Thursday 25 June 2020

Camera Phones Buyer's Guide

The best camera phones these days are getting to the point that you can often get more consistent results with what's in your pocket than what's in your camera bag! With features like 108MP sensors and as many as five lenses around the back, how do you know which phone is the one for you? We are here to share our list of the top photography friendly smartphones you can get today!

10. Google Pixel 4 XL

At first glance, you may ask why a phone with only two cameras even made it to this list. And while the cameras themselves are top-notch, it is the Pixel 4’s Astro mode that’s its biggest selling point here. This model holds the shutter open for over four minutes to capture unparalleled detail from night skies. In your everyday automatic mode, the Pixel 4 XL delivers punchy images with plenty of detail and rich colour. Compared to other phones on this list, the Pixel tents to create more realistic looking images due to its darker scene exposure.

9. Xiaomi Mi 9

For its more accessible price point, the Xiaomi Mi 9 is excellent. It takes great shots in good light with noteworthy dynamic range and colour reproduction. With its triple main camera setup, the Mi 9 features a wide, ultra-wide and telephoto camera, covering a lot of prime lens bases. Thanks to its smart software, the phone’s camera also defocuses backgrounds nicely in portrait mode, making those Insta shots even better. The Mi 9 also shoots video at up to 4K 60fps, which puts it right up there with the current flagship models.

8. Samsung Galaxy S10 5G

Galaxy S-series phones have always been amongst the best for camera quality, and the S10 5G is no exception. Its quad-camera setup features the desirable wide/ultrawide/telephoto/time of flight combo, and all four cameras perform flawlessly. The main camera is not the flashiest (no pun intended), but if you’re not a pro photographer the S10 nails the basics with terrific image quality and impeccable Auto mode performance. The new Digital Video Stabilization also makes for ultra-high contrast 4K video that looks great on a compatible TV.

7. Oppo Reno 10x Zoom

The Oppo Reno 10X Zoom features a periscope camera, which enables a 5x optical zoom. That means it gets you even closer to the action without major quality sacrifices. Going beyond the zoom, it's an excellent stills camera phone across the board, also featuring a primary 48MP wide-angle camera, as well as an ultrawide lens. In addition, the 6.4” immersive all-screen display makes it a dream to edit your photos on the go. 

6. Huawei P30 Pro

The P30 Pro really has it all. Fantastic low-light photography, unbelievable zoom capabilities (5x optical) and powerful hardware to back everything up. The 4 lenses on the back make for fantastic depth sensing and the phone deals well with any lighting condition. Huawei has doubled down on image processing with this phone, and it shows. The P30 Pro works overtime to produce super sharp and high contrast images, as well as 4K video.

5. Sony Xperia 1

The Sony Xperia 1 is the only choice for video pros and cinema buffs who want to get manual with their smartphone videography. If you want to shoot a movie on your phone, this is the one for you. It’s able to shoot footage at up to 21:9 for cinema-style capture and produces high-quality raw footage ready for any editing software. Luckily, pretty much everything else about this phone is excellent too. The 21:9 4K HDR screen is unbeatable for both content creation and consumption.

4. Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

The Note 10 boasts an impressive quad main camera setup including their Time of Flight camera for that awesome 3D depth effect. Both the main and selfie cameras shot up to 4K for the perfect vlogging experience. The standout feature here is just the sheer number of modes it has to offer. Anything from “Super Slow Motion” to “Food”. Pair all of this with a crystal clear 6.8” and the S Pen, and you have yourself the perfect setup for photo and video editing on the go.

3. Xiaomi Mi Note 10

The Mi Note 10’s main selling point is its ridiculous 108MP sensor. This packs more pixels than most digital cameras, let alone other smartphones. The phone also comes loaded up with a ton of shooting modes to help you get the most out of that beast of a camera. The remaining lenses cover the industry-standard 2x zoom, 5x zoom and an ultra-wide angle, as well as a dedicated macro camera, which all perform well in varied light conditions.

2. OnePlus 7T Pro

The 7t Pro is a triple camera threat. As well as the industry-standard triple-lens setup, a standout new feature of the 7T Pro camera is the new Super macro option. This can get you as close as 2.5cm from your subject and still keep things looking sharp. OnePlus also bring back Nightscape, the low light shooting mode now available across both the primary and ultra-wide angle cameras. To top it all off, its new Super stabilization feature takes the smoothest videos out of every phone on this list, showing us just why OnePlus is dubbed the flagship killer.

1. Apple iPhone 11 Pro

The iPhone 11 Pro's is arguably the most beautiful phone on this list. Pair that with an amazing triple-camera array and you have a work of art. But it’s Apple’s true-to-life image processing that really sets this phone apart. The new ultrawide camera is excellent for travel photography and the 11 Pro is our top pick for video capture as it’s capable of recording up to 4k at 60 frames per second with its three cameras… all at the same time. It also has the smoothest video stabilisation systems you can find on any iPhone to date.

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Thursday 4 June 2020

Top 10 PS4 Long Playtime Games

10. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

If you’re looking for a traditional stealthy Assassin’s Creed experience, then be warned that pure stealth is no longer a viable option - but Odyssey’s improvements on the action RPG elements introduced in Origins have created a breathtaking reimagining of Ancient Greece that was clearly produced with endless research and passion. The game is huge in scope - with an enormous open-world map, over 40 hours of engrossing story and that again in downloadable content.

9. Red Dead Redemption 2

You’ll struggle to find games with a more beautiful and authentically populated open-world than Red Dead Redemption 2. The main story alone takes around 50 hours to complete and is a fantastic tale told well through a rich cast of characters. That’s to say nothing of all the temping side missions and world-building. Spilling with content, you’ll spend hours of your time just running errands, bonding with your horse and fishing with your in-game pals.

8. Grand Theft Auto V

Home to one of the largest and most densely populated open worlds out there, GTA 5 is still one of the best games on the PS4. It’s a near-perfect third-person shooter with a focus on gun combat and fast driving, mechanics which it absolutely nails. Switching between three separate characters throughout the 50-hour story keeps things fresh, and thanks to side missions and online multiplayer, many easily rack up hundreds of hours of playtime.

7. Wasteland 3

The series that inspired Fallout is back with a brand new offering. It offers a deep, old school roleplaying experience coupled with turn-based tactical combat, and enough modern updates to keep it feeling fresh and vital. There’s so much choice and variation that it warrants plenty of replays. There’s so much of this game to discover; in fact, the developers claim that certain choices will mean you miss thousands of lines of dialogue!

6. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Set in a huge and beautiful game world spilling with rich characters, The Witcher 3 will be talked about for years to come. An extensive and gripping story means that its 50-hour story feels gone in a flash - but luckily the game doubles in size thanks to the expansion packs. It’s a masterpiece of game design. But be warned - combat is a lot more tactical than it seems. If you’re used to rushing in, you’ll find this game very difficult.

5. Bloodborne

Bloodborne is a game that pushes you to the very limit. The great difficulty of the gameplay means that you’ll be dying hundreds of times in any one playthrough - and this densely-packed game means a playthrough might take over 50 hours. Yet the payoffs of victory are ecstasy by comparison - when you’ve conquered Bloodborne, you won’t remember the pain. You’ll remember all of the well-earned successes and how good they felt when you achieved them.

4. Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning

There’s a strong argument to be made that 2012’s Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is one of the most underrated games of the modern era. Fortunately, it’s been given a second lease on life with Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning. Offering a vibrant, massive open world, charming inhabitants and a nice variety of quests, you can easily sink more than 100 hours into it. It’s a wonder why it didn’t spawn a multi-game franchise like it was intended to do. Perhaps the second time’s the charm.

3. Dragon Age: Inquisition

Dragon Age: Inquisition is one of the most engrossing RPG experiences on the Playstation and blends together a strong story with timeless character-building mechanics. Thanks to an epic main story and densely packed downloadable content, you can spend nearly a hundred hours in this world and still have plenty to do. Come for the traditional medieval fantasy aesthetic, stay for the engrossing gameplay and settlement management.

2. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Special Edition

Yet another open-ended Bethesda title for the list! This masterpiece of action roleplaying is so well known that it’s meme-worthy, which also comes with the unfortunate side-effect of watering down how truly well made this game is. With so much rich choice and variety available, you may not spend all your playtime on one character - but you can easily spend over a hundred hours on just the base game, to say nothing of the additional expansions.

1. Persona 5

As if the gameplay wasn’t enough, what sets Persona 5 apart from the crowd is the innovative design - everything from the menu screens to the gameplay visuals ooze style. The loveable turn-based combat is designed to really draw you into the grand story - a  standard playthrough is averaged at around 100 hours and a completionist might spend nearly 200. This game is truly unique, in ways that you’ll love the second you pick it up.

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Top PS4 Online Multiplayer Games

10. Grand Theft Auto V

The online component of the already fantastic Grand Theft Auto V, Grand Theft Auto Online is set within the fictional state of San Andreas and lets up to 30 of you and your friends explore the open world together and take part in co-op missions. Those of you who have played Grand Theft Auto games before will know the kind of chaos that can follow. Endless co-op fun for as many friends as you can fit in it!

9. Overwatch

Overwatch defines the hero shooter subgenre, no doubt about it. Clones have come and gone, but none have done it with the quality, character and style that we’ve come to expect from Blizzard. Playing with friends totally changes the experience, and with plenty of different modes to play together with your friends including custom maps and arcade modes, it’s a perfect game to jump into with friends whether you’ve got half an hour to spare or a whole weekend.

8. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2

You never forget your first. After a few years in the wilderness, the Tony Hawk franchise is back with a full remake of the first two games in the series. With the same ‘easy to learn, hard to master gameplay’, online multiplayer and those iconic soundtracks, it’s just as fun as it was two decades ago. An Indy 900 of a game.

7. Destiny 2

Bungie’s Destiny 2 is an MMO first-person shooter, set in a world of ‘mythic science fiction’ that blends together a space-age aesthetic with magic and mythology. It’s incredibly fun to play, but really hits stride when you’re playing with friends. Although it can’t be played split-screen, it more than makes up for it with hours and hours of content to play with friends and like any good MMO, infinite replayability. 

6. Outriders

Bouncing between sci-fi wonder and dark comedy from moment to moment, Outriders combines looter-shooter sci-fi action with RPG elements like classes, skill trees and unique special abilities that players can unleash upon the battlefield. You can play solo, but the ability to team up with friends to take on the game in co-op means being able to combo your abilities to pull off even more impressive kills. Just try not to fight over the loot! 

5. Friday the 13th: The Game

The king of slasher movies has become the king of asymmetrical horror multiplayer! You play as either Jason Voorhees himself, or one of a gang of campmates on a mission to outwit the world’s most violent hockey fan as you attempt to escape with your life. With a ton of extra skins, weapons, signature kills and more, this complete edition couldn’t be any more stacked with DLC.

4. Battlefield 1

If there’s one thing that most modern FPS games seem to have, it’s some element of sci-fi and futurism. That’s probably why it’s so refreshing to play a game like Battlefield 1 - taking us all the way back to World War I through human-focused stories in single-player and wonderfully dynamic multiplayer modes. The destructible environments, the classes, the personality - they all come together to create a truly refreshing play. 

3. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4

You know what to expect from a Call of Duty game - remarkably tight and responsive controls, beautiful graphics and visual design, and of course, zombies. The series is fundamental FPS gaming at its finest, and Black Ops 4 is no different. There is one surprise this time - a battle royale mode! This game might lack a single-player campaign, but there’s so much to do packed in here that you’ll barely even notice.

2. Titanfall 2

Titanfall 2 is often described with taglines that say something along the lines of ‘the best game you haven’t played’. Considering how truly fantastic this game is, it’s criminal how little fanfare it has received from the industry as a whole. The gameplay is fast-paced and exciting, and has giant robot mechs! What’s not to love? The single-player story is short but sweet, and the multiplayer experience is one of the best on the PS4 too.

1. Star Wars Battlefront 2

One of gaming’s true redemption stories, after a rocky start Star Wars Battlefront 2 is now better than ever. Featuring characters and settings from throughout the Star Wars saga, accessible yet challenging gameplay and canonical story mode to boot, it’s a must-play for fans of the franchise. And best of all, no more microtransactions!

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