Best of TechRadar: this week's star features and hottest reviews
22nd Feb 2014 | 10:00
Our best words from the last 7 days...
What is the Internet of Things?
And why should you care?
There's been a lot of talk about the "internet of things" lately. It was big news at this year's CES, and Google's sudden purchase of Nest made the whole internet sit up a bit straighter and pay a bit more attention. But it's got a stupid name which, depending on your point of view, either makes no sense at all or makes a tiny bit of sense but still really doesn't make sense. It could mean basically anything, and it could mean basically anything too. So what does it all MEAN?
How Facebook took over the world one Like at a time
Facebook is 10 years old
More than 757 million people will pay Facebook a visit on its 10th birthday, which is more adulation than some deities receive. Whether you're among those making a personal pilgrimage or not, Facebook is like Christmas and X Factor winners - it's absolutely impossible to ignore.
The world is ready for electric cars...
...It just doesn't know it yet
It's not about the infrastructure, stupid. Or the range. Sorry, but somebody has to say it. When it comes to electric cars or EVs, all this range-anxiety and fast-charging-network guff is completely missing the point. It all boils down to some fundamental misconceptions which are in desperate need of spectacular implosion. Continue reading...
The amazing next-gen game that proves resolution isn't everything
Though it has been extraordinarily tempting the past two months to write a column plainly entitled: "It doesn't frickin matter what the resolution is", instead I thought it best to avoid the subject entirely. Starve the trolls, etc. After all, you're a clued-up gamer who knows how to have fun, so why would you even associate such minor technical differentiations with the ability to enjoy yourself? I'm not saying there isn't a meaningful difference between Blu-ray and DVD, of course there is, but this obsession with 1080p at 60fps as an assumed holy grail of next-gen gaming is patently false, and here's why...
Finite: is this the end for the luscious Bioshock universe?
Well, that was unexpected. Ken Levine, co-founder and creative director of Irrational Games, announced this week via a blog post that he was "winding down Irrational Games as you know it." Levine is often seen as one of gaming's few auteurs. A visionary that brought us the beautiful and complex worlds of Rapture and Columbia via the award-winning Bioshock franchise. Could this really be the last we see of the Bioshock universe?
How 25 years of Sky transformed UK TV forever
A quarter of a century ago today, on the 5th February 1989, Sky launched a tentative direct-to-home satellite TV service to UK households, ushering in the first age of multi-channel television in the process. At the time there were just four terrestrial TV channels serving British telly addicts, broadcasting almost nothing of interest. Mr Blobby was still a glint in Noel Edmond's eye and Sylvester McCoy was bringing the original run of Doctor Who to an ignominious close. The only reason anyone owned a satellite dish at the time was to watch lederhosen smut from Germany. Hardly anyone seemed to grasp the portent of the new service, but television would never be the same again...
Spike Jonze reveals why the OS of the future is all talk
Her sees an operating system finally finding its voice
With the words "OK, Google" inching closer to everyday use and Apple desperately looking to raise Siri beyond gimmick, it's clear that computing companies are trying to find their true voices when it comes to OS interaction. Fiction it may be but if the movie Her is anything to go by, then the future of device communication will certainly be through speech – speech that moves way beyond simple commands and into full-blown conversation. Continue reading...
Can 4K save the struggling TV industry?
Steve May on 4K
Will 4K Ultra HD be the saviour of the beleaguered TV industry? Increasingly, that's how some executives seem to be painting it. The hard truth is that TV has turned into a penguin business, i.e. it's unlikely to fly again, despite huge technology leaps. Sony's recent announcement that it's hiving out its TV division into a wholly owned company says it all. Unable to deliver on a promised return to profitability (on the bright side, the group will only lose 25 billion yen this year), it's being set up as a fiefdom. Continue reading...
13 awesome iPhone apps that would supercharge Android
The gras is sometimes greener on the iOS side
We know. We know. You went for Android because it offered superior customisation, because it didn't patronise you, because it delivered more bang for your buck. And that's great, but let's be honest: sometimes you'll see an iOS app and the word WANT flashes through your brain in 50-foot letters of fire. These are the iOS apps we'd really like to see on Android. Is there anything great we haven't included, or do you use excellent alternatives? We'd love to know your thoughts.
Volkswagen's new e-up! electric car is shockingly good
This EV is much better than you might think
Back in November, we crowned BMW's radical i3 the best electric car in Blighty – or anywhere else in the world, for that matter. Just a few months later, that title is already under threat and from a surprising new entrant into the EV market. It's the new Volkswagen e-up! Not surprising in the sense that it exists. We've known the Volkswagen e-up! Was coming for some time. But surprising in the sense that it turns out to be such a compelling proposition.
This week's hottest reviews
LG G Flex
The future of smartphones is here, but don't get too excited
"This biggest issue I have with the LG G Flex is the fact that it's impossible to recommend. A sky high price tag means the LG G Flex is immediately out of many people's price range and while the "flexible" nature of the phone is certainly interesting, in it's current form it's little more than a gimmick. Want a top of the line LG smartphone? Then buy the G2. Want a large screened handset? Then take a look at the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 or Nokia Lumia 1520. All are cheaper than the LG G Flex, but none are inferior in terms of power, features or experience. The only real USP is the slightly flexible, curved design which is innovative, but it's just not worth the considerable outlay the G Flex's price tag commands.
LG G Flex review
Function and style in one beautiful package
We have been big fans of all the cameras in the X series. Fuji really has a handle on producing cameras with retro styling that produce excellent results, and just a few short years after the first in the line, the X-T1 is another wonderful addition to the line-up. Fuji is not short of fans of its style, and it's easy to see why. Fuji X-T1 review
Acer C720P Chromebook
Is it worth paying $100 more for a touchscreen?
As an affordable laptop, the Acer C720P Chromebook has a lot to offer: A thin and light design, an excellent keyboard and touchpad, and impressively endurance. As a Chromebook, however, the C720P fails to justify its above-average price tag. The gimmicky touchscreen bumps the cost up to $300, without adding real value to the system. Acer C720P Chromebook review
ACS T1 earphones
Sound quality does not get any better than this
If you've got the cash and you love pristine sound quality, you should buy these things straight away. However, the practicality issues make them unsuitable for most people. I've stopped using them on my commute in the mornings because they're fiddly to get in and out and too delicate to take everywhere I go. If you're happy with the practical issues of using them, though, and you don't mind shelling out a thousand bucks for the best audio experience you've ever had, what are you waiting for? ACS T1 review