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Sony’s next-gen OLED TV reviewed

world cup special!

• 2018’s best new 4K HDR TVs • Incredible buys from £649 to £12k • Enjoy the top matches in Ultra HD!

Plus

smart home living

Amazing soundbars for every budget

hot!

Gadgets to upgrade every room!

Bluetooth turntables

Vinyl goes wireless

Tested

Oculus go Why standalone top phones under £300

The great beer guide

VR is the future

new

Step-up cameras Ditch the phone and go pro today


Contents

Contents

horizon

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top 10 Fill your gadget-loving boots with this month’s hottest new tech, including the slick OnePlus 6, Nest’s nosy new video doorbell, and an utterly bonkers sea scooter that’s shaped like a shark

smart home living

Upgrade every room in your house with the latest and greatest connected home tech, from clever clocks to super smart showers

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we can build you… Heading to the beach this summer? Stay cool and keep your kit dry with our haul of portable, beach-proof goodies

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style Tropical print shirts are back, but what you wear with them is key. We show you how to work them into your existing wardrobe with ease

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auto Can’t find your car? You need a car finder! Want a new car? We’ve got ace new wheels from Audi, Genesis and Maserati!

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living Maximise your living space with a hidden TV, then learn how to boost the acoustic flow of your room. No? Alright, fussy, then overhaul your health instead with a countertop smoothie maker

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travel We recently chartered a private jet and, surprisingly, it didn’t drain our life savings (much). Learn how to do the same for your next group get-away

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Man vs tech

Can tech help our writer train for and complete the London Marathon? It’s time to get sweaty…

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State of the art

Take a step up from snapping pics on your phone with our tricked-out trio of next-level cameras

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fitness & outdoors Has the World Cup inspired you to better your fitness? Start now, with sports tech that can help you train like a footballer

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gadget guru Our tech know-it-all answers your most burning questions, including, um, ‘Can you recommend a glue gun?’ True story

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talking tech Have you ever thought, ‘Hmm, some tech brands are more like cults’? Yeah, Duncan Bell is pondering the same this month

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the ultimate world cup experience

Fancy watching the FIFA World Cup in glorious Ultra HD? We reveal how!

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the great beer guide

We discover the top brewing tech, ales and lagers for the perfect boozing sesh at home or outdoors


Contents

win! A PAIR OF PMC TWENTY5.23 SPEAKERS Expand your hi-fi setup and hear your music like never before with a pair of PMC’s full-size, hand-built Twenty5.23 speakers

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THE SETUP Cut down on your energy usage and power your devices on demand with the new D-Link Wi-Fi Smart Plug

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UPGRADE If you’ve ever experienced the damage caused by a burst water pipe at home, you’ll make a beeline for this smart water control system

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OCULUS GO We get up close and personal with virtual reality’s exciting new wireless headset, but is it as good as we all hoped it would be?

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DESIRE Add a touch of masculine luxury to your bedroom with Ralph Lauren’s Polo Player summer linens range

SMACKDOWN

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HOME TEST Smart buttons put connected home control at the fingertips of everyone in your house. We test four of the best

Worth £3,095

SONY AF8 On paper, the AF8 is a 4K OLED dream, replete with impressive features and the promise of a sumptuous picture. Does the reality live up to the hype, though?

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tested

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Bluetooth turntables are just the ticket for tech-minded vinyl lovers, and this month two popular models slug it out in our head-to-head

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GOPRO HERO

best of the best 106

your in-depth buyer’s guide Want to know what the best top-end telly is? Or the best first-time DSLR? Or the best wireless headhones? Our giant buyer’s guide helps you find the world’s best tech, and only the best!

Capture your adrenaline junkie antics on camera with the new GoPro – this puppy even responds to voice commands (well, most of the time)

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HP ENVY X2 The first of the new wave of Qualcomm-powered Windows 10 S hybrids gets the T3 grilling

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SMART HOME SURGERY Our resident experts dish out the answers to your smart home queries

top phones under £300 Reckon a phone needs to be top dollar to be a top performer? These budget beauties will change your mind

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ANALOGUE SUPER NT

Learn how to create your own Alexa skills – no coding ability required!

We dig out our old Super Nintendo games cartridges in the name of putting this retro console to the test

LIVING SMARTER

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Subscribe

and GET A FREE WIRELESS SPEAKER!

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Horizon

The best new tech heading your way Edited by Claire Davies



Oneplus 6 From £469, oneplus.com/uk

Fast and smooth aren’t qualities you’d necessarily want in a first date (maybe), but they’re definitely attractive in a smartphone. And the polished-looking OnePlus 6 has both in spades, especially super-fast speed. Dressed in a classic monochrome colour palette of Midnight Black, Mirror Black or crisp Silk White, this new flagship phone is the definition of smart and beautiful, coming loaded with a Snapdragon 845 CPU, Adreno 630 GPU and 8GB of RAM. The OnePlus 6 flaunts a stunning all-glass body, though we can’t help thinking it’ll end up slathered in sticky fingerprints within minutes of use. If you have a soft spot for bigger phones, this one will take advantage with its 6.28-inch, 19:9 HDR AMOLED screen. An 84 per cent screen-to-body ratio gives you plenty of real estate to eyeball, and in our time playing with it so far, the HDR AMOLED panel serves up punchy, defined colours during gaming and video bingeing. There’s a 16+20MP dual camera array around the back and a 16MP front camera for capturing 4K video up to 60fps, all with Sony sensors. A Super Slow Motion mode handles more dramatic shots. Even though there are tiny niggles, such as no wireless charging and water-resistance but no 1P67/68 certification, the hardware line-up is top tier, marking the OnePlus 6 as a hearty contender for 2018’s biggest flagship release so far.

tech-o-Meter

A minimal bezel design helps make the most of that glorious Optic AMOLED display, giving you a full picture of whatever you’re working on, watching or playing

OnePlus has gone from bargain brand to big dog. This thing is seriously capable Matt Bolton, Editor

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Top 10

User friendly The OnePlus 6 runs Android 8.1 Oreo and OxygenOS, OnePlus’s light skin of Android, offering all-new gesture controls to make navigating and using the phone a more fluid experience. You can use gestures to return home, open recent apps and more

The need for speed Snapdragon’s 845 mobile platform works to speed up the performance of the OnePlus 6 by 30 per cent compared to the OnePlus 5T, but lowering energy use. You can download and share images, videos and files at super fast speeds, with a whopping 8GB RAM backing you up

Myriad of modes You can choose from five different display modes on the OnePlus 6. We like the sound of Reading Mode, for digesting large chunks of text on a phone screen, and Night Mode for late evening phone usage that won’t mess with your sleep cycle

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Horizon

Find your car

Zus Smart Car Finder and Charger This simple gadget acts as both in-car charger – supplying juice for up to two devices simultaneously – and vehicle finder, enabling you to retrieve the previous location of your wheels by using the companion smartphone app. £29.17, amazon.co.uk

V-Auto This box of tricks plugs into your car’s OBD port and relays a wealth of info to your phone. A built-in accelerometer reveals your driving skills, while GPS shows you the location of your motor, even if it’s moving at the time. £85 (£4/m subscription), vodafone.com

Tracker Retrieve Got a nicer-than-average runabout on your drive? Then this Thatchamapproved (so it’ll lower your insurance premium) tracker will keep tabs on the whereabouts of your car at all times, even if it’s stolen and stored underground. £249, trackerdirect.co.uk 26 T3 J u ly 2 01 8

DREAM MACHINE

Show Stoppers Packed with the hottest motors and the latest car tech, this year’s New York International Auto Show is one heck of a crowd pleaser. Nick Odantzis reveals the best on show Each year the Big Apple is host to the most legendary car show around, and this year’s New York International Auto Show has more than 1,000 vehicles on display over four floors. There’s an eclectic mix of metal, from burly muscle cars to electric concepts, and there’s even a few family wagons thrown in. Of course, when we say family wagons, what we mean is Audi’s brand-new 444BHP RS5 Sportback (it’s got four seats and a big boot, duh), which is the wilder version of the regular S5 Sportback, complete with oodles of carbon fibre, an irresponsible amount of power and four-wheel drive. Want more space, and speed? There’s Maserati’s take on the mega SUV: the Levante Trofeo. Obviously it’s a huge hunk of metal, but it also has a V8 with 590BHP – enough to take your kids to space.

Hyundai’s luxury arm, Genesis, showed off the 2019 G70 luxury four-door sedan, which takes on the Germans at their own game. A new Sport version with a six-speed manual gearbox aims to put the fun back into comfortable daily drivers, though the 365BHP automatic is not exactly dull. Actually, it kind of is dull compared to the other car Genesis brought to the show: its Essentia GT concept. Penned for a 2022 release, it’s a curious mix of vintage and futuristic, with a carbon monocoque chassis, hybrid electric setup, butterfly doors, and a design that looks like it just rolled out of Tony Stark’s garage. It’s said to be powered by high-density batteries, with rumours that they may even be solid-state cells, giving it a Tesla-shaming range and a charge time of just a few minutes.


Living

Streamlined smoothie makers

Sage by Heston Blumenthal The Kinetix Control

ART HOUSE

Maximise living space with a hidden TV

Sage’s blender is designed to capture small or gritty ingredients that get trapped beneath the blades (seeds, nuts and grains), ensuring velvety smooth results. £219.95, johnlewis.com

Whether you have a small home or don’t want a TV on show 24/7, Luke Edwards reveals the sets that won’t hog your space Getting a clear living area when room space is minimal can be tough, especially if you add in a telly, but one way to do so is with a hidden TV. We’re not talking about invisible sets from the future, but intelligently designed displays that not only blend into your home, but actually work to enhance its sense of style and spaciousness. Samsung’s The Frame (from £1,199, samsung.com) is, as the name suggests, a TV designed with a picture frame-style bezel. When not in use as a TV, Art Mode transforms The Frame into a work of art

of your choosing; the Frame includes access to a free gallery of professionally curated art, comprising 100 pieces across various movements. As a 4K HDR TV, it delivers super-clear picture quality. If you watch TV in your bedroom, relax and binge-watch from a TV bed (from £899, tvbed.co.uk), where a telly pops up from the foot of the bed. Or, if you have recently bought a new TV, consider framing it with a mirror layer (from £1,399, frameyourtv. co.uk), a custom design to turn your TV into an ornate wall mirror when turned off.

CINEMA SOUND

Nutribullet 600 Series The Nutribullet comes with three blade configurations and two travel cups. A 600W motor produces a cyclonic action to tease the goodness out of your fruit and veg. £59.99, argos.co.uk

Boosting acoustics Enhance acoustic flow while making your home look like an art installation Looking to take acoustics to the next level for your home cinema setup? Check out Artnovion’s new Flow range of acoustic panels (£TBA, artnovion.com). They not only look awesome, in a ‘Bond villain secret lair’ sort of way, but also elevate sound. The Flow panels, made from a selection of woods and in a range of colours, use Helmholtz resonators and foam-weaved acoustic cores to stop reverberation and diffuse uneven sound. Essentially, the Flow panelling will help your speakers sound the way they’re meant to.

Smeg BFL01 A gorgeous retro-style blender, available in seven striking colours, fitted with an 800W motor and paired with a generous 1.5-litre impact-resistant jug. £149.99, smeguk.com j u ly 2 01 8 T3 27


Smart home living

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Smart home living

Smart home living Discover how the latest and greatest connected home tech can upgrade every room in your house to make your life easier, from clever clocks to smart showers‌ Words: Becca Caddy Photography: Neil Godwin

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Smart home living

Smart living room New tech can help make the room you relax in even more pleasant and comfortable, and can actually replace classic furnishings with more capable connected alternatives. And it’ll keep you safe and save you money, too

There are so many connected home devices available to buy, and that are specially designed for your living room, that it’s harder not to overload your coffee table with fancy gadgets. Instead, here are some top smart products that look good, are genuinely useful, and are guaranteed to fit in well with your whole family. Smart lighting is an easy and effective way to smarten up your home. The GE Sol C smart lamp ($149.99/ £105.80, cbyge.com) is a great-looking alternative to boring lamps. It has Amazon Alexa built-in, which means you can use it to set timers, adjust light levels and control devices by using your voice. It can also adjust its brightness depending on the time of day, lulling you and your family to sleep before bedtime with soft, warming light. If you like quirky lighting, you could try the award-winning 1 Aircharge Z-Bar Mini Wireless Charging Lamp (£297.99, air-charge.com). As well as making one bold style statement, the lamp has wireless Qi charging integrated into its base, which enables you to juice up most of the latest smartphones right from your coffee table. Speaking of coffee tables, while you’re upgrading your living room, give the centrepiece a modern makeover. The 2 Skye Coffee Table (£189, amazon. co.uk) is Bluetooth-enabled and fitted with great-sounding speakers, enabling you to sync up any smart device and play music without cluttering up your living room with a bulky extra sound system. Most of us know that smart devices are handy for taking the faff out of simple tasks, which is why the Somfy range (from £129, somfy.co.uk) of remotecontrolled smart blinds are a useful staple for the modern-day living room. They’re super effective when it comes to blocking out bright light throughout the day and with an added system you can open and close them using your phone. Not only will this keep your house cooler throughout the summer months, but it could also be used to conserve heat energy, saving money throughout the winter months too. The Amazon Echo may have been a game-changing smart speaker when it first launched, but the 3 Amazon Echo Plus (£139.99, amazon.co.uk) is an upgrade

with improved Dolby speakers for more immersive 360-degree sound, as well as an added smart home hub that allows you to say, “Alexa, discover my devices” and control your connected tech with ease. It does all of the things the original Echo did too, such as enable you to check the weather, the traffic, set timers, play music and so much more, all with your voice. If you’re going to spend good money on home gadgets, make sure your house is secure. The 4 Hive View (£189, hivehome.com) is a smart security camera that’s designed for indoor use. It provides HD live streaming to its accompanying app, as well as motion and sound detection technology, which sends you a notification straight to your phone with a snapshot if it sees someone who shouldn’t be there. And it’s a gorgeous bit of design. For more options than a security camera, the Bosch Security Starter Kit (£349.95, bosch-smarthome. com) is a one-stop-shop for protecting against both fire and intruders. It comes with a door or window contact, motion detector, smoke alarm and controller to manage how all of the kit works together. You can also use the Bosch app for access to the security system and manage how the products work to protect your home whether you’re just around the corner or away on holiday and want to keep an eye on things. For saving money on your bills, the 5 Nest Learning Thermostat (From £219, store.nest.com/uk) conserves energy when you’re away and programmes itself to suit your needs over time. You can use it to control the temperature in your house wherever you are from your smart device, which is perfect for heating up your home on a chilly night out before you get in. When it comes to connected furnishings, the 6 Mondaine stop2go Smart Clock (£159, mondaine. com) is a stylish wall clock that updates the time from its app – no more faffing around when the clocks go forward or back. If you like a variety of art, then the futuristic 7 Meural (£799, available from Smartech at selfridges.com) digital art frame is for you. It enables you to switch the art that’s displayed all from the app, or even with a swipe of your hand.

Smart lighting is an easy and effective way to smarten up your home

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Smart living room

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Man vs Tech

man tech

The Mission Running a marathon is one of the toughest endurance challenges you can face. Our resident runner and art editor, Michelle McLaren, hits the tarmac for fitness but has never attempted a race of this magnitude. With the help of some cutting-edge training tech, can she work up to making the full 26 miles before her deadline, the London Marathon? With just a few months between setting the challenge and the big day itself, it’s time to start stretching‌ 4 8 T3 j u n e 2 01 5


Running tech

Marathon Effort

Road warrior With just 17 weeks to train, can tech help our writer not only compete in but complete the London Marathon? Words: Michelle McLaren Photography: Olly Curtis

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Man vs Tech

ave you ever had a terrible idea that you just had to do anyway? One day, after returning from one of my lunchtime runs, T3’s editor Matt asked if I’d thought about running a marathon. “No,” I laughed. “I’m not a masochist!” But the seed was sown. Okay, I like running. But a marathon? 26.2 miles? I probably… could, though, couldn’t I? The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to try. Oh. Dear. Before I knew it I had a gruelling 17-week training plan ahead of me, which included four runs a week. If I was going to stand any chance of not only competing in but completing the London Marathon 2018, I would need some well-chosen tech to keep me motivated and, perhaps most importantly, to help me recover after 50 runs on unyielding pavements. Given the reality of having to train mostly on my own, which included long, sometimes snowy (yeah, thanks, April 2018) and often wet Sunday runs, I turned to music to keep me feeling upbeat. Fortunately, Garmin had just released the Forerunner 645 Music running watch. The face is smaller than the rest of Garmin’s sport range, which suited me perfectly. The Forerunner 645 Music was easy to set up and connect to Strava using the Garmin Connect app. Not only did it play music from the wrist, the watch also monitored my heart rate and oxygen levels, and compared my runs to others via the app. I plugged the watch into my computer and added my running playlist from iTunes. Finally, I was ready to go. Well, almost: I needed something to listen on. Despite working on T3 I’ve only

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ever used headphones that come with my phone (I know, I know). The team insisted that I go for a pair of true wireless in-ears for extra freedom, so I settled on the Jabra Sport Pulse. The earphones took a bit of getting used to at first, especially the fear that they would fall out mid-run, but once I attached the correct in-ear fitting and took them out a few times, there was no going back.

Going the distance For a start, I was impressed by the Jabra’s battery life. Some of my runs hit the three-hour mark but I didn’t have to recharge the earphones afterwards. They also connected to the Garmin watch easily enough, and

I looked like I had climbed into the michelin Man’s spacesuit the Jabra’s sound quality was great. Honestly, I had far more problems choosing what to add to the hardcore long-distance playlist I was building. I also began using the Stryd tracker during my runs to gain extra insight into my performance. Unlike the Garmin, the Stryd records metrics such as cadence and power. It was interesting to view the data, but I realised that it wasn’t what I needed. Yes, it could shave a few minutes off my time by improving my technique, but I wasn’t worried about speed; I just wanted to reach the finish line.

Normatec PULSE Squeezing the pain and tension right out of your aching legs

Our big leg fixers work by mimicking the pressure of a massage, but in a more scientific, orderly manner. Divided into five zones (from the feet to the thigh), compressed air fills a section in a pulsing motion. Pressure is then applied solidly in that section, and the next section along pulses. It creates a system of moving fluid and metabolites up and away from the muscles with the pulses, preventing them from returning back to your legs by locking the pressure as it goes. It’s a bit like squeezing toothpaste up a tube, but inside your legs instead. Yes it feels weird, but it’s really effective. 5 0 T3 j u ly 2 01 8

When preparing for a marathon, recovery is just as important as the training. The risk of injury is very high, so I wanted to make sure I protected myself properly. Quite often I’ve seen professional runners wear long socks during training but never knew why. It couldn’t be for the style, that’s for sure! In actual fact, what I’d seen the likes of Paula Radcliffe wearing is compression gear designed to help stimulate bloodflow, oxygenate muscles and improve flexibility, reducing the chance of a strain. Well, if they’re good enough for Paula, they’re good enough for me, so I called in some compression clothing from the aptly named Compressport. First was the Run Compression Shorts,

which were tight and warm and just perfect for training in the -8°C chill the first day I wore them. The Compressport Full Socks V2.1 were a great fit too, and wearing them underneath running tights kept my legs toasty and feeling supported. That run was also a 20-mile endurance test, and it felt like the socks were helping a lot… Especially the next day.

We can rebuild you My secret weapon for recovery was the Normatec Pulse system, which turned out to be the single most


Running tech

The Stryd tracker provides insight into your runs, as it records speed and can help you shave time off your running sessions

running companions The gear that helped us go the distance

Normatec pulse A high-tech form of massage, Normatec’s leg compression system helps you recover faster while experiencing less soreness and pain, so you’re ready to run again much faster than you would otherwise. £1,375, normatec-uk.com

Garmin Forerunner 645 Music This running watch is all about the data. Wrist-based heart-rate, temperature sensing, GPS and more, as well as on-board music storage to play over Bluetooth. £349, garmin.com

Jabra Elite sport True wireless freedom paired with 4.5 hours of playback per charge (and another nine hours from its case) is great for any run. It also has heartrate tracking and limited coaching tools in its app. £220, jabra.co.uk

Compressport Full socks v2.1 Keeping you warm and stimulating bloodflow, proper compression wear can reduce the chances of a strain in training that would keep you from getting to the start line. £29, compressport.com

Flipbelt classic You don’t want your keys whipping around in your shorts pocket during a long run – this tidy waistband keeps your essentials to hand without getting in the way of your all-important pacing. £25, amazon.co.uk

stryd Made of tough and light carbon fibre, the Stryd sits on your shoe laces, tracking your foot’s movement in minute detail so you can measure your technique with precision. It works with the Garmin perfectly. £199, stryd.com j u ly 2 01 8 T3 51


Home

the setup

Each issue, we show you how to set up a key piece of connected-home tech. This month… D-Link Wi-Fi Smart Plug

Kill ’em all Plug a power strip into the DSP-W115 and you can cut the power on an entire range of devices at one time as long as your connected kit doesn’t exceed the maximum load. Hook up, for example, your TV, set-top box, AV receiver and a games console. If they draw less than 3,120W and nothing exceeds 13.5A, you’re good to save a few pennies on standby power by cutting the juice at night

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The Setup

CUT DOWN ON energy USAGE, power YOUR devices on demand, and control IT ALL from one place D-Link’s smart plug isn’t just about switching things on and off remotely. Oh no, it’s far smarter than that...

Keep it dumb The best devices to connect to a smart socket are dumb. If you want to actively switch them on from afar, you’ll need something that doesn’t start in standby when it gets power from the socket. Lamps and appliances are perfect candidates, though don’t let this stop you from hooking up other gear; the powersaving benefits of cutting standby power, particularly on older kit, could save you a few pennies

Second to smart speakers such as the likes of Amazon Echo or Google Home (and also perhaps garish RGB lighting), it could be argued that smart plugs are the figurehead of the connected home revolution. They propped up the first wave of home automation, and while the X11 standard fell on its face in the end, the smart plug has remained strong. D-Link’s Wi-Fi Smart Plug (also known as the DSP-W115) is a perfect example of the smart plug’s benefits. It’s cheap at only £29.99, meaning you could scatter a few around your home without a crippling financial outlay. It’s easy enough for even the most technophobic user to get started with – if you can work a smartphone, you can work a smart plug – and, most crucially, it’s obvious: immediately, you know what a smart plug does and how it can make a difference in your home. But do you really? Yes, D-Link’s plug can power your devices on and off through your home’s Wi-Fi connection. That’s a given. But it can do much more besides. For example, you can set schedules for it, switching the power automatically, precisely when you want it. You can fire up an air conditioner shortly before you get home from work, switch that coffee maker on from your bed, toggle a lamp for the classic ‘I’m at home’ deception… If you are away from your home, that’s no problem either as, because it’s tied into the Mydlink cloud system, the Wi-Fi Smart Plug can be toggled from anywhere in the world as long as you have access to an internet connection, be it Wi-Fi or 4G. You can also combine multiple plugs for one-touch routines, switching off all your devices at night or activating all of the lights in a room. And what would a smart device be without integration with those headline-grabbing home assistants? You can fire off the DSP-W115 with Alexa-compatible devices, with Google Assistant and even through IFTTT. This means it’s possible to tie together D-Link’s Wi-Fi Smart plug with other IFTTT-compatible smart devices, configuring your own triggers. Perhaps you want to toggle a plug when you reach a certain proximity to your home or (somewhat impractically) when you get a new email? Link a suitable trigger to your socket with an IFTTT action and this could be yours.

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State of the Art

Next-level cameras

Three stunning snappers that make the step up from phone photography easier and more rewarding than ever Words: Ben Andrews Photography: Neil Godwin

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What’s on test…

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Nikon D5600 The D5600 is the biggest camera here, but offers the most traditional shooting experience and compatibility with a vast selection of lenses. It’s also bang up to date with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. £679, europe-nikon.com

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Canon EOS M50 Canon’s latest mirrorless lens camera boasts an electronic viewfinder and a large, highresolution image sensor. And there’s enough processing power here to shoot 4K video. £649, canon.co.uk

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Olympus PEN E-PL9 Fancy a svelte snapper with a lifestyle look? The petite PEN ticks the fashion box and packs in tech, including a cutting-edge focussing system and filters that ease the transition from phone photography. £649, olympus.co.uk


Next-level cameras

hese days it seems a decent camera phone can capture almost anything with impressive ease and clarity. The casual shooters out there probably find a phone camera caters for every photographic need, but if you start to get experimental with more artistic and creative photography, a phone’s compromises can soon get restrictive. Wafer-thin phone design is great for portability, but a dedicated camera will invariably have a comfier, more ergonomic form with buttons and dials that make

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it much easier to take control over shooting settings to inject your individual photographic style. A larger camera body also makes room for a bigger image sensor, and with that comes superior picture quality, especially when shooting in low light. Then there’s arguably the primary benefit of upgrading from a camera phone to an ILC (interchangeable lens camera): the ability to fit different lenses optimised for particular settings, lighting conditions and subjects. Even with multiple built-in lenses and the magic of software trickery, a smartphone

still can’t reach this level of versatility and optical quality. You can spend a fortune on a camera and lenses, but we’ve been realistic and selected a trio of entry-level models that are still bristling with features and can grow with your developing skill. They cost similar money and each comes bundled with a versatile wide-angle zoom lens. However, there isn’t really a loser here. All make a great upgrade over a camera phone, so choosing your ideal match comes down to what you value most from a camera.

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State of the Art test 01:

Nikon D5600

DESIGN Three cameras ranging from fashion accessory to ergonomic workhorse ith its leatherette finish available in black, white or brown, the retro-chic E-PL9 certainly looks the part, though its ‘metal’ top and base plates are in fact satin plastic. This is one of the most compact interchangeablelens cameras you can buy, helped largely by the tiny bundled lens that manages to give a comparable zoom range to the Canon and Nikon optics while being a fraction of their length. The E-PL9’s compactness hasn’t compromised its usability though. The three-inch rear touchscreen tilts up and down, making it easier to capture shots from different angles, and it can also flip down through 180 degrees to face forward when you want to snap a self-portrait. Although the Nikon D5600 is small by DSLR camera standards, it’s still easily the largest camera here due to the internal mechanics required for its optical viewfinder. But the payoff is the most comfortable body design of the three, with a deep-sculpted grip well suited to larger hands. The utilitarian textured black plastic aesthetic gives a professional camera feel, but don’t expect the magnesium internal construction and

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The Nikon D5600 has a deep-sculpted body grip suited to larger hands weather sealing of Nikon’s high-end DSLR cameras. The bundled 18-55mm lens is larger than those from Canon and Olympus, but its clever retractable design does at least make it the smallest DSLR lens of its type. The EOS M50 falls neatly between the other two cameras in size. It’s large enough to sit comfortably in the hand, but can still fit in a jacket pocket. The glossy, unashamedly plastic casing helps keep combined camera and lens weight down to a comfortable 520g, though overall build quality doesn’t feel as solid as the Olympus or Nikon. The M50 is the only camera here to sport an electronic viewfinder, and it works well, giving a realistic preview with accurate colour and contrast. Canon’s menu system can also display a novice-friendly guided mode, where you get handy explanations to clarify more technical shooting options. 7 0 T3 j uly 2 01 8

The D5600 can be fitted with Nikon F-mount lenses old and new, but autofocusing requires a lens with AF-S or AF-P in its product name

Specs Sensor size & resolution APS-C (23.5x15.6mm), 24.2 megapixels Video Full HD (1920x1080) at 60fps Included lens Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR Dimensions 124x97x128mm weight 665g

TEST 01: WInner

Olympus PEN E-PL9 The PEN E-PL9 isn’t the most comfortable to hold, but it manages to cram all the features you need into an attractive body so compact you’ll take it everywhere.


Next-level cameras canon eos m50

olympus PEN E-PL9

The EOS M50’s 0.39-inch OLED electronic viewfinder boasts a resolution of 2,360,000 dots, making it crisper than a packet of prawn cocktail

The compact PEN ethos has some serious heritage. You can trace its roots back to 1959 and the launch of Olympus’s Pen film camera

Specs

Specs

Sensor size & resolution APS-C (22.3x14.9mm), 24.1 megapixels Video 4K (3840x2160) at 25fps Included lens Canon EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM Dimensions 116x88x89mm weight 520g

Sensor size & resolution: Micro Four Thirds (17.3x13mm), 16.1 megapixels Video 4K (3840x2160) at 30fps Included lens Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 EZ Dimensions 117x68x62mm Weight 472g

DSLR, CSC, MILC. WTF? Confused by cryptic camera categories? Here’s how to decipher the acronym code

DSLR – Digital Single Lens Reflex – cameras are defined by internal mirrors that enable you to see straight through the lens when looking through the viewfinder. This gives a true-to-life view of what your camera will capture, but also make DSLRs bulky. Compact System Cameras (CSCs), also known as Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Cameras (MILCs), ditch the mirrors to

create a slimmer body. They operate more like a camera phone, with the image sensor feeding a live digital preview to the rear screen, or an electronic viewfinder (EVF): a miniature monitor that emulates the optical viewfinder in a DSLR. EVF resolution, colour and contrast accuracy are better than ever, but an electronic viewfinder can’t replicate the accuracy of a DSLR.

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The ultimate World Cup

The ultimate

world cup experience Words: Matt Bolton

Watch the world’s best footballers (and also Panama) like you’ve never seen them before: in glorious 4K. Here are the amazing TVs, soundbars and accessories you need for a world-class summer of sport

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The ultimate World Cup

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Tested

Screen 2560x1440 75Hz Storage 32GB (£199), 64GB (£249) Weight 468g THE DESIGN AWARD

Reality cHeck

Oculus Go The tech may not be cutting edge, but with no wires, a low price and 1,000+ games and apps already, Oculus Go is the VR headset the world’s been waiting for

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From £199 oculus.com he Oculus Rift kickstarted the current wave of interest in virtual reality. So far it has proven to be more of a gently lapping, Mediterranean kind of wave rather than a Malibu-style point break, but there is definitely a lot of interest.

T

Reality bites What nobody has quite been able to do so far is put virtual reality in an affordable, simple format that doesn’t require donning a massive pair of astronaut goggles tethered by wires to a PC or console. Okay, there is the Gear VR, also made by Oculus, but that’s only for Galaxy phone owners and it requires you to use your phone

as the screen and processor, which feels a bit weird to us. But now Oculus has released the Oculus Go. It costs £199 (32GB memory; £249 for 64GB) and is self-contained: the headset houses the computer required to run it, and the fast-refreshing LCD screen, which has a resolution of 2560x1440 pixels and an excellent spatial sound system. You also get a single controller, with a thumb pad, two buttons and a trigger. The resolution is higher than the full-size Oculus Rift, although we wouldn’t say the results are anywhere near as good. That’s down to the refresh rate being slower at 72Hz to the Rift’s 90Hz, and the fact that your Rift is tethered to a massive PC with an expensive gaming graphics chip that costs more than the Oculus Go’s smaller price tag on its own. As VR headsets go, the Oculus Go is quite attractive. It’s obviously been


Oculus Go

the whole package You’ll have everything you need for the Oculus Go: the smarts and screen are in the headset, and a wireless controller makes it easy to navigate the menus

ground control The controller is more ‘fine’ than ‘good’, and could be a limiting factor for ambitious future games, but it does the job well enough

designed to sit stylishly in the homes of ‘normal people’, as opposed to hardcore gamers, and comes in a chic yet neutral putty tone. It’s the easiest VR headset we’ve come across to put on, and the most comfortable to wear. That’s not to say it’s entirely objectively comfortable, because it’s not. But, as large plastic masks full of electronics that you strap to your face go, it’s hard to imagine anything more pleasant. Even with glasses on the lenses sit comfortably, and a spacer is included if you prefer them to sit further away. You can also buy VirtuClear custom prescription lenses for the headset.

VR for beginners Using a material sourced from ‘the intimate apparel industry’ – yes, this is the bra for your face that you’ve always dreamed of! – the Oculus Go sits comfortably over your nose and cheeks, blocking light effectively. Admittedly, the controller isn’t amazing. The trigger is good but the two supplementary buttons aren’t very satisfying, and the touch joypad

thing didn’t exactly feel like a pro-gaming experience. Setting up is easy: download the Oculus app to your iPhone or Android, create a new account or log into an existing one, add a credit card if you intend to buy apps or games, and pair with your headset, which will then pair with the controller. And that’s it. Compared to the HTC Vive this greatly simplified version was among the most pleasant set-up processes of our lives. Yes, Vive pays off with a far more sophisticated experience overall, but at least Oculus Go didn’t require us to stick small cameras to the walls with duct tape, then spend 97 hours trying to get its Windows app to run. The thing about Oculus Go is that it’s resolutely not aimed at people who are already well into VR. Some of the most fun things we’ve done in recent years (involving tech, at least) have been on full-fat Oculus Rift and HTC Vive rigs. There is nothing here to match that crazed level of adrenaline pumping, two controller, full-body-tracked immersive glee.

The putty colour is nice enough, but here’s hoping for some funkier shades soon

With the major caveat that the Oculus Go is a complete cinch to set-up and so affordable, we’ll say that no VR power user is going to be terribly impressed by it. However, those looking to dip a toe into VR for the first time should be knocked out by it.

Visually speaking The quality of the graphics is okay, but the field of view (Oculus doesn’t specify what that is) feels decidedly tight. Developers might want to have your in-game character wearing a helmet – or snood, in Oculus Go games – in order to ‘explain’ this. It’s not like having toilet roll tubes taped to your eyes, as such, but you sure as hell don’t get much peripheral vision. Also, if you’re looking for versatile dual-handed controllers, you won’t get them here. Want to physically move around in a 3D VR space? Not on the Go. You can either stand or sit, with the Go tracking your head movements. This caused us a certain amount of confusion when playing space flight games such as Anshar Online. With these you steer with j u ly 2 01 8 T3 91


Competition

win! a pair of PMC Twenty5.23 speakers worth over £3K! Add some high-end loudspeakers to your hi-fi setup and hear your music like never before Nothing brings out the beauty of your music better than a serious set of loudspeakers. Smaller speakers can do a fantastic job of recreating detail, but you need a set of full-size speakers to get that open, room-filling sound that makes you feel like you’re sitting in the middle of the original recording. PMC hand-builds some of the best full-size speakers on the market right here in the UK, and we’ve got a pair of the truly fantastic PMC Twenty5.23 speakers to give away to one reader. The Twenty5 line celebrates a quarter of a century of cutting-edge craft from PMC, packing the latest developments into a classically styled cabinet. The slimline design of the Twenty5.23 units means they can fit in most rooms, yet still give you the bass extension and power that only full-size loudspeakers can achieve. PMC builds its speakers to be as transparent as possible, so the sound you hear is exactly what the artists intended. Its unique Advanced Transmission Line (ATL) design puts the bass driver at the end of a long, acoustically dampened tunnel, absorbing unwanted higher frequencies from that driver and letting the low end give you its full impact from the front-mounted Laminair vents, which use design cues from F1 cars to let the air travel through cleanly. As a result, totally clear bass mixes with the sound from the front-mounted twoway drivers to give you perfect balance and clarity, with the bass not muddying up the mid-range, and the treble singing crisply at the top. Fancy stuff, right? To be in with a chance of winning the Twenty5.23 speakers, answer the question below. To discover more about PMCs products, visit pmc-speakers.com

Worth

£3,095

To enter, simply answer the following question:

PMC’s Laminair takes design principles from which sport? Cheese rolling Curling Formula 1 Enter today at: bit.ly/t3pmccomp

The competition closes 5 July 2018. By taking part, you agree to be bound by the competition rules: futureplc.com/competition-rules. Entries must be received by midnight on 5 July 2018 (UK time). Open to UK residents aged 18 years and over. There will be one winner, entitled to one pair of PMC Twent5.23 speakers. The prize is non-transferable and non-refundable. There is no cash alternative.

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best of the best The world’s best tech, all in one place Edited by Matthew Bolton

If you’re looking for the very best tech available today, you have definitely come to the right place. Best of the Best is the most useful gadget-buying guide you will ever encounter. To create it, we’ve ruthlessly filtered down to the biggest groups, to bring you rock-solid recommendations for your home life, daily commute and the tech you use all the time. Within each of those groups, we’ve got a dozen categories for key tech buys. We’ve picked one product for every category that we think is the best you can get on balance, taking into account price, quality and features, so it’s easy to know what you need in your life. You should also check out T3.com, where you’ll find even more categories, if you’re looking for something that isn’t here. From big-budget buys to the little (but essential) accessories, we’ve got you covered.

inside 106

entertainment

107

audio

108

LIFESTYLE

109

AUTO

110

smart home

111

living

112

COMPUTING

113

travel & Outdoors

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Best of the best best of…

Entertainment

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 AF8 Sony’s next-gen 4K HDR TV looks fantastic thanks to its OLED display and advanced image processing. Because of ingenious tech that uses the screen itself as a speaker, it also sounds superb. From £2,499, sony.co.uk

Top-end 4K TV

HiSense U7A This is a superior mid-range TV that over-delivers for the modest asking price. A smart design and excellent 4K image clarity are its best features, but the Vidaa U smart platform is also easy to live with. From £649, hisense.co.uk

4K HDR projector B&O Eclipse Bang & Olufsen’s fantastic TV features a gorgeous OLED panel and a colossal 450 watts of speaker through its integrated soundbar. The Eclipse comes in different finishes to match your room perfectly. From £7,495, bang-olufsen.com

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. Budget 4K players from other brands still cost around the same as this, but you can’t stick a game in them. £199, microsoft.com

4K streamer

PANASONIC DMP-UB900 The 4K and HDR pictures from this unit are out of this world, packing incredible colour depth and detail in Ultra HD (and making everything else look fantastic, too) to elevate your home cinema experience. £399, panasonic.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

TV soundbar

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 J u ly 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


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