Thursday, February 28, 2019

Best gaming laptops 2019: the 10 top gaming laptops we've reviewed

If you would have asked us to find the best gaming laptop a few years ago, we would have pointed you to something with an Intel Core i7 processor, dedicated graphics and 8GB of RAM. A lot has changed in the last few years, though, and the best gaming laptops come in every shape and size. Because it’s harder than ever to find the best gaming laptops, we’ve picked out a few of our favorite devices. 

And, while plenty of gaming laptops look like ordinary office devices, you shouldn’t ignore them. Thanks to Nvidia Turing Max-Q graphics for laptops, revealed at CES 2019, the best gaming laptops are stealthy – like the aptly named MSI GS65 Stealth. Don’t worry, though, there are still huge desktop replacement laptops like the MSI GT75 Titan if that’s more your style.

So, whether you’re looking for a desktop replacement, packed with an RTX graphics card that can handle Metro Exodus and Anthem with all the bells and whistles, or if you want something thin and light so you can play games in the office, you’ll find something that fits your needs here. We’ve even found some budget models like the Dell G3. And, don’t worry, we’ve tested these gaming laptops ourselves, so you can be sure you’re getting your money’s worth.  

These days, many gaming laptop manufacturers seem to be locked into a race to see who can craft the thinnest gaming laptop that doesn’t compromise on power. And, right now, the crown might have to go to the Asus ROG Zephyrus GX701. At just 0.7 inches thick, this monster of a laptop houses an Intel Coffee Lake Core i7 chip, Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q graphics and 16GB of RAM. That means you can crank any PC game under the sun to max settings, and take it with you wherever you go. And, of course, it’s packed with RGB lighting that’ll dazzle anyone that looks at it.

Read the full review: Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 

If you want to play some of the best PC games on the move, but you don’t want everyone to know you’re playing games, the MSI GS65 Stealth is the best gaming laptop for you. Coming in at just .69 inches thick and featuring impressive hardware like Intel Coffee Lake processors and Nvidia GeForce GTX 10-series – refreshed with RTX 20-series graphics at CES – the MSI GS65 Stealth packs a ton of power into a very svelte package. There’s nothing you won’t be able to throw at this thing that’ll slow it down. And, thanks to the subdued design, you’ll be able to bring this beefy rig everywhere you go, making it the best gaming laptop on the market right now.

Read the full review: MSI GS65 Stealth 

Best Gaming Laptop 2019

Some gaming laptops just don’t pull any punches, enabling you to run any game you can imagine without breaking a sweat – and the MSI GT75 Titan is one of these laptops. It’s a titanic desktop replacement packing 6-core Intel Coffee Lake processors, plenty of RAM and powerful Nvidia Pascal graphics. You’re not going to be able to carry it around with you, and it’s not going to be something you’ll be caught with in a coffee shop, but if raw power is what you’re after, look no further. Just be ready to break open your piggy bank. 

Read the full review: MSI GT75 Titan

Best Gaming Laptop 2019

Thin and light gaming laptops are everywhere right now, but if you don’t care about that, and want a thick, heavy and monstrous laptop that can demolish any game you throw at it – the Asus ROG G703GI is for you. This is a massive – and expensive – laptop, but it justifies its size and price with gaming performance that rivals the best gaming PCs. Just don’t think you’ll be able to haul it along with you to your local coffee shop without its two power bricks – or awkward stares.

Read the full review: Asus ROG G703GI 

Best Gaming Laptop 2019

The Razer Blade might still have an unbearably edgy name, but now that the 2018 version is here, it’s fitting – it’s still on the cutting edge. Beyond its insanely high-end specs and beautiful chassis, it can fit up to a 4K Ultra-HD display, with the specs to actually back it up. That’s not to mention the expandability that the Razer Core X opens up. It might be expensive, but if you’re a Razer fan looking for the best gaming laptop, it might just be for you.    

Read the full review: Razer Blade

Best Gaming Laptop 2019

If you want one of the best gaming laptops, but don’t want to miss out on the ultra-portable craze, you need to consider the Dell XPS 15 2-in-1. Packed with an Intel Kaby Lake G-series processor, this gaming laptop can keep up with its competitors rocking a GTX 1050 without featuring truly discrete graphics. And, when you combine that gaming horsepower with a chassis that looks this good, it’s a total win – even if you have to endure some fan noise to get there. 

Read the full review: Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 

Best Gaming Laptop 2019

It may not boast the most innovative design, substituting the usual black and red aesthetic for one that makes it feel like Halloween all year round (no complaints here). But, it’s undoubtedly one of the best when it comes to gaming in 1080p. In fact, we were able to crank the setting s all the way up in Overwatch without ever straying below 60fps. It doesn’t feature the longest battery life, but the screen, power and onboard sound system more than make up for it.

Read the full review: Asus ROG Strix GL502

  • This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Alienware 17 R5

When you’re setting out to buy one of the best gaming laptops, one of the first things you’ll likely notice is how expensive they can get. Luckily, the Dell G3 15 is not just extremely affordable, but it punches above its weight class with great 1080p gaming performance. With up to an Nvidia GTX 1060 GPU, you’ll be able to play all the latest games at 1080p without breaking a sweat, even if it’s not at max settings all the time. And, that blue on black color combo is quite a looker, if that’s your aesthetic. 

Read the full review: Dell G3 15 

Best Gaming Laptop 2019

It used to be that the best gaming laptops were thick, bulky devices that were necessary to experience the best PC games on the move. Those days are over. The Gigabyte Aero 15 packs a 6-core 8th-generation Intel Core i7 processor and a GTX 1060 into a package that allows it to pass as an Ultrabook. And, thanks to that beefy 6-core processor, it’s not just one of the best gaming laptops – it’s one of the best laptops, period.

Read the full review: Gigabyte Aero 15

Best Gaming Laptop 2019

Ever since Intel unveiled its i9-8950HK, we just knew that it would find its way behind the best gaming laptops 2018 had to offer, and we’ve been proven right heading into 2019. The Alienware 17 R5 is a beast of a gaming laptop with the aforementioned CPU and an overclocked GTX 1080. If you’re willing to get an absolute tank of a laptop that weighs nearly 10 pounds, this hulking computer will demolish any and all games you throw at it. Just don’t expect to throw it in a bag without some severe back pain.

Read the full review: Alienware 17 R5

  • Image Credit: TechRadar

Gabe Carey and Bill Thomas have also contributed to this article

Developers enjoying higher UK paychecks

Learning to code is certainly paying off for UK developers who earn 145 percent more than the country's average pay of £29k according to new research from Hired.

The career marketplace's new global State of Software Engineers Report 2019 has revealed that the UK's top developers embedded engineers, earn an average of £71k. 

However, the US is still a more profitable place to work for skilled coders with the top paid developers in San Francisco's Bay Area earning 66 percent more than their UK counterparts with an average annual salary of £118k.

Hired's report also shed light on the fact that global demand for blockchain skills is up by 517 percent compared to this time last year.

High demand for developers

While blockchain engineers are in highest demand, security engineers are also being courted by companies with demand for workers to fill this role growing by 132 percent.

The top three best paid London developer positions are embedded engineer at £71k, blockchain engineer at £69k and data engineer at £68k.

The report also revealed that one in five software engineers are self-taught coders and less than half have a computer science degree. Many of these coders learned their skills from developer bootcamps, such as General Assembly and Hack Reactor, and 76 percent of those who did said these workshops helped prepare them for a software engineering job.

JavaScript is the most commonly used coding language though Go, Scala and Ruby are the most in-demand languages.

Hired's CEO Mehul Patel provided further insight on the report's findings, saying:

“Empowering tech talent with data that helps them understand their market worth and reveals hiring trends will help them have a more seamless job search experience. We hope this insight will fuel thoughtful career conversations among the developer community and provide actionable data that will help software engineers reach their goals.” 

Thunderclap hack makes Macs and PCs with Thunderbolt ports vulnerable

If you’ve bought a recently released MacBook, Windows laptop or really any PC equipped with a Thunderbolt port, there’s a new vulnerability you should watch out for.

The new vulnerability has been dubbed Thunderclap and it could leave computers open to serious attacks such as running malicious code on your system. This is on top of the usual, unwarranted access to important data like passwords, encryption keys and any other sensitive data stored on your system.

It’s really bad news mainly because Thunderbolt’s protocols are designed with OS-level access and direct-memory access (DMA) to support high-speed data transfer, video out and its other myriad features. This vulnerability takes advantage of all that high-level access to do more harm.

According to the group of researchers that announced Thunderclap at the Network and Distributed System Security Symposium in San Diego, the Thunderclap vulnerability won’t just affect the latest machines equipped with Thunderbolt 3, but older devices that provide Thunderbolt connectivity through DisplayPort instead of USB-C. 

Thunderclap will specifically affect “all Apple laptops and desktops produced since 2011 are vulnerable, with the exception of the 12-inch MacBook. Many laptops, and some desktops, designed to run Windows or Linux produced since 2016 are also affected." 

How to stay protected from Thunderclap

Now the good news is the team of researchers discovered the problem in 2016 and have been working with manufacturers to develop fixes ever since. 

MacBooks and other Apple computers running at least macOS 10.12.4 should be partially protected from the bug and newer updates should provide even better protection. Meanwhile, Windows 10 version 1803 provides firmware level protection for devices.

The best way to protect yourself from being Thunderclap-ped is to immediately update any computers you have with the latest version of their respective operating systems. Users who want that extra layer of protection can also disable Thunderbolt protocols in your computer's BIOS or UEFI settings.

For the most part, this probably won’t be a vulnerability that will affect most users as it can only be introduced directly through a device’s Thunderbolt port. Most users should be safe just by being vigilant about what they plug into their devices. 

Via The Verge

Retailers facing more bot attacks than ever

From May to December of last year, hackers directed credential abuse attempts at retail sites more than 10bn times according to new research from Akamai.

The firm's 2019 State of the Internet / Security: Retail Attacks and API Traffic report shed light on the fact that the retail industry was the most targeted segment by hackers while also highlighting the prevalence of API-call traffic on the web and the misrepresentation of Ipv6-based traffic.

Akamai studied the credential abuse technique known as credential stuffing for its report and examined how hackers have begun to employ botnets to steal login credentials from retail websites. These stolen credentials are used to compromise accounts from which hackers acquire retail merchandise and resell it for cash.

According to the report, the AIO bots deployed by hackers are multi-function tools that enable quick purchases by leveraging credential stuffing and a number of evasion techniques. For example, a single AIO bot can target over 120 retailers at the same time.

Credential abuse

Media and entertainment properties are notable credential abuse victims as well due to the highly valuable personal information these sites maintain. Since end users share their credit card information and demographic data when signing up for over-the-top (OTT) online streaming services, this data is particularly valuable to hackers who sell it on the black market.

Akamai also noted significant numbers of credential abuse attacks launched against financial services, hotel and travel and consumer goods sites.

Security Researcher and Editorial Director of the company's latest report, Martin McKeay explained why retail sites have become a high value target for hackers in a statement, saying:

"The techniques change, but the motivation remains the same: greed. Retailers remain on the front lines, because stolen merchandise sells quickly and at a premium. And for that reason, the data shows which merchandise is of the highest value: Apparel sites are targeted the most." 

  • We've also highlighted the best antivirus to help protect you from the latest cyber threats

The best iPhone 5S deals in March 2019

It's been long replaced by the iPhone SE as Apple's go to budget handset, but if you're looking for a cheap iPhone then the iPhone 5S deals are worth considering before committing to your purchase. Unfortunately deals are now far between and we would recommend going for something newer like the iPhone 6S Plus or iPhone SE if you want an iPhone for a budget price.

Apple is no longer producing iPhone 5S handsets, and so it's no longer available on contract brand new from any of the major networks.

But if you're still interested you can still get one. Refurbished models come on to the market from time to time (although their prices don't look too good) and there are still plenty of retailers stocking the 5S handset only, and for well less than £200. So you could easily buy it SIM-free and then get hold of a cheap SIM only deal to put in it.

This will give you much more flexibility than getting it on contract anyway. We've built a dedicated comparison chart below showing all the best unlocked iPhone 5S prices, or hit the 'Handsets' tab at the top of the first table.

More options: iPhone SE deals | iPhone X deals | iPhone 6S deals | iPhone 6 deals | iPhone deals | SIM only deals

iPhone 5S debuted Apple's newfangled fingerprint sensor and 64-bit processor three years ago, and it's still a viable smartphone for anyone on a budget. It's held up well enough with a good camera and iOS 11 software update - just don't expect the specs of the iPhone X!

Read Techradar's full iPhone 5S review here

Samsung launches fastest flash chip

Samsung has announced that it has started mass producing the world's first 512GB smartphone chip with embedded Universal Flash Storage (eUFS) 3.0 specifications.

The new chip could find its way into the Galaxy Fold and other upcoming smartphones from the Korean hardware giant, giving them read and write speeds comparable to ultra-fast laptops.

Back in 2017, Samsung first debuted a 512GB eUFS but that chip had sequential read speeds of 860MB per second and write speeds of 255MB per second. The company's latest offering more than doubles its sequential read speed to 2,100MB per second with write speeds also seeing an increase to 410MB per second.

To put things in perspective, the UFS 2.1 chips Samsung launched in January are only half as fast as the new 3.0 model.

eUFS 3.0 chips

According to Samsung, its new chips' read speeds are 20 times faster than a typical microSD card and even manage to be four times faster than a SATA SSD.

The company's executive vice president of memory sales and marketing, Cheol Choi explained how its new chips give it a leg up on the next-generation of mobile phones in a statement, saying:

“Beginning mass production of our eUFS 3.0 lineup gives us a great advantage in the next-generation mobile market to which we are bringing a memory read speed that was before only available on ultra-slim laptops. As we expand our eUFS 3.0 offerings, including a 1-Terabyte (TB) version later this year, we expect to play a major role in accelerating momentum within the premium mobile market.” 

Samsung's new 512GB eUFS chip will launch this month alongside a 128GB version though the company plans to start manufacturing a 1TB and 256GB model during the second half of the year.

Via Engadget

Polestar's new electric sports car is built to take on Tesla

Polestar has unveiled its first fully-electric sports car – the Polestar 2 – with an explicit plan to take on Elon Musk. The five-door fastback will enter production in 2020, aimed at the same audience as the Tesla Model 3.

"Polestar 2 is our first fully electric car and first volume model. Everything about it has been designed and engineered with passion and dedication," said the company's CEO Thomas Ingenlath.

The guide purchase price of the launch version will be €59,900 (about $68,000/£51,000/AU$96,00). Polestar will announce subscription pricing at a later date.

In an unusual move, the car's infotainment system is powered by Android, giving drivers access to a the Google Play Store's full collection of apps. Google Maps will provide turn-by-turn navigation on an 11-inch touchscreen.

Powered up

Convenient charging looks set to be one of the Polestar 2's main attractions. The company, which is jointly owned by Volvo and Chinese automaker Geely, says it's working with the owners of public charging networks so drivers can juice up whenever they need to.

Tesla, meanwhile, is planning to expand its Supercharger network throughout Europe this year, but recently ended its free referral program and raised prices by 10%. If Polestar can offer a more affordable alternative, it may be in with a chance of eating Elon Musk's lunch. 

What is the IoT? Everything you need to know

What is the IoT?

The world around us is getting smarter and more connected as technology becomes a common sight in many areas.

Digital devices are not just in our pockets or our offices, but increasingly in our homes, buildings, and many places and cities. Helping collect, analyse and monitor data and information about their surroundings, these devices are able to communicate with each other through the ‘Internet of Things’.

Often shortened to the IoT, this worldwide, interconnected network allows devices to talk to each other and to us, delivering reams of data through smarter processes that will greatly increase the quality of life around the world. 

The Internet of Things is predicted to revolutionise the way in which we live our lives, with many industry experts tipping it to have the biggest technological impact since cloud computing, as more data than ever before can be collected, stored and analysed.

Many consumers are already enjoying the benefits of the IoT, as popular products such as the Amazon Echo smart speaker and the Nest thermostat from Google becoming common sights in homes around the world.

But the wider world can also benefit from the IoT, with businesses being able to streamline previously complex and data-hungry processes through improved automation, freeing up employees for other tasks. 

Public sector organisations such as hospitals can also use sensors to monitor patients more effectively, and local governments can monitor pollution, traffic levels, weather data, and much much more.

The IoT is growing fast, and is set to affect more and more areas of our lives in the years to come, resulting in a smart world that previously was only imaginable in science fiction.

IoT - the latest news and views

27/02 - Vodafone: Partnerships like AT&T and ARM will drive IoT success - Vodafone IoT platform boosted by new partnerships...

26/02 - SAP wants to power the next generation of IoT - SAP Leonardo IoT will help drive digital transformation for the IIoT and Industry 4.0...

19/02 - IoT technology now vital for business success - Vodafone report finds use cases for IoT are greater than ever...

05/02 - Insecure apps put half of IoT devices at risk - IoT apps lack encryption and leave devices vulnerable to hackers...

28/01 - Japanese government will hack citizens' IoT devices - Unconventional survey planned to help secure consumer IoT devices...

15/01 - UK firms can't tell if their IoT is secure - Only half can detect if their IoT devices have been breached...

14/01 - Open source may be the key to securing IoT - Adding ready-made software to IoT devices without having to write code...

09/01 - IoT devices now top priority for cybercriminals - Hackers utilise Thingbots to launch IoT attacks...

04/01 - IoT spending to reach new highs in 2019 - Manufacturing, transport and utilities will top IoT investment...

03/01 - Fake apps and IoT attacks top 2019 threats - Avast's 2019 Threat Landscape Report sheds light on this year's biggest threats...

27/12 - The Future of IoT connectivity - IoT vendors and network providers must work together...

20/12 - Malware threats continue to rise and target IoT - IoT malware and ransomware still on the rise, McAfee Labs report finds...

17/12 - Qualcomm 9205 LTE modem promises flexible connectivity and low power for IoT - New modem builds on success of predecessor...

05/12 - Top IoT standards could be compromised by hackers - Unsecured machine-to-machine deployments leave IoT devices at risk...

29/11 - Don’t bank on IoT - Trading security for convenience...

07/11 - How banks can create a successful IoT strategy - Infosys Finacle tells us why the IoT could be the key to a new level of innovation...

07/11 - How 5G will enable the next generation of IoT deployments - Canonical head tells us why next-generation networks are the key to innovation...

01/11 - What “x-as-a-service” means for IoT - It's never been easier to become a Mobile Virtual Network Operator...

31/10 - CIOs fear "burden" of IoT projects - IoT multiplies the complexity of enterprise cloud ecosystems...

29/10 - Seven critical questions every business needs to ask before implementing an IoT plan - Fail to prepare, prepare to fail...

11/10 - How interoperability accelerates IoT collaboration - Issues with connecting multiple devices and services have slowed IoT adoption...

10/10 - Enterprises expect IoT results in less than three years - IoT is no longer an emerging technology...

09/10 - Connecting the seas: How radio is aiding maritime IoT - KNL Networks says its radio network can keep ships stay connected...

01/10 - IoT technology 'vital for success' of UK businesses - Businesses of all sizes see this emerging technology as vital to their future success...

01/10 - Steak & chips: how IoT and machine learning will disrupt risk in animal insurance - Even farm animals are becoming connected in today's digital world...

01/10 - Six principles to secure the IoT - It's up to IoT leaders to take the lead in security and privacy...

27/09 - "Most sophisticated" Torii botnet targeting IoT devices - The newly discovered malware strain is building the most sophisticated botnet ever seen...

21/09 - Privacy in the age of IoT: the future’s connected for VPN - Many have asked: do ‘normal people’ actually care about online privacy and VPNs? Yes, they do...

20/09 - How can the IoT transform the sports business? - Sports venues are getting a much needed upgrade from IoT technology...

19/09 - IoT malware grew significantly during the first half of 2018 - New research from Kaspersky Lab reveals how cybercriminals are targeting IoT devices...

06/08 - Why IBM is pushing to be the driving force in the IoT - The IoT and IBM could prove to be a match made in heaven...

03/08 - Qualcomm reveals major IoT push - Chipmaker unveils its plans to help power the global IoT..

18/07 - Vodafone expands IoT range for businesses - New surveillance and energy management tools bring IoT to more companies across the UK...

17/07 - Microsoft and GE team up for major IoT launch - Partnership will see major expansion of Industrial IoT from Azure and GE Digital...

13/06 - Vodafone: 5G smartphone uncertainty means focus on core network and IoT - Vodafone UK CTO says 5G will be a gamechanger, but smartphone innovation in the 4G era won't be matched...

04/06 - Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom test NB-IoT roaming - Two operators claim trial is massive step forward for cross-border IoT...

01/06 - LPWAN is the final piece in the mobile IoT puzzle - Vodafone's IoT business is focusing on services and partnerships rather than technology...

31/05 - GSMA: Mobile operators must change to grab $1.1tn IoT market - GSMA warns that just 5 per cent of IoT revenue will be found in connectivity, so mobile operators need to evolve...

17/05 - Mobile IoT networks to be a 'core component' of 5G - GSMA says NB-IoT and LTE-M deployments are paving the way for massive IoT powered by 5G...

08/05 - Nokia snaps up SpaceTime Insights to boost IoT drive - SpaceTime Insights acquisition allows Nokia to expand IoT work...

24/04 - Telcos exploring mixed approaches to IoT - Communications providers see the potential in IoT but are taking multiple paths, Ericsson report says...

23/03 - Operator partnerships could be the key to IoT success - O2 says it wants to do more than just dish out SIMs and connectivity...

22/03 - IoT security spend to reach £1bn in 2018 - Gartner figures suggests increased awareness of threats is boosting spend...

07/03 - New internet of things security code aims to stamp out Mirai and other threats - The government is taking action on IoT security...

22/12 - Why 2018 could be a decisive year for IoT - Major report highlights struggle between competing technologies over the next year...

This Sky TV with Sports offer is the best deal we've seen this year - ends tonight

Update: You really don't want to wait around on these Sky TV deals with discounted options for Sky Sports and Sky Cinema as today's the final day get get the reduced monthly prices. You've only got until midnight tonight.

Tired of missing out on the best sports coverage in the UK? Then it's time you turned that frown upside down with a superb Sky TV with Sports offer. It's a quiet time of year for Sky TV deals and decent ones with Sky Sports are the rarest ones as discounts are usually reserved for the movie and TV content.

Not today though as you can get a Sky TV package with all eight Sky Sports channels for 22% off - or to put it in terms of cold hard cash, £10 less a month, saving you a lovely jubbly £180 over the regular contract price.

This deal gets you the base Sky Entertainment pack too. This comes with every Sky TV deal nowadays, but Sky has packed it with an excellent selection of channels including Sky Atlantic (yes, you'll be able to watch Game of Thrones Season 8 in April), Sky One, Comedy Central, Nat Geo Wild and much more. As for those sports, you'll be spoiled for choice with Sky Sports Premier League, Sky Sports Football, Sky Sports F1, Sky Sports Cricket, Sky Sports Golf, Sky Sports Action, Sky Sports Arena and Sky Sports Main Event all yours at a super cheap price and in HD.

Want a bit of cinema and an HD upgrade for the Entertainment package too? Well you're in luck as a separate Sky offer will save you an even bigger £270 today.

These Sky deals are online exclusives, so you'll not hear about them on the phone or at those booths in shopping centres. Actually, you won't have to speak to a soul to get this sorted out. That's the dream right? No phone menus! Do hurry though as both offers expire on February 28th.

If you want any other extras like Sky Box Sets with Netflix, 4K multiscreen or Sky Kids, they can be bolted-on as you go through the order online. The Box Sets and Netflix combo for a tenner is an absolute steal.

Fancy a new TV to enjoy all this stunning content on? Be sure to check out our range of the best cheap TV deals and sales as we've rounded up some jaw-dropping prices on a range of 4K TVs. If you fancy upgrading your internet too, be sure to take a look at our range of the best broadband deals.

Best Mac apps: the best macOS apps for your Apple computer

Now that macOS Mojave has finally blessed our Mac hard drives, we have access to key iOS apps, like Stocks and News. However, macOS still has its own rich library of apps. Your Mac can do everything from playing games to getting all your work done. AT the end of the day, it’s the software, more than anything else, that keeps people coming back to the Jony Ive designed hardware each year.

There are so many things you can do with the best Mac apps, so some may not appeal to you. However, there are some Mac apps like Evernote, the best note-taking app around, that anyone can find a use for.

And, you won’t find all of these apps on the Mac App Store, but they’re still worth your consideration. With this guide, we found all the best apps, most of which we use every day. From free apps and utilities to professional music applications, these Mac apps will make even the best Mac better than ever. 

Bill Thomas and Gabe Carey have also contributed to this article

Check out our Linux vs Windows vs Mac - OS comparison video below.

A computer free of annoyances simply doesn’t exist – and Macs are no exception. For the longest time, it’s been impossible to use our MacBooks – unbound by the chains of a power adapter – while video outputs to an external monitor. As we all know here at TechRadar, Apple’s laptops will automatically enter sleep mode when the lid is closed. This can be a huge inconvenience should you prefer the sheer magnitude of one of the best monitors as opposed to a 12, 13 or 15-inch screen. 

Fortunately, Amphetamine allows you to continue using your MacBook while closed. Before, you could do this by using a similar app called Caffeine, but we prefer the UI features you get with this freebie. Not only does it fit in naturally with the rest of your Menu Bar items, but Amphetamine also supports hotkey commands as well as deactivation reminders – not to mention there are no annoying ads in sight.

  • Get it from: App Store
  • Price: $9.99 (£7.99 or around AUS$14)

While you’ve been able to snap programs to the edge of the screen in Windows since Windows 7, Apple didn’t have a solution until OS X El Capitan. What’s more, even then it lacked some of the comprehensiveness of Microsoft’s alternative. Luckily, HyperDock gives us that full-fledged functionality we so desperately crave, allowing anyone with a Mac to apply it to both the app Dock and windows.

Within Windows, you can just drag a window to the left or right edge of the screen, and it’ll automatically snap to fill that portion of the screen. This makes it much easier to be productive on the desktop without wasting time dragging windows from the corners. For the Dock, hovering over apps activates something close to Windows 7’s thumbnail previews, giving an overview of a window that can be accessed by a click or closed directly from there. It’s extremely useful.

  • Get it from: Parallels
  • Price: $79.99/year (Home & Student) Around £60 or AUS$100)

If you have recently picked up a Mac and miss some of your old Windows applications, don’t fret – Parallels Desktop 13 can bring them back. Instead of having to dual-boot your Mac into a Windows partition, Parallels Desktop 13 allows Windows and macOS Sierra to co-exist side by side, and you can even run Microsoft-only programs such as Visual Studio 2015, or the Windows versions of the company’s Office 365 apps, alongside your native macOS ones.

All you need is a Windows 10 license – so prepare to buy one if you haven't already. Or, alternatively, you can use Parallels to try a handful of free operating systems including Chromium (a free distribution of Chrome OS) or Linux Debian. The latest version of Parallels in particular has seen improvements such as Touch Bar support, better resolution scaling for Retina displays and picture-in-picture for using other operating systems in conjunction with macOS. 

  • Get it from: App Store
  • Price: £14.99 (around $20 or AUS$25)

If you’re anything like us, working on just one monitor or screen is just painful. Portable monitors are still fairly expensive (and bulky), luckily, though, you can use an iPad instead using a nifty app called Duet. Developed by ex-Apple engineers, it works by tethering your iPad to your Mac using one of Apple’s Lightning cables and firing up the app on both devices.

You can then drag apps and windows onto your iPad’s screen just like you would with a second monitor, and if you have a more recent iPad with a Retina display, you’ll get the full benefit of all those beautiful pixels. Just realize that the bandwidth isn’t quite what you would get with one of the best monitors, so it can be a bit laggy when you bump the quality up. But it’s still better for watching videos, reading websites and typing up documents. 

  • Get it from: Atom
  • Price: Free

Atom is a text editor that's primarily designed for coders, but its flexibility and customization options make it a viable option for many different types of users. That's because of two reasons: first, you can download a number of different Packages - effectively plug-ins - to make it bend to your will. It can be transformed into a Markdown editor for writing blog posts, for example, or you can hook it up to Evernote for storing notes in the cloud.

There's at least 10 different word counters out there, and you can even add typewriter sound effects as you hammer out your delicious prose. Atom is also infinitely customizable on the visual side thanks to an editable back-end, allowing you to do anything from changing the font size, line height and colors to giving the caret Word 2016-like elasticity.

  • Get it from: App Store
  • Price: £149.99 (around $195 or AUS$255)

Whether you’re a big time producer or you just like making some jams in your downtime, Macs are kind of known for being among the best laptops for music production – and Logic Pro X is a big part of that. Developed by Apple itself, its accessible interface hides a ton of advanced functionality. The latest version also comes with a svelte design, 64-bit architecture and a new session drummer that will save you from having to drop more cash on a drum machine (or a real drummer).

It also works in natural harmony with iPads, providing a touch-based alternative method of creating song structures to dragging and dropping blocks in the main visual editor. Whether you're a seasoned producer already (Sia used the app to record her hit song 'Chandelier') or are looking to upgrade from Garageband, Logic Pro X likely has what you need.

An uncomplicated app, but a great one, to do app Wunderlist’s selling point is its cross device functionality. It’s available on Mac, PC, Android and iOS, allowing you to sync your to do list wherever you’re using macOS’ Handoff feature.

Once you've started a list, you can schedule reminders, add notes and embed it into the macOS Notification Center using a widget. Team-based features are unlocked by signing up for Wunderlists’s pro subscription, and you can add files of any size without running into limits.

Evernote has morphed into a mighty note-taking app over the years. While some people will say that it's too bloated, the sheer number of things that you can do with it still makes it best-in-class. You can type up notes, obviously, organizing them using a combination of folders and tags. You can even embed Google Drive documents, which are accessible in a click.

There's also the ability to set reminders, share notes with friends, find information related to notes using Evernote's 'Context' feature, create lists, and favorite notes that you frequently return to. Better yet, all of your notes are synchronized using the company's servers, making them accessible on nearly any PC (through a browser or the native Evernote app) or mobile device in the world. The paid version lets you use Evernote with more than two devices while upping the amount of data you can sync each month.

GIMP or GNU Image Manipulation, is one of the best free image editing apps out there. It’s a great alternative to Adobe Photoshop and comes with a wide array of pro-level functions that let you tweak existing images in a range of formats or create fresh ones from scratch. Features include layers, highly customizable brushes, automatic image enhancing tools and filters. You can do even more with plugins, which are available to download from the GIMP Plugin Registry. 

  • Get it from: App Store
  • Price: £34.99 (around $45/AUS$60)

These days, balancing features with simplicity and good design in the best Mac apps is critically important. However, unlike Word 2016, or even Apple’s own Pages, Ulysses has an extremely minimalistic interface. This allows you to get on with writing without being distracted by so many buttons and menus. The app uses its own version of Markdown – a type of text formatting engine – that allows users to focus on their writing in a way that not only makes organization easier but also makes exporting easier – Ulysses will format it in an attractive way, using one of many export styles, when you’re done writing.

There's a handy attachments bar on the right-hand side that features an attractive word counter and lets you write notes to assist you in your writing. Notes can be accessed anywhere thanks to iCloud support, so you can pick up your iPad and carry on where you left off using macOS's Handoff feature.

Sometimes you want to play your Xbox One, but you can’t because your roommate has decided to use the living room TV for watching the whole run of Ugly Delicious in one sitting. Now, you could technically stream Halo 5 or Sea of Thieves if you had a Windows PC. However, you just have a Mac.

That’s where OneCast comes in, a third-party work of reverse engineering performed by an independent developer to bring Xbox One game streaming to macOS. It works as easily as connecting both your Mac and Xbox One to the same network and subsequently logging in to Xbox Live. It works pretty well in our experience, though you should have both systems connected to your modem via ethernet if possible.

Nobody can deny that the best Macs are great for network admin uses, and if you need to manage a bunch of Windows devices, being able to remote into a PC to diagnose problems is critically important. Luckily, Microsoft has provided an app just for that.

With Microsoft Remote Desktop 10, you get an officially-supported app that gives you remote access to any PCs on your network – as long as you’re a network admin or an authorized user. It can be a bit of a pain to set up, and the PC you’re trying to access will need to be running Windows 10 Pro. But once you get going, you can access files, copy/paste across desktops and even run games – though, we don’t recommend that last bit. 

Microsoft Remote Desktop 10 is a godsend for network admins and IT professionals, and is easily one of the best Mac apps you can download right now.

Microsoft Office has been available on Mac for years now, but you always had to go through a couple hoops to download it. We’ve been asking for a release on the Mac App Store for a while, and, well, it’s finally here. 

We’re sure we don’t really need to go into too great of detail what Microsoft Office is, but it’s essentially Microsoft’s suite of office apps, from Word to PowerPoint to Excel. It’s absolutely an essential app to have, but you should keep in mind that you’ll have to get a subscription to Office 365 to use it. 

It’s one of those Mac Apps that should be essential for any professional, and the fact that it’s finally on the Mac App Store means that you don’t have to worry about keeping it updated. 

The market for disk optimization apps is neither desolate nor particularly interesting, particularly on the Mac – where Apple usually does a good job of cleaning up its drives on its own. However, for a program that’s far more intuitive and user friendly than, say, the built-in Macintosh HD storage management software, your best bet is to turn your attention to Dr. Cleaner. This app splits  up all your data into easily digestible chunks that would otherwise be obtuse.

Dr. Cleaner groups up all the trash on your Mac and labels them in groups like ‘Junk Files’ and ‘Big Files’ – rather than listing off 30GB of documents and 10GB of iOS files you can’t comprehend. Then, you can look at the file names themselves and decide whether or not you want to keep them on your PC. You can also use Dr. Cleaner to monitor CPU, network and RAM usage as well, for the sake of putting some pep in your aging Mac’s step.

  • Get it from: Website
  • Price: Free

It might be kind of like three apps than just one, but SoftMaker Office 2018 takes all the key features of Microsoft Office and puts them into an interface that tailors to your needs. It comes with a group of programs called TextMaker, PlanMaker and Presentations 2018 that are similar enough to Office 365 without the rolling subscription.

Regardless of whether you need an easy-to-use word processor or a spreadsheet or slideshow creator of equal accessibility, SoftMaker Office has what you’re looking for. And, because it’s still in beta, you can get a complimentary, albeit temporary, license over email if you want to give it a spin. Otherwise, there’s a permanent free version called SoftMaker FreeOffice, but it’s only available on Windows, Android and Linux.

  • Get it from: App Store
  • Price: $9.99 (about £7.19, AU$12.82)

Since you’re obviously going to install all of the other apps we’ve mentioned, you’re going to need at least a utility that, well, declutters your desktop. And, while macOS Mojave brought Stacks to your Mac, making everything less cluttered, Unclutter goes even further. So, whether you’re a frivolous notetaker or a temporary file hoarder like we are, Unclutter will help keep everything in one place, rather than scattered across several folders.

It’s a brilliant idea made even better by the fact that it can be configured for use with gesture controls. At any given point, you can swipe down from the top of the screen with two fingers on the trackpad (or one on the mouse) to reveal a trio of windows that can be concealed and re-summoned whenever you please.

  • Get it from: Website
  • Price: Free

When you’re out there hustling every day, it’s easy to lose track of messages. With so many social media companies, SMS platforms and instant messaging services to choose from, most of us also have a number of different accounts used to administer to all of those messages. But what if you only had to log into one?

That’s the central idea in Franz, a messaging app that allows you to view and send messages in WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Slack, HipChat and more. It lets you seamlessly switch between any of these apps as easily as you can toggle between Slack workspaces. Best of all, there’s no limit to the amount of services you can use at once. That way, even if you have 10 Facebook accounts for whatever reason, all of your messages will be visible in the same place.

  • Get it from: App Store
  • Price: $4.99 (£4.99, AU$7.99)

If you’re anything like us, you have tons of packages coming in all the time – and it can get hard to keep track of everything. Luckily, there’s an app for that. With Deliveries, you can keep track of all your incoming deliveries in one place in an easy-to-read interface. 

It will notify you whenever there’s a change in your delivery, syncing the information between macOS and iOS so you are on top of things, even on the go. All you have to do to track a package is hit Command + New and paste in the tracking number – that’s it. It really is one of the best Mac apps for anyone with a busy mailbox. 

  • Get it from: App Store
  • Price: $29.99 (£28.99, AU$46.99)

If you do a lot of cooking, and you have a hard time keeping your recipes organized – especially on a digital platform – you’re going to love Paprika. With this app, you can download any recipe you find online, and it will automatically format it in a way that’s extremely easy to read. 

What’s more, if you download the iOS app, you’ll be able to sync your recipes between all of your devices, so that you can keep tabs on the ingredients you need when you run to the store in a panic. 

  • Get it from: App Store
  • Price: $49.99 (£48.99, AU$79.99)

Sometimes, life gets hectic, and you need some help getting everything organized. Luckily, there’s an app for that. Fantastical 2 is the most fully-featured calendar and reminder suite we’ve ever seen.

You’re able to set events and reminders using natural language, and it’s fully compatible with your iCloud reminders. There’s also an iOS app for iPhone and iPad that will effortlessly sync with the Mac app, so that you can stay on top of your busy life no matter where you are.

The best student laptops: all the best options for school

School is expensive, no matter what level you’re at: tuition, books, food – it all adds up. Fortunately, with one of the best laptops for students, you can save some money. Not only will these budget minded laptops have great style and performance, but they’ll do it with an eye for value.

Trying to save up for a new laptop when you’re buying textbooks can be hard, so the best student laptops don’t need all the best processors and graphics cards. You won’t be limited to Windows 10, either – the best Chromebooks are among the best laptops for college students – as you’ll be able to get all your work done while saving a ton of cash.

We know that school gets stressful, but that’s why you should make sure you only have the best student laptop. No one wants the added stress of running around campus with a dying laptop – especially when you’re in the middle of a project. So, we gathered up some of the best laptops for students, because no one wants to limit themselves to an old clunker just to get schoolwork done.

Here at TechRadar, we love it when a laptop can perfectly balance price and performance without any compromises, and the Huawei MateBook 13 comes closer to hitting that perfect balance than anything in 2019 so far. Thin, light, quick and affordable, this beautiful 13-inch Ultrabook will let you get all your work done in style, without dragging down on your wallet. The battery life is a little weak, but that’s a worthy sacrifice to make here – just carry the charger around with you.

Read the full review: Huawei MateBook 13 

Best laptops for college students 2019

Once in a while, we’ll get our hands on a laptop that completely flips the script – the Huawei Matebook X Pro is one such laptop. Not only does it feature powerful, modern components like 8th-generation Kaby Lake R processors and 16GB of RAM, it’s also beautiful – incorporating all the latest trends in Ultrabook design. What’s more impressive, it manages to do all this while being much more affordable than the competition. This is what makes it one of the best laptops for students – you’re not going to get a more powerful laptop for less cash than the MateBook X Pro – at least until the MateBook X Pro 2019 gets here

Read the full review: Huawei Matebook X Pro 

  • Australian readers, the Matebook X Pro has finally been officially released Down Under, but this Australian stock is only being sold via the Microsoft Store at present... and that limited availability means both models on offer (priced at $1,899 and $2,599) keep quickly selling out. If there's none available at the above link, we'd suggest checking back in one to two weeks.

best laptops for college students 2019

The Dell XPS 13 has always been among the best laptops – for college students, professionals and even everyday users. But, now that Dell has brought back the entry-level option, it’s affordable for college students once more. Dell has also fixed the biggest bugbear – the webcam. Dell found a way to move the webcam up to the top of the display, so that your friends won’t have to stare up your nose when you’re in a video call. 

Read the full review: Dell XPS 13 

best laptops for college students 2019

While the first Surface Laptop was already a great laptop for students, it was held back by sub-par performance, a lack of ports and Windows 10 in S Mode. With the Surface Laptop 2, though, everything is better – except for the ports. You’re getting quad-core Kaby Lake Refresh processors, full-fat Windows 10 Home and a sleek black color option. We wish it had even a  single USB-C port, but that doesn’t change the fact that you’ll be able to get all your work done in style with this laptop. 

Read the full review: Surface Laptop 2

best laptops for college students 2019

The way we look at it, the best laptop for college students will strive to hit a golden balance between price and performance, without looking like you pulled it out of your dad’s study. The Microsoft Surface Go, then, isn’t just one of the best Windows tablets, but it’s one of the best laptops for college students, period. Don't’ be fooled by the low power components, either – Microsoft has engineered this 2-in-1 to be able to keep up with your schoolwork without breaking a sweat. You can’t do much better than the Surface Go, especially if you’re on a budget.

Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Go 

best laptops for college students 2019

Dell’s XPS lineup has been among the best laptops for college students for years now, and the new XPS 15 is no different. Taking the approach of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, not much has changed year over year – but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. What you’re getting here is a reliable Ultrabook with enough horsepower to carry you through all of your coursework without costing an arm and a leg. While the entry level is perfectly fine for most people, you can configure this thing with up to a Core i9 CPU and 32GB of RAM, transforming the Dell XPS 15 into a killer media editing workstation. We just wish Dell would move that webcam.

Read the full review: Dell XPS 15 

best laptops for college students 2019

The Microsoft Surface lineup has built a reputation for itself for being among the best Windows devices out there – gorgeous touch screens, incredible performance and long battery life. The Surface Pro 6 continues this tradition, even if it doesn’t bring anything new to the table. What you’re getting here is a speedy Windows tablet that can effortlessly turn into a laptop through the Surface Type Cover. You can get your work done and then effortlessly transition into break time.  

Read the full review: Surface Pro 6

best laptops for college students 2019

College gets expensive – you can’t avoid it. That’s why the best laptops for college students will offer awesome performance at a decent price, much like the Lenovo Flex 14. At under a four-digit price, there’s something to be said about getting an Ultrabook that can handle anything the semester throws at you – and the Lenovo Flex 14 looks good to boot. You won’t find a better laptop at a lower price.

Read the full review: Lenovo Flex 6 14 

best laptops for college students 2019

We were left waiting for Apple to renew the MacBook Air for years, as it languished with a 5th-generation Intel Core processor and an out of date, low-resolution display. Thankfully, those days are over. Apple has ushered the MacBook Air into the modern age, with 8th-generation fanless processors, a thinner and lighter design, and perhaps most importantly – a Retina display. No more do you have to compromise on modern features if you want an “affordable Mac”, and that makes the MacBook Air one of the best laptops for college students.

Read the full review: MacBook Air 

best laptops for college students 2019

If you’re not too concerned with cash, and you’re a macOS addict (we get it), the 2018 MacBook Pro is the most powerful MacBook that’s ever existed. With its impressive hexa-core processors, and up to a whopping 32GB of memory, this cupertino workstation will get you through whatever you throw at it. It also includes the much-improved third generation Butterfly keyboard that will not only be less distracting to the students around you, but will be less prone to failure if some dust comes within 10 feet.

Read the full review: MacBook Pro 15-inch (2018) 

  • Want more choices? Check out our list of the best laptop 2019
  • Images Credit: TechRadar

Bill Thomas and Gabe Carey have also contributed to this article.

Amazon 4K TV deal: the TCL 55-inch 4K Roku TV gets a $220 price cut

If you're looking for a mid-size 4K TV with premium features, then look no further than this fantastic deal from Amazon. You can get the top rated TCL 55-inch 4K Smart TV on sale at Amazon for $579.99. That's a $220 discount and the best price we've seen right now for this smart TV with Roku built in.

The TCL 55R617 features Dolby Vision HDR which delivers accurate colors and sharp contrasts for a powerful life-like picture. The 4K UHD TV has Roku TV built-in which allows you to stream thousands of movies and TV shows from the home screen of your TV. You can access Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video and even your gaming console without having to switch inputs on the TV. The Roku TV also features an enhanced remote that allows you to use your voice to find movie titles, change channels, and even switch inputs. 

This is an excellent price for a 4K 55-inch TV and only $30 more than the Black Friday price. We don't know how long Amazon will have the TCL Roku TV discounted, so you should take advantage of this deal before its gone.

If you're looking for a larger screen size with a slightly higher price tag, Amazon also has the TCL 65-Inch 4K Roku Smart TV on sale for $929.99. That's an excellent price for the screen size and features.

Shop more of best cheap TV deals and sale prices that are currently going on and read our review on the TCL 6-Series Roku TV.

11 best open world games on PC today

As the best gaming PCs get more powerful, the best PC games continue to get bigger and better – just take a look at open world games. Even game franchises that are traditionally linear affairs are starting to embrace the open world style. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a great example: it used to be a straightforward narrative experience with little in the way of exploration, but it ballooned into a huge open world with the third entry.

There are many open world franchises out there that have always been open world, though. Games like Just Cause 4 and Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey are the pedigree of open world game design. There are even a ton of indie games that adapt to this style. 

The best open world games are everywhere right now, but they require so much of your free time, that you should only pick up the very best. Luckily, because we spend an inordinate amount of time playing these games, we were able to pick out the best open world games you can buy on PC.

  • Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article

Check out our Linux vs Windows vs Mac - OS comparison video below.

The first two Witcher games were compelling, complex and difficult, but only enjoyed minor success. However, all the word of mouth about the first two games finally paid off when the Witcher 3 came out and absolutely blew up. It was a massive step up in quality, too, and probably one of the best RPGs of all time. You step in the role of Geralt, a mutated monster hunter, or witcher, and search the world for your adopted daughter in a medieval world ravaged by war.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will be turning 4 years old in 2019, but it stands the test of time. It’s still one of the best open world games you can play in 2019 because the well-realized world blows the likes of Skyrim out of the water. Geralt can walk, ride or sail across the war-ravaged lands of Novigrad and Velen, or sail across monster-riddled and frosty islands of Skellige in the North. And, in Blood and Wine, the second expansion, you get to take on a clan of Vampires in the colorful land of Toussaint.

You can forage for herbs, explore under the seas or the back alleys of cities and encounter all kinds of folk and creatures.

And the other elements of the game are spectacularly polished as well - limber, agile combat, a deep levelling system, and a storyline with some unusually-smart storylines.

Last year’s Assassin’s Creed: Origins already felt like a revelation of what an Assassin’s Creed game could be – replacing many of the gameplay mechanics with what felt more engaging, organic and even fun. However, Ubisoft wasn’t done – it has refined everything that made Assassin’s Creed: Origins so great and molded it into the best game in the series so far – Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey.

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey places you in the shoes of Alexios or Kassandra in the middle of ancient Greece, as you take on the role of a mercenary trying to find his or her family. Everything else you do is completely up to you – you choose your alliances, you choose your missions and the world is your oyster.

The fantastic RPG mechanics from Origins make a return in Assassin’s Creed odyssey – with some much-needed improvements. In so many ways, this game perfects the legendary series’ formula – making for one of the best open world games of all time.

Upon first glance, you might not quite understand why this game is here. You might say “Forza is a racing series, not an open world game”, but you’re only half right. Yeah, it’s a racing game, but the Forza Horizon series has always been among the best open world games. Forza Horizon 4 takes the winning formula even further – arguably perfecting it.

Not only are all of the systems that were in place in 2016’s Forza Horizon 3 present here, but they’re refined to create one of the smoothest open world racing games we’ve ever had the pleasure to play.

The map is a little bit smaller than the previous offering, but Forza Horizon 4’s world changes seasons every week, changing how each track plays every time you play it (or, at least until you’ve played it on 4 separate weeks). Simply put, Forza Horizon 4 is one of the most fun racing games on the market, and with all the added open world content – like collectable cars and randomly placed ramps – it’s one of the best open world games on the market.

Plus, there are new expansions getting added, like Forza Horizon 4: Fortune Island, that add even more content.

Grand Theft Auto V has been out for quite a while now, but because we still don’t have Red Dead Redemption 2 on PC, it’s still the best open world game on PC from Rockstar. It’s a huge pastiche of L.A. that you can fly, run or drive across. It’s an amazing achievement and the fact that it works in multiplayer is astounding.

What makes it such a success is the freedom it gives you. When you’re not running around and robbing banks during the campaign, GTA V basically lets you do whatever you want – even if it breaks the game. You can go anywhere, do anything and commit however many atrocities as your wicked heart pleases.

There are also a ton of side activities available. So, in your downtime from creating all kinds of mayhem, you can take up some tennis, yoga, or even kick your feet up and watch some TV. There’s a reason this game is so beloved.

The plot may not have made much sense, but Hideo Kojima’s last entry to the Metal Gear series was a masterpiece of layered open world mechanics – and it’s why we’re so excited about Death Stranding.

In the twin deserts of Afghanistan and Angola, Big Boss, or Venom Snake, has a range of objectives to achieve. He traverses the areas on foot, horseback, or in a variety of ground vehicles. You can take either lethal or non-lethal weapons, and a variety of AI companions. 

The world of Metal Gear Solid V is unbelievably bleak, weather-torn and heavily guarded. Uniquely, it learns from your behavior – overuse a particular tactic and enemies will adapt. For instance, rely too much on headshots and they’ll start to wear metal helmets.

Away from the frontline, you can develop Mother Base by building new facilities and airlifting enemy soldiers, prisoners, resources, vehicles, animals and anything else you want to from the battlefield to beef up your armory. 

Bethesda has made a name for itself over the last couple of decades for making some of the best open world games, and Fallout 4 is a fantastic example of why. You’ll be able to traverse a post-apocalyptic Boston, where you’ll explore the ruins of the city in all it’s retro-futuristic glory.

While the plot ultimately revolves around rescuing your kid from their kidnappers, you’ll ultimately forget all about the plot, while you do side missions and plunder loot from super mutants and bandits.

And, even once you get everything done (if you ever get everything done), Bethesda’s games have a tendency to be immensely replayable thanks to the way different character builds can interact with the world around you.

Plus, if you want to get closer to the action, you can play through Fallout 4 in VR, with the HTC Vive

When Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor released nearly five years ago, it was praised for its portrayal of Tolkien’s Mordor, alongside with its unique nemesis system. The sequel, Middle Earth: Shadow of War takes this concept and turns it up to 11, setting you loose in the last human stronghold in Mordor – and is thus one of the best open world games you can play in 2019.

And, especially after the removal of the microtransactions that plagued the game at launch, the Nemesis system still feels fresh, and the combat is just as good as ever, with a wealth of new skills that you can unlock during its lengthy campaign.

Later on in the game, it will start introducing some RTS elements as you command an army of dominated orcs to retake and hold different strongholds. The Middle Earth series has shown some real innovation, and we can’t wait to see what Monolith Studios will be capable of in the future.

Last year, Ubisoft took one of the most venerated squad-based shooter series in its arsenal, Ghost Recon, and turned it into an open-world delight. You’re set loose in Bolivia, and you’re tasked with taking down a drug cartel that has taken power over the region. You’re then free to pursue this goal however you feel like. 

Ghost Recon Wildlands may be one of the best open world games when you’re playing by yourself, but where it really shines is when you’re playing with friends. This is because Ghost Recon, at its very core, has always been a tactical shooter that’s built around working with a team of AI companions. So, naturally, when you team up with your friends, this gameplay is elevated to another level entirely. 

Just keep in mind that this game is gorgeous, and demands a pretty beefy setup to run properly, so make sure you keep an eye on those system requirements. 

When the first Crackdown came out way back in 2007, it kind of changed the game. You took the role of a superpowered cop out to bust a cast of zany criminals. And, while Crackdown 3 hasn’t changed much in the 12 years since, it still has its own identity.

Crackdown 3 takes the super-powered hijinks of the original and scales it to modern graphics without changing too much of what made the original game so great. This might make it feel a little dated to some, but if you were into the first one, you’ll find a lot to love here. 

What’s especially noteworthy is the new Wrecking Zone multiplayer game mode, which utilizes the power of Microsoft Azure cloud computing to make the entire city destructible. 

Far Cry 5 might just be a benchmark of what the best open world games on PC will look like in 2019. Far Cry 5 is unique in the fact that it allows you to truly go anywhere on the map – and do anything. And, it doesn’t water this freedom down by limiting the amount of space you have open to you either, it’s perhaps one of the biggest game maps we’ve ever experienced. 

Far Cry 5 takes place in the middle of the Montana wilderness, and while it does feature a plot that involves cultists or something, that all falls into the background as you wander around and get lost in the massive world. We haven’t finished Far Cry 5, but we don’t think ‘finished’ exists here. 

And, we’re obviously not the only ones that love Far Cry 5. At the Game Awards 2018, Ubisoft announced Far Cry: New Dawn, a direct follow-up – a first for the classic shooter series.

Now that a ton of Yakuza games are coming to PC, PC gamers can finally experience the insanity that is so unique to the Yakuza series. 

Yakuza 0’s map isn’t as capacious as some of the other games on this list, but it is dense with activities. Everywhere you turn either has a mini game, a side quest, or some other kind of content that you can interact with. If you’ve never played a Yakuza game, do yourself a favor and try Yakuza 0 on for size – it’s unlike anything else you’ve ever played, we promise. 

Love it or hate it, the Just Cause franchise has always been about causing random violence and destruction with barely any plot to justify it. And, well, the same is true with Just Cause 4 – we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Just Cause 4 puts you in the middle of Solis, a gigantic South American island to overthrow an oppressive local government, by destroying everything in your path. You’ll take to the sky, sea and more with a wide variety of vehicles and weapons to create mayhem however you want. 

It’s not a particularly deep game, but if you’re looking for some mindless entertainment, it’s not hard to see why Just Cause 4 is one of the best open world games on PC in 2019.

Hisense TV lineup 2019: the year of ULED television

What to make of Hisense? The Chinese manufacturer has long had a reputation for affordable TVs, speakers, and assorted home appliances – though its growth in the television space has shown there’s far more to the brand than simply budget tech.

With ultra-thin models, forays into 8K and projector-television hybrids (you heard me), Hisense is proving a force of innovation in a rapidly evolving market, one where manufacturers are having to compete with new form factors like Samsung’s modular screens or LG’s rollable OLEDs.

Add that to a host of superbly cheap televisions – like the well-reviewed Hisense A6200 – and you have a TV-maker competing on all fronts, with real value on premium picture technologies like UHD resolution and high dynamic range (HDR), even if you’re not necessarily seeing these features at their best.

To keep you up to date with Hisense’s latest sets, we’ve put together this guide to every 2019 Hisense TV coming this year. But if none of them catch your eye, don’t worry: we’ll be sure to update this list as more sets get announced in the coming months.

Since 2015 Hisense has licensed the Sharp brand for shipping TVs in the US too, and even acquired Toshiba’s TV range shortly after, though we’ll be focusing here on televisions flying the ‘Hisense’ flag.

Hisense 2019 TV technology

So what can you expect from Hisense? 

For all the bells and whistles listed here, Hisense is a budget brand. You may not be getting the same guarantee of hardware quality or snazzy design as with the likes of Panasonic or LG, but the features you do get are usually a decent cut below the competition.

Hisense’s main buzzword is ULED, or ‘ultra LED’. ULED TVs still have LCD-LED panels, but use a metallic quantum dot filter – like the kind found in Samsung’s QLED TVs – to enhance contrast and definition. Hisense also ensures its ULED sets throw in improved motion rates and local dimming (for precise brightness control), so you’re getting an all-round upgrade compared to the rest of its TV range.

As of 2019, Hisense is also investing in OLED, the premium panel technology of the moment – though so far exclusively in Australia – and it's clear we're seeing a manufacturer keen to cover all bases.

There was chatter at this year’s CES 2019 expo about Hisense's new ULED XD display tech, which goes one better with a dual-layer panel (essentially a 4K color screen with an HD grayscale screen tucked behind it) to enhance local dimming and dynamic range – though we're yet to see any models announced with the new tech.

Hisense has also been carving out a laser TV range, which uses a triple-ray projector to get dazzling colors onto a TV screen, making use of the entire DCI-P3 color space. Do you need a TV and projector, rather than just the one? Maybe not. But for those who can afford it, the laser TV range offers something different.

In terms of smart platforms, Hisense uses a variety of UI – including the brilliant Roku TV – though it favors its own VIDAA platform for ULED-branded sets. Every ULED TV this year will feature version 3.0 of ViDAA, with full Alexa integration for voice commands, compatibility with Google Assistant devices, and automatic detection of other home devices like gaming console or Blu-ray players connected through HDMI. Hisense also promises "boot time[s] nearly two times faster than Hisense 2018 models."

Hisense Sonic One (2019)

Sometimes less is more. Hisense's Sonic One television is an astonishing 1.1mm thin at its thickest point, without having to outsource its processing or speakers to an external system. That's thanks to a Piezoelectric speaker design that 'pumps sound from the panel' itself instead of through a traditional cone driver. No sizing or pricing yet announced, but expect it to cost a pretty penny.

Hisense TriChroma Laser TV

Is it a TV, a projector, or a hybrid of the two? Hisense’s TriChroma TV essentially projects with three colored lasers onto a blank TV screen, and covers the entire DCI-P3 color gamut. Expect a five-figure sum, but a rich picture to match its price tag.

Hisense 2019 ULED TVs

Hisense U9F Quantum Dot (2019): The Hisense 75U9F is a 75-inch Quantum Dot screen with Android TV, and over a thousand local dimming zones for keeping its 2,200 nits peak brightness in check. Specs-wise, that puts the U9F on par with Samsung's Q9FN QLED, which debuted in 2018 and became one of the best TVs of last year. 

The U9F launches in June, at a steep $3,499 (around £2,740, AU$4,999). Comes with Dolby Vision and built-in Google Assistant.

Hisense H9F (available in 55 and 65-inch models): A more reasonably-priced version of the above, though only with 150 dimming zones and 1,000 nits peak brightness. The H9F is a 4K UHD set costing $699 (around £525 / AU$979) and $749 (around £656 / AU$1,049) respectively for the 55 and 65-inch models. Comes with Dolby Vision and launches this coming May.

Roku TV R8 (available in 55 and 65-inch models): Could Hisense beat the TCL 6 Series Roku TV? Roku is a superb smart TV platform, and the Roku TV R8 from Hisense is the first time it’s been coupled with Hisense’s ULED panel technology. Available in late 2019, costing $600 (around £526 / AU$840) or $750 (around £656 / AU$1,049) for the 55 and 65-inch models. See out our Hisense Roku R7 review to see the previous model.

Hisense H8F (available in 50, 65-inch models): Same panel technology as above, but with a more standard Android TV platform instead. You do however get Alexa compatibility and Google Assistant integration from the off. Launching in May in 50 inches for $400 (around £350 / AU$560), and 65 inches for $750 (around £656 / AU$1,049) .

Hisense 2019 UHD / HD TVs

Hisense H65 UHD TV (available in 50, 75 inches): A step down from ULED, without the quantum dot panel, wide color gamut, or local dimming. You do, however, get basic HDR support (HDR10), and a 50-inch 4K UHD display for only $349 (around £307 / AU$490), or a 75-inch display for $1,199 (around £1,053 / AU$1,683). Launching in late 2019.

Hisense H5 HD TV (available in 32, 40 inches): For those wanting something on the small side, the ultra-cheap H5 launches this coming May in 32 or 40-inch models, at $169 (around £148 / AU$237) and $249 (around £219 / AU$349) respectively. You're only getting 1080p Full HD, but you won't be spending much on it either.

Everything you need to know about the new TV launches of 2019:

The Philips TV range 2019: everything you need to know from OLED+ to ‘The One’

Sony TV lineup 2019: every Sony Bravia and Master Series set coming this year

LG TV catalog 2019: here’s every LG TV model coming this year

Samsung TV catalog 2019: here’s every new Samsung TV coming in 2019

Panansonic TV lineup 2019: all the OLED and LCD televisions coming this year

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