Monday, February 8, 2016

IT News Head Lines (Techradar) 09/02/2016


Gallery: 10 photo tips for Tim Cook after his Super Bowl disaster
Gallery: 10 photo tips for Tim Cook after his Super Bowl disaster

Why does blur happen?

10 tips for sharper photos
Blurry photos are the number one annoyance for any photographer and they always seem to happen to those once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunities. Just ask Apple boss Tim Cook, who tweeted this blurry nonsense from the Super Bowl on the weekend.
We've got some photo tips for Tim, and for anyone who wants smarter shots from their smartphone:
1) Stand still! It's supposed to be your subject that's moving, not the camera.
2) Brace yourself. Smartphones are pretty good in low light these days, especially iPhones, but the shutter speed will be low and you still need to give them half a chance. Use a wall, a doorway or somebody else's shoulder if you have to.
3) Where's your subject? You need to work out what you're taking a picture of, and 'things in general' isn't the answer.
4) Grab a banker shot because you don't know how long you've got – but then use any extra time to go and explore some more angles.
5) Where's the panorama, Tim? They're really easy to shoot on an iPhone, they take no more than a few seconds to shoot and an indoor stadium will give you a spectacular photo.
For more tips on getting sharper shots with smartphones, compact cameras and DSLRs, keep reading. Our tips won't cure everything, and sometimes the conditions are so bad that there's no way you'll be able to get a sharp shot whatever you do.
But if you try out these quick and simple tips you really will boost your success rate for sharp photos, even when the odds are against you,

1 Focus first

10 tips for sharper photos
Sometimes your shots are blurred simply because they're not in focus – or the camera has focused on the wrong thing. Modern cameras can focus really fast, but you still have to give them a fighting chance. You can do this by making sure the camera has locked on to your subject before firing the shutter. Don't just stab at the shutter release button or the screen – treat every photo as a two-step action
(1) Half-press to focus
(2) Full press to shoot.
Or, on a smartphone, tap the screen to focus, then tap the shutter button to take the picture.

2 Focus pointers

10 tips for sharper photos
You also need to make sure your camera is focusing on the right thing. On a smartphone it's easy – you can leave it to find a focus point automatically or tap an object on the screen. Regular cameras are trickier because there are three main modes:
(1) Automatic focus point selection: here, the camera picks a focus point automatically, usually picking the object nearest the camera – it's quick and simple, but doesn't always focus on what you want.
(2) Manual focus point selection: you move the focus point around the frame yourself, just like tapping the screen on a smartphone – it's more precise, but you won't always have time.
(3) Continuous autofocus: here, the camera focuses continually all the time you're half-pressing the shutter release – you're photographing moving subjects, this is the one you need.

3 Brace yourself

10 tips for sharper photos
Most blur is caused by camera movement during the exposure. This happens most often in poor light, when the camera has to use a slower shutter speed, and you can reduce or eliminate this camera movement by bracing it against any nearby object – it could be a table top, the back of a chair, a door frame or your friend's shoulder. You'd be surprised at the quality of the low-light shots you can get just by bracing the camera, like this one (above) taken in an abandoned factory. And take a couple – if one's not sharp, the other might be. This is especially important with long-range telephoto shots because blur increases in proportion to the lens's magnification. Even in good light, hand-holding a powerful telephoto is risky, and it's much better to use a monopod or rest it on a fence or some other nearby object.

4 Trust your tripod

10 tips for sharper photos
Ideally, you'd use a tripod in low light, and this will stop camera movement altogether. This means you don't have to worry about the shutter speed, which means you can set the lowest ISO setting on your camera. You'll need to do set the ISO manually because if you leave the camera to choose the setting it will automatically increase the ISO in low light conditions – it can't tell when you're using a tripod and when you're not. So why set a low ISO? Because the lower the ISO, the less noise in your images and the sharper the detail. Night shots taken with a tripod can look amazingly sharp and detailed, and the light trails created by traffic look fantastic.

5 Become an ISO expert

10 tips for sharper photos
Your camera's ISO setting is important because you can use it to get faster shutter speeds. A one-step increase in ISO, from ISO 100 to ISO 200, say, will give you a one-step increase in shutter speed, from 1/60sec to 1/125sec, for example. This can be enough to stop not just camera shake but subject movement – the other big cause of blurry photos. Not all cameras will let you set the ISO manually, but some more advanced models have an Auto ISO setting that can set the lowest ISO possible while still giving you the shutter speeds you need. There's on thing to remember about ISO settings – a higher ISO will produce noisy images, but better a noisy image than a blurry one!

6 Look for the light

10 tips for sharper photos
Some of the most dramatic and memorable shots coincide with the most difficult lighting – but don't be a victim of circumstance, because you have the power to change the conditions! If you want to take a photo of your partner in a dimly-lit restaurant, move the candle closer to their face (but not too close!) and if you're strolling through city streets at dusk, look for streetlamps, floodlighting, light spilling from doorways or even neon signs. You can use these to light your subject or even make a great picture in themselves. City streets at night are full of light, so look for it and use it.

7 Stabilizer secrets

10 tips for sharper photos
It's so much easier to get great shots in low light these days, thanks partly to better sensors and higher ISO settings, and partly to image stabilizers. But image stabilizers have an important limitation, whether they're built into the lens or the camera body itself. Image stabilizers are very good at reducing camera movement, and it's often possible to shoot handheld using shutter speeds far lower than any you would attempt normally (1/4sec instead of 1/60sec, for example), but the length of the exposure stays the same, and image stabilizers can't stop blur caused by your subject moving. If you're shooting a soccer match, for example, you'll need a shutter speed of 1/500sec (or faster) to stop the players blurring as they run, regardless of whether your camera or lens has an image stabiliser.

8 Speed it up

10 tips for sharper photos
This is a key point if you want to avoid blurry photos. If your subject is moving, you'll need a shutter speed fast enough to freeze that movement, or at least retain an acceptable amount of detail – the exact speed varies according to how fast they're moving, how far away they are and more. Soccer players will need 1/500 sec or faster and this is a good working minimum for most sports. More advanced cameras let you set the shutter speed manually. More basic point and shoot models don't – but many of these do have 'Action' or 'Sports' scene modes that set faster shutter speeds automatically.

9 Pan with the action

10 tips for sharper photos
Sometimes the light is just too bad for fast shutter speeds, or you're using a camera that doesn't give you that kind of control. Don't let that stop you from trying to take the picture though – the golden rule is always to follow your subject (or 'pan') with the camera. Start following them in the viewfinder or on the screen even before you press the shutter and keep following them even after the shutter has fired – it's this smooth 'follow-through' that delivers the sharpest results. If you're feeling creative you can deliberately choose a slower shutter speed (maybe 1/125 sec or 1/60 sec) so that your main subject stays relatively sharp but the background is blurred. This is a great technique for shooting race cars or motorcycles, but it takes practice.

10 Ready to burst?

10 tips for sharper photos
Using your camera's continuous (burst) mode in combination with this 'panning' approach can often get you a sharp shot even in the most difficult conditions. On some cameras, like this Nikon, the burst mode is on a dial on the camera – on others, it's somewhere in the menus. When you stab at the shutter button to grab a single image you're risking camera movement, but when you hold down the shutter button in burst mode and follow the subject, the camera won't get jogged in the same way. You can try this technique in low light even if you really want just a single shot rather than a sequence – all you do is pick the best one later and discard the rest. Nikon, for example, already uses this technique in some of its cameras for a 'Best Shot' mode.
That's the beauty of digital cameras – it costs nothing to experiment, and it means you can capture spectacular pictures that no one would even have attempted in the days of film. Not every photo will work out, but with these simple tips you can really boost your hit rate of sharp shots and, just maybe, capture something really special.

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These are the features every flagship phone must have this year
These are the features every flagship phone must have this year

Give us what we want

In a move that will entirely come back to bite us as we begin to review this year's bumper crop of smartphones, we've come up with a list of things that we're expecting every self-respecting flagship phone to have in 2016.
Will this be the year we finally get foldable phones that make toast and compliment us on our stylish new haircuts? We'd like to think so, but while talking toaster-phones may still be some way off, a number of pre-existing smartphone features are likely to become must-haves this year.
With this in mind we've created a list of the essential bells and whistles that no self-respecting smartphone will want to be caught dead without in 2016. OK - we know that packing ALL of these features into a phone this year will either result in half an hour's battery life or the world's largest handset, but If the next flagship you eye up doesn't have most of these, then it's no flagship at all.


Apple Pay
NFC has been a feature of smartphones since 2010's Google Nexus S, but it's only really become popular in the last few years.
Even now many lower-end phones skip NFC, and it was even snubbed by the would-be flagship-killing OnePlus 2, but the outcry there showed that it's no longer an optional feature for a top-end device.
It's set to become an essential feature in 2016 as Android Pay and Samsung Pay expand their reach and ensuring that, with the help of Apple Pay, contactless payments really go mainstream.

3D Touch

3D Touch
Okay, so '3D Touch' will be limited to Apple phones, but similar tech going by a different name is likely to make it into a large number of smartphones this year.
In fact, it's already been predicted that one in four high-end and mid-range phones in 2016 will have some kind of pressure-sensitive display.
So far applications for the technology have been limited, with 3D Touch on the iPhone 6S mostly just enabling you to open preview windows of content, but in giving us a new way to interact with our smartphones there's a lot of potential there.
That's the key thing here - while you might question why you need a new technology that doesn't offer much right now, in a year or two's time you'll be wishing that you could access all the new apps and games that let you push into the screen, rather than swiping on top.

QHD displays

Galaxy S6
Many smartphones, such as the Samsung Galaxy S6 and LG G4, already have these new high-res screens, but we reckon this year there'll be even more, with high-end handsets risking being left behind if they continue to hold out.
There are debates over whether we need that much sharpness on a phone, and while there's not a lot of content for the resolution, the general impression is amazing.
We've even seen a 4K screen on the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium, but that's not likely to become a common sight this year – and right now that definitely IS surplus to requirements on a smartphone, bringing almost zero perceptible benefit over QHD.
Even QHD isn't a massive improvement on 1080p in day to day use, but with VR likely to start taking off it could better enable handsets to act as headsets (and in a couple of years' time, could see 4K being a necessity in smartphones.
So hopefully HTC will join the QHD party with the HTC One M10 – and you never know, maybe Apple will even give the iPhone 7 a resolution overload - but don't bank on that one too hard...

Fingerprint and (maybe) iris scanners

With Samsung massively improving its fingerprint scanners for 2015, Sony finally embracing them and Apple going strong with Touch ID, it's safe to say that fingerprint scanners are now a fairly commonplace smartphone feature.
We don't expect that to change this year – and if anything we wouldn't be surprised if they start appearing on more mid-range phones.
As for high-end handsets, manufacturers are likely to start looking for the next big thing, which in the world of scanning is likely to be iris recognition.
Iris scanners are already found on a few phones, like the Microsoft Lumia 950, but expect to see better versions, and in more places, in 2016. The key thing is that the technology actually works though - the Microsoft line adds precious seconds to each unlock, and fingerprint scanners are good enough.
So we want some biometrics on every phone - LG is the last hold out here - and then we can feel much safer when we lose them.

Fast charging

OnePlus 2
With phones getting ever slimmer, and with none of the innovative battery tech we've been hearing about ready for prime time yet, it's unlikely that handsets will get a big boost in battery life this year – so fast charging is essential.
A number of high-end phones had this in 2015, as did a few mid-range offerings, such as the Moto X Play, but it was still a notable feature rather than an expected one.
That has to change this year. If we must live with phones that are in danger of dying by late afternoon, then we should at least be able to stuff them full of juice rapidly.
The good news is that not only is fast charging likely to be a must-have feature this year, it should be better than ever, with new technologies such as Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 set to provide the fastest charge yet - giving you 80% charge in just 35 minutes.

Stylish design

HTC One M9
Now that Samsung has moved from the plastic look of the Galaxy S5 to the sleek glass and metal Galaxy S6 there's really no excuse for any company to release a flagship phone that looks less than stunning.
Apple, HTC and Sony have all been delivering stylish phones for a long time. LG is a little hit and miss, but it's clearly trying to join the designer party, as the leather-clad LG G4 and metal LG Zero are anything to go by. Even cheaper phones, like the OnePlus X, have an eye on captivating design as a selling point.
The Lumia range could do with a premium makeover, and word is that the Microsoft Surface Phone will do just that later this year.

Wireless charging

Wireless charger
Alongside fast charging we expect that just about every significant 2016 smartphone will support wireless charging - it's the year we really, really hope Apple joins in. The worry is that the Cupertino brand will use the common Qi standard but only let you charge using its own proprietary power units, which it's done with the Apple Watch.
The thing is that wireless charging has two separate standards, which is confusing - the Galaxy S6 unified those factions using both sets of tech, but that's a hassle. We need one to win out and all phones to adopt it as soon as possible - that could happen this year.
Wireless charging is growing slowly, and with a number of issues being solved in 2015, such as the ability to charge through metal and charge quickly, its growth is set to continue.

A compact-challenging camera

Xperia Z5
Cameras are the current smartphone battleground. Screens and processors have reached the point where it's hard for the specs to stand out, but photos can always be better.
2015 saw the launch of some amazing camera phones, such as the Samsung Galaxy S6, Sony Xperia Z5 and LG G4, and this year we expect to see even better offerings from all the major players.
We'll be surprised if the Samsung Galaxy S7, LG G5, iPhone 7 and Sony Xperia Z6 don't have brilliant cameras that excel in low light and take amazing snaps in milliseconds every time.
The good news is that it seems we've hit the upper limit of megapixels, with most hanging around the 12MP level - that's more than good enough to offer amazing pictures, and now it's enhancing the snaps to make us look like photography geniuses time and again.

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Microsoft makes it clear exactly how Windows 10 is super-secure
Microsoft makes it clear exactly how Windows 10 is super-secure
Microsoft has launched a new website which shows off how secure its latest operating system is when it comes to businesses.
Of course, this is hardly a surprising development as Microsoft is busy trying to push Windows 10 in any way it can, to consumers and businesses – although the latter are slower to adopt a new OS by their very nature.
At any rate, Microsoft wants to convince business users that Windows 10 is the company's most secure operating system ever, from its core design and architecture to the various features Redmond has introduced to the OS. And it's the latter which the new site is mostly highlighting.
That includes the obvious stuff such that you've almost certainly already seen such as Windows Hello which offers a range of biometric logins, along with elements like UEFI Secure Boot, TPM, and virtualisation.

Threat resistance

On the threat resistance front, Microsoft underlines the strength of its SmartScreen web filter for safe browsing, which uses the same cloud-based intelligence as Office 365's Advanced Threat Protection that helps to keep inboxes free from malware, phishing and other nastiness.
The company also notes that Device Guard provides "the most advanced zero-day and app control capabilities that Windows has ever offered", working alongside traditional anti-malware software.
Microsoft Passport is also discussed when it comes to multi-factor authentication, which Redmond boasts is a far more streamlined solution than a smartcard.
Under the heading of information protection, Microsoft mentions BitLocker of course, along with Enterprise Data Protection and Rights Management Services. For the full lowdown on all these, check out the website here.
Via: WinBeta

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Google may be building a VR headset that isn't made of cardboard
Google may be building a VR headset that isn't made of cardboard
Google's Cardboard project is an easy and cheap way to jump into virtual reality, but it looks like Google wants to go further with a more hardy headset.
According to the Financial Times, Google is working on a plastic VR headset that will feature high quality lenses and improved sensors as well – and it'll look much like the Samsung Gear VR.
The headset will allegedly be compatible with a variety of Android devices. It's also claimed that Google will release native Android OS features specially for VR.

Opening up

Google will likely employ the Nexus project technique here and create a flagship VR.
But it's also thought Google will leave the technology open-source so any Android manufacturer can start work on a version of the headset, as it has done with Cardboard.
LG, for example, hasn't shown any interested in the possibilities of VR yet and this may be an opportunity for the company to get involved.
If this plan comes to fruition we can likely expect Google to make a public announcement at Google I/O developer conference.
Last week, Apple begun selling Mattel's View-Master VR headset in its online store, suggesting the company is beginning to embrace the technology. Further, Tim Cook recently said that he didn't think VR technology is niche, adding that it has some "interesting applications."

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First trailer for Jason Bourne gives us high hopes for Damon's return
First trailer for Jason Bourne gives us high hopes for Damon's return
The first trailer for the new Jason Bourne film has arrived, with Matt Damon reprising his role as Bourne in the hope we'll forget that fourth film ever happened.
In true Bourne style, the trailer packs in plenty of fight scenes, a truck chase, and lots of shots of the agency looking worried.
There's also an older, grittier Bourne throwing punches like there's no tomorrow. He knows who he is and he remembers everything.
YouTube :
However, right now it's not clear why he's back. Maybe it's simply because he wanted to rescue the franchise from Jeremy Renner.
The film was co-written by Matt Damon and sees Paul Greengrass return to the director's chair. It also stars Alicia Vikander of Ex-Machina fame, Vincent Cassell and Tommy Lee Jones, with Julia Stiles reprising her role from the 2007's Bourne Supremacy.
Jason Bourne is released July 2016.

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Meet the Sony action cam that needs a train to carry it
Meet the Sony action cam that needs a train to carry it
Sony loves big sensors, as do keen photographers. Big sensors have bigger photosites (pixels), and deliver better dynamic range, better performance at high ISO settings and better defocusing effects.
Sony demonstrated this last point with a smartphone and one of its RX100 compact cameras. The smaller sensor in the smartphone uses a smaller lens which renders everything in the scene sharp, at all distances, but the much larger 1-inch sensor in the RX100 uses a larger lens which captures your main subject clearly but defocuses the background.
This defocus capability is all to do with lens apertures, physics and optical science, but the upshot is that bigger-sensor cameras don't just capture sharper pictures, they let you use creative defocusing for more atmospheric, professional-looking pictures.
We got to try this out with the best thing at the show (sorry, Sony), a model train track with tunnels, stations, little figures and even a helicopter. We could have stayed there for hours, but we also had to look at some cameras.
Sony Trade Show 2016
We got to try this out with the best thing at the show (sorry, Sony), a model train track with tunnels, stations, little figures and even a helicopter. We could have stayed there for hours, but we also had to look at some cameras.Sony Trade Show 2016
Sony was also keen to big up its A7-series compact system cameras, consisting of the A7 II base model, high-end 42-megapixel A7R II and high-sensitivity A7S II. These have full-frame sensors which are much larger again, and the same size as the old 35mm film negative.
In fact it's often difficult to get across the concept of sensor size and what the differences actually are, but Sony had a rather neat display made up of naked sensor units mounted on a backplate for comparison.
Sony sensor sizes
The A7S II is a high-ISO specialist, and Sony demonstrated its image quality and autofocus response with an illuminated fairground scene for the model train track (yes, back to that).
YouTube :
The Sony team closed the show with a quick demo of its HDR-AZ1VR action cam, clamped to a model train truck and pushed round the track at speed by a model steam loco. That was the best bit of all, but we weren't allowed to drive the train. And then we had to leave.

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Watch the best SuperBowl 50 commercials here right now
Watch the best SuperBowl 50 commercials here right now

As entertaining as the game

Super Bowl Commercials
As everyone sets their sights on Super Bowl 50, major companies are also looking to grab the spotlight during the nation's, if not the world's, most-watched television event of the year.
With a $5 million price tag for just 30 seconds of air, every brand has to put forth the biggest, silliest, or most elaborate ad it can muster, and some big names in tech are throwing their hats in the ring this year among the usual cast of cheap beer and corn chip products.
Add to that a number of high-profile TV spots and trailers for the year's biggest blockbuster movies, and even people that hate sport have something to look forward to.
We've collected the best spots already available for your viewing pleasure, so grab some cheap beer and corn chip products, and enjoy!

T-Mobile will still call you on your cellphoooone

Drake Super Bowl
Digging up an old meme is typically the MO for a corporation desperately grasping at the youth demographic, but we can't help but find the charm in Drake reviving his quirky moves and undeniably huggable sweater from the Hotline Bling music video.
The R&B singer's affable mocking of competing phone carriers isn't the only thing T-Mobile has planned for the Super Bowl, as it has also teased a second commercial. The short promo only shows us what won't be in it, however.
YouTube :

Amazon Echo and Alec Baldwin: together at last?

Amazon Super Bowl
While not the "real" ad per se, Amazon's teasers for its upcoming Super Bowl spot already combine two great properties - Alec Baldwin, seemingly channeling his Jack Donaghy character from 30 Rock, and the Amazon Echo.
The two other teasers follow Baldwin's efforts to throw the perfect Super Bowl party, assisted by Echo's built-in AI, Alexa. While we look forward to seeing if Alec's get-together is a success this weekend, we wonder if he's aware that Alexa also knows how to order pizza.
YouTube : has struck Goldblum

Jeff Goldblum Super Bowl
In this ad for the online housing search service, national treasure Jeff Goldblum adopts his persona as's self-ascribed Silicon Valley Maverick, Brad Bellflower.
This more or less gives him carte blanche to gallivant on a flying piano as he sings about the joys of "movin' on up" to a better home, as roomies, newlyweds, and families find new places to live throughout the course of the commercial.
Oh, yeah, and Lil' Wayne shows up. Apparently, Weezy makes a dang fine apple pie. George Washington also makes an appearance ... what was this an ad for, again?
YouTube :

PayPal tells old money to move over

PayPal Super Bowl
We can't think of a name for this style of commercial, but you know it when you see it. Thumpingkumi-daiko drums, fast edits, and an in-your-face attitude are the calling card of these advertisements, typically reserved for athletic brands, like Nike.
Does this style of ad work for a payment service, though? Surprisingly, yes.
PayPal's threat of replacing your money of yore seems to gel just fine with the hustle and bustle of those triumphant horns, chants and drum beats. It's kind of like Pokémon's 20th anniversary Super Bowl spot - it's engineered from the start to pump us up, and we can't help but get chills.
YouTube : gets the DreamWorks treatment

Kung Fu Panda Wix Super Bowl
Wix brought in the help of DreamWorks animators to entwine their "drag-and-drop" website creator with the latest entry in the Kung-Fu Panda movie trilogy. The CG-animated short stars Po in parodies of famous Super Bowl ads in an attempt to draw customers to his adoptive father's noodle shack.
DreamWorks apparently had a field day with this, as it made not one, not two, not three, but four other shorts with Wix, in which the Po-tagonist tries other methods of repping his dad's restaurant. The bits are a fun, albeit brief, time, though we're confused by Master Shifu's anachronistic knowledge of laptops and HTML5.
YouTube :

LG's 'Man from the Future' is ... just watch it

Liam Neeson LG Super Bowl
Alright, so this commercial's got Liam Neeson returning to Super Bowl ads, a digital dystopia that rips off the best parts of Tron: Legacy, and the cheesiest Shyamalan-esque plot twist at the end - all to promote LG's 4K OLED television.
Did we mention this masterpiece was directed by Jake Scott? As in, son of Sir Ridley Scott, the director behind Alien, Blade Runner, The Martian and one of the most iconic Super Bowl ads of all time?
Though ridiculous, we can't help but love how seriously this ad takes itself. If this OLED screen doesn't wind up becoming the arbiter of humanity's future, consider us disappointed.
YouTube :

A Marvelous Coke ad

Coke Hulk and Ant-Man
Coca-Cola brought out the big (green) guns with its Marvel-infused Super Bowl commercial, enlisting not one but two popular heroes from the MCU.
Ant-Man (voiced by Paul Rudd) steals Dr. Bruce Banner's last can of Coke. As you can imagine, the incredible rage this theft causes sends Banner into major Hulk-out mode.
The commercial is a true marvel (heh heh) of movie-quality special effects and wonderful banter which really ups the ante for soda commercials in a big way – Don Draper would be proud.
YouTube :

Speaking of Marvel...

Civil War Super Bowl
Marvel had a big showing at this year's Super Bowl, with its Captain America: Civil War TV spot arguably stealing the thunder from every other movie with a spot during the big game.
While it isn't quite as flashy as some of the other movie TV spots shown, it works because we care about what happens to these characters – when you have heroes against heroes, any loss from either side is going to hurt.
You can read about the spot in more depth here, and you can watch it in all its glory below.
YouTube :

More Marvel, this time from Fox

X-Men Apocalypse Super Bowl
20th Century Fox brought a new TV spot for X-Men: Apocalypse to the Super Bowl this year, and though it features plenty of visual effects and spectacular action shots, one particular scene in which Psylocke (Olivia Munn) flips while cutting straight through a car is the spot's showstopper.
Director Bryan Singer has said that the film will be his last hurrah in the X-Men universe, so we certainly hope he goes out with a bang.
YouTube :

Even more Marvel

Deadpool Super Bowl
Though the film is set to release this week, that didn't stop 20th Century Fox from dropping a final TV spot for Deadpool at the Super Bowl this year, and who can blame it? That's one big, big potential audience.
This TV spot has some unseen footage sprinkled throughout it which is sure to get you pumped to see the film this weekend – we're already warming our chimichangas in anticipation!
YouTube :

And now, a change of pace

10 Cloverfield Lane Super Bowl
Arriving out of nowhere with a release date that's right around the corner, producer J.J. Abrams' follow-up to the giant monster movie Cloverfield has us intrigued and wanting to know more.
Well, the TV spot shown at the Super Bowl doesn't really tell us anything we didn't already know, choosing instead to keep us in the dark in true 'mystery box' fashion – watch the TV spot for 10 Cloverfield Lane below.
YouTube :

Bourne to be wild

Jason Bourne Super Bowl
Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass have returned for another entry in the Bourne franchise with the unimaginably titled Jason Bourne (seriously Hollywood?).
Lame name aside, the film looks like it's going to kick some serious ass, with much bigger action than we're used to seeing from this franchise.
YouTube :

Disney's other movie featuring black panther

The Jungle Book Super Bowl
The only full movie trailer shown at Super Bowl 50 was for Disney's The Jungle Book, and boy was it ever impressive.
Looking a bit like Life of Pi taken to the next level, the trailer for Jon Favreau's adaptation shows off the wonderful visual effects which bring the film's talking animal cast to life (Christopher Walken and Bill Murray being particular standouts).
We're so excited to see more of The Jungle Book, we can 'bearly' take it.
YouTube :

T-U-R-T-L-E power

TMNT 2 Super Bowl
Though Paramount's first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film was unsuccessful, it was very poorly received from fans of the Turtles franchise.
With that said, everything we've seen from its sequel, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows seems to be nailing the spirit of the property (particularly its original cartoon series).
This TV spot gives us our first look at the highly-anticipated villain Krang in his robot suit. It looks pretty radical, if you ask us...
YouTube :

This... Is... Egypt!!

Gods of Egypt Super Bowl
Though it's been criticised for its ethnically inappropriate cast of mostly white actors playing Egyptians, we expect Gods of Egypt to be a rousing, epic time at the movies.
Why, you ask? Because director Alex Proyas (The Crow, Dark City, I Robot) is responsible for some wonderfully visionary pieces of cinema, and we expect no less from him here.
YouTube :

Today, we celebrate our Independence Day... again!

Independence Day Super Bowl
Releasing 20 years after the original film blew audiences away, Independence Day: Resurgence hopes to capture the same success that saw last year's Jurassic World become one of the highest grossing films of all time.
Will it come close? Hard to say – Will Smith isn't around this time, but what it lacks in the Fresh Prince, it makes up for with the return of Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, and many other original cast members.
Oh, and it will also bring some new blood into the mix, with Liam Hemsworth, Maika Monroe and Jessie Usher taking on important roles.
YouTube :

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Updated: How to watch Super Bowl 50 online for free
Updated: How to watch Super Bowl 50 online for free
  • Update: Super Bowl 50 is on right now! Want to watch the game without a cable subscription? Watch the game online for free using the guide below!
Come February 8, the NFL will have a new champion.
Super Bowl 50 (no more roman numerals!), featuring the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers, kicks off Sunday at 6:30 pm EST / 3:30 pm PST on CBS.
"Wait a minute," you say incredulously. "I thought the Super Bowl was only broadcast on Fox, NBC or ABC."
Well it is, sometimes. But not this year. Every year the network rotates in order to spread the wealth amongst the top three biggest broadcast stations.
But just because ABC's running the show, you don't need cable to watch it: Check down below for ways to watch the biggest game of the year with - or without - a cable subscription.

Pre-game: Opening night on the NFL Network

Super Bowl 50 festivities begin Monday night with an opening night event to be held at 5 pm PT / 8 pm ET on Feb. 1.
The action starts at the SAP Center in San Jose, CA where the two teams will address the media for the first time after flying out to the San Francisco Bay Area.
This is the first time the NFL has ever broadcast the opening media events and, due to the slightly limited scope of two teams talking about football instead of playing it, the Super Bowl 50 Opening Ceremony will only be broadcast on the NFL Network channel or online at
If you have the channel available, it's absolutely worth tuning in for. There's your standard smacktalk, of course, but also a plethora of strangely dressed people that do on-the-spot interviews on who they think will win.
If that's not up your alley, the NFL Network will broadcast the events leading up to Super Sunday that are happening all around the Bay Area from 3 pm PT - 10 pm PT every day this week.
How to watch Super Bowl 50

Game day: Where to watch Super Bowl 50

So what happens when you've stuffed yourself with pre-game activities and are ready to move on to the main course? When Sunday rolls around, things become slightly more complicated.
If you're on a PC or tablet, the only place you need to know is CBS Sports - which is offering a livestream to the game via this link: Super Bowl 50 livestream
If you don't want to watch it from a computer chair and would rather watch it instead from the comfort of your living room couch, CBS has a dedicated channel/app on the Roku 2, Roku 3, Roku 4, Roku Streaming Stick, Chromecast, Apple TV, Xbox One and Windows 10.
"Wait," here we go again. "If it's so simple why don't we do this all year round?"
CBS, like ABC and NBC, typically locks this section down during the NFL season, requiring you to enter in your cable provider information to get anywhere close to the gridiron. Everyday of the season, that is, except Super Bowl Sunday.
Watch Super Bowl 50 Online Free
Now, what about those of us trying to watch from a mobile device like, say, a new iPhone 6S or Samsung Galaxy S6? Unfortunately, as powerful as it is, even CBS has to bend a knee to Verizon come Super Sunday.
If you're on a mobile device, the only way to watch the game is through the NFL mobile app, which is only available to select Verizon customers. By "select customers" I mean those who subscribe to Verizon's signature "More Everything Plan." The plan, for the most part, isn't costly ($45 a month for individuals and family plans for $140 a month), but unless you're the biggest fan of football in the world, upgrading your plan just to watch the game is a bad call.
Finally, should you and your guests like to watch the game with Spanish commentary, ESPN Deportes is offering a Spanish-language telecast of the game. The best option to watch that without cable would be to subscribe to Sling TV, and then tack on "The Best of Spanish Live TV" package for an additional $5 per month.
Super Bowl 50 will be held in Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California on Sunday, Feb. 7. The Super Bowl 50 Pregame show starts at 3 pm PT / 6 pm PT with the kickoff at 3:30 / 6:30. The half-time show will be headlined by Coldplay and will also star Beyonce.
  • Need a new screen for the big game? Check out our list of the best 4K TVs!

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Captain America: Civil War Super Bowl spot makes it impossible to choose a side
Captain America: Civil War Super Bowl spot makes it impossible to choose a side
In grand Super Bowl tradition, home viewers are being treated to a number of sneak peeks at this year’s biggest upcoming movies, and the Super Bowl TV spot for Captain America: Civil War might be the biggest and most impressive yet.
Once again focusing on the characters at the heart its story, the latest Civil War teaser makes us feel sorry for Tony Stark and concerned about Captain America’s stance in this superhero kerfuffle – he may be the titular hero at the centre of this film, but so far Marvel’s marketing team is making it very hard to sympathise with his side of the argument.
We know that Steve Rogers just wants to protect his lifelong friend, Bucky (a.k.a. The Winter Soldier), but is he really worth all this drama? Especially when we see he has no qualms about trying to shoot Tony Stark in the face at point-blank range (Tony’s shocked expression in this part of the TV spot is more effective than any blockbuster battle or special effect).
Which is not to say the spot is lacking in this department – the effective teaser packs a great deal of action into its short running time, and ends on a powerful superhero standoff that gives us our best look at Black Panther yet.
See for yourself at the Super Bowl spot embedded below – If there’s one certainty regarding this movie, it’s that May 6 can’t get here soon enough.
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Review: UPDATED: Sony Xperia Z5
Review: UPDATED: Sony Xperia Z5

Introduction and design

Update: The Sony Xperia Z5 launched in the US today, with a few changes. We've revised our review to reflect the Android phone's altered features.
Something feels different with the Sony Xperia Z5. After years of too-hasty handset updates from Sony with minimal enhancements (the Xperia Z3+ back in May was no exception), this finally feels like a worthwhile advance on the previous model.
The problem is, does anyone really need a new phone from Sony? The Xperia Z1 only launched in 2013, the same year as the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. That's not very long ago at all – one upgrade cycle for people stuck in two year contracts, who will now be getting a phone four iterations along the line if they stay Sony-loyal.
But the Xperia Z5 feels like a different tack from Sony, and after the mess of the Xperia Z3+ it's good to see some real change.
Sony has also followed Microsoft's Windows 10 example and skipped a number, for the non-Japanese market at least: the Xperia Z3+ was called the Xperia Z4 in Japan, a muddle that the company has now resolved by jumping straight to Z5.
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Sony's Xperia Z5 comes alongside the Xperia Z5 Compact and the Xperia Z5 Premium. The Xperia Z5 sits in the middle of the price scale and the same goes for its specs.
While it just launched in the US at $599, it's had a pre-release price drop on Sony's official store, from the original listing of £599 (about AU$1,249) to £549 (about AU$1,144). That may have been a placeholder price, but it seems more likely to be a revision of strategy as it tries to land in a very congested flagship smartphone market.
Sony Xperia Z5
That means there's a lot of hope resting on the Xperia Z5, but there's a lot to be excited about with a new design, extra features and some other major improvements along the way.


Sony Xperia Z5
Sony needed to fix up the design of its Xperia Z series and there have been some big changes this time. It's still angular and glass-backed, but this time it's a frosted material instead of the clear glass we've seen on every iteration since the Xperia Z1.
The edges have been rounded off a little more and the placement of the buttons on one edge has been switched.
Sony Xperia Z5
Colour choices for the Xperia Z5 are green, black, gold and white – all of which look great, although the gold version in the most refined. I had the black and gold versions in for my review. Previously the backs of Sony phones have been fingerprint magnets, but this new frosted glass shrugs off marks and looks a lot classier from behind than the Xperia Z3+.
Xperia Z5
The branding is a little more tasteful this time. The Xperia name is etched into the side of the phone and I love the fact Sony has included the NFC logo here too. It makes it easy to know where to tap, and is a trick some other Android manufacturers could learn from (I'm looking at you, LG).
Sony Xperia Z5
The camera sits at the top left corner with the flash just below it, and there's also a little note of the sensor details.
Sony has smoothed down the edges on the Xperia Z5 as well. A couple of generations ago, these felt rather sharp on the palm of your hand, so this is a welcome improvement. Even though the design of the Xperia Z5 still feels blocky, it's much more comfortable to hold than the Xperia Z2.
The corners also have caps that help to absorb the impact when you drop it – a feature that was introduced on the Xperia Z3 but still feels like a big advantage of the Sony Z series.
There's only one flap on the Xperia Z5, and that's to cover the microSD and nano SIM slots. The rest of the ports around the phone are waterproof and so don't need the extra protection that Sony has applied with such zeal to earlier phones.
Sony Xperia Z5
Fewer flaps is a great thing – you don't have the nuisance of pulling them out to charge up your phone at night or need to worry about breaking them off (which does happen: I managed to do it quite easily to the Xperia Z2 Tablet).
Along the top edge of the Xperia Z5 is the waterproof 3.5mm headphone jack, and the bottom edge hosts the microUSB port for charging and data transfer.
The right hand edge is quite different to other Xperia phones. The power button has been moved down to halfway along the edge. It's now silver and sits flush with the edge of the phone. This is also where the fingerprint sensor is – a great position for your right thumb when you're holding the phone. Sadly, the Sony Xperia Z5 in US any sort of the biometric power button.
Sony Xperia Z5
Down at the bottom of the right hand edge is the camera button. It's in the perfect position for taking snaps in landscape, but not so good in portrait. Between those two is the volume rocker, and this really does feel badly positioned.
The volume rocker should sit above the power button, where it would be easier to reach. Every time I tried to change the volume, I'd lose my grip and the phone would almost slip out of my hand.
If you're left-handed it might be a perfect position for your finger tips, although the rest of the button layout will be much less satisfactory.
Sony Xperia Z5
Design on the front of the phone hasn't changed much. The bezels at the side of the screen have been slightly slimmed down to allow a smaller phone without a change in screen size.
Sony Xperia Z5
I wouldn't have a problem with the thick bezels across the top and bottom of the screen if each housed speakers or had some other function. The top bar does include the front facing camera, flash and earpiece, but it's not anything that couldn't be included in a slimmer line.

Display and key features

A lot of the Android competition has decided to go for 2K displays this year. Both the Samsung Galaxy S6 and the LG G4 have higher resolutions, but Sony has decided to stick with a Full HD display on the Xperia Z5.
Some will be disappointed that Sony hasn't upgraded the phone from the Xperia Z3+, but I think it was a strong choice to hold onto the 1080p option. For anyone who is really after those extra pixels, there will be the Xperia Z5 Premium coming in November with a 4K 5.5-inch display.
Sony Xperia Z5
The Xperia Z5 has a 5.2-inch 1,080 x 1,920 pixel resolution IPS LCD display with scratch resistant glass and an oleophobic coating to protect it from damage and grease.
It looks even better than previous Xperia handsets. While there will be some who still want to hold out for the ultimate pixel count of the Premium, if you're after a phone that looks good without sacrificing battery, the Xperia Z5 is for you.
The other thing to note is the size of the screen. For me, the Xperia Z5's 5.2-inch screen is the sweet spot between a large phone for everything I want to do and a phone I can actually hold.
I'd prefer if Sony dropped those bezels so it could up the screen to 5.4 inches or maybe 5.5, but this phone sits perfectly in my palm. Bear in mind though that I do have fairly large hands, and if you don't, the compact might be more suitable for you.
Sony Xperia Z5

Key features

Sony has given in and finally included a fingerprint sensor in the Xperia Z5, adding a level of security and preparing for the launch of Android Pay - you'll be able to buy things with your Xperia phone soon.
There will be a big push on mobile payments within Android, and Sony wants to futureproof its phone and make it secure. Just don't look for this technology from the hobbled US version of the phone.
Installing a fingerprint sensor makes your purchases more secure than a simple PIN. That easy-to-spot NFC logo will also help with knowing exactly where to tap for Android Pay to work.
Sony Xperia Z5
The fingerprint sensor itself is sat inside the power button on the side of the phone, and to look at the button you really wouldn't know it. I didn't have any problems with how it worked though as every time I tapped the button with a registered finger it unlocked immediately.
It's a better position than Huawei chose for its phones, for instance, which have sensors on the back. However, it can be difficult here to get a good reading on the Z5 when your phone is on a table, although if you can't access the sensor you can just enter a PIN or password to unlock the phone.
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Another key feature that many have forgotten is Sony has now upped its microSD support to 200GB. Not many Android manufacturers offer that and it's only Sony out of the big players.
There aren't many 200GB microSD cards out there right now, but that's sure to change in the coming months.
Sony Xperia Z5
More space is always a great thing, and this means you can have up to 232GB of space on the Z5 – that's unheard of in a smartphone. I'd struggle to fill it but I'm sure there's someone out there who will try.
If you've got a 16GB iPhone 6S, someone with this phone could have 14 times the amount of storage space you do.
The waterproof design of the Xperia Z5 may not be anything new, but it's still be a big selling point for the phone. No other manufacturer has taken waterproof design in its stride like Sony has. And I do see some genuine benefits from the tech. Whenever I go back to using other Android phones I almost forget I can't run it under a tap.
It's useful if you ever get the phone dirty. You can just wash it off under a tap – I've done this multiple times, and there's no more need to place your phone in a bowl of rice when you've got caught in a thunderstorm.
But I also find myself taking my phone into the shower as well. Being able to listen to a podcast or some music as I clean up ready for the day ahead and not have to worry about my phone slipping into the water is a great benefit.
Sony doesn't agree with me though, and recommends that you don't do this kind of thing. A lot of the marketing material for previous Sony phones has shown it in water with people taking it into swimming pools to show the depths it can plunge. Now Sony has changed its stance.
On the official Sony website it reads, "You should not put the device completely underwater or expose it to seawater, salt water, chlorinated water or liquids such as drinks."
It's a strange move to now suggest it's not waterproof enough, but it's worth mentioning that excessive underwater use will void the warranty. I didn't experience any problems with the waterproofing technology though, and had no issues from giving it a plunge in the bath.
If you want a phone that survives a drop in the water and won't get angry if you take it to the beach, the Xperia Z5 is actually one of the suitable choices on the market – and that's a key USP Sony should be pushing more.

Performance and interface

We only gave the Sony Xperia Z3+ three stars out of five, and one of the key reasons for that was the awful processor problems the phone had. It would heat up to levels where you couldn't even hold it, as well as crashing apps.
The slightest tasks could cause this issue, and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 chipset inside the phone has been named as the culprit. That meant it came as quite a surprise when Sony announced the Xperia Z5 would once again host the same chipset.
It's identical: a quad-core Cortex-A53 clocked at 1.5GHz and another quad-core Cortex A57 clocked at 2GHz, as well as an Adreno 430 GPU. That's backed up by 3GB of RAM as well and nothing has changed on the new phone.
Sony claims to have sorted the issues ready for this phone. The truth is less resounding: after some intensive testing we can assure you the issues have been improved upon, but not solved.
Sony Xperia Z5
I installed Real Racing 3 on the phone – a very graphically intensive game – crashed my car into a wall and left the game playing for an hour straight. It came out the other side quite hot but hadn't stopped the app like it would on the Xperia Z3+.
The Xperia Z5 definitely gets hotter than other popular phones on the market – it could really do with cooling down if you want to be holding onto it to play these games, but it's not unbearable like on the Xperia Z3+.
Bearable isn't really good enough here though. You should be able to play your favourite game for a few hours, stick it on charge and keep playing without having to worry about your fingerprints melting off.
Although this has improved quite a bit on last time, if you're thinking of using the phone for intensive activities you should be warned it's bound to warm up. Video also heated up the phone a little but no more than you'd expect it on other phones.
As for general performance, the Xperia Z5 is particularly slick at manoeuvring around all my apps. Multitasking has improved on previous Xperia Z phones, and sliding in and out of apps is satisfyingly quick.
I ran the GeekBench 3 software on the phone a few times and it came out with an average single core score of 1,312 and a multi-core score of 4,015. Once again, when you compare it to the Xperia Z3 (which came out with a multi-core score of 2,737) it sounds fantastic.
But then compare that to Samsung's Galaxy S6 Edge, which scored 4,774 in the same test, and it makes the Xperia Z5 sound weak. It's not the best on the market, but that said, unless you're a really intensive user, it will provide exactly what you need.


Every time I review an Xperia product I feel like I'm moaning about the same thing, and it's the overlay that forces that anger. Sony is proud of it and how well it does for the company in Japan, but I've yet to see one Western tech critic say they enjoy the look on the brand's phones.
Xperia Z5
As more and more manufacturers drop elements of their UI to look more like stock – even Samsung has done it – it makes Sony look really outdated.
It made sense for Sony to have its own UI when stock looked rubbish, but now Google has improved the look quite a bit it's overtaken the look of the Xperia UI. Sony has taken on board some of the design changes such as the Settings bar coming down from the top – a lovely touch I wish was applied to the rest of the phone.
Xperia Z5
My main issue is with the individual app icons themselves. Once you jump into the apps, everything is looking good again with a Material Design influenced look. Just above you can see the phone app that looks clean and fresh.
I'm not a fan of the Sony keyboard either. I find the comma button is in the wrong place, so I always start adding in emoji at the wrong point, and a lot of the keys themselves are too close together. That's not really a major issue in this day and age when we have easy access to apps like Swype and SwiftKey that perform a lot better than standard options.
Xperia Z5
There's quite a bit of bloatware here once again as well with Sony bundling in generally useless apps such as News from Sociallife, TrackID and the Xperia Lounge.
It's not just stuff from Sony this time either – there's apps from Amazon, Dropbox and Kobo waiting for you. I personally don't like it being filled up with these apps when it's easy enough to download them when you need them.
Xperia Z5
There's an excellent interface setting up the fingerprint sensor, and it's a shame Sony doesn't mimic that across the board. It did feel a little patronizing with its "great, keep going" messages, but overall it was simple to set up.
The camera interface on the Xperia Z5 is nice as well. After using a Motorola phone for the past few weeks, I appreciated the camera app. On the Moto X Play you just tap the screen to take an image and I find it much better to have a clear button so you can use the tap function to focus the camera.
Xperia Z5
All the camera apps are easy to grab from the yellow button in the right hand corner, you can access your previous snaps in the top right and there's a record button just below the camera icon.
Xperia Z5
You have Android 5.1.1 Lollipop running here but Android 6.0 Marshmallow will be coming soon. Sony isn't exactly well known for its quick updates to its phones but it has confirmed it'll get the software at some stage.


Battery is the biggest bugbear for a lot of phone customers, and the Xperia Z5 isn't going to be their saviour. Sony has decided to shrink the battery yet again down to a 2,900mAh cell, as it clearly thinks the optimization on the phone is getting better and it's more important to have a slim device rather than a high battery life.
I'd disagree, and when you look at the lifespans I was getting out of the phone there's justification for downgrading the cell size. Sony should be upping it.
The Xperia Z3 came with a 3,100mAh battery which the Xperia Z3+ cut down to a 2,930mAh and now it's even lower.
Xperia Z5
The Xperia Z5 has some serious improvements upon last time. General life is definitely better than the Xperia Z3+ but it's not as stunning as Sony would like you to think.
On average, I get a full day out of the battery. On particularly heavy usage days, it would be about 7pm when the phone kicked the bucket.
I ran our 90-minute video test on full brightness with all connectivity options, and it came out with 75% of its life left. That's not fantastic, but it is a major improvement upon the last two phones from Sony. The Xperia Z3+ came out the other side with 62% whilst the Z3 had 69% leftover.
I ran the same test but with brightness down to half to see how much of a strain the screen is. This time it had 82% charge at the end of the video.
It's good, but considering the Galaxy S6 only dropped down to 84% on the full brightness test – and that's a 2K display – it's not the best you can buy right now.
When gaming, the battery drops more drastically. In an hour long test of Real Racing 3 the phone dropped from a full charge down to 59%. The Z5 can't match the five hours of gaming that the Samsung Galaxy S6 offers.
Xperia Z5
In summary the battery life has improved on the Xperia Z5, but it's not the best it can be. The competition is doing similar if not better and considering this is a big claim of Sony's latest marketing campaign I was really hoping for something better.
Sony has opted to leave out fast charging technology from the Xperia Z5 as well and I think that's a mistake. Manufacturers such as Samsung and Motorola have put a focus on fast charging technology to improve their battery reputation and it feels Sony is just sitting around waiting for something to help out.
The battery isn't impressive on the Xperia Z5 but it would have been vastly improved if I can get it to half way charge in 15 minutes of being connected to the wall.


Ever since the Z1 we've seen the same hardware camera set up on the Xperia line of phones with slight tweaks and new features added along the way. It's only now Sony has mixed up the hardware.
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It's now a 23MP shooter, one that Sony is claiming to be "the worlds best smartphone camera" according to a batch of adverts scattered all over the UK.
Sony Xperia Z5
Although the sensor now has a higher pixel resolution, the most exciting element of the new camera is autofocus. There have been some major improvements here and the new hybrid autofocus works within 0.03 seconds.
That's fast – and it means when you're shaking or you're taking a real quick shot you're going to get the best possible image. It's unlike anything else on the market at this speed and I'm really impressed how well it does when I'm flailing around with the phone.
Sony Xperia Z5
I took that shot at night – but then tried moving really fast to see if the autofocus could handle it. The results prove this feature is just to combat the odd involuntary hand movement.
Sony Xperia Z5
As for video recording you've got the same options as on previous Xperia handsets. You can film in 4K video on the rear camera, but it uses up a good deal of the space and there isn't really much point with a Full HD screen to watch it on.
If you're really interested in 4K video recording you may be interested in the Xperia Z5 Premium that is coming in November this year with a 4K display on the front.
Other video options are 1,080p at 60fps or 720p at 120fps. Other features on the camera also include face detection, HDR, an LED flash and phase detection autofocus.
One of the main problems I've previously had with photos taken on Sony phones is that they come out dull, as if their sensors couldn't absorb enough light. But the Xperia Z5 has improved here.
It's not at the same level as the Galaxy S6 or iPhone 6S cameras, but it does appear to be a lot better than on the Xperia Z3+. Zoom is much improved as well, now going up to 5x and keeping a lot of the clarity you don't always see on other phones.
Sony Xperia Z5
On the front is a 5.1MP selfie shooter which is the same we saw on the last phone. Nothing seems to have been changed here but there doesn't really feel like much needed to be. It's going to film 1,080p video that looks great and is good for video chatting while there are a lot of pixels here to make your selfies look gorgeous.

Camera samples

Sony Xperia Z5
Click here for the high-res image.
Sony Xperia Z5
Click here for the high-res image.
Sony Xperia Z5
Click here for the high-res image.
Sony Xperia Z5
Click here for the high-res image.
Sony Xperia Z5
Click here for the high-res image.
Sony Xperia Z5
Click here for the high-res image.
Sony Xperia Z5
Click here for the high-res image.
Sony Xperia Z5
Click here for the high-res image.
Sony Xperia Z5
Click here for the high-res image.

The essentials

Sony makes it simple with the Xperia series – you get one storage option and that's it. The rest has to be down to microSD. Some people don't like this, but I think it makes it easier on the user and Sony certainly offers a lot of microSD space to make up for a lack of a larger option.
The Xperia Z5 series is the first mainstream smartphone line to support 200GB microSD cards so you can fill it up with a load of different apps and media. There are only or two microSD cards that large in the world but it's good to see Sony offering support for them early, as the options will only increase in the coming months.
Some aren't a fan of the microSD route of getting more storage but I personally like it and being able to swap in and out my media is a big benefit.
LTE 4G is covered here so if you've got a 4G contract you'll be able to access the super fast internet speeds whenever you need them. You're not going to find any problems with internet here. You've got Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/c/n/ac that offers up the fastest Wi-Fi internet on a smartphone so far.
Bluetooth connectivity is the latest 4.1 technology. I did find a few issues when using a pair of Bluetooth headphones though, as I had to manually connect again every time I turned the phone off.
I'm used to just switching my headphones on and them automatically working and it was frustrating fiddling to set them back up on a regular basis - this is a definite bug though and one I'm sure Sony will fix soon.
Charging and data transfer is through a microUSB 2.0 slot at the bottom of the phone and everything seems to work just fine there.
Xperia Z5
Sony hasn't switched to USB-C and that's a shame. I now want to see USB-C technology on every phone, even if it's just so I don't end up scratching up the bottom of my phone trying to put the cable in.
There has also been a lot of hype around the front-facing speakers on the Xperia Z5, but these are something of a disappointment.
Ever since using HTC BoomSound speakers it will take a lot to convince me there's anything better out there, and the front-facing speakers on the Xperia Z5 are mediocre at best. There's nothing that makes me nod with approval sonically and I even struggle to hear audio when running a tap at the same time.
Phone calls were clear and crisp – there were no complaints from my recipients and I didn't experience any issues on my end either. That's probably down to the active noise cancellation with dedicated mic inside the phone.
Everything you need to have is here with the Xperia Z5. There are just a few more extravagant features I'd like to have seen, but clearly there's no desire to supply them from camp Sony.

The competition

Is the Sony Xperia Z5 not taking your fancy? Well there's plenty of competition out there whether you want something with an iOS flavour, another Android provider or something else from the house of Sony.

iPhone 6S

iPhone 6S
The iPhone 6S is one of the best smartphones on the planet. If you don't want to go with Android, it's worth a look. It sports a similar design to the iPhone 6 but comes with an improved A9 processor, an improved 12MP camera sensor and the newest iOS 9 slapped on top.
There's also a new screen technology called 3D Touch that can tell how hard you're pressing on the screen and gives you some new functionality to speed up your everyday productivity, at least until the iPhone 7 launches with iOS 10, likely in September 2016.

Samsung Galaxy S6

Samsung Galaxy S6
There's no hiding the fact we loved last year's Samsung flagship. The Galaxy S6 undid everything the Galaxy S5 did wrong and brought in a bunch of new high-end specs that actually surprised us.
The screen on the Galaxy S6 is just about the same size as the one on the Xperia Z5 but it's packed with a load more pixels, coming in with 577ppi. It does look beautiful and there's something similar between the new Sony Xperia design and the Galaxy S6.
The phone comes with a high-end Exynos processor, lots of storage options, a 16MP rear facing camera with gorgeous results. While the Samsung Galaxy S7 is around the corner, this Android phone remains a true champion.

Sony Xperia Z5 Premium

Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
If you're looking for higher pixels, you'll want the Xperia Z5 Premium. Although the phone hasn't launched yet, it's awfully exciting as it's going to be the first phone to market that features a 4K display.
It's much the same as the Xperia Z5 but it hosts a much bigger screen at 5.5-inches with a 4K resolution making it a mammoth 806ppi.
That's huge and looks beautiful, so if you're willing to pay £120 extra for a phone that just has a better front rather than more power under the hood, you'll be more than happy with the Xperia Z5 Premium.


Released in May this year, the LG G4 improved on quite a few areas of the G3 significantly. It certainly doesn't feel as premium as the Xperia Z5 with its plastic backing but it boasts similar specs.
That design also means it has a removable battery, which is handy if you're ever the kind to swap them when out on the go. It includes a 5.5-inch display, slightly larger than the Xperia Z5, but it's a 2K resolution offering a much higher pixel quality than the Xperia Z5.
Plus it does that with a similar battery life to Sony's offering and embarrasses it quite a bit in that department. In fact, it's even a similar size and comes in cheaper due to LG dropping the price so many times. If you're not sure about the Z5, this could be a better option until the LG G5 arrives as its replacement.


Let's get this straight – Sony's Xperia Z5 is a world away from the Xperia Z3+. Now this phone is here, there's no reason for anyone to pick up the Xperia Z3+. The overheating issues were inexcusable and enough has changed on the Xperia Z5 that it's what you'll want in your pocket if you're a big Sony fan.
And the Xperia Z5 is one of the best Android phones you can buy right now. Sony has seen the lukewarm reaction to the HTC One M9, Xperia Z3+ and LG G4, and this time it has gone all out to beat the Galaxy S6.

We liked

I love the new design. It's a great improvement on the clear glass back and sharp edges of the Xperia Z2. The Z5 is lighter, it's thinner, and the frosted glass back is nothing short of gorgeous. I think it's up in the realms of the Galaxy S6 and iPhone 6S for design.
The new fingerprint sensor is overdue but this is one of the best ways I've ever seen it included in a smartphone. We just wish it was in all versions of the phone, including the newly launched US edition.
It feels natural to have it within the button on the side of the phone and it works like a dream. Looking back at how awful the fingerprint sensor was on the Galaxy S5 with a poor sliding action needed, it's good Sony's nailed this first time.
The camera is a curious one. It might not impress the average user every time, as some images can seem a little lifeless, but the technical ability (the zoom modes, the ability to tweak so many settings and the raw images you get) will impress the pixel perfectionists - you'll just need to be prepared to dig a little.
And the battery may not be incredible but it's a step in the right direction and much better than on the Xperia Z3+. If you're not such a heavy user, it may even prove better for you.

We disliked

It still gets too hot – the Xperia Z3+ was unbearable and though this is much better it's still not good enough. Playing a game for an hour shouldn't make the phone unholdable, and Sony needs to rethink the processor for the Xperia Z6.
I really would have liked to have seen a major spec upgrade here. Under the hood it looks remarkably similar to the Xperia Z3+ and it would have been nice to get something that looks a little more impressive on paper.
Throwing in a 2K screen to show Samsung and LG how to do it would have really impressed and demonstrated exactly why Sony should be in this market - if it made it an improvement on 1080p, that is, and not just a spec bump for the sake of it.
The Xperia Z5 Premium hype seems to have done that to some degree, but 4K is still an issue when you realise the battery life isn't perfected, and you will need to shell out quite a bit of extra money to get it.
The Xperia UI isn't good enough either – it really undersells what Sony can achieve in the hardware department and forms an unnecessary barrier between the user and stock Android. It's not the be-all and end-all, but it's certainly disappointing.


If you're going to buy a Sony phone, make it this one. The Xperia Z5 is the best phone Sony has ever produced and it's up there as one of the best Android phones on the market right now.
After the abomination that was the Xperia Z3+, it would have been easy for the company to slip out of the market it was already struggling in. It might have just given up and walked out to sea if it had a similar experience here.
It's still expensive, and that's an issue. I can't help but feel if Sony dropped the price a further £50 on both this and the Xperia Z5 Compact, we'd see much better sales for their line of phones.
In the end, the Z5 isn't as perfect as it should be, but it does have all the right parts.

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Review: UPDATED: Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
Review: UPDATED: Sony Xperia Z5 Compact

Introduction and design

Update: Sony Xperia Z5 Compact released in the US today, albeit with minor changes. All of those are reflected in our new review.
The Xperia Z5 Compact stands alone: Sony is the only Android manufacturer making a small high-end phone right now. That means that it could be the last stand for compacts. If the Z5 doesn't deliver, it's likely to be the last time we see top specs in a scaled-down form factor, for a while at least.
But it does deliver. Like the Xperia Z3 Compact before it, the Xperia Z5 Compact puts an impressive array of features comfortably into the palm of your hand, and makes you wonder why no other brands are interested in this niche.
Not everyone wants a giant phone, and could be blamed for wanting to use their whole screen without going double handed?
Xperia Z5 Compact
The Xperia Z5 Compact sits alongside two other new phones from Sony. There's the Sony Xperia Z5, which offers a 5.2-inch 1,080p screen and 3GB of RAM that you don't get here. Then there's the Xperia Z5 Premium, which will be here in November with a 5.5-inch screen and a 4K resolution screen.
Xperia Z5 Compact
One problem for the Xperia Z5 Compact is its price. High-end specs require a high-end price, even if the reduced frame might lead purchasers to expect a bargain. However, it does come in appreciably cheaper than the Xperia Z5, and a good deal below our original expectations.
The Xperia Z5 Compact costs £429 in the UK (US$499, about AU$915) – that's over £100 less than the slightly breathtaking price of £549 that Sony originally put on its site. The new price matches the launch price of the Xperia Z3 Compact last year, and you do get a lot for your money here.


The Xperia Z5 Compact follows closely the excellent design established by the Xperia Z5. It isn't drastically smaller than the Z5 – the Compact is 127 x 65 x 8.9mm, compared to 146 x 72 x 7.3mm. But it's enough to make a difference.
The Xperia Z5 Compact has lost a lot of the bezel space that felt so redundant on the Z5, and feels a lot more concise than its bigger sibling.
Xperia Z5 Compact
You might have noticed that the Z5 Compact is actually bigger than the Z5 in one dimension: it's a little thicker. That's to fit in all those high-end specs and a bigger battery than the larger phone. I barely noticed the difference in thickness until I put them next to each other, and even then it wasn't all that shocking.
The Sony Xperia Z5 Compact weighs in at 138g, 16g lighter than the Z5. Build wise, it's a similar size and weight to the iPhone 6S.
Xperia Z5 Compact
The back panel is much nicer on this new version of the Compact model. Instead of the clear glass back from previous handsets, it's now a frosted glass that feels good against the palm and looks stylish.
Colour options are white, black, yellow or coral – I was able to use all versions but the white for this review. The black version feels the most stylish, while the yellow and coral are particularly bright. They wouldn't be my choice of phone, but for those who liked the colour-pop aesthetic of the iPhone 5C, they're perfect.
The corners have been rounded off even further on the Xperia Z5 Compact than on the Z3 Compact, making it a much more comfortable fit in the hand.
Xperia Z5 Compact
The anti-break bumpers of the Xperia Z5 aren't included here, so the Compact is more likely to shatter if it falls on one of the four corners. It's unclear why Sony made this decision – they would have been easy to implement, and would make a big difference to the durability of the phone.
At the top of the left hand edge of the phone, there's the indented Xperia logo, which actually looks good this time around. On the bottom of that edge is the only flap on the handset, covering the microSD and nanoSIM slot.
Xperia Z5 Compact
It's easier to open this up than it has been on previous Xperia phones, and as you'll only need to on the rare occasions that you're swapping a SIM or microSD.
In the centre of the bottom edge sits the micro USB port for charging and data transfer. It's a shame that Sony hasn't moved on to USB-C to minimise fumbling when plugging in, but at least the inconvenience of the flap has been removed.
Xperia Z5 Compact
And Sony isn't behind the pack on USB standards, even if it would have been nice for it to get ahead. In a few years, smartphones will have moved on and USB-C will become the norm, but for now most still use micro USB.
The 3.5mm headphone jack sits at the top of the phone on the left hand side, which is the best place for it as it means the phone can sit in your pocket while you use a wired headset
Xperia Z5 Compact
At the bottom of the right hand edge is the camera button, in the perfect position for taking landscape shots. Just above that is the volume rocker, which has been moved since the Xperia Z3 Compact. This relocation is less successful, and some fumbling is required to reach down to it.
Xperia Z5 Compact
It would have been to put the volume rocker just above the power button on the same side, but at least it's not as bad as it is on the Xperia Z5. On the larger phone it's really hard to reach and the handset flips out of the hand easily.
Xperia Z5 Compact
The power button itself sits flush with the design. This is metal with the on/off symbol engraved on it. It looks good, but the exciting part is that this now features the fingerprint scanner – a new addition to the Xperia Z series, except in the hobbled US variant.
On the front of the phone, there are bezels above and below the display to house the front-facing speakers, microphone and front-facing camera. These are thinner on the Xperia Z5 Compact than on the Xperia Z5 and that means a better screen-to-body ratio.

Display and key features

Sony's new phone features a 4.6-inch screen with a pixel resolution of 720 x 1,280. That equals an acceptable 323ppi – but it's not anything on the 428ppi of the Xperia Z5 or the huge 806ppi on the Xperia Z5 Premium.
Full HD 1,080p has become the standard now, with some phones even stretching over into the 2K and 4K spectrum, so it's a bit of a shame Sony has been so conservative with the display here.
Out of the big manufacturer recent releases, the only flagship device still stuck on a 720p display is the Moto G, which costs about a third of the price of the Xperia Z5 Compact.
Xperia Z5 Compact
Calling the Xperia Z5 Compact a premium phone in 2015 without upping the screen to Full HD or more is a big claim. It doesn't look awful though: it's just fine, and fine isn't enough.
Not be able to watch the average YouTube video at its intended resolution is a disappointment, especially when you've spent this much money. And while it's not a disaster, it does make me think twice before recommending this phone.
Sony's own screen tech makes sure it's bright, but there are times when you can pick out the pixels in a way you can't on the Xperia Z5.
Xperia Z5 Compact
Viewing angles on the phone have improved though – I can look at the phone from odd angles and still see the picture a lot clearer than I could on the Xperia Z3 Compact.
The screen is the optimum size for the handset. A lot of the available front is being used for the 4.6-inches of screen, and you have to respect Sony for the elegance and efficiency here.
Xperia Z5 Compact

Key features

Fingerprint sensors have come to the Xperia series for the very first time. On the Xperia Z5 Compact it's sat on the right hand edge of the phone inside the power button and sits flush to the side of the phone.
It's about time Sony went for a more secure way to unlock your phone. With the launch of Android Pay coming soon, it's no surprise Sony has pushed it through for this iteration of the Compact. We just wish it was also a part of the US Sony Xperia Z5 model.
Xperia Z5 Compact
Considering this is the first attempt from the company at making a fingerprint sensor, it's surprisingly good. After I'd registered five fingers, I didn't encounter any problems with how quickly it unlocked.
I didn't register all my digits to start with though. I found it easy to fill the three fail attempts and put the phone into lock down after just getting the phone out and accidentally holding the button with the wrong finger.
Xperia Z5 Compact
The position also makes it a pain to unlock when the phone is lying down on a table. But it is quick once you get in: without any booting or loading animations, it means you're into the phone in record time and it's more efficient than entering a PIN or passcode.
Sony phones have a major USP that the company seems to have forgotten about: they're durable. The Xperia Z5 Compact is water and dust proof meaning, you can wash off your phone whenever it gets dirty.
There's no reason to worry about rain, dropping it in the sink or, as I found out, surprise foam parties. Being able to take your phone to the beach and not having to worry about sand getting stuck in it is particularly useful.
Xperia Z5 Compact
And this time the feature hasn't come at the expense of the design. The Xperia Z5 Compact only has one flap, and the rest of the ports are water-resistant.
The Xperia Z5 Compact also supports PS4 Remote Play, which means that PlayStation 4 owners can play games on their phone as long as they're on the right Wi-Fi network. (Eventually, this feature will be extended to 4G so you'll be able to play your PS4 games when on a train or on holiday.)
The problem here is the size of the screen. On the Xperia Z4 Tablet with a 2K 10.1-inch display, PS4 Remote Play looks beautiful; trying to play Rocket League on a 4.6-inch 720p screen is just impossible. I had a controller connected up so I wasn't blocking the screen with my fingers on the virtual controls, but it was still very difficult to keep control of the action.
I also tried out The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt on the Xperia Z5 Compact, and if anything that was even worse. As soon as I got into a fight, the menu made it impossible to see what I was doing, and I had to give up pretty quickly.

Performance and interface

Sony's Xperia Z3 Compact had some impressive performance, but the Xperia Z3+ sullied the name with some horrendous overheating issues.
The surprising thing is that Sony kept the same processor from the Xperia Z3+ (a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 with 3GB of RAM) inside the Xperia Z5 Compact.
Consequently, my expectations were low. I went into this review with trepidation that the phone would crash out at the simplest tasks – but I've been rather surprised. I've not had any issues with the Xperia Z5 Compact, and it doesn't get anywhere near as warm as the Xperia Z5.
Xperia Z5 Compact
Jumping in and out, from app to app mostly proved fine. The camera took a while to boot up, and switching over to the gallery app within the camera was also slow.
Despite this, there haven't been any truly infuriating issues with Z5 Compact's performance, and overall I'm impressed, especially compared to the Xperia Z3+.
When gaming, the phone handled itself rather well, booting up quickly and not heating up much even after over an hour of playing.
And while the Xperia Z3+ would heat up considerably just from web browsing, the Xperia Z5 Compact was cool even after half an hour of use.
I ran the phone through the GeekBench 3 software and it came out with an average single core score of 1,374 and a multi-core score of 3,881. Compared to the Xperia Z3 Compact that's a staggering score – the previous phone only scored 949 on single core and the multi-core test brought out 2,760.
That's an impressive upgrade considering the Z3 Compact phone only came out a year ago. However, it's difficult to rank the Z5 Compact against the competition because there isn't really anything else in the "premium compact" niche. The Xperia Z5 is a little faster itself, coming in with scores of 1,312 single core and 4,015 multi-core.


Out of all the Android overlays, I find Sony's the most out of date and ugly. Personally I prefer a stock Android approach, but Sony is too keen to place its own software over the top to leave a good thing alone.
Xperia Z5 Compact
Here the Xperia Z5 Compact is running Android 5.1.1 Lollipop software, but it looks very different to the stock version seen on Nexus phones or Motorola devices. Instead, it's overlaid with Sony's own design and chock-full of bloatware apps.
This time there's even more bloatware apps. All the usual culprits are here taking up space – TrackID, Xperia Lounge, What's New – as well as third-party apps such as Dropbox, Amazon, AVG and even Kobo.
Xperia Z5 Compact
I'd much prefer if Sony took a leaf out of Samsung's book and left these out. If I want the Amazon app, I'll go into the Google Play Store and download it.
You can uninstall the apps to reclaim the space, but it's a pain to go through and remove them one by one. I'd just rather they weren't even there in the first place.
Xperia Z5 Compact
Sony has improved the Xperia keyboard significantly in the last few years, bringing in elements from third party developers like Swype. Even previously unique features such as swiping to make words have been adopted by Sony.
The comma button is still in an awkward position here, and I frequently end up opening the emoji menu instead. It doesn't add a space in automatically like dedicated keyboards do either, so I often find myself editing messages to put in all the omitted spaces.
Xperia Z5 Compact
A nice touch is the addition of emoticons while typing. If you're writing the word "phone," for example, you'll get the suggestion of a little mobile phone. I rarely found myself using the feature, but it highlighted how many emoticons are out there.
Sony has improved the look of stock applications a lot in recent years, but most still look old-fashioned within the app drawer. Inside the applications, there's a lot of the Android Lollipop influence, and I like that.
Xperia Z5 Compact
But on the outside it's a different story. Take the PlayStation app for example: while most stock apps are adopting flat and simple icons, this still has an overworked 3D effect. It differs quite some way from the rest of your Material Design influenced app icons.
It's certainly not to my taste but it may not be as much of a pain to others. I just wish Sony would drop the Xperia overlay for a more natural Google look that you can see it display within the apps themselves.


While Sony has dropped the battery size on the Xperia Z5, for the Xperia Z5 Compact it has increased it from 2,600mAh on the Z3 Compact to 2,700mAh. The Z3 Compact had an impressive battery life already, and its successor doesn't disappoint.
I'm a heavy user – watching video, messaging over 4G and streaming music – but I was still often going to bed with charge left on the phone. Most flagship phones this year have died before the end of the day (including the Xperia Z5), so this is impressive.
Xperia Z5 Compact
A two day charge isn't possible though. With connectivity on but minimal use, it only made it until about 1pm the next day.
In our video test (where we run a 90 minute video with full connectivity options switched on and the screen at full brightness) it came out with 79% leftover. That's exactly the same score as the Xperia Z3 Compact, which is slightly mystifying given the larger cell. I'd expect it to be capable of more.
But compare it to other flagship devices this year and you'll find that nothing approaches it. The Xperia Z5 went through the same test and came out with 75% of its battery left, although it does have a 1080p 5.2-inch screen to power. I ran the video again with 50% screen brightness on and the Z5 Compact came out with 84% battery. That's much closer to the Xperia Z5's score of 82% on that test.
Xperia Z5 Compact
When gaming, the phone has impressive stamina. After an hour of playing with the screen on full brightness and all connectivity options going, it came out the with 72% battery.
That's better than the Xperia Z5 by some way, which lost 41% of its charge in an hour of gaming. However, no Sony phone can match what Samsung is offering with the Galaxy S6, which can manage up to five hours of play time.
Xperia Z5 Compact
Sony hasn't included any wireless charging features in the Xperia Z5 range. As with the omission of USB-C, this isn't an essential feature, but it is one more way in which Sony could have set the future standard and hasn't.
Qi wireless charging technology features a lot in the big handsets this year, and Ikea has even made a desk incorporating the technology, so full mainstream acceptance must be imminent.


Sony phones have a bad reputation for photography, but this time Sony has upgraded the cameras across the entire Xperia Z range. At 23MP, the Xperia Z Compact has one of the highest pixel counts on the market next to the Moto X Style. It also gets a new autofocus feature and stronger zoom, plus all the other features we've seen on previous Xperia cameras.
And it's paid off, although the Xperia Z5 Compact is an improvement for Sony rather than a market-leading photography device: during testing, some of the low-light shots I took in the British Museum would definitely have come out better with another handset.
If you still have issues with the camera, you can make manual adjustments, although that's as likely to make your pictures overexposed as it is to improve them.
Xperia Z5 Compact
Autofocus on the Xperia Z5 Compact is the big selling point of the camera. According to Sony it reacts within 0.03 seconds, meaning it'll come out with the shot you wanted anyway even if you're having an attack of shaky hands.
It worked well with still subjects: I could whip my phone out of my pocket, boot up the camera app and start taking the picture while still moving.
Xperia Z5 Camera
It's a great new development, but it doesn't work as well when the subject is moving. Take this photo of the London Underground: I'd estimate that the train was moving at about 10mph, but the Xperia Z5 Compact didn't manage to get the quick shutter shot I was hoping for – although this is still the kind of feature you'd look for in a proper camera rather than the average cameraphone.
The camera app itself didn't prove particularly fast either. Jumping into the features section took a while to boot up, and that's not ideal when the difference between catching or missing the perfect shot is a split second.
Xperia Z5 Compact
Then trying to go back to the gallery using the shortcut on the right hand side was also slow. I just want it boot up quickly so I can look at the last photo I took, make sure it's all OK, and move along.
On the front of the phone is a 5.1MP selfie shooter to make your face snaps all the more spectacular – it's quite an upgrade on the 2.1MP sensor on last year's Xperia Z3 Compact.
Xperia Z5 Compact
The selfie camera is similar to what the rest of the market is offering – it's not remarkable but you're not going to have any complaints either. I personally find the selfie camera brings in a lot more light than the back camera on the Xperia series and the same goes here.

Camera samples

Xperia Z5 Compact
Click here for the high-res image.
Xperia Z5 Compact
Click here for the high-res image.
Xperia Z5 Compact
Click here for the high-res image.
Xperia Z5 Compact
Click here for the high-res image.
Xperia Z5 Compact
Click here for the high-res image.
Xperia Z5 Compact
Click here for the high-res image.
Xperia Z5 Compact
Click here for the high-res image.
Xperia Z5 Compact
Click here for the high-res image.

The essentials

The Sony Xperia Z5 Compact proves strong in all the essential functions. There weren't any problems connecting up to the internet and call quality is exceptional. I didn't experience any problems when on the phone, and no one complained they couldn't hear me on the other end either. There were no problems with 4G of Wi-Fi connectivity.
NFC has been part of the Xperia range since the Z1, and that continues with the Z5 Compact. Some manufacturers, including OnePlus, are leaving the technology out of their handsets, so it's good to see Sony stick with it. Combined with the fingerprint sensor on most versions, it means the Z5 Compact is ready for the launch of Android Pay.
Here's the one problem. Android Pay has launched in only the US at this point, and the newly released Sony Xperia Z5 in American lacks that all-essential fingerprint sensor. Google's mobile payment platform is likely to launch worldwide before the Sony Xperia Z6 comes to the US with this missing feature.
xperia Z5 Compact
Storage wise, you get one option with the Xperia Z5 – 32GB, of which the Android OS takes up 9.42GB, so you'll likely want to upgrade it with a microSD card.
Luckily Sony has gone big here and included support up to 200GB. A lot of other manufacturers only offer up to 128GB, so Xperia Z5 Compact owners can feels confident their handset is future-proofed.
xperia Z5 Compact
The browser is a basic Chrome option, and it works exactly as you'd expect it to – smooth and as fast as the 4G signal will allow.
A few times I plugged my headphones in the jack and it didn't register them, meaning I had to pull them out and plug back in again to stop music playing out of the speakers. That's really annoying when you work in a quiet office and you just expect your headphones to work as soon as they're connected.
Audio through headphones proved generally impressive, thanks to Sony's high res technology combined with high quality streaming from Spotify.
The speakers, however, fail to live up to Sony's hype for them. After HTC BoomSound, it's difficult to get excited by anything else that can't match its volume and quality.

The competition

The Sony Xperia Z5 Compact is a phone alone in its premium compact niche, but there are still some rivals worth considering.

iPhone 6S

iPhone 6S
Apple's latest update of the iPhone comes with the same 4.7-inch screen seen on the iPhone 6 – a similar size to the Xperia Z5 Compact. But the phone itself is bigger, thanks to the big bezels surrounding its screen, so if you're looking for small, this isn't for you.
It does feature a Full HD display, which the Xperia Z5 Compact lacks. It's also your only choice if you're looking for iOS software in a moderately sized premium handset – the iPhone 6S Plus is phablet-sized, and the iPhone 5C is specced for mid-range. It comes with the new 3D Touch technology that offers extra functionality depending on how hard you press the screen.

Sony Xperia Z5

Sony Xperia Z5
The Xperia Z5 is larger than the Z5 Compact without being unruly. It has a 5.2-inch screen with Full HD resolution. Under the hood, it's much the same as the Compact, apart from an extra 1GB of RAM to bring it up to 3GB and a slightly larger battery. But these additions make it more expensive than the Xperia Z5 Compact, as well as less palm-friendly.

Sony Xperia Z3 Compact

Xperia Z3 Compact
Sony updates its phones so often that the previous iterations are still quite recent. The Xperia Z3 Compact is only just over a year older than the Xperia Z5 Compact and features a similar design with a 720p screen.
The camera isn't as high spec with a 20.7MP sensor and there's only a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor. The real bonus is that the Xperia Z3 Compact is much cheaper – about two thirds of the price of an Xperia Z5 Compact. If you don't need top-of-the-line, this is for you.


Earlier this year there were rumours that Sony was considering giving up on smartphones altogether, so the Xperia Z5 range needs to succeed. It deserves to do so and the Z5 Compact is a gem in the series.
Many will be distracted by the standard Xperia Z5 and the shining lights of the Xperia Z5 Premium and its 4K display, but for design, performance and well-conceived detail, it's the Compact that stands out.
Xperia Z5 Compact

We liked

If you're looking for strong battery life without compromising on design, this is your choice. The Xperia Z5 Compact offers a far better battery life than the rest of the competition right now, and that it manages this without bulking out its frame is fantastic.
The fingerprint sensor could be seen as an easy upgrade, but to do this so well is unheard of. The Galaxy S6 has an amazing fingerprint sensor on the front now, but the Galaxy S5 came before it and that scanner was atrocious.
The positioning is perfect and it reacts so quickly to the touch it'll make contactless payments a breeze when Android Pay finally comes to the phone. Just don't look for it in the Sony Xperia Z5 in the US.
The design deserves particular mention. Considering it's a smaller phone, Sony has packed it with key features. It's slightly thicker than the Xperia Z5, but you only notice the difference when you put them next to each other, and the Compact feels much more comfortable in the hand.
The lack of flaps this time is great, and Sony has achieved this without sacrificing on the water resistence that is a key selling point of the Xperia range.
Plus on top of that Sony has decided to future proof its device a little further by including 200GB microSD support. There might not be many 200GB cards out there but in the lifetime of this phone it's sure to grow.

We disliked

Screen resolution is a big let-down. It doesn't match what we'd expect from a phone in 2015, and I wish Sony had made this a Full HD screen.
If it had, this could have been a five star review – but I understand why it's kept at 720p. Saving on pixels has meant a better battery life, and many picking up this phone would prefer that to a clearer view of YouTube.
The fact Sony hasn't upped the price this year is good as well, although the Z5 Compact is still on the expensive end of the spectrum. If Sony had decided to go under the £350 mark there would be no reason not to recommend this phone to anyone.
I do feel like a broken record when talking about Sony devices, but I'd love to see the company adopt stock Android. The Xperia UI isn't good looking and it'd be nice to see it retired before the next Sony phone.
While most of the big competitors look to fast charging and wireless charging technologies, Sony has left them out. It's not a deal breaker, but it's a shame it was overlooked.

Final verdict

Xperia Z5 Compact
If you're looking for a small Android phone right now, this is it. No other phone manufacturer is making high-end devices in this form factor, which is a shame, because the Xperia Z5 Compact is beautifully proportioned.
With an incredible battery life, a new high-end processor and some impressive camera upgrades, it's also worth getting this over last year's Xperia Z3 Compact. The screen is much the same, which is regrettable but does save on your battery. There's much more to like here than to criticise.
All I hope is that Sony puts its faith in this phone and we won't see it superseded by an Xperia Z6 Compact when March rolls around.

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The tech that's changing photography - and it's just getting started
The tech that's changing photography - and it's just getting started

The connected camera

10 years ago clunky digital cameras were used to take a few pictures in the hope you had something decent when you looked later on the laptop. Photos were still locked to the device, the film replaced with a memory card that was useless until connected to a computer.
But in recent years they've been come technologically-imbued marvels, opening up new avenues of photography, sharing and even revenue for professional photographers.
The addition of Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth chips inside even mid-range cameras means that whether you want to watch live footage from a pro-snowboarder's action cam or control your snapper with your smartphone, connected cameras have broadened photography's horizons.
With the help of our resident expert, we're here to look at how connected cameras are shaping the world of photography, and how they might adapt again to alter the way we take and share photos forever.

Quick photo transfers

Sharing your photos used to be a laborious process. After a day of snapping, you'd go home, wire your camera up to your PC, and twiddle your thumbs waiting for photos to transfer. Only then could you email them to friends and family or post them online if you could be so bothered.
Connected cameras cut out that wait entirely. Wi-Fi cameras have internet access if they're in range of a router or hot spot, allowing you to transfer photos straight to your phone or laptop with no fuss.
The Canon 750D, one such camera, allows for automatic uploading to social media through a suitable Wi-Fi access point, and can also beam photos to your smartphone, prompted by tapping them together through the near field communication (NFC) chips embedded in both.
Samsung Galaxy Camera
Nikon's new D500 also features always-on low-energy Bluetooth that can share an (admittedly lower-quality) version of your snaps with your smartphone instantly should you be out of range of Wi-Fi, so you can post it online using your phone's data connection.
The Samsung Galaxy Camera range went one further by running on the Android operating system, and featured 3G and 4G, giving you Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat at your fingertips.
However, the tech giant hasn't updated the range since 2014, so the progress of mobile-connected cameras is something people are watching to see how (and if) it will progress, given users would need another mobile contract and a decent data bundle to use it properly.
And beyond instant uploading, cameras connected to other devices offer new ways to interact with the high end photography equipment.

Remote shutter release

Most connected cameras – including Nikon's D5500 DSLR and its COOLPIX compact range – allow photographers to use their smartphone as a remote release for the camera's shutter through their Wi-Fi connection.
That's useful for a number of reasons, the most obvious of which – and the most popular – is selfies. Set up your DSLR, strike a pose, and tap your phone to snap your face in all its high-quality glory.
But it's also useful for long-exposure photography, be that shots of stunning nightscapes or flowing water scenes. They both require a separate remote shutter release anyway, so why not do it with your phone?
It's especially helpful when you don't want to get too close to the action but still need cracking shots, as Rod Lawton, TechRadar's camera channel editor explains. "Let's say you're photographing sport. You set the camera up, retreat to a safe distance, and work it from there," Lawton says.
The same could be said of photographing wildlife: instead of disturbing whatever animal you're trying to capture by crashing around in the bushes, set up your tripod and wait away from the action for the perfect moment.
But it's not just the remote shutter that's improving sport, as connecting up our cameras has similarly improved photography from sporting events - and even given photographers a chance to enhance their income.
Sports photographers, as Lawton explains, have cameras that can beam shots instantly back to photo editors in comfy studios. "A lot of professional photographers are using Nikon or Canon pro DSLRs," he says.
"They have quite powerful Wi-Fi connections, but they can also plug directly into Ethernet cable sockets. The faster you can get it back [to your editor] the better. If you make it instantaneous, you've got the scoop."

Seeing the action live

Action cameras (strapped on to extreme sports lovers to give a real-time view of what they're seeing) have become hugely attractive since they've added connectivity into the mix,by allowing users to stream footage live.
GoPro teamed up with streaming app Periscope just last month, and users will be able to switch broadcasts between their phone and action cameras on the fly.
But the popular action camera brand wasn't the first to try it: Android-based Sioeye's Iris4G launched back in December, offering live streaming over LTE. The Sony HDR-AS100V Action Cam also includes the same feature, posting updates to Facebook and Twitter whenever you start filming.
The benefits are there for both those using the cameras – sharing their live footage with friends, family – and for sports fans, who now can enjoy the prospect of riding along in real-time with their favourite skier, snowboarder, or skater.

Keeping you safe

Away from the glitz and glamour of WiFi, 4G, and live sports, connected cameras can also silently keep you safe: smart security cameras have been pouring onto the market over the last couple of years and are becoming cheaper and more usable all the time - we're a world away from the 'one frame of fuzzy monochrome image every 10 seconds' of a few years ago, as that was all common yesteryear connections could handle.
As a base level, these cameras film your home while you're away, and alert you if they detect any untoward movement. Withings Home streams 1080p video at 30 frames per second direct to an iOS or Android app, and sends you stills from its 5 megapixel lens if it detects movement or sounds.
Withings Home
Similarly, Nest Cam streams sharp, 1080p HD video from inside your home to your computer, phone, or tablet, and offers cloud storage and face recognition if you're willing to cough up a little extra each month.
Panasonic announced Nubo last year, which doesn't even need a WiFi connection to work – it will transmit 720p video to your smartphone over 4G even if the power's out, provided you've paid for the data package.
It's a growing market, and one that will keep on adapting and improving as connections in the home increase (crime, after all, never sleeps).

What does the future hold?

Improving smartphones

While they lack the power and quality of standalone cameras, smartphones are now the most widely used photography devices: point, shoot and you can share your snaps to Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter in seconds.
Lawton believes connected high-end cameras are not attractive enough with the social-media, instant-upload obsessed public – and perhaps never will be.
"If you want to take pictures and share them straight away, [you] use your phone," he said. But are smartphones ever going to pack the same power and smarts as a larger, more impressive camera?
Lawton pointed to the Panasonic CM-1 – a phone-camera hybrid with a 1-inch sensor – as "the closest thing to a way forward for high-quality connected photography."
The CM-1 failed to impress consumers, despite strong reviews, as while it had a camera comparable to most high end compacts it failed as a sleek, portable smartphone – but that might be because the market was not ready for it, Lawton says.
"Most smartphone photographers aren't expecting much image quality. I think it will take a while for that market to figure out the quality can be much better, and it's worth having," he says.
Panasonic announced last month that the next iteration of the CM-1 – the CM10 – will not be a smartphone, but a standalone camera (complete with LTE connectivity and a host of apps, but a camera no less).
That leaves the door open for, say, Apple or Samsung to succeed where Panasonic – inexperienced in the smartphone world – failed. While Nokia has previously tried to equip a smartphone with a sensor capable of being seen as a 'proper' camera (as shown in the Lumia 1020) it lacked the optics and zooming capabilities of a larger snapper.
Other attempts to launch a phone with optical zoom have been fleeting - perhaps the newly-announcedAsus Zenfone Zoom may herald a time when smartphones can finally have more compact camera-like capabilities, but it's not a major manufacturer.
If any of the smartphone giants strapped a full-blown camera sensor on the back of a flagship, you'd be brave to bet against their success.

More 3G/4G DSLRs

Cameras that can share photos without tethering to a smart phone via Wi-Fi – specifically through mobile networks – clearly have the potential to completely change the world of photography. They would reduce the need to carry expensive equipment around to just set up a mobile connection, and could give all kinds of photographers the instant access they crave.
However, with Samsung still not progressing on its plans to add more data connections to its cameras, it's hard to see big DLSR manufacturers following suit just now.
As such, it seems the world of connected DSLRs - the ultimate connected camera to many - is somewhat in limbo. Our cameras now have Wi-Fi, but until they have 3G or 4G connectivity as standard they're not going to be able to satisfy the masses desperate for instant uploading and connections that mimic their smartphones – we'll have to wait for one of the camera giants to take a leap of faith to achieve that.
But maybe they never will. The world of connected actions cams is servicing a strong need, smartphones are only a generation or two away from being good enough for many professionals and the connected home is increasingly thirsty for imaging sensors for security and simplicity. The connected camera is already here, and subtly changing photography.

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Headphones are the gateway drug for high-end audio
Headphones are the gateway drug for high-end audio

High-end headphones are HRA's gateway drug

In many ways there's been a lost generation for indulgent audio. The world of discrete sound systems and hi-fi, so beloved by a generation who started with a turntable and ploughed eagerly into a world of beautifully crafted electronics, gave way to the convenience of the Walkman, audio tapes, CD and subsequently the steady march to digital.
But, as with all of these things, the big wheel has kept on turning - and the humble headphones are shaping this latest twist. A love for music is a constant, but with the digital generation's newfound respect for live music, the tolerance for crap audio has begun to abate.
Those white original Apple headphones, the marketing darling and the inadvertent front man for tinny digitally muddy music, have become passe and traditional audio brands like Bowers and Wilkins, Sennheiser, et al are now a common sight on the commuter trains, as people begin to seek out more than MP3.
Poor quality heapdhones - but did they spark the rebellion

Dr Beats

Beats - with the heavy-hitting name of Dr Dre - became fashionable and brought the idea forward that it was worth paying to upgrade from the basic headphones that came in the box.
Apple upped the quality of its headphones, eventually snapping up Beats, Tidal started the move towards higher quality 'high-def' streamed audio and expensive headphones were cool again.
The Headroom show in London's legendary Metropolis Studios has been set up to showcase the headphones that people aspire to own - from the reasonably priced right up to the truly ludicrous. Nobody would accuse it of being mainstream just yet, but the demographic is clearly younger.
Audeze - not pronounced like you't think
And the stars of the show, the headphones themselves, are dramatically better than those you are likely to have tried. The difference between the bundled set you get with your phone to a £200 pair of Sennheisers is the equivalent of drinking fine restaurant wine after sipping from a plastic tub of homebrew.
The difference between a £3,500 pair of handcrafted headphones (I tried a pair of Audeze LCD 4s) and those Sennheisers is significantly less marked, but even for someone who cannot claim a pair of golden ears, or even pewter for that matter, it is honestly perceptible.
That said - the original Sennheiser Orpheus headphones on show were both more expensive than a very decent sport car and almost certainly well beyond my normal human brain's ability to discern the quality differential. That doesn't make them any less droolworthy, especially if you're a movie star or a Premier League footballer.
Sennheiser's original Orpheus headphones - now a collector's item

The new audiophile

Interestingly though, these burgeoning old giants of the audio world are seeing the shift to quality impact on their entire industry.
Audiophiles of all ages are now considering the next chunk of kit to make their audio better - from digital audio converters (DACs) that do a fine job of taking digital music and improving the quality right the way through to the still-controversial high end cables that profess to improve things hugely if you're prepared to fork out a large sum.
It feels almost inevitable then that this generation, with a love for high-end headphones, will become customers for the next wave of hi-fi. They have a Tidal subscription, a pair of high-end cans and suddenly they aren't so convinced by their bluetooth speaker at home.
They look at portable DACs and wonder if they really should be getting more out of their expensive headphones.
Turntable with headphones
And they're suddenly thinking about amps, turntables, speaker - quite possibly from the same manufacturer as their amazing headphones - and suddenly, you'd speculate, they are IN.

Down the rabbit hole

Phil Wannell is a high-end personal audio consultant organises the Headroom Show, and he has first-hand experience of this phenomenon.
"I had a customer come in and say 'my mum gave me money for Christmas so I went out and bought a pair of Sennheiser Momentums and now I want to come in and upgrade my source because my iPod's not good enough'," says Wannell.
"It goes on from there. I did say are you sure you want to do this - be careful!"
Beautiful headphones
Wannell feels that this new wave of high-end audio in headphones can be traced to the lost generation.
"My father had a hi-fi system and I aspired to it, but this generation haven't had fathers with hi-fi so their integration is the mp3 player," he explains. "And the natural evolution of that is to get better headphones and then better sources."
I put it to him that those people may well be buying high-end amps that their kids will aspire to when they have more money. "Exactly!"
Sennheiser are a big player in the mid-range quality market
"And in 40 years' time we'll be right back to the place where the industry is at its peak again," chips in Dan George - a former editor of Hi-Fi Choice and now running an eponymous PR Agency which represents several of these proud audio brands.


The UK consumer is very much in the vanguard of this headphone revolution in Europe, but it's not leading the global charge for portable brilliance, even though so many of its brands are universally famous.
"We're tiny compared to Asia and the Far East where portable quality is massive, but the UK is unique Europe very quickly arriving to the high-end."
Mojo from Chord
One of the new wave of devices that are catching attention both in Asia and the Far East is Chord's Mojo - a portable DAC that has quickly won plaudits for its ability to take digital sources for music and make them sound great, not least because of custom chip design by its lead engineer.
"The Hugo was the Mojo's predecessor and it was designed for Asia," says George. "The whole project was caused by demand from the Far East."
There are drawbacks, of course, high-end not only carries a heavy price, but it's heavy to carry as well.
Orpheus - a legend
Those Audeze headphones look and sound beautiful, but they are heavy - as is the Mojo, principally because of the battery needed to provide the power.
That doesn't detract from the build-quality, and the sensation that these devices are crafted for excellence, and it is that exact desire for excellence that will spark an interest in this thin edge of the audio wedge for a whole new generation.
And with a bit of luck, these brands which have negotiated their way through the difficult times, will find that heritage and engineering is what bring backs the boom times.

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Use a Raspberry Pi to remotely watch your home
Use a Raspberry Pi to remotely watch your home
For this Raspberry Pi project we'll create a remote monitor for tracking activity in a home. Before we begin, make sure that your webcam is plugged into your Raspberry Pi. To update our system and install the webcam motion software, you'll need to open XTerminal and type:
$ sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install motion
With motion installed let's configure it with:
$ sudo nano /etc/default/motion
You'll see start_motion_daemon=no change this to yes.
Now press Ctrl+o to save and Ctrl+x to quit. Now we need to make a few changes to our motion.conf file. Open it with $ sudo nano /etc/motion/motion.conf . Ensure the following is correct before saving (Ctrl+o) and exiting (CtrlL+x) nano
daemon on
width 640
height 480
framerate 100
stream_localhost off
Reboot your Raspberry Pi before continuing. Now let's test our stream. In a terminal type $ sudo service motion start .
Now in a browser on another machine type in the IP address of your Raspberry Pi, you can find this in the terminal by typing hostname -I followed by :8081 so for example my IP address was
You should now see a video stream in your browser. Now that we have the stream working let's embed it into a live web page. To do this we will need to install Apache. In a terminal type $ sudo apt-get install apache2 -y . This will also create a new directory in /var/ called /www/ which we shall use to serve our pages.
Open the text editor on your Raspberry Pi. We will now write a few lines of HTML to build a simple web page.

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