OnePlus’s rift with Cyanogen has come to a head
OnePlus and Cyanogen are parting ways, their ideals-driven partnership over.
OnePlus wanted to make affordable phones with great specs and zero bloat, and Cyanogen wanted to take Android away from Google. Both companies might still accomplish their goals, but they'll be doing it separately from now on.
Based on statements Cyanogen CEO Kurt McMaster made to PC World, it seems Cyanogen wasn't happy with OnePlus's slow growth. "OnePlus shipped reasonable volume, but nothing compared to what some of these other partners can ship," he said.
And Cyanogen CTO Steve Kondik told the site that Cyanogen's launch on the OnePlus One was "probably the last you will see from that partnership unfortunately."
TechRadar reported in January that the two companies were having a spat over licensing in India, and that may have had something to do with this as well.
No matter the reasons, two things are clear: that Cyanogen is looking for new hardware partners, and that OnePlus had a good reason for leaning so heavily on upgrading its phones to Oxygen OS.
We reached out to OnePlus to find out if the company has anything to share about its next phone - possibly dubbed the OnePlus Two - and we'll update this article if we hear back.
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Buying Guide: 10 best fitness apps for Android and Android Wear
Want to lose a few pounds? Fancy polishing up your guns a bit? Android fitness apps can help.
With well over a million Android apps out there, pretty much every kind of sport and exercise has an app, and many of them support Android Wear smartwatches too, giving you the same information in a more convenient way. From running to in-line skating: it's all there.
It's not quite that simple, though. There are loads of Android fitness apps, but far fewer good Android fitness apps. Avoid downloading the dross with our list of recommended picks, including those for running, cycling, sleep monitoring, gym exercise and pilates.
Just want the basics? Be sure to check out Google's own Fit app.
This isn't one of the most popular running apps for nothing. Runkeeper is a full GPS tracking tool that works with everything from a quick walk to a marathon, and let you use all kinds of accessories from Polar heart rate monitors to Fitbit trackers and Android Wear watches.
Your smartwatch acts as a small screen version of the phone view, providing a few basic run stats. It's one of the few apps to support GPS Android Wear watches like the Sony SmartWatch 3 too.
It's not all-business either, with Google Music integration letting you listen to some tunes as you run.
It's just brilliant. What's different between the free and paid versions? Upgrade and you can compare performance with your friends and track your performance trends over longer periods.
Runkeeper's arch rival is Runtastic. They do many of the same things: you really can't go wrong with either. Runtastic also supports Android Wear.
Our top tip is to try out both and see which interface you prefer. However, there are a few differences we can point out.
Runtastic currently has slightly better integration of music services like Spotify. It feels a bit more like streaming apps like this are running within the interface here than with Runkeeper. A small point? Maybe, but being able to control music easily while running is pretty important.
It's worth upgrading to the Pro version of Runtastic if you're going to use it regularly. It adds bags of extra features, including voice coach, interval training and a few new activities, like skating.
Find Runkeeper and Runtastic that bit too involved? Check out SportsTracker. Its interface is a bit less ambitious, there are fewer features, but as a result it's less easy to get lost if you just want to get up and running (no pun intended) as quick as possible.
There's plenty more on offer than just one-off tracking too. SportsTracker keeps a history of your runs, heart rate monitoring and offers voice prompts without asking for you to pay for the privilege.
Using a nice and simple interface means the app looks kinda similar whether you're using an Android Wear watch or a phone too. Real running obsessives may be better off with one of the better-known apps, but if you want to keep it relatively simple, check out SportsTracker.
4. Zombies, Run!
Want to have fun rather than brag on Facebook about beating your 10k PB? Download Zombies, Run! now.
Part game, part motivational audiobook, part run tracker, it turns each of your runs into a mission that unfolds as you move your feet. Everything becomes part of a story you listen through your earphones.
It's the perfect solution for people who find running a bit boring, and is also a way to forget how much your lungs feel like they're going to explode if you're on a couch-to-5K plan. New missions are released every week too.
Zombies, Run! comes in two flavours, a standard one (£2.99) and the limited 5K training one (£1.59). Android Wear support is isn't here yet, but the dev is considering it. Fingers crossed…
5. Endomondo Sports Tracker Pro (£1.99)
Endomondo Sports Tracker is one of the most popular fitness apps around and with good reason. Whether you're running, walking or cycling Endomondo will keep track of your distance and time, it's got a thriving social network, and it now supports Android Wear, to boot.
An audio coach will keep you motivated and you can even compete against times set by friends and strangers. Route maps will help you find new places to workout and for activities that aren't covered, such as weight training, there's an option to manually enter workouts into the app, enabling you to keep track of all your exercise.
It's not quite our favourite run tracker, but it is excellent, and its versatility is second to none.
The best, most popular cycling app is Strava. It's great for everyone from the novice to the lycra-pasted Ultegra-babbling obsessive.
It'll even double as a run tracker if you like, although for the most part it focuses on these two activities rather than extending to indoors curling and figure staking like the most, err, ambitious apps. And although glancing at a watch while tearing down the road on a bike at 40 mph isn't the best idea, there's also a basic Android Wear extension.
As well as being a brilliant cycling tracker, recording different personal best times for various parts of your cycle routes, it really plays into cyclists' natural competitiveness. What's going to make you get back in the saddle more than getting an email upgrade letting you know your friend just beat your time? It's infuriatingly brilliant.
We said it was versatile, didn't we? Endomondo is just as happy to track running as cycling, but we find it to be that much more accessible than the serious Strava.
It has a dead simple UI that almost makes it feel like a Google app rather than third party one. You can just hit 'go' and start cycling, pretty much.
It lets you do plenty for free too, including using a heart rate monitor. Android Wear is supported too, although a smartwatch is just used as a second screen rather than running solo without a phone.
Clean and clear is the order of the day here.
3. MapMyRide+ (£1.88)
MapMyRide+ does what it says on the tin and a whole lot more. You can use it to track routes, speed, distance, elevation, calories, time and more and there are audio alerts to update you on your progress as you go, so you don't need to keep fiddling with your phone.
It also adds a little friendly competition to things by implementing leaderboards that you can fight to improve your place on and achievements that you can unlock.
The basic app is free but upgrading to the '+' version gets rid of the ads.
4. Bike Gear Calculator
Are you a serious bike nerd? Do you setup your own bike rather than sending it to the local bike shop? Bike Gear Calculator is one way to get an almost eerily deep relationship with your bike.
It works out the exact rotations for each of your gears, based on the exact measurements of your gear system. Then it works out the speed you'll achieve for a specific cycle cadence at each gear.
We're neck-deep in bike nerd territory here, but it's a great, scientific way to really optimise how your bike operates.
Other fitness apps
1. Workout Trainer
Two of the most popular apps for tracking your crunches, reps and lunges in the gym are Jefit (below) and Workout Trainer. However, these days it's Workout Trainer that has by far the most accomplished interface.
It's more concerned with offering you workouts than making you laboriously log what you do, exercise-by-exercise, and there are hundreds of the things on offer. Whether you have a gym membership or are just working off a weedy set of weights you bought from Argos, there are filters to make sure you only see the ones you can do.
They range from single moves to programs that last for weeks, and the app tracks how long you spend sweating your eyeballs out too.
2. JEFIT Pro (£3.21)
JEFIT Pro is a comprehensive workout and fitness tracker, allowing you to create and perform workout routines.
You can then log your results and view charts of your progress to give you an idea of how well you're progressing over time.
JEFIT Pro also includes over 1300 exercise instructions complete with animations and tips to teach you new exercises and ensure you're doing them safely and correctly.
Most of the exercises rely on equipment though, so you're going to need a gym membership to get the most out of it.
3. Noom Weight Loss Coach (free)
Noom Weight Loss Coach does many of the same things as MyFitnessPal. You can log foods to track your calorie intake and log workouts and weight loss progress.
Plus there's a pedometer feature which can track how much you walk or run during the day.
But Noom also puts a lot of emphasis on motivation, with health and wellness articles added daily, giving you an extra reason to launch the app.
There are also various goals for you to work towards, making it easier to stick to your fitness plans long term.
4. Pilates Exercise Workouts
Even though pilates is very popular, the quality level of most pilates apps is dreadful compared to what runners and cyclists get. Some of the ones we've tried barely even work.
Some of the better ones basically chop down pilates lessons you might buy on DVD, and charge you an arm and a leg for the clips. But Fitivity's Pilates Exercise Workouts app is a great place to start if you don't want to join a class or buy a video.
It breaks workouts into the component moves, and offers both a short video and animated GIF to show you how to perform each. You get three weeks' worth of workouts for free, but to break into the premium levels you'll have to fork out a grand £2.41. Given how much that gets you, though, it's not a bad deal.
Fitivity also makes many more apps for loads of other exercise types, including yoga, pilates' incense-burning cousin.
5. Sleep as Android
Getting a good night's sleep is a very important part of having the energy to work out. There are loads of sleep tracker apps available for Android, but only a few of them support smart watches.
Our pick is Sleep as Android. Enigmatic title aside, it's a pretty sensible, complete sleep app.
It uses your phone or smartwatch's accelerometer to measure your movements throughout the night, then creating a graph to show how much of the night you were actually out for. Think you might be a hardcore snorer? Sleep as Android monitors that too.
It even offers a few extras to help you sleep and wake up too. There are chill-out sound loops to help you drop off and an alarm that makes you perform a sum before the thing turns off. Cruel to be kind and all that…
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Buying Guide: Best Gadgets 2015: the ultimate tech buying guide
Best Tech 2015
TechRadar is all about helping you choose the right tech products for you.
That's why we review the specific products we do, while offering a veritable smorgasbord of helpful buying guides and product round-ups to help you find the cool gadgets, perfect play things and workplace wonders.
Whether it be an ideal camera phone for your mum or a kick-ass Blu-ray player to pair with your new TV, we've got the experts on hand to offer the very best buying advice on the internet.
Here you'll find a comprehensive repository of all that expert knowledge. With buying advice and specific product recommendations, look no further for your best chance of finding all the cool gadgets available today.
Best mobile phones
Which one should you buy?
We've played with nearly every device on the market and have found the ten best you can spend your money on. It needs to be good, after all, given it will reside in your pocket for the next two years. Our ranking of the best mobile phones available in the UK today celebrates the brilliance of the smartphone: we love handsets that add in functionality to enrich our lives in so many different ways. We also partially take into account the price of the phone too - meaning a low-price handset doesn't always need to have high-spec functions to be in our top 10.
Read: 10 best phones in the world today
Best mobile phone deals
Compare and filter to find the cheapest mobile phone deals
So you've chosen what phone you want, now where do you find the best deals? TechRadar is on hand to point you in the right direction! We check the prices of thousands of mobile contracts every day from EE, Three, O2, Vodafone, Tesco and more as well as Carphone Warehouse and Mobiles.co.uk. Read: Best mobile phone deals
Best Android phones
Comparing the best Google phones
There's one key way in which Android is massively different from its Apple-branded smartphone competition - the number of phones out there running Google's hot mobile OS. So here they are - the best Android phones money can buy today. For many, many different reasons. Read: Best Android phone 2014 - which one should you buy?
Best Windows Phones
Which Windows Phone 8 handset is for you?
The recently launched Windows Phone 8.1 replicates the popular features of Android and iOS whilst combining the comfort of home computing with the convenience of mobile. We've looked at the Windows Phone devices on offer and picked out the best ones around to guarantee you get the best bang for your buck. Nokia still dominates the list but as a Microsoft entity, that's no surprise. Read: Best Windows Phone 2014
Best cheap phones
Testing all the best budget blowers!
With the mobile marketplace teeming with a multitude of highly priced smartphones, one might wonder whether cheap phones still have a place in the mobile infrastructure. With massive innovation in both hardware and operating systems, phones now do a lot more than just let you talk and text, with handsets like the Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One and iPhone 5S stealing headlines around the world these days. Sadly all this innovation isn't cheap – and most of it is reserved for high-end contract handsets. So, is there such a thing as the 'best phone on a budget'?
Read: Best cheap smartphones 2014
They're big, bad mobile machines
Our hands might not be getting any bigger but our phones certainly are. As flagships like the LG G3 andOnePlus One creep up to 5.5 inches, phablets are starting to resemble small tablets, arguably filling the roles of both a smartphone and a slate. If you think that one device is better than two, or just have really big hands, then there is a growing selection of phones to suit and these are the ten best.
Read: 10 best phablets in the world
All the top tablets compared
Tablets are taking the world by storm. Just a few years ago they were an unknown for many people, but nowadays you've got more choice than you can shake a mildly agitated badger at. And with choice comes decisions - difficult decisions. Do you eschew Apple's high prices, join the Android brigade and find the best iPad alternative? Or jump on board Cupertino's lovetrain, and use one of the most popular tablets on the planet? We've made it easy for you and pulled together the top 10 tablets of the moment available. Read: 10 Best tablets 2014
Best cheap tablets
Spend a little, don't spend a lot
Tablets are fast replacing laptops as the must-have computing item, and the good news is that you don't have to spend a lot of money to get one. While the iPads of this world will always be out of many people's budgets, there are plenty of tablets out there available at much lower prices. We wouldn't recommend spending less than £100 on one - you'd regret it - but here's a round-up of our favourite tablets under £250! Best cheap tablets: top budget options
TV Buying Guide 2015
Choose the right size, screen tech and price
There has never been a better time to buy a new TV. Gone are the days when 32-inch TVs weighed 16 tonnes and cost £1,500. These days you can pick up a 50-inch LCD TV for closer to £300. LCD panel technology has well and truly matured, and while brands like Sony and Panasonic push the boundaries of performance, you'll also find names like Toshiba doing very exciting things in the budget TV sector. The practical upshot of this is that no matter what you're after, how big you want to go or how large your budget is, there's a perfect TV out there for you. So which one is right for you, your family and your living space? In this buying guide, we will walk you through everything you need to know about being a new TV.
Read: Buying Guide: best TVs 2014
Best TV for gaming 2015
Get the best screen for use with your PS4 or Xbox
With both the PS4 and Xbox One having already shifted in huge numbers and sales still brisk to say the least, it's clear that for many of our TVs are no longer just TVs. They also need to be gaming TVs, so here's our pick of the 10 best gaming TVs in order of all-round desirability once value as well as gaming quality has been taken into account. Read: 10 best TVs for gaming
Time to stop using those tinny speakers in your flatscreen TV
Buying a soundbar is the easiest way to give your TV some much-needed sonic steroids as virtually all screens have the option of being used with an external speaker. Whatever your budget though there are some cracking good acoustic upgrades to be had that can give your TV the sound it deserves. Read: 10 best soundbars
Best home cinema projectors
Throw your movies up onto your walls with a home cinema projector
Home entertainment always looks better when it's been super-sized. Whether you want to splash Blu-ray movies across a large white wall, magnify your gaming experience, or want to throw photographs or slides from a mobile device onto a 100-inch plus screen, a home cinema projector should be your first choice of display. Read: 10 best home cinema projectors
Best 3D printers
3D print your dreams with these take-home machines
If you're in the market for a home 3D printer then there's a lot to consider: single colour, dual or more, do you need a 3D scanner, physical size and weight is always an issue if space is at a premium, high quality or speedy printing and of course price. Here we take a look at ten of the best based on price. Read: 10 best 3D printers
Best 32-inch TVs
The perfect size for bedroom TVs or sets for smaller rooms
Most living rooms can't physically take a TV much bigger than 32-inch, making this size by far the best for a lot of people in the UK. But within this size division, there's plenty of choice. A basic HD-ready set can be found for less than £300 is you search hard, though it's just as easy to spend over £2k on the best ones. There's only one certainty at this size – your new TV will be a LCD TV. If you're lucky it could have LED backlighting, but it won't be a plasma; LG used to make plasmas at this size, but there's not one on sale currently. Read: 10 best 32-inch TVs in the world today
Best 40 and 42-inch TVs
The sweet spot for plasma TVs offers lots of bang for your buck
Once known simply as 'plasma screens' in the collective consciousness, the 40-42-inch size is where the flatscreen dream started in the late 1990s - and where it's still at its most innovative and best. Now a lot more varied, with plasmas rubbing shoulders with (and quickly being outnumbered by) LCD TVs and their ultra-modern LED TV makeover, 40-42 inches is still the sweetspot for anyone not overly concerned with ruining the interior design of their living room. Read: 10 best 40 and 42-inch TVs
Best 46 and 47-inch TVs
Offering the pinnacle of performance, this is where it gets serious
There was a time when plasma screens reigned supreme in the 46-inch TV market. But in much the same way as a meteor strike killed off the dinosaurs, the second coming of the LCD TV is the invasive species that has done for plasma. We're still huge advocates of plasma on TechRadar, don't get us wrong, but the tech is dying out at this size. Old-school CCFL tech has been replaced by LED backlight scanning and technical wizardry to make LCD tech viable in large sizes. Read: 10 best 46 and 47-inch TVs
Best 50 and 55-inch TVs
Where the home cinema experience begins
The size where a home cinema turns from dream to reality, it's also at this 50-55-inch TV screen size that 3D starts to become immersive enough to convince and impress. This size, last year dominated by full HD models, is now being overrun by Ultra HD 4K models. While LED tech has gone a long way towards condemning plasma to a role on the outskirts of the TV industry, at 50-inches and above, plasma really comes into its own if you can find one. Most home cinema buffs still swear by plasma, with its cinematic colours and deep blacks making for a real movie-watcher's paradise. But 2014 sees the first batch of 50-inch LED-backlit panels off the production line, a development that further marginalises plasma technology at one of the sizes it previously dominated. If you're looking for a dream movie-watching experience, check out these home cinema beauties.
Read: 10 best 50-inch TVs
Best 60-inch TVs and above
If you want the best, you'll need to pay the best
If you're feeling extravagant or want to furnish your big living room with a similarly big TV, 60 inches or more of television will certainly make a statement. There are some truly massive TVs available these days, withUltra HD-toting 84-inch screens such as the LG 84LM960V, Toshiba 84L9300, Sony KD-84X9005A and Samsung UE85S9ST. But for most of us, 65 inches of screen space is luxurious enough, while still being manageable. So what's the best 60-65-inch TV for you?
Read: 10 best 60-inch TVs in the world today
Best 4K Ultra HD TVs
The latest big thing in big screens
Everyone wants an Ultra HD 4K TV! Yes, okay, we all know there isn't much 4K source material to properly showcase the stunning picture quality, but Netflix has at least started to offer 4K content. There could also still be a 4K Blu-ray format later this year, and before you know it there'll be test transmissions and perhaps even a 4K TV channel from Sky or the BBC. It's all about future-proofing, though there's slightly more to it than that; some of the first batch of Ultra HD TVs pump out best-ever Blu-ray images, thanks to some wonderfully adept upscaling tech. The birth of 4K could also lead to the re-birth of 3D – it just looks so much better at this higher resolution. The big stumbling block – as always – is money, but already there are relative bargains to be had and, better still, some sumptuous designs stuffed with new innovations. The race for 3840x2160 pixels is on. Read: 10 best 4K TVs in the world today
Best Blu-ray players
From cheap BDPs to UHD players
When big and bulky Blu-ray players first appeared on the shelves nearly 10 years ago they were all about high definition. Back then, simply getting HD content into your HD-ready TV was the hottest ticket in town - and it came at a high price. Those first-gen players are buried in the distant past now, leaving us with super-slim machines with loading times in single figure seconds, 3D Blu-ray playback, 2D-to-3D conversion, apps, streaming to and from smartphones and tablets, home networking, and upscaling to Ultra HD 4K resolutions even before Ultra HD TVs are common. Here are 12 of the best Blu-ray players to help you make your buying decision! Read: 12 best Blu-ray players 2014
Best PS4 Accessories
The best gear to complete the PS4 experience
You have a PS4. You have a TV. It may seem like your gaming setup is just about complete. However, there are loads of neat accessories that can seriously level-up your experience. We're not looking at cheapo gamepads that'll fall apart after three weeks or batteries that'll stop holding charge even sooner. No, we're after the good stuff. Read: 10 best PS4 accessories
Best Xbox One accessories
Supercharge your Xbox One with these gadgets
These days the Xbox One is a fairly stripped-back console. You don't get the Kinect sensor by default anymore. Microsoft dropped the idea of shipping it with every console to really butt heads with the Sony PS4. However, there's a lot more to the Xbox One accessories scene than than the Kinect sensor! Read: 10 best Xbox One accessories
Laptop Buying Guide 2014
Choose the best type of laptop for your needs
With Windows 8.1 here and Windows 9 on the way, Ultrabooks taking off in popularity and laptop-tablet hybrids seeing more releases, choosing the right laptop is even more confusing than ever. Cheap laptops, like Chromebooks, are more powerful and capable than ever, while high-end devices are often perfectly good replacements for your desktop computer, able to cope with more intensive programs. Those after a fast boot up time and a lightweight machine to carry might drool over an Ultrabook. While there are lots of options for gamers too. With this guide, you'll find not only that, but which is the absolute best. Read: Buying Guide: Best laptops 2014
The most premium computing experiences around with the price tags to match
Ultrabooks tend to be made with design in mind, so they come in more expensive than most mid-range home laptops. They tend to start from around $999 (about £584, AU$1,063) in the lower end, going to nearly $2,000 (around £1,169, AU$2,129) at the very high end. You're likely to ultimately spend between $899 and $1,500 for a newer model, though you can get some older models for even lower prices. Read: Best Ultrabooks 2014
Google's Chrome-packed computers make for an unbeatable budget buy
Chromebooks focus on what computing has been all about since the late '90s, the web browser, through Google's Chrome operating system. What should you look out for in a Chromebook? The majority of these Google laptops use either the same or similar low-power components. This is largely what is behind the unquestionable affordability of these mobile rigs – most of which start under $300 (about £175, AU$319). Read: Best Chromebooks 2014
Best gaming laptops
These machines excel in pixel-pushing performance with panache
Focused on real-time, 3D image rendering for the latest games, these laptops almost always come with a premium attached. If you want (at least something close to) the PC gaming experience with the flexibility to move around the house, the asking price generally starts at $1,300 (about £760, AU$1,384) at the low end and maxes out at around $3,000 (around £1,753, AU$ 3,194). Read: Best gaming laptops 2014
Best 2-in-1 laptops
Business up front, party in the back – the mullets of the computing world
Otherwise known as hybrid laptops, these devices generally sit in the same price range as Ultrabooks, given their mission to serve as two devices in one. That generally gets you a Windows 8 touchscreen device that either flips around its hinge to become a tablet or detaches from its included keyboard accessory (which hopefully doubles as an extra battery). Read: Best 2-in-1 laptops 2014
Best laptops for students
The tech you need to help you land the career you want
Whether you're a freshman in liberals arts or an MBA looking to rock the business world, you need a laptop that will best enable you for the perfect price. While some will naturally be more expensive than others, these are the clamshells best suited for your field of study and, ultimately, your budget. Read: best laptops for students 2014
Best GoPro and Action Cameras
Action cameras can go where regular video cameras can't
Action cameras are unlike any other kind of camera. They're designed to be attached to helmets, surfboards, cars and other objects, not hand held. ypically, they're small, tough and simple, with a lens on the front that captures the world in a fish-eye perspective. Their small size and dramatic POV ('point of view') footage has made them popular with extreme sports personalities who capture their adventures by attaching cameras to themselves or their equipment. Read: 10 best Action Cameras
Camera Buying Guide 2014
The camera buying advice you need
When it comes to buying a camera, you're really spoiled for choice. The range is massive, stretching from cheap and cheerful compact models competing with your smartphone, right through to professional-spec SLRs that cost as much as a decent used car. In this jargon-free overview, we'll discuss the main types of camera out there, to help you make a wise buying decision. You don't want to pay top dollar for features you won't need, but you also don't want to be stuck with a frustratingly basic camera you'll soon outgrow. We're going to concentrate on three main types of camera in this overview – compact, compact system (or mirrorless) camera and SLR. Read: Buying Guide: Best camera 2014
SLR Buying Guide
Choose the best type of DSLR for your skills and needs
Ever since the arrival of the first commercially viable digital SLRs in the 1990s, there's been a steady stream of technological breakthroughs and new releases. Sales of digital SLRs remain robust, as it's this 'quality' end of the market that is most immune from the threat of ever-improving smartphones; however good smartphones are, if a pro wedding or sports photographer turned up wielding one, they'd get shown the door. There are SLR cameras suitable for every type of photographer, from novices to professionals, but which one is right for you? Read: Best SLR 2014
SLRs for beginners
Lost of options for the wannabe photographer
If you're a beginner or less experienced photographer who's keen to develop your skills, it's a great time to be buying an SLR – there's a wide choice of keenly priced cameras competing for your custom. Makers are eager to attract beginners in the hope of building loyalty, particularly as SLR users tend to upgrade their lenses eventually, or buy flashguns and other extras. Ideally, you want an SLR that is easy to use, but one that you won't quickly outgrow as your skills and confidence develop. Read: 10 best SLRs for beginners
SLRs for enthusiasts
You're not a pro but you still want a nice camera
While compact system (mirrorless) cameras have eaten into their market share to an extent, SLRs remain the weapon of choice for many enthusiast photographers. It's not hard to understand why; enthusiast-level SLRs offer near pro-levels of performance at an affordable price, are relatively to easy to use, and give access to a massive range of lenses and accessories. Indeed, some enthusiast SLRs rival pro-spec models, blurring the boundary between the two. Read: 10 best SLRs for enthusiasts
SLRs for professionals
The best photographers have the best cameras
As you'd expect from a camera costing the same as a decent used car, higher-end SLRs have myriad autofocus options, impressive ISO performance and often (but not always) fast continuous shooting. They tend to be built like tanks too, since they have to meet the demands of professional press, sports and adventure photographers, who are often working in demanding, deadline-driven environments. When it comes to choosing a top-end SLR, the biggest decision is whether to go for a full-blown pro model, such as theNikon D4S, or to save money by opting for a camera that also appeals to advanced enthusiasts and semi pros. Read: 10 best top-end SLR
Best compact cameras
Get the best mini snapper for your needs
There are hundreds of digital compact cameras on the market, with advanced, superzoom and rugged camera options all being available, which makes finding the right one quite tricky. The right choice, of course, depends on what you want from your compact digital camera. Maybe you're looking for a high-end compact camera to take the place of your SLR, or perhaps you want something more basic to get a few snaps on holiday. Whichever type you are looking for, we've pulled together a selection of what we believe are the best compact cameras on the market now.
Read: 38 best compact cameras 2014
Best high-end compact cameras
The best back-ups to an SLR
The downside of even the latest and greatest DSLR bodies and weighty collections of top-quality glass is that, when a fantastic photo opportunity presents itself, your kit is fast asleep in its gadget bag back at home. In contrast, compact cameras are small and slimline enough to fit into a spare pocket, the glove box of the car, or just about anywhere else. Weighing in at 200-400g (0.4-0.9lbs), these cameras are lighter than most DSLR lenses without a camera attached, but can they really deliver in terms of image quality and creativity? Read: 10 best high-end compact cameras
Best compact system cameras
Get the best CSC for your budget
DSLRs have long-held the title as the most versatile cameras on the market, capable of delivering the highest quality images, robust build quality and advanced functionality, not to mention speed. With compacts and bridge models providing a set of stepping stones up to the traditional DSLR, manufacturers noticed a gap in between that was waiting to be filled: the CSC (Compact System Camera) was born. Fast forward to today and we have an ever-increasing array of CSCs available with varying levels of functionality. Read: 28 best compact system cameras 2014
Best sat navs
Find your way from A to B with minimum fuss
Could the car sat nav boast the shortest lifespan of any technology yet? Surely our GPS-supporting phones are more than capable of handling our daily car sat nav needs? Not so fast - there's still plenty of life left in dedicated devices. Apart from offering the kind of focus that is only available from a dedicated device, true sat navs offer proper mounting systems that aren't fiddly plastic nightmares and also pack voice options that entertain and inform. That's not to say that you should leave your phone at home. Phone apps are catching up quickly, and they don't cost the earth either. In fact, some of the most interesting projects are only on phones right now.
Read: Best sat navs 2014
Netflix vs Amazon
Which movie streamer is best for you and yours?
The battle of the big American movie streaming services is getting serious: the Amazon-owned LoveFilm is no more, replaced by the new and heavily-promoted Amazon Prime Instant Video. Is Amazon UK finally taking streaming seriously? CanNetflix hold on to its crown as our favourite streaming service? Let's find out. Read: Netflix vs Amazon Prime Instant Video: which is best for you?
PS4 vs Xbox One
Which next-gen console is best?
It's a little more even in the PS4 vs Xbox One debate now that E3 2014 has come and gone and we're seven months into the next-generation of video games. Sure, Sony's new console is ahead, pushing toward 8 million systems sold compared to Microsoft's 5 million "shipped to stores" number. But those are sales statistics. Read: PS4 vs Xbox One: which is best?
Top inkjet and laser printers compared
In choosing the best printer your first decision is whether to go for a standard printer, or a multi-function device which includes a scanner and which can also work as a standalone copier. These aren't much larger than regular printers, but they're a whole lot more versatile, especially when you need to keep a copy of a letter, a bill or any other important document, so our first list includes the best inkjet printers and best multi-function devices. You should also think carefully about whether to invest in an inkjet or a laser. Lasers are usually associated with office environments, where they produce sharp, smudge-free printouts quickly, quietly and economically, but this can be just as useful at home or in a home office. Read: 16 best printers 2014
Apple’s plan to improve the iPhone camera: add another one
Apple is always exploring ways to improve the iPhone camera, and the latest report suggests doubling down on the sensor is the next step.
According to a patent filed to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office the company is looking to put two cameras on the back of a new iPhone.
One is set to be a telephoto camera and another a normal-to-wide angle camera like those currently on iPhone models.
The document goes into great detail on the aperture, track length, focal length and many more potential set ups for both the new cameras but nothing is set in stone just yet.
Setting up two different cameras on the back is a strong set up – we've seen it before on the HTC One M8 which had one of the best cameras in recent years.
This patent was filed in October 2013 – does that mean it could feature on the iPhone 6S or iPhone 7? It's unlikely, but with Apple you just never know.
- Here are all the latest rumours for the iPhone 7.
Insane flagship-killing specs listed for new ZTE phone
Thought the Samsung Galaxy S6 was powerful with its 2.1GHz octa-core processor and 3GB of RAM? Think again. Sure, it's arguably the most powerful smartphone around right now, but the ZTE Nubia Z9 has just been certified in China and the specs attached to it dwarf the S6.
The specs, which appeared on TENAA (China's certification body) and were spotted by GizmoChina, should be accurate as TENAA isn't in the habit of making things up, but they just seem too high to be true.
The phone supposedly has a 3.5GHz octa-core processor and 8GB of RAM. That's serious overkill if true, we weren't expecting to see phones with those sorts of specs for at least a couple of years.
Too good to be true?
As such we have a hard time believing they're true, especially when the rest of the listed specs are more reasonable, such as a 5.15-inch 1080p display, a 16MP rear camera, an 8MP front-facing one, 32GB of storage and a 3000mAh battery with Android 5.0 on board.
Those specs aren't to be sniffed at, but they feel more like what you'd expect from a 2015 phone, so we have to assume that the processor and RAM are probably mistakes or typos. Then again if ZTE wants to make a splash it's always possible that it really has gone this overboard.
The phone is pegged for a May 6 announcement, so the truth of the matter will be known soon.
- The OnePlus 2 could have some pretty tasty specs of its own.
IDG Reports Q1 2015 Wolrdwide Smartphone Market and Shipment Numbers
Samsung Announces Two Smart Bluetooth Headphones
LG Reports Solid Q1 Results Thanks to Smartphone Shipment Increase
The biggest announcements from Microsoft Build 2015
Windows 10, HoloLens, Microsoft Edge and more
Yesterday, Microsoft's Satya Nadella, Alex Kipman and more (including a cute robot) took the stage to give an overview on how Windows 10 is going to be a big deal. Today, we got an in-depth (read: technical) look that helped to elaborate on many of those talking points.
Build is, indeed, a developer's conference, so the amount of announcements and sizzle reels isn't quite up to CES levels of craziness. Yet, Microsoft has revealed a ton of new information on Windows 10, HoloLens, Project Spartan (now called Microsoft Edge) and everything in between.
It's time to catch up on what you might have missed at Build 2015.
Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser has been the butt of every joke one can possible make about internet browsers. But with Microsoft Edge, you meanies can't make fun any longer.
The new browser, which was previously titled Project Spartan, aims to do everything the big boys like Google Chrome, Firefox and Safari can do, plus some.
What makes the Edge look to be a unique experience is that the Windows ecosystem is baked right into the browser for the convenience of the user. That means Cortana, links to relevant apps in the Microsoft Store and an attractive design that echoes the live tiles from the Start menu will ride along with you while you browse the information highway.
Windows 10 apps retooled from iOS and Android
Microsoft announced a four-part plan to get everyone onboard with Windows 10. The first two parts of said plan did very little to create a ripple, but the last two worked up some "ooh's" and "aah's". There was even an "auuughh?" somewhere in there.
In an effort to beef up the app offering in the Windows Store, Microsoft announced that universal Windows 10 apps can be easily created with only a few tweaks to already-existing Android and iOS code. That means it takes much less work for developers of hot apps like Snapchat, Periscope and Candy Crush Saga to port their work over to Windows.
With that simple retooling, these apps, which were previously locked to either Android or iOS, can operate on any device running Windows 10, be it a laptop, desktop or mobile phone.
Hey, it's the Surface Hub!
It's hard to agree upon an ideal screen size for a tablet. Since there's no consensus, Microsoft though it'd be a good idea to make a 4K, 84-inch productivity tablet/TV/mounted smart table.
This isn't the first we've seen of the Surface Hub. Regardless, it's still looking to be the ultimate business meeting tool by replacing the whiteboard and allowing smooth interaction and collaboration when it finally comes out. We still don't know the release date or price, but we can expect it sometime around the launch of Windows 10, likely costing an amount justifiable only by those in the work world.
Microsoft Makers unite
Microsoft is making moves to attract all you creative types to Windows 10. Whether your interests lie in composing music, manufacturing 3D prototypes of product models, creating collaborative blueprints or if you're Questlove, just air drumming, Microsoft wants its platform to be the one you want to create on.
Just how is it doing that? By toting the versatility of Window 10 being a "Universal Windows Platform", that's how. The code making up your unique application can scale to tons of devices.
Cloud computing and cow farms
By mixing the unthinkable, Microsoft showed off a rather interesting application to show off the ingenuity of its cloud computing platform, Azure.
Microsoft wrapped pedometers around the legs of female cows to track how many steps they take during a given day. Not only does this answer the question of how active these cows are, it also clues farmers into each individual members of the cattle that are about to be in heat. Seem strange? It is. But there's a method to the madness.
Once the farmer detects a cow in heat through a dramatic uptick in steps taken, they are able to artificially inseminate, which offers an increased chance of conception. It's all science, dude.
As the presenter on stage jokingly described, this is AI meets AI. Artificial intelligence and artificial insemination.
Azure Machine Learning will take over the world
A fun concept demonstrated on stage was the "How Old Do I Look?" site. It's powered by Azure Machine Learning, Microsoft's conditional cloud platform that gets better at doing things as it tries, even if it fails sometimes.
In the demo, presenting a picture of yourself (or anyone, for that matter) will display an estimated age. It's fun, pointless and did we mention that it's fun? Overall, the algorithm in place is accurate, but it can be fooled. It thinks Hillary Clinton is 36 and it thinks I'm twelve years older than I actually am (I'm 25).
Some DirectX 12 goodness
There wasn't much going on in the way of gaming at this year's Build developer conference, but near the end of day two's keynote, Square Enix presented a tech demo showcasing the capabilities of DirectX 12.
Titled "Witch" with the subtitle "Chapter 0 [Cry]", the demo looked a whole lot like the Luminous Studio engine shown off a few years ago at the E3 gaming conference.
Needless to say, it all looked gorgeous. The character model shown was incredibly lifelike and with the PC configuration painting the scene, it's easy to see why. The Digital Storm desktop pushing the graphics in the presentation was powered with four GPUs capable of presenting all 63 million polygons of the entire environment.
Visual Studio Code
Windows owners have long-enjoyed using Visual Studio to code their applications and/or web projects. But today, Microsoft announced that it is spreading this love to Mac OS and Linux owners too.
This opens up the coding editor and debug tool up to a whole new community of established developers and budding students looking to get into the field. Better yet, it's totally free to download. What's not to like?
Microsoft wants 1 billion Windows 10 devices
Whoa, that's a lot. But let's put it into context. A Microsoft exec claimed that there are about 500 million adopters of Android 4.4 KitKat and even less who updated to Apple's latest mobile OS, iOS 8. So with 1 billion total users, Microsoft would crush all, right? Not exactly.
Windows 10 is a consistent experience across mobile phone and personal computer, which means that the metric being aimed for combines the sales of PCs and mobile devices. Thus, this goal will be much more easily reached than if the software giant were to instead fight for dominance in only one product category.
Regardless, Microsoft has a few plans to win you over as a Windows 10 user. First, the Windows Store has received a facelift to improve the user experience. Secondly, the apps available are universal no matter which device you use.
Lastly, Windows 10 is a free, no-strings-attached, upgrade for current Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 users. This cheaper than cheap deal won't last forever, but it should give the install base a huge push upon release.
HoloLens is looking incredible
We were all impressed and admittedly, completely surprised, when Microsoft announced its plans to step into augmented reality with HoloLens. A head-mounted display that's completely wire-free? Tech demos that don't seem too good to be true? What is this sorcery?
Microsoft took to the stage to prove us yet again that HoloLens is shaping up to be something unique. Though no details about its release were even vaguely hinted at, we got a peek at some really cool use cases for the AR headset.
The team showed us how HoloLens can adapt to your environment, intelligently plastering app windows against walls and onto tables. One moment even saw the demonstrator gesturing to grab an app window and expand it to cover the entire wall.
Some experts from Case Western Reserve University demonstrated how HoloLens can be used for study, in this case with human anatomy. Our demo showed a meticulously detailed 3D model of the human heart, which the HoloLens user can spin around and zoom in on to get a closer look.
The last demonstration showcased how HoloLens can inject life into inanimate objects, like robots. Not only could the HoloLens control the movement of the robot by plotting AR waypoints for it to travel on, it could reroute its path should something, like Alex Kipman, get in its way.
You can tell that this gallery is listed in no particular order because I've saved what's possibly today's biggest announcement for last. Microsoft detailed Continuum, a plan to turn any phone into a personal computer.
The biggest perk of Windows 10, so far, isn't that it can scale down for a mobile-friendly experience. It's that from a mobile device, still being the universal Windows 10 OS that it is, can also upscale to bring the same capabilities of your personal computer –without compromise– to the big screen.
With Continuum, a secondary Windows 10 device can act to emulate a mouse and keyboard, should you not have one handy. Lastly, as the name hints at, Continuum aims to provide a continuous experience. That means that any maps you're gazing at and articles you're reading on one device are shared automatically with your other Windows 10 devices.
Windows 10 release date
Just kidding. Well, the joke is on us too. We, just like everyone else, were on the edge of our seats to hear if Microsoft would loosen its lips and just give us what we want, a release date for Windows 10. Today, unfortunately, wasn't the day.
However, what they ended up giving us was a lot of what we wanted and even some stuff that we didn't know that we wanted. Hopefully, tomorrow's continuation of Build 2015 will provide some clarification as to when people can hope to get their hands on the final product.