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I AM TAKING CHANCES

JOE McNALLY INTRODUCES THE NIKON FULL FRAME D850. To launch the new Nikon D850, iconic fashion photographer Joe McNally was given the creative freedom to capture the image of a lifetime, shot on the D850. Thanks to the powerful combination of the 45.7MP FX format back-side illuminated CMOS sensor and the speed of 9*fps shooting, he could tell a story like never before. With ISO 64 to 25600, 153-point AF, 8K time-lapse** and full frame 4K UHD video, now you too can capture your masterpiece. To find out more about the D850, visit www.nikon.co.uk *Requires the optional MB-D18 Multi-Power Battery Pack, EN-EL-18a/b battery, BL-5 battery cover and MH-26a charger. **Requires Interval Timer settings and 3rd party software.


Beautiful Design. High-Tech Features. Affordable Price. BEAUTY MEETS DESIGN OPERATING SYSTEM Android 7.1.1 (Nougat)

CONNECTIVITY Dual SIM (nano + nano) or (nano + microSD) WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n Bluetooth 4.2 USB Type-C NFC

CAMERA Rear camera: 13 MP + 5 MP Front camera: 13 MP PROCESSOR MediaTek Helio P25 Octa-Core 2.39GHz

SENSOR TYPE Vibrator, Fingerprint, G-sensor, Proximity, Ambient Light, Magnetic, Digital Compass, Accelerometer, Facial recognition

DISPLAY 5.7” HD+ 1440 x 720 pixels (18:9 aspect ratio) BATTERY 3,000 mAh - Express Charging

Dual Glass Body Sapphire Blue

Memory & RAM 64GB, 4GB RAM microSD (supports up to 128 GB) DIMENSIONS 153 x 70 x 9 (mm)

£199.99 “The NUU Mobile G3 is one of the best devices in its price range” – AndroidHeadlines

5.7” HD+ 1440 x 720

Android 7.1.1

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Helio P25 2.39GHz (Octa-Core)

64 GB Rom 4 GB Ram

Fingerprint ID

3,000 mAh Express Charging

Dual Camera 13MP + 5MP

4G LTE

Front Camera 13MP

NFC

Dual Sim

Payment Security

Stuff Magazine reader offer... Three (3) months screen replacement cover on the G3 and G2 when purchased directly via nuumobile.com/stuff See website for offer details.


Nuu Mobile Redefining sub-£200 INSPIRED FOR BETTER THINGS OPERATING SYSTEM Android 8.0 (Oreo) CAMERA Rear camera: 20 MP + 2 MP Front camera: 13 MP PROCESSOR MT6750 Octa Core 1.5GHz

CONNECTIVITY Dual SIM (nano + nano) or (nano + microSD) WiFi 802.11 b/g/n Bluetooth 4.0 MicroUSB

DISPLAY 5.99” FHD+ In Cell 2160x1080 18:9 aspect ratio

SENSOR TYPE Vibrator, G-Sensor, Proximity Sensor, Ambient Light, Fingerprint ID

BATTERY 4,000 mAh

COLOUR Deep Blue

Memory & RAM 64 GB, 4 GB RAM microSD (supports up to 128GB) DIMENSIONS 158.5 x 73.6 x 8.55 (mm)

£179.99 Two (2) Year Warranty on all phones UK Customer Support 7 days UK Parts and Service

“A phone that looks as good as it performs” – Android Authority

5.99” FHD+ 2160x1080

1.5GHz (Octa-Core)

64 GB Rom 4 GB Ram

Dual Camera 20MP + 2MP

Front Camera 13MP

Android 8.0

Fingerprint ID

4,000 mAh

4G LTE

Dual Sim

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CONS ON THE COVER p30 100 most wanted

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HOT STUFF 8

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The Hot Four O Samsung Galaxy Note9 O Anki Vector O Nikon Z6 O Fitbit Charge 3 Vital stats Sony AF9 OLED TV Netflix has never looked so Netflixy Gigapixel Build Bond’s classic ride out of Lego Apps Music, bricks and all-in wrestling Icon Beosound Edge Rock and, quite literally, roll Choice Home cinema Turn your cosy lounge into a mini-multiplex Games Ayew ready for kick-off in FIFA 19? Start menu Including a ball that makes beats Wheels Nissan Leaf Nismo Nissan’s electric car is going super-sporty Your month Spidey, Lara and the Predator could all feature in your plans

TESTS 55 First test Samsung Galaxy Note9 A big phone ideal for doodlers and scribblers 62 Tested Amazon Fire HD Kids 10 Edition Give the tots a tablet they’ll struggle to smash 63 Tested Dyson Pure Cool Desk Freshen up with an anti-pollution fan 64 Tested Apple MacBook Pro (2018) This monster machine’s had a power surge 76 Versus Decks Last night we saved a DJ’s life 78 Tested Jabra Elite Active 65t Give your sweaty jogs more audio oomph 80 Tested Land Rover Explore No, it’s not a 4x4, it’s a rugged smartphone 81 Tested Lexus LC 500 This car’s got even more tech than our office 91 Group test Instant cameras Look no further for party photography 92 Tested Oppo Find X A pop-up camera on a smartphone? Love it! 94 Long-term test Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 This laptop’s more versatile than James Milner 98 Tested Games Cooking co-op and hallucinating highs


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FEATURES 30 100 most wanted All the tech Stuff writers are really craving… apologies in advance if we’re about to make your wish list even longer 52 Mini meme Good habit formers Use your smartphone more efficiently 60 Upvoted Sneakers Treat your feet to some trendy trainers 67 Group test special OLED TVs Pick the best screen for your bingeing lair 74 Beta yourself iOS 12 Discover all the tricks for your Apple devices 83 Back 2 school Gadgets to ensure an angst-free September 88 Instant upgrades Sonos Beam Boost your home-cinema audio chops 122 Next big thing Zap&Go Batteries are about to get a lot better

WIN! p29

WORTH £1158

P115

TOP TENS 103 The Stuff Top Ten of everything Your essential gadget-buying guide: Smartphones, wearables, tablets, headphones, laptops, TVs, consoles, VR, games, hi-fi, home cinema, tech toys, drones, cameras, budget buys 107 The big question What should my kids be streaming? 109 Should I upgrade? Razer Blade 15 (2018) Is it time to give your PC hardware a refresh? 111 Playlist Best anime to stream Catch up on the finest Japanese toons 115 How to buy… a Bluetooth speaker Play that funky music anywhere you fancy 117 Your streaming essentials BoJack’s back and Pep reveals his master plan 121 5-minute hacks Use a PS4 pad with your Nintendo Switch

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p96 5


Welcome Throw your jazz hands in the air, because we’re entering the ‘crazy’ period of the year for new tech. The mayhem kicks off with Europe’s biggest gadget show, IFA, closely followed by Apple’s inevitable iPhone announcements, all potentially trumped by Google’s Pixel 3. Companies are clambering for a piece of the Christmas pie – and if you think it’s too soon to say that word, you’re absolutely right, but that hasn’t stopped brands peddling forthcoming festive kit since July. So we decided to compile the mother of all wish lists way ahead of time and measure up how much space we’ll need under the tree. Turns out it’s more of a forest. Everything in the top 100 most wanted has been personally and painstakingly selected by Stuff staff, and involved more anguished procrastination than the Brexit negotiations. There were tears, tantrums, tea. Lots of tea. And biscuits. We also had a load of new products to pick from and shoehorn into this issue, with changes going right to the wire. Included are a stiffly contested Hot Four, first reviews for two highly anticipated smartphones, a three-way OLED TV battle, controllers to kickstart your bedroom DJ odyssey, and a locker jam-packed full of school tech for the new term. This could get expensive…

GET THIS MONTH’S DIGITAL EDITION Stuff is also available in digital form – download it from the App Store or Google Play, or turn to p96 for this month’s subscription offer. You can also get Stuff from Pocketmags for reading on PC, on Kindle Fire or online.

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Production: AT Graphics Team Leader Melanie Cooper Management Managing Director Phil Weeden Chief Executive Steve Wright Chairman Steve Annetts Finance Director Joyce Parker-Sarioglu Publishing Director Kevin McCormick Publishing Operations Manager Charlotte Whittaker Retail Distribution Managers Eleanor Brown, Steve Brown Audience Development Manager Andy Cotton Head of Events Kat Chappell Print Production Manager Nicola Pollard Print Production Controller Georgina Harris • Volume 22 issue 10 • ISSN: 1364-963 • On sale 6 Sept 2018 • Audit Bureau of Circulations: 54,492 (Jan-Dec 2017)

DISTRIBUTION Seymour Distribution Ltd, 2 East Poultry Avenue, London, EC1A 9PT www.seymour.co.uk Tel: 020 7429 4000 PRINTING William Gibbons & Sons Ltd

James Day, Editor / @james_a_day

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Advertising 020 8267 5493 Commercial Manager Natalie Carter Account Manager Lindsey Dobson

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Kelsey Media 2018 © All rights reserved. Kelsey Media is a trading name of Kelsey Publishing Ltd. Reproduction in whole or in part is forbidden except with permission in writing from the publishers. Note to contributors: articles submitted for consideration by the editor must be the original work of the author and not previously published. Where photographs are included, which are not the property of the contributor, permission to reproduce them must have been obtained from the owner of the copyright. The Editor cannot guarantee a personal response to all letters and emails received. The views expressed in the magazine are not necessarily those of the Editor or the Publisher. Kelsey Publishing Ltd accepts no liability for products and services offered by third parties. Kelsey Media takes your personal data very seriously. For more information on our privacy policy, please visit www.kelsey.co.uk/privacy-policy/ If at any point you have any queries regarding Kelsey’s data policy you can email our Data Protection Officer at dpo@kelsey.co.uk Stuff is available for licensing worldwide. For more information, contact bruce@bruceawfordlicensing.com

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Making Stuff up Editor James Day Managing Editor Richard Purvis Art Editor Ross Presly Reviews Editor Verity Burns Hot Stuff Editor Matt Tate Staff Writer Ryan Jones Online Editor Natalya Paul Global Brand Director Guy Cocker Contributors Andrew Williams, Craig Grannell, Andrew Hayward, Sam Kieldsen, Tom Wiggins, Tom Morgan, Marc McLaren, Mike Jennings, Adam Cook, Jess Derwent, Leon Poultney, Marc Gadian, Alex Fanning, RGB Digital, Pete Gardner

I TURNED MY LEGS INTO JELLY TESTING A RUGGED PHONE Most tech can be tested in an office – even drones if you’re willing to risk getting in trouble with HR. Rugged phones, though, require a much more gruelling environment for testing… so I took a trek down to the south coast to see whether Land Rover’s new Explore phone could handle a proper hiking adventure. As you’ll find on page 80, it completed the challenge with fairly decent results. My poor scrawny legs, however, didn’t fare so well. Ryan Jones, Staff Writer

I HAD A MARIO KART VR VICTORY STOLEN FROM ME BY A LAST-GASP GREEN SHELL I’m here to tell you that virtual reality has already peaked with Mario Kart VR (now playable at the O2 in London). I suspected this as early as the starting line, where my colleague Ryan waved at me as Luigi – but it was later confirmed when he hit me with a perfectly-aimed green shell just before I crossed the finish line. I’m now practising my real-life banana-throwing in preparation for our rematch. Matt Tate, Hot Stuff Editor

Contact us stuff@kelsey.co.uk UK subscription and back issue orderline: 01959 543747 Overseas subscription orderline: 0044 (0)1959 543747 Toll-free USA subscription orderline: 1-888-777-0275 UK customer service team: 01959 543747 Customer service email address: subs@kelsey.co.uk Customer service and subscription postal address: Stuff Customer Service Team, Kelsey Publishing Ltd, Cudham Tithe Barn, Berry’s Hill, Cudham, Kent TN16 3AG

Subscriptions 13 issues of Stuff are published per annum UK annual subscription price: £64.87 Europe annual subscription price: £78 USA & Canada annual subscription price: £78 Rest of world annual subscription price: £85 Find current subscription offers at shop.kelsey.co.uk/stuff Buy back issues at shop. kelsey.co.uk/stuffback

OUR MONTH Cliff-side pacing, VR racing, stand-up chasing I DROVE AUDI’S RANGE ROVER RIVAL AROUND THE HOME COUNTIES I’ll take any old excuse to stay over in a Grade I-listed stately home designed by Sir John Soane, but when it involves driving the latest Audi Q8 you won’t be able to get me to Tyringham Hall fast enough. So what makes this SUV so special? The ludicrous 39 driver assistance systems, and the fact it does away with buttons on the dashboard, so everything is controlled by touch or handwriting recognition… except the steering, of course. James Day, Editor

I’VE BEEN SHREDDING AN ELECTRIC SKATEBOARD Mid-30s skateboarding seems like such a good idea, until you realise you’re nowhere near as good as you remember and falling off actually really hurts. Thankfully, for the past week I’ve been cruising around on this beast from Evolve, which has an eco mode to ease you back into going quickly mere inches from the floor. The all-terrain tyres are excellent for smoothing out bumps in the road. Next month I might even have built up the confidence to try Fast mode… Ross Presly, Art Editor

Already a subscriber? Manage your subscription online at shop.kelsey.co.uk/ myaccount

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S Forget me Note In keeping with the Note9’s ‘bigger is better’ philosophy, there’s a borderline ridiculous 512GB version – and if even that’s not enough, you can make it 1TB with a 512MB microSD.

HOT FOUR #1 S PEN A LITTLE TIME WITH ME

Samsung Galaxy Note9 Buying a phone from Samsung’s Galaxy Note line is a bit like dining at an all-youcan-eat restaurant. In the same way that a fourth plate of spicy chicken wings is probably a bit excessive, few people really need the extra screen size and specs of the Galaxy Note9… but when it’s right in front of you, it can be hard to resist taking that little bit more. Especially as phones, unlike dinners, can’t cause a long night on the toilet. So, what can giant-handed fans expect from this year’s stylus-wielding super phablet? Even more, basically. At 6.4in, the Super AMOLED screen is a staggering 0.1in bigger than the Note8’s offering, while a new 4000mAh battery will purportedly see you through a day of heavy app-hammering. Chuck in beefy AKG-tuned speakers, and it’s no surprise that Samsung is pitching it as the perfect device for portable Fortnite. Meanwhile, the S Pen – the secret weapon of any Note device – now has Bluetooth, allowing it to double up as a handy remote control. The ultimate superphone, then? Maybe… turn to p55 for the definitive review. As hot as… writing down notes without murdering innocent trees from £899 / stuff.tv/Note9

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Cam-do attitude The Note9 has a similar dual-rear-cam setup to the S9+, but gains an ‘intelligent’ mode that optimises your shot and tells you when someone’s ruined it by blinking.

TECH SPECS

PC does it With DeX functionality built into the Note9, there’s no need for a dock (although you’ll need an HMDI adaptor). DeX allows you to use the phone as a makeshift PC. Add a monitor and you’re off.

O SCREEN 6.4in 2960x1440 Super AMOLED O PROCESSOR Exynos 9810 O RAM 6/8GB OOS Android 8.1 O CAMERAS 12MP + 12MP rear, 8MP front O STORAGE 128/512GB O BATTERY 4000mAh O DIMENSIONS 162x76x8.8mm, 201g 9


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Thanks to his four-mic array, Vector can pinpoint where sound is coming from. He’ll be as disappointed as the neighbours when you start loudly cursing while watching footy.

HOT FOUR #2 Juice monitor When Vector starts to feel tired, he’ll automatically roll back to his charging station and plonk himself there until he’s raring to go again. That’s more than we can manage after a night in the pub.

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BEST BOT TO ASK Anki Vector

We’re still some way off having house robots that’ll hand you breakfast as you dash out of the door. But if you can manage your expectations just a smidge, we think you’re going to get on famously with Vector. Not only can this little fella recognise your face and play games like his playful sibling Cozmo – he can also take requests, in the same way that a less adorable voice assistant would, to deliver weather updates, set timers and, in the future,

control smart home appliances. Don’t mistake him for an Echo wannabe, though, as he has his own distinct personality too. Beat him at a game of cards and he’ll get grumpy, while stroking his back will make him bleep happily. Responses are communicated via a high-res colour IPS screen (ie: his face) that can apparently display a thousand animations. If the rise of the machines is going to be this much fun, count us in. As hot as… Robot Wars £250 / stuff.tv/Vector


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Thrice to meet you With that new mount, optic experts have been liberated and have created three new lenses: a 24-70mm f/4, plus 35mm and 50mm prime lenses with f/1.8 max aperture.

The cine file The Z6 is capable of 8K timelapses, while shooting standard 4K and HD at 120p. It’ll also do focus peaking, zebra stripes and even timecoding. In short, you could make a blockbuster movie with it.

HOT FOUR #3 DEATH OF THE DSLR Nikon Z6

A moment’s silence is in order for probably the biggest camera story of the year. Nikon, the choice of DSLR diehards everywhere, has made a pivotal entrance onto shutter island with the Z6: its first mirrorless camera. Just like your dad’s dress sense, Nikon hasn’t changed its mount for 100 years, but the Z6 will see the company’s largest and most exciting mount yet, with a diameter of 55mm. We don’t expect you to have memorised other mount diameters, but the

Sony E-mount is 46.7mm and the Nikon F-mount stands at 47mm for comparison. With high-speed 5-axis stabilisation built in, an ISO range of 100-51,200, weatherand dust-resistance and an LCD touchscreen, this is a serious Sony Alpha competitor. It has the same battery as the Nikon D850 too. Yep, Nikon’s making a comeback bigger than Abba’s – and we’re taking a chance on that. As hot as… a volcano close-up £2099 (body only) / stuff.tv/NikonZ6

PLUS: NIKON Z7 To keep enthusiasts humming along to the sounds of their own dial-twizzling, there’s also a high-res model. While the Z6 has a 24.4 MP sensor, the superior Z7 has a 45.7MP one that can handle 9fps. And if the 273 focus points in the Z6 aren’t enough, the Z7 has 493 of the blighters. £3399 (body only) / stuff.tv/NikonZ7 11


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Pressing matter The demands of waterproofing led Fitbit to design the Charge 3 with no physical buttons. Instead, the function button on the side is now inductive.

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HOT FOUR #4 RUNNING AWAY WITH IT Fitbit Charge 3

Once upon a time families would war over the TV remote and who pinched the last Magnum, but there’s no time for such squabbles in 2018 – not when Dad’s got his marginally superior daily step count to brag about. Fitbit’s latest, the Charge 3, has all the fitness features you could need: a 24/7 heart-rate monitor, sleep tracking, 50m water-resistance and 15 exercise modes including swimming. But this Charge packs a few smartwatch skills too. The Gorilla 12

Glass OLED (brighter and 40% larger than the Charge 2’s display) is a proper touchscreen, letting you swipe through menus with ease. You’ll also get notifications pinged to the device, where you’ll be able to accept/reject calls and – if you’re an Android user – select custom quick replies. Potential downsides? You will need your phone handy for GPS, so make sure you don’t forget it and jog straight into a pond. As hot as… weightlifting in a sauna from £130 / stuff.tv/Charge3

Seven heaven Five-day battery life on the Charge 2 was hardly laughable, but your overworked sockets will be pleased to learn Fitbit has (at least on paper) upped it to a full week for the new model.


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SCREEN LEGEND Sony Master Series AF9 £tba / sony.co.uk

Coming in 55in and 65in models, Sony’s new AF9 flagship TV ticks all the boxes you’d expect – OLED, Ultra HD, HDR – as well as a few more exciting extras OWhoa-LED! The AF9’s 4K OLED screen comes with a truly dizzying array of tech trickery to send your retinas reeling, most of it powered by its electronic brain: the all-new X1 Ultimate processor. This chip detects and analyses every object on screen to boost its detail, and Sony says HDR – which comes in Dolby Vision, HDR10 and Hybrid Log Gamma flavours here – gets a drastic bump as a result. OStream lover The clearest example of Sony’s priorities here is Netflix Calibrated Mode. This special viewing setting, developed in partnership with the streaming service, adjusts the AF9’s image to match Netflix Originals’ studio masters. In short, that means if you’re settling down to the likes of Orange Is The New Black, GLOW or Ugly Delicious on the AF9, you’ll know its colours, contrast and brightness should look exactly as the creators intended. OFeel the vibration Flat tellies aren’t usually much cop on the sound quality front, but Sony has made the AF9’s wafer-like form into one of its sonic strengths. Acoustic Surface Audio+ tech turns the entire screen into a vibrating speaker, which ensures dialogue emanates from the centre of the picture, while two built-in subwoofers provide plenty of low-end rumble to enhance audio effects. Sony’s so confident of the AF9’s prowess here that it’s slapped speaker terminals on the back, letting you hook it directly to a home cinema amp and use it as the centre speaker in your surround setup. OMaster’s voice Who needs a remote control? The AF9’s Alexa and Google Assistant integration means you’ll often be able to ditch the clicker and take control through the power of your vocal cords – plus, you can have the TV update you on your schedule or find your favourite ‘sneezing panda’ YouTube clip to repeat over and over and over…

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The AF9’s rear-mounted subwoofer and socket panel also acts as a table stand, giving it a super-clean front view.


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NETFLIX ORIGINALS SHOULD LOOK EXACTLY AS INTENDED

Flexible flier

YUNEEC MANTIS Q We suspect packing a drone alongside your sunscreen, shades and smalls when you jet off on your travels will one day become as common as packing a camera is now – and Yuneec is keen to bring the future forward with its new Mantis Q quadcopter. Toting a 4K/13MP camera, voice controls, a generous 33 minutes of in-air battery life and a brisk 44.7mph top speed, this compact, foldable flier comes with a twin-stick remote controller, although most settings are accessed via the companion app on your smartphone. At £300 less than the DJI Mavic Air, about the same price as the (4K-less) DJI Spark and almost £200 less than the Parrot Anafi, the Mantis Q looks a very tempting entry-level choice for prospective drone pilots. from £450 /yuneec.com

BEST-LOOKING NETFLIX SHOWS OAltered Carbon This blockbuster sci-fi noir is a neon-lit fever dream of sex, violence and tech – and a great showcase for HDR. Probably Netflix’s most visually striking series to date.

OPlanet Earth II Sadly it’s not rendered in HDR, but the BBC’s stunning exploration of the natural world looks eyepoppingly crisp in Netflix’s 4K presentation.

OChef’s Table France Watching this culinary documentary series in 4K and HDR can be torture, if only because you can’t actually eat any of the mouthwatering masterpieces on show.

Just keep slimming

ASUS ROG ZEPHYRUS S GX531 Gaming laptop makers have kicked off a competition to see who can squeeze the most face-meltingly impressive tech into the thinnest possible frame. Measuring between 14.95 and 15.75mm, Asus claims its Zephyrus S GX531 is now the world’s slimmest. Bezels have been crushed down by a 15.6in display with a 144Hz refresh rate and 3ms response time, while an Active Aerodynamic System is on cooling duty. Under the hood are an Intel Core i7-8750H CPU and Nvidia GTX 1060 or 1070 Max-Q graphics card. You get customisable RGB lighting in the keyboard and vents; and as per the previous Zephyrus model, the trackpad is found on the right of the keyboard. Odd at first, but like having parents on Facebook, you’ll acclimatise eventually. from £2000 / asus.com

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The bigger picture in tech

LICENCE TO BUILD We knew it was coming, but we didn’t know it would be this cool. Fans of Bond and plastic bricks will be chuffed to learn that Lego has unveiled its 1290-piece replica of the Aston Martin DB5 made famous by Goldfinger in 1964. As intricate as you’d expect, the Lego tribute to 007’s famous silver Aston mimics the original’s curvaceous exterior, complete with wire wheel-rim inserts and a straight-six engine under the bonnet. But it wouldn’t be a Bond car without gadgets. Hidden machine guns are activated by triggers in the car, tyre-slashing blades pop out from the wheels, and the number plates rotate. Best of all, though, is the working ejector seat. Obviously. 16


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NEWS FEED

KEEP IT WHEEL Done all you can with elaborate pianos and fishing rods? Not to worry, as Nintendo’s latest Labo kit is all about vehicles. Now your cardboard creations can control an off-road car, a plane and a submarine in various mini-games, with a Joy-Con key used to activate each one.

HEUER WE GO To celebrate being named the Premier League’s official timekeeper for another season, Tag Heuer is giving owners of its Connected Modular smartwatches a themed watch face. Tell it who you support, and you’ll be pinged customisable notifications and matchday alerts.

APPLE TAKES A STAND What’s great about this stylish 7.5W charger, a collaboration between Apple and Logitech, is that it’ll hold your iPhone (or any Qi-supported blower you can fit in it) both vertically and horizontally, making it perfect for TV on the go or at the dinner table. Just don’t ignore your guests, eh? 17


A P P S This month’s mobile must-downloads 1

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APP MATHS ASPHALT 8: AIRBORNE

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£free / Android, iOS Absurdly nitro-happy high-octane racing meets cynical IAP grind. Still brilliantly bonkers, mind.

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SUPER MARIO RUN

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£free / Android, iOS Platform gaming, stripped back. You’ve no direct control over the moustachio’d protagonist here, just his jumps.

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ASPHALT 9: LEGENDS

1 Snoozle

2 Travis & Fripp

3 Moment Pro Camera

4 Timeshifter

5 Pitter Patter

6 Rowdy Wrestling

7 Holedown

8 Earth Atlantis

9 Look, Your Loot!

£free / Android, iOS This split-personality alarm clock serenades you to sleep with the sounds of rainforests and crackling fires. In the morning you’re roused by messages sent by friends. Hope they don’t go in for screaming.

£free (IAPs) / Android, iOS Zombified after a trip abroad? Timeshifter may lack a magical ‘stop getting hungry at weird times’ IAP, but it does battle jet-lag with personal schedules for when best to take in daylight – and coffee.

£3.99 / Android, iOS Digging with a spade is so last year. In Holedown, you blast through numbered bricks by lobbing bouncy balls at them. Quite why said balls are smiling, we’ve no idea; they must have quite the headache. 18

£2.99 each / iOS Having squeezed a digital Brian Eno onto iPhone, Peter Chilvers manages the same trick with Theo Travis and Robert Fripp. Three apps provide a trio of endless chill-out experiences akin to live performances.

£free / Apple Watch Want to feel a friend’s heartbeat, but find it inconvenient and creepy to follow them around with your hand on their chest? Try this app instead, sending all their ba-dums directly to your wrist.

£4.99 / iOS It turns out the climate change people were right – and the fish are really annoyed. In this shooter you get all splashy and shooty, blowing them away with your sub and cooing at lovely sepia visuals.

£2.99 / iOS O £1.79 / Android Manual cameras are great… until you realise you’ve messed up settings while sorting your shot. Moment puts you right with speedy double-tap presets and a slew of other fab pro-level features.

£free / Android, iOS As if pro wrestling weren’t already ridiculous enough, this game doubles down on the stupid. Bouncy arm-whirling hulks rumble in cartoon chaos, smacking each other with fists, feet and chairs.

£free / Android, iOS Dungeon-crawling with a grid of cards is now a thing on mobile. This game refines the sub-genre until it squeaks (the hero’s even a mouse), making for superb pocket-based RPG-lite larks.

£free / Android, iOS On-rails racing, where you don’t even steer – just time your drifts and boosts. Sounds rubbish? Cartwheeling through the air into your rivals is anything but.


I C O N YOU CHANGE THE VOLUME BY ROLLING THE EDGE FORWARDS OR BACKWARDS

BEOSOUND EDGE £2900 / bang-olufsen.com Can I roll it down a hill? You could probably get away with it if you were Richard Branson, but otherwise no, we wouldn’t advise rolling Bang & Olufsen’s £2900 Beosound Edge down any hills. A better idea would be to make this monolithic slab of aluminum the focal point of your living room, on either the floor or the wall. Yep, you really can wall-mount this thing, which makes it look a bit like a fancy-ass gong.

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Good stuff, but you haven’t explained what it is yet. Oh yeah. Well, it’s a speaker, of course – and a damned loud one at that. On bass duty is a 10in woofer that sits on one side, and that’s complemented by a 4in midrange driver and ¾in tweeter on each side. It’s compatible with AirPlay 2, Chromecast and Bluetooth, so you can ping your tunes at it without any wires to spoil the minimalist vibe.

It is very ‘designer’, isn’t it? Yes, but there’s some very clever technology hiding in that form. Proximity sensors know when you’re approaching the device and will illuminate the touch controls on the sparkling metal exterior to greet you. Changing the volume, quite ingeniously, is achieved by gently rolling the Edge forwards or backwards. And if you want to really crank it up, just roll with a bit more enthusiasm.

Down a hill?! You need to drop this. Rounding off (ahem) the package is a nifty feature called Directional Sound Control. The Edge pumps out 360º sound, but you’re able to manipulate exactly where in the room that sound lands via an app. Say you want to listen to Radio 4, but tiny Tim is watching cartoons: you can adjust the direction of the audio so his SpongeBob binge isn’t disturbed by The Archers.


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DROP EVERYTHING & DOWNLOAD

Motorsport Manager Mobile 3 £3.99 / iOS, Android

Football management is fine, but do you honestly want to spend all of your time micro-managing entitled pig-skin hoofers and sulking substitutes? How about delving into motor racing instead, with egotistical death-wishers blazing around at breakneck speed? That’s much more like it. In Motorsport Manager Mobile 3, you run a team – juggling drivers, sponsors, cash, buildings, research and kit – before heading to the track for race weekends. Despite depicting discs zipping about a top-down circuit, races are tense and exciting – unless you lose, in which case they are of course rubbish. Put in the hours, and you’ll gradually improve your lot, take pole positions, take part in increasingly lucrative championships, and accrue a cash pile you’ll really wish you could extract from your device’s Lightning port.

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4K frolics

CANON SX740 HS Your smartphone has been trying to muscle out the diddy point-and-shoot camera for a while, but keen photographers will always find a space in their backpack for a dedicated snapper, especially if it’s as talented as Canon’s pocketable PowerShot SX740. Specs-wise, it’s not a lot different to last year’s SX730, inheriting that camera’s 40x zoom, 20MP sensor and 5-axis image stabilisation. But now, with 4K video recording added to the mix, you can thrill relatives with your pin-sharp holiday montages. £350 / canon.co.uk

Filtered fun

FUJIFILM XF10 Just because a camera can fit in your pocket, that doesn’t mean it can’t take photos worthy of an art gallery. With an 18.5mm f/2.8 fixed lens and 24MP APS-C sensor, Fuji’s XF10 is ideal for taking stunning shots on your travels. And if you want 4K footage to truly capture your holiday memories, then the XF10 is up to the task, albeit at only 15fps. On top of that, you get a bulging collection of filters: ‘Rich and Fine’ is your go-to for tasty shots of dinner, while the NIR effect lends eerie monochrome drama to your city-break album. £449 / fujifilm.eu

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C H O I C E 1

MOVIE NIGHT Everything you could possibly need for a DIY night of watching flicks

1 The Grip of Film

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In this indisputably essential text, TV funnyman Richard Ayoade assumes the role of obsessive cinephile Gordy LaSure. It’s your comprehensive guide to film. £6.69 / amazon.co.uk

2 Savisto Hot Air Popcorn Maker

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Hot air, rather than oils or fats, is used to cook your popcorn here, making it a healthy and cheap alternative to cinema snacks. £16.95 / amazon.co.uk

3 Anker Nebula Capsule Despite being no larger than a can of Coke, Anker’s diminutive Nebula Capsule projector can cast a picture up to 100in in size on your wall for four hours straight. £350 / anker.com

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4 Blade Runner Whisky Glasses

We’ll wager you’ve never watched Blade Runner while sipping Scotch from the same tumbler Deckard used in the film. Well, now you can. £120 / firebox.com

5 Rocket Raccoon Mule Slipper

[ Picture RGB Digital ]

Comfy feet are key for watching movies; and while Rocket Raccoon might not enjoy being slipper-ified, he can’t deny he suits the role. £10 / geekstore.com

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6 Philips Hue LightStrip The easiest way to upgrade your gory horror marathon? Cut off a section of the versatile LightStrip, stick it above your screen, and soak the wall in blood-red. £70 / meethue.com

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SONY PLAYSTATION 4 PRO 500 MILLION EDITION Sony has sold a lot of PlayStations over the past 24 years: more than 525 million units worldwide, including both consoles and portables. In celebration of smashing through that half-a-billion milestone, here’s the PlayStation 4 Pro 500 Million Edition. Sporting a dark blue translucent design and limited to 50,000 models, it comes with a 2TB hard drive and special redesigned PlayStation Camera, DualShock 4, mono headset and vertical stand. Already own a PS4 Pro? Don’t worry, you can buy the translucent blue pad separately. We just hope they’re not all gone by the time you read this – that would be a real party pooper. £450 / playstation.com

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WTF IS THE SAMSUNG GALAXY HOME? I bet you could make a really good deadly potion in that. Granted, Samsung’s new Galaxy Home does look uncannily like a witch’s cauldron. And a BBQ. And a potentially hostile alien spaceship. It isn’t anything of these things, though. Rather, this is Samsung’s first crack at a smart speaker to rival the Google Home, Amazon Echo and Apple HomePod, with its Bixby assistant taking centre stage.

Isn’t it a bit late to that party? You could say that, but put it this way: when the Galaxy Home walks through the door, crate of beer under one of its non-existent arms, all the other speakers are going to take notice. Rather than echoing the competition’s cylinders, it resembles a chubby teardrop sculpture with the top sliced off, the remaining shape wrapped in fabric and held up by three metal legs.

OK, it’s an individual. Got it. How does it sound? Good, hopefully. Beneath that rotund exterior sit six speakers, each of them tuned by Samsung-owned audio firm AKG. There’s a built-in subwoofer, as well as eight far-field microphones to pick out your trumpeting from across the room. It’s packing Spotify out of the box, so Bixby (now smarter thanks to version 2.0) can become your personal DJ, as well as your weatherman and taxi booker.

Back with a back

AUDEZE LCD2 CLOSED-BACK If you really care about audio performance, Audeze’s LCD-2 cans have been a top pick for a while. Problem is, they’re open-back, which means your Phil Collins power-hour playlist is slipping out for everyone to hear. We’ve no issue with that, obviously, but you know that Brian in accounts hates Phil, and rather than have it out with him again, you could just pick up a pair of the LCD2 Closed-Back, a – you guessed it – closed-back version of the LCD-2. That means they have the same planar magnetic design as their predecessors, but with, according to Audeze, increased isolation and significantly reduced ambient noise. And because they’re closed-back, they should have an edge in the bass department too. £699 / audeze.com

Anything else I should know? It has SoundSteer, a feature that allows sound emitted from the speaker to be aimed directly at wherever you’re standing in the room. Just give Bixby the order. This is meant to provide a more immersive listening experience, and if it works well, it could end up being the Galaxy Home’s ace card.

Price? Release date? We don’t have either yet, but we’re willing to bet it won’t come cheap.

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G A M E S OUT 25 SEP

FIRST PLAY FIFA 19 PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC

[ Words Tom Wiggins ]

With the new football season up and running, the latest FIFA instalment is approaching faster than Mourinho’s next impromptu strop. After spending a few hours with the game that’s going to dominate your free time for the next 12 months, we reckon there are enough tweaks and evolutions to excite fans. Arguably FIFA’s biggest signing of the summer is the Champions League licence, which it snapped up for what you have to assume must have been a fairly hefty transfer fee from Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer series. It was 24

always rather conspicuous by its absence, particularly in Career mode where Europe’s top teams competed in the euphemistically named Champions Cup. Now you can take part in the real thing, because the European competition features in pretty much every mode of FIFA 19: as a standalone tournament, a one-off match, part of The Journey and, of course, during Career games. Don’t worry, Arsenal fans, the Europa League is also part of the deal. On the pitch EA has attempted to give FIFA 19 a more physical

feel – not in terms of making it all about strength, but seeing players realistically stretch and strain to win the ball. A new Active Touch System has also been implemented, giving your players more ways of controlling the ball with the most suitable part of their body. There’s also an optional new feature coming to FIFA 19 called Timed Finishing, which opens up the possibility of helping you become be more clinical with your strikes. If only such a thing had existed for Alvaro Morata in real life last season…


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FIRST PLAY GOTTA CATCH ’EM ALL… AGAIN!

OUT 16 NOV

POKEMON: LET’S GO Switch Creating a Pokemon Yellow remake for the Switch was a no-brainer. Pikachu and his fellow zany critters carry so much nostalgic power that all Game Freak had to do to bring in the money was relaunch

that ’90s Game Boy classic with a modern polish. Bizarrely, that million-dollar idea wasn’t ambitious enough for Game Freak – not since Pokemon Go plundered the globe. So, attempting to lure in the Go fans, the next Pokemon outing has taken inspiration from the mobile game. The classic system for catching Pokemon has been

entirely scrapped in favour of Go’s luck-powered approach, where you simply lob pokeballs at the beasties. This has diluted the RPG elements and made it more accessible to younglings and those who aren’t hugely familiar with gamepads. Pro Pokemon-snarers who worry this simplified style of play will be too boring can rest

easy. After spending 20 minutes roaming Viridian Forest, we can confirm that this Pokemon venture is still a hoot, with trainer encounters just as enthralling as they’ve always been. How far the difficulty level has fallen remains to be seen, but being able to explore Kanto in anime-rivalling visuals surely makes up for any such issues.

BEST OF UPCOMING SHOOTERS

CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS 4

OVERKILL’S THE WALKING DEAD

BATTLEFIELD V

PS4, Xbox One, PC Without the traditional single-player campaign, this year’s CoD is focusing on multiplayer, zombies and a new battle royale mode called Blackout. It’ll feature the largest map seen in a CoD game, with players able to fight on land, on the sea and in the air. Can it topple Fortnite?

PS4, Xbox One, PC With a new Left 4 Dead game no closer to becoming a reality, we’re hoping this can quench our zombie-slaying thirst. Although the game is set in the same universe as the comics, the four playable characters – each of them possessing unique skills – are original creations.

PS4, Xbox One, PC Like CoD, the big story of Battlefield V is its take on the last-man-standing multiplayer skirmish that’s been all the rage. Royale mode will apparently be built around the series’ foundations, so expect an emphasis on team play, road combat and blowing up everything you can see.

INCOMING OCTOBER OSUPER MARIO PARTY OSOULCALIBUR VI ORED DEAD REDEMPTION 2 NOVEMBER OHITMAN 2 OFALLOUT 76 DECEMBER OJUST CAUSE 4 OSUPER SMASH BROS. ULTIMATE

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S T A R T M E N U

ST KIC AR K TE R

The latest startups, crowdfunded projects and plain crazy ideas

Ball/room blitz

ODDBALL

If you find learning an instrument frustrating to the point where you’d sooner hurl the thing at the wall, you’re in luck. Oddball is the world’s simplest digital instrument – and is designed to be lobbed. The bouncy ball is the main part, a Bluetooth-enabled trigger that’s sensitive to motion and pressure; it can be chucked at things or delicately tapped in your calmer music-making moments. These impacts are converted into beats in the Odd app, where you can overlay sounds and add effects. And yes, if you get three of the things, you really can create some kind of madcap cacophony while juggling. £49 / oddballing.com BACK IT STACK IT

I GONDI GOE-

I GONDI GOE-

SMARTIBOT

Put the ‘lol’ into ‘lollipop’

POPSICASE

Ghost buster

Chain of fuels

In austerity Britain, it’s apt that this ’bot isn’t clad in metal but comes in a flat-pack cardboard kit. But put the thing together and it’ll trundle about happily, directed by an app – or you can strap your phone to its back to act as a brain. Not keen on card? Use Smartibot’s components to turn your groceries into a veggie parody of The Terminator. £35 / thecraftyrobot.net

This eco-friendly iPhone case is made from discarded fishing nets and scrap aluminium, refashioned into a vibrant lollipop form. Grip its retractable handle and you’ll keep your iPhone safe when held at any angle – ideal for taking that perfect selfie. Just don’t forget what you’re holding and bite into your Popsicase. €23 / popsicase.com

Fed up of blasting your eyes with searing light? Try Paperlike 3. This 13.3in E Ink screen isn’t just a blown-up Kindle – its 2200x1650 resolution is married with smart ‘ghost clearing’ and low latency, making it suitable for typing and browsing. Avoid gaming, though, unless you’ve a thing for arty greyscale stop motion. US$900 / dasungtech.com

Stick an inCharge on your keychain and you’ll never again suffer the pain of a dead device you can’t recharge because you forgot the cable. One end plugs into standard USB and the other into USB-C. And if your phone is edging on the side of retro, just slide off the adaptor for a dual Lightning/microUSB plug. $11 / incharge.rocks

Self-driving card

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ST KIC AR K TE R

ST KIC AR K TE R

SACK IT

PAPERLIKE 3

inCHARGE


W H E E L S

Nissan Leaf Nismo

SPORTING A NEW LOOK

An aerodynamic rear splitter looks the part. Just don’t expect to see massive boy-racer exhaust pipes sticking out underneath.

£tba / nissan.co.uk I’ve got a bit of deja vu here… Nissan’s been teasing us with an electric car modified by its Nismo performance division for years. Well, the Leaf’s been ripe for upgrades ever since it first arrived, and now they’ve only gone and flippin’ made one. About time! How do you Nismo-ify a Nissan? First off you swap the front and rear bumpers for some sportier ones that sit a little lower to the tarmac. Add a meaner front grille, splash some contrasting colour, and slap a Nismo badge in pride of place on the boot lid. Things feel sportier inside too, with red and black stitching on all the seats, chrome trim around the instrument cluster and a dashboard covered in motor racing’s must-have: carbon fibre. The flat-bottomed steering wheel with 12 o’clock marker is the real highlight, even if it’s unlikely to ever see action on a racetrack.

NEWS DASHBOARD Give me some numbers! Don’t be too disappointed, but Nissan hasn’t actually done much with the Leaf underneath the skin. It still uses a 40kWh battery pack good for around 150 miles between top-ups, and has the same 147bhp as the standard model. On the plus side, the software has been tweaked for more forceful acceleration, the power steering uprated for sharper response, and the suspension stiffened. You even get grippier tyres, so it should be much more fun to chuck around corners. And this is something I can actually go out and buy? Yep. Well… if you live in Japan, that is. Nissan is launching the Leaf Nismo on its home turf first, with overseas territories yet to confirm if they’ll follow suit. Fingers crossed Nissan UK sees sense, because this is one EV we’d be happy to desert the petrol pumps for.

Aston Martin can’t stop droning on

Taycan our place in the queue

Stark Industries makes an SUV

Would it look more at home docked on the Spectrum Cloudbase with Captain Scarlet at the controls? Absolutely, but until Aston Martin can prove the Volante Vision Concept is capable of defeating the Mysterons, it’ll have to serve as a flying taxi instead. Prototypes could take flight in 2020.

Porsche’s first all-electric sports car is the motoring version of a Kinder Egg: nobody has any idea what it’ll be like, they just know they want one. Orders are already filling up with zero details released, but at least those with a reservation know their new electric ride will be called the Taycan.

…well, sort of. Hyundai’s Iron Man edition Kona might just be the ultimate piece of Marvel memorabilia. The matt-grey SUV takes inspiration from Tony Stark’s metal alter ego with contrasting red roof and trim, stylish bonnet scoop and custom graphics for the in-car entertainment.

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14th SHADOW OF THE TOMB RAIDER Believe it or not, raiding ancient trap-laden tombs for enchanted treasure has consequences – something Lara finds out the hard way in the final chapter of this rebooted trilogy. With a deadly jungle to master, trickier tombs to pillage and the small matter of an impending apocalypse, it’s fair to say gaming’s most famous heroine is in a bit of a pickle.

O NEXT ISSUE November Night-ready gadgets On sale 04/10/18

YOUR MONTH

SEP

11th BRITISH SCIENCE FESTIVAL BEST OF THE FESTS This is the longest-running science festival in Europe, featuring over 100 events and activities.

If you want to fill your brain with information about AI, mixed reality and surround sound, you should be making a beeline for Hull this month. And when you’re done listening to clever people, there’s a robotic vacuum petting zoo to visit. Google it if you don’t believe us.

11 years ago Apple unveils the iPhone Touch

THEN

Let the games begin

NOW The new iPhone’s coming…

7th THEN 4 years ago Aphex Twin returns with Syro

MARVEL’S SPIDER-MAN We’ve played enough of the long-awaited Spider-Man PS4 game to know developer Insomniac has nailed the swinging and the punching-goonsin-the-face bits; fingers crossed they’ve also got a good story to tell. 28

NOW Listen to the Collapse EP

8th 12th VIDEOGAMES: DESIGN/PLAY/ DISRUPT It’s an age-old debate: are video games art? Well look at them here, with their very own fancy exhibition at the V&A – possibly the most famous arts museum in the world. Try to argue now, haters.

ALSO OUT THIS MONTH: City of Lies Final Score The Nun Skate Kitchen

THE PREDATOR Shane Black enjoyed his role in the original Predator movie so much that he’s co-written and directed the latest entry in the series. Imaginatively titled The Predator, it’s a sequel rather than a hard reboot, and will shake things up by introducing an even bigger ‘Ultimate’ Predator that makes the old ones look like a bunch of puppies.


TOTAL PRIZE VALUE £1158

W I

RRP £759

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RRP £349

DUE 12 OCT

WIN A PS4™ PRO, A SONY TV & CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS 4 WITH AO.COM “Saturday night’s alright for fighting,” sang Elton John in 1973. Full credit to Elton – this was before the first-person shooter had even been invented. It would be decades before war-based gaming really came of age, making pretty much any night alright for fighting. The mother of all war-game series rolls on with Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, out on 12 October, which is why we’ve got together with online electrical retailer AO.com to line up a real blast of a gaming prize. One reader will win a stunning Sony Bravia KD49XF7003BU 49in 4K HDR TV with Freeview Play (RRP £759), plus Stuff’s favourite console – the PlayStation®4 Pro 1TB (£349) – and of course a copy of Black Ops 4 for PlayStation (£50). If that winner turns out not to be you, be a brave little soldier: you can still go to AO.com and browse over 7000 products, from washing machines and laptops to TVs and food processors, delivered at a time that suits you. For more info, go to AO.com.

HOW TO ENTER

To line up this bulging bundle of ripe Sony tech in your sights, simply go to stuff.tv/win and answer this question:

WHAT DO MOST SOLDIERS CARRY WHEN THEY GO INTO BATTLE? A … A big fiery gun B … A small fiery pepper C … A signed photo of fiery ex-footballer David Batty

HURRY!

COMPETITION CLOSES 11 OCT 2018

Terms & conditions: 1 Open to UK residents aged 18 or over. 2 Entries close 11.59pm, 11 Oct 2018. 3 Prizes are as stated. 4 Prizes are non-transferable. 5 Only one entry per person. Full Ts & Cs: kelsey.co.uk/competition-terms-conditions/ Promoter: Kelsey Media Ltd, Cudham Tithe Barn, Berry’s Hill, Cudham, Kent TN16 3AG

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M O S T 30


We’ll tell you what we want, what we really really want… the Stuff team write their own wishlists of gadgets old, new and in some cases not even out yet

W A N T E D Photography PETE GARDNER 31


MOST WANTED

Polymega games console

Ameo Powerbreather Given the inevitability of a jetboard wipeout (see below), I’m going to need some help getting around underwater. The Powerbreather uses a patented system for inhaling and exhaling via separate channels so you only ever breathe in sweet air, even if you’re snorkelling in the deep – a bit like Harry Potter on gillyweed in the Triwizard Tournament. €89 / powerbreather.com

I’m well old, so the nostalgia and instant gratification of retro gaming holds a lot of appeal. Kudos, therefore, to Matt ‘Hot Stuff’ Tate for switching me on to the Polymega modular console that plays classic cartridges in Full HD. Pre-orders open soon and Jungle Strike is at the ready. £tbc / polymega.com

Apple MacBook Pro Asus has had the audacity to place a second screen in the trackpad of its ZenBook Pro, and it’s a thing of beauty; but I’m still drawn to Apple’s latest top-ranking MacBook. I’m going to get stung for port adaptors, but that killer combination of performance and poise make this the pinnacle of creative portable powerhouses. from £1249 / apple.com

Marloe Cherwell Wearing an Apple Watch all the time means no escape from apps and notifications. In need of a digital detox? Marloe timepieces do away with smart features and even the battery, as they’re hand-wound. Conceived in a converted barn, when a model sells out it becomes instantly sought-after. £249 / marloewatchcompany.com

‘Eclectic’ is probably the kindest way to describe my wishlist. If you’re reading, Mum and Dad, just start with the most expensive items and see how you get on. JAMES DAY Editor

Lego Ghostbusters Ecto-1

Myzone MZ-20 Smart Scales

Mako Slingshot Jetboard I’ve never been surfing and I’m scared of sharks… but ever since Virgin Galactic pilot Alex Tai told me about a West Country company building made-to-order jet-powered monocoque surfboards, the thought of going Point Break off the Pacific coast has never sounded so appealing. £8999 / makoboardsports.com 32

I’ve become mildly obsessed with an activity tracker called Myzone that scores you on effort. The accompanying app involves keeping tabs on body metrics, and now there’s a set of smart scales for recording the data and sending it directly to my smartphone via Bluetooth. £49 / myzone.org

Loewe Bild 9 (55in) It’s a little-known secret that LG supplies a whole host of major TV manufacturers with OLED screens. Loewe took LG’s impossibly thin 7mm panel and transformed it into the most achingly pretty TV on the planet. As well as that unmistakable steel frame, the display automatically glides upwards to reveal a hidden 120-watt soundbar. £6990 / loewe.tv

I’ve made multiple visits to my local toy shop to buy the original Lego Ecto-1, only to discover its been replaced with the 1982 Cadillac Deville from that 2016 monstrosity of a remake. But I’ve found a dealer specialising in discontinued lines and now I’m excited beyond the capacity for rational thought. £55 / brick-abrac-uk.com

Vollebak Solar Charged Jacket Vollebak is one smart clothing label bucking the ‘gimmicky’ trend with its hoodies, graphene jackets and ski gear. Topping my wishlist is its Solar Charged Jacket that glows Kryptonite green after storing energy from the sun or the torch on your smartphone. £270 / vollebak.com


MOST WANTED 3

Pioneer CDJ-2000NXS2 As an occasional DJ dabbler, I’d play a set of Ed Sheeran gabber remixes (backwards) if it meant having a pair of Pioneer pro multimedia decks. The NXS2s take care of everything, from support for all major DJ software platforms to playing music no matter what file format it arrives in, all while lit up like a Christmas tree. With hi-res audio support, authentic vinyl reproduction and a 7in colour touchscreen, last night a CDJ saved my life. £1959 (each) / pioneerdj.com

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Format this A multitude of music file formats are supported, including FLAC, Apple Lossless Audio, MP3, WAV, AAC and AIFF.

It’s a sync The free-spirited 2000NXS2 lets you link multiple players, laptops and turntables for manipulating your music.

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Master mixer A gorgeous 7in touchscreen and the ability to zoom in on track waveforms means you never miss a beat. 33


MOST WANTED

Wide-eyed It’s a prime lens with a 28mm focus length, meaning you can cram quite a lot into your composition.

Slick and twisted There are two rings on the lens: one’s for aperture, and the other is to switch to macro mode.

Get a grip The lattice design extending around the entire body means I won’t have to worry about it slipping out of my hands.

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Leica Q

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I’ve devoted a huge chunk of time trying to get to grips with cameras. Is that because I can’t get enough of the technology? Well, sort of. Is it because I work for Stuff and it’s part of the job? Also, yes. But really, it’s because I want to capture photographs that are truly memorable. The Leica Q blends the simplicity of a point-and-shoot’s speedy autofocus with solid construction and pin-sharp optics, while its full-frame sensor means image quality is nothing short of b-e-a-utiful. Plus, there’s a lot resting on the reputation of that red dot. £3781 / uk.leica-camera.com


MOST WANTED

Nintendo Switch

Philips Hue Adore Mirror

The Switch will always fill me with Mario nostalgia. Once I’d prised a console from the cold, dead hands of a gaming-nerd Stuff colleague, I was hooked after 15 glorious minutes with Super Mario Odyssey. I’ve now absconded to somewhere without extradition laws so I can carry on playing in peace. £280 / argos.com

This smart mirror connects to the Hue Bridge hub for pairing with the likes of Alexa. There are four settings of slightly different colours: energise, concentrate, read and relax. Ideally, it would spill disco lights into my bathroom for my Kate Bush shower medley, but some things are still a work in progress. £230 / philips.co.uk

Fitbit Versa

LG HU80KA When it comes to gadgets that offend the eyes, projectors are sandwiched right between extractor fans and dehumidifiers. Not this one, though. This diminutive 4K-wielding rectangular black box will output a 150in picture at up to 2500 lumens of brightness. It’s got built-in speakers, HDMI, optical audio and Bluetooth. Gimme. $2799 / lg.com

I have phases where I get into running and train intensely, before deciding I hate it – then later forget how much I hate it and start running again. The Versa’s 15 exercise modes mean I’m not restricted to running, and it’s water-resistant for swimming. Plus you get the functionality of a smartwatch, a four-day battery life and femalespecific tracking. £199 / fitbit.com

KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer Smooth curves, enamel die-cast zinc, and a whopping 10 speeds. When you’re elbow-deep in egg whites, you want something that’ll help you reach ‘Star Baker’ status. Yes, it’s a lot of dough, but I don’t plan on replacing it until I’m old and grey… and most probably diabetic if I carry on inhaling sugar at my current rate. £329 / kitchenaid.com

I’ve spent enough time fumbling with user-unfriendly gadgets. Design and functionality are truly the razzle and dazzle of my Saturday night in. NATALYA PAUL Online Editor

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

Huawei P20 Pro I’ve got a soft spot for camera lenses – see left – and Huawei has kitted out its latest flagship with three. No wonder it’s Stuff’s No1 smartphone. The hee-yuge 40MP main sensor, the 20MP monochrome sensor and the 8MP telephoto (which, by the way, rocks a spy-tastic 5x zoom) come atcha like Cleopatra. £799 / huawei.com

Working at Stuff, I’m always laden Buckaroo-style with a huge backpack and multiple swinging tote bags. There’s simply no room for my hardbacks. The answer, thankfully, is the Paperwhite. As light as a wedge of brie and durable enough to survive the ride, it’ll last for weeks on a single charge. Chuck it in! £110 / amazon.co.uk

Coboc ONE eCycle Imagine if you could be floating up hills, drinking in the scenery, to arrive at the office without having broken a sweat. Meet my future urban steed. In gleaming black, the new, lighter Coboc ONE eCycle will do the grunt work while I focus on not getting run over. The motor is neatly sealed in the frame, so your sporty friends need never know. €5999 / coboc.biz

Rega Planar 2 When I was 10, I remember rummaging like a demon through boxes in the garage, searching for a sticker book. Instead I stumbled upon a load of dusty records and took them inside – and I’ve been smitten ever since. The Rega Planar 2, with its sleek design and killer sound, is perfect for my growing collection (of records, not stickers). £399 / rega.co.uk 35


MOST WANTED

Boosted Mini X

Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo Having recently got into running, I’m after a shoe that helps me complete laps of my local park with the grace of a magnificent winged stallion. The ultra-light ZoomX foam in the midsole here delivers an 85% energy return, the best Nike has to offer. Mo Farah should probably start worrying. £160 / nike.com

My skateboarding days are behind me, but an electric cruiser that can hit 20mph and does the pushing for me? That could tempt me out of retirement. Until I’m sat in A&E, I’m arrogant enough to think I could ride the Mini X around south London’s busy streets. And with its 14-mile extended range, it’ll easily get me to work and back. $1009 / boosted boards.com

AirPower It’s a shame AirPower isn’t Apple’s first crack at a hoverboard. Oh well, a wireless charging pad that will accommodate my iPhone, Apple Watch 3 and AirPods at the same time is still good. Wirelessly charging the iPhone X has been a revelation (even if Apple was late to that party), so the idea of a one-stop shop is one that really appeals to me. £tbc / apple.com

Red Dead Redemption 2 This was comfortably my most anticipated game of the year when its maker had shown off little more than a logo. Now that I’ve actually witnessed some of the predictably stunning cowboy-’em-up action, it’s fair to say I’m counting the minutes until launch day: 26 October. £50 / amazon.co.uk

It took me absolutely ages to compile this brilliantly diverse list, so I think it’s only fair that someone sends me everything on it immediately. MATT TATE Hot Stuff Editor

Bose QC35 II

Skydio R1 As Peep Show’s Super Hans once reminded us in his own inimitable style, you can’t trust people. And this is clearly the philosophy behind the Skydio R1, a fully autonomous 4K drone that employs 13 cameras to map its environment and avoid incoming obstacles with ease. I just want one to keep tabs on my dog when she’s feeling adventurous. $2500 / skydio.com 36

Built-in, onebutton Google Assistant access is handy for quickly checking which meeting I’m late for, but even better is that the same button can be used to tweak ANC levels. Bose’s noisecancellation is great for blocking out screaming babies and colleagues, but I’d probably benefit from being more aware of buses. £330 / bose.com

Nest Hello

Microsoft Xbox One X Sure, Microsoft’s latest box is lacking an army of exclusive titles to challenge PlayStation, but forgraphics the One X is an unchallenged console. And once I’m done drooling over eye-meltingly gorgeous Ultra HD supercars in Forza Horizon 4, I can delve into that ever-growing backwardscompatible library. from £430 / xbox.com

I like to think of myself as a fairly hospitable chap, but not so much that I don’t want to put everyone standing at my front door through a rigorous vetting process before opening it. The Nest Hello’s stylish design, facial recognition and seamless compatibility with Nest’s other products make it the one I’d go for. £229 / nest.com/uk

Nanoleaf Light Panels Rhythm Edition At present, my bedroom walls are decorated with two things: a framed print of Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr Fox and a now ludicrously outdated World Cup wallchart. I need a new centrepiece, and Nanoleaf’s Light Panels fit the bill. £220 / nanoleaf.me


MOST WANTED

Lost in space The headset has built-in spatial audio, although there is a 3.5mm jack if you insist on cables.

Light-headed

Appy clappy

With the Go’s lightweight design, you’re supposed to forget you’re even wearing a VR headset.

This headset is compatible with Gear VR’s back catalogue of apps and games, so you’ll be busy for a while.

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Oculus Go My passion for potentially game-changing tech will never outweigh my innate laziness. With the Oculus Go, the usual faffiness of spending a chunk of my evening navigating a never-ending tangle of wires isn’t an issue. It’s a well-designed, affordable and totally standalone headset – one that doesn’t need a smartphone or a powerhouse PC to work. If VR’s going to take off proper, headsets like the Go have to be the future. £200 / oculus.com 37


MOST WANTED

Hang in there Don’t even have enough shelf space for a vertical player? Not a problem: it can also be wall-mounted.

Don’t see red In case this lovely red colour would clash with your Supertramp posters, it also comes in black or white.

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Flip side You can get this in left-handed form. It’ll still spin the same way, so you won’t be hearing secret messages from Satan.

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Pro-Ject VT-E You know how many vinyl records I own? One. And I only have that because I played on it so they sent me a free copy. But I’ll tell you what: if I’d known 15 years ago that companies like Pro-Ject were going to start making vertical turntables, and that they’d look as fruity as this, I might never have sold off all my old Supertramp albums. How does the needle even stay in the groove? No idea. Don’t care. Want sexy turntable. £269 / project-audio.com 38


MOST WANTED

Coles 4038 Imagine a gadget that was designed to help Winston Churchill on and off the toilet, but proved so perfectly designed and versatile that 60 years later it was being used to move astronauts around the International Space Station. In the world of audio, that’s the Coles 4038 ribbon microphone: created in the ’50s for BBC announcers, it’s still prized by modern record producers. £1789 (matched pair) / coleselectroacoustics.com

Sonos Playbar

Ford GT (2018)

People are saying lots of nice things about the Sonos Beam soundbar, and it surely is a sweet piece of kit. But for pure audio performance, its big brother is still the daddy. Which, confusingly, makes the Beam some sort of uncle. Anyway, the Playbar has nine drivers and can sync with other Sonos units for wireless 5.1 surround sound. £699 / sonos.com

I’ve basically got one of these already – not this exact model, but the one a couple down (a 2007 Ford S-Max) – so I’ve chosen the new GT over all those fiery Italian supercars out of old-fashioned brand loyalty. Not sure about boot space, though, so I might have to keep hold of the S-Max for family duties. £450,000 / ford.co.uk

Universal Audio OX It’s hard to explain what’s so desirable about the OX to anyone who isn’t a plank-twanger… but if you ever record electric guitars, you should want this box like a mermaid wants a Jacuzzi. It’ll capture the full-blast tones of your favourite amps at neighbour-friendly levels, with an array of app-controlled virtual speaker cabinets and mics for ultra-realistic direct recording. £1113 / uaudio.com

My list started out as six guitars, three amplifiers and a fuzz pedal… but then I remembered that cheese is just as important as music, so I mixed things up a bit. RICHARD PURVIS Managing Editor

LG W8 (77in)

Nikon D850

Right at the other end of the quality scale from my actual telly, LG’s W8 ‘Wallpaper TV’ is as flash as they come – and I’d take the 77in version, rather than making do with a mere 65in of 4K HDR OLED wondrousness. For £15k, I’m just wondering if it comes with a free sledgehammer so you can knock down enough interior walls to make room for it. £14,995 / lg.com

This camera is not something I’ve spilled a lot of drool over – in all honesty, I just picked the most expensive DSLR in the Stuff Top Ten. But then I looked at the specs – 45.4MP resolution, 7.5fps burst shooting, 4K video, tilting high-magnification optical viewfinder – and the slobber began to flow. Damn you, Stuff! £3499 (body only) / europenikon.com

Tefal Pierrade Raclette

Apple iMac Pro Surely everyone would have one of these if they could afford it? I’m happy with my standard iMac, but it does splutter a bit with heavier processing tasks – mixing 50-track songs in Logic Pro X, Photoshopping the heads of my Stuff colleagues onto the bodies of farm animals – so this ultra-powerful version would be most welcome. from £4899 / apple.com

In France, extended families gather round this 10-pan raclette machine to melt their slices of cheese then pour them over potatoes to enjoy with charcuterie and cornichons. In the UK, the Pierrade Raclette is not available, so we have to make do with measly eight-pan types. The true cost of Brexit, ladies and gentlemen. €85 / tefal.fr

Arturia MatrixBrute The biggest music-making boom of the last couple of years has been in analogue synths. You can do more with digital, of course, but analogue is still best for recreating the sound of a walrus farting down a plastic tube. With its ‘modulation matrix’, this beauty is a big step up from Arturia’s usual affordable fare. £1530 / arturia.com 39


MOST WANTED

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Mario Kart’s fun and all, but it can’t compete with that super-satisfying feeling of punching your mates’ characters so hard that they go flying into oblivion. For this reason alone, Smash Bros. Ultimate, with over 60 playable characters, has a clear run at becoming my favourite multiplayer title on the Nintendo Switch. £50 / smashbros.com

HTC Vive Pro

LG C8 OLED TV

Looking for a simple, affordable route into virtual reality? Sorry, move on. But if you gobble up graphics cards like Revels, the Vive Pro’s huge 1440x600 resolution boost, improved ergonomics and built-in headphones make this the ultimate headset for VR diehards – just pick the right games to do the specs justice. £799 / vive.com

Competition for the best OLED TV is heating up and this is a belter (see our bigscreen shootout starting on p67). Available in 55, 65 or 77in, the real star of the show isn’t the panel, but the Alpha 9 processor that drives it. In short, if you want the best picture LG has to offer in the most affordable package, you’re looking at it. £2499 / lg.com

Only a few have the musical prowess to nail the drum fill from In the Air Tonight – the rest of us just dig the fantasy. The Pearl Mimic Pro won’t teach you how to play, but the world’s most advanced percussion sound source will ensure the beats at least sound accurate. Two mixers and the ability to import and trigger loops are included. £2180 / pearleurope.com

My top five covers all the main gadgety bases, and could probably be merged into the Super Fenix Fire Pro Model 3.

There’s more to life than games, you know, but not much more.

ANDREW WILLIAMS Contributor

ANDREW HAYWARD Contributor

Tesla Model 3

Amazon Fire TV Cube To think you once had to get off your backside to change TV channels… Amazon’s forthcoming Fire TV Cube lets you bellow all manner of commands at poor Alexa. You can switch shows and inputs, adjust the volume, peruse football scores and weather forecasts, turn up the heating and gorge on movie trailers. £tbc / amazon.co.uk 40

Pearl Mimic Pro

On the other side of the Atlantic in July, Elon Musk’s affordable electric car outsold rivals BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Lexus, Volvo, Cadillac, Acura, Alfa Romeo, Infiniti and Jaguar. Do we want an oversize tablet protruding from the dash? Yes. Do we want an app-controlled sunroof? Of course. And the planet might just thank us for it. $35,000 / tesla.com

Garmin Fenix 5S Plus Garmin’s smallest Fenix is big on price, but packed into the 42mm watch face you’ll find topographic maps, sports tracking and detailed metrics. It also doubles as a smartwatch with Garmin Pay for contactless purchases and onboard storage for 500 songs (good for running 500 miles). £699 / garmin.com

FIFA 19 FIFA 19 appears to be a subtle evolution, rather than a rip-itup-and-startagain revolution, and my early impressions are good. The new Kick-Off modes give multiplayer sessions with mates extra meaning by keeping tally of everyone’s record regardless of the console’s user accounts. Back of the net. from £59 / easports.com

Gavin Coyle Brogue Watch Valet Apple Watch straps are a constant source of kaleidoscopic inspiration to us, so the Valet has four slots for a multi-coloured swap shop of bands, along with a charging plinth. Each caddy is handmade to order by furniture designer Gavin Coyle and crafted from sustainably sourced woods. £89 / gavincoyle.co.uk


MOST WANTED

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Kingdom Hearts III Crossing a Japanese RPG with classic Disney characters really shouldn’t work, but the magic potion concocted by Square Enix has lasting power. Kingdom Hearts III will focus on Sora and his journey to stop evil forces taking over the universe. He’s recruited Donald and Goofy to help, plus – for one world – Woody and Buzz from Toy Story (we can only assume Bagheera and Simba were unavailable). It lands in January. £49 / kingdomhearts.com

Master key

Tangled web

Ariel power

Sora and friends are aided by Mickey Mouse and a Keyblade Master, Riku, in a search for the Key to Return Hearts.

Worlds set to feature include the (Pirates of the) Caribbean and the Kingdom of Corona from Tangled.

Other characters set to make an appearance are Anna from Frozen, Wreck-It Ralph and Ariel from The Little Mermaid.

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MOST WANTED

Friend or foe Nintendo has included two wired gamepads in the SNES Classic Mini box. Anyone for Super Mario Kart? 1

Fox in the box Not every game in the Classic Mini’s library is a blast from the past: Starfox 2 makes its debut appearance here.

Time traveller To save me from going berserk, the SNES Classic Mini allows you to rewind up to five minutes of game time.

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SNES Classic Mini For most people, the SNES Classic Mini represents a fat dollop of nostalgia. For millennials like me, though, the Classic Mini feels like a completely new console with 21 games installed that I’m yet to play. Once I’ve got my hands on this retro machine, I’ll finally be able to find out whether they’re genuine gaming gold, or if my elders have had their memories compromised by rose-tinted glasses. £70 / nintendo.co.uk 42


MOST WANTED

Samsung Galaxy Watch Daring to sound like a smartass whippersnapper, I’ve no need for a watch in 2018. My smartphone tells me the time, while I don’t give a toss about fashion. But the Galaxy Watch is a very different beast, as it can also call an Uber, stream Spotify and measure my heart rate – all without the need of my phone. from £279 / samsung.com

DJI Spark Despite being an under-30, I’m not too bothered about snapping selfies and pictures of my food. Instead, I want bird’s-eye photos of the city skyline and circling shots for dramatic video. Sadly, no smartphone or DSLR is going to help me achieve these goals. DJI’s compact drone, on the other hand, is perfect for the job. £449 / dji.com

Audeze Mobius

Dell XPS 13 (2018) Believe it or not, I’m still using. my shabby student-priced laptop from university. It’s about time I invested in a new machine that can handle all my media tasks… but still remain ultra-portable. The new Dell XPS 13 ticks both of those boxes, while that gorgeous Full HD InfinityEdge display is ideal for watching Netflix on my lunchbreaks. from £1349 / dell.com

Soundbars are great for telly, but these gaming headphones are my best bet for finally winning a battle royale, with 3D audio and head-tracking tech making it much easier to locate the enemy. And those magnetic planar drivers provide sound quality that’ll please the most ardent audiophile. £349 / audeze.com

UE Wonderboom As a dedicated gadget geek, I’m a little ashamed to say my standards for audio are pretty low: I’m well content with my Amazon Echo blaring out tunes. That said, since the Echo lacks portability and can’t handle a dip in the pool, it’s not the best speaker for camping trips and pool parties. The UE Wonderboom is the perfect substitute for both. £58 / ultimateears.com

My list of most wanted tech reads a little like a 10-year-old boy’s Christmas list. I’ll grow up when I’m good and ready, thanks very much. RYAN JONES Staff Writer

Red Hydrogen One

Hyperkin SmartBoy A few years back my purple Game Boy Color suffered a battery leak, rendering it as playable as a novelty paperweight. Fortunately, Hyperkin’s SmartBoy offers me an alternative way of reliving the ’90s by turning my Android smartphone into a makeshift Game Boy, capable of playing all the Nintendo classics. £33 / hyperkin.com

Red’s Hydrogen One can’t be accused of being a boring clone. In fact, I think it’s the most exciting smartphone in yonks with its Nintendo 3DS-esque holographic display and DSLR-rivalling dual-lens camera. I guarantee it will get more gawks than the next iPhone. from $1195 / red.com

Sony PS4 Pro

The Last of Us Part II The original The Last of Us is my favourite video game of all time. While slicing off zombie heads and lobbing Molotov cocktails is predictably fun, it’s the bleak post-apocalyptic story that’s the biggest draw. And from what I’ve seen of Part II so far, it’s only going to get more gruesome. Just give me a release date, Sony! £49 / playstation.com

Honestly, my initial plan was to skip the PS4 Pro and just wait for the inevitable PS5. That all changed when I witnessed God of War in glorious 4K. Plus, it would be a disservice not to have upcoming Pro-compatible games such as Spider-Man, Days Gone and Ghost of Tshumina running at peak visual fidelity. £349 / playstation.com 43


MOST WANTED

Orbitsound Dock e30

Sony RX100 VI I’m all for taking incredible pictures with mirrorless marvels, but I also hate carrying around a bag all day then faffing about with the various lenses. This tiny Sony fits in your pocket and takes DSLR-equalling 20MP images with super-fast autofocus and an OLED pop-up viewfinder, so I can finish shooting before others have even started. £1150 / sony.co.uk

Speaker docks have been craving an update ever since Spotify crashed the iPod party. This beauty from Orbitsound has Bluetooth, and also works over Wi-Fi and 3.5mm analogue sources. Add in wireless charging, USB-C charging and multiroom audio, and speaker docks suddenly look trendy again. £449 / orbitsound.com

Pro-ject The Classic SB Superpack Since we shot it for the magazine in March, I’ve been thinking about upgrading my Pro-ject Essential to this model. An automated tone arm, suspended platter and exclusive Ortofon cartridge are all worthy improvements, but the main reason I want it is because it looks bloody lovely. £1399 / projectaudio.com

Lezne Mega XL Getting lost on your bike ride is great fun, until your legs go on strike mid-journey. Thankfully the Mega XL will happily reroute you home or, if you feel like going further, suggest routes for a new destination. And there’s no need to worry about it running out of juice, with its 48-hour battery life likely to last longer than you. £180 / leyzne.com

Creativity can be hard. Sometimes you just need to head out on the bike, rock out to a record or spend the afternoon building Lego to clear your head. ROSS PRESLY Art Editor

Lametric Time Telling the time is the least useful thing this clock can do. Its pixel display is cutomisable with everything from new Twitter followers to incoming calls, the weather or how many days until you go on holiday. It also doubles as a stereo speaker, and has a bedroom-friendly ambient setting that dims the display when the room is dark. £157 / lametric.com 44

Google Pixel 3XL

Giro Empire VR70 KNIT

I love the Pixel 2 XL’s camera. I’m always impressed by how it handles low-light shots of bands from the pit, and how it counteracts my drunkenness with it’s optical image stabilisation. If Google puts a bigger screen and wireless charging in the next one I’ll be pre-ordering it before the livestream launch even finishes. £tbc / google.com

Nike and Adidas have been putting out flyknit shoes for what seems like an age, and now Giro has decided to get in on the act for this mountain-bike shoe. The knitted outer forms to your foot and offers extra protection with the TPU skeleton. They also have a Vibram sole for when you step off the bike for that post-ride pint. £165 / giro.com

Lego AT-ST Walker Everybody knows the Empire has the coolest vehicles and best fashion. With Death Stars, TIE Fighters, Star Destroyers and black or white uniforms, it’s clear which side I’d be on. And as I’ve included this Lego set, I guess it’s obvious that my dream job would be piloting an AT-ST and finally ending the Ewoks once and for all. £70 / lego.com

Wacom Cintiq Pro HD 24 I’m not prepared to ditch my MacBook and all of its keyboard shortcuts for the all-in-one drawing behemoth that is the Surface Studio, but I’d be happy to integrate this display into my workflow. The 24in 4K screen can display over one billion colours – many millions more than I knew even existed. £1899 / wacom.com


MOST WANTED Bowman Layhams Disc Stainless Steel I mean, you could go out and buy an off-the-shelf carbon-fibre road bike, but where would the fun be in that? What you (and I) really want is a go-almost-anywhere stainless steel machine. The frames only get built when they reach a certain number of orders, but I doubt you’ll be waiting very long. Bowman offers custom paint options too, so you could settle for one colour or go all out with an insane ’80s double-fade deep sparkle. The only thing holding back your imagination is your budget. from £1750 (frameset only) / bowman-cycles.com

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Pro specs This super-bling £5050 build has Sram Red eTap wireless shifting, Noble carbon wheels and a San Marco saddle.

Colour me in With custom paint, the only thing you can’t change is the positioning of the Bowman logo. Everything else is fair game.

It’s a steel Thanks to this Bowman bike’s stainless-steel frame, it won’t rust even in the harshest of British winters. 45


MOST WANTED

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Don’t sweat it There’s no need to worry about your sweaty ears with these buds, as they have an IPX4 rating for water-resistance.

On the case The included case will juice up the buds when you’re not using them, providing an additional 10 hours of battery life.

Comfort tunes The StayHear+ Sport tips have been designed with comfort in mind, so you don’t have to jog with itchy earlobes.

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Bose SoundSport Free I’m one of those hateful people who actually enjoy running… but only since I’ve been able to ditch the massive phone strapped to my arm and the cables dangling down from my ears. The Bose SoundSport Free wireless headphones allow me to play music and podcasts without hassle. They’re comfortable, sound good and will keep on chugging along for up to five hours. £180 / bose.co.uk 46


MOST WANTED

DJI Mavic Pro 2

Razer Blade 15

Apple iPhone 11

When the original Mavic Pro was released, we said it was like the DJI development team had jumped to warp speed: it was small enough to throw in a backpack, filmed in 4K and cost less than £1000. Well, its successor looks even better. It’s packing a new 1in Hasselblad camera, 10-bit HDR video and longer flight times than the old Pro. £1299 / dji.com

I love PC gaming, but I hate PC gaming laptops. They’re often big, ugly and adorned with more lights than a fire engine. This Razer Blade is the MacBook of gaming laptops in terms of design. It’s just 17mm thick, weighs only 2kg, and has a gorgeous edgeto-edge display. And it’ll run just about any game you throw at it. from £1700 / razer.com

I dropped £1149 on an iPhone X in October 2017, and will happily part with similarly large amounts of cash on this year’s iPhone. While the rumour mill has been unusually quiet on the new iPhone aside from the expected camera and processor spec bumps, I’m hoping Apple has a big surprise in store. Watch this space… £tbc / apple.com

Sonos Beam I used to be a home cinema nerd, rocking an AV receiver and full surround-sound system. But the Sonos Playbar changed me completely, and soon I was ditching my wired speakers and embracing the wireless future. This takes soundbars a step further. It sounds phenomenal and has Alexa built in so I can control my telly with my voice. £399 / sonos.com

Acer Predator X27 Lovely sparkly 4K HDR TVs have been all the rage for years, but for some reason PC gamers have had to wait until now for a monitor to boast such tech. With its 4K HDR display, 144Hz refresh rate and Nvidia G-Sync support, this Acer will offer the sharpest, smoothest and most colourful game of Fortnite you’ve ever played. £2200 / acer.com

I’m fussy when it comes to my gadgets. I won’t settle for anything less than the very best, whether that’s a gaming laptop, a 4K telly or an electric hatchback. GUY COCKER Global Brand Director

Nissan Leaf With the Tesla Model 3 not arriving in the UK until 2019 at the earliest, the 2018 electric car of choice has to be the Leaf. With a 160-mile range, 60-minute charging time and 100,000-mile warranty, this smart hatchback confidently addresses all of the main concerns you might have about an electric car. £27,235 / nissan.co.uk

Philips OLED with B&W sound

Volt Axis Foldable eBike

You, dear Stuff readers, told us that your main tech purchase of 2018 was likely to be a 4K TV. Our favourite Philips telly, the 55POS9002, has a fantastic picture and immersive Ambilight tech. Its successor is set to add sound from the geniuses at B&W, making it the complete TV package. £tbc / philips.co.uk

Electric bikes are starting to become truly viable. This year’s eBikes showcase improved designs, longer range and more affordable pricing. The Volt Axis isn’t exactly cheap, but it is the first foldable electric bike with a Shimano STEPS 250W motor, an 8-speed gear hub and a Carbon Belt Drive. £2999 / voltbikes.co.uk

Amazon Kindle Oasis For years, my secret shame was that I didn’t read books. Sure, I’d devour magazines, websites and social media, but I’d never pick up actual literature. Now, thanks to the Amazon Kindle, you can’t get me off the sofa on a Saturday afternoon. The Kindle Oasis is gorgeous and sturdy – and practical thanks to its new waterproofing feature. £230 / amazon.co.uk 47


MOST WANTED

Phantom Doctrine

Fujifilm XF10 Pairing an 18.5mm fixed lens with an APS-C sensor in a lightweight body is all I could’ve asked for on my search for a travel snapper. The XF10 includes 24MP resolution and can shoot 4K video. Features include a 1:1 aspect ratio for those with an adversity to rectangles, 11 film simulation modes and 19 filters for making your holiday look better than it was. £449 / fujifilm.com

From percussion to strings, OneManBand claims to manipulate your guitar in real time to sound like any other instrument, using capacitive and inductive tech to detect what you’re playing and turn it digital. It’ll also produce a virtual backing band based on your playing. All you have to do is think of a cool name for them. $179 / ombguitars.com

Despite what Bond wants you to believe, being a spy is probably a pretty boring job. I couldn’t go around drinking Martinis for a start. I’d rather play the turnbased tactics game Phantom Doctrine, where I get to manage a team of secret agents during the Cold War. No risk of me getting tortured this way. £30 / creativeforge.pl

Anki Vector I love Bender from Futurama, but when it comes to robot sidekicks I’d prefer one with manners. Enter Anki’s Vector, a cloud-connected, artificially intelligent best bud. He also displays emotions, reacts to his surroundings and responds to human touch like a pet dog. He’ll even play blackjack without smoking, drinking or racking up crippling debts. £250 / anki.com

I’d like a camera, a bike and an excuse to pretend I’m climbing up the side of a building dressed in Lycra, please.

I’m fed up of humans… it’s time to put my faith in robots (and Apple).

SAM KIELDSEN Contributor

CRAIG GRANNELL Contributor

Samsung Frame 2.0

Spider-Man The public doesn’t approve of me running around in Spandex and spraying criminals with web, so it looks like I’m going to have to keep my superhero shenanigans reserved for video games. Fortunately, PS4 exclusive Spider-Man is out this month so I can take down criminals with all sorts of gadgetry without getting in trouble with police. £50 / playstation.com 48

OneManBand

This TV disguises itself as a work of wall-mounted art, and the latest model has some neat upgrades – like Bixby voice and the addition of HDR10+ tech, making your 4K Blu-rays look even lusher. And of course, the ability to display paintings, photos and drawings from Samsung’s online archive remains intact. £tbc / samsung.com

AM1 Analog Motion’s AM1 bike might be electric, but it doesn’t look it, so you can kid Team GB’s selectors with your pretend athleticism. The 200-Watt motor doesn’t sound like much either, but as the bike weighs 10kg less than a ‘Boris bike’ it’ll deliver smooth, controlled power in accordance with the UK’s max assisted road speed of 15.5mph. £599 / analog motion.co.uk

Robotron Arcade Cabinet Original Robotron arcade machines are as rare as rocking-horse manure, but if you are prepared to go to the edges of the internet you can play the 2D shooter on a replica cabinet – with a 19in HD display – for a fraction of the price. Revisiting the year 2084 never looked so appealing. £1395 / williams amusements.co.uk

Studio Neat Canopy The Canopy is a case for Apple’s Magic Keyboard that unfolds to create an iPhone or iPad stand. While it lets you type with full-size keys, it also compacts to a third of its usual scale when not in use. A synthetic canvas exterior and microfibre interior mean it’s tough outside and soft inside, just like Ross Kemp. $40 / studioneat.com


MOST WANTED

Going solo

Night watch

Leave your phone at home and you can still make calls, send texts and listen to music with your Apple Watch’s sim card.

Nightstand Mode flips the Apple Watch’s screen horizontally and displays the time in big green digits like an alarm clock.

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Work it out With the built-in altimeter and GPS, the Apple Watch can now handle all data-crunching while you’re busy exercising.

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Apple Watch Series 3 After a shaky start, smartwatch sales increased 23% last year according to Mintel. It’s taken Apple three years to get into its wearable stride, but the Series 3 is the best of the best when it comes to connected wristicles. A new model may arrive this month, and that’s fine by us, because there’s still room for improvement. So come on, Apple, give us more third-party watch faces – Mickey and Minnie’s arms must be knackered by now. from £329 / apple.com 49


MOST WANTED

Ruark R7 I’m not sure whether the R7 is furniture first and audio gadgetry second or vice versa, but either way, I’ve wanted it ever since I first clapped eyes on it a few years ago. Now in its third generation, its retro radiogram style has been honed to true #housegoals perfection and offers a choice of CD player and DAB radio alongside Wi-Fi and Bluetooth playback. This fashionable hi-fi is so much more than just another pretty woodgrain-clad face. £2300 / ruarkaudio.com 1 2

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In for a spin The RotoDial controller on top fits in with the minimalist look, while making it super-easy to manage playback.

Smart move The Ruark Link app allows you to control this hi-fi with an Android or Apple device, so you can ditch the bundled remote.

Beautiful streamer With Spotify built in, Premium subscribers don’t even need a phone to get the R7 streaming music. 50


MOST WANTED

Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6 While cheap phone storage has made it the norm to take 27 photos then whack a filter on the best one, that’s only made printing snaps even more special. Instant photography holds a special place in my heart, and the Instax Square SQ6 offers point-and-shoot ease in a bloody gorgeous design. £125 / fujifilm.com

Apple iPad Pro

Dyson Cyclone V10

My old MacBook Pro is a reliable workhorse at home, but after a day of dragging it around London I often wonder if it’s been replaced with lots of bricks. The iPad Pro 10.5in would be a dream for working on the go: lightweight and slim, more powerful than it has any business being, and a lovely Retina screen for the train home. from £619 / apple.co.uk

I’ve got to that stage of my life where vacuum cleaners have become exciting. Saying that, the Cyclone V10 probably justifies that – it’s packed with as much tech as you can cram into a dust-sucker. Offering powerful suction and an hour of wireless slurping, it might actually make me want to do housework. £400 / dyson.co.uk

Sony WH-1000XM2 There are a lot of headphones I could have put on this list, but these Sonys tick so many boxes they’re a must-have for my audio arsenal (well, at least until the XM3s arrive…). Light, stylish and with superb noise-cancelling, they’re also stacked out with clever features including the ability to adapt their sound to your surroundings . £300 / sony.co.uk

KEF LS50 Wireless Hi-fi-quality speakers with all the convenience of wireless connectivity are surely the future, and the KEF LS50 Wireless are so good you’ll want to listen to your entire music collection from scratch. Offering audiophile-grade innards with the convenience of aptX Bluetooth, Tidal built in and Spotify Connect, they nail the best of both worlds. £2000 / kefdirect.com

While most people go to Ikea to furnish their home, my first priority is making it an audiophile haven. And if a hi-fi can double up as furniture, even better… VERITY BURNS Reviews Editor

Astell & Kern A&norma SR15 “A standalone music player?” I hear you cry, as you wonder whether I’ve lost my senses. But while you stream music from your phone, eking out the last of its ailing battery, I’ll take the epic sound of A&K’s superb SR15 high-res audio player and stream lossless music through Tidal. Also, just look at that jaunty screen! £600 / astellnkern.com

Panasonic FZ802

GoPro Hero6 Black

While the LCD vs OLED battle isn’t settled here at Stuff, if I’m being forced off the fence I know which side of it I fall on. OLED’s combo of inky blacks, unbeatable contrast and a super-slim design just offers too much to love, and Panasonic’s FZ802 has to be one of the best examples of OLED yet. £2300 / panasonic.co.uk

Did it even happen if you didn’t film it on a GoPro? After making my first festival montage on my mate’s GoPro last year, I now want one of my own to keep the masterpieces rolling. The Hero6 Black records 4K at 60fps and has a 2in touchscreen, improved stabilisation and waterproofing. Plenty to keep my inner Scorsese satiated. £400 / gopro.com

Nespresso Barista Serving instant coffee to unassuming house guests is about as socially acceptable as sharing the gory details of your break-up on Facebook. But pulling off proper coffee isn’t easy. Until now. With the Nespresso Barista, the work is done for you, whipping up your caffeine fix in minutes – just add the ingredients and the machine will do the rest. £179 / nespresso.com

51


TESTED APPS

Mini meme

OPause Rather than staring at gurning faces on Facebook, Pause invites you to peer at a gloopy blob, which you track with a finger. You then close your eyes and continue moving your digit mindfully, until a bell goes ding, telling you to stop. You’ll look ridiculous thoughtfully caressing your phone, but the app really does help you to regain focus and relax. Stuff says ++++, £1.49 / Android O £1.99 / iOS

52

GOOD HABIT FORMERS

Stop that half-conscious Insta-scrolling, right now! If you want an extra nudge to use your phone for good rather than evil, these are the apps you need…

OStreaks Determined to infuse good habits into your daily routine? Then don’t let reminders get lost in the hubbub of calendars and to-do lists – use Streaks instead. Its six gigantic buttons provide a clear view of your intentions, and when you want data you can delve into exciting wiggly graphs… assuming you haven’t let them all flatline. Stuff says +++++ £4.99 / iOS

OBear Focus Timer

O Forest

OLoop

OSpace

Can’t go for five minutes without checking your phone? BFT offers a cunning psychological trick: its focus timer only works when you put your phone face-down. You can customise noise/break lengths and which ambient sound plays when you’re focusing. Best of all, try to sneak a cheeky peek at your screen and the bear will angrily growl at you. Stuff says +++++ 69p / Android O 99p / iOS

If you want ongoing pats on the back for not using your phone when you should be doing more important things, try Forest. Make it to the end of a timed work cycle and you’ll get a little tree to plant in a virtual forest. But cheat and ignore the app’s warnings, and Forest mercilessly kills your plant, leaving only a sad little dead stick. Stuff says ++++, £free (IAPs) / Android £1.99 (IAPs) / iOS

In the land of Android, Loop broadly echoes Streaks in having you track habits and goals, and see how you’ve done over time. You don’t get massive friendly buttons, but Loop does have a five-day checkbox grid that’s insanely easy to understand. So now you’ve no excuse to not exercise/walk the dog/get up early/learn to play the banjo. Stuff says +++++ £free / Android

Android P and iOS 12 allow you to track phone usage, but aren’t interested in you crowing about your efforts. Go ‘pro’ by installing Space, and you’ll be able to compare statistics with friends. Even with the free version you get tips and achievements, although the app sadly won’t blast your phone into orbit if you whizz past your app allowance for the fifth time this week. Stuff says +++,, £free (IAPs) / Android, iOS


FIRST TEST SAMSUNG GALAXY NOTE9

from £899 / stuff.tv/Note9

The big draw Samsung’s new whopper isn’t revolutionary, but it’s still a noteworthy phone he Galaxy Note series is starting to feel like the smartphone equivalent of the Mission Impossible films. It started off with more gadgets than James Bond, including a self-destructing Note 7 (not deliberate in this case, though). And just as Tom

[ Words Andrew Williams ]

T

Cruise is getting on a bit now, the new Note9 looks like a familiar part of the tech landscape. Still, even if its new S Pen features aren’t quite as heart-racing as Mission Impossible: Fallout’s chases, this is still one of the best phones you can get. While the handset is good at everything, it’s the improved

S Pen stylus that’s the main event of this latest Note. It has Bluetooth, and you can use it to fire off the camera, pause a video or sneakily start voice recording like a spy. Samsung hasn’t done anything annoying like remove the headphone jack or add a screen notch either. But there’s one part we’d like

to be better. Despite having a 4000mAh battery, it only lasts about a day, which isn’t impressive at all. And, like any sane person, we’d really like the price to be less than £899. Still, that is only £30 more than the old Note8, and you get 128GB storage for that – plus it’s cheaper than the iPhone X.

55


FIRST TEST SAMSUNG GALAXY NOTE9

1

1

Twin tweaks

The Note9 looks a lot like its predecessor. So much so, you could think they’re the same phone. The fingerprint scanner on the back is in a better position, the colours are a bit different this time around and this new phone is fractionally larger. But this is a zero-drama design.

2 The vast picture show The Note9 has a gorgeous 6.4in Super AMOLED screen with 2960x1440 pixel resolution. It’s big, ultra-bright, rich, vivid, and curvy around the sides, just like a Galaxy S9+. It’s hard to beat for Netflix, YouTube or games, or even just making Android visible on a super-bright day.

3 Bostin’ powers

2

Fitted with Samsung’s own Exynos 9810 CPU – the same chip used by the Galaxy S9 and S9+ – this is one of the most powerful phones in the world. Samsung also says the Note9 uses ‘carbon water’ cooling to stop it getting too hot when you play the likes of Fortnite or PUBG.

4 Dependence day

5 Get shooty

While the Note9’s 4000mAh battery is one of the largest you’ll see in an ultra-popular phone, its actual longevity is quite ordinary. It lasts through ’til bedtime pretty much every day, including a few hours of podcasts and streams. But with solid use it won’t even make it to 1.5 days, let alone two.

With two 12MP cameras on its back – one a normal lens, the other a 2x zoom – it’s almost impossible to trip up the Note9 when it comes to photography. There’s lossless zooming, OIS so you can shoot at night without mushy results, and pretty much impeccable overall image quality.

3

Good Meh Evil

W re ait all , t y s his tru is gg jus lin t th gt e M o t No he ay ell te ad be th 8, ph th e d isn on at’ iff ’t i s ej a er t? en I’m ac go k ce o ’s d I lo . st th th ve i i ll h ng at t er . T co he ea h m loo t le e es k o as w f ith th t. Th th e y I’m e e ph ello ha Not on w pp e9 e i sty y ’s n b lu to di us sp lu s e. e i lay t f lo Yo o o vi u c r N ks vi a et so do n fli g m r ‘W a x. o k od e ho t le he Fo co T od lo sm he s O urs oo spe at ‘Ha s’ ri th ak na bo , p er tu ’ lu s a ra s y re l. ou lo ge ud t s , ric te h re an o d so Bi un it’ xb d. sn y c ot an as do sm s oo om th e n or ea I’m re ju sm t s -a s ar tuf ss t ig t a f, b ig no s A ut ni r ts ing lex bu B a. tto ixb n o y… T n t bu as ime he t I sm fo sid can r oo so e. ’t th m ly e F as o I c rtn ou ite ld . It ho ’s pe ru fo nni r. ng

24 hours with the Samsung Galaxy Note9

3mins 56

5mins 20mins 30mins

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FIRST TEST SAMSUNG GALAXY NOTE9

Tech specs Screen 6.4in 2960x1440 Super AMOLED Processor Samsung Exynos 9810 2.7GHz RAM 6/8GB OS Android 8.1 Cameras 12MP + 12MP rear, 8MP front Storage 128/512GB Battery 4000mAh Dimensions 162x76x8.8mm, 201g

I like your stylus The new S Pen uses the same pressure-sensing tech as last time, but there’s also a battery and Bluetooth…

I pl may ay b ing e , b get ut ti th ng e N ho Be ot t u w in e9 nd ith g re er th able m th eS t ain e c Pe o sc s c oll n m rib oo ar b An ak le l. st d d es o yl I q w l us ui ife n as te l a l no ot te i a B ke ea s b lu e sie et in Bl o g r. ot ab ph im h r le on ey e es , th m to u ot s fo is i e. e t rs se he na as pp ily ing o … th but ph ne o e s it ot f t os he ty ain lu ’t … b s t ch es o ea t m p ak . Y e i ou t w ’ll or ne th ed w to hi d le ig .

5

19hrs

20hrs 22hrs

23hrs

Q Slot it away

Q Do the write thing

True to the Note9’s ‘nothing too radical’ design, the S Pen stylus is barely any larger this time around. It still fits into a slot in the bottom of the phone, so you’re only 85% likely to lose it, not 99.5%.

The S Pen’s best bits are still the old classics, like being able to scribble notes on the screen without pressing a button. With 4096 pressure levels, this Samsung accessory even feels like a real pen.

Q Snap out of it

Q Control yourself

Take the S Pen away from the screen and it’ll convert into a Bluetooth controller. A long press can launch the camera app; another press takes a photo. It can also be used in Spotify and podcast apps to control playback.

If you’re not a fan of the default tricks the S Pen can pull as a Bluetooth controller, you’ll be happy to know you can hop into the phone’s settings and customise your own S Pen preferences.

You have to dig deep to appreciate the Galaxy Note9’s charms: this is a enriched take on the Note8 rather than something that feels brand new. But when that phone was so great in the first place, there’s little to complain about. Mind you, we do mean ‘little’, not nothing: the Note9’s battery life could, and should, be better. @wwwdotandrew

STUFF SAYS ++++, A near-perfect phone for true enthusiasts – if only that giant battery lasted a little longer

24hrs 57


FIRST TEST SAMSUNG GALAXY NOTE9

The alternatives: 3 more 6in smartphones Got a big-screen appetite? The Note9 isn’t your only palm-filling option

BEST FOR PHOTOS

58

BEST FOR VALUE

BEST FOR QUIRKS

Huawei P20 Pro

OnePlus 6

HTC U12+

£669 / huawei.com

from £469 / oneplus.com

£699 / htc.com

What’s the story? The triple threat of a Leica camera with 8MP telephoto, 20MP monochrome and 40MP RGB sensor with 5x zoom makes this the most exciting smartphone snapper on the market. The 6.1in AMOLED display also helps put it on a par with Samsung and Apple’s flagships, while a colossal 4000mAh battery keeps everything ticking along.

What’s the story? The OnePlus 6 has a notch up top, and the near-full-screen look helps this 6.28in AMOLED display truly shine. Add curved glass on the back, a snappy Snapdragon 845 chip inside and a dual-camera setup, and the OnePlus 6 can hang with the smartphone heavyweights… but starting at £469, the OnePlus 6 is quite a bit cheaper than its premium rivals.

What’s the story? The HTC U12+ is nothing if not distinctive. The dual-camera system is a 12MP/16MP combo, with a Sonic Zoom feature that zeroes in on sound and voices. But the real wow factor here is how the device looks and feels. Haptic sensors replace buttons, while the layered ‘liquid surface’ glass construction has an eye-dazzlingly shimmering effect.

Is it any good? It’s been a long time since a phone of the P20 Pro’s quality came along to upset the Apple cart. The amazing triple-lens camera, shimmering design and heavyweight performance offer a convincing argument for making it our phone of the year. Huawei deserves credit for doing a little bit more for less of your money with a handset that’s quality through and through.

Is it any good? It might be the most expensive OnePlus ever made, but stack this phone against its rivals and it still offers amazing value. From the OLED screen to its super-speedy internals, everything you’d expect from a flagship is here. Sure, there are prettier glass phones and more impressive dual cameras out there, but you won’t find better value than the OnePlus 6.

Is it any good? The U12+ was a chance for HTC to tell us its vision of Android for the future. What did we get? Pressure-sensing quirks that don’t necessarily seem much better than what we had before. Add just passable battery life and the U12+ doesn’t get close to rivalling the likes of the cheaper OnePlus 6. But if you like HTC’s unique style, it’s still a solid smartphone choice.

TECH SPECS Screen 6.1in 2240x1080 AMOLED Processor Kirin 970 RAM 6GB OS Android 8.1 Cameras 40MP + 20MP + 8MP rear, 24MP front Battery 4000mAh Storage 128GB Dimensions 155x74x7.8mm, 180g

TECH SPECS Screen 6.28in 2280x1080 AMOLED Processor Snapdragon 845 RAM 6/8GB OS Android 8.1 Cameras 16MP + 20MP rear, 16MP front Battery 3300mAh Storage 64/128/256GB Dimensions 156x75x7.8mm, 177g

TECH SPECS Screen 6in 2880x1440 LCD Processor Snapdragon 845 RAM 6GB OS Android 8.1 Cameras 16MP + 12MP rear, 8MP front Battery 3420mAh Storage 64/128GB Dimensions 157x74x8.7mm, 188g

Stuff says +++++

Stuff says +++++

Stuff says ++++,

Arguably still the best phone in the world right now

Unbelievable value to challenge the established order

Its unique features are gimmicky, but this is a solid phone for notch-haters


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The trendy Toms

The lazy lacers

The fashion flashers

Toms Muscat Canvas It’s easy to end up with racks and racks of shoes if you insist on having a pair suited to every occasion. Your light-up Heelys might rock it at the disco, but they’re not going to cut it at a job interview. These trendy Toms are comfy enough for casual wear, yet smart enough to pass for ‘proper’ shoes. £70 / toms.co.uk

Nike HyperAdapt 1.0 Shoelaces have been the bane of humanity since their conception, becoming undone at the most inconvenient of times. Fortunately, it’s time to say goodbye to this menace. Inspired by Back to the Future, Nike has released these kickers that electronically tighten around your foot. £620 / nike.com

Buscemi Ventura Tricolour Looking like a pair of trainers that should be sitting on a pedestal in an art gallery, these snazzy sneakers are the work of the American fashion designer Jon Buscemi. Still, as great as his creations look, we’d love to see what kind of trainers his cousin Steve Buscemi would come up with… £540 / matchesfashion.com

The step-springers

Feet getting pungent? It might be time for a new pair of trainers. Ryan Jones has run laps around the block to find the best footwear for fashion and fitness

The woolly wonders

Nike Epic React Flyknit Regardless of how many Rocky-montage workouts you do, it’s going to be hard to beat your record jog distance while wearing worn-out old trainers. This flyknit pair have foam midsoles that absorb the energy of each step and then propel you forwards. It almost feels like cheating. £130 / nike.com

The swanky skaters

The heyday hipsters

The all-day ankle-huggers

Vans Sk8-Hi If you skate or cycle more than you walk, then you’ll need some trainers that can handle your full-throttle commuting. Going for Vans, then, is a no-brainer, especially these Sk8-Hi sneakers look edgy but not so outlandish that you look like you’re having a mid-life crisis. £65 / vans.co.uk

Converse Chuck 70 Tie Dye As much as we love Converse shoes, they can look a little bit samey. That’s not the case with this pair, though, which express their individuality by bringing back the ’80s fad for tie-dye in terrific fashion. If you’re going to a music festival, these have got to be up for consideration. £50 / converse.com

Onitsuka Tiger Mexico 66 SD MR Despite what skateboarders will have you think, not all high-top trainers are made by Vans and Converse. These Onitsuka Tigers offer a low-key ankle-reaching alternative, yet still look trendy enough to take on foot duty at an overpriced East London cocktail bar. £130 / onitsukatiger.com

HOW TO DECIDE 60

Allbirds Wool Runners Currently all the rage in Silicon Valley, these running shoes are made almost entirely from wool, so they should feel like wearing a pair of itch-free balls of sheep fluff. They’re machine-washable and have a low carbon footprint – and even more righteous, the laces are made from recycled plastic bottles. US$95 / allbirds.com

1 Find your sole mate If you’re buying trainers that you’re going to be wearing for sport, jogging or long walks, you’ll want a pair with thick soles – the more you use them, the quicker the soles will wear away.

2 Save the planet There’s been a big movement recently towards eco-friendly footwear. Trainers such as the Adidas Ultraboost Parleys are made using recycled plastics.

[ Photography Pete Gardner ]

HANDSOME HIGH-TOPS

RADICAL RUNNERS

STYLISH SNEAKERS

UPVOTED


UPVOTED

The printed pacers Adidas AlphaEdge 4D Right now, 3D printing is mostly used by nerds for plastic figurines, but Adidas has grander plans for the tech. By using the revolutionary Digital Light Synthesis printing process, it’s designed a new midsole that offers oodles of energy return. To dedorkify this waffle, it basically means the seaweed-esque mesh at the bottom of these AlphaEdge 4D runners should help you run further than ever before. £230 / adidas.co.uk

3 Get measured You might think you know your foot size, but feet change even in adulthood. If you’re buying running shoes you should also get a gait analysis – a good shop will do this for you.

4 Stay unique If you don’t fancy running into someone with the same sneakers, grab a limited-edition pair. Sites such as hypebeast.com are great for keeping tabs on the latest reveals.

61


TESTED AMAZON FIRE HD 10 KIDS EDITION

Pain relief tablet Avoid being irritated by small, noisy people living in your house by giving them this powerful kid-friendly tab £200 / stuff.tv/FireHDKids QA £200 tablet for kids may seem like an extravagance, but the Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition actually ends up being something of a bargain. How? Well, it’s so packed with content – including a year’s free subscription to the superb Fire for Kids Unlimited package – that your children will be too busy to keep asking for new bikes and ice creams. QThis is Amazon’s biggest and most powerful child-friendly tablet yet. In hardware terms it’s essentially the same device as the standard Fire HD 10 but with a chunky bumper around it. QThe 10.1in display isn’t all that high-res but it’s fine for kids. Video and images are sharp, viewing angles are good, and it goes pretty bright – handy if you’re taking it on holiday with you. QThe home screen is nicely thought out so kids can easily switch between apps, videos or books, and serves up suggestions based on previous use. Adults also get a fair amount of control: it’s easy to set an age range, for instance, and this will govern which apps your nippers have access to. QFire for Kids Unlimited can’t match the gaming content of iOS or Android. But there’s still plenty to keep them occupied, including the fantastic Toca apps, scores of books and comics, and loads of family-friendly videos.

Tech specs Screen 10.1in 1920x1200 IPS touchscreen Processor 1.8GHz quad-core RAM 2GB OS Fire OS Storage 32GB Battery life Up to 10hrs Dimensions 294x188x26mm, 660g

Q Speedy Gonzales

Q Plugs Bunny

The processor is fast enough to cope with the fare on offer here, and 32GB of built-in storage should keep you going for a while. Otherwise, there’s an SD card slot for adding up to 256GB more.

At the top there are power and volume buttons, plus a mic, headphone port and microUSB for charging. There are cameras at front and back, which are both best forgotten quality-wise but are useful for some games.

STUFF SAYS Gives the young ’uns plenty to do, and gives parents peace of mind +++++ The free content makes this tab a better buy than the adult version Marc McLaren

62

That £50 over the price of the standard Fire HD 10 buys you a lot: the chunky bumper helps protect it and hides some of the design’s shortcomings, and there’s even a two-year replacement guarantee. But mostly you’re paying for Amazon’s Fire for Kids Unlimited software, and this is excellent. With plenty of content, plus impressive control for parents, it makes this a tablet you can truly trust.


TESTED DYSON PURE COOL DESK

Purity ring Dyson’s latest fan wants to keep us cool and deliver us from airborne nasties £400 / stuff.tv/PureCool QThe recent heatwave might be fading from memory, but scientists reckon soaring summer temperatures are here to last for the next four years at least. That could make Dyson’s blade-free wind machine, with its Air Multiplier tech, a pretty useful investment. QAnd that’s not all. The Pure Cool also serves as an all-year-round air purifier, sensing nasty particles and gases in your home then capturing 99.95% of them in some sort of Ghostbusters trap.

Q Air traffic control The included remote takes care of powering on and off, fan strength, night-time mode, auto settings, oscillation, airflow direction and info for changing the display. It’s simple, works instantaneously and takes minutes to master.

Q Catch your breath As well as tracking stats like temperature, humidity and filter life, the app will update you on levels of pollen, dust, pet hairs, smoke, bacteria and allergens plus nitrogen dioxide and other evil gases. It’s a bit terrifying.

QThe Pure Cool is available as a floorstanding tower for £500 as well as this circular desk version. Made entirely from plastic, it’s lightweight if you need to nimbly relocate it around the room, but always feels stable. This is a gorgeously contemporary contraption that looks totally Dyson, and is easier to clean than a traditional desk fan. QYou can increase the airflow in your direction to stay cool on warmer days, or change the direction of flow through the side vents for the same levels of purification without the chilly blast. This is a one-button operation on the remote. QAre you an Alexa fan? So is this, er, fan. Voice commands include increasing airflow and turning on night-time mode – which purifies and cools on the quietest settings, dimming the display in the process, for up to eight hours.

Tech specs Power 40W Fan diameter 352mm Dimensions 691x223x223mm, 4.65kg

STUFF SAYS A feature-rich device that’s a worthy addition to any smart home ++++, This Dyson is good enough to clean up… but not as a cooling fan James Day

There’s no doubting the power the Pure Cool pumps out, but if it’s relief from the sweltering heat you’re after you’ll be a tad disappointed: it just doesn’t blow cold enough to compete with a proper aircon unit. It’s as an air purifier that this gadget starts to justify its price tag. There’s real peace of mind in knowing that, if there is something in the air tonight (oh Lord), your Dyson has detected and dealt with it.

63


TESTED APPLE MACBOOK PRO (2018)

’Book of revelation Apple’s new MacBook Pro looks just like the old one, but there are speedy secrets on the inside from £1749 / stuff.tv/MacBookPro There are no outward surprises with the new MacBook Pro, which looks identical to its predecessor. But this 2018 revamp shakes up the notebook’s insides, giving it enough power to live up to its Pro moniker. Apple provided Stuff with the 13-inch model, which doesn’t have all the goodies in the 15-incher’s revamp (for example, the RAM ceiling remains 16GB). But if you want a solid mobile workstation for work-orientated tasks – or a powerful home macOS notebook – it ably does the job. The case remains the same slimmish, stylish, classic, robust affair as last year. It feels solid, but only weighs 1.37kg. Only the base MacBook is meaningfully lighter; but that model lacks the clout of this 13in Pro cousin, which has 8th-gen Intel processors and blazing-fast SSD storage.

1

1 Prescription specs We got our Pro specced up to £3599 with maxed-out RAM and storage. Unsurprisingly, it’s zippy. You get four Thunderbolt 3 ports (and a headphone jack), an 8th-generation Intel CPU (either i5 or i7), 8GB or 16GB of RAM and an Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655.

4

2 Mojo working Users buried in video, audio and 3D software will appreciate the extra headroom of these specs. But anyone can enjoy a MacBook Pro that doesn’t blink when you have a ton of open browser tabs and then dip into Affinity Photo to edit your massive iPhone snaps.

Good Meh Evil

It M ’s v ac er Bo y l ok igh Pr t, a o. nd So it Pl fa loo th en r, I k er ty ’m s li e’s of ha ke st co pp a ill a nn y. he ect a i v T dp it m his ho y – uc se ne a h o tu po nd p ft w rt. ho ha o or ay t g uld , oe co Lu s s alt ck on t £ er ily th 35 na fo e 2 99 tiv r A TB … b es pp SS ut if y le D. ou , th If ’re ere y on o se ar e w u li t o en k n m ’t a ill e m fe e ac ny el c OS lik ha e t ni . c y … pi al k co but ng ey m fo on bo fo r gl ard rt th as s ab e r s… , th le es an t o is da fu I cc s i st just ur t’s at s ra h y s op e. pe ed pe e i t y, ck ’s s o no fd ta us s s t a us s t ce he pt ol ible dm t Ca o fu n’ od lly t f e l. su aul pp t t or his ts di th sp e P lay 3 . It …a co ’s clo nd lo br ur ig se yo ga ht fo u n m an ra e ut d ny ed … hi to nt lo of ok th re e j all ag y, gi rea es ll . y

24 hours with the new MacBook Pro

1min 64

20mins 30mins 31mins

2hrs

3hrs

3.1hrs

7 hrs

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TESTED APPLE MACBOOK PRO (2018)

Tech specs Screen 13.3in 2560x1600 Retina Processor 2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 or 2.7GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 RAM 8/16GB Storage 256GB/512GB/1TB/2TB SSD Dimensions 3024x212x15mm, 1.37kg

Touch me, I’m slick Above the keyboard, the Touch Bar hangs around like a wallflower, hoping everyone will one day love it…

3 5

3 Primal screen The display remains broadly the same as before. You get a fairly chunky bezel (which at least makes it easy to focus on screen content); and there’s no change to the 2560x1600 resolution, which even last year had been bettered by some Windows rivals. 4 Key improvements The keyboard looks just like last year’s, but it’s quieter thanks to an added silicone barrier. The result is still a bit ‘THONK THONK THONK’ if you’re not a delicate typist; but the sound is distinctly softer, and less likely to irritate everyone in earshot.

It co ’s g lo oo ur d -t to w s ea ee ki Tr ng u Th te e To fu e ch n nc ne he e a tio w T re ut ns 2 . om w ch at ith ip ic au en …a a di b AI nd o le ,b S an s a ut ir ds b i it’ . It ec un sb m ur ch et ay ity of te no … rt t Of ha be to co n th ur no the e l se th sm ap , e ing a to ve . rte p, ry m t st y im i P e T ho I s re his ne ay vi is ew a w “H ak e c sp ra es r S ec zy up iri” … -e . bu xp t it en ’s si als ve o c lap ra to zy p -g in oo d.

5 Ask a Siri question So, Siri finally comes to the Mac. Setting it up takes a minute or so, which mostly involves your Mac asking you to say a few key phrases. It then feels quite natural to ask your laptop to turn on a screensaver or tell you what the weather’s like in Miami.

18hrs

20hrs 21hrs

22hrs

Q Keep in Touch

Q The magic Touch

If you want the latest MacBook Pro tech you’ve no option but to have a Touch Bar, because all the new ones have one: models with physical function keys remain rooted in 2017.

We’re still in two minds about the Touch Bar. The lack of a physical Escape button irks, but having Touch ID on a Mac is great, and the general principle of a context-sensitive strip of keys is sound.

Q Good first Touch

Q The personal Touch

Apple’s own apps make particularly good use of the Touch Bar, bringing up options otherwise buried deep (eg Logic Pro X), or enabling you to adjust things without moving the cursor (Pages, Numbers).

With the BetterTouchTool app you can go further, making customisable buttons to trigger actions. We wonder, though, if the Touch Bar’s absence from other Macs has stymied developer support.

The new MacBook Pro has plenty of extra power, an improved display, a quieter keyboard, and a battery that lasts a day of normal use. What you won’t enjoy is the impact on your wallet: the base price of £1749 isn’t too bad, but that gets you specs well below the model reviewed here. The world of macOS isn’t getting any more accessible. @CraigGrannell

STUFF SAYS ++++, A strong update to Apple’s 13in flagship notebook, especially if you look beneath the surface

24hrs 65


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G R O U P T E ST O L E D T Vs

OLED ME ENTERTAIN YOU Welcome to the ultimate panel show: we’ve rounded up the greatest eye-popping tellies for a three-way shootout

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

Apps

Dolby Vision

Voice assistant

Be sure your chosen telly has all the apps you use for streaming. Netflix is usually a given these days, but NowTV isn’t always guaranteed.

If you’re a real Netflix addict, then you’ll want to look out for TVs that support the Dolby Vision HDR format to get the best picture.

TV remotes are sweating over job security, with some modern TVs getting equipped with voice assistants for easier navigation.

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G R O U P T E ST O L E D T Vs

Good vibrations

SONY

AF8 £2499 / stuf.tv/AF8

ony’s A1 OLED was one of our favourite TVs of last year, despite its striking stand-free design being a pain to accommodate. But now that Sony’s rectified that flaw with an altered design at a much more affordable price, the new AF8 has a fighting chance of being the OLED king.

S

Grand designs While the A1’s standless design was nice to look at, it wasn’t the most practical. Using a kickstand to prop it up from the back meant you needed a large rack to support the entire width of the screen – no mean feat if you opted for the 65in model. That’s now been replaced by a very low-profile stand on the AF8 – it doesn’t lift the screen up by much, but just enough to make it much easier to accommodate on smaller racks. This lends itself better for wall mounting too. The A1’s chunky speaker stand at the back meant it stood quite proud from a wall when mounted; the AF8 will sit neater if that’s the way you choose to go. Aside from the stand change, the AF8 still borrows a number of design cues from its more fashion-forward sibling, and has a similarly near-bezel-less display, with no logos or branding

to distract you from the stuff that really matters: its picture performance.

Punched out Very little has changed on the inside here – we’re looking at 2017 TV tech repackaged for a competitive 2018 market. The AF8 still does superbly with pure blacks, but brighter scenes lack the punch and impact of something like the LG C8. You’re left wishing for a bit more. There is some good news on the upscaling front, though. HD pictures look fantastic, but what’s most impressive is how well standard-def content is handled. It looks the best of the three sets on test here – softer than better-quality stuff, sure, but looking clean enough with very little noise. The Sony AF8 is a superb TV with one big problem, then: it’s ultimately a last-year set competing with this year’s standards. It’s not even cheaper than its superior rivals, which makes it a hard sell indeed.

Tech specs O55/65 in 3840x2160 OLED OHDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG OAndroid TV OHDMI (x4), USB (x3), Ethernet,

Wi-Fi, Bluetooth O1226x717x255mm, 22.2kg

STUFF SAYS ++++, The AF9 has a great new design, but its picture is out of date compared to 2018’s OLED rivals 68

Sony’s Acoustic Surface technology turns the screen into a speaker for improved audio performance.


G R O U P T E ST O L E D T Vs

Surfin’ safari Sony has promised an upgrade to Android TV 8.0 soon, which should bring a long-overdue upgrade to the interface and improved stability.

NOW WATCH THIS

Dark Tourist Netflix Globe-trotting documentaries are generally great picks for lapping up stellar sights on your 4K telly, but Dark Tourist offers much more than your average mountain-side view. By exploring more sinister corners of the world, from haunted forests to radioactive lakes, this show will make your eyes pop in more ways than one.

NOW ADD THIS

Xbox One X £425 /xbox.com Netflix and Amazon Prime Video may both support 4K and HDR content, but neither can compete with the incredible detail found on a UHD Blu-ray. And for that, you’ll need something that can gobble up disks and spit out stunning pictures on your TV’s display. The Xbox One X is one of the cheapest devices capable of such a task, while also offering glorious 4K visuals for gaming.

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G R O U P T E ST O L E D T Vs

I can’t hear music

NOW WATCH THIS

Better Call Saul Netflix Vince Gilligan’s Breaking Bad was as cinematic as the best of Hollywood, and while spin-off series Better Call Saul doesn’t have as many drug-fuelled shootouts, it’s still a visual masterpiece, especially in 4K. With trainee lawyer Jimmy McGill taking the lead, we follow his Trump-esque plunge into deceit and dodgy dealings.

NOW ADD THIS

Sony HT-ST5000 £1199 /sony.com If you’re splashing the cash on an OLED TV, why not remortgage the house by adding an accomplished Dolby Atmos soundbar? The seven drivers, subwoofer and exceptional build quality of the ST5000 make it a perfect piece of kit for home cinema buffs. Away from the movies it’s also a superb hi-res wireless speaker with Chromecast for forming a multiroom system.

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Despite having the Dolby Atmos badge, the LG here delivers thin, basslight audio from the built-in speakers. You’d best get a soundbar.


G R O U P T E ST O L E D T Vs

I get around LG’s ThinQ AI combines with enhanced voice recognition to make controlling the TV with your voice smarter and more natural.

LG C8 £1999 / stuf.tv/LGC8

ince LG supplies the OLED panels for most of the other television makers, you’d probably expect it to rule in this three-way competition. But while LG’s C8 is certainly one of the best OLED TVs vying for a place in your living room, that doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed to come out on top. It really is a very close race…

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On the bright side First off, the C8 easily has a punchier and brighter picture than its Panasonic and Sony rivals. The cloudless jet-blue skies of Albuquerque in Better Call Saul looks absolutely radiant. Some could justifiably argue that these bright colours look a little too artificial, though, with Panasonic’s FZ802B offering a much more natural tone. Which TV comes out top in this regard simply comes down to the buyer’s personal preference. The LG C8, like last year’s models, also supports true dynamic metadata via Dolby Vision, and in most cases this results in even greater contrast and colours. Subscriber to Netflix’s top-tier package? Then you’ll be able to take advantage of an ever-growing library of HDR content, with the C8

squeezing more detail and contrast from that format than either of the other two sets in this OLED face-off.

Lift off While the picture quality is essentially neck and neck between Panasonic and LG, the latter throws a match-changing punch when it comes to design. It’s not the super-slimness of the panel itself that makes the difference, but the elegance of the pedestal stand, which features a ribbed funnel beneath the speakers that looks rather like the grille of a sports car. In terms of apps, you get Netflix and Amazon in 4K HDR, of course, plus all the catch-up services, on-demand movies from Google Play TV & Movies and Rakuten, and plenty more besides. Meanwhile, the customisable tab system is as pleasant as ever and the whole webOS system is faster and more fluid on the C8 than it’s ever been before.

Tech specs O55/65in 3840x2160 OLED OHDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG OwebOS smart TV OHDMI (x4), USB (x2), Ethernet,

Wi-Fi, Bluetooth O1228x757x230mm, 19.1kg

STUFF SAYS +++++ One of the best OLEDs out there, but that ultra-punchy picture isn’t for everyone 71


G R O U P T E ST O L E D T Vs

God only knows

PANASONIC

FZ802B £1799 / stuf.tv/FZ802B

ake a peek inside some of the biggest post-production firms in Hollywood and you’ll find them using Panasonic’s 2017 OLED. And this year they’ve gone better still: upgrading the panel, installing a new processor and updating the picture-processing to deliver a better-than-ever viewing experience.

T

As nature intended The TX-55FZ802B is the smallest of the entry-level range, and one of the cheapest OLEDs you can buy. The only thing separating the FZ802 from the FZ952 is a built-in soundbar, but the picture is identical – and what a picture it is! That leg up in brightness, shadow detail and colour performance from last year makes all the difference in ensuring it holds its own in a fiercely competitive OLED space. LG’s C8 might just pip it for out-and-out brightness and HDR impact, but we love the Panasonic’s more refined and natural approach with colour. It’s a proper stickler for accuracy – so it’s little surprise this set is at its best with Ultra HD HDR content, and looks stunning when watching Netflix’s library of 4K content.

Simple plan While the picture here is a right corker, Panasonic has kept things simple for the design with a slim black bezel around the screen, and a plain metallic rectangular stand that will fit most TV racks. It’s well built and sturdy, which is really all that counts. As for the smart TV system, Panasonic’s My Home Screen platform keeps things about as straightforward as the FZ802’s design. There are just three icons – for live TV, apps and devices – with the ability to pin shortcuts. It’s easy to navigate, and comes complete with all the catch-up and on-demand services you’re most likely to want, except Now TV. Panasonic’s FZ802 is a superb TV, and its excellent performance makes up for the lack of flashy features. One thing’s for sure – at £200 cheaper than LG’s C8, you’re unlikely to find a better OLED for the money than this talented telly.

Tech specs O55/65in 3840x2160 OLED OHDR10+, HDR10, HLG OMy Home Screen OHDMI (x4), USB (x3), Ethernet,

Wi-Fi, Bluetooth O1449x898x300mm, 33.5kg

STUFF SAYS +++++ This Panasonic has one of the best OLED performances we’ve seen yet 72

Instead of supporting Dolby Vision, Panasonic has opted for the HDR format HDR10+. There’s little compatible content available for it right now.


G R O U P T E ST O L E D T Vs

Help me wander The remote that comes with the FZ802 is… just OK. It’s pretty big and plasticky, with no backlight for night-time use, which is a pain.

NOW WATCH THIS

Disenchantment Netflix ‘A cross between The Simpsons and Game of Thrones’ is the laziest synopsis of Matt Groening’s fantasy cartoon you’ll ever read. It’s way better than that, so the Netflix original series has been furnished with the 4K treatment. It comes complete with questionable regional accents and a nice jazzy soundtrack.

NOW ADD THIS

NowTV Smart Stick

TES WI T NN ER

£15 / nowtv.com From Star Wars: The Last Jedi to Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, NowTV has the best selection of popcorn-fresh movies out of all the streaming services. Sadly, this Panasonic TV doesn’t have the NowTV app installed, but you can get around that by buying this cheap streaming stick. Just bear in mind you won’t get 4K quality with NowTV. It’s capped at 720p, with 1080p support to come later this year.

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BETA YOURSELF

The latest version of Apple’s mobile OS looks much like the old one, but it has plenty of new features – Craig Grannell shows where to find them, and how to make the most of the best bits THE BASICS

QGet some quiet time In iOS 11, when you activate ‘Do Not Disturb’ from Control Centre it’s on until you turn it off. In iOS 12, you get granular controls. You can turn the feature on for an hour, have it continue until the following morning, keep it on until you leave your location, or have it run to the end of the current calendar event.

QStart using Siri Siri’s more powerful in iOS 12, learning your habits and making lock-screen suggestions. Often, though, you’ll have to manually manage its capabilities. Luckily, doing so is simple. In Settings > Siri & Search, you’ll see suggested shortcuts based on your activity. Tap the ‘+’, record a trigger phrase, and that action will then be available via Siri.

QBe more secure Secure password creation works throughout iOS 12. Security codes sent your way are automatically placed into the QuickType bar, as are shared passwords when using an Apple TV. And when you need to get at a password, just ask Siri – a swift bit of ID confirmation later and you’ll

QFaceTime 31 people be at the relevant details buried deep within Settings.

QPrune notifications Notifications are now grouped by app – tap a group to expand it and ‘Show less’ to collapse it. To manage a group or notification, tap-hold it and select… or swipe left and tap Manage. Use ‘Deliver Quietly’ to silence noisy ones, or ‘Turn Off’ to stop them entirely.

Until now, FaceTime has been a resolutely one-to-one experience, but in iOS 12 you’ll soon be able to FaceTime up to (a frankly bonkers) 31 other people. During a chat, bring up controls to adjust camera and mic options, or quickly send a message to everyone in the chat. You can also replace your head with an Animoji… although not someone else’s. So no turning your boss into a talking poo on the sly.

CHAT HAPPY QMake a Memoji

Beta be good All our observations in this feature were based on a beta version of iOS 12. Some details may change slightly by the time you get your mitts on this magazine.

If you don’t fancy being a dinosaur, alien or turd, tap ‘New Memoji’ in Messages and create your own custom floating head. Select a skin colour and shade, freckles, hair, ears, specs, hats and more. Then freak out your friends with your new purple-skinned, green-bearded avatar.

QUse camera effects The Camera app remains quite restrained, but that’s not so for Messages. Fire up the camera inside that app, tap the new effects button, and you can add filters, text and shapes.

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UPDATED iOS APPS

MEASURE This new app pinches the spirit level from Compass and adds a natty augmented reality measuring tape. And if tapping out start and end points feels like too much effort, the app also automatically measures rectangular objects. Take a snap, then chuck your rulers in the bin.

BOOKS TAKE TIME OUT QView app usage

FINGER TWISTER

Go to Settings > Screen Time and tap ‘Turn on Screen Time’. Now iOS 12 will track your app usage, and hurl data your way regarding what you’re using, by individual app or category.

PICTURE PERFECT

QMaster the Dock

QSet app limits

QBrowse ‘For You’

Flicking a finger up from the bottom of the iPad’s display now sends you to the home-screen. You have to drag upwards and pause a bit to stay in-app. Drag longer to view the app switcher… or, as is often the case, accidentally go to the home-screen, swear a bit, and try again.

Tap ‘App Limits’ and then ‘Add Limit’ to set a daily time limit for categories of apps. This can be customised for individual days. If a specific app is the problem, tap the Screen Time bar chart, select the offender under Most Used, and define a limit for it alone.

The Memories tab in Photos has transformed into ‘For You’. It still contains automatically compiled albums, but now becomes a hub for shared album activity. For iCloud Photos users, it adds sharing recommendations for people who share pictures with you.

QLearn new gestures

QGet some downtime

QSearch your snaps

In Screen Time, tap Downtime and define a period when you don’t want to be using devices. This will enforce app limits across all of your tools, bar those in your Allowed Apps list (found in Screen Time’s ‘Always Allowed’ section).

Now a tab in its own right, Search invites you to rifle through your pics, regardless of whether they’ve been tagged on a Mac. Machine learning attempts to ID people and objects, while meta-data deftly deals with places.

When you do get to the app switcher, you’ll notice Control Centre’s gone. Apple now ‘conveniently’ has you access that by dragging down from the top-right corner, like on an iPhone X.

Apple’s done more than lop an ‘i’ off of iBooks. The revamp borrows a trick from Apple Music, with a Reading Now view that combines large previews of current books and recommendations. There’s an enhanced library view and store as well.

VOICE MEMOS Presumably in part because Apple wanted to port the iPad versions to Mac, Voice Memos and Stocks (with a neat dual-pane interface) are now on Apple’s tablet. Inexplicably, Apple still reasons that iPad users don’t want a weather app or calculator…

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VERSUS DJ DECKS

Guetta party started The latest entry-level decks from Pioneer and Native Instruments go into digital DJ battle. Which one Westwood you choose?

[ Words James Day ]

Pioneer DDJ-400

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Traktor Kontrol S2 Mk3

What’s the story?

What’s the story?

Pioneer kit costing thousands is industry standard at most music venues. The DDJ-400 is a stripped-back bedroom controller modelled on the same layout that works with smartphones, tablets or laptops, and is even powered by them. It’s a two-channel mixer with twin decks for loading digital tracks and comes bundled with Pioneer’s Rekordbox DJ software. The DDJ-400 also features in-built tutorials for mastering the basics.

Not many makers straddle the worlds of DJ hardware and software as convincingly as Native Instruments. The Traktor Kontrol S2 Mk3 is its latest entry-level DJ controller and comes bundled with Traktor Pro 3 software; both are new this month after undergoing major changes for the first time in years. Like the Pioneer, the S2 is a twin-deck controller that’s powered from a laptop, tablet or phone, but it can also be plugged in for peace of mind.

Is it any good?

Is it any good?

If your ambition is to progress from eager Padawan to DJ Jedi Master, the DDJ-400 is a stepping stone to club and bar booths. It’s crazy-portable, which is great for impromptu house parties, and because it’s USB-powered from a laptop or smart device you won’t even need to look for a mains socket. Build quality could be better for the battering it’s likely to take, mind. This unit includes a multitude of ways to manipulate music, from a loop section to performance pads, and includes beat sync – like using stabilisers on a bike – so you’re never out of time. The Rekordbox software improves with every update, and uploading mixes to Mixcloud or YouTube is cool, though it still falls short in some areas.

The Mk3 feels like a different beast to its predecessor, and that’s a good thing. The layout is cleaner, build quality noticeably improved, and the controls more premium than the price point suggests. Like the DDJ-400 it’s ultra-portable and even works with wireless speakers. New, larger jogwheels make mixing and scratching natural, plus you get pads for triggering samples and loops, alongside a host of effects and filters to make you sound like you know what you’re doing… and if you don’t, there are tutorials. Traktor Pro 3 costs £79 on its own, so its inclusion here represents great value. Like the controller, the interface is sharper, cleaner and more stable than before.

£249 / stuff.tv/DDJ400 O 24-bit 44.1kHz audio O High and low pass filters O USB and mic inputs O RCA and headphone outputs O 482x272x59mm, 2.1kg

£239 / stuff.tv/TraktorS2 O 24-bit 44.1/48kHz audio O High and low pass filters O USB, iOS, mic and mains inputs O RCA and headphone outputs O 486x265x59mm, 2.4kg

Stuff says ++++,

Stuff says +++++

This Pioneer’s a solid starting point for beginner spinners

Kontrol S2 and Traktor Pro combined make a fearsome novice DJ package

NOW ADD THESE O SENNHEISER HD 25 HEADPHONES Outstanding noise isolation and comfort – coupled with a crisp, clean sound for picking up intricacies when mixing tracks – make Sennheiser’s retro DJ headphones long-time favourites for focusing on the music and shutting out Vengaboys requests from drunken punters. £129 / sennheiser.com O KRK ROKIT 4 G3 POWERED MONITORS Studio monitors perfect for small spaces, the Rokit 4s are consummate and compact active speakers with adjustable frequencies for personal taste and room acoustics. They’re also light enough to carry from party to party. £240 (pair) / krksys.com


VERSUS DJ DECKS

1 Armand Van Handhelden The DDJ-400 is so small and light it can be carried like an old-school boombox and set up just about anywhere, indoors or out.

2 Goldie oldies Rekordbox DJ can select your next track based on parameters like era or mood, helping you keep hen parties on the dancefloor for longer.

TEST NER WIN

3 Annie macOS Traktor Pro 3 works best on a MacBook, but the S2 has a dedicated iOS port on the back for integration with a forthcoming iPhone app.

4 Zane Lowe frequencies Traktor Pro 3 has a new Elastique 3 time-stretching algorithm to maintain audio quality and pitch when changing track speed.

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TESTED JABRA ELITE ACTIVE 65T

Sweat yourself free Finally separated yourself from the sofa? These fully wireless in-ears are designed to soundtrack your new, super-fit life… £170 / stuff.tv/Jabra65t When you live an active lifestyle, it’s imperative that you a) don’t bang on about it all the time, b) always have an emergency banana in your bag, and c) invest in a decent pair of wireless in-ears that aren’t going to pop out or flood with your sweat. It’s fair to say Jabra’s totally wire-free Elite Active 65t are up to the task; but these clever buds have a lot more going for them than just the basics. Their audio performance can be tweaked to your liking, there are built-in accelerometers for tracking steps, and your voice assistant of choice can be summoned mid-run at the touch of a button. Feature-wise, these ‘Active’ Jabras sit between the Elite 65t and Elite Sport models. The former lack accelerometers; the latter can track your heart rate. So, are these an effective compromise? And how do they stack up against the non-Jabra in-ear competition, including Apple’s AirPods? We took them walking, running and sitting in a sweltering train carriage to find out.

3

1

1 A tad large When asked to describe these buds, one Stuff staffer went with “steroid-infused tadpole”. They are quite bulbous, but the most important thing is that they slot perfectly into your ear. And you get three different-sized pairs of silicone ear-tips to make sure.

2 A buddy pain Our buds never fell out on the job: once you’ve given them a twist, they’re pretty much drilled into your ear. While this guarantees their exercise credentials, it does mean they can become a bit uncomfortable after a while.

3 A pressing matter There’s a single button on each bud; these let you adjust volume, skip tracks, pause, receive calls and bring up Alexa, Siri or Google Assistant. Cramming all that into two earbuds was always going to be tricky, but Jabra has done an admirable job.

Good Meh Evil

T th hes in e k t th he ing y’ s re ar un e n sig ot I’m bu a ht sm ly a t i fa tc n ei ll, b th u ou of er t I ld the . do be n n’ a b av t So it y/c ba un s o h ss d ow pp an qu y er d c alit fo lo r s ok le y i ar s g om , h A e. ig rea h e t, ar udi e r op nd wi un hi . th ni les pu ng w nc i he ll p hy ad ic k p … ho ho co and ne les nt y sa ,b ro ou fte ut ls ’v fo e a r a the r e lw ll… se as ay y T tw s go fu he ea t t nc tw ki he tio o ng E ns litt . Q , b le b ut u I’v tto e g ns ot co us ve ed r a to lot Fiv th of th e em e c ho . ha ur rg s o ing f b ca att se er ad y lif Th ds e i kn e c ow as an s O ot K, ho e a he an w lso r1 d m h 0. uc as h i LE sl D ef s Th t i to n t le af ey te ’r he t y ra es ta ou n h ta nk ou rtin . ro g t fc o on fee st l a an b t u it t se igh … t

24 hours with the Elite Active 65t

2mins 78

3mins 30mins 35mins 40mins

1hr

7hrs

8hrs

9hrs


TESTED JABRA ELITE ACTIVE 65T

Tech specs Connectivity Bluetooth 5.0, microUSB charging Features Motion sensors, wind noise protection, ambient noise reduction, IP56 dust/water-resistance Battery life Up to 5 hours, 15 hours with charging carry case (included) Weight 12.3g (buds), 67g (case)

5

It’s a fit app Pairing with your smartphone is quick and simple… and now you’ll have access to Jabra’s Sound+ app

2

5 A word in your ear(s) Bluetooth 5.0 gives these in-ears strength and stability that the UK government can only dream of – we didn’t have any drop-outs – and few truly wireless in-ears at this price point can match the Jabras for audio quality.

… pu and sh ja es bb th ing em a fu t th Ta rt e b he u ha ke r i tto nd th nt n ily e b o s m ju au ud y st to s o lu -p ff gs a . us and …o e… t alb r n h um ot em w . I’ve us hi j ic le us w ch t m ill oo i Ru ss s m nn ing ed od in a s ha el gn an lf a et e s i ar dw n n s tr ich om aff . i c ee .H I’m e xt a co t er rT ul rul na hr dr y l n ou c ep o oi gh lac ns se e m ide . r i y ng be if lov th ed es Ai e b rP ud od s s.

4 An unstoppable force With an IP56 rating, these buds can withstand the force of a high-pressure water jet, so you shouldn’t be worried about sweat. One issue, though: they’re supposed to auto-pause when you remove them, but we found that detection to be unreliable.

10hrs

19hrs

20hrs

22hrs

Q Silent fitness

Q Tone up

The main listening settings are Commute, Focus and Active. They’re all self-explanatory, but we’re hugely impressed by the noise isolation afforded by Focus. That’s one up on the AirPods.

Each mode has its own EQ, where you can adjust bass and treble to your liking. And if you’ve had enough of your tunes, you can listen to the sweet sound of songbirds instead. Ahh.

Q Slow coach

Q Watch your step

The app is where you pick your voice assistant of choice. Alas, Alexa is not nearly as helpful on the road as she is on an Echo, so we ended up only calling on her for quick weather updates.

You don’t get a heart-rate monitor, but there are motion sensors to give you step and workout stats. This isn’t worth the extra cost over the standard Elite 65t for anyone with a smartwatch.

If you’re the sort of devoted fitness buff who’d give The Rock a run for his mountainous piles of money, you’re perhaps better off opting for the more tech-heavy Elite Sport buds. For everyone else, though, we fully recommend these Jabras: they’re the best running earbuds we’ve come across, in terms of both build and sound quality. @MattWTate

STUFF SAYS ++++, Great-sounding wireless buds, but a few usability niggles keep them from being perfect

24hrs 79


T E S T E D L A N D R O V E R E X P LO R E

Dial hard

Land Rover’s new phone has been built to withstand a tough life – but your wallet will take a hammering too £599 / stuff.tv/Explore QThis British-designed rugged smartphone has some unique skills under its Batman-rivalling utility belt. Chief of them all is the Adventure Pack, which can be magnetically clipped to the back of the phone for battery and GPS boosts. Well, if you buy a Land Rover, you’re going to want to go off-grid.

QThe Explore’s signature move is being nigh-on indestructible. Chuck it down a mountain slope, dunk it one-metre deep in the ocean or subject it to extreme temperatures between -30°C and 65°C and it’ll survive to tell the tale. QThis phone has a pleasingly bright display. While it lacks the vibrancy of most high-end screens, the Explore’s 5in Full HD effort still offers plenty of detail and is easy to read outside on eye-stingingly sunny days. QOne of the Explore’s most noticeable software features is the dashboard. This can be customised to show all sorts of widgets and useful information, including a compass, altimeter, weather forecast and torch. QThe rear 16MP snapper takes surprisingly good photos. Images are always full of colour, but never oversaturated to the point that they look artificial. As soon as it gets dark, though, things become blurry and soft-edged.

Tech specs Screen 5in 1920x1080 TFT Processor MediaTek Helio X27 RAM 4GB OS Android 7.0 (upgradable to 8.0) Cameras 16MP rear, 8MP front Storage 64GB Battery 4000mAh Dimensions 152x75x14mm, 232g

Q Get an extra life

Q Take a hike

Thanks to the 4000mAh cell, the Explore can keep on chugging through to the next day. Fancy a weekend-long adventure? Snap the bundled 3620mAh Adventure Pack to the back, and you’ll get almost double the battery life.

Also boxed in with the Land Rover Explore are a tough case, a carabiner and a voucher to spend on ViewRanger map packs. What else could you possibly need to go on your own adrenaline-pumping adventure?

STUFF SAYS A full-featured rugged phone that costs too much for what it offers +++,, Let’s off-road! But you can get superior rugged phones for less Ryan Jones

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Ignore the price, and the Explore is close to being the perfect outdoor companion. The modular capability to slap on an extra battery pack or a bike-mount is very useful, while the screen packs a punch, the camera takes fine shots and – crucially – the phone itself can take a bashing. But since other tough phones offer more features for less cash, it’s hard to see why you’d buy this one unless you’re a brand-loyal Land Rover driver.


TESTED LEXUS LC 500

Tech the high road

With its Tokyo Drift looks and 10 gears, this gadget-stuffed luxury GT aims to put Lexus in the long-distance driving seat from £76,595 / stuff.tv/LC500 QThe Lexus LC 500 is Japan’s hi-tech answer to the European GT brigade. With styling plucked straight from a video game, its meticulously engineered driving modes can tackle the UK’s most vicious pothole assault courses. QWe’re not complaining about being given the 5.0-litre V8 version to test, but the greater ingenuity arguably lies with the 3.5-litre V6 hybrid model. It has Lexus’s Multi Stage Hybrid system, which runs on pure electric power all the way up to 88mph. Q10-speed direct-shift automatic transmission sounds ludicrous, but we’re assured it brings better fuel economy in the higher gears and smoother acceleration in the lower ones. For the V8, 0-60mph arrives in a warp-speed 4.4 seconds and 471bhp takes it up to 168mph. QThe LC 500 is packed with protective tech so good it needs capital letters, including Pre-Crash Safety, Traffic Sign Recognition, Lane Keep Assist and a Sway Warning if the car becomes unstable (rather than alerting you to UK rap on the radio).

Q Let battle commence

Q That was just a noise

Located above the steering wheel is a ‘drive mode’ selector stalk. Toggle between Eco for urban driving, Comfort for long distances, Custom for your own setup, or Sport S and Sport S+ for scaring elderly relatives.

For a further £1000, pull up at the cemetery and immerse yourself in the Mark Levinson 13-speaker audio system. It adds 915 Watts of pounding surround sound, tuned for the cabin, and does its best to drown out the V8.

QOur test car was upgraded with a Sport+ pack primed for Michael Bay chase scenes. This £9300 power-up adds four-wheel steering (with a steering wheel that weights up according to speed), a retractable rear spoiler, 21-inch alloy wheels, carbon fibre roof, and an alcantara interior that genuinely fits two more in the back.

Tech specs Screen 10.25in infotainment display Connectivity USB, Bluetooth, aux in Engine 5.0-litre V8 Gearbox 10-speed automatic

STUFF SAYS Makes us want to slide through a sushi drive-through in slo-mo ++++, A roaring V8 and oodles of smart driving tech? Jurassic Park! James Day

It’s not quite in Jaguar F-Type territory, but the LC 500 V8 doesn’t half make a grin-inducing din. Every bit a Japanese Mercedes, it’s a formidable long-distance cruiser – and not so harsh on the planet if you plump for the V6 hybrid version. If Lexus could only simplify the confusing infotainment system and give us a touchscreen, we’d be ready and waiting with tan string-back driving gloves.

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BACK 2 SCHOOL

Prepare to be schooled Finally, it’s time to send those troublemakers back to the classroom… but make sure they have the right equipment to ace their exams [ Words James Day ]

f you attended school in the 20th century, the contents of your rucksack likely consisted of thousands of finger-slicing sheets of A4 and enough Tipp-Ex to melt the teacher’s brain. But education has changed. A lot. Yes, kids are sadly no longer guaranteed a shirt signed with phallic artwork; but on the flip side, textbooks, notebooks,

I

reading books – in fact, anything tree-based – is becoming a thing of the past, which is tremendous for the planet and the socially conscious Generation Z. The class of 2018 has gone whole-hog digital, and if you’re sending your little angels off to big school you’d better make sure they’ve got the tools for the job. Here are eight great school essentials, from the latest multitasking tablet to

the Android phone that won’t cause tears over a cracked screen. You’ll also find the perfect power bank to keep them charged, plus a backpack and even a Bluetooth padlock. Essential apps to pre-load on junior’s smartphone are included too, leaving you to drag them kicking and screaming to the school gates before high-fiving every fellow parent on your way home to celebrate a job well done.

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BACK 2 SCHOOL

SAMSUNG GALAXY TAB S4 £599 / stuff.tv/TabS4

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W ST T I O R FOR M K E

There’s a real argument for saying schoolkids are the most demanding IT customers around. They want to play games, stream music and movies, video-call mates, scroll social media, and possibly consider doing some homework – and all without sending their computers into overworked meltdown. Good luck then, Mum and Dad, because suddenly you’re

looking at the thick end of £1000 or more for a fully equipped portable computer. Or is there another way? Take the iPad Pro, for example. It’s a creative powerhouse of a tablet with more power than many laptops, and would satisfy any kid’s demands with aplomb. Now there’s another piranha in the tank. It’s called the Galaxy Tab S4 and Samsung wants it to be the only computer you’ll ever need. This all-glass 10.5in Super

Long term

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Samsung says the Tab S4 will last for 16 hours of video playback – more than the iPad Pro’s claimed 10 hours despite a smaller-capacity 7300mAh battery.

AMOLED slate can plug into a keyboard base, but crucially initiates DeX, a distinct interface close to Windows 10. DeX is still Android, but by bringing out some features that normally sit in a drop-down menu the Tab S4 aims to be a productivity machine, coming with the Microsoft Office suite pre-installed. DeX can also be used without the keyboard by plugging the Tab S4 into a monitor and using the tablet

to navigate. Don’t worry, your physical keyboard won’t go to waste then, as it can double up as a case, which includes a loop for the bundled S Pen stylus. The pen has 4096 pressure levels and, other than artwork, can ‘handwrite’ using optical character recognition. While there’s concern the Tab S4’s huge range of skills risks spreading itself too thin, it still looks to be an inseparable companion in and out of school.


B

Fjallraven Kanken

Removable media storage is not the name of a synth-pop band, nor does it rank among the sexiest of tech. However, it’s undoubtedly useful and no more so than on the Galaxy Tab S4, where 64GB of storage can be magically transformed into up to 400GB with a microSD card. SanDisk’s Ultra range also includes rapid read speeds of 80MB per second for copying across homework before the teacher sees. £50 / sandisk.com

You can tell plenty about a person by their backpack, and first impressions can be the make-or-break of a kid’s high-school popularity. Fjallraven’s Kanken is Swedish and originated in the ’70s, just like Abba, so it’s officially cool. It now includes a padded compartment for tablets or laptops up to 13 inches, and the unisex design comes in no fewer than 15 different colours, reducing the risk of accidentally walking off with someone else’s packed lunch. £90 / fjallraven.co.uk

Master Lock Indoor Bluetooth Padlock

House of Marley Uprise

Backpacks for goalposts is a bad idea if they’re filled with indispensable tech. Best stick costly kit in the locker – and for Stuff’s sake, keep it under lock and key. Master Lock’s Bluetooth padlock does away with lost or forgotten keys and combinations, using a smartphone app to unlock it instead. You can share access with parents, friends or teachers, and a tamper alert tells you if Johnny sticky-fingers is up to his usual tricks. £60 / masterlock.com

Sharing tunes with friends is easy with House of Marley’s Uprise buds. These sweatproof in-ears are joined by a tangle-free braided cable and come in a water-resistant modular design for different ear sizes. Eco credentials are on point too, coming crafted from a recycled wood-fibre composite with a stash bag made from used water bottles. An eight-hour battery and hands-free remote rounds things off. £60 / thehouseofmarley.co.uk

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E F ST U R E S BE C H S E AS ST

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T U T I D T FO NE Y R S

I’ve got the power The Tab S4 has 2017’s Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 CPU rather than the Snapdragon 845 used in 2018’s top phones. There’s 4GB RAM and 64GB storage.

SanDisk Ultra MicroSD 128GB

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Pogo Charging Dock Sliding the Tab into this dock activates the calendar, clock, weather and any upcoming events. It then sits on a desk like a glorified alarm clock. £49 / samsung.com

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Galaxy Tab S4 Keyboard Apple keyboards are as shallow as a Love Islander, but the Tab S4’s is deep, chunky and solidly built. It’s comfortable enough for tapping out lots of essays too. £119 / samsung.com

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NOW ADD THESE…

F KY E ST N B E A AG S W OR ST

C L E ST C Y O FO NI UD R CS

BACK 2 SCHOOL

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FO Y ST B B S BE T UTOT

R

APP TO SCHOOL

Fitbit Ace Brainscape

Cogi

Duolingo

Mind like a sieve? Brainscape allows teachers and pupils to collaboratively create smart flashcards with the help of what its creators claim is a scientifically proven study. They help to break down information into tiny chunks you can digest at your own pace. £free / iOS, Android

Sounds creepy, but Cogi listens in on class conversations so you don’t miss something important. Hit the ‘highlight’ button and the app captures the previous 15 seconds and keeps recording until you press stop. You can also add images, hashtags and text notes. £free / iOS, Android

Learning a foreign language can be difficult, but Duolingo has at least found a way of gamifying the experience to make it less of a slog. Lessons consist of listening, speaking and translating, with hot streaks and several lives before it’s ‘game over’. £free / iOS, Android

Dragonbox Algebra

Cursive Writing Wizard

Sleep Cycle

Given our hideous memories of maths lessons, an app designed to teach algebra by stealth seems like a savvy investment. The Dragonbox app is available for different age groups and uses more than 200 number puzzles. £3.99 / iOS, Android

If you fear penmanship is becoming a forgotten art, Cursive offers a great excuse to get the S Pen out, learn letter shapes and nail joined-up writing. Parents can also see stats on how their kids use the app and even watch their writing replayed. £4.99 / iOS, Android

GP M Series Powerbank The Wileyfox’s 3010mAh battery is good for a day’s heavy usage, but that’s not enough once your tiny terrors have rinsed Pokemon Go – meaning you can’t get through to say you’ll be late picking them up. Beat the battery blitz with the colourful M Series mobile charger, available in 5000, 10,000 or 15,000mAh capacities – that’s enough for your Swift 2 X, Tab S4, Uprise earphones and Fitbit Ace combined. from £20 / gpbatteries.com

BA BES B O T T T FO O ER R ST Y

Most schoolkids aren’t considered ‘morning people’, so Sleep Cycle finds the optimal time to wake them up in a 30-minute window so they feel energised. It does this by tracking slumber patterns and waking them during light sleep. £free (IAPs) / iOS, Android

Jamie Oliver’s proved that we can’t force children to ditch the chicken nuggets and chips, as they’ll just order Dominos to rebel. We can, however, get our younglings off the sofa and tottering about more, especially with the new Fitbit Ace fitness tracker. This is a well built and relatively affordable wrist-based wearable that works best for kids with their own smartphones, as the accompanying app is central to tracking steps, activities and sleep. £80 / fitbit.com

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NOW ADD THESE… Cube+ Dual USB Charger While the Swift 2 X supports Quickcharge 3.0, which gets you to full power in less than 90 minutes, you’ll need a compatible plug like the Cube+ as Wileyfox doesn’t bundle one in. £25 / wileyfox.com

Swift 2 X Premium Hard Case Case makers have a fixation with Apple and Samsung, so Wileyfox offers its own hard case. It’s got a tactile texture, making it’s easier to grip when running for the school bus. £20 / wileyfox.com


BACK 2 SCHOOL

WILEYFOX SWIFT 2 X £147 / stuff.tv/Swift2X

an f/2.0 aperture and dual-LED flash for photography in poor light conditions. A brushed-aluminium design fits comfortably in small hands and houses 3GB of RAM, 32GB of onboard storage and the ability to expand things up to 128GB via microSD. An iPhone can’t do that. If that’s not all, it runs the very latest Android Oreo 8.1 and sports a healthy 3010mAh battery with fast charging. If your kids won’t

be seen dead with anything less than a Full HD smartphone for YouTube videos or games, the Swift 2 X is a steal. With the money saved, you’ve no more worries about forking out on that school trip they simply have to go on… or an extra present under the Christmas tree as a treat for those good grades. And should you need to raid that rainy-day fund for a replacement screen, Wileyfox will do it for under £40.

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P L ST F T I A OR M Y E

Were your children’s formative years spent fiddling with your iPhone? Chances are, now they’re old enough for a phone of their own, they want one made by Apple. Well, guess what? The official cost of replacing a broken iPhone screen is about the same as buying a new Wileyfox Swift 2 X; and while this might not be the handset they dreamed of, it’s

arguably the best affordable Android phone you’ve never heard of – and could save you a fortune. The feature-packed phone comes with an incredibly sharp 5.2in Full HD display that’s protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3 and a smudge-resistant oleophobic coating – perfect for the rough and tumble of the playground. The 16MP Samsung sensor rear camera, meanwhile, has phase-detection autofocus,

Double duty Dual SIM capabilities come in handy when your younglings go on foreign exchange trips or get permission to borrow your SIM when they’ve run out of credit.

Pocket money The Swift 2 X comes with Google Pay NFC contactless payments, so should they get the shakedown from the school bully there’ll be no lunch money to take.

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FI R TH ST ES AD E… D 88

ONE AMAZON FIRE TV

TWO SONOS PLAY:5

THREE APPLE iPAD

Plug in the latest Amazon Fire TV dangler and enjoy 4K HDR videos, pick from 200,000 movies or tune into one of over 10,000 channels knowing that whatever is pumped out of the compact Beam will sound great. It’s compatible with Alexa skills, so you can yell at the Beam to turn off when you’re done bingeing.

The largest home speaker in the Sonos range is predictably one of the most powerful, and this mighty wireless unit is capable of filling your home with intense bass and rich highs. It’s also compatible with Apple AirPlay and easy to tether to a Beam, making it a great way of pumping tunes to every room.

With built-in AirPlay 2 technology, the Beam is designed to play nicely with iOS products, so with an iPad you can quickly blast the soundtrack from a YouTube video through your diminutive soundbar via the prod of a finger. Plus, y’know, it’s an iPad, so you can use it to do loads of other great iPaddy things.

£70 / amazon.co.uk

£499 / sonos.com

£319 / apple.com


NO TH W IS DO …

DO A TH WN ND ES LO E… AD

INSTANT UPGRADES

BLACK PANTHER

1. SILENT NIGHT

2. GET ALEXA SKILFUL

3. RUN THE HOME

If the kids are sound asleep upstairs, or if you just want to maintain amicable relations with the neighbours who don’t always appreciate being kept awake by the deafening blasts of late-night explosions, you can head straight to the Sonos app and activate Night Sound. This, for your convenience, maintains the clarity of hushed voices but reduces the volume of sudden noisy bits.

With Alexa voice control handily built into the Beam, it doesn’t matter if you’ve misplaced the telly’s remote control again (of course you’ve checked down the back of the sofa cushions already), because when you are finished with the 100th episode of Game of Thrones you can affect your best Westeros-style accent to command the soundbar to swap channels or switch off.

If you’ve already embraced the age of the smart home and have hooked up connected lightbulbs, a Hive thermostat and wireless door locks, it’s possible to control these items via Alexa Routines and the Sonos app. You can even use Routines to automatically dim the lights as you’re about to start a movie, just like they do in the cinema. Sadly, it doesn’t come with a big tub of popcorn.

Not only is Black Panther one of the best Marvel Studios creations in a long time, but also it features tunes from Future, The Weeknd and Vince Staples. Turn it up loud.

DUNKIRK Christopher Nolan’s Second World War epic creates so much tension, you’ll be nibbling the edge of your chair by the end of it. Artillery fire never sounded so terrifying.

[ Words Leon Poultney ]

4. SPEAKERS OF THE HOUSE Adding other Sonos speakers is as simple as pressing and holding the play/pause button, meaning it’s quick and easy to expand your sonic picture. This includes the ability to create a fully wireless home cinema surround-sound system when you connect a pair of rear One or Play:1 speakers and a sub to your Beam. Sonos sells the full setup in one kit.

5. ROOM WITH A TUNE

6. THE CLEAN SPEECH

The Sonos app features an intuitive setup process that analyses the acoustics in your chosen soundbar position, so you can get the optimum audio settings tuned for your room. Simply fire up the app and follow the prompts for Trueplay EQ technology to tailor the sound according to the room’s size, layout and decor. It uses the microphone on your iPhone or iPad.

Speech Enhancement tweaks the dynamic range to ensure you never miss an understated but important piece of dialogue. This extra boost does away with the need for subtitles – unless you’re struggling with a different dialect or language, of course – so finally you can enjoy mumbling BBC dramas or add clarity to an epic Daniel Day-Lewis monologue without making everything super-loud.

BLADE RUNNER 2049 A pulsating electro score, penned by Hans Zimmer, accompanies retina-singeing visuals in this modern sequel. Fans of the Yamaha CS-80 synthesizer won’t be disappointed.

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G R O U P T E S T I N S TA N T C A M E R A S

3 OF THE BEST

Instant cameras

Even the most impatient snappers will be appeased by these three fast-acting picture-producers. But which one will you be taking to the ’70s fancy dress party?

Lomo’instant Automat

Polaroid OneStep+

Instax SQ6

from £129 / stuff.tv/Automat

£149 / stuff.tv/OneStep

£125 / stuff.tv/SQ6

What’s the story? Fuelled by a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign, it’s no surprise the Lomo is a popular choice. It takes Instax Mini film and the images are a handy, wallet-friendly size. The lens also acts as the ‘on’ switch and has three focusing positions. There’s the option to buy it with a bunch of lenses - wide angle, fisheye and some macro add-ons – plus a remote shutter and colour gels.

What’s the story? The new Polaroid looks much like the OneStep 2, only in black, and is built in the same Dutch factory where the very first Polaroid cameras came into being. Its connected app is where things start to get exciting: light painting, double exposures, long exposures – it’s got them all. The best part, though, is the new secondary portrait lens, allowing you to shoot from as close as 1ft away.

What’s the story? The SQ6 is Fuji’s attempt to create a proper analogue camera with genuinely useful features. So you get automatic exposure control, a double exposure mode, and three colour filters included. There are three different focus zones: standard (0.5-2m), macro (0.3-0.5m) and landscape (2m and beyond). It’s also selfie-ready, with a 10-second timer and a mirror on the front.

Is it any good? The viewfinder at the top-left of the Automat is really tiny and not the most accurate when it comes to framing your compositions. Still, in good conditions, images are vibrant and clear (with the very occasional light-leak), and the multiple lens options add a lot of versatility. The flash renders refreshingly great results at night, making this very much a party-ready camera.

Is it any good? This one hits the nostalgia spot better than any of its rivals, and knowing that the processes to actually manufacture the film have barely changed since the ’70s adds a lot of appeal. But there’s no denying that the resulting snaps can be unpredictable. Now, some will find that charming, but for others it’s going to be hyper-frustrating. The portrait mode isn’t just a fad, though: it works really well.

Is it any good? Being a massive square isn’t always a bad thing: this is actually the most reliable instant camera we’ve wrapped our hands around. Colours are bright and images crisp – which is not always the case with the other two cams – and the handling is totally intuitive. There aren’t many options for tweaking settings, but it’d be harsh to dock a star for that as it’s an instant camera. The clue’s in the name.

Stuff says +++++

Stuff says ++++,

Stuff says +++++

Creating well balanced credit-card-sized snaps, this is a superb companion for the lens-curious

With capable portrait skills, this is a joyous extension of the Polaroid legacy… but it’s got rascal tendencies

It really is hip to be square: this is the best bang-for-your-buck instant camera you can buy today

BEST FOR LENSES BEST FOR RETRO

BEST FOR DETAIL

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TESTED OPPO FIND X

1

Slide show Oppo’s new flagship phone will wow you with its slick ‘secret camera’… and the rest of it’s pretty good too

€999 / stuff.tv/OppoFindX Whipping the Oppo Find X out of your pocket in public is all but guaranteed to draw attention to yourself. It’s not because of a gorgeous design – although it has one, naturally – and it isn’t because of its size, even if, at 6.4in, it makes just about all other phones look like toys. No, it’s because every time you swipe past the Find X’s lock screen, a stealthily hidden camera slides up from inside the belly of the phone to scan your face, then slips back into hiding once you’re staring at the home screen. If that’s not the coolest bit of tech you’ll find on a smartphone in 2018, we don’t know what is. When the rest of the tech world seems happy to ‘do an Apple’ and slap a notch on everything, Oppo has done something truly different here. But you need more than one trick to be a successful pony in the smartphone circus. What else does the Find X have to offer?

2 4 Guiding light The Find X is a beautiful slab of glass and metal, with curved edges and light-catching colour schemes. At 6.4 inches there’s no denying this is a beast of a phone, but the 19.5:1 aspect ratio keeps it slim enough to hold in one hand. 4 Elevation Go to take a photo, unlock the phone, or open any other app that needs to use the cameras, and the whole top of the phone slides up with a soft mechanical whir. Oppo reckons it’s tested the mechanism for 300,000 uses.

4

4 See no evil Just about everything you view on the Find X is bright and colourful, thanks to the 6.4in AMOLED display. It’s clear and vibrant, with impeccable contrast that makes images and videos really pop. And viewing angles are excellent.

4 Ain’t that nothin’ A Snapdragon 845 paired with 8GB of RAM translates into ace performance at everything from video playback to demanding games. You won’t spot any signs of stuttering in simple stuff like scrolling through social media.

4 Carried away Despite such meaty hardware and a giant screen to power, the 3730mAh battery comfortably lasts a day even if you’re playing games and watching videos. Stick to less demanding tasks and you’ll go well into a second morning.

[ Words Tom Morgan ]

Good Meh Evil

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B st ig e ick n s o oug ut h? of Th m is y th It je in l sh oo an g ow ks s p ce g oc rta up o ke inl all rge t. y to ou o s, ea b It sil ut th rea y. fin e p lly ge ho fe rp ne els rin is lik ts m et do ad h Th e eu e le er as e’ p o nti ty sn f s re f ou o cr ro h ’ll e ee nt fin ad n. of d a ph o d T on ne st her gl po uc e’ e i rt kw sn nt ,b o he ut ith fin bo at fa ge x. cia rp l u rin …b nl t s ou ut oc e t t fa ki ns ng o ha ce … r, s t c re o c am o I’m er gni a – tio an n m y ea ex n cu s p se op Th ! p du e ing st slid m eag o ne ut t, ca th m ou er T gh a is bu he . a bi t t scr to he ee fa n Ga i lax s h y igh S9 er ’s -re is s Th sh th sp er ar an ea e’s pe m ke e r. o st r f no or ug , Yo h uT oo ub mp ev h id in t eo he s. s ing le

24 hours with the Oppo Find X

5mins 20mins 30mins 40mins 55mins

1hr

3hrs

6hrs

9hrs


TESTED OPPO FIND X

Tech specs Screen 6.4in 2340x1080 AMOLED Processor Snapdragon 845 RAM 8GB OS Android 8.1 with ColorOS Cameras 16MP + 20MP rear, 25MP front Battery 3730mAh Storage 256GB Dimensions 157x74x9.6mm, 186g

Cam up and see me Look beyond the funky mechanism and you’ll find a set of cameras packing seriously high pixel counts

Q Find’s keepers

Q Find fault

By the time the app has opened, the cameras have already popped up and are ready to shoot. Feed them enough light and you’ll be able to snap clear, detailed photos, with vibrant colour and plenty of contrast.

Automatic HDR does a great job of pulling out highlights and shadows from scenes… but zoom closely and you’ll spot this phone’s limitations, with less definition than you get from the best.

T pe his rfe is a ct p ly ow on er Hi ful gh p St se hon so or tt e: un ag ing P d, e a s. UB bu nd G t t co ru he n ns re ne Op ’s ct th p no ivi e b o’s NF ty at VO C. are te O lar ry C ge to fa ly s fu t c An ll i h n u ar Op dr nd gin po oid er g h ’s 8. Co 1 i an as s lo a ho go rO ll w ur t S e . cu ll a Th st nd th is om g an ph sk ood on on in , b ce e h is ut … as fu bu a ss t I nn y. lov oy e ei d ta m ny e m w o ay re .

3

17hrs

19hrs

21hrs

23hrs

Q Find a job

Q Find yourself

It’s when the light gets low that the sensors start to suffer, with noise levels shooting up and shutter speed slowing down so much as to introduce blur. Even overcast days can give them a hard time.

The camera app is packed full of extra tricks, like an iPhone-style self-portrait mode with various lighting settings, bokeh-blurring portrait mode for the rear cameras, and even animated 3D avatars.

It’s super-expensive, has a slightly overbearing version of Android and doesn’t take the best photos… but if you’re ready to drop close to a grand on a phone, the Find X is an excellent choice. There’s nothing else that’ll turn heads like this thing – plus it’s got the performance and battery life to match. Despite a few flaws, we can’t help but love it. @TomMorgan3

STUFF SAYS ++++, You’re paying a premium for those fancy features, but you’ll grin every time that camera pops out

24hrs 93


TWO WEEKS WITH THE DELL XPS 15 2-IN-1

Bat out of Dell This handsome hybrid has a 4K touchscreen and some fancy processing tech for super-speedy performance… Mike Jennings spends a fortnight trying to keep up from £1699 / stuff.tv/xps2in1

The snappy, ultra-low-travel keyboard is based on ‘maglev’ train technology, using tiny magnets.

DAY 01 The Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 is a hybrid in every sense of the word. While we’re used to seeing machines with hinges or detachable screens take on that label, it’s more unusual to find one with an Intel processor sitting pretty alongside AMD integrated graphics. Of course, this hybrid ticks the box for the first definition too, with a hinge that allows the screen to lean all the way back into tablet format when that’s all you really

need. So, reviewed at £2199 spec – Intel Core i7 chip, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD – does it offer performance that’s as impressive as its design? The XPS 15 2-in-1 is a very attractive machine indeed, with an anodised aluminium lid and carbon-fibre keyboard that are becoming familiar sights on Dell’s premium machines. The build quality is consistently excellent: there’s no give in any of the

The power button also functions as a fingerprint reader, and the webcam slots neatly beneath the screen

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panels, the screen is sturdy and the hinges are rock-solid. In fact, this Dell is stronger than most hybrids we’ve tested – and just as robust as the conventional Dell XPS 15. The dimensions aren’t bad either. Its 1.97kg weight and 16mm thickness compare well with conventional 15.6in laptops, and that weight matches the chunkier Microsoft Surface Book 2. You’ll only get something lighter or slimmer if you make compromises – such as slower performance, a detaching screen or a fabric keyboard. Anyway, it’s not as if this Dell is particularly

unwieldy. If you’re used to carrying around a mid-sized machine, this won’t be any different. Along both edges you’ll find pairs of USB 3.1 Type-C and Thunderbolt 3 connectors. They all function as DisplayPort outputs, and all work for power delivery too. The power button also functions as a fingerprint reader, and the webcam slots neatly beneath the screen. A stylus is also included for the touchscreen, which is precise and well-weighted. The only downsides? There’s no wired networking, and the only full-sized USB port comes from an adaptor.


LO N G -T E R M T E S T

01

Donut of Truth™

05

04

02 03

01 Exceptional Intel and AMD hardware 02 4K touchscreen with great contrast 03 Sturdy and good-looking hybrid design

04 It can get a little noisy when the processor is working hard 05 ‘Maglev’ keyboard feels great but some might want more physical movement

Tech specs Display 15.6in Full HD / Ultra HD touchscreen Processor 8th-gen Intel Core i5/i7 RAM 8/16GB Storage 256GB/ 512GB/1TB SSD OS Windows 10 Dimensions 354x 235x16mm, 1.97kg

DAY 03 Three days in, and the 16:9 4K Gorilla Glass touchscreen panel (with anti-reflective coating) is working impressively well for productivity and entertainment alike. The brightness level of around 450 nits is huge, and contrasts with a black level of below 0.3 nits. These figures deliver a contrast ratio of 1570:1, making a big impact on day-to-day use. The dazzling brightness means this Dell can be easily used outdoors and beneath bright lights, and the deep black measurement ensures darker areas do look suitably dingy. These results also mean colours are incredibly vibrant.

DAY 05 I’ve been testing out the Dell’s gaming chops – and it hasn’t let me down. The undoubted star running the show here is the Intel Core i7-8705G processor. This chip mixes hardware from Intel and AMD to deliver a better balance of processing power and graphical grunt. And then there’s AMD’s Vega GPU, which is surprisingly swift. You won’t be able to play top titles at 4K, but it will handle most games at 1080p with moderate

alterations to settings. If you play more modest games – Fortnite, PUBG or eSports titles – then this machine won’t have any problems.

DAY 11 A bit of a powerhouse, then, but the new chip does hinder thermal performance. While this XPS is silent during low-intensity tasks, when you push the processor the fans spin up – and when this happens, the Dell is louder than its admittedly weaker hybrid competition. That extra noise is certainly caused by the chip, which has a peak power draw of 65W – at least 20W higher than any of Intel’s more conventional CPUs.

DAY 14 This is a truly excellent hybrid. It looks and feels great, while the 4K screen has superb contrast and the keyboard is super-slick. The meaty chip does affect battery life and noise performance, but these aren’t new compromises and they certainly aren’t ruinous. Put simply, the Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 is superb. It’s powerful and versatile, with ace performance and impressive ergonomics. It is expensive, but worth the cost if you need a next-level hybrid for proper portable work.

STUFF SAYS A powerful, portable and versatile hybrid, but with the price tag to match ★★★★★

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TESTED GAMES

PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch / stuff.tv/Overcooked2

Overcooked 2

Gather your friends and don your chef’s hat: the cutesy cooking co-op returns with a sequel that has all the ingredients to be just as delicious as the original

he kitchen’s on fire, your mates are running around in circles and some nutcase has put chocolate in the pizza mix. That’s just a little taster of Overcooked 2 when things go awry; and with four characters rushing about and crashing into each other, it’s very easy for things to end up calamitous. But despite the odd squabble, you’ll spend most of the game laughing hysterically and dishing out high fives. That’s partly down to the cheesy charm that Overcooked 2 layers on

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top. With all the wacky characters and cartoony visuals, it’s impossible to get really caught up in a Gordon Ramsay-esque rage. The outright bonkers plot only adds to this sweet concoction, as you’re tasked with saving the Onion Kingdom from the zombified Unbread by serving up a banquet ranging from fishy sushi to honey-glazed cakes. Anyone who’s played the original Overcooked will know exactly how this plays out. Your customers will give you a string of meal requests, all of which you must serve up in a

timely fashion. The actual process of cooking is never too difficult: chop up the lettuce, fry the burger, bang it in a bun and then it’s just the matter of getting it on a plate and pushing it out. This makes Overcooked 2 approachable to a wide audience, being one of the few video games where the whole family can get involved. Of course, the difficulty steadily ramps up to put your cooperation skills to the test with obstacles such as sinking platforms, moving walkways and teleporting gateways

adding entertaining challenges for you and your pals to overcome. Experienced Overcooked chefs may be disappointed that, aside from a couple of new obstacles and recipes, there’s not a huge portion of fresh ideas here. This leaves Overcooked 2 feeling more like an expansion than a standalone sequel. But that’s mostly made up for by new online modes, so you no longer need all your friends on the same sofa to play one of the best co-op games ever cooked up. Ryan Jones

STUFF SAYS This sequel has few fresh features but it’s still a very tasty co-op game ++++✩ 98


TESTED GAMES

3 of the best couch co-op games

A Way Out Breaking out of prison is no easy task, especially if you’re going solo. That’s why A Way Out requires you to bring a pal along, so you’ve got someone to distract the guards while you go rummaging for keys. There’s also the option to play online for long-distance co-op.

Snipperclips

You can now hurl food at your mates. Hygienic? No. Hilarious? Absolutely.

Complete your customers’ requests in the right order and you’ll get a tip bonus.

Cutting up your friends with a pair of scissors isn’t usually advisable, but in Snipperclips it’s all part of the game. By altering the shape of your buddy’s avatar, you’ll be able to solve all kinds of clever puzzles, from transporting water to popping a balloon.

Cuphead This 2D side-scroller is littered with so many brutal boss battles that it’s almost essential to bring a mate along – not just to have a second fighter helping you gun down the beasties, but also for emotional support when you’ve just been walloped several times in a row.

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TESTED GAMES

PS4, Xbox One, PC / stuff.tv/WeHappyFew

We Happy Few This dark and twisted tale set in a unique and sinister world offers huge potential… so its ultimate mediocrity is a tough pill to swallow iving in a utopian world devoid of sadness sounds appealing, doesn’t it? In We Happy Few, you’re contented at work, everyone is kind to each other and your football team never loses. Well, that’s how it seems on the surface. In reality, a drug called the ‘joy’ pill is causing hallucinations that disguise everything nasty. You may think you’re gobbling up pinata candy, but that’s actually the innards of a decaying rat corpse. Bon appétit! We Happy Few takes place in Britain following a traumatic event that caused all children under 13 to be taken away. But nobody can actually remember said event, unless they stop hammering the memory-nullifying joy pills. Do so, though, and the angry mob will chase you down and cast you out of society. In the role of Arthur Hastings, you’ll have to deal with the wrath of the drug-popping townsfolk on a regular basis, as you set off on a journey to find your brother. Sadly, while We Happy Few tells a strong, well-written story, the

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game part is severely lacking. Take the combat for starters. Using melee weapons is simplistic to the point of boredom. There’s not much more to it than thwacking enemies over the head a few times and then looting their pockets. The stealth approach is significantly more engaging, but even then, the AI for enemies is so poor that there’s little challenge on offer. Eventually the drugs become a mechanic that enables you to bypass people and officers who could otherwise tell that you’re “off your joy”. But having to take the drugs repeatedly becomes an annoying distraction, forcing you to constantly return to a booth for another top-up. We Happy Few’s failings are a real shame, as its murky world and satirical story show a lot of promise. But by blending together one too many genres and doing little to surpass the likes of Dishonored and BioShock (games it clearly takes inspiration from), We Happy Few feels like a jumbled mess that never really excels at anything. Adam Cook

Just like being a schoolkid again, you’re not allowed to go outside after dark.

You can unlock new skills that allow you to commit crimes without consequence.

STUFF SAYS The story’s quite the trip, but the rest of play inflicts a bad hangover +++,, 100


TESTED GAMES

PSVR / stuff.tv/Persistence

The Persistence Being trapped on a spaceship with bloodthirsty monsters sounds very familiar, but this PSVR horror title shakes things up for the better ollywood’s got it all wrong when it comes to horror movies. It’s not gruesome aliens and axe-hacking violence that terrify us. No, what really gives us the creeps is the great unknown. The Persistence, a new sci-fi horror PSVR game, takes advantage of this fear and thrusts us out of our comfort zone. Instead of letting you memorise the layout of the spaceship you’re trying to escape from, all the rooms are shuffled around and filled with random enemies each time you die. This means that, even if you’ve finished this game dozens of times, you still can’t foresee the shrieking mutant that’s hiding around the corner. This makes The Persistence not only effectively terrifying, but also ruthlessly difficult. You’re going to die multiple times, there’s no doubt about it, but each death will see you slowly edge closer to completing your objective. You see, while having your brains splattered on the floor will cost you all of your accumulated gadgets and weapons, you’ll vitally retain all of the currency and upgrades you

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With each new deck of the ship come more difficult and horrifying mutants.

Taking mutants out with stealth attacks will reward you with stem cells for upgrades.

salvaged, making life significantly easier with each respawn. So while you always spawn with nothing but a stun gun, once you’ve saved up enough cash you’ll be able to arm yourself with riot batons, pistols and a slew of wicked sci-fi goodies such as gravity guns and time-slowing serums. With such a range of weapons, combat never feels repetitive – but don’t think that will make it easy. Regardless of your wealth, you’ll only get a few supplies with each purchase, so it’s wise to save bullets for the hulking beasts that don’t give a toss about your stealth attacks. Despite the ridiculous number of times you’re likely to be killed, The Persistence never loses its toe-curling edge. Stumbling through the dark with the headset strapped to your face is about as harrowing as gaming gets. While the rogue-like system is great for ramping up tension, it can also make things head-bashingly frustrating. Persist, though, and you’ll be rewarded with one of the best VR games to date. Ryan Jones

STUFF SAYS One of PSVR’s standout titles is as brutal as it is terrifying ++++, 101


DIGITAL EDITION

Available from the App Store, Google Play Newsstand and Kindle Newsstand


TOP TEN

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

NEW

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

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

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

Smartphones Wearables Tablets, headphones The big question Laptops Should I upgrade? TVs Playlist Consoles, VR Games

104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113

Hi-fi 114 How to buy... 115 a Bluetooth speaker Home cinema, 116 tech toys Streaming essentials 117 Drones, compact cams 118 System cameras 119 Budget buys 120 5-minute hacks 121

HOW TO USE THEM


TOP TENS SMARTPHONES

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1

HOT BUY

Huawei P20 Pro While Samsung and Apple’s war for smartphone supremacy rages on, Huawei has sauntered up and knocked both companies off their feet with the P20 Pro. Serious snappers will love this flagship phone thanks to the triple-lens camera, with 5x zoom and a 40MP main sensor. Add to that a quite awesome AMOLED display, lightning-fast internals and a top-notch design, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for the best new smartphone of 2018.

TIPS & TRICKS Activating ‘Natural Tone’ in settings will adjust the screen’s brightness according to your environment.

Stuff says +++++ That triple-lens cam gives the P20 Pro the edge in the smartphone wars

To capture a screenshot, simply double-tap the front of the P20 Pro with your knuckle.

O NOW ADD THIS AModern Huawei P20 Pro Case With its fragile back, you’ll want a case for your P20 Pro – one that accommodates the three sensors. £6.99 / amazon.co.uk

Turn on ‘Face unlock’ in ‘Security & privacy’ and you can wake up the P20 Pro with just a glance.

2

3

4 BARGAIN BUY

5

6 7 OnePlus 6

Apple iPhone X

from £469 / stuff.tv/OnePlus6

from £959 / stuff.tv/iPhoneX

Once again, OnePlus has banged out a superb bargain phone with all the sought-after features of a high-end handset for a much less daunting price. With a glass design, bezel-less front, supercharged internals and OLED display, it’d be greedy to ask for more.

There’s no question that the iPhone X is a fantastic phone. Even notch-haters have to admit its design is majestic, while Face ID, a gorgeous display and a versatile camera all combine for one of the best all-round handsets you can buy. The only problem is the price.

Stuff says +++++ Bow down to the bargain kings: OnePlus has aced it yet again

Stuff says +++++ An awesome iPhone that goes toe to toe with Android’s best offerings

BARGAIN BUY

8

NEW

9

10

Samsung Galaxy S9 +++++ £739 / stuff.tv/S9 Samsung’s flagship isn’t a huge upgrade on the Galaxy S8, but it’s still a very welcome one.

Honor 9 Lite +++++ from £149 / stuff.tv/Honor9Lite Cutting-edge design at a price that won’t shred your wallet: this is an excellent budget phone.

Google Pixel 2 XL +++++ from £549 / stuff.tv/Pixel2XL This Pixel sequel offers an incredible camera and the definitive Android experience.

Moto G6 Plus +++++ £239 / stuff.tv/MotoG6Plus Superb both on paper and in use, the G6 Plus raises the bar when it comes to affordable phones.

Honor View 10 +++++ £370 / stuff.tv/View10 A fantastic phone at a fantastic price, if not the same kind of outright bargain as the Honor 9.

Samsung Galaxy Note9 ++++, from £899 / stuff.tv/Note9 You’ll have to pay a premium for the S-Pen and extra screen, but this is a superb phone for creatives.

Sony Xperia XZ2 ++++, from £630 / stuff.tv/XZ2 Sony’s best handset yet offers plenty, but its competitors have made bigger strides.

FOR UP-TO-DATE NEWS AND REVIEWS OF ALL THE BEST NEW PHONES, VISIT STUFF.TV/TOP-10/SMARTPHONES

O Prices quoted are for handset only unless otherwise stated

£669 / stuff.tv/P20Pro


TOP TENS SMARTWATCHES

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FITNESS TRACKERS TOP TENS

1

HOT BUY

Apple Watch Series 3 from £329 / stuff.tv/AppleWatch3

Moov Now £45 / stuff.tv/MoovNow

Apple may have been pushing the cellular edition, but it’s the GPS-only Watch Series 3 that’s secured the top position on our list. With subtle upgrades – such as the dual-core S3 chip that allows for super-breezy navigation, and the W2 chip that boosts the efficiency of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth – this is actually a major upgrade from the Series 2. Factor in the unrivalled app support and quality fitness features, and there isn’t another smartwatch that comes to Apple’s ticker.

Slow and steady wins the race, and the Now has gone on to prove that with a marathon-like pace helping it finally make it to the top of this list. We’ve long considered this tracker a bargain, but further reductions have helped it enter the realm of ‘downright steal’. OK, so it doesn’t have a screen or smartphone skills, but with guided voice coaching, a six-month battery and solid waterproofing, it has everything you’d ever want in your perfect fitness tracker.

Stuff says +++++ Who needs cellular? Apple’s GPS-only smartwatch has everything you’d want in a wrist companion

Stuff says +++++ A bargain-tastic fitness band that does more than just track your steps

2

3

4 NEW

HOT BUY

5

Garmin Vivoactive 3

2

£240 / stuff.tv/Vivoactive3 It looks good, isn’t a wrist-dominator, outlasts just about all normal smartwatches and gets you the same kind of tracking as the Fenix 5 at barely half the price. We just wish it had more smart features up its sleeve. Stuff says +++++ A fine smartwatch for sporty types

Samsung S3 Classic

3

£299 / stuff.tv/GearS3 This is one of the most well-rounded smartwatches around – and not just because of that circular screen. A few more apps and Samsung might just beat Android Wear at its own game. Stuff says +++++ A superb smartwatch – it just needs more apps

Garmin Fenix 5

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+++++from £399 / stuff.tv/Fenix5 Like the annoying kid in school who’s both super-smart and great at every sport.

Fitbit Versa ++++,£189 / stuff.tv/Versa Decent battery life and a smattering of smarts make this an attractive watch.

NEW

5

Fitbit Alta HR ++++,£120 / stuff.tv/AltaHR The Alta HR is one of the most motivational health monitors around. The heart-rate tracking adds some insightful meat to your stats, and it has an uncanny ability to tune into the type of exercise you’re doing. Stuff says +++++ A fine all-rounder with great autopilot tracking

Nokia Steel HR £136 / stuff.tv/SteelHR Like a watch from a James Bond film, this Nolia looks rather normal yet hides a hi-tech secret: it will reveal a hidden OLED display if you give the crown a tap, showcasing heart-rate, steps or incoming calls and texts. Stuff says ++++, ‘Style over substance’ is the motto here

Garmin Vivosmart 3 ++++,£100 / stuff.tv/Vivosmart3 It could be more fun and less fiddly, but this is one of the most useful fitness bands around.

Suunto 9 ++++,£499 / stuff.tv/Suunto9 Epic battery life and accurate tracking make this a great – if pricey – option.

FOR THE FULL REVIEWS, VISIT STUFF.TV/TOP-10/SMARTWATCHES & STUFF.TV/TOP-10/FITNESS-TRACKERS


TOP TENS TABLETS

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Urbanista Seattle Wireless £80 / stuff.tv/SeattleWireless

The 9.7in iPad Pro was already sitting comfortably as our favourite tablet, but that wasn’t good enough for Apple. Rather than giving its flagship tablet a few minor tweaks, it introduced a bigger screen and an immensely potent processor. In fact, this device is so powerful and flashy that it’s even blurring the lines between tablet and laptop. If you only want to browse social media and watch Netflix, the 10.5in iPad Pro is overkill; this is for those more interested in creation than consumption.

Urbanista makes affordable headphones that sell in the kind of high-street shops where you won’t usually find hardcore hi-fi nerds – so it’s a real surprise that the Seattles are some of the best-sounding affordable wireless cans around. They have a far more expansive and involving soundstage than most sub-£100 pairs – they’re full and rich-sounding, with the sort of tasteful bass drive that will please the masses without turning off the chin-stroking crowd.

Stuff says +++++ The iPad Pro puts all other tablets to shame – it’s unbeatable as a multimedia machine or creative tool

Stuff says +++++ Bags of style and fantastic sound quality at the right price – these Urbanistas are an absolute steal

3

4 BARGAIN BUY

HOT BUY

HOT BUY

Apple iPad Pro 10.5in from £619 / stuff.tv/iPadPro

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HOT BUY

HEADPHONES TOP TENS

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5

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 £469 / stuff.tv/TabS3 The Tab S3 is powerful and has a gorgeous screen, while the bundled stylus is a welcome extra that you don’t have to be an artist to appreciate. It doesn’t do half-measures, which is rare in an Android tablet. Stuff says +++++ The first genuine rival to Apple’s iPad Pro

Apple iPad (2018) from £319 / stuff.tv/iPad2018 There might not be a lot different here compared to the previous iteration of the standard iPad, but subtle improvements and a relatively affordable price mean this is the best tablet for most people. Stuff says +++++ A versatile tablet for both work and play

Huawei MediaPad M5 Pro 10.8 ++++, from £369 / stuff.tv/M5Pro This may not beat the iPad Pro, but it gets you similar skills for much less cash.

Amazon Fire 7 ++++,£50 / stuff.tv/Fire7 Flawed, yes, but this is the best ultra-cheap tablet you can get – and now it has Alexa.

BARGAIN BUY

2

3

4 BARGAIN BUY

5

Beyerdynamic Byron £36 / stuff.tv/Byron These earphones have a sound we defy you not to like, with great mid-range detail that outdoes our long-term favourite SoundMagic E10Cs. They’re the kind of in-ears you can happily wear all day. Stuff says +++++ Seriously classy in-ear headphones

Sony WH-1000XM2 £299 / stuff.tv/SonyWH Sony has given its previous over-ears a series of tweaks rather than a substantial upgrade, but that’s still resulted in a premium pair of noise-cancelling cans. Plus, they have an outstanding 40-hour battery life. Stuff says +++++ A premium price, but a fantastic pair of cans

Sony WF-1000X +++++£145 / stuff.tv/SonyWF The best-sounding wireless in-ears we’ve heard, with superb noise-cancellation.

SoundMagic E10BT +++++£50 / stuff.tv/E10BT A Bluetooth version of some of the best affordable in-ears available.

FOR THE FULL TOP TENS AND REVIEWS, VISIT STUFF.TV/TOP-10/TABLETS & STUFF.TV/TOP-10/HEADPHONES


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THE BIG QUESTION TOP TENS

THE BIG WHAT SHOULD MY QUESTION KIDS BE STREAMING? FOR DISNEY DOOZIES

THE FREE OPTIONS

BBC iPlayer Kids Instead of forcing younglings to wade through the likes of EastEnders and The Apprentice, this easy-to-use app has all the child-friendly stuff from CBeebies and CBBC in one place, with the option to download for offline watching.

1

DISNEYLIFE £4.99/month Fed up of your tots moaning in the back of the car? Instead of wasting duct tape sealing their mouths shut, Disney has a better solution. Offering a Netflix-esque service, this app has over 450 movies – from classics such as Snow White to modern greats such as Zootopia – that can be downloaded to your smart device. It’s not just films that are on offer. Subscribe to DisneyLife and your cherubs will also get access to over 5000 Disney TV episodes, more than 1900 shorts and – a feature you may prefer to hide from them if you value your eardrums – 7500 classic Disney singalong tracks. And once your kids inevitably gobble up all the best content in

this whopping library, they’ll be able to use the app to livestream Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior for no extra fee. Talking about money, you only have to cough up £5 per month, which is half the cost of the service when it first launched. That’s not a bad deal at all, especially when you get blissful silence during lengthy car journeys in return.

SPECIAL SKILL 10% OFF STORES Does half of your income go on Disney plushies and merchandise? Then you’ll be overjoyed to know that the DisneyLife streaming service also offers five 10% discount codes for Disney Store every month, just as an extra perk for being a subscriber.

FOR TELLY TOONS

NOW TV KIDS

SPECIAL SKILL LONG-TERM SAVINGS While being able to cancel your contract any time is liberating, Now TV’s option to commit to a six-month contract is mighty tempting since you get a 40% discount. That’s just £14.35 for half a year!

£3.99/month There’s a chance your offspring have already stockpiled mountains of Disney DVDs, and so have no need of DisneyLife. The Now TV Kids pass offers a wider variety of shows from popular channels such as Cartoon Network, Boomerang and Nickelodeon, so now they can get obsessed with the likes of Adventure Time and SpongeBob SquarePants. The best thing about Now TV, though, is that you can cancel the subscription at any time. So if your kids are misbehaving, you can threaten to take away their cartoons and actually mean it.

2 YouTube

Kids If Logan Paul’s controversial video of a corpse proved anything, it’s that YouTube needs a filter system in place for children. This app does a decent job of that, although the odd unsuitable video has been known to slip through somehow.

FOR FAMILY FILMS

NETFLIX from £5.99/month With everyone banging on about Netflix these days, it’s surprising how underrated the children’s section is. There are loads of great movies here, from Shrek to Wallace and Gromit, and enough TV shows to occupy younglings of all ages for years. And with this section being separated from the rest of Netflix, you don’t need to worry about them stumbling on Breaking Bad.

3 My5

For some reason, there’s no separate kids’ app here. You have to download My5 and select the Milkshake category to locate the likes of Bob the Builder and Mr Men. That means there’s only an ‘adult content’ warning in the way of Spartacus.

SUBSCRIBE, SAVE CASH AND GET STUFF DELIVERED FOR FREE: SHOP.KELSEY.CO.UK/STUFF


TOP TENS LAPTOPS TIPS & TRICKS

Who needs a Touch Bar? You can log into your Mac with your iPhone’s Touch ID using the MacID app.

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The universal clipboard lets you copy text on your iPhone and paste it directly to your Mac.

HOT BUY

Apple MacBook Pro from £1199 (13in) / stuff.tv/MacBookPro While the Touch Bar versions of the MacBook Pro have been treated to an internal shake-up, most notably with speedy 8th-gen Intel Core chips, the basic Pro is still running on last year’s specs. But with a Kaby Lake processor under the hood, this is still a monster of a machine. And when you factor in the gorgeous display, fantastic keyboard/touchpad and slick design, there’s no doubt this affordable option still deserves its place at the top of our list.

Stuff says +++++ Performance, portability and a sensible price make this the king of laptops O NOW ADD THIS Satechi Type-C USB 3 Hub Two ports not enough? This hub adds loads more and sits snugly against the MacBook Pro’s side. £31 / satechi.net

2

HOT BUY

3

4 5 6 NEW

Microsoft Surface Laptop

Asus ZenBook UX310UA

from £749 / stuff.tv/SurfaceLaptop

from £600 / stuff.tv/ZenBook

Putting carpet on a laptop and restricting it to Windows 10 S sounds like a disaster on paper. Yet the Surface Laptop is a fantastic portable machine with everything you’d possibly need to meet that deadline in a hurry or watch a film or two.

Asus has hit that price sweet spot, undercutting the competition and making potential MacBook Air buyers think twice before hitching their wagon to Apple and macOS. There’s little else out there that’s better without spending a whole lot more money.

Stuff says +++++ Microsoft’s carpet-covered laptop is an ultra-portable stunner

Stuff says +++++ MacBook styling, but not for MacBook money

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BARGAIN BUY

8

9 UPDATE

10

Dell XPS 13 (2018) +++++ from £1199 / stuff.tv/XPS13 Royalty among Windows laptops, this is an ultra-portable we wish we could keep for good.

Apple MacBook +++++ from £1249 / stuff.tv/MacBook A Kaby Lake processor keeps the standard MacBook competitively brilliant.

Huawei MateBook X Pro +++++ from £1799 / stuff.tv/MateBookXPro A stylish Windows laptop with some clever ideas to get the maximum display for your dollar.

Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 +++++ from £2199 / stuff.tv/XPS2in1 A powerful, portable and versatile hybrid, but with a hefty price tag to match.

Lenovo IdeaPad 320S ++++, from £299 / stuff.tv/IdeaPad320S Cheap and cheerful makes for a refreshing combination, especially if you’re on a budget.

Razer Blade 15 ++++,from £1700 / stuff.tv/Blade15 This ultra-portable is a super-powered gaming behemoth, but gets very hot under pressure.

Apple MacBook Pro 13in with Touch Bar ++++,from £1749 / stuff.tv/MacBook This 2018 revamp shakes up the laptop’s insides, giving it enough power to justify its Pro moniker.

FOR UP-TO-DATE NEWS AND FULL REVIEWS OF ALL THE BEST NEW LAPTOPS, VISIT STUFF.TV/TOP-10/LAPTOPS


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SHOULD I UPGRADE? TOP TENS

Pick it up cheap

KOTION EACH G1000 GAMING HEADSET

Should I upgrade?

RAZER BLADE 15 (2018) Ryan Jones Staff Writer

A year is a long time for PC gamers. Back in 2017, you probably thought your new Razer Blade 15 would last you ages, with its ultra-powerful GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card and super-speedy 7th-gen CPU. But now you’ve seen the 2018 edition, you might well be having second thoughts. First up, this year’s model has a GTX 1070 GPU and an 8th-gen processor. There’s no doubt those are seriously impressive specs… but they’re unlikely to be the main reason why you’d consider an early upgrade. That honour belongs to the new model’s gorgeous colour-popping display. Time for a refresh? The headline feature of the latest Blade 15 is unquestionably its 144Hz refresh rate, helping to make the on-screen action appear more fluid. Not far behind, though, is the design. Not only has squashing down the bezels allowed this Razer to fit in a larger 15.6in screen, but it’s also resulted in rather suave look. There’s a problem, though: you’ve got to pay £2150 to get a Blade 15 with a 144Hz display and a GTX 1070 GPU. That’s a lot of cash – unless you’re a proper gaming snob, we’d advise waiting one more long year before investing in a hardware upgrade.

Gaming headphones usually cost a bomb, especially if you fancy a noise-killing mic so your team-mates can clearly hear your cries for help. These Kotion Each cans, however, cost a pittance yet still offer excellent sound quality with satisfyingly boomy bass. In true gaming gear fashion, they even have light-up LEDs, which can powered up by a USB jack. £21 / kotioneach.com

Green mind Not a fan of the icy blue look? Good job there’s a green alternative, then.

DO IT!

144Hz refresh

New GPU

HOLD OFF!

Everywhere you are Read it, like it, share it

Small spec boost

Incredibly pricey

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TOP TENS TVs TIPS & TRICKS

Pick one of the expert preset modes and you won’t have to do too much tweaking to get a fantastic picture.

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First turn off any extra processing, then bring it back bit by bit to see if you like the changes.

1

Looking for some HDR10+ content? Warner Bros, Fox and Amazon are on board with the format.

HOT NEW BUY

Panasonic FZ802B

£1799 / stuff.tv/FZ802B

As 4K TV prices start to tumble, there’s been a mad dash from manufacturers to convince the world their OLED panels looks better than everyone else’s. So which one really does? This Panasonic, showcasing one of the best 4K HDR displays on the market for a pretty affordable price. OK, so the design looks plain and the lack of Dolby Vision might surprise a few, but when the picture looks so detailed and natural, who really gives a damn?

Stuff says +++++ You won’t find a better OLED for the money than this talented Panasonic O NOW ADD THIS Sky Q Once you’ve got a 4K TV, you’ll want access to the best 4K content. Sky Q is a good bet for watching and recording all your favourite shows and films. from £20 + £20/month / sky.com

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HOT BUY

3

UPDATE

4 5 6 BARGAIN BUY

LG C8

Samsung QE65Q9FN

£1999 / stuff.tv/LGC8

£2999 / stuff.tv/QE65Q9FN

This year’s LG flagship TV is not a huge upgrade on 2017’s model, but tweaks to the processor have made this the one of the finest OLED screens. Sure, the E8 has a more jaw-dropping design and more immersive audio, but the C8 offers the exact same picture quality at a less premium price. For this reason, it’s our top pick from LG’s impressive 2018 range.

What, you thought QLED TVs couldn’t compete with OLEDs? Samsung’s 2018 TV range offers one of the best displays in the business, with unbelievably vivid colours. Add to that HDR10+ support, handy smart features and decent sound quality, and this is one of the best tellies you can buy… and it shoots up our rankings thanks to a huge price cut.

7

8 9 BARGAIN BUY

Stuff says +++++ Small improvements make this LG’s best OLED television yet

Stuff says +++++ This 4K QLED is good enough to compete with the best OLEDs

10

Philips 55POS9002 +++++ £1499 / stuff.tv/55POS9002 Available at a relatively affordable price for an OLED 4K HDR set, this Philips is an ace bargain.

LG OLED55C7V +++++ £1499 / stuff.tv/55C7V After a number of price cuts, this LG is now one of the most affordable OLEDs you can buy.

Sony KD-55A1 +++++ £1949 / stuff.tv/SonyA1 While it’s part of Sony’s 2017 range, the quirky design and fab picture still make it a great option.

Philips 50PUS6272 +++++ £600 / stuff.tv/50PUS6272 Not only does it have HDR and 4K support, but this cheap Philips also has the fab Ambilight.

Sony KD-65XF9005 +++++ £1799 / stuff.tv/KD65XF9005 It may have a mid-range price, but this Sony’s 4K LCD panel is still a proper belter.

Samsung UE55MU8000 +++++ £959 / stuff.tv/UE55MU8000 Thought mid-range meant middle of the road? This fine Samsung will make you think again.

Samsung UE40MU6400 +++++ £419 / stuff.tv/UE40 Most 4K TVs are frickin’ huge, but this 40in set will fit any lounge – and it’s ultra-affordable.

FOR UP-TO-DATE NEWS AND FULL REVIEWS OF ALL THE BEST NEW TELEVISIONS, VISIT STUFF.TV/TOP-10/TVs


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PLAYLIST BEST ANIME TO STREAM

PLAYLIST TOP TENS

The Japanese may be slightly insane when it comes to TV game shows, but you can’t fault them for their fantastic animated films and series

BEST FOR ABSURD ACTION One Punch Man What seems at first a totally ridiculous premise for a show quickly reveals itself to be a stroke of genius. Saitama is a superhero in a world filled with heroes and monsters. But unlike most of his caped counterparts, Saitama can dispatch the various villainous fiends with a single gut-busting punch. TV series / Netflix

Castlevania Video games may still be struggling to conquer Hollywood, but this Castlevania TV adaptation nailed the move to the small screen. There are only four episodes right now, but season two will bring plenty more gothic renditions of Belmont’s fight against Dracula. TV series / Netflix

BEST NEW ANIMATED TV SERIES ON NETFLIX

The Boy and the Beast Few people would want to be the apprentice of a huge hairy monster, but orphaned Shibuya doesn’t have a choice when living on the streets. Despite the odds, though, the pair eventually form a bond to rival Scooby and Shaggy. Film / Amazon Video

Cowboy Bebop

Your Name

Rated as one of the all-time best anime series, Cowboy Bebop sees Spike and his crew of bounty hunters jet about the solar system locking up criminals. With only 26 episodes, you don’t have to forfeit your social life to reach the finale. TV series / Netflix

We’ve all seen those Freaky Friday-type films where two people reluctantly swap bodies, but to call Your Name a cliched copycat would be brutally unjust. This romance story feels totally unique, with its gorgeous animations and whimsical characters. Film / Amazon Video

Fullmetal Alchemist

FINAL SPACE

BIG MOUTH

PARADISE PD

Ever become best buds with someone, only to later find out they’re a planet-destroying alien? No? Well, spaceman Gary clearly isn’t as lucky.

Puberty is a very private and sensitive experience for teenagers, which makes it the perfect target for this cringeinducing comedy.

A racist old man, a drugaddicted sniffer dog and a gun-toting maniac make up the police force in this cartoon. Just like your local force, then.

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done? Burnt the toast? Whatever it is, it’s nothing compared to the sin of Edward Elric, whose attempts to resurrect his dead mother result in the loss of his arm and the disembodiment of his little brother. TV series / Netflix

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TOP TENS CONSOLES

1

1

HOT BUY

HOT BUY

Sony PlayStation 4 Pro £349 / stuff.tv/PS4Pro

Oculus Rift £399 / stuff.tv/OculusTouch

As a gaming platform, PlayStation 4 is the best around – which makes the PS4 Pro the best of the best. Games optimised for the new console look stunning on a 4K HDR TV, and are substantially improved by the extra grunt inside this slightly bigger machine. Sure, it can’t match the Xbox One X for sheer power or resolution, but it makes up for that with an impressive line-up of games – including Uncharted 4, Horizon Zero Dawn and Bloodborne – and virtual reality support.

The Oculus Rift has been playing catch-up for a while; but now that it’s got the fantastic Touch Controllers, has boosted its room-tracking capabilities to match the Vive and has had a price drop to undercut HTC’s standard headset by £100, it finally deserves to top our VR headset rankings. Its library of exclusive games has grown considerably since launch too, with the likes of Robo Recall, Lucky’s Tale and Lone Echo all added. This is now the best VR headset available that doesn’t cost the world.

Stuff says +++++ The system for console gamers who have a 4K TV and want the best catalogue of games on offer

Stuff says ++++, Thanks to the price cut and much-needed updates, the Rift is now the best reasonably-priced VR headset

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4 BARGAIN BUY

VR HEADSETS TOP TENS

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5

Nintendo Switch £280 / stuff.tv/NintendoSwitch Nintendo’s console earned a promotion in our list after it impressed us with a growing list of fantastic games. Plus, no other device here offers the joy of portable gaming. Train journeys will never be boring again. Stuff says +++++ This 2-in-1 console is the real deal

Microsoft Xbox One X £425 / stuff.tv/XboxOneX There’s no doubt the Xbox One X is the most powerful console here, capable of producing stunning 4K visuals… but it simply doesn’t have the line-up of games to usurp the PS4 Pro from top spot. Stuff says +++++ A 4K monster held back by its game catalogue

Sony PlayStation 4 Slim +++++£260 / stuff.tv/PS4Slim Haven’t got a 4K TV? This is the best way to enjoy PlayStation’s brilliant exclusives.

Microsoft Xbox One S +++++£229 / stuff.tv/XboxOneS No longer our Xbox of choice, but the One S remains a serious affordable option.

2

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4 BARGAIN BUY

5

HTC Vive £499 / stuff.tv/HTCVive Barring a £100 price difference, there isn’t much difference between the HTC Vice and Oculus Rift in all honesty. But if you’re thinking of upgrading to the Vive Pro in the future, this is a great gateway headset. Stuff says ++++, A solid choice for immersive virtual reality

HTC Vive Pro £799 (headset only) / stuff.tv/VivePro This high-end headset offers the best virtual reality experience by a long way, but its sky-high price means you should only really buy it if you’re a VR obsessive with a super-powerful gaming PC. Stuff says ++++, This hardcore headset is overkill for most

Google Daydream View ++++,£99 / stuff.tv/DaydreamView This budget-friendly option is the best way of bringing VR to the masses.

PlayStation VR +++,,£199 / stuff.tv/PlayStationVR It can deliver incredible experiences, but the PSVR is held back by teething issues.

FOR UP-TO-DATE NEWS AND FULL REVIEWS, VISIT STUFF.TV/TOP-10/GAMES-MACHINES


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GAMES TOP TENS

HOT BUY

God of War £44 / PS4 A lot has changed for PlayStation’s god-slaying champion. Not only has Kratos gained some wrinkles and grown a chin-full of hair, but he’s also ditched his iconic Blades of Chaos for a magic axe and angered a whole new bunch of gods. But while the action is as breathtaking as ever, it’s the surprisingly mature storyline that’s the draw here, with the short-tempered Kratos learning the ropes of parenting. Don’t expect him to start telling dad jokes just yet.

TIPS & TRICKS Collect Frozen Flames by defeating various enemies to upgrade your trusty Leviathan axe.

Stuff says +++++ The epic return of Kratos is yet another phenomenal PS4 offering

Throw your axe at enemies and it will freeze them in place, leaving you to fight others with your fists.

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HOT BUY

O OR PLAY THIS Bayonetta 2 If you’re upset that God of War has binned its hack-and-slash roots, this eccentric Switch title is the perfect replacement. £41 / Switch

3

4 5 NEW

BARGAIN BUY

Monster Hunter: World

Dragon Ball FighterZ

£30 / PS4, Xbox One, PC

£35 / PS4, Xbox One, PC

From a flame-spitting dinosaur to a poison-puking bird, there are plenty of hulking monsters to slay in this Japanese RPG. But it’s the addictive weapon-upgrade tree, beautiful open-worlds and online cooperative multiplayer that will dig their claws into you.

FighterZ is quite simply gorgeous, fantastic fun to play, and not so difficult that fighting-game newbies will be instantly put off. Dig deeper than the one-button auto combos, though, and you’ll find a nuanced game that genre fans are going to love picking apart.

Stuff says +++++ Fun for veterans and newcomers, World is one monster of a game

Stuff says +++++ This Super Saiyan fighter is a blast to play, and looks great too

6 7 8 9

10

Far Cry 5 ++++,£35 / PS4, Xbox One, PC A few minor gripes aside, this is a brilliant evolution of the open-world FPS series.

Mario Tennis Aces ++++,£40 / Switch A superb and eccentric tennis game that needs a few more online features to come out swinging.

Overcooked 2 ++++,£16.99 / PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC A sequel to one of the best co-op games ever, Overcooked 2 offers chaotic hilarity.

Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom ++++,£23 / PS4, PC Not quite the new king of JRPGs, but this charming tale is great fun nevertheless.

Jurassic World Evolution ++++,£42 / PS4, Xbox One, PC This dinosaur building-sim sandbox is barebones in features but still a fun nostalgic ride.

Detroit: Become Human +++,,£45 / PS4 An average narrative adventure that sags under the weight of its own widescreen ambitions.

The Crew 2 +++,,£30 / PS4, Xbox One, PC Ubisoft’s racer should be a blast to explore, but it all gets a bit “Are we nearly there yet?”

FOR UP-TO-DATE NEWS AND REVIEWS OF ALL THE BEST NEW GAMES, VISIT STUFF.TV/TOP-10/GAMES


TOP TENS HI-FI TIPS & TRICKS

114

With iPhones and Android devices, you can control your Sonos speakers from your lock screen.

1

Sonos speakers use a feature called Trueplay that tunes the sound to your room’s acoustics.

HOT BUY

Sonos multiroom system from £149 / stuff.tv/SonosOne If you want to pretend your favourite band is playing in your living room, there’s no better option than a Sonos wireless speaker. They look great, work with your smartphone and boom out your tunes with dazzling finesse – from the compact and Alexa-compatible One (£199) to the flagship Play:5 (£499) and the TV-friendly Beam (£399).

Stuff says +++++ Infinite music in every room without the need for custom installers? Sign us up! O NOW ADD THIS Spotify Premium Sick of playing your iTunes library on repeat? Sign up to Spotify for more new music than you could ever possibly listen to. £9.99/month / spotify.com

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HOT BUY

4

BARGAIN BUY

5

BARGAIN BUY

6 7

Naim Mu-so

Riva S

£995 / stuff.tv/Mu-so

£119 / stuff.tv/RivaS

How much for a wireless speaker?! Well, yes, but what a wireless speaker it is. Naim has ploughed all of its high-end hi-fi experience into delivering a beautifully made, great-sounding device with AirPlay, Spotify Connect and aptX Bluetooth all on board.

With six drivers pumping out music with a tonal fidelity unrivalled by similarly priced speakers, this Riva is a must-have for sound nerds. Take into consideration the 13-hour battery life and a USB port on the back to charge other devices, and it’s also a great travel companion.

Stuff says +++++ A wireless speaker that can make a valid claim to be genuine hi-fi

Stuff says +++++ The top small wireless speaker for real sound-hounds

8 HOT BUY

9

10

Naim Mu-so Qb +++++ £599 / stuff.tv/Mu-soQb Complements its big brother’s more refined character with a confident presentation.

Google Chromecast Audio +++++ £30 / stuff.tv/ChromecastAudio Stream Spotify to your old hi-fi with this smart and highly affordable dongle.

Jam Heavy Metal +++++ £70 / stuff.tv/JamHM Classy sound and design at a bargain price: this is the best affordable Bluetooth speaker.

KEF Muo +++++ £179 / stuff.tv/KEFMuo The Muo sounds as good as it looks… which is very nice indeed.

Sony PS-HX500 +++++ £302 / stuff.tv/PSHX500 Convert your vinyl to hi-res digital audio with this great-sounding, affordable turntable.

UE Wonderboom +++++ £58 / stuff.tv/Wonderboom This little speaker might look cute, but it’s a sonic grenade – one you can deploy anywhere.

Bowers & Wilkins T7 +++++ £291 / stuff.tv/P7Wireless There are a million portable Bluetooth speakers in the world, but few classier than the B&W T7.

FOR UP-TO-DATE NEWS AND REVIEWS OF ALL THE BEST NEW HI-FI, VISIT STUFF.TV/TOP-10/HI-FI-STREAMING


115

HOW TO BUY BLUETOOTH SPEAKERS

HOW TO BUY TOP TENS

A traditional hi-fi is fine for lounge listening; but when you want to bring the party outside (or just over to the kitchen), it’s time to turn the air Blue

NFC Near Field Communication lets you connect a phone to your speaker via Bluetooth by just tapping.

aptX An audio codec that promises superior sound quality when streaming music over Bluetooth.

JARGON BUSTER

Drivers The actual speaker cones that generate the sound; bigger drivers are better at pumping out strong bass.

MUSIC LESSONS 1

Carry a tune

NOTEWORTHY EXTRAS 2 Repeat to fade

While it’s important that your music doesn’t sound like it’s coming out of a tuna can, this shouldn’t be your only focus when buying a speaker. The best-sounding ones generally aren’t very portable… plus they can cost a packet. Still, if is all about the sound, the B&W Zeppelin is a very good shout. O Get this: Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Wireless £498 / bowers-wilkins.co.uk

OR GET ONE OF THESE…

If you’re buying a Bluetooth speaker primarily for bringing along to parties and camping trips, you’ll need one that’s small enough to easily fit in a bag – and one that has decent battery life. Today the average speaker seems to last around 15 hours before needing a recharge. The Fugoo Style XL, however, offers a whopping 35 hours of stamina. O Get this: Fugoo Style XL US$170 / fugoo.com

3 Handles water music Taking your gadgets to a pool party always feels like tempting fate – you know some drunken berk is going to get too splashy. Instead of living in constant fear of your speaker getting damaged, it’s worthwhile getting a waterproof one. Every Ultimate Ears speaker is IPX7-rated, meaning they can survive metre-deep water for 30 minutes. O Get this: UE Wonderboom £60 / ultimateears.com

4 Play it again, Google The emergence of the likes of Siri and Alexa has made us lazy. Who wants to spend precious time scrolling through a massive Spotify playlist when you can just ask a voice assistant to play your chosen song? More and more Bluetooth speakers are being installed with a helpful AI. The JBL Link 20, for example, has Google Assistant helping out. O Get this: JBL Link 20 £180 / jbl.com

5 Fuellin’ around By doubling as a battery bank, the JBL Charge 3 not only provides great audio, but can also juice up your smartphone. These two skills make it perfect for outdoor trips. O Get this: JBL Charge 3 £120 / jbl.com

O NINETY7 VAUX

O LG G7 THINQ

Already got an Amazon Echo Dot? Then there’s no need to buy a portable smart speaker, as you can just get the £50 Ninety7 Vaux and dock your Dot on top to give it some proper audio power.

You could just get rid of the middle man and buy a phone with audio beefy enough to get the party started on its own. LG’s G7 ThinQ turns whatever table you lay it on into a passive speaker.

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TOP TENS HOME CINEMA

1

HOT BUY

TECH TOYS TOP TENS

116

HOT BUY

HOT BUY

Sky Q from £20 + £20/month / stuff.tv/SkyQ

Lego Boost Creative Toolbox £150 / stuff.tv/LegoCreativeToolbox

Sky Q works flawlessly and could change the way you watch TV – especially now 4K’s arrived. With Sky Movies’ huge range of films and Sky Sports’ frequent doses of football and F1 now all in stunning Ultra HD, there’s something for everyone to treat their eyes with. And 2TB of storage means you can record 350 hours’ worth of entertainment, so you’re unlikely to be sweating over which show needs deleting. Factor in its multiroom skills, and Sky Q is undoubtedly the best TV experience you can get.

Building Lego models is already ridiculously good fun, so think what great a time you’ll have when the completed model turns into a functioning robot. With the accompanying tablet app, you can use simple coding to make the robot move, fire projectiles and play various games. And rather than retiring it to the dusty shelf once you’re bored, you can rebuild him into four other programmable models: a harmonica-playing cat, a driveable rover, a working robot-builder and a playable guitar.

Stuff says +++++ You’ll have to cough up for a subscription, but this is the best box for watching both live and recorded shows

Stuff says +++++ All hail Vernie and friends – for value and sheer fun, it’s hard to beat this programmable Lego kit

2

BARGAIN BUY

3

4 5

Q Acoustics Media 4 £199 / stuff.tv/Media4 This soundbar has won awards two years in a row from our friends at What Hi-Fi? The Media 4 combines subtle detail with precise surround effects to be the best-sounding and best-value soundbar you can buy. Stuff says +++++ A whole lot of under-telly hi-fi for the money

Amazon Fire TV Stick £40 / stuff.tv/FireStick With fast, reliable performance and most of the major services included – as well as a veritable feast of other apps, games and curios - this is the best option out there for expanding the horizons of your old HD TV. Stuff says +++++ An ace streaming stick with a voice assistant

Sky Soundbox +++++from £249 / stuff.tv/SkySoundbox If you have a Sky Q subscription, you can get this fantastic audio booster on the cheap.

Apple TV 4K ++++,£179 / stuff.tv/AppleTV4K Streaming boxes might be on the way out, but Apple’s 4K version still has its uses.

2

BARGAIN BUY

3

4 5

Sphero BB-8 with Force Band £130 / stuff.tv/BB8 BB-8 was fun even without the Force Band. Now it will make you feel like a proper Jedi, letting you control it with gestures– and that’s worth more than all the snow on Hoth. See also the new BB-9E model. Stuff says +++++ BB-8 is a bona fide Force sensation

Propel Star Wars X-Wing Battling Drone £67 / stuff.tv/SWDrone The Star Wars Battling Drone works indoors and outdoors, and doesn’t require a licence or CAA permit to fly. It’s a total blast… just a shame there’s no camera or app. Stuff says +++++ Is the Force strong with this one? You betcha!

Razor Crazy Cart Shift ++++,£280 / stuff.tv/Shift A go-kart toy meant for kids that can make grown adults grin like maniacs.

Anki Cozmo ++++,£200 / stuff.tv/Cozmo He’s a bit pricey, but Cozmo’s a great laugh and has buckets of personality.

FOR FULL REVIEWS, VISIT STUFF.TV/TOP-10/HOME-CINEMA & STUFF.TV/TOP-10/HI-FI-STREAMING


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YOUR STREAMING ESSENTIALS

NEW TO STREAMING TOP TENS

There’s something to watch for everyone this month, from a marmalade-mad bear to the rise of the Anti-Christ. Hmm, there’s an idea for a crossover…

NETFLIX

AMAZON VIDEO

NOW TV

The Dragon Prince (S1)

Paddington 2

Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Avatar: The Last Airbender was a prime example of how cartoons can be enjoyed by adults, even without fart jokes and violence. Next up from the Avatar writer is The Dragon Prince, which delves into the world of fantasy.

Paddington is certainly not smarter than the average bear, especially after turning all the prison laundry pink in this sequel. But what he lacks in wit, he makes up for with charm that’s as sweet as a marmalade sandwich.

Is it treason to suggest that James Bond is getting stale? Maybe, but there’s no denying that Eggsy’s charismatic wit and spectacular stunts are putting 007 to shame in this Kingsman sequel, as the young agent takes a trip to the USA.

BoJack Horseman (S5) Despite the cartoon animals and multitude of punny jokes, BoJack Horseman may just be the most depressing show on television right now. Don’t let that stop you watching it, though – this is pure TV gold.

All or Nothing: Manchester City (S1)

American Horror Story: Apocalypse (S8)

Spent all last season calling Guardiola an overrated gold-digger? Well, this documentary will finally prove whether Pep is a football genius or a fraud with its behind-the-scenes access to City.

Usually, American Horror Story seasons are self-contained frightathons. But there’s a sinister twist this time round, with a crossover of the previous Murder House and Coven series.

You (S1)

Ali G Indahouse

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Romance stories have changed a lot since Romeo and Juliet. Now instead of standing under balconies, Netflix drama You shows how men are using tech to convert themselves from stalkers to proper boyfriends.

With Sacha Baron Cohen currently running riot in America, it’s the perfect time to remember when he was first unleashed upon the UK. Back in 2002, watching an idiot rise to political power seemed harmlessly funny…

The war on Twitter between fans and haters of The Last Jedi is even more vicious than the scuffle between the Empire and the Rebellion. This is most certainly a Star Wars film in need of a second viewing, Porg lover or not.

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TOP TENS DRONES

1

HOT BUY

118

COMPACT CAMERAS TOP TENS

1

HOT BUY

HOT BUY

DJI Mavic Air £769 / stuff.tv/MavicAir

Sony DSC-RX100 V £799 / stuff.tv/RX100V

By combining the best bits from the Spark and Mavic Pro, DJI has made a cracking gadget for both beginners who want stunning aerial travel videos and those who just want to fly a nimble drone at full pelt around the local park. Not only can it shoot 4K video and be folded up to fit snugly in your backpack, but it also packs a range of autonomous skills – helping you to take fantastic videos even if you aren’t the greatest pilot in the world. All in all, this is our clear favourite high-flying drone.

We wouldn’t recommend buying this update if you already own the old IV model, but a few improvements have ensured that Sony remains the top dog in our compact camera list. The RX100 V is one of the finest point-and-shoots we’ve ever seen, with a flexibility that few pocket cameras can muster. While you do have to pay a hefty sum for that versatility and all-round performance, we reckon it’s the camera to buy if you want fantastic-looking snaps from your holidays.

Stuff says +++++ The best non-professional drone you can buy – the Mavic Air takes airborne cameras to new heights

Stuff says +++++ A small improvement over the RX100 IV, but Sony’s getting closer to premium point-and-shoot perfection

2

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4 5

DJI Spark £449 / stuff.tv/DJISpark The Spark is the most user-friendly drone on this list, allowing you control it via hand gestures or a smartphone, while it’s so diddy it will easily fit in your bag for a day out in the park. The 15-minute fly time is short, though. Stuff says +++++ The perfect drone for beginners

DJI Mavic Pro £899 / stuff.tv/MavicPro Despite the tiny proportions, DJI hasn’t had to make any sacrifices for the Mavic Pro. In fact, it’s got more tech packed inside it than the Phantom 4 – and the foldable arms and compact controller add to its portability. Stuff says +++++ The Mavic Pro is the ultimate hobbyist drone

Parrot Anafi +++++£630 / stuff.tv/Anafi The Anafi is a compact, (relatively) affordable and 4K-capable high-flyer.

Ryze Tello ++++,£97 / stuff.tv/Tello Not without its technical shortcomings, but there’s no better £100 toy drone.

2

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4 5

Panasonic Lumix TZ200 £729 / stuff.tv/TZ200 This Panasonic compact is a significant upgrade from the TZ100, offering extra reach with the zoom lens, better colour reproduction, and an improved experience when using the electronic viewfinder. Stuff says +++++ Small, neat and not dramatically overpriced

Panasonic Lumix LX100 £499 / stuff.tv/LX100 One of the most capable premium compacts on the market. It can capture 4K footage, but its superb stills and HD video performance are what make this Panasonic stand out. Stuff says +++++ A star performer when it comes to the basics

Fujifilm X100F +++++£1199 / stuff.tv/X100F The best street shooter around if you don’t need the flexibility of interchangeable lenses.

Canon G1X Mark III ++++,£1089 / stuff.tv/G1XMarkIII This cam stuffs Canon’s DSLR tech (including an APS-C sensor) into a pocketable form.

FOR FULL REVIEWS OF ALL THE BEST SMART HOME TECH, VISIT STUFF.TV/TOP-10/COMPACT-CAMERAS


SYSTEM CAMERAS TOP TENS

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1

HOT BUY

Fujifilm X-T20 £749 / stuff.tv/XT20 Coming with the same 24.3MP APS-C sensor and processor as the X-T2, plus a touchscreen (which its sibling lacks), the X-T20 will leave you with a lot more spare cash in your account. And for most people, the model will deliver results that are just as good as its pricier big brother’s. With well laid-out controls, a huge viewfinder, excellent autofocus and access to superb lenses, the X-T20 is just one more fantastic mirrorless camera from Fujifilm.

TIPS & TRICKS For aperture-priority shots, set shutter speed to auto and turn the lens ring to the desired f-number.

Stuff says +++++ The X-T20 nails the sweet spot between price and performance

Pressing the Q button will open a custom menu, giving you quick access to loads of settings.

O NOW ADD THIS Manfrotto 190 Go! Carbon Fibre Tripod You no longer have an excuse for wobbly photos with this carbon-fibre tripod. It weighs just 1.65kg. £235 / manfrotto.co.uk

Tapping an area on the 3in touchscreen will let you set the focus point or take an instant shot.

2

HOT BUY

3

4 5 6 BARGAIN BUY

7

Sony A7 III

Panasonic Lumix G9

£1999 / stuff.tv/SonyA7iii

£1499 / stuff.tv/LumixG9

This compact DSLR’s 24.2MP sensor, super-fast processor and capability to shoot 4K video at 30fps are already enough to make photographers drool. But it’s the spectacular low-light snapping skills that truly elevate this Sony to the elite bracket.

The G9 is the best Lumix camera to date and a cracking choice for wildlife or action photography. With 4K video and a variety of handy shooting modes on board, it’s one of most versatile high-end mirrorless cameras you can buy right now.

Stuff says +++++ A fantastic all-rounder that excels in low-light conditions

Stuff says +++++ The perfect companion for the travelling wildlife photographer

8 9 10

Sony A6500 +++++£1279 / stuff.tv/A6500 A cracking system cam for action photography, but stick with the A6300 if your budget is tight.

Fujifilm X-H1 +++++£1699 / stuff.tv/XH1 By adding in-body image stabilisation, Fuji has created a wonderful all-rounder.

Panasonic GH5S +++++£2199 / stuff.tv/GH5S A compact system camera that’s a pro at video, if slightly disappointing for stills.

Canon EOS 80D +++++£830 / stuff.tv/80D The 80D is so easy to use that even a toddler would get some great shots with it.

Nikon D500 +++++£1699 / stuff.tv/D500 The best APS-C camera you can buy, and well worth its slightly painful price tag.

Nikon D850 +++++£3499 / stuff.tv/D850 This super-cam has enough fantastic features to excel in pretty much any situation.

Fujifilm GFX 50S +++++£5999 / stuff.tv/GFX50S It’s not cheap, but no camera we’ve tested takes better photos than this.

FOR FULL REVIEWS OF ALL THE BEST NEW CAMERAS, VISIT STUFF.TV/TOP-10/SYSTEM-CAMERAS


TOP TENS BUDGET BUYS

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HOT BUY

SNES Classic Mini £80 / stuff.tv/ClassicMini TIPS & TRICKS Why bother splashing out over £200 on a games console when you can get the SNES Classic Mini for a fraction of that? Especially when you get 21 classic titles pre-installed on this nostalgia-inducing machine, including the likes of Super Metroid, A Link to the Past, Super Mario World and the never-before-released Star Fox 2. And with two controllers bundled in the box, you’ll be able to start the Super Mario Kart action right away.

Chickens killed you in Zelda again? You can rewind up to five minutes and pretend it never happened. For full-fat nostalgia you can read the instruction manual for each of the SNES games online.

Stuff says +++++ With 21 classic games installed, gamers won’t find better value anywhere

Stop trying to raid Bowser’s castle in one sitting, and use one of the four save slots to take a break.

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O NOW ADD THIS 8Bitdo Bluetooth Retro Receiver Fed up of those short cables? Use this clever device to connect most modern controllers wirelessly. £16.14 / 8bitdo.com

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HOT BARGAIN BUY BUY HOT BUY

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HOT BUY

Raspberry Pi Zero W

UE Wonderboom

from £9.16 / stuff.tv/PiZeroW

£58 / stuff.tv/Wonderboom

It might be nearly twice the price of the original Pi Zero, but when you’re still getting change from a tenner the wireless Pi is fantastic value. Simplicity is key, with no need to mess about with dongles or hubs. This also means your Pi projects can be squeezed into smaller places.

If you want a cheap portable Bluetooth speaker, you can’t go wrong with either the Jam Heavy Metal or the UE Wonderboom. But the latter makes this list for its funky design and waterproofing. As it’s Stuff’s reigning hi-fi gadget of the year, this is a super bargain.

Stuff says +++++ The Pi Zero was already brilliant; wireless add-ons make it better

Stuff says +++++ Our absolute favourite hi-fi gadget, and for well under £100

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Moov Now +++++ £45 / stuff.tv/MoovNow The best budget tracker you can buy – gives most Fitbits a run for their money.

Amazon Echo Dot +++++ £35 / stuff.tv/EchoDot This smart home assistant is a lot smaller than the full-size Echo, but it’s a much bigger bargain.

Beyerdynamic Byron +++++ £36 / stuff.tv/Byron The best-sounding earphones you’ll be able to find at this bargain price.

Ryze Tello ++++, £97 / stuff.tv/Tello Rule the skies without breaking the bank with this affordable toy drone.

Vodafone Smart N8 ++++, £85 / stuff.tv/SmartN8 As phone prices creep towards the realm of the ridiculous, Vodafone offers a bargain alternative.

Ikea Tradfri ++++, from £15 / stuff.tv/IkeaSmartLights Philips Hue might have colour-changing bulbs, but Ikea’s Tradfri smart lights are crazy cheap.

Mobvoi Ticwatch E ++++, £146 / stuff.tv/Ticwatch Fancy a watch that’s both smart and good at fitness tracking? This is our bargain ticker pick.

FOR FULL REVIEWS OF ALL THESE GADGETS, AND TO EXPLORE MORE TOP TEN LISTS, VISIT STUFF.TV/TOP-10


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5-MINUTE HACKS TOP TENS

IN THE NEXT ISSUE OF USE A PS4 PAD WITH YOUR SWITCH The Nintendo Switch’s Pro Controller is fantastic, but it costs a pretty penny at £55. Good news: if you’ve got a PS4, you can control your Switch with a DualShock: O Stick it to ’em To get your PS4 controller synced up to the Switch you’ll need to buy a Bluetooth USB-A dongle. 8BitDo’s Wireless USB Adapter will do the job for £15.59 from Amazon. Once it arrives, slot the Switch into its dock and then plug the dongle into the dock’s USB port.

O Switch allegiance With the Switch turned on, head to ‘System Settings’, search for and select ‘Controllers and Settings’ and then activate ‘Pro Controller Wired Communications’. O Share the love Now click the pairing button on your dongle and hold down ‘Options’ and ‘Share’ on the DualShock. A blue light on the pad will signal that pairing is complete, and you’re free to go and play Mario with a DualShock.

NEW iPHONES: LAUNCH SPECIAL

NOCTURNAL GADGETS

BROMPTON ELECTRIC RATED

ON SALE 4 OCTOBER SUBSCRIBE ONLINE NOW… HAVE STUFF DELIVERED FOR FREE & GET A KITSOUND CUBE SPEAKER! Call 01959 543747 Full details on p96

MAKE ALEXA YOUR ANDROID’S ASSISTANT Are you best of buds with Alexa, and miss her when you’re out and about? Well, you’ll be happy to know you can install her as your phone’s default assistant: ONeed some assistance? First of all, make sure you’ve got the Amazon Alexa app installed on your Android phone. Now go into your smartphone’s settings and locate ‘Assist app’. Because of Android’s flexibility, this route depends on what you own. With a OnePlus 5T, it’ll be Settings > Apps > Default > Assist & voice input > Assist app. Tap it, and you’ll get the option to make Alexa your default assistant.

OMost deaf Take note, though: unlike Google Assistant, Alexa can’t be woken up by voice on an Android phone. You’ll have to hold down the home button to get her attention instead.

FIND MORE HANDY 5-MINUTE HACKS AT STUFF.TV


NEXT BIG THING?

08:40

15 SECON D FULLY CH S TILL ARGED

3% CHAR

GED

o, this is called Zap&Go? Sounds like a pest controller. Zap&Go doesn’t deal in ants, wasps or bed bugs; it wants to exterminate the slow-charging battery that currently powers all your tech. The battery inside your phone uses a metal called lithium, which, as Samsung found out the hard way when Note 7s started spontaneously combusting in 2016, has a tendency to get quite hot. It also takes an age to charge, as you well know from all those times when you should’ve left 10 minutes ago but you can’t because your phone’s still only on 60%.

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So what do these use? Zap&Go’s batteries prevent unwanted pocket fireworks by using recyclable carbon, which holds its power for as long as lithium can, takes a fraction of the time to charge and can’t catch fire. It also has a life expectancy that’s 100 times longer, so the full charge from a two-year-old battery would last just as long as the one from a box-fresh phone. Plus, rather than having to find space inside for a separate component, carbon-ion batteries can also be built into the body of the device itself, so prepare for future phones and tablets to get thinner than ever.

But we’ll all be long gone by the time it’s ready, right? While the current Zap&Go batteries don’t have the capacity to power a smartphone, a scooter that charges in five minutes rather than eight hours is due to go on sale later this year, while a cordless electric drill that can be juiced in 15 seconds is expected in 2019. A robotic vacuum cleaner with a 20-second charge time and a self-driving car that can be ready to go in just 35 seconds are next on the agenda – and you could have one in your phone by 2022. Batteries have never been so exciting.

DON’T MISS THE NEXT ISSUE! ON SALE 4 OCT

[ Words Tom Wiggins ]

stupidly fast charging


ME T O S T EP O AT T R E A DMI With so many demands from work, home and family, there never seem to be enough hours in the day for you. Why not press pause once in a while, curl up with your favourite magazine and put a little oasis of ‘you’ in your day.

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