Best of the week: all the news and reviews 29.11.13
This week on whathifi.com was a bumper week for reviews as we took a look at Microsoft's attempt to dominate the living room with the Xbox One.
Not to be left behind, we also had Apple's iPad Mini 2 with Retina display in for review, along with the 55in LG curved OLED TV.
With Thanksgiving and Black Friday deals dominating the news, it was a bit of a slow week. Still, we had good news for Android users as Spotify Connect and Virgin's TV Anywhere app made their debuts on the system.
And don't forget, the new issue of What Hi-Fi? Sound & Vision is now on sale in all good (and bad) newsagents as well as online
Android/Spotify users had a pleasant surprise this week as Spotify's answer to Apple's AirPlay – Spotify Connect – went live.
Connect gives users the ability to hook a mobile device up to your home wireless network, and stream music directly from the Spotify app to speakers and AV receivers.
Before you try it out, know that only a selected number speakers and receivers will work with the app, with Bang & Olufsen's BeoPlay A9 speakers, Pioneer's SMA wireless speakers, and a number of Pioneer and Yamaha amps offering compatibility at the current time.
With Christmas only a few weeks away, audio company Linn is getting into the festive mood by offering customers one free track a day until Christmas.
Starting on December 1st, Linn's '24-bits of Christmas' will offer customers the chance to download 25 tracks (26 if you download the taster that's already online).
Considering the hype over high-resolution audio in recent months, this would be a good way to get some insight into what it's all about.
Head over to the Linn Christmas website to get the download.
In more good news for Android owners, Virgin's TV Anywhere app was rolled out to mobile devices on Thursday, having been released on iOS devices many moons ago.
The Virgin TV Anywhere app is free to all Virgin Media TiVo customers, with 90 channels available online and 67 across a range of tablets and smartphones.
To get it, download the app from the Google Play store. And it's compatible with a wide range of Android devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One, Sony Xperia Tablet Z, Google Nexus tablets and Samsung Galaxy Note.
Last week we reviewed the iPad's bigger brother, the iPad Air; this week sees the turn of the iPad Mini 2. Or the iPad Mini with Retina display. Or the iPad Mini Retina. Whatever.
Despite the number of names Apple's new tablet has been christened with, what stands out is just how well it performs in comparison with its rivals.
The Mini was a great first attempt at offering the iPad experience in a smaller form factor. The Mini 2 takes its performance further, with Apple's trademark sense of style and intuitive design along for the ride.
Read the full iPad Mini 2 with Retina display review
If you've read the latest issue of What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision, you'll know that the GX50s have suffered a drop in star rating.
That, however, doesn't mean they're not worth your time or money. For speakers that are two years old they are still very good performers, and while the new crop of speakers may have caught up with them, the GX50s are reliable and entertaining performers.
Read the full Monitor Audio Gold GX50 review
Our second major review of the week is an exclusive, featuring LG's foray into the world of OLED screen technology.
It's Coca-cola-esque stand houses two speakers and, thanks to its OLED technology, the screen itself is as thin as the new iPad Air.
But what's it like to use? This is the first generation of OLED TVs, so there are a few issues (including the price). But while it doesn't output 4K images, this is a sign of where TVs may be heading in the future.
Read the full LG 55EA980W review
And so we come to the last of the big reviews for the week. Microsoft's new gaming console, the Xbox One, received a bit of a kicking when it was first unveiled, with Microsoft attempting to take pride of place underneath your TV.
It's most certainly ambitious. In attempting to be a one-stop destination for your entertainment needs, Microsoft has incorporated gaming, streaming, mobile devices, TV and social networks into its ecosystem. As a vision of what the future for integrated devices could be, it's impressive.
But now that it's out, one question remains? Does it reach its lofty goals?
Read the full Xbox One review