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Welcome spoon, a drone without a battery, or Han without Chewie. We’ve also carefully prodded, shaken and stress-tested the best handsets of last year in our Superphone Supertest (p71) and taken the PS4 Pro for a proper hands-on spin (p68). On the off chance you’ve survived the festive season with not only your sanity intact but a wad of unspent cash weighing down your back pocket there’s another firstclass selection of kit at 20% off, courtesy of WeChat and Incredible Connection. We’re no soothsayers, and the dust and confetti is still settling from 2016, but 2017 is shaping up to be an absolute cracker on the tech front, and you can bet we’ll be here to bring you the very best of what it offers. Fingers crossed that includes a hoverboard. Craig Wilson, Editor craig@stuff.co.za @craigwilson

Subscriptions Hotline 0860 123 300 Email subs@stuff.co.za Web www.stuff.co.za Advertising Business director Sally Hudson sally@stuff.co.za Senior account manager Stephanie Pillay 061 130 0367 stephanie@stuff.co.za Senior account manager Thalia Pallotta 083 375 2418 tpp@futurejhb.co.za Account manager (Cape Town) Bernice Blundell 073 618 1882 bernice@stuff.co.za Management Stuff South Africa is published by the Stuff Group (Pty) Ltd. Directors: Toby Shapshak, Sally Hudson PO Box 74, Melrose Arch, 2096 Haymarket UK Stuff UK content is published with the permission of the copyright holder Haymarket Magazines Ltd 38-42 Hampton Road, Teddington, Middlesex, TW11OJE ... and a word about prices Generally, we show the manufacturer’s recommended price. Occasionally we (or suppliers) can make mistakes. Please remember that prices listed in Stuff are intended as a guide only. We make every effort to confirm that all information is correct (and triple checked) when we go to print.

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Stuff competition terms and conditions: Apple is not a sponsor, nor is it involved in any way with any Stuff Magazine contests or sweepstakes. Stuff Magazine does not offer Apple products as contest or sweepstake prizes. 1 Promotions, giveaways and competitions are entered through a controlled SMS line. The cost per SMS is R1,50. Premium rates apply. Free SMSes do not apply. SMS lines open for Issue 72, 2016 on 19 December 2016 and close on 16 February 2017. 2 The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence can be entered into. 3 Employees of Stuff Group and their families are not allowed to enter. Advertising and public relations representatives may not enter competitions in the issue in which their promotions, giveaways or competitions are carried. 4 Prizes are not exchangeable for cash and/or other products. Prizes are available while stocks last. It is at the discretion of Stuff Group and the custodian of the prizes to ensure that, should there be a problem with the stipulated prize won, a reasonable replacement of the same value will be offered. 5 Stuff Group carries promotions, giveaways and competitions in good faith and cannot be held responsible for any misrepresentation on the part of the custodian of the promotions, giveaways and competitions. 6 Winners will be notified telephonically and by mail. It is the responsibility of the winner to ensure that the correct address and contact details are given. It is the responsibility of the custodian of the promotion, giveaway and competition to ensure that prizes are sent out correctly and within the specified time. 7 Prize delivery will take four to six weeks from the time the winner has been notified. 8 Promotions, giveaways and competitions are open to South African residents only. 9 All prize-winners will be published on www. stuff.co.za the following month, once the competition lines have closed. 10 Readers may not claim for more than one prize at a time, and once announced as a winner in any Stuff promotions, giveaways or competitions, will not be eligible for another prize for three (3) months thereafter. 11 By entering any promotions, giveaways or competitions, or by accepting any prize, entrants agree that their personal details may be retained by the promoter and/ or Stuff magazine and used for the purpose of sending them information about future promotions, events and news, as well as for internal administration and analysis. 12 Unclaimed prizes will be kept for three months and will not be resent. 13 Participation in any promotion, giveaway or competition and/or acceptance of any prize implies full knowledge and acceptance of all rules.

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© Stuff South Africa. All due care will be taken with material submitted, but the magazine and publishers cannot be held responsible for loss or damage. Stuff South Africa assumes no responsibility to return unsolicited editorial, graphic or other material. All rights in letters and unsolicited editorial and graphic material will be treated as unconditionally assigned for publication and copyright purposes and material will be subject to Stuff South Africa’s unrestricted right to edit and comment editorially. Stuff South Africa is fully protected by copyright and nothing may be reprinted in whole or part without written permission from the publisher. While reasonable precautions have been taken to ensure the accuracy of advice and information given to readers, the editor, publisher and proprietor cannot accept responsibility for any damage or inconvenience that may arise therefrom. Stuff is published in Brazil, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Korea, Lithuania, Malaysia, the Middle East, Morocco, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

@thefreeamigo ]

Gadget Awards (p39) would be a whole lot less interesting – naturally any functioning floating ankle destroyer would, um, sweep the board. Nonetheless, there’s plenty of tech among this year’s winners and shortlists to get you salivating, and your credit card trembling. And, once more, we’ve tried, tested and selected the best local apps while we’re at it, because gear without apps is a lot like ice cream without a

[ Photography Alistair Routledge

It’s 2017 and we still don’t have the hoverboards pop culture’s being promising for years. But hey, at least we’ve got self-lacing Nikes… even if only a handful of us will ever get a footful of them. On second thought, it’s probably a good thing our world remains hoverboardless, because otherwise our


Where seeing is unbelievable.

Jan. 5-8, 2017 Ι Las Vegas, NV

Register now at CES.tech #CES2017


CONS p10

ON THE COVER GADGET AWARDS 2016

P71

p39 The pick of, well, everything

HOT STUFF 10 The Hot Four ● Microsoft Surface Studio ● Nintendo Switch ● HTC 10 Evo ● Apple MacBook Pro 16 Vital stats Kodak Ektra The camera kings have gone mobile 20 Gigapixel Jaguar I-Pace This clever Jag won’t be fuelled 22 Apps Squeeze more fun into your phone 24 Icon Mag-Lev Audio Heavens to Betsy, it’s a hoverturntable 26 Rob Forbes Virtually real reality is coming to VR 28 Games Giddy up for the best upcoming titles 30 Start menu Crowdfund craziness, including 360° glasses 31 Rich Mulholland Lord of the boards – say hi to Rich – he’d like to play a game

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TESTS 68 First test PS4 Pro It should be the best console ever… is it? 71 Supertest Superphones Stuff’s verdict on the finest phones of 2016 84 Versus Action cams GoPro and Nikon, rad, gnarly, extreme, etc


01/02.17

WIN! p34

P101

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FEATURES 39 The Stuff Gadget Awards The very best tech of 2016, from fancy phones and desirable drones to cool cams and a handsome headset 64 Stuff’s SA App Awards Cleaners on demand. Earning airtime and movie tickets for doing good deeds. Turns out there’s an app for both of those 87 Lifestyle Would sir care for adjustable cufflinks? Of course he would

SUBSCRIBE 86 Subscribe We said it twice, now go get 40% off

TOP TENS 95 The Stuff Top Ten of everything Your essential gadget-buying guide: Smartphones, tablets, headphones, TVs, smartwatches, fitness trackers, laptops, consoles, games, hi-fi, DSLRs, smart home 99 Playlist Mac apps Sexy software for your handsome hardware 101 Streaming essentials Top treats on Netflix and ShowMax 104 5-minute hacks Do you know all of Netflix’s secret tricks? 105 The big question What’s the best reading app? 107 How to buy… a sports watch What to look for in a fitness tracker 110 Should I upgrade? Fujifilm X-T2 The Fuji X-T1 is great, but the X-T2 is better…

TOP 10 OF EVERYTHING

Looking to buy something but need a bit of advice? Turn to the Stuff Top Tens: our expert listings of all gadgetry, from p95

T HO Y BU Motorola Moto Z ★★★★★ The bod for the mods p96

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I REVERED THE REVILED

I’ve fallen in love with a Bluetooth headset. I say that with a touch of trepidation, because I’ve always looked at those funny ear dongles with the same cynicism that Wired magazine demonstrated when it stuck one on Brad Pitt’s ear for the cover of a 2009 issue of the magazine. The caption read: “Ditch the headset. He can barely pull it off – and you are not him.” But that was then. Now the dinky little Jabra Eclipse I’ve been using is barely noticeable and has unbelievably good sound quality. The little charging case has extra juice and its understated design more than makes up for my lack of Brad Pittness. Toby Shapshak, Publisher and Editor-in-chief

I BECAME A PRO MOUNT HOUND

For about the last three generations of GoPro I’ve wanted one. Originally, it was the novelty of a pocket-sized video camera that attracted me. But as the quality of stills tended to be poor, there was no screen, and I don’t do any extreme sports, it seemed a superfluous purchase. Now that we’re creating ever more video for Stuff.co.za, though, and since the GoPro Hero 5 Black offers 12MP stills (with or without the iconic fish-eye look), voice controls and a touch display, I found myself very conveniently out of excuses for holding off any longer. Now, of course, the next challenge is acquiring all the mounts. Craig Wilson, Editor

Making Stuff up Publisher and Editor-in-chief Toby Shapshak toby@stuff.co.za Editor Craig Wilson craig@stuff.co.za Digital Publisher Nic Boerma nic@stuff.co.za Digital Editor Brett Venter brett@stuff.co.za Art Director Brandon van Rensburg art@stuff.co.za Production and Marketing Coordinator Mpho Ntori mpho@stuff.co.za Selling Stuff Business Director Sally Hudson, sally@stuff.co.za Account Manager Michelle Flowers michelle@stuff.co.za

OUR MONTH

What this issue has brought us by way of geekery I FOR ONE WELCOMED OUR NEW ROBOT OVERLORDS

We get a lot of interesting things passing through the Stuff offices, from vacuum cleaners that look like they’re straight out of Star Trek and miniature drones to programmable humanoid robots. It’s the last of these that most impressed me this month. Dubbed the Alpha1 Pro from Ubtech, its demo alone – where it sings, dances and even performs one-legged Kung Fu-inspired balancing acts – is enough reason to be concerned about how much use for us robots will have once they’re sufficiently sentient to not only mimic our moves, but come up with their own. Now if I could just get Alpha1 to learn to use the fancy vacuum. Michelle Flowers, Account Manager

I PLAYED MR ROBOT: THE GAME

I spent far too much time playing Watch_Dogs 2. Spending a few, nearly uninterrupted days immersed in a virtual San Francisco is quite a trip. Colourful characters, an equally colourful setting, and a whole lot of hacking more than makes up for the lack of sleep, and the occasional missed meal. Whether I was going stealthy, guns-blazing, or using drones as a proxy in a crowdsourced fight against an unscrupulous tech billionaire, Watch_Dogs 2’s world was one I didn’t want to leave. We had to get this magazine to print, though, so eventually I had to relinquish the controller. But I saved the day before I did, obviously. Brett Venter, Digital Editor

Getting Stuff to you Printing CTP Distribution RNA 011 248 3607 (Bianca Davis) Contacting Stuff Call us 011 889 0610 Email us stuff@stuff.co.za Subscribe stuff.co.za/buy Find us www.stuff.co.za StuffSA @StuffSA Caxton House, 368 Jan Smuts Ave, Craighall, Johannesburg, 2196

South Africa

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Leading Global TV Brand Coming Soon...

Skyworth was established in 1988 and has more than 40,000 employees as of 2016. Skyworth is committed to the development and manufacturing of consumer electronics including display devices, digital set-top boxes, air conditioners, refrigerators, washing machines, security monitors, network communication, semi-conductor, cell

@skyworthsa | iSkyworth.com

phones and LED lighting and various electronic products. Skyworth was listed on the main board of the HK Stock Exchange (HK00751) in 2000. After a rapid development of more than 28 years, Skyworth is part of the leading TV Brands in the world and ranked 1st in TV enterprise lines in China.


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HOT FOUR #1 ONLY CREATORS NEED APPLY MICROSOFT SURFACE STUDIO

Microsoft already has a tribe. It’s the umptillion people who use Windows all over the world. But it wants a new sub-tribe, and it’s calling them Creators. And what do they want? The Surface Studio, an iMac-shaped Windows 10 desktop with the innards – Core i5 or i7, Nvidia GTX 980M, up to 32GB RAM and 2TB hybrid storage drive – hidden in the stand. The result of this arrangement is that, seen from the side, its screen is very thin; when you

Dialicious

The time of the lazy non-mousing hand is over. Microsoft’s coming for it with the Surface Dial. It’s a twiddly, clicky, rotary controller that works fine off the screen, but fantastically on it.

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go round the front, though, it’s huge: 28in, to be precise, with 13.5 million pixels and 192ppi. The design of the stand is such that you can fold the screen down, lean on it and draw on it, all with the help of your Dial – see below. Don’t expect to see a Studio in your local internet cafe any time soon, but it’s a gorgeous thing. As hot as… a 28in graphics tablet Rtba / microsoft.com/en-za

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Bookish

The Surface Studio has no real competitor, but an Intel Core i7 processor upgrade for the Surface Book is aimed squarely at MacBook fanciers. The 1TB version is very expensive, though.

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HOT FOUR #2 SWITCHY FINGERS

NINTENDO SWITCH The Switch in question, regarding the name of Nintendo’s new gamebox, is the one you do when you go from playing on your TV to playing mobile. You do this by yanking the screen out of its TV dock, sliding the wireless controllers onto either side and continuing where you left off. A Nintendo console with quirks – big deal, you might say – but the biggest and best shock is the reveal of its expansive third-party support. Skyrim on the go? Sign us up right now. That overrides any objective reasoning and makes us say: “We absolutely cannot wait to get our hands on this.” As hot as... playing games on the toilet Rtba (due March) / nintendo.com

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Let Joy be unconfined

The Joy-Con controllers will work when attached to the Switch screen, used separately for multiplayer games, or connected into this single megacontroller.


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Spec shock!

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Did you hear some-ping?

Uh, we don’t know any. Well, we know the Switch will run on an Nvidia Tegra processor setup. We think the screen is between 6in and 6.5in, might be 720p, and might not be touch-enabled.

There’s no headphone jack, but the Evo comes with USB-C headphones that fire a sonar ‘ping’ at your ears to get optimised. Ping! (They don’t actually go ‘ping’.)

HOT FOUR #3 THEY CAME FROM OUTER WEBS HTC 10 EVO

Exclusivity. It’s difficult, isn’t it? You try to strut your stuff out in public, but you’ve got all the same bits and bobs as the other strutters. Legs. Face. Elbows. And your phone, which – regardless of how much you spent – is the same phone that most others have got that month. Sad face… undo! HTC has this for you. It’s a curious remix of the HTC 10: waterproof, bigger screen, slower processor and no headphone jack. But it’s likely to come in under R9 000 and, crucially, it’s exclusive to htc.com. There’ll be no in-store strutters stumbling on this. As hot as… folk failing to name your phone Rtba (due first quarter 2017) / htc.com

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HOT FOUR #4 WHERE THE F-KEY…? APPLE MACBOOK PRO

Actually, that price is misleading, for two reasons. Firstly, because there’s a cheaper MacBook Pro, a R17 000 last-gen clunker that students’ parents are going to buy them. But mainly because, while you can get one of the new MacBook Pros for R27 500, it’d be the 13in version without the Touch Bar. Yuck. What you actually might want is one of the 13in models with the Touch Bar (from

Jack’s back

There’s a headphone socket! Yay! But no SD card slot, and only either two or four ‘Thunderbolt 3’ USB-Cs. See the Decipher panel on p25 for more exciting talk about ports.

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R32 700), or the 15in (from R42 700), which has the Touch Bar, proper Radeon Pro graphics and Intel Core i7 processors. But you can’t afford one of those. And neither can we. Which is a shame, because an app-specific OLED touchscreen sounds like a lot of fun. As hot as… finger-dancing on the Bar from R27 500 / myistore.co.za


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A CAMERA BY ANY OTHER NAME Kodak Ektra

R7 900 (import) / kodak.com

The Ektra overcomes its lack of physical controls with some nifty on-screen touches, such as a mode dial with haptic feedback.

If you were expecting Kodak to launch a phone, we want you as our personal soothsayer… ● Ektra, Ektra! Read all about it! The Ektra might share a name with a 35mm Kodak from 1941, but it couldn’t be more modern. Its 5in Full HD screen is a viewfinder for the prominent 21MP camera lens on the back. If you know your way around an ISO dial, the Ektra has a full-on manual mode that’ll let you tinker with shutter speed, white balance, exposure, focus and film speed. But if you’re more Roger Goode than Roger Ballen, don’t

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worry – there’s a live preview showing the effect of each setting before you shoot, and you also have the backup of an intelligent full auto mode. ● It’s a glass act Just look at the size of that lens. It’s like a black hole compared to the pinprick you get on most smartphones. That should help fill the 21MP Sony sensor with light, plus there’s an anti-reflective layer painted on the inside to combat glare. There’s 32GB of onboard storage to fill with your photos, but it’ll also take microSD cards should you find

yourself shooting faster than your Google Drive backup can keep up with. ● It wears shiny specs While we’re not expecting it to worry a Samsung S7 Edge, the Ektra’s no slouch on the spec sheet. Everything you’d expect from a sub-R8 000 phone is present and correct, including a deca-core MediaTek Helio X20 processor, 3GB RAM, Android 6.0 and even a headphone socket… because Apple has made that a feature worth noting now. You even get a leather case that turns it into a proper street-ready snapper.

IT’S A PHONE THAT LETS YOU TINKER WITH EXPOSURE, FOCUS AND ISO


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Making a big noise in smart home kit

NETATMO HEALTHY HOME COACH Perhaps you’ve been keeping an eye on smart home paraphernalia. Maybe you know the name Netatmo, and recognise this as being a similar shape to its Welcome security cam. You might even already know that this new device measures air quality, humidity and temperature. But… noise? Did you know it also measures noise? Turns out that, when your children wake up in the night, it might not always be just to annoy you. It might be something else – a low-level sound that you didn’t even realise was there. The pained groaning of your nightmares? Rtba / netatmo.com

SOME OTHER SNAP-ON SNAPPERS ● Hasselblad True Zoom Moto Mod The Moto Z’s take on the modular phone concept is neater than the LG G5’s: just magnetically snap this chunky camera onto the back. R4 300 / lenovo.com/za

● Olloclip

The lens-smiths at Ollo have a smorgasbord of cases, grips and glassware to up the ability of your iPhone’s built-in camera. Our favourite? Macro. Life’s even weirder in close-up. from R1 300 / talkalot.com

● DxO One

Attaches to your iPhone via the magic of Lightning, whereupon it can unleash its full 20.8MP, 1in sensor and f1.8 aperture. It’s a fixed-length lens so you’ll have to use your legs to zoom in. R7 000 (import) / dxo.com

Subtlety hides smartety

MISFIT PHASE

This should be called the Misfit Wait Don’t Leave Yet, because it’s a lot more interesting than it looks. Yes, it’s an analogue smartwatch, with hidden fitness-tracking sensors that talk to an app. Press a button and the hands move to show how your daily activity is stacking up. Standard stuff. But what looks like a little notification LED is actually a revolving colour wheel – choose different colours for different callers, for example. Also, one of the watch buttons can be used to trigger non-watchy things, such as an IFTTT macro. Wait, don’t leave yet… Rtba / misfit.com

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Sky captain and the screen of tomorrow

SKYWORTH 49E2000

What does R6k get you these days? Half a Huawei flagship smartphone, a tenth of a business class seat to Asia, or a year’s gym membership… if you’re lucky. But luck needn’t have anything to do with it. Because that same dosh will get you a 49in full-HD TV from newcomer Skyworth (it’s the same Hong Kong-based company that supplies the more familiar Sinotec with its hardware). The Skyworth supports DVB-T2 – the digital broadcast standard SA will eventually move to – and offers three HDMI ports, VGA and optical connections, too. We recommend using the leftover cash for an economy class ticket to somewhere scenic so you can take pictures to bring back and display on your shiny new TV. R6 500 / iskyworth.com

Modular musical magic machine WTF? Simon says get the whole set

ROLI BLOCKS

This is not an immensely complicated reboot of the ’80s electronic game Simon. It is, in fact, a modular musical instrument/studio with which you could create the plinkity-plonk electronica of that era… or, indeed, totes tidy modern-type beats. Roli, maker of the crazy wavy Seaboard keyboard, has followed up with the showy Lightpad Block (R3 000), to which you can attach the buttony Loop Block or Live Block (both R1 250). The Blocks attach magnetically, and can be daisy-chained for increasingly mind-blowing audio creations. Apple stores in theUS and UK stock them, hopefully SA’s iStores will soon follow suit. from R3 000 / roli.com

DROP EVERYTHING AND DOWNLOAD...

Uber Free / Android, iOS

We’re pretty well waterproofed against marketing hogwash. But when Uber said it had put two billion ‘rides’ of experience into its new app, we took notice. And it seems pretty useful – suggesting locations based on your history or calendar appointments, taking you to a contact rather than a fixed place (so long as that contact accepts your request). But once they started talking about the new ‘Uber feed’, featuring targeted local information, our marketing threshold was overcome and we turned off. 18


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* Limited to 50 units 1. This promotional offer (“Offer”) is brought to you by JD Consumer Electronics and Appliances (Pty) Ltd t/a Incredible Connection (“we”, “us”, “our”) and relates to all products offered for sale by us together with specified WeChat Wallet discounts, as promoted in the Stuff Magazine issue dated 19 December 2016 (“Magazine”). 2. This Offer is available from 19 December 2016 until midnight on 12 February 2017 (“Promo Period”) and only for so long as stocks of the products last. 3. The discounted prices on the products are only available if the products are purchased via our shop in WeChat. This means that during the Promo Period you use the WeChat app to scan the QR Code displayed next to any of our products in the Magazine and, once directed to our shopfront within WeChat, proceed to purchase that product using your WeChat Wallet. 4. To participate in this Offer, you need to be a WeChat Wallet user. Terms of use and eligibility requirements apply. (The WeChat Wallet is also only available to iOS and Android devices with WeChat version 6.3.7.) 5. This Offer may only be taken up once per product type, per customer. 6. We need not honour or continue this Offer, in any specific instance or generally, in the event of fraud, unlawful or abusive behaviour, or if unforeseen circumstances prevent us from doing so.

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The bigger picture in tech

WHILE MY JAGUAR GENTLY HUMS Poised here, in the milky white infinity that will be the urban centres of 2018, is Jaguar’s first electric car, the I-Pace. It’s a proper wheels-up EV build, designed around the lack of a hulking hydrocarbon burner up front. It’s still about the same length as Jaguar’s F-Pace SUV, but with a longer wheelbase that allows for a futuristically languorous interior. Startling you out of your snooze will be the twin electric motors, driving 400bhp and 700Nm of torque through all four wheels. All sound a bit fanciful? It’s not a concept, says Jaguar. The final car – late 2017 – will look like this. 20


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NEWS FEED

NINTENDO IS GOING UNIVERSAL

First Mario for iPhone, and now Nintendo – previously fanatical about holding on to its properties – is teaming up with Universal Studios to show off its iconic gaming mascots with dedicated areas in Universal’s Orlando, Osaka, and Hollywood theme parks. Details – like when exactly – are still thin for now.

ARTISTIFY IT, LIVESTREAM IT

What do you get if you cross Stuff’s International App of the Year, Prisma, (p41) with highly fashionable selfstreaming service Facebook Live? You get a new livestream option that offers realtime Prisma-styed streaming on FB Live.

BLOODHOUND IS GO FOR OCTOBER

In October you may want to take yourself to Hakskeenpan in the Northern Cape. The Bloodhound SSC (supersonic car) aims to hit 1 600kmh in our backyard, thanks to the residents living next to the salt pan. And the British engineers and pilots who will be driving the jetengined car, we guess. 21


A P P S

This month’s mobile must-downloads

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3 OF THE BEST WEIRD PINBALL GAMES

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Metal balls. Flippers. Bumpers. Yes, but some pinball games are decidedly stranger…

PINOUT!

Free / iOS, Android Against the clock, traverse a neon-clad table that stretches into the distance.

INKS.

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R30 / iOS Splatter ink everywhere by smacking targets. Watch your trundling ball leave coloured trails everywhere.

PINBALL BREAKER FOREVER

1 Scanbot 6

2 Duolingo

3 Notes on Blindness VR

4 Melodist

5 Instapaper

6 Concrete Jungle

8 Asphalt Xtreme

9 Masky

Free (IAPs) / iOS, Android Scanners used to be the size of a small hatchback. Now your phone is one – with the right app. Scanbot ably captures documents; pay and it’ll also extract text, enable editing, and probably do the dishes.

Free / iOS If your head’s threatening to launch itself at a desk due to stress, fling a pic at Melodist for a relaxing and unique plinky-plonky soundtrack. And with this latest update comes free audio/video export.

7 Crap! I’m Broke

R30 / iOS ● R31 / Android Cubist visuals meet a WarioWare mini-game take on drudge work. Munch pizza, flip burgers, scrub plates, accomplish resolutions, and get miffed that your real low-paid life isn’t half as much fun as this. 22

Free / iOS, Android, Windows With its videogame feel, Duolingo is far from the language-learning you suffered at school. Now you can chat to bots to perfect your Spanish, rather than embarrassing yourself in a sweaty bar.

Free / iOS, Android Now that it’s owned by Pinterest, read-it-later king Instapaper is unleashing Premium on everyone for free, even if they don’t want it. Among the goodies: an ad-free web version and full-text search.

Free (IAPs) / iOS, Android, Windows So extreme its name lacks an ‘E’, the latest Asphalt ditches luxury cars and larger-than-life city circuits for jeeps and off-roading. Bouncy, splashy, muddy fun, bar the freemium ‘oil change’ madness.

Free / iOS, Android John Hull went blind in 1983. Extracts from his audio diary are merged with Daredevil-like VR scenes in this powerful semi-interactive film that’s best experienced with Google Cardboard.

R80 / iOS, Android Build a city from cards, on a grid where rows vanish on getting enough points. Master how cards affect adjacent plots. Get humiliated by the AI. Wonder if building an actual city might be easier.

Free / iOS, Android, tvOS Dance (well, shuffle) back and forth, adding new masked dancers to your line, taking care not to overbalance in this creepy slice of oddball gaming. It’s weird, looks fantastic, and beats Strictly.

Free / iOS Can’t decide which dusty old game to play? Then try this mix of pinball, Space Invaders and Breakout.


I C O N ELECTROMAGNETS KEEP THE PLATTER IN THE AIR AND TWIRL IT PRECISELY

MAG-LEV AUDIO

R20 000 approx (due Sept 2017) / maglevaudio.com Well, this looks like a pretty stylish turnt… WAIT, WHAT THE HELL?! IT’S FLOATING! Your eyes do not deceive you. The Mag-Lev turntable is indeed pretty stylish, and it is indeed floating – or at least, its platter is floating. But… floating AND spinning AND staying in the right place, all at the same time? How? Magic! Or rather, magnets. The turntable’s patented drive system,

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powered by electromagnets, not only keeps the platter in the air but also twirls it steadily and precisely. When not in use the platter is held up by ‘legs’, which retract when you start it spinning. And, because the company knows that the only thing cooler than a levitating disc is a glowing levitating disc, it has groovy orange underlighting. OK, but what if your street gets a power cut when you’re in the

middle of Highway 61 Revisited? That platter’s going to drop like a stone onto the rest of the gear! Don’t fret, this has been thought through. In the event of a power dropout, the Mag-Lev engages an emergency backup battery to safely land the platter. No smashed turntable. End of disco, though. And the price? Perhaps unsurprisingly, Mag-Lev smashed through its Kickstarter

funding goal in short order, so the good news is this is almost certainly getting made. The less good news is, that means you’ve missed the Early Bird deals that might have seen you snag one for R14 000. Now you pay retail, which is R20 000. But given the fluctuations of the rand, and the fact that this won’t be available until next September, who knows what it’ll actually cost? Might be R50 000, and a kidney.


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DECIPHER ALLOW US TO EXPLAIN…

The name’s Matt… Matt Black, game slayer

RAZER BLADE PRO

In a month such as this, with newly hatched Microsoft Surfaces and MacBooks flying around the place like shiny silver moths, it’d be easy to miss the Blade Pro. Black as night and just as quiet, it lurks at ground level. Once you’ve spotted it – was there perhaps just a hint of a rainbow shimmer across its mechanical keyboard? – its true threat is revealed. A 17.3in, 3840x2160 display backed up by an Intel i7 processor, 32GB of RAM and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 graphics… suddenly it’s all you can see. All you want. Need. Rtba / razerzone.com

#17 MACBOOK PORTS First the headphone jack fell off the iPhone, now the MacBook Pro loses almost every one of its ports except for the headphone jack. That’s a bit of a head-scratcher, isn’t it? Well, Apple knows that telling pro laptop users to ditch their fancy cans in favour of Bluetooth would have sparked even more anger than it got from the iPhone move, so that part makes sense. The lack of an SD card slot initially feels like a real issue, though. We probably only use ours once a month, so we’ll just have to hope we have the relevant USB-C adaptor to hand when we need it (we won’t). But there are three questions every potential Pro buyer should be asking. Firstly, are you willing to buy adaptors for now (Apple has just reduced the prices of them) until such time as everything you need comes with USB-C? You’ll need them for memory cards and for standard USB devices… and yes, that includes charging your iPhone.

ARE YOU HAPPY WITH JUST TWO USB-C PORTS, BEARING IN MIND ONE WILL BE FOR CHARGING?

Avoid that sinking feeling

CASIO G-SHOCK GULFMASTER GWN-Q1000 Wandered too far into the wet stuff? Here’s hoping you’ve got one of Casio’s new Gulfmaster watches strapped to your wrist. Not that it’ll help, particularly. But it’s the first G-Shock to have a depth sensor, so it’ll be fun to watch the metres clock up as you slip inexorably into the dark. Should Poseidon spit you back out onto the shore, he might leave you with a lesson in the watch’s other sensors – because data on changing tides, air pressure and temperature might help you to avoid an encore of this soggy story. from R18 400 / g-shock.com

Secondly, are you happy with just two USB-C ports, bearing in mind that one of them will be your charger port? We don’t mind using a three-way adaptor hub for a monitor, keyboard and mouse; if you want more you’ll have to get the Touch Bar MacBook Pro, which has four ports. And finally, do you ever work butted up against a wall? Because on the two-port version, they’re both on the left-hand side. This will suit you nicely as long as the wall’s at the other side, but it greatly annoys our sense of symmetry… and it might well annoy some of those pro users when they’re trying to plug in video cameras, MIDI controllers and whatnot.

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Dealing with the really real deal magine you’re high up in the mountains of South America, the great, glowing, emerald jungle, stretching away as far as you can see. Peaks loom ominously in the distance – rotten brown teeth thrust up through the blanket of green. You’ve arrived at the famous lookout spot called Intimachay after walking down the Carretera Hiram Bingham, a long and winding path cutting steeply down a perilous cliff. Below you, that postcard vista you know from photos on Facebook and in travel agents’ brochures – the iconic vision of Machu Picchu. There isn’t a cloud in the sky. You can hear the chatter of the birds around you. A butterfly flits past and lands softly on a bush covered in delicate yellow flowers. The mountain breeze is cool on your face. Well, only the bottom half of your face. Because the breeze is coming from a fan, and you’re wearing a virtual reality headset. And, um, you’re not in Peru, you’re in your lounge in Sandton. “The Machu Picchu experience!” Free with this month’s copy of Ultimate Hiker magazine.

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Does that sort of VR experience count as a holiday or an adventure? Is it as good as real if I wasn’t there, but the experience is modelled on an entirely real one and does such a good job at replicating it my brain can’t tell the difference? What if it’s a VR recording I made there myself and it’s even more real than the fickle memory in my head? VR is going to be weird. Last year saw a bit of a comeback year for VR. People have been trying to build convincing VR for decades, but they didn’t have the tech to make it real enough that you and I would be interested. Then Oculus Rift got us really excited, but took a while to actually come to market. The lines got a little blurred with augmented reality thanks to the now-shelved Google Glass experiment, which mostly generated the wrong sort of headlines. Now though, it seems like VR liftoff is real. It seems fairly safe to assume PlayStation VR is going to be the first big, mainstream push at getting us comfortable with the combination of a headset and motion controllers. It’s not as

good as HTC’s Vive or Oculus, but PS VR isn’t far off. You need only look at the reaction videos on YouTube of people putting a newgen VR headset on for the first time. It’s genuine delight. Real glee, even. And that’s pretty rare these days. The question is, where to from here? What’s in store for VR beyond gaming? There are obvious applications – television, movies, music videos etc. And virtual tourism will definitely become a thing, especially for those people for whom travel is impossible. Google Earth VR is perhaps the thing I’m most looking forward to in the shortterm VR future. After that, the possibilities are boundless. They’re already talking about military training exercises. About the world’s greatest immersive business presentations. About virtual architecture and design. I can’t wait for Minecraft VR, either. What’s going to be interesting is when the VR gets so good it and reality become tough to tell apart. Is it “real” if I walk through the streets of Tokyo in VR? What if I do it via a drone that I’m controlling, so that I’m getting

Tokyo in real time, at that moment? Is that real yet? What is “real”, even? I’ll leave that to you to decide. I guess as with things in this reality, what matters is how we use the tools given to us, and whether we harness them to make things better.

SPIN DOCTOR Rob Forbes is a 5FM DJ who tweets about football, sports and music when he’s not presenting, camped out in a casino waiting for people to let go of a car (long story) or raiding Stuff’s storage cupboard. Catch him on 5FM between 13:00 and 16:00 every weekday.


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* Limited to 200 units 1. This promotional offer (“Offer”) is brought to you by JD Consumer Electronics and Appliances (Pty) Ltd t/a Incredible Connection (“we”, “us”, “our”) and relates to all products offered for sale by us together with specified WeChat Wallet discounts, as promoted in the Stuff Magazine issue dated 19 December 2016 (“Magazine”). 2. This Offer is available from 19 December 2016 until midnight on 12 February 2017 (“Promo Period”) and only for so long as stocks of the products last. 3. The discounted prices on the products are only available if the products are purchased via our shop in WeChat. This means that during the Promo Period you use the WeChat app to scan the QR Code displayed next to any of our products in the Magazine and, once directed to our shopfront within WeChat, proceed to purchase that product using your WeChat Wallet. 4. To participate in this Offer, you need to be a WeChat Wallet user. Terms of use and eligibility requirements apply. (The WeChat Wallet is also only available to iOS and Android devices with WeChat version 6.3.7.) 5. This Offer may only be taken up once per product type, per customer. 6. We need not honour or continue this Offer, in any specific instance or generally, in the event of fraud, unlawful or abusive behaviour, or if unforeseen circumstances prevent us from doing so.

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G A M E S OUT NOW

HANDS ON STEEP PS4, Xbox One, PC There are two types of people who go on skiing holidays: those who have Range Rovers and kids with pretentious names, and those who wear baggy clothes, call each other ‘dude’ and fling themselves off things for fun. Can you guess which type Steep is about? Imagine a cross between Forza Horizon and Skate and you’re somewhere close. In this snow-covered open world you can switch between sports as easily as you switch between weapons in a shoot-’em-up. Just hold R1 and a wheel will pop 28

up showing your choices: skis, snowboard, wingsuit or paraglider. You can also walk if you see a spot you can’t reach any other way. Some events will only allow you to select certain disciplines, because there’s no point strapping on skis if you’re about to jump out of a hot-air balloon, is there? Each run demands different skills, from straight races to show-off stunt runs, while Mountain Stories are special one-off events with added narrative flourishes, a bit like Forza Horizon’s showcase

events. What’s great is the way it allows you to keep going once you cross the finish line, so the temptation to carry on exploring the mountain is strong. Steep is all about that feeling of freedom as you swish from side to side looking for the perfect line. Skiing backwards down a hill at high speed is almost as terrifying as it is in real life, while clipping a rocky outcrop and crashing face-first into the snow will make you wince. Fortunately, unlike in real life, you can just press a button and try again.


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FIRST LOOK WILL THIS BE THE NEW SHERIFF OF WILD WEST GAMING?

DUE SPRING 2017

RED DEAD REDEMPTION 2 PS4, Xbox One It doesn’t take much to get the internet excited. Just 68 seconds will do it, in fact, if those seconds are the first glimpse of Rockstar’s open-world Old West romp, Red Dead Redemption 2. In that time the trailer shows a series of epic landscapes, from the gorgeously realised natural beauty of pine forests, prairies, mountains and rivers (plus a breathtaking view of the Milky Way) to the grit and grime of a muddy, run-down

township and the burning wreck of a farmstead. All we need now is a steam train on an old rickety line. Oh no, wait, they included that too. As far as plot and gameplay are concerned, the trailer leaves far more questions than answers, thanks mainly to a parting shot of seven riders galloping across the plain. Is this the gang John Marston rode with prior to the events of Red Dead Redemption? While it’s

tempting to assume as much, they don’t seem to be wearing the gang’s identifying mark – an item of red clothing. So what do we know? We know the trailer was captured using a PS4, and PS4 owners will get first dibs on a select bunch of online treats. We also know there’ll be a multiplayer mode, hopefully something resembling GTA Online on horseback. It’s gonna be one wild ride, pardner.

POLYBIUS PlayStation VR

FARPOINT PlayStation VR

COMING SOON VR GAMES

LETHAL VR HTC Vive, PlayStation VR

The best thing to do in VR is shoot stuff, so that’s what Lethal VR lets you do. If you grew up on Duck Hunt and Time Crisis, the revival of the genre will be a welcome one. Lethal VR puts you in various shooting galleries, and even includes a bit of knife-throwing.

The story goes that, as an arcade machine, Polybius caused players to suffer strange psychological effects. So what could be better than getting Jeff Minter, with his fondness for psychedelia, to make a VR endless runner version of it? Here’s hoping this one’s less, er, mindblowing.

Making the most of Sony’s lightgun-style Aim Controller, Farpoint not only has you shooting aliens as they attack you but also controlling where you move using the thumb-stick. To pick up a new weapon from the floor you even need to physically bend down, just as you would in real life.

INCOMING JANUARY ● RESIDENT EVIL 7 ● SNIPER: GHOST WARRIOR 3 FEBRUARY ● FOR HONOR ● SNIPER ELITE 4 ● SEA OF THIEVES MARCH ● HORIZON ZERO DAWN ● GHOST RECON WILDLANDS

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S T A R T M E N U ST KIC AR K TE R

The latest startups, crowdfunded projects and plain crazy ideas

Eyes on the back of your head

ORBI PRIME

Oh no, Madam. You don’t want to attach a 360° camera to your cycling helmet. You’ll look like a Teletubby, and your centre of gravity will be all skew-whiff. Madam would be much better off with these 360-video-recording sunnies. There are four 1080p camera modules built into them, see? Two at the front and two built in to the back of the arms. Yes, it will be a little bit strange to have to wear them over your hair, Madam. But how awesome to have the Orbi app stitch together the footage, in near-as-dammit real time, so you can share it with your VR-headset-wearing friends? from $349 / orbiprime.com BACK IT STACK IT

Play your photos like a piano

Hello, future? Come in, future…

Drift it round a biscuit

This, Sir, is a ‘dimensioning pen’. Can your so-called measuring tape measure around curved or otherwise-shaped objects? Does it have an accelerometer to automatically label the height, width and depth dimensions of a box as you measure it? Does it also come with either a pen, pencil or stylus on one of its ends? It does not, Sir. Sign here, Sir. $149 / instrumments.com

With those stripy legwarmers, maestro, you’re clearly no conformist. And so, while the world is going mad for minimalist interfaces such as Touch Bars and Surface Dials, you look like the type who might embrace this button-packed photo manipulation device, designed to work in every snapper’s favourite software place, the Adobe Lightroom. from €229 / loupedeck.com

Yes, Majesty, it’s science-fiction made fact! A watch you can talk to. And, better yet, other people can hear you. This is a walkie-talkie that’s capable of watch-to-watch and group communications where there’s no mobile signal. It has GPS and Bluetooth plus pedometer, compass and barometric pressure sensors. And, should it please Your Majesty, it even tells the time! from $59 / kickstarter.com

Monsieur has a dining table, of course? Then, merely with the addition of two coasters and one of these app-controlled cars, you can have an afternoon’s pleasant figure-of-eight drifting. Algorithms turn your control inputs into easily managed four-wheel drifts. What’s that? Yes, Monsieur is correct, the exclamation mark in the name is a bit silly. from €129 / drift-racer.com

INSTRUMMENTS 01

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LOUPEDECK

STARVOX

ST KIC AR K TE R

ST KIC AR K TE R

It writes, it dimensions

I GONDI GOE-

I GONDI GOE-

SACK IT

DR!FT


G A M E O N

Lord of the boards et me give you a rough transcript of a conversation I have just about every day of the week. It goes a little something like this: Me: “I’m obsessed with board games!” Them: “What, like Monopoly?” Me: “Umm, no, not so much. Even as a kid I hated Monopoly. That’s not changed.” Them: “Ooooh, okay, I see – like iPad games?” At which point I shake my head and sigh. See, I like board games, not like Monopoly, and not the sort of mobile games you play on your phone or tablet. Just regular, tabletop games, played with mates, around a, well, table. If you’re struggling to see the appeal of this, imagine a poker night with the lads or lasses – but with a different game each time. Okay, not every time, favourites emerge that we keep coming back to, but there’s a lot more variety than you find in a poker group. It’s amazing that. Tell a group that you’re having a poker night and it’s appreciative nods all around – that’s a good “dude endeavour”. But tell them you’re playing a board game, and you get

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a bunch of incredulous looks and raised eyebrows. “Board games!? Dude! What the actual eff?” That’s the question I want to answer here. I want to start by talking about the actual eff. From there, in future columns, I want to talk about some of the amazing games you could be playing yourselves, and why you ought to be. Let’s start with the first bit though… the eff. Here’s the deal, I love tech, I mean properly love tech. I like shiny new toys that do shiny new things. This, as an aside, is why I ended up recently moving from a MacBook to a Surface Pro 4, and from an iPhone to a Google Pixel. I wanted more, and I just wasn’t getting it from Apple, but I digress… I love tech so much that I find myself getting completely lost in it, and that can be problematic sometimes. I also like thinking. Now, this may sound strange, but I can generally feel the point at which my brain get’s bored. I fool it with bingeing on social media, but that ends up having all the nutritional value of a bag of candy floss. My brain wants more. And that’s why tabletop games are my jam – they give

me everything I crave: social interaction, and smart stuff going on in my head. Now, I understand that this may not be the best sales pitch, but that’s because it’s not a pitch at all – I’m merely stating the facts. If you want social interaction that requires keeping your brain tuned – as opposed to simply lubricated – this may be the hobby for you. That said, the two aren’t mutually exclusive. My goal is to get you to try tabletop gaming once, and to open your eyes to the possibility that not all stuff needs to have a power button. Fear not, though, I promise I’ll never (like, ever) try to make you play Monopoly. Not because it’s rubbish per se, more because it’s old. The game was designed the same year the Wright Brothers took flight, and just like airplane design has evolved, so too has game design. If nothing else, with contemporary board games you’ll get a newly evolved potential drinking game, or something that you can do with your kids that extends beyond half-listening to the answer to the question, “How was your day?” I look forward to sharing with you the inherent backstabbing of

The Resistance, the winecoming-out-your-nose laughter of Anomia, and the teamwork of Pandemic Legacy. Mostly though, I look forward to meeting some of you over a table, laden with cardboard. Game on!

BOARD MEMBER Once a band roadie operating lights for acts like Iron Maiden and Def Leppard, Rich Mulholland now heads up SA’s largest presentation firm, Missing Link, rocks the professional speaker circuit, and guest lectures on business at The Cape Graduate School of Business (GSB) and the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS). 31


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WTF IS DOS OWLS ODIN2? Oh, look. It’s one of those ‘gorilla cinema’ things.

Um, no. Gorilla cinema would be The Jungle Book, or possibly The Mechanic. What we think you’re thinking of is ‘guerilla cinema’, a mid-2000s fad brought about by the launch of pocket-size pico projectors. We don’t really talk about it any more.

Oh? Why not?

Because while the idea of holding smallscale smartphone-based movie viewings in public places appealed to our geeky tastes, it never really caught on. And, in a strict copyright sense, it was illegal. Which is important, really.

4K-ing good sound

SAMSUNG HW-K950 ATMOS SOUNDBAR If you’re going to splurge massive amounts of money on a 4K TV, you’re going to have to get some equally expensive sound for your screen. It’s the law, now. Samsung’s HW-K950 is more than just a soundbar, it’s a soundbar with tweeters. And a subwoofer. Big whoop, right? Right, because Sammy has chucked in Dolby Atmos sound tech. Usually this sort of sound is custom-built into very expensive media rooms, but the dome-shaped speaker design means that you can move the speakers around and still get teeth-rattling sound while you’re watching Vin Diesel launch cars out of windows. R25 000 / samsung.com/za

Lots of things are illegal. I try not to get too hung up on it.

Right, let’s move on. This is the Odin2, from New York-based Dos Owls. It’s a hand-sized projector, and has a built-in battery so, yes, you could use it outside in a more–or-less guerilla fashion. But we think you’re more likely to use it at home – the colour touchscreen on the back is your gateway to Android 6.0 with its myriad entertainment apps, such as Netflix and ShowMax. You can also use it for video calling, or as a display for your laptop.

Does my TV not serve many of these functions already?

This, though, is a portable and scalable experience: a 30in screen at the end of the bath one minute, a 100in image above the bed the next. Dos Owls launched a similar product a few years back, but this sequel is more clever and more stylish – it knows, as do we, that folk are moving away from the traditional home setup of one TV and one PVR.

Ooh, a trend! Will it be as popular as guerilla cinema, though?

Ah, thula wena. We’ll have to see. The Odin2 got itself funded on Kickstarter, and is now taking pre-orders at a little over $500. Have a look at dosowls.com for more info.

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The heart in your head beats the heart in your wrist

MOOV HR

What you’re looking at here is a study in photoplethysmography. Most fitness devices go on your wrist – a busy, sweaty junction of muscles, tendons and bones that is not a great place to obtain an accurate heart-rate reading. The Moov HR goes on your temple, via a specially designed sweatband or swimming cap. The light from its optical heart-rate sensor can easily pierce the thin skin found on your noggin, the better to do its photoplethysmografying. Moov’s signature voice coaching instructions will rapidly follow from the smartphone app – though not when you’re in the pool. Keeping a mobile phone in your Speedo is a practice universally frowned upon. Rtba / quantifi.co.za


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* Limited to 150 units – Black only 1. This promotional offer (“Offer”) is brought to you by JD Consumer Electronics and Appliances (Pty) Ltd t/a Incredible Connection (“we”, “us”, “our”) and relates to all products offered for sale by us together with specified WeChat Wallet discounts, as promoted in the Stuff Magazine issue dated 19 December 2016 (“Magazine”). 2. This Offer is available from 19 December 2016 until midnight on 12 February 2017 (“Promo Period”) and only for so long as stocks of the products last. 3. The discounted prices on the products are only available if the products are purchased via our shop in WeChat. This means that during the Promo Period you use the WeChat app to scan the QR Code displayed next to any of our products in the Magazine and, once directed to our shopfront within WeChat, proceed to purchase that product using your WeChat Wallet. 4. To participate in this Offer, you need to be a WeChat Wallet user. Terms of use and eligibility requirements apply. (The WeChat Wallet is also only available to iOS and Android devices with WeChat version 6.3.7.) 5. This Offer may only be taken up once per product type, per customer. 6. We need not honour or continue this Offer, in any specific instance or generally, in the event of fraud, unlawful or abusive behaviour, or if unforeseen circumstances prevent us from doing so.

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FREE Camera Training

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SMS “Canon” to 35975 (SMSs costs R1.50) Free minutes do not apply. Errors billed.

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34

HURRY!

COMPETITION CLOSES 12 FEB 2017


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Scared, Potter?

PANASONIC Q-FAN It’s a bright red Quaffle, isn’t it? That thing from that Quiddich game that all the kids used to play? Er… no, and Panasonic would be quite annoyed if you used it like one. This red, hole-filled piece of unusual design is a fan. Panasonic’s Q Fan, which pumps air out without resorting to spinning fan blades. The decently hair-tousling stream of air emits from the front-facing circle but it can be set to lower speeds and even to pulse, in case you’re the type who likes to keep their eyeballs damp. Besides being a fan, it’s quite the conversation starter. But it’s definitely not for kicking about, or for getting your sprog to pop plastic shapes into. We’ve checked. R3 000 / panasonic.co.za

At least there aren’t three seashells

NETGEAR ORBI

Sure they might look like a pair of props from a ’90s action movie about the future, but the Netgear Orbi are… um… also named like some? Weird, that. But what isn’t weird is the way that the Orbi units are able to broadcast 802.11ac AC3000 WiFi around your home, apparently without creating any dead spots, at speeds of up to 3Gbps. One Orbi is a Tri-Band router, the other a satellite receiver, and each is unusual in that they’re practically plug-andplay, with network setup done from your smartphone. Okay, that part is a little weird, but we’re pleased about it. Installing the Orbis should mean better streaming, online gaming or anything else you do with your internet connection. Also included? Gigabit ethernet ports, in case you have some old wired devices still lying around. R9 500 / netgear.co.za

Render-fluid

ASUS GX800 This can’t be a laptop computer, right? Wrong, it totally can be. In this age of Jenner and Rupaul it can be anything it wants to be. In this case, it wants to be a 4K-capable gaming notebook… but it also wants to be something more. So very much more. It’s a watercooled 4K-capable gaming notebook. Dual Nvidia GTX 1080 GPUs, an 18in 4K display and a little something called the Hydro Cooling System allow the Asus GX800 to pump out pixels at a rate never before seen from a notebook computer. It should really be called a textbook computer. Or a tome computer. Unfortunately, at R130k, whatever you choose to call it, it can still drain a bank account just as quickly and effectively as it renders virtual worlds (and that’s very quickly, indeed). R130 000 (Feb 2017) / evetech.co.za 35


H

O

T

S

T

U

F

F

When you wish upon a Starfish

THE STARFISH STORY

Saying a story was “interactive” used to mean you had to turn to page 25 if you wanted to follow the mysterious noise emanating from the dark tunnel, or to page 37 if you wanted to head to the tavern instead. But, thanks to the wonders of the iPad, we can now tap, tilt or even hug our way through a story. The Starfish Story takes full advantage of this by letting you follow the tale of a sleepy Nozi, whose nocturnal eyelid movies take a turn for the magical and adventurous. Whether you’re looking for a first read to lull your little one to sleep, or you’ve got a budding bookworm who’s coming to grips with the written word, Nozi’s adventure is ideal. Read it yourself or have it narrated by Lebo Motsoeli, and look out for the numerous easter eggs hidden in its digital pages. The best bit? All proceeds go to the Starfish Greathearts Foundation that looks after orphans and children in need. R140 / iOS

Err on the comfy side

AERON CHAIR

The Noguchi coffee table, the Eames lounge chair and ottoman, Josef Albers’ Bauhaus Nesting Side Tables… all great for decking out your home and making your design-savvy frineds ooh and ahh, but all pretty useless for helping you get meaningful work done (unless your job is to swan about looking fancy, in which case, mission accomplished). It’s this gap in the annals of design history the Aeron Chair from designers Bill Stumpf and Don Chadwick managed to fill. An evolution of the original Aeron that first arrived in high-end offices in 1994, the New Aeron has been overhauled “from the casters up”. That means new materials and manufacturing processes, a more refined tilt mechanism and new finishes. If you’re a knowledge economy toiler who cares about your posture (and your back’s resultant longevity) there’s probably no better office chair out there. from R12 000 / alloffice.co.za

Next stop, outer space

BREITLING EXOSPACE B55 For most people, a smartwatch is one that can annoy you with Instagram notifications and other superfluous and short-lived boosts to our fragile, fickle, 21st century egos. For pilots, however, “smart” means something else entirely. It means a 1/100th second capable chronograph with a flyback function and an electronic tachymeter. It means a Swiss, SuperQuartz movement combined with low-energy Bluetooth connectivity that lets you record and track key metrics (or make crucial adjustments) via an accompanying smartphone app. And it probably means avant-garde good looks wrapped in a titanium case that’s waterproof to 100m (though hopefully, few pilots will need that outside of their leisure time). If you have to ask what any of this means, Breitling’s striking Exospace B55 probably isn’t for you. If you don’t have to ask… you’d best get saving. R115 000 / breitling.co.za 36


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* Limited to 200 units – Black only 1. This promotional offer (“Offer”) is brought to you by JD Consumer Electronics and Appliances (Pty) Ltd t/a Incredible Connection (“we”, “us”, “our”) and relates to all products offered for sale by us together with specified WeChat Wallet discounts, as promoted in the Stuff Magazine issue dated 19 December 2016 (“Magazine”). 2. This Offer is available from 19 December 2016 until midnight on 12 February 2017 (“Promo Period”) and only for so long as stocks of the products last. 3. The discounted prices on the products are only available if the products are purchased via our shop in WeChat. This means that during the Promo Period you use the WeChat app to scan the QR Code displayed next to any of our products in the Magazine and, once directed to our shopfront within WeChat, proceed to purchase that product using your WeChat Wallet. 4. To participate in this Offer, you need to be a WeChat Wallet user. Terms of use and eligibility requirements apply. (The WeChat Wallet is also only available to iOS and Android devices with WeChat version 6.3.7.) 5. This Offer may only be taken up once per product type, per customer. 6. We need not honour or continue this Offer, in any specific instance or generally, in the event of fraud, unlawful or abusive behaviour, or if unforeseen circumstances prevent us from doing so.

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DIGITAL EDITION AVAILABLE ON THE APP STORE OR GOOGLE PLAY THE MAGAZINE IS ALSO AVAILABLE THROUGH ZINIO.COM AND MAGAZINES.CO.ZA


2016 GADGET AWARDS

GADGET AWARDS 2016 We present the pick of last year’s crop of smartphones, tablets, apps, headphones and more in association with

INCLUDING

SMARTPHONE OF THE YEAR P40

HOME GADGET OF THE YEAR P46

DESIGN OF THE YEAR P54

GAME OF THE YEAR P56

SYSTEM CAMERA OF THE YEAR P60 39


2016 GADGET AWARDS

SMARTPHONE OF THE YEAR

IPHONE 7 PLUS An incredible Taptic engine, waterproofing, dual speakers, one of the most colour-accurate screens on the market, a pair of incredibly capable cameras and two new shades of black are enough to keep Apple’s flagship at the top of the pile for those handset hounds who want a top-end device and don’t care about the cost. Even though it’s still icon-based – with

widgets confined to pull-down and lock screens – iOS 10 feels like the most mature and flexible operating system Apple’s ever offered. Add 3D Touch and thirdparty app integration from Siri, and there’s only two omissions to complain about on the iPhone 7 Plus – the headphone jack, and a 64GB option. Otherwise, it’s faultless. from R15 500 / myistore.co.za

SHORTLISTED

Moto Z Arriving right at the end of last year, the new Motorola takes its modular design cues from LG’s G5, but does a much better job of it.

40

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Bigger and bolder than ever before. If you’ve got the cash to burn, then this Samsung effort is a smartphone worth flaunting.

LG G5 First of a new kind of smartphone, the scale of the modular G5’s ambition is breathtaking. Technology is meant to inspire… and the G5 does.

Vodafone Smart Prime 7 Cheap? Yes. Cheerful? Undoubtedly. The Smart Prime 7 struts along with far greater style than it should given its price.

READERS’ CHOICE

READERS’ CHOICE Any doubts about our choice were allayed by you, dear readers. A full 48% voted for the iPhone 7 Plus as your Smartphone of the Year, with Samsung’s S7 Edge coming second with a respectable 40% of the votes.


2016 GADGET AWARDS

B E FO R E

AFTER

I N T E R N AT I O N A L A P P O F T H E Y E A R

PRISMA Last July you probably noticed something happening to the photos in your Facebook feed. All your friends APPLE seemed to turn into thrift shop Picassos, CONTINUES bargain-bin Botticellis TO LEAD THE or money-off Monets. CHARGE IN THE Every picture had a SMARTPHONE surprisingly assured MARKET IT artistic flourish, and – until they learned KICKSTARTED how to turn it off – a watermark in the corner that said ‘Prisma’. Busted. Upload any square photo into

this app and it offers more than 30 filters to turn your pics into works of art. Except Prisma’s cleverer than that. It deconstructs each shot and uses artificial intelligence to put them back together again in the style of famous artists. You can tweak the intensity of the effect afterwards to prevent Prisma fatigue in your feed, but there hasn’t been this much technology passing for talent since the days of Hipstamatic. Free / iOS, Android

SHORTLISTED

Boomerang

Dark Sky

Part gif, part Vine, Instagram’s Boomerang app lets you shoot mini videos that bounce back and forth in a loop, offering a new perspective on your dinner snap.

The hyperlocal weather app brings its forecasting genius to Android… but its subscription payments system is irritating when iOS users only have to pay once.

Cardboard Camera Proof you don’t need an unwieldy camera rig to shoot in VR, Google’s app lets you make headsetfriendly photos using your phone.

Duo Got an Android phone, so you can’t FaceTime on iOS? Google’s crossplatform videocaller is sleeker than Skype and simpler than Hangouts. 41


2016 GADGET AWARDS

READERS’ CHOICE

READERS’ CHOICE Those of you who voted online thought the GoPro Hero 4 Session deserved top honours with it securing more than half of the votes cast, but DJI wasn’t far behind with a third of the clicks.

THIS DRONE COMBINES SUPER-EASY FLYING WITH SUPER-TASTY 4K FOOTAGE

AU D I O G A D G E T O F T H E Y E A R

U LT I M AT E E A R S B O O M 2 Wait, our number two speaker from our Top Tens is our number one speaker of the year? That’s right folks, and here’s why. Not only is the UE Boom 2 cheaper than JBL’s Xtreme, it’s smaller and more portable, too. And thanks to a recent software update, it supports Siri and Google Voice Assistant (albeit at the press of 42

a button, rather than via wellarticulated voice commands), which makes it the closest thing to an Amazon Echo or Google Home speaker we in sunny South Africa can currently lay our hands and ears on. Get a second Boom 2 (or an additional 49, in fact) and you can connect them all together wirelessly for a multi-speaker

dance party the likes of which your neighbourhood – and local police force – have never heard. Add waterproofing, ruggedness, portability, solid battery life and excellent audio fidelity to the mix, and you’ve got one incredible piece of portable sound gear that’s as good indoors as out. R3 000 / takealot.co.za


2016 GADGET AWARDS

AC T I O N C A M O F T H E Y E A R

DJI PHANTOM 4 You used to have to be a qualified 747 pilot to fly a drone without it looking like someone had put a dog in charge of the controls, but DJI’s Phantom 4 is so simple that even a dog could do it. Well, maybe a highly trained one. If those paws could operate a touchscreen, Jock could also use the Phantom’s new objecttracking system, which locks the camera onto a particularly gnarly subject and lets you concentrate

on manoeuvring it into place without having to worry you might miss the killer shot. It’ll even dodge obstacles that it detects in its way. Once you’ve got the hang of it, you can turn on sport mode and the Phantom 4 can now do over 70km/h. Chuck in the solid 4K video that it shoots along the way, and this is a drone for amateurs and aces alike. from R24 000 / droneworld.co.za

SHORTLISTED

DJI Osmo The Osmo’s really in a category of its own: a gamechanging camera for amateur filmmakers seeking smooth, stable footage.

Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 Voice controls, 4K video, and optional on-screen overlays of speed, G-force and other stats? All present, all great.

LG 360 Cam Image quality isn’t stellar, but this is currently one of the best and easiest ways to make 360° stills and videos.

GoPro Hero Session The biggest name in action cameras just got smaller. It weighs next to nothing and is virtually impossible to destroy.

SHORTLISTED

JBL Xtreme

B&O Beoplay A1

Braven 705

Weatherproofing and a shoulder strap makes this a picnic favourite, even if the other picnickers hate your music.

Sure, it’s very pricey, but with 24-hour playback, impressive 360° sound and reassuring heft it’s a beauty.

Offering value in the Bluetooth speaker segment, Braven’s 705 delivers big sound for something so small.

Marshall Stanmore Retro styling with connectivity and outstanding sound quality, what’s not to like? Nothing, that’s what. 43


2016 GADGET AWARDS

SHORTLISTED

Bowers & Wilkins P5 Wireless Pick a favourite luxury car manufacturer (Aston, Rolls, Maserati). These are the headphone equivalent.

SoundMagic E10C Nothing comes close to matching SoundMagic for the price, and these buds play nicely with Android and iPhone alike.

YOU SHOULD GET AROUND 30 HOURS OF BATTERY LIFE FROM THESE COMFY CANS Apple AirPods

HEADPHONES OF THE YEAR

AKG N60NC A few years ago, AKG was a mere blip on our headphone radar. Today, it’s one of the first brands we point people at when they want a combination of quality and affordability. The N60NCs are a perfect example. Active noisecancelling, understated design, incredible comfort, brilliant battery life and a carry pouch complete with an airline-friendly adaptor, all for half the price you’d pay for other noise-cancellers. 44

Sure, they’re still wired, and they’re on-ear rather than over-ear, but they’re incredibly comfortable, surprisingly effective at keeping outside noise at bay, and weigh a mere 150g. If you’re a frequent traveller or just want quality cans you can fold flat, chuck in a bag and take everywhere, the N60NCs deserve a spot on your tech shopping list. R3 300 / audiomart.co.za

They weren’t the first, but Apple’s take on truly wireless in-ears are on track to take the cable-cutting tech into the mainstream.

Bose QuietComfort 35 If you want to block out the world completely and money’s no object look no further, these are the cans you need.


MONITOR YOUR HOME FROM ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD WITH THE PANASONIC SMARTHOME MONITORING & CONTROL KIT

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Wireless Window/Door Sensor Detects when window or door is opened and sends notifications to your Smart Device.

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Wireless Indoor Camera

Wireless Motion Sensor Networking HUB The HUB is the heart of the system and connects to your wireless router. Connect up to 4 cameras and 50 motion – or window/door sensors per HUB.

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R699

• 1 Year Warranty (10065959) SS

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2016 GADGET AWARDS

SHORTLISTED

Fitbit Alta This good-looking wristband tracker gets the basics right, making it perfect for casual gym-goers and those who need extra motivation.

Garmin Fenix 3

HOME GADGET OF THE YEAR

SAMSUNG PT SMARTCAM It may look like something out of Dr Who, but Samsung’s PT SmartCam is the best singlesolution IP camera we’ve had the pleasure of freaking out our house guests with. The PT bit stands for pan and tilt, meaning one Samsung PT cunningly placed can provide visibility on a whole room. Add 1080p video to the mix and it can be a pretty big room, thanks to all the zoom flexibility that kind of resolution offers. Pop a microSD card in the

back, set up motion detection zones and you’ll not only be notified when someone (or the neighbour’s cat) shows up in your lounge unexpectedly, but will get a high-definition hard copy of it saved to the card or your mobile device, too. Two-way audio lets you listen in or talk back, too, and night vision means you’ll never miss a thing. This is the only camera we’ve tested that truly deserves the “smart” in its name. R3 300 / takealot.com

S H O R T L I ST E D

Dyson V6 “It’s just a vacuum cleaner” is a phrase uttered by those who’ve never used one. Wireless, powerful, spaceage, perfect. 46

Chipolo V2 Tracker Attach it to your house keys, dog’s collar, backpack, or anything else you tend to lose, or really can’t afford to.

Elgato Avea Bulb Until Philips Hue bulbs arrive in SA these are the best colourchanging smart bulbs your hardearned dosh can buy.

Netatmo Welcome Face recognition that gets smarter over time and a slick design make this the best IP camera for your entrance hall.

If you want to track sports you’ve never even heard of and demand accuracy and killer battery life this is your watch.

Fitbit Charge 2 The updated Charge HR, now with four-times the display, guided breathing sessions and interchangeable straps.

Wahoo Kickr Turbo trainers are great for cycling through winter, and the new Kickr is the very best. Use it with Zwift for online multiplayer cycle training.


2016 GADGET AWARDS

READERS’ CHOICE

READERS’ CHOICE If you lot had gotten your way, the Fitbit Charge 2 would’ve taken top honours. It got 68% of the votes with Garmin’s Fenix 3 a distant second place with 16%. The Charge 2 is a great general fitness tracker, but we demand a little more.

HEALTH & FITNESS GADGET OF THE YEAR

GARMIN VIVOACTIVE HR THE GARMIN’S HIGH-RES TOUCHSCREEN IS DESIGNED FOR EASY READING IN SUNLIGHT

Does anyone need a more comprehensive fitness watch than the Vivoactive HR? Unless you’re running ultra marathons, we don’t think so. It’s got the lot: heart-rate monitoring, step and sleep tracking, detailed workout recordings and an inactivity alarm to remind you to get up off the couch. Sure, it’s got a bit of a fugly vibe, but seeing as it

keeps ticking for a whole week between charges, it gets a pass in the style stakes. It has GPS and an altimeter, and it’ll even keep track of swimming, rowing or golf. Oh, and it’s got all the smartphone notifications and alerts you could want. For the cash, there’s not a lot out there that’s this thorough. R5 200 / garmin.co.za 47


2016 GADGET AWARDS

WAT C H O F T H E Y E A R

A P P L E W AT C H S E R I E S 2 Let’s be honest, Apple’s first Watch had its share of detractors. But rather than wafting away complaints of slow apps and so-so fitness smarts, tech’s biggest behemoth just went back to the drawing board and made it better. How? By upping its sporty credentials beyond compare. Thanks to the addition of waterproofing, GPS and a much faster S2 chipset, this all-rounder can see off competition from Fitbit, Samsung and whoever else comes for its crown. Ultra marathon runners will probably prefer top-end Garmin or Polar watches, but this is a spot-on device for intermediate sweat-hounds. And if you just want a nice gadget that will make you feel less attached to your smartphone? WatchOS 3’s updated take on flick-of-the-wrist notifications is just the ticket. Haters be damned. We’re genuinely excited to see where Apple takes its Watch next. from R6 900 / myistore.co.za

S H O R T L I ST E D

Fitbit Blaze Fitbit’s first crack at a smartwatch/ exercise tracker won us over with accurate heart-rate tracking, multisport modes and an easy interface.

Huawei Watch Arguably the bestlooking Android Wear powered watch out there, Huawei’s Watch is the only 2016 Android watch we’d consider. 48

Withings Activité Pop A smart, simple activity tracker that’s waterproof and lasts for eight whole months, this is a winning wearable.

Garmin Vivomove Behind its innocent face lies fitness wizardry – and a year of battery life. Proof you can have your techy cake and eat it.


2016 GADGET AWARDS

TV SHOW OF THE YEAR

GAME OF THRONES Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter may have made fantasy acceptable to the mainstream, but it was Game of Thrones that made it cool. Six plot-dense seasons have so far charted the rise and fall of claimants to the Iron Throne, never tiring of gleefully flinging your way

scenes packed full of blood, politics, swords, sex and dragons – often at the same time. Superb casting helps, not least Peter Dinklage’s scheming Tyrion Lannister. The sets and effects are also dazzling, major battles appearing to have been wrenched wholesale from expensive movies rather than being episodes of a mere TV show. But revelling in the unexpected is what keeps Game of Thrones compelling. From a shocking beheading early on to horrifying, scandalous betrayals that occur at regular intervals, it’s clear all bets are off. No one is safe: keep your eyes glued to the screen.

S H O R T L I ST E D

YOU CAN MIX AND MATCH FROM A HUGE RANGE OF CASES, STRAPS AND FACES

Stranger Things

Preacher

Daredevil

Mr Robot

Set in 1983 and channelling Spielberg, this creepy series features kids searching for a vanished buddy.

The Garth Ennis comic explodes onto the screen. Its mix of gore, glee and guns enthralls, despite a sense of shallowness.

Marvel’s grittiest outpost finds the blind superhero lawyer continuing to beat up baddies, with The Punisher now in the mix.

Mr Robot’s world of dark technology, hacking and social disorder is peppered with weirdness. Smart and essential. 49


2016 GADGET AWARDS

TV GADGET OF THE YEAR

D S t v E X P LO R A There was a time – a very shortlived one, mind you – where there were a few set-top boxes on the market that vaguely resembled something one could consider competition for DStv’s iconic Explora. But most of them have either gone the same way as CRT TVs, or proven themselves wholly inadequate in comparison. Which is why the Explora takes our top spot again. Use DStv Catch Up to make sure you don’t miss your

favourite shows or movies, and get access to more content than you can shake a remote at if you hook the Explora up to the internet. Create playlists, watch the latest movies on-demand with BoxOffice, or follow the sports action in glorious HD. It even supports ShowMax, in case you didn’t have enough to watch already. Tough to beat? Nope, impossible to beat. R1 500 / multichoice.co.za

S H O R T L I ST E D

Google Chromecast Plug the coloured puck into an HDMI port and power and you’ve got instant wireless video streaming.

Xbox One S The cheapest 4K Blu-ray player also doubles as a games console that’ll upscale to Ultra HD with HDR.

HAVE YOUR STREAMING AT THE TIPS OF YOUR FINGERS WITH A DEDICATED SHOWMAX BUTTON

50

PlayStation 4 Slim If you don’t need the PS Pro’s features, the Slim offers all the best of the PS4 in a svelter package.

Apple TV A new tvOS and accompanying apps plus a touchsensitive remote and games make this a must-have for TV fans.


SHORTLISTED

Samsung Series 9 Quantum Dot display technology, 4K resolution and Samsung’s brilliant Smart Hub make the flagship Series 9s the SUHD TVs to own.

THE BUILT-IN SOUNDBAR IS MUCH PUNCHIER THAN NORMAL FLATSCREEN SPEAKERS

Hisense M7000

TV OF THE YEAR

LG O L E D 6 5 E 6 V You could probably buy a decent second-hand car for the price of LG’s whopping OLED set, but what the E6V lacks in wheels, seats and an engine it makes up for in… TV stuff (plus you can’t hang a 2007 Prius on the wall and watch Mr Robot on it). This isn’t even LG’s most expensive model – that honour goes to the G6 Signature – but that doesn’t mean the E6V has a second-rate spec sheet. It’s no

secret that OLED tech gives you the best 4K picture, but it’s also the LG’s HDR performance that makes it a winner, plus its WebOS interface is better than ever. Feed the E6V an Ultra HD Blu-ray to watch and there’s even a chance you’ll never see the inside of a cinema again. It looks the part too: an imposing slab of thin glass anchored in place by a thicker soundbar base. R87 000 / lg.com/za

For those who want 4K but don’t want to have to sell their car (or organs) to get it, the M7000 range delivers, and then some.

LG Super UHD TV If your budget can’t stretch to OLED, LG’s Super UHD TVs (look for the UHxxxV in the model names) are the next best thing. 51


2016 GADGET AWARDS

SHORTLISTED

ST R E A M I N G S E R V I C E O F T H E Y E A R

NETFLIX Bake Off aside, is there anything you need a normal TV channel for any more? Sure, there’s the news, but you get all that online. Sport? Who’s got time to watch a bunch of millionaires kick a ball around a field when there’s a new series of Narcos? If there’s a show worth wasting eye time on, chances are it’s a Netflix exclusive, whether it’s the supernatural nostalgia of Stranger Things, the horrifying whodunnit of Making a Murderer or the brutal justice of Daredevil. With its original shows available in

4K and HDR, it’s even leading the way when it comes to TV tech – so while ShowMax can easily compete on content, its lack of original material is an obstacle it needs to overcome. from R120/month

Asus ZenBook

This refreshed version of the 12in MacBook is beautiful – and backs up its looks with speedy processors.

Cheaper than most of its rivals while still being as capable and better looking, the ZenBook is very calming indeed.

MacBook Pro

HP Spectre

We don’t mean the Touch Bar and USB C Pro, but the generation before, which now looks even more tempting.

The world’s thinnest laptop until pipped by Acer’s Swift 7… and better than its namesake Bond film.

THE XPS HAS THE POWER TO HANDLE CREATIVE WORK WHILE STILL BEING IMPROBABLY PORTABLE

S H O R T L I ST E D

52

Apple MacBook

ShowMax

Tidal

Simfy

Deezer

Last year’s winner narrowly missed the top spot this year and is still an essential, especially if you want to watch your favourite shows on the go.

Hi-res audio and exclusives from some of the biggest musical artists in the world aren’t quite enough to make up for Tidal’s lack of extras.

The first music streaming service to launch in South Africa, Simfy’s updates have made it way more compelling than it was at launch.

Thanks to some savvy local partnerships, Deezer offers a strong catalogue of media that is supported by its rock-solid user interface.


2016 GADGET AWARDS

COMPUTER OF THE YEAR

DELL XPS 13 Proving that Apple isn’t the only company that can make beautifully thin, buttockclenchingly expensive laptops, Dell’s latest devices also remind us that the company once considered primarily a maker of computers for corporates has ‘done a Volvo’. That is, it’s managed to create products that aren’t only practical and reliable, but desirable and even – shock shock, horror horror – dare we say it, cool. Choose from Intel’s Skylake i5 or i7 processors, 4GB

of 8GB of RAM, a 128GB or 256GB SSD, and either a full-HD 13in display or the unbelievably crisp QHD+ (3200x1800 pixel) touch-enabled version which Dell has managed to squeeze into an 11in frame thanks to the almost non-existent bezel. If you type all day the keyboard will delight you, too. If you want a Windows 10 laptop without compromises or pointless style decisions that add nothing to usability, look no further. from R20 000 / dell.com/za

READERS’ CHOICE

READERS’ CHOICE Price and lack of touch be damned, 44% of our readers voted the MacBook Pro their favourite computer of 2016, with the 12in MacBook taking the silver medal with 20% of the vote.

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2016 GADGET AWARDS

IT’S AN ELECTRIC SUV WITH 4WD AND ROOM FOR SEVEN PEOPLE… AND IT DOES 250KM/H

DESIGN OF THE YEAR

IMPOSSIBLE PROJECT I-1 There are plenty of Polaroid cameras still in the world, and they all owe their continuing functionality to the Impossible Project – which rescued the original manufacturing machines from a crusher, and now markets new cartridges and refurbished cameras to enthusiasts. But this year, Impossible realised its dream by releasing an entirely 54

new camera. In fact it’s the first Polaroid-style instant camera to be launched in over 20 years, with a smart matt black finish and lens-surrounding LED ring flash. It also features Bluetooth and an app for remote triggering, manual settings and extra craziness such as double exposures. But the basic instant fun is there: the click and buzz of the

mechanism followed by the extruded photo and the waving it about to make it develop. The only drawback? As with Polaroid cameras of yore, those prints aren’t free like digital images. R4 000 / impossibleproject.com


2016 GADGET AWARDS

CAR OF THE YEAR

SHORTLISTED

TESLA MODEL X Having glanced down at the list of ‘what you could’ve won’, it might come as a surprise that Tesla’s Model X has taken the chequered flag in this category. But think about it: it’s got gullwing doors. It can go up to 465km without needing to be recharged. And in Ridiculous mode it’ll do 0-100km/h in 2.9 seconds. Not bad for something that’ll also own the school run and seat

seven adults – Tesla’s Model X is a true wolf in sheep’s underpants, and it’s helping to make electric cars practical. Sure, that bit’s not as exciting as the top speed or acceleration (or the gullwing doors), but what use is a V10 when the ice caps have melted and we’re 5m underwater? Not even Audi makes a convertible submarine (yet). from $80 000 / tesla.com

Audi R8 V10 Plus Not only is this one of the fastest, sexiest and bestmade supercars on the planet; it’s also packed with tech, including the ace Virtual Cockpit.

Porsche 718 Cayman A fun and focused sports car that delivers thrills by the bucketload and has surprisingly techy infotainment on board.

Volvo XC 90

Jaguar F-Pace

There’s a reason everyone’s raving about the Swedish manufacturers biggest, boldest people carrier: it’s brilliant and almost drives itself.

A wearable key, a remote control app and enough USB charging points for all the family – the F-Pace has the tech tricks to satisfy any geek.

S H O R T L I ST E D

Leica M-D

Atmo Sfera

Lenovo Yoga Book

This super-manual, display-less digital camera is too good an example of damn-the-cost design to ignore… That’s Leica’s way.

“Where do you put the record?” is the kind of high design drama that crowdfunding was made for… and this is now being shipped.

Even if the Yoga Book’s haptic keyboard and real pen input turn out to be gimmicks, we salute it for daring to be different.

Amazon Kindle Oasis Once you feel the Oasis’s light materials and magnetic battery case, you’ll forget all about reading. 55


2016 GADGET AWARDS

GAME OF THE YEAR

UNCHARTED 4: A THIEF’S END A Thief’s End always looked certain to be spectacular, and sure enough, it’s the best game we played all year – and one of the best we’ve played any year. Naughty Dog is a master of its craft, as The Last of Us also proved, and Uncharted 4 sees the studio take the already smashing series formula and elevate it for Nathan Drake’s supposed goodbye tour. Drake’s skill set has been expanded without overburdening players, the set pieces are even more jaw-dropping than before,

and the graphics are incredible. Even the smallest moments – the quiet interactions between Drake and his wife or brother – are the most natural we’ve ever seen in a game. It’s a virtuoso creation. R900 / PS4

S H O R T L I ST E D

Overwatch PS4, PC, Xbox One Blizzard, of all studios, made an FPS – and it’s brilliant, with vivid team action and a dazzlingly diverse cast. 56

Tom Clancy’s The Division PS4, PC, Xbox One A military shooter set in a postsmallpox New York City, it’s engrossing fun and stunning with it.

Forza Horizon 3 Xbox One, PC

No Man’s Sky PS4, PC

The best openworld racer shifts down to Oz for a romp filled with events, off-road antics and effortless online match-ups.

It might be this year’s most divisive game, but it’s filled with wonders. The vast universe can be cold and quiet, but the exploration is unparalleled.


2016 GADGET AWARDS

GAMES CONSOLE OF THE YEAR

S O N Y P L AY S TAT I O N 4 P R O The PS4 is already crushing it this console generation, offering the best exclusive games, performance and price out of the gate. So what did Sony do? Make the machine a whole lot better. The PlayStation 4 Pro doesn’t replace the three-yearold core console, which still has a lot of life left in it, but it does bring big enhancements for power players. Bumping games up into 4K, both natively and through clever upscaling, brings out a ton more

THIS IS THE MOST POWERFUL GAMES CONSOLE YET, AND THE FIRST TO OFFER 4K GAMING

detail and makes showcase titles look even more spectacular. And thanks to the added power of the console, PlayStation VR experiences will be even smoother and more immersive, helping Sony’s cheaper headset compete with the PC powerhouses. Microsoft’s Project Scorpio will probably put up a strong fight next year, but for now the PS4 Pro is the home console of choice for cutting-edge gaming at a reasonable price. R7 000 / playstation.com/en_za

S H O R T L I ST E D

HTC Vive

Nintendo Classic Mini

For the ultimate VR experience you have to try the Vive: the immersive fun is incredible. You’ll pay plenty for it, however.

Nintendo has loaded 30 games onto a tiny, HDMIequipped box for a special treat of take-anywhere 8-bit fun.

Microsoft Xbox One S

Sony PlayStation VR

The revised Xbox One has massive improvements: 4K streaming and Blu-ray movies, plus HDR and 4K upscaling.

Sony’s VR strategy doesn’t need a high-end PC, only a PS4: this headset is cheap and has the most exciting game selection. 57


P R O M O T I O N

BUY NOW &

GET 20% OFF Scan the QR code below with WeChat to buy the Logi Circle Home Security Camera right now with WeChat Wallet

999 Was R3

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This offer brought to you in association with:

Logi Circle Home Security Camera Watch over home from anywhere with Circle’s innovative security features. Enjoy unlimited 1080p HD video with night vision, advanced motion filtering with smart alerts, and multicamera connectivity. Plus, with free 24-hour and subscription cloud storage solutions, you can access surveillance footage wherever you are (data rates may still apply).

* Limited to 50 units

58

1. This promotional offer (“Offer”) is brought to you by JD Consumer Electronics and Appliances (Pty) Ltd t/a Incredible Connection (“we”, “us”, “our”) and relates to all products offered for sale by us together with specified WeChat Wallet discounts, as promoted in the Stuff Magazine issue dated 19 December 2016 (“Magazine”). 2. This Offer is available from 19 December 2016 until midnight on 12 February 2017 (“Promo Period”) and only for so long as stocks of the products last. 3. The discounted prices on the products are only available if the products are purchased via our shop in WeChat. This means that during the Promo Period you use the WeChat app to scan the QR Code displayed next to any of our products in the Magazine and, once directed to our shopfront within WeChat, proceed to purchase that product using your WeChat Wallet. 4. To participate in this Offer, you need to be a WeChat Wallet user. Terms of use and eligibility requirements apply. (The WeChat Wallet is also only available to iOS and Android devices with WeChat version 6.3.7.) 5. This Offer may only be taken up once per product type, per customer. 6. We need not honour or continue this Offer, in any specific instance or generally, in the event of fraud, unlawful or abusive behaviour, or if unforeseen circumstances prevent us from doing so.


2016 GADGET AWARDS

INDIE GAME OF THE YEAR

INSIDE The infinite universe of No Man’s Sky might’ve grabbed all the headlines, but it turns out the most affecting gaming experience of the year took place in just one tiny part of a dark and dangerous world. Inside’s side-scrolling story of a boy desperately evading capture as he explores a factory populated by brain-dead flesh vessels will stick with you. It’s beautifully bleak, with puzzles that balance perfectly on the tipping point between perplexing and satisfying. It’s not a long game (you’ll finish it in about four hours) but almost every moment is memorable. A classic in every respect. from R170 / PS4, Xbox One, PC

S H O R T L I ST E D Superhot

Firewatch

No Man’s Sky

Job Simulator

One of the slickest shooters for years. If only it were available on PS4 as well as Xbox One.

Set in the US wilderness, the story doesn’t quite match its visuals but it’ll hit you in the feels.

Could it ever have lived up to the hype? Probably not. It still dropped jaws, though.

Quirky, funny and enjoyable: a lighter side to the launch lineups of this year’s VR headsets.

MOBILE GAME OF THE YEAR

POKÉMON GO You know something’s up when, walking the dog on a Sunday in a usually human-free wilderness, you find dozens of people. Eyes glued to their phones, they pause only to flick the screen before erupting in a cheer or a groan. Then someone yelps “There’s one over there!” and the whole horde scarpers. Such is Pokémon GO. The concepts are all simple: visit PokéStops to grab items, hunt and grab Pokémon by flicking Poké Balls at them, and use your collection to nab Pokémon Gyms from other players. But the game’s simple charms, social smarts and collector mentality captivated millions of players. Whether these will keep them hunting through a long, cold winter remains to be seen. Free / iOS, Android

S H O R T L I ST E D Clash Royale Real-time strategy in miniature combined with freemium done well. Tough to master.

Power Hover Hoverboard through a desolate world, pursuing the crim who stole your batteries.

Snakebird When gravity is added to classic Snake, the result is a sadistic, brilliant puzzler.

Telepaint Clockwork automaton paintpots dodder about in this oddball puzzle platformer. 59


2016 GADGET AWARDS

SHORTLISTED

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV A 30.4MP fullframe sensor and 4K video are the headlines as the 5D just keeps getting better.

Nikon D5 If low-light shooting is your bag, the D5 can serve up decent shots at an incredible 409 600 ISO. 60

Olympus Pen-F The new Pen-F matches stunning retro looks with a teeny metal body that somehow finds room for an OLED viewfinder.

Olympus OMD E-M1 Mark II As our winner shows, and the new OMD reiterates, mirrorless gear isn’t just for hobbyists anymore.

S Y ST E M C A M E R A O F T H E Y E A R

F U J I F I L M X -T 2 Some people say the best camera is the one you have with you, but they’re WRONG. Well, unless you’re rocking the Fujifilm X-T2, in which case you do indeed have the best camera with you. We could wax lyrical about its stylish, weatherproof, all-metal body, and indeed we shall: it’s simply gorgeous. Or we could get excited about its new 24MP sensor, which takes pictures so sharp you could eat your

dinner off them. And then there are its oh-so-2016 4K video capabilities, plus an autofocus so quick and accurate it’s like the auto-aim feature in GTA V. But really, what we love most about the X-T2 – what makes us want to pick it up and take pictures with it – is all those dials and knobs you use to operate it. So much more fun than just prodding at a screen. R25 000 (body only) / fujifilm.co.za


SHORTLISTED

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ100 This crams a 20MP 1in sensor with 10x optical zoom plus 4K video into a body that’ll easily slip inside a jacket.

Canon Powershot G9 X This diddy thing also has a 20MP 1in sensor, in a body that makes the Lumix above look like a brick. Great pictures too.

AFFORDABLE AND ULTRAPORTABLE, THE X70 TAKES SNAPS WORTHY OF A DSLR Canon Powershot G7 X II

C O M PAC T C A M E R A O F T H E Y E A R

A 1in sensor, decent price tag and tiltable 3in display more than make up for the lack of viewfinder and 4K video.

FUJIFILM X70 Lionel Messi. Prince. Baby Jakes. The Carolina Reaper chili pepper. All punch(ed) well above their tiny size – and to that list we can now add the Fujifilm X70. Alright, so it’s not quite as small as Baby Jakes, but considering it packs a DSLR-rivalling APS-C sensor, the fact that it will fit into your pocket is impressive. There’s a fixed 28mm-equivalent lens on the front, so you’ll have to zoom with your feet, but that’ll help you

both get some exercise and learn how to properly compose the shots you’re taking. The LCD screen flips out and around so you can get into all sorts of tight angles; and while there’s no viewfinder, one can be added into the hot shoe. The other best thing about it other than its size and image quality is the price: that’s impressively small too. R11 500 / fujifilm.co.za

Leica Q It’s insanely expensive, but it’s also insanely good. The 28mm f1.7 lens and fullframe 24.2MP sensor are a potent duo. 61


2016 GADGET AWARDS

GADGET OF THE YEAR

HTC VIVE

READERS’ GADGET OF THE YEAR G O P R O HE RO S E SSI O N How do you make the most iconic action camera even better? Why, you make it smaller, lighter and even easier to use, of course. The GoPro Hero Session is a cube-shaped action cam with one button operation and a much smaller profile than its larger, rectangular brethren. Which means you’re far less likely to misjudge the distance between your MTB helmet and a branch, or destroy it when front flipping over a funbox on your skateboard. It’ll shoot 1080p footage at up to 60fps, or 720p video at 100fps. There’s also the option of 8MP stills in bursts of up to 10fps. Want to take it surfing? No problem. You get 10m of waterproofing without a case, and more customisable settings than you can shake a selfie stick at (yeah, it’ll fit on one of those, too), all accessible via your smartphone or tablet thanks to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Naturally, any existing GoPro mounts you’ve invested in will work with the Hero Session, and automatic image rotation means there’s no wrong way to mount it. All of which makes it unsurprising GoPro’s compact wunderkind is our readers’ favourite gadget of the year. Just remember folks, always wear a helmet (and make sure your GoPro’s battery is full). R4 300 / incredible.co.za 62

Greatness rarely comes easily. You think those Ferrero Rocher the size of soccer balls are easy to make? Hell no! So while getting the best out of HTC’s Vive might require a lot of patience, space and money, it’s the one gadget here that’s blown away every person who’s tried it. Not even the Note 7 managed that. You’ve also got to admire the chutzpah of a mobile phone

company that wades into the untested waters of virtual reality and pretty much nails it first time. No, the Vive’s not perfect (even if it does let you pretend to be a Jedi), but the motion controllers and Lighthouse body trackers serve to make the VR experience that bit more real… and isn’t that what it’s all about? Rtba / vive.com


2016 GADGET AWARDS

THE VIVE HAS FINALLY MADE VIRTUAL REALITY VIABLE AFTER DECADES OF FALSE STARTS

63


2016 SA APP AWARDS

READERS’ CHOICE

READERS’ CHOICE A full 42.3% of you agreed with us that WeChat Wallet deserves top honours for 2016, and who are we to argue with popular opinion?

SA APP AWARDS FINANCIAL APP OF THE YEAR

SHORTLISTED

W E C H AT W A L L E T We’ve been using the WeChat Wallet for most of this year at Stuff Towers, not just because you can buy things from the pages of our magazine using it, but because it also allows us to send cash to one another, regardless of who banks where. For extra points, we can use it to pay for things anywhere that accepts SnapScan. In an effort to encourage us (and you) to use that

feature, when you do, you get a random rebate of cash straight back into the wallet. We can also use the Wallet to buy airtime or prepaid electricity either from funds in it, or via a linked bank card. Of course, there’s a pretty solid instant messaging attached to the Wallet, too, if you needed any more incentive to try it out. wechat.co.za

AND OVERALL APP OF THE YEAR 64

FNB App

EasyEquities

Now with fingerprint login on supported devices, a smartwatch app, in-app payment notifications and OTPs and NFC payments like Apple Pay and Android Pay, it’s still the leading banking app in SA. fnb.co.za

You don’t have to wear fivefigure bespoke suits, beat your chest and throw little people around to play the stock market. With EasyEquities you can invest your spare cash in South Africa’s top companies. easyequities.co.za


2016 SA APP AWARDS

E N T E R TA I N M E N T APP OF THE YEAR

SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY APP OF THE YEAR

SERVICE APP OF THE YEAR

SHOWMAX

FORGOOD

U B E R E AT S

Just when we thought we’ve caught up on our TV binge list ShowMax comes along and adds some more essential viewing to its already bulging catalogue. How bulging? Try more than 20 000 episodes of series and movies, and growing by the month. Add to that the option to save content offline – which means we can stock up for long flights or those other times we’re likely to be internetless, like a weekend at the in-laws – and apps and support for iOS, Android, Chromecast, Apple TV, Samsung and LG Smart TVs, and you’ve got one stellar, homegrown streaming solution. The flat rate of R99/month, a free trial to kick the tyres, and month-to-month payments seal the deal. showmax.com

Plenty of people wish they could do something philanthropic, but don’t know where to start. Forgood’s mission is to connect those sorts of charitable folk with causes that could benefit from their skills, or whatever else they can offer. Forgood users can choose to volunteer their time, donate goods or create their own, unique offer. Charities, NGOs or other causes, meanwhile, can list the sorts of things they need on the platform. And that’s where the magic happens: Forgood brings the two together and tries to ensure that causes find appropriate people. It’s simple, but it’s brilliant, and with over 1 000 donation and 350 volunteer opportunities, and more than 500 active causes, it’s making a measurable difference. forgood.co.za

As you’ll see below, UberEats wasn’t the first app to offer food delivery services in Mzanzi. But the power of the Uber brand and its marketing budget mean it’s quickly become one of the biggest. For Uber drivers, it means less idle time and the potential for increased revenue. For end users, it means the ability to order, track and pay without cash for food from the best restaurants in their vicinity. And, for the restaurants, it means another way to make money and drum up new business. Like Uber, a referral code encourages happy users to spread the word, and nervous first timers try the service. It’s only in Johannesburg for now, but expect to see it in Cape Town, Durban and other metropolitan areas later this year. ubereats.com

SHORTLISTED

SHORTLISTED

SHORTLISTED

Netflix

CliffCentral

MomConnect

GEM Project

OrderIn

SweepSouth

The one thing Netflix has the no one else can match is original content, especially of the Marvel variety, and it’s what keeps us coming back time and again. Expect to see even more of it this year. netflix.com

The naysayers said it would never work, but here we are a few years down the line and Gareth Cliff’s “unradio” platform is still going from strength to strength with a potent line-up and killer content. cliffcentral.com

Expectant and new mothers have enough on their plates without worrying about things like appointments for vaccinations and other essentials. The best part? It’s SMSbased, so it works with any phone. praekelt.org

The GEM Project (Going the Extra Mile) is a local initiative that rewards volunteers who help their communities by turning their good deeds into airtime, mobile data, prepaid electricity or movie tickets. gemproject.org

With much more impressive reach than rival UberEats and a longer track record, OrderIn lets you order food for delivery or, if you’d rather reduce the wait or pick something up on your way home, for collection, too. orderin.co.za

Want to hire a reliable, vetted cleaner in Cape Town, Centurion, Durban Joburg or Pretoria? SweepSouth lets you do it from the comfort of your laptop or desktop or using its Android and iOS apps and pay with a card. sweepsouth.com 65


TEST APPS

App:roved FOR CLEVER CLOGS

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FOR MOBILE MOVIES

● Stephen Hawking’s Pocket Universe

● Loop by Seedling

We’re used to clever interactive tomes on iPad, but this effort is perhaps more ambitious, attempting to cram Stephen Hawking’s mind-bending Brief History into a tiny iPhone and not leave you a gibbering wreck. Friendly animations sit alongside bite-sized chunks of text as the app tracks your progress through subjects such as black holes and space-time. It’s more rewarding than scrolling through never-ending Facebook feeds.

If you fancy yourself as the next Aardman but don’t have time to master complex animation apps, Loop provides tools for crafting a mini stop-motion masterpiece. Using your iPhone and a steady hand, you shoot individual frames; an optional onion-skin overlay enables you to compare the current and previous positions of what’s in front of you. When you’re done, add filters, mess around with layouts, share your loops online and wait for Hollywood to call.

Stuff says ★★★★★ R130 / iPhone

Stuff says ★★★★✩ Free / iOS

FOR FREESTYLE FANS ● Pumped BMX 3

This finds you barreling along hilly courses, hurling bike and rider alike into the air to perform tricks, and hoping nothing important breaks on landing. Despite a ‘casual fare’ appearance, this is a tricky and relentlessly demanding game of tight timing and nuanced controls – the rider will comically slump over the handlebars as if dead due to the slightest error. But when it clicks, Pumped BMX 3 becomes a hugely rewarding arcade experience. Stuff says ★★★★✩ R11 / Android ● R60 / iOS

FOR PICCY PROS ● Adobe Photoshop Lightroom

Although ‘full Photoshop’ will likely never make it to smartphones, Adobe’s keen to get some of its photography smarts into your mitts. Lightroom offers superb editing tools and filters, which feel more professional than the contents of competing apps. It’ll shoot RAW too, although those shots can only be synced/exported by Creative Cloud subscribers, which seems daft. Still, the filters alone make this a worthy download. Stuff says ★★★★✩ Free / Android, iOS


P R O M O T I O N

BUY NOW &

GET 20% OFF Scan the QR code below with WeChat to buy the TomTom Spark 3 Music + Headphones right now with WeChat Wallet

999 Was R2

NOW 9 9 3 2 R with t 20% oaff alle W t WeCh

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For helpup setting eChat your W urn t e Wall pt8 o t This offer brought to you in association with:

TomTom Spark 3 Music + Headphones Train to the tune of over 500 songs stored on your wrist. Get 24/7 activity tracking, multi-sport tracking, route exploration and free Bluetooth headphones to make sure you train with music, not with your phone. Track all your sports: running, cycling, swimming, gym, indoor cycling and more. And measure time, distance, speed, pace, and routes accurately while getting live stats on the go.

* Limited to 100 units – Black only 1. This promotional offer (“Offer”) is brought to you by JD Consumer Electronics and Appliances (Pty) Ltd t/a Incredible Connection (“we”, “us”, “our”) and relates to all products offered for sale by us together with specified WeChat Wallet discounts, as promoted in the Stuff Magazine issue dated 19 December 2016 (“Magazine”). 2. This Offer is available from 19 December 2016 until midnight on 12 February 2017 (“Promo Period”) and only for so long as stocks of the products last. 3. The discounted prices on the products are only available if the products are purchased via our shop in WeChat. This means that during the Promo Period you use the WeChat app to scan the QR Code displayed next to any of our products in the Magazine and, once directed to our shopfront within WeChat, proceed to purchase that product using your WeChat Wallet. 4. To participate in this Offer, you need to be a WeChat Wallet user. Terms of use and eligibility requirements apply. (The WeChat Wallet is also only available to iOS and Android devices with WeChat version 6.3.7.) 5. This Offer may only be taken up once per product type, per customer. 6. We need not honour or continue this Offer, in any specific instance or generally, in the event of fraud, unlawful or abusive behaviour, or if unforeseen circumstances prevent us from doing so.

67


FIRST TEST PS4 PRO

Leave it to the Pro It may lack the Xbox One S’s 4K Blu-ray drive, but does the sheer power of the PlayStation 4 Pro make it a must-buy for the console gamer who wants the best?

R7 000 / playstation.co.za Let’s face it – the PS4 is basically a gaming PC in a console-sized box. And as any PC gamer will tell you, the creeping urge to update grows stronger over time. It’ll happen to Microsoft next year with Project Scorpio, but Sony’s already there – and the PS4 Pro is that upgrade. Substantial hardware updates under the hood include a faster CPU, a more powerful graphics chip and extra memory for game developers to play with. The PS4 Pro is much more powerful than the standard console, outputting games at higher resolutions, at faster frame rates, and with more detail than before. Whether you need this extra power really comes down to what sort of TV you’ve got. Still stuck at 1080p? Then stay with your standard PS4 or Slim. Yes, the PS4 Pro hits higher frame rates and squeezes more detail out of some 1080p games. But this console is really meant for 4K TV owners looking to make the most of their pixelpacked screens.

2 Free those pixels If you’re not careful you could be playing your PS4 Pro in standard 1080p. Eurgh! And not all 4K TVs will support HDR out of the box, so you may have to dig around in your settings menus to get the most out of your pixels.

1 Let’s get physical That all-over matt finish might look slick, but the whole thing is made from plastic. Even the expensive touch-sensitive buttons have been ditched for physical ones, to save you from accidental clicks.

1

4

3 Still game The Pro gives you reason to revisit your dusty PS4 game library, as every one is compatible and upscaled to 4K resolution. The real difference comes with games that have been optimised for PS4 Pro. They look fantastic.

4 Death of the disc? The PS4 Pro doesn’t have a 4K Blu-ray drive, which means you won’t be able to watch Ultra HD films on it. Sony’s excuse is that we’re all too busy obsessing over streaming services to go out and buy discs any more.

Good Meh Evil

T an he d f Pro its e ni me ce rg ly es un lo Go de ok No o r o in d m by ur g r or e, 4K ea e a to TV lly s cc uc . lick id he s , nt en .. al si ch .alth po tiv ea ou w e pa g er bu nd h th -o tt ns on pl e n as e … s. tic w Se ky bu w tt e f in . tto id g u ns dl p fe e w is el ith a p ab a it th in eT .E It’ V xcu ga s s s m up et se es er tin us gs w an ea . hil d s sy e av to e f do N ile w is ow n s, lo co , w th a m h ou d d pa at gh ig tib to . ita le pla l an y ? du E ps ver ca y le PS dt 4 o ga W 4K m w ow . e or . ld Ma in d a 4K g on asc Un ar ch loo Ou ar ks in r te ou ac 4K d4 t tio s . of t n l cre hi oo en s k i sh nc ot re s o di f bl N O e. at Pr h, G ha o- ra nD op nd ra tim T ke ise hef t d. A Th ut at o V ’s h a s as ha n’t m be e. e n

24 hours with the PS4 Pro

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FIRST TEST PS4 PRO

Tech specs

Four for 4K A console’s nothing without games to play on it – here’s our top four to get the most out of the PS4 Pro

Resolution Native 4K with HDR for select games, 4K streaming Hard drive 1TB RAM 8GB Connectivity USB x3, Ethernet, HDMI out, optical audio out, Bluetooth Dimensions 33x30x6cm, 3.3kg

■ The Last of Us Remastered

Naughty Dog’s zombie masterpiece already had a visual upgrade with the remastered edition, but it’s at its best in glorious 4K.

★★★★★

■ Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare

Planets, spacecraft and explosions are all begging to be shown in 4K. Call of Duty is making those dreams a beautiful reality. ★★★★✩

■ Rez Infinite

The PS4 Pro is giving PSVR a welcome boost. There may be no extra pixels, but Rez Infinite will get added particle effects for that psychedelic trip.

★★★★★

■ Infamous Second Son

It may be one of the oldest PS4 games, but the frequent explosions of colour make this one of the most suited to 4K.

★★★★★

5

S im an pr An es dr siv ea ei ss n u til ps l loo Tim ca ks th e le m d 4 ig er to e’ w K, ht sn a th y t o ch ou 4K a gh Ne Bl m . St tf u- ov ra lix ra ie. ng in y O dr h er 4K ive , w Th is . ait in a , gs go o l oo d B ks alt no att tic lez m ern es a ea on m tiv bl e o er e. ei n isi m P ng pr SV ov R . em h No a lig w en s s ht it’ ts om ba s d .N e r i ar ice sg k . et , th tin e g Du a l al itt Sh le oc di k st 4 ra ’s ct ne ing w .

5 Shot on target You’re going to want to share your stunningly rendered feats with the world – or rather brag to the world. You can now take 4K screenshots, while streamers can broadcast 1080p at 60fps, straight to YouTube.

6hrs

16hrs 17hrs

21hrs

24hrs

Whether you’re playing an older title like The Last of Us or something as fresh as Uncharted 4, games optimised for the PS4 Pro look stunning – they are substantially improved by the extra grunt inside. If you enjoy gaming and you’ve already splashed out for a 4K HDR screen, this R7 000 is well worth spending.

STUFF SAYS ★★★★★ Got a fancy pants 4K HDR TV? The PS4 Pro is the console you need, even without 4K Blu-ray 69


P R O M O T I O N

BUY NOW &

GET 20% OFF Scan the QR code below with WeChat to buy the Harman Kardon Go + Play right now with WeChat Wallet

999 Was R4

NOW 9 9 9 3 R with t 20% oaff alle W t WeCh

UeliS L P very d Free in RSA

This offer brought to you in association with:

For helpup setting eChat your W urn Walletpt8 to

Harman Kardon Go + Play Harman Kardon’s iconic design meets superior functionality in this high-performance, fullfeatured, portable Bluetooth speaker: the Harman Kardon Go + Play. It fills your room with a full spectrum of sound powered by its quad drivers. Thanks to the rechargeable battery, you can enjoy up to 8 hours of playtime and charge your smartphones and tablets via USB.

* Limited to 50 units – Black only – Smartphone not included

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1. This promotional offer (“Offer”) is brought to you by JD Consumer Electronics and Appliances (Pty) Ltd t/a Incredible Connection (“we”, “us”, “our”) and relates to all products offered for sale by us together with specified WeChat Wallet discounts, as promoted in the Stuff Magazine issue dated 19 December 2016 (“Magazine”). 2. This Offer is available from 19 December 2016 until midnight on 12 February 2017 (“Promo Period”) and only for so long as stocks of the products last. 3. The discounted prices on the products are only available if the products are purchased via our shop in WeChat. This means that during the Promo Period you use the WeChat app to scan the QR Code displayed next to any of our products in the Magazine and, once directed to our shopfront within WeChat, proceed to purchase that product using your WeChat Wallet. 4. To participate in this Offer, you need to be a WeChat Wallet user. Terms of use and eligibility requirements apply. (The WeChat Wallet is also only available to iOS and Android devices with WeChat version 6.3.7.) 5. This Offer may only be taken up once per product type, per customer. 6. We need not honour or continue this Offer, in any specific instance or generally, in the event of fraud, unlawful or abusive behaviour, or if unforeseen circumstances prevent us from doing so.


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LORD OF THE RINGERS Which smartphone will go down in legend as the best of 2016? 5

3

6

4 1 2

Now that 2016 is done and dusted, we know the best phones of the year. That is, until 2017 hits the reset button and the tech rollercoaster starts all over again, but we’ve got a couple of months before that

1 Google Pixel The first ever 100% Google phone is here, and it could mark the beginning of a new era.

2 Sony Xperia XZ The Xperia Z6 in all but name, this phone has a 23MP camera and a new design.

happens. The big innovations from this year’s flagships include cameras so advanced they sound like they’ve been teleported out of someone’s daydream, and batteries that charge faster than it takes a cup

3 OnePlus 3 An amazing phone for the money,this can go head to head with any mobile… is it worth the upfront payment?

of tea to go cold. So is it still worth spending big on the tech wizardry of the likes of Apple and Google, or should you give your bank balance a break and pick an affordable over-achiever? We’ve got the answer…

4 Apple iPhone 7 Plus

5 Motorola Moto Z

6 Samsung Galaxy S7

Another year, another iPhone. But this time you get an extra ‘zoom’ camera.

You can chop and change the Moto Z more often than a Lego set. Can it steal a victory?

With its ace camera and sumptuous build, this was the year’s early front-runner. 71


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Google’s first ever phone shows its class (and its glass) We’ve had Google phones for years, but the Pixel is the first to be 100% Google-made. Well, OK, HTC actually made it, but it had no say about the weird glass panel on the back. A part-glassy backside will let you spot one of these pricey Androids from 50 paces, but it’s what’s inside that makes the Pixel special. It is the first phone to have

Android 7.1 and the Pixel Launcher. It’s a whole new look and feel for Android, and you can only get it with a Pixel for now. Part of this new software is the reborn Google Assistant, now designed to comprehend your love poems and drunken ramblings. In reality, it’s just a lot more like Siri, and will generally spit you out to a Wikipedia page if you ask anything

too obscure. On the bright side, it won’t gain sentience and take over the world until at least 2018. Where software smarts really come good is in the camera. The Pixel has a 12MP rear camera, pretty common nowadays, but it also has some of the smartest photo-boosting software outside of Blade Runner. Not to mention it’s HDR’d to the max.

Like every Google phone to date, the Pixel is partly a fancy container for new software. And while this phone is as snappy as any, there are more desirable containers to be found. Still, we’re not going to complain too much about a handset that’s this easy to pocket.

● GOOGLE PIXEL Rtba ★★★★✩

OS AND APPS

Gestures galore

The Pixel UI is a vision of Android’s potential future. There are more gestures than normal – to bring up the apps menu, for example, you flick up on the homescreen rather than pressing a soft key. Familiar but different. ●●●●●●●●●●

DESIGN

A clear message

Aluminium and glass. That’s what you get here, and lots of it. Don’t worry if you don’t instantly fall in love with the glass back panel; you get used to it after a while, and at least it’s not boring. Aside from a rear finger scanner, what you need to note is how small and friendly the Pixel feels. With a 5in screen it’s a great choice if holding an iPhone 7 Plus makes you feel like you’re handling a gigantic plank of phone. The Pixel isn’t the slimmest, but its aluminium curves feel great. This is a phone you’ll grow to love fast.

Crack shot

We’re looking at the dinkier of the Pixel twins. This one has a 5in 1080p OLED screen rather than the 5.5in one of the XL (see opposite). This keeps it pocket-friendly, if a bit small for films on the go. But it’s a high-quality, punchy screen.

On paper the Pixel’s camera doesn’t sound like a killer. It has a high-end 12MP sensor, but no optical stabilisation to counteract hand-wobbliness. In reality, though, it’s fab. It’s fast, churns out great images and – while night shots are a bit noisy – is one of the best non-stabilised low-light shooters around. Having a fancy-pants sensor from Sony helps. It doesn’t have a ‘zoom’ lens like the iPhone, or two cameras like the Honor 8, but we still care most about the image quality and hit rate. The Pixel is a star on both fronts.

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Pocketable punch

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Allo

If you really want to get on board with Android 7.1, you need to try Allo. This is Google’s very own WhatsApp-a-like. It’s similar but smarter, as it suggests replies before you’ve even started typing and has integration with Google Assistant. Free / iOS, Android NOW APP THIS

Dashlane

No-one likes remembering passwords, but using the same one is a BAD idea. Dashlane lets you create super-complex passwords and then stores them. You’ll only have to remember one master password, or use the finger scanner instead. Free / iOS, Android


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The phone uses toughened glass on the front and back to avoid ugly scratches. It’s Gorilla Glass 4. We’d prefer even stronger Gorilla Glass 5, but you can’t have everything.

● GOOGLE PIXEL XL Rtba SCREEN Pixel plenty For an extra fee you can upgrade to the Pixel XL. This has a 5.5in screen instead of the standard phone’s 5-incher, with millions more pixels thanks to its ultra-sharp QHD AMOLED display. DESIGN Bigger deal The XL has the same blend of aluminium and toughened glass as the basic Pixel. It’s much bigger, though, so make sure your pocket is up to the challenge. CAMERA Cam again With the same 12MP main camera and 8MP front camera as the other handset, the XL has one of the best cameras around even without handshake-zapping OIS. Those software smarts rule.

This is the first smartphone we’ve tried that uses the new Snapdragon 821 CPU. Not too different from the Snapdragon 820, it uses less power for an identical performance.

OS AND APPS Android and more With Android 7.1 and the Pixel UI, the XL’s software looks and feels identical to that of the Pixel. The extra screen space is handy, though, as this fresh version of Android has more going on. STUFF SAYS ★★★★✩ Upgrade your Pixel for plenty more pixels

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Sony takes a different angle with its heir to the chic Z5 Wondering what happened to the Xperia Z6? You’re looking at it. This is the successor to the Z5, and the new ruler of Sony’s Android kingdom. But despite the name change it’s basically business as usual. That means you get a sharp and serious-looking phone with camera sensor tech not seen elsewhere. Sony makes most

phone cameras’ hardware, you see. Other things to pick up on include its severe lines, giving the Xperia XZ a monolith-like presence that’s designed to make iPhones look a bit squishy in comparison. It’s also the only phone here to have a finger scanner on the side, because Sony really isn’t into ‘me too’ phone design. It’s meant to look

like the daddy, not like the other phones on the street. What it doesn’t have is a killer USP. All the other phones here have that one bit of tech to make you go “Ooh!”, but the Xperia XZ seems to rely on that indefinable, slightly smug aura that comes with every Sony flagship. Look down the spec list and you can point out the camera,

which has more megapixels than some DSLRs. But we’d rather use an iPhone 7 Plus or a OnePlus 3 – the pictures aren’t quite as hot as we hoped. In fact, it’s possibly the worst camera here. That aside, this is a solid all-rounder. But with such strong competition from all angles, you really have to dig that Sony style for it to be considered a top buy.

● SONY XPERIA XZ FROM R13 0 00 ★★★★✩ PS4 REMOTE PLAY Remote Play lets you play PS4 games on the Xperia XZ. Well, as long as you have a PS4 console and speedy Wi-Fi. Free / Android

There’s a rubber seal around the SIM/memory-card tray that means this handset can withstand being dropped in water. Pro tip: don’t do this deliberately.

NOW APP THIS

LIFELOG An exercise tracker with a difference, Lifelog tallies up much more than your steps. It’ll keep an eye on how much you read and play games. Free / Android SCREEN

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OS AND APPS

Sony has dropped its obsession with glass and finally arrived in the present. An aluminium rear means you can stop worrying about shattering both sides of your phone when you take a tumble while busting a move.

Sony pours colour into its LCD phone screens like they’re reservoirs for the stuff. The Xperia XZ has the liveliest tones of all these phones: great for a punchy look. It’s a 1080p screen that looks sharp across 5.2in.

Play Tech Top Trumps with the Sony Xperia XZ and it rules: a 23MP rear camera sounds like a killer. In reality it’s the worst camera in this test, making fine details look fizzy and lacking the OIS needed for quality night photography.

Sony puts its ‘we’re so slick’ stamp on Android 6.0.1 without ruining the layout. It does use old-fashioned app pages, though. There are custom Sony media apps and you can hook up to a PS4 with Remote Play.

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A new colour sensor on the back is designed to give your photographs the perfect tone without fail… but it works only some of the time in our experience.

DESIGN

Take a break

NOW APP THIS

Fountain of colour

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A smartphone equation that gives all the right answers When people talk about bargain phones, they normally mean ones that cost around R2 000. OnePlus has proved an R11 000 mobile can be a steal too, because in most respects the OnePlus 3 matches phones that cost way over R12 000. A faultless aluminium frame, good software, 64GB storage and a solid camera will make you wonder whether it’s really worth

spending the extra on a Samsung or Apple model. (Spoiler: it probably isn’t for many people.) Until recently, you still had to be a bit bold to buy one of these – no shops within reach sold the OnePlus 3. But now you can import it if you wish or get one from Takealot. A couple of little extras are missing, like “dunk me in the bath,

I dare you” water-resistance and expandable storage. But when you look at how much you save, it’s hard not to be drawn in. If we were to look for potential problems, one of the few that pops up is size. A 5.5in screen means this is a big phone, so do consider that if you have the pockets of a pixie or the hands of a heavyweight boxer. It is still

a lot smaller than the iPhone 7 Plus, mind. It’s David vs Goliath with the OnePlus 3 going up against the juggernauts in the industry, but we all know what happens in that particular story. Can the underdog do it again? When you consider the price, all that’s left is to wonder what you’re going to do with that other R4 000 you haven’t spent.

● ONE PLUS 3 R11 0 00 ★★★★★ EVERNOTE The OnePlus 3 is a bloat-free phone, but you’ll need a lot of apps to get up to speed. This is an everyday note-taker, perfect to keep you organised. Free / iOS, Android

A slider on the left side lets you switch between only letting in priority notifications or no bleats and bloops whatsoever. It’s a nice, chunky switch.

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MXPLAYER A 5.5in screen makes the OnePlus 3 a great movie player, but there’s no decent movie app installed. Try the free MxPlayer. Free / iOS, Android

Despite being comparatively cheap, the OnePlus 3 has a great fingerprint scanner on the front, which also acts as a home button. You can also use on-screen soft keys.

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OS AND APPS

Showing Apple how to design a 5.5in phone, the OnePlus 3 is manageable despite its big screen. Its all-aluminium frame feels gloriously expensive given the price. A nice extra is the silent mode switch, perfect for the cinema.

The OnePlus 3 has had some flak for its inaccurate screen colours. You’ll need to play with the colour to get it right, but it’s only as oversaturated as the other Androids. This 1080p panel is big and sharp enough to satisfy most.

Today’s trend is to use a lower-res camera than the OnePlus 3’s for better low-light performance. But as it has OIS, you can still take good night pics here – and with manual mode you can push stabilisation to the max.

OnePlus has pulled quite a trick with the Oxygen UI. It looks and feels like normal Android 6.0, but has loads more customisation options, as well as a bonus homescreen. It’s called Shelf and holds notes and any widgets you need.

How to do big

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NOW APP THIS

Untrue colours?

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Shot in the dark

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Shelf interest

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More camera, more tech, more money… more iPhone? Why do you hate us, Apple? We almost wish the iPhone 7 Plus wasn’t as jaw-droppingly good as it is, because it doesn’t have an output jack. We love headphones at Stuff. But we don’t love using a headphone adaptor. The rest of the iPhone 7 Plus does a good job of making up for it. First, this phone has an added 2x zoom camera, letting you take

close-up portraits and gig pics without your shots looking like they’ve been drawn with crayons. And the new Portrait camera mode has a best-yet stab at the ‘blurry background’ effect you can normally only get with a giant high-end camera lens. Next up, Apple has updated the iPhone’s Taptic Engine – the part that makes the Home button

click. This is not just about the button, though – it’s used all over the phone as very precise percussive feedback. Let’s not forget the pressuresensitive screen either. This lets you access particular parts of an app by just hard-pressing the icon on your homescreen. And it isn’t just for Apple apps — you can use this feature to zip straight to your

recently played Spotify albums, for example. The iPhone 7 Plus also has dual speakers: in addition to the normal driver at the bottom, the earpiece also acts as a speaker for stereo-effect sound. It’s still a phone speaker, but it does have better bass than the other phones here.

● APPLE iPHONE 7 PLUS FROM R15 5 00 ★★★★★

OS AND APPS

Siri-ous update

Everyone knows iOS now, right? You might not know about the new extras that iOS 10 added, though. Siri now works in third-party apps, 3D Touch adds a new layer of interaction, and there are widgets for your lock screen. ●●●●●●●●●●

DESIGN

Glossy is the new black

One annoying thing about the iPhone 7 Plus is that it’s big – bigger than almost all the 5.5in Android phones. It’s otherwise as lovely as ever and there are new shades: black and glossy black. The glossy one is the stealth bomber of phones – seriously cool – but it’s also a fingerprint magnet par excellence and is really easy to scratch. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. Still, at least everyone will know you have a 7 Plus, because this is the only iPhone with two cameras on the back. Bragging rights come as standard.

Zoom, zoom

The screen specs won’t blow you away. It’s 5.5in across, an LCD and 1080p. In person, though, it’s up with the best: great contrast, deep blacks and colours that look vivid while being more natural than the punchier-looking Androids.

Loads of two-camera phones have appeared over the last few years, but none quite like this. The iPhone 7 Plus has a normal camera and a 2x zoom one that lets you take sharper shots of far-away subjects. The killer app is Portrait. Not only can you stay a bit further away from your muse; the new Portrait mode also blurs out the background so your photos look like they’ve been taken by a pro with a R20 000 camera. Instead of, errr, a near-R20 000 phone. But hey, a DSLR can’t play any of those brain-rotting casual games.

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Defying the specs

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Alto’s Adventure

One of the first games to make use of the iPhone 7’s new Taptic Engine is Alto’s Adventure, quite possibly the artiest endless runner in the universe. You’ll feel a haptic tap when you pick up a llama – say no more. R60 / iOS, Android

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom

The iPhone 7 Plus can shoot RAW photos. These are shots untouched by noise-reduction jiggery-pokery. Open them in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and you can bring out more detail for even better results. Free / iOS, Android

NOW APP THIS


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The iPhone 7 Plus has two separate cameras. One has a 28mm lens like older iPhones, the other a 56mm that’s a smash for portraits, getting you a 2x zoom view.

● APPLE iPHONE 7 FROM R13 0 00 SCREEN Same old view No huge changes this year: the basic iPhone still has a 4.7in 1334x750 screen. Aside from just-OK resolution, it’s a great-quality display with cracking colour and good contrast. DESIGN What a drain Just like last year, the ‘normal’ iPhone is much smaller than the Plus. It’s a friendlier size. However, battery life is much worse too – one of the few problems with the iPhone 7. CAMERA Cam down You can expect the same awesome photos and selfies from the smaller iPhone 7, but it lacks the 2x zoom camera: great quality, but without the revolutionary tech that makes the Plus so exciting.

With no room for a headphone jack thanks to the new Taptic motor, you’ll either have to make do with the Lightning EarPods, buy a wireless set or use the adaptor in the box.

OS AND APPS Squinty, not Ninty A smaller screen isn’t quite as good for more console-like games, but otherwise you get all the same software chops as the full-fat Plus. Storage starts at 32GB, but you can get a 256GB iPhone 7 for R17 000. STUFF SAYS ★★★★★ Keeps your pockets lighter and your wallet heavier

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Welcome to the mod house: Moto rolls out the changes It’s a mod world if the Motorola Moto Z is anything to go by. With a range of Moto Mods, the Z offers more flexibility and customisation than any of its competitors. It’s the first Moto to go modular, and that decision could very well be a masterstroke. Speaker not got enough boom? Boost your sound with a new upgrade. Battery dies more

frequently than Kenny in South Park? Expand its lifespan with the power pack. Camera not flashy enough? Well, you get the picture. And it’s oh so easy to get each Mod working: you simply have to stick it on the back and it’ll snap into place. It’s not all about the Mods either. The QHD 5.5in screen is an absolute eye-popper and this

phone has plenty of power, being able to whip through Android Marshmallow without any lag. Multitasking and 3D games won’t slow you down either. But it’s the decision to go modular that could give the Moto Z the edge in this contest for some people – at least, those people who like to chop and change their gadgets. It’s not

the cheapest at R13 000, especially when you consider that you’ll have to fork out extra on the Mods to get the most out of it. But Motorola is clearly onto something with how its Mods attach and work, as they’re as simple as can be. Are they enough to boost the Moto Z to the top of our list?

● MOTOROLA MOTO Z FROM R13 0 00 ★★★★✩

OS AND APPS

In stock

The Moto Z keeps one of our favourite bits of Motorola phones: stock Android. Or rather, almost stock. This spin on Google’s OS isn’t entirely pure, but it’s uncluttered. If you’ve used a Nexus phone before, you’ll feel right at home. ●●●●●●●●●●

DESIGN

Join (to) the dots

This is not the flashiest of flagships, and it’s a complete smudge magnet. But it’s on the back where the magic happens. Those 16 metal dots connect and lock each Mod into place. It seems a bit odd to have all of that exposed on a smartphone, but there’s no danger in holding the phone without a case – it just feels awkward. Without a Moto Mod plugged into the back, the Z is a remarkably slim phone. We’re tempted to call it too thin. But the real bummer is the lack of a headphone port. Why is this now a thing?

Slow Moto

A resolution of 2560x1440 makes the Moto Z’s 5.5in screen a beauty. LCD has been ditched in favour of AMOLED, which gives dark pictures and video incredible depth and contrast. Colours still pop, but look lifelike while they’re at it.

Optical image stabilisation, laser focus, twin LED flash and “zero shutter lag” – the 13MP rear camera sounds brilliant on paper. In our hands, though, it feels a little sluggish; snaps sometimes take a couple of seconds to save, and you’ll get scolded for moving the phone while it’s working its magic. On the upside, photos are consistently impressive. You get lots of detail, especially in close-up shots, with bright colours and (mostly) naturallooking results. It can also record some pretty stunning 4K video.

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Depth charged

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Photoshop Fix Android phones can finally run Adobe’s mobilefriendly version of Photoshop. iOS owners have had tools like faceaware Liquify for a while, but now there’s no excuse for a poor selfie. And with the Moto Z’s camera Mod, you’re going to want this. Free / iOS, Android

NOW APP THIS

Audible

OK, so none of Audible’s audiobooks are going to give the Moto Z’s JBL speaker Mod a real test; but the extra volume means you can leave your phone on your bedside table and drift off to the sounds of a novel you don’t have time to read. Free / iOS, Android


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The camera module pops out of the phone’s rear by a few extra millimetres. This may look a little odd, but as soon as you slap on a Mod, everything looks normal again.

ADDED VALUE BEST MOTO Z MODS

INSTA-SHARE PROJECTOR Hit the wall With absolutely minimal effort, you can project up to a 70in image onto a wall, whether you’re streaming video, playing locally saved media or enjoying a game. As long as your room is dark enough, the resulting picture is solidly bright at maximum settings.

JBL SOUNDBOOST Crank it up The SoundBoost packs a solid punch for what is still a relatively compact size. This speaker doesn’t produce massive sound, but neither does it seem canned or lacking in punch. It’ll do the trick for a hotel room.

Want to run with the big boys this summer? You’d best be packing a Snapdragon 820 CPU and 4GB of RAM. The Moto Z has got you covered here.

HASSELBLAD TRUE ZOOM Camera-flage The True Zoom ups the phone’s megapixel count to 18.9, and offers a 10x optical zoom to improve the quality of your zoomed-in snaps. It feels good, takes great pictures, and looks just like a compact camera to the untrained eye.

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1. This promotional offer (“Offer”) is brought to you by JD Consumer Electronics and Appliances (Pty) Ltd t/a Incredible Connection (“we”, “us”, “our”) and relates to all products offered for sale by us together with specified WeChat Wallet discounts, as promoted in the Stuff Magazine issue dated 19 December 2016 (“Magazine”). 2. This Offer is available from 19 December 2016 until midnight on 12 February 2017 (“Promo Period”) and only for so long as stocks of the products last. 3. The discounted prices on the products are only available if the products are purchased via our shop in WeChat. This means that during the Promo Period you use the WeChat app to scan the QR Code displayed next to any of our products in the Magazine and, once directed to our shopfront within WeChat, proceed to purchase that product using your WeChat Wallet. 4. To participate in this Offer, you need to be a WeChat Wallet user. Terms of use and eligibility requirements apply. (The WeChat Wallet is also only available to iOS and Android devices with WeChat version 6.3.7.) 5. This Offer may only be taken up once per product type, per customer. 6. We need not honour or continue this Offer, in any specific instance or generally, in the event of fraud, unlawful or abusive behaviour, or if unforeseen circumstances prevent us from doing so.


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Six months on, is Samsung’s magnificent S7 still a winner? It seems like ages since we first laid eyes on the Galaxy S7, but this fantastic phone is still one of our favourites of the year. That’s not least because it doesn’t share the same flammable tendencies as its cousin, the Galaxy Note 7. Better still, it’s a bit cheaper than it was six months ago. So what makes the S7 an enduring hit? Everything. We’ve

spent a long time poring over this handset for its weak spots, but they’re few and far between. From its thoroughly classy design to a camera that gives killer shots time after time… many rivals have taken a swing at Samsung’s flagship, and most have come away with a bruised ego. You see, aside from being packed with speed and power,

this phone gets the details right. It’s waterproof, rarely overheats and has a microSD card slot for all your media-hoarding desires. Oh, and of course it’s got a headphone port as well. The only thing that’s missing? The same curved display that you’ll find on its bigger brother, the Galaxy S7 Edge. As achingly cool as that feature is, it’s far from

essential. Trust us, you don’t need yet another widget for checking the weather. So whether you’re thinking it might be time to hop off the iPhone bandwagon, or you just won’t settle for less than the absolute best, the Galaxy S7 should be near the top of your list. Remembering that the OnePlus 3 is mighty tempting for R1 000 less…

● SAMSUNG GALAXY S7 FROM R12 0 00 ★★★★★ ASPHALT 8: AIRBORNE This globe-hopping racer offers up some of the finest graphics on Android, and the races themselves are a total thrill. Free / Android

Power user? Don’t worry. The S7’s 3000mAh capacity will see you through the day without breaking sweat. Worst case, there’s a ‘battery saver’ mode to fall back on.

NOW APP THIS

PRISMA Should you tire of the S7’s fab camera, our Best International App of 2016 takes your photos and gives them an added artistic flourish. Free / Android

Gamers can push the S7 plenty hard without it tinging their fingers in protest. An innovative water-cooling system makes sure of that.

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Not so long ago, Samsung smartphones used to be plastic-not-so-fantastic. The S7 proves that lamentable age is over. At 152g, it feels pleasingly lightweight in your hands, while looking the business as well.

With 2560x1440 pixels crammed into a 5.1in display, the S7’s screen is sensational – especially if you’re not obsessed with colour accuracy. The vivid shades leap out at you as though you’re reading a colouring book.

Low-light photos are where a smartphone’s camera earns its salt, and the S7 delivers with aplomb. Its wider aperture and bigger pixels ensure a wealth of detail is crammed into photos. Ideal for Insta addicts.

The S7 runs on Samsung’s TouchWiz UI, which is fine but a bit cluttered and unintuitive at times. Downloading the free Google Now Launcher will help with this. Plus, Android Nougat should roll out soon.

One of a kind

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All bright by us

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Bite the dusk

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Nougat boost

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The winner is…

Apple iPhone 7 Plus The race between all of these handsets was always going to be a close one and if 2016 had turns out any different this result might not have been what it was. But it didn’t, so this didn’t, so Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus takes the crown as the Lord of the Ringers. It’s not hard to see why: The sleek design, the Jetness of its Black edition, the execution of Apple’s dual camera arrangement, and that upgraded Taptic Engine have all coalesced into the finest phone we’ve seen from Apple. The iPhone 7 Plus makes up in refinements what it might lack in overall innovation and the resulting rectangle is the one smartphone that you should own going into 2017. Seeing whether Apple can hold onto its smartphone dominance for the next year is where the real fun is going to begin.

TEST WINNER

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Lightning to 3.5mm Headphone Adaptor

Got wired cans you can’t let go of? Connect them to the iPhone 7 Plus with the Lightning to 3.5mm headphone adaptor. There’s one in the box... but you’ll lose it. R190 / myistore.co.za

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You’re not going to want to put your new iPhone down to charge it, so keep it juiced up with Xiaomi’s Mi Power Bank, fittingly made by the ‘Apple of China’. R350 / mia.africa.com


SUPERTEST SUPERPHONES

THE SUMMARY

● Apple iPhone 7 Plus ● Google Pixel ● OnePlus 3 ● Motorola Moto Z ● Sony Xperia ZX ● Samsung Galaxy S7

WHAT’S NEXT? DESIGN

How can phones possibly get better? Weirdly enough, one thing we’ve called a gimmick could soon be a killer feature: the 4K phone screen. The Sony Xperia Z5 Premium’s 4K screen was almost pointless. It was 1080p except when using a couple of Sony apps. But now that Android natively supports 4K, a phone VR headset could look sharper than the HTC Vive. You’ll get full HD for each eye with 4K. The Vive only delivers 1080x1200 pixels – no contest. It’s all eyes on Samsung to break through this ceiling in 2017. With Google Daydream about to push mobile VR up several gears, we’re hopeful. Camera resolutions could start to leap up again in 2017, after many phone-makers decreased their megapixel counts this year. It’s all down to the latest trend for multicamera setups, which – when used right – will let a phone get more out of each pixel.

SCREEN

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

TECH RATER

CAMERA

OS AND APPS

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Screen

Processor

Cameras

Storage

Battery

Dimensions

1st

Apple iPhone 7 Plus The giant iPhone is still too big for some, but its camera and inside tech upgrades are genuinely interesting… and useful. from R15 500 / myistore.co.za

5.5in IPS LCD 1920x1080 (401ppi)

Quad-core Apple A10 Fusion @ 2.23GHz

12MP rear, 7MP front

32GB, 128GB, 256GB (nonexpandable)

2900mAh

158x75x 5.2mm, 136g

2nd

Samsung Galaxy S7 Still a stunner, even if it can’t compete with the OnePlus on price. If money is no object, this is the phone for you. from R12 000 / samsung.com

5.1in Super AMOLED, 2560x1440 (577ppi)

Octa-core Exynos 8890 @2.3GHz

12MP rear, 5MP front

32GB, 64GB (expandable up to 512GB)

3000mAh

142x70x 7.9mm, 152g

3rd

OnePlus 3 Months after its release, no big-name phone can really touch the OnePlus 3 for sheer value in a high-end phone. R11 000 / oneplus.net

5.5in AMOLED 1920x1080 (401ppi)

Quad-core Snapdragon 820 @ 2.15GHz

16MP rear, 8MP front

64GB (nonexpandable)

3000mAh

152x75x 7.4mm, 158g

4th

Google Pixel The first full-blooded Google phone arrives with a bang, a good camera and an unusual look, but it’ll be pricey. Rtba / madeby.google.com

5in AMOLED 1920x1080 (441ppi)

Quad-core Snapdragon 821 @ 2.15GHz

12MP rear, 8MP front

32GB, 128GB (nonexpandable)

2770mAh

144x70x 8.5mm, 143g

5th

Motorola Moto Z Flagship appeal and a fancy screen, but those clever Mods can’t make up for the Moto Z’s shortcomings. from R13 000 / motorola.com

5.5in AMOLED 2560x1440 (535ppi)

Quad-core Snapdragon 820 @ 1.8GHz

13MP rear, 5MP front

32GB (expandable up to 2TB)

2600mAh

153x75x 7.4mm, 158g

6th

Sony Xperia XZ Solid and with a style all of its own, but a fumbled camera and lack of real tech excitement really cost the Sony. from R13 000 / sony.co.za

5.2in IPS LCD 1920x1080 (424ppi)

Quad-core Snapdragon 820 @ 2.15GHz

23MP rear, 13MP front

32GB, 64GB (expandable up to 256GB)

2900mAh

146x72x 8.1mm, 161g

83


VERSUS ACTION CAMS

CLASH OF CAMS

GoPro gets its water wings, but a 360° challenger from Nikon is ready for action too… because if you’re not filming your gnarly exploits, what’s the point in doing them?

Nikon KeyMission 360 What’s the story?

Extreme sports are perfect 360° video fodder, and Nikon’s first all-seeing action cam is purpose-built to catch every bit of it. With massive 180° lenses on either side, there’s no room for a screen – just one button for cycling through modes, and another to start recording. You’ve got to put a bit of thought into where you mount, wear or bolt on the KeyMission – unless you want your face filling an entire 180° of the shot. Then it’s fire and forget: hit ‘record’ and it’ll capture everything around you.

Is it any good?

What’s the story?

GoPros have been popular with adrenaline fiends for years, but this latest revision ticks all the boxes for the rest of us too. Y’know, the ones who don’t have a death wish. The basic shape hasn’t changed, so you can use your old mounts, but borrowing the onetouch recording button from the Session and squeezing a 2in touchscreen onto the back makes it a lot easier to use – even with ski gloves on. It still shoots 12MP stills (in RAW) and records 4K clips at 30fps, only now it’s got electronic image stabilisation to help smooth out bumps and knocks.

The Nikon feels tough enough not to need a case, and the built-in tripod thread comes in handy. The twin 20MP sensors are good for 4K video, but only at 24 frames per second – not much if you’re bombing down a mountain or jumping out of a plane. Battery life is a little limp too, managing just over an hour between charges. Still, it does a great job of stitching your clips together without any noticeable joins, and the footage is really immersive when watched with a VR headset – though clips aren’t quite so sharp on a normal computer screen. The idea of 360° videos is neat, if still a bit niche – it’s just a shame the quality can’t match good ol’ 2D.

Is it any good?

Price R8 500 / cameraland.co.za Tech No built-in screen ● 4K @ 24fps, 1920p @ 24fps ● Waterproof ● Battery life: 1-2 hours ● 66x61x61mm, 198g

Price R8 000 / actiongear.co.za Tech 2in touchscreen ● 4K @ 30fps, 2.7K @ 60fps, 1080p @ 120fps ● Waterproof ● Battery life: 1 hour ● 62x44x24mm, 118g

Stuff says ★★★★✩

Stuff says ★★★★★

Action cam meets 360 video, but the quality can’t compete with GoPro’s finest

84

GoPro Hero5 Black

You could point the Hero5 at someone mowing the lawn and it’d look epic – there’s something about that fisheye view that just screams ‘action’. Footage is brilliantly exposed, with rich colours and plenty of contrast, and the new wide dynamic range (WDR) mode helps balance out bright lights and shadows without losing detail. Fed up with fisheye? The new ‘linear view’ setting uses software to get rid of it, saving you doing the dirty work in post-editing at the cost of a small resolution hit. OK, so it can’t match the KeyMission for 360° video, but for everything else the Hero5 is a clear winner.

The original action cam is still the best, with better hardware and some neat new extras

BATTLE OF THE SOFTWARE SIDEKICKS ● A Bridge not far enough There aren’t many modes or features in Nikon’s SnapBridge app that are specific to action cams; it feels just like the one you’d use with a DSLR camera. That makes changing white balance or exposure tricky when you’re on the move – it’s all hidden within multiple menus. ● Quik off the mark GoPro’s clever companion app acts as director, splicing your clips together automatically then giving you control to make small tweaks later. You can start trimming on the ski lift and have a video ready for Facebook before you’ve even made it back to the lodge.


VERSUS ACTION CAMS

1

1 Mister tumble

Nikon knows a thing or two about protecting cameras. This one will shrug off 2m drops onto concrete, and can hold its breath down to 30m.

2 Phone home

Bluetooth LE means the Nikon hooks up to a phone in seconds – and you don’t exactly have to check your framing when you’re filming in 360°.

3

4

2

TEST WINNER

3 No jacket required

This GoPro doesn’t need a chunky case to keep it safe from the elements – it can take a dunking down to 10m right out of the box.

4 Big shout out

For hands-free filming, the Hero5 listens out for basic voice commands and will record, snap or timelapse whenever you tell it to.

85


S

U

B

S

C

R

I

B

E

E V4 A S 14 GET A R

ONE-YEAR SUBSCRIPTION

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86


FASHION

GENTLEMEN, PLEASE Manners might maketh man, but clothes make him memorable. From head to toe, these are some of the essential classics and bespoke items that’ll mark any man as unforgettable.

1

2

3

4

1 Made-to-measure shirt and tie

R5 000 and R2 500 / row-g.com 2

Tie clip, stylist’s own

Rtba 3

Silver rocking horse cufflinks

R2 250 / tinsel.co.za

4 Bulgari silver cufflinks with black onyx (code 342280)

R7 400 / picotandmoss.co.za

87


FASHION

1

2

4

1

Hackett Chalk Stripe suit

R18 795 / Hackett +27 (11) 784 0342

3

2 Zegna Navy Check cashmere and silk jacket

R40 550 / zegna.com 3

Montblanc garment bag

R6 500 / montblanc.com

4 Guantes Luque black leather driver’s gloves, stylist’s own

R1 475 / +34 (915) 22 32 87

88


FASHION

1

1

Suede felt hat made to order

Poa / albertusswanepoel.com

2 Loake Bros Heston Mahogany burnished calf leather with Goodyear welted rubber soles

R6 495 / spitz.co.za 3

Black Derby

R9 750 / zegna.com 4

Customised Ray-Bans Aviators

Poa / ray-ban.com/usa/customize

3

2

4

89


FASHION

An evolution of the original Z-shaped, spring-ejection, double-bullet cufflinks created by Roland Iten in 2004, the RZ8 MK II Ziletto Slyders are engineered and manufactured in Geneva, Switzerland and incorporate two new, improved and patent-pending features: a sophisticated push-button ejection mechanism, and a unique click-controlled, sliding sleeve calibration system. Because why shouldn’t your cufflinks be technologically advanced, too?

1

1 Roland Iten RZ8 MKII Ziletto Slyders mechanical cufflinks

Poa / rolanditen.com (Images c/o Roland Iten)

90


FASHION

1

2

3

1

Ink Stand custom ink (33ml)

¥2 160/bottle (R265/bottle, excluding postage) / kakimori.com

4

2 ‘After The Rains’ (20ml) pure parfum concentrate in refillable bottle hand-blown by David Reade

R2 500 / frazerparfum.com

3 Montblanc Heritage Collection Rouge et Noir special edition fountain pen

R10 100 / montblanc.com 4

Cartier leather pen pouch

Poa / cartier.com

91


FASHION HOLD THE ICE & COKE

1

3

1

Van Ryn’s 12yo

R550 / vanryns.co.za

Ralph Lauren ‘Cape Town’ brass candle holder with saddle leather travel pouch 2

Poa / apsleygroup.co.za 3

Sydney Back 10yo

It might not carry the sexy appellation d'origine controlee, but South Africa’s potstill brandy is just as premium as Cognac. In fact, in some instances the production methods must meet far higher legal requirements. The rich, honey coloured liquid in the glass here is a Van Ryn’s 12yo, a proudly South African product and the world’s most awarded brandy. Because potstill brandy is aged for a minimum of three years in oak casks – having first been twice distilled in copper potstills – don’t expect to find it in any passing drinks trend or fad. But any lover of fine whisky will appreciate the skill in the making, the patience required in the waiting, and the joy in the final sipping.

For more info visit sabrandy.co.za

2

R580 / backsberg.co.za 4 Marshall Major II Bluetooth headphones

R2 000 / myistore.co.za

[ Photographer Karl Rogers Stylist Gary Cotterell ]

4

92


GADGET DOCTOR

ALWAYS ON CALL

facebook.com/stuffsa ● @StuffSA stuff@stuff.co.za

MAIL OF THE MONTH Q

SEEING-EYE (TOP) DOG

I have just taken up scuba and want to start capturing what I see under the sea, my issue is that a new GoPro is out of my budget. Is there anything you can recommend that will do the job and still make a good

everyday camera? Or should I keep saving my pennies until I can afford the big dog? David

A

If the brand new GoPro Hero5 is too rich for your liking, it's worth considering one of the older

GoPros (especially the 3 and 4 ranges), all of which should be a little cheaper now that the new ones are out. You don't necessarily have to go for the top-of-therange Black Edition - even the cheaper models offer pretty great image and video quality.

Garmin's VIRB devices are very capable, too, and the latest ones work with GoPro mounts, so you don't need to worry should you change systems down the line. Sadly, however, there aren't any really cheap and capable action cams that'll handle scuba.

Speak your brains to Stuff and you could win! This letter wins a Thule Enroute 2 Triumph Daypack worth R1 500.

Q

OF KIDNEYS AND CHEAP POWER

It seems like a no brainer for South Africa with all its free sunlight and high fuel price that an electric car recharged from power obtained from solar cells on your roof would be a good idea. Is such a system even available over here? What type of electric car can I buy in South Africa (without selling a kidney). And what type of home solar system would I need to go with it (without selling the other kidney)? Are standard systems available or is it all bespoke development? Vincent

A

To the first point…. um… no. Unless you’re in a varsity engineering lab, then maybe. In terms of electric cars, your options are limited. Very limited. At the moment you can choose from the BMW i3 or the Nissan Leaf. As far as solar, your options are even more limited. We've heard BMW

makes a solar car port, but we've not heard whether it's available here. You'd have to check with a BMW dealership. First prize would be Tesla's Powerwall battery and Solar City's recently announced solar tiles... but neither of those are available here yet. We’re optimistic we'll see both eventually (as you point out, given our climate it makes a whole lot sense).

first prize is a fibre connection with Vumatel or Telkom, but otherwise a Telkom ADSL line will do it, too. The cheapest 4Mbit/s offer from Telkom is R300, but remember there's another R190 line rental fee on top of that, so you're looking at around R500/ month. You can get the data elsewhere (Vox, Afrihost, etc.) but have to get the line from Telkom. That as cheap as it's going to get.

ONE QUESTION, Q THEN BACK TO GAMING

My media “empire” needs an upgrade in technology, in terms of adding 4K video to the arsenal (ironically my favourite football team). There are many options ranging from the GoPro range to pro-sumer cameras and then the big boys in the pro range. I don’t want any sort of “actioncam” because I am not a fan of the “fish-eye” lens. I need something that I can use to film events, interviews and stock footage with. Firstly, do any

I need a cheap internet connection to run on my PS4. Any ideas? Levon

A

For online gaming you're going to want at least a 4Mbit/s connection. And you'll want it to be uncapped so the console updates don't flatten your data allowance. Obviously

Q

EMPIRE-BUILDING

models spring to mind that won’t leave me penniless or paying off for years to come and will Stuff be reviewing any of these in the near future? Greg

A

If you want high-quality 4K video in a flexible system that's not an action cam our recommendation is the Fujifilm X-T2. We've got a review of it in our November issue (the one with the white cover with the iPhone on it). Another winner is the new Olympus OM-D. In both cases, we’re assuming you don't want to compromise on quality. They're both mirrorless cameras that give you plenty of flexibility. If, however, they're too expensive for your taste there are plenty of compact cameras (and most high-end smartphones) that shoot 4K. We've seen great results from an iPhone 7 and DJI Osmo. But as with all things tech, you get what you pay for.

Congratulations to our TomTom winner: David January And our Watch_Dogs 2 winners: Costa Papachristodoulou and Robin Peters

Next month’s mail of the month wins a Thule Stravan Deluxe laptop bag worth R1 799 The Thule Stravan Deluxe laptop bag offers padded protection for a 15in Laptop plus an iPad and has organized compartments for your documents and other daily essentials. 94


TOP TEN

This gadget has leapt straight outta testing and into our rankings.

NEW

OF EVERYTHING Time changes everything, including Stuff Top Ten placings.

HOT BUY

BARGAIN BUY UPDATE Searing with techy genius, a product that’s set our hearts aflame.

A solid gold bargain. Worth owning, regardless of cashflow.

Smartphones Phablets Tablets & headphones Playlist: Mac apps TVs Streaming essentials Laptops Wearables Consoles & 5-minute hacks

96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104

The big question: Best reading app? Cameras How to buy a sports watch Budget buys Bluetooth Speakers Should I upgrade: Fujifilm X-T2 Games

105 106 107 108 109 110 111

HOW TO USE THEM


TOP TENS SMARTPHONES

96

1

TIPS & TRICKS

HOT BUY

Samsung Galaxy S7

Head to Settings -> Display and you can choose what the Always On display will show. Handy, but you’re restricted to Samsung’s apps.

Welcome to the age of ‘sensible Samsung’, a smartphone maker of dependable excellence. The Galaxy S7 is straight up brilliant, setting a high bar for all of Samsung’s competitors. It looks almost identical to last year’s Galaxy S6 (except the camera bump has been trimmed), but it has a better camera, and has brought back the S5’s water-resistance and microSD card slot. Plus, it’s got an always-on display and a whopping 4GB of RAM. We’re smitten.

Meaty fingers? Hit Settings -> Language and Input -> Samsung Keyboard and you’ll be given the option to make it bigger.

Stuff says ★★★★★ An imperious update of our favourite phone from camp Android ● NOW ADD THIS UAG Composite Case Want to toughen up your precious Samsung smartphone? Might as well make it look the part too. R500 / takealot.com

A trip to Camera Settings will give you the option of controlling your S7 with gestures or even your voice.

2

3

NEW

4

NEW

5

6 7 Apple iPhone 7

OnePlus 3

The iPhone 7’s modest upgrades all come together to make a much more significant whole than you’d expect – in typical Apple fashion, the experience is just so polished. Losing the 3.5mm jack stings, though... and you don’t get the 7 Plus’s extra camera.

You might recall this handset from our September 2016 issue as the Best Phone in the World. We stand by that, but if you want one you’ll have to pay for it in full upfront and get it from Takealot. No contracts here, but maybe that’s a good thing. Prepaid will cost you less.

Stuff says ★★★★★ Now is the perfect time to grab Apple’s latest and greatest

Stuff says ★★★★★ If you don’t mind paying upfront you’ll love it

from R13 000 / myistore.co.za

R11 000 / takealot.com

Motorola Moto Z

★★★★★ from R13 000 / lenovo.co.za Flagship appeal, a slim body and a fancy screen. But the mods don’t make up for the shortcomings.

Sony XZ

★★★★★ from R13 000 / sonymobile.com/za Solid build and Sony’s style make this a winner, but the 23MP camera isn’t as good as it should be.

LG G5

★★★★★ from R10 500 / lg.com/za LG’s modular effort is great on paper and not bad in practice. Just keep it away from water and steam.

Apple iPhone SE

★★★★★ from R8 500 / myistore.co.za Cheap, in Apple terms, isn’t terrible. It’s a 6s in a 5s frame, so it’s made for those longing for the old days.

8

Huawei P9

9

Xiaomi Mi 5

10

BARGAIN BUY

★★★★✩ R8 900 / huawei.com/za The phone that made it to market with twin shooters first, the P9 will give you lovely monochrome snaps.

★★★★✩ R8 000 / mia.africa.com Looks like a Galaxy S-something, and it costs about four grand less. Specs justify the price of admission.

Vodafone Smart Prime 7

★★★★✩ R1 800 / vodacom.co.za Good looks , good specs, and a price that won’t make your wallet hide in a corner. What more do you want?

FOR UP-TO-DATE NEWS VISIT STUFF.CO.ZA OR FACEBOOK.COM/STUFFSA OR TWITTER @STUFFSA

● Prices quoted are for handset only unless otherwise stated

from R13 000 / samsung.com/za


1

TIPS & TRICKS

HOT BUY

Apple iPhone 7 Plus The new 7 and 7 Plus look almost identical to last year’s models, except for the glossy jet black option and Lightning headphone output. But they’re waterproof, processing power and battery life have been improved, and the Plus gets a tasty dual-lens camera. If you’re looking for the top iPhone this year, the 256GB Jet Black 7 Plus is your winner but be prepared to pay notebook prices for it.

Lock the 7 Plus camera lenses down by going to Settings -> Photos & Camera -> Record Video. Presto – no more oopsies.

Stuff says ★★★★★ Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus is their best device yet, leaving us wondering how they’re going to improve next year

Something gone wrong? As unlikely as that is, hold down the power (right) and volume down (left) buttons at the same time to force a restart.

● NOW ADD THIS Speck Presidio Wrap your pricey iPhone 7 Plus in a clear Speck Presidio cover to increase its likelihood of impact survival, while still being able to see its glorious design. R500 / myistore.co.za

3

4 5

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

Samsung Galaxy Note 5

Previously the Edge + devices were Samsung’s non-Note phablets, but now the S7 is the regular-sized device and the S7 Edge the more, well, voluptuous. So, while this here’s a great smartphone (like the S7 on the left), it’s also an outstanding phablet. Show-off.

Time to address the elephant in the room. Yes, Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 has had an explosive interlude and we’re never going to own one. Samsung is as unhappy about that as we are but that also means that Samsung’s Note 5, has just become the phablet to own. Again.

Stuff says ★★★★★ We’re not convinced we need the curved edges, but they are pretty

Stuff says ★★★★★ It was gone from the list but not from our hearts. It’s back now

from R15 000 / samsung.com/za

PHABLETS TOP TENS

from R15 500 / myistore.co.za

Change up your haptics by going to Settings -> General -> Home Button and selecting the response that feels right.

2

97

from R13 000 / samsung.com/za

Xiaomi Mi Max

★★★★★ R4 700 / mia.africa.com A 6.4in FHD display, 4850mAh battery and 3GB of RAM for under R5k. Umm, yes please.

Huawei Mate 8

★★★★★ R13 000 / huawei.com/za This phone with a 6in display, octa-core CPU and battery that won’t quit loves giant hands.

Sony Xperia Z5 Premium

6

★★★★★ R13 000 / sonymobile.com/za You know what this phone needs? A 4K screen… said no-one ever but Sony went and made one.

7

★★★★★ from R11 900 / za.microsoftstore.com The last oversized Lumia you’ll ever own. Microsoft isn’t going to be making any more.

8

BARGAIN BUY

9

NEW

10

BARGAIN BUY

Microsoft Lumia 950XL

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3

★★★★★ from R3 800 / mia.africa.com From the other Note lineup comes the Redmi Note 3, with low prices and good specs.

LG V20

★★★★✩ from R13 000 / lg.com/za Great on paper, but the plastic build, low-res wide-angle cam and second screen all flop.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 2

★★★★✩ from R3 000 / mia.africa.com The toughest part about choosing the Redmi Note 2 over the Redmi Note 3 is the pricing.

FOR UP-TO-DATE NEWS VISIT STUFF.CO.ZA OR FACEBOOK.COM/STUFFSA OR TWITTER @STUFFSA


TOP TENS TABLETS, HEADPHONES

1

98

HOT BUY

1

HOT BUY

Apple iPad Pro 9.7

AKG K451

The iPad Pro 9.7 takes everything we loved about Apple’s original 12.9in Pro tablet, makes it a lot more portable, and even adds in a few extras of its own. The 9.7in Pro ships with Apple Pen support, just like its older bigger brother. The True Tone display, which changes automatically based on ambient light conditions, is a marvel, while the 12MP shooter is frankly overkill for those brave enough to use it in public. It’s expensive, but perfection usually comes at a price.

They’ve actually been around a little while now, but what put the K451 on-ears back on to our radar was an official price drop, and a real-world price of just R1 200. For that money they’re unbeatable – awesomely agile and punchy sound wrapped up in a subtly stylish and foldable design. Add both standard and three-button control cables for maximising compatibility and there’s practically no excuse for not getting brilliant sound from your phone.

Stuff says ★★★★★ Incredible power, superb features and near-flawless design: the iPad Pro 9.7 is pure tablet perfection

Stuff says ★★★★★ Fantastic sound and great portability at an almost unbeatable price. Your phone deserves these.

from R10 000 / myistore.co.za

2

Apple iPad Mini 4

3

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7

4

Microsoft Surface Pro 3

5

Apple iPad Pro 12.9

from R6 500 / myistore.co.za This is the mini tab we’ve been waiting for. It’s 1.4mm thinner and 32g lighter, just the right size for a great portable entertainment hub, and subtle display tweaks will do justice to games and graphic novels alike. Stuff says ★★★★★ The best small tablet you can buy right now

from R9 000 / samsung.com/za Slimmer and faster, with a brilliant screen and serious stamina, the Tab S2 sees Samsung in the running for the Android throne. Apple’s iPads still offer the best UI and app selection, but as Android tabs go, this one’s tops. Stuff says ★★★★★ The best Android slate you’re going to find

★★★★★ from R18 000 / microsoft.com/za Technically this one is a hybrid but we can forgive a lot for this power and versatility.

★★★★★ R15 000 / myistore.co.za The other Pro, this one is fuller featured and larger. But... still not quite a laptop surrogate.

R1 200 / takealot.com

2

AKG Y50BT

3

Bowers & Wilkins P5 Wireless

4

SoundMagic E10S

5

Bose QuietComfort 35

from R2 700 / incredible.co.za Proof that good wireless sound doesn’t have to cost the earth: with none of the horrid hiss, whine, crack and pop that’s often a glitch of Bluetooth cans, these serve up detail, with a full charge promising 20 hours. Stuff says ★★★★★ Just the thing for your iPhone 7

R8 000 / takealot.com The brand’s first foray into wireless brings luxury for your ears inside and out: these are the Aston Martin DB10s of wire-free cans. If you like your sound authoritative, dynamic and subtle, you’ll feel right at home. Stuff says ★★★★★ Luxury for your ears, inside and out

★★★★★ R540 / sound-magic.co.za Small, affordable, with a sound that belies their teeny tiny little price. You need these.

★★★★★ R8 000 / dionwired.co.za Active noise cancelling. Planes? No problem. People? Perish the thought. Just your tunes.

FOR UP-TO-DATE NEWS VISIT STUFF.CO.ZA OR FACEBOOK.COM/STUFFSA OR TWITTER @STUFFSA


99

PLAYLIST APPS FOR YOUR MAC

MindNode

Flowcharts and mind-maps might seem like something dull people do in boardrooms, but they’re great for organising your thoughts. MindNode is superb for visually representing ideas, connecting concepts and outputting your genius to share. R480

iA Writer

There are two choices when it comes to writing apps: embrace the power of the excellent Scrivener, or go the other way with a more minimal tool. iA Writer is the best of the latter kind of writing app, great for quick posts and speedy articles. R150

PLAYLIST TOP TENS

You didn’t buy that gleaming Apple machine just to look at Twitter, did you? Here’s a selection of tasty treats from the Mac App Store

XCOM 2

It’s R800 and 30GB, but XCOM 2 is one of the best gaming experiences you can get on the Mac. Aliens rule Earth, and you must lead the fightback. Turn-based missions, gorgeous visuals and palpable tension combine to make a modern-day classic. R800

Soulver

Yes, we’ve added a calculator to this list, but bear with us. Soulver is brilliant – it’s like writing with numbers. Jot down sums, it tots them up, and answers can be re-used, giving you a live, reusable calculation. Geeky? Maybe. Useful? Most definitely. R180

Sound Studio

Although it’s had a wallop from the ugly stick, Sound Studio’s long been a popular Mac audio app – and for good reason. For relatively little outlay, you get a whole host of tools for digitising and editing audio, tweaking your fades, effects and output levels to perfection. R480

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TOP TENS TVs TIPS & TRICKS

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Torn between Game of Thrones and Mr Robot (you pirate you)? WebOS 3.0 lets you split your screen across two channels.

Want to watch Netflix in 4K? You’ll have to opt for its most costly Ultra HD package.

1

HOT BUY

LG 55EG960V R48 000 / lg.com/za

We knew that one day OLED and 4K would be joined in holy matrimony, and that the results would be rather special. That day is now upon us and ‘special’ doesn’t quite do it justice. This 55in/139cm LG is the new pinnacle of TV tech and performance, combining the unbelievable colours, contrast and brightness of OLED with the super-sharp, ultra-detailed images of 4K to create a picture that’s more real and enticing than looking out of the window.

Stuff says ★★★★★ It’s mighty pricey, but if you’re after the finest flatscreen known to man, this is it ● NOW ADD THIS Microsoft Xbox One S A fine games console and a 4K Blu-ray player all in one. Grab yourself a copy of Forza Horizon 3 and you’ll see how much difference HDR makes to gaming. Rtba / xbox.com/za

2

3

4 5 6

Samsung UA48J6300

LG 55EC930T

A 48in screen seems to be the ideal size for most lounges, and a curve makes this Samsung eyecatching in every respect. The performance is stunning and the colours have the right balance of vividness and subtlety. This is a smart TV bargain.

Not everybody’s got R50k to blow on a flatscreen, and if you have to choose between OLED and 4K it’s OLED we’d take right now. The awesome colours, super-deep blacks and amazing contrast will make everything you already watch look extra amazing.

Stuff says ★★★★★ A good lot of inches and significantly cheaper than some of its rivals

Stuff says ★★★★★ It’s not 4K but it’s not priced like one, either

R12 000 / samsung.com/za

from R25 000 / lg.com/za

Samsung UA55JS7200K

★★★★★ R23 000 / samsung.com/za Smart TVs should all be this good. You’ll want it in 4K but it’ll do well if you’re only running 1080p.

Samsung UA55JS8000

★★★★★ R31 000 / samsung.com/za Powerful sound, eye-popping colours, and more pixels than we can count. Worth the price? Yes.

LG 65UF650T

★★★★★ R32 600 / lg.com/za Last year’s award winner still has what it takes to turn heads in the direction of its 4K screen.

7

Hisense 55M7000

8

Samsung 65JU6600

9

Samsung 55JS9000

10

Hisense 50K321UW

★★★★✩ R15 000 / hisense.co.za Who’d think R15k would net you a 4K, 55in TV for your home? Hisense, that’s who.

★★★★✩ R30 000 / samsung.com/za Once our top TV, this 6-Series still finds a place on the Top 10. Even if it has been supplanted.

★★★★✩ R40 000 / samsung.com/za Pricey for an older model curved 4K screen but we’d still feature this one in the games room.

★★★★✩ R9 000 / hisense.co.za It’s over nine thousaaand?! Er… no. But it’s 4K at that price so settle down there, Vegeta.

FOR UP-TO-DATE NEWS VISIT STUFF.CO.ZA OR FACEBOOK.COM/STUFFSA OR TWITTER @STUFFSA


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YOUR STREAMING ESSENTIALS SHOWMAX

NEW TO STREAMING TOP TENS The TV schedules want to control your life – don’t let them get away with it! Here’s our pick of this month’s on-demand viewing

NETFLIX

Mr Robot

Shooter

Edward Snowden’s favourite hacking show returned in 2016, to the delight of cyberspace. It may be hugely popular, but it’s also likely to make you paranoid about who’s watching from the other side of your webcam.

A former military sniper is brought on to prevent an assassination and is later accused of killing the American president. Cue a chase by the authorities and our hero Bob Lee Swagger hunting down the truth.

12 Monkeys

Rick and Morty

The bonkers film gives way to a bonkers series, which sees James Cole trying to avert the plague unleashed by the Army of the 12 Monkeys – with added butterfly effect and less Brad Pitt this time.

Imagine Back to the Future, but Doc Brown is a verbally abusive alcoholic and Marty McFly a wimpy kid in a broken family – and there you have Rick and Morty. Just don’t expect a family friendly adventure.

Elementary

Mascots

What if Sherlock Holmes had a drug problem and an apartment in New York? What if Watson was a woman? What if Ms Hudson was transgender? You don’t need to wonder any more.

This is like SA’s Got Talent but with contestants who are off their noodle, wear crazy costumes and each have an exceptional yet useless skill. OK, so that’s still SA’s Got Talent, but this Netflix original is a better watch.

FOR UP-TO-DATE NEWS VISIT STUFF.CO.ZA OR FACEBOOK.COM/STUFFSA OR TWITTER @STUFFSA


TOP TENS LAPTOPS TIPS & TRICKS

Siri on MacOS Sierra allows you to search for photos on the web and your laptop, then drag them into apps.

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1

Save on space by getting your Mac to optimise its storage. This will reduce the clutter from big files.

HOT NEW BUY

Apple MacBook Pro from R27 500 / myistore.co.za

It can be easy to focus on what this entry-level version of the 2016 MacBook Pro doesn’t have: it’s missing that sexy new Touch Bar for a start, and is down on ports and power compared to the next model up. But it’s also R5 200 cheaper, and has the same diminutive form and truly gorgeous screen. It also has the brilliant second-gen butterfly keyboard. We’ll deliver our verdict on the Touch Bar model next month, but this could be the pick of the Pro range.

Stuff says ★★★★★ The Touch Bar version is the lust object, but this ‘basic’ Pro hits a very sweet spot ● NOW ADD THIS Satechi Type-C USB 3 Hub Two ports not enough? This hub adds loads more and sits snugly against the new MacBook Pro. R570 (import) / satechi.net

2

HOT BUY

3

4 5 6 7

Dell XPS 13

MSI GT72VR 6QE

The original XPS 13 was already a great lightweight laptop, but now Dell has given it a Windows 10 refresh. If the last one was the thinking person’s ultrabook, this is that and a whole lot more. With improved battery life and performance, it’s hard to beat.

Get your game on with MSI’s GT72VR, a humongous VR-ready gaming notebook toting Nvidia’s new Pascal GTX 1070 8GB GPU, 16GB of RAM and a Core i7-6700 HQ. Whether you’re using the 17.3in display or a headset, you’re totally sorted.

Stuff says ★★★★★ An excellent Windows 10 Ultrabook, small in size but big on specs

Stuff says ★★★★★ Get ready for the VR revolution with this desktop-spec gaming notebook

from R31 500 / dell.co.za

from R48 000 / evetech.co.za

Acer Predator 17

★★★★★ from R34 000 / acer.co.za As far as gaming goes, the Predator 17 is fairly cheap for what you get. Look for a refresh soon.

Apple MacBook

★★★★★ from R18 000 / myistore.co.za Aside from an extra hour’s battery life, the 2016 MacBook isn’t that different to the previous one.

HP Spectre 13

★★★★★ R30 000 / hp.com/za The world’s thinnest notebook? Maybe. Did they leave any bits out? That’s a huge ‘no’.

Microsoft Surface Book

★★★★★ from R38 000 / za.microsoftstore.com A Microsoft notebook, at long last, and the ensuing hardware is pretty darned impressive.

8

ASUS ROG GL752VW

9

Apple MacBook Air 13in

BARGAIN BUY

10

★★★★✩ from R30 000 / asus.com/za Gaming in the mid-range, with plenty of power in the CPU. We’re waiting on Pascal now.

★★★★✩ from R17 000 / myistore.co.za If a portable road warrior is what you’re after, this slinky MacBook remains a great choice.

HP Pavilion 15

★★★★✩ from R25 000 / hp.com/za Plain covers conceal the fact that this boringlooking machine hides some gaming skillz.

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SMARTWATCHES, FITNESS TRACKERS TOP TENS

1

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HOT BUY

HOT BUY

Apple Watch Series 2

Garmin Fenix 3 HR

Last year’s Apple Watch was already the best smartwatch to date; now it’s found its focus. The Series 2 devices come with an array of upgrades – more power, a brighter screen – along with a greater emphasis on fitness functions without a phone in tow. Both GPS and waterproofing make this a far more compelling gadget for exercise obsessives. No alternative is as fast or as well made, or has the same quality and quantity of bespoke apps.

The Fenix 3 HR is the smartest watch you can buy. It adds the HR tracking missing on the regular Fenix 3, it’ll work with Android or iOS, track every sweaty activity from skiing to SUPing, includes GPS, and lasts up to a week on a charge. It’ll track steps and sleep, too, but it’s a bit big for bedtime. If you have to be informed of stats and figures you didn’t know your body possessed then the Garmin Fenix 3 HR is the only device you want to take on your sea-air-land expeditions.

Stuff says ★★★★★ Apple’s small tweaks and renewed sports focus add up to make the Series 2 a watershed wearable

Stuff says ★★★★★ Serious about your fitness? There’s no better wearable for your well-toned arm appendage

from R6 900 / myistore.co.za

2

NEW

Pebble 2

R1 800 (import) / pebble.com Buy the Pebble 2 for the effortless way it handles notifications, the geeky app and the watchface selection – rather than the rudimentary fitness tracking – and you’ll be very happy indeed. Stuff says ★★★★✩ Slick smartwatch skills for a bargain price

3

Fitbit Blaze

4

Garmin Vivomove

5

Samsung Gear S2

R4 000 / fitbit.co.za Almost as much a fitness tracker as it is a smartwatch, the Blaze delivers accurate heart-rate tracking, multi-sport modes and a lovely interface – even if its design won’t appeal to everyone. Stuff says ★★★★✩ The Blaze is built to be a great workout buddy

★★★★✩ R3 000 / garmin.co.za Free up a space on your wrist – this is everything you need from a fitness watch.

★★★★✩ from R4 800 / samsung.com/za The rotating bezel is a genius bit of design. Needs more apps, though.

from R12 000 / garmin.co.za

2

Garmin Vivoactive HR

3

Fitbit Charge HR

4

Moov Now

5

Misfit Shine

BARGAIN BUY

R5 600 / garmin.co.za Garmin has a frankly bewildering array of fitness trackers and outdoorsy GPS watches, but the Vivoactive HR is the one you really want. It’s packed with long-lasting, easy-to-use rewarding fitness cleverness. Stuff says ★★★★★ All-round tracker with sensors and stamina

from R2 700 / fitbit.co.za The Alta is simple, the Surge is bulky and the Blaze more than most people need. Which is why Fitbit’s Charge HR remains our favourite tracker. A built-in HR monitor, pedometer, altimeter and it tells the time? Perfect. Stuff says ★★★★✩ A basic fitness friend but it’s all most will need

★★★★✩ R1 200 / quantifi.co.za Not just a tracker but a trainer, offering guided workouts with voice coaching.

★★★★✩ R1 500 / superbalist.com The Shine is a R1 500 tracker that feels anything but cheap. Basic, but good.

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TOP TENS CONSOLES & 5-MINUTE HACKS

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HOT BUY

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BECOME A NETFLIX NINJA You’ve got the ‘find a show, locate Doritos, press play’ routine down to a tee. Now it’s time to take your Netflix mastery to the next level with these tricks:

Xbox One S

Rtba / xbox.com/za

● Share your account (but not your password). Need to loan someone access to your Netflix account while you’re on holiday? The Chrome extension AccessURL (Free, chrome.google.com) lets you share a link with a built-in expiry date so they can’t abuse your generosity.

● Take it camping. If you’re heading into the wilderness but want to finish watching Narcos between squirrel-hunts, PlayOn.tv (from R120/ month) lets you record from streaming services such as Netflix and watch them offline. ● Make a Netflix mixtape. Or a ‘Flixtape’, as Netflix likes to call them. Head to flixtape.netflix.com, choose a theme, sort the running order, and send the virtual card to your sofa-bound friend.

The Xbox One S dumps all the stuff that didn’t make sense about Microsoft’s third proper games console – Kinect, the R7 000+ asking price, that fugly power brick – and the result is that it looks and feels like an even more enticing machine than the PS4. And when compared to the upcoming PS4 Pro, you can’t help but notice that it also has a 4K Blu-ray player… while Sony’s new machine doesn’t. Which means that if you’re the proud owner of a fancy Ultra HD TV, this is now the console to get.

Stuff says ★★★★★ The best games console you buy right now, thanks to its 4K smarts, not to mention exclusives like Gears of War 4

2 3

PlayStation 4 Slim

Rtba / playstation.com/za This is the old PS4 squeezed into a 20% smaller package, and it still delivers an awesome console gaming experience. But if you see a 4K TV in your future, you’re better off saving for the PS4 Pro. Stuff says ★★★★★ Better than the old PS4 in almost every way

PlayStation 3 Slim

from R3 000 / playstation.com/za The PS3 is more of a value proposition than ever. A reduced price, massive back catalogue and… did we mention the reduced price. Bonus: Online play is still free, too. Stuff says ★★★★✩ If you missed out the past decade, now’s your chance to fix it

4

Xbox 360 Slim

5

Nintendo Wii U

★★★★✩ from R2 500 / xbox.com/za Technically the better console, but for one thing. Having to pay to play with mates grates.

★★★★✩ from R4 800 / nintendo.co.za While it hasn’t had the impact of the original Wii, don’t underestimate the U’s fun factor.

BE A SAVVY SHOPPER WITHOUT BORDERS Found the perfect gadget gift or designer dog outfit, only to be foiled at the checkout by US-only delivery? Stop looking at last-minute flights to New York and try this:

the custom duties or other applicable taxes, because you’ll need to foot the bill for those, too. fnb.co.za/promotions/ PBCAramex

Bankability. With FNB and Aramex Global Shopper, you can shop online at international retailers and have the goodies delivered to your door, even if they don’t deliver to SA. You’ll pay R274 per 1kg package from Zone 1 countries (which include the US, UK, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and more). But be warned, there’s no discount for multiple items. Also, do beware

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THE BIG QUESTION TOP TENS

THE BIG WHAT’S THE BEST QUESTION READING APP? THE BASICS

THE TWEAKY TREAT

MOON+ READER from Free / Android moondownload.com If you want a reading app with a boatload of surprisingly useful features, then Moon+ is the best one around. It’s incredibly customisable, letting you set the font, background colour and text colour to anything you prefer, and supports a load of file formats (aside from DRM-protected Kindle books, sadly). We recommend setting it up so you’ve got a black background with white text – a combination that’s extremely easy on the eyes, particularly at night. If you’ve got a smartphone with an AMOLED screen, the black background will also help eke out a little extra battery life, as all black pixels are actually turned off. There are a

bunch of pre-set colour themes if you’re feeling lazy, and you’ve even got multiple styles of page-turning animations to pick from and customise. Throw in the usual highlighting, annotation and definition skills and you’ve got what is quite possibly the best reading app in the universe.

SPECIAL SKILL HANDS-FREE LEAFING It's worth upgrading to Moon+ Reader Pro (R73, Android), as it packs some handy features beyond being advert-free. One of these is the useful ability to turn the page with your headphones’ volume controls.

THE iPHONE FRIEND

MARVIN 3

SPECIAL SKILL MARVIN’S JOURNAL Marvin 3 has a journal feature that lets you create a digital scrapbook of book-related thoughts, photos and even locations, which you can then export for viewing on other devices.

Why read on your phone? Kindles are great, but they’re too big for your jeans pocket and aren’t convenient for a short journey. Your phone is always with you – and if you have a long trip with signal dead-spots, then ebooks are a great way to fill the time between WhatsApp and Reddit binges.

1

from Free (IAPs) / iOS blog.marvinapp.com If you’re looking to chip away at an epic sci-fi trilogy on your iPhone, this is the app for the job. Like Moon+ , it has an arsenal of customisation options – and even lets you side-load your own fonts for good measure. A recent update added support for the iPhone’s Taptic Engine, which means it has all sorts of delightful vibrations for your fingertips as you turn the pages. Marvin supports most DRM-free formats and lets you import books from all of your dusty internet attics, including Dropbox and iTunes. Cheers, Marvin.

GOOGLE PLAY BOOKS

THE ENDLESS LIBRARY

Free / Android, iOS play.google.com Google’s own reading app might not be as customisable as its peers, but the vast library of books available to buy, download and read makes it convenient for bookworms. You can try samples of books before you splash the cash, and uploading your own ebooks to your account means access to all your reading material in one place.

Are you going to ruin your eyes? We’ve had no trouble reading entire books on a 5in 1080p screen. But it’s worth using your chosen app to make some basic tweaks: adjust the font to a more comfortable size, and maybe go for more subdued background and type colours. You’ll soon forget it’s not real paper.

2

What shall I read? There are stacks of free, legally obtainable books online, waiting for you to pluck them from their virtual shelves. Two good places to start are Reddit’s Free Ebooks subreddit (reddit.com/r/ freeebooks) and openculture.com, which lists hundreds of free digital tomes.

3

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TOP TENS DSLRs, COMPACT CAMERAS

1

106

1

HOT BUY

HOT BUY

Fujifilm X-T2

Panasonic Lumix LX100

The X-T2 is an excellent lesson in how to upgrade an already great gadget. The X-T1 was itself a brilliant camera, so Fuji gave it superb video and autofocus skills to go with the already top weatherproof build. Sure, it’s pricey, but it’s also worth every cent. What you’re getting here is a camera that approaches high-end DSLRs for speed and rivals pretty much any camera for image quality, so it’s a truly superb all-rounder.

This is one the most capable premium compacts on the market – and the LX100’s 4K capabilities give it a crucial edge over its rivals. HD video capture and superb stills performance make the Panasonic Lumix LX100 a star performer when it comes to the basics too. It doesn’t hurt at all that the LX100 is priced affordably enough that almost anyone can get it. 4K on the go is within reach of most photography wallets. Connectivity and optical image stabilisation just seal the deal.

Stuff says ★★★★★ A dream of a camera that barely strays from perfection from start to finish – and has brilliant 4K video skills

Stuff says ★★★★★ Having 4K in your pocket goes a long way when you’re shooting on the run

R25 000 (body only) / fujifilm.co.za

2

Fujifilm X-Pro2

3

Canon EOS 80D

4

Fujifilm X-T10

5

Canon EOS 5DS

R27 000 (body only) / fujifilm.co.za Top-class handling and stills performance make this a superb – if just short of perfect – camera. Why short of perfect? Because video feels like a decidedly secondary skill. But if you want brilliant stills this is for you. Stuff says ★★★★★ Perfect for professional portablility

R16 500 / canon.co.za Even a child would get great results with the 80D – it’s the photographic equivalent of playing FIFA 17 as Barcelona, on full auto mode, against Burnley. This takes the hard work out of getting fantastic photos. Stuff says ★★★★★ If you want simplicity, you won’t get much better

★★★★★ R11 600 (body only) / fujifilm.co.za The X-T10 beats most other choices at any price. It also handles beautifully.

★★★★★ R43 000 / canon.co.za A fantastic piece of kit that any pixel-peeping SLR fan will get heaps of enjoyment out of.

R14 000 / panasonic.com/za

2

Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II

3

Fujifilm X70

4

Nikon Coolpix AW130

5

Fujifilm X30

R9 900 / canon.co.za The latest in Canon’s stable, the updated G7 X delivers incredible image quality and lowlight performance. A tilting LCD, continuous shooting at 8fps, 20.1MP 1in sensor, and NFC and Wi-Fi support make it a great buy. Stuff says ★★★★★ Ticks all the basic boxes, connectivity just seals it

★★★★★ R11 500 / fujifilm.co.za A touch sensitive, tilting display makes changing setting or grabbing focus with the X70 a pleasure and its old-school looks and healthy selection of manual dials makes it every bit the serious imaging tool. Stuff says ★★★★★ The blend of old and new may attract hipsters

★★★★★ R6 800 / nikon.co.za Waterproof, cold-proof and shock proof, this is the one to haul where others fear to tread.

★★★★★ R7 400 / fujifilm.co.za More retro but under the hood lies an allmodern compact that’ll snag your shots.

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HOW TO BUY A SPORTS WATCH

HOW TO BUY TOP TENS

You’ve got the shiny new sneakers and recharged willpower. But which watch is your spirit animal? Allow us to give you a flying start... ATM

Measure of the pressure of water a watch can keep out, ranging from 3 ATM to as high as 10.

JARGON BUSTER

HRM

Heart-rate monitors are now built into many sports watches, but accuracy can vary.

Connected GPS

A feature that calls on your phone’s GPS tracking for better distance accuracy.

CASUAL JOGGERS 1

How smart?

First decision: Do you want your sports watch to also be a smartwatch? Many offer features such as notifications from your phone, and run operating systems such as Apple’s WatchOS. This means access to apps like Strava, giving you more choice for your tracking… but they tend to have far shorter battery lives than dedicated sports watches. ● Get this: Apple Watch Series 2 from R6 900 / myistore.co.za

NOW ADD THESE

FITNESS FREAKS 2 Built to last

After a running watch to track your next marathon? You’ll need one that keeps going for hours in GPS mode. Watches like the Polar M400 tend to have fairly low-resolution screens but make up for it with their stamina. If you don’t need built-in GPS for tracking pace and distance, a general fitness watch such as the Fitbit Blaze will keep going for several days. ● Get this: Polar M400 R3 000 / polar.com

BLUETOOTH HEADPHONES

Not every sports watch is capable of music playback; those that are deserve sweat-proof wireless buds.

3 Have a heart

Heart-rate monitoring is the key to more accurate fitness tracking. Chest straps like the Myzone MZ-3 are still the most accurate heart monitors, but the optical sensors in watches are fine for ballpark tracking. Some use this to help you try sprint intervals, while others – such as the Garmin Vivoactive HR – offer always-on monitoring. ● Buy this: Garmin Vivoactive HR R5 600 / garmin.co.za

4 What’s your game?

Most sports watches (and many fitness bands) are happy tracking your steps and heart rate, but what if you need some more specific stats? Garmin’s Fenix 3 HR is here for everything from rowing and cycling to skiing, swimming and climbing. Rather than generic activity logging, its individual modes deliver data specific to the chosen discipline. ● Get this: Garmin Fenix 3 HR R12 000 / garmin.co.za

5 Special skills

GPS doesn’t just mean seeing maps of where you’ve been. The TomTom Spark 3 can direct you down planned paths or find new routes, dropping virtual breadcrumbs to help you get home. ● Get this: TomTom Spark 3 R4 000 / tomtom.com

A HEART-RATE STRAP

Optical watch sensors not accurate enough for your elite training? A dedicated chest strap will take you up a level.

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TOP TENS BUDGET BUYS

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1

HOT BUY

Raspberry Pi 3 R710 / za.rs-online.com

You don’t have to be big on coding to enjoy the Raspberry Pi. With some basic tweaking, you can turn this R710 tiny-puter into a very respectable desktop PC, retro gaming machine or media centre – and that’s just the start. The Pi 3 is also the perfect update to its predecessor: you get loads more power (about the same as a mid-range smartphone), integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and it still costs less than a PS4 game.

TIPS & TRICKS Plonk that Pi camera you bought on a birdfeeder and you’ll be able edit your own documentary.

Stuff says ★★★★★ Opens up a world of tech possibilities for what is a positively diddy asking price

The free, open-source Kodi will turn a Pi into a media centre for watching your locally stored films and series.

● NOW ADD THIS Raspberry Pi Camera Module V2 Not every Pi 3 project has to be a homage to your childhood console. This adds smartphone photo-pizzazz. R500 / za.rs-online.com

Planning on turning your Pi into a SNES emulator? Legally, you must own the games to play them.

2

3

4 5 6 7

Google Chromecast Audio

Moov Now

This disc doesn’t just transform the streaming capabilities of your speakers – its lossless hi-res audio option can also boost their sound quality. This is an infinitely superior alternative to streaming via Bluetooth, with less battery drain and no interruption from calls.

You know you’re onto a winner when your fitness gadget isn’t just a tracker but a personal trainer. The Moov is a honeycomb-covered workout guide with voice coaching and rep-counting. It won’t track your daily steps but it auto-detects your sleep.

Stuff says ★★★★★ If you’ve not got a Sonos setup, this’ll do roughly the same job

Stuff says ★★★★★ The best budget tracker – gives most Fitbits a run for their money

R1 050 / takealot.com

R1 200 / quantifi.co.za

8 9 10

Vodafone Smart Prime 7

★★★★★ R1 800 / vodacom.co.za On specs alone, the Smart Prime 7 beats phones that are twice the price.

SoundMagic E10C

★★★★★ R540 /sound-magic.co.za SoundMagic is royalty when it comes to budget buds. For under R700, these are stupendous.

Pokemon Go Plus

★★★★★ R700 / awx.co.za Feed your addiction with a wrist-mounted pokemon detector. Hurry, they sell out fast.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 8

★★★★★ R1 100 / fujifilm.co.za Go retro with the brightly coloured Instax Mini 8 from Fuji. Film’ll cost ya but it’s worth the outlay.

Amazon Kindle

★★★★★ from R1 600 / takealot.com Top of our holiday packing list, the basic Kindle is thinner and lighter than its predecessor.

Samsung Gear VR

★★★★✩ R1 900 / samsung.com/za Perfect if you’re looking to play Hitman GO in VR, or enjoy Netflix or live sport in 360°.

Xiaomi Mi Power Bank 10400

★★★★✩ R300 / mia.africa.com Everyone could use extra power but having to fork out for it sucks. Thankfully, you don’t.

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WIRELESS SPEAKERS TOP TENS

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HOT BUY

JBL Xtreme R4 700 / incredible.co.za

The perfect portable speaker is good looking, rugged, offers great stamina, and plays nicely with others. Basically, the perfect speaker is Victor Matfield if he could sing opera. But wait, can Mattie charge two devices at the same time from a pair of USB ports, does he come with a shoulder strap, and can he survive being rinsed off under a tap? Sure, he ticks the last box, but the JBL ticks all three. Also, can he sing opera? ‘Cause the JBL can sing anything. Sorry Mattie.

Stuff says ★★★★★ Stellar sound, durability, and a low price tag make JBL’s Xtreme unbeatable ● NOW ADD THIS Tidal Sick of playing your iTunes library on repeat? Sign up to Tidal for more new music than you could ever possibly listen to. from R130/month / tidal.com

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UE Boom 2

Braven 705

Years making in-ear monitors for musos means UItimate Ears knows its bass from its mids. Water-, dust- and drop-proofing along with 360º sound, 15-hour battery life and a slick app so friends can play DJ makes the Boom 2 our pick of the pint-sized pack.

Want a cheapish speaker that doubles as a battery pack, can survive wind, rain and a bit of rough treatment but is also very compact? Braven’s got you covered. Plus, invest in a second (or get a friend to) and your portable party just got proper stereo sound.

Stuff says ★★★★★ If you were going to take one of these surfing, this is the one

Stuff says ★★★★★ The 705 sounds far punchier when it (and you) has friends over

R3 500 / ultimateears.com

R2 000 / braven.com

B&O Beolit 15

★★★★★ R10 500 / bang-olufsen.com The Danish supermodel of speakers, though the price tag means it’s a tad high maintenance.

Bose SoundDock III

★★★★★ R4 800 / bose.com The SoundDock isn’t just for high-end hotels any more – it looks just at home in your own.

Marshall Stanmore

★★★★★ R6 000 / myistore.co.za It’s not a stadium stack but it wouldn’t look out of place on a tiny stage with large sound.

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JBL Flip 3

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Skullcandy Air Raid

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Shox Spin

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★★★★✩ R2 000 / jbl.com It won’t cost a limb and it’ll go for ten hours. If you have a party in your pants, this’ll bring the noise.

★★★★✩ R2 000 / luksbrands.co.za It’s not a set of technicolour cans but the sound will punch you in the face. Flops at max volume.

★★★✩✩ R800 / tevo.co.za Cheap, stylish and able to work as a conference caller. Not the best sounding but… cheap.

Beats Pill 2.0

★★✩✩✩ R4 000 / myistore.co.za A cautionary tale in speaker form, remember that high price doesn’t always mean quality.

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TOP TENS SHOULD I UPGRADE?

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DO IT!

Superspeedy AF 4K video

SHOULD I UPGRADE?

FUJIFILM X-T2 The Fuji X-T1 may be a couple of years old now, but it still takes fantastic pictures. So why would you want to invest more than R15 000 in a new version that looks almost identical? Well, the X-T2 is a seductive mistress. For starters, it has 4K video, a feature that’s already persuaded plenty of people to upgrade their TVs and games consoles. More importantly for the stills snappers among us, it’s

blisteringly fast to focus. The X-T1 is as hopeless as Wile E Coyote at capturing fast-moving targets, so if you’re into sport or have kids this could make a big difference. Oh, and it’s had a resolution bump from 16MP to 24MP. New year’s high resolution? So it’s the superior camera, no doubt. But is it worth the R25 000 price? Well, if video and rapid AF are major priorities for you, then yes.

HOLD OFF! But for most non-rich X-T1 owners, it’s a harder call. Lenses typically make more difference to your photos than the camera body does, so you may well be better off investing in them instead. That 56mm f1.2 portrait lens looks pretty sweet… Besides, the two models look so similar that, if you’re only after bragging rights, you could just tell everyone you have the X-T2 and hope they don’t notice.

Poor battery life High price


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GAMES TOP TENS

HOT BUY

The Witcher III: The Wild Hunt from R575 / PC/PS4/Xbox One

Wouldn’t you know it, The Witcher 3 is still here. But not just because it’s an excellent game. It got better,with the launch of the Game of the Year Edition, incorporating Hearts of Stone and Blood and Wine, as well as every other bit of additional content made for 2015 and 2016’s best game. You have to play it now.

Stuff says ★★★★★ If you somehow missed it, now is your chance to rectify that terrible, terrible error. See you in two months.

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Deus Ex: Mankind Divided ★★★★★ from R575 / PC/PS4/Xbox One

Adam Jensen is back on the case following the events of Human Revolution. He’s not dead yet, folks, and he’s sneakier than ever. Though you may want to indulge in the better shooting mechanics amid glorious cyberpunk settings a little too. Play it twice in order to get the full cybernetic experience.

Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration

★★★★★ from R540 / PC/PS4 Lara’s latest is now fully launched, with every bit of DLC, new content and even a shade of VR support.

Tom Clancy’s The Division

★★★★★ from R650 / PC/PS4/Xbox One An open-world, shooter set in a devastated New York is a great online playground.

Overwatch

★★★★★ from R950 / PC/PS4/Xbox One Blizzard’s own multi-coloured shooter is a timesink of epic proportions. Just the way we like it.

Fallout 4

★★★★★ from R740 / PC/PS4/Xbox One Wasteland exploration has only hit its stride now that all of the DLC is out – Go forth and level.

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XCOM 2

★★★★★ from R650 / PC/PS4/Xbox One No longer a PC exclusive, XCOM 2 is here to suck away hours of your life, Commander.

Star Wars Battlefront

★★★★★ from R650 / PC, PS4, Xbox One Striding the battlefield as Darth Vader is something any Star Wars fan has to do.

Uncharted 4

★★★★★ from R1 000 / PS4 The last time that we’ll be able to play as Nathan Drake, unless they make a racing game…

Call of Duty: Black Ops III

★★★★★ from R1 000 / PC/PS4/Xbox One This is on the list till Infinite Warfare drops – which should be just as we go to print.


NEXT BIG THING?

Sor rf tiles ice house. Kevin McCloud would surely approve. We’re not so sure. He’d probably prefer sweeping organic lines and windows made of soil, but we’ll never know because he isn’t returning our calls. Anyway, the house isn’t what’s important here. Well, at least, not all of it. Maybe… around 15% of the house. The bit at the top. Yes, the roof is what’s got our gadget-loving senses feeling all tingly – and not just because it was introduced to the world by none other than Elon ‘Tony Stark’ Musk himself.

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Are you sure he likes being called that? Also, a roof? Seriously? We don’t know. Elon doesn’t return our calls either. Maybe our phone’s broken. But yes, we’re excited about a roof… a Tesla-backed solar roof. Because those are not standard tiles – they’re specialised glass panels, each one embedded with a solar panel. Available in different designs from ‘brown Tuscan’ to an alluring French slate, they’re indistinguishable from their non-solar counterparts. Musk has stated that they’re much tougher than regular tiles, and offer better insulation, while looking prettier to boot.

I’m more of a traditional thatch or Welsh slate person myself. Strong choices, but they’re not going to harvest the energy of the sun, are they? Think of the polar bears! Musk claims these solar tiles are the best and, in the long run, also the cheapest option. The new Tesla Powerwall 2 battery will be able to power a two-bedroom home for an entire day using nothing but the sun’s rays. Stack up a bunch and you’ll be self-sufficient in no time. Prices are unconfirmed at time of writing, but make no mistake: Musk’s magical slates are real, and they’ll be here very soon.

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