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Your princess isn't in another smartphone
It's Friday. You're giddy with excitement. It can only mean one thing…7 days in smartphones is back again!
Forget being "social" with your so-called "friends", stay here in the dark with as we try to make you laugh. Once. It's the best we can hope for.
Nintendo is finally entering the smartphone market. We've waited years to say it and – phwoar– that felt seriously good.
The bad news is it isn't exactly as we'd anticipated, it looks like Mario and co will be taking a back seat to make way for new mobile franchises.
The move comes after a partnership with developer DeNA who will have free reign over the Nintendo IPs but won't be aiming to create ports of Wii U or 3DS games.
Instead it'll be focusing on new titles – is that really such a bad thing? Well, probably - these things rarely go well.
Even though the Mario, Zelda, Pokémon, rinse and repeat formula can sometimes feel a little tiresome, Nintendo wanting to enter the world of Candy Crush doesn't necessarily fill me with glee.
That said, if anyone can do it with style and create some new engaging characters to go on the journey with, surely it's Nintendo. You hear that Iwata? My credit card is waiting and I'm ready and waiting to make micro payments now.
Microsoft wants your Android!
Windows 10 news now smartphans: Microsoft wants to bring its new operating system to your Android smartphone.
Yeah, that's right, Microsoft wants to wrangle your unrestricted OS, throw up a bunch of electric fences and restrict the amount of apps you'll be able to download.
OK, maybe not quite like that, but the Softies have announced plans to allow users to trial a custom ROM on the Xiamoi Mi 4 that removes all trace of the Android OS for an almost complete version of Windows 10.
It's Microsoft's attempt to steal users from the Android ecosystem and switch them over to Windows Phone, but it'll be some seriously hard work considering the reduced number of apps available on the platform.
Will anyone actually choose to make their Android run Windows Phone? Only time will tell.
Or, well, no.
One hoof forward
One hoof, two hoof, three hoof, four, repeat. Walking was becoming easier by the day as Winston's long recovery continued to drag.
"You're doing great, just a few more steps" reassured the nurse ready to catch him at the slightest sign of a stumble.
One hoof, two hoof, three hoof, four, done. Winston collapsed into the really rather long wheelchair, sweat dripping from his mane. The nurse looked at him sympathetically, stroking his fetlock, and said tenderly: "That's enough for one day... let's get you back to your bed."
Wheeled back to the side of his bed, he clambered onto the sheets and forced himself to look at the odd, faceless black brick that seemed to be staring him from the bedside table.
Over the preceding days and weeks he'd gradually been building the confidence to explore the Apple iPhone and take control of his first ever keyless smartphone. OK, the Storm didn't have any keys... except it did. The whole display was a key. It was glorious, but now it was gone.
In that time he'd learnt how to turn on the display, unlock it, take a few snaps around his hospital room and even get used to the onscreen keyboard. Apps were still a weird experience: he'd finally realised how to download them, but was bewildered by how many there were. Inside, he still missed the choice of just 11 that used to populate BlackBerry App World.
Then the day came: it was time to go home. His rehab was over. It was time to venture back out into the world, a robotic unicorn sent out to live once again.
With an NHS prescribed iPhone 6 Plus in his left hoof, a small bag of belongings in his right, it was time to flip open Apple Maps, type in Mobonia, get confused as to why it wasn't there (before finding it simply on Google Maps) and continue on his journey, but where next?
A flagship for the Shin!
Although likely not the best smartphone you've ever owned, the Samsung Galaxy S ended up being one of the major competitors to the iPhone 4.
Here are some of the highlights from the one and only JK Shin announcing it way back in March 2010. Kevin from Twitter is definitely NOT reading from an auto-cue.
Strange press shot of the week
*Read in your best David Attenborough voice*
Here we see a young stubble-styled hipster out of his normal Shoreditch habitat, discovering the phenomenon of fresh berries.
This specimen, likely known as Atticus to his friends, has lost his Polaroid camera and decides to join the modern world with the Sony QX100 Lens Style Camera for smartphones and tablets.
He attaches it to a Sony Xperia Z2 to snap some blackberries and then ask all his Instagram friends what they are.
Sadly he has yet to receive a response as none of his followers could identify them through the Nashville filter.
Retro video of the week
"You know there's a sexier way to connect to the web." That was the slogan of the Siemens C35i.
It seems the company wanted to sex up its image – if that's even possible with a NSFW name like Siemens – so it employed some proper hot bods to strut around the emptiest, weirdest lit nightclub in all of Germany.
If you can discern what actually happens at the end of the video please let us know in the comments as our tiny little tech focused minds can't work it out.
Proper bits from the site
Remember the best phone you ever had? It was likely the Nokia 3310 and we went on a journey through time to bring you back the best details we could find on it – just look how pretty it is!
EE has replaced its Orange Wednesday's deal with a significantly less exciting streaming proposition. We don't know exactly what kind of films it'll include just yet but we can speculate 70% of them will include Steven Seagal.
Dyson has invested in some new technology to make your smartphone's, and your vacuum cleaner's, battery last even longer.
And finally the auto-tuned Robocop look-a-like that is Will.i.am has teamed up with the fashion brand Gucci to bring you yet another horrible "smartband".
Introduction, display and design
Update: Moto X continues to be one of the most stylish Android phones in 2015 and looks even better with Android Lollipop. Our review reflects that.
The Moto X name didn't changed in 2014, but rest assured, this updated Android smartphone packs enough new specs to deserve its own Moto X+1 or Moto X2 title.
With a larger screen, a better but not perfect camera, surprisingly useful first-party apps and, of course deeper customization, the original Moto Maker returns with a competitive price.
It's just $99 on-contract and on sale for as little as $1, or $499 (£419.99, AU$534). Don't let Motorola's low ball price fool you either. Like its low-key name, the Moto X 2014 has a deceptive asking price.
Motorola's flagship phone is slightly bigger in every sense, enough to make it one of the best Android premium phones next to the more expensive Samsung Galaxy S6 and HTC One M9. Though not groundbreaking like the curved Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge or LG G Flex 2, it's still one of the most stylish phones in 2015, enough to be part of our best phones list.
Availability and price
The Moto X 2nd generation launched on September 16, 2014, but that was the AT&T release date in the US. It came out for Verizon on September 26. Both carriers sold the 16GB phone on-contract for $100 and 32GB version for $150.
On sale, it was reduced to $1 during the holidays by some retailers, and Motorola eventually followed suit on its Moto Maker website in December. The unlocked price begins at $399.
In the UK, the new Moto X GSM unlocked edition became available at the end of September for £420 through Motorola's official website. Bumping the internal storage from 16GB to 32GB takes it to £460.
Wood and leather adds to the price. Moto X 2014 with a premium back costs $425 and £439.99 for the 16GB version and $175 and £479.99 for the 32GB edition, based on the original pricing.
Android 5.0 Lollipop premiered with the Motorola-made Nexus 6 and has arrived soon after on Moto X, at least from some carriers. Both the unlocked version and Verizon variant benefitted from the upgrade right away, while AT&T customers with Moto X 2nd generation had to wait several months. The same may happen with Android 5.1 in the offing.
Nexus 6, by comparison, has the Android Lollipop from the get-go, a larger 6-inch screen, a camera with optical image stabilization, dual front-facing speakers and a bigger battery. But it's also much more expensive at $650 (£499) for the 32GB base model and it loses that one-handed appeal.
There's more to the Moto X 2014 now that the display literally measures up to its competition. It's 5.2 inches, the same size as the new Sony Xperia Z3 and a hair larger than the 5.1-inch Galaxy S5.
With a little reach and large enough fingers, the new Moto X is still a one-handed phone that almost ventures into two-handed territory. Yet it doesn't compromise much on the display when compared to a phablet.
It's again protected by Corning Gorilla Glass with the same AMOLED technology behind it, but the 1080p Full HD resolution makes for a much crisper screen with 423 pixels per inch. You won't want to go back to the original's 720p and 316 ppi display specs, that's for sure.
This sharper display is put to the test as soon as the new Moto X is booted up thanks to the bright and colorful default wallpapers that Motorola included with the handset. It really sets the tone for this premium smartphone experience, especially next to the still 720p Moto G 2014.
It stands bezel-to-bezel with the Samsung Galaxy S5 in this regard, though it lacks the Super AMOLED display. In a few cases, we found the Moto X screen harder to read outdoors. But keep in mind that Motorola has made its smartphone much cheaper than anything in its class.
The Moto X 2014 makes up for its direct sunlight shortcomings with a better way to conserve battery life by default. The return of the extremely efficient Motorola Active Display means that waving your hand over the phone or taking it out of your pocket brings up the current time and simple notification icons in white. The rest of the screen remains off. The popular, always-on microphone is here as well, giving you a way to cut to the chase with voice commands.
Tapping an Active Display icon reveals more information about the notification, like the gist of your latest emails or Hangout messages. It's a great use of AMOLED's ability to selectively light up individual pixels and it sure beats an ambiguous blinking status light on a phone.
An all-new aluminum metal frame means that Moto X 2nd generation is stronger than its predecessor, not just bigger than before. Plastic is no longer binding together Motorola's flagship device. It's closer to the build material of the iPhone 5S, sturdier than the pliable iPhone 6 Plus and, most importantly, doesn't feel as cheap as the metal-looking polycarbonate Samsung Galaxy S5.
What's surprising is that despite the Moto X's naturally larger size care of the 5.2-inch display, Motorola once again used tricks to minimize the overall dimensions, and it worked in its favor. For example, there's very little bezel around the edges and the soft buttons are on-screen, as opposed to the capacitive buttons used by Samsung devices.
This makes the Moto X 2014 roughly the same size as the Galaxy S5 and, remarkably, even the iPhone 6. Its official measurements are 2.9 in (72.4 mm) x 5.5 in (140.8 mm) with a sloped 0.2 in (3.8 mm) to 0.4 in (9.9 mm) curve.
The S5's width and height are 2.9 in (72.5 mm) x 5.5 in (142 mm) with a narrower overall depth of 0.3 in (8.1 mm). iPhone 6 is nearly as big: 2.64 in (67.0 mm) x 5.44 in (138.1 mm) x 0.27 in (6.9 mm). As much as I appreciate the iPhone's home button and Touch ID, it has half an inch less screen real estate to show for its almost-as-tall dimensions.
Moto X's premium frame thins out along the corners, but forms a fairly thick bow shape at the center for a curved back. This leaves plenty of room for a top-center 3.5mm headphone jack, an adjacent nano-SIM card slot and bottom-placed micro USB port. Along the thinned-out sides, there's just enough depth for a volume rocker that's smooth and power button that's accented with ridges. This makes it easier to tell the two stainless steel buttons apart in your pocket.
Moto Maker returns with additional customizations to match the now-premium Moto X with even more personalization. Leather, for example, is now among the choices that can back your phone in one of four colors. It joins last year's four wood options and 17 plastic colors. Black or white fronts and 10 accent colors for the front-facing speaker grills and rear Motorola logo dimple round out the most pressing Moto Maker decisions.
Cradling the Moto X backed in soft leather is a delight, but it's also the most delicate material within Moto Maker. Yes, the Moto 360 smartwatch uses the same genuine leather sourced from Horween Leather Company, but the supple material bruised more easily in our pockets than on our wrists. That's what's great about Moto Maker, though. It's filled with more options than your standard one-size-fits-all smartphone in case that doesn't work for you.
Moto X weighs in at 144 grams vs last year's 139 grams. Considering the aluminum metal frame and 5.2-inch screen, that's a worthy trade-off. Of course, there are beefier specs too.
Specs, performance and interface
Moto X 2014's specs, like its larger display size, complement the fact that it's no longer the runt of the Android litter. Its Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor is identical to the 2.5GHz quad-core chip that's found at the heart of the LTE-equipped Galaxy S5.
Motorola also answers Samsung's graphics performance with the same Adreno 330 GPU at 578 MHz and its memory with a healthy 2GB of RAM. The new Moto X isn't an also-ran when it comes to the most important specs. It's snappy performance backs this up even when all of our favorite apps, photos and video are clogging the internal storage.
There's a caveat: you can only fill up the Moto X so much because you won't find a micro SD card slot anywhere. Expandable storage isn't a part of the Moto X like it is on the Moto G 2014 and the earlier Moto G 4G model. You'll have to contend with the 16GB and Moto Maker-exclusive 32GB internal configurations.
Also missing is any sort of fingerprint sensor, heart rate monitor (not that you really need that) and waterproof seal. It doesn't measure up to the IP67 rating of many Android smartphones, so it's not water resistant up to 30 meters for an hour. Instead, it's just "splashproof." It's more than the leather back that's delicate in wet conditions.
Moto X did get the speakers right where others often fail. Its front-facing bottom grill projected music the right way - forward - not down at the ground, and its four microphones for voice calls and noise canceling reduced background noise to appropriate levels in all our test calls.
Interface and apps
Google may have sold Motorola to Lenovo, but the company is still dedicated to providing a pure Android experience that helps its phone contrast with devices from Samsung and HTC. You won't find TouchWiz or Sense changing the experience with a wonky overlay.
Moto X's Android KitKat 4.4 interface is much the same as last year save for the Google Now Launcher, a few fresh Motorola-branded apps and some carrier-loaded bloatware depending on your provider. Once again, the aforementioned Moto Display shows up when the display is off, providing a discreet and battery-saving method of peeking at notification icons.
Moto Assist takes driving seriously by reading text messages aloud while you're on the road. It also knows when to keep quiet without disruptive noises during meetings or when you're ready for bed. The next day, it wakes up when you wake up, according to your schedule.
Moto Actions takes advantage of the Moto X's IR emitters that resemble the sensor-spotted Amazon Fire Phone. The built-in app recognizes hand motions from all directions to turn on the Moto Active Display, silence calls and a snooze alarms with a simple wave. Just hop out of the shower and want to know the time? Look no further than Moto Actions. That's really convenient for a phone that's only splashproof.
Moto Voice builds upon Google Now by letting you change the always-listening voice prompt. Instead of the "Okay Google Now" command that seemed futuristic in 2013, the new Moto X lets you use custom phrases - everything from "You there Moto X?" to "Wake up buddy!" were among the Motorola-suggested examples. But I preferred the Motorola staffer / X-Men fan who used the prompt, "Okay Professor X" to get things started. And, again, unlike Siri, there's no need to hold down a button or have the phone plugged in to get the attention of Moto Voice.
Outside of the main Moto suite is Connect, a way to bridge the messaging gap between your Moto X smartphone and computer. It delivers text messages to a Chrome browser extension, though not as reliably as third-party apps like MightyText. I'm still hoping that Google one day brings SMS to Hangouts on a PC. Apple aced this with iMessages among its device owners two years ago and is further building upon it (by relaying all texts) with Mac OS X Yosemite and iOS 8. Connect is hopefully a stopover to something broader from Google.
Everything else about Motorola's Android KitKat 4.4 setup is untouched next to the Nexus 5, and for the most part, this pure interface is really appealing. It does mean that Google's quick settings for brightness, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are buried behind one and two extra steps compared to what Samsung's pull-down menu. I really hate having to adjust the brightness outside with an swipe down, a poke at the left quick settings button, a stab in the dark at the brightness grid label and a feel for the brightness slider. Even with this, pure Android a lighter and cleaner alternative in all other cases.
Moto X 2014 can't pull off "premium" without a vastly improved camera considering last year's middling snapper. Motorola bumps the specs to 13 megapixels, up from the 10-megapixel rear camera that proved extremely inconsistent 12 months ago.
With a 13MP sensor that's identical to many of today's Android smartphones, the new Moto X took much sharper pictures than its predecessor. It also put the autofocus in the right place more times than not. That's not to say that its performance was flawless or as responsive as the speedier LG G3, but I walked away with higher-resolution photos and subjects in focus without the need to plead for retakes. It's a step in the right direction for Motorola.
The default camera app is simple and straightforward like last year, offering a tap-to-snap touchscreen shutter button, Auto HDR and Panorama. The controls are hidden to the left, while swiping right explores the gallery. What's interesting here is that Motorola's software tries to pick out the best pictures via its Highlight Reel functionality. It's not always perfect, but it does weed out blurry shots and handily group images for a quick comparison.
Keep in mind that Moto X's stripped-down manual focus and exposure options may make you leap for third-party alternatives in the Google Play Store, but Motorola's camera app is the only one that opens with two twists of a the wrist. Even if you don't use the default app all of the time, this shortcut makes for easy to capture photos in a minimal amount of time.
The 13-megapixel camera is accompanied by a unique-sounding ring flash, which essentially means the lens is flanked by two LED flash bulbs. The right and left lights do an admirable job brightening up subjects to balance shots, but approaching subjects too closely still results in overblown pictures.
When the Moto X gets things right colors temperature are oversaturated and pushed to the extreme on the equally saturated AMOLED. It's vibrate-looking, though not true to life in all cases. Selfies are best shot with the front-facing camera that's 2 megapixels and doesn't have a flash even if you want one.
Both cameras can shoot 1080p HD video, but only the rear-facing camera is capable of slow motion video at 120fps and Ultra HD video quality at 30fps. The pixels extend to 2160p, which means Motorola is now welcomed into the 4K smartphone capture club. Whether or not you really want to use up your limited internal storage for such video files is up to you.
The new Moto X has ￼￼￼￼￼￼a 2300 mAh battery backing up its larger screen, which is bigger than the 2200mAh battery found in last year's model. That seems better on paper until you realize that the 5.2-inch screen requires more power throughout the day. Throughout our testing the new Moto X lasted us 24 hours with mixed use.
That's enough to plug it in at night without fail, but not as long-lasting as something like the Galaxy S5 with a 2800mAh battery. Motorola does benefit from the AMOLED Active Display because checking the time and notifications doesn't light up the entire screen. It also doesn't accidentally light up in this mode when face down or in a pocket.
The company's Moto 360 smartwatch has a significantly shorter battery life of less than a day and it's yet another thing to charge. However, also shored up our notification-checking addiction on the Moto X 2014 and ultimately helped the battery last even longer than 24 hours some days.
When battery life is critical, though, it's Samsung that swoops in with its Ultra Power Saving mode. It can be a real battery life-saver. Motorola's 10% is the same as its 90%. You also won't find a backward compatible micro USB 3.0 connection on the Moto X for faster charging and transfers, as seen in the Note 3 and S5.
Motorola does sell a Turbo Charger that can add an impressive eight hours of battery life in just 15 minutes thanks to Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 technology. Its ideal for juicing up during work breaks in the day and layovers at the airport, but it's not something you'll get out of the box.
Moto X 2014's display size jumped half an inch, but the overall quality leapt a full foot from its also-ran origins. That's not to say that it was a terrible mid-range device the first time around. Motorola has just updated the design and specs enough to make it a high-end contender in 12 short months.
It takes on the "premium" label without sacrificing the low price point in most regions. In fact, the US price is actually a lot cheaper: $99 on contract, making it half the price of its leading competitors. SIM-free it's still a deal: $499 (£419.99, AU$534).
The 5.2-inch display gives us more screen real estate without verging on phablet territory. It's still a one-handed device for people with large enough fingers and coupled with the AMOLED Moto Active Display that we wish all smartphone manufacturers would blatantly copy already.
A metal frame makes it feel as good as the screen looks, while Moto Maker combinations now total in the thousands. The pure Android OS is thankfully only supplemented by Motorola's useful apps and the price makes it Android's hidden treasure. X truely does mark the spot.
It's premium, but it's not without pitfalls. Moto X 2014 doesn't have a micro SD card slot, so you're either stuck with 16GB or 32GB of internal storage. You can also forget about taking it in any sort of water. It's not IP67 waterproof like many other Androids so hold onto it tight.
Wait, don't hold onto it too tightly. That all-new premium leather back cost more, but bruised on us rather easily. The 13-megapixel rear camera takes better photos than before - not much of an accomplishment. We're still not convinced it'll ever take the shot we want every time.
Don't think that just because the Moto X 2014 name didn't get much of a change that the phone is just a basic specs bump. Motorola's new flagship smartphone proves that the reinvented company is listening to customer feedback with a bigger screen and aluminum metal frame, all for a price that's better than its competition. It only half-listened the requests for a superior camera and didn't pay attention to pleas for a micro SD slot.
The good news is that Motorola continuing with its popular Moto Maker customization policies. That means personalized backs including new soft leather and trim accents on the front and around the camera lense. And yet the firm doesn't tinker with the pure Android experience set forth by Google. The specs are more robust while the software stays minimal, the opposite of other Android phones out there. That's just the way Motorola rolls, and we rather enjoy it.
First reviewed: September 2014
Apple Watch: watch cases and bands
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
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
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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)
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)
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
How to update Android
Welcome to this week's Keitai round-up – this week we make sure your Android device is up to date, the world's best footballer struggles to control a phone and a warning about charging your phone at the theatre.
How to update Android
This week we're showing how to update to the latest version of Android. It's pretty simple, but it may take a little bit of time so make sure not to start this when you're in a rush.
Step 1 – Do you need to update?
This all depends on a bunch of varying factors: what phone are you using? What part of the world are you in? Which network are you on?
Our top tip is to keep an eye on our Android Lollipop update tracker as that's where we will keep you up to date with the latest handsets that are compatible.
Even if you're not updating to Android Lollipop you'll be able to find if you need an update in the 'Settings' section of your phone.
This can vary from phone to phone but you'll always find it under 'Settings', then look for an option called 'Software' or 'About Phone'. Under here you'll find a tab called 'Software updates' or 'check for software update' - hit this and your phone will see if there's an update available for you.
Step 2 – Back it up
If you need to update, it's best to back up your phone at this point. Save all your photos and contacts because there is always the slightest chance this could go a little wrong. You'll find a 'Backup & reset' option in the 'Settings' app, so head there to ensure your stuff is safe.
Step 3 – Get the update
To update you just need to press the update button and wait for it to download and install. If you're on limited internet or haven't got the best connection we'd recommend waiting until you return to a Wi-Fi connection to do it.
It's going to be a chunky update taking up a little storage and eating those precious megabytes, especially if you haven't updated for quite a while. You'll also want to be near a power socket, as you don't want your device running out of juice part way through.
Step 4 – Get to know the new features
Once you've installed it, your phone will reboot and you'll be ready to rock 'n' roll. Enjoy your new software. Have a look around at all the news features you've just adopted and be sure to make good use of them.
If you've just got to Android Lollipop you'll likely find a good few design changes as well as new features. To find out everything that's new in the latest Android, read our review.
Time to shine
Winston sank down onto the floor, hooves covering his face. This was just getting ridiculous - he'd been to hell and back three or four times in the past week, and all because he'd wanted to have a BlackBerry with a touchscreen that clicked in.
He stood up, stared at the hippo menacingly for a few seconds, then galloped out of the room. He found himself in a dingy dark corridor, lights flickering long enough to illuminate the dark and filthy walls. Usually he'd panic about such things, scared of the unknown that faced him, but he couldn't carry on this world of confusion.
He charged down the narrow hall, praying to find a way out. 30 seconds later he skidded to a halt, arriving at a door that seemed to shimmer lightly around the edge. He stopped, plucked up his courage and opened it up.
"What do you mean you can't find him? He must be found! This cannot happen without him here!" said the gruff voice quietly, his chair firmly swung away from the collected group in his office.
"He...erm,.... he was picked up by Les Animaux. They were able to disable our suction."
The chair swung around, the hooded figure glowering at the assembled group, his eyes fiery beneath the shroud. "YOU PROMISED ME IT COULD NOT FAIL."
The scientist gulped. "Someone stole the schematics..." he began, before a large ashtray hit him in the head, knocking him to the floor.
"SILENCE!" The figure stood up quickly, casting his robe to the floor. Those left conscious in the room were forced to shield their eyes from the light - the being was brighter than anything they'd seen before.
"Get out of my way," he said, brushing past the group. "I'll get this done myself."
Winston gasped when he saw what was below. A cloudy fog belched beneath his feet, pollution rising up everywhere Winston could see.
He slowly walked backwards, praying he could find another way out. He pushed up against a door, that fell away behind him. He tumbled in, slightly dazed, before he could understand what he was seeing.
Row upon row of BlackBerry devices lined the walls all around, sparkling somehow from an unseen light. He could scarcely believe it - this was the room he'd dreamed about! It was real!
He slowly trotted up and grabbed the nearest box. A Bold 9900 fell out into his hoof, pristine and powered up. He started manically grabbing at anything he could find before, finally, he came upon it: A BlackBerry Storm 2.
He wrenched it from the box, sprinted from the room and threw himself into the fog.
Charging the stage
Jumping onto the stage before a play begins to charge your phone isn't the best idea. To begin with, you should have your phone turned off during the play, so there's no need to charge it during the show.
There's also the fact that as a member of the audience, you're not allowed on the stage, and climbing up there will get your promptly thrown out.
Finally, that power outlet that's part of the scenery? It's probably fake. The magic of theatre!
Scary press shot of the week
He may be a world class footballer, but Lionel Messi isn't so impressive when it comes to smartphones.
His first mistake was getting WeChat - the only person he knows on it is his grandma, and she talks FOR HOURS.
Secondly, he's not too hot on using the phone either. In fact, he's not even sure if he should look at the screen. Something about a demon stealing your soul.
Retro video of the week
The words "humour" and "Microsoft" go together as well as "cheese" and "petrol", but bless the Redmond company if it doesn't try! Here's an ageing Lumia 920 advert that shows the 'hilarious' consequences of inviting Apple and Android fanboys to a wedding that Game of Thrones fans would describe as "quite peaceful really".
Ignoring the fact that the advert seems to imply that there's no one passionate about Windows Phones, marvel as Microsoft makes fun of Apple users relying on voice-activated virtual assistant Siri (of course, Microsoft's voice-activated virtual assistant Siri Cortana is completely different), or as it pokes fun at Samsung owners using over-sized devices (as Microsoft would never release a phablet...*cough* Nokia Lumia 1320 *cough*).
Perhaps the best part of the advert is when someone shouts "Is there an app for that?" after throwing a punch, because the lack of apps on Windows Phone is definitely a selling point.
Proper stuff from the site