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LG EC970V

WINNER TV OF THE YEAR


CONS ON THE COVER

P98

p10 Note to self

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HOT STUFF 10 The Hot Four Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Nintendo Classic Mini Bang & Olufsen BeoVision 14 Nissan BladeGlider 18 Vital stats Staaker Follow-me drone with a mind of its own 22 Choice Scissors Clever snippers get straight to the point 24 Start menu New concepts: take a punt or take a walk 26 Gigapixel Indian Roadmaster & Chieftain Perfect bikes for riding through Tech-sas 28 Apps Turn your dog into an ’80s sitcom star, and other vital functions 30 Games Despite its name, Final Fantasy keeps going 34 Icon Wide-View Sensor Mirror It changes colour, but you’ll still be in it 38 Your month Sausages, scientists and Super Furries

TESTS p40 All white now

p71 Flying tonight

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12 First test Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Full review of our plus-sized cover star 40 First test special Xbox One S Microsoft strikes in the console war 68 First test Alcatel Idol 4S Can the French budgeteers take on OnePlus? 71 Group test Drones Picking the top performers with propellers on 76 Long-term test Under Armour HealthBox Tidy package of HTC-assisted fitness tech 79 Tested Samsung UE55KS9000 An LCD TV with 4K and lots of loveliness 80 First test HP Spectre 13 The ultra-ultra-slim MacBook-chaser 88 First test NowTV Smart Box The best of Sky without a dish – very smart 90 Versus Juicers Panasonic takes on the latest NutriBullet 96 Tested Bluetooth speakers Tiddly contraptions that are loud, loud, loud 98 Tested Games No, we haven’t ‘finished’ it: No Man’s Sky


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FEATURES 47 Stuff’s Gadget Hall of Fame With help from your votes, Stuff celebrates the pioneering icons that first made us fall in love with tech, from the tricky Polaroid SX-70 to the bricky Nokia 3310 83 Stuff picks A telescope, a camera, a mound of beasts… we select our favourite sub-£100 gadgets 92 Gadget doctor Phone always running out of juice? We’ve got the tricks to keep you going… 100 Media hoard Cinematic stimulation and aural titillation, plus the best gangstery TV to stream this month

PROJECTS 106 Beta yourself Steam So many games, so little time: how to get more from the entertainment platform 108 Playlist 4K films and TV shows Bear-wrestling, aliens and even Tom Hanks all look better in Ultra HD – honestly 110 Instant upgrades GoPro Top accessories, downloads and shooting tips to improve your action-cam life 112 The big question How can I get tech bargains on eBay? 113 5-minute hacks If nothing else, at least… Give Chrome a bit of a polish Read with your ears Supercharge your broadband

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 p116.

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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 James Walton Sales Managers Stephen Windegaard, Robert Nevill Retail Manager Rob Kerr Display Sales Executive Amy Turner Classified Sales Executive Joshua McGonigle International Business Dev Manager Amardeep Mangat Head of Creative Solutions Chris Bullen 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 10 • ISSN: 1364-963 • On sale 1 September 2016 • Audit Bureau of Circulations: 62,624 (Jan-Dec 2015) PEFC Certified

Welcome “Those old Nokias are overrated.” “What’s a ZX Spectrum?” “Well, I bought a Zune.” All of these reprehensible sentences were uttered inside Stuff HQ this month, and I can honestly say our office has never been closer to all-out warfare. Turns out people have pretty strong opinions when it comes to retro tech. Especially when you start slagging off whatever gadget they got for Christmas in the year of the Suez crisis, or whatever. In order to settle these arguments once and for all, we devised Stuff’s Gadget Hall of Fame: a place for the greatest devices (and games) of all time to live together, and a much-needed opportunity for me to bore on about Super Mario World again. Turn to p47 for the fruits of our infighting and your votes via Stuff.tv. As easy as it is to look at something like Apple’s first iPod and argue that tech was better back in the day, I honestly believe we’re living in a golden age for gadgets. Just take this month’s cover star, for example. The Note 7 is a huge and supremely powerful smartphone, yet at the same time it’s impossibly thin and remarkably comfortable to hold. Will it one day rank alongside Sky+ and the Sony PlayStation in our hallowed Hall of Fame? Only time will tell. As you can see from our review on p12, it’s already headed that way. Rob Leedham, Editor / @robleedham

This product is from sustainably managed forests and controlled sources

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10 BEST TECH BARGAINS TOP BUYS SUB-£100

© 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.

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Making Stuff up Editor Rob Leedham Deputy Editor Tom Wiggins Consulting Editor Fraser Macdonald Features Editor Mark Wilson Deputy Features Editor Esat Dedezade Editor, Stuff.tv Marc McLaren Deputy Editor, Stuff.tv Tom Parsons Acting Reviews Editor Tom Morgan

I WATCHED THE REVENANT IN ULTRA HD

And Hull City versus reigning Premier League champions Leicester on the opening day of the season. And the Tom Hanks classic Forrest Gump. In fact, I’ve watched pretty much anything Sky Q could shovel into my eyes in 4K resolution ever since it started broadcasting a few weekends ago. Ultra HD is now included in the subscription cost, so if you’ve got a 4K telly it’s time to take advantage. How am I ever supposed to go back to lowly HD after this? Tom Wiggins, Deputy Editor

I HAD MY HEAD TURNED BY VIRGIN…

…specifically by its new V6 TiVo box. After close to a decade with Virgin I was thinking of ditching it for the new NowTV combo: the streaming-based service would fit perfectly with my viewing habits and I love the idea of a month-to-month contract. But it doesn’t do 4K. In fact it doesn’t even do Full HD. We know very little about the V6 yet beyond the fact that it exists, but I’d stake my non-existent reputation on the fact that it’ll do 4K. Looks like I’m staying put, then. Marc McLaren, Editor, Stuff.tv

Making Stuff better Production Editor Richard Purvis Colouring Stuff in Brand Art Editor Chee-Chiu Lee Deputy Art Editor Ross Presly Senior Designer Will Clarke Senior Video Editor Peter Brown 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, Justin Mahboubian-Jones, Jools Whitehorn, Matt Beedle, RGB Digital, Alex Fanning, Mitch Payne, Josh Fleming, Rob Keenan, Jayne Nelson, Alistair MacQueen 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

OUR MONTH

The wondrous worlds we spent August discovering I WAS NAIVE ABOUT LEAVES

I’ve not been drinking tea for long, having resolutely avoided doing anything ‘grown-up’ that wasn’t strictly necessary. But now I’m taking it on, memorising the many shades of brown and the various social rules around the tea-making process. When I saw this instant tea in an aerosol from nomoreteabags.com, I thought it might jump me a few rungs up the office experts group. Wrong. A raised eyebrow was all I got for proffering this pungent spray-gunk. Back to the beginners’ sink for me. Fraser Macdonald, Consulting Editor

I BECAME AN INTERGALACTIC DARWIN…

…by traipsing around strange and dangerous planets in No Man’s Sky, scanning and renaming weird alien creatures along the way. My first discovery? A small, bipedal dinosaur-type thing with an arrow-shaped tale. I named him ‘Mogsy’ in honour of Tom Morgan, who reviews the game on p98. You’ll find Mogsy on the planet Stuff Alpha Prime. Well, you would, except I killed him. Darwin did eat pretty much every species he discovered, after all. Tom Parsons, Deputy Editor, Stuff.tv

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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1 IT IS FINER

2 IT IS GIFFIER

Every new Note stylus is highly precise and more sensitive than the old version. Don’t write it off until you’ve tried one – it’s marvellously cool.

There’s an awful lot of power in that plastic, such as the ability to drag a marquee around part of a video to create a Twitter-breaking gif.

3 ES IST KONTINENTAL Can’t read foreign, like? Buy a Note 7, go to a website full of umlauts or cedillas, hover the S Pen over each word… boom! Translated.

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It doesn’t only look spankingly cool… The Galaxy Note 7 has a great many skills, but the ability to write notes using the stylus while underwater is going to change lives. Especially the lives of scubadiving poets.

HOT FOUR #1 ONE, TWO, MISS A FEW… 99? SAMSUNG GALAXY NOTE 7

It’s the old trick: hold something back from us so that, when we can have it, we want it more. Glastonbury does it with festivals, mums do it with ice creams, Samsung did it with the Galaxy Note 5 by not bringing it to the UK. Now it’s even doubled up on the mind-marketing by missing out a number in the series – the Note 6 never even existed and yet we miss it like a lost brother. But, as with Glastonbury and ice creams, this artificial anticipation generation is unnecessary. We love Notes. And the Note 7 looks fantastic: powerful, curved, clever. But we’re not going to go on about it. Oh wait, yes we are – turn over for a Stop Press First Test Megaspread Special. But perhaps grab yourself a Cornetto first, eh? As hot as… your excitedly overworked stylus tip on the first day £750 / stuff.tv/Note7

TURN OVER FOR THE NOTE 7 REVIEW!

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The latest Galaxy Note is packing some of the most powerful hardware ever squeezed into a phone… and it looks rather fine too £750 / samsung.com

What’s that about absence making the heart grow fonder? The Galaxy Note 5 skipped the UK last year, but now Samsung has brought its successor back with a vengeance. The Note 7 was always going to be a force, but it’s somehow even more impressive once you get one in your hands. Not just because it’s lightningfast, with an octa-core Exynos CPU and 4GB of RAM absolutely flying through apps and games. Not because it’s packing the same excellent 12MP camera as the Galaxy S7 either (although it does take properly stunning photos – you don’t need perfect light to get the perfect selfie, as it can really hold its own when the sun goes down). Tweaks, refinements and new additions like HDR video and an ultra-secure iris scanner all add up to make this an absolute monster of a phone. And that’s before you unsheathe the S Pen stylus, which is better than ever. All of this is why the Note 7 has us reaching for our wallets.

Good Meh Evil

W re ow all , i y t lo rid o icu ks lo go us o ly d. L Fin go ik do ge od e r es rp -lo ea it rin w ts ok lly, an a ing rea t t nd . lly os a , Ar ee n ir br gh m is s ig , m y c ht y pa an .W e ss ne he yes po r… re ! H rt to a re DR 64 o? m vid th G y B at o e s o ’s f un is be st gl in as s fo ora re g se an ad e s s? ely din pa g ce a m to T icr fill, w his oS an rit st e e yl D d ca ve us rd ry is g . th re ing at Go – b Ba d, y I’m ha ck m nd go to y h a no ing th n e o dw w to ! ns rit cr ing ee i s n k te ey rr bo ible ar . d.

28 hours with the Galaxy Note 7

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Tech specs Screen 5.7in 2540x1440 Super AMOLED Processor Exynos 8890 octa-core OS Android 6.0.1 with TouchWiz Cameras 12MP rear, 5MP front Storage 64GB plus microSD (up to 2TB) RAM 4GB Dimensions 154x74x7.9mm, 169g

1 Cutting edge A 5.7in screen has never felt smaller, and the Note 7 never feels ungainly thanks to those curvaceous edges. It’s like an infinity pool in your palm – one that’s a pleasure to hold, even if the coral colour is an unforgiving fingerprint magnet. 2 Pixel-popping Samsung’s AMOLED screens put other phones to shame, and the Note 7’s 2K display turns things up another notch. My inner movie addict loves its HDR abilities and it produces a blindingly bright picture. Now, Netflix: hurry up and add HDR to your Android app. 3 Batt’s amazing The Note 7’s got a smaller battery than the S7 Edge, but crucially it uses fast-charging tech. A quick blast between waking and leaving the house meant it lasted the morning commute, and an hour plugged in at work was then all I needed for a full charge. 4 Gee Wiz! Steered clear of Samsung in the past because of TouchWiz? Good news – it’s matured a lot, with subtle but significant changes that go deeper than new-look icons, and the new Secure Folder makes sure it’s only your eyes checking out your private pics.

T pr ouc ef hW er th iz i es sn to o l ck on An ge dr r h oid at loo efu k, l! S Ju th till Gr st ou s ea p gh t j ed . ob t , a hro lw ug ay h s- th on e s It lo up ck e re jus all t k sc rm y e re ar is ep en ke ex s lis t. ce on ts lle g . nt oin . g Fa – ar st th ou ch eb nd ar at fo gin te r it g ry m to e ju an ice s ba no ck wa up itin eit g he r.

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Superstylusin’ Get ready to write - the Note 7 has the best stylus ever to pop out of a phone. Here’s why:

Gif it up

The animated gif is up there with the wheel and the Zinger Tower Burger as one of the greatest inventions ever. The S Pen lets you churn them out and turn YouTube clips into shareable selections.

Better than a Post-it

Pop out the S Pen before you unlock the phone and the always-on screen turns black, letting you scribble notes down right away. What other flagship handset out there lets you do this? None.

Sunken treasure

Naturally I do all my best thinking in the bath, and happily I can now jot those musings down. The Note 7 and the S Pen are both IP68-rated, so you can keep scrawling if you’re in a desk chair or in the pool.

Lost in translation

Hover the S Pen over any on-screen word and a translation will appear. Or take a shot of a foreign menu, hover the Pen over the words, and you’ll soon be on your way to juicy steak town.

Samsung has rounded out its flagship phone triple threat perfectly with the Note 7. It’s got all the signature features, such as a brilliant screen and a camera that can handle low light, plus software tweaks that make the most of that stylus. It’s hard to find fault with its tech qualities, and if you covet a stylus, it’s time to cough up. @elissaloi

STUFF SAYS The Note 7 proves Samsung can nail thoughtful design, inside and out – Apple, watch your back 13


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HOT FOUR #3 HIGH-END STRIP SHOW

BANG & OLUFSEN BEOVISION 14

YOU ARE RIGHT: THIS IS AS AWESOME AS IT LOOKS

You’re thinking, ‘Where have I seen those little wooden strips before?’ The answer is that they’re also on the front of the £5000 BeoLab 18 speakers you bought on a whim but never got out of the box. They’re called ‘lamellas’, you recall, and because of the fine cut are made of only the best oak. But now might be the time to finally get those BeoLabs out, so that they can sit alongside this BeoVision 14, B&O’s new 4K TV. You’ll have guessed from the high but non-crazy price that this isn’t an OLED TV; it comes in 40in or 55in sizes, with a variety of stand and colour options. It’s powered by Google’s Android TV OS, with all the services and casting ability that brings. As hot as… the Big Bang (and also the Big Olufsen) from £4495 / stuff.tv/BeoVision14

NINTENDO CLASSIC MINI

You are looking at Christmas. You are looking at an official Nintendo retro console, with one retro controller and a slot for a second that can also be filled by a Wii Classic controller. You are struggling to comprehend how awesome it will be to have no fewer than 30 of Nintendo’s smashers built in and instant-on. You are remembering The Legend of Zelda, Castlevania, Excitebike and Super Mario Bros. 1, 2 and 3. You are having a moment of doubt when you realise how this will reduce Christmas to the whole family staring at the TV, barely breaking eye contact to reach for the figgy pudding. You are shrugging, and ordering one for every TV in the house. You are thinking that it’s going to be a classic year. As hot as… a Mario fireball £50 / stuff.tv/NESClassicMini

TV WITH HIGH BILD QUALITY LOEWE BILD 7

Proving you can borrow tech from any company with the same initial, Loewe’s new OLED TV takes its panel from LG. And the 55in or 65in Bild 7 has a 1TB DR+ Freeview Play digital recorder with app remote control and second screen streaming. from £4490 / loewe.tv

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HOT FOUR #4 “DO YOU THINK… …we really need the crazy doors? I mean, we’ve got the thin/wide thing, the electric power, the formation seating… no, you’re right, we might as well. So, suicide gullwing doors; yep, I’ll get ’em ordered…”

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YOU NOSE THAT FACE

NISSAN BLADEGLIDER Car concepts are like burritos or strimmers or moths – while they’re near your face they’re all you can think about, but at a distance they’re soon forgotten. Not so 2013’s BladeGlider, which is back up in our grilles. With a little help from F1’s Williams Advanced Engineering on its electric powertrain, Nissan has taken the BladeGlider to a running prototype. Two torque-vectored electric motors will drive the rear wheels, with an estimated top speed of 115mph and a sub-five-second 0-62. If Nissan takes it further, the emission-free ’Glider will make its rivals (Porsche Boxster, Ariel Atom) seem hopelessly old-school. As hot as… a supercharged Sinclair C5 £tba (concept) / stuff.tv/bladeglider


THE COUNTDOWN BEGINS

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NAB YOUR VERY OWN STAAKER STALKER Staaker

MAXIMUM SPEED IS 50MPH AND FLIGHT TIME IS 30 MINUTES

US$1195 (pre-order) / staaker.com

Staaker’s follow-me drone will follow you, but not mimic you All the right moves

If you want to record yourself in action and you’re lucky enough to have a friend, you can get them to pilot a drone, skilfully capturing your sick sporting moves. Otherwise you’ll probably need a follow-me drone, such as this one, which tracks the control unit strapped to your arm. Some do 18

this too slavishly – resulting in jerky footage if you’re linking turns on snow, biking a twisty trail or generally swerving around like an idiot – but the Staaker claims superiority in this, with advanced footage options and AI algorithms that predict your movements in order to create a slick shoot.

Any way you want me

You can get Staaker to track you in several ways. It’ll follow you from a fixed orientation, or from

a pre-set compass direction, or it will circle around you. You can also tell it to remain in a stationary hover, panning the camera to track you as you pass. And, least extreme of these, you can use it in a manual ‘scenery’ mode, using the controller to get footage of something other than you.

BYO GoPro

Like rival AirDog, but not like rival Lily (see right), the Staaker has a powered gimbal on which you

attach your own GoPro Hero 3, 3+ or 4 – ownership of which is a fair enough assumption if you’re looking at spending this kind of money on a sporty shooter. Maximum speed is 50mph, says the company, with a flight time of 30 minutes and easily swappable batteries. The splashproof drone also handily folds up into a case small enough to fit in a backpack. Which is not something we’d recommend you try to do with a human pilot.


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There’s no collision avoidance tech on board, so you’ll need to plan your flight height and direction with obstacles in mind. That tree has its eye on you…

The light pours out of me earphones

PHILIPS HX50

THE STAAKER FOLLOWS YOU, BUT IT ALSO FOLLOWS…

These Philips headphones have flashing LED lights in them. So far, so Camden market, right? But here’s the new bit: they flash in time with the beats of your music. This might give rise to a Snapchat-busting messaging craze: mixing your own tunes so that the beat delivers amusing messages via Morse code. Might not be much fun for you to listen to, but such geeky fun for people around you! You could start with a simple message such as: “Please don’t mug me for my ostentatious headphones, Morse-fluent ne’er-do-wells.” £49 / argos.co.uk

AIRDOG The most well known of the follow-me drones, the ’Dog also uses a GoPro and strap-on controller, and we’re hoping to review one very soon. £1299 / airdog.com

LILY It has a face! And the unique ability to splash down and take off from water. But despite huge funding from pre-orders, production has been repeatedly delayed. Watch this face. US$899 (pre-order) / lily.camera

3D skills to pay the bills

3DOODLER PRO

We’ve turned pro. After years of pub league 3Doodling, doing our best to get results while holding down a regular job, it’s time to up our game… inspired in no small part by the arrival of the 3Doodler Pro. It’s got everything we need to turn our shonky air-drawn 3D prints into shonky air-drawn 3D prints with which we’ll need to cover the mortgage. Specifically, it has new on-pen controls for temperature and fan speed, reinforced by a professional-looking LCD display. And it works with high-end polycarbonate as well as wood- and metal-effect filaments. from US$249 / 3doodlerpro.com

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Park one in the cleaning cupboard

LEGO BUCKET WHEEL EXCAVATOR

Most domestic spillages can be tidied up with a dustpan and brush. But what if, say, you come across a mountain of baby gerbils? You need to get those gerbilettes squared away, but you don’t want to sweep them up. That’s when Technic Set 42055 comes into ‘play’. An accurate replica of a mining excavator, it stands at a mighty 41cm high. Your bewildered little beasts will fit beautifully in the buckets, then be transported along the conveyor and down into the little big truck (included). From there, in terms of who gets the animal haulage contract, you’re on your own. £179 / lego.co.uk

Bidey, bidey; catchy bulby

KASA SMART BULBS Activate smug mode. You liked the look of the Philips Hue colour-changing LED bulbs, but you didn’t like the price, so you bided your time. You bided and bided for four whole years – and now, it’s your time. At £29 for one and £39 for two, the 15,000-hour Kasa Smart Bulbs are a fraction of the price of a Hue set. And they don’t need the Hue’s router-connected hub, as they work over Bluetooth directly with your smartphone. You can choose from a plethora of colours, set timers and even group bulbs together, should you wish to bathe your entire home in the pervading pinkish hue of smug. from £29 / firebox.com

In other ‘you wait, you save’ news this month… Gear4 has released the Sonos-undercutting Stream 1 and Stream 3 wireless multiroom speakers for just £99 and £129. Head over to gear4.com and let your bargain-reaping self rid yourself of cash.

DROP EVERYTHING AND DOWNLOAD...

Spotify Release Radar £free / iOS, Android, Windows, BlackBerry

Still umming and ahhing about which online service to put your musical eggs into? This might be an end to your shilly-shallying: a new Spotify playlist feature that highlights the best new releases for your musical tastes. Frankly, we’re struggling to stay on top of all the new artists its Discover Weekly playlist dredges up every Monday, but Release Radar updates every (New Music) Friday, so there might be time to listen to this additional two hours of tunage over the weekend. 20


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

£329.99 from authorised retailers Buy direct from bowers–wilkins.co.uk/P5W

Two-year warranty Free delivery


C H O I C E

CUTTING CREW I just died in your arms tonight. Which is why we shouldn’t run with scissors

1

Variously decorated with crushy, stabby and cutty bits, the Scanpan’s true party trick is that it splits into two halves for easy cleaning. £16.95 / inthehaus.co.uk

2 True Utility SciXors

It lurks on your keyring like a key-shaped sleeper agent, but a confident yank on the pin will reveal its secret scissor ability, ready to save the world in a snip. £7.95 / heinnie.com

3 Kutsuwa Dual Use Paper Knife

Wise (archetypal) master say: “Skilled student not need two blades to make one cut.” Weary (archetypal) parent say: “Well, you’ve made a mess of that.” £10.99 / cultpens.com

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4 Craft Design Technology Item 25

Not for the greasy shearing of chicken bones, these. More for the gentle, precise segmenting of your mixed-materials work on the dreamy desires of peafowl. £36 / cultpens.com

5 Super Scissors

[ Picture RGB Digital ]

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6 Global Knives Kitchen Shears

There’s a whiff of the nutcracker behind the pivot, but a whole lot of raised eyebrow about the handles that suggests they’d really rather you didn’t. £99 / globalknives.uk

3

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1 Scanpan Classic Kitchen Shears

Strip your wires, crack your nuts, crush your garlic – these will engage in a whole repertoire of laddish double entendre, with a beer-opening curtain call. £9.99 / lakeland.co.uk

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SPEEDX LEOPARD The Leopard’s been wind-tunnel-tested for aerodynamics, but the marginal gains it’ll have produced will be as nothing to the sheer power of your smugness at having secured what seems to be the bike deal of the year. The result of a Kickstarter campaign, both the Leopard and its sister – the fancier US$2499 Leopard Pro – come with Far Eastern-sourced carbon frames concealing sensors, including GPS, pedalling cadence and altitude. The built-in computer’s 2.4in screen is also capable of navigation and smartphone notifications, and both Leopards have built-in front and rear lights. from US$1399 / speedx.com

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WTF IS BAGEL? At last – the bagel-warming, creamcheese-applicating, breakfast-serving device of our dreams! Humanity is visibly wobbling on its social and political axis, and the thing you dream about is a bagel warmer? Well, it’s lucky for all of us that product designers are looking at the bigger picture – and, in turn, it’s lucky that the crowdfund community is there to make change happen.

What is it, then, this world-saving fate-changer?

It’s a tape measure. Look, if you’re going to snort like that, can you cover your mouth? And listen: the measuring of things is vital to the wellbeing of society. It makes our trousers fit, our shelves level and lifts stop at the right floor. When did an actual bagel do any of that, eh? And, what’s more, this is no ordinary tape measure. It’s high-tech.

How high-tech can a sproinky tape be?

They’ve got rid of the tape. Bagel (US$90, bagel-labs.com) has three measurement modes: high-tensile-strength Dyneema string; wheel mode for curved or awkward surfaces; and remote mode, which uses an ultrasonic sensor and a laser. All three report their lengths on an LCD readout (accurate to one decimal place) on the device, which can save up to 100 records. But get out your smartphone and prepare for the biggest surprise!

Is it an app?

Geek out

VOLATA Also serving as a poster bike for integrated technology, albeit for a hefty squodge more cash than the Leopard, the Volata has been designed in San Francisco as the perfect commuter bike. It’s not going to be ready until summer 2017, but if it still has built-in lights, belt drive, electronic hub gearing and a 2.4in-screened computer with downloadable apps, it’ll be desirable indeed. Attractive to thieves, too, but its smartphone motion sensor warning, GPS tracking and 96dB horn should help with that. Plus, with a dynamo front hub, the faster they try to get away, the more they charge the battery for the GPS tracker. Ha! US$3499 / volatacycles.com

It’s an app! Oh. Yeah, so, the Bagel’s Bluetooth chip sends your measurements direct to an app on your phone. Which would be confusing, were it not for the microphone in Bagel that lets you record a voice tag for your measurement – “inside leg” – which the app will convert to text.

Until the battery goes flat…

The Bagel charges via microUSB and once charged will last for a solid eight hours of constant use. Ain’t many folk be needing that much measuring, and anyone close to that level is probably going to stick with trusty physical tape and rulers. Bagel’s 10,000+ backers are certainly not complaining about that.

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

The latest startups, crowdfunded projects and plain crazy ideas

In-cider dealing

ALCHEMA

They’re saying now that life only evolved past the fish-with-legs stage because of fermentation. We’d still be wombling about the primordial were it not for stumbling upon some mouldy berry juice, getting tanked and engaging in some unusual procreational activity that set off an evolutionary chain reaction. And you can have more nights like that, courtesy of this home cider maker: just lob in your fruit and yeast and wait a couple of weeks. The device is smart enough to self-sanitise, maintain its pressure and notify you via the app when your moonshine is good. Then you’ll be flopping around the floor like a fish that’s grown legs, but doesn’t yet know what for. from US$359 / alchema.com

BACK IT STACK IT

ST KIC AR K TE R

ST KIC AR K TE R

Back in the driving feet

Never the same pen twice

The circle of life

To wit, two

If you’re good at golf, you can revel in the joy of it. Ineptitude, however, demands data. Why do I suck? What is so wrong with my biomechanical make-up that my ability is being stifled? If only I had Bluetooth-connected shoes that measured my swing and weight shift… A-ha! Now we’ll see some yardage. from US$189 / iofitshoes.com

Back then, the student who had the four-colour multipen was a god. “Aw, dude, that is cronzy!” others would cry. Imagine their worship, then, at this: an apppowered ink-mixing pen that is, say the campaigners, capable of 16 million colours. It even has a colour spot scanner on its other end. ‘Cronzy’ doesn’t even begin to describe it. from US$179 / cronzy.com

There are infinite alternative universes. In 99.9% of them, creative people spent their time perpetualising motion and de-cancering cells, and life is now utopian and splendiferous. In some, though, people spent their time making lamps. Lovely lamps, like this app-controlled and multi-mountable ring light. But still we suffer, and die. from €200 / haloslamp.com

Wings, wheels, scoops – there is much evidence to support the theory that two is better than one. Yet, like fools, we’re replacing the many speakers of hi-fi listening with single speakers. Voix is rebelling. Its battery-powered Bluetooth speaker system adheres to the optimum speakers-to-ears ratio, and looks good too. from US$99 / mi8speakers.com

IOFIT SHOES

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I GONDI GOE-

ST KIC AR K TE R

SACK IT

CRONZY PEN

HALOS LAMP

VOIX MI8


The bigger picture in tech

GEEKS IN LEATHER DOT COM Ah, the open road. Only here are you free from that job/cat/plague. And this time you’re also free from any of the usual mechanical or navigational burdens that come with classic motorcycle riding, because you’ve chosen one of Indian’s 2017 Roadmaster or Chieftain flagships, with their new 7in Ride Command touchscreens. On it you can see a plethora of bike data, including tyre pressures and projected fuel range, as well as full-screen navigation. You can connect a phone or iPod via Bluetooth or Lightning, and you can control it all using Siri or OK Google in your helmet’s Bluetooth headset. But ignore that call. It’s just the damned cat.

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NEWS FEED

I SEE FIRE, PEOPLE

That HDR mode on your smartphone camera gets some good results, huh? But Nasa’s HDR camera can look into the face of hellfire itself – a rocket engine – and make sense of the maelstrom. Rather beautiful it is too, but we wouldn’t say that if there were any scientists about.

TRUSTING TOLERANCES

In the most unnecessary use ever of “Do not try this at home”, French designers Appropriate Audiences have used an industrial robot arm to tattoo a human leg. You can see the video on their Vimeo channel – but not on an empty stomach, we’d say.

TOURING VR-CARIOUSLY

Aaron Puzey, an energetic geek, is attempting to cycle the whole length of Britain using just an exercise bike, a VR headset and some code he’s written to scroll Google Street View in time with his pedals. You can watch his daily diaries at cyclevr.wordpress.com 27


A P P S

This month’s mobile must-downloads

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IN THE SPOTLIGHT Strava Beacon

£4/month iOS, Android

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1 Road Not Taken

2 BBC+

3 Card Wars Kingdom

4 Snakebird

5 Sitcomd

6 BlackBerry Hub+

7 Adobe Lightroom

8 Touchdown Hero

9 Linia

£3.99 / iOS, Apple TV Somewhere ages and ages hence… well, 2014, when a poetry-inspired puzzler was launched by Spry on Steam. Now it’s come to iOS and Apple TV, with all of its randomly generated charm.

£free / iOS, Android It’s like ye olde Snake on Nokia, in that your geez gets longer the more you munch; and not like Snake, in that it moves only when you swipe. But don’t let that, and the bright colours, make you think it’s easy.

£free (w/Creative Cloud) / Apple TV Holding up your laptop in front of the TV is tiring, so Adobe has given you an easier way to share photos with your fam – a Lightroom app for Apple TV. You’ll need a Creative Cloud subscription, though. 28

£free / iOS, Android This sort of aggregates your favourite BBC content from different BBC apps, despite the fact that the BBC apps are already quite good at aggregating the things you like. Hey-ho, maybe it’s perfect for you.

£free / iOS No, that’s the whole title. As in, “LOL, you’ve been sitcomd”. Give the app some images and videos and it turns them into an ’80s sitcom credits pastiche, with period fonts, music and canned clapping.

£free / Windows What, a new Windows game? Not quite, but plucky developer Game Troopers has been a-ducking and a-diving through Windows-hating defenders to bring us a Win 10 port of the Cherrypick Games original.

£free (IAPs) / iOS, Android The giant Cartoon Network beast splatoons another IAP-littered app onto the stores… and it’s rather good. Like the first Card Wars app, it’s fun and funny, with a bunch of new multiplayer actions.

£0.99/month / Android Many people – maybe someone you know – whooped at this, the arrival of BlackBerry’s messaging and calendaring app on Android devices other than its own. Not just because ‘tribe’, but because ‘good’.

£1.49 / iOS £1.69 / Android It isn’t as if the world is short of minimalist swipey puzzlers. But nor is it short of boring commutes and crushingly yawny life events that could be easily enlivened by this smart game.

People worry. They watch you wrap yourself up in Lycra for your run or cycle, and they wonder. Are you going to come back? Or are you going to exercise yourself into a second state of being, to sprout wings from your Lycra chrysalis and fly off? More likely, are you going to get distracted by an en-route Pokémon and fall into a ditch? They need worry no more. A new Strava safety feature called Beacon lets you text a URL to up to three phone contacts, from which they can see a moving map of your ride or run. So long as you’re a £4/ month Strava Premium subscriber, all you need is the app. And some friends.


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 allow for unique screen architecture which is so light and thin it can be bonded to a transparent piece of glass*. _mnxxyzssnslyjqj{nxntsuwtizhjxfsnshwjingqjunhyzwj|nymnsŅsnyjhtsywfxyymfy is complimented by an innovative sound bar stand that produces superb audio. LG OLED TV offers the most advanced and practical television for your customers with wall mountable** RS232 enabled*** technology in a variety of screen sizes. lg.com/uk/discoveroled

What the Experts Say

LG EC970V

WINNER TV OF THE YEAR

Model shown E6. * G6, E6 models support Picture-on-Glass design. ** Requires additional universal VESA wall mount. *** RS232 connection through headphone jack.

Available at selected Sevenoaks Sound & Vision stores.

www.ssav.com

LG EG960V

LG OLED65E6V

LG EG960V

JUNE 2015

SEPTEMBER 2016

JUNE 2015

LG EG970V


G A M E S

FIRST LOOK FINAL FANTASY XV PS4, Xbox One Final Fantasy XV has been ten years in the making. That’s only one year less than it took Nasa to put a man on the Moon. Small wonder, then, that this latest instalment in the classic RPG series is being pitched as a giant leap forward. Not only is it the franchise’s first game to feature an open world; it’s also the first with an actual jump button. Welcome to 2016, folks!

Having sat down and played the thing for a three-hour stint, it’s safe to say it’s very different from our rose-tinted memories of the PlayStation era. Real-time combat is the order of the day here as you accompany hero Noctis Lucis Caelum (really) around the expanse of Eos, with gameplay featuring a day-night cycle. Fans of similarly epic affairs such as Skyrim and The Witcher

will find plenty that’s familiar, but a lot of the old charm from previous instalments remains. That means a party of travel companions who could all happily pass for Mötley Crüe members, hammy dialogue aplenty, and a driving soundtrack that includes all the classic songs from previous games. Seriously, speeding down an open highway with FF VII’s J-E-N-O-V-A blasting out of

[ Words Rob Leedham ]

DUE 30 SEPT

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your convertible’s speakers will elevate you to nerd nirvana. And that’s pretty much the deal with Final Fantasy XV. It’s a modern reimagining of those old favourites with plenty of fan service chucked in there for good measure. If you’ve been pining for that game since the days of Cloud Strife and Squall Leonhart then it’s, ahem, ‘finally’ here.


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FIRST LOOK SONIC GETS REMIXED

DUE 2017

SONIC MANIA PS4, XBOX ONE, PC

There’s a trend in gaming these days to remaster old games rather than making entirely new ones. Take that to its logical conclusion and you end up with Sonic Mania – a kind of remixed compilation of the rapid blue

hedgehog’s early console outings, coming to PS4, Xbox One and PC next year. At first it’s as if you’ve just been plonked back in the middle of the Green Hill Zone circa 1991, but gradually you’ll notice subtle changes that suggest this isn’t just a straight-up port. You’ll collect power-ups that didn’t appear

until later games, and perform spin moves that Sonic wasn’t capable of in his debut. Tails and Knuckles return as playable characters and it even has that slippery, skidding sense of momentum that Sonic is famous for. The graphics have inevitably been spruced up for displaying in hi-def, but it also still manages

to retain that classic 16-bit Sonic look. There’ll be a host of new levels and a novel dropping spin attack, but what’s abundantly clear at this early stage is that Sonic Mania is a 2D sidescroller through and through. Is this the Sonic sequel we’ve all been waiting for?

COMING SOON CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE NO MAN’S SKY KIND

XCOM 2 XBOX ONE, PS4 / OUT THIS MONTH

PC owners have been fighting against the alien invasion of Earth since the start of the year, but XCOM 2 is only just available for consoles. It’s tougher than ever but with a better variety of missions and hugely satisfying strategic battles.

MASS EFFECT: ANDROMEDA XBOX ONE, PS4, PC / DUE 2017

Set hundreds of years after the end of Mass Effect 3 and in an entirely different galaxy, Andromeda isn’t so much a sequel, more a whole new beginning for EA’s epic space opera. It’s been delayed until early 2017, but that just means more time for them to get it right, right?

HALO WARS 2 XBOX ONE, PC / DUE FEB 2017

Like Command & Conquer with a Master Chief twist, Halo Wars 2’s real-time strategy allows you to send platoons of Spartan warriors on Warthog 4x4s into huge battles to take control of the Ark. It’ll work with Microsoft’s Play Anywhere, so you can buy it on Xbox and play it on PC.

INCOMING OCTOBER MAFIA 3 NOVEMBER WATCH DOGS 2 GRAN TURISMO SPORT DECEMBER STEEP JANUARY RESIDENT EVIL 7: BIOHAZARD SNIPER: GHOST WARRIOR 3

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RENAULT TWINGO GT On the right roads, even the tiniest of city cars can achieve what police motorcyclists call ‘good progress’. Those constrained to small cars by urban habitat or budget were excited to hear about the Twingo, a city car with rear engine and rear-wheel drive, but overly cautious ESP traction control neutered it. Hoorah, then, for news of the Twingo GT. It’s only got 19bhp more than the quickest standard version, but three words from Renault brought joy to our ears: “specific ESP calibration”. Will it drift, bro? £tba (due winter) / renault.co.uk

VS Techy

CITROEN C3 Having been tested on the C4 Cactus, the side-protecting AirBumps make it onto a more mainstream model. But that’s not the headline C3 feature for us. ConnectedCAM Citroën is an integrated dashcam: a 120° Full HD camera built into the rear-view mirror. It’s for “sharing road-trip videos and photos with friends and family”, says Citroën. But we all know its real purpose: to capture terrible driving. The system automatically records GPS-logged pre- and post-collision footage. £tba (due January) / citroen.co.uk

DROP EVERYTHING AND DOWNLOAD...

Windows 10 Anniversary Update £free / Windows 10

Now come on, Windows 10 is pretty good, and this first-year mega-update adds a load of exciting features. Cortana upgrades, website and phone notifications on your desktop, third-party extensions for the Edge browser, universal apps across Xbox and Windows – it’s a riot. Our favourite feature among a slew of new, tablet-friendly Windows Ink cleverness is a virtual ruler that lets you draw straight lines with your stylus. Brilliant. 32


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


I C O N THIS MIRROR CHANGES ITS LED COLOUR ACCORDING TO YOUR CALENDAR

WIDE-VIEW SENSOR MIRROR £299 / simplehuman.com Eek! Why can’t I see myself? Gosh, can’t you? We can. Perhaps try holding the magazine up a bit higher? While we unpack a sad tale about someone who did something here, but then went over there… and was disappointed. Sounds like a dark fable. No, it’s a light fable. See, as you’ll probably know if you’re a make-up wearer, the way one prepares one’s face in the morning is rather

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dependent on where one is going to spend the day. If you’re meeting a colleague in a dark restaurant, you might not use the same slap as you would if you were heading to a BBQ on Copacabana Beach. Well, obviously. Exactly. So it’s more than possible to do your make-up in your bedroom – perhaps hurriedly, perhaps without checking your calendar or looking out of the

window – and then to go outside and be, well, a bit clown-like. What the Sensor Mirror has is LEDs that can change colour temperature so that your inside face is ready for the outside. But it’s the contextawareness that’s really interesting. Yay! Go context. The Sensor Mirror has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It syncs to a phone app that has colour temperature presets for a number of scenes,

and it can also talk to a Nest Cam, taking the camera’s outside view as a reference. Even geekier, it will work with If This Then That (IFTTT) recipes so that the LEDs change colour according to your calendar plans or weather forecast. And (in the US for now, but here shortly) you can control all of this using your voice, via Amazon’s Alexa smarthome speaker – so you don’t even have put down your blusher brush.


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DECIPHER ALLOW ME TO EXPLAIN…

#14 THE GUN EMOJI Rob Leedham, Editor

You’ve lost that contextual hearing

B&O BEOPLAY H5

Yeah, you’re listening to music. Everyone gets that. But in what context are you listening to it? That’s the question that B&O’s new wireless H5 earphones want to ask you, via the associated app. Are you sitting in a quiet place, or are you in the sweat and brimstone of a gym? Because those variables might change the optimum dynamics, and the app has presets for a load of scenarios. Or you can create your own. Don’t mess around for too long, though: the cute little 50mAh batteries in each Bluetooth earbud give you at most five hours of play time before you’ll need to slot them into the magnetic charging case. £199 / beoplay.com

WTF? Many hi-fi tricks in one clever box

It’s a question as old as time: what’s in an emoji? According to the latest controversy over a cartoon gun, a lot indeed. At the root of this kerfuffle is Apple’s decision to change the design of its revolver emoji to that of a water pistol, dramatically altering the context it can be used in. Basically, it’s a free speech issue – and you know how the internet gets worked up over those. Some (mainly American) people are annoyed that they can’t proclaim their Second Amendment rights quite as vociferously on Instagram as they did before. Others think the move will end up suppressing conversation about firearms-related deaths. There were a whopping 372 mass shootings in the US in 2015, so gun ownership is set to be one of the central themes of November’s presidential election. If you’ve already gone off in a huff of righteous indignation at this ‘censorship’,

APPLE IS CHANGING THE DESIGN OF ITS REVOLVER EMOJI TO THAT OF A WATER PISTOL

You can have the Moon (not on a stick)

MOON NEO ACE

You saw the price and your little legs went like the clappers to get away from it. But we’re going to hold you up by the scruff just long enough to explain how you can have the Moon. Two and a half large is a lot of money, but the Neo Ace has many skills: hi-fi amp, headphone amp, high-res DAC, app-controlled Wi-Fi/Bluetooth music streamer and moving-magnet phono preamp. Add all those things separately and you risk not just blowing the budget but messing up the sound too. Whereas the Moon, unboxed, internetted and plugged into speakers, is ready to sound stellar. We’re going to put you down now, OK? £2500 / simaudio.com

then bear in mind that the water pistol emoji will still show up as a proper gun on Android and Windows Phone handsets. So this whole thing is an absolute sub-atomic mess. Hidden subtext is hardly new to the wide and colourful world of emojis, though. Just as you probably don’t ever use the infamous purple aubergine emoji to describe your dinner plans, there are many non-violent scenarios in which you might want to reach for the revolver symbol. And so changing it to a harmless water pistol instead of a gun hardly goes to solve the underlying problem here.

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On the Edge of the peloton?

GARMIN EDGE 820

Remember when you used to go out cycling with your friends? Maybe you still go out cycling with your friends, but now you’re only ‘with them’ until you get dropped. Even if you know they’ll be waiting at the tea stop, it’s discouraging to see them disappear over the horizon. Garmin’s got you. An extension of its LiveTrack feature, by which people can track your ride on a PC, GroupTrack lets you see up to 50 other riders right on the map on your Edge 820. Two caveats: they’ll need to be using LiveTrack, via their compatible Garmin computers and smartphones, and you’ll need to be within a 10-mile radius of them. Maybe you can hack the system to fuzz up their electronic gears? from £279 / garmin.co.uk GroupTrack is a feature of both the £329 Edge 820 (above) and the more basic Edge Explore 820

2.1 children, rejoice

ACOUSTIC ENERGY AEGO3 This is the Return of the Mack. It’s the Return of the King, the Return of the Jedi, the Mummy Returns. Well, it is if you’re a sub/sat fan. One of the great events that will forever mark the turning of the new millennium was the emergence of speaker systems using a dedicated subwoofer to balance out smaller satellite speakers. Acoustic Energy’s Aego was there at the vanguard of this battle against big trad hi-fi speakers, and here it is back again, now with fancy Bluetooth wireless connectivity and a new mini-soundbar option – the £199 Aego3ar –to stop things looking too ‘last decade’. from £199 / acoustic-energy.co.uk

FUTURE STUFF DANGER! HIGH VOLTAGE!

Car geeks still want more power, says Fraser Macdonald, but of the sparky kind

Efficient engine technology was being developed at pace even before someone pointed out that diesel engines were nowhere near as clean as car makers were claiming. Headlines on that front may or may not have stuck a firecracker under the seats of the R&D boffins; either way, there’s a load of new under-the-bonnet stuff coming that’s exciting for geeks and petrolheads alike. Jaguar has been spotted testing an all-electric compact SUV, similar in size 36

to its Range Rover Evoque-based E-Pace, but designed around a modified F-Pace platform. Bewildering building blocks there, but the effort being invested in an all-electric proves one thing: Jaguar believes the current mix of petrol and diesel engines isn’t going to cut it in the long term. But a combination of electric and fossil fuels is generating interest elsewhere, as high-power 48-volt generators might be a basis for electric superchargers and camless engine systems. Nissan, say our colleagues

at Autocar, is about to unveil a petrol engine featuring variable compression ratios. That will require the kind of individual cylinder valve management that a mechanical cam system can’t offer, and demand a calibre of electro-mechanical smarts beyond current 12v power systems. General Motors, meanwhile, is looking at tricksy cylinder deactivation. If you like this sort of thing, we live in exciting times. If you don’t… well, just don’t put your fingers anywhere near your car’s battery.


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The NES Classic Mini (£50, due Nov) includes Castlevania and Castlevania 2

NOW

BY THE SEA FESTIVAL DREAMLAND, MARGATE

For some time looking as if it would slip forgotten into the waves, Margate is instead rising up like an Iron Giant of seaside fun. Take this festival, for example, which has drawn such big names as Bat For Lashes, Wolf Alice and Super Furry Animals.

NEXT ISSUE November All the iPhone, all the apps On sale 6/10/16

SEPT

Castlevania Nintendo NES, 1986

30 YEARS AGO

YOUR MONTH

22nd NEW SCIENTIST LIVE

30 days of geek-friendly larks

You might walk into London Excel unaided, but you’ll need to be forklifted out. Your brain will be swollen from talks by Tim Peake and Alice Roberts, while your eyes will be jammed full of sights like the ExoMars Rover and the 1000mph Bloodhound car. Ouch.

16th

2nd

BIOSHOCK: THE COLLECTION PS4, XBOX ONE, PC

20 YEARS AGO

SAUSAGE PARTY

You are faced with an extraordinary decision. You could spend £20 to see Seth Rogen’s adult animation about lustful sausages. Or buy one of Ultravox’s early, punkier albums – Ultravox!, Ha!-Ha!-Ha!, Systems of Romance – freshly reissued on 180g coloured vinyl. Tough call? 38

4th LAP (TIMES) OF THE GODS MotoGP bike: 2:00:234 240bhp+, 157kg F1 car: 1:29:287 900bhp+, 702kg

Crash Bandicoot PlayStation, 1996

NOW

OCTO BRITISH MOTOGP SILVERSTONE

The world’s biggest motorcycle race series moves to the new Circuit of Wales in 2018, so this is your penultimate chance to twin the sound and fury of bike racing with a day out in the alternativefuture concrete brutalism that is Milton Keynes.

Crash cameos in Skylanders Imaginators, with a full reboot in 2017

2007 BioShock 2010 BioShock 2 2013 BioShock Infinite

Remastered, reboxed and released, The Collection includes all three main games, plus the Minerva’s Den and Burial at Sea DLC packs. Fun fact! The Windows version of Infinite has not been remastered because it looks as good now as it did then (or vice versa).


W I

P5 WIRELESS £229

ZEPPELIN WIRELESS £499

T7 £299

WIN A BOWERS & WILKINS HIGH-END WIRELESS HI-FI PACKAGE WORTH £1027 We like Bowers & Wilkins, and not just because they make speakers and headphones that sound even tastier than they look. We also like B&W because they designed a speaker that looked like a Zeppelin and called it the Zeppelin. And then they designed a version that was wireless, and called it the Zeppelin Wireless. Let’s hope they stick with this system when they make one that looks like Patrick Stewart riding a dolphin. Anyway, as we’re giving away a £1027 package of B&W wireless kit in this month’s competition, we’d best tell you a bit about the products – all three of them stalwarts of the Stuff Top Tens. Have a quick peek at those pages now and you’ll see the aforementioned Zeppelin described as “the ultimate wireless speaker for the streaming-savvy audiophile”, the portable T7 as “a real winner”, and the P5 Wireless headphones as “the Aston Martin DB10s of wire-free cans”. So, yes, we like Bowers & Wilkins. More info: bowers-wilkins.co.uk

HOW TO ENTER

Fancy chucking out your cables? Go to stuff.tv/win and answer this question:

WHY IS B&W’S FLAGSHIP WIRELESS SPEAKER CALLED THE ZEPPELIN? A … Because it looks a bit like a Zeppelin HURRY! B … Because it can fly COMPETITION around the world CLOSES C … Because it’s a German 13 OCTOBER aristocrat with a great big 2016 bushy moustache Terms & conditions 1 Open to UK residents aged 18 or over. 2 Entries close 11.59pm, 13 Oct 2016. 3 Prizes are as stated. 4 Prizes are non-transferable. 5 Only one entry per person. For full Haymarket terms & conditions see www.stuff.tv/legal Promoter: Haymarket, 69 London Road, Twickenham TW1 3SP

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FIRST TEST SPECIAL XBOX ONE S

The One to beat? Microsoft’s gone and made the first 4K games console – but can the Xbox One S triumph against Sony’s mega-selling PS4?

A

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A Dream streamer

B Size matters

As well as playing 4K Blu-rays, the One S can also stream 4K and HDR footage from both Netflix and Amazon Instant Video. So you’ve no excuse for skipping Stranger Things.

The Xbox One S is 40% smaller than the original Xbox One and is an infinitely better-looking machine – we’re big fans of the white dotted aesthetic.


FIRST TEST SPECIAL XBOX ONE S

he Xbox One S is an apology in the shape of a white plastic box. It takes all the stuff that didn’t make sense about Microsoft’s third proper games console and gives it a right royal heave-ho. Kinect? Kablammo. A £400+ asking price? Eradicated. That fugly power brick? First to the wall. Three years on, the Xbox One looks and feels like a more enticing machine than the PS4. Better still, the One S comes with a 4K Blu-ray player, support for HDR gaming and a sleek design that doesn’t make you retch. In fact, it’s the best-looking console we’ve seen in ages, putting the monolithic old Xbox One to shame. Job done, then? With a library of killer games, several new features and a number of tweaks to get shot of those that never worked in the first place, you might well think so. Alas, things aren’t quite that straightforward. As you may know, there’s the small matter of a 4K PlayStation around the corner, and an even more powerful Xbox (Project Scorpio) set for next year. That PlayStation 4K (aka the PS4 Neo) is Sony’s attempt to

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B

steal a march on Microsoft by launching a console that offers not only 4K video but a faster processor too. It’s set to be the most powerful games machine yet… until Project Scorpio turns up, at least. That’s because Microsoft has already announced that the next Xbox is going to be the first ‘true’ 4K console, meaning it too will surpass the One S in the space of almost 12 months. Confused? We don’t blame you. The latest skirmish in the never-ending Sony vs Microsoft war is more befuddling than ever, so let’s make this simple. If you want to buy the best games console out now, then get the Xbox One S. If you want to buy the best games console out this year, then you’ll need to hold tight for a couple of months to see how this whole thing plays out. In the meantime, we’ve spent an unconscionable amount of time slouched on our couch playing Halo 5 and we have plenty to report. From its 4K performance to whether those added dimples on the controller make any difference, there’s a lot to dig into with the One S. Read on for our full verdict on how all its new features shape up.

BEST GAMES OUT NOW

Rise of the Tomb Raider

Lara’s 2013 reboot was her best adventure in a decade, so it’s no surprise that this gorgeous sequel delivers the same mix of stealth, gunplay and thrills.

Inside

This year’s best indie game is a spiritual successor to Limbo. A puzzle-platformer with a really dark heart and beautiful visuals – you’ll be gripped.

Quantum Break

The ridiculously ambitious Quantum Break sees you control time itself as you weave through a blaze of high-octane action.

Doom

Back after 12 years, Doom is better than anyone expected. Running around a vibrant hellscape shooting demons in the face – now that’s fun.

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FIRST TEST SPECIAL XBOX ONE S

Performance

Design The Xbox One had a face, backside and exterior that only a mother could love. Thankfully its successor leaps over this low bar of design finesse as though it’s Jessica Ennis doing hurdles, and also does away with the dreaded power brick. Upon taking the hulking great One out of its box, your first thought was how quickly you’d be

able to get it out of sight again; now you’re left with a device you can display with pride in your lounge. It’s even been designed to work upright, and comes with a complimentary plastic stand so you can prop it up at the side of your TV. You probably won’t, but it’s good to have the option. Right?

The Xbox One S’s 4K Blu-ray drive has caught the most attention so far. Look beyond that innovation, though, and you won’t find much of note at all. Despite the dapper exterior, this is pretty much the same console as the Xbox One – only it comes with a whopping 2TB hard drive and a new IR blaster, and has had one of its USB ports shifted up to the front. That, crucially, means it has exactly the same amount of processing power as before. In order to support HDR-enabled games, Microsoft has handed developers access to a little more of the Xbox One S’s CPU and GPU than they got with the Xbox One, but this won’t result in a tangible

Y

performance upgrade with most games. In other words, FIFA 17 shouldn’t look any better or play more smoothly than it does on the One. You’re only guaranteed to see the benefit when playing HDR-friendly titles such as Gears of War 4 and Forza Horizon 3. The idea behind this is obvious: current Xbox One owners won’t end up as second-class citizens.

X

Controller

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X Air traffic control

Y Find your range

The addition of Bluetooth to the One S’s controller means you can easily hook it up to any Windows device rather than buying a dedicated pad.

HDR (High Dynamic Range) is the One S’s killer feature. It offers greater contrast between dark and light shades for a dazzling picture.

One of the most significant cosmetic changes touted about the One S is its new controller… which is, in fact, near-on identical to the original One’s. Its control sticks are made from a slightly more durable material, it’s got a greater wireless play range and its back is populated with neat rubberised dimples. Day to day, you might struggle to notice these – at least, we did. Those dimples are meant to aid your grip after a particularly frantic Rocket League session, but they’re too small to have a significant impact, especially if you regularly sweat like a sumo wrestler in a sauna. That’s OK, though. A far greater annoyance is that it hasn’t been updated with built-in wireless charging.


FIRST TEST SPECIAL XBOX ONE S

Tech specs

4K Every game for the Xbox One platform has been designed in HD, so to display them on a 4K screen the One S will have to upscale them. The Siberian snowstorm that opens Rise of the Tomb Raider looks glorious, and Michael Fassbender’s furrowed brow in the 4K Blu-ray of X-Men:

Days of Future Past is so deep and well defined you could build a small mining village in there. And watching sweat ripple off The Rock’s biceps in San Andreas is enough to make any normal man weep at the state of his own chicken wings.

Resolution 4K streaming and Blu-ray with HDR (games play in upscaled HD) Hard drive 2TB (1TB & 500GB versions to follow) Connectivity USB x3, Ethernet, HDMI in and out, optical audio out, IR blaster Dimensions 43x29x11.4cm Price £349 / stuff.tv/XboxOneS

The Xbox One S is the best games console out today, and the best Xbox you can buy for the next 12 months. If that’s not reason enough for you to own one, then by all means hold onto your cash for the moment. We’ll let you know whether things change once the PS4 Neo launches in September. @robleedham

STUFF SAYS The 4K console war has only just begun… but for the moment, it’s advantage Xbox

BEST GAMES COMING SOON

Gears of War 4

Xbox’s second iconic franchise after Halo is back this Christmas. New melee attacks and weather system effects will help you cause more carnage than ever.

Sea of Thieves

A pirate’s life is well and truly for us given what we’ve seen so far of this swashbuckler. Due out early next year, it’s the most exciting Rare game since Banjo-Kazooie.

Dead Rising 4

It’s not hard to grasp the appeal of this. You can kill a smorgasbord of zombies with a ton of weapons, including a new triceratops flamethrower mask.

Forza Horizon 3

The stunning openworld racer is back, this time Down Under. We can’t wait to skid through the outback in the new campaign co-op missions.

Cuphead

Recalling the classic animation style of ’30s Disney cartoons, this looks like no other game. Its frenetic run-and-gun stylings will be familiar to retro fans of all ages.

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FIRST TEST SPECIAL XBOX ONE S

Action replay Missed out on some last-gen classics? Hunt down second-hand copies of these for peanuts and you can play them on your Xbox One

Deus Ex: Human Revolution Fallout 3 You’ve probably only just finished ploughing a significant portion of your waking existence into its sequel, but 2008’s Fallout 3 still offers one of the most engrossing gaming experiences ever. Much of what you do in this post-apocalyptic

Rainbow Six: Vegas This is really delving into the early days of the 360, but behind the slightly wonky graphics lies a brilliant game. Smarter than your average FPS, but not too tough for more casual frag fans, it strikes an almost perfect balance between tactics and getting to shoot terrorists in the privates. 44

wasteland, formerly known as Washington DC, has an impact somewhere else – but you might not feel the butterfly effect until much later. Sure, there’s the odd bug here and there, but despite the hostility that comes at you from every side, Fallout 3’s world is a joy to spend time in.

Portal 2 Stephen Merchant’s role as robo-guide Wheatley can get a little irritating, but don’t let that put you off what is one of the finest puzzle games ever made. The learning curve is spot-on, the world is superbly realised and the teasers go from making you feel like an idiot to a genius quicker than two blasts of your Portal Gun.

Serving as a prequel to the original Deus Ex, Human Revolution finds your cyborg hero Adam Jensen utilising stealth, melee combat and various cybernetic abilities in stunning action sequences, all within a gripping campaign. Refresh your memory before picking up Mankind Divided.

Alan Wake Playing as a novelist who finds himself trapped in a storyline of his own creation, Alan Wake blends intense psychological horror with frantic action as you use light to battle shadowy forces. There are guns – you just need to use your torch to weaken the beasts that stalk you, before finishing them off with good old-fashioned bullets.

Dirt 3 Few games have captured the sense of driving really, really fast as effectively as the Dirt series. While Dirt 3 slows things down too often by putting unnecessary emphasis on the tedious showboating of its obstacle courses, the seat-of-yourracing-suit rally stages more than make up for it.

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Considering it came out four years ago, The Witcher 2 is a seriously good-looking game, but don’t expect the same freedom as TW3: Wild Hunt. This isn’t open world, although you’ll still need to put in the same preparation before you try to slay each beast. Don’t let the tough start put you off.


FIRST TEST SPECIAL XBOX ONE S

Disc-y business Own one of these games on disc? Just whack it into the slot and it’ll download the digital version to your console, although you’ll need to keep the disc in to prove it’s yours.

Red Dead Redemption Amid rumours of an imminent Red Dead Redemption sequel, Rockstar’s original is now playable on Xbox One – and it hasn’t lost anything over the past six years. Even in a postGTA V world, the sprawling Wild West setting of the American

frontier in the early 20th century still feels alive, plus its storyline offers some of the most affecting moments in gaming’s recent past. And lassoing ne’er-do-wells in the American wilderness never gets old, does it?

Gears of War 3

Left 4 Dead 2

Ahead of the series’ return in October, get up to speed with tree-trunk-necked, gravel-gargling machismo by chainsawing your way through Marcus Fenix’s last outing. All GoW games are Xbox One compatible, but the third is the high point, with four-player co-op adding to the usual frantic firefights and OTT set pieces.

It’s probably worth scouring eBay for multiple copies of L4D2 because you won’t want to go it alone. As part of a zombie-fighting quartet, your task is to take on hordes of the undead in increasingly desperate situations. It’s brilliantly tense and terrifying, and no zombie ambush is ever the same twice. 45


Aria 900 Innovation Extraordinaire. Focal research has led to the creation of a new breed of loudspeaker.

Visit www.focal.com to discover more.

Flax Technology

Performance

Choice

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critical areas of the audio spectrum.

in the he art o f France .


HALL OF FAME

THE CODING U P STA TRAVEL FAV O U ALL

C O M P U T E R T H AT STA R T E D A REVOLUTION, SONY’S CONSOLE R T, A T E L LY B O X T H AT C O U L D THROUGH TIME AND OUTKAST’S R I T E I N STA N T C A M E R A – F I N D T H AT A N D M U C H M O R E I N . . .

STUFF’S GADGET HALL OF FAME [ Words Tom Wiggins Photography Matt Beedle ]

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HALL OF FAME

Why I loved it...

Ross Presly Deputy Art Editor Hundreds of punk albums in one pocket and a FireWire cable in the other meant I could ‘borrow’ music from others with a Mac at art school. It also worked as a hard drive, for transporting Quark design documents and fonts between computers.

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HALL OF FAME

STORAGE WARS Apple made the iPod so small by using 1.8in hard drives, while its rivals carried on with 2.5in versions. It had 5GB of storage.

MUSIC

THE THIN WHITE JUKEBOX T H AT C H A N G E D M U S I C

ALSO IN 2001

APPLE iPOD W

WANT ONE?

Even the booklets and brochures for the original iPod sell for upwards of £30 now.

ell, what else could it be? If Apple had carried on just making computers we might all be walking around listening to MiniDiscs, taking photos on compact cameras and making phone calls on our Nokias. But the iPod changed everything. Not that Steve Jobs and co totally nailed it straight off. iPods were only compatible with Macs at first, and even when Windows was

invited, an insistence on using FireWire to fill up and charge meant many PC users had to wait for USB support. But from that point on, the only way was up. As a piece of design you could argue that Apple has never bettered the iPod. The scroll wheel was a stroke of genius that probably even beats a touchscreen for the tactile pleasure of scanning from Abba to Zappa; and, believe it or not, those ultra-distinctive white

earphones were just a happy accident. Add in the iTunes Store in 2003 and a new way to listen to music had emerged. Even a U2 special edition couldn’t derail the iPod’s march towards ubiquity. No, it wasn’t the first portable digital music player, just like the iPhone wasn’t the first smartphone. But the iPod was the first example of Apple taking an existing idea and turning it into an absolute world-beater.

SHORT LIST

CULT HERO SONY MZ-1 MiniDisc had a relatively short life, and Sony’s portable MZ-1 was the one that started it all.

Sony Walkman TPS-L2 Sure, everyone started to sing like Barry White when the battery began to die, but without this there would be no iPod – and for that it deserves to be recognised.

Technics SL-1200 You might not get many audiophiles using 1200s to play their firstpressing Neil Young records, but ask any DJ and there’s nothing they’d rather spin their vinyl on.

B&W Zeppelin Before this, digital music was seen as a compromise not worth taking. But B&W’s airshipshaped speaker turned your iPod into a hi-fi separate you could put in your pocket.

Sonos ZP120 Network Media Player In 2008, Sonos dragged the hi-fi world into the 21st century with audiophilepleasing sound and geek-pleasing connectivity.

FILM Donnie Darko Time travel, murderous rabbits and well-chosen ’80s pop made this the cult movie hit of the year.

ALBUM The White Stripes: White Blood Cells The Detroit duo arrived like a band from garage rock’s late-’60s heyday.

TV Six Feet Under Without HBO’s influential death drama, we might not have any of the most bingeable shows of today.

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HALL OF FAME

CO-OP MODE? The PlayStation was a joint Sony/Nintendo venture, but Ninty pulled out after discovering conditions they didn’t agree with in the contract.

READER VOTED CONSOLE

BIRTH OF A PHENOMENON

SONY PLAYSTATION I

WANT ONE?

Around £30 should nab you an original PlayStation and a few games. Bagsy first go on Ridge Racer.

magine if Miele announced tomorrow that it was making a smartphone. That’s a bit what it was like in the early ’90s when everyone heard Sony was going to make a games console. Up until that point in time, consoles had pretty much been a two-horse race between Sega and Nintendo. So what made Sony think it could waltz in and try to unseat the dual kings of gaming, eh?

Well, fast-forward a few years and, with its more ‘serious’ games – such as Gran Turismo, Wipeout and Metal Gear Solid – Sony’s PlayStation was responsible for making gaming acceptable to an older crowd; those people who’d grown up with Sonic and Mario but were now too old for platforming plumbers. The PlayStation was also one of the first to receive a slimmed-down second version in its later life, which is now a practically mandatory

development in the lifespan of a console. And it was able to play audio CDs, pointing towards the multitalented direction of future consoles. The success of the PlayStation gave Sony a good head start over Microsoft’s Xbox when it came to launch the PS2 in 2000, the success of which effectively ended Sega’s console plans and knocked Nintendo into third – a position from which it’s never quite recovered.

SHORT LIST

CULT HERO SEGA DREAMCAST Despite being ahead of its time, the Dreamcast eventually lost out to the PS2.

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Nintendo Wii With its motionsensitive controllers and pick-up-’n’-play games, the Wii changed gaming for the better, even if a few tellies did get smashed in the process.

Atari 2600 It’s simple: without the Atari there would be no console industry. The 2600 was responsible for the popularity of Space Invaders, Pac-Man and cartridgebased games.

Nintendo Game Boy Handheld consoles might well have died a death and been replaced by phones now, but for a time the Game Boy (and Tetris) ruled the world.

Sega Mega Drive SNES or Mega Drive? A nearly impossible choice, but we’ve gone for the Mega Drive for its superior games and neat tricks, such as cartridges with extra controller ports.


HALL OF FAME

ALSO IN 1994

FILM Pulp Fiction Tarantino has never bettered this bloodspattered, wise-cracking feast of braggadocio.

ALBUM Oasis: Definitely Maybe Britpop committed many crimes but Oasis’s debut wasn’t one of them.

TV Friends Before the endless re-runs, this show’s feelgood vibe was actually likeable.

Why I loved it... Rob Leedham Editor The PlayStation was mind-blowing. I was so excited to get mine one Christmas that I passed out after refusing to eat during a five-hour Crash Bandicoot bender. I didn’t do that when the Wii U came out.

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HALL OF FAME

TV

SPLIT LOYALTIES This early Sky box had a 160GB hard drive, although half was reserved for Sky’s autodownload Anytime catchup service.

T H E T E L LY TIME TRAVELLER

SKY+ n the absence of actual time travel, Sky+ is still the closest we’ve got. Before 2001, if you’d paused a live TV programme and then rewound it, you’d have been strung up in the town square for being a witch. Nowadays it’s difficult to imagine a world without it. Since Sky+ launched, it’s been top of the game. From the first 40GB box to the 2TB multiroom Sky Q butterfly it’s blossomed into today,

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WANT ONE?

Why? You’re much better off with Sky Q or NowTV’s Smart Box, reviewed on p88.

Sky’s PVR has shown the others how it’s done. It’s responsible for introducing features to the masses that we now take completely for granted – stuff such as Series Link, which has become the norm on Sky Q, or remote recording from a mobile app (you could even do that by sending a text back in the day). As the years have gone by and the demands on the box have increased, so has the size of the hard

drive – 2TB is the norm now, as is built-in Wi-Fi for easy access to all its catchup services. And it’s not standing still either. Under threat from Netflix and Amazon Prime, Sky+ is evolving to match the viewing habits of 21st-century telly addicts. Whole series are available to watch in one go and Sky Q even autoplays the next episode unless you tell it to stop. You can keep your time travel, scientists – we’ve got things to watch.

WHAT HAPPENED NEXT? 2006 SKY+ HD

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2006 SKY GO

2012 NOW TV

2016 SKY Q


HALL OF FAME TOY

SHORT LIST

A ROBOT IN DISGUISE

SONY AIBO LG OLED The big TV battle was between LCD and plasma, but then LG’s OLED turned up. Now that it’s becoming affordable, we’re reluctant to watch anything else.

Yamaha YSP-1 Putting an end to speakers scattered all over your living room, Yamaha’s first soundbar was revolutionary, bouncing sound off walls to trick your ears.

Pioneer Kuro Blacker than a power cut in a darkroom, the Kuro plasmas are legendary. When Pioneer stopped making them, fans tried to stockpile sets in response.

Philips Ambilight Sticking coloured lights on your telly isn’t an obvious way to pimp it, but you only need to watch a movie on an Ambilight TV to have your mind changed.

he problem with dogs is that they die. Not your family dog, of course; he went to live on a farm and chase rabbits all day. But other people’s dogs? They die. The solution: get a robo-hound instead. In 1999, Sony put the first Aibo up for adoption. While he couldn’t climb stairs (let’s be honest, neither could Honda’s Asimo), fetch you drinks or bite burglars, he also didn’t need walking or the vet and wouldn’t tear up your sofa cushions if you left him home alone. What Aibo could do was see and hear, although like a real dog he didn’t always listen. He would seek out and play with his ball, take himself back to his charging ‘bed’ when his battery was running low, and later even use his camera eyes to detect movement when you weren’t home and email you pictures of the possible intruder. You know, like actual guard dogs do. Aibo was a proper robot disguised as a dog – and while his capabilities were mundane and everyday, they displayed a level of sophistication still not matched by most robot vacuum cleaners. Sony sent Aibo to live on a farm in 2006, but the ones that live on do so in loving homes who know they’ve got a four-legged, tail-wagging legend.

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WANT ONE?

Start saving. Aibo was expensive then and he’ll set you back thousands now…

Super Soaker A toy WMD (weapon of mass drenching), this pump-action squirter was designed by a nuclear engineer.

Tamagotchi A digital keyring pet that poos in your pocket and demands food and attention. Why did everyone go so crazy for them?

Scalextric The Scalextric cars of today can switch slots to overtake, with an app adding virtual tyre wear and weather to your races.

Lego Millennium Falcon Combining Lego with Star Wars is a guaranteed winner. The 5197-piece Millennium Falcon is hard to beat.

SHORT LIST

n h b s s g

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HALL OF FAME POWER UP The SX-70’s film cartridges had a battery built in, so as long as the camera was loaded it had power for the motors and exposure control. CAMERA

THE COLLAPSING I N STA N T C A M E R A

POLAROID SX-70 B

WANT ONE?

They don’t come cheap, but we picked up an original SX-70 off eBay for £130. Now for the original film…

efore the SX-70 came along, photography was a dark art to many, involving days spent locked in a mysterious blacked-out room, soaking bits of paper in strange liquids until a vision appeared on their surface. Then Polaroid squashed the whole process down and put it inside the camera – and instant photography was born. Not only was the SX-70 the first to spit

out your pictures as soon as you’d taken them, developing in the air over the course of a few minutes; it also folded up. Polaroid’s designers came up with a mind-bogglingly nifty collapsing system of mirrors that lined up in exactly the same way each time the camera was opened. Despite support from Outkast in 2003 (in the form of being referenced lyrically), affordable digital compact cameras and the steady rise

of smartphone photography put an end to Polaroid’s instant cameras. But their influence certainly lives on in the countless apps that ape its aesthetic (do you really think Instagram would’ve made its name using square shots if it hadn’t been for Polaroid?), and the tributes made and sold by The Impossible Project, which takes the same instant theory and uses your phone to add a 21st-century twist. Long live Polaroid!

SHORT LIST

CULT HERO Polaroid Swinger The exposure meter on this displayed the word ‘YES’ when it was set properly.

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Olympus PEN The camera that ignited a wave of retro reboots after Olympus brought it back in Micro Four Thirds form in 2009. The half-frame original was a pocketfriendly smash.

Canon EOS 1Ds You can get phones that shoot in RAW these days, and 11MP is hardly mega, but as Canon’s first full-frame DSLR, the 1Ds is a milestone in high-end history.

Nikon F Nikon’s first SLR is legendary in the camera world, combining a load of neat features in one snapper for the first time. The interchangeable backs were particularly cool.

Apple iPhone 4 Hang on, that’s not a camera, it’s a phone. Still, the 5MP snapper on Apple’s iPhone 4 meant its use as a camera soared when Instagram launched later in 2010.


HALL OF FAME

WHAT HAPPENED NEXT? 1972 POLAROID SX-70

2009 POGO PRINTER

2010 INSTAGRAM

2016 IMPOSSIBLE I-1

Why I loved it...

Fraser Macdonald Consulting Editor Tsk, of course I’m not old enough to have memories of the SX-70 in its heyday. But I do remember seeing one in the ’90s and marvelling at its hefty yet meticulous engineering. It was an original solution to messy photo developing.

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HALL OF FAME

Why I loved it...

Tom Wiggins Deputy Editor These days phones die at the slightest hint of danger, but the 3310 was a proper workhorse. Mine only expired after it endured a downpour during an Oasis gig at Finsbury Park in 2002. Some might say the band should’ve done the same‌

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HALL OF FAME BRICKIN’ IT The 3310 was one of the first phones to have the antenna completely built in, making it more pocketable than its predecessors.

READER VOTED

PHONE

THE O R I G I N A L W O R L D B E AT E R

ALSO IN 2000

NOKIA 3310 he mobile phone is the gadget that has changed the world the most in the past ten years, allowing us to carry cameras with us at all times, access the internet practically anywhere on the planet, and pinpoint our position on Earth to the nearest metre using satellites high above our heads in space. So which particular Swiss army knife of telephony have you chosen to

T

WANT ONE?

To get a 3310 now will cost you barely a tenner. What it lacks in screen resolution it makes up for in battery life.

be inducted into Stuff’s Hall of Fame? The one you could play Snake on. But that is, of course, knowingly underselling Nokia’s legendary 3310. There’s a good reason it’s the phone that, even if you didn’t own one, you probably remember very fondly. Nailing the sweet spot between price and functionality, it marked the start of our obsession with mobiles, when they began to do more than just make calls and send texts, with its built-in

calculator, currency converter, stopwatch and timer. Besides, what is Clash Royale, Pokémon Go or Candy Crush if not just a modern equivalent of Snake? Small and light (but reassuringly solid), with customisable covers and the kind of battery life modern smartphones can only dream of, the 3310 was also the starting point for years of Nokia dominance that would only end when the iPhone came along in 2007.

SHORT LIST

CULT HERO T-MOBILE G1 The very first Android phone’s foldout screen and real keyboard made it a real eye-catcher.

Apple iPhone 3G While the original iPhone was a breakthrough for smartphone design, it wasn’t until Apple added a 3G connection that it became truly essential.

HTC Hero The first Android phone to be as desirable as an iPhone (if not more so). Without the Hero, Apple’s smartphone may never have been toppled from its lofty perch.

Motorola RAZR The phone that really cemented the fact that mobiles were about fashion as much as function, Moto’s super-thin RAZR is a true icon of the early noughties.

BlackBerry Curve 8300 BlackBerry carried the flag for physical keyboards long after the rest had given up; this phone was at home in the pub and in the boardroom.

FILM Snatch Guy Ritchie’s last proper good film gave us one of the scariest villains ever seen on screen: Brick Top.

ALBUM Queens of the Stone Age: Rated R QOTSA’s flawless album was a suitably noisy antidote to Coldplay’s whining rise.

TV Curb Your Enthusiasm Fist-bitingly awkward and funny? This is where exaggerated ‘reality’ comedy shows took off.

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GAME

READER VOTED Why I loved it…

Rob Leedham Editor Despite its flawless 2D platforming and ‘You are a super player!!’ message written in gold coins as you complete its last level, I only really need one word to proclaim this game’s true genius: Yoshi.

THE PEOPLE’S P L AT F O R M E R

SUPER MARIO WORLD t was never really a case of whether Mario should appear in this list, more a question of which of the popular plumber’s outings would make it. Would it be his star turn in the revolutionary 3D platformer Super Mario 64? Or when he first appeared as The Mario Formerly Known As Jumpman in Donkey Kong? Or even on the track in Mario Kart? All potential Hall of Famers, but we picked (and you voted for) the timeless Super Mario World on the SNES. Of course it helped that it came bundled with the console, but as 2D platformers go it was stuffed with neat ideas. Far from being just a cutesy sidekick, the introduction of Yoshi added a whole new dimension to the side-scrolling fight against Bowser, allowing Mario to climb aboard his dinosaur chum and take advantage of the monster’s sticky tongue. And the music. Oh man, the music. Composed entirely on a digital keyboard, almost every tune you hear is a variation of the same melody, changed to reflect the theme of the level you’re playing. When you mount Yoshi it even chucks in some bongos. And it’s not often you can say that’s a good thing.

I

The Last of Us There’s a glut of post-apocalyptic zombie games, but if you’re not moved by this you’ve got the soul of a scalpmunching clicker.

Half-Life 2 The best game ever made? HL2’s influence is evident in almost every good idea from every FPS of the past ten years.

GTA III Sure, the first two GTA games let you roam Liberty City, but the freedom of our first steps in third-person 3D was unforgettable.

Tetris Not just the finest theme tune in gaming – Tetris’s appeal meant it was played by all who could operate their own thumbs.

SHORT LIST

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HALL OF FAME APP

T W I ST E D F I L E STA R T E R

GOT A WII U? Super Mario World is also available on Ninty’s ‘virtual console’ and it’s playable entirely on the tablet controller. What a time to be alive.

NAPSTER f something’s too good to be true, it probably is. So when Napster arrived in 1999, promising free access to every song ever recorded, there was a catch: using it could land you in prison (especially if Metallica got involved). For two years Napster enabled millions of songs to be shared illegally, but it only went as far as it did because the music industry refused to recognise that the old way wasn’t working any more. It tried to put the cat back in the bag – and everyone knows you can’t tell cats what to do (and you definitely shouldn’t keep them in bags). Napster proved that access and convenience were now key. So the current system isn’t perfect, and artists are often underpaid, but Napster helped to level the playing field and take some power back from the major labels. Previously, nobody would’ve heard your album of kazoo quartet bangers. Now, thanks to Napster, there are sites such as Bandcamp where you can sell songs, albums and merchandise without a record deal. Without it, we’d have no iTunes or Spotify… would Netflix even exist? Napster changed the world; it just took a while before we realised it.

ALSO IN 1982

I

Netflix In a few years, with shows like Making a Murderer and House of Cards, Netflix has revolutionised the way we watch TV.

MSN Messenger For the dial-up generation, MSN’s Messenger holds a special place in their hearts. Would we have WhatsApp without it?

Photoshop Now the byword for photo editing, Photoshop is responsible for every pictorial touch-up and tweak since 1990.

Firefox Firefox did more than just access the internet – it introduced the onlineALBUM world to Number of the tabbed browsing Beast Iron and add-ons. Maiden matters. It gets

SHORT LIST

matters. It gets WHAT HAPPENED NEXT? provides supremo bragging rights.

1999 NAPSTER

2001 iTUNES

2007 NETFLIX

2008 SPOTIFY 59


HALL OF FAME SOUND, NOT SURROUND The Spectrum had a built-in speaker that made all the in-game noises, but it had just one mono channel. HOME COMPUTER

T H E I N S P I R AT I O N STAT I O N

ZX SPECTRUM A

WANT ONE?

There are various Spectrum models available on eBay, from £20 to £500.

classic underdog tale, Sir Clive Sinclair’s 8-bit ZX Spectrum was seriously underpowered compared to its big US-made rival, the Commodore 64. But that supposed weakness actually ended up being used to its advantage, with developers having to come up with inventive ways to tease more out of its 16K chip. This rubber-keyed chunk of computing history quickly found

a home in the bedrooms of millions, from adventurously geeky kids to inquisitive adults, and along the way it turned many of them into bedroom coders (of varying skill and success). For those of us who just wanted some games to play, the Spectrum was home to an absolute shedload of them. Think of a classic and it was probably a Speccy game. Chuckie Egg? Check. Elite? Absolutely. Grand Theft Auto? OK, not

every classic, but not even the Spectrum could quite manage time travel. Throughout the 1980s British tech companies were gleefully building new software and accessories for the Spectrum, developing an entire industry in the process. In fact, speaking of GTA, without the Spectrum there’d perhaps be no Rockstar Games. It just doesn’t bear thinking about, does it?

SHORT LIST

CULT HERO ASUS EEE PC Netbooks were here and gone in a blink, but for a while they were massively popular.

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Apple iMac G3 Compared to the breezeblock design of any Windows PC at the time, the all-in-one G3 was something you’d want to show off, not hide away in the study or under a desk.

IBM PC This pre-Windows PC encouraged third-party manufacturers to make compatible software for it, setting in motion the ‘open source versus walled garden’ debate.

Apple MacBook Air Today’s MacBook is so thin the Air suffix is redundant, but when Steve Jobs removed the original from a manila envelope in 2008 it seemed impossibly skinny.

Apple iPad Nobody had nailed tablet computing until the iPad simplified the software and focused on entertainment – and all without swapping fingers for a pesky stylus.


HALL OF FAME

ALSO IN 1982

FILM Blade Runner This was released only two weeks after John Carpenter’s The Thing. What a year!

ALBUM Iron Maiden: Number of the Beast Their first album with Bruce Dickinson on the mic. Heavy hit after hit.

TV Knight Rider The Hoff overshadowed by a cool car with the voice of Mr Feeny from Boy Meets World.

Why I loved it… Marc McLaren Stuff.tv Editor You can split my life in two. Pre-Spectrum I was a typical ’80s child who cared only about football and friends. Post, I was a proto-geek, holed up in my bedroom trying to write games in BASIC.

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HALL OF FAME

BEST OF THE BEST

APPLE iPOD Without wanting to be overly dramatic, there’s a good chance Stuff wouldn’t exist without the iPod – so what else could we choose as the most noteworthy gadget of recent years? And what more is there to say about a device that influenced an entire industry, turning tech from something that was just for geeks and nerds into a worldwide phenomenon. Those iconic white headphones, the iTunes Store (although not so much the software itself), the scroll wheel – all will go down in history as legacies of the iPod’s world-conquering success. Without it we’d never have had the iPhone, iPad and half the tech you take for granted every single day. So how could we possibly have picked anything else?

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WORST

HALL OF FAME

HALL OF LAME Left on the shelf and they’re to blame, these rubbish gadgets give tech a bad name

Amstrad Em@iler Given his TV show is based on the idea that he’s a success, Alan Sugar sure is responsible for some stinkers. With the functionality of a rudimentary smartphone but none of the convenience, the Em@iler was the smelliest.

Nokia N-Gage Nokia’s attempt at mobile gaming wasn’t well received. ‘Lovingly’ referred to as the ‘taco phone’ thanks to its resemblance to the food, its buttons stuck to the classic phone keypad layout, which made it rubbish for gaming.

Apple Newton Proof that not everything Jony Ive touches turns to gold (he designed the second-gen Newton), Apple’s PDA was too expensive and its handwriting recognition didn’t work. Steve Jobs killed it when he came back to Apple in 1997.

Gizmondo This handheld console sold just 25,000 units despite an impressive spec sheet, a Jenson Button ad campaign and a store on Regent Street. An attempt to bring it back in 2008 ended up with a police investigation into the directors.

Nintendo Virtual Boy You can’t fault the ambition of Nintendo’s ‘VR’ headset, but it never made it past Japan and North America due to its high price and gimmicky games. The only Nintendo product that sold less was the 64DD, a disc drive add-on for the N64.

Oakley Thump Oakley invented wearable tech by making headphones a little less wearable. The MP3 player built into these lumpy monstrosities had a maximum capacity of 1GB, and putting them on made you look like a bionic WWF wrestler.

OnLive Some tech is just before its time and OnLive – the box that streamed games – didn’t have the backup from the net that it needed. Connections weren’t quick enough and people weren’t keen on only renting their games.

BlackBerry Storm In 2008 BlackBerry took its one USP and chucked it out of the window. This did away with the keyboard, replacing it with a touchscreen – all the business benefits of a BB, none of the top-speed typing talents users were used to.

Google Wave Google’s attempt to... well, we’re not sure what Google was trying to do with Wave but, whatever it was, it didn’t work. Part IM, part email, it’s not a million miles away from what Slack does now. Which everybody loves. Oh well. 63


TEST APPS

App:roved FOR LIVELY LEARNERS

Tinycards

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FOR APPY ARTISTS

Prisma

Having presumably decided that teaching only languages is not enough, Duolingo has unleashed Tinycards. Select a deck and the app flings flash cards your way until you remember them all. The developer’s created decks based on geography, science and history; there’s also a social component, so you and others can make and share decks on anything you choose. It could be kinder on typos, and some illustrations are a bit unclear, but this is a simple, smart study aid.

Many apps attempt to transform photos into stuff that look as if it should be in a gallery; Prisma actually succeeds. Load a photo, select a style (from Picasso to contemporary illustration), wait a few seconds, and a mini masterpiece appears. The results are eye-dazzlingly impressive, the app effortlessly marrying your source material with the selected style. The only duff bit is low-res output — we’d gladly pay for Prisma artwork you could hang on the wall.

Stuff says £free / iOS

Stuff says £free / Android, iOS

FOR CRAZY CLUBBERS

Super Stickman Golf 3

FOR PATIENT PUZZLERS

Warp Shift

Tiny golfers are transported to surreal nine-hole courses in floating-rock deserts, glue-lined caverns, space stations and huge castles. The side-on ‘aim and thwack’ larks remain compelling, but a new spin mechanic provides scope for impossible shots. Outside of solo play, you get the usual turn-based battles and races, but the latter adds a demented Flappy Golf mode. A premium upgrade unlocks extra courses and kills the ads.

It’s one of those days for heroine Pi, dumped inside gigantic sliding puzzles in zero gravity. Rooms slide with a swipe and you tap to move, helping Pi overcome locked doors and find a cuboid companion she subsequently hurls at the exit. It resembles an interactive Disney take on Cube; but despite cutesy visuals this puzzler has bite, not least when you’re trying to get enough stars to unlock new levels – which can require using a brain-smashingly small number of moves.

Stuff says £free (IAPs) / Android, iOS

Stuff says £2.29 / Android

£2.99 / iOS


TEST APPS

Mini meme

National Trust

If you want to get away from it all (or just hunt Pokémon through forests, historic buildings and ancient monuments), the National Trust’s app is the one for you. It lists nearby sites of wonder, guiding you to its hundreds of specially protected places in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as listing events to enjoy there. Stuff says £free / Android, iOS, Windows

Viki

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LOCAL APPS FOR LOCAL PEOPLE The ‘worldwide’ part of the web isn’t much use if you’re looking for something to do in your own hood… these apps can all supply location-specific boredom-blitzing ideas

HeyLets

Foursquare

TripAdvisor

Although it really wants you to book flights and hotels in exotic and faraway lands, TripAdvisor will happily figure out where you are and provide a list of places to fill up your face and eyes with, respectively, food and wonder. And if you subsequently want to foist your opinions of either on other people, you can do that too, by writing a review. Stuff says £free / Android, iOS

Triposo (UK)

Wikipedia has a wealth of information on just about everywhere, but it’s presented in the least inspiring manner possible. Viki marries Wikipedia articles with an overhead map, with lines linking locations to photos. It looks great and gives you a sense of what’s nearby; and the interface for reading the full entries is also superb.

Designed for the truly lazy, HeyLets has you tapping icons to define preferences (from clubbing to walking the dog), before spitting out lists based on community review. Said community is small, but we found ideas here that other apps missed… although HeyLets oddly always suggested we eat at Heathrow Terminal 5.

With its social arm hacked off as ‘Swarm’, Foursquare has doubled down on discovery. It initially looks obsessed with dining and drinking, but the Fun section houses loads of categories, from jazz clubs to historic sites. Amusingly, these appear to be populated using keywords, so ‘park’ lists pubs with car parks. Result!

Many travel guides balk at offering insight into anywhere smaller than Manchester, but Triposo gives you a fighting chance of having a good time in even the remotest villages. You can download guides for offline use, compile walks based on local landmarks and read local history so you can later pretend you’re all knowledgeable.

Stuff says £3.99 / iOS

Stuff says £free / Android, iOS

Stuff says £free / Android, iOS, Windows

Stuff says from £free / Android, iOS


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

Visit: www.kodakpixpro.com/Europe


F I R S T T E S T A L C AT E L I D O L 4 S

French polished Alcatel steps out of the budget ghetto with a classy and innovative mid-range handset… should OnePlus be worried? US$399 (£tba) / stuff.tv/Idol4S

2

Alcatel’s first real ‘flagship’ phone is smart, fast and packed with features… and at this point it’s one of the most affordable ways to get into VR. It might even be a big enough bargain to rival the mighty OnePlus 3. This phone really is a belter, and there’s every chance it’ll put the French company on the map here in the UK for something other than entry-level handsets that nobody really wants. Run through a checklist of desirable phone features in your head: 2K OLED screen? Expandable storage? Fast CPU and loads of memory? A 16MP Sony camera sensor? The Idol 4S has them all. Oh, and it looks pretty good for the price as well. That 5.5in OLED display is Alcatel’s trump card, the one feature that’s guaranteed to get those heads a-turning – you’ll struggle to do better in this price range. It’s easily sharp enough to do justice to your snaps, full HD video, or any forays into virtual reality – which you’ll surely be tempted to make, as the Idol 4S comes with a free VR headset.

4

[ Words Tom Morgan ]

Good Meh Evil

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24 hours with the Alcatel Idol 4S

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F I R S T T E S T A L C AT E L I D O L 4 S

1 The only way is up Alcatel is bigging up the Idol 4S’s ‘mirrored design’. This means it doesn’t matter which way you pull it out of your pocket – the display will rotate accordingly. Also, tap-to-wake means you won’t be scrambling to find which side the power button’s on.

3 Say fromage… The camera is really impressive: a 16MP Sony sensor complete with phase detection autofocus and an LED flash, which means it can cope with most shooting situations. It does a great job with details. HDR mode can make things unnaturally vivid, though.

2 Contrasting fortune That 2560x1440 resolution is sharp. The fact that it’s an OLED means you get pure, self-illuminating gorgeousness: dark pics and videos look brilliant. And Alcatel has added a colour temperature setting so you can tone down the vibrancy to taste.

4 Boom, shake the room The Boom Key is a physical button that serves several purposes. It can double up as a screen wake button or activate custom modes and features. We set it up as a camera button, for launching the app and then operating the shutter. 5 VR scientists The included VR headset is great for the money, with an elastic head-strap for hands-free use and touch-sensitive controls on the bottom. However, without the frame rates to back up the latest VR content, goggling up can leave you feeling pretty woozy.

5

T us he e, 4S th fe an el ks s s to na th pp eS yi …b na n d sp u pd ay ot t a ra -to so s it go m ’s n 6 day e d dr 52 i ro vin … pp g ed a 2 Th fra K p go e m an es he es e fu ads in l, yo rth e ga u t er ’s p m ’ll es th re . an -i n Go st og alle Po le d po ké Ca co un m rd nte din on bo n G g, o ar t bu g d. t g ive en s t er he all b y i at t h te ol ry ds a up rea OK l .

Tech specs Display 5.5in 2560x1440 OLED Processor Snapdragon 652 octa-core RAM 3GB Storage 32GB (plus up to 256GB microSD) Cameras 16MP rear, 8MP front OS Android 6.0.1 Battery 2610mAh Dimensions 154x75x7mm, 149g

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That’s not Berry original, is it? BlackBerry’s new security-obsessed DTEK50 looks uncannily similar to the 4S… is it an Alcatel in disguise? BlackBerry phones used to be unmistakable; this one barely has its own design. Build-wise it’s a slightly tweaked version of the Alcatel Idol 4, little brother of the Idol 4S. It doesn’t look or feel exactly like the Alcatel, though. It has a knobbly rubberised back, and feels less than great next to the classy OnePlus 3. But it’s the software that’s going to sell people on this phone: the new angle is security. The ‘DTEK’ part of the name actually refers to an app. It’s 50% interesting, 50% meh. The boring side is the bit that tells you how secure your phone is, based on some very basic metrics; but it also tracks apps’ requests for access. After one day’s use Twitter had apparently requested our location

678 times. Yikes! Won’t stop us using it, though. BlackBerry calls this the world’s most secure Android phone, but its security techniques are actually quite conventional and some features are available from other apps. Tech 5.2in 1920x1080 LCD Snapdragon 617 3GB RAM 16GB (plus microSD) 13MP & 8MP cameras Android 6.0.1 2610mAh battery £275 / stuff.tv/DTEK50 STUFF SAYS

The Idol 4S makes up for its slightly dated styling with some top-notch hardware. That screen is gorgeous and the speakers are so insanely loud you don’t need Bluetooth to get the party started. It could shift in huge numbers – and maybe this time next year we’ll be proclaiming its successor the heir to the OnePlus 3’s throne… @TomMorgan3

STUFF SAYS An excellent all-rounder that gives the OnePlus 3 some competition in the £300-ish phone stakes 69


Free your sockets and charge all your devices SMART

USB

CONNECTIVITY

Single or double sockets

2.1A 3.1A 4.2A

CHARGE SHARED

White moulded and decorative profiles with finishes to complement any decor

www.usbeautiful.co.uk

CHARGE SHARED

CHARGE SHARED


GROUP TEST DRONES

CALL THE COPTERS Never seen the top of your own head? There’s now a drone for every budget, and we’ve tested the best of them. You just need to pick one…

DJI Phantom 4

The Coca-Cola of drones returns better than ever. Now it’ll dodge the obstacles you were too busy to notice while fiddling with settings.

Ehang GhostDrone 2.0

Who needs a flight controller anyway? This is probably the most feature-packed drone you can fly using only your smartphone.

Parrot Bebop 2

Look at it – it’s diddy! The smallest drone on test this month can go just about anywhere, but still finds room for a 1080p camera.

Yuneec Typhoon H

Six is better than four, right? The Typhoon is packing more rotors than the competition to stay stable on a blustery British day.

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GROUP TEST DRONES

BEST FOR... NEWBIE PILOTS

Sky high

The two-stick Skycontroller remote will feel familiar to drone pros, and adds a wireless extender so you can really crank up the distance.

Parrot Bebop 2 £439 / stuff.tv/Bebop2 Pre-flight checks

The newbie drone pilot’s dilemma: get a top-spec quadcopter and risk smashing it on your first flight, or start out with something cheaper that’ll only cover the basics? This one sits somewhere in the middle. It isn’t a pocket change drone, but it packs plenty of must-have features. It can fly for more than 25 minutes at a time, has a built-in camera that’s good for 14MP stills and 1080p video, and has a range of 300m – more than enough for some spectacular aerial footage. It’s compact too.

And you’ll be amazed how steady it is once the wind picks up. Parrot has jammed the 1080p camera into the drone’s nose, rather than hanging it down underneath on a gimbal; the fisheye lens can see plenty without the drone having to be pointed at what you want to film.

Is it cleared for take-off?

This basic drone makes you fly with your phone via an app. It’s decent enough, but the Wi-Fi can drop out – if it does, the Bebop will eventually return to wherever you launched it from. The optional

Skycontroller fares a little better, but then you’ve got as much bulk to lug around as any other pilot. There aren’t many other £500 drones with built-in cameras, so we can’t moan about being stuck at 1080p; 8GB of storage fills up pretty quickly, though. If its connection troubles were sorted, this would be the perfect starter drone.

Tech specs

Max speed 40mph Max range 984ft Max flight time 25mins Battery 2700mAh

TAKE A LOOK AROUND That camera might be fixed to the front of the Bebop 2, but the smartphone app lets you move through 180° in all directions – just drag your thumb to move the live feed, without worrying about sending the Bebop into a terminal spin.

STUFF SAYS Small, simple and easy enough for novices to get to grips with 72


GROUP TEST DRONES

BEST FOR... DRONE PROS

Eyes front

It’s smart enough not to crash into things ahead of it, but don’t expect a miracle if you’re flying backwards - the Phantom has front sensors only.

T TES R E NN I W DJI Phantom 4 £1229 / stuff.tv/Phantom4 Pre-flight checks

The original Phantom brought a geek niche to the mainstream, and this fourth version is so simple even a complete novice should be able to fly it right away. That’s mostly down to the uprated sensors, which keep an eye out for obstacles and dodge them before crashing. Otherwise, the Phantom 4 looks like a slightly streamlined version of DJI’s last drone. Quick-release propellers speed setup and teardown times, and the box doubles as a case. The excellent 12MP stabilised camera provides crystal clear stills

and super-detailed 4K video. Nothing else comes close for the cash.

Is it cleared for take-off?

Stick a phone or tablet onto the Flight Controller and the app will have you flying without even touching the twin control sticks. Tapping to take off and tapping to return home aren’t new, but now you can also tap to fly – it’ll handle the turns while you line up your next photo or video shot. Air time of 28mins makes this the longest-lasting drone around, but you can drain the battery a lot

faster with the pant-wettingly fast 45mph Sport mode. Make sure you’ve got plenty of space before opening the throttle. It’s supremely stable too, even when the wind picks up. The excellent controls mean you’re always in charge, and it’ll return to home automatically if you somehow get further away than the 3.1-mile maximum range.

Tech specs

Max speed 45mph Max range 3.1 miles Max flight time 28mins Battery 5350mAh

EARN YOUR WINGS Don’t think you’re ready for take-off just yet? Then get in some virtual flight time first. The DJI Go mobile app has a built-in practice mode that’ll let you use the controller to fly a digital Phantom before you get the real thing out of the box.

STUFF SAYS DJI’s latest is ideal for newbies but will also keep the pros happy 73


GROUP TEST DRONES

BEST FOR... APP ADDICTS

Google eyes

The optional VR goggles make flying and filming easier. They give you a drone’s-eye view and move the camera to match your head movements.

Ehang Ghostdrone 2.0 £699 / stuff.tv/Ghostdrone Pre-flight checks

Ehang’s Ghostdrone 2.0 doesn’t mess around: all you need to start flying is your phone. Sure, there’s an optional control unit, but the mobile app does a great job of take-off and landing. You can tap the top-down map to move, or it can work out movement in every direction from the way you tilt your phone. No need to ignore your calls while you’re flying either – it’ll auto hover until you hang up. Not having a separate controller means your cash goes further when it comes to features. A 43mph top speed, 25-minute

flying time and simple autopilot modes are pretty tasty in a £700 copter. You won’t be able to fly as far, though, because of your phone’s limited Wi-Fi range.

Is it cleared for take-off?

It’s a bit more curvy than the competition and those red rotors make it look more toy-like, but don’t let them put you off – this is still a grown-up drone. The 4K camera hanging off the bottom can’t quite match DJI’s or Yuneec’s for pin-sharp quality, but at least your clips will look smooth as it’s fully stabilised. There’s no

obstacle avoidance tech here, so don’t take your eyes off it. You are covered if you do crash, though, with up to three replacements or repairs across the one-year warranty. If you’re happy flying with your phone, this is pretty much the most feature-packed drone around… but if you want better pictures, you’ll need a DJI or Yuneec.

Tech specs

Max speed 43mph Max range 3280ft Max flight time 25mins Battery 4500mAh

BIT OF A SQUEEZE Sure, you can fly this one with your phone, but you’ll want a big screen to make it easier to hit all those buttons and sliders. A phablet or tablet will make it easier to see those all-important height, speed and battery readouts too.

STUFF SAYS Some clever ideas, but the Ehang is not as slick as its rivals 74


GROUP TEST DRONES

BEST FOR... WINDY WEATHER

Landing pad

Once you’re off the ground, flick a switch and the landing gear retracts, allowing you to hover the drone still and capture 360° video.

Yuneec Typhoon H £1099 / stuff.tv/TyphoonH Pre-flight checks

To take on the champ, you’ve got to match it for specs but beat it on price. That’s pretty much Yuneec’s strategy with the Typhoon H: this six-rotor drone goes toe-to-toe with the Phantom 4 and, on paper, comes out on top. With two extra props, it won’t spell disaster if one of the motors conks out on you. They also keep the Typhoon rock-steady while you’re hovering, making the stabilised camera’s 12MP still photos and 4K video look as if they were shot from a really, really tall ladder rather than a drone.

You only have to concentrate on flying or filming, not both, if you grab the secondary Wizard remote. It’ll let someone else handle the drone while you set up the camera with the ST16 controller, which has a built-in 7in touchscreen.

Is it cleared for take-off?

A 43mph top speed, nimble movement and comprehensive controls should mean you’re even more relaxed in the air than with a Phantom – which isn’t the only drone with collision detection. As long as you’re flying forwards, the Typhoon will stop itself from

ploughing into trees, walls and other objects. There are a handful of autopilot modes too. Air time of 25 minutes is pretty good, but it takes about two hours to recharge – twice the time it’ll take a Phantom 4. If it charged a little quicker the Typhoon would be the complete package; as it is, it’s knocked firmly into second place behind the DJI.

Tech specs

Max speed 43.5mph Max range 1 mile Max flight time 25mins Battery 5400mAh

PUSH THE BUTTON Before flying this thing solo, better work out what all the buttons and switches do – the controller is full of ’em. It’s easy once you get the hang of things, and you can use the screen more if you like, but the whole thing can be intimidating.

STUFF SAYS Its six appeal means a blustery day won’t keep you grounded 75


FOUR WEEKS WITH THE UNDER ARMOUR HEALTHBOX

Armour believer Under Armour and HTC have teamed up to bring us an all-inclusive package of fitness tech… so Tom Morgan spent a sweaty month testing it all out on the treadmill £349 / stuff.tv/HealthBox

The pack consists of a wrist band, a set of scales and a chest strap, all of which sync with an app

DAY 01 Hopes are high as I open Under Armour’s shiny red box: with UA providing the fitness know-how and HTC handling the tech, it should be a potent combination. I find two wearables plus a smart scale and download details for a host of smartphone apps. But it soon becomes clear that one part of the package is likely to get most of the attention: the band. I’ll be wearing it every day, after all. Thankfully, that’s no

great burden. Forget chunky smartwatches and bling-tastic fitness trackers, because the UA Band is pure subtlety. It sits stealthily on your wrist, counting steps until you call it into action. It’s so comfy I quickly forget I’m wearing it; fortunately it’s waterproof to 20m, otherwise my morning shower would have cut this review short. Anyone with more chunky wrists can swap the band out

The band charges in half an hour and lasts five days, so there’s no excuse not to have it on your wrist 24/7

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for a longer one; it pops off with a pin or phone SIM tray tool, so isn’t going to fall apart when you’re pumping iron (or whatever else you do to get tired). It’s seriously thin and light, despite being packed with a screen and all manner of sensors, and the single button activates the OLED display. A pedometer counts steps, an accelerometer measures your tossing and turning at night to calculate sleep patterns, and the heart-rate sensor keeps an eye on your resting rate. The battery will keep you going for up to five days and it charges

from empty to full in about half an hour, so there’s no excuse not to have it on your wrist 24/7. You use the physical button to wake the display, but from then on it’s all taps and swipes. You have five main screens: Clock, Activity, Heart Rate, Sleep Tracker and Fitness. Each lets you dig down deeper – tapping Activity will give you calories burned and kilometres walked as well as a step count. It’ll also buzz when you get a call, text message or calendar appointment, and you can control your phone’s music playback from it, which is a nice bonus.


LO N G -T E R M T E S T U N D E R A R M O U R H E A LT H B O X

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Donut of Truth™

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01 One of few fitness bands that works with an HRM chest strap 02 App, band, strap and scales all work together seamlessly

03 Huge app ecosystem for all kinds of health tracking 04 Apps lack a few features, such as route maps 05 Overkill unless you’re making serious life changes

Tech specs Compatibility iOS, Android Battery life (band) Five days Battery life (strap) Up to eight months Battery life (scale) Up to one year

DAY 02 I wake to find that the automatic sleep tracking has worked pretty well: it worked out I was trying to catch some Zs and can now tell me how many hours of light and deep sleep I got, whether I woke up in the night and what my resting heart rate was when I woke up. Definitely one of the better sleep trackers I’ve used.

DAY 08 The UA Band really kicks things up a gear when it comes to fitness. You can choose between running, cycling, a gym workout, and a fourth sport you set through the app. Yoga, golf, basketball, exercise classes and baseball are all up for grabs, which should help keep calorie-counting accurate. There’s no GPS built in, so if you want route tracking you’ll need to bring your phone along. The chest-worn heart-rate monitor pairs with the band for much more accurate readings than you’ll get by strapping anything on your wrist. It has two contact pads for direct measurements and a tiny puck that sends the data to the UA Band over Bluetooth. It tells the little LED on the band which colour to glow, based on how hard you’re pushing yourself.

DAY 15 The smart scales recalibrate every time you move them. That can mean you end up with some wacky results – no, I didn’t just lose three pounds by taking the bins out. Hardly ideal, but a bit of deviance either way isn’t a deal-breaker for anyone looking for a general health boost.

DAY 28 The big questions I ask about any fitness gadget that comes my way are “Did it actually make a difference?” and “Am I going to keep using it?” Well, I’ve been using HealthBox religiously for the past four weeks, and I’ve managed to shift a healthy amount of weight. That’s a pretty good sign it’s doing something right. I’m only a third of the way to my goal, so yeah, the UA Band is staying firmly on my wrist and the app is still sitting on my phone’s homescreen. It does carry a hefty premium over your basic fitness wristband, but as a package the HealthBox nails the basics and goes into detail when you need it – and everything syncs nicely. All of which leaves you more energy to dedicate to actually doing the exercise bit.

STUFF SAYS An all-round package with everything you need to fit up – all you need to add is willpower ★★★★✩

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TEST SAMSUNG UE55KS9000

Swimming in colour This slinky 55in Samsung proves you don’t need to go OLED for a vivid and immersive 4K picture £1999 / stuff.tv/UE55KS9000 The KS9000 is an LCD set with colour-boosting ‘Quantum Dot’ screen tech and a gently curved form with almost no bezel. It wears the Ultra HD Premium stamp of quality, but this telly is not all about 4K resolution: more impressively, the 1000-nits peak brightness will make HDR video leap out from the screen. Diving right into 4K HDR, we’re suitably impressed. Brightness is excellent and the darker parts of the picture still retain depth and detail. And changing down to regular non-HDR, non-4K with a standard Blu-ray doesn’t destroy the character of the image. Compared to the average skinny telly, the KS9000 sounds pretty good, but the low end is just too weak to do justice to films and games. We’d go for a decent soundbar at the very least; what this screen truly deserves is a full surround-sound system. We like what Samsung has done with this year’s TVs as far as the smart experience goes – although for the full gamut of UK catchup services, we’re still short of a few apps. As far as 4K and HDR are concerned, Netflix and Amazon Prime are both present and correct. The Tizen OS has been tweaked, making it faster and more intuitive. It’s between this and LG’s WebOS as to which is the best smart TV system out there – we reckon LG pips Tizen to the post, but it’s a close-run race.

Tech specs Screen 55in 3840x2160 LCD with HDR Inputs HDMI x4, USB x3 Wi-Fi Yes Dimensions 123x71 x9.3cm, 18kg

Devilish in its detail

The blemish-free look of the TV’s rear extends to the inputs. A subtle flap hides a third USB port and wired internet, and there’s just one cable leading to Samsung’s OneConnect box.

Finger-clickin’ good

The smart remote control is much simpler than units of old, whether it’s controlling the TV or doubling as a basic remote for the rest of your kit. That simple D-pad makes it a joy to use.

STUFF SAYS 4K, HDR and superior smarts in a beautiful, slender package OLED might be the future, but LCD isn’t the past just yet Tom Wiggins

This Samsung proves there’s no need to stick your nose up at LCD screens just yet. OLED might be great, but it still costs, and the LCD tech at work here is almost as good. Samsung’s nailed the design, and the smart TV system ticks every box. But most importantly, if you yearn for 4K and HDR pictures but can’t spend megabucks to get them, this is a fine alternative to the nirvana of OLED. 79


FIRST TEST HP SPECTRE 13

Never svelte better HP goes for gold – and goes after the 12in Apple MacBook – with a new laptop that’s as skinny as an autumn leaf. But the Spectre’s no lightweight… £1299 / stuff.tv/Spectre13 There’s thin and light, and then there’s HP Spectre thin and light. About as far removed from a backbreaking desktop lump as it’s possible to get, this distinctive ultraportable is the world’s thinnest laptop. How do you earn that title? By shrinking, slashing and generally shaving off every superfluous bit of metal and plastic until you’re left with just the essentials. That’s not to say the Spectre is ‘bare bones’, though: it has serious power under the hood, and the looks to make Apple’s 12in MacBook nervous. We’ve seen restaurant menus thicker than this 10.4mm laptop. The Spectre is so thin it’ll barely take up any room in a bag, and at 1.16kg it won’t weigh you down either. The all-metal build stops it from feeling flimsy, though. It’ll flex if you really try, sure, but when was it ever a good idea to bend expensive electronics? Anyway, the real question is whether a laptop this slender can perform well enough to be worth £1300. Slim chance?

1

1 Bling me sunshine You’ll either love or hate the colour scheme: ‘burnt grey’ makes a nice change from the usual black or silver, but that gold hinge at the back is pure bling. An all-black option would have been nice. If you want a Spectre, you either go gold or go elsewhere.

2 All that glitters… If you can tear your stare from the gold trim, the 13in display is pretty easy on the eyes. It’s only a 1080p panel, so can’t quite compete with the MacBook when it comes to pixel count, but the glossy finish really makes colours jump off the screen.

3 You’ve got the power to know Cramming seriously powerful tech into an ultraportable isn’t an easy task – it’s why Apple stuck with the low-voltage Core M chips for the 12in MacBook. HP has gone one better with a Core i7 CPU, pairing it with 8GB of RAM for pretty zippy performance.

[ Words Tom Morgan ]

Good Meh Evil

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24 hours with the HP Spectre 13

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FIRST TEST HP SPECTRE 13

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Tech specs Display 13.3in 1920x1080 LED Processor Intel Core i7-6500U RAM 8GB Storage 512GB SSD Connectivity USB-C x2, 3.5mm audio Dimensions 325x229x10.4mm, 1.16kg

A bite out of the Apple? We take a closer look at how the Spectre 13 matches up to its most obvious rival: the 12in MacBook

5 That’s numberwang

On pure performance, it’s close. The Spectre wins by 3104 to 3001 in the Geekbench 3 single-core test, but the MacBook claws back a win in the multi-core test with 6707 versus 6563 for the HP.

Up the workers

You won’t really notice any difference with typing and browsing, but the HP is a touch faster for streaming 1080p video and editing photos. Hardcore video editing might be too much for either machine, though.

4 Fan friction

5 The Midas touch HP has pulled off some wizardry with the keyboard – how can a laptop so thin be so comfortable to type on? It’s a shame they couldn’t repeat the trick with the touchpad; we ended up turning off multi-touch functions to stop triggering them by mistake.

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4 Golden ages? Super-thin laptops like this don’t have a lot of room for batteries. HP reckons you’ll get about eight hours from a charge, but in our experience that’s only if you dial the screen brightness right down and stick to basic web browsing or word processing.

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It’s not completely silent like the MacBook, because HP had to add a pair of fans to keep everything running smoothly. They stay quiet mostly, but can spin up when you’re hammering the CPU.

Phat cat, flat batt

Looping a clip of Nyan Cat (God help us), the Spectre managed to last only a little over 4hrs. But we managed to better HP’s prediction when sticking to work: 9hrs puts it on a par with the MacBook.

In the style stakes, this HP is the biggest threat to Apple’s ultraportable crown since Dell’s carbon-clad XPS 13. It also ticks all the boxes when it comes to performance, and beats the MacBook with multiple USB-C ports. Ultimately, though, the Apple’s higher-res screen knocks the Spectre into second place. @TomMorgan3

STUFF SAYS HP’s crammed a lot of power into the Spectre’s frame. Move over MacBook? Not quite, but it’s close. 81


STUFF PICKS

Polaroid Snap

Tom Morgan, News Editor You can’t beat a Polaroid for instant photos, and the Snap throws digital into the mix too. What other camera can print your pics right away, as well as saving them to SD? Thermal printing wizardry means there’s no ink, but you can still shake your shots so they develop quicker (we know it doesn’t work, but we still like it). Snap a selfie with your beau to be, jot your number on the back and hand it over – 60% of the time it works every time. £89 / polaroid.com/snap-camera

TEN under a ton

Wallet carried off by moths? Stuff writers select their favourite sub-£100 gadgets COLOUR ME IMPRESSED There are no Instagram-style filters, but you can make your prints sepia or black and white. Or keep things colourful with the top-mounted style dial.

[ Photography Mitch Payne ]

I ALMOST BOUGHT

Shure Motiv MV5 Quality audio recordings on Android, iOS, Windows and Mac? Sounds like a plan. Shure’s compact condenser mic would have been perfect for those on-the-go voiceovers and practising my radio voice, as it doesn’t tie you down to one mobile or laptop OS. Plus it looks like a cricket ball from the future. £89 / shure.co.uk

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STUFF PICKS

THERE’S A STAR, MAN The 5x24 finder scope lets you narrow down the sky before you take your eye to it… though it pays to do pre-trip research using the bundled PC software.

Celestron TravelScope 70 Portable Telescope

Fraser Macdonald, Consulting Editor Given a small wodge of cash with which to buy something, my mind naturally turns to a telescope. Problem – London is just a high-res reflection of itself lit by a million streetlights. So here’s a travel telescope: one I can lob on the back seat of a bike and take out to the hills. An optical length of 400mm and 70mm aperture should be enough to pick out some of eternity’s larger entities, and there’s still room in the rucksack for a late-night picnic egg or two. £59 / maplin.co.uk

I ALMOST BOUGHT

Casio G-Shock Tough Solar I name thee ‘Clockroach’. Casio innards and solar power mean you will never die, not while the sun lives. Radio-controlled time setting in Europe, America, Japan and China mean millisecond accuracy on my travels, while timers (with perhaps a little tracking work from my phone) let me keep on top of the fitness duties. £99 / argos.co.uk

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STUFF PICKS

Amazon Kindle Rob Leedham, Editor

I’m never more of a klutz than when I’m on holiday. Headphones get lost down the back of aeroplane seats, phones get dropped in the midst of selfies, and that’s before I start supping on the sangria. Even I can trust myself with the Kindle, though. As Amazon’s cheapest e-reader, it packs in a potential library of more than four million titles and has a battery that’ll last for even the most luxurious of beach breaks. I’m not letting it out of my sight. £59 / amazon.co.uk

SMALL BUT BEAUTIFUL At 167ppi, this screen has around half the pixels of the next one up, the Kindle Paperwhite, but it costs £50 less and you can read just fine.

USE IT WITH CASEABLE Your Kindle may be cheap but you can still dress it up. This Caseable number is sure to catch everyone’s eye – best make sure you’re not reading Harry Potter again. £21 / amazon.co.uk

I ALMOST BOUGHT

Superbook The best Kickstarter I’ve seen in yonks: plug your smartphone into this $99 shell and it’ll work as a laptop. Just download the free Andromium app onto your Android handset and you can browse the web, work up a document and even play your favourite Android games with a keyboard and 11.6in screen. Genius! $99 / kickstarter.com

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STUFF PICKS

APPS BE DAMNED Can’t be bothered to fire up the app? The ring at the top of the lamp is touch-sensitive, letting you slide around it to dim it or change colours manually.

Xiaomi Yeelight

Esat Dedezade, Deputy Features Ed Calling me a heavy sleeper is a massive understatement - I once slept right through an oil depot explosion that took place a few miles away. Waking up in the morning is just the worst for me, and setting 17 alarms isn’t practical. The solution is this cylindrical Bluetooth lamp. Its smartphone app lets me cycle through any colour I fancy, but the best part is its ability to gradually get brighter ahead of my alarm, gently easing my brain from its deep slumber. £50 / amazon.co.uk

USE IT WITH SLEEP PHONES This headband with wireless headphones is ideal for drifting off to the Yeelight’s pulsing colours and some melodic trance. £69 / sleepphones. co.uk

I ALMOST BOUGHT

Philips OneBlade I was initially skeptical about OneBlade… but then I tried it, and was blown away by how well it performed, cutting better than my much more expensive electric shaver. I haven’t bought it yet it, but for £23 I don’t think I’ll be able to resist its call for much longer… £23 / philips-shop.co.uk

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STUFF PICKS

PIECE BY PIECE

Beasts of Balance Mark Wilson, Features Editor

This multiplayer iPad game is rather like next-gen Jenga, and is as fun as that is difficult to say. The challenge? To build, with up to four other people, a tower from the game’s lovely geometric pieces. But the corresponding iPad world, created by scanning each piece as you add it to the scale, must be a clever balance of elements and animal types. Designed for kids it may be, but this strategy element makes it perfect party fodder for grown-ups too. £69 / beastsofbalance.com

The app connects to the game’s scales and brings your chosen piece into the game, before rating the accumulated ‘fabulousness’ of your creation.

I ALMOST BOUGHT

Samsung Gear VR My Google Cardboard headset has served me well, but I’m starting to grow tired of Sellotaping its flimsy parts back together. If it weren’t for Beasts of Balance’s considerable charms, I’d have invested in Samsung’s updated, foamclad headset for a far more face-friendly gateway to mobile VR gimmickry. £80 / samsung.com

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FIRST TEST NOWTV SMART BOX

Sky in the pie NowTV’s Smart Box has all the Sky channels you want to watch, hiding inside a device the size of your lunch… time to turn that satellite dish into a flowerpot?

5 £39 / stuff.tv/NowTV Sky has managed to snap up some of the biggest names in sport, movies and entertainment for its all-encompassing satellite service – but what if you can’t (or don’t want to) fit a dish to your home? In the past it meant you were out of luck, but in 2016 there’s no need to miss that must-see Game of Thrones episode, or hunt for a dodgy stream of that Premier League game. NowTV is an excellent alternative to a satellite dish, giving you the best of Sky for a monthly subscription, all through your net connection. And it’s just got even better: the long contracts are gone and the streaming box has basically turned into a one-stop shop for all your telly needs. You don’t need one of these if you’re happy to tune into NowTV through a laptop, but the Smart Box is definitely your best bet for vegging out on the sofa. It’ll easily sit beneath your existing TV tech, and it now has an aerial input so you can watch free-to-air TV as well as Sky content.

1 OK, not 4K Roku has built the hardware, and it looks a lot like a Roku 4 media player… only there’s no 4K. That’s hardly a surprise – Sky doesn’t want anyone ditching their Sky Q box for this. But it puts NowTV on the back foot compared to Amazon’s 4K Fire TV box.

2

1

2 Dapper zapper Sky has stripped a few buttons from the Roku 4 remote to make the NowTV controller as simple as possible. Shortcuts to NowTV and the Sky Store are handy if you’re struggling for something to watch, but a power button would have been nice.

3 Tasty menu The overhauled UI looks a little fresher than the old NowTV interface, but the layout hasn’t really changed much. That’s not a bad thing: the simple menu offers catchup, a live TV guide and apps. There’s no search option on the homescreen, though.

[ Words Tom Parsons ]

Good Meh Evil

88

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24 hours with the NowTV Smart Box

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FIRST TEST NOWTV SMART BOX

4 Aerial power The built-in TV aerial sets the Smart Box apart from Sky’s older NowTV streamers, effectively making it the only thing you need for all your TV. You’ll have to scan for channels manually, but it only takes a few minutes before you’re ready to start watching.

5 Freeze, Paxman! You can pause and rewind live TV just as you would with Sky+. You don’t even need to add external storage first – it’ll work straight out of the box. The little Smart Box can only handle up to 30 minutes of time warp, though.

Tech specs Video modes 1080p live output (Freeview), 720p streaming Connectivity TV aerial in, HDMI out, 802.11g/n Wi-Fi, Ethernet, USB, microSD Included Remote control, HDMI cable Dimensions 165x165x20.5mm, 432g

Content contentment? 4

Never mind the tech – it’s all those juicy Sky shows you’re really interested in, isn’t it? And here they are…

Slide-rule passes

There’s a choice of entertainment, sport and movie passes, which unlock streamed versions of Sky Atlantic, Sky Sports and Sky Cinema channels for a monthly subscription fee.

Muddy stream

T on her fo e’s r4 n ho o st ur an s a db fte y s Yo r y wi Go u c ou tch T an ep ju st – op it iso m us sta de p r ing ys i fro gh It’ it. if t s a m t in he m th to e h th y’ iss re io om e la no n t es tes to of cr t n t ind ee ha y T n. t s ou th he ro on cr r fa ee v ug -s n, e s h s cr th ho ev een ou w en E gh s da PG . ys le It’ t s o s lo s f y t f na sh ou as p ow s te py s. cro rt – ll ha sw n s it om ch i e F ng re cha ev n iew ne l bo s is xe a s.

The only downside is that Sky’s streaming is limited to 720p. It doesn’t look great on a 1080p telly, so anyone with a 4K set is going to really notice the difference. Live Freeview is output at 1080p, though.

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This sporting life

Sport fans will have to pay out £34 a month to get every Sky Sports channel – which is a lot but, for real fanatics, might make more sense than shelling out for a string of £7 day passes.

’Appy viewing

The Smart Box also has about 50 downloadable apps, including YouTube and Spotify. There’s no Netflix or Amazon, but of course Sky wants you to stay glued to its own channels.

Do you watch more TV than is probably healthy for you? Then the NowTV Smart Box is a worthy addition to your home cinema – especially if you’re into Sky Atlantic exclusives or live sport. The free-to-air tuner and catchup services from the big terrestrial channels give it an edge over a Chromecast or Amazon Fire TV stick. @TomParsons

STUFF SAYS 720p streaming isn’t great, but otherwise the NowTV Smart Box will scratch your streaming itch 89


VERSUS JUICERS

Juicebox heroes: battle of the blenders You can load up this Panasonic with a special icer attachment, so it can handle frozen fruit without damaging itself in the process.

TEST R WINNE

Panasonic MJ-L500

This NutriBullet comes with a recipe book to get your creative juices flowing. Or you can just Google ‘strawberry smoothie’, which is what we’d do.

VS

This is one juicer that’s efficient at grinding stuff, and its many parts mercifully assemble into one compact machine. This means churning up a glass of OJ doesn’t feel like a military operation… until you get to the cleaning, that is.

1. DESIGN

Is your fruit consumption akin to an orangutan’s? Then the powerful 0.96-litre capacity should quench the biggest appetite for health food, and you’ll feel positively saintly after chugging your way through this machine’s produce.

Simply shoving peeled fruit down a funnel is all it takes to get this Panasonic working. Pulp is pushed out of one of the machine’s spouts and sweet, delicious juice comes out of the other. Don’t try eating the pulp, though: it’s gross.

2. IN USE

NutriBullets are famously easy to use and this one’s basically the standard model, only bigger. Just bung your chosen ingredients into its cup, press that down into the machine and it will blend everything together in seconds.

This does a superb job of eradicating bits from your juice, so what’s left is only the good stuff. It also comes with a complimentary toothbrush. Why? For cleaning it, which takes about 15 minutes. Arguably, it’s worth the effort.

Power 250W Capacity N/A Dimensions 43.2x18.5x17.6cm Weight 4kg

3. RESULTS

1 2 3

TECH RATER

[ Words Rob Leedham ]

Price £199 / panasonic.com

90

NutriBullet Pro 900

As the NutriBullet mashes everything in its cup together, you can end up with a vivid sludge, but adding in some ice or milk will help with that. Cleaning is a total breeze, though. Wash the cup and blending piece together and you’re done.

Power 900W Capacity 0.96 litres Dimensions 36.5x13x13cm Weight 3.75kg

Price £103 / currys.co.uk

STUFF SAYS

If you’re cleaning-averse, get the NutriBullet; for taste alone, the Panasonic wins


GADGET DOCTOR

Help! My phone’s battery won’t last a day...

1 Adjust these settings

READER IN NEED Andrew Cole Pokémon addict Lower your brightness

Stuff, I really need your help. On the quest for a lesser-spotted Dragonite I’ve become hopelessly addicted to Pokémon Go, but it’s playing havoc with my phone’s battery life. I keep aborting my Pokéwalks halfway through so I can find somewhere and top it up with juice. Is there anything I can do to extend it? THE EXPERT Tom Wiggins Deputy Editor

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Seems so obvious, but it’s easy to have your brightness set needlessly high and it eats into your battery life like a zombie at a brain buffet. Knock it down a notch and you’ll barely notice the difference – but your charger will.

Only turn Wi-Fi on when you need it

It can be a pain, but keep Wi-Fi turned off when you’re not using it. Constantly searching for available networks is a hog on your power reserves, so unless you’re sure you’ve got a free connection, stick to your 4G signal.

Cut down on push notifications

A tiny alert might not seem like a drain on your battery, but every single one will either illuminate the screen, vibrate or emit a beep. Add them up over the course of a day and it’ll take its toll, so stick to essential ones only.

Don’t close any apps

Opening and closing them actually puts your phone’s OS under more strain and could mess with the equilibrium of its multitasking procedures. Unless they’re constantly using GPS, let them lie dormant until they’re needed.


GADGET DOCTOR WE’RE ALWAYS ON CALL

2 Call in some extra juice

3 Start with a bigger battery

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NOW ADD THIS

Greenify

Anker PowerCore+ 10050

You’ll have to supply your own Lightning cable, but this has Qualcomm’s Quick Charge tech on board, so it’ll charge compatible Android phones much faster. It should fill a Galaxy S7 from flat about three times, which isn’t too bad for something that’s the size of a packet of fags. £25 / anker.com

iWALK Extreme TRIO10000

Most chargers with built-in cables come with Lightning or USB, not both. iWalk’s TRIO has you covered no matter which side of the smartphone battle you fight for. With a 10,000mAh li-polymer battery it should hold enough juice for about three charges, so you can share your leftovers if you’re feeling generous. £49 / iwalkuk.com

Moshi IonBank 3K

Small enough to tuck into your pocket alongside your phone, Moshi’s IonBank has the Lightning cable built in, with enough power for a little over one full charge of an iPhone. A fold-over leather flap with magnet fastening keeps the whole dinky package nice and tidy. £55 / moshi.com

OnePlus 3

The OnePlus 3 sits at the summit of our smartphones Top 10, and apart from all its other talents it’s one of the best for stamina. The 3000mAh battery isn’t removable, but its Dash Charge feature means you can juice up to 63% in just half an hour of glugging from the mains. £329 / oneplus.net

iPhone 6s Plus

If you’re more partial to iOS than Android, then the iPhone to go for when it comes to battery life is the 6s Plus. Its larger size means there’s more space inside for a bigger power pack, so you won’t be needing to reach for the Lightning cable quite so often – even if you do conduct an epic party’s playlist from it. from £619 / apple.com

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

Another top-rated blower that won’t fall over at the first sign of hard work – the S7’s 3600mAh battery is even bigger than the OnePlus 3’s. Unless you’re really hammering it, this means you should be able to get about a day and a half off just one charge. Impressive stuff. from £609 / samsung.com

Greenify doesn’t shut down apps that might leech your battery, it just puts them into a state of hibernation to stop them using data when they don’t need to. That means you can’t use it on messaging apps or anything that sends push notifications, but then that would kind of defeat the point, wouldn’t it? £free, Android

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T E S T C AT S 6 0

Let’s glow to work

From a company that makes massive diggers, an armoured phone with Predator-style thermal imaging £529 / stuff.tv/CatS60 Do you spend more hours at work wearing a hi-vis jacket than a suit jacket? Then this Cat might be the phone you need. Yep, that’s Cat as in Caterpillar, the company that also makes those big yellow earth-movers. Phones for the hard-hat brigade are nothing new, but the S60 aims to take ruggedness to a new level. This is also the first smartphone in the world with a built-in thermal imaging camera, so you can live out your Predator fantasies in your lunch break, then use it to detect power lines and hot water pipes when it’s time to get back to work. It really is a chunky brute of a phone. That die-cast steel frame doesn’t bend or flex at all; it’s fully weather-sealed, certified to US military standards against dust and sand, and built to shrug off drops of up to 1.8m. The 720p LCD screen is bright enough, even outdoors, but colours are just a little bit muted. Regular pictures and even the homescreen lack a bit of vibrancy – and the bezels on this thing are colossal. The Snapdragon 617 and 3GB RAM are easily fast enough for stock Android, but sometimes it can take a second or two more than usual to switch apps. At least the hefty 3800mAh battery helps it squeeze out well over two days of light use.

Tech specs Politely but thermally

That second sensor is an FLIR thermal imaging camera that records temperatures as colours. There’s a separate app dedicated to these pictures, overlaying a low-res feed from the main 13MP camera on top for clarity.

You’re looking hot

Thermal imaging can be used to pick out gaps in insulation, spot electrical faults and monitor machinery performance. The app is sluggish, and resolution is only 640x480, but it can be fun for non-work use too.

Screen 4.7in 1280x720 LCD Processor Snapdragon 617 RAM 3GB Storage 32GB (plus up to 128GB microSD) OS Android 6.0.1 Battery 3800mAh Cameras 13MP & thermal imaging rear, 5MP front Dimensions 148x73x12.7mm, 223g

STUFF SAYS A niche smartphone that won’t let you down when things get tough A smartphone for people who do ‘real’ work (not us, then) Rob Leedham

The S60 really is the smartphone version of Gordon Freeman’s HEV suit. It ticks every box that will suit a hard outdoor life and doesn’t seriously skimp on hardware to make that happen. OK, so you’re not exactly getting flagship specs, even if you’re paying top-end money, but the thermal camera could make all the difference if you’re in the trade. If you’re not, a waterproof Galaxy S7 might make more sense. 95


GROUP TEST BLUETOOTH SPEAKERS

Titch and go Don’t be fooled by their size: these portable Bluetooth speakers have enough boom to shake any room

Beoplay A1 £199 / www.beoplay.com The A1 is Bang & Olufsen’s cheapest speaker, but the Danish high-end audio specialist hasn’t skimped at all on this diddy delight. Its sumptuous ‘hockey puck’ design looks terrific, and the sound isn’t half bad either. Rock solid and full-bodied, it’ll give you a hearty amount of bass from the thunderous vibes of Jamie xx and

96

Popcaan. Better still, sound is pushed wide enough so you don’t have to reach for the A1’s volume button in louder surroundings. Despite lacking a little attack compared to the UE Boom 2, it’s still a fab portable speaker. STUFF SAYS Stylish and with plenty of substance to boot

Last (the) nite

We pair a lot

Feeling good

With 24 hours of playback from a 2.5hr charge, the A1 can outlast even the most depraved of house parties.

Download the Beoplay app and you’ll be pairing two A1s together. Further software updates are planned as well.

Weighing a surprising 600g, this speaker is heavier than it looks. Still, that only adds to the premium feel.


GROUP TEST BLUETOOTH SPEAKERS

TES WI T NN ER

AND IN THE OTHER HAND…

Folding BBQ Because you never know when the urge to grill some halloumi may strike, this ultra-portable BBQ comes with hand holes for carrying (when cool). £15 / halfords.com

UE Boom 2

Beats Pill+

£169 / ultimateears.com Perfect for taking the party outdoors, the Boom 2 has a tough, water-resistant skin and shrugs off stains like they’re the latest David Guetta abomination. A tube-like shape also means it’ll fit in your bike’s water-bottle holder, which is almost as smart as its Siri and Google Now compatibility. So you can check the weather

£189 / beatsbydre.com between choice cuts from your Drake megamix. The bass-heavy sound doesn’t dim the details, but with a few tweaks to the EQ in the app it really comes to life. Keep the volume to about three quarters and it’ll really impress. STUFF SAYS Great sound, tough build and eye-catching looks

The first Beats speaker made under Apple’s ownership isn’t a bitter pill to swallow, but it is a little sour in comparison to the other speakers here. If volume is what you’re looking for from this minimalist effort, then it certainly delivers with oodles of oomph. But when cranked up to 11, the bass surrenders to sloppiness and treble

is as shrill as your average X Factor reject. You’d expect better for an asking price of near-on £200, and this sense of disappointment extends to a 12-hour battery life that, again, just falls short of what you can find elsewhere. STUFF SAYS Just what the doctor ordered? Not quite…

Host Freeze Cooling Pint Glass Laugh in the face of tepid lager with this pint glass. The thermal gel inside its acrylic body will keep your beverage well chilled. £17.99 / amazon.co.uk

Libratone ONE Click £139 / libratone.com Death Star Mood Light Keep the party going with this USB-powered Death Star Light. It’ll work from a battery pack, but don’t panic – that won’t charge its superlaser. £19.99 / firebox.com

A throwback to boomboxes of old, the Libratone ONE Click features a removable rubber frame with two interchangeable handles. One’s a hook for hanging the thing and the other is a carry strap for, erm… you get the picture. Either way, this speaker isn’t built to be cooped up indoors. Its 360° sound makes sure of that, with

JBL Flip 3 £99 / uk.jbl.com

drivers firing out your favourite tunes from both sides of the ONE Click. To be sure, this speaker isn’t bad when laid flat, but you get a wider, more balanced sound when it’s placed upright – one that’s pleasingly refined for the price. STUFF SAYS One of the better options, but the Boom 2 is better still

A clear step up from last year’s Flip 2, JBL’s latest Bluetooth effort beefs up its bass and battery life with sterling results. The cheapest speaker on test here, it offers plenty of noise without skimping on the nuance needed to handle more delicate fare; even finger-picked guitar sounds decent on the JBL when lesser offerings can be left floundering.

The speaker also has a splashproof casing and comes with the ability to connect three speakers together – perfect for when someone sticks on Phil Collins out of misguided irony. It’s a neat feature that caps off a welcome comeback. STUFF SAYS You can’t say much fairer than the Flip 3 at this price

[ 97 ] [[2C]]


TEST GAMES

PS4, PC / no-mans-sky.com

No Man’s Sky An entire universe of worlds to discover, with plenty of epic space battles in between? Get your rocket ship ready – it’s time to explore the cosmos…

o Man’s Sky is all about the journey. Starting at the edge of the universe, it’s your job to make it all the way to the centre. How you do that is up to you: interstellar trading, space piracy, scientific discovery, or a bit of everything. And it’s a big universe. How big, exactly? A whopping 18 quintillion planets. You aren’t let loose on it right away, though. First you’ve got to repair your broken ship. Each algorithm-generated world is filled with alien flora and

N

fauna, and just about every plant and rock can be broken down into raw materials with your mining tool. You’ll have to hike over mountains, dive underwater and crawl through underground caves to find the rarer ones. Different planets have their own ecosystems: think fiery deserts, frozen tundra, giant mountains or flooded waterworlds. And that’s before the acid rain, ice storms and radiation clouds. They all take a toll on your life support systems – it’s a balancing act between keeping

them topped up and finding the gear you need for ship repairs. You’re not on a peaceful science mission, though. That mining tool doubles as a plasma-spewing pulse rifle, to fight off the robotic Sentinels that guard every planet. One or two of these flying sentry drones aren’t a problem, but don’t get complacent: they’ve got giant stompy mechs on their side. Survive on foot and you’ll soon be ready to head for the stars. This is where you’ll find aliens running space stations and off-world

trading platforms, and also where you’ll encounter pirates and rogue star fighters. Don’t head into deep space with a full cargo hold – it’ll make you a prime target. There’s so much to explore, you’ll keep coming back to see what’s waiting for you on the next planet or in the next solar system. It’s impossible to see it all, and having no set way to play won’t appeal to everyone, but you get an entire universe to play in. What you do with that is really up to you. Tom Morgan

STUFF SAYS You’ll never see it all, but you’ll have a blast just charting a tiny part of it 98


TEST GAMES

Stake a claim

The Sentinels may hunt you down with scenerymelting laser death beams.

Mining will only get you so far. Trade with aliens on the space stations instead.

Forget ultra-detailed textures and photo-realistic lighting – No Man’s Sky feels more like a brightly coloured, softly lit dreamscape. Especially with all the JJ Abrams-style lens flare. It makes even the barren, downright dangerous planets worth a visit. Combine the trippy visuals with a blissfully minimal electro soundtrack and go-at-yourown-pace exploration, and you’ve got one of the most calming, zen-like gaming experiences you’ll ever have. Well, when you’re not getting shot at by space pirates. It’s relaxing to hike around unexplored worlds, adding plants, trees, minerals and animals to the database. Scan them and you’ll be listed as the Darwinian space explorer who first discovered and named them. Every player is part of the same massive universe, so if others stumble onto a solar system you’ve already visited, they’ll find your name everywhere they look. Just knowing there’s a chance, however infinitesimally small, that someone else is going to tread in my footsteps made me want to get there first and stick my name on everything I could. Sorry, x360_nOscOpE_89x, but I was here before you. Enjoy your stay on Planet Stuff.

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REVIEWS

Media hoard

Welcome l to this h month’s h most important new releases, including drug barons, Nazis, more drug barons and goose-honk pop

WATCH

The Infiltrator_cinema ryan Cranston (Breaking Bad’s Walter White) knows a thing or two about playing men who lead double lives. In The Infiltrator he takes it a step further, playing a happily married US Customs agent who assumes the identity of a dead man in order to infiltrate a South American drug cartel smuggling massive amounts of cocaine into Miami. Rather than chasing the drugs themselves he targets the money, working his way into the cartel’s upper echelons by befriending its biggest players as a phoney money launderer. The Infiltrator is at its most compelling when Bob’s life of crime overlaps into his everyday existence, not the other way

B

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around – but like the man himself, the film is a little neglectful of his home life. One of the standout scenes involves a face-saving but shockingly OTT disagreement with a waiter, after Bob bumps into a cartel footsoldier while out with his wife. But instead of seeing how his high-rolling criminal alter ego infiltrates the lives of his loved ones, we spend more time watching him and his fake fiancée sip champagne with Escobar’s inner circle. It’s an enjoyable watch, but these highly tense moments of friction are a little too few and far between to elevate The Infiltrator above being just a solid film. Tom Wiggins

Harry Potter’s a Nazi! Well, actually he’s an undercover FBI agent, but he makes a surprisingly convincing (if rather short) skinhead fighting to foil a white-supremacist bomb plot on US soil. After a shaky start Imperium takes a more intriguing turn, exploring the more middle-class parts of the fascist movement. Tom Wiggins

More Nazis, but this time they’ve trapped a punk band in a secluded club after the bass player interrupts the aftermath of a murder. Green Room unfolds like a slasher flick but the musicians are more than just sacrificial meat. The film treads its own path and its gritty violence hits harder than the band’s kick drum. Ross Presly

STUFF SAYS

STUFF SAYS

STUFF SAYS

Imperium _VOD

Green Room

_Blu-ray, DVD, VOD


REVIEWS

STREAM

Cartel Land_Netflix If you thought Ross Kemp on Gangs was hardcore, wait ’til you’ve seen Cartel Land. Embedded with anti-cartel vigilante groups on both sides of the Mexican border, director Matthew Heineman carries his camera into the midst of firefights on the gang-controlled streets of Michoacán, and goes on patrol with a selfappointed protection force across the border

MORE GANGSTER GRIT

in the US. It’s beautifully shot, astonishingly brave film-making that doesn’t paint its story in simple black and white, and isn’t afraid to put its audience in uncomfortable positions.

LISTEN

Heads Up_Warpaint Do Warpaint have the best rhythm section in the business? With each new release this LA four-piece find their groove that little bit more, and Heads Up has them totally locked in. Where songs often used to float at head height they now crouch menacingly, driven along thrillingly by Jenny Lee Lindberg’s bass and Stella Mozgawa’s drums. White Out tries to wriggle out from underneath itself and

So Good struts with unstoppable purpose, while The Stall only comes to life when its stuttering beat steps up a gear. The band have talked before about being inspired by hip-hop and R&B but it’s never been more obvious. They don’t try to rap, but this is definitely a record that pushes their sound into new places. Tom Wiggins STUFF SAYS

City of God_Netflix With a cast drawn from the Rio favelas it depicts, City of God focuses on a diverse bunch of characters, from shy wannabe snapper Rocket to sadistic drug baron Li’l Zé.

A Prophet_Amazon Prime Unwittingly recruited as a Corsican kingpin’s henchman while banged up for fighting with police, 19-year-old Malik’s story is of a hard-hitting life behind bars.

Gomorrah_Amazon Prime If you thought The Godfather trilogy had taught you everything you need to know about the Mafia, spend two hours with the Neapolitan arm in Gomorrah.

Pretty Years

_Cymbals Eat Guitars

Sunlit Youth _Local Natives

Cymbals’ wonky indie-pop is never going to smash boundaries, but on Pretty Years they’re not afraid to tinker. Beam is a proper punk blast, while there’s a big squawking sax on Wish that sounds like an angry goose trying to honk the Minder theme tune (in a good way). Then there’s Finally, which reinforces the band’s spirit of adventure. Tom Wiggins

LA’s melancholy kings have gone electro-ish and the results are typically winsome. Brimming with widescreen harmonies and aching melody, Sunlit Youth will stick with you far beyond its 40-minute duration – lead single Villainy and Fountain of Youth go big on booming theatrics, but there’s plenty of nuance too. Rob Leedham

STUFF SAYS

STUFF SAYS

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MAKE. DO. UPGRADE.

p106 BETA YOURSELF: STEAM

Find, buy and organise your PC titles like a gaming goliath

p108 PLAYLIST: 4K FILMS

The devil’s in the detail… and so are camels, aliens and drug lords

p110 INSTANT UPGRADES GOPRO

The best kit and tips for your mud, sweat and gears

p112 THE BIG QUESTION: HOW CAN I GET TECH BARGAINS ON EBAY? Let’s get biddy!

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YOBET SE UR A LF -

PROJECTS | 10.16

With thousands of multi-platform games to choose from, Steam has a massive global following – Justin Mahboubian-Jones explains how to get the best from it

a few days and you’ll find that it’s a super-fast way to type without a keyboard.

THE BASICS Stay organised. Got a tiny SSD for Windows and a massive hard disk for everything else? Make sure your games are saved on the latter by going to the Settings menu, then ‘Downloads + Cloud’, and clicking ‘Add library folder’. Pick your second hard drive and you’ll get to choose where to install every time. Oh, but make sure your most played games stay on the SSD. That way they’ll load faster. Check the support. Not all

games in the Steam store run on SteamOS. If you’re planning to play on a Steam box without

access to full Windows, make sure you check the OS support labels on the game you’re about to download.

Learn to love the flower.

There’s no denying it: Steam’s purpose-built tool for inputting text to Big Picture Mode when using a console controller initially seems really weird and unintuitive. But stick with it for

Making memories. In this era of “pics or it didn’t happen” it’s vital that you have photographic evidence of your gaming achievements. Thankfully, Steam makes it very easy to take screenshots as you play, but you have to ensure the Steam Overlay is active - you’ll find the checkbox for that in Settings > In-Game. Check your VR readiness.

Find out if your computer will breeze through HTC Vive games or spontaneously explode using the Steam VR Performance Test.

FIND GAMES Enhance! Use the Chrome extension Enhanced Steam (chrome.google.com) to spot bargains and work out what’s already in your games library. Go short. Looking for a bite-sized game in your mammoth Steam library? Go to howlongtobeat.com – it will scan your library and give you crowd-sourced time figures for every game in it. Track yourself. The handy Steam Calculator (steamdb.info/ calculator) lets you see which games you’ve spent the least amount of time on.

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10.16 | PROJECTS LEVEL UP WITH...

STEAM CONTROLLER £60 / game.co.uk Sure, you’ve probably got an Xbox controller floating around that’ll do a decent enough job for platformers and racing games. But for games where you need fine mouse control (think first-person shooters and strategy games), the Steam controller’s haptic touchpads will take you back to those days when you ruled the Command & Conquer LAN parties.

CORSAIR VOID WIRELESS 7.1

£85 / corsair.com Don’t get tied up in a game-ruining knot of cables. This wireless headset cuts the cord but keeps you in the game with 7.1 surround sound, which you can enjoy for 16 hours between charges. The built-in boom mic will keep you in contact with your team, and those 50mm drivers hit the spot when it comes to music.

MASTER YOUR LIBRARY Make it TV-friendly.

Switch on Steam’s Big Picture Mode and you’ll have a slick, TV-friendly interface.

Chuck out the trash.

Right-click on any offensive titles you want to purge, hit ‘Categories’ and then select the ‘Hide from library’ option. Out of sight, out of mind.

Make it your gaming hub.

In the ‘Library’ tab, click ‘Games’ at the top of the screen and then ‘Add a non-Steam game to my library’ in the menu that shows up.

STORE TACTICS Wait for Steam sales.

The sales regularly pop up in the summer and winter, and at other events such as Halloween, so keep some cash spare to take advantage of amazing gaming bargains.

Remote play. The Steam app (£free, iOS and Android) is mostly a social tool, but the ‘Library’ tab lets you manage your library of games. Keep it in check. Go to

‘Settings’ then ‘Downloads’ to stop Steam running during gameplay and limit its auto-updating schedule.

SHARE THE LOVE Give the gift of game.

You can buy someone a game (even if they’re not on Steam) by popping it in your basket then choosing ‘Purchase as gift’.

Family time. You can share your Steam library. On the PC you want to share your games with, open the ‘Settings’ menu and click on the ‘Family’ tab. Click ‘Authorize this computer’. Steam up the house. Log in on two computers at once (on the same network) and Steam In-Home Streaming will kick in. Now you can play your main PC’s installed games on both.

RAZER TURRET

£150 / razerzone.com If your gaming cred is dropping faster than your Counter-Strike health because of the lack of a proper keyboard and mouse, check out this neat combo. Razer’s wireless keyboard has a built-in mousepad with magnets beneath that stop the bundled mouse from flying across your lounge when the frags are flying. It’s also slim enough to quickly stash under the sofa when your dinner guests arrive.

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PROJECTS | 10.16

Your 4K telly deserves better than another upscaled ’90s sitcom – treat it (and your eyes) to a televisual banquet with these Ultra HD dazzlers, available now

Better Call Saul

No one really likes lawyers. Their spirit animals are sharks: cold, grey killers, with dead, soulless eyes. But they’re not all bad. Take the loveable Saul Goodman. He’s a slick, rule-bending practitioner of justice who won our hearts in Breaking Bad. This is the prequel to that show, and it’s equally spectacular. Netflix

Moneyball

The story of how Billy Beane turned the Oakland A’s from whipping boys into winners is superbly scripted by Aaron Sorkin. The central performances of Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill effortlessly capture the team’s underdog spirit, and transform a potential snoozathon into a truly engrossing film. Amazon Instant Video

108

Lawrence of Arabia

David Lean’s famed four-hour epic, which tells the story of TE Lawrence’s exploits in the Middle East during WWI, now has the pixels to do its breathtaking cinematography justice. With a mighty fine soundtrack (and some Oscar-worthy performances from the camels), it’s a superb package. Amazon Instant Video

Narcos

If the first season of Netflix’s flagship show was all about the rise of Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, the second (which has just been released) promises to capture the true story of his downfall. We’re hoping for the same mix of tense action sequences, real news footage and superb moustaches. Netflix

Elysium

Neil Blomkamp’s follow-up to instant sci-fi classic District 9 absolutely nails its bleak vision of the future. The director’s effects work is stunning, but it’s District 9 star Sharlto Copley who steals the show as psychotic sleeper agent Kruger. Think the Terminator, only with a killer South African accent. Amazon Instant Video

Stranger Things

It might be a homage to all things ’80s (think ET meets The Goonies meets The Thing), but other than the scratchy, retro opening title, everything about Stranger Things’ production is cutting edge. It was actually shot in 6K, but even on our backwards 4K TVs the picture is stunning. Netflix

The Revenant

This first UHD offering from Sky Cinema is a mud-caked classic. Leonardo DiCaprio’s bear-wrestling trials and wintry tribulations might not be the way to warm up for a karaoke night, but the film-making and cinematography are as beautiful as the action is brutal. Sky Cinema


10.16 | PROJECTS

HOW TO SEE THEM IN 4K

…ON YOUR TV

You’ll need a recent 4K TV and a minimum broadband speed of 25Mbps. For a full list of tellies that support Netflix’s UHD plan, go to bit.ly/4Ktellies

…FROM A 4K-FRIENDLY BOX

If you’ve got a first-gen 4K telly that doesn’t play nicely with UHD streaming apps, try Amazon Fire TV 4K (£79, amazon.co.uk) and Nvidia Shield (£149, shield.nvidia.co.uk).

…VIA SATELLITE

Philadelphia

This is one of our favourite Tom Hanks movies. Why? Because it isn’t about showing the Nazis what for, or making it safely back home from the Moon. Hanks plays a lawyer suing his own firm for wrongful dismissal on account of his ongoing battle with AIDS. He won a Best Actor Oscar for his efforts. Amazon Instant Video

Bloodline

If you thought your family was messed up, wait ’til you get a load of the Rayburns. Beneath an outer sheen of privileged lives, there’s a web of terrible secrets that begin leaking out to tragic effect during the first season. It’s brilliantly interweaving, back-stabby stuff… and boy, does Florida look lovely in 4K. Netflix

Spider-Man

Despite being well over a decade old, Tobey Maguire’s first outing in red and black Lycra still stands up as a fine example of how to do a superhero movie. Spider-Man treats its viewers to a glut of hilarious web-slinger zingers, a fearsome baddie in Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin, and a romance you can actually care about. Amazon Instant Video

Men in Black 3

The original Men in Black was a ’90s masterpiece. While this third offering can’t match the original, it’s worth watching for Josh Brolin’s incredible performance as a young Tommy Lee Jones – an acting feat that’s enhanced by his facial expressions, made all the more visible in 4K. Amazon Instant Video

Sky’s UHD offerings include The Revenant (see left) and The Martian, with Spectre coming in November. You’ll need a Sky Q box to watch them. Virgin is expected to show its 4K hand very soon.

…FROM DISCS

There’s now a UHD Blu-ray format, with support for HDR and lots of titles on the way. Our current pick of the boxes to play them on is the Panasonic DMP-UB900 (£599, panasonic.co.uk).

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PROJECTS | 10.16

Like any extreme sports star, an action cam needs a solid support crew – so help your GoPro take its game up a notch with these accessories, shooting tips and free apps

GOPRO HERO4 SILVER

£329 / gopro.com

1

BEST NEW ACCESSORIES

2

3

110

The most versatile of GoPro’s homegrown mounts, the 3-Way works as a handle, pole and tripod. Whether you extend its full 50cm length to poke it in the air above a crowd, pull the tripod legs out of the grip to get a steady base for a timelapse, or just use the handle on its own, you’ll find it more useful than a magic wand. £59 / gopro.com

2 BIRDIE GOPRO FLIGHT SYSTEM Eschewing the expense and faff of finding a drone to mount your GoPro beneath, the Birdie provides a simple way to fulfil your aerial ambitions. Mount your GoPro into its jumbo shuttlecock-esque frame and sling it high in the air. Its orange fabric tail slows its descent and keeps the lens pointing down. £34 / mobilefun.co.uk

3 XSORIES POWER CAPXULE If, like us, you seem to always end up losing crucial parts of mounts, batteries or cables, it probably wouldn’t hurt to try corralling your GoPro and all its associated chaff into this handy padded case. It even packs a removable 2800mAh battery pack with combo micro/mini USB cable. from £29 / xsories.eu

[ Words Jools Whitehorn ]

1 GOPRO 3-WAY


10.16 | PROJECTS FINISHING TOUCHES

NOW DO THIS...

1 PACK JUICE FOR THE RIDE Murphy’s Law dictates that camera batteries will run out just when you need them most. The GoPro’s own battery doesn’t have the stamina for a full day of gnarly antics or holiday sightseeing, so make sure you pack and charge a spare. For a bit more time, get a 1160mAh-capacity GoPro battery (£20, gopro.com). For a lot more time there’s GoPro’s BacPac (£39), or for marathon sessions there’s the Brunton All Day 2.0 5000mAh battery (£64, leisurelakesbikes.com).

4 PLAY THE ACE OF PACE Get to know your GoPro’s timelapse mode and you’ll be able to inject some action into static shots. You need at least some movement to make it work, though – whether that’s waves on a beach, cars, clouds or people walking past. Once you’ve got the hang of it, the photo timelapse mode offers more versatility, allowing you to shoot better night skies and even crop in a bit. The footage has to be turned into video in GoPro Studio or other editing software, but it’ll be worth it.

2 ANGLE FOR MAXIMUM INTEREST If you’ve ever sat through someone else’s freshly downloaded footage of their best run on their bike or surfboard, you’ll know that, for all the action, it can quickly get dull. The best videos tell a story. If you’ve got a friend with a GoPro, attach it somewhere else to get a second angle. Otherwise, just make sure you capture a selection of short clips to give a flavour of the day – whether that’s talking to someone you’re there with, or getting close-up shots.

5 ADD A STRINGY INSURANCE POLICY Finding new and inventive places to stick your GoPro to get a different perspective is all part of the fun, but the most challenging angles tend to be the ones most likely to cost you your camera. So add a safety leash – whether that means tying it to your wing mirror with a shoelace, using GoPro’s own sticky mount camera tethers (£11, chainreactioncycles.com) or using a wrist strap while in the water at the beach. It’ll keep your investment safe and let you focus on getting the shot.

3 HEAD FOR THE STEADY THRILLS Want to take out the shake? Mounting your GoPro to your head or your body rather than your bike or board is like using yourself as stabilisation. If you’re planning to take a handheld panning shot or a short walking shot, hold your camera against your face (like you’re kissing the back of it). This adds a second contact point to steady the camera and also takes advantage of nature’s gimbal: your neck. Alternatively, pick up GoPro’s Seeker bag (£149, gopro.com).

6 AIM HIGH, SHOOT LOW With its wide-angle lens, a GoPro is great for getting everything in but can lead to some awkwardly framed shots. If you’re filming yourself at arm’s length or with a selfie stick, aim the lens at your chest, not your face. This will help you avoid getting a shot full of sky. If you tend to use the same mounts regularly – for example, on a helmet – it’s also worth marking the best angle on the mount with a white marker or notch to save on setup faff next time.

VIRB EDIT This free software for Garmin’s Virb action cams can be used with footage from other cameras, such as GoPros. If you’ve got a Garmin cycle computer or fitness watch, it lets you easily overlay your vids with GPS, speed, distance, altitude and other metrics to make them look professional and, most importantly, help you show off. £free / garmin.com

PERISCOPE This hugely popular livestreaming app has been piping vids direct from smartphones for ages, but did you know you can use it with your GoPro too? By hooking up your smartphone to the camera via Wi-Fi, Periscope lets you livestream the action direct to family and other followers. Are you sure your parents will want to join you on that cliff jump, though? £free / Android, iOS

10APP FOR GOPRO If you’re on the move and want a quick way to slice your videos into shape, this is it. 10App’s editing options include slowing down or speeding up footage, adding filters and titles, and tweaking the soundtrack. You can even use it as a GoPro remote with live view and share your freshly cut vids straight to YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and more. £free / Android, iOS

111


PROJECTS | 10.16 INSIDER TIPS

How can I get tech bargains on eBay? THE SNIPE DREAM

1 / Go refurb Many tech firms, including Dyson and GoPro, are refurbishing and selling their own items on eBay. Refurb is a great way to bag a bargain – visit ebay.co.uk/ rpp/refurbishedtechnology

MYiBIDDER

from £free / Android, iOS

Trying to win an eBay auction is a serious business. As the clock ticks down, you’ll have more sweat on your brow than an eSportsman in a Counter-Strike final. But one way to avoid eBay blood pressure spikes is by using an auction sniper. These apps and desktop services automatically place bids for you in an auction’s final moments, letting you specify the exact second to strike. They also help you avoid showing your hand too early or getting into bidding wars. The best two smartphonebased snipers we’ve tried are Myibidder and Baytomat. Both have quite basic designs and similar features, including the

by Murray Lambell, Retail Director for Electronics, ebay.co.uk

option of importing watch lists, searching eBay and choosing when to strike. They also let you start ‘grouped bidding’, which will automatically cancel the rest of your bids on similar items if one is successful. Both start you off with ten free ‘snipes’, but Myibidder wins out thanks to its cheaper extra credits (£1.49 for ten more).

ALTERNATIVELY… GIXEN £free / gixen.com

If you don’t fancy using your phone, Gixen lets you snipe away for free on your computer. No app is needed – you just use your web browser. It’s great for work computers that don’t let you install your own programs.

2 / Are you covered? One of the things to consider when buying refurb is the warranty the item comes with. If you shop from eBay’s refurbished hub, all items come with a 12-month warranty from the seller.

THE LOCAL EXPERT

LOCAL EBAY DEALS FINDER

[ Words Andrew Williams ]

£free / iOS, Android

Some of the best eBay bargains can be found in collection-only auctions. Larger objects such as TVs and vintage radio cabinets are often too cumbersome or fragile for sellers to be willing to send via courier, and you can take advantage of their more limited appeal with this app. Choose a location and radius, then pick your genre and search just like normal. If you don’t have a Volvo estate to transport those original 1970s speakers, it’s worth getting a quote from the rent-a-courier service Anyvan – although you’ll need to ask the seller if they’ll accept third-party collections.

112

THE TYPO FINDER

FAT FINGERS PRO from £free / iOS, Android

ALTERNATIVELY… PRELOVED £free / iOS, Android

This app for local second-hand sales doesn’t have as many tech listings as eBay, but it is a slickly designed bargain-finder with a neat map mode. You arrange deals via direct contact with the seller.

Some poor, tired eBay sellers leave typos in their listings that drastically reduce the number of bids they attract. Luckily for us there are apps such as this, which automatically work out the key typos for any search term. Only the paid version of Fat Fingers lets you filter results, but the Android app ‘Misspelled auctions for eBay’ is free. See you in the queue for a ‘Paystation 4’.

3 / Save on shipping Look for sellers that offer free shipping by ticking the box in the ‘Advanced’ section of the search filter. Many tech items are small enough to be shipped cheaply, and it's a great way to save a few extra pennies.

facebook.com/joinstuff google.com/+stufftv twitter.com/stuffTV stuff@haymarket.com


10.16 | PROJECTS

1 ...DO SOME CHROME IMPROVEMENT

1

3

Google’s browser is a perfectly acceptable margherita on its own, but these delicious extension toppings will turn it into the browsing equivalent of a meat feast: Darkness. Can’t stop yourself from doing a little bedtime web browsing? This extension will reduce the strain on your peepers by adding free dark themes for Google and Facebook. Extra themes for Gmail and YouTube are available for a one-off payment of US$4.99.

Buffering!

Momentum. We were already fans of the Urthecast extension, which gives you fresh satellite imagery with every new tab. But this one also pairs its lovely images with a handy dashboard of info, including the current time, weather and a to-do list.

2 ...READ WITH YOUR EARS

2

Audiobooks have cracked the whole reading-while-commuting problem for books, but what about hands-free web articles? Try these text-to-speech tools:

On the scale of domestic niggles, rubbish Wi-Fi is up there with treading on a stray Lego brick. Get the most out of your router with these little tricks:

Use built-in narrators. Our two favourite ‘read it later’ apps, Pocket and Instapaper (both £free, iOS and Android), have text-to-speech built in. In Pocket, go to your saved web article, click the ellipsis icon on the bottom right and choose ‘Listen (TTS)’. Instapaper offers a similar feature if you upgrade to Premium ($2.99/month), along with the ability to make text-to-speech playlists.

Stay secure. Go to bit.ly/ passwordhelper and choose ‘bare minimum security’. Now go to your router’s web address (usually 192.168.1.1 or similar), choose WPA2 security and paste the generated password here.

Commission a real live narrator. Automated text-to-speech tools are fast, but they don’t have the velvety tones of a human reader. If you don’t need your article to be narrated instantly, try Colony FM (£free, iOS and Android). Use its Chrome extension to request narration of any web article and it’ll let you know when the voice actor has finished the recording.

2

3 ...SUPERCHARGE YOUR BROADBAND

Set your priorities. Many routers let you choose which traffic to prioritise, thanks to a feature called QoS (Quality of Service). In the router setup menu, go to Advanced > QoS Setup > Setup QoS Rule, and choose what’s most important based on your application or device. Upgrade your firmware. Some routers support custom firmware such as DD-WRT (dd-wrt.com). They’re not as user-friendly as standard interfaces, but they do let you do things such as boost antenna power.

TUNE IN NEXT MONTH TO...

Treat your ears to the finest remastered albums Find the best online courses Get more out of your PlayStation 4

113


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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

116 117 118 120 122

TVs Laptops Geek accessories & games consoles Wearables & smarthome Cameras

123 124

Streaming devices & speaker systems

125 126 127

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


T HO Y BU

SMARTPHONES

1

‘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

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

4

HTC 10

5

Apple iPhone 6s

6

LG G5

7

Huawei Nexus 6P

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. Compared to the brilliant S7, the S7 Edge has a bigger 5.5in display, a higher-capacity battery and, of course, that curved touchscreen with its swipeable row of widgets. If you can afford it, then paying £70 more seems reasonable for a better-looking phone. 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. “Everything’s changed” is pushing it, but within the 6s’s familiar body lies a surprising amount of innovation. You’ll really notice the A9 processor’s added speed, the 12MP camera’s scope and quality, and of course, the time-saving delight that is 3D Touch. 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 we hope pays off. The 6P gets the Nexus series back on the rails. Camera? Design? Performance? Software? All get a serious thumbs-up. Standouts include the finger scanner and the front camera, which are among the very best available at any price. 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 £519

from £609

BEST FOR CUTTING-EDGE GADGETEERS

£569

from £539

£569

from £439

from £159

BEST FOR BUDGET BUYERS

from £75

BEST FOR SUPER VALUE

from £359

Prices quoted are handset-only unless otherwise stated

116

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

1

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 £499 from £319

BEST FOR FUN ON THE GO

£299

from £399

£349

from £219

BEST FOR SMALL BUDGETS

£849

from £679

BEST FOR ARTISTIC TYPES

£149

from £329

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

PLUG INTO STUFF’S SOCIAL NETWORK facebook.com/joinstuff


118 T HO Y BU

HI-FI & MUSIC STREAMING

1

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

£25

£499

£299

£149

BEST FOR PICNIC PARTIES

£99

from £269

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.


120 T HO Y BU

HEADPHONES

1

SoundMagic undMagic has been pumping out quality in-ears for years, but this latest revision vision is the best yet. You get fantastic sound for the money, a quality cable and d plenty of ear tips – and unlike the E10Ss, you don’t need to tell these buds whether hether you’re plugging into an iPhone or an Android. There’s still nothing out there here that can topple SoundMagic as the king of cheap headphones, but the E10Cs 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

Sennheiser Momentum 2.0

8

JBL Everest 100

9

Fidue A65

10

STUFF SAYS

SoundMagic E10C

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. The original Sennheiser Momentums were an almost perfect pair of on-ears, and we’re pleasantly surprised that the sequel is even more thrilling. They’re pricey, but dapper looks soften the blow, as does the lively, hugely transparent sound. 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. Chinese brand Fidue has a style-conscious audience in mind for these all-metal, well-balanced earbuds. For a fun yet detailed pair of headphones with a full-bodied sound and snappy dress sense, the A65s are well worth considering.

Jabra Sport Pulse

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

£199

£79

£44

£119

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.


Sevenoaks Smart Home Great value home automation and home entertainment, including Ultra HD TV, hidden speakers, multi-room audio and home cinema. Plus we will come to your home for a FREE no obligation consultation.

www.ssav.com/smarthome NEW

KD-55XD9305 • 55” 4K UHD ANDROID TV

Ask in-store for the latest promotion

The Sony Bravia XD93 is a 4K HDR TV with spectacular image quality and a beautiful design. It also comes with the Android TV platform, that includes all your favourite apps and online features. Experience incredible contrast, real-life colours and exceptional 4K detail with the new 4K High Dynamic Range technology. Whether you’re watching a movie or a regular broadcast, 4K HDR brings you close to reality, thanks to Sony’s unique technology.

FREE 5 YEAR WARRANTY

NEW

Also Available

65

£595

NEW

OR LESS

£599

NAIM • MU-SO QB WIRELESS MUSIC SYSTEM

OR LESS

SONOS • PLAYBAR SOUNDBAR & WIRELESS SPEAKER

New compact wireless music system. Its advanced yet simple to use connectivity includes Spotify Connect, TIDAL, UPnP, Internet Radio, USB, analogue and digital inputs. Supports WAV, FLAC and AIFF files up to 24bit/192kHz. Optional orange, red or blue grille £49.95

HiFi for a wireless generation

£599

OR LESS

This plug-and-play unit incorporates 9 integrated amplified speakers. Simply connect it to your TV with the supplied optical cable to deliver an epic home cinema sound in your own living room. PLAYBAR can also expand your existing Sonos system.

PANASONIC • DMP-UB900 4K UHD BLU-RAY PLAYER Premium player that features playback of Ultra HD 4K Blu-ray discs, HDR playback and 4K content from Netflix and other streaming providers.

5 YEAR WARRANTY

BLUESOUND HI-RES WIRELESS MUSIC SYSTEM Take hi-fi to new heights with Bluesound’s next generation. Features improved wi-fi performance, more digital and analog connectivity options and Bluetooth aptX along with support for premium music services like Tidal and Spotify. Prices from £269 SOME BRANDS/PRODUCTS ARE NOT AVAILABLE AT ALL STORES. SPECIAL OFFERS ARE NOT IN CONJUNCTION WITH ANY OTHER OFFER (NICWAOO).

click & collect available

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122 T HO Y BU

W NE

HOME CINEMA

1

Amazon Fire TV 4K

Amazon’s latest Fire TV is faster and more powerful than last year’s 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.

£549

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

£299

BEST FOR TRUE-TO-LIFE SOUND

£329

£30

BEST FOR BUDGET STREAMING

£799

£449

(or free with NowTV bundle)

from £129

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

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TVs 123 T HO Y BU

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-65DX750

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 much less than three 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

£2999 £1399

£529

BEST FOR VIEWING VALUE

£1879

BEST FOR THE WOW FACTOR

£5999

£1999

£1799

£499

£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.


124 T HO Y BU

LAPTOPS

1

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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

Schenker XMG U726

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. The U726 has the guts to run the most demanding games at full HD or 4K resolution with all settings maxed out, and the screen and speakers to make them look and sound blinding. If you want a proper games machine to stash away easily, this is perfect. 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 £1868

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.

£199

6 7

Apple MacBook

from £1049

HP Spectre 13

from £1299

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. 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

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.

from £849

10

Microsoft Surface Book

from £1299

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.

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 £399

FOR THE FULL REVIEWS AND OUR LAPTOP BUYING GUIDE, CLICK ON OVER TO STUFF.TV/TOP-10/LAPTOPS

10 BEST TECH BARGAINS TOP BUYS SUB-£100

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TOP FIVES GEEK ACCESSORIES & CONSOLES 125 GEEK ACCESSORIES

T HO Y BU

1

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

£1229

BEST FOR RULING THE SKIES

£269

£1099

£489

GAMES CONSOLES

T HO Y BU

W NE

1

Xbox One S

2

Sony PlayStation 4

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. The most popular games machine on the planet has whisper-quiet operation, a sleek form and bags of power, with full 1080p on all titles and not a whiff of lag. And if 500GB of storage is too little for you, a 1TB model is available. 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.

£349

from £279

£689

BEST FOR FUTURE GAZING

£499

£249

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

126

WEARABLES

T HO Y BU

W NE

W NE

1

Apple Watch

2

Pebble Time Steel

3

Fitbit Blaze

4

Garmin Vivomove

5

Misfit Ray

Apple’s Watch is by no means the first smartwatch, but it is the most desirable. It’s more luxurious (and yes, more expensive) than its rivals, its software is better thought out, and there are loads of interesting new apps. 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. A sports-first fitness watch with a subtle dash of smarts, the Blaze is a joy to use – with a brill battery to boot. Sure, off-device GPS isn’t ideal, but accurate heart-rate tracking, multi-sports modes and a lovely interface make it a great workout buddy. 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 £259

BEST FOR TECH YOU WANT TO WEAR

from £169

BEST FOR BATTERY LIFE

from £159

£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

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

£204

+ £55/radiator + installation

from £199

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 Apple Watch? 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 CAMERAS 127 SLR SLRs

T HO Y BU

W NE

1

Fujifilm X-T10

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.

£449

(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

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 Aston Villa. If you want a camera that takes the hard work out of getting fantastic photos, you won’t find much better.

£2599

(body only)

4

Canon EOS 5DS

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.

(body only)

5

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II

£749

The second coming of the E-M5 smashes it on both design and performance fronts. Images are gorgeous, and using the camera is a customiser’s dream. It’s small and portable enough for travelling, but also chunky enough to feel satisfying in the hand.

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.

£759

BEST FOR POCKETABLE POWER

£499

£149

£1249

£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-T10? 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.


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NEXT BIG THING?

mart beer? brb, just getting my apocalypse hat… Steady on there, Mr Tinfoil. It might be AI beer by name, but you’re not going to be bottled in your sleep by a crate of sentient ale and liquefied for your nutrients (as fun as that sounds). Nope, this is beer perfected by the combined smarts of an algorithm and Facebook Messenger. The process still starts with an expert human brewer, whose intuition is coded into the algorithm. But once the beer hits drinkers’ tastebuds out in the wild, the tech steps in and improves it, batch by delicious batch.

S

Hang on, you’re not a bottle of beer, are you? Good suddy yeast, no! I assure you that I am most definitely a carbon-based, meat-covered life form. The IntelligentX Brewing company (some may refer to them as The Overlords) gets feedback from the beer’s drinkers via a Facebook Messenger bot, which grills them with questions about the brew’s hoppiness and maltiness. This then passes through the algorithm, which tweaks the recipe accordingly. Think of it as a continuous quest to reach the nirvana of sweet nectar perfection. Can you imagine a more noble cause in this life?

Actually, I can’t. Beer, good. Yes, my friend. Beer, good. But AI beer, even better. The ABI (Automated Brewing Intelligence) bot is, even as we speak, collating customer feedback, and four beers have so far been brewed: Golden AI, Amber AI, Pale AI, and Black AI – all of which are housed in totally-not-sinister black bottles. Sadly, it’ll be a while before you can order these at your local watering hole, because production is limited. But you can sign up for updates at IntelligentX.ai or visit the UBrew tap room in London’s fashionable Bermondsey. Cheers!

DON’T MISS THE NEXT ISSUE! ON SALE 6 OCT

[ Words Esat Dedezade ]

Artificiy Ieige Beer


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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.

C IGI NAL

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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 UK - October 2016  
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