Wednesday, February 10, 2016

IT News Head Lines (Techradar) 11/02/2016


LG G5 revealed to have an always-on screen
LG G5 revealed to have an always-on screen
The LG G5 is literally going to work overtime to impress you, and we know that now because it's been confirmed to have an screen that never sleeps.

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Buying guide: 5 Best Windows tablets: top Windows slates reviewed
Buying guide: 5 Best Windows tablets: top Windows slates reviewed

Best Windows tablets

Microsoft's been pushing tablet computers for the best part of a decade, so you can imagine how happy the success of the iPad Air, Samsung Galaxy Note series, the short line of Google Nexus slates and other great tablets makes the software maker feel.
But Microsoft doesn't give up easily, and Windows tablets have been trickling out since Windows 8 first introduced touched controls. The focus on tablets that can double as PC has only been getting bigger as with Window 10's upcoming release. The range of devices with is huge from simple slates to fully convertible laptop-tablet hybrids, including those where keyboards slide out from beneath the screen, as well as those with styluses and detachable keyboards. We've even seen tablet/all-in-one hybrids.
There's as much variety in Windows tablet world as there is to the plethora of tablets running other operating systems.
Now the question is what sort of Windows-powered tablet do you want. Are you looking for something mainly as a reading device, perhaps a dedicated Hearthstone, typing out documents on your commute or sketching ideas for a new artwork?
To help you decide, here's a rundown of the best Windows tablets that we've reviewed so far.
Best Windows tablets

1. Surface Pro 4

The best all-around Windows tablet
CPU: 2.4GHz Intel Core i5-6300U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 12.3-inch, 2,736 x 1,824 PixelSense display | Storage: 256GB SSD | Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: 8MP rear-facing; 5MP front-facing | Weight: 1.73 pounds | Dimensions: 11.5 x 7.93 x 0.36 inches
Larger, sharper screen
Vastly improved Type Cover
Type Cover still sold separately
Battery life hasn't improved much
The Surface Pro 4 is by far the best Windows 10 tablet. Though it comes at a pretty penny, it's well worth the expense from the nearly premium built quality, perfect screen and ample power. Microsoft's latest tablet introduces a larger and sharper screen, plus a redesigned island that makes typing feel almost as good as a real laptop. The Surface Pro 4 the tablet that really can replace your traditional laptop and this is why the it's our Windows 10 tablet king.
Read the full review: Surface Pro 4
Best Windows tablets

2. HP Spectre x2

Little extras make this remarkable Windows tablet even more exceptional
CPU: 1.2GHz Intel Core m7-6Y75 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 12-inch, 1,920 x 1,280 WUXGA+ IPS WLED-backlit touch screen | Storage: 256GB SSD | Connectivity: Intel 802.11ac (2x2), Bluetooth 4.0, LTE | Camera: 5MP HP TrueVision HD front-facing webcam, 8MP rear-facing camera, Intel RealSense 3D R200 camera | Weight: 1.87 pound | Dimensions: 11.81 x 8.23 x 0.52 inches
Ultrathin design
Exceptional performance
Massive bezels
Recessed kickstand
HP's Spectre x2 bears a striking resemblance to Microsoft's Surface Pro 4. However, it's thinner and lighter thanks to being powered by a fanless Intel Core M processor. It also comes at a more affordable price tag than Microsoft's premium slate and with an included keyboard to boot. Equipped with an Intel Core m7 processor offers nearly the same performance as the Core i5 chip on the Surface Pro 4, while being more economical and efficient with battery life.
Read the full review: HP Spectre x2
Best Windows tablets

3. HP Pavilion x2

The most affordable Windows 10 convertible
CPU: 1.33GHz Intel Atom Z3736F | Graphics: Intel HD graphics | RAM: 2GB| Screen: 10.1-inch, 1,280 x 800 WXGA WLED IPS touchscreen display | Storage: 32GB eMMC | Connectivity: 802.11b WLAN and Bluetooth | Camera: HP TrueVision HD webcam | Weight: 2.61 pounds | Dimensions: 0.39 x 6.81 x 0.78 inches
Long battery life
Absurdly affordable
32-bit Windows 10
Limited storage and memory
Getting into the world of Windows 10 convertible's isn't cheap unless we're talking about the Pavilion x2. This 10-inch hybrid comes packing a surprising amount of goods considering its small size. It comes packed with a HD screen and more than enough power to get you through a simple day of web browsing and even image editing. When you're ready kick back with some streaming media, you can pop off the 10-inch works as a portable tablet. And if you're looking for something with a bit more screen real estate there's the 12-inch HP Pavilion x2.
Read the full review: HP Pavilion x2
Best Windows tablets

4. Surface 3

A solid micro-sized Windows 10 tablet
CPU: 1.6GHz Quad Core Intel Atom x7-78700 processor | Graphics: Integrated Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 10.8-inch (1,920 x 1,200) ClearType Full HD Plus Display | Storage: 128GB SSD | Connectivity: Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac); Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: 3.5 megapixel front-facing camera; 8.0 megapixel rear-facing | Weight: 1.37 pounds | Dimensions: 10.52 x 7.36 x 0.34 inches
Alluring magnesium-alloy build,
Bright, clear display
Skimpy storage and RAM
Limited kickstand articulation
If you interested in a Surface Pro 4 but you're worried about the 12-inch form factor being too unwieldy, the Surface 3 might be perfect for you. Sporting a smaller 10.8-inch screen and Intel Atom processor, the Surface 3 is meant to be less of a laptop replacement and more of a solid Windows 10 tablet. Though the kickstand is limited to a smaller range of motion, it's nearly as versatile and works well with Microsoft's nearly perfected type cover.
Read the full review: Surface 3
Best Windows tablets

5. Dell Venue 11 Pro 7000

This 2-in-1 laptop takes thinness to a new level
CPU: 1.2GHz Intel Core M-5Y71 vPro | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5300 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 10.8-inch (1,920 x 1,080) IPS display | Storage: 128GB SSD | Connectivity: Intel 7265 dual-band 2X2 802.11 ac WiFi & Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: 2-megapixel webcam; 8-megapixel rear camera | Weight: 1.6 pounds | Dimensions: 11.01 x 6.95 x 0.42 inches
Vibrant display made for media
Flexible use cases
Colors a touch too saturated
Unimpressive battery life
Starting at $700 (£437 and AU$800), the Venue Pro 7000 offers a nice balance of performance and portability in a travel-friendly size. However, unless you find yourself accessing CPU and GPU taxing apps, you might find more value in an Atom-based convertible. Going with Atom will lower your cost and give you better battery life.
For those who need power and performance, the confines of a 10.8-inch display may be too rigid to maximize productivity. Opening more than a few tabs or windows on the small display will trigger claustrophobia. If you need to be more productive, there are bigger convertible options, like the Surface Pro 3, to choose from that may fit that need better.
Read the full review: Dell Venue 11 Pro 7000

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Updated: The best Australian apps
Updated: The best Australian apps

The best Australian apps

Best Australian apps
From the moment that Apple launched its first iPhone, Australian developers have been at the forefront of creating amazing software for mobile devices. Over the past eight years, the local industry has blossomed, with amazing apps for everything from productivity to entertainment being created by Aussies for the rest of the world.
But while there are hundreds of locally produced apps that are changing the way people use their devices, there's a special class of app that punches well above its weight. Where small, local indies have managed to grow into something bigger.
These are the best Australian apps. We'll keep updating this list as more local devs change the world with their creations.


Platform: iOS, Android, Windows Phone | Price: $3.79 / $3.99 / $4.89
Sydneysiders will be all too familiar with the perils of public transport in Australia's most populous city. It was a battle developer Nick Maher was facing every day. Yet unlike the thousands of people who silently suffered delays, cancelled trains and overcrowded buses, Maher used his experience to build a Java app for his Sony Ericsson phone, which he then ported to the iPhone in 2008.
Originally designed to tell a user how long until the next train arrived, the app has expanded significantly since launch. It now offers real-time data for trains and buses (not quite all of them, but a large percentage) and has expanded to cover Melbourne's public transport as well as Sydney's.
While Maher credits a lot of the app's success to being in the right place at the right time (on the App Store not long after the iPhone 3G launched in Australia), the app's intuitive interface and detailed information is also crucial to its place at the top of our list.

Wikicamps Australia

Wikicamps Australia
Platform: iOS, Android, Windows Phone | Price: $7.49 / $7.49 / $8.59
Sometimes you just need to pack up the car and get the hell away from the city. But where do you go?
WikiCamps Australia creators Russ and Cliff Corbin spent 2.5 years travelling around Australia and were surprised that there wasn't a full database of the country's campsites.
After two full trips around the country, they had enough of a database to launch the platform back in 2012, but quickly realised that a user-generated wiki was the best way to create a truly useful tool.
Since it launched, the database has expanded from 2,000 to over 20,000 sites, with comprehensive information about everything from amenities and mobile coverage to Information Centres and pet-friendly locations.
There's also over 260,000 site reviews and over 100,000 site photos, giving users a real opportunity to explore their camping adventure before they leave.

Pocket Casts

Best Australian Apps Pocket Casts
Platform: iOS, Android, Windows Phone | Price: $4.99 / $3.99 / $4.29
The world of podcasts is as wide and varied as the people who make them. But listening to your favourite podcast can be a convoluted experience without the right app.
Aussie developers Shifty Jelly have created what is arguably the best podcasting app ever produced with Pocket Casts.
Back in 2010 when they made the app, you had to plug your phone into a desktop computer, and manually sync your podcasts across. Today, over 500,000 users simplify the whole process with Pocket Casts.
The decision is fairly easy for podcast fans, with features like filtered lists, automated downloads, variable speed playback and automated clean up of episodes all standard. It works across devices, and gets better at every opportunity.


Best Australian apps Clipp
Platform: iOS, Android | Price: Free
The days of placing your credit card behind a bar for a good night out are well and truly behind us now, with Aussie app Clipp landing on iOS and Android.
Clipp co-founder Greg Taylor is familiar with the perils of leaving a credit card behind the bar. It was, after all the incentive for Clipp's creation.
Accepted at over 650 bars and restaurants around the country, Clipp lets you flash your phone at the bar staff to add drinks to your tab, and then close the tab from your phone, paying with your PayPal account. You'll get your receipt emailed immediately, and earn rewards points all at the same time.
But thanks to its success, the app is now so much more. After lots of demand from users, Clipp introduced the ability to split bills easily within the app.
But even more impressive is the inclusion of last-minute deals, which allows users to explore their city, saving up to 40% off their bill for next to no effort at all.


Best Australian apps Invoice2Go
Platform: iOS, Android | Price: Free (plus subscription)
Running a small business is hard enough work, without having to waste hours navigating the well of despair that is Microsoft Excel, or pay a fortune for professional accounting software.
Founder Chris Strode was a freelance programmer back in 2002 when he created Invoice2Go during his daily train commute. He wanted a tool that would not only allow him to send an invoice within minutes, but also keep tabs of invoices being paid, tracking expenses and monitoring overall business performance.
It was in 2008 when the first app version of the service launched that things really took off. Now, business users can do everything from tracking time with the Invoice2Go Apple Watch app and even receive payments from within the app itself.
With customisable invoice styles, integrated logo design tools and the ability to offer quotes within the app, it's a comprehensive tool for small business owners.

Pocket Weather

Best Australian apps Pocket Weather
Platform: iOS, Android | Price: $2.49 / $1.99
Being able to predict the weather takes years of practice, study and an understanding of science. Making the weather forecast look amazing on your smartphone or tablet is also challenging, but it's something the team a Shifty Jelly has accomplished with Pocket Weather.
Back when the iPhone 3G launched in Australia, Apple was using Yahoo! to provide its weather information and the results were always wrong. It was so frustrating that inspired Shifty Jelly to go out and create a simple, accurate weather app.
Beautifully simple yet packed with information straight from the Bureau of Meteorology, the app has developed significantly over time. But it's an essential download – Shifty Jelly's Russell Ivanovic tells us that Pocket Weather was so popular that they worked out it was installed on roughly one in every six Australian iPhones.


Platform: iOS | Price: $7.49
Quite possibly the most powerful art app available for the iPad, Procreate created a bit of a stir a few years back when it was used to create a hyper-realistic portrait of Morgan Freeman. With amazing versatility through a range of different brush styles, blur tools and layers, Procreate (and its iPhone sibling, Procreate Pocket) are proof that the iPad is definitely more than just a consumption device.


Platform: iOS, Android | Price: Free
Keeping on top of your finances is a never-ending battle, but one that is made significantly easier thanks to technology. Local finance startup Pocketbook lets you keep track of all your expenses and incomes across a wide range of accounts from different Australian banks, and intelligently collates them into different categories. A great tool for managing your budget.


Best Australian apps Kinderloop
Platform: iOS, Android | Price: Free
Any parent with their kids in daycare knows that getting updates on their little tykes day can be a challenge, especially if you're the parent that doesn't get to do the pre-school pick up.
That's exactly what inspired new dad Dan Day to create Kinderloop back in 2013 – he just wasn't getting enough information about his daughter, and decided to do something about it.
Today, the platform is so much more than just a communications tool for parents. Early childhood educators can use the app to make educational observations, plan around childrens' interests and document their work without exponentially increasing their workloads.
Of course, getting real-time updates on what your kids are doing via a smartphone app is still amazing for any parent, and makes you wonder why nobody thought of this sooner.


Best Australian apps Omny
Platform: iOS, Android | Price: Free
Commercial radio today is designed to cater to a broad audience. And while Pandora tries to counter that with personalised music, Aussie app Omny takes it one step further by combining your Spotify and Pandora playlists and blending them with both podcasts you might like and personalised notifications.
The end result is a truly personalised radio experience. As co-founder Ed Hooper explains, being able to collect the parts of radio you like and swipe away the parts you don't makes for a very enjoyable experience.
The app wasn't just a hit with consumers, either – content creators loved it so much that the developers went and created Omny Studio, a fully-featured tool for creating, editing and sharing radio content.


Platform: iOS | Price: Free
Canva is like having an art department on your iPad. Created less than three years ago by Melanie Perkins, the app was created to take the complexity out of design software.
With a collection of templates and the ability to purchase stock photography cheaply directly from the app, Canva offers the ability to create everything from business cards to presentations, as well as simple things like engaging social media posts.
With an incredibly simple interface, even the most design illiterate person can create attractive products, which is probably why more than 8 million people use the app and two designs are created on Canva every second.
The app has expanded to small business too, with the Canva for Work arrival offering more flexible usage like being able to create your own brand kits, instantly resize designs and upload your own fonts.


Best Australian apps Bodywise
Platform: iOS | Price: Free
Being able to get on top of your fitness goals is a challenge, especially with the endless stream of fitness wearables hitting shelves.
But keeping tabs on your overall fitness can be a challenge, with many health apps only keeping track of the most basic information about your health.
Bodywise is trying to become your software hub for your fitness goals, syncing with Jawbone and Fitbit devices, as well as HealthKit in iOS. Rather than counting calories, the app focuses on the important things that will make a difference to your overall health, like alcohol or smoking.
Co-founder Mike Halligan quickly realised that when it comes to being healthy, everyone has a different idea on what they want. Bodywise allows all those things to be tracked in one place, giving you a much more detailed look at your overall wellbeing.


Best Australian apps Streaks
Platform: iOS | Price: $5.99
If you want to make something happen, you need control, discipline and an app. Streaks helps you create better habits by letting you track six tasks you want to complete everyday, from reading to exercising and everything in between.
Developer Quentin Zervaas tells us that the hard limit of only having six tasks helps the app drive you to success. The good thing about it, he says, is that finishing one or two tasks pushes you to finish the rest of the tasks in the day.
And after you complete five out of your six tasks, it's pretty hard to ignore that final one.
The app also pulls in data from Healthkit to automatically tick off your activities physical, while manual tasks are easily ticked off as you complete them.


Best Australian apps Airtasker
Platform: iOS, Android | Price: Free
Need something done, but don't want to do it yourself? Airtasker will let you pay someone – anyone – to do your dirty little jobs for you, for a small fee of course. From cleaning your bedroom to picking up your laundry, to lining up to buy one of the first iPhone 7 handsets, Airtasker proves that people can do pretty much anything to make a bit of coin on the side.

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Google's self-driving car is 'the driver' in the eyes of the US government
Google's self-driving car is 'the driver' in the eyes of the US government
Shift over to the passenger seat, because Google's self-driving car is now considered "the driver" by the US government, even though it has artificial intelligence steering it.
This groundbreaking acknowledgment for the company's computer-controlled artificial intelligence (AI) system comes from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
It addresses Google's lobbying to change whom is considered the driver for provisions in the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS), which all production cars must follow.
The response letter goes into further detail over which specific areas of the FMVSS of the Google AI is considered the driver.

More self-driving details

Google's autonomous cars don't rely on human operators and lack ordinary input methods, like the steering wheel, gas and brake pedals, parking brake, turn signals and mirrors.
Basically, it doesn't have anything a human driver requires for piloting a car. The US government's response opens up further discussions for changes and refinement to the FMVSS that can drastically change how we interpret a car in the future.
Every car produced now needs to follow the FMVSS, but as we embark on a future of self-driving cars, this simple acknowledgement is the first step for greater change to standards put in place long before AI was even a conceivable idea.

A course of action or crash course?

As much as I enjoy driving myself and fear a Skynet future, this acknowledgement from NHTSA makes perfect sense.
Google's self-driving car relies solely on sensor and camera data to drive itself. The data is also saved and logged with precise details.
If a Google car were to get into an accident, it has raw quantitative data that can be used to recreate every aspect of the accident from the AI's perspective. There isn't a he-said-she-said blame game, but a battle of fact versus what a person says.
By removing all control interfaces in a car, we remove the potential for driver error, which hopefully eliminates most human-caused car accidents. Google's Android Auto is only the exciting start to all of this.

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Mexico vs Senegal friendly is a test for 4K
Mexico vs Senegal friendly is a test for 4K
When world football phenom Pelé called it "the beautiful game" back in the '50s, football (or soccer for the US folks) was just barely being broadcast in color.
The sport and the technology to watch it has come a long way since then, going from bulky CRT TVs to insanely thin flat panels that are capable of over a billion colors.
Tomorrow the evolution in watching the beautiful game takes its next step during a friendly between Mexico and Senegal that will be broadcast in Ultra-High Definition.
The game, which takes place in Miami, Florida, will be available to Sony 4K TVs via Univision, the US' largest Spanish language television network.
This is Univision's first partnership with Sony and a company called NeuLion, which is responsible for broadcasting 4K streams over the internet and has recently been used by both the NBA and BT Sport to stream Ultra HD content.
What makes the game so special is that it's part of a growing trend of 4K broadcasts, something multiple providers are interested in - DISH even has the technology to do so - but until networks get on board, 4K content will remain in the realm of online streaming.
The match-up starts at 8 pm ET (5 pm PT) on Wednesday, February 10 (or 1am GMT) and can be viewed on the Univision Deportes App on Sony 4K Ultra-HD TVs.

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Wish you were up here: See NASA's stunning space tourism posters
Wish you were up here: See NASA's stunning space tourism posters
A studio at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has released more of its stunning Visions of the Future space tourism posters.
After an initial three were made available for download and printing Monday, 11 more were added to the roster. The posters imagine what being a space tourist to far-off planets like Venus, Jupiter and Kepler 16b, as well as Ceres, the "Queen of the Asteroid Belt," Titan, Europa and more celestial spots would be like. Some of the posters are from the Exoplanet Travel Bureau series released last year.
Even Earth has its own poster, perhaps to entice extraterrestrials to plan a trip to our home planet?
The posters are in an art deco style and are pretty enough to literally hang on your wall, but, being NASA, there's some education mixed in. Each of the posters has an informational blurb about its subject, making for the perfect blend of science and creativity.
You can browse through and download posters from JPL's website. A few are included below.
Mars poster
Grand Tour poster
Europa Poster

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GoPros inside Grammy Awards will put you onstage with the winners
GoPros inside Grammy Awards will put you onstage with the winners
If you won a Grammy Award, would you want it if it came with a built-in GoPro?
The 58th Annual Grammy Awards next week is set to give viewers a new way to watch the ceremony. Winners will be given a trophy with a GoPro camera built into the base, according to Fast Company.
Called the Grammycam, it will give CBS producers the option to stream parts of the show from this new perspective on the Grammy Live app, website or TV broadcast.
The camera itself is actually a broken-down GoPro camera with three hours of battery life just for the event, and it will let you see the award handed to the winners on stage and then taken backstage after.
Each camera-bearing golden trophy has been modified so that it will beam what it captures to the CBS broadcast truck, where all the camera streams are managed. We're not sure how often CBS will rely on the Grammycam for the broadcast, as it might end up looking more like a glamorous handheld documentary.
The Grammy Awards ceremony is set to take place on February 15, so we won't have long to wait to see how this experiment plays out. After all, if all goes well, we may end up with more trophy cam-filmed award ceremonies down the line.

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IN DEPTH: Android Auto: Google's head unit for cars explained
IN DEPTH: Android Auto: Google's head unit for cars explained

Android Auto cars, compatibility and design

Update: Content updated to reflect new Android Auto developments and added a complete list of available cars.
Google Maps is the unquestionable king of navigation for the last decade, yet it's never had a central role in cars. Garmin, TomTom and Navteq occupied that co-pilot seat.
Android Auto gives Google smartphone users their first chance to unsuction those clumsy GPS units from the windshield and skip car maker's clunky navigation systems.
Yes, in-dash Google Maps' is here, and it goes beyond navigation. Apps for making calls, playing music and sending messages are part of this digital journey.
Android Auto
All of the basics are here, and they're all conveniently out of reach. Android Auto gives you safe access to everything that's important on your phone and nothing more.
Here's what we found in our experience with Android Auto over the last year, which provides a better-looking experience than Apple CarPlay.

What is Android Auto?

Android Auto casts a Google Now interface onto your car's infotainment display via USB. It's not the same as mirroring your phone onto the car display using HDMI, as the vehicle's touch screen, steering wheel controls, buttons and control knobs remain functional when using Android Auto.
There's still limitations on app support though. Only Google approved apps with necessary driver-safety measures in place can take advantage of the Android Auto user interface.
Audio is sent via USB for music with no loss in sound quality, unlike with Bluetooth audio streaming. Phone calls are handled via Bluetooth hands-free.

Which cars support Android Auto?

How does one get Google Maps in the car? Right now, you can buy brand new cars with the necessary technology in place to take advantage of Android Auto. Some existing cars may be updated down the road.
A total of 40 automakers are selling new cars in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, the UK and the US with Android Auto support.
Kia Optima
Cadillac and Chevy announced that all of their new models will come standard with Android Auto while Audi, Honda, Kia, Hyundai and others are rolling out support with each new vehicle introduction or mid-cycle refresh.
Chrysler pledged support for Android Auto with its next-generation Uconnect infotainment system, but hasn't confirmed which vehicles will have it. Ford promised all 2017 model year cars with SYNC 3 will gain support for Android Auto. Existing 2016 models with SYNC 3 will get a software update later this year for the feature.
Volkswagen supports Android Auto on most of its current lineup, with the exception of the Touareg and Eos, two of the oldest models in its lineup.

Android Auto aftermarket solutions

Android Auto is a perk if you're already buying a car, but what if you're not in the market for new wheels or just started making monthly payments on a long-term lease?
Android Auto aftermarket
That's where stereo manufacturers come in with Android Auto aftermarket head units. JBL, JVC, Kenwood and Pioneer plan to save the day on your dated ride.

Android Auto phone compatibility

Android Auto requires a smartphone with Android 5.0 Lollipop or newer. It's likely an easier process than upgrading to a new car, unless your carrier is being stubborn. Then it's way harder.
The patient wait for Android updates gives you reason to check out Google's Nexus 6P phone, which comes with the Lollipop update and Android Auto compatibility out of the gate.
Android Auto
I used the older Nexus 5 to run through the Android Auto demo, so I can confirm it works just as well on older Android 5.0 Lollipop hardware too.
Beyond that, all it takes is plugging a micro USB-to-USB cable into the phone and car's USB port. The first time the phone is connected to the car, the Android Auto app will ask if you want to enable Android Auto on the phone.
Once you click the agree button, the car-stylized interface is projected onto the in-dash screen almost instantly and the phone automatically pairs to the car via Bluetooth.

What does Android Auto look like?

Android Auto has a slick and informative interface that's inspired by Google Now.
It has that same card-based menu that's part of Google's unified design language, and it's laid out on a home screen with all of the predictions you'd expect.
Hyundai Elantra
Without even having to think about it, Android Auto suggests directions on where you might want to go. This is based on recent searches or your daily routine.
The weather, missed call or text alerts and in-progress music also appear within this very glance able menu - it looks a lot like the new Android Lollipop lock screen with embedded notifications.
Flanking these notifications are the always-present text and icons for the time, your phone's battery life cellular signal strength and microphone for voice searches.

Apps, controls and Apple CarPlay comparison

Which Android Auto apps are ready?

We tested all of the official Android Auto apps provided by Google, and saw a number of other recognizable third-party programs by developers, all meant for the car.
Kia Optima
Google Maps, Google Dialer for initiating calls and Google Music line the bottom dock of the nav system, while Google Hangouts is integrated behind the scenes to handle messaging.
The rightmost spot on the Android Auto dock is meant for third-party apps, including ones from manufacturers like Hyundai and its Blue Link Connected Car feature. Car makers still retain space within their own vehicles.

Google Maps

What if your GPS knew where you were going before you had a chance to painstakingly enter the zip code, city, street name, etc, with the utmost accuracy?
That's the not-too-unreasonable idea behind Google Maps within Android Auto. It often throws up the place you may be going next and gives you an ETA and better route options thanks to the latest traffic information.
Android Auto maps
Beyond this Google Now predictive home screen, clicking into the Google Maps app brings up a familiar navigation interface, complete with dragging and pinch-to-zoom touch controls.
Deeper menu options bring up lists for suggestions and categories, and exact locations can still be typed in or spoken with voice commands. Traffic can be unchecked, but it's on by default.
Everything else about Google Maps looks familiar, and that's heartening. It even matches Android 5.0 Lollipop with white arrows and distance cues against the newer green background.
What's really great is that exiting the Google Maps app mid-trip places a navigation card on the Android Auto home screen. You can keep tabs on the turn-by-turn alerts while sorting through other notifications.

Phone calls

Safely fielding calls makes Google Dialer an important app within Android Auto, second only to getting where you want to go via Google Maps.
Its menus include recent calls listed from your phone and the ability to touch "Dial a number" to reach someone outside of your frequent contacts.
Android Auto
The center-aligned contact list and dial pad is fairly large, which making dialing someone up a lot easier while on the road. Microphone-initiated call functionality keeps the process even safer.
In-progress calls are themed with end and mute buttons, and there's a hidden dialer pad for entering long extensions mid-call - just in case you have to "please listen carefully, as our menu has changed."
The phone app's "hamburger button" in the top left reveals more options for voice mail, speed dial and missing calls. Digging isn't always necessary. Status bar notifications allow you to see calls, texts and other alerts as they come in, and it's easy tap to listen to them and reply with your voice.


Hangouts doesn't get its own dedicated app on the system tray, but Android Auto does relay SMS texts and internet messages to the in-car dash.
All of a sudden, the temptation to look over at your smartphone is a distracted driving problem of the past. It's sitting silent and unlit when plugged into the Android Auto console.
Android Auto
You can have the message read aloud and respond by touching the microphone icon and beginning your answer with "Reply," followed by the rest of what you want to say.
Best of all, the more-agnostic Google enables this functionality for app sorts of messaging apps including WhatsApp, Kik, TextPlus, Text Me! and a bunch free messaging apps.
This alone won't reverse the distracted driving epidemic, but it's a whole lot better than having people take their eyes off the road for relatively unimportant reasons that can wait.


Between listening to calls and texts read aloud, Android Auto pumps a number of music apps through your car speakers, fronted of course by Google Play Music.
Android Auto
Its music controls are fairly simple with straightforward buttons and accompanying album art in the background. Streaming songs will use your data plan like normal.
What I liked most was that Android Auto's audio player isn't limited to Google's flavor of a music app or even music in general.
Android Auto
Pandora, Spotify, iHeartRadio, MLB and NPR are some of the music apps and non-music talk radio channels that you can tune into while cruising down the highway.

More apps to come

Expect more refined versions of Google's official apps as time goes on and new third-party developers to design their existing Android apps around the Android Auto design ethos.
Android Auto
The voice search, for example, answers questions using Google's knowledge graph and the in-car microphone, and it's always expanding its database full of facts.
"Who won the 2014 World Series of baseball?" I asked the 2015 Hyundai Sonata. The car responded, "The San Francisco beats the Kansas City Royals four games to three," almost gloating about its home team.

How do you control Android Auto?

Stow that Android phone. Google's in-car operating system has three alternative methods to controlling your smartphone.

Android AutoVoice commands

Google's voice commands are the easiest way to go about the menu system hands-free. Tap the microphone icon in the top right corner to make calls, get directions, reply to texts and listen to music. You can even Google knowledge graph questions.

Android Auto

Use physical buttons

The cars that we tested included steering wheel controls for prompting the voice command functionality. That's a lot easier than reaching over for the microphone icon on the touchscreen. Standard buttons and control knobs will also work, and relevant functions, like next and previous track, automatically pass onto Android Auto.

Android Auto

Use the touchscreen display

Cycling through the Android Auto menu using the touchscreen is ideal for when the car isn't in motion. Yet it's simple enough to tap directly on what you want even when you're in a bind. This is a simplified version of your Android phone.

Android Auto vs Apple CarPlay

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay both offer a similar experience, projecting a cleaner version of their smartphone operating systems onto a car's head unit.
The differences are subtle, but favorable to Android owners, as long as you own a phone that belongs to Google's popular platform.
Android Auto
Android Auto's home screen is a bit smarter with Google Now, an idea Apple hasn't been able to replicate just yet. CarPlay offers a basic app tile menu as its start screen.
The menu colors are animations are also a little brighter and bolder within Google's car ecosystem, mimicking Android 5.0 Lollipop. It's more refreshing than Apple's darker theme.
Then, of course, there's the fact that Android Auto includes the more desirable Google Maps navigation. While Apple is open to third-party apps, I doubt Google Maps is going to be one of them. It's stuck with Apple Maps instead.

Are we there yet?

Google Maps' is over 10 years old. It quickly unseated MapQuest as everyone's favorite way to print out directions on the computer. Remember those days?
It continues to dominate today as an app, becoming the world's most popular phone app even though it no longer comes pre-installed with iOS 8 devices.
Android Auto
Android Auto represents the next ten years for Google Maps, with navigation where we need it most: preventing distracted drivers who pose a danger on the road.
Hands-free directions, calls, messaging and music controls are powered by Google Now and the flavor of Android Lollipop, and at least in Hyundai's case it won't cost extra beyond the normal price of the car's nav system.
It's a winning combination over using manufacturer's vanilla nav systems. Google just needs to convince all car makers to take over their coveted center console and quit stalling out.

What cars can I buy with Android Auto?

If you're shopping for a new car, here are the cars you can buy this year with Android Auto support from each manufacturer. Some cars need specific trim levels or option packages to receive the feature, which will be mentioned.


  • 2017 Q7 (requires MMI navigation plus)


  • 2016 Lacrosse (requires software update, availability TBD)
  • 2016 Regal (requires software update, availability TBD)


  • 2016 CT6 (software update available March 2016)
  • 2016 ATS (software update available March 2016)
  • 2016 ELR (software update available March 2016)
  • 2016 CTS (software update available March 2016)
  • 2016 XTS (software update available March 2016)
  • 2017 SRX (software update available March 2016)
  • 2016 Escalade (software update available March 2016)

Chevrolet (requires MyLink 7-inch or 8-inch infotainment system)

Chevy Bolt
  • 2016 Spark (software update available March 2016)
  • 2016 Sonic (software update available March 2016)
  • 2016 Cruze (software update available March 2016)
  • 2016 Malibu (software update available March 2016)
  • 2016 Impala (software update available March 2016)
  • 2016 Volt (software update available March 2016)
  • 2016 Camaro (software update available March 2016)
  • 2016 Silverado (software update available March 2016)
  • 2016 Silverado HD (software update available March 2016)
  • 2016 Corvette (software update available March 2016)
  • 2016 Colorado (software update available March 2016)
  • 2016 Tahoe (software update available March 2016)
  • 2016 Suburban (software update available March 2016)
  • 2017 Bolt

Ford (requires SYNC 3)

Ford Mustang GT
  • 2017 Escape
  • 2016 Fiesta (software update available later this year)
  • 2016 Focus (software update available later this year)
  • 2016 Mustang (software update available later this year)
  • 2016 C-MAX (software update available later this year)
  • 2016 Taurus (software update available later this year)
  • 2016 Edge (software update available later this year)
  • 2016 Flex (software update available later this year)
  • 2016 Escape (software update available later this year)
  • 2016 Expedition (software update available later this year)
  • 2016 F-150 (software update available later this year)
  • 2016 Transit (software update available later this year)

GMC (requires 8-inch IntelliLink infotainment system)

  • Canyon (software update available March 2016)
  • Sierra (software update available March 2016)
  • Yukon (software update available March 2016)


Honda Accord


Hyundai Elantra


Kia Optima


  • 2017 Mirage


VW Passat
  • 2016 Beetle (SE and higher trim levels)
  • 2016 Golf (S and higher trim levels)
  • 2016 e-Golf
  • 2016 GTI
  • 2016 Jetta (S with Technology and higher trim levels)
  • 2016 Passat (SE and higher trim levels)
  • 2016 CC
  • 2016 Tiguan (SE and higher trim levels)

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Telstra apologises for outage with unlimited mobile data this Sunday
Telstra apologises for outage with unlimited mobile data this Sunday
Telstra charges a premium for its mobile network, so when things go wrong and the service goes down, customers understandably get upset.
The good news is that Telstra is planning on making it up to its customers by offering a day of unlimited data this Sunday, Feb 14.
Customers don't need to do anything special to get the data – it will happen automatically for all Telstra Mobile Customers.

Erode the node

The error itself has also been explained. In a post on its Exchange blog, Telstra Operations COO Kate McKenzie explained that the error was caused by proper procedures not being followed.
"Our mobile network is set up with a number of major connection points (what we call nodes) around the country, which our customers connect to. These nodes are the equipment that essentially manage the flow of voice and data traffic across our mobile network," the post explains.
Ultimately, there was a fault at a node, and when it was taken offline to fix, the proper processes weren't followed to ensure services continued properly.
"Unfortunately on this occasion the right procedures were not followed and this resulted in customers being disconnected and consequent heavy congestion on other nodes as customers attempted to reconnect to the network," McKenzie explained.

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An anime voice synthesizer and an NES headline this year's hottest tour
An anime voice synthesizer and an NES headline this year's hottest tour
In a team-up that will make perfect sense to some and baffle the rest, Japanese virtual pop star Hatsune Miku is going on tour with Anamanaguchi, a band fronted by a hacked Nintendo Entertainment System.
For those in the "baffled" category, Hatsune Miku is a digital persona created by Crypton Future Media for its line of Vocaloid-powered voice synthesizers, while Anamanaguchi is a New York-based chiptune band. (Or music makers that hack various retro game consoles and cartridges to make their sound.)
Vocaloid software can create fully-vocalized music tracks by simply plugging in melodies to a backing track, leading to a user-created discography that's estimated to include over 100,000 songs.
YouTube :
Popularity of the voice synthesizer aside, Hatsune Miku has become an internet celebrity herself, appearing in hologram form, Tupac-style, to open for Lady Gaga and appear on The Late Show alongside a bewildered David Letterman (see above).
Despite the computerized celebrity having no corporeal form, real-life bodies have been filling up seats to see Miku's official North American tour starting this April, with the Mexico City stop of the tour already sold out.
Anamanaguchi, who announced their collaboration with the Vocaloid star today, will be performing in every US city participating in the tour.
On top of being one of the leading names in chiptune music, creating songs with modded NES cartridges backed by guitars and drums, Anamanaguchi has also successfully funded an album on Kickstarter and launched a slice of pizza into the final frontier (see below).
YouTube :
Given the New York band's affinity for Japanese pop music (or J-Pop), on top of their catchy tunes, the pairing of Hatsune Miku and Anamanaguchi simply makes sense for fans of happy, upbeat or simply tech-driven music.
If the eclectic, electric crossover holds appeal to you, tickets are still available online through the Hatsune Miku Expo's web page, and while attendees have been told that glowsticks that don't interfere with Hatsune Miku's hologram technology are allowed, space pizza will more than likely not be allowed on the premises.

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Next Android Wear update may fix its crippling battery issues
Next Android Wear update may fix its crippling battery issues
Google announced a hearty update to the entire line of Android Wear smartwatches last week, promising new gestures and messaging capabilities. But, it seems that the firm might have left out a few important ones that could alleviate one of the wrist-based OS's weakest points: battery life.
Discovered on Motorola's support site, the release notes for the new Moto 360 read that the incoming update could make strides in improving battery performance. Doze mode, the intelligent power management system introduced in Android 6.0 Marshmallow, is headed to Android Wear.
Not just that, the update will also introduce screen dimming, allowing for the obvious: battery saving benefits, and the not-so obvious: increased privacy measures. Actually, it's a given that a dimmed screen increases privacy, so this really isn't anything more than a positive way of spinning this as a minor compromise made to save a little battery life.

Some other nice touches

Android Wear is receiving yet another feature that has trickled down from Marshmallow: app permissions. The mobile OS allowed users to adjust app permissions that were previously blocked off after hitting the "accept" button. Now, it's coming to your smartwatch.
One feature that won't make it out of Motorola's line of wearables is the new and improved Moto Body Running fitness app. It now specializes in tracking your time, pace, distance and heart rate during an indoor workout, in addition to outdoor jogs.
Motorola claims that the update will be rolling out in the next few days and we're looking forward to nabbing this update when it arrives. But, keep in mind that it could hit your wearable at a totally different time.
Via Android Police

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Final Fantasy 9 for iOS and Android hits mobile devices in stealth mode
Final Fantasy 9 for iOS and Android hits mobile devices in stealth mode
Square Enix is getting pretty good at stealthy game launches, especially on mobile devices.
After launching revamped mobile versions of Final Fantasy IV, V, VI and VII with updated character sprites and similarly low levels of fanfare, the game maker has finally given the ninth installment of the series a fresh coat of paint for iPhone, iPad and Android.
Now, it should be pointed out that updated sprites and re-rendered videos aren't the same as the complete overhaul for Final Fantasy 7 Sony and Square promised us at E3 2015 for PS4, but it's a promising start.
The mobile version of Final Fantasy IX includes two new features, an automatic save function and the ability to change the speed of play. You can also completely prevent random enemy encounters from happening, if you want to skip out on (some of) the tedium of grinding your characters through levels.
YouTube :

The silence has broken

Final Fantasy IX, for those who remember it, came out on the original PlayStation on multiple discs back in 2000 before getting a polish on PSP in 2010. It was the last game in the series to release on the original console before switching over to PlayStation 2 with the acclaimed Final Fantasy X.
Square Enix announced late last year that it had plans to develop an updated version of FFIX for both tablet and PC, but since then the company has been dead silent.
The news got a Phoenix Down this morning when the game popped up on the App Store and Google Play Store with a 20% discount that will extend until February 21. According to Mashable, the Steam version of the game is still in development and will be available "early 2016."

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Oculus Rift PC bundle pre-orders can start eating your month's rent next week
Oculus Rift PC bundle pre-orders can start eating your month's rent next week
Oculus VR announced today that pre-orders for a series of PC bundles designed for its VR headset will begin February 16, to make sure your rig is 100% Rift-ready the easy way.
The bundles will include "Oculus Ready" PCs from Alienware, Asus and Dell that meet the demanding recommended specifications for the Oculus Rift, and will be available from Amazon, Best Buy and Microsoft Stores.
Prices will start at $1,499 (about £1,036, AU$2,120), going up to more than $3,000 (about £2,073, AU$4,245). On its own, the Oculus Rift costs $599 (£499, AU$649).
The bundles will be available in select countries and only in limited quantities, Oculus said in a blog post, and will begin shipping in April. Meanwhile, the Rift is set to start shipping late March.

Is your PC VR ready?

Both the Oculus Rift and its closest competitor, the HTC Vive headset, require powerful PC hardware to ensure everything runs smoothly. This means that, while neither will be as accessible as Google Cardboard or Samsung Gear VR, either will make for a much more immersive experience.
For the bundles offered on the lowest end, you get an Asus-made case with a sixth-generation Intel Core i5 processor, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 graphics card, 8GB of memory and a 1TB hard drive (HDD). On the highest end, you get a Dell-made Alienware chassis with a current Intel Core i7 chip, a GTX 980 GPU and 16GB of memory – plus, both a 128GB solid-state drive and 2TB HDD.
If you've already pre-ordered a Rift, but want to upgrade to a bundle as well, Oculus will provide you with a discount code to use toward purchasing one of the PCs. The code will be available on your order page on February 16, and chances are you're going to want it.

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This is big: Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge may have incredible battery life
This is big: Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge may have incredible battery life
Samsung's "next big thing" is the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge, and now we have a good idea of just how big the battery life may be on at least one of these new Android phones.
That's a significant 1,000mAh bump over last year's 5.1-inch Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, which makes sense given the rumored 5.5-inch S7 Edge's size increase. Could this Samsung phone go longer than 24 hours?
Space may still be tight inside the Edge variant, as it's said to have a Snapdragon 820 or Exynos 8 Octa 8890 processor, plus 4GB of RAM and choices of 32GB or 64GB of storage.

Just how big is Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge battery?

A 3,600mAh battery in the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge would beat almost every other phone out there, including the larger 5.7-inch Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus and its 3,000mAh battery.
The Sony Xperia Z5 Premium comes close with a 3,430mAh battery, the Google Nexus 6P has a 3,450mAh battery and Samsung's own Galaxy S6 Active dialed it up to a 3,500mAh battery.
Even the Samsung Galaxy S7, the forthcoming flagship without the curves, is rumored to have a much smaller battery of 2,700mAh. That's still a step up from the 2,500mAh in the Galaxy S6.
Only the Moto X Play with its 3,630 mAh battery and, in the US, the Verizon-exclusive Motorola Droid Turbo 2 with its 3,760 battery can claim to have more juice.
Of course, a bigger battery doesn't always translate into longer battery life. We found the LG G4's 3,000mAh to be subpar when tested, something that should be fixed with the LG G5.

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Gmail will now flag email accounts that it deems 'insecure'
Gmail will now flag email accounts that it deems 'insecure'
Gmail will now help you identify sketchy email, just in time for Safer Internet Day. Announced today, Google's email service will help you notice email accounts that don't meet its cyber security standards.
The news follows an announcement from Google just yesterday that, for the second consecutive year, it's rewarding folks who update their Google account security settings using two-step verification with 2GB more of free Google Drive storage.
While Google boasts that TLS encryption, anti-phishing authentication and a host of other factors are in place to protect your Gmail account, it can't do much to protect users from other services that aren't up-to-snuff.
"It takes at least two people to send and receive an email, so it's really important that other services take similar measures to protect your messages," says Google in its official statement. "Unfortunately, not all email services do."
From now on, whenever you receive a message from, or are writing to, an address that isn't encrypted, Gmail will throw up a flag in the form of a red lock icon. This is to let you know that sensitive information should not be shared on that particular missive.
Gmail now points out emails it thinks could be fishy
Additionally, senders that Gmail can't authenticate will have their avatars replaced with a red question mark.
While these markers don't necessarily mean a scammer is at the door, Google simply recommends you "to be extra careful about replying to, or clicking on links in messages that you're not sure about."

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Apple stores now install iPhone screen protectors, so you don't screw it up
Apple stores now install iPhone screen protectors, so you don't screw it up
If you've suffered from a shattered screen, this might be of help: Apple and Belkin are teaming up to make sure your iPhone screen will have a little more protection before you even leave the store.
Belkin's website today revealed that it will be rolling out its ScreenCare+ Application System, which is designed specifically for the iPhone, to Apple Stores around the world, though there were reports last week that indicated it had already begun rolling it out.
The accessory firm explains that its hardware is able to seamlessly apply protective and antiglare protectors without bubbles or dust getting in between it and the surface of your iPhone. This is more likely to happen if you try to apply a screen protector by hand.

There's always a catch

Unfortunately, while the service is free, it's only available for the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6S and 6S Plus, and you'll need to purchase the screen protector in-store.
You do get an option of either an Invisiglass shatterproof glass protector, which costs $35 (about £24, AU$49), or a $20 (about £13, AU$28) Anti-Glare protector, though we're not sure why Belkin doesn't have one screen protector that does both.
Belkin promises that its "expert application of our screen protectors ensures an impeccable result that not only mirrors the look and feel of the native screen, but is so clear, and so precise, its hard to know its there at all."
You can be the judge of that when your protected phone is handed to you. Still, if you're not a fan of screen protectors and find yourself with a shattered screen, Apple does charge around $99 (about £68, AU$140) to $150 (about £103, AU$212) for screen repairs.
Check out Belkin's installation tech in the video below:
YouTube :

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Updated: 10 best 2-in-1 laptops 2016: top hybrid laptops reviewed
Updated: 10 best 2-in-1 laptops 2016: top hybrid laptops reviewed

Best 2-in-1 laptops

2-in-1s laptops, or hybrids, are devices that are able to serve as both a laptop and a tablet, either in a detachable design that sees the touchscreen doubling as a tablet, or a convertible approach in which the notebook's hinge rotates 360 degrees for a similar effect.
Hybrid laptops are generally priced in a range between $700 (about £450, AU$800) and $2,000 (around £1,169, AU$2,131). However, some manufacturers, like Acer, make budget hybrids, and there are even 2-in-1s designed specifically for the business user, like the Dell Venue 7000 series.
Now that Microsoft has released Windows 10, expect an even greater selection of these devices to pop up, like the incredible Microsoft Surface Book, and the stellar Microsoft Surface Pro 4, the Dell XPS 12 and the first 4K resolution 2-in-1 the Toshiba Satellite Radius 12.
With that, here are the best 2-in-1 laptops that we've reviewed:
Best 2-in-1 laptop

1. Lenovo Yoga 900

A thoughtfully refined 2-in-1 convertible
CPU: 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-6500U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch QHD+ 3,200 x 1,800 IPS display | Storage: 512GB SSD
Gorgeous display
Slim design
Shallow keyboard
Display drivers issues
Whereas the Lenovo Yoga Pro 3 had a winning design and underwhelming performance, the Yoga 900 is the full package. By integrating more powerful Intel Core I processors and a larger battery, Lenovo's latest flagship convertible can stand toe-to-toe with most Ultrabooks and even Microsoft's latest Surface Book. All this extra power has only made the Yoga 900 slightly thicker and heavier, however, it still largely retains a very thin and flexible frame that folds back into tablet mode.
Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga 900
Best 2-in-1 laptop

2. Microsoft Surface Book

The ultimate Windows 10 hybrid laptop
CPU: 2.4GHz Intel Core i5-6300U | Graphics: Intel HD graphics 520; Nvidia GeForce graphics | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.5-inch, 3,000 x 2,000 PixelSense Display | Storage: 256GB PCIe3.0 SSD
Futuristic design
Seamless tablet separation
Battery life falls well below promises
Major updates are still in tow
Microsoft knocked it out of the park with its first ever laptop, the Surface Book. Though it has a peculiar 3:2 aspect ratio and 13.5-inch screen that's outside of the norm for most Ultrabooks, it's one of the best designed convertible laptops ever created. As a standalone tablet, otherwise known as the Clipboard, it's the most powerful and thinnest Windows 10 computers in the world, then docking it into the keyboard base affords it even more performance by way of its discrete GPU.
Read the full review: Surface Book
Best 2-in-1 laptop

3. HP Spectre x360

Sublime. Near-perfect.
CPU: 2.2GHz Intel Core i5-5200 (dual-core, 3MB cache, up to 2.7GHz with Turbo Boost) | Graphics:Intel HD Graphics 5500 | RAM: 8GB DDR3 (1600Mhz) | Screen: 13.3-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 FHD Radiance LED-backlit touchscreen | Storage: 256GB SSD | Connectivity: 802.11ac (2x2) and Bluetooth 4.0 combo | Camera: HP TrueVision Full HD WVA Webcam (front-facing) | Weight: 3.26 pounds | Dimensions: 12.79 x 8.6 x 0.63 inches (W x D x H)
Superbly thin
Vibrant, bright display
Excellent performance and battery life
Too heavy to use as a tablet
Weird, wide trackpad
Buy the HP Spectre x360. It easily comes as one of my most recommended machines, with an excellent 1080p screen, solid performance, good battery life, and sturdy build quality; all for an excellent deal at $999 (£899, AU$1,899).
If it weren't for a few missteps with the trackpad and being too hefty for tablet use, this laptop would have easily stood amongst the most highly rated laptops TechRadar has ever reviewed. Despite its flaws, though, the Spectre x360 is one of the best-looking and powerful devices HP has ever produced and well worth a look over many, many other 2-in-1 laptops.
Read the full review: HP Spectre x360
Best 2-in-1 laptop

4. Toshiba Satellite Radius 12

A stylish 4K convertible Ultrabook
CPU: 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-6500U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 12.5-inch, 4K Ultra HD (3,840 x 2,160) TruBrite LED backlit touchscreen | Storage: 256GB SSD | Connectivity: Intel Dual-Band Wireless-AC 7265; Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: HD webcam | Weight: 2.9 pounds | Dimensions: 11.8 x 8.2 x 0.61 inches
Smart design and ergonomics
Incredibly colorful screen
Strange keyboard layout
Dismal battery life
Boasting one of the best looking 4K screens on the market, the Toshiba Radius 12 is a spectacular machine both inside and out. This sharp 2-in-1 laptop was designed to be held as a tablet just as much as it was meant to be used on your lap. Thanks to its lightweight and ergonomically designed chassis, this is one transformable notebook you'll actually want to hold in your hand.
Read the full review: Toshiba Satellite Radius 12
Best 2-in-1 laptop

5. HP Pavilion x2

The most affordable Windows 10 convertible
CPU: 1.33GHz Intel Atom Z3736F | Graphics: Intel HD graphics | RAM: 2GB| Screen: 10.1-inch, 1,280 x 800 WXGA WLED IPS touchscreen display | Storage: 32GB eMMC | Connectivity: 802.11b WLAN and Bluetooth | Camera: HP TrueVision HD webcam | Weight: 2.61 pounds | Dimensions: 0.39 x 6.81 x 0.78 inches
Long battery life
Absurdly affordable
32-bit Windows 10
Limited storage and memory
Getting into the world of Windows 10 convertible's isn't cheap unless we're talking about the Pavilion x2. This 10-inch hybrid comes packing a surprising amount of goods considering its small size. It comes packed with a HD screen and more than enough power to get you through a simple day of web browsing and even image editing. When you're ready kick back with some streaming media, you can pop off the 10-inch works as a great little tablet. And if you're looking for something with a bit more screen real estate there's the 12-inch HP Pavilion x2.
Read the full review: HP Pavilion x2
Best 2-in-1 laptop

6. Dell Inspiron 13 7000

An attractive, versatile package
CPU: 2.4GHz Intel Core i7-5500 (dual-core, 4MB cache, up to 2.9GHz with Turbo Boost) | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5500 | RAM: 8GB DDR3L (1,600MHz) | Screen: 13.3-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 FHD IPS touchscreen | Storage: 256GB SSD | Connectivity: 802.11ac (2x2) and Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: 720p front-facing webcam; built-in dual digital microphones | Weight: 3.68 pounds (1.67kg) | Dimensions: 12.99 x 8.74 x 0.75 inches (W x D x H; 330 x 222 x 19mm)
Attractive design
Sturdy construction
Lackluster battery life
A little hefty
This notebook features excellent build quality and overall system performance. It's fast, it's slick, and it is ideal for students who need to bang out papers and general users who want a fast, compact notebook to tote around.
Read the full review: Dell Inspiron 13 7000
Best 2-in-1 laptop

7. Toshiba Satellite Radius 15

A sharp 4K laptop
CPU: 2.4GHz Intel Core i7-5500U (dual-core, 4MB cache up to 3GHz with Turbo Boost) | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5500 | RAM: 12GB DDR3L (1600MHz) | Screen: 15.6-inch, 4K Ultra HD (3,840 x 2,160) TruBrite, LED backlit, IPS touchscreen | Storage: 512GB mSATA SSD | Connectivity: Intel Dual-Band Wireless-AC 7265, Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: 720p HD webcam | Weight: 4.96 pounds | Dimensions: 14.9 x 9.6 x 0.79 inches (W x D x H)
4K screen
12GB of RAM
Short battery life
Thanks to the combination of a great price and stacked hardware, the Radius 15 is one of the few successful UHD laptops. It joins a small pantheon of 4K laptops, with the Asus ZenBook Pro UX501 being its closest exemplar. In some ways, the Radius 15 is a better overall system with a more vibrant screen, a sharper design that's also thinner and smaller to boot.
The Dell Inspiron 15 7000 is still one of the 15-inch best laptops we've ever reviewed and an incredible deal if you're on a budget. But if you're ready to make the resolution jump into 4K, you can't go wrong with the Toshiba Satellite Radius 15.
Read the full review: Toshiba Satellite Radius 15
Best 2-in-1 laptop

8. Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi

Asus' thin and gorgeous 2-in-1 laptop
CPU: 1.2GHz Intel Core M 5Y71 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5300 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 12.5-inch, 2,560 x 1,440 (WQHD) capacitive multi-touch IPS display | Storage: 128GB SSD | Connectivity: Intel Dual Band Wireless-N 7265 + Bluetooth 4.0 LE | Camera: 2MP 720p webcam | Weight: 3.14 pounds | Dimensions: 12.5 x 7.5 x 0.65 inches
Flexible and versatile
Thin and light design
Micro-sized ports
Unimpressive battery life
If you're looking for a 2-in-1 machine that's much more portable, there aren't many devices that beat the Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi. This 12.5-inch convertible is among one of the thinnest in its class and taking the screen off the keyboard base turns the T300 Chi into a true Windows tablet. Though this device is powered by a low-wattage processor, it packs enough punch to drive a 4K display and get you through all your daily tasks. Sadly battery life is a little on the short side, but otherwise this is an excellent and affordable hybrid.
Read the full review: Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
Best 2-in-1 laptop

9. Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12

A versatile hybrid ideal for those who work as hard as they play
CPU: 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-5300U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5500 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 12.5" FHD (1,920x1,080) anti-glare multi-touch display | Storage: 128GB SSD | Connectivity: Intel Dual-Band Wireless AC 7265 + Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: HD webcam | Weight: 3.48 pounds | Dimensions: 12..44 x 8.70 x 0.74 inches
Solid performance
Versatile design
Slightly heavy
No ethernet port
There's a new reigning king of Windows tablets and its name is the Surface Pro 4. Building on everything the last iteration got right, this new Surface slate introduces a larger screen more sensitive touchscreen perfected for everything from penning documents to painting images. Thanks to a newly redesigned island keyboard, tapping away on the Type Cover feels almost as good as a real laptop and the glass trackpad feels simply superb. Internally the Microsoft's latest also features a faster processor all in a shell that's actually lighter and thinner than the Surface Pro 3. Overall, these improvements make the Surface Pro 4 the tablet that really can replace your laptop. When you factor in price, especially compared to its cousin, the Microsoft Surface Book, the Surface Pro 4 is really the hybrid laptop king.
Read the full review: Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12
Best 2-in-1 laptop

10. Toshiba Satellite Click Mini

Affordable and attractive
CPU: 1.33GHz Intel Atom Z3735F with Burst Technology 2.0
 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics
 | Screen: 8.9-inch, 1920 x 1200 IPS 10 point multi-touch screen
 | Storage: 32GB eMMC Flash Memory
 | Connectivity: Wireless LAN 802.11b/g/n (up to 150 Mbps) | Camera: 5MP Full HD rear camera; 2MP Full HD web camera | Weight: 2.16 pounds | Dimensions: 9.25 x 6.72 x 0.78-inches
Full HD touchscreen
Solid build quality
Screen colours a little off
Can't charge base separately
Toshiba has created an incredible value full HD laptop that doubles as a tablet. It's perfect for frequent travelers, students taking notes in lectures, workers in meetings and people on a budget. This machine is well built and it runs smoothly and fast.
Read the full review: Toshiba Satellite Click Mini
Juan Martinez and Joe Osborne has also contributed to this article

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Amazon is trying to woo indie game developers, and it might just work
Amazon is trying to woo indie game developers, and it might just work
Unexpectedly, Amazon has announced a free and open-source 3D game engine for developers. It's called Lumberyard, and it's a modified version of Crytek's CryEngine – that should tell you that this is meant for AAA games. The engine can create games for PS4, Xbox One and PC.
Oh yeah, and the beta version is available right now. (Not to mention it supports virtual reality.)
What sets Lumberyard apart is that it's a.) also royalty-free and b.) comes with the option to integrate Amazon's cloud services, which is how the company plans to make its money with this.
Developers will have to pay to take advantages of Amazon Web Services, which will include Twitch (which Amazon bought last year), letting gamers start streaming in a couple of button presses.
Amazon GameLift, meanwhile, lets developers – or devs – easily scale multiplayer games up to support millions of players without paying out for a load of engineering work. There are others, but the point is that Amazon is offering the types of features serious devs are going to want.
While the AAA game support is there, it's the indie developers who could benefit most from Lumberyard, which offers the opportunity to try out ideas on a high-end platform that doesn't require a subscription fee.
Although it's also royalty-free, Crytek's indie subscription package costs $10 a month. Unreal is free up front but still has a royalty cost. Bigger developers will likely prefer to stick with the fully supported versions of these engines, but indie devs will probably be paying attention to Amazon's new offering.

What lies ahead

The fact that Lumberyard will support virtual reality (VR) also puts Amazon well in place for the generation of developers who will be building for VR, while the integration of Twitch is hugely appealing for obvious reasons.
Amazon has been busy in the gaming space, having bought both Twitch and Killer Instinct developer Double Helix Games in the past few years.
It also released a controller for its Fire TV, which can be used to play games from Amazon's app marketplace. However, it still hasn't got any big titles to its name, and remains relatively small as a distributor when compared to Steam or iOS.
Time will tell, but Amazon has a chance to prove itself as a serious player in the gaming space, and luring over indie developers will be a big part of making that happen. If today's announcement confirms anything, it's that Amazon is more interested than we thought when it comes to gaming beyond Android.

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Updated: Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6
Updated: Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6

Introduction and key features

When the Samsung Galaxy S6 launched, its closest Apple rival was the iPhone 6. That was a while ago and the Cupertino firm has since updated its range with the iPhone 6S.
The iPhone 6 hasn't disappeared though, it can still be picked up and even better it's now a bit cheaper - as is the Galaxy S6. The iPhone 6S meanwhile, still sports its original lofty price tag.
If you want to see how Apple's latest phone compares to the latest from Samsung, check out our iPhone 6S vs Samsung Galaxy S6 comparison.
At a time when the choice between these two smartphone platforms arguably comes down to personal preference more than how much you can afford or obvious feature deficiencies, that makes a detailed comparison all the more essential.
A close look at these two phones side by side yields more fascinating differences than suspicious similarities. What's undeniable, though, is that they're both gunning for a similar premium market.
Both have classy metal-and-glass designs, class-leading cameras, and powerful processors - but their top-end price tags have dropped.
Both phones also mark sizeable departures from their predecessors. In the iPhone 6, which was launched in September 2014, Apple finally ditched the restrictive and arguably outmoded 4-inch display size of previous iterations.
Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6
It also switched away from the striking square-rim design language that had been part of the iPhone range ever since the iPhone 4 in 2011, returning to a softer and more rounded approach that's reminiscent of earlier handsets.
Samsung's design overhaul has been even more radical. The Samsung Galaxy S6, launched in April 2015, marked a fundamental change in philosophy for the South Korean manufacturer.
Gone is the function-over-form mantra, the gaudy-but-robust plastic construction, the emphasis on box-ticking gimmick overload ahead of a crafted user experience. In its place is an elegant handset that concerns itself with how pleasant it is to live with rather than how many things it can do.
Samsung even went as far as to make a variant of the S6 in the form of the Galaxy S6 Edge, with curved dual displays for an even more premium look and feel.
Then there's also the elephant in the room - the Samsung Galaxy S7. Samsung is set to announce a new phone in February 2016 and it's expected to be even better than the Galaxy S6, so will this put the phone from 2015 to shame?
We won't know until we get our hands on it. So how do the Galaxy S6 and iPhone 6, separated by six months, compare in the here and now?

Key features

The parallels between these two major phones can be be seen by breaking them down into their key selling points. In this respect, at least, it can be said that the iPhone 6 and Samsung Galaxy S6 precisely mirror one another.
After all, both phones sell themselves on sleek new designs, improved screen technology, and stellar cameras.
And yet, in each key respect, the two phones take a very different approach, as we'll discuss in greater detail in the appropriate sections.
In isolation, the iPhone 6's design is notable for marking a big departure from the iPhone 5S before it. It's bigger, slimmer, and more rounded, and it reverts to the gentle curves of the iPhone 3GS after a prolonged spell of palm-grating angles.
Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6
Samsung's phone, meanwhile, marks a radical rejection of the plastic and faux-leather effects typified by the Samsung Galaxy S5. In its place we have a metal rim and two shiny glass surfaces.
Yes, Samsung has evidently learned a thing or two from Apple in this regard, but as we'll discuss in the next section it's not quite as blatant as you might think.
Both phones represent notable leaps forward in screen technology, too, but in very different ways. The iPhone 6 marks Apple's belated realisation that a lot of people quite like larger phones. As such, its display has grown 0.7 of an inch over its predecessor's.
That doesn't sound like a lot - and indeed, in Android terms it would still be seen as a 'mini' phone - but it instantly makes the iPhone a much better multimedia device than before.
It's not the sharpest display we've ever seen, though. With an unusual 1334 x 750 resolution, it produces the exact same pixel density of 326ppi as previous iPhones.
In everyday use this is actually perfectly fine. Thanks to Apple's tight hold on its software, everything feels optimised and native on this display, unlike on many 720p Android phones that we could mention.
Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6
Still, we imagine plenty of industry-aware Apple fans will wince when they spot the Galaxy S6 display's vital statistics. It's a 5.1-inch QHD Super Amoled display, which offers a whole heap of advantages over the iPhone 6 equivalent.
For one thing, it's about half an inch bigger, meaning that websites and media content are larger and clearer. Also, QHD means that the display has a 2560 x 1440 resolution. We're talking something not too far shy of four times the number of pixels found in the iPhone 6, and a 577ppi pixel density that's almost double.
Honestly, in general usage, the difference simply doesn't feel that pronounced. There's still much debate over the need for a QHD resolution in smartphone displays.
That doesn't mean that you can't see the benefits at all, though. Running the same 4K or 2K video side by side on each, you can undoubtedly pick up more detail in the Galaxy S6. The same advantage sees viewing high quality photos on the Samsung a superior experience.
Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6
As for the differences between Super AMOLED and LCD, well, those are a little more subjective. The Galaxy S6 screen has colours that pop more, deeper blacks, yet a generally redder tinge to it. The iPhone 6's screen is colder and bluer.
Looking at the TechRadar homepage on both, with its whites and greys, the Galaxy S6 looked surprisingly murky and tinted by comparison. It's not, of course. In fact, the Galaxy S6 gets incredibly close to the 6500K reference standard for colour accuracy, while the iPhone 6 comes in well above that level.
But if you've become used to Apple's distinctive blue tint, and particularly its icy whites, the difference can be jarring.
The iPhone 6 screen also comes across as brighter than its larger, sharper rival. It's one of those rare phones that can make the S6 seem almost muted. It means that holding the two screens side-by-side isn't the knocked-out-of-the-park win for the Samsung that we were expecting.
Finally, both phone manufacturers have pushed their handsets' photographic chops as a major selling point. Both manufacturers are quite right to do so.
Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6
These are two phenomenal camera phones, both capable of replacing all but the best dedicated point and shoot cameras in terms of image quality - and any camera you care to mention in terms of ease of use and speed of operation.
The iPhone 6 camera is an 8MP example with phase detection autofocus, making for super-snappy snaps.
As elsewhere, the Galaxy S6 outspecs the iPhone 6 on the camera front. It's a 16MP unit which also comes with phase detection technology, as well as a bunch of additional features like OIS for steadier shots.
We'll go into the details in the appropriate section, suffice to say that the Galaxy S6 offers the first genuine rival to the iPhone range on the camera front in years. It's arguably the more sophisticated camera, too, with more functions and options for advanced shooters.
We still love the iPhone 6's solid, dependable point-and-shoot nature, though. When it comes to firing and forgetting, there's still nothing better.
Like we said at the outset, these two flagship phones set out with similar basic intentions, but go about executing in surprisingly different ways. What's undoubtable is that both have arrived more or less where they wanted to be right near the top of the smartphone tree.

Design and display

Samsung's newfound design-led approach has been widely attributed to the ongoing success of the iPhone range, and there are fundamental similarities between these two phones that can't be denied.
From the rounded metallic edges to the drilled speakers and general button and port placement, there's definitely a shared approach to basic smartphone design here.
But anything more than a cursory glance will reveal notable differences. The Galaxy S6 has a metal edge, but the predominant material is glass. There's tough Gorilla Glass 4 covering both front and back.
Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6
The iPhone 6's body, by contrast, is a single piece of metal. Only the front section is coated in glass. That, too, feels different to the Galaxy S6, with a pronounced tapered curve at the edges.
Rather surprisingly, the Samsung feels like the more delicate, jewel-like device here - and who would have predicted that just a year ago?
That's because Samsung's much-documented shift to a more design-focused philosophy has coincided with Apple producing its most functional (I hesitate to use the word utilitarian) phone for years. It's no ugly workhorse, but the well-used iPhone 6 handset before me wears its scuffs and scrapes better than the flashier Samsung.
The bevelled edges of the Galaxy S6 show up nicks far more readily than the simple, matte-finished metal of the iPhone.
Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6
Another reason I got this impression was that aforementioned heavy use of glass in the S6. It just feels like it's a moderate drop away from a wince-inducing shattering incident, front and back.
In actual fact the glass is relatively tough, but it serves to make the whole handset more vulnerable thanks to its unique properties. Quite simply, the Galaxy S6 is extremely slippery.
I've had the Samsung Galaxy S6 for the best part of a month, during which time I've written a couple of these comparison pieces. In those pieces I noted that I'd experienced a few near misses where the Galaxy S6 had taken bizarre plunges off my flat sofa arm, it's super-slick back acting like a ski does when put down on a seemingly flat stretch of compacted snow.
My luck ran out on the final day of shooting with the Galaxy S6 and the iPhone 6. Placed down for a second on what seemed to be a flat, grippy wooden bench, the next thing I heard was the sickening sound of metal on stone as the S6 plopped around two feet onto the ground.
This left a small but ragged ding in the rim of the phone, its beautifully sculpted metal proving incapable of absorbing the impact of even a relatively a short drop.
I had previously experienced the same issue with the glass-backed Sony Xperia Z3 Compact, but that phone also has the benefit of a sturdy plastic rim that successfully absorbs such minor mishaps (at least in my experience).
Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6
Compare that with the iPhone 6, and Apple's handset feels more capable of bearing similar wear and tear. The iPhone 6 I tested is something of an office run-around, and it's evidently had to share a few pockets with keys and change in its time. However, the handset's matte metal has worn these everyday scuffs and scrapes surprisingly well. It suits the 'distressed' look quite in a way that the Galaxy S6 won't.
Apple has also dropped the bevelled edge of recent handsets. This fits in with iPhone 6's flowing design, its subtly rounded display melting into the body seamlessly. However, it also removes an infamously nick-happy element of previous iPhone designs. The S6, by contrast, has retained that polished bevelled edge, and while it looks great… well, let's just say you'll probably want to invest in a case as a matter of priority.
Perhaps surprisingly, there's not a great deal of difference in size with these two phones - and that's to Samsung's credit. Despite the Galaxy S6 having a much larger display, it occupies a similar footprint to the iPhone 6.
Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6
At 138.1 x 67mm, the iPhone 6 is slightly smaller than the 143.4 x 70.5mm Galaxy S6, but at 6.9mm it's a hair thicker too (only by 0.1mm mind).
This is because Samsung seems to have been far more aggressive with its screen bezels, particularly when it comes to the top and bottom examples. Apple's big round recessed home button may be more reassuring to press than Samsung's squished lozenge, but it seems to take up a lot more space as a result.


The iPhone 6 is the top choice on the market for those who remain convinced that a smartphone should be completely operable with a single hand.
Even more than its slim design, that can largely be attributed to its 4.7-inch display. In keeping the iPhone 6's screen well below 5-inches, Apple has ensured that those with medium to large hands will be able to reach all corners of the screen with the thumb of their holding hand - though Apple's insistence on placing the virtual 'back' button at the top left of the screen makes it a bit of a stretch at times.
Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6
If you're one of those busy sorts who often finds themselves furiously tapping out a message whilst walking along the street with a hot beverage in the other hand the iPhone 6 is for you. Commuters who find themselves catching up on their Pocket reading list whilst holding onto a Tube train handle will also appreciate the iPhone screen's compact dimensions.
For those that can't quite reach, there's a slightly clunky reachability function that drops the display down with a light double tap of the home button, but I never used it.
The Galaxy S6 isn't quite so easy to wield in this way, what with its 5.1-inch display. But one-handed usage isn't completely out of the question for certain tasks, particularly if you have large and limber hands.
Where the Galaxy S6 display really shines, though, is in its sheer fidelity. Its QHD resolution makes it the sharpest smartphone screen out there, for one thing.
Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6
As I've mentioned, the Galaxy S6's 577ppi pixel density is almost twice that of the iPhone 6's, and it's undoubtedly noticeable when you're looking at high resolution media content on both phones side by side.
In general usage, particularly when used in isolation, it's difficult to say that the 2K resolution is justified here, however. You simply won't see a marked benefit over the 1334 x 750 iPhone 6 screen.
Besides its smaller dimensions, the main reason for this is that the iPhone 6 display is so very bright and clear. The picture almost looks painted on. Add in its greater brightness and Apple's piercingly cool colour temperature, and it manages to hold its own against the Galaxy S6's bigger, sharper, more colour-accurate Super AMOLED screen.
It also helps that so many media, website, and app assets are optimised for this popular screen, whereas it still feels like content creators are rather slowly latching on to the QHD standard - at least when it comes to mobile optimisation.
Still, there's no doubting that by most meaningful metrics, the Galaxy S6 screen is better. In fact, we'd say it's the best smartphone screen on the market. If you fancy showing off to your friends even more, splash some extra cash on the futuristic Galaxy S6 Edge. It has a screen which curves round either side of the handset.

Interface and Performance

Ah, the old iOS versus Android debate. Which is better? No one can say for sure. Not categorically anyway. These two leading mobile operating systems are just too good in too many distinct ways.
It's a little easier to make a judgement call when comparing the iPhone 6 and the Samsung Galaxy S6 interfaces, because Samsung does insist on layering its own inferior software modifications over the perfectly fabulous Android 5.1.1 Lollipop.
Google's Android 6 Marshmallow update is beginning to roll out to the Galaxy S6, but it's taking some time to hit the major markets. Plus when it reaches the UK and US we will also need to wait for networks and carriers to release the update to customers.
With Android Lollipop the Korean manufacturer has pulled back from its irritatingly meddlesome ways to a fairly significant degree. TouchWiz remains difficult to love, but it also stays out of your way far more than before.
You still get the sluggish, pointless Flipboard-powered magazine view when you scroll to the left of the main homescreen, and the settings menu is still a bit of a mess of gaudy toggles and options.
But there's less bloatware, fewer sluggish animations, and a generally cleaner, leaner look and feel to its icons and menus. You get a fairly classy little clock widget overlaying the main homescreen rather than the stick-out-like-a-sore-thumb widget of yore.
Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6
You still get the best features of Android 5.1.1 here too, and almost unfiltered at that. Multitasking adopts Google's slick, endless carousel approach (which also splits up individual web tabs), while the power and clarity of the notification system still knocks iOS 9's vague approximation into a cocked hat.
The iPhone 6, of course, comes with iOS 9 (it originally launched with iOS 8) unfiltered. There is no other kind of iOS 9. It's one of the biggest strengths of Apple's ecosystem - there's no clunky elaboration from manufacturers who think they know better.
It's also just a simple pleasure to use. Despite the major aesthetic overhaul Apple brought about with iOS 7, and the major enhancements added in iOS 8 (many of which are lifted from Android), this is still at heart the same iOS that defined the smartphone industry back in 2007.
iOS 9 brings improvements to Siri, adds transit directions to Apple Maps, tweaks the keyboard and more.
This means that using the iPhone 6 won't thrill or excite you, but it also means that it feels instantly familiar and dependable. It trades novelty and freshness for well-honed functionality, which is precisely why it's such a hit with those who don't trawl tech blogs for the latest news and reviews every hour of every day.
Where Apple has embellished its operating system over the years, it's almost always been thoughtfully executed and well integrated. Control Centre is a case in point. At heart, Apple's drag-up menu is similar to the options presented in the drag-down Android menu, offering instant access to things like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, screen brightness, and a bunch of handy tools besides.
Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6
But it just feels that bit slicker and more intuitive here, not crowded in with a load of other toggles and functions. It's something I use an awful lot, whether setting a timer for some cooking pasta, fumbling to find my front door lock in the dark (thanks to a handy torch function), or blearily flicking into airplane mode for the night.
If there's a learning curve to the iPhone 6's operating system, then, it manifests itself at the gentlest of angles.


Performance across these two phones is uniformly tight. There isn't a single task or app that stretches either, it seems. 4K video, 3D gaming, photo editing - all are handled with consummate ease.
However, the Galaxy S6 is undoubtedly the more powerful device in purely technical terms. Its Exynos 7420 CPU is an octa-core (in effect two quad-cores) chip clocked at 1.5GHz. That compares favourably to the iPhone 6's A8 chip, which is a dual-core 1.4GHz example. The S6 also has three times the RAM of the iPhone 6 at 3GB.
Of course, Apple's custom approach to processor tech yields results that frequently exceed the best that the Android crowd can manage with their off-the shelf parts. That's particularly the case with single-core performance, which still plays an important role in most smartphone tasks.
However, Samsung has also gone the custom route with the S6's chip, and it's produced a stunner. In my Geekbench 3 benchmark tests, the iPhone 6 was only slightly faster in single core terms (scoring just 100 points higher on average), while the S6 was massively faster in multi-core terms (2300 more on average).
This is actually pretty meaningless, though, thanks to the vastly different operating systems each runs. Android and iOS utilise processors and memory resources in completely different ways.
In practical terms, then, both phones are as fast as they get for their respective platforms - and that's all that you really need to know when making a decision between the two.

Battery life

As always, the iPhone is the best phone there is at not being used. That sounds like I'm having a sly dig at Apple here, but I'm really not.
The iPhone 6 is like its predecessors in its ability to only use power when it's actually being used. Leave it on airplane mode over night and the battery reading will barely budge. If you have a quiet day with few calls, messages, or other reasons to light up that screen, it'll last a decent spell.
During a fairly quiet weekend where the most intensive activity was the taking of the camera sample images for this piece, I got through a whole 24 hours (with the aforementioned overnight airplane mode) with 42 percent left in the tank.
Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6
This is despite the fact that the iPhone 6 only comes with an 1,810mAh battery. That's pretty small, at least by Android phone standards, but it goes to demonstrate how well balanced and efficient Apple's combination of hardware and software is.
The Samsung Galaxy S6, by contrast, comes with a 2550mAh battery, and yet that's widely seen a regrettable step back for the range.
Sure enough, the Galaxy S6's battery life is a disappointment. It simply didn't match up to the iPhone 6 in my day to day usage, as I'd get to the end of a day of light to moderate usage with around 20 percent left in the tank. This varied a fair amount, but that's a bit of a concern in itself.
If you use both phones heavily, you can still get through to bed time with the iPhone 6, while you'll probably need to top up before the the day is done with the Galaxy S6.
Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6
What's all the more curious is that the Galaxy S6 seems to have been optimised for handling media. In our 90 minute 720p video test, the Galaxy S6 (with display brightness cranked right up) ate through a mere 13 percent of its charge. That's very good going.
The iPhone 6, by contrast, chewed through 25 percent in the same test. Given its lower res display and power-sipping performance in general usage, such underperformance is a bit of a surprise, but perhaps sustained grunt work is where that difference in pure capacity comes in.


These are two of the best smartphone cameras available, no question, but it probably won't surprise you to learn that Samsung and Apple take two very different approaches to the matter.
The iPhone 6 is undoubtedly the lesser specced of the two. It's an 8-megapixel camera with an f/2.2 lens, which appears to compare unfavourably to the Samsung Galaxy S6's 16-megapixel camera with f/1.9 lens. In addition, the Galaxy S6 features optical image stabilisation (OIS) for steadier shots - which is particularly useful for low-light conditions.
Both phones have 1/3-inch image sensors and phase detection autofocus for super-quick focusing.
However, the iPhone 6's strength - and something that it still rules supreme on - is taking great pictures with the absolute minimum of fuss. Whip out the phone and take a quick snapshot in all but the most challenging of conditions (i.e. in poor lighting) and nine times out of ten you'll capture the moment spot on.
Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6
Apple's camera interface remains our favourite in this respect, and the phone's snappy A8 processor ensures that you can jump straight to the camera with little delay.
Meanwhile Apple's auto-HDR mode takes care of those scenes that contain extremes of light and dark without having to manually fiddle with the settings.
The Galaxy S6 also makes it very easy to capture good shots. In particular, I loved the ability to jump straight to the camera app with a double press of the home button, making this initial boot-up process even more dependable in a pinch than the iPhone 6.
Samsung's partial auto-HDR mode also deals with extremes of light and dark without as much of a false, otherworldly appearance as many full-on HDR modes (particularly on Android phones) can produce. The results aren't as natural as the iPhone 6's, though. In the Galaxy S6's favour, it shows you a real time preview of what that HDR shot will look like on its display.
Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6
However, the Galaxy S6 interface just isn't quite as nice or intuitive as the iPhone 6 with its simple scrollable functions. It's not bad by any means, but Apple's is on a whole other level of intuitiveness.
Whether you prefer the Galaxy S6 camera's widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio or the iPhone 6's more traditional 4:3 will be a matter of pure preference, as always.
Where the Samsung Galaxy S6 trumps the iPhone 6 is when you want to take a little extra time and care over your mobile shots. The phone's new Pro mode offers full control over things like focus, white balance, ISO, and exposure. It's both slick and powerful, and there's nothing like it on the iPhone 6.
Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6
As for image quality, both phones are capable of taking great shots. On this front, however, we'd have to give the nod to the Galaxy S6 for its greater low light capabilities and potential for capturing more detail. Zoom in on any picture and that extra information is apparent.
The S6 camera is perhaps slightly less consistent, and you might need to work a little harder to get the perfect shot (though only a little), but again, that's partially mitigated by that killer home button shortcut.

Camera samples

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6
Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6
Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6
Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6
Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6
Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6
Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6
Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6

Media and the essentials

Both phones perform well as media players, but again have difference strengths. We'd give the edge to the Samsung Galaxy S6, though.
For video, the Galaxy S6 is the clear champion. With a bigger, sharper, more colour-accurate display, it really isn't even close. Not that the iPhone 6 is a bad video player, you understand, but it's operating in a different class.
Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6
When it comes to music, both phones are strong - though both have relatively weedy single speakers. Also, both speakers are placed poorly in the same position on the bottom of the phone. This leads to numerous occasions where you cover it up with your finger when watching videos and playing games in landscape view.
Now that Apple Music has rolled out on iOS, both come with very similar music streaming subscription services - the Galaxy S6 coming with Google Play Music preinstalled. While Apple has been pushing its service hard of late, the only real difference between the two is Beats 1 radio station on the iPhone. If you don't care for Zane Lowe and crew's particular idea of 'cutting edge' music, that won't even be a factor.
Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6
Going back to games, both phones have more than enough power on tap to play the best that the App Store and Google Play Store have to offer without any issue. However, Apple's app store still has the greater range of high quality games, and they tend to be optimised a little better thanks to Apple's narrower range of hardware (and the fact that the App Store is just plain more lucrative for developers).
Conversely, the Galaxy S6's extra screen space undoubtedly offers a better view of games - particularly when they have virtual controls that require you to place both thumbs on screen.

The essentials

You have to give it to Samsung, while its smartphones often come with a whole range of features and gimmicks, they always do the basic stuff well too.
Placing calls on the Galaxy S6 yields clear results, and you won't find great variances in signal strength despite the switch away from signal-friendly plastic to troublesome metal.
The iPhone 6, too, is a great caller. With the switch to a new all-in-one metal back and sides, Apple has added some fairly chunky plastic antennae to the to and bottom sections of the phone. They're not pretty, but they mean that calls come through loud and clear.
Sure enough, I didn't experience any unusual signal drops or dropped calls during my time with either.
Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6
Both phones are great for messaging too. The Galaxy S6 uses Samsung's own Messages app, which is perfectly functional and actually quite sharp-looking. This is because Samsung has adopted Google's own Material Design language for it, which results in a far more modern-looking app than Samsung used to produce.
I also appreciate how you can add your favourite contacts to a bar along the top of the main Messages screen for quick access.
One continued weakness, however, is in Samsung's own keyboard. Unlike the Messaging app, it hasn't had a Material Design-influenced overhaul, and it looks like it belongs to an older version of Android.
Typing on it is reasonably solid, but the lack of a ready-to-hand comma button continues to grate, as will the lack of an integrated swype-to-type system if that's your bag.
Apple's own Messages experience is a little more pleasant. It's a lot sparser-looking, with a simple, colourless list of messages serving for the default screen. However, that cleanness works in its favour when you get to the messages themselves, with an easy to follow colour-coded speech bubble style.
Blue means the recipient also has an iOS device for more feature-filled iMessages, while green means you're probably dealing with an Android, Windows Phone or BlackBerry phone for regular SMS messages.
Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6
Apple's keyboard is much improved over previous versions, with a world suggestion system that will feel familiar to Android users. Again, there's no swype-to-type system, though.
Fortunately, both iOS and Android enable you to download third party alternatives - though the Galaxy S6 and Android have a definite edge here for sheer range and tight integration. Plus it has access to Google's own keyboard, which is one of the best there is.
Of course, when it comes to typing the Galaxy S6 has the slight edge, thanks simply to its larger size. Having said that, single-handed typists will fare better with the iPhone 6.
The Galaxy S6 also has the edge with web browsing. Again, it's thanks to that larger display, but this is also where that QHD resolution can sometimes tell. If the website provides the necessary mobile-optimised high resolution images and typography, web content can really shine on the S6.
Having said that, while we love the cross-platform flexibility and power of Chrome on the Galaxy S6, the iPhone 6 comes with Safari. Nowadays, Safari on iOS is a silky-smooth delight. Being able to bring up a large favourites menu simply by tapping on the address bar is also a killer feature that Chrome lacks.
Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6
Apple's phone also gets bonus web browsing points if you use a Mac, because the built-in Continuity feature lets you continue web browsing sessions seamlessly from one device to the other.
Of course, most people in the world now use Chrome on their desktop computers - but then, you can also download Chrome for the iPhone if you want to benefit from cross-device history and bookmarks.
Browsing on the web on iOS is arguably a little slicker and smoother, then, but the Galaxy S6 wins out for the sheer quality of its display. Remember, also, that the Galaxy S6 grants speedy access to Google Now, which is a whole other pre-emptive level of web browsing right there on your homescreen.

Price and verdict

Neither of these phones were cheap at launch, but quite some time has passed since both the Samsung Galaxy S6 and iPhone 6 hit the market and prices have dropped.
When the S6 launched the two handsets were very similarly priced. The Samsung Galaxy S6, SIM-free prices started at £559.99 ($750, AU$999) for the 32GB model. The base 16GB iPhone 6, meanwhile, started from £539 ($649, AU$999) - that's slightly cheaper, but don't forget that extra storage.
A direct like-for-like comparison is impossible, because there is no 32GB iPhone 6. The 64GB model is the next up (a mistake in itself - Apple should have ditched the inadequate 16GB model instead) for £619 ($749, AU$1149) at launch.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 has witnessed some major price drops. Shop around and you'll be able to pick up a SIM-free handset for around £380, $540 - a huge saving over the original price.
The iPhone 6 has dropped in price too with the launch of the iPhone 6S, but not by as much, with the 16GB version now retailing for £459/$549/AU$929, while the 64GB model costs £539/$649/AU$1,079.
Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6
You might think that this makes the price consideration obvious, but it's arguably more problematic for the Galaxy S6. Android phones invariably lose their value quicker than iPhones, which will retain their full price right up until the launch of the next iPhone.
Even after a new model is out, the price of an iPhone won't drop by as much as an equivalent Android phone will. This means that the iPhone 6 probably has greater resale value than the Samsung Galaxy S6, despite the latter being six months newer.
If you're only interested in the experience, then, price shouldn't be a determining factor for your purchasing decision. These two phones cost about the same, and both are the best in their field. Your decision should come down to every other factor discussed in this article ahead of price.
The only way cost should come into it at this level is if you can envisage yourself selling your phone two years down the line, in which case you might want to take into consideration that you'll probably get more for your iPhone 6.


As you'll know if you've read the latest techradar smartphone roundup, the Samsung Galaxy S6 and the iPhone 6 were both in the top five smartphones in the world.
Both have beautiful metal-and-glass designs, vibrant displays, fluid software, and class-leading cameras. It's in the different approaches to each of these elements that your decision must be made.
We actually picked the Galaxy S6 as our number one choice in that round-up, but hopefully this feature has shown that they're pretty interchangeable depending on your priorities.
Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6
If you're a power user who prefers a large-screen experience for things like watching HD videos and intensive web browsing, the Galaxy S6 is the better pick. Its 5.1-inch QHD display is bigger, sharper, and more accurate than the iPhone 6. It's a stunner.
If you prefer a phone that does the basics to the best possible standard, that favours balance and intuitiveness above all, or if genuine single-handed usage is still a major factor, then the iPhone 6 is for you.
In particular, the iPhone 6's iOS platform is just slicker and more intuitive than the Galaxy S6 equivalent, which still suffers for Samsung's sub-par (though much improved) custom UI.
We all like taking pictures on our smartphones, and these are two of the best cameraphones money can buy. You will not be disappointed with the images capture by either, we guarantee. But if you're choosing between these two phones on a photographic basis, ask yourself this: exactly what sort of mobile photographer are you?
If you're a serious photographer who likes to take full control of your shots, composing them with care and attention, then the Galaxy S6 is a clear winner. Not only do its shots pack in more detail than the iPhone 6, it also comes with a comprehensive manual mode that the iPhone lacks.
Still, when it comes to just whipping your phone out for a hasty auto shot, you'll get better - or rather more consistent - results with the iPhone 6. It remains the fire-and-forget champ, thanks to Apple's dependable camera software and intuitive UI.
iPhone 6
While this is one of the trickiest recommendations to make, then, it's also one of the easiest. Because when it comes to choosing between the iPhone 6 and the Samsung Galaxy S6, there really is no wrong answer.
Apple has since launched the iPhone 6S, so if you're wondering whether that makes the choice any clearer head over to our iPhone 6S vs Samsung Galaxy S6 comparison.

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Buying guide: The 10 best DSLRs you can buy right now
Buying guide: The 10 best DSLRs you can buy right now

Top 10 DSLRs in 2016

For decades, the DSLR (digital SLR) has been the top choice for anyone who wants to take their photography to the next level. Whether you're a beginner or a pro, a DSLR offers three key ingredients: manual controls, excellent picture quality and interchangeable lenses.
Mirrorless cameras are another option of course. They're smaller, mechanically simpler and, like DSLRs, they take interchangeable lenses. If you want to know more about how they compare, read this: Mirrorless vs DSLR cameras: 10 key differences. Or, if you want to know more about different camera types in general, check out our step-by-step guide: What camera should I buy?
A DSLR is still the cheapest way to get a camera with interchangeable lenses and a viewfinder (entry-level mirrorless cameras don't have viewfinders) and, at the other end of the scale, almost all professional sports, press and wildlife photographers choose full-frame DSLRs over every other camera type.
In between are a whole range of digital SLRs aimed at different users, different levels of experience and different budgets. Here's our pick of the standout DSLR cameras you can buy right now:
Canon EOS 5DS

1. Canon EOS 5DS

Proof that more can mean better: the 5DS sets a new standard for DSLR photography
Sensor: 36 x 24mm CMOS | Megapixels: 50.6 | Autofocus: 61-point AF, 41 cross-type | Screen type: 3.2-inch, 1,040,000 dots | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 5fps | Maximum video resolution: 1080p | User level: Expert
Incredible resolving power
Not that expensive considering
Huge files, especially raw files
Demands the best lenses
With 50.6 million effective pixels, the 5DS is by far the highest resolution full-frame DSLR on the market. The same goes for the 5DS R, which is identical to the 5DS, but features an anti-aliasing cancelation filter over the sensor to help resolve a little more detail. Pixel-packed sensors can be compromised, but not here. Image quality is superb, with fantastic detail, well controlled noise and good dynamic range. The 5DS is now the benchmark for full-frame image quality, but it's not quite perfect. There's no Wi-Fi or Ultra HD video recording, and huge image file sizes necessitate decent memory cards and a fast computer. The 5DS out-resolves any other full-frame camera on the market in our lab tests, including our previous number one DSLR, the Nikon D810.
Read the full review: Canon EOS 5DS
Nikon D810

2. Nikon D810

Nikon's full-frame favorite combines sky-high resolution with solid build and value
Sensor: full frame, 36.3Mp | Lenses: Nikon FX, DX (in crop mode) | Monitor: 3.2-inch, 1,229K dots | Viewfinder: Optical | Continuous shooting: 5fps | Movies: 1080p | User level: Expert
Handling and image quality
Good value for a pro camera
Beaten for resolution by the 5DS
Modest continuous shooting speed
The full frame Nikon D810 has been knocked back into second place by the mighty Canon EOS 5Ds, but the Nikon is still a great buy. It's built like a tank, it handles beautifully and it doesn't cost the earth. It's expensive compared to APS-C DSLRs, but for a pro camera it's actually quite cheap, and Nikon has ditched the anti-aliasing filter usually placed in front of DSLR sensors in order to maximise its formidable resolution. If you're into sports, action and wildlife photography, the Canon EOS-1D X and Nikon D4s have faster continuous shooting speeds, but neither can match the D810's outright image quality and value for money.
Read the full review: Nikon D810
Canon EOS 7D Mark II

3. Canon EOS 7D Mark II

As fast as pro DSLRs but priced for amateurs, the 7D Mark II ticks all the boxes
Sensor: APS-C, 20.2Mp | Lenses: Canon EF-S, EF | Monitor: 3-inch, 1,040K dots | Viewfinder: Optical | Continuous shooting: 10fps | Movies: 1080p | User level: Expert
Tough build
Hybrid AF and 10fps shooting
Expensive for an APS-C camera
Cheaper 760D has more pixels
We've mentioned the formidable Canon 1D X and Nikon D4s because they have very high continuous shooting speeds – that's why they cost thousands. But then Canon launched the EOS 7D Mark II, a camera that brings 10fps shooting and a professional autofocus system to the amateur market. Now you can shoot action and sports like the pros, but at a price within the reach of enthusiasts. The 7D Mark II isn't just a high-speed specialists, it's a terrific all-round camera. It's tough, with an alloy body and weather-sealed controls, it has a great sensor with an advanced dual-pixel hybrid autofocus system, and it's powerful video camera too.
Read the full review: Canon EOS 7D Mark II
Nikon D7200

4. Nikon D7200

Versatile, powerful and capable of excellent results – perfect for enthusiasts
Sensor: APS-C, 24.2Mp | Lenses: Nikon DX, FX | Monitor: 3.2-inch, 1,229K dots | Viewfinder: Optical | Continuous shooting: 6fps | Movies: 1080p | User level: Intermediate
Excellent OLPF-free 24MP sensor
Powerful 51-point AF system
Soon to be outshone by the D500
6fps shooting merely average
Or if you want the quality but you don't need the speed, take a look at the Nikon D7200. It's a lot cheaper than Canon EOS 7D Mark II and uses Nikon's latest 24-megapixel APS-C format sensor with no anti-aliasing filter to produce some of the sharpest images you'll see outside of professional full-frame cameras. The D7200 doesn't match the Canon's sheer speed, but it can still shoot at 6 frames per second for up to 100 JPEG photos or 27 raw files, and it uses a 51-point autofocus system taken straight from Nikon's pro DSLR range.
Read the full review: Nikon D7200
Sony Alpha A77 II

5. Sony A77 II

Super-fast AF and shooting speeds show the true potential of Sony's SLT design
Sensor: APS-C, 24.3Mp | Lenses: Sony A-mount | Monitor: 3-inch articulating, 1,228K dots | Viewfinder: Electronic | Continuous shooting: 12fps | Movies: 1080p | User level: Expert
12fps continuous shooting
Fast phase detection AF in live view
Sony SLT range's future uncertain
Electronic not optical viewfinder
And don't overlook Sony's Alpha DSLTs, or 'Digital Single Lens Translucents'. These look and handle like regular DSLRs but use a fixed mirror and an electronic viewfinder instead. This means the camera's phase-detection autofocus system is available all the time and you don't have to swap to a slower sensor-based AF system in live view mode. The range has been re-invigorated with A77 II update that brings super-fast autofocus, a swivelling screen and stunning 12 frame per second continuous shooting capability – though it's still not clear how much longer Sony is going to be supporting the SLT camera range when it's investing so heavily in its mirrorless cameras.
Read the full review: Sony A77 Mark II
Canon EOS 6D

6. Canon EOS 6D

Full-frame on a budget – the 6D's straightforward design has old-school appeal
Sensor: full frame, 20.2Mp | Lenses: Canon EF (not EF-S) | Monitor: 3-inch, 1,040K dots | Viewfinder: Optical | Continuous shooting: 4.5fps | Movies: 1080p | User level: Expert
Great value for a full frame camera
No fuss features
Basic autofocus system
Only 4.5fps continuous shooting
But don't assume you need the latest tech to get a good camera. It's tempting to chase the biggest numbers and newest gadgets when choosing a camera, but sometimes the simple things count for more. The EOS 6D is Canon's cheapest full-frame DSLR, and compared to some of the other cameras around it, it's a simple-minded old-school relic. But that full-frame sensor delivers a subtle quality and a sense of depth that you only get from a big sensor, and the no-fuss specs will appeal to quality-conscious photographers who like to keep things simple.
Read the full review: Canon EOS 6D
Nikon D750

7. Nikon D750

A full-frame DSLR with performance, versatility and value
Sensor: full frame, 24.3Mp | Lenses: Nikon FX, DX (in crop mode) | Monitor: 3.2-inch tilting, 1,229K dots | Viewfinder: Optical | Continuous shooting: 6.5fps | Movies: 1080p | User level: Expert
Good 24Mp full frame sensor
Tilting screen, handy for video
Nikon D610 is cheaper still
Nikon D810 is not a whole lot more!
Still in full-frame territory, if the price of the D810 at the top of our list is too rich for your blood, consider the Nikon D750 instead. It doesn't have that magnificent 36-megapixel sensor, but its 24-megapixel alternative still delivers top quality, especially at high ISO settings. The D750 is also a bit more versatile than the D810, with a faster 6.5fps continuous shooting speed, a handy tilting screen and a lower price – and you still get the enhanced autofocus system and Picture Control 2.0 options of the D810.
Read the full review: Nikon D750
Nikon D3300

8. Nikon D3300

Cheap cameras don't always bring compromise – the D3300 is basic but brilliant
Sensor: APS-C, 24.2Mp | Lenses: Nikon DX, FX | Monitor: 3-inch, 921K dots | Viewfinder: Optical | Continuous shooting: 5fps | Movies: 1080p | User level: Beginner
Terrific OLPF-free 24MP sensor
Excellent value for money
Basic external controls
Maybe too small for some hands
At the opposite end of the spectrum, the D3300 is cheap as chips, has one of the sharpest APS-C sensors there is and a neat retracting kit lens. It's proof that you don't have to pay a fortune to get a great camera, and we say its sheer value for money makes it just as impressive as much more advanced (and much more expensive) alternatives. It has the same 24-megapixel non-antialiased sensor as the best of Nikon's APS-C format DSLRs, and although the controls are designed to be simple for novices, in the right hands the little D3300 is a match for cameras costing far more.
Read the full review: Nikon D3300
Sony Alpha A58

9. Sony A58

Sony's bargain basement DSLR offers great value, especially with lens bundles
Sensor: APS-C, 20.1Mp | Lenses: Sony A-mount | Monitor: 2.7-inch tilting, 460K dots | Viewfinder: Electronic | Continuous shooting: 8fps | Movies: 1080p | User level: Beginner
Value for money with multi-lens kits
20Mp and 8fps continuous shooting
Electronic viewfinder
Not the best lens range
Meanwhile, for sheer value you can't do better than the Sony A58. It's the company's cheapest DSLT and it's been around for a little while, but the specs are still quite impressive, including a 20-megapixel APS-C sensor, 8fps continuous shooting and in-built SteadyShot image stabilization. Look out especially for twin-lens kits at a bargain price, and even triple-lens kits. It's a great way to get kitted out with a starter camera system for the least possible money.
Read the full review: Sony A58
Pentax K-S2

10. Pentax K-S2

A rugged and powerful alternative to Canon and Nikon DSLRs
Sensor: APS-C, 20.1Mp | Lenses: Pentax KA | Monitor: 3-inch articulating, 921K dots | Viewfinder: Optical | Continuous shooting: 5.4fps | Movies: 1080p | User level: Intermediate
Decent external controls
Rugged weatherproof build
Rough and ready 18-55mm kit lens
Lens range good but not the best
And let's not forget Pentax. The DSLR market may be dominated by Canon and Nikon, but Pentax is still turning out innovative and rugged DSLRs which are serious alternatives. The Pentax K-S1 and its novelty lamps is a bit odd, but the newer K-S2 is a proper, rugged DSLR for enthusiasts. Its weatherproof design makes it ideal for challenging outdoor photography, and even though Pentax bills it as a 'family' camera, its twin control dials, fully articulated LCD display and 20-megapixel non-antialiased sensor will appeal to more advanced shooters.
Read the full review: Pentax K-S2

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