Best of TechRadar: this week's star features and hottest reviews
18th Jan 2014 | 09:00
Our best words from the last 7 days...
Netflix effect: how binge watching is changing TV
Is instant gratification really gratification at all?
Streaming services such as Netflix have broken down traditional barriers, democratised the best content and empowered the consumer. Quite frankly, we've never had it so good. We've been given the keys to the proverbial Chocolate Factory and boy have we gorged ourselves silly like an insatiable army of Augustus Gloops. The bold new era of content distribution and technological efficiency has served up entire, original award-winning series series like Netflix' House of Cards and Orange Is The New Black for consumption in one sitting, if the viewer desires. But is this instant gratification offered through high-speed internet, Smart TVs and mobile devices really such a Golden Ticket? Read on to find out
Are PlayStation games about to invade the PC?
PlayStation Gamer: In the first of a new series of weekly PlayStation columns, Rob Crossley explores the future of PlayStation Now. A future in which Sony could soon open up its twenty-year vault of PlayStation software and hawk its goods to PC gamers. Yes, that means selling PS3, PS2 and PSOne games to those who, potentially, have never owned a single PlayStation system. "Doesn't this make the PC not an absurd destination for PS Now, but an obvious one?" Continue reading...
Gamers need to chill out and embrace new ideas
Xbox Gamer: Have you heard the one about the furore surrounding the revelation that Xbox and PC exclusive - Titanfall - will have multiplayer combat capped at a 6v6 player count? No? Well take a seat as our new Xbox columnist Aoife Wilson explores the backlash. "It blows my mind that so many people actually renounced any previous vested interest in the game based on this one revelation." Continue reading...
Why 2014 will be an amazing year for 4K content
May on 4K: If 2013 was the year of the 4K Ultra HD TV, then 2014 (or as I now like to call it 2014K) is fast shaping up to be the year of 4K content. Whether you want to create your own or kick-back and watch something rather more professional, it's all going down this year. Of course, the biggest 4K content news hails from Netflix. The non-contract streaming outfit has confirmed that it will be launching a UHD service this spring... Here's why you should be excited.
Why has Google bought Nest?
Google is turning up the heat with its latest big buy
If you hate the phrase the Internet of Things, then you are not alone. Tony Fadell, founder of Nest, isn't a fan either. He told TechRadar back in November that items that should never be 'connected' include fridges, toasters and kettles. And this is from the guy who made both smoke alarms and thermostats 'smart'. According to recent news, he has every right to be picky. His company Nest now belongs to Google – the web giant acquired it this week for a whopping $3.2 billion. But what does Google want with Nest? The answer is simple: Google just bought itself a first-class ticket into your home, something it has been trying to do for years.
Bad Nokia! Put that Android down at once!
Why is Microsoft-owned Nokia making an Android handset?
Know any Nokia fans? Noticed that they seem giddy, like their dreams are finally coming true? It's because the Finns could FINALLY be making an Android handset. This is bad news. The NokDroid project has been up and down more than a demented see saw. First, Nokia was developing an Android handset, fulfilling the liquid fantasy of geeks everywhere. Then the project was off. How could Nokia even consider such a thing? It's (sort of) owned by MICROSOFT for Gawd's sake. And now, it looks like it's back on. I can't keep up with this. Read this week's FIGHTING TALK
Internet of Bad Things: it's time to get paranoid about your fridge
Gary Marshall: It turns out that the Internet of Things is the Internet of Not Very Secure Things. Smart devices have proven to be a little too smart: 100,000 of them, including a smart fridge and some TVs, have reportedly been used to send a quarter of a million spam emails. And that adds a whole new dimension to a very old joke*: how do you know when there's a hacker in your fridge? Continue reading...
The Xbox was the original Steam Machine
But is Valve's approach bringing a new dawn for PC gaming?
A massive company whose name and reputation is intrinsically tied to the PC sets out to do the unthinkable - to bring PC gaming to the living room but keep some of the ethos that made it so popular. The machine will forge its reputation with first person shooters and, after some early divisive efforts, a well received new version of the traditional controller and a connected and vociferous community will be at its heart. We could, of course, be talking about either the most exciting thing to come out of CES 2014 - Valve's Steam Machine - or a project that was announced at GDC 2000: Microsoft's original Xbox. Continue reading...
This week's hottest reviews...
Android 4.4 KitKat
The latest version of its mobile OS proves Google certainly isn't taking a break
There's absolutely no question that anyone in a position to install Android 4.4 should go ahead and do it. Even without the Google Experience Launcher there are enough improvements, refinements, and new features to make it well worth your while. It builds on what is already a very solid platform with a huge range of apps and games. Android 4.4 KitKat is every bit as stylish and refined as iOS 7, and it still beats the pants off Windows Phone 8 and BlackBerry 10.
We suspect the real strength of KitKat will show itself at the budget end of the Android market. Anyone with limited funds to snag a smartphone will benefit from Project Svelte. The popularity of the Moto G shows there's a real appetite out there for a solid phone that doesn't tie you into a costly monthly contract for two years. If you're in the market for a new smartphone, whether you want something cutting edge, or you have a tight budget, Android is a seriously strong contender for your business.
Android 4.4 KitKat review
Asus Memo Pad HD 7
Asus follows its Nexus successes with another mini tablet
As a budget tablet, the Memo Pad HD 7 perfectly fits the bill. It's fast enough, has all the features you'd expect and a particularly vibrant screen. It's keenly priced and generally offers an excellent user experience. It's also light enough to use comfortably for extended periods.
Asus Memo Pad HD 7 review
Creative T4 Wireless
An excellent 2.1 sound system with Bluetooth and NFC
Whether you're after a 2.1 set for your PC, some wireless speakers for your phone or a punchy compact system for your TV, the Creative T4 Wireless is a decent option. It's certainly a fantastic all-round system. The sound quality is excellent, nice and balanced across the board, and provides a lovely, creamy soundwash that you generally do not get from Bluetooth speakerdocks. Creative T4 Wireless review
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