Tomlia Services > 2019

Minecraft is finally getting a character creator – with over 100 free items

Minecraft is finally getting a character creator that allows players to customize their avatar.The new feature, which was shown off by developer Mojang in a recent livestream, allows players to customize various aspects of their character including body type, hairstyle, clothing and eye color. Check out the character creator in action below:

Very happy custom(er)
Minecraft’s character creator has more than 100 free customization items to choose from, but there’s also the option to purchase more lucrative items from the store with real money. Mojang also confirmed in the stream that all the items you apply or purchase will transfer to its upcoming AR title Minecraft Earth.To date, Minecraft players have only been able to apply custom skins to their avatars, which you can still do if you prefer, but there’s no denying that this new level of customization is definitely a welcome addition – especially ahead of the Minecraft Earth release. Currently Minecraft’s character creator is only available in the Minecraft beta on Windows 10, Xbox One and Android devices, but the developer has confirmed that the feature will roll out to Minecraft once the beta is complete. If you can’t wait that long then check out the official Minecraft website’s guide to joining the beta.
Best upcoming games 2019: most anticipated titles for PS4, Xbox One and Switch

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Unbeatable Nintendo Switch Lite bundle adds Zelda: Link’s Awakening for free in UK

Wait..what? The Nintendo Switch Lite has just gone on sale today in the UK for the first time and costs £199 on its own. However, one other retailer is throwing in a free game too. We’re not talking about an older cheap title either, but the just-released The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening.This incredible deal from Currys is available on all three colours of the newly-released Nintendo Switch Lite.
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening is a full-on remake of the classic 1993 Game Boy title with modern graphics and elements that would have blown our tiny heads clean off our shoulders back in the 90s. As for the Switch Lite, this is a cheaper handheld-only mode of the Nintendo Switch Lite that can not be played on a TV. But if you already have a regular Switch to compliment this or are only interested in playing away from a TV it’s a great purchase. Want to learn more? We’ve broken down all the differences over on our full-sized guide to the best cheap Nintendo Switch Lite prices and deals. If you’d prefer to look at the full-sized console then head on over to our guide for the best Nintendo Switch deals and bundles.

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Amazon Echo vs Apple HomePod vs Google Home: the battle of the smart speakers

You want to make your home smarter, but where do you begin? Well, if you want to try out some smart home products but you’re worried they might not be for you – or might cost a small fortune – then the best way to try out the latest connected tech for size is by purchasing a smart speaker. Most smart speakers on the market right now are affordable, they’re fun to play with and, even if you decide you don’t want to talk to a robotic voice 24/7, they can still work as run-of-the-mill music speakers or help you to carry out some simple tasks. What we’re saying is, there’s very little to lose. It may seem like the world is slowly filling up with smart speakers, but there are three top brands: Amazon, Google and Apple. You will find there are other smart speakers on the market not made by those three tech giants, but nearly all of them incorporate their tech into their products. For example, the Sonos One is, obviously, made by Sonos. But it has Amazon Alexa integration built-in, that’s Amazon’s AI voice assistant. For the purpose of this guide, we’ll only be taking a look at Amazon, Google and Apple products. But it’s worth bearing in mind that if you don’t find what you’re looking for here, you can cast the net a bit wider if you like. Let’s start by taking a quick look at what’s on offer. Google has a range of different sized speakers to choose from. Amazon’s Alexa-powered Echo range is the most popular and varied, helped by being forever splashed across the internet’s biggest retailer.And right now, Apple makes just one smart speaker, the HomePod. It’s not cheap and may not be as smart as Amazon’s Echo range during some of our testing, but it sounds divine and is the one to pick if you’re worried about privacy or your personal data being thrown around like casino chips. UPDATE: Before you decide which smart speaker is right for you, it might be worth waiting to see if Amazon has another soon-to-be-launched option. Amazon is holding an event in Seattle on September 25. Although we can’t guarantee the devices that’ll be announced, we have our fingers crossed for either a refresh of some of our favourite Echo products, or some brand new ones to add to the range.

But hold up. Let’s not dive too far into what’s on offer without a quick lesson in smart speakers first. So smart speakers are a home for voice assistants. Just like Siri on your iPhone or Google Assistant on your Android, you can (almost) treat these assistants like a person. That means you can ask your smart speaker to play a specific song, quiz it about a bit of pop culture trivia, set an alarm, or get it to carry out tasks by ‘talking’ to other smart home products you have, and it will.it may be embarrassing to start talking to your phone in public, but the same social pressures don’t exist in the home where you can be as weird as you like with your new robot pal. So which one should you buy? Here’s the lowdown on what the three big tech giants have to offer. Let’s find out which is right for you.
Hardware
How big a speaker do you want? Google and Amazon offer plenty of choices. Small, affordable, puck-shaped speakers like the Home Mini and Echo Dot let you try out digital assistants without spending too much. But you wouldn’t use them as a hifi because the sound quality just isn’t up to scratch in such a small form factor. 

Amazon Echo Dot
£49.99 / $49.99It’s small, it’s affordable and kinda cute. The recently revamped 3rd generation version of the Dot has a small, fabric design that’s bound to fit in in any home. It also has easy set-up and integration, as well as great call quality. It doesn’t have good audio, but it’s a great place to start – especially if you have limited room and limited budget.

Amazon Echo (2nd gen)
$99.99 / £89.99As ever, Amazon has nailed the mass-market angle with the Echo. It’s significantly cheaper than the Home or HomePod. Sound quality doesn’t match the best, but it does make podcasts and music radically more enjoyable than the Dot. 

Fire TV Cube
$119 (UK TBC)The Fire TV Cube is Amazon’s latest branching-out of smart speaker tech. This is a smart speaker, but also a set-top box. And as it has an IR blaster it’ll turn your TV on and off too. If you care about movies more than music, this could be the right digital assistant speaker for you.

Amazon Echo Plus
$149.99 / £139.99Taller than the standard Echo, this more expensive model also sounds better. It also has a Zigbee interface built-in, letting it work better with some smart home gear including Philips Hue lights. 

Amazon Echo Spot
$129.99 / £99.99This is what we imagined a smart home interface might look like years ago. It’s a digital porthole with a 2.5in screen. The Spot is a good fit for a bedside table.

Amazon Echo Show
$229 / £199.99There’s a much bigger screen-equipped assistant too, the Show. It’s not cute like the Spot, but has a much larger 7-inch screen. You can video chat with people using the front camera. It suits the kitchen, or perhaps a house’s entry hallway.

Google Home Mini
$49 / £39Probably the best-looking small smart speaker, the Home Mini is the budget option from Google’s range. It comes in Chalk (grey), charcoal and Coral (a reddish pink), and sounds better than the Eco Dot.

Google Home
$129 / £129The original Google smart speaker. Home has an unusual but stylish look and a touch surface on top to let you control volume and music playback.

Google Home Max
$399The big daddy of smart speakers, the Home Max looks like a wireless hifi rather than the kind of speaker that blends into the background. That said, the look is still neutral. It’s only the size you need to consider. 

Apple HomePod
$349 / £319A 360-degree grille suggests how the HomePod works. There are tweeters firing out from all sides, letting you put the speaker in the middle of a room. An LED array on top displays Siri animations, which looks neat. 
Size Comparison

This is a roughly accurate look at the relative stature of all these smart speakers.The part that might surprise here is the Google Home’s size. It’s relatively small. Only two of these products really demand some planning of your rooms, the Echo Show and Google Home Max. As the others have an “upright” design, their footprints aren’t all that large. The Echo Dot is the smallest of the lot, although the Home Mini is only slightly bigger. 
Sound Quality
Which sounds the best? There’s predictably a rise in quality as the size increases. However, there are some interesting points to note in each class. Let’s put them in bullet point form to keep this clear. 
The Google Home Mini sounds a lot better than the Echo Dot, which is thin and reedy. Music sounds bad through a Dot, passable through a Home Mini.Amazon’s Echo Spot also sounds better than the Dot, despite being fairly small. Google’s Home is bass-heavy. It has worse clarity than the Echo (2nd Gen) and Echo Plus. So if you’re limited to around $100/£100, the Amazon Echo may be the best choice.The Echo Plus sound is more dynamic than the standard Echo, as you’d expect.Surprisingly, the Echo Show sounds better than the Echo Plus and Echo.Amazon’s Echo Plus does not stack up well next to the Home Max or HomePod. They are several leagues ahead, justifying their higher prices. The Home Max is the loudest speaker, with much greater volume on tap than the HomePod. Apple’s HomePod provides 360-degree sound. The Home Max has conventional front-loaded drivers so you need to be more careful about placement.The Home Max has better bass depth. The Apple HomePod has great clarity, and the sound quality of the Max and HomePod are generally comparable. 
The Amazon Echo Spot is the company’s budget, screen-equipped Echo.
Features
Which speaker is more intelligent?
When it first launched, Alexa’s functionality was fairly basic, limited to mundane conversations like asking about the weather or the time. As Amazon continued to develop the software, however, Alexa gained the ability to talk about calendars, sports and what we should have for dinner.We’re not quite living in a Star Trek-esque future, where the device will understand your every command, but Alexa is advanced enough to understand multiple phrasings of the same question, for example.Amazon has a strong track record for the past two years, sure, but it’s going up against Google, a company that’s had a strong track record in information parsing for the last two decades

Google’s impressive search abilities means the speaker has a lot of information at its disposal. Google Home can, for example, correctly guess a song that’s described in the vaguest of terms. Interacting with Google Assistant has the most natural feel. It understands your commands better than Alexa. You don’t have to be so careful about how you word your sentences. HomePod’s Siri is the least intelligent of the three. While the voice recognition works, the commands it’ll react to successfully are quite limited. Think of HomePod as a great-sounding wireless speaker that also has some smarts and you’ll be happier. Some major software updates, however, have seen it gradually catching up to the smart functionality of the competition – meaning it can now make and receive calls via your iPhone contact book. A HomePod OS update in September is also adding new lyric search options, a way to ‘ping’ your lost phone in the house, and a wider range of Siri languages.
Music and Video playbackEach of these speakers is linked to its maker’s music service. The HomePod has Apple Music. Echo devices have Amazon Music. Google Home speakers have Google Play Music. However, only Apple is truly restrictive. Echo and Home speakers let you ask for tracks from Spotify,  for example, but HomePod’s Siri only takes requests from Apple Music. You can use Spotify with a HomePod but you’ll have to do this the “old school” way, selecting the HomePod as the source from in the Spotify app rather using voice commands. You’re then using AirPlay, not the voice control you paid $350 for. Subscribing to Apple Music is almost a must for HomePod owners, and it costs $9.99/£9.99 a month. While there’s some parity between which software the other smart speakers can access, video content differs much more. Only Amazon has devices equipped with screens. Google has blocked YouTube, though, so you’re largely restricted to Amazon Video, the Netflix-a-like service. Both Google and Amazon’s devices allow you to play content on an external TV. Google achieves this through integration with its Chromecast lineup, while Amazon has added this functionality through its Fire TV. If you have a Chromecast Audio then you can simply ask Google Home to play music through the speakers it’s connected to. Meanwhile the Echo is limited to playing music on its own speaker, and the Echo Dot can only be connected to a single speaker at a time through either Bluetooth or a wired 3.5mm connection.

In theory this should give the Google Home the edge, but in practice its Google Cast functionality could be better. Once you’ve got it casting to a speaker it won’t remember that this is the case and it will default to playing music out of its own speaker unless you specifically tell it to continue to cast the next song. Google Home does however have the advantage of integrating with Chromecast for video. You can easily play shows from Netflix, YouTube and other supported apps using just your voice, however again in practice this could be better since you’re unable to specify particular episodes and it will default to picking up where you left off. Not bad when you’re marathoning a series, but less than ideal if you’re just dipping in. 
ProductivityGoogle Home integrates with a number of Google’s other services, from planning routes using Google Maps to translating using Google Translate. It will also draw from your Google Calendar, which is a handy feature.However again, while there’s potential here, Google Home doesn’t make nearly enough use of this functionality. You can get basic directions by car on Google maps, but it can’t handle public transport and definitely doesn’t do email.
The new Amazon Echo is available with a number of different finishes.
Meanwhile, Amazon has an ever-growing list of compatible “Skills” apps including Domino’s Pizza, Just Eat in the UK and Uber, allowing you to either have your pizza delivered or request a ride over to the store to pick it up yourself. Support is good, but these apps feel like they add fun side-functionality rather than core productivity services. HomePod doesn’t have any third-party skills, so it’s limited to interactions based on your Apple calendar, local traffic and other piecemeal bits.Smart HomeOf course, music and services are just two parts of the smart speaker equation. If you’re buying a Home, Echo or HomePod, you’re also looking for a smart assistant to help control the burgeoning field of smart appliances making their way into homes. In this area, Amazon’s Echo Plus has a distinct advantage. It has a Zigbee hub built in, which means that for many smart home products you no longer have to have a separate piece of hardware plugged into your router. However, this functionality comes with the caveat that functionality will be limited when using the built-in hub. Philips Hue lightbulbs, for example, can be turned on and off, but their more advanced color-changing abilities will still require a dedicated Hue hub. That said, it’s not like Google, owner of Nest, is hurting in the home automation department. Google Nest, for obvious reasons, is also integrated into Home’s functionality. As for Apple, it started its HomeKit program ages ago which means many devices are ready to go.However, there are thousands of third-party devices that will work with all three smart speakers. Amazon Alexa supports the highest number of smart home devices, but the best idea is to check whether the smart home gear you own, or are considering, supports these systems. 

ShoppingA newer feature for both the Amazon Echo and Google Home is the ability to shop from the comfort of your couch via voice commands. Let’s start first with the more established e-tailer. Amazon offers daily and weekly specials via the “Alexa, what are today’s deals?” command. When used, the speaker will rattle off a list of products available to purchase and the price of each. At any point, you can stop the speaker and say, “Alexa, purchase ” and Alexa will confirm your order.  If you want to see all the deals in one spot, however, you can also check out the Alexa Deals page on Amazon’s website.Because Google doesn’t own a massive online retail store like Amazon does, Google Home has partnered up in the US with Walmart and other retailers to offer a voice shopping catalogue of its own. It’s all part of Google’s Express platform, that allows you to quickly order products from a number of other retailers like Kohl’s, Target, CostCo, Whole Foods and Ulta. Walmart will be the biggest retailer to join Google Express’s ranks.HomePod doesn’t let you buy items with a voice command. Some may find this reassuring rather than an issue. However, you can ask Siri to add items to a shopping list. You can then check it on your phone when at the supermarket.  

Multiple Users
Both Google Home and Amazon Echo support multiple users, which is important if you don’t want to be subjected to your other half’s calendar when you ask your speaker what you’re up to today. However, the way the two speakers handle multiple accounts is slightly different. With the Amazon Echo you’ll have to manually switch between user accounts by saying “Alexa, switch accounts”, or “Alexa, switch to Jon’s profile.”Google Home is slightly more clever, and will recognise different users by the sound of their voice alone. You’ll need to train the speaker to recognise each person’s voice by saying “OK Google” and “Hey Google” a few times, but after that point you shouldn’t have to worry about accidentally getting traffic information for someone else in your household. HomePod doesn’t support multiple users yet. It’s linked to one iCloud account, so becomes that person’s speaker. And Siri will react to whoever talks to it. Again, HomePod is the most restrictive choice. 
The Google Home Mini is the budget entry in Google’s lineup.
Privacy
Part of Siri’s limited smarts is down to its approach to privacy. Google and Amazon use data collection to learn about you. Apple uses a purer form of artificial intelligence, making it harder to create the illusion Siri knows what you want every time you open your mouth. Google and Amazon also log the data from any requests made and link them to your online accounts. This data can then be used to tailor the ads you see on websites, which also happens when you search for something on Google.com or amazon.com. HomePod doesn’t do this. Your Siri data is encrypted and randomised, and isn’t actually even linked to your Apple account. If privacy is a worry, the HomePod is a great choice. CompatibilityYou can use an Echo or Google Home speaker with any recent phone. iOS or Android? It doesn’t matter, either will work fine. This isn’t the case with a HomePod. You have to have an iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch to get it working. Apple’s official line is you’ll need an “iPhone 5s or later, iPad Pro, iPad (5th generation), iPad Air or later, iPad mini 2 or later, or iPod touch (6th generation) running iOS 11.2.5 or later.”
Verdict
If you want to try out a smart speaker without spending much, the Echo Dot and Google Home Mini are your two choices. And Google’s is the better-sounding of the two despite the fact the Dot has had a revamp recently to make it the best-looking. Those who want a smart speaker to act as their main hifi should consider either the Apple HomePod or Google Home Max. They sound far better than the other smart speakers. How about in-between? The Amazon Echo (2nd Gen) offers a great compromise between price and sound quality, and Amazon Alexa offers lots of smart home features to play around with thanks to its Skills system. Amazon’s smart speakers with screens are great for, say, the kitchen. However, they are also hugely held back by the politics involved, as you can’t use YouTube or Netflix on them. Make sure you adjust your expectations before buying.   
Do you prefer your music analog? Check out our list of the best turntables.

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Disney Plus and Apple streaming services won’t change Netflix strategy, says CEO

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has spoken out about the incoming threat of Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus – with both competing TV streaming services set to launch in November 2019.Speaking at a conference hosted by the Royal Television Society – in Cambridge, UK – Hastings spoke of “a whole new world starting in November”, citing the launches of Apple and Disney’s platforms as well as the prospect of NBC’s recently announced Peacock streaming service.“It’ll be tough competition,” he added, asserting that viewers after on demand TV content would “have a lot of choice” in the wake of the various services.
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Business as usual
The increase in competition doesn’t seem to be ruffling Netflix’s feathers, though, as Hastings clarified that Netflix would continue its strategy of binge-watching series, amid increasing levels of investment in original content. Hastings explicitly said that Netflix would not be acquiring production companies itself, though: “We’re not in the acquisition business.”However, we’ve also heard word of Netflix internally being a bit more careful with its purse-strings, with more emphasis on bringing in viewer numbers than critically-acclaimed content – something that could help profits in the short term but harm its reputation in the long run.Netflix’s growth from a DVD-rental business to a behemoth in online TV streaming has come from a willingness to adapt its business model; we may well be entering a more conservative time for the business, as the company seeks to maintain its current operations rather than do anything drastically different with it.Subscriber numbers in 2019 haven’t matched expectations, either – and trials of mobile-only streaming plans and aspects of human curation seem like small tinkering that may not be enough to drive the aggressive growth Netflix needs to fend off the likes of Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus.
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Via Variety

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AMD is eating up Intel’s CPU market share – but supply issues could spoil the party

AMD continues to forge ahead in the processor market going by a new survey from an analyst firm, although there is a potential dark cloud on the horizon in the form of supply concerns.Barron’s highlighted a note from Christopher Rolland, an analyst at Susquehanna Financial Group, observing that “AMD continues to take share at Intel’s expense as 7nm rolls out”, and backing that up with survey data.
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The Susquehanna survey of more than 2,000 desktop PCs – although that’s still a relatively small sample in the bigger picture, of course – found that AMD’s CPU market share had expanded to 20% in the third quarter.That’s up considerably from 17% last year (and an increase of 1% compared to the previous quarter).A gain of 3% this year might not sound all that hugely significant, but remember that this effectively represents an uptick of almost a fifth compared to 2018.Rolland also observed that the new Ryzen 3000 chips will likely continue to push AMD forward in terms of market share, and we’d obviously agree – as these chips are evidently selling very well from some sources we’ve seen.Furthermore, AMD allegedly has a couple of powerful budget CPUs waiting in the wings to attack Intel at the more affordable end of the market.And of course Intel is being slow to respond to the Ryzen 3000 threat, as next-gen Comet Lake desktop CPU challengers aren’t due until 2020 (hopefully early on next year, but that’s speculation at the moment – it could be later, particularly given how well-acquainted Intel has been with slippage in recent times).
Blot on the landscape
However, the blot on the CPU landscape for AMD is Rolland’s final observation that: “AMD may be currently supply-constrained for its 7nm chips, according to a conversation with a PC industry contact.”We’ve certainly seen evidence that stock levels of certain chips have been struggling to meet demand, such as the flagship Ryzen 9 3900X, which has been thin on the ground since launch, and still continues to be even today.While the industry source may simply be referring to these current stock struggles, which have been obvious enough, remember that this comment comes in the wake of the recent revelation that TSMC is struggling to meet the demands being made of it in terms of 7nm production.TSMC is the big chip-maker which manufactures AMD’s 7nm Ryzen 3000 processors (and Navi graphics cards), and it has just tripled its production lead time on 7nm hardware to six months, which as we discussed earlier this week could have potentially negative ramifications for the future supply of AMD CPUs and GPUs.Although any impact of the TSMC situation shouldn’t be felt in the shorter-term, as AMD will have secured watertight contracts to ensure 7nm supply in that nearer timeframe.Further out, though, production could become more of a concern, and an observation of supply constraints being picked out by this analyst firm are hardly likely to make anyone feel more comfortable with the situation.Hopefully AMD will be able to maintain its Ryzen 3000 momentum, though, and of course we can hardly judge just yet. One thing’s for certain, and that’s the fact that the new Ryzen 3000 processors are clearly gobbling up Intel’s market share as it stands.
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Ray-Ban smart glasses could solve Facebook’s design issues

Would you buy Facebook smart glasses? The social media giant seems to be banking on it, with a new report by CNBC pointing to ambitious plans around AR wearables in the coming years.Codenamed “Orion”, the smart glasses are reportedly being poised as a replacement for smartphones. With functionality that includes taking and making calls, live-streaming footage to the internet, as well as using AR overlays to show information in the wearer’s view, there’s certainly a lot to keep a user occupied.These claims come from “people familiar” with the device in question, who also stated that Facebook had brokered a deal with Ray-Ban parent company Luxottica, in order to provide a form factor for the smart glasses that people would actually want to wear.Given Ray-Ban’s reputation for stylish sunglasses with a classic design, the collaboration could well be what saves the product from sinking at launch.
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Looking smart
It’s unsurprising that Facebook would need the help, given the usual complaints around design for commercial smart glasses – whether Google Glass, Microsoft Hololens 2, or even the rounded Snapchat Spectacles 2. Obviously glasses are mainly for looking, but unless they look somewhat appealing too, AR glasses are unlikely to catch on in a mainstream market – which is why much of the chatter around the Magic Leap One AR headset has centered around its looks.We reported earlier this year on speculation around Facebook’s AR hardware plans, though there’s been no official word on the capabilities, pricing, or likely release date for anything Facebook is working on in this area.However, as with any in-development product, even reliable information could become redundant as Facebook’s own internal plans change.
Snapchat Spectacles 3 lets you film first-person 3D videos

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New Bowers & Wilkins headphones first to support aptX Adaptive

Renowned audio brand Bowers & Wilkins has released four new wireless headphones, including over-ear and on-ear models, as well as in-ear neckbuds.Three of the new models are the first consumer headphones to support Qualcomm’s aptX Adaptive audio codec, which is designed to deliver “robust, low latency, high resolution wireless technology”, according to the company.
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This means that the headphones are able to switch between listening modes, so that you get high-fidelity audio when listening to music, and no lag issues when you’re watching videos or playing games – something current Bluetooth technology isn’t able to do.
Over-ear or on-ear?
The most expensive of the new headphones are the $399.99 / £349.99 (around AU$590) PX7 Wireless Over-Ear Headphones, which come with active noise cancelation to block out annoying environmental sound. You get 30 hours of ANC playback from a single charge, while a quick-charge feature gives you five hours of audio playback from a 15-minute charge.With proximity sensors built into both earcups, these cans pause your music when you take the headphones off, resuming once you place them back over your ears.  If you find over-ear headphones a little claustrophobic, you might be interested in the PX5 Wireless On-Ear Headphones. A smaller, lighter on-ear design means you can “still hear the world around you to stay safe and aware”, but noise-canceling technology means that you can still block out the world when you need to.These on-ear headphones come with 25 hours of battery life, and will provide you with three hours of playback from a 15-minute quick charge.The PX5 headphones are significantly cheaper than the PX7, coming in at $299.99 / £269.99 (around AU$440).

If you’re looking for something a little more lightweight, Bowers & Wilkins have also launched two new neckbud models. The PI4 Wireless In-Ear Headphones come with noise cancelation, a 10-hour battery life, and magnetic clips on the earbuds that pause your music when fastened together. At the same price as the PX5 on-ear headphones, these are pretty pricey earphones – even if they do sport class-leading aptX Adaptive technology. If you can live without that technology, the final model in the new line, the PI3 Wireless In-Ear Headphones might be for you. With a “hybrid dual drivers coupled with separate amplifiers”, these sporty earbuds have a flexible silicone neckband, making them ideal for working out. Battery life comes in at eight hours, while a quick charge will give you two hours of music playback. The cheapest of the new models, they cost $199.99 / £169.99 (around AU$290).
The best wireless headphones of 2019

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Skullcandy’s Crusher ANC headphones vibrate with your bassiest tracks

Skullcandy has announced a new version of its popular wireless Crusher headphones, which have been updated to include active noise cancelation and Skullcandy’s patented Sensory Bass technology. According to the company, the Skullcandy Crusher ANC headphones provide “bass you can measure in goosebumps”, thanks to special 40mm drivers that provide haptic feedback as you listen – essentially creating “bass you can feel”. 
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Skullcandy’s extreme bass frequencies can be adjusted thanks to a slider on one of the housings of the headphones, so if you’re not in the mood for pounding vibrations, you can turn the Sensory Bass down.You can further adjust the sound of these cans with the Skullcandy app, which allows you to play with the EQ settings and find the best audio profile for your tastes.

Could Skullcandy crush Sony?
Now with active noise cancelation, the updated Crusher headphones promise to block out annoying environmental sound, letting you listen to your bass-heavy tracks in solitude. The Crusher ANC headphones support Bluetooth 5.0, so they should be easy to pair with your smartphone or portable music player, and you shouldn’t experience connection dropouts while listening. They should prove suitable for long commutes too, with “up to 24 hours of battery life”, and the ability to quick-charge; Skullcandy says that using this feature will give you three hours of playback from a 10-minute charge.Compared to other Skullcandy models, the Crusher ANC wireless headphones are pretty expensive, coming in at $319.99 – this works out at around £250 / AU$470. The headphones are only available in the US at the moment, but we’re expecting them to come to other regions soon.This puts them in direct competition with the best noise-canceling headphones on the market, including the Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless Headphones, which cost $349 / £300 / AU$499. Previously, Skullcandy hasn’t been able to stand up to the natural, expansive soundstage that Sony headphones provide, winning out only in terms of price – now that the price has gone up, will Skullcandy be able to hold its own against the competition? Only time will tell, but if it can appeal to true bass lovers, Sony could have a problem on its hands.
Here are the best Sony headphones of 2019

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Leaked Samsung Android 10 update list lacks some big names

Android 10 is only available for a few phones right now, and none of Samsung’s are among them, but a whole bunch of the brand’s handsets look set to get it sooner or later.AndroidPure has obtained a screenshot of what’s purported to be the company’s Android 10 update list, and it includes a large number of both phones and tablets, including big names like the Samsung Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10 Plus, Galaxy S10e, Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy Note 10 Plus.The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 and the S9 range are also apparently set to get Android 10, but there’s no mention of the Galaxy S8 or Note 8 – although that’s unsurprising given they’re over two years old now.
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A lot of entries in the Galaxy A, J and M ranges are also down for the update according to the list, as are some Galaxy Tab models, including the Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e and Galaxy Tab S4.Strangely though there’s no mention of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 or the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, both of which will surely be getting Android 10, so the list could be incomplete or inaccurate – and as such we’d take it with a pinch of salt.The list also doesn’t say when any of the included devices will be getting Android 10, so in some cases we could be waiting quite a long time. It’s likely that recent flagships will be first in line though, so expect to see Android 10 on the likes of the Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy S10 before, say, the Galaxy A10.
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