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Apple iPad Pro 10.5 (2017) tablet. Announced Jun 2017. Features 10.5″ LED-backlit IPS LCD display, Apple A10X Fusion chipset,
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UPDATED: All 38 Apple Watch designs: Every band, case and face so far

Apple Watch: watch cases and bands

Apple Watch features

This week was the Apple Watch launch day, but you can't try on the iPhone-compatible wearable yet since we're a month away from pre-orders and two weeks further from its official release date.

That's a problem for anxious early adopters who want it now. The April 24-bound smartwatch comes in a variety of colors and styles, way more than the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

In fact, there are 38 different Apple Watch choices (up from the original 34) and nine default watch faces with millions of customizations, according to Apple.

Here's every Apple Watch face, band and case announced so far, giving you extra time to decide which "iWatch" should be your watch before waiting in line.

Cases: Apple Watch vs Sport vs Watch Edition

YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zr72v7Z7m4Y

All Apple Watches boast the same rectangular design with rounded off corners, but they're divided up into three different case "collections" based on build materials.

Starting at $349 (£299) and costing as much as $17,000 (£13,500, AU$24,000), the names Watch, Watch Sport and Watch Edition, don't tell us a whole lot about those differences, so let's explain each watch case.

The regular Apple Watch

Apple Watch design and colors

Donning the "regular" Watch puts a highly polished stainless steel case on your wrist, one that comes in glossy metal colors of either space black or stainless steel.

Protecting the precious Retina display is sapphire crystal, which is the same glass that covers the Touch ID home button of newer iPhones.

Sapphire crystal is touted as the hardest transparent material on earth next to diamond. It'll stand up to dings every time your formerly-bare wrist forgets what it's like to wear a watch.

Watch Sport

Apple Watch design and colors

Sport is the the lightest of the three Apple Watch choices thanks to its anodized aluminum case that still manages to be 60% stronger than standard alloys.

It skips out of the expensive sapphire glass in favor of what Apple calls strengthened Ion-X or aluminosilicate glass. This further reduces the weight, making it fit for active lifestyles.

Sure, the iPhone-matching matte space gray and silver aluminum case appears less shiny vs the regular Watch, but Apple's 7000 Series aluminum and Ion-X glass makes it 30% lighter.

It's also the least expensive Apple Watch version at $349 (£299) for the 38mm size and 42mm for the $399 (£339) size.

Watch Edition

Apple Watch design and colors

Watch Edition will be the most expensive Apple Watch at $10,000 (£8,000) because of its 18-karat gold case. It may even be locked inside a safe within your local Apple Store.

It's been crafted by Apple's metallurgists to be twice as hard as standard gold, says the Cupertino company, and will come in two colors: yellow gold and rose gold.

Complementing those cases are color-matching bands made of leather or fluoroelastomer plastic.

Bands are the next step in deciding on the right Apple Watch.

Six different band styles, 18 colors

Apple Watch bands

Apple Watch is all about personalization with six band types and 18 colors, all of which are easily interchangeable thanks a unique slide-out locking mechanism.

Yes, it's a proprietary watch strap - did you expect anything less? - but it looks to be a whole lot easier to switch out compared to the irksome hidden pins of the Moto 360.

I'm okay with that. I want the sport band at the gym and the Milanese loop for a night on the town without the hassle of digging into the watch case with a pair of tweezers.

Link bracelet

Apple Watch bands

Apple Watch choices

Available with the regular Watch, the link bracelet is one of two stainless steel Apple Watch bands. This one matches the 316L stainless steel alloy of the case.

It has more than 100 components and the brushed metal links increase in width closer to the case. A custom butterfly closure folds neatly within the bracelet.

Best of all, you can add and remove links with a simple release button. No jeweler visits or special tools required for this stainless steel or space black-colored strap.

Milanese loop

Apple Watch bands

Apple Watch bands

One of the classiest-looking Apple Watch bands is the Milanese loop, a stainless steel mesh strap that loops from case to clasp.

Emphasizing that woven metal design, there's hardly a clasp. Its tiny magnetic end makes the strap infinitely adjustable and tucks behind the band for a seamless look on one's wrist.

An out-of-the box option with the regular Watch, the Milanese loop is truly one of a kind in that it only comes in a stainless steel color.

Modern buckle (leather strap)

Apple Watch bands

Apple Watch leather

A modern buckle adorns the bottom the first of three leather options among Apple Watches, complete with top-grain leather sourced from France.

The French tannery is said to have been established in 1803, but Apple puts a tech-savvy twist on the buckle. It's a two-piece magnetic clasp that only looks ordinary when together.

This leather option comes in black, soft pink, brown or midnight blue for the regular Watch and bright black, red or rose gray for the premium Watch Edition, all meant for the smaller 38mm watch size.

Classic buckle (leather strap)

Apple Watch design and colors

Apple Watch models

If the Apple Watch modern buckle is a normal-looking watch band with a magnetic twist, then the classic buckle is an ordinary-looking variant without one.

No tricks here. It's just a traditional and secure band that feeds through a stainless steel or an 18-karat gold loop and matches the watch case.

The classic buckle's leather is from the Netherlands and the color choices are as simple as can be: it comes in black for the regular Watch or either black or midnight blue for Watch Edition.

Leather loop

Apple Watch bands

Apple Watch design

This is the leather-equivalent of the all-metal Milanese loop because it tucks magnets into the soft, quilted leather Apple Watch band.

The more pronounced pebbled texture also stands out from the subtle finishes of the modern and classic buckle. Apple says its Venezia leather sources from Italy.

Apple Watch buyers who go with the leather loop band have four colors choices: black, stone, light brown and bright blue.

Sport band

Apple Watch bands

Apple Watch sport band

Despite its name, the sport band is an out-of-the-box option among all three "collections," not just the Apple Watch Sport.

The band is made of smooth fluoroelastomer, so it's resilient for all activities and fastens with a simple pin-and-tuck closure. Hopefully it's easier to buckle than the Fitbit Charge.

The sport band is available in the most colors on the Sport Watch: white, black, blue, green or pink. Regular Watch and Watch Edition buyers can choose between black or white.

Apple Watch sizes

Apple Watch sizes

Less exciting, but equally important is the choice of among Apple Watch sizes. There are two case heights: 38mm and 42mm.

This opens it up to smaller and larger wrists. The 38mm size is more compact, but having that little bit extra screen space by way of the 42mm option may go a long way.

It should be noted that a few bands appear to be exclusive to certain sizes: the modern buckle is limited to the 38mm option and leather loop the 42mm size, for example.

No right-handed and left-handed Apple Watch decisions need to be made at the Apple Store, thankfully. This smartwatch is ambidextrous because the screen can be flipped.

Apple Watch faces

Apple Watch analog watches

There are nine different default faces from Apple, according to its official website, and likely a lot more to come from third-party developers currently testing out WatchKit.

The great thing about smartwatch faces is that none of them are permanent, something we were fond of when testing out Android Wear smartwatches.

Mickey Mouse is my favorite because I never got a Mickey Mouse watch as a kid. But maybe that'll be reserved for Disneyland visits now that I'm an adult.

Analog watches like Chronograph, Color, Simple and Utility can be swapped in for a more professional look that rivals today's best smartwatch alternatives.

Customizable watch faces

Apple Watch designs

Digital watch faces all have something unique to offer. Motion adds a bit of animal-inspired movement in the background, solar lets you follow the sun's path based on your location and the time of day and astronomy lets you explore space and a rotatable 3D Earth.

Modular, the grid-like ninth watch face, really defines what Apple means when it talks about complications. Most faces can be alerted to include pressing information like stock quotes, weather reports or your next calendar event, according to the company.

Apple Watch wrap-up

Apple Watch

With two sizes for most band designs, six band types, 18 band colors and three cases with two colors each, there's a lot of choice going into this smartwatch purchase.

Apple Watch is launching with a lot of personalization, echoing a time when the Cupertino firm introduced variety among its iMac G3 computers and iPod successors.

Which case and band combination I get has ultimately been determined by the price and availability. For such a new product that's bound to be outdated in a few months to years, I'm leaning toward the cheaper Sport Edition when the Apple Watch release date rolls around.








Updated: 50 best iPhone games 2015

50 best iPhone games: 1-25

Gaming on iOS is so big that the platform is becoming dominant enough to threaten the likes of Nintendo and Sony, long-reigning kings of the mobile gaming hill.

Yet for all iOS's gaming prowess, there's no escaping the fact the App Store has a lot of dross. Apple's relative openness, in enabling anyone to develop for the system, means there's almost no meaningful quality control. The flip-side is that previously undiscovered indie talent can find an outlet for frequently innovative fare.

Too often, though, people focus only on the negative, mistaking stories about in-app purchases and low-quality clones for evidence that there are no good games on iOS. But there are. In fact, the best games on iOS are among the very best on any platform, mixing traditional fare with titles that could only have appeared on a capable multi-touch device. Here are our current favourites…

1. Asphalt 8 (free)

Some time long ago, the gaming gods apparently decreed that racing games should be dull and grey, on grey tracks, with grey controls. Thankfully Gameloft chose to ignore their foolish omniscient notions - along with a large chunk of real-world physics - with Asphalt 8: Airborne. Here, then, you zoom along at ludicrous speeds, drifting for miles through exciting city courses, occasionally being hurled into the air to perform stunts that absolutely aren't acceptable according to the car manufacturer's warranty.

50 best iPhone games: the greatest free and paid games around

2. Badland ($3.99/£2.49)

This darkly humorous title at its core echoes copter-style games, in you prodding the screen to make your avatar fly. But the hazards and traps are devious and plentiful, imaginative and deadly contraptions in silhouette, ready to eliminate any passing creature. Your retaliation in Badland comes via cloning your flying monster, and figuring out how to manipulate the environment to bring as many clones home as possible.

50 best iPhone games: the greatest free and paid games around

3. Beat Sneak Bandit ($2.99/£1.99)

One thumb is plenty when a game's so cleverly designed. Beat Sneak Bandit is part rhythm-action, part platformer and part stealth game, with the titular hero aiming to steal back the world's clocks from the nefarious Duke Clockface. You move on the beat, rebounding off walls, and avoiding guards and alarms. It's clever, charming and brilliant.

4. Bejeweled (free)

We've lost count of how many gem-swappers exist for iOS, but PopCap's Bejeweled has a long history, its maturity reflected in this iPhone release. Along with a polished standard mode, where you match three or more gems with each swap, there's Diamond Mine (dig into the ground), Butterflies (save insects from spider-ronch doom), and Poker (make 'hands' of gems).

50 best iPhone games: the greatest free and paid games around

5. Beyond Ynth ($1.99/£1.49)

This fantastic platform puzzler stars a bug who's oddly averse to flying. Instead, he gets about 2D levels by rolling around in boxes full of platforms. Beyond Ynth hangs on a quest, but each level forms a devious test, where you must figure out precisely how to reach the end via careful use of boxes, switches and even environmental hazards.

50 best iPhone games: the greatest free and paid games around

6. Bit Pilot ($1.99/£1.49)

A pilot finds himself trapped inside a tiny area of space frequented by an alarming number of deadly asteroids. You must stave off death for as long as possible. Bit Pilot is the best of the iOS avoid 'em ups, with precise one- and two-thumb controls guiding your tiny ship, effortlessly dodging between rocky foes — until the inevitable collision.

50 best iPhone games: the greatest free and paid games around

7. Blackbar ($2.99/£1.99)

As much a warning about digital surveillance as a word-based puzzler, Blackbar is a unique and compelling iOS classic. The game comprises single screens of communications, many involving your friend who's gone to work in the city, which you soon learn is part of a worryingly oppressive society. You literally fill in the blanks, while becoming immersed in a stark dystopian reality that's fortunately still peppered with warmth, humour and humanity.

8. Blek ($0.99/69p)

Blek is akin to shepherding semi-sentient calligraphy through a series of dexterity tests. Each sparse screen has one or more dots that needs collecting, which is achieved by drawing a squiggle that's then set in motion. To say the game can be opaque is putting it lightly, but as a voyage of discovery, there are few touchscreen games that come close.

Blek

9. Boson X ($2.99/£1.99)

In what we can only assume is a totally accurate representation of what boffins in Geneva get up to, Boson X finds scientists sprinting inside colliders, running over energy panels and then discovering particles by leaping into the abyss. It's equal parts Super Hexagon, Tempest and Canabalt, and it's very addictive indeed.

50 best iPhone games: the greatest free and paid games around

10. Coolson's Pocket Pack ($0.99/69p)

This word puzzler's all about chaining. You drag tiles from the bottom of the well and make short words; do so without swapping any letters from the well's bottom row or the area you create the words and you start amassing huge points. Coolson's Pocket Pack is then a test of nerve, and your ability to not forget every single short word in the dictionary when under pressure.

11. CRUSH! ($1.99/£1.49)

CRUSH! is deceptive. At first, it appears to be little more than a collapse game, where you prod a coloured tile, only for the rest to collapse into the now empty space. But subtle changes to the formula elevate this title to greatness: the tiles wrap around, and each removal sees your pile jump towards a line of death. So even when tiles are moving at speed, you must carefully consider each tap.

50 best iPhone games: the greatest free and paid games around

12. Dark Nebula 2 HD ($2.99/£1.99)

One of the first titles to truly make use of the iPhone gyro, Dark Nebula was a beautiful tilt-based steampunk adventure and dexterity test, with you leading a strange craft through maze-like levels. Dark Nebula 2 ramped up the beauty and complexity, and the HD reissue added iPad and Retina support. The title still feels fresh and is perfectly suited to mobile, rewarding speed-runs and careful exploration of each level alike.

13. David. ($1.99/£1.49)

David. is a game that flirts with the conventional but comes across as half art piece, half brutally difficult action game. The eponymous hero is a simple square, charged with ridding the world of evil shapes. The controls broadly align with platform games, but David. goes all slow-motion when held, whereupon you can unleash colourful blobs of death on multi-angled foes. Tricky level design tests your ability to move, leap, plan, and tackle encroaching enemies while everyone's floating about as if immersed in water.

David

14. Death Ray Manta ($0.99/69p)

Akin to what Robotron might have looked like had its developer managed to recreate a 24-hour sherbet binge on-screen, Death Ray Manta is a wonderful, eye-searing twin-stick shooter. But whereas you initially think KILL ALL THE THINGS, each level contains a collectable 'tiffin'. Death Ray Manta therefore becomes both shooter and puzzler as you attempt to score the maximum 64 — and you've only got one life.

50 best iPhone games: the greatest free and paid games around

15. Device 6 ($3.99/£2.49)

Device 6 is first and foremost a story — a mystery into which protagonist Anna finds herself propelled. She awakes on an island, but where is she? How did she get there? Why can't she remember anything? The game fuses literature with adventuring, the very words forming corridors you travel along, integrated puzzles being dotted about for you to investigate. It's a truly inspiring experience, an imaginative, ambitious and brilliantly realised creation that showcases how iOS can be the home for something unique and wonderful.

16. Devil's Attorney ($1.99/£1.49)

A satirical take on 1980s lawyering, this turn-based strategy has you battling in court by using your legal skills on the opposition, who then fight back after you've exhausted your action points. Wins result in cash that can be spent on goods that boost your materialism, decadence and vanity, which results in new skills. Our verdict? Devil's Attorney is a very silly (or, depending on your outlook, entirely accurate) and compelling take on court-based sparring.

Devil's Attorney

17. Eliss Infinity ($2.99/£1.99)

Eliss was the first game to truly take advantage of iOS's multitouch capabilities, with you combining and tearing apart planets to fling into like-coloured and suitably sized wormholes. Eliss Infinity, a semi-sequel, brings the original's levels into glorious Retina and adds a totally bonkers endless mode. Unique, challenging and fun, this is a game that defines the platform.

18. Frisbee Forever 2 (Free)

We were big fans of the original Frisbee Forever, with its Nintendo-like fling-a-plastic-disc about larks. Frisbee Forever 2's essentially more of the same, but prettier, smoother and with wilder locations in which to fly through hoops and collect stars. It's lovely and costs precisely zero pence, so download it.

50 best iPhone games: the greatest free and paid games around

19. Gridrunner (Free)

Jeff Minter is a shoot 'em up genius, and his Gridrunner series has a long history, starting out on the VIC-20, at the dawn of home gaming. This update riffs off classic Namco arcade machines but also shoves modern bullet-hell mechanics into a claustrophobic single screen. And in this version's survival mode, you have just one life. Argh! The 69p/99c 'Oxtended Mode' in-app purchase adds the rest of the standard game.

20. Hitman GO ($4.99/£2.99)

Square Enix would have been on a hiding to nothing converting its free-roaming 3D game to touchscreens, and so it's great to see the company do something entirely different with Hitman GO. Although still echoing the original series, this touchscreen title is presented as a board game of sorts, with turn-based actions against clockwork opposition. You must figure out your way to the prize, without getting knocked off (the board). It's an oddly adorable take on assassination, and one of the best iOS puzzlers.

Hitman GO

21. Impossible Road ($1.99/£1.49)

A roller-coaster ribbon of road winds through space, and your only aim is to stay on it and reach the highest-numbered gate. But Impossible Road is sneaky: the winding track is one you can leave and rejoin, if you've enough skill, 'cheating' your way to higher scores. It's like the distillation of Super Monkey Ball, Rainbow Road and queue-skipping, all bundled up in a stark, razor-sharp package.

50 best iPhone games: the greatest free and paid games around

22. Leo's Fortune ($4.99/£2.99)

Leo's Fortune finds gruff hairball Leo in search of his gold, which has been dropped in a suspiciously trail-like manner across typically platform-game environments. As he scoops up coins, he finds himself whizzing round Sonic-style loops, solving puzzles by manipulating the environment, and negotiating increasingly complex and deadly pathways. It's a beautiful game, full of character, and well-suited to quick bursts on your iPhone.

Leo's Fortune

23. Letterpress (Free)

What mad fool welds Boggle to tug o' war Risk-style land-grabbing? The kind who doesn't want anyone to get any work done again, ever, that's who. Letterpress is, simply, the best word game on the App Store. You make words to win points and temporarily 'lock' letters from your opponent by surrounding them. The result is a tense asynchronous two-player game with plenty of last-move wins and general gnashing of teeth when you realise 'qin' is in fact an acceptable word.

24. Limbo ($4.99/£2.99)

A boy awakens in hell, and must work his way through a deadly forest. Gruesome deaths and trial and error gradually lead to progress, as he forces his way deeper into the gloom and greater mystery. Originating on the Xbox, Limbo fares surprisingly well on iOS, with smartly designed controls; and its eerie beauty and intriguing environments remain hypnotic.

50 best iPhone games: the greatest free and paid games around

25. Magnetic Billiards (free)

A game that could have been called Reverse Pool For Show-Offs, Magnetic Billiards lacks pockets. Instead, the aim is to join like-coloured balls that cling together on colliding. Along the way, you get more points for trick shots and 'buzzing' other balls that must otherwise be avoided. 20 diverse tables are provided for free, and many more can be unlocked for $1.99/£1.49.

50 best iPhone games: 26-50.

26. Micro Miners ($1.99/£1.49)

Marrying the elegance of digging games like Where's My Water? with the semi-controllable critters from Lemmings, Micro Miners is a superb real-time puzzler. Initially simple, the game is soon complicated by the need to switch the colour of miners, collect objects, and avoid or utilise deadly gas and lava. It's extremely tough later on, but you'll see it through to the bitter end.

50 best iPhone games: the greatest free and paid games around

27. Mikey Hooks ($1.99/£1.49)

If iOS is supposed to be no good for traditional 2D platform games, it's a good job no-one told the developer of Mikey Hooks. The mechanics aren't a million miles away from Nintendo titles starring a certain plumber, but Mikey's also armed with a rope that can attach to hooks dotted about the levels, enabling him to speedily swing to glory. An emphasis on time-attack racing and surprisingly solid controls round out a first-rate title.

50 best iPhone games: the greatest free and paid games around

28. Monument Valley ($3.99/£2.49)

In Monument Valley, you journey through delightful Escher-like landscapes, manipulating the very architecture to build impossible paths along which to explore. It's not the most challenging of games (nor one with the most coherent of storylines), but each scene is a gorgeous and mesmerising bite-sized experience that showcases how important great craft is in the best iOS titles.

MV

29. Need For Speed Most Wanted ($6.99/£2.99)

Racing games are all very well, but too many aim for simulation rather than evoking the glorious feeling of speeding along like a maniac. Most Wanted absolutely nails the fun side of arcade racing, and is reminiscent of classic console title OutRun 2 in enabling you to effortlessly drift for miles. Add to that varied city streets on which to best rivals and avoid (or smash) the cops, and you've a tremendous iOS racer.

50 best iPhone games: the greatest free and paid games around

30. New Star Soccer (Free)

Starting out as a fresh-faced teen in a lowly non-league side, your aim in New Star Soccer is to make your way to a top-flight club. Along the way, you get chances in each match to win balls and score goals. It's management-lite with fun playable highlights, and although there's a whiff of freemium in the energy model, New Star Soccer's top-of-the-table, if you're willing to put in a few bucks here and there.

50 best iPhone games: the greatest free and paid games around

31. Osmos ($2.99/£1.99)

This superb arcade puzzler is at times microscopic and at others galactic in nature, as you use the power of physics and time to move your 'mote' about. Some levels in Osmos are primordial soup, the mote propelled by ejecting bits of itself, all the while aiming to absorb everything around it; elsewhere, motes circle sun-like 'Attractors', and your challenge becomes one of understanding the intersecting trajectories of orbital paths.

50 best iPhone games: the greatest free and paid games around

32. Plants vs Zombies ($0.99/69p)

Yes, we know there's a Plants vs. Zombies 2, but some dolt infected that with a pointless time-travel gimmick and a freemium business model. The charming, amusing, silly and sweet original remains where it's at. For the uninitiated, you repel zombies with the power of hostile plants. Countless other defence titles exist for iOS, but PopCap's classic, Plants vs Zombies, is still the best.

50 best iPhone games: the greatest free and paid games around

33. PUK ($1.99/£1.49)

PUK reminds us of what someone with a minimalism fetish might make of Angry Birds, before speeding everything up to manic levels. Here, each level lasts mere seconds, as you frantically fling discs at portals; and then just as you've got into the groove, deadly black levels aim to throw you off balance. There are no cartoon squawks here — just pure, adrenaline-fuelled arcade action.

34. Rayman Fiesta Run ($2.99/£1.99)

The iOS Rayman games are considered by some to be reductive, overly simplifying console-style platforming to an instant runner with bells on. We instead consider Ubisoft's games distilled: they take the essence of platforming action — running, jumping, timing — and make it truly fit for mobile. Smart, varied level and character design, along with a well-considered unlock mechanism, ensure Rayman Fiesta Run's an iOS classic.

50 best iPhone games: the greatest free and paid games around

35. Ridiculous Fishing ($2.99/£1.99)

If Ridiculous Fishing is what fishing's really like, we've been missing out all these years. An angular fisherman casts his line into the inky gloom, where you cunningly avoid fish by tilting your device. Snag one and the hero reels the line back in, and you jerk your iPhone from side to side, aiming to catch as many fish as possible. At the surface, the catch is flung into the sky, to be blasted to pieces by powerful weaponry. Longevity's secured by an amusing in-game store and social network parody, along with several fishing spots to visit.

36. Rocket Robo ($0.99/69p)

It's not the most innovative game around, but Rocket Robo makes up for it with bags of character, smart level design, and tight controls. You guide your little floating droid about the place, collecting stars and swiping in and out of the screen. The first few levels are extremely simple, but you're soon introduced to complex, cunning layouts and plenty of gimmicks that add some real bite to the cutesy proceedings.

Rocket Robo

37. Smash Hit (free)

If you find catharsis in smashing things, Smash Hit will leave you in a totally blissed-out state. You float through the void, lobbing metal balls at glass objects, clearing a path and chaining collisions. Over time, the paths become increasingly complex, the camera begins to whirl, and the shots get very demanding, depleting your meagre resources. A single one-time 'premium' in app purchase upgrade exists should you want to start out on any sections of the journey you've managed to already reach.

Smash Hit

38. SpellTower ($1.99/£1.49)

SpellTower is a fantastic word game that starts off easy. You get a grid of letters and remove them by dragging out words. Your only foe is gravity, letters falling into empty space as completed words disappear. But then come new modes, with ferocious timers and numbered letters that won't vanish unless you craft long enough words. And there always seem to be too many Vs!

39. Super Hexagon ($2.99/£1.99)

Ah, Super Hexagon. We remember that punishing first game, which must have lasted all of three seconds. Much like the next — and the next. But then we recognised patterns in the walls that closed in on our tiny ship, and learned to react and dodge. Then you threw increasingly tough difficulty levels at us, and we've been smitten ever since.

50 best iPhone games: the greatest free and paid games around

40. Super Monsters Ate My Condo

Logic? Pah! Sanity? Pfft! We care not for such things, yells Super Monsters Ate My Condo. It then gets on with turning the match-three genre and Jenga-style tower-building into a relentless time-attack cartoon fest of apartment-munching, explosions, giant tantrums and opera. No, really.

50 best iPhone games: the greatest free and paid games around

41. Super Stickman Golf 2 ($0.99/69p)

If you've often thought golf would be much better if it was played on Mars, or in a giant castle, or in dank caverns with glue-like surfaces, Super Stickman Golf 2 is the game for you. Its side-on charms echo Angry Birds in its artillery core, but this is a far smarter and more polished game. It also boasts two equally brilliant but different multiplayer modes: one-on-one asynchronous play and frantic multiplayer racing.

50 best iPhone games: the greatest free and paid games around

42. Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP ($4.99/£2.99)

Apple's mobile platform has become an unlikely home for traditional point-and-click adventures. Sword & Sworcery has long been a favourite, with its sense of mystery, palpable atmosphere, gorgeous pixel art and evocative soundtrack. Exploratory in nature, this is a true /adventure/ in the real sense of the word, and it's absolutely not to be missed.

50 best iPhone games: the greatest free and paid games around

43. Threes! ($1.99/£1.49)

Threes! is all about matching numbered cards. 1s and 2s merge to make 3s, and then pairs of identical cards can subsequently be merged, doubling their face value. With each swipe, a new card enters the tiny grid, forcing you to carefully manage your growing collection, and think many moves ahead. The ingenious mix of risk and reward makes it hugely frustrating when you're a fraction from an elusive 1536 card, but so addictive you'll immediately want another go.

44. Tiny Wings ($0.99/69p)

This sweet endless title stars a bird who loves to fly but doesn't have the wings for it. Instead, she uses gravity, sliding down hills and then propelling herself into the air from the top of adjacent slopes. Meanwhile, in another mode, her offspring are happily racing, bounding over lakes, eager to earn the biggest fish from their mother. Whichever route you take, Tiny Wings is a vibrant, warm and friendly experience.

50 best iPhone games: the greatest free and paid games around

45. Trainyard ($3.99/£2.49)

Trainyard is another devious puzzler that at first seems a cinch. Initially, you merely drag tracks to lead trains between stations of the same colour. But then rocks enter the fray, along with colour-mixing and train-splitting. Before you know it, you've 14 stations, seven trains, hazards aplenty and an aching brain from figuring out how to get all the trains home safely.

50 best iPhone games: the greatest free and paid games around

46. Monument Valley ($3.99/£2.99)

It might not be the most challenging game in the world, but Monument Valley is a short, sweet platformer that everyone should play through at least once. Its beautiful style is very Escher-esque, but even he'd have a hard time making his way through some of these labyrinths. More than worth its price.

47. Walking Dead (Free)

We do like a good zombie yarn, as long as we're not the subject matter, having just had our brains eaten. Walking Dead successfully jumped from comic to TV screen, and it's just as good in its interactive incarnation. The first part of the story is free, and you can then buy new episodes; if you survive, season 2 is also available.

50 best iPhone games: the greatest free and paid games around

48. WaveWave ($2.99/£1.99)

Wave Wave is cut from similar cloth as Super Hexagon. If anything, though, this demanding survival game is simpler and tougher than its forebear. It's a one-thumb affair, with you tapping to alter the direction of your line that zig-zags its way through a gauntlet of triangles as the screen lurches and spins. It's a mesmerising but utterly ferocious experience.

Wave Wave

49. Year Walk ($3.99/£2.49)

Year Walk preceded the same developer's iOS masterpiece Device 6, but is equally daring. It's a first-person adventure of sorts, with more than a nod towards horror literature and, frankly, the just plain weird. It's unsettling, clever, distinctive and beautifully crafted — another unmissable and original touchscreen creation.

50 best iPhone games: the greatest free and paid games around

50. Zen Bound 2 ($2.99/£1.99)

One of the most tactile puzzlers around, Zen Bound 2 doesn't sound terribly exciting, in that you're wrapping sculptures in rope. But the atmosphere and polish combine with a nagging percentage bar, urging you to perfect each level. With no time limit, it's one of the more soothing puzzlers in this round-up, but it also never drifts towards the noodly.

Best free iPhone apps: 90 to choose from!








UPDATED: All 38 Apple Watch designs: Every band, case and face so far

Apple Watch: watch cases and bands

Apple Watch features

This week was the Apple Watch launch day, but you can't try on the iPhone-compatible wearable yet since we're a month away from pre-orders and two weeks further from its official release date.

That's a problem for anxious early adopters who want it now. The April 24-bound smartwatch comes in a variety of colors and styles, way more than the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

In fact, there are 38 different Apple Watch choices (up from the original 34) and nine default watch faces with millions of customizations, according to Apple.

Here's every Apple Watch face, band and case announced so far, giving you extra time to decide which "iWatch" should be your watch before waiting in line.

Cases: Apple Watch vs Sport vs Watch Edition

YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zr72v7Z7m4Y

All Apple Watches boast the same rectangular design with rounded off corners, but they're divided up into three different case "collections" based on build materials.

Starting at $349 (£299) and costing as much as $17,000 (£13,500, AU$24,000), the names Watch, Watch Sport and Watch Edition, don't tell us a whole lot about those differences, so let's explain each watch case.

The regular Apple Watch

Apple Watch design and colors

Donning the "regular" Watch puts a highly polished stainless steel case on your wrist, one that comes in glossy metal colors of either space black or stainless steel.

Protecting the precious Retina display is sapphire crystal, which is the same glass that covers the Touch ID home button of newer iPhones.

Sapphire crystal is touted as the hardest transparent material on earth next to diamond. It'll stand up to dings every time your formerly-bare wrist forgets what it's like to wear a watch.

Watch Sport

Apple Watch design and colors

Sport is the the lightest of the three Apple Watch choices thanks to its anodized aluminum case that still manages to be 60% stronger than standard alloys.

It skips out of the expensive sapphire glass in favor of what Apple calls strengthened Ion-X or aluminosilicate glass. This further reduces the weight, making it fit for active lifestyles.

Sure, the iPhone-matching matte space gray and silver aluminum case appears less shiny vs the regular Watch, but Apple's 7000 Series aluminum and Ion-X glass makes it 30% lighter.

It's also the least expensive Apple Watch version at $349 (£299) for the 38mm size and 42mm for the $399 (£339) size.

Watch Edition

Apple Watch design and colors

Watch Edition will be the most expensive Apple Watch at $10,000 (£8,000) because of its 18-karat gold case. It may even be locked inside a safe within your local Apple Store.

It's been crafted by Apple's metallurgists to be twice as hard as standard gold, says the Cupertino company, and will come in two colors: yellow gold and rose gold.

Complementing those cases are color-matching bands made of leather or fluoroelastomer plastic.

Bands are the next step in deciding on the right Apple Watch.

Six different band styles, 18 colors

Apple Watch bands

Apple Watch is all about personalization with six band types and 18 colors, all of which are easily interchangeable thanks a unique slide-out locking mechanism.

Yes, it's a proprietary watch strap - did you expect anything less? - but it looks to be a whole lot easier to switch out compared to the irksome hidden pins of the Moto 360.

I'm okay with that. I want the sport band at the gym and the Milanese loop for a night on the town without the hassle of digging into the watch case with a pair of tweezers.

Link bracelet

Apple Watch bands

Apple Watch choices

Available with the regular Watch, the link bracelet is one of two stainless steel Apple Watch bands. This one matches the 316L stainless steel alloy of the case.

It has more than 100 components and the brushed metal links increase in width closer to the case. A custom butterfly closure folds neatly within the bracelet.

Best of all, you can add and remove links with a simple release button. No jeweler visits or special tools required for this stainless steel or space black-colored strap.

Milanese loop

Apple Watch bands

Apple Watch bands

One of the classiest-looking Apple Watch bands is the Milanese loop, a stainless steel mesh strap that loops from case to clasp.

Emphasizing that woven metal design, there's hardly a clasp. Its tiny magnetic end makes the strap infinitely adjustable and tucks behind the band for a seamless look on one's wrist.

An out-of-the box option with the regular Watch, the Milanese loop is truly one of a kind in that it only comes in a stainless steel color.

Modern buckle (leather strap)

Apple Watch bands

Apple Watch leather

A modern buckle adorns the bottom the first of three leather options among Apple Watches, complete with top-grain leather sourced from France.

The French tannery is said to have been established in 1803, but Apple puts a tech-savvy twist on the buckle. It's a two-piece magnetic clasp that only looks ordinary when together.

This leather option comes in black, soft pink, brown or midnight blue for the regular Watch and bright black, red or rose gray for the premium Watch Edition, all meant for the smaller 38mm watch size.

Classic buckle (leather strap)

Apple Watch design and colors

Apple Watch models

If the Apple Watch modern buckle is a normal-looking watch band with a magnetic twist, then the classic buckle is an ordinary-looking variant without one.

No tricks here. It's just a traditional and secure band that feeds through a stainless steel or an 18-karat gold loop and matches the watch case.

The classic buckle's leather is from the Netherlands and the color choices are as simple as can be: it comes in black for the regular Watch or either black or midnight blue for Watch Edition.

Leather loop

Apple Watch bands

Apple Watch design

This is the leather-equivalent of the all-metal Milanese loop because it tucks magnets into the soft, quilted leather Apple Watch band.

The more pronounced pebbled texture also stands out from the subtle finishes of the modern and classic buckle. Apple says its Venezia leather sources from Italy.

Apple Watch buyers who go with the leather loop band have four colors choices: black, stone, light brown and bright blue.

Sport band

Apple Watch bands

Apple Watch sport band

Despite its name, the sport band is an out-of-the-box option among all three "collections," not just the Apple Watch Sport.

The band is made of smooth fluoroelastomer, so it's resilient for all activities and fastens with a simple pin-and-tuck closure. Hopefully it's easier to buckle than the Fitbit Charge.

The sport band is available in the most colors on the Sport Watch: white, black, blue, green or pink. Regular Watch and Watch Edition buyers can choose between black or white.

Apple Watch sizes

Apple Watch sizes

Less exciting, but equally important is the choice of among Apple Watch sizes. There are two case heights: 38mm and 42mm.

This opens it up to smaller and larger wrists. The 38mm size is more compact, but having that little bit extra screen space by way of the 42mm option may go a long way.

It should be noted that a few bands appear to be exclusive to certain sizes: the modern buckle is limited to the 38mm option and leather loop the 42mm size, for example.

No right-handed and left-handed Apple Watch decisions need to be made at the Apple Store, thankfully. This smartwatch is ambidextrous because the screen can be flipped.

Apple Watch faces

Apple Watch analog watches

There are nine different default faces from Apple, according to its official website, and likely a lot more to come from third-party developers currently testing out WatchKit.

The great thing about smartwatch faces is that none of them are permanent, something we were fond of when testing out Android Wear smartwatches.

Mickey Mouse is my favorite because I never got a Mickey Mouse watch as a kid. But maybe that'll be reserved for Disneyland visits now that I'm an adult.

Analog watches like Chronograph, Color, Simple and Utility can be swapped in for a more professional look that rivals today's best smartwatch alternatives.

Customizable watch faces

Apple Watch designs

Digital watch faces all have something unique to offer. Motion adds a bit of animal-inspired movement in the background, solar lets you follow the sun's path based on your location and the time of day and astronomy lets you explore space and a rotatable 3D Earth.

Modular, the grid-like ninth watch face, really defines what Apple means when it talks about complications. Most faces can be alerted to include pressing information like stock quotes, weather reports or your next calendar event, according to the company.

Apple Watch wrap-up

Apple Watch

With two sizes for most band designs, six band types, 18 band colors and three cases with two colors each, there's a lot of choice going into this smartwatch purchase.

Apple Watch is launching with a lot of personalization, echoing a time when the Cupertino firm introduced variety among its iMac G3 computers and iPod successors.

Which case and band combination I get has ultimately been determined by the price and availability. For such a new product that's bound to be outdated in a few months to years, I'm leaning toward the cheaper Sport Edition when the Apple Watch release date rolls around.








Review: Huawei P8

Introduction, design and display

The Huawei P8 is the Chinese firm's latest foray into the flagship market, and it's arguably its best handset to date after the comparably sedate Ascend P6 and Ascend P7 of the past couple of years.

The "Ascend" name has been dropped in favour of the cleaner Huawei P8 moniker, which tidies up its previously messy naming regime.

In terms of price you're looking at €499 (around £395, $580, AU$760) for the 16GB model, or €599 (around £465, $680, AU$900) for 64GB of internal space, making the Huawei P8 comfortably cheaper than the current fleet of 2015 flagships.

There's a 5.2-inch full HD display up front, while the metal unibody design comes in at just 6.4mm thick - making the Huawei P8 thinner than the iPhone 6 and Samsung Galaxy S6.

Huawei P8 review

Picking up the P8 I found it to be well weighted, manageable in one hand and indeed it does look and feel premium.

The slightly curved, chamfered edges provide a little extra grip, although the completely flat rear and super slim 6.4mm profile means it's not the most comfortable to hold. It does however, slip effortlessly in a pocket.

Huawei made a point of saying how solid the aluminium unibody is on the P8, and while there's no obvious cause for concern in terms of bend-ability I look forward to seeing others applying more pressure to see if it goes the same way as the iPhone 6 Plus.

Huawei P8 review

While the Huawei P8 does sport a premium metal body, it doesn't quite match the same style and grace of the iPhone 6 or HTC One M9.

The all metal unibody just doesn't look or feel quite as premium as its rivals - whether it's the finish Huawei has chosen to apply or use of cheaper materials, it's not clear.

It feels like there's something still missing to really push it into the design stratosphere, but it's another positive step forward and the Huawei P8 is still a premium device.

Huawei P8 review

The metal power lock key is situated about half way down the right of the P8, in a slightly recessed dip making it easier to find when you run a finger along the edge.

The volume rocker sits above it, while below are two trays - one for your 4G nanoSIM and one for a microSD card (up to 128GB in size) which also doubles as a second nanoSIM port.

There are both single and dual SIM variants of the Huawei P8, so the handset you get may not have the clever second SIM functionality in the microSD bay.

Huawei P8 review

You can pick the Huawei P8 up in four colours; mystic champagne, carbon black, titanium grey and prestige gold. The champagne and grey only feature on the 16GB model while black and gold are reserved for 64GB.

Something for you eyes

The full HD display may not match the 2K Galaxy S6 and LG G3 in terms of resolution, but with the Sony Xperia Z3 and HTC One M9 both sporting full HD panels it's not really being left behind by the QHD crowd.

That means it has a pixel density of 424ppi - matching the One M9, although the Xperia Z3 wins here thanks to its smaller 5-inch screen giving you 441ppi.

Huawei P8 review

It's bright, colourful and responsive making everything look clear and easy to read, and bezels have been kept to a relative minimum apart from the area of dead space below the screen.

You'd expect to see a physical home key or some touch navigation keys here, but Huawei doesn't deal in home buttons and it's moved navigation on screen leaving a bar of blank space.

This isn't unique to the P8 - plenty of handsets have additional space on the front - but it's surprising Huawei hasn't seen fit to even stick its logo here.

Huawei P8 review

At 5.2 inches it's on the cusp between manageable and slightly too big for one handed use, so if you have smaller palms it may be a little tricky to reach all areas of the screen.

It doesn't break any ground, but it doesn't need to, and the display on the Huawei P8 provides a strong level of performance, allowing you to enjoy the on-screen experience.

Key features

Design is one of the big talking points for the Chinese firm on the Huawei P8, but I've already covered that in depth.

Here's a look at the other features Huawei is making a fuss about on the P8.

Wakey wakey

A new feature Huawei has baked into its interface is Voice Wake Up. This allows you to say a pre-determined phase for your phone to recognise and then call out to tell you where it is.

It's not likely to be a feature that's used all that often, and the ringtone which actually says "I'm here" is a bit odd coming from your phone - but there's a clear use case for it.

Unfortunately though the voice control function is incredibly irritating.

The default 'name' given to the Huawei P8 is Emy - not exactly a common name, but you can change it to anything. I went for Dave, and the phrase I needed to wake the P8 was "Hello Dave."

After setting the name, you have to say the phrase three times into the handset so it can learn your voice, then you're good to go.

Early impressions were positive, saying "Hello Dave" woke the phone up and following that with "where are you" triggered the ringtone and creepy "I'm here" voice.

Huawei P8 review

The P8 was able to hear my voice from the other side of the room, but you'll need your environment to be pretty quiet for it to hear you.

You can also have the Huawei P8 call someone in your contact book using your voice - but that's it. There's no message, alarm or note taking functionality making this a very limited offering.

Then comes the real problem. The Huawei P8 would just come alive thinking someone said the magic "Hello Dave" words, but actually the words were never mentioned and it was reacting to standard conversation.

If this happened once or twice I wouldn't have minded, but it went off all the time. The P8 then loudly announces it doesn't understand you, making it really obvious to everyone else you've got a weird person living in your phone.

It got so annoying I was forced to turn the function off. A shame as I liked the idea Hauwei had here, it's just been poorly implemented.

Knock knock

Another feature Huawei was keen to point out during the launch event for the P8 was its Knuckle Sense Technology.

Basically what this means is the P8 can detect whether you're tapping the screen with your fingertip or knuckle, and perform a different action depending on which you're using.

Double tap the screen with your knuckle and the P8 snaps a screenshot, while drawing a circle will see a crop tool appear allowing you to select a part of the screen to cut out and save for later.

Huawei P8 review

Handy it you want to make a quick note of an address or cut out an embarrassing photo of a friend from a dodgy website.

That's all you get though, and like the voice wake up function Knuckle Sense feels like its lacking in options.

I found on numerous occasions the P8 would think my finger was a knuckle and start drawing lines on the screen rather that scrolling, swiping or tapping - which got very annoying,

You can take a screenshot by pressing the volume down and power keys together, and from there you can crop it which essentially makes the Knuckle Sense options pretty pointless and worth turning off - only for some inexplicable reason, you can't.

Camera smarts

Huawei made a big deal about the camera during the launch event for the P8, with the 13MP snapper on the rear getting a boost in a number of areas.

The Chinese firm claims the P8 has best-in-class OIS (optical image stabilisation) and the world's first four colour RGBW imaging sensor which improves brightness in high contrast conditions, reduces noise in low light and produces vivid pictures with more natural colours.

Huawei P8 review

You'll also find a DSLR quality ISP (image signal processor) inside the Huawei P8, which again helps out in low lighting and also controls the auto camera mode.

All the big manufacturers are ploughing huge amounts of R&D into their camera modules, so while the P8's snapper sounds promising on paper it's got tough competition.

Interface and performance

The Huawei P8 comes with the latest iteration of Google's operating system, Android 5.0 Lollipop, but it's not the stock version offered up by the search giant.

As with all of its Android handsets, Lollipop has been coated in Hauwei's relatively heavy Emotion UI which does away with the app tray for a slightly more iOS look and feel.

Emotion UI has been improved over the years, but it still lacks the polish of stock Android and HTC's Sense overlay.

It's a shame as the brightly coloured, slightly childish icons detract from the premium appeal of the hardware on display here - and makes the Huawei P8 seem a little cheap on screen.

Download an app from the Play Store and it gets an annoying coloured border round the edge, rather than a transparent background like pretty much every other interface.

The interface seems more suited to Asian markets, but there is a way round it. The Huawei P8 comes with a Themes app where you can download alternative skins.

Huawei P8 review

You only get six pre-installed on the P8, but that at least gives you some flexibility and you can customise each one to fine tune it a little more.

Wind back to the lock screen though and things do look a little more professional. By default you get a magazine style slide show of images on the lock screen, giving you a new picutre each time you fire up the screen.

You can select for a few categories of image with the likes of travel, cars and sport on offer. The number of images are pretty low, so you'll soon be seeing the same images again and again, but it's more interesting than having just one static picture.

If you're not a fan of the default images then you can always add in your own from the gallery to give it a more personal touch.

With no app tray all applications are stored on home screens, and folders are your friend on the P8 allowing you to keep various things in order. Just drag and drop one app onto another to create a new folder.

Notifications appear on the home screen, but there's no way to open them from here - you have to unlock the Huawei P8 and navigate to the application manually, which is a little counter intuitive.

Huawei P8 review

Pull down the notification panel and you'll get a list of all your latest alerts, with a second tab at the top of the screen providing access to a variety of quick settings including screen brightness and torch.

I did experience a few quirks with the notification management on the P8, with WhatsApp in particular causing the handset some difficulties.

It wasn't able to group notifications together properly, so even if the alert was for new messages in one message stream I'd get two or three notifications. Frustrating to say the least.

I also had a go at pairing an Android Wear smartwatch (the SmartWatch 3) to the P8, but it refused to send any notifications to my wrist. Every time I loaded the Android Wear app it said I needed to enable notifications - which I did, only for it to return the setting to disabled.

Hopefully both of these notification quirks can be resolved via a software update, but for now they are rather annoying.

The stock apps (phone, contacts, messages etc) have all been given Huawei's Emotion treatment and while they're all functional they're not quite as clean cut or intuitive as the stock versions from Google.

Huawei's keyboard on the P8 is passable, but I found myself making a lot of mistakes with the travel and key size not feeling quite right.

There is next word prediction and the swype style input, but again it doesn't excel in these areas and alternative options such as SwiftKey make typing much easier.

In terms of pre-installed applications on top of your stock smartphone apps and Google's suite the P8 comes with a few extras including an office solution and NQ Anti-virus.

Frustratingly the anti-virus app appears to be baked into the firmware rather than being a standalone offering and every time you download an new app it'll appear in the notification asking if you want to scan it.

You can disable it, but only after you've enabled it and then gone into settings.

In terms of power Huawei has opted to stick its own Kirin 930 processor inside the P8, and its 64-bit architecture and eight core setup along with 3GB of RAM means it's more than ready for the demands of today's applications and games.

Moving around the Android Lollipop interface I found the P8 to be generally fluid and smooth, although I didn't experience the zip I got on the Galaxy S6 Edge.

Huawei P8 review

Firing up apps and performance didn't exactly sparkle - with demanding games such as Real Racing 3 and Family Guy: Quest for Stuff experiencing noticeable wait times compared to the Galaxy S6 or One M9.

Considering the Huawei P8 is being touted as a rival to the flagship devices from Samsung, HTC and co. it doesn't quite hit the same marks with performance, and that also comes across in the Geekbench 3 results.

The Galaxy S6 averaged a supremely impressive 4850, the One M9 was closer to the 3800, while the P8 musters around 3620. All three manage to comfortably beat the new iPhone 6 though, which clocked in at 2905.

It's not a terrible result by any means, and considering the considerable price difference between the P8 and its main rivals you can somewhat accept the slightly patchy performance. It does mean that the most demanding games and applications don't run quite so well here.

Camera

There's been a lot of work in the camera department of the Huawei P8, with a host of modes and features packed inside this impossibly slender device.

Round the back you'll find a 13MP camera with dual-LED flash, while on the front you get a decent 8MP snapper - perfect for selfie lovers.

Huawei says it outperforms the snapper on the iPhone 6 Plus, with the P8 boasting the world's first four colour RGBW imaging sensor, best in class OIS (optical image stabilisation) and a DSLR quality ISP (image signal processor).

What does this all mean? A number of things actually, including enhanced low-light performance, brighter, more natural colours and a better auto mode which can assess your environment and adjust the settings accordingly to give you the best shot.

Huawei P8 review

A party trick Huawei introduced with the Ascend P7 and has carried over to the P8 is Instant Shot. It allows you to snap a picture while the handset is locked by double clicking the down volume key.

It even shows up a timer on screen showing you how quickly it snapped the photo - usually 1.1 or 1.2 seconds for me - although you can't guarantee if your subject is in shot or in focus.

Fire up the app on the Huawei P8 and there's a distinctly iPhone look and feel, with a round shutter key below a row of camera modes which you slide sideways across to change.

Smartphone camera staples such as full HD video recording and HDR are also present on the Huawei P8, as is an iOS style filter providing you with eight Instagram friendly effects if you want to get arty.

Huawei P8 review

Tap the menu in the top corner of the camera app and you'll get access to a few more modes including All focus, Watermark and Super night.

All focus is Huawei's attempt at the now common-place background defocus effect we're seeing on pretty much every top tier smartphone these days.

Snap a picture with All focus enabled and you can adjust the focus after taking the shot. It's easy to do, but the blur effect is relatively minor which means the overall appearance isn't as striking as on some rival handsets.

Watermark allows you to add stickers to your shots - be it your location, the weather or something cheesy like a food related slogan. It's very reminiscent of the filters you get on Snapchat. You have a limited level of control over them - but I can't see them getting used all that often.

Huawei P8 review

You can probably guess what Super night is all about - yep its for those low-light situations. The Huawei P8 encourages you to keep the handset still, or use a tripod, as camera shake is more apparent here.

It doesn't do too bad a job, and I managed to get a couple of clear night shots with the P8 picking out a decent level of detail.

Exit Super night and slide across to "Light painting" for four more options; Car light trails, Light graffiti, Silky water and Star track. These rather gimmicky modes are mostly self explanatory, with Car light trails looking to give you the long exposure shots you see of traffic with the lines of light.

I found it difficult to actually get a decent light trails shot with the P8, with shaky results suggesting a tripod may be needed to ensure stillness.

Huawei P8 review

Silky water sees the blending of moving water for a pretty cool effect while Light graffiti tracks moving light in a low light image. Great if you've got sparklers out for fireworks night, but you're unlikely to use it at any other point.

A new time lapse mode allows you to take photos at specific intervals and then stitch them together to make a short video. You can even add a soundtrack if you wish. It's slightly on the gimmicky side of things, but it's fun to play with.

Whatever you do stay away from the 'Beauty' mode, unless you want to end up looking like an alien. The results are truly terrifying with huge eyes and skeletal faces really pushing the boundaries of beauty.

Photos in general are of a high quality, with a good level of detail although colours aren't quite as vibrant as the Samsung Galaxy S6 - possibly the best mobile camera currently on the market.

You're unlikely to be disappointed with results, but I did find it annoying that HDR didn't have an auto mode and you had to specifically engage it whenever you wanted it.

For all the hype Hauwei gave the camera on the P8 it doesn't feel like it's quite lived up to it, but don't let that put you off as it's still a very capable snapper and you'll take some excellent shots with it.

Camera samples

Huawei P8 review

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Huawei P8 review

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Huawei P8 review

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Huawei P8 review

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Huawei P8 review

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Huawei P8 review

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Huawei P8 review

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Huawei P8 review

Huawei P8 review

Battery life and media

Battery life

Battery life is a hot topic in the smartphone world and Huawei makes some bold claims about how long the P8 can last on a single charge.

The 2600mAh battery is locked inside the aluminium body and can't be swapped out, but Huawei reckons the P8 will go for a day and a half with normal usage.

It also says power users should see a full day of use from the P8 too, although in reality these claims don't ring true.

With "normal usage" I found the Huawei P8 could see out a day pretty easily, usually ending up in the low teens by the time it came to plugging it in at night. There certainly wasn't enough left in the tank to get another half a day of use though.

Huawei P8 review

Power users may find themselves dashing for a charger come late afternoon/early evening, and I found a couple of hours of heavy gaming took its toll on the P8's battery.

It falls in line with the current flock of flagship smartphones, with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S6 and HTC One M9 also struggling to see out more than a day on a single charge.

Huawei has included a handy power consumption monitor on the P8, highlighting battery intensive apps running in the background - allowing you to shut them down and save some juice.

You can fine tune the settings to force particular apps to either stay on or be switched off when the phone is laying idle - again helping you to get the most from the P8's battery.

Huawei P8 review

A smart power saving mode automatically adjusts processor power and performance to even out battery a little more than the standard mode. There's also an ultra power saving mode which strips down the Android OS to a basic six tile, black and white affair, providing access to basic applications only to help you eke out the last drops of life.

Media

The entry level Huawei P8 only comes with 16GB of internal storage, which is pretty low for a flagship these days as we're used to seeing 32GB and upwards now. Only around 10.5GB of that is actually available to you as well, making it even more disappointing.

There is a microSD card slot on the side allowing you to build on the internal offering by up to 128GB - but I'd still like to have seen more built in.

Thankfully Huawei also offers a 64GB version of the P8, but that comes at an additional cost and it's currently not clear which markets this variant will be available in.

The 5.2-inch full HD display is handy for video playback, and the P8 comes with a dedicated video application allowing you to locate your moving pictures easily.

Tap a video and you'll get a basic player, with play/pause, scrub and chapter skip control. It's all very unfussy, making it easy to use and the P8 is generally comfortable to hold.

The placement of the speaker at the base of the handset means your hand may be covering it, requiring you to shift your grip of the P8. While it can kick out a decent volume, the quality still isn't as good as a pair of headphones.

Huawei P8 review

Head over to the music app and it's another simple affair with songs organised by title, artist and album - plus there's the option to create playlists.

Sound quality through a decent set of headphones is pleasing, and the internal speaker can fill a room with sound - although there's no bass to speak off.

Huawei P8 review

As I've already mentioned in this review gaming on the P8 is generally pretty good, but the more demanding games do push the handset's octa-processor to its limits.

I noticed some load time and game play lag with Family Guy and Real Racing 3, but other titles such as Commute ran without issue.

The Huawei P8 does heat up a bit after around 15 minutes of gaming, but temperatures are kept to warm, rather than hot - which is good news.

Verdict

The Huawei P8 is the best smartphone to come out of the Chinese firm to date, and it shows some very real promise that the company is heading in the right direction.

It still doesn't quite hit the same heights as the flagships its trying to compete with though, and that becomes apparent after spending some time with the P8.

Huawei P8 review

We liked

The slender, all metal body of the Huawei P8 is certainly premium in look and feel, allowing the handset to stand proudly next to the iPhone 6, HTC One M9 and Samsung Galaxy S6.

I wouldn't say it's quite as nice as these handsets, but it's up there and for that Huawei should be commended.

The full HD display is easy on the eye, the camera has a decent range of features - even if some of them are a bit gimmicky - and the price tag attached the Huawei P8 is eye catching in its own right.

We disliked

In an attempt to differentiate itself from the mobile market Huawei has added some slightly left field features in Knuckle Sense and Voice Wakeup.

On the surface you can understand the potential of these features, but I was disappointed to find just how poorly both had been implemented.

Voice wakeup isn't good enough at recognising your alert phrase over normal conversation, but at least you can turn it off. More annoying is Knuckle Sense which can't be disabled and constantly mixes up your finger and knuckle.

Considering there's an octa-core processor and 3GB of RAM stuffed inside the P8's super slim body the performance on screen doesn't make it all that clear, which is a shame.

Huawei P8 review

Verdict

The Huawei P8 has all the right ingredients for a top of the range smartphone, but something's not quite gone to plan in the baking.

Its screen, power, camera and battery life are just about on par with the high-end competition, but software quirks and interface inefficiencies hamper the overall experience of the Huawei P8.

The €499 (around £395, $580, AU$760) price tag is not to be sniffed at though, as you're getting a lot of tech for money. If Huawei can sort out some of the nagging issues with a firmware update than the P8 becomes a really attractive proposition.

As it is though it feels like a second tier device compared to Apple, Samsung, Sony and HTC - a stigma the firm is still struggling to shrug off.

First reviewed: April 2015








The Moto Z (2017) could be one of the best phones of next year, if Motorola can fix a few niggles.;