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19
May

Motorola Moto C vs Moto E3 vs Moto G5: Which budget Moto phone is right for you?


Motorola has already announced several smartphones this year, including two new Moto Gs and two Moto Cs. Based on the rumours though, that won’t be the last we hear from the Lenovo-owned company this year with a new Moto E and new Moto X also claimed to be in the pipeline.

With so many Moto phones available and three ranges sitting in what is considered the mid-range or budget end of the market, which is the right Moto for you?

We have put the new Moto C and Moto C Plus up against last year’s Moto E and 2017’s Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus to help you work out the differences between a £90 Moto device and a £250 Moto.

Motorola Moto C vs Moto E3 vs Moto G5: Design

  • Moto C and Moto G ranges have new design with circular rear camera and flash array
  • Moto E is smallest, slimmest and lightest, while Moto C Plus is heaviest
  • Moto G range has fingerprint sensor, Moto C and Moto E don’t

The Moto C and C Plus and the Moto G5 and G5 Plus all feature a newer design than the 2016 Moto E, as you would expect. The Moto G devices have full metal bodies and a large circular camera and flash array on the rear, with the signature “M” positioned beneath and a fingerprint sensor situated on the front.

The Moto C devices have a similar large circular camera array on the rear, again with the signature “M” beneath, while the Moto E still as the “M” on the rear to distinguish it as a Moto device but the camera and flash are in an oblong housing rather than circular. There is no fingerprint sensor on the Moto C devices or the Moto E and they have a more plastic finish compared to the G range.

The Moto E3 measures 143.8 x 71.6 x 8.6mm, which makes it the smallest and slimmest of the devices being compared here, as well as the lightest at 140.6g. The largest is the Moto G5 Plus at 150.2 x 74mm with a curved rear between 7.7mm and 9.7mm, while the heaviest is the Moto C Plus at 162g.

  • Moto G5 Plus review 

Motorola Moto C vs Moto E3 vs Moto G5: Display

  • All 5-inch IPS LCD displays, except Moto G5 Plus which has 5.2-inch
  • Moto G5 has sharpest display, Moto C has softest
  • Corning Gorilla Glass protection on Moto G5 Plus and Moto E3

All the devices being compared in this feature have a 5-inch display, except for the Moto G5 Plus which has a slightly larger 5.2-inch screen. Resolution is different across the ranges though.

The Moto G and G Plus both have Full HD displays, putting their pixel densities at 441ppi and 424ppi, respectively. The Moto E3 and the Moto C Plus both have HD displays at 1280 x 720, resulting in a slightly lower pixel densities of 294ppi. The Moto C reduces its resolution further to 854 x 480 pixels for a pixel density of 196ppi.

The Moto G and Moto G Plus will therefore offer slightly sharper, crisper images in comparison to the other three devices. The Moto C Plus and Moto E will follow in terms of sharpness, while the Moto C will have the softest display of the device being compared here.  

All five devices have IPS LCD displays. The Moto G5 Plus and the Moto E3 are both protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3. Motorola hasn’t specified any protection for the Moto C or C Plus, while the Moto G5 is said to come with scratch resistance but no specific grade is mentioned.

  • Moto G5 preview

Motorola Moto C vs Moto E3 vs Moto G5: Cameras

  • Moto G5 Plus has most capable rear snapper
  • Moto G5 and G5 Plus have most capable front cameras
  • No flash on Moto E3 front camera, but there is on Moto C and Moto G ranges

The Moto G5 Plus has the most capable rear camera of the devices in this feature with a 12-megapixel sensor, offering an f/1.7 aperture, dual LED flash and 4K video recording capabilities.

The Moto G5 follows closely behind with a 13-megapixel rear sensor, slightly narrower f/2.0 aperture, single LED flash and 1080p video recording capabilities. Both these devices have 5-megapixel front cameras with an f/2.2 aperture and a display flash.

The Moto E3 and Moto C Plus take things down a notch to an 8-megapixel rear camera, LED flash, autofocus and 720p video recording capabilities, while the Moto C drops its rear snapper resolution to 5-megapixels and fixed focus, but it retains an LED flash and 720p video recording.

Like the Moto G5 and G5 Plus, the Moto E3 has a 5-megapixel front facing camera but it doesn’t have a display flash so night time selfies will be trickier. The Moto C and Moto C Plus both have 2-megapixel front cameras but they do offer an LED flash. 

Motorola Moto C vs Moto E3 vs Moto G5: Hardware

  • Moto G5 Plus has most powerful processor, more RAM and more storage
  • Moto C Plus has largest battery capacity 
  • Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus have NFC, others don’t

The Moto G5 Plus takes the accolade for the most powerful hardware in this feature, with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 chipset under its hood, supported by 3GB of RAM. The Moto G5 takes a slight power hit, though not much, with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 processor and either 2GB or 3GB of RAM depending on the model.

The Moto E3 is the oldest of the devices being compared, therefore offering less impressive hardware with a 1.0GHz MediaTek processor and 1GB of RAM. Meanwhile, the Moto C has a 1.1GHz MediaTek processor and 1GB of RAM and the Moto C Plus has a 1.3GHz MediaTek chip and either 1GB or 2GB of RAM. 

In terms of storage, the E3 only comes in an 8GB option, while the Moto C, Moto C Plus and Moto G5 offer 16GB. The G5 Plus has the most internal storage at 32GB. All five devices offer microSD support for storage expansion but the Moto C, Moto C Plus and Moto E3 can only be expanded up to 32GB, while the Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus will offer up to 128GB.

Battery capacity is pretty much on par across the five devices too, except in the case of the Moto C Plus which has the largest by far at 4000mAh. The Moto E3 and G5 have 2800mAh capacities, while the G5 Plus has a 3000mAh battery and the Moto C has the smallest at 2350mAh. It’s also worth mentioning that the Moto C, C Plus and E3’s batteries are all removable.

The Moto G5 and G5 Plus both have NFC, allowing them to be used wth Android Pay, while the Moto C, C Plus and E3 don’t.

  • What is Android Pay and how does it work?

Motorola Moto C vs Moto E3 vs Moto G5: Software

  • All Android Nougat with some Motorola apps
  • Experience should be almost identical

The Moto C, Moto C Plus, Moto G5 and Moto G5 all run on Android Nougat with a couple of extra Motorola-specific apps so the experience should be almost identical. The Moto E3 on the other hand, launched on Android Marshmallow and won’t be getting Nougat so it will lack some features. Remember a new one is said to be coming soon though which will no doubt launch on Android Nougat.

It’s pretty much vanilla Android on Motorola smartphones so you don’t get the same level of bloatware as you do with some other devices, such as Sony and LG. This tends to mean quicker updates to the latest Android software and it also allows for a cleaner experience.

  • Android Nougat review 

Motorola Moto C vs Moto E3 vs Moto G5: Price

The Motorola Moto C is the cheapest of these five devices starting at £89.99, followed by the Moto E3 at £99.99.

Moving just over the £100 mark is the Moto C Plus starting at £109, followed by the Moto G5 at £159. The Moto G5 Plus is the most expensive starting at £249.

Motorola Moto C vs Moto E3 vs Moto G5: Conclusion

The Moto E3 and the Moto C are pretty similar in terms of price but you get a higher display resolution, better cameras, a lighter device overall and a larger battery capacity in the Moto E3 for £10 extra. That said, it is an older device and you won’t get Android Nougat.

Pay another £10 on top of the E3 price, or £20 on top of the Moto C and you get a larger battery capacity and double the storage of the E3, as well as a more capable processor in the Moto C Plus. You could also opt for double the RAM but you’ll need to pay a bit more again.  

Another £40 on top of the Moto C Plus price for the G5 will get you a higher rear camera resolution again, better focusing, a water-repellant coating, fingerprint sensor, NFC and more storage expansion through microSD. There isn’t a great deal of difference between the G5 and G5 Plus, especially not when you’re talking an extra £90 again, though you will get 4K video recording, a more powerful processor and double the internal storage, as well as a better rear snapper.

The Moto E3 and Moto C both offer plenty for their price but it is worth remembering the E is probably about to be replaced so it might be better to wait for the new device.

For those that have a little extra cash to splash, the Moto C Plus is a good middling device, especially with its huge battery, while the G5 and G5 Plus are for those that don’t mind going over the £150/£200 marks and just have to have a fingerprint sensor, NFC and better camera capabilities.

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19
May

Apple iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus: What’s the story so far?


The rumour mill loves an Apple story. It doesn’t matter if it’s so far fetched it will never see the light of day, or whether it is something that might actually happen, it churns them all out anyway.

With the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus having both launched months ago, and no sign of the iPhone 7 Pro, all heads have turned to the next iPhones. This year’s models will mark a decade since the launch of the original iPhone so you can only imagine how much of a twist the mill will be getting its knickers in over the coming months.

Here is everything that has been speculated about the 2017 iPhones so far. Remember to take everything with a pinch of salt because as usual, absolutely nothing has been confirmed, nor will it be until late this year.

Apple iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus: Name

  • Expected to be called iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus
  • Report suggests might be iPhone 7S and iPhone 7S Plus
  • Third model rumoured, called iPhone 8 or iPhone X

Traditionally, the next iPhones should be called the iPhone 7S and iPhone 7S Plus, which is exactly what Apple’s Taiwan suppliers suggest will be the case with only one element changing: the processor.

Given they are the anniversary models however, we’re hoping Apple will move straight to iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, skipping the incremental upgrade models and offering something close to what all the other rumours have been speculating. That’s the assumption we are making for the sake of this feature anyway.

There has also been talk of a third iPhone though. Fast Company also claimed there will be three iPhones this year, as does Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman but they say they will be an iPhone 7S, 7S Plus and an iPhone 8, the latter of which is rumoured to sit at the top of the range. This third device has also been called the iPhone X however, which would also make sense given this is 10 in Roman numerals.

Basically, moral of the story: no one currently knows for sure what the 2017 iPhones will be called and how many there will be, except Apple.

Apple iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus: Release date

  • 6 September is our educated guess for a launch date
  • Pre-orders expected to start on 8 September if 6 September launch happens
  • Third model rumoured to cost $1000

The Apple iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus both launched on 7 September 2016, while the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus debuted on 9 September 2015. Both launch events were a Wednesday, both were two days after Labor Day in the US and both were the last day of consumer electronics show IFA, which Apple notoriously never attends.

If Apple follows the same release pattern, the next iPhones could be announced on Wednesday 6 September 2017. Labor Day is on 4 September and IFA will run from 1 to 6 September in 2017, meaning a 6 September launch date would allow Apple to steal back some of the limelight from its competitors who do attend the Berlin show. 

We are just guessing for now, but if we are right, we’d expect pre-orders to start on 8 September, and the devices to hit shelves on 15 September. It has been suggested that the mystery third model will come with a premium price tag, if it arrives at all, with talk of $1000. Ouch. There has also been a suggestion that the iPhone 8 might be delayed until October or November due to technical issues with the OLED screen so nothing is set in stone as yet.

Apple iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus: Design

  • All-glass model has been rumoured
  • Entirely different design to iPhone 7 expected
  • Premium ceramic model for 10th anniversary?

The Apple iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus brought a few changes to their design over the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus. The antenna bands on both were removed across the rear, the headphone jack was removed in favour of Lightning only and new colours were introduced in the form of Black and Jet Black. The Plus model also offers a dual-lens camera setup on the rear.

The iPhone 7 Pro, which has yet to see the light of day, was rumoured to feature the same Smart Connector found on the Pro line of iPads and a dual-camera. Of course the dual-camera ended up appearing on the Plus model, as we mentioned, but the iPhone has yet to see a Smart Connector.

As for the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, an all-glass design has been thrown about the speculation field. Glass would at least allow for wireless charging, a feature that has also been rumoured for the next iPhones. There has also been talk of a switch from an aluminium construction to stainless steel though, something Bloomberg also suggests, so it is currently unclear.

Sonny Dickson

That said, we wouldn’t be surprised to see a premium ceramic finish for the 10th anniversary iPhone. Apple used the material for its Series 2 Apple Watch Edition model and OnePlus also used ceramic as a finish for its X device. It could be that Apple launched the Jet Black iPhone last year as a test bed to see how people took to a glossy device, with the aim to introduce a more premium option this year.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the 2017 iPhone will look totally different to the iPhone 7. Apparently the Touch ID fingerprint sensor will be built into the display because Apple’s design chief, Jony Ive, wants the iPhone to look like “a single sheet of glass”. Samsung recently did this without a fingerprint sensor on its Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus so it is at least possible, though it might only appear on one model. 

We’d expect the headphone jack to remain missing and we’d also expect a dual-lens set up on the rear of at least one of the devices, something that has been supported with a recent schematic from Sonny Dickson, showing a vertical camera array. Dickson’s drawing also shows what appears to be the fingerprint sensor on the rear, which would see Apple doing what Samsung did.

BGR

There have also been some images of what is claimed to be a mockup iPhone 8 published on BGR. These images show a vertical dual camera on the rear, along with no physical home button, what appears to be glass on both the back and front and a thicker frame than the current models. There is no headphone jack, as expected, with speaker grilles either side of the Lightning port. It’s just a mock up though so don’t get too excited. 

Apple iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus: Display

  • Same size screens expected, plus additional 5.5-inch model
  • Edge-to-edge OLED display reported
  • Resolution increase rumoured

We’d expect the Apple iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus to stick with the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch screen sizes, as to go smaller would encroach on the iPhone SE’s territory and well, much larger would basically put the iPhone in iPad mini land, almost. As we said though, there has been talk of a third iPhone, which was originally thought to be 5.5-inches too, thouh there has been a rumour of 5-inches, as well as 5.8-inches.

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities claims the third device will have a redesigned OLED display, while the others will have an LCD display, with rumours suggesting it might not be till 2019 till all iPhones offer OLED. This is supported by a report from BGR that claimed only one of three iPhone 8 devices will have an OLED display.

Apparently OLED screen supply won’t be able to meet Apple’s requirements so the other two devices are said to be launching with LCD displays. The Korean Herald begs to differ however, suggesting all three iPhones will have Samsung-made curved plastic OLED displays. The Wall Street Journal also claims Ive is considering a curved, edge-to-edge OLED screen for the 2017 iPhone, as does Bloomberg.

iFanr

Bloomberg also claims sources say the display will cover the entire front of the device, like the recent Galaxy S8. This suggests the home button could be placed into the display, which is something a leaked schematic drawing alludes to. The drawing suggests there will be an edge-to-edge flat display with 2.57mm bezels. 

No doubt 3D Touch will be included in next year’s devices in some form too, probably more advanced than it is currently and we’d also love to see Apple Pencil compatibility, at least on the Plus model. The Investor has claimed Samsung Display is developing a pressure-sensitive OLED touch display for the iPhone 8, suggesting 3D Touch will indeed be on board. It is also thought Apple’s True Tone display, found on the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, will appear on the iPhone 8.

Will Apple up the display resolution for the iPhone 8 models? Who knows. A 2K AMOLED display was reported for the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, but it never appeared so perhaps Apple was holding out for the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, or the iPhone 8 Pro if Kuo’s and BGR’s predictions are accurate. 

A Quad HD resolution on a 5.5-inch display would put the pixel density at 534ppi, compared to the iPhone 7 Plus’s current 401ppi, while the smaller model would offer 635ppi, compared to 326ppi. A switch to AMOLED would also deliver a greater contrast ratio for brighter, punchier colours.

  • What is Apple’s True Tone display?

Apple iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus: Camera

  • Two 5.5-inch models expected to have dual camera
  • New 5-inch model claimed to have vertical dual-cameras
  • Iris or facial recognition predicted for iPhone 8

Apple’s iPhone 7 and 7 Plus both offer great camera capabilities, like the iPhones that have gone before them. The iPhone 7 has a 12-megapixel rear snapper, while the iPhone 7 Plus has a dual camera setup with two 12-megapixel snappers, one wide angle and the other telephoto.

Both devices have a f/1.8 aperture, along with optical image stabilisation and a quad-LED True Tone flash. The front camera is 7-megapixels on both devices with an aperture of f/2.2.

We’d like to see all the new iPhone models offering the same capabilities so a dual-setup on the both, or all three options would be welcomed. After all, opting for the smaller smartphone shouldn’t mean losing out on some of the fun features. Smaller hands want to be able to create bokeh images too.

That said, analyst Kuo believes the two larger phones predicted for 2017 will feature the dual-lens camera setup, while the smaller device will miss out, again. Another rumour contradicts this however, claiming a new 5-inch model will feature a dual-camera arrangement but in a vertical format rather than horizontal as it is now.

The same analyst also suggests the iPhone 8 will feature a “revolutionary” new front-facing camera that will be capable of facial or iris recognition. He believes Apple Pay would then use one of these security methods, over the fingerprint, which matches his previous claims of no physical button on the new device(s). Samsung offers iris recognition on its latest devices, and facial recognition isn’t new either, but whether Apple will jump on the bandwagon is something else entirely.

According to Bloomberg, the iPhone 8 will offer “more advanced cameras” so we can expect improvements somewhere, it is just not clear in what form as yet. 

Apple iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus: Hardware

  • A11 Fusion processor with embedded M11 motion coprocessor predicted
  • Same storage options expected
  • Wireless charging rumoured

The new devices will no doubt come with a new processor, which if tradition dictates should be called the A11 Fusion with an embedded M11 motion coprocessor. We’d also expect the same storage models as the current iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, meaning 32GB, 128GB and 256GB, as well as the same colour options. 

Of course, we’d love to see a bigger battery as always and it wouldn’t be too surprising to see the Smart Connector introduced to the next iPhone, allowing for the transfer of both data and power at the same time. According to the Wall Street Journal, the next iPhone will come with a “USB-C port for the power cord and other peripheral devices instead of the company’s original Lightning connector.”

That suggests Apple could ditch the Lightning connector, though this seems unlikely. Analyst Kuo suggests Apple will add USB Type-C to one end go the iPhone’s power cord, replacing the current USB 3.0, which seems like a more plausible suggestion.

As we mentioned though, wireless charging has been speculated after it was reported that iPhone manufacturer Foxconn is working on a new system. Apparently it will only be implemented if the yield rate can be deemed profitable though, and it’s also been claimed the technology might only appear on the larger iPhone.

Another report, also talking about wireless charging, has suggested the iPhone would be able to be charged from a distance of up to 15ft however. This is a technology being developed by Energous and there have been signs to suggest it is working with Apple, though no confirmation as yet.

Apple iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus: Software

  • iOS 11

Apple always launches its new iPhones with the latest software build, which is always previewed at WWDC in June. For the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, the software will be iOS 11, though we currently know nothing about what it might bring with it.

Like every yearly software update, there will be several new features and functions but we will have to wait a few more months to find out what some of these will be.

  • Apple iOS 10 tips and tricks

Apple iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus: Conclusion

Nothing is certain at the moment, except for the fact that Apple will launch a new iPhone, or iPhones, probably in September next year and these models will mark a decade since the original iPhone.

Whether the anniversary will mean a whole new design for the iPhone is not yet known, but we can expect it to offer power enhancements and a new software build at the very least. We wouldn’t be surprised to see a standard and Plus model again, as well perhaps a premium, or special edition anniversary model or finish that we think will be ceramic.

For now, keep checking back as we will update this feature whenever we see a new rumour appear or a new leak.

  • Apple WWDC 2017: When is it, where to watch and what to expect?
  • Best upcoming smartphones: The phones to look forward to in 2017
19
May

Destiny 2: Release date, screens, formats and everything you need to know


Destiny 2 is coming.

By the time it arrives, the original Destiny will be three-years old. And while it is still going strong, with a huge fanbase sticking with the online multiplayer first-person shooter, it’s just about time for a sequel.

Bungie has continued to provide excellent downloadable content for Destiny throughout its lifespan, with entire packs continuing the story and creating a deep, tangible sci-fi landscape almost on a par with Star Wars. And from what we’ve seen so far, Destiny 2 takes that to another level.

That’s why we’ve put together everything we know so far about Destiny 2, including confirmed release date, formats, screengrabs and trailers.

We’ll also be updating this piece regularly as we head towards release.

What is Destiny 2?

The original Destiny, which is still available for PS4 and Xbox One for less than £30 on Amazon.co.uk (and $40 on Amazon.com), including all the DLC, is an online multiplayer shooter with plenty of action for die-hard gamers and newcomers alike.

  • Destiny review

Its story offers progressively more difficult missions across different planets in a sci-fi setting, each of which can be played in groups or solo. There are also player versus player modes and side missions that can be completed. The game has a lot of role-playing elements too, with character and weapon customisation and progression.

Activsion

The sequel starts with the home of the Guardians, the Tower, falling to an all-new enemy, Ghaul. He with his Red Legion, attempts to steal the Traveler in order to take its power for his own. In the process, the Tower is destroyed and the Traveler’s light, which provides Guardians with their abilities, is lost.

It’s up to you, therefore, to help stop Ghaul and restore the Traveler to its rightful place in the Solar System.

Like the first game, there is a cinematic story that can be played solo or with others online, competitive player versus player online multiplayer, albeit with new maps and modes, and character customisation with more options than ever before.

The story is far bigger than before, with more cut scenes and characters. There is also an all-new map screen for each planet with hundreds if not thousands of side-missions and secrets to discover.

Destiny 2 is a completely new title, so any progress that players have from the original game will not carry over to the sequel. The campaign even touches on that, by stripping Guardians of their vaults and trappings as part of the storyline.

What’s new in Destiny 2?

There are several key changes in Destiny 2 – new features that Bungie hopes will enhance the Destiny experience.

The major one is the addition of clans. Players can group into clans, with the ability to create custom team banners and have their own rewards and experience systems that all members will share. What’s more, even if a clan member cannot play often, he or she will still benefit from the gaming exploits of his or her other team members. Every gameplay session will benefit everyone in a clan, whether they take part or not.

Guided Games is another new feature that really goes hand in hand with clans. If a solo player wants to take on a raid, trial or nightfall strike in Destiny 2 but isn’t a member of a clan or have enough friends to form a Fire Team, he or she can enter a Guided Game, with a clan taking him or her on board for the duration of the co-op mission.

The Crucible has had some fundamental changes that should make it more accessible to newcomers and those who felt intimidated by competitive multiplayer in Destiny.

Activision / Bungie

A new game mode, Countdown, is the first to bring attack and defend play to the franchise. You either have to stop a rival team from blowing up key points on the map, or blow them up yourself, with your team’s objective swapping in each round. You can also win by killing every member of the opposing team, much like the current Elimination mode.

But the biggest change to PVP is the restriction of the amount of players in each round. Every PVP mode in Destiny 2 is four versus four, which reduces the amount of chaos exhibited in the original with 12 players running around at the same time. That should help newbies settle into competitive bouts more easily.

Lost Sectors are an addition to the campaign. There are four worlds to visit in Destiny 2: Earth, Io, Titan and Nessus. Each has its own, unique style and landscape, but all of them get a new map system whereby you get to see important points of interest appear as you discover them. Among these are Lost Sectors, areas that can be explored for treasure and bosses to fight.

Non-player characters will inhabit each world and point out Lost Sectors, while also giving you side-missions to complete.

Activision / Bungie

New powers, weapons and sub-classes are coming to Destiny 2. The Titan, Warlock and Hunter classes get new Super Charged powers to play with, including Sentinel, which summons a light shield to protect you from harm and throw at enemies, Arcstrider, a mystical staff, and our favourite, Dawnblade, a flaming sword that you can fire from the skies.

Last, but by no means least for now, the PC version of Destiny 2 will be playable in 4K (3820 x 2160) with an uncapped framerate. We know, we played it in that format and it looks simply divine:

  • Destiny 2 preview: Hands-on with PS4 and PC campaign, strike and PVP modes

Destiny 2 release date

Destiny 2 will launch for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on 8 September 2017. The PC version will follow soon after and the digital download version will be exclusively available through Blizzard’s Battle.net.

There will be various disc editions of the game on sale, which are available for pre-order now. Activision has set-up a dedicated website for global pre-orders for all versions of the game: Standard, Game + Expansion Pass, Digital Deluxe, Limited and Collector’s editions.

You can also pre-order the Standard Edition of the game from Amazon in the US:

Destiny 2 for PlayStation 4

  • Standard Edition for $59.99 – pre-order it from Amazon.com here

Destiny 2 for Xbox One

  • Standard Edition for $59.99 – pre-order it from Amazon.com here

Destiny 2 for PC

  • Standard Edition for $59.99 – pre-order it from Amazon.com here

A Destiny 2 beta will be available to play in the summer, with early access passes to become available. More will be revealed on that in the coming months.

What do you get in the Destiny 2 special editions?

As mentioned above, Destiny 2 comes in several special editions as well as a Standard Edition version. Some are boxed and some are digital download exclusives. Here is what you get with each version:

Destiny 2 Standard Edition

  • Destiny 2 base game

Destiny 2 Game + Expansion Pass

  • Destiny 2 base game
  • Expansion Pass which includes Expansion I and Expansion II when they become available after release, offering brand new story missions, cooperative activities, competitive multiplayer, and a wealth of new weapons, armour, and gear

Destiny 2 Digital Deluxe Edition

  • Destiny 2 base game
  • Expansion Pass (as above)
  • Premium digital content which includes a legendary sword, legendary player emote and a Cabal Empire-themed emblem

Destiny 2 Limited Edition

  • Destiny 2 base game
  • Expansion Pass (as above)
  • Premium digital content (as above)
  • Limited edition steelbook case
  • Cabal-themed collector’s box which includes a booklet with secrets into the Cabal Empire, Cabal schematic, collectible postcard images and Cabal military pawns

Activision

Destiny 2 Collector’s Edition

  • Destiny 2 base game
  • Expansion Pass (as above)
  • Premium digital content (as above)
  • Limited edition steelbook case (as above)
  • Cabal-themed collector’s box (as above)
  • Destiny 2 Frontier bag – a customisable bag that can be worn as a messenger bag or backpack, comes with protective pocket for laptop up to 15-inches
  • Frontier kit which includes a solar panel USB charger with built-in light, paracord and solar blanket

Destiny 2 exclusive content

PlayStation’s YouTube channel confirmed that Destiny 2 will feature PS4 exclusive content.

Destiny 2 trailers

During the Destiny 2 Gameplay Premiere event held in Los Angeles on Thursday 18 May 2017, Bungie showed running gameplay for the first time. You can see a trailer for the gameplay below.

It also livestreamed the entire event, which you can still watch here.

We also recommend you take a look at the original teaser trailer, which premiered on 28 March, as it shows a very different side of Cayde-6, the Hunter Vanguard character from the Tower in the first game. It’s indicative of a new-found sense of humour that runs through Destiny 2.

Finally, the main announcement trailer is also worth catching up with. It gives you a brief overview of the fall of the Tower and the rally to take on Ghaul and the Red Legion.

Destiny 2 screens

Activision and Bungie have now released a whole stack of gameplay screengrabs, of campaign. strike and PVP modes. You can view them by clicking through the gallery at the top of the page.

Activision / Bungie

19
May

Huawei’s Watch 2 can last for weeks without its smarts


I’m a firm believer in the usefulness of smartwatches, but even I can’t deny that the product category is struggling. Despite Apple joining the fray with its first Watch two years ago, wearables still haven’t taken off with mainstream consumers. Google’s latest update to its wrist-based OS just started trickling out to the public, and it brings new features that make smartwatches more functional. Even then, there are problems with these devices’ battery life and design. It is in such a challenging time that we are introduced to Huawei’s Watch 2. It’s the company’s new Android Wear 2.0 device, and it already faces competition from LG, ZTE, Fossil and Tag Heuer. Fortunately for Huawei, the Watch 2 stands out thanks to its impressively long-lasting battery, comfortable design and reasonable price.

The black version I received isn’t exactly stylish, but I didn’t hate its sporty aesthetic. In fact, I was happy to see how well it matched my spring outfits, most of which involved black leather or denim. The watch’s rubber strap and relatively small footprint makes it more comfortable than the competing devices I recently reviewed. Huawei also offers a more-expensive Classic model, which has a less-sporty design, a plastic-and-stainless-steel case and a premium leather-and-rubber hybrid band that’s just as flexible.

Despite housing sensors for NFC, GPS, Bluetooth as well as a heart rate monitor, the Watch 2’s case is surprisingly thin and light (1.41 ounces), although it is still larger than an Apple Watch or a regular timepiece. Its ceramic bezel is not only lightweight, scratch-resistant and helps dissipate heat, according to Huawei, but also six times harder than the stainless steel used on most competing devices. Oh, and it looks polished, to boot.

The watch’s 0.49-inch plastic case is also thinner than many other Android wearables, which average about 0.57 inches, but that’s for the ones that have a cellular radio onboard. On the case’s edge sit two buttons at the two- and four- o’clock positions which bring up the apps list and Huawei’s workout mode respectively, but you can set the bottom key to launch any other app.

Moving on to the Watch 2’s round 1.2-inch screen, then. It’s bright and colorful enough to read, even in sunlight, and its 390 x 390 resolution is adequate for the small texts and images you’ll be swiping through.

You can also control the Watch 2 with your voice. This mostly happens through the Google Assistant, which you can summon by saying “OK Google” or long-pressing the top button on the side. Thanks to the onboard speakers, you can also play music from the watch itself, and you’ll have about 2.3GB of local storage to use. You probably should pair a set of Bluetooth headphones for better audio quality, though. Despite the lack of cellular support, the Watch 2 can still make calls over WiFi if it’s paired with an Android phone, and the onboard speakers come in handy here, too.

This is a good time to mention that the Watch 2 uses a 1.1-GHz Qualcomm processor. It’s generally pretty responsive, though there are occasional stutters, especially when Google Assistant is trying to interpret my commands. That being said, most Android Wear 2 devices seem to have this problem.

One of the highlights here is Huawei’s Health app, which uses all the data it tracks, like your heart rate and distance traveled, to deliver a more comprehensive picture of your workout. Unlike Google’s own app, it offers personalized coaching and tracks your cardio performance for activities like running, walking and cycling. The device will prompt you to speed up or slow down depending on your pulse, so you can achieve the appropriate cardio zone for the results you want (i.e. fat-burning versus interval training).

The watch will also prompt you to move when it detects you’ve been idle for too long. That’s pretty standard for most wearables today, but Huawei also displays a colorful cartoon that suggests some exercises you can try.i

To make full use of the activity-tracking features, you can launch Workout mode, which will make the Watch 2 continuously track your heart rate and position with the onboard GPS. In this mode, Huawei says the watch’s 420mAh battery will last about 10 hours. Under normal use, the company promises a two-day runtime. In my experience that seems about right, which is a pleasant surprise since most Android Wear 2 devices barely get through a day.

Huawei also offers Smart Power and Watch modes that let you stretch a charge by an impressive amount. Smart Power disables the Always-On screen and dims the brightness to squeeze a few more days out of the device. But Watch mode ditches everything except step counting and time telling, which will supposedly give you up to three weeks of juice. During my testing, I got through two days on normal use, and eked out two more days when Watch Mode later kicked in automatically. That’s far longer than any other Android Wear 2 device I’ve tested.

You know a feature is actually useful when you find yourself asking, “Why on earth hadn’t anyone else thought of this before?” Watch Mode is an intuitive power-saving setting that doesn’t appear to require too much to implement, so it’s baffling that other smartwatches don’t already do this. To be fair, many Android Wear watches offer a form of low power mode that dims the screen and disables always-on display to stretch battery life. But none of them have been able to achieve the longevity Huawei is touting here. If applied to other devices in future and combined with other energy-efficient battery technology, this could eventually alleviate one of the biggest problems facing smartwatches.

Ultimately, the Huawei Watch 2 stands out for its long-lasting battery wrapped in a surprisingly comfortable design, and all for a reasonable $300. Its robust fitness-tracking features, as well as support for GPS and Android Pay, add to its appeal, making it one of the best Android Wear 2 devices on the market.

19
May

Ford adds Android Auto and CarPlay to its 2016 vehicles


As it promised last year at CES, Ford has started updating 2106 Sync 3-equipped vehicles with Android Auto and CarPlay. That means drivers who have so far settled for the automaker’s in-house setup will essentially get a brand new infotainment system if they’d rather switch. Android Auto users can update via WiFi or the USB port, while drivers who want CarPlay will have to make a trip to their dealer and pay a fee.

Ford’s in-house Sync 3 system has received reasonably good reviews, but let’s be real — either Android Auto or CarPlay will be a big improvement for most users. The systems will play better with your smartphones, letting you move more smoothly from home to car to work with your apps, searches and locations following you.

Ford says that with either system enabled, most Sync 3 features like its in-house navigation system and AppLink will be disabled. Drivers can instead turn to Google or Apple Maps for navigation and any available Android Auto or iOS apps including Spotify, Skype or Amazon Audible Audiobooks.

Meanwhile, both Audi and Volvo just announced that they’d be adopting Android, not Android Auto, as the backbone of their own infotaintment systems. That will essentially make Google’s software the operating system for these units, controlling not only music and navigation, but the car’s air conditioning, sunroof and windows.

As Android is more full-featured than Android Auto, that should give both users and automakers more features and choices. For instance, in a demo during Google I/O’s presentation yesterday, Audi showed how it could push Android notifications and turn-by-turn GPS directions directly to the vehicle’s dashboard.

Via: Techcrunch

Source: Ford

19
May

Lab-grown stem cells could replace blood donations


Stem cells are kind of wild and can be used to create just about anything. Now, scientists have successfully created blood in a lab using the wundermaterial. As New Scientist points out, this could mean that certain cancer patients wouldn’t have to undergo painful bone-marrow transplants in the future. And, that finding donors for such could no longer be an issue.

The scientists found a quintet of proteins that encouraged the stem cells to become blood cells, and when put into lab mice, the cells made red-and-white blood cells and platelets. Another research team did something similar, but started with adult mice and lung stem cells. The ultimate goal would be using this blood for full-body transfusions

Don’t get too excited just yet. We’re still a few years out because this still has to go through intensive testing and clinical trials before it can be administered to humans. As New Scientist notes, there’s still a chance these stem cells could mutate and become cancerous. So, the current plan is to use them for platelet and red blood cell production — no nucleus means potentially no cell division and mutation.

Via: New Scientist

Source: Nature

19
May

Ofcom plans to let you switch mobile network by breakup text


Ofcom has today put forward a more detailed plan on how it intends to make switching mobile providers easier, and it’s as simple as sending a text. Instead of having to sit through an awkward call to your current carrier — which typically starts on hold and ends with you batting away upgrade offers and tariff discounts — customers will be able to shoot off a text or hop online and immediately receive the PAC code they need to transfer their number to a new provider.

Ofcom’s been thinking about simplifying the process for the best part of two years now. Initially, it floated the idea of “gaining-provider led” switching. This would’ve meant you only needed to talk to the carrier you wanted to move to, and it would take care of the rest, including cancelling your current contract. Thanks to Ofcom, this is how you go about changing broadband provider these days.

The “gaining-provider led” option is now off the table, as it would’ve cost the mobile industry an estimated £87 million to implement. In order to minimise costs that could trickle down to the consumer, Ofcom settled on the “auto-switch” process, which will cost less than half as much over ten years. While not quite as convenient, the expanded proposals address the majority of complaints customers have with the existing switching process.

After sending the free text message or doing the equivalent online, your current provider will be required to get back to you immediately with either your PAC code, or what’s called a “cancellation code” if you’re not fussed about keeping your number. In the same breathe, they’ll also notify you of any early exit fees and outstanding device costs you may be on the hook for, or remind you of your remaining credit balance if you’re on pay-as-you-go.

The code you receive will be valid for 30 days, and all you need to do is shoot this off to your new provider, which will be obliged to arrange the switch within one working day. This speedy system ensures there’s no overlap, so at no point should you be paying two carriers at the same time. In fact, Ofcom with ban mobile networks from charging any kind of notice period fee after you’ve decided to switch. This is also where the “cancellation code” comes in, because even if you’re not bothered about porting your number, the gaining provider needs this to confirm with your previous provider that the relationship’s over.

Though Ofcom now seems to have all the bases covered, it’s still putting the proposals up for consultation until the end of June. The regulator intends to have everything finalised by autumn, at which point we’ll know what kind of implementation timeline carriers are looking at.

Via: BBC

Source: Ofcom (1), (2)

19
May

The best car GPS


By Eric Adams and Rik Paul

This post was done in partnership with The Wirecutter, a buyer’s guide to the best technology. When readers choose to buy The Wirecutter’s independently chosen editorial picks, it may earn affiliate commissions that support its work. Read the full article here.

After spending more than 70 hours researching the latest car GPS models and testing the top contenders over 1,200 miles of rural, suburban, and urban orienteering, we recommend the new Garmin Drive 51 LMT-S as the best in-car navigation device for most people. It’s easier to use and more driver-friendly than the competition.

Who this is for—or when a phone isn’t enough

Though many people now rely on their smartphones for turn-by-turn directions, the best GPS devices can still make navigating to your destination easier, thanks to handy features such as built-in databases, displays that show clearly what lane to be in at interchanges and which highway signs to follow, points of interest with TripAdvisor and Foursquare integration, a speed-limit display for the road you’re on, a variety of driver and safety alerts, and more natural, landmark-specific voice directions. Although a smartphone can work well for most people for day-to-day navigation, we think stand-alone GPS units can be better in some situations, especially for longer trips. For more on who should get a car GPS, see our full guide.

How we picked and tested

For this update, we tested eight car GPS models. Photos: Rik Paul and Nathan Paul

To get the big picture of this category, we compared the specs and features of all current models. We did a survey of several hundred Wirecutter readers to see what their preferences were. And we looked at customer reviews on Amazon and Best Buy’s site to see what the consensus was on specific models and manufacturers.

For our newest update, we got the latest models from the major brands and put them through our thorough hands-on testing, logging hundreds of miles on highways and backroads to check out the latest features and assess their overall ease of use. We looked at how accessible the settings were, and how quickly we could input a destination and get a route. We tinkered with the screen settings, explored the various route-preference options, and gauged how quickly we could make the device do our bidding. For more on how we tested, see our full guide.

Our pick

The Garmin Drive 51 LMT-S provides the best blend of usability, features, and value of any of the models we looked at. Photos: Rik Paul and Nathan Paul

All of the devices we looked at performed very well during our testing, but none could match the Garmin Drive 51 LMT-S in its combination of features, value, and usability. It retains Garmin’s great user interface and broad feature set, which together have kept the company’s models among our picks and historically at the top of Consumer Reports ratings (subscription required). The Drive 51 LMT-S is the least expensive Garmin model we tested, but it has a clear 5-inch screen and all of the essential features we expect in a good GPS device, without the extras that many people can do without. It’s effortless to use and instantaneous in its responsiveness.

In addition to providing free lifetime map updates and traffic alerts, the Drive 51 LMT-S, like all of the models in Garmin’s Drive series, comes with a variety of key features. They include integration of millions of preloaded Foursquare-sourced destinations to supplement its own points-of-interest (POI) database; its Real Directions feature, which generates more-natural voice instructions (for instance, “turn right at the movie theater”); and compatibility with Garmin’s BC 30 wireless backup camera and babyCam. Like all current Garmin GPS devices, it also provides a suite of safety and driver alerts.

The Garmin Drive 51 LMT-S has a few quirks. For one thing, the TFT screen—which the unit has instead of a capacitive touchscreen similar to what you find on a smartphone—lacks real sensitivity, so you have to get used to tapping with a bit of oomph, and scrolling with your finger through menus is far from smooth. We often accidentally activated whatever menu option our finger landed on rather than successfully scrolling. Fortunately, the unit has big up/down arrows to the left that you can use if you don’t like the finger scrolling.

Runner-up

The DriveSmart 51 LMT-S has a multitouch screen with pinch-to-zoom capability. Photos: Rik Paul and Nathan Paul

Our top pick gives you everything you need for easy navigation for under $200. But if you don’t mind spending more, you can get what we’ve found to be some handy extras with the Garmin DriveSmart 51 LMT-S. It offers all the functionality of the Drive 51 LMT-S, along with a nicer display, voice-activated navigation, and the ability to easily update the device’s maps and software through its built-in Wi-Fi support. When connected via Bluetooth to your smartphone, the DriveSmart 51 LMT-S also lets you conduct hands-free phone calls and receive incoming text messages and calendar reminders, something our top pick can’t do. So if you appreciate a little nudge in convenience and your budget allows, skip straight to this model.

Budget pick

The TomTom Go 50 S is a good basic navigator that will get you to your destination. Photos: Rik Paul and Nathan Paul

If you want reliable navigation for considerably less cash, we recommend the TomTom Go 50 S. It’s a fully functional, if basic, navigator that has many of the hallmarks of modern devices, including lane guidance, traffic (through a smartphone connection), and free lifetime maps of the US, Canada, and Mexico. The Go 50 S also has the same 5 inches of screen real estate as our top pick, and in many metro areas it will display familiar landmarks in 3D mode so you can more easily orient yourself with the map.

Though it will alert you to safety-camera locations (speed and red lights), the Go 50 S doesn’t provide the array of alerts the new Garmin devices do. It’s slightly bulkier than the Garmin models, and for us its processor was a bit sluggish in response time when we tapped on the screen. Overall, we didn’t find TomTom’s interface to be quite as driver-friendly or helpful as Garmin’s. But the TomTom Go 50 S will reliably take you where you need to go for less money.

Upgrade for safety features

When you’ve navigated to an address, the Garmin DriveAssist 51 LMT-S switches to a real-life view of the street with your destination marked. When the pink circle reaches all the way around, you’re there. Photos: Rik Paul and Nathan Paul

With more drivers choosing to add a dash cam to their car, we’re now starting to see more combo devices that serve both as a GPS device and as a dash cam. For our latest update, we tested two such models: the Garmin DriveAssist 51 LMT-S and the Magellan RoadMate 6630T-LM. Of those two, we prefer the Garmin, mostly for the same reasons we’ve described for the company’s other models, namely the more refined interface and better overall navigational experience. Both models also provide a couple of camera-based safety features—forward-collision and lane-departure warnings—that give you an extra hedge against distracted or drowsy driving without your having to install additional sensors. And with these features, too, we prefer Garmin’s execution over Magellan’s.

This guide may have been updated by The Wirecutter. To see the current recommendation, please go here.

Note from The Wirecutter: When readers choose to buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn affiliate commissions that support our work.

19
May

‘Destiny 2’ on PC won’t have dedicated multiplayer servers


There’s good news, and bad news, about Destiny 2 for PC gamers. On the plus side is the fact that it exists on PCs at all — the first game never left consoles. But, unfortunately, it looks like we’ll have to settle for multiplayer matches without dedicated servers, PC Gamer reports.

Destiny 2 will instead continue to rely on peer-to-peer networking, like the original game. For players, it means that they might have to deal with more latency and instability during their frag fests. Dedicated servers, on the other hand, are typically more reliable and something PC gamers are used to seeing in big budget games.

“It is a complicated typology,” Destiny 2 PC lead, David Shaw, told PC Gamer. “We do not have dedicated servers for Destiny 2 on PC.” He went on to acknowledge problems some players have had with Destiny’s low “tick rate,” or the speed at which the game communicated with multiplayer peers and servers. While Shaw isn’t discussing any potential solutions yet, it’s at least a good sign that Bungie is thinking about issues from the last game.

Also a bummer for PC gamers, we still don’t know when they’ll actually get Destiny 2. While the game is scheduled to hit consoles on September 8th, things are still up in the air for the PC version.

“We’re not committed to a PC date yet, but at Bungie we’re totally committed to making a PC build as great as we can,” Destiny 2 director Luke Smith told PC Gamer. “Our partnership with Blizzard and being on Battle.net, we want to make sure that this version of the game has the time it needs to bake in the oven so it’s a delicious piece of bread when it comes out.”

Via: Polygon

Source: PC Gamer, (2)

19
May

Spotify expands its AI arsenal for better music recommendations


Spotify’s editorial selection and music discovery process are hard to beat (ahem, Google Play Music) and it might get a little better with the company’s latest acquisition. The music streaming service has just picked up Niland, a Paris-based machine learning startup that focuses on music search and recommendations. “The team from Niland will join our New York office and help Spotify continue innovating and improving our recommendation and personalization technologies resulting in more music discovery, which benefits both fans and artists,” a press release says.

“The best part of our journey was hearing from our clients how they were using Niland API to create innovative products that help musicians cut through the noise,” Niland writes.

Spotify has absorbed AI-minded companies in the past, and its Discover Weekly playlists have proven pretty popular with listeners. There’s a distinct chance that this could end up making its recommendations better than they currently are, which would be a boon for everyone involved. Users get relevant music to listen to which leads to artists earning more royalties and Spotify getting a cut of the streaming fees. It’s probably one of the more straightforward benefit paths in tech, to be honest.

Via: TechCrunch

Source: Spotify, Niland

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