Insta360 Pro 2 fuses 360 8K video with 3D

Insta360 has launched its latest 360-degree camera, the Insta360 Pro 2. The new camera replaces last year’s Insta360 Pro, and its specifications read like a wish-list for VR photographers.

The Pro 2 uses a six-lens setup to capture professional-quality 360-degree VR-ready images at a level far higher than consumer 360 cameras, but without the bulk and inconvenience of high-end VR rigs.

8K capture might sound excessive, but 360 VR footage is captured over the entire spherical field of view of the camera, so at any one time you’re only viewing a smaller area of that 8K image, so the extra resolution is at a premium.

The 3D capability is even more impressive, and is designed for VR headsets like the Oculus Go or Samsung Gear VR, with each eye getting the full 8K. In 3D mode the Insta360 Pro 2 can capture video at 30fps (or 120fps at 4K). The maximum frame rate for ‘monoscopic’ (non 3D) 8K video is an impressive 60fps. It can also livestream 4K 3D while simultaneously recording in 8K.

‘Gimbal-level’ stabilization

The Insta360 Pro 2 can be mounted on a monopod or camera stand, and its relatively compact spherical shape makes it much easier to hide in 360 footage than a large VR rig. It also has Insta360’s inbuilt FlowState stabilization, with a 9-axis gyroscope offering what the company claims to be ‘gimbal-level’ stabilization.

The other issue with 360 footage is keeping the director out of the frame. Insta360 says regular Wi-Fi lacks the range or reliability, so it’s incorporated its own proprietary FarSight 360 live monitoring system, based on a transmitter/receiver system with a range of up to 300m.

Footage is designed for professional output and grading, thanks to an i-Log mode and in-camera HDR, and Insta360 has designed the system to integrate with an Adobe Premier Pro video editing workflow, using low-res proxies for automatic stitching and Insta360’s own software ‘algorithm’ for rendering and exporting a final version.

You can check out some sample 3D footage below:

The Pro 2 weighs 1.55kg including antenna and is designed for both monopod/tripod and drone use. Inside, there are no fewer than seven memory card slots – one for each of the six cameras and a seventh for storing stabilization date and low-resolution proxy files. There are four built-in microphones, plus a pair of USB and 3.5mm inputs top and bottom.

The Insta360 Pro 2 is available for pre-order now for $4,499.95, which includes the FarSight transmitter system and one battery; UK and Australia pricing is yet to be confirmed, but that converts to about £3,500 or AU$6,100. That’s pricey compared to regular consumer VR cameras, but a relatively modest outlay in the world of medium to high-end videography.

  • These are the best VR headsets of 2018

Life is Strange 2 tells the tale of two brothers road tripping to Mexico

We finally know what to expect from Dontnod’s long-awaited Life is Strange sequel, thanks to a brand new trailer and official reveal event at Gamescom. 

Life is Strange 2 is a five-part episodic adventure which focuses on two new protagonists – brothers Sean (16) and Daniel (9) Diaz. The pair live a fairly normal life in Seattle, Washington until a tragic accident forces them to run away from home.

Terrified of being caught by the police – and ultimately separated – the brothers set off on a road trip to their family’s hometown of Puerto Lobos, Mexico in hope of a better life.

Check out the official trailer below:

What lies ahead

Life on the road is tough, especially for playable character Sean – who must be a role model to his younger brother while coming to age himself. 

Sean’s actions will have an impact on Daniel and, as in its predecessor, supernatural powers will be involved somehow – but Dontnod are still being pretty secretive about exactly how. Gameplay footage is expected to be revealed in the next few days. 

The first episode of Life is Strange 2 will release on September 27 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Steam. The remaining four episodes will be released at later (undisclosed) dates.

  • Check out Life is Strange, and the importance of contemplation

Ericsson extends deal with Three-EE network sharing partnership

Mobile Broadband Network Limited (MBNL), the 3G infrastructure sharing partnership between EE and Three, has extended its managed services deal with Ericsson for a further two years.

Ericsson has been a partner since 2009 and signed its current contract in 2015. An extension was agreed in 2017, covering central operations, network performance and optimisation, field services and multi-vendor spare parts management.

This latest extension covers design, plan and deploy projects and lasts until 2020.

Ericsson MBNL

“The agreement to extend the Design, Plan and Deploy services contract with Ericsson, for a further two years, reflects the strength of the collaborative relationship between Ericsson and MBNL,” declared Pat Coxen, MBNL managing director.

“This will continue the trend of collectively delivering great results and is a sign of true partnership. We look forward to continuing the great work with Ericsson in order to meet the demanding business objectives of MBNL and its Shareholders.”

“This marks another significant milestone in our longstanding partnership with MBNL and our joint commitment to deliver superior network quality and performance to Three and EE consumers in the UK,” added Peter Laurin, head of business area managed services at Ericsson.

“We are delighted to continue our successful relationship and continue to evolve our managed services portfolio to deliver innovation and industry leading efficiencies through automation and analytics.”

MBNL was originally a partnership between Three and T-Mobile, with Orange’s infrastructure added in September 2010 following the merger that eventually created EE.

EE and Three have a separate 4G arrangement which sees the two operators share the cost of mast infrastructure and the cost of transmission between masts and core networks, but antennas, spectrum and core networks are separate, giving each more freedom in terms of deployment than MBNL.

  •  Check out our list of the best mobile deals for August 2018  

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080: should you upgrade?

After months and months of waiting, it’s finally here. The Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 has been announced at Gamescom 2018, and it promises a huge jump in performance over the previous generation. However, is that jump in performance worth the price to upgrade? 

Well, let’s figure this out, together.

The RTX 2080 rocks 2,944 CUDA cores, 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM, which is a huge jump over the GTX 1080’s 2560 CUDA cores, 8GB of GDDR5 VRAM. Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang insisted that this will mean a monumental increase over 2016’s model.

So, for anyone who is currently rocking a GTX 1080 in their build, the value is a bit dubious – unless you absolutely need the best performance available, and we couldn’t blame you for that. The true value, though, is going to be for anyone who skipped the 10-series and is still rocking either a GTX 970 or 980 (or even older). If you’re looking for a way to break into 4K gaming, now’s the time to take the high-resolution dive.

Price to performance

The new GeForce cards are, well, expensive – it can’t be denied. The Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti will set you back $1,199 (£1,099, AU$1,899). That’s a lot of money to spend on a card, but that’s not what we would recommend for most people. 

The RTX 2070 and 2080 are going to be the sweet spot for most people, costing $599 (£569, AU$899) and $799 (£749, AU$1,199), respectively. These cards will theoretically be able to handle 4K/60FPS gaming without breaking a sweat, as they’re specced higher than the GTX 1080 Ti at a lower price point.

What this means is that 4K gaming is absolutely affordable for the first time, and when aftermarket designs start rolling out in the coming months, it’s going to become even more attainable for more people. 

4K or not 4K?

For years, 1080p has been the de facto resolution for most gamers – with a small segment preferring 1,440p displays – and Nvidia Turing might just mark the beginning of the end for that era. Even the RTX 2070 should be able to max out most current games at 4K and still get a silky smooth framerate. But, what if you’re good with sticking with a lower resolution?

Monitors are expensive – especially high-resolution ones, so it can get pretty expensive to upgrade all of your equipment to a higher resolution. These Turing cards, then, might not be worth the investment, as the GTX 10-series will be able to handle 1080p, and even 1,440p,  gaming for a while.

However, if you already have the equipment, or you’re willing to make the jump, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 is going to make a world of difference.

Nvidia RTX

The games we play

Ok, but the 1080 and the 1080 Ti can already play games at 4K, right? Right now, yeah, but only barely. The 1080 Ti is currently able to max out most games at a 4K resolution, but 1080 users have to turn down a few options to hit that 60fps sweet spot. 

So, a lot of the decision is going to have to come down to the games you play. If you play a lot of E-sports or older games like Overwatch, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive or even World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth, the huge investment really isn’t going to be worth it – most current graphics cards can max out those games with tons of room to spare. 

Where these new cards are going to shine is in the games that’ll come out over the next few years or so. At its Gamescom presentation, Nvidia showed off how the RTX technology affects the lighting and shadows in upcoming games like Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Metro: Exodus – it was nothing short of breathtaking.

If you’re the type of gamer that likes to stay on the cutting edge, playing the latest games on the latest technology, then the RTX 20-series is going to be the way to go – we know we can’t wait to see all the latest games running in all of their high-res glory. 

Should I buy it?

At the end of the day, everything boils down to what you want to do with your tech. It’s unlikely that ray tracing, the highlight feature of the new cards, is going to be a huge part of the games that come out for the rest of 2018 and probably most of 2019. However, the RTX 2080 and the rest of the Turing family are going to be a massively important improvement over current-generation graphics cards and could herald a revolution for PC gaming. 

However, it’s too early to tell. 

Right now, our advice is to take a look at your current equipment, your budget and what you want to do with your computer. If you’re just going to be playing lightweight games at 1080p, or if you already have a GTX 1080, it’s probably not going to be worth the upgrade right at this moment. 

However, if you’ve been sitting on a Maxwell (or older) GPU, biding your time and waiting to upgrade, it’s hard to think of a better time to make the jump. Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang made a huge deal about the RTX 2080 Ti being 10 times more powerful than the GTX 1080 Ti – imagine how much more powerful it is than a GTX 980 or 970. 

  • Catch up with the best graphics cards before the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 arrives

Mac Mini ‘Pro’ reportedly launching with new MacBook Air 2018

Apple is prepping the long-awaited return of the Mac Mini and MacBook Air, giving both computers their first major refresh in several years, according to a new report today.

The ‘Mac Mini Pro’ could easily be the new name of the Mac Mini 2018 described by Bloomberg citing anonymous sources. Expectations are for new storage and processor options, a first for the Mac Mini since October 2014.

This may not be a routine update. Apple is said to be focusing on pro users, with the report specifically mentioning how the Mac Mini has been popular among app developers, those running home media centers, and server farm managers.

The company still sells the four-year-old Mac Mini for $499 (£479, AU$749) without a keyboard, mouse, or screen. That has made the small desktop computer affordable, even with powerful internal specs (at the time of the computer’s launch).

Of course, to the surprise of absolutely no one, the cutting-edge Mac Mini Pro is said to be more expensive than the version that’s on sale right now.

MacBook Air time

Apple’s MacBook Air 2018, on the other hand, is targeting computer shoppers who are looking for an entry-level Mac deal. The rumors on this laptop has been consistent for months – Apple just needs to launch it.

It’s said to have a 13-inch screen with thinner bezels and a much-needed high resolution display, according to Bloomberg. The current MacBook Air (which has merely been getting year-to-year specs bumps) is the last Apple laptop without a ‘Retina’ display and with limited (very distracting) viewing angles.

The real selling point here is almost certainly going to the price. The MacBook Air 2017 currently costs $999 (£949, AU$1,499) but the design is rather dates. The superior 12-inch MacBook starts at $1,299 (£1,249, AU$1,899). The latter is a hard sell to schools and users looking for laptops on a budget.

  • Cheap MacBook deals curated by TechRadar

When will they launch?

Today’s report notes that the MacBook Mini Pro and MacBook Air 2018 could launch in October, which is typically when Apple reveals its new iPad or computer lineup.

Apple is also expected to hold a press conference to launch the iPhone 9 and iPhone 11 in early September, theorized to be September 12. We could see the new Mac computers then, or discover maybe hints of them.

iOS 12 is expected at the early September launch event, while MacOS 10.4 Mojave could be the big software highlight for an October event.

  • When will the new iPhone launch? We’ve got a pretty good idea

The best cheap TV deals in August 2018 – 4K TVs for less

If you’re in search of a 4K TV deal, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve thoroughly searched the internet to find the best TV prices to share with you, our readers. So whether you’re looking for an extra large 4K TV to serve as the focal point of your home theater system, a modestly sized set for the bedroom or kitchen, or an entry level TV for the kids, you’re sure to find something that meets your specifications and budget.

You will find all of our carefully selected deals below. We’ve divided them into different size categories immediately after our pick for the best cheap TV deal of the week. Highlights this week include a 49-inch Smart TV for only $210 and and a selection of brand name TVs bundled with gift cards. Towards the bottom of the page, you’ll also find our favorite HDTV (non-4K model), although these days you really don’t have to pay much more to get a ultra HD set instead. If you’re after the hottest tech in TV though, you may want to take a look at the cheapest OLED TV prices.

Whether you want a small TV with a price tag to match or features like HDR and IPS, we’ve found plenty of options. Read on to find the TV you want at a great price!

Seiki 49UK700N

TechRadar’s cheap 4K TV deal of the week

Seiki 49UK700N 49-inch 4K Smart TV | Now $209.99 | Walmart
What would be an amazing price for any 4K TV is a truly astounding price for a 4K Smart TV of this size. For just over $200, you get Smart TV capabilities and three HDMI and two USB inputs. Even better, this price is nearly half off. 

Cheap TV deals (40- to 49-inch):

Cheap TV deals (50- to 59-inch):

Cheap TV deals (60- to 85-inch):

Extra retailer 4K TV deals links:

Not found the right cheap TV for you today? Or maybe you’d prefer to directly browse the TVs at your favourite retailers instead of our highlights of the best cheap TV deals? We’re updating this page on a regular basis, so you may have better look another day. If you want to take a look for yourself now though, here are the direct links to a the full collection of TV deals at multiple stores. 

  • Amazon deals
  • Walmart deals
  • eBay deals
  • Jet deals
  • Tiger Direct deals
  • P.C. Richard & Son deals
  • Newegg deals
  • Samsung deals
  • B&H Photo and Video deals

Vizio D40F-E1

The best cheap HD TV deal

Vizio D40F-E1 40-inch 1080p Smart HDTV | Now $229.99 | Walmart
We realize that not everyone may need or want a 4K TV, and a 1080p TV is still more than capable than delivering an astounding picture. This TV is only $230, making it very easy on your wallet, and it comes with built-in Smart TV capabilities!