x720@24 fps
Price: Rs 26,995
Value for money: 5
HP Envy 3D 17
The 17-inch, 3D-ready Envy is HP’s answer to the Alienware threat. While large and heavy, the Envy is attractive, and imbued with liberal doses of metal. The inside also has metal, and is satin-finished, not glossy—a relief, although the display is reflection prone. The keypad is well spaced out and the keys nice, the trackpad is reasonably sensitive, though for gaming you’d be daft not to consider a mouse.
HP Envy 3D 17: It meets the requirement for most popular games.
3D support is at hand, and glasses are bundled, and it works well on the bundled demo content with good colour and depth being salient highlights, unlike some 3D TVs we’ve seen that fail. However, we couldn’t get 3D working on the games.
Hard-core gamers will want to get more than 27.16 fps in Crysis Warhead (1280x1024, no AA), though at 51.6 fps in Call of Pripyat at identical settings in DX11 mode, we figure this will play slightly less demanding games with relative ease. Certainly the performance is more than what is needed for most popular online games such as World of Warcraft and Counterstrike. Note that the HD 5850 gets very hot when gaming, particularly if the venting holes are blocked.
The price is too high even for a gaming set-up that boasts of 3D viewing. While the Envy isn’t exactly great value for money, or the best performing notebook out there, it is the cheapest 3D-capable notebook at the moment.
Display size: 17.3 inches
Resolution: 1,920x1,080 pixels
CPU: Core i5, 480M
RAM: 4 GB DDR3 1333 Mhz
GPU: Radeon HD 5850M
HDD: 640 GB, 7,200 rpm
Price: Rs 93,550 (taxes extra)
Value for money: 5.5
*Out of 10
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