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IT’S TIME TO…
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first 8k screen tested
Meet the best gadgets for a better life…
A high-tech bike worth
Your home cinema!
Your next phone! Samsung Galaxy S9 reviewed
Dolby Atmos soundbars Rated Your smarter home!
Sony Xperia XZ2
Top connected home gear & techy tools
true wireless headphones!
2018’s dark horse handset
Your new Watch! Amazing timepieces to instantly upgrade your style
What to watch in 4K: the best movies & TV
The best new tech heading your way Edited by Claire Davies
Huawei MateBook X Pro From ¤1,499 (£1,335, huawei.com) If 2018 has done anything for us so far, it’s made finding the perfect laptop easier. We’ve been treated to some very desirable machines since the dawn of the year, and now, in the battle for laptop screen supremacy and overall powerhouse performance, Huawei’s new tricked-out notebook is vying for the crown. The Matebook X Pro’s 3K LTPS touchscreen boasts a rich 3000x2000 resolution, while the FullView design delivers an astonishing 91 per cent screen-to-body ratio – that’s a lot of visual real estate, perfect for chilling with a movie or, for the real party animals, balancing a monster spreadsheet. Oh yeah. The MateBook X Pro has a latest-gen Intel Core i7 processor while Nvidia’s GeForce MX150 graphics card, supercharged with 2GB of GDDR5 RAM, should smooth the way for creative tasks such as photo editing. From our experience, notebook audio can be lacklustre, but Huawei’s turned up the volume with a quad speaker, split-frequency setup. Dolby Atmos is also in the mix for immersive sound. Our favourite feature is hidden in the keyboard. It’s the X Pro’s webcam, ready to pop up whenever you want to make a video call and making it damn near impossible for hackers to film you when you’re sleeping.
The MateBook X Pro goes from zero to productivity hero in just 7.8 seconds thanks to its one-touch power button, so you can get to work as soon as you clock in
We love the unusual screen and slim profile here – very smart! Matt Bolton, Editor
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Ultra portable You get a 13-inch screen in the X Pro, but the footprint is smaller than a piece of A4 paper. It’s only 14.6mm thick, too, and weighs 1.33kg, making it a really capable, supermobile work machine
Big screen sensation The X Pro’s crowning glory is its FullView screen. The 91 per cent screen-to-body ratio, 3000x2000 resolution and 1500:1 contrast ratio mean you’ll enjoy incredible detail, vivid colour and an exceptional viewing experience every time
One for all The bright, sharp screen is great for productivity, it’s got enough power for creative work, and it can even handle a bit of gaming with the GeForce MX150 graphics
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Lenovo Mirage Solo The Mirage’s QHD screen has a 110-degree field of view for immersiveness, and a Daydream controller for interaction. Watch out for the 180-degree Mirage Camera (around £300) – perfect for capturing your own VR footage
Why cutting the cord will be what makes virtual reality a mainstream hit VR needs a jacked-to-the-gills PC or PS4, or a powerful phone ensconced in a headset, right? Not any more. The next generation of headsets uses phone-like screens, processors and sensors all internally. They’re combined with lightness and comfort, VR-specific design, high-end lenses, and an existing library of mobile games and experiences. It stops VR being a heavy-duty accessory, and turns into an experience you can just hop into – with more and more VR video being uploaded to YouTube, it’ll be natural to just pop on a headset to kill a few minutes and go somewhere new. Freedom is a big plus point here, because the full head-tracking WorldSense tech in Lenovo’s Mirage Solo enables you to cavort around your lounge ducking, bobbing and weaving through Daydreamcompatible apps, but without the need for external tracking cameras uglifying your room. And at around £200 for the Oculus Go (the least ‘gadgety-looking’ of the options), we expect a lot of kids will want to hang out with YouTubers in VR this Christmas. Though you might be more interested to swim with dolphins or soar on a hang glider.
left Vive Focus Just announced for release outside of China, the Vive Focus features impressive motion tracking features right Oculus Go For cut-price VR, the Go has muscle: a smooth screen, better lenses than the Oculus Rift, and built-in spatial audio
Cutting-edge crowdfunding Claim early adopter bragging rights to this month’s hottest security and wellness tech Fortigis AI Privacy & Security VPN Router
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Worried about hackers targeting your connected home? This wireless VPN router controls who can see your data, and ensures all traffic is private and safe.
Give ocean-killing plastic bottles the heave-ho and invest in the world’s smallest and smartest water cooler and purifier. The Wi-Fi- and Bluetooth-enabled Nano provides instant hot and cold water at the press of a button.
$385 (£273.84), indiegogo.com
$739 (£525.63), qcwatercoolers.com
The food writer’s essentials Cook up a storm with food journalist Hugh Thomas’s must-have tools for cooking, chopping and pressing Staub Cast Iron Cocotte This pan is virtually indestructible, and it comes with a self-basting lid. Useful for more than casseroles – even baking bread. £215, uk.knivesandtools.eu
Epicurean Kitchen Series Cutting Board Made from a lightweight wood-fibre composite with a fine grain. Unlike wood, these don’t warp. Unlike plastic, they don’t scar. £60, johnlewis.com
De Buyer Mineral B Carbon Steel Pan An affordable workhorse of a pan that gives a much better sear than standard aluminium pans. £49.50, boroughkitchen.com
Blenheim Forge Santoku Knife A superb chef’s knife, hand-forged under a railway arch in Peckham. £240, blenheimforge.co.uk
Hecho Taco Press A hefty beast that makes flattening dozens of balls of masa a lot easier (and a bit more fun as well). £24.50, souschef.co.uk
monthly lifestyle boxes
Love vinyl? Take delivery of a stash of new wax each month with a customised vinyl subscription. Create a profile, choose your plan and monthly music vibe, then let Vnyl’s musicologists pick the perfect records for you, according to your tastes. From $35 (£24.72), vnyl.org
Lifebox Energy Box Get a power boost before and after hitting the gym with Lifebox’s monthly Energy Box, stuffed with scrumptious treats to elevate energy levels. An example menu includes raw chocolate, organic energy balls, maple water and protein clusters. £22.95, lifeboxfood.com
Ultra-mobile vacs get down and dirty head-to -head WINNER
Dyson Cyclone V10 £449.99, dyson.co.uk
If you’ve been holding off buying a cordless vacuum because they don’t seem powerful enough to handle your shag pile, Dyson’s state-of-the-art cleaner should persuade you. It’s powerful enough to suck up a heap of dirt and runs for nearly an hour on the lowest setting. It even has a good-sized bin that’s easy to empty.
Gtech Airram Mk II £199.99, gtech.co.uk
Half the price of the Dyson yet packed with tech and cleaning power, the AirRam Mk II tackles hard floors and carpet surprisingly well. It isn’t as attractive as the V10, but battery life is decent (approx. 40 minutes) and those LED headlights will illuminate any grime ahead. For its price, it’s almost impossible to beat.
Toppbox Focussed on male grooming, this monthly subscription box is a treasure trove of skincare and hair styling products tailored to your style needs. Brands vary monthly, and you can score full size and travel versions of premium grooming goodies. £19, toppbox.co.uk M ay 2 01 8 T3 2 5
T3’s gadget master is here to clean up your car, and maybe your act
Lucas Eatwell, Isle of Sheppey
How can I keep my car looking new? Guru’s motoring exploits have recently taken a sharp turn for the fancier. From the inch-thick muck caked on his battered old Focus to the waxy, shiny ‘Ultimate Red’ skin of his new motor, renewed resolve (and the new toy effect) mean Guru knows a thing or two about these things. On the outside, a properly wielded pressure washer – the bargain-priced £79 Nilfisk Compact 110 – is an essential first step. Use a variable width nozzle and set it to around 7cm wide, giving you plenty of pressure but leaving your paint and fixtures in one piece. Squirt off the filth, then pull the nozzle to its
ILLUSTRATIONs: stephen kelly
widest setting and apply detergent. Use a brush attachment to wash it off, doing the wheels last to avoid picking up any scuffing stones. Unless you’re prepared to stump up for a vehicle wrap in something like BodyFence protective film (prices vary depending on vehicle and scrupulousness of your wrapping specialist) you’ll want to
ABOVE No, you pretend you’re a Ghostbuster when you use a pressure washer
If you’re feeling flush, Niflisk’s Underchassis Wash Lance will keep the welder away, sluicing road salt and filth off your car
slap on some wax to protect the paint. Bilt Hamber’s Double Speed-wax (around £15 for 250ml) mixes carnauba and polymers for a waterproof finish. It comes with a cloth, but it’s far more fun to buff it with a Meguiars DA Power System (£60) attached to your drill. If you’re really feeling flush, Niflisk’s Underchassis Wash Lance (around £35) will keep the welder away, sluicing off road salt and filth. A hand vacuum, like the Dyson V6 Trigger Pro at £180, should keep your interior looking neat, and a car isn’t really a car unless it has a Little Tree (New Car Scent, naturally, £1) dangling from the rear view mirror.
send your questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook.com/T3mag 3 0 T3 m ay 2 01 8
Transform your home! Itâ€™s never been easier to create your dream home. Whether your home improvement projects are as simple as regrouting or as grand as remodelling, weâ€™ve got the tech and tips to help you start today Words: Derek Adams, Becca Caddy, Claire Davies, Ruth Hamilton, Leon Poultney Photography: Neil Godwin
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Measuring, gauging and planning Kick-start your home improvement journey with our pick of the best gadgets and apps to help you prep and plan. We’ll even throw in some easy project ideas to inspire you along the way toolboxes
Because otherwise you’ll definitely lose that one wrench you need
Black & Decker 19-inch toolbox
Stanley Galvanised Metal Toolbox 26-inch
Tactix Toolbox With Organisers
Basic yet large enough to swallow umpteen tools, with two handy organiser compartments on the lid for organising screws and nails. £20.95, homebase.co.uk
Store kit inside, placing smaller tools on the removable plastic tray, then get to work cutting pipes on the saw-groove lid. £30, toolstop.co.uk
Robust and highly organised with removable compartments, plus an aluminium comfort grip handle you’ll soon appreciate. £29.99, charliesdirect.co.uk
Bosch Universal Detect Digital Detector
Stabila 196E-2-100P Electronic Spirit Level
There will be no more nasty drilling surprises for you if you arm yourself with the Universal Detect from Bosch, a digital detector that swiftly finds live cables, metal and supporting structures within the walls, ceilings and floors in your home. It’s ideal for home DIYers because it minimises any risks by walking you through the detection process, step by step, with simple instructions and handy animations. £84.98, bosch-do-it.com/gb/en
The spirit level has had a digital upgrade with the 196E-2-100P. Equipped with electronic measuring technology, it provides home improvement enthusiasts with two digital displays that light up at the touch of a button. These displays can be read from all angles, which is useful when you’re measuring in awkward places. The level has removable, shock-absorbing caps on each end and is both waterand dust-resistant. £168.91, amazon.co.uk
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Houzz Interior Design Ideas Before you begin a home improvement project you need inspiration, right? Get it from Houzz. With more than 14 million high-resolution photos of homes and projects, this app enables you to browse, get ideas and learn more about what it takes to achieve your dream home before you commit to it. The app (iOS, Android) also has a handy feature to connect you with home improvement professionals such as builders and interior designers. £Free, houzz.co.uk
CAT S60 Smartphone Didn’t expect to see a smartphone here? That’s fair, but the CAT S60 is equipped with built-in thermal imaging capabilities that detect temperatures up to 100ft away. Thanks to the device’s embedded FLIR (forward-looking infrared) camera, it’s the ideal tool for construction projects and DIY – it enables you to find out more about your home in an instant, from detecting electrical faults and overloaded sockets to identifying any heating issues in your home. £599.99, catphones.com/en_gb
Transform your home
From painting and upcycling to restyling and remodelling Leica Disto D1 Gone are the days of awkwardly holding a sagging tape measure across a big room. The Disto D1 is a laser measuring tool that’s small, easy to use, and has a range of 40m. It’s good enough to be used by pros, but its basic features also make it ideal for DIY lovers who need quick, accurate readings on the fly. Sync it with the Disto Sketch app to create digital floor plans. £102, lasers.leica-geosystems.com
Home improvement needn’t be a source of stress. For a speedy way to create a fresh vibe, introduce a new colour scheme. This is about working with what you’ve got and making small changes over time. Introducing new colours and textures via soft furnishings and decorative items creates an immediate feeling of freshness in a space that may have previously felt tired. Start by adding small pieces like a vase or a throw in the colour you’d eventually like to make your room’s signature hue, or experiment with intricate paint effects on wooden furniture. Speaking of which, just moving your furniture has a transformative effect on a room. A fresh coat of paint on walls is another easy win. Experiment with contrasting colours for a dramatic and bold look, or keep it classic with subtle hues that let your furniture do the talking. Either way, smooth, freshly painted walls are a stunning backdrop against which to showcase your home’s style. If you have a larger budget, new flooring and window furnishings are another way to impact a room’s vibe, especially if you opt for statement blinds or rugs. Remodelling is more substantial than painting, but when done well it could add to the value of your home. You’ll need to consider layout and whether you can do the work under permitted development or if you need planning permission. To keep costs down, upcycle. For example, you could rework salvaged cupboard doors and worktops, creating the illusion of a new kitchen at a fraction of the cost.
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Man vs Tech
The Mission Most of us would rather live the rock star lifestyle than be chained to a desk earning a pittance. T3 veteran Paul Dimery is no exception. He’s always wanted to learn drums, guitar and keys, so we’ve rounded up a band’s worth of music tech to see if it can help him learn to play easier and faster than if he were learning by himself. And, er, to see if it can give him a shot at stage stardom!
Learn to play
man access all areas
Can tech and apps help us learn to play music without the need toÂ find the time for a real teacher? T3 finds out Words: Paul Dimery Photography: Neil Godwin
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The best smart bulbs Need a light? T3’s expert panel has hand-picked four of the finest lumen-slinging, colour-changing bulbs on the market today Hubless colour
THE DESIGN AWARD
best on test
Philips Hue Colour Ambiance
LIFX’s rise from Kickstarter idea to smart lighting powerhouse has been swift but smooth – its flagship bulb, the stock A60 is a product to be proud of. Investing in multiple bulbs is by no means cheap, particularly next to competitors like IKEA, but LIFX ticks all the boxes, from integration with Alexa, HomeKit and Google Assistant to a slick app that’s bursting with features and links to automation platforms. We found the light output pleasingly bright at 1100 lumens, and relatively easy to modify in terms of colour, brightness and temperature. Multiple LIFX bulbs – we also tested the £45 LIFX Mini Colour; 800 lumens but still plenty bright – synchronise perfectly. That said, we did encounter a couple of connection drops, perhaps a result of LIFX’s hubless nature fighting with our thick cloud of Wi-Fi devices.
As the most mature smart lighting system on the market, there’s a lot to be said for going Hue. It has the widest range of compatibility, a huge selection of bulbs and accessories, and an absolutely fantastic app with connectivity that goes from standard home automation staples to stuff you won’t find elsewhere. Hue’s new entertainment zones, for example, promise to sync up with media and games. Getting set up in the first place isn’t always easy, as the required Hue Bridge hub can be finicky; once it’s up you can connect to, and update, up to 50 bulbs seamlessly. A starter kit with hub and three colour bulbs for £138 is solid value. Expanding isn’t necessarily cheap – expect to pay around £15 for a whitespectrum bulb, and £50 if you’re going full-colour – but you won’t find a greater range of options anywhere else.
Verdict T3 SAYS Smart lighting to fall in love with. Rich colours, great temperature control and an app that makes sense and works well – with no hub required.
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Verdict T3 SAYS A superb app, a beautiful colour range, and the most control of any lighting setup. Hue truly deserves its place at the top of the smart lighting tree.
How to get more from your smart bulbs Ditch the colours
Use white right
Tie it together
We like a colourful light, but we don’t always want it dangling from the ceiling. Getting in rainbow bulbs or filling carefully placed lamps and uplighters gives you the opportunity for deep atmosphere when it’s needed.
White-spectrum bulbs might sound dull, but they’re often far cheaper than their RGB counterparts, brighter, and can really lift your mood. Use warm white for relaxing, cold white for working and somewhere in the middle at dinner time.
Use the group or room settings of your app to set up scenes for a one-button synchronisation of all the lights in an area. It’s quicker than fiddling with each of your bulbs individually and helps keep your most-loved settings.
Hive Active Light
IKEA is a relative newcomer to the smart lighting scene, and the furniture powerhouse has put its own spin on the concept. You can grab a hub – the Trådfri Gateway, £35 – and connect it to your router to control your bulbs directly from your phone, or you can use one of IKEA’s remote controls and take charge of groups of lights with no app or hub required. Hub-based operation, in truth, isn’t quite there yet. Setting it up can be a pain, and the app itself may or may not do as you ask depending on its mood. Using the remotes, though, is bliss: they link by simply holding them close, and make tweaking light levels quick and easy – far quicker than opening an app. What’s more, the bulbs are cheap, ranging from as little as £7 for a candle bulb to £35 for a full-colour spectrum number with an included remote.
Hive’s not known for its lighting, though these days it’s hard to put a finger on what it’s most famous for given the wide range of smart products available. The Active Light isn’t an unworthy addition at all, but perhaps Hive’s wide spread of focus means it’s not quite the bulb it could have been. At 806 lumens, even the top end of its brightness it’s relatively dim up against LIFX’s 1100, though its colour and white balance ranges are decent. If you already have a Hive Hub set up, adding lights is straightforward and speedy, but that required hub (at £80) is one of the pricier controllers on the market. That said, you can use it to tie Active Lights together with an existing Hue setup; if you’re looking to expand your smart home with Hive’s other devices, go for it, but we wouldn’t select Hive for lighting alone.
Verdict T3 SAYS The recent addition of smart device support elevates them slightly, and the price certainly helps, but Trådfri’s versatility is where it shines over others.
Verdict T3 SAYS Not a bad bulb, but not outstanding either – priced as a comfortable addition for Hive devotees, but steer clear if you’re just getting started with smart.
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State of the Art
Dolby Atmos unleashed It’s time to upgrade to 3D audio, the next big thing in surround sound Words: Steve May Photography: Neil Godwin
What’s on test…
Yamaha YSP-5600SW The original Dolby Atmos soundbar, Yamaha’s YSP-5600SW 3D audio flagship is also compatible with the brand’s MusicCast multi-room speaker system. £1,899, uk.yamaha.com
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Sony HT-ST5000 This ultra-fancy Dolby Atmos combo boasts a High-Res Audio performance to die for, plus it offers the addition of Chromecast built in and Bluetooth streaming. £1,248, sony.co.uk
LG SJ9 A barnstorming listen, LG’s Dolby Atmos twinset has Bluetooth and Chromecast, but home entertainment system builders should be wary... £999, lg.com
Dolby Atmos soundbars
t’s been called 4K for your ears, and, when it comes to sonic imaging, this description is a particularly good one. Dolby Atmos is fast becoming the best reason to revamp your sound system. Just as 2160p and HDR are fuelling a frantic race to replace yesterday’s 1080p tellies, Atmos offers a similar jump in performance. Unlike traditional surround sound technology Dolby Atmos is an object-based system, which means content creators can mix soundtracks, music and live sports with
more control than ever before. It enables audio engineers to steer and direct objects with enormous precision. A dedicated height channel enhances ambiance and realism, so sound is no longer locked to one plane. Dolby Atmos systems typically start at 5.1.2 (the last number denoting how many height channels they can support) and go up to 7.1.4 (11 speakers plus a sub? We like the sound of that). It’s become a standard fixture in top-flight cinemas and regularly appears on Blu-ray discs. It’s also making headway into the
games market (Xbox One titles now support the format). It’s enlivening TV, too, from live footie to films and TV shows. But while you’ll find Atmos on nearly all AV receivers, not everyone can cater for seven or more speakers (plus a subwoofer or two) in their living room. The good news is that you can also integrate Dolby Atmos into a soundbar and subwoofer, though there are compromises that come with convenience. Here we’ve lined up three of the bestperforming Dolby Atmos soundbars you can buy, to see just how immersive they are...
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State of the Art test 01:
DESIGN and build Each of these soundbars looks good, but is there any substance to their design? amaha describes the YSP5600SW as a sound projector rather than a soundbar, and with good reason. Behind the mesh is a 46-speaker beam array, with each mini driver controlled by its own amplifier and time-delay electronics. At the edge are 12 (2 x 6) 28mm upward-angled height speakers, while in-between are 32 beam drivers used to create the front soundstage and surround. Completing this are two subwoofers. The YSP’s claimed power output is a believable 128W, with 88W distributed across the beam drivers and 40W to the woofers. While the YSP-5600 can be purchased solo and partnered with any existing sub, we’re featuring the YSP-5600SW iteration, which includes Yamaha’s NS-SW300 subwoofer. Finished in glossy black, this sub has 250W of amplification and a powerful 10-inch driver. The Sony HT-ST5000 is the most luxe bar in our line-up. Build quality is exceptional, and who doesn’t love a hairline finish? The fabric cover is smart, but we prefer the bar bare – the drivers are too pretty to hide away.
The Sony HT-ST5000 is sheer luxe, with goldrimmed tweeters Positioned left and right are matching coaxial speakers with gold-rimmed, high frequency tweeters. A third coaxial, flanked by a mid-range quartet, is placed centrally. Sat on top are two upfiring Dolby-enabled speakers for Atmos duties. Sony describes the HT-ST5000 as a 7.1.2 proposition, and claims a total power output of 800W. In Dolby Atmos parlance, LG’s SJ9 equates to a 5.1.2 Atmos design. It has drivers facing forward, and angled at the edges; two Dolby-enabled upfiring drivers are built into the top of the bar. The total power output claims to be 500W; the wireless sub has a 200W amplifier, with the rest distributed to the seven drivers in the soundbar. The finish is gunmetal grey, and looks premium with chrome accent strips to the edge. The compact LG sub uses a 6.5cm driver, and has a dressy fabric wrap. 6 8 T3 M ay 2 01 8
Specs Total power output : 378W Connections: 5 x HDMI (4 inputs, one HDCP 2.2/ 1 ARC output); three digital audio (2 x optical, 1 x coaxial); stereo phono Dimensions: 1100(w) x 93(h) x 212(d)mm Weight: 11.7kg Separate sub: Yes, NS-SW300
TEST 01: WInner
Sony HT-ST5000 With its lush finish and beautiful driver array, the HTST5000 is as stylish a soundbar as you’re ever likely to see, and, unlike its rivals, connectivity is top class.
Dolby Atmos soundbars
Power output: 800W (claimed) Connections: 4 x HDMI v2.0 (three inputs, one ARC output), 3.5mm stereo minijack, optical digital audio input Dimensions: 1180(w) x 80(h) x 145(d)mm Weight: 8.2kg Separate sub: Yes, wireless
Total power output : 500W Connections: 2 x HDMI input v2.0 (one input, one ARC output); optical digital audio; 3.5mm stereo minijack; Ethernet Dimensions: 1200(w) x 58(h) x 145(d)mm Weight: 5.6kg Separate sub: Yes,wireless
your listening room is key Creating the ultimate immersive experience could be more about your walls than your wallet
One key element in the performance of any Dolby Atmos soundbar system is the actual listening room itself, particularly if the soundbar needs to reflect audio either off a ceiling or off the surrounding walls. Unlike traditional audio, hard reflective surfaces can be your friend here. Normally, the average listening room (or your living room) benefits from a certain level of
acoustic treatment. This acoustic treatment can either be professionally installed or it can be achieved in a more natural fashion through an everyday mix of both hard and soft surfaces. For the latter, do look to reposition any softer surfaces in your listening room or living room that could be working to impede reflecting soundwaves.
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Time to upgrade
time to upgrade
At Baselworld 2018, the worldâ€™s biggest watchmakers unveiled their new ranges, from the classic and stylish to the lavish and smart. These are our picks of the new watches to instantly upgrade your style Words: Spencer Hart
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Time to upgrade
mondaine Helvetica Regular Smartwatch Three years since the launch of Mondaine’s first horologically styled hybrid smartwatch, the company has released a successor that could really enhance their game. While the design is in keeping with Mondaine’s existing line-up, the technology has advanced much further. The new hybrid watch uses tech created in collaboration with MMT, maker of a hybrid smartwatch platform, enabling the watch to easily sync with an iOS or Android phone through the MMT-365 app. The new watch adds in the ability to receive call and email notifications, in addition to the existing model’s ability to track daily activity and monitor sleep. It looks great, and beats many of its competitors with an impressive two years of battery life. £450, mondaine.com
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To the nines
Samsung Galaxy S9+ Samsung sets a new benchmark for super-sized Android phones, despite making only modest changes from last year’s model
£869 (£739 for S9) samsung.com o look at the S9+, you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference from last year’s S8+, except for the new twin-camera setup on the back and the better fingerprint sensor position. Yes, it is an iterative update, but when you consider how most other Android makers are still catching up with Samsung’s technical juggernaut, that is no bad thing, especially when you consider what Samsung has been adding to the mix this time around.
Picture perfect As with the smaller-sized Samsung Galaxy S9, the real standout new hardware on the Samsung Galaxy S9+ is the phone’s slick, rear 12MP mechanical dual-aperture camera system, which not only offers enhanced low-light and bright-light image and video taking capabilities, but also sits at the heart of this year’s 9 0 T3 M ay 2 01 8
Samsung Galaxy S9+
Tough customer The S9 has a slightly more sturdy build than the S8, despite looking so similar. That includes marginally thicker glass, so it’s a tad more drop-proof
OS Android 8.0 Oreo + TouchWiz Screen 6.2-inch 2960x1440 Super AMOLED Processor Samsung Exynos 9810 RAM 6GB Storage 128GB Camera Dual 12MP rear, 8MP front Battery 3,500mAh Ports USB-C, 3.5mm headphone jack, microSD Dimensions 158.1x73.8x8.5mm Weight 189g
technicolor dream coat The S9 comes in Midnight Black, Titanium Grey, Coral Blue and a funky new Lilac Purple. That’s on the back and sides, of course – the front stays black, save for a peek around the edges
other innovations, such as Super Slow-mo recording, AR Emoji, and an upgraded version of Samsung’s maligned Bixby AI assistant. Aside from the S9+’s twin camera lenses there’s little difference between the big and small models (the S9+ has a touch more RAM and storage). The same luxurious and premium melding of metal frame and glass is in evidence across both models, though if you look closely you will see that the bezels are slightly reduced from the S8’s, making the S9 a bit shorter. The other major difference is the relocation of the fingerprint scanner, which looks better and makes it far easier to unlock the phone while also avoiding smudging the rear camera’s lens (a common complaint last year). Other than that, much has stayed the same. The S9+ still has a 3.5mm headphone jack, microSD card slot (accommodating up to 400GB), and Bixby button on the left side of the device near the volume buttons. The S9+ screen is the same delicious 6.2-inch display that featured on the Samsung Galaxy S8+
and, yes, it’s still drop-dead gorgeous and pin-sharp – images, games and media really jump out of the screen. While the screen itself isn’t new, Samsung has tweaked the operating system’s landscape mode so that the entire user interface now rotates to fit the widescreen format, enabling you to easily respond to messages and post to social media while still enjoying video. It’s fast, too – games load quickly and run smoothly, 4K, HDR films and TV shows look stunning, and using and switching between apps is seamless and delay-free.
Double trouble Though the S9+ has two cameras and the regular S9 has just one, they both share Samsung’s new 12MP system with dual-aperture tech, designed to deliver enhanced low-light and bright-light image and video taking. The camera works by ditching the fixed, single-size aperture that is pretty much ubiquitous in other smartphones for one that can expand and contract like the iris of a human
The S9 is built slightly differently to the S8, but you couldn’t really tell at a glance
eye – similar to the way dedicated cameras work. This means that the S9+’s camera automatically lets in more light to its sensor when the surrounding environment is too dark, and then less light when it’s too light, leading to fewer images that are blown out or too dark for fine details. The camera system is also now capable of recording Super Slow-mo video at 960fps at 720p, and 240fps at 1080p, with both modes also packing Motion Detection. Thanks to this tech the camera automatically starts recording when it sees movement. We’re really impressed with the quality of slow-motion footage captured, as well as the accuracy and speed of the motion detection. The cameras are also key to two big other innovations residing within the phone: AR Emoji and Bixby Vision. The AR Emoji feature is not a million miles from Apple’s Animoji feature on the iPhone X. With AR Emoji you can record yourself in front of the camera, with your actions then translated to a 3D avatar, which you can style up with various clothes and accessories. M ay 2 01 8 T3 91
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 A1E 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, optoma.co.uk
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 Roku Ultra This 4K HDR streaming box packs in a huge range of sources, including Netflix, Amazon, Google Play, iPlayer and more. It’s fast, easy to set up, and the remote includes voice search functionality. £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 ay 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 setup 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. £249, 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
Bowers & Wilkins P9 Signature These are open-backed headphones, so they let sound in and out, but the quality is astounding, especially through a serious headphone DAC/amp setup – and they’re wonderful with compressed music too. £699, bowers-wilkins.co.uk
Portable high-res player
KEF M100 This blend of KEF’s traditional audiophile instincts with comfortable contemporary styling is a fantastic product, great value, and the best in-ear headphones, pound for pound, that you can get. £89, uk.kef.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 ay 2 01 8 T3 107
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