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Samsung vs LG TV: which TV brand is better?

Latest Tech News - Mon, 05/20/2019 - 02:23

Looking into getting a new television? We don’t blame you: every year a new round of TVs get released to market, with bigger panels, better visuals, and overhauled processors just demanding a place in your home. But when it comes to LG vs Samsung TVs, which one should you choose?

Let’s face it, most televisions look largely the same at first glance. Sure, some will be larger or thinner than others, and both LG and Samsung have experimented with new form factors for their high-end sets – have you seen LG’s rollable OLED yet? But at the end of the day, you’re buying a rectangle, and sometimes it can be hard to figure out what really makes one different from the other.

That’s why we’ve put together this guide for comparing Samsung vs LG TVs, so you can know confidently which brand is making the right TV for you.

Samsung vs LG TV: overview

Image Credit: Samsung

Samsung and LG are two large-scale manufacturers that sell TVs for both high and low price points, though with somewhat different panel technologies for their high-end sets.

Both are South Korean manufacturers that sell televisions globally, with large presences in both the UK and US – unlike Panasonic or Philips, who don’t have licenses in North America – with a large install base and broad range of televisions launched each year.

It’s hard to compare pricing, given how many sets Samsung and LG both launch each year, running from 32-inch LEDs and budget 4K TVs to super-sized 8K sets that run you thousands of dollars / pounds. Whatever size, shape, resolution or budget you’re looking for, either will have you covered.

Samsung and LG are also fighting over territory in the highly competitive smartphone market: both manufacture Android phones, though we won’t be comparing their handsets in this particular guide.

Smart TV: Tizen vs webOS

WebOS Smart TV platform (Image Credit: LG)

Both Samsung and LG use their own proprietary smart TV platform, and each has their own personal flavor.

LG has been leading with webOS – a minimal, stripped back smart TV interface – since 2014. It uses a horizontal menu bar for commonly used apps, streaming services, and inputs, with customizable placement so you can pick and choose where your favorite apps sit on the dashboard. The latest webOS 4.5 software also brings in secondary menus that appear when hovering over an app icon.

Samsung’s Tizen platform doesn’t differ hugely in its layout (you could say it was influenced by the former), though doesn’t have as impressive a search algorithm as LG’s ThinQ AI software. 

But what of voice assistants? LG’s OLED and Super UHD sets come with Google Assistant built in, and some limited compatibility with Alexa-controlled devices. Samsung uses its own (somewhat worse) first-party Bixby assistant, though again only for mid-range or premium sets – and with the option to use Google Assistant or Alexa through third-party devices.

Dolby Vision vs HDR 10+

Image Credit: Dolby

Both back a slightly different format for high dynamic range (HDR), with LG packing Dolby Vision into its premium range of OLEDs and Super UHDs, while Samsung favors HDR10+ for its premium TVs. 

Both formats use what’s called dynamic metadata to tailor the output of the television to the content being displayed, so scenes of dark underground caverns or well-lit drawing rooms vary the levels of brightness, contrast, and picture processing accordingly.

Dolby Vision is really the more advanced format, with 12-bit color gamut instead of the 10-bit HDR10+, and is also more commonly found. (While there are a number of HDR10+ shows on Amazon Prime, you won’t find it on Netflix, Chromecast Ultra, or Apple TV 4K.) 

Admittedly, preferred HDR format is only really a concern at the higher end of the price range, but those spending big should think carefully about which services they’re likely to want HDR content on.


Samsung Q6FN QLED TV (Image Credit: Samsung)

Today’s premium television market is divided into two panel technologies: OLED and QLED (basically an LED-LCD screen with quantum dots).

OLED, which stands for ‘organic light emitting diode’, is a kind of TV panel that can emit its own light, instead of having light shone through it. This enabled brilliantly thin TV displays, and the ability to individually control the brightness of individual pixels. OLEDs are known for their vibrant colors, deep black levels, and overall low brightness. There’s often talk of ‘burn in’ images on OLED screens, but much of this is anecdotal and you’d probably need to be working the set very hard for this to become a problem.

All OLED panels are manufactured by LG Display, so even if you’ve got a Sony OLED in your home, you have LG to thank.

QLED, on the other hand, is a proprietary technology developed by Samsung. QLED uses a filter of quantum dots to enhance color and contrast, and make do with dimming zones rather than individual pixel control. QLED TVs are a lot brighter than OLEDs (thousands of nits versus hundreds) though can struggle to show both light and dark images at the same time as a result. There are OLED die-hards who hate the washed-out colors of overly bright TVs, while many with Samsung sets would find the far dimmer OLED displays far less impactful.

We’ve gone into this debate in more detail in our QLED vs OLED guide, though for now it’ll be enough to say that OLED is generally suited to high-quality video formats in dark viewing environments, while Samsung’s sets are less faithful to color but make up for it with a clear and bright display.

Samsung vs LG TV: which should you choose?

Image Credit: LG

It’s been a rocky period for both LG and Samsung. LG Display has had to spend a lot on research and development for its OLED panels, and reported a first-quarter operating loss this year (via Reuters) – though with the bet that growth in OLED will end up balancing this. 

Samsung meanwhile is expecting a large drop in profits in 2019 after lower-than-expected smartphone sales and TV demand. Samsung has plans to compete with LG’s OLED tech, with its own QD-OLED (quantum dot-OLED) hybrid, but unstable finances have seen those plans get pushed a few years back.

The takeaway here is that, regardless of either company’s financial health, both are focusing on their current display technologies, and aren’t going to suddenly stop supporting any of the new TVs they’re currently bringing to market. So which set you pick should really just be down to what you want in your living room.

If you want a bright, dazzling QLED screen to light up your home – or a solid budget option like the NU7100 – Samsung is your best bet. If you really want the most impressive picture quality out there, regardless of price, nothing currently beats LG's OLED panels for color and contrast (see: LG's C9 OLED).

If you’re happy with your current television, but will want to upgrade in another few years – well, it could be a whole different story.

Categories: Tech News

Google proves that recovery numbers are crucial for account security

Latest Tech News - Sun, 05/19/2019 - 22:24

While it may be frustrating to have to remember multitudes of passwords, have your accounts linked to your mobile number, or set up two-factor authentication, Google has released data showing just how effective some of these security techniques truly are.

Google’s Security Blog has published research on the effectiveness of “basic account hygiene”, finding that “simply adding a recovery phone number to your Google Account can block up to 100% of automated bots, 99% of bulk phishing attacks, and 66% of targeted attacks that occurred during [the] investigation”.

The research was formulated from two different studies, conducted in conjunction with the New York University and the University of California, San Diego, focusing on wide-scale attacks and targeted attacks respectively.

The blog post details the automatic account security measures that Google employs – these include ‘knowledge-based challenges’ such as verifying the last sign-in location of your device, the associated phone number and secondary email addresses. 

While these weaker challenges prove successful in blocking most automated bot attacks, they are significantly weaker against both bulk phishing and targeted attacks. 

Image credit: Google

However, ‘device-based challenges’ thwarted almost every automated or bulk phishing attack that was thrown up against it, and performed considerably better against targeted attacks. 

These challenges include sending an SMS code or an on-device prompt to your associated mobile device, or alternatively using a designated security key such as YubiKey or Google's own Security Key, which was the only method tested that had a 100% prevention rate across the board.

On the flipside, Google recognized that there is an inherent downside to requiring a recovery number or associated device – “in an experiment, 38% of users did not have access to their phone when challenged. Another 34% of users could not recall their secondary email address”. This, alongside the “additional friction” introduced by such challenges, is why Google hasn’t made such security compulsory for accounts.

If you think your account hygiene isn’t up to scratch, it’s worth taking the time to follow Google’s own five-step solution to staying safer online, which handily provides links to the relevant settings so you can change them right away.

Categories: Tech News

Huawei suffers major Android setback as Google pulls access to core apps and services

Latest Tech News - Sun, 05/19/2019 - 20:48

In what will likely be a significant blow to its global smartphone and tablet business, Huawei has today learned that Google is planning to pull the Chinese company’s access to many of its core Android apps and services, including the Google Play Store, Gmail, Search and Chrome. The move will mean that Huawei is limited to using the public version of Android called Android Open Source Project (AOSP), according to sources who spoke to Reuters.

The change essentially bans the Chinese phone- and tablet-maker from integrating Google software and core apps into any of its future products, although already-released devices will be able to continue using the search giant’s technology in the short term. 

As Android is an open-source operating system, Huawei can theoretically use updates to the public release of the OS – which would include the upcoming Android Q – to continue development of its smartphones. However, the loss of the Google Play Store – which for users outside of China is the key source of Android apps – and a lack of Google-made security updates could prove a significant drawback for the prospects of its future phones and tablets.

A fatal blow?

The fracture in the relationship of the two tech giants comes after the US government added Huawei to a trade blacklist late last week, which will make it difficult for the company to operate in partnership with many of its American partners and suppliers, potentially jeopardizing Huawei’s global business. The Chinese technology company has also previously been banned from contributing to 5G infrastructure in America, and key US allies including Australia and the UK have followed the move with their own bans.

The new blacklisting will stop Huawei from buying key components from US companies such as processors from Qualcomm and Intel, which both saw share-value drops immediately following the announcement from the Trump administration, according to the Financial Times.

Huawei has previously stated that it has plans in place to deal with both US trade restrictions and potential problems with using Android on its devices. Back in March, for example, a Huawei executive revealed that the company has built its own PC and mobile operating system as a contingency plan if a situation like this should arise. 

Google severing ties with Huawei will likely hurt the appeal of the company’s products outside its home territory of China, however, and the long-term effect on the beleaguered Chinese company may be grim. 

TechRadar reached out to Huawei for comment on this story, but at the time of publishing the company had not released an official statement. We’ll update this article if a response is received.

Categories: Tech News

How to watch Game of Thrones season 8, episode 6 online - stream the finale from anywhere

Latest Tech News - Sun, 05/19/2019 - 18:00

A staggering 71 episodes later and one of history's greatest TV shows is coming to a dramatic end. Yes, this is a sad moment for everyone but much like Jon trying to find the good in Daenerys, we're looking to the positives and finding you the best ways to watch season 8, episode 6 of Game of Thrones.

Season 8 has been massive, in pretty much every kind of way (but don't worry, no spoilers here!). Game of Thrones came big for the last season breaking viewing records, having the longest battle scene in history and breaking our hearts with each and every episode, so in other words typical Game of Thrones stuff.

After a somewhat...fiery episode last weekend, there is a lot to wrap up here, so expect your eyes to be glued to the screen for the whole 80 minute run-time when you watch Game of Thrones season 8, episode 6.

If the past three episodes have been anything to go by, we're expecting Game of Thrones to go out with a rather huge bang, dracarys style. 

This is great news for those ready to see it all come to an end in the most dramatic kind of ways, not so much for those not ready to say goodbye. So with the episode airing this weekend, this is how to watch Game of Thrones, season 8, episode 6 on catch up. 

After 8 seasons, 2 days, 23 hours and 17 minutes worth of content and a plethora of memorable moments, it has all led to this final episode. You can find streaming options for English speaking countries below.  

Watch Game of Thrones episode 6: stream from outside your country

Want to watch Game of Thrones season 8, episode 6 in (deep breath) the US, UK, Canada, Australia, India, UAE or New Zealand? We've found all of your best options and listed them below.

But, if you find yourself in the unfortunate circumstances where you've booked a holiday over the air time of the big finale, then things get a bit more difficult. For those unlucky fans, all hope isn't lost yet. You will find that watching it won't be an option thanks to geo-blocking. This means that broadcasters do tend to try and stop you from watching in other countries, putting up some virtual roadblocks.

But, thanks to a little bit of working around, there is still a way to catch all the episodes while you're away. By using a VPN, you will still be able to catch up on the show by changing your IP address to a location back where you live, allowing you to watch that important first episode (assuming that doesn't breach any TS&Cs, of course) - and that's without finding some dodgy download or a grainy stream on Reddit.

Watch Game of Thrones episode 6 online in the USA

Watch Game of Thrones episode 6 online in the UK

Watch Game of Thrones episode 6 online in Canada

Watch Game of Thrones episode 6 online in Australia

Watch Game of Thrones episode 6 online in New Zealand

Watch Game of Thrones episode 6 online in India

Watch Game of Thrones episode 6 online in the UAE

Categories: Tech News

Tesla Autopilot was active during a fatal Model 3 crash in March, safety report says

Latest Tech News - Sun, 05/19/2019 - 09:30

The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) just published its preliminary report on a fatal Tesla Model 3 crash in March, finding that Autopilot was enabled at the time of the incident – and that the crash bears several similarities to another tragedy in 2016.

"The driver engaged the Autopilot about 10 seconds before the collision," reads the NTSB report. "From less than 8 seconds before the crash to the time of impact, the vehicle did not detect the driver's hands on the steering wheel."

The roof of the Tesla was sheared off as it collided with a truck-tractor towing a semitrailer, killing the 50-year old man who was driving. The driver of the truck was uninjured. Neither driver "executed evasive maneuvers" according to the report.

Based on gathered data, the Tesla was traveling at 68 miles per hour (13 mph above the speed limit) when the collusion happened, and carried on for about 1,600 feet before coming to a complete stop.

Similarities to 2016

The crash is very similar to another fatal accident, this time involving a Model S, that happened in 2016. Again, the Tesla struck a semitrailer truck, and again Autopilot was engaged at the time of the collision.

However, as the Verge reports, today's Tesla's use a revamped, redesigned version of Autopilot that's significantly different from the one in use in 2016. The latest Autopilot has been developed in-house at Tesla.

After the 2016 crash, investigators determined that the Tesla didn't see the white truck trailer against a bright sky. It remains to be seen whether the same problem is to blame in this latest case.

Tesla rates Autopilot as a Level 2 driving assistance feature, and says drivers must be ready to take the wheel at all times while Autopilot is engaged – when that's the case, fewer accidents happen, Tesla says.

Via Wired

Categories: Tech News

Trump’s Huawei ban a ‘double-edged sword’

Latest Tech News - Sun, 05/19/2019 - 08:13

US president Donald Trump’s move to effectively ban Chinese telecommunications firms from doing business with American companies is going to impact both the nations and the global tech industry alike, industry experts said.

Huawei and ZTE have been added to the “Entity List” from Friday and prevents it from buying parts or technology from US suppliers without government approval as its equipment is considered potential tools for Chinese espionage.

“With this executive order, both the US components providers and the Chinese vendors would be impacted, it’s definitely a ‘double-edged sword’,” Mo Jia, research analyst at Canalys, told TechRadar Middle East.

He said that Huawei’s 5G equipment is cheaper, for sure, and the US could use products from other vendors but are usually of higher cost. It’s worth noting that the two other big players in this space– Ericsson and Nokia – aren’t American companies.

“Currently, the relationship between Huawei and countries in Europe is stable; however, there is a possibility that in the future, more countries could join the US suit. Australia also banned Huawei’s 5G equipment. But at this stage, it’s unlikely that any other major European country would ban Huawei, as its 5G solutions are cheaper and competitive compared to other players,” he said.

Sukhdev Singh, vice-president at market research and analysis services provider Kantar AMRB, said that the US regulators and the government always have clout on influencing other countries decision with whom they should partner with and that can have an impact on the telecom operators globally.

However, he said the local technology adoption is getting more mature and not so dependence on the US technology providers now.

“It all depends on how much each government is convinced, and if the governments' influence is not there to ban Huawei, then it will not have a big impact on Huawei.  If the US and other countries ban Huawei, they will have constraints and have fewer players in the telecom space and it may hurt the telecom industry’s innovation and growth,” he said.

How important Huawei is in the 5G race?

Huawei has 283 global partners and 57 regional partners for 5G and expects to have one million bases stations globally by 2020.

According to online market intelligence platform IPlytics, the Chinese company leads the race in the number of 5G standard technical contributions by a company. Huawei held 11,423 patents in 2018, followed by Ericsson with 10,351 and Nokia with 6,878, the other two big networks equipment makers.

With Huawei investing $15 billion in R&D annually and ranks among the top five, it has a clear strategic positioning in the 5G race and has the capacity to mass produce 5G chips, 5G mobile routers and CPE (customer-premises equipment), a wireless router for home.

Apple, Intel and Qualcomm may face pressure

If the China-US trade war continues, Jia said that it will surely also impact the global tech industry. 

Apple, Intel and Qualcomm business could be impacted in the future in China, as they are both US companies. However, Chinese smartphone vendors also rely on Qualcomm’s chipset and if China bans or increases the tax on Qualcomm, it will also hurt the Chinese players.

If the US bans Huawei from buying component or software from the US companies, it would surely impact Huawei’s global business and thus impact the overall industry as well, he said.

Huawei buys more than $11 billion in goods and services from US companies each year, industry reports showed. Jia said that Huawei has intentionally stocked more components prior to the executive order and, “in the short term, I think Huawei still has sufficient components, however, if Huawei failed to change the situation, it’s a matter of time that the production of its 5G equipment would be impacted,” he said.

Sources suggest that Huawei has developed its own operating systems for computers and smartphones in case those provided by Microsoft and Google are no longer available. Also, Huawei’s subsidiary – HiSilicon – produces its own CPU and GPU for its smartphones.

Categories: Tech News

The best Instax Mini prices and deals in May 2019

Latest Tech News - Sun, 05/19/2019 - 08:03

🎁 Looking for the best Fujifilm Instax Mini prices? These instant cameras have been a huge hit in recent years as quirky gifts or a way to create tangible photographs in an increasingly always-online world. There are plenty of designs to choose from today too with options to suits youngster and retro instant photo fans alike.

We're here to help you compare all the best deals on the most popular Instax Mini cameras, including the budget-friendly Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 and Mini 9, or the retro-themed instant cameras like the Fujifilm Instax Mini 70 or Instax Mini 90. That's not forgetting the likes of the Fujifilm Instax Square SQ10 and SQ6 series too. 

Prices alone might not be enough though, so we've given each of these Instax Mini cameras a rundown of information to help you choose the one that's right for you. The fun cameras are always highly sought after popular during the summer months for outdoor holiday snaps and their popularity shoots up as a fun Christmas presents too.

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 is one of the most popular instant cameras on the planet thanks to its super cheap price and bold, cheerful and colourful design. Simple to use and with brightness controls, built-in flash and cool 1.8-inch x 2.4-inch images printed straight from the camera, this really is a bargain. But could you be tempted by the newer Instax Mini 9?

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 requires two AA batteries and is available in black, grape, raspberry, pink, blue and yellow.

There's really only one difference between the Instax Mini 8 and the Instax Mini 9 and it's a tiny little mirror. The Instax Mini 9 has a small mirror next to the lens, making lining up selfies much easier and ensuring a more accurate picture. The newer Mini 9 is slightly more expensive than the Mini 8, but consider this: if you're likely to be taking a lot of selfies, the mirror could save you a small fortune on film costs as you'll have fewer wonky, poorly framed snaps. If the price is right for the colour you want, this is the one we'd go for.

The Instax Mini 9 requires two AA batteries and is available in cobalt blue, flamingo pink, ice blue, smoky white and lime green.

There's certainly an argument that the Instax Mini 8 and 9 are aimed towards a younger or more casual market with its bright pastel colours and chunky build. But there are some slicker options available for not much more - namely the Fujifilm Instax Mini 70.

The Instax Mini 70 features more technical control options and shooting modes than the Mini 8/9 and takes better pictures in the dark. It comes with the selfie mirror as standard too. With a smoother metallic paint job, it loses the toyish vibe of the above models for something much more professional looking while maintaining the compact instant camera vibe. If you'd feel silly holding the Instax Mini 8, but want a similar design, this is your best bet.

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 70 runs off two CR2 batteries and is available in moon white, canary yellow, island blue, passion red, stardust gold and midnight black.

If you're looking for something with a more retro feel then it's hard to beat the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 and its traditional leather-style binding. As you can see in the price comparison chart below, it's also the most expensive of the Instax Mini cameras in Fujifilm's range.

You're not just paying for the old-school vibe though. Bulb modes ensure you won't get pictures that are too blurry or dark. On the other side of the scale, this is the first Instax Mini camera that allows you to turn off the flash, meaning you won't get any images with way too much white light. A double-exposure mode allows you to put two images on one piece of film too.

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 instant camera is powered by a rechargeable NP-45A lithium battery making it the only rechargeable Instax Mini camera from Fujifilm. Colour options are much more modest than the other Instax Minis as the only differences are in the leather-style wrap finishes where you can choose between brown or Neo Classic (black).

Fujifilm's Instax Square SQ10 camera sits somewhere between its Mini and Wide range, using new-fangled square-format film and boasting digital camera functionality that the Japanese manufacturer hopes will appeal to a younger, more tech-savvy audience.

The most notable feature of the Fujifilm Instax Square SQ10 is the ability to review and edit your shots via a small LCD display on the rear of the camera. Unfortunately, the digital camera element lets the SQ10 down a bit, as the image quality can't rival other digital cameras – or smartphones. A fun piece of kit, and if you'd like more control over images and the ability to adjust and edit in-camera, it's a good fit.

If the SQ10 is a bit more than you were thinking of paying but you're still a fan of the Square Fujifilm Instax series, then let's take a look at the SQ6. Both print in the square format, but have some notable differences elsewhere. The SQ6 is an analogue camera like the cheaper Instax models, so images are printed straight away when shooting. This model lack's the SQ10's extra shooting modes and flash options too.

We do prefer the physical design of the SQ6, as the SQ10 sometimes reminds us of a divers camera, while the former has a classic retro feel. When all's said and done though, it depends on if you want the stylish camera or the digital camera/printer that allows you to judge an image before printing it out. If you know you're prone to maybe taking a few poor pictures you may end up saving a lot of money with the digital camera instead of paying for extra film sheets.

Instax Mini Film and Instax Square Film packs

Looking for some extra Fujifilm Instax Mini film packs? We've compared the best deals from multiple retailers in our price comparison charts below. The cheapest packs usually have 10 or 20 Instax Mini film papers to print out your latest photos. Take a look at the options further down the chart and you'll see prices for larger packs too.

These first set of film packs are compatible the Instax Mini cameras on this page. If you're picking up film for one of the Square series (SQ6 and SQ10) you'll need to scroll down a bit more and pick up the Square Film packs instead.

Categories: Tech News

Call of Duty's 2020 release may be Black Ops 5

Latest Tech News - Sun, 05/19/2019 - 07:03

According to a recent report from Kotaku, a “major upheaval” by Activision could see Call of Duty: Black Ops 5 launch in 2020, a year earlier than previous release patterns would lead fans to expect it.

The Call of Duty franchise has followed a very strict yearly release pattern for many years now and since 2012, publisher Activision has rotated its three main studios—Sledgehammer, Treyarch and Infinity Ward—with each taking the lead on its own project for a three-year development cycle. 

Given Treyarch took the lead on 2018’s Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 and Infinity Ward is expected to announce a new Modern Warfare title for 2019, it was expected that Sledgehammer, in tandem with another studio called Raven, would develop a game set in the Cold War for a 2020 release. 

Taking control

However, Kotaku’s report suggests that this has changed, partly as a result of recent leadership changes within Sledgehammer and disagreements between the studio and Raven. According to sources close to the project, Activision has now placed Black Ops studio, Treyarch, in charge of its 2020 release with Call of Duty: Black Ops 5.

Sledgehammer and Raven, meanwhile, will act as support studios and the work they’ve done so far will become a single-player story mode in Black Ops 5, which is likely to please fans who missed a single-player campaign in Black Ops 4. 

This does, however, give Treyarch two years rather than three to develop its next game, which is potentially a point of concern in an industry that’s facing increased scrutiny on crunch and brutal overtime for developers. 

Activision is yet to comment on these rumors but the publisher will likely be talking about what’s next for the Call of Duty franchise at E3 2019, where it’s forgoing its usual show floor booth but is still taking meetings. 

Categories: Tech News

Google is rolling out a more personalized interface for its smart displays

Latest Tech News - Sun, 05/19/2019 - 05:30

If you've got yourself a Google Nest Hub, a Lenovo Smart Display, or anything else running Google's own Smart Display UI, you should see some visual changes and tweaks in the near future.

Google just pushed out an update for the interface that makes more use of the ambient display that's on while the display is idle – the clock face or wallpaper becomes a blurred background as soon as you start interacting with it.

As 9to5Google reports, the dedicated weather forecast has been removed as well (leaving just an icon and a temperature reading), and the time and date style has been tweaked and repositioned.

Part of the reasoning behind the change is preparing the ground for the Nest Hub Max, and making room for the Duo call reminders coming with the Face Match ID technology (something that's not available on the Nest Hub).

All the upgrades

These updates to the interface on Google's smart displays come a couple of weeks after the company demoed a host of improvements to its products at Google IO 2019.

As well as introducing the Nest Hub Max, Google also gave a sneak preview of the next-gen Google Assistant – able to process information faster, with a smaller footprint on devices, and getting smarter all the time.

Google Assistant is also getting more helpful when it's on the move, giving you the option to control more of your phone's functions in navigation mode.

That's part of the appeal of buying a smart speaker or a smart display: you know that whatever smart assistant is working behind the scenes is going to get regular improvements to make your device even more useful.

Categories: Tech News

The best budget phones in the UAE 2019

Latest Tech News - Sun, 05/19/2019 - 04:16

The best cheap phone in the UAE or Saudi Arabia can be a little tricky to pick, as it's not always going to be based around what phone launches with a low starting price. Some of the best cheap smartphones are actually older models with heavy discounts, while certain new phones offer killer value and the latest perks.

Another major factor that goes into finding the best cheap phone is the price. Cheap for one person isn't necessarily the same for another person. With flagship phone prices from Apple and Samsung flying up toward AED/SAR 4,000, some people may find anything under AED/SAR 2,400 cheap, while those with tighter budgets could be looking below AED/SAR 1,500 or even below for a smartphone. 

Fortunately, no one gets left out when it comes to great cheap smartphones. Older phones from Samsung and Apple come in at prices that thrift shoppers can afford, and new phones from OnePlus, Huawei, Motorola, and more manufacturers that might have fallen off your radar can pack new technologies into affordable packages well worth considering.

We've assembled a ranked list of the best phones around AED 1,500. No matter your budget, we're recommending a smartphone for you based on these price categories. 

Apart from the teardrop notch and the colorful back designs, the P30 Lite has little in common with its siblings. The P30 Lite discards several key features from the higher-end P30 phones but aims to retain the spirit of the P30 series by offering a high-end striking design alongside an adept camera setup.  

The phone can handle most tasks well enough for casual users. You can easily get a days worth of moderate use with the conservative battery capacity and if you happen to run out of juice the phone can charge up relatively quickly with the bundled fast charger. 

Hands on: Huawei P30 Lite review

You're never going to get a cheap iPhone if you opt for the newest models. But, if you dig a little deeper, you can get an older model at a good price. The iPhone 8 may have a dated design next to the iPhone X and 2018 iPhones – bigger bezels, fewer cameras – but it offers a strong price-to-performance value.

The A11 Bionic chipset inside of the iPhone 8 is still plenty powerful for anything you'll throw at it, and Apple keeps legacy devices supported for a long time. So you'll be able to update the operating system to iOS 12 and probably even to iOS 13 and beyond.

The rest of its specs aren't too shabby, with a 12MP rear camera, 7MP front-facing camera, 2GB of RAM and either 64GB or 256GB of storage. While the 1,821mAh battery isn't huge compared to flagships, it can change wirelessly.

Read the full review: iPhone 8

The Moto G6 had a tough act to follow: itself, really, with the 2017 Moto G5 Plus. Thankfully, the latest budget smartphone from Motorola fully delivers on the hype.

When it comes to the flagship-level specs and features to be found here, this model touts an all-glass design, dual-lens rear cameras, an 18:9 aspect ratio display, headphone jack, USB-C charging and the very latest Android Oreo update. 

Launching at AED 1,049, this phone is an unbeatable value. It provides decent specs with clean Android software, making this the best choice out there if you're looking for a new phone, but don't have loads of cash on-hand.

Read the full review: Moto G6

That's right, Nokia still has phones coming out. Things where dicey for a while there, but the company has been making a comeback recently, and its Nokia 7.1 handset offers a strong value.

The Nokia 7.1 offers a big, bright screen with the notch we've seen on so many other smartphones in the past couple years. The display even supports HDR10 for superior contrast and colors. The Snapdragon 636 chipset isn't the most powerful, but will do for all but the most serious mobile gamers and power users. And, all of that is packed into an a aluminum and glass design the won't feel nearly as cheap as the phone is.

Read our in-depth review: Nokia 7.1

When you're looking for a great budget smartphone, you should always see what Motorola is cooking up in its Moto G line. The family of smartphone almost always has something strong on offer, and the Moto G7 is no exception.

The Moto G7 has a capable is not incredible Snapdragon 632 chipset with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. And, it's fit into a modern looking chassis. The edges are aluminum, with glass on the front and back.

The screen really brings the Moto G7 into modernity, with a big, 6.2-inch display that has just a small teardrop notch at the top akin to the OnePlus 6T. You also get a fingerprint scanner on the back, dual rear cameras, a headphone jack, and light water resistance.

Read our in-depth review: Moto G7

Categories: Tech News

Eurovision 2019 live stream: how to watch the song contest from anywhere - songs and judging

Latest Tech News - Sat, 05/18/2019 - 13:12

The 2019 Eurovision Song Contest is finally here in all it's camp glory. For some it's a guilty pleasure, for others it's an excuse to get all your mates round and embrace the sequins and general madness. The Tel Aviv Convention Centre in Israel is all prepared for the 64th edition of the annual singing extravaganza, but are you struggling to know where to watch it? You've landed in the right place to find out with TechRadar's 2019 Eurovision live stream guide - it doesn't even matter where on Earth you are.

With the "Big Five" of the UK, France, Italy, Germany and Spain qualifying automatically alongside the hosts and a further 20 coming from the two semi-finals, we're now all set for the 26 act final event. That's where the real business begins, with acts from the Netherlands, Russia and Sweden the early favorites to take home the trophy and the right to host next year's event.

Once everyone has performed Madonna is set to take to the stage for a highly anticipated performance. Word is that she'll be performing the incredible Like a Prayer, in addition to one of her new tracks.

Winners are then picked based on viewers' votes and with up to 20 votes available per song, it's important to play your part if you want to be involved. So watching the event is key and we're going to tell you exactly how you can live stream the Eurovision 2019 song contest from wherever you are in the world. You can also scroll further down the page to discover more about this year's event and some of our favorite bits from its rich history.

How to watch the Eurovision Song Contest from outside your country

This year the grand final will be available to watch via the Eurovision YouTube channel. This means easy access through any device that you can get at YouTube with. The downside? You'll miss out on the commentary (or perhaps that's a positive if you're hosting a Eurovision party and really like the limelight).

If you're more interested in watching your home country's coverage - and there are details on watching in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, US and Canada further down this page - but you're abroad this week, then you'll soon discover that the Eurovision goodness is geo-blocked by the broadcaster. Annoying, if you take particular delight in your domestic coverage. But the good news is that there's another way to get hold of it.

How to live stream Eurovision 2019 in the UK for FREE:

Good old aunty Beeb will be broadcasting the entire Eurovision Song Contest for free (assuming you have a TV Licence, of course). That means you can watch the main final via the BBC One on your TV from 8pm BST but it also means you can enjoy it online and on mobile via the iPlayer with Graham Norton as your wise-cracking host.

Representing the UK is 21-year-old singer Michael Rice who was voted in after competing on the BBC's You Decide selection show. He will sing a song called "Bigger Than US" which was written by Laurell Barker, Anna-Khara Folin, Jonas Thander, and John Lundvik.

Outside the UK this week? Fear not, as you can follow our instructions above to use a VPN and watch as if you were back in blighty. So that means no need to miss out on Graham Norton's unique take on the whole thing. Once downloaded, installed and a UK server has been chosen, head over to TVPlayer.com for a steady, free stream.

How to live stream Eurovision 2019 in Australia for FREE:

Since Australia's SBS is airing the whole final it should be easy to enjoy it on the big screen. That also means you can get all the fun online using the SBS On Demand service that works on multiple devices – ideal if you're on the go. Just remember to set your alarm if you want to watch all the singers live, as the show begins at 5am AEST. It's all set to be the biggest vote since, well...actually, scrap that.

Find out more in our full guide on live streaming Eurovision in Australia.

How to stream Eurovision live in New Zealand this year:

New Zealand's usual Eurovision broadcaster, UKTV, doesn't appear to be airing the event this year. But you don't need to be home in New Zealand to enjoy. You can still watch all the action online using a VPN. Check out how easy that is up the page with our handy guide.

Once you've sorted that, the next step is working out how you'll get up early enough to watch it!

How to watch the Eurovision Song Contest in the US:

It doesn't look like there'll be any dedicated stateside broadcaster showing 2019 Eurovision. Sorry.

Luckily, there's always that YouTube coverage. Or, if you want a more thorough watching experience, grab a VPN and watch via another country's home broadcaster.

How to live stream Eurovision 2019 in Canada:

This year OMNI Television will broadcast the Eurovision 2019 event in Canada. Not heard of it? It's a specialist multicultural station, so Eurovision is an obvious fit.

But if you're out of Canada at the time but are still interested, scroll up to see how you can enjoy the contest using a VPN. It means you can watch everything for free from elsewhere on a tablet or phone.

Eurovision 2019 FAQ: Your questions answered

Categories: Tech News

How photogrammetry brought Resident Evil's world of undeath to life

Latest Tech News - Sat, 05/18/2019 - 12:00

A symphony of staccato shutter snaps filled the air. Xenon gas strobed from dozens of camera flashes. Capcom was visiting a meat processing plant with a trove of camera equipment.

Iron-stomached photographers shot photo after photo of wild game meat along with ivory bones and flowing blood. Afterwards, they ordered tofu and pizza, but not to cleanse their palates. Those, too, were photographic fodder. 

The meat, bones, blood, and viscera translated into zombified flesh in their recent remake of Resident Evil 2. The tofu photographs helped them create the character Tofu from the game's eponymous Tofu Survivor mode. As for the pizza, that was actually one of the first images audiences saw in the game's E3 2018 trailer as a rat skittered across it.

The ability to scan objects and then separately collect texture data has existed for some time, but photogrammetry captures both at once. Streamlining that process allows us to create accurate, properly textured 3D models faster than ever before.

Members of the RE2 dev team

The process that Capcom employed to transduce multitudes of photos into what players saw reflected in their world of undeath is called photogrammetry, and Capcom has been tapping into the art and technique of this process since 2017's Resident Evil 7.

"The photos we take are able to capture fine-grained details such as an object's texture, which in turn allows us to create realistic, high-quality 3D models,” members of the Resident Evil 2 development team told us in an interview. 

“The ability to scan objects and then separately collect texture data has existed for quite some time, but photogrammetry captures both at once. Streamlining that process allows us to create accurate, properly textured 3D models faster than ever before."

Streamlining processes like rendering is key when you want to make big budget games: it reduces cost, saves time and ultimately, creates a better product - in this case, one of the highest-rated games of 2019.

Photogrammetry 101 

The field of photogrammetry uses photographs to take precise and advanced measurements and has applications that range from cartography to archaeology.

The game industry has, over the last several years, adopted the science of photogrammetry to create highly detailed 3D models like the those found in Resident Evil 2's art deco museum-turned-police station and the sanitized white laboratory stained in stark relief with arterial spurts of blood.

This process works by first taking an array of overlapping photos of a subject from all angles to build a comprehensive set of measurements of the subject in 3D space. The photos are then stitched together using specialized software which takes into accounts for scale, angle, and perspective. In that way, a series of 2D images become a seamless 3D reconstruction.

Overlapping aerial photographs can be used to create topographical maps, whereas 3D modelers more often get up close and personal with their subjects in employing this technique.

Photogrammetry is also remarkably scaleable. A cursory glance around the internet reveals tutorials on how to do rudimentary photogrammetry with a smartphone camera. Of course, the technology employed by AAA-development studios is a bit more advanced than that.

A match made in heaven (or... hell) 

This versatile approach to creating high-fidelity 3D models has allowed Capcom to push the boundaries into literally photorealistic territory. Not only can it be applied to architecture and organic materials, but facial capture and even details as minute as creases and wrinkles in clothing as well.

"For Resident Evil 2, we hired live models who fit the descriptions of our characters, fitted them with the appropriate costumes, and then used photogrammetry to capture the data from which we built the 3D models. The process was pretty similar to filming a live-action movie. Many of the objects in the game were created using the same process," the developers told us. 

"Something we had to contend with in this game was the difference in size between the stunt actors and the facial model actors. We had to find a way to link the two of them by performing some initial facial scans to use as a target. We also use photogrammetry to capture the contortions that appear in the actors' outfits as they move around and in their faces as they emote."

To accomplish this, Capcom's 3D-scanning studio houses 141 commercially available digital single-lens reflex cameras across two booths. One booth is dedicated to creating lavishly-detailed full-body scans composited from photos taken across 103 camera, while the other 38 reside in a separate booth dedicated to facial scans. 

According to Capcom, the number of photos needed per object or person is directly proportional to the desired quality. They took, on average, about 100 photos for each model in the game for things like ...

Is the future of gaming picture-perfect? 

According to the Resident Evil 2 development team, there are a few drawbacks to employing photogrammetry - some objects can be cost-prohibitive to either procure or manufacture, while other objects that are constantly in motion (like trees and foliage that could sway in the wind) can introduce noise into the 3D data when converted if they move during the scanning process. 

That’s also not even mentioning the setup cost, which is rather sizable when you factor in a scanning studio and acquiring the equipment therein.

"However, assuming the object we want is easily deliverable, the quality of the final product compared to what's possible with traditional methods is more than worth the extra cost," according to Capcom. "We take the investment and operating costs of the photogrammetry studio into consideration as well, but we think this is an incredibly effective way to create assets, particularly in terms of the quality most contemporary games demand."

That is why photogrammetry has continued to leave a footprint on the game development industry, and why Capcom has said they will continue to utilize it for their future projects. 

Moreover, Capcom tells us, they are looking towards a future where it isn't something noteworthybut another commonplace tool in the belts of creators.

"Photogrammetry will eventually cease to be special, and in some ways it's already reaching that point. What's important is to have a kind of auteur mindset that is always aiming for higher quality and bringing even more value to the title. Photogrammetry is, in the end, just a part of the foundation used to create games and images."

Categories: Tech News

Best Samsung Galaxy Watch bands: how to restyle your wearable

Latest Tech News - Sat, 05/18/2019 - 12:00

The Samsung Galaxy Watch is one of the smartest wearables on the market. Its thoughtful styling makes it an absolute pleasure to wear and its wide range of features mean it's one of the most useful smartwatches out there. It's so good in fact that it tops our best smartwatch list.

But as with all these watches it's nice to add some flair and personality to your Samsung Galaxy Watch, and one of the best ways to do this is to find a strap that gives it a new look. Perhaps you want to switch straps depending on what you're doing. A silicone band for exercise with a metal strap for nights out.

The good news is that there are loads of custom options for the Samsung Galaxy Watch that allow you to breathe some extra personality into yours, so we've been out hunting for the best bands and straps to make your watch reflect your personality.

The Galaxy Watch comes in two sizes - 46mm and 42mm - so we'll be clear about compatibility with each band. 

These are products that we haven't had in our test labs, but based on our experts' opinion and knowledge of the most reputable brands around, we think these are worth looking at.

Our selections, ranked from cheapest to most expensive, take into account online reviews, brand reputation, product capability and unique features, to help you pick through the maze of choices available to you.

Image credit: Kades

The Kades Soft Silicone Band is one that allows easy removal, which means you can swap it out with different bands depending on your mood, or what you're going to be doing during the day. The silicone band is ideal for heavy workouts, as it's breathable and waterproof.

The pin clasp means that it's easy to put on or remove, as well as keeping the watch nice and secure on your wrist. A massive range of colors and versions for both sizes of Galaxy Watches make this an excellent choice for those looking for a good all-round band on a budget.

Image credit: MroTech

It's probably not much of a stretch to say that the MroTech Sport Loop borrows from the really excellent Apple Watch straps which use a similar 'hook and loop' fastening system to make them super-adjustable and simple to put on.

Nice design and a good selection of colors mean this is a great way to pick your style and make your watch stand out. MroTech has straps for both sizes of Galaxy Watch too, and like many of the bands here they will fit a wide range of smartwatches that use the same size fitting.

A sensible price and great design make this a really nice choice for many people.

Image credit: Goseth

Look, there's no point pretending we don't still love the Milanese loop strap design. The delicate look combined with its "wear with everything" practicality makes these styles pretty compelling to almost anyone. Perhaps not ideal for intense workouts, but a pretty good all-rounder nonetheless.

And the Goseth is an affordable option too, giving you bags of style without decimating your bank balance. The magnetic clasp is convenient and simple but by its very nature doesn't lend itself to high-stress situations, so perhaps invest in something else if you're always running marathons.

Image credit: TRUMiRR

For a modest price the TRUMiRR Stainless Steel strap brings a rather fetching two-color design to the Galaxy Watch. The high-end look makes this an ideal pairing with Samsung's super-fancy smartwatch and should catch some admiring looks from friends.

We also really like the hassle-free clasp, which requires you press buttons on either side of the strap to release it. This should keep your watch securely on your wrist and prevent any accidents - essential when you're dealing with an expensive smartwatch!

Image credit: Samsung

It's not the most cost-effective band you can buy and there are loads of third-party silicone straps that are cheaper, but for a lot of people, sticking with Samsung for your Galaxy Watch accessories is essential.

We do however really like the design and color of the Blue version of this strap. While the Black and Natural Grey are both fine in their own way, the blue color makes this strap a little more interesting. The traditional watch-style notched clasp isn't the most funky we've seen, but it will keep the watch on securely.

Image credit: Samsung

For some reason the color options are much better for the 20mm straps (which fit the 42mm Samsung Galaxy Watch) than the 22mm ones. Anyone who loves a nice bright color will enjoy the Violet and Pink bands, but we think the audacious Yellow is absolutely banging.

Samsung's silicone bands are well-suited to exercise and should last a long time, but the traditional strap clasp is a bit frustrating as these designs can be a little uncomfortable for workouts. We'd prefer to see an Apple-style clip, but we can live with Samsung's choice too.

Image credit: Samsung

Samsung knows that people may want to swap watch straps regularly, so the Hybrid Sport Strap allows for very quick removal and installation. That's super-handy if you want to use different bands for different outfits or activities.

The combination of both leather and rubber means that the Hybrid Sport is hard-wearing but looks as classy as an all-leather strap does. You get a splash of color, which can either be bright and bold or a bit more conservative - ideal for all tastes.

It's a bit expensive, especially compared to third-party bands, but it does offer some of the nicest design we've seen on a watch strap.

Categories: Tech News

Man City vs Watford live stream: how to watch 2019 FA Cup final today from anywhere

Latest Tech News - Sat, 05/18/2019 - 10:13

Tell us we aren't the only ones that get emotional when Abide With Me is belted out immediately before the FA Cup Final. We aren't? Phew! The stage is set at Wembley Stadium for the climax of the 2018/19 English football season. Manchester City and Watford are set to do battle under the now-famous arch. Is the outcome a foregone conclusion? Or is there a shock in the air? Whoever you're cheering on, you can get a Man City vs Watford live stream in the 2019 FA Cup Final wherever you are - the time is here.

No matter how big a Hornet's fan you are, there's no denying that Man City are overwhelming favourites for this game.

A quick look at their team sheet (and how much the club has spent on players) should tell you everything you have to know. Aguero. Kompany. De Bruyne. Sterling. Sane. Silva squared. And with Pep Guardiola calling the shots from the bench, there aren't many games that the blue side of Manchester go into as second favourites. And now with the Premier League and EFL Cup in the trophy cabinet, the historic treble is well and truly on.

It's Watford's first FA Cup Final appearance since 1984 and they will likely lean on influential leader and club captain Troy Deeney who will lead the line and set the tone and tempo for his team mates. With flair players Maxi Pereyra and semi-final hero Gerard Deulofeu, Watford have the creativity and skill in midfield to trouble the Wolves defense, but they certainly won't have it all their own way. 

You can watch the players try to carve out their little piece of history by getting a live stream of all the FA Cup final action from wherever on Earth you are. Below we're going to talk you through the best ways to watch the FA Cup final in the UK and the rest of the world so you can ensure you can easily live stream one of the biggest matches in the footballing calendar.

How to live stream FA Cup final in the UK for free: Live stream the FA Cup final from outside your country

In the US? Then keep scrolling, as we have your viewing options below...spoiler alert, you'll need an ESPN+ subscription. And footy fans Down Under, in Canada and in India can also see who's broadcasting there.

But if you're abroad for the game and find that you can't watch your home coverage online because it is geo-blocked, we have a handy alternative to allow you to watch as if you were back on your sofa.

How to watch the FA Cup final: US live stream

How to watch Man City vs Watford live: Australia stream

How to live stream the FA Cup Final 2019 in Canada

How to live stream Man City vs Watford football in India

Read more:

Categories: Tech News

Remember Google keeps a list of everything you buy – and here's how to find it

Latest Tech News - Sat, 05/18/2019 - 09:30

In news that will come as no surprise to anyone who's been paying attention, CNBC reports on a list of your purchases managed by Google, pulled from email receipt data in your Gmail account.

This has long been a feature of Gmail – it's how Google Assistant can alert you to package deliveries, for example – and you can see the list here or by typing "my purchases" into Google search (if you're signed in).

Google mines plenty of other information about you through your Gmail account: try typing "my flights" or "my trips" into Google search (while signed in) to see some of it.

The aim is to give you pertinent information (like flight delay alerts) when you need it – Google says only you can view this data and that it isn't sold on to third parties or used to serve up advertising.

Private destination

As CNBC notes, the purchases list includes everything you've bought that there's a receipt for in Gmail, whether you got it from Google or not. It's also difficult to scrub this list without deleting the receipt.

"To help you easily view and keep track of your purchases, bookings and subscriptions in one place, we’ve created a private destination that can only be seen by you," Google told CNBC in a statement.

While Google has been collecting data from your Gmail account for some time, the new report is a reminder that using Google's apps and services comes with a trade-off in terms of privacy and data collection.

At the recent Google IO 2019 developer conference, Google reiterated its commitment to keeping user data protected and safe – the company promises it can be trusted with info like your history of purchases, but it's always worth remembering just how much Google knows about you.

Categories: Tech News

Now TV's Game of Thrones offer is ending soon if you're planning a mega binge

Latest Tech News - Sat, 05/18/2019 - 08:01

The final episode of Game of Thrones' final season is just around the corner now and this Now TV deal must end soon too. With this Entertainment pass you can get three months of access for just £17.99. 

This grants you access to hundreds of box sets found on the Sky service including every single episode of the previous seven seasons of Game of Thrones. And if you've fancied catching up on the entire series for a while now, we've got something of a challenge for you as seasons 1-7 will sadly be leaving Now TV in just 13 days' time. We reckon you can smash through the lot in that much time though. If you start now. 

Season eight is sticking around until June 19 though, so you've plenty of time to watch and rewatch every episode as we bid George's saga a fond farewell. Sign up via the link below and you could be watching Game of Thrones (plus a huge haul of other TV box sets), just minutes from now. 

This really is the best Now TV pass deal we've seen for quite some time and perfectly timed for Game of Thrones fans. You can watch live at the same time the show broadcasts in the US at 2am on Monday morning or watch it later on at a more sensible hour. Or both.

You'll find the free Now TV app on a huge range of devices. Smart TVs are most convenient if they have the app available, but you'll also find it on PlayStation and Xbox consoles, Chromecasts, Roku sticks and boxes, Apple TV, EETV, modern Youview boxes, mobiles, tablets or simply login with your PC or Mac. 

If you want to check out the full range of services offered by Now TV, head on over to our Now TV deals and offers guide. And if you've been meaning to upgrade your TV, be sure to have a peak at our roundup of the best cheap TV deals.

And if you happen to be outside the UK but still desperate for your GoT fix, then you'll need a VPN in order to get around pesky geo-blocking. Our favourite is ExpressVPN, thanks to its speed, security and simplicity to download and use.

So now all you need to figure out is whether your're going to stay up and watch or catch it at a more reasonable hour!

Categories: Tech News

Resident Evil 8: everything we want to see

Latest Tech News - Sat, 05/18/2019 - 07:45

When it was first released in 2017, Resident Evil 7 was a much-needed rejuvenation for the classic horror franchise. Capcom departed from its usual formula in a big way and even took the opportunity to embrace new experiences with PlayStation VR. This risk paid off and a large proportion of fans and critics embraced the changes, with a keen eye on what the next game might bring.

Two years on from Resident Evil 7's release, and shortly after a very successful Resident Evil 2 remake, we think it’s a good time to peek around the corner and have a look at what the future of the franchise might look like. 

Whether it’s called Resident Evil 8 or not, we know that Resident Evil 7’s executive producer Jun Takeuchi has said plans for a sequel are “already in motion.” In light of that, we’ve gathered everything we know about Resident Evil 8 right here. 

[Update: Capcom is working on "numerous" unannounced titles. Could Resident Evil 8 be one of them? Read on to find out more.]

Cut to the chase
  • What is it? Another addition to the hugely successful survival horror franchise 
  • What can I play it on? Nothing confirmed just yet
  • When can I play it? It's not likely to be any time soon
Release date

Although we know that work has started on Resident Evil 8 in some form, we don't have any details about the game just yet or when we can expect to see it released. If we're going to hear about it any time this year, E3 2019 would be the perfect time. 

News and rumors

Capcom has numerous unannounced titles in development

Resident Evil fans hoping for a new entry in the series will be feeling their hopes rising after a 2019 financial briefing from Capcom which confirmed the publisher has "numerous" unannounced titles in development. The games are being developed on the RE Engine used for Resident Evil 7, Resident Evil 2 and Devil May Cry 5 so it's highly likely Resident Evil 8 could be one of them. This is especially possible as Capcom has said that it will be using the engine into the next generation of consoles. 

Work has already started

Though we haven’t received any kind of release date or name for the next Resident Evil game, we do know that the development process has started. 

We’ve known this since early in 2017 when Resident Evil 7’s executive producer Jun Takeuchi confirmed it. In an interview for an official “making of” Resident Evil 7 documentary, Takeuchi said that work on the next game is “already in motion.”

It’ll build on the work of Resident Evil 7

In the same interview Takeuchi also ruminated on what the game might look like. 

The first thing that he confirmed was that Resident Evil 7 was the start of a new direction for the series and that it was “the start of a new kind of survival horror, and of a new series.”

“We’re already thinking about various plans for the next game,” he revealed, “but we also want to see how we can continue to evolve survival horror itself. In the next few years technology will continue to advance and what players want may also change.”

It is, admittedly, hard to draw any solid information from this. When Takeuchi spoke in this interview it’s clear that planning was still in the very early stages and it’s quite possible that things such as plot and setting were still yet to be nailed down. 

While we’d surmise that Resident Evil 8 will build on the fresh new feel of Resident Evil 7, Takeuchi’s comments on wanting to evolve the genre as well as capitalize on changing technologies and player desires suggests that the team aren’t locking themselves into a formula just yet.

Just as Resident Evil 7 integrated virtual reality in an interesting experiment that played on the new first-person perspective of the game, Resident Evil 8 could do the same all over again. We could see another perspective change, the team could find new ways to integrate virtual reality technology, or it could even delve into new augmented reality technology. 

Part one of the "making of" documentary gives a good insight into the kinds of gameplay experiments the team were looking into. 

It seems that Takeuchi is telling fans not to assume there’s a new formula from which the developers won’t waver. Resident Evil will be taking a survival horror approach to the creation of survival horror – adapt, change and stay on your toes because you don’t know what new technology or fan request is around the corner. 

One thing we do know, however, is that the Resident Evil team will “always want to create horror experiences where the characters overcome a difficult situation.” 

Takeuchi said he believes this is what survival horror is “all about” before adding that “the next Resident Evil game, and the one after that, every future Resident Evil, will feature characters getting through crises like this.” It’s this essence of “core survival horror concept of people overcoming the odds” that Tekeuchi says the series will “always retain.”

From this, at the very least, we can assume that the future of the series will place a heavier focus on the survival horror elements showcased in Resident Evil 7, rather than delving back into the more action-heavy gameplay of releases such as Resident Evil 4. 

Shinji Mikami could come on board

As the director of the original Resident Evil and the fourth installment, Shinji Mikami is hugely beloved by Resident Evil fans and inexorably tied to the series. He hasn’t, however, been directly involved with it since Resident Evil 4.

That could change though. In an interview with PCGamesN Mikami was asked if coming back to direct Resident Evil 8 was something he’d consider. He would, of course, have complete creative freedom to with the game as he’d like. His answer was short and far from finite: “I might.”

Now that work on Mikami’s latest project, The Evil Within 2, has finished up perhaps working on Resident Evil 8 is something he’d consider. At the very least we know he’s not resolutely against it. 

What we want to see

More enemies

We loved the Molded in Resident Evil 7 but we’d love to see a little more variety in Resident Evil 8. Dangerous and scary enemies are a given but there’s something about having a wide range of terrifying character designs that makes turning every corner even more frightening. Who knows what you’ll have to face next?

A different location

This actually plays into our request for more varied enemies. Naturally, we’d love to see a new location in Resident Evil 8. To keep fans of the series on their toes it’d be interesting to see something that’s a little more open or a little more varied. New locations tends to mean new opportunities for new enemies so we think these demands feed into one another quite nicely. 

More answers

The ending of Resident Evil 7 left us with some questions and though many of them have been answered in the DLC that followed, not all of them have. As Resident Evil games go, Biohazard was quite isolated in terms of its place in the wider series universe. Though we understand the desire for a fresh start, we’d love to see a little more exploration and integration there. At the very least it would be nice to see a few more knowing nods to fans. 

VR support

Resident Evil 7’s foray into VR was terrifying and an excellent example of how to develop for the platform. We wouldn’t be against Resident Evil 8 delving back into this once again, lessons learned and technologies advanced. 

Categories: Tech News

Capcom is working on ‘numerous’ unannounced titles

Latest Tech News - Sat, 05/18/2019 - 07:33

During a recent financial briefing, Capcom has confirmed that it has “numerous titles” in development using its very own RE Engine. Used to develop Devil May Cry V, Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 7, the RE Engine has had no shortage of success, so it’s no surprise that the publisher is looking to continue using it through this generation and into the next.

Aside from some Resident Evil re-releases for Nintendo Switch and the upcoming Monster Hunter World expansion, Iceborne, we don’t actually know which new releases Capcom is working on. 

That hasn't really changed as Capcom wasn’t willing to elaborate any further on which games it’s developing or even how many there are in the pipeline during the Q&A. However, after the success of Resident Evil 7 and the Resident Evil 2 remake, fans will no doubt be hoping to see a Resident Evil 8 announcement some time in the future. 

Into the next generation

Regardless of what these unannounced titles are, it’s highly likely that they’ll be playable on the next generation of consoles. 

In another portion of the briefing, the publisher stated that “from the early stages of building this engine, we kept the ability to augment it for next-generation development in mind; as such, we view the RE Engine as one of our strengths that will contribute to next-generation game creation.”

With details of the next Xbox and PS5 now emerging, the next generation is closer than ever. Could we see some exciting announcements from Capcom at E3 2019? We don’t have long to wait to find out. 

  • Everything you need to know about E3 2019
Categories: Tech News

Spotify is testing a smart assistant speaker that fits in your car

Latest Tech News - Sat, 05/18/2019 - 05:30

Rumors around a Spotify speaker for your car have been swirling for a while, and it's now official: Spotify has confirmed it's testing a new hardware device that fits in your car, designed to assess "how people listen in" on the go.

As this is still in the testing phase, you can't actually buy the speaker – called Car Thing – at the moment, but it is going to be given to a select number of Premium subscribers in the US.

Details on what Car Thing actually does beyond collect data for Spotify are a little thin on the ground. All Spotify is saying is that it's "a voice-controlled music and podcast device".

In fact, it might never go on sale: Spotify says it's committed to becoming "the world's number one audio platform" rather than making hardware devices.

Voice and Home

Even if hardware doesn't become a big part of Spotify's business, future devices may include a Voice Thing and a Home Thing, Spotify says. We're assuming that last one might be a little like a Google Home Mini.

"Americans spend 70 billion hours behind the wheel each year," Spotify's announcement reads. "That’s a lot of time spent on the road. So what you do – and what you listen to – to help you get through those long hours in the car matters."

"That’s why Spotify is trying to learn more about people’s listening habits and preferences to help create an unparalleled experience for our users."

Testing is beginning in the next few weeks, according to The Verge. As the device gets into cars we might start hearing more about what it can actually do.

Categories: Tech News

The best big data SIM only deal just came to an end - what's the next best SIMO option?

Latest Tech News - Sat, 05/18/2019 - 05:17

For those on the big data SIM hunt, your timing is just ever so slightly late to reap the benefits of the best SIMO we've ever seen. That may have been a discouraging way to start so let us pick you back up by letting you know that the big data SIM only deal market is still remarkably strong right now. 

With options on an exclusive unlimited data SIM with a host of benefits, a cheap, big data Vodafone deal with cashback to bring its price back down and of course, EE's best pick, you'll find yourself spoilt for choice.

And you know that 'best SIM only deal' we mentioned above, when we said it's gone we meant its gone up by £2 a month, now costing £22 instead. That means you'll only actually have to pay an additional £24 over the year...sorry, we have a flair for the dramatic.

These big data SIM only deals in full:
  • Still not convinced? Select from our list of best SIM only deals in the UK today
Categories: Tech News