Tech News

Battlefield V is about to get a lot better on PC

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/11/2019 - 05:45

Battlefield V players on PC are in for a treat, with a new update coming soon that will make it look and run better than ever before.

The update, which is due to drop tomorrow, February 12, will add Nvidia DLSS support. DLSS stands for Deep Learning Supersampling, and is one of Nvidia’s flagship features for its latest RTX 2000-series graphics cards, such as the RTX 2080 Ti.

It’s quite complicated tech, but it has the potential to bring even greater graphical fidelity to PC games – including Battlefield V. It uses super-sampling to render images in higher resolutions than your display can show, which helps deliver cleaner images, without being as resource-intensive as traditional anti-aliasing.

For a more in-depth explanation of DLSS, check out Nvidia’s blog post on the tech behind its Turing graphics cards.

The patch will also bring performance improvements for DXR ray tracing, which again should make the game run and look better on PC with compatible hardware. 

As the full patch notes explain, “This update includes further optimizations to DXR ray tracing performance and introduces NVIDIA DLSS to Battlefield V, which uses deep learning to improve game performance while maintaining visual quality.”

Four player co-op

While those two features are only for PC gamers (with compatible hardware), PC and console players will also get a four-player co-op mode that allows them to team up with three other friends.

Fan-favorite mode Rush from previous Battlefields will also be coming soon.

Categories: Tech News

The best iPhone apps we've used in 2019

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/11/2019 - 05:43

Apps are the cornerstone of the iPhone – what really set it apart from Android. The best iPhone apps are typically best in class.

However, finding the greatest apps among the millions available isn’t easy, and so we’ve done the hard work for you. 

Our lists compile the very best the iPhone has to offer, whether using your iPhone for photos, video, drawing, music, office tasks, reading, maps, weather forecasts or keeping kids entertained.

This round-up compiles our favourites, from top-quality creative tools and video editors to the finest productivity kit and social networking clients.

In addition to our ongoing list of the absolute best, every week we're adding our picks for the latest and greatest new or updated apps, so check back often.

Even if you don't have an iPhone right now, it's worth reading up on what's available if you're considering investing in the iPhone XS or even one of the older models (if you need more info, check out our list of the best iPhones) - but note that some of these titles will only work with models from iPhone 5S and later.

Read on below for our free app pick of the week then click through to the following pages for the best iPhone apps across a range of categories.

iPhone app of the week: ChillScape

  • $0.99/£0.99/AU$1.49

ChillScape is an interesting curiosity. In a sense, it’s reminiscent of Brian Eno and Peter Chilvers’ Bloom, in that it involves meditative, ambient audio and a screen full of circles. The main difference here is that instead of creating discs that disappear into the background, you’re popping them like bubbles.

The idea is to relax into the audio and visuals. Rather than frantically popping discs, you should approach them thoughtfully and mindfully. Over time, more bubbles appear, and the audio shifts to add frequencies that claim to aid calm and stimulate euphoria, as a background beat gradually slows to reduce your heart rate.

Naturally, audio is subjective, and so the sounds used may not work for you; but if they do, Chillscape should prove a pleasurable yet absorbing way to unwind.

Best iPhone photo editing and camera apps

These are our favorite iPhone apps for editing snaps, capturing photos and video and applying the filters that actually make things look good.

Glitch Art Studio
  • Free + $4.99/£4.99/AU$7.99 IAP

Glitch Art Studio is an impressive and arresting photo effects app that brings texture and character to even the most mundane snap. This is achieved by way of slathering on all kinds of distortion effects, up to the point where you’re left with something that’s barely recognizable as a photograph.

We’re not kidding. The first few presets (available in the free app) give you an indication of what’s in store, making videos and stills alike look as if they’re being displayed on an ancient, very broken television. But further filters come across like you’re stuck inside a kaleidoscope or are having a full-on hallucinogenic episode.

If the presets don’t do it for you, you can make custom ones by working with a slew of settings; and when done, you can output your eye-popping miniature masterpieces as stills or videos. 

Visionist
  • Free + $1.99/£1.99/AU$2.99

Visionist uses neural networks to ape various types of artwork. Load a photo and it’s instantly reworked as a virtual painting that resembles something expensive you’d find hanging on a gallery wall.

Pay for the IAP and you get 70 styles (10 come for free). They could do with being grouped and labeled, but you do at least get control over how they’re applied: each style offers three levels of abstraction; and there are settings for how it interacts with the original imagery.

Additionally, modern iPhone owners can play with depth – Portrait shots get further options for refinement, and depth data is preserved for the likes of Facebook 3D photos. Canvas prints and high-res exports cement Visionist as more than just another arty filters app.

Camera+
  • $2.99/£2.99/AU$4.49

Camera+ is a combined camera and editor. Despite the wealth of available options, the interface is initially quite minimal, with a modes strip across the top of the screen, a zoom slider, and the shutter. But tap the + button and you reveal further modes, including a timer, a stabilizer and smile detection.

Similarly, tap the viewfinder area and Camera+ enters a ‘pro’ mode, with manual controls, and scene options for shooting under specific lighting conditions. The interface is finicky compared to Obscura 2, but Camera+ is undoubtedly powerful.

Post-shooting, you can edit with adjustment tools, filters, and frames in the Lightbox. This all comes across as impressively friendly and straightforward, and although the range of tools doesn’t compare to Snapseed’s, it’s enough to keep you within the one app for the most part.

Oilist
  • $2.99/£2.99/AU$4.49

Oilist is a generational art app. You feed it something from Photos, choose a style, and it gets to work, continually repainting your image. It’s like someone’s trapped a tiny van Gogh in your iPhone.

In fact, it’s like a slew of artists are stuck in your device, because Oilist has a massive range of styles to choose from, taking in everything from classic oil painters through to modern art. Although the app can be left alone in a dock, you can capture stills for posterity, or fiddle with settings (including brush strokes, mood, ‘chaos’ and gravity) to redirect the virtual artist.

Whether you interact or just sit back and watch, Oilist is mesmerizing – kind of like a painterly lava lamp, only what you see is based on one of your own cherished photographs.

Snapseed
  • Free

Snapseed is a free photo editor with a feature set that rivals the very best premium apps. It’s geared towards users of any level, from those who fancy applying quick filters to anyone who wants to dig deep into adjustments and powerful editing tools.

The range of options is dazzling, and the interface is smartly conceived. You can crop, make adjustments, and edit curves, all with a few swipes and taps. Often, vertical drags select parameters, and horizontal drags define an effect’s strength – tactile and intuitive. Even better, edits are non-destructive, and can be removed or changed at any point by accessing them in the edits stack.

As a final sign off, the app enables you to save any combination of adjustments as a custom preset, which you can then apply to any image in the future with a single tap. Superb stuff.

Obscura 2
  • $4.99/£4.99/AU$7.99

Obscura 2 is the best manual camera app for iPhone. It achieves this not with a slew of features, but by providing an interaction model that’s so brilliantly conceived that you simply won’t want to use another iPhone camera.

Echoing manual cameras of old, everything is based around a contextual wheel that sits above the shutter. Initially, you use it to select a tool. When setting focus or exposure, the wheel enables you to make fine adjustments with your thumb. You get a real feel of precision control, with optional haptic feedback confirming your choices.

The app makes the odd concession to modern photography trends with a range of filters, but mostly Obscura 2 wants you to think a little more about what you’re snapping, all while breathing in its minimal yet approachable and deeply pleasing design.

Filmborn
  • $2.99/£2.99/AU$4.49

Filmborn is an app for camera obsessives – for those who revel in the joys of film, but come away unimpressed with apps that present an over-saturated, overblown take on old-school photography.

The interface is icon-heavy, but gives you fast access to tools that will improve your photography. There’s manual focusing, a range of grid overlays, and a blown highlights preview that outlines problematic areas of a potential snap.

The film filters will appeal to fans of real-world stock, subtly transforming images in a manner that’s pleasingly realistic. Filmborn even educates you regarding when’s best to use each one. The app also includes basic editing functionality, although a key tool – curves – frustratingly sits behind IAP.

Despite that niggle, Filmborn is well worth checking out if you fancy fusing photography’s past with its present.

Retrospecs
  • Free + $1.99/£1.99/AU$2.99

Retrospecs is a camera app that wants you to see the world as if it was being rendered by ancient computing and gaming hardware. Load a photo – or take one using the app – and you can select from a wide range of systems, such as the Game Boy, Commodore 64, and original Mac.

But this isn’t just a single-tap filter app for aficionados of pixel art. You can adjust dither, image corruption, and virtual CRT distortion. You get animation effects and video support. And should you get fed up with the included emulated systems, you can even make your own.

So whether you believe all your photos should look like an eight-bit video game or want to add a crazy glitch sequence to your next YouTube video, Retrospecs fits the bill perfectly.

Halide
  • $5.99/£5.99/AU$9.99

Halide wants you to focus on deliberate, thoughtful photography. Its creator has remarked that many camera apps now have interfaces like airplane cockpits, and Halide was stripped back accordingly.

That’s not to say Halide is bereft of features, but those it has are all about taking better photos. You can adjust focus and exposure manually, and use ‘focus peaking’ to highlight areas of sharp contrast within the frame, and the grid overlay’s central rectangle turns yellow when your phone is held straight.

If you have a modern iPhone, Halide offers a groundbreaking depth mode with ‘depth peaking’ and a depth map preview. You can also view portrait photos in augmented reality.

The net result of all this is a premium camera app that feels like a professional tool – money well spent if your idea of photography isn’t based around filters and stickers.

Afterlight 2
  • $2.99/£2.99/$4.49

Afterlight 2 is a powerful photo editor for your iPhone. All the basics are there, including one-tap filters, cropping, and brightness/contrast sliders. Itls more professional features allow you to manipulate curves, selective hue/saturation/tone controls, filter editing, and a double exposure tool for Lomography fiends.

A highlight, though, is the text tool. It’s a cinch to add words to your pictures, and fine-tune everything with custom leading, kerning, and erasing. In fact, the entire interface feels very considered – there’s a lot going on in this app, but it remains approachable throughout.

One misstep is that edits are destructive – although there’s unlimited undo, you can’t remove a specific step unless you eradicate all the work you did afterwards. Otherwise, this is an excellent app, and one that wisely doesn’t mess about with subscriptions and IAPs – even additional pro-designed filter packs are free.

Pic Collage
  • Free + $1.99/£1.99/AU$2.99 IAP

Pic Collage offers ways to quickly turn some photos into something special, and the best mode is Grids. You select some images, which Pic Collage automatically drops into a grid layout. If you’re not keen on what you get, you can choose something different, add a background, or manually fiddle with the dividers.

Double-tap an individual image and you get further tools, including an ‘effects’ area that’s not far off a fully-fledged photo editor. You can add stickers and text to your masterpiece, and even doodle over the top of everything. If you fancy something more structured, the Cards mode offers predefined card layouts, and Freestyle lets you go entirely freeform.

Everything can be tried entirely for free, but exports have watermarks. Be rid of those for a one-off IAP that’s very much value for money.

ProCam 5
  • $4.99/£4.99/AU$7.99

ProCam 5 is an iPhone camera app with a lot of options. Not one for minimalists, then, but the app’s design is such that while it could have drowned you in a bewildering array of options, it actually ends up being very usable.

The main camera shoots to RAW, TIFF or JPEG, and optionally shoots HDR. There are several modes (burst, night, slow shutter, and so on), and you can manually tweak ISO, exposure, shutter speed, and focus.

Usefully, you can also opt to shoot only when your iPhone is perfectly still; and there are handy visual guides, too, including a focus peak meter, a grid of thirds, and a tilt meter.

When you’re finished shooting, you can delve into a capable editor for trimming, perspective correction, frame-by-frame video clip review, and the application of lenses and filters. It’s very comprehensive, making for a high-value package.

MaxCurve
  • $2.99/£2.99/AU$4.49

MaxCurve is a photo editor aimed at people who want more control over adjustments. The app includes the basics – cropping; vignettes; sharpness; grain – but its real power is in the curve tools that afford a huge amount of control over color, lightness, saturation, and other aspects of your photo.

The approach is very different from most of MaxCurve’s contemporaries, and, notably, the curves take up a lot of room, sitting in front of the image you’re editing. But they do provide a very tactile means of making everything from subtle tweaks to dramatic changes.

These effects are all non-destructive, too, applied as layers, to which you can also add colors (with blend modes) and textures. Bar its slightly cluttered interface, the only real problem with MaxCurve is it can be a bit too clever – there are no quick-fix buttons for things like exposure. But perhaps that’s the point.

Mextures
  • $1.99/£1.99/AU$2.99

Modern iPhones have some seriously impressive camera hardware, and are capable of taking clean, vibrant shots. So it’s perhaps no surprise that iPhone users are often hell-bent on slathering said images in filters and messing them up.

Mextures is a decidedly extreme example, providing a theoretically unlimited number of layers to play with, each of which can have some kind of effect applied. These include grit, grain, light leaks, gradients, and more.

Because each layer can be fine-tuned in terms of opacity and blend mode, you can get anything from subtle film textures to seriously eye-popping grunge effects.

Hit upon something particularly amazing and you can share your ‘formulas’ with other people. Or if you’re in need of a quick fix, you can grab something that’s already online to overhaul your snaps.

Hipstamatic
  • $2.99/£2.99/AU$4.49

There are two sides to Hipstamatic. In its ‘native’ form, the app apes old-school point-and-click cameras. You get a tiny viewport inside a virtual plastic camera body, and can swap out lenses, film, and flashes, along with messing about with multiple exposures and manual shutters. It’s pleasingly tactile and twangs your nostalgia gland, but feels a bit cramped.

If you’d rather use your entire iPhone display to show what you’re snapping, you can switch to a ‘pro’ camera mode. That’s closer in nature to Apple’s own Camera, but with Hipstamatic’s huge range of rather lovely filters bolted on – a great mash-up of old and new.

And if you’re wedded to Apple’s camera, Hipstamatic’s still worth a download, given that you can load a photo, slather it in filters, add loads of effects and bask in your creative genius. 

SoSoCamera
  • $0.99/99p/AU$1.49

Apple offers a burst mode when you hold down the shutter in its camera app, but this is for very rapidly taking many shots in quick succession, in order to select the best one.

By contrast, SoSoCamera is about documenting a lengthier slice of time, taking a series of photos over several seconds and then stitching them together in a grid.

The grid's size maxes out at 48 items and can be fashioned however you like. It's then just a question of selecting a filter, prodding the camera button, and letting SoSoCamera perform its magic.

The resulting images, while low-res in nature, nicely capture the feel of time passing, in many cases better than video; although do experiment first with the filters, because some are a bit too eye-searing.

The best animation apps and video editors for iPhone

Our favorite iPhone apps for editing and creating videos, GIFs, Live Photos and cinemagraphs.

8mm Vintage Camera
  • US$1.99/£1.99/AU$2.99

8mm Vintage Camera is an app dedicated to shooting authentic retro films. In other words, it transforms your otherwise pristine iPhone videos into something that could have been shot anywhere from the 1970s back to the 1920s.

This is more than a basic filters app, though. When shooting live, you get to see the effect, can swap out lenses to add spotlights, color fringing and other effects, and can even add jitter to imitate frame shakes.

Polishing off a superb app are features for working with existing video (which you ‘record’ into 8mm, in a manner similar to Apple’s Clips), and stitching together multiple shots, complete with titles and music. You get a couple of themes included in the purchase price, and several more are available via IAP.

nception
  • US$1.99/£1.99/AU$2.99

nception is a photo/video reality-bender of the opinion that everything looks interesting when you start mucking about with mirrors. It provides over 20 symmetric reflection presets, some carving the screen in half, and others being a mite more complicated.

You can shoot live stills or footage, and import existing content. When working with either, there are color filters to overlay; and with video, it’s possible to adjust the frame rate and speed. So if you want some slo-mo (rather than just standard speed) weirdness, that’s just a couple of taps away.

Naturally, nception isn’t the kind of filter app that you’ll wheel out for every occasion, but it’s great for experimenting with, and getting some weirdness into photos, especially when exploring cities and wanting to capture a unique take on local architecture.

Stop Motion Studio Pro
  • $4.99/£4.99/AU$8.99

Stop Motion Studio Pro is designed for people patient enough to craft stop-motion masterpieces. It’s a friendly app, but flexible too. You can shoot in-app to add new frames, add existing images from your iPhone, or import video, which is converted to a string of stills.

The editor is powerful: you can copy and paste frames; a Painter mode offers text, shapes and backgrounds; you can create custom titles; and it’s possible to import audio. Playback of audio is intelligent, continuing until completion (rather than just the end of the frame), allowing multiple effects to be overlaid.

The app overreaches with talk of rotoscoping – drawing over frames in the stype of A Scanner Darkly – but for everything else, this is ideal fodder for taking your first steps towards becoming the next Aardman or Ray Harryhausen.

Motion Stills
  • Free

Motion Stills is all about making the most of Live Photos you shoot on your iPhone, whether simply browsing them, or transforming them into something to share online.

The main feed is worth the download alone, bringing your photos to life as you scroll, without the need for further interaction. Motion Stills also applies stabilization, removing wobble from your pics.

Beyond this, Motion Stills offers a range of creative tools. You can make grid-like collages from Live Photos, overlay text and emoji, or with a few swipes turn a selection of Live Photos into a shareable movie. This is all far beyond what Apple lets you do in the Photos app, and an astonishingly good product for no outlay whatsoever.

Cinegraph
  • $1.99/£1.99/AU$2.99

Cinegraph is about using existing videos (or Live Photos) to create images that move. Areas selected by the user animate in an endless loop while the rest of the image remains static – a beguiling effect.

The selection of tools is small, but focused on the task at hand: basic adjustment options for your image, brush/overlay settings for outlining the part(s) of your image that will move, and the means to fine-tune the video output, for example to crossfade the end of the loop.

There’s no automated stabilization, which is a pity – you’re effectively restricted to videos or stills shot using a tripod with no wobble whatsoever. But with the right starting point, Cinegraph is capable of fashioning little slices of magic. And unlike much of the competition, there’s no messing about with subscriptions or IAP for ongoing use or removing watermarks.

ImgPlay
  • Free + $2.99/£2.99/AU$4.49 IAP

A playground for GIFs, ImgPlay aims to bring life to whatever you capture with your iPhone – or to fine-tune the motion within those things that already move.

You start off by loading pretty much anything from your Camera Roll: photos, videos, Burst mode images, Live Photos, or GIFs. With stills, you can select a number of them to stitch together, essentially making ImgPlay a kind of low-end stop-motion tool.

But it’s with Live Photos and Burst shots that ImgPlay really becomes interesting. You can take the video or sequence of images your iPhone shoots, trim the result (including removing individual frames), add a filter and text, and then export the lot as a GIF or video.

For free, the app’s full-featured, but buy the small IAP and you get more filters, no ads, and no watermark on export.

Burstio
  • $0.99/99p/AU$1.49

The burst mode in Apple's camera app is designed to get you the perfect photo in tricky situations. If you've a fast-moving subject – or are snapping someone who blinks a lot – you hold the shutter, very rapidly take loads of photos, and later select the best.

But in capturing anything up to dozens of photos, there's potential to do something with those you'd usually discard. Burstio is all about turning such images into animations.

Launch the app and you see your burst photos as little film strips, each detailing the number of images within. Select a burst and you can trim the series, adjust playback speed, and alter playback direction.

Your edit can then be exported to video or GIF. The process is elegant and simple, and brings new life to images you'd otherwise never use.

The best art and design apps for iPhone

Our favorite iPhone apps for painting, drawing, sketching, design and animation.

Linea Go
  • US$2.99/£2.99/AU$4.99

Linea Go is the mini-me to the impressive Linea Sketch for iPad. Despite the iPhone app’s more limited canvas, it’s still a great means of getting down sketches and visual notes.

Tools mostly live in pop-up panels at the bottom of the screen. You get five layers, a handful of pens and pencils, and a smart color picker that makes it a breeze to flick through related shades. You can switch backgrounds at any point, choosing from textures and guides (such as an isometric grid). Pressure sensitivity makes it a touch wearing to scribble with digital pencils when using a finger, but the pens and other tools work well.

The end results can look rather digital, but Linea Go wins out in terms of elegance and efficiency. With iCloud cross-device sync, it’s a smart choice for iOS-based sketching.

Comic Life 3
  • $4.99/£4.99/AU$8.99

Comic Life 3 is for creating comics from photos and other images on your iPhone. Although it works best on the bigger screen of an iPad, it’s surprisingly usable on an iPhone, not least due to the sheer speed at which you can put together a great page (or, if you’re feeling ambitious, a full multi-page book).

Much of this is down to the app’s varied templates, which get you up and running in no time. You can quickly import pictures into frames, add speech bubbles and sound effects, and then export the lot to a variety of different formats.

Oddly, the one thing the app does badly is comic-style filters – you’re better off using Prisma for that. But for making custom comics from doodles or photos of amazing days out, Comic Life 3 can’t be beaten.

Procreate Pocket
  • $4.99/£4.99/AU$7.99

Procreate Pocket is a great bet if you fancy dabbling in digital finger-painting. Whether you’re a novice scribbler or a jobbing artist, this app’s sleek interface wants to get out of your way and let you paint.

The toolbar that runs along the top of the display provides fast access to brushes. At the left of the screen are two sliders, for adjusting brush size and opacity. If you find them distracting, a four-finger tap puts you in full-screen mode, leaving you alone with your miniature masterpiece.

It all feels fluid and sleek, but there’s depth here too. A fantastic brush editor (including custom grain sources) unleashes all kinds of creativity, and the layers system provides scope for more advanced compositions. And when you get really good, you can share time-lapse recordings created automatically by Procreate Pocket, and await glory when a TV network comes calling.

Moji Maker
  • $1.99/£1.99/AU$2.99

Moji Maker is a construction kit for emoji. Because, as everyone knows, there can never be enough emoji in the world. On opening the app, you can tap Random to see what it comes up with, or begin with a clean slate. Loads of shapes are available, to which you add facial features, hats, and hands – everything from bushy beards to bizarre sci-fi shades.

As each element is added, you can pinch and drag to adjust its size and orientation. There’s also a deeper – if slightly fiddly – Adjust screen for flipping elements and changing their position in the stack.

When you’re done, you can save your creation for later use, either through Moji Maker’s Messages app or keyboard extension, or by sharing oversized portraits that should certainly get a friend’s attention. Or make them think giant emoji have invaded and finally taken over.

Isometric
  • $0.99/99p/AU$1.99

What kind of art do you think you can make from the humble rhombus? That’s the challenge you face when working with Isometric, which is – as its name suggests – designed for creating isometric artwork.

The app is very simple to use – you tap a rhombus to add it to the canvas, and can tap existing ones to rotate them. Shapes can be dragged together to make larger groups, and elements on the canvas can be colored and styled.

Isometric is especially well suited to abstract geometric art, and proves relaxing to use when stressed about the world and its problems.

But with a little planning, you can coax it towards more realistic, ambitious fare. Either way, the canvas can expand to a whopping 2048 x 2048, and you can export your angular masterpieces to Photos – or to vector formats with an additional IAP.

Graphic
  • $2.99/£2.99/AU$4.49

On the iPad, Graphic resembles a touchscreen take on desktop vector powerhouse Adobe Illustrator. You might think you’d need to be mad to try and squeeze that into an iPhone, but Indeeo has succeeded in fine style.

The app, equally happy in portrait and landscape, is initially set up for vector-based sketching, with you scribbling freehand lines that can subsequently be tweaked and edited. Smartly, the app always lets you know what’s going on under your finger, because Graphic shows that area elsewhere on the screen while you draw.

Delve deeper and you’ll find a shape library, Bézier curves, a layers system and everything else you need to craft illustrations and logos on your iPhone. It can be a touch fiddly at times, but the powerful zoom and general friendliness, of what’s a hugely powerful mobile app, help immeasurably.

Pixure
  • $4.99/£4.99/AU$7.99

Head back to the 1980s and pixel art was just, well, art. Computer graphics were chunky due to technological limitations, not because of the aesthetic desires of creatives. Nonetheless, for a mix of reasons – nostalgia, primarily – pixel art remains popular in illustration and videogames.

On iPhone, Pixure is a great app for dabbling with pixel art. Along with prodding individual pixels using a pencil tool, there’s a neat flood fill option and shape tools too. Layers provide scope for more complex art, as does the option to import an image from elsewhere as a starting point.

There’s no lock-in either: you can export to a range of formats to share your miniature masterpiece, or work on it further elsewhere.

Pixelmator
  • $4.99/£4.99/AU$7.99

Photoshop is so ingrained in people's minds when it comes to image editing that it's become a verb. Oddly, though, Adobe's largely abandoned high-end mobile apps, choosing instead to create simpler 'accessories' for the iPhone and iPad, augmenting rather than aping its desktop products. Valiantly filling the void is Pixelmator, a feature-rich and truly astonishing mobile Photoshop.

It's packed full of tools and adjustment options, and works well whether you're into digital painting or creating multi-layered photographic masterpieces. On iPhone, Pixelmator's naturally a bit cramped compared to using the app on iPad, but at the price it remains an insanely great bargain.

The best entertainment apps for iPhone

Our favorite iPhone apps for having fun with your iPhone, whether stargazing, reading, watching TV or checking out Twitter.

Bloom: 10 Worlds
  • $7.99/£7.99/AU$12.99

Bloom: 10 Worlds is the follow-up to 2008’s Bloom, in which you tapped the screen to play notes while dots of color emanated from your fingers like ripples in a pond. A decade later, 10 Worlds takes that app’s premise and expands out what was effectively a single into a full album.

You get 10 distinct playgrounds to experiment with. Their sounds are varied, as are their visual effects. Some slash lines horizontally and vertically across the screen, while others soak the canvas in watercolor curtains.

Whether you want to interact or just let 10 Worlds play itself (which it starts doing when left alone for a short while), this is an enchanting ambient audio experience that breathes new life into what was already an iOS classic. 

Tweetbot 5
  • $4.99/£4.99/AU$7.99

Tweetbot 5 is a premium Twitter client, and in an era when Twitter seems to be doing its level best to grind third-party clients into dust, it might seem an odd recommendation. However, hampered though it may be in some areas, Tweetbot remains highly recommended for people who want to free themselves from Twitter noise.

This is especially apparent when exploring timelines: everything’s in blissful reverse-chronological order; the Mentions tab isn’t cluttered with like and retweet notifications; and you can swap out a toolbar tab for fast access to user-defined lists.

In other words, despite not having access to all of Twitter’s toys, Tweetbot continues to offer the best iPhone Twitter experience for heavy users of the service – and anyone who prefers order over chaos. 

Shepard Fairey AR - Damaged
  • $4.99/£4.99/AU$7.99

Shepard Fairey AR - Damaged is essentially an art exhibit crammed into your iPhone – and in a rather more literal sense than you might expect. If the name Shepard Fairey doesn’t ring a bell, you’ll likely recognize his most famous work – the iconic ‘Hope’ image of Barack Obama. In Damaged, he tackles the current political climate in a similarly arresting manner.

As a viewer, the AR bit of the app’s name is important. This is no slideshow with written notes. Instead, the entire warehouse-sized show has been transformed into a virtual space you can explore with swipes and taps, or even by walking around yourself.

All the while, you can optionally take in Fairey’s narration, giving you extra context behind the work in what’s easily the best virtual art exhibit on the iPhone.

Infuse Pro 5
  • $14.99/£14.99/AU$22.99

Infuse Pro 5 frees you from having to load videos on to your iPhone when you fancy watching them. Instead, films and shows can be streamed from wherever the files happen to be stored, which can be pretty much anywhere, such as a drive plugged into your router, Dropbox, a networked PC, or Plex.

Once you add a folder, Infuse figures out what’s in it, and quickly downloads relevant cover art and metadata. It looks superb, and comes across a lot like a refined take on Netflix, but for your own personal movie and TV collection.

Assuming you have the network bandwidth, playback is seamless, regardless of the files you’re working with. If you want to send footage elsewhere, there’s Google Cast and AirPlay support, and Infuse will even download subtitles on request for when you’re trying to watch something on the sly.

Fiery Feeds
  • Free + IAP

Fiery Feeds is a powerful, usable, beautifully designed RSS reader. Once you’re subscribed to some website feeds, Fiery Feeds pulls down headlines and synopses – all for free.

It’s a great way to track sources you know and enjoy, so you never need miss anything important. You get a slew of options for customizing the visual appearance of the app, and many ways to share interesting content.

Pay the annual IAP ($9.99/£9.99/AU$14.99) and Fiery Feeds opens up further. You get a text view mode, which means synopses expand to full article feeds without you having to visit the original sites. The app also provides smart views – automatically generated feeds of ‘must reads’ and other interesting finds, bringing them to your attention when you’re tight for time.

Sky Guide
  • $2.99/£2.99/AU$4.49

Sky Guide wants you using your iPhone to explore the night sky. Move your iPhone around and you’ll see stars, planets, satellites and comets, as if there was nothing between you and the heavens. Alternatively, you can manually drag a finger, to explore at leisure, tapping on objects to find out more about them.

There’s an elegance about Sky Guide AR, which sets it above its iOS contemporaries. Everything from the background audio to illustrations of constellations showcases taste.

Instead of bling, you get beauty, not least when you fire up the time travel mode, and watch the stars swirl into an endless spiral of light.

And then there’s augmented reality. If you’re a keen stargazer, but can only get outside during daytime, Sky Guide will magically project constellations over the sky as seen by your iPhone’s camera. It’s a great reminder that the stars are always there, just waiting for you to look at them somehow.

Pimp Your Screen
  • $1.99/£1.99/AU$2.99

Pimp Your Screen is an app for customizing your iPhone. At its most basic, this means wallpaper. You select a category, swipe until you find something you like, tap to bring up a Home screen mock-up, and save the image to Photos when you’re done.

However, Pimp Your Screen goes further than its contemporaries in key ways. There’s a Themes section, which pairs matching lock and Home screen wallpapers. There are also ‘makers’ for both screen types, which enable you to combine components in a creative manner.

In the Lock Screen Maker, you can define a background, and add text. Swiping the status bar or clock adds a background for that area alone; swipe below the clock and a (static) calendar appears.

The Home Screen Maker adds a slew of virtual shelves and icon ‘skins’ to the status bar and page backgrounds. The results can vary from beautiful to eye-punchingly taste-free. Probably best if you try to veer toward the former.

Comic Zeal
  • $4.99/£4.99/$7.99

Comic Zeal is the best comic reader for iPhone. You import comics from cloud libraries or by dragging and dropping them to a special address in your web browser (sadly, there’s no local network drive access), whereupon they’re displayed as a grid or list.

Through slightly fiddly but powerful organizational tools, your collection can be categorized and tagged, making individual issues easy to access later.

The reading experience is the best bit, though. Whether you load a PDF, CBR or CBZ, Comic Zeal quickly renders pages. Page turn animations can be disabled, and you can use ‘assisted panning’ to efficiently read through zoomed pages that would otherwise be unreadable on an iPhone. There’s also a single tap button for switching between single pages and double-page spreads.

Ultimately, comics are still best read on a larger display, but Comic Zeal shows iPhones needn’t be left out when you’re on the move and want your next superhero or indie comic fix.

Stephen Hawking’s Pocket Universe
  • $2.99/£2.99/AU$4.49

One of the things the iPad’s been really great at – with the right app installed – is making science approachable. But Stephen Hawking’s Pocket Universe is, in many ways, more ambitious than iPad tomes.

That’s because it attempts to bring accessibility to Stephen Hawking’s phenomenal work on mind-bending topics such as space-time and the expanding universe - and squeeze everything into the much smaller screen of an iPhone.

Given such weighty subject matter, this is a surprisingly friendly digital book, broken down into easily digestible, bite-sized sections. Throughout, the app playfully animates, filling your screen with color and using illustration to aid understanding of the text.

Naturally, there’s still the possibility of bafflement, but the app helpfully tracks what you’ve read, and is perfect brain food for filling journeys on the bus in a manner mindlessly scrolling through social feeds can never hope to compete with.

Reeder 3
  • $4.99/£4.99/AU$5.99

In these days of flashy news apps like Flipboard, old-school RSS readers get something of a bad reputation. But there's something really handy about subscribing to your favourite sites, and knowing you'll get every article delivered in chronological order, for you to pick through at leisure.

On the iPhone, Reeder 3 remains an excellent app for browsing and reading feeds. The interface is straightforward, and a built-in Readability view enables you to quickly load the text and images from feeds that only otherwise supply you with brief synopses.

If you've got an iPhone that supports 3D Touch, you can use that for article previews in the articles list.

The best health, diet and exercise apps for iPhone

Our favorite iPhone apps for keeping fit, workouts, reducing stress and relaxing.

Paprika Recipe Manager
  • US$4.99/£4.99/AU$7.99

Paprika wants your main companion in the kitchen to be your iPhone. With the app, you can store clippings from foodie websites. Recipes are intelligently saved offline, and can be edited. You can even add photos of your successes, thereby giving you something to aim for next time!

The app also supports everything else about mealtimes. You can create grocery lists, track what’s in your cupboards and when ingredients expire, plan meals that are synced with Calendar, and create reusable menus.

The app’s not the most vibrant in its class, and lacks the handy step-by-step imagery and videos found in the likes of Kitchen Stories and Tasty, but for getting on with the business of planning and making meals, on an ongoing basis it deserves the app equivalent of a Michelin star.

Streaks
  • US$4.99/£4.99/AU$7.99

Streaks is a to-do manager all about helping you form good habits – and ridding yourself of bad ones. You begin by selecting a task and defining how often you want to do it. Tasks are subsequently checked off, and you can track your progress by way of the app’s various graphs and statistics.

Where Streaks succeeds is in the flexibility of the tasks you can add, and the razor-sharp focus on getting habits infused into your routine. The bold interface is ideally suited to six tasks, forcing you to prioritize. You can set reminders, and mark items as done using the Today widget or an Apple Watch.

Task types are varied. There are those that integrate with Health, negative tasks (like smoking) to avoid completing, and timed tasks for things like meditation sessions. In all, it’s an excellent app for coaxing out a better you.

White Noise+
  • Free + $2.99/£2.99/AU$4.49 IAP

White Noise+ is an ambient noise machine, which aims to drown out distractions by filling your ears with something pleasant instead.

Rather than just offering you sounds to play, or sliders to adjust volume levels, it takes the form of a mini mixing desk akin to the smart drums grid in GarageBand. You drag sounds into the 16 available slots, with those towards the top playing at a louder volume, and those towards the right offering more complexity. It’s intuitive, effective and looks really great as well.

Neatly, should you happen upon a particularly pleasing combination, it can be saved for later playback, and the app itself includes a few examples to get you going. There’s also an alarm built-in, for using the app for meditation sessions – or to help you not oversleep when having a quick afternoon nap.

Zombies, Run!
  • Free + IAP

Zombies, Run! is a fitness app that urges you on not just with stats and data, but with the threat you’re about to be torn limb from limb by the undead.

Fortunately, it doesn’t just randomly blare BRAINZZZZ into your ears – it’s a full-fledged adventure experience, co-created with an award-winning novelist. So as you huff and puff, you gain insight into a dystopian future, head out on supply runs, and try not to become lunch for a zombie horde.

For free, you get a few missions, one of which unlocks every week, and interval training workouts. But the subscription packs in hundreds of missions – enough to keep you going for many months. If you’re a fan of horror or just fancy an exercise app that isn’t all about numbers and music, it’s an excellent buy.

MyFitnessPal
  • Free

MyFitnessPal aims to get you fitter by helping you track what you eat. Given that such tracking often involves logging meals, the app speeds things along by way of a barcode scanner, a colossal food database and a recipe importer. If you tend to eat the same meals often, you can save favorites.

All the while, your calories are tracked, and you can check how you’re doing against any goals you’ve set. The ability to connect exercise apps also means MyFitnessPal can become a kind of hub for your general wellbeing.

As ever, there’s a pro version. This seriously ramps up data, analysis and support, with the likes of nutrient insights, tips articles and fine-grained goals. In either incarnation, MyFitnessPal works well to help you more easily understand how food intake affects you.

Runkeeper
  • Free

Runkeeper is a training aid and run tracker, which has been around for more than a decade. Since its debut, it’s evolved from mapping out your runs by utilizing your iPhone’s GPS to become a kind of digital personal trainer.

If all you’re looking for is a way to track exercise, Runkeeper remains a winning app. Whether you’re running, walking or cycling, Runkeeper provides real-time data in massive glanceable numbers, and plenty of data to delve into when you’re done.

Runkeeper Go takes things further than logging and stats. For $9.99/£7.99/AU$14.99 per month, you gain access to premium training plans, and custom workouts designed to fit your schedule and ability. The price is obviously a jump up from the free app, but it’s cheaper than a human trainer, and effective when you want more than the basics.

Streaks Workout
  • $3.99/£3.99/AU$5.99

Streaks Workout dispenses with the complexity and problems associated with mobile exercise apps. Don’t want to trudge about in the rain? Streaks Workout has you exercise inside. Lacking kit – or even a chair to lean on? This app only demands you have access to a floor.

It’s also a cinch to focus on exercises you prefer. If you fancy doing push-ups but hate planks, tap the relevant buttons accordingly. You can then jump into a semi-randomized routine that’s between six and 30 minutes long (labelled, respectively, ‘quick’ and ‘pain’).

As of version 3.0, there’s a custom workout option, too – great for people who need to know what’s coming next and how many reps to do. We suspect some exercise nuts might still consider the app limiting, but for mere mortals wanting to get fit, Streaks Workout is among the best there is on iPhone.

Insight Heart
  • $1.99/£1.99/AU$2.99

Insight Heart was apparently designed to make medical education explorable and fun. This is achieved by having a realistic beating heart float before your face, via the magic of augmented reality (AR).

It’s very weird, but also oddly fascinating. After planting a human outline’s feet, the outline fades and you’re left with an organ levitating above your carpet. Go in close and the heartbeat gets louder; go really close and the heart opens, so you can explore how the blood flows.

Offering further insight, the app can show how conditions affect the heart, for those times when you’re desperate to see some arterial hypertension above your kitchen table. We want a brain app next, please.

The best kids apps for iPhone

Our favorite iPhone apps, learning tools, musical toys and games for toddlers and children.

Zen Studio
  • Free + $2.99/£2.99/AU$4.99 IAP

Zen Studio‘s developer describes it as a meditation app for kids, but really it’s an engaging and entertaining combination of coloring and musical toy. It’s ideal for anyone who needs to relax for a while – regardless of age.

The app’s canvases are triangles that you color in with a tap and emit a note whenever you do so. Drag out a line or tap a few triangles in quick succession and you’re treated to a little melody. It’s all very ‘zen’.

You get the bulk of the app for free, but pay the one-off IAP and it opens up in useful ways: white paint for ‘deleting’ colored triangles; a range of template-based tutorials; and unlimited save slots. You might feel ‘zen’ about not splashing out, but this is an app that’s well worth paying a few bucks for.

Foldify
  • $2.99/£2.99/AU$4.49

Foldify is a rarity – an app that’s not entirely devoted to the digital realm. Instead, it invites you to create little characters on your iPhone, which you can then print on to card or paper, and construct by way of deft folding and a dab of glue.

The interface is first-rate. You kick things off with a template – anything from basic cubes to little blocky people, cars and arcade machines. You then scribble all over that with a pen tool, slap on stickers, and import your own images. All the while, you can admire your handiwork as a little 3D model that’s updated in real-time and can be spun with a flick.

There’s also a social aspect for sharing your creations and downloading other people’s works – including amusingly cuboid takes on Steve Jobs and the original Mac.

Bandimal
  • $3.99/£3.99/AU$5.99

Bandimal is probably the world’s cutest music-making app. And although it was designed for children, we’ll wager anyone with a soul will be grinning from ear to ear shortly after starting to play.

It involves loading animals into one of three available slots, and tapping out notes on a dotted grid. When the playhead moves over the dots, a sound plays, and the animal bops along accordingly – such as a whale blowing colored water while emitting suitably deep bass noises.

It’s relentlessly jolly, sounds superb, and automatically stores every song you make. And as if to cement how perfect the app is, load one of your songs and the animals count in before it starts playing.

Playground AR
  • $1.99/£1.99/AU$2.99

Playground AR does what it says on the tin, in that it’s a playground for having fun with augmented reality. In short, it’s a physics sandbox, which enables you to build virtual structures on a real-world flat surface.

Placing blocks is a bit weird, because this app isn’t about drag and drop. Instead, you drag to rotate an item, and adjust its position by physically moving your device. However, there’s tons of scope here for the patient, including the means to create machines with joints, wheels and thrusters – and then blow them up with bombs.

It’s a pity you can’t save set-ups, but at least when you’re playing with virtual blocks there’s no mess to clean up when you’re done.

Toca Life: Office
  • $3.99/£3.99/AU$5.99

Toca Life: Office is an app designed for children, ostensibly giving them insight into what their parents do all day at work. Only this office is probably a lot more exciting than the one you get to spend many hours in every week.

Here, tiny fingers can dot 35 distinct characters about the place, and role-play in an office, bank, rooftop, courthouse, and apartment. There’s a virtual daycare, a swanky glass elevator, and a bank vault with an alarm.

You can draw on a whiteboard, print from the computers, discover a helicopter, and even make superheroes. Chances are you’ll want to try this out yourself when your kid’s done, too, if only to imagine how exciting your own office life could be.

DNA Play
  • $2.99/£2.99/$4.49

DNA Play is an educational app for children that serves as an introduction to the basic science behind DNA. At least in theory. Really, most tiny people will be more excited about the prospect of fashioning all kinds of bizarre, colorful creatures by way of dragging and tapping.

The app begins with you completing simple ‘gene’ puzzles, which see you dramatically adjusting a monster’s characteristics, and this can be done by simply hammering away at a body part to switch it for something new - ideal for less dextrous younglings. Each monster can then be saved and its photo shared.

Occasionally, objects show up, giving you the chance to propel your monster along on a skateboard, feed it a pile of fruit, or have it totally freak out when faced by a spider significantly less terrifying than the monster. But best of all, if you get caught playing with the app yourself, you can argue you’re in the midst of an important scientific breakthrough. Probably.

Endless Alphabet
  • $8.99/£8.99/AU$13.99

If you’ve got yourself a resident tiny human, your house probably has a few of those wooden puzzles where letter shapes are shoved into their respective slots. Endless Alphabet isn’t quite, well, endless, but contains dozens of such puzzles, which work brilliantly on the touchscreen.

On your child selecting a word, monsters sprint along the bottom of the screen, scattering its letters. They then need to be dragged back into place, coming to life as they’re moved. When a word’s complete, monsters act out what it means in a charming animated cut scene.

There are some minor grumbles here and there – the app’s resolutely US-English in nature, and the sounds letters make when dragged might confuse, since they’re not full letters nor the phonics often used in education. Otherwise, this is a first-rate, charming, enjoyable educational app for youngsters getting to grips with words.

Metamorphabet
  • $3.99/£3.99/AU$5.99

If you've seen tiny humans around iOS devices, you'll have noticed that even those that can't speak beyond bababababa and dadadadada nonetheless merrily swipe and poke at screens.

Metamorphabet capitalises on this ingrained infatuation with shiny touchscreens, and cunningly attempts to teach the alphabet via the medium of surreal interactive animations.

It starts off with A, which when poked grows antlers, transforms into an arch and goes for an amble. Although a few words are a stretch too far (wafting clouds representing a daydream, for example), this is a charming, imaginative and beautifully designed app.

My Very Hungry Caterpillar
  • $4.99/£4.99/AU$7.99

If you've been around young children for any length of time, there's no escaping The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

That greedy larva seems to hypnotise tiny people, gluing them to whatever format it appears in, be it book or TV animation. There have been apps, too, but those we've seen before have disappointed. My Very Hungry Caterpillar, though, is a new take on the character, turning it into a kind of virtual pet.

Children familiar with the source material will watch happily as fruit they pluck from trees is quickly munched by the wriggly protagonist, but this app has far more to offer.

Gradually, it opens up all kinds of activities, such as growing a garden, playing with a ball, making art by getting messy with paints, and having fun on a pond. The app changes with the seasons, and so in winter the caterpillar gets to gleefully slide across frozen water, but in warmer months goes sailing.

It's all very charming and adorable, along with being entirely without risk — there's no way to off the little blighter. It's also finite: the little caterpillar grows fat and eventually becomes a butterfly, at which point a new egg appears to start the cycle again.

And if we're being honest, there's something quite cathartic in seeing the little chap through this journey, to the point we imagine quite a few adults will sneakily launch the app for a while when their child's asleep.

Loopimal
  • $3.99/£3.99/AU$5.99

For most kids, plastic keyboards and annoyingly loud toy drums are a typical starting point in music, but Loopimal ambitiously attempts to introduce children to the concept of computer sequencing. Fortunately, it does so by way of highly animated dancing cartoon animals, bright shapes, and plenty of flair.

Hit play and you're immediately shown an animal bobbing its head to a backing track. You then drag coloured pieces (from a selection of five) into eight empty slots. When the playhead moves over the shapes, the animal adds its own sounds and melodies, often while performing impressive gymnastic feats.

It's Loopimal's character that initially wins you over. Unless you're dead inside, you won't fail to crack a smile when an octopus starts playing funky basslines with its tentacles, or the percussive Yeti gets all stompy. Smartly, once the player clocks how Loopimal works, the screen can be split into two or four, to combine animals and their unique sounds.

The one big miss is the inability to save your compositions, but every Loopimal riff is in C-major; this means you can use just the white notes on nearby keyboards to play along with whatever madness is happening inside the app.

The best music and audio apps for iPhone

Our favorite iPhone apps for making music, listening to podcasts and being a DJ.

djay
  • Free + $4.99/£4.49/AU$7.49 monthly

djay is a hugely powerful DJ app for iOS. Formerly released in various flavors, it’s now universal and a free download. On install, you get a basic two-deck system with crossfader, looping, and some effects. Go pro, though, and a world of high-end DJ power opens up.

At that point, you can run up to four decks, and dabble in video mixing. You get over 1GB of samples, loops, and visuals to trigger. There’s a ton of integration with a range of hardware solutions. Automix is available too, for when you can’t be bothered doing the DJ work yourself.

On iPhone, it’s naturally a bit fiddly compared to the iPad’s relative acres – but it’s also a very portable way to always have the app on you for experimenting with – and useful for hooking up to physical controllers.

SquareSynth 2
  • $4.99/£4.99/AU$7.99

SquareSynth 2 seems to have two reasons to exist. The first is to make you grin on selecting a preset, tapping a key, and having some retro audio blaze forth from your iPhone. The built-in sounds are reminiscent of noise you’d once have heard blasting from a Commodore 64 or NES; this in itself is all rather good fun.

But for musicians, this is a full-fledged synth. You can delve into each sound and muck about with its parameters – the results of which can be ear-thumpingly terrific. AudioUnit support also means this isn’t an isolated box – the entire thing can essentially be squirted into GarageBand. Only the slightly awkward interface on iPhone when editing lets it down a touch – but the great sounds more than make up for that.

Capo touch
  • $9.99/£9.49/AU$13.99 per year

Capo touch helps musicians learn songs without resorting to sheet music. Instead, you load an audio file and the app detects guitar or piano chords – however obscure the artist or song happens to be.

To help you master tricky bits, there’s a variable speed slider, and you can loop user-defined regions. There are isolation tools as well, to bring specific instruments to the fore. Chords can be edited, regions named, and entire songs transposed to different keys.

There are snags in that the app requires local music files to work with (so no bringing across a song from Spotify or Apple Music). Also, you need annual IAP to get more than 60 seconds of playback per session. But as a learning aid when you absolutely must nail a song, it’s an essential install.

Samplebot
  • $3.99/£3.99/AU$5.99

Samplebot is a colorful grid of buttons that you use to capture sounds. Press a pad, make a noise, and it’s then played by tapping the pad again. Fun stuff – but it turns out Samplebot has more layers than an onion.

Recorded sounds can be trimmed, and arranged in a sequencer. Pre-defined drum patterns are included, but you can also tap out your own. Beyond that, you can import audio from cloud services, Music, Files, or the clipboard, and manage sounds in-app. Tracks can be exported, and Samplebot can even be synced to other music apps.

In short, then, Samplebot is ideal for anyone wanting to make some noise, whether you fancy recording and playing back pots and pans being whacked, or creating entire songs.

GarageBand
  • Free

GarageBand is a music creation app and recording studio. Ambitiously, it aims to suit newcomers and pro musicians alike – and it succeeds.

For newcomers, there are smart instruments that automate chords and riffs, and a grid pad for triggering samples and loops. Gain in confidence and you can plug in a guitar and use GarageBand’s excellent range of amps, experiment with the timeline, and create drum patterns in the Beat Sequencer.

For pros, though, this app connects to other apps via Inter-App Audio and Audiobus, can ‘import’ entire third-party apps as Audio Units, and enables you to record, arrange and mix up to 32 tracks.

The app’s a stunning achievement, and we suspect many long-time musicians can’t believe such a thing exists on a phone.

TabBank
  • Free + $4.99/£4.99/AU$7.99 IAP

TabBank is a ‘smart notepad’ for people interested in songwriting on the go. And we mean that in the traditional sense: writing lyrics and chords, rather than prodding virtual synths.

Songs are written in basic markup. Each has an artist and title (after which you add colons), lyrics, and chords (added inside square brackets). Fancy melodies can be added by writing tab using dashes and numbers. The preview then makes everything readable – and playable. Well, sort of, as you can tap to play chords, and play tab in a slow-motion kind of way.

If that all sounds like hard work, you can grab tabs from countless websites, too, through a Safari extension; and everything can be exported to PDF, if you buy the one-off IAP. We’d like to see auto-play, rather than you having to tap individual chords, but otherwise this one’s a boon for budding songwriters.

Brian Eno: Reflection
  • $30.99/£29.99/AU$47.99

In a sense, featuring Brian Eno : Reflection in this round-up is a bit weird. Unlike other collaborations between musician Eno and software designer/musician Peter Chilvers, Reflection is broadly devoid of interaction. Instead, it effectively just plays Eno’s ambient Reflection album, but with some clever twists.

Unlike the standard album, which is the same every time you listen, the audio here has phrases and patterns within that continually interact in different ways, and subtly change as the day progresses, creating an endlessly changing version of the music. Likewise, the painterly visual on the screen slowly morphs before your eyes.

It’s pricey, but ultimately gives you endless Eno and is an intoxicating experience for anyone that likes their ambient fare. The man himself describes the app like sitting by a river: it’s the same river, but always changing. By contrast, the standard Reflections album initially sounds similar, but it’s a recording frozen in time, never changing.

djay Pro for iPhone
  • $9.99/£9.99/AU$15.99

You might first look at djay Pro for iPhone and wonder if the developer’s gone a bit mad. You get virtual decks, sliders, and a bunch of buttons – but on an iPhone it looks a little like a DJ set-up for toddlers.

The truth is, you’re probably not going to be banging out your latest set using the app alone – although you can connect it up to a range of hardware and use it as the brains behind a controller.

However, whether you’re a wannabe or pro DJ, djay Pro for iPhone warrants investigation for allowing you to experiment on the go. The app’s hugely powerful and feature-rich (waveforms; four decks; sampler; amusing sound effects; properly clever beat-matching), making it far more than a curiosity or novelty.

Ferrite Recording Studio
  • Free + from $9.99/£9.99/AU$14.99

As a free app, Ferrite Recording Studio is mightily impressive – a kind of beefed-up Voice Memos, which lets you bookmark bits of recordings to refer to later, and then edit and combine multiple recordings in a multi-track editor view.

But when you pay for Ferrite, it becomes a fully-fledged podcast creation studio on your iPhone.

First and foremost, in-app purchases remove track and project length limits. This affords much greater scope for complex projects, which can have loads of overlaying tracks and potentially be hours in length.

The paid release also adds a range of professional effects, which can help transform your project by making the audio cleaner and more engaging.

But whether you pay or not, Ferrite's usable, intuitive interface should make it a tempting go-to tool for amateur podcasters, even if they're also armed with a PC or Mac.

Cesium
  • $1.99/£1.99/AU$2.99

Apple's built-in Music app has increasingly sidelined personal collections, instead heavily focussing on the Apple Music streaming service. Cesium is a player designed to help you enjoy your existing music library once again.

The interface marries old-school functionality with modern iOS design, offering tabs to quickly access artists, albums, songs and playlists.

Mostly, though, Cesium is great at providing the features music fans want: you can quickly edit and add to an upcoming queue; library sort options enable you to switch between alphabetical and chronological lists; and the landscape mode is just like the portrait mode but in widescreen, rather than trying (and failing) to do something 'clever'.

So if you're after a music player for iPhone that's tasteful, smart, full-featured and free of gimmicks, buy Cesium.

Korg Gadget
  • $39.99/£38.99/AU$62.99

Let's immediately get one thing out of the way: Korg Gadget isn't cheap. It's not the sort of app you're going to download for some larks, use for a few minutes, and then casually toss aside. However, if you've any interest in making music — whether as a relative newcomer or jobbing musician — it is quite simply the best app available for iPhone.

Purely as a tool for live performance, Korg's app is first-rate. You get a bunch of miniature synths, referred to as 'gadgets'; they're geared towards electronic music, but still have plenty of range.

There are drum machines, a gorgeous bell synth, some ear-smashing bass instruments, and plenty of other options, whether you want to be the Human League for a bit or go all clubby.

Each synth comes with a slew of presets, but you can fiddle with dials and levers to make your own, which can be saved for later use.

When it comes to writing music, you can record live, tapping out notes on a tiny on-screen keyboard or by using a connected piece of hardware. Alternatively, there's a piano roll for tapping out notes on a grid as you do in GarageBand, creating loops to then combine into a song in the mixing-desk view.

Korg Gadget is one of the most flexible and intuitive music-making apps we've seen on any platform, and the deepest on iOS. It was superb on the iPad, but that it actually works — and is very usable — on iPhone is nothing short of astonishing.

The best office and writing apps for iPhone

Our favorite iPhone apps for file management, video memos, writing, email, spreadsheets, notes, presentations and calculations.

1Password
  • $3.99/£3.49/AU$5.99 per month

1Password, like iCloud Keychain, is used to store website logins and payment information. But this app then goes further, being able to house details for servers, app license details, notes and identities.

The other big advantage is 1Password being a standalone app. Launch it and use Face ID or Touch ID and you’ll quickly be browsing your logins and data, which can be further refined through the use of favorites and tags. A first-rate password creator is bundled, too, for when you need a new or replacement website password.

The core app is free to try for 30 days, after which point a subscription is required. However, this unlocks the app across a range of supported platforms, including macOS, Android and Windows – something iCloud Keychain cannot compete with.

FileBrowser
  • $5.99/£5.99/AU$9.99

FileBrowser is a file browser app, which you probably already guessed from its name. But this isn’t for rummaging around what’s on your iPhone – it’s for getting at files stored pretty much anywhere else.

Connecting to a PC, Mac, or some other local or online storage is straightforward, whereupon you can send and receive files. Usefully, favorite connections can be saved to quickly get at them later, as can often-used folders – the latter being stored as bookmarks.

Although the app has the odd strange omission (the lack of Share sheet integration being the most obvious), its basic interface almost hides a wealth of features, including file viewing, audio recording, archiving, internet downloads, and even streaming capabilities. It does a lot, without overwhelming you with features, and is a good buy if Apple’s Files doesn’t meet your needs.

Calzy 3
  • $2.99/£2.99/AU$4.99

Calzy 3 is a playful, friendly calculator app that betters the one built into your iPhone in key ways. As well as playing a pleasing sound whenever a key is tapped, it gradually builds a sum below the main display. Not only does this allow you to sanity check your ongoing calculation, but also you can at any point tap a figure or operator and swap it out for something else.

Another useful feature is the ‘memory area’ where you drag figures from the main display, which can later be dropped on operators to add to the current sum. We also liked how Calzy 3 automatically stores calculations you make in a scrollable history. You can bookmark useful sums for later retrieval, and assign a label (text or emoji) for added context.

Noted
  • Free or $0.99/79p/AU$1.49 per month

Noted is a rich-text notepad and voice memos app combined. This isn’t a new concept on the iPhone – other apps do much the same. But Noted differentiates itself by enabling you to mark important moments within the recording.

This is achieved using #TimeTags. As you type up notes while recording, tapping a button places a tag inline. When you subsequently tap a tag, your recording instantly starts playing from the relevant moment. This means you can take basic notes during a meeting or lecture, and then flesh everything out later, without having to constantly scrub through a recording to find the relevant parts.

You’ll need a subscription to make the most of the app – not least to record more than a handful of notes – but for many people, #TimeTags alone will be worth the outlay.

MindNode 5
  • Free + $14.99/£14.99/AU$22.99

MindNode 5 helps you connect your thoughts and figure out how ideas link together. This is achieved by way of mind maps – diagrams that begin with a central thought and connect it to related ones, typically resulting in something resembling a mutant spider.

However, when you work with MindNode 5 instead of paper, such messy results don’t happen. Instead, you get a system that can automate and lay out even the most complex of interrelated thoughts beautifully, with color, icons, and images when appropriate.

This all works nicely on the iPhone’s smallish screen, too. A superb Quick Entry mode helps, transforming a bullet-point list into a mind map via a single tap, but the entire interface is heavily optimized towards iPhone use. In short, MindNode 5 is easily the best in its field.

PCalc
  • $9.99/£9.99/AU$14.99

PCalc is a traditional calculator – like the super-powered equivalent of something you might find sitting on a desk. If you want something more conventional than the calculator meets sort-of spreadsheet Soulver, PCalc is simply the best there is on iPhone.

For a start, the app’s almost absurdly feature-packed. There’s multiline and RPN, a paper tape, and multiple undo. Need conversions and constants? Done. Engineering and scientific notation? Sure. You can even edit the individual buttons, if you for some reason want the 6 key to be massive.

The app has a slightly odd sense of humor, too. Head into the Help section in its Settings and fire up the ARKit About PCalc screen, and lob anti-gravity bananas about the place. This is a calculator with leaderboards and achievements, and – we say again – anti-gravity bananas. Buy it.

Just Press Record
  • $4.99/£4.99/AU$7.99

Just Press Record is a highly usable audio recorder and transcription tool. It’s also an excellent example of how to take an app that’s extremely simple and add new features without drowning it in complexity.

To start, you still tap a big, red button, and then record whatever you want to say. Saved recordings head to iCloud, meaning they can be accessed on any device. On your iPhone, they’re found in the Recents and Browse tabs, the latter listing them by date.

There’s also a Search tool – which might seem redundant until you realize every recording is automatically transcribed. Naturally, this doesn’t always nail context – during testing, it mixed up ‘synced’ and ‘sinked’ – and you have to manually say punctuation (such as ‘comma’).

Still, this means that you can share text rather than just audio files, and that every utterance you make can potentially be found by keyword, instead of you scrabbling through a huge list of recordings. It’s really smart stuff.

Pennies
  • $3.99/£3.99/AU$5.99

Pennies is all about managing your money. But whereas finance trackers have a tendency to be dry and complicated, Pennies goes for a much friendlier approach. Using the app’s colorful, straightforward interface, you can quickly and easily define new budgets around any kind of topic, and add or remove money from them.

Much of the app’s effectiveness lies in the way it encourages you to categorize your spending. Want to cut down on coffee? Create a ‘coffee’ category and get a monthly and daily budget, along with a visible reminder of when you can next spend.

Your entire history always remains available in an ongoing scrolling list, and because Pennies syncs across devices, your figures are readily available on iPad and Apple Watch too. In short, it’s the budget tracker for the rest of us.

Untitled
  • $9.99/£9.99/AU$14.99

Untitled rethinks screenwriting. Rather than you having to remember how to format your next Hollywood blockbuster, Untitled prioritizes you getting ideas down, through providing a helping hand regarding how your script should look.

This works by way of simple-to-remember shorthand, such as placing dialogue underneath a character’s name, or ‘>’ before a transition. The app’s also intelligent enough to reformat scene headers (intro/location/time) from plain English into the correct style.

On iPad, Untitled is a friendly screenwriting tool, but its relaxed, note-taking approach really feels at home on iPhone. It’s not a tool you’d likely use to fine-tune a fully polished screenplay, but it’s excellent for starting one – wherever and whenever inspiration strikes.

Carbo
  • $7.99/£7.99/AU$12.99

You can of course use a wide range of apps for storing real-world scribbles – photograph a journal page and you can fling it at the likes of Evernote, say. But Carbo tries something more ambitious. Your sketches and notes are cleaned up, and converted to vectors, while preserving your original stroke.

What this means is that images within Carbo retain the character of your penmanship, but are also editable in a manner standard photographs are not – you can select and move specific elements that Carbo intelligently groups, adjust line thicknesses throughout the entire image, add annotations and tags, and export the result to various formats.

It's a friendly, intuitive app to work with, and efficient, too – a typical Carbo note requires only a tenth of the storage as the same image saved as a standard JPEG photo.

Scrivener
  • $19.99/£19.99/AU$30.99

On the desktop, Scrivener is popular with writers crafting long-form text. On iPad, the app is - amazingly - barely altered from the PC and Mac release; but Scrivener on iPhone is a slightly different prospect.

That's not to say this isn't a feature-rich and highly capable product. You still get a solid rich-text editing environment and a 'binder' to house and arrange documents and research, before compiling a manuscript for export.

What you lose on the smaller screen is those features that require more space: a two-up research/writing view; the corkboard for virtual index cards.

But Scrivener is still worth buying - although you're unlikely to write an entire screenplay or novel on an iPhone, you can use the app to take notes, make edits, and peruse your existing work, wherever you happen to be.

Soulver
  • $2.99/£2.99/AU$4.49

Traditional calculator apps are fine, but even if they come with digital tape, you don't get figures in context. By contrast, a spreadsheet is overkill for most adding-up tasks. Soulver is a neatly conceived half-way house — like scribbling sums on the back of an envelope, but a magic envelope that tots everything up.

You get two columns. On the left, you type everything out, integrating words as you see fit. On the right, totals are smartly extracted. So if you type 'Hotel: 3 nights at $125', Soulver will automatically display $375 in the totals column.

Line totals can be integrated into subsequent sums, ensuring your entire multi-line calculation remains dynamic — handy should you later need to make adjustments to any part.

Given the relative complexity of what Soulver's doing, it all feels surprisingly intuitive from the get-go. There are multiple keyboards (including advanced functions and currency conversion), you can save calculations and sync them via iCloud or Dropbox, and it's even possible to output HTML formatted emails of your work.

Scanbot
  • Free + $7.99/£7.99/AU$12.99 IAP

There are two flavors of Scanbot, each of which is impressive in its own right. For free, you get a superb iPhone scanner with cloud storage integration, QR code support, and the means to detect edges for any paper document you want to digitise. Upgrade to Scanbot Pro and things get more interesting. You can add pages to existing scans, quickly name files using a clever smart-naming system, and search/extract text from previous scans.

There's also an automated actions feature, where the app finds the likes of phone numbers and email addresses within your scans, turning them into single-tap buttons within each item's actions menu. It's not quite accurate enough to be witchcraft, but we nonetheless happily leave important scans within Scanbot these days, rather than immediately deleting after export.

The best productivity apps for iPhone

Our favorite iPhone apps for being productive with launchers, focus timers and to-do lists.

Yoink
  • US$4.99/£4.99/AU$7.99

Yoink can be thought of as a super-charged version of the clipboard. It’s used to stash all kinds of things for later – text snippets, URLs, images, and even documents and emails. Items added to Yoink can be renamed, formed into groups called ‘stacks’, and previewed.

Files integration means you can get at everything you’ve stored in the app without actually going into Yoink itself. Siri Shortcuts support also means you can stash your clipboard’s contents without first activating the app.

Cross-device capabilities round out a great app – iCloud sync allows you to get at Yoink content saved on any of your devices. And so although this is probably not an app you’ll use every day, it’s a massive time-saver when you need to collate files from disparate sources on mobile.

Launch Center Pro
  • $4.99/£4.99/AU$8.99

Launch Center Pro resembles the iOS home screen, but it launches actions rather than apps. For example, instead of firing up Phone or Safari, Launch Center Pro can trigger a call to a specific person, or launch a particular website.

There are, naturally, some limitations. The Launch Center Pro website outlines supported apps and actions (click ‘all’ to see the full range); but you’ll likely already own a bunch of these, and be able to think of ways the app can make using an iPhone easier for you.

You don’t even have to launch the app either – shortcuts can be assigned to Today view widgets, or Quick Actions when you press down on the app’s icon. In short, it’s a great speed dial for your favorite app actions.

Fantastical 2
  • $4.99/£4.99/AU$7.99

Fantastical 2 acts as a replacement for the iOS Calendar app. You might question the logic in buying something like this, but Fantastical 2 quickly pays for itself by making you more efficient.

This is apparent the second you check out the main view. Rather than having to laboriously tap each day to see its events, Fantastical 2 provides a scrollable feed, making it a cinch to see how your schedule looks into the future – and to quickly browse the past.

Reminders are integrated, too, and event input includes a powerful natural-language parser. As you tap in the likes of ‘TechRadar lunch at 3pm on Friday’, a live preview builds. And none of the data you add is locked in – Fantastical 2 works with your existing iCloud account, Google Calendar, or Exchange.

BFT - Bear Focus Timer
  • $0.99/£0.99/AU$1.49

BFT - Bear Focus Timer is yet another app designed to make you use your iPhone less and concentrate more, but if you need a sense of focus and are easily distracted by your iPhone, it’s one of the best of its kind.

First, it features a friendly bear, and who doesn’t like bears? Secondly, the app’s Pomodoro-style timers are adjustable, so you can fine-tune lengths for work, short breaks, session counts, and long breaks (recommended after several work/short break sessions).

The app’s interface is the real star though, inviting you to turn your device upside-down to get the timer going. Pick up your phone and the timer stops, while the previously friendly bear scowls. It’s amusing and chastising in equal measure, making you smile, flip your phone back, and listen to the app’s helpful hubbub-drowning noise loops.

Things 3
  • $9.99/£9.99/AU$14.99

Things 3 is a task manager that wants to help you get more done. The interface is sleek and the workflow is smart, helping you collect thoughts and plan your time efficiently.

The app’s core is to-dos, but it allows you to add context, such as the time, date or location that you plan to carry the task out. Things 3 then populates a Today view with the day’s tasks (cleverly grouping things you do at home under a This Evening heading), and puts later tasks in an Upcoming list.

The finer points of the app’s design and interactions make it a joy to use. Animations are subtle, but colors are bold. Clever details are dotted about, like the ability to position a new entry by dragging the to-do button to a list.

Things 3 isn’t cheap – especially if you also buy it on iPad and Mac – but the potential time savings make it good value.

Forest
  • $1.99/£1.99/AU$2.99

The idea behind Forest is to get you to leave your iPhone alone. It does this by having you plant a tiny sapling and set a timer. If you succeed in not using your iPhone until the timer’s done, you get to plant what’s now a little tree in a virtual forest. If you succumb to temptation, Forest mercilessly kills your tree, leaving a barren little twig.

Amusingly, if you try to trick the app by switching away, it’ll immediately send a terse reminder to have you switch right back. But despite this somewhat gruff element, Forest ranks among the best gamified focus aids.

Over time, it’s rewarding to see your forest grow, unlock new trees, and delve into detailed statistics. Also, using coins earned in-app, you can buy real trees for communities that need them. And all because you avoided Facebook for a few hours.

Focus Keeper
  • $1.99/£1.99/AU$2.99

Focus and burnout are two commonplace issues for people in work. Too often, you can become distracted from tasks; but also there’s the risk of working long hours without a break, leading to fatigue. Focus Keeper aims to deal with both.

The timer is loosely based around the Pomodoro Technique (a time management method), and recommends splitting your time between 25-minute work sprints and five-minute breaks. After four sessions, you take a longer break of about half an hour.

The app is clutter-free, and easy to use. The timer combines a minimal iOS-like design aesthetic with hints of a real-world timer’s dial. You can delve into statistics, adjust work/break lengths, and choose alternate alarm and ‘ticking’ noises. Most importantly, however  much this is all about psychology, it does work. Need convincing? Try the free version first.

The best travel and weather apps for iPhone

Our favorite iPhone apps for planning a holiday, currency conversion, weather forecasts and mapping.

Dark Sky Weather
  • US$3.99/£3.99

Dark Sky Weather started out primarily as a rainfall tracker, with luminous clouds billowing over a dark background map. Now, the app is much more conventional – but arguably massively more useful.

The main forecast page shows current conditions and a local map. Usefully, little arrows denote the direction a storm’s heading, so you can always spot that at a glance, rather than having to check the full animated rainfall view. Below that you get rainfall predictions for the hour, the daily forecast, and a weekly outlook. It’s all very sleek, efficient and usable.

The app’s accuracy may vary by location, but during testing in various countries we’ve found its rainfall predictions to be spot-on. It’s also a nicely flexible app regarding warnings – several notifications are built in, and you can add your own based on a range of weather conditions.

V for Wikipedia
  • $5.99/£5.99/AU$9.99

V for Wikipedia is a Wikipedia reader. That in itself might sound like an odd recommendation for a premium app, but bear with us.

Although V can be used to search Wikipedia in the normal way, it starts off in its Nearby tab, flagging articles of interest in your vicinity. This looks great, tabs snaking their way from map locations to large thumbnails. It’s practical, too, for finding out more about the local area, without resorting to review-oriented web services.

This sense of polish extends to the article views. Typography and layout are first class, and a slide-in contents list is only a tap away. So while you might narrow your eyes at the prospect of paying for a Wikipedia reader, Viki will have said eyes busily and regularly reading the world’s most dynamic encyclopedia.

WeatherPro
  • $0.99/79p/AU$0.99

WeatherPro is a weather app designed for people who favor information density over aesthetics. That’s not to say WeatherPro looks bad – its white-on-blue stylings are perfectly nice. But where it excels is in providing fast access to a wealth of weather data.

For any selected location, a single screen shows the current conditions, a local radar, upcoming predictions and then a forecast for the coming week. The latter packs temperatures, sun hours, precipitation forecasts and wind speeds into a tiny space.

In pretty much all cases, tapping on something lets you delve into even more information, and additional taps provide layered mapping and radar services. Accessing some layers requires an IAP subscription, but just the bare-bones WeatherPro is a great buy if you want at-a-glance forecasts packed with detail.

Citymapper
  • Free

Citymapper is a navigation aid for finding your way around big cities. It doesn’t cover the entire globe, but is instead focused on a handful of major destinations, such as New York, Chicago, Tokyo, London, Paris and Sydney. Locations are periodically added by way of user votes.

If you live in or visit a supported city, Citymapper is superb for helping you find your way around more efficiently. The app quickly finds where you are and offers options – in real-time – of how to reach your intended target.

And small details really help it stand out, such as you being able to track the location of a bus you’re waiting for, alerts that blare when your stop’s coming up, and even recommendations of the best carriage to get on – and the fastest station exit to use.

Google Maps
  • Free

Google Maps is the best mapping app on iPhone.

It’s extremely good at locating places you want to visit, be that a distant town or a point of interest like a restaurant or store. When it comes to turn-by-turn driving directions, the voiceovers lack the nuance of Apple’s Maps, but the actual directions tend to be more helpful when it comes to dealing with incidents like congestion.

Google Maps is great for planning and non-car use, too. There are reviews and recommendations for places to go, public transport routing, and Street View – a navigable 3D street-level map for scoping out landmarks that proves handy when traveling somewhere or visiting a new place.

Importantly, you can also download chunks of map for offline use, turning Google Maps into a turn-by-turn navigator even when you lack a data connection.

CARROT Weather
  • $3.99/£3.99/AU$5.99

CARROT Weather rethinks weather apps, mostly in being helmed by an angry AI that seemingly won the ‘most likely to kill people in their sleep’ award over HAL. Sure, you get the usual rainfall warnings, hourly forecasts, and weekly outlooks, but they’re all delivered with a layer of snark.

Venture into the excellent Today view widget and CARROT will ‘LOL’ if it’s going to rain. If it’s sunny, she’ll hope you get tan lines, call you a meatbag, and suggest you make the most of the nice weather – “or else”.

It’s uniquely entertaining in its App Store category, but also usable, colorful, and configurable. The maps are extremely variable by country, and some layers require IAP – as do a number of useful settings. But otherwise this is one of the best – and certainly the most fun – weather apps for iPhone.

Elk
  • $3.99/£3.99/AU$5.99

We’ve lost count of how many currency converters exist on the App Store, but it’s vanishingly rare to see anyone try something properly different.

Elk bucks the trend, with a unique interface and approach that might not appeal to traders, but feels very much like currency conversion for the rest of us.

On firing up the app, you select your two currencies and it offers a list of current rate conversions. For USD to EUR, for example, you get a list of the rates for one through ten dollars. Swiping from the right increases these values by ten. To access rates between two values, tap an entry.

Smartly, you can also input a fixed rate, for example to track your spending on a holiday when you’ve already got your cash. Most of the features are behind a paywall, but a 14-day trial lets you try them for free.

Poison Maps
  • $1.99/£1.99/AU$2.99

This one’s all about ‘points of interest’, hence the name – Poison Maps (‘POIs on maps’). Essentially, it’s a wealth of information from OpenStreetMap shoved into an app and twinned with an interface that makes it a cinch to drill down into categories.

So, mooching about London and fancy a bite to eat? Tap on the food and drink icon. Something quick? Tap Fast Food. Pizza? Sounds good.

Each tap filters the POIs and navigation buttons displayed, and arrows point at nearby locations when you’re zoomed in. Everything’s extremely responsive, and the maps and icons are clear and easy to read. Other nice bits include a full-screen mode, a search function, and public transport overlays.

The only snag is Poison Maps is a gargantuan install – well over 1GB. If that’s a bit rich, smaller regional alternatives by the same developer exist, each being a free download with a small IAP to unlock all categories.

Living Earth
  • $3.99/£3.99/AU$5.99

From a functionality standpoint, Living Earth is a combination clock/weather app. You define a bunch of cities to track, and switch between them to see current time, weather conditions, and when the sun's going to make an appearance and vanish for the day.

Tapping the forecast quickly loads an outlook for the entire week; prod the clock and you'll get the weather and time in each of your defined locations.

What sets Living Earth apart, though, is the globe at the screen's centre. This provides a live view of the planet's weather - clouds, by default, which can be swapped for temperature, wind and humidity.

We like the clouds most, along with the way the virtual planet can be slowly spun with the slightest swipe. It'll then lazily rotate between zones in daylight and those lit up after night has fallen.

Categories: Tech News

Best headphones under Rs 2,000 in India for February 2019

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/11/2019 - 05:10

Some people lose headphones all too easily, while others find them to be very durable. That's why It isn't uncommon to not want to spend too much on a pair of headphones. So why not spend on a budget friendly pair?

This article is the perfect guide to help you choose between options, so that you can purchase the best pair of headphones under Rs 2,000 that are tailored to meet your needs. The 10 pairs listed below offer budget solution without compromising on sound.

Starting from bluetooth headsets to over-the-ear headphones and headsets with a microphone to earpieces without a mic, the list covers every category so that you can choose what fits your bill.

If the price is a non-issue, you can check out our overall list of the best headphones available in the market now.

1More Piston Fit

1More isn't a popular company here in India, yet. However, it does make excellent headphones which are also value for money purchases for consumers. The 1More Piston Fit in-ear headphones are the most affordable in-ears available in the market today which deliver balanced and clear sound. 

The 45-degree angled design of the front cover fits comfortably in the ears, with two extra ear tips you switch between, depending on your ear shape, but some may find the silicon ear tips to be a little flimsy. 

The sound quality is detailed but low-frequency sounds are lacking making the bass appear weak. If you're somebody who values details over bass, then these headphones are made for you.

SoundMagic PL30+ C 

SoundMagic PL30+ C is well-known for its perfectly balanced audio output. There isn't going to be any need for you to fiddle with different equaliser settings to extract the best sound out of the headphones; the company has already done it for you. However, if you are inclined towards a specific type of acoustics, just choose the default equaliser setting for that respective niche and you’re done.

The appearance of the PL30+ C looks quite premium with its metal housing and quality construction. The headphones come in an attractive packaging which consists of a hard case, 5 sets of earbuds and a couple of hooks. 

Sennheiser CX 275 S

Sennheiser is one of the most premium audio equipment manufacturing brands in the world. The CX 275 S is an entry-level offering from the company for the budget consumer. The headphones still manage to offer decent sound output which is a bit more inclined towards the treble.

The Sennheiser CX 275 S fits quite well in the ears and features a composed yet premium build quality. 

SoundMagic E10C

These are another pair of exceptional headphones from SoundMagic. Just like the PL30+ C, the E10C is also tuned quite well with a subtle emphasis on the bass. In our opinion, this is one of best headsets for bass lovers under Rs 2,000.

Moving on to the build quality, the SoundMagic E10C kills it with metal construction and tangle-free wires. The retail package comprises of a plethora of earbuds, premium hard case, clip and a couple of adapters. The E10C is currently available in four attractive color choices.

Sony MDR-EX255AP

The Sony MDR-EX255AP is a decent pair of in-ear headphones with good sound quality. It sports an extensive range of frequency responses and delivers balanced audio output. Little adjustments to the equaliser can reveal the true capabilities of the headset.

Build quality-wise, the mid-range earphones are at par with the competition. The semi-braided wires along with the metal casing look and feel quite premium. With real-silicon earbuds, the Sony MDR-EX255AP fits quite well in the ears.

Sony MDR-XB450

These on-ear headphones are a paradise for bass lovers. With its huge 30 mm drivers, the Sony MDR-XB450 is capable of producing some extreme bass outputs which are quite unmatchable at its price range. However, this extra bass doesn’t mean that the headsets have weak treble. The MDR-XB450 fares quite well in the mids and the highs too.

Talking of the exterior finishing, the Sony MDR-XB450 looks quite magnificent with its flashy metallic housing and well-cushioned ear pads. However, the build quality is not too good for long-term usage as some external glitches tend to appear after a year of extensive use.

Mi In-Ear Headphones Pro HD

These headphones offer great build quality with premium metal housing and sturdy cables. Look-wise, there are few headsets in this price range that can beat the Mi Pro HD.

Xiaomi’s Mi In-Ear Headphones Pro HD is the arguably the best you can get if your budget is Rs 2,000. This is a truly high-end earpiece which is capable of producing top notch sound output as well as unrivaled sound recording ability. The only downside is that the Pro HD requires an extensive burn out period to deliver to its full potential.

Sony Extra Bass MDR-XB50

The Sony Extra Bass MDR-XB50 is another set of bass-oriented headphones from the Japanese company. The earpiece produces exceptional lows with well-balanced mids and highs. The only drawback of this headset is its comparatively lower maximum volume.

The MDR-XB50 is a decent looking product with a glossy metallic finished housing. However, the best part is its true silicon earbuds which fit really well in the ears. Sony also bundles some additional earbuds of different sizes and a carry pouch along with the earphones.

SoundMagic E30 in-ear headphones

The SoundMagic E30 was launched way back in 2013, but still, it is quite relevant to current standards. The earpieces generate a very well-balanced sound output with unmatchable clarity. The best part is that you can enjoy pure music which is not distorted by excessive bass. The E30 focusses more on the treble side while maintaining a composed, yet tight, bass.

When it comes to building quality, the SoundMagic E30 fails to impress. The headphones are made of cheap plastic with sub-standard finishing. The earpieces are designed to be worn over the ears with its cables going around your earlobes. If properly plugged in, the E30 provides exceptional noise cancellation and are quite comfortable too.

Audio-Technica ATH-AX1iS

The Audio-Technica ATH-AX1iS is a great pair of over-the-ear headphones which cost less than Rs 2,000. It offers well-tuned sound output with a somewhat composed bass. These earpieces also feature an inline microphone and volume control keys that work with any Android or iOS device.

Talking about the build quality, the ATH-AX1iS feels quite flimsy and the finishing is not really up to the mark. However, the headset is surprisingly durable and would not break off that easily. Last but not the least, the Audio-Technica ATH-AX1iS fits really well on the ears and you won’t feel uneasy even after extended usage.

Still haven't found what you're looking for? 

Check out our list of the best noise-cancelling headphones or our list of the best wireless headphones available in India.

Categories: Tech News

AirPods 2 could have 'deeper bass' and support AirPower wireless charging

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/11/2019 - 05:09

A new report from My Smart Price claims that the Apple AirPods 2 will boast "superior audio quality" to their predecessors, but will largely look the same as the original AirPods

Citing a "trusted source", Apple has apparently updated the inner workings of its flagship wireless earbuds to allow for a "more impressive bass response", as well as a new coating on the housing of the earphones for "improved grip".

My Smart Price says that the new coating could be "similar to the the one Google uses for its Pixel smartphones."

The report also further backs up claims that the AirPods 2 will have biometric sensors, allowing them to double up as a fitness tracker. Back in July Apple filed a patent for biometric sensors which would allow the AirPods 2 to take on fitness tracking capabilities like those seen in the Jabra Elite Wireless. This followed another patent filed in March

My Smart Price also suggests that we could be getting some new color options with the AirPods 2, saying that Apple will be offering the AirPods 2 in "two colors: Black and White."

The report doesn't offer any further news on a AirPods 2 release date, but a recent report from Digitimes claims that the Apple AirPods 2 will come out in the first six months of 2019.

AirPower to the people

The report from My Smart Price also claimed that the long-awaited AirPower wireless charging mat would finally be released in the next few months, alongside a "wireless charging case for the first-generation AirPods."

The source says that Apple is working on a few “exclusive features” for the AirPower, but that they will "not be available until iOS 13 is released." They also claim that, the AirPower wireless charging pad is "likely to be priced around $150 (£115 / AU$210) at launch."

With any rumors, it's important to take them with a pinch of salt. Much of what has been reported on the Apple AirPods 2 is of course, speculation. There has so far been no official comment from Apple on the Apple AirPods 2, let alone a confirmation of a released date. Still, everything is pointing to a 2019 release – when exactly, remains to be seen. 

Via My Smart Price

Categories: Tech News

NHS will use smart speakers to identify at-risk patients

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/11/2019 - 05:08

The UK's National Health Service will leverage smart speaker technology to identify patients at risk of self-harm or suicide, according to a report published today (February 11).

Commissioned by the NHS, Dr Eric Topol's report pointed to the inevitable implementation of digital technologies in the health service, such as AI medical scanners and even forms of therapy hosted in virtual reality - and signalled the use of voice assistants to enhance the amount of patient support available.

The report also clarified that London hospices were already laying the groundwork for AI-based patient support.

Increasing calls for mental health provision have been one of the major challenges facing the NHS in recent years, and it's no surprise it's looking to technology to assist with it.

Smart assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant are now widely implemented in millions of homes and businesses, and regular citizens' are increasingly prepared to use voice-controlled AI for a number of daily tasks.

I hear you

Years after the advent of health service 'chatbots', designed to help users through common health concerns, smart assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant are finding a wide variety of health related uses in the NHS and elsewhere.

The technology is likely to prove a double-edged sword; while using robot assistants to listen to people's problems may be time-efficient, it's easy to feel an emotional disconnect when you're not speaking to a real, living doctor.

When looking to new tech to improve our mental health, we have to make sure it doesn't further isolate us from each other - otherwise what good is it doing?

Via The Telegraph

Categories: Tech News

Firefox could soon block cryptominers and fingerprinters

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/11/2019 - 05:05

Firefox could soon protect your PC from cryptominers and fingerprinting techniques (which follow you around the web when you use different browsers on the same computer).

As Bleeping Computer reports, Mozilla has been considering ways to block these threats since May 2018, and intended to implement a solution in Firefox 63, but such a feature was nowhere to be seen when version 63 appeared in October.

In a recent bug report, developer Johann Hoffman posted a mockup illustrating how cryptomining and fingerprinting protection could be integrated into Firefox's custom blocking preferences.

The two new options will appear in your browser security settings. If you visit a site that contains 'blockable content', clicking a notification in your browser's address bar will reveal whether any fingerprinters or cryptominers have been detected.

What is fingerprinting?

Unlike tracking cookies, fingerprinters identify you using parts your PC's unique configuration that are visible to all browsers.

A fingerprint can be built using a combination of your screen resolution, your list of installed fonts, and various settings related to your graphics card, including the way it renders certain objects.

Categories: Tech News

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active leak hints at small screen with no rotating bezel

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/11/2019 - 05:01

The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active may pack a smaller display and miss out on the rotating bezel which has been a key feature on Samsung's previous smartwatches.

This latest Galaxy Watch Active leak comes via SamMobile, which claims the wearable will have a 1.1-inch display - which is notably smaller than the 1.3-inch screen on the Samsung Galaxy Watch and the 1.2-inch display on the Active's predecessor, the Gear Sport.

With a smaller display, it may be a little trickier to navigate around the Watch Active's interface, with your finger potentially blocking a lot of the screen from view. 

You'd think then, this would be a perfect opportunity for Samsung's rotating ring bezel to shine. On previous watches such as the Galaxy Watch and Gear Sport, the rotating bezel around the display allows you to scroll through menus and messages, with a physical click allowing you to select options on screen.

This keeps the screen clear, as you don't have to move your finger across it as much. However, SamMobile says the Galaxy Watch Active won't benefit from this feature.

Coming soon

There apparently won't be a larger variant of the wearable either, with the only model number relating to the Galaxy Watch Active being SM-R500, with no sign of any more at the moment.

Further rumored specs for the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active include water resistance up to 50 meters, an Exynos 9110 chipset, 4GB of storage, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC, which are packed into a 13mm frame - which would make it thicker than the 11.6mm Gear Sport, but the same thickness as the Galaxy Watch.

There may not be long to wait to see if this leak is accurate, as we could see the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active launch as soon as February 20, when Samsung will take the covers off the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10 Plus.

Via PhoneArena

Categories: Tech News

AI, 5G and the race to completely autonomous vehicles

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/11/2019 - 05:00

As companies race towards completely autonomous vehicles; data processing, data analysis and telematics will make the difference between victory and defeat. Over the last three years, dozens of ambitious companies have raised over 10 billion euros to capture this new opportunity. 

The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and 5G are game changers in this space, making the race even more interesting. If you’re looking to win gold, implementing a data-centric architecture will get you over the finish line first.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Data - the fuel powering the AI engine

With breakthroughs in AI infrastructure and machine learning (ML), the amount of data that can be processed instantaneously is increasing exponentially. As telematics monitor the vehicle as a whole, using AI and ML will increase the accuracy of the insights distilled from the data that is produced and analysed. We have already seen some great advancements in telematics, from car insurance companies that can produce quotes based on how someone drives, or reduce accidents by highlighting blind spots to drivers ahead of time. With AI and ML, the applications of telematics will increase.

Collected data can be shared and analysed much quicker with a central management system. This means data scientists can process the amount of data required to ensure safety, without compromising time-to-market and development cycles. The technology that will enable fully autonomous vehicles is still evolving, but there’s no doubt that AI and ML will play a vital role.

Ensuring the optimal power-to-weight ratio for ML power

AI is made powerful through the extraction of real-time data and development of predictive analytics through ML. In today’s world speed is everything, and there’s no time for data bottlenecks; AI infrastructures must be engineered to efficiently process data. In the automotive sector this is critical not only for the safety of passengers, but also so that data scientists can focus on data to bring autonomous vehicles to the roads, and not designing and building the infrastructure itself.

Our work with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Motorsport team is a great example of this. The team uses one of our storage arrays trackside, so they can collect data from over 250 sensors on a car and use real-time analysis to make in-race adjustments. They also use our FlashBlade solution to run modelling sequences based on massive amounts of historical data from past races, to help design the car most likely to win future races.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Switching gears with 5G

5G will accelerate the speed of data processing, enabling greater accuracy, and faster response times for telematics in autonomous vehicles. One key transformation 5G will bring is the ability to capture and process telematic data continuously wherever the car may be rather than having to have the car return to base to access the data it has collected before being able to process it through the data pipeline.

This is transformational in that it allows better productivity and faster time to intelligence through real-time data streaming rather than the old world of batch processing when the data is finally made available. The efficiencies mean more car-hours on the road leading to more data and greater accuracy all delivered in a compressed timeframe. By processing increasing volumes of data with greater frequency, autonomous driving software will continue to learn and improve over time.

Driving like tomorrow, today

As AI continues to advance, companies must ensure that their underlying IT infrastructure keeps pace by being scalable, and easy to evolve. To keep up in the race towards truly autonomous vehicles, companies must start thinking about tomorrow’s infrastructure today. 

This means implementing a data-centric infrastructure – a modern design which puts data at the core of a company’s IT infrastructure. In doing so, companies will be better able to take advantage of advances in technologies like AI and deep learning, which have the potential to transform what we can discern from data. 

Peter Gadd, VP EMEA Core Markets at PureStorage  

Categories: Tech News

The best Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus model might arrive later than the rest

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/11/2019 - 04:57

We now have a good idea of when the limited edition Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus model (rumored to have 12GB of RAM and 1TB of storage) might land, as Samsung itself has all but confirmed a March 15 sale date.

More specifically, the pre-order page for the Galaxy S10 range on the Samsung Philippines website contains the image below (once you’ve logged in).

It shows outlines of four phones and while none of them are named, it’s fairly obvious from the sizes that the two on the left are versions of the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus. The second from the right is likely the standard Samsung S10, and the one on the right is the Samsung Galaxy S10E (aka Galaxy S10 Lite), or whatever it’s set to be called.

Then beyond that, ‘Option A’ is almost-certainly the top model, as it’s labeled as a limited edition, and this one shows that March 15 date.

None of the other models have a date attached, but earlier rumors suggested that they would hit stores on March 8, meaning you’d have to wait a week longer for the top version of the S10 Plus.

The limited edition is thought to have 12GB of RAM. Image credit: Samsung Philippines

It’s worth noting that the March 8 rumors could be wrong of course. So it’s possible that all models will land on March 15, or that the others will actually arrive later. As this is for the Philippines it’s also possible that the March 15 date only applies there, though we’d expect launch dates to be the same for most countries.

You might want to think twice about whether you even want this model though, as it’s sure to be very expensive, with rumors pointing to a price of around $1,500 (roughly £1,160 / AU$2,115). We’re also not convinced that it will really benefit from that much RAM. Nor are most people likely to really need 1TB of storage.

Still, there might be an even more expensive model coming later, as we’ve previously heard whispers of a 5G handset, possibly called the Samsung Galaxy S10 X, which could land on March 29 with an even bigger 6.66-inch screen.

Via XDA Developers and SlashGear

Categories: Tech News

The best 2-in-1 laptops for 2019 in India: Top hybrid laptops ranked

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/11/2019 - 04:49

Hybrid laptops are always trending and options in the market grow with every new launch. They're light, easy to travel with and compact. Most of the 2-in-1 laptops available come equipped with Windows 10. However, not all hybrid laptops are the same. Some are bundled with styluses as neat little designer-centric embellishments, while others are free of bells and whistles. 

At the same time, you’ll notice that certain 2-in-1 laptops make use of 360-degree hinges while the rest take advantage of detachable screens, independent of their physical keyboards.

However, if you don't care whether your laptop can rotate 360-degrees and just want the best notebook there is, then you should check out our list of the best laptops in 2018.

Microsoft's Surface Book 2 is the perfect 2-in-1 for anyone looking for performance and mobility. Especially the 13.5-inch version, which is a very premium convertible laptop with no expense spared, so you get excellent performance and incredible battery life.

Having said that, it does not come cheap which is why it is going to put off a lot of potential customers. But if you can afford it, then you will be getting a brilliant laptop, an absolute bang for your bucks.

 Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Book 2

With an overhauled keyboard, a stylus in the box, excellent speakers and a gorgeous touchscreen, the HP Spectre x360 holds its own against anything Apple can show. In fact, some of the features have even drawn their inspiration from Apple's design.

The four-speaker arrangement, reminiscent of the iPad Pro, ensures user-facing sound regardless of its orientation. Meanwhile, the new x360 dual-wields USB-C ports for faster charging and data transfers. Sound familiar? At the same time, none of this stifles the battery life, which manages to exceed eight hours of straight use.

What’s more, the HP Spectre x360 can now be configured with a 4K screen and 1TB of SSD storage at a reasonable premium, making it even more deserving of the top spot on our list.

Read the full review: HP Spectre x360

The Asus ZenBook Flip S is an incredibly thin, light, capable and versatile laptop.   Asus may have taken some obvious inspirations in its design and aesthetic from the  the 12-inch MacBook, but has done so in such a way that outclasses those rivals.

It doesn't neglect the wholly aluminum chassis of the yesteryear. Although it’s still strikingly thin, the Asus ZenBook Flip S still manages to bear more weight than many other laptops in its class due in part to its reversible display. On the upside, the keyboard and trackpad, which are notably large and comfortable, also contribute to the laptop’s heft. 

Having said all that, the ZenBook Flip S makes for some really exciting buying quotient which is why it is one of the best 2-in-1 available right now.

Read the full review: Asus ZenBook Flip S

Somewhat inevitably, the hybrid nature of the Pavilion x360 leads to its undoing. It's underpowered compared to similarly priced laptops, and lacks the responsiveness and lightness of dedicated tablets. It doesn't do a great job of being a truly compelling example of either of these things.

But its usability, attractive and sturdy design, along with the impressive price tag means that it shouldn't be completely dismissed – especially if you really want a machine that offers both laptop and tablet use modes.

Read the full review: HP Pavilion x360 

Like every 2-in-1 on this list, the Dell Inspiron 13 7000 does it all. During the day it can be a laptop used for work or study, but flip that sucker inside out and it’s equally proficient as a tablet, optimal for watching movies or serving up a fresh dose of memes to your friends on Facebook. 

The Inspiron 13 7000 is not unwieldy nor is it overwhelmingly loud and sultry. Rather, it manages to pull of an exquisite design without any of the pitfalls that usually afflict notebooks like this one. 

It’s not perfect, seeing as the Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1 is a tad weak in the audio department. There’s a bit of a muffled sound dispelled from its middling speakers. This makes for a case where you’ll almost definitely want to shell out for a pair of nice headphones to go with it. 

Despite this, the keyboard feels great, the screen looks great and the tablet mode leaves plenty of room for procrastination. There’s nothing that particularly stands out with the Dell Inspiron 7000, but if it ain’t broke...

Read the full review: Dell Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1

The Lenovo Yoga 720 is a rare instance of a hybrid that feels just as homely as a laptop as it does a tablet. Although it’s the kind that flips 360 degrees rather than toting a detachable hinge, the modest pricing and formidable design choices more than make up for a slight deficiency in versatility. What’s more, the Lenovo Yoga 720 shows off the pristine capabilities of Windows Hello by means of a neatly placed fingerprint scanner.

For the price, the Yoga 720 gives you a nice, crisp screen (even if the 1080p starting model isn’t ideal) as well as a nice and comfy keyboard and trackpad. 

The only caveat is the ports, which are limited to two USB 3.1 Type-C’s and one very pertinent USB 3.0 slot. Everything else, such as HDMI output and SD card fidgeting will have to be done using pricey adapters. Then again, if you’re living in the future and handling everything through the cloud, there’s a lot to love about the Lenovo Yoga 720. 

Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga 720

Categories: Tech News

Best movies on Amazon Prime Video: top films to watch in Australia right now

Latest Tech News - Sun, 02/10/2019 - 23:34

When it comes to streaming media, Australians now have access to an incredible wealth of video content that can be instantly viewed with only a few screen taps or button presses. 

Much like Netflix, Stan and Foxtel Now, Amazon Prime Video has a huge selection of movies on offer, with something for absolutely everybody. The problem is, the sheer amount of titles in the service's content library can be a little overwhelming for those who want to jump in and start watching immediately. 

If you're sick of browsing endlessly, you've come to the right place – we've done the job for you, selecting a number of fantastic films (as well as some delightfully trashy ones) for every occasion, so all you have to do is sit back and start your viewing odyssey.

Most of the films on this list, which has been curated by TechRadar editors, are backed up with ratings from IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes – so that you don't have to sift through the muck. That said, if you want to switch your brain off and get stuck into some cheesy, low-brow entertainment, we've got that stuff, too. 

We'll keep this best-of list up to date with the latest movies that are must-watch, so make sure you keep checking back to see all the great stuff that's been added. 

We're obsessed with science fiction and high tech futuristic worlds here at TechRadar. Here are our picks for the best science fiction movies currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video. 

Serenity

Credit: Universal

The theatrical conclusion to the beloved (yet short-lived) television series Firefly, Serenity tied off the various loose ends left behind after Joss Whedon's space cowboy show was axed. Led by Captain Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion), the crew of the Serenity cargo ship are known for engaging various smuggling adventures and shady dealings across the galaxy. However, trouble comes looking for them in the form of an assassin (Chiwetel Ejiofor) who's after River (Summer Glau), a gifted telepath and one of the crew's members. Like a cross between Star Wars (particularly the Han Solo parts) and Cowboy Bebop, Serenity is a crowd-pleasing sci-fi actioner with plenty of heart. 

IMDB Rating: 7.9, Rotten Tomatoes: 83%

War of the Worlds

Credit: Paramount Pictures 

Tom Cruise will do anything to protect his family from a full-scale alien invasion in War of the Worlds, director Steven Spielberg's adaptation of H.G. Wells' classic science fiction novel. Spielberg, known to be a master of suspense, ratchets up the tension to near unbearable levels in the film, with numerous dread-filled set pieces on offer that rival anything from his illustrious filmography (that includes Jaws, Jurassic Park and Saving Private Ryan). Using imagery inspired by the 9/11 attacks (the invading Tripods blast humans into white ashes) and Hurricane Katrina (desperate people turn violent against each other in an attempt to survive their horrific circumstances), War of the Worlds is a far cry from E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

IMDB Rating: 6.5, Rotten Tomatoes: 75%

Men in Black

Credit: Sony Pictures

Fresh off the success of the global phenomenon Independence Day, Will Smith went straight back to work on another sci-fi film about aliens, albeit one with a much lighter tone and an emphasis on comedy. Starring alongside Tommy Lee Jones, Smith led Men in Black to huge dollars at the box office, leading to two more films and an upcoming reboot starring Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson. The original film, however, is still the best, offering great mix of comedy and genre-based hijinx, similar to the likes of Ghostbusters. Now go and watch it, lest Big Willy let his noisy cricket get wicked on ya.

IMDB Rating: 7.3, Rotten Tomatoes: 92%

Need some kid-friendly entertainment that will keep the young ones entertained? Here are some of the best family movies that Amazon Prime Video is currently streaming. Don't worry – all of these picks are child friendly. 

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Credit: Sony Pictures

Before Phil Lord and Chris Miller hit it big directing The LEGO Movie, the duo released Cloudy wth a Chance of Meatballs, a surprisingly hilarious, clever and visually inventive animated kids film that even grown-ups can enjoy. In an effort to save his struggling community, wacky scientist Flint (Bill Hader) invents a machine that can turn water into food. While the machine is initially a success, it somehow ends up in the atmosphere, causing endless amounts of food to rain down on the city, causing all sorts of chaos in the process. 

IMDB Rating: 7.0, Rotten Tomatoes: 86%

Despicable Me

Credit: Universal

Love them or hate them, kids (and possibly your mum) can't get enough of these crazy Minions, so why get the family together to watch the first movie in the enormously successful Despicable Me franchise? This animated film stars Steve Carrell as the voice of Gru, a criminal mastermind with an army of Minions to do his bidding for him (if only he could get them to pay attention). Things change, however, when Gru meets three orphaned girls who see him as a father figure. Will the girls (and the Minions) be able to melt this grump's miserable heart?

IMDB Rating: 7.7, Rotten Tomatoes: 81%

How to Train Your Dragon

Credit: Dreamworks Animation

One of the best animated films of the last decade, How to Train Your Dragon surprised everyone with its tale of a young Viking boy who defies his village's dragon hunting ways to become the very first dragon rider. When Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) stumbles upon an injured Night Fury, the rarest and most-feared dragon in existence, he manages to befriend the creature (which he adorably names 'Toothless'), eventually teaching his family a valuable lesson in the process. Packed with incredible action and adventure, How to Train Your Dragon is a classic that can be enjoyed by both young and old. 

IMDB Rating: 81%, Rotten Tomatoes: 98%

From suspenseful scares to gruesome gore flicks, Amazon Prime Video has an excellent selection of horror films. Easily eclipsing its streaming competition when it comes to classic fright flicks, browsing Prime's selection is like stepping back in time and into the horror section of your local video store. On top of this, you also have access to some great recent scary movies. Here are some of the best horror movies on Amazon Prime Video. 

A Quiet Place

Credit: Paramount Pictures

One of the best scary movies of the last few years, A Quiet Place sees its characters pursued by blind creatures that hunt solely by sound. The only way this young family, led by John Krasinski (Jack Ryan) and Emily Blunt (Sicario), will have any hope for survival is to remain completely silent at all times. Krasinski, who also writes and directs the film, builds tension with a masterful sense of suspense – every tiny creak or noise could lead to the characters' deaths, forcing the audience to also sit in silence and play close attention. A Quiet Place is the kind of horror film that will have you on the edge of your seat for its entire running time.

IMDB Rating: 7.6, Rotten Tomatoes: 95%

The House on Sorority Row

Credit: Shock

One of the more highly-regarded slasher movies from the sub-genre's golden era (1978-1984), The House on Sorority Row sees a group of sorority sisters stalked by a murderous maniac in a court jester's outfit after one of their pranks goes horribly wrong. Delivering everything you'd expect from a good slasher, including a high body count, shocking kills and a sexed-up young cast, The House on Sorority Row still manages to keep you guessing about the killer's identity until the very end. Just make sure you steer clear of the mediocre 2009 remake. 

IMDB Rating: 6.1, Rotten Tomatoes: 56%

Society

Credit: Umbrella Entertainment

Likely to be the most bizarre horror movie to grace this list, Society is a body-horror / melt film unlike any other. California teenager Bill (Billy Warlock) senses that something is not quite right with his wealthy family, and he's right: it turns out they're actually part of an orgy cult for the rich elite in Beverly Hills, and we wish that were the most shocking discovery made by Bill throughout Society's running time! With some truly disgusting (and mind-blowing) practical gore effects from the great Screaming Mad George (Re-Animator 2, Predator), Society is the kind of horror film that has to be seen to be believed. Not for the squeamish!

IMDB Rating: 6.5, Rotten Tomatoes: 55%

I Know What You Did Last Summer

Credit: Sony Pictures

While celebrating their high school graduation, a group of teenagers (including Jennifer Love Hewitt, Freddie Prinze Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar and Ryan Phillippe) accidentally run over a man in the middle of the night. Convinced their lives will be over if anyone finds out about this incident, most of the group makes a pact to dump the body and pretend it never happened. Of course, this is a slasher movie, so that's easier said than done! Exactly one year after that fateful night, a hook-wielding killer shows up and begins to terrorise each member of the group, and now it's up to Julie (Love Hewitt) to uncover the killer's identity before it's too late. Like most teen horror movies, critics weren't so kind to I Know What You Did Last Summer upon initial release (it was unfavourably compared to Scream, which shared the same screenwriter), but it remains a favourite for '90s kids to this day thanks to its potent scares and intriguing mystery. 

IMDB Rating: 5.7, Rotten Tomatoes: 36%

We love a good thriller, which is why we've narrowed down some of the best ones that are now available to watch on Amazon Prime Video. These films will have you on the edge of your seat in suspense, so sit back, try to relax, and enjoy.

No Country For Old Men

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Javier Bardem won an Oscar for essentially playing the human personification of death in No Country For Old Men, a taut thriller from the Coen brothers (The Big Lebowski, Fargo). Every single moment that Bardem is on-screen is filled with dread, as he leaves a trail of bodies across Texas in search of a missing bag of cartel money, which is in the possession of Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin). Can the local sheriff (Tommy Lee Jones) catch up to Llewelyn before his pursuer reaches him? A film that's as bleak and unsettling as the Cormac McCarthy novel that it's based on, No Country For Old Men will surely haunt you for years to come. 

IMDB Rating: 8.1, Rotten Tomatoes: 93%

Switchback

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Without question, the '90s was a true golden era for serial killer thrillers, with films like The Silence of the Lambs, Se7en and Copycat being particularly memorable. However, there were a number of worthwhile gems released during this time that managed to slip through the cracks, with Switchback being one film that's particularly underrated (especially by critics). Frank LaCrosse (Dennis Quaid) is an FBI agent on the trail of a vicious serial killer. Things become personal for LaCrosse when the killer kidnaps his son. Meanwhile, a young medical school dropout (Jared Leto) hitches a ride with a local drifter (Danny Glover) across the American Southwest. As they travel across snowy Colorado, more dead bodies seem to pile up in their wake. How long before they pair crosses paths with LaCrosse? And will he find his boy before it's too late? Also stars R. Lee Ermey (Full Metal Jacket), Ted Levine (The Silence of the Lambs) and William Fichtner (The Dark Knight). 

IMDB Rating: 6.4, Rotten Tomatoes: 32%

Munich

Credit: Universal

Though he's established a rabid fan base due to the success of blockbuster films like Jurassic Park, Jaws and Raiders of the Lost Ark, director Steven Spielberg is arguably at his best when tackling more grown up fare – films like Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan can attest to that. However, there is one film in particular that is arguably the most complex and adult of his entire career, and that film is Munich. Based on the real-life tragedy that occurred during the 1972 Munich Summer Olympics, in which the entire Israeli team was taken hostage and then massacred by the Palestinian terrorist group Black September, the film sheds light on Israel's secret retaliation missions. Allegedly, these black ops saw undercover Mossad agents (played here by the likes of Eric Bana, Daniel Craig and Ciarán Hinds) track down and assassinate the men believed responsible in a rather public manner. Rather than take sides in the still ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine, Spielberg questions the cost of vengeance on the conscience and soul of an entire country, asking whether it ultimately achieves anything other than more bloodshed. A riveting film that does not shy away from the story's more harrowing aspects. 

IMDB Rating: 7.6, Rotten Tomatoes: 77%

Collateral

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Tom Cruise plays totally against type in Collateral, a fantastic thriller from visionary director Michael Mann (Heat, Miami Vice). Cruise plays Vincent, a ruthless hitman with silver hair who forces cabbie Max (Jamie Foxx) to be his personal chauffeur for the night as he travels around Los Angeles taking out targets. Can Max make it out of this situation alive? Or will he end up as Vincent's final victim? Using special digital cameras to capture LA at night in all its gritty glory, Mann achieves a sense of realism that makes you feel like you're right there with the characters. Packed with action and suspense, Collateral is an immaculately crafted thriller which shows a much scarier side of Cruise than we're used to seeing. 

IMDB Rating: 7.5, Rotten Tomatoes: 86%

We're serious cinephiles here at at TechRadar. It's not all about Marvel around here – we enjoy a good tear-jerker, too. There are many serious drama films streaming on Amazon Prime Video right now – here are some of the best ones. 

The Godfather & The Godfather Part II

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Two of the greatest films of all time, Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather and The Godfather Part II are now available to stream on Amazon Prime Video. The first film charts the rise of Micheal Corleone (Al Pacino), a war hero who takes control of his family's crime dynasty following an attempt on the life of his father, Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando). Its follow-up, The Godfather Part II, simultaneously acts as a prequel and sequel, showing us how a young Vito (Robert De Niro) came into power, while also continuing Michael's story from the first film. Both films swept the Oscars in their respective years, and it's not hard to see why – The Godfather and The Godfather Part II are undisputed masterpieces, each telling grand, ambitious stories that deal with big themes on an epic canvas. You'd be hard-pressed to find two finer examples of the power of cinema. 

The Godfather: IMDB Rating: 9.2, Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
The Godfather Part II: IMDB Rating: 9.0, Rotten Tomatoes: 97%

The Social Network

Credit: Sony Pictures

Perhaps the best film ever made about the tech industry, The Social Network tells the story of the early days of Facebook, with a mesmerising Jesse Eisenberg playing the company's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, and Andrew Garfield starring as its co-founder, Eduardo Saverin. Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing) is known for his fast-talking, witty characters, and he truly outdoes himself here, providing Eisenberg with more snappy verbal barbs than the real Zuckerberg is likely capable of (no Sweet Baby Ray's or smoked brisket discussions to be found here). That said, it all adds up to an immensely gripping film directed with clockwork-like precision by visionary auteur, David Fincher (Zodiac, Fight Club). Throw in some impressive supporting turns from Justin Timberlake (as Napster founder Sean Parker) and Armie Hammer (playing both of the Winklevoss twins), and you have an honest-to-goodness classic. 

IMDB Rating: 7.7, Rotten Tomatoes: 95%

Taxi Driver

Credit: Sony Pictures

Few films in the history of cinema are as powerful as Martin Scorsese's masterpiece, Taxi Driver. Made in the mid '70s, back when New York was a rougher, dirtier place, the film practically oozes a scuzzy, neon-bathed atmosphere all of its own. Robert De Niro plays Travis Bickle, a troubled, lonely Vietnam vet who takes a gig driving a cab because he just can't sleep at night. Though he's disgusted with the Big Apple's sleazy, vice-filled ways, Travis can't seem to stay away from its seedier areas, picking up questionable fares in bad neighbourhoods and frequenting scummy porno theatres in an effort to cure his insomnia. After a failed attempt to start a normal relationship with political campaign worker Betsy (Cybill Shepherd), Travis meets a 12-year-old prostitute named Iris (Jodie Foster) as she attempts to run away from her despicable pimp, Sport (Harvey Keitel). With his revulsion pushed over the edge, Travis stocks up on firearms and channels his immense anger and hatred into a mission to save Iris from her tragic circumstances. Fantastically directed and acted, and featuring the late, great Bernard Hermann's haunting final score, Taxi Driver is a film that every lover of cinema needs to see. 

IMDB Rating: 8.3, Rotten Tomatoes: 99%

Need a good laugh? Amazon Prime Video has some wonderful comedies on offer, with a bit of something for everyone. From the light-hearted, to the pitch black, you're guaranteed to find some laughs below.

Hot Rod

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Before they exploded onto the scene with their comedic hip-hop group The Lonely Island, Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer released Hot Rod, a hilarious comedy starring Samberg as a talentless stuntman named Rod who believes his birth father was Evel Knievel's back-up. In order to raise money for his stepfather's operation, Rod teams up with his stepbrother (Taccone) and friends (Bill Hader, Danny McBride and Isla Fisher) to host a huge stunt that would see him attempt to jump over 12 buses on a moped. Quirky, quotable and filled with off-the-wall moments (including an incredible montage set to John Farnham's 'You're the Voice'), Hot Rod is a comedy cult classic that was completely misunderstood by critics at the time of its release, but will only grow in popularity as the years tick over. Cool beans? Cool beans.

IMDB Rating: 6.7, Rotten Tomatoes: 40%

The Big Lebowski

Credit: Universal 

One of the Coen Brothers' finest (and funniest) films, The Big Lebowski has continued to grow in popularity since its 1998 release. Jeff Bridges stars as 'The Dude', a laid-back hippie who lives his life without a care in the world – that is, until a case of mistaken identity finds him embroiled noirish mystery involving a rich guy's missing trophy wife, misplaced money, shady pornographers, scissor-happy nihilists and a stolen rug (it really tied the room together). On top of this, The Dude's crazy bowling partner Walter (John Goodman) forces himself into the situation, making everything worse as a result. Surprising and endlessly quotable, The Big Lebowski is a bonafide classic – but that's just, like, our opinion, man. 

IMDB Rating: 8.1, Rotten Tomatoes: 82%

Hot Fuzz

Credit: Universal

Following the success of their classic rom-zom-com, Shaun of the Dead, director Edgar Wright, star and writer Simon Pegg and co-star Nick Frost teamed up once again to bring their hilarious sensibilities to the buddy-cop movie genre with Hot Fuzz. London super-cop Nicholas Angel (Pegg) is involuntarily transferred to a village in the English countryside for making his superiors look bad by comparison. There, he teams up with dim-witted (but well-meaning) cop Danny Butterman (Nick Frost) and together, the pair uncover a murder conspiracy. If films like Point Break and Bad Boys II are in constant rotation at your place, you absolutely owe it to yourself to grab a Cornetto and watch Hot Fuzz.

IMDB Rating: 7.9, Rotten Tomatoes: 91%

Airplane!

Credit: Paramount Pictures

The spoof comedy that started it all, Airplane! is the kind of film that throws out so many gags per minute, that you won't even notice when one falls flat. A pitch-perfect send-up of the Airport disaster movies of the 1970s, Airplane! works because its performers play their roles completely seriously, as if they're oblivious to the immense silliness all around them. If you love deadpan comedy of The Naked Gun and Top Secret!, which were both made by the same people, you'll love Airplane!

IMDB Rating: 7.8, Rotten Tomatoes: 97%

In the mood for some high-octane entertainment? These are some of the most action-packed movies now streaming on Amazon Prime Video in Australia. Adrenaline junkies will get a kick out of every one of the brawny movies listed below. 

Mission: Impossible (1-4)

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to binge watch the first four Mission: Impossible movies in an effort to witness the escalating lunacy of Tom Cruise as he undertakes death-defying stunts for our amusement! This spy series has gone from strength to strength over the years (well, so long as you don't include M:I-2), with the series' fourth entry, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (pictured) being a particular highlight. We recommend starting with the fantastic first entry, which shows just how much the franchise has changed over the last 20 years.

Watch Mission: Impossible 1-4 now on Amazon Prime Video

The Bourne Saga (1-4)

Credit: Universal

Proving there's no shortage of intense spy action on Amazon Prime Video, the first four Bourne films are now available to stream. Starting with The Bourne Identity, the film tells the story of an amnesiac named Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) who quickly discovers that he's a lethal government assassin before setting off on a quest to discover his true identity. Over the next two instalments, Bourne will take the fight to this creators even further, in an effort to holds those responsible accountable for all the deaths they've caused. In the series fourth entry, The Bourne Legacy, we meet a new superspy named Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) and learn more about the Black Ops program that creates machine-like killers for the government. 

Watch The Bourne Saga (1-4) now on Amazon Prime Video

Bay Boys I & II

Credit: Sony Pictures

Bad Boys, notable for kicking off the cinematic careers of both Michael Bay and Will Smith, is a stylish, action-packed buddy cop movie in which a pair of detectives (Smith and co-star Martin Lawrence) must take down a murderous drug kingpin. Bad Boys II is like the first film times ten, with Bay dialling up the action scenes, style and running time to ludicrous new heights. Violent, profane and legitimately funny, Bad Boys I & II are must-see films for action fans, even if they were absolutely hated by critics.

Bad Boys: IMDB Rating: 6.9, Rotten Tomatoes: 42%
Bad Boys II: IMDB Rating: 6.6, Rotten Tomatoes: 22%

Top Gun

Credit: Paramount Pictures

If you feel the need, the need for speed, then look no further than Top Gun, the classic fighter pilot action film that made Tom Cruise a megastar. Cruise plays the hotshot pilot Maverick, who must remove the chip from his shoulder that's holding him back from being the ace pilot he's destined to be. Featuring an amazing '80s soundtrack and incredible jet fighter scenes, Top Gun is adrenaline-junkie's dream. Watch it before the upcoming sequel, which is in production right now!

IMDB Rating: 6.9, Rotten Tomatoes: 54%

Categories: Tech News

Google Maps AR navigation is currently being trialed by select users

Latest Tech News - Sun, 02/10/2019 - 20:30

While navigation by way of Google Maps is, for the most part, a smooth process for pedestrians, there’s usually an awkward moment of failed orientation when you first start the feature and try and line yourself up with the little blue dot.

At the tech giant’s 2018 IO developer conference, Google announced a new feature it was working on for its navigation app that uses a combination of AI, AR and your phone’s camera to help with the real-time wayfinding process.

More specifically, this new feature uses imagery from your camera along with location data to match your position via Google Street View, and with this information, is able to overlay visual cues such as arrows on your live camera feed.

The same technology will be able to point out landmarks, business and restaurants in the cities that it’s active in.

Google Maps AR will orient itself by scanning nearby features [Image Credit: Google]

Testing has begun

Although the Google Maps AR feature was announced halfway through 2018, it has not yet arrived on any consumer devices, but The Wall Street Journal has been able to test out an early version of it.

Author David Pierce states that Google has only made the feature available to some users for testing at the moment and expects a wider release “later”, as some aspects of the user interface still need refinement.

The current version of the AR feature requires users to hold the camera up and point to a few nearby points, at which stage Pierce noted that it only took “a few seconds” to realize where it was “with remarkable precision”.

Google hasn’t given any indication of a date as to when this feature will become widely available, and Pierce notes that it will arrive “only when Google is satisfied that it’s ready”.

Categories: Tech News

Latest Google Chrome beta for Android includes experimental ‘dark mode’

Latest Tech News - Sun, 02/10/2019 - 20:05

Further proving that 2019 is the year of the dark mode, Google's latest Chrome 73 beta for Android has revealed an early look at the mobile browser's upcoming night-friendly viewing option. 

Having already revealed its plans to bring dark mode to its macOS and Windows 10 browsers, the Android test is still in its early stages, only appearing in pop-up menus when Android 9 Pie’s 'Night Mode' is set to 'Always On' in 'Developer Options', as reported by 9to5Google.

As you can see from the images below, the experimental dark mode turns pop-up menus dark gray, as opposed to their usual all-white design. 

Credit: 9to5Google

Based on these images, it's clear that Chrome for Android's dark mode still has a long way to go, with URL text still displaying in black, making it quite hard to read against a dark gray background.

Aside from appearing in pop-up menus, Chrome's dark mode is also reportedly absent from the rest of the app – if a proper dark mode for Google's Android browser does go ahead, it's expected that its regular menus, address bar and navigation section will also receive the night mode treatment.

To test out the experimental dark mode for yourself, you can download the latest version of the Chrome Beta app from the Google Play Store now, though you will need a handset running Android 9 Pie for it to work.

Categories: Tech News

TechLife's March 2019 issue is out now!

Latest Tech News - Sun, 02/10/2019 - 19:30

Make the most of your Apple devices with our Ultimate Apple Masterclass - Discover essential time-saving tips, and learn to troubleshoot like a pro! 

Plus, Save money and ditch your next upgrade with our guide to making the most of your old smartphone, and discover why 8K TV is here to stay with our review of Samsung’s new Q900R 8K TV.

  • Best Chromebooks 
  • Asus ROG phone reviewed
  • Secure your Android device
  • The best of CES
  • And lots more!

Grab your copy from newsagents, selected supermarkets or digitally via the Google Play Store or Apple Newsstand from Monday, 11th of February.

Readers can also find our selection of exclusive software downloads here.

Subscribe to the print edition and save!

Subscribe to the print edition of TechLife and you'll enjoy a greatly-reduced cover price plus delivery directly to your door. Visit Techmags for full details:

Get the digital edition for your tablet

Alternatively, to grab a digital edition to read on your iOS or Android device, follow these links to the Apple Newsstand or Google Play Store:

Categories: Tech News

How to watch the 2019 Grammys: live stream the awards ceremony from anywhere

Latest Tech News - Sun, 02/10/2019 - 16:30

Music’s so-called biggest night is here with the 61st annual Grammy Awards taking place tonight at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. This year’s award ceremony will be hosted by 15-time Grammy winner Alicia Keys and this will be her first time hosting the ceremony. Want to know how to get a Grammys live stream? You're in the right place...

The three-and-a-half hour extravaganza will feature performances from nominees Chloe X Halle, Grammy-winner Lady Gaga (choosing this over the Bafta film awards), fellow winner Mark Ronson and Grammy nominee Travis Scott fresh off his performance at Super Bowl LIII. The legendary Aretha Franklin, best known for her hit song 'Respect' among many, many others, will also be honored by Grammy winners Yolanda Adams, Fantasia and past Grammy-nominee Andra Day.

Drake and Kendrick Lamar have the most nominations this year and both artists could win a Grammy for album of the year, record of the year, or both! Last year’s Grammy Awards faced a backlash over the lack of female nominees but this year that won’t be the case, with five female artists in the running for album of the year.

If a three and a half hour award ceremony isn’t enough for you, don’t worry as Grammy.com has you covered with the Premiere Ceremony starting at 12.30pm PT (3.30pm PT, 8.30pm GMT) and Red Carpet coverage at 2pm PT (5pm ET, 10pm GMT). If you’re an avid music fan or just enjoy the glamour of the award show, we’ll show you exactly how to live stream the 2019 Grammy Awards from anywhere in the world. 

How to watch the 2019 Grammy Awards: live stream in the USA
  • DirecTV Now $50 per month - DirecTV Now includes CBS, Fox, NBC, and ESPN.
  • Hulu with Live TV $40 per month - Hulu with Live TV includes CBS, Fox, NBC and ESPN.
  • YouTubeTV $40 per month - YouTubeTV gives you access to CBS, Fox, NBC and ESPN.
  • FuboTV $35 for the first month - FuboTV gives you the first month at a discounted rate but after that the price increases to $45 a month. The service includes CBS, Fox, NBC as well as other channels.

How to watch a Grammys live stream in the UK

Unfortunately for UK music fans, there will be no live broadcast of the Grammy Awards this year. However, you can still watch the highlights show on 4Music from 7.30pm to 9pm GMT on Monday, February 11.

If you’re just interested in seeing what your favorite artists are wearing and who they’re attending the awards with, channel E! will be showing live coverage from the red carpet between 11pm and 1am GMT on Sunday when the ceremony begins in Los Angeles.

How to watch the Grammys live stream from outside your country

If you’re an American who happens to be out of the country this weekend and don’t want to miss the 2019 Grammy Awards, don’t worry as we can help you with that. By using a VPN, you can change your IP address to one in the US which will allow you to stream the event on either CBS All Access or on any of the streaming services listed above. Keep reading and we’ll show you how.

Categories: Tech News

How to watch the 2019 Baftas: live stream the film awards ceremony from anywhere

Latest Tech News - Sun, 02/10/2019 - 10:43

The 2019 Baftas - or the 72nd British Academy Film Awards, to give it its full name - is the penultimate major ceremony of this year's awards season, with only the Oscars left to follow in a fortnight. Joanna Lumley is hosting for the second year running and we'll tell you how to watch all the prize giving with the information you need to get a Baftas live stream.

This year's awards are dominated by the darkly comic The Favourite, starring Olivia Colman as Queen Anne. With 12 nominations - including Best Film, Best Director and Best Actress - it is followed by A Star Is Born, Bohemian Rhapsody, First Man and Roma; each with seven.

Of the stars that will be hitting the Baftas red carpet, the likes of Emma Stone, Claire Foy and Adam Driver should all be in attendance following the nominations for their performances - although Lady Gaga has reportedly chosen to head to the Grammys, instead. While legendary editor Thelma Schoonmaker, who worked on most of Martin Scorsese's major pictures, will be honoured with the Bafta Fellowship for her services to film.

So whether you're watching to see who has won the awards themselves, or maybe your interest is more in star spotting, you can get a Baftas live stream from anywhere by following the information below.

How to watch a Baftas live stream if you're away from your country

If you're really keen to catch the Baftas coverage today but you're abroad, then you'll find that your normal route to watch is likely to be geo-blocked. If that's the case and the country you're in isn't showing the awards then there is another way.

How to watch a Baftas live stream in the UK

How to watch the 2019 Baftas in the USA

How to watch the Bafta film awards in Australia

Categories: Tech News

Here's one way the Pixel 4 might catch up with the newest iPhones

Latest Tech News - Sun, 02/10/2019 - 09:30

We're expecting a Google Pixel 4 at some point later this year, but so far we haven't heard too many rumors about it. According to code recently added to the open source foundation of Android, we've got a hint of one potential upgrade: better dual-SIM support.

While the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 3 can technically support two SIMs through eSIM technology, it's not the more advanced version of the tech available in many other handsets, including the latest iPhones.

Put simply, you can't use your standard SIM and your eSIM at the same time in current Pixel phones, and that might be changing in the Pixel 4. That should cancel out one disadvantage the Pixel current has.

Being able to access two SIMs at once is becoming an increasingly popular feature, not least in developing countries. It lets you manage a work and personal number from the same device, for example.

The brand new 2019 Pixels

As we've mentioned, not much is known about the Pixel 4 at this stage – October or November seems like a good guess for a launch date, sometime after the new 2019 iPhones have appeared.

It's likely that the Snapdragon 855 will be on board the Pixel 4 and the Pixel 4 XL, if Google decides to put out two handsets again. That might be paired with 6GB of RAM, up from 4GB from the Pixel 3 phones.

We're almost certainly going to get Android Q arriving with the Pixel 4, ready to take advantage of that dual-SIM functionality. We should hear more about Android Q at the Google I/O event held during May.

Before then we might well get treated to the Pixel 3 Lite – Google is rumored to be readying a mid-range version of its 2018 flagship phone, built with slightly cheaper materials and a less powerful chipset on board.

Via XDA Developers

Categories: Tech News

England vs France live stream: how to watch Six Nations 2019 rugby online from anywhere

Latest Tech News - Sun, 02/10/2019 - 06:12

England are back after beating the favourites to win the 2019 Six Nations and this time it's France that are going to feel the full force of the English rugby unit. The French lost narrowly to Wales last week so will want to make a comeback. All that pressure and power clashing are yours to view using this England vs France live stream guide.

After England beat Ireland (32–20) and France narrowly lost to Wales (24–19) both sides are looking like they're on strong form. The pair will meet in England's home stadium of Twickenham, West London where the English side will look to show off what it can do on its own turf.

The England squad now looks very familiar, featuring veterans like captain Owen Farrell, Manu Tuilagi, the Vunipola brothers and Courtney Lawes. Chris Ashtin is back on the wing, with Jack Nowell dropping to the bench for this one.

In last year's 2018 Six Nations France managed to claim a victory over England in Paris with a 22–16 final score. Man of the match that day Remy Grosso remains missing after a horrific facial injury in the summer, but the imposing Mathieu Bastareaud returns in the centre.

This game is set to be a powerful clash and is not to be missed. What's more, it's free-to-air in the UK. So keep reading to discover how to get an England vs France live stream in the second round of the 2019 Six Nations.

How to live stream England v France in the UK for free How to live stream the Six Nations when you're not in your country

If you're outside your country of residence - whether that be the UK or anywhere else - and try to start streaming the rugby via your native broadcaster, you'll soon discover that you can't as it is location restricted. Fear not, the action is still within your reach. All you need to do is download and install a VPN to effectively trick your computer into thinking that it's back home. That way you can enjoy your home coverage (as long as you do so in compliance with the broadcaster's Ts&Cs) without delving into the dangers of an illegal stream.


Live stream England v France in Australia

Live stream England v France in New Zealand

How to watch a England v France live stream in the US

Live stream France vs England in Canada - for FREE

Categories: Tech News

Get smart - grab a free Amazon Echo with these new BT fibre broadband deals

Latest Tech News - Sun, 02/10/2019 - 06:09

BT seems to be back in full swing after having a slightly lacklustre collection of broadband deals last week. The freebies are back and this week BT has returned with an old classic - a FREE Amazon Echo.

We were quite excited when BT ran this deal last time, a free speaker on top of BT's usual pre-paid Mastercards is a great way to top off your new broadband deal. You can get both of these freebies together with BT's Superfast 1 and Superfast 2 fibre packages. 

If you were thinking of upgrading to a TV and broadband deal BT has you covered there as well, offering the same collection of incentives with a number of its larger packages.

We've listed the standout fibre broadband deals from BT below so you can find the one that works for you, including the full costs and how much each Mastercard is worth. But it's worth knowing that these tariffs are limited in time until Thursday February 21.

BT's new fibre broadband deals with FREE Echo: What is a BT Reward Card?

The Reward Card that BT sends out is a pre-paid credit card that you can use anywhere that accepts Mastercard. In short, that's around a million shops, cafes and restaurants around the world, so you shouldn't find it difficult to find places to spend, spend, spend.

It's an old-fashioned chip and pin card, rather than contactless. But do make sure that you claim your Reward Card within three months of installation, otherwise you'll lose out on all that cash.

Is the Amazon Echo any good?

The Amazon Echo features within the top three of TechRadar's best smart speakers buying guide - so yes, we rate it highly.

If you've not yet had the chance to form a relationship with Alexa, now is a good chance to start. With her unique set of Skills (over 30,000 of them), she'll simplify listening to music, finding out the weather, varying your central heating, ordering Christmas presents, and tonnes more. Plus, the Amazon Echo is a stylish and decent sounding standalone speaker as well.

You can read TechRadar's full Amazon Echo review here.

Today's best broadband deals
Categories: Tech News

Huawei Nova 4 brings cutting-edge display technology into a mid-range smartphone

Latest Tech News - Sun, 02/10/2019 - 05:44

Huawei has placed the camera on the top-left side of the Nova 4. The reason Huawei chose this location was following its extensive research on where users usually tap or swipe on the screen. For a right-handed user, the top-left corner is the least accessed area on the screen and thus it made perfect sense to place the camera in that position

Even though it’s barely been a couple of years, any new phone with bezels looks like its decades old. Recent advancements in screen technology have allowed us to shrink bezels into notches and now, notches into a punch hole as seen on Huawei’s latest FullView display present on the Nova 4. 

But where has all the technology that resided in a bezel or a notch disappeared? And how is it even possible to place a camera under the LCD panel? Those are some of the questions we’re going to be answering today by taking a look at the technology advancements Huawei has made with the Nova 4.

Unlike other manufacturers trying to implement this technology by drilling a hole on the LCD panel (known as through hole), Huawei places the camera module behind the LCD panel which preserves the screen integrity and creates a smaller hold diameter. Whereas other manufactures have a hold that’s 6.5mm I diameter, the Nova 4 has a tiny 4.5mm hole with the smallest front camera in the industry.

Where have all the sensors gone?


With the camera sorted, the next question to ask is where have all the additional components and sensors that have traditionally resided on the bezel and then on the notch gone? Huawei has made some very clever engineering decisions to tackle that.

Let’s start with the proximity sensor that generally resides on top of the screen and is responsible for turning the screen off when you place it next to your ear so you don’t tap anything onscreen when on a call. Using a light bending design, Huawei has placed the proximity sensor on the top of the phone thus making it aware when you place it next to your ear. 

The next sensor that Huawei has tackled is the Ambient light sensor which is now so tiny that Huawei has aptly referred it to as the invisible light sensor. And finally, the last piece of the puzzle is the earpiece which Huawei has shrunk to a miniscule 0.85mm. This makes the micro slot earpiece fit inside the frame of the phone. And yes, Huawei has managed to insert a tri-color LED indicator in that earpiece.

What’s extremely impressive is that Huawei has built all this technology around its mid-range Nova range while other manufacturers are introducing the punch hole technology on their flagship devices.

Categories: Tech News

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