Apple HomePod the first verdict 2018’s best tech
Gadget wishlist 4K TV Style
Must-have kit to change your life The best buys, from £100 to £45k Laptops, TVs, home robots & more!
Loewe brings luxury design OLED to the masses
wireless headphones under £50
plus! How to buy a truly next-gen HDR TV
Today's best cameras
Sonossmashing multi-room systems Elite speakers with
Canon or Nikon? DSLR or CSC? We explain it all!
new! Honor View 10
top-tier wireless tech
Portable power Desktop-level gaming in an ultra-thin laptop
GPS Dash cams for under £150
Incredible AI, affordable price
The best new tech heading your way Edited by Claire Davies
Sony XF90 £TBC, sony.co.uk TV is the undisputed king now. Even Hollywood has acquiesced to this, having doffed its cap to a range of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video originals at this season’s film and TV awards. With ‘binge-racing’ the new binge-watching, no wonder so many of us are ploughing cash into our home cinema setups. 2018 will be a defining year for always-connected laptops, sure, but 4K HDR TVs are gearing up for glory too – and that’s due in part to Sony’s XF90 Series of LCD 4K HDR TVs. While we haven’t yet tested the XF90, the big spec, dynamic features and glossy looks are enticing. We’ve complained in the past that bigger screens have more noticeable motion blur during action scenes, but Sony says that this won’t be an issue for the XF90, thanks to its new X-Motion Clarity tech that keeps fast-moving images smooth and bright. Just as well, as this luxe Android telly also comes in a whopping 75-inch model. We’re quietly enamoured with the XF90’s minimalist good looks, fronted by an enhanced Triluminos display and built to support Dolby Vision, and we’re still getting our heads around all the high-performance tech and features crammed in, including Sony’s object-based HDR remaster and Super Bit Mapping 4K HDR tech. Come spring when the XF90 Series begins shipping, we know that we’ll be bingeracing series 2 of The Tick on Amazon.
LCDs aren’t as good at black levels as OLED, but Sony’s local dimming tech is phenomenal, and brings real dark depths to scenes
“Sony does it again – this will be the midlevel TV to beat.” Matt Bolton, Editor
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Made to measure The XF90 is available in four sizes: 49, 55, 65 and 75 inches. Also looking for a new soundbar? Appropriately enough, this telly is designed to work with Sonyâ€™s new Dolby-Atmos-compatible HT-XF9000 soundbar
Tech in motion Sonyâ€™s X-Motion Clarity tech uses a direct LED local dimming and backlight-boosting algorithm to control the brightness during fast-paced action scenes, ensuring that moving images remain smooth, with virtually no blur or loss in brightness
Bigger, better, richer, faster Sony has infused the slender frame of its forthcoming XF90 LCD 4K HDR TV Series with a bevy of tech, HDR10 and Dolby Vision support, a Triluminos Display and compatibility with a host of smart speakers, including Google Home and Amazon Echo
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Best touchscreen sat navs
TomTom Go 620 Pair this Bluetooth sat nav with your smartphone to take advantage of Google Now and Siri integration. Wi-Fi connectivity is included for seamless updates of lifetime maps (world), and intelligent route mapping learns the way you drive.
Garmin DriveSmart 61 LMT-S It has a larger display than the TomTom, but included lifetime maps are European rather than worldwide. Add to or update maps (via smartphone connectivity on the Smartphone Link app) on the device via wireless connection or USB.
Mio Mivue Drive 65 LM This feature-stacked sat nav has an Extreme HD dash cam to the rear. There’s also a built-in Lane Departure and Forward Collision Warning System, plus lifetime maps (most European countries included) and traffic updates.
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Life in the fast lane Want to know what it’s like to drive an everyday supercar? Spencer Hart spends a week with the Audi R8 V10 Plus Spyder to find out Ever since its introduction in 2007 the Audi R8, now in its second generation, has been called the ultimate everyday supercar. Recently Audi handed T3 the keys to an R8 V10 Plus Spyder for a week, and to say we were excited is an understatement. On the big day, we didn’t see the R8 coming, we heard it – the Audi announced its arrival with a sonorous growl. So where did we drive it first? Tesco, of course! We spent most time in Sport mode, flooring the throttle at any opportunity (it does 0-62mph in 3.3 seconds). Parking wasn’t too bad – there are sensors and a rear view camera for guidance – though the R8 is wide and the doors are long, so
getting in/out in a tight spot can be tricky when you’re not used to it. After loading the R8 with weekend bags we headed to the Lake District. This is probably a good time to mention fuel economy… as in, the R8 almost bankrupted us over the course of two days. It officially returns 22.6mpg, but we saw around 19mpg. Once back from the trip we made excuses to drive the car every day. Trip to the Post Office? No problem! Lift into town? Hop in! That’s because Audi’s R8 V10 really is one of the easiest mid-engined supercars to drive. Whether on a motorway, down twisty country roads or pootling around town, it takes everything in its stride.
Travel wash bags Keep it all together (and dry) on your journeys with these
Lifeventure Travel Wash Bag
the sound of summer From Barcelona to Germany, from rock to grime, travel writer Simon Horsford rounds up four of 2018’s unmissable music festivals Glastonbury may be taking a break this summer but that’s no excuse for you to miss out on an array of awesome festivals taking place across the UK and Europe. What’s more, they offer the chance to combine brilliant music and partying with exploring the local culture and cuisine. Take Primavera Sound in Barcelona (primaverasound.es; May 30-June 3). This ultra-hip event is fast becoming a regular pilgrimage for fans, and last year saw acts as diverse as Arcade Fire and Skepta. Non-stop music in a former German coal mine? Head to Melt (meltfestival.de; July 13-15) at Ferropolis, the City of Iron, near
Gräfenhainichen in the south-west of Saxony-Anhalt. Incredible live music takes place among huge remnants of industrial machinery, and this year’s line-up includes The xx and Florence + the machine. Aarhus in Denmark was European capital of culture last year and it makes sense to visit during the Northside festival (northside. dk; June 7-9), where acts include Björk and The National. Closer to home, meanwhile, the Italianate fantasy town of Portmeirion in Wales is the perfect host for Festival No 6 (festivalnumber6.com; September 6-9), named after the cult ’60s TV series. Keep your eyes peeled for the full line-up.
SLICE OF HEAVEN
This ultralight and compact wash bag, constructed from high-density ripstop nylon, has separate wet and dry compartments, two pockets, and a detachable mirrors. £17.99, lifeventure.com
Tumi Richmond Travel Kit Designed with an antibacterial interior and easy-grip leather side handle, this luxury hanging wash bag folds out neatly, giving you full access to your toiletries. £225, uk.tumi.com
food destinations Nice sun loungers, but how pretty is your pizza? The growing food-tourism trend is on the menu for Claire Davies Heated pool? Meh. If new holiday destinations want our business in 2018 they need serious #foodporn game, according to Heathrow’s recent Taste the World report shows that one in seven UK travellers chooses a holiday destination based on food seen on Instagram. So what are the most Instagrammed dishes? It’s all about negronis in Rome, egg waffle ice cream in New York, Frosé in LA, charcoal pizza in Toronto, raindrop cake (seaweed agar) in Singapore, and Cuban-style shredded beef with black beans and rice in Miami.
Patagonia Black Hole Cube If you want a tough wash bag that won’t let anything in or out - yes, we’re looking at you, toothpaste! – turn to Patagonia’s Black Hole Cube. £30, eu.patagonia.com/gb/en m a r c h 2 01 8 T3 21
2018’s gadget wishlist
We give this award to products we’ve tried at shows and expos that especially impressed us.
2018’s gadget wishlist Meet the tech that’s exciting us most this year, from smarter fitness gear to must-have mobile accessories, next-generation laptops, and even the rise of home robots
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2018â€™s gadget wishlist
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2018’s gadget wishlist
Audio-Technica puts a lot of gadget know-how into simple-looking headphones, and these are its most advanced in-ears yet. They use the company’s ‘Pure Digital Drive’ system, which allow the drivers that actually make the sound to be controlled directly by the digital audio signals, instead of having to go through a conversion to analogue audio first (which can spoil the sound if done badly). And with aptX HD for higherquality streaming, they’re perfect for getting every drop of crystal-clear audio piped directly to your ears. £349, eu.audio-technica.com
DJI Osmo Mobile 2
Steadicam-style gimbals are definitely not something that only professional video makers should be using. Whether you’re recording a family holiday or your next vlog for your millions of viewers, the Osmo Mobile 2 will be an amazingly useful buy. The point of a gimbal is to keep your phone steady and level when recording, no matter how much your hand wobbles. Shaking or sudden movements are absorbed, so everything is super-smooth when you watch it back. Brilliantly, if you’re recording yourself, it tracks you and keeps you in frame automatically. And it has handy controls on the handle. £129, dji.com
Black Box VR gym
Not everyone loves the idea of going to the gym to hang out among sweaty bodies in various states of visible exertion. Black Box is a concept to outfit you with a VR headset as you train. You’ll be playing a game customised for you by AI, controlled by using the gym equipment. Black Box says it’s great for really tough workouts, because “…your brain will perceive actual danger or urgency and push past your perceived limitations.” Which sounds horrifying, actually, but we love the idea. The first gym opens in San Francisco this year, rolling out to more locations in the future. £TBC, blackbox-vr.com
Bosch HMI Sennheiser HD820
This countertop dishwasher can fit in just about any kitchen, no matter how pokey. Instead of focusing on meeting the needs of a big family, it’s designed to hold the crockery of two full-place settings, including chunky stuff such as bowls. It doesn’t plumb in – you just pour in half a gallon of water when you need to use it, pop on the see-through top, and run the 10-minute cycle. Heatworks reckons it uses about 10 per cent of the water that handwashing the same stuff would. Precise temperature control means it can also be used for sanitising baby products. It will be out in late 2018. Under $300, myheatworks.com 3 4 T3 m a r c h 2 01 8
Sennheiser’s HD800 open-backed headphones have been the benchmark for audio performance for nearly nine years, but being open means sound leaks out and in. And so we now have the HD820, which are still designed around giving you the most transparent audio reproduction possible. Part of this is the glass exterior, which is literally transparent, so you can see the top-end driver tech, but is also designed to absorb stray sound waves to keep what you hear totally pure, and clear of any interference. £1,999, sennheiser.com
We’re filling our cars with gesture controls and touchscreens, but Bosch thinks this is all too distracting. Its concept for an ‘uncluttered’ cockpit moves as many controls as possible to a set of touchscreens, but the aim is also to do away with menus you have to tap through. The HMI (humanmachine interface) will predict what you might want to adjust proactively, and will put the correct control right at your fingertips. It’s also equipped with voice control, complete with natural language processing and an assistant that’s predictive, so it can respond to requests much more usefully. £TBC, bosch-automotive.com
Razer Project Linda
Razer Project Linda
We’ve seen phones turned into computers before, but Project Linda is the slickest implementation yet, for sure. The laptop is a dumb clamshell – just batteries, 200GB of storage, a 13-inch QHD touchscreen and a Razer Chrome multi-coloured keyboard. Slot the Razer Phone (which we’re big fans of) into a gap at the bottom and it powers the whole thing, providing Android with a desktop point-and-click interface to the screen at the top. The phone acts as trackpad, but the idea is that apps could have a special dual-screen interface, with the main view on the top screen, and special shortcuts visible on the phone (a bit like the Touch Bar on the MacBook Pro). It’s just a concept for now, and Razer has a history of showing off prototypes that never got anywhere, but we’d love to see this hit reality. £TBC, razerzone.com m a r c h 2 01 8 T3 3 5
the complete guide toâ€Ś
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The complete guide to... HDR TV & movies
the complete guide to…
HDR TV & movies
While the arrival of 4K promises us more pixels than ever before, it’s HDR you have to thank for improving the quality of the pixels along the way. Here’s what you need to know Words: Jon Porter Photography: Neil Godwin
hen you think of the next generation of TVs, your mind immediately goes to 4K, and with the new and improved format offering four times the amount of pixels as regular Full HD it’s easy to see why. 4K is certainly a big step forward in the detail stakes, but there’s another technology that’s arrived alongside it that offers almost as big a step forward for picture quality. That technology’s name? High dynamic range. While 4K (also known as Ultra HD) offers more in the way of pixels, HDRs focus is on improving the quality of individual pixels. If you’re buying a new 4K TV that doesn’t have it, you’re missing out on almost half of the benefits of the next generation of television.
What is HDR? Thankfully, the benefits of HDR mean that it’s quickly become an essential inclusion in most new televisions. So what is HDR, and how do you make sure you’re getting the most out of it?
It’s got a dull name, but the effect it creates is actually very impressive. HDR allows the pixels of your television to get both darker and lighter than they could previously. That means dark parts of the image will get truly black rather than simply a muddy grey, and whites can get so bright that they add an extra sparkle to an image that would otherwise be lacking. The number one benefit that this gives you when you watch an HDR screen is detail. Imagine a campfire scene from one of your favourite Westerns. The fire itself is likely to be nice and bright, while the world around it is bathed in shadow. This sort of situation is a nightmare for an SDR TV. If it wants to show off the detail in the fire, then it will have to adjust itself to be darker overall, to bring the fire’s brightness within the range it’s capable of displaying. Doing this, however, means that most of the shadows will be too dark for the TV to display, and all their detail and depth will be lost.
Try the opposite tactic and you’ll lose just as much detail in the bright fire, which will become a blurry mess. Sure, you’ll be able to see what’s going on in the shadows, but at what cost? By increasing the spectrum of brightness that a TV is capable of displaying, then detail can be preserved in both incredibly bright and incredibly dark parts of an image at all times. But it’s not just increased levels of detail that HDR has to offer. A wider range of brightnesses means that images have the appearance of having more depth. Imagine, in this instance, a TV displaying a picture of a bowl of fruit. There might be a bit of a reflection on the waxy surface of an apple or grapes, while between the fruit are shadows created by the light around them. By increasing the darkness of the shadows between them, and increasing the brightness of any reflections, HDR lets you see each piece of fruit as a 3D object, rather than just a picture on a screen.
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Each issue, we show you how to set up a key piece of connected-home tech. This month… Amazon Echo Plus
As well as the addition of a Zigbee hub, the Echo Plus also features improved sound over the original Echo, thanks to Dolby audio processing, which makes the most of the 2.5-inch downward-firing woofer and 0.8-inch tweeter
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If you’ve already got a smart home hub attached to your Zigbeecompatible devices (such as a Philips Hue bridge), you need to unplug it and remove it within the manufacturer’s app. Now you’re good to go when installing your smart home device.
Streamline your smart home with the Amazon echo plus Connect up your smart home gadgets without installing additional hubs Want to save socket space in your smart home? Then Amazon’s latest smart speaker has the answer: the Echo Plus. Think of it as a regular Echo, but with a handy Zigbee smart hub built in. Big deal, you might say, the Echo already controls your smart home gadgets already, right? Well, not like this. With the Echo Plus you don’t need to install the hubs you’d normally require if you wanted to use devices such as Hive plugs or Philips light bulbs; the Plus acts as the go-between on your phone and smart stuff instead. That means fewer boxes sitting around, not to mention you won’t lose the various sockets and ports they typically gobble up. And technically, because you don’t need those hubs, you can save money – probably enough to purchase yourself an Echo Plus (£139.99, amazon.co.uk). At present, there are only a handful of smart home devices that are compatible with the Echo Plus – we’re talking Hive plugs and lights, Philips Hue lights and Osram Lightify lights – but considering the wealth of gadgets already supported by the Zigbee protocol (you can see the list at zigbee.org), it’s safe to say that the list is going to expand in good time. Installing compatible devices is dead easy – more so than regular smart home devices, in fact. Instead of having to add relevant Skills for each new smart home device you want to add within the Alexa app, you simply connect them up, turn them on and the Echo Plus will automatically detect them and add each one to the device list – just say, “Alexa, discover my devices”. The beauty of using the Echo Plus (or any Echo, for that matter) to control your many smart home devices is that because they’re all contained in one place, it makes it easy to control them without having to resort to opening multiple apps just to turn something on. Naturally, this being an Echo, you can just tell Alexa what to do, as well. But before you rush out to place your order, there’s a caveat: without the individual hubs in place, you can’t control devices, like the Hive or Philips Hue bulbs, from their respective apps. So you lose some of the granular control that you’d normally enjoy. Once Amazon has sorted this, the Plus will be pretty much the perfect addition to any smart home.
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State of the art
Premium multiroom speakers Transform your listening environment with the best in house-wide wireless audio Words: Alex Cox Photography: Neil Godwin
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Premium multiroom speakers
ultiroom audio used to be a pipe dream. Then Sonos, Pure and friends came along and made it a reality. Now things have moved even further. We’re in a new era of Wi-Fi connected versatile devices, and everyone’s getting in on the act – including some of the finest names in audio technology. And if you want the best sound and the classiest hardware, Bang & Olufsen, Naim and Devialet have to be on your list. There’s no one room for listening, though, and a stock speaker isn’t going to work for every situation. So we’ve not just tested one candidate: we’ve brought together a massive selection from each manufacturer. B&O’s interconnected BeoPlay and BeoSound ranges, which span the spectrum from
bookshelf to self-contained furniture, work together in harmony; Naim’s Mu-so and Mu-so Qb are inextricably linked both in style and sound; Devialet’s Phantom line, while packaged the same, goes all the way up to 4,500W and all the way down to 14Hz. Going multiroom doesn’t mean doing it all at once, but you’ll need to pick a brand and stick to it – so the ability to expand is crucial. We’ve also paid special attention to the apps and connectivity of each of these lines, a crucial factor in making the purchase of a multiroom setup worth considering. All three ecosystems are pleasingly capable, and firing a single speaker is usually a trivial affair that doesn’t need any special software, but you’re heavily reliant on that app if you want to do multiroom right.
What’s on test…
Naim Two units on test: the wide, serious Mu-so and the smaller (but not tiny) Mu-so Qb. These are compatible with the rest of Naim’s hi-fi line, including its music streamers. From £649 naimaudio.com
Bang & Olufsen A top-to-bottom range of multiroom-capable speakers of all shapes and sizes, with something for every budget and room. Some are plain, some are artistic pieces. From £269 bang-olufsen.com
Devialet The ultra-engineered Phantom line, a potent combo of extreme amplification, premium components and the most animated woofers we’ve ever seen. From £1,290 devialet.com
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State of the art test 01:
DESIGN Speakers have to sit prominently, so which fits best in the home? igh-end one-piece speakers are an opportunity for designers to go absolutely nuts. Thus our three systems feature a host of innovative, unusual and plain barmy form factors. We’d be remiss not to start with Bang & Olufsen’s stunning BeoSound 1, a conical aluminium number with a cap that seems to float in mid-air. That top piece, not just a smooth rotary volume control, actually contains the main driver, firing downwards over a diffuser, which sends sound flying in all directions. A second bass driver fires downwards in the base. B&O is also responsible for the bonkers BeoPlay A9, a wooden-legged item of sound furniture which, in another life, might have picked up Sky TV. It’s a statement maker, all right. You’re not forced to chuck out an armchair to go multiroom, though: the M3 is compact and calm, and the wool-covered boomerang of the A6 is striking and convenient. Devialet, bar slight differences in colour, doesn’t vary design from one Phantom to another, and they’re an acquired taste. The unit design – which, looks like a shiny vacuum cleaner in the right light – is unique,
BEST FOR DESIGN
Top: Naim’s flywheel volume control feels awesome and displays the source Above: The undulating curves of the Mu-so speaker grilles are a nice touch
Naim’s Mu is equal parts sexy and serious, with its cool aluminium casing but it’s the internal design that shines, with a Class A and Class D amplifier mixing analogue and digital amplification, a heavyweight aluminium frame, and a sealed twin-woofer combination that positively animates when it’s chucking out bass. It’s come to something when Naim’s gorgeous Mu-so is the most normal-looking piece of equipment on test. Its wide footprint, cool aluminium casing, floaty Perspex base and undulating grille are equal parts sexy and serious; the smaller Qb strikes the same design notes in its dense cube. The Mu-so range is also the only one on test that offers any reasonable visual feedback, displaying the source you’re playing on the volume knob – B&O favours RGB LEDs that are usually only useful for troubleshooting, while Devialet offers no lights, no controls, and just a single button, utilising audio cues instead. 7 0 T3 M a r c h 2 01 8
Beoplay A9: Price £1,999 Power 480 watts Connectivity Wi-Fi, AirPlay, DLNA, Bluetooth 4.0, Line-in, USB, Ethernet Size/weight 701x908x415mm, 15kg Beoplay A6: Price £729 Power 150 watts Connectivity Wi-Fi, AirPlay, DLNA, Bluetooth 4.0, Line-in, Ethernet Size/weight 536x298x144mm, 6kg Beoplay M3: Price £529 Power 120 watts Connectivity Wi-Fi, AirPlay, Bluetooth 4.2, Line-in, Ethernet Size/weight 112x151x14mm, 1.46kg Beosound 1: Price £1,085 Power 60 watts Connectivity Wi-Fi, AirPlay, Bluetooth 4.1, Ethernet Size/weight 162x162x327mm, 3.5kg
TEST 01: WInner
Naim Mu-so / Qb Naim’s visual restraint is commendable. The Mu-so duo is slick and sexy, but really only takes over the room when it’s chucking out the sounds.
Premium multiroom speakers Bang & Olufsen
Top: Woofers don’t come much sexier than Devialet’s high-pressure cones Above: The Phantom’s driver, placed at the front, is either made from aluminium or (in the Gold version) titanium Top: The floating cap of the Beosound 1 contains its main driver Above: The A9 is highly impressive and dominates any room it’s in
Specs Naim Mu-so: Price £995 Power 450 watts Connectivity Wi-Fi, AirPlay, Bluetooth, Line-in, Optical, Ethernet Size/weight 122x628x256mm, 13kg Naim Mu-so Qb: Price £649 Power 300 watts Connectivity Wi-Fi, AirPlay, Bluetooth, Line-in, Optical, Ethernet Size/weight 210x218x212mm, 5.6kg
Suits your room, sir What’s the best choice for a specific room?
Specs Devialet Phantom: Price: £1,290 Power: 1,200 watts Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Airplay, Bluetooth, Optical, Ethernet Size/weight: 350x430x582m, 12.7kg Devialet Silver Phantom: Price: £1,690 Power: 3,000 watts Connectivity: Wi-Fi, AirPlay, Bluetooth, Optical, Ethernet Size/weight: 350x430x582mm, 12.7kg Devialet Gold Phantom: Price: £2,190 Power: 4,500 watts Connectivity: Wi-Fi, AirPlay, Bluetooth, Optical, Ethernet Size/weight: 350x430x582mm, 12.7kg
You want the best listening experience, you want the ability to go loud, but you also don’t want to overpower a room with a loudspeaker that’s completely unsuitable. Aside from the dinky BeoPlay M3 (and, perhaps, the Mu-so Qb, which kicks out a serious din for its size) everything here has enough grunt for a room in excess of 1,500 square feet – there’s no bad choice. The
Phantom selection and the BeoPlay A9 may be too much, realistically, for a bedroom or study, but as long as you can position your unit close to a non-reflective wall and away from obstructions it’s not worth worrying any further. The rounded BeoSound 1 is designed to offer 360° sound, so is suited to situations where you want less directionality.
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Man vs Tech
The Mission Abandoned in the wilderness. Dumped beside a noisy road. Pawed at by inquisitive wildlife. Gotta love another T3 assignment. I was outfitted with protective and distraction-beating gear and tasked with trying to work under demanding conditions, to try to answer the ultimate salient question: can tech help you work anywhere? Spoiler alert: mostly it simply depends on just how inquisitive those raccoons actually getâ€Ś
How to work anywhere
t3 vs raccoons
How to work
anywhere Can your average office bod really get on with stuff anywhere? We insert our T3 specimen into a variety of hostile and distracting conditions, armed with tech, to find out Words: Damian Hall Photography: Olly Curtis
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Man vs Tech
onald Trump’s screw-loose tweets… other stuff on the internet… other people saying stuff all the time. The modern world fires a Gatling gun of distractions at us 24/7, pushing our already short-lived attention spans. It’s a wonder I can even finish this sen… Where was I? Anyway. It’s hard enough for the lowly scribe to get an honest day’s work done as it is, what with all these distractions, but what if I were dumped in scenarios where it was even harder to work than normal, due to distraction or remoteness? Could super-smart tech save the day and aid a fruitful spell of truthpolishing, despite the odds? I like T3’s Editor. And I thought he liked me. But then he dumps me in the middle of ruddy muddy nowhere. The raw wilderness. The raging wilds. Well, some remote and muddy woodlands anyway. There are hungry-looking squirrels about. Probably bears, too. And the clouds above are pregnant with rain. Plus, normally, muddy green places mean the very worst kind of horrors: unreliable internet. Luckily I’ve got a pop-up tent to keep the wet stuff off (it looks squirrelresistant too), and T3 has kindly provided a chair (MP Essentials Travel Sports Directors Chair – £39.99 from amazon.co.uk). Sure, there’s not enough space to swing an angry squirrel in here, but I’m dry and can happily peck away at my keyboard. Talking of which, the 13-inch MacBook Pro is perfectly portable at just 1.37kg and has all-day battery life, but the juice will empty eventually. However, I also have a Mophie battery pack with high-power USB-C port,
RIGHT Working in the wild is a piece of cake when you have the right equipment
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capable of charging the MacBook Pro and extending its life by a whopping 14 hours, should I not be rescued from this muddy hellhole in time. Into the woods In the meantime, for research and to keep up with depressing tweets, I need the internet. Rather than faffing with semi-satisfactory hotspots and cumbersome cables, the iPhone X provides the laptop with easy wireless tethering. I’m pleasantly surprised to have enough signal to ping off some emails and work about as fast as I normally would in an office. (You don’t need an iPhone for this, but with the two Apple devices signed into iCloud, you don’t need passwords.)
in sight, but there’s lots of aggressive, noisy traffic. However with my Bose earphones’ noise cancellation on and some T’Pau at high volume, the road is barely a whisper, even as the windy blasts from trucks nearly bowl me over. The T3 Editor calls. I answer the third time. But though I can hear him, my mic is buffeted by the winds and the general combustion-engine cacophony around me. Shame. However, what with me having no roof, the elements could be a problem again. I do however have a nifty little laptop tent, much smaller than the full cover of the other tent, but it shelters my all-important MacBook Pro from both rain and deceptively disruptive sunshine, which can render a screen
With my noise cancellation on, The road is barely a whisper, even as the windy blasts from trucks nearly bowl me over If I temper my temptation to Google ‘hungry squirrel eats man,’ I can work here unaided. In fact as I have no office colleagues to pester me, I’m more efficient, plus the faster I type the warmer I am. The lack of teamaking facilities is an issue, but a few more hours and desperation will make those nearby brown puddles seem perfectly palatable (and will taste just as good as the T3 Editor’s cuppas). So a win for tech. On to scenario two and I find myself abandoned beside a busy dual carriageway. There’s not an aggressive squirrel
unseeable. I’ve no excuses, sadly, but to get on with some good oldfashioned twee… er, work. Even if I get a few tooting horns passing by and an indecipherable, not wholly supportive, comment from a passerby. I feel less comfortable about being here all day, but it’s another clear win for top tech. Now for the ultimate challenge: working around raccoons. T3 wanted to put me in the most distracting environment they could think of, which was a monkey house at Bristol Zoo. Sadly, the zoo bods wouldn’t let us in there because
How to work anywhere Apart from the honking and people shouting out of their car windows, working at the roadside was quite peaceful
Work-anywhere gear the kit that helped damian focus
MacBook Pro 13-inch with Touch Bar At just 1.37kg and razorthin, this MacBook Pro is highly portable, yet offers great speed and a bright, clear Retina display, plus 10 hours of battery life, so is perfect for travelling. It’s pretty tough, too. From £1,249, apple.com
Bose QuietComfort 35
By being durable and water- and dust-resistant, the iPhone X is suitably robust for the woods, plus Face ID means you can’t be hacked by a raccoon. Battery life is also claimed to support up to 12 hours of solid internet use. From £999, apple.com
These headphones have some serious noise cancelling, blocking the loudest distractions. Plus built-in Google Assistant means you can play music, receive texts and get answers without so much as a glance at your phone. £330, bose.co.uk
Mophie powerstation USB-C XXL Universal Battery The high-power USB-C port charges at up to 30W, enough for our MacBook Pro. It has a second USB port, too. The 19,500mAh battery offers more than a full laptop charge. £119, mophie.com
iCap MID PRO Notebooktent Similar to those seen at F1 or Premier League grounds, it’ll shield devices from rain, sun and is even frost-resistant. It collapses to a fraction of its size, and is light enough to lug around with ease. £74, amazon.co.uk
OUTCAMER Shower Tent Waterproof Portable Tent This water-repellent temporary home won’t fit all the family (or even a family of raccoons) and does resemble a portaloo, but provides the right kind of in-tents scenario. £24.99, amazon.co.uk M a r c h 2 01 8 T3 79
How to buy the right camera
ou only have to do a quick search online to get an idea of the overwhelming choice on offer in the current digital camera market. With models to suit every budget and skill level, how do you know which one is right for you? There are several factors to bear in mind, including what subjects you’re likely to shoot and what features are most important to you – think size, sensors and style. If you want a camera to take on your travels and business trips, for example, a compact mirrorless camera might be the way to go. Or, if image quality comes above everything else, a DSLR is the obvious investment. We’ve broken down the competing cameras out there into a few distinct categories, in the hope of making it easy to decide which one to go for. In this expert guide, we’ve picked out the best of the best in each camera type, and explained some key terms so that you know what to look for. Once you’ve got your camera body, you’ll then need to decide on a lens to attach. Lenses are an important part of your camera setup, but to the uninitiated, are baffling tubes of glass with numbers and confusing acronyms printed on the side. With this in mind, if you don’t know which lens will give you the creative freedom to capture the photos you want, read our advice at the end of the guide. Happy shopping, and happy shooting.
4k video As well as shooting stills, most modern cameras now double up as movie-making powerhouses. 4K and 1080p are standard in most high-quality mainstream digital cameras. The 4K part can be tricky when it comes to resolution – some record in the Ultra HD standard 3840x2160 resolution, while some record in the slightly wider 4096x2160 resolution (also known as ‘cinema 4K’). The latter can be slightly harder to work with when it comes to editing if you’re not using professional video editing software. Either way, you’re getting four times as many pixels as Full HD, meaning more information, sharper videos and greater clarity. Almost every major camera manufacturer has now introduced 4K video recording somewhere in its lines, but spending more doesn’t necessarily mean the inclusion of this feature. Canon recently shocked the industry by omitting 4K from its longawaited 6D Mark II. It might seem savvy to future-proof your camera investment by opting for a 4K model. However, if you know you’re only ever going to take photos, leave video capabilities out of the mix when coming to a decision.
m a r c h 2 01 8 T3 8 3
How to buy the right camera
Retro-styled Mirrorless cameras Now you can have style and substance. Turn heads as you snap with a traditional-looking model
Lifestyle shoots Outdoor adventures less ideal for
Fast-paced action Large format printing
Sleek and stylish Simple to operate disadvantages
Smaller sensor Less substantial grip
8 4 T3 m a r c h 2 01 8
irrorless cameras, also known as compact system cameras (CSCs) differ from DSLRs by the absence of a mirror as part of the shooting mechanism. This means they’re smaller and lighter, but can still take interchangeable lenses. Retro-inspired mirrorless cameras take design cues from point-and-shoot film cameras, so will suit you well if you want a portable model. Good-looking cameras might seem less hardy, but for a beautiful design that’s also weatherproof, take a look at the Olympus OM-D E-M1 II (£1,849). It’s constructed out of a magnesium alloy, yet still carves a svelte figure at only 500g. If you’re someone who wants to push your kit to the limits, this is the model to go for - it wouldn’t be out of place up a mountain or on the ski slopes. We’ve picked it because it’s Olympus’ most advanced Micro Four Thirds camera, with class-leading continuous shooting performance including a 60fps burst rate and five-axis in-body image stabilisation (a feature not yet
found on DSLRs). It’s ideal if you want highspeed shooting and an advanced autofocus system in a body that’s smaller than a DSLR equivalent. What might make you pause is the similar price to a DSLR, yet smaller sensor size. Another premium all-rounder is the Fujifilm X-T2 (£1,749). It’s a contender if you’re not set on one genre of photography and want a jack-of-all-trades camera that balances ergonomics and image quality. However, autofocus tracking isn’t its strongest suit, so it isn’t the most reliable for high-speed action. Not all mirrorless cameras have a viewfinder, but the X-T2’s EVF is large, bright and crystal clear. This is also the first Fujifilm X-series camera to shoot 4K. The Fujifilm X-T2 is another comprehensive camera package in a tough yet portable shell. Although there’s traditionally been less choice of lenses for mirrorless cameras compared to DSLRs, Fuji has a growing range of zooms in its collection. The small form-factor, tactile controls and solid build make it a firm favourite in this category.
THE DESIGN AWARD
Honor View 10 Honor’s latest flagship handset goes toe-to-toe with the OnePlus 5T, but can it deliver a knockout blow? £449 store.hihonor.com
ince November last year, the OnePlus 5T has ruled over the mid-range phone market largely unchallenged. Its great screen, affordable price point, and premium design and features made it an absolute no-brainer if you weren’t shopping with a flagship-level budget, and while other devices like the Honor 9 had it beaten on price, or on specific functions (like the ZenFone 4’s excellent image-taking capabilities), they didn’t offer the same level of holistic package.
New challenger OS Android 8.0 + EMUI 8.0 Screen 5.99-inch, 18:9 Processor Huawei Kirin 970 RAM 6GB Storage 128GB Camera 16MP + 20MP rear, 13MP front Battery 3,750 mAh Ports USB-C, 3.5mm headphone jack Weight 172g Dimensions 157x74.98x6.97mm
9 2 T3 m a r c h 2 01 8
Fast-forward to now and, finally, a worthy rival has emerged: the Honor View 10. As well as largely matching the specs and functionality of the OnePlus 5T, the Honor View 10 also brings some on-trend, flagship-level boons to the fight. But can the Honor View 10 take down the OnePlus 5T and reign supreme in the hotlycontested mid-range handset market? The first thing that strikes you when you take the Honor View 10 out
Honor View 10
easy to hold Honor’s flagship rocks a hefty 5.99-inch 18:9 screen, but thanks to a svelte bezel, the phone feels a lot less unwieldy than you might think
form factor Believe it or not, but the Honor View 10 is slimmer than both the iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy S8
of the box is how thin it is. At just 7mm thick, the phone is slimmer than heavyweights like the iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy S8, and makes the lightweight device feel very lithe in the hand. The only thing that interrupts the streamlining of its form-factor is the phone’s two protruding rear cameras. The Honor View 10 is available to buy in Navy Blue (photographed here) and Midnight Black. The phone features an aluminium rather than glass back, which doesn’t quite deliver the wow-factor we were hoping for, but it still looks smart, and the sides of the device are nicely bevelled, giving it a premium feel overall. The screen edges are also slimline, which helps to emphasis the size of the 5.99-inch screen, and keep its overall size down. Just like the Honor 9, which T3 thought was tremendous value on review, the Honor View 10’s fingerprint sensor is located on the front-bottom of the phone. We’d have preferred to have it at the rear for easier access using one hand, as with
the OnePlus 5T - and because the View 10’s menu is completely on-screen, the button could have been removed altogether to make the front of the handset appear even smoother. Oddly, the phone doesn’t come with an official water resistance rating, just like the Huawei Mate 10. We’re guessing that there is some degree of water resistance, but it’s slightly disconcerting nonetheless. At the bottom of the handset you’ll find a near-identical setup to the OnePlus 5T, including a USB-C charging port, speaker and, unlike many high-end flagship phones today, a headphone jack.
Wide style The Honor View 10 is equipped with a 5.99-inch IPS LCD screen, which boasts the trendy ultra-wide 18:9 aspect ratio that we’ve seen on almost every new phone recently. The resolution is Full HD, which at 18:9 means 1080x2160, and is very similar to that on the OnePlus 5T, aside from the fact that the latter has an OLED screen. This difference in screen tech
The View 10 sports a front-mounted fingerprint scanner for thumb logins
means that the Honor View 10’s display looks slightly sharper to the eye than the OnePlus 5T, but doesn’t quite match its colour and contrast. The screen is powered by a 3,750mAh battery, which is a marked bump up over the OnePlus 5T’s 3,300mAh, however, it is also a little lower than the Huawei Mate 10’s, which is rated at 4,000 mAh. From our informal testing here at T3, the View 10’s battery is more than capable of pushing the phone through a day with moderate usage. The USB-C port delivers speedy charging when the battery runs dry – Honor says you can get to 50 per cent in 30 mins. The View 10 runs Android 8.0 Oreo with Honor’s own EMUI 8.0 skin on top. This is a moderate skin over stock Android, and the exact same user interface found on the Huawei Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro. We haven’t exactly being enamoured with past incarnations of EMUI, but this new version is a definite improvement. However, for those who are not familiar with it out of the box there is definitely a degree of relearning to m a r c h 2 01 8 T3 9 3
win! 1 of 3 ion360 U 360-degree cameras and accessory kits Upgrade your phone with the ION360 U and create breathtaking 360-degree photos and videos, anywhere you go
The ION360 U is a 360° camera that attaches to your phone and captures images and videos in 360°, bringing your favourite moments to life by allowing you to look around within them. This unique device clips onto the top of your phone, instantly giving you 360° capabilities wherever you are. It captures 360° photos at 7.4MP and 360° videos at 4K resolution, so your photos and stills will look crisp, no matter which angle you choose to look at them from. You can view and play back anything you’ve recorded in the ION360 app, available for iOS and Android, and if you’re the kind of person who likes to share your favourite moments with the world, you can also live stream your 360° videos in 4K to either YouTube Live or Facebook Live.
The ION360 U comes with a protective case, which also doubles up as a battery charger, so not only will your phone stay safe when you’re on the move, the extra juice from the 1,260mAh battery will keep your phone topped up, even on extended shooting sessions. The ION360 U is compatible with the iPhone 7/7 Plus, Samsung S8/8+( with iPhone 8/8 Plus and iPhone X coming soon) and is available in either grey or teal. We have three amazing ION360 U cameras to give away, and each one will come with an accessory kit consisting of a Groupie Stick Tripod, Lens Cover and Base Stand. If you’re lucky enough to win one, you can choose the exact model that fits your device. To find out more about the ION360 U, visit ion360.com.
To enter, simply answer the following question:
What phone is the ion360 U Not compatible with? Samsung S8 iPhone 7 Google Pixel 2 Enter today at: bit.ly/t3ion360u
The competition closes 15 March 2018. By taking part, you agree to be bound by the competition rules: futureplc.com/competition-rules. Entries must be received by midnight on 15 March 2018 (UK time). Open to UK residents aged 18 years and over. There will be three winners, entitled to one ION360U and one accessory kit each. The prize is non-transferable and non-refundable. There is no cash alternative.
M a r c h 2 01 8 T3 10 3
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Samsung’s new flagship phone revealed High-tech home gym equipment tested Is that case really drop-proof? j u n e 2 01 5 T3 1 21
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Best of the best best of…
However serious you are about your TV, movies and gaming setups, we’ve got the perfect buys for a tricked-out living room OLED 4K TV
Value 4K TV Sony A1 Series Incredible 4K HDR is only a tiny part of this awesome package. The panel (55- or 65-inch) and bezel are super-slim, it offers lightning response times, and great sound comes from a screen that’s also a speaker. From £2,800, sony.co.uk
Top-end 4K TV
HiSense N6800 This is some serious 4K quality for the price, with vibrant colours and HDR support, excellent detail, and a wealth of smart features. The design is sharp, and it comes in 50-, 55-, 65- or 75-inch sizes. From £549, hisense.co.uk
4K HDR projector Loewe bild 9 Loewe creates art just as much as it does high-end AV equipment, and its towering, sculptural bild 9 TV is as attractive as it is exquisitely powerful, with a hidden soundbar and top picture quality. £8,990, loewe.tv
Value 4K Blu-ray player
Optoma UHZ65 This projector brings cinema-like laser 4K projector to the home for an affordable price, meaning giant-screen Ultra HD detail with the richness of HDR. It’s unbeatable for home movie magic. £4,999, acer.com
Top-end 4K Blu-ray player
Xbox One S Yes, this is primarily a games console, but it’s a damn good UHD Blu-ray player too. Why pay more for something that just plays discs when you could be getting your game on with the money left over? £199, microsoft.com
OPPO UDP-203 If you’re a home cinema enthusiast and want the best picture quality possible, this is the player you need. 4K playback is impeccable, and Dolby Vision HDR support means amazing depth. £649, oppodigital.com
Universal remote Amazon Fire TV with 4K Ultra HD The new super-small Fire TV 4K offers Ultra HD movies with HDR support, as well as Dolby Atmos 3D audio where supported, for a seriously cinematic experience from a tiny box. £69, amazon.co.uk
AV receiver Q Acoustics M3 This brilliant soundbar offers balanced drivers, room-filling sound and an integrated subwoofer. Massive audio in a small, attractive bar, ideal for adding cinematic sound, with no messing around. £299, qacoustics.co.uk
Portable games console Nintendo Switch Not the most powerful current-gen console, but with Nintendo’s legendary games line-up and the flexibility to play in stacks of different control configurations, it’s the best portable machine you can buy. £279, nintendo.com 10 6 T3 M a r c h 2 01 8
Logitech Harmony Elite A dual-purpose remote, as at home in your hands as it is sat in the corner of your living room, controlling everything from your TV to your lighting. You can even control it from a phone app! £279, logitech.com
MArantz NR1608 Small enough for any set-up but packing in features, this receiver offers 7.2-channel surround, Dolby Atmos and DTS:X 3D audio, eight 4K 60Hz HDMI ports, Wi-Fi music playback and smart 4K upscaling. £595, marantz.co.uk
4K games console Xbox One X The most powerful console ever is a true technical marvel, capable of astonishing graphics in native 4K and HDR, and Dolby Atmos 3D sound. It even includes highquality 4K Blu-ray playback. £449, xbox.com/en-gb
Best of the best best of…
From wireless convenience to audiophile heaven, this is the gear you need to make the most of your favourite music Multi-room speakers
Sonos One Pound for pound, this is a hell of a lot of speaker for your money, easily filling a room, and expandable through the versatile Sonos speaker range. Built-in Alexa support clinches it for Sonos. £199, sonos.com
Portable Bluetooth speaker
Naim Mu-so It’s expensive, but there just isn’t a better sounding or looking wireless speaker for the price. The sound is monumentally excellent, and it supports a solid range of streaming options. £1,199, naimaudio.com
Wireless over-ear headphones
Cambridge Audio yoyo M These portable speakers are made for wireless stereo sound and come as a pair (though you can use one on its own). They offer punchy audio in an impressively wide sound field, and look great, too. £299, cambridgeaudio.com
Wireless in-ear headphones
Bowers & Wilkins PX These stylish headphones are also technical marvels, boasting adjustable noise cancellation via an app. They pause automatically when you take them off, last ages, and sound absolutely fantastic. £329, bowers-wilkins.co.uk
wired over-ear headphones
Flares Pro These headphones plug into a mini-DAC you need to clip about your person, but the result is truly amazing sound for the size. It’s audiophile stuff, with beautiful stereo channel separation. £349, flareaudio.com
wired in-ear headphones
Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 The around-ear version of Sennheiser’s brilliant range offers supreme comfort, good portability thanks to a folding design, and – most importantly – fantastic sound quality in all situations. £127, en-uk.sennheiser.com
Portable hi-res player
SENNHEISER MOMENTUM M2IE The M2IE boast fantastically detailed sound, plenty of bass and dedicated versions for both iOS and Android. They’re comfortable too, and impossible to beat for the price. £70, en-uk.sennheiser.com
Astell & Kern Kann A substantial audio device at nearly 300g, but one that does incredible things. It’s a DAC in its own right, it’s an astonishing hi-res player, and its massive battery will keep you rocking for days on end. £899, astellnkern.com
Wharfedale Diamond 220 These are great value, yet offer up 13cm Kevlar mid/bass drivers, deep-dish tweeters and outstandingly punchy sound. Place them next to a wall for the strongest output from the rear-set bass port. £179 (pair), wharfedale.co.uk
Naim Uniti Atom An immensely stylish streamer with a great screen, that’s compatible with a host of music streaming services. It’ll play anything on your network and via Chromecast, AirPlay and Bluetooth aptX. £1,999, naimaudio.com
Hi-fi stereo amp Cambridge Audio Azur 851A Nine easily selected inputs and Cambridge Audio’s own patented Class XD amplifier design combine to make this a truly unique and special amp, one that can stand up to any musical test. £1,400, cambridgeaudio.com
Turntable Marantz TT5005 Not a looker, but when it comes to practicality and sound, the TT5005’s automatic tone arm and moving magnet cartridge are unparalleled. It even includes a pre-amp for amps without phono input. £169, marantz.co.uk M a r c h 2 01 8 T3 107
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