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THE APPLE WATCH IS HERE ...

AND IT'S ABOUT TIME

ISSUE 58 NOVEMBER 2014

GADGETS / APPS / GEAR

THISER
COVSHOT
WASITH AN
W
E6

N
iPHPOLUS

SINGAPORE
W W W. S T U F F.T V

The worlds best-selling gadget magazine

MEET THE
SUPERHEROES
OF TECH
The 50 greatest
innovators of 2014

GREEN MACHINES
Going the distance in three
eco-friendly supercars

www.stuff.tv

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Issue 58 NOVEMBER 2014

EXPLORE THE WORLD,


CAPTURE THE MOMENT

12 megapixels 2/3 X-Trans CMOS II Sensor


*Widest and Highest Resolution Electronic View Finder
F2.0-F2.8 Bright Lens
4x Manual Optical Zoom Lens
New Film Simulation Classic Chrome
Wireless Image Transfer
Long lasting battery life (~470 photos)

16.3 megapixels X-Trans CMOS II Sensor


Advanced Hybrid Viewfinder
1/3 stop Aperture Ring
Electronic Shutter 1/32000 sec
New Film Simulation Classic Chrome
Wireless Image Transfer
Full HD Video

Heralding Fujifilms third-generation of large-sensored premium compacts, with their high-quality CMOS sensors,
impressive real-time viewfinders and film simulation modes. These draw on Fujifilms unique history
to create rich colors and smooth tones, making every shot a pleasure.
)LOP6LPXODWLRQ
Perfect your color photos
with new Classic Chrome

With 80 years of expertise


in lm development, Fujilm
allows users to switch between
beautiful styles just as easily
as choosing a roll of lm.

1HZ*UDSKLF
8VHU,QWHUIDFH

(OHFWURQLF9LHZQGHU

Accessiblity at your ngertips

With high quality


dedicated lens

Accessibility has never been


easier. The all-new interface
allows users to operate
controls seamlessly and at
ease.

The fastest, largest and


highest resolving electronic
viewnder in its class* connects
you to the subject and brings
back the thrill of photography.
*Fujilm research as of August 2014. Compared
with other compact zoom digital cameras,
being 500g or lighter in weight.

www.fujilm.com.sg |

www.facebook.com/fujilmcamerasSG

WELCO
Yes, the iPhones on the cover were really
shot with an iPhone 6 Plus. And as you
can see, the quality is really quite amazing
a testament to the iPhone 6 Plus
cameras superb image quality. We didnt have to set
up anything elaborate either, just handheld shots with
a couple of light banks. You can read all about it on
p67 as part of our Ultimate Guide to the iPhone 6
starting on p42. There, youll learn absolutely
everything you need to know about Apples biggest
smartphones ever from A to Z, because weve literally
arranged everything alphabetically. And though we all
know superheroes dont really exist (sadly), in the tech
world these 50 people sure come close. Meet the
most exciting inventors, scientists, and entrepreneurs
of 2014 in our Stuff Innovators 2014 list on p85. Also,
for the first time ever, weve pit three of the most
advanced eco-friendly supercars in the world against
each other in the BMW i8, Volkswagen XL1, and Tesla
Model S on p104, so flip over to see what the future of
motoring could be. Enjoy the issue.
Melvin Tang, Editor / melvin.tang@haymarket.com / @melvinstuff

www.stuff.tv

facebook.com/stuffsingapore

Haymarket Media Asia Pte. Ltd.


21 Media Circle
#05-05 Infinite Studios
Singapore 138562
www.stuff.tv
Email: stuff.sg@haymarket.com
Tel: +65 6224 6101
Fax: +65 6224 6102
To email one of the Stuff team
listed below please use firstname.
lastname@haymarket.com

Cover photography: Mark Teo

EDITORIAL
Editor
Melvin Tang
Online Editor Asia
Tein Hee Seow
Features Writer
Elissa Loi
News Writer
Hafizah Osman
Head of Art - Singapore
Heymans Tho
Content Director UK
Hugh Sleight
Editor-in-Chief
Will Findlater
PUBLISHING
Brand Director Asia
Andy Jackson
Publishing Manager Asia
Ian Paynton
Marketing Executive
Amanda Cheok
Publishing Director UK
Rachael Prasher

twitter.com/Stuff_SG

Digital Publisher UK
Sandip Ray
Circulation & Production Manager
P. Panirchelvam
Head of Licensing Asia
Lisa Vernall
COMMERCIAL
Commercial Director
Lawrence Leong
Digital Sales Manager
Charlie Moss
Senior Account Manager
Raha Ahmad
MANAGEMENT
Managing Director Asia
Tim Waldron
Finance Director Asia
David Newton
Managing Director UK
David Prasher
Chief Executive
Kevin Costello

instagram.com/stuffsingapore

STUFF ASIA EDITORS


China Zeng Chun
India Nishant Padhiar
Indonesia Riza Anwar
Korea Ho-Seok Ko
Malaysia Sharil Bin Abdul Rahman
Myanmar Ye Myanmar Aung
Philippines Ira V. Panganiban
Taiwan George Wang
Thailand Suwee Deetae
Vietnam Le Kim Thach

This publication may not be reproduced


or transmitted in any form in whole or
in part without the written permission
of the publishers. Liability: while every
care has been taken in the preparation of
this magazine, the publishers cannot be
held responsible for the accuracy of the
information herein, or any consequences
arising from it. In the case of all product
reviews, judgements have been made in
the context of the product tested based
on Singapore prices at the time of review,
which are subject to fluctuation and only
applicable to the Singapore market.

Stuff Singapore MCI (P) 181/11/2013


is published by Haymarket Media Asia
Pte. Ltd. a subsidiary of Haymarket Media
Group Ltd.
Stuff is published across Asia in; China,
India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Myanmar,
Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and
Vietnam. Haymarket Media Asia Pte. Ltd.
2013. All rights reserved.
Printed by Times Printers Pte. Ltd.
Distributed by MediaCorp Pte Ltd.

www.stuff.tv

C
CO
CONS
S
S
p31

ON THE
COVER

p123

p8
Watch
this

HOT STUFF
8

16
20
23
26
28
31
38
39

The Hot Four


O Apple Watch
O Apple iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus
O Moto Hint
O Samsung Galaxy Note 4,
Galaxy Note Edge
Vital stats Canon EOS 7D Mark II
Mark I was one of the best crop sensor
DSLRs around. Can it live up to the name?
Gigapixel Jaguar XE
Jaguar flies its new model over Tower Bridge
by helicopter, just for the hell of it
Choice Globes
New ways to have a planet in your bedroom
Games
Drive snarling supercars in Project Cars
Apps
How to fuse your face with that of your cat
Vital stats Fujifilm X30
A powered-up new version of the X20,
with a tilting 3in screen and added Wi-Fi
Our month
What we did when no one else was looking
Your month
Things to do in the coming month

TESTS

p42
Apples
biggest phone
ever

p85
World
leaders

70 First test Motorola Moto 360


As round as a satsuma and so swish
youll show it off to everyone you know
72 First test Bluesound Pulse
If music is your life, this is the wireless
speaker thatll play beats to your hearts
content
74 First test Mercedes-Benz C Class
Loaded with tech and great to drive. Buying
it will be an executive decision
78 Approved Stuff-approved apps for
spicing up your social life, raiding dungeons
and dodging flesh-eating plants
80 First test Nissan Qashqai
Is it the qiller qrossover weve been waiting
for?
82 Tested Galaxy S5 Mini
A micro version of the bestselling blower
98 Tested Lapierre Overvolt
A mountain bike with an electric secret
114 Tested Games
O Destiny
O BioShock (iOS edition)
123 Group test Budget smartphones
Rather not spend your life savings on a
device youll lose or break within the week?
126 Reviews Sensory snacks
Vampires in a film, super-nerds in a book

www.stuff.tv

11.14
TOP 10

p117

p134

OF
EVERYTHING
Been away for a
while? There are
three more Stuff
Top 10s nowadays:
Games machines,
Wearable tech and
Connected home.
Check them out
from p129

TOP
TEN
OF EVERYTHING
140
141
142
143
144
145
146

Smartphones
Tablets
Media streamers
Headphones
TVs
Laptops
Best of the Rest

Home computers / Blu-Ray / Camcorders

Games
147
Game machines
148
Local apps
149
Compact cameras 150
SLRs, etc
151
Geek accessories 152
Wearable tech
153
For full reviews of every product in the
top 10s, visit stuff.tv/reviews

SMARTPHONES

FEATURES

PROJECTS

1
2

Samsung Galaxy S5

$868 +++++

from $998
+++++

Classy, clever and with talent in spades, the water-resistant Z2 oozes quality. It flies
in use and is capable of taking brilliant photos and playing videos at 4K cinephile quality.
If the design had just been a bit more practical, it would have been unstoppable.

$998
+++++

BEST FOR
THE
CONNOISSEUR

A curious blend of tried-and-tested 4in screen, design, huge cost with new-andexciting features like a 64-bit processor, fingerprint-sensing home button and iOS 7.
What it adds up to is an easy purchase for most but were ready for iPhone 6.

from $988
+++++

BEST FOR
APPLE
FANS

Delivering top-end spec at a mid-range price, the new Nexus has a bigger 4.95in
screen, faster processor and a satisfactory 8MP snapper. But the biggest
improvement is its chocolatey-smooth Android KitKat 4.4 OS. Astounding value.

Google Nexus 5

from
US$349
($445)
+++++

9
10

Sony Xperia Z2

Apple iPhone 5s

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Verily, tis indicative of the age in which we live, when a supercharged superphone
gets five glowing stars, but only makes No7. By Crumbles, though, its good. Blistering
processor, 5.7in screen and stylus smarts. Its the best gigantophone there is.

Xiaomi Redmi

Dollar-for-dollar, this is undisputedly the best Android phone you can get for your
money. At just $169 without contract for excellent performance, solid hardware, and
the gorgeous MIUI, youll be hard pressed to find a realistic alternative.

Oppo N1

The upstart brand barges its way into the Top Ten with an Android phone thats as
impressive in performance as it is in size. The distinctive swivelling 13MP camera is
great, the 5.9in screen is beautiful and you can even change the OS.

Nokia Lumia 1020

Finally, a cameraphone worthy of the name. The WP8-running 1020 takes superb 38MP
snaps helped by such treats as optical stabilisation and a xenon flash. Or it can scale
them down to 5MP and cram in more detail. But as a phone, its good rather than great.

T
HO
Y
BU

NE

NE

BEST FOR
SAUSAGE
FINGERS

BEST FOR
VALUE

$769
+++++

BEST FOR
FREE SPIRITS

$999
++++,

BEST FOR
CAMERA
OBSESSIVES

TABLETS

141

STUFF SAYS

The more things change, the more they stay the same. As the addition
of the Air moniker implies, the iPads been slimmed down on the outside
and beefed up on the inside, while retaining all the other goodies that
made previous versions great. So it now rocks the 64-bit A7 chip and M7
motion coprocessor that debuted with the iPhone 5s, while keeping the
gorgeous screen, quality build and abundance of tablet-optimised apps
that first won our hearts.

Apple iPad Mini With Retina Display

Apples baby tab has been in for a nip and a tuck and emerged with a youthful-looking
2048x1536 screen. The flawless build quality, creativity-friendly 7.9in form and oodles
of tablet-optimised apps remain; only a few colour inaccuracies keep it behind the Air.

Samsung has blessed the Galaxy Tab with one of the best tablet screens weve ever
laid eyes on, plus an impressive camera and some incredible stamina but there are
performance niggles and Apples tablet app selection is still far superior.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4

Now thinner, lighter and


more powerful than ever,
the iPad Air is a beautiful
sliver of gadget heaven

from $688 +++++

from $548
+++++

BEST FOR
CREATIVITY
ON THE MOVE

from $848
+++++

BEST FOR
MAGAZINES
AND MOVIES

Superb screen, unique features really, theres very little thats missing here. For us
the iPad Mini beats the Samsung by a whisker for its design, performance and wider
selection of optimised apps, but against other Android tabs its a winner.

from $598
+++++

The Nexus has moved further ahead of the Android pack by virtue of getting an
update to OS 4.4 KitKat. Its now smoother, faster and more battery-friendly than
ever, while its 323 pixel-per-inch 1080p screen and quad-core power still impress.

Google Nexus 7

from
US$229
(295)
+++++

BEST FOR
VALUE AND
PERFORMANCE

At last, Microsoft has delivered on the promise of the tablet-cum-laptop hybrid.


It proves theres space in the world for a design thats more productive than an
iPad or Galaxy Note, but easier to hump around than a traditional laptop.

Microsoft Surface Pro 3

from $1108
+++++

BEST FOR
USING
ANYWHERE

The Transformers have always been more about laptop relacement than tableteering,
and this one is the laptopiest yet. A 2560x1600 screen, two-day battery life (with
keyboard dock) and quad-core Tegra processor all work Android up into a frenzy.

$749
+++++

BEST FOR
ALL-ROUND
EXCELLENCE

The Fire HDX presents a sanitised version of Android cloaked in a user-friendly Amazon
skin. Theres even a Mayday button for instant video help. A great build, fast processor
and stunning screen round off a package thatll appeal to families and less techy types.

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7in

from
US$229
($295)
+++++

BEST FOR
SAFE & SIMPLE
TABLETEERING

This 10.1in tab-and-dock combo has enough grunt to run full Win 8.1 thanks to Intels
new Baytrail CPU. The 1366x768 screen is a good un, with crisp text, great contrast
and colours that pop, while dual-band Wi-Fi and a day-long battery are also welcome.

from $599
+++++

BEST FOR
DESKTOP
VERSATILITY

10

The new 10.1 is fit to bursting with clever tricks, comes with the note-tastic S Pen and
has a stunning 2560x1600 screen. But while we can forgive it its tacky looks, minor
performance glitches deny it that fifth star; we hope firmware updates will fix them.

142
T
HO
Y
BU

BEST FOR
PRICE TAG

$1048
+++++
$169
+++++

Apple iPad Air

BEST FOR
FUN
FEATURES

$1068
+++++

www.stuff.tv

NE

BEST FOR
RAW POWER

Big, bold and stuffed with tech, the Galaxy S5 is a bona fide superphone that will
delight Samsung fans, although it has some very stiff competition. It has a faster
processor, a slightly bigger screen and a more solid (if not quite stylish) feel than the S4.

130 Beta yourself Cooking


You cant be a student forever its time
to go beyond microwaved spag bol
132 Playlist Podcasts
If your eyes are busy doing important things,
give your ears something to do
134 Instant upgrades Fireworks
Remember, remember, the fifth of November
is the night to go OTT without losing the plot
136 Re-awesomise your Chromebook
If youve fallen out of love with your little
laptop, here are five ways to fall back in
137 5-minute hacks If nothing else, at least
Climb Everest from your desk O Make
texting fun again O Give YouTube a facelift

HTC One M8

Only just toppled by the new LG, HTCs flagship phone has enough power to take it to
the top of the AnTuTu benchmarks. Its a beaut to look at and to use, and its even got
a whole load of Lytro-style post-snap refocus features for photographic fun.

LG surprises us again.
Theres barely a single thing
wrong with the G3 and so,
so much thats right with it

42 Ultimate guide to iPhone 6


Absolutely everything you need to know
about Apples biggest phone ever
85 Stuff Innovators 2014
Our pick of the greatest inventors, scientists,
designers and entrepreneurs on Earth
101 Techspedition The Alps in 3D
We head for the hills with the researchers
mapping an entire mountain range with drones
104 Green machines
Stuff gets behind the wheel of three ecofriendly supercars for a coast-to-coast dash
117 Design Lighting
As photographers and estate agents say,
light is everything, so lamp up your life
154 Next big thing? Sound-charging phones
146
Running low? Go to a gig and turn those
sound vibrations into sweet electricity

www.stuff.tv

STUFF SAYS

LG G3

While we hoped the G3 would continue the great work started by the G2, we
werent expecting it to be quite so much of a leap forward. Upgrades range
from little touches such as the sleeker back buttons to major changes such
as the bigger, better 2K screen and laser-assisted camera. The only thing
that isnt better is the battery life, but considering all that LG has crammed
into the G3, the fact that it still lasts 15hrs is to be applauded.

O Prices quoted are for handset only unless otherwise stated

140
T
HO
Y
BU

Asus Transformer Pad TF701T

Asus Transformer Book T100

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014)

from $798
++++,

MEDIA STREAMERS
Sonos Playbar

No holes involved. Just a simple setup process


with this one-piece wonder, armed with six
woofers and three tweeters. It plays nice with
other Sonos systems, combining with the
Play:3 and Play:1 speakers to create an
immersive aural network. Kids and
neighbours hardly have reason to complain
when the handy Night Mode kicks in and
compresses the volume to keep the din down.

1
2
3
4
5
6

Bose SoundLink Wireless

The Bose SoundLink Wireless speaker is definitely worth your attention (and money).
This impressive Bluetooth speaker delivers warm sounds, with a balanced delivery of the
audio range. What you pay, is what you get.

Apple TV

No sign of Apples rumoured TV set, so this tiny media streamer will have to do for
now. And why not, it streams movies at 1080p, lets you access Apples extensive
movie collection on iTunes, and hooks up your iOS devices with a full HD TV wirelessly.

Bowers & Wilkins Z2

The baby of B&Ws AirPlay range is a little belter, and it adds a proper Lightning dock to
Apples wireless tech. Itll easily fill a small to medium-sized room with chunky bass,
punchy beats and lovely, clear vocals. Youll buy it for the look, but love it for the sound.

Denon CEOL Piccolo

A diminutive standard-bearer for next-gen micro hi-fi, the Denons got Spotify, a control
app, and itll stream your own tunes, right up to 24-bit. The docks 30-pin, but who cares
when youve also got AirPlay? Add Q Acoustics 2020i speakers for awesome sound.

Libratone Zipp

A fuzzy, cylindrical, colourful AirPlay dock that will deliver detailed, punchy 360-degree
sound anywhere at all, thanks to a built-in battery that gives it four hours of outdoors life.
Direct Wi-Fi skills free you from cables, routers, and everything but the boogie.

Philips Fidelio SoundSphere DS9800W

In a world awash with AirPlay-equipped docks, the SoundSpheres have created a niche
for themselves by offering proper two-channel stereo output. Idiosyncratic looks ensure
theyll stand out even further from the crowd, and they sound great too.

Forget that this Sony looks uncomfortably like a handbag because its actually one of the
biggest bargains in hi-fi right now. Pop in four AA batteries (old-school, right?) and it will
power a party in the park. Its got fancy NFC, too, but the best thing is that it sounds ace.

9
10

Sony SRS-BTM8

B&W Zeppelin Air

The Air brings the sound and design smarts weve come to expect from the Zeppelin
family and adds AirPlay streaming as a bonus trick. Pair it with the app, and let fellow
music lovers add their music collection to a collaborative list.

Sonos Play:1

Small yet powerful. Apt words for Sonos smallest ever wireless speaker. On its own, this
wireless portable speaker packs quite a punch Its potential is limitless, once you hook it
up with its fellow Sonos speakers to create a surround sound system.

www.stuff.tv

STUFF SAYS

This speaker is single, ready


to mingle and sets the mood
in the living room, minus the
complicated setup

$1299 ++++,

$549
+++++

BEST FOR
TOP SOUND
QUALITY

$148
+++++
$649
+++++
$399
+++++
$589
+++++

BEST FOR
VERSATILITY
AND VALUE
BEST FOR
AL FRESCO
PARTIES

$1299
+++++
$139
+++++

BEST FOR
BARGAINOUS
BLUETOOTH

$1099
++++,
from $399
++++,

p114
OUR PRICES
Prices in Hot Stuff
are RRPs. Prices in
features, tests and
Top 10s are the best
we could find from
a reputable online
retailer at the time
of going to print.

p104
www.stuff.tv

HOT
FOUR
#1
ITS ABOUT TIME
Apple Watch

As with other major celebrities, new iPhones cant help a few revealing shots
appearing on the internet before announcement day. But while Apples new blowers
(of which youll see more in a minute) had been leaked in some detail, no-one had a
clue what the Apple Watch would look like until this month. And here it is: a sapphire
crystal screen that can sense the difference between a tap and a press, a Digital
Crown spinner that zooms and selects different things on the screen, and a bevy
of sensors that can tell not just how you are, but who you are. Like the iPhone, it has
three finishes: standard steel, aluminium and gold, all available in two sizes. Is this the
beginning of the Age of Wearables, or the beginning of the Age of People Squinting
Irritatedly at Their Wrists? Well see.
As hot as sauna time
from US$349 ($445)(due 2015) / apple.com/sg

www.stuff.tv

27 PAGES
OF THE BIGGEST
STORIES FROM
PLANET TECH

WATCH YOU TALKIN BOUT?


It needs your iPhone
but can relay messages,
control apps and even
watch through your 5, 5c,
5s, 6 or 6 Pluss camera

It looks and
feels better
in real life
WILL DUNN

@willydunn

Watch doctor
Not only does it watch
you exercise; it also
knows how long youve
spent standing up

After years
of waiting, the
iWatch sorry,
the Apple
Watch has
at last materialised.
When the iPhone landed, it
wasnt the first smartphone
by a long chalk: it was just
a much better smartphone.
So is the Apple Watch a
better smartwatch?
After spending some
time with a couple of early
versions in Cupertino, I think
its definitely the one to beat.
Its light and comfortable to

Sporty or posh?
Click in a sporty strap for
the gym, then swap it for
a posh one to watch
Downton Abbey

wear, it looks nice, and it


has enough unique design
flourishes to set it apart.
The screen is bright and
crisp, and words and pictures
are readable from all angles.
The dial, or Digital Crown,
is unobtrusive in real life; it
rolls easily, with very little
resistance and no click.
Its a great piece of design,
allowing you to move things
around on screen without
covering them with your
clumsy prodfingers.
The taptic engine, as
Apple calls it, or buzzer, as

Buzz me in
Street directions use
haptics to steer you, so
you dont have to watch
the screen while walking

were going to call it, is more


important than you might
think. Theres a very
real difference between
controlled haptics and a flat
buzz, especially in a piece
of wearable tech, and the
haptics in the Apple Watch
have that nuanced feel its
heartbeat-sharing delivers
a softly detailed pulse.

Face look
Years of research and
zillions in investment,
all so you can have
a Mickey watch

Of course, there are a lot


of unknowns here, but as
with the iPhone, the Apple
Watch starts with a hulking
great advantage in the apps
department. Lots of big
brands are already signed
up and making them for
its platform apps to find
your car, control your smart
heating or track and share
your exercise. With so
many people building useful
software for it, its only
going to become more
attractive to the worlds
200 million iPhone owners.

www.stuff.tv

THE LINE-UP
There were over ten new wristronics devices launched this past month.
Heres our pick, with three recent decents. Just so you know where were at

O Asus
Zenwatch
An attractive
Android Wear
watch with
mildly curved
screen. It
uses standard
22mm lugs,
so you can put
it on whatever
strap you like.
$tba /
asus.com/sg

O Acer
Liquid Leap

O Samsung O LG
Gear S
G Watch R

O Garmin
Vivosmart

O Moto
360

O Samsung O Pebble
Gear Live
Steel

Not idly
named, the
Smartwatch
has 4GB of
on-board
Walkman, a
life-tracking
app and GPS
plus a proper
microUSB slot.
$298 /

Its basic in
design and
functionality,
but Acer
is planning
a very low
price for the
call- and textnotifying,
fitnesstracking Leap.
$tba /

Only
Samsungs
own Tizen OS
rather than
Android, but
it has a full
brace of
sensors
and its own
SIM-card 3G
connection.
$498 /

Nought
wrong with
the original,
but this round
version might
be whats
needed to
take peoples
eyes off the
Apple Watch
and Moto 360.
$tba /

Looks like a
fitness band,
but displays
notifications.
It works with
ANT+ heartrate sensors
and can even
control a VIRB
action cam.
US$170 ($215)
/ garmin.com.sg

Thesexiest
smartwatch,
it missed out
on five Stuff
stars due to
its battery.
Will the Apple
Watch pack
a bigger
juice-box?
US$250 ($315)
/ motorola.com

sony.com.sg

acer.com.sg

samsung.com/sg

lg.com/sg

Another fourstar review,


but the best
Android Wear
watch for now.
Otherwise,
wait for the
Apple, Asus
and Sony
Smartwatch 3
reviews
US$200 ($255)
/samsung.com/sg

O Sony
Smartwatch 3

KEY
ONEW WATCHES
O EXISTING

O Apple Watch

10

www.stuff.tv

Five-starred,
the nonconformists
choice.
Support is still
strong, and its
battery life
beats newer
watches by
a few days.
$249 /
pebble.sg

R.I.P.
A
APPLE
IPOD
CLASSIC
((2002 2014)

The iPod Classic


Th
pea
peacefully passed
aw
away after a long
struggle
s
with
obsolescence
o
on 9 September
in Cupertino,
C
California. Born
to Jony Ive and
Steve Jobs in
2002,
the iPod
2
w
worked as an
in
internationally
revered
digital
r
mu
music player, and
was
w particularly
k
known for its
clickwheel
c
and
large
la capacity.
Th
The iPod Classic
iis survived by
tthree children:
To
Touch (aged 7),
Na
Nano and Shuffle
(both 9).

HOT
FOUR
#2
DO
D
OY
YOU
OU T
THINK
HINK IIM
M SIXY?
SIXY?
Apple iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus

If, like us, you had already sold your iPhone 5 in


anticipation of the post-Keynote value crash then, like us,
youll be pleased that the iPhone 6 looks rather smashing
and worth upgrading to. For the first time, there are two
sizes to choose between: the 5.5in iPhone 6 Plus with its
1080p resolution and the 4.7in iPhone 6 with 1334x750
pixels. The difference is not just in the pixel count: iOS 8
will flip between portrait and landscape on the bigger
display. Were also excited about the 25% faster

12

www.stuff.tv

A8 processor, the impressive battery life claims and NFC,


which arrives late but brings with it a swish new
contactless payment system. The 8MP camera might
not sound like a whole hill of megapixels, but its the new
sensor and phase detection autofocus that matter, and
the Plus also gets optical stabilisation. Lots to watch out
for in our full, in-depth guide on p42.
As hot as... a theatre full of sweaty geeks
from $988 (SIM-free) / apple.com/sg

HOT
FOUR
#3
CHECK YOUR
APP-EARANCE
Moto Hint

Voice control may be the screen-free tech


of the future, but its still embarrassing to
hold your phone in front of your face and talk
at it, rather than into it. And if you have to take
your phone out and fire up Google Now/Siri/
Cortana to get the info you want, you might
as well use your hands. Enter the Hint,
a tiny earbud that listens for your custom
cue-phrase (you can change OK Google
to Engage earputer, Hey Samantha
you know, from the film Her or anything
else) and brings the wizardry of voicecontrolled computing to your ear. Its small
enough to be pretty much unnoticeable,
but it could be the next big thing.
As hot as... an earful of Scarlett Johanssen
$tba (due 2015) / motorola.com

www.stuff.tv

13

HOT
FOUR
#4
LIVE LIFE ON
THE EDGE

Samsung Galaxy Note 4,


Galaxy Note Edge
Android fans watched the iPhone 6 launch
with bleary eyes, having only just pulled
themselves back together after
celebrating the arrival of both a new 5.7in
Note and a clever-screened 5.6in Note
Edge. Both have 2K screens, though the
Edges extra 160-pixel curved section
gives it a slightly different aspect ratio
on paper. In practice, were you watching
a 2K video on your phone, that curved
edge would likely be used for video
controls just one of many uses, including
notifications and a night clock. Both have
a mighty 2.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon
805 chip and 3GB of RAM, and both have
a doubly sensitive S Pen and optical image
stabilisation for their 16MP cameras. The
Marmite leather-back design has been
refined, and the phone now has actual
metal edges. Must have been quite a party.
As hot as those chilli-chocolate cocktails
$1088 (SIM-free), $tba / samsung.com/sg

MORE REASONS TO PARTY


1

1 Gear VR
The Note 4s processing power and
2K screen make it powerful enough
to slot into this headset and be used as
a standalone VR gamer, like Oculus Rift.

2 Gear Circle
Bluetooth wireless headphones that
vibrate with incoming notifications or calls.
When not in use, the ends clip together to
make one distinctly nerdy necklace.

3 Powerbot VR9000
Just a month after Dyson revealed its
robovac, Samsung has a new model.
CycloneForce tech will keep lawyers busy,
and you can light up an area for it to clean.

14

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V I

T A L S T A T S

THE SPORTS
PHOTOGRAPHY
PHENOMENON
Canon EOS 7D Mark II
$tba / canon.com.sg

The original EOS 7D was held in high regard as one of


the best crop sensor cameras around during its time.
Can the Mark II reclaim the throne?

A CAMERA SHOOTING
STRAIGHT FOR THE TOP
OIts got the power
At the heart of the EOS 7D Mark II
is a 20.2MP CMOS sensor and not
one, but two DIGIC 6 image
processors for extra imaging
muscle. In case you didnt know,
thats one more processor than
you usually get in regular DSLRs,
leading to lower noise levels and
quicker turnarounds between
shots and videos. It can even
capture 31 burst shots in RAW
format at a time, compared to a
maximum of 18 on the EOS 5D
Mark III.

16

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OIts got the speed


A faster and more durable mirror
and shutter mechanism also
enables the camera to shoot up to
10fps. Thats almost worthy of
professional sports
photographers, making this the
go-to camera for such snappers
on a budget. The next time the F1
rolls into town, youll be well
prepared with one of these highspeed shooters.

OIts got the accuracy


With a freshly-developed 65 allcross-type Auto Focus system,
picking out and tracking a subject
in motion will be a cinch. The AF
points are also spread out more
than a regular crop-sensor
camera, leading to better
targeting. You even have a choice
of six AF scenarios to fine-tune
your focussing needs, allowing the
AI servo and intelligent Subject
Analysis systems to make the
right decisions. Soon, your camera
might just do the shooting for you.

OIts a movie star


Like we said, the Mark IIs got a lot to
live up to in carrying the EOS 7D
name, especially since the original
was one of the first cameras to
popularise DSLR use in filmmaking.
Its got all the right tools to do so
though, with an ISO of 16,000 for
better low light performance, Full
HD recording at 24 or 60fps, and
that intelligent AF system for fast
and smooth tracking during videos.

Rip van winkle

BLUESOUND VAULT
In the blink of an eye, youve found that your CD collection
does little more than collect dust and take up space in your
increasingly tiny house. Luckily, Bluesounds just launched
the Vault to safely lock your tracks away in their
uncompressed high-res glory. A CD ripper, high-capacity
drive, and wireless music streamer in one sleek package, itll
even create mobile device-friendly MP3 versions of your
audio tracks for you to carry around. Now youll have
enough space to find something else to hoard, like DVDs.
$1499 / bluesound.com

Z3 musketeers

SONY Z3, Z3 COMPACT,


Z3 TABLET COMPACT
A tablet and two phones walked into a bar. The bartender
said to the tablet: Oi, you cant ring them in here. And
they all had a good laugh and sat around discussing specs
for the rest of the afternoon. Like how all three the Z3
phone, the Z3 Compact and the 8in Z3 Compact Tablet
have the ability to play hi-res audio, including Sonys new
DSEE HX that upscales MP3-quality audio to hi-res. The
two phones got talking about their super-high 12800
ISO cameras, but the tablet told them to shut up and they
moved on to PS4 Remote Play instead,which they all have.
Inevitably though, after a few drinks, the talk turned
to size differences. Doesnt it always.
$998, $798, $tba / sony.com.sg

The sound of silence

BOSE QUIETCOMFORT 25
Hello darkness, my old friend. Ive come to talk with you
again while this baby wails her head off in the seat in
front of mine. Because it seems airlines try to ensure
theres at least one of those in every cabin. Thankfully,
the new QC 25s eliminate all unwanted noise around
you through the wonders of technology, and give you
the option of listening to your music with enhanced
sound quality as well.
$529 / bose.com

www.stuff.tv

17

The light shines from within

PENTAX K-S1
Those lights on the grip are an innovative illumination
interface system. Effectively, the lights shine green
when taking photos but turn red when shooting video.
Function? Form? You decide. The camera specs are healthy:
a new CMOS sensor with 20.12 effective megapixels,
ultra-high ISO 51200 sensitivity, and a shutter speed of
1/6000 second. It has a 3in LCD display with an easier-to-use
UI, plus if you use a Flucard For Pentax memory card, you can
control it via an iOS or Android app ideal for mounting the
camera and snagging perfectly considered shots.
US$750 ($950) / ricoh-pentax.com.sg

No more crayon styluses

WACOM BAMBOO STYLUS FINELINE


You know whats great? A stylus. Its like being transported back
to toddlerhood and being blown away that the stick in your hand
can make a line appear. Whenever we get our hands on a device
with a stylus, we cant help but delightedly cry: Daddy draw a fish!
But you know whats not great? Any stylus with the big spudgy
end designed to work on non-digitiser touchscreens, ie: an iPad.
This USB-rechargeable Bluetooth Stylus Fineline from Wacom,
however, has a much finer end, albeit one that works best with
Wacoms own Bamboo Paper app. Daddy draw a dinosaur!
US$60 ($75) / store.wacom.sg

Humbly yours

LOGITECH K480 BLUETOOTH KEYBOARD


What a month. Theres smartwatches and iPhones and digital cameras enough for
everyone. But well never lose sight of what is glorious about geekery: it doesnt take a
royal budget to feel a little joy. Look at this Logitech keyboard. It has a long slot in which
you might be able to fit both a phone and tablet and it has a selector switch to hop
between the pairings of either as well as your desktop or laptop. Its not designed to
be that portable, but it will reportedly last for up to two years with just two AAA
batteries. Other, more expensive gadgets might come and go, but this will sit on your
desk, neatly doing its thing. And thats to be celebrated, no?
$59 / logitech.com/en-sg
18

www.stuff.tv

The bigger picture in tech

CARPOCALYPSE NOW
Jaguar flew its new XE over
London this month prior to its
glitzy launch, a scene that will
no doubt bring to mind Wagners
Ride Of The Valkyries. Which might
be deliberate German music
for its German foes BMW, Audi
and Mercedes. Or it might be
an embarrassing marketing
oversight. Either way, the car
looks mint. Were we a small
executive, this might well be the
small executive car wed choose.

20

www.stuff.tv

H O

CLIP-ON NOW
SCREWS-ON

Sony has expanded its


range of crazy clip-on
camera lenses for your
smartphone. The US$400
($505) QX1 will let you
screw on any E-mount
digital SLR lens, while the
slightly saner QX30 (also
US$400) is a 30x-zoom
update of the previous
QX10.

SELFIE-AWARE

HTCs new mid-range 820


phone is interesting for
two very different reasons.
Firstly, its got a 64-bit
octa-core Snapdragon
815 chipset, so its one of
the first phones to be ready
for the 64-bit Android L
OS. Secondly, it follows the
emerging trend for phones
with powerful front-facing
cameras: a sizzling 8MP
of selfie-taking overkill.

SONOS TAKES
OUT THE BRIDGE

An oft-maligned aspect of
the Sonos wireless audio
system is that either
one of the speakers or
a purpose-made Bridge
needs to be hardwired into
your home network. No
more! A new software
update makes the system
totally wireless.

www.stuff.tv

21

The next tier

FUJIFILM X100T
You know how it is in RPGs when you hit the level cap, and
then have to rely on better gear dropped by increasingly
difficult bosses to improve your character? Thats what it
feels like with the X100T its the X100S in epic-quality
gear to take your photography to the next level.
Upgrades come in the form of a silent electronic shutter
for noiseless shooting, new Classic Chrome film
simulation mode, and an electronic rangefinder for easier
focusing, amongst others. At this rate, the next X100 will
be legendary.
$1899 / fujifilm.com.sg

It is, and it isnt

NOKIA LUMIA 830


Nokia, which is actually Microsoft, has released its
affordable flagship (its not its actual flagship thats
the 930, which is more powerful). But the 5in-screen
830 still has Zeiss optics and optical image stabilisation,
and is flagshippy enough to get the new Lumia Denim OS
update with a new mega-featured Lumia Camera app.
The 830 is markedly slimmer, at just 8.5mm and 150g,
making it the thinnest and lightest Lumia smartphone
ever made. Nokia also launched the 4.7in 735, calling it the
selfie phone as it has a 5MP wide-angle front camera.
$529 / nokia.com/sg-en

Waterproof or hi-res?

SONY NWZ-A15, NWZ-WS613


If youre reading the issue from back to front, youll have
noticed that Sony has launched two new phones this
month. If youre reading the issue from front to back,
then watch out theres a spoiler above. But Sony has
been busy elsewhere, too. The WS613 is a pair of
standalone Walkman earpieces with upwards of 4GB
on-board. They also work as a Bluetooth headset, and
are waterproof. Then theres the NWZ-A15, a hi-res
Walkman that will play FLAC, AIFF, WAV and Apple
Lossless files. It will also, says Sony, upscale lossy
formats such as MP3 to hi-res audio quality. To which
we raise an interested, sceptical, earbrow.
both $tba / sony.com.sg

22

www.stuff.tv

C H O I C E

GLOBES

All together now! Weve got the who-ole


world on our desks, weve got the...
1 MOVA Spinning Globe

We all love a dramatic juxtaposition:


how about a traditional globe that
spins futuristically in thin air? So
much less clichd than all those
Instagram pics of empty Coke cans
littered around the pyramids.
150 ($310) / nauticalia.com

2 12-inch Venus Globe


Face it you wont be part of
an intergalactic colony and
youll probably never fire a laser
in space. Instead, gaze at this
topological map of Venus and
imagine it all happened before
they wiped your memory.
110 ($225)/ 365astronomy.com

3 SuckUK Cork Globe


Impress friends with your
well-travelledness by sticking
pins in this corking sphere. As long
as you dont just have 20 bristling
out of Marbella, that is.
100 ($205) / suck.uk.com

4 Globee San Francisco


Night Light Globe
Cool kids love San Fran. Cool kids
sit on museum steps reading Jack
Kerouac before heading to their
office that looks like Tom Hanks
apartment in Big.
16 ($33) / globee.co.uk

5 Globe On Stand
You hand-wind your vintage Rolex,
you use a fountain pen, and prefer
to take notes in a Moleskine. Vinyl
sounds better than Spotify. You
like globes that look like globes did
when this was all fields.
15($31)/notonthehighstreet.com

[ Picture RGB Digital ]

6 Maxwells
Lunar Globe
In days of yore, skygazers peered
upon yonder moon without the
aid of satellites, and ye olde lunar
globes had a blank, unmapped
slice where be moon dragons.
420 ($870) / globemakers.com

www.stuff.tv

23

H O

Three is the magic shape

ALIENWARE AREA-51
Alienware says its Triad chassis optimises cooling as
well as access to ports and the like: you can simply pivot
it forward using the built-in grips, and the sides come off
for more serious tinkering. Like previous Area-51s, it will
be configurable at purchase, and if money is no object
you can have an octo-core Intel i7 Extreme processor,
up to 32GB of RAM, a 1.5kW power supply, the latest
802.11ac Wi-Fi and as many as three full-length,
double-width graphics cards. That means 4K graphics
across up to three monitors a potential resolution of
11,520x2160 pixels. Jeepers.
$tba (due December) / alienware.com.sg

Seventh heaven

CANON POWERSHOT G7 X
Ah, I see youve brought a DSLR with two lenses with you on
this trip. How much do they weigh altogether? 4kg? Im sure
that wont make your neck ache when youre climbing those
500 steps to the top of the cathedral. Ill stick to my 304g
PowerShot G7 X, thank you very much. Its all the camera I
need with a bright f/1.8 lens for beautiful bokeh, 4.2x optical
zoom thats boostable to 8.4x for versatility, and a
180-degree tiltable touchscreen display for perfect selfies
at the top.
$799 / www.canon.com.sg

HOT POT
Hiding inside the sub are
the two 150W amplifiers
that drive these guys.
That means they can
be made pretty small:
158mm across and
less than 1kg each.

24

www.stuff.tv

Not affordable, perfect

B&O BEOPLAY S8
Were all on to a winner here, bless us. Within the
gilded staterooms of Messrs Bang and Olufsen, they
whisper about this 2.1-channel audio system as a more
affordable entry to BeoPlay ownership. But once its
laid out resplendent in our lounges, onlookers will only
be amazed at the beauty of the S8 win! at which
we can rabbit on about the work of its Danish designer
Torsten Valeur. If some audiophile should feel beholden
to remark on its lowly status, then we can frown
disapprovingly: In this room? I should think anything
larger than a 250W Class D amplified sub and two 150W
speakers would be a little unbalanced, dont you? (Win.)
1199 ($1935) / beostores.bang-olufsen.com.sg

G A M E S

DUE
NOV

FIRST PLAY PROJECT CARS PS4, Xbox One, PC, Wii U


Roaring its mantra beyond
reality over the noise of snarling
V8 supercars, single-seaters and
even karts, Project Cars wants
to move hardcore motorsport
sims away from PC petrolheads
and bring real-life handling and
physics to all platforms. Yep,
even the Wii U.
In its aim to be on the grid
ahead of Forza and Gran Turismo,
Project Cars scraps the grind
model of having to earn pots of
cash in a Daewoo Matiz before
you get to drive a car you actually
want. This switches the
emphasis away from winning

26

www.stuff.tv

for cash and puts it back where


it should be: on competitive
spirit. These are lofty targets
for a company whose last race
was Shift 2 (which, while pretty,
somewhat missed its braking
point and ran wide into console
corner). But Slightly Mad Studios
was also involved in the GTR
series, and thats the parent
Project Cars naturally runs to.
The handling is solid and
progressive, and gives you
enough faith to establish routine
braking and turn-in points, and
that combined with breathtaking
depth-of-field is central to

delivering driver trust. Once the


weather model comes into effect,
its hard not to admire the puddles
that form or track droplet trails
on your visor, but its best to keep
one eye on the road handling
degrades in the wet.
With everything from gentle
warm-up laps to 24-hour races,
over 70 car licences and 80
tracks, PC support for 12K
graphics (using three 4K
monitors) plus Oculus Rift
and Sonys Project Morpheus,
Project Cars is vying for pole
on our most-wanted list.
Simon Strang

2-UP ULTIMATE PANTS-BROWNERS

SILENT HILLS
PS4, PC

That picture to the left isnt from Silent Hills. Its from
P.T. (or Playable Teaser), which you can download for
your PS4 right now. It hints at the direction in which
Hideo Kojima (of Metal Gear fame) and Pans Labyrinth
director Guillermo Del Toro will take Silent Hills and that
direction is oh-my-god-I-dont-like-it-please-turn-itoff-ARGHHHHH. Its brain-bending parallel-dimension
premise sucks you into the puzzles to the point where
youre distracted enough to be easily scared. And scare
you it will. More than any game youve ever played.

VS

SLENDER: THE ARRIVAL


PS3, Xbox 360, PC
The Slender Man is well-known on the internet
for being one of the creepiest creations in horror,
but until now hes remained locked up in the relative
safety of PC gaming. Reminiscent of found-footage
films such as The Blair Witch Project, Slender: The
Arrival has arrived on PS3 and Xbox 360 with
a bump (in the night). Exploring his world, torch
in hand, through the LCD screen of a camcorder,
its really just a case of how long you can bear to
play without switching the lights on.

MAKING THE JUMP TO PS4

UNTIL DAWN

Originally planned for the PS3, Until Dawn


is a spiritual successor to Segas 1992
Mega CD game Night Trap. You have to
make decisions for a group of eight friends,
stranded in the middle of nowhere with a
murderer on the loose. Can you hold the
controller still enough to prevent giving
away your hiding place to the killer?

TEARAWAY UNFOLDED

This charming cut n paste puzzle platform


game from the makers of Little Big Planet
was a critical hit on Vita and hopes to pull a
bigger crowd when it makes the jump to its
TV-tethered brother. Its described as an
expanded retelling of the original; expect
your DualShocks touchpad and motion
controls to finally be put to good use.

DAYZ

Notoriously buggy and even more


notoriously difficult, survival shooter
DayZ was originally a mod for PC game
Arma 2. While its standalone PC version
isnt even out yet, DayZ creator Dean Hall
has announced its coming to PS4 though
theres no release date yet. An Xbox One
version hasnt been ruled out either.

INCOMING
OCTOBER
O ALIEN ISOLATION
O FORZA HORIZON 2
OTHE EVIL WITHIN
NOVEMBER
O FAR CRY 4
O LITTLE BIG PLANET 3
O PES 2015
DECEMBER
OLARA CROFT & THE TEMPLE OF OSIRIS

www.stuff.tv

27

This months mobile must-downloads

28

1 CoPilot

4 Back To Bed

7 NLB Mobile

from $45.98 / Android, iOS, Windows


There are many reasons to like
CoPilots mobile sat-nav, including
its multi-platformness and its
affordability. And now its done
a free update, 9.6.2, that adds a
free map update and time-savvy
ActiveRoutes algorithms.

$4.98 / iOS
Remember Monument? What
a pleasant slice of isometric
gravity-defying bimble-gaming
that was. But over too soon, yes?
Enter Back To Bed, in which you
manipulate environments to keep
a sleepwalker safe.

$free / Android, iOS


Remember the hassle of borrowing
books from the National Library?
Well, not anymore. This app lets you
use your mobile device to borrow
books off the shelves with a simple
barcode scan , all without having to
use a borrowing station.

2 FishBrain

5 Tiny Tower Vegas

$free / Android, iOS


Is it a happy-go-lucky social app to
log your favourite fishing spots and
catches? Or is it a cunning ploy by
animal activists to trick Japan into
posting pictures of illegal whaling
activity? Either way, FishBrain now
has 500,000 users.

$free / iOS
Previous Tiny Tower games were
pretty good. By pretty good we
mean the time we spent playing
them would show up on a graph of
our life activity. Now theres a new
take, in that youre running a Vegas
den. Get the thumb-splints out.

8 Assassins Creed
Pirates

3 FaceFusion

6 Gravity Flipper

9 Cord

from $free / iOS


Its creepy enough that this games
marketeers suggest mixing your
face with that of a celebrity. But
not nearly as creepy as mixing your
face with that of your pet, and not
nearly as ROFL-inducing. Tweet
your best efforts to @stuff_sg.

$free / Android
Tap to reverse gravity. Try not to
die. Not only a succinct intro for
a tricksy, monochromatic, Flappy
Bird-generation scroller, but also
a fine concept for a film. Or maybe
a difficult-to-insure replacement
for Laser Tag.

$free / iOS
Cord lets you share voice messages
with friends or groups of friends.
We used to call it conversation,
your dad will say. Or, if hes a geek,
hell launch into a diatribe about
the failure of Push-To-Talk phones.
Either way, yawn.

www.stuff.tv

$free / iOS, Android


ACP gets a new episode, entitled
Cold Blood, which is set in the Arctic
Sea. Brrrrr. Sorry, that wasnt us
shivering at the sight of icebergs,
it was the idea of facing a new round
of in-app purchase demands.

APP SPOTLIGHT
VALIANT
HEARTS: THE
GREAT WAR

$5.98 / iOS
In this centenary year, World
War One things have been
popping up all over the place,
but one of the most heartwarming was Ubisofts Valiant
Hearts and now its available
for iOS, albeit in IAP chapters.
You play different characters
from different aspects of the
war and help them with their
differing struggles.

Get your own back

MOTOROLA MOTO X
The Moto X wont win any spec wars. No world firsts or
gimmicks either. But Motorolas new flagship smartphone
will wiggle its way into your shortlist anyway. How? With
a gorgeous new 5.2in Full HD display, a 13MP camera
with a ring flash and lest we forget even more
customisation than last years X. The front is either
black or white, but you can choose from 25 different
materials for the rear, including real leathers and woods.
You also get ten choices of accent colour and the option
to engrave a name or message on the back. All for $635
its definitely worth a look.
US$500 ($635) / motorola.com

Be king of the swingers

SONY SMART TENNIS SENSOR


They say the CIA can reconstruct your conversations
using an office object, turning vibrations into a waveform
of you slagging off your manager. Knowing this makes
a sensor that only tells you that you hit a ball seem
underwhelming. Until you learn it can measure where
on the strings you hit the ball, along with swing and ball
speed. It knows its forehand smash from its backhand
slice, and all the stats can either be saved or viewed in
real time via an Android or iOS app.
US$200 ($255) / sony.com.sg

A smorgasbord of in-car tech

VOLVO XC90
Volvos new XC90 is the figurehead of its refreshed, hi-tech
and still Swedish design direction. Those fancy LEDs and the
simplified front grille, for example, plus the hybrid 60g/km CO2
engine. But lets go inside: the dashboard has a new tablet-like
Sensus infotainment system that supports Apple CarPlay and
Android Auto with Nuance-powered voice recognition. Theres
a 19-speaker Bowers & Wilkins sound system and, should you
be distracted by it, theres a brace of sensors and radar working
to avoid peds and cyclists as well as other cars. Makes a Range
Rover look like an over-priced tractor, doesnt it?
$tba / volvocars.com/sg

30

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V I

T A L S T A T S

FUJI GAINS WEIGHT


ALSO STAMINA,
AWESOMENESS
Fujifilm X30
$899 / fujifilm.com.sg

Fujifilm claims
the X30s battery
will manage around
470 pictures on
one charge

Everyones favourite fancy


compact cam, the X20,
gets a slew of new features
that more than justify its
50% model name increase
OSay what you see.
Muscle is heavier than fat,
mutter people as they struggle
to read the scales readout over
their forward-mounted slab of
muscle. But generally theyre
right, and while the X30 has
definitely bulked up since the
X20, its for good reason. It now
has a tilting (rather than fixed)
3in, 920k-dot LCD screen, and

hidden within is the much larger


NP-95 battery pack, as used on
Fujis X100, which should improve
battery life by a factor of two-ish.
OSay what you cant see.
Theres something missing
from the front of the X30
that, if spotted, will out you
as a camera super-nerd. No? Why,
its the outward end of the optical
viewfinder. The inward end is
present and correct because the
X30 now has a 2.36MP electronic
viewfinder. This should offer a
metric world of improvement over
the welcome, but tiny, optical eyespy that was on the X20 and X10.

OSay, what can you never see?


The gubbins! But, actually, theyre
largely the same: a 12MP, 2/3in
X-Trans CMOS II sensor and a
28-112mm, f2.0-2.8 lens that
also acts as the on/off switch.
Theres a new control ring at the
base of the lens and theres also
now a dedicated movie record
button for those 1080p/60fps
masterworks. It gets Wi-Fi, to
bring it up to date with almost
every other compact out there,
and it also gets a new Classic
Chrome film simulation mode to
help you forget that we live in the
kind of future where our photos
can travel invisibly through the air.

ALTERNATIVELY

Leica MP
Another new retro
amazo-o-cam option.
Leica promises it
is twice as fast as
the original M Digital,
and has a new subtle
design. Slightly pricier
than the X30, at
US$7950 ($10,085).

www.stuff.tv

31

VS
Speaker easy

Level best

PURE JONGO X SERIES

DENON HEOS

The Jongo system isnt shiny and new like Denon HEOS,
but the X marks a refresh. Theres the coolly refreshing
ice-coloured speaker grille on the white speakers, but
more refreshing still are the tweaks theyve been given
by the boffins in Pures R&D department. The setup
process has been simplified, and thanks to Pures Caskeid
technology the whole Jongo system can now intelligently
pick up on what you were last playing and resume it when
youre back in the room. As multiroom systems go, Pure
continues to win the value-for-money gong.
from 100 ($205) / pure.com

Heos, the Greek god of wireless multiroom audio, has


sided with Denon to create a set-up thats aimed squarely
at (and slightly pricier than) Sonos. There are three types,
with increasingly sophisticated speaker set-ups but the
same connectivity: Wi-Fi, Ethernet or aux-in, with an
iOS/Android app in control. The 3 stands horizontally
or vertically, the 5 and 7 on their longer edge. Theres
also the HEOS Amp and the Link, with line-level outputs
for your own amp, while the Extend creates a bridge
connection for the further reaches of your mansion.
from 250 ($515) / denon.co.uk

START MENU

The months best concepts, start-ups,


crowdfunded projects and plain crazy ideas

Thumbing a lift

Fade to great

ULTRASONIC
LEVITATION MACHINE

35 ($70) / myopenmix.com

US$130 ($165) / polarprofilters.com

One for you science-o-philes, this kit contains


all the bits you need to levitate light objects
using soundwaves. An amusing enough
diversion for a wet weekend, but it forms the
basis of a theory that could lead to perpetual
motion, the resultant destruction of the
energy industry and the demise of the human
race as we know it. Maybe.

This dinky little device has two 3.5mm


inputs and one output, so it will let you
crossfade tracks between two devices,
with the resultant noise heading straight
to your hi-fi or PA system. Doesnt have
to be two songs youre mixing, either. You
could have one phone with music on and
another with one of the many DJ effects
apps out there.

Some people think like dogs. See, most


people look at a GoPro on a stick and think
about the footage. People who think like dogs
look at a GoPro on a stick and think about the
stick. Thats exactly what the guys (or
possibly dogs) at Polar Pro did, and thats
when they thought about filling the stick with
batteries to make your GoPro (and other
gadgets) last longer. Clever boy.

Status
Seeking funding (Kickstarter)

Status
Funded (Kickstarter)

Status
Funded (Kickstarter)

US$120 ($150) / soniclevitation.com

32

www.stuff.tv

OPENMIX

Action stations

POWERPOLE

W A

BULLY FOR YOU

SEVENFRIDAY P3/3
$1590 / sevenfriday.com

Most of us have probably never seen a snow groomer


before in our lives, but the SevenFriday P3/3 was modelled after
one, and looks just stunning. It even draws its nickname, the
Bully, from a prominent brand of snow groomers. Now that weve
Googled what a snow groomer really looks like however,
its hard to see where the similarities lie. Either way, its a very
stylish watch, with an automatic movement taking care of
everything internally.

MONSTER APPEAL

U-BOAT CHIMERA DAY-DATE


from $12,500 / uboatwatch.com

It looks nothing like the lion-snake-goat hybrid monster from


greek mythology that its named for, but in this case thats a very
good thing. The first U-Boat to spell both the day and date out on
its dial, the Chimera Day-Date comes in either a stainless steel or
aged bronze 46mm case. Each is distinctly U-Boat of course,
with that signature design and crown for absolute waterproofing.

BACK IN BLACK

URWERK EMC BLACK


$208,500 / urwerk.com

The best fine watches dont just tell the time; they have to offer a
horological experience to justify those hefty price tags. And what the
EMC Black offers is something quite unique the opportunity to finetune the watchs timing rate for optimum precision. With a patented
performance indicator accompanying the usual hours, minutes,
seconds, and power reserve dials, wearers will be able to see how
factors such as temperature and pressure can affect the movement of
a watch. They can then do something few people can: correct any
variations with a simple turn of a screw on the back.

www.stuff.tv

33

M U

C
DEERHOOF

La Isla Bonita
Noise is sometimes music,
especially when its coming from
American punk band Deerhoof.
Recorded live in the guitarists
basement, its a throwback to a
simpler and less manufactured
time in the music industry. Curious
about what it sounds like? The
album was apparently recorded
during a weeklong sleepover
arguing over whether to try and
sound like Joan Jett or Janet
Jackson. Go figure.

DAVID BOWIE

Nothing Has Changed


You cant call yourself a true blue
Bowie fan if youre not planning to get
this upcoming album. Featuring his
best-loved work and a new tune
called Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime) if
youre after fresh Bowie. If not, there
are always favourites like Ziggy
Stardust and Liza Jane to keep your
Bowie-o-meter full and satisfied.

FOO FIGHTERS
Sonic Highways
Hands up those of you whove been
missing Dave Grohls growl. Okay, you
can put your hands down now
because hes back along with the rest
of the Foo Fighters. While the album is
something entirely new in its
conception (we are going to make this
album in a way that no ones ever done
before), Grohl also says its instantly
recognisable as a Foo Fighters record,
but theres something deeper and
more musical to it.

MARY J. BLIGE

The London Sessions


While this record will still smack of
Blige, it also shows off her
chameleon-like ability to adapt to
any style of music. Working with
industry bigwigs like Sam Smith,
Naughty Boy, and Disclosure, The
London Sessions will cue you into a
side of Mary J. Blige youve never
heard before. Right Now, described
as the most innovative thing weve
heard from Blige in a while is a
buttery smooth ear-pleaser.

34

www.stuff.tv

SHADY RECORDS

Shady XV
Not only will this be a compilation
of the greatest hits released under
Shady Records, the two disc album
will also feature new songs from
the whos who of the hip-hop
world such as Eminem, D12, and
Slaughterhouse. Expect classic
hits like In Da Club and Lose
Yourself, amongst new tracks like
Guts over Fear featuring a
collaboration between Eminem
and Sia.

STUFF PROMOTION

The Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II does a whole lot more than your regular compact camera
The Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II made
waves in the camera world when it launched,
thanks to a large 1.5-inch high-sensitivity
CMOS sensor and professional performance
that instantly put it a cut above other
compact cameras. Now, the PowerShot G1 X
Mark II improves on that winning formula
with with welcome enhancements in every
area, including Wi-Fi remote shooting and
NFC connectivity.
With such imaging power and capability in
a compact form, the Canon PowerShot G1 X
Mark II is perfect for people who want to do
more with their cameras while carrying less.

Winner of
Best Expert Compact Camera.
TIPA AWARDS 2014

STUFF PROMOTION

WHAT IT CAN DO
Q A new DIGIC 6 Imaging
Processor means the
PowerShot G1 X Mark II is
capable of full resolution
continuous shooting at 5fps.
Noise reduction has also been
improved, with a quicker
turnaround between shots
enabling you to shoot more
without missing those special
moments.
QAt 1.5 inches, the
PowerShot G1 X Mark IIs
image sensor is the largest in
Canons compact camera
range, with a size and quality
thats close to its APS-C
DSLR counterparts. The
12.8MP here has been
upgraded for sharper, clearer
images, with increased
dynamic range and amazing
low-light performance.
QThe bright f/2.0 lens with
built-in optical Image
Stabiliser and macro
focussing distance of just
5cm doesnt just provide
better bokeh and image
depth, it now also has 5x
optical zoom. With an
effective range of 24-120mm,
its got the versatility to meet
most of your shooting needs.
QNeed more control over
your image to ensure you get
the exact shots you want? The
Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark
IIs dual control rings enable
you to easily tweak aperture
and shutter speed settings, as
well as fine-tune focus. Take
your photography to the next
level instead of being limited by
automatic modes.
QIn todays modern times,
manual controls arent enough
you need a touchscreen
user interface as well. Why
waste time pressing all those
buttons when you could just
touch and go? The cameras
touch-enabled 1800 tilting
screen will have you taking
shots at all angles with no
problems at all, even making
those selfies easier too.

Unleash your creativity


With 5 Creative Shots and 46
filters to choose from, theres
bound to be one thatll make
your image special. Whats
even better is that you get five
of these creative images with
just one snap of the shutter.

Up close and personal


To have a focal distance of just
5cm, most cameras would
require a macro lens all on its
own. The PowerShot G1 X
Mark II however, has this on
the camera itself already, on
top of its 5x optical zoom lens.

Shooting for the stars


Taking photos of the night sky
never looked so good so
simply. All you need is a tripod,
and the G1 X Mark IIs Star
Mode will take spectacular
starry images youve never
captured before.

For more information visit www.canon.com.sg

M O V I

E S

20 THE HUNGER GAMES:


NOV
MOCKINGJAY PART 1

What now for Katniss Everdeen, whos now escaped death for the second time and has
emerged as a hesitant hero for the bizarre state of Panem? As it turns out, her turbulent journey
isnt over, and she must now face new enemies to rescue her love Peeta. Is this her happily-everafter? Probably not, since therell be a Part II, but at least its guaranteed to be entertaining.

INTERSTELLAR

BIG HERO 6

Directed by Christopher Nolan of


Inception and Batman fame, this
science fiction film ventures into
space to explore the what-ifs of
space travel. Matthew McConaughey
stars as a widowed engineer who
must decide if the future of mankind,
or the relationship with his children is
more important when a wormhole is
discovered. You can probably guess
which way he swings though.

This highly anticipated animated film


is Disneys first since acquiring Marvel
Entertainment. Based on the Marvel
Comics team of superheroes with the
same name, the film features a young
robotics genius and the robot he built.
See what happens when they chance
upon an evil plot (as these things are
wont to happen) and pull together a
motley crew of inexperienced
characters to solve the
mystery.

13

6
NOV

NOV

BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP

HORRIBLE BOSSES 2

Based on the 2011 novel of the same


name, Nicole Kidman plays Christine
Lucas ,who when injured in a car
accident, loses her memory. And as
her life unfolds in a drastically different
way, she finds herself asking if this is
real life or just fantasy. Kind of like 50
First Dates, but way less funny.

This sequel to 2011s Horrible Bosses


will strike a chord with everyone
whos ever felt aggrieved at work.
This time round, the three former
employees are now bosses of their
own venture. Unfortunately, life isnt
at all smooth sailing for them and
when an investor appears to buy over
their business, they have no other
choice but to kidnap his son to earn a
ransom. Genius behaviour.

27
NOV

NOV

www.stuff.tv

35

O O M

Its almost December. Start primping early to groom yourself into great form for the
holiday (party) season, or add these to your Christmas shopping list

SALVATORE FERRAGAMO ACQUA


ESSENZIALE BLU

From $76 for 30ml

Playing to the gender stereotype, Blus colour namesake is


supposed to be the ultimate symbol of masculinity and
modernity. Inspired by water, the scent is fresh and spicy with
bergamot and green cardamom on top of heart notes of
lavender and smokey cypriol, all centred on a warm tonka bean
and patchouli. We wont be surprised if this helps you grow a few
extra hairs for Movember.

ALTERNA CAVIAR ANTI AGING


REPLENISHING MOISTURE SHAMPOO
$56

Every woman has probably put her head of hair through


the damage of dye jobs and curling or straightening. To
restore life to your hair, its not just a matter of washing it,
but also washing it with the right kind of shampoo.
Designed for dry hair, this shampoo contains caviar extract
and vitamin C to restore youth to your frizzed ends

TONI AND GUY HAIR MEET


WARDROBE STYLING POMADE
$20 for 75ml

Need something to hold that pompadour in place?


Try this styling pomade. Take a little, rub it
between your palms, and work it into your hair to
make sure its evenly distributed, Then comb
through for a sleek do or shape into your desired
hairstyle. Capable of defying both gravity and
humidity.

36

www.stuff.tv

BALDESSARINI NAUTIC SPIRIT

LUSH ZEST HAIR GELLY

This scent is supposed to bring to mind being at


sea on a nice balmy day, which makes owning it
the next best thing to actually being out at sea.
Topped with elements of passion fruit and sea
water, the scent has a heart of spicy ginger and
curry leaves. Yes, you read that right. But dont
worry about all that spice being nose-tickling, its
balanced out on base notes of musky patchouli
and sandalwood.

To prove its great hold, this hair-styling gel comes


in wobbly jelly form. Made with real orange juice to
give your hair shine, Zest is also loaded with
carrageenan extract and glycerin so dont try to
eat it. A little goes a long way; just dab a little and
rub between your hands until you dont see any
product left. Works with both damp and dry hair,
but wont stiffen your hair into a cement block.

From $98 for 50ml

$38 for 100g

O O D

BABETTE
RESTAURANT
&
BAR
PERFECT FUSION
OF FLAVOURS

165 Tyrwhitt Road, #01-03 Parc Sovereign Hotel


Singapore 207569
Tel: 63417 727
Email: info@astronauts.com.sg
Inspired by French foodie movie Babettes Feast,
this casual dining joint mixes Japanese and French
influence into its fare. Why those two in
particular? It is because theyre arguably the best
in culinary in their respective regions of the world.
Before you think the fusion of the two is going to
end up in confusion cuisine, they are surprisingly
complementary.
Not keen on trying something youre not too
familiar with? Dont worry, Babettes menu wont
be all French (pun intended) to you. The Grilled
Octopus Salad ($17) had pieces of octopus
tenderised by the French sous-vide cooking
technique and grilled after to add a nice smoky
char to the salad. While Roasted Avocado ($12)
might not sound all that appetising, youll be doing
yourself a massive disfavour by skipping on it.
Mashed avocado is mixed with tomato and
salmon and stuffed back into the skin of the fruit
before being toasted. Creamy and umami with
Babettes signature sauce, this is worth a reorder,
or five.
But onto the main event - the main courses.
We hear the sirloin in the Steak and Foie Gras
Donburi ($28) was only shortlisted after the
owner tried 30 different samples and decided on
this Australian grass fed sirloin. Seared on the
outside and pink on the inside, the beef was
perfectly cooked medium rare. Take it from us,
dont order it any other way. As if thats not
already decadent enough, theres a coin of panseared foie gras atop the steak for the perfect
party on your tongue.
To end the meal, we had to have the Matcha
Lava Cake ($12). Dont baulk at the green
chocolate that oozes out when you break the
cake, its not food colouring but premium green
tea powder mixed with white chocolate to balance
out the sweetness of the latter. Paired with ice
cream and a dripping of azuki topping, youll be in
dessert heaven. But if its liquid dessert you
prefer, youll be glad to know that Babette offers
beer on tap and a range of cocktails named after
the characters in the movie.

STUFF TO TRY
Babette Chirashi Donburi $19
A fresh mix of sashimi, tamago and
tobiko on Japanese rice

Duck Confit Donburi $28


Crispy confit of duck leg served with
pickles on a bed of Japanese rice

Charred Cauliflower $8
Smoky cauliflower in a buttery
velvet velout with ginger confit

Babette $16
Citrusy sour gin cocktail with mint,
lemon, lime and passionfruit

OPENING HOURS Mon to Sun: 11am to 11pm

STUFF SAYS HAVING TRIED THEIR REGULAR OFFERINGS, WERE MORE PSYCHED THAN EVER TO
TASTE THE JAPANESE FRENCH BRUNCH MENU THEYVE GOT COMING UP
www.stuff.tv

37

OUR MONTH
What
W
Wh
hatt the
the
he past
pas
astt 30 days
day
ayss have
have brought
ha
bro
roug
ughht
ug
ht uuss by
by w
way
ay ooff ge
geekery
eker
ek
ker
eryy

I SAW A
MOTO 360
EXPLODE

OK, it had already


exploded/been
carefully dismantled
with all its custom
circular parts on
display. I snuck
behind the scenes
at Motorolas new
Chicago HQ to
see the squares
and squircles it
rejected before
striking design
gold with the 360.

Sophia Charara
reviewer /
360 viewer

I WENT ON A
PILGRIMAGE...

To Cupertino, that is.


It was electrifying to
attend one of techs
biggest events and
to try out the new
iDevices before the
rest of the world did.
Now, thats one less
thing on my tech
bucket list.

Elissa Loi
features writer /
apple polisher

I DIDNT
REALISE THE
TESLA WAS
SO LOUD
The deep guttural
roar of its electric
engine was so
brutal and enticing
that I just had to
pop the hood and
check what was
under it. Turned
out to be quite
a surprise. Watch
the vine here:
bit.ly/stufftesla

Ross Presly
deputy art editor /
confused greaser

I WAS OFF
SOCIAL
MEDIA
NETWORKS

....while I was in the


jungle for my
annual in-camp
training. It was a
good break from
the constant
chatter flooding my
Facebook, Twitter
and Instagram
feeds, allowing me
to stop and smell
the grass (and all
types of funky
odors).

Tein Hee Seow


online editor asia /
social media addict

I TRIED
GOOGLE
CARDBOARD

I even put it
together myself
within 5 minutes,
and it works with
just about any
smartphone
running on Android.
Its virtual reality
experience was
surprisingly
immersive and fun
despite costing less
than $10. Makes
you wonder why
you need to pay
hundreds for stuff
like the Samsung
Gear VR at all.

www.stuff.tv

Im not a huge fan


of non-laptop PCs,
but the HP Envy
Beats AIO might
have changed my
mind. Visually bold
and audibly
appealing (thanks
to Beats and its
quad speakers and
quad subwoofers), I
now cant wait to
watch a movie or
play a game on it. If I
manage to own
one, that is.

Hafizah Osman
news writer / beat
boxer
Melvin Tang
editor /
virtual realist

38

I GOT UP
CLOSE AND
PERSONAL
WITH HPS
ENVY BEATS
AIO

H O

YOUR MONTH NOV


Kick back with Shakespeare, Jay Chou, and Hoobastank this fun-filled November

01
SINGAPORE
WRITERS
FESTIVAL

Love writing? This


local literary festival
is for you. Partake in
one of the many
symposiums,
workshops and
even literary meals
or go the whole hog
by purchasing a 10
day festival pass.
Word.

08
OPUS 2 JAY
2014 WORLD
TOUR

The king of (mando)


pop returns to
reclaim his throne
and hopefully sell
out more shows as
is his habit.
Performing in the
National Stadium at
the Singapore
Sports Hub for the
first time, fans can
look forward to him
belting out the
classics that they
probably romanced
their first love with.

13
A
MIDSUMMER
NIGHTS
DREAM

Dreamy, hilarious
and poetic all at the
same time, this
Shakespeare
classic will be
performed at the
Esplanade Theatre
by the original
Shakespeares
Globe. Not to be
missed by true blue
Shakespeare fans.

13
MAMMA MIA!

In a musical
wedding like no
other, the bride in
question must seek
out her real dad
from three couldbes in order to find
one wholl walk her
down the aisle. Set
to feel-good ABBA
songs to undermine
the weirdness of
the scenario, this
isnt as familyunfriendly as it
sounds.

22
SKECHERS
SUNDOWN
FESTIVAL

Skechers celebrates
the Asian music
scene with an
evening of music
with the best local
artistes (Zhang
Zhen Yue, S.O.S
and Kate Tsui) from
eleven countries. In
between
performances,
festival attendees
can stuff
themselves with
the culinary
offerings
representing the
different countries
too.

30
HOOBASTANK
LIVE IN
SINGAPORE
2014

It might have been a


while since The
Reason dominated
the airwaves, which
makes it a very good
time to hear it live.
Expect the alternative
rock band to perform
hits like Crawling in
the Dark and
Remember Me.
www.stuff.tv

39

STU
F FU FPFR OPM
OT I O NION
ROMOT
ST

AHEAD OF THE
GAME IN HI-RES

Sonys High-Resolution Audio range is all about sound quality only a musician would settle
for and genius design their new headphones are no exception. First up? The MDR-Z7...

MDR-Z7
Designed for Hi-Res Audio, Sonys agship
headphones come with a 70mm HD driver to give
a far more consistent sound across the entire
frequency range, even sub-bass frequencies and
the crystalline highs. Built in Japan with bespoke
precision, the shape of every component is
completely rened to reproduce every detail
of music exactly how musicians and artists
intended. They eliminate unwanted vibration
energy with their Aluminium-coated Liquid
Crystal Polymer diaphragm. Did we mention they
are ridiculously comfortable (see inset) and look
the part, too?

WHATS
HI-RES
AUDIO?
Hi-Res Audio les are processed at a
much higher rate than standard MP3
les and CDs. The sheer quality of
Hi-Res Audio means you can truly
immerse yourself in every single
instrument, bass note and hi-hat.
Listen to Hi-Res Audio les with Hi-Res
Audio headphones and a Hi-Res Audio
Walkman and youll never listen to
music the same way again. Its crystal
clear clarity to make you feel like youre
listening to music from speakers in a
recording studio.
Hi-Res Audio tracks are delivered
through WAV, DSD, AIFF, FLAC, and ALAC
les, which can be downloaded from
selected websites search for Sony
on stu.tv now to nd out more. Learn
about Hi-Res Audio players such as
Sonys Walkman NWZ-A10 Series in the
second part of this Hi-Res Audio feature,
which will appear in the next issue of
Stu Singapore.
Find out more about Hi-Res Audio at:
sony-asia.com/hiresaudio. Or scan this:

THE MDR-Z7 IS JUST THE BEGINNING. STUFF PICKS MORE FROM SONYS HI-RES AUDIO HEADPHONE RANGE...

*XBA-A2 pictured

XBA-Z5

MDR-1ADAC

MDR-10R

XBA-A2/A3

The ultimate in-ear headphone.


They use a hybrid threeway driver system and an
aluminium coated diaphragm
for pitch-perfect precision.
A favourite with the audio pros.

Their built-in USB DAC amp


takes the digital output of
your device and converts the
signal to an analogue output
for amplication. The result is
enhanced sound.

Ideal for perfectly balanced


Hi-Res Audio while looking
great, these are designed with
your comfort in mind, which
you can feel as much as the
nuances in the music.

With three-way driver systems


of HD tweeters, Linear Drive
Balanced Armature drivers
and Liquid Crystal Polymer
Diaphragms, these are crafted
to deliver a Hi-Res Audio punch.

WIN!!! Hi-Res Audio download cards at www.stuff.tv/sg/competitions


To get you started in the world of Hi-Res Audio, Sony is giving 100 lucky Stu readers Hi-Res Audio download cards that entitle
you to 20 free downloads. Simply visit the competition page on Stu.tv and look for the Hi-Res Audio contest. Good luck!

ULTIMATE GUIDE
TO THE

iPHONE 6

Absolutely everything you need to know from A to Z


Apples biggest phones ever have been released. Theyve been a huge hit, selling 10m units
in just one weekend. Even if youre one of the lucky few to get one before they sold out,
we bet there are still a few things you didnt know about your shiny new purchase.
Thats where we come in.
[ Words Elissa Loi, Hafizah Osman, Melvin Tang, Tein Hee Seow Photography Mark Teo ]

Shot with
Sh
an iPhone 6
Plus!

42

www.stuff.tv

ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE iPHONE 6

A
A8 Processor

Accelerometer

App Store

AppleCare+

Faster and more powerful


barely explains what the A8
processor can do. It makes
your apps load and run faster.
Its also less power hungry,
sucking up less juice (being
50% more efficient than the
A7 chip on the iPhone 5s)
while you bash highly
detailed skulls on games
running Metal, or watch high
definition video. Its
processing power is also
borrowed by the iSight
camera to produce stunning
photos through advanced
imaging features.

The iPhone knows


everything. It knows when
youre skiving and walking
less. Theres a snitch called
the accelerometer that tells
on you to the Health app.
Moral of the story - get an
iPhone, use the
accelerometer to track your
movements, and lead a
healthier lifestyle. Once you
lose that extra weight and
love handles, youll truly
thank the accelerometer.

With over 1 million apps in


the App Store, Apples got
the most robust ecosystem
available for a mobile
device. Youre bound to find
something useful for you,
and its all sorted by
category for your
convenience too.

Otherwise known as the


thing thatll save your
iPhone from impending
doom if you drop it after the
free limited warranty
expires. For $138, you get
two years of additional
coverage starting from the
date of purchase for your
iPhone, along with repairs
for two counts of accidental
damage at $108 each.
Trust us, its so useful,
you might even walk out of
a store with a brand new
iPhone if your unit is abused
beyond repair.

Barometer

Battery

Bluetooth LE

Bendgate

The accelerometer isnt the


only feature thatll help (or
nag) you with your fitness
regime. The barometer
works concurrently with the
former, measuring how high
youve climbed and whether
you need to take more steps
to hit your goal for the day.
Be glad that the iPhone
doesnt have a part that
gives you a shock when
youre underachieving.

Despite the larger, higher


resolution screens and bump
in specs, the new iPhones
promise better battery life.
You can expect around 11
hours of continuous video
playback on the 6, while the
6 Plus goes up to 14 hours.
And weve gotten over a day
and a half on our review units
with heavy usage to back up
those claims too.
With iOS 8, you can now
also see which apps are
draining the most battery
from Settings. You cant
actually do anything in there
though, its just knowledge
for you to make usage
adjustments.

The presence of Bluetooth


4.0 Low Energy means that
your Bluetooth streaming,
AirDrop transfers, or iBeacon
interactions are faster and
use less energy. Thatll result
in better battery life. Itll only
make a difference if the
device youre connecting to
has Bluetooth LE too, of
course.

Weve all read reports of the


iPhone 6 Plus warping in
users pockets. Someone
even made a viral video of
himself damaging one pretty
badly by bending it with his
bare hands. However, Apple
has come out to say that
official complaints on the
iPhone 6 bending are less
than 10. Consumer Reports
also released their findings
that the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus
are actually pretty resilient.
From our experience so far,
no such problem exists with
regular use.

www.stuff.tv

43

ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE iPHONE 6

C
Camera App
The great thing about the iPhone camera is that its so
easy to use and takes great shots every single time.
And with the new update, you can capture even slower
slow-motion videos at 240fps, perfect for more epic
shots in all their fluid glory.
If youre looking for something even more
cinematic, time-lapse videos should do the trick. Just
press the record button and your camera will do all the
hard processing work for you. The only thing you have
to worry about is your battery running out before you
get all the footage needed.
As for stills, you now get exposure controls in real
time. Taking a photo or a video and tapping the screen
(just like you would normally focus) will turn up a little
sun icon. Tapping it will bring up a slider that you can
use to adjust exposure up to four f-stops lighter or
darker to get your desired image.
Landscape shots are also better than ever, with
43MP Panoramas and better exposure adjustments
so they emerge as one seamless stitch. Sunset at the
Grand Canyon? No problem for this smart shooter at
all, even with the tricky shadows.

Campus
Whenever you see mentions of Cupertino in anything
related to Apple, theyre talking about the Apple
Campus, their corporate headquarters at 1 Infinite Loop
in Cupertino, California. It currently occupies around
850,000 square feet, with the company even leasing an
additional 3.3m square feet of office space in the city
itself to accommodate all its employees.

44

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ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE iPHONE 6

Shot with
an iPhone 6
Plus!

Continuity
Reap the benefits of having an entire suite of iThings
with this seamless feature (give you have iOS 8 and OS
X Yosemite). Hear a call coming in, but your iPhones
nowhere near you while youre working on your Mac or
iPad? Just answer it directly (or reject it) on your other
devices so long as your iOS 8-running iPhone is on the
same Wi-Fi network. You can also message contacts
directly from your iThings without rummaging through
your belongings for your iPhone.
Its not just about calls and texts either. Handoff is a
feature that allows you to continue working across
iThings on iOS 8 native apps like Keynote, Pages, and
Numbers. This is perfect if you need to be on the move
without losing any of your work or go through the
tedious process of downloading and uploading again.
Works for Safari browsing and composing in Mail too.

Craig Federighi
As Apples senior vice president of Software
Engineering, Federighi was the man responsible for
developing iOS 8. Thats why hes usually the guy to
demonstrate new functions on the latest iOS versions
during Apples keynotes.

www.stuff.tv

45

ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE iPHONE 6

Design
After a few minor tweaks between the iPhone 5 and
the 5s, people wanted some change and change is
what they got with the design of the new iPhones.
Besides the obvious augment in screen size (from 4in
to 4.7in), the iPhone 6 sports a matte all-metal rounded
back, with glass that curves to meet the edges on the
front for a smooth, continuous form. A huge difference
from the flat, sharp angles on the 5s.
The size difference is even more obvious on the
iPhone 6 Plus. Its 5.5in as compared to the 4in

iPhone 5s by far, the biggest of any iPhone. But


besides the size and thickness, most of the design
elements we mention above are the same across the
newly launched units.
As for thickness, the iPhone 6 has a thin 6.9mm
profile, while the 6 Plus sits at 7.1mm. Theyre both
considerably skinnier than their 7.5mm predecessor,
despite packing a lot more power. Theres quite a big
design change too the lens on the iPhone 6 and 6
Plus protrudes from the phone.

Eddy Cue

E
46

www.stuff.tv

Another familiar face on stage in Apples keynotes, Cue is the


senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. This
means hes the one who takes care of and the one who
talks about the iTunes Store, the App Store, the iBookstore,
Siri, Apple Maps, and iCloud.

ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE iPHONE 6

Extensibility
iOS has customarily been a closed system, but its
recently opened up to developers for deeper
integration with third-party apps. This means you can
access features from other apps on Apples native
apps, and vice versa.
It also means youve got more options on where
to share your content via the Share sheet, which
used to only contain certain social media networks.
Documents can also be opened, shared, and edited
more easily between different apps, so working on
your iOS device just got a lot more convenient. You
could even edit your pictures straight from your
Photos app with third-party editing tools.

F
FaceTime HD Camera
The FaceTime camera no longer plays second fiddle
to the iSight camera, and deserves its own space in
our iPhone alphabet. With the substantial upgrades
applied to the front-facing camera, you can be sure
selfies are going to be an even bigger part of your
new iPhone experience.
It takes better photos, thanks to the improved
camera capturing up to 81% more light, and is also
better at detecting where your face is. Youll never be
out of focus when taking a selfie or FaceTiming with
someone halfway across the world. It also does
burst shots (10 per second) to capture your best
moments. Dont worry, deleting the unflattering
ones can be done with just a few taps. No one needs
to know that those exist.

Family Sharing
You no longer have to spend extra if all members of
your family are participating in a Candy Crush-off. Up
to six in the family can share apps and paid content
with one payment option without sharing accounts.
This sharing also works for photo albums, calendars
and even location tracking so you can keep tabs on
your kids in more than one way.

G
Gyroscope
Living in a three-dimensional space means the iPhone
needs a gyroscope to measure the axis youre walking
in. Short of giving you a science lecture, the gyroscope
lets you take ridiculously long (and beautiful)
panoramic shots. Its also the reason you can spot
excited gamers moving their phones while playing
motion-sensitive games on their iPhones.

Shot with
an iPhone 6
Plus!

www.stuff.tv

47

ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE iPHONE 6

H
Health
New app alert! This new dashboard uses Apples
Healthkit to compile info from your health-related apps,
displaying it in a simple yet comprehensive way. Whats
more, data recorded on one app will then be fed to all
others, including how many steps youve taken, flights
of stairs climbed, calorie intake, and distance covered.

Especially useful is the medical card with information


such as allergies and blood type, which is available in
case of emergencies straight from the lock screen.

Tip: Try these 3 HealthKit-enabled apps

WebMD

Human

MyFitnessPal

$free / webmd.com
Besides letting you see what your
ailments could be a symptom of,
WebMD syncs with Health to give
you tips on how to achieve your
preset goals. It can even log some
basic data on its own.

$free / human.co
With this app, you wont need an
additional fitness tracker. Human
turns your iPhone 6 into one,
automatically logging your walks,
runs, or bike rides just by having it in
your pocket or bag.

$free / myfitnesspal.com
Count your calories easily with this
handy intake tracker. With more
than 4m foods in its database,
MyFitnessPal will help you record
more accurately and hit that weight
target in no time.

HomeKit
Apples preparing for the future
Internet of Things with the iPhone
6, including HomeKit in iOS 8 to
connect with devices on the same
Wi-Fi network. By establishing a
common protocol for these
devices to connect securely with
iOS 8, theyre paving the way for
potential future Apple-connected
homes. Soon, you may just be able
to switch off your lights, turn on
the aircon, or even unlock the door
straight from your device.

48

www.stuff.tv

ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE iPHONE 6

I
iCloud Drive
On the surface, iCloud Drive is like any other cloud
storage system. But its more than that. Edit a
document on your iPhone, go to your Yosemiteenabled MacBook or even a compatible PC, and the
same file will have been updated with your changes.
This continuation extends to apps that support iCloud
Drive too.
Is it secure? Its all about two-factor
authentication, where a separate code sent to your
iPhone adds another layer to secure your iCloud Drive.
Youll be glad to know its a lot cheaper now too
iCloud Drive starts from $15 per year for 20GB, and
goes up to $24.98 per month for 1TB of online storage
space.

The iSight camera still manages


to best most smartphone cameras
in the market, showing just how
little megapixels count in taking
great images

iOS 8
The latest update to the system might not seem like
much at first compared to iOS 7, but take your time to
explore and the many nuances of the new OS will
reveal themselves to you. Basically, Apples provided
developers with Swift, a whole new programming
language, and deeper access to iOS 8 than ever
before.
Youllll see the new features at work throughout
ore. You
this feature.

ight Camera
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aking great imag
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he latter is more effective for
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chip
coprocessor,
p and M8 motion coproces
ssor, to compensate for
any shaky hand mo
motions.
otions.

Shot with
an iPhone 6
Plus!

www.stuff.tv

49

REVIEWS, FEATURES, LATEST NEWS,


OPINIONS AND LOADS MORE.

AWESOME NEW
CONTENT EVERY DAY!

ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE iPHONE 6

Jonathan Ive

Probably the most famous Apple executive other than Steve Jobs and
Tim Cook. As Apples senior vice president of Design, Jony Ive decides
how all Apple products will look, feel, and be experienced. He also heads
the Human Interface department. You should be familiar with his work,
since he delivered the products everyone tries to emulate such as the
iPhone, iPad, and MacBook Air.

K
Keyboards
Third-party keyboards can now finally be used on iPhones running
iOS 8. Prior to this, Apple didnt allow these on its smartphones, and
it was a luxury only Android users had since 2007.

52

Tip: Here are three keyboards


you can try. Simply download
and enable them by going to
Settings > General > Keyboards

Swiftkey

Swype

Fleksy

$free / swiftkey.com
Probably the most famous of all
keyboard apps found on Android.
Eerily accurate in its predictions as it
compiles data from your mail,
messages, and social media to
learn how you type.

$1.28 / swype.com
Instead of tapping on the keyboard
to type, you swipe your fingers
across the keys in one continuous
motion for each word, stopping at
each letter you want to use. Swype
will then figure it out.

$1.28 / fleksy.com
Another Android favourite that built
its reputation upon accurate text
prediction and auto-correction,
Fleksy also comes with a wide range
of options for you to customise how
it looks on your phone.

www.stuff.tv

ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE iPHONE 6

L
Landscape View
A landscape view for a bigger screen? Sure, that makes
sense. But its not just a simple rotation for the iPhone
6 Plus user interface. Like the larger iPad , the landscape
view presents a different user experience, such as
more options popping up. Its not a feature found on the
iPhone 6 though.

Tip: Landscape view doesnt only give


you the split screen option in Mail and
Messages, it also brings up new keys
like cut, copy, and bold.

Shot with
an iPhone 6
Plus!

LTE
Or 4G. Either way, long-term evolution (LTE) is the
reason you should take the new plans from SingTel,
StarHub or M1. Though 4G plans are pricier than their
3G counterparts, it makes more sense to enjoy
theoretical download speeds of 150Mbps. Assuming,
of course, you get good LTE coverage in your area.
The iPhone 6 also supports up to 20 4G LTE bands,
meaning you can use it for high-level connectivity
almost anywhere around the world.

www.stuff.tv

53

ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE iPHONE 6

M
M8 motion coprocessor
Working in tandem with the A8 processor, this motion
coprocessor dedicates its power to the accelerometer,
compass, gyroscope and barometer. In layman terms,
that gives you better battery life since games will put
less stress on the A8 processor.
But the M8 motion coprocessors true value is its
constant monitoring of the various measurements
taken by the phone. Its raw processing power allows it
to distinguish the difference between a simple walk, a
more intensive run or a cruise on your bicycle. All that,
combined with the algorithms within the Health app,
gives you a more accurate representation of your
health status.

Mail
Apples native email app now comes with new
gestures for greater ease of use: swipe a message
right to mark it as read/unread, swipe it partly to the
left to flag it, or swipe completely from right to left to
delete it altogether. You can even choose to swap the
direction of the swipes if youre left-handed.
Another useful change is that now drafts are
stored at the foot of the screen, meaning you can
swap between them and other messages without
having to go back to your draft messages box.

Metal
A feature found in iOS 8 is Metal a new tool for game
developers to take advantage of the A7 and A8
processors. This means performance of games on iOS
8 will be top-notch faster and more responsive. For
example, graphics in a 3D game will perform up to 10
times faster with Metal.

Tip: Go Metal with these games

Modern Combat 5: Blackout


$8.98 / gameloft.com
Considered by many to be one of the best FPS games
on the iOS platform, Modern Combat 5 puts you back
into your combat boots. Whether youre a team player
or more of a solo G.I.Joe, epic console-worthy battles
await you. Find the game a little pricey? You can also
purchase it as a bundle along with MC3 and MC4 at just
$12.98.

Maps
This feature needs no introduction it was initially
powered by Google data since its launch but iOS 6
took the reins in 2012. But there were so many
problems, Tim Cook had to write a letter of apology to
Apple users. Its come a long way since then; with iOS
8, theres now a night mode, a Flyover City Tour (in
Beta 2) that lets you tour a city without the need for
your fingers to navigate on screen, as well as the
ability to sync directions with other devices.

Messages

Epic Zen Garden


$free / epicgames.com
Less of a game and more of a zen experience, Epic Zen
Garden pushes the graphic capabilities of the A8
processor to its limits. Interact with this realistic zen
garden and watch the cherry blossoms swirl
hypnotically between intense work meetings to bring
down your blood pressure.

The Messages app (if you still use it) now lets you
mute or leave group conversations, record audio
notes, and send multiple pictures or self-destructing
videos with ease. These features only work with
other Apple devices though.

Androids been trying to


popularise contactless
mobile payments for years,
but Apple is set to seize the
initiative with Apple Pay

54

www.stuff.tv

Beach Buggy Racing


$free / vectorunit.com
Go off-road in this crazy cartoon world of wacky rival
drivers, cool buggies, monster trucks, and 12 different
cinematic race tracks. Of course its not just about
speed, you get to build up an arsenal of wild powerups
like Fireball and Oil Slick to leave your competition
eating your dust.

ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE iPHONE 6

Shot with
an iPhone 6
Plus!

NFC

Pay

Near Field Connectivity has been around for years on


Android phones already, letting users pair hardware,
transfer data, or communicate with other devices
with just one touch. However, Apples only just
introduced it on the iPhone 6 as one of the
cornerstones of Apple Pay for wireless point-of-sale
transactions. Its currently only usable with Apple Pay,
which is kind of silly given its usefulness, but Apple
just might open it up for use with third-party apps and
accessories too.

Androids been trying to popularise contactless mobile


payments for years now with Google Wallet and NFC,
but it seems Apple is set to seize the initiative with
Apple Pay. By combining the iPhone 6s new NFC
feature with a dedicated Secure Element chip and
Touch ID, users can now pay for their physical or online
purchases with a simple touch of the home button.
While Android phones need to be placed a certain
way for NFC connectivity, Apples iteration is much
more organic and natural thanks to the design of their
NFC antenna. All you have to do is hold the phone as
you would normally near the merchants reader. Apple
Pay will then charge everything straight to your Visa,
MasterCard, and American Express credit cards.
Apple Pay can soon be used at several major US
retailer websites and hundreds of thousands of
locations such as McDonalds outlets all around the
US. Sadly well probably have to wait ages to see it
work here in Singapore.

Notications
Tap on your notifications to interact with them
directly in iOS 8. Reply to messages, reminders, and
calendar invites, all without having to switch
between apps.

O
Optical Image Stabilisation
Only on the iPhone 6 Plus, youll no longer get blurry
images no matter how excited you get snapping a
celebrity. A little exaggerated, but thats the beauty of
OIS. Much like a balancing act, the lens moves
according to your movements and compensates for
your shaky hands. In short? No more photos or videos
in the style of The Blair Witch Project.

www.stuff.tv

55

ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE iPHONE 6

Q
Philip Schiller
When Steve Jobs was on medical leave in the 2000s,
and during the transition period before Tim Cook
became CEO, senior vice president of Worldwide
Marketing Philip Schiller was the main man for Apple
at their keynotes. Hes also been the one to present
and introduce us to all of Apples new products from
iPhones to MacBooks.

QuickType keyboard
Typing might soon be a thing of the past, according
to Apple, thanks to its QuickType keyboard. The
iPhone 6 and 6 Plus come pre-installed with iOS 8,
which uses this smart keyboard to tap word
predictions and compose entire sentences based on
your writing style and previous conversations. Its
supposedly also smart enough to tweak the choice of
words based on who youre talking to, and should
make less Damn You, Auto Correct-worthy gaffes.

Shot with
an iPhone 6
Plus!

56

Photos App

Reachability

With the new features available on the Photos app,


theres really no need for third-party editing ones. Tap
on Edit and you get to rejig your formerly askew photo
or resize it in more aspect ratios than before. More
significantly, you can now adjust degrees of Light,
Colour and Black & White visually, so no complicated
numbers for you to guess how your photo might look.
And you can break that down even more in each of
those categories. For example, tapping on Colour will
pull up the elements of Saturation, Contrast, and Cast
that you can tweak for that perfect shot.

Naysayers will rag on the iPhone 6 Plus for being too


big, but Apple has built its user experience around onehanded usage.
Think the top left icon is too far for your thumb? All
you need to do is tap the home button twice and the
interface will drop halfway down the screen. Just
remember to enable it first by going to Settings >
General > Accessibility. Then scroll to the bottom and
find Reachability under Interaction. Enable the tab and
youre all ready to reach.

Tip: The original photo is never discarded


so you can layer tons of edits, experience
a bout of regret, and start from scratch
again.

Tip: If its not working for you, it could


be that youre double clicking and not
tapping as instructed. Just light touches
will do.

www.stuff.tv

ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE iPHONE 6

Retina HD display

Sixty-four (64)-bit architecture

Its all about the clarity and sharpness of the screen


these days. Even though the iPhone 6s screen has
only 326ppi (the same as the iPhone 5s), the
1334x750 display makes images seem closer to you
at a wide range of viewing angles.
Thats because Apples used a special process
using UV light to precisely calibrate and adjust the
liquid crystals in the screen for optimal performance,
resulting in brighter, clearer, and sharper images.
Building on this is the 401ppi iPhone 6 Plus with a
full HD 1920x1080 screen. The higher resolution is
very obvious, and its by far the most impressive when
compared to any of the older iPhone models.

Dont worry, were not going to bore you to death with


all the heavy tech talk. Just know that its able to handle
more complex apps. This means your future games
might look even more realistic on the iPhone than any
other devices. But until developers fully utilise its
advantages, rest assured that it runs your good old
games and apps just fine, perhaps even better.

S
Safari

Tim Cook

Besides being used for web browsing, you can also save
pages for viewing on Safari, even when offline. Just
save those pages to your Reading List. It gets synced to
all your devices through iCloud too, so you can read
something on your iPhone and continue on your
MacBook when you get home. The app also now
supports extensions like on Google Chrome.

Cook used to be the Chief Operating Officer, but now


calls all the shots both as a member of Apples Board
of Directors and CEO of the company. Essentially, hes
responsible for everything the company produces,
meaning theres literally too much for us to say here.
Hell be the guy hosting all of Apples keynotes, so
theres no chance you wont see him around.

Tip: You can also use Safari to instantly


scan your credit card details. Just tap
on Scan Credit Card on the payment
page, and Safari will use your camera
to capture your credit card details and
automatically fill up the appropriate
boxes.

Siri

Touch ID
Both the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus have Touch ID
functionality. As with the iPhone 5s, this lets you
simply rest a thumb or finger on the home button to
unlock the phone or authenticate App Store
purchases.
iOS 8 has also opened the feature up to be used
with third-party apps, which is great for a general
added layer of security. Dont worry about privacy
though your data is stored on your devices A8 chip,
not on any Internet servers, and developers cant
access it either.

Whats your function in life, asked no one to Siri? The


intelligent personal assistant is now more attentive to
your needs. Only if you keep the iPhone plugged in
though, because thats when you can utter Hey Siri
and itll answer your every question without pressing
any buttons.

www.stuff.tv

57

ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE iPHONE 6

U
User Experience
iPhone 6
Design of the times
Youll definitely want to hold the iPhone 6, because it
feels amazing and wholly premium. The curves make
it superbly comfortable in use despite its increased
size, while its thin profile also helps. On the downside,
the camera lens does protrude from the phones
case, which may not please everyone, while the
distinctive light-coloured lines on the back at top and
bottom wont be to all tastes either. The latter, at
least, are present for practical as well as aesthetic
reasons: with a metal-backed phone its hard to
scoot the signal in and out, and the flush rubberised
lines sort this.
Better than Retina
The iPhone 6s headline feature is its 4.7in display,
but lets not get carried away here - by anyone elses
standards, 4.7in is not a huge screen. Apples screen
has just 326ppi, the same as the iPhone 5s, but stats
arent the whole story. Even though its lowerresolution than its rivals, its still more than dense
enough to look glorious. While the 6s display is
easily one of the best 720p efforts weve used, the
differences between it and a full HD screen are visible
if you look for them. However, for day-to-day use,
theres a limit to what you can see - or at least to
what matters. Plus, its just right there: the display
seems so pressed up against the glass its like youre
making direct contact with the pixels.
Picture perfect
Apples stuck with 8MP for its camera, but
fortunately for them, the combination of a good lens,
advanced image processing and sublimely simple
camera controls in previous iPhones has served it
very well. Quality-wise, theres not a huge amount of
difference from the 5s - which means its still one of
the best out there.
Where Apples camera is consistently better than
rivals is in its superbly simple ease of use. No white
balance to adjust, no extra granular controls to fiddle

58

www.stuff.tv

with. Video recording is also improved, but theres no 4K


video. Apples skill has rarely been to be first, so were
not exactly surprised at its absence. Quality-wise,
footage is smooth and looks striking.
Packed with power
Performance is always a tricky thing to judge on
iPhones. Look at the stats alone and most high-end
Androids leave it in the dust. But use one, and itll often
feel like the fastest thing since Usain Bolts sliced bread.
The iPhone 6 is no different, with an improved processor
in the A8, and whizzes through tasks without the
slightest of pauses.
The new hardware is faster and more powerful, some
of it to service the bigger screen and updated iOS 8
operating software. Eventually, it will lead to more
sparkly games, faster and more powerful apps. Sadly,
some of the newest, spangliest of features on the
iPhone cant be reviewed yet, most notably Apple Pay.
It goes on and on
Most smartphones have terrible battery life. Happily,
the iPhone 6 just goes on and on. With regular use, the
phone performed for a full day and well into a second a
leap forward compared to the iPhone 5s. Additionally,
iOS 8 gives you handy warnings about apps which are
constantly making data connections, so you can turn
the beggars off.
The bottom line
In order to really judge the iPhone 6 you first have to
consider what its not. Its not a mega-screened
wannabe phablet. Its not a 2K-display-packing pixel
king. Its not the most powerful phone ever. What it is, is
the best iPhone ever.
*For a full review, visit www.stuff.tv

Its not the most powerful


phone ever. What it is, is the
best iPhone ever

ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE iPHONE 6

Shot with
an iPhone 6
Plus!

Its super-thin body and


smooth metal build make it
easier to hold and use than
you might expect
iPhone 6 Plus
Size matters
Apple has included a 1920 x 1080 screen with 401
ppi, and for everyday use its a cracker, with richer
but quieter colours and real, natural tones. The Retina
display HD also performs a remarkable trick of
making the display seem right up next to you, so you
can almost feel the high-def under your fingerprint.
This is easily the best screen on any iPhone and
compares well to the competition. Its subtle,
beautiful and pin-sharp.
Tipping the scale
Many features of the iPhone 6 are simply replicated on
the 6 Plus and thanks to an efficient scaler in each of
the phones, everything looks pretty much identical on
the two, if a little higher-res on the 6 Plus.
Some apps have already been optimised to provide
a distinct landscape version that doesnt simply
enlarge the portrait mode. Messages and Mail both
look more like their iPad versions, with horizontal
views that show not just a list of message summaries
but the list on the left and one email in full on the right.
Expect other app makers to come up with their own
ways to make the most of all the extra real estate on
the 6 Plus.
To have and hold
Of course, theres more to the phone than the screen.
Though the measurements of the handset are bigger
than last years iPhone 5s, its thinner at just 7.1mm.
This is important as its the dimension that you feel
the most when holding it one-handed. The curved
front and back edges of the iPhone 6 are repeated
here and again contribute to the phone being much
more manageable than the bald statistics would
suggest. Many hands will still find the 6 Plus too
gigantic, but if youre in any doubt, try it its not quite
what you expect. Otherwise, the design of the iPhone
6 Plus is identical to the iPhone 6.

Stability control
The bigger phone has the same 8MP sensor as the
smaller one, but with one key difference. Image
stabilisation on the 6 is decent enough but is an
electronic, software-based process. On the 6 Plus,
though, theres superior optical image stabilisation
available, which means you can shoot in lower light
situations and still get sharp images. All the other new
features are present, but the advantage of the bigger
screen is you can frame up more exactly, without looking
quite so preposterous as anyone using their iPads camera
does. Plus, you can see the results more clearly on this
bigger, more detailed display.
Made from concentrate
Battery life on the smaller iPhone 6 is already very strong,
much, much improved over the 5s. And happily the extra
space afforded by this phone means theres room for
even more juice here. In regular use while testing the
device, we got more than 48 hours use from it - a quite
spectacular result.
The new keyboard that arrives courtesy of iOS 8 is
excellent, with impressive predictions for whatever it is
you want to type even before the first word is started.
However, theres so much space here, you may find youre
stretching to reach the keys. Theres no simple way
around unless you use third-party keyboards like
Swiftkey. Still, iOS 8 offers the chance to record spoken
messages or speak texts, so its not the end of the world.
Is bigger better?
The iPhone 6 Plus will undoubtedly be too big for some
hands. That said, the combination of its super-thin body
and smooth metal build make it easier to hold and use
than you might expect. Plus, it offers a few advantages
over the iPhone 6, namely that bigger, higher-res screen
and increased battery life.

www.stuff.tv

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ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE iPHONE 6

V
Video
The iPhones camera isnt just great at taking stills, its
also pretty genius at capturing motion at Full HD 1080p.
And if the videographer happens to be on the move as
well, dont worry about jerky video. Thanks to cinematic
video stabilisation and continuous autofocus, your
moving shots will look silky smooth, especially when
paired with the iPhones image stabilisation.

Voice over LTE


Youve been enjoying LTE data speeds, but did you
know youre being dropped back to a 3G network
during voice calls? Not anymore on the iPhone. Voice
over LTE (VoLTE) is still in its early stages, but the
launch of the iPhone 6 pushed telcos to introduce
this high-quality call service. This also means you
get to surf on LTE speeds while youre taking a call.
Useful when you have to quickly grab a piece of info
off the web while on a conference call.
Youll also enjoy another benefit better battery
life. Without the constant switch between a 3G and
LTE network when you are between calls, your
phone wont require as much effort or juice.

W
Weight
Considering the iPhone 6s 4.7-in size, its weight comes
in at only 129g. Comparatively, the iPhone 6 Plus
weighs 172g regardless of its 5.5-in frame. Seems
pretty light for a mega-sized iPhone, we must say.

Wi-Fi
Its a given that a new model from Apple usually
includes faster Wi-Fi speed. This is true for the iPhone 6
and iPhone 6 Plus, both of which support 802.11ac,
which is 3x faster than regular Wi-Fi 802.11n. But again,
youll need to know theres a catch supporting faster
download speeds doesnt equate to getting it. Youll
need a fast connection linked to your Wi-Fi network.

Wi-Fi calling
Did you know you can make a call over Wi-Fi? This is a
lifesaver when your office Wi-Fi network is decent, but
the area has poor cellular coverage. Even if you move
out of Wi-Fi range, you wont have to worry about a
disconnected call the phone switches over to a
cellular line seamlessly.

62

www.stuff.tv

ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE iPHONE 6

Widgets
On your Notification Centre is the Today page, where iOS
8 lets you add widgets for a quick summary of
information from apps youve installed. To add a widget,
simply swipe to the Today view in Notification Centre, tap
on Edit, and enable any compatible apps on a list.

Z
Zoom

X
X-tra Capacity
Ok, you try finding something that starts with an X.
Anyway, unlike previous iPhones Apples decided to do
away with the 32GB memory option, opting to just go
from 16GB to 64GB, culminating in the penultimate
128GB version. These larger capacity options are also
more affordable than before with the arrival of the
iPhone 6 the 64GB option used to cost $1288 with
the iPhone 5s, but that currently gets you 128GB.

Upon booting up your new iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, youll be


asked if you want your display in standard or zoomed
view. As the word suggests, the latter is a closer look
with larger icons and text.
Both devices in zoomed mode turn up pretty
different results. The iPhone 6 displays as much content
as that on the iPhone 5s, while the iPhone 6 Plus will
display as much content as an unzoomed iPhone 6. Its
up to you to decide if size or quantity is your priority.

Tip: Its a reversible change. If you


wish to escape Zoomed view, all you
have to do is go to Settings > Display
& Brightness > View, and choose the
other option.

Y
You
Which one should you get, the 4.7in iPhone 6 or 5.5in
iPhone 6 Plus? As with all things, its all down to
preference. We find the regular iPhone 6 to be the best
in terms of all-round usability, and its probably the
perfect fit for comfortable usage too.
However, if you have large hands, need more
productivity, or want a bigger display for enjoying
games and video, then go with the iPhone 6 Plus. The
screen is definitely worth the upgrade and subsequent
tradeoff in portability. The optical image stabilisation on
it is also a big plus point if you take a lot of photos and
videos on the move.

We find the regular iPhone 6


to be the best in terms of allround usability, and its
probably the perfect fit for
comfortable usage too

www.stuff.tv

63

ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE iPHONE 6

WHAT WE WANT TO SEE ON THE IPHONE 6S


These couldve made the phones perfect, in our eyes

Crystal clear
As someone whos already shattered one iPhone and
one iPad screen in the past couple of years, Im
disappointed Apple didnt produce the iPhone 6 and 6
Plus with sapphire crystal screens as rumoured. That
wouldve made the displays near indestructible,
eliminating mini heart attacks every time the phone is
dropped. Itd also eliminate the need for protective
casings, and we all know that iPhones look best naked.
Lets hope the iPhone 6s has them, and I wouldnt
mind paying more for it either.
- Melvin Tang, editor / man with butter fingers

NFC for all


My only wish is for Apple to open up NFC application.
The possibilities are endless - think of your next
iPhone as your house or car key. Heck, it could even be
a key to my fridge, and refuse to unlock it when I bust
my daily calorie limit. You know what, ignore that last
suggestion about the fridge. Id like to feed my
voracious appetite, thank you very much.
- Tein Hee Seow, online editor / not fully convinced (NFC)

64

www.stuff.tv

Beat the earpods


The EarPods are more commonly thought of as a side
dish than as a significant main course when it comes
to iPhone updates. But with Apples acquisition of
Beats, this could very well change. Whether its better
sounding audio or flashier EarPods, I cant wait to see
what the Apple and Beats collaboration will mean for
the next iPhone. If that still requires another
generation to kick in, I could also very well settle for
those rumoured reversible USB plugs on Lightning
cables instead.
- Elissa Loi, features writer / music junkie

Make it hardy
IP57 certification if you dont know what that
stands for, its water and dust proof. Sonys got it on
some of its devices, HTCs slowly introducing the
feature on its smartphones, but weve yet to see it on
any Apple smartphone. Hopefully, the next iPhone will
have it because we cant wait to use it and take some
killer snaps under water.
- Hafizah Osman, news writer / underwater shooter

ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE iPHONE 6

WHAT WE THOUGHT ABOUT THE IPHONE 6


iPhones always divide opinion, and the 6 is no different

VS
Its not just about the numbers

Welcome to 2012

The new iPhones are the sleek well-oiled sum of their


slightly improved parts. While the upgrades dont
immediately register on your oh-my-god radar, it takes
time to realise that the changes, while not spec-tacular,
are well thought out enough to be pretty spectacular in
their own right.
Take the camera for instance. Its still all of 8
megapixels and has been ever since the iPhone 4S, but
theres no denying that its one of the best cameras on a
smartphone.
The Apple logo on the back of the iPhones has also
been redesigned. While it used to exist for purely
aesthetic purposes, it has now been upgraded into a
functional element through being integrated into the
iPhones antenna systems.
Its simple details like these that show how much
more more thought went into its overall conception than
just souping up the most obvious individual assets for
the best marketing collateral to slap onto billboards
everywhere.
Besides does the average user really need 4K video
recording or waterproofing? These features might
sound the most appealing in marketing campaigns, but
long after users fork out megabucks for these, theyll
also probably realise that these features are the least
used. For a tech company thats known for its simplicity,
its always been about the overall user experience.
The best proof that a little goes a long way is probably
in the fact that the iPhones dual core A8 chip has
crushed competitors quad-core processors in term of
performance and battery life according to tests done by
Anandtech.
Call me old-fashioned, but Id rather phone companies
spend those resources developing aspects that matter
like better battery life and a smoother user experience.
So if this is considered an average upgrade at best, Id
gladly settle for minor fine-tuning tweaks any day if it
means an overall well-oiled machine.

Does the headline look any familiar to you? If it does, its


actually from the graphic thats been making its rounds
on the Internet, showing why the iPhone 6 is two years
behind the tech curve.
Its been compared (and bullied) against the Nexus
4, which has a bunch of the iPhone 6s features, such as
NFC payment capabilities, third-party keyboards,
Cloud photo backup, and cross-app communication,
amongst others.
Okay, I get that there are some other features that
the iPhone 6 has that arent on the Nexus 4 but my
claim goes beyond that to just comparing it to the
Nexus 4 its Apple were talking about. As one of the
leading tech vendors in the world, its meant to be
revolutionary.
And when I stayed up till the wee hours of the
morning, crossing my fingers to catch a glimpse of
features never before seen on any other smartphone,
my expectations fell short and my dreams were
crushed. People were cheering at things that have
been around for a while now, as if Apples done
something breakthrough.
It was at that stage in the past, but since then, its
dwindled in its creativity and even though its made
more than a handful of tech company acquisitions, we
dont quite see their technologies translated into the
iPhone 6 do we? When are they coming? My guess is
as good as yours.
But in saying that, Apple has its own cult following
which wont betray the brand and jump ship to another
platform even if you had a knife to their throats; so its
not really going to bother them that their tech belongs
in the past.
For all of you such users, I just have one message for
you maybe you can look forward to the likes of waterresistance, wireless charging, split screen apps, VR
headset compatibility, and holographic screens
sometime beyond 2016.

Elissa Loi
features writer

Hafizah Osman
news writer

www.stuff.tv

65

ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE iPHONE 6

CHANGING SIDES
How to transfer essential
information from Android to iOS
Smartphones are becoming so personal and such an essential part of
our lives that Nomophobia fear of losing your smartphone is one of
the biggest fears in the world.
Similarly, switching from one OS to the other is actually quite a major
decision, because you actually have a lot to learn and get used to. Having
to restart your digital life however, isnt one of them. Follow these simple
steps to transfer all your personal data from Android to iOS.

Mail, Contacts, and Calendars


Add your email account to your iPhone, and youre all set.
1. Go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Add Account
2. Select Google
3. Enter your name, username, and password
4. You can then select what to sync or not from there. You can even
add multiple accounts

Photos and videos


For your camera content, youll have to use iTunes to help you out.
1. Transfer the ones you want from your Android device to your PC
via USB cable (If youre using a Mac, youll need to use an app called
Android File Transfer)
2. Save your photos and videos into one folder
3. Connect your iPhone to the computer with the Lightning cable
4. Open iTunes and click on your iPhone
5. Click Photos, check the Sync Photos from and Include Videos
boxes, and make sure youve selected the correct folder
6. Click Apply

Music
If its a music streaming service like Spotify, just install the app and log in. If
youre still using MP3s, youll also need to use iTunes.
1. Just like with your photos, transfer the files you want into a folder
on your computer
2. Click on Music in your iTunes library
3. Drag the files from your music folder into the Songs list
4. Click on your iPhone, click Music, check the Sync Music box
5. Select either your entire music library or specific songs/artists
6. Click Apply

Documents
As much as we hate to admit it, we have to work on our smartphones too
1. Save all your important documents on Google Drive
2. Install the Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides apps on your iPhone
3. Make sure the Google accounts you use your Google Drive with are
added to your iPhone

66

www.stuff.tv

ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE iPHONE 6

TRUE STORY
We really used an iPhone 6 Plus to shoot our cover image
What were we thinking?
For our November cover, we thought what better way to
show off the new iPhones 6 smartphones than to hand the
camera work over to the iPhone 6 Plus? In the steady hands
of photographer Mark Teo, it snapped shot after shot of a pair
of iPhones in succession. Besides the cover, youve also seen
them throughout this story.

Phoneception
As you can see from this image, we shot two iPhone 6
phones being shot by an iPhone 6 with an iPhone 6. Lit by
a couple of Kino Flo light banks to even out the overall
lighting, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus were attached to clamps
to keep them firmly in place with some creative arts and
crafts. Mark also used a magnifying glass at times for a bit
of a macro effect.

Tricky business
While shooting inanimate objects might be a lot easier than
photographing real life models, there were different challenges
especially when your subjects are fronted in slabs of glowing,
reflective glass.

Of course, the reflections could be digitally removed


during post-processing, but we wanted the image to be as
authentic as possible, which means what you see is what the
iPhone 6 Plus got. Instead, we went analogue with the image
manipulation, using a matte board to reduce reflection and a
black cloth held strategically so to shield any stray beams
from bouncing off the screens, yet keeping the proper
amounts of light to highlight the subjects and make them
appear less flat. For the detail shots, Mark used a magnifying
glass to zoom in.

Shots in the dark


To be honest, we had no idea how successful the shots
would be, but they turned out amazing, no thanks in part to
the iPhone 6 Plus innate photography talent. Even our
photography team made up of experienced shooters were
impressed by how sharp and clear the images were.
Mark also commented that having manual exposure
controls that iOS 8 allows also really helped in the process.
While he wouldnt use the iPhone 6 Plus as a mainstay
camera, its definitely a viable candidate for a backup
camera. Given that all these behind the scenes shots were
captured with an iPhone 6, what he says rings true.

www.stuff.tv

67

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FIRST TEST MOTOROLA MOTO 360

Its your round


Is this the beginning of the end for bad smartwatch design?
Sophie Charara tries on the long-awaited Motorola Moto 360
US$250 ($315) / motorola.com

Were not going back to ugly


smartwatches now. Thats
not to say the Moto 360,
the first real Android Wear
icon, is perfect nothing
was going to live up to the
hyping and hoping of the
past six months. But its the
first smartwatch youll really
want to show off rather than
hide under a sleeve.
The 360s head-turning
design just makes gadget
sense. Its a watch so
its round. Its made from
premium materials such as
stainless steel and leather.
Its Gorilla Glass 3 screen
protects it from dust and
scratches. So its a little
pricey at $315. It rests
in a wireless handy dock
to charge. But whats it like
to wear one? And should any
other Android Wear watches
get a look in?

1 Design and build


The steel body of the 360 feels
sturdy, with a perfectly smooth
circular edge, very slim bezels
around the screen and a single
power button on the right-hand
side. It is chunky, though: at 11.5mm
deep it does declare its presence.
But at least its light. With the
leather strap it weighs just 49g.

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Six hours with


the 360

5mins 27mins

70

www.stuff.tv

28mins

31mins

32mins

41mins 1.55hrs

2hrs

3hrs

FIRST TEST MOTOROLA MOTO 360

2 Screen
While colours dont pop off the
1.56in display, they are appealing.
At 205ppi, the resolution might not
match the Samsung Gear Lives,
but it is sharp text looks fairly
crisp, if a bit distorted around the
very edge of the raised, waterproof
Gorilla Glass 3. The feature we love
is auto brightness, a light sensor
that adjusts to the environment.

3 Android Wear
This the most comfortable Android
Wear watch yet. When you get
a notification on your phone, the
360 vibrates and a card pops up
on the watch face. The wrist-flick
gesture to turn the screen on
works well enough, and voice
search and commands are just
as excellent as, if not better than,
its Android Wear rivals.

4 Performance
Weve had a couple of teething
problems with the 360. While
pairing to our phone went
smoothly, soon after the Bluetooth
connection dropped out. Weve
also noticed a bit of lag with Google
Now cards. Both the LG G Watch
and Gear Live performed better, so
if youve used other Android Wear
watches youll spot the difference.

5 Battery life
A day should be the minimum for
a smartwatch battery. Sadly, the
360 doesnt always reach that.
This battery gets us home from
the office but just about. On the
first day Stuff got our mitts on it,
the 360 conked out at eight and
a half hours. At least Motorola has
made charging pleasant with its
ess do
clever wireless
dock.

Tech specs
Screen 1.56in, 320x290, 205ppi
OS Android Wear
Processor TI OMAP 3
RAM 512MB
Storage 4GB
Battery 320mAh
Dimensions 46x11.5mm, 49g

The many faces of the Moto 360


Motorola has squeezed an impressive amount
of functionality into one small, circular screen

Q Dial up a dial

Q Dont be square

From an animated ticking


clockface with timezone
dials to a stylish rotating
set of circles, the 360s
faces show off the form
factor superbly. There
are only seven (for now)
but theyre customisable.

Weve seen examples


of apps making full use
of the round screen. But
some apps weve tried
have cut-off text, having
been designed only to be
square. Were sure this
will improve in time.

Q Its got heart

Q A strapping lad

TThe heart-rate monitor


w
works, though wed stick
to ssports accessories for
med
medical readings. Both
the red-and-white-hued
re
reader and the circular
graphic showing weekly
goals look very pretty.

Compared to the
rubber-band-like
strap that Samsung
provides, this leather
one feels lovely. This
is the first smartwatch
weve really compared
to a premium wristwatch.

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th m g
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ee to
ry lea
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t

4hrs

4.01hrs
1hrs

4.02hrs

5.35hrs 5.45hrs

Were suckers for a pretty face,


and this stylish and supremely
wearable smartwatch doesnt
disappoint. The watchfaces are
classy, Android Wear is as clever
a
as ever and you wont want to take it off. Just
bear in mind that the battery life might make
you anxious and it does need a performance
boost. @sophiecharara

STUFF SAYS ++++,


The first wearable youll want
to wear the Moto 360 is just
a few specs short of brilliance
www.stuff.tv

71

FIRST TEST BLUESOUND PULSE

Singing the blues


Not all wireless speakers are created equal, but Tein Hee Seow finds it a tad
unfair that the Bluesound Pulse is this good
2

$999 / bluesound.com

Like Sonos wireless multiroom speakers, the Pulse


exemplifies the future of
audio delivery - smartphones
or tablets streaming highquality music not just to one
speaker, but across a number
of boom boxes in various
rooms.
But there are two big
misconceptions about
wireless speakers - theyre
complicated and lose audio
quality during the streaming
process. Having spent a
weekend with the Bluesound
Pulse, were willing to stake
every single gadget we own
that the Pulse and its wireless
speaker friends are a
misunderstood lot.

One day with the


Bluesound Pulse
Good
Meh
Evil

1min

72

www.stuff.tv

2 Making the connection


Simplicity at its best - thats how
one can sum up the Pulses design.
Its play/pause, back and forward
buttons blend in with the piano
gloss surface, but youll most likely
skip these in lieu of the Bluesound
apps remote control. Wi-Fi isnt the
only connection option - you can
opt to use the RJ45 LAN port, which
is less likely to drop the connection,
or a USB port to play tunes from
your HDD.

U
De rgh
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1 Heavyweight singer
While we were lugging the Pulse
around, the sheer 6.1kg weight of
the speaker broke the box handle.
This near-fatal incident highlights
not just its heft, but also its huge
size - not to the point that it wont
fit on your TV console. It might even
add a touch of class to your
entertainment setup with its glossy
body complemented by the
brushed steel accents of the
speaker grille.

5mins

10mins

20mins

22mins

40mins

FIRST TEST BLUESOUND PULSE

3 Easy peasy setup


The Pulse is simple to operate, but it
isnt a typical plug-and-play type of
speaker. Learning how to set up the
speaker isnt rocket science. Once
its powered up, the Bluesound app
on your smartphone or tablet will
scan and hunt down the wireless
network created by the Pulse. Link
the devices together via the setup
page, select your homes wireless
network, and thats it.

4
5

4 Removing the clutter


I have way too many music albums
in my library, said no one ever. But
its definitely a first world problem,
one thats solved effectively by the
Bluesound app. You can even create
a specialised playlist beyond those
saved in your network accessed
drives or phone. Which means you
wont have to dig through a whole
chunk of music, just the one that
matters through the app.

5 All ears
We threw everything we had at the
Pulse Spotify, purchased albums
from iTunes, and even some really
sketchy audio recordings. Its sound
delivery is crisp and clear with a hint
of ringing in the treble range. Bass
tracks from The Dark Knight
soundtrack pack a mean punch
coupled with a distinct stereo
separation. It fills a mid-sized HDB
room easily - enough to get the
neighbours pounding the door and
demanding some peace.

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ice , T
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to eI
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lit to
tle o
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It ai
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ba ta
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in , bu
to t
th at
e b le
ox ast
it
se
as
y

6 Getting high on music


We got a taste of the Pulses hi-res
audio delivery - and we dont want
to return it. Ever. The instrumental
pieces we have on hand are enough
to prove the point - the pluck of a
string is so distinct, it doesnt get
drowned out by the cacophony of
the orchestra. Just keep the Pulse
and your device close to the router
- the higher bitrate means youll
need a decent Wi-Fi connection
with minimal signal obstruction for
the best playback quality.

1hrs

3hrs

4hrs

5hrs

6hrs

Tech specs
Power output 80W
Speakers 5.25in subwoofer x 1, 2.75in aluminum cone
drivers x 2
Connectivity Wi-Fi, Ethernet RJ45, USB
Supported file formats MP3, AAC, WMA, OGG, WMAL, FLAC, ALAC, WAV, AIFF
Dimensions 420 x 190 x 197mm
Weight 6.1kg

Online music to your ears


If youve spent good money on the speakers, it makes
perfect sense to enjoy the best music from these
streaming services
QSpotify
If the endless list of music isnt
enough to entice you, we have one
more reason - Spotify Connect. It
seamlessly links and lets you control
the Pulse with the Spotify app.
QDeezer
Like Spotify, you get loads of
recommendations, and its also a
great way to share your music
preference. Not so if youre bingelistening to Justin Biebers songs.
QTuneIn
The good old age of radio,
transitioned into the digital age.
With TuneIn, nothing can stop you
from listening to radio stations from
across the continent.
QRdio
That earworm you just cant get out
of your head? Use Rdio with
Shazam and you can finally put a
finger on that song thats been
playing non-stop in your head
QWiMP HiFi
Youll want to get this service, just
for the hi-res audio thatll give your
ears a soothing massage. The only
caveat - youll need to route
through a VPN service to get it.
The promise of hi-res audio, plus a clutter-free
wireless speaker setup that links to your online
and offline music library are pretty convincing
reasons to get the Bluesound Pulse. Oh, and
that amazing sound quality just proves that paying top
dollar for a speaker is a wise choice. @teinhee

STUFF SAYS +++++


The Bluesound Pulse successfully
debunked the myths about
wireless speakers and proved one
thing its a treat for the ears
www.stuff.tv

73

FIRST TEST MERCEDES-BENZ C250

A class above

The new C-Class is a welcome upgrade to a car that was already great
$232,888 / mercedes-benz.com.sg
Its a crazy country we live in
where Mercedes-Benz can be
the second-best selling car
brand in Singapore for the
past couple of years, and
thats due in no small part to
the popularity of its C-Class
sedans. Its not hard to see
why either, as the car
provides an excellent balance
of performance, features, and
price. Youre much more likely
to spend all that money on a
premium German car than a
similarly-priced Asian
competitor, after all.
Now that the entry-level
end of Mercedes-Benzs car
selection is being taken care
of by the new A-Class, the
C-Class gets a whole new
bag of toys to play with from
Mercs big daddy, the S-Class.

1 Family resemblance
The old C-Class didnt look half
bad, but the look has been updated
to fit in better with the rest of the
family, making it harder to tell the
different classes apart. Straight
cuts make way for fluid lines,
giving the car muscular appeal,
and that large front grille looks nice
and aggressive too.

2 Work and play


While the car itself looks and feels
businesslike, its definitely
possible to have fun with it. We
tested the C250, and though its
not very dramatic or punchy,
power is definitely available on tap,
even at speed. There are different
driving modes to suit particular
moods as well (see right).

3 Star cruise
Handling is as composed as they
come. Steering is light but direct,
gear changes are smooth and
subtle, and the ride is
comfortably firm without being
too bumpy. Cruising on the
expressway is where the car
really shines, though it can handle
urban environments just as well.

4 With room to spare


Youd expect comfort on a car like
this, and Merc definitely delivers.
The cabin interior is decked out in
premium materials everywhere,
with lots of space all around. Both
the front and rear seats are also
plush and supportive, so
passengers are highly likely to
snooze on long drives.

lik
ea
nA
L
th ook
ef s
ro jus
nt t

Good
Meh
Evil

1min

74

or
O
Ein ne
Cl
.P o
as
le f th
as e
sf
an ni
ro
m
t a ce
nd r c
sp abi
n
ac s
io we
W
us v
ith
eb
lo
ts
ee
of
n
th
ing
st
o
fid
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fro o m
dl
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m an
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ith
dr
to
iv
o
ing
m
od
C
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om
to
fo
ch
rt
oo
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se
all
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m
in UD
fo
br sh
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ab
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ay p
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dc
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ve
st
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hr
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A
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co lth
sp
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on
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re
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S
ab fu
im oun
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pr d
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siv st
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is
su
ita
bl
y

One day with the


Mercedes-Benz C250

www.stuff.tv

5mins

10mins

20mins

45mins

1hr

1.5hrs

3hrs

4hrs

FIRST TEST MERCEDES-BENZ C250

Tech specs
Engine 1991cc turbocharged four-cylinder
Max power 208hp
Max torque 350Nm
0-100km/h 6.6s
Top speed 250km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 16.9km/L
CO2 136g/km
Transmission 7-speed automatic transmission
Dimensions 4686x1810x1442mm, 1480kg

On the inside
The things that give the C-class an A-grade
experience

QMedia Mogul
The entertainment
system streamed music
from Spotify on our iPad
with no problems. It even
showed up nicely on the
LCD for track control.

QFloating numbers
We love seeing Heads Up
Displays in cars, because
it allows us to feel like
fighter pilots. The one on
the C250 even gives you
navigation instructions.

QAgility select
The different driving
modes can either be
toggled via a menu or
physical switch. Ranging
from Sport+ to Eco, they
really allow you to
customise the ride.

QSpell it out
You can even use basic
handwriting to input
addresses for GPS
navigation. However, its
on the left, so unless
youre left handed, its
slightly troublesome.

W
hy
is
ha
nd
w
rit
ing
inp
Ev
te en
ut
ch a
on
dju
th
st
el
ing
ef
t?
th
ea
irc
Th
on
ec
fe
ar
el
re
sh
all
ig
y
h
ex
ce
ls
W
at
da e c
cr
y ou
ui
ld
sin
dr
g
ive
do
w
nt
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he
to as
hi
be m
gh
or
w
ef
ay
un
all
th
an
w
ee
xp
ec
te
di
t

5 All teched out


With such a high level of equipment
in the car, theres plenty for
everyone to play with. Goodies
include keyless entry and start,
Mercs excellent Comand system,
and Bluetooth connectivity. The
car even allows you to fine tune the
air conditioning, complete with
fancy graphics.

7hrs

9hrs

10hrs

12hrs

22hrs

With five models priced from $191,888 for the


156hp Mercedes-Benz C180, youll be spoilt for
choice if youre looking to get this mid-sized
sedan. However, when you throw the Audi A4
and BMW 3-series into the mix, the choice
isnt quite so simple, with all being excellent. Youll have to
budget for some expensive options if you want to make
the most of your C-Class though. @melvinstuff

STUFF SAYS +++++


Calm, collected, and confident,
the C-Class really checks all the
right boxes
www.stuff.tv

75

TEST APPS

App:roved
FOR
ANDROID
TWEAKERS

78

FOR
FINER
DINERS

O Hangar

ODojo

The sort of app that looks


rubbish until you try it, at which
point you realise its even better
than chocolate-covered Netflix.
It simply installs a shortcuts bar
in your notifications screen then
populates it with your favourite
apps based on how often you
use them. You can also pin apps
to it, install another launcher on
the homescreen and view app
usage stats. But, useful as those
extras are, its the notifications
launcher thatll change your life.
Seriously, its that good.

Many apps purport to swishen


up your social life, but when you
search for a nice new restaurant
you get a KFC next to a
motorway (actually we have
a soft spot for KFC, but you
know what we mean). Dojo
offers a nicely curated selection
of pop-ups, exhibitions,
new exercise classes and
other delights. Offering
Time Out expertise and YPlan
immediacy, its a must-have for
Londoners just a shame its
restricted to one city for now.

Stuff says +++++


$free / Android

Stuff says +++++


$free / iOS

www.stuff.tv

FOR
BAD DREAM
PLAYERS

FOR
MEAN
FINGERS

O The Nightmare
Cooperative

O They Need
To Be Fed 3

Collaboration and a unified front


are all very well, but theres a
point when these things can go
a teensy bit too far. That point is
probably when youre part of a
cooperative tasked with raiding
dungeons full of things very
much out to kill you, yet still
feel compelled to act as one,
no matter the consequences.
But this is a skilful, sharp,
refined mash-up of puzzling
and rogue-like turn-based
play. Highly recommended.

You might think your jobs a bit


rubbish, but its got nothing on
the little critters whose lot is
to leap about the place, darting
between tiny planetoids, trying
not to get killed by all kinds of
hostile things, and scooping
up diamonds along the way. At
levels end, they find a giant plant
with far more teeth than foliage
should own, jump into its maw
and get munched to death. A far
cry from Gardeners World, but
an excellent little platform game.

Stuff says +++++


$4.98 / iOS

Stuff says +++++


$2.50 / Android; $2.58 / iOS

TEST APPS

Mini meme

OComics
Comics by Comixology was
the Amazon of comics, until
Amazon bought it. Now its
just Amazon, with the politics
that brings: the Android
application lost Google Play
payments, and iOS lost its
store entirely. But, oh, the range.
Its hard to stay angry when
there are so many affordable
comics to buy.
Stuff says ++++,
$free / iOS, Android

COMIC
READERS
ZOK! BIF! POW! ZAKAM! And other
stereotypical words you might find
in a comic! If you can tear yourself
away from ink and paper, grab one
of these graphic apps immediately!

OChunky
Were long-time Comic Zeal
fans, and that $5.98 app is
still best for iPhone. On iPad,
though, Chunky won us
round with its streamlined
interface, great controls,
smart upscaling and two-up
landscape option. Theres
plentiful cloud support, but
a $3.98 pro upgrade adds
a mini web server too.
Stuff says +++++
from $free / iOS

OMarvel Unlimited

OComiCat

OSequential

O2000 AD

Described as the Netflix of


comics, there is a whiff of bargain
bin about Marvel Unlimited. But
cmon: for US$10 ($13) per
month you get access to 15,000
digital issues, in an all-you-caneat buffet of spandex and
scientific experiments giving rise
to superpowers in an extremely
unlikely fashion.

Yes, weve gasp! gone


for a paid Android app. Thats
because ComiCat is excellent,
automatically scanning your
device to find any lurking comics
and deftly handling whatever
CBRs and PDFs you throw at
it, unlike most Android comic
viewers and we tried many.
(Cheapskates can make do with
Perfect Viewer).

A comic app for the more


discerning reader. The
Sequential collection is
heavily curated and possibly
a bit worthy, but you can
guarantee pretty much
anything you buy will deserve
your time and money. The
reader itself is smooth and
fast, if lacking Chunkys level
of elegance.

Edited by a green alien with


a phone dial glued to his head,
and featuring fascist future
cop with a permasnarl Judge
Dredd, 2000 AD is a British
institution. Thirty-seven years
young, the comics digital
venture is sleek and smartly
designed, providing access to
2000 AD itself, the Megazine
and classic thrills.

Stuff says +++++


$3.66 / Android

Stuff says ++++,


$free / iPad

Stuff says +++++


$free / iOS

Stuff says ++++,


$free (US$10 ($13)/month) /
iOS, Android

www.stuff.tv

79

FIRST TEST NISSAN QASHQAI

Qash and carry

Nissans strangely-termed SUV has always been staid and steady.


Now it gets more flair to go with the name
$139,800 / nissan.com.sg
The last car we tested in Stuff
happened to be a Mini, but
youd never think that its
become something of a rarity
nowadays. Especially given
the recent fashionability of
crossovers like the MercedesBenz GLA, with more cars
joining the party literally
every month.
The Qashqai is a relative
oldster on the scene, having
been launched back in 2008 a whole life time in car years.
But its gotten a major
improvement now, so major
that it can even encroach on
the territory of more
expensive SUVs, something
that few cars from Japan (or
Korea) could claim.

1 New look
One of the key features of the
new car is the design, giving it the
good looks to fit in with the
competition. In fact, it looks
nothing like the old one, and its not
just from the sharpened front that
this is apparent. Even the rear is
significantly nip-tucked, as the
chrome roof rails, diminishing
window lines, and hatchback
spoiler show.

2 Driven Well
The 144hp Qashqai gets more
power and a range of handling
improvements as well. It feels
easy and precise at all speeds, and
despite having large wheels and a
tall stance, doesnt bob or wander
at all when cornering either. Plus,
the seats (Nissan calls them Zero
Gravity seats) are rather
comfortable, which is important
on long drives.

3 System Management
Nissan has two systems besides
the usual electronic safety aids to
help the car handle well, which it
does admirably: Active Trace
Control and Active Ride Control.
Both are extensions of the ESP
system (no, it cant read your
mind), helping the car go around
corners better at speed and
smooth motions over bumps for
a more stable ride.

4 Stretching it
While it looks all cool and swept
back now, the Qashqai is in fact
larger than before, being 50mm
longer, so there should be more
room than in the old car. Whats
cool is that it doesnt just look
more sleek the coefficient of
drag has also been lowered,
translating to a quieter highway
experience while cruising and
better fuel efficiency.

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One day with


the Nissan Qashqai

1min

80

www.stuff.tv

2mins

3mins

5mins

8mins

10mins

15mins

20mins

21mins

FIRST TEST NISSAN QASHQAI

Tech specs
Engine 1997cc four-cylinder
Max power 144hp
Max torque 200Nm
0-100km/h 10.1s
Top speed 184km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 14.5km/L
CO2 159g/km
Transmission Xtronic CVT
Dimensions 4380x1590x1806mm, 1379kg

On the inside
Its not just about the drive these four things make
the car better for you

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Like many Japanese cars, this has
several small welcoming features
that are quite nifty. The centre
armrest has a deep storage area,
which has a 12V and USB socket
too, so you could plug in any range
of devices such as ionisers or fans.
Theres also a small shelf and
cable management so you can
top-up your smartphone.

1hr

2hrs

10hrs

12hrs

14hrs

16hrs

QCabin cruise
Besides adjustable
ambient lighting, the
interior comes with a
5-in colour display with a
wide range of information
and notifications on your
car. Controls several car
settings and your media
too.

QEquipment Loaded
Its got a demure price
when compared to
European makes, but the
Qashqai packs a lot of
stuff, such as a sunroof,
keyless entry, GPS
navigation, keyless start,
LED headlights, and
Bluetooth infotainment.

QSimulated reality
It may be a CVT
transmission, but
Nissans designed theirs
to act just like a regular
automatic gearbox
would, with noticeable
changes in power
delivery just like with
actual gears.

QMore and less


Theres more room than
before, and being an SUV
the headroom is still
good, despite the rakish
looks. Its a strict fiveseater now though, since
the seven-chair Qashqai
+2 variant is no longer
available.

The Qashqai undergoes major improvement in


all areas to become a great alternative to any
other Japanese SUVs, such as the Mazda
CX-5 and Toyota RAV4. In fact, with its sharp
new design, easy and comfortable drive, and good
equipment load, it could even give the Kia Sportage a run
for its money. @melvinstuff

STUFF SAYS +++++


It wont set you on fire performancewise, but the new Qashqai is one of
2014s biggest improvers
www.stuff.tv

81

TEST SAMSUNG GALAXY S5 MINI

Dinky dimples
Each year the Android king is joined by a little
sprog, a Happy Meal alternative to the Big Mac.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini is this years kid
QFrom a quick glance, the S5
Mini looks like an S5 blasted with
a shrink ray. Its 5.1-inch screen
has been minified to a 4.5-inch
one, but the dimpled back, the
slightly questionable ridged
chrome plastic sides and the
light-up soft keys are all identical.
QOne positive change over its
big sister is the waterproofing,
which doesnt need a microUSB
port cover. It also packs in the
two main bonus features of
the full-size S5: the heart-rate
sensor and fingerprint scanner.
QBut while it may be tougher,
the Mini isnt as sharp. The screen
is scaled down to 720p and,
although the Super AMOLED
display looks good, with strong
black levels and punchy colours,
it is not dramatically better than
some of its cheaper rivals.
QAnother thing thats not quite
so hot is general performance.
There are some laggy moments,
such as when its updating an
app. The Exynos 3 Quad 3470
isnt really any more powerful
than the Snapdragon 400 in
last years S4 Mini.
QWhile it looks and feels
very similar to its big brother,
there are cutbacks. So its not
bad, just unremarkable. We cant
help but feel that Samsungs
asking for slightly too much
cash for this little Android.

Tech specs
OS Android KitKat Screen 4.5in,
1280x720 Super AMOLED
RAM 1.5GB Storage 16GB
(microSD expandable)
Cameras 8MP main, 2.1MP front
Connectivity 4G, micro USB 2.0,
Bluetooth 4.0 Battery 2100mAh
Dimensions 131x65x9.1mm, 120g

Contrasting fortunes

Long-distance runner

Unfortunately the S5 Minis


camera only has half the power
of the S5s fancy 16MP Isocell
snapper. Its fast and image quality
is decent, but its less adept with
bright-light contrasts.

Stamina isnt bad in the S5 Mini.


You can comfortably get a day and
a halfs use without touching any
power-saving modes or being
careful with how much 3G/4G
data you fling around the place.

STUFF SAYS The cut-down S5 is a fairly high-quality phone, if a bit pricey ++++,
Not quite
a flagship
experience
Tom Parsons

82

www.stuff.tv

The Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini is a pretty good miniature take on the Galaxy S5. Most
importantly, you get the S5s fantastic screen contrast and black levels. But look a
little deeper and there are a few cuts a far less powerful CPU and a far more ordinary
camera being the deepest. It just isnt quite the flagship experience in a compact
chassis that we were hoping for, and I reckon the Samsungs just a bit too expensive.

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BESGADGET E
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Simply download the Stuff Singapore app on Google Play or the


Apple App store, or look for it on www.magzter.com to read it online

INNOVATORS

With a little help


from our friends
Sometimes its
nice to get a fresh
viewpoint, so we
asked our friends
at Dezeen and NME
to give us their
thoughts on our
Innovators. Keep
an eye out for them.

STUFF INNOVATORS 2014

SUPERHEROES
OF TECH
They range from VR revolutionaries to vinyl pioneers, and theyve
given us everything from hoverbikes to robot servants. Its time to
meet the Stuff Innovators of 2014: our pick of the geniuses who
are going beyond ordinary geekdom to remake the modern world
[ Illustrations Rich Kelly ]

www.stuff.tv

85

INNOVATORS

LIFE

Here to help
Jibo cant pour
you drinks but you
can get it to remind
you to buy more gin
when you finish
the bottle.

Beady eyes
Jibo also has two
cameras, so make sure
you cover your mouth
if youre plotting to
shut it down, HAL-style.

Creating helpful
and sociable robots
CYNTHIA BREAZEAL MITS PERSONAL ROBOTS GROUP
The day I started my doctorate
at Massachusetts Institute
of Technology, Breazeal
tells us, was the same day
NASA landed the Sojourner
robot on Mars. I knew we were
sending robots into oceans
and volcanoes and space, but
where were they in the human
environment? In looking for

86

www.stuff.tv

the answer, she created a field


called social robotics, and its
one she says will bring about
the next big tech revolution.
Computers used to be
very expensive, and only a
few specially trained people
knew how to use them, until
someone asked: What would
it mean to have one of these on

every desk, in every home?


The robotic answer, says
Breazeal, is Jibo.
Robots are so different to
all the slabs and boxes we use
today. They experience the
world around us, and they
push all kinds of psychological
buttons in us. At MIT, weve
found again and again that
people are more successful
at achieving their goals when
theyre using a robot rather
than a screen.
Jibo, she believes, will
connect you and co-ordinate
you in your family life. Its like
having someone helping you,

rather than having a tool that


you use. Your smartphone is a
camera Jibo is a cameraman.
Its not an individual device, its
a family hub. Its a new kind of
assistant. It doesnt need to be
able to pick things up, or walk
up and down stairs its a
humanised interface for all your
other personal technologies.
Its logical its what happens
beyond screens.
It seems the internet agrees:
at the time of printing, Jibos
Indiegogo campaign had met
its goal 20 times over. Look
out for this little guy (and his
inventor) in December 2015.

INNOVATORS

Bringing a touch
of sci-fi to your
daily routine

Making
photographs
come alive

Protecting
cyclists on the
road after dark

Banishing tweeting
fridges to smart
home obscurity

CORTANA
WINDOWS PHONE
Sometimes it feels like
the world could do with
a real-life version of Halos
Master Chief, but for now
the closest were going to
get is Cortana. Named after
and voiced by John-117s
ever-present AI helper
from the multi-millionselling Xbox games, Cortana
is Windows Phones answer
to Siri or Google Now with
a little extra added on top. As
well as simple web searches
and most standard phone
functions, Cortana can
attach reminders to other
actions, so next time you go
to phone your mum Cortana
will nudge you to politely ask
about the cat. Over time
shell learn more about
you, adding details to
a notebook full of your
vitals that shell use to
offer more targeted help.
With the Xbox One and
Windows 8 (or 9) the
obvious next steps for
Cortana, expect to hear her
voice a lot more in the future.

REN NG
LYTRO ILLUM
Its one thing to build a new
camera, but Ren and his
team at Lytro are after a
more ambitious prize: a new
kind of photography. Since
the early 19th century, every
photograph has been a flat,
passive print. Lytro pictures
are not meant to be printed
theyre active digital
images that you can refocus
or change the perspective
of while youre viewing
them. The engineering that
has gone into the Illum is
fiendishly complex that
large, versatile 30-250mm
f/2 lens contains thousands
of microlenses that capture
not just light, but which
direction the lights coming
from, allowing the processor
to build an image in a process
called computational
photography (a phrase
that makes you 8% more
of a geek just by saying it).
Its early days for Lytro, but
this could be the most
important camera since
the Box Brownie.

EMILY BROOKE
BLAZE LASERLIGHT
As role models go, Batman
isnt a bad one. As far as we
know, Emily Brooke of Blaze
doesnt dress up in a cape
in the evenings and take
to the streets of London
to fight crime, but she has
mimicked the Dark Knights
bat signal for the Laserlight.
It looks pretty much like any
other bike light albeit one
encased in aluminium
but turn it on and it also
projects a laser onto the
road five metres in front of
your bike, forming a green
bicycle shape instead of
Batmans logo. As 79% of
collisions with cars occur
when a driver turns across
an unseen cyclist, the
Laserlight increases their
visibility. The batterys
smart too. It wont turn on
unless its in the special
bracket, and when its
nearly dead itll switch to
a low-energy mode that
lasts four hours, so youll
never be stranded miles
from home without lights.

TONY FADELL
NEST
Fadell took one of the most
under-exploited domestic
products the thermostat
and made it exciting (and
himself rich in the process).
He now promises to do the
same with other household
gadgets, leaving designers
kicking themselves for
not thinking of it first.
Entrepreneur Fadell made
his name at Apple, where he
was a key member of the
team that developed the
iPod. He later founded Nest
Labs with the somewhat
unlikely aim of doing for
thermostats and smoke
detectors what the MP3
player did for music. Nests
products are easy to use and
remember your preferences,
turning the heating down
when youre not at home
and learning how long it
takes to reach your preferred
temperature, so it can then
turn it up again when youre
on your way back, thereby
saving money on fuel bills.
Marcus Fairs, DEZEEN

www.stuff.tv

87


INNOVATORS

LIFE CONT.
Wristy business
There are extra
faces for the 360
on Google Play,
including one that
looks like 007s
watch in GoldenEye

Reinventing the
smartwatch
JIM WICKS MOTOROLA

READ THE REVIEW P70

88

On the, er, face of it, making a watch round


doesnt seem that revolutionary. But when
Motorola unveiled its circular Moto 360 it was
distinct in a world of square-faced smartwatches,
all informed by the phones they were designed
to work with, rather than the timekeepers they
were replacing. But Motos first Android Wear
device took the opposite approach. Lead
designer Jim Wicks said: Time has always been
represented by a circle, from the sundial to the
pocket watch, and 85% of watches sold in the
world are round; we didnt want to make
consumers change for this tech. The Moto 360
has proved that smartwatches can be beautiful,
sharing equal amounts of DNA with high-end
timepieces as well as the phone in your pocket.
And its still only generation one

Teaching
the whole world
how to code

Solving the need


for constant
charging

Saving the world


one solar panel
at a time

Making 3D printing
affordable enough
for the home

KATHRYN PARSONS
DECODED
If you want to be megarich these days theres no
point in trying to become
a rock star youre better
off learning how to code and
writing something to sell
to Facebook for US$400bn.
Kathryn Parsons Decoded
can help you with the first
bit, running courses to
teach you all you need
to know in a single day. Its
too bad theres no equivalent
course to deal with the
second bit, really.

HATEM ZEINE
COTA BY OSSIA
In a few years time,
your gadgets wont need
to plug into the wall. Theyll
get their energy like they get
their information from
a wireless router. In cafes
and libraries and train
stations, Hatem Zeines
crafty Cota boxes will
feed power through the air
to any gadget within range,
and your battery will never
run out. Well, until you go
camping, but hotels are
much nicer anyway.

AGAMEMNON OTERO
REPOWERING LONDON
Aside from blowing ourselves
up or being trampled on by
a planet-sized space puppy,
the biggest threat to Earth is
climate change. Repowering
London wants to get local
communities using
renewable energy sources
so they can limit their impact
on the environment. Either
that or they want to develop
a new kind of solar-powered
weapon to ward off that
intergalactic canine menace.
One or the other.

STEVE SCHELL
NEW MATTER
In an attempt to
actually make 3D printing
mainstream, Steve Schell and
New Matter have created the
Mod-T, a US$280 ($355)
Wi-Fi 3D printer. The Wi-Fis
there so you can access and
operate it easily from a
browser or phone, but the real
strength is the cost. At that
price, its within reach of
almost anyone who fancies
messing about with
micro-manufacturing while
they catch up on EastEnders.

www.stuff.tv

INNOVATORS

Look around you


Dysons 360 Eye
travelled 1080km
during testing on a
rolling road thats
a lot of crumbs

Supporting student
engineers
SIR JAMES DYSON DYSON
Most of the robots being developed around
the world are not the kind of robots youd want
to share a lounge with. Theyre often a bit big,
and some of them are a bit military. Thankfully,
Britains most inventive billionaire is also a keen
supporter of student and startup engineers,
and he recently announced that Dyson is
funding a new lab at Imperial College where
a more obliging species of robot will be created.
Like Dysons new 360 Eye robo-vac, theyll have
sophisticated robo-vision that will allow them
to accomplish tasks like doing the laundry or
clearing the table without getting in your way.
Of course, a future in which youre waited upon
by electric slaves wont come without the
occasional robot uprising, but as long as
theyve done their chores first, thats fine.

Creating the
chip to end
all chips

Invading your
house with
sensor ninjas

Printing
your way
to prettiness

Breaking
crowdfunding
records

SIR HOSSEIN YASSAIE


IMAGINATION TECHNOLOGIES
You might not have heard of
The Hossmeister, as we like
to call him, but this British
engineer has had a hand in
most gadgets youve ever
bought. If youve ever used a
smartphone, tablet, console,
DAB or TV (you have),
youve used Imaginations
chips. His latest trick is
Caskeid wireless tech that
can create Sonos-style
multiroom systems from
devices made by different
manufacturers. Neat.

DANIEL FRIEDMAN
NINJA BLOCKS
There are a number of
companies vying to pack
your home with sensors,
but Ninja Blocks has the
nattiest gear so far: the
Ninjasphere. This
alien-looking swoop
of tech is the brain for
your smarthome, and
can automate heating and
lighting, save power, keep
an eye on security and
even thank you, sweet
ninja-thing tell you
where your car keys are.

GRACE CHOI
MINK MAKEUP PRINTER
Mink is a different, and
possibly more useful,
kind of 3D printer: it prints
makeup. By giving you the
freedom to print any colour
you find on the internet and
cutting out the giant global
brands that make a fortune
selling the same stuff in a
slightly different tube, Mink
could save you money and
make your face look nice.
For non-makeup-wearers,
try the BurritoBot
(seriously, it does exist).

ERIC MIGICOVSKY
PEBBLE
In 2008, when the first
3G iPhone was a newborn,
Eric Migicovsky was already
designing the wearable. By
chopping some bits out of
a Nokia 3300 and soldering
them to an Arduino, he
created a low-power
smartwatch that allowed
him to receive messages
and updates while cycling to
college. Four years later, his
consumer version the
Pebble smashed every
Kickstarter record.

www.stuff.tv

[[2C]]
89

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INNOVATORS

DESIGN
Health and tasty
Withings Activit
is proof that
activity trackers
dont have to
make you look like
youre on parole

Putting the luxury into


life-tracking
FRDRIC LINTZ WITHINGS
Many people consider their watch to be an item of
jewellery rather than an extension of their phone.
With its elegantly minimal analogue face, Activit is
the first truly beautiful smartwatch and proves that
advanced tech and hand-tooled leather straps are
not mutually exclusive. The product was designed
by Frdric Lintz of French designers Eliumstudio
for Withings, which makes a range of activity, sleep
and health-monitoring products. Like other trackers,
the watch measures steps, calories, distance and
sleep patterns; but rather than the usual Star Trek
aesthetic, the Swiss-made Activit features a
classic stainless steel face with pared-down hands
and hour markings. A second, smaller analogue dial
discreetly displays progress towards your goal
pretty retro in comparison to gaudier animations.
Marcus Fairs, DEZEEN

Inventing
the modular
smartphone

Driving our road


networks into
the future

Inventing a new
way to interact with
technology

Creating a leaf that


could take us all
the way to Mars

DAVE HAKKENS
PHONEBLOKS
Dave Hakkens has shown
how a good idea combined
with strong networking skills
can make big waves without
any investment. He created
his concept for a modular
mobile phone in 2013. Before
hed even graduated, it had
16 million views on YouTube
and led to collaboration
with Motorolas Project Ara,
which aims to develop an
open-source hardware
platform for smartphones.
Marcus Fairs, DEZEEN

DAAN ROOSEGAARDE
SMART HIGHWAY
While Marty McFlys future
didnt require roads, ours
will but they wont look like
the potholed spine-rattlers
youre used to driving down.
Daan Roosegaarde has
designed a new road
network with glowing
markings, lanes designated
for electric cars, and paint
that responds to the
weather conditions to warn
drivers if its likely to be icy.
With roads like that, Marty
might just change his mind.

HIROSHI ISHII
TRANSFORM
Massachusetts Institute
of Technology professor
Hiroshi Ishii is responsible for
Transform a 21st-century
version of one of those
Pin Art toys you saw
in The Gadget Shop in the
90s. The difference is this
one can render the physical
form of something digital,
or recreate the shape of
an item scanned with a
Kinect sensor, so you can
effectively send physical
objects over the internet.

JULIAN MELCHIORRI
THE SILK LEAF
Now were not saying
astronauts will ride the
Silk Leaf into outer space,
but it could hold the key to
long-distance space travel.
Melchiorri has managed to
suspend chloroplasts (the
bits of a leaf that turn the
suns energy into oxygen)
in hardy synthetic foliage
that could survive space
and theoretically provide
breathable air above the
range of standard storage
tanks. To infinity

www.stuff.tv

91

INNOVATORS

WATCH, LISTEN, PLAY


On me ead
Alongside the
headset, the DK2
comes with a
separate camera
for positional
head tracking.

A fresh perspective
The DK2 offers
960x1080 pixels
per eye with
reduced latency
to prevent
VR sickness

Ready, aim, fire!


EVE: Valkyrie allows
you to use Oculus
Rift to aim your
weapons, just like
an Apache gunship

Leading the
VR revolution
PALMER LUCKEY OCULUS
When most teenagers lock
themselves away in their
parents garage, theyre
normally guzzling illicit booze
and fags, not working on the
prototype of a device thatll
eventually convince Mark
Zuckerberg to part with
US$2 billion. But Palmer Luckey
wasnt like most teenagers,

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experimenting with Tesla coils


and lasers in his spare time.
Now 22, hes founder of Oculus
and inventor of the Rift, making
him almost single-handedly
responsible for the resurgence
of virtual reality.
Since the Rift was unveiled
in 2012 weve seen headsets
from PlayStation, Samsung, LG

and a whole raft of start-ups,


but Luckey welcomes the
competition: It lets people
know that VR isnt just this
thing that one crazy company
believes in, he told Stuff at
this years E3 gaming show.
Its something that a lot of
companies, even really big
ones, believe in.
That includes Facebook,
Oculus new owner. And while
some of the companys early
backers felt betrayed by this
selling out its only thanks
to the deal that Oculus will be
able to sell the Rift at cost price
when it eventually goes on

general sale. Itll also be smaller


and lighter than the DK2, with
a wider field of view, higher
frame rate and more pixels
crammed into the display.
This is only the beginning.
Luckey sees a future beyond
gaming for virtual reality:
I think that VR has the
capability to replace almost
all the screens we use on a
daily basis. Lets go way into
the future and imagine its built
into something that just looks
like a normal pair of glasses.
Why would you have a phone
instead of that? Why indeed,
Mr Luckey.

Creating a
game the size
of the universe

Bringing
technology to
live performance

Taking virtual
reality to the
multiplex

Breathing
humanity
into CGI

SEAN MURRAY
HELLO GAMES
One minute Sean Murrays
Hello Games was the tiny
studio that created cartoon
stuntman Joe Danger; the
next it was showing off
a space exploration game
with an infinitely expanding
collection of procedurally
generated planets (with
dinosaurs). That means
every planet you land on
in No Mans Sky is unique,
experiencing its own Big
Bang that dictates what
everything from the
weather to the wildlife will
be like for people who land
there. Whatever you do on
that planet will affect the
experience of it for other
players, although the
universe is so massive
youre unlikely to ever
encounter another human
explorer. Instead No Mans
Sky is about being a
bona-fide adventurer and
discovering worlds never
seen before. With game
development, Sean Murrays
doing exactly the same.

IMOGEN HEAP
THE GLOVES
Londons Imogen Heap
rose to prominence
in 2005 as the sort of
popstress youd hear as the
credits rolled on a TV teen
drama, later scoring an
international smash with
croony torch song What
You Say. Another Dido, the
music press chimed at once,
dismissively. Not so, thanks
to Heaps cutting-edge
development of music ware.
In 2011, she debuted a pair of
gloves that use in-built MIDI
controllers remotely linked
up to keyboards and synths
to allow her to create
soundscapes dictated by
her hand gestures. Its
the sort of thing seen in
experimental electronica
communities Bristol sound
artist Shitmat was known
for taping Nintendo Wii
controllers to his hands for
a similar use before retiring in
2012 but Heap is dragging
this technology thrillingly
into the mainstream.
Al Horner, NME

TOM ANNAU
JAUNT
If you think virtual reality
is just about gaming, stick
your head inside an Oculus
Rift and let Jaunt show you
otherwise. Tom Annau is just
one of three founders of the
cinematic VR company but it
was his trip to Zion National
Park in Utah that inspired
the idea of headset
escapism. Filmed with
special camera arrays that
provide a dome of footage
around your head, Jaunts
more-than-360 movies
arent just for virtual tourism:
movie directors are already
investigating ways to use
VR to put you right inside
their story. Allowing the
viewer to look around inside
a scene means fundamental
changes to the way films are
made, and with people from
Dolby, Sky, IMAX and 20th
Century Fox on the board at
Jaunt it wont be long before
youre picking up a VR
headset at the pictures
to go with your popcorn,
pick n mix and large Coke.

ANDY SERKIS
THE IMAGINARIUM
For a man whos had lead
roles in films as big as
The Lord Of The Rings, King
Kong and the recent Planet
Of The Apes reboot, the real
Andy Serkis spends very
little time on screen.
Whenever he appears
its as a computergenerated primate or
jewellery-obsessed goblin
with a combover. Serkis is
an actor who doesnt just
inhabit other characters but
becomes entirely different
species, and, thanks to his
world-leading motion
capture studio The
Imaginarium, hes pushing it
to places cinema has never
been before. With each
performance, Serkis adds
another level of something
thats been missing from
CGI-heavy films for so long:
humanity. Its got to the
point that hes being tipped
for an Oscar for his portrayal
of chief ape Caesar. Hell also
have a not-yet-named role in
JJ Abrams Star Wars movie.

www.stuff.tv

[ 20th Century Fox-Chernin Entertainment 2014 ]

INNOVATORS

93

INNOVATORS

WATCH, LISTEN, PLAY CONT.

Making vinyl essential for


music lovers (again)
JACK WHITE LAZARETTO ULTRA LP
There are probably tribesmen in the Amazon
more au fait with modern tech than Jack White,
who swears by analogue recording techniques,
has performed to a backdrop of 50s tellies and
once decried anything with a computer chip in
it to be a destroyer of emotion and truth.
Presumably he goes on tour in a horse-drawn
cart. Anyways, all this is not to say the former
White Stripe isnt still breaking new ground. This
years Lazaretto became the biggest-selling
vinyl in 20 years thanks to wax savants who
turned the Ultra version of the record into a sort
of grouchy blues Rubiks Cube of discovery. Play
the record at different RPMs and youll unearth
hidden songs. Strip back the LPs centre labels
and youll find further surprises too.
Al Horner, NME

White noise
Who says only CDs
can have secret
tracks? JWs Ultra
LP is stuffed with
things to discover

94

Leading
the Netflix
revolution

Teaching tech
to go along to
a new tune

Adding
imagination to
mobile games

Transforming the
first-person gaming
experience

KEVIN SPACEY
HOUSE OF CARDS
Kevin Spaceys political
drama isnt just approved
by Barack Obama; its been
instrumental in changing the
way we watch TV. The first
A-lister to throw his weight
behind internet-only TV,
Spacey proved with his
House Of Cards remake that
the most exciting new shows
werent necessarily on
primetime TV. With Netflix
also showcasing 4K, it looks
as if Franks success was
just the beginning.

ROLAND LAMB
ROLI
The musical keyboard hasnt
changed for centuries, even
though the tech has evolved
spectacularly since the time
of felt-covered hammers
hitting strings. Then Roland
Lamb created a spongy,
pressure-sensitive keyboard
that responds to gestures,
letting you alter pitch and
timbre with your fingers. Its
at the front of a movement
turning once-dumb boxes
into extensions of the body.
Marcus Fairs, DEZEEN

SIMON FLESSER & MAGNUS


GORDON GARDEBCK
SIMOGO
Mobile games dont need to
be mindless money-makers
with a lifespan shorter than
a suicidal mayfly. Simogos
CV includes Year Walk and
Device 6 two games that
are about as far removed
from Flappy Bird as you get
with the latter in particular
using the movement of your
iThing to tell the story. Expect
similarly smart narrative
tricks from the teams next
game, The Sailors Dream.

ALISTAIR HOPE
THE CREATIVE ASSEMBLY
The thing about first-person
shooters is you normally
spend all your time shooting
stuff. But Alien Isolation isnt
like most first-person
shooters. The games
creative lead Alistair Hope,
er, hopes to breathe new
life into the largely stale
genre by shifting the focus
to xenomorph-fuelled
tension, rather than carefree
fragging. The aliens clever,
too. It adapts its strategies
after each encounter

www.stuff.tv

INNOVATO
INNOVATORS

Telling a compelling
story within a game
NEIL DRUCKMANN NAUGHTY DOG
If anyone tells you games cant tell proper
stories, sit them down in front of a PS4 and fire
up The Last Of Us Remastered. Naughty Dogs
Neil Druckmann wrote it, and in a world where
the zombie apocalypse has become something
of a clich, his story of two survivors one of
whom may hold the key to a cure is as fresh as
a new bite wound. Its more 28 Days Later than
Resident Evil: Extinction, with the relationship
between Joel and Ellie just as important as the
body count, plus there are secondary narratives
hidden throughout if you take the time to look
for them and piece the bits together. With
Druckmann now turning his pen to next-gen
debut Uncharted 4: A Thiefs End (due 2015),
Naughty Dogs future and that of gaming
in general looks anything but apocalyptic.

Gunishment
Joel and Ellies
story was about
way more than just
how many infected
they could kill

Building a
human-sized
joystick

Creating the
YouTube of
new music

Giving us VR
everywhere
and anywhere

Making
blockbusters
great again

JAMES ILIFF
SURVIOS
What does the joystick of
the future look like? Well, a
bit like you. As a graduate of
the same school as Palmer
Luckey, Survios founder
James Iliff has created an
as-yet-unfinished wearable
controller that allows you to
navigate a VR game simply
by walking around within
the systems magnetic
field, with specific actions
such as gun-toting and
zombie-hacking dealt with
by Wii-style controllers.

ALEX LJUNG &


ERIC WAHLFORSS
SOUNDCLOUD
Its obvious when you think
about it, but only Alex Ljung
and Eric Wahlforss did
anything about it: a website,
app and social network for
musicians to upload their
tunes to without a shady
record label exec in sight.
Nowadays its used by the
whole industry to give sneak
previews, by young hopefuls
to showcase what they can
do, and by the rest of us to
listen to music for free.

ED MASON
GAMEFACE LABS
What people often forget
about virtual reality is that
you need to tether your
chosen headset to a fairly
rip-snorting PC. Ed Masons
GameFace crams everything
into one face-mounted unit,
including a 2.5K display,
Android OS and Tegra K1
graphics processor that
you wouldnt even find in the
latest phones. The dream of
playing VR Bus Driver on the
top deck of the 155 takes
another step towards reality.

GARETH EDWARDS
GODZILLA
With Michael Bay doing
his best to lobotomise the
blockbuster once and for all,
Gareth Edwards has shown
that action movies dont
need to be idiotic. After
making Monsters on a
shoestring, his Godzilla
reboot was a superbly
pitched rescue mission
of the legendary beasts
reputation, earning him
the opportunity to make
a sequel. Perhaps the new
Star Wars wont be so bad.

www.stuff.tv

95

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INNOVATORS

HEALTH
Talk of the town
The Valour builds its
own social network
with other bikes to
share real-time info
on road conditions

Creating the cleverest


bicycle ever
ALI ZAHID VANHAWKS
The humble push bike hasnt changed that much
in the past 150 years. Sure, the materials used to
make them have evolved and the gearing and brakes
are more advanced, but the basic shape has barely
changed since the Boneshaker of 1869 Vanhawks
Valour even uses the same template. Beneath the
surface, however, its a completely different beast.
Powered by your smartphone (and your feet),
Vanhawks has given the Valour turn-by-turn
navigation (indicated by lights on the handlebars),
sensors that detect stuff in your blind spot (and alert
you using vibrations) and an accompanying app that
collects Strava-style data on your ride. If it gets nicked
itll even tell other Valours nearby so its
owner can find out its whereabouts (at US$1250
($1585), its eminently nickable). Not bad for 150 years
of progress. Can you make one that hovers next?

Designing the
products everyone
else copies

Making earphones
that listen to
you too

Coming up with
apps that trick you
into exercise

Improving
mental health
with a game

JONY IVE
APPLE
The most influential product
designer on the planet got
more influential still when he
took over Apples software
division. iOS 7 finally brought
Apples software into line
with its clinically elegant
hardware; iOS 8 pushes the
design envelope even further
and integrates Healthbook.
With the industrial designer
Marc Newson joining his
design team, we can only
guess what Ive will do next.
Marcus Fairs, DEZEEN

NIKOLAJ HVIID
THE DASH
Most earphones only require
you to do the listening, not
the other way around. But
Bragis The Dash in-ears
are also able to listen to
your heart while you listen to
tunes from their built-in 4GB
memory or streamed over
Bluetooth, with an app to
collect the info for analysis.
Its a smart combo of
wearable tech that none
of the big boys thought
of and another victory for
the Kickstarter revolution.

ADRIAN HON
SIX TO START
It starts as just a game.
Youre out walking with
your headphones in and an
audiobook called The Walk
on, or youre jogging to one
called Zombies, Run! You
cant continue listening to
the story unless you make
a certain number of steps
and the next thing you know
youre accidentally getting
fit just to find out what
happens next. Sneaky,
Six To Start, very sneaky.
We like your style.

NICK STANHOPE
WE ARE WHAT WE DO
While We Are What We Do
like to be seen as a collective,
the man at the helm is Nick
Stanhope. He heads a team
thats developing an Android
game that works in
conjunction with wearable
health-monitoring tech.
The idea is that it teaches
teenagers to control their
breathing and heart-rate by
rewarding them for staying
calm. Beats stealing cars
and killing pedestrians
(in GTA V), right?

www.stuff.tv

97

INNOVATORS

TRAVEL
Fully charged
In 2009 a Roadster
travelled 500km on
a single charge,
setting a new
world record
Satellite town
So far the Dragon
has only carried
cargo into space,
but SpaceX reckons
itll soon be
taking humans

Final frontier
This is Falcon 9,
the first private
spacecraft to
visit the
International
Space Station

Plotting to colonise
the red planet
ELON MUSK PAYPAL/TESLA/SPACE X
Elon Musk is about as close
to a real-life Tony Stark as
we have. Hes a Willy Wonka
of tech, concocting plans
(probably from a volcano lair
in the Pacific) before unleashing
them on the public.
But rather than sending
overweight German children
up industrial pipes hes mainly

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sending stuff into space. Musk


sold his first product at 12 years
old he got US$500 for a
videogame hed written called
Blastar after teaching himself
to code but it was the sale of
PayPal in 2002 that put him on
Stuffs map. Since then hes
reinvented the electric car,
banishing associations with

milk floats and the G-Wiz


courtesy of Teslas Roadster
and seven-seater Model S,
and set up SpaceX a private
space exploration company
that aims to one day colonise
Mars. I see us going to Mars
in about 10-11 years, he told
Stuff earlier this year, and
in a really big spaceship, not
a little thing.
Musk compares that
proposed first trip to the red
planet to the English colonising
America and envisions setting
up a city home to millions of
people, with homes, jobs and
(probably) pet Martians. You

know, just in case we


accidentally destroy Earth.
In short, hes a man with
ambitions to match the size
of his fortune.
If he sounds like the twin
brother of a Bond villain, thats
not a million miles from the
truth. Musk recently spent
some of his immense wealth
on the actual submarine
Lotus Esprit used in The
Spy Who Loved Me and
is building his own: Weve
even joked about having
a submarine-plane-car.
Thats a joke we cant wait
to see the punchline for.

INNOVATORS

App-ing to
make getting
lost get lost

Making our
sci-fi dreams
come true

Hailing a cab
towards the
future

The future
of streamlined
hybrid car design

AZMAT YUSUF
CITYMAPPER
Its almost impossible to get
lost these days. Youve got
one man to thank for that:
Azmat Yusuf. Hes the man
behind Citymapper the
app that gets you around
London, New York, Paris and
other less fashionable cities
across the world. It makes
the most of open, real-time
data to show you various
routes to your destination,
how long each one will take,
how much theyll cost and if
there are any problems that
could cause delays. Creator
Yusuf and his team are
adding cities all the time
you can vote for which one
they should do next on the
Citymapper website and
hes already got one eye
on Rio in time for the
Olympics in 2016. Yusuf
told Stuff that he wanted
to build something that
people would use regularly.
Considering we can barely
get to the end of the road
without using his app, looks
like mission accomplished.

MARK DEROCHE
AEROFEX
Now we have plug sockets
with USB ports in them, there
are only really two main sci-fi
dreams that remain: flying
cars and hoverboards.
Aerofexs Aero-X fulfils both,
with the added bonus of
being a little like Luke
Skywalkers Landspeeder.
On terra firma its a
four-wheeled, two-person
buggy-type vehicle, but in
flight it uses downward-facing
fans to levitate up to 3
meters off the ground at up
to 72km/h. Designed by
aerospace engineer Mark
DeRoche, it uses a clever
steering system that
removes the need for
complex controls like those
found in helicopters, making it
similar to riding a motorbike.
And while its not ready to
ride away from a showroom
just yet, its not pure fantasy
either. Aerofex has tested the
Aero-X and hopes to have
them on sale by 2017. Yours
for just US$85,000
($107,840).

TRAVIS KALANICK
UBER
Before he became public
enemy number one among
Londons black-cab drivers,
Travis Kalanick launched
Uber in San Francisco
in 2010. Its an app that
allows you to book a cab
and watch it arrive on
a map. In four years its
taken over the world, like
a convenient four-wheeled
virus that runs at very
affordable rates.
And its not just for taxis
now either. Theres Uber
Ice Cream, which allows
you to summon a 99
just like a cab, plus Uber
Chopper: an on-demand
chauffeur-flown helicopter
service from New York City
to the Hamptons at the far
end of Long Island. Uber now
operates in over 200 cities
around the world, and
while not everyone is
happy to see them (those
aforementioned cabbies
for one), its a company
dragging an age-old
industry into the future.

PETER WOUDA
VOLKSWAGEN XL1
If you want to make
something streamlined
and aerodynamic, the model
to copy isnt a Formula 1 car
or fighter jet its a penguin.
Not when its in upright
waddling mode, but when
arrowing its way through
the ocean. Thats what
exterior design manager
Peter Wouda wouldve been
aiming for when he crafted
the VW XL1 the most
efficient production car in
the world. Everything about
it is designed to cut through
the air like a hot axe through
ice cream, from the
extremely low ride height
and lack of wing mirrors (it
has cameras instead) to the
way it tapers towards a flat
rear end. Combined with its
hybrid of diesel and electric
power, VW has managed to
eke out over 128km/h, and
with its tech already filtering
through to the VW GTE, it
could turn out to be one of
the most significant cars
ever made.

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99

INNOVATORS

MONEY

Turning homes into hotels


JOE GEBBIA, BRIAN CHESKY
& NATHAN BLECHARCZYK
AIRBNB

For a long time, the idea of letting a stranger in


to stay at your house would conjure thoughts of a
sofa-surfing hippy, leaving hair in the plughole, lice in
the furniture and a dead badger in your bed. Airbnb
has changed all that. Founded as Airbed & Breakfast
in 2008 by roommates Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky
(Nathan Blecharczyk joined shortly afterwards),
it now lets you rent or let an individual bed, whole
room or entire property, often for far less than even
a budget hotel. Including the Lenny Henry-approved
ones. These days it also offers quirkier dorms,
including caravans, treehouses, windmills and even
shipping containers (dont worry, youll wake up
where you went to sleep). Its now available in over
34,000 cities in 190 countries and there are security
measures factored in, so the chances of getting
a badger murderer are slimmer than ever.

100

Lining your
digital wallet
with Bitcoins

Crowdfunding
Hollywood
films

Creating an
open-source
car company

Calling time on
those infuriating
booking fees

SATOSHI NAKAMOTO
BITCOIN
Satoshi Nakamoto could
be one person. It could be
many. He could a woman,
or she could be a man. Or a
cat (but that ones unlikely
given the coding required).
Basically, Nakamoto is the
Keyser Sze of digital
currency. Bitcoin might
be mysterious, unstable
and met with perplexed
expressions if you mention it
to most, but it could become
bigger than the worlds
largest novelty cheque.

SIMON WEST
SALTY
Youd think the man behind
The Expendables would have
cash thrown at him to make
whatever he wants; but
following the success of
Veronica Mars, Simon West
has opted to crowdfund Salty
via SyndicateRoom.com
meaning anyone who
invests over $2000 will be
eligible for a share of the
profits. Considering Wests
films have made over $1.24bm
at the box office, that might be
a fairly decent bet.

JOHN B ROGERS JR
LOCAL MOTORS
If a camel is a horse
designed by committee,
Local Motors desert-ready
Rally Fighter is the camel of
the motoring world. Each
part has been designed by a
member of the Local Motors
community, with over
35,000 designs submitted.
The most popular are then
developed and made in
regional micro-factories,
with each buyer chipping
in. One day, all cars could
be made this way.

MILLS AND SINX


DICE
Its one of the great
mysteries of our time.
You bag a couple of tickets
for a gig, click to buy them
and out of nowhere theres
an extra $20 mystery tax
been added on top.
A booking fee, they call it.
What is it for and why shouId
I pay for it? Nobody knows.
Ustwos Dice is an iOS and
Android app that gets rid of
them altogether, allowing
you to use the app itself
as the ticket.

www.stuff.tv

TECHSPEDITION

Crew of two
If youre flying in a
particularly hazardous
location its best to have
two remotes: one person
focusing on the UAV and
another concerned
only with the
camera.

Hold steady
The drone has six
carbon fibre propellers,
retractable landing gear
and a GPS-enabled A2
flight controller, which
allow it to remain stable
even in strong
Alpine winds.

THE ALPS IN

3D
What do you get when you cross drones,
3D mapping and the Alps? A disappointing
punchline, certainly, but also an amazing new
way to study the effects of climate change
Flying around Britain in Google
Maps 3D view is one of our
favourite wastes of time. But
next-gen mapping isnt just
being used to destroy afternoon
productivity or provide a birds-eye
view of how your garden looked in
2009. Thanks to a combination of
drones, clever software and some

souped-up Land Rovers, scientists


in the Alps are taking it to new
extremes to help study mountains
and the effects of climate change
in mind-boggling detail. Sam
Kieldsen took a ride with the
team to find out how it works
and what it could mean for our
understanding of the real Earth

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101

TECHSPEDITION

ountains havent always been


seen as playgrounds for snowbased frolics. Without films, TV
or photos to prepare them, many
European travellers a few hundred
years ago were so overwhelmed
by the sight of the Alps that theyd
request blindfolds as they were led
through the rocky passes.
But my eyes are wide open
as I head into the French Alpine
town of Chamonix, nestled in
a wide, forested valley between
those same imposing mountains.
Because Im about to see a brilliant
new method of surveying these
mountains a technique that
involves some incredible, and
surprisingly accessible, gadgetry.

Drone rangers
I meet with Mark Allan, a PhD
researcher from the University
of Northumbria, who specialises
in the study of glacial valleys, of
which there are dozens in the Alps.
Mark is among the first to analyse
these valleys with this technique,
which means he gets to fly a
camera-equipped drone through
some of Europes most stunning
scenery. As jobs go
Were looking at how the
landscape is changing in response
to a change in the climate, Mark
tells me over lunch in a Chamonix
cafe. Weve been using state-ofthe-art 3D technology to create
models of the landscape and we
use these models to detect which
areas are changing in response to
shifts in glacial patterns.
For the past few months, Mark
and his team of fellow researchers
have been driving all around the
Alps Switzerland, Italy, Austria,
Germany, Slovenia and now
France in a Land Rover Defender
carrying climbing kit, tents, $100k
worth of GPS gear, an insanely
high-spec PC and an $16.5k
unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). Oh,
and a Sony NEX-7 camera the
sort you can pick up for a few
hundred dollars.

Third eye
Using the UAV, or on foot, or in
a helicopter, we take hundreds
of images of glacial valleys and
combine these to create 3D

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models using a process called


structure-from-motion, says
Mark. The images (as many as
1000 per survey) are fed into a
piece of software called Bundler,
which analyses them all over the
course of a day or so, identifies
the same rock features that occur
in multiple images using colour and
shading, and links them together.
But its not all flying drones and
sitting in front of a PC. Ahead of
each photo survey, Mark and his
team venture out into the glacial
valleys and place square white
cardboard targets on the valley
slopes. I ask him how he does that.
Carefully! he laughs.
The process often involves
climbing gear, as some of the
valleys arent easily accessible.
In terms of adding ground control,
you look for features that you can
physically get to and that dont
move. GPS data is then taken
over each targets location. When
the drone flies overhead, the
targets will appear in the pictures
and can be used to add scale and
location data to the models.

Next-gen Google Earth


That evening, I get a chance to fly
through some of the resulting 3D
models on the teams computer.
Looking like a hi-res version of
Google Earths 3D mode, theyre
so detailed that you can make
out individual boulders not to
mention rock climbers. This level
of detail is essential, as its how
Mark will identify the changes
occurring in the landscape when
he repeats the surveys in the next
two years. But it also points to an
excitingly precise future for Google
Maps: Now, how many seats does
that pub garden have?
Because this technique is so
innovative, Mark doesnt have

Weve seen the landscape


changing weve seen
the ice falling and heard
the glacier moving
older models to which he can
compare his own, but he has
been poring over the archives of
the Royal Geographical Society in
London, which include images of
the same valleys from over 100
years ago. That allowed us to find
out exactly where these glaciers
were at a particular point in the
past. It has been crucial to the
success of the project.
Eventually, Mark will be able
to determine just how quickly

the landscape is changing. And


next year hell be showing off his
findings in an exhibition at the
Royal Geographical Society. He
tells me to expect 3D printed
glacier models and 3D video
fly-throughs created using
the teams data.
I ask him if his months of
camping out in the snow and
braving icy glaciers are paying
off. As a life experience its
been unbelievable, he says.
Weve driven through some
of the most impressive mountain
passes in the world and weve
seen some views that are going
to stay with me forever.
And from a scientific point of
view? Weve seen first-hand how
these landscapes are changing:
weve seen landslides, seen
the ice falling, heard the glacier
moving. Its incredible.

Drones:
a secret life

1 Land Rover Defender


The Land Rover acts as a
UAV launch and landing pad
via a platform on its roof

2 DJI Spreading Wings


S800 Evo
The chief tool for surveying
glacial valleys, worth 8000
Goose-shooing
After geese started
bothering visitors to
Canadas Petrie Island,
officials turns to UAVs
to provide a solution.
Using scare tactics,
drones reduced the
number of feathery
nuisances from about
120 to just 20.

3 Terra Nova Ultra


Quasar tents
Because its hard to find a
hotel room halfway up an Alp

3
2

An extra dimension
This project turns 2D photos into 3D models using a heavy bit of academic
software called Bundler. But how about trying its trickery on a smaller scale?

Structure Sensor

PVMS2

Seene

This Kinect for your iPad lets you


scan rooms, people and objects in
three dimensions in a few seconds,
so you can work out if that Eames
chair will squeeze into your lounge.
Or if your dog will make a nice
3D-printed ornament.
US$379 ($480) (iPad) / structure.io

Used by ILM, Weta and Google


Maps, this slightly more
professional but free application
weaves together 2D photos of
rigid objects (buildings rather than
pedestrians) into a mesh model to
play around with like digital Lego.
$free / www.di.ens.fr/pmvs/

This camera app cant (yet)


capture full 3D models, but it does
let you take 3D photos by plotting
points on your subject and using
parallax to determine where they
are in 3D space. Yes, you can use
it for selfies, if you must.
$free (iOS) / seene.co

Crop-dusting
UAVs can spray crops
with pesticides far
more quickly than
a tractor and more
cheaply than a plane.
Farmers in Japan have
been using Yamaha
RMX helicopters to
boost their yields
for 20 years.

Web access
Facebook purchased
Ascenta, a company
specialising in solarpowered UAVs, to build
flying Wi-Fi hotspots
that will bring the
net to parts of the
developing world that
as yet cant like cat
pictures. Lucky them.

Criminal-catching
Seeking an aerial view
of crime scenes, police
in Seattle employed
a hexacopter drone
sporting a thermal
imaging camera as
an alternative to
a full-size chopper
but the programme
was dropped over
public fears.

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103

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Q TESLA MODEL S P85

Q BMW i8

THE LEAN,
THE MEAN
& THE GREEN
Stuffs steeliest pilots whizz from coast to coast to find out
which of the new eco-supercars is the most future-friendly
104

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GROUP TEST ELECTRIC CARS

Q VOLKSWAGEN XL1

The mission
Westonsuper-Mare

Cheddar
Che
eddar
dda
d r
da
Gorge

The route
START
Weston-super-Mare,
birthplace of John
Cleese (whose family
name was originally
Cheese) and gateway
to the Bristol Channel.

Tilshead
T
ilshea
ils
head
hea
d Garage
Gar
Gara
ara
ra
age
ge

STOP 1
Cheddar Gorge,
birthplace of actual
cheese and a number
of goats. The goats
seemed particularly
interested in nibbling
the white paint from
the middle of the road.

Clacket
Cl
Cla
Clacke
c t Lane
cke
cket
Lan
Lan
ane
Services

STOP 2
Tilshead, on Salisbury
Plain. Londis sandwiches
all round.
STOP 3
Clacket Lane Services,
M25, home to a highvoltage charging point

Whitstable
W
Whi
tst
stab
ab

that put enough sparks


in the Tesla to take it all
the way to Whitstable.
FINISH
Whitstable: oysters
(hmm), fish and chips
(better!) and Englands
largest village green.

[ Pictures James Lipman ]

It began as a noble endeavour:


drive three practical electric
cars from coast to coast, and
put everyones range anxiety at
ease. Then we looked at which
cars to take, and we realised
we didnt just want to save
the planet: we wanted to zoom
around it in a fleet of next-gen
dream machines that outpace
their old gas-guzzling forebears
on a whiff of petrol and a gulp
of lightning. So, we rounded up
three different approaches to
the eco supercar BMWs i8
hybrid supercar, Volkswagens
retro-futuristic XL1 hybrid and
Teslas all-electric Model S
for a low-carbon cruise across
Englands middle.

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TOP 5 DRIVING SONGS


FOR THE MODEL S
Q THE PRESIDENTS OF THE
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Mach 5
Q ROY ORBISON
I Drove All Night
Q THE JEZABELS
Electric Lover
QMANCHESTER ORCHESTRA
Simple Math
Q SCORPIONS
Too Far

THE CHALLENGING ONE

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Screen-tastic

Extra factor

Family-friendly

Modest machine

Not only does


the Tesla have a
touchscreen the size
of two iPads its got
another screen visible
through the wheel.

Full disclosure: our test


car came with enough
extras to take it up
to 100,000 ($206,650),
but the standard P85
has all the essentials.

Unlike the other


bachelor-mobiles,
the Tesla has enough
room for four plus
a whole holidays
worth of luggage.

It doesnt have the


out-there looks of the
i8 or XL1 , but thats
part of the charm. And
you still get attention
when charging.

GROUP TEST ELECTRIC CARS

TESLA MODEL S P85


Q Price 69,000 ($142,590) / teslamotors.com
Q Driver Tom Parsons
The i8 and XL1 are cheat cars. Theyll
run forever because they run on
petrol. Admittedly a much smaller
amount of petrol than the average
car, but everyone knows petrols
going to cost $900 per teaspoon
soon. When that happens, batteries
will be the only way to power your
car, and the i8 and XL1 have got
about as much battery power as
a Sony Walkman.

Its a big un
The Teslas different. This thing has
a massive 85kWh battery that it
reckons is good for 502km. It may
look less radical than the other two,
but underneath its a technological
marvel, and arguably represents the
true future of motoring.
And boy is it big. Nerve-rackingly
so when your first experience of it
involves the close confines of the
labyrinthine Westfield. The 720p
feed from the parking camera thats
fed to the ginormous screen in the
centre console does come in handy
for reversing, though.

Practical but powerful


When the challenge started I had
500 odd km in the tank, and by our
first stop in Cheddar I was totally in
love with the Model S. Yes, its
practical (a boot in the boot and
in the bonnet, plus loads of legroom)
and yes, its gizmo-tastic (its all
touchscreen-controlled, from the
panoramic roof to the suspension
height, steering weight and an
absolutely humongous Google
Maps-powered sat-nav), but its
also insanely, giggle-inducingly fast.
Faster than the i8, in fact. And this is
immediate power. No delay for the
car to decide how its going to hook
up two different motors to most
effectively deliver the acceleration,
just all the power you could possibly
require the moment you put your
foot down.
I thought Id miss the noise of an
engine, but theres something just
as exciting about that burst of speed
being accompanied by near-silence
its like the Starship Enterprise

STUFF SAYS

entering warp, and what could be


more awesome than that?
Onwards to the winding roads of
Salisbury Plain, and the Tesla proves
to be pretty darn chuckable for a car
so big and heavy. You cant throw it
into corners quite the same way you
can the lithe little i8, but theres still
more than enough grip to take them
far quicker than you probably should.
And you can fit a Tom Wiggins in the
bonnet something we genuinely
did while photographing our motors.

Quick pit stop


Id avoided using the air-con, but had
otherwise driven the Tesla like the
frustrated racing driver I am so far,
yet the readout was telling me I had
enough juice left to make it the rest
of the way to Whitstable. Just. Before
risking it I did a little research on
zap-map.com, only to discover that
Whitstable doesnt have a single
electric car charger (seriously,
Whitstable, sort it out).
Now I like Whitstable a lot, but
I didnt fancy being stranded there
in a totally dead car, so it was with
some reluctance that I had to insist
the convoy stop at Clacket Lane
Services for a little power-up.
Thankfully this meant I had the
range to complete the journey and
get home again after a 50-minute
break plenty of time for a really
rubbish Costa Coffee experience.

A car for the future


By the end of our challenge I was
still in love with the Model S, but
there was no escaping that Id been
challenged more than the other two.
Sure, for 360 days a year the Teslas
range would be way more than
I needed and I could just charge it
overnight, but I occasionally enjoy
a drive to Devon, Wales or Scotland,
and Im the type to find nothing
other than depression at motorway
services. Thats why I wouldnt buy
a Tesla now. Next year there will be
23 Superchargers in the UK, and
they can pump in 274km worth of
charge in 30 minutes. Thats when Id
buy a Tesla. If I could actually afford it.

Driver specs
Last car owned
Honda Civic
Type R
Fuel
Lucozade,
Cornish pasty
Favourite UK road
A939
near Tomintoul
Driving hero
Jean-Luc Picard

Tech specs
Power
85kWh battery
Top speed
209km/h
0-100km/h
4.2 seconds
Weight 2100kg
Claimed
fuel efficiency
Infinite
(but a 502km
range per charge)

Going totally petrol-free is utterly


amazing, even if its not always easy
www.stuff.tv

107

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TOP 5 DRIVING
SONGS FOR THE XL1
Q KRAFTWERK
Aerodynamik
Q WU-TANG CLAN
Diesel
Q MY BLOODY VALENTINE
Glider
QXZIBIT
Paparazzi
Q MODEST MOUSE
Perpetual Motion Machine

VOLKSWAGEN XL1
Q Price 98,000 ($202,520) / volkswagen.co.uk
Q Driver Tom Wiggins

Driver specs
Last car owned
Toyota Corolla
GL Executive
Fuel
Beefeater
mixed grill and a
banoffee sundae
Favourite UK road
A272
Driving hero
Inspector
Clouseau

108

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Choosing a Tesla or an i8 for this


challenge is like using a fork to
eat a bowl of soup: frustrating and
wasteful. Thats why I parked my
behind into the drivers seat of the
VW XL1 a concept come to life
that Volkswagen claims is the most
fuel-efficient hybrid available. How
could I possibly be beaten?

Cut n shut
The XL1 looks like two cars stuck
together. I like to think the squaredoff rear end makes it look like
Ferraris Breadvan 250 GT but in
all honesty its probably more like
a futuristic hearse, albeit one with
only enough space for a generously
sized dog. It accelerates a bit like one

too (a hearse, not a dead dog) but


with everything about it designed
to reduce drag and extend its range
from the covered rear wheels and
compressed cardboard interior to
the lack of power steering the XL1
is clearly all about efficiency, not
power or luxury. It even eschews
airflow-disrupting wing mirrors for
cameras. Only the i8s head-up
display is more sci-fi than that.

Cheddar Gorge-ous
Dont get me wrong, the XL1 is by
no means a chore to drive. Setting
off from Weston-super-Mare in
all-electric mode, I quietly nipped
through early morning traffic
following the built-in Garmins

guidance towards Cheddar,


gradually getting used to the
Tarmac-scraping driving position,
slight lack of rear visibility and
increased attention from camera
phones. Even a local bus driver
made his commuter cargo wait
while he took a picture. No doubt
the snaking roads of Cheddar
Gorge were a little tougher on
the unassisted steering of my
XL1 than the other two but
the narrow tyres meant I barely
noticed and I still beat them to
the first checkpoint, giving me
time to pair my phone to the cars
sat-nav and stream my roadtrip
playlist to the cars speakers
while I waited.

GROUP TEST ELECTRIC CARS

THE STYLISH ONE


Offset seating
The two seats are offset,
which not only makes it
easier to see at junctions
but also creates enough
space for the batteries.

Its butter-smooth
Because it doesnt need
to worry about downforce,
the XL1 is actually more
aerodynamic than a Formula 1
car (but less than a penguin).

Custom-made
Apart from the badge, which
comes from a Scirocco,
everything is designed and
made to order. Thats partly
why its so expensive.

Adrenaline rush
The XL1 is only about the size
of a Polo, although it feels
a bit like one of those solarpowered wings with wheels
that break world records.

Perpetual motion

Tech specs
Power
800cc diesel plus
20KW electric
Top speed 159km/h
0-100km/h
12.5 seconds
Weight 795kg
Claimed
fuel efficiency
133km/L

After a minor detour into the


Stonehenge visitor centre car
park thanks to out-of-date maps,
I started to get into the swing of
driving this clever little hybrid.
Whenever I hit a proper descent
I lifted off the accelerator and glided
down the hill to let the battery suck
up some additional charge. At one
point it had dropped to about 9% and
without plugging it in I managed to
revive it all the way back to 16.5%.
Is VW on the verge of inventing
a perpetual motion machine?
Thats not to say I drove the
XL1 like it had an unexploded bomb

STUFF SAYS

onboard. I put my foot down to


overtake slow-moving tractors
on the A37 and when I hit the
M3 it never struggled to keep
up with the rat race.

Say cheese
I dont care what Will Dunn says, the
XL1 is by far the most eye-catching
of these cars. I havent had my
picture taken by so many strangers
since Beyonc piggybacked me
through Piccadilly Circus. When we
stopped at Clacket Lane it earned
another admiring glance from me
when five litres of diesel (half a tank)
added 250km to the XL1s range.

Slow and steady...


The sun had already started to
go down when I got to Whitstable,
just a couple of minutes behind
the vastly more powerful i8 and
comfortably ahead of Toms Tesla.
Hares, meet the tortoise. It might
lack some of the luxuries offered
by the other cars but thats the
price you pay for such incredible
efficiency. The XL1 has air-con
and a surprisingly connected
stereo and sat-nav system.
I think I can survive without
touchscreens and voice control
when half a tank of fuel costs
less than two pints of lager.

A glimpse of the future, the XL1 ticks every


box. Now all we need is a four-seater version
www.stuff.tv

109

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BMW i8
Q Price 95,000 ($196,320) / bmw.co.uk
Q Driver Will Dunn
There are plenty of examples of
clever, bespoke technology that
make the i8 a singularly brilliant car,
but the most important thing is this:
it looks like the Batmobile. Driving
it is like walking through a busy
shopping centre with a levitating
clockwork monkey made of gold:
everyone wants to know what
that expensive-looking thing is.
Cars slow down and speed up to
be alongside it, usually with a phone
held to the window.

Goat-botherer
The i8 doesnt just look like the
Batmobile; it also moves like its
just emerged from a cave through
a waterfall. While Cheddar Gorges
population of goats dawdled in front
of every other car on the road, for
the i8 they stepped aside partly
because it looks like it might eat
them, and partly because of the
noise it makes. When you push it out
of its near-silent electric roll, the i8
leaps forward with a cackle-inducing
robot growl that is one of the most
satisfying noises in the world.
Our second stop, a deserted bit
of road somewhere in Somershire
or Borset or something, was a good
50 miles of mini-roundabouts and
country lanes away. After a bit of
mucking about with the sat-nav,
I was guided by easily the best
heads-up display Ive seen in a
car: directions and speed limits
are projected onto the windscreen,
floating steadily in your field of view.
While naturally I observed the rules
of the road, I arrived at our next
rendezvous with time to buy and
consume a chicken sandwich and
a 250ml bottle of chocolate milk
before the next car turned up.

Snarly precision
On the motorway and in Comfort
mode, the i8 drives like a BMW, albeit
an incredibly posh one from the
future. On a snaky little road in Sport,
the dials go red, the engine develops
a more high-pitched snarl and the
handling becomes light and twitchy.
The i8 is ferociously quick, but it

STUFF SAYS
110

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moves with a precision that speaks


of some kind of advanced machine
intelligence. You can also speed into
a corner with conviction. I doubt
you all remember the Mitsubishi
GTO I spent months upgrading
in Gran Turismo 2 as a teenager,
but thats what it reminds me
of: a 4WD with more power than
seems realistic for something
so sure-footed.

Its good to be inside


Next, we put the three cars through
the most exacting motoring
experience in the UK: the M25.
Fortunately, even in the variablespeed hell of our nations most
boring thoroughfare, the i8 is a
wonderful place to be. The front
two seats are luxurious, divided
by a wide central hump that also
houses iDrives minimal but effective
wheel-button control system. The
back seats are big enough for a
handbag or a medium-sized duck.
My i8 had the Harman/Kardon
speaker upgrade, allowing me to
wallow in a big bath of music while
the motorway did its thing outside.

Driver specs
Last car owned
Vauxhall Astra 1.4
Fuel
Coffee, beef crisps
Favourite UK road
B3212
Driving hero
Michael Knight

First place, naturally


It was to be expected that the i8 got
to Whitstable comfortably ahead
of the others, but as I glimpsed the
east coast it had one more surprise
for me: in the gullwing doors theres
a gently glowing strip of blue that
only becomes noticeable when it
gets dark, underlining the fighter-jet
feel of the cockpit. Its just an LED
strip, but it sums up whats brilliant
about this BMW: its a concept car
that has, for once, actually been
built with its mad design flourishes,
spaceship lights, science-fiction
powertrain and carbon-fibre
everything. Its a supercar that uses
as much petrol as a small hatchback
(much less if you drive carefully), but
the best thing about it is its lack of
compromise. Someone had a bold,
exciting idea for how it should look
and what it should do, and BMW
made that idea real. That doesnt
happen often.

Tech specs
Power
357bhp
Top speed
Limited to 249km/h
0-100km/h
4.4secs
Weight 1485kg
Claimed
fuel efficiency
57km/L

Its the freaking Batmobile. Seriously, what


more do you want?

GROUP TEST ELECTRIC CARS

TOP 5
DRIVING
SONGS
FOR THE I8
Q STEREOLAB
Super Electric
Q DEFTONES
Be Quiet And Drive
Q KRAFTWERK
Autobahn
Q MOGWAI
Wizard Motor
Q PRINCE
Batdance

THE LIGHTNING-QUICK ONE


Scooper-car

Go electric

Non-crash tech

Nice view

The i8s bold sidescoops dont just look


bat-amazing, theyre
also bat-practical: you
could fit a baguette
in there.

While our i8 stayed


in Comfort or Sport,
you can drive it as a
completely electric car
in eDrive mode, giving
a range of 37km.

It has some very


sophisticated collision
avoidance tech we
didnt have the nerve
to test, what with it
not belonging to us

but we did appreciate


the car being studded
with cameras that
give you a drones-eye
view, making parking
much easier.

www.stuff.tv

111

GROUP TEST ELECTRIC CARS

WITH NEW DRIVING


HABITS WE RECKON
WED HAVE THE XL1
WELL OVER 85KM/L

THE WINNER
Q VOLKSWAGEN XL1
T
TES R
E
NN
I
W

For behindthe-scenes
images
download
the Stuff
tablet app

112

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Wed be foolish to suggest


that the XL1 offered more
visceral, foot-down driving
excitement than either the
Tesla or the BMW, but this
test was all about making
it across the country in the
most efficient way possible
and considering the
Model S couldnt manage it
without lengthy recharging
and the i8s 17km/L average
is about as eco-friendly as a
heavy smoker coughing in a
kittens face, the VW almost
wins by default.
In terms of space its
pretty much equal to the
BMW, while the Teslas
seven seats mean nothing
if your answer to Are we
nearly there yet? always
has to be: We just have to

stop again to charge it.


For an all-electric car to
be practical for a journey
like this we need more fast
chargers at the roadside
not those that take
eight hours to hit 100%,
but something that brings
charging an electric car
in line with filling a tank
of petrol.
We got an average of
57km/L from the XL1.
Thats some way off the
claimed figure but we spent
most of the journey driving
it like any other car. With a
few new habits we reckon
wed have it comfortably
over 85km/L. Just add
a couple more seats and
this would be the ultimate
green machine.

GROUP TEST ELECTRIC CARS

Q ITS NOT EASY BEING GREEN


Ive just spent the better part of a
week with a BMW i3 electric
vehicle (EV), and insanely futuristic
as it may be, I can conclude, as
Kermit the Frog did, its not easy
being green.
Now, dont get me wrong - the i3
is a cool car. No, scratch that. Its
just about the coolest car Ive ever
driven, and dare I say it, possibly
the coolest car Ill drive in the next
decade. Im fairly sure I screamed
THIS IS THE FUTURE at several
points while driving it.
But unfortunately, living with it is
another matter entirely. For
starters, buying it. The i3 costs
$236,800, which is money you
could well use to get yourself a
mid-range BMW 3 Series with.
Then theres the small matter of
where youre going to charge the
thing. Yes, buying the i3 also comes
with a wallbox installed in your
home, which is great... if youre a
member of the landed gentry. If
youre part of the 94 percent of
Singaporeans that dont own
landed property, tough luck,
because youre going to have to
slum it out and use one of the 15
Greenlots public charging stations
islandwide.
Granted, not all of those
charging stations are located in
the armpit of Singapore (Jurong
Island or Ayer Rajah Crescent,
anyone?); some are located in
pretty central spots, like in
Orchard Road or in the CBD.
The problem is, hanging around
for approximately five hours to
juice up the i3 will result in
astronomical parking fees, to say
nothing of how youll need to pay
ERP charges to get into town and
being effectively stranded while its
being gassed up.
Thankfully, local i3s come
standard with a petrol range
extender that acts as a sort of
portable generator to charge the
batteries (which almost doubles
the extender-less i3s range of
160km), so you dont have to spend
half your life at the pumps.
Even so, a day spent at the One
Raffles Quay charging station
could see you staring at a parking/
ERP/charging fee of something
like $40-$50 a pop. Multiply that
by having to charge the i3 two or
three times a week, and well, you
get the idea.
As you can probably tell, an EV
isnt the easiest car to own. And I
think thats a shame, because an
electric car makes perfect sense

for Singapore. Our little red dots


microscopic size puts it well within
the i3s claimed 300km range, and
since its so highly urbanised and
so highly organised, building
charging infrastructure should be
a cinch.
The bad news is, were still far off
from an electric car utopia, like in
some parts of Europe. For instance,
Amsterdam has over 800 public EV
charging stations and you get up to
18,000 euros in subsidies (roughly
40 percent off the price of an i3) for
buying an electric car in Estonia. Its
even better in Norway, because
EVs are exempt from road tax,
public parking charges, toll fees, and
you can even use the bus lanes.
Over here, we get almost none
of that. Aside from the $20,000
rebate you get under the CEVS
scheme on buying the i3, you dont
get anything else, which makes the
little BMW a toy exclusively for the
wealthy and gadget-happy.
Its a chicken-and-egg scenario.
If there are no incentives/public
charging stations, very few people
are going to buy EVs, and if nobody
buys them, therell be little need to
offer incentives or build public
charging stations. With all the
money the government makes
from COEs, youd think theyd be
absorb all that cost too. Or maybe
all those oil refineries in Tuas have
something to do with it.
So yes, cool as they may be,
electric cars will have to remain as
the future here in Singapore.
ZL Li

www.stuff.tv

113

TEST GAMES

PS4, PS3, Xbox One,


Xbox 360 / bungie.net

Destiny
Its the most expensive and most pre-ordered game of all time, but
can Bungies first post-Halo shooter live up to the massive expectations?
ince the term MMO was
used in relation to Destiny
theres been anticipation
from some that Bungies latest
would be a Halo-like FPS of World
Of Warcraft size. Thats not what
you get, but you do get a game
thats truly massive by FPS
standards, built for multiplayer
from the ground up, and more
cinematic and thrilling than any
MMO in existence.
The story is proper heavy sci-fi:
omnipotent spherical beings, space
travel and aliens closing on Earths

last remaining city. Its actually


a really rich, deep setting.
Its also epic in the way Halo is
epic: a glorious, swelling score and
gorgeous storytelling cut-scenes.
And theres a sort of narrator: the
Ghost, voiced by Game Of Thrones
Peter Dinklage, is a little robotic
guide linked to your character.
You can also link up with other
Guardians: the entire game is
designed to be played with others.
You can solo most of it if you want
(youll still meet other players on
their own journeys), but the idea

is that you tackle everything as


part of a three-person fireteam,
ideally comprising one of each
character class: Hunter, Warlock
and Titan.
In action it plays very much
like Halo fast, a bit floaty and
bombastic. Every weapon looks,
sounds and feels hugely powerful,
and the class-specific special
attacks are as deadly as they are
spectacular. The main campaign
itself isnt long, but most of the
story missions require that youre
at a certain level, and that means

you need to regularly divert to do


a Strike (a storied side-mission),
some guardian-on-guardian
action in the Crucible or some
wandering and side-missioning
in the free-roam mode. And even
when youve finished the main
story there are Raids: supremely
challenging six-player missions
for the flashiest loot.
Bungie says its going to keep
expanding and updating Destiny.
Maybe one day it really will be
bigger than Warcraft
Tom Parsons

STUFF SAYS Halo meets Diablo meets WOW: one of the very best console shooters +++++
114

www.stuff.tv

TEST GAMES

The new
Guardian guide

You choose your missions


from up in orbit before
boarding a ship to begin

Its not all spells and skill


trees theres plenty of
old-skool fragging to do

Creating an avatar to represent


all of your Destiny exploits is
a challenge in itself. You dont
want to make the wrong
choice, especially when it
comes to class.
In theory the Titan is the
meat-headed tank, the Hunter
is the sneaky back-stabby
type and the Warlock is the
space wizard; but in practice
their attributes are all very
similar, and there are no
restrictions in terms of
weapons. Each class gets
its own armour styles, though,
so it really comes down to
deciding which one you think
looks more awesome the
Warlocks long coats, the
Hunters hoods and cloaks or
the Titans Master Chief-like
armour plating.
The other stuff it influences
is the type of double-jump you
get, the sort of grenades you
lob, and which special you get
to use when the yellow gauge
fills up. For the Titan its a
Hulk-smash, for the Warlock
a massive magic grenade; the
Hunter gets a golden gun that
James Bond would envy.
Each class does get a later
sub-class, and you might find
you need to perform a more
specific role in your fireteam
when it comes to tackling the
nails-hard Raids, but for the
majority of the game you can
mix it up however you want.

www.stuff.tv

115

TEST GAMES

iOS / 2kgames.com

BioShock
Can the classic ultra-immersive shooter
survive being squeezed down to iPhone
and iPad without losing its addictive soul?
still vividly recall playing
the original BioShock on
Xbox 360, exploring the
depths of its underwater fantasy
setting, tensing up at the brash Big
Daddy showdowns, and soaking
in an eerie atmosphere unlike
anything Id ever played before.
Would someone new to the game
have that same kind of experience
on a 4in touchscreen?
The iPhone and iPad version
thankfully keeps the BioShock
experience intact, maintaining
the incredible dystopian city of
Rapture, with its gene-spliced
enemies and terrifying armoured
warriors, terrific art deco design
and ever-intriguing narrative.
Thats the best news of all
BioShock still feels original after
all these years.
The lack of physical inputs on
iOS devices means big changes:
thus, a virtual stick and buttons.
By and large, it does the trick
the attacking buttons match the
overall aesthetic well and are nicely
laid out. But theres a clumsiness
to playing a shooter when all the

inputs you need arent resting


right below a thumb or finger,
and slowed reactions are bound
to get you killed at some point.
Luckily, BioShock supports MFi
controllers, and thats definitely
the way to play.
Even as an early last-gen
release, this was one of the most
visually stunning games ever but
it looks ragged in this incarnation.
The models all have rough edges,
textures are muddled, and lighting
issues abound. The great original
work isnt lost, but its a bit more
difficult to appreciate.
BioShock has been around
for seven years now, so its not
hard to find cheaply for Xbox 360,
PC or PS3. And indeed, every
other version of the game is more
polished and precise than this one.
But still, phones and tablets are
turning more players onto games
than ever before and this is still a
tremendous single-player shooter
experience one thats solidly
enjoyable with touch controls, but
truly great with a gamepad.
Andrew Hayward

The retro
illustrations of
the unlockable
plasmid powers
are as daft as
ever. Cartoon
violence!

Remember Pipe
Mania? Hacking
turrets, cameras
and vending
machines in
BioShock is
just like that

STUFF SAYS Its not quite so slick on iOS, but BioShock still shines through ++++,
116

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DESIGN

See your hi-tech home in a new


light with a new light. These are
our favourite ultra-modern lamps
[ Photography Pete Gardner ]

GASSLING OOPS
I DROPPED THE BULB

Were not sure what the returns


policy is when you buy this Swedish
lamp, but its unlikely Gassling will
take it back if you claim it looks a bit
broken. Its moment-of-impact design
is deliberately 3D-printed in white
nylon, while a 6W LED takes care
of the actual lighting duties. Also
available from Gasslings website
are a pair of ceiling lamps in similar
style and a range of eco-friendly
boxer shorts. Were not sure about
the returns policy on those either.
400 ($645) / gassling.com

www.stuff.tv

117

DESIGN
NORTHERN LIGHTING DIVA
Swedish furniture is so last week.
If you really want to put the in in
interior design, you need to direct
your glance to its nordic neighbour,
Norway. The Scandinavian kingdoms
design council saw fit to bestow its
award for design excellence on the
1.2m-tall Diva floor lamp, no doubt
inspired by its striking feminine
figure. Either that, or the judging
panel were afraid the artful ninja
who carved it would turn his katana
on them in their beds. They have
ninjas in Norway, right?
1755 ($3625) / northernlighting.no

118

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DESIGN
QISDESIGN CORAL

Should your decorative tastes


extend to the maritime, the Coral
lamp is designed to look a bit like,
well, a coral. Its glassy diffusers mimic
the diaphanous polyps of everyones
favourite reef-dwelling intervertebrate,
creating a peaceful luminescence to
accompany your whale-song playlist
while you try to forget about the
hammerhead sharks, decompression
sickness and other innumerable perils
of the deep. For maximum effect, paint
the walls blue and wear neoprene
trousers and a pair of flippers.
280 ($580) / lampled.co.uk

www.stuff.tv

119

DESIGN

ANDROMEDA:
TACTICAL LIGHTING

If youre unsure why anyone would


want to design the worlds first
military-inspired tactical tri-rail lamp
that fully utilizes the Picatinny rail
system, the Andromeda might not
be your first choice of light. If, like
the 384 people who backed its
Kickstarter campaign, you think
it would be epic, badass and
awesome to mount a thermal
sight to your bedside light, look
no further. But do contemplate the
irony of fitting night vision to a lamp.
US$560 ($710)/
sketchydesignstudio.bigcartel.com

120

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DESIGN

KIRSTY SHAW CIRCULAR


LAYERED TABLE LAMP

This literally-named bit of lightware


throws out colourful arcs in every
direction, even redistributing beams
of sunlight caught by its stack of
brightly-hued acrylic discs. Should
you need further persuasion before
dropping a hundred notes, it can also
double up as a space-age plate rack
or be used as set dressing if you
happen to be a Dr Who director
from the mid-80s. Practicality
forbids these bonus features
being included in the name.
100 ($205) / notonthehighstreet.
com/kirstyshaw

www.stuff.tv

121

DESIGN

AMINIMAL FIELD LAMP

Although the Field Lamp looks at first


glance like its just come back from
a visit to Janet Street-Porters stylist,
theres method in its mad mess of
curvy acrylic tendrils. They represent
the magnetosphere the invisible
magnetic field surrounding the
Earth. Granted, its unlikely the soft
incandescence of the Field Lamp will
protect you from solar winds and
cosmic rays in the same way, but it
does create a pleasant shading effect.
Which is something at least.
US$450 ($570) / aminimalstudio.com

THE LIGHTS THAT NEVER GO OUT: LAMP CLASSICS

122

www.stuff.tv

OLava lamp
1963

OAnglepoise
1932

OEmeralite
1901

OTiffany lamp
approx 1895

Invented by Edward
Craven Walker, the
Lava lamp is still in
production (in the
UK) over 50 years
later. For best results
draw the tie-dyed
curtains and light a
patchouli joss stick.

Designed by George
Carwardine, the
iconic Anglepoise
was banned by BBC
bosses who felt
people working in
spotlit solitude would
produce smuttier
programming.

The classic bankers


lamp is the bowler
hat and pinstripe
suit of the lighting
world. Its often
used in TV and film
sets to describe the
administrative nature
of a workplace.

Louis Comfort Tiffany


was once thought to
have come up with
these timelessly
ornate stained glass
and lead lamps, but it
later transpired that
Clara Driscoll was the
real creative spark.

G R O U P T E S T B A R G A I N B LO W E R S

5 OF THE BEST

Sub-$400
smartphones
Forget pixelly screens, sluggish web speeds and Etch-a-Sketch
cameras: you can now get a reliable all-rounder on a titchy budget

BEST FOR...
YOUR FIRST
PHONE

Nokia Lumia 635 Price $239 / nokia.com/sg-en


Whats that?
In a sea of cheap Androids, the
Lumia 635 stands out like an
alien: a neon orange buoy keeping
Windows Phone fans safe from
ridicule. Its essentially a bigger
version of 2013s Lumia 520
with the latest 8.1 software.
Sure, Android has more games
and the 635 is far from the
highest-specced device here,
but this Nokia gets a lot right.
The battery life is the best for
the money not by much, but
the 635 will give you an extra hour
or so over the rest. Its the lightest
at 134g, and comes with a decent
(if low-res) screen and excellent
freebies including Nokia Drive.

Any good?
Windows Phone 8.1 is friendlier
than stock KitKat for beginners,

and now it also has useful


Android-style features and
settings. Even the 5MP camera
has its moments its no Lumia
1020 but the outdoor and macro
shots look great and low-light
images arent the grainiest weve
ever encountered. The 635 is
a little slow in use next to the
likes of the Moto G but its easy
to forgive that at this low price.
Tech 4.5in 854x480 (221ppi)
O1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm
Snapdragon 400, 512MB RAM
O5MP 720p rear, no front camera
O1830mAh
O8GB (plus up to 128GB with
microSD)
O4G
O129.5x66.7x9.2mm
O134g

STUFF SAYS Cheap, cheerful but outclassed by the budget Androids ++++,
www.stuff.tv

123

G R O U P T E S T B A R G A I N B LO W E R S

Xiaomi Redmi Note Price $199 / mi.com/sg


Whats that?
Theres more to Xiaomi than just
the Redmi and Mi3, which are
already some of the best Android
smartphones you can buy on a
budget right now. The Redmi Note
is essentially the Redmi on
steroids, being larger, heavier, and
more powerful than its smaller
sibling. Its seen just as much
success too, selling out thousands
of units in the same short
windows of time on Xiaomis
online store. Sure, there are a few
compromises, but its hard to
nitpick at this price.

BEST FOR...
PHABLET
FANS

Any good?
In terms of specs, the Redmi Note
is a technical knockout, with an
octa-core 1.7GHz processor, 2GB
of RAM, great 5.5in 720p display, a

decent 13MP rear camera, and a


massive 3200mAh battery.
Android purists may balk at the
dated Android 4.2 version, but that
shortcoming is well compensated
by the truckload of features on
MIUI. Sure, photos in low light arent
great, its slightly too bulky, and it
feels a little cheap, but thats
because its unbelievably so at just
$199. The only thing it really lacks
is 4G, but an upgraded LTEenabled version should arrive by
years end.
Tech 5.5in 1280x720 (267ppi) O
1.7GHz octa-core MTK MT6592,
2GB RAM O13MP 1080p rear,
5MP front O3100mAh O8GB
(plus up to 32GB with microSD)
O3G O154x78.7x9.45mm O199g

STUFF SAYS A phablet that gives you more than what you pay for ++++,

Moto E Price US$129 ($165) / motorola.com


Whats that?
Tech-lovers on a sub-$200
budget may finally have a solution.
Serving up a tidy, reliable, loveable
Android for the masses, the 4.3in
Moto E is your best bet for under
a ton. Its compact and sturdy build,
slick performance and close-tostock Android OS impress, with
only the quality of its 5MP camera,
the miserly 4GB of storage and
the lack of a front cam letting it
down majorly.

though lower-res than that of


the Moto G 4G opposite, is still
a cracker, with apps, games
and webpages all looking lovely.
Its main flaw is its camera, but
we find that most handsets
under $400 disappoint in this
department. Motorola really
has the monopoly on value
brilliance, so if youre just after
a dirt-cheap device or even
a second handset, you should
look no further.

BEST FOR...
YOUR
WALLET

Any good?
The 1980mAh battery isnt
swappable and will conk out an
hour before most here, but it still
comfortably lasts a day of light
use, and there are swappable
Motorola Shell covers to keep
the design feel fresh. The screen,

Tech 4.3in 540x960 (256ppi)


O1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm
Snapdragon 200, 1GB RAM
O5MP 480p rear, no front camera
O1980mAh O4GB (plus up to
32GB with microSD) Ono 4G
O124.8x64.8x12.3mm O142g

STUFF SAYS This is the best smartphone you can buy under $200 ++++,
124

www.stuff.tv

G R O U P T E S T B A R G A I N B LO W E R S

Moto G 4G Price $348 / motorola.com


Whats that?
The 2013 Moto G is now ludicrously
cheap, but 4G makes this new
model ever better. Its sturdily built
and fits snugly in one hand, while
swappable Shells give you the
option to customise its look on
a daily basis. The 4.5in, HD, 326ppi
screen is the real selling point over
its fuzzier-screened rivals. Next
to most other phones in its class
it looks pin-sharp, with vivid but
natural colours and good contrast.

BEST FOR...
ALL-ROUND
CLASS

T
TES R
E
NN
I
W

everything run smoothly and


you can can expect speedy
downloads, streaming and
browsing over 4G. The best
bit? The Moto G still lasts a day
between charges. If you have
specific criteria lets say youre
a n00b who likes the look of
Windows Phone, or taking pics
is your priority then other
budget phones in this test might
make more sense. But for most,
the G will do very nicely indeed.

Any good?
Its not without problems the
5MP camera does still disappoint
sometimes, especially in low light.
Motos also left the 4G with an
almost untouched version of
Android KitKat, adding a few
genuinely useful features
but nothing more. That helps

Tech 4.5in 1280x720 (326ppi) with


Gorilla Glass O1.2GHz quad-core
Qualcomm Snapdragon 400,
1GB RAM O5MP 720p rear, 1.3MP
720p front O2070mAh O8GB
(plus up to 32GB with microSD)
O4G O129.9x65.9x11.6mm
O143g

STUFF SAYS Fantastic and futureproof, its budget phone perfection +++++

Sony Xperia M2 Price $398/ sony.com.sg


Whats that?
Until the new 5in Kogan Agora
4G turns up, the Xperia M2 is the
best way to get a big screen on
a budget. Its blocky plastic design,
available in purple, white and black,
is based on the high-end Xperia
Z2. Performance is much better
than previous mid-range Sony
phones and battery life is pretty
good. Plus Sony has thrown in
extras you wont find on other
cheap blowers: small apps,
stamina mode for the battery,
and a pulsing notification light
to last over a day of use.

Any good?
The 8MP camera is the highlight
here. AF can be a little sluggish
but its easy to use, with Sonys
quick Superior Auto mode plus

lots of settings to dig into and


reliably good 1080p video. It
doesnt get close to the top
smartphones for picture quality,
but its the best all-round snapper
tested here. Its just a shame that
4.8in screen isnt very sharp at
229ppi and suffers from poor
viewing angles. If Sony had stuck
a higher-res screen on the M2 and
added support for 4G, this would
have been more of a rival for the
Moto G. As it is, it falls just short.

BEST FOR...
CAMERA
STILLS

Tech 4.8in 540x960 (229ppi)


O1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm
Snapdragon 400, 1GB RAM
O8MP 1080p rear, VGA front
O2330mAh O8GB (plus up to
32GB with microSD) Ono 4G
O139.6x71.1x 8.6mm O148g

STUFF SAYS Fine features and camera; only the screen lets it down ++++,
www.stuff.tv

125

REVIEWS

Sensory
snacks

From vampires
vampiires to kit
k
kittens,
itttens your
Stuff-scrutinised rundown of
this months key releases
in film, music and books

WATCH

71_cinema
ost people dont think
of Northern Ireland as a
former war zone: Youre
not even leaving the country, an
officer tells young Private Gary
Hook (Starred Ups Jack OConnell)
before his regiment is deployed to
Belfast a year before the events
of Bloody Sunday. But when
a routine house search gets out
of hand and Hook finds himself
stranded alone in the wrong part
of the city, hes very much on the
frontline and in a dangerous and
unfamiliar world.
When both friend and foe look
like theyve stepped off the set of
a Bee Gees video, Hook struggles
to fully trust anyone but himself.
When he befriends a young
boy and is unable to tell the
junior streetfighter whether

126

www.stuff.tv

hes Catholic or Protestant,


Hooks complete ignorance
of the situation is exposed.
Its a dark and claustrophobic
film, shot frequently on handheld
cameras and often lit by nothing
more than streetlights and burning
cars, with the shadows used like
its a horror movie. But as the night
unfolds and we discover theres
more to 71 than just a good guy
lost in a bad part of town, the
tension is ramped up. It soon
becomes clear that a wars
a war, even when its on your
doorstep, and those at the
bottom of the chain of command
always come off worse, no matter
which side youre on.
Tom Wiggins

Vampires have had a rough


ride in recent years, but Jim
Jarmusch isnt interested
in all that teen/sexy
nonsense. His approach,
contemplative yet quirky,
is entirely compatible with
Tom Hiddleston and Tilda
Swintons offbeat turns
as Adam and Eve. Vampires
havent felt so fresh or fun
in decades. This is how you
rescue a genre.
Ced Yuen

Godzillas humans are


mostly run-of-the-mill
action movie tropes,
but the monster, the
sound and the camera
itself have enough
presence to make this
a brilliant film: the eerie
scene in which a group
of soldiers skydive into
the ruined city is a really
exceptional piece of
movie-making.
Will Dunn

STUFF SAYS ++++,

STUFF SAYS +++++

STUFF SAYS +++++

Only Lovers
Left Alive_DVD

Godzilla
_DVD, Blu-ray

REVIEWS

LISTEN

Youre Dead!_Flying Lotus


As chief purveyor of LA
hipster-hop and the great
nephew of sax legend John
Coltrane, its no surprise
that Steven Ellison, aka
Flying Lotus, has gradually
let jazz influences creep
into his music. While Youre
Dead! isnt pure hard bop
or fusion, it delves further
into that world than any of
his previous four albums.
Prince would be proud
of how the guitars are
made to wail but vocal
appearances from

Kendrick Lamar, Snoop


Dogg and Ellisons own
Captain Murphy alter ego
ensure things are still
rooted in electronicatinged hip-hop, with his
trademark Dilla-inspired
woozy beats never more
than a bebop away.
Arguably FlyLos most
cohesive record to date
and you dont need a
beard or a pipe to dig it.
Tom Wiggins
STUFF SAYS ++++,

READ

Kitten Clone_Douglas Coupland


The three things that
keep people interested in
the internet are humour,
kittens in baskets and porn.
Cultural chin-scratcher
Douglas Coupland uses
two of them in this
entertaining yet alarming
analysis of online life, which
asks just what universal
connectedness has done
to the human mind. Triffic,
a bald Canadian moaning
that kids these days have
no attention span but
Kitten Clone sniffs deeper

down than that. Based on


informal interviews with
assorted hyper-nerds
from the Alcatel-Lucent
corporation, and illustrated
with melancholy pictures
of their offices around
the world, this short book
sometimes feels every bit
as chaotic and directionless
as the web itself but its
central thesis is quietly
apocalyptic.
Richard Purvis
STUFF SAYS ++++,

Our Love

Playland

Storm_Tim

Lock In

_Caribou

_Johnny Marr

Minchin, DC Turner
and Tracy King

_John Scalzi

With David Guetta, Avicii


et al doing their best to
spoil 30 years of dance
music, its nice to have
Dan Snaith fighting back.
Although his fourth album
as Caribou isnt all for
the dancefloor, Silvers
Vangelis-esque synths
give way to some bassier,
more old-skool sounds.
Our Love will be the sound
of your second summer.
Tom Wiggins

This is contemporary
guitar pop with a tinge
of electro-goth menace.
Judged as such, without
mentioning or even
thinking about yknow,
that band he used to be in
Marrs second solo album
is pretty decent. So heres
a 50-year-old showing
the kids how its done; the
only question is whether
it really needs doing.
Richard Purvis

Comedian Tim Minchins


graphic novel based on
a dinner-party argument
with a hippy makes the
case for rationality; his
opponent waffles on about
auras and homeopathy.
The writings sharp and
the artwork pops, though
youll whizz through it in
less time than it takes to
listen to the original poem.
Steven Graves

The sci-fi detective genre


has more than its fair
share of classics, from
The Demolished Man to
Dirk Gently. This is good
enough to sit with the best
of them, fitting a pandemic,
a seemingly unsolvable
murder and a pair of cops,
one of whom lives via a
telelpresence robot, into a
weekends fast-paced and
highly engaging reading.
Will Dunn

STUFF SAYS ++++,

STUFF SAYS +++,,

STUFF SAYS +++,,

STUFF SAYS ++++,

www.stuff.tv

127

PROJECTS
MAKE. DO. UPGRADE.

p130
BETA YOURSELF:
COOKING

p132
PLAYLIST:
PODCASTS

Urgent message
from your
oesophagus: No
more fish fingers

Entertain your
ears while your
eyes are stuck
in the real world

p134
INSTANT
UPGRADES:
FIREWORKS

p136
RE-AWESOMISE
YOUR
CHROMEBOOK

Make sure theres


an ahhhh! for
every oooh!

Get more from


that little slice
of laptoppy love

www.stuff.tv

129

PROJECTS | 11.14
BETA
YOURSELF

COOKING
Are you a walking kitchen nightmare? Les Dunn, managing
editor of food magazine delicious, shares a few tricks
that might make even Monica Galetti crack a smile

THE BASICS

QStay sharp. Hone your


blade on a ceramic steel before
every use. Dont let anyone
else do it a blade adjusts
to your sharpening pattern
with biometric precision, and
a different hand might blunt it.

QInvest in heavy-based
pans. Cheap, thin-based pans
cook your food unevenly and
their inferno-like hotspots make
it easier to burn food. Quality kit
such as Meyer Circulon Infinite
pans will last for years and years.

QUse tongs for control. Half


the frustration in cooking comes
from things sticking or not going
where you want them to (damn
you, sausages!). Tongs are like an
extra, asbestos-coated hand.
QReach for the big knife.
Your cooks knife, with its 20cm
blade, isnt just for carving
chickens. Its the fastest tool

for slicing or chopping anything,


from a joint of beef to a clove
of garlic.

QCook for enjoyment. Fine


dining is about prissily trimming
off perfectly good bits of meat,
or moulding food in steel rings.
Dont waste time on all that
cheffy stuff concentrate on
flavour.

QDont Google it! Well, dont


Google indiscriminately. When
youre looking for a particular
recipe, always use a trusted
source. Food magazines such
as delicious (others are available)
test every recipe they publish
and tweak them until theyre
foolproof. There are thousands
of recipes available online for
free, but finding a good one is
like choosing tomatoes: have
a good sniff first.

THE SKILLS
QHoning your blades. Hold
the steel upright on a chopping
board then run the blade across
it towards you, fairly lightly, 10
times. Repeat on the other side.

QProper chopping. Put a


damp J-cloth under the board
so it cant slide around. Keep the
tip of the knife on the board as
you smoothly move the handle
up and back, then down and
forward, through the food.

QCheats mixing. Folding in


with a spoon is tricky use a
balloon whisk, lifting and turning
slowly. The tiny surface area
means you lose very little air.

130

www.stuff.tv

11.14 | PROJECTS
LEVEL
UP WITH...

SORTED FOOD
$free / iOS
This lot started mucking
around with cookery
videos to help save their
fellow students from living
on junk food. Refreshingly
unpretentious, theyve
since rocked the food
world with their YouTube
channel; the new app has
700-plus recipes, with
the option of uploading
your own masterpieces.

McGEE ON
FOOD & COOKING
26 ($55) /
bookdepository.com
With his classic, weighty
1984 tome, Harold McGee
was the first to take
a properly scientific
approach to cooking.
The much-revised
2004 edition is even
better. Read it, and when
naive friends in the pub
regurgitate stale myths
such as Searing the
meat seals in the juices,
youll have hours of fun
debunking them.

THE INGREDIENTS
QVeg boxes. Dont worry,
they wont turn you into a hippy.
Veg-forward cookery is big now,
and a weekly consignment of
seasonal produce will help you
join the revolution.

GRIDDLE THE
PERFECT STEAK
QBuy a top-quality steak:
225g, dry-aged ribeye. Leave
out of the fridge for half an hour.
Get your griddle pan hot.

NOW ADD THESE


QKitchenAid Artisan Mixer.
The first time you make pizzas,
youll love all that kneading; the
20th time, youll wish you could
just chuck it all into a machine.
US$460 ($585) / kitchenaid.com

QBrush the steak with oil,


QThe specialist site. All out
of yuzu powder? souschef.co.
uk is a one-stop shop for
hard-to-find ingredients, ideal
when your local supermarket
lets you down.

season well and place on the


griddle, oiled side down. Cook
for 2 mins, pressing to get the
lines. Oil and season the top,
turn and cook for 2 mins more.

QMeanwhile, warm a plate


QThe lifesaving book. The
Flavour Thesaurus by Niki Segnit
lists 99 popular ingredients with
possible flavour matches: bingo,
odds and ends become recipes.

in the microwave for 1 min. Rest


your steak on the plate for 5-10
mins so the muscle cells relax
and the meat becomes more
tender and juicy. Enjoy.

QLakeland Digital
Thermometer. Many recipes
use precise temperatures; dont
rely on folksy guesswork methods.
20 ($41) / lakeland.co.uk

QTefal Jamie Oliver Clipso


Pressure Cooker. The cheaper
cuts of meat have great flavour
but take hours to slow-cook
unless you have one of these.
120 ($250) / tefal.co.uk

THE SCHOOL OF
ARTISAN FOOD
1-day courses from 145
($300) /
schoolofartisanfood.org
Doing it from scratch,
whether its curing meat
or crafting your own
yogurt and cheese, is
what its all about for the
contemporary food
obsessive. This respected
college on a country
estate in Sherwood
Forest can teach you all
the traditional skills.

www.stuff.tv

131

PLAYLIST

PODCASTS

Whether you fancy nipping out for a learn-walk, an edu-stroll


or a bit of runtertainment, weve picked the best shows for
those terrifying times when dont have access to a screen

RETRONAUTS
If you want a retro
gaming listening
alternative
to YouTubes Lets
Play videos, this
podcast will look
after your 8- and
16-bit needs. It
verges on the nerdy
at times, and its
lengthy but as
an exploration of
brilliant games from
a bygone era, theres
nothing to beat it.
retronauts.com

GUARDIAN
FOOTBALL WEEKLY
A world away
from the blustery,
loud-mouthed world
of sports-focused
radio, the always
amusing James
Richardson and his
highly knowledgeable
guests oer the
sort of witty,
analysis-based view
of the game thats
seemingly impossible
to nd anywhere else.
theguardian.com

132

www.stuff.tv

RADIOLAB
Science and
philosophy are the
chief concerns of this
show from New York
public station WNYC,
but its certainly not
dry or exclusive:
compelling stories,
tight editing and the
use of experimental
music keep things
moving swiftly.
For a taster, listen
to the Radiolab
shorts episodes.
radiolab.org

THE MCP
Movie geeks should
set aside a few hours
to catch up with the
Motion/Captured
Podcast, a lengthy
and well-informed
dive into the world
of lm hosted by
screenwriter and
journalist Drew
McWeeny and
his writing partner
Scott Swan. An
insightful, insiders
view of Hollywood.
iTunes

FREAKONOMICS
The podcast of the
bestselling book,
Freakonomics digs
into the world from
an economists point
of view. This means
answering a range
of questions Does
religion make you
happy? Whats the
best exercise? Should
tipping be banned?
in a surprisingly
enthralling way.
freakonomics.com/
radio/

STUFF YOU
SHOULD KNOW
Did you know that
the male pillow
octopus sometimes
breaks o one of his
arms to use as a
sword against bigger
sh? We didnt either,
until we started
listening to a pair of
American bloggers
who like to talk about
absolutely everything
under the sun.
stuyoushouldknow.
com

WELCOME TO
NIGHT VALE
Twin Peaks fan? Tune
into ctional tales of
a small desert town,
told through the
medium of a radio
broadcast. Drily,
darkly humorous,
its news, weather
and bizarre adverts
create a vivid picture
of a place where
weirdness is ordinary.
commonplacebooks.
com/welcome-tonight-vale

11.14 | PROJECTS

NOW ADD
THESE...
You cant podcastulate your
brain with the wrong tools.
Get the following and start
reshaping your ideas-gland

JABRA ROX WIRELESS


Youre going to be spending gigahours
listening to all this great content, so
youre going to need many ways to
listen like these liberatingly diminutive
Bluetooth earphones, which have five
hours of battery life.
$169 / store.apple.com/sg

PODKICKER

UNDER THE RADAR


If you wondered what
had happened to 90s
TV comedy stalwart
Sean Seans Show
Hughes, wonder
no longer: hes now
hosting this witty,
sharp and laid-back
podcast, in which
we nd him in
conversation with
a guest or guests
from the world
of entertainment
and comedy.
soundcloud.com

SODAJERKER ON
SONGWRITING
Sodajerker are
Scouse songwriting
duo Simon Barber
and Brian OConnor
who, when theyre
not locked in a studio,
make this fascinating
podcast on the art
of songcraft. Most
episodes feature the
pair picking the brains
of a musician such as
Loudon Wainwright III
or Billy Bragg.
sodajerker.com

BLUE JAM
Created by Brass
Eyes Chris Morris
and broadcast on
Radio 1 in the late
90s during the early
hours of the morning,
this mix of surreal
comedy sketches
and ambient
soundscapes was
unlike anything that
had ever been or
ever would be
broadcast on
mainstream radio.
archive.org

ALL SONGS
CONSIDERED
From the non-prot
cultural titan NPR,
this weekly oering
in the style of a radio
show is a great way
to keep up to date
with whats going
on in indie music.
Featuring track
premieres, its a
must for any muso
who knows their
Ariel Pink from their
Air Supply.
npr.org

Apples own Podcasts app is pretty


handy, but if youre an Android user
the podcast-listening app is less
obvious. Podkicker is pretty good as
standard; the 69p Pro version adds
goodies and removes display ads.
from $free, play.google.com

SAMSON METEORITE
CONDENSER MICROPHONE
Inspired? You neednt buy a mic to start
recording your own mind-splurge, but
itll vastly improve matters if you do.
Equally, you neednt buy one as pretty
as this one but just look at it!
$79, samsontech.com

www.stuff.tv

133

6 INSTANT UPGRADES
FIREWORKSNIGHT
What better way to christen your new back garden than
with a neighbour-annoying, dog-bothering pyrotechnics
extravaganza? Warning: may emit sparks of sensationalness

134

www.stuff.tv

[ Illustration Jamie Sneddon ]

11.14 | PROJECTS

PYROTECHNIC
PAPPING

Your guests are on their way, the


emergency water bucket is on
standby, youve set up your
camera (see panel) and the
reworks are ready to launch...
but whats that smell? Uh-oh,
youve boiled the mulled wine
into a foul-tasting soup again.
This six-litre soup kettle is the
perfect set-and-forget option.
In stainless steel with a variable
thermostat, it means youll never
end up with horrible boiled wine
again. Also good for those six
litres of soup Sundays.
80 ($165) / nisbets.co.uk

4 XSORIES WEYE FEYE


If you want to photograph your
reworks, the best views arent
likely to be from the safest
places. Solution: the Weye Feye
pronounced like Wi-Fi hooks
up to your Nikon or Canon DSLR
(theres an S version coming
soon that works with most
cameras) and provides live view
and remote shooting controls on
your smartphone or tablet via its
own Wi-Fi network. The built-in
battery gives up to eight hours
of use and it works up to 80m
away, so you can get your
camera up close without putting
yourself in the line of re.
200 ($413) / xsories.co.uk

2 LAUNCH KONTROL
PULSE
Why would you stumble around
a muddy garden in the dark
when you could set o your
reworks at the push of a
button? The Launch Kontrol
Pulse is a simple wired system
that can be used up to 20m
away. Replaceable ignition tips
clip to the rework fuses, and
the pad is connected via a Cat 5
network cable and powered by
a 9V battery. Up to four reworks
can be triggered per board, and
you can chain multiple boards
together for bigger displays.
17 ($35) / pyrostation.co.uk

5 FIREWORKS
INTERNATIONAL
TOMAHAWK ROCKETS
Every good display needs a ne
set of rockets to round it o. This
bargain pack of ve Fireworks
International Tomahawks is just
the job. With two dazzling eects
Silver Glittering Willow and the
rather cocktail-sounding Green
Crackling Coconut with Pistil
Purple Peony theyre the
perfect showstoppers. Youll
nally be able to shake o
the stigma of that time you
disappointed everyone with a
mouldy box of Roman candles.
20 ($41) / pyro.co.uk

3 BRAVEN BRV-1
If youre feeling really creative,
you could always set your
reworks display to music. Ready
to provide the soundtrack is the
BRV-1. Its a compact Bluetooth
speaker built to withstand the
testing conditions of a cold,
damp November night thanks
to its IPX5 water-resistant rating
and rugged rubber exterior. Its
twin drivers can manage 3W
each of power and oer a playing
time of up to 12 hours. It also has
a built-in noise-cancelling mic
for hands-free calling although
its probably best not to try that
while the sky is exploding.
130 ($270) / braven.eu

6 HUSQVARNA
TECHNICAL GLOVES
You need sturdy gloves that will
keep your ngers safe without
being too bulky for ddling with
fuses. While theyre designed for
use with Husqvarna chainsaws,
these are also light enough to
allow full movement, with a
tough yet supple goat-leather
palm, extra protection for the
index nger and a terry-cloth
panel for wiping away your
excitement-induced sweat. The
snug Velcro closure makes sure
they stay put, and reective
piping makes them easier to
nd if you drop one in the dark.
39 ($80) / husqvarna.com

LONG EXPOSURE
If youre using a DSLR,
select manual and focus
on innity. Keep the ISO
at 100, set the aperture
to around f/12 and try
exposures up to 30 secs.
If youre using a compact
camera, select night mode
(no ash) or reworks
mode if it has one.

TIME-LAPSE
If you want to record
the whole thing, you
can compress an entire
reworks display
into a 15-second clip.
Many cameras have
a time-lapse mode,
or you can use apps
such as Lapse It (from
$free / iOS, Android).

EXPERIMENT
Feeling ambitious?
Try getting reections,
silhouettes of spectators
or use ash in a group
shot with long exposure
to catch background
reworks. With care, you
could even use a drone to
capture an aerial view.

www.stuff.tv

[ Photos flickr.com/nickwheeleroz, flickr.com/gotovan, flickr.com/caomai, youtube.com/goprocamera ]

1 DUALIT STRAIGHT
SOUP KETTLE

TRIPOD
An essential. Decide what
angle you want to capture
and set up your camera
on a tripod to keep it
steady. You can even
use the Weye Feye (see
no.4, left) to see exactly
what your camera sees
and re o shots without
shaking it.

135

PROJECTS | 11.14

5 RE-AWESOMISE YOUR CHROMEBOOK

WAYS TO...

More than a tablet but not quite a laptop, Chromebooks are dicult
to dene but easy to love. Theres also a lot more to them than
you might realise heres how to make yours truly tremendous

Use it to control
other PCs

Beef up
its storage

Chrome Remote
Desktop
Googles Chrome
Remote Desktop,
which lets you take
control of a PC via
the browser (you
can also do this
from an Android
phone), allows you
to outsource tougher
processing tasks
to your desktop,
remotely control
software or use
it as a media server
for your telly.
$free / chrome.
google.com

Transcend 128GB
Superspeed
If youve not got the
guts to open up your
machine and replace
the internal storage, all
is not yet lost. Thanks
to the magic of
superfast USB 3.0
data transfers, anSSDbased external drive is
almost as good as an
internal one these
days. And theyre not
too expensive either:
perfect for your
lm collection.
$216 /
sg.transcend-info.com

4
Make it a digital
darkroom
Pixlr Editor,
Pixlr Touch Up
Both of these
photo-editing apps
work oine. Pixlr
Touch Up is fairly
basic but Pixlr
Editor is more of
a Photoshop-esque
experience. Youll see
a File menu appear,
giving you menus to
trace, feather, layer,
lter, clone and so
on. Its not going to
kill Adobe in the near
future, but its free.
$free / chrome.
google.com

Give it the joy


of Ubuntu
Crouton
Missing a proper
operating system?
Because Chrome
OS is built on Linux,
Crouton can install
Ubuntu Linux (and
even Android, for
advanced tinkerers)
alongside Chrome
OS. It takes some
ddling (and for
Petes sake back up
rst) and it can be
slow on older ARM
processors, but ies
on Celeron models.
$free / github.com/
dnschneid/crouton

5
Save the
internet
for later
Pocket
Chromebooks
have been improving
their oine prowess
(see below), but there
are still rare moments
when youre lost
without a connection.
Install Pocket and use
the button to save
any webpage you
nd useful, and when
you open the smart
oine app on your
Chromebook itll all
be there.
$free /
getpocket.com

GO OFFLINE In the early days of Chromebooks, they needed an internet

connection to do anything, but there are now hundreds of apps including


Gmail, Docs, games and video and photo editors that work oine.

136

www.stuff.tv

11.14 | PROJECTS
5-MINUTE
HACKS

IF NOTHING ELSE, AT LEAST...

CONQUER
EVEREST

GIVE YOUTUBE
A FACELIFT

Hordes of climbers have


struggled to defeat the big
old Sagarmatha. Luckily, this
simulation lets you do it in your
dressing gown:

Tired of faffing with the


same old YouTube settings?
Fancy giving it the Ambilight
treatment? Time to wave this
internet wand:

1. Go to
everestavalanchetragedy.com
and click on Mount Everest in
3D. Don your warmest cardigan
and hit Start the climb.

1. Go to chromeactions.com
and add the Magic Actions
extension to your Chrome,
Firefox or Opera browser. All
done? Off we go to YouTube.

2. For the most bone-chilling


experience, put on some
headphones to experience an
icy wind as you climb through
the perilous Khumbu Icefall
(complete with rescue mission
radio) and beyond.

2. Whats this underneath


the video window? Its a lovely
new menu bar. Here youll find
shortcuts for auto-repeat and
filters, but for the really good
stuff click on Magic Options.

3. Made the summit? Brew


a well-deserved cuppa and
explore your panoramic view,
before heading to the donate
now section to raise money
for the Sherpa Family Fund.

TUNE IN NEXT MONTH TO...

3. This list of handy tweaks


includes Auto HD, Stop
Autoplay and the rather
useful Ratings Preview, which
puts a rating bar in each videos
thumbnail so you can decide
if its worthy of your click.

O Sharpen your stargazing O Find online services


worth subscribing to O Clue up on arcade machines

AWESOMISE
YOUR TEXTS

The poor old text message


looks a bit 1997 in the age
of FaceTime. Spruce texts up
with these GIF messaging apps:
1. Download Ultratext ($free,
iOS). Type away, pressing the
spacebar every time you want
a new frame in your text GIF.
2. Press the camera icon to
insert a photo, and touch the
colour wheel to change your
font and background colours.
Press return to get a preview.
3. Want to film a Vine-like GIF?
Download Camoji ($free, iOS),
gurn into your front-facing
camera and send that for good
measure. Mind double-blown.

www.stuff.tv

137

Follow us

instagram.com/stuffsingapore

TOP
TEN
OF EVERYTHING
Smartphones
Tablets
Media streamers
Headphones
TVs
Laptops
Best of the Rest

140
141
142
143
144
145
146

Games
Game machines
Local apps
Compact cameras
SLRs, etc
Geek accessories
Wearable tech

147
148
149
150
151
152
153

Home computers / Blu-Ray / Camcorders

For full reviews of every product in the


top 10s, visit stuff.tv/reviews

T
HO
Y
BU

SMARTPHONES

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10

LG G3

While we hoped the G3 would continue the great work started by the G2, we
werent expecting it to be quite so much of a leap forward. Upgrades range
from little touches such as the sleeker back buttons to major changes such
as the bigger, better 2K screen and laser-assisted camera. The only thing
that isnt better is the battery life, but considering all that LG has crammed
into the G3, the fact that it still lasts 15hrs is to be applauded.

HTC One M8

www.stuff.tv

STUFF SAYS

LG surprises us again.
Theres barely a single thing
wrong with the G3 and so,
so much thats right with it

$868 +++++

from $998
+++++

BEST FOR
RAW POWER

$1068
+++++

BEST FOR
FUN
FEATURES

$998
+++++

BEST FOR
THE
CONNOISSEUR

A curious blend of tried-and-tested 4in screen, design, huge cost with new-andexciting features like a 64-bit processor, fingerprint-sensing home button and iOS 7.
What it adds up to is an easy purchase for most but were ready for iPhone 6.

from $988
+++++

BEST FOR
APPLE
FANS

Google Nexus 5

from
US$349
($445)
+++++

BEST FOR
PRICE TAG

$1048
+++++

BEST FOR
SAUSAGE
FINGERS

$169
+++++

BEST FOR
VALUE

$769
+++++

BEST FOR
FREE SPIRITS

$999
++++,

BEST FOR
CAMERA
OBSESSIVES

Only just toppled by the new LG, HTCs flagship phone has enough power to take it to
the top of the AnTuTu benchmarks. Its a beaut to look at and to use, and its even got
a whole load of Lytro-style post-snap refocus features for photographic fun.

Samsung Galaxy S5

Big, bold and stuffed with tech, the Galaxy S5 is a bona fide superphone that will
delight Samsung fans, although it has some very stiff competition. It has a faster
processor, a slightly bigger screen and a more solid (if not quite stylish) feel than the S4.

Sony Xperia Z2

Classy, clever and with talent in spades, the water-resistant Z2 oozes quality. It flies
in use and is capable of taking brilliant photos and playing videos at 4K cinephile quality.
If the design had just been a bit more practical, it would have been unstoppable.

Apple iPhone 5s

Delivering top-end spec at a mid-range price, the new Nexus has a bigger 4.95in
screen, faster processor and a satisfactory 8MP snapper. But the biggest
improvement is its chocolatey-smooth Android KitKat 4.4 OS. Astounding value.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Verily, tis indicative of the age in which we live, when a supercharged superphone
gets five glowing stars, but only makes No7. By Crumbles, though, its good. Blistering
processor, 5.7in screen and stylus smarts. Its the best gigantophone there is.

Xiaomi Redmi

Dollar-for-dollar, this is undisputedly the best Android phone you can get for your
money. At just $169 without contract for excellent performance, solid hardware, and
the gorgeous MIUI, youll be hard pressed to find a realistic alternative.

Oppo N1

The upstart brand barges its way into the Top Ten with an Android phone thats as
impressive in performance as it is in size. The distinctive swivelling 13MP camera is
great, the 5.9in screen is beautiful and you can even change the OS.

Nokia Lumia 1020

Finally, a cameraphone worthy of the name. The WP8-running 1020 takes superb 38MP
snaps helped by such treats as optical stabilisation and a xenon flash. Or it can scale
them down to 5MP and cram in more detail. But as a phone, its good rather than great.

O Prices quoted are for handset only unless otherwise stated

140

TABLETS

www.stuff.tv

T
HO
Y
BU

1
2

NE

NE

3
4
5

W
NE

6
7
8
9
10

Apple iPad Air

The more things change, the more they stay the same. As the addition
of the Air moniker implies, the iPads been slimmed down on the outside
and beefed up on the inside, while retaining all the other goodies that
made previous versions great. So it now rocks the 64-bit A7 chip and M7
motion coprocessor that debuted with the iPhone 5s, while keeping the
gorgeous screen, quality build and abundance of tablet-optimised apps
that first won our hearts.

Apple iPad Mini With Retina Display

Apples baby tab has been in for a nip and a tuck and emerged with a youthful-looking
2048x1536 screen. The flawless build quality, creativity-friendly 7.9in form and oodles
of tablet-optimised apps remain; only a few colour inaccuracies keep it behind the Air.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5

Samsung has blessed the Galaxy Tab with one of the best tablet screens weve ever
laid eyes on, plus an impressive camera and some incredible stamina but there are
performance niggles and Apples tablet app selection is still far superior.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4

141

STUFF SAYS

Now thinner, lighter and


more powerful than ever,
the iPad Air is a beautiful
sliver of gadget heaven

from $688 +++++

from $548
+++++

BEST FOR
CREATIVITY
ON THE MOVE

from $848
+++++

BEST FOR
MAGAZINES
AND MOVIES

Superb screen, unique features really, theres very little thats missing here. For us
the iPad Mini beats the Samsung by a whisker for its design, performance and wider
selection of optimised apps, but against other Android tabs its a winner.

from $598
+++++

Google Nexus 7

from
US$229
(295)
+++++

BEST FOR
VALUE AND
PERFORMANCE

from $1108
+++++

BEST FOR
USING
ANYWHERE

The Transformers have always been more about laptop relacement than tableteering,
and this one is the laptopiest yet. A 2560x1600 screen, two-day battery life (with
keyboard dock) and quad-core Tegra processor all work Android up into a frenzy.

$749
+++++

BEST FOR
ALL-ROUND
EXCELLENCE

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7in

from
US$229
($295)
+++++

BEST FOR
SAFE & SIMPLE
TABLETEERING

from $599
+++++

BEST FOR
DESKTOP
VERSATILITY

The Nexus has moved further ahead of the Android pack by virtue of getting an
update to OS 4.4 KitKat. Its now smoother, faster and more battery-friendly than
ever, while its 323 pixel-per-inch 1080p screen and quad-core power still impress.

Microsoft Surface Pro 3

At last, Microsoft has delivered on the promise of the tablet-cum-laptop hybrid.


It proves theres space in the world for a design thats more productive than an
iPad or Galaxy Note, but easier to hump around than a traditional laptop.

Asus Transformer Pad TF701T

The Fire HDX presents a sanitised version of Android cloaked in a user-friendly Amazon
skin. Theres even a Mayday button for instant video help. A great build, fast processor
and stunning screen round off a package thatll appeal to families and less techy types.

Asus Transformer Book T100

This 10.1in tab-and-dock combo has enough grunt to run full Win 8.1 thanks to Intels
new Baytrail CPU. The 1366x768 screen is a good un, with crisp text, great contrast
and colours that pop, while dual-band Wi-Fi and a day-long battery are also welcome.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014)

The new 10.1 is fit to bursting with clever tricks, comes with the note-tastic S Pen and
has a stunning 2560x1600 screen. But while we can forgive it its tacky looks, minor
performance glitches deny it that fifth star; we hope firmware updates will fix them.

from $798
++++,

142
T
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MEDIA STREAMERS
Sonos Playbar

No holes involved. Just a simple setup process


with this one-piece wonder, armed with six
woofers and three tweeters. It plays nice with
other Sonos systems, combining with the
Play:3 and Play:1 speakers to create an
immersive aural network. Kids and
neighbours hardly have reason to complain
when the handy Night Mode kicks in and
compresses the volume to keep the din down.

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Bose SoundLink Wireless

The Bose SoundLink Wireless speaker is definitely worth your attention (and money).
This impressive Bluetooth speaker delivers warm sounds, with a balanced delivery of the
audio range. What you pay, is what you get.

Apple TV

No sign of Apples rumoured TV set, so this tiny media streamer will have to do for
now. And why not, it streams movies at 1080p, lets you access Apples extensive
movie collection on iTunes, and hooks up your iOS devices with a full HD TV wirelessly.

Bowers & Wilkins Z2

The baby of B&Ws AirPlay range is a little belter, and it adds a proper Lightning dock to
Apples wireless tech. Itll easily fill a small to medium-sized room with chunky bass,
punchy beats and lovely, clear vocals. Youll buy it for the look, but love it for the sound.

Denon CEOL Piccolo

A diminutive standard-bearer for next-gen micro hi-fi, the Denons got Spotify, a control
app, and itll stream your own tunes, right up to 24-bit. The docks 30-pin, but who cares
when youve also got AirPlay? Add Q Acoustics 2020i speakers for awesome sound.

Libratone Zipp

A fuzzy, cylindrical, colourful AirPlay dock that will deliver detailed, punchy 360-degree
sound anywhere at all, thanks to a built-in battery that gives it four hours of outdoors life.
Direct Wi-Fi skills free you from cables, routers, and everything but the boogie.

Philips Fidelio SoundSphere DS9800W

In a world awash with AirPlay-equipped docks, the SoundSpheres have created a niche
for themselves by offering proper two-channel stereo output. Idiosyncratic looks ensure
theyll stand out even further from the crowd, and they sound great too.

Sony SRS-BTM8

Forget that this Sony looks uncomfortably like a handbag because its actually one of the
biggest bargains in hi-fi right now. Pop in four AA batteries (old-school, right?) and it will
power a party in the park. Its got fancy NFC, too, but the best thing is that it sounds ace.

B&W Zeppelin Air

The Air brings the sound and design smarts weve come to expect from the Zeppelin
family and adds AirPlay streaming as a bonus trick. Pair it with the app, and let fellow
music lovers add their music collection to a collaborative list.

Sonos Play:1

Small yet powerful. Apt words for Sonos smallest ever wireless speaker. On its own, this
wireless portable speaker packs quite a punch Its potential is limitless, once you hook it
up with its fellow Sonos speakers to create a surround sound system.

www.stuff.tv

STUFF SAYS

This speaker is single, ready


to mingle and sets the mood
in the living room, minus the
complicated setup

$1299 ++++,

$549
+++++

BEST FOR
TOP SOUND
QUALITY

$148
+++++
$649
+++++
$399
+++++

BEST FOR
VERSATILITY
AND VALUE

$589
+++++

BEST FOR
AL FRESCO
PARTIES

$1299
+++++
$139
+++++
$1099
++++,
from $399
++++,

BEST FOR
BARGAINOUS
BLUETOOTH

HEADPHONES / EARPHONES 143

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Sennheiser IE 800
These bad boys pack the latest in ear gear tech to bring you
more than you can probably hear. Comfortable and
lightweight, theyre scratch-resistant to handle wear and tear.
Expect real-life detail and crystal clear fidelity. Your ears
wont be able to do any better.

STUFF SAYS

They might cost more than


what youd usually spend on
earphones, but they sound
heaps better than regular
earphones.

$1139 +++++
Shure SE846

These sound-isolating earphones will make you feel like you possess the super sonic
hearing of a bat. Thanks to its quad HD microdriver and a low-pass filter, depth is
assured without compromising on detail.

Klipsch X11i

The successor to the chart-topping X10i is the smallest and lightest pair of in-ears to
have ever lived. And its a good thing that their sound belies their size; were talking
full-bodied tunes with impressive bass to rattle your bones.

Sennheiser MOMENTUM On-Ear

The MOMENTUM On-Ear is one of the best looking, well-built headphones we have
seen in a while. Available in a variety of seven colours, they pack high-end
transducers for hi-fidelity sound on a solid bedrock of bass.

A-JAYS FIVE

With three different full-feature models tailor-made for your iOS, Android or Windows
device, these earphones mean business. The new driver and aluminium crafting help
them deliver big tunes and impeccable aural detail despite their slight package.

Bowers & Wilkins P3

Superb sound and a solid and achingly stylish design make these the best portable
on-ears around. The fact that two cables come in the box one with a mic and
remote for iPhones, one without only sweetens the already candy floss-like deal.

B&O Beoplay H3

These good-looking fellas demonstrate what highly skilled engineering , having been
milled from a single block of alumiunim But theyre not just about the aesthetics,
these in-ears also boast a surprisingly spacious soundstage and good clarity.

Bose AE2w

Were not going to pretend that the protruding Bluetooth module isnt a rather ugly
touch, but whats most important is that these Bose headphones deliver wireless
sound of superb quality. Well put up with looking a wee bit daft for musical magic.

Bose FreeStyle earbuds

While their fit might not be the most conventional, youll be surprised at how secure
they feel once theyre in. Water-resistant to accompany you on your runs, they serve
up balanced tones on a neutral platter.

Sony XB70AP

The name says it all - Xtra Bass. The Power Bass Duct in these come ready to bottom
out the drop in your dubstep. If its low tones you desire, these in-ears are the perfect
pair for you, if you dont mind missing out on the clarity of other notes.

$1300
+++++
$569
+++++

BEST FOR
JUST ABOUT
EVERYTHING

$299
+++++
$140
+++++
$330
+++++
$329
+++++

BEST FOR
STYLISH SOUND
SEEKERS

$350
+++++
$219
+++++

BEST FOR
ACTIVE
GO-GETTERS

$109
+++++

BEST FOR
BASS JUNKIES

144
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TVs

www.stuff.tv

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7
8
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Samsung UA65F9000AK UHD 4K TV


You wont have to fork out thousands of dollars to get a new TV
when 4K content comes to town. Its future-proofed Smart
Evolution feature lets you purchase and attach a nextgeneration kit to boost the performance and compatibility of
the smart TV for future 4K video standards. Now thats upping
the ante.

STUFF SAYS

Upgrading your TV has


never been easier. Just
plug a new kit, and voila instant TV with boosted
hardware and better
features

$9499 +++++
Samsung UA55H7000AK

Striking a fine balance between design and performance, this slim yet powerful LED
TV is a great centrepiece for your living room with its 1080p screen resolution and
simple yet smart features.

LG 55LB750T

LGs latest full HD TV is armed with a modest 2.1 channel, 24W speaker that
complements the clear and sharp imagery. Its also the first webOS-powered TV,
showcasing how smart TVs should be made.

LG LA9700 UHD 4K TV 55in

8.3 million pixels on this LG ultra HD 4K TV will give your eyes a visual treat. LGs
upscaling technology, which analyzes data and enhances each pixel, delivers a
smashingly, eye-popping viewing experience with your usual full HD content.

Samsung UA65F8000AK

Armed with a quad-core processor to power its smart features, this smart TV from
Samsung is a good-looking beast, thanks to its slim 5mm bezel, crisp metal finish and
deep arc stand. Let its Intelligent Viewing automatically optimise the picture.

Sony KDL-55W800B

Design is clearly a priority with this beautiful Sony display. The LED panel and full HD
resolution will amaze you, but not as much as the old-school user interface thatll
make you feel right at home.

LG LA8600 55in

Armed with an elegant design and ultra narrow bezel, this LG full HD TV is so sleek you
might mistake it for an actual canvas on the wall. Motion blurring is removed with its
TruMotion 240Hz feature and its flicker-free 3D glasses brings movie to life.

Toshiba 39L3300VE

This slim full HD TV delivers an astounding 1080p viewing experience, for a fraction of
the prices tagged to the latest full HD TVs. Hook it up to your game console, and you
get to hear and see its amazing Game sound and video mode.

Sony KD-55X8504A

Welcome to the cheap end of the 4K ultra high definition (UHD) spectrum. The only
caveat, is the lack of 4K content to play with. That said, normal HD movies looks just as
wonderful, so the $5999 spent is justifiable.

LG LN5710 42in

The best TVs are those that get the job done, without diverging from its real mission delivering crisp and sharp full HD movies. This modestly-sized (by TV standards) LG
display has the smarts to record TV shows within its 2GB internal memory.

$3499
+++++
$3299
+++++
$6999
++++,
$8999
++++,
$2999
++++,
$4899
++++,
$899
++++,
$5999
++++,
$1099
+++,,

LAPTOPS 145

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Apple MacBook Air 13in (2014)

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9
10

The 2014 MacBook Air update means, once again, our favourite old
laptop is now our favourite new laptop. Nothings changed on the
outside, and under the skin theres just a slight processor boost from
1.3GHz to 1.4GHz, but combined with a price cut of $200 on each
model were still happy with that. The very top model, which comes
with a 256GB SSD, is now just under two grand, too. Head to stuff.tv
for our full reviews of both 13in and 11in versions.

Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display 13in (2013)

STUFF SAYS

Its not a major upgrade, but


Apple has improved the Airs
already awesome spec and
lopped $200 off the price

from $1328 +++++

Were all agreed that the best laptop is a MacBook, but choosing between Air and Pro
is getting steadily harder. Both now run on Haswell chips, but the Pro is faster. It also
gets a 4K-capable Thunderbolt 2 port, and then theres that Retina screen. Tough call.

from $1688
+++++

Microsoft Surface Pro 3

from
$1108

At last, Microsoft has delivered on the promise of the tablet-cum-laptop hybrid.


It proves theres space in the world for a design thats more productive than an
iPad or Galaxy Note, but easier to hump around than a traditional laptop.

(with Type Cover)

+++++

Asus ROG G750

from
$2298
++++,

Asus Zenbook UX302

from
$1699
++++,

Powered by the latest Intel Core i7 and Nvidia GeForce 870M GTX graphics processor,
this beastly machine is the one youll run every game you buy in the next few years
on extreme graphics settings. Chunky monkey? More like an overpowered gorilla.

Asus has done a wonderful job of creating an ultra-slim laptop thats as far removed
from Apples influence as possible, while maintaining a stylish and unique aesthetic.
The 13.3in display is razor-sharp and colourful this is our favourite Ultrabook.

Acer C720 Chromebook

Bargain Chromebooks are everywhere right now, but the C720 stands out even so.
Its well made, well specced (for a Chromebook) and crucially, has proper ports: HDMI,
USB3.0 and SD are all here. The HP at No.8 is prettier, but the Acers the one wed buy.

Acer Aspire S7

The Aspire S7 is almost the perfect Ultrabook it matches the MacBook Air for weight,
beats it for slimness by 6mm, and has a gorgeous 1920x1080 touch-friendly screen.
Only its battery, which lasted a mere 5hrs on test, prevents it getting that fifth star.

HP Chromebook 11

HP is the latest manufacturer to take on the Chromebook and has done a fine job,
making it small, light and everything a neo-netbook should be. Its still no powerhouse,
but a better display and slicker media playback won us over. It even charges via USB.

Asus S200E

The touchscreen makes it ideal for Windows 8, but the S200Es also got a top keyboard,
bags of connectivity and enough power for 3D gaming. Specs arent top notch, but with
an i3 Sandy Bridge core, 4GB RAM and a 500GB HDD, its good enough at this price.

Asus Taichi 21

This Win8 hybrid sticks a live tile-friendly touchscreen on top of a full laptop sporting
Core i7 innards. You know how the saying goes: why settle for one 11.6in HD screen
when you can have two? And theres now a 13in version too the Taichi 31.

$469
++++,

BEST FOR
EVERYTHING
BAR THE PRICE

BEST FOR
USING
ANYWHERE
BEST FOR
TROUNCING
THE GAMING
COMPETITION

BEST FOR
VALUE AND
PORTABILITY

from $898
++++,
$449
++++,
$799
++++,
$2698
++++,

BEST FOR
VALUE AND
PORTABILITY

146

BEST OF THE REST

www.stuff.tv

HOME COMPUTERS
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Apple iMac

The iMac is thinner and more powerful than ever: Core i5 or i7 and at least 8GB RAM
running the none-more-elegant OS X Mountain Lion. A 2013 update brings Intels
Haswell CPU, a hybrid storage option, speedy 802.11ac Wi-Fi and a price increase.

from $1788
+++++

BEST FOR
ALL-ROUND
BRILLIANCE

Alienware X51

from
$1699
+++++

BEST FOR
HARDCORE
GAMERS

$4288
++++,

BEST FOR
RAW POWER

$499
+++++

BEST FOR
ON-DEMAND
FILMS

$440
+++++

BEST FOR
SOUND AND
PICTURE

$1199
+++++

BEST FOR
THE ULTIMATE
IN QUALITY

$1019
+++++

BEST FOR
TOP-QUALITY
HOME MOVIES

$469
+++++

BEST FOR
ACTION-JUNKIE
FILM-MAKERS

$2999
+++++

BEST FOR
SERIOUS
SHOOTERS

As happy by a TV as it is under a desk, this PC is the size of an Xbox 360 but it runs
a whole lot faster and quieter with a Core i5 Ivy Bridge processor, 8GB of RAM
and 1GB Nvidia GTX 660 graphics card. Well be testing the Haswell update soon.

Mac Pro

You want a beast? Say hello to the Mac Pro. This monstrously powerful system has
the full works: Intels ultra-fast quad-core Xeon processor, 12GB of RAM and a dual
graphics card to handle even the most demanding post-production work.

BLU-RAY PLAYERS
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Sony BDP-S790

A quite remarkable device, this Sony sounds great, has a wonderful picture in 2D or
3D and is crammed with on-demand content including Sonys own Movies Unlimited.
Its trump card is 4K video upscaling: you may not need it yet, but you soon will.

Panasonic DMP-BDT330

Pannys latest Blu-ray player just pips the Sony above on pure picture and sound
quality, but loses out on smart features and on-demand options. So if disc-based
viewing is more your thing than streaming, go for this one. Plus it looks great too.

Marantz UD7007

Pricey like an Aston Martin is pricey and about as satisfying to own, this Marantz can
play any disc you like, streams music at high-def resolutions and can withstand an
earthquake. If you really, really take movies and music seriously, this is your player.

CAMCORDERS
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Sony HDR-CX410VE

Our choice for full-fat filming at non-professional prices, the Sony records razor-sharp
footage at a TV-style 50fps, has a monster 55x zoom, a three-hour battery and image
stabilisation that lets you run and shoot handheld simultaneously. Just dont trip up.

GoPro Hero3 Silver Edition

The rugged Hero3 doesnt disappoint, shooting fantastic wide-angle 1080p@30fps


and 11MP snaps. Extreme videographers after 4K footage or 720p@120fps might prefer
the Black Edition ($580). The Hero3+ update brings a smaller size and better battery life.

Canon XA10

Canons ultra-compact XA10 handles fine detail superbly due to its f/1.8 lens and 2.37MP
chip. It might not look big enough to play with the big boys, but twin XLR inputs on its
detachable handle give would-be filmmakers professional prowess straight out the box.

GAMES 147

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NE

STUFF SAYS

The gargantuan gameworld


of Los Santos is the most
entertaining place to hang
out since Vice City

+++++

The Last Of Us PS3/PS4

Now remastered for PS4, this is the best zombie-apocalypse game ever. It looks
magnificent and plays even better, with a moving story and frights aplenty. Its tough
but then a real-life zombie apocalypse would be. Think of this as essential prep.

+++++

Yes, its a Franchise Reboot, but the well-paced mixture of puzzles, action sequences,
gun fights and stealth make the latest Lara Croft adventure an immersive, cinematic
experience. Possibly the best fun weve ever had pretending to be a 21-year-old girl.

+++++

+++++

Watch_Dogs PC/PS3/PS4/Xbox One/Xbox 360


This one promised big and while it doesnt quite match the level of expectation, its
recreation of Chicago is impressive, the cat-and-mouse multiplayer livens things up
and the gunplay, hacking and driving provide good, solid fun with lots to do and see.

++++,

8
9
10

BEST FOR
ZOMBIEFIED
HORROR

Tomb Raider PC/PS3/Xbox 360

7
W

You probably think you already know everything there is to know


about GTA 5. After all, if youve been alive anywhere in the world for the
past year youll have read all about life in Los Santos. So youll already
know that it shines a satirical torch on the 21st century religion of
celebrity. And that everything from social media to self-help gurus
gets a kicking. And that its better-looking than ever. But really you
only need to know one thing about it: its the most fun youll have on a
console this month.

FIFA 14 PS4/Xbox One


The next-gen edition of FIFA 14 is, perhaps unsurprisingly, better than the PS3/Xbox
360 version, thus its recent leap a couple of places up the table. Players and crowd are
more realistically presented, and there are improvements in gameplay and flow.

6
NE

Grand Theft Auto 5 PS3/Xbox 360

BEST FOR
SIT-DOWN
KICKYBALL

Titanfall Xbox One

The biggest Xbox One game launch so far, this FPS robot-fighting sim came with high
expectations and just about lives up to them. Its a brilliant smash-fest, in a world
where it rains massive Titan robots to board and attack. The storyline is weak, though.

++++,

Mario Kart 8 Wii U

Building upon lesser recent entries while adding flashy new twists and delightful
physics-defying courses, Mario Kart 8 is a rare Wii U highlight. Although single-player
still lacks punch, multiplayer is endlessly entertaining: its glossy and fluid throughout.

++++,

BEST FOR
STUDENT
HOUSES

++++,

BEST FOR
RPG WITH
ADDED LOL

++++,

BEST FOR
A HARDCORE
CHALLENGE

South Park: The Stick Of Truth PC/PS3/Xbox 360

Written by show creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone themselves, this is the definitive
South Park game, complete with its famously merciless humour and cutout animation.
And its backed by strong RPG mechanics to boot.

Dark Souls II PC/PS3/Xbox 360

You might never play a tougher game than this old-school action-RPG sequel, which
drops you into the mystical land of Drangleic and lets you figure things out for yourself.
Mostly by being killed...but that just makes it all the more rewarding when you get it right.

Wolfenstein: The New Order PC/PS3/PS4/Xbox One/Xbox 360


How do you solve a problem like Nazi world domination? With guns. Lots of guns.
Even so, this remake might not be exactly what youre expecting: as well as carnage and
genetically engineered soldiers, theres a sombre message on the pointlessness of war.

++++,

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GAME MACHINES
Sony PlayStation 4

Sonys next-gen console may not quite be the finished article,


but its already the best games machine on the planet. With
whisper-quiet operation and a sleek form, itll slot neatly into your
lounge setup, but more importantly it offers bags of power, with
full 1080p on all titles and not a whiff of lag. The controllers
vastly improved, too, while remote streaming to PS Vita is a nice
bonus. All that and its also cheaper than the Xbox One. When
proper media streaming arrives, itll be unstoppable.

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10

Microsoft Xbox 360

Yes, its been succeeded by the One, but the years have been kind to the 360. With an
amazing catalogue of recent games that use its full potential, brilliant media streaming
skills and a low, low price its impossible not to recommend it to cash-strapped gamers.

Sony PlayStation 3

The PS3 has been around a while, but, like the Xbox 360, that just means it has plenty
of great games. Online gaming via PlayStation Network is still brilliant and still free
($44/yr for PS4), and its worth buying for its Blu-ray and media streaming alone.

Microsoft Xbox One

The new Xbox aims for the stars and, if it falls short on occasion, it should be applauded for
trying. Next-gen games run beautifully albeit in 720p, in some cases and its packed
with tricks such as Kinect voice control. Once the minor UI flaws are fixed itll get 5 stars.

Sony PlayStation Vita Slim

www.stuff.tv

STUFF SAYS

Slick, powerful and packed


with stand-out features, the
PS4 delivers on the nextgen console promise

$639 +++++

from $339
+++++
from $399
+++++
from $639
++++,

The Slim (aka PCH-2000) is comfier to hold than the original Vita, it lasts longer, it no
longer relies on proprietary cables and the screen is an improvement but Sony could
have gone so much further, not least by adding more than 1GB of internal storage.

$299
++++,

Alienware X51 (2014)

from
$1699
+++++

The X51 hasnt changed a huge amount, but the wee size matched with powerful
components make it perfectly suited to HD gaming. Steam Machines are going to
liven this market up but right now its the best balance of power and form in PC land.

Nintendo 3DS XL

BEST FOR
BUDGET
GAMING

BEST FOR
PORTABLE
PLAYTIME

The bigger version of Nintendos latest handheld serves up a larger 3D sweetspot and
slightly more premium finish than its smaller sibling. Theres still only one thumb stick,
but its a tried-and-tested design thats served Nintendo titles very well over the years.

$275
++++,

PC Specialist Nvidia GTX Titan Battlebox

3900
($8280)
++++,

BEST FOR
FLUSH 4K
FETISHISTS

While it hasnt had the same impact as the original Wii, dont underestimate the Wii Us fun
factor. Nintendos bottomless bag of superb game franchises rolls on, with the excitement
of Mario Kart 8 (with its anti-gravity karts and submarine racing) coming later this year.

$449
++++,

BEST FOR
NINTENDO
FANS

Nvidia Shield

US$250
($320)
++++,

This powerhouse delivers mind-blowing 4K gaming, bringing eye-searing detail to


Arkham Origins in our test. But twin Nvidia GTX Titan graphics cards and liquid cooling
doesnt come cheap, and neither will the 4K monitor youll need to go with it.

Nintendo Wii U

Like an Xbox controller with a 5in screen stuck to it, this Android console is (just about)
portable enough to play on the bus. As well as having access to hundreds of games
via Google Play, the Shield can stream full PC titles from your PC pretty damn cool.

LOCAL APPS 149

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AXS m-Station

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5
6
7
8
9
10

No longer will you have to queue at actual AXS machines


which seem to only have a queue whenever you have things
to pay and you can use just one app instead of seven. AXS
m-Station lets you pay for all your bills, fines, and fees all from
one place via eNets, and will even save past payments for
added convenience.

STUFF SAYS

A real time-saver, this is


the only bill payment app
youll need
For : Andoid, iOS

$free +++++

$free
+++++

FOR
ANDROID
iOS
WINDOWS PHONE

$free
+++++

FOR
ANDROID
iPHONE

$free
+++++

FOR
ANDROID
iOS

$free
+++++

FOR
ANDROID
iOS

Start a Burpple account and youll find yourself in the embrace of like-minded people
- food lovers. Just like Instagram except that its about all things culinary, browse this
visual guide to the places you must eat at, and the calories that truly count.

$free
+++++

FOR
ANDROID
iOS
WINDOWS PHONE

Entertainer

$free
(from $19 a
month)
+++++

FOR
ANDROID
iPHONE

$free
++++,

FOR
ANDROID
iOS

$free
++++,

FOR
iPHONE

$free
++++,

FOR
ANDROID
iOS

HungryGoWhere

With its huge database of over 11,000 food joints and counting, the definitive food app
also has tried and tested reviews from its many years active. Activate to see whats
near you and even make reservations via the app itself. Handy for the hungry.

Popcorn

Gathering information from GV, Cathay, and Shaw cinemas in one convenient
location, you can watch trailers, search for showtimes, book tickets, and even get
notifications when a new movie youve been waiting for hits the big screen.

GrabTaxi

If you need a taxi dispatched to you in a matter of minutes, GrabTaxi is the best app to
go with. It shows you the taxis nearest to you, and once you get details of a driver,
tracks the taxi as it makes its way to you.

Uber

Ever wanted to be chauffeured around? Request a ride, and one of the growing
number of Uber drivers will pick you up within minutes. You can even choose the level
of luxury you want with the cheaper Uber X or upper-tier Uber VIP.

Burpple

Save a ton of money with this app and redeem major one-for-one deals at a wide range
of top restaurants and activities in Singapore, as well as luxury hotels across Asia. With
over 1000 deal vouchers available, itll pay for itself in no time.

ComfortDelGro Taxi Booking

Even non-registered users can book a taxi with their current location determined by
their smartphone GPS. But of course, there are perks being a registered user it saves
your last three pick up locations so you can make a booking even faster.

I-S Now

Brought to you by the folks that do I-S Magazine, this city guide tells you all about what
to do and where to be, featuring everything from upcoming events to new places to
check out. It also pulls news so you can stay up to date with whats happening.

8 Days Eat

Get the lowdown on your favourite celebrities best-loved haunts, or search for places
according to cuisine, location, price and even mood. Its updated weekly to give you the
latest in the food scene too.

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COMPACT CAMERAS

1
2
3
4
5

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DA
UP

Sony DSC-HX50V

6
7
8
9
10

In the blink of an eye in which Fujifilm elected to update its Top


10-topping X10, the HX50 jumped in its seat and declared itself
king of the castle. And, despite protestations from the lowly
rascal X20 below, the Sonys position is justified. Its 20.4MP
CMOS sensor and 24-270mm (35mm equiv.) lens combine to
produce awesome images in a wide range of situations. Theres
also a hot shoe for a flash or an electronic viewfinder, so its lack
of RAW shooting is its only real flaw.

Fujifilm X20

The X20 isnt all retro looks and no trousers. It excels in Advanced Auto mode and has
manual controls and RAW shooting for creative days. The optical viewfinder, though
small, is linked to the 4x zoom and frames well. All this, and it looks damn cool.

Nikon Coolpix AW110

With a metallic body, sturdy locking mechanism and optional camo finish, our new
favourite tough cam has got that whole military chic thing nailed. Its army geddit? of
features includes excellent 16MP stills, 1080p@30fps video and glove-friendly controls.

Sony DSC-RX100 II

The 20MP RX100 is just what were looking for in an advanced compact: pocketable
with a huge 1in sensor which serves up great images. After something a bit different?
Sonys crazy new lens-without-a-body, the QX100, has much of the same tech.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200

If you want a superzoom cam, the Lumix FZ200 wipes the floor with its rival snoopy
snappers. A small and solid build is coupled with a 24x optical zoom, an excellent auto
mode and spot on exposure abilities. The downside is the video, which is a mixed bag.

Fujifilm FinePix X100S

Fujifilms souped-up its fixed lens retro shooter, with faster focusing and a big APS-C
sensor. Its not all new though, keeping the 35mm-equivalent f/2 lens and hybrid
viewfinder that we loved from the X100. An alternative finish would be nice, mind you.

Canon PowerShot G16

The G16 packs a lot into its sturdy body: optical viewfinder, loads of manual controls
and an f1.8-2.8, 28-140mm (equivalent) zoom lens. Upgrades over the G15 include
Wi-Fi and faster burst shooting of up to 12fps, while image quality is as good as ever.

Canon PowerShot S120

Replacing the S110, the S120 is a compact camera for DSLR users on their days off. Its
12.1MP stills, low-light prowess and useful long-exposure modes are welcome, while
its slightly laggy lens-ring control and hit-and-miss Wi-Fi features take the shine off.

Samsung Galaxy Camera

The king of snap-sharing has a 4.8in screen, Android 4.1 and loads of filter and editing
apps. Its 16.3MP images arent the best, but its a sexy slice of the future. Alternatively,
theres the flawed-but-still-good S4 Zoom cameraphone.

Canon IXUS 125 HS

A surprisingly powerful camera given its tiny dimensions, the IXUS 125 HS has strippedback controls, 5x optical zoom and no fewer than 58 different settings in auto mode.
Its not one for enthusiasts, then, but neither does it compromise on image quality.

www.stuff.tv

STUFF SAYS

Unassuming looks hide


an amazingly capable
camera to suit beginners
or burgeoning Bailey-ettes

$599 +++++

$899
+++++
$469
+++++

BEST FOR
ADVENTUROUS
SNAPPERS

$999
+++++
$799
+++++

BEST FOR
AT-A-DISTANCE
SHOOTING

$1799
+++++

BEST FOR
DSLR PICS IN
A SMALL BODY

$699
+++++
$599
++++,
$698
++++,

BEST FOR
ON-THE-GO
IMAGE SHARING

$299
++++,

BEST FOR
BUDGET
BUYERS

SLRs, etc

www.stuff.tv

T
HO
Y
BU

Olympus OM-D E-M1

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10

The first OM-D, the EM-5, was our No1 for more than a
year, but Olympus new flagship EM-1 just blew it out of
the water. Its armed with the same excellent 16.3MP
sensor which punches well above its Micro Four Thirds
size but it now has an improved autofocus system to
help it play nice with Olympus super-sharp pro lenses.
The other big news is the startlingly good electronic
viewfinder and enough direct control to keep Rankin and
co happily snapping.

Canon EOS 700D

Look, its a new Canon at No2. No, wait, its the old one. Actually, its kind of both. The 700D
is a minor upgrade over the 650D, keeping the latters 18MP sensor, flip-out touchscreen
and autofocus during video and adding little beyond a new kit lens. Its still great though.

Nikon D600

Pro power has never come at such a reasonable price. A full-frame 24.3MP sensor
combines with accurate 39-point autofocus for stunning results. Dual SD card slots,
built-in flash and 5.5fps shooting speed complete a seriously powerful proposition.

Canon EOS 70D

The 70D is Canons best camera in years. Its the first proper DSLR to nail autofocus in
videos and Live View, offers a multitude of manual controls and can take stunning pics in
almost any situation. Amateurs whove outgrown the entry level should look no further.

Fujifilm X-T1

Theres lots to love about this snapper, from its clever viewfinder and lightning-speed
focus to the weatherproof body. One for the analogue lovers, it has actual buttons and
dials with no touchscreen. The lack of in-cam image stabilisation is our only complaint.

Sony NEX-7

Sonys discontinuing its NEX line and rebranding all its cams under the Alpha moniker. The
first fruits of this particularly fecund tree are the full-frame A7 and A7r. The NEX-7s still
available for now, and remains a top snapper.

Canon EOS 6D

Canons cheapest ever full-framer is an awesome little SLR with a few clever tricks up its
lens. As well as its all-new 20.2MP sensor, it boasts a GPS receiver for geotagging your
pics and Wi-Fi for direct uploading or remote control from an iPhone or Android device.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7

The 16MP Panasonic is a versatile beast that, while not being much of a looker, has
added tricks such as a tilting EVF and a handy touchscreen LCD. Its great for smooth
hi-def video recording and, with the bijou 20mm f/1.7 lens, is a great travel companion.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5

The G5 is the only snapper with the pace to keep up with the Olympus E-M5s
autofocus. Beginner-friendly controls, decent 16MP pics, touchscreen control and
superb full HD 60fps AVCHD video recording all add up to a compelling package.

Sony Alpha a7

The smallest and lightest of all compact system cams crams in a full-frame sensor that
pumps out 24.3MP pics. Image quality is stunning and its great at high ISO, but it feels
unbalanced with the bigger full-frame lenses, and the autofocus struggles in low light.

151

STUFF SAYS

Take the E-M5s amazing


speed and quality, then add
pro controls and you get
the best system cam so far

$1948 +++++
(body only)

$899

(body only)

+++++
$2999
(body only)

+++++
$1499

(body only)

+++++

BEST FOR
ALL-ROUND
VALUE
BEST FOR
SHOOTING
LIKE THE PROS
BEST FOR
ADVANCED
AMATEURS

$1999

(body only)

+++++
$1549

(body only)

+++++
$2699
(body only)

+++++
$1649

(w/ 20m lens)

+++++
$799

(w/ 14-42 lens)

+++++
$1999

(body only)

++++,

BEST FOR
FULL FRAME
FETISHISTS

152
T
HO
Y
BU

NE

GEEK ACCESSORIES
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

Theres a new Paperwhite out on the streets of the world, and its
brighter, whiter, faster and no more expensive. Contrast is improved,
making your text blacker and the background less grey, while a
claimed 25% faster processor goes largely unnoticed because it
was always the fastest of the e-readers.
A handy new Page Flip feature lets you keep your current page while
flicking through the chapter in a pop-up window: finish the chapter,
or go to sleep now?

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10

www.stuff.tv

STUFF SAYS

The best screen, the best


ebook store and a light that
could change reading habits
Kindles still on top

US$199 ($255)
+++++

DJI Phantom 2 Vision

US$1199
($1530)
+++++

BEST FOR
HIGH FLYING
FILMERSHAR

3Doodler

US$100
($130)
+++++

BEST FOR
3D SPACE
CREATIVES

$144
+++++

BEST FOR
ANALOGUE
MAESTROS

These gaming cans with a noise-cancelling mic, bass boost and controls for in-game
and voice channels are aimed at Xbox 360 users. Not of the Xbox persuasion?
Look out for the U 320s, which will play nicely with your PS3, PC and Mac.

$159
+++++

BEST FOR
GAMEWORLD
IMMERSION

Smart ebike

2500
($5307)
+++++

BEST FOR
POWERED-UP
PEDALLING

Want to recreate those Apocalypse Now sequences at your local lido? This quadcopter
offers great filming potential thanks to its 14MP/1080p HD camera and videolink,
built-in GPS and ability to beam images to your smartphone from 300m away.

Essentially a 3D printer nozzle in a pen, sticks of plastic are fed through like a glue gun
and extruded at 200C into thin air, where it immediately cools and solidifies, letting
you draw 3D structures. Amazing, and weve only burnt ourselves once. Maybe twice.

Korg Volca Beats

This Roland TR-808-aping drum machine uses analogue and digital beats to amazing
effect given the bargain price, offering a studios worth of wizardry in a tablet-sized
package. If this doesnt get the nations youth making amazing music, nothing will.

Sennheiser X 320

This electric bike may be heavy and expensive, but its futuristic design, 250W motor
and range of up to 100 km make it ideal for the daily commute. And dont get hung up
over the price anyway petrol and car insurance for a year would cost you way more.

Leap Motion

Huge Kickstarter funding and promises of Minority Report-style PC input have come
to this: a silent, KitKat-sized block of tech. It is very accurate, and the taster games
are a blast, but itll need more consistency between apps to become truly useful.

Moga Ace Power

T click-on controller adds two analogue sticks, a D-pad, and all the usual buttons
This
to an iPhone 5/5c/5s or 5th-gen iPod Touch. Its not brilliantly built and only works
with selected games, but dedicated iOS gamers will swiftly get their moneys worth.

BMW i3

Finally, an electric car which doesnt feel like a compromise. Far from it the i3 is in
many ways the ultimate urban runabout, thanks to its superb handling, astounding
acceleration and great fuel economy. Its packed with gadgets, too. Only its price rankles.

Up! Plus

Not since the early days of video encoding has a Stuff test caused such emotional
rollercoastering. The Up! is the least frustrating and least commercial of the 3D
printers weve tried. The Plus 2 ($2899) adds a helpful auto-levelling build platform.

$150
++++,

BEST FOR
ALT-CTRL
FREAKS

US$100
($130)
++++,

BEST FOR
iGAMING
ADDICTS

$236,800
++++,

BEST FOR
ELECTRIC
ROAD-WARRIORS

$2599
++++,

BEST FOR
EARLY
ADOPTERS

WEARABLE TECH 153

www.stuff.tv

T
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1
2
3

W
NE

NE

4
5
6
7
8
9
10

Pebble Steel

Unveiled at CES 2014, the Steel keeps the straightforward looks,


crisp display and five-day battery life that helped the standard
Pebble win our hearts. But it holds more RAM, apps and
customisable faces this time, and swaps the plastic for either a
Steel silver or matte black stylish suit, making it look and feel more
like an actual watch. The Steel goes beyond the gimmicks and into
the world of real-world wearable tech. Pop it on your wristwear
wish-list.

Fitbit Flex

The Flex delivers all of Fitbits activity-tracking smarts but in a form factor thats less
fiddly than its belt-clip counterparts. Its packed with Bluetooth, NFC, vibratamotor and
a display. America already has the new Force band, with a proper display. Here soon.

Jawbone UP24

STUFF SAYS

The best smartwatch


money can buy and the
original plastic Pebble is
still available for US$99
($125) less

US$249 ($310)
+++++
$129
+++++

Now with Bluetooth for hassle-free syncing, the stylish UP24 is worth the extra
25 over the Jawbone Up. The app introduces new challenges and tracks your sleep
patterns. It will also gently nudge you, if youre lazing around, to get back on the move.

$249
+++++

Samsung Gear Live

US$200
($255)
++++,

Could it be fourth time lucky for Android Wear? A waterproof 1.63in Super AMOLED
screen, a resting heart monitor and a growing selection of apps say yes. Overall, the
Samsung just pips the LG G Watch. Its pitiful one-day battery life lets it down, though.

LG G Watch

Smart, subtle and more comfortable to wear than the Samsung Gear Live above, the
LG gets a lot more right than it does wrong. Its voice commands are useful and it comes
with a charging cradlebut it doesnt show off Android Wears full potential.

$268
++++,

Garmin Forerunner 620

US$450
($575)
++++,

Garmins wealth of experience in wrist-mounted GPS shines through, offering up a


cacophony of stats, including vertical oscillation (how much you jiggle while running)
thanks to the smart heart-rate belt. Could be cheaper and more user-friendly, though.

TomTom Multi-Sport Cardio

The new version of the TomTom Multi-Sport adds an impressively accurate heart-rate
sensor to an already strong formula, allowing for more focused and personal training.
Itll track runs, cycles and swims, and the companion app is also much improved.

Samsung Gear 2 Neo

Its the budget plastic version of Samsungs Gear 2, but does 99% of what the
more expensive device can do, although it does not have a camera. Only compatible
with certain phones, it is the Gear wed be most likely to buy, but its far from essential.

Martian Notifier

The Notifier does one job very well alerts and you wont be ashamed to wear one in
public. It doesnt shake off smartwatches dorky image but does blend a regular-looking
watch design with smartphone smarts in an affordable, comfortable, reliable package.

Samsung Gear Fit

Durable, comfortable and only 55g, the Gear Fit looks great but is ultimately a bit
disappointing. It has unreliable heart-rate tracking and an unresponsive curved OLED
screen thats awkward to read, especially on a run. Fit by name, but not by nature.

$499
++++,
$298
++++,
$199
++++,
$268
+++,,

BEST FOR
TRACKING
YOUR LIFE

BEST FOR
TRIATHLETES
IN TRAINING

NEXT BIG THING?

ound has made that phone really big.


Is it big, though, or is it just really near?
Wait, dont think about that youll
do yourself a mental mischief. To
the story: back in the mists of time, some
bright spark posited that piezoelectric surfaces
could be laid all over the city so that pedders
a-strolling and truckers a-rolling would generate
electricity through nothing but going about their
business. Well, here we are in the mistless now
and we can clearly see that these energy-source
strips are very much not all over the city. Fear
not, though: a new, smaller idea dawns

Small ideas are never better than big ideas.


No doubt theyll be pleased to hear that down
at the Queen Mary University of London, where
teams of people are working hard to make
nanogenerators. These will be built into the
casing of your phone and are activated by
the vibration caused by ambient noise such
as music or mass conversation. Theyll turn
that vibration into electricity and charge your
phone slowly, because of the low current
produced, but inexorably and sustainably. And
without you having to do anything except hang
out in the noisy, fun places of the planet.

Could be perfect for the chronic 10-per-center.


Ah, yes, the person on the train whos saying
I cant talk for long because my phones about
to die despite it being only 9am. And all of your
anger at their apparent irresponsibility is just
displaced from your own in-bed-at-10pm selfloathing. And theyre still waffling away, despite
their ailing battery, about Dinah dropping her
wrap in a clubs cubicle. And theyll waffle forever,
once nanogenerators come to pass though itll
probably be some time before the QMU lot can
bring component size and power generation to
a consumer-friendly balance.

DONT MISS THE NEXT ISSUE! ON SALE 19 NOV

[ Words Fraser Macdonald


Illustration Alexandre Efimov ]

sou-charged phos