Roundup: Best of TechRadar: this week’s star features and hottest reviews

Roundup: Best of TechRadar: this week's star features and hottest reviews

HTC One M8 review

HTC One (M8)

HTC’s done it again with stunning design and loads of power

Brand new and out this week, the HTC One (M8) is a brilliant smartphone with very few flaws. Its main strength is design, but we don’t think that’s a negative thing as many brands still seem keen to race on specs rather than attracting users when they wander into a shop to a buy something for two years (at a rather high price). If this isn’t the smartphone of 2014, we’re very, very excited to see what the competition will come up with as this handset strikes the perfect blend of design, performance and innovation without really compromising in any area. HTC One (M8) review

Path of the One: the headline hits and flagship flops from HTC

The path of the One!

Headline hits and flagship flops from HTC

The brand new HTC One is the eighth flagship Android handset in HTC’s history, a series that goes all the way back to 2008 and the first phone to feature Android to go on sale in the UK. From the runaway hits of the Desire and Desire HD to the classy but niche HTC One, it’s been a tumultuous ride for the manufacturer. Take a trip down memory lane with us as we remember how HTC got to where it is today. There’s no mention of Robert Downey Jr., we promise. HTC through the ages

HTC One vs Samsung Galaxy S5

HTC One (M8) vs Samsung Galaxy S5: Early view

Which flagship Android handset suits you best?

Samsung is the reigning heavyweight champion on the Android scene, and the Galaxy S5 looks like a return to form after the slightly disappointing S4. The Taiwanese contender has a proud Android pedigree and last year’s HTC One was our pick of the smartphone bunch. The HTC One (M8) isn’t the catchiest name we’ve ever heard, but even if the ungainly tag sticks, this is a beautiful-looking device. If any Android smartphone can mount a credible challenge to Samsung’s dominance this year, it’s got to be the HTC One (M8).

  • HTC One (M8) vs Samsung Galaxy S5
  • HTC One (M8) vs HTC One
  • HTC One (M8) vs iPhone 5S

chromecast

Chromecast

It’s been out in the US for ages, but now it’s hit the rest of the world

Chromecast is an inexpensive, easy-to-use way of accessing streaming on your TV. Netflix and catch-up TV are a reasonable start, but it needs a broader range. If it cost more, we’d say to hold off and wait to see if a wider array of apps appears, and that’s probably true if you already have something that can stream common services, such as a PS3 or even an Apple TV. But at this price, Chromecast is fun enough, robust enough and has enough potential that we’ve no problems recommending it to anyone without a smart TV. Chromecast review

Hands on: Project Morpheus review

Project Morpheus

Sony’s PS4 VR headset breaks cover

In mythology Morpheus is the god of dreams and in science-fiction he’s the god of sweet leather trench coats, but at GDC 2014 Morpheus means Sony’s virtual reality headset. Designed exclusively for the PlayStation 4 but still very much in beta mode, it could completely change console gaming, and give real merit to your loved ones’ claims that you’re ignoring them in favor of virtual worlds. Hands on: Project Morpheus review

Hands on: Oculus Rift review

Oculus Rift mkII

Crystal Cove is improved and ready for developers!

The latest version of the VR headset Oculus Rift is finally going out to developers. While the head tracking, 1080p Crystal Cove has been demoed since CES 2014, as of today it’s available to developers for just US$350. That’s US$50 more than the past developer kit, which contained a lower resolution Oculus headset and a control box. The new Oculus Rift development kit 2 has no control box – all the guts have been integrated into the headset itself, and the Rift has just a single cable – HDMI and USB woven together. Hands on: Oculus Rift review

DirectX 12 is set to supercharge PC gaming

DirectX 12 is set to supercharge PC gaming!

Microsoft’s API is going to make your gaming machine faster

Microsoft has taken the wraps off its latest graphics API and it’s all about performance and unifying graphics across all devices. Oh, and two other things: it will be compatible with most recent graphics cards and it makes AMD’s Mantle API look a bit pointless. DX12’s true potential is untested so perhaps AMD knows something that we don’t and that’s why it pressed ahead with Mantle. Time will tell. Read more about DirectX 12

First look at the next-gen Batman: Arkham Knight

Batman: Arkham Knight

A thrilling conclusion to an epic series?

With Rocksteady’s first two Batman games already a huge success, Batman: Arkham Knight promises to be even bigger and badder than before. A combination of the first game’s forensic detective capabilities and the second’s caped crusader storyline, Arkham Knight is a healthy dose of both – along with a totally suped up Batmobile and next-gen Gotham City world. Read all about it

Wear and tear: is the smartwatch trend worn out?

Wear and tear: is the smartwatch trend worn out?

The week in flames!

The unexpected announcement of the Android Wearproject split the internet in half. The half with the nice hair and the deliberately chunky glasses frames were enthusiastic about it, keen to have yet another gadget to spend a few hundred dogecoins on regardless of need. The scruffier half, though, was less impressed. Google’s ambition to force us all to speak to our devices to control them is baffling, as (a) it doesn’t work very well no matter how hard you try to annunciate like Professor Henry Higgins, and (b) people feel stupid talking to their phones, glasses and – coming soon! – watches. Read more

Virtual reality can “fundamentally change communication”

Virtual reality 'can fundamentally change communication,' says Oculus CEO

So says Oclus CEO who just sold up to Facebook

“It’s going to go far beyond just games,” Iribe pronounced to TechRadar about Oculus Rift. “We really believe the ultimate application for this is actually social communications. That’s where it’s long-term going to go.” Iribe blurted this out in an almost you-have-to-hear-this manner. He was being ushered off to another meeting, but wanted to impart this final promise in Oculus Rift’s potential, and perhaps give a little wink to today’s $2 billion revelation. Read more from Oculus Rift

The amazing new Audi TT is one of the most high tech cars ever made

The amazing new Audi TT is one of the most high tech cars ever made

All the tech all in one vehicle

Audi has just raised the bar for all-round techno-mastery with the new TT coupe. And we’ve been to Germany to get a hands-on feel for all the new features. Here’s a quick taste of what we’re talking about. High-res LCD panels, twin quad-core CPUs, 4G data, touch control, natural-language voice recognition, iOS-aping search functionality, intelligent auto-dimming headlights, hybrid aluminium and steel construction, computer-controlled four-wheel drive. And more more, plenty more. Yup, the new TT goes way beyond the ‘virtual cockpit’ tech that grabbed the headlines when Audi first announced the car, even if that is the show-piece feature. But let’s start there anyway.

Bombshell at Panasonic!

Bombshell at Panasonic: 'resolution doesn't matter, it's all about the colour'

It’s not about resolution, it’s dynamic range and colors that matter

Hold the front page! It’s not picture resolution that makes for a great TV image, but old chestnuts dynamic range and colour fidelity. That was the message from TV calibration guru Joel Silver this week when he took to the stage at Panasonic’s huge pan-European dealer convention in Amsterdam to support the company’s new 4K TV launches. Read this week’s May on 4K

Jawbone Up24 review

Jawbone Up24

The fitness tracker with the most flair

The Jawbone Up24 is one of the most inspiring fitness wearables that you can latch onto your wrist. It’s fashionable, lightweight design makes it easier to wear for a full 24 hours compared to its plain-looking, anchor-like competition. This doesn’t feel like you’re wearing a single handcuff. Better yet, the accurate activity and sleep tracking metrics make it useful both day and night. Jawbone Up24 review

Pentax K-3 review

Pentax K-3

Will the weatherproof K-3 be enough to tempt consumers away from Nikon and Canon

Since the biggest selling point of this camera is its weatherproofing credentials, it makes sense to buy it with the 18-135mm WR (weather resistant) lens, otherwise it’s only the body that can withstand water. This makes it a little more expensive than if you were to buy it with an 18-55mm standard kit lens. Happily, image quality is pretty good in the majority of conditions, and handling is intuitive. While Pentax hasn’t done quite enough to drag attention firmly away from Canon and Nikon, it is making moves in the right direction. Pentax K-3 review

    



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