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APPLE WATCH 2 iPHONE 7 AIRPODS WE RATE THEM ALL

NO JACK, NO PROBLEM!

iPHONE 7 YOUR ULTIMATE GUIDE 100 BEST FREE APPS 10 TOP WIRELESS CANS 1 SUPER MARIO

NEW TECH TESTED PlayStation 4 Pro Amazon Echo Fujifilm X-T2 Urban bikes megatest £4.99 November 2016 www.stuff.tv


N O T J U S T A N E W T V. A W H O L E N E W C AT E G O R Y OF TELEVISION. OLED’s next generation pixel construction allows for unique screen architecture which is so light and thin it can be bonded to a transparent piece of glass. This stunning television produces an incredible picture with infinite contrast that is complimented by an innovative sound bar stand that produces superb audio. A masterful television from LG’s award winning OLED TV range. lg.com/uk/discoveroled


What the Experts Say

LG EC970V

WINNER TV OF THE YEAR

LG65EG960V

LG OLEDC6V

LG OLEDE6V

2015-2016

MAY 2016

JUNE 2016


Your home, alive with music

Experience at John Lewis, selected Apple stores and our network of specialist audio retailers

AirPlay is a trademark of Apple Inc.

Channelling forty years of audio engineering and design excellence, we present Mu-so – a range of compact, yet commanding wireless music systems. Simple to connect, Mu-so offers total control via the Naim App, so you can unleash your music wherever it’s stored, in breathtaking quality. With a host of versatile features, you can sync up to five systems to play the same song beat-for-beat in any room of your home.


naimaudio.com


CONS ON THE COVER

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p46 The big Apples

HOT STUFF 12 The Hot Four ● PS4 Pro & Slim ● Apple Watch Nike+ ● Amazon Echo & Echo Dot ● Leica Sofort 22 Gigapixel PitPat Yep, it’s a fitness tracker for dogs. Woof! 24 Apps Make your Apple Watch tick like a clock 28 Start menu A belt that tells you to stop eating pies 30 Vital stats Canon EOS 5D Mark IV The swanky DSLR gets user-friendlier 32 Choice Pens If all this ‘typing’ seems a bit too futuristic 34 Icon HP Pavilion Wave A Windows PC camouflaged as a speaker 36 Games Resident Evil’s gone a bit unpleasant 38 Best of Wired headphones Reports of their demise are unfounded 41 Your month Dare to watch Daredevil on Blu-ray

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P45

TESTS p48 The Pod couple

p18 The home help

45 First test special Apple iPhone 7, 7 Plus, AirPods and Watch Series 2 74 First test Fujifilm X-T2 Is the sequel even better than Fuji’s original? 76 Versus Lightning headphones Audeze and Philips fight over your new iPhone 79 Tested UA Gemini 2 Record Equipped Trainers that know how far you’ve run 90 Tested Jura E8 Your caffeine fix, fixed via Bluetooth 92 Group test Chromebooks Time to throw out the Windows laptop? 94 Long-term test Samsung Gear 360 An all-round camera 96 Tested Games Deus Ex: Mankind Divided


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WIN! p42

P104 P81

FEATURES 53 The 100 best free apps Apps for playing, reading, fragging, driving, messaging, watching, drawing, training and more – and they won’t cost you a penny 81 Stuff picks Urban bikes We go to work on an e-bike, an all-rounder, a crossbreed and a folder 88 Gadget doctor A reader who’s bought a 4K telly asks Stuff what he can actually do with it 98 Media hoard A different kind of cult film, plus the best new albums and some music movies to stream

PROJECTS 104 Beta yourself Instagram Take better pictures, share better pictures 106 Playlist Remasters Great-sounding music, and Phil Collins 108 Upvoted Best sub-£500 watches Got Rolex tastes with a Casio budget? 110 Instant upgrades PlayStation 4 Get more from your pre-Slim, pre-Pro PS4 112 The big question What should I do with my old phone? 113 5-minute hacks If nothing else, at least… ● Mod your tech ● Un-selfie your selfies ● Search everywhere

TOP 10 OF EVERYTHING

Looking to buy something but need a bit of advice? Turn to our Stuff Top Tens: our expert listings of all gadgetry, from p115.

The Stuff Top Tens are shoppable on your phone! Find out how on p115

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Subscriptions Hotline 0344 848 8806 World: +44 (0)1604 251 460 Email help@stuff. themagazineshop.com Web www.themagazineshop.com Advertising 020 8267 5493 Group Head Stephen Windegaard Sales Managers Robert Nevill, Ben Hardy Retail Manager Rob Kerr Display Sales Executive Amy Turner Classified Sales Executive Joshua McGonigle Creative Solutions Project Managers Liam Maguire, Hannah Pettifor Creative Solutions Editor Edward Craig International Advertising Director Chris Marriott Business Development Director Mike Walsh Production 020 8267 5414 Production Manager Anthony Davis Senior Production Controller Paul Skinner Newstrade Marketing Manager Nick Lyon Management Brand Director Alastair Lewis Editorial Director Mark Payton Strategy & Planning Director Bob McDowell Managing Director David Prasher Chief Executive Kevin Costello • Volume 20 issue 11 • ISSN: 1364-963 • On sale 6 October 2016 • Audit Bureau of Circulations: 62,624 (Jan-Dec 2015)

PEFC Certified

Welcome The two most important things I’ve learned this month? One: Team Stuff’s thirst for profanity knows no bounds. Two: ‘Jack off’ is not and never will be an acceptable magazine cover line. But hey, you’ve got to laugh at Apple’s decision to ditch the headphone port. Dumping a near-on 150-year-old connection with the same ruthlessness you might show for a month-long Tidal trial takes some gumption. That aside, it turns out the two new iPhones aren’t too shabby. We’ve reviewed both the 7 and 7 Plus in our six-page Apple reviews special, and even squeezed in our verdict on the Watch Series 2 and AirPods. Read it all from p45 – you’ll doubtless be shocked to learn Apple is still pretty good at this tech lark. Whatever phone you own, our list of the 100 best free apps is essential reading. Starting on p53, it’s filled with fantastic games, media players, creative playgrounds, productivity tools and more, for both Android and iOS aficionados. And none of them will cost you a penny to download. That’s the kind of value our subscribers can expect on a monthly basis – in addition to the odd bodily fluids gag. If you’re of similarly good taste, and haven’t signed up already, then why not check out p100 for how to join the club. Rob Leedham, Editor / @robleedham

This product is from sustainably managed forests and controlled sources

PEFC/16-33-197

www.pefc.org

APPLE WATCH 2 iPHONE 7 AIRPODS WE RATE THEM ALL

© 2016, Haymarket Media Group Ltd. Printed by William Gibbons, Wolverhampton. Distributed by Frontline Ltd, Midgate House, Midgate, Peterborough, PE1 1TN. Stuff, ISSN 1364-963, is published monthly by Haymarket Media Group, Bridge House, 69 London Road, Twickenham TW1 3SP, UK. The US annual subscription price is $75.50. Airfreight and mailing in the USA by agent named Worldnet Shipping Inc., 156-15, 146th Avenue, 2nd Floor, Jamaica, NY 11434, USA. Periodicals postage paid at Jamaica NY 11431. US Postmaster: Send address changes to Stuff, Worldnet Shipping Inc., 156-15, 146th Avenue, 2nd Floor, Jamaica, NY 11434, USA. Subscription records are maintained at Haymarket Media Group, Bridge House, 69 London Road, Twickenham TW1 3SP, UK. Air Business Ltd is acting as our mailing agent. All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form in whole or in part without the written permission of the publishers. Liability: while every care has been taken in the preparation of this magazine, the publishers can’t be held responsible for the accuracy of the information herein, or any consequence arising from it. In the case of all product reviews, judgements have been made in the context of ware based on UK prices at the time of review, which are subject to fluctuation and only applicable to the UK market.

www.stuff.tv

NO JACK, NO PROBLEM!

iPHONE7 YOUR ULTIMATE GUIDE 100 BEST FREE APPS 10 TOP WIRELESS CA S 1 SUPER MARIO

NEW TECH TESTED PlayStation 4 Pro Amazon Echo Fujifilm X-T2 Urban bikes megatest £4.99 November 2016 www.stuff.tv

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I PHOTOGRAPHED THE MOON WITH MY SMARTPHONE

Alright, so I had a bit of help from a telescope as well – specifically the Celestron Inspire 70AZ (US$170), which comes with a nifty smartphone adaptor. It’s ridiculously easy to set up and use, and the phone kit, though low-tech, works surprisingly well. It’s not high-powered enough for galaxies and the like, but for shots of the moon and planets it’ll do a fine job. So tonight I’m going to see if David Bowie was right about Mars. Marc McLaren, Editor, Stuff.tv

I SAW A TUBBY PLUMBER LEAP ONTO iPHONE

I got tired of Nintendo’s first app, Miitomo, in about the amount of time it takes to complete Mario Kart 8’s Rainbow Road circuit. Having launched at Apple’s iPhone 7 event, Super Mario Run looks a lot, lot better. If anyone can nail the endless runner/platform genre on their debut, I’d bet my life savings on your favourite chubby red plumber. And with news of Nintendo’s NX still elusive, it’s good to know my Mushroom Kingdom fixation will be satiated this Christmas. Rob Leedham, Editor

Making Stuff up Editor Rob Leedham Deputy Editor Tom Wiggins Production Editor Richard Purvis Consulting Editor Fraser Macdonald Reviews Editor Tom Morgan Features Editor Mark Wilson Deputy Features Editor Esat Dedezade Editor, Stuff.tv Marc McLaren Deputy Editor, Stuff.tv Tom Parsons Colouring Stuff in Brand Art Editor Chee-Chiu Lee Deputy Art Editor Ross Presly Senior Designer Will Clarke Senior Video Editor Peter Brown

OUR MONTH

Adventures in riding, plumbing, framing and mooning I TURNED AN OLD iPAD INTO A DIGITAL PHOTO FRAME

I, like everyone else, take a huge number of photos that exist nowhere but on a hard drive. Except now, thanks to an iPad 2 and a lovely mount bought from getiframe.com, I’ve got a constant slideshow of my digital pics. It’s like one of those old-fashioned digital photo frames but, you know, good. My wife and I keep spotting wedding photos we’ve never seen before – and we got married two years ago. Tom Parsons, Deputy Editor, Stuff.tv

I CHOSE A FINE DAY TO CYCLE ACROSS LONDON

Read that sarcastically. In order to get some miles in for this month’s bike test (see p81), I elected to ride the Kona from north London to my home, a long way south of the river. The day I chose, however, was a record-breaker with city streets melting into the early 30s. I was surfing the curious bike-route decisions of Google Nav, exacerbated by only hearing its instructions through one earphone; I had a funny turn in Balham but made it home, two hours down, and fell into an ice cream. Fraser Macdonald, Consulting Editor

Keeping Stuff in order Global Editor-In-Chief Guy Cocker International Director Alastair Lewis Syndication Enquiries Isla Friend 020 8267 5058 Brand Manager Claire Griffiths Brand Executive Kadie Chanter Office Manager Sarah Weetch Contributors

Andrew Williams, Sam Kieldsen, Pete Gardner, Craig Grannell, Andrew Hayward, Elissa Loi, Laura Lovett, Stuart O’Connor, Matt Beedle, RGB Digital, Roger Stillman, Johnny Sharp Cover photography Matt Beedle

Email us stuff@haymarket.com Call us 020 8267 5036 Haymarket Media Group, Bridge House, 69 London Road, Twickenham TW1 3SP Stuff is a member of the Independent Press Standards Organisation. We abide by the Editors’ Code of Practice and are committed to upholding the highest standards of journalism. If you think we haven’t met those standards and want to make a complaint, contact stuff@haymarket.com. For more information, contact IPSO on 0300 123 2220 or visit www.ipso.co.uk

Haymarket is certified by BSI to environmental standard ISO14001 and energy management standard ISO50001.

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HOT FOUR #1 NOT NEO NO MORE Sony PlayStation 4 Pro

Very few of us would pass up the chance to be called a ‘pro’. Nick Woodman named his entire action camera company on the aspiration to ‘go pro’. But it might not have the same appeal if you’d spent the past few months thinking you were going to be called Neo. Maybe you even got yourself some calling cards made up with an ’80s sci-fi stencil font and laser slashes. Neo! But no, ‘Pro’ it is for PlayStation’s new 4K console, and the improvements are

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certainly more 2016 than 1985. Doubled graphics ability and a boosted processor mean the PS4 Pro will either run or upscale games at 4K, adding HDR effects into the bargain. The original PS4, meanwhile, lives on in a svelte new case with less radical improvements – turn over for our review. It’s happy with its ‘Slim’ name. As hot as… HDR shading on Nathan Drake’s brooding face £349 / stuff.tv/PS4Pro

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Apart from saying that the Pro’s super specs would mean better VR performance, Sony didn’t give us much news about the PS VR headset. But we do know it’s due out on 13 October.

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23 PAGES OF THE BIGGEST STORIES FROM PLANET TECH

Hands on with the PS4 Pro

Tom Parsons

It seems crazy that Sony would launch a new console just three years after the PS4, but here we are. The three-tier stacked design holds new CPU and GPU hardware to power the Pro’s raisons d’etre: HDR and 4K. And yes, that does mean native 4K… in some cases. The Last of Us demo had a proper 4K/30fps mode, and it looked lovely. Most devs, though, will make use of so-called ‘2160p

checkerboard’ upscaling. It generates a 4K image from half the pixels – don’t forget, that’s still way rezzier than 1080p. Having played Rise of the Tomb Raider in this format, and seen Horizon Beyond Dawn side by side with the old Full HD mode, I’m never going back. One surprise was the lack of 4K Blu-ray disc playback. But if hitting the £350 mark meant choosing between 4K Blu-ray and fantastic graphics, Sony made the right choice.

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THE PRO’S LITTLE BRO

Tested Sony PlayStation 4 Slim £259 / stuff.tv/PS4Slim

What’s going on outside? It’s slimmer. Lying flat on a desk it’s just 3.9cm, down from the original’s 5.3cm, and the Pro’s 5.5cm. It’s also 1.2kg lighter, which is a big deal if you plan to cart it over to a mate’s house for shouting-distance multiplayer action. The touch-sensitive power and eject buttons of the old console are now proper buttons. Other notable physical changes are the deletion of the optical audio output – which might be an issue – and a new window on the controller’s touchpad so you can see the lightbar’s colour. What’s going on inside? Not much. If you want added graphical grunt you want the Pro. The year’s buzzy acronym HDR, for High Dynamic Range, is present on the Slim… but the original PS4 gets HDR too, via a software update. The Slim is quieter – almost silent when the disc’s not spinning or you’re just watching Netflix, and about 5dB less noisy when you’re doing some proper gaming. What’s going in your basket? Nothing, if you already have a PS4 that works. If the HDR attracts you then you’ll need an HDR-supporting TV, which is almost certainly a 4K TV, so you might as well spend the £100 extra on a 4K-gaming Pro. But, if you don’t have a PS4 and aren’t interested in hardcore gaming, then a Slim might be your thing. It’s great. Although, first check you don’t want an Xbox One S, with its exclusive games – such as Forza racing – and 4K Blu-ray drive. (Or because all your mates have Xbox.)

STUFF SAYS The Slim is smaller, quieter and cheaper, and HDR is a nice touch… a job well jobbed 14

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EIGHT PS4 PRO GAMES WE CAN’T WAIT TO PLAY

CALL OF DUTY: INFINITE WARFARE

Infinite Warfare got a hostile fan reaction when it was announced. So how do you respond? By jazzing up your space-themed frag-fest in 4K. Headshots are gonna be well gory.

MASS EFFECT: ANDROMEDA

The PS4 Pro reveal gave us a first look at Andromeda gameplay, with a new protagonist taking over from Captain Shepard. The real draw here will be the writing and voice acting.

MIDDLE-EARTH: SHADOW OF MORDOR

The must-play game of this console generation is being updated for the PS4 Pro. This will be a title for Tolkien megafans and everyday geeks alike.

FIFA 2017

Having watched Premier League football in 4K, we weren’t looking forward to going back to HD for FIFA 17. Thanks to the PS4 Pro, we’ll be able to enjoy Diego Costa’s mug in all the detail it deserves.

HORIZON ZERO DAWN

UNCHARTED 4: A THIEF’S END

The year’s best game so far deserves to be played in the best quality, so of course it’s being updated for the Pro. As if we needed an excuse to play Drake’s final adventure again.

RISE OF THE TOMB RAIDER

Rise of the Tomb Raider is the game that sold us the Xbox One S, and it looks just as good on Sony’s new console. Plus its 20 Year Celebration edition comes with PS VR content.

DEUS EX: MANKIND DIVIDED

Sneaking, sniping or smashing your way through a neo-futuristic world where augmented humans are treated like second-class citizens will look even better with HDR.

Killzone never went far beyond a reputation of being the best-looking shooter on PS, but developer Guerrilla has been given a new franchise to run at. Not surprisingly given the studio’s heritage, it looks stunning, with a mix of hi-tech dino-bots and nature reclaiming the planet… and now HDR makes it even prettier.

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HOT FOUR #2

WATCH, YOUR WAIST

APPLE WATCH NIKE+ If you’re planning something complicated and important, such as lunch, it’s best to break down your ‘wants’ and ‘unwants’ by writing them all on Post-Its and sticking them all over the walls. Want: Village Pizza midday meal deal. Unwant: anything involving quinoa. Simple. But imagine the neon explosion of notes all over Apple’s device kitchen when they were planning the first Watch. Chaos. And the resulting watch, though pretty, lacked functional focus. The Series 2, however, knows that its consumers hunger for fitness features, so it has GPS and better waterproofing. You can read a full review of the standard model on p50, but this super-fit Nike+ version, with a sweat-swishing Swiss cheese strap and a swanky homescreen, won’t be out until later this month. Mmm. Swiss cheese. As hot as… neon Ronhills from £369 / stuff.tv/Watch2Nike

READ OUR WATCH 2 REVIEW ON P50

A WATCH BY ANY OTHER NAME IS PROBABLY MADE BY SOMEONE ELSE

Samsung Gear S3 Frontier

Both Classic and ruggedy Frontier versions of the new S3 get GPS and a bigger battery, but the devices are also much bigger than the old S2. £tba / samsung.com 16

TomTom Touch

Along with its new Spark fitness and Adventurer outdoorsy watches, TomTom has the first watch to measure body fat composition. £129 / tomtom.com

Asus ZenWatch 3

Jewellery-grade metals and three buttons are highlights, but the truly keen-eyed among you will have spotted that it’s round, not square. €229 / asus.com

Withings Activité Steel HR

The minimalist Activité is gradually getting smarter, now gaining an optical heart-rate sensor and a wee display for stats and notifications. from £169 / withings.com


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HOT FOUR #3

IS THERE AN ECHO IN HERE? AMAZON ECHO & ECHO DOT

Therapists are expensive. But if you ever feel that nobody listens to you, Amazon might have a cheaper alternative. The newly UK-bound Echo may not be able to help with your emotional issues (unless you’re emotionally lacking in pizza) but there’s not a lot else that Alexa, the cylindrical speaker’s onboard helper, can’t do. A new Just Eat takeaway app allows you to order that aforementioned deep-pan pepperoni with your voice, while link-ups with Nest, Hue, Hive and WeMo mean it can make your existing tech smarter too. Want to add Alexa’s talents to a speaker you already own? There’s a dinky Echo Dot for that. As hot as… an XL napalm stuffed crust £149 (Echo), £49 (Echo Dot) / stuff.tv/Echo

3 THINGS YOU CAN ASK YOUR ECHO “Alexa, what’s the weather like in Skegness today?” “Alexa, could you add Scotch eggs to my shopping list?” “Alexa, play Chas & Dave on Spotify.”

AND 3 THINGS YOU CAN’T (YET) “Alexa, two pints of cider and a packet of cheese and onion, please.” “Alexa, what’s the score in the Test match at Lord’s?” “Alexa, prepare the hounds. There’s a defenceless animal we need to kill.”

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Instant means instant No mucking about: the fixed lens is a 60mm f12.7, with auto exposure. But there are various modes, including selfie, plus a self-timer.

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HOT FOUR #4 NOBODY EXPECTS THE GERMAN INSTANT VISION LEICA SOFORT

Well, this is the icing on the cake. The cake being the month, the body and filling being the (expected but still delicious) news from Apple, PlayStation and Amazon. But this is an unpredicted sweet zing. A fun, affordable, fixed-lens instant-film format camera from Leica, of all people. It’s going to cost £215 when it goes on sale in November – which, while hardly biscuit crumbs, isn’t pricey by Leica’s standards. There are branded film packs for it, but it’s actually just the popular Instax format so you’ll be able to get your hands on film easily, even if you won’t find it much cheaper – about £1 a shot is the norm. As hot as… your first Leica £215 / stuff.tv/LeicaSofort 19


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A damn good egg

POWERVISION POWEREGG Firstly, it’s not made of actual egg, neither shell nor splodge. But, like nature’s delivery mechanism, the PowerEgg is still an ingenious packaging solution. From a rugby-ball-sized ovum come forth landing gear and prop arms, and a cap pops off the bottom to reveal the built-in, 3-axis-gimballed 4K camera. It’s aimed at amateurs, so it comes with two controllers: one is a traditional twin-joystick box, but the other is a Wii-style motion controller, designed to be intuitive for newbie pilots. You can also pre-set the flightpath and just control the camera, or set it to autonomously selfie you forever (well, for a while). £1279 / powervision.me

ALTERNATIVELY… You can really get your weird on by owning a Huawei Nova (€399) or Nova Plus (€429), the company’s Android 5in and 5.5in midrangers. Each so completely lovely and harmless, you might put it down one day and forget you ever had it.

The unXpected

SONY XPERIA XZ We all long to be slightly out of the ordinary – by some definition, superhuman. That’s what you’re seeing on the face of that goon who’s queued for a thousand nights to be the first to get the new iPhone… until he’s followed by the sea of me-toos pouring out of the Store doors. Buy a Sony Xperia, though, and you are superhuman for your whole two-year contract. “What’s that?” people will cry. And you’ll say: “Why, it’s the Xperia XZ, my little counter-cultural hunk of classy-designed Sony flagship, brimming with cutting-edge camera skills and Google cleverness.” And they’ll “huh” and walk off. It’s lonely being out of the ordinary. £549 / sonymobile.com

DROP EVERYTHING AND DOWNLOAD...

Google Duo £free / Android, iOS

Forget the frivolous filters and features of Skype or Snapchat – Duo does one-to-one video calling with pared-back brilliance. There’s no conference calling, and you can only use it on your phone. But so long as you both have the app, you can call an iPhone from an Android phone, and calls are encrypted. Call quality changes depending on network speed, and the app will hop seamlessly between Wi-Fi and mobile data to keep you connected. Perfect. Unless, of course, you prefer comedy face masks. 20


Like a rocket from the socket. Simply plug in and enjoy excellent Wi-Fi coverage in any room, from any power socket, with devolo Powerline!

BUY IT! ★★★★★

The devolo dLAN® 1200+ WiFi ac Starter Kit enables Wi-Fi without signal loss anywhere in your home: • • • •

Ideal for HD streaming and higher broadband speeds Plug & Play installation Award winning German technology 3-year manufacturer’s warranty

www.devolo.co.uk

RECOMMENDED


The bigger picture in tech

FITNESS IN HIS EYES Bonko, pictured above, is not amused. The data from his latest stick-chasing session is in and the pace is well down on his PB. But maybe he’s misreading the numbers. He is, after all, a dog. And PitPat, the Bluetooth dog tracker, only measures activity using an accelerometer – there’s no optical heart-rate sensor, because fur. Plus, unlike human trackers, you have to make sure you specify the correct breed. (This is important, because a dachshund uses 2000 calories to cover the same ground as one Newfoundland’s step.) But all this is academic. Bonko needs to up his stick game. Or no biscuit. 22


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NEWS FEED

RUDDERLESS VIKINGS AHOY!

Volvo is bringing its autonomous vehicle programme to the UK in 2017. Drive Me London cars will initially be co-piloted by Volvo engineers for data gathering, but should be in the hands of real people after a year or so. We’ll be volunteering, natch.

ANDROID PAY YAY

Natwest, Santander, Royal Bank of Scotland and Ulster Bank have all joined Android Pay, taking Google’s tally to 12 supported banks and building societies. TSB is due to rock up at any moment, leaving just Barclays to make the whole field level.

NO MAN’S WIKI

You know what they say: “If you’re bored with Wikipedia, you’re bored with being at work.” But if you really have random article saturation, try wikiverse.io. It’s a 3D spatial build of the world’s online encyclopaedia: play The Blue Danube behind it for the full educational elite experience. 23


A P P S

This month’s mobile must-downloads

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IN THE SPOTLIGHT Pebble OS 4.0

£free / iOS, Android

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1 Magic Mansion

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£free / iOS, Android Charming monochromatic retro gameplay – time your taps to jump enemies and collect coins – offset by the intrusion of all-too-modern ads. Still, that’s the (lack of) price you pay…

2 Minecraft

£4.99 / iOS, Android, Windows Lost your Minecraft mojo? Perhaps it’ll be renewed by knowing you can now point one of the world’s most advanced gaming platforms at its blocky graphics. Oculus Rift joins the Gear VR, mobile and PC versions.

3 Action Launcher

4 Nightgate

5 Enyo

£free / iOS, Android Rather than asking you to stab or chop your way to victory, this Greek-themed game plays through indirect combat, which is to say you’ll have to outwit your enemies. Outwit them into a lava pit.

6 Space Marshals 2

£4.49 / iOS A number 2 and an improved app icon do not a great sequel make. Rather, a great sequel is made my being great: SM2 features richer graphics, better physics and new space cowboy adventures.

7 Tickr

8 Circle Pay

9 Poison 202 Vintage Midi Synthesizer

£2.99 / iOS An accomplished, pitch-perfect puzzler, a neon-soaked art installation, and a synth-driven audio showpiece that’ll prick the ears of anyone who’s just polished off Stranger Things.

£tba / iOS For decades, engineers spent exactly zero time trying to give digital watches a mechanical tick. But along came the Apple Watch, and with it was born code to make it tick like a Rolex, or Big Ben. 24

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£free / iOS, Android Complex back-end banking enables this app to send and receive money with the informality of a messaging app. It can even transfer between US dollars and UK pounds – and soon euros – without extra fees.

£free / Android Still waiting for your network to serve up the Nougat OS update? Get the look with Action Launcher, which has swiftly copied some of the menus and folder actions of leaked Nougat shots.

£7.99 / iOS A decent mobile game can kill a couple of hours on a long flight. A synth app, however, like this sample-laden Poison 202? The crew will have to drag you out.

While Apple Watch 2 hubbub rages outside, Pebble fans are crouched by their email inboxes, waiting for their Pebble 2 shipment notifications. Here, like the police motorcycle before the peloton, is the latest OS update. Health is brought much more to the fore, with your daily stats accessible by a simple press of the up key. The mobile apps are also redesigned to be more fitness-trackery and there are updates to the way apps work and launch on the watch, making the whole Pebble experience more sophisticated.


P5 Wireless. We’ve taken away the wires but kept the sound quality.

£229.99 from authorised retailers Buy direct from bowers–wilkins.co.uk/P5W

Two-year warranty Free delivery


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Ambi-LED

PHILIPS 55POF901F Retrieve your credit card from the toilet cistern and lift the family ban on speaking of ‘OLED’. It’s on. Philips’ OLED TV is here. It’s 55in, it’s 4K, it’s got a Dolby-badged soundbar and there’s talk of a 17-bit colour system. Round back there’s the company’s three-edge Ambilight system, guaranteed to generate a ‘woo’ from the 90% of visitors who don’t care about the wide colour gamuts and inky blacks of the screen itself. It’s the TV you’ve been waiting for. And it costs… nope, we don’t know yet. Euro price is €3500, so £3000+ seems likely. Credit card back in the toilet? £tba (due winter) / philips.co.uk

Selfies? Moi?

FUJIFILM X-A3 Right, remember the script. Good eye contact, steady breathing. You say: “I bought it for the resolution bump to 24.2MP over the X-A2, plus the new electronic shutter that maxes out at an action-friendly 1/32000.” They’ll say: “Whatevs… isn’t that the one with 180° tilting screen and special controls for taking selfies, though?” You, surprised but with a neutral expression: “Really? I wouldn’t know about it being a special selfie camera. I don’t really take selfies.” Focus on your breathing. You’ll get away with it. £599 / fujifilm.co.uk

FUTURE STUFF SMILE LIKE YOU’VE SEEN IT

Autonomous cars are getting smarter, says Rob Leedham. That’s something to grin about…

It’s been a rough year for self-driving cars. Aside from a fatal Tesla Model S crash involving the Autopilot system in May, Apple has reportedly seen the departure of dozens of staff from its ‘secret’ project to build an autonomous vehicle. But fear not – the dream of being shuttled to work by your own AI-powered chauffeur is very much alive. For starters, Tesla has rolled out an updated edition of Autopilot with a much-increased reliance on radar. Where radar used to be a supplementary technology, used alongside

the camera in a Model S, this update pulls a switch reverse on that formula. Kind of like when Phil Collins moved onto lead vocals for Genesis having previously been just the drummer. To ensure the results aren’t so divisive, Tesla is introducing a geocoded ‘whitelist’ of objects such as bridges and road signs that could have been identified as obstacles. So your Tesla should only brake with good reason. That’s all fine for autonomous car owners, of course, but what about the most low-tech

commuters of all: pedestrians? To quell their Luddite fears of being run over, Swedish firm Semcom has developed a Smiling Car (above) that flashes a grin to confirm it’s coming to a stop. It’s totally bizarre and a little bit brilliant, even if we can’t see the idea of a real-life Brum catching on with manufacturers. With Uber having just rolled out its first fleet of autonomous vehicles in Pittsburgh, a self-driving future seems just around around the corner, whether we’re all smiles about it or not. 27


S T A R T M E N U ST KIC AR K TE R

The latest startups, crowdfunded projects and plain crazy ideas

Talented trouser tightener

WELT

“But isn’t that what the holes do? What they’ve always done?” You laugh inwardly at this regressive thinking and attempt to explain the marvel of a belt that measures waist size differences over the course of the day. Look, you say, the app records when you’ve eaten something by showing the extra tension on the buckle. “But I know when I’ve eaten something! It’s recorded by my eyes watching my hands put things in my mouth!” Nope, there’s no convincing this one. You march off, putting an extra wiggle into your hips to try to fool the built-in accelerometer into bumping up your steps score. from US$99 / weltcorp.com BACK IT STACK IT

ST KIC AR K TE R

ST KIC AR K TE R

Bluetooth king of keys

Sun-sucking powerpack

Selfie stalker

Watery 3D printing

“The cat is both alive and dead.” You point out the irritated noises very much proving the cat’s alive state. Besides, you opened the box earlier and gave it half a Bounty. “But the box is locked!” You remind him he gave you an access code to the smartphone-operated Bluetooth lock back when the box was still holding biscuits. US$89 / smartarmorcube.com

“Feel my calves, go on.” This, from a rambler, is unexpected. “I didn’t get them from hiking a box of pencils up here. I’ve got my DSLR, tripod, spare batteries…” You show him some of your phone pics and the 200g solar panel you use to keep it charged up the hill. He looks vacant. “Marvellous, I’m sure. But feel my calves…” €76 / sunnybag.com

“And you spent your precious time coveting plastic selfie tat…” says the Angel of Death. But actually, you fire back with confidence, this was a handy device. It could track a face or do a timelapse through a preset arc. You explain about the app… Whoosh! You’re vaporised. “Apps,” says the Angel. “Sick of hearing about them.” from US$80 / mypicbot.com

“Can’t you just stick a needle up your… wossitsname?” But it’s not just the blocked nozzle, you explain, that’s seen dust gathering on the 3D printer. You’ve outgrown it. Which is why you want to splash out on this metal-cutting waterjet. You can make useful stuff, like forks! But she’s gone, muttering something about your nozzle. from US$5999 / wazer.com

SMART CUBE

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ST KIC AR K TE R

I GONDI GOE-

SACK IT

LEAF+

PICBOT

WAZER


ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE

All-New

Renault MEGANE Feel the drive

A

fter much anticipation, the All-New Renault Mégane is finally here. And it’s ready to set a new landmark in luxury and innovation for the Renault range, by taking driving pleasure to a whole new level.

the All-New Mégane GT offers unrivalled agility and precision, so you feel in complete control of the road.

MULTI-SENSE

With its low, sporty stance the All-New Mégane’s exterior achieves the perfect balance of dynamic flair and seductive design, while the distinctive lighting signatures and beautifully crafted interior showcase the very best of Renault, inside and out. It’s this stunning design that gives the All-New Mégane its unique on-road personality, making every mile a thrill to drive.

New and exclusive to the All-New Mégane comes MULTI-SENSE technology*, allowing you to feel in touch with your drive like never before. By using the 8.7” luminous touchscreen**, drivers can enjoy the four individual modes that are available, each offering their very own unique driving experience, as well as a distinct lighting ambience. Enjoy lighter steering in Neutral mode, improved engine response in Comfort mode, or the most dynamic performance in Sport mode – the choice is entirely yours.

Technology and innovation

Safety

Stunning design

Beyond its design, the All-New Mégane is equipped with premium technology and driving aids available at your fingertips which create an exceptional driving experience for your every journey. With 4CONTROL four-wheel steering,

such as lane departure warning and traffic sign recognition* aid lapses in concentration. ombining exquisite attention to detail with innovative technology, the All-New Mégane looks set to redefine expectations in more ways than one. Book your test drive today, and be one of the first to get behind the wheel of the All-New Renault Mégane and feel the drive.

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The All-New Mégane is a showcase for Renault’s safety technology, with Autonomous Emergency Braking, hands-free parking and adaptive cruise control optional from Dynamique S Nav specification and above. Standard features

*As standard on Dynamique Nav and above. **As standard on Dynamique S Nav and above.

The official fuel consumption figures in mpg (l/100km) for the All-New Renault Mégane GT: Urban 36.2 (7.8); Extra Urban 57.7 (4.9); Combined 47.1 (6.0). The official CO2 emissions are 134g/km. EU Directive Regulation 692/2008 test environment figures. Fuel consumption and CO2 may vary according to driving styles, road conditions and other factors.


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NOT JUST FOR THE PLAYAZ Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

£3629 / canon.co.uk

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You don’t have to be a pro to get the most from this big Canon’s new features

Wi-Fi and NFC built in – which will at least help to keep your costs down. (A bit.)

● Get a grip The 5D sits in a sweet spot where full-frame performance meets reasonable price, making it tasty for ambitious enthusiasts as well as serious snappers. But for the Mark IV, the main new ingredients will be of more benefit to the former. For example, the screen is now touch-enabled, making the 5D’s huge capabilites easier to corral. The grips are grippier, there’s a new configurable shortcut button under your thumb and it now has GPS,

● Free go-arounds The usual specs are all up – 30.4MP full-frame sensor, 61-point AF, 32000 ISO – but there’s a new way of dealing with the power that makes it user-friendly for us norms. Dual-pixel RAW mode doubles the already enormous file size of each shot, but it gives you the ability to tweak the image later. Sharpen up the focus or move the bokeh blur – it’s just the thing when composition and subject placing aren’t yet instinctive in the heat of the moment.

● Action, not art Of course, you might not be into improving your stills photography at all. A huge proportion of DSLR buyers are pure videographers, who eschew the 19th-century charm of the portrait for the racy thrills of the movies, and there’s good news on that front too: 4K video at 30fps, Full HD at 60fps, or slo-mo-ready 120fps recording at 720p res. Wannabe directors need storage and power – the arrangement of dual CF and SD card slots continues, while the Mark IV is compatible with older 5D batteries. Finally, for epic days on set, Canon has also improved the weatherproofing seals.

Mostly hidden but hard at work, the improved seals of the 5D are drizzle’s nemesis.

THE NEW 5D HAS GPS, WI-FI AND NFC BUILT IN


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Measured regression

AH, BUT THERE IS ALSO THIS… ● Is it the same thing?

Very much not, no. This is the EOS M5, Canon’s first proper attempt to attack the compact system camera market. That means it’s taking on the Panasonic Lumix, Olympus PEN and Fujifilm X ranges. Gulp. Serious competitors, so the M5’s been given a serious look. Like a smallified 5D, in fact.

KOBO AURA ONE There’s nothing wrong with wanting a bigger screen. At 7.8in, the screen of the Aura One is considerably larger than that of Amazon’s flagship Kindle, the 6in Oasis. More screen space is great if you don’t like the page-turning experience of e-readers and it’s also handy for viewing PDFs, technical books or comics. There’s also nothing wrong with wanting a waterproof e-reader – just the thing for messy family life, baths and beaches. The only thing is, you’re inexorably returning to the oversized, laminated book format of your childhood. But if you’re happy with that, so are we. £189 / kobo.com

● Why am I bothered?

Because £1149, for starters, with a standard lens. But mainly, if you were at all interested in the ‘friendly to beginners’ angle laboured over in the 5D story, then the M5 also has a prod-to-focus LCD, a 24.2MP sensor with the super-quick DIGIC 7 processor and the same wireless smarts.

Every shot on target

LOMO’INSTANT AUTOMAT Instant photography is so liberating. Instead of thinking about shutter speeds and apertures, it frees your mind to do other calculations, such as: “At £17 for 20 shots of instant film, each button press is equivalent to one chocolate muffin.” Then, instead of worrying about post-capture filters and multi-platform sharing, you can spend that time watching other people eat muffins. Enter, via Kickstarter, Lomo’s new Instant Automat. It’s still cutely styled, still prints on Fuji Instax Mini film, but can now be tasked to do the aperture, shutter and flash maths for you, making every muffin-costing shot a winner. £129 / lomography.com

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C H O I C E 1

PENS

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You gotta fight, for your write, to party

1 Parafernalia Revolution Ballpoint

Triangles have delivered such joy as Dairylea and Zelda’s Triforce. This Italian pen is tri-mendous enough to join that crew. £37 / heinnie.com

2 Retro 51 Dr Gray

If your actual doctor is using this, it means someone in their social group thinks they need an aide-memoire. #justsayin £35 / welovepens.co.uk

3 MecArmy TPX33

Good writing can open a window on the world. This pen can also open a window with its smashing spike end. Win-win. £81 / heinnie.com

4 Power Pen

It wasn’t so very long ago that 700mAh could power the world. And now you have that in your pen? Revel in your time! £24 / firebox.com

5 Cleo Messograf

And from that day forward, she just measured things, then wrote down the measurements. Measured. Noted. All the things. £19 / cultpens.com

6 Faber-Castell Scribolino

[ Picture RGB Digital ]

All your little writer-in-training needs (chunky ambidextrous grip, anti-roll, visible ink levels), except the desire to write. £15 / faber-castell.co.uk

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7 Kaweco Liliput Fireblue

Thank your auntie for the £5 book token with a tiny fountain pen that’s been hand-tempered by people with blowtorches. £119 / cultpens.com

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DECIPHER ALLOW ME TO EXPLAIN…

#15 APPLE HOME

Tom Parsons, Deputy Editor, Stuff.tv

Smells like tureen spirit

BANG & OLUFSEN BEOSOUND 1 & 2 The BeoSound 1 is a Bluetooth speaker styled like a vacuum flask for your hot, hot tunes. The heavier part of your musical soup – the bassy potato – comes out of the underside via a downward-facing low-frequency driver. Meanwhile, the whiffy mids and highs come wafting out of the top in 360 room-filling degrees via one of B&O’s trademark Acoustic Lens emplacements. The app-controlled BeoSound 1 has a battery, so can kept just about anywhere; the larger, mains-powered BeoSound 2 on the left needs a more stable home, but serves up an intoxicating, oxtail-strength sound. £995, £1350 / bang-olufsen.com

You already know about Apple’s smarter home project, HomeKit, but it never seemed to really get off the ground. Now, with iOS 10, it’s ready to fly. Firstly there’s a proper HomeKit control app, called Home. And it’s good, even at the beta stage where I first tested it. Creating and customising scenes and rooms is super-intuitive, with devices re-organisable via the wibbly icon-drag familiar to anyone who’s ever re-ordered apps on an iPhone or iPad. Secondly, there’s stuff. For me it’s still the Philips Hue lights that lead the HomeKit line-up, but I’m pretty keen to add a set of the awesome motorised Lutron blinds to my setup. Next on my list is the Netatmo thermostat and its new, independently controllable radiator adaptors, closely followed by a Schlage door lock. HomeKit-compatible smart cameras are on the way too, and the new version

I CAN GET SIRI TO CHANGE THE HEATING OR LIGHTING JUST BY SAYING I’M OFF TO BED

4K Blu-rays out, round two!

PANASONIC DMP-UB700 Thus far, the fight to be your 4K disc delivery system has been duked out by two megahunks: Panasonic and Samsung. But a new contender has entered the arena. It’s taking off its robe – it’s got to be Sony! Is it Sony? Gasp! It’s not Sony. It’s another Panasonic. The UB700 is a little brother, here to tag-team the pioneering UB900 in Panasonic’s bid to own the whole market. It’ll have a simpler set of connections and slightly tweaked innards to justify its £200 cheaper price… but the Samsung K8500’s first punch was a street price of under £400 from the get-go. Oomph. £399 / panasonic.co.uk

of the Canary, called Canary Plus, is very appealing. All of this, remember, I can get up and running without calling in an installer. So long as it has the ‘Works with HomeKit’ badge, it’s good to go. Finally, and most futurisitically, it’s all controllable by Siri. Unless I already have a scene set by time, or by my geolocated arrival, I can get Siri to change the heating or the lighting simply by telling her I’m off to bed. I don’t even need to use my phone – I can voice activate the Movie Night scene via my Apple TV remote. If you’ve been sitting on the smarthome fence, Home in iOS 10 looks set to deliver the final nudge.

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HP PAVILION WAVE from £679 / hp.co.uk

Why, it’s surely a B&O speaker. A fair assumption, given the available visual information, but wrong. It’s something far better, with many more talents than a mere speaker. Hold on to your beret… it’s a new Windows 10 PC. But… the size, the shape, the freakin’ B&O logo! What gives? Bang & Olufsen were involved in the design. And so, though it isn’t primarily a speaker, it will speak – thanks to an upwards-firing driver that will bounce noise off the underside of the top bit to give you 360° sound. How will you verify the truth of this? By running circles around it like a dog on a string, that’s how. And there’s still room inside for computery bits? Plenty. It’s not a cylinder like the Apple Mac Pro, but a curved triangular prism, and HP says this shape is well suited to efficient PC construction. Motherboard, CPU, GPU and SSD sit on one side, the cooling setup on another, and the main hard drive on the third. And there’s still space for a trio of USB 3.0 ports, one USB-C port and HDMI and DisplayPort outputs. Hmm. In my book, ‘efficient’ rhymes with ‘dull’. Your book is pish. For this type of PC, ‘efficient’ means being small enough to sit next to your TV, quiet enough not to be heard over that TV and yet powerful enough to squirt 4K to that TV. Final UK specs are yet to be announced, but sixth-generation Intel Core processors and up to 8GB of RAM are being teased. It’s probably not suited to a VR setup, though. For those, you’ll want something three times the size with steam coming out of its rump, not this pretty PC with Bach coming out of its hat.

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THIS WINDOWS 10 PC LOOKS LIKE A SPEAKER BUT CAN STREAM TO YOUR TV IN 4K


FO C A L

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LI S TE N

Comfort, freedom and design, all combined in a pair of headphones. Listen is the realisation of mobile high-end audio. These headphones offer excellent insulation, optimal comfort and beautiful acoustic performance, for hours of intense music listening. Focal opens up a new world of emotion and feeling. Experience at your local Focal retailer: www.focal.com


G A M E S

DUE 24 JAN

FIRST PLAY RESIDENT EVIL 7: BIOHAZARD PS4, Xbox One, PC

[ Words Tom Regan ]

It’s clear enough from the Beginning Hour demo for Resident Evil 7 that the series has taken a turn for the grisly. It’s swapped zombies for slasher movie tropes, including a rickety old house filled with animal carcasses, mysterious locked doors and spooky VHS tapes that plunge you into playable flashbacks. One such flashback begins by being chased across a dark plantation by a horrible old hag holding a lantern. We’ll call her Theresa. Three words appear on the screen: ‘Don’t get caught.’ 36

With the usual over-shoulder perspective ditched in favour of first-person (to accommodate PlayStation VR?) we dash inside an old house while Theresa tails us, shrieking: “I told you not to come here!” Managing to evade her, we find a statue in one room and a pedestal in another. We place the statue on the pedestal and rotate it until its shadow matches the painting opposite. Bingo. A passageway opens. But Theresa’s wise to it and she’s waiting. We dive beneath the floorboards and crawl away

until things fall silent. We find a scrap of paper, with the words ‘There’s something wrong with her’ on it. You can say that again, piece of paper. Eventually there’s a gap in the floor and we emerge, only to be grabbed by Theresa. As she emits a hideous scream, the words ‘Welcome to the family’ appear on screen. It’s rare that a horror game scares without supernatural foes, but Resident Evil 7 will have you more shaken than James Bond’s martini. Do we really have to meet the rest of the family?


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FIRST LOOK CAN METAL GEAR SURVIVE WITHOUT KOJIMA?

METAL GEAR SURVIVE Xbox One, PS4

Despite Metal Gear’s long history of encouraging you to hide underneath cardboard boxes, Survive isn’t a game where you just have to stay concealed inside one until everyone around you dies of boredom. With the series’ eccentric creator Hideo Kojima no longer on Konami’s payroll, a change of direction is no huge surprise. So, instead of galloping around the Afghan desert coshing people on the head and releasing them into the sky attached to large balloons, Survive sees you playing as a soldier who’s been sucked through a wormhole into another dimension filled with zombie-type baddies. Sounds pretty Call of Duty, right? Well, Konami insists it hasn’t abandoned stealth completely and you’ll still have to use those sneaky techniques to fend off your enemies. How that’ll work in practice isn’t yet clear, although the trailer shows a chap wielding a bow that fires arrows with spinning, explosive heads. Very stealthy. It’s due out some time in 2017. Until then, why not find a nice cardboard box to hide in?

COMING SOON INDIE GAMES

HOT LAVA

PC Remember that game you used to play as a kid where you couldn’t touch the floor because it was made of lava? Now you can play it on your PC. And it’s not just beds, sofas and upturned washing baskets you’ll be hopping between; there are schools, offices and underground caverns as well.

TOKYO 42

PS4, Xbox One, PC Like a cross between Fez and Syndicate, Tokyo 42 puts you in the shoes of an assassin, in an isometric open world that you can spin around to get a better look at who you’re offing. Stealth your way around or plough in guns-first, and try to avoid the giant robots out to stop you.

100FT ROBOT GOLF

PS4 A group of Transformer-style robots pull on their plus-fours and try to sink putts on a course built between skyscrapers. Get stuck behind one? Just smash it to bits with your gigantic nine-iron. It even supports PlayStation VR, which launches on 13 October.

INCOMING NOVEMBER ● FOOTBALL MANAGER 2017 ● WATCH DOGS 2 DECEMBER ● STEEP ● SOUTH PARK: THE FRACTURED BUT WHOLE ● GRAVITY RUSH 2 FEBRUARY ● FOR HONOR ● SNIPER ELITE 4

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B E S T O F

WIRED HEADPHONES

“Wired headphones are dead!” cried iPhone 7 newsniks. Oh, yeah? Check out these stringy superbuds

Cool your boots, pastelphobes: you don’t have to pick pink. They come in four colours.

PRICED UP

SINED UP

BUTTONED UP

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oBravo EAMT-1

Libratone Q Adapt

Audeze iSine 10

Here’s a joy that iPhone 7 owners will never get: spending over three grand on an extremely niche set of hi-fi in-ears. The ceramic/wood-bodied EAMTs come with either a 3.5mm jack or, if you have a suitably equipped headphone DAC, two balanced 2.5mm jacks. Sound comes via a 13mm neodymium driver and an 8mm Air Motion Transformer Tweeter – our ears are not worthy. £3699 / audiosanctuary.co.uk

Not long ago, three-button remotes for headphones were considered mindblowingly complex. “Three buttons?” we wrote in 2009. “What, are we fighter pilots now!?” But what’s this? Libratone’s Lightning-cabled Q Adapt has four. The extra one is CityMix, which controls the amount of noise cancellation. Sounds cool; we’re never going to use it. Four buttons! Nope. £tba (due this month) / libratone.com

If you were worrying about what to buy that retiring TIE-fighter pilot in your family, then your search is at an end. Audeze has finally managed to miniaturise its planar magnetic drivers into an in-ear format. Given that the big on-ear versions get a glowing review on p76, this is big news. Plus, like those big ’uns, the iSine 10s will come with both 3.5mm and Lightning cables. US$399 / audeze.com


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On the up (and the down)

FITBIT CHARGE 2, FLEX 2 Fitbit has had its morning crawling up granite slabs in the pouring rain. Right now, it’s gambolling along a sunny ridge, breathing easy and looking forward to a Twix at the next waypoint. It’s just released new styles for its Blaze and Alta devices, and a new Fitbit Adventures app feature. It’s also released two updated fitness trackers, including the lozenge-sized Flex 2 that can be worn on your wrist or around your neck. But it’s the Charge 2 (on the left) that we’d take up a mountain. Multi-sport, heart-rate monitoring, and available with lots of different straps, its slim build and battery life make up for it polling your phone for GPS data. You need a bag for the Twixes anyway. £129, £79 / fitbit.com

ALTERNATIVELY…

Podo

If the VIRB is a tetradodecahedron, the Podo is a circle: a Bluetooth mini-cam that can stick or magnet itself to a handy surface. £59 / cuckooland.com

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DROP EVERYTHING & DOWNLOAD

Legend of the Skyfish

£2.99 / iOS

Along with emitting distinct whiffs of Zelda, what with its top-down viewpoint and wandering protagonist who has a tendency to get a bit stabby, Legend of the Skyfish is a handy warning about the dangers of overfishing. Namely, in this world, the fish got sick of it and fought back, turning the humans into mutant slaves. All except Little Red Hook, the character you guide through this simpler-than-Zelda adventure, hooking and thwacking things with your fishing rod. It looks and sounds great, and is easy to get firmly hooked on (hooked, yes? Yes?) for as long as it lasts. An Android version is due this winter.

The shape of things to cam

GARMIN VIRB ULTRA 30 Ever watched a child struggling to fit the square block in the square hole? No? Why not, are you some sort of child-hater? Anyway, Garmin has finally succeeded where they fail. The latest VIRB camera looks set to slot straight into the hole, knocking GoPro out onto the floor. The Ultra 30 is right up there with resolution – 4K, 30fps – but it’s the hands-free voice control, distance-based lapse mode and accelerometer-sensed action metrics that could make it champ of the action cams. £449 / garmin.co.uk 39


Join the Stuff Tech Panel! Rant. Rave. Opine. Help us make Stuff better. We want to know what you think. What you like (or hate) about our magazine, our website, and the tech we write about. Tell us and you’ll help make your favourite gadget magazine and website even favouriter. All you have to do is register and answer a few simple questions. There’s a quick poll every month, as well as discussion threads where you can go into more detail. And we aren’t the only ones listening. So are the big tech companies. This is your chance to let them know your thoughts, too.

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28th LO AND BEHOLD, REVERIES OF THE CONNECTED WORLD Don’t be put off by the highfalutin’ title – Werner Herzog’s new doc about how the internet has changed the world is both hilarious and horrifying. When the apocalypse comes, will you be one of the people printing out pages of Wikipedia?

● NEXT ISSUE December We name our gadgets of the year On sale 3/11/16

OCT YOUR MONTH

27th ● SAY THIS! Jib: Skate-style step jumps and rail grinds Steezy: From ‘style’ and ‘easy’: “She landed that well steezy.”

DAILY TELEGRAPH SKI & SNOWBOARD SHOW (until 30th) BATTERSEA PARK Because no one can actually afford to go skiing. In addition to the show itself, there’s ice rinking, ice tubing and Alpine food. Late on Friday and Saturday there’ll be booze and live DJs while pros compete on rails and kickers.

THEN

How to rock(tober) your world

15 years ago Grand Theft Auto III

NOW

Download

Grand Theft Auto III £3.99 / Android, iOS

3rd 9th World Post Day

11th

NOW DAREDEVIL BLU-RAY

Oh, you might think, not another bouncing boy in leggings with an irrational desire to right wrongs at the expense of his own freedoms? But! Daredevil is smarter than it sounds, and finally off Netflix and onto physical media.

18th GEARS OF WAR 4 PS4, XBOX ONE

Play this:

Paperboy (archive.org)

Do: stomp down to your local gameporium to get the latest version of this duck-and-cover smasher with new weapons and groovy weather effects. Don’t: ask for “Gears of Four”. Those game shop geeks can kill with a look.

● ‘BONUS’ TRACKS? Sia, Chandelier Weezer, King of the World Semisonic, Closing Time

ROCK BAND RIVALS PS4, XBOX ONE Available as a DLC expansion or in various box bundles – with bonus tracks and/or a new folding Fender guitar – Rivals adds an online multiplayer mode. Playing solo? Spinal Tap-esque rockudrama commentary on your noodling should give you an incentive to bring the noise.

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W I

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TOTAL PRIZE VALUE £1500

WIN 12 MONTHS OF SKY Q WITH ULTRA HD PLUS A 43IN LG 4K TV “I can see clearly now the rain is gone,” sang Johnny Nash in 1972. And he didn’t even have access to 4K Ultra HD! So imagine how clearly you’ll be able to see – assuming it doesn’t rain in your living room – if you’re lucky enough to win this month’s competition. You may have noticed us harping on about how Sky Q is just about the ultimate package for on-demand television – we called it “the best TV experience you can buy” even before it started streaming Ultra HD content. This month’s winner scoops a full 12 months of Sky Q viewing, with the box and installation included, plus a 43in LG 43UH750V telly (worth £699) to watch all that super-sharp content on. And what content is that? Well, since you ask, more than 70 movies on demand, live Premier League matches (124 of them this season) and a wide selection of original Sky dramas. It’s going to be a bright sunshiny day alright. Find out more at sky.com 42

HOW TO ENTER

For your chance to leap into Ultra HD, go to stuff.tv/win and answer this question:

WHICH OF THESE FILMS IS NOT AVAILABLE IN ULTRA HD ON SKY Q WITH SKY CINEMA? A … The Martian HURRY! B … The Revenant COMPETITION CLOSES C … The Incredible 10 NOVEMBER Adventures of Digbert 2016 the Talking Microbe Terms & conditions 1 Open to UK residents aged 18 or over. 2 Entries close 11.59pm, 10 Nov 2016. 3 Prizes are as stated. 4 Prizes are non-transferable. 5 Only one entry per person. 6 Competition is open to new and existing Sky customers. For full Haymarket terms & conditions see www.stuff.tv/legal Promoter: Haymarket, 69 London Road, Twickenham TW1 3SP


FIRST TEST SPECIAL APPLE

A bigger bite of the Apple Settle in for a six-page review bonanza as we test the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, the AirPods and the Watch Series 2

nce upon a time, new Apple gadgets used to arrive as often as raindrops in the Sahara. Nowadays it feels like Stuff is permanently entrenched on the Yorkshire Moors with only an old mac and some soggy mint cake to sustain us between launches. But hey, at least this year’s downpour is worth camping out for. In addition to the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, we’ve got the Apple Watch Series 2 and those brand new AirPods to contend with. And they’re all pretty significant in one way or another. Doubtless you’ve already heard about how both iPhones have cut the headphone jack adrift with all the caring that Darth Vader applied to his son’s arm surgery. But with major camera improvements, a taptic home button and the blisteringly quick A10 Fusion processor, Apple’s latest phones still offer plenty to get excited about. So how do they rate against the Galaxy S7s and OnePlus 3s of this world? Read on across this six-page reviews special to find out, and get our verdict on whether the wireless AirPods and waterproof Watch Series 2 can make much of a splash.

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Pic a winner Both new iPhones are slick, speedy and waterproof… but the 7 Plus’s dual cameras make it our favourite from £719 / stuff.tv/iPhone7Plus It might have started life as a plus-sized version of the vanilla iPhone, but this year the Plus has truly stolen the spotlight. And not just because of its clever twin camera tech. The biggest change is one you won’t be able to spot: it’s waterproof. Yep, you can finally give the iPhone a bit of a dunking. Flip it over, though, and you can’t miss those two all-seeing eyes staring back at you. One’s for standard shots, the other’s for close-ups. You’ll also get a good look at the new colour choices. Apple’s 2016 shades du jour are black… and black. You can still buy gold, silver and rose gold versions, but space grey is gone, replaced with a darker matt black hue – and it’s joined by jet black, which is so glossy it’ll rival the sheen of any shampoo ad. Otherwise, we’re talking marginal gains all round. It’s the camera that makes the biggest leap, but that 5.5in Retina display continues to impress (even if it loses out on pixel count to countless Android rivals) and battery life is fantastic. This is the iPhone you know and love, only better.

1 Design

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2 Screen

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3 Camera

4 Performance

No, it’s not a dead ringer for the iPhone 6s. The antenna bands on the back are a lot more subtle now, and there are two new colours to choose from. Jet black looks seriously dapper.

Who needs QHD? The 1080p screen is Retina, so you can’t see the pixels without a magnifying glass. It’s bright enough to use outdoors, and the wider colour gamut makes images pop.

Or should that be cameras? Those twin sensors really set the 7 Plus apart from its little bruv. It takes stunning photos in daylight and low light – see the panel on the right to find out why.

Apple’s gone quad-core for the A10 Fusion, its fastest mobile chip yet, and bumped up the memory to 3GB. That means the Plus really flies through apps and games, with zero lag or stutter.

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24 hours with the iPhone 7 Plus

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FIRST TEST SPECIAL APPLE

Double exposure Things are better in pairs. Fact. Take, for example, the cameras on the back of the Apple iPhone 7 Plus…

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Zoom and enhance

Both have 12MP sensors, but one lets you see more of the action with a 56mm field of view. If that’s not enough, there’s also a 10x digital mode.

Ready for a close-up

There’s a dedicated portrait mode in the works, which will combine both cameras for some clever depth of field effects and pretty bokeh blur.

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Baby I like it RAW

Pros can shoot in RAW using third-party camera apps. These files save loads more light info than a jpeg, so you get more detail and fine control.

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5 Battery

Tech specs

It’s got more room inside for battery, so of course the 7 Plus lasts longer than the standard 7. Even if you’re caning Clash Royale over lunch, you’ll still have juice left when you get home at night.

Screen 5.5in 1920x1080 LCD Processor Apple A10 Fusion quad-core OS iOS 10 Cameras 2x 12MP rear, 7MP front Storage 32/128/256GB RAM 3GB Dimensions 158x78x7.3mm, 188g

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A light in the dark

The TrueTone flash has doubled up too, with four LEDs. You might not need them, though: low-light snaps look seriously good without any extra help.

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The camera has always been one of the iPhone’s greatest weapons against the Android army – and that twin sensor upgrade makes the 7 Plus a bit of a no-brainer for photographers. Add in a better battery and you’ve got a clear winner over the basic iPhone 7. If you’re firmly in camp iOS, go big or go home. @TomParsons

STUFF SAYS Superb camera skills and better battery life give the bigger of the new iPhones a real edge 47


FIRST TEST SPECIAL APPLE

10 BEST JACK-FREE HEADPHONES TESTED APPLE AIRPODS £159 / apple.com

Rip the wires out of a pair of EarPods, give ’em longer tails, cap the ends with a glint of silver and you’ve got AirPods. It’s not that simple, obviously. They’re packing batteries good for five hours of tunes between charges, live in a teeny charging case that’ll top you up with 24 hours of extra listening time, and pair to your iPhone with a tap. In your ears they look like the kind of early-’00s Bluetooth headsets that were all the rage with Goldman Sachs bankers, but some will love how instantly recognisable they are. Put them in and your music starts playing; pull them out

HANDS-ON VERDICT These buds look good and feel funky, but the sound still lets them down

Motorola Verve Ones+

Bragi Dash

Samsung Gear IconX

Bose QC35

AKG Y50BT

Parrot Zik 3.0

LG Tone Platinum

JBL Reflect Mini BT

Monster iSport Wireless

Three hours per charge, and a carry case to top them up. £229 / verve.life

Lovely noise-cancellers that drown out the world with beats. £289 / bose.co.uk

These hook up to a batterystuffed neckband with mic. £130 / lg.com

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The original wireless earbuds are chunky, but store 4GB. £299 / bragi.com

These sound great, fold flat and can go 20 hours on a charge. £149 / uk.akg.com

The inter-bud cable reflects car lights, so you won’t go unnoticed. £79 / jbl.com

and the track will automatically pause. Handy. Double-tapping a bud will wake up Siri, and you can answer calls with the built-in mic. Sound quality is a downer, though. If you’ve tried Apple’s EarPods, these sound pretty much the same: mediocre. So you’re basically paying £159 to cut the cord. Hmm. You might be better off with one of the alternatives below… @elissaloi

These have wingtips that keep them locked in place. £169 / samsung.com

Noise-cancelling on-ears in eye-catching colours. £279 / parrot.com/uk

These are robust, sound OK and won’t require a remortgage. £79 / amazon.co.uk

Stable mate It might fly solo, but the 7’s single 12MP camera still takes great photos. It’s now got optical image stabilisation and saves photos in a wider colour gamut, looking fine on that colour-calibrated 4.7in display.


FIRST TEST SPECIAL APPLE

Plucky seven

TESTED iPHONE 7 from £599 / stuff.tv/iPhone7

So let’s talk about that missing headphone jack for a sec. If you don’t already own a pair of wireless or Lightning buds then it’s going to sting a bit – especially when you have to reach for that pug-ugly adaptor. That said, switching to Lightning isn’t all bad. It’s freed up space inside the iPhone 7 for the same taptic engine you get in the Apple Watch, adding force feedback to the new all-digital home button. Games get in on the fun too – it’s like slapping a Rumble Pak into an N64 controller all over again. And you might not even need to reach for your headphones, thanks to the new stereo speakers. They can really pump out sound when you crank up the volume. They’re a great match for the brighter, more colourful screen too – Netflix on the move is a genuine treat, even if the resolution hasn’t had a bump. There’s also room inside for your own files. Ditching the basic 16GB storage size was a great move, and the spacious 256GB model will keep media hoarders happy, but it’s just a shame there’s no 64GB sweet spot any more. A firm press on any Apple app icon will throw up a list of shortcuts for jumping straight into the setting or mode you want. It’s perfect for snapping impromptu selfies with the much-improved camera, which handles low light as well as any phone out there. There’s loads to love here, with a whole host of little tweaks that make this new iPhone greater than the sum of its parts. It’ll serve you well… even if its Android rivals still offer better value for money.

Tech specs Screen 4.7in 1344x750 LCD Processor Apple A10 Fusion quad-core OS iOS 10 Cameras 12MP rear, 7MP front Storage 32/128/256GB RAM 2GB Dimensions 138x67x7.1mm, 138g

STUFF SAYS Forget the headphone furore – the iPhone 7 is still a slick update with some handy new features 49


FIRST TEST SPECIAL APPLE

Second wind from £369 / stuff.tv/Watch2 Looks just like the last one, doesn’t it? But the new Apple Watch has had some pretty significant upgrades, the most striking of which is waterproofing. Good news for swimmers, yes, but also for surfers, sauna fans and forgetful showerers. A combo of GPS, heart-rate monitoring, accelerometers and huge amounts of research is claimed to make the Watch 2 the most accurate sports tracker out there. For our money the heart monitoring seems less consistent than one of those horrible chest straps, but the rest is hard to fault. The addition of GPS is a big boon if you like to train unencumbered by a phone. The Series 2 locks onto a GPS signal almost instantly and the screen is twice as bright as before, while 2GB of space for music gives you another reason to leave the phone at home. It’s sportier than ever before, then, but the new Apple Watch is also smarter, thanks to a new dual-core chip that’s 50% faster than the old one. That makes a big difference to navigating the OS and opening apps, and Siri feels more responsive too. Siri on the Watch, by the way, is awesome.

Strap up Customising the look of your Series 2 Watch is easy, as it’s compatible with all of the Series 1’s straps, of which there are now 10 styles in numerous colours. The basic Sport is really comfortable. Face off You can also very quickly and easily change the Watch’s face between a number of designs, each of which can be customised to display precisely the info you want to see at a glance.

Despite the increase in power and added GPS, the Series 2 lasts longer than the original. Sure, two days is about the most you can expect, which is much less than a Garmin or Pebble, but for the extra functionality here it’s impressive.

Tech specs Processor S2 dual-core Display 1000-nit OLED Connectivity GPS, heart rate, accelerometer, gyroscope, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Waterproof 50m Battery life Up to two days

STUFF SAYS The smartest watch is now one of the sportiest – a great all-rounder Say goodbye to blinding bling, say hello to ‘white ceramic’ Tom Parsons

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The Apple Watch has actually put on a bit of extra bulk for its Series 2 appearance. You’re not going to notice the extra millimetre, though. And what if you want a much more exclusive version? The gaudy gold option has gone, replaced by a prettier white ceramic model that starts at £1249. There are a number of new, extremely expensive Hermes straps to choose from too, should you wish to really broadcast your wealth.


The first 360° VR Action Cam in 4K #explorein360

Visit: www.kodakpixpro.com/Europe


FREEBIE LOVER

100 apps that won’t cost you a thing

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BEST FREE APPS

The other Kindles in the range have higher screen resolution (300ppi compared to 167ppi) but it’s still easier on the eyes than a tablet.

● REDDIT Getting to work to find out you’ve missed out on a new meme can see you becoming a social pariah around the watercooler. To make sure you’re on top of breaking internet crazes, AMAs with Very Important Cats, or the latest posts in r/slavs_squatting, get Reddit’s app. Just don’t miss your stop. £free / iOS, Android

AMAZON KINDLE

THE TECH

£60 / amazon.co.uk

If you want to be top dog on the 8:21 to Wage Slave Parkway, the luxuriously expensive Kindle Oasis is the only choice for you; but if you can afford one of those you probably don’t need to put yourself through the misery of commuting by train. Join the rest of the worker drones with a 6in basic Kindle, which has recently had a few millimetres shaved off the edges (it’s 11% thinner) and been spruced up with a nicer chassis (it’s 16% lighter). Unfortunately there’s no built-in light, so you might have trouble reading it when the darkness of another impending Monday morning envelops your soul. 54

● KINDLE

● MARVIN 3

Sure, you’ll probably have to buy books to read on it, but if you own a Kindle the free app is worth installing – if only so you can keep reading when you’ve left it at home. As long as you keep the web connection on it’ll sync between your registered devices, so you can blaze through Moby-Dick in no time. £free / amazon.co.uk

You possibly missed Marvins 1 and 2, but this e-reading app offers features you won’t find in most of its rivals. It’ll open a boatload of file formats, from books to comics, plus it supports the newest iOS functionality such as Split View and Side Over, so pair it with something that’s got plenty of pixels. IAPs / iOS

BEST ON iPAD


BEST FREE APPS

COMMUTER COMPANIONS

● MAPMYWALK Want to get fitter but just can’t find the time? Tracking your normal pavement-pounding with MapMyWalk will give you an idea of how much more walking you should be doing, so you can hop off the bus a couple of stops early, or scoot up and down the stairs a few times at lunchtime. IAPs / iOS, Android

● SLACK

● SIDECHEF

Despite being a glorified IRC client, Slack is slowly replacing email as Stuff’s go-to way to share gifs and YouTube videos. And while we’d never endorse working while you’re not being paid, Slack’s app is great for keeping in touch. You know, if you have an urgent meeting at the pub on a Friday afternoon. £free / iOS, Android

You’re almost home but you’ve just remembered there’s nothing but an old lime and some brie in the fridge. Fire up SideChef and its daily homepage will provide the necessary culinary inspiration, the ingredients needed, plus the step-by-step instructions (plus videos) on how to make it. Sorted. £free / iOS, Android

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● MICROSOFT OUTLOOK Microsoft killed our favourite calendar app, Sunrise – but thankfully it’s been swallowed up by the latest Outlook app. It plugs into your email accounts, Facebook events and Songkick plans, plus there’s OneDrive online storage included too. £free / iOS, Android

● OVERCAST

● POCKET

● INSTAPAPER

Podcasts are a commuter’s best friend: funny, educational, time-killing and most of all completely free. So even if you have to spend 40 minutes pressed against a perspiring businessman from Basingstoke, you won’t mind, because you can use Overcast to listen to another episode of Alice Isn’t Dead. Overcast is better than Apple’s built-in podcasts app and it includes neat power-ups that allow you to boost voices on quieter recordings and shorten any silences that stretch the running time. IAPs / iOS

The Pocket vs Instapaper battle is the catch-up reading app equivalent of the Coca-Cola vs Pepsi argument. In the Coke corner is Pocket – the magazine to Instapaper’s broadsheet newspaper, keen to show you images and video alongside the text of any articles you send to it. IAPs / iOS, Android

In the blue corner is Instapaper – a far more minimalist approach that borrows from e-readers to fill its feature set. There’s less emphasis on images but it gives you more options to change fonts, you can highlight passages or sort articles into folders, and it’ll tell you how much is left to read. IAPs / iOS, Android 55


BEST FREE APPS

GAME CHANGERS ● RODEO STAMPEDE We at Stuff HQ aren’t privy to how zoos are run, but we’re pretty sure Rodeo Stampede plays fast and loose with reality. Here, you saddle up, leap into the air and lasso a rampaging beast. Ride said critter for long enough and it’ll decide it loves you and wants to be a part of your zoo. Did we mention your zoo is floating in the sky? Rodeo Stampede then finds you switching back and forth between catching new animals (super-fast twitchy ostriches, bulldozer-like elephants…) and micro-managing your menagerie. IAPs / iOS, Android

● CALLY’S CAVES 3 You’ll probably be a few levels into Cally’s quest to rescue her parents before you wonder what the catch is. But there isn’t one. This really is a charming old-school platformer with smart level design and weapons that get more powerful the more things you shoot. IAPs / iOS, Android

● LETTERPRESS The idea’s easy: take it in turns to find the longest words you can on a five-by-five grid. But the cunning bit is that any tiles surrounded by ones you’ve claimed are protected from your online opponent during their next go. Letterpress therefore becomes a tug-of-war landgrab. IAPs / iOS

● BENEATH THE LIGHTHOUSE What’s beneath the lighthouse? A lost grandpa and a network of caverns. Each is a smartly designed circular death trap, rotated by turning an on-screen wheel, with nothing more than gravity helping your character on his way. Some are simple, some are fiendish. IAPs / iOS, Android

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● SMASH HIT

● PICO RALLY

● CARRAGE

Cathartic, atmospheric and addictive, Smash Hit is an abstract and semiambient smash-’em-up. You float through the void, lobbing metal balls at crystals; all the while, you must judge which glass forms are about to collide with you and smash them to pieces. Each new level brings surprises. IAPs / iOS, Android

Pico Rally boils the racing experience down to a single button: an accelerator. That makes it feel a bit like slot-racing, with you timing when to put your foot down and when to lift off. It gets pretty frantic, never more so than when trying to catch rivals on maze-like tracks in Asia. IAPs / iOS

CaRRage depicts what the nutcases in the Mad Max flicks presumably do on their days off. Armoured vehicles zoom about in a ravaged wasteland, aiming to smash up the opposition. There are even Fury Road-style supply runs where hordes of hostile vehicles try to take your cargo for themselves. IAPs / iOS


BEST FREE APPS

This is the Digital 10,000 – if you want something a little smaller, the 6,000 takes up less space but still has enough juice for two charges.

● LEAP DAY A new challenge beckons daily in this one-thumb platformer. Your little blob pootles about, and you tap to make it jump, threading your way through nasties to reach the top of each tall, narrow level. It visually echoes 1980s classics such as Bubble Bobble but has the brutal heart of Super Hexagon. IAPs / iOS, Android

THE TECH

CYGNETT CHARGEUP £39 / uk.cygnett.com

No matter how many charges it gives you, there’s not much point lugging around a ‘portable’ charger if it weighs the same as a petrol-driven electricity generator. Cygnett’s Chargeup Digital 10,000 uses polymer rather than lithium-ion battery tech, which keeps the weight down despite it holding enough juice to charge your phone around five times before needing a re-up. And with a pair of USB ports you can charge two phones simultaneously. You know, for when you’re so deep in a Clash Royale hole you have to play it on two phones at once.

● FRISBEE FOREVER 2 It seems odd that a game called Frisbee Forever could have a sequel, but there’s an almost Nintendo-style charm to this disc-flinger. The mechanics are idiotproof: move left and right to keep your frisbee on the right path and collect stars to stay airborne. IAPs / iOS, Android

● TIME LOCKER In this strange, blocky universe of roaming dinosaurs and giant bears, time freezes when you stop moving. This is less helpful than you might think, given that you’ll be devoured by the relentless darkness if you sit still for long. But Time Locker is a little bit cleverer than your average vertical shooter. IAPs / iOS

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BEST FREE APPS

A lot of phones will fit the default size of Pocket Tripod. But if yours doesn’t, there are adaptors to make sure it sits well and won’t topple.

● SNAPSEED This photo editor excels when you’ve got a lot of screen space to play with. Choose an adjustment type (such as ‘black & white’ or ‘tilt-shift’) and the app gives you a gestural interface. Edits can be added in layers and tweaked later, so don’t worry about ruining your masterpiece. £free / iOS, Android

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● RETRICA

● MSQRD

The iPhone’s camera app already has eight live filters, but Retrica’s selection is larger. Its other creative tools include vignettes, blurs and borders. Our favourite feature is the interval timer, which takes consecutive photos and stitches them together in a user-defined layout. £free / iOS, Android

Unless you’re 17 years old, Snapchat’s CGI-style mods should be off limits. Ah, but some of them are quite good. Luckily, MSQRD offers similar live overlays that you can save to your phone. It periodically updates with new topical masks and filters, so you’ll never be upstaged by your teenage niece again. £free / iOS, Android

POCKET TRIPOD

THE TECH

from US$19 / pocket-tripod.com

Wielding a selfie stick not only marks you out as a narcissistic cretin; it’s also one extra thing to carry around with you. You could shove it where the sun is too embarrassed to shine, or you could use a Pocket Tripod instead. When not on duty it patiently waits in your wallet disguised as a credit card – but the second you need to hold your phone steady for a selfie, a long-exposure shot or a timelapse video, it twists and twizzles into a sturdy little tripod. The angle of your phone is even adjustable. Handy if you ever run into Peter Crouch.


BEST FREE APPS

BEST FOR SELFIES

● PRISMA

● PHOTOSHOP FIX

● PIXLR

Not many people wake up and face the world completely #nofilter. Yep, even that 8 seconds you spend in front of the mirror sorting your hair out counts. So nobody will judge you if you run your selfies through Photoshop Fix before posting them, using its simple tools to give yourself a little boost. £free / iOS

Pixlr puts itself ahead of Android’s myriad other free photo editors simply by being ad-free; but its huge range of tools enables you to do anything from simple cropping, rotating and collaging to subtly adding radial focal blurs or going all out with all kinds of grunge and crazy effects. £free / iOS, Android

If good artists borrow and great artists steal, Prisma is the perfect accessory to your crime. So much more than just a set of clever filters, it deconstructs your photos and uses cloud-based machine learning tech to apply its artist-aping effects to your pictures as it puts them back together, resulting in some of the most convincing homages you’ll get from a phone without having to add any talent at all. MIOBI, Curtain and Electric are our favourites. Just don’t forget to turn off the watermark in the settings first. £free / iOS, Android

● GOOGLE PHOTOS Google Photos has a neat trick up its sleeve. No more having to go through and tag all of your pictures (‘amusing vegetables’, ‘cows that look like Hitler’ etc) – it analyses and groups them automatically, so search ‘cows’ and the one that looks like history’s most evil vegetarian will appear. £free / iOS, Android

● MOTION STILLS ● GIPHY CAM

● FYUSE

The gif has become valuable currency on the stock market of social media, so being able to churn out your own from your phone’s camera will put you in a strong position to harvest those likes and retweets. Giphy Cam is a cinch to use and has an ever-changing catalogue of meme-worthy effects. £free / iOS

Remember those lenticular holograms on the front of cereal boxes in the ’90s? Fyuse is that for the emoji generation. Kind of. Use Fyuse to take a curved panorama photo, capturing a 180º view of a subject, and the app will turn it into a gif-type 3D file that moves as you tilt your phone left and right. £free / iOS, Android

Apple’s Live Photos can be neat but they’re difficult to liberate from your phone. Google’s Motion Stills app scours your camera roll for compatible images and lets you turn them into shareable gifs or video clips, with the option to either loop the video or bounce it back and forth from start to finish. £free / iOS

PHONETOGRAPHY 59


BEST FREE APPS

ARMCHAIR ATHLETES ● PREMIER LEAGUE The Premier League used to charge for its fantasy football app, but now it’s put everything in one handy package. That means when you’re in the supermarket on Saturday morning and you suddenly remember you’ve left Sergio Aguero on your bench, you can quickly amend your starting line-up before the deadline. Phew. The app’s also full of news, stats and videos. There’s even a page on referees, presumably for you to yell at when your team has a last-minute winner wrongly ruled out. £free / iOS, Android

● BBC SPORT

● ESPNCRICINFO

Apparently there are sports other than football. Who knew? The BBC, for one – it has an app dedicated to everything from NFL to netball. It’ll show you headlines and scores, with a customisable section you can fill with the sports you want to be kept up to date on. £free / iOS, Android

There’s only one thing cricket fans like more than the sound of leather on willow – and that’s talking about it. To do that you need ammo, and ESPN’s Cricinfo app provides lots. It’s packed with stats, scores and breaking news from the world’s most civilised game. Is it time for tea yet? £free / iOS, Android

SKY Q from £44/month, sky.com Now it’s the home of the Premier League (well, most of it), all the good cricket and Formula 1 (which will be in 4K from next season) – not forgetting the NFL, and more boring sports such as golf – can you really call yourself an armchair athlete without a Sky subscription?

● LIVE FOOTBALL ON TV With Sky and BT Sport moving the fixtures around willy nilly to satisfy the astronomical fees they’ve spent on broadcasting rights this season, it can be difficult to keep up with who’s on TV and when. The free version of this app will let you track one team at a time; it’ll tell you when they’re going to grace your TV screen and what channel it’ll be on. IAPs / iOS, Android 60

● STATS ZONE It’s all very well calling Robbie Savage a clueless waste of space when he’s on TV, but can you do better? Boost your sofa punditry with Stats Zone, which will generate the facts and figures to back up your radical tactical ideas (rather than relying on a mediocre playing career and bad hair). £free / iOS, Android

THE TECH


BEST FREE APPS THE TECH

LG G5 £530 / lg.com

● CAR DASHDROID

If you like to tinker under the hood, there’s really no other phone for you. LG’s modular G5 allows you to pull it apart and slot in specific power-ups, whether that’s a B&O DAC to make your music sound sweeter or a supercharged camera to give you a head start on Instagram.

Got a fancy new phone but drive the automotive equivalent of a Nokia 3310? Use this app to turn your phone into a pseudo Android Auto dashboard. It makes the icons more proddable, plus it’ll read out your texts and Whatsapp messages for you to dictate responses to. £free / Android

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● LOKLOK

● STATUS BOARD Chances are that your iPad sits around doing nothing much of the time. Status Board gives your tablet purpose during this downtime, displaying all kinds of info. Precisely what info is down to you: the app gives you widgets for a clock, weather, calendar, email subjects/counts, Twitter and RSS. Splurge on the £7.99 IAP and you can add graphs, tables, DIY HTML, countdowns, text and photo albums. HDTV support also makes Status Board a superb means of creating a live status display for an office. IAPs / iPad

● SWIFTKEY

● GBOARD

Some people still don’t realise they can switch the keyboard on their phone. Swiftkey’s the old favourite, with its neat swipe-to-type system that turns you into a texting ninja. It can now predict which emoji you want based on the words you’ve typed. Insert sunglasses emoji here… IAPs / iOS, Android

Google’s Gboard takes Swiftkey’s finger-swiping typing tech and throws in some of the search skills Google is best known for. It lets you seamlessly chuck in links, pictures and gifs related to what you’ve just written, so you don’t need to keep switching between your message and browser. £free / iOS

With the LokLok app you can set a picture as your lockscreen then scribble on top of it. Whatever you draw or write will then appear on top of the lockscreens of all those in your LokLok group. Presumably it’s intended to be used for sharing notes and pics between people, without them even having to unlock their phones. We do not condone using it to send people rude scrawls. Not at all. IAPs / Android

MOBILE MODDERS 61


BEST FREE APPS

● AIRHELP

● ROME2RIO You’re in Rome. You want to get to Rio. This app will tell you all the possible permutations for that trip, from car to train to plane. It’ll do it for other starting points and locations too, with prices, booking links and suggestions for accommodation thrown in for good measure. Spoiler alert: it’s best to fly to Rio. £free / iOS, Android

Mugged off by the pirates of the sky? AirHelp is a bit like one of those ‘no win, no fee’ injury lawyers but less shady. If your flight’s delayed, cancelled or overbooked AirHelp will take up your case for you, saving you from a frustrating Twitter spat with the airline’s poor social media manager or hours on hold to the customer service department. If any compensation is due to head your way, AirHelp takes a sizeable chunk (25%) – but what price can you put on not having to do all that pesky paperwork? £free / iOS, Android

● APP IN THE AIR

● UBER

Airports can be stressful places, especially if you’re not sure where the Wetherspoons is. App in the Air holds your hand right until your backside hits that seat on the plane, with reminders for everything from online check-in to boarding times. It’ll show you tips from other travellers too. £free / iOS, Android

Download Uber and you’ll never have to hold your phone up to a taxi driver’s face, pointing helplessly at an address and hoping they understand. Uber takes the hassle out of using taxis and eliminates the chance of getting ripped off by a driver charging you an imaginary tourist tax. £free / iOS, Android

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● MAPS.ME

● HOPPER

● SKYSCANNER

Google Maps now lets you save areas offline, but it makes you redownload them every 30 days. Store the areas you need and Maps.me works without a web connection, complete with directions and places of interest. It’ll even help you hunt out Wi-Fi if you have snaps you want to upload to Instagram. £free / iOS, Android

Heading somewhere but in no huge hurry to book? Just tell Hopper where it is you’re hoping to fly to and when, and it’ll monitor flight prices, letting you know when it expects them to soar or drop so you can get the best deal going. Hopper reckons it can save you up to 40%. Not bad for a free app. £free / iOS, Android

If time is not on your side but a bargain is still a priority, Skyscanner snoops through all the flights on your selected dates and shows you the cheapest way to fly from A to B. You can tell it to ignore layovers; or, if you’re feeling adventurous, get it to show you a load of cheap flights and pick one. £free / iOS, Android

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BEST FREE APPS

UE reckons the Roll 2 is 15% louder than its predecessor. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but every little counts when your speaker’s this small.

● TRAFI There are places in the world that Citymapper is yet to reach. Far-flung towns such as Kayseri, Kaohsiung and Kettering. OK, Trafi might be no use in Northamptonshire, but its self-learning algorithm and real-time updates will help you navigate transport systems in more exotic locales. £free / iOS, Android

UE ROLL 2

THE TECH

£79 / ultimateears.com

A decent Bluetooth speaker should be behind only your passport and clean pants on the essentials list when you’re packing to go away – and there aren’t many as travel-friendly as the UE Roll 2. It takes up as much space as a pair of socks, and with similar audio smarts to the much bigger Boom 2 it’s capable of filling anything from a cosy Airbnb lounge to a fancy boutique hotel room. It’s waterproof too, so you can take it to the beach and bolster that ‘Brits abroad’ stereotype by annoying all the locals with your choice of tunes.

● TRIPIT Tripit is like having a PA in your pocket. Send it all the confirmation emails you get for your journey and it will build an itinerary, so you’ll know exactly when you need to be where. You can even share it with everyone else on the trip. Well, you don’t want to leave Jamie behind, do you? Not after last time. IAPs / iOS, Android

● GOOGLE TRANSLATE Rather than pointing at items on a menu in the hope one of them is steak and chips, point Google Translate at the problem. It knows more than 70 languages and can convert them into English for you without needing a data connection. It even works on handwritten words. £free / iOS, Android

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BEST FREE APPS

PART-TIME PICASSOS VS ● ASSEMBLY Assembly claims to be ‘graphic design for everyone’. In reality, it’s more like a modern take on playing with felt shapes. At the foot of the screen there’s a shapes drawer, and you drag elements to the artboard, which can then be moved and resized. Get a little more advanced and they can be grouped for mass manipulation, recoloured, and have effects such as drop-shadows applied. You can even import an image as a backdrop. You know, if you fancy having a bash at designing next month’s Stuff cover. IAPs / iOS

● BRUSHES REDUX

● SKETCHBOOK EXPRESS

The original Brushes app sadly keeled over (boo!) but became open-source (hooray!) and now Brushes Redux brings the app to modern devices. It’s still simple and usable but also powerful, and boasts one of the best super-fast brush creation tools you’re ever likely to see. £free / iOS

Proof you don’t need expensive creative apps to get finger-painting, SketchBook Express gives you layers, opacity control, 15 preset brushes and a transform tool. And if you’re not artistic, you can always use it for adding rude tattoos to pictures of Michael Gove. IAPs / iOS

PENCIL BY 53 £36, fiftythree.com

● PAPER Originally an elegant drawing app for iPad, Paper got a radical overhaul with version 3. The sketching stuff remained but was joined by superb tools for quickly creating diagrams, taking notes and making lists. Hip beardists bemoaned the loss of digital notebooks, but we much prefer the new stacks of virtual paper that explode into a wall of sticky notes that are easy to explore. £free / iOS

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● ANIMATIC You won’t be challenging Pixar with Animatic, but as you scribble each frame you see previous ones beneath in faded form, ensuring smooth transitions throughout your DIY cartoon – so you might at least give early South Park a run for its money. Think of it like a virtual flick book. £free / iOS, Android

Designed for iOS but happy working with any touchscreen, the Pencil is the stylus that goes with Paper. It will work with other drawing and writing apps too – which is just as well, because have you ever seen a stylus that looks as good as this? No wonder it’s so pricey.

THE TECH


BEST FREE APPS

HEALTH FREAKS VS

● RUNKEEPER

● STRAVA

For £7.99 a month you can turn Runkeeper into a ‘personal trainer in your pocket’ with personalised workouts, but for £0.00 a month you can log your routes, store your stats and compare your performances with friends. We just hope for your sake you’re not buddies with Mo Farah. IAPs / iOS, Android

If you prefer to burn your calories on a bike, opt for Strava over Runkeeper. A superior cycling community means its maps have loads of real-world time trial routes that you can try to beat on your commute. Just try not to get to work too early. Nobody likes a teacher’s pet. IAPs / iOS, Android

SAMSUNG GEAR ICONX £169 / samsung.com Exercise is boring without music but the wires can get in the way. Samsung’s IconX in-ears are cable-free, plus they have fitness-tracking tech built-in in case you want to leave your phone at home while you’re grunting.

THE TECH

● SLEEP BETTER

● SEVEN

● APP FORMERLY KNOWN AS H__R

Seven minutes is barely enough time to polish off a kebab, but according to this app it is enough for a daily workout. With nothing more than your phone, a chair and a wall, Seven will guide you through a quick set of exercises you can do each morning while waiting for the bathroom. IAPs / iOS, Android

H__r (to give it its shorter name) is either a poncey avant-garde remix app or a tool to help you shut out the hustle and bustle of daily life, whether you’re trying to concentrate at work or get some sleep at night. Depending on which of the seven filters you select, it listens to the sounds being made around you and applies varying amounts of delay, reverb and volume-boosting to all of it (you can tweak the settings to suit), so next door’s noisy kids might as well not exist. Either that or it’ll give you really weird dreams. £free / iOS

Rather than turning to your old friends Mr Jack Daniel or Mademoiselle Artois to help you get to sleep at night, Runtastic’s Sleep Better app sits on the edge of the bed while you snooze and analyses your sleep patterns, waking you up at the right time and, hopefully, making it easier to drop off at night. You can also use it to keep a diary of your dreams and monitor phases of the moon. IAPs / iOS, Android

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BEST FREE APPS

The S7 Edge isn’t just a big battery and an even bigger screen. Those curved edges run handy widgets, and it’s got oomph for days.

● SHOOTY SKIES Its roots are in the scrolling shooters of the 1980s, but rather than downing an endless stream of boring jets, Shooty Skies has you attacking joystick-spewing arcade cabinets and laptops running LOLcat loops. Daft, but getting past the colossal bosses requires some seriously deft finger-work. IAPs / iOS, Android

THE TECH

SAMSUNG GALAXY S7 EDGE from £599 / samsung.com

Games eat your battery like grime MCs consume Nando’s, but the Edge’s 3600mAh cell will last over a day with normal usage. Some intense sessions on Rodeo Stampede will bring that down, but with a 5.5in Quad HD screen you’ll be too pixel-dazzled to notice. It’s also waterproof to 1.5m, so you don’t even have to stop playing when you get in the bath. 66

● PAC-MAN 256

● SPACETEAM

This re-imagining of the iconic dot-muncher’s maze-based adventures dumps Pac-Man beyond the infamous Level 256 glitch that consumed everything in its path. Our hero must keep moving, grabbing power-ups that enable him to spew laser death from his maw. Ah, yes — that bit’s new. IAPs / iOS, Android

‘Social’ mobile games often only let you battle someone on Facebook, but Spaceteam is different. Up to four players join on a local network, faced with a control panel of dials and sliders. Everyone must coordinate to deal with instructions (“Set Shiftsanitizer to 1!”), lest the spaceship explode. IAPs / iOS, Android


BEST FREE APPS

MORE GAME CHANGERS ● DEEP LOOT

● CLASH ROYALE Clash Royale might look like one of those horrible freemium games you see advertised on TV (and it sort of is), but this mashup of real-time strategy and card-collecting is so compelling that it’s worth dodging its attempts to mug your wallet. Your bank balance might be safe, but your free time won’t be. IAPs / iOS, Android

● SUPER DANGEROUS DUNGEONS The name makes it sound like child’s play, but each of these dungeons is peppered with traps intent on impaling or drowning the intrepid Timmy as he aims to grab the keys and reach the exit. Which sounds simple until you’ve died 27 times. IAPs / iOS, Android

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● SUPER STICKMAN GOLF 3 Super Stickman Golf’s catapulting ancestor is the same Apple II artillery game that Angry Birds has at its core, but thwacking balls around giant forests in this mini-golf extravaganza is much more fun, particularly in the frenetic multiplayer race mode. IAPs / iOS, Android

● WGT GOLF If you’d prefer something a little more down to earth, WGT Golf hits a hole in one for realism, from the delicate controls through to the eye-popping photorealistic courses you play on. It takes no prisoners, mind, and it’s all too easy to end up embarrassingly over par. Best get practising, eh? IAPs / iOS, Android

This sweet exploration game resembles such mobile classics as Mines of Mars and Mr Driller. Your little diver scoots about, unearthing wrecks and treasure in a procedurally generated watery environment, taking his turn to move before various fishy critters follow suit. Loads of surprises hide in the depths, and there’s a real sense of progression as you add to collections back on the surface. It’s grindy at first, and dives are short; but persevere and you’ll salvage one of the best mobile games around. IAPs / iOS, Android

● IMAGO The aim of Imago is to merge tiles of the same size and colour to form large blocks. These then ‘explode’ back into individual squares, each retaining the score of its parent. Savvy planning can quickly see your score leap into the millions. Ignore the IAPs and this is one of the finest puzzlers around. IAPs / iOS, Android

● HOPELESS: THE DARK CAVE Hopeless sees you playing as cute, gun-toting yellow blobs in a gloomy cave. Things run at you and you only have a moment to react: monsters must be shot and other yellow blobs left alone so they can join you and increase your powers. Tense, frantic entertainment. IAPs / iOS, Android 67


BEST FREE APPS

WEEKEND WANDERERS ● GLP – GREAT LITTLE PLACE Second only to kidnapping a local, Great Little Place helps you to find the bars and restaurants that others don’t know about (well, unless they’ve also got this app). It’s a bit like a dating app for food and drink, although you don’t have to worry whether a restaurant or pub fancies you back. Find something you like the look of and you can add it to your shortlist. Find somewhere you like that’s not on the app and you can add it yourself. Just don’t get annoyed if it suddenly gets harder to find a table. £free / iOS

● CAMONROAD Going on a road trip? After a decent playlist and plenty of sweets, a satnav should be top of your kit list – and CamOnRoad is GPS with a twist. Mount it on your windscreen and it doubles as a dashcam, with footage sent to the cloud and augmented reality directions and points of interest overlaid. IAPs / iOS, Android

● MET OFFICE WEATHER

● LIVETREKKER

You’d have to be a fool to go out in the UK without checking the forecast first. The official Met Office app isn’t fancy – you get a timeline of the changing skies, maps showing incoming fronts, plus alerts for unexpected events. Because sometimes it snows in April. IAPs / iOS, Android

If you like spending your weekends outdoors it can be tough to keep track of where you’ve ventured, but LiveTrekker uses your phone’s GPS to leave a digital trail. You can add pics of the most picturesque views, videos of you getting spat on by that llama, and notes to remind you of your day. £free / iOS, Android

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● ONEFOOTBALL

● GOOGLE MAPS

● OS MAPS

Just because you’re spending Saturday at Ikea doesn’t mean you can’t keep up with what’s happening around the grounds. Onefootball will send you goal notifications (to your smartwatch if you have one), so you’ll know not to miss Zlatan’s 96th-minute equaliser on Match of the Day. £free / iOS, Android

Most people don’t need to be told Google Maps exists, but if you’re still using Apple’s effort then clearly you haven’t been listening. Google’s guidance is better, plus Street View is handy for checking out routes and destinations before you arrive. Existing users might not know you can also save chunks offline now. £free / iOS, Android

If your choice for a weekend wander is off the tarmac’d track, you’ll need more detail on your maps than just where the nearest Starbucks is. Ordnance Survey has decades of experience supplying exactly that; and while the free version isn’t perfect, it’ll do for the odd excursion. IAPs / iOS, Android


BEST FREE APPS

The tracker’s battery lasts at least a year, but when it’s dead Tile will recycle it for you and give you money off a replacement.

● MAGNUS So you’ve wandered into that gallery you always planned to check out, but it’s so coolly minimalist there’s no information about any of the pictures. Never mind – Magnus is like Shazam for art. Let your phone’s camera see what you want to identify and around 70% of the time the app will recognise it. £free / iOS

TILE SLIM

THE TECH

US$30 / thetileapp.com When you’re gallivanting about the place downing Bloody Marys and sampling craft beer, it can be easy to lose track of time/your belongings/your mind. You can’t attach a Bluetooth tracker to two of those things but you definitely can to the other. Tile’s new Slim is bigger than its original tracker but much slimmer, so it’ll slip easily into your wallet, camera bag or Panama hat band and you can use the app to track it down if it goes missing. Get close but can’t quite lay your hands on it? You can trigger an alert noise to sound from the accompanying app. Just try not to swallow it by mistake.

● FOURSQUARE

● CITYMAPPER

FourSquare is no longer about checking in to your local chippy in the hope of becoming its mayor. Now it’s about discovering places to eat and drink around you. Results show their ranking and price, and there’s also a section that suggests other places of interest, from historic sites to jazz clubs. Nice. £free / iOS, Android

There’s still no better app than Citymapper for getting from A to B, and it’s now available in 36 cities around the world. Tell it where you want to go and it’ll work out every permutation of public transport to get you there, with time and price info, plus how long it would take to walk instead. £free / iOS, Android

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BEST FREE APPS

THE TECH

● KITCHEN STORIES

LG OLED55C6V £2299 / lg.com

● ADOBE LIGHTROOM

If you’re going to spend so much time watching other people cook their dinner on MasterChef and its ilk, you might as well have a go yourself. Kitchen Stories is awash with mouthwatering but helpful, cleanly shot videos covering recipes and essential skills, such as how to prepare a squid or make a hearty beef stew. It’ll tell you exactly how long a dish will take to make, and when you adjust the number of portions required it automatically alters the ingredients. Just make sure you can see the TV from your kitchen. IAPs

Our favourite Ultra HD telly is almost too talented for Apple’s tiny black box (it can’t feed the LG a 4K HDR signal – at least not yet), but don’t let that stop you investing in this amazing rectangle of tech with a curved screen. The OLED picture will blow your slippers off.

We’re bending the rules a little with this one because you need a Creative Cloud subscription to use it, but if you’re serious enough to subscribe for Photoshop you should be just as serious about showing off the results – and where better than on the biggest screen in your house? CC from £8.57/month

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● FLICKR If nothing else, Flickr is worth signing up for just to get the 1TB of storage and automatic photo backup to the cloud that it offers for free. But if you also happen to own an Apple TV and have access to some poor unsuspecting victims, it’s also a neat way to subject the family to a slideshow of your snaps from your summer holiday in Alicante (or those from holidays uploaded by people you don’t even know). £free

● PLEX

● INFUSE 4

Plex appeared in unofficial form on jailbroken secondgen Apple TVs but now it’s gone legit, keeping your movie collection in shape and streaming it from your computer or NAS to your telly. You can also select what you want to watch on your phone or tablet and then seamlessly send it to the TV instead. Neat. IAPs

Infuse is a similarly skilled streaming app, re-encoding your files on the fly as you fling them from a PC, Mac or NAS to that little black box under the telly, so you don’t need to worry about pesky conversion. Artwork, catalogue sorting and metadata are all automatic. IAPs

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BEST FREE APPS

HUMAN DIY

● PHOTOMATH

● TED

Thought you’d left maths lessons at school? Well, you were rubbish at it then and you’re still rubbish at it now. Write down the sum you need to solve, point your camera at it and Photomath will show you step-by-step instructions on how to solve it. If only you’d had a smartphone back in the day, right? IAPs / iOS, Android

TED is food for the brain, full of riveting talks by all manner of clever people, which you can watch live or download to view offline. Given that this is an app about discovery, we’re particularly fond of the Surprise Me section. Define the type of content you want to see and it will offer talks to suit. £free / iOS, Android

XIAOMI YEELIGHT £47 / xiaomi-mi.com This bedside smartlight has modes for any mood, with a free app to change the colour Hue-style. It’ll also help you read before bed without straining your eyes, plus its wake-up function will gently ease you out of your slumber each morning.

THE TECH

● TICKLE

● REACHOUT BREATHE

● DUOLINGO

STRESS! ANXIETY! MORE STRESS! If your heart’s thumping now, you could probably use ReachOut Breathe, an app designed to slow your breathing and help you unwind. You place a finger on the screen, breathing in until a circle fills. You then hold your breath for a bit and breathe out until the circle fades. This probably sounds like it’s turned us into a bunch of hippies (man), but ReachOut Breathe really works. Try it. Relax. Be briefly at one with the world, until some idiot does something to annoy you again. £free / iOS

Annoyingly, we’ve found that eating loads of tapas and watching La Liga isn’t enough to gain fluency in Spanish. Fortunately, Duolingo turns learning the basics of a foreign language into a game-like experience through exercises, stats, and a gentle difficulty curve. IAPs / iOS, Android

Self-improvement isn’t all about sitting in a cupboard and thinking of your happy place. Tickle teaches you how to code using a simple block-based system, slotting commands together like a jigsaw. It’ll work with your Sphero BB-8, Philips Hue bulbs and other programmable gadgets, so you can put what you’ve learned into action straight away. £free / iOS

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BEST FREE APPS

LIFE ADMIN VS ● CTRL-F Not an app you’ll use every day, but Ctrl-F can certainly come in handy. The name is the keyboard shortcut to search for something on a document, and that should give you a clue as to what it does. Take a picture of a page of text and the app will digitise it, giving you a fully searchable version that can help you find the bit you’re looking for, plus you can export the doc as a printable PDF. If only you could hold it up to your house and get it to scan for your car keys. £free / Android

● WUNDERLIST

● ANY.DO

● EVERNOTE

If ‘find a new to-do list app’ is somewhere on your to-do list, Wunderlist deserves an audition. It works on everything from your Apple Watch to your web browser, syncing between them. You can also add notes for those particularly mammoth jobs, like cleaning your pet mammoth. IAPs / iOS, Android

We’re all busy. Busy sticking our to-do lists on the fridge door or tapping reminders into our phones. Any.do is the best way to keep on top of it all, thanks to its cloud syncing and sharing skills. You can run it as a live widget on your homescreen and separate your tasks into folders. IAPs / iOS, Android

You can only use Evernote on two devices for free, but it’s still a great dumping ground. Quick idea for something amazing? Bung it in Evernote! Got a receipt? Chuck it in Evernote! Fancy recording yourself yelling “ARGH!” because you forgot to save a receipt in Evernote? Do it in Evernote! IAPs / iOS, Android

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● PUSHBULLET

● MONZO

Install PushBullet on every device you use and you can control everything from your computer: send texts, see notifications, exchange files and links (no more emailing stuff to yourself). It also means you can text away at your desk without fiddling with your phone and it’ll look like you’re getting on with your work. £free / iOS, Android

An app that comes with its own debit card, Monzo is just about the techiest bank out there. Every time you spend using your Monzo card (pre-pay only for now, but it plans to switch to full debit card status next year) it’ll send you notifications and show how much you’ve spent so far that day. How much?! £free / iOS, Android

● MONEY DASHBOARD Money Dashboard can track how much wonga is leaking out of your credit and debit cards. Input all your accounts and it’ll show you nice graphs of where you spend the most money. Time to cut down on those trips to the artisan pork scratchings emporium, then… £free / iOS, Android


BEST FREE APPS The Echo can talk to Nest kit, Philips Hue lights and WeMo tech, so you can instruct it to control other gadgets all over your house.

● FEEDLY No matter how much of the internet gets read, there always seems to be more to get through. Will it ever end? An RSS reader helps, and Feedly lets you put all the stories from your favourite sites into one easily browsable list, plus it integrates nicely with the likes of Pocket and Evernote. Get reading! £free / iOS, Android

AMAZON ECHO

THE TECH

£149 / amazon.co.uk

Having spent the last couple of years helping out our friends across the pond, Amazon’s Echo is finally making the trip to the UK. This hi-tech tennis ball tube is home to Alexa – a Siri-style helper that you can instruct to set timers, make lists and read out your schedule for the day, among a stack other things that Siri can only dream of. Use it as a brainy speaker or internet radio using voice commands to get it to play what you want from Spotify, Audible or TuneIn Radio. Don’t fancy cooking? Get Alexa to look up nearby restaurants for you. It’s just a shame she can’t call them and make you a booking.

● SUBSCRIPTME

● 1PASSWORD

That free trial with the mail-order sausage firm you signed up for is about to end – and with Netflix and Spotify draining your monthly income, something’s got to give. SubscriptMe scans your phone and inbox to spot what you’re spending on and will give you a reminder when the bills are due. £free / iOS

Telling one app all your passwords might seem like Edward Snowden’s worst nightmare, but with its 256-bit encryption, 1Password means you can come up with stronger passwords for each online account without making them too simple. Isn’t it time you moved on from ‘password12345’ anyway? £IAP / iOS, Android

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F I R S T T E S T F U J I F I L M X-T 2

Yes sir, I can Fuji The X-T1 was already a great compact system camera, but 4K video and better autofocus make the sequel a real mover £1399 / stuff.tv/XT2 If Apple made cameras, they’d probably look a lot like the Fujifilm X-T2. As with the iPhone or iPad, Fuji’s new compact system cam melds style with simplicity for a gadget you’ll itch to pick up but won’t want to put down. Like the MacBook, it thumbs its nose at the spec wars but still manages to outperform most rivals. And as with every Apple product, it costs a pretty penny while seemingly offering only a minor upgrade over its predecessor. Don’t think it’s all hype and no trousers, though; because while it may look much like the X-T1, the T2 is definitively a far better camera. On the face of it the biggest change here is the new 24.3MP X-Trans APS-C sensor, which gives you 50% more pixels to play with. That’s no bad thing, but image quality was never Fuji’s problem anyway – it really lagged behind Canon’s recent efforts (and most of its CSC rivals) due to its shoddy video skills and so-so autofocus. Well, they’ve both been massively improved here – and then some.

1 Film developed If video was the X-T1’s Achilles heel, the X-T2’s been to a top chiropodist: 4K recording is the headline but the fact that it now autofocuses smoothly and continuously is just as big a deal. Footage is sharp and you can also use Fuji’s lovely filters while filming.

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2 Focus pocus The X-T2 autofocuses like a champ. With 91 focal points,or a massive 325 if you go manual, it’s uncannily accurate and superfast even in gloomy conditions. The subject-tracking mode can even be customised according to what you’re shooting.

[ Words Marc McLaren ]

Good Meh Evil

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28 hours with the Fujifilm X-T2

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F I R S T T E S T F U J I F I L M X-T 2

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Tech specs Sensor 24.3MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS III ISO 200-12800 AF points 91 (325 manual) Shutter speed 1/8000-30secs (manual); 1/32,000-30secs (electronic) Video 4K mpeg-4 AVC Screen 3in, 10.4m dots Connectivity Wi-Fi, microHDMI, microUSB, USB3.0, mic/remote, SD/SDHC card

Little wonders The difference between a great camera and a camera that just takes great photos? Touches such as these:

Dial it up

3 Black beauty At first glance the T2 looks nearidentical to the T1, but that’s fine. It’s a stunner: elegantly retro but at the same time reassuringly well built and impressively weatherproof. It feels great in the hand, with oodles of manual controls at your fingertips. 4 Still got it Fuji continues to forge its own path image-wise, kitting out the T2 with its own X-Trans sensor. That means super-sharp stills with bags of colour. The straight-out-of-camera jpegs are wonderful; you may never need to go near the RAW files.

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T m he y 18 35 -5 m 5 m ki on t le th ns e p is Fu ics goo is ji’s ad c ju d, a st bu re m am s sin t w na g. it to il h us ma Fu e f nu a U ji’s o a I o Re rm lf ve m ac ocu rh ot ro s. au e a sn Th l is pp ap is se w s. Ba rio or ks up tt u s e f th ry ly in er ’s ov e b e w go er ut du n ith e e. DS aga LR in. Di s f It’s Ye d I or c s? m st lea W ent am rl ell io in y no n I’ll h a. t m ow en tio fas ni ta t a ut ga ofo in cu an s yw is? ay .

5 Filter it out The Fuji’s pics have plenty of pop but for maximum wow factor check out the film sim modes. These simple filters can be applied at any time and range from the moody Classic Chrome to the gorgeous new Acros B&W option. Instagram schminstagram.

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Taking photos should be a tangible experience or you might as well use a phone. Here you get physical dials for ISO, shutter speed and exposure, with aperture set on the lens. You’ll barely use the menus.

Dual delight

Like its stablemate the X-Pro2, the X-T2 has dual SD card slots. This is great news: you can back up images to the second card, shoot jpegs to one and RAW to the other, or just use both in turn.

Button boon

Round the back there’s a new focus lever which, with so many focus points to choose from, you’ll soon rely upon. Every button can be customised too, giving you the setup that really works for you.

Screen dream

The screen flips sideways as well as up and down, making it easier to grab shots in tricky positions. It’s not as flexible as Canon’s class-leading efforts, but it’s a step in the right direction.

The Fujifilm X-T2 is a lesson in how to upgrade an already great gadget. There was no need for big changes here – the X-T1 was itself a brilliant camera. Instead, Fuji focused on the first model’s weaknesses, giving it superb video and autofocus skills to go with the already top image quality and build. The result is a truly superb all-rounder. @marc_mclaren

STUFF SAYS The X-T2 is a joy to hold and a dream to shoot with; it’s a camera you’ll quickly fall in love with 75


VERSUS LIGHTNING

O

S

1 Heavy metal

The Sines’ metal frame can take a battering but isn’t hugely flexible. Get through a few albums and it may feel stiff around your head.

1

2 Discretion session

TES WIN T NER

Top-end cans usually have OTT looks, but Audeze’s subtle styling means you can take these out without looking like a music snob.

2

3

3 Precious memories

4

The Fidelios’ cushions are filled with memory foam, so they mould to your lugs. It seals in sound, but may turn your ears a little toasty.

4 Use your head

The M2Ls don’t have an inline remote – the volume and playback controls are built right into the ear cup for easy skipping.

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VERSUS LIGHTNING HEADPHONES

Lightning strikes tw ce Hit the road, jack socket – if you’re picking up a new iPhone and don’t want to go wireless (or fiddle about with an adaptor), you’ll need some Lightning-cabled headphones. We put two top contenders to the test…

What’s the deal?

Planar magnetic drivers are standard stuff for top-end, listen-at-home headphones, but rare as hen’s false teeth in a pair of portable cans. Audeze has squeezed them into a pair of on-ears you can actually wear outside the house. The Sines are iPhone 7-ready out of the box, but have a 3.5mm cable too so you can swap the wires out and plug into other kit.

Are they any good?

They’re heavier than they look, but not uncomfortable once you’ve got them on your bonce. The cups sit on your ears, not around them, so they don’t completely block outside noise – but you don’t need to whack them up full blast to drown out your commute. Still, if you do turn them up, those drivers won’t distort one bit. The big focus on bass and treble leaves the midrange just a little isolated. That’s great if you’re mostly listening to electronic music: The Prodigy’s The Day is My Enemy explodes out with every digital beat, and Skrillex’s signature brand of wub-wub is suitably… wub-wubby. But vocal-led tracks don’t have quite the same impact. These are not the last word in critical listening, then; but if your music has to have real presence, with no chance of distortion, they really hit the spot.

Philips Fidelio M2L What’s the deal?

The Fidelio M1s are still some of the best bang-for-buck on-ears we’ve ever had the pleasure of putting on, and this Lightning version is aiming for a repeat performance. They ditch the removable 3.5mm cable for a fixed Lightning connector, which is perfect for the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, but less handy if you knacker it out: a broken cable here means a whole new pair of cans.

Are they any good?

The leather and metal styling looks the business, and there’s plenty of movement in the ear cups to get a comfy fit. They’re also pretty light on your head, so all-day listening won’t get heavy. The smaller ear cups let in more noise than the Sines’ chunky pads, so you’ll want to up the volume a notch to mute the world. A Lightning connector means your phone isn’t doing any of the work changing digital to analogue – decoding is all down to the cans. Philips’ built-in DAC does great things with our test tracks, pumping out a rich, full-bodied sound with lots of bass, even if the Audezes are that little bit more punchy and precise. If you could swap the cables around, the M2Ls would be a no-brainer; but since you’re stuck with Lightning, they won’t be versatile enough for everyone.

Price £399 / audeze.com Tech ● Planar magnetic drivers ● Closed-back design ● >120dB ● 10Hz-50kHz ● 20 ohms ● 230g

Price £199 / philips.co.uk Tech ● Dynamic drivers ● Closed-back design ● >107dB ● 7Hz-25kHz ● 16 ohms ● 195g

Stuff says

Stuff says

Phenomenal sound that’s not tied to an iPhone 7, making them worth the extra cash

Portable, powerful, and pretty – as long as you don’t mind being tied to Lightning

APP-LY SOME PRESSURE ● Both these sets of cans are plugand-play, but you can tweak how the Sines sound with the Audeze app. It’s free in the iOS App Store, and you can set up two custom EQ presets using the 10 frequency sliders. Don’t want to fiddle? Well, don’t install the app – they work fine without it. ● There’s no official Philips Fidelio app, but you’ll need to download a thirdparty player if you want to listen to hi-res music. iTunes can’t play FLAC files, but Onkyo’s HF Music Player (free to download, £7.99 for hi-res playback) does a great job. Just don’t expect 24-bit, 192kHz audio – the Lightning connector doesn’t support it at all.

[ Words Tom Morgan ]

Audeze Sine

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n o d n o L g n Shapi

2016 Exhibition opens 20 May

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TEST UNDER ARMOUR SPEEDFORM GEMINI 2 RECORD EQUIPPED

Smart shoes. No, really…

If these trainers don’t get you moving, nothing will. Why strap on a wearable when your shoes know everything? £130 / stuff.tv/UAGemini OK, Speedform Gemini 2 Record Equipped is a bit of a mouthful for a pair of running shoes, but it’s the ‘Record Equipped’ that’s the important bit. It means there’s a Bluetooth foot pod inside, for recording all kinds of data every time you run. It’s sealed inside the sole, so the only signs of the shoes’ smarts are the tags on the laces. Don’t worry, your feet won’t light up like a fairground with every step. The Gemini 2s are actually pretty subtle in grey and red. You could wear them to the ambassador’s reception without causing an international incident. The built-in battery doesn’t need recharging, and should last for the lifetime of the shoes. That’ll work out at around 500 miles of running. And while a fitness tracker is easily left at home, you’ll never forget to put your shoes on before you go for a run. Out on the road, there’s enough sole padding to stop your tootsies getting tender. The tracking tech is only in the right shoe, but you can’t feel any weight difference once you’ve laced them up. Just don’t expect them to keep score once you’re on your bike – they only record runs, not cycle rides. Finish your workout and the pod will automatically beam a record back to your phone. Inside the app, my distance, speed and pace were all spot-on – it’s as accurate as any top-spec tracker.

App my run

Most Under Armour gear uses the UA Record app, but these kicks only work with Map My Run. It syncs with apps such as MyFitnessPal too, so you know if you’ve done enough exercise to burn off that pre-lunch donut.

Route master

Leave your phone at home and the Gemini 2s will still record your run, but you’ll only get GPS mapping data if you bring your handset along. It will save your route as you run, so no need to open the app before you set off.

Tech specs Sensor Pedometer foot pod for tracking time, cadence, duration, distance, splits Connection Bluetooth Sizes UK size 6-15 Weight 295g

STUFF SAYS They’ll get you race-ready, but only if you chosen discipline is running Lace ’em up and leave the phone at home… unless you want GPS Tom Morgan

Any bit of running tech you don’t have to charge, turn on or even remember to wear is a good thing. The Gemini 2s track your workouts with precision, are as comfy as a regular running shoe, and don’t cost much more either. You’ll only get so many miles out of a pair, you’ll still need a phone in your pocket for GPS, and they only record runs (sorry, cyclists), but for sheer convenience they deserve a place in your kitbag. 79


W I

N £100 AMAZON VOUCHER

MISFIT RAY RRP £79

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URBAN BIKES

The bikes

● Coboc ONE Rome

New to biking? This light and easy-to-use electric bike will get you up and riding in double time.

URBAN BIKES STUFF PICKS

● Canyon Urban 7.0

Ready to upgrade? The Urban proves city bikes can be sexy… and low-maintenance.

● Kona Honzo CR Trail

Want something different? A hooligan hardtail mountain bike is perfect for urban shortcuts.

Our favourite city rides will ensure you arrive with a smile on your face and flies on your teeth

● Tern Verge X20

Need to use the train? Folding bikes are allowed on most trains – and this one’s a rocket off it.

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URBAN BIKES

The e-bike

COBOC ONE ROME £2999 / coboc.co.uk

Tom Morgan Reviews Editor A daily commute through central London is probably the 10th level of cycling hell, but even with the ever-present threat of militant cabbies, Coboc’s electrically assisted One Rome should make sure I won’t melt into a puddle of sweat by the time I reach the office. Not that you’d know it was an electric bike; Coboc stealthily stuffs the frame full of batteries, and the motor is built into the rear wheel. The power button and charging port are hidden under the top tube; the blue battery LEDs are the only visible giveaway that you’re not

purely running on pedal power. Its assistance is most noticeable on hills, although the minimalist motor only makes 40nM of torque so I have to put some effort in on big inclines. But, unlike more powerful e-bikes, the Coboc is light enough to reward that graft. I find that I can blast past the government-regulated 15mph motor cut-off, winding the single gear up to about 25mph in a sprint. Range is minimalist too, at about 50 miles – but the Coboc is designed for buzzing around town, not climbing Mont Ventoux. And the fact that it’s light enough to take up four floors to my flat every evening more than makes up for the lack of adventure.

The light stuff

Even though the Rome is a featherweight compared to most e-bikes, hydraulic disc brakes give you maximum stopping power.

Start me up

Underneath that classy Coboc logo is the bike’s on/off switch. The charging port is under there too, out of the rain.

Lend a helping foot

What looks like a big wheel hub is actually a small wheel motor. It’s not as powerful as some, so you will have to do some work.

● TomTom Spark 3

This pacetracking superwatch keeps an eye on the miles you’re racking up, and you can stay smug knowing your heart isn’t hammering away while the bike’s motor does its thing. £119 / tomtom.com

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● Lifestraw Go Gone so far that you’ve drained the Coboc’s battery? This water bottle’s got a purifying straw built in, so you can drink straight out of the Trent while you work out how to get home. £46 / amazon.co.uk

● Lumo Clissold Bomber Jacket Stay safe with this lit-up jacket. It’s got LEDs built in, so you’ll stick out like a beacon at night, and with a motor doing the work, the thick lining won’t leave you soaked in sweat. £125 / kickstarter.com

● Orp Smart Horn

That zippy motor will have you whizzing along, so you’ll want something to warn any pedestrians to get off their phone and watch where they’re going… 96dB ought to do it. US$65 / orpland.com


URBAN BIKES

I CAN BLAST PAST THE 15MPH MOTOR CUT-OFF IN A SPRINT

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URBAN BIKES Just add gadgets

Any aero advantage gained by the slick stem design will soon be ruined by lights, a GPS computer and your big parpy horn.

Lose your seat

All the bikes in this feature have racy-looking saddles. All of which we’d instantly swap out for something more comfy.

It can look after itself

The never-needs-oiling belt drive and enclosed 8-speed Shimano Alfine hub gears make for a maintenance-phobe’s dream.

The all-rounder

C A N Y O N U R B A N 7. 0 £1139 / canyon.com

Ross Presly Deputy Art Editor Having ridden all of these bikes extensively on rollers (that’s me blue-steelin’ all over the pictures up there), mine is the only opinion you should trust. Electric? Too slow once the motor cuts out. MTB? Good luck nipping through a gap with those wide bars. Folder? Everybody knows you should go Brompton. But the Canyon is a truly versatile urban cycling champ. Equipped with a belt drive and eight-speed hub gear, it’s easy to ride up hills, doesn’t leave your legs spinning on the descents, cruises along the flats comfortably, then as a

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trouser-flapping bonus the carbon fibre belt drive is super-quiet and filth-free. You’ll probably notice a lot of people trying to get a good look at your “interesting” frame and asking about that crazy headtube setup. If you’re like me you’ll tell them how long it took you to figure out how to adjust the stem (the bolt to loosen the top cap is on the underside of the top tube). The wheels and seat are secured by antitheft bolts, and the fat 35mm Schwalbe tyres roll really quickly and offer plenty of grip. The only things I’d change are the pedals – get some of those double-sided ones Chee has chosen over the page; they’ll be a bit more stable and grippy.

● Cateye Volt 300/TL Rapid X Rechargeable Light Set You’re going to need lights to be seen on those murky evenings. These have USB connectors so you can plug into your computer or phone charger at work. £48 / evanscycles.com

● Chrome Storm 415 Pro Leather Boot

Winter is coming and, as the storm in their name suggests, these are fully waterproof and have reflective heels. And they’re SPD compatible to, erm, boot. £160 / chrome industries.com


URBAN BIKES Time to re-tyre

Best keep this off-road rubber for the weekends: there are loads of 29in semi-slick tyres that’ll be faster for a gravelly commute.

Hon a budget?

If the attitude appeals but the pricetag prevents, Kona does various Honzos in lesser specs of carbon or aluminium.

Get a grip

Wide and thick bars make for precise turning, but you might want to consider narrower ones for nipping through traffic gaps.

The crossbreed

KONA HONZO CR TRAIL £3499 / konaworld.com

Fraser Macdonald Consulting Editor Sod Google Maps – I’ve managed to plot a route to work that’s only 30% road, the rest being shared between cycle paths, gravel, off-road, a few sets of steps and what may actually be someone’s garden. Very little of it is boring. So I need a bike that can take a bit of rough. This Kona may technically be a mountain bike, but it uses the large 29in wheel diameter normally reserved for fast race bikes. Still, the new-school geometry, the wide handlebars, the toughty Fox 34 suspension fork… they

all hark towards something more attuned to rock-drop hooliganism than Lycra-clad pace-chasing. And to confuse bike spotters even further, this is one of the new-for-2017 carbon fibre Honzos, making it not just strange but ultra-expensive for a mountain bike with no rear suspension. Is it any good, though? Yes. Too good, if I’m honest. The stiff, light carbon frame gives it accelerating, leaping and hooning abilities outside the parameters of my nearly-40-year-old biomechanics. Nonetheless, whether I’m giving it my take on maximum attack, or just sitting back and letting the big, wide wheels suck up London’s stupid road surfaces, I’m all smiles.

● Cycliq Fly 12

One of these days I’m going to jump them steps, rather than rattle down them… and I want this combined bike light and action cam to capture the carnage. Which it’ll do, in 1080p and 45fps. £249 / cycliq.com

● Madison Addict Softshell

These mountain biker’s baggy shorts are smart enough to be seen in the office, and they’re cosy and waterresistant enough to take the sting out of a wintry commute. £64 / madison.co.uk 85


URBAN BIKES

The folder

TERN VERGE X20 £2299 / ternbicycles.com

Chee-Chiu Lee Brand Art Editor Given that you’re only paid for being at work, not getting there, it makes sense to shorten your commute as much as possible. In the city, that often means a combination of train and bike… and with rush-hour restrictions, that means a folding bike. The Tern Verge X20 is the Ferrari of folders. The aero 20in wheels, FSA carbon cranks and hydroformed aluminium frame add up to a weight of just 9.9kg. That’s great for when you’re carrying it about, but it gives it a swift ride quality too. It’s surprisingly stiff and quick off

the mark, with no movement or creaking from the folding bits. There’s a bit of flex in the tall handlebar stem if you’re sprinting, but you get used to it and it probably helps take a bit of sting out of the potholes – the racing tyres don’t offer much cushioning. Folding takes only 10 seconds with practice, with just a couple of clamps to undo on the main frame and seatpost. It makes for a tidy folded bundle, except that the big 55-tooth chainring is left exposed – and it looks like it’d be an ankle-biter in a crowded carriage. In truth, though, if the homebound train is looking busy, I’d happily just ride the Tern all the way home. Might even beat my PB.

Little red booster

Natty red anodising marks out the X20 as an above-average city bike. Though it’ll have the thieves swarming too…

Back in the fold

Magnets and a rubber strap hold the folded bike together. It’s not quite as neat as the Brompton system, though.

Gear we go

Zoom zoom – light wheels and big gearing make this an express city-crosser. And if your legs go, you can take it on the bus. Win!

● Tern CarryOn Cover 2.0

Nothing gets train commuters tutting like taking a muddy bike on board. So give your folding bike a disguise while keeping chain and stabby chainrings away from the haters. £44 / evanscycles.com

● Hydro Flask 16 oz Coffee

Take an extra 20 mins’ snooze and throw your hot breakfast beverage in your bag instead of gulping it down before leaving home. This sippy flask will keep hot things hot for up to six hours. from £19 / hydroflask.com

● Shimano PD-A530 SPD Single Sided Touring Pedals These pedals are the best of both worlds. One side’s flat for your work shoes, but on the other there’s an SPD connection for your suitably prepared race shoes. £32 / wiggle.co.uk

● Vulpine Men’s British Waxed Harrington

Without any mudguards, you’ll need a decent cycling-specific jacket. This Vulpine jacket is spendy, but thoughtfully designed and as smart as a button. £350 / vulpine.cc

Thanks!

Madison lent us the Arion Mag Parabolic Rollers (£274) for this shoot. We can imagine training in front of the telly on cold winter nights with these. We won’t, but we can imagine it. madison.co.uk 86


URBAN BIKES

FOLDING TAKES ONLY 10 SECONDS WITH PRACTICE

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GADGET DOCTOR

Help! What can I watch on my 4K TV?

1 Supercharge your subscription

READER IN NEED Alex Wilks Telly buff ● Upgrade your Netflix

Stuff, I’ve just shelled out on a new 4K TV, but my Ultra High-Definition dreams were shattered upon turning it on. Every channel seems to broadcast in boring old HD. I want to see the world in dazzling quality while quaffing cheese Doritos on my couch. Sort this out, won’t you… THE EXPERT Rob Leedham Editor

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Most Netflix Originals shows are available to watch in 4K. Got a fibre internet speed of 25Mbps or higher? You’ll want to upgrade to the £8.99/month subscription and feast on a smorgasbord of revelatory telly.

● Watch Mourinho at United with Sky Q

When it comes to the Premier League, Sky Sports is king. It’s got over 120 games a season, now in Ultra HD. Available to Sky Q Silver box owners, this package isn’t cheap, but it means you’ll get to see Rooney’s mug in visceral detail.

● Optimise Prime

Amazon’s 4K library for Prime Instant Video is dominated by original shows like Transparent and The Man in the High Castle. You can also pay to watch so-so movies such as The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Elysium and Fury.

● Take a trip to the continent

If you’re more interested in European football, then it’s probably worth plumping for BT Sports’ UHD offering. Here you’ll get Champions League, Europa League and FA Cup matches in addition to its Premier League fixtures.


GADGET DOCTOR WE’RE ALWAYS ON CALL

2

3

Sort out your home cinema setup

Shoot your own footage

@stuffTV

facebook.com/ joinstuff

google com/ +stufftv

stuff@ haymarket.com

NOW ADD THIS

YouTube

● Panasonic DMP-UB900

● Fuji X-T2

● Xbox One S

● GoPro Hero4 Black

● PlayStation4 Pro

● Panasonic Lumix TZ100

Watching from a disc is the superior way to do UHD, and this really shows on Panasonic’s premium Blu-ray player. If you’ve ever wondered how much Leo DiCaprio suffered for his Oscar in The Revenant, this classy device will reveal all in excruciating minutiae. Discs are £20 a pop, though. £599 / panasonic.com

The Xbox One S was a smash hit when it first launched, selling out within a fortnight of its arrival in stores. But don’t panic if you didn’t get hold of one – the cheaper 500GB version is out now, and comes bundled with a free copy of FIFA 17. Considering this console also doubles as a 4K Blu-ray player, it’s an absolute bargain. from £249 / xbox.com

The other 4K console essentially does all the same stuff as the Xbox One S, only slightly better. We believe it will be better at upscaling your standard HD games to 4K, and of course you get to play all those amazing PS4 exclusives like Uncharted 4, Bloodborne and God of War. £349 / playstation.com

The latest edition of Fuji’s most winsome camera improves on the one thing its last incarnation fell down on: video. With 4K smarts, as well as a retro-inspired design and plenty of stills prowess, this snapper ensures the fruits of your photographic labours will look great on your TV. £1399 / fujifilm.eu

Watching your extreme sports exploits on a poxy little smartphone display won’t do them justice at all. So why not show them off on a whopping great 4K TV with the help of the Hero4 Black? Beware, though: you’ll have to make sure your hellraising is worthy of this big-screen treatment. Biking to work just won’t cut it. £368 / gopro.com

Proving point-and-shoot cameras still have a place in the world, the TZ100 packs a wealth of tech into a device that’ll fit in a jacket pocket. Its 1in sensor ensures your holiday shots are full of detail, while 4K video recording will do the same for any footage you catch on the fly. £549 / panasonic.com

If all you want is some cool footage to show off your new telly, then you could do worse than head over to YouTube. From frolicking puppies to a stunning timelapse view of Earth from the International Space Station, there’s plenty of awesome stuff that’ll wow anyone deemed deserving of a peek at your 4K box. £free / iOS, Android

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TEST JURA E8

Whole latte love A hardcore machine for hardcore coffee lovers… made even better by optional Bluetooth cleverness £1100 / stuff.tv/JuraE8 Serious about coffee? The Jura E8 is fair old investment but it’ll pay itself back through use after about two years, assuming you’re mainlining at least one filter coffee every day. And if you go for the optional Smart Connect Bluetooth dongle – see below right – it’ll open up a whole new world of coffee. The styling falls somewhere between Apple-esque – all polished metal and friendly screen – and steampunk. This thing is packing some hefty double pump action at the front, which makes it perfect for dual-wielding the morning espresso cups. Setup is way easier than the manual would have you believe – the pathetic printed booklet is by far the weakest link in this coffee production line. You’ll find answers to most of your questions about fitting filters etc online… but not necessarily on Jura’s website. We found unofficial YouTube videos to be much more useful. The screen is bright and colourful, with onboard menus putting several types of coffee just a few buttons away. The stuff itself tastes great, with a beautiful aroma, and it looks like a professionally prepared brew with proper crema. It’s heavenly. There’s a complete set of maintenance modes to keep the machine clean. You might not fancy doing this every day, but it’ll be worth doing properly to keep the taste top-notch.

Tech specs Water tank 1.9 litres Pressure 15 bar Milk foaming arm Automatic Power 1450W Dimensions 351x280x351mm, 9.8kg

Welcome to the dongle

It’s the £45 Smart Connect dongle that separates the E8 from your ordinary bean-to-cup machines. Download the Jura Coffee app (iOS and Android) and your phone can now speak to the machine via Bluetooth.

Customise your cappu

The options list is practically overflowing, but the app itself is simple enough. You can tweak recipes and save new presets for your favourite cuppa: length of drink, temperature, amount of milk and froth…

STUFF SAYS A stylish, easy-to-use machine made even better by Bluetooth It’s mighty expensive, but the coffee is mighty tasty Pete Brown

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Time to put away the stove-top espresso pot, paper filters and drip jug. Even those convenient single-use pods can stay on the supermarket shelf. If your coffee addiction is at the level where every barista in the local Starbucks knows your name and order off by heart, it’s time to start thinking about the E8. Yes, the price is stratospheric, but true caffeine fiends will love it.


Developing the next generation of Sport Scientists and Coaches.

Sam Lawson, UCS Sport Science Graduate. Now Director of Performance Analysis in the US. Be bold. Be brave. Go far.

www.ucs.ac.uk/football

#UCSgofar


GROUP TEST CHROMEBOOKS

In our good books Android apps are about to make Chromebooks a lot more useful… here are three to convince you to ditch the desktop

Asus C202SA from £223 / stuff.tv/ChromebookC202SA This is one laptop you won’t mind lending to the kids. Asus is going for a real ‘back to school’ vibe, with added protection from little accidents and a cheap and cheerful design. It’s all plastic and rubber, so there’s plenty to grip onto, but it might look out of place outside the classroom. It’s no powerhouse underneath either, with a dual-core Celeron and 2GB RAM (you can opt for 4GB), but the battery should keep going all day. There’s not much

storage, but that’s because you’ll be keeping most of your files in the cloud. That 11.6in screen is bright enough to use outside as well as indoors, and the chunky keyboard should be fine for adults to type away on as well as any little ’uns. Throw in a few USB ports, an SD card reader and HDMI, and you’ve pretty much covered the basics. Forced to share your computer with the kids? This is probably the Chromebook to buy.

STUFF SAYS Built to last, even if the styling is hardly, well, stylish

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Lifeproof

Flat mate

Hardy type

Those reinforced rubber corners mean a knock off a desk won’t destroy the precious internal mechanisms.

The fold-flat screen is handy for sharing the action with someone else, and has an antiglare coating.

The keyboard can take a real pounding, which is great if you bash out words like you’re hitting a punchbag.


GROUP TEST CHROMEBOOKS

Marathon runner

Slot to trot

Dell reckons the Chromebook 13’s battery should tick for 12 hours, and we managed two whole days in the office.

A lot of cheap Chromebooks ditch ports to keep costs down, but the R 11 has USB, HDMI and an SD card reader.

WHEN IN CHROME… FREE APPS

Audiosauna This fullyfeatured audio workstation will let you create chronically sick beats on the move, without even draining the battery too much. £free / audio sauna.com

VLC Chrome’s local video playback isn’t the best, so VLC is a must if you’ve got a lot of backed-up videos. Play them from the laptop or off an SD card. £free / chrome. google.com

WhatsApp web version If you want to stay in touch without pulling your phone out, this will move all your chats to your Chromebook screen. £free / web. whatsapp.com

T TES R NE WIN

Dell Chromebook 13 from £615 / stuff.tv/Chromebook13 The Dell Chromebook 13 is actually a bit of a monster, particularly the £1079 top-spec version we’ve tested. That’s because it’s rocking a Core i5 CPU and 8GB of RAM – kit rarely found in laptops running Chrome OS. It’s built like a tank, so it’s durable but not the lightest, and the look is distinctly high-end. That isn’t normally something you’d associate with a Chromebook, but neither is the price… besides, take one look at the gorgeous 1080p

display and you can tell Dell is onto a winner. In this spec at least, the Chromebook 13 eats through anything you throw at it. Photo editing, huge files in Google Docs, 30 open tabs at once – nothing slows it down. And it’s great for working on, thanks to the spacey keyboard and springy keys that will soon have you speed-typing. The Chromebook Pixel might have the edge when it comes to looks, but Dell’s got just about everything else right here.

STUFF SAYS Not the flashiest, but the top-notch screen is a stunner

Acer Chromebook R 11 £229 / stuff.tv/ChromebookR11 Can a laptop ever be adorable? If any can, it’s this one. The R 11 is absolutely tiny, and you’ll have no trouble finding room for it in a bag. In fact this is more of a Chrome-tab hybrid, with hinges that let the screen fold flat, turn into a tent, or flip over completely to turn into a tablet. It might not run the most powerful hardware, with a lowly Intel Celeron CPU and 4GB of RAM, but that’s enough to keep Chrome OS ticking over. Once your browser

tabs hit the double digits it will start to struggle, though. Stick to the basics and you’ll squeeze 10 hours of battery life out of a single charge, but the bright and colourful screen is begging to be used for watching video. The touchscreen works well, which is handy because the dinky touchpad is jittery, and the small keys can throw you off your pace. Even so, once you get used to it, this Acer is difficult to beat without spending a lot more.

STUFF SAYS Tiny enough to carry everywhere, and super-flexible too

[ 93 ] [[2C]]


TWO WEEKS WITH THE SAMSUNG GEAR 360

Champion all-rounder? Samsung’s dual-lens 360° camera is pricier than its rivals, but is it better? Sam Kieldsen spent a fortnight finding out £349 / stuff.tv/Gear360

The Gear 360’s shape makes it hard to stuff into a jacket pocket. Skinny jeans? Forget about it.

DAY 01 We’ll all be spending a lot more time with VR headsets bolted to our faces if Oculus, HTC and Google Cardboard get their way… but only once there’s anything to actually watch on them. A few fancy demo videos are fine, but it’s the clips and 360° photos you shoot yourself that’ll really wow your friends once you get them goggled up. A couple of

GoPros bolted together will get the job done, sure, but what if you’re after something more elegant and affordable? Nikon’s got an all-in-one 360° action cam, as has LG, and now Samsung has stepped up with this duallens snapper. At £349, the Gear 360 is definitely pricier than its LG rival, the 360 Cam, which sells for £199, but does it deliver a better experience – and better footage?

Once it’s paired up with the camera using the companion app, your phone becomes a remote viewfinder and controller

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The first thing I notice as I remove it from the box is that the Gear 360 is a striking bit of kit: with the combination mini tripod/handle attached, it’s almost a cross between a robot’s ice cream cone and one of those machine gun turrets from Portal. Build quality is excellent, with a solid feel backed up by IP53 dust-proofing. It’s water-resistant too, but only against spray “from less than 60 degrees from vertical”. So make sure you take a protractor into the shower. The mini grip screws into the bottom of the camera to give you something to hold without

getting in the way of the lenses. Flip out the feet and it turns into a tiny tripod: perfect for timelapse clips and videos where you want to be the centre of attention.

DAY 02 Size is the biggest problem with the Gear 360, at least compared to LG’s 360 Cam. The latter is nicely pocket-sized, but the Gear’s bulbous shape makes it tricky to slip in a pocket. The protective carrying pouch bundled in the box tells me Samsung expects us to toss it into a bag instead.


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

01

Donut of Truth™

05

04

02

01 Solid, attractive and distinctive design 02 Easy pairing and reconnection, and the app is good

03

03 Numerous tech issues 04 A bit too big to fit in a trouser pocket 05 Desktop software is Windows only

Tech specs Sensors Dual 15MP CMOS Lenses Dual 180° f/2.0 fisheye Display 0.5in PMOLED Storage microSD (up to 200GB) Dimensions 67x56x60mm, 152g

DAY 04 The Gear 360 has a tiny display and a couple of hardware controls, but I’m not using them. I found them fiddly, and framing footage takes too much guesswork. Without a phone to hand, there’s also the problem of what to do with your recorded files. They’re not VR-ready if you pull them straight off the microSD card onto a PC – you’ve got to upload to a site that supports playing back 360° clips, or watch them on a compatible device. And Samsung’s desktop editing and playback apps are only built for Windows. The companion app makes things a lot easier. Once you’ve paired your phone with the cam it becomes a remote viewfinder and controller, plus you can play back clips or check photos. You’ll need a recent Samsung smartphone, though. The Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, S6, S6 Edge and S6 Edge+, and Note 5 all work out of the box. An iOS app is apparently on the way, but there’s no word yet on other Android phones.

DAY 08 It hasn’t been all smooth sailing. The camera regularly drops its connection to my Galaxy S6, or the app gets stuck on the loading

screen, forcing me to reboot the camera. It also hates the 64GB microSD card I’m using, throwing up compatibility errors and demanding a reformat moments after it was working perfectly.

DAY 12 It’s a shame I’ve hit so many pitfalls, because image quality is decent. Still photos and videos look crisp and it copes well with changes in brightness, like when you walk inside from a bright sunny day.

DAY 14 After two weeks using the Gear 360, it’s clear that it beats the LG 360 Cam in features, performance and build quality. But remember you’re paying a £150 premium for that bump in quality. And it’s a premium that you might well find difficult to justify, given the tech troubles I’ve had and the lack of decent Mac support. I’d like to see a bit more from Samsung here: proper Mac desktop compatibility is surely a must, as are guidelines as to which microSD cards will or won’t work properly. These are easy fixes, though… and once they’re made, they’ll make the Gear 360 a much more tempting prospect.

STUFF SAYS Too many problems to recommend it to everyone, but there’s a capable 360° camera in here somewhere ★★★

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TEST GAMES

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Serious sci-fi storytelling, played the way you want? Don the gothy trenchcoat and start augmenting yourself: Adam Jensen is back

PS4, Xbox One, PC / deusex.com

o you do things by the book, or prefer to go rogue? Deus Ex has always let you pick how to play, and Mankind Divided is no different. The moody, trenchcoated man-machine Adam Jensen is back cracking skulls – or lurking in the shadows if you prefer – on the hunt for the mysterious, string-pulling illuminati. Picking up two years after Human Revolution, it’s now a really bad time to be part of humanity 2.0. Effectively, the world has been split into ‘normals’ and ‘augs’, with the latter treated as second-class citizens. It’s bleak stuff, but Jensen is on the job, battling an aug terrorist group while also working covertly with a hacker group to uncover the illuminati’s dastardly plans for the planet. As much as we liked the stylised golden hues of Human Revolution, the dev team has gone for a wider colour palette this time around. It helps give each new location its own sense of character, so it really feels like you’re on an epic globetrotting adventure. You always have a choice: which way

D

to head next, how to get the information you need from a particularly skeezy underworld type, or whether to ignore the main story while you polish off all the side missions you can find. That’s true of the combat too. Mankind Divided has overhauled its gunplay for the better, with much more responsive controls. The universal ammo that was so unpopular in previous editions won’t be missed, but it’s the second, hidden layer of cutting-edge kit that makes a big impact. Experimental augmentations like the nano-crystal Titan Shield will give you a major edge in fights, making you completely invincible to bullets for a short time. Even better are the arm-mounted Tesla darts, which lock onto enemies and knock them out silently. Mankind Divided isn’t scared to change up the Deus Ex formula, but it keeps the things that matter. We’re hooked on the story, and the improved controls will be handy when we go in with everything blazing. Goodbye, Ghost rating… Tom Morgan

STUFF SAYS Existing fans will lap up the tense story, and so will Deus Ex newcomers 96

Gameplay has been simplified, making the combat feel more crunchy than ever.

The game looks just as luscious when it drops the bright colours for moodier hues.


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REVIEWS

Media hoard

h

of Stuffology by following our instructions on what to watch and listen to this month

WATCH

My Scientology Movie_cinema he world’s most unflappable man takes on the world’s most secretive religious organisation in Louis Theroux’s first proper feature film… and it’s a stonker. After 2015’s excellent Going Clear doc, another film focusing on Scientology’s disturbing peccadilloes was never going to be enough, even with Theroux’s disarming front-of-camera style. So, with access to the church and its members highly restricted, Theroux instead auditions actors to play high-ranking Scientologists in re-enactments, scripted and supervised with the help of a ‘disgraced’ ex-member called Marty Rathbun. Before long the church gets wind of Theroux’s project and

T

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My Scientology Movie becomes a hybrid of his trademark interviews and a kind of absurd espionage thriller, culminating in a truly bizarre encounter with a highranking acolyte in the darkness outside Scientology HQ. Theroux draws plenty of laughs with his nonplussed approach (“That’s actually quite helpful,” he remarks when blinding security lights on the property’s perimeter fence suddenly come to life) but he never backs down, even when followed or threatened. He doesn’t take Marty at face value either, probing the ex-Scientologist’s own part in the practices that he now seems so keen to expose. Tom Wiggins

Bulletproof widower Luke Cage was one of the best characters in Jessica Jones, but he struggles to carry his own series. His brooding and reluctance to use his power are a little tiresome, and the show isn’t as smart as it thinks it is. Marvel fans will still want to watch, if only for the occasions that Cage engages rampage mode. Tom Parsons

Twenty years after Oasis played to 250,000 people at Knebworth, Supersonic tells the story of how they got there, via hammers, crystal meth and being locked in the brig on WANT a ferry to Holland. It’s MORE LIKE funny, eye-opening, THIS? and will remind you why (for a time) Oasis were the most exciting band on the planet. Tom Wiggins

STUFF SAYS

STUFF SAYS

STUFF SAYS

Luke Cage _Netflix

Supersonic

_cinema, Blu-ray


REVIEWS

STREAM

Control_Amazon Prime While Anton Corbijn’s 1979 black-and-white photos of Ian Curtis and post-punk legends Joy Division are considered iconic, Control – the Dutch director’s similarly monochrome biopic of the band and its late frontman – will probably never be as widely respected. But thanks to a twitchy and intense performance from then-newcomer Sam Riley, plus the strength of the band’s

music and the film’s source material (Touching From a Distance, written by Curtis’s widow), few music flicks have captured the troubled spirit of a musician with the artistic elegance of Control.

LISTEN

Only Ghosts_Red Fang With Queens of the Stone Age yet to emerge from hibernation, Red Fang’s mixture of heavy hooks, shoutalong choruses and bludgeoning breakdowns might just convince Josh Homme to make sure he’s right on his game. While there’s nothing here as good as Prehistoric Dog from their debut, Only Ghosts is probably the Portland four-piece’s most complete album so far. Whether it’s the crunchy

stomp of Not For You, the runaway wail of Shadows or the cry-from-beyond that is The Deep, it’s an album packed with the kind of blood-pumping rock songs the Foo Fighters might make if they all got bitten by radioactive wolves and found themselves locked in the studio with 1000 unused Melvins riffs. Tom Wiggins STUFF SAYS

8 Mile_Amazon Prime MUSIC MOVIES

Eminem’s semi-autobiographical raps mean a film based on his life might seem unnecessary, but his accomplished performance makes 8 Mile more than a vanity project.

Muscle Shoals_Netflix Muscle Shoals is the Alabama studio where the Rolling Stones and Lynyrd Skynyrd recorded, but it’s the story of the band that originally owned it that’s most interesting.

Nas: Time Is Illmatic_Netflix Rapper Nas went from Queensbridge survivor to global superstar when he released Illmatic in 1994, and this documentary returns him to the streets that made him.

The Midnight Sun_C Duncan

Dissociation_The Dillinger Escape Plan

Just a little too progressive for the average dentist, this is as generically pleasing as Duncan’s debut Architect was inventive and enigmatic. It’s a warm bath of lush retro synths with peppermint-scented harmony vocals, the songs sloshing gently from one into the next. Four stars, but only just. Richard Purvis

This absolutely hits par for the genre-shifting, brainfuddling intellectual metal that is Dillinger. Which, given that it’s to be their last album before a hiatus, is a slight let-down – like expecting a wild send-off but just ending up at your local. Well, at your local for a really strong, complex and noisy night that you’ll talk about for months… Fraser Macdonald

STUFF SAYS

STUFF SAYS

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MAKE. DO. UPGRADE.

p104 BETA YOURSELF: INSTAGRAM How to be a phone-wielding, picture-pimping Insta-legend

p106 PLAYLIST: REMASTERED ALBUMS

Great records polished up for your hi-res ears

p108 UPVOTED: WATCHES

Less than £500 to spare? Need to know the time? Look no further…

p110 INSTANT UPGRADES: PLAYSTATION 4

It may not be Slim or Pro, but your old PS4 isn’t done yet

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YOBET SE UR A LF -

PROJECTS | 11.16

It’s where many of us loiter like addicts for our daily fix of images and videos; Elissa Loi explains how to make the most of Instagram with these handy tips and apps

power to approve or reject tags from other people by going to your profile, selecting the person icon, tapping the options icon at the top right, then selecting ‘add manually’.

THE BASICS Manage your filters.

It’s important to have all your Instagram filters in perfect order. In the filters list, tap and drag to rearrange the order of the list. To reinstate ones you’ve hidden, scroll to the end of the list and choose Manage Filters.

Go direct. See that little inbox icon in the top right-hand corner? That’s Instagram Direct, a way to share photos with select followers rather than the world. Do the usual (select photo and edit), but instead of sharing to Followers, tap Direct to choose the lucky recipients.

FOLLOW US @STUFFMAG

Get mappy. To see a map of where you’ve taken your Instagrams, go to your profile and choose the map icon. Don’t want anyone to know about that weekend in Blackpool? Go to your photo map and deselect the offending snaps. Do not disturb. Want total control over which pictures appear in your profile? Get the

Jog your memory. If you can’t find that classic of a cat riding a Roomba, go to the settings wheel and choose ‘posts that you’ve liked’. Keep it steady. Let’s not forget, the first thing you need is good photos. If you don’t have a smartphone tripod to hand, try balancing your phone on objects like backpacks or handrails to keep your Instagrams sharp and in focus. And then, get editing…

EDITING TRICKS Make a collage. Instagram Layout (£free, iOS and Android) is a quick and easy way to combine up to four photos into one poster-worthy shot. Fix your perspective.

Instagram’s built-in ‘Adjust’ tool is fine for basic work, but to really iron out those wonky horizons try SKWRT (from £1.19, iOS and Android).

Remove distractions.

Photoshop Express (£free, iOS and Android) has a host of essential ‘quick fix’ tools, including ones for softening noise and adjusting shadows.

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11.16 | PROJECTS WHO TO FOLLOW

@ZACHLIPSON

If you’re into interesting buildings, urban jungles and the people living in them, Zach Lipson has you covered. A resident of Chicago, his sharp, muted shots look like they’re plucked straight from the pages of a graphic novel, and offer plenty of inspiration for architecture fans and city lovers alike.

@NASAGODDARD

Fact: everyone loves space. Except maybe Sandra Bullock. But for the rest of us, the universe’s wonders never cease to amaze, and the Nasa Goddard Space Flight Center’s official Insta account has plenty of jaw-dropping images of the great beyond to inspire and terrify simultaneously.

SPECIAL FX Get psychedelic. Need to make an emergency album cover? Fragment (from 10p, iOS and Android) will give your photos major surgery. Become an artist. Prisma

(£free, iOS and Android) and Pikazo (£1.49, iOS) are our favourite apps for creating works that truly reflect our fearless artistic vision.

Embrace puddletography.

Find a puddle with an interesting reflection, turn your phone upside down, and take a shot. It’s great for getting a new angle on subjects.

TELLING STORIES Press self-destruct.

Instagram now lets you take Snapchat-style photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours. To make a Story, press the ‘plus’ symbol in the top left corner, doodle over your creation using the markers, and fling it into the ether.

Fix your invisible text.

The text in Instagram Stories is white by default, which is annoying if you’re trying to write over an albino kitten. To help it stand out, select the drawing tool and colour the background – your text will now stand out.

BACKING UP Take ownership. If you plan to leave Instagram or just want to back up your snaps, try using Instaport (£free, instaport.me). Save to Drive. Instagram doesn’t have a built-in option for saving photos to Drive, but the self-proclaimed ‘internet glue’ IFTTT (ifttt.com) can do this automatically. To set it up, go to bit.ly/instagramdrive Convert to atoms. Turn your photo feed into a physical album. Our favourite service for this is Blurb (from £11.25, blurb. com), which also offers book options for Facebook snaps.

@TANAKA_TATSUYA

Tanaka Tatsuya is a genius when it comes to blending real-world objects with miniature models. From transforming ice cream scoops to planets, belts to rollercoasters and many, many more ingenious ideas, he’s created a whole new fascinating world of macro art that we would happily hang on our walls.

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PROJECTS | 11.16

Make the most of your swanky new speakers or headphones with these classic albums, now sounding even better than they used to

Interpol Turn On the Bright Lights

This is the album that put Interpol on the wanted list. The band’s trademarks – angular guitars, expressive bass and the studied, effective monotone of Paul Banks’ vocals – sound pleasingly bleak and clean, all the better to express TOTBL’s sketches of pain and squalor. Spotify, Tidal, 7digital

Underworld Second Toughest in the Infants

Rather than being packed with banging techno anthems, Underworld’s fourth album seamlessly blends various forms of downbeat electronica, proving in the process that rave music could be just as comfortable being atmospheric and reflective. Spotify, Tidal, 7digital

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Phil Collins Hello, I Must be Going!

There are people, some of them in the Stuff office, who will tell you that Phil Collins’ music is without merit. But this is a flawless record, full of tracks with deep, sometimes dark lyrical stories. The remaster polishes what was already a kind of perfection. Amazon

Love Forever Changes

Whether it’s the bad trip of A House is Not a Motel or the hints at indiscriminate slaughter on The Red Telephone, Forever Changes is a subversive and surreal record. The Morricone-esque blast of brass midway through Alone Again Or is worth the download alone. Spotify, Tidal, 7Digital

My Morning Jacket It Still Moves

Tinkering with an album that’s loved partly for its raw, live sound could be a dangerous game, but My Morning Jacket get the balance right on this remixed version of their fan favourite. It still feels like you’re in a sweat-drenched bar listening to classic rockers on top form. Spotify, Tidal, Qobuz

Lift To Experience The TexasJerusalem Crossroads

It’s an apocalyptic sprawl of post-indie magnificence, but the spacey production of the Lifties’ one album never sounded very ‘big’. Well, this is not just a remaster but an actual remix, with the band involved. It’s out any day now, and we are panting for it. (tba)

Nirvana In Utero 20th Anniversary Edition

This 2013 edition of Nirvana’s final studio album includes a remastered version plus new remixes by Steve Albini, whose original mixes were deemed too lo-fi to release in ’93. With the remaster’s higher dynamic range, these songs have never sounded so nuanced. Amazon, Tidal, Spotify


11.16 | PROJECTS

HI-RES HAUNTS

TIDAL HIFI

Spotify remains our favourite all-rounder, but if it’s lossless FLAC streaming you’re after (and you’ve got the kit and ears to support it) then Tidal’s HiFi plan could be your match. Its catalogue is more rock and pop than rival Qobuz, and it’s likely to support the MQA format later this year. £20/month / tidal.com

7DIGITAL

Our pick of the hi-res download stores, 7Digital uses its ties with four major record labels to serve up a catalogue that covers everything from Kendrick Lamar to the Dalai Lama. Handy editorial features will also help you discover new music to go with your pristine 24-bit studio remasters. 7digital.com

Isis Panopticon

This is a record that sounds like it was unearthed rather than recorded. Wherever it came from, the album was remastered in 2014 and it’s never been more earthshakingly heavy. Everything on it sounds massive, with Aaron Turner’s vocals buried somewhere deep in the middle. Spotify, Tidal, 7Digital

Manic Street Preachers The Holy Bible

Less an album and more an exercise in pain and suffering – The Holy Bible places such laugh-a-minute subjects as anorexia, prostitution and the holocaust against a backdrop of raw guitars and unflinching samples. Not an easy listen, but an essential one. Spotify, Tidal, 7Digital

My Bloody Valentine Loveless

If you listen closely to the remastered edition of Loveless, you might just about hear the difference between it and the seminal 1991 original. Given that Kevin Shields spent 22 years making the follow-up, that’s no surprise – he’s famous for raising hell at a glacial pace. Spotify, Tidal, 7Digital

Slint Spiderland

Post-rock didn’t exist as a genre when Slint released Spiderland in 1991. But it was so far removed from the music that Pearl Jam, Guns N’ Roses et al were making, what else could you call it? So sparse you can almost hear the empty space in the studio, it still sounds like nothing else. Spotify, Tidal, 7Digital

WAX & STAMP

This vinyl subscription service will hand-pick and send you two of its favourite new LPs every month. Slap them on Sony’s new PSHX500 turntable (£395, amazon.co.uk) and you can convert them into hi-res digital files too. You retro-futurist, you. £26/month / waxandstamp.com

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PROJECTS | 11.16 Sometimes life demands the charm of an analogue ticker – Laura Lovett picks an assortment of classy watches that won’t see your wallet filing for divorce

HOW TO DECIDE QUARTZ VS AUTOMATIC The most accurate watches are the more affordable, battery-driven ‘quartz’ pieces. But accuracy isn’t everything – if it’s craft and heritage you want, then go for an automatic calibre. To tell the difference, look at the second hand – on a quartz watch, it’ll have a tick-tock motion; the action on a mechanical watch is smooth.

CHOOSE THE OCCASION You wouldn’t wear a tux to a house party, and it’s the same when choosing your timepiece. Chronographs and other complications add a bold masculinity to a dial’s design, which makes them good for informal, active environments. For the daily grind, you want a watch that just tells the time and looks sleek.

WHAT’S THE STORY? Every good watchmaker has a back story – anything from an appearance in a classic ’60s film to the homegrown charm of a new British brand. True horophiles know about this sort of thing. For now, whether you’re a sharer or a discreet watch-wearer, this selection of sub-£500 watches will ease you in…

THE REVOLUTIONARY

The groundbreaking Sistem51 launched in 2013 in plastic, but this year sees the release of the stainless steel version. The ultimate affordable automatic, it retains the same principles (a Swiss-made, 51-part automatic movement) but with a more manly, less faddy, everyday aesthetic. £139 / shop.swatch.com

THE CULT CLASSIC

THE LIGHTWEIGHT

THE DRIVER’S CHOICE

MONDAINE SBB STOP2GO

SQUARESTREET ALUMINIUM

CHRISTOPHER WARD C7 RAPIDE CHRONOGRAPH MKII V390

This exact replica of a Swiss railway clock copies every detail, right down to the quirky red second hand: this turns full circle in 58 seconds, before waiting at 12 o’clock for the final two seconds. Why? The pause allowed 1940s Swiss stations to synchronise their clocks by telephone cable every minute. £470 / mondaine.com

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The Aluminium weighs in at only 33 grams, but what it lacks in heft it makes up for with its crazy dial design. The concentric rings and numberless indices create a look some might call ‘modern maximalism’. In other words, it’s meant to be gazed at – which is good, as it might take a while to work out the time. £210 / dezeenwatchstore.com

The Tag Heuer Carrera is one of the most iconic luxury watches on the market, but it comes with a £2k price tag. Thankfully, Christopher Ward’s quartz Rapide Chronograph delivers the same automotive-inspired style at a fraction of the cost. £350 / christopherward.co.uk

[ Photography Roger Stillman ]

SWATCH STEEL SISTEM51 IRONY


11.16 | PROJECTS

THE MODERN BRIT

THE MINIMALIST

THE DEEP SEA DIVER

THE GATEWAY DRUG

FARER CARTER GMT

KITMEN KEUNG LONG DISTANCE 1.0

SEIKO PROSPEX PADI KINETIC GMT DIVER

TISSOT PR100

This new homegrown brand delivers impressive, sporty models powered by a Swiss-made quartz movement. Named after British archaeologist Howard Carter, this model features colour-popping hands and a sporty perforated leather strap that gives it a great weekender vibe. £420 / selfridges.com

Watches with a dual-time function are an obvious choice for those people who regularly cross time zones. But unlike so many of its rivals, Hong Kong-based Kitmen Keung has made one with the most clean and simple of dial designs. Just the ticket for jet-lagged, bleary-eyed country-hoppers. £310 / dezeenwatchstore.com

This collaboration with PADI, the governing body for pro diving instructors, is aimed at scuba-loving watch-hunters. The Prospex’s screw-down crown, 200m water-resistance and hi-vis lettering courtesy of Seiko’s Lumibrite coating all combine to satisfy its owner’s inner Jacques Cousteau. £479 / seiko.co.uk

Tissot is one of those brands that tend to mark a watch fan’s first foray into ‘serious’ pieces. A heritage Swiss marque, it’s been around for more than 160 years, and this handsome automatic draws on all that experience. The PR100 has a date window, minimal hour markers and a stainless steel case that makes it the perfect office timepiece. from £200 / tissotwatches.com

THE CHAMELEON

SHORE PROJECTS POOLE Inspired by the seaside, Shore Projects watches are built to withstand everyday rough and tumble. With stainless steel cases and crystal sapphire glass, and waterproof to 100m, they’re versatile wrist adorners. The interchangeable straps means each can be dressed up for any occasion. £115 / shoreprojects.com

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PROJECTS | 11.16

From adding accessories to unlocking hidden features, there’s plenty more to squeeze out of your PS4

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3

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1 SAMSUNG M9T 2TB HDD Yes, this is a hard drive. Not the most exciting thing to look at, we’ll give you that, but as your PS4’s original one is probably stuffed to the brim with all sorts of digital goodies, 80 quid for a slim 2TB upgrade sounds like a no-brainer to us – especially as it’s a complete doddle to install. £79 / amazon.co.uk

2 PLAYSTATION VR (AVAILABLE 13 OCT) Sure, you could spend a hefty sum on a beastly gaming rig and a VR headset like the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift. Or you could spend a lot less on Sony’s own Virtual Reality facehugger, which looks like it’s been plucked from a futuristic arcade, ready to blast your eyes into new worlds. £349 / playstation.com

3 TURTLE BEACH ELITE PRO TAC PACK Once you’ve experienced the isolated joy of a proper gaming headset, you’ll never want to go back to anything else. Turtle Beach’s latest cans come with an external audio controller that lets you tweak game noise, background noise and mic levels, giving you full control over your ears. £279 / turtlebeach.com

[ Words Esat Dedezade ]

2

BEST NEW ACCESSORIES


11.16 | PROJECTS FINISHING TOUCHES

NOW DO THIS...

1 DISAPPEAR ‘Working from home’ while secretly playing FIFA online was always a risky move, but you can finally avoid stern talks with your boss by appearing to be offline. Hit up your profile from the main menu, select Online Status > Appear Offline, and you’re good to go. You can also do this from the login screen when you first turn the PS4 on, by highlighting your profile, clicking the Options button on the controller, and selecting Log In With Online Status [Appear Offline]. Hello, sweet secrecy.

4 SHARE THE LOVE If you find yourself constantly taking majestic screenshots of alien worlds in No Man’s Sky or meticulously positioning the camera to capture your aerial achievements in Rocket League, then you’re probably a bit of a collector. The default option is to press the Share button and select, but an even quicker way is to hold Share down for a few seconds, which snaps one for you without having to leave the game screen. Find them all on your PS4, put them on a USB stick, and share with the world.

2 BFF ALERT Instead of being alerted when each person on your friends list comes online, you can instead limit these alerts only to your favourites – the ones in your inner circle who provide the top bants. Setting up customised alerts only takes a few seconds: Settings > Notifications > When Friends Go Online. Then it’s just a case of selecting your besties from your friends list before you’re sorted. The next time they come online you’ll get an on-screen notification, so you can start flinging out a party invitation straight away.

5 CARRY ON GAMING If you fire up your PS4 on a daily basis, then you don’t want to faff around loading up games from scratch each time. Well, you don’t have to. Go to Settings > Power Saving Settings > Set Features Available in Rest Mode. Select Keep Application Suspended, and each time you fire up your PS4 after putting it in Rest Mode you’ll be right where you left off. It won’t work for online games like Destiny – you’ll find yourself back at the login screen – but even then, you’ll be saving a bit of time.

3 PS PLUS GAMES If you’re a PlayStation Plus member then you’re probably aware of the free games Sony dishes out to subscribers each month. Trouble is, it used to be a pain to download games you might not even play – in terms of both downloading time and space taken up on your hard drive. Thankfully, Sony updated the PS4 with a new feature that lets you select Add to Library instead of Download. That way you can access it in the future, when you feel like downloading it, though you’ll still have to keep up your PS Plus subscription.

6 MULTITASK LIKE A PRO We still come across people who’ve yet to discover the wonders of easier multitasking on Sony’s console. Double-tap the PlayStation button and you can swap between your two most recent screens – which comes in handy when, for example, gaming while messaging friends. Once you’ve opened up messages while in a game, double-tapping the PS button will flick you between the messages and game screen. A single press will still take you to the main homescreen.

CUSTOM HOMESCREEN Do you have trouble sleeping because your PS4’s default homescreen is so boring? Head to Settings >Themes and choose a brand new look. If you haven’t got any themes loaded, go to ‘Find in PlayStation Store’ and find a design that speaks to you. Boom: a perfect night’s sleep is (gaming marathon aside) yours.

PERSONALISED SOUNDTRACK If you’re a Spotify subscriber you can stream music straight to your PS4 – a bit of Bacharach’s ideal for making scary games less terrifying. Simply make sure both your phone and console are on the same network, select the PS4 from the devices tab in your Spotify app, and say hello to your personal gaming mixtape.

APPY BANTER Sony has a separate PlayStation Messages app, which is a handy tool you should install on your phone if you’re forever nattering to your mates. Essentially WhatsApp for your PS4, it lets you send messages to people using your phone’s onscreen keyboard, which is a much more agreeable typing experience than using the controller to peck at letters on your telly.

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PROJECTS | 11.16 SIMPLE BUT EFFECTIVE

What should I do with my old phone? 1 / Have to dash… AutoBoy Dash Cam Converting your old smartphone into a dashcam is as simple as downloading an app such as AutoBoy Dash Cam, which lets you record all of your automobile outings – useful in case of an accident. £free / Android

NEVER BE BORED AGAIN

PS4 REMOTE PLAY £free / forum.xda-developers.com

If you’re a PS4 owner, then you might already be familiar with Sony’s Remote Play app, which lets you stream and play PS4 games directly to your phone like magic. It even lets you connect the PS4 controller to your phone, for proper on-the-go console gaming. Trouble is, it’s not supported on non-Xperia handsets. Thankfully, though, there’s an easy workaround. There’s a version of the Remote Play app available on the XDA Developer forums which lets you load a version of the Remote Play app on almost any Android phone. Installation is a doddle, and you can even get the PS4 controller working

too, with a little bit of tweaking. Once you’re set up, you’ll be able to remotely access your PS4 from anywhere with a solid internet connection – playing games, starting downloads, you name it. It really is like having a PlayStation in your pocket. Full instructions can be found at tinyurl.com/ ps4-on-android

NOW DO THIS… GAME IN STYLE Buy an adaptor mount that attaches your smartphone to the PS4 controller and you won’t have to worry about propping up your phone on a table. You might look a little odd, sure, but you’ll be too busy scoring a hat-trick in Rocket League to care.

2 / Eyes on the road! Car Dashdroid Motor not Android Auto-compatible? Give your old phone a new home in the glovebox. This free app provides fingerfriendly navigation for music, maps and contacts, making for safer use in the car. £free / Android

KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR TINY HUMAN

BABY MONITOR & ALARM

[ Words Esat Dedezade ]

£2.49 / Android

Congratulations – you’ve created a miniature human being, and all it wants to do is eat, cry and create waste, which you have to clean up. On the rare occasions it’s decided to sleep, you’re going to have to tend to your own needs… but you’ll still want to keep an eye on Mini You. Luckily, you can load up your old smartphone or tablet with the Baby Monitor & Alarm app. Once it’s paired to your current phone it acts as a baby monitor, letting you keep an eye on your little one while you desperately try to cram food into your mouth and recover from the toll of your parenting duties.

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YOU’VE BEEN FRAMED

iFRAME

US$70 / getiframe.com

NOW DO THIS... RELAX MELODIES £2.29 / Android

You can also load your spare device up with an app like Relax Melodies, which can help soothe your child to sleep with an array of relaxing sounds, from the light patter of rain to calming waves lapping gently on a sandy beach.

If you’ve got an old iPad that’s been decommissioned to the gadget graveyard drawer, then breathe new life into it with the iFrame – a handsome frame that lets you stand the tablet up or hang it on the wall, transforming it into the world’s most advanced digital photo frame. With plenty of apps including a built-in slideshow, you’ll be gazing wistfully at last summer’s beach shots in no time.

3 / Phone home Boinc Fire up this app when your unused phone is charging and connected to Wi-Fi, and the Boinc project will put its number-crunching processor to good use – like searching for aliens with SETI. £free / Android

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11.16 | PROJECTS

1

2 ...UN-SELFIE YOUR SELFIES Wide-angle smartphone lenses can make your face look even stranger than normal. This tool will help fix your massive nose and bulbous eyes... Go to Repose. Head to Princeton University’s beta project (faces. cs.princeton.edu/) and check out some of the examples to see its face-warping code in action. It combines 3D head models and editing wizardry to convincingly simulate a change in focal length. Upload your snap. Go to ‘upload your photo’ and mark the top of your ears and head. This helps the tool make a 3D rendering based on your flat 2D image. You’ll now have some controls for adjusting the focal length, yaw and pitch of the photo.

1 ...MOD YOUR TECH

Tune up. For a less powerful but more fully realised selfie editor, check out Facetune (from £2, iOS and Android). This lets you tweak your eyes and hair like a digital plastic surgeon, but lacks the Princeton tool’s selfie trickery.

Gadgets have a habit of either breaking or not being perfectly tailor-made for your needs. Sugru and Formcard have some ideas on how to fix that...

3 ...SEARCH EVERYWHERE Have you ever found yourself wishing there was an ‘Apple F’ shortcut for your entire life? These tools can help track things down in the places Spotlight and Google can’t quite reach... Search the real world. Ctrl F (£free, Android) lets you scan printed text then search it for keywords (it doesn’t work with handwriting, though). Handy for searching a manual that’s been printed in a teeny font (or just cheating at word search games). Search your digital life. Not sure whether that file is hiding on your Mac’s desktop or in the likes of Dropbox, Google Drive and Evernote? The beta app Meta Search (£free, app.meta.sc) will let you search all of them simultaneously. Search your Mac with your iPhone. One for the truly lazy, Find It (£free, iOS/Mac) lets you search your Apple computer with your iPhone, as long as both are on the same network.

Boost your storage. Sugru’s mouldable silicone is available in a new Rebel Tech Pack (£10, sugru.com), which is most keen on customising your tech. We like its hook-based ideas for tidying away Apple TVs and hard drives. Tweak your controller. If your PS4 pad’s analogue sticks or shoulder buttons are too stubby for your liking, a couple of moulded balls of Sugru could lift you top of your FIFA league. Get a quick fix. Formcard’s mouldable bio-plastic (from £5, formcard.com) is handily shaped to slip into wallets, but a cup of hot water later it’s ready for all sorts of fixes, from headphone tidies to smartphone stands.

2

3 TUNE IN NEXT MONTH TO...

● Become a Facebook Messenger ninja ● Find the best password manager ● Get more out of your OnePlus 3

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shop Our Top Tens are fully shoppable on your phone! Get the app, scan the page, buy the gadget – turn over for more info.

TOP TEN OF EVERYTHING Smartphones Tablets Hi-fi Headphones Home cinema

116 117 118 120 121

TVs Laptops Geek accessories & games consoles Wearables & smarthome Cameras

122 123

Streaming devices & speaker systems

124 125 126

For full reviews of every product in the Top Tens, visit stuff.tv/reviews


T HO Y BU

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SMARTPHONES

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‘Business as usual’ has never been so good. Once again, OnePlus has swanned in with a £300-ish phone that offers a true alternative to some costing more like £600. The tech is as aggressively packed in as ever, but this is also the best-looking, most expensive-feeling OnePlus phone to date. If an extra £300 is nothing to you, there are slightly better screens and cameras available. But last time we checked, most of our readers like a good deal. This is an unbeatable one.

2

Samsung Galaxy S7

3

Apple iPhone 7 Plus

4

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

5

HTC 10

6

Apple iPhone 7

7

LG G5

8

Lenovo Moto G4

9

Vodafone Smart Prime 7

10

STUFF SAYS

OnePlus 3

Welcome to the age of ‘sensible Samsung’, a smartphone maker of dependable excellence. The Galaxy S7 looks a lot like the old S6 but has been improved all round, not least with a better camera. This sets a high bar for all of Samsung’s competitors. The new 7 and 7 Plus look almost identical to last year’s models, except for the glossy jet black option and Lightning headphone output. But they’re waterproof, processing power and battery life have been improved, and the Plus gets a tasty dual-lens camera. Just an S7 with a stylus? Nope, it’s the combination of the S Pen with the bigger 5.7in screen and clever software that makes the Note 7 different. Plus it’s a big phone that doesn’t feel like one, and a productivity powerhouse that doesn’t look like one. This handset barely puts a foot wrong, but it’s a marketer’s worst nightmare. What’s it good at? Everything. What’s special about it? Battery life. Stamina may be the least sexy of features, but knowing the 10 will survive an impromptu pub trip feels pretty good. The iPhone 7’s modest upgrades all come together to make a much more significant whole than you’d expect – in typically Apple fashion, the experience is just so polished. Losing the headphone port stings, though… and you don’t get the 7 Plus’s ace camera. The scale of the LG G5’s ambition is breathtaking. It’s a unique modular smartphone, allowing you to swap out its parts for improved ones, such as a bigger battery, camera controls or Bang & Olufsen audio tech. It’s a big, ballsy move that pretty much pays off. Motorola (now owned by Lenovo) once again ups the ante and shows every other big phone maker what can be done for less than £200. With a slimmer design, metal-effect sides and a bigger screen than the old Moto G, this is the new no.1 budget phone. The Smart Prime 7 is a lesson in quite how cheap phones can get before they seem cobbled together out of bits found in bargain bins. On specs alone it easily holds its own against rivals that cost twice the price – a solid gold bargain.

Apple iPhone SE

The cheapest iPhone ever made packs pretty much all the power of the iPhone 6s into the 4in aluminium shell of the iPhone 5s. Its compact, no-compromise concept should tempt plenty of newbies into Apple’s world. The SE is the best small phone you can buy.

A big, brilliant bargain of a phone that looks and feels as good as a handset costing twice as much

£329 from £549

from £719

from £699

BEST FOR CUTTING-EDGE GADGETEERS

£509

from £599

£429

from £159

BEST FOR BUDGET BUYERS

£80

BEST FOR SUPER VALUE

from £359

● Prices quoted are handset-only unless otherwise stated

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FOR THE FULL REVIEWS AND OUR SMARTPHONE BUYING GUIDE, VISIT STUFF.TV/TOP-10/SMARTPHONES

Download the Shop Stuff app Looking for the best deal on the OnePlus 3? You can now find it, and even buy it, by scanning this page…

1. Download and install the free Shop Stuff app, available on iOS and Android.

2. Open the app, hold your phone 10cm over the page and wait for the swirly vortex.

3. Scroll through the products and pick your options, then hit ‘buy’ or save it for later.


TABLETS 117 T HO Y BU

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Apple iPad Pro 9.7 The iPad Pro 9.7 takes everything we loved about Apple’s original 12.9in Pro tablet, makes it a lot more portable, and even adds in a few extras of its own. The True Tone display, which changes automatically based on ambient conditions, is a marvel, while the 12MP shooter is frankly overkill for those brave enough to use it out and about. It’s expensive, but perfection usually comes at a price.

2

Apple iPad Mini 4

3

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0

4

Google Pixel C

5

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7

6

Apple iPad Mini 2

7

Samsung Galaxy TabPro S

8

Apple iPad Pro 12.9

9

Asus ZenPad S 8.0

10

This is the mini tab we’ve been waiting for. It’s 1.4mm thinner and 32g lighter, just the right size for a great portable entertainment hub, and subtle display tweaks will do justice to games and graphic novels alike. Plus it will easily last three days on a charge. This is the best of the small-screen Android tablets, bringing you all the fab features of its bigger brother but in a smaller, even lighter form design. The 8in model is great for reading mags, playing games and watching films, while being easier to hold in one hand. The Pixel C is a superb tabtop. This 10in tablet with keyboard (£120) and 2K display is excellent for working on the go, and it’ll handle demanding games easily. The Android OS is a major advantage – the choice of apps is years ahead of Chrome OS. Slimmer and faster, with a brilliant screen and serious stamina, the Tab S2 sees Samsung back in the running for the Android throne. A bundled keyboard would have been nice, but the S2’s a versatile, big-screen tab first and foremost. Yes, it’s not as good as the new Mini 4… but believe it or not, Apple’s iPad Mini 2 is the best cheap-ish tablet on the market. At this price, it’s frankly bargain-tastic. That’s why the ‘old’ model stays in our Top 10 – it’s still a mini tablet of real quality. If you want to get some serious work done without feeling like you’re doing it on a toy, the TabPro S is a better option than even the iPad Pro 9.7. It’s basically a full-on PC slimmed right down to skinny tablet dimensions. Apple’s tablet colossus, the supercharged iPad Pro, is for serious creatives with deep pockets: the perfect digital coffee-table book that just about doubles as a laptop. To make best use of all that screen, remember to also buy a Smart Keyboard and Pencil. A top affordable tablet with a dazzling display – getting 2048x1536 pixels at this price is a big win. It’s also dead slim and light, at 7.9mm and 316g; and with 8.5hrs of video between charges, the Zen Pad feels like a tablet you can take everywhere.

Huawei MediaPad M2 10.0

This is a solid stylus-ready tablet, though it might have a tricky time given how well priced some alternatives are these days (iPads start even cheaper than this). It’s not a standard-setter, but it does have great battery life, solid design and a funky stylus.

STUFF SAYS

Incredible power, superb features and near-flawless design: the iPad Pro 9.7 is pure tablet perfection

from £549 from £379

BEST FOR FUN ON THE GO

£269

from £399

£289

from £239

BEST FOR SMALL BUDGETS

£849

from £729

BEST FOR ARTISTIC TYPES

£149

from £249

FOR THE FULL REVIEWS AND OUR TABLET BUYING GUIDE, VISIT WWW.STUFF.TV/TOP-10/TABLETS

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118 T HO Y BU

HI-FI & MUSIC STREAMING

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If you want to pretend your favourite band are playing in your living room, there’s no better option than a Sonos wireless speaker. They always look great, work effortlessy with your smartphone and, most importantly, boom out your tunes with dazzling finesse – from the compact Play:1 (£159) to the flagship Play:5 (£429), a speaker that was redesigned from the ground up last year to sound better and be even more of a breeze to use.

2

Naim Mu-so

3

KEF Muo

4

Naim Mu-so Qb

5

Google Chromecast Audio

6

Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Wireless

7

Bowers & Wilkins T7

8

Monitor Audio Airstream S200

9

Cambridge Audio Go

10

STUFF SAYS

Sonos multiroom system

How much for a wireless speaker?! Well yes, but what a wireless speaker it is. Naim has ploughed all of its high-end hi-fi experience into delivering a beautifully made, great-sounding device with AirPlay, Spotify Connect and aptX Bluetooth all on board. The KEF Muo sounds as good as it looks, which is very nice indeed. It may be the size of a beer can, but it creates a room-filling sound, brilliantly balanced and packed with vim and vigour. The Muo has the audio solidity of the B&W T7, but with even greater detail. This can-do cube complements its big brother’s more refined character with a confident presentation that pays no attention to its physical size. And its features list makes it more flexible than Madonna’s yoga teacher. A stunning addition to the Mu-so family. The original Chromecast was a very bright idea: a device to stream TV directly from the internet. Chromecast Audio has arrived to do the same to your hi-fi. It’s smart and highly affordable, and makes a huge variety of apps such as Spotify and Deezer more fun to use. ‘Wireless speakers’ and ‘quality’ don’t always go hand in hand. But this is a desirable product through and through – and in terms of sound and design, not a penny is left unaccounted for. It’s the ultimate wireless speaker for the streaming-savvy audiophile. The T7 is B&W’s first attempt at a portable Bluetooth speaker, and its good looks and real hi-fi sound combine to make it a real winner. It’s solid and easy to use, and has an attractive honeycomb structure that helps reduce cabinet vibrations. It may look a bit like a floppy skyscraper, but the Monitor Audio’s Bluetooth-plus-AirPlay speaker makes a lot of sense, mostly because it takes up very little shelf/desk/table space but makes loads of lovely noise. It’s a bit of a steal at this price. There are loads of very cheap Bluetooth speakers out there, but we reckon it’s worth spending that little bit more to get something that’s really good – and that’s the Go. It sounds awesome, it’s really nicely built and its battery lasts a massive 18 hours.

Bluesound multiroom system

Fancy a bit of Sonos-style multiroom but with better-than-CD-quality sound thrown in? You want Bluesound. There are all-in-one speakers, adapters for your existing hi-fi, and a Vault that rips and stores all your CDs. All can handle high-resolution audio.

Infinite music in every room without the need for custom installers? Sign us up now, please

from £159 £895

BEST FOR ONE-BOX WI-FI HI-FI

£299

BEST FOR PORTABILITY

£595

£20

£499

£299

£149

BEST FOR PICNIC PARTIES

£99

from £299

FOR THE FULL REVIEWS AND OUR HI-FI BUYING GUIDE, JUMP OVER TO STUFF.TV/TOP-10/HI-FI-STREAMING

Download the Shop Stuff app Looking for the best deal on some Sonos speakers? You can now find it, and buy them, by scanning this page…

1. Download and install the free Shop Stuff app, available on iOS and Android.

2. Open the app, hold your phone 10cm over the page and wait for the swirly vortex.

3. Scroll through the products and pick your options, then hit ‘buy’ or save it for later.


INTRODUCING

NAD’s New Classic Amplifiers NEW 5 YEAR WARRANTY

BLUETOOTH OUTPUT

C 368 & C 388 with optional MDC module

C 368 £799

C 338 £599

C 388 £1499

This advanced amplifier includes many cutting-edge technological breakthroughs developed by NAD over decades of creating affordable ultra-high performance audio components.

The C 338 includes Wi-Fi and Network Streaming and supports both Google Cast and Spotify Connect. It also provides access to internet radio stations and can serve as an UPnP Client for network streaming from a local NAS library.

Every detail of the powerful C388 has been carefully planned and perfectly executed to wring out every last drop of performance. Featuring NAD’s exclusive modular design, adding the optional BluOS Module provides access to your local area network via Wi-Fi or wired Ethernet connection and adds Hi-Res Audio streaming.

FUTURE-PROOF MODULAR DESIGN. This NAD exclusive feature allows you to customise your C 368 amplifier with additional capabilities and features, now or in the future. The two available MDC slots can accommodate a variety of upgrade modules including 4K video capable HDMI switching, additional Digital Inputs, additional Analogue and Phono Inputs, and one of the most advanced Hi-Res Audio multi-room wireless systems available, the BluOS music management system developed by Bluesound. BluOS connects to your network and is controlled via smartphone, tablet or desktop to manage your music collection and connect to a growing list of high-quality streaming music services.

You can connect instantly to the C 338 with Bluetooth allowing you to stream music wirelessly from any Bluetooth-enabled device. The high performance aptX codec is fully supported for true CD-quality sound.

HiFi for a wireless generation

NEW

5 YEAR WARRANTY

NEW

PULSE SOUNDBAR £999

P7 WIRELESS £319

The PULSE SOUNDBAR is the world’s first Hi-Res Audio soundbar, supporting audio resolutions of 24 bits and up to 192kHz sampling rate. Furthermore, it supports Mater Quality Authenticated (MQA) high-resolution audio streams, another first in the soundbar category. But it is not just the ability to handle hi-res audio streams that make the PULSE SOUNDBAR so unique, it is how it brings music and movies to life with its natural and dynamic sound quality.

Wireless headphones with Bluetooth apX.

PULSE SUB £599 NEW

P3 SERIES 2 £119

Lightweight, foldable on-ear headphones.

SOME BRANDS/PRODUCTS ARE NOT AVAILABLE AT ALL STORES. SPECIAL OFFERS ARE NOT IN CONJUNCTION WITH ANY OTHER OFFER (NICWAOO).

click & collect available

Small and Easy to Live With. With the PULSE SUB, Bluesound has reimagined the subwoofer. Most subwoofers are large cubes that don’t often fit very well in the typical living room. The PULSE SUB on the other hand, is a compact, slim, rectangular shape, allowing it to fit beside, behind, or underneath living room furniture. This room friendly design has several clever installation options.

ADVERT VALID UNTIL 18/10/2016. E&OE

24 STORES NATIONWIDE

WWW.SSAV.COM


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HEADPHONES

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STUFF SAYS

SoundMagic E10C

undMagic has been pumping out quality in-ears for years, but this latest vision is the best yet. You get fantastic sound for the money, a quality cable d plenty of ear tips – and unlike the E10Ss, you don’t need to tell these buds hether you’re plugging into an iPhone or an Android. There’s still nothing out here that can topple SoundMagic as the king of cheap headphones, but the 0Cs prove that it is still possible to improve without hammering up the price.

2

AKG K451

3

AKG Y50BT

4

Bowers & Wilkins P5 Wireless

5

Bose QC35

6

Soul Electronics Flex

7

Audeze Sine

8

JBL Everest 100

9

Philips Fidelio M2L

10

Jabra Sport Pulse

These bargain on-ears offer awesomely agile and punchy sound in a subtly stylish and foldable design. Add standard and three-button control cables for maximising compatibility, and there’s no excuse for not getting brilliant sound from your phone. Proof that good wireless sound doesn’t have to cost the earth: with none of the horrid hiss, whine, crack and pop that’s often a glitch of Bluetooth headphones, these serve up truckloads of detail, with a full charge promising 20 hours of juice. The brand’s first foray into wireless brings luxury for your ears inside and out: these are the Aston Martin DB10s of wire-free cans. If you like your sound authoritative, dynamic and subtle (and who doesn’t?), you’ll feel right at home with these P5s. The QuietComfort range has long offered a sterling mix of comfort and noise-cancelling, but with the new 35s you can add freedom-enhancing Bluetooth. These QCs are high on clarity and spaciousness, making them perfect for your next long-haul journey. These simple in-ears are brilliant for workouts, as they stay put thanks to the comfortable and unobtrusive ear-hooks. Sound quality is excellent, with crisp treble notes, clean vocals and even a decent amount of bass for the money. If you want some Lightning-connected headphones for your new iPhone 7, these will hit the spot for clarity and presence – and they come with a standard 3.5mm jack cable too, so they’re worth the extra cash if you also listen on other tech. The size of a pear drop, JBL’s wireless buds are all about fuss-free fit. Their eight-hour battery life will help get you through the daily grind and their sound is one you could easily listen to for that long… if you don’t mind your music on the meaty side. Philips’ excellent M1s get a Lightning version, offering a rich, full-bodied sound with lots of bass… but the lack of a 3.5mm jack option means they’re not enough of an all-rounder for anyone who doesn’t eat, sleep and breathe iPhone. A tech-packed but easy to use pair of wireless buds with good enough sound. The big draw here is connection to the Jabra Sport app, delivering heart-rate monitoring and pretty much any other stat you might want. There’s also an inline remote and mic.

If you’re still listening to a pair of freebie buds, stop it – and buy a pair of these right now

£39 £44

£129

BEST FOR GREAT SOUND WITH NO WIRES

£229

£289

BEST FOR SHUTTING OUT THE WORLD

£42

£399

£79

£199

£109

FOR THE FULL REVIEWS AND OUR HEADPHONE BUYING GUIDE, VISIT STUFF.TV/TOP-10/HEADPHONES

Download the Shop Stuff app Looking for the best deal on a pair of SoundMagic E10Cs? You can find it, and buy them, by scanning this page…

1. Download and install the free Shop Stuff app, available on iOS and Android.

2. Open the app, hold your phone 10cm over the page and wait for the swirly vortex.

3. Scroll through the products and pick your options, then hit ‘buy’ or save it for later.


HOME CINEMA 121 T HO Y BU

1

Amazon Fire TV 4K

Amazon’s latest Fire TV is faster and more powerful than the previous model, but more importantly, it supports ultra-detailed 4K video: TV and movies in four times the resolution of Full HD. Of course, you’ll need a 4K set to enjoy all those extra pixels, but if you’re thinking of making the upgrade soon, this streamer is a tele-futurist’s delight. With the added attractions of neat voice controls and great gaming functionality, it’s the most complete streaming box you can buy.

STUFF SAYS

Netflix, iPlayer, Amazon video and Android games in one 4K-capable box

£79

2

Sky Q

3

Q Acoustics Media 4

4

Canton DM55

5

Google Chromecast

6

Dali Kubik One

7

Geneva Model Cinema

8

Philips Fidelio B5

This Philips isn’t just a soundbar. It’s a shape-shifting 4.1 system with detachable ends that can double up as surround or multiroom speakers. Clever, eh? Detail levels are sky high, while the rumbling bass charges along with accuracy and power.

£499

9

NowTV Smart Box

£39

10

A Sky subscription is already an expensive option, but Sky Q works flawlessly and could change the way you watch TV – especially now 4K’s arrived. Undoubtedly the best TV experience you can get, but only early adopters need to dive in right now. Sure, it doesn’t look like much. And yet, this soundbar has won awards two years in a row from our friends at What Hi-Fi? The Media 4 combines subtle detail with precise surround effects to be the best-sounding and best-value soundbar you can buy. This soundbase is a bit like dark chocolate: it may look plain and unassuming, but it’s packed with a rich and full-bodied character. If you want that extra oomph to your films without breaking the bank or sacrificing too much space, the DM55 is worth a look. The new Chromecast lets you search multiple streaming services from one app, offers better Wi-Fi and lets you use your phone to control Android games. For the seriously impatient, its smart preloading also plays Netflix episodes almost instantaneously. Dali knows a thing or two about making great-looking, great-sounding loudspeakers, and the Kubik One is a riveting listen. It can handle high-res files and offers a gorgeous high-end sound. If you’ve got the cash, this is a talented system worth investing in. The impeccably built Model Cinema looks rather lovely (for a soundbase), and being a fairly slim box, it has no business sounding this huge and cinematic. It does so with authority and insight – it’s like you’re sitting in your own personal theatre.

NowTV was already a fine alternative to a satellite dish, giving you the best of Sky for a monthly subscription, all through your internet connection. It’s even better in this latest version: this streaming box is a one-stop shop for all your TV needs, Sky or free-to-air.

Apple TV (2015)

Cupertino still hasn’t given us a real telly, but this powerful streaming device brims with potential. Its Siri Remote could be a game-changer and it works well as a platform for third-party apps and games; but for now it’s more pricey and less open than its rivals.

from £99 +£44/month

BEST FOR TELLY ADDICTS

£249

BEST FOR TRUE-TO-LIFE SOUND

£299

£25

BEST FOR BUDGET STREAMING

£799

£495

(or free with NowTV bundle)

from £129

FOR THE FULL REVIEWS AND OUR HOME CINEMA BUYING GUIDE, SEE STUFF.TV/TOP-10/HOME-CINEMA

PLUG INTO STUFF’S SOCIAL NETWORK youtube.com/stuff


122 T HO Y BU

TVs

1

This is a truly stunning television. LG’s OLED panel can go blacker than most TVs and will dazzle your senses with its brightness; it offers sharply etched detail, excellent viewing angles and solid HD upscaling. It also boasts support for both HDR standards: HDR10 and Dolby Vision. This means you’ll be able to watch compatible content from Amazon, Netflix and UHD Blu-rays regardless of which format wins out in the future.

2

Samsung UE55KS7000

3

Samsung UE48J6300

4

Sony 55XD9305

5

LG OLED65G6V

6

Samsung UE55KS9000

7

LG 55EG960V

8

Panasonic TX-40DX600B

9

Panasonic TX-65DX750B

10

STUFF SAYS

LG OLED55C6V

This set sprinkles a little extra stardust on top of its 4K and HDR brilliance in the form of ‘Quantum Dot’ technology, which claims to offer over a billion colours to point your peepers at. The result is an impressively refined performance. A 48in screen seems to be the ideal size for most living rooms, and a prominent curve makes this Samsung eye-catching in every respect. The performance is stunning and the colours have the right balance of vividness and subtlety. This is a smart TV bargain. Sony’s stunning newcomer ticks all the boxes for a thoroughly modern TV: beautiful looks, 4K, HDR and much, much more. Above all, this is as stonking a picture as you’re going to get for under two grand, and in a svelte frame as well. This is a stunning specimen of technology and design, with one of the best pictures we’ve ever seen. Its OLED panel yields absolute blacks with precision lighting and no halo effects whatsoever. The only downside is the equally astonishing price. Samsung has kept up the pace following the success of last year’s sets, and delivered a superb TV at a competitive price for its level. You get an absolutely stunning picture and performance for the money, proving there’s plenty of life in LCD yet. We knew that OLED and 4K together in one TV would be rather special. This 55in LG combines the unbelievable contrast of OLED with the super-sharp images of 4K to create a picture that’s almost as real and enticing as looking out of the window. Not everyone has room for a large TV, and this 40-incher is ideal for those with limited space. Add 4K and you have a truly appealing proposition – there are other 4K sets available at this money, but none can match the Panasonic’s wonderfully crisp picture. If you want a big 4K telly that won’t decimate your savings, this 65in Panasonic is a tempting option. It does fall short of the supercharged levels of peak brightness and colour bit depth that you’ll find higher up this list, though.

Philips 65PUS8901

A seriously expensive 4K beast with HDR compatibility, this Philips has the AmbiLux twist – creating a more immersive experience with nine projectors that extend the screen image onto the wall behind. It’s only available in store at Harrods.

Packed full of tech with jaw-dropping performance, this is the TV your overdraft was made for

£2299 £1299

£529

BEST FOR VIEWING VALUE

£1649

BEST FOR THE WOW FACTOR

£5999

£1999

£1699

£489

£1699

£3999

FOR THE FULL REVIEWS AND OUR TV BUYING GUIDE, NAVIGATE TO STUFF.TV/TOP-10/TVS

Download the Shop Stuff app Looking for the best deal on the LG OLED55C6V? You can now find it – and buy it – by scanning this page…

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3. Scroll through the products and pick your options, then hit ‘buy’ or save it for later.


LAPTOPS 123 T HO Y BU

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Apple MacBook Pro 13in

Apple didn’t change too many parts of the MacBook Pro for the 2015 update. There’s a new trackpad and the latest generation of Intel CPUs, which deliver better stamina as well as a chunk more power. This is an incremental upgrade, but given how good the Pro already was, that’s more than enough to keep it right at the top of our honours list. If you need speedy processing as well as long battery life and portability, this is one of the best laptops money can buy.

2

Dell XPS 13

3

Dell Chromebook 13

4

Asus ZenBook UX305

The original XPS 13 was already a great lightweight laptop, but now Dell has given it a Windows 10 refresh. If the last one was the thinking person’s ultrabook, this is that and a whole lot more. With improved battery life and performance, it’s hard to beat. This Dell brings quality construction together with horsepower that outclasses almost every other Chromebook on the market. The price is roughly double that of similar devices, but for the extra cash you’re getting a true ‘laptop experience’. Asus knows what it’s doing. It knows that the Apple MacBook Air laptops are treading water and the ZenBook UX305 is pretty much everything the 2015 Air should have been, with its fetching aluminium design and as good a display as any £1000 laptop.

STUFF SAYS

It hasn’t radically changed, but the Pro’s performance and trackpad are top of its class. If it ain’t broke…

from £999 from £949

from £615

from £599

5

Toshiba Chromebook 2

Toshiba has created the most desirable Chromebook to date with some well-judged upgrades. Smaller, lighter and great value, the screen’s resolution now has pin-sharp HD and the Skullcandy speakers are distortion-free. It lasted eight hours on test.

£169

6 7

Apple MacBook

from £1049

Prettiness in pink aside, this is much like last year’s 12in MacBook. The 2016 version is skinny and fab to work on, with a lovely screen… but unless you’d lap up the extra hour’s battery life, there’s no real need to upgrade from last year’s model.

HP Spectre 13

How do you earn the title of world’s thinnest laptop? By shrinking and slashing until you’re left with only the essentials. Yet the Spectre has got serious power under the hood, and the looks to give Apple’s 12in MacBook a run for its money.

8

Asus X555LA

9

Apple MacBook Air 13in

10

Microsoft Surface Book

Fancy high performance for a low, low price? Of course you do! This bargain beast manages to cram in a speedy Core i5 processor and up to 8GB of RAM. With a crisp keyboard and responsive trackpad, it’s a challenge not to be impressed with this Asus. Apple is scraping by with pretty much the same Air design as before. You get a new processor, new connectors and slightly improved battery life, but still no Retina screen. However, if a portable road warrior is what you’re after, this is a great choice. Microsoft’s finally made a laptop, and shorn of its initial bugs, the Surface Book is a lustrous Windows machine with premium appeal. With an innovative hinged design, plenty of oomph and a tablet option, this sleek hybrid gets a lot right.

BEST FOR PRACTICAL PORTABILITY

BEST FOR VALUE FOR MONEY

from £1149

from £429

from £849

from £1169

FOR THE FULL REVIEWS AND OUR LAPTOP BUYING GUIDE, CLICK ON OVER TO STUFF.TV/TOP-10/LAPTOPS APPLE WATCH 2 iPHONE 7 AIRPODS WE RATE THEM ALL

NO JACK, NO PROBLEM!

iPHONE 7 YOUR ULTIMATE GUIDE 100 BEST FREE APPS 10 TOP WIRELESS CANS 1 SUPER MARIO

NEW TECH TESTED PlayStation 4 Pro Amazon Echo Fujifilm X-T2 Urban bikes megatest £4.99 November 2016 www.stuff.tv

Every gadget, every review, every page, available on PC, Mac, iPad and Android www.stuff.tv/digital-magazine


TOP FIVES GEEK ACCESSORIES & CONSOLES

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GEEK ACCESSORIES

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Raspberry Pi 3 B

2

DJI Phantom 4

3

Amazon Kindle Oasis

4

Yuneec Typhoon H

5

DJI Osmo

It just keeps getting tastier by the year – 50% faster, 100% more Wi-Fi, same price. No other circuit board computer touches what the Pi offers as a package: the amazing value hardware, the mountains of online support and the sheer wealth of projects you can try. The Phantom 4 is not so much an upgrade as an evolutionary leap. The world of drones can be an intimidating one, but what DJI has done here is to create a quadcopter that anyone really can fly – and do it safely. Expect to see a lot more of these in the sky soon. If you’re looking to get an e-reader to take on holiday, the Kindle Paperwhite will do just fine – it has a great screen and backlighting, and costs less than half the price of this one. But buying an Oasis is the decadent option, and it never hurts to show your class. The Typhoon H is a fantastic hexacopter that’s easy to fly, has a lengthy flight time, takes great footage and photos, and folds up to a (reasonably) portable size. It’s only hamstrung by the two-hour battery charging time, which is trounced by rivals from DJI. You can’t fly a drone through a narrow hallway, but you can walk down one wielding an Osmo – and the footage will be silky smooth. This stabilised camera is in a category of its own, and to get similar functionality from a DSLR you’d end up spending far more.

£30

BEST FOR DIY PROJECTS

£1129

BEST FOR RULING THE SKIES

£269

£1094

£489

GAMES CONSOLES

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Xbox One S

2

Sony PlayStation 4 Slim

3

HTC Vive

4

Oculus Rift

5

Nintendo Wii U

The Xbox One S dumps all the stuff that didn’t make sense about Microsoft’s third proper games console – Kinect, the £400+ asking price, that fugly power brick – and the result is that it looks and feels like an even more enticing machine than the PS4. This is effectively the old standard PS4 squeezed into a 20% smaller package, and will still deliver an awesome console gaming experience. But if you see a 4K TV in your future, you’re probably better off saving a little extra for the imminent PS4 Pro. HTC Vive is our VR headset of choice because of one key feature: frickin’ laser beams. This allows you to roam free instead of being confined to a chair. Combined with two motion controllers, it’s a completely new way to experience games. The wait is finally over, virtual reality has arrived, and Oculus got there first. The Rift is seriously impressive, a window into untold flights of escapism – you’re going to want one. It really needs the Touch controllers, though. While it hasn’t had the same impact as the original Wii, don’t underestimate the U’s fun factor. Nintendo’s bottomless bag of superb game franchises rolls on with the excitement of Mario Kart 8, with its anti-gravity karts and submarine racing.

from £249

£259

£759

BEST FOR FUTURE GAZING

£549

£239

FOR THE FULL REVIEWS IN EACH CATEGORY AND OUR BUYING GUIDES, VISIT WWW.STUFF.TV/TOP-10S

Download the Shop Stuff app Looking for the best deal on an Xbox One S? You can now find it – and buy it – by scanning this page…

1. Download and install the free Shop Stuff app, available on iOS and Android.

2. Open the app, hold your phone 10cm over the page and wait for the swirly vortex.

3. Scroll through the products and pick your options, then hit ‘buy’ or save it for later.


TOP FIVES WEARABLES & SMARTHOME 125 WEARABLES

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Apple Watch Series 2

2

Pebble Time Steel

3

Under Armour HealthBox

4

Garmin Vivomove

5

Misfit Ray

Last year’s Apple Watch was already the best smartwatch to date; now it’s found its focus. The Series 2 devices come with an array of upgrades – more power, a brighter screen – along with a greater emphasis on fitness functions without a phone in tow. It’s very similar to the Pebble Time, but the extra Gorilla Glass 3 on the front makes it a bit less damage-prone and the bonus battery life means it’ll last for a solid week of proper use. These tweaks ensure that the Time Steel is the best Pebble you can buy. UA teamed up with HTC to create this all-in-one package comprising a fitness band, a chest strap, a smart scale and a whole bunch of smartphone apps to bring them all together. It’s everything you need to fit up – all you need to add is willpower. Serious athlete? This sleek, analogue-faced watch will be the one you swap out for a dedicated tracker when it’s workout time. Stylish commuter on a health kick? Free up a space on your wrist: this is everything you need from a fitness watch. Misfit has crammed a lot of tech into this basic-looking bracelet. There’s no heart-rate tracking, and you’ll need your phone in your pocket for GPS, but you do get step tracking, silent vibration alarms, sleep monitoring and movement reminders.

from £269

BEST FOR TECH YOU WANT TO WEAR

from £169

BEST FOR BATTERY LIFE

£349

£139

£79

SMARTHOME

T HO Y BU

1

Nest Learning Thermostat (3rd gen)

The latest Nest adds the ability to control your hot water (if you have a separate tank), as well as a slightly nicer dial with a bigger screen that, helpfully, shows you a clock when you walk past. It’s not the most dramatic update, but it didn’t need to be.

£249 (with installation)

2

Netatmo Welcome

Netatmo’s smartcam now has added face recognition capability, which works reliably well once it knows a face, and all the usual motion and noise detection is controllable. We also like the way individual profiles can be adjusted. Slick and hugely informative.

£159

3

Hive Active Heating 2

£249 (with installation)

4

Honeywell Evohome

£204

5

Samsung SmartThings

Simple enough for anyone to use and powerful enough to be useful, Hive is now far smarter, with features such as geolocation and holiday mode to help you save cash. For a family-friendly introduction to the connected home, this will take some beating. Set schedules to control the precise temperature of each individual room of your family home, using either the tablet-like central controller or the free Total Connect Comfort app. It’s a big old investment, but you’ll soon pity anyone living without it. While this is some of the best, simplest smarthome kit we’ve used, the starter pack isn’t quite as well thought out as we were hoping. It’s really just a demonstrator kit for people who want to try this sort of tech without doing any rewiring.

BEST FOR HOME SECURITY

+ £55/radiator + installation

from £199

FOR THE FULL REVIEWS IN EACH CATEGORY AND OUR BUYING GUIDES, VISIT WWW.STUFF.TV/TOP-10S

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TOP FIVES CAMERAS

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SLRs

T HO Y BUW NE

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Fujifilm X-T2

The X-T2 is a lesson in how to upgrade an already great gadget. The X-T1 was itself a brilliant camera, so Fuji gave it superb video and autofocus skills to go with the already top image quality and build. The result is a truly superb all-rounder.

£1399

(body only)

2

Sony A7R II

Yes, it’s expensive, but the A7R II combines impeccable build quality with a class-leading full-frame sensor, 5-axis image stabilisation, huge ISO range, super-fast autofocus, an excellent viewfinder and 4K video recording. The finest camera Sony has ever made.

(body only)

3

Canon EOS 80D

£999

4

Fujifilm X-T10

5

Canon EOS 5DS

Even a child would get great results with the 80D – it’s the photographic equivalent of playing FIFA 16 as Barcelona, on full auto mode, against Burnley. If you want a camera that takes the hard work out of getting fantastic photos, you won’t find much better. For rich landscapes, detailed macro shots, stunningly sharp portraits and everyday photos, the X-T10 beats most other choices at any price. It also handles beautifully and can be paired with some of the most consistently superb lenses you’ll ever find. A fantastic piece of kit that any pixel-peeping SLR fan will get heaps of enjoyment out of. The astounding 50MP sensor puts an incredible amount of pictorial detail at your fingertips, and the 5DS is very much pitched as Canon’s ultimate stills camera.

£2999

(body only)

£449

(body only)

BEST FOR ALL-ROUND VALUE

£2699

(body only)

COMPACT CAMERAS

T HO Y BU

1

Sony DSC-RX100 IV

2

Panasonic Lumix LX100

3

Nikon Coolpix S7000

4

Sony RX10 III

5

Panasonic Lumix FZ1000

Yes, it’s pricey for a compact, but the high frame rate, fast burst mode and 4K video recording aren’t to be sniffed at. The RX100 IV is a premium point-and-shoot that offers all the versatility, flexibility and all-round performance you could ever need. This is one of the most capable premium compacts on the market – and the LX100’s 4K capabilities give it a crucial edge over its rivals. HD video capture and superb stills performance make the Panasonic a star performer when it comes to the basics too. If small and light is the way you need to go, you can jam the affordable S7000 in your jeans and you won’t even notice it’s there. Yet it still packs a 20x optical zoom and back-illuminated 16MP sensor, as well as 4-axis stabilisation and Wi-Fi. The RX10 II was a fantastic camera, and the III edition does nothing but improve on it. It’s one of the best all-rounders we’ve seen, and if you’re looking for a high-performance camera without the hassle of interchangeable lenses, this should be the one. The FZ1000 is incredibly versatile – a fixed-lens camera capable of shooting fantastic stills and video in almost any situation. Yes, it’s almost the same as the Leica V-Lux, but at about £300 cheaper it deserves an extra star. A brilliant bridge camera.

£829

BEST FOR POCKETABLE POWER

£499

£129

£1549

£589

FOR THE FULL REVIEWS IN EACH CATEGORY AND OUR BUYING GUIDES, VISIT WWW.STUFF.TV/TOP-10S

Download the Shop Stuff app Looking for the best deal on the Fujifilm X-T2? You can now find it – and buy it – by scanning this page…

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2. Open the app, hold your phone 10cm over the page and wait for the swirly vortex.

3. Scroll through the products and pick your options then hit ‘buy’ or save it for later.


S TU FF PRO M OTI O N

STRAPPY FAMILY From high-tech to classic, via minimalist and sport, here are seven ways to satisfy your horological cravings

DU MAURIER COMMODORE LIMITED EDITION, £465 This Swiss-made diving watch is limited to just 125 pieces. It’s a classic combination of style and performance: the Commodore is a true dress-diver that looks as good with a suit as it does in the water.

CHEAPO BRAND NANDO METAL, £55

www.dumaurierwatches.com

Born in Sweden and inspired by skateboarding, music and art, Cheapo Brand believes that good-looking watches and sunglasses shouldn’t cost you a fortune. That’s why they offer great looks, great quality and great social values at prices anyone can afford.

SUUNTO SPARTAN SPORT, FROM £399 Suunto Spartan Sport is an advanced multisport GPS watch with trim fit, a color touchscreen, 100m water resistance, a compass and up to 16 hours of battery life in training mode. With 80 preset sport modes and rich sport-specific metrics, Spartan Sport could be your ideal training partner. www.suunto.com

www.cheapobrand.com

GREYHOURS VISION SHINE ELECTRON, £220 The Vision Shine Electron is built from the finest 316L stainless steel and shielded by a Blue PVD coating. It comes with a French sapphire glass and is fitted with a soft calf-leather strap from the best French tannery. The new Vision collection is available now. www.greyhours.com

NITE WATCHES HAWK T100, £300 The HAWK T100 from British watch brand Nite Watches combines unrivalled T100 rated GTLS (tritium) illumination tech with a lightweight reinforced polycarbonate casing. www.nitewatches.com

GWC MESH CHRONO, £49 The strikingly minimal Mesh Chrono from Megir boasts a steel mesh band, precision stopwatch and calendar wheel at 4 o’clock. Three variations. Quote STUFFNOV at The Gentlemen’s Watch Co. for 10% off (expires 31/10/2016). www.gwcwatches.com

ALBANY & CO. FLAGSHIP 40MM, £69 The Flagship 40mm from Oxford-based Albany & Co. has a seamlessly machined stainless-steel case, Swiss movement and 100m water resistance. Limited numbers are available for discount pre-order. www.albanyandco.com


Highly Classified

To advertise call Jessica Sarfas 0208 267 5521

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Vintage Watch Movement Cufflinks

When these watches stopped who knew they would be reincarnated as really cool cufflinks. Crafted from 1920s - 1950s Swiss watch movements, set with original ruby jewels and mounted as cufflinks. Presented in a vintage inspired box.

ÂŁ49 - by Pretty Eccentric Visit: www.prettyeccentric.co.uk


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NEXT BIG THING?

hose appear to be Polaroids. Not quite Harry Potter snaps, are they? Not exactly, though they’re not that far off. These 3D prints don’t quite move around with their own intelligence and sentient will, but they are full colour holograms that have been printed using standard inkjet printers. Which is, you know, a sort of magic in itself. It all works thanks to some clever folks from MIT, who have developed a realistic, glasses-free 3D experience using a combination of algorithms and light-field technology. They’re calling it Lumii.

T

What did the cheese say to it’s reflection? Hey Lumii! Very good. It’s going to take us a while to recover from that. But back to these magical photos, because the way they work is rather clever. Subjects are scanned and a 3D model is created. Lumii’s special light-field engine then processes these 3D models, before an algorithm calculates and churns out a set of unique patterns. These are printed on separate layers using a regular printer, which means you can do it at home. Sandwich those together and – boom! – you’ve got a Hogwarts-worthy Polaroid in your hands.

Neat. But why? “But why?” Imagine if Krunk had said that to Gorg when he first brought a flaming stick back to their cave. We’d still be eating berries and living in furs, and there’d be no such thing as Netflix. But enough preaching. These 3D prints are easier to make and have a larger depth of field than existing holograms. Plus they have lots of potential uses – homemade advertising, novelty cards, or next-gen photo albums. Lumii’s still in the alpha stage right now, so you’ve got plenty of time to commission your futuristic portrait.

DON’T MISS THE NEXT ISSUE! ON SALE 3 NOV

[ Words Esat Dedezade ]

light-field photos


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www.avon-tyres.co.uk

ATAC-TA TREAD PROFILE ATAC varies the tread profile across the tyre for the ultimate in handling and stability.

INVERTED FRONT TYRE GROOVES Delivers smooth handling, improved wet braking and shorter stopping distances throughout the tyre’s life.

ENHANCED AQUA FLOW Computer designed tread pattern propels water away aiding water dispersion and maximising wet grip.

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FORCE FOLLOWING GROOVES Work in tandem with forces transmitted through the tyre for increased wear resistance, optimum water dispersal, reduced tyre noise and improved mileage.

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The Triumph Thunderbird LT represents the best of British engineering with its iconic parallel twin engine and class leading, head turning chassis.

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So it’s no surprise that Triumph has approved the Cobra Radial tyre from Avon for all Thunderbird LT new fitments.

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Designed and made specifically for the power cruiser/touring market, Cobra provides incredible stability and longevity – perfect for touring.

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Drawing on Avon’s sports tyre technology, Cobra’s unique sidewall design and aggressive tread pattern promotes nimble handling and an ultra quiet ride experience.

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For further information on the Avon Tyres range, visit www.avon-tyres.co.uk

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Stuff - November 2016