DEVICES – News of The World Games – International World Games Association Mon, 03 Dec 2018 02:16:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 1MORE Spearhead VR gaming headphone review Sat, 14 Apr 2018 08:28:23 +0000 1MORE is an audio company that’s best known for their excellent 1MORE Triple Driver in-ear... more »

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1MORE is an audio company that’s best known for their excellent 1MORE Triple Driver in-ear headphones but the company is beginning to branch off into creating over ear and gaming headsets. Case in point: The 1MORE Spearhead VR is the company’s first gaming headset and it’s an impressive first attempt. The Spearhead VR features customizable RGB with different effects as well as DSP settings to simulate a surround sound setup.

1MORE Spearhead VR gaming headphone review

During our testing, we were impressed with the 1MORE’s great sound but came away disappointed by its little quirks. They’re by no means deal breakers but they’re something to be aware of if you’re considering the 1MORE Spearhead VR as your main PC headphone.


The 1MORE Spearhead VR features your typical gamer-oriented design, which means there are more glowing LEDs than an airport. The 1MORE logo, ear cup rings and superfluous mic “lightsaber” all illuminate and can be controlled in software. Beyond changing the color, you can set the Spearhead VR to breathe or mimic a heartbeat.

The headphone boasts a steel headband but a majority of the headphone is made of plastic. This is a bit disappointing as we were blown away by the all-metal construction of 1MORE’s excellent Triple and Quad Driver in-ear headphones.

1MORE Spearhead VR gaming headphone review

1MORE Spearhead VR gaming headphone review

The use of plastics also means we get annoying microphics – mechanical sounds like taps, creaks and cable noise are all transmitted through the headphone. Simply moving your head will result in hearing the cable scrape against your shirt. Tapping on the ear cups also creates a hollow sound that reverberates in the acoustic chamber for several seconds. This is absolutely maddening if small extraneous sounds bother you.

Controls for the 1MORE Spearhead VR can be found on the right earcup with a slider to toggle th noise cancelling mic on and off, as well as a volume wheel that can also change the amount of bass on the fly by depressing and rotating the wheel. In terms of connectivity, the Spearhead VR connects to your PC via a microUSB cable but 1MORE includes a nice 3.5mm cable so you can use the headphones with other devices on the go.


With all EQ and DSP turned off, the 1MORE Spearhead VR offer balanced, spacious sound: Bass is tight and controlled, and highs ever so slightly rolled off, and mids are solid with the bass only bleeding into the mids if you crank up the bass EQ or DSP. In short, these headphones will serve those looking for a headphone that is good for both gaming and music.

However, annoyingly, there’s a soft but still audible hiss from the headset when no music is playing, which isn’t a big deal but will drive audiophiles bonkers.

Turn all of the various 3D effect on, the sound quality gets noticeably more artificial sounding. Namely, the software tries to create a sense of space around your head but resolution takes a dive. You’ll hear enemy footsteps just fine but you’ll want to disable the virtual surround sound DSP settings when listening to music, which you can do inside the app. What we’d like to see 1MORE do is create shortcuts so that gamers can quickly switch sound profiles with a keyboard shortcut instead of having to launch the app and toggle presets.

Comfort – which is extremely important for gaming headphones – is just average. The quick-adjusting headband is nice but there’s slightly more clamping pressure that we would have liked. Additionally, our ears started getting steamy during extended gaming sessions even though the Spearhead VR features perforated ear pads.

One highlight of the 1MORE Spearhead VR is its noise cancelling microphones, which made our voice communications come across loud and clear in multiplayer games and calls.


The 1MORE Spearhead VR are an impressive first attempt by the company at crafting a gaming headset that also excels at music. Sound quality is a highlight as the Spearhead VR are more than capable of performing dual duty as music and gaming headphones. However, be sure to turn off any of the fancy virtual surround settings if you want to listen to your tunes without messing up the balance of the original recording.

While the sound quality impressed us, build quality could use some work. The headphones boast a steel headband and metal ear cup pivots but the rest of the headphone is made of plastic that creaks and groans when flexed. The problem is made worse by the annoying microphonics, which means you’ll hear a lot of cable noise when the microUSB cable slides across your clothing.

Against the competition, the 1MORE Spearhead VR are an undeniable value at $150 (about £106, AU$189) for all of its features. Gamers on a budget should check out the Kingston HyperX Cloud while audiophiles with bigger wallets should check out the V-MODA Crossfade Wireless 2, which accepts an optional mic for gaming. Alternatively, hardcore gamers who don’t care about music will want to check out the brutal-looking ASUS ROG Centurion 7.1 headset.

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Motherboard: BIOSTAR B150GTN Motherboard Released Wed, 12 Oct 2016 02:47:07 +0000 BIOSTAR Debuts Racing B150GTN motherboard and BIOSTAR SSD G300 to Thai Media and Power Users... more »

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BIOSTAR Debuts Racing B150GTN motherboard and BIOSTAR SSD G300 to Thai Media and Power Users

October 11th, 2016, Bangkok, Thailand – BIOSTAR is excited to announce its formal launch of the SSD G300 series and the RACING B150GTN mini-ITX motherboard for the Thailand market. Held last September 27 at Bangkok, BIOSTAR unveiled its latest addition to its ever-growing list of solutions for gamers, power users and enthusiasts. The new products will be available in the Thai market via STREK.

BIOSTAR B150GTN Motherboard Unleashed

In attendance were Thailand’s media and power users who were treated to try the latest and greatest line-up of BIOSTAR’s RACING series as well as its mainstream series of motherboards and other products.

On display were numerous builds and systems in cooperation with various partners including Thermaltake, Apacer SSD & Memory, Cooler Master and AMD Radeon graphics which together with BIOSTAR showcased their excellent line-up of enthusiast products as well.

BIOSTAR’s own Justin Wang addressed the attendees and states that “BIOSTAR intends to expand its line-up further and this is just us getting started. For now while we grow, we’re also showing our regional partners and customers that BIOSTAR is still committed in showing them that the company still invests in building a healthy relationship with them by holding this regional events and giving the opportunity to personally showcase our excellent products and give first-hand experience to our customers.”

Highlighting the event were BIOSTAR’s latest RACING series products, the RACING B150GTN and G300 SSD. More details are listed below:

The BIOSTAR RACING B150 GTN makes building powerful gaming PCs in the mini-ITX form factor more expressive and powerful thanks to the latest 6th-generation Intel Core processors, the RACING B150 GTN enables gamers to have the latest technology powering their systems for the best experience when they play. Next-generation storage via high-speed U.2 enables support for the fastest storage platforms of today to allow super-fast access to data so games load faster so you can get to the action quicker.

The RACING B150GTN inherits the RACING series signature feature of style with the its lighting function, fully compatible with 5050 LED strips with the 5050 LED Fun feature and users can fully tailor the style of their gaming rigs with the exclusive BIOSTAR VIVID LED DJ software that allows various way to personalize and customize your system lighting from static, breathing and music reactive lighting. Follow your style!

BIOSTAR designs the performance of the G300 series SSD for this purpose and beyond integrating high-speed DDR3 cache capabilities for extremely rapid access whilst also keeping in mind subtle design features like a smooth, unibody design with a completely screwless build promoting a minimalistic and clean look that melds with modern gaming chassis and system builds.

The new BIOSTAR G300 SSD adopts the unique 6U design concept that defines the product with its six focus design elements namely ultra-slim, ultra-fast, ultra-stable, ultra-durable, ultra-power saving and ultra-premium. All of which blend together to create BIOSTAR’s flagship storage product to deliver the performance and features that gamers need.

Attendees expressed their excitement and thrill over the BIOSTAR products and were very happy with the event. BIOSTAR acknowledges the importance in engaging their audience directly and the company hopes to do more regional launches in the future for its customers.

For more information: visit STREK website or Facebook Visit the new BIOSTAR website at: Read more about BIOSTAR 30 Years anniversary: For more information on the RACING B150GTN go to View More News at CyberMedia Press Center:


BIOSTAR, is a brand dedicated to the production of motherboards, graphics cards, industrial computing systems, IOT, and healthcare solution. Since its establishment in 1986, the BIOSTAR GROUP has become a major motherboard supplier in the IT industry as well as in IOT, Internet Of Things. In order to pursue the best quality and aesthetic design, BIOSTAR has invested heavily in ID design, equipment, global marketing research as well as R & D. With a constant emphasis on quality, BIOSTAR always seeks to beyond better and race to the future.

>>> Update to get some of new free games and watch some of video game reviews

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Best smartphone 2016 – buying guide & top mobile phone picks Mon, 10 Oct 2016 03:17:27 +0000 Find your perfect smartphone from our list of Android, Windows and Apple handsets Our smartphone... more »

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Find your perfect smartphone from our list of Android, Windows and Apple handsets

Our smartphone is one of the most important devices we use on a daily basis, but picking the right one for your needs and budget can be tricky when there are so many different handsets lining the shelves. To help you make the right choice, we’ve sifted through all our reviews to bring you the definitive shortlist of the best handsets currently available and which ones are the best value for money.

Every smartphone on this list has been tested and benchmarked in full, but we’ll be updating this list regularly with new entries as and when they come in for review. Be sure to also check out our handy buying guide on page two to help narrow down your choice even further. We explain everything from which operating system you should go for to screen quality, battery life and performance, and how much storage you’ll need. We also explain whether you need 4G and the best ways to buy your new handset.

1. Samsung Galaxy S7

Samsung galaxy S7 display

The Galaxy S7 doesn’t look that much different from the Galaxy S6, but the number of improvements it’s received inside make it by far the best Android smartphone we’ve ever seen. Its battery life is incredible, its speed is unprecedented, and it rectifies lots of the problems we had with the S6, as the S7 now has a microSD slot to expand the phone’s storage up to 200GB, and it’s also dustproof and waterproof.

The curvy S7 Edge is arguably more attractive than flat S7, but this year it’s also much larger, making the the regular S7 a better fit for those who want something a little more hand and pocket friendly. For more details, see our full Samsung Galaxy S7 review and check out all of the best Samsung Galaxy S7 deals on uSwitch.

Processor: Octa-core 2.3GHz Samsung Exynos 8890 Screen Size: 5.1in, Screen resolution: 2,560×1,440, Rear camera: 12 megapixels, Storage: 32GB / 64GB, Wireless data: 3G, 4G, Size: 142x70x7.9mm, Weight: 152g, Operating system: Android 6.0.1

2. OnePlus 3

OnePlus 3

If you thought the OnePlus 2 was great value for money, think again, as it’s now been replaced by the even more outstanding OnePlus 3. Even better, you don’t need an invite in order to buy one, as OnePlus has finally ditched its restrictive invite system and made the OnePlus 3 available to all right from day one.

With a Snapdragon 820 and a huge 6GB of RAM, the OnePlus 3 is one of the fastest smartphones around, rivalling the LG G5 (also listed below), and it’s almost as fast as Samsung’s Galaxy S7 as well. Combine that with 64GB of storage as standard and a stunning aluminium chassis, and this £309 smartphone has plenty of ammunition to compete in the smartphone big leagues. For more details, see our OnePlus 3 review. Buy the OnePlus 3 now from OnePlus

Processor: Quad-core 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, Screen Size: 5.5in, Screen resolution: 1,920×1,080, Rear camera: 16 megapixels, Storage (free): 64GB (52.6GB), Wireless data: 3G, 4G, Size: 153x75x7.3mm, Weight: 158g,Operating system: OxygenOS (Android 6.0.1)

3. LG G5

LG G5 display side

LG’s done the impossible with the LG G5, as it’s managed to combine a full metal unibody and an interchangeable battery. How has it achieved this feat of technical wizardry? By making the phone modular. It may not be the prettiest phone in this list, but the ability to tap a button and simply slide out the battery gives it a huge advantage over its fixed rivals.

It’s also incredibly quick, and its graphics performance even surpasses the Samsung Galaxy S7 below. Its 5.3in display is superb as well, and its rear dual cameras give it plenty of flexibility when taking photos. The main 16-megapixel camera is excellent, but its wide-angle 8-megapixel lens is also a really fun addition, giving creative types plenty to get stuck in with. For more details, see our full LG G5 review and check out all of the best LG G5 deals on uSwitch.

Processor: Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 Screen Size: 5.3in, Screen resolution: 2,560×1,440, Rear camera: 16 + 8 megapixels, Storage: 32GB, Wireless data: 3G, 4G, Size: 149x74x7.7mm, Weight: 159g, Operating system: Android 6.0.1

4. Motorola Moto X Force

Motorola Moto X Force

The Motorola Moto X Force is truly the king of all smartphones. With its incredible shatterproof display, you never need to worry about breaking your phone’s screen ever again. We’ve hit it with a baseball bat, chucked it on the floor (concrete or otherwise) and it’s come out completely unscathed.

It’s an astonishing feat of engineering, and to make things even better, Motorola has also equipped it with a gorgeous 5.4in 2,560×1,440 AMOLED panel, a super fast octa-core processor, a fantastic camera and one of the largest batteries we’ve seen this year. Even if you’ve never dropped a smartphone in your life, you never know when that dreaded day might arrive. With the Moto X Force, you can just keep on rolling with the punches, making it our top smartphone of 2015. For more information, see our full Motorola Moto X Force review.

Processor: Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 Screen Size: 5.4in, Screen resolution: 2,560×1,440, Rear camera: 21 megapixels, Storage: 32GB / 64GB, Wireless data: 3G, 4G, Size: 150x78x7.6mm, Weight: 169g, Operating system: Android 5.1.1

5. iPhone 7 Plus

Apple iPhone 7 review

The iPhone 7 and its Plus-sized counterpart are the most expensive iPhones yet, but it’s the Plus that makes this list due to its dual 12-megapixel camera. The normal iPhone 7 doesn’t have a dual sensor, and thus misses out on the Plus’ 2x optical zoom feature. It also has better battery life than its little brother, making it more reliable over the course of the day.

Elsewhere, Apple’s made several improvements to the phone’s speed and overall build quality, but it’s not quite as big a leap forward as you might expect from a next-generation smartphone. The iPhone 7 Plus is still the best iPhone ever made, but iPhone 6S owners should probably hang on to their handsets for a while before they upgrade. For more details, see our full iPhone 7 Plus review.

Processor: Quad-core A10 Fusion, Screen Size: 5.5in, Screen resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 Rear camera: 2x 12 megapixels, Storage: 32GB, 128GB, 256GB, Wireless data: 3G, 4G, Dimensions: 158 x 78 x 7.3mm, Weight: 188g, Operating system: iOS 10.0

6. Moto G4 2016

Moto G4 display

Step aside, budget smartphones, you’ve just been made obsolete by the brand-new Moto G4 2016. If you thought the 3rd Gen Moto G was a great smartphone, then prepare to get your socks blown off by the Moto G4, as this packs in even more power for just £10 more than the original launch price of the 3rd Gen model. It’s truly astonishing what Motorola’s managed to achieve with the G4, as its specs rival that of several smartphones that are twice as expensive.

With an octa-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 chip at its disposal, it’s faster than anything else in its price range, and its 3,000mAh battery also gives it buckets of stamina. Provided you’re not put off by the size, though, the Moto G4 is an absolute masterpiece and a more than a worthy upgrade over the existing 3rd Gen Moto G. For more details, see our Moto G4 2016 review. Buy the Moto G4 now from Motorola

Processor: Octa-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 617, Screen Size: 5.5in, Screen resolution: 1,920×1,080, Rear camera: 13 megapixels, Storage (free): 16GB (10.8GB) / 32GB, Wireless data: 3G, 4G, Size: 153x77x7.9mm, Weight: 155g, Operating system: Android 6.0.1

7. Nexus 6P

Nexus 6P hands on

The Nexus 6P might be a bit old-hat now that Google’s announced its new Pixel and Pixel XL phones, but they’re also astronomically expensive, matching the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus in terms of price. As a result, you’d do well to pick up a Nexus 6P if you can still find one, as this was one of the best phones of last year. It’s also got one of the best cameras we’ve seen, too, making it a fantastic all-round package for those after something phablet-sized. For more details, see our full Nexus 6P review.

Processor: Octa-core 2.0GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 v2.1, Screen Size: 5.7in, Screen resolution: 2,560×1,440, Rear camera: 12.3 megapixels, Storage: 32GB (25GB) / 64GB / 128GB, Wireless data: 3G, 4G, Size: 159x78x7.3mm, Weight: 178g, Operating system: Android 6.0

8. Samsung Galaxy J5

Samsung Galaxy J5

The Samsung Galaxy J5 is an incredible budget handset. Not only does it have a gorgeous Super AMOLED display – a real rarity at this end of the market – but in our tests, its battery life even surpasses that of the significantly more expensive Galaxy S7. That’s a pretty impressive feat for a phone that doesn’t cost more than £200 SIM-free, and it shows you don’t have to spend a lot on a top-flight flagship handset to get the best a phone can offer.

In fact, it’s a pretty close run race between this and Motorola’s 3rd Gen Moto G for our favourite best budget handset, and a large part of it will come down to whether you prefer to use plain Android (as on the Moto G) or are happy with Samsung’s TouchWiz interface. The Moto G has the edge when it comes to camera performance, but the J5 is still a highly accomplished smartphone for its price, and is easily one of Samsung’s best budget handsets to date. For more information, see our full Samsung Galaxy J5 review.

Processor: Quad-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 410, Screen Size: 5in, Screen resolution: 1,280×720, Rear camera: 13 megapixels, Storage: 8GB, Wireless data: 3G, 4G, Size: 142x72x7.9mm, Weight: 146g, Operating system: Android 5.1.1

9. Samsung Galaxy A3 2016

Samsung Galaxy A3 2016

If you’ve been waiting for a Galaxy S6 Mini, look no further. While technically part of Samsung’s new metal-edged A series for 2016, the 4.7in Galaxy A3 is, to all intents and purposes, a miniature S6 in disguise. It’s definitely one of the most attractive smartphones you can buy for under £300, even if its specs aren’t quite as powerful as its other mid-range competitors.

That said, the A3 has something that most other Android phones could only ever dream of at this price, and that’s a gorgeous Super AMOLED display. It’s also got one of the best battery lives I’ve ever seen on a mid-range handset, and its 13-megapixel camera isn’t half bad, either. For more details, read our full Samsung Galaxy A3 2016 review.

Processor: Quad-core 1.5GHz Exynos Octa 7580, Screen Size: 4.7in, Screen resolution: 1,280×720, Rear camera: 13 megapixels, Storage: 16GB, Wireless data: 3G, 4G, Size: 135x65x7.3mm, Weight: 132g, Operating system: Android 5.1.1

10. Vodafone Smart Prime 7

Vodafone Smart Prime 7

Most handsets under £100 are pretty awful, but the £75 Vodafone Smart Prime 7 shows other cut-price smartphones how it’s done. While the 2nd Gen Moto E is still my favourite current sub-£100 smartphone, the Smart Prime 7 comes a very close second. It not only looks great, but its 5in, 1280×720 display is arguably even better than the slightly more upmarket 3rd Gen Moto G. It’s not the fastest smartphone in the world, but it’s still got plenty of oomph for everyday tasks.

Just don’t buy it on contract, as you can get the same entry-level 250MB data deal for almost half the price if you opt for one of Vodafone’s SIM-only plans instead. For more information, see our full Vodafone Smart Prime 7 review.

Processor: Quad-core 1.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 210, Screen Size: 5in, Screen resolution: 1,280×720, Rear camera: 8 megapixels, Storage: 8GB, Wireless data: 3G, 4G, Size: 144x72x7.9mm, Weight: 128g, Operating system: Android 6.0.1

11. Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen, 2015)

Moto E 2015 press shot

If you’re looking for extremely low-cost Android phone that you can buy outright, the 2015 edition of the Motorola Moto E should be top of your list. It’s extremely good value. Its 960×540 screen is a little low-res, but its quality is very good. Performance is also respectable, and its battery life of 13h 30m in our video playback test is also extremely good for a budget handset. For more information, see our full Motorola Moto E (2015) review.

Processor: Quad-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 410,Screen Size: 4.5in, Screen resolution: 960×540, Rear camera: 5 megapixels, Storage: 8GB, Wireless data: 3G, 4G,Size: 130x67x12.3mm, Weight: 145g, Operating system: Android 5.0.2

Smartphone buying guide

Smartphones are so useful that they’re already near-indispensable in our lives, but finding the right one for you and your budget can be tricky, especially when there are so many expensive contracts to sift through. To make things easier, we’ve rounded up everything you need to know about buying your perfect smartphone as well as what you need to know about picking out a contract.

Which smartphone operating system do I need?

The first, and probably most important, decision to make is which operating system you want your phone to run. This will dictate what the phone is like to use, which features it has as standard and the apps you can install on the phone to add to its capabilities. There are three main choices: iOS, Android and Windows. All are slick, modern operating systems, but each offers a very different user experience and the handsets available with each OS vary widely.

iOS is only available on Apple’s own smartphones. Its big rival Android has made some great gains in terms of smooth operation, but iOS still feels like the slickest OS, as the phone never seems to judder or slow down – something which can happen on even high-end Android handsets. Some argue that its interface is a bit simplistic, and it’s not as customisable as Android, but there’s no doubt it’s incredibly easy to use and the latest version made it more open than ever before. See our full iOS 9.2 review for more information.

Apple iOS is also still the best-supported OS with the widest range of apps, although Android is very close behind. Finally, Apple is very good at providing updates for older handsets, so you’ll very likely be able to download and install the latest version of iOS when it’s released.

Android is iOS’s biggest competitor and is by far the world’s most popular smartphone operating system, running on around 80% of smartphones. Any handset manufacturer is free to make a phone with Android, which leads to a huge choice of smartphones at a wide range of prices. For this reason, most people will end up choosing an Android smartphone, as all the choice means it’s easy to find one that exactly fits your requirements. There are many different versions of Android available, but Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) or higher is recommended, as older versions are now outdated and may not have comprehensive app support.

On top of this, manufacturers customise their own version of Android, which means that the experience differs. For example, our Android 6.0 Marshmallow review explains how the latest version works, but the experience differs a lot between different manufacturers. Many phones are also still running Android 5.0 Lollipop. Our reviews, explain how Android behaves on that particular phone. These customisations mean that Android update process can be pretty painful, with the latest version of Android often taking months to arrive on a particular handset, as manufacturers have to make their operating system customisations work with the new Android version. If you’re wondering if your handset will get an upgrade, read our Android Marshmallow update guide for the full lowdown.

There’s a huge range of apps available in the Google Play store, and the number almost matches the number available in Apple’s App Store. Android app quality is also improving, but iOS apps generally still have the edge. Also, while app makers will almost always make a version of their app for iOS, not all apps make it over to Android.

The third main smartphone OS is Windows. This is also available on phones from different manufacturers, but Microsoft makes by far the most. Windows Phone is a highly accomplished OS, which is incredibly smooth and intuitive to use. We love its Live Tiles, which are large icons that display information from apps, such as your latest calendar appointments.

New Windows phones should now come with Windows 10 Mobile, but older handsets will still ship with Windows Phone 8.1. There’s not a huge difference between them, at least in terms of appearance, but Windows 10 is much neater and tidier overall. However, there are a couple of disappointments on Windows Phone, as there are nowhere near as many apps available for the platform as on Android and iOS. However, Microsoft is constantly updating the Windows Phone Store with new apps and services and the selection is improving rapidly. Before buying a Windows Phone handset, check that there isn’t an app missing from the platform which you can’t live without.

What should I look for in a smartphone display?

As most smartphones are controlled entirely with their touchscreens, the size and quality of a handset’s display is highly important. A larger screen will make everything easier to read and is particularly useful for web browsing, but a big display makes for a big phone which you may find harder to carry around.

Screen resolution is also important. The latest Android phones have Full HD (1,920×1,080) or above screens, so everything is incredibly detailed. However, this resolution isn’t strictly necessary: a 1,280×720 (or thereabouts) resolution still provides plenty of detail, while an 800×480 screen is fine for a budget model. A screen’s pixel density, measured in pixels per inch (PPI), will give you can idea of how clear and sharp text will appear on a screen; a smaller number of pixels stretched across a huge screen, for example, will lead to jagged edges.

Screen technology can be important, with Super AMOLED screens and LCD the two main technologies. In Super AMOLED screens, each pixel is self-illuminated, rather than filtering through light from a backlight as on LCD screens, so you get better contrast with deeper blacks, as well as lower power consumption. The disadvantage is that such screens use PenTile sub-pixel arrangements. In a traditional display, there are three sub-pixels per pixel (one red, one green and one blue), which combine to create a final colour; PenTile screens typically use two sub-pixels (one green and alternate red and blue). The result is that AMOLED screens may not have quite the colour accuracy of LCD models. Our reviews tell you how good each screen really is.

Performance and battery life

A modern smartphone is a proper computer, with most models having at least dual-core processors, if not quad-core. Some phones even have eight cores, with four lower-power cores dedicated to less-intensive tasks. The speed of a processor determines how fast each handset is, how slick the OS feels, and how the phone copes with complicated web pages, but you can’t tell this from specs alone. To test performance we run a web browser benchmark on each phone and also a 3D test to see how well a handset can cope with modern games.

One of the things that everyone wants from a smartphone is the best possible battery life, as it’s the one thing that has actually gotten worse over the years, with pretty much every single phone having to be charged at least daily. Here at Expert Reviews we test all of our phones at the same screen brightness, so there’s a level playing field. We test by playing back a video, which requires the screen to be on and the processor working quite hard. What this test gives us is a comparison between phones, so we can see which one has the best battery life overall. However, I should point out that this is a continuous stress test, with phones lasting for longer in day-to-day life.

Even so, being able to compare phones in this way helps you make the right decision about the handset that’s right for you, choosing the one with the longest battery life if you’re going to spend a lot of time away from a power socket. All of our main phone reviews have battery life scores in them, but if you want to see how all of the current flagship phones stack up (as well as all of the other models released last year), you need to read our best smartphone battery life article before you choose which handset to buy.

How much smartphone storage do I need?

Having enough storage space is vital. Apps, especially games, take up plenty of room, and you’ll also need space for your photos, videos and music. All phones have a certain amount of onboard storage, but a handset’s pre-installed apps can eat into that. Our reviews will tell you if there’s not much space left for you to use.

Some phones let you expand their storage with microSD cards. With 32GB cards costing less than £20, this is a cheap way to add more capacity. Generally speaking, a minimum of 8GB of onboard storage is fine if there’s a microSD card slot; 16GB should be the minimum otherwise. Some cheap phones only have 4GB of onboard storage, so you’ll definitely need to add a microSD card to get the most out of your smartphone.

Do I need 4G on my smartphone?

All smartphones support 3G, but only some models support 4G (LTE). 4G is incredibly fast, but 4G contracts can still be expensive. Prices are coming down, however. Bear in mind that all smartphones have Wi-Fi built in, which will help you cut down on mobile data use when you’re on your home or a guest network, as well as letting you take advantage of super-fast data speeds.

How should I buy a smartphone?

You can get smartphones from £80 all the way up to around £800, but this largely depends on how much you’ve got and how you want to pay. Generally speaking, buying a phone unlocked and SIM-free is the best option, as you can use any SIM you like and sell the phone when you want to upgrade, but you do have to have the money up-front. Don’t buy a PAYG phone, as you’ll end up paying the SIM-free price, but with your phone locked to a network (with the exception of on Three, which doesn’t lock phones). If you can’t stomach the up-front cost, then go with a contract, but work out the total cost of it over the period to make sure you aren’t getting ripped off: if you can afford a bit more up-front, you’ll most likely save over the contract’s length.

Contract or up-front?

While most of us buy our phones on contract, there has been a growing number of SIM-only deals, designed for people that have bought their phone outright. So, which one is the right way to do it? Well, it largely comes down to budget and how much up-front money that you’ve got. With a phone contract, you don’t have to put much money down up-front, instead paying the cost of the phone over a set period (24-months is usual). This increases the monthly price and means that you’re also paying interest on the phone purchase, but you can get the latest handsets without having to pay a huge amount for them.

With SIM-only you need a large lump sum, but you don’t pay interest on it, can sell and upgrade whenever you like and you have lower monthly payments. Expert Reviews investigated the SIM only vs contract question in greater deal, including resale values of handsets to help you make the right decision.

>>> Check out to read some news about game of thrones and online games for kids

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How to build the best high-end gaming PC Sat, 08 Oct 2016 02:41:08 +0000 We pick the best components, with the best prices, for your next high-end rig build.... more »

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We pick the best components, with the best prices, for your next high-end rig build.

The best gaming PC – Our recommended mid-range build for most gamers. The best budget gaming PC – Build it on th e cheap! The best high-end gaming PC – You’re going all-out with a beastly rig.

Not everybody can afford a high-end gaming PC. That’s partly because PC parts generally aren’t cheap, but it can also be the result of differing ideas on what “high-end” actually means. PC Gamer’s high-end PC build guide has aimed for a price tier of $2,000 (£1500) in the past, and that’s what I attempted to stick to here.

A $700 or $800 PC is head and shoulders above any console you can buy. Sure, you can go cheaper with a PC, but racing to the bottom isn’t what PC gaming is about. And once you start dipping below $600 it’s hard to see the advantage of the PC anyway. Console makers get their parts in bulk on the cheap, and it’s hard to fight against that kind of scale with retail parts. At the next tier of $1,300, you can see improved frame rates and quality settings due to the graphics cards that become available. And at this tier of $2,000, we try to push a good bit further with the highest-end graphics cards within reason.

Our build’s CPU increased slightly in price this month, but we swapped out the GTX 1080 Founders Edition for an EVGA custom cooled 1080 and kept the overall system price in check.

We based this build upon prices we could find at the time we updated this article, but prices do change. You’ll find real-time prices for the parts below.

CPU: Intel Core i7-6700K

$329.00 AT AMAZON
£304.98 at Novatech Ltd
£310.00 at Amazon
Last time this guide was touched, it was noted that the next build would switch to a Haswell-E CPU. While I felt the pressure to conform to this, I held back and  stuck to the i7-6700K. There’s a few reasons why.

First of all, the 6700K’s prices were floating high for quite some time. At one point, the 6700K actually cost more than the i7-5820K that would have been the logical Haswell-E part to go with. Had those prices stayed, I would have gone with the Haswell-E part (along with an X99 motherboard that it would require), but prices have fallen and seem to have stabilized, making the 6700K the better choice (for now).

Another reason is the fact I stuck with a single GPU. While there’s enough juice from the 850W PSU to add in another GTX 980 Ti, the base build is around a single GPU. For that, the extra PCIe lanes that the 5820K provides would go unused here. The i7-6700K has 16 lanes on board, which is enough for a single graphics card at PCIex16. If another card would be added in, dropping to PCIex8 isn’t all that big of a hit, considering the extra oopfh the second GPU would provide.

On top of all that, the i7-6700K offers a significantly higher stock clock speed over the i7-5820K. (I’ve seen overclocks with AIO water coolers of up to 4.8GHz, though that level tends to get touchy when it comes to stability in heavy number crunching tasks.) Granted the 6700K has two fewer cores, but this is a gaming rig, not a workstation. If someone wants to get serious about video encoding or doing some heavy-duty work in the Adobe Creative Suite however, the Haswell-E system will be the better buy.

Motherboard: Asus Maximus VIII Hero

$169.99 AT NEWEGG
$199.99 at Amazon
£187.45 at Amazon
There are a lot of Z170 motherboards to choose from right now, and the Maximus VIII Hero comfortably in the midrange area of premium boards.

Motherboards in this class usually cost anywhere from $225 to $260, and this particular board’s price fell from when this guide was last updated. That’s a win for us, and an incentive to keep this board around. The price was also an incentive for us to stay with Z170 instead of going for X99. This is a mid-tier Z170 motherboard, but for its price, you’ll only find “entry-level” X99 boards that go for about $250. (To be fair, many of those boards, like the MSI X99A SLI Plus are really great.)

The Hero is built with overclocking and gaming in mind, but lacks somee of the more  top-shelf features that its bigger brothers the Maximus VIII Formula and the Maximus VIII Extreme. To be fair though, those boards run for $400 and $485 respectively. With those prices in mind, we’ll take the Hero with a smile.

The Maximus VIII has USB 3.1 ports, three x16 PCIe 3.0 slots, and a x4 PCIe M.2 slot to accommodate the Samsung 950 Pro. It uses Intel networking and has convenient on-board buttons. It’s a standard ATX board, so it will fit in almost any tower case.

Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws 4 Series DDR4 2400 (32GB)

$65.99 AT NEWEGG $68.00 at Amazon
£70.91 at Amazon
The last time this was written, the build called for a kit of DDR4-2666. In the interest of slimming the price a bit, I dropped the speed down to 2400MHz. As long as you have enough memory and a decent speed, memory really isn’t much of a bottleneck when it comes to gaming. Going from 2400MHz to 2666MHz might offer one or two extra FPS, which is hardly worth noting.  The quantity of your RAM will often have more impact than the clock speed of the RAM. And I made sure to pad this build with quantity–to the tune of 32GB.

RAM clocks more if you’re going for extreme overclocking, and only starts to make sense when building systems that creep towards $3,00 or $4,000.

Coming from Maximum PC, using 16GB of RAM is considered mid-range for most of those builds. Most modern gaming systems should really have 8GB at bare minimum, 16GB for good measure, and 32GB if you want to be care-free. Want to open 20 tabs in Chrome and play The Division in windowed mode? You can do it with 32GB of RAM.

It also helps that RAM is fairly cheap, and has been getting cheaper. And since I was willing to go with 2400MHz, I was able to get more for the money. These sticks are from G.Skills Ripjaws 4 Series, which have timings that are quite good. When buying RAM, it’s usually a face-off between G.Skill’s Ripjaws 4 or V series, and Corsair’s Vengeance LPX series. At these clock speeds, I look for CAS latency of 15 or less and a decent price.

Graphics card: EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 FTW DT GAMING ACX 3.0

$649.99 AT NEWEGG
$683.95 at Amazon
Now that the GTX 1080 has officially launched with the GTX 1080 Founders Edition, the GTX 980 Ti has been knocked off its throne—along with the rest of the Maxwell line.

At $700, the Founders Edition of this card offers a new blower design andrepresents the “reference” model of the GTX 1080. The downside to this is that the Founders Edition card is about $100 more than the GTX 1080 “non-Founders” MSRP of $600.

So we went with an EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 FTW DT Gaming ACX 3.0 graphics card, which is priced at $650. The EVGA is cheaper than a Founders Edition card, but offers the same performance. It doesn’t use a blower-cooler fan like a Founders Edition, but its open air cooler is perfectly suitable for a single-GPU gaming system. Those who plan to SLI will want to examine cards that have blower-fans, as they exhaust the hot air outside of the case. For open-air fans, there’s no need for concern if your case is well cooled and has good airflow.

Power supply: EVGA Supernova 850 watt G2 80 Plus Gold

$119.32 AT AMAZON
$139.99 at Newegg
€149.13 at Amazon Germany
When it comes to power supplies, EVGA’s G2 series are a favorite of mine. All of them sport an 80 Plus Gold Rating, and a fully modular design to help keep cable mess at a minimum. But if there’s one thing that sets the G2 apart from its peers, it the 10-year warranty that it comes with. Lots of power supplies offer warranties of five years, but knowing that your PSU should continue to function with normal use for a decade is the kind of peace of mind I like to have. And I’m saying this as someone who’s had their PSU burn out and fail on them in the middle of a WoW raid.

The 850W maximum load is plenty for this rig, and leaves plenty of room for a second GPU should the need arise. I usually like to leave 50-100W of headroom above the estimated maximum load of the system, and this PSU offers more than that for this configuration.

Primary storage: Samsung 950 Pro SSD (256GB)

$184.99 AT AMAZON
$186.99 at Newegg
£179.18 at Amazon
SSDs have been more expensive than HDDs since, well, forever. The advent of non-volatile memory express (NVMe) is yet another step above the good ol’ SATA SSD, both in performance and price. With sequential read speeds of 2,200MB/s (that’s megabytes per second, mind you), you won’t be spending a whole lot of time on loading screens.

The 950 offers blistering speeds for $180, but still remains a bit of a luxury buy.

Secondary storage: Samsung 850 EVO (500GB)

$162.99 AT NEWEGG
$169.99 at Amazon
£139.99 at Amazon
Samsung’s 850 Evo is the go-to SSD I recommend for most builds. The 850’s speeds are fast, and performance is more consistent than most of its competitors. The biggest thing holding back the 850 Evo is the fact it’s riding on the SATA bus, but it still offers impressive sequential reads of up to 540MB/s.

At $150, this drive shows why the 950 is such a luxury item. This drive is twice the capacity, but costs less. For builders who just don’t want to shoulder the financial burden of the 950 Pro but want the ease of installation that M.2 offers, the 850 Evo comes in M.2 as well. And that’s M.2 SATA, not NVMe. That’s important because you have to make sure your motherboard supports SATA M.2. I’ve seen and used some mobos that only support PCIe-mode M.2 slots, which nixes any hope of using a SATA drive like the 850 Evo.

For a while, the M.2 and 2.5-inch versions of the 850 Evo were at near parity, and you can still find deals on the M.2 drives from time to time. As it stands right now, the M.2 version can cost from $30 to $50 more than the 2.5-inch version. That can be a deal-breaker for some, especially since the drive offers identical speeds over a SATA cable or M.2. For some builds (like small form factors), the premium can still be worth the extra cost, though.

If you prefer more capacity to the speed, the you can find a 2TB WD Black for around $122.

CPU cooler: Corsair H100i v2

$101.20 AT AMAZON
$104.99 at Newegg
£94.99 at Amazon
Corsair’s Hydro series of CPU coolers are a good solid base when it comes to all-in-one closed-loop solutions. You can find better options, but when it comes to price and simplicity, Corsair’s offerings just get the job done. My current go-tos when it comes to Corsair are the H80i v2 and H100i v2.

Thee biggest difference between the H80i v2 and the H100i v2 are their form factors. If mounted and employed correctly, their cooling abilities are nearly evenly matched. While the H80i is about $20 cheaper than the H100i, I went with the H100i here because it is a more natural fit when top-mounted in the Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 5.

Disc drive: LG UH12NS30 Blu-ray reader

$48.99 AT NEWEGG
$49.99 at Amazon
£42.98 at Novatech Ltd
I personally don’t build systems with optical drives any more. Games are downloaded from the Internet, and movies are streamed (or downloaded as digital copies). But I know someone might want to keep a Blu-ray drive around for good measure.

This model was one of the cheaper drive options I could find, and also has the added bonus of being a DVD writer. That’s DVD, not Blu-ray. Blu-ray burners fetch a higher price, for those who want to distribute home-made HD masterpieces.

Case: Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 5

$169.99 AT AMAZON
£99.08 at Amazon
£123.02 at Gameseek
I get to build a lot of systems, so I know what I like in a case. I love modularity, which the MasterCase 5 delivers in spades. I also like good cable management and a PSU partition in a case too. Check, and check.

The MasterCase 5 is a great case for it price class. It has wonderful airflow, the ability to remove all of the cages (including the 5.25-inch ODD cage) if you so desire. The design might not be for everyone, but if you want a clean build without going above $150, this is one of the best cases to get. And this case is easy as hell to build into, so veterans and newbies alike can appreciate it.

I opted for the Pro version in this build guide, which adds $20 to the $105 base price. The Pro version gets you extra accessories that together cost more if they were purchased individually.

The most important accessory here is the radiator shield for the top of the case. Since the MSI GTX 980 Ti likes to spit out hot air into the case, keeping an unobstructed and high-airflow configuration will help keep the GPU happy. This is achieved by mounting the H100i up top, so that only cool air from outside the case is pushed back to the GPU. If you don’t want to spend the extra $20 for the Pro package, the H100i mounts easily to the front of the case in a vertical configuration. If you choose to go that route, I’d advise you to make sure your chassis fans are mounted to help vent warm air out of the top and rear of the case.

>>>> Check out to get list of new games coming out and upcoming video games

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Some Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones 2016 Wed, 05 Oct 2016 03:18:39 +0000 Sometimes you want to isolate yourself from the sounds of the outside world. The drone... more »

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Sometimes you want to isolate yourself from the sounds of the outside world. The drone of other people in the office, the sounds of traffic in the street, the constant droning of an aeroplane… What you want is a pair of active noise-cancelling headphones.

While active noise-cancelling headphones can have a price premium compared to regular headphones, the extra price can be more than worth it if you’re a regular commuter. ANC headphones can make even the worst commuter experience slightly more bearable by letting you enjoy your morning podcast or music playlist free of disturbance. ANC can also mean you don’t have to crank the volume up quite so high, helping conserve your hearing.

Hit the dropdown menu above to head straight to our short reviews, or read on for more buying advice. You can also click through to read the full reviews to find out everything you need to know about each model.


When considering headphones like these, there are a few basic questions you need to ask yourself.

First and foremost, do you want in-ear models or a larger over-ear or on-ear type? With in-ear pairs, all the cancelling gubbins is packed into a little remote housing that’s built somewhere along the cable. It generally gets a bit annoying, unless you wear clothes that are happy to accommodate a shirt clip. Larger pairs, such as Bose’s mega-popular models, fit everything into the earcups themselves. They’re therefore a lot neater and easier to live with.

A quirk of Bose’s active noise-cancelling on its QuietComfort 25 headphones was that they wouldn’t output any sound at all unless cancellation was switched on. Run out of battery and you were well and truly stuffed. Thankfully, the newer wireless QuietComfort 35 can fall back on a completely passive, wired experience when the battery runs out. Of course, this comes at the sacrifice of ANC. Some alternatives pull the same trick, while others don’t. Bear this is mind if you know you tend to spend a long part of your day away from a charger.

However, the battery life of ANC headphones is improving. These days, you’re looking at around 20 hours, though some offer up to 50 hours of use. Similarly, while many pairs use custom rechargeable units, plenty of others rely on good old AA/AAA batteries.

Last, but by no means least, there’s the question of sound quality. Buying into ANC, you’ll just have to accept that the sound won’t quite match the very best regular headphones at the price. It’s not a tech that can simply be slotted in for free. Some people can also experience discomfort from the perceived feeling of ear pressure some ANC headphones can exhibit, so it could be worth auditioning a pair before parting with your cash.


Key features:
  • Over-ear design
  • Active, adjustable noise-cancelling
  • aptX Bluetooth

The Sony MDR-1000X are the best noise-cancelling headphones on the market. Not only do they block out a tremendous amount of noise, they’re also wireless, with aptX Bluetooth. They’re also very clever, with modes that let you choose how much sound to let in, in case you want to listen out for airport announcements. A particular highlight is the Quick Listen mode, which mutes your music briefly, so you don’t need to remove your headphones for a quick chat. All that, and they have touch-sensitive swipe controls, they’re comfortable, the battery life is long – and they sound lovely too. At the time of review the Sony MDR-1000X was available for £330.


Key features:
  • Over-ear design
  • Active noise-cancelling
  • Bluetooth

The Bose QuietComfort 35 take the same great active noise-cancelling of the long-standing QuietComfort 25 and finally add Bluetooth wireless pairing. Without the tether of a wire, the QuietComfort 35 are incredibly comfortable and have great battery life to boot.

At time of review the Bose QuietComfort 35 were available for £289.95.


Key features:
  • Over-ear design
  • Active noise-cancelling
  • Passive listening mode

The Sony MDR-100ABN h.ear on Wireless combine serious street cred-worthy looks with wireless functionality and excellent active noise-cancellation prowess. They’re priced very competitively, too, undercutting rivals by a considerable amount. These circumaural (over-ear) cans completely envelope your ears but are supremely comfortable. They also support Bluetooth aptX and Sony’s LDAC codec if you have a higher-end Sony Walkman or Xperia smartphone. Battery life at 20 hours is great and there’s a 3.5mm jack to fall back on if the battery runs out.

At time of review the Sony MDR-100ABN h.ear on Wireless were available for £219.


Key features:
  • On-ear design
  • Active noise-cancelling
  • Passive listening mode

The ultimate commuter headphones, the AKG N60 hit all the right notes. The noise-cancelling feature is impressive, and they‘re also compact and comfortable. Though they’ll be an expensive purchase for most, we think the price is fair when compared to close competitors.

At time of review the AKG N60 were available for £230.


Key features:
  • Over-ear design
  • Active noise-cancelling
  • 24-hour battery life

The Plantronics BackBeat PRO is a superb pair of over-ear headphones that feature 24-hour battery life, which stretches to 60 hours without noise-cancellation. They also provide great sound quality, impressive ANC and a host of easy-to-use controls. The only downside is comfort, with the earcups feeling like they could do with a bit more padding.

At time of review the Plantronics BackBeat PRO were available for £150.


Key features:
  • Over-ear design
  • Active noise-cancelling
  • 3-button remote for iOS and Android

The Bose QuietComfort 25 is a great pair of noise-cancelling headphones for taking the stress out of the city. The set looks more youthful than some of the other models in the QuietComfort line, and noise-cancellation is very good. However, the AKG N60 are very tough to beat.

At time of review the Bose QuietComfort 25 were available for £269.99.


Key features:
  • On-ear design
  • Active noise-cancelling
  • Passive listening mode

The Sennheiser PXC 550 certainly don’t come cheap, but for the money these are feature-packed cans fitting of Sennheiser’s reputation. The active noise-cancellation can be adjusted based on your environment, too. It’s a nice change from the binary on-or-off choice found on many ANC headphones. There’s also a number of digital sound processing (DSP) modes for when watching movies. The outside of one of the earcups is also a capacitive touchpad to provide intuitive media controls and these headphones can fold up for easy transportation.

At time of review the Sennheiser PXC 550 were available for £330.


Key features:
  • Over-ear design
  • Active noise-cancelling
  • 8-hour battery life

The Creative Sound Blaster EVO ZxR are expensive, but they’re difficult to fault in the areas that really count. These over-ear cans are comfortable, sound fantastic and offer plenty of connectivity. It’s just a shame they’re not particularly stylish.

At time of review the Creative Sound Blaster EVO ZxR were available for £250.
>>> Check out to read some news about game of thrones and online games for kids

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GEMBox reviews: A low-priced and capable Android console Tue, 04 Oct 2016 03:05:21 +0000 A low-priced and capable Android console let down principally by its focus on games Google’s... more »

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A low-priced and capable Android console let down principally by its focus on games

Google’s Android operating system works perfectly on smartphones and tablets, but it’s always had a bit of trouble when it comes to the TV. Google’s own Nexus Player, Nvidia’s Shield TV and a slew of Android consoles like the ill-fated Ouya and long-forgotten GameStick all prove that Android still has a way to go as a home entertainment platform. Sadly, EMTEC’s GEMBox continues that trend.

Perhaps I’m being a little unfair, because what the GEMBox does well, it does fantastically so. Having used the dinky box for the best part of three months, this isn’t some half-baked attempt at a portable Android TV streamer or console. Instead it’s a considered solution targeted at a very specific market. Whether we in the UK match that demographic is another question entirely, though.

GEMBox review: The good

But, before I get to my concerns over GEMBox, let’s cover the stuff it does well. First, it’s fantastically simple to set up and get started with. All you do is plug-in a power lead and HDMI cable to get started.

Because of this simplicity, and its tiny 83 x 83 x 23mm size, the GEMBox is perfect for popping in your bag and using on your travels. You don’t even have to worry about dodgy hotel Wi-Fi as many Android games are playable without an internet connection and you can store films on a microSD card or USB drive.

As EMTEC want GEMBox to be a family-friendly portable Android games console, it’s gone to a lot of trouble to create it’s own custom user interface. Instead of simply directing you at a list of stock Android TV-friendly titles, or sending you to browse the Google Play Store, EMTEC has hand-picked more than 100 games that it assures us work perfectly on GEMBox.

Games are split into different genres with their PEGI (Pan-European Game Information) rating clearly on display, and there are warnings on titles that have in-app purchases, all before you decide to download and play.

It’s also possible to side-load games and apps onto GEMBox’s 16GB internal storage and, if you fancy something a bit meatier than Android titles, you can use it to stream games from your PC directly to your TV. Even if you don’t have a PC, the GEMBox can connect to GameFly’s on-demand game streaming service so you can play console games like Batman: Arkham City or a number of the LEGO games for a monthly subscription fee.

The titles on offer via GameFly won’t set the world alight, but that’s fine. The audience  EMTEC is targeting with the GEMBox isn’t comprised of die-hard gamers but families with kids who are interested in games but not enough to warrant the purchase of an Xbox One orPS4.

>>> Update to get some of new free games and watch some of video game reviews

GEMBox review: The bad

Because EMTEC has focused on pushing games as the front-and-centre of GEMBox – so much so that it comes with a controller as standard – other areas of the box suffer greatly in comparison.

Its UI may be perfectly suited to finding a game you’d like to play, but doing anything else is horribly clunky. Trying to find a standard app is a farce as the Google Play Store really doesn’t play nice with the controller.

To circumvent such navigational issues, especially when browsing the web or using apps like Crunchyroll or YouTube, EMTEC provides a “mouse” mode toggle switch on its controller. It’s hardly an elegant solution to the problem and, as far as I’m concerned, will only serve to alienate your average user.

Another major problem is the GEMBox’s lack of compatibility with big-name TV streaming apps such as NowTV and Netflix. Because the box uses Android 4.4 KitKat as its core OS (later versions of Android don’t allow for custom-built UI – instead forcing manufacturers to run Android TV) – many of the apps you’d expect to use simply aren’t compatible. There are workarounds via compatible services such as Kodi or Aptoide that allow you to download compatible APK files, but many consumers won’t want to deal with such compromises when buying – what should be – a complete product.

Another minor niggle is its custom keyboard. Using a similar approach to Valve’s Big Picture Mode on Steam, GEMBox’s Android keyboard assigns a letter to the pad’s coloured X, Y, A, B face buttons. It’s a dream to use for fast typing, but if you’re browsing the web or using mouse mode in an app, you’ll need to continually switch back to gamepad mode to actually be able to type. It’s fussy and cumbersome, but isn’t a total deal-breaker.

Using EMTEC’s optional remote, which comes with a built-in keyboard, would help alleviate many of the navigational issues – as it also turns into a Wii-style pointer for mousing – but it’s still far from perfect. It’ll also cost you an extra £30 if you didn’t pick one up as part of a bundle.

GEMBox review: Verdict

GEMBox is perfect for those who want to play Android games on a TV or stream PC games to the big screen, it’s more feature-rich than a Steam Link and costs only a little more, at £100. However, if you’re looking for a media streamer that has some gaming capabilities, this isn’t going to be the device you’re looking for.

Given that for its low price you get a gamepad and four pre-installed games, there’s a lot worse you could spend your money on, just don’t expect this to be the device that causes an Android games revolution.

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Hands-on Pentax K-1: PENTAX FINALLY ADDS A FULL-FRAME DSLR Mon, 03 Oct 2016 02:34:00 +0000 HANDS-ON: PENTAX FINALLY ADDS A FULL-FRAME DSLR TO ITS RANGE Yes, it’s true. The new... more »

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Yes, it’s true. The new Pentax K-1 is the first time Pentax has ever made a 35mm full-frame digital camera. That’s amazing considering Canon and Nikon have been at it for years, but also explains why Pentax has lagged behind for so long. Where did loyal Pentax fans go when upgrading to full-frame… not Pentax. Enter the K-1.


1) It’s outstanding value – Pentax isn’t foolish. It knows it’s way behind the game, so its answer is to offer outstanding value for money. The K-1, which features a 36 x 24mm 36-megapixel sensor, magnesium alloy body, weather sealing and a new five-axis in-body stabilisation system, will cost just £1,599 body-only.

That’s about the same as the first-gen Nikon D810 and the D750, but the K-1 has better specs and features than either. Moreover, that’s the price now. It’s bound to come down in future, which will only make it better value still. The D810, for example, cost £2,700 when it first launched in 2014.

2) There’s already a healthy choice of lenses – DSLRs are only as good as their lenses, so it’s an important point. Pentax says it already has 12 full-frame compatible lenses on the market, with two more coming in time for the launch of the K-1 in April. Moreover, the K-1 works with any K-mount Pentax lens from the past, though older ones will only support manual focus.

Pentax K-1

3) It has a weird ‘Flextilt’ screen – This is interesting, but possibly not in a good way. Instead of a hinge, the 3.2-inch screen pops out and tilts on what I can only describe as stilts. Pentax says they’re very strong, so strong you can lift the camera from the screen. That’s great, but this design doesn’t afford as much flexibility as a regular hinge design.

4) No AA filter (but it can be simulated) – Removing anti-aliasing filters (AA) is de rigour these days as it leads to sharper shots, so it’s no surprise the K-1 doesn’t have one. But Pentax says the K-1 can simulate an AA filter by “applying microscopic vibrations at the sub-pixel level”. This creates the same moiré reduction as an optical AA filter would, or at least that’s the idea.

5) There are loads of things you’ll like – Pentax ticks loads of boxes with the K-1. You get a 100% field of view from the pentaprism optical viewfinder, 4K video capture, lightweight magnesium alloy body, weather sealing, Wi-Fi and GPS. There’s even a handy mode, called Astro Tracer, that combines GPS data and the in-body stabilisation to make it easier to photograph night skies by compensating for the earth’s rotation. Clever.


The Pentax K-1 will go on sale in the UK in mid-April with prices starting at £1,599 body-only.


Pentax K-1 15

LED lights on the back of the screen light up the controls at night. It’s a neat idea if you photograph at night often.

Pentax K-1 25

There’s another LED to make it easier to attach lenses in the dark, too.

Pentax K-1 37

There’s a good range of accessories, including a battery grip with extra controls.

Pentax K-1 3

There’s a dedicated dial for switching on Wi-Fi and other modes, such as HDR. You can also switch between exposure compensation and ISO control on the top-mounted dial using this mode selector.

Pentax K-1 5

The main mode control dial features five user preset modes.

Pentax K-1 19

The Flextilt screen can rotate 90-degrees upwards, but it’s not as flexible in other directions. It seems like a good idea, but I’m not sure it works well in practice. We’ll see.

Pentax K-1 17

A better view of the screen mechanism. These metal stilts are strong enough to hold the camera’s weight, though I wouldn’t make a habit of holding the K-1 like that.

Pentax K-1 43

The K-1 weighs 925g body-only and just over a kilo with battery and card. Pentax quotes 760 shots from a full charge. It didn’t supply a figure with the battery grip included, but ‘lots more’ ought to be the answer.


The K-1 is great news for loyal Pentax owners. You finally have something to upgrade to if you fancy going the full-frame route – and why the hell wouldn’t you? It’s also a superb value alternative to the big guns from Canon and Nikon, and I suppose Sony if you’re including its range of full-frame mirrorless cameras.

There’s a larger question if this is too late to pull Pentax back into the fold, as it were. But for now it’s enough to say that on paper, and on first impression, the K-1 is an impressive effort. Hopefully it will live up to its billing when it goes on sale in April.

>>> Check out to read some news about game of thrones and online games for kids

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HP EliteBook Folio review: Competitor Of MacBook About Weight Thu, 29 Sep 2016 03:15:27 +0000 I found my ideal Windows laptop last year.Dell’s XPS 13 convinced me to switch away... more »

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I found my ideal Windows laptop last year.Dell’s XPS 13 convinced me to switch away from Apple’s aging MacBook Air for its edge-to-edge display and smaller form factor, and I’ve been happily using it ever since. For most people, a laptop lasts a few years, but I’m always looking for the latest and greatest to try something new. After half a decade, Windows laptop makers have finally rendered the MacBook Air truly obsolete, in both design and specifications. Spurred on by Windows 10 and Microsoft’s aggressive Surface work, there are now some impressive hardware options if you’re looking for a new Windows-powered laptop.

Now that the MacBook Air has been surpassed, Windows laptop makers are setting their sights on the newer 12-inch MacBook. Both Asus and HP have created their own Windows-powered versions of the 12-inch MacBook, and I’ve been wondering if I could truly switch to something small and light for my daily work.

HP’s business-focused EliteBook Folio is one of those computers looking to compete with the MacBook. It’s small and light, and has a solid aluminum build that doesn’t make it feel flimsy. Starting at $999 and going all the way up to $1,799, it’s every bit a 12-inch MacBook running Windows 10, but HP has actually improved a few things compared to Apple’s take. I’ve been using one as my only machine for a few weeks now and while it has been a fun experiment, I’ve learned that this type of laptop isn’t for me, at least not just yet. It looks great, but like most things in life, it’s what’s inside that counts.

HP’s EliteBook Folio is designed for and sold to businesses, but I’m not entirely sure why. It’s not your typical boring, Lenovo or Dell, corporate-issued laptop at all. Actually, it’s the complete opposite. I think this is the best-looking laptop that HP has created in years (even better than the stunning Spectre 13 released earlier this year), and the brushed aluminum finish pairs well with the glossy silver HP logo and hinge to create a really modern design. I can’t help running my fingers over the finish every time I pick it up. The sharp edges look like they’d slice your fingers off, but everything feels soft and comfortable to use.

Even though you’ll never see them, the speakers underneath have a fancy design that blends with the modern look. The Folio is under 0.5 inches thick and weighs less than 2.2 pounds, but it doesn’t feel too light for its own good. It feels sturdy and well-built, and it’s stable on my lap or on a table.


At the entry level, HP has equipped the EliteBook Folio with a 12.5-inch 1080p display, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of SSD storage. Storage options vary up to 512GB of SSD, but the bigger choice is between a 4K display and the regular 1080p one. It’s a choice that affects the entire experience of using this laptop. Both have good color reproduction and viewing angles as you’d expect, but after comparing them side by side, I found it hard to notice the benefits of 4K in a 12.5-inch display next to the 1080p equivalent. It seems totally unnecessary in a display of this size right now. Unfortunately, HP hasn’t included a true edge-to-edge display like Dell did with the XPS 13 or Lenovo with the new Yoga 910. There’s a big border at the bottom and top of the Folio display, and it spoils the otherwise sleek design. Thankfully, the top bezel can be explained away with the addition of a Windows Hello-compatible camera. It means you can log into Windows 10 with just your face, and it worked well for me on the Folio.

Unlike Apple, the Folio’s keyboard has the kind of key travel you’d get on a larger laptop. It also has a reasonably sized trackpad that isn’t frustrating to use. We’re finally starting to really see an investment in quality trackpads for Windows, and the Folio is no exception. It’s responsive, easy to use, and feels as smooth to scroll and navigate around as a MacBook. My only complaint is that it has a weird dot in the top left of the trackpad that looks like dust. I kept trying to swat it away initially, and then realized it’s actually a permanent mark. (You might think that it behaves as a button to turn the trackpad on and off, but that’s not the case.)
The keyboard is solid, but it’s a little small and cramped to use if you’re used to larger laptops. The customized function keys speak to the Folio’s target audience: in place of standard media controls, there are direct shortcuts for a dialer, calendar, and microphone muting options designed for conference calls. I’ve always found that a good way to test a laptop is to see if you can open the lid with one hand. If it’s effortless and the laptop doesn’t make a sound or wobble, then it’s probably built well. HP’s EliteBook Folio passes this test well, and the hinge even allows the display to lay perfectly flat with the keyboard. I can’t think of many situations in which I’d ever need to use it like that, but it’s a neat party trick. The Folio might dazzle in terms of design, but the thin profile and light weight have compromised what’s inside. Like Apple’s similarly sized MacBook, the Folio has Core M5 or Core M7 processors, and they don’t really do the job. On the 4K model I regularly experienced problems with performance, and a video call would literally bring the laptop to its knees. I tried to adjust the volume on a call once and noticed that the function keys were warm to touch. The only good experience about the weird performance issues was that I couldn’t hear a fan whirring away because this is Intel’s fanless chip design.


HP’s 1080p version of the Folio feels a lot less laggy. I still had the occasional hiccup during daily use even with the M7, but it was able to handle multiple apps a lot better. It’s clear the 4K panel is just too much for the Core M processors to handle, and it’s left me scratching my head wondering why HP felt it was a necessary addition.

As always, battery life is a concern for laptops that are lightweight and thin. HP’s EliteBook Folio is no exception to this rule. The 4K version taxes the battery as much as the processor — stamina was nothing short of terrible. I managed around three hours on average, and it meant I was charging up the laptop a lot more than I was expecting to. The 1080p version, on the other hand, managed to survive for nearly five hours on average. That’s still far short of what I’d expect from a premium laptop in 2016, and that’s without solid performance, too.

HP, like Apple, has opted for USB Type-C on the Folio, but thankfully HP has provided two ports instead of a single one. It makes it easy to charge and use accessories at the same time, but you’ll still need adapters for even the most basic tasks like charging your phone from the Folio. I was reminded of this when I traveled with the Folio and needed to charge my iPhone, or when a colleague handed me a USB key and I couldn’t do anything with it. You’ll need to carry adapters with you for existing USB peripherals, and it’s a necessary pain until the world switches over the USB Type-C. The only other port is the headphone jack, and thankfully HP hasn’t pushed to eradicate that just yet.


Windows 10 itself runs well on the EliteBook Folio, but I’ve experienced a variety of software issues related to HP’s own doing. HP has loaded up the Folio with a bunch of irritating built-in apps that generate notifications. You’ll get prompts for the trackpad and security apps, and if you alt-tab there’s a persistent blank keyboard app just sitting there ruining your ability to switch apps quickly. HP is ruining the Windows experience with this junk, and they’d do well to follow Dell’s example of keeping built-in apps and notifications to a bare minimum. I’ve also had a number of audio issues on the Folio where Windows 10 stops detecting that there’s speakers and refuses to play music. Sometimes a reboot solves this, sometimes it doesn’t, and it’s a frustrating experience on a premium laptop that’s coupled with Bang & Olufsen speakers. Even as I type this review right now, Windows refuses to play audio.

I love the idea of a thin and lightweight laptop, and HP has really nailed the design with the EliteBook Folio. But right now, it’s a compromised machine for what feels like pure design and looks. USB Type-C isn’t mature, and the performance and battery life with the Intel Core M processor inside the Folio just doesn’t keep up with other laptops in this class. It’s a good start to creating a 12-inch MacBook running Windows, but the Folio needs some work behind the scenes before I’d be happy to label it a true MacBook competitor.

>>>> Check out to read some news about game of thrones and online games for kids

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Hands-on BeatsX earphones Tue, 27 Sep 2016 03:21:47 +0000 The funky wireless AirPods got all the attention when Apple unveiled it alongside the iPhone... more »

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The funky wireless AirPods got all the attention when Apple unveiled it alongside the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus on September 7, but it was only part of the company’s new headphones lineup. It also showcased three new wireless headphones from its Beats brand: the PowerBeats Wireless 3, the Solo3 Wireless and the BeatsX.

But only the BeatsX ($150, £130, AU$200) is a truly new headphone and the first one designed with the help of Apple’s design and engineering teams. (The PowerBeats Wireless 3 and Solo3 Wireless just updated the previous models in their respective lines with a new wireless chip.) You probably won’t see it in stores until November, but I got an early listen, and was impressed with both the fit and sound of Beats’ first neckband-style headphone.

The band itself, which Beats calls a Flex-Form cable, has two wires running through it that are made ofnickel titanium alloy or nitinol, which was developed by the US Navy in the late 1950s and is very malleable, durable and lightweight. The key to it here is that it gives the band just enough rigidity and allows you to roll up the headphone so it fits it in an included compact carrying case. You can’t do that with an LG Tone headset.


The magnetized buds adhere to each, so you can pin them together when they’re not in your ears and wear them like a pendant. The lightweight buds come with a few sizes of eartips and I got a tight seal with the medium tip (I usually take a large) and overall they fit my ears well. The buds house 8 mm drivers and after my short listing session, my initial impression was that the BeatsX sounded pretty natural for a Bluetooth headphone, with good detail and strong bass that wasn’t overpowering — an issue that plagued many an early Beats product.

Like Apple’s AirPods, the BeatsX also incorporates Apple’s new custom low-power Bluetooth chip, the W1, which allows for automatic pairing with Apple devices updated with the latest versions of its operating systems (iOS 10, MacOS Sierra and WatchOS 3). To pair, you just hold the BeatsX near your iPhone. That should also automatically pair the headphone to your Apple Watch, iPad and Mac — anything registered to you on your iCloud account.


BeatsX also works with other Bluetooth devices, but you have to pair it the old-fashioned way, which is still pretty simple.

The headphone delivers up to 8 hours battery life, which is decent for this type of headphone, though not exceptionally good. On top of that, if you give the headphone a quick 5-minute charge via its Lightning port — yes, I said Lightning, not USB — you get 2 hours of usage. Beats calls this quick-charge feature Fast Fuel.

You also get a couple sets of wingtips to get a more secure fit if you’re going running or doing something else athletic with the headphone. The X is sweat-resistant, has an integrated microphone and Beats has redesigned the RemoteTalk button to make it more tactile and responsive.


At $150, this headphone isn’t cheap, but it is the least expensive wireless headphone from Beats and costs slightly less than Apple’s AirPods, sounds better and delivers longer battery life. I’ve tried near-final versions of both headphones and the BeatsX has more bass and richer sound. Which set of earphones proves superior as a headset for making calls remains to be seen, however.

I’ll have a full review of the BeatsX Earphones as soon as I get a final review sample. But if you’re looking for this style of headphone that you can wear around all day, the BeatsX is definitely worth checking out. Although it doesn’t offer 12 hours of battery life like the new $200 Powerbeats3 Wireless, it may be the better choice for those people who can’t get the right fit from the Powerbeats.

Aside from Beats’ own products, the BeatsX has plenty of competition in this category. Bose’s highly rated SoundSport Wireless costs $150, £140 or AU$249 and its upcoming QuietControl 30, which features both wireless active noise-canceling, arrives in the US in October for $300 (£230 or AU$400 converted). And there’s the plethora of lower cost neckband-style headphones, including LG’s popular Tone headphones, the Jabra Halo Smart and Skullcandy Ink’d Wireless.

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Report About Some Mistake Of iPhone 7’s Headphone Fri, 23 Sep 2016 08:34:15 +0000 Less than a week after the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus went on sale, users... more »

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Less than a week after the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus went on sale, users have been reporting bugs with the Apple handsets.

Two of the most recently reported issues include a problem with the phones’ signal, and a glitch with the Lightning EarPods, which come with the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus and connect to the charging port.

iPhone 7
Some users have reported that the remote control buttons on the wired headphones malfunction after the EarPods have been plugged in for a few minutes, causing songs to sporadically play and pause and Siri to randomly be activated.

The buttons also seize up, according to reports from others, which makes it hard to regain control without unplugging the headphones and waiting.

The problem is caused by a glitch in the software that controls the wired headphones, according to Apple, and will be fixed in an update. There have not yet been reports of the bug affecting third party headphones that connect to the Lightning port. Separately, users have complained that their iPhone 7 and 7 Plus devices struggle to find signal after Airplane Mode is turned off. YouTube user Loay Oweis posted a video that shows an iPhone 7 displaying “no service” for a whole minute after Airplane Mode is disabled. An iPhone 6s next to it regains signal and 4G straight away. Sports Afficianado says on twitter: I think new $AAPL iPhone 7 is a deal-breaker. Awful phone! I cannot be on an airplane & listen to music & charge my phone. I hate Apple!

Apple is investigating the problem, according to Mac Rumours, but has advised its customers to try turning their phones on and off again to see if it regains signal. If not, Apple said users should remove the SIM card before turning the phone on. There have been a few reports of users experiencing the problem on the iPhone 6s as well, which means it could be caused by a glitch in iOS 10. The news of the two bugs follows reports from some users of the two handsets making a mysterious hissing sound.

The problems with the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, while annoying, are as of yet nowhere near as serious as the overheating problem in some Samsung Galaxy Note 7 devices, which led to a global recall at the beginning of this month. Apple is expected to release a software fix that should resolve the Airplane Mode and headphone glitches.

It is yet to respond to claims that the new handsets have been making a hissing sound, although this problem does not appear to affect the devices’ performance.

>>>Update to get some of new free games and watch some of video game reviews

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