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P R E S E N T S…

New tech with the power to dent the universe


C AT S60 No, this isn’t the phone used on covert night raids by Special Forces, but it’ll enable you to view the world as if you were looking through the eyes of the Arnie-stalking Predator. Yep, we’re talking thermal imaging, people! And it’s thanks to Caterpillar, a company that makes boots so tough, even Wolverine wears ’em. Despite its futuristic looks, this is a practical handset with a 4.7-inch HD capacitive touch display (with wet-finger and glove support), a 3,800mAh battery, a 13MP main camera with dual flash, a 5MP front-facing camera, a Snapdragon 617 octa-core processor, 32GB of storage and 4G LTE tech. Suited to outdoorsy types and nerds wanting to look a bit more macho, the drop-proof S60 is, according to Caterpillar, “the world’s most waterproof smartphone”, safe at depths of up to 5m for one hour. Designed with an embedded thermal camera made by FLIR (a global leader in thermal-imaging tech), the s60 (running Android Marshmallow) can be used to detect heat presence or loss, and measure surface temperatures from a distance of up to 100 feet. It can even see through smoke. Yep, T3 laser quest is on! Price £512 Available 2016 (date to be confirmed) URL

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ISSUE 254 / APRIL 2016

Meet the team Meet our advertising team

Rob Carney

Nick Odantzis

Duncan Bell

EDITOR Rob’s been beavering away on the annual T3 Hot 100 this issue. After months of research and collaboration with key contributors from the likes of Techradar, the list is complete. See p44.

DEPUTY EDITOR Nick’s so into home security, he’s installed a Nest Cam in every room in his house. At least, he tells us it’s in the interest of security. Find out what he thought of the best cameras on p100.

LIFESTYLE EDITOR, T3.COM Duncan has spent this month trawling through countless audio systems at The Bristol Show. He’s now suffering from horrible tinnitus, but it was worth it to see the latest kit.

Claire Davies

Spencer Hart

Warren Brown

ASSISTANT EDITOR We’re worried about Claire. This month, she’s been losing her mind over the new Witti Beddi alarm clock (p20) and babbling about how she needs one now! Seriously. It’s. An. Alarm. Clock.

LIFESTYLE WRITER, T3.COM Spencer’s been honing his driving skills this month, as we challenged him to go from game to track. Find out if he managed to make it around Brands Hatch in one piece in Man Vs Tech on p86.

DIGITAL ART EDITOR iPad design supremo Warren found time to hobnob with fashion dahlings at London Fashion Week this month. Oh, and he’s also been busy creating a cracking digital version of this magazine.

Dan Grabham

Robert Jones

Paul Dimery

EDITOR, T3.COM Dan’s now back from Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, where he fondled the Galaxy S7 Edge, LG G5 and Xperia X. He’s after an HTC Vive (p12), too, but he’ll need a bigger house before he can use it.

FEATURES EDITOR, T3.COM This month, aside from leaving T3 Towers to do a spot of skiing, Rob has reviewed the slick Libratone Zipp wireless speaker, and curated a list of the best tech gifts for Mother’s Day.

PRODUCTION EDITOR In an effort to get this month’s issue out of the door, the only tech that Paul’s found time to dabble with is a TV. His opinion of Spectre on Blu-ray: it’s time for Craig to move on.

SALES DIRECTOR CLARE DOVE clare.dove@ +44 (0)1225 687226 ACCOUNT DIRECTOR ANDREW TILBURY andrew.tilbury@ +44 (0)1225 687144

ADVERTISING DIRECTOR RICHARD HEMMINGS richard. hemmings@ +44 (0)1225 687615 PRINT AGENCY ACCOUNT DIRECTOR MARIE LONGSTAFF marie.longstaff@ +44 (0)1225 687495

The global magazine T3 is currently licensed worldwide, from Australia to Mexico.



How to license T3 Interested in publishing a licensed version of T3 in your territory? Please direct enquiries to T3’s Senior Licensing & Syndication Manager, Matt Ellis (matt.ellis@; +44 (0)1225 442244)

LIFE’S BETTER WITH T3... Tomorrow’s Technology Today, to give T3 its full name, was launched in 1996 and has been helping readers select the right gadgets to improve their lives for nearly 20 years as a magazine (print and digital) and at We’ve been at the heart of every shift in consumer

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technology ever since – from DVDs and HD TVs to smartphones and virtual reality. But our mission has remained the same throughout: to help you live a better life through technology, and to filter the latest gadgets to ensure you only ever buy the best of the best.

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ISSUE 254 / APRIL 2016

Editor’s letter It’s that time again. The T3 Hot 100 is here, featuring the tech, gadgets and innovators igniting your world right now!

FREE GIFT with a new T3 subscription p72

This is the 11th year that T3 has published its Hot 100 – a list of the best tech, gear, gadgets and people that are the hottest things around right now. Over the last 12 months, we’ve seen so many exciting developments, so many hightech gadgets and so many amazing innovators, it was a challenge to keep our list to just 100. Still, we did it – so take a look at what became a gargantuan feature, starting on p44. Another very exciting feature this issue is Man Vs Tech (p86). Our lifestyle writer Spencer spent ages honing his driving skills on the Xbox with a full-on driving rig, before taking to Brands Hatch to see if his practice did him any good. It was bucketing it down on the day of the race, so I think he actually did pretty well. Continuing the car theme, we’ve tested three of the best hybrids from Audi, Toyota and VW. Find out which we think is the best for your cash in State of the Art, beginning on p74. Finally, we’ve got a great subscription offer for you this month. If you fancy saving a shedload of cash, getting T3 delivered directly to your door and getting a free Bluetooth speaker, flick to p72 now. Until next month. Cheers!

Rob Carney, Editor @robcarney

Discover more great ways to enjoy T3…

Digital edition The iPad edition of T3 features a raft of fresh content, including video reviews and interactive articles. T3 is also available on Android devices, and on your desktop via

Visit We’ve overhauled – the best site for gadget news and reviews now has a great new look and is fully responsive, enabling you to enjoy it on any device.

Key contributors Elias Klingén,

James Clapham,

Ben Barry,

digital designer


car expert

James’s inimitable Beavis And Butthead style of bringing topics to life can be found at his website, – or you can head over to this issue’s Gadget Guru on p30.

Ben has been instrumental in organising this month’s State of the Art group test, showcasing three of the best hybrid electric vehicles on sale today (p74).

You’ve got to admit, the Hot 100 feature (p44) is the best we’ve ever come up with, and it’s thanks in part to designer Elias’s roasting-hot retouching work.

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ISSUE 254 / APRIL 2016


Features 030

044 HOT 100

It’s back! 035 This year, our annual list of the 074 hottest tech is absolutely scorching!


GADGET GURU T3’s tech maestro dishes the dirt on how to get big muscles without lifting a single weight, how to calm noisy dogs, and the tech you’ll need if you want to, erm, spy on your mates

AGENDA From the app that helps you beat stress to the wearable that enables you to achieve your best body ever, this month’s Agenda is all about making you better

STATE OF THE ART Many of us like the idea of going green with an electric car, but range anxiety can be crippling. Hybrid electric cars take the worry out of it, so this month we put three of ’em to the test

MAN VS TECH Ever wondered if an at-home Formula One simulator can actually equip you with the skills needed to drive a reallife car? Our writer heads to Brands Hatch to find out



BLUETOOTH SPEAKER Exclusive T3 subscription offer – p72

030 074


To subscribe to T3, point your browser at, or turn to p72. The next issue of T3 goes on sale 15 April

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ISSUE 254 / APRIL 2016

Contents 012





From the impressive HTC Vive VR headset and Naim’s glorious new mini speaker, to the retro-style camera everyone’s drooling over, this issue’s Preview will have you breaking out your wallet in record time

We spend some quality time with the newcomer from one of fitness tech’s most dominant brands. But will the Blaze set us alight with its performance?


PEOPLE As Top Gear’s new presenter, Matt LeBlanc needs some choice tech to keep him fed, connected and entertained on the road, not to mention travelling in style. For Matt we serve up the Porsche 911 Carrera, along with a pair of Motorola’s coolest walkie-talkies, and a cracking portable oven (not kidding)


WE CAN BUILD YOU... T3 reader Katy is crazy about her cat and dog and would like some tech to look after them when she’s at work. Bring on the laser toys, smart treat dispenser and doggy cam!


2016’S HOTTEST SMARTPHONES It’s time to check out six of the sexiest smartphones to debut at Mobile World Congress 2016, including the Samsung Galaxy S7 and the LG G5



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SMACKDOWN Fight! It’s the Nest Learning Thermostat against the Hive Active Heating 2 in a bid to find out which of them really is the pick of the thermostat pops


SUPER SIX Continuing our smart home theme, T3 gets nosy with six of the best smart security cameras all promising to keep a watchful eye over your home



From thermostats to tablets, and cameras to cars, our pick of the very best tells you what to buy Plus! T3’s £100 Hotlist


OUR GADGETS The Pebble Time Round is turning heads, while Creative’s new Sound BlasterX P5 in-ear gaming headset makes its debut


ENTERTAINMENT There’s a bucket-load of games, apps, music and more to keep you quiet this month: Primal Scream bring the noise, Michael Fassbender connects with his inner Steve Jobs, and we all go monster hunting in Final Fantasy Explorers

TALKING TECH This month, Duncan Bell heads to Britain’s premier hi-fi hootenanny – or, as he calls it, a dimly-lit “audiophile brothel” – to fondle some luxe audio tech



Essentials 005 006 072 111 116 130


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ISSUE 254 / APRIL 16



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Withings Go Naim Mu-so Qb Porsche 718 Olympus PEN-F Witti Beddi Matt LeBlanc The best tech for pets 26 2016’s hottest phones 28 Opinion

HTC Vive Pre £689, Ooh, this looks exciting. Is it HTC’s new VR headset? Aye. The Vive Pre (packaged with two controllers for a full range of actions) is the second generation of the dev kit, which bridges the gap between this and the final consumer version of HTC’s VR headset that you’ll be able to buy this April. Excited? You should be – this baby is going to deliver one heck of a VR ride. Truth time, T3 : what’s it really like? We had an extended session with the Vive Pre at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, and we can confirm that the experience is nothing short of incredible full immersion. Immersion, you say? You bet. We were stunned at how much it affected us – standing on a shipwreck was the best part, with a whale coming out of the ether towards us. The scene was so realistic, we had to take several steps back as the whale swooshed past.

Could you hear the sniggers? What games are available, then? Watch your step, cheeky. Anyway, HTC has already partnered with games developer Valve for the headset, using Valve’s SteamVR system. It wants to get the Vive into the hands of more developers, and will be dishing out around 7,000 headsets to get the ball rolling. If you’re interested, check out some of the demos on YouTube.

CREATIVE TALENTS During our session with the Vive Pre, we painted with Google’s Tilt Brush app, using one controller as the brush and the other as a Photoshop-style palette. Just call us Leonardo...

Screw the developers! When can I get one of these bad boys? The consumer edition (pictured here) is available to pre-order now. Pricing has been set at £689, and for a limited time will include three VR experiences – Tilt Brush, Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives and Fantastic Contraption – to get you started in the virtual world. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9


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Vital stats Two 110 degrees The number of SteamVR controllers that come with the HTC Vive Pre

The impressive field of view you’ll get with this VR headset

1,920 x 1,080 70+


The twin OLED displays are full HD, with a refresh rate of 90hz

The number of sensors, such as an accelerometer and a gyroscope


The Vive Pre delivers a fully immersive experience – we were nearly taken out by a VR whale. A whale!

The HTC Vive Pre is all set to knock us off our feet – literally! CLAIRE DAVIES, ASSISTANT EDITOR The Vive Pre bundle includes two ‘lighthouse’ laser base stations, which will track your movements

ALL PLATFORMS The Vive Pre is compatible with Apple’s OS X, Windows and Linux. According to the HTC site (at the time of press), you’ll need a reasonably powerful graphics an NVIDIA GTX 970/AMD Radeon R9 290 or greater

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Vital stats Eight months Five

Withings Go

The maximum life of the button-cell battery powering this tracker


The number of colours the Go comes in: green, red, blue, yellow and black

50 metres Bluetooth 4.0

This is so cute, T3. What is it exactly? You’re looking at the new activity and sleep tracker from Withings. When worn without the included wristband, the Go looks like a funky fob watch that you can clip onto your clothing or carry in your pocket. This colourful gizmo automatically recognises a variety of daily activities (ie, running and walking), and tracks steps taken, calories burned and distance covered. Plus it’ll nose into your sleep routine.

It’s water-resistant to 50m, so perfect for swimmers and UK runners!

How data captured by the Go is transferred to the Health Mate app

CHECK MATE The Go syncs with the Withings Health Mate app, which acts as a personal coach – you can set reminders and adjust your wellness goals. The app is also a gateway to Withings’ range of over 150 fitness partners, including MyFitnessPal and Runkeeper

Don’t mean to be rude, but it looks pretty basic. The Go was never designed to compete with flashier trackers, but it’s ideal for newcomers, for those on a budget, and for relaxed gym-goers who want easy-to-digest stats, not a constant barrage of intense biometrics. So I won’t have to fiddle with buttons? Nope – the Go is refreshingly minimalist. It has a large, always-on e-ink display with 88 graphic segments. As you progress through your daily activity goal, more segments are displayed until you complete it. Even when it comes to sleep analysis, there are no modes to select – just keep wearing the Go and it’ll handle the rest. What else can it do? Tell the time – tap the display to view its analogue watch face. The Go is also water-resistant to 50 metres, so you can swim while wearing it. All the data it captures can be fed via Bluetooth to the Withings Health Mate app (Android and iOS), too, if you want to view in-depth analysis. Suits me. When can I buy it? The Withings Go is available this spring. Keep your eyes glued to for updates. 1 2 3 4 5 6


8 9 10

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CLOTHES HORSE The Withings Go comes with a wristband and clip, so you can switch between wearing it like a watch or as a button that you clip onto your clothing or trainers

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Naim Mu-so Qb £595, Qb? That sounds a bit like ‘cube’. Well spotted. The Mu-so Qb is the cube-shaped baby brother of Naim’s Mu-so, a wireless music system that won T3’s Sound Award in 2015. The Mu-so Qb packs the same tech into a more compact unit, without compromising on sound or style. Can’t argue with that. So what can it do, then? You name it, the Mu-so Qb plays it. Built-in Wi-Fi lets you stream music via Apple AirPlay, Spotify Connect, TIDAL and internet radio, or it can play tracks in high resolution from PCs and other networked devices. You can even link up to five Mu-so Qb units in different rooms, and control them using Naim’s smartphone app. Digital and analogue inputs, USB and Bluetooth cater for the rest of your kit.

Vital stats BIG BASS With no room for a large bass port as with the full-size Mu-so, the Qb houses a custom-made woofer and two pistonic radiators in its compact cabinet

24-bit/192kHz 210 x 218 x 212mm Naim’s audiophile music system plays tracks in Hi-Res quality

The Qb’s minimalist cube-shaped design is compact and bijou

300 watts 802.11b/g The Qb’s total power output, with 100 watts coming from the sub

Stream music to multiple Mu-sos using Naim’s Android/iOS app

£595, though! What makes this little speaker so special? This is a real luxury piece. The Qb’s exterior is crafted from premium materials such as glass-reinforced polymer and anodised aluminium, providing a sturdy base for the 300-watt amplifier and high-end electronics, all of which are finely tuned for the Qb’s smaller cabinet. But will it fill my room with sound? Five precisely angled drivers spread the sound, while two pistonic radiators back up the built-in sub to deliver deep bass. So yes, it will. I’m sold. When’s it out? The Mu-so Qb launches this month. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7


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STREAM EASY The Mu-so Qb streams music from a wide range of sources, including AirPlay, Spotify Connect, TIDAL, Bluetooth and UPnP devices

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Porsche 718 From £40,000, A Porsche, you say? You can consider my interest piqued… Thought it would be. So here’s the skinny: Porsche has announced a major update to its ‘entry-level’ Boxster and Cayman lines. In short, the old six-cylinder engines have been tossed in the skip, replaced by new, turbocharged flat fourcylinder versions. Ugh… four cylinders? Come on, my Kia has that many! Yes, and look how efficient it is. Though increased fuel economy

is part of the reasoning here, the real coup is the sizeable boost to performance from the smaller, forced-induction engines. Not only are the engines lighter, which contributes to improved handling, but turbocharging offers more power – either 300 or 340bhp depending if you get the standard or the S model (the outgoing 2.7 six produced ‘only’ 261bhp).

295lb-ft of the stuff (around 74 extra lb-ft in each model). That means far more shove in any gear, and better real-world abilities.

Sounds good. Now talk torque. Well, there’s a colossal increase in torque – there’s now either 266 or

Speed aside, will the Porsche 718 be able to match my Kia for looks? Oh please. Though the 718 doesn’t

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Enough already – gimme the keys! Forget it – this one is T3’s. You can get your own Porsche 718 in April. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7


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Vital stats

GOOD SPORT If you’ve got extra cash floating about, the optional Sport Chrono Package in the PDK (auto) models gives you a Sport Response Button that makes the engine response and gear change as snappy as a rabid crocodile

That’s… perfectly reasonable. Wait, there’s more. The handling and braking have been upgraded, and various optional extras have been added for even more outrageous driving performance.

appear very different at first glance, the body has been radically redesigned, with those sexy rear LED lights and the boot cutout being among the most noticeable improvements. Trust us, you’re going to like this beauty.

IN-CAR STAR The new 718 also features a topnotch, touchscreen Porsche Communication Management system, with Bluetooth mobile hook-up, voice control and sat nav (available as an optional extra)

340bhp 295lb-ft The power behind the S model (23bhp more than before)

The S model’s torque (an increase of 74lb-ft)

177mph 4.0 seconds The top speed of the S model (5mph faster than before)

The S model’s 0-60 time (0.5 seconds faster than before)

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Olympus PEN-F From £999.99, Seems like everyone’s raving about this camera. Why is that? Because it’s speshul! Being serious, with the PEN-F Olympus hasn’t just made a high-end compact system camera, it’s made a camera for photographers who enjoy using beautifully made kit. This puppy reeks of retro charm, harking back to the feel of the classic Olympus PEN-F film camera, and the attention to detail is amazing.

How does it differ from other Olympus PEN cameras? Other PEN models are designed more for fashion-conscious non-experts who want a stylish, quality camera. The PEN-F is aimed squarely at discerning snappers, so, um, that means you (we think). It combines style and substance – it’s the first PEN with an electronic viewfinder and the first Olympus to use the new 20MP sensor.

Vital stats 20.3 million 1080p The number of pixels on the PEN-F’s brand-new sensor

The Olympus PEN-F shoots video in glorious Full HD

What are the lens options? Spend £1,099.99 and the camera comes with Olympus’ compact and practical 14-42mm EZ zoom lens. It’s effective but doesn’t have the cachet of the 17mm f/1.8 lens you get if you splash out £1,199.99. This 35mm equivalent lens lacks the flexibility of the zoom, but has a fast f/1.8 maximum aperture and is a classic street-photography lens that matches the PEN-F’s heritage.

I love it when you talk apertures, T3. When can I buy this? The PEN-F is in the shops right now, and if you already have some Olympus Micro Four Thirds lenses, you can buy it bodyonly for £999.99. Otherwise, you’ll need to pony up the extra. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8



CREATIVE DIAL This mirrors the dial on the front of the PEN-F film camera, but here it’s used to apply art filters, as well as new creative styles and controls

10fps Five The speed it shoots at in burst mode. H+ burst mode is 20fps

The axes of movement offered by the PEN-F’s in-body stabiliser

ELECTRONIC VIEWFINDER This is the first Olympus PEN with an EVF built in, and this one is a peach thanks to OLED display technology and 2.36 million dots of resolution

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Witti Beddi

Vital stats Three Two

$99.99 (£69), An alarm clock? Cor! You know how to live, T3. You’ll be singing a different tune once you’ve finished reading this, bucko... For your information, the Beddi is an app-enabled alarm clock-come-Bluetooth speaker that’ll rev you up in the mornings, chill you out in the evenings, and enable you to control your smart home from the comfort of your bed. Oh yeah? How so? Through a series of programmable smart buttons: the Beddi works with Philips Hue to control lighting, can talk to a Belkin WeMo Switch to get your coffee ready, and set your Nest Learning Thermostat so that your home is the perfect temperature, day or night. Won’t the light from that display keep me awake, though? Don’t worry, the Beddi has a ‘fully off’ feature that dims the clock face so that your room is dark at night. If outside noise wakes you,

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use the Beddi’s built-in white-noise maker to mask it – choose from rainy night or humming fan sounds.

The number of programmable buttons, each with three modes

The number of USB ports, enabling you to charge other devices

130 x 220 x 54mm 400g I bet it has an annoying alarm sound. Depends on what you call annoying. The Beddi has Spotify integration, so you can choose your favourite playlist (even if it’s just one track) as your alarm. There’s also a sunrise simulator to wash your room in natural light, helping to stir you five minutes before your alarm kicks in. Woah! Will it clean my toilet, too? Nope, but it can order you a taxi. The Beddi has a one-touch Uber button, and it’ll even speak to tell you when the car has arrived.



The weight of this app-enabled smart alarm clock



That’s nuts! So when can I rise and shine? The Beddi is available for pre-order now, with shipping set for June. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

The Beddi’s compact size means it’ll sit neatly on your bedside table

This clever alarm clock is also a Bluetooth speaker and has built-in FM radio, so you can still listen to your favourite stations or pump out your own tunes (via your smartphone or Spotify)

The Beddi has Google Maps integration. Program in your commute route (via the app), dock your smartphone with the Beddi, and it’ll check local traffic conditions and the weather for you, advising if you need to set off any earlier to avoid traffic jams

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MATT LEBLANC Who’d have thought it – Joey from Friends as a Top Gear presenter? Well, he is, and to help him settle into his new job, we’ve suggested some tech… Words: Paul Dimery FOOD ON THE GO

01 BROOKSTONE MINI OVEN As a Top Gear presenter, Matt’s going to be on the road a lot and will need something to eat. Hanging around with Chris Evans will put him off Ginger Nuts for good, so we suggest the Brookstone Mini Oven. Plugging into a 24V cigarette lighter, this two-litre device will warm soups, frozen meals and sandwiches in seconds. And considering he might be driving a supercar, it’ll literally be ‘fast food’ (I’ll get me coat). £POA,


02 PORSCHE 911 CARRERA Who could forget the Friends episode where Joey found the keys to a Porsche and pretended the car was his to impress the ladies (which was actually a pile of boxes under a sheet)? Well, we reckon Matt LeBlanc could afford his own Porsche now, and he should plump for the new 911 Carrera – even the base model goes from 0-62 in 4.4 seconds and has a top speed of 183mph. From £76,000,






Who’d want SIX two-way walkie-talkies? We can think of a few people. Six annoying friends, for a start. A five-a-side team with one sub. Maybe even an insect who fancies some silly fun. These have a range of 10km, are weatherproof and have a long battery life, so Matt can spend all day calling The Stig. Not that The Stig will answer, ’cos he always wears a helmet. £197.99,

Matt might think that squeaking noise is a passing guinea pig, but it’s more likely to be an irate Richard Hammond demanding his job back. These diddy remotecontrolled ’bots will protect him from the wee man, dazzling him with jabs, hooks and 360-degree spinning motions. Job done. Mind you, if Clarkson and May turn up as reinforcements, LeBlanc’s shafted. £112.50,

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05 GIANT BREADMAKER When asked by the rest of the gang whether he would rather give up sex or food, Matt’s Friends character Joey refused to make a decision, saying, “I want girls on bread!” So this month’s imaginary gadget is a giant breadmaker that’ll create bread big enough to hold said ladies. We could even throw in a giant saucepan for rustling up some baked beans and maybe a poached egg, but that’d just be weird.

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COMPLETE HOME TECH FOR PETS From GPS trackers to animal Fitbits, here are six cool gadgets for cats and dogs THE READER

Katy McDonald The proud owner of a cat and a dog, Katy’s after some tech to keep her pets busy when she’s at work, to track ’em when they’re out, and to see which one’s clawing the sofa.


A simple-yet-effective fitness monitor that clips onto any dog collar, the Pitpat uses a three-axis accelerometer to measure how much walking, running, playing and resting your four-legged friend manages. Input the breed, weight and age of your dog, and the device will calculate the optimum amount of walkies it needs. This Bluetooth 4.0 device stores over a week’s worth of data – just push the button to transfer. £39.99,


More than a webcam, the Petcube is social media for animal lovers. The 720p live-feed, app-controlled camera (Android and iOS, including the Watch) can pan up to 162 degrees. Thanks to the two-way mic, you can listen in and chat to/soothe/scald Fido and Fluffykins via the built-in speaker. If that isn’t enough of a productivity vacuum, there’s a safe, touchscreencontrolled laser pointer for real-time lunch-break entertainment. $149 (£104),


An essential for owners of pets with a bad case of wanderlust, the Tractive is a 35g collar-mounted GPS tracker (with a subscription service from £2.90 a month) that can keep real-time tabs on your cat or dog, pinging alerts to your smartphone if they stray beyond set boundaries. At 41 x 51 x 15mm, it’s best suited to bigger animals (4.5 kg+). Aside from preventing them from getting

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DOGGY FITNESS Tough and rubberised, the Pitpat is IP67-rated, meaning your pooch can go diving down to one metre for up to 30 minutes. That’s if he or she can find a snorkel that fits…


Chris Haslam Lifestyle-tech writer Chris has reviewed plenty of quirky gadgets for pets, including GPS trackers and indoor surveillance cameras, many with the help of his four-legged pal Roscoe.

lost, the Tractive provides affidavitworthy proof of which neighbour has been feeding your pet their leftovers. £69.90,


This combines all the Wi-Ficonnected fun of an app-controlled webcam with a smart treat dispenser, helping to dilute the guilt of leaving your pets home alone. Using various controls on the app, you can watch them play live, talk to them via the Petzi’s built-in two-way speaker, or use the Treat Launcher to spit out delicious biscuits for them to munch on. $170 (£119),


Got a cat with energy to burn? The Bolt will keep them entertained for ages. Turn it on and the AA batterypowered interactive laser gadget will project a randomly moving red dot onto any surface, ideal for encouraging your cat to prance, pounce and stalk it like it’s the last mouse on earth. £23.99,

Tech can track your pets and keep them amused, but it can’t replace the real benefits of human contact. That’s where the sitter/walker comes in handy! CHRIS HASLAM



Capture the world from your dog’s point of view with this adjustable GoPro mount (compatible with all GoPro cameras), which will fit dogs from 7kg to a bear-like 54kg. It’s padded for comfort and designed with two cameramount options. You can choose to see the world from your dog’s chest POV for UHD 4K bum-sniffing, or over their head for a running, jumping perspective.

THE SOCIAL PETWORK Interact with other stay-at-home pets via the Petcube app’s social network, or set your camera to ‘public’ and leave your pet’s care to a total stranger. On second thoughts, maybe not...

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Using a GPS chip and embedded 3G SIM, the Tractive helps you track your pet via its smartphone app. Don’t have your phone to hand? Find your pet using instead


To prevent laser-chasing burnout, the Frolicat Bolt automatically switches off after 15 minutes of use. There’s also a manual mode so that you can hold the Bolt and create custom laser patterns


Online pet store Fetch has unveiled a dog-translation device to help owners better understand their pet’s needs. WhatsYapp uses smartband tech to analyse a dog’s sounds and activities, resulting in a direct translation to an app on your smartphone. Talk about barking mad!


TRICK FOR TREAT Whenever you access the Petzi camera via the app, the device lights up and emits a little jingle to let your dog know it’s time to play and earn treats

SAFETY FIRST Padded and designed with a handy quickrelease function, the GoPro Fetch has a tether to doubly secure your cam



2016’s hot new phones We went to Mobile World Congress in Barcelona to check out the latest and greatest phones. They’re coming to your pocket rather soon...




Samsung Galaxy S7

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

Sony Xperia X range




Samsung’s S6 replacement boasts a microSD slot for increased storage and full waterproofing. It’s IP68 rated, which means it can be dunked in up to 1.5m of water for up to 30 minutes, so it’ll survive a drop into the toilet. There’s also a dual-pixel camera for better low-light pics and an alwayson display. There’s also some cool accessories, including the Gear 360 VR camera (inset) for creating spherical videos and photos. £569,

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Our favourite phone from last year has just got a whole lot better; the Galaxy S7 Edge makes the standard S7 look very ordinary. Samsung’s flagship has all the features of the S7 (like the waterproofing and SD card slot), but the screen has also got bigger – increasing from 5.1 to 5.5 inches. That’s more like last year’s Galaxy S6 Edge+. The display doesn’t have more pixels, but it’s barely noticeable compared to last year’s effort. £639,

The Xperia X is out this summer and will be followed at a later date by the X Performance, which does match flagship handsets in terms of spec if not the Full HD five-inch display (it might be accompanied by a bigger version). Each X-series phone boasts an improved camera developed in association with Sony’s DSLR engineers, plus Adaptive Charging battery management tech from Qnovo that should see the phones last for two days. £TBC,

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HP Elite X3

Xiaomi Mi5




Without doubt, this 5.3-incher is the most interesting phone we’ve seen for a while – the bottom of the phone unclips and the battery slides out. More interesting still are the accessories you can attach to the bottom. Our favourite is a Hi-Res Audio DAC with B&O Play, which supports 32-bit 384KHz. There’s also the Cam Plus, which offers a digital camera-style shutter button and added controls and a new VR camera and headset to complement the handset (inset). £500,

What’s that you say? A Windows Phone? Well yes, but this one has a natty feature hidden up its sleeve. Windows Phones now run full Windows 10, so they can plug into a monitor and connect to a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard and work just like a PC. But the Elite X3 can come with a full laptop companion that plugs into the phone and uses its hardware. So it’s basically just a keyboard and bigger display that acts as a full laptop through your phone. That’s neat. £TBC,

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Never heard of Xiaomi? That’s understandable, but this is a Chinese firm to watch, just like Huawei. The Mi5 brings searing specs (including the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, a 16MP, fast-focusing camera and a whopping 3GB of memory), an S7-matching 3,000 mAh battery and a 5.5-inch 1080p Full HD display. It’ll be around half the price of most high-end handsets, so it makes a terrific alternative choice. It’s available in black, silver and gold (inset). Around £285, A P R I L 2 0 1 6 T3 2 7



Duncan Bell is lost in the ’70s s a kind of tech dilettante – a pontificator on all things, specialist in none, if you will – I get to go to a wider range of events than most. This month, it was The Bristol Show. Or, to give it its full title, Sound & Vision: The Bristol Show. Or, to give it its real title: The Bristol Show For Men Who Like Hi-Fi And Have A Paunch, Often An Ill-Advised Beard, And Are Mainly Bald. They couldn’t find a poster printer that could make that fit onto a sheet of A3, so they use ‘The Bristol Show’. Now, I like sneering at middle-aged, white blokes as much as the next hipster, but fact is, it’s a cool event. You remember Life On Mars, the TV show where a modern-day guy bangs his head and wakes up in the 1970s, with everyone wearing brown clothes, drinking brown ale and eating Spaghetti Hoops? It’s exactly like that. Normally, tech-related shindigs are industry-only and full of thrusting young wankers – sorry, ‘bloggers’ – in backpacks, running around taking photos of phones and yabbering on about start-ups and Slack. This was more leisurely. Large, majestic herds of 50-something geezers roamed from room to room listening to music, played through reasonably expensive audio systems – like buffalo ambling between watering holes, only, instead of water for sustenance, there was, largely, Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories in high-res audio.


Hotel hi-fi The reason they’re forced to roam from room to room is that the show is held in a hotel. Specifically, the Marriott Hotel, Bristol – although they’ve missed a trick, in my opinion, by not renaming it the Steve Marriott Hotel for the event (he’s a famous musician from the 1960s, kids). The Marriott is a spectacularly brutalist, concrete construction. It’s 2 8 T3 A P R I L 2 0 1 6

like a Stalinist gulag, only with room service. All the hi-fi brands rent rooms, so there’s at least some level of soundproofing. It’s quite egalitarian, too, so you might have Sony or Technics in a room next to someone who makes amplifiers out of teak and what appear to be the valves from a Lancaster bomber’s radio. On the ground floor, there’s a more open area, like your standard trade show, with headphones, DACs and the like. In the basement, there are large demo rooms where the more showy brands can ponce about with their £75,000 home-cinema rigs. But it’s those three upper floors of rooms that are the real meat of The Bristol Show. It’s here that the largely bald, middle-aged men with paunches and bad beards come to indulge their passion. This gives it the faint air of an audiophile brothel, with men entering

Large, majestic herds of 50-something geezers roamed from room to room listening to music dimly lit rooms, followed by the sound of heavy breathing and occasional exhalations of enjoyment, just audible over the sound of Daft Punk. As the day goes on, the mood becomes meditative, intense and, from lunchtime onwards, somewhat tipsy. The quality of the hi-fi stuff on show seems, at least to my less-thangolden ears, to be almost uniformly excellent. If you’ve largely bought in to the idea of elegantly designed, wireless, one-box solutions for audio,

The Bristol Show might give you pause for thought. Yes, many of the products on show are as massive and overbearingly ugly as the Marriott itself, but the sounds they produce are magical. Especially if you REALLY like Daft Punk’s last LP. I don’t want to overstate the homogeneity of the audience, though. For, as the afternoon wears amiably on, I do manage to complete The Bristol Show Anti-Stereotype Bingo Card. Granted, I’ve been at after-hours gay clubs and seen more of a gender mix, but look: there’s a woman! And gosh, some young people. And, oh my word, I just spied a non-Caucasian. That’s a bingo! At most tech events, talk is cutting, bitchy and obsessed with what’s buzzy and new. Here, the talk is warmly appreciative of more old-fashioned virtues: great sound, craftsmanship and lunchtime/afternoon drinking. Judging by the age of the crowd, I’d say The Bristol Show has a shelf life. Many of these guys have been coming for years and most haven’t managed to convince their sons, and certainly not their daughters, to join them. Still, with human longevity being what it is nowadays, I’d say it’s got a good 20 years left in it, and I’m glad of that. As much as it makes clear how far ‘tech’ has progressed since that word just meant TVs and stereos, The Bristol Show also reveals some of what it’s lost along the way. It’s a unique event in a great city; if you get the chance, go.

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The Bristol Show is Britain’s premier hi-fi hootenanny. It could use a little updating…


This issue

Can tech help me get bigger muscles? Is it wrong to want a radio controlled car? Can you silence my noisy dog? First vinyl, now cassette. That’s mad! What’s the best way to spy on my friends? Can an app sort my outfit?



I want bigger muscles. Can tech help me out? Guru’s 28-inch pythons are the product of advanced cyber-engineering, but you’ll likely be better off with a combination of motivation, nutrition, and some good old-fashioned cheating. First, get a handle on your love handles with Sequoia Fitness’s MetaCal Body Fat Caliper (£5), a metal torture device designed to pinch your flab and humiliate you. When you’ve stopped crying, grab a set of high-end BioElectrical Impedance analysis scales like Tanita’s RD-901 (£135), which records and uploads your gruesome body composition to Tanita’s Health Planet app. Remember to ignore all



mentions of BMI, as you’re aiming for a mass in advance of the average human. Now to diet. The key to building one’s muscles is consuming huge amounts of protein and any number of mystical substances with silly names. So pick up some UltraMutant+++ and mix it up in a PROMiXX Vortex Mixer (£19), a battery-powered concoctionspinner which should help to reduce the amount of disgusting sediment.

ABOVE Use tech to ensure there’s more than one Mr Muscle in your kitchen

“You’ll be better off with a combination of motivation, nutrition and some good old-fashioned cheating”

On the odd occasion that you eat actual food you’ll want to be eating ‘clean’, so pick up a ten-portion George Foreman Entertaining Grill (£100) and watch the grease dribble off your meat. The stomach-churning clean-up should help you stay nice and cut. With that sorted, you’re probably gasping to lift something heavy. The Beast Sensor (£200) counts your sets and reps, and measures just how much unhinged aggression you’re pouring into your training regime. Alternatively, the Bar Sensei (£275) clangs onto your hardware and provides live feedback to help keep your form solid. If all that sounds like too much hard work, try some under-shirt deception. Funkybod’s muscle enhancing top (£50) provides sculpted pecs and optional bicep-falsery perfect for both impressing the opposite sex and providing disappointment at the most critical of times. It’s probably better to sweat your way though the iron.

SEND YOUR QUESTIONS TO: or 3 0 T3 A P R I L 2 0 1 6

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Is it wrong to want a radio controlled car? If you are 12 years old, reader, then GaGu completely appreciates the desire to fire a stupid four-wheeled thing around your living room rather than humorously endangering the lives of others with the much-cooler blades of a careening quadcopter. But no. I suspect you’re older than that, so learn this: RC cars are, in essence, really, really pointless. But wait! You knew there would be more. There are at least some RC cars out there which Guru does not wish to immediately stamp on and crush into a billion even-more-pointless bits. If you must tit about like a 1/10 scale Nigel Mansell, you will fail to heed this list of don’ts at your peril. Don’t buy one from a toy shop. Guru has already determined that you are no child. Think that buying a Lamborghini Aventador LP700 (£30) will get you a reasonable facsimile of the real thing? Really? Don’t be so bloody stupid. Get yourself to a specialist retailer run by a super-nerd on the internet and buy one from there.


Don’t expect to just buy an RC car, because buying a good one means you’ll be buying a fast one, and buying a fast one means crashing a fast one repeatedly until it breaks. You’ll need to stock up on spare axles and suspension bushes, and buy a huge pile of environment-destroying lithium batteries in order to keep it running. Don’t jump into nitro-fuelled cars immediately. Oh, yes, GaGu is familiar with the desire to harness little explosions in the pursuit of power, but there is such a thing as too much juice. Proper engines, and the commitment to tuning and intricate repair that they demand, are not for beginners. You will, possibly literally, get your fingers burned. And one final don’t: don’t expect a happy ending. You’ll either pump a load of money into something that you barely touch, or you’ll be dragged into a never-ending cycle of upgrades, tuning, club meets and unmitigated spending. GaGu, as ever, accepts no responsibility whatsoever for ruined relationships or bank balances.

ABOVE Take a power trip – silencing all dogs in a 50m radius at the click of a button

GADGET GURU’S MAGIC BOX Winter, eh? Goodness, GaGu’s dangliest bits have

your ‘neuros’ and tell

shrivelled somewhat. But short of a quick sabbatical

your muscles that it’s

to Australia – which Guru’s granddad suggested was

time to

quite lovely in those blood-stained letters that GaGu

get exercising? Not sure,

Sr. kept wrapped in medical plastic – there’s really

and that headband

only one solution: a nice new gaming laptop, all set


to radiate the heat of a thousand hells directly into

a bit fearsome, but if it

GaGu’s rapidly-sterilising crotch.

works it opens up a

The newly updated and hyper-gaudy Alienware 17 R3 (£2,000 for the UHD model, don’t bother with the others) is a perfect glowing statement of intent, and you can slap on an external USB-C graphic

world of torturous possibilities. Hidden weaponry of the month comes in the

module (£250 unpopulated, plus whatever you spend

form of the Titanium Pocket Tool (£28 if you’re in time

on a graphics card) to further warm your room.

to catch the Kickstarter) which is an impossibly-thin

While you’re at it, you could do worse than

multi-tool that’s the perfect size to stuff a standard

treating your frozen fingers to a ValueRays Heated

utility knife inside. You shouldn’t do that, though –

Mouse (about £30), which – ah, who is GaGu trying to

threaten opponents with the hex-bit driver, adaptable

kid? This mouse is a stupid gimmick. Don’t waste your

wrench and ‘secret’ bottle opener instead.

hard-earned money. Buy some gloves or something. GaGu’s favourite sounds-like-complete-nonsense

Finally, what’s the worst bit about DIY? In GaGu’s opinion, it’s the hideous immovable claw that replaces

tech of the month is the Halo Sport Neuropriming

his hand after a good old-fashioned bout of hammerin’.

Headset (on pre-order for £380), which apparently

Never fear, though: Fiskars’ improbable-looking

fires some sort of electricity into the brain to ‘prime’

IsoCore hammer design, which purports to reduce the

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My noisy dog is doing my head in! Can you sort it out? Now, although you might think GaGu something of a sadist, and you’d be right, he reserves the shock collars for reducing the barks and yelps of the hired help. The treasured trio of hounds – Chompsky, Teeth and Lord Fuzzlesworth – have in fact been whipped into shape with a selection of far more boring products. The BarkStopper Ultrasonic (£21) gives all beasts within a 50m radius a high-frequency ear-blast whenever you press a button (which is fine until the kids get hold of it). So, your noisy pooch should quickly get the message – as will your neighbours’ dogs (the ultrasonic waves can travel through hedges and fences) – and your dog whispering antics will go unnoticed. You could also do worse than sticking a PetSafe Deluxe Outdoor Bark Control (£65) in the rear courtyard. It’s shaped like an innocuous bird feeder – great for infuriating the local feathered population – and drops mad tweets when it detects an anti-social mutt. That’ll learn ‘em.


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WHAT IS IT, GAGU? It’s a lunch box, reader. A cloyingly hip lunch box. A lunch box with its own app. A lunch box that costs $70 (around £50). You can put your lunch in it. SO WHAT’S NEW? It doesn’t have a picture of the A-Team on it, that’s for sure. But GaGu has calmed down a bit from the £50 lunch box revelation now, so here’s the real deal: it’s a cleverly designed unfolding wooden case with modular food containers inside, magnetic cutlery or chopsticks, a wipe-clean eating mat and an app packed with calorie-conscious eating plans and ubiquitous social features. Yep, you’re encouraged to take pictures of your lunch. Extra investment gets you more airtight containers, so you can get your lunch up together days in advance, and a neoprene sleeve for insulation of cold or hot things. WHAT’S GOOD HERE, GAGU? There’s no arguing with the premium materials and the versatility of the individual storage containers inside the Prepd Pack. You’ll save money on buying lunch out, and the app can both help you to eat better and teach you exactly what to do in the kitchen. It’s basically your mum. ANY OBVIOUS FLAWS? The eating mat, clever as the idea is, just won’t last very long under the pressure of GaGu’s knife, and he wonders about its ability to stay hygienic over time. Also, GaGu prefers a much bigger lunch than can be fit inside. Plus: no A-Team picture. This is important. HOW DID ITS FUNDING GO? Outstandingly: at time of writing there’s four days left, and already almost 9,000 backers have pledged an impressive $1,008,555. DESIRED OUTCOME? “Get Prepd and kickstart your healthier lifestyle”. GURU VERDICT? Admittedly, this one looks tasty.

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First vinyl, now cassette? That’s mad! Perhaps you’re the mad one: let GaGu hurl some truth your way. Cassettes are actually not as bad as all that. Yes, Types I (Ferrous) and II (Chrome) are abominations, and sadly that’s what you’ll get if you buy one of those awfully hip commercial albums. But Type IV (Metal) gives some decent audio performance if you’re stupid enough to pay upwards of £10 each for 90-minute blanks on eBay. GaGu, ever the trendsetter, has decided to get ahead of the retro curve and currently only listens to artisanal MiniDiscs through a plastic Midi Hi-Fi system with Bass Boost turned to 12, all the while eating ‘classic’ breakfast cereals from at least 15 years ago. The crunch helps add a bit of treble.


What’s the best way to spy on my friends, GaGu?

ABOVE Let your iPad choose your clothes. What could possibly go wrong?

Er, don’t? GaGu’s not entirely sure what you’re up to, but any gadget with ‘spy’ in its title might as well have ‘crap’ in its title instead. Take the CrapShades Hidden Cam Glasses (£45, MWGjPV), a pair of sunglasses with inexplicably bulky arms which use an outdated sensor to capture blurry video. You could spend more, but the results don’t get much better. There are hidden cameras you can stuff in soft toys, silly pen cameras, keyring cameras: all manner of tosh created in the name of wringing money out of dishonesty. If you suspect something’s up, just hide in a cupboard or something.



Can an app sort my outfit? GaGu’s daily wears – manly plaid, jeans, fancy anoraks – all seem to match either through an innate fashion sense or mere chance: you may not be so lucky. Try, in that case, Closet+. It’s an iOS app that you can fill with pictures of your garments and then play dress up to your heart’s content. It doesn’t directly tell you if those slacks go with that shirt (they don’t) but at least you’ll be able to see them together without having to face the mirror, and since it enables you to plan outfits in advance you can make sure your servants are activating the washing machine sufficiently so that you don’t look like a one-outfit hobo.

Don’t miss another instalment of the legendary Gadget Guru!


ISSUE 254 / APRIL 2016



04 05








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LEARN TO FLY A lightweight Sprintframe outsole provides stability at high speeds, enabling you to fly across the pitch when you need to

BACK OF THE KNIT Give your playing the pro touch with Adidas’s groundbreaking new knitted football boots. They feature a laceless Primeknit upper that enhances your ball control

GRIPPING STUFF Designed for firm ground and artificial grass, the Ace 16+ PureControl boots feature Non Stop Grip tech, which will keep the ball glued to your feet

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IMPROVE YOUR GAME THIS SPRING With Euro 2016 hurtling towards us, now’s the time to get into the spirit of the game and up your performance with some hightech football boots designed to increase your ball control Do you long for the skill and speed (not to mention the bank balance) of players like Mesut Özil and Ivan Rakitic? Yeah, us too! While that level of talent will remain a distant daydream for the majority of people, Adidas has developed a pair of high-tech, knitted, laceless football boots to help us mere mortals improve our ball control and speed. Set to become an iconic Adidas release, the Ace 16+ PureControl boots aren’t afraid to stand out. “We’ve taken away something that’s been present in every pair of football boots Adidas has released – the laces,” says Sam Handy, Adidas Football Vice President of Design. “The result is a pure silhouette and a beautiful shape. That shape not only makes them visually stunning but, most importantly, gives our players an unparalleled strike surface.” Instead of laces, three key points of stability will lock your feet into the boots. Utilising a durable TPU cage, a Primeknit

upper and an internal knitted TechFit locking system, the boots will instantly mould to your feet, meaning no chaffing or blistering of the skin. “My whole career, I’ve tried to minimise the impact of laces on my strike and ball control,” says Arsenal ace Özil, one of the pro footballers selected to wear the boots. “When [Adidas] came to me last year with the laceless boots, it was like they’d created my dream product.” Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic agrees: “I’m really excited about the Ace 16+ PureControl because I’ve always wanted a laceless boot,” he says. “I’ve already tested them in training and it was a fantastic experience. The ball felt like it was stuck to my feet.”

START YOUR ADVENTURE TODAY Begin by snapping up a pair of the Adidas Ace 16+ PureControl boots, made with a PureCut laceless sock forefoot and zero edges to get between you and the ball. The boots are retailing at £230 in a limited number of Adidas’s flagship stores around the world. There’s no need to wear-in these boots – they’re made with a Primeknit upper that moulds to your feet the moment you slip them on. Finally, you can ignore the weather when wearing these boots – the Ace 16+ PureControl use something called Non Stop Grip technology, a thin layer of raised dots applied to the upper to keep the ball glued to your feet.

“When [Adidas] came to me with the boots, it was like they’d created my dream product” – Mezut Özil

ABOVE Foul, ref! Except, of course, in reality you’ll be too quick for foulers LEFT Get ahead in the footy fashion stakes with these chic, laceless boots

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Get up close with the flesh-eating undead, as HTC joins forces with Noma Labs to bring an exhilarating virtualreality-meets-immersive-theatre zombie experience to the UK

When T3 hit up the Virtually Dead website and read the disclaimer, “Warning: production contains extremely graphic scenes. Not for the faint-hearted,” we immediately grew excited about the unholy carnage HTC and Noma Labs are planning to unleash upon East London this March. Virtually Dead, a VR-meets-immersivetheatre production set in a secret East London location, combines the expertise of Noma Labs with the VR artistry of the HTC Vive to create a full-on zombie experience designed to leave punters feeling all kinds of terrified and excited. An hour-long journey spanning over half a kilometre and boasting a cast of 22 actors, Virtually Dead invites lucky ticketholders into a fully immersive world where they have to fight to save a town from a horde of flesh-munching zombies. At the heart of the action is the HTC Vive VR headset, giving punters the chance to try out the device before its release this April. They will also be able to experience the Vive’s 360-degree room-scale tech, designed to help users fully explore the VR scene around them. Jon Goddard, Head of European VR Marketing at HTC, said: “By combining our VR with immersive theatre, we aim to introduce new audiences to the HTC Vive before our April launch. We’ve produced something that showcases VR in a new light, and will attract people outside of the usual circles that would typically be interested in a VR event.”

START YOUR ADVENTURE TODAY Head to to book your tickets. The entry cost is £30 per person, and you can either fly solo or go along as a group of ten mates.

“Virtually Dead is the perfect example of how important storytelling can be when introducing high-tech products to a new audience,” says Alice Peperell, Event Producer at Noma Labs

This HTC Vive experience, organised by Noma Labs, is a one-hour-long affair, to be held at a secret London location (the exact location will be announced to ticketholders one week before the event starts). Shows will then run every day from 19 March until 3 April. The company may also add further dates if the demand is big enough. Those of you lucky enough to get a ticket to Virtually Dead will also have the opportunity to explore a new level from the first-person zombie shooter Arizona Sunshine. If you’re into VR and the zombie genre, this is a no-brainer.


Spend safely with a nextgen wallet Replace your wallet with one that’ll protect your credit cards from identity theft and skimming Losing your wallet can be annoying, but new company Ekster plans on remedying that with its trackable, RFID-blocking smart wallet, which has a spring-loaded mechanism to provide you with access to your debit/credit cards at the touch of a button. Hand-crafted from calf leather, the wallet has a feature that enables you to track it through your phone, and your phone through the wallet. The tracker syncs with your Apple or Android smartphone via Bluetooth Low Energy. Download the Protag app and it’ll connect to the wallet. Leave your wallet behind and you’ll be alerted so that you can locate it via the app’s map. If you lose your phone, press the reverse-tracking button on the wallet and your phone will ring, even in silent mode. The Ekster smart wallet offers RFID/NFC protection for five cards. “People aren’t aware of how prevalent RFID skimming and data theft are, and with the Ekster we’re providing a fashionable, trackable and secure solution to these issues,” says Olivier Momma, Ekster’s co-founder. The wallet is available in two designs – the Senate ($99/£68), which holds up to eight cards, with RFID/NFC protection for five, and the Parliament ($109/£75), which boasts the same tech but has room for up to 12 cards. Ekster (ekster is taking pre-orders now, with shipping starting in July.

“Virtually Dead invites ticketholders into an immersive world where they have to save a town from zombies” 3 8 T3 A P R I L 2 0 1 6

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CAPTURE MORE WITH THE WORLD’S SMALLEST 4K CAM Focus on recording the moments you want to remember, without worrying about setting up the perfect shot, with a micro 4K camera that’s ready to roll any time, anywhere. Did somebody shout “Action!”?

Documenting life’s greatest moments has become easier over the years with the advent of fast, powerful smartphone cameras and action cams, but what if you want something even smaller and simpler? Step forward the Mokacam, a tiny camera with a big attitude. Positioned as a direct competitor to GoPro’s devices, the Mokacam offers a variety of shooting modes and is capable of recording video in 4K UHD. Small (45 x 45mm), compact and durable, it’s fitted with a 16MP Sony IMX206 sensor and a seven-layer glass lens to capture intense detail, colour and clarity. It’s encased in an impact- and water-resistant polycarbonite shell, too – good news for clumsy types. The Mokacam may look minimalist, but it promises big results. An integrated high-definition mic enables you to pick up audio, while a wide-angle, 152-degree field of view makes quick and easy work of capturing sprawling scenes. There’s also a normal-angle mode so that you can record distortion-free Full HD video and photos. Pony up for the slick, 270-degree rotating screen ($49/£34) and you’ll be able to view what you’re shooting. You don’t need to worry about battery life, either – the Mokacam is compatible with a snap-on magnetic battery pack ($29/£20), so if you’re low on juice you can simply attach a new battery and add another hour to your filming time. Designed with a complete ecosystem of accessories, including a handheld stabiliser ($249/£172) and a wearable

stabiliser ($249/£172), each created to keep your shots smooth and shake-free as you film, the Mokacam is a fun camera to stash in your pocket or bag, ready to document your life as it happens.

START YOUR ADVENTURE TODAY To begin capturing the moments that matter, head to to buy this camera. The Mokacam is available in silver, black, gold, blue or pink. There are several Mokacam accessories and bundles for you to choose from,

depending on your needs, including the Mokacam Adventure Bundle ($179/£123), which comes with a waterproof case, a battery, a rotatable screen module and a carry case, and the Mokacam Handheld Stabiliser ($249/£171), with its three-axis powered gimbal that will support the camera as you pan and tilt during filming. Once you have captured your first bit of footage, or snapped some high-quality stills, you can share the results wirelessly with your friends and family via the free Mokacam Android and iOS app.

This 45mm-tall 4K camera houses an impressive amount of tech, including a 270-degree rotating screen that enables you to record the action (as well as capturing stills) from any angle

“A GoPro rival? Considering its teeny size, the Mokacam certainly packs a hefty tech punch” Get a FREE Bluetooth speaker w hen you subscribe! See p72

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Unlike the latest version of Android – whether it’s Lollipop or Marshmallow – CyanogenMod can be customised to suit your every need, making your handset completely unique to you If you’re not into Apple, you’ll do anything to avoid buying an iPhone come upgrade time. So, an Android phone it is, then – or is it? If you’re looking for something a bit different, there’s now another player in town: CyanogenMod (or CM). Though it looks similar to Android, CM is actually a modified version of Google’s OS, giving you greater customisability of

the interface, as well as extra features not found in Android. One such handset running CM is the new BQ Aquaris X5, available on 02. It runs CM 12.1, which is basically tweaked Lollipop. One of the main differences is the alphabetically categorised, vertical apps menu, which lets you quickly flick through to find apps. You can also dress up the X5 any way you like, with custom themes, new app

Use CyanogenMod to customise your phone’s interface. God forbid, it should look like anyone else’s!

icons (you can also adjust the app-icon sizes), fonts and wallpapers; you’ll have to pay for some, but many are free. You can even set the screen to automatically adjust temperature as day turns to night, to give your eyes a much-needed rest. CyanogenMod also has extra security and privacy features over Android, such as Trucaller, which lets you block spam calls. You get enhanced battery-saving features, too. Admittedly, you could download apps to add these features to an Android handset. Well, thankfully, the BQ Aquaris X5 also comes in a Lollipop flavour. The handset isn’t cutting edge by any means, but it’s nicely designed and well specified with a five-inch, 720p display and a speedy 1.4GHz Snapdragon processor. The X5’s biggest win, though? You can buy it outright for just £180.

START YOUR ADVENTURE TODAY Buy a BQ Aquaris X5 SIM-ready for £180, or £9.99 for a £19.50/month contract. The X5 has a slot for both regular and nano-SIMs, giving you more options. Turn on the X5 and hit the Themes app – you can browse through a variety of looks. Just hit the one you want to install.

Beat stress with music


MusicforMoods is a new app designed to help you harness the stress-relieving properties of guided breathing. Developed by BodyScore, it takes inspiration from research conducted at Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg, by BodyScore owner Rickard Åström and team, giving the user calming, purpose-written music and guided breathing instructions. The composition of the music is designed to bring your heart-rate variability to an optimal level, and to have a positive impact on your body’s autonomic nervous system.

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Immerse yourself in relaxing music and guided breathing instructions to effectively lower your stress levels, calm your mind, and regain focus and clarity “For thousands of years, people have gathered to sing, pray or chant mantras in order to find calmness and serenity, and one of the secrets behind these methods is the breathing,” says Åström. “With this app, we’ve taken this secret and made it accessible.” Place your finger on your phone’s camera and MusicforMoods plays calming music and instructions for guided breathing while measuring your pulse. Do this for five to ten minutes a day to reduce stress-related symptoms. You can buy it now from the App Store (£2.29, iOS 8 or later) or Google Play (£2.38, Android 4.2 or later).

“Now anyone can master stress and heart rhythm through the power of music and guided breathing,” says Rickard Åström

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Real-time feedback and detailed postworkout analysis will help you get maximum results from every session



Fight the flab and sculpt your best-ever body with a tech-packed fitness tracker and personal-trainer app With wearables set to dominate the year ahead, it’s difficult to know which fitness trackers actually deliver on their promise of helping you to achieve a killer bod and capture relevant data so that you can chart your progress, and which of them are more novelty over function. Well, pro help is at hand with the Gymwatch fitness band. Whether you want to fight the bulge or get shredded, the Gymwatch and its powerful companion app will help to quickly maximise your efforts. “The patented Gymwatch is the first and only fitness tracker that precisely measures the full range of motion and strength expended in every type of exercise,” says co-founder Fabian Walke. “It provides real-time feedback to help users perform the exercises properly and get the maximum results from their workouts. With our app, the user can also

see more metrics, like one repetition maximum, moved tons or power, to analyse their workouts in detail.” Yep, you read that right. During your workout – whether you’re hitting the gym machines or free weights, or doing punishing bodyweight exercises – highprecision motion sensors feed back to the app, which then guides you (via your own earphones) through your workout, correcting form and full range of motion, just like a real personal trainer would. Gymwatch also records reps and sets completed; speed, rest time and even your heart rate via your Apple Watch (if you have one) for analysis and improvement. It’s not just aimed at expert users, either. “Gymwatch has been designed for fitness beginners and experts,” continues Walke. “Beginners will get real-time feedback to help them perform the

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exercises properly, and fitness experts will get precise metrics for their professional performance diagnostics.”

START YOUR ADVENTURE TODAY To get your best-ever body, stock up on a Gymwatch sensor, available in coal black, cool white or rushing red, from for ¤149 (£117). There’s also a Gymwatch sensor duo package available for ¤289 (£228). Download the Gymwatch app for Android or iOS. Register an account, enter your current weight and height, then sync your Gymwatch sensor. Select a workout template (we like Great Guns) and get moving! The Gymwatch app helps you track over 900 exercises, whether you’re using bodyweight, free weights or machines. You can also use the app to create bespoke workouts tailored to your personal fitness goals.

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H O T 1 0 0 S C O R C H O M E T E R

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Welcome to the 11th annual T3 Hot 100: a celebration of the hottest tech of the last 12 months and beyond. We bring you the ultimate list of cutting-edge gear, talent and innovations – along with some of the fantastic services that help to make your life better on a daily basis. We’ve quizzed our expert sources – from the teams at Techradar and to select authoritative contributors – to compile our final, definitive list. What should be igniting your world? Read on! WORDS: Rob Carney PHOTOGRAPHY: Neil Godwin CREATIVE RETOUCHING: Elias Klingén

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Strava gets its Segments out

100 / Smarter

99 / Periscope

Who’d have thought, even a couple of years ago, that we’d be able to boil a kettle or prepare fresh coffee using our smartphones? Smarter could be seen as being one of the pioneers of the smart home with its nifty hot-drink devices. And we’ve finally seen its long-awaited Smarter Coffee Machine – very good it is, too. T3 predicts that Smarter will move out of the kitchen and into other rooms very soon.

The whole idea behind Periscope is to ‘see the world through other people’s eyes’. And it’s been a blistering success in the last year, with everyone from pro golfers to TV presenters giving you a behind-the-scenes look at their lives. The recent update adds the ability to broadcast live from your GoPro action cam, meaning you could share the thrill of a base jump, for instance (without the danger). Free,

97 / Autonomous taxis (almost) OK, so self-driving taxis aren’t quite here yet, but over the last year there’s been some pretty big developments. Of course, Google has been testing its cars around California (and soon, London, it’s hoped) but, more interestingly, Japanese firm Robot Taxi are planning to test autonomous cars just outside Tokyo, in 2016. Yes, that’s this year. Exciting stuff.

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Strava is the ultimate app for cyclists wanting to test their mettle against other cyclists on the same stretches of road – or Segments, as they’re called. Strava ‘Live Segments’ show you how you’re performing in real time on your Garmin computer’s display. It’s a gamechanger for the lone street racer. Free,


96 / Light L16

95 / DJI Osmo

94 / Sphero BB-8

93 / LG Gram 15

If you reckon that getting DSLR-quality imagery from a camera that’s around the size of a phone is worth sacrificing beauty for, then keep reading. The L16 is an ugly duckling with Neymar skills. Its 16 individual cameras fuse images together to create a 52MP picture – and you can even adjust the focus in post to achieve the perfect photo. $1,700 (£1,220),

The rather nifty DJI Osmo is a small, modular camera system that enables you to capture fluid stabilised footage. It comprises the compact X3 camera (capable of 4K footage at 25fps), a motorised gimbal and a control handle, all in one. Strap in your smartphone and you’ve got a camera system that’s ideal for a one-man production company. £550,

Marvel of modern toy engineering, the BB-8 droid is. Yep, to life with Sphero’s ace incarnation the Star Wars: The Force Awakens droid came. Controlled by iPad, the little fella is, but announced the ‘Force Band’ – a wearable that enables you to control the BB-8 using a flick of the wrist, recently the company has. Truly space-age, that is. Herh herh herh. £130,

Due for worldwide availability in the middle of 2016, the LG Gram 15 promises to be the world’s lightest 15.6-inch laptop, at just 0.98kg (to put that into perspective, the 11-inch Apple MacBook Air weighs 1.09kg). Not only that, it packs in some considerable power, with full-size ports along its sides, an i5 or i7 processor, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. Nice. £TBC,

92 / Garmin Fenix 3 There are plenty of fitness watches out there fighting for a place on your wrist, and the Fenix 3 is pretty much the best of the bunch. A stylish design is paired with such top features as built-in GPS, an altimeter, a barometer and a three-axis compass. There’s support for activities such as trail running, cycling, swimming, hiking and skiing. £380,

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Keys are out, apps are in

91 / Dolby Atmos and DTS:X What could Dolby possibly do to make home cinema any better? The answer is Atmos. This adds a pair of downwardfiring speakers for ambient sound effects. DTS’s rival system promises to get rid of the need for such speakers, letting the receiver do all the hard work. Home cinema has never sounded so good.

90 / MQA The one painful thing about Hi-Res Audio is the amount of space it takes up. A single album can run into gigabytes. The MQA format, developed by the boffins at Meridian Audio, enables you to stream 192kHz 24-bit audio to your device without busting your bandwidth. Tidal and 7digital are on board, as is Pioneer with its awesome XDP-100R High-Res player.

Cycling gets more technical Cycling tech has come on leaps and bounds lately, with headsets such as the Recon Jet giving you a heads-up display to track your speed and goals without you having to look at your mounted smartphone. Even more impressive is the Garmin Varia Vision HUD, which clips onto your existing cycling glasses and even alerts you to cars coming up behind.

89 / Razor RipSurf Hoverboards are soooo last year, don’t you know. What you need is a surfboard that enables you to glide around the city as if you were surfing on waves. Well, that’s exactly what Razor’s RipSurf does – being a two-wheeled caster board that echoes the feel of surfing or snowboarding. Perfect for carving up the streets in a gnarly style, dude. $119 (£85),

When we first tried out the Apple Watch and the BMW i3 last year, we knew something special was coming. And we were right – being able to pre-condition and open your car via your watch or phone is pretty much standard these days. And, of course, companies keep pushing it further – Tesla’s ‘Summon’ command, enabling you to summon your car from its garage, being a good example.

86 / Sony LSPX-W1S

85 / Motorola Moto X Force

Yes, this shortthrow projector is bloody expensive, and the height of luxury home-cinema equipment, but it’s gorgeous and equally brilliant. Basically, the solid aluminium beast will sit right next to your wall and beam a 147-inch 4K image onto it. Plus, each one is handmade to order. And for that price, it should be. $50,000 (£35,000),

A premium Android phone that has a pretty much shatterproof screen? Er, yes please! The Moto X Force looks great, has a huge battery and, most notably, won’t smash to pieces if you drop it. The ShatterShield display is made up of five layers, and if you do scratch the top layer, you can replace it very easily. £499,

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84 / Chipolo There’s been a few Bluetooth tracking tags emerge in the last year or so, but Chipolo has to be one of the best. Attach it to your keys or pop it in your wallet – you’ll be able to track the items on your phone and even play a sound on Chipolo so you can work out where your valuables are. It’s killer USP? Take easy selfies just by shaking it. Now that’s cool. £20,

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Tag Heuer gets Connected OK, so it may not be the most feature-laden smartwatch out there, but the Tag Heuer Connected is one of the most desirable. It’s the company’s first foray into smartwatches and takes Android Wear as its platform of choice. What do you get for your £1,100? You get a chunky, stylish smartwatch with all the kudos that comes with the Tag brand. £1,100,


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82 / Knomo Drop & Go

81 / Ford changes it up

Here at T3, we’re big fans of Knomo’s stylish bags and cases, so we were very excited when the company announced its first wireless charging bag – called the Drop & Go. You simply pop your iPhone 6/6S, or the Plus variants, into a charging case and drop it into the bag’s top pocket. Voilà – instant juice. £TBC,

At NAIAS in Detroit earlier this year, the car giant introduced FordPass, a series of services aimed at making your life as a Ford owner easier. As well as parking assistance and city guides (delivered via phone and through app), Ford will open a number of ‘Hubs’ around the world – enabling you to experience its car tech before you buy.

80 / Hive 2.0 British Gas’s Hive still has a bit of catching up to do when it comes to being king of the smart thermostat, but the second iteration of the device brings a new, stylish design, some ace geolocation features (based on your phone’s location, Hive will send you reminders to turn your heating on) and much more. £249,

Kodak takes it retro with Super 8 These days, shooting video is all about 4K, isn’t it? Well, Kodak is going against the grain (geddit?) with its utterly stylish Super 8 camera. Simply buy the negative film, shoot, send it to Kodak and the company will process and scan it for you, emailing you a link to your now-digital footage. Perfect for hipster filmmakers everywhere. £TBC,

76 / Naim’s Mu-so and Qb 78 / Apple MacBook

77 / Xbox One

For us, the Apple MacBook is the most stylish and portable laptop on the market right now. Its stunning design, incredible screen and excellent keyboard are perhaps only marred by its lack of expandability – there’s only one USB-C port here. Still, if you can get past that, you have a truly portable and a pretty powerful machine that’ll undoubtedly serve your needs for years to come. £1,049,

Microsoft’s console has enjoyed a resurgence in the past year, with the launch of a new 1TB version and also a very smart Elite Wireless Controller – the latter letting you program paddles on the back so that you never have to take your thumbs off the thumbsticks. There’s also a raft of ace games lined up for this year, including the intriguing Quantum Break and the graphical showcase that’ll be Gears Of War 4. £279,

We loved the Mu-so multi-room audio system so much that we gave it the T3 Sound Award in 2015. Why? The 450-watt unit delivers amazing sound through six custom-designed speakers and has a raft of connectivity. Its smaller sibling, the Qb, announced in 2016, is equally as impressive in both design and sound. £595-£895,

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75 / Biohacking

74 / Leica X-U

Big in Silicon Valley, biohacking is all about attaining maximum clarity, drive and focus, enabling practitioners to optimise their performance in both work and play. Seen Limitless? It’s a bit like that. Real-life biohackers get involved with everything from nootropics and clean diets, to rewilding, meditation and Bulletproof coffee. Fascinating stuff.

If you’re in the market for a very premium, rugged camera, you can’t do much better than the Leica X-U. It looks like a Leica and shoots like a Leica (with its 35mmequivalent lens), but it can withstand drops up to 1.22 metres, and is dust- and waterproof. It’s just one of many of its superb cameras to be released this last year. £2,400,

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73 / Hydrogen cars come of age OK, so there may only be a handful of H2 refuelling stations across the UK (there’s a pitiful four publicly accessible sites), but hydrogen is gaining traction as a next-gen fuel for next-gen vehicles. All the major car manufacturers are dipping their toes into the (expelled) water, with the Toyota Mirai arguably taking the lead in zero-emissions driving technology.

72 / Fallout 4

71 / B&O Play

If there’s one videogame that’s really grabbed our attention in the past 12 months, it has to be Fallout 4 – the open-world, post-apocalyptic, life-sapping, roleplaying behemoth from Bethesda Softworks. Emerging from an underground vault in Boston in 2287, 210 years after a devastating nuclear war, has never been so much fun. £30,

Combining style with premium sound (and a rather good price), B&O Play has had a fantastic time of late, bringing a plethora of new headphones and portable audio devices to the table. For instance, its H3 ANC in-ears offer excellent noise-cancelling; and its cloth-laden A6 multi-room system is one of the most gorgeous audio devices you can buy.

BlackBerry tries again with the Priv There’s no doubting that BlackBerry has had a tough time recently. But with the Priv, it’s hoping for a major revival. A slide-out physical keyboard, a 5.4-inch dual-curved screen, a massive 3,410mAh battery, top security features and the fact that it now runs Android could be the saviour of the company. Or not… £500,

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Apple TV says “Hi Siri” The Cupertino company’s latest Apple TV brings a host of new features to the set-top box with the latest incarnation of tvOS, our favourite being the ability to search for anything by voice. It also comes with a beautiful Touch remote, and an app for just about any entertainment experience you can imagine. £129,

68 / GoPro Karma Drone

67 / CarPlay and Android Auto

Not that much is known about GoPro’s highly anticipated Karma Drone, but that doesn’t stop it from making this list, mainly because the rumours point to the drone having a 360-degree camera for VR videos. With GoPro stock tumbling and products being discontinued, it may be what the actioncam company needs to save its bacon. £TBC,

It’s a battle between Apple and Google to control your car’s infotainment system, with both CarPlay and Android Auto offering a slew of navigation and media features. Both technologies have been picked up by the major car makers, so now you have another thing to consider when choosing a motor.

66 / Deezer Much like the omnipresent Spotify, you can now get the Deezer streaming service on pretty much any device you please – from mobiles and tablets to systems with the service built-in, such as the Devialet Phantom, the Bose SoundTouch and the BeoSound Moment. It’ll also work on a number of smart TVs and high-end in-car audio systems. £10 per month,

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Google counts on the pixels The Pixel C has gained a reputation as being the best Android tablet on the market, and it’s really no surprise since it comes from the makers of the mobile OS. Like the Surface Pro 4 and the iPad Pro, it can be accessorised with a snap-on keyboard (which will cost you another £120), making it feel a lot more like a tool than a toy. A 10.2-inch, 2,560 x 1,800, 308ppi screen, a zippy Nvidia X1 CPU and 3GB of RAM are just some of the top specs you’ll find here. £399,

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Virgin reveals the new SpaceShipTwo

A great year for Garmin If there’s a great example of a tech company having many fingers in many different pies (and lovely, fresh pies at that), it’s Garmin. The company’s nüviCam sat nav with dashcam is excellent; its Fenix 3 sports watch superb; its Varia Vision cycling HUD very cool indeed. We haven’t tried out any of its marine or helicopter stuff, but we bet that’s pretty damn good, too.

In February 2016, everyone’s favourite posh, happy, smiley, billionaire businessman Richard Branson showcased the second SpaceShipTwo, the new Virgin Galactic space plane. The new SpaceShipTwo, named Unity, comes after a fatal test flight of the first model in October 2014. The craft broke apart after the co-pilot prematurely deployed a system intended to slow it down upon re-entry. He was killed. There’s obviously a load of testing going on with SpaceShipTwo. First, Virgin plans to conduct ground tests to put the fully assembled craft through its paces. Then it’ll move to “captive carry flights”

64 Hisense challenges the status quo While it may not be a household name in the UK yet, Chinese telly manufacturer Hisense is going all out to change that, with a range of 4K TVs that bring incredible picture quality at equally amazing prices. For instance, its 65-inch XT910 offers vibrant colours and high-contrast images for just £2,300. One to watch.

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where SpaceShipTwo is attached to its so-called mothership, WhiteKnightTwo. Next comes free-flying glide testing under 45,000 feet. After that, the rocketpowered tests will start, eventually crossing 100,000 feet, above 99 per cent of Earth’s atmosphere. The craft will work its way up to 50 miles (80km), achieving NASA’s and the US Air Force’s requirement for astronaut status, and finally breach 62 miles (100km) above the planet’s surface. It’s at that milestone that the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale will recognise its occupants as astronauts. There’s still no word on when Virgin Galactic will take civilians into space, but the first tickets have been sold.


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Quincy releases another thriller OK, so the styling of the AKG N90Q ‘Quincy Jones’ headphones won’t be to everyone’s taste (they’re massive and very gold – much like Quincy Jones’s house, we imagine) – but they sound absolutely incredible. This is mainly thanks to TruNote, a tech that fires sounds into your ears and calibrates the headphones individually to you. There’s also a built-in DAC and three spatial listening modes. £1,300, S C O R C H I N G H O T

60 / Tidal Let’s just forget the Kayne blip, right? Even with the rap master of nonsense’s album only being on Tidal (and then being the most pirated ever), the company has had a great – and certainly interesting – year. And it’ll get even better when Tidal releases MQA streaming, bringing Hi-Res Audio to our ears without sucking up our bandwidth. £20 per month,

59 / Here Active Listening Now, here’s something a little different for you. If you enjoy going to live gigs, Here Active Listening may be just the ticket – being a set of wireless buds and a smartphone app that enable you to control the volume, EQ and effects of the world around you. So whether at a metal romp or acoustic set, you can tune your listening accordingly. £TBC,

58 / Uber Getting an Uber is pretty much synonymous with calling a taxi nowadays, the US firm going from strength to strength over the last year, notably expanding its Uber Exec luxury service to more cities in the UK. Tap and get a car, all with great pricing and zero hassle – and we can’t wait until it starts experimenting with autonomous vehicles.

Microsoft scratches the Surface (Pro) It’s got to be said, the Surface Pro offers something the (albeit excellent) iPad Pro doesn’t: that being the fact that you can actually use it as a conventional Windows 10 laptop – running all of your desktop applications on it. Detach the keyboard and use it as a conventional tablet, scribbling with the improved Surface Pen. From £749,

54 / Sony’s new Xperia X 56 / Samsung makes the fridge more intelligent

55 / Say “Hey Alexa” to Amazon’s Echo

Have you ever got to the supermarket and totally forgotten what you were there to buy? Well, Samsung aims to alleviate this first-world pain by bringing you the Family Hub, a fridge that you can remotely check the contents of. Not sure if you’ve got enough Beluga caviar? No problem – just check on your smartphone app. Oh, and you can also stream music, share calendars and more. £TBC,

Although it’s not yet available in the UK (as we write this, anyway), Amazon’s Echo is definitely a device to watch. Sure, the ability to ask what the weather’s like or play your favourite music is neat, but it’s in home automation that Echo will really shine. Ford showed us a demo of it opening a garage door, then opening and starting a car. And it was hugely exciting. $179 (£128),

Announced at MWC 2016, Sony’s Xperia X is its next-gen smartphone. Yes, it has better battery life and yes, it has a better camera; but what we’re really intrigued about is the range of accessories, especially the Xperia Ear – a wireless earbud that gives you all the info you need without taking your phone out of your pocket. £TBC,

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53 / Meng Li The CEO and founder of Moov Inc, Meng Li may only be three years into her tenure but she’s already been making waves. She’s guiding Moov into a unique position, delivering affordable wearables that surpass the norm. The Moov Now was one of our favourite fitness gadgets from 2015, so we’re excited to see what Meng Li has up her sleeve next.

52 / Security gets smarter With everything in our homes becoming smarter, it’s not exactly surprising that home security has suddenly boomed in the Internet of Things revolution. Of course, we’re talking about security cameras (such as the Nest Cam) that can be monitored via your smartphone; but there’s also smart locks controlled by Bluetooth – August’s being one of the best.

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Spotify’s audio domination Whether you listen to music on your smartphone, tablet, multi-room audio system, network player or… well, any other device, there’s one thing in common: Spotify. Through the excellent app or by using Spotify Connect, you can pretty much get your music on any system, wherever you go. And recently, Volvo announced that it’ll be integrating Spotify into all of its new cars. So you’ll even get it while driving. £10 per month,


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The (cheaper) Chinese smartphone invasion While the likes of Xiaomi, Bluboo and Oppo may not be top of your smartphone-brand buying list, there’s no doubt that Chinese smartphone manufacturers are making some incredible kit at the moment. Take the OnePlus 2 (pictured), which is a steal at £239. And don’t forget the Honor 7 – it’s amazing value at the same price. Oppo is also impressing with its F1, at just £189.

Moto 360 turns it around The first Moto 360 smartwatch was decent but it certainly had its flaws. Motorola has upped its game with the second-gen device, though, bringing new sizes, replaceable bands, excellent battery life and wireless charging as standard. There’s also a Sport version aimed at improving your workout routine. £229,

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iOS 9 makes and breaks iOS 9 continues to flourish under the hyperbolic maestro that is Jony Ive. A new Night Shift mode promises to protect your eyes if you’re a bed messenger, and you can also lock apps with your fingerprint. Of course, Tim Cook has split opinion with his decision not to unlock a terrorist’s phone; and the Error 53 debacle is thankfully now put to bed.

Footwear reinvented Smart footwear – the next step in wearable tech. Digitsole’s futuristic offering is making leaps and bounds, being connected, interactive, heated, shock-absorbent shoes with automatic tightening. They look cool, too. Quick, to the DeLorean, Marty! £TBC, digitsole

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HEOS makes its mark

46 / Sony PlayStation 4

45 / Segway’s robotic friend

The PS4 remains the console of choice for serious gamers. Uncharted 4 looks like a great release, while the recent update that enables you to stream and play PS3 games is a boon (although you have to subscribe). And it gets more exciting with the prospect of the PlayStation VR (pictured) launching any time now. £269,

The Segway Robot could be summed up as, er, a bit creepy, being a smart robot that can also give you a ride. So, upon its release – whenever that may be – you’ll be able to control all of your smart-home devices and whizz around the house at the same time. It’ll also feature voice commands, naturally. £TBC,

Beat it, Apple Music At the end of June 2015, Apple launched its Music service – a new rival to the likes of Spotify and Deezer. As well as millions of tracks to stream, it included Beats 1, a bespoke radio station – sorry, a “place for progressive radio programming”. Among the DJs was Zane Lowe, who the company pilfered from Radio 1. £10 per month,

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You have to hand it to Denon – it’s gone all-out to try and capture Sonos’s crown as king of the multi-room audio system. And while it’s not quite there, it’s doing a bloody good job; in our State of the Art test last year, HEOS came out on top, offering great value for money, excellent sound and a fantastic range of speakers for different rooms/uses. From £149,

44 / TomTom The company that’s best-known for its sat navs has somewhat reinvented itself in the last year with the announcement of the TomTom Bandit (pictured), a compact action camera that enables you to not only shoot in 4K but edit very quickly on-device. Its range of running, golfing and fitness watches (inclduing the new Spark Cardio) are also pretty decent.

41 / Works With Nest

40 / Pebble Time & Round

Nest isn’t just a smart thermostat, or a smart security camera, or a smoke alarm and carbon-monoxide detector – it’s an ecosystem that enables your smart-home devices to hook up and work together. For instance, your Philips Hue lights can flash red when there’s smoke in the house; or your thermostat will automatically set to ‘Away Mode’ when you close the garage door on the way out.

After the success of the original e-paper Pebble, the Kickstarter phenomenon couldn’t go wrong with its next venture, the colour e-paper Pebble Time (pictured). A new timeline-based interface helps you see your schedule – past and present – and the sevenday battery life is a real bonus. The company also announced the Pebble Time Round – one of the best-looking round smartwatches out there. From £180,

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When you first hold it, the iPad Pro seems gigantic. Truly massive. But after only a few hours’ use, you’ll be wondering how you ever managed with that tiny screen. Its 12.9-inch Retina Display is truly a sight to behold; and this thing is fast. Add in the Pencil, Apple’s stylish stylus, and its excellent Smart Keyboard, and you have a tablet that’s equally as good at entertainment as it is at productivity. From £679,



The iPad goes from toy to tool


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Gymming-it the smart way

Fitbit sets trackers on fire

With everything else fitness-related going smart this year, why should the gym miss out? The Technogym MyRun (pictured) is possibly the best example of connected gym kit, being a £2,650 treadmill that’ll sync to your phone or tablet for a bespoke workout. There’s also the Wahoo KICKR Snap – a bike trainer with app-controlled resistance.

Fitbit is a name that’s become synonymous with fitness trackers, the Fitbit Charge HR being a product that exemplifies the company’s stonking success over the last year. And now it’s launched its first fitness watch, the Blaze (pictured, read our exclusive review on p94). Although there’s no built-in GPS, it promises to be a real winner for the company, boasting a great battery life, an excellent screen and a fantastic companion app.

36 Supercell carries on being super Since its beginnings in Finland in 2010, the mobilegames giant has released three titles – Boom Beach, Hay Day and Clash Of Clans (pictured). Its success is obvious – you can’t watch TV for two minutes without seeing an ad for CoC. Look out for its new title, Clash Royale, which should’ve hit iOS and Android by the time you read this.

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35 / Nexus 6P

34 / Space X

33 / Windows 10

If you want a pure Android experience on your smartphone, there’s only one option – and that’s a Nexus device. The best by far is the Nexus 6P, the Huawei-built phablet. A stunning metal design, an excellent camera, a fingerprint sensor that actually works and a gorgeous 5.7-inch AMOLED display make this a phone to die for. From £449,

Elon Musk appears elsewhere in this list, but his Space X venture is more than worthy of its own entry. Yes, there have been some setbacks – such as when its Falcon 9 rocket tipped over and exploded in January 2016 – but recently, the company announced that it’s looking to launch every two to three weeks in 2016, with a landing-success rate of 70 per cent.

Windows 10, launched in July 2015, is extremely robust, pleasant to use and, best of all, free if you’re currently on Windows 7 or 8. It’s what Windows 8 should’ve been, as you probably already know. One of the best things about running Windows 10 on a smartphone is that you can hook it up to a monitor and use it as a PC. Great stuff. Free-£100,

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32 / VW Budd-e

31 / Withings

At the Consumer Electronics Show in January this year, VW showed off its latest concept car – the Budd-e. We’re not just excited because it looks a bit like The Mystery Machine; it’s more that it previews the company’s future electric-car platform – with a huge 101kWh lithium-ion battery at the heart of it. It also promises to charge 80 per cent of the battery in just 15 minutes, and has a top speed of 93mph.

The French connected-health expert just keeps coming up with the goods. It now has a huge repertoire of products, including smart scales (which can analyse your body fat and BMI), a blood-pressure monitor and, of course, the excellent Activité and Activité Pop (pictured) smartwatches. With its new Go wearable (see p14), it’s looking to further cement its place as the go-to company for all things fitness.


Google plays its next card

Possibly the most low-tech product in this list, Cardboard is still a great entry into the world of VR, enabling you to experience virtual reality (albeit not at the same quality as the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive) on your smartphone for little cost. There are loads of fun VR apps, and you can even build a Cardboard headset yourself. Prices vary,

LG goes modular with its G5 It’s not often a smartphone comes along that reinvents the landscape, but the LG G5 looks to be a device that’ll do just that. Its slide-out modular tech enables you to whip off the bottom of the phone and replace it with such modules, or “friends”, as a 32-bit DAC by B&O (the LG Hi-Fi Pro) or the LG Cam Pro, giving you a bigger battery and better grip. £TBC,

28 / Microsoft HoloLens

27 / Yamaha MusicCast

Last year, the HoloLens made our top ten, but it seems to have stalled a little in the last 12 months. That said, it remains one of the most exciting developments in tech, bringing high-definition holograms to the world around you. We keep seeing snippets of it in action, and can’t wait until it hits the mainstream. £TBC,

Multi-room audio systems are ten-apenny nowadays, but there’s one thing that sets Yamaha’s ace MusicCast apart from the rest: Bluetooth Out. While this may not sound very exciting, it enables you to beam sound around the house to any BT speaker, meaning you don’t need to buy lots of expensive new kit. From £179,

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26 / Tim Cook The Apple CEO has had a great 12 months, launching a plethora of products, including a new iPhone and the massive iPad Pro. Sure, the iPhone has lost ground slightly, but with version 7 on the horizon and a new Watch coming soon, things look rosy for the Cupertino boss. And his open letter to the FBI had us all nodding in agreement.

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25 / 5G is “getting there” Although many mobile networks are still rolling out their 4G networks, preparation for 5G is well under way. Intel recently (at MWC 2016) backed the technology in a big way – partnering with device manufacturers and networks to test and collaboratively develop. We probably won’t see the tech until 2018, but AT&T and Verizon are already field-testing it.


24 / Astell&Kern

23 / 3D Touch

Prior to the last 12 months, the Korean iriver-owned audio company was pretty much only known to audiophiles. That’s changed big time and, with the rise of Hi-Res Audio, A&K has flourished. Its players remain pricey (the cheapest is the AK Jr, pictured, at £400), but all are exquisitely built and a joy to use. If you can afford one, buy one. Prices vary,

With the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, Apple brought us 3D Touch. OK, it’s not 3D as such, but it is pretty damn cool – enabling you to press harder on the screen to reveal further options and details as you navigate through iOS 9. As you’d expect, developers have jumped on board, giving you the ability to ‘peek’ at app contents without opening them.

Bowers & Wilkins: quintessentially cool B&W can seemingly do no wrong at the moment. From its fantastic P5 headphones to its stylish T7 Bluetooth speaker and absolutely incredible Zeppelin Wireless (pictured), the British company combines striking design with uncompromising sound quality. Move further up its range into hi-fi speakers (such as the CM6 S2s), and you get equally excellent design and sound.

Netflix dares to impress in 4K Although you can only watch Netflix’s 4K shows on a handful of TVs and devices, the effort is certainly there; and when you do experience it – most notably in the form of its Marvel adaptation of Daredevil (pictured) – it’s mind-blowing. Well worth the subscription fee. £9 per month,

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20 / Amazon Instant Video

19 / Apple Watch

Coincidentally, Amazon Instant Video sits right next to Netflix in this year’s Hot 100 (we’d get both if we were you). Last year, the former of those won the T3 Award for Entertainment – and for good reason. The service has a wealth of movies and box sets to stream, with many in 4K, and there’s much more exclusive content to come, including an exciting new car show from the team behind Top Gear. £6 per month,

Last year, the Apple Watch was our number one, being the most anticipated gadget of recent times. Aside from a watchOS update (offering minor improvements) and a host of new bands, not much has gone on with the wearable lately. Still, it remains one of the most desirable gadgets out there, and the Gold Aluminium Sport version (pictured) is very nice indeed, looking much more expensive than its £349 tag. From £299,

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Cooking goes high-tech Wannabe Michel Roux Jrs can rejoice at the sheer amount of high-tech, smart kitchen gear that’s been cropping up over the past year. We’ve yet to experience the likes of the Pantelligent (pictured) – a smart frying pan that connects to an app so you can fry your salmon to perfection – but rest assured, if you want to up your kitchen game, there’s a gadget for you.

Vive-star VR The Vive, developed in conjunction with Valve, is HTC’s virtual-reality headset, and by the time you read this you’ll be able to buy one (that’s if they’re not aready sold out). As you’d expect, the device promises fully immersive gameplay with precise motion tracking and natural controller gestures. We’ve tried it, and it’s truly and utterly amazing. £689,

16 Thync different Here’s a wearable with a difference. Thync is an appcontrolled patch that straps on your noggin and signals nerves on the head and neck to act on your brain’s adrenaline system. It’ll make you calmer or more energised depending on the patch you choose and the settings you tweak in the app. $199 (£142),

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The future of TV: Sky Q With its Fluid Viewing, Sky Q promises to let you watch what you want, when you want, where you want. The system, comprised of a main Sky Q Silver box and a number of Sky Q Mini boxes, does away with multi-room satellite cables, instead using your Wi-Fi network. There’s also a new Sky Q app so you can watch on the go, and a rather nifty touch remote. UHD is planned for later in 2016. From £54 per month,

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Core Apple For the first time in many years, Apple hasn’t made our top ten. But the company hasn’t had a bad 12 months – in fact, quite the opposite. Apple Music was launched, the iPad Pro appeared, and the iPhone 6s brought some nifty new features to the ever-popular smartphone. We can’t wait for the iPhone 7 later this year!

The Internet of Things The Internet of Things, eh? That old chestnut. Well, that old chestnut has seriously gathered momentum in the past 12 months, with the likes of Nest, Philips and Samsung all getting involved. And with the rise of home robots (JIBO being a good example), expect our homes to become even more automated in 2016.


Google’s A-Z

Hi-Res Audio for everyone

Alphabet – Google’s new parent company – is worth an incredible $568bn as of February 2016. Google is the biggest company in its stable, but it also incorporates Nest, YouTube and Boston Dynamics. Last year, Boston Dynamics showcased Atlas, a 5’9” robot that’s capable of walking on two legs.

Soon we’ll all be wondering just how on earth we listened to heavily compressed MP3s. In fact, we already do wonder. To many, Hi-Res Audio may seem like a fad, but trust us, it’s here to stay – and it’ll only be a matter of time before formats like FLAC, DSD and MQA are as common as MP3. Sony is championing the highbit-rate revolution, with all major hi-fi and AV manufacturers joining in.

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Luckey strikes Last year, we awarded Palmer Luckey – the young, eccentric founder of VR company Oculus – our Outstanding Contribution prize at the ninth annual T3 Awards. And rightly so, the 23-year-old being instrumental in bringing VR to the masses. This year, we’ll see the fruits of his labour, with the Oculus Rift getting into the hands of gamers everywhere.

Huawei: bigger and better AT CES 2016, Chinese firm Huawei came out with some serious fighting talk, saying it can be “bigger than Apple and Samsung in the next two years”. Well, it’s certainly making a good start. The Nexus P is sublime; the Huawei Watch one of the best Android Wear devices out there; and the Huawei MateBook laptop/tablet hybrid (pictured) looks impressive.

Kickstarting a tech generation

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In the last year, crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo have enabled a plethora of tech start-ups to bring their ideas to life. Without these sites, the Internet of Things would certainly be more sparse; home robots would still be on the drawing board; and Bluetooth trackers may never have seen the light of day.

HDR comes to light First we had HD-Ready, then it was Full HD, then 4K Ultra HD, and now it’s HDR. Confused? Well, HDR is just the next step in 4K imagery, expanding the range of contrast and colour significantly. It all means more realistic pictures with greater clarity. There’s only a number of TVs that currently support it, but we guarantee it’ll be massive in the coming year.

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The rise of the cashless consumer Back in July 2015, Apple Pay launched in the UK and – while contactless technology had been around for a while – it genuinely offered a new way to pay for things on a daily basis. The majority of banks are on board (excluding Barclays as we write this), and adding a card to your Apple Wallet is a cinch. Similarly, Samsung Pay will launch in 2016, and we’re still hoping that Android Pay will make an appearance. Still, for convenience and for making our lives easier through tech, Apple Pay has to be firmly in our top ten.


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Drones take flight Despite not being able to fly them everywhere in the UK, drones are massive – probably the biggest gadget development of the past year, in fact. The likes of Parrot brings mid-range, camera-laden drones to the table, while DJI and 3D Robotics are firmly aimed at filmmakers wanting to shoot aerial footage in 4K. But if your pockets don’t stretch deep enough for one of those, you can pick up all sorts of minidrones from the likes of Revell and Parrot for the price of a night out. Now go fly!

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Galaxy S7: the new star The Samsung Galaxy range just keeps getting better. The S6 Edge won Best Smartphone at the 2015 T3 Awards, and the S7 could stand a good chance this year. We love the screen, the camera’s low-light performance, the improved battery and the fact you can add an SD card to boost storage. There’s not much new in the design, but why change such a beautiful thing? £TBC,

Elon and on and on… Tesla. The car that redefined what an electric vehicle can be. The company’s P85D has rapid acceleration, fantastic range and superb handling. And that’s only half of it. Elon Musk, the company’s inspirational founder, continues to pioneer what’s possible with electric vehicles – updating the car’s ‘OS’ to bring new and exciting features on what seems like a monthly basis. One such feature – and one that goes a long way to making Musk and Tesla number two in this year’s Hot 100 – is Autopilot. In a world where autonomous cars are often mentioned yet seldom seen, Tesla has done something that no other manufacturer has yet

managed – brought a semi-autonomous driving mode to a commercially available vehicle. Designed as a drivingassistance feature, Tesla’s Autopilot mode will happily keep you in the centre of the lane on a motorway, even changing lanes for you (with a flick of the indicator). It’s like driving in the future, right now. And Musk continues to develop the car’s tech – with a new Summon mode able to fetch your car from its garage and park up next to you, ready to roll (and he believes that in a couple of years, you’ll be able to summon your car from across the country). 2016 sees the launch of the Model X and the Model 3, and here at T3 we can’t wait to see what Elon does next.

Living the stream Streaming services have become a major part of our lives – whether we want to watch the football on Sky Go on the bus, or Daredevil in 4K on Netflix at home. And, of course, there’s Spotify, Tidal, Deezer and more. The fact that you can get access to your favourite content wherever you are is truly a tech revolution worth shouting about. So we are.

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Wear it with pride S C O R C H I N G

THERE CAN BE NO OTHER NUMBER ONE IN T3’S HOT 100. WEARABLE TECH HAS COME OF AGE. AND WE LOVE IT. Take a look through this year’s Hot 100 list, and you’ll undoubtedly notice a theme or set of gadgets that dominate proceedings: wearable tech. The last 12 months have seen a huge influx of wearables – and not just those that you strap to your wrist. Of course, wrist-based devices have dominated the market, with an abundance of Android Wear releases (including the excellent Huawei Watch and Tag Heuer’s Connected), and fitness-specific watches and bands from the likes of Fitbit, Moov and Withings. But where will wearable tech go next? Well, we’ve seen a glimpse of it and it’s truly exciting. Google Glass 2.0 still hasn’t raised its head, but a number of head-based werables have hit the market – including the Muse brain-sensing headband, a device that promises to help you meditate and calm down using your smartphone. And Thync (see entry 16), the wearable that stimulates

nerve endings to change your mood. Literally mind-bending stuff. We’ve also seen the likes of Myo, a wearable that straps onto your forearm and enables you to control external devices (such as your computer) by simply using muscle movement. And then there’s smart clothing. Take Athos, for example – apparel that measures your body’s biosignals and translates them through an app to tell you what in your workout routine you should be focusing on. Wearable tech is so huge and so widespread, yet so futuristic. It’s hard to imagine our lives without it – and for that reason, it’s number one in this year’s T3 Hot 100.


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State of the Art



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State of the Art



Volkswagen Golf GTE It’s as cool as a GTI hot hatch, and offers similar power from its 1.4-litre engine and electric motor, but it claims 166mpg. Price £31,255 (after govt grant) URL


Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid The Prius is the poster child of eco-mobility, but this 134mpg plug-in version makes its siblings look about as green as JR Ewing. Price £30,895 (after govt grant) URL


Audi A3 e-tron The e-tron has the same basic engineering as the Golf. It costs a little more, but you get that Audi fairy dust and prestige. Price £33,190 (after govt grant) URL



The plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) cleverly swerves around this pitfall. Essentially, PHEVs are regular cars with petrol or diesel power that also cram in a battery, an electric motor and an external charge point to give all-electric running for short periods. A PHEV’s e-mode typically lasts for 10-50 miles – much less than the 100plus miles offered by pure electric vehicles. This is because the hybrid kit has to fit in under the bodywork along with a regular engine, gearbox and fuel tank, so the batteries have to be smaller and less powerful to free up space and keep the weight down. But for most of us, PHEVs offer enough juice to undertake the average return commute emissionsfree, while never leaving us high and dry if we need to cover hundreds of miles in a hit. For tech-savvy drivers, they’re probably the best all-round eco-friendly compromise. To see how these cutting-edge cars fare in the real world, we’ve lined up three of the best plug-in hybrid hatches on the market right now: namely, the Volkswagen Golf GTE, the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid and the Audi A3 e-tron. All of them cost around £30k, and all promise an incredible 134-176mpg, as well as 15-31 miles of silent, planet-friendly motoring when fully charged. Only one can win, but first all have to tackle the T3 State of the Art obstacle course. Place your bets, ladies and gentlemen… Get a FREE Bluetooth speaker w hen you subscribe! See p72

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State of the Art

TEST 01:



Which of these PHEVs takes the biscuit in the style stakes?

he A3 and the Golf might technically be siblings, but you could never mix them up. The Golf apes the GTI hot hatch with its 18-inch alloys, muscular bodykit and twin exhausts. It just swaps the ‘I’ for an ‘E’, and racy red highlights for eco blue. Inside, the GTE gets intuitive touchscreen infotainment, neatly laid-out controls and grippy sports seats with an old-school GTI tartan twist. The Golf feels modern, understated and high-quality. The Audi appears more rep turbodiesel than racy hot hatch. The wheels are an inch smaller than the VW’s, the styling less showy, the exhaust hidden like a dirty secret. Only an e-tron badge reveals the plug-in tech lurking beneath. The doors close with a thunk, and the materials are of incredibly high quality – the dash plastics, knurled bezels, tactile leather steering wheel – but the sombre cabin is the Steve Jobs’ polo neck of car interiors. There’s no touchscreen here; instead, a slick, tablet-


The Audi’s sombre cabin is the Steve Jobs’ polo neck of car interiors like screen motors from the dash. You control it with a rotary multimedia controller and four buttons, which takes a little while to master. If you want to scream eco-warrior, buy the Prius. Non-hybrid Toyotas don’t share this dorky/futuristic bodyshell. The windscreen is swept back like a supercar’s to cheat drag, there are sci-fi headlights, and ‘plug-in hybrid’ badging asserts your planet-saving superiority. Inside, you’re greeted by a slightly odd mix of space-age layout and dated detailing. The central dash read-out (instead of a usual binnacle behind the steering wheel) looks Star Wars cool, but the graphics are decidedly Commodore 64. The centre console is as rakish as the windscreen, but that just places the buttons – no touchscreen/rotary dials here – for the ageing infotainment out of reach, and the plastics resound with a cheap clack. This is a larger hatchback than the others, so there’s more passenger room. However, the all-new Prius is just being introduced and a new plug-in will eventually follow. It’s partly why you get such tempting lease deals. 76 T3 A P R I L 2 0 1 6

On the outside, the Golf GTE is remarkably similar to the GTI. With that familiar muscular bodykit, this little eco-warrior looks as hard as nails

SPECS ENGINE: 1.4-litre, 16v petrol ELECTRIC MOTOR: AC synchronous BATTERY: 8.7kWh lithium-ion POWER/TORQUE: 148bhp/184lb-ft from petrol engine (201bhp/258lb-ft when combined with e-motor) PERFORMANCE: 0-62mph in 7.6 secs; 138mph EFFICIENCY: 166mpg; 39g/km CO2

ELECTRIC RANGE: 31 miles at up to 81mph DIMENSIONS (L x W x H): 4,270 x 1,799 x 1,457mm WEIGHT/MADE OF: 1,599kg/steel FEATURES †—(YEP^SRI air-conditioning †*VSRXWTSVXW seats, height and lumbar adjustment †—%YXSLIEHPMKLXW †—6EMRWIRWMRK[MTIVW

DON’T DELAY… BAH, TOO LATE The government grant for electric vehicles is now up to 50 per cent stingier Before 1 March 2016, all our test cars were eligible for a £5k government grant. That’s now halved. Low-emissions vehicles have been subdivided into three categories:


Category 1 is sub-50g/km C02 and at least 70 miles’ e-driving range; Category 2 is sub-50g/km and 10-69 miles’ e-driving range; Category 3 is 50-75g/km and at least 20

miles’ e-driving range. Cat 1 is eligible for a £4.5k grant, while Cat 2 and 3 are reduced to £2.5k. Cat 2 and 3 cars costing over £60k are now excluded from the scheme. Our three test cars fall into Category 2. The grant is automatically deducted from the car’s price by your dealership, but you might need to fill in a form.

State of the Art



At first glance, this Prius screams futuristic, with its swept-back windscreen and sci-fi lights. But the interior looks dated in places

Inside and out, the Audi winds its neck in somewhat. The styling isn’t particularly showy, while the wheels are smaller than the Volkswagen’s

SPECS ENGINE: 1.8-litre, 16v petrol ELECTRIC MOTOR: AC synchronous BATTERY: 4.4kWh lithium-ion POWER/TORQUE: 97bhp/105lb-ft from petrol engine (134bhp/n/a lb-ft when combined with e-motor) PERFORMANCE: 0-62mph in 11.4 secs; 112mph EFFICIENCY: 134.5mpg; 49g/km CO2

ELECTRIC RANGE: 15.5 miles at up to 51mph DIMENSIONS (L x W x H): 4,480 x 1,745 x 1,490mm WEIGHT/MADE OF: 1,455kg/steel FEATURES †—8SYGL +S4PYW multimedia with sat nav and voice recognition †—)MKLXWTIEOIV JBL audio system †—,IEXIHJVSRXWIEXW

SPECS †0)(LIEHPMKLXW †—MRGLEPPS][LIIPW †—0IEXLIV steering wheel †—*VIIMRWXEPPEXMSR of Chargemaster home charger, and free membership to POLAR’s 3,000 charge points


ENGINE: 1.4-litre, 16v petrol ELECTRIC MOTOR: AC synchronous BATTERY: 8.8kWh lithium-ion POWER/TORQUE: 148bhp/184lb-ft from petrol engine (201bhp/258lb-ft when combined with e-motor) PERFORMANCE: 0-62mph in 7.6 secs; 137mph EFFICIENCY: 176.6mpg; 37g/km CO2

ELECTRIC RANGE: 31 miles at up to 81mph DIMENSIONS (L x W x H): 4,312 x 1,785 x 1,424mm WEIGHT/MADE OF: 1,540kg/steel FEATURES †MRGLEPPS]W †—%HETXMZI0)(  headlights †—*VSRXGPSXL sports seats †—8LVIIWTSOIPIEXLIV multi-function steering wheel

†(YEP^SRI air-conditioning †—8IGLRSPSK]4EGOEKI including seveninch colour display with DAB radio, HDD-based 3D Satellite Navigation Plus, 10GB memory, MP3/WMA/AAB/MPEG4 file playback †—%YHM'SRRIGX[MXL 4G Wi-Fi hotspot, and navigation via Google Earth †—%GXMZIPERIEWWMWX

Test 01 winner

Depreciation makes ownership less attractive

AUDI: £2,797 deposit, 35 monthly payments of £466, 10k miles (1st Choice).


Eighty per cent of UK cars were funded by PCP deals last year: pay a deposit and a monthly fee, then return the car after the term or pay the outstanding debt. Here are three deals we found for our line-up:

If you lease, depreciation isn’t a concern, but parkers. lists the following disappointing three-year/30k miles residuals: the Golf will be worth £11,700, the Prius £11,175, the Audi £13,075.

With looks sharper than a surgeon’s scalpel, a highquality interior and sports seats packing a cool retro twist, the Golf nabs our vote

VW: £1,206 deposit, 35 monthly payments of £402, 10k miles annually (Carsave). TOYOTA: £992.70 deposit, 35 monthly payments of £331, 8k miles (Alpha Contracts).

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State of the Art

TEST 02:



Which has the best combination of power under the bonnet?

oth the Golf and the A3 are produced by the Volkswagen Group, so they use essentially the same underpinnings. The conventional bit is a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine and dual-clutch automatic gearbox that’s similar to those in other Golfs and A3s, but the engine’s been nudged over by 6cm to make room for the hybrid kit. The electric motor is integrated into the gearbox housing, and is juiced by a high-voltage lithium-ion battery weighing around 120kg. It’s tucked under the floor in front of the rear seat so it doesn’t eat into passenger space. In e-mode, both models claim an eerily silent 31-mile range at up to 81mph, and when petrol and e-power are combined you get a stonking 201bhp to ignite the front tyres – that’s similar oomph to the Golf GTI hot hatch, but with very un-hot-hatch-like fuel economy. Efficiency figures are different, though. The Golf claims 166mpg and 39g/km emissions,


The rev counter has been replaced by a confusing charge dial. Green means you’re charging the battery, keep it blue and you’re driving efficiently, stray into boost to get a petrol-electric power bomb

The Golf and the A3 claim an eerily silent 31-mile range at up to 81mph the A3 177mpg and 37g/km. The Audi’s battery is 0.1kWh juicier at 8.8kWh, and 5kg beefier too. Just like its cordless, less frugal sibling, the plug-in Prius’s 1.8-litre petrol and electric motor drive the front wheels with 134bhp. But instead of a nickel-metal hydride battery, the plug-in uses a more powerful and larger 4.4kWh lithium-ion alternative – although it’s still half the capacity of its German rivals. It’s an interesting solution by Toyota: the smaller battery means it travels only half as far on e-power as the Volkswagen’s and Audi’s 31 miles, and at notably lower speeds (a maximum of 51mph). However, Toyota claims it’ll cover most commutes and, at 80kg, it’s 40kg lighter than the German cars’ batteries, helping fuel economy and handling. The shorter range in e-mode hurts the Prius’s overall claimed economy, with what would normally be an incredible 134.5mpg and 49g/km paling in comparison to the Audi’s 177mpg and the Golf’s 166mpg. But as VW knows only too well, outside of the test lab the playing field may well be levelled. 7 8 T3 A P R I L 2 0 1 6

ABOVE The Golf will do 31 miles at up to 81mph in ‘E-Mode’, or you can save the battery by using ‘Hybrid’ for petrol-electric power. ‘Battery Charge’ uses the engine to charge the battery – not very planet-friendly! LEFT Ours had the Discover Pro eight-inch touchscreen (£1,325 extra). CarPlay/Android Auto/MirrorLink are yours for £125, though

YOU MAY BE SOME TIME Charging times are the 0-62mph figures of plug-in geek speak. Here’s the lowdown… The Golf comes with two charging cables: a domestic three-pin socket and a Type 2 connector for public charge points. VW quotes 3 hours 45 minutes to charge using a

domestic socket, or 2 hours 15 minutes using a wallbox/ public charge point at 3.6kW. Audi offers a similar deal, only it adds an industrial plug socket. Like the VW,

the charging cables are stored in soft bags. The Prius’s three-pin and Type 2 charge cables store neatly in boot compartments. The (smaller) battery can be charged in 1.5 hours from a domestic socket – and in the same time using a wallbox, unless a dedicated power circuit is added.

State of the Art



The Prius is due to be replaced soon, and its infotainment system feels a generation out of date. It’s a little difficult to operate, too, located as it is on the sloping centre console

ABOVE The gear lever mimics a joystick, making us feel like we were playing a game. Selecting ‘B’ increases engine braking, recharging the batteries. It feels weird at first, but you soon get used to it

ABOVE An MMI controller enables you to scroll through your infotainment options. Combined with the four silver buttons, it can be quite fiddly to make selections, but you’ll figure it out eventually

LEFT This top display monitors your driving. Sadly, we struggled to keep the Prius in EV mode, even when we were at a standstill

LEFT The Audi’s efficiency gauge works on similar principles to the Golf’s, but Audi doesn’t have a sporty GTE mode. Boo!

WE KNOW HOW TO CHARGE From juicing up mid-journey to getting a super-quick home charge, here’s how it’s done With e-modes that cover most commutes plus petrol back-up, it’s unlikely you’ll stop mid-journey to get a full charge; but if you do, lists the

The Audi’s infotainment menu is logically laid out, and quick to scroll through. ‘Car’ lets you tweak driving settings including steering assistance; ‘Audi Connect’ provides you with a Wi-Fi hot spot

6,500-plus charge points in the UK, so download the app. You’ll most probably charge at home or at your destination/work. All three cars can be plugged into a

domestic three-pin socket, but have home-installed wallbox options too. A free wallbox and installation are included with the Prius, while VW has a tie-up with POD Point, offering a 3.7kW (£190) or 7kW charger (£285). Audi also offers wallbox and installation from £195 with POD Point and Chargemaster.

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Test 02 winner AUDI A3 E-TRON Audi’s clever electricpetrol combo boasts as much oomph as a hot hatch but promises 177mpg. At 11mpg less, the Golf is a close second A P R I L 2 0 1 6 T3 7 9

State of the Art

TEST 03:




Last but not least, how do they feel from behind the wheel? he Golf GTE’s five – yes, five! – different driving modes are easily accessed by buttons next to the gearstick. Choose the EV mode and it’ll remain emissions-free for long periods, even cruising at high motorway speeds and accelerating in total silence like a marble from a catapult. When the battery drains, it automatically switches to hybrid mode, using both petrol and battery power. But the fun starts when you press ‘GTE’. The engine note hardens – even if it is a bit arcade-game synthetic – and petrol and electric combine to burn resources as rapidly as possible. It stops short of the full GTI experience because the real hot hatch is faster and sharper still – and significantly lighter, too – but neither other car offers such an excitingly schizoid range of personalities. The Audi focuses a little more on comfort and refinement. Its driving modes don’t have a sporty GTE equivalent, and the remaining four modes are buried in sub-menus – a bit


The VW charges in 3hr 45min from a domestic socket, 2hr 15min from a wallbox

The fun starts when you press ‘GTE’ and the engine note hardens of a faff if you want to save your EV mode for later in the journey. But mostly it works well, using up EV mode before subtly switching to hybrid, when the two power sources combine. The Golf is more fun to chuck about, the Audi better at soaking up bumps. Unlike its rivals, the Prius immediately fired its petrol engine when parked up, despite a nearly full battery charge. A beep and a message told us that EV mode was unavailable because it was ‘warming up’, and later it refused to engage because the heater was on, all while still parked. Only after a couple of minutes of driving did it engage (it still beeps to tell you to press and hold the button), and then it almost immediately brought the petrol engine back into play. If the Prius was particularly speedy or dynamic, this might be just about forgivable, but it’s neither. When EV mode does work, it’s an easy, relaxing thing to steer around town, but the Germans now do the silenteco thing better than its Japanese pioneers. 8 0 T3 A P R I L 2 0 1 6

Fans of the original 1970s Golf GTI will remember the tartan trim. The new GTI gets it, too, the GTE replacing red with blue. Choose leather if you like


more ‘sensible Clarks shoe’ than the GTE’s ‘funky Nike trainer’.

Each car manufacturer offers a different twist on the cars we’ve tested here




The regular Prius is just a plain old hybrid, but it’s up to £9k cheaper at £21,995, still promises 72.4mpg, and looks just as planet-friendly.

Think range anxiety is for wimps? Get an e-Golf, the all-electric VW with up to 118 miles’ range. It’s yours for a GTE-like £31,650. Shame it looks

It’s not available in the UK, but the A3 g-tron’s familiar 1.4-litre engine is modified to run on synthetic methane as well as petrol. Its range is truly impressive: up to 249 miles on gas, a further 559 on petrol.

State of the Art



The Prius’s charge socket is hidden away behind the extra fuel flap

The Audi’s charge time is the same as that of the Golf GTE

The seats are undoubtedly comfortable but they’re a little flat and boring – much like the drive offered by this Toyota hybrid

The interior is beautifully built – as we’ve come to expect from Audi’s cars – and nicely laid-out, but a little on the sombre side for our liking

YOUR EZ GUIDE TO EVs Don’t know your BEVs from your PHEVs? Nerd out on the jargon-buster below


PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle). Charge the battery and an e-motor drives the wheels. When the charge depletes, petrol or diesel provides a safety net. EXAMPLE: The cars on test


BEV (battery electric vehicle). A pure electric car with a longer electric range than a PHEV, but no fossil-fuel back-up if you run out of juice. EXAMPLE: Tesla Model S


Range-extender. A BEV with a small fuel motor. The engine never drives, it just acts as a generator. EXAMPLE: BMW i3 Range Extender


FCEV (fuel-cell EV) Fill up with hydrogen and it reacts with oxygen in the fuel cells, creating electricity to drive the wheels. EXAMPLE: Toyota Mirai

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Test 03 winner VW GOLF GTE The Golf offers the biggest spread of abilities here, from stealth EV mode to hot-hatch hooliganism. The Audi takes second place by a whisker A P R I L 2 0 1 6 T3 8 1

State of the Art

The overall winner is… 1st Volkswagen Golf GTE Price: £31,255


T3 RATES: We love the Golf GTE’s bang-up-to-date twist on the GTI hot hatch, with its sharp exterior styling and figure-hugging sports seats. Performance is good – the GTE will stay in EV mode at impressively high speeds, and we never triggered the petrol engine unintentionally when the battery was charged.

T3 SLATES: The real-world e-range is limited; it sits high on the suspension; the Golf GTI and R are cheaper, faster and more fun to drive. T3 SAYS: The GTE balances sporty looks with impressive fuel economy, good performance and an enjoyable drive.

3rd Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid

2nd Audi A3 e-tron Price: £33,190 URL:

Price: £30,895 URL:

T3 RATES: The comfort, interior and neatly integrated hybrid powertrain. T3 SLATES: Anonymous design; limited e-range; not as fun to drive as the Golf. T3 SAYS: The A3 has a focus on refinement, quality and class-leading efficiency.

T3 RATES: Spacious interior; relaxing to drive in town. T3 SLATES: Disappointingly intermittent EV mode; lack of performance. T3 SAYS: Not as good to drive, well-made or eco-friendly as rivals, yet almost as costly.

FIVE WAYS TO GET MORE FROM YOUR PLUG-IN 01 PRESERVE EV MODE Remember that claimed EV mode is a best-case scenario, and that each car enables you to choose when to use it. If you’ve got a 60-mile return commute – faster roads initially, urban arteries later – and no charger at the office, select EV mode for in town and Hybrid when traffic flows to maximise e-travel.

Chargemaster has supplied more firms than anyone else. Tell the boss to email sales@

socket (just 1.5 hours for the Prius). With overnight charging and a petrol engine in reserve, that may be fine but, for as little as £190, a higher-rated wallbox can cut charging to 2 hours 15 minutes, and under 1.5 hours for the Prius. The Prius gets a wallbox included free, but don’t pay over £285.




Because PHEV batteries are smaller than pure EV batteries that can take eight hours to charge, it takes our test cars a maximum of 3 hours 45 minutes to juice up from a domestic

Not only is the government giving grants to private buyers to purchase PHEVs and home charge points, it’s also giving private companies up to 75 per cent off charge points.

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All our plug-in hybrids let you program your charging times between certain hours. It means you can tap off-peak overnight charging rates, cutting costs further. Remember that electric cars gradually lose charge, so it’s best to finish charging not long before you intend to drive.

05 WATCH YOUR GADGETS One neat trick offered by our three test cars is the ability to remotely pre-heat or cool the interior via apps before you drive. Combine that with the car being on charge, and you’ll have both maximum battery charge and the car set to your perfect temperature when you hop in. On the road, remember that all electric gizmos reduce battery life. No need to go all Amish, but don’t have stuff needlessly running in the background.

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State of the Art 01






Your keys need never leave your pocket. Tug the door handle and the car unlocks when it senses your keys; climb inside and you need only press the start/stop button to get going. You’ll soon wonder how you ever lived without it. £365,

Press a button and the GTE automatically scans for parallel parking spaces. It alerts the driver when it finds one – follow the prompts on the dashboard, and you just man the gears and pedals while it twirls the wheel. £150,

essential 3

GOLF GTE add-ons

If you only tick five option boxes, make sure you tick these




The camera automatically swivels up from beneath the rear VW badge when you select reverse, so it’s kept hidden and clean during normal driving. A crisp image is displayed on the touchscreen, so there are no excuses for dinging that rear bumper. £165,





This brings Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink compatibility to your GTE’s infotainment system. It includes apps for navigation, music, phone calls and more. Just plug your phone into the USB port and the relevant info pops up on the car’s touchscreen. £125,

This upgrades your basic infotainment system with an eight-inch touchscreen, and includes a 64GB SSD hard drive, pre-loaded European navigation and a pair of SD-card readers. Voice control can be used for nav, CD, DVD and radio. £1,325,



01 ZAP-MAP This app flags up the nearest compatible charging point for your car, even if you’re struggling for a data connection. Search by location, car or charger type. Free; Android/iOS

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02 WHATGAS PETROL PRICES Whatgas locates nearest petrol stations and shows prices. It even says when the price was checked – some more frequently than others. Free; Android/iOS

03 MYCOMPANYCAR If you’re looking at a PHEV as a company car, this Toyota app lets you compare all makes, models and specs, and then calculates the tax you’ll have to pay. Free; iOS

04 VW CAR-NET E-REMOTE/AUDI A3 E-TRON CONNECT Remotely check battery level, set charging times and interior temperature, and find the car’s location. Free; Android/iOS

05 PLUGSHARE Another charging-station map, but users upload comments and can log in to show which chargers are in use. Owners can also offer their home chargers for free. Free; Android/iOS

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THE F1 CHALLENGE Watch out, Lewis Hamilton (literally): our man’s taking his F1 gaming skills to a real-life racing track… PHOTOGRAPHY WORDS



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The mission

The man

To make it around the famous Brands Hatch circuit in a race car, with no experience apart from a few days training on the latest home simulator. Any crashes and he’ll fail.

Some say Spencer Hart helped Steve Jobs invent the iPhone. Others say he can search Google with a chip implanted in his brain. All we know is, he’s Mobile Tech Editor at

The tech Microsoft Xbox One £279.99, GT Omega Pro Racing Simulator Professional – RS6 Seat £369.95, Thrustmaster TX Racing Wheel £329.99, Thrustmaster Ferrari F1 Wheel £129.99, Thrustmaster T3PA-Pro Add-On £149.99, Forza Horizon 2 £25.99, F1 2015 £25.99, Sonos PLAYBAR and SUB £1,200, BMW M4 £58,000, MSV F4 single-seater (driving experience) £229, Sparco Superleggera RS-9.1 Race Suit £1,020,

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“Yes!” was the immediate answer when T3 Editor Rob asked me to become a racing driver for Man vs Tech. Fast cars, attractive women, glamorous locations… it’s the ultimate dream for most men, and for this Formula One addict that dream was about to become a reality... LEARNER’S PERMIT But before I could start living life in the fast lane, I actually had to learn how to drive one of these complex machines, and that involved getting together a state-of-the-art home simulator kit. There are some great driving games available for the Xbox One, so I used that as my starting point. Next, I sourced a full-on GT Omega rig, plus a steering wheel and pedals from Thrustmaster, because even Jann Mardenborough couldn’t jump straight from an Xbox controller into a single-seater cockpit. There were two games I wanted to focus my efforts on – Forza Horizon 2 and F1 2015. These would give me a varied practice routine, taking in both virtual roads and track driving. All of the kit arrived one Friday in eight separate boxes, from five different deliveries. By the afternoon, my living room was overrun by brown cardboard, and instructions gallantly cast to one side as I scratched my head trying to piece everything together. Two hours later, after a little trial and error (combined with some help from my

My gaming set-up provided a thrillingly realistic driving experience

girlfriend), we had a driving simulator smack-bang in the middle of our living room.

INTENSIVE TRAINING I hopped into the chair – sorry, I mean ‘car’ – and loaded up Forza Horizon 2. This was a good starting point for training because, whereas everything happens incredibly quickly in F1 2015, driving a Fiat 500 in Forza gave me time to become accustomed to my new kit. I depressed the clutch, slotted the gear stick into first, released the clutch and floored the accelerator. The car jumped

forward and came to a stop again. After doing this several times, I realised I was stalling the car (I’m more used to simply pulling the right trigger and going forward, arcade-style). I stopped, put my ‘real’ driver’s hat on and started again. With the car in gear and the clutch depressed, I built up revs and slowly released the clutch. The car lurched forward and kept going this time. Result. Driving around the streets of Nice felt strangely realistic. So realistic, in fact, that I went to put on indicators at one point, despite there not being any stalks on

TOP GEAR Here’s the kit that helped me with my circuit training



Multi-talented, the Xbox One was our gaming system of choice for this particular task. Not only does it enable you to play the most recent, graphicintensive games, but it’ll also come in useful for watching the brilliant documentary film Senna on repeat. £279.99,

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F1 2015

The latest version of the game features an updated driver line-up, modern cars and a voice-activated race engineer for info during the game. It also makes use of the new EGO engine, which greatly improves realism the learning curve is steep but rewarding. £25.99,




Currently taking up half the floor space in my living room, this sturdy steel frame is used to mount the wheel and pedals. The seat is comfortable and surprisingly realistic – although it’s much easier to climb into than a real Formula car. £369.95,


Lewis Hamilton didn’t learn to drive using an Xbox Controller. The TX Racing Wheel features force feedback, a powerful vibration motor and a realistic button design. The Ferrari F1 Add-On is a replica of the Italian marque’s 2011 design. £460,



Realistic pedals are key to creating an accurate simulator. This set from Thrustmaster has all three pedals, made from solid metal and fully adjustable for the perfect set-up. Simply change the mounting, pressure force and travel for a true F1 feel. £149.99,



Used in the F4 Championship last year, these machines are the real deal. With 185bhp and weighing just 470kg, they’re capable of reaching a top speed of 165mph. The price includes two 15-minute driving sessions and a highspeed passenger lap. £229,

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ABOVE The MSV F4 experience includes a thorough briefing from an instructor before the actual driving can commence

the TX Racing Wheel. The force feedback gave the handling a very direct feel, almost yanking the wheel from my grip when the car began to oversteer. I also had my Sonos SUB underneath the GT Omega rig, which made the seat vibrate. This realistic set-up completely changes the way you behave in-game. Instead of bombing around everywhere at full throttle, I’m now a lot more considered and cautious. With the Fiat 500 mastered, it was time to move on to the Formula One car (that’s quite a step up, I know). In F1 2015’s ‘Pro Season’ mode, all assists are turned off – that means no traction control, ABS and full damage turned on. At first, even getting off the starting line was a problem. After several attempts, I managed to fully navigate Silverstone in one piece – although, where I’d usually push my way to the front, taking no prisoners, the gaming rig and hardest difficulty setting forced me to take a more delicate approach. Something that would surely come in useful on track the following day...

These were far from perfect driving conditions, and something I hadn’t planned for I soon learnt that I didn’t have to say hi to every driver

“I knew I should’ve worn my anorak”

ANXIOUS START I woke up the next morning feeling a little anxious. The weather was awful – it had been raining all night, and it continued to rain throughout my entire journey to Brands Hatch. These were far from perfect driving conditions and something I hadn’t planned for. The morning started with a safety briefing; the MSV instructor took me through various flags, showing me how to behave, as well as the braking, accelerating and overtaking points on the track.

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A P R I L 2 0 1 6 T3 8 9

Suddenly, everything felt much more dangerous than in the videogame ABOVE The roar of the engine as I moved up through the gears was awesome

“If I step on it, I’ll be home in time for Pointless”

a t w w m 9 0 T3 Read A P R ImLore 2016

I was desperately trying to take in and retain all the information, but all I could think about was the imminent drive. My safety briefing over, I headed over to the pit lane, where another instructor was waiting to start sighting laps in a BMW M4. I spent 15 minutes circling Brands Hatch while the instructor showed me the racing line. The M4 was much more powerful than the single-seater; it was also much heavier, and featured ESP, making it easier to handle on the wet track. After 15 minutes of the instructor shouting, “Brake! Brake! Brake!” at me, we headed back into the pits for a car swap.

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SUBSCRIBE TODAY! P72 RIGHT That’s the remnants of the last car I took around a racing circuit BELOW “This car’s driving me round the bend”

A recovery vehicle was quickly on the scene after I veered off the road (right)

I was assigned car number one. It was sheer coincidence, I’m guessing, but this filled me with confidence. Maybe it was a sign… as I later discovered, it wasn’t. I slipped on my helmet and stepped into the car. This is where the first issue arose: I’m 6’2”, so climbing into the snug cockpit required gymnast-levels of flexibility. I nervously pulled out of the garage and travelled down the pit straight. The engine roared as I blipped up through the gears. I reached the end of the straight and joined the circuit. A quick look into the rear-view mirrors confirmed I could barely see a thing behind me. Suddenly, everything felt much more dangerous than in the videogame.

“I got out to take a piss and when I got back, it had gone”

SPIRALLING INTO GRAVEL I’d forgotten everything I’d learned in the briefings; I was breaking early and missing apexes. My first lap was OK but as I became braver, I started making more mistakes. As I sped down the starting grid and the rain started falling heavier, I tried to wipe the water off my visor, but the first corner arrived sooner than expected. I turned into it, trying to use the whole track on the way out, wracked by the nagging fear that the car could go skidding off at any point. This pumping adrenaline is something even the best simulators lack. My visor began to fog up, so I slid it open, causing a rush of fresh air to batter my face. I had a choice: give up sight or give up the ability to breathe. Tough one.

I completed lap two even slower than the first. I’d close my visor on the straights, then open it during the more technical parts of the track. I’m sure they don’t have to deal with this in real Formula racing. It’s also another aspect of driving the simulator can’t recreate, unless I also purchased an industrial fan and hired my girlfriend to throw buckets of water in my face. Lap three went by even slower than the previous one. I was fighting a losing battle, until on lap four I changed down a gear mid-corner, revved the engine, span the wheels and went spiralling into the gravel. A number of expletives left my mouth. I revved the engine in an attempt to escape

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the gravel, but the car wouldn’t budge. Luckily, I’d parked up with a decent view of the track, so I sat in the car while the remaining cars lapped the circuit. Once they’d returned to the garage, a tractor and two race marshals made their way to my car. I was freed from the gravel, and limped back to the pits with my head hung in shame. When I got out of the car, another driver shouted, “Hey Xbox, did you learn that in your videogame?” Very droll. NEXT MONTH Can our man survive a whole day living in a virtual world?

AJPURNI E L 2016 5 T3 9 1

ISSUE 254 / APRIL 16


REVIEWED IN DEPTH THIS MONTH... 94 Fitbit Blaze 98 Sexy thermostats 100 Connected security cameras 102 Our Gadgets 106 Your Gadgets 108 Games 113 Apps 114 Media

Blaze of glory? We try out Fitbit’s new wearable p94


Because we only feature products the T3 team would happily use ourselves, we end up discarding a significant number of options in each category before settling on a final shortlist to review. In this respect, T3 Select does exactly what it says on the tin, picking only the best of the best to test; the gear we know you’ll want to seriously consider purchasing.

And that should mean an end to you having to undertake hours of painstaking research and product comparisons. You won’t see any duff products featured in our tests, but you will come away with clarity on which one is the best in its category or for a specific task: our awards badges (see below) ensure that everything T3 recommends is clearly highlighted on the page. It goes without saying that every product in T3 Select has been thoroughly tested by our team of experts, enabling you to buy with total confidence.

The scores explained Forget it

Below average

Good for the price

Very good all round

An exceptional, best-in-class product

Our five awards

Only the best products – those that score five stars – receive our coveted Platinum Award

This is given to winners of our group tests, so you can see exactly which is the best at a glance

This accolade and others like it show you which gear is best for specific features or tasks

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For kit that demonstrates exceptional industrial design and refinement, in addition to being great

Awarded to products that are energy-efficient or help to protect the natural environment

A P R I L 2 0 1 6 T3 9 3


ANGULAR DESIGN The edgy design divides opinion here at T3. Some like the retro aesthetic, others think it looks dated and tacky

Blaze of Glory? HAVING MADE ITS NAME AS THE KING OF FITNESS TRACKERS, FITBIT HAS PUSHED THE BOAT OUT WITH AN AMBITIOUS NEW ‘SMART FITNESS WATCH’, THE BLAZE. T3 FINDS OUT WHETHER IT’S HOT OR NOT… itbit is a name that’s become synonymous with fitness trackers. So when it announced in January that it was breaking out of its comfort zone by launching a ‘smart fitness watch’ – a cross between a fitness tracker and a smartwatch – some were skeptical that it could compete with the Apple Watch and other similarly advanced wearables, and the uncertainty saw the company’s stock plummet. But is the apprehension towards this hybrid justified, or does the Blaze represent a new revolution in wearables? T3 tested one to find out… The Blaze is being sold for £159.99. That’s competitively priced against the Apple Watch, which still costs almost double that, but it’s still more expensive than most of Fitbit’s other offerings, which may put some people off. What do you get over Fitbit’s other models? A colour touchscreen, for a start. This enables more advanced


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functions such as true smartwatch notifications and music control. In terms of sensors, the Blaze has a three-axis accelerometer, an optical heart-rate monitor and an altimeter. Crucially, though, there’s no GPS, so this won’t be a true marathon runner’s companion. Instead, built-in GPS is reserved for the range-topping Fitbit Surge (although the Blaze can make use of your phone’s GPS when connected).

SHARP AND RESPONSIVE The screen is one of the Blaze’s key features, and – for the most part – it satisfies. While it’s not as impressive as the Apple Watch’s, the 1.6-inch colour display is bright and sharp with a resolution of 240 x 180 pixels. It’s easy to see in direct sunlight, and the touchscreen is responsive. Our main issue with the screen is that it’s too small, creating a large bezel around it that makes the watch look dated – although, it must be said, the small screen doesn’t affect usability.

It’s worth noting that the screen isn’t always on; it has to be woken with a flick of the wrist or a press of a button. It’s fairly reliable when it comes to sensing this movement, but there were several occasions when the screen failed to register when a quick glance was needed. Design-wise, the Blaze had T3’s staff divided; half loved the way it looks, the other half weren’t so sure. It’s obviously meant to look like a smartwatch, but whereas the Apple Watch is smooth and rounded, the Blaze is angular and edgy, giving it a retro look similar to a Casio digital. The Blaze comes in one size but, thanks to its relatively slender

SPECIFICATIONS PRICE £159.99 URL TOUCHSCREEN 1.6-inch colour LCD RESOLUTION 240 x 180 pixels BATTERY Up to five days SENSORS Three-axis accelerometer, optical heart rate, altimeter CONNECTIVITY Bluetooth 4.0 COMPATIBILITY Android/iOS/Windows Phone

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The Blaze is angular and edgy, giving it a retro look that’s reminiscent of a Casio digital NICK ODANTZIS, DEPUTY EDITOR

SIMPLE NAVIGATION Navigating the OS is a breeze using the touchscreen, but if you’re wearing gloves, three side buttons can also be used

CUSTOMISABLE WATCH FACE Don’t like the watch face? Fitbit gives you the option to customise the device. At the time of writing, there are four different faces available

STRAP OPTIONS Want to customise further? Fitbit sells interchangeable straps, ranging from colour elastomer, to leather and metal options

HEART-RATE SENSOR A heart-rate sensor is located on the rear of the device, making this a useful workout companion. But there’s no GPS, so marathon runners may wish to look elsewhere

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A P R I L 2 0 1 6 T3 9 5


UI is intuitive and looks great on the sharp screen

Guided workouts are a piece of cake to follow

Charging it up is a little frustrating

proportions, it’ll look right at home on both male and female wrists. The watch actually consists of three parts – strap, frame and screen – all of which are interchangeable. Our review model featured a black elastomer strap, infamous for causing rashes on the Fitbit Force. Luckily, we didn’t experience any. In fact, we found the Blaze comfortable and lightweight, even wearing it while we were asleep. It does, however, feel quite cheap, with a more brittle texture compared to the Apple Watch Sport. The strap can be removed using a simple spring-bar system, enabling you to swap it with other straps from Fitbit, including more premium leather and metal options. These additional straps start at £19.99 and go all the way up to £89.99. Where the leather strap may not be suitable for gym use, you certainly wouldn’t

TOP The buttons on the side are useful if you

want to wear the elastomer strap to a dinner party, so you could switch between the two to suit the occasion.

wear gloves when you exercise

ABOVE LEFT The touch display is a little small for our liking ABOVE RIGHT The strap is easily removed and there are other options available

LONGER-LASTING In terms of interacting with the device, there are three physical buttons located around the edge of the frame, but most interaction will take place on the touchscreen. The three buttons act as a home/back command (located on the left), and volume/selection buttons on the right. The buttons are especially useful if you’re working out in gloves. On the rear of the device you’ll find an optical heart-rate monitor, used to measure both your resting heart rate and heart-rate zones during exercise. The Blaze is sweat-, rain- and splashproof, but isn’t fully submersible, so you won’t be tracking your swim sessions with this device. This seems

like a missed opportunity – a chance to win points over the Apple Watch. One killer feature the Fitbit does have is a five-day battery life; that bests all of its rivals by a long shot, most of which require daily charging. This is partly down to the small screen and low-powered OS, but it’s great to see a wearable that can last the distance. The charging dock is yet another proprietary job from Fitbit, which means, annoyingly, you can’t use the charging cable from a Surge, Charge HR or Flex. The dock itself is fine, although it does require you to remove the screen unit from the frame (not a difficult task) and clamp it into the dock. This seems overly complicated compared to the wireless-charging solutions found in other smartwatches. The colour screen gives Fitbit a chance to introduce a new UI, and for

The alternatives APPLE WATCH SPORT A class-leading smartwatch that boasts amazing hardware, an attractive design, and a standout ecosystem of apps and accessories. Smarter but less fitness-focused than the Blaze. £299, 9 6 T3 A P R I L 2 0 1 6

MICROSOFT BAND 2 The Band 2 is packed with sensors, including a heartrate monitor and a UV sensor. The small screen can be used to display phone notifications, but the design is less than comfy. £169.99,

MOTO 360 SPORT Packing both a heart-rate sensor and GPS, the 360 Sport is a commendable running companion. It features Android Wear, so smartphone notifications work well, but the accuracy of stats is questionable. £219,

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It’s better as a motivational device than a precise measuring tool NICK ODANTZIS, DEPUTY EDITOR

GUIDED WORKOUTS The sharp colour screen will guide you through FitStar workouts, first demonstrating the exercise, then timing you and displaying your heart rate

a first attempt the company has done pretty well. Navigating the OS is slick and intuitive, with everything more or less laid-out how you’d expect. Swipe up on the watch face to see your recent messages and notifications (only system notifications, though, including emails, texts, calendars and calls – no Facebook or Whatsapp, which is a shame). Swipe down to see music controls and a silent-mode toggle. Swiping from the right brings up a menu that includes today’s stats, exercises, a timer, alarms and settings. There’s also FitStar – essentially an app that guides you through workouts, first using the screen to demonstrate the exercise, then timing you while you do it. At the time of writing, Fitbit offers four different watch faces so that you can customise the look of your wearable. It’s a nice touch, though we hope this concept will be expanded in the future. For what it’s worth, ‘Pop’ is our current favourite. So the Blaze’s operating system is basic, but functional and easy to work out – that’s a thumbs up in our book. As long as you’re not expecting advanced interactive notifications, and apps similar to those on the Apple Watch, you won’t be disappointed. Of course, many consumers will primarily use the Blaze for counting steps, and it does this pretty well. It also counts flights of stairs, and

estimates the number of calories you’ve burned. How accurate the last two functions are is open for debate – we can’t help feeling that Fitbit’s algorithm overestimates the figures somewhat. But hey, at least it overestimates them consistently, so if it says you burned more calories today than you did yesterday, you can trust that conclusion. On the whole, we’d advise using the Blaze as a motivation device rather than a precise measuring tool.

FITNESS TRACKING The touchscreen enables you to select different exercises, such as running, cycling and weight training. When you begin a cycling workout, for example, it’ll time you, and measure how far you’ve travelled, your average and maximum speed, your average and maximum heart rate, your calories burned and your elevation change. Your stats are then displayed postworkout, making the device more useful than a simple step-counter. Although, slightly annoyingly, the screen turns off after a short while, meaning you have to wake it up if you want to analyse your stats in detail. As previously mentioned, the device features a heart-rate sensor, which will give you a rough idea of your resting heart rate. This seemed accurate to us, matching with other fitness trackers we’ve tried, though

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obviously it won’t be as good as a dedicated chest-strap monitor. Bluetooth syncing is fast, connecting first time on every attempt. Once you’ve synced your fitness data, Fitbit’s ecosystem comes into its own. The company has had a lot of time to hone its app, and it really shows. The Fitbit app also offers integration with the likes of Endomondo, MapMyRun and MyFitnessPal, with its wealth of user-sourced food-calorie counts – essential if you’re a dieter. There’s a lot to like about the Fitbit Blaze, especially if you like monitoring your workouts without having to worry about recharging the battery all the time. But there’s definitely room for improvement in the style stakes.

T3 RATES The Blaze is functional and quite attractive. The screen adds to the Fitbit experience, and the app and battery life are great T3 SLATES It doesn’t feel as premium as its rivals. There’s no waterproofing or GPS, and the large bezel is distracting T3 SAYS The Blaze may not be a revolutionary device, but it fills a gap in Fitbit’s line-up

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Nest made thermostats desirable, and the simple, Apple-esque design still turns heads. It looks gorgeous, the screen is pin-sharp and the dial action luxurious. Face it, even without its energy-saving superbrain you‘d still want one.

From the studio of Swiss designer Yves Béhar, this battery-powered device has a bright and colourful display, along with a choice of Duluxpaint-matched sleeves. It’s still not as eyecatching as Nest’s understated beauty, though.



As well as app control, the Nest uses a motion detector, temperature sensors and a humidity gauge to learn when you’re home and how warm you like things. It then creates a heating schedule which should mean no more manual adjustment.

Built specifically for UK homes, it has separate hot-water control and advanced timer settings – up to six events per day – plus remote app access and a clever holiday mode. However, it lacks smart sensors and the ability to learn.



Aside from the odd manual tweak to help the learning process along, it works effortlessly. The app is slick, it rarely overheats or leaves us chilly, and if you’ve never had a timed thermostat before, it’ll save you a huge amount of energy.

The app and click-wheel interface make it easy to create a detailed schedule for your home heating, while remote control is effortless. How well it performs and how much energy it saves is down to how well you set it, though.



Set and forget – it’s as easy as that. Once it learns your routines, you’ll rarely need to touch it, but the app enables simple remote access; great for when you’re returning from holiday or if you fancy getting home to an even toastier house. RATES The slick design that gets better the more you teach it; no other thermostat comes close for usability. SLATES It lacks geo-fencing skills, and the Auto-Away feature can be overly sensitive at times.

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It’s clever but not especially smart, and relies heavily on your input. It’s lovely to use but doesn’t deliver auto-scheduling; it sends an alert rather than turning the heat off when it senses you’ve gone out, which would save time and energy.



RATES App control is superb, while it offers great scheduling for your home’s heating and hot water. SLATES It has plenty of weapons in its arsenal, but we’d like it to think for itself a little more.

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Safe as houses A LL-R




our home is under attack! OK, so that’s a bit of an exaggeration – it might not be now, but one day it could be. So if you value the contents of your abode and want to keep an eye on it, a security cam is a must. Unlike security cameras of old, these devices are designed to sit indoors and monitor your home’s interior. So there’s no complicated install and, because they all have Wi-Fi built in, there are no wires to route either – just place it wherever you get a decent wireless signal. You can check your video any time via a mobile app, while smart features such as face detection and air monitoring give you 24/7 security (and endless footage of your cat).


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Words: Nick Odantzis


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The Canary is feature-packed, with quality wide-angle 1080p video (live feed and recordings), superb night vision, clear audio, a user-activated ear-shredding alarm, and air monitoring to keep watch on quality levels. Set-up is easy, and the menu is simple and intuitive. Motion-triggered events are auto-sent to your device, but you can adjust sensitivity if you’re getting too many. Using geolocation, the Canary auto arms itself when you go out, disarming on your return. You get 12 hours of video history free, but there’s a monthly fee if you want more. Nine-second live video delay is irksome.

Logitech’s offering not only looks the part, it has a unique feature: 12 hours of battery power lets you take it anywhere around the home, for ease of use. It’s great for communication with friends or family, thanks to crisp two-way audio. Video quality is clear, it’s super-wide for maximum in-frame action, and the live feed only has a three-second delay. You also get free 24-hour cloud storage for videos. The simple app makes it a cinch to use. Motion-activated events are sent to your device, while the Circle will also create a neat timelapse of the day’s events.

If you’ve already got a Nest Learning Thermostat or Protect, the Nest Cam is a top choice – connected to those, it can do more, such as record if the Protect senses smoke. Fiddly set-up aside, it’s easy to use, with decent 1080p video and night vision (and the shortest live delay). You also get two-way audio, while the clever stand allows for a variety of installs. Sadly, there’s no geolocation – instead, a Home and Away setting enables you to set where you are, to control when it records. To record videos (and access extras), you’ll need to subscribe to Nest Aware, but it costs a hefty £8 per month.

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The least costly cam here, D-Link’s HD looks a little cheap and cheerful. Video isn’t great – the low(ish) resolution of 720p looks inadequate on high-res screens, and the low frame rate won’t pick up fast motion. The camera angle is narrow, too. Night vision isn’t much better – it’s too bright near the camera, and a bit too dark at a distance. Sadly, motion notifications only give you a link to a live feed – it won’t record clips. One cool trick: hook it up to other D-Link smart products to trigger IFTTT-style actions, such as using the smart plug to turn on a light when cam motion is detected.

If looks could win, the Withings Home would have this sewn up. Its appealing, wood-shrouded exterior and exotic features make it stand out in this test. The 1080p video is excellent, both in day and night modes, plus you get air-quality and – killer feature alert – baby monitoring. You can keep an eye on little one, talk via the two-way audio feature, and employ one of several soothing lullabies with colour-changing ambient lighting. Sadly, the Android app is, at present, buggy over Wi-Fi, with frequent freezes and choppiness. Hook it up to Ethernet, though, and it’s (mostly) all good.

The Welcome looks very, erm, welcoming – its sexy, minimalist design will suit any funky space. Its trump card, though, is face-recognition. This makes alerts smarter, as the Welcome can discern between trusted and untrusted faces. You can also change what the camera does when it sees certain people, thanks to the superb app. This works for animals, too. Video is crisp and smooth with a big frame, though it’s a tad dark. Night vision is excellent, but there’s an 11-second live delay and no two-way audio. One other USP: a Micro SD card enables you to store as much video as you need.

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A P R I L 2 0 1 6 T3 1 0 1


ON TEST THIS MONTH THE GADGETS WE’RE LIVING AND BREATHING CLAIRE DAVIES PEBBLE TIME ROUND This chic wearable has been on my Our Gadgets wishlist for some time. I’m looking forward to spending a few months with it, and seeing how it can support my busy work schedule and social calendar.

WARREN BROWN CREATIVE SOUND BLASTERX P5 As a keen gamer, I was eager to try out Creative’s new in-ears. Can they enhance the playing experience better than some of the pricier over-ear alternatives?

SIMON MIDDLEWEEK ORBITSOUND A70 Last month, I gave my verdict on this flagship soundbar’s build quality and ease of use – I was impressed. This issue, I get down to the nitty gritty and see if this slim unit can play my favourite music to the standard I expect.

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ROSY OUTLOOK I’m testing the rose gold with white leather model, which looks classic and contemporary at the same time



’ve been offered a few smartwatches on long-term test, but some have felt huge on my wrist, while others have had a masculine design that’s looked out of place on me. I’m not saying I want diamonds or genderstereotyping pink accents, but something smaller and lightweight would be welcome. Step forward, the Time Round, the latest addition to Pebble’s range of smartwatches, shipping to UK customers late last year. When we first covered this wearable in T3, we made


a big deal about how it was the lightest, thinnest smartwatch in the world at that time (it may still be). Well, I can confirm that it is, indeed, lightweight – I have bracelets that are heavier than this thing! It comes in two strap widths – 14mm or 20mm – and a range of colour combinations, depending on which strap size you opt for. However, you can personalise your watch, and therefore expand the style options of both sizes, by buying an extra strap (think steel, leather or metal, with prices starting from ¤34.95/£27.55). For this test, I have the rose gold with white leather model. The strap is comfortable and adjustable, with a polished stainless-steel buckle; although, as with most leather watch straps, it creases easily. The marine-grade steel chassis and bezel are stunning, too. The watch arrived in a small box that included a USB

The simple four-buttonnavigation design

The wide range of custom watch faces available

The leather strap creases easily

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MONTH 1 OF 1 Above: Unlike some smartwatches, the Time Round isn’t in-yourface. It’s subtly stylish, with a slim strap and understated face


Above left: Upon its release, the Time Round was the thinnest smartwatch around. Above right: Personalise it to suit your taste

“I can confirm that the Time Round is lightweight – I have bracelets that are heavier” charging cable and instructions. With Bluetooth activated on my phone, I downloaded the Pebble Time app (iOS for me), switched on the watch and held it next to my phone. The watch synced quickly, and I left it to charge for several hours until a message appeared on the display telling me that it was fully juiced. Soon I was into the app, choosing my watchface (I chose PrismClock) and looking at the available apps (more on that next month). The watch has a pleasingly simple, four-button design.

There are three buttons on the right-hand side, and pressing the middle button directed me into the main menu. In Settings, I was able to adjust the intensity of the display’s backlight, the length of timeout (before the backlight dims) and the screen alignment to suit my personal tastes. In terms of set-up, that was pretty much it, so I strapped on the watch and went about my day, leaving the Time Round to ping me smart notifications and track my activity.

Verdict so far

The Time Round is an easy-to-use smartwatch with a relaxed style, and a range of sizes and colour combos CLAIRE DAVIES, ASSISTANT EDITOR


PRICE £59.99 URL HEADPHONES Frequency: 10Hz-23kHz; Sensitivity: 114dB @ 1kHz; Impedance: 16ohms MICROPHONE Inline omni-directional; Frequency: 100Hz-10kHz; Sensitivity: -42dB; Impedance: 2.2kOhms

eing T3’s resident gamer, I was intrigued to find out how a pair of in-ear gaming headphones would stack up against my current Turtle Beach over-ear headset. I wasn’t disappointed. I’ve never been a big fan of large gaming headsets, as they often compromise sound quality for comfort, so the idea of an in-ear set has big appeal. The P5 not only look good, they feel good too, making a great seal in your ears. The sound quality was instantly pleasing. A good 90 per cent of noise is cancelled out, there’s a good balance of treble and bass, and the stereo is strong. Playing Fallout 4 and Star Wars: Battlefront, the P5 handled both the sound of roaming wasteland mutants and the iconic scream of the TIE fighters with ease. On Call Of Duty: Black Ops 3, the inline mic came into its own. It features a one-touch button and a mute switch, and sounded no different to those on bigger headsets. Just one gripe – and it’s only a small one. When mobile gaming, the cable has a tendency to rub against your clothes, and the noise is picked up by the earphones, which can get a bit irritating if you’re moving around a lot. Stick to wearing them for PC or console gaming, though, and the P5s offer a thoroughly satisfying experience. Highly recommended.


Final verdict

These things really enhance the gaming experience, offering comfort and a nicely balanced sound WARREN BROWN, DIGITAL ART EDITOR A P R I L 2 0 1 6 T3 1 0 3


The sleek design belies the power of this unit. airSOUND technology delivers pleasingly spatial audio


Orbitsound A70 THIS MONTH, SIMON MIDDLEWEEK TESTS THE AUDIOSTREAMING CAPABILITIES OF THIS FLAGSHIP SOUNDBAR SPECIFICATIONS PRICE £499.95 URL orbitsound. com DIMENSIONS (L x W x D) Soundbar: 74 x 750 x 65mm. Subwoofer: 340 x 140 x 340mm WEIGHT Soundbar: 1.95kg. Subwoofer: 6kg. POWER Soundbar: 130W (80 front, 50 side). Subwoofer: 170W REMOTE CONTROL Yes BLUETOOTH Yes CONSTRUCTION Engineered wood

few years back, I was browsing my local electronics store when a young shop assistant stopped me and encouraged me to listen to a Bluetooth speaker. I forget the manufacturer, but to say the lad was enthusiastic would be an understatement. I tried to hide my disappointment as a rather muffled noise emanated from this little box. It left me with pangs of nostalgia for my old-fashioned record player with twin speakers, which offered a more organic, and more stereophonic, sound.


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I never would’ve imagined back then that I’d be able to recreate those good old days of music listening with a soundbar of all things. I’d always thought soundbars were primarily for boosting the sound on the latest Hollywood blockbusters. But as I sat down to start streaming music through the Orbitsound A70, I soon realised that this sleek unit and it’s accompanying sub-woofer might just provide the answer to my modern audio frustrations. Pairing the unit with my smartphone (the A70 supports aptX lossless Bluetooth), I started off with a dance track – certainly not my genre of choice, but I felt it would be the best way to test the bass. So on came LMFAO’s Sexy And I Know It. Cranking up the volume (and believe me, at a quoted 300W, this thing is bloody loud), the bass positively resonated around the room (and probably the whole street), and even an old punk rocker

like me couldn’t resist gyrating my hips in time with the music. Even better, there didn’t seem to be any distortion of note. So far, so impressive, then. But, of course, I wasn’t going to be spending my evenings listening to iffy dance music (which I’m sure my neighbours will be thankful for). So, using the Spotify app, I found a track from Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers’ classic 1979 Damn The Torpedoes album. This was always a favourite listen of mine when I had my old turntable, so would enable me to make a straight comparison between my old and new systems. The results were fabulous, with the A70 somehow managing to reproduce that lovely organic sound I used to get in days gone by. This is thanks, in part,

to Orbitsound’s patented airSOUND technology, which, as I explained last month, delivers spatial acoustics no matter where you are in the room. There have been a couple of occasions when music has sounded a little too trebly – over-processed, even – but I put this down to the fact that they were streamed direct from YouTube, and as we all know, the quality of files on there varies massively. Besides, if the sound isn’t quite to your liking, you can adjust the bass and treble via the intuitive remote control. I really am impressed with the A70 as a music player; it delivers powerful sound with a pleasing balance. But how will it cope with enhancing the latest movies and TV box sets? Join me in next month’s issue as I test that out…

Verdict so far

This soundbar offers a highly satisfying sound when audio streaming, with powerful bass and crisp treble SIMON MIDDLEWEEK, SENIOR ART EDITOR Get a FREE Bluetooth speaker w hen you subscribe! See p72


We’d love to know about any tech you’ve bought. Tell us about it at – and please include a pic of yourself


Iron Maiden/ Onkyo ED-PH0N3S

Garmin Forerunner 15




£119.99, GARMIN.COM

Why I bought them

Why I bought it

Why I bought it

I’ve been a huge Iron Maiden fan since the Eighties – my favourite gig of all time was their Monsters of Rock headline act in 1988. So when I heard that Onkyo was launching a pair of Maiden-themed cans, designed in collaboration with co-founder, bassist and co-producer Steve Harris, I was onto them like a rash.

I don’t often get a look-in when it comes to tech in our home – it’s my husband who gets to buy all the cool stuff. Then I saw this, which looked right up my street – a gadget that benefits me, but actually has something to offer the whole family.

I’ve been a runner for years, but I was stuck in a rut – running several times a week but never really improving my speed or distance. A friend suggested that a running watch might give me the incentive I needed to go faster/further, so I put one at the top of my Christmas list and Santa came up trumps. I’ve always liked him.

What I like about them They’re the coolest things ever! Emblazoned with an illustration of Eddie – Maiden’s mascot – they leave no one in any doubt that you’re a full-on metalhead. But they sound kick-ass, too. Steve needed a good pair of headphones to mix the band’s latest album, The Book Of Souls, with, so he put a lot of input into optimising them for proper rock music. That means they’re not too bass-heavy, as a lot of ‘dance’ cans are – they offer clarity, good mid-range and lots of volume!

What I don’t like about them

What I like about it The Triby is essentially a radio that can stick to your fridge, but it has other tricks up its sleeve. It’s an all-in-one music system, so you can also use it as a Bluetooth speaker to stream music. It may look like a toy radio, but the sound is actually great. And there’s more. Using the iOS app, you can use the Triby as a family message centre – sending texts, doodles and reminders via your phone, which appear on the small screen. When a message arrives, the yellow flag pops up – you just push it back down again to acknowledge receipt. You can also use the programmable buttons to make and receive hands-free (and free internet) calls – it’s so easy, even the kids can use it.

What I like about it The Forerunner 15 is a GPS watch, so after my run I can hook it up to my laptop and use Garmin Connect to view my route, how far I’ve run, and how fast, without the faff of timing and mapping it myself. I can then save, plan and share my progress online. The watch saves your personal records and notifies you if you beat one as you run. Turns out I’m quite competitive – I instantly wanted to improve my stats, and I definitely have!

What I don’t like about it

I would’ve liked them to be wireless, as I hate how cables get knotted up. But that’s about it – these headphones are comfy and sound great. If you’re ready to rock ’n’ roll, you know what to do!

The Triby only saves Spotify playlists, but you can stream music from your phone via Bluetooth.

It’s not the most stylish-looking watch – although it also displays the time, I only wear it for running – and there’s no built-in heart-rate monitor (although you can buy one separately). It can also take a few minutes to establish a satellite signal.

Wear your love of Iron Maiden on your sleeve; or, rather, your head. These babies rock!

This is a fun gadget for the whole family – you’ll soon wonder how you lived without it

It’s no looker, but it is a bargain, and will quickly help you to monitor and improve your running




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What I don’t like about it

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The bold colours and bright lighting give the abandoned island an uplifting sense of personality that endures throughout the game


The Witness

can rankle, but the open nature of the game world means there’s often another challenge waiting across a field or in a castle courtyard. The whole mysterious island is designed to appeal to the player’s intelligence and sense of logic; a set of problems presented in a non-linear fashion that escalate in difficulty as the puzzle rules expand and evolve. It’s a refreshing take on both the all-too-common open world and the age-old puzzle format, and these elements merge beautifully. The DNA of classic sedate puzzlers such as Myst or Riven isn’t hard to miss in the twisting paths and smattering of scuttled ships, temples and underground facilities, and it’s a connection that suits Blow’s take on the genre perfectly. It all seems random at first, but then you’re suddenly solving problems with purpose. Certain static puzzles even transform to involve tree and

JONATHAN BLOW’S LATEST OFFERING IS AN ESOTERIC YET DEEPLY REWARDING WORLD OF EXPLORATION AND PUZZLES £29.99; PC, PS4 ime has lost all meaning as the world around you dissolves into three simple participants: you, a puzzle-laden panel and the cable that runs out the back of it. You try to clear your mind, but you’re struggling to find the answer that’s seemingly staring right back at you. Instead, you leave it be for a little while and go for a wander, soak up the midday sun and solve some far less merciless puzzles on another part of the island. Buoyed by your success, you return to your original brain-teasing nemesis, and suddenly it clicks. Elation. Relief. Now time to follow that cable to the next one... That, in its most primitive form, is what The Witness is all about. It’s a relaxed and unaggressive walking simulator embedded with a web of puzzles, clues and captivating vistas. And yet there’s so much more to Jonathan ‘maker of indie darling Braid’ Blow’s new beau, an experience that needs to


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be tried first-hand to truly translate its unique premise. What strikes you first is the way The Witness talks to the player – or rather, for lack of better clarification, the way it doesn’t. There’s no UI to speak of, since your only abilities are to press X to interact, or L2 to walk faster. Every puzzle-based rule is presented non-verbally; paths placed in certain positions, or screens positioned near to one another to express gradually more complicated principles. Said puzzles, which revolve around guiding a coloured line across a square grid to a set exit point, start off simple but soon toughen up as more rules and obstacles are placed in your way. Later puzzles – ones that juggle the need to cover shapes, divide shades and circumnavigate colours – can seem almost impossible to fathom, but there’s a logic to each one that builds over time. Being unable to complete the first screen of a task

RIGHT You start off in a dark tunnel. There’s no explanation given, but such a move suits the game’s desire to promote independent thought

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B E S T G A M E S F O R ...

A DIGITAL STROLL Take a walk on the wild side, without leaving home

LIFE IS STRANGE There may be some freak weather raging away elsewhere, but that doesn’t faze LIS lead Max Caulfield as she gently navigates the minefield that is highschool life and recreational time travel. £24.99; PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360

GONE HOME Gone Home tasks you with strolling around a house to uncover the secrets and lies of its occupants. Deeply affecting and beautifully paced. £12.99; PC

The game’s problems escalate in difficulty as the puzzle rules expand and evolve rock formations in the background, or giant grids that require you to walk your solution rather than simply entering it on a screen. You can access almost all of the island at once – which can lead to some serious head-scratching when you happen upon a super-difficult problem early on in the game – but even these encounters serve as mental bookmarks; puzzles that will later seem obvious and no less alarming than your first five minutes once you’ve adapted to The Witness’s systematic logic. The Witness can be a real killer as it reaches its final stretch, especially as the puzzles reach the kind of difficulty that would make even Only Connect contestants break out

TOP LEFT The island is open for exploration, but some sections will require the systematic completion of panels in order to unlock gates TOP RIGHT Puzzles that at first seem impossible soon become clear when you realise the logic embedded in the world around you ABOVE The juxtaposition of scenery – castles, ruins, beaches and forests flow into one another – gives each area a bespoke feel

in a cold sweat, but its engaging and ultimately empowering formula creates something quite unique. Stick with it long enough and you’ll soon be thinking in grids, gates and brightly coloured cables.

T3 RATES The occasional audio diary adds a layer of mystery to a world that operates so well without traditional narrative T3 SLATES Not every puzzle clicks organically, some requiring you to be stood in a specific spot to really crack the logic needed T3 SAYS Beautifully coloured and expertly designed, The Witness is a breath of fresh air

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EVERYBODY’S GONE TO THE RAPTURE EGTTR manages to create a quaint English village in all its photorealistic glory. Your walking pace is locked in as you explore its eerily quiet streets. £15.99; PS4

MONUMENT VALLEY They may look starkly different, but Monument Valley has a great deal in common with The Witness – namely, devilish puzzles served chilled. £2.99; Android, iOS A P R I L 2 0 1 6 T3 1 0 9


ABOVE You don’t want to get on the wrong side of the Dark Knight and his sickle

Final Fantasy Explorers THE FF UNIVERSE FINALLY GOES MONSTER-HUNTING £24.99; Nintendo 3DS onsidering how many genres Final Fantasy has segued into over the years, it’s odd it’s taken Square Enix this long to finally get in on the monster-hunting gig. And while Explorers doesn’t quite offer the depth you’d find in Capcom’s pack-leading Monster Hunter series, or Nintendo’s excellent Xenoblade Chronicles X, it does offer hours of slaying that’s made all the better with eidolons, chocobos and co. In a similar vein to Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, Explorers is a semi-open-world adventure that tasks you with collecting powerful crystals, looting a million different items and genuinely laying the smack down on any goblin, aquilan or other FF creature that happens to stroll your way. Much like other games in the genre, Explorers sticks to the monster-hunting formula pretty tightly: pick up a mission from your central hub village of Libertas, head out into the wilds of Amostra, kill everything in sight and eventually find, locate and defeat a giant beast. To keep things acutely FF, these bosses are some of the bigger enemies from the regular games,


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including the summonable eidolons. They’re an impressive sight, especially the first time you rock up to fiery Ifrit or scantily clad ice queen Shiva, but these encounters soon become a weak point. Fights take far too long (even with a party of decently levelled monsters/co-op partners), and the inability to select more than a handful of targets on an eidolon strips each encounter of any real sense of tactics or depth. The entire adventure can be tackled solo or co-operatively with friends. Playing solo brings AI partners to the mix, and it’s here that Explorers adds a neat twist to the usual formula. Enemies randomly drop special items, which you can

ABOVE As soon as you embark on a mission, the counter starts ticking down. If you’re knocked out, it’ll cost you five minutes for a revive

BELOW The airship is a super-fast means of travel from Libertas – locations relevant to your current mission will pulse on your map

take to the Monster Lab back in Libertas and create your very own crew of beastly allies. Grinding through new enemy types to find that elusive resource, and then fusing them together to add even more variety to your party, is a great touch that never gets old. You can also choose from a variety of jobs, which offer the basic template for different play styles. Monks, Paladins and Dragon Knights offer styles geared towards melee, while Black, White and Time Mages err towards ranged magical attacks. From here, you can purchase suitable weapons and upgrade these to offer new attacks and special moves that create handy timed buffs. With its cute, Final Fantasy IX-esque characters and general cutesy vibe, Explorers won’t be for everyone, but if you’re looking to finally give that monster-hunting malarkey a try, or you’re a FF nut in need of a little variety, Explorers provides a worthy entry point.

T3 RATES The missions, for the most part, feel different enough to add long-term variety to your playthrough T3 SLATES Eidolon fights grate quickly, so be prepared for battles of attrition T3 SAYS While lacking the tactical depth offered by the Monster Hunter games, Explorers serves up an addictive and rewarding experience on handheld

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Future Publishing, Quay House, The Ambury, Bath BA1 1UA EDITORIAL +44 (0)1225 442244 SUBSCRIPTIONS & CUSTOMER SERVICES +44(0)844 848 2852


44,907 PRINT 26,516 DIGITAL 18,391 Jan–Dec 2015 A member of the Audit Bureau of Circulations

T3 IS… EDITOR ROB CARNEY DEPUTY EDITOR NICK ODANTZIS ASSISTANT EDITOR CLAIRE DAVIES PRODUCTION EDITOR PAUL DIMERY SENIOR ART EDITOR SIMON MIDDLEWEEK ART EDITOR LUKE O’NEILL DIGITAL ART EDITOR WARREN BROWN EDITOR, T3.COM DAN GRABHAM FEATURES EDITOR, T3.COM ROBERT JONES EDITORIAL CONTRIBUTORS Duncan Bell, Spencer Hart, Miss LED, James Clapham, Rod Lawton, Chris Barnes, Sophie Spicer, Chris Haslam, Elias Klingén, Alex Cox, Dom Reseigh-Lincoln, Ben Barry, Neil Godwin, Joby Sessions, Joseph Branston, Gavin Stoker ADVERTISING SALES DIRECTOR CLARE DOVE ADVERTISING DIRECTOR RICHARD HEMMINGS PRINT AGENCY ACCOUNT DIRECTOR MARIE LONGSTAFF CIRCULATION HEAD OF CONSUMER PLANNING & RETAIL OPERATIONS ZACK SULLIVAN PRODUCTION AND DISTRIBUTION PRODUCTION CO-ORDINATOR NOLA COKELY PRODUCTION MANAGER MARK CONSTANCE LICENSING SENIOR LICENSING & SYNDICATION MANAGER MATT ELLIS MANAGEMENT MANAGING DIRECTOR: MAGAZINES JOE MCEVOY EDITORIAL DIRECTOR PAUL NEWMAN GROUP ART DIRECTOR GRAHAM DALZELL MARKETING MANAGER LAURA DRIFFIELD SUBSCRIPTIONS & BACK ISSUES UK order line and enquiries: 0844 848 2852 Overseas order line and enquiries: +44 (0)1604 251045 Online enquiries: Email: Printed in the UK by William Gibbons on behalf of Future. Distributed in the UK by Seymour Distribution Ltd, 2 East Poultry Avenue, London EC1A 9PT. Tel: 020 7429 4000 Future is an award-winning international media group and leading digital business. We reach more than 49 million international consumers a month, and create world-class content and advertising for passionate consumers online, on tablet and smartphone, and in print. Future plc is a public company quoted on the London Stock Exchange (symbol: FUTR).

Chief Executive Zillah Byng-Thorne Non-Executive Chairman Peter Allen Chief Financial Officer Penny Ladkin-Brand Tel +44 (0)20 7042 4000 (London) Tel +44 (0)1225 442244 (Bath)


Future Publishing Limited (company number 2008885) is registered in England and Wales. Registered office: Quay House, The Ambury, Bath, BA1 1UA. All information contained in this publication is for information only, and is, as far as we are aware, correct at the time of going to press. Future cannot accept any responsibility for errors or inaccuracies in such information. You are advised to contact manufacturers and retailers directly with regard to the price and other details of products or services referred to in this publication. Apps and websites mentioned in this publication are not under our control. We are not responsible for their contents or any changes or updates to them. If you submit unsolicited material to us, you automatically grant Future a licence to publish your submission in whole or in part in all editions of the magazine, including licensed editions worldwide and in any physical or digital format throughout the world. Any material you submit is sent at your risk and, although every care is taken, neither Future nor its employees, agents or sub-contractors shall be liable for loss or damage. We are committed to using only magazine paper that is derived from well-managed, certified forestry and chlorine-free manufacture. Future Publishing and its paper suppliers have been independently certified in accordance with the rules of the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council).



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Capture your creativity - The event for everyone passionate about photography -


S E V E N H O T A PP S F O R …

ENJOYING GOOD FOOD AND DRINK Use this lot to stuff your face in style



Want to start or maintain a vegan diet but worried it’ll be boring? This app will add a little gourmet to the mix. £3.99; App Store



Browse and book tables in thousands of restaurants around the world with a few taps of your smartphone. Free; App Store, Google Play



Manage, update and share all your favourite recipes. £2.29; App Store



Not sure which bottle to plump for? A label scanner, wine info and dish recommendations will see you right. Free; App Store, Google Play



Enlight £3.99; App Store

BRING A SPLASH OF ARTISTIC FLAIR TO YOUR iPAD AND iPHONE Instagram and the like have given us a glimpse of what a few filters can do to our favourite pics, but there’s still a hankering for the kind of end result that looks like it’s been through the Adobe Photoshop suite of a swish digital designer. There are a few solutions out there, but none of them have managed to offer the kind of utilities that truly transform your photos into something more than just, well, photos. Enter Enlight, a new iOS-only piece of software that aims to give you all the tools you’ll want without the need to push your shot

ABOVE If you’re used to using programs such as Darkroom, Enlight will be a home away from home

through multiple apps to get the effect you want. The real selling point here, apart from having so many different options all in one place, is the overtly artistic spin Enlight offers. You can transform your shots into works of art with painterly and sketch effects, or add filters that introduce classic camera styles and bespoke vignettes. There are so many options and utilities at your disposal, it can feel a little overwhelming at first (especially so when tapping on almost any option brings up a comprehensive tutorial – best bring a notepad). But once you’ve mastered its deep well of options, you’ll find yourself quite literally transforming your photos into graphic-design masterpieces.


Over a million recipes and a shoppinglist app to get everything you need. Free; App Store, Google Play



Pick from over 600 cocktail and smoothie recipes, or use the MyBar function to build your own. Free; App Store, Google Play



Fancy a dirty takeaway? Browse registered takeouts in your area and indulge yourself for a change. Free; App Store, Google Play

MUSIC MAKER JAM CRAFT A FUTURE SMASH HIT WITH THIS MIXTURE OF CUSTOMISABLE AUDIO LOOPS AND VOICE RECORDER Free; App Store, Google Play Not all of us can afford to spend hours in a recording studio, so it’s a good thing there are apps such as Music Maker Jam to make sonic alchemy simple, easy and intuitive. You can choose from a huge selection of pro-recorded audio samples, ranging from meaty guitar hooks and dirty basslines to chiptune breakdowns and drum and bass beats. Choose from over 100 musical styles and link them together with a handy eight-

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channel mixer that’s surprisingly easy to use. You can also record your own vocals onto a separate track, which gives the whole app a much more professional feel. The app will automatically align your tracks, so your creations won’t sound like an audio nightmare. It’s easy to mix and match samples, but there is a sting in the tail – some of the best are only available via in-app purchases.

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01 M OV I E O F T H E M ON T H!

Steve Jobs THIS MONTH, THE SPOTLIGHT FALLS ON THE MAN BEHIND THE MAC £9.99 DVD, £14.99 BLU-RAY; CERT 15 If you’re an Apple fan hoping to gleam insight into how the company’s most prized (and oftdespised) products were created, you’re in the wrong place. There’s a little chat about circuit boards and ports, but mostly this is a well-oiled drill-down into the vision and ego of Steve Jobs between 1984 and 1998, divided into three acts – each needling around a key release in his career. First, we have the Macintosh, paralleled with Steve’s reluctance

ABOVE Michael Fassbender, the man behind the polo neck

to accept paternity of his daughter, Lisa, and his imploding relationships with Apple CEO John Sculley and co-founder Steve Wozniak. Act two centres around Jobs leaving Apple to launch the doomed NeXT computer. Act three sees him back at Apple, this time as CEO, and on the brink of unveiling the iMac G3. A complex man with complex ideas, Jobs stood at the intersection of technology and life, viewing the former as an expression of art, and the latter as something he had to put up with in order to make art. Any coldness he showed colleagues and family was at odds with the maniacal obsession he laser-focused onto his creations. This is the dynamic Steve Jobs explores, albeit with artistic licence, giving us a peek behind the curtains at Apple, and at the men who helped break and later rebuild it.


PRIMAL SCREAM: CHAOSMOSIS This is Primal Scream’s 11th studio album – and one of their most schizophrenic to date. It all starts with Trippin On Your Love, a song so vintage-sounding it could’ve featured on Screamadelica. And it’s on tracks like this where Scream’s influence on bands such as Kasabian seems so blindingly obvious. The nostalgia continues on (Feeling Like A) Demon Again, 1 1 4 T3 A P R I L 2 0 1 6

an Eighties-pop-electronica number that sounds like the comedown track to 2000’s XTRMNTR. That laidback vibe is echoed on I Can Change. Four tracks in and we want Bobby Gillespie to get his dancing shoes on, and he does (kinda) with 100% Nothing, but this soon segues into Private Wars, a mandolin-led beauty. Where The Light Gets In, When The Blackout Meets The Fallout and Carnival Of Fools, with its four-to-the-floor beat and siren-song chorus, all make a decent fist of raising the tempo. But it’s Golden Rope, packed with tribal drums, sax and “hallelujah” chants, that sees the band light the touchpaper of their original sound.


Recorded at RAK Studios, James’s 14th studio album is a tapestry of inspiring, euphoric songs. The band indulge their electronica side on To My Surprise, implore us all to embrace the redemptive power of love on the Beatles-esque Nothing But Love, and have a contemplative moment on the title track. Uplifting and fun.



Produced by co-writer/ guitarist Josh Homme and featuring Matt Helders (Arctic Monkeys) on drums, Iggy’s new album is brooding and sexy (listen to the swaggering Chocolate Drops). He’s on the prowl on Break Into Your Heart and gets lusty on Gardenia. The drumming is tasty, the basslines fat and the lyrics deliciously dark.



An obscenely longtitled, seven-track feast of atmospheric soundscapes, trippy vocals, bombastic beats and layered synths, mixing swathes of electronica with drum and bass and chillout. We love the massive-sounding I Exhale, and the grime and grind of If Rah.



This shit-kicking blues rocker will soon have you reaching for your own six-string. How Deep This River Runs sounds like a classic Clapton cut, Livin’ Easy brings the honky-tonk to blues, and Mountain Climb Driving is as raw and raunchy as anything John Lee Hooker or BB King have written. Brilliant.

WIN A COMPLETE HOME SECURITY KIT FROM D-LINK Make your house safer than Fort Knox by winning one of D-Link’s tried-and-trusted security bundles

WIN 1 OF 5 KITS As anyone whose home has been burgled will tell you, it’s not just the gadgets stolen that leave a mark – it’s also knowing that an intruder gained access in the first place. So if home security is as high on your agenda as it is on ours, a home security system is essential. Luckily, we have five fantastic kits to give away to T3 readers, courtesy of D-Link. The Taiwan company’s trusted mydlink Smart Home Security Kit

has everything you need to secure your home and help you monitor your house when you’re not in. It even comes with a siren to raise the alarm if someone tries to access any part of your home without permission. Costing £170, the Smart Home Security Kit comprises a door and window sensor, the aforementioned siren with a maximum volume of 110dB, a 720p HD monitor with night vision, and a connected home hub

To enter our competition, simply answer the following question: WHAT IS THE MAXIMUM VOLUME OF THE D-LINK HOME SECURITY SIREN? A 100DB B 110DB C 101DB Enter today at

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to link all those home smarts with your existing Wi-Fi network. Instructions are included, and the free mydlink Home smartphone and tablet app (Android or iOS) enables you to control the kit, and to receive notifications from it, via your smartphone or tablet. So don’t take any chances. To be in with a chance of winning one of five Smart Home Security Kit bundles, and instantly protect your belongings. Just answer the simple question below.

Competition closes 26 April 2016. By taking part, you agree to be bound by the competition rules: www.futureplc. com/competition-rules. Entries must be received by midnight on 26 April 2016 (UK time). Open to UK residents aged 18 years and over. There will be five winners, entitled to a Smart Home Security Kit. The prize is non-transferable and nonrefundable. There is no cash alternative.

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ISSUE 254 / APRIL 16




T3 Elite is the best gadget-buying guide you’ll ever encounter. To create it, we’ve ruthlessly filtered all the categories that count, to bring you rock-solid recommendations. We’ve selected a Super Six of elite gear for each of the categories

Inside p125

Stay up to date with the latest gadget news and reviews online at

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The Elite Smartphones Tablets TVs TV streamers Laptops Cameras

listed below. If something’s not included, we don’t rate it – it’s that simple. Each Super Six is ranked in order, and the number-one product makes it into The Elite (p118), which is our pick of the 12 best products you can buy today. To make your next purchase as straightforward as possible, we’ve also included useful buying advice, and highlighted the hottest gear you can get for £100 and under.

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Home audio Headphones Smartwatches Fitness trackers Connected home Automotive £100 Hotlist A P R I L 2 0 1 6 T3 1 1 7


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Introducing The Elite… WELCOME TO T3’S OUTFITTING SERVICE, HOME OF THE 12 BEST GADGETS IN THE WORLD TODAY hether you’re a seasoned tech aficionado or this is the first gadget magazine you’ve purchased, The Elite is the best possible place to start your gadget-selection journey. Here we present the best gadgets available right now in 12 key categories, to save you the hard work of doing all the research yourself – in short, if you’re starting from scratch and


want the very best there is, The Elite is your new shopping list. The Elite will only be updated when something new emerges that is capable of toppling an existing product from its perch; there may therefore be months when the 12 products featured here don’t change. But this is an exclusive club, and only tech that is capable of achieving a towering standard of excellence gets in.



SAMSUNG GALAXY S6 EDGE/EDGE+ PRICE From £760 TESTED N/A As well as that gorgeous ‘infinity pool’ build, you get a top camera and a pin-sharp QHD display. The Edge+ is a 5.7-inch beauty. T3 SAYS We love the glass-and-metal body, stunning screen and fantastic camera.



B&W ZEPPELIN WIRELESS PRICE From £499 TESTED T3 253 B&W’s Zeppelin is something of an icon in wireless audio - the latest version is chock with modern music-playing tech, such as Spotify Connect, and it sounds incredible. T3 SAYS It looks and sounds amazing.



APPLE iPAD AIR 2 PRICE From £399 TESTED T3 237 The Air 2 is the fastest, best-looking and most feature-packed iPad yet. Starting at £399, it’s expensive since you’ll want more storage, but it’s worth every penny. T3 SAYS Sleek, solid and a spectacular display – the Air 2 is a pleasure to use.



BOSE QUIETCOMFORT 25 PRICE £269.95 TESTED T3 250 Fantastic build quality, brilliant noise isolation and superbly balanced audio. They even come with a carry case. T3 SAYS A cracking performance from the perfect noise-cancelling headphones.

To read more detailed reviews of these gadgets and lots more amazing tech, visit our website at

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PANASONIC TX-50CX802B PRICE £1,799 TESTED T3 246 Tick off your dream-TV box. This Panasonic has it all: a brilliant 55-inch picture, inbuilt 4K content and a superb interface. T3 SAYS Waiting to jump on the 4K TV bandwagon? Well, wait no longer.



PEBBLE TIME STEEL PRICE £229.99 TESTED T3 249 Thought the Apple Watch had the market all sewn up? Wrong – Pebble’s super smartwatch is the best wearable you can buy, and you don’t even need an iPhone. T3 SAYS Inexpensive, clever and beautiful.



ROKU 3 PRICE £99 TESTED T3 240 It seems that nobody can hold a candle to the original streaming box – the third incarnation is powerful, feature-packed and has loads of available content. T3 SAYS The Roku 3 is the best choice for freedom of entertainment.



BASIS PEAK PRICE £169.99 TESTED T3 243 Sporty but smart, the Basis Peak is the ideal fitness tracker for those not wanting to look like they’ve just stepped out of the gym. It has great functionality, too. T3 SAYS Straddles the line between watch and fitness tracker beautifully.



DELL XPS 13 PRICE £1,060 TESTED N/A The best laptop around, and there’s not an Apple logo in sight – Dell proves that it can do more than churn out desktop computers with this feature-packed machine. T3 SAYS Fantastic performance and build. It’ll serve you well for years to come.



3D ROBOTICS SOLO PRICE £979.95 TESTED T3 250 It looks meaner than a bull on a charge, and the 3DR Solo goes like one too. But it’s easy to fly – and with a GoPro camera connected, it’ll record stunning footage. T3 SAYS The 3DR Solo is the ultimate drone for capturing professional aerial movies.



PANASONIC LUMIX DMC-GF7 PRICE £430 TESTED T3 247 Though it’s a compact device, the GF7 offers all the prowess of a DSLR. A Four Thirds sensor results in fantastic images. T3 SAYS Ideal for shooting a range of subjects in a variety of conditions.



BMW i3

www.become PRICE From £25,250 TESTED T3 247 It looks great, it has a quirky interior, and it’s fast and fun. An optional range extender makes it a long(ish)-distance proposition. T3 SAYS Your next small car could be all-electric, and it should be a BMW i3.

To read more detailed reviews of these gadgets and lots more amazing tech, visit our website at

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02 Google Camera Google’s own camera app is notable mainly for its photo-sphere feature, which lets you take 360-degree photos that you can pan your phone to explore. It can also make use of automatic HDR+ to take great photos in low light. Free; Android

Hyperbooth Instagram has instilled a bit of a filter culture among many budding mobile photographers, and Hyperbooth – with its vast selection of cool tools and cuttingedge looks – is the best way to pick your filters before you shoot. Free; Android

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SAMSUNG GALAXY S6 EDGE/EDGE+ PRICE FROM £760 TESTED T3 243 As well as that gorgeous ‘infinity pool’ build, you get a top camera and a pin-sharp QHD display. The Edge+ is a 5.7-inch beauty. T3 SAYS We love the glass-and-metal body, stunning screen and fantastic camera.

APPLE iPHONE 6S/ 6S PLUS PRICE FROM £539 TESTED T3 249 The best iPhone ever, now with 3D Touch technology, a beefed-up 12MP camera with 4K video, and added processor power. T3 SAYS The best iPhone ever made – it’ll make you consider giving up your Android.





Manual Camera If you’re used to using a DSLR, you’ll probably be familiar with more advanced camera controls. This app brings ISO, white balance and exposure compensation to your smartphone, as long as it supports Lollipop’s Camera2 API. £2.38; Android



06 PRICE £449 TESTED T3 251 Huawei’s super-sized phone offers an incredible package – a 5.7-inch AMOLED screen, a brilliant camera and Android 6.0 Marshmallow – all for a bargain price. T3 SAYS A superb plus-sized Android phone. PRICE £480 TESTED T3 244 The G4 is a whole lot of features in a fairly compact space. It has a powerful screen, a faster processor and a much better camera – plus it’s encased in leather. T3 SAYS The G4 offers a lot for a decent price, but the leather is an acquired taste.

HTC ONE M9 PRICE £580 TESTED T3 242 The One M9 is like the One M8 but even better, with fantastic design and intelligent customisation. Improved battery life and speed would make this a killer handset. T3 SAYS HTC has merely polished its 2014 model. A great phone but not the very best.

ONEPLUS 2 PRICE £239 TESTED T3 248 The OnePlus One was a cracker, and so is this, with a better camera, an improved screen, a fingerprint scanner and a great design. It also has a world first: a USB-C charging port, to make connection easy. T3 SAYS High-end features at a low price.


APPLE iPAD AIR 2 PRICE FROM £399 TESTED T3 237 The Air 2 is the fastest, best-looking and most feature-packed iPad yet. Starting at £399, it’s expensive since you’ll want more storage, but it’s worth every penny. T3 SAYS Sleek, solid and a spectacular display – the Air 2 is a pleasure to use.

SAMSUNG TAB S 8.4 PRICE £250 TESTED T3 241 Razor-thin at 6.6mm and super-light at 298g, the Tab S 8.4 features an 8.4-inch Super AMOLED display, 16GB of memory, oodles of features and lots of power. T3 SAYS Samsung’s best tablet is ultra-portable and full of brilliant tech.






06 PRICE £99 TESTED T3 241 With its large, sharp screen, commendable battery life, decent processor and speakers that make movie-watching a joy, the Hudl 2 is an amazing tech bargain. T3 SAYS Great for kids, the Hudl 2 gives you a lot of tablet for your money. PRICE FROM £679 TESTED T3 250 It’s not a laptop replacement but the iPad Pro is a supreme version of the iPad, with a massive screen, plus awesome power and accessories. You’ll get the best media and apps experience you’ve ever had. T3 SAYS The powerful Pro is a top tablet.

GOOGLE NEXUS 9 PRICE FROM £299 TESTED T3 241 An Android tablet without the manufacturer bloat, the Nexus 9 performs well and comes with some really premium touches. One of those, a 4:3-aspect screen, gives you more headroom on websites. T3 SAYS The Nexus 9 is a top all-rounder.

SONY XPERIA Z3 TABLET COMPACT PRICE FROM £299 TESTED T3 241 This is a seriously light and skinny tablet, and it’s also waterproof. Sony’s custom Android software is a class act, too. T3 SAYS A slickly styled tablet that’s perfect for using in the bath!

To read more detailed reviews of these gadgets and lots more, visit





TV streamers








PANASONIC TX-50CX802B PRICE £1,799 TESTED T3 246 Incredible 4K imagery, matched to 4K services from Netflix and Amazon, plus the combination of Firefox OS and Freeview Play, make this masterpiece a dream to use. T3 SAYS As modern as screens get, this TV will future-proof your lounge.

SAMSUNG UE55JS9000 PRICE £3,099 TESTED T3 243 This beautifully designed TV is capable of an amazing picture and clear sound. It needs its settings tweaked to get the best picture, though, and standard def looks horrid. T3 SAYS This 55-inch is amazing in Ultra HD, but also brilliant in regular HD.

PANASONIC TX-50AX802 PRICE £1,299 TESTED T3 236 Great looks, as well as superb picture quality and motion handling. Upscaling isn’t as spectacular as other budget 4K TVs. T3 SAYS If you want a 50-inch TV that has the wow factor – both in terms of looks and picture quality – this is a great choice.

HISENSE XT910 PRICE £2,299 TESTED T3 253 Hisense is challenging the OLED big-hitters of the TV world with its curved ULED variation on the flagship theme. It’s cheaper and offers brilliant image quality. T3 SAYS A great-looking 65-incher that won’t break the bank and performs nicely.

SONY KD-55X8505C PRICE £1,799 TESTED T3 246 Gorgeous picture quality, superlative design and great connectivity. It’s let down only by the marred Android OS, though integrated YouView is a real boon for this set. T3 SAYS Sony has delivered the goods with an amazing picture and features galore.

LG 55UF850V PRICE £1,299 TESTED T3 246 Featuring the brilliant webOS, this is one of the smartest TVs around. The picture is exceptional, and you’ll be impressed with the audio performance from this big LG. T3 SAYS If your budget won’t stretch, this is a solid performer with top image quality.


ROKU 3 PRICE £99 TESTED T3 240 Between the high amount of content available, a responsive interface and a remote with a built-in audio jack for private listening, there’s simply no better player. T3 SAYS The Roku 3 is the best choice for freedom of entertainment. PRICE £30 TESTED T3 252 A simple yet brilliant TV-streaming gadget that can do it all, and that includes casting a screen straight from your gadgets. There’s no remote – you use an app instead. T3 SAYS Funky, simple and effective, this is a great alternative to the Roku streamers.









T3 SELECTS: PRICE £39 TESTED T3 252 The Streaming Stick apes much of the ability of its bigger brother – the Roku 3 – in a smaller, simplified package. It even comes with a remote. T3 SAYS This Wi-Fi-only Roku offers top TV thrills for less than 40 quid. PRICE £14.99 TESTED N/A If you want Sky but can’t get a dish, this is a great option, enabling you to choose the TV subscription you want. Or you can watch terrestrial catch-up channels for free. T3 SAYS For those who want to add a little smart to their TV, this is a cheap option.

VEOLO 4K PRICE £200 TESTED T3 240 The ultimate home-cinema experience, the Veolo is one of few streamers that support media streaming in 4K Ultra HD. It also offers an attractive, easy-to-use interface and access to loads of great on-demand apps. T3 SAYS Pricey but worth it for 4K goodness.

Cambridge Audio CXR120 If you’re not fussed about Atmos, DTS:X and their ilk, good news: they’re not in here. What is in here is Cambridge Audio’s finely honed audio expertise, absolutely cracking sound, and winning, lounge-centrepiece looks. £1,500,

Marantz SR7010 There aren’t many Dolby Atmoscompatible receivers that support the full 5.1.4 experience. This nine-channel unit does that, gives you an upgrade path towards DTS:X and Auro-3D, and includes Audyssey room correction, too. £1,200,

APPLE TV PRICE £79 TESTED T3 240 Apple TV works flawlessly with Apple’s own-brand tech, meaning you’ll be able to peruse selected online content natively, and mirror any other content using AirPlay. T3 SAYS A good option for integrating perfectly with other Apple devices.

To read more detailed reviews of these gadgets and lots more, visit

Onkyo TX-NR545 Onkyo’s second-tier unit has support for 5.1.2 Atmos, along with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and AirPlay, all in a sweet-sounding package that doesn’t cost the earth. Native support for Spotify, TuneIn and the like is on-board, too. £280,

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DELL XPS 13 PRICE £1,060 TESTED N/A The XPS 13 is brilliantly designed and outperforms its rivals under the hood. The infinity display gives you the expanse of a 13.3-inch screen on an 11.9-inch laptop. T3 SAYS With its fantastic performance and build, it’ll serve you well for years to come.

HP SPECTRE X360 PRICE £849 TESTED T3 244 The X360 is powerful and has a massive 12.5-hour battery life. Its 360-degree rotating keyboard enables you to use it as a tablet or stood upright for hands-free video. T3 SAYS For a relatively modest price, you get a powerful and versatile machine.

ASUS ZENBOOK NX500 PRICE £1,699 TESTED T3 239 The diminutive NX500 boasts a stunning design, impressive power and a bright, vibrant screen. The price is a turn-off, though, and battery life is disappointing. T3 SAYS Asus has done a fantastic job of combining power and beauty.

MICROSOFT SURFACE BOOK PRICE £1,299 TESTED T3 253 Microsoft’s next-level hybrid offers a flexible keyboard hinge and a detachable screen it serves as both a tablet and a laptop. Nice looks, screen and power, but it’s pricey. T3 SAYS The ultimate hybrid for work or play.





05 PRICE £749 TESTED T3 227 Apple’s lightweight laptop boasts improved performance and battery life. It’ll delight road warriors and coffee-shop loungers alike. T3 SAYS Reliable, powerful and practical.


MICROSOFT SURFACE PRO 4 PRICE From £749 TESTED T3 252 Microsoft has made a cracking update to its Windows hybrid, with more power, a bright display, sleek design and an accurate pen. T3 SAYS Perfect for those who can’t decide between a laptop or a tablet.


PANASONIC LUMIX DMC-GF7 PRICE £430 TESTED T3 247 Though it’s a compact device, the GF7 offers all the prowess of a DSLR. A Four Thirds sensor results in fantastic images. T3 SAYS This camera takes wonderful pictures and is superb value for money.

SONY A77 II PRICE £749 TESTED N/A Image quality is excellent, even at high-sensitivity settings, while the autofocus is fast and accurate. The A77 II can even cope with very low light levels. T3 SAYS Ideal for shooting a range of subjects in a variety of conditions.


LAPTOP CPUS DEMYSTIFIED PICKING A PORTABLE PC MEANS PURSUING THE PERFECT INTEL PACKAGE Core M series Intel’s best ratio of CPU muscle to power/heat efficiency comes in the form of the Skylake-based Core M3, M5 and M7, which can be found in passively cooled systems like the Surface Pro 4 tablet and offer genuinely good results. They’re a system-on-chip design, which means the processor you choose will have Intel’s HD Graphics system on board –don’t expect high-end visuals, but it’ll get the job done.

TOMTOM BANDIT PRICE £299 TESTED T3 245 The ease of use, plethora of features and high-quality video capture make this an excellent action-camera choice, and a genuine rival to the GoPro Hero4. T3 SAYS The Bandit takes action-camera movie making to the next level.

OLYMPUS OM-D E-M5 PRICE £899 TESTED T3 242 A very capable camera that offers extensive and versatile control. The OM-D E-M5 produces impressive, super-high-res photos with great image stabilisation. T3 SAYS A very powerful, versatile, small and light system camera.

NIKON D5500 PRICE £589 TESTED N/A The D5500 offers SLR beginners a lot of creative control, the touchscreen display is a useful addition, and the sensor captures high levels of detail. T3 SAYS This is ideal as your first DSLR, or as an upgrade from an older model.

Core i series The most recent sixth-gen update to the Core i3/i5/i7 brings the Skylake architecture to Intel’s ultra-low-voltage chip package. Again, it’s an SoC with integrated graphics, although as it’s generally used in ‘proper’ laptops, you’ll often find a bit of additional pixelpushing power added in. Even the bog-standard sixth-gen i3 offers power similar to the fifthgen mid-range i5 chip, so you’re covered when it comes to power.

Pentium/Celeron series The names might be ancient, but Intel’s low-end mobile series is still burning bright – the most recent chip, the Pentium N3710, has only just hit the market. These are all based on the Braswell architecture, and omit some of the most powerful features of the Core series, carry older graphics cores and generally run at lower clock speeds. But if you’re buying on a budget, they’re still capable CPUs.

ISAW EDGE PRICE £159.99 TESTED T3 251 With its Sony Exmor image sensor, 4K capabilities and built-in rear screen for viewing, the ISAW Edge is a very capable camera for shooting action movies. The GoPro-type mounting system is also a boon. T3 SAYS A brilliant mid-range 4K action cam.

To read more detailed reviews of these gadgets and lots more, visit

Atom series Intel hasn’t made a new Atom processor for a couple of years, but you’ll still find the Bay Trail-based CPUs in low-end machines. If you’re picking up a netbook-style laptop with one inside, you’ll get low power but great value for money.

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Home audio




Pick your controller The majority of multi-room audio systems use their own custom mobile app to stream media files – and while the quality of these varies wildly, they all get the job done. It’s most important to look for compatibility with your favourite streaming services and apps – if you’re a Spotify user, for example, you need direct compatibility. Hi-fi fans might also consider a system with a specialised adapter to integrate existing set-ups, or one that supports Bluetooth sources.



Active or passive? The majority of systems come in active packages – powered speakers that receive the signal from the multi-room system. But if you’re concerned with future upgradeability, it’s worth considering a system that enables you to wire up your own passive speakers at each node.


How many zones? Just how far is your multiroom system going to stretch? If you’re simply going for a two-zone configuration, why not consider extending your existing amplifier/ receiver via that old-tech favourite: speaker wires? It’ll save you a bunch. And while most of us are very unlikely to surpass even the eight rooms that lower-end wireless set-ups top out at, consider where you might extend your system next and make sure there’s a capacity overhead built in.

Don’t forget Hi-Res Whether or not you think your ears are sensitive enough to notice the difference, you’ll kick yourself if you don’t build HD audio support into your system. Look either for direct compatibility or the ability to downsample Hi-Res tunes.

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B&W ZEPPELIN WIRELESS PRICE From £499 TESTED T3 253 The first Zeppelin launched nine years ago, and style-wise it’s hardly changed, but why mess with perfection? The latest version now streams aplenty and sounds heavenly. T3 SAYS A classic, now with a modern twist.

HEOS BY DENON PRICE From £199 TESTED T3 245 With its unique design, great audio performance and affordable price tag, HEOS by Denon is the system of choice for multi-room audio in the home. T3 SAYS Upgrade your home audio experience with great sound in any room.

ACOUSTIC RESEARCH M2 PRICE £900 TESTED T3 246 A portable high-res player that boasts incredible sound, support for all file formats, and stylish looks. The Androidpowered five-inch screen is a bonus. T3 SAYS Want to get the best from your music on the move? This is the way to do it.

YAMAHA YSP-5600 PRICE £1,600 TESTED T3 251 The world’s first Atmos-enabled soundbar, giving you cinema-authentic sound in your front room. It’s also MusicCast-, AirPlay- and Bluetooth-compatible. T3 SAYS This soundbar offers ultimate surround without all the wires and boxes.

ARCAM SOLO PLUS PRICE £650 TESTED T3 251 Arcam’s colossal soundbar has been updated with improved audio in movies. It’s still beautifully built and has a plethora of connections, including Bluetooth for audio. T3 SAYS Back once again, the Arcam bar still boasts incredible sound performance.

B&O BEOPLAY A6 PRICE £799 TESTED T3 251 Forget your classic audio slab – the Jakob Wagner-designed A6 is a class apart from the norm, with crisp and full-bodied sound, aided by its support for high-res audio. T3 SAYS Class-leading design, and stunning multi-room audio to match.






BOSE QUIETCOMFORT 25 PRICE £269.95 TESTED T3 250 Fantastic build quality, brilliant noise isolation and superbly balanced audio. They even come with a cleverly designed case so you can carry them with you. T3 SAYS A cracking performance from the perfect noise-cancelling headphones.

OPPO PM-1 PRICE £999 TESTED T3 239 Planar magnetic drivers give a rich sound, especially when paired to a headphone amp, while low impedance enables these cans to be driven by mobile devices. T3 SAYS The build, immense sound quality and comfort justify the price tag.

SHURE SRH1540 PRICE £399 TESTED T3 239 With a flat audio signature, sound quality is clean and lush, doing justice to any source. The bass isn’t lacking, it’s just crisp and subtle. These cans are also very comfy. T3 SAYS These stylish headphones will please even the pickiest audiophile.

SENNHEISER MOMENTUM WIRELESS 2.0 PRICE £290 TESTED NFC, active noise cancellation, a premium finish and new, foldable hinges add to the fantastic package, but sound is the winner. T3 SAYS The best mid-price headphones from Sennheiser are now even better.

BEYERDYNAMIC IDX 160 IE PRICE £78 TESTED N/A These in-ear buds are comfortable, and offer solid sound performance and a slick, practical design, all at an affordable price. T3 SAYS With fine qualities aplenty, these are a smart buy for music lovers.

JABRA SPORT PULSE WIRELESS PRICE £199.99 TESTED T3 245 Ideal for sports, these offer immersive sound, effective isolation and even an in-ear coach for stats and motivation. T3 SAYS In-ear phones for athletes wanting better sounds and a thorough workout.

To read more detailed reviews of these gadgets and lots more, visit






Fitness trackers TOP APPLE








GARMIN VIVOACTIVE PRICE £229.99 TESTED T3 249 De-throning the Apple Watch, the Pebble Time brings with it ease of use, a devastatingly funky colour interface, Android support and great battery life. T3 SAYS All the features of previous Pebble smartwatches, but even more impressive. PRICE FROM £299 TESTED T3 242 Apple’s wearable is packed with features and offers a wide range of customisation options to give you some individuality. The only real downside is the limited battery life. T3 SAYS The wearable that properly kickstarted the smartwatch revolution.






06 PRICE £199 TESTED T3 240 The always-on, monochrome e-ink screen might not be for everyone, but it works brilliantly, and you get up to seven days’ battery. There are loads of apps, too. T3 SAYS The Steel is low on extras but has bags of charm and great ease of use. PRICE £200 TESTED T3 240 The G Watch R marries the style and feel of a normal watch with all the features of Android Wear. It has a sharp P-OLED screen, and you get two days of battery life. T3 SAYS The G Watch R is the best Android Wear smartwatch available so far.

MOTO 360 PRICE £239 TESTED T3 249 Updated for 2015, the second-generation Moto 360 looks even better than the original, with loads of customisation, including a variety of face sizes and styles. T3 SAYS The next-gen 360 is stunning, but it still falls short in the smartwatch game.

SAMSUNG GEAR S PRICE £329 TESTED T3 240 The Gear S is a giant of a smartwatch. It features a gorgeous Super AMOLED screen and loads of features. Note: it runs on Tizen OS instead of Android Wear. T3 SAYS Samsung’s wearable is bold and impressive – but also expensive. PRICE £170 TESTED T3 243 A smart sports watch with some top tech. The app’s sleep data is the best around, though the Peak’s USP is undoubtedly its cool ‘habits’ reward scheme. T3 SAYS It straddles the line between watch and fitness tracker beautifully. PRICE £200 TESTED T3 243 The Vivoactive has accurate GPS tracking for recording pace, distance and even length stride, though you’ll need to buy a chest strap for heart-rate monitoring. T3 SAYS About as good as it gets, as far as training tech is concerned.




WITHINGS ACTIVITÉ POP PRICE £380 TESTED T3 252 Activity tracker, smartwatch, GPS watch: the Fenix 3 does it all, with rugged and classy looks. The clear, colour screen is also sublime and battery life is spectacular. T3 SAYS This is a lot of money, but you’re getting the best GPS sports watch there is. PRICE £120 TESTED T3 243 Perfect for the daily grind, with a subtle dial and vibrations for activity tracking. Battery life is huge and there’s a choice of colours. T3 SAYS The ideal companion for the style-conscious fitness fanatic.




SUUNTO AMBIT3 SPORT HR PRICE £120 TESTED T3 243 Futuristic-looking yet discreet, the Charge HR gives you lots of fitness info and comes with continuous heart-rate recording. Handily, it also boasts a long battery life. T3 SAYS In-depth fitness and sleep tracking, without shouting about it. PRICE £290 TESTED T3 252 A comfy and effective high-tech gadget with great navigation and swimming tools, though activity tracking is lacking. T3 SAYS A great choice of sports watch for runners or triathletes.

To read more detailed reviews of these gadgets and lots more, visit


Lifesum Gamifying your life is a great way to make big changes. While this won’t give you XP or ‘chieves’ (as the kids say), it does show your day’s intake of calories, water and exercise in a progress-bar format, with added motivational messages to keep you on your toes.

Citymapper Citymapper tells you where to go to find the nearest bus or train to your chosen destination – it’s the quintessential publictransport app. It’ll even give your wrist a tap when you get there, though a massive jolt to wake us up might be a bit more useful…

Dark Sky Why not feed your inevitable weather obsession with an at-aglance look at exactly how dreary it’s going to be in the next hour, day or week? Dark Sky even integrates with compatible watch faces so you don’t need to switch to the app for the full dismal picture.

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Connected home




Stick to auto If your quadcopter comes with a manual setting, it’s tempting to get cocky and take full control straightaway. Don’t. Switching off all the flying aids that automatic mode offers is a sure-fire way of sending your precious aircraft groundward. Spend time practising your technique before building yourself up to those stick-flicking rolls and loops. Speaking of which…

Go light Up. Down. Left. Right. Keep it simple and go as light as possible on the controls. Practise making fine movements, gaining and reducing altitude slowly and carefully, and most importantly get the hang of hovering at around 4-5 feet off the ground. Going heavy and whacking a stick all the way to one side will inevitably end up with your ’copter spiralling out of control.




Consider conditions You may have allocated a day to taking your drone out for some fun, but if it’s blowing a gale – or, indeed, if it’s just a bit breezy – you might want to think again. Certainly, at least in the early stages of quadcopter flight, practise in conditions that are as still as possible. That’s not an excuse to fire it up indoors, though, unless you’ve got a micro model specifically made for such a purpose.

Kill the throttle If you do get into a spot of bother, the last thing you want is your blades spinning wildly, as this is a great way for your drone to tear itself – or whatever it’s crashed into – to pieces. Save yourself some replacement rotors or even more expensive repairs by learning to cut the power in a pinch.

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3D ROBOTICS SOLO PRICE £979.95 TESTED T3 250 If you’re planning to use a drone for more than just skimming your neighbours’ gardens, this is the drone for you. The Solo is fast, capable and future-proof. T3 SAYS It’s expensive, but perfect if you’re serious about aerial photography.

NEST LEARNING THERMOSTAT PRICE £180 TESTED T3 242 Stylish and easy to use, this smart thermo integrates with other connected-home gadgets, and learns your heating habits. T3 SAYS Nest’s thermostat is a great first step to creating a smarter home.

MAGIMIX LE BLENDER PRICE £159 TESTED T3 252 This is a glorious-looking blender, capable of blending even the hardiest of ingredients. It can rustle up soups, smoothies and more. T3 SAYS Kitchen connoisseurs need look no further – this blender will do it all.

GAGGIA ANIMA DELUXE PRICE £699 TESTED T3 253 It’s not the smartest of coffee machines (that accolade goes to the Smarter Coffee Machine), but it makes a mean cup of Joe in no time at all. And it looks the business. T3 SAYS A coffee machine with real fans of the black stuff in mind.

ORAL-B PRO 6500 BLACK SMART SERIES PRICE £249.99 TESTED T3 249 As techy as teeth cleaning gets, the 6500 pairs with your phone for cleaning feedback, and a 3D mode gets gnashers super-clean. T3 SAYS The Rolls-Royce of electric toothbrushes, for ultra-shiny teeth.

NETGEAR ARLO PRICE £190 TESTED T3 250 Stylish and easy to fasten to any surface, this home security camera records footage in 720p, with built-in wireless enabling you to capture the action nearly anywhere. T3 SAYS A wireless security wonder for both indoor and outdoor use.



BMW i3 PRICE From £25,250 TESTED T3 247 As well as boasting incredible looks and a quirky interior, the i3 is fast and fun, while an optional range extender makes it a long(ish)-distance proposition. T3 SAYS Your next small car could be all-electric, and it should be a BMW i3.

TESLA MODEL S PRICE £54,880 TESTED T3 240 A quick, slick and desirable glimpse into the future of electric vehicles. The true test is Tesla’s promise to build a full network of superchargers across the UK and Europe. T3 SAYS Attractive and speedy, the Model S is the best electric car you can buy.

RENAULT ZOE PRICE From £18,445 TESTED T3 247 With excellent range from its all-electric engine, quick charging and a seriously tempting price tag, the Zoe is one of the best small eco hatches on the market. T3 SAYS A solid effort in small, affordable electric motoring from the French brand.





06 PRICE From £34,990 TESTED T3 243 The e-tron promises the battery-electric emissions purity of an EV, combined with the long-range, insta-fuelling ease of use of a petrol or diesel car. T3 SAYS Modern tech motoring at its best. PRICE £11,325 TESTED T3 238 Tiny – but roomier than before – with a spunky, turbocharged motor. An appplus-smartphone-cradle combo turns your handset into a super in-car multimedia rig. T3 SAYS The little car is back, with oodles of in-car gadgetry and a roomier interior.

FORD FOCUS ST PRICE £22,195 TESTED T3 242 The Focus ST goes from 0-62mph in 6.5 seconds and hits a top speed of 154mph. Features include an enhanced transitional stability system and blind-spot warning. T3 SAYS The ST packs in more tech than the Apple Watch, and is somewhat faster!

To read more detailed reviews of these gadgets and lots more, visit







TREAT YOURSELF TO SOMETHING NEW WITH OUR ROUND-UP OF THE BEST KIT FOR £100 AND UNDER ou don’t always have to spend big money to get something you’ll love to bits. That’s why we’ve put together a list of our favourite products for £100 and under. Some of our chosen gadgets also happen to be the best things you can get in



their particular category, others are great-value alternatives to bigger ticket purchases, but all are brilliant products we would be happy to use ourselves. So next time you get paid and there’s spare cash burning a hole in your trouser pocket, make sure you consult T3’s £100 Hotlist!








URBANISTA BOSTON NIGHT RUNNER PRICE £35.92 The latest in a growing swarm of Lightning/ USB 3.0 memory-extenders for your iOS device – but this one looks a bit like a snake. T3 SAYS Transfer files to and from your computer with ease, or just store more. PRICE £32 Water-resistant Bluetooth buds for those whose ears pool sweat when running. We love the secure fit and novel reflective cable. T3 SAYS Be safe, be seen – particularly if you’re unable to hear the outside world.




AMAZON KINDLE PRICE £79.99 Keen’s trail-focused trainers will suit a good hike, a country run or just a yomp around the shops; and with their advanced insole tech, they’re perfect for everyday use. T3 SAYS Breathable, well-cushioned and keenly designed (ha!) for awesome feet. PRICE £59.99 Amazon ditched white Kindles in 2012, in favour of black and grey. Well, good news, aesthetics fans: white is back, and that bezel all but disappears as you read. T3 SAYS Potentially thousands of books in your hand for less than 60 quid.




GEAR4 SHOWERPARTY PRICE £47 Multi-room audio made easy: plug one into your stereo and use the app to stream Spotify et al instantly. Additional boxes can stream the same thing or something different. T3 SAYS If you have other devices with Qualcomm AllPlay, this will integrate nicely. PRICE £29.95 Enjoy some music or a podcast while you’re washing your hair, by using this waterproof Bluetooth speaker. The rubberised track controls are ideal for wet fingers. T3 SAYS T3 does not recommend actually holding a party in your shower. Slippery!

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ESSENTIAL SELECTION No man with an eye for style would be seen dead without a kit bag, ready for whatever the world can throw at him. The Mr Porter BMW i3 comes with an Essentials Travel Kit containing several life must-haves, including a limited-edition Leica camera, a selection of city guides for the aspiring traveller, an umbrella, sunglasses, a bowler hat and a leather carry bag – ideal for jaunts around the world.



BMW and Mr Porter have combined to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the men’s luxury fashion retailer. The Mr Porter’ed i3 symbolises man’s ultimate fashion statement: the Tuxedo

The BMW i3 was already pretty funky, but this special edition features a unique two-tone blue/black paint scheme with a white pin stripe, handpainted, no less

STYLE AND PACE Like all i3s, power comes courtesy of an electric motor, which will propel you to your next board meeting in swift silence

TAILOR MADE You can’t just spec one of these limited-edition cars from your local dealership (the clue is in the ‘limited’ bit). To get your mitts on one, head to

WOODEN HEART This special edition i3 boasts a variety of wood accents throughout, as well as a unique Dalbergia (a tree of tropical origins) brown piping for the seats

SUITS YOU, SIR You want cool car? You have cool car! But you’ll need £39,000 (which includes the £4,500 government grant for EV vehicles)


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