Nokia X6 is the company’s first phone with a notch

HMD Global has finally taken the wraps off the long-rumored Nokia X6 in Beijing earlier today. The release is limited to Chinese market as of now, but we expect the smartphone to launch in global markets in future. 

As the leaks suggested, it is the first Nokia device to get the notch design with 19:9 display. The display measures 5.8-inch and provides more screen-to-body ratio to give an immersive viewing experience. 

Not just the notch, but it is also the first Nokia phone to feature Snapdragon 636, which is coupled with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. 

The phone runs on Android 8.1 Oreo and has a 3060mAh battery with USB Type-C connectivity. The fingerprint sensor retains its usual position under the camera.

The primary camera is 16MP and a 5MP secondary camera (RGB + monochrome). Optics are further powered by software using AI image enhancements, HDR photo mode, and off course Nokia’s infamous “Bothie” also remains.

The Nokia X6 is priced at CNY 1,299 (Rs 13,800 approx) for the 4GB RAM + 3GB internal storage variant, at CNY 1,499 (Rs 16,000 approx) for the 4GB RAM + 6GB internal storage variant and at CNY 1,699 (Rs 18,100 approx.) for the 6GB RAM + 64GB internal storage variant. 

Another iPhone X lookalike?

Going by the press images, the smartphone seems to have a smaller notch compared to the iPhone X. But it has curved edges and sides with a glossy finish at the back, which is quite similar to the Apple’s design.

The glossy back sports two vertically stacked cameras in the middle. Thankfully, the placement of fingerprint sensor and camera module differentiates it from the Apple iPhone X. There’s also a thick chin with Nokia branding on the front.

The phone will arrive in White, Black and Blue color variants. Availability outside China is still unknown, but we can expect it to reach other markets where there’s Nokia’s market presence. 

  • Nokia 7 Plus review

Skull and Bones release date, news, and trailers

Announced at Ubisoft’s E3 2017 conference, Skull and Bones is a game that will take players into the Golden Age of Piracy and let them take the helm of their very own pirate ship.

When it launches in late 2018, Skull and Bones will be the second of two big pirate titles to release this year – the first being Rare’s Sea of Thieves. The two, however, are really quite different. While Sea of Thieves is a more cartoonish and whimsical adventure, Skull and Bones leans more towards gritty realism. 

Created by Ubisoft’s Singapore studio and based on the naval battles of Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, this is going to be a title for those miss sailing the seas as Edward Kenway.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Ubisoft’s 2018 pirate adventure which expands on the much-loved naval gameplay of Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag 
  • What can I play it on? PC, PS4 and Xbox One 
  • When can I play it? Mid to late 2018 

Skull and Bones release date

Though there’s no exact release date just yet, Skull and Bones is scheduled to release in mid-to-late 2018. 

Skull and Bones trailers

Skull and Bones received two trailers during its E3 debut, one which was cinematic and another which showcased the game’s multiplayer and PvP gameplay. 


Skull and Bones news and rumors

There will be both single player and multiplayer

It’s been confirmed that Skull and Bones will have both single and multiplayer elements. However, information on what form the single player mode will take is pretty thin on the ground at the moment since Ubisoft concentrated mostly on the multiplayer during its E3 presentation. 

From the game’s main website we know that it’ll involve starting from the bottom as a wannabe pirate captain with a single ship. From here, you’ll sail the Indian ocean, preying on trade ships, taking down rival pirate captains and avoiding pirate hunters. 

Successful heists will mean more wealth and reputation. However, power comes at a price and as your reputation and wealth grow you’ll naturally become a target for other pirates. It’s at this point in the game that it might become somewhat dangerous to sail alone and you’ll need to start growing a fleet of ships as well as making and breaking alliances with other pirate captains. 

Multiplayer will be made up of a few different modes. The one that’s seen the most attention thus far (and the one that we’ve had the chance to play for ourselves) is Loot Hunt. This will pit two teams of five players against one another, with each player in control of their own ship.

The aim of the game is to be the team that picks up the most loot, taking down ships on the opposing team if you have to. Winning this section is a poisoned chalice, however, as at the end of the mode, pirate hunters will appear to take down the team that’s managed to get the most loot. The aim of the game will then change and it’ll be up to the team to scarper in a given amount of time. Only those that manage to escape the area in the given time will have their treasure collection counted so it’s important to get your most heavily laden ships out of there for a win, even if it means sacrificing yourself. 

Voice chat is pretty key in this multiplayer mode, as getting the most treasure will involve splitting up and moving around the map while coordinating your movements. Failure to communicate will make things difficult as we discovered with our own demo team. 

There will be different kinds of ships

Inspired by traditional RPGs, Skull and Bones will have different classes of ships and you can choose the one that best suits your playstyle. Players will have access to lots of different kinds of ships across the game and according to an official video from Ubisoft, they will be able to switch between them during the game to take advantage of their varied abilities and strengths. 

Different ships will offer different tactical advantages, from large but cumbersome frigates, to faster and more maneuverable brigantines, to long-range sloops of war. We imagine the option to switch between ships will only appear once you’ve started putting together a rag-tag fleet, rather than being an option  from the off. This has, however, still to be confirmed. 

It’ll also be possible to customize your ships; Ubisoft has confirmed players will be able to choose their flags, colors and faction emblems. 

There will be realistic tactics and gameplay

Just as it was for real pirates sailing the seas and for those who played Assassin’s Creed Black Flag, wind will be a key element in Skull and Bones. Players will have to use the wind and positioning to their advantage. The wind can be used either offensively or defensively but it will be a key part of gameplay whether you choose to fight or run away.

There are actually a lot of different things that players will have to juggle. As well as controlling weapons, looking at their surroundings and being aware of the direction and speed of the wind, players will be able to climb to their crows nest for a wider field of view. This will of course, draw them out of the action for a while but it will be key to spotting pirate hunters.

There will be PvE and PvP elements

While players will be able to play with and against one another, everyone will be up against the pirate hunters in some more PvE gameplay. These AI ships will be out to take you down in the name of the powers that be and it’s very tough to take them down on your own. Your best bet with these fleets is to use the wind and escape, or make sure you’ve got the back up needed. 

In an interview with GameSpot, Creative director Justin Farren said that these elements would be woven together and all would inform the game’s narrative: 

“We wanted to create a system that let us tell our narrative month after month, year after year, and then throw in the story elements to it. So, if you’re a PVP player, you should still feel like you beat the campaign. If you’re a PVE player, or like me, I plan on sailing with my daughter a lot, I want us to be able to go through the story and become kingpins together, and be able to tell the same world narrative through the game ones that we build.” 

An online ongoing game

It was revealed during an ‘everything you need to know’ video posted by Ubisoft at E3 that Skull and Bones, like Sea of Thieves, will be an online, ongoing service game set in a shared open world. Players will be the star of their own game and it’s expected that they’ll be able to create their own story in this open world. Over time there will be new seasons, new ships, new weapons, new items, new locations and new game modes introduced.

We imagine there will also be active and random in-game events, given the end of the cinematic trailer for Skull and Bones teased what appeared to be a Kraken. 

Loot boxes are unconfirmed 

In an interview with GameSpot not long after the game’s reveal in 2017, creative developer Justin Farren wasn’t able to offer a confirmation on whether or not loot boxes would appear in the game. Though he said that he had no wish to create a pay-to-win model, Farren did say that in-game purchases for cosmetic and vanity items might appear. This is the most likely route that many games have recently gone down.

Is there a Skull and Bones beta?

There is a Skull and Bones beta and you can sign up for updates on it on the official website. Simply choose your preferred platform, give them your email address and you’ll receive updates as soon as they’re announced. 

  • Everything we know about E3 2018

Trump plans to save ZTE come under fire

President Trump’s plans to save jobs at troubled Chinese phone giant ZTE have been thrown into jeopardy after intervention from top US politicians.

Senior lawmakers have hit back after Trump pledged to intervene after ZTE said it would be suspending operations following a US blocking ban issued on worries of national security.

ZTE was blocked from doing business in the US following accusations it had flouted a previous order on doing business with Iran and North Korea. 

The firm had been the fourth-largest smartphone manufacturer in the US before the ban, which prevented ZTE from importing and licensing American technology and ideas. 

The company was also forced to pay a $1.2 billion fine, fired four senior employees and hit 35 others with wage and bonus restrictions.

Reprieve?

According to Reuters, the Trump administration is considering easing the restrictions on ZTE in return for China removing tariffs on a number of US-made goods, including pork and fruit.

However this has not gone down well with senior politicians, many of whom are calling out the Trump administration for putting deals above issues of national security.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio said that he hoped, “the administration does not move forward on this supposed deal I keep reading about,” and 32 Senate Democrats have signed a letter accusing the President of putting Chinese interests ahead of US jobs and national security.

President Trump also recently tweeted that he was working with Chinese head of state Xi Jinping to find a solution to the issue.

The UK Government also revealed concerns about ZTE, with the National Cybersecurity Centre (NCSC) issuing a warning to UK telcos urging them not to use equipment from the company

  • Here’s our list of the best SIM-only deals in May 2018

The best screen recorders for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS

Screen recorders can prove useful in a whole host of situations: for showing off your gaming exploits, or for putting up a tutorial on the web, or for demonstrating the features of your brand new app.

Whatever your reasons for needing to record what’s on the screen, a host of applications out there will do the job for you, and with a minimum of fuss. Here we’ve picked out our favorites across Windows, macOS, Android, iOS and the web.

Camtasia

Camtasia (Windows, macOS) has been in the screen recording game longer than most, and offers more features than most too – as well as capturing what’s on screen with aplomb, this fully fledged video editing solution can also add plenty of extras and edits on top too.

Whatever you want to record, from games to PowerPoints, Camtasia can take it all in its stride – with or without audio, with or without a webcam feed, and so on. Annotations, extra media files, transitions, titles and more can then all be dropped in with your footage.

Despite all its features, the software never feels too complex, thanks to an intuitive timeline interface. On the downside, it is expensive at $249 (about £180), but you can test it out for 30 days for free. For something cheaper and simpler, try SnagIt from the same developer studio.

  • Want to try Camtasia? Get hold of your free trial here

OBS Studio

People who don’t want to pay for their screen recorder tools tend to flock to OBS Studio (Windows, macOS), and with good reason: it lets you effortlessly blend different sources and audio tracks together, packing in features you’d usually have to spend heavily to get.

Built with gamers in mind, live streaming options feature prominently, but you can just as easily save your recordings to disk. On top of that you get advanced features like noise reduction (for your voiceovers) and the ability to set transitions between your scenes.

All of this is overkill if you just want to record a quick clip – and to the complete beginner, OBS Studio perhaps isn’t the best of the options listed here – but you get a pile of fine screen recording and live streaming features for free, and that’s difficult to argue with.

  • Think OBS Studio is the recorder for you? It’s a free download

Icecream Screen Recorder

Not everyone wants the hefty feature sets of the likes of Camtasia or OBS Studio, and Icecream Screen Recorder (Windows, macOS) is a more compact and friendly alternative. Fire it up, click the record button, select the part of the screen to record, and you’re off.

Choosing your recording area and saving your footage couldn’t really be any easier, though it’s not the most precise tool we’ve ever come across. The program lets you draw on your footage, add a webcam feed, zoom while recording, and choose your final video quality.

Upgrade to the Pro version of the software (£19.95/$27), and you can break through the five-minute time limit, as well as select from more output formats, convert between formats, add watermarks, and schedule screen recordings – features which can all come in handy.

  • Ready to give Icecream Screen Recorder a go? Here’s the download

TinyTake

Continuing the theme of smaller, simpler screen recorders, we present TinyTake (Windows, macOS). It has all the features you’re likely to need, none of the fluff you don’t, and is particularly good when it comes to sharing captured videos and photos with other people.

As for the main capturing process itself, once you’ve created an account (which isn’t optional), you can be recording your computer screen in a couple of clicks. Drag out the area you want to record, click the start button, and TinyTake effortlessly handles the rest.

And that really is all there is to it – if you want to add annotations, or record anything longer than five minutes, you’ll need to upgrade to the paid-for version of TinyTake ($29.95 or about £22 a year). For simple screen recording and easy sharing to places like YouTube, though, it’s ideal.

  • Tempted by TinyTake? Head here to download the software

ScreenFlow

Apple macOS actually comes with some screen recording tools built in – more on that in a moment – but ScreenFlow (macOS) is a serious upgrade on what Apple’s desktop software can do on its own, plus it adds a pile of handy features and extra video editing tools.

For example, you can crop, pan, and zoom around different parts of your video recording, as well as add annotations and callouts on top of the footage you’ve captured. It’s a fully featured and intuitive video editor as well as a comprehensive tool for screen recording.

As for the actual capturing bit, it couldn’t be any easier to use: pick your video source(s), pick your audio source(s), and away you go. Footage from your webcam can be easily added into your main video, and the whole process is slick and streamlined throughout. It’ll set you back $129 (about £94) but a free trial is available.

  • Want to put ScreenFlow through its paces? Click here

Screencastify

If you don’t want to install extra software on your computer (well, apart from a browser extension), Screencastify (Chrome) is one of the best options. To use the extension without a watermark and for more than 10 minutes at a time, a premium upgrade ($24 or about £17 a year) is required.

Just because the program is an add-on for your browser doesn’t mean you’re restricted to recording browser windows, although you can do that if you want. Screencastify is able to record in full-screen mode as well, and supports audio from your system or a microphone.

The extension is even smart enough to embed a feed from your webcam as well, so you’ve got lots of flexibility, even if you don’t get quite as many bells and whistles as you do with other programs. On-screen drawings and annotations are supported in Screencastify too.

  • Want to add Screencastify to your browser? You can get it here

AZ Screen Recorder

AZ Screen Recorder (Android) is one of the top choices for Google’s mobile operating system, bringing with it easy-to-use controls, plenty of recording options, and even a lightweight video editor if you want to trim down your recordings before sharing them.

Everything is handled with a little pop-up window that disappears when you start recording. You have the option to illustrate screen touches, and include microphone audio capture too, depending on what you need from your Android screen recording.

Delve into the settings and you can adjust the video recording resolution, frame rate and orientation, and even add a timelapse effect if necessary. It’s got just about everything you could want from a screen recorder tool on an Android device.

  • Ready to try AZ Screen Recorder? Here’s the Google Play Store link

DU Recorder

Based on the stats in the Google Play Store, DU Recorder (Android) is even more popular than AZ Screen Recorder when it comes to Android devices. Like its competitor, you get smooth and stable screen recording, and no phone rooting or reconfiguration is needed.

A small pop-up dialog lets you start and stop recording, and then you can capture everything from games to web browsing. Multiple video quality and frame rate settings are available, and you can even embed a “face cam” via your phone’s front-facing camera.

Simple video editing tools and easy share options are included with DU Recorder as well, so it really is an all-round package for recording screen activity on Android. What’s more, you get all of it for free, with no in-app purchases and no restrictions on what you can do.

  • Is DU Recorder the tool for you? Click here to try it out

QuickTime

You might have noticed we haven’t mentioned any tools for iOS yet, and that’s because Apple limits what third-party apps can do. However, iOS and macOS come with integrated tools that should be able to take care of your screen recording needs on Apple hardware.

The built-in iOS screen recorder is available via the Control Center: just tap the record button to start recording. If you can’t see the red, circular icon, open up iOS Settings, tap Control Center then Customize Settings, and make sure Screen Recording is included.

Over on macOS you’ve got QuickTime: choose File, then New Screen Recording to record activity on your Mac, or connect up an iPhone then choose New Movie Recording and pick the iPhone as the source. These are simple options, but they do the job well enough.

  • QuickTime and Screen Recording come built into macOS and iOS
  • Get your life in order with the best task management apps of 2018

Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus just got a big augmented reality boost

The Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus just got a big augmented reality (AR) boost, and no, we’re not talking more AR Emoji. 

The two flagship smartphones now support ARCore, Google’s platform for AR content creation and more immersive experiences. The Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus are now listed among a slew of other devices on the Google ARCore support page.

You may recall that, at launch, it was announced the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus would join the likes of the Galaxy S8, Google Pixel 2 and LG G6 in supporting ARCore. It seems that day has finally come to pass.

What does this mean for you? It means that you can download the ARCore app onto your S9 or S9 Plus and experience for yourself all of the ARCore-enabled apps and games in the Google Play Store.  

It’s good timing; in March, Google launched 60-plus ARCore experiences onto Google Play, including My Tamagotchi Forever, Pottery Barn 360 Room View, Ikea Place, and a feature in the eBay app that helps you figure out what size box you’ll need to ship a product. 

Via 9to5Google

  • Discover the best iPhone VR apps
  • Everything you need to know about Google Daydream VR

Best hard drives 2018: the top HDD for desktops and laptops

While they’re not as fast as the best SSDs, the best hard drives beat them when it comes to price. Plus, they have an ample amount of storage space, rather than forcing you to break open your piggy bank for a glorified flash drive – the best hard drives offer huge amounts of storage without making your wallet cry. They might not be able to outpace the SSD in the best Ultrabook, but they’re certainly capacious.

Of course, the best hard drive is going to vary from person to person. For a laptop or game console, you may want to check out a 2.5-inch or external hard drive. For the best gaming PCs, though, the best hard drives are going to have a high capacity and fast speed. Luckily, we’ve done all the heavy lifting to put together a list of the best hard drives for gaming, laptops NAS setups and more. No matter what you’re looking for, you can be sure you’ll find the best hard drive for your needs today.

In the market for hard drives, Seagate’s BarraCuda lineup rears up as the most identifiable face of HDDs. There’s a good reason for that. They offer a great ratio of gigabyte to dollar and performance perks to top it off. The 2TB model hits a particular sweet spot by balancing high performance and affordability. Since this drive combines 7,200rpm platters and high density data, computers outfitted with this drive will be able to read data extra fast. Be sure to double check specifications on each model, as not all BarraCuda’s hit that high spin speed. 

Toshiba is a huge name in computing. Even if its laptops aren’t as popular as they once were, it has a lot to offer in the component market. When it comes to hard drives, the Toshiba X300 is a high-capacity, high-performance champ worth taking a look at. The X300 drives boast great gigabyte-to-dollar value without sacrificing on the performance side. These drives all spin at 7,200RPM and include 128MB of cache for fast operation. The only downside is the warranty only lasts two years, which feels short for a drive meant to store so much important data.

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

When it comes to gaming, speed is king. So, for anyone resisting the allure of an SSD and looking to find the best hard drive for the job, it’s time for something that spins faster. That’s where WD’s VelociRaptor clocks in at a blistering 10,000rpm spin speed. With capacities up to 1TB available, the VelociRaptor drives are ready to store large game libraries, and the super fast platters will help those games launch and load quickly.

Western Digital offers a good bargain with its line of WD Blue hard drives. With a range of storage options from a small 500GB to a massive 6TB, the WD Blue is a viable pick for almost any type of computer build that’s sticking to a budget. The best value comes from the larger drives, as they give increasingly more storage per dollar spent. The small capacity drives don’t come at a bad price, though. If you’re looking for a little more performance, there are also 7,200rpm models available that don’t come with a serious price hike.

When it comes to hybrid hard drives that include a small amount of solid-state storage to bump up their speed, there’s virtually no competition against the Seagate FireCuda. The FireCuda can fit up to 2TB of data, and then its 8GB of solid-state storage learns and stores the data you use most frequently to make accessing it even faster. That flash storage speed boost is made even sweeter by the fact the hard drive itself is spinning at a fresh 7,200rpm. Tack on a 5-year warranty and a reasonable price tag, and it’s easy to see why this drive is a winner.

It’s a little unfortunate that the Seagate IronWolf NAS drives come at a premium, but they aren’t priced much more expensively than a standard hard drive at their capacity. However, their native NAS optimization makes that premium totally worth it. These drives are capable of running at a fast 7,200rpm spin rate 24/7 without having to worry about drive failure. Really, if you have one of the best NAS devices for your business or home, the Seagate IronWolf NAS really is your best bet. 

Upgrading the storage in a laptop in a hard drive can be tough, since they typically require a smaller drive to fit. A lot of the 2.5-inch options aren’t terribly attractive, as anything fast comes with a serious markup, but Seagate’s 2.5-inch FireCuda hybrid drive strikes a nice balance. It offers an easy way to add lots of storage to a laptop while also giving it a speed boost thanks to 8GB of flash storage. A 5-year warranty on the drive will also help ensure it for as long as almost any laptop’s lifespan.

Game consoles hard drives fill up fast with massive libraries. And, like laptops, the upgrade path for 2.5-inch hard drives isn’t all that great, but that’s where an external drive comes in. The WD My Book strikes an amazing balance of storage and price, offering enough room for massive game libraries. Running on USB 3.0, it may not be quite as fast as an internal drive upgrade, but it will run games and offer more storage at a cheaper rate.

As time moves on and the best SSDs become more and more ubiquitous, there are many who are quick to declare the death of the best hard drives. Luckily, devices like the G-Technology G-Drive are here to show these naysayers the life that remains in spinning disks. Not only does this external hard drive offer huge amounts of storage, up to 10TB, but thanks to Thunderbolt 3 compatibility, it can even charge your laptop while you work. If you have a MacBook Pro, it’s hard to think of an external hard drive that would be a better companion.

Read the full review: G-Technology G-Drive