YOUR ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO THE BEST GADGETS AND TECH
WorldMags.net Welcome to
ANNUAL 2018 Welcome to the T3 Annual 2018, packed full of the best of T3 from the past year. Whether you're after a brand-new 4K TV or Blu-ray player, state-of-the-art home workout kit or the latest smart home tech, we've got you covered with a vast array of features, head-to-heads, reviews, and more. We kick off with a comprehensive guide to the 101 gadgets you can't live without – covering everything from e-readers and baby monitors to stylish turntables and Microsoft's latest Surface Studio. In our Home section we'll show you how to get the ultimate smart home setup, while we also pit top-of-the-range coffee machines against each other and take a look at the best wireless music systems for your pad. From TVs to Blu-ray players, discover the best 4K gear on the market in our Audiovisual section, as well as a complete guide to the best 4K TV services currently available. And that's not all – our Lifestyle section will give you the lowdown on the latest fitness tech and gadgets, while you'll find the best VR and gaming headsets money can buy in our Gaming section. Finally, our Elite section will bring you a selection of the best game-changing gadgets, bank-breaking tech and kit for under £100. Enjoy!
ANNUAL 2018 Future Publishing Ltd Richmond House 33 Richmond Hill Bournemouth Dorset BH2 6EZ +44 (0) 1202 586200
Editorial Editor Dan Peel Assistant Designer Steve Dacombe Editor In Chief Jon White Senior Art Editor Andy Downes Advertising Media packs are available on request Commercial Director Clare Dove firstname.lastname@example.org International International Licensing Director Matt Ellis email@example.com Circulation Circulation Director Darren Pearce 01202 586200 Production Head of Production US & UK Mark Constance Production Managers Keely Miller, Nola Cokely, Vivienne Calvert, Fran Twentyman Production Project Manager Clare Scott Advertising Production Manager Joanne Crosby Digital Editions Controller Jason Hudson Management Commercial Finance Director Dan Jotcham Creative Director Aaron Asadi Art & Design Director Ross Andrews Printed by William Gibbons, 26 Planetary Road, Willenhall, West Midlands, WV13 3XT Distributed Worldwide by Marketforce, 5 Churchill Place, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5HU. 0203 787 9001 www.marketforce.co.uk
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Part of the
Contents Home 036 050
KICK START YOUR SMART HOME
052 058 060
MAN VS TECH: COFFEE MACHINES
101 GADGETS T HE T EC H YO U S IMP LY CANâ€™T LIVE WITHOUT
SUPER SIX: BLUETOOTH SPEAKERS
SUPER SIX: TURNTABLES STATE OF THE ART: WIRELESS MUSIC SYSTEMS
Audiovisual 072 078 080 090
COMPLETE GUIDE: WATCHING 4K TV SUPER SIX: SOUNDBARS
STATE OF THE ART: HDR TVS SUPER SIX: 4K BLU-RAY PLAYERS
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WorldMags.net Lifestyle GET FIT WITH TECH
ESSENTIAL SMART SPORTS GADGETS AND CLOTHING
094 098 104 106 114 116
GET FIT WITH TECH MAN VS TECH: HOME WORKOUT SUPER SIX: JUICERS MAN VS TECH: CYCLING TECH SUPER SIX: COMMUTER TECH MAN VS TECH: DRONE RACING
124 130 132
XBOX ONE X SUPER SIX: GAMING HEADSETS STATE OF THE ART: VR HEADSETS
VR HEADSETS T H E B I G T H R E E G O H E A D -T O - H E A D IN T HE U LT IM AT E S H O W D O W N
144 152 158
GAMECHANGER MONEY NO OBJECT £100 HOTLIST
“From 4K TVs and soundbars to drones and fitness trackers, explore the best tech and gadgets on the market” T3 ANNUAL 7
Meet the ultimate in today’s lifestyle tech, chosen by T3’s experts to make your life easier in every way, for work, rest and play WORDS CLAIRE DAVIES, NICK ODANTZIS, ALEX COX, MATT BOLTON PHOTOGRAPHY OLLY CURTIS
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02 Sony Xperia Touch
01 Air Hogs DR1 FPV Race Drone Fancy yourself as the next superstar of drone racing? Earn your wings with this epic, pocket-friendly first-person race drone. A drone-mounted camera beams all the action to a smartphone, giving wannabe pilots a front-row seat and enabling more controlled, immersive flights. Propellor guards and a durable frame take the pain out of crashing, and auto take-off and landing let you focus on perfecting your G-force turns and barrel rolls. £99.99, gb.airhogs.com
03 Amazon Fire 4K Connect Amazon’s new tellybox to your Ultra HD TV to play games and watch the latest films and TV in stunning 4K – simply speak into the Amazon voice remote to call up your favourite shows in apps. The Fire 4K box has been upgraded with quadcore processing power, a powerful Imagination GX6250 graphics engine and 2GB of memory for best-in-show performance. £79.99, amazon.co.uk
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04 Kobo Aura H2O 2nd edition
Come rain or shine, you’ll never miss a page of your latest ethriller thanks to the Aura H2O’s waterproof protection. The lightweight ereader will survive a dunking in two metres of water – ideal if you’re an accident-prone bath reader. You can store up to 6,000 titles on the 8GB device and customise the look of each page – from font to text sharpness. £149.99, kobobooks.com
Imagine a world where you could convert any surface into a TV screen, connected games board, photo frame, DJ decks or phone screen. Xperia Touch makes that dream a reality. The portable, Android app-connected projector beams a 23inch screen onto any flat surface, ready for you to swipe, tap and scroll within a digital world of games, apps and utilities. Magic. From £1,299.99, sonymobile.com
05 2017 Atari
Flashback 8 Gold
More often than not, nostalgia is a reminder of how far technology and fashion have evolved, but we’ll admit to getting a little emotional about the return of a ’70s console. The Flashback 8 Gold resurrects the Atari 2600, loaded with 120 classics including Space Invaders, with 720p HD output and two joysticks so you can take on your mates. £79.99, atgames.net
06 Sony PlayStation 4 Pro
07 Q Acoustics M3
The PS4 Pro delivers monumental 4K gaming and entertainment to your home, boasting twice the graphics power of the standard PS4, boosted frame rate and vibrant HDR technology, all for less than 340 notes. Most new PS4 games are enhanced to take full advantage of the Pro’s added punch, making them more realistic and immersive than ever, and 4K TV and film streaming means you’ll never need to leave the house again.
A decent TV can easily be let down by poor speakers. Despite its small size, Q Acoustics’ award-winning M3 soundbar turns everything from Eastenders to the latest big-screen blockbuster into a cinematic epic. Wide dispersion BMR drivers fill any room with clear, 180-degree sound while the built-in subwoofer handles the low end, and adjustable EQ means it’ll sound great wherever you put it. Nothing on? Stream music to the M3 from any Bluetooth or NFC-equipped device.
08 Philips 9002 OLED TV
Whether you’re kicking back with a film or getting stuck into a game, the P5 picture quality engine nestled inside Philips’ 55-inch OLED TV digitally optimises the image for flawless colour, sharpness and detail, while DTS HD Premium Sound delivers clear and rich audio. For added immersion and expression, Ambilight technology expands the viewing experience by beaming a dynamic glow beyond the edges of the TV and onto the wall. £2,200, philips.co.uk
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10 Nvidia Shield TV Pro
09 Anki Cozmo Who needs friends when you’ve got Cozmo? The adorable, app-controlled robot will play, interact and learn before your very eyes. Four motors and 50 gears control movement, while a 30fps camera and facial recognition tech enable him to remember every interaction. Cozmo is a great tool for learning to code too – use the drag and drop interface within Anki’s Code Lab to teach your digital pal new tricks £199.99, anki.com
11 LG W7 Wallpaper TV At just 2.57mm deep, LG’s razor-thin screen looks more like a work of art than a TV, but there’s more than just impressive dimensions. LG’s latest HDR technology means you get the most accurate colour representation, while self-emitting pixels ensure blacks are deep and rich. The LG OLED Hub houses the connections, and includes a set of speakers that work with Dolby Atmos. £7,999, lg.com
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12 Nintendo Switch Nintendo’s latest console keeps the game going whether you’re at home or on your travels. Hook the Switch up to your TV, grab the controllers and enjoy games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and The Legend of Zelda: The Breath Of The Wild in HD. Heading out? Grab the lush 6.2-inch screen from the dock, slide a controller onto each end and finish that race on the go. £279.99, nintendo.co.uk
The Nvidia Tegra X1powered 4K HDR streamer delivers rich colours and incredible picture depth, whether you’re watching the big game, streaming a series or delving into Nvidia Now’s library of PC games, playable on your TV without the need for a gaming rig – they’re powered by the cloud. The Shield controller and remote both feature voice control. Connected home control is on the way too. £279.99, nvidia.co.uk
13 V-MODA Crossfade
M-100 and BoomPro microphone These gaming headphones take you straight to the heart of the action. 50mm DualDiaphragm Drivers create lifelike 3D audio, with clean, rumbling bass and clarity across the frequency range, from dialogue to explosions. The BoomPro mic is one of the best around, too. £220, v-moda.com
14 Alienware 15
Get VR gaming on the go with this seriously powerful machine. Dell’s top-specced gaming laptop features an overclocked Intel Core i7 processor and 32GB memory for unrivalled in-game performance, while NVIDIA’s formidable GeForce GTX 1080 video card and vivid 15.6-inch 1080p display take care of visuals. The TactX keyboard offers hardcore gamers rapid keystroke response. From £1,299, dell.com
15 AOC AG352UCG
This ultra-wide 35-inch curved monitor fills your vision with your favourite films and games. The AGC352UCG features G-Sync tech and a 100Hz refresh rate to deliver responsive gameplay without any bothersome lag. That 3440x1440 screen offers a crisp picture, too, with Low Blue Light tech filtering out harmful blue light and reducing eye fatigue during gaming or movie marathons.
16 HTC Vive From climbing Everest in your front room to exploring a post-apocalyptic wasteland in Fallout 4, the Vive’s 32 360-degree motion tracking sensors enable VR explorers to truly interact with the virtual world in front of their eyes. The 110 degree field of view, 2160x1200 resolution and 90Hz refresh rate make for slick, realistic action, and smart accessories like the Vive Deluxe Audio Strap with integrated headphones make this T3’s favourite VR platform by far. £759, vive.com
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18 Logitech Pop
17 Logitech Harmony Elite Take charge of all your electrical devices and smart home gadgets using this clever remote. You can tap its built-in touchscreen display to control individual devices, or create activities so that you can control multiple things at once. You can even set schedules, allowing you to fully automate your devices and make them work when you want them to. Or you can ask Alexa to do these things for you, without even touching the remote. £300, logitech.com
19 Neato Botvac Connected
The Neato Botvac Connected is the ideal way to pick up detritus around the home. The two blade brushes and side brush will help to clear anything in the Botvac’s path, and it works across any type of flooring. You can choose from Eco mode if you’re covering larger surfaces, or if you want a really deep clean, Turbo mode sucks up even more debris. £730, neatorobotics.com
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20 Foobot Most of us equate air pollution with standing next to an idling diesel car, but air pollution within your home can also be hazardous to your health. Foobot is an air quality monitor that tells you what you’re breathing in: blue is good; orange is bad. It measures for a variety of pollutants, such as volatile compounds, and the app will notify you when pollution is dangerous. £199, foobot.io
Most smart home gadgets rely on your smartphone for control. In the case of something like smart lighting, having to whip your phone out each time to see where you’re going at night can be a pain. The Logitech POP starter kit – consisting of a Wi-Fi hub and two POP switches – sticks onto your wall and lets you control your smart stuff with button presses. £120 (starter kit), logitech.com
21 Yale Conexis L1 Smart Lock
Who needs keys when you can use a smartphone? The Yale Conexis L1 Smart Lock replaces your existing multi-point lock; when you want to unlock it just tap your phone against the reader. You can even send access to friends and family. If you’re worried about losing your phone, Yale provides backup access in the form of smartkey tags. £235, yale.co.uk
WorldMags.net 22 Nanoleaf Aurora Smarter Kit If you want to make a big statement in your home, while upgrading its lighting smarts, the Nanoleaf Aurora could be the ticket. Its modular design, which wouldn’t look out of place in Tron, allows you to fit individual triangular pieces together (up to 30 at once) to make almost any shape you like, and program each panel to display one of its 16.7 million available colours. Where things get really impressive is being able to program the lights with animated colour-cycling patterns, and you can even get them to work in tandem with your music – a good excuse to show off your new sci-fi lighting rig, and throw a house party, then.
£180 (nine panels), nanoleaf.me
23 Amazon Echo If you want the ultimate in smart home control, there’s no finer piece of tech than Amazon’s Echo. With Alexa’s voice-activated service at your beck and call, you can simply ask it to do your bidding, whether it’s turning your lights on, playing Van Halen’s greatest hits from your Spotify account, or just finding out what the weather is like on any given day. The built-in speaker offers impressive 360° sound, so the Echo can work as your main source of audio in the home as well as your one-stop voice control shop. £150, amazon.co.uk
24 Somfy One The Somfy One is a security camera with extra smarts, including an advanced type of motion sensor and a 90dB siren to give intruders’ ears something to think about if they dare to step foot in your home. It records super-wide 1080p video automatically when it detects an intrusion, and snaps a photo of the event just for good measure. Unlike other security cameras, Somfy One’s lens has a physical shutter, so you’ll know nobody can watch in on you when you’re at home. £229, protect.somfy.co.uk
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28 TP-Link HS110
25 Ikea Trådfri Smart Light Dimming Kit Ikea’s been getting in on the smart home action for a while now. Its latest connected tech is this Smart Light Dimming Kit. Consisting of an LED light bulb and wireless dimmer, the setup enables you to control what the light does, straight from your phone. You can change its brightness, alter the temperature between warm and cold, and set up a lighting schedule. And then you can add more compatible lights. From £15, ikea.com
26 Tado Smart Thermostat Starter Kit
This smart thermostat is an easy way of upgrading your home’s heating. You can adjust the temperature from the Tado’s LED matrix display or use the mobile app to control it remotely. If you want to be handsoff, you can create heating schedules via the app. Tado’s trump card, though, is its multi-zone heating, which ensures every room is warmed to perfection. £199 (+£50 for fitting), tado.com
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27 Canary Flex Security cameras tend to be designed either with the indoors or outdoors in mind, but the Canary Flex aces both. Thanks to its weatherproof shell it can stay outside all year round, no matter the weather. Or, you can place it in the corner of a room. The beauty of the Flex is in its wire-free design – with a battery powering its 1080p video feed, there’s no need for a cable, so you can put it anywhere you like. £200, canary.is
A smart plug is one of the least-expensive, yet most-useful, smart home products you can buy. The TP-Link HS110 smart plug makes all your dumb electricals clever. Just plug it into a wall socket and then connect a TV, lamp or coffee machine. You’ll then be able to turn devices on or off remotely, or you can even set up a schedule. The switch will also tell you how much each device is costing when it’s in use. £27, uk.tp-link.com
29 Nest Protect Most of us have got a smoke detector of some sort in the home, but none of them comes close to the capabilities of the Nest Protect. This smoke and carbon monoxide detector monitors for hazardous pollutants, and gives you a heads-up by pinging you an alert on your phone if it detects anything serious. If you’re just cooking a meal, you can silence an unnecessary alarm before it sounds. £99, nest.com
WorldMags.net 31 Hozelock Cloud Controller Kit
32 Bosch EasyCut 12
Netatmo’s Presence camera offers the perfect solution for those wanting to boost their home’s outdoor security. Attach it to a wall at the front or rear of your house (or both) and, using the app you can keep an eye on who’s coming and going. Its smart motion detection can tell the difference between people, animals and cars, and it’ll alert you immediately so you can view its 1080p video feed. To deter nighttime prowlers, the camera’s built-in floodlight will activate when its infrared sensor detects movement, so you’re always covered.
If the idea of having to actually go outside and water your garden by hand makes you feel slightly nauseated, then you’ll love the Hozelock Cloud Controller. Simply attach it to your outdoor tap, hook it up to one of Hozelock’s drip kits and you can supply water to your whole garden or pot plants when required. Then download the app to your phone, set up a watering schedule and you’ll never have to worry about parched soil again. The app instantly notifies of weather changes so you can easily adjust the watering schedule.
The Bosch EasyCut 12, a sort of mini chainsaw, takes care of the smaller jobs that its bigger brother would be overkill for, such as removing tree branches, cutting through planks of wood, or even fending off smaller hordes in a zombie apocalypse (please check they are definitely zombies first, though). There are no cables to accidentally saw through either – with a lithium-ion battery built into the base, you can use it anywhere, and the removable battery is interchangeable with other Bosch tools in the Power for ALL System.
30 Netatmo Presence
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33 Run Angel There are health perks to running outdoors, but what if you routinely run alone, especially on remote trails? If you want to enhance your personal safety, use Run Angel. This Bluetooth alarm has a built-in 120dB siren to scare off attackers. When the alarm sounds, Run Angel also sends an SOS text to your emergency contact, showing the date, time and location of where the alarm was triggered. £90, runangel.com
35 Clarisonic Alpha Fit Sure you can cleanse your skin with a hot cloth and facial wash, but if you want to ensure a thorough cleanse and tone every time you hit the shower try Clarisonic’s Alpha Fit. This waterproof, multi-bristle facial brush produces over 300 movements per second with a flexing action that dislodges dirt, excess oil and impurities. The result? Clean skin in under a minute. £136, clarisonic.co.uk
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34 Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Smart A Bluetooth toothbrush with Smart Sensor tech to track your teeth cleaning, provide personalised feedback and help you create a complete oral care routine? We’ll take it! Philips’ latest electric toothbrush has five cleaning modes and three levels of intensity, and comes with a travel case that doubles as a charger. There are five sensors keeping tabs on your brushing, plus a 3D Mouth Map (via the companion app) to point out whether you’ve missed a spot. £360, philips.co.uk
36 Smart Nora Is your snoring loud enough to rattle windows? Cut it out with Nora, a sleep solution comprising a pillow expander and smart sensor. Place the expander inside your pillowcase and put Nora on your bedside table. Once Nora detects the earliest snoring, the pillow expander inflates, gently raising your head to stimulate your throat and encourage quieter breaths. $299 (£227.57), smartnora.com
37 TomTom Spark 3 Cardio+Music
With its built-in heartrate monitor and onboard storage for 500+ songs, the third generation of TomTom’s durable GPS fitness watch is perfect for those looking to monitor their heart rate and listen to music without having to bring a smartphone along. Play tunes from the watch to your headphones, or take advantage of the Spark 3’s route tracking. £219.99, tomtom.com
38 Fitbit Alta HR A fitness tracker is an essential part of keeping tabs on your daily activity and health. Fitbit’s Alta HR offers monitoring that goes beyond simple step counting. It’ll automatically track your heart rate, using PurePulse tech, and your sleep and exercise (SmartTrack Auto Exercise Recognition). It’ll also help you understand the relationship between the calories you consume versus how many you burn – always essential for weight loss. From £129.99, fitbit.com
WorldMags.net 40 Dodow
Looking to make changes to your weight? The Nokia Body Scales offer full weight tracking and BMI data to help you monitor weight loss or weight gain. The Body Scales work with the Nokia Health Mate companion app, enabling you to keep tabs on your weight and spot repeating patterns in your weight loss or gain each week. Up to eight users can use the scales, with a specific Pregnancy Mode for mamas-to-be. £59.95, health.nokia.com
Stress, anxiety and other health conditions can make falling asleep an onerous task. Thankfully there’s an easy method for overcoming this, and the low-tech Dodow will help you master it. Once activated, Dodow projects a blue light onto your ceiling. You breathe in time with the light, which blossoms on the exhale and shrinks on the inhale. The slower your breath, the more you relax and the faster you fall asleep.
¤49 (£44.25), mydodow.com/en
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41 Misfit Shine 2 Swimmer’s Edition Take your swimming to the next level with the second generation of Misfit’s best-selling AI swim coach, designed in collaboration with Speedo. The lightweight and waterproof Shine 2 Swimmer’s Edition automatically counts your swim time and laps in the pool, as well as general activity out of the pool. Data is captured via the tracker’s built-in sensors and pinged to the Misfit companion app, giving you an overview of your progress. £99.99, misfit.com/uk_en
43 LVL Wearable
Hydration Monitor When you consider how dehydration wreaks havoc on energy levels, it’s crazy how few of us drink enough water to function, let alone to optimise a workout. The LVL is an app-controlled tracker that monitors your body’s hydration in real time. It uses infrared light to measure water in your blood, prompting you to drink more when needed and to work out how much extra you need for the exercise you do. $199.99 (£152.21), onelvl.com
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42 Braun Series 9 Titanium This titanium-coated beast makes quick work of tricky facial hair, thanks to Braun’s SyncroSonic tech that ‘reads’ your beard or stubble, checking its density 160 times per minute to deliver up to 40,000 cross-cutting actions every 60 seconds. The Series 9 utilises five shaving elements, including a HyperLift&Cut trimmer to lift then cut flat-lying hairs, plus a Direct&Cut trimmer to align any pesky hairs growing out in different directions. £329.99, uk.braun.com
LOVE FAMILY LIFE LOVE FAMILY LIFE
44 Cujo Smart Firewall Keeping your kids safe online has never been more important, nor has it been easier, thanks to Cujo. This Smart Firewall enables you to monitor your kids’ internet activity and limit usage. So if you say no internet after 8pm, Cujo enforces it. This appcontrolled device also keeps your connected home safe from web threats – its eyes even change shape when it’s fighting a cyber attack. Go, Cujo! From $99 (£74.69), getcujo.com
45 Angelcare AC417 Digital Video Baby Monitor
Keep eyes and ears on your sleeping baby with Angelcare’s movement and sound monitor. A wireless sensor sits under the cot mattress to monitor shifting and breathing, while a Nursery Unit, designed with a colourchanging display, surveys the scene via its built-in infrared camera. Alerts and footage are transmitted (maximum range of 250m) to your Parent Unit, which features two-way comms. £249.99, mothercare.com
47 iFetch Ball Launcher Exercise your beloved pooch without lifting a finger. Yes, the battery-operated iFetch Ball Launcher for small- to medium- sized dogs does the hurling for you, launching mini tennis balls 10, 20 or even 30 feet into the distance for your dog to catch; the distance it throws depends upon whether it’s you or pooch placing balls into the Launcher’s funnel. Proud owner of a Great Dane? Choose the bigger iFetch Too. £119.99, goifetch.com
46 Vango Hogan Hub Enjoy family life outdoors, whatever the weather, with Vango’s Hogan Hub. Inside this weatherproof shelter you can arrange camping chairs, a table and lighting (via Lantern Hanging Points) to make your get-together extra comfy. The Hogan Hub has a waterproof Protex 70 denier polyester flysheet, wind-resistant PowerFlex fibreglass poles and factory-taped seams on the groundsheet for a watertight seal. You can zip up the mesh panel doors to keep bugs and rain out. From £185, vango.co.uk
48 Triby Family Speaker Fit this voice-controlled, Alexa-enabled speaker to your fridge door or sit it on a table for your family to stream music or Ask Alexa. Triby has two VoIP call buttons so that, once paired with your smartphone, your kids can call for free. You can also send messages (via the app) to the speaker for your family to read on its E-Ink screen. £158.99, amazon.co.uk
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49 Here One Earbuds, but not as we know them. Here One’s buds, each individually powered and wire-free, filter outside noise and do a great job at blasting music. But that’s just the start – activate the listening mode and you can control the balance between outside sounds and your tunes, adjust the volume if you can’t hear quiet sounds, or engage noise filters which filter out specific frequencies. $299.99 (£232), hereplus.me
52 Chord Mojo It’s impossible to appreciate how good digital music can sound until you’ve heard it put through a proper conversion and amplification process, and listened with high-end headphones. Once you have, you’re not going to want to give it up. Chord’s aluminium-milled Mojo is the ideal portable headphone amp, with a 10hour battery life, a custom DAC, and line-level output. It sounds just awesome. £400, chordelectronics.co.uk
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51 Clint Digital Freya Bluetooth Speaker Special Edition
50 Gramovox Floating Record Player Vinyl is made to be enjoyed, and one of the key factors behind its modern resurgence is the tactile and visual thrill of the records themselves. If you really want to make the most of your collection – particularly those luridly coloured special editions – this vertical turntable combines that warm sound with a neat display. Built-in speakers mean you don’t need a separate amp (though you can use one if you prefer) and the belt-driven mechanism ensures flutter-free playback. $550 (£424), gramovox.com
53 Majority Barton
Retro DAB Radio
Compatible with DAB, DAB+ and FM signals, the small-footprint Barton Retro Radio can pick up Radio 4, which means it’s all but essential for the modern kitchen. It also features alarm and sleep functions, so it’s perfect for your bedside table, and its retro styling is neither too retro nor offensive. Don’t be fooled by the low price, because there’s nothing small about the sound of this unit. 9 £39.95, majoritytech.co.uk
54 Bose QuietComfort
30 in-ear headphones
Take advantage of Bose’s audio engineering experience and heritage with these precise and super comfortable Bluetooth headphones, with fully-adjustable noise cancelling and adaptive EQ. There’s no need to fiddle with the in-line buttons to get your settings just right, since Bose’s Connect app offers up a handy visual representation of your noise levels and Bluetooth connectivity £259.95, bose.co.uk
An elegant wireless speaker with beautiful Danish design from Phillip Bodum, the Red Dot award-winning Freya speaker looks even more awesome in this copper and black trim. It’s not just a Bluetooth speaker, though; grab two Freyas and you can pair the 7-watt units for perfectly synced stereo output and run them for a solid eight hours on the built-in battery. £176, clintdigital.com
55 Ninety7 Vaux The Amazon Echo Dot is a great idea – a cut-down version of the Echo proper that you can pair with your own amp. If you don’t have the amplification on hand, or you’d like something a little more streamlined, the cunningly designed Vaux has you covered. Slide your Echo Dot into its perfectly sized niche, plug in the cables, hide them by closing the rear panel, and you’re set for wire-free Echo amplification for up to six hours. £59.95, ninety7life.com
56 KEF Q350 The unique design of these bookshelf speakers isn’t just for the sake of looks. What seems to be a single cone is actually a pair of nestled drivers, with a 25mm vented aluminium tweeter located in the centre of a 16.5cm driver which handles the rest. KEF calls this complex engineering arrangement Uni-Q, and this latest Q-series iteration delivers some quite incredible audio clarity and power for a unit that’s so small. Probably the best mid-range speakers you can buy. £520, kef.com
57 Audio Technica ATH-SR5BT
58 Naim Uniti Atom
59 Astell &
The truly impressive battery life, a claimed 38 hours, shouldn’t be what draws you to these Bluetooth-capable cans: it’s the hi-res audio logo on the box. With support for aptX high-quality audio streaming, sound is brilliantly bright and clear. Cable up the ATH-SR5BT headphones and even more range is revealed. This is a truly great-sounding headset, full of bass and clarity without sacrificing any of that all-important overall soundstage.
Everything you need for home hi-res audio streaming in one place: a 40 watt class A/B amplifier, inputs for phono, optical and USB sources, Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity, and compatibility with just about every streaming service from Tidal to Spotify. Just plug in speakers, fire up the iOS or Android app, and you’re playing. Premium Burr Brown DACs and a 40-bit SHARC DSP processor ensure a brilliant output that’s a treat for the ears whatever your source.
If you’re a digital audiophile, you’re going to be pushing for the highest resolution and the finest digital-to-analogue conversion tech at all times. You get it here. A&K’s Kann, which supports just about every format and features the superb AKM AK4490 DAC, will make you wonder why you’ve been playing music on your phone for so long. It’s not just a player in its own right, either; hook up your computer and you can pipe your sounds through that immaculate DAC.
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61 Logitech ZeroTouch
60 Salomon Sense Pro Max Wave goodbye to runner’s foot and leg fatigue with the cushioned Sense Pro Max, Salomon’s high-tech trail shoe fitted with an Endofit neoprene sleeve for a lightweight, sock-style fit. If you find yourself on uneasy footing when running outdoors, you’ll love the midfoot stability and precision provided by the Sense Pro Max’s welded Sensifit overlays (upper) and kevlar Quicklaces. Get ’em in blue or green and start eating up those trail miles. £125, salomon.com/uk
63 Renault ZOE Exploring by car is fun. Pumping stinky emissions into the atmosphere is not. It’s time to go electric, especially when Renault’s playful, Fiesta-sized hatchback ZOE is so attractive. This five-door can run for up to 250 miles on a full charge and comes with a wall-mounted faster charger for installation at your home. Buy the car and the battery together, or lease the battery separately for a monthly fee. From £14,245, renault.co.uk
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64 URB-E Sport Inject some fun into your off-road pursuits with the URB-E Sport, a 30lb folding electric vehicle for messing around or commuting. Open it up and the Sport zooms along at 14mph, with a 16-mile range. It’s fitted with retractable, anodised handlebars, eight-inch ‘never-flat’ tires and a quad-bank charger so that you can use it to juice up your laptop or smartphone (USB 2.0 and Type-C) in an emergency. $899 (£678.24), urb-e.com
Ditch the fugly Bluetooth headset and transform your phone into a voicecontrolled, Alexa-powered smart assistant for the car. Snap your handset onto Logitech’s magnetic vent or dash-mounted gizmo and the ZeroTouch app (Android) launches automatically, leaving you free to call, text and email, select tunes, control navigation and command Alexa without taking your eyes off the road. From £49.99, logitech.com
65 Range Rover Velar Land Rover’s most stylish SUV yet is packed with premium tech. In-car multitasking is easy via dual 10-inch touch screens, enabling you to engage the sat nav, crank the multispeaker sound system and set climate control. A beefy four-cylinder V6 engine brings the power, while Autonomous Emergency Braking and Lane Departure Warning systems help you travel from A to B safely. From £44,830, landrover.co.uk
62 Bluesmart Series 2 Never lose your luggage again, thanks to Bluesmart’s long-haul cases featuring GPS and 3G global location tracking that syncs with your smartphone. A built-in battery has plenty of power in the tank for your laptop and other travel essentials like your phone and ereader, while built-in smart weight sensors coordinate with your flight information, alerting you if you’re over the weight allowance for your next flight. £450, uk.bluesmart.com
66 Thinkware F800 Dash Cam
If the Wi-Fi- and GPSenabled F800 detects you’ve been in a car accident, it sends location data to your emergency contacts. Via the Thinkware Cloud, it also connects to your smartphone, enabling you to check your car’s location if stolen. Front and rear video footage is captured by 1080p Sony Exmor R Starvis image sensors, along with nighttime footage. From £269, thinkware.com
67 Livall BH60SE
Take a tumble on your bike wearing Livall’s smart lid and a built-in sensor instructs the companion app (iOS/Android) to ping your exact location and an SOS message to your emergency contact. Two Bluetooth speakers, Sound Wave Control and a distortion-free, windproof mic mean you can take and make voice calls without lifting your hands off the bars. If you’re cycling with other LIVALL-toting riders, you can communicate with each other walkie-talkie style. Rad!
Make getting around on your bike easier with Beeline, an award-winning weatherproof bike compass that turns each ride into its own adventure. When you download the companion app and set a destination or waypoint, this nifty compass tells you the direction (via an arrow on the backlit display) and distance to wherever you’re headed. Simply charge the Beeline (one charge delivers 30 hours of use), clip it onto your bike and go for a ride. £99, beeline.com
69 Trek Super Commuter+ 9 The combination of Bosch PowerPack500 battery and 250 Watt CX motor makes Trek’s primo electric commuter a true mile-muncher. Supreme rider comfort is taken care of by a plush Bontrager Evoke 2 saddle, Schwalbe Super Moto-X tyres and sturdy Shimano XT. On the bars you’ll find a backlit Purion speedometer and battery gauge to keep tabs on performance, and a pair of Magura CarboTecture hydraulic disc brake levers for stopping.
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70 STK Binary 3 The cleverest cable on the market today, this handsome braided wire is particularly versatile, with attached converters to switch the micro-USB socket to Lightning or USB Type-C. That means that with a Binary 3 on board you’ll only need to carry a single cable for all of your devices. It’s a metre long, comes in your choice of gold or silver, and is capable of charging and USB communication. Every bag should have one. £29.99, stklife.com
73 Anker PowerCore II For a value brand, it’s surprising just how good Anker’s products are. Case in point: the three-port PowerCore II, which can output a total of six amps and accept a four amp input, meaning you can top up the entire 20,000mAh capacity of its battery in just six hours. That’s enough juice to charge an iPhone seven times over, all in a surge-protected package that’s sturdy enough to sit in your bag until you need it. £64.99, anker.com
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71 TAG Heuer
Connected Modular 45 Android Wear 2.0 for the true connoisseur. The 62.5-gram Connected Modular 45 combines TAG Heuer’s legendary Swiss build quality with your choice of components, from the case material and bezel, to the strap and buckles. If you fancy a mechanical watch instead, you can upgrade your central module at a later time, though this could cost as much as £14,000... £1,200, tagheuer.com
74 Tile Pro Connect your keys to your gadget network with the best tracker around. Now twice as loud, and with twice the range of previous models, the Tile Pro also adds Alexa support; ask Amazon’s assistant to find your keys, and if they’re in Bluetooth range they’ll emit a loud noise. If you’ve lost your phone, on the other hand, just press the button on the Tile and it’ll ring. The battery should also last 12 months. £29.99, thetileapp.com
72 Amazon Fire HD 8 2017
Small, reliable and with an attractive content ecosystem, the latest-generation Fire HD 8 tablet adds Alexa support, meaning it’s a perfect addition to your smart home. Available in your choice of five colours, it’ll keep going for up to 12 hours and lasts an eternity on standby. What’s more, a recent internal upgrade to a quad-core processor means it’s no slouch in the performance department. £79.99, amazon.co.uk
75 Samsung Galaxy S8 The beautiful curvededge Infinity display, which leaves the S8 completely without side bezels, is a joy to behold, but that’s just the start of a long list of super-powered features. It’s tough, with IP68-rated water- and dust-proofing. It’s powerful, using Samsung’s new 10nm processor. And in terms of connectivity, you’re spoiled for options; there’s support on board for both 802.11ac and Gigabit LTE. £689 (SIM-free), samsung.com/uk
76 Apple Watch Series 2
77 Google Wifi
78 Sony Xperia XZ Premium
The convenience of having everything right there on your wrist can’t be understated, and the delectable second-generation Apple Watch does its best. It pulls a bunch of features, such as GPS tracking, away from the phone so you can use it much more efficiently, and adds waterproofing so you can track your heart rate in the pool. The OLED Retina screen, twice as bright as the panel in the original’s, ensures you’ll be able to see your notifications in any and all conditions.
Wireless black spots are all too common, so banish those blues and boost your bars with a mesh Wi-Fi system like the superb Google Wifi. It’s ultra easy to set up, and simple to use. Just plug in multiple units around your home, with one hooked up to your internet connection, and it’ll send an intelligent net of signal through each room. Google reckons three of these inconspicuous cylinders should cover 4,500 square feet, and you can always add more later if you feel like it.
A true flagship phone from Sony, showcasing some remarkable features. Just how remarkable? Well, does a 5.5-inch HDR 4K screen fit the bill? How about an incredible rear camera, rocking 960fps slow-motion thanks to its Exmor RS sensor, and a 13MP front camera with a wide-angle lens? This is a superb package of top-end technology, and its combination of front-facing speakers and Snapdragon 835 chipset ensure you’ll be able to enjoy media and gaming on the move.
From £369, apple.com/uk
£229 (two units), madeby.google.com/wifi
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CAPTURE & CREATE
79 Moleskine Smart Writing Set
There are plenty of ways to draw on screen, but none of them has the tactile pleasure of pen and paper. If you prefer old-school sketching, you can give it a modern twist with Moleskine’s Smart Writing set, a combination of notebook, smart pen and companion app, which turns your drawings into a scaleable image. You can also combine notes with audio recordings. £199, moleskine.com
82 DJI Mavic Pro Drones are amazing for ﬁlming, but you can’t cheap out. DJI’s Mavic Pro is sturdy and compact and neatly folds away when not in use. Aerial video is where it shines, taking 30fps 4K video and broadcasting a 1080p live feed up to 7km away. Flight autonomy means it should avoid any scrapes with objects closer than 15m, and it’ll return home when you’re done. £999, dji.com
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80 Pimoroni Mood
Light Project Kit With a Wi-Fi-enabled Raspberry Pi Zero W, an LED-infused Unicorn pHAT which attaches on top, and all the components you need (bar a microSD card) to create a programmable mood light, this is perfect for anyone interested in coding or electronics. You’ll need a soldering iron, but even a beginner can put this together in half an hour. £30, pimoroni.com
83 Olloclip Active Lens Set
Smartphone image sensors are better than they’ve ever been, but photographic options remain limited. You can’t strap on a kit lens for a different look, right? Wrong. Olloclip’s collection of lenses, which slide over your iPhone’s front and rear cameras, mean you can enjoy optically zoomed telephoto shots and ultrawide landscape ones. £119.99, olloclip.com
81 Leica Sofort It’s odd that Leica’s ﬁrst instant camera comes so long after the company was founded, but instant pics are back in style, so we’re not complaining. The Sofort is a formidable snapper, and it shows the fun you can have with this kind of camera; it’s supercompact and simple, with a variety of settings. You can take manual control too‚ and with 60mm Leica optics, you won’t waste ﬁlm. £250, leica-camera.com
84 Wacom Intuos Pro
Medium Pen Tablet Interacting with your PC or Mac doesn’t have to involve a mouse. If you’re into art and don’t fancy the outlay of a Microsoft Surface Studio, making the leap to pen control with Wacom’s Intuos is a perfect middle ground. Its Pro Pen sports 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity and detects tilt angles, so your brush strokes will always come out just right. £329.99, wacom.com
86 Panasonic Lumix GH5
87 Microsoft Surface Studio
Dragging around serious photographic equipment is enough to make many budding snappers turn away from the hobby, but Manfrotto’s BeFree tripod solves at least part of the problem. Made of carbon fibre, it’s the perfect combination of sturdy and light, weighing in at just 1.1kg. It has a unique folding mechanism which, in conjunction with its quick-release ball head, reduces its length from a maximum 1.42m to a mere 40cm, and comes with a padded carry case.
If you’re shooting 4K, the flexibility to choose your own lens and take high-quality stills is paramount‚ and Panasonic’s mirrorless Lumix GH5 does it all. It can extract 18MP stills from 30fps 4K footage, take burst 20.2MP pics with full autofocus at 9fps with a 100-shot raw buffer, shoot Cinema 4K footage at 60fps, and much more. Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth means you can extract your footage with minimal fuss, and it’s compatible with the entire Micro FourThirds lens range.
Microsoft’s most creative PC design ever builds on the Surface Pro’s reputation as a killer tablet for creative types – the Surface Studio is the ideal combination of powerful hardware and artist-friendly tools. Its 4500x3000 screen is 28 inches of design bliss. Fold it flat to studio mode and it’s perfect for sketching with the 1,024-level pressure-sensitive Surface Pen; bring in the Surface Dial for tool selection and you may never touch the mouse and keyboard again.
£1,699 (body only), panasonic.com/uk
From £2,999, microsoft.com
85 Manfrotto BeFree Compact Travel Carbon Fiber Tripod
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88 Das Keyboard 4 Professional
Everyone knows real work happens as loudly as possible, so make sure you’ve got a mechanical keyboard to clack away on. Das Keyboard uses tactile Cherry MX key switches, and the Professional has a numberpad for data crunching, plus media control keys and a big volume dial. If you aren’t as keen on the noise, you can get quieter switches that still feel great to type on. £139.99, daskeyboard.com
91 LSGC Genesis
Dynaspectrum Lamp The power of science has revealed that our moods and attention span can be affected by light wavelengths, and this smart light is designed to keep you be your best self at any time. When you need to work, keep it on the ‘Awake & Alert’ option to provide light that boosts your focus. When you want to head to bed, switch to the ‘Good Night’ mode. £139, lsgc.com
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89 ADATA SD700 Everyone’s got more precious data than ever, so make sure you’re keeping it safe with this ruggedised SSD. Available in 256GB, 512GB and 1TB capacities, the exterior offers militarygrade protection against drops, and it’s IP68-rated against water and dust, so no need to worry when you spill coffee on it, then push it off the desk during cleaning. With transfer speeds of 400MB/s via USB 3, it’s snappy as hell. £183 (512GB), adata.com
92 Brooks England
Pickzip Backpack A practical commute doesn’t have to mean dropping your sense of style. This backpack is made for commuter cyclists, featuring a protective laptop sleeve and a cross-chest buckle to keep your tech safe and secure, but also look fashionable. The outside is a water-resistant cotton, so even a surprise downpour won’t be a worry. £230, brooksengland.com
SmartDesk mini Standing desks are good for health and fitness, but we get it if you don’t fancy the idea of being on your feet all day. The SmartDesk mini is a motorised stand that can work at different heights, so if you want to sit for a while, then stand in the afternoon, you can just press a button to raise your monitor, keyboard and mouse up to a comfortable height (or lower them back down). £194, autonomous.ai
93 HP Envy 27s 4K
Ultra-HD Monitor Add a sharp 4K screen to your workspace with this smart display from HP. The IPS panel is crisp and clear from all angles, and the 3840x2160 resolution with 99 per cent sRGB colour reproduction makes images look awesome. At 27 inches, it’s a bit of a beast, but you can’t beat a big monitor for complex jobs. It even supports AMD FreeSync for gaming. £499.99, hp.com
94 Apple iMac with Retina 4K display
The 21.5-inch iMac is a great office companion, giving you plenty of screen space (and packed with detail, thanks to a 4096x2304 resolution), but its small footprint won’t take up your whole desk. You get quad-core power, 1TB of zippy Fusion Drive storage, capable graphics and a great range of ports. It’s perfect for photography and other creative endeavours, but that screen is lovely for tackling everything from Word documents to inbox hell. From £1,249, apple.com/uk
95 HP Spectre x360
96 Apple iPad Pro 10.5-inch
Super-portable and flexible, this ultra-thin laptop’s 13.9-inch touchscreen folds around so you can use it as a tablet, but we think it’s strongest just as a lightweight work machine. The battery life is excellent, it’s really well-made and looks great, performance is strong, and there’s even the option of a 4K screen (it’s Full HD otherwise). There’s also a 15-inch model available, if you want a bigger physical space in which to work.
The best tablet in the world right now is more powerful than most laptops, and has an amazing 120Hz, 2224x1668 screen that makes everything look incredibly detailed and responds totally smoothly, like you’re interacting with real objects. The size of this model is great for light multitasking, but you can step up to the 12.9-inch model for even more space. Plus, add an Apple Pencil for a near-perfect note-taking and drawing experience, or a keyboard for typing.
From £1,069, hp.com
From £619, apple.com/uk
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97 Smarter iKettle The third-generation iKettle makes heating water a breeze. It boils from your smartphone, as well as integration with Amazon Echo for voicecontrolled activation. A Wake Up and Home mode readies your hot water for when you get up in the morning and when you return home, ready for a good brew. Our advice: pay the extra thirty quid and get it in the glorious White & Gold colour scheme. £100, smarter.am
99 FoodSaver FFS010
with Fresh Container & Zipper Bags The Foodsaver Fresh Food Preservation System enables you to keep your food fresh for longer with its expert sealing. Using compatible Foodsaver Fresh Containers or Zipper Bags, it removes all the air inside. Place the bag onto the base, adjust the height of the vacuum head and press the Start button to start sucking. £78.78, foodsaver.co.uk
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98 Nespresso Prodigio If you’re a fan of the Nespresso way of making coffee – its capsule system is able to conjure up an espresso in an instant – then you’ll love the smart version of this classic coffee machine. The Prodigio enables you to control your espresso brew right from your smartphone, and you can schedule your coffee hit for the inevitable mid-afternoon crash. It also gives you an overview of your capsule stock level and it’ll tell you when it’s time to give your Prodigio itself some TLC. £130, nespresso.com
kMix BLX750 Food has nowhere to hide with Kenwood’s kMix BLX750. Packing Multi-Zone blades, you can blend, crush or puree foods to your heart’s content. The ThermoResist container is capable of handling hot and cold ingredients, and with various speed and pulse options you can get the consistency you want. £130, kenwoodworld.com/uk
101 AEG SenseCook Electric Oven A BBQ would normally be the go-to choice for cooking steaks the way T3 likes them, but AEG’s SenseCook Electric Oven could well sway us. Its assisted cooking feature cooks what you want, how you want it. The built-in FoodSensor also ensures an optimum core temperature of anything you put in, so you won’t be greeted with a burnt steak or undercooked veg when you open the oven door. And there won’t be any food fallout to scrub off afterwards as the SenseCook boasts a Pyrolytic self-cleaning function. £949, aeg.co.uk
LETWorldMags.net THE AMAZON ECHO CHANGE YOUR LIFE TODAY Discover everything you need to know to get the most from Amazonâ€™s voice-activated speaker and its built-in digital assistant, Alexa
Ordering is easy. Go online at:
www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk Or get it from selected supermarkets & newsagents
KICK START YOUR SMART HOME
SUPER SIX: BLUETOOTH SPEAKERS
MAN VS TECH: COFFEE MACHINES
SUPER SIX: TURNTABLES
STATE OF THE ART: WIRELESS MUSIC SYSTEMS
“From smart bulbs and coffee machines to essential wireless music systems, get the ultimate smart home setup with T3’s in-depth guides, product tests and reviews” 3 4 T3 ANNUAL
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Kickstart your smart home
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KICKSTART YOUR SMART HOME
Want to build your very own smart home setup, but not sure where to start? Welcome to T3’s connected home makeover guide, featuring the essential gadgets your pad needs – and all our main picks are under £180! WORDS NICK ODANTZIS/MATT BOLTON PHOTOGRAPHY NEIL GODWIN
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WorldMags.net DOOR LOCK
Yale Keyless Connected From £148.99, yalestore.co.uk
WHERE TO USE IT Yale’s smart lock replaces your existing nightlatch and is suitable for wooden doors.
WHAT IT DOES Rather than fiddle with a key upon entry of your home, you can unlock your front door simply by tapping in a pin code via the built-in touchscreen. Alternatively, you can use a key card or key tag to wirelessly scan your way in, or you can use a remote fob to do the deed from a distance – as you’re pulling up on your driveway, for instance. There’s no smartphone integration – instead you get a choice of adding on either a Yale or Z-Wave module to the lock, enabling you to connect it up to the Yale alarm system or Z-Wave-supported smart home hub (such as Samsung SmartThings). You can then lock or unlock the door remotely using the respective app.
WHAT IT WORKS WITH Yale, Samsung SmartThings
NOW SUPERCHARGE IT! When connected to a Samsung SmartThings setup with LIFX Wi-Fi light bulbs attached, you can set up your Yale lock so the lights automatically come on when you unlock it, and turn off when you lock it again.
ALTERNATIVELY… AUGUST LOCK $229, august.com Though not yet available in the UK, when it’s finally released (later this year), the August Smart Lock will work with all doors using a mortice lock and will officially be the smartest lock you can get your hands on, with support for voice assistants Siri, Alexa or Google Assistant, meaning you can unlock your front door just by asking it.
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WorldMags.net Hive Active Heating From £179.99, hivehome.com
WHERE TO USE IT In the room you spend the majority of your time – for most of us this is downstairs in the lounge. This way the Hive thermostat will control the heating according to where you are.
WHAT IT DOES Hive’s smart thermostat keeps your home’s temperature exactly how you like it – just set it on the dial, or via the smartphone app, and your boiler will step in, ramping up the radiator heating to raise the level, and cutting it when it’s reached the desired temperature. A smart scheduler within the app saves you having to manually adjust the temperature; tell it how hot you’d like it, and at what time you want the temperature set at, and Hive will do the rest of the work. You can even use your phone’s location to receive alerts when, for example, you left home and forgot to turn the heating off.
WHAT IT WORKS WITH Hive, Amazon Alexa
NOW SUPERCHARGE IT! Combine Hive Acting Heating with the companion Hive Window or Door Sensor, and you can set your heating to turn off when you leave home and turn on when you get back.
ALTERNATIVELY… NEST £219, nest.com The Nest thermostat is more expensive than the Hive, but it’s also more intelligent, adjusting your heating without your input, and Works with Nest supports a variety of third-party products, such as Philips Hue.
Logitech Circle 2 From £169.99, logitech.com
battery. The Circle 2 can be placed anywhere in your home without being tethered to a mains socket, and its weatherproof shell means it’ll work perfectly outside, all year round.
WHERE TO USE IT
WHAT IT WORKS WITH
Logitech’s second-gen cam can be used indoors or outdoors, making for a seriously flexible solution for home monitoring.
WHAT IT DOES
The Logi Circle 2 is great for keeping an eye on your whole home, wherever you are. Just grab your tablet or smartphone and you can view a live feed, at a crisp 1080p resolution. The super-wide 180-degree field of view enables you to see loads of detail. When the camera sees something, it’ll ping you a notification the moment it happens. Circle 2 comes in two different flavours – wired (for power) or completely wire-free, with a rechargeable
Amazon Alexa, HomeKit
NOW SUPERCHARGE IT! Using your phone’s location, Circle 2 will detect when you’re at home and only send you camera notifications when you’re not in.
ALTERNATIVELY… CANARY FLEX £199, canary.is The Flex can be used indoors or out, wired or wire free. The 360-degree swivel base makes for versatile viewing, but the field of view isn’t as impressive as the Circle 2.
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WorldMags.net Foobot From £169.99, logitech.com
WHERE TO USE IT Any home, no matter whether you’re living in a busy city or in a country home in the middle of nowhere. It should be placed in a central location at about head height.
WHAT IT DOES The air we breathe should be as clean as possible – the health benefits are pretty obvious – but according to the makers of Foobot, the air inside our homes is about five times as polluted as the air outside. What you can do about it? Foobot measures indoor air and alerts you to any anomalies, such as excessive humidity, or lots of toxins or particles in the air. When Foobot is blue, the air is good, when it’s orange something is wrong, enabling you to act – whether it’s simply opening a window to let your house breathe, or giving your house a thorough dust and vacuum.
WHAT IT WORKS WITH Amazon Alexa, Nest, Ecobee, Honeywell, LUX
NOW SUPERCHARGE IT! Sign up to IFTTT (ifttt.com) and if you have a Bluair Sense+ air purifier in your home, you can get it to kick in when Foobot detects high amounts of air pollution.
ALTERNATIVELY… DYSON PURE HOT + COOL LINK £499, dyson.co.uk Dyson’s connected air purifier takes Foobot’s abilities to the next level, not only measuring air quality but pro-actively purifying the air of particles as small as 0.1 microns as soon as it detects pollution. It also keeps you cool in the summer and heats your home in the winter.
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WorldMags.net Philips Hue White Ambiance Starter Kit From £89, philips.co.uk
WHERE TO USE IT They’re great for any room – Philips makes bulbs with different fittings, including screw, bayonet and spotlights.
WHAT IT DOES Philips Hue gives you complete control over your home’s lightning. Using your phone you can remotely turn your lights on and off, and set a schedule to automate your lighting, so for example, the lights turn on when it starts getting dark and turn off when you go to bed. The set does come with a wireless wall switch – no installation required. The bulbs are dimmable, and you can adjust the light’s warmth to suit your eyes’ level of comfort. (A cheaper £59 starter kit comes with white-only bulbs and no wall switch.) You can add up to 50 Hue lights to one system across your home.
WHAT IT WORKS WITH Amazon Alexa, HomeKit, Nest, Google Assistant, Bosch Smart Home, Samsung SmartThings
NOW SUPERCHARGE IT! Add a motion sensor and you could have your lights come on dimly if it detects movement towards the bathroom at night.
ALTERNATIVELY… LIFX COLOUR 1000 £59.99 (per bulb), lifx.com LIFX bulbs have Wi-Fi, so there’s no need for a bridge to be connected to your router. The colour-changing bulbs are mighty impressive, enabling you to create a kaleidoscope of colours.
WeMo Insight Switch
turning them on or off remotely, scheduling when they’re in use, and getting energy consumption details on all your electricals, so you know how much they’re costing you.
WHAT IT WORKS WITH Amazon Alexa, Nest, Google Assistant
NOW SUPERCHARGE IT! WHERE TO USE IT Absolutely anywhere there’s a mains socket – just plug it in to the wall and then plug in the device you want to make smart.
If you have a Nest thermostat installed, you can connect your switch to this, and using the thermostat’s Home and Away feature, have your electricals turn on when you leave and on when you return home.
WHAT IT DOES If you’re looking to dip your toes in the smart home waters, you’ll find no gadget better suited. Belkin’s WeMo Insight Switch hooks up to your Wi-Fi network, enabling you to gain control over any electricals attached to it, whether it’s lights, a TV, or even a washing machine. This includes
ALTERNATIVELY… ELGATO EVE ENERGY £44.95, elgato.com Elgato’s plug might be iOS only, which is unfortunate for Android users, but you get simple Bluetooth setup, and neat features, such as geofencing and Siri voice control.
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Smarter iKettle From £99.99, smarter.am
WHERE TO USE IT The iKettle will save you time spent waiting in the kitchen for your water to boil.
WHAT IT DOES Connoisseurs of steamy beverages will love what Smarter’s third-generation iKettle can do. The headline feature is the ability to remotely boil water, so you can have it ready when you grab a mug, or you can set a Home and Away schedule to brew when you need a hit – morning or evening. You can also tailor the temperature (between 20-100 degrees celsius) to your particular drink, giving you the perfect brew every time, and if you fancy another, iKettle will keep its water warm for up to 40 minutes.
WHAT IT WORKS WITH Amazon Alexa, Nest
NOW SUPERCHARGE IT! Got a Nest Cam watching over your baby as it sleeps? When it stirs, iKettle will heat its water to formula level, ready for a feed.
ALTERNATIVELY… SMARTER COFFEE (2ND GEN) £179.99, smarter.am If you prefer beans to leaves, this machine will also grind and roast for a fresh cup of joe.
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SMART BREWING MACHINE
KICKSTART YOUR SMART HOME
Nest Protect £89, nest.com
WHERE TO USE IT On a ceiling or wall, in any home where you want to fit it and forget – this smoke alarm looks after itself, as well as your health.
WHAT IT DOES This smoke detector monitors for smoke (both slow and fast-burning fires) or carbon monoxide in the air, and alerts you through smart notifications on your phone and via its built-in voice, telling you exactly what is wrong. An early warning gives you a heads up that something isn’t right, so you can act before the alarm sounds.
WHAT IT WORKS WITH Nest, WeMo, LIFX, Philips Hue, HomeKit
NOW SUPERCHARGE IT! When paired with a Nest thermostat, Protect can turn off your heating if there’s a carbon monoxide leak.
ALTERNATIVELY… ROOST SMART BATTERY £40, getroost.com Replace your standard smoke detector battery with this and get notifications if the alarm goes off and an early low battery warning via your phone.
Netatmo Weather Station From £169, netatmo.com
WHERE TO USE IT WEATHER STATION
Netatmo’s weather station works both indoors and out, meaning you can master your complete environment.
better forecast its future, and it’ll be specific to your exact location.
WHAT IT WORKS WITH Amazon Alexa
WHAT IT DOES Consisting of an indoor and outdoor module, the Weather Station monitors the air inside your house as well as outside it. Hook the module up to your phone and via the app you’ll get readings for temperature, humidity, air quality, and much more, and the indoor unit will even tell you how loud your home is – perfect for homes full of screaming kids, then. Ally the Weather Station with Netatmo’s optional Wind Gauge (£89.99) and Rain Gauge (£59), and you can be your own fully fledged weather expert. With all the above sensors installed around your premises, you’ll be able to accurately track the weather over time and
NOW SUPERCHARGE IT! Want an immediate weather update? Just ask Alexa and you’ll get a handy report spoken to you, whether it’s the current temperature outside or how much rain is expected in the next few days.
ALTERNATIVELY… ELGATO EVE WEATHER £44.95, elgato.com If you’ve already got an indoor sensor but you’d like to extend to the outdoors, Elgato offers this sensor, offering info on temperature, humidity and air pressure. As with all Elgato products, this is iOS only.
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WorldMags.net Netatmo Tags From £89.99, netatmo.com
WHERE TO USE IT Tags can be placed on any door or window thoughout the home, and you can even place them on an external gate or garage door outside, thanks to their weatherproof design.
WHAT IT DOES
DOOR AND WINDOW SENSOR
One of the best ways you can improve the security in your home is by installing door and window sensors. When fitted, the Netatmo Tags detect motion, so if a window is opened, you’ll receive notifications on your phone. The vibration detection also means that you’ll be alerted to a potential intrustion, even before it’s actually happened – giving you the advantage over those pesky crims. The app gives you an overview of all the sensors in your home, so when you leave the home you can always double-check that you’ve not left a door or window open.
WHAT IT WORKS WITH Amazon Alexa, HomeKit
NOW SUPERCHARGE IT! The Tags only work with a Netatmo Welcome camera (£154), which enables you to connect them to your Wi-Fi network. The advantage of using the security camera is that when a Tag senses an intrusion, you can also see what is happening in real time, provided the camera is pointed at a sensor.
ALTERNATIVELY… MYDLINK HOME WI-FI MOTION SENSOR £41.99, dlink.com If you want motion-sensing abilities in your home, but don’t want to have to buy a hub to get it working, the mydlink sensor has Wi-Fi built in, so it’ll pair with your phone and give you notifications out of the box. The caveat is that it needs to be plugged into a mains socket, which limits where you can place it.
Logitech Harmony Hub £99.99, logitech.com
WHAT IT WORKS WITH
Alexa, Samsung SmartThings, Nest, Philips Hue, LIFX
LOGITECH HARMONY ELITE £299, logitech.com The Elite package includes the hub, but you also get a proper remote with touchscreen built in, giving you easy access to all the most crucial functions of your devices, in case your phone battery has died, or it’s down the back of the sofa (again).
NOW SUPERCHARGE IT! Using Harmony Activities, you can perform multiple actions using a single tap of your phone. Party mode sets your lights to warm and turns on your music.
WHERE TO USE IT The hub sits in the lounge, where it can connect to your TV, hi-fi and more.
WHAT IT DOES The Logitech Harmony Hub connects all of your entertainment and smart home devices and enables you to control them using only one app, turning your phone into an epic universal remote. So, whether you want to adjust the volume, play your Xbox or turn on your smart lighting kit, you can do so from the app – including from outside the home.
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HOME CINEMA CONTROL
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Bringing it all together
Built a suite of smart home gear? Here’s how to connect it all up smoothly Much like Pringles, once you start picking up smart home gear, it’s hard to stop. When you’ve had the benefit of smart lighting, you’ll be heading back for motion sensors, security cameras, air sensors and the rest. And that’s great, because what really makes a smart home smart is when you get all this stuff working together seamlessly.
From heating to light – a family of products HOMEKIT
GET YOURSELF CONNECTED Most smart home products are compatible with a variety of systems that let them talk to each other, usually via some kind of central controlling hub. Here, we’ll cover all the most important ones, and how you can control them using apps, voice and more. When you buy, look out for the icons on the right, to know what they work with. These aren’t the only ways you can get different products to talk to each other – tech like Logitech’s POP buttons (see issue 268) enable you to control multiple products at once, but they sometimes piggyback on these other systems to do it, or work on a more ad hoc basis, without the official labelling these have.
Hive is big in the UK, with lots of people getting into the system via British Gas offering the smart thermostat. But that’s just part of a larger family of products, all of which connect to, and are controlled by, the Hive Hub. If you have a Hub, you can buy any product from Hive and know it will work easily enough. Hive sells its own smart plugs, light bulbs, and motion sensors, which are controlled through a single app. The app doesn’t help with any smart home products from other manufacturers, though. If you want a single controller for Hive stuff as well as other smart home products, your best bet is Amazon Echo (see right). All Hive products can be voice controlled from it – just say “Alexa, tell Hive to…” and they make your request.
Nest The smart home pioneer can still be the centre of your tech lifestyle Nest’s smart thermostat was the early poster child for the smart home, designed to be a hub that could control the smart home products from other manufacturers, before products like Echo and Google Home existed. And it still does this, through its Works With Nest programme. Belkin WeMo plugs, LIFX light bulbs, Logitech Harmony remotes and more can all talk to each other using a Nest thermostat, Nest Protect alarm or Nest Cam as a conduit. Nest makes a point that it’s all very private too – you’ll know
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what data is being shared between devices, and all the connections are encrypted. The Nest products can take some automated control of your other smart home products, if you let it. For example, if you’re away from the house, Nest will tell your WeMo plugs to turn off automatically and save power. And if your Nest Protect detects carbon monoxide, it can turn smart lightbulbs red. You can also control Nest products from the apps of stuff it works with, such as changing the heating from the WeMo app.
KICKSTART YOUR SMART HOME
WorldMags.net The Echo family Amazon Echo
AMAZON ECHO (£149.99)
The ultimate smart home companion? Amazon’s Alexa assistant controls just about anything with your voice The most famous smart home controller, Amazon’s Echo microphone and speaker has earned its status. Not only can the built-in assistant, Alexa, answer queries about the weather, play music, and even read audiobooks when asked, it can control a huge, huge range of smart home products. Compatibility with Alexa is the hot trend for new tech, so everything from thermostats, to lights, to locks, to power sockets, to garden automation works with it. You expand the Echo’s capabilities by adding ‘skills’ via the Alexa app on iOS or Android for new gear, though it’s not just about hardware – there are skills for things like ordering takeaway from Just Eat, finding out what you’re spending on
energy, or hearing the headlines from major newspapers. There’s a bunch of Echo devices (see the guide to the right), and Alexa is also being built into other devices such as speakers, though many so far are a bit on the cheap side. You can also access Alexa through Kindle Fire tablets. Alexa and its skills are configured through the Alexa app, but you don’t get smart home control through that app – all the setup required needs to be done in the app of whatever product you’re using. This is purely about control, not configuration. But once you’ve told your lightbulbs that they’re in the living room, say, you can start telling Alexa “Turn off the living room lights” and you’ll get the result you want.
AMAZON ECHO DOT (£49.99)
AMAZON ECHO SHOW ($229.99)
AMAZON ECHO LOOK ($199.99)
The standalone voice control option, with built-in speakers, mic and Alexa assistant. Echo, but cheaper and no speakers. Hook up to your existing speakers (cable or wireless). Adds a screen over the normal Echo, for video calling and extra info. UK release still TBC. A narcissist’s dream: a camera that judges your outfit. Not out in UK; it’s a bit weird anyway.
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WorldMags.net Google Home
The big G’s new home assistant device offers growing home device help as well as general Google smarts Like Amazon Echo, Google Home is designed to be a voice-powered assistant, rather than just a smart home controller – but it does that too, of course. Home’s voice smarts are provided by Google Assistant, which can pull information like the weather or your schedule, but you can also ask it questions in the way that you might Google them, and it’ll offer the most useful result, so this even includes translation to foreign languages, or a trivia question. (Although, in many cases, it’ll be pulling the answer from a web search rather than a database of confirmed facts, so you can’t always be sure it’ll be correct…) The important thing for us, though, is that it can control lots of smart home products. Like Amazon Echo, Google Home can only issue
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commands for existing setups – you can’t use it to create a smart home configuration. But it works with Hive, SmartThings and Nest, as well as several other big home tech companies. Once your devices are set up in their own app, you can add them to Google Home’s capabilities within its app. Amazon Echo works with a broader range of devices right now, but Home has the key bases covered, and will only grow with the weight of Google behind it. Google Assistant is available on phones as a voice assistant (built-in on some, or as an app on others, including iPhone), and can control things in the same way as Home, so if you’re not in the same room as your Home, you can speak to your phone and get the same experience and control options.
Samsung SmartThings Like Hive, this is a family of products controlled from a specific SmartThings hub. It’s mostly focused on sensors – including motion sensors, moisture, door and window sensors, and a ‘presence’ sensor that someone carries to tell you when they enter or leave the house. There is a more active device, in the form of a smart power plug. However, unlike Hive, there’s a range of smart home products from other manufacturers that are compatible with the system, including cameras, lights and speakers. These can all be controlled and linked through the SmartThings app for iOS and Android, and can be set to trigger each other automatically. It doesn’t have its own voice command option, but you can control a SmartThings setup via Google Home (and Google Assistant on your phone) and Amazon Echo.
KICKSTART YOUR SMART HOME
WorldMags.net Apple HomeKit Voice control and a clever app for a huge range of smart home gear… but only for Apple users HomeKit is a system developed by Apple that lets smart home products see what each other can do, and work together. It all ties together through the iPhone or iPad – any smart home products that are HomeKit compatible appear in the Home app (they also have their own separate apps, as usual). In the Home app, you can control them, but also create groups of devices by room, and put together a series of commands behind a single button press, like a macro (Apple calls these ‘scenes’), so you could create a “movie” Scene that turns on the TV and dims the lights. You can set automations too, based on time or things like having a motion sensor trigger a camera and set of lights. Anything within the Home app can also be controlled via Siri voice control. HomeKit only works locally, when your device is connected directly to the gear on the same network or within Bluetooth range, unless you have an Apple TV or iPad in the house and plugged in. These can act as remote access hubs for your HomeKit devices, so your iPhone’s Home app can talk over the internet to your Apple TV or iPad, which then passes the instruction out to the devices in your house. Like Nest, HomeKit devices use an encrypted connection. There’s no HomeKit control for Android users – they’ll have to rely on the other systems here.
Meet HomePod Apple’s version of the Echo could be an ideal smart home companion Coming in December 2017, the Apple HomePod is a wireless speaker that’s also a smart home control device. The order is kind of important there, because while the Amazon Echo is all about being a voice assistant first that also plays music, the tech in HomePod is geared mostly towards awesome-sounding audio. Siri is on-board for voice control, but it does less than on the iPhone as a full AI assistant. However, the important part for us is that it’s still equipped with all of its smart home savvy, so you can tell the HomePod to control your HomeKit-connected kit just like you would your phone, and it will respond. Even better, the HomePod can act as a remote access point, in the same way as the Apple TV and iPad mentioned above, so one of these in your house gives you secure access to all your HomeKit tech over the internet. At over £300 (UK price TBC), it’s a lot more expensive than the likes of Echo or Google Home, but the speaker tech will supposedly be audiophile level. So if you want home control and a nice wireless speaker, and are less into AI smarts, this could be perfect.
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Wireless audio wonders WITH TOP-DRAWER SPEAKER TECH AND POSH DESIGNS, THESE PREMIUM BLUETOOTH SYSTEMS ARE DESIGNED TO BRING OUT THE AUDIOPHILE IN YOU 03
R PA R T Y P E O P LE
Words: Danny Phillips
I L E M U SIC
02 ONE FOR BUDGET BANGERS
01 ONE FOR MOBILE MUSIC
02 ONE FOR BUDGET BANGERS
03 ONE FOR PARTY PEOPLE
HARMAN KARDON GO + PLAY
ACOUSTIC ENERGY AEGO BT2
JBL CONTROL X WIRELESS
With its solid stainless steel handle and durable fabric finish, this stylish, robust Bluetooth speaker will easily withstand the rigours of day-to-day lugging. Firm buttons and illuminated icons on the rubber top panel make operation easy, while a rear USB port charges your devices. The eight-hour battery life is measly compared with rivals but Harman makes up for it with solid sound quality. The quad drivers and 100W amp achieve a lovely balance across the frequencies, with tight, agile bass and sparkling treble, although it doesn’t get the spine tingling like the Beolit 17 does.
The BT2’s chunky compact enclosure is beautifully engineered from aluminium, with robust rubber panels and tactile top controls. Most rivals opt for mono at this size but not the BT2 – it uses dual 2.5-inch drivers and side-facing bass radiators. From a full charge, the BT2 offers an astonishing 36 hours of playback and belies its compact size with a powerful sound. It’s cohesive and well-balanced, with smooth treble and solid bass. It strains a touch at loud volumes and can’t match the B&O and Edifier for clarity, but otherwise its performance is excellent for the money.
These battery-powered Bluetooth speakers deliver true stereo sound without cables, communicating wirelessly up to 30m apart. The rugged, rubber-heavy design is perfect for outdoors, with rear bass ports doubling as carry handles. In action, they’re astonishingly powerful, offering a huge soundstage and bucketloads of bass from large cone woofers. Drums thump like a live performance and vocals emerge between the two speakers as if by magic through JBL’s HDI waveguides. But with only four hours of playback, you won’t get to enjoy it for long.
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WorldMags.net ou can pick up a Bluetooth speaker for peanuts these days, but when it comes to performance settling for a sub-£100 speaker is often a false economy – with bass an alien concept and
less power than the Lib Dems, you might as well be listening through a tin can on a string. So if you’re serious about sound quality it’s worth investing in a decent speaker that can do justice to your treasured tunes. With that in
mind, T3 has summoned six premium wireless speakers between £100 and £500, all equipped with superior sound tech and swanky designs that’ll turn your music files into a thing of unparalleled beauty.
PERFECT FOR SUMMER
05 ONE FOR ST YLE GURUS
06 ON E
04 O NE F OR
BA RG AI N HU NT ER S
04 ONE FOR CONNOISSEURS
05 ONE FOR STYLE GURUS
06 ONE FOR BARGAIN HUNTERS
B&O BEOLIT 17
LIBRATONE ZIPP COPENHAGEN EDIFIER LUNA ECLIPSE
B&O’s typically swanky portable speaker boasts a heavy-duty aluminium grille, leather carry handle and dished rubber top to handily park your phone. A customisable top button can be assigned different tasks (alarm, EQ presets) in the BeoPlay app, where you can also pair two units in stereo. Sockets include a USB-C port and 3.5mm input, while the 24-hour battery life is impressive. With 70W in the tank, it delivers a massive 360-degree sound that justifies the price. Copious amounts of bass add warmth and punch, and the finessed treble makes music sound stunningly detailed.
With built-in Wi-Fi, the Zipp offers 10 hours of Spotify, DLNA and internet radio streaming anywhere in the home, with multiroom and Bluetooth to boot. Its iconic cylindrical design is enhanced by a pure wool sleeve and aluminium top and base, making this a uniquely stylish speaker. A clever touch panel pauses music and adjusts volume, while the back sports a USB charge port and 3.5mm input. Libratone’s 360-degree FullRoom technology and a 100W amp fill the room with warm, weighty sound. However, the design means imaging and soundstage width are limited.
Slim, curvy and clad in vibrant piano finishes, Edifier’s desktop system is a proper jaw-dropper. It’s a master/slave setup governed by the right speaker, where you’ll find touch-sensitive controls and a 3.5mm input. The tweeter, full-range driver and passive radiator in each speaker deliver full-bodied, bass-rich Bluetooth sound with accurate imaging and precise detail. The stage has wonderful width and air, and it goes loud without flapping. The only mystery is why Edifier is only charging £150 for such a sweet-sounding system, though we certainly aren’t complaining.
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THE DAILY GRIND
HASTA LA BARISTA, BABY CAN TECH – BOTH DIGITAL AND ANALOGUE – HELP OUR MAN MAKE BETTER COFFEE, OR DOES IT TAKE AN EXPERT’S TOUCH TO REALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE? PHOTOGRAPHY
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The mission Can our man make the ultimate cup of coffee, aided by the latest and greatest in beverage-creating equipment, and a genuine expert?
The man Duncan drinks gallons of coffee. He owns several ludicrously expensive coffee makers. Yet he knows next to nothing about it.
The tech Aerobie Aeropress £30, aeropress.co.uk Hario Technica Coffee Syphon From £100, hario.co.uk Kitchenaid Cold Brew Coffee Maker £129, kitchenaid.co.uk Kitchenaid Artisan Burr Grinder From £175, kitchenaid.co.uk De’Longhi Dedica Style Pump Espresso and Dedica Style Professinal Grinder £199 and £TBC, delonghi.com/en-gb Sage by Heston Blumenthal The Oracle £1,699, sageappliances. co.uk Jura Z8 £2,595, uk.jura.com
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Coffee, lovely coffee. How I love to drink you. My life changed when I splurged on a mega coffee machine. It was an extravagant purchase, and in the years since I’ve spent enough on beans to pay off the national debts of Columbia and Costa Rica. Yet I have a dirty secret: I really know very little about making coffee. So when T3 challenged me to test six of the finest coffee makers, I was dubious. Then they said, “We’re getting three-time UK Barista Championship winner Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood in; he knows all about coffee and will make you sound smart.” Then I was on board. BEAN THERE , DONE THAT As Maxwell explains it, making coffee is a highly nuanced and scientific process. Since to encompass all its subtleties would take up this entire magazine, I have boiled it down (ho ho) to a few paragraphs. Grind coffee beans till they’re fine enough for water to pass through in an espresso machine (drip machines and French presses need a coarser grind and more time), to extract the optimum flavour, and enough volume to fill an espresso cup.
Too coarse and/or too short and it’ll be wrong. Too fine and/or too long? Yeah, that’ll also be wrong. There are other factors: how much water you push through the coffee; the flavour profile of the bean and how it’s been roasted; what time of day it is... wait, what? “Yes,” says Maxwell, a man who knows so much about coffee, he’s contributed to actual scientific papers on the topic, “we found that the same beans were producing coffee that tasted different in the afternoon compared to the morning.” So, using a Laser Particle Analyser, as you do, he concluded that beans actually
shatter differently when they’re colder, “Because of course they’re more brittle, so you end up with a finer grind.” Well, of course. So let’s start with a machine that claims to remove all the complexity from making coffee, replacing it with touchscreen simplicity: the Jura Z8. To my considerable relief – and possibly Maxwell’s slight irritation – it produces a perfectly acceptable espresso immediately. I love coffee, and I want to make it as well as possible, but Maxwell really loves coffee. However, unlike some of his hardcore peers, he’s no technophobe. So where certain artisan brew true-
COFFEE MACHINES Everything from a £3,000 monster to a big plastic syringe
DE’LONGHI DEDICA STYLE
Affordable and compact, the Dedica Style Pump Espresso has a matching grinder, so you have bean-to-cup convenience with less complexity. With the right grind and extraction time, you can get great results, and the milk frothing nozzle is just fantastic. £199, delonghi.com
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Almost £3,000 worth of cutting-edge beverage-making tech, the latest Jura machine offers just about any coffeeflavoured drink you can think of, at the prod of a touchscreen. Minimum effort but maximum result. And, to be fair, maximum cost as well. £2,595, uk.jura.com
SAGE THE ORACLE
This pulls off the rather clever trick of looking and behaving like something a barista would use, but with a consumer-friendly layer of idiotproofing, thanks to automatic grinding, tamping and milk frothing. It’s built like a Panzer tank. £1,699, sageappliances.co.uk
It might look like something you’d take camping, but the Aeropress isn’t just highly portable, it also makes coffee of a quality to set purists purring. Here, ground coffee is forced through a paper filter using the power of air pressure, and your well-toned forearm. £30, aeropress.co.uk
HARIO COFFEE SYPHON
Over in Odd Corner, we have this Japanese lab equipment. Water is heated in the bottom bowl until it is forced up a pipe to the top chamber, where ground coffee is added. The heat then drops, with the resultant vacuum sucking the coffee down through a filter. Ah, science! £100+, hario.co.uk
KITCHENAID COLD BREW
Bang on trend for summer 2017, this is the simplest of all the machines. Put an entire bag of very coarsely ground beans in the mesh container. Add cold water. Leave for 1224 hours. The result is, as you’d imagine, a highly flavourpacked drink that you quaff cold. £129, kitchenaid.co.uk
We’re love-struck by the Kitchenaid. “Wow, look how fine that mesh is…”
Maxwell’s house: Colonna roastery and the ultimate Nespresso pods Starting out with a coffee shop in Bath seven years ago, Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood is building a caffeine empire. His Colonna roastery (colonnacoffee.com) offers coffee from 11 countries, in three categories: Foundation (classics for all tastes), Discovery (more adventurous flavours, for those bored of straight espresso or drip styles) and Rare (self-explanatory). Grinds for espresso and filter machines are offered, and decaf. More interestingly still, the same coffees also come in Nespresso-compatible pods. This slightly blew our minds, as we’d assumed anyone involved with specialist, artisan coffee would consider Nespresso capsules to be the work of Satan. Not so…
“Pods can give amazing results at home,” says Maxwell. “You’ve got an oxygen-free chamber with a weighed and perfectly ground dose of coffee, and a machine calibrated to deliver an exact amount of pressure and water at the correct temperature.” Add a choice of more exciting flavour profiles than you’ll find in standard capsules and the result could be truly special. Colonna capsules are fully compostable, as is their outer packaging. The only slight downside to compostable capsules is they’re not as impervious to oxygen, so once removed from their outer bag (there are 10 capsules in a box and five in each bag), it’s recommended you drink within a week. No problem…
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T3’s coffee morning: an intimate meeting of hands and minds
Starbucks goes specialist It’s widely known for mass-selling milky coffee-style drinks in massive cups, and greatly assisting the career of Katie Melua, but Starbucks also has an upmarket, experimental arm. Its UK branch is on Upper St Martin’s Lane in London, right by The Ivy, where the Queen dines. Starbucks Reserve offers a regularly changing cast of rare, small-batch beans, and a swankier ambience than the chain’s usual stores. More importantly it’s also packed with unusual, coffee-making tech. There’s a machine for exposing coffee to nitrous oxide, for those who like their cold-brew really cold, and the option to have your beverage created in a syphon, like the Hario we’ve featured. Even better for lovers of obscure techniques, the store boasts a Clover machine, as pictured to the left. This miracle of modern science was invented in 2007 and then snapped up by Starbucks. Hot water is added to ground coffee “at a precise temperature” (presumably around 90 degrees C) then brewed for “an ideal length of time” (around 35-40 seconds by our calculations). Water is held at just the right heat throughout this process by a “thermal blanket”. The bit that differentiates this from an Aeropress or French press is that the coffee is then sucked through an ultra-fine filter, leaving the grounds to be ejected. The result: tasty.
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believers would have all but spat at me for asking them to try a Jura, Maxwell immediately roots around to change the grind settings and lengthen the extraction time – there are actually all sorts of manual settings in the Jura’s menus. Impressively, with a slightly finer grind and a bit more water, he creates a cup that undeniably tastes even better. The same’s true with De’Longhi’s much cheaper Dedica system. This natty combo of espresso machine and grinder is like a scaled-down version of what you’d find in a coffee shop. It needs more work than the Jura, really forcing you to experiment with the grind and extraction length, to get the best results. But it’s worth the effort.
SCIENCE OR APPLIANCE? Sage’s preposterously named The Oracle is the ultimate machine, and not just because I shelled out 1,700 big ones for it. The built-in burr grinder is easily adjustable yet consistent. Tamping (pressing the coffee down into the basket to achieve the correct density) is done via a whirring magnetic blade and results are routinely impressive. And it looks like a proper coffee machine. The really interesting devices, however, are the Aeropress and Hario. The former is a plastic, hand-operated press that you sit on top of a mug. To operate, Maxwell inverts the press, pours in water at about 90 degrees C, and adds coarsely ground coffee. After a few minutes, he turns it the other way up and depresses the rubber-
The Jura has all sorts of settings in its touchscreen menus to improve your brew tipped plunger to force the coffee through a paper filter, 300 of which are included with the Aeropress. To my slight schadenfreude, the resulting coffee is actually pretty bland. Maxwell identifies part of the problem right away – our kettle isn’t the best, and the local water is very hard. And that’s coming through in the flavour. It’s a reminder that all the ingredients matter, not just the beans. Then, in a bid to make coffee with the Hario – using a dodgy little fuel burner rather than the halogen lamps used by pros – I summon up a really weedy beverage. It’s more like a cup of hot water that’s been shown a photograph of some coffee beans. Now, I have made great cups of coffee at home with an Aeropress. It can produce anything between a classic, flavoursome drip/press-style drink and something more like an espresso, depending on how much water you add. Its simplicity and ease of cleaning are also huge boons. But, it does take a little trial and error. The Hario is frankly a mad thing but it can produce fantastic coffee – try it next time you’re in a specialist shop. But a lesson here is clear: high tech beats low
for foolproof results when you’re under pressure. If you want to make coffee the specialist’s way, you’ll need practice. That leaves us with a real outlier. Kitchenaid’s Cold Brew Coffee Maker is an upmarket way to make cold brew, the hippest drink of the last few years. This involves putting 250g of beans in a mesh basket inside a glass tank, to which is added 1.25 litres of cold water. That’s right: you need an entire bag of beans to make about one litre of cold coffee. But it produces something pretty exceptional. On first sight of the Kitchenaid, Maxwell is love-struck. “Wow, look how fine that mesh is,” he says. And it is. The beautifully engineered and tactile tap on the front is also quite wonderful. The coffee is, undeniably, cold coffee. However, in this simplified, almost tech-free form, everything Maxwell’s spent the afternoon saying about the more complex flavour profiles he loves makes sense to me. It’s fruity, it’s sweet, it’s summery… And it’s time for me to chill out as I am now totally wired from all the caffeine. “I think that’s the best we’ve had today,” Maxwell concludes.
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AS RECORD SALES BOOM, HIGH-END TURNTABLES BLOOM. WE TAKE A SPIN THROUGH THE BEST VINYL PLAYERS AVAILABLE RIGHT NOW…
Words: Steve May here comes a time in every relationship when you have to get serious. When what may have seemed a harmless flirtation, turns into a full-blown obsession. Collecting vinyl becomes addictive like that. If your weekends are now spent trawling record shops, it’s probably time to upgrade your turntable. Record sales are soaring. In 2016, the BPI (British Phonographic Industry) says these throwback treasures accounted for 15 per cent of all physical albums sold. Put another way, the vinyl market is now equivalent to half the album download business. This in turn has sparked a hardware boom, with a new generation of players that sound as great as they look.
E R’ S C H OI CE
01 THE MUSIC-LOVER’S CHOICE
02 ANALOGUE FOR HIGH-RES AUDIO
03 CLASSICALLY BRILLIANT HI-FI
REGA PLANAR 2
This is a tank of a turntable. Immediately identifiable as a Technics, it employs a new single-rotor, coreless direct-drive motor, has big, fat feet and features a static-balance S-shaped tonearm. There’s no onboard phono stage and it doesn’t ship with a cartridge, but a universal headshell mount offers plenty of options. Performance is breathtaking. From pop to classical, this player has everything under control, with a presentation that’s tight and refined. Also available in silver as the SL-1200, consider this analogue audio re-engineered.
Marrying analogue playback with high-res audio, this ninja-black deck allows you to rip records in either WAV or DSD, via USB, via recording software that’s extremely simple to use – all you have to do is play and record. The build quality is terrific. A reassuringly thick turntable matt sits on a heavy density plinth, while a straight tonearm with integrated shell tracks the most unequal of platters. And as the player has integrated phono EQ, you can hook it up to anything you like. Vinyl playback is smooth and fulsome, delivering a soundstage with real depth.
A genuine British classic, the core design of the Rega Planar 2 is the best part of forty years old, yet here it sounds Daisy Ridley fresh. This latest iteration mates a straight RB220 aluminium tonearm with a standard Carbon MM cartridge, to a glossy laminated plinth and that fancy floating glass platter. Like Converse, the look is timeless. Usability is similarly great. The turntable is virtually plug ‘n’ play, although there’s no integrated phono stage. Sonically lithe and exuberant, it’s at home with all genres and is effortlessly musical.
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M ODERN ITH A W E L B U R N TA
S PI N
IG N E
R D ECK
BEST FOR DESIGN
WorldMags.net D ES
06 LIFE ON MARS
04 TURNTABLE WITH A MODERN SPIN
05 HIGH-END DESIGNER DECK
06 LIFE ON MARS
PRO-JECT RPM 1 CARBON
This tasty-looking Teac is a testament to convenience. In addition to a built-in phono stage, it offers a 16-bit disc archiving via USB and has a manual three-speed dial, so there’s no need to faff around adjusting the belt drive between albums and singles. Sonically, this turntable feels smooth and easy-going, with a sharp, taut bass. Perhaps it’s not the most detailed performer here, but the presentation is still deliciously dynamic. The S-shaped tone-arm also comes with a classy Audio Technica AT95E MM cartridge.
Looking for something a little different? This unconventional turntable features an uncoupled motor and beautifully finished acrylic circular chassis which sits on a triangle of spiky feet. Pro-Ject players have a reputation for definition and clarity, and the RPM 1 Carbon doesn’t disappoint. The S-shaped tonearm, made from carbon fibre, aluminium and resin, comes with a Ortofon 2M Red MM cartridge – a combo that delineates instruments with uncanny precision. There’s no onboard phono stage, and with no dust cover, it might be a pain to maintain.
Onkyo’s Direct Drive deck is a paean to classic Japanese hi-fi design. From the low-maintenance quartz-locked die-cast aluminium platter to silvered 33 and 45RPM speed buttons, the deck screams ’70s chic. The player ships with an Audio Technica Moving Magnet cartridge, carried on an S-shaped tone-arm, but it lacks an integrated phono equaliser (if your amp is missing a dedicated phono terminal, you’ll need a phono preamp). Timing and stability are excellent. Playback has a bold, definitive quality, with a balanced tonality. This is retro done right.
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WorldMags.net W HAT’S ON TEST…
HEOS By Denon HEOS 1 HS2 Price: £199 It may be the smallest offering in the HEOS range, but this compact active speaker can still make a big noise. HEOS 7 HS2 Price: £499 With five custom drivers, two passive radiators and scads of power, the bullish HEOS 7 has the muscle to take on any conventional hi-fi stack. URL: www.denon.co.uk
Panasonic All Connected Panasonic SC-All05 Price: £180 This transportable 20W speaker can run on battery power or the mains, and is waterproof for that wet-room singalong. Panasonic SC-All9 Price: £330 This serious livingroom sound system has a susbstantial 2x20W stereo powerplant as well as an integrated 40w subwoofer. URL: www.panasonic.co.uk
Yamaha MusicCast Yamaha WX-010 Price: £129 This cheapie desktop speaker system supports Apple AirPlay, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, and has twin bass radiators for beefy boom. Yamaha MCR-N470D Price: £449 Want a more conventional form factor? Yamaha’s MusicCast micro-system is built around a stereo receiver with integrated CD and USB playback. URL: www.uk.yamaha.com
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WIRELESS MUSIC SYSTEMS
Speakers of the house
THERE’S NO SHORTAGE OF WIRELESS MUSIC SYSTEMS TO CHOOSE FROM – BUT WHICH SOUNDS THE BEST? Words: Steve May
F YOU WANT MUSIC STREAMED AROUND YOUR HOME, THERE’S AN ABUNDANCE OF PRODUCTS TO CHOOSE FROM. THEY COME IN ALL SHAPES AND SIZES, FROM DIMINUTIVE BLUETOOTH BEAN CANS TO LARGER, LOUDER LIVING-ROOM PLAYERS.
The catch is that these proprietary systems are generally incompatible with one another,
Photography: Neil Godwin
and not all play high-res audio. The hi-ﬁ industry has eﬀectively instigated a format war. While inter-operability may be too much to ask, all multi-room systems tend to work in the same way. They connect wirelessly and are driven with a bespoke app. You can stream tunes from your service of choice, or play tracks direct from a local NAS or PC. Speakers in diﬀerent rooms can be grouped so that they receive the same content simultaneously, or individually fed with diﬀerent tracks.
For this sonic showdown, we’re auditioning three big-brand contenders, each loyal to its own ecosystem. HEOS by Denon is the original rival to market-leader SONOS, while MusicCast by Yamaha is stealing a lead through sheer system variety. Panasonic’s All Connected sits somewhere in the middle. We’ll compare three compact desktop active speakers from each, then a trio of larger living-room sound systems with comparable specs, ultimately pairing them together for a mini multi-room house party…
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WorldMags.net TEST 01: HEOS BY DENON
There’s more to wireless multi-room audio than just streaming Spotify…
epresenting Panasonic in our multi-room Octagon is the titchy SC-All05 and the bruising SC-All9. The former is a portable for all occasions; it’ll last around nine hours on a fully charged battery, while an IPX7 rating means it’s waterproof to a depth of one metre – more than enough for the average wet room. The ﬂagship SC-All9 is rather more sedentary, preferring a table-top or wall-mount. We were immediately impressed by their design and build quality. Streaming-service implementation includes Spotify, Napster and AllPlay Radio served via third-party apps. The compact Denon HEOS 1 also boasts a water-resistant design, but to take it outside you’ll need to invest £79 in a HEOS Go Pack, which consists of a rechargeable battery and a Splashguard. The battery clips to the base of the speaker and plays for around six hours. The Splashguard upgrades the unit from steam resistance to IPX4 splashproof certiﬁcation.
Two HEOS 1 units can be paired together to create a neat stereo arrangement
The HEOS 7 is a scarily potent table-top music system; its bass is seismic By way of contrast, the HEOS 7 is a scarily potent table-top music system distinguished by a bass performance that borders on seismic. It’s also heavy, which must be a good thing. The HEOS’s streaming support is best in class, covering Spotify, Tidal, SoundCloud, Napster, Deezer and TuneIn. Its trump card, though, is its ability to play ultra-high-res DSD audio ﬁles. Yamaha’s MCR-N470D micro-system is a more conventional alternative to the HEOS 7, but, even with separate stereo bookshelf speakers, it requires only marginally more ﬂoor space. It has all the functionality you’d expect from a standalone hi-ﬁ, including DAB. The fascia is tidy, with a CD drawer positioned beneath a clear display and a USB reader to the right. The WX-010 has a two-way speaker design and a passive radiator for enhanced bass. You can plonk it on a bedside table or use the hole on the rear to hang it on a wall. It’s cheap enough to warrant being paired with a second WX-010 for stereo. MusicCast support includes Spotify, Napster, Juke, Qobuz and Internet Radio, and it’s AirPlay-compliant. 6 2 T3 ANNUAL
SPECS Denon HEOS 1 HS2 POWER OUTPUT: Unspecified BLUETOOTH: Yes WPS SUPPORT: Yes USB: Yes
SIZE: 373 x 224 x 138mm WEIGHT: 1.9kg Denon HEOS 7 HS2 POWER OUTPUT: Unspecified
WORKS WITH... What kind of compatibility can you expect when you buy one of these systems? Panasonic’s All Connect system is based on the Qualcomm AllPlay platform, and is therefore theoretically compatible with other products that use the same chipset.
Now available in a second-gen HS2 guise, HEOS by Denon has added high-res audio support and extended interoperability to work with Denon home-cinema receivers.
BLUETOOTH: Yes WPS SUPPORT: Yes USB: Yes SIZE: 203 x 479 x 164mm WEIGHT: 4.6kg
Rather than foster a standalone multi-room brand, Yamaha has opted to treat MusicCast more as a feature, building support for it into a swathe of products (35 at the time of writing, and that number’s increasing all the time). Buy any Yamaha hi-fi or AV today, and you’ll probably be able to MusicCast it tomorrow…
WIRELESS MUSIC SYSTEMS
PANASONIC ALL CONNECTED
On the SC-All05, a waterproof plug covers the Ethernet and power sockets
Need more bass? Yamaha’s micro-system boasts a subwoofer output
SPECS Panasonic SC-All05 POWER OUTPUT: 20W BLUETOOTH: Yes WPS SUPPORT: Yes USB: No
SIZE: 170 x 179 x 77mm WEIGHT: 1.5kg Panasonic SC-All9 POWER OUTPUT: 80W (2x20W plus 1x40W)
SPECS BLUETOOTH: Yes WPS SUPPORT: Yes USB: No SIZE: 373 x 224 x 138mm WEIGHT: 1.9kg
FILES AHEAD All our systems support 24-bit audio, but there are a few complications… Multi-room manufacturers tend to brag about their systems’ file compatibility and playback promiscuity, but there’s always devil in the detail. The Panasonic All Connected
models embrace MP3 and AAC, WAV, FLAC and ALAC up to 192k/24-bit, but not ultrahigh-res DSD. On the Yamaha MCR-N470D and WX-010, MusicCast
Yamaha MCR-N470D POWER OUTPUT: 2x20W BLUETOOTH: Yes WPS SUPPORT: Yes USB: Yes SIZE: 270 x 110 x 330mm
file-format support also includes 24-bit FLAC, AIFF, WAV and ALAC, plus AAC and WMA, but again not DSD. Denon’s HEOS range offers the best out-of-the-box support. All second-generation HS2 active speakers play uncompressed WAV, ALAC, AIFF and FLAC up to 24-bit 192kHz, plus DSD 2.8MHz.
WEIGHT: 3kg Yamaha WX-010 POWER OUTPUT: 25W (woofer 15W, tweeter 10W)
BLUETOOTH: Yes WPS SUPPORT: Yes USB: No SIZE: 120 x 160 x 130mm WEIGHT: 1.7kg
Test 01 winner YAMAHA MUSICCAST The MusicCast MCR-N470D oﬀers fantastic functionality, but if high-res audio is your jam, then DSD on Denon’s HEOS is diﬃcult to resist T3 ANNUAL 6 3
WorldMags.net TEST 02: HEOS BY DENON
Which of these systems is the easiest to get going?
ith Panasonic’s All Connected system, set-up proved reasonably painless, thanks to the admirably eﬃcient Music Streaming companion app. All you have to do is connect the AllPlay device over Wi-Fi, name your speaker based on the room it lives in, and you’re done. In just a few minutes, we were browsing our NAS music library – and navigation was satisfyingly quick and buﬀer-free. All Connected speakers can be grouped or run individually. If you own multiple AllPlay speakers, you can stream everywhere simultaneously. The Denon system is driven by an equally competent HEOS companion app. Whether you have music on your smartphone, networked on a DLNA NAS or lurking on a laptop, the app will discover it. Unlike rival systems, you initiate Wi-Fi set-up by connecting your HEOS device to your smartphone via a 3.5mm cable (supplied).
Denon has taken the lead in developing HEOS for the posh custom-install market, providing support for all the big home-automation systems
Although pedantic, the MusicCast app is the most visual of the bunch You can then update the speaker with your network password. Hardwiring HEOS speakers to get them online is simple and eﬀective. Our Yamaha micro-system proved rather more problematic. To network MusicCast components, you need to pair the Controller app through the Connect button on your MusicCast kit. Once discovered, you can use a Wi-Fi password to connect. However, we experienced repeated failures trying to do this. Perseverance, it seems, is the key. Once linked to the companion app, you can assign your component an identity. Grouping rooms or zones is a case of ticking boxes. All three control apps are polished aﬀairs. Although pedantic, the MusicCast app is actually the most visual. We particularly liked the way you can assign fabulously aspirational images to each of your home zones when customising them. Naturally, all three of the multi-room systems on test are Bluetooth-compatible, making it straightforward to stream your favourite tracks to them from a smartphone. 6 4 T3 ANNUAL
The test MULTI-ROOM SYNCHRONICITY THE DENON SYSTEM CAN OFFICIALLY SUPPORT 32 HEOS-EQUIPPED ROOMS. SYNCHRONICITY BETWEEN OUR UNITS WAS EXCELLENT, WITH NO TIMING ECHO, WHILE DIFFERENT TRACKS FOR DIFFERENT ZONES PLAYED WITHOUT A HITCH.
DENON AVR-X4300H AV RECEIVER
Denon adds HEOS multi-room to home cinema The Denon AVR-X4300H is a £950 nine-channel (9x200W) AV receiver that adds HEOS multi-room support, alongside Dolby Atmos and DTS: X 3D audio. The first AVR on the
market to support HEOS speakers, it reinforces interoperability by bundling in a free HEOS 1. You can play a CD on a Blu-ray deck, select that input as the
source on the AVR via the HEOS companion app, and then stream the music through both your cinema system and any connected HEOS speakers. Similarly, you can also share movie soundtracks, although Dolby/DTS bitstreams play out of sync with connected HEOS speakers.
WIRELESS MUSIC SYSTEMS
PANASONIC ALL CONNECTED
The Panasonic SC-All05 can be fully submerged in water to a depth of one metre, which makes it a safe bet to use when you’re by the pool
With MusicCast, you can re-stream any connected source, from USB and CDs to radio services and even broadcast TV
MULTI-ROOM SYNCHRONICITY BOTH OF OUR PANASONIC ALLPLAY DUO STAYED IN SYNC WHEN THE SAME TRACKS WERE STREAMED TO GROUPED ZONES, AND BOTH WERE UNPHASED WHEN ASKED TO PLAY DIFFERENT TRACKS SIMULTANEOUSLY.
YAMAHA RX-A860 AV RECEIVER
OK, you only get seven channels, but Yamaha’s unit is a worthy option for less money Denon isn’t the only company that’s integrating multi-room into home theatre. The £899 Yamaha RX-A860 is a seven-channel Dolby Atmos
and DTS: X receiver that can also stream from, or function as, a zone in a multi-room system. Want to route TV audio to a compact kitchen
MULTI-ROOM SYNCHRONICITY GROUPING ZONES IS A DODDLE VIA THE APP, ALTHOUGH OUR MICRO-SYSTEM DID DROP ITS WIRELESS CONNECTION ON MORE THAN ONE OCCASION – SOMETHING THE SMALLER YAMAHA XW-010 BOX DIDN’T SUFFER FROM.
speaker? No problem! In fact, with seven HDMI inputs, you can send all manner of sound sources around the house. The receiver also supports Apple AirPlay. Yamaha’s Cinema DSP processing means that whatever is streamed to the AVR can be processed into multiple flavours of multi-channel.
Test 02 winner HEOS BY DENON With its hardwired setup and intuitive streaming support, Denon is tops when it comes to getting a multi-room system working T3 ANNUAL 6 5
WorldMags.net TEST 03: HEOS BY DENON
PERFORMANCE In a head-to-head comparison, which system leaves us happiest?
cursory glance would suggest that the Panasonic SC-All05 is a modest all-purpose active speaker, but it performs well and can be considered exceptional given both its price and waterfowl functionality. Sure, it may be a tad monophonic, but with 20W on board it makes a surprisingly big noise. There are two 6.5cm drivers, paired to matching passive radiators; DSP-enhanced mid-bass serves rock and dance tracks particularly well; and it has great vocal integrity for such a small box. Sadly, when running oﬀ its battery, power output drops to just 8W, which is noticeable. The SC-All9 is the kingpin in the Panasonic All Connected range, and with an integrated 40W sub, dual 8cm woofers, plus a pair of 2x20W 2.5cm tweeters, it packs quite a punch. The stereo soundstage is a bit constrained, so it’s not really going to evoke the big screen with those Hans Zimmer soundtracks, but pop, rock and grime sound jolly enough. As an all-in-one sound system, it does a decent job.
The HEOS 7 has a USB input, so you can play high-res audio from a thumbdrive
It won’t evoke the big screen with those Hans Zimmer soundtracks Denon doesn’t publish specs for its HEOS speakers, but the big HEOS 7 doesn’t suﬀer from a lack of volume; it’s perfectly at home in larger rooms. But this deep reach is balanced by a rich, melodious mid-range. The HEOS 1 has a custom tweeter and woofer, driven by an eﬃcient digital amp module. Curiously, the Bluetooth implementation on both HEOS HS2 models isn’t aptX, so you’re not getting the best-quality wireless BT available. Signiﬁcantly, both speakers sound fabulous with high-res audio, and DSD in particular, ﬁnding nuance and detail. Yamaha’s MCR-N470D may look like the heavy-metal option here, but in terms of grunt it’s in line with the SC-All9 and the HEOS 7. Those bookshelf speakers don’t drop deep, but they have a workmanlike mid-range that ﬁts the bill with most genres. Multiroom playback between our Yamaha zones was in sync, although the micro-system did sporadically drop its wireless connection when rooms were linked and music streaming. 6 6 T3 ANNUAL
If your HEOS 1 speaker sounds a little cramped, you can always pair it to a second unit to create a stereo soundstage
A DESIGN FOR LIFE Don’t forget you’ll need to factor-in how the speakers look with your home’s furnishings… When it comes to cosmetic design, wireless systems run the gamut from wacky to dull. The HEOS 7’s teardrop design is more handbag than high-tech, while the HEOS 1 is rather angular.
Yamaha plays it safe with the WX-010, and entertains only a modicum of retro chic with its MusicCast micro-system. Arguably the best-looking wireless speakers on test come
from Panasonic. There’s no unjustifiable, impractical silhouette here. Both the SC-All05 and the SC-All9 feature classic lines that are lifted by subtle, clever refinements. We like how the waterproof model has a slanted top with touch-sensitive controls, while those chrome trims complement the stock grille.
WIRELESS MUSIC SYSTEMS
PANASONIC ALL CONNECTED
The diddy Panasonic SC-All05 can pack quite a wallop with its 20W amplifier
The MCR-N470D has a similar spec to the larger All Connected and HEOS systems
The bass performance of the SC-All9 is a little laggy; you can hear it plodding behind the music as you adjust the volume
The mini monitor speakers of the Yamaha MCR-N470D enable you to widen the soundstage in a way that you can’t with an all-in-one
PANASONIC SC-ALL7CD ALL-IN-ONE
This CD-player-and-ripper sound system is a multi-room surprise
The £319 SC-All7CD is an all-in-one micro-system that not only plays CDs but rips them to 4GB of internal memory. Both CDs and recordings can be
re-streamed to any paired All Connected speaker. Discs are copied in 320kbps MP3 or WAV format. This is handy, but hampered by the lack of
metadata support – rips are label-less and lack track info. The SC-All7CD has a five-driver configuration, comprising two tweeters, two three-inch woofers and a subwoofer, though there’s only 20W of amplification. There’s also a sweet spot, so listening position is crucial to a good stereo performance.
Test 03 winner HEOS BY DENON While none of our three disappoint, HEOS delivers the most high-res thrills, thanks to top performance and support for DSD T3 ANNUAL 6 7
The overall winner is… 1st HEOS By Denon Price: £199/£499
T3 RATES: What you need from a wireless multi-room system is rock-solid reliability, and the HEOS delivers. It’s the easiest multi-zone system to configure, and has an excellent companion app. If your NAS is packed with 24-bit files and you have a penchant for high-res tunes on Tidal, then HEOS has your name written all over it.
T3 SLATES: This is hardly the best-value wireless music system, and the Go Pack battery is an expensive add-on. The lack of Bluetooth aptX is a curious omission. T3 SAYS: For high-res multiroom and entertainment value, the second-gen HEOS had us dancing on the ceiling.
2nd Panasonic All Connected
3rd Yamaha MusicCast
Price: £180/£330 URL: www.panasonic.co.uk
Price: £129/£449 URL: www.uk.yamaha.com
T3 RATES: The SC-All05 is a cracking waterproof wireless speaker, and brilliant value, while the SC-All9 positively oozes sophistication. These AllPlay speakers also give HEOS a good run for its money when it comes to musicality. T3 SLATES: Panasonic doesn’t have the system range of its main rivals, which is a bit of a bore if you plan to expand your wireless network. T3 SAYS: Great design and build quality, but everything else is decent rather than outstanding.
T3 RATES: No other brand offers such a broad diversity of connectable music systems, and the overall value is high. T3 SLATES: We found MusicCast the most frustrating of all our wireless systems to connect up, and neither component tested in this feature plays highest-of-fi DSD, either. T3 SAYS: We love the fact that the WX-010 speakers are cheap enough for stereo pairing, but set-up and wireless streaming weren’t without their problems.
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COMPLETE GUIDE: WATCHING 4K TV
SUPER SIX: SOUNDBARS
STATE OF THE ART: HDR TVS
SUPER SIX: 4K BLU-RAY PLAYERS
“Everything you need for the ultimate 4K setup – the best soundbars, UHD Blu-ray players and stunning screens, as well as an expert guide to the best 4K services on the market”
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T3 ANNUAL 7 1
7 2 T3 ANNUAL
COMPLETE GUIDE: WATCHING 4K TV
WATCHING 4K TV JUST BOUGHT A SHINY NEW 4K TV? MAKE THE MOST OF ITS PICTURE POWER, BY SWITCHING TO A DIET RICH IN PIXELS. OUR UHD NUTRITIONIST SHOWS YOU WHAT TO WATCH AND HOW TO WATCH IT Words: Steve May Photography: Neil Godwin
he TV times are changing. 4K UHD TV sales are off the chain. You can’t move for industry pundits offering wild predictions on how many sets are being sold. No one doubts that 4K TV will become the norm, the only question is how long it’ll be before they take over.
This year, some 230 million televisions will be sold worldwide (pub quizzers take note), of which 50 million will be 50-inch plus UHD models. On a high-street near you, the fastest-growing 4K screen size is now 43 inches or thereabouts. It seems soon, we’ll all be looking for 2160p content to watch. So when you’ve invested in your dream screen, what’s the best way to show it oﬀ? The good news is that there’s loads of choice for 4K goggleboxers, not just from premium pay TV operators but also cheaper streaming services and good old-fashioned silver discs. But making the most of 4K can be a headscratcher, not only when it comes
to content and value, but also the hardware you’ll need. Time for us to take a closer look at the ongoing resolution revolution…
Pay TV propositions For many avid telenisas, the prime source of programming will be a premium pay TV operator, like Sky, Virgin Media and BT. While their subscription packages may seem similar at ﬁrst there’s actually a huge diﬀerence between them when it comes to the depth of their UHD catalogue. Of course, your eventual choice might also be inﬂuenced by practical complications, such as the availability of fast ﬁbre broadband or dish restrictions (the perils of living in a listed building, Jeeves). If you want the widest-possible range of 4K content, then you need Sky Q. No other service oﬀers a comparable range of live sports (Sky Sports F1), movies (Sky Cinema) and TV shows in UHD. The Sky Q set top box craftily combines linear channels delivered via dish with On Demand content
accessed through the Internet (this can be over Wi-Fi, through PowerLine or hardwired directly by Ethernet). It’s worth noting that you don’t need to be a Sky broadband customer in order to take Sky Q. Don’t plan on watching Sky Q 4K around the house, though. You can only contract a single Q box, and while this links to smaller Sky Minis for multiroom (you can stream to two Sky Minis simultaneously, using a technique Sky calls ﬂuid viewing), these client boxes are not 4K able. Unlike conventional HD TV channels, there are no linear 4K channels to browse, no programme guide to peruse. Instead subscribers navigate to 4K content via genre sub-listings, such as Cinema, Sports and Box Sets (yes, you can bingewatch shows in UHD, including The Blacklist, Fortitude and Riviera). If you’re watching live sports, 4K viewers will receive a prompt to switch to a UHD broadcast if it’s available. Sky oﬀers the entire Formula 1 season in 4K plus Test Cricket and Premier League Football.
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The top three…
PREMIUM PAY TV 4K SERVICES
We swoon as we turn the TV on, waiting for the barrage of colour
Sky, Virgin TV and BT TV all offer premium contract services but there are differences to consider...
SKY Q If you’re looking for a wide selection of 4K content, subscribe to Sky Q. The next gen TV platform offers a huge variety of live sports, TV shows and movies in UHD. Live events are delivered via satellite, while films and entertainment are downloaded to the box via your broadband connection. It’s a stunning bit of kit. From £34 p/m, www.sky.com
VIRGIN TV V6 The latest Virgin set top box has all the decoding horsepower and hardware it needs to offer top-notch UHD and HDR, but as yet the TV service doesn’t have any 4K offerings. However, its Netflix and YouTube apps are 4K-enabled… From £39 p/m, www.virginmedia.com
BT TV YOUVIEW+ 4K BT TV currently claims the high ground when it comes to 4K live sports, with a rich selection of football, Premier League, UEFA Champions League, and UEFA Europa League, rugby and boxing. There are also plans afoot to offer 4K TV shows and movies via its BT Store. £20 p/m, www.home.bt.com
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Sky has also extended Sky Arts to embrace 4K. Recent coverage has included the Isle of Wight music festival. More specials in this vein are likely as the broadcaster continues to push the UHD envelope. The latest set top box from cable giant Virgin TV, the ultra-compact V6, is 4K capable, too. Unfortunately, unlike Sky, Virgin TV currently does not oﬀer any UHD content beyond Netﬂix and YouTube in 4K. Virgin took part in the BBC’s early 4K iPlayer trials, so could theoretically be ready to oﬀer iPlayer delivered content as and when the BBC adds a UHD option to its catch-up service. But it can surely only be a matter of time before Virgin capitulates and adds 4K movies and TV shows to its various top-ﬂight TV packages. Sky’s biggest rival when it comes to live 4K broadcasts is BT TV. Its 4K YouView+ Ultra HD box oﬀers BT Sports UHD subscribers a growing variety of 2160p programming. Currently, the channel’s headline attraction is 4K football (Premier League, UEFA Champions League, and UEFA Europa League), but it also screens regular UHD boxing and Aviva Premiership Rugby in 4K (with Dolby Atmos audio, which makes a not inconsiderable bonus). In addition, the Netﬂix app on the BT box oﬀers 4K streams. The missing elephants in the room though are 4K TV shows and movies. While BT has yet to oﬃcially announce an expansion of content, its online help page states that a selection of 4K TV shows and ﬁlms will be available On Demand. The plan is apparently for a dedicated UHD area within the BT Store. So watch this space.
Adding HDR to the mix Currently all broadcast 4K services combine 2160p resolution with improved 10-bit colour, which translated means you can expect smooth, band-free hues. As yet there is no broadcast HDR (High Dynamic Range) content
on oﬀer, but it is coming. The HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) HDR standard has now been agreed, ratiﬁed, rubber-stamped and wrapped in a polka dot bow, so we’re conﬁdent it’ll be implemented by the likes of Sky, BT TV and the BBC some time soon. In the meantime, HDR is already on Netﬂix (£8.99 p/m) and Amazon Video (£5.99 p/m). The observant in class will have seen that the technology high ground is increasingly being taken by this streaming duo. HDR expands the dynamic range of 4K TV pictures, bringing bright spectral highlights – glinting reﬂections, sunlight, ﬁreworks; that kind of thing – to the screen. Netﬂix even oﬀers Dolby Vision, which is an upgraded version of vanilla-ﬂavoured HDR (known as HDR10). Dolby Vision uses dynamic, rather than static, metadata to optimise HDR images on a scene by scene basis. Dolby Vision is also starting to appear on a selection of Ultra HD Blu-ray discs, but you’ll need a TV that’s capable of Dolby Vision to see it. It’s important to note that HDR from Netﬂix and Amazon is only available from apps integrated within a 4K HDR TV itself. It’s not (yet) available from outboard devices, like media players and Blu-ray decks. If you’re hoping to stream 4K Netﬂix or Amazon Video content from a separate media
HDR expands the dynamic range, bringing bright spectral highlights
COMPLETE GUIDE: WATCHING 4K TV
OUR PICK OF THE BEST GEAR FOR ENJOYING 4K
T3‘s hallowed experts pick their top choices for mind-blowing Ultra HD viewing
If you hanker to improve your TV image, there’s now a variety of ways to upgrade from fuzzy old high def, regardless of budget. Whether you want to upgrade your Blu-ray collection to glorious 2160p HDR or simply open the doors to a growing number of 4K streaming services, there’s no shortage of options. So the T3 team has studiously tested the best out there, treating our eyeballs to a torrent (NB we haven’t been torrenting, obviously) of tip-top telly tech. UHD Blu-ray players have been piled high, low-cost streaming boxes squeezed dry, games consoles evaluated for their binge-watching potential and UHD 4K displays scrutinised...
XBOX ONE S Consoles aren’t just for gaming. You can also use them as your 4K streaming media source. The Xbox One S offers Netflix, Amazon Video and YouTube with 4K streaming support and HDR support, and even has a UHD-capable Blu-ray
AMAZON FIRE 4K TV BOX drive. It can’t do 4K games, but the upcoming Xbox One X will solve that. The PS4 Pro (£349) supports 4K video through the same apps, but it doesn’t support HDR for video (only games). £229, xbox.com
Currently the best value UHD media streamer you can buy, the Fire TV 4K box packs a MediaTek quad-core processor that’s 75 per cent faster than Amazon’s original HD streamer, and puts it to good use. Both Netflix and Amazon
ULTIMATE DISC SPINNER
PANASONIC UB700 UHD BLU-RAY PLAYER The DMP-UB700 is a superb choice for 4K screen owners looking for the best possible video source. It uses a state of the art video processor able to upsample regular HD to 2160p resolution, and boosts 4K UHD Blu-ray
content from 10-bit native to 12-bit with improved colour handling. Netflix is 4K HDR enabled, while the Amazon app supports UHD. It’s also an accomplished High-Res Audio music player. £299, panasonic.co.uk
Prime Instant Video UHD services are supported. To receive UHD you’ll need a fast fibre broadband connection, on the right side of 15Mbps. The box also offers Alexa voice interaction. £80, amazon.co.uk
PREMIUM OLED TV
LOEWE BILD 5 Loewe’s latest OLED TV may be slightly more expensive than comparable screens from LG, Panasonic and Philips, but it justifies its price premium with a glorious retro design that screams luxury. Available in 55- and 65-inch
screen sizes, there’s a choice of two finishes: Silver Oak and Piano Black. It’s available as a panel only, or with a tripod stand that incorporates a powerful 80w sound bar. From £2,990, uk.loewe.tv
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UHD HDR on Blu-ray. This particular movie makes full use of the wide colour space available from UHD discs. Unlike 4K TV, UHD Blu-ray discs stream 2160p at a constant high-bit rate (IP delivered services tend to ﬂuctuate as they compete for bandwidth) with wide colour delivered in a next generation BT.2020 container. This means a movie on disc could potentially oﬀer the same DCI colour depth as you’ll see in a digital cinema. While 4K TV content is still colour graded to the old school REC.709 standard, most UHD discs take full advantage of the wider colour volume available. This translates to far greater colour intensity and depth.
Cast your eyes on these elegant, smooth edges
player, we think the best value is Amazon’s Fire TV box, priced at £80. This hooks up via HDMI and supports 2160p streams. Only the bigger Amazon Fire box oﬀers 4K, the little Amazon Fire stick is HD only. That said, if you also have a gaming itch to scratch, the latest iteration of the NVIDIA Shield TV gadget could be the 4K streamer you’ve been looking for. This £170 Androidbased entertainment device with an idiosyncratic design, is mainly used to stream PC games from NVIDIA’s GeForce Now service. However, it also transpires to be a well-equipped media streamer that not only opens the door to Netﬂix 4K and Amazon Video 4K, but enables you to cast 4K content from your mobile device. Perhaps a less celebrated source of 4K content is YouTube. The video sharing site’s
oﬀerings lack the image consistency of programmes from the leading streaming services, but the best UHD footage on YouTube can still look spectacular; live 4K streams from major league press conferences are often stunningly clear. YouTube uses a diﬀerent video codec to Netﬂix and Amazon, so ensure your TV has both HEVC and VP9 decoders if you want to watch 4K from all your integrated streaming apps.
Blu-ray is still best Ultimately, the ﬁnest 4K viewing experience remains UHD Blu-ray. Nothing compares to the resolution and wide colour depth available from this upgraded version of the popular disc format. If you thought the era of package media was dead, you should get an eyeball full of the recent Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 2 in
A disc could oﬀer the same DCI colour depth as you’ll see in digital cinema Many high-end 4K TVs are branded wide colour gamut displays, which means they’re able to deliver this broader colour spectrum. You’ll immediately notice the diﬀerence. It’s worth remembering that some UHD Blu-ray players also have integrated media streaming services, so you won’t necessarily need a separate media player to watch UHD from Netﬂix and Amazon. Both the Sony UBP-X800 UHD Blu-ray player, and the entire Panasonic range from the DMP-UB900 downwards, include Amazon Video, Netﬂix and YouTube, with 4K streaming, although currently only Netﬂix oﬀers HDR.
4K CONTENT YOU NEED TO WATCH THERE ARE SOME EYE-POPPING MOVIES AND TV SHOWS AVAILABLE IN UHD... Why waste time browsing an endless selection of 4K goodies when we can do it for you? Okja, Netflix’s controversial entry at this year’s Cannes, is a visually amazing fantasy about a Super Pig bred to provide the world with more jerky. It may be a powerful polemic on consumerism, but we mainly loved it for the tasty visuals. The opening scenes set in a resplendent Korean forest are glorious, and if you watch the film in HDR, Okja’s bristly hide appears disturbingly realistic. We’ve seen a slew of superb UHD Blu-rays this year, but our current favourite is John Wick 2. Its UHD image quality will test the technical mettle of the finest 4K TVs. Opening with a soaring city view, there’s plenty of scope for spectral HD highlights, wide colour
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and huge detail. Dan Laustsen’s cinematography is vibrant, while the action scenes are immaculately staged. Gun-fu has rarely looked so gorgeous. If you want something a little more fanciful to push your panel, grab a copy of The Martian, which has a colour palette and cinematography that dazzles (no surprise from Ridley Scott), or Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, which is mind-bogglingly inventive from start to finish. For more down-to-earth eye candy, The Grand Tour (Amazon Video) takes some beating. The irreverent car(ish) show features some of the most spectacular automotive photography on the box, and it also looks ravishing in UHD. HDR highlights cause those cars to glint with almost three-dimensional realism.
Marvel’s Netflix universe provides a more gritty UHD viewing experience. Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist share a highly realistic dark aesthetic, characterised by copious shadow detail – for best effect, watch their hijinx on an OLED screen! Similarly rewarding is Stranger Things (also Netflix). This ‘80s-influenced horror show is another example of gorgeously dressed binge-worthy TV. And if you like historical drama with a flurry of Kung-Fu, don’t miss out on Marco Polo. Lusciously filmed by Vanja Cernjul, it was the first Netflix show to be shot in UHD HDR. Finally, don’t miss Amazon’s alt-history fantasy The Man in the High Castle. The depth that 4K brings to the show’s hugely ambitious visuals is mesmerising.
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Super soundbars strike back WANT MULTIPLEX MOVIE AUDIO WITHOUT THE MULTICHANNEL FAFF? WE TEST SIX SERIOUSLY CINEMATIC BLUETOOTH SOUNDBARS EA 02 B
Words: Steve May
BAR U I LT B Y ULL TIF
01 SUB TLE
01 SUBTLE AS A DROPKICK
A D ROP
02 BEAUTIFULLY BUILT BARGAIN
03 DESIGN AND PERFORMANCE
Q ACOUSTICS M3
BOSE SOUNDTOUCH 300
If you can live without Wi-Fi, Q Acoustics has your ear. This metre-wide bar offers a decent spread of inputs: HDMI, stereo phono, optical digital audio and 3.5mm line in. There are no on-body controls and it comes with an ugly credit card remote, but the design aesthetic still has a techy appeal – a metal brace provides clearance for the downward subwoofer, while the grille is aluminium. The key attribute is wide-dispersion BMR drivers, which give a pronounced stereo effect. Bass response is good too. A bar to play loud.
The SH6 is a bafflingly good value Bluetooth bar that slams like a barn door in a hurricane. Wide at 1060mm, it’s best partnered with 50-inch-plus screens. Connections include two HDMIs, digital optical audio and a 3.5mm line input. The HDMIs don’t support 4K, but Google Cast is built in, and performance is outstanding for the cash. The SH6 delivers a wall of sound, with clean dialogue and excellent mid-bass. Rated at 150w, it has volume in reserve, and also functions perfectly as part of LG’s multroom MusicFlow ecosystem. A stone cold bargain.
The SoundTouch 300 is cut from designer cloth. Build quality is supreme, with a tempered black glass top plate and wraparound aluminium grille. It’s wide at 97cm, and doesn’t lack for welly. Twin HDMIs support 4K HDCP 2.2 sources, and there’s also an optical digital audio input. The Bose ADAPTiQ room calibration system, with a mic built into a plastic headband, is used for setup. Once tuned, performance is excellent. The Bose does big cinema brilliantly well, and is also wonderfully musical. Whether your jam is The Martian or Metallica, you’ll feel well served.
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WorldMags.net long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, you needed an AV receiver and battalion of loudspeakers to bring convincing blockbuster movie audio home. Things are a lot simpler now. A single premium soundbar allows
wireless subwoofers for deep bass, others handle highs and lows in a single enclosure. All promise face-slapping audio. Add Bluetooth and multiroom hi-fi streaming, and the right soundbar will do more than just scratch your cinematic itch. Bring on the movie stars…
BEST FOR DESIGN
anyone to get rowdy with Rogue One. Kick-ass digital amplification, ingenious drivers and sophisticated DSP audio processing mean a sound system no longer needs to take over your living room to sound good. Some bars come with
T VI RT UA L SU RR
05 HI-RES AUDIO PERFORMER
04 BIG AUDIO AND ULTRA COMPACT
06 EXCELLENT VIRTUAL SURROUND
PHILIPS FIDELIO B1
The Nano B1 is a mere 41cm wide and comes with a wireless sub, which at just 86mm deep is able to slide beneath your sofa. You get two HDMIs, a 3.5mm line-in and an optical digital jack, but there’s no 4K support. The rolled aluminium and fabric design is cute. For such a shorty, the B1 delivers an engaging, panoramic soundstage. The wide sweet spot comes from four microbeaming drivers in a cross-firing configuration. A pair of additional soft dome tweeters on top function as a virtual speaker array. Over-priced but always entertaining.
It may look like a film star, but this 2.1 package turns out to be tuned for audiophiles. The 108cm bar boasts a pair of mid-range drivers, flanked by a gold-ringed high-frequency super tweeter and a secondary tweeter on the edge of the unit. Audio quality is smooth and articulate, but doesn’t quite have the bass wallop you might be expecting. There are four HDMIs, all 4K friendly, plus an optical digital audio input. The HT-NT5 can also be used as part of a Sony multiroom system. One for the fashionistas.
Available in black or silver (actually grey fabric), the YAS-306 is a mid-ranger that wants to do more. As part of Yamaha’s MusicCast system, it can stream content across other MusicCast kit. It’ll also play hi-res audio. But there are caveats. Offering very little below 100Hz, it’s light on bass, which removes heft for action movies and diminishes deep beats from music. Arguably the best reason to audition the 950mm YAS-306 is its brilliant Air Surround Xtreme virtual surround mode, which effectively recreates a cinematic soundstage from its tweeter/woofer array.
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Superstars of HDR
4K HDR IS REWRITING THE HIGH-END TV RULEBOOK. IT MIGHT BE TIME TO INVEST... Words: Steve May
Flashy looks aside, we find out which of these 4K HDR beauties will give you the best viewing experience for your money
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Photos: Neil Godwin
WorldMags.net OU CAN GET AWAY WITH SPENDING CHUMP CHANGE IF ALL YOU WANT IS A 4K TV, BUT TO SEE HOW PICTURE QUALITY HAS EVOLVED, YOU NEED TO LOOK TOWARD THE PREMIUM END OF THE MARKET. HDR TV TECH COUPLED TO THE RESOLUTION BOOST OFFERED BY 4K IS FINALLY REVEALING THE REAL PROMISE OF ULTRA HD.
spectral highlights, not overall brightness – things like fire, glinting metals and sunlight really pop. Of course, delivering HDR is challenging for TV makers, who are adopting different techniques to turbo-charge screens. High-end TVs aren’t just about image quality, though. Flagship screens boast premium build quality, and can turn heads even when they’re switched off. But should your next posh panel come from Sony, Panasonic or LG? Read on to find out…
We’re not blue-sky gazing here. HDR is already available on 4K UHD Blu-ray (pretty much every 4K disc is being mastered in HDR), as well as streaming services from Netflix and Amazon Video (programmes are limited, but include the likes of Marco Polo and Daredevil), and increasingly Xbox One and PS4 games. HDR represents a gear change in picture quality. It enables a TV signal to include more colours and highlights, resulting in more dynamic and realistic images. We’re talking
W HAT’S ON TEST…
Sony KD-65ZD9 Sony’s new Master Backlight Drive promises best-in-class HDR contrast. Could this be the finest TV Sony has ever made? Price £4,000 URL sony.co.uk
OLED TV technology has long been touted as the future of TV. This gorgeous LG screen suggests that future may have arrived early. Price £4,499 URL lg.co.uk
Panasonic TX-58DX802B High-end design, 4K Pro image processing and Freeview Play? We reckon this might just be the 4K HDR bargain of the year. Price £1,289 URL panasonic.co.uk
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WorldMags.net TEST 01: SONY KD-65ZD9
These enormous 4K screens are certainly dressed to impress
ur top-end TV trio may be larger than the average telly box, spanning 58- to 65-inches, but they wear their acreage well, with premium design and ﬂashy ﬁnishes. The LG E6 makes an art of minimalism. Its astonishingly thin picture-on-glass design really reinforces the diﬀerence between an OLED panel and even the thinnest of LCD screens. Indeed, it’s so slim you fear it might snap (it won’t, of course). The Harman Kardon designed soundbar slung across the bottom of the screen adds some welcome weight. The E6 sports four HDCP 2.2 compliant HDMIs and three USBs, with analogue video handled by mini-jack inputs. There’s an optical digital audio output and Ethernet LAN. Tuner choice is single satellite or solo Freeview Play. The 58-inch Panasonic DX802 is uncharacteristically outré. The screen itself sits between ‘freestyle’ triangular stands. This easel-like arrangement makes it look
The E6’s easel-like arrangement makes it look like it should rock like it should rock back and forth, but it is actually ﬁxed. You’ll need wide TV furniture to accommodate its width though. The soundbar is completely separate, tethered to the panel only via a proprietary lead. The ﬁnish on the soundbar appears to be metallic mesh, but it’s actually an attractive patterned fabric. The TV’s connections include four 4Kready HDMIs with HDCP 2.2 support, three USBs, Ethernet, component AV and a digital optical audio output. The 65-inch Sony ZD9 is a little less adventurous, with its ultra thin slate bezel, and has a more practical pedestal stand. Unlike its rivals, there’s no soundbar – the set relies on downﬁring micro-speakers. The rear panel is notable for its patterned design. Not only does it look pretty cool, it also helps to disguise the pop-oﬀ panels that conceal the connections on the rear. As with its rival sets, there are four HDMI inputs around the back, all HDCP 2.2 ready, plus digital optical audio output and Ethernet. All three TVs oﬀer Wi-Fi as standard.
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The bezel of the ZD9 is trimmed with faux gold, because bling is back
The ZD9 conceals all its input ports with cleverly designed panels
SPECS RESOLUTION: 3840 x 2160p 3D: Yes TUNERS: Freeview HD, satellite
CONNECTIONS: 4x HDMI, 3x USB, SCART, component video input, digital optical output, Ethernet, Wi-Fi
WHAT IS ULTRA HD PREMIUM? LG’s E6 OLED is the only screen here to boast this certification. But what does it mean? TVs branded Ultra HD Premium are all certified to deliver a uniformly high HDR viewing experience. The badge can be applied to both OLED and LED TVs, but actually varies between
screen types. LED screens need to offer more than 1,000 nits peak brightness and a black level of less than 0.05 nits, while OLED screens must have 540 nits peak brightness
SMART OS: Android TV with YouView DIMENSIONS: 1462 x 920 x 268 mm (w/h/d) WEIGHT: 32kg
yet offer a deeper 0.0005 nits black level . This means OLEDs go blackest and LEDs aren’t as black but go brighter. A certified display must also be able to achieve 90% of the cinemastyle DCI/P3 colour space. While the Sony ZD9 matches this LED spec, the company has skipped on certification as it believes it confuses buyers.
This screen is insanely thin – well the bit without electronics is
The soundbar is designed by the audio boffins at Harman Kardon
It may look like a swinger, but that easel stand is fixed in place
SPECS RESOLUTION: 3840 x 2160p 3D: Yes TUNERS: Freeview Play, satellite
CONNECTIONS: 4x HDMI, 3x USB, mini-jack component/composite video, optical digital audio output,
The soundbar isn’t actually attached to the set – how very casual!
SPECS Ethernet, Wi-Fi SMART OS: webOS DIMENSIONS: 1461 x 893 x 56.7 mm (w/h/d) WEIGHT: 22.8kg
YOUR BEST SOURCE OF HDR Treat your new 4K telly to 4K Blu-ray – the ultimate in off-the-shelf HDR The increasingly popular Netflix and Amazon may be ramping up HDR support, and games are quickly following suit, but currently the best source of HDR content is 4K UHD
Blu-ray. It’s a key feature of all new 4K disc releases, and is also cropping up on a number of remastered classics (the original Ghostbusters movies spring to mind).
RESOLUTION: 3840 x 2160p 3D: Yes TUNERS: Freeview Play, satellite
Hollywood studios now clearly see HDR as a killer app for the new disc format. All 4K UHD Blu-rays use HDR 10 (by which we actually mean HDR 10-bit), which is an industry-wide open standard for content and displays. By way of comparison, regular Blu-rays are 8-bit SDR (Standard Dynamic Range).
CONNECTIONS: 4x HDMI, 3x USB, SCART, component video input, digital optical output, Ethernet, Wi-Fi
SMART OS: Firefox TV DIMENSIONS: 1369 x 828 x 356mm (w/h/d) WEIGHT: 32.5kg
Test 01 winner LG OLED65E6 With a crazy thin pictureon-glass panel and gorgeous integrated soundbar, LG’s OLED takes design minimalism to new heights T3 ANNUAL 8 3
WorldMags.net TEST 02: SONY KD-65ZD9
FEATURES Our trio don’t skimp on connected doodahs or futuristic functionality
ll three HDR TVs feature advanced connectability, oﬀering the latest streaming services, game downloads and smartphone mirroring. The diﬀerentiating factor is the OS. We’ve always rated LG’s webOS. The user interface is now in its third iteration, and with the help of LG’s Magic Remote it’s a doddle to navigate. Apps, channels and inputs are accessed via an expandable bar at the base of the screen. You can easily reorder content tiles. The choice of streaming services includes all the main UK catch-up services, plus Now TV, Netﬂix and Amazon. Both Netﬂix and Amazon apps support 4K and HDR streams – and on certain shows you’ll see Dolby Vision HDR. The Panasonic runs My Home Screen v2.0 powered by the Firefox OS – a stripped back connected experience. It’s more elegant and customisable than LG’s system, as it allows you to tailor the Home screen by pinning shortcuts for your most used services/channels/inputs.
To get over Android TV’s limited UK catch-up TV, the Sony ZD9 has a YouView app which replaces the standard programme guide
All three have advanced connectability. The main diﬀerence is the OS There’s also a novel navigation system, which pulls weather information, notiﬁcations, recommended programmes or a vertical programme guide into view via the coloured buttons on the remote. And because the set supports two tuners, you also get a live secondary Picture-in-Picture in the programme guide when browsing channels. Both LG and Panasonic have Freeview Play, which simpliﬁes catch-up by oﬀering a rollback programme guide; selecting past shows will ﬁre up the appropriate channel player. Sony’s ZD9 runs the Android TV OS. Not to be confused with the smartphone OS of the same name, Android TV packs the screen with streaming services, games and other stuﬀ. Visually it’s a jumble, but there’s plenty here, including Netﬂix, Amazon Video (both of which support 4K HDR streaming), YouTube and a feast of lesser streaming services. While Android doesn’t have much in the way of catch-up TV on tap, Sony oﬀers an overlay of YouView, which features all the catch-up TV services from a roll-back programme guide.
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The ZD9 supports Google Cast, which means you can stream content direct from any compatible smartphone to the screen
DO I NEED DOLBY VISION? All HDR TVs support HDR 10, but LG backs Dolby Vision too Because the consumer electronics industry likes to keep things complicated, there are two HDR standards in use today. HDR 10 is by far the most common, used on 4K
Blu-ray discs and streaming services. But there’s a second proprietary standard, Dolby Vision, which currently only LG HDR TVs support. Unlike HDR 10, Dolby Vision
is a 12-bit HDR system that employs metadata on a frame by frame basis, to dictate image characteristics. Advocates suggest this translates to an HDR presentation that better reflects what producers see in the studio. Netflix currently offers both HDR 10 and Dolby Vision on select programmes.
WorldMags.net LG OLED65E6
The latest version of webOS offers only subtle refinements over previous iterations, but remains wonderfully intuitive
We love the hidden weather notifications and scrollable TV guide on Panasonic’s My Home Cloud interface
Using webOS you can jump from Netflix and Amazon to live TV and back again, without having to restart the streaming app
Freeview Play is an update on Freeview HD, which adds internet delivered TV channels and simplified main channel catch-up services
BROADCASTERS ARE HOLDING OUT FOR HYBRID LOG-GAMMA There’s a good reason why you haven’t seen HDR from TV broadcasters yet Sky and BT may now run 4K programmes, but they haven’t adopted HDR yet. That’s because they’re waiting for a broadcast HDR specification
called Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) to be standardised. Broadcasters like HLG because it’s backwards compatible with non-HDR
TVs (so they only have to broadcast one stream) and it allows them to produce HDR programmes using current studio equipment. Official ratification of HLG is expected before the end of the year. We won’t know until next year though if any 2016 HDR TVs can be firmware updated to support it.
Test 02 winner PANASONIC TX-58DX802B The competition is well tooled, but for connected sophistication Panasonic is the smartest box in the room T3 ANNUAL 8 5
WorldMags.net TEST 03: SONY KD-65ZD9
PERFORMANCE Which TV best combines UHD image quality with the latest HDR tech?
t goes without saying that all three screens are a cut above the norm when it comes to picture quality. The images oﬀered by the LG OLED are lush. With deep perfect blacks (an OLED strong point) and vibrant colour, the E6 looks great with pretty much anything. With regular HD, be it from Sky or Blu-ray, you can see its dynamism immediately on graphics and white text. Feed it native 4K with HDR though and the panel really shines. OLED doesn’t oﬀer the same high peak highlight brightness of its LED rivals, but in many ways it’s a better watch. LG is also the only UK screen brand to oﬀer support for Dolby Vision. This is currently limited to Netﬂix (Marco Polo and Adam Sandler’s Ridiculous 6), but in truth we think it doesn’t look overly diﬀerent to regular HDR. The Panasonic DX802 rather betrays its low-price roots in this shoot-out. It can’t match the brightness of the Sony ZD9 and can’t go as black as the OLED E6. But image quality remains high – the San Fernando Valley pre
This Sony may not have Ultra HD Premium certification, but its performance clearly exceeds the specification
The San Fernando Valley pre quake in San Andreas warrants sunglasses quake in the disaster movie San Andreas (4K Blu-ray) warrants sunglasses. Colour ﬁdelity is excellent, with copious ﬁne detail. What lets the screen down is light bloom caused by the screen’s edge lighting. This becomes particularly distracting when watching a letter-boxed movie – the bottom bar ﬂicks between grey and black. Sony’s ZD9 doesn’t have any such problems because it uses a full array backlight as part of its Backlight Master Drive. A number of precision calibrated LED lights, controlled by a unique lighting algorithm, enable the ZD9’s backlight to discreetly dim and glow with astonishing precision. This gives the set enormous contrast, free from the haloing around bright objects seen on lesser LED sets. So much so, its HDR performance is leaps and bounds ahead of both Panasonic and LG rivals. The set also looks phenomenal with regular HD, a beneﬁt of its upscaling X1Extreme HDR image processor. If Sony has produced a better looking 4K TV, then we’ve not seen it! 8 6 T3 ANNUAL
The ZD9 features a 4K version of Sony X-Reality Pro image enhancer, which can eek even more detail from UHD sources
BUT I ALREADY HAVE HDR ON MY SMARTPHONE? The terminology may be the same, but the technology is quite different
Any smartphone worth its salt has an HDR camera mode – you’ll have used it to make your selfies super-contrasty. However, you shouldn’t be fooled
into thinking that such visual trickery is comparable with the HDR performance on these 4K televisions. They really aren’t the same thing.
HDR for TV is not an exposure control, it’s about expanding the ability of cameras and display devices to deliver bright spectral highlights way beyond what has been technically possible before, along with a broader colour palette. HDR allows more creative leeway for content producers and makes TV images literally zing.
WorldMags.net LG OLED65E6
For superior motion handling performance, set the LG’s Trumotion setting on User with de-judder at 3 and de-blur at 10
The DX802 combines fine detail with rich colour, but watch out for backlight uniformity errors as the edge-lighting pulsates against a black background
With 4K UHD Blu-ray, we found the LG’s HDR Bright setting gave the most dramatic results. Impressive stuff
The DX802 pulls off such impressive quality that audio-visual watchdog THX awarded it a rare 4K Display certification
WHY HDR TVS ARE NOT ALWAYS CREATED EQUAL
Different nit levels will drive you nuts
Say what? OK, when it comes to TVs a nit level, for the uninitiated, is a measure of brightness. It’s also known as candela-per-metre-squared, but nit is obviously much easier
for us all to pronounce. Nits are all-important to HDR. All screens have a different brightness output, so sophisticated tone mapping is used to reproduce HDR images across a broad
range of sets. Clever this may be, but this also means that the HDR viewing experience is not going to be the same from one TV to another. And further to that, the 4K HDR content you sit down to watch could end up looking very different to the same content your friends are viewing on their HDR screens, so it pays to know your nits.
Test 03 winner SONY KD-65ZD9 With its Backlight Master Drive technology, Sony has set a new benchmark for dynamic 4K image quality
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The overall winner is… 1st Sony KD-65ZD9 Price: £4,000
T3 RATES: This TV doesn’t just look slick, with its minimal design and rose gold trim. Sony’s Backlight Master Drive technology proves stunningly effective with 4K HDR content. 4K HDR Netflix and Amazon simply add to the fun. T3 SLATES: The Android smart TV platform is clunkier than most (although YouView brings
catch-up relief), and the onboard sound isn’t as clear as rival soundbar systems. T3 SAYS: The best 4K HDR performance we’ve seen. The deep blacks, wide colour and sparkling highlights will enhance 4K Blu-ray, Sky Q 4K and HDR-capable consoles.
2nd LG OLED65E6
3rd Panasonic TX-58DX802B
Price: £4,499 URL: lg.co.uk
Price: £1,289 URL: panasonic.co.uk
T3 RATES: Wonderful picture quality – both HD and 4K HDR. First-class usability and stunning design. T3 SLATES: That price! It’s the dearest telly on test. T3 SAYS: Stunning picture and first-rate usability combined.
T3 RATES: Incredible price point. The audacious design and feature-rich spec make it a real contender. T3 SLATES: The brightness doesn’t quite hit HDR heights. T3 SAYS: Nothing can beat this set’s value for money.
SIX WAYS TO GET THE MOST FROM YOUR 4K HDR TV 01 UPGRADE YOUR SOUND SYSTEM TO DOLBY ATMOS If your TV is state of the art, then you’re not getting the very best from it unless you have audio that matches. The Marantz NR1607 is a slimline AV receiver with support for both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. Both objectbased audio systems add sound effects to a height channel, in addition to regular surround, for a truly immersive cinema experience that’ll get the neighbours banging your walls.
02 GET YOUR XBOX UPDATED The Xbox One S currently leads 8 8 T3 ANNUAL
the field when it comes to HDR gaming, with Gears of War 4, Forza Horizon 3 and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided just three top titles that offer dazzling HDR graphics with the right set-up.
03 PICK UP A PLAYSTATION 4 PRO There may be a significant lack of compatible games available at the moment, but all PlayStation 4s now support HDR on the compatible games you can get your hands on. The PlayStation 4 Pro, of course, goes several steps further by offering gamers upgraded 2160p visuals to match.
04 ENHANCE CONTRAST WITH BIAS LIGHTING It’s possible to give the already great images from your shiny new 4K TV even more depth by adding bias lighting to the walls behind the screen. This will further enhance contrast for an even better viewing experience. It reduces eye fatigue too, so you can watch for longer, which is a bonus! Simply buy yourself some Philips Hue up-lighters and take control via the app on your smartphone.
05 UPGRADE TO 4K UHD BLU-RAY The best source of 4K
HDR content is UHD Blu-ray. Panasonic’s DMP-UB700 is an Ultra HD premium certified disc spinner that has all the video processing power of the high-end DMP-UB900 but sells for just £399… Once set up, you can enjoy your favourite movies – classic and current – in the best possible quality.
06 BITE THE BULLET WITH SKY Q Enjoy the widest collection of TV shows and movies in 4K on Pay TV. It may not be HDR, but side by side comparisons with the same movies on 4K disc reveal a darn close a match.
THEWorldMags.net ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO ALL YOUR CHILDHOOD FAVOURITES Whether itâ€™s Star Wars, SuperTed, Sesame Street or Smurfs, The Ultimate Retro Collection is a celebration of the movies, music and toys that defined so many childhoods around the world.
Get it from WHSmiths in the UK & Barnes & Noble in the US
4K Kings of Spin UHD BLU-RAY OFFERS THE ULTIMATE IN 4K PICTURE QUALITY. WE TEST THE BEST PLAYERS OUT THERE, FROM CHEAPIES TO PREMIUM PERFORMERS Words: Steve May
REA 01 G
VE S NO M EET
EC L SP
P R ES S M OST IM 03 T HE
02 THE UHD PL AY E R
C IVE SPE
TO BE A T
01 GREAT AV MEETS NOVEL SPEC
02 THE UHD PLAYER TO BEAT
03 THE MOST IMPRESSIVE SPEC
With a slick UI, excellent 2160p video quality and surprisingly convincing audio playback, Samsung’s latest UHD spinner is a big improvement on the brand’s original UBD-K8500. Connectivity is par for the course (two HDMI inputs, plus digital optical audio), and disc loading speeds are refreshingly fast. 4K streaming apps include Netflix, Amazon Video and YouTube. The deck doesn’t play DSD High-Res audio files, and more bizarrely isn’t compatible with 3D Blu-rays. It will, however, stream video to a smartphone! Comes with a groovy ergonomic remote.
Featuring anti-resonance build quality and sensational video performance (pristine detail, band-free colour, excellent upscaling), this Sony UHD disc debutante gets just about everything right. Connections include two HDMI outputs and a digital audio coaxial output, plus direct pairing with Bluetooth headphones. The X800 is also a first-rate High-Res Audio player, compatible with SACD and DVD-A discs. Streaming apps include Netflix, Amazon Video and YouTube in 4K. The only thing missing is Dolby Vision support. But this player is good enough for us to forgive that.
The DMP-UB700 is the star buy in Panasonic’s expansive UHD player line-up. Leaving audiocentric connectivity to the brand’s flagship DMP-UB900, it combines top image processing chops with a feature spec that’s more inclusive than Samsung’s rival UBD-M9500. Streaming service support is top notch, as is High-Res Audio compatibility. When it comes to connectivity, you get two HDMIs, one Audio Only for connection to a home cinema receiver. Picture quality is excellent, with superb Ultra HD detail, low noise and rich wide colours. Disc loading is furiously fast.
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4K BLU-RAY PLAYERS
WorldMags.net f you’ve just bought a pixel-packed 4K TV, you need supersharp content to make it shine. Netflix, Amazon Video and YouTube are all great sources of UHD, but image quality can
be inconsistent. Sky Q and 4K BT TV are typically a step up, but they don’t offer HDR and the kind of wide colour your new TV set is capable of. To really take your viewing to another level, UHD Blu-ray is the way to go. This next-
04 B EST BUDGET V IDEO PER FOR M E
gen disc format combines blisteringly sharp images with HDR and the kind of rich colours normally reserved for cinema viewing. But which 4K Blu-ray player is right for you? We take the best out for a spin to see…
06 THE CLEVER COMPRO MISE
SS EU RS 05 TH E CO NN OI
04 BEST BUDGET VIDEO PERFORMER
’ CH OI CE
05 THE CONNOISSEURS’ CHOICE
06 THE CLEVER COMPROMISE
XBOX ONE S
The compact DMP-UB300 is one of the cheapest UHD players available – and frankly, looks it. With just one HDMI, it’s best connected direct to a TV rather than going via an AV receiver. There’s no Wi-Fi onboard either, so you’ll need a wired connection to get online. That said, there’s no compromise on performance. The UB300 has the same 4K High Precision Chroma Processor found on its upmarket stablemates. Apps include Netflix and Amazon Video (in 4K HDR), plus YouTube and BBC iPlayer. File support covers a full range of High-Res Audio formats. Recommended for cost cutters.
A veritable Rolls Royce among UHD Blu-ray players, the UDP-203 features an amazingly heavy metal chassis, and ticks every feature box an enthusiast would want: Dolby Vision HDR support, Twin HDMI outputs with HDMI loopthrough, SACD/DVD-A playback with analogue outputs, and an image engine seemingly inspired by Rembrandt. Picture quality is studio pristine while sonically the player borders on audiophile clarity. The only catch is that there are no apps on board – so you can’t supplement your viewing with Netflix, Amazon or YouTube. Iffy value, but a majestic AV performer.
The inclusion of UHD disc playback is a huge differentiator between the Xbox One S and PS4. Consequently, this 500GB XBox should be almost irresistible to UHD bargain hunters. But apart from its games prowess, how does it stack up as a disc player? From a visual standpoint, it does the job: there’s no compromise on picture performance, offering unfettered resolution and HDR10 support. But the user experience pales compared to a dedicated player: it’s noisy as heck and navigating discs via a joypad is clunky – and only the deluded would opt to use this for music playback.
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GET FIT WITH TECH
MAN VS TECH: HOME WORKOUT
SUPER SIX: JUICERS
MAN VS TECH: CYCLING TECH
SUPER SIX: COMMUTER TECH
MAN VS TECH: DRONE RACING
“Check out the best kit for keeping fit and active – from stylish sportswear to smart gadgets – as well as the best juicers, coolest ways to commute and the ultimate in drones”
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01 Lazer Genesis LifeBeam
GET FIT WITH TECH
This clever, lightweight helmet monitors your heart rate via a rechargeable sensor in the headband. A processing unit sends data to your cycle computer, smartphone or smartwatch via Bluetooth, so you know whether to pedal harder or ease up. ÂŁ193, lazersport.com
Give your fitness drive a boost with our pick of smart sports gadgets and clothing WORDS CLAIRE DAVIES
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GET FIT WITH TECH
01 Saucony Triumph ISO 3
02 JLab Epic2
03 Ashmei Ultimate
Find your stride with Saucony’s Triumph ISO 3, a colourful running shoe that delivers maximum energy return via an Everun Landing Zone under the heel. The Isofit system ensures a responsive fit by adapting to the shape and motion of your foot, while a Tri-Flex outsole creates flexibility.
Compatible with iPhone and Android phones, JLab’s chic Epic2 wireless earbuds feature a ceramic Bluetooth antenna that reduces signal drop-outs. You also get deep bass and an IPX5 waterproof rating that’ll handle sweat. The tangle-free cable has a remote and a mic.
Both wind- and waterproof at the front, with a blended Merino wool back to offer breathability, this softshell jacket with a two-way offset zip is versatile enough to wear all year round. Storage is good, too – stash your phone in the side pocket and your keys in the internal pocket.
$99.99 (£80), jlabaudio.com
04 Oakley Radar Pace
05 Garmin Forerunner 235
Smart eyewear for runners and cyclists alike. Made in collaboration with Intel, these glasses feature a real-time, voice-activated coaching system. Three mics and a suite of sensors handle the input, and you can manage workout goals via the Radar Pace app.
Train whatever the weather with this GPS-enabled, shockresistant running watch that boasts a built-in accelerometer and Garmin Elevate heart-rate (HR) tech. Running-specific features include pace and time/ distance alerts, plus capability for scheduling interval training.
02 Bkool Smart Pro
Ride thousands of classic or user-created cycling routes from the comfort of your home courtesy of Bkool’s Bluetoothconnected turbo trainer and simulator app. It even recreates the gradients and conditions of each route, and delivers detailed analytics at the end of each ride. £449, bkool.com
03 Garmin Edge 820
04 Pearl Izumi Pro Escape
05 Ribble CR3 Winter Training Bike
Whether you’re training for a race or looking for insight into your riding style, this GPS bike computer – compatible with ANT+ sensors, and able to record speed, cadence and HR – can help. The high-res screen autoadjusts its brightness, and the touch display works with gloves.
This softshell cycling jacket features three-layered panels in key areas to keep the elements at bay, plus fleece sides and back to aid core warmth in temperatures down to -10 degrees. If you get too hot during your ride, side vents help temperature regulation.
Your road racer is ideal for summer blasts but not so when it turns icy. Avoid the winter training dip with this superb steed, which you can build to your exacting needs, complete with disc brakes, mudguards, and grippy Continental tyres.
From £1,199, ribblecycles.co.uk
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02 Bragi The Dash
Track laps in the pool with Misfit’s wearable (waterproof to 50m), which communicates via a vibrating motor and multicoloured lights on the display. Program the Countdown Swim Timer and the Shine 2 will vibrate on your wrist when your time in the water is up.
This wireless hearable, waterproof to one metre, uses biometric sensors to monitor your performance in the pool, giving you real-time audio feedback on your heart rate. You can also listen to music direct from the integrated 4GB Dash music player, and take calls.
¤299 (£255), bragi.com
03 Arena Powerskin ST Limited Edition Jammer
04 Speedo Fastskin Prime Mirror Goggle
These high-tech shorts are made from Lycra-infused fabric to deliver built-in compression. This reduces any chafing or muscle stiffness, and boosts recovery. The chlorine-resistant Jammers fit like a second skin to help streamline your shape.
These FINA-approved goggles sport a hydrodynamic design. Speedo’s IQ Fit keeps them in place, with a 3D seal to prevent leaks. The wraparound shape increases your field of vision, while anti-fog, mirrored lenses reflect bright light.
01 Misfit Speedo Shine 2
01 Beast Athlete
02 Adidas Techfit Power Tee
03 Nutri Ninja Pro
04 TRX Home Gym
This wearable for strength training uses an accelerometer to measure the power, speed and force of your movements. It can help you prevent injury and perfect your form. Data is pinged to the companion app, where you can adjust workout goals to your taste.
Support your core muscles and boost your power with this tech-infused compression shirt. Adidas’s breathable, mesh-esque Climachill fabric keeps you cool during workouts by wicking sweat away from your skin. The result? You can train harder with increased personal comfort.
Smoothies made with whey powder, plus fruit, vegetables or seeds, are a great way to nail your protein quota and some of your recommended five a day. This 1,100-watt blender will help you get the most nutrients from your drinks, thanks to Auto-IQ and Smooth Boost tech.
Turn any door frame, or even a suitable space outside, into a gym with this cool bodyweight training kit. The TRX Home Gym suspension trainer (with app) can help strengthen your core and build tone. Just anchor the kit to the apparatus in question and follow the instructions.
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02 Monster Roc Sport SuperSlim
The new Moov HR Sweat has a heart-rate sensor worn under a fast drying, sweat-absorbing headband to monitor and coach you through different cardio exercises, including HIIT. Voice coaching (via your smartphone) guides you through each move and pushes you to work harder.
These streamlined, wireless earphones will spur you on with their bass-heavy sound. Sweatproof and designed with one-touch Bluetooth pairing, the noise-isolating buds will help you stay in HIIT’s fatburning zone for longer.
$99 (£80), moov.cc
03 Under Armour HeatGear CoolSwitch Supervent Sleeveless Shirt
04 Keiser M3i Indoor Cycle
This compression vest with four-way-stretch material uses CoolSwitch technology – a coating on the fabric that draws heat away from your skin. A mesh back panel enhances breathability and dries sweat.
Doing HIIT on an indoor bike is low-impact yet seriously effective, and the Bluetoothenabled M3i – designed with magnetic resistance to ape riding a road cycle – is a HIIT favourite. Real-time workout statistics are displayed on the backlit digital display.
$1,995 (£1,568), keiseruk.com
01 Moov HR Sweat
02 Salomon X Ultra Trek GTX
01 Suunto Ambit3 Vertical (HR) GPS Watch
Hike all year round with these lightweight boots, featuring a full Gore-Tex bootie to keep you dry, plus robust lugs to help those Contagrip rubber soles dig into any surface. The OrthoLite sockliner and EVA heel cups deliver superior support and cushioning.
Explore the great outdoors with this GPS smartwatch. Use it with Suunto’s Movescount app to plan routes (topographic maps and altitude info). You can also get real-time hill-incline data in-app, with general activity stats viewable at the wrist.
03 Montane Ultra Tour 22 The body of this lightweight pack is constructed from durable, tear-resistant Raptor Zero fabric. Large, stretchy mesh pockets will swallow gear such as maps, water bottles and sunscreen, while the rolltop closure gives quick access to the main compartment.
04 Canada Goose HyBridge Perren Jacket 03
One of the most stylish hiking jackets we’ve seen, the Perren uses Strati-Forma 3D, a durable, water-resistant nylon fabric. The laminated outer has four-way stretch so you can move easily, while a micro polar-fleece backing ensures breathability.
04 £75, montane.co.uk
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The mission With the festive Quality Street eaten and the new yearâ€™s beers drunk, our man is feeling worse
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The man for wear. Can he reverse the slump and feel healthier after a month using the latest fitness tech?
With his mid-30s fast approaching, Chris Barnes is up for doing whatever is necessary to fend off the
middle-aged spread before it takes hold. As long as it doesnâ€™t mean joining one of those gym things...
HOME WORKOUT TECH
WorldMags.net BIN THE GYM?
IS IT POSSIBLE TO DITCH THE GYM MEMBERSHIP AND INSTEAD KICKSTART YOUR FITNESS AT HOME WITH THE LATEST WORKOUT TECH? OUR MAN FINDS OUT…
The tech Fitbit Charge 2 £129.99, fitbit.com TRX Home Gym £141, trxtraining.co.uk
Tangram Smart Jump Rope £69.95, tangramfactory.com Concept2 Model D Rowing Machine £860, amazon.co.uk
Beast Sensor $249 (£202), thisisbeast.com Moov Now £59.99, welcome.moov.cc
Bose SoundSport £139.95, bose.co.uk dhb Run Hoodie £30, wiggle.co.uk
New Balance Vazee Pace 2 £80, newbalance.co.uk
iPhone 7 From £599, apple.com
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WorldMags.net It’s happened. For the first time in my life, I have a love handle. Or the start of one. Either way, I don’t want it to get bigger. OK, so I went overboard at Christmas, but who doesn’t? Anyway, it’s February and my resolution to hit the gym has flatlined. I feel sluggish and my clothes are tight. It’s time to act. Trouble is, my local gym is always rammed. Considering how it’s a bit spit-and-sawdust, the £40-per-month fee seems rather steep. On the walk back home, mulling over whether I really want to shell out hundreds of pounds a year to pump iron in a room that reeks of armpits, I remember something: I’m a tech journalist! Surely, there are umpteen gadgets to help me shape up at home? So, with the help of T3, I’ve set myself a challenge: to feel leaner, stronger and healthier in one month using some of the latest home fitness tech. Cue the training-montage music!
WEEK ONE: THE HURT LOCKER My challenge begins with a full-body cardio workout aboard the enormous Concept2 Model D Rowing Machine. I strap on a Fitbit Charge 2 to take advantage of its Pure Pulse heart-rate monitoring, and dip my virtual paddle in the water. The Model D’s backlit Performance Monitor
“Bring it on, Balboa!”
gives me workout options ranging from free rowing to targeted training. Feeling cautious, I opt for a 3km row. After 1km, I’m buzzing and can feel the rust flaking off my underused joints. A glance at the Fitbit reveals that my heart rate has jumped to 134bpm. Feeling saucy, I notch up another kilometre on this epic machine before crawling to the sofa in a sweaty heap. It’s 8am on day two, and I’m running laps in the park, tracking pace, calories burned and distance covered with the Fitbit Charge 2. SmartTrack auto exercise
recognition means that I didn’t have to fiddle around with modes beforehand. The OLED display is easy to read in daylight, too, and at the end of the run I’m rewarded with a personalised cardio score. When I get home, surprisingly, I’ve got energy to burn, so I opt for a bodyweight training session with the TRX Home Gym. It’s essentially a set of adjustable straps. And they look a bit, well, bondage. When I start hooking them over the
FIT KIT Feel the burn with these
six home-workout essentials
FITBIT CHARGE 2
Whether you’re a HIIT freak or a pavement pounder, the Fitbit Charge 2 will log everything from heart rate to calorie burn and exercise duration. 24-hour tracking keeps an eye on your overall activity, and the Fitbit app displays your health stats in glorious detail. £129.99, fitbit.com
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TRX HOME GYM This portable gym enables you to perform bodyweight workouts on the go; all you need is a door or anything that’ll take your weight. Download bespoke training sessions to the app or choose from dozens of exercises to build your own program. £141, trxtraining.co.uk
TANGRAM SMART JUMP ROPE
The Bluetoothconnected Smart Jump Rope takes skipping to a new level. A smooth ball-bearing design eliminates tangling, and stats are beamed to the Smart Gym Pro app, with skip count also displayed in mid-air via the rope’s built-in LED. £69.95, tangramfactory.com
CONCEPT2 MODEL D ROWING MACHINE
If you’re going to invest in exercise equipment, what better than gear endorsed by Olympic athletes? The sturdy, 227kg Concept2 rower delivers a satisfying full-body cardio workout, and the LED, backlit Performance Monitor displays real-time data to power you through. £860, amazon.co.uk
If you want to progress as a weightlifter, performance analysis is essential. The Beast Sensor monitors every curl, squat and press, feeding back velocity, speed and strength data to the app, enabling you to assess and build on each workout. $249 (£202), thisisbeast.com
The waterproof Moov Now fitness band and Smart Coach app work like a personal trainer. During each of the app’s preloaded workouts, the wearable tracks form and motion via nine sensors, telling you when you’re not moving effectively and encouraging you when you are. £59.99, welcome.moov.cc
HOME WORKOUT TECH
“Now I know why Steve Redgrave was given all those medals!”
FEELING CAUTIOUS, I SETTLE ON A ‘GENTLE’ 3KM ROW. AFTER THE FIRST 1KM, I’M BUZZING AND CAN FEEL THE RUST FLAKING OFF MY UNDERUSED JOINTS. WOW!
The Beast Sensor is an essential accessory for serious weight-lifters
Need encouragement during that aerobic exercise? The Moov Now is the one for you
The Fitbit Charge 2 tracks you 24/7 – yep, even when you’re down the pub
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WorldMags.net Skipping is a great way to lose weight – and I’m not talking about skipping meals!
Snazzy New Balance trainers? Check. Fitbit Charge 2? Check. Motivation? Er, not so much
Getting the latest fitness tech is only part of the job – you also need an ice-cold stare
His workout was put on hold for a few minutes while he caught the end of the EastEnders omnibus
bedroom door, my wife looks at the straps, then does a runner. Was it something I said? The TRX Home Gym is simple to use: fix the anchor over the hinge side of a door (or a tree branch if you’re outside), close the door and get training. The adjustable straps enable users to execute a variety of bodyweight moves, guided by video workouts on TRX’s companion app. Aside from the app’s six free workouts, the TRX store offers many other paid-for workouts tailored to specific fitness goals.
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Feeling cocky, I choose Military Fitness (£4.95). Big. Mistake. After 30 minutes of hellish single-leg squats and pull-ups on the sex swing – er, I mean the TRX Home Gym – I was 50 shades of shattered. This is a phenomenal piece of kit that could whip anyone into shape. Day three brings pain in body parts I didn’t know I had, so I rest up and begin regretting taking on this challenge. Thankfully, after a good night’s sleep I’m ready to move on. I pack in a 5km
row before breakfast, and schedule another TRX total body workout for tomorrow morning. Let’s have it!
WEEKS TWO AND THREE: SIMPLY THE BEAST I’m really feeling the benefits of regular exercise now, but repetition in the workouts is grinding. It’s time to shake things up with weight training, and the Beast Sensor is just the tech to help in this area. The sensor, coupled with the
Beast Strength app, monitors weightlifting performance to maximise the effectiveness of each rep. Three accelerometers, three gyroscopes and three compasses feed back data to the app about rep speed, velocity and strength. Apart from the lurid colour, I hardly notice the Beast on my wrist. I’ve always enjoyed lifting weights, but the detailed feedback from the Beast is making me love this form of exercise. Via the app, I can see that I’m improving each session. I’m not Hugh Jackman-buff yet, but tickets to this gun show are selling nicely. HIIT is next. Designed to pack intensive exercises into a short period of time to burn maximum fat, HIIT could be the the perfect solution for time-poor gymophobes like me. Good form is key to maximising the benefits of exercise, but how do you maintain form without a personal trainer? Enter the Moov Now. This affordable fitness tracker attaches to the wrist or ankle, and utilises 9-axis sensors to analyse movement during any of the Moov Now app’s preloaded workouts – think shadow boxing and more. Apparently, it’ll coach me in real time. Let’s see if it actually works... I prepare for my first round of jumping jacks with a robotic trainer explaining the move, her words coming at me through a pair of gorgeous, sweatproof Bose SoundSport earphones. During the workout, feedback keeps my form in check. My first HIIT session with the Moov Now lasts just seven minutes, but by the time the last stomach crunch comes round, I’m spent.
WEEK 4: THE FINAL PUSH
FIVE MINUTES BOUNCING AROUND WITH THIS THING AND I’M READY TO STRANGLE SOMEONE. BUT THE SADIST IN ME NOW REACHES FOR THE ROPE EACH TIME I WANT AN ENERGY FIX For this feature, Chris wore a Saucony Nomad Running Jacket (£81.90, www.jogging-point.co.uk), a dhb Run Hoodie (£30, www.wiggle. co.uk), an Odlo Raptor Running Shirt (£40, www.odlo.com/uk), New Balance Vazee Pace v2 trainers (£100), a Max Speed Short Sleeve Top (£30), and Sport Style Pants (£60), all www.newbalance.co.uk
Jump rope is used by boxers to build stamina. I could use some of that, so I jump at the chance of trying out the Tangram Smart Jump Rope. It tracks the duration and number of skips in each session, beaming data to the Tangram app and displaying skip count on an LED strip built into the rope. Five minutes bouncing around with this thing and I’m ready to strangle someone. It’s hard. But the sadist in me now reaches for the rope each time I want an energy fix. While my six-pack is still a few (thousand) sit-ups down the road, this gorge of tech has helped me enjoy exercise again. My clothes feel looser and my energy is up. Best of all? The majority of this tech can be bought for the average cost of a one-year gym membership. I’m not encouraging you to ditch the gym, it’s just not for me. Thankfully, with fitness tech as accessible and portable as it now is, I can work out anywhere, any time. Right, I’m off for a skip in the park. Thanks to Argos for supplying us with the Pro Fitness Cast Barbell Dumbbell Set (£64.99, www.argos.co.uk)
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Pulp fiction LOOKING TO ROUND-OUT YOUR DIET WITH A DAILY JUICE? YOU’LL NEED A JUICER, THEN – AND WE’VE GOT SIX POPULAR MODELS ON TEST HERE, RANGING IN PRICE AND SIZE. LET’S GET SQUEEZING! Words: Claire Davies
BEST FOR DESIGN
01 ONE FOR BIG-BATCH JUICING
02 ONE FOR QUIET JUICING
JUICY RETREATS JR-8000S
SMEG SLOW JUICER SJF01
The JR-8000S may not have the pin-up looks of the Smeg or the celebrity endorsement of the Sage, but this is one mean masticating machine. Utilising JR’s Advance Squeeze Technology System, this 240W juicer crushes and squeezes foods whole – just throw and go. It’s slow and steady in use, has a wide 7.5cm chute to prevent clogging, and a reverse function is handy for recrushing particularly juicy fruits. Yes it’s heavy, and it does require extra attention during cleaning, but the JR-8000S is an exceptional machine that produces smooth, froth-free juices with little waste.
If you enjoy the ritual of juicing, Smeg’s Slow Juicer is the one for you – this quiet machine takes its sweet time! It has a more petite feed chute than we’d like, so we had to cut food into small pieces to enable it to fit. That said, this 43rpm beauty managed all fruits and veggies we fed it – the reverse function was handy for harder foods. Both juices came out velvety-smooth and bursting with flavour. There was a high yield from both, with little pulp in the Tritan collector bowl. There’s a range of accessories to enjoy, and a choice of two strainers (fine and coarse).
03 ONE FOR QUICK-HIT JUICING
MASTICATING JUICER BY PHILIPS AVANCE COLLECTION £250, philips.co.uk
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There’s much debate about masticating versus centrifugal juicers. Philips uses MicroMasticating tech here, which it says opens up the cells in your food to squeeze out more nutrients. Our machine loved soft fruits but needed a more careful approach with handfuls of leaves; we used celery to ‘wash through’ debris, then used the Pre-Clean function to extract remaining juice. The feed chute is small and the power cable short, but the juices were vibrant. A drip-stop protects work surfaces, and the no-sieve design makes cleaning easy.
WorldMags.net h, juicing. While some extol its virtues, proclaiming increased vitality and a healthy gut, others dismiss it as a fad. Still, juicing is big business. And the scene
04 ONE FOR W HOLE-FOOD JUICING
ZEBRA BY ZOO SLOW JUICER £399, slowjuice.co.uk
Compact and stylish, the Zebra slots into small spaces for juicing duty. This 38rpm machine with a simple on/off control will quietly crush, press, squeeze and grind, turning fruits and veg into flavoursome drinks that you can transfer to the included glass bottle to drink on the go. The texture of the juice was quite fibrous, but the yield pleasingly high. The double-mouth chute is also a winner: whole foods go through the larger chute, with the slimmer chute for smaller produce. We’d have liked a foam separator on the pouring jug. It takes its time but the results are worth the wait.
is growing, thanks to juicing advocates like Joe Cross (star of Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead) and actors Owen Wilson and Gwyneth Paltrow. If you’re ready to drink your five-a-day, you’ll obviously need a juicer. T3’s been drinking our greens
for years, so we’ve used a lot of juicers, both masticating and centrifugal. Here we’ve rounded up six stunners, testing each by making one green juice (mainly veg) and one orange (mainly fruits). Time to join us in the kitchen...
05 ONE FOR JUICING ON A BUDGET
06 ONE FOR FAMILY-SIZED JUICING
JUICA COLD PRESS JUICER BY SENSIOHOME
NUTRI JUICER COLD FROM SAGE BY HESTON BLUMENTHAL
If budget is your main consideration, this has you covered. The cheap and cheerful Juica Cold Press, with its fresh green accents, is pleasing to the eye and produces juice quickly. The filter on our machine let through more pulp than most other juicers on test here, leading to a more fibrous drinking texture. We also experienced a little clogging when juicing spinach and kale, but the Juica Cold Press happily chewed through carrots, ginger and oranges alike, keeping noise to a minimum. Cleaning and assembly were fool-proof.
A juicer that can handle an entire family’s juice needs? Sage steps up with its three-setting (low, high, off) juicer, packaged with a two-litre jug and an extraction system designed to source up to 70 per cent of nutrients from fruit. This easy-clean centrifugal juicer has a 1,250W motor, making quick work of food fed into its extrawide 8.5cm chute. It produced smooth, tasty drinks both times, but we had a lower yield and a higher level of waste. This (along with increased noise) is common among centrifugal juicers.
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The mission To ride three high-end racing bicycles on some well-known local Strava segments to see if spending big money can make you go faster.
The man Dep ed and keen pedal-pusher Nick gets excited about anything cyclingtech-related, obsessively trying to best his Strava segments on every ride.
The tech Specialized Tarmac Expert Disc Race £4,000, specialized.com Ribble Aero 883 From £1,300, ribblecycles.co.uk
THE STRAVA CHALLENGE
Canyon Speedmax CF SLX 9.0 LTD £7,499, canyon.com Lazer Z1 helmet with LifeBEAM £275, lazersport.co.uk Lazer Wasp Air helmet £250, lazersport.co.uk Garmin Fenix 3 £380, garmin.com Quad Lock Bike Kit £49.95, quadlockcase.co.uk Madison RoadRace Light jersey £89.99, madison.cc Rapha Classic bib shorts £160, rapha.cc Giro Empire ACC reflective shoes £207, giro.com
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CAN £16K’S WORTH OF HOT ROAD-RACING MACHINERY TURN OUR KEEN CYCLING ENTHUSIAST INTO A WIGGINS-BOTHERING PRO? WORDS
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SUPER SHIFTER Shimano’s electronic shifting does away with pushing or pulling cables. Instead, wires tell the derailleurs to move up or down gears – it’s fast and fuss-free
AERO-ENGINEERED The Ribble bike’s tunnel-tested aero frame has umpteen tube profiles to prevent turbulence around it, no matter what angle the wind is coming from Don’t like the stealth-bomber look? Then you’ll have to look elsewhere…
I think there’s something SPE E D DE MON really epic about straddling I used to think of myself as a pretty quick rider; fast on the straights with good power, two wheels. The feeling I get - whether it’s ripping up and a handy climber, too, with great overall fitness. That was until I became acquainted the streets on a motorbike, smashing over any terrain on with this app. In stats form, it kindly lets you know just how rubbish you are compared a mountain bike, or trying to ace my fastest time on my to the rest of the road-cycling population. So when T3 approaches me – lover of road bicycle - is addictive. all things bewheeled – with a challenge But it’s the latter of those to see if the very best in cycling tech can three that really gets me make me a better, faster athlete without going, and it’s all because me having to up my fitness game, I leap of an app called Strava.
at the chance to see what thousands of pounds’ worth of gear can do for me. But just how much benefit do you get when you’re spending £2,000, or £4,000, or even a mortgage-bothering £7.5k? The law of diminishing returns says that the more you spend, the less benefit you’ll get, so I’m keen to find out what these racing machines give you for your moolah. If you’ve ever met me before, you’ll agree with me that, as a six-plus-footer riding a bigger-than-average bicycle, I’m about as aerodynamic as a brick wall
ESSENTIAL KIT The tech you’ll need to make you faster and boost your times on Strava
RIBBLE AERO 883 Wind-tunnel-tested, the Ribble Aero 883 is designed to make you faster, whatever your level. The Toray carbon frameset offers stiffness for good power transfer, while also being light enough to propel you up those hardy hills. It’s perfect for any race. From £1,300, ribblecycles.co.uk
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For ultimate cycling performance, look no further. The Speedmax is the pro’s choice of weapon, ideal for triathlons or time trials. Think you’re good enough to handle it? Hear this: the aerodynamics have been optimised for speeds around 31mph. From £4,399, canyon.com
SPECIALIZED TARMAC EXPERT DISC RACE
Aero makes you faster – fact – but if you need a more rounded race bike you can do lots of miles on, the Tarmac Expert Disc Race is a great choice, with a lightweight carbon frame, huge stopping power and a super-slick 11-speed Ultegra groupset. £4,000, specialized.com
LAZER WASP AIR HELMET
When you’re done spending a small fortune on a bike, invest in an aero helmet like the Lazer Wasp Air. Shorter than the full-on version, it’s less ungainly. The builtin shades protect your eyes, while the tilt sensor keeps you in the aero position. £250, lazersport.co.uk
QUAD LOCK BIKE KIT
Bike computers are cool but pricey, so let your phone do the leg work instead. The Quad Lock Bike Kit lets you mount it to your bars, for easy viewing during rides. With Strava Premium loaded, you can then race live segments in real time - which is an awesome thing. £49.95, quadlockcase.co.uk
GARMIN FENIX 3 In-ride stats are a must when you’re trying to best your times, and the GPSpowered Garmin Fenix 3 displays your speed, distance and more on your wrist while you ride. The clever thing about the Fenix is it can be paired with Strava so it auto-syncs your efforts, post-ride. £380, garmin.com
How the bikes were raced To test the mettle of the three bikes here, I rode a couple of well-known routes. First, a 0.6-mile sprint down a nearly-flat, straight section of road; then an 18-mile route encompassing straights, big hills and downhills. The sprint, a segment on Strava that I could race in real time, highlighted how the bikes fared when I was stamping on the pedal. The latter gave me an idea of how they work in a longer, distancefocused endurance situation. To keep tabs on my performance as I rode, I used Strava Premium on an iPhone 6s, attached to the handlebars with a Quad Lock bike mount.
Every part of the Aero 883’s frame features some air-defying enhancement
Someone’s taken a chunk out of it! No, it’s just to make the bike more aero
The battery sits under here, so you’ve got yet another gadget to charge
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Getting ahead with gear A helmet is arguably the most important piece of kit – other than the bike – to help you go faster. The most hi-tech noggin-protectors come from Lazer. First, I used the Z1, which, thanks to LifeBEAM, constantly monitors your heart rate and tells you, on your phone, if you’re about to have a coronary, without you having to wear an uncomfortable sensor across your chest. Next, I wore the Wasp Air: a full-on aero helmet that makes you look like a squid (but a fast squid). A built-in inclination sensor beeps when your head isn’t tilted correctly, so you can get the maximum aero gains.
The perfect place to stop if you want to get instantly mugged for your pricey set of wheels
The Garmin Fenix 3 is a great sports watch, and it’s perfect for cycling
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Snap your smartphone into the Quad Lock mount and you can track your rides
The Lazer Z1 features a built-in heartrate sensor to track your efforts
HYDRO POWER Hydraulic-assisted brakes give you plentiful stopping power, without you having to squeeze the life out of the levers
with a parachute attached to the back. Aerodynamics play a pretty big part in cycling – just look at the Olympians riding around the aerodrome: aero bikes, helmet, skin suit and hunkered right down. They even shave their legs to get maximum air-slipperiness at full pelt. Lucky devils. So the first bike I put to the test – namely, the Ribble Aero 883 – might just be the perfect weapon for besting my Strava times. It’s got a light, aerodynamic frame, designed to help you cut through the air like a bullet out of a gun, with a cutout at the rear to tuck the wheel right in, cables hidden within its boxy carbon tubes. Even the seatpost is sculpted, and it’s finished off with aero-tastic Pro-Lite XL50 deep-dish carbon rims. Though the base model comes in at a decent price point, Ribble’s custom bikebuilder lets you tailor the cycle to your exact needs. In this case – with swanky wheels and a full Ultegra Di2 electronically-powered groupset, with various carbon add-ons (lighter is faster, right?) – the price almost triples. But no matter what you spend, you get a sexy aero frame – that’s what counts.
SAILING ALONG Having never ridden an aero bike, I’m dubious of the benefits – especially when
“The Ribble Aero 883 is an aggressive race machine... it feels like a rocket” I’m told that the bike alone only counts for about 20 per cent of the aero effect. The Aero 883 feels like an aggressive race machine; low at the front – but it’s still comfortable. Though I’m used to quick bikes, this feels like a rocket, able to build up speed quickly and maintain it, without you expending too much effort. I’m sure the aero thing is working, and, lo and behold, Strava tells me my average speed on the 18-mile route has jumped from a commendable 18mph to just under 20mph, and I’m beating PBs all over the shop. I’ve no doubt the electronic shifting is helping, enabling me to bang the gears up and down at lightning speed. You just tap the paddle and an audible whine lets you know it’s pushed the chain to the next cog along. It’s very cool, and effortless too. On the sprint, the Aero 883 doesn’t feel that quick, probably because I’m using brute force to smash through the oncoming air. But once again, at the end of the 0.6-mile straight – when I’m gasping
for air – Strava says I’m faster on the Ribble, with an impressive time of 1:37 and a top speed of 32.2mph. On the same day, my own race bike hits 1:49 and 30mph.
BIG BRAKE It’s time to try out the Specialized Tarmac Expert Disc Race – and I feel like I need a glass of water just to say its name aloud. The important thing here is the ‘Disc’ bit, for it denotes that this bike comes with disc brakes: powerful, hydraulic ones the likes of which you’d normally find on an MTB with super stopping abilities. The Spec (for short) doesn’t have pimp-style electronic shifting, but the Ultegra groupset is still sweet-as: light and snappy. Similarly, the carbon-fibre frame, though lightweight and gorgeous, isn’t out of this world, with no aero goodness – though its deep-dish Roval Rapide carbon wheels do give you a bit of extra slipperiness. Clearly, this is a bike built more for a variety of racing situations.
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WorldMags.net KEEP ROLLIN’ The Speedmax runs a deeper rear rim than the front. Why? Front handling is affected more by side winds, so you can go deeper at the rear for more aero
SPEEDY SHIFTER Canyon’s bike gets electronic shifting, but features a Dura Ace groupset that’s lighter and offers faster shiting than the Ribble’s Ultegra set
Straddling the Spec, I immediately notice the stretched-out riding position – good for easily tucking into an aero position on the drops. Despite this, it’s easily the most comfortable bike here, the carbon tubes on the frame damping road vibrations nicely. And it’s seriously fast, too. Lined up on the sprint stage once more, the bike explodes into life when I mash the pedals, and to my surprise I match the Ribble Aero 883 with a time of just 1:37 – though it feels like a tail wind may be in play. On the long run, the lack of aero is telling; the Spec can only muster an 18mph average – even with its mega brakes, which enable me to brake at the very last minute on the downhill sections. Though on a rainy day, I suspect the Spec’s brakes would give me confidence to ride faster.
TRI HARD The Canyon Speedmax looks like the kind of bike Batman would ride in his spare time. It’s purpose, purpose, purpose. Designed for triathlons and TT races, it gives you an even bigger aero benefit than the Ribble, with its comically dished wheels and TT bars that let you get down low and superslippery. And check out the front end – it even has an aero water bottle. Bonkers!
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“I grab a load of brake before unloading my nerves in the nearest bush” As soon as I look at it, I’m wary of riding it. It looks like it wants to kill me – and, funnily enough, it nearly does exactly that. On the long stretch, I’m constantly swapping between TT drops and handlebars/brakes as conditions change. It’s heart-pounding stuff, not helped by the bike’s inherent nervousness if it even sniffs a pothole. And it gets worse – at the start of the sprint stage, I fear for my life. I want to bottle it. But I line up, head off (almost falling off) and get immediately on the drops. Thankfully, the bike’s race-spec Dura Ace electronic gear-shifting calms my nerves, as I can rapidly change up while on the bars using the built-in buttons, without taking my focus off the road ahead. But at least three times, a car pulls out of a side road; I quickly grab a load of brake before stopping, then head off to the nearest bush to unload my nerves. Not only do I have to contend with cars, I’ve got the
constant buzzing (pun intended) of the Wasp helmet alerting me when my head moves out of the optimum aero position. Annoyingly, there’s no way of attaching the Quad Lock mount to track my efforts, as the bars won’t allow it – but I have back-up in the shape of the Garmin Fenix 3 strapped to my wrist. Though I can’t race segments in real time, I keep track of my performance with a flick of the wrist. The Speedmax isn’t what I’d call a nice bike to ride, but the proof is in the pudding: this thing is hella fast. A personal best of 1:34 on the sprint stage is remarkable, given the obvious hazards, while on the TT-esque long stage it nets an average speed in the early 20s – and on the straights, I could keep pace with cars in 30 zones. If I could stay on the drops, I’d be faster, no doubt. My nerves are shot and my muscles withered from lactic acid, but I – and the bikes – have lived to tell the tale.
The results? You might be reading this thinking, “So he didn’t really go that fast after all.” But you’d be wrong – just a 1mph average increase over ten miles can have a huge cumulative effect on distance. And if your current steed is an entry-level machine, you’ll see bigger gains. Sure, despite my hardest efforts, I’m still quite some way off getting a King of the Mountain, but now that I feel like I’ve hit the limit of what’s possible on an almost-unlimited budget, I’ve got the impetus to improve my fitness and get even faster – to make the most of what these bikes can do. You never know, I might even enter a proper race next year!
Sure, keep your head in the aero position, but watch out for parked cars!
No matter how fast you are, there’s always someone wearing hi-vis who’s faster
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Electric avenues HELLISH COMMUTE? WEEKEND TRAFFIC NIGHTMARES? PUT SOME SPARK BACK INTO YOUR JOURNEY – AND AN EXCITING NEW TOY IN THE GARAGE – WITH T3’S PICK OF THE BEST ELECTRIC MILE-MUNCHERS
02 O NE
03 ONE FOR HYBRID PO W ER
Words: Chris Barnes
FOR PR O S K AT E R S
DISCLAIMER: COMMUTING ON THESE ELECTRIC VEHICLES ON THE ROAD COULD GET YOU IN TROUBLE – AND YOU COULD FACE A FINE. BE CAREFUL OUT THERE!
01 ONE FOR SHOW-OFFS
AIRWHEEL X8 £560, weareair.com
02 ONE FOR PRO SKATERS
SWEGWAY JUICED ELECTRIC LONGBOARD
03 ONE FOR HYBRID POW ER
EMICRO ONE £749.95, micro-scooters.co.uk
Getting to grips with the single 16-inch wheel of the X8 takes considerable patience and commitment, plus a fair amount of time spent splayed on your arse. A built-in chip handles the X8’s upright balance, but sideways stability is firmly the responsibility of the rider. Get it nailed, though, and you’re in for a comfy, quirky ride. The X8’s 170Wh lithium-ion battery takes just 1.5 hours to charge and delivers up to 14 miles at 12mph. It’s not the prettiest, and it’s also one of the heaviest machines on test here, but if you’re after a toy with a twist, the X8 fits the bill.
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Discover your inner Californian with this goodlooking, e-powered longboard. Belt-driven motors dish out up to 1,800 watts of power, resulting in a hair-raising 18mph top speed in Sport mode. Control comes via a basic Bluetooth remote with a simple throttle/brake lever. The agile board can turn on a dime, eats 25-per-cent gradients for breakfast, and delivers a smooth, consistent ride through its 15-mile range. The built-in handle is a nice touch, while a USB port means you can also charge your smartphone or tablet on the go.
A discreet motor inside the Tron-style Emicro’s rear wheel generates a subtle burst of electric power when you scoot beyond 5kph. Three speed modes – Eco, Standard or Sport – increase maximum power output. Regenerative-braking tech not only delivers reassuring control over the ride but also charges the battery. Sensors detect when you’re pointing uphill, increasing the power and torque to keep things moving. If you’re looking for portable, the Emicro’s folding chassis, heightadjustable bars and 7.5kg weight make it ideal for stowing in your car’s boot or under your desk.
WorldMags.net hether you’re travelling to work, grabbing a coffee or heading to a Genius Bar appointment, it’s all too easy to jump in the car or take public transport. Both have drawbacks; from
their bit for the planet, they’re lightweight and have enough built-in technology to make them a blast to ride. We’ve risked life and limb (and the skin on our knees) to find the best gadgets to get you from A to B. Find out which we love...
05 O N E FOR CO M MUTI
NERS $699 (£557), yuneec.com
YUNEEC E-GO 2
FOR 04 ONE FOR LEARNERS
NE 04 O
NG IN STYLE
traffic delays to parking nightmares, not to mention the environmental impact. But what if we told you there was a stress-free tech solution that didn’t involve wearing Lycra? The six electric machines featured here not only do
05 ONE FOR COM MUTING IN STYLE
ARCHOS AIRWHEEL URBAN E-SCOOTER
06 ONE FOR THE W EEKEND
NINEBOT BY SEGWAY MINIPRO £999, ukswegways.com
The power is in your hands rather than your legs with Yuneec’s E-GO 2 electric skateboard. The wheels are driven by a 400-watt motor and a Concave 6 Flex carbon battery pack, while acceleration and braking are controlled using an ergonomic, handheld Bluetooth remote (or a free phone app). For newbies, the 12mm wooden deck feels stable underfoot, and acceleration can be limited to avoid eating pavement. The ride is comfy once you’re on the move, with the steering responsive and predictable. Flat battery? No drama – the E-GO 2 works as a regular skateboard, too.
Possibly the ultimate electric commuter machine, this lightweight two-wheeler will breeze through an 18-mile journey at up to 12mph on a single charge. The Urban’s powerful hub motor delivers bags of torque, regardless of terrain or rider weight, and operation is simple thanks to a thumb-controlled throttle and brake. The app enables you to limit top speed, track your position and control the scooter’s alarm system. Finishing touches include a saddle, a headlamp and a neat folding mechanism for when your journey’s over.
Sixteen years after its launch, the Segway still looks futuristic. This pocket-sized version uses a pair of 800-watt motors and sensors that monitor body movement to maintain balance. Operation couldn’t be simpler: glide forwards and backwards by tilting your feet, and left and right by leaning your knees into the height-adjustable control bar. The 10mph top speed is sedate but never sluggish, even when travelling uphill, and a single battery will clock up around 14 miles. Anti-theft tech makes it harder to pinch, while headlights and turning indicators are ideal for night riding.
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The mission Can our man use the latest drone racing tech and training from a pro pilot to compete in the hottest new hightech sport?
The man Chris has tested many camera drones for T3 and knows his way around a controller, but does he have the bottle to fly FPV at 80mph?
The tech Vifly R220 £349, quickdrones.co.uk FXT Marvel Vision FPV goggles £129.99, quickdrones.co.uk FrSky Taranis X9D Plus £167, frsky-rc.com Drone Racing League Racer3 £N/A, thedrone racingleague.com Fat Shark Dominator HD3 £499.95 fatshark.com Fat Shark Transformer HD System £249, fatshark.com GoPro Hero 5 Black Edition £399.99, gopro.com Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch £2,699, apple.com Sony Playstation DualShock 4 £49.99, playstation.com
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RACING FIRST-PERSON VIEW DRONE RACING IS SET TO BE HUGE IN 2017. BUT HOW EASY IS IT TO FLY AT OVER 80MPH, LET ALONE RACE? T3â€™S DRONE EXPERT TAKES THE CONTROLS PHOTOGRAPHY
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The tech sport of the future is here. In just a few short years, first-person drone racing has sprung up from an underground hobby of self-built machines and amateur races, to a high tech, big-money sport. Since 2015 the Drone Racing League (DRL) has led the way, partnering with major sponsors and broadcasters, and attracting high-profile investors such as Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross. Pundits have even suggested that drone racing could reach the heights of Formula One. Not such an outlandish claim considering 2016’s DRL winner bagged a professional contract and six-figure salary. So, how does a drone race work? In the case of the DRL, a group of highly-skilled pilots duke it out, inches apart and flying at speeds of up to 90mph, through tight, neon-lit 3D courses in abandoned buildings and stadiums. Each pilot wears first-person view (FPV) goggles, viewing a live feed from the camera on-board their drone. It’s like being inside a very realistic video game. I’m determined to try this. But, if I’m to become a successful (and minted) drone
racer, I need to find a professional willing to show me the ropes. A few calls later, I have a DRL training session in the diary.
KEEP IT SIM - PLE With the big day looming, my nerves kick in. What if FPV flying makes me throw up? What if I give someone a buzz cut with a drone? Thankfully the DRL’s free simulator (for Mac/PC) comes with a training program and official DRL tracks to prepare noobs like me for action. I’ve tested many camera drones for T3; usually they’re loaded with anti-collision sensors, GPS positioning and other tech to
keep them airborne. Racing-spec drones dispense with such luxuries, placing control over all axes of movement in the hands of the pilot. Looks like I’ll need to put in some serious hours on the DRL simulator first... I boot up Apple’s new MacBook Pro, planting my index finger on the Touch ID pad to log in. With the simulator loaded, the Pro’s speedy components make light work of the action on screen, neon colours popping on the vibrant widecolour Retina display. With my FrSky Taranis X9D Plus radio controller still on the courier’s van, I opt to fly with a DualShock PS4 controller.
LANDING GEAR Our pick of the best drone gadgets to get you race-ready
APPLE MACBOOK PRO 15-INCH
The new MacBook Pro’s 2.7GHz Intel Core i7 processor and 16GB memory ensure top-flight performance when training with the Drone Racing League simulator, and the colour-rich Retina display brings the on-screen action to life. The Touch Bar and Touch ID are neat time-savers, too. £2,699, apple.com
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This newbie-friendly racing drone is ready to fly from the box. The 220mm, 32-bit F3 flight controllerequipped racer comes complete with 1/4-inch 700TVL CMOS camera and FlySKY i6-VF controller. For the full FPV experience, drop an extra £130 on FXT’s excellent Marvel Vision goggles. £349, quickdrones.co.uk
FRSKY TARANIS X9D PLUS
Enhance your aerial skills with the go-to controller of the racing professionals. Ultrasmooth, customisable quad-bearing gimbals mean greater drone control, while the backlit LCD screen and haptic feedback keep you in the loop on performance. You can even use it to control the DRL sim. £167, frsky-rc.com
DRONE RACING LEAGUE RACER3
Designed exclusively for DRL pilots, the carbon fibre frame and polycarbonate shell of the Racer3 make it practically indestructible – vital when at these speeds. The F3 flight controller, SPI MPU6000 gyro and custom Pulse battery make the Racer3 one powerful, agile beast. £N/A, thedroneracing league.com
FAT SHARK DOMINATOR HD3 GOGGLES
16:9 HDMI support, SVGA 800 X 600 display and supreme comfort are just some of the reasons why pro pilots swear by the HD3 goggles. Their modular design is also ideal for accessories, such as a receiver module, which you’ll need if you want to view the video downlink from your drone. £499.95, fatshark.com
FAT SHARK TRANSFORMER HD SYSTEM
Beginners can enjoy multiple setups in one rig with the Transformer HD system – from mounting the high luminosity LCD screen to a tripod for viewing without goggles, to slotting the monitor into Fat Shark’s robust Transformer HD headset for single panel FPV. £249, fatshark.com
WorldMags.net They’ve put the fancy new lawnmower the wrong way up…
Learn to fly
TIPS FROM DRONE RACING LEAGUE FOUNDER NICK HORBACZEWSKI “Pilots need skillful hand/eye coordination and steady nerves to race. When using first-person view technology, the human brain actually believes it’s in the cockpit, creating an intense experience demanding full focus and attention. It takes an incredible amount of muscle memory and practise to be able to pilot with precision. Throttle management and thrust vectoring are skills that develop over time. “On the DRL simulator, aspiring pilots can learn how to fly without the extensive repair time or cost
required on a real drone. We also use the simulator for esport tournaments to recruit new pilots around the world. “From there, pilots can find FPV meet-ups all over the globe. Groups like multigp.com, miniquadclub.com and fpvlab.com are great places to start. Racing can consist of a professional competition like DRL, a few friends getting together in a field, or just freestyle flying – doing tricks and sharing the videos online.” For more information, and to download the DRL simulator, visit thedroneracingleague.com
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WorldMags.net Just wait until you have to pilot a drone around a team of angry rugby players
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WorldMags.net My simulator experience in a nutshell? Put it this way: I have little confidence about flying a real racer.
EASY GLIDER Rocking up to Allianz Park in London, I’m introduced to Matt Evans, professional drone racer for the DRL and the only UK pilot for the 2017 season. He’s a rock star in this world, and a brief demo of his insane freestyle skills – from tight figureeights around the rugby posts, to the aptly-named ‘Puker’ – suggests he’s one to watch. This year, the DRL has introduced the Racer3 drone, which all pilots fly to ensure a level playing field. It glows with 209 LEDs and is loaded with top tech, including a high-end F3 flight controller chip and SPI MPU6000 stabilising gyro. A custom made five-cell Pulse battery generates 7,000kg of static thrust, resulting in 0 to 80mph in under a second. While the Racer3 isn’t commercially available, I’ll be put in charge of one today. I hope the carbon fibre frame and tough polycarbonate shell are ready for me! Kicking off, Matt grabs the chunky FrSky Taranis X9D Plus controller, complete with LCD telemetry display, eight programmable switches and haptic feedback, to demonstrate the basics of hovering. He makes minute movements on the quad bearing-mounted sticks to keep the Racer3 sitting poker straight in mid-air. Now it’s my turn, and I’m feeling the pressure. I get airborne, but my clumsy thumbs have the Racer3 swaying wildly. I kick myself for not spending more time with the simulator. Matt tweaks the controller’s stick sensitivity and, with a less ham-fisted approach and faster reflexes, I regain control of the drone. Matt is impressed and suggests we get the FPV goggles. Game on!
THE CHUNDER GAMES With gates and cones laid out in a figureof-eight track, Matt dons his Fat Shark Dominator HD3 FPV goggles. These particular goggles are popular among drone pilots for their clear 800 x 600 SVGA display and 16:9 option in HDMI mode. I go for Fat Shark’s Transformer goggles instead. They’re £250 cheaper than the HD3 ones, and the detachable LCD monitor can be tripod-mounted if you can’t stomach the full FPV experience. We both tune into the Racer3’s camera feed and Matt flies so smoothly it’s like the drone is attached to rails. FPV feels like riding up front on a rollercoaster, but with zero G force. It’s bizarre, but incredibly immersive. After three minutes the battery is dead. Time for a fresh one, then my turn.
FPV feels like riding in a rollercoaster with zero G force. It’s bizarre Flying straight ahead with goggles isn’t particularly tricky, and I adjust to the first-person view quickly, but I revert to over-enthusiastic, fumbling movements as soon as I’m required to steer. One minute I’m a few feet off the ground, the next I’m getting an aerial view of the pitch. I have to remind myself there’s a 90mph bladed weapon hurtling through the air somewhere above me. I swap to the HD3 goggles and try again. The image is clearer, the goggles more comfortable and my overall perspective is dramatically improved. I manage to stay airborne for longer, making corrective manoeuvres more instinctively than before. I line up to a gate, hit the throttle and power forward. I glide through, but the excitement clouds my concentration and the Racer3 plummets, spinning across the turf. With some perseverance, I start hitting gates with greater precision and speed, throwing in passable turns where necessary. I’ve definitely caught the drone racing bug but, as far as this mission goes, I’m a long way off racing for real.
FLYING WITHOUT WINGS It’s now a few days later and I’m determined to continue developing my skills in my own time. I find a safe, remote space and unbox the ViFly R220 drone and FlySKY i6-VF controller bundle. The drone’s 220mm carbon fibre frame is smaller than the Racer3, and the supplied Li-Po battery powers eight minutes of airtime, making the R220 the perfect practice tool. FXT’s Marvel Vision FPV goggles are a doddle to set up, too, and, while the 480 x 272 pixel resolution doesn’t match the Fat Shark V3’s they’re more than adequate to improve with. I want to show my friends my newfound skills, so I strap GoPro’s Hero 5 Black action cam to the ViFly’s supplied mount and set it rolling with the “GoPro, start recording” voice command. I’m impressed with how much control I’ve learned in a short time, and the GoPro’s 4K footage looks epic. Whilst I won’t be turning pro anytime soon, this has been a fun experience and I’ll be tuned in when the Drone Racing League 2017 kicks off on Sky Sports in June. In the meantime, you’ll find me practising my inverted backflips ready for DRL ’18.
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XBOX ONE X
SUPER SIX: GAMING HEADSETS
STATE OF THE ART: VR HEADSETS
“Immerse yourself in the world of highend gaming as T3 gets hands-on with the Xbox One X, takes the big three VR headsets for a spin and tests the best sets of gaming headphones around”
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MARKS THE TOP Xbox One X is the most powerful console ever made. T3 goes hands-on with the 4K wonder box WORDS EMMA BOYLE
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XBOX ONE X
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The Xbox One X is Microsoft’s most powerful console ever. It’s also its smallest
There’s a new member of the Xbox family of consoles: the Xbox One X. When it’s released on 7 November this year, it’ll be the most powerful 4K console on the market. But don’t mistake it as the start of a new console generation; Microsoft is calling this a midgenerational upgrade. This means that the One X won’t have any hardware-exclusive games, and 4K-supported games that are created for it will also have to be playable on the current Xbox One S. If it plays all the same games, what’s the point in choosing the Xbox One X over its predecessors? Well, it’s signiﬁcantly more powerful and that brings beneﬁts. The most lauded feature of the Xbox One X is that it’s capable of rendering top-end games at a native 4K resolution, rather than upscaled 4K. Though they look good, games upscaled to 4K aren’t truly 4K. Instead, they’re games being rendered at near-4K resolutions, and stretched using clever techniques to look like 4K. This results in something incredibly close to a 4K resolution. However, if you were to place an upscaled 4K game beside a native 4K game, the visual quality and level of detail in the latter would be noticeably higher. Microsoft has promised that from now, any ﬁrst-party title it releases will support native 4K, but it’s also made it possible for game developers to patch older games so that they can take advantage of the Xbox One X’s power and bulk out the console’s 4K game library. One older title receiving a native 4K upgrade is Gears of War 4. When we got the chance to see it running natively in 4K we were impressed by the level of detail visible on the protagonist’s armour. The sharpness of the game’s background was actually as impressive as its foreground. Where distant rock 1 2 6 T3 ANNUAL
faces would usually be blurred, earthy clumps, they were now distinct against the sky and we could even pick out breaks between rocks. When it comes to raw speciﬁcations, the Xbox One X is much more powerful than any other console. With 6TFLOPS of processing power and 12GB of GDDR5 RAM, Microsoft promises all games should look and perform better on the Xbox One X than any other console, with sharper visuals, more consistent frame rates and faster load times. The Xbox One X’s additional power means it’s likely to have more native 4K titles, while the PS4 Pro will probably continue to lean towards upscaled releases. The PS4 Pro’s checkerboard upscaling method is undeniably excellent, and with the chaos of most games in full swing, we expect the vast majority of people won’t get hung up on the diﬀerence. What is likely to be noticeably better on Xbox One X, though, is the sharpness of these visuals and the speed and consistency of frame rates. As well as 4K, the Xbox One X boasts High Dynamic Range (HDR) capabilities. This means the console is capable of showing more colour contrast, which provides a more accurate image and brings more depth to two-dimensional images. The beneﬁt of HDR was really noticeable when we tested Assassin’s Creed Origins. The sun was incredibly bright in the sky and the shadows of buildings and the protagonist stood in sharp contrast to it, creating a much richer, more three-dimensional game world. The Xbox One X also oﬀers a high-quality audio experience with Dolby Atmos support. This objectbased surround sound is useful when it comes to gaming because you can more accurately determine which direction sounds are coming from (useful
XBOX ONE X PRICE: £449 PROCESSOR: 8-core custom AMD CPU GRAPHICS: 6TFLOPS, custom GPU @ 1.172GHz
XBOX ONE X
HOW DO I CHOOSE? PERFORMANCE, GAMES OR CONVENIENCE? WHAT SPLITS THE TOP CONSOLES FROM MICROSOFT, SONY AND NINTENDO?
MEMORY: 12GB GDDR5 RAM STORAGE: 1TB hard drive DISC DRIVE: 4K UHD Blu-ray disc drive DIMENSIONS: 240 x 60 x 300mm
VS THEY’RE THE BEEFIEST CONSOLES EVER, SO HOW DO THEY LOOK IN A HARDWARE HEAD-TO-HEAD?
PS4 PRO PRICE: £349 PROCESSOR: 8-core x86-64 AMD “Jaguar” GRAPHICS: 4.20TFLOPS, AMD Radeon-based GPU MEMORY: 8GB GDDR5 RAM STORAGE: 1TB hard drive DISC DRIVE: Blu-ray disc drive DIMENSIONS: 295 × 55 × 327mm
When it comes to consoles, the Xbox One X is far from your only option. Microsoft’s latest is a topof-the-line gaming experience and that’s not something that everyone needs. If you want to stay within the Xbox family, and you’re content with upscaled 4K rather than native 4K, the Xbox One S (£190) is an excellent and highly affordable option that will play all the same games as the new Xbox One X. Another option in the 4K console category is Sony’s PS4 Pro (£349). Though it’s not as impressive as the new Xbox One X in terms of raw power, the PS4 Pro is a console that’s capable of both native and upscaled 4K output. It also costs around £100 less. Another thing to consider with the PS4 Pro is that it gives you access to Sony’s excellent first-party exclusive games, an area where Microsoft is still lacking. Then there’s Nintendo’s console offering: the Nintendo Switch (£279). This machine can’t offer you 4K and it’s nowhere near as powerful as Microsoft and Sony’s consoles, but it’s unique in that it can be docked and played on your TV or taken on the go as a handheld. The Nintendo Switch isn’t about power, it’s about convenience and social gaming. When it comes to the kinds of games you get with the Switch, you’re not going to get all of the blockbuster AAA titles that PlayStation and Xbox boast, but you do get to play Nintendo’s strong exclusive offerings, which include The Legend of Zelda and Mario Kart.
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The Xbox One X’s innards are so powerful, it features cooling tech akin to what’s used by the most powerful PC graphics cards
when pinpointing a sneaking enemy). Despite this being the most powerful console Microsoft has ever made, the Xbox One X is also its smallest, so you don’t have to worry about it taking up too much room. Notably, the Xbox One X is also a powerful home media centre, supporting Ultra HD Blu-ray (which the PS4 Pro doesn’t) as well as 4K streaming. If you’re buying an Xbox, though, primarily you want great games. New consoles normally suffer from limited launch libraries, but Microsoft’s commitment to backwards compatibility means the Xbox One X is able to play all Xbox One games as well as a large number of Xbox 360 and original Xbox titles.
It should be noted that not all of these games will run at 4K – not every developer will add 4K support to their game. At this year’s E3, Microsoft revealed 42 games that would support the console’s 4K capabilities, 22 of which would be exclusives. At £449, the Xbox One X is more expensive than Sony’s PS4 Pro, and more than twice the price of the Xbox One S. It’s the X’s cost that will make it hard for many to justify the upgrade. To make the most of it, you’ll need to have other high-end visual and audio equipment. If you’re already entrenched in the 4K revolution, it’s a worthwhile upgrade. If not, you might want to upgrade other areas first.
GET THE MOST FROM IT FIVE MORE PIECES OF KIT THAT WILL HELP THE NEW XBOX FULFIL ITS POTENTIAL
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1 4K TV
2 SOUND SYSTEM
To see the real impact of the visual improvements that the Xbox One X’s hardware offers, you’re going to want a nice juicy 4K TV, ideally with HDR. Panasonic DX802 and Samsung’s KS7000 range are reasonably priced options that will let you appreciate the sharp picture and deep HDR colours capabilties offered by the Xbox One X – check out our Elite pages (p107) for more.
The Xbox One X is a console that supports Dolby Atmos sound, so you’ll want some Atmos-enabled hardware to get the most out of the game-changing (and improving) spatial surround sound. The Onkyo HT-S7700 is a neat solution that delivers a full Dolby Atmos experience without the need to install speakers all around your living room.
3 DUKE CONTROLLER
4 SEAGATE 8TB DRIVE
5 PLANTRONICS HEADSET
Microsoft is also releasing a remastered version of the original Xbox controller, fondly known as The Duke, that will be compatible with the entire Xbox family. It’ll look retro, but be completely modern in terms of features (including wireless). No price has been announced yet, but you’ll be able to get your hands on it in time for Christmas.
The Xbox One X has a 1TB hard drive, but its 4K game files will require a lot of space. You’ll want an external hard drive. You won’t find one better than Seagate’s 8TB Game Drive – it’s tailored for use with the Xbox family and has two front-facing USB ports to charge extra controllers. You won’t have to delete games for a very long time.
You can’t game online without a good gaming headset. We’d suggest Plantronics’ RIG 800LX Wireless. For starters, it’s Dolby Atmos enabled. Plus, with 24-hour wireless battery life, as well as a noise-cancelling microphone and the ability to control the balance between game and chat sound, it’s a high-end headset for a high-end console.
XBOX ONE X
FROM PATCHED XBOX ONE CLASSICS TO ALL-NEW RELEASES, THERE’LL BE NO SHORTAGE OF 4K GOODNESS HEADING THE XBOX ONE X’S WAY
FORZA MOTORSPORT 7
Crackdown is a series known for destructive chaos, and its third instalment looks like it’ll be no different. Starring Terry Crews as Commander Jaxon, the game will invite players into a sandbox world in which all environments are completely destructible. That’ll look great in 4K.
Forza is one of the most popular racing franchises in the world for good reason. For this latest outing around the track, it’ll be boasting stunning 4K HDR visuals running at 60 frames per second, as well as more than 700 cars and 30 locations. You’ll almost think you were in the driving seat yourself.
ORI AND THE WILL OF THE WISPS A sequel to the multi-award winning Ori and the Blind Forest, Ori and the Will of the Wisps will follow Ori on his latest adventure through the forest of Nibel and his quest to find his one true destiny. Picturesque platformer Ori and the Blind Forest was praised for its beautiful visuals and touching story, so we can’t wait to see what the sequel will do with the 4K splendour of the Xbox One X.
SEA OF THIEVES
STATE OF DECAY 2
Sea of Thieves is a swashbuckling massive multiplayer online adventure from legendary dev studio Rare, the minds behind classics such as BanjoKazooie. When it’s released in 2018, players will be able to jump into its huge, shared world as a pirate and take part in thrilling cooperative adventures.
No console is complete without a zombie game, and State of Decay 2 is the standout title for Xbox One X. This game will have players build a community and attempt to survive in an open world populated by hostile zombies. It’s up to you whether you do it alone or online with friends.
SUPER LUCKY’S TALE
GEARS OF WAR 4
FORZA HORIZON 3
A game for players of all ages, Super Lucky’s Tale is a colourful platformer that follows the relentlessly cheerful Lucky and a quirky cast of supporting characters in his quest to help his sister rescue the mysterious Book of Ages.
Gears of War 4 is an Xbox One game that will receive a patch to upgrade to 4K visuals for Xbox One X. Expect the same great dramatic shooting, but with the added benefit of smoother frame rates and incredibly sharp details.
Like Gears of War 4, Forza Horizon 3 is another Xbox One title that will be patched for Xbox One X. The more sandbox side of the Forza franchise, this game will benefit massively from the console’s 4K visuals and HDR colours.
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A right earful
WITH GAMING HEADSETS NOW SEEN AS AN ESSENTIAL PART OF THE ONLINE EXPERIENCE, YOU’RE GOING TO NEED A SET THAT HELPS YOU GET AHEAD OF THE GAME, WHATEVER THE SIZE OF YOUR BUDGET Words: Warren Brown
aming headsets have evolved massively over the last 15 years, thanks in part to the birth of Xbox live and the rise of online play. With modern games now featuring blockbuster-style sound effects, Dolby surround sound and positional audio, not having a decent pair will make all the difference between virtual life and death. You’ll want to replace those sub-standard bundled headsets from Microsoft and Sony with a dedicated set of cans, so here we present multi-platform options for those who do their gaming across all systems. If you’re in the market for a new pair, make sure you stick one of these on your bonce for total gaming gratification.
01 ONE FOR A COMFY FIT
01 O N E
02 ONE FOR BUYERS ON A BUDGET
HYPERX CLOUD REVOLVER
TURTLE BEACH PX24
Although they’re a bit big, the HyperX Cloud Revolver cans are very ergonomic, thanks to a suspension fitting solution. The headband is a little firmer fitting, but the overall feel is light and comfortable. Pivoting cups deliver a deep and precise audio experience, for accurate in-game sound location that’s perfect for shooter and open sandbox gameplay. The only drawback is the cable – it’s slightly shorter than most and there are no direct volume or mic controls for console players (you only get it on the PC version). A detachable mic comes with noise cancelling for sound isolation.
Turtle Beach is the go-to choice for many a gamer. The PX24s may be cheaper-looking and smaller than the rest, but the audio doesn’t suffer and the surround sound is top notch. Cup padding isn’t leather, so the interweave finish can be slightly itchy compared to leatherette. The PX24 has a non-detachable mic arm, but it’s highly adjustable. Sound-wise, explosions, gunfire and high-end effects all hold up thanks to the Ear Force Superamp, an external unit that connects in-between headset and controller. It’s ungainly, but means this headset punches above its weight.
03 ONE FOR A PREMIUM FEEL
CREATIVE SOUND BLASTER X H7 £139.99, creative.com
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The H7s offer more than their price tag suggests. Build quality is premium, with a retro look to the leatherette cups and headband. Controls are on the flexible cable that connects to the gamepad, meaning you’ll have to look away from on-screen gameplay to adjust them – not ideal. Chunky cups give great noise cancellation, with a rich surround experience, and whilst volume level is decent, it does fall short when you want things really loud. The mic is optional, detachable and extremely flexible, so top marks there.
05 ONE F OR
PRE M IU M F EE R A L FO
ES 06 ON E FO R
EP PO CK
04 O NE
BEST FOR DESIGN
04 ONE FOR THE STYLISH GAMER
05 ONE FOR THE SQUADDIES
06 ONE FOR DEEP POCKETS
SENNHEISER GAME ZERO
LOGITECH G231 PRODIGY
STEELSERIES SIBERIA 840
Renowned for its high-fidelity headphones, Sennheiser delivers a striking set of cans with the Game Zeros. From the quality of leather used on the cups and headband to the finish of the mic, everything looks high end; it helps that they’re comfortable as well. The usual cable controls are ditched in favour of a volume click wheel on the cup, which feels very intuitive. Equally so is the mic, which self mutes when swivelled out of the way. Sound output is crystal clear thanks to decent noise cancelling. Everything folds flat for easy storage in the supplied carry case. Neat.
There’s a futuristic military look to Logitech’s G231s. With the majority of the build being plastic, the hinges can sound a bit rickety. The cups are fairly small and can feel a bit snug on the ears – not good for Dumbo types – while padding is a sports mesh cloth. The angular cups mean noise cancelling isn’t as effective, but the sound quality is of a deeper sort, if less refined than the others on test. The rigid mic is compact and folds away neatly when not in use, while controls are found on both cable and headset. You get a long cord, though both controls are on the small side.
The Siberia 840s sit at the higher end of the market. Cup padding sports a superior leather and stitch finish, with memory foam padding in the headband. Our only pet peeve is that the cups can feel a little too close-fitting for some. Being wireless, the headset has an external unit for control over source inputs and audio output, though intuitive on-ear controls give you remote adjustment. You can also use it to charge a spare battery, so you’ll never need to take a break from gaming. The only downside is that the rectractable mic is a little inflexible, but it still sits well.
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Words: Louise Blain Photography: Neil Godwin
IN THE ULTIMATE VR SHOWDOWN WHICH OF THE BIG THREE HEADSETS WILL REIGN SUPREME?
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IVEN THE STATE OF 21ST CENTURY POLITICS, YOU CAN’T REALLY BLAME US FOR WANTING TO ESCAPE INTO PIXELATED WORLDS. WITH THE HTC VIVE, OCULUS RIFT AND PLAYSTATION VR HEADSETS ALL NOW AVAILABLE, THERE’S NEVER BEEN A BETTER TIME TO JOIN THE VIRTUAL REVOLUTION, BUT WHERE TO START? HERE WE PUT TO THE TEST THREE PIECES OF GAMING TECH LEADING THE INDUSTRY INTO A NEW IMMERSIVE FUTURE.
Both the Oculus Rift and Steam’s HTC Vive headset arrived on shelves in spring last year, while Sony’s more aﬀordable PS4 version made waves on release in October. Although Oculus had a serious head start with its staggeringly successful Kickstarter project back in 2012, and subsequent buyout by none other than Facebook two years later, it seems incredible that we’re only really just starting to see what the headset can do now in its ﬁrst consumer iteration. The intuitive Oculus Touch controllers, released a few months after the initial launch, cemented the Rift as a force to be reckoned with.
The Vive headset, on the other hand, has the clear advantage of being aﬃliated with PC gaming’s beating heart, Steam, and the beneﬁt of oﬀering a complete solution. While you’ll have to buy every accessory for the PlayStation VR headset, pushing up that initially attractive price tag, everything you’ll need for full interactive room scale VR comes in the Vive box. The only downside compared with the PS VR, then, is that for both Oculus and Vive’s attractive oﬀerings you’re going to need a stellar gaming PC to make the most of them. Here’s T3’s deﬁnitive opinion on which one deserves your attention and your cash.
WHAT’S ON TEST…
Oculus Rift It’s multiple dev kits in the making and it looks it. Every slick line of the Oculus Rift headset screams minimalist future. PRICE: £499 (£598 with Touch) URL: oculus.com
PlayStation VR The cheapest headset of the big three, Sony’s offering plugs straight into your PS4 and makes you look like a member of Daft Punk. PRICE: £349.99 URL: playstation.com
HTC Vive Steam and HTC’s tech-filled goggles deliver a complete VR solution with a box packed with room trackers and controllers. PRICE: £759 URL: vive.com/uk
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WorldMags.net TEST 01: OCULUS RIFT
SET-UP Which are easy to install and which lead to virtual insanity? h, wires. You only need to gaze, horriﬁed, down the back of your TV unit to realise we don’t live in quite the tangle-free age we thought we did. While VR wireless solutions are on the way - a pricey £200 adaptor is en route for Vive - all three sets are going to seriously mess with your minimalist chi. The good news? When the headsets are on, you can’t see any of it. While potentially the most accessible of the three, the PlayStation VR still comes with a slew of cables in the box. It’s clearly been as streamlined as possible, though, and everything ﬂows through a central processor unit plugged into a USB at the front of your PS4. The essential PlayStation Camera (£39.99 and not included) is easily positioned under your TV to track the headset and you’ll be playing in comfort in a matter of minutes. It takes a little longer to get the Oculus Rift into action with your VR ready PC or laptop but
Adjusting the headset to the right size is easy with velcro straps
There’s a useful option to literally walk and draw out your play space it’s still a slick procedure with a helpful tutorial. If you’ve opted for the full Oculus Touch experience, there are two sensors to position to make sure the headset and the controllers are fully tracked. There’s even a useful option to literally walk and draw out your play space with the Touch controller to make sure the game knows you don’t want to trip over your coﬀee table. Given the room scale VR it oﬀers, looking in the rather large HTC Vive box is surprisingly not as intimidating as it should be. Set-up takes a little longer here as you’ll have to ﬁnd the best way to place the two room trackers above head height to triangulate the area. Given that both need mains power, the little black boxes aren’t quite as subtle as they ﬁrst appear, but they helpfully come with mounting kits, so if you’re going to have a full-time VR room you can make them a permanent ﬁxture. Aside from this initial installation, the Vive is pain-free and the result is an impressive play area of up to 5m diagonally (if you’ve got the space).
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SPECS DISPLAY TYPE: OLED RESOLUTION: 2160 x 1200 FIELD OF VIEW: 110°
REFRESH RATE: 90Hz CONTROLLERS: Xbox One pad included TECH REQUIREMENTS: PC with Nvidia GTX 960/ AMD R9 290 or better
CONNECTIONS REQUIRED: 1 x HDMI 1.4, 1 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0 or better WEIGHT: 470g
Test 01 winner PLAYSTATION VR Literally plug in and play with clear numbered wires. The PS VR has the least amount of fuss and the PlayStation camera is easy to tweak as required
Sneakily, the PS VR doesn’t come with the essential PlayStation Camera
Portal 2’s Wheatley talks you through the controllers once you’re plugged in
SPECS DISPLAY TYPE: OLED RESOLUTION: 1920 x 1080 FIELD OF VIEW: 100°
REFRESH RATE: 90Hz - 120Hz CONTROLLERS: None included (PlayStation Move sold separately)
SPECS TECH REQUIREMENTS: PS4/PS4 Pro WEIGHT: 619g
PORTS IN A STORM What kind of compatibility can you expect when you buy one of these systems?
DISPLAY TYPE: OLED RESOLUTION: 2160 x 1200 FIELD OF VIEW: 110°
REFRESH RATE: 90Hz CONTROLLERS: Vive controllers included TECH REQUIREMENTS: PC with Nvidia GTX 970/ AMD R9 290 or better
Virtual reality isn’t just graphically demanding, it’s port hungry too and the Oculus Rift is the guiltiest of the lot when it comes to hogging your PC USB slots. Not only does it want a USB 3.0 and HDMI for the headset, each sensor requires a USB 2.0 or higher. You’ll need one sensor for tracking
CONNECTIONS REQUIRED: 1 x HDMI 1.4 or DisplayPort 1.2 1 x USB 2.0 or better WEIGHT: 555g
the headset and another for the Touch controllers. This means if you’re planning on playing with the Oculus Touch and the supplied Xbox One pad which needs a wireless adaptor, you’ll need at least four slots free if you don’t want to juggle. Conversely, the HTC Vive just needs an HDMI and USB 2.0.
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WorldMags.net TEST 02: OCULUS RIFT
CONTROLS Dump traditional peripherals and embrace the motion-tracked future t’s all very well to put your head in the game, but there’s one other key body ingredient to feel truly immersed in VR: hands. While you can control a slew of virtual reality experiences with a more traditional pad, it becomes clear that we don’t naturally travel or look around like someone steered by two thumbsticks. The dreaded VR sickness is nearly always down to this as your inner ear can’t come to terms with the jarring speed of thumb control. So what’s on oﬀer instead? Incredibly, PS VR’s motion controllers, the Move wands, have been around since 2012, so if you’ve got a set gathering dust in the cupboard you won’t have to shell out the additional £69.99. While simplistic compared to the other controllers, the wands make perfectly intuitive hand replacements for taking out gangsters in London Heist and letting you don Batman’s gauntlets in Arkham VR. The only thing to be wary of is turning away from the PS camera, as
You’ll need an additional sensor for the controllers, but with every movement replicated exactly, it’s worth the extra desk space and USB port
Point your ﬁnger and your digital hand will do the same it’s doing all the tracking work for both headset and wands, and can get confused. The Oculus Touch controllers might look unassuming but these peripherals are truly exceptional. The subtle loop around your ﬁngers tracks your digits and a grip button under the controller instantly feels like the most natural way to interact in VR. Touch knows where all your ﬁngers are: point your ﬁnger and your digital hand will do the same. Letting a pixelated butterﬂy ﬂutter onto your ﬁnger in the Touch set-up is just the beginning of the joy. You’ll have to pay £99 for the privilege but they’re worth every penny. Included in the box, the HTC Vive controllers are diﬀerent again and while their design doesn’t feel as intuitive as the Touch, the tracking is especially impressive. Whether you’re ﬁxing giant Meccano sets in Fantastic Contraption or making the most of the unique grip control and haptic scroll wheel, there’s never a moment of lag. Add in the impressive way each game gives the controller new skins and functions and it’s a seamless set-up. 1 3 6 T3 ANNUAL
The test COMFORT BEING THE LIGHTEST OF THE THREE, THE RIFT HEADSET IS EXCEPTIONALLY EASY ON YOUR NECK WHILE LOOKING AROUND. IT ALSO DOESN’T PRESS TOO HARD AROUND THE EYES, MAKING LONG PLAY SESSIONS A DODDLE.
Test 02 winner OCULUS RIFT Intuitive, comfortable, and with incredible ﬁnger tracking, the Oculus Touch controllers are, by far, the pick of the bunch and worth the additional cost
The Move’s buttons are easy to reach, though you might have to work to
Each Vive controller has 24 sensors, making it trackable wherever you are
remember which one is which when the headset is on
in the play space. Just mind your light bulb when swinging them around
COMFORT UNEXPECTEDLY LIGHT AND EASY TO PUT ON, THE PS VR WILL LEAVE YOU WITH UNATTRACTIVE ‘VR FACE’ MARKS NOT LONG INTO YOUR SESSION BUT IS COMFORTABLE ENOUGH FOR EXTENDED PLAY.
CAN’T TOUCH THIS Oculus Rift’s exclusive game Robo Recall takes immersive controls to the next level
COMFORT THE VIVE IS CAREFUL NOT TO LET IN ANY OF THE OUTSIDE WORLD, WHICH MEANS IT PRESSES EXCEPTIONALLY SNUGLY AGAINST YOUR FACE. YOU’LL HAVE A SKI-MASK FEEL (AND THE RESULTING MARKS) NOT LONG INTO PLAY.
Fancy tearing a robot to bits with your bare hands? Knocking it down with its own arm that you’ve just yanked off? Or perhaps even juggling a scuttling AI spider foe with bullets mid-air? Robo Recall from studio Epic Games comes free with the Oculus Touch controllers and is a thrilling robot shooter fest
with gorgeous design and heart-pounding action. Whether you’re testing the expert tracking by reaching over your shoulders for two enormous shotguns, or pretending you’re John Wick with a set of pistols, you can feel every squeeze of the trigger with the Touch haptic feedback.
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WorldMags.net TEST 03: OCULUS RIFT
PERFORMANCE Specs are all very well but which one is the best to play with? t’s worth saying now that regardless of which of the big three you choose, donning one of these headsets is transformative. They are literally a window to another world. Every friend that visits will be forced to don VR and experience exactly what it’s like to disappear into pixels. But which experience truly reigns supreme? Performance-wise, the PS VR is constantly surprising. This is a headset built for existing home console tech and in that it excels. While the PS4 Pro delivers a slight boost in graphical quality and framerate in games like Crytek’s dino adventure Robinson: The Journey, the standard PS4 oﬀers up a satisfyingly solid experience. It has a slightly smaller ﬁeld of view than its competitors but your eyes never feel restricted and, like the other headsets, it’s easy to forget that you might once have been able to see the edges. Pair with a set of Move wands and a gorgeous experience like Batman: Arkham VR and Sony’s headset holds its own.
Because VR sickness is very real, each Oculus app is rated on the store for comfort level so those with a sensitive inner ear know what to avoid
This ﬁnally feels like the slick consumer version of Oculus we deserve The full experience is where Vive truly comes to life. The pillars are there: slick Steam integration, a great set of controllers, roomscale VR. Add in the crisp OLED screen and a powerful gaming PC and you’ll quickly exit the real world. Exceptional visual quality thrillingly combines with the fact that, if you’ve got the space, you can walk freely around the game. Add in the front-facing camera and chaperone system to keep you safe and, despite the fact that it looks a little less slick than its competitors, the Vive is a hell of a package. The Rift might not have quite the same room-scale oﬀering, but its visual ﬁdelity matches the Vive. The ﬁeld of view is consistently impressive, and if you ﬁnd things slightly fuzzy, twiddling the lens distance knob sharpens everything. Given how many iterations Oculus has been through, this ﬁnally feels like the slick consumer version we deserve. Plus, Microsoft’s clear involvement means exclusive VR experiences like Minecraft make the experience even more enticing. 1 3 8 T3 ANNUAL
You can stream your Xbox One games into the headset, but only via your PC – no direct plugging into the console
Test 03 winner HTC VIVE Nothing can compete with the full immersion of wandering around in a game world in your living room. Truly groundbreaking
Sony’s headset excels for more static structured experiences, but Resi 7
While the useful chaperone system keeps you off the walls, remember where the
needs to be played for true terror, even if it will make you sick
floor is before you start looking at things on the ground
While there’s a limited pool of PS VR games compared to Vive and Oculus, you
If you don’t have enough space to walk around, there are sitting and standing
can play everything else on PS4 in an impressive cinema mode
set-ups that’ll let you make the most of your room
SHOP TO IT You’ve got the headset but where are all the games?
While PS VR lets you access the PS4 PlayStation Store via its cinema mode with the screen ‘projected’ in front of you, both the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift have more immersive shopping options. The Rift pops you into a relaxing brightly lit living room, complete with crackling Minecraft-style fire and beanbags
as you scroll intuitively through the games on offer. Vive, on the other hand, loads up SteamVR, dropping you into space with your base stations floating in midair while you get down to the business of exploring the ultra-slick Steam Store. Familiar yet futuristic, it’s a joy to use.
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The overall winner is… 1st HTC Vive Price: £759 URL: vive.com/uk T3 RATES: Ultimate immersion just sneaks this ahead of the competition – gazing over parapets, out of windows and into the eyes of your enemies; this is a full, beautiful gaming world just waiting to be explored. T3 SLATES: It’s not cheap and, just like the Oculus Rift, you’re going to need a PC with a beefy graphics card, but
that doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank. T3 SAYS: The supreme virtual reality package, the HTC Vive is still the solution to beat. Incredible visuals, exceptional tech and the ultimate escape solution if you’re willing to make the investment.
2nd Oculus Rift
3rd PlayStation VR
Price: £499 (£598 with Touch) URL: oculus.com
Price: £349.99 (excluding camera and controllers) URL: playstation.com
T3 RATES: The best VR controllers on the market. T3 HATES: When it comes to PC ports, the Rift is just greedy. T3 SAYS: An incredibly close second, Oculus Rift has some brilliant exclusive titles, incredible controls, and packs a serious eyeball punch in visual fidelity.
T3 RATES: Easy to set up and incredible motion tracking with existing tech. T3 HATES: Those essential extras really rack up the cost price. T3 SAYS: An exceptional VR experience with a console you probably already own. More games please.
FIVE WAYS TO SET UP VR IN YOUR HOME, MESS-FREE 01 GO PORTABLE If you want to dive into VR but don’t like the idea of a huge gaming PC in your living room/ future virtual play area, there’s an easy, if expensive, solution. VR-ready gaming laptops come with Nvidia’s latest series of graphics cards, letting you play and pack up when you’re done. The ultra-thin Razer Blade (£1,799, razerzone.com) comes with a GTX 1060 as standard and ate Oculus Rift’s Robo Recall for breakfast in our test. 1 4 0 T3 ANNUAL
02 HIDE THOSE BASE STATIONS Thankfully, Vive’s tracking devices look a bit like miniature speakers and blend in well to most rooms. Wall mounting isn’t to everyone’s taste so hide them on the top of bookcases or cabinets and feed the wires down the back. Subtle.
03 TAKE OVER THE SPARE ROOM Go on, you know you want to. Pair up the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift
with a full room in your house and go to town. For a richer Rift experience, pick up an additional sensor for £59 and position it behind you for full 360° action. Just don’t forget you’re attached to a PC. Speaking of which…
04 GO BIG AND STAY HOME Once you’ve decided on a permanent space for VR, it’s time to pick up a PC, and there’s no need to just buy the first ugly black box you see with the right
graphics card. Alienware’s Aurora range is attractive, liquid cooled, and you can future-proof yourself up to an Nvidia GTX 1080.
05 GET A HEAD And finally, if PS VR is your experience of choice, there’s no need to just abandon your headset in a pile next to the TV. For a reasonable £29.99 you can pick up a head-shaped stand with a chrome-finished base and cable tidy. Definitely not creepy at all.
WorldMags.net essential HTC Vive games
Never come back to the real world with these must-play experiences for T3’s favourite VR headset
If you think Frontier’s space adventure is immersive enough on a flatscreen, think again. Plug into your ship, battle, trade and travel the galaxy in Vive and you’ll probably never want to take the headset off ever again. Be warned. This should be called Frankly Dangerous. £19.99
Because after a hard day at work, all everyone wants to do is spend the evening performing menial tasks as a robot, right? Whether it’s working as a gourmet chef or as a convenience store clerk, there’s far too much fun to be had in this ‘human’ simulator where you can touch and play with everything. £22.99
THE BROOKHAVEN EXPERIMENT
Horror in HTC Vive is truly terrifying, and nothing shows off its grim potential more than this zombie shooter. Waves of hideous monstrosities stagger out of the dark and all you’re armed with is a pistol fast running out of ammo and a flickering torch… £14.99
STAR WARS: TRIALS ON TATOOINE
There’s only five words that matter here: You. Can. Swing. A. Lightsaber. Even better is that this lovely Jedi-flavoured offering from LucasFilm’s ILMxLAB is absolutely free for all Vive users. And yep, you can meet (and defend) a droid called R2-D2. Hello, wish fulfillment. FREE
Less stressful and weapon-packed than the others on this list, there’s nothing as genuinely beautiful as exploring the briny depths of TheBlu. Wandering around the deck of a pirate ship as an 80ft whale swims past needs to be seen to be believed. And that’s before you meet the sea turtles. £6.99
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MONEY NO OBJECT
“From tech that’s sure to break the bank to gadgets for under £100 and the latest groundbreaking gear, take a tour of our top picks for all tastes and budgets”
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WorldMags.net P R E S E N T S…
New tech with the power to dent the universe
T U RTLE BE AC H H Y PE R S OU N D GL A S S These shiny, flat future-rectangles are speakers. They don’t look like regular speakers – and they don’t behave like them, either. Whereas a standard vibrating cone throws out broad soundwaves that fill a room with moving air, the HyperSound Glass focuses that sound in a highly directional manner, almost like an audible spotlight. Move to the side and it’s barely audible, but sit in the sweet spot directly in front and you’ll get your ears blown off. They’re not entirely glass; using near-invisible coating tech similar to that found in touchscreens, each pane is smothered in a number of clear films that, combined with drivers running Turtle Beach’s crispy digital signal processing, make the pinpoint audio come to life. Perfect for headphone-free listening in relative privacy, or gaming in households where explosions and swearing may not be to everyone’s taste. Turtle Beach is also working towards getting the HyperSound tech in other places, including desktop monitors, a smaller speaker form factor and, coolest of all, directional in-car announcements just for the driver. We’re not retiring our fat speaker stacks yet – this is early tech, and that narrow beam will be useless in most lounges – but HyperSound has the potential to change the way we use sound in the future. Price TBA Available TBA URL turtlebeach.com
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R E D H Y DRO GEN ON E About a year ago, the LG G5 arrived with its snap-on enhancement modules. Shortly after, Motorola brought its Moto Mods to market (check out our pocket guide this issue), and though it might turn out to be a bit of a fad, the upgradeable handset trend is certainly catching on. The RED Hydrogen One is the latest in this line. Only, unlike LG or Motorola, RED doesn’t specialise in phones at all; its strengths lie in cinematography, with its RED cameras to thank for the picture behind a sizeable chunk of movies (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, for example). Its new phone, though not a looker, has some unique entertainment-focused features that seem to tally with its movie-shooting skills. Its handset will come with a holographic 5.7-inch display, capable of viewing its content to make the most of the 4D display, as well as 3D movies, and VR games. And there won’t be any glasses needed, either. Then there are the modules, which you snap onto the phone. At present, RED has shown off a bigger lens attachment, for shooting higher-quality movies and photos, and hinted at a module that will be able to capture holographic images. Phones are increasingly becoming a one-stop-shop device, and the Hydrogen One could take this jack-of-all-trades capability to the next level. Price From $1195 (about £930) Available 2017 URL red.com
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L EV I’S C OM M UTE R X JACQUAR D This is probably the most hi-tech piece of hipster denim you’ll ever set eyes on. We’ve seen fashionable wearable tech before – Lyle & Scott’s bPay contactless jacket came to market about a year ago, looking great but lacking a little in the smarts department, other than a contactless-payment chip nestled within the sleeve. However, the Levi’s Commuter X Jacquard (CXJ) takes the smart-clothing genre to another level. Levi’s isn’t exactly well regarded for its tech-industry know-how, unless we’re talking material enhancements like water-resistance, so the denim guru has brought in some help: namely, Google. The collaboration – a year-long deal – sees the Levi’s Commuter Trucker jacket receive an upgrade in the form of Google’s Project Jacquard, which infuses interactivity into the material. How so, you ask? Using conductive yarns, which allow Levi’s to weave touch- or gesturesensitive areas into the garment. The yarns are then attached to discreet embedded electronics, which, when hooked up to a phone, enable you to take calls, or listen to music, without having to touch your device – ideal on a bike. The thing is, you’d never really know it – it looks like a regular Levi’s jacket, and that’s a good thing in our book. Price TBA Available Now URL levistrauss.com
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OA K L E Y R A DA R PAC E Meet your new coach, the Oakley Radar Pace. Yep, not a person with an over-sized moustache and a stopwatch, but a pair of badass-looking sunglasses. But these aren’t ordinary sunnies, the Radar Pace are smart shades rocking voice control, fitness sensors and a virtual trainer. A collaboration between Oakley, Intel and design specialist Luxottica, the glasses offer real-time, voice-activated coaching during workouts. Integrated motion, humidity and proximity sensors are used to track movement, and you can pair the glasses with external devices to monitor metrics such as heart rate. The Radar Pace will adjust your training zones as you improve and automatically make up for missed workouts, helping you stay on track and hit your fitness goals. During a run you can ask, “OK Radar, how’s my pace?” and the virtual coach will tell you how you’re doing and whether you need to speed up or slow down. The sunglasses are IPX5 rated for water resistance, too, and built to withstand impacts. And Oakley’s Prizm Road lenses are on hand to enhance detail and fine-tune colours. After your workout is done, your data will be available to view on the companion smartphone app. Wearable tech just hit a new level. Price £400 Available Now URL uk.oakley.com
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LOV E T U R N TA B L E With the vinyl revival in full swing right now, turntables are hot property, and high-end players ten-a-penny (check out our Super Six test on page 58 for a selection of six of the best). Everyone’s trying to carve out their niche in the ever-growing space, but none has ever looked like this one before… Unlike a traditional player, the LOVE Turntable does away with the conventional mount and needle arm; instead you get a unit that looks like something Spock would store his glasses in. Unsurprisingly, design legend Yves Behar (of Hive Active Heating fame) is behind LOVE’s outlandish, genre-warping style, with two distinct pieces: a mount on which records are placed, and a ‘stylus’ which is placed on top. The LOVE Turntable automatically scans and adapts to any size of record – it’s compatible with LPs and 45s – and determines the number of tracks available. Where things get really neat is when you wirelessly pair your phone with the player. Instead of on-unit controls, Bluetooth beams playback power to your handset, enabling you to play/pause, skip tracks, and adjust volume from a distance. When you want to power down, just tap the stylus. The LOVE Turntable is smart, elegant and thoroughly T3. Price £TBC Available October 2017 URL kickstarter.com
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R ET ROB LOX Retro games consoles have been coming thick and fast over the last year – Nintendo brought its own reimagined mini NES to the market and is set to follow with a SNES version – but what if we told you there was another player entering the old-new-school space that could play all your favourite old bangers? Like, all of them (almost). The player in question is Retroblox: a modular retro console that will enable you to play all those titles gathering dust, so you won’t need a cabinet stuffed with old console in order to get your retro gaming fix. The makers call it the ‘one console’ and it works by using exchangeable Element Modules, each one designed to support a particular type of game and game controller. Want to play a Megadrive classic? Snap in the Megadrive Element Module. When you load a game Retroblox will automatically add it to its built-in storage, so you’ll be able to navigate to and play that game by simply loading it from the console menu. A built in CD drive also enables you to play more modern classics from the likes of Sega’s Mega-CD or the original PlayStation. All games are upscaled to 1080p, so your rustic collection will look as good as humanly possible, with an HDMI connector enabling you to hook it up to your big screen TV for some lounge action. Price £TBC Available TBC URL retroblox.com
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BR AGI THE DA SH PRO The original Bragi The Dash was a bit of a revelation. Gone was the tethering of a conventional wireless headphone, and in its place separate units for each ear. They also offered incredible sound via balanced speakers, passive noise cancelling and up to six hours of play on the move. But Bragi just raised the game. Again. The newly released Dash Pro takes things one step further. While the Dash was designed primarily to enable you to listen to music, the Dash Pro headphones are way smarter. Their killer feature is the ability to translate language in real time using built-in iTranslate. Let’s just make that clear – you can travel almost anywhere in the world (it supports 40 different languages) and have a face-to-face conversation with someone without learning a single word of their local tongue. Mind-blowing features aside, the Dash Pro also comes with auto-tracking, so as soon as you start running/swimming/ cycling, it’ll automatically track your workouts without you having to do anything. Elsewhere, Bragi has made improvements to the audio balance, for a more natural sound; there’s a simplified touch interface and it’s easier to connect with your phone. You can even get the tips tailored to fit your lugs, for a better fit and sound. Price £300 Available Now URL bragi.com
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B ONAV E R DE B E R L I N Here on T3 we like nothing more than a face-distorting-strength cup of coffee. We’re always on the lookout for a machine that’s up to the task, and while we’ve come across some particularly noteworthy examples – bean-tocup being our particular poison – none matches the Bonaverde Berlin’s outlandish coffee-making abilities. As well as grinding your beans, brewing the grounds to perfection and then delivering the caffeinated liquid to you piping hot in a carafe, this coffee beast also takes the raw green beans, packaged and delivered direct from plantations around the world, and roasts them before your very eyes. Forget bean-to-cup, this is plant-to-cup. The whole process is extremely slick: farmers package and RFID tag the beans, you order them and scan the bag using the built-in RFID reader on the Berlin once they arrive, at which point you’re billed and the farmer is paid. The beans are roasted by an infrared burner in about 15 minutes using a ‘roasting profile’ that’s tailored by top roasters and baristas to the particular beans you’ve purchased. With Wi-Fi on board and connectivity via the phone app, you can make adjustments to the whole coffee-making process, selecting your preferred roast and grind, for the ultimate, ethical cup of fuel. Price From $799 (£613) Available Autumn 2017 URL bonaverde.com
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WorldMags.net P R E S E N T S…
High-end tech that will break the bank A BIT OF A BADASS The ESAVOX has been styled to represent the business end of a Lamborghini, with slash tail pipes, upward-firing intake ports and beautifully-curved pipes that wrap around the rear of the carbon Twill 245 3k monoque chassis.
ANY WAY YOU LIKE IT This system wouldn’t be T3-worthy if it was merely equipped with an AUX connection for your music gadgets. So, you also get Bluetooth - enabling you to connect a multitude of devices.
POWERFUL SOUNDS Like any good Lambo, this system is LOUD. Two side cabinets, housing a 6.5-inch and 8-inch speaker, stand either side, like a pair of doormen escorting the centrally-mounted 1-inch tweeters and 15-inch sub.
WORTH ITS WEIGHT Despite the lightweight chassis, this Lambo is actually a bit of a heffer. It’s over 4 foot long and weighs 53kg, so you won’t be taking it to a track day anytime soon.
TOTAL CONTROL Keeping all that volume in check are two stereo valve amps, one of which is devoted to feeding that bass-hungry monster of a sub, complimented by dual 24-bit DSPs.
IF YOU HAVE TO ASK… If you can afford a Lambo, chances are the £16,000 price tag (excluding VAT, for our Monaco chums) is pocket change. Premiership footballers should head over to www.ixoost.it.
MUSIC TO OUR REARS FIRST CAME THE LAMBO SMARTPHONE. NOW THERE’S THE IXOOST ESAVOX: A SOUND SYSTEM MADE OUT OF LAMBO PARTS FOR THE BIGGEST RAGING BULL FAN. IT’S CERTAINLY ONE HELL OF A STATEMENT 1 5 2 T3 ANNUAL
MONEY NO OBJECT
LOST YOUR MARBLES?
IF YOU’VE GOT A BIT OF A THING FOR SHINY, LAVISH ROCKS, THE FELD & VOLK iPHONE 7 PLUS MARBLE BLACK, ENCASED IN SOLID MARBLE, SHOULD GET YOU FROTHING AT THE MOUTH
ALTERNATIVELY… So you want the look of the Feld & Volk iPhone 7 Plus Marble Black, but understandably don’t have a spare £4,346 under your mattress? Then you can easily rock the same sort of lock, for a fraction of the cost. Check out Native Union’s CLIC Marble case
(£74.99, nativeunion. co.uk) which actually uses real marble in its construction. This not only makes each case unique, it prevents it from looking like a tacky knockoff. It’s shatterresistant too, so it, you know, protects your precious iPhone as well.
BACK TO THE FUTURE
Before you ask – no, this isn’t just an overpriced snap-on phone cover; it’s an overpriced back panel that entirely replaces the original. Obviously, it’s not just a case, pardon the pun, of slapping it on, so the entire exterior has been replaced
Feld & Volk’s case is hand-made and consists of marble on the back panel, which is framed with carbon fibre and shrouded with black anodized aluminium at the sides
LET THERE BE LIGHT Not satisfied with the standard Apple rear logo, Feld & Volk has replaced it with a perforated outline in the marble panel which lights up when you turn the phone on, then fades out when you turn it off
COMES WITH A PHONE TOO Let’s not forget, the Marble Plus boasts the innards of the top-of-therange 256GB iPhone 7 Plus, so you’re also getting one of the most premium smartphones on the planet
ONE OF A KIND As well as being unique in itself, in that you’ll need some serious coin to afford it, no two marble pieces are the same, so you’ll not find another like it
MARBLE-LOUS The Feld & Volk iPhone 7 Plus Marble Black comes in at €4,790 (about £4,346) and you can get it at feldvolk. com. Or you can get a standard iPhone 7 if the Plus is too big for you
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DOES. NOT. COMPUTE
WHAT WOULD YOU PAY TO GET ONE OF THE FASTEST GAMING PCS AROUND? £1K, PERHAPS £2K? HOW ABOUT £24K? THAT’S WHAT YOU’LL FORK OUT FOR THE MAD-AS-A-BOX-OF-FROGS 8PACK ORIONX
TWO FOR THE PRICE OF… If you’re serious about your processing power, you don’t do things by half, and this PC doesn’t – it does it by double. Inside the gaming goliath are two whole PCs, which goes towards explaining its mammoth size (and price).
JEKYLL AND HYDE This machine is built for those who seek creative pastures by day and gaming pleasures by night, with a workstation-spec primary system and a gaming-spec secondary system. Both are juiced by a mega 2000W PSU.
CHILL OUT Typically, this kind of grunt would result in a flaming mess, but the OrionX has been soothed with liquid; separate cooling loops keep CPU and GPU from getting hot and bothered.
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ON FIRE If you’d like just the one ridiculous PC, then the OrionX’s smaller brother – the Supernova – should do the trick. Claimed to be the fastest production PC on sale, this titan is outfitted with the finest components,
including three GTX 1080Ti graphics cards, a max-overlocked Intel Core i7-6950X (4.4GHz) and 16GB of super speedy RAM. Naturally, it’s watercooled for rocksolid stability, and fast enough to handle any game at any resolution. Oh, and it’s only £11.5K.
CLOCKED IT The OrionX houses two beastly processors – a Core i7 6950X and Core i7 7700K – rocking breakneck speeds of 4.4GHz and 5.1GHz, giving you monumental power for any task.
SEEING DOUBLE No ordinary spec and no ordinary look either – the OrionX has a transparent side to its case, allowing you to gawp at its many multi-coloured liquid-cooled tiers.
PC GONE MAD If you’re feeling flush and you absolutely must have two collosal PCs stuffed inside one case, you can get it now for £24,999 (see, a bit of change!) from overclockers.co.uk.
MONEY NO OBJECT
A MODERN CLASSIC
THE ORIGINAL MINI WAS A MASTERPIECE OF DESIGN. FAST-FORWARD 58 YEARS AND IT’S BEEN REBORN: CUE THE MINI REMASTERED WHICH COMES WITH APPLE CARPLAY AND A £65K PRICE TAG
SAY AGAIN? Indeed. Despite the original car’s affordability for the masses, the Mini Remastered is anything but. That said, if you want to own the legend, and you want one that looks like it just rolled off the factory line, then this is one of the best ways to get it.
LAVISH LAYOUT The interior is hand-trimmed, with bespoke leather seats, Smiths dials and a Moto Lita steering wheel. The car is also sound-proofed for extra refinement.
SMALL & SMART The original Mini didn’t even have a radio, but this version comes with a modern infotainment and navigation system integrated within the dash. It features a large touchscreen, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, USB connectivity and more.
OUT WITH THE OLD… The Remastered retains the original car’s charm but with 21st century touches like LED rear lights and turn signals built into the wing mirrors.
SPLENDID JOB The Remastered uses all-new body panels. It’s de-seamed to smooth lines, while shut lines are minimised. This Mini is miles apart from the original in terms of build quality.
OLD BUT NEW Despite the hefty price tag, the Remastered is not a one-off. This is a scratch-built car which will be made in low numbers by David Brown Automotive – an expert Coachbuilding company.
TAILOR MADE Each car can be personalised to the owner’s specification, including exterior paint, interior trim and wheels. To find out more, go to davidbrownautomotive.com
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THE BIG PICTURE
THE C SEED 262 IS OFFICIALLY THE WORLD’S BIGGEST INDOOR 4K TV. ONCE €490,000 CHANGES HANDS, YOU’VE GOT YOUR OWN PRIVATE CINEMA. HOPEFULLY YOU CAN AFFORD AN EXTENSION TOO
SUPERSIZED SCREEN Feeling a bit smug about your latest purchase? Think a 65-inch picture is worth bragging about? Think again – the C Seed 262 boasts an epic 262-inch screen, or 6.65 metres, in new money. Apparently, that makes C Seed the world record holder for giant TVs.
MOVIE MAGIC Matching the screen’s epic size are 10 integrated high-end speakers, for either 7.1 or 9.1 surround sound, giving you an authentic cinema experience right in your lounge.
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It’s all about size, isn’t it? Or is it? Sony’s top-dog 4K projector – the VPL-VW1100ES – might be a much smaller box than this TV, but the projector’s hidden trick is throwing a picture bigger than you can ever imagine. In this case, up to 300 inches
GRAND DESIGN The 262 measures 6.14 metres long and 2.6 metres high – tall enough to dwarf any basketball player, while its weight of 798kg means you won’t be moving it around the home much.
HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT If you don’t want the 262 detracting from your mansion’s antique decor, it comes with a handy motorised fabric screen that hides the screen at the touch of a button.
against a suitably huge wall, which is a considerably bigger picture than the C Seed 262 can conjur, and there’s some other good news: Sony’s projector will save you about €465,000 compared to this, and won’t take up half your mansion.
4KING HELL On average, the term 4K is uttered every five seconds when referring to TVs on T3, but in this case it’s essential; a screen of this size demands the best picture clarity.
DROPPING IN Understandably, the C Seed 262 needs professional installation and you can find out more about this truly monster TV at cseed.tv
MONEY NO OBJECT
THE LAST STAND
THE METAXAS AND SINS MARQUIS MEMENTO MORI – THAT’S EASY FOR US TO SAY – COULD, AND AT £6,000 SHOULD, BE THE ONLY HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER AND STAND YOU EVER NEED TO BUY
DYING TO KNOW The Memento Mori’s (Latin for ‘Remember you must die’) cyborg skull is just about the weirdest place one might hang their audiophile-grade headphones. Insane looks aside, you get a rather tasty headphone amp to boost your tunes.
FACE FACTS Guess where the amp’s interface is located? Wait for it… in ter face. Get it? VU meters in the eye sockets light up a T800-esque red, while control knobs are found in the cheeks. And, of course, you plug your cans in the gob. Where else?
OFF WITH YOUR HEAD If you want to show off your wacky tastes in public, an optional battery pack enables you to take your Momento Mori on the move, for up to five hours of enhanced mobile music.
AND, FOR A LITTLE LESS… It’s well documented that adding a headphone amplifier to your system dramatically improves the performance of the majority of high-end over-ear headphones. For a lot less than £6,000 you can pick up a perfectly
capable headphone amplifier, such as the Chord Mojo (£400, chordelectronics.co.uk), which also has a highquality DAC (digitalto-analogue converter) built in, enabling you to convert digital music on devices with less noise than their own DAC.
ON ME HEAD Naturally, when your headphones aren’t resting on your head, the best place for them to sit is on another head – specifically, one that’s CNC machined from solid billet aluminium.
GOOD TO HEAR This amp is packed with some serious audio tech to improve the audio performance of your headphones. The power supply, for example, is built into the base to avoid interference.
COLOUR IN YOUR CHEEKS The standard skull finish is black, but if you want even more unique looks, you can add a colour finish for an extra £250. Get it from audiosanctuary.co.uk
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Hotlist TREAT YOURSELF TO SOMETHING NEW WITH OUR ROUND-UP OF THE BEST KIT FOR £100 AND UNDER ou don’t always have to spend big money to get something you’ll love to bits. That’s why we’ve put together a list of our favourite products for £100 and under. Some of our chosen gadgets also happen to be the best things you can get in
their particular category, others are great-value alternatives to bigger ticket purchases, but all are brilliant products we’d be happy to use ourselves. So next time you get paid and there’s spare cash burning a hole in your pocket, make sure you consult T3’s £100 Hotlist!
T H E S U PE R S I X T E E N
01 COPAG TEXAS HOLD’EM SET copagcards.com PRICE £89 Spice up your next kitchen table showdown by replacing those pennies and matchsticks with 300 casino quality 14g poker chips, a metal dealer chip and a set of decent cards. T3 SAYS However pro you feel, steer clear of the indoor sunglasses...
04 BLAZE BURNER SET blaze.cc PRICE £88 Bright enough that you’ll be noticed when cycling in the dark – 100 lumens for the rear light and 180 for the front – with automatic light-sensing activation and USB charging for ultimate convenience. T3 SAYS Be seen for longer: you’ll get 60 hours from a single charge.
ATARI FLASHBACK 8 GOLD
WACACO MINIPRESSO NS
atgames.net PRICE £79.99 Even if you weren’t born when the original came out, you can still enjoy 120 classic games using 2.4GHz wireless controllers with authentic Atari styling. HDMI output means you won’t miss a pixel. T3 SAYS Try to beat our Centipede score.
wacaco.com PRICE £55 Fully compatible with Nespresso capsules and battery free, this is the perfect partner if you’re partial to a strong pressed coffee on the move. The built-in cup means you’ll only need to supply hot water. T3 SAYS Also consider the GR version if you want to use your own grounds.
AUDIOQUEST DRAGONFLY BLACK
HERSCHEL CHAPTER WASH BAG
richersounds.co.uk PRICE £89 Twin internal clocks ensure this USB DAC is compatible with sounds of all formats and frequencies, and its small stature means it can enhance music from laptops and phones. T3 SAYS Keep an eye on the dragonfly – its colour indicates sound frequency.
selfridges.com PRICE £29 A tough and spacious canvas bag accented with a leather zip pull and carrying handle, this is perfect for taking your essentials travelling. The zip picket is a nice touch. T3 SAYS The fluorescent finish means you’ll find it even in the dark.
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CARL FRIEDRIK iPHONE 7+ CASE
SIGG VIVA ONE 0.75L uk.sigg.com PRICE £12.99 It’s BPA-free, so this polypropylene bottle can be refilled and washed as many times as you like, and the neck’s wide enough that you can fill it with ice cubes for a cool and refreshing drink on the move. T3 SAYS A locking spout means this won’t fill your satchel with unwanted fluids.
STAR WARS STORMTROOPER BLUETOOTH SPEAKER
funstockretro.co.uk PRICE £59.99 Originally an April fools joke, now an actual tangible thing: put a modern Samsung phone in, pop in a Game Boy or Game Boy Colour cartridge, and you’re playing classic games in seconds flat. T3 SAYS The best thing is the real buttons – touchscreen controls be damned!
thefowndry.com PRICE £39.99 You can force your friends to listen to your tunes with this portable Bluetooth speaker disguised as one of the Empire’s finest. T3 SAYS 5W output doesn’t seem like a lot, but this hits like Luke hits a wampa.
SKULLCANDY GRIND WIRELESS
nokia.com PRICE £49.99 It’s back and better than ever. Okay, the 3310 is probably the lowest-end phone you’ll find on the market. But for young teens, or just as an emergency backup phone, it’s great; plus it plays Snake! T3 SAYS Take this out, and with a month’s standby time, it’ll outlive any smartphone.
carlfriedrik.com PRICE £60 Fancy vegetable-tanned leather coloured in cognac, black, grey or chocolate, stitched and shaped to fit your favourite phone, with microfibre lining for maximum handset care. T3 SAYS Think this looks nice now? Wait until it has a bit of rugged leather age to it.
skullcandy.eu PRICE £64.99 These Bluetooth headphones not only sound good for the price, they’re made of solid materials, come in different colours, and the soft earpads are really comfortable. T3 says: Want a nice pair of on-ear ’phones for under £70? These are for you.
TOPEAK ALIEN II BIKE MULTITOOL
GREENWICH CHRONO iPHONE FOLIO CASE
topeak.com PRICE £35 Everything you might need to fix a bicycle breakdown on the move, all squashed into a compact package. A time-honoured classic that should be in every cycle bag. T3 SAYS With spanners, screwdrivers and hex keys, even non-cyclists will love it.
greenwich.design PRICE £80 A soft, luxurious leather magnetised front flap with a carbon-fibre backing, plus a hard-shell rear to guard your iPhone against knocks, bangs, and other clumsiness. T3 says: Protect your investment – and take advantage of free laser engraving too.
NETGEAR MINI WI-FI RANGE EXTENDER
VICTORINOX PIONEER NESPRESSO
netgear.com PRICE £19.99 Is your wireless network tantalisingly out of reach? Plug this into a wall socket, run through a little setup and it’ll extend your range at pacy wireless N speeds. T3 SAYS There’s an Ethernet socket, so you can also extend your wired reach.
victorinox.com PRICE £49 We all love a nice strong cuppa, but coffee pods can be wasteful. Chill out, though: 24 Nespresso pods are recycled to make each of these Swiss classics. T3 says: A collaboration perfect for coffee lovers or people with practical pockets.
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Published on Mar 10, 2018