Space trucking: Nissan unveils a mobile space observatory

Studying the skies to any great effect is usually done from huge observatories with enormous telescopes hidden inside. They cost millions and are often built in the middle of nowhere. That way it’s easier to get a better fix on what’s up there in the heavens by avoiding light pollution as much as possible. But, the downside is that they’re static and being stuck in one place offers less scope for astronomers.

Now, though, there are moves afoot to let astronomers get their stargazing done using a mobile laboratory and it’s all based around a tough, go-anywhere off-roader. The Nissan Navara Dark Sky Concept is an idea that has been developed in the UK, in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA), and the eye-catching outcome is a pickup/trailer combination like no other.

Escape the city lights

Nissan’s Navara is already a firm favourite with pickup fans. The likes of builders and farmers in particular enjoy its high-rise, rugged characteristics. Increasingly though the likeable four-wheeler is being bought and driven by people who want a higher sitting position and off-road capabilities but a driving experience that’s not too far removed from a run-of-the mill saloon. That makes it the perfect platform for a mobile observatory.

A crucial ingredient for the ESA project is the way this truck has been built to go just about anywhere. To get away from that all-pervasive light pollution and head right into the darkness you need a bit of kit to get you there without destroying the brittle lenses found in fragile telescopes. The Navara has big wheels and tyres, plus plenty of ground clearance, so ESA astronomers can now get their telescope wherever they want it without damage.

Alongside being a practical solution to the problem the Dark Sky Concept Navara looks pretty cool too. While it might be designed to get a job done, the UK development team have had some fun along the way, adding tasty cosmetic touches including a funky exterior finish and lots of space-inspired bits and bobs on the inside. It looks like no other pickup on the road, and is far removed from your typical builder’s workhorse. 

Outside, the design has a clever continuity line that runs from the pickup itself through to the trailer, which has been carefully modelled to emulate the smooth-but-angular lines of the Navara. There are flushed in wraparound tail lights, plus twin axles that feature cool six-spoke alloy wheels fitted with chunky go-anywhere rubber. The pickup also comes decked out with ESA logos, which also turns it into a neat mobile hoarding for the agency. 

Top down, telescope up

Having a bespoke trailer with off-road capabilities will be a real boon to ESA, as it can be towed anywhere the pickup can go. The trailer is fitted with an observatory-class PlaneWave telescope, which is perfect for capturing high quality views of the stars. With the top down and the telescope moved into position, it offers an enviable new angle to see what’s going on in space.

The Navara’s cavernous interior provides plenty of people-carrying capacity, and from the look of these images, it appears to be a pretty good place to escape to when the great outdoors becomes less welcoming and the opportunity of a hot drink and a few hours’ kip makes more sense. 

The Navara features a beefed up edition of Nissan’s ProPILOT driver assistance, which means that it’s more than capable of traversing the most unwelcoming countryside thanks to its steering assist technologies. On the highway, the advanced cruise control system will get the ESA folks back to base smoothly and safely. It’s not autonomous, but instead offers lots of help while you’re at the wheel via a front-mounted radar sensor and a front-facing camera.

The pickup and trailer combination was revealed at the Hannover motor show. “The tough pickup trucks on display are the perfect embodiment of Nissan’s dedication to excellence in conversions,” said Ashwani Gupta, senior vice president of the Nissan Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) business unit, at the unveiling.

“Powered by Nissan Intelligent Mobility and including ProPILOT, the incredible versatility of each vehicle allows us to go above and beyond to support any business need and serve as an authentic partner for our customers.”

  • The complete guide to space tourism

Samsung Galaxy S10 release date, price, news and leaks

Update: Samsung may lose the iris scanner from the Galaxy S10 in an attempt to make the screen on the phone larger than the last generation.

The Samsung Galaxy S10 has the potential to be the most exciting phone of 2019, as after the incremental upgrade that was the Samsung Galaxy S9 the South Korean firm is poised for a major overhaul.

The Samsung Galaxy S9 and Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus are strong, but not 5 stars strong, and we’re going to need to see some big changes for the brand to stay on top, especially in the face of fiercer competition from the likes of Apple and Huawei.

We don’t know everything about the Galaxy S10 yet, but we are starting to hear a number of rumors, all of which you’ll find below.

And below that you’ll find a wish list of the main things we want – nay, need – from the phone, including an in-screen fingerprint scanner and a fresh design.  The good news is that if early rumors are to be believed we might get at least one of those things.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Samsung’s next main flagship
  • What will it cost? It’s sure to be very expensive
  • When is it out? Probably early 2019

Samsung Galaxy S10 release date and price

The Samsung Galaxy S10 launch date is is likely to be in early 2019. More specifically we’ll probably see it at MWC 2019, which takes place from February 25-28.

Not only does a leaker claim we’ll see it then, but Samsung announced the Galaxy S9 range at MWC 2018, so the 2019 show is the most likely release date.

Samsung’s next S model will likely land in early 2019

Samsung doesn’t always announce its Galaxy S flagships there, but recent models have all been announced in the first few months of the year, so we’d be surprised if we don’t see the Samsung Galaxy S10 by the end of March 2019.

Though it could arrive earlier, as we might see it in January at CES 2019 if one rumor is to be believed. That takes place from January 8-11, but that feels too early for such as major announcement, so we’d take this particular Galaxy S10 leak with a fair pinch of salt.

Of course, whenever it is announced you might not be able to buy it straight away.

When it does go on sale it’s sure to cost a lot. There aren’t any Samsung Galaxy S10 price rumors yet, but the Galaxy S9 launched at $719.99 / £739 / AU$1,199, while the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus went on sale for $840 / £869 / AU$1,349.

We’d expect the Galaxy S10 range will cost at least that much when it does arrive.

Samsung Galaxy S10 design and display

Hottest leaks:

  • Three different screen sizes
  • A bezel-free design
  • A 19:9 aspect ratio and 1440 x 3040 resolution

According to Samsung’s mobile business chief, DJ Koh, the Samsung Galaxy S10 will have some “very significant” design changes and come in some “amazing” colors. One leak from OnLeaks suggests those colors may be Black, Grey, Blue, Red, Green and Yellow.

DJ Koh didn’t get more specific than the above, but a benchmark for a mystery Samsung phone which could be the S10 points to a 19:9 aspect ratio, which would make it taller than the 18.5:9 Galaxy S9.

Along with that the benchmark suggests a resolution of 1440 x 3040, which would be a slight boost, and there’s every chance that to achieve those things Samsung would slim the bezels, fitting a larger, sharper screen into the same size body.

One thing the Galaxy S10 probably won’t have though, is a notch, because, as noted by T3, Samsung has taken to Twitter to criticize the notch on the Google Pixel 3 XL, so presumably it won’t be going down that route for its next flagship.

It could ditch bezels completely though, as Samsung has teased another phone (the Galaxy A8S) in the image below, showing a handset that seemingly has no notch or bezels. This might be achieved by drilling a hole into the screen for the camera, according to one source.

The S10 could have a similar design to the Galaxy A8S. Credit: SamMobile

Of course, this isn’t the Samsung Galaxy S10, but the S10 could well sport a similar design.

We’ve also seen a photo, possibly showing a prototype of the Samsung Galaxy S10 (though notably the source didn’t refer to it by name but did say “this may be a design beyond”, and ‘Beyond’ is believed to be the codename of the Galaxy S10).

The image, which you can see below, shows a handset with a curved screen and almost no bezel on any edge. There seems to be less bezel in fact than we’ve seen on any other phone, suggesting the front-facing camera may either pop up or be built into the screen.

You can’t see much else, but in addition to the power and volume buttons it looks like the Bixby button is making a return – if this photo really is showing the S10 and if nothing changes in the design before launch, which are two big ifs, especially as reputable leaker @OnLeaks has poured cold water on the image, claiming it’s fake.

This could be the all-screen Samsung Galaxy S10. Credit: @UniverseIce

When it comes to the screen though it’s worth noting that there’s sure to be more than one size. In fact, this time around there might be three.

One of these, apparently codenamed ‘Beyond 0’, is said to have a 5.8-inch screen which might be flat. 

That would be the most basic model, but there’s also said to be ‘Beyond 1’, which apparently has a 5.8-inch curved screen, and ‘Beyond 2’, with a 6.2-inch curved screen.

There’s also said to be differences in the three models’ fingerprint scanners and cameras, which we’ll get to in the relevant sections below.

All of that has been given more credence thanks to people familiar with the matter speaking to Bloomberg. Those sources also confirmed the company is experimenting with a prototype that loses the 3.5mm headphone jack.

Samsung Galaxy S10 biometric security

Hottest leaks:

  • An in-screen fingerprint scanner
  • An improved 3D face scanner

The picture above is our only real possible sighting of the Galaxy S10 yet (and we use the term ‘real’ very loosely), but we have heard a number of things about it, and one rumor we have seen pop up numerous times is the presence of an in-screen fingerprint scanner.

This would go nicely with the all-screen design that’s being tipped for the phone, and would see the Galaxy S10 follow in the footsteps of the Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS and Vivo Nex.

A report claims that it will use an ultrasonic Qualcomm scanner, and that Samsung has felt pressured to include it due to Vivo and Huawei both having phones with in-screen scanners.

Multiple separate sources who spoke to The Bell have said as much, adding that Samsung will also look to ditch the iris scanning tech in the Galaxy S10 in favor of an improved 3D face scanner – much like the one found on the iPhone X.

We’ve heard a similar thing from South Korean media, but it suggests that we’ll only see an in-display fingerprint scanner as the main way of unlocking the phone. Either way, it’s likely the iris scanner will be dropped.

An earlier rumor also talks about an in-screen scanner, stating that while an in-screen scanner wouldn’t be ready in time for the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, it would be ready by sometime next year, making the Samsung Galaxy S10 a candidate for one.

Samsung could be moving the scanner in-screen

And we now have an idea of why it took so long to be ready – because reportedly Samsung is using an ultrasonic scanner, rather than an optical one, as while the latter could apparently have been implemented years ago it’s said to not be as good.

More specifically, Samsung has been rumored to use a third-generation ultrasonic scanner from Qualcomm. This generation hasn’t even been announced let alone used in a phone yet, but it could mean Samsung’s in-screen scanner is the best found on any phone.

Another recent report has added that while the two top-end Samsung Galaxy S10 models will apparently get an ultrasonic scanner, the most basic model will get an optical one. The difference essentially being that the ultrasonic one can map a 3D picture of your print, making it more accurate than the 2D optical option.

That’s at odds with an earlier rumor though, which claims that the most basic model (the one codenamed ‘Beyond 0’), will have a side-mounted fingerprint scanner instead of an in-screen one.

The other two models (apparently codenamed ‘Beyond 1’ and ‘Beyond 2’) supposedly have in-screen scanners though.

But Samsung might go even further and also put the speakers in the screen, as just such a display has been shown off by Samsung Display, according to OLED Info.

And the earpiece could go in the screen too, as Samsung is said to be planning a ‘sound-emitting display’ for use in a phone early next year, having already shown off the tech at an industry expo.

All that combined could mean a truly bezel-free look, like the one shown in the image above, though the front-facing camera will still need to be put somewhere.

Samsung Galaxy S10 camera

Hottest leaks:

  • A triple-lens rear camera on the top-end model
  • 12MP, 13MP and 16MP lenses
  • A dual-lens front-facing camera

An analyst reckons Samsung is considering a triple-lens camera for the Samsung Galaxy S10, along with a 3D sensor for augmented reality content.

Analyst chatter isn’t always that reliable, but it would make sense if Samsung wants to compete with the Huawei P20 Pro and the rumored triple-lens iPhone.

It’s also a rumor that we’ve now heard again, with a source claiming that while the most basic model of the Galaxy S10 might have just a single-lens camera and the middle model might have a dual-lens one, the biggest (and most expensive) version of the Samsung Galaxy S10 would have a triple-lens camera.

Three cameras could be better than two

More recently we’ve heard more details on the possible specs of the triple-lens camera, with it apparently consisting of a 12MP wide-angle lens, a 16MP super wide-angle lens and a 13MP telephoto lens.

An even newer report echoes those camera specs, but adds that the 12MP one will be an f/1.5-f/2.4 variable aperture lens , just like the camera on the Samsung Galaxy S9, while the 16MP lens will have an f/1.9 aperture and a 123-degree field of view, and the 13MP lens will have an f/2.4 aperture.

Some or all of the S10 models might also have a dual-lens front-facing camera according to one report, which would give the top model five lenses overall. It’s not known what the extra front lens would be used for, but it’s likely to improve the face unlock feature if nothing else.

Samsung Galaxy S10 power

Hottest leaks:

  • A Snapdragon 855 chipset
  • 8GB of RAM
  • A minimum of 128GB of fast storage

We also have an idea of what might be powering the Samsung Galaxy S10, as it’s reportedly going to use the unannounced Snapdragon 855 (at least in some regions). This is said to be a 7nm chipset, which is smaller and likely both more powerful and more efficient than the Snapdragon 845 found in many of 2018’s flagships.

The 855 is also said to be capable of supporting theoretical download speeds of up to 2Gbps, up from 1.2Gbps on the Galaxy S9 – though don’t expect to get speeds anywhere near this in the real world. Still, it could be a big upgrade.

As could the RAM, as Samsung has announced that it’s developed an 8GB RAM chip built on a 10nm process. This, while not confirmed for the Galaxy S10, apparently has a data rate that’s 1.5 times as fast as current flagship RAM chips and can also reduce power consumption by up to 30%.

One odd report has suggested the phone may sport 12GB of RAM too, but we’re inclined to believe the above about an 8GB of RAM mode.

Onboard storage could also be faster for the S10, as Samsung is set to start using UFS 3.0 storage in early 2019. This is supposedly two times faster than current phone storage modules and takes up less space, so there’s more room for other components.

Plus, the minimum size it comes in is 128GB, so if the S10 uses it then all models will have to have at least 128GB of storage.

Samsung Galaxy S10 name

We’ve also heard talk that Samsung might rename the range, launching the next model as the Samsung Galaxy X rather than the Galaxy S10. That might sound unlikely, but Koh Dong-jin, the head of Samsung’s mobile division, has been quoted as saying that “we have been thinking about whether we need to maintain the S moniker or the numbering system” so it’s possible.

What we want to see

As good as the Samsung Galaxy S9 is, it’s also rather too similar to the Samsung Galaxy S8, so we hope Samsung changes things up for the S10. Here’s what we want to see.

1. A new design

Samsung’s smartphone design is overly familiar at this point

The Samsung Galaxy S9 looks almost identical to the Galaxy S8, so it’s high time we got a new design from the South Korean company.

Whether that means a notch, a new material or even a foldable phone we’ll leave to Samsung, but we want to see something new.

2. Dual or triple-lens cameras on both models

While the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus has a dual-lens camera, the standard Galaxy S9 only has a single-lens one. For the Galaxy S10 we want both models to have two lenses, or better yet, three. After all, the Huawei P20 Pro has landed with exactly that to stunning effect.

Samsung’s been delivering top smartphone cameras for a while now, but this year it has some real competition from Huawei, so for the Galaxy S10 we want to see it take steps to get ahead.

The good news is that a triple-lens camera has already been rumored, though it sounds like only the priciest model will get it.

3. An in-screen fingerprint scanner

Rear-facing scanners could soon be a thing of the past on high-end phones

In-screen fingerprint scanners have been rumored for various Samsung phones and the Galaxy S10 is no exception, but now that other companies have launched commercially available handsets with them we might finally see Samsung roll one out.

Having a scanner in the screen means it doesn’t need to take up space on the front or be awkwardly placed on the back, plus it looks high-tech enough to make owners of other phones jealous.

This too has been rumored for the Galaxy S10, so there’s a very real chance it will happen.

4. More vibrant photos

While the overall quality of photos taken by the Samsung Galaxy S9 is very high, some lack vibrancy and a few are also more washed out than we’d have expected or liked. This is especially true when there’s background light, so we’d like the Samsung Galaxy S10 to be able to cope with this better.

5. Improved AR Emoji

AR Emoji could really use some work

AR Emoji were one of the more hyped features of the Galaxy S9 range, but they were also one of the least impressive aspects of these phones.

There are a few reasons for this. Beyond their inherently gimmicky nature it can also be hard to create one that looks like you, and when recording a video of yourself using the emoji, the camera’s facial recognition isn’t powerful enough to do it justice.

While AR Emoji will probably never be an essential feature, if Samsung’s going to keep using them we’d like to see them at least rival Apple’s Animoji next time around.

6. Better battery life

Battery life is one thing that doesn’t improve with each new phone generation. In fact, sometimes it gets worse. In the case of the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus you’re only really looking at a day of life.

And while that might generally be okay for anyone who doesn’t mind plugging their phone in every night, it’s worth remembering that the battery will start to wear out over time, so a day of life when you buy the phone means less than a day a year or two on.

As such we really want to see improvements to the battery in the Galaxy S10, whether that’s through a larger unit than the frankly small 3,000mAh one in the Galaxy S9, or just through more efficient hardware and software.

7. A totally bezel-free look

We’ve said already that we want a new design from the Galaxy S10, but what we’d really like is a complete absence of bezels. As in no notch either, just an all-screen front.

We’re not expecting this, not least because it would presumably mean building the camera and sensors into the screen, but it’s possible and would surely be less ambitious than a foldable phone, which we might also get from Samsung in 2019.

  • The foldable Samsung Galaxy X could land in 2019

Best action camera 2018: 10 cameras for the GoPro generation

If you’re looking for the best action camera, then you’ve come to the right place. Action cameras are unlike any other kind of camera. They’re designed to be attached to helmets, surfboards, cars and other objects, and they’re small, tough and simple to operate, with a lens that captures the world in high-definition video.

Their small size and dramatic POV (‘point of view’) footage has made them popular with extreme sports participants, who capture their adventures by attaching cameras to themselves or their equipment. They’re also used by TV production companies where using a regular video camera would be impossible. 

You don’t have to be an adrenaline-junkie or filming your own TV show. Action cameras are also great fun for the family, especially on days out or vacations when you simply want to hit record and document you time together. 

Who makes the best action camera though? GoPro is without question the market leader – in fact, they invented this whole action camera genre. They’re not alone though, with a number of new rivals out there to tempt you. 

When it comes to key features on action cameras, most now shoot 4K footage, though some do these better than others, offering faster frame rates for buttery-smooth footage, while the very best action cameras have slick image stabilization systems to make the most of this. 

While action cameras are principally for shooting video, the best action cameras also shoot pretty decent still images as well, though don’t expect anything better than a point-and-shoot compact camera. 

Other features to consider when looking for the best action camera include Wi-Fi, GPS and touchscreen control. These all bump up the price, and while they are invaluable in some situations, you can still get great footage without them.

Before we look at our top picks of the best action cameras you can buy right now, GoPro has just announced three new action cameras. 

The top of the range GoPro Hero7 Black replaces Hero6 Black and is our best action camera pick right now. We’d even recommend you now avoid the Hero6 Black. Don’t get us wrong, it’s not a bad action camera at all, it’s very good, but with the price of the older model only a few dollars or pounds less than the Hero7 Black, you’re better off spending your money on the newer model. 

Best action cameras 2018

While it may share pretty much of the same headline video specs as the Hero6 Black that it replaces, the Hero7 Black offers a number of big improvements. The most significant of this is the addition of GoPro’s all-new HyperSmooth image stabilization technology. It really is very impress, delivering gimbal-smooth video footage. TimeWarp video is a further new feature, one that combines the idea of regular frame-by-frame time-lapse shooting (which you can still do separately) with HyperSmooth – essentially, a stabilised hyperlapse, while the user interface has been overhauled for a much better user experience. Delivering buttery-smooth 4K video footage the Hero7 Black is the best action camera you can buy.

  • Read our in-depth GoPro Hero7 Black review
  • Buying guide: GoPro Hero 7 Black vs Hero 6 Black vs Hero 5 Black

It may have been overshadowed by the new Hero6 Black, but the Hero5 Black still has a lot to offer. Shooting 4K footage up to 30fps, video footage is incredibly smooth, while the ability to shoot stills in raw format brings even more flexibility. Waterproof down to 10m without the need for a protective case, it’s also simple to use, while the addition of a rear touchscreen, voice control and GPS make it one of the most feature-packed cams currently available. The great news is that GoPro’s just wiped $100/£100 off the price, making it an even more tempting proposition.

  • Read our in-depth GoPro Hero5 Black

If you’re aquatic-minded, or you need to know exactly where you were, and how fast you are going when you took a video, buy a GoPro Hero6 Black. However, if you’re more interested in saving money on features you didn’t even want, the Yi 4K+ Action Camera is one of the simplest and best designed gadgets around. Everyone considering buying an action cam should have a look at the Yi 4K+ Action Camera because it’s almost exactly the same and, in some ways, even better than a GoPro. 

  • Read our in-depth Yi 4K+ Action Camera review

If you’ve been eyeing up a GoPro for some time, but haven’t been able to justify the price, the stripped-down Hero could be the answer. It doesn’t shoot 4K, but does shoot nice and smooth Full HD footage and is a great camera for the novice or casual user who just wants to capture the action without worrying about which frame rate or resolution they should be using. There are better specified-action cameras out there for a similar price, but they don’t have the refined design and polished control of the Hero. 

  • Read our in-depth GoPro Hero review

TomTom Bandit

Bullet shape cams might have fallen out of fashion recently thanks to GoPro and its box-shaped cameras, but the TomTom Bandit bucks the trend. In fact, the Bandit packs features that other manufacturers will need to follow if they’re to keep up with this newcomer. Taking years of GPS experience, TomTom has built in a series of sensors that not only record location but speed and G-force too, so that when these sensors pick up that something exciting has happened they automatically tag the footage. Back in the pub and with the app open and connected, a quick shake of your phone and the app will automatically edit your footage ready for upload. It really couldn’t be easier.

  • Read our in-depth TomTom Bandit review

Olymous TG-Tracker

The TG-Tracker’s futuristic design is hard to miss with an ultra wide 204 degree lens. Headline video resolutions include 4K at 30fps, 1080p at 60fps and an impressive 240fps at 720p for slow motion capture. This is an action camera ready for anything and even features a small LED video light built in. Sensors are the big news for the Tracker with GPS, compass, acceleration sensors plus a barometer and thermometer all capturing data from inside the compact case. The intel from these can all be displayed when viewing back the footage or in the video edit so you can show just how extreme you are. What’s more, it’s waterproof to 30m, features built in stabilization and can withstand temperatures down to -10C.

  • Read our in-depth Olympus TG-Tracker review 

How often do you take an action cam underwater? If the answer’s not a lot, then the Yi 4K Action Camera could be for you. While there’s an optional underwater case available, the camera isn’t waterproof. There is a large and responsive touchscreen, a big battery and a fast file transfers however, and while it may lack a few niceties – and we would include lens distortion correction and image stabilisation in that list – the Yi 4K Action Camera remains a great value addition to any adventurer’s kit bag.

  • Read our in-depth Yi 4K Action Camera review

Yi’s range of action cams are pretty cheap, but this is the most affordable model in the range. While it shoots 4K footage, the frame rate is pretty slow and jerky. Don’t let that put you off though as the Yi Lite can shoot some really smooth Full HD footage up for 60fps. With easy to use touchscreen navigation, a decent app and all the essential features most occasional users want, the tough, reliable and affordable Yi Lite proves an impressive entry-level action camera. If you’re looking for something even more affordable, take a look at Yi’s Discovery Action Camera – you won’t find a better camera for the price. 

  • Read our in-depth Yi Lite Action Camera review

GoPro Hero4 Session

The Hero5 Session follows on from the Hero4 Session, stripping back the action camera concept to its basics, but sharing many of the same specs as the Hero5 Black. That includes 4K video capture up to 30fps, image stabilisation, voice control and is waterproof down to 10m. The large Record button on the top starts and stops recording so there’s no worrying about different modes and options – that’s all handled by the app (though it does have a simple menu system if you wish). Back to basics, but still captures the quality of video that you’d expect from GoPro.

  • Read our in-depth GoPro Hero5 Session review

All action cameras are now promising 4K at 30fps, but Sony’s effort is about a lot more than just resolution and frame rate. The diminutive FDR-X3000R’s biggest claim is Balanced Optical SteadyShot (B.O.SS) image stabilization, which works across all resolutions and recording modes. It also includes an underwater housing – a rarity in the action camera market – and comes with a wearable, mountable live view remote, a smartwatch-sized contraption that allows the FDR-X3000R to be operated from afar, and its images previewed in real time.

  • Read our in-depth Sony FDR-X3000R review

  • Best GoPro camera: ultimate action cams 
  • What camera should I buy? Use our step-by-step guide
  • Best camera
  • Best waterproof camera

Nvidia’s flagship RTX 2080 Ti graphics cards are failing more than they should

UPDATE: Nvidia has responded to the numerous concerns over its flagships cards, telling Tom’s Hardware that “it’s not an increasing number of users […], it’s not broad [and] we are are working with each user individually like we do always”.

The most powerful consumer GPUs to hit the market are experiencing some teething problems at the moment, with a number of early users reporting their Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti graphics cards are failing in a variety of ways.

Among the issues being reported are day-one failures, according to Digital Trends, with instabilities and artifacts being found immediately after installing the card, while others are seeing their GPUs die after a few days of nominal use.

Across both the Nvidia forums and relevant Reddit threads, an alarmingly high number of users have told the tale of their cards dying – more often than not, it’s the Founders Edition of the GPU and, in some cases, even their replacement cards from the manufacturer have gone the same way.

  • Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti vs Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti

The GeForce RTX 2080 Ti is the cream of the crop at the moment (when it’s actually working), with the capability of handling 60fps, 4K gaming comfortably, as well as sporting the breakthrough feature known as ray tracing.

Perhaps the premature failures wouldn’t be so hard-hitting if the cost of the unit wasn’t so obscene – the Founders Edition will set you back $1,199 (£1,099, AU$1,899) for instance.

Hopefully this is an instance of the first batch of units needing a few kinks ironed out and some bugs patched, as the card shows a lot of promise. 

For all the latest on Nvidia’s greatest, keep following TechRadar’s coverage.

  • Ray tracing stole the show from Nvidia’s new RTX graphics cards
  • Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti review

Best 40-inch TV 2018: the most affordable TVs in the 40-inch range

Not too long ago, a 40-inch TV was considered rather massive – although admittedly this was back at the end of the CRT era, when TVs were thicker than most entertainment centers and weighed more, too.

Those days are now long behind us, with 65-inch TVs now the main staple of American living rooms (with Europe not far behind). It’s easy to assume that given the need to go bigger and better all the time, the lowly 40-inch TV might be going the way of the dodo.

That’s not the case though: if you want an upgrade from a 32-inch set that won’t suddenly overwhelm your living room, a 40-inch TV is a superb option. You still get a great experience for movies and games, and 40-inch TVs are much cheaper on average than their 55- and 65-inch counterparts.  

The only drawback is you don’t always get the latest tech with a 40-inch TV. You won’t find 40-inch OLEDs, or ones with the latest, greatest processors inside. That can mean that 4K and HDR are off the table, or that motion interpolation and upscaling are spotty at best – especially if you buy whatever TV is in the sale of the week.

The good news is that not all TVs and TV brands are created equal, and there are a number of exceptional 40-inch TVs with 4K HDR at a reasonable price. We’ve done all the hard work and research for you, and can promise that what you are about to look at are the best 40-inch TVs of the year.  

How do I pick out a 40-inch TV?

Before we dive into our recommendations, it’s worth quickly iterating what we look for when we’re reviewing and recommending TVs here on TechRadar.

Ultra HD vs. Full HD: That you can’t see a difference between Full HD and Ultra HD on a screen smaller than 55 inches is a common misconception. Now, we’re not saying those people are flat-out wrong, but we can promise that if you take your time and really look at a picture – especially if that picture is using High Dynamic Range – you will see a difference. 

We recommend picking a TV with 4K Ultra-HD and HDR if you can find one. They’re not the standard at this screen size because the cost might outweigh the benefits for someone shopping for an ultra-cheap TV, but if you’re serious about video, 4K is vital. 

Operating system:  40-inch TVs didn’t always come with a smart TV operating system in the past. These dumb TVs were incredibly cheap to make, and therefore cheap to buy, too. But there was a problem: As Netflix and YouTube became more and more popular, people wanted to stream those services on their TV without resorting to a streaming video device like a Roku, Amazon Fire TV or Chromecast. 

These days, it’s fairly easy to find good Smart TV on a 40-inch TV. All but the most bare-bones of screens will have them. What you’re looking for, ideally, is a well-maintained operating system like Roku TV, LG’s webOS or Samsung’s Tizen operating system. If you go with a TV that uses a proprietary operating system (basically an operating system exclusive to that one TV) you might have some serious issues down the road.

Inputs and outputs: Connections seem boring, but trust us – this is something most folks don’t think about until they bring the TV home and get it all connected, only to realize their great new TV only has one HDMI port. 

Having multiple HDMI ports (along with options for optical audio out and RCA connectors) allow you to connect most – if not all – of your devices. This will save you time in the long run as you won’t have to get up and switch the cables around any time you want to change the input. 

Now you know what to look for in a TV, here are a few screens that we think might be a good addition to your burgeoning home entertainment center. 

What’s the best 40-inch TV in 2018?

Samsung has long led the way in the mid-range and until very recently was almost unchallenged for the throne. While TVs like the TCL 5-Series and VIZIO E-Series offer much fiercer competition than we’ve ever seen before, Samsung still beats all the rest with its NU7100. While it doesn’t offer as colorful HDR as the TCL or VIZIO, Samsung’s NU7100 does a significantly better job upscaling content, which means those of you still rocking HD content – cough, cable, cough – will appreciate this TV’s ability to make 1080p content look great in any circumstance.

While the TV suffers from limited viewing angles and is slightly more expensive than the rest of the TVs you’ll find on this list, the NU7100 is our pick for the best 40-inch TV in 2018.

OK, so the TCL 43S517 isn’t exactly a 40-inch TV – it’s 43-inches. But look, you can get three extra inches for less than some 40-inch screens! Beyond the extra size, however, the TCL is an extraordinary value. It packs Dolby Vision HDR into a 4K TV that’s built on top of Roku TV. Not only does that save you from buying an external streaming video device, but Roku TV is one of the best platforms on the planet.

Samsung and LG might have done an exceptional job improving their UIs over the years, but Roku TV is fast, responsive and packed to the gills with content – thousands of channels are available. Not only does it have a ton of stuff to watch, it’s all super-easy to find thanks to its universal search feature. It scans over 200 channels to find films and shows at their lowest possible price. 

If you’re after the best deal, you can do no better than this.

UK residents don’t know how good they have it when it comes to mid-size TVs. Panasonic, one of the finest panel makers out there, makes high caliber 40-inch screens at an affordable price, like the Panasonic TX-40EX600B.

The screen was released in 2017 and packs both 4K and HDR into its 40-inch panel. 

While long time Panasonic owners might be a bit concerned not to see the trusty Firefox OS at the helm of the screen, don’t worry – the My Home Screen 2.0 interface is almost the same thing, but developed entirely in-house by Panasonic. 

Add to that three HDMI ports and you have a pretty fancy screen without a high price attached. 

If you’re looking for the most bang for your buck, and you live Stateside, VIZIO’s D-Series offers great FHD visuals for next-to-nothing. 

This year’s model to beat is the VIZIO D40f-E1. The TV offers a 120Hz effective refresh rate, full-array backlighting and a 200,000:1 contrast ratio. This ensures solid image quality.

The VIZIO D40f-E1 looks good, has a great contrast ratio and can keep up with the action if you’re watching a game of football on Sunday. It doesn’t look as good as our top picks, but considering that VIZIO’s screen usually costs less than $300, we’re more than happy.

Entry-level UHD is a hot category for TV makers in 2018. This year, every major brand want a slice of this booming budget market. But can the cheapest 4K HDR sets really deliver all the thrills that 4K HDR is capable of?

Panasonic reckons so, and has loaded its incoming FX600 Series with some impressive technology – including HDR10+ dynamic metadata support. Dynamic metadata allows a screen to more accurately tone map high dynamic range images, even though it lacks the native light output to really do HDR justice.

With a combination of sharp design, hassle-free smart portal and crisp imagery, this is one of the best entry-level panels on the market. 

Read the full review: Panasonic TX-43FX600

  • Looking for the best screen, period? Here’s the best TV of 2018

AMD Vega release date, news and features: everything you need to know

AMD gave us a sneak peek at its new Vega graphics card architecture way back at CES 2017. What we didn’t know then, though, is that it wouldn’t end up in the hands of consumers until August 2017.

Back in the mining craze of 2017, AMD Vega graphics cards enjoyed a lot of success as mining GPUs, which made prices skyrocket until the bubble burst earlier this year. Fortunately, AMD Vega cards have fallen back down to reasonable prices. This is great news for anyone looking for an affordable mid-range graphics card – especially since rumors suggest we won’t be seeing AMD Navi for a while.

Not that we necessarily need them, though. AMD is winning the war for the most stable drivers on the market, so the Vega cards we already have are doing just fine.  

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? The follow-up to AMD’s Polaris GPU architecture
  • When’s it out? August 14, 2017
  • What will it cost? $499 or £549 (about AU$630)

AMD Radeon RX Vega release date

AMD’s affordable, consumer-oriented Radeon RX Vega 64 launched back in August 2017, with three versions including a standard edition model, an aluminum-clad limited edition version and a liquid-cooled design with higher clock speeds.

AMD’s lower-specced Radeon RX Vega 56, which is a direct competitor with the Nvidia GTX 1070, launched a little bit later in August. 

AMD then teamed up with Intel, of all companies, to create 8th Generation Kaby Lake-G processors with integrated AMD Vega graphics for laptops – on top of packing some of the best laptops with powerful GPUs, like the spectacular Dell XPS 15 2-in-1.

Later, in February 2018, AMD launched the Ryzen 3 2200G and Ryzen 5 2400GAPUs with discrete-class Vega graphics that will be a major help to anyone trying to build a great home-theater PC on a budget.

We wouldn’t see a new graphics card from AMD until it partnered up with PowerColor to introduce the Radeon RX Vega 56 Nano at Computex 2018. 

Now, a year later, rather than seeing rumors about a new graphics card, we’re seeing a lot of speculation that says the opposite – we’ll be waiting for the next graphics cards for a while. Unless, of course you count the rumored AMD Radeon RX 590 – though we’re not sure we would. Either way, you’re probably safe picking up the Vega 64 or 56.

AMD has hinted at AMD Vega 7nm GPUs being a thing, but we still don’t know when these more efficient chips will release, or even if they’ll be consumer products when they do. We’ll just have to wait and see. 

If AMD Vega is a little rich for your blood, and you’re looking for a new Polaris card, you might be in luck. Right now rumors are pointing to new Polaris graphics cards launching as early as next week. These won’t topple Nvidia Turing, or even AMD Vega, but they’ll be great for anyone on a budget.

And, if you can’t justify ponying up the cash for a Vega card, AMD put out the Ryzen 3 2200G and the Ryzen 5 2400G APUs, with Vega graphics, on February 12, 2018.

AMD Radeon RX Vega price

Back in August 2017, the AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 launched as a standalone card for $499 or £549 (about AU$630).

That’s a big step up from the Radeon RX 500 lineup, which starts at as low as $169 (about £136, AU$219), but this is meant to be AMD’s enthusiast-class grade graphics card. It’s been a long-awaited sequel to the company’s mostly defunct Radeon R9 Fury X, which was still going for a cool $389 (about £315, AU$505) up until the very end. 

What’s more, at this price point it’s competitive against the $549 (£539, AU$1,299) Nvidia GTX 1080 Founders Edition.

After the launch of the Vega 64 in the US, AMD offered two other editions of the card that could be bought exclusively as part of ‘Radeon Packs’, which bundled two free games, and discounts on a Samsung CF791 curved ultra-wide FreeSync monitor and a nice $100 discount on a Ryzen 7 processor and motherboard. The packs are unfortunately unavailable to purchase at time of writing, however.

Unfortunately, those hardware discounts only kicked in if users are buying the said monitor and CPU/motherboard combo at the same time as their Vega GPU. Of course, users could choose to not buy the extra components and peripherals while still getting the two free games, confirmed – in the US at least – to be Wolfenstein II and Prey.

The limited-edition AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 came as part of a Radeon Black Pack for $599 (£460, AU$750). Meanwhile, the liquid-cooled Vega 64 ran for $699 (£530, AU$875), and can only be purchased as part of AMD’s Radeon Aqua Pack.

Lastly, you’ll be able to purchase the AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 by itself for $400 (about £284, AU$500) MSRP.

At the end of the day, Vega was – at least at launch – as competitive to Nvidia as Ryzen is to Intel. Thankfully, due to the cryptocurrency market cooling down, AMD Vega cards have fallen to a reasonable price. They’re not quite down to MSRP, but they’re pretty close – you won’t have to worry about spending 2-3x MSRP value to upgrade your GPU.

AMD Radeon RX Vega specs

Following its 2017 Capsaicin 2 livestream event, AMD revealed the exact specifications for its two new Vega GPUs, as well as its underlying Vega 10 architecture.

From the chart above, it’s clear the most powerful of the bunch will be the liquid-cooled version of the Radeon RX Vega 64. The more expensive water-cooled version will operate at higher base/boost clocks, despite sharing identical specs to its air-cooled twin.

The RX Vega 56, on the other hand, is positioned against Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1070 at $400 (about £305, AU$505). However, early benchmarks have cited performance that greatly outweighed that of its closest competition while running triple-A games at 2560 x 1440. 

Like the Polaris 10 architecture that preceded it, AMD’s Polaris 10 architecture is built on an 14nm FinFET process that should ultimately make it more power-efficient and robust in performance.

Vega 10 is also noticeably skewed towards delivering on more compute power than raw graphical strength like Nvidia’s Pascal GPUs. This will likely mean Vega will be able to better handle the complex calculations of procedural surfaces, volumetric lighting and the overall quality of the in-game graphics.

This era of Vega GPUs also ditches GDDR5 memory altogether for a new format known as HBM2, or high-bandwidth memory. AMD believes its efficient memory offers a 75% smaller footprint than GDDR5 while also being 3.5 times more power-efficient.

AMD also claims that Vega’s high-bandwidth cache controller will improve maximum frame rates by 50% and minimum frame rates by 100% over GDDR5 memory. 

Interestingly, Vega 10 is also designed to support up to 16GB of HBM2 memory  – which we’ve already seen from Radeon Vega Frontier Edition – so Nvidia’s Titan X may finally get some competition from AMD.

Stay tuned for more details regarding everything AMD Vega, as we’ll be updating this page with the latest as it happens. In the meantime, be sure to update to the latest version of AMD Radeon Software Crimson ReLive for a generous helping of GPU control features.

Gabe Carey also contributed to this article

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