Tuesday, October 13, 2015

IT News Head Lines (Techradar) 14/10/2015


EXPLAINED: How to watch the CNN Democratic Presidential Debate online
EXPLAINED: How to watch the CNN Democratic Presidential Debate online
The first Democratic Prime Time Presidential Debate on CNN is going to be different. Unlike the Republican Presidential Debate that took place on the network last month that pit 14 presidential hopefuls against the unstoppable Donald Trump, the liberals only have two front-runners (former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders - and a trio of underdogs vying for public recognition.
In case you can't make it to the Wynn Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, the debate - which will be held on Tuesday, October 13 at 8 pm EST (5 pm PST / 1 am BST) - is available on a half-dozen platforms: online for free, on your TV via cable, on CNN's app on iOS and Android devices and, for the first time, in virtual reality thanks to a company called NextVR.
We'll explain all the details of the stream in the section labeled "how to watch" below, but before we do we'll recap the string of events leading up to Tuesday's big debate.

The stage is set

On debate day you'll see five presidential hopefuls on stage. They include former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee.
The front-runner in most polls is Clinton, hovering around 50% of the tallied responses. She's run into a bit of hot water recently over using a personal email account for government correspondence, but it seems this hasn't really impacted her lead in a substantial way.
CNN Democratic Presidential Debate Watch Online
Bernie Sanders, the second place Democratic candidate, has a storied record of social justice, and is a self-proclaimed socialist. Sanders spends less than most presidential candidates on advertising, however, he has found a huge following on Reddit, oddly enough, which has garnered the senator around 20-30% in the polls.
The remaining candidates, O'Malley, Webb and Chafee, are sitting at around 1% in each of the polls conducted by political news sources like CNN and CNBC.
The wildcard in all this is current Vice President Joe Biden, who has alluded to plans that he might run for the office of the president, but has yet to commit to it in writing. Should Biden decide to join the race, he would almost certainly obtain the support needed to warrant a spot at the next debate which will be held on November 14 on CBS.
There's one candidate who will not get to participate, though. Lawrence Lessig, a professor of law at Harvard, did not meet the 1% minimum in the polls put out by CNN in the last three months.
The debate itself will take place in Las Vegas and air live on CNN, which played host to the last major Republican Presidential Debate a few weeks ago. According to the outlet, it had around 23 million viewers on cable and roughly 4.5 million tuning in via the website's livestream.
Speaking of livestreams...

How to watch the democratic presidential debate

While Fox News' livestream hit a few stumbling blocks on its turn in the limelight, CNN's first go at online broadcasting in the 2016 election was lauded for its accessibility and quality throughout the event. And those deciding to stream Tuesday's event can expect the same results.
All you need to do to watch the debate on your PC or Mac is head over to CNN's homepage. If you plan on watching it on iOS or Android you're going to need CNN's mobile app, available on the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store, respectively. It's free to download and won't have a paywall blocking you from the stream.
CNN Democratic Presidential Debate Watch Online
If you want to be right in the action, NextVR has you covered. The company makes an eponymous app which is available on the Samsung Gear VR. CNN and NextVR have teamed up to place a 360-degree camera on stage with the candidates, allowing you to look around and get a feel for how the participants act when they're not addressing the camera.
The stream is available on NextVR for free.

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Apple raises the roof on App Store prices in Australia
Apple raises the roof on App Store prices in Australia
With the Australian dollar consistently struggling against the US dollar, it was only a matter of time before Apple went and adjusted pricing for the Australian market.
According to 9 to 5 Mac, Apple is raising the price of apps on the App Store in Australia, Indonesia and Sweden within the next three days.
The cheap, US$0.99 price tier, which was charged at $1.29 here in Australia, will be pushed up to $1.49, with the increase translating across the board as prices get more expensive.

Alternative pricing

It's not all bad news though. According to the letter sent out to developers, developers will also be getting the option of offering a new alternative cheaper pricing on the Australian App Store.
So instead of having the minimum price stuck at $1.49, devs will be able to charge $0.99 for their apps (the equivalent of about US$0.70).
Whether developers actually decide to use that pricing tier will be up to them on a case by case basis. Fingers crossed they do though.

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Canon's two new PowerShots attack the high end compact market
Canon's two new PowerShots attack the high end compact market
Canon was once the go-to brand for high-end compact cameras which delivered DSLR controls and features in a pocket-sized body. But in recent years, Panasonic, Sony and Fuji have been stealing the limelight with big-sensor compacts like the LX100 and RX100 IV. But now Canon's big-hitting PowerShot range is back, and with two cameras not one – the G5 X and the G9 X.
Sensor size is the key. Old high-end compact cameras, PowerShots included, used 1/1.7-inch sensors not a whole lot larger than the 1/2.3-inch sensors used in point-and-shoot compact cameras. But a new generation of much larger 1-inch sensors (twice the size of 1/1.7-inch sensors) have closed the gap on DSLRs for image quality but still allow compact camera designs.
Canon already has three big-sensor PowerShots – the compact PowerShot G7 X and the bulkier and more powerful G3 X bridge camera have the same 1-inch sensor as the new models, and there is another older PowerShot with an even larger 1.5-inch sensor – the G1 X II – but Canon has shown no sign of re-using that sensor in another camera.
(The PowerShot G16, S120 and S200 are older-generation cameras with the smaller 1/1.7-inch sensor.)

Canon PowerShot G5 X

The G5 X is the most radical design, incorporating a DSLR-style 'pentaprism' on the top – though this is actually just a housing for an electronic viewfinder. This is an important feature for a high-end compact camera – there are many occasions when a viewfinder is useful, such as when the light is too bright to be able to make out the rear screen properly.
Canon PowerShot G5 X
Canon PowerShot G5 X
The G5 X is designed for knowledgeable enthusiasts who like external controls – it has a mode dial and EV compensation dial on the top plate, a 24-100mm equivalent f/1.8-2.8 lens and a fully-articulating rear screen.
It has the same 1-inch 20-megapixel sensor used in the G9 X, G7 X and G3 X. All this power and performance doesn't come cheap, though. With a launch price of £629.99 (about US$970, AU$1,310), the G5 X will cost as much as a rather good DSLR or compact system camera.

Canon PowerShot G9 X

The G9 X shares the same 1-inch 20-megapixel sensor as the G5 X but in a much smaller body with no viewfinder and a fixed rear screen. It's designed for small size and simplicity rather than outright power, and in fact its size is its most spectacular feature. Despite the much larger sensor, the G9 X is actually no larger than Canon's old PowerShot S120 – a camera with a much smaller 1/1.7-inch sensor and itself considered amazingly small in its day.
Canon PowerShot G9 X
Canon PowerShot G9 X
The small body means some compromises, of course, and where the G5 X has a wide-aperture 4.2x zoom lens, the G9 X has a smaller 28-84mm equivalent f/2-4.9 lens. Its 3x zoom range is still perfectly adequate, but while it has a wide f/2 maximum aperture at its shortest focal length, this shrinks to f/4.9 at full zoom. The PowerShot G9 X will sell for £399.99 (about US$610, AU$830).

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Hands-on review: Canon PowerShot G9 X
Hands-on review: Canon PowerShot G9 X
Like the G5 X launched at the same time, the G9 X has the same 20.2Mp 1-inch type back-illuminated CMOS sensor as the PowerShot G7 X, which impressed us when we tested it back in 2014. Once again this sensor is coupled with Canon's Digic 6 processor and this combination enables a sensitivity range of ISO 125-12,800.
Unlike the PowerShot G7 X and G5 X which have 4.2x zoom lenses with a focal length equivalent range of 24-100mm and f/1.8-2.8 maximum aperture, the G9 X has a 3x zoom lens with a focal length range equivalent to 28-84mm and a maximum aperture range of f/2-4.9.
Canon PowerShot G9 X
It means the lens isn't quite so versatile, but it's still suitable for capturing wide landscapes and framing flattering portraits. The smaller maximum aperture will also mean that it won't be quite so easy to soften backgrounds and shutter speed will drop further in low light so you need to take care to avoid blur. Thankfully the lens-based image stabilization system will help with this by offering a claimed 3EV of compensation.
Another key difference between the G9 X and the G5 X is that the G9 X doesn't have a viewfinder, nor is there a hotshoe to enable an external one to be mounted. There is, however, Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity so you can transfer images to your smartphone or cloud storage directly. You can also use Canon's app to turn your smartphone into a remote viewfinder and controller.

Build and handling

The G9 X is very similar to the G7 X but Canon has managed to shrink it down by 25% and it's actually very similar in size to the popular Canon S120, which has a much smaller 1/1.7-inch sensor. While this shrinking has had a negative impact upon the lens specification, it doesn't seem to have impacted upon the build quality of the G9 X – it feels lovely to handle and is about the right size to slip into a shirt or jeans pocket.
Control-wise the G9 X is very straightforward. On the top-plate there's a mode dial for setting the exposure mode, which gives a quick route to aperture priority, shutter priority, program and manual mode, along with options to access fully automatic and scene modes. There are only four control buttons on the back of the camera and the majority of settings are selected via the 3-inch 1,040,000-dot touchscreen, which provides and clear view and is very responsive. It's pretty easy to find the options you want.
There's also a ring around the lens on the front of the camera to adjust key settings and a sprung lever around the shutter release to zoom the lens in and out.
Canon PowerShot G9 X
Canon PowerShot G9 X


My initial impressions of the G9 X are very good; the lens focuses quickly even in low light, exposure seems accurate and colours pleasant. As it has the same sensor and processing engine as the G7 X we can also be reasonably confident that images will have a good level of detail and noise that's controlled well. Naturally we will investigate all this and the lens performance when we get a production sample in for testing.

Early verdict

While the G9 X doesn't have a viewfinder, it is very attractively put together, nice and small and, crucially, it has a good-sized sensor. This and its connectivity all add up to make it an appealing option for photographers who appreciate the benefit of a camera they can carry everywhere. With Wi-Fi connectivity built-in there should only be a slight delay between taking a shot and sharing it with the world via your phone.
We expect noise levels to be controlled well as the sensor and processor are also found in the G7 X – and we're looking forward to finding out this combination works with the 28-84mm (equivalent) lens.

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Hands-on review: Canon PowerShot G5 X
Hands-on review: Canon PowerShot G5 X

Features, build and handling

Inside the G5 X (and G9 X launched at the same time) is the same 20.2 million-pixel back-illuminated 1-inch type sensor as is found in the Canon G7 X, which impressed us when we tested it in 2014. As in the G7 X this sensor is coupled with a Digic 6 processor and sensitivity may be set in the range ISO 125-12,800. The G5 X also has the same lens as the G7 X; a 4x zoom with a focal length range equivalent to 24-100mm. There's also a maximum aperture range of f/1.8-2.8, which ensures reasonable control over depth of field.
In a significant difference from the G7 X, however, the G5 X has an electronic viewfinder (EVF) built-in. This is a 0.39-inch type OLED device with 2.36 million dots and it shows 100% of the scene that will be captured. The EVF also has a refresh rate of 120fps, which should ensure that it's possible to follow moving subjects accurately. According to Canon this EVF is similar but not identical to the optional EVF that's available for the G3 X.
Canon has also given the PowerShot G5 X a 3-inch 1,040,000-dot touch sensitive screen that's mounted on a vari-angle hinge to make it easier to compose images in either upright or landscape format at high or low angles.
Further good news is that like other G-series cameras, the G5 X offers advanced exposure control with aperture priority, shutter priority and manual mode being available, as well as a collection of scene modes and automatic options. There's also stabilisation built-in to help produce sharp images as light levels fall.

Build and handling

Canon has opted for retro styling for the G5 X. Some may find it a little old-school and angular, but I rather like it. It's not a million miles away from the Sony A7R II in looks. It feels reasonably well constructed and there's a nice secure grip on the front.
The electronic viewfinder sits in the middle of the top-plate and this gives the camera a mini-DSLR-like appearance. There's also a retro control arrangement with a ring around the lens along with dials on the front and back of the camera that can be used to adjust a range of settings. In addition, it's nice to have a dedicated mode dial to set the exposure mode quickly and a compensation dial for speedy exposure adjustment by up to +/-3EV.
Initially I found the shutter release a little awkward to reach as your index finger has to stretch over the exposure compensation dial. However, I adjusted my grip a little so that my index finger could be poised on the release while my middle finger rested on the front adjustment dial. This enabled me to make quick setting changes with the camera held to my eye. I want to explore this control arrangement further when we get the camera in for testing.
Meanwhile the lens ring is within easy reach of the fingers and thumb of your left hand as you support the camera for shooting.
Canon PowerShot G5 X
Canon PowerShot G5 X
Having a viewfinder is huge advantage in bright conditions and the G5 X's EVF is very good. It's more comfortable to use than the unit in the Sony RX100 III and Sony RX100 IV and it doesn't have to be popped-up and extended like theirs do – it's ready for use whenever you need it. There's even a helpful sensor that detects when the camera is held to the eye to fire up the viewfinder and turn off the main screen.
Like the viewfinder, the G5 X's screen provides a clear view. It also responds quickly to a touch and it's easy to adjust settings and swipe through images.

Performance and early verdict

We haven't been able to examine any images from the G5 X in detail yet – however, there's a very strong probability that it will produce images just like those from the Canon G7 X. When I tested that camera I found it produces high quality images in many situations, usually without much intervention from the photographer. Noise is controlled well but ISO 12,800 images are best kept fairly small – 8x10 inches is fine.
I used a pre-production G5 X in low light and its autofocus system coped well – it will be interesting to test this further when we get a final sample in for testing.
When I tested the G7 X I found that images shot at the widest point of the lens showed a more noticeable drop in sharpness across the frame than those taken at the telephoto end and some coma distortion was visible. We'll check the G5 X's images for this as soon as we can.
Canon PowerShot G5 X

Early verdict

After a prolonged period when manufacturers omitted viewfinders from compact cameras, they are now making a welcome return. While I liked the Canon G7 X a lot when I tested it, it doesn't have a viewfinder built-in and this made image composition trickier than I'd like in bright light. It's also easier to follow a moving subject in a viewfinder rather than on the screen on the back of the camera. The G5 X corrects this omission by adding a good quality electronic viewfinder.
Although it has a much in common with the G7 X and there's a similar lens ring along with a responsive touch screen, the new camera feels quite different, having a pronounced grip and a new control arrangement with an extra dial on the front. The shutter release seems oddly placed at first but it didn't take me long to adjust to it. It will be interesting to see how convenient or comfortable it is during prolonged use. I'm looking forward to giving it a thorough test in the near future.

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Hands-on review: Canon EOS M10
Hands-on review: Canon EOS M10

Features, build and handling

While the Canon EOS M3, which we reviewed back in May 2015, is designed to appeal to relatively experienced photographers looking for a comparatively small camera with a similar level of control to an SLR, the new EOS M10 is aimed at those who are a little newer to photography.
With that in mind, in addition to the usual collection of scene modes for shooting specific subjects it has Canon's Creative Assist mode that enables you to take control of the camera without getting bogged down with technical or photographic terms. Helpfully, you can save preferred setting arrangements for re-use at a later date.
As you gain in understanding and confidence you can progress on to using more advanced options such as aperture priority, shutter priority and manual exposure mode.
Inside the M10 is the same 18Mp APS-C format sensor as is in the Canon 100D, the company's smallest DSLR. This chip is coupled with a Digic 6 processing engine and sensitivity may be set in the native range of ISO 100-12,800 with an expansion setting of ISO 25,600.
Autofocus is in the hands of Canon's Hybrid CMOS AF II system, which is faster than the system in the original EOS, even after its firmware upgrades, but it's not quite as speedy as the Hybrid CMOS AF III system in the EOS M3.
Canon is nicely on-board with the move towards a connected world, and the M10 has both Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity. As well as allowing images to be transferred to a smartphone or a cloud service, the Wi-Fi system can be used to enable a phone to control the camera remotely.
Like the other EOS M cameras, the M10 doesn't have a viewfinder built in so images must be composed on the 3-inch 1,040,000-dot touchscreen. There's no hotshoe or connection port, so it's not possible to connect an optional electronic viewfinder.
Canon is going to sell the M10 with a new kit lens, the EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM. This is a collapsible lens which means it takes up less space and is easier to transport. It's also an STM optic, which is good news for anyone interested in using the M10's Full HD recording capability as it makes for smoother, quieter focusing.

Build and handling

Like other members of the EOS M line-up, the M10 feels nicely made and is economically sized given that it houses an APS-C format sensor. While the back has a small thumbpad, there's no grip on the front of the camera, which is a slight concern. However, the camera is pretty light (at least with small optics like the new EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM kit lens mounted) and the texture of the coating on the camera gives reasonable purchase. We'll take a longer look at this when we get a full production sample in for testing, but for now I'd say that a wrist strap is a sensible precaution.Canon EOS M10
Canon EOS M10
Like the original M, but unlike the M3, the M10 has no mode dial, so the exposure mode must be set via the screen – which is easy to do, but not quite as fast as using a dial. However, there's an option on the shooting mode switch to set the camera to Smart Auto mode, which sets the camera to choose between 58 scene modes). That's perfect for most beginners.
Canon has kept the number of physical controls on the M10 quite low, which makes it less intimidating. In addition to the shooting mode switch on top of the camera, there's the power button, video record button and the shutter release, which is surrounded by a dial for making setting adjustments. Meanwhile on the back of the camera there's just the menu and playback buttons in addition to the navigation pad, which also gives a quick route to four features (exposure compensation, flash, Information and exposure lock) and the central Q Set button.
Pressing the Menu or Q Set buttons reveals a lot more control options which are selected and adjusted via the touchscreen. Any of the options can be selected with a tap on the screen and it's possible to swipe between menu pages, which makes finding the option you want very quick. Naturally, you can also swipe between images in review mode and set AF point with a tap on the screen.
As there's no viewfinder the screen must be used for composing images. It provides a clear view with lots of detail in low light but as yet I haven't been able to use it in bright conditions or to see how it performs in direct sunlight.

Performance and early verdict

The sensor inside the M10 is the same as the one inside the Canon 100D so we can realistically expect images to be at least on a par with what this small DSLR produces. We can also anticipate that noise will be controlled well throughout the standard sensitivity range.
Canon's current cameras have good white balance and metering systems, and the pre-production sample I used looked to follow suit, but we will investigate fully when we have a production sample.
In the past it has been the AF system that has hampered the EOS M series. In its original incarnation the first EOS M's AF was slow and prone to indecision. This was significantly improved by firmware updates. The more recent EOS M3 has a focusing system that is capable of getting subjects sharp quickly. However, there were several occasions during our testing when it indicated that the subject which filled the AF area was sharp when it wasn't. While the AF system in the early sample of the EOS M10 that I used seemed good and able to get a subject sharp in very low light, this is an area that we will pay particular attention to during our testing in the near future.
Canon EOS M10

Early verdict

The EOS M10 looks like a nice camera for someone looking for a dedicated camera that offers more control and better image quality than a smartphone or a compact camera with a small sensor. Having an APS-C format sensor with 18 million pixels enables makes it easy to blur background creatively when you want to as well as helping to keep noise in check.
Canon has also given the camera well implemented touch controls and a sensible menu structure, plus its pedigree suggests that image quality should be high. My only reservation at this stage is whether the autofocus system can be relied upon – time and thorough testing will tell, so watch this space.

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Canon takes another shot at the mirrorless market with the EOS M10
Canon takes another shot at the mirrorless market with the EOS M10
Frankly, the new EOS M10 had us hunting through the specs for existing EOS M mirrorless cameras, not to check whether it had everything that's in the EOS M3, launched earlier this year, but to see if or how it is different to the original EOS M released way back in 2012.
There are differences. The EOS M10 has the same 18-megapixel resolution as the old EOS M, but it has Canon's faster 49-point Hybrid AF II autofocus system (though not the Hybrid AF III system in the EOS M3).
The EOS M10 also has a DIGIC 6 processor, Canon's most advanced to date, compared to the DIGIC 5 processor in the original EOS M, and while this has little impact on the continuous shooting speed (up from 4.3fps in the EOS M to 4.6fps) or ISO range (still ISO 100-12,800), it does seem to make a big difference to the EOS M10's buffer capacity. It can't store many raw files before the buffer fills up (just 7) but Canon says the EOS M10 can capture up to 1,000 JPEG images in a burst.
Canon EOS M10
Canon EOS M10
The EOS M10 also has a flip-up rear screen which activates the Self Portrait mode automatically when facing forwards at a 180-degree angle, and it has Wi-Fi and NFC built in.
On the other hand, the simplified external controls (there isn't even a mode dial) speak volumes about its intended audience, as does the price tag. But while the EOS M10 appears to offer little for enthusiasts, it could be just the ticket for cash-strapped novices.

Canon's new EOS M kit lens

One of the problems with compact system cameras is that while the bodies may be smaller and lighter than those of DSLRs, the lenses are just as bulky. Canon has now followed the route adopted by Olympus, Panasonic and Sony and developed a new, retractable kit lens, launched alongside the EOS M10.
Canon 15-45mm kit lens
The EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM has the 3x zoom range typical of kit lenses, but with a slightly wider angle of view. Most kit lenses offer a zoom range of 28-85mm equivalent, or thereabouts, while this 15-45mm lens is equivalent to 24-72mm. For many photographers, the usefulness of the wider wideangle setting will outweigh the reduction in telephoto capability at the other end of the zoom range.
This lens incorporates an image stabilizer offering a 3.5-stop shutter speed advantage over a non-stabilized lens, and the STM focus mechanism is designed to offer smooth and near silent autofocus when shooting movies.
In movie mode, the EOS M10 has a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels at frame rates of 30fps, 25fps and 24fps. This is the same across the EOS M range, right back to the original EOS M.

Pricing and availability

The EOS M10 and EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM kit lens go on sale from November 2015. The EOS M10 will cost £309.99 (about US$475, AU$645) body only, and £399.99 (about US$615, AU$835) with the new lens. This is pretty competitive for a launch price and an indication that Canon is aiming the EOS M10 squarely at the entry-level compact system camera market currently occupied by the Nikon 1 J5, Panasonic GF7 and Fuji X-A2.
See also:

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Review: Deezer
Review: Deezer

Deezer Review

Deezer, the music streaming service that launched in France and has since expanded to nearly every corner of the world, has some pretty impressive stats.
To start, it's available in 182 countries. To put that in perspective, there are 192 countries on Earth, which means there are only 10 countries in the entire world that don't have Deezer. So, unless you currently reside in the Vatican, Taiwan or Kosovo, this review applies to you.
Now, the sheer size of the company might lead you to believe that its music library must be infinitesimally small in order to secure rights in all those countries. Well, it's not.
There are over 35 million songs on Deezer, compared to the 25 million on the Google Play Music Store or Apple Music. And, if you can't find what you're looking for, Deezer also lets you import your favorite MP3s.
"Well then, it's got to have the worst streaming quality in the world," you say to yourself. And on this one you're right – sort of.

How much does Deezer cost?

Deezer is offered in three tiers: an ad-supported Discovery tier, a premium version that runs $9.99/£9.99/AU$11.99 and an Elite version, essentially offers the Rolls-Royce of streaming music services, for $14.99/£14.99/AU$23.99.
The lowest of the tier will stream at an unsavory 128kbps, which is about half the quality of anything on the web version of Spotify. Once you buy into the program, streaming quality steps up to 320kbps at the Premium level and, finally, you can stream hi-def CD-quality 1,411kbps, 16/44.1 kHz music once you plunk down 15 bucks a month for Elite.
Here comes the confusing part: Deezer Elite isn't available in every country, or on every device. It's not available on your phone through the Deezer app in America, for example.
However, Deezer has brought it to the States through a partnership with Sonos. Confusing, I know. So, look into which devices you own and where that falls into Deezer's grand strategy before throwing down some dough.
As a rule of thumb, though, Deezer Premium works in some capacity on almost every device. From Samsung Smart TVs to BMWs, it seems like the service is everywhere.

How Deezer works

Deezer works like your run-of-the-mill streaming service. You'll create a login that you'll use across all of your devices, and pick one of the umpteen platforms to start jamming out on.
Premium users might find the best luck starting out with the web player or on either major smartphone platform, iOS or Android. Elite members, on the other hand, should shoot straight to their Sonos systems to check out their favorite tracks in ultra-crisp HD audio.
One of the first steps to building a better experience is to highlight particular genres, artists and songs that you like by "hearting" them. Like the other streaming services out there, Sonos takes this information to … heart and uses it to find more music that it thinks you'll like.
With over 30 million songs to pick from, almost any artist you can imagine is in the archive somewhere. (Yes, Deezer even has Taylor Swift, though, only the country-turned-pop idol's older albums like Fearless, Speak Now and Red.)
Unfortunately, finding anything takes a bit of patience. Search isn't perfect and far too often I found the "top tracks" section of an artist's page anything but.
Still, if you can stick through the headache of finding music, you'll be rewarded with glorious 16bit, 44.1kHz FLAC files that are pretty much heaven on earth for music lovers.

Hi-Def? FLAC?

Audio is, as you might imagine, a highly complex end of the tech scene, with tons of technical jargon. Hi-def is a term that was appropriated in the last few years to mean any audio file that is sampled at either 16 or 24 bits – the amount of audio information recorded at a single moment in time – and either 44.1 or 192kHz, which is the number of times data is written per second.
Both of these numbers refer to the actual tracks stored in Deezer's massive catalog of 28 million hi-definition audio files. These files are encoded in FLAC, an uncompressed audio format, and then streamed to you at 1,411kbps.
So, why is this important? Like my fellow techradar editor James Rivington so eloquently explains in his Tidal review, "When you compress a music track into an MP3, you have to shave off a lot of detail in order to achieve that miniature file size. Other formats like OGG (as used by Spotify) do a highly commendable job of limiting that shaving mostly to parts of the audio that might be considered 'inaudible'."
FLAC preserves more data and, in layman's terms, sounds absolutely exceptional.

Deezer's music library

After spending the last three months with Apple Music, I was sure that no service would come close to the volume of music that the Cupertino company has. I'm happy to report that I was proven wrong.
Deezer has over 35 million songs, 28 million of which are available in HD. Deezer does a fantastic job of branching out to the far corners of the globe and reining in the most popular music in each area. If you're a '90s R&B fan but occasionally want to jam out to Latin Alternative, Deezer has you covered. Want to see what's big in Brazil one minute and then hop the pond in either direction to see what's new on the charts? No problem, Deezer has both Asian and African sections that seem to get frequent updates.
Miraculously, Deezer even has Taylor Swift, who went on record earlier this year denouncing Spotify and the like for paying fractions of a penny for her songs.
Now, that's not to say Deezer has absolutely everything. You can't find The Beatles here, due to an exclusive agreement between Apple and John Lennon's estate. Nor are you be able to stream Metallica's cataclysmically epic metal ballads for a similar reason, but that's more or less par for the course with any of the new services that aren't Apple owned.
If you find a new band, album or track you're really into, Deezer lets you save them to your music, which essentially acts like a bookmarks section of a web browser. Similar to Tidal, Spotify and Apple Music, if you really like something and subscribe to Deezer Elite or Premium, you can even download a copy to your device.

Using Deezer

Your opinion on Deezer will almost definitely depend on which app and where you access the service. The most robust option is the online player, available on any browser. It's more functional than other sites, like Rdio and Pandora, without becoming too cluttered or presenting too much at one time. The web player compartmentalizes the five specific features of Deezer: Hear this, New Releases, Top Playlists, Mixes and My Music.
Hear This, Deezer's answer to Apple Music and Tidal's expertly-crafted curated playlists, is best described as the marriage between a Twitter feed and Spotify's friend list. It shows you what people you're following are listening to and will come pre-populated with picks from Deezer's staff. It's usable, though not quite as populated as Spotify or Tidal.
New Releases is what you might expect: a listing of all the new albums in genres that you told Deezer you like. It's plain and simple, but it gets the job done. Top Playlists and Mixes are two of the more interesting features, and while they sound interchangeable, one focuses on a mood (that's Mixes) while the other combs the community for DJ-level setlists.
However, as smart and clean as the web player looks, it feels almost sterile compared to the overwhelmingly abundant Apple Music which crams every nook and cranny full of new music, undiscovered artists and information on the tunes you already know and love.
Both mobile apps feel like dimmed-down versions of the web player. All of the functionality remains, but navigation feels clunky and disjointed. Trying to figure out what you're looking at takes a second, and finding, say, a playlist to work out to burns minutes of much-needed gym time.
Lastly, you'll want to connect the app to your Sonos system if you're lucky (or devoted) enough to own one. Once you authorize the app, you'll be taken to a barebones version of the Deezer app with the five aforementioned features residing in the left-hand menu. Deezer inside Sonos isn't what I'd call the optimal player, but thanks to the FLAC files, at least when everything's said and done the one thing that matters, the music, sounds good.

We liked

Deezer's music catalog is impressive, as is the sheer amount of 16/44.1 kHz FLAC files at its disposal. Its integration into the Sonos system feels like a natural pairing, even if the app limits the service to a few playlists, the search and music flow functions – and your favorite songs.
Flow, the Pandora-esque personalized radio station, rarely missed the mark in its recommendations even without much initial input.

We disliked

That said, while Tidal feels like a friendly place full of music lovers and curated content, Deezer's homepage and apps feel somewhat lifeless. Curated playlists are either overstretched or seemingly manned by a skeleton crew.
The iOS app either feels either incomplete or too obfuscated to operate. Similarly, Deezer Elite on the Sonos interface feels restricted and simplistic.

Final verdict

Every streaming service has its strengths and weaknesses. Where Tidal seems to offer the best curated content, Spotify puts friends' music front and center. Apple Music has the best mainstream music anywhere on the planet, while Google Play Music integrates perfectly with Android devices. Deezer's secret sauce is its massive, global music library and cornucopia of HD tracks.
Admittedly, its apps have a ways to go to catch up to the rest of the pack, and its curated lists are severely hurting in terms of more frequent additions. But, ultimately, it's a fine music streaming service for the globetrotting audiophile or Sonos-equipped music snob.

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Google Cardboard now lets you explore Street View in VR
Google Cardboard now lets you explore Street View in VR
Google has finally added Google Cardboard support to its Street View app, so now you can explore the world's streets in VR.
It isn't quite true VR as the images are in 3D, but it does seem like a natural update for the app, which lets you see street images in 360-degrees, lending to a new way to explore different cities and places across the globe.
Support for Cardboard through Street View is now available on iOS and Android, so personally, we're excited to be able to check out Diagon Alley in almost-VR from the comfort of our own home.
Google also announced in a blog post that there have been more than 15 million Cardboard app installs through the Google Play store, and the app itself is now available in over 100 countries in 39 languages.
The big VR push isn't ending here, however, as Google has also updated the Cardboard SDK for devs as well, with tools and native Unity rendering to make Cardboard apps to run much more smoothly.

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Updated: Buying Guide: 10 best monitors and displays on the market 2015
Updated: Buying Guide: 10 best monitors and displays on the market 2015


Ten years ago, monitors were nothing more than necessary accessories. Today, they can be luxury items that dramatically improve all aspects of computing and content consumption. There are so many types of monitors that suit so many different needs.
Screen resolution, response time, panel weight: everything should be considered when choosing a personal device or an enterprise fleet. Unfortunately, all of these specs can be confusing. We've compiled this roundup to help you sort through the abundance of options available.
Update: Although not a standalone display, Apple is once again rumored to be introducing a refresh of its 21-inch iMac, potentially bringing a 4K resolution to its desktop all-in-one screen.
LG UltraWide 34UC97

1. LG UltraWide 34UC97

Great for work, games, and movies – but it's costly
Screen size: 34-inch | Aspect ratio: 21:9 | Resolution: 3440x1440 | Brightness: 300 cd/m2 | Response time: 5ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 1M:1 (DFC) | Colour support: SRGB 99% | Weight: 19.8 pounds
Good speakers with bass
Great contrast and colour reproduction
The LG's curved design, high resolution and huge diagonal make it a high quality replacement for single 4K panels or a pair of 1080p screens, and the form factor means it's tempting for work, games and movies.
Read the full review: 34UC97
Best monitor

2. Acer S277HK

A bezel-less beauty
Screen size: 27-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Brightness: 300 cd/m2 | Response time: 4ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 100,000,000:1 | Colour support: SRGB 100% | Weight: 11.9 pounds
Bezel-less design
Refresh rate
No USB ports
Height not adjustable
A gorgeous IPS screen and bezel-free design make the S227HK a stunning display by itself or an even more impressive and immersive member of a multi-monitor setup.
Read the full review: S277HK
ViewSonic VP2772

3. Viewsonic VP2772

What this professional monitor lacks in style it makes up with exceptional picture quality
Screen size: 27-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 2560 x 1440 | Brightness: 350 cd/m2 | Response time: 12ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 1000:1 | Colour support: SRGB 100% | Weight: 18.8 pounds
Bezel-less design
Refresh rate
No USB ports
Height not adjustable
A rich set of features, great picture quality out of the box and hassle-free setup make the VP2772 an attractive monitor.
Read the full review: VP2772

Dell Ultrasharp UP2414Q

4. Dell UltraSharp UP2414Q

A superb display, but you're paying through the nose for a mere 24-inches
Screen size: 24-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Brightness: 350 cd/m2 | Response time: 8ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 1000:1 | Colour support: SRGB 100%; Adobe RGB 99% | Weight: 10.58 pounds
Super display
Great features
Very expensive
Just 24-inches
A fantastic monitor that's a little ahead of its time in terms of GPU and operating system support.
Read the full review: UltraSharp UP2414Q
LG 34UM95

5. LG 34UM95

The first Thunderbolt 2-equipped 21:9 display is a cinematic sight to behold
Screen size: 34-inch | Aspect ratio: 21:9 | Resolution: 3440x1440 | Brightness: 320 cd/m2 | Response time: 5ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 1000:1 | Colour support: SRGB 99% | Weight: 17 pounds
Port selection
Low input lag
No adjustable height
Speakers lack bass
The 34UM95 finally does 21:9 justice, featuring a huge working area free of scaling issues, low input lag and high colour accuracy wrapped up in an attractive design. It's not the cheapest of its kind, but it goes some way to justifying the cost.
Read the full review: 34UM95
BenQ BL2710PT

6. BenQ BL2710PT

Aimed at CAD/CAM professionals, this feature-packed 27-inch monitor delivers
Screen size: 27-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 3440x1440 | Brightness: 350 cd/m2 | Response time: 12ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 1000:1 | Colour support: SRGB 99% | Weight: 23.8 pounds
Port selection
Flicker-free backlight
Touch controls
A feature-packed and well-connected monitor that offers plenty for the asking price. It may not be exciting to look at and the menu controls suffer from a lack of labeling, but these are minor caveats that don't detract from an overall worthy investment.
Read the full review: BL2710PT

Acer B276HUL

7. Acer B326HUL

Big, bold and accurate colours from a TV-sized monitor
Screen size: 32-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 2560 x 1440 | Brightness: 300 cd/m2 | Response time: 6ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 100,000,000:1 | Colour support: SRGB 100% | Weight: 15.35 pounds
Colour accuracy
Port selection
Viewing angles
Acer's larger-than-life B326HUL comes with great colour accuracy out-of-the-box, easy-to-use menu controls and good build quality, but its above-average response time, lack of MHL and price point may make you want to look elsewhere.
Read the full review: B326HUL
Samsung UD590

8. Samsung UD590

An attractive, gaming-focused 4K monitor that's well-suited for general tasks
Screen size: 28-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Brightness: 370 cd/m2 | Response time: 1ms | Viewing angle: 170/160 | Contrast ratio: 1000:1 | Colour support: SRGB 100% | Weight: 12.43 pounds
Easy to setup
Image quality (once calibrated)
No adjustable height
TN panel
A reasonably-priced 4K monitor with an attractive design, fast response time and decent image quality once you've calibrated it or fiddled with the settings.
Read the full review: UD590

Samsung UD970

9. Samsung UD970

Get ready for ultra high-def on your desktop
Screen size: 31.5-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Brightness: 280 cd/m2 | Response time: 8ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 1000:1 | Colour support: SRGB 100% | Weight: 30.14 pounds
Colour accuracy
Landscape/portrait rotation
Hardware button menu navigation
A 4K display that's factory-calibrated for great colour accuracy and image quality, which makes it ideal for digital designers, CAD/CAM engineers or videographers who aren't put off by the high-price tag.
Read the full review: UD970
Asus PB287

10. Asus PB287Q

Get ready for ultra high-def on your desktop
Screen size: 28-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Brightness: 300 cd/m2 | Response time: 1ms | Viewing angle: 170/160 | Contrast ratio: 100,000,000:1 | Colour support: SRGB 87% | Weight: 21.1 pounds
Stunning images
This machine isn't perfect, but it produces perfect images, especially if you're nowhere near sunlight. Photographers, designers and videographers will love this unit.
Read the full review: PB287Q

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This is how much Star Wars Battlefront is really going to cost you
This is how much Star Wars Battlefront is really going to cost you
The Star Wars Battlefront beta has only been out for a few days, and it seems like all anyone can say about the game is nice, positive sentiments. (Well, unless you spent the majority of your weekend playing the Rebel Forces on Hoth, in which case you might feel the game is the digital embodiment of Jar Jar Binks.)
However, like a young, bright-eyed Anakin Skywalker, that might all change once you learn how much EA wants to charge you for four DLC packs and a "Shoot First" emote.
The company announced today that the season pass will cost $50 (around £32, AU$68), and will allow gamers to download and play maps two weeks ahead of anyone buying the DLC á la carte.
Add that to the $60 you pay for the base game and you now have a solid down payment on the sweet Star Wars Battlefront special edition PS4.
Of course this isn't the first game to offer costly DLC nor will it be the last (EA and Activision typically offer these sort of deals for their annual Battlefield and Call of Duty releases), but this is a particularly painful blow for players riding the high of the pretty exceptional beta.
The Star Wars Battlefield beta officially ends on October 13, but will see a full retail launch on the PS4, Xbox One and PC on November 17.

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Watch the final Beasts of No Nation trailer before it launches on Netflix
Watch the final Beasts of No Nation trailer before it launches on Netflix
Netflix has just released the final trailer for Idris Elba starrer Beasts of No Nation, which is set to be released simultaneously on Friday on Netflix and in selected Landmark Theaters across the US.
Of course, though the film will only have a limited run in theaters in 19 US regions, it does mean Netflix's first original feature-length film will be eligible for an Oscar nomination - and there's quite a lot of Oscar buzz surrounding the film already.
Directed by Cary Fukunaga (who also directed the first season of True Detective), the film follows the story of Agu, portrayed by child actor Abraham Attah, who is forced to become a child soldier during the civil war of an unnamed African country.
The streaming service last week increased the price of one of its most popular streaming plans in the US, Canada and Latin America by $1, saying the price hike will allow it to bring users more original programming, for both series and films.
After the release of Beasts of No Nation, its film line up also includes Adam Sandler's The Ridiculous Six later this year, while a Brad Pitt-led flick called War Machine and a Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon sequel are to be released next year.
Check out the new trailer below (and the first trailer for the Beasts of No Nation here), before catching it on Netflix or in the theatre this Friday, October 16.
YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5N_3ki7cio

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Updated: 25 best PC games: the must-play titles you can't afford to miss
Updated: 25 best PC games: the must-play titles you can't afford to miss


Best PC games
The PC is either making a comeback or never went away in the first place, depending on who you ask.
Whichever camp you're in, a deluge of triple-A titles, virtual reality and (whisper it) decent console ports make picking the PC over the Xbox One or PS4 a no-brainer. Thanks to the popularity of Valve's Steam platform, finding and downloading the best PC games is easier than ever before.
Whether you're a mouse-and-keyboard diehard who mutters "boom, headshot!" in their sleep, or a joypad-wielding adrenaline junkie, the PC has no shortage of blockbuster and indie titles to help you waste away the hours.
We've rounded up the best PC games out there today. If you don't agree, let us know in the comments below..

PC games on our radar


Following up from 2012's XCOM: Enemy Unknown, which reimagined the 1994 cult classic UFO: Enemy Unknown, XCOM 2 is shaping up to deliver everything we could want in a sequel. Bigger, deeper, faster and even easier on the eyes, the turn-based tactics game takes place 20 years after its predecessor. It pits you in control of the Avenger, a converted alien ship that serves as your mobile base of operations used to devise strategy and execute fight plans against otherworldly enemies. With a greater focus of stealth, more intelligent alien AI and deeper customization options, XCOM 2 is one to watch for the discerning tactician.
YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RonqT9ZWLdk

Torment: Tides of Numanera

Best PC Games
If Pillars of Eternity (which currently sits fourth in our list of Best PC Games) whet your appetite for old-school RPGs, Torment: Tides of Numenera looks set to continue the nostalgia-fest. The spiritual successor to Planescape Tournament (it's being written by that game's designer, Colin McComb), Tides broke the then-Kickstarter record for surpassing a million dollars in funding in just seven hours. Based on the pen-and-paper game Numenera, which is set a billion years in the future, expect Tides to be heavily story-driven and terrific to look at thanks to its living and breathing environments set in the Ninth World.
Expected: 2015
YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybqE8FlLrqg

Star Wars: Battlefront

Best PC games
"Next-gen Star Wars": four words that never fail to get gamers with even the vaguest interest in George Lucas's universe quivering like an excited Wookiee. That the studio behind the Star Wars: Battlefront reboot is Dice, the developer behind the Battlefield series, is even more reason for celebration. Though it's sensible to be wary of the scripted (albeit stunning) gameplay footage shown off at E3, players who dived into the recent Closed Alpha have reported a game very close in feeling to Battlefield 4 - though much faster-paced - and with lightsabers. Obviously.
Expected: November 2015
YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXU5k4U8x20

Fallout: 4

Best PC games
Heading to PC and consoles on November 10, Bethesda's Fallout 4 swaps Fallout 3's post-nuclear wasteland for, er, a post-nuclear Boston. Screenshots of the game from E3 featured robots, massive guns, a dodgily rendered dog, jetpacks, and what appears to be a weapon modding system. Speaking of which, PC modders are already planning ahead: Fallout 3 mod creator Zealotlee has announced his intention to import the Rail Rifle into Fallout 4. Sure, Fallout mods are coming to consoles this time around, but it's one of many areas where the PC is going to lead the way.
Expected: 2015
YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2XfDggqjzk
Best PC games


Few games are unique these days, but Studio MDHR's charming run and gun title Cuphead just might be deserving of the label. Featuring a visual art style borrowed from 1930s Disney cartoons (think Mickey Mouse in Steamboat Willie), it's a romantic blend of old and new-era entertainment. Adorable and even a bit disturbing due to its screen-filling bosses (most of which are drawn with deranged facial expressions), Cuphead has us thirsty for more.
Expected: 2015
YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TjUPXAn2Rg


Bethesda's upcoming DOOM reboot is taking id Software's classic FPS back to its frenetic roots. Shown off at E3, early gameplay footage running on id Tech 6's game engine was nothing short of gore-tactic. Enemies can be blown into chunks with the regular assortment of high-powered shotguns, rifles and laser-powered weapons, and the chainsaw has made a particularly grusome return.
Expected: 2016
YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NteAPGprDJk

Unreal Tournament

One of the most celebrated arena-shooters of all time, Unreal Tournament brushed Quake 3 aside to claim the online shooter crown back in 1999. It's remained a firm favourite with FPS fans ever since, leading to a remake being announced in 2014. Developed in Epic Games' Unreal Engine 4, Unreal Tournament brings back classic weapons including the Flak Canon, Pulse Rifle and Mini-Gun. The first high-resolution map, Outpost 23, looks nothing short of stunning and is sure to give UT die-hards m-m-m-m-monster thrills.
Expected: Out now (Pre-alpha), Final TBC
YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=li0OCzVqjOU

1. Cities: Skylines

Cities: Skylines
Cities: Skylines is SimCity updated for the modern era, proving a breath of fresh air for would-be mayors. Its core gameplay lets you dig deep into the various aspects of running a sprawling virtual city - from economics to macro and micro management and land planning. But Cities: Skylines really shines when it comes to mods, which allow you to create custom maps, assets and tools to share with other online players.
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2. Dragon Age: Inquisition

Dragon Age: Inquisition
Dragon Age: Inquisition places you in the heart of a huge, vibrant world on a far greater scale than its predecessors, and it does an excellent job of making you feel in command. Packing in a huge 90 hours (and the rest) of gameplay into its storyline, Inquisition's smart dialogue, compelling plot, savvy progression system and massive sandbox world will have you engrossed for months on end. Think the Elder Scrolls games meets the Diablo franchise and you're halfway there.

3. Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
A card game from the makers of World of Warcraft, Hearthstone is easy to learn, but hard to master. Like Blizzard's famous MMO, Hearthstone combines classes, characters and a bit of tactical luck when throwing you into battle against computerised or online opponents. Stick with it and you'll be rewarded by its tactical, deep gameplay. Though available on iOS and Android, its low system requirements, excellent presentation and great sound effects mean it's best experienced on the PC.

4. Pillars of Eternity

Pillars of Eternity
Pillars of Eternity is a sprawling RPG in the vein of Baldaur's Gate or Icewind Dale that combines highly detailed technical combat with hundreds of hours of gameplay. It has refreshingly low system requirements on the PC but still looks incredible thanks to its simple but effective art style, which harks back to those aforementioned isometric fantasy RPGs of the 2000s. But it's not all about nostalgia: Pillars of Eternity has enough interesting characters, baddies and clever writing to make it a modern classic of its own.
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5. Grand Theft Auto V

Grand Theft Auto V
Grand Theft Auto V is one of the most anticipated console ports to ever hit the PC. You probably didn't need telling twice to head back into Los Santos's hugely detailed and interactive world, but it's ten times more fun with the PC's richer graphics and smooth 60 frames per second gameplay. Once you're done with its 31-hour storyline or had your fill blazing around the city causing chaos, an ever expanding list of GTA V mods - from fine tuning cars or throwing vehicles around with a Gravity Gun - are bound to keep you entertained for some time.
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6. Alien: Isolation

Alen: Isolation
Set 15 years after the events of the first Alien film from 1979, Alien: Isolation is the suspense-packed game that fans of the franchise have been crying out for. Playing the role of Amanda Ripley, daughter of Alien protagonist Ellen Ripley, your mission is to track down and recover the flight recorder of the Nostromo spacecraft from the first Alien film which has been located aboard the Sevastopol space station. First and foremost a stealth game, Isolation ramps up the tension by providing you with minimal weaponry. Its excellent graphics shine on high-end PCs and clever AI helps ramp up the dread, leaving you to quiver when turning every corner.

7. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Counter Strike: Global Offensive
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive remains a fantastic update to a timeless classic that continues to live on thanks to its vast online communities. A well-rounded tactical shooter that builds on the simple Terrorists vs Counter-Terrorists gameplay mechanics of Counter-Strike 1.6 and Counter-Strike: Source, CS: GO updates classic maps such as Italy and Dust while keeping adding new modes in Arms Race and Demolition. Simpler than Battlefield but more nuanced than the Call of Duty franchise, it's a shooter for those who like to run, gun and think - if only a little bit.

8. Far Cry 4

Far Cry 4
Ubisoft's latest shooter marks Far Cry's most beautiful outing yet. Its graphically-rich world is eye-popping on high-end PCs, and you'll see plenty of it thanks to a 30+ hour-long campaign. Aside from the main campaign, there are plenty of things to do in Kyrat - from hostage rescue and assassination missions to escort quests, resource collecting and, of course, avoiding being killed by bullets or rampaging animals. Whether you're tearing across the savanna in a rickety car or slinging grenades around like tennis balls, survival has never been such a blast.
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9. FTL: Faster Than Light

FTL (Faster Than Light)
FTL (Faster Than Light) puts you command of running a spaceship and looking after its crew. Featuring a complex game mechanism that involves maintaining weapons, engines, shields and other areas, in addition to tactical combat, FTL can get extremely in-depth over time. Whether you're ordering your crew to quite literally put out fires on deck in the heat of battle, or are navigating through asteroid fields, FTL is as much about long-term progression and satisfaction as it is quick fixes. Don't let its indie stylings fool you: this is game with untold depth and scary levels of addictiveness.

10. Grim Fandango Remastered

Grim Fandango Remastered
A 90s classic brought back to life (unlike its main protagonist), Grim Fandango Remastered is a successful attempt at reviving one of the PC's best adventure games of all time. Combining writing that matches the funniest dark comedies with clever puzzles and a still-impressive art style, Grim Fandango was the most entertaining work of art to take place in a Mexican setting for years until Breaking Bad came along. Now with updated graphics, sound and better controls, Manna Calavera's adventure has never looked so good.

11. Skyrim

Four years after its initial release, Skyrim is going as strong as ever thanks to a vast selection of mods and high-resolution texture packs. Even if you're only interested in playing the vanilla version of the RPG, it offers more than 100 hours of gameplay.
Throw in three action packs DLC expansion packs (Dawnguard, Hearthfire and Dragonborn), and it lasts even longer. That Skyrim has been compared to graphically superior but similar RPG blockbuster The Witcher 3 is testament to its enduring popularity. Step into Skyrim and you too can be an adventurer - just try not to take an arrow in the knee.
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12. DayZ

Grim Fandango Remastered
Originally launched as an Arma II mod, DayZ is a standalone zombie shooter with a difference. Not only do you have to mind the undead when wandering around its sprawling maps, but other online players too. Armed with a lead pipe and carrying nothing but a backpack and a flashlight, you'll need wits and guile to survive.
Pretty much the opposite of adrenaline-packed zombie fests such as Left4Dead, you'll spent half of the time evading the undead and the other using a shovel to fend off any humans who are bent on trying to steal your last box of matches. And take it from us - they will try.

13. Minecraft

Grim Fandango
The phrase "build it, and they will come" quite literally rings true when it comes to Minecraft, the game that has been bought by more than 19 million people. The survival-themed sandbox RPG lets players build their own worlds or explore others, using the game's multiple block types to construct anything from small huts to extravagant castles and beyond.
Minecraft's ultimate appeal revolves around its open-ended nature. Creative types can build and destroy to their hearts' content, while solo players can concentrate on not being eaten by the zombie hordes that emerge at night. A modern-day classic that has spawned its own genre, it's not to be missed.

14. The Orange Box

The Orange Box
The Orange Box may be showing its age, but it remains a must-play collection of games - particularly for FPS fans. Half-Life 2, technically still the most recent game in Valve's franchise (excluding its Episode 1 and 2 add-ons), remains a modern masterpiece and is famed for being the first game to intelligently apply physics to its puzzles and combat set-pieces.
The collection's other titles aren't too shabby either: Portal takes gravity-based puzzles to the extreme by equipping the player with the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device (also known as the Portal Gun), which places two portals for objects to pass through, while Team Fortress 2 continues to go from strength-to-strength thanks to the introduction of custom gear and well-balanced team combat.
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15. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

The Witcher 3
Gorgeous graphics? Check. Huge explorable environments? Check. Enthralling combat? Of course. The Witcher 3 stands tall as one of the most ambitious open-world RPGs yet, combining Skyrim's unrestrained epicness with Grand Theft Auto 5's scale. While the game has been criticised for its inventory niggles, less-than-enthralling plot and not quite matching the graphics shown in its promo materials, it's so ambitious and jam-packed with detail that the package lives up to the hype. Huge, beautiful and an absolute time-sink, you'll want to scour every inch of The Witcher 3's glorious world.

16. Project CARS

Project Cars
Project CARS is a racing simulator that guns for realism without leaving excitement back in the pit stop, as some racers tend to do. Slightly Mad Studios' graphically-stunning title has enough car customisation and handling options to keep the keenest of petrol heads happy. Car types on show range from F1 to road, retro, kart, Le Mans, GT and more. Throw in realistic weather effects and driving assistance by Le Mans driver Ben Collins - formerly BBC Top Gear's Stig - and the smell of burning rubber will be floating up your nostrils in no time.
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17. Elite: Dangerous

Elite: Dangerous
Modelled after the 1984 game Elite, Elite: Dangerous is one of the most ambitious space sims around. Featuring an in-game galaxy based on the real Milky Way (how's 400 billion stars for depth?), the ultimate goal is to advance your rankings to Elite status by levelling up combat, trading and exploration.
Starting out with a rickety ship and 1,000 credits in your space suit's back pocket, you'll need to turn to piracy, trading, exploring, mining or bounty hunting to rise through the intergalactic ranks. Doing so takes time and requires serious graft, but the experience provides a level of satisfaction that few other titles can match. And then there's the Oculus Rift...

18. Frozen Cortex

Frozen Cortex
Frozen Cortex is a tactical future sports game with oodles of depth and heaps of style. Players take turns to commandeer teams of five robots across randomly generated maps, scoring points by successfully carrying or passing the ball to the end line. Tactically demanding and Chess-like in execution, it can be exhilarating to watch the action unfold as robots play out defensive or offensive runs depending on their commander's style of play.
There's more than a shade of American Football to it, with online bouts providing the biggest thrills as you bluff and double bluff your way through human opponents to earn new robots (and new abilities) as you progress. As stylish as it is clever, Frozen Cortex's art style makes it a particular delight for anyone old enough to remember the Amiga classic, Speedball 2.

19. Ori and the Blind Forest

Ori and the Blind Forest
Described as "achingly beautiful" by Unity Engine boss John Riccitiello, Ori and the Blind Forest borrows its game mechanics from old-school 2D games such as Metroid and Castlevania while adding a modern twist. If any word can describe Ori's atmospheric world, it's alive. You'll have to think fast and use new abilities gained along the way to bash, stop and manoeuvre your way through its gorgeous locations, and with no automatic saving system or easy difficulty level, it's no walk in the park. As satisfying to master as it is to look at, Ori and the Blind Forest will re-open your eyes to what 2D games still have to offer.

20. Grow Home

Grow Home
Grow Home is an experimental PC platformer that looks like an "indie" game but is in fact the latest release from Rayman developer Ubisoft. Similarly charming thanks to its distinctive 3D art style, you play as BUD, the game's robot protagonist, whose main job is harvest seeds and grow a beanstalk-like 'Star Plant' by grabbing its branches and connecting them to nearby floating islands in the sky.
There's a fair bit of trial-and-error involved, and while having to climb all the way back up again after a fall is frustrating, grabbing a passing vine at the last minute by the tips of your fingers can be equally as exhilarating. The ability to move BUD's arms and legs independently helps put you in control - just try not to get them tangled up. Because you will - a lot.

21. Sunless Sea

Sunless Sea
A 2D exploration game set on a boat can't be that creepy, right? Wrong. More gothic than a Cradle of Filth concert, Sunless Sea throws all manners of joyless themes your way: death, insanity and cannibalism to name a few. Sailing from port-to-port in the monster-filled underworld of Fallen London, you'll have to manage fuel and supplies while battling sentient icebergs, Zee-beasts and other water-dwelling nasties to remain afloat. Top-notch writing gives Sunless Sea an absorbing storyline that's up there with history's best text-based adventures.

22. Rocket League

Rocket League
Already familiar to millions before they've played a played a second of it, Rocket League turns the age old game of football (or soccer, depending) on its head. Played with rocket-propelled cars in futuristic low-gravity environments, the aim is simple: knock the ball into the opposing team's goal. Doing so is harder said than done because there could be up to three cars on the opposing team trying to steal the ball off you - or ram you into submission - at any one time. Gorgeous to look, simple to learn but difficult to master, Rocket League is the surprise smash hit of 2015 - and a wonderfully addictive one at that.
Read: 8 real-life footballers in Rocket League: which one are you?

23. Heroes of the Storm

Heroes of the Storm
As inevitable as sandals in summer, Blizzard finally launched its first MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) game in June. Featuring a ton of characters from Blizzard games such as Warcraft, World of Warcraft and Starcraft 2, Heroes of the Storm sees two teams of five attempt to destroy the other's base. When not sounding out enemy units to destroy, its expansive maps give you room to take on secondary objectives such as finding skulls or unlocking special siege units to help your team.
Accessible to newcomers while packing plenty of depth, Heroes' finely balanced gameplay mechanics, shorter matches (compared to League of Legends) and ability-based levelling system make it a refreshing alternative to established MOBA titles and a fine game in its own right.

24. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

Metal Gear Solid V
The new Metal Gear, which is likely Hideo Kojima's final game in the series, is a hugely ambitious title. Its massive open world setting lets you tackle missions using stealth, but it won't punish you for going in guns blazing - which is often the most tempting option.
Set nine years after the events of Ground Zeroes, The Phantom Pain's story unravels through its main missions and more than 100 Side Ops tasks. The action is interspersed with gorgeous cutscenes, and while you sometimes have to decode annoying military-babble to understand what's going on, TPP's fast pacing and gorgeous Afghanistan settings never make the game feel like a chore.

25. SOMA

A gripping horror game in the vein of Amnesia: The Dark Descent (it's from the same developer), SOMA has its fair share of "NOPE!" moments. But it's not really about jump scares; the game's most compelling aspect is its philosophical story arc, which unravels as you encounter a series of confused robots. Suffering from existential stress, the decaying machines believe they are human.
The tension builds as you venture deeper into the underwater research facility that you wake up aboard, avoiding murderous creatures, solving clever puzzles and checking voice memos to unravel the mystery. Expertly weaving elements of survival and psychological Sci-Fi horror, SOMA is a little less action packed than Alien: Isolation but engages more of the old grey matter. If that's what you're looking for in a fright-fest, SOMA doesn't disappoint.

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New Windows 10 build brings smarter Cortana, messaging experiences
New Windows 10 build brings smarter Cortana, messaging experiences
Microsoft just released a new build of Windows 10 to consumer testers in the Fast ring. Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 10565 brings a number of features that are expected to arrive in next month's anticipated Threshold 2 update, and it appears that Microsoft is beginning to publicly test these feature enhancements through its Windows Insider program.
The biggest feature of the release is a unified messaging app for Windows 10 that integrates Skype messaging, calling and video. The app also brings message notifications to the Action Center, and to help you multitask, you can even quickly respond to messages using Quick Reply.
The universal Skype messaging experience is Microsoft's answer to Apple's FaceTime and Messages app on OS X. In addition to Windows 10 for the desktop, Microsoft will also be bringing this universal and integrated Skype experience to Windows 10 Mobile, which will debut on the company's new Lumia 950 and Lumia 950XL flagship smartphones.

Cortana gets smarter

If take handwritten notes, Cortana's overhaul aims to please. Now, Cortana can understand your handwritten notes, and the digital assistant can set reminders based on the context of your scribbled notes. She'll be able to understand location, dates and phone numbers, said Gabe Aul, Vice President of WDG Engineering Systems team at Microsoft, in a blog post.
The feature is similar to Samsung's Action Memo on the company's S Pen-enabled Galaxy Note series.
Cortana also does a better job with helping you manage your personal time by monitoring your emails for movies and ticketed events. It will set a reminder two hours prior to showtime, give you an option to book an Uber ride and provide you with map and travel information.

Edge improvements

Additionally, the Edge browser was also updated with new improvements and features. Once you open multiple browser tabs in the Edge app, you can hover over each tab to get a preview of the webpage. This allows you to glimpse the content of your tab without actually having to click into the tab and switch to that view.
Microsoft is also working on synchronization improvements with Edge, bringing a better sync experience to Favorites and Reading list items.

Visual improvements and more

There are some subtle visual improvements with the new Windows 10 build. Title bars are more vibrant, there are now new icons and contextual menus on Start have new tile adjustment icons.
Additionally, a new mode aims to simplify printer selection by making the last used printer your default printer.
Windows activation is now also easier. If you perform a clean install of Windows 10, you'll be able to activate Windows by entering the product key from the version of Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 you're activating from.

Crossing the "Threshold"

Microsoft is rumored to have already commenced work on Windows 10's successor, code named Redstone, which will arrive after the Threshold 2 update. Details about Redstone's features are not known at this time.
"I understand the first Redstone builds have been compiled within the 11xxx range, giving Microsoft plenty of room to finalise and sign off on Threshold 2 soon," Winbeta reported. "It also appears Build-Feed has spotted the first of redstone development branches, rs1_onecore_mqbase1."

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Apple is reportedly blocking its News app in China
Apple is reportedly blocking its News app in China
China has restrictions on the content that can be made available to people within the country, and companies are required to monitor and censor the content it makes available, or else be blocked completely in the country, like Facebook and Twitter.
Rather than censoring each article that people have access to within Apple's new News app, it looks like Apple is seemly deactivating the app in China to fall in line with the censorship requirements.
A source "with direct knowledge of the situation" told The New York Times that Apple is blocking access to articles within the News app on iOS 9, which aggregates relevant news articles based on user interest and lets users save articles to read later.
The app is currently available in the US, but is also being tested in Australia and the UK right now.
Reddit user Larry Salibra noticed that the News app, which is linked to his US Apple account, was blocked when traveling to mainland China, though it still worked while in Hong Kong.
In a blog post, he explained that access to the app was based on which carrier his phone connected to, so when his phone connected to a Chinese network, the News app deactivated.
This is only happening in China, it seems, as if you travel to another country, the News app should work without any problems.

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Here's our first look at Tag Heuer's pricey Android Wear smartwatch
Here's our first look at Tag Heuer's pricey Android Wear smartwatch
Tag Heuer took to its social media accounts today to give us our first look at its forthcoming Android Wear smartwatch.
Shrouded in shadow, we can't see much of the watch, seemingly called Connected, except for a button on the side and minute markers along the watch face edge. We can also barely make out a sleek black band for the wrist. The company posted the image you see above on its Twitter account along with the line, "Get ready to experience the next step in innovation. #connectedtoeternity."
A link in the tweet takes you to a countdown ticker on the company's website leading up to November 9. Over on its Instagram, Tag Heuer revealed it will unveil the new watch in New York City on that day.

Android Wear Rolex

Tag Heuer's CEO said in September that the luxury watch maker would reveal its Android Wear smartwatch on November 9, so that date is nothing new. He also said at the time that the watch will cost $1,800 (about 1,172, AU$2,445).
The most expensive Android Wear watch to date is the Huawei Watch, which tops out at $799 (€699, about £515). For more comparison, the LG Watch Urbane costs $349 (£259, AU$459).
The Apple Watch starts at $349 (£299, AU$499) and goes all the way up to $17,000 (£13,500, AU$24,000). While Tag Heuer's timepiece won't be as expensive as Apple's most pricey option, it does beat out most Apple Watch models on the sticker-shock front.
To slightly make up for the price, the new watch is said to have a battery life of up to 40 hours on a single charge, a really impressive figure.

Get Connected

Tag Heuer got a little help from the maker of Android Wear when it came to revealing the new watch's name.
The Android Twitter account retweeted TH's initial post, adding, "We can't wait - Tag Heuer Connected powered by #AndroidWear."
All that remains to find out about the Tag Heuer Connected is what it really looks like, specs and a release date, but we'll know all in less than a month's time.

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Available Tags:Apple , Canon , Google , Windows , Android

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