Google Chrome for macOS Mojave to get dark mode in early 2019

The most popular feature of macOS 10.14 Mojave is, perhaps, the system-wide Dark Mode, with some software developers already updating their applications to adopt the new look. Google Chrome, however, is a little late to the party.

Although version 71 of Chrome was released this week, it doesn’t support a dark mode on macOS Mojave, but that’s about to change.

According to a Reddit thread, a Google developer submitted a code change a few days ago, suggesting that a dark theme for Chrome for macOS Mojave will be available in the near future.

The feature is currently in early beta testing as there are a few kinks that need to be ironed out before a public release.

  • Read more: MacOS 10.14 Mojave problems: how to fix them

Google, we have a problem

A bug report lists the issues Google is currently facing with the implementation of dark mode for the macOS Mojave version its web browser. However, the most telling issue is “how the dark mode for Mojave will be distinguishable from Incognito mode”.

Google already uses a dark theme to differentiate between a regular Chrome window and its Incognito (private) window, but the same workarounds would not work for the new feature on Mojave.

“For Incognito mode (which is currently dark), developers used to call `chrome.browserAction.setIcon()` for every tab and use a lighter browser action icon when the tab is in an incognito window. But this workaround can’t be used to deal with dark themes, nor with the new dark mode, because there is no clue if the current theme is light or dark, and whether Mojave’s dark mode is turned on or off.”

However, the code change has passed the review process and will find its way into an upcoming stable release, most likely in early 2019.

Test drive

While Google figures out how to enable the feature, it’s available on the search giant’s open-source testing platform, Chromium. 

From there, code changes are implemented on Canary (an early-release testing browser), then on Chrome Dev, followed by Chrome Beta and finally to the publicly available browser itself, with the entire process taking approximately six weeks.

With Chrome 72 already in the pipeline for a January release, no new features will be added to it, so we’re hoping version 73 – which could arrive in March – brings dark mode support for Mojave.

In the meantime, though, third-party plugins are available on the Chrome Store to add the feature to the browser.

  • MacOS 10.14 Mojave tips and tricks 

Chromebooks for Christmas: the best Chromebooks to gift this season

So, you’re left with mere days before Christmas and one of the few people left on your shopping list has simply  asked for ‘a laptop.’ With so little information and a budget to consider, we’d suggest fulfilling that wish with one of the best Chromebooks on the market.

These laptops run the gamut from affordable and sufficient to impressive and luxurious, with Google’s lightning-fast Chrome OS powering the experience.

Since you’re left with little more than knowing your loved one wants a laptop, much less whether they’d prefer it run on Windows or Mac, Chrome OS is a good choice. It’s based on Google’s Chrome web browser, so it should be easy for folks of all backgrounds to use a Chromebook.

With that, here are three Chromebooks we heartily recommend – across price points – for gifting to your loved ones this season.

Chromebooks to gift

The Dell Chromebook 11 is about one thing first and foremost: value. Reinforced by a 180-degree hinge, hardy design and a water-resistant keyboard and trackpad in addition to a hearty typing experience, this Chromebook is a pleasantly portable package. Not only properly equipped for education and work, the Dell Chromebook 11 even includes a set of booming stereo speakers for listening to tunes or watching movies. Don’t worry about banging it up, either, as this laptop remains the most rugged Chromebook we’ve reviewed.

Read the full review: Dell Chromebook 11

Chromebooks to gift

When Android apps arrived on the best Chromebooks, it wasn’t long before Samsung took its mastery of the two operating systems and produced something truly amazing. With a 12.3-inch QHD touch display and a 360-degree hinge, the Samsung Chromebook Pro is lauded for its built-in stylus – the first of its kind to appear in a Chromebook. Not only does this laptop trump a majority of those in its own category, but it’s better than most Android tablets as well. Whomever you gift this to would be a happy camper for a long time.

Read the full review: Samsung Chromebook Pro

Chromebooks to gift

This is – bar none – the best Chromebook that money can buy. Not only can it run Android apps natively, it’s almost the most powerful and capacious of its kind. (It’s also by far the most attractive and pleasant to use.) When you throw in the impressive stylus and deep Google Assistant integration, it is no surprise that the Pixelbook is the best Chromebook of 2018 – even this long after its 2017 launch.

Read the full review: Google Pixelbook

Chromebooks to gift

If you didn’t find any of these Chromebook recommendations to your liking, then we invite you to check out our ranking of the best Chromebooks we’ve tested all year long.

Finally, check out this guide on how to run Android apps on your Chromebook – you know, for your giftee.

  • These are the best laptops we’ve tested this past year

11 best open world games on PC today

Now that the best gaming PCs are more powerful than ever before, and the best PC games are creating worlds like we’ve never seen, there’s never been a better time to play the best open world games on PC. Even game franchises that used to be linear story experiences are embracing the open world format. Just look at the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt or Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and you’ll get where we’re coming from.

But, there are still plenty of old-guard open world game franchises that are still dominating out there. Games like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Grand Theft Auto V are the pedigree of open world game design. There are even a ton of indie games out there that adapt to this style in new and exciting ways.

There are simply too many open world games on PC these days, and they all demand a ton of your time, so it’s important only to pick up the best open world games. Luckily, we here at TechRadar have put in enough time to find the cream of the crop. So, read on to find our picks of the best open world games 2018 has to offer.

  • Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article

Check out our Linux vs Windows vs Mac – OS comparison video below.

The Just Cause franchise has always been about causing random violence and destruction with barely any plot to justify it. And, well, the same is true with Just Cause 4 – we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Just Cause 4 puts you in the middle of Solis, a gigantic South American island to overthrow an oppressive local government, by destroying everything in your path. You’ll take to the sky, sea and more with a wide variety of vehicles and weapons to create mayhem however you want. 

It’s not a particularly deep game, but if you’re looking for some mindless entertainment, it’s not hard to see why Just Cause 4 is one of the best open world games on PC in 2018.

Yeah, we hear you ‘Forza is a racing series, it doesn’t belong here’ but you’re only half right. Yeah, it’s a racing series, but the Forza Horizon series has always been among the best open world games. And, Forza Horizon 4 takes the winning formula of this off-shoot of the Forza Motorsport franchise and perfects it. 

Not only are all of the systems that were in place in 2016’s Forza Horizon 3 present here, but they’re refined to create one of the smoothest open world racing games we’ve ever had the pleasure to play. 

The map is a little bit smaller than the previous offering, but Forza Horizon 4’s world changes seasons every week, changing how each track plays every time you play it (or, at least until you’ve played it on 4 separate weeks). Simply put, Forza Horizon 4 is one of the most fun racing games on the market, and with all the added open world content – like collectable cars and randomly placed ramps – it’s one of the best open world games on the market.

The first two Witcher games were compelling, complex and difficult, but only enjoyed minor success. However, all the word of mouth about the first two games finally paid off when the Witcher 3 came out and absolutely blew up. It was a massive step up in quality, too, and probably one of the best RPGs of all time. You step in the role of Geralt, a mutated monster hunter, or witcher, and search the world for your adopted daughter in a medieval world ravaged by war.

This is one of the best open world games of all time – the uniquely well-realized world blows something like Skyrim out of the water. Geralt can walk, ride or sail across the war ravaged lands of Novigrad and Velen, or sail across the monster-riddled and frost-ridden islands of skellige in the North. And, in the second expansion, Blood and Wine, you get a whole other region to explore in Toussaint. 

You can forage for herbs, explore under the seas or the back alleys of cities and encounter all kinds of folk and creatures.

And the other elements of the game are spectacularly polished as well – limber, agile combat, a deep levelling system, and a storyline with some unusually-smart storylines.

Grand Theft Auto V is simply one of the best open world games to have ever existed. It’s a huge pastiche of L.A that you can drive, fly or run across. It’s an amazing achievement and the fact that it works in multiplayer is astounding.

What makes it such a success is the freedom it gives you. When you’re not running around and robbing banks during the campaign, GTA V basically lets you do whatever you want – even if it breaks the game. You can go anywhere, do anything and commit however many atrocities as your wicked heart pleases.

There are also a ton of side activities available. So, in your downtime from creating all kinds of mayhem, you can take up some tennis, yoga, or even kick your feet up and watch some TV. There’s a reason this game is so beloved.

The plot may have made less sense than a mumbling monkey with a mouthful of marbles, but Hideo Kojima’s swansong was a masterpiece of layered open world mechanics.

In the twin deserts of Afghanistan and Angola, Big Boss, or Venom Snake, has a range of objectives to achieve. He traverses the areas on foot, horseback, or in a variety of ground vehicles. You can take either lethal or non-lethal weapons, and a variety of AI companions. 

The world itself is believably bleak, weather-torn and heavily-guarded. Uniquely, it learns from your behaviour – overuse a particular tactic, and enemies will adapt. For example, rely too much on headshots and they’ll start to wear metal helmets.

Away from the frontline, you can develop Mother Base by building new facilities and airlifting enemy soldiers, prisoners, resources, vehicles, animals and anything else you want to from the battlefield to beef up your armory. 

Bethesda has made a name for itself over the last couple of decades for making some of the best open world games, and Fallout 4 is a fantastic example of why. You’ll be able to traverse a post-apocalyptic Boston, where you’ll explore the ruins of the city in all it’s retro-futuristic glory. 

While the plot ultimately revolves around rescuing your child from their kidnappers, you’ll ultimately forget about it altogether as you do side missions and plunder a ton of loot from super mutants and bandits. 

And, even once you get everything done (if you ever get everything done), Bethesda’s games have a tendency to be immensely replayable thanks to the way different character builds can interact with the world around you.

When Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor released way back in 2014, it was praised for its portrayal of Tolkien’s Mordor, alongside with its unique nemesis system. The sequel, Middle Earth: Shadow of War takes this concept and turns it up to 11, setting you loose in the last human stronghold in Mordor – and is thus one of the best open world games you can play in 2018. 

And, especially after the removal of the microtransactions that plagued the game at launch, the Nemesis system still feels fresh, and the combat is just as good as ever, with a wealth of new skills that you can unlock during its lengthy campaign.

Later on in the game, it will start introducing some RTS elements as you command an army of dominated orcs to retake and hold different strongholds. The Middle Earth series has shown some real innovation, and we can’t wait to see what Monolith Studios will be capable of in the future.

Last year, Ubisoft took one of the most venerated squad-based shooter series in its arsenal, Ghost Recon, and turned it into an open-world delight. You’re set loose in Bolivia, and you’re tasked with taking down a drug cartel that has taken power over the region. You’re then free to pursue this goal however you feel like. 

Ghost Recon Wildlands may be one of the best open world games when you’re playing by yourself, but where it really shines is when you’re playing with friends. This is because Ghost Recon, at its very core, has always been a tactical shooter that’s built around working with a team of AI companions. So, naturally, when you team up with your friends, this gameplay is elevated to another level entirely. 

Just keep in mind that this game is gorgeous, and demands a pretty beefy setup to run properly, so make sure you keep an eye on those system requirements. 

Far Cry 5 might just be a benchmark of what the best open world games on PC will look like in 2019. Far Cry 5 is unique in the fact that it allows you to truly go anywhere on the map – and do anything. And, it doesn’t water this freedom down by limiting the amount of space you have open to you either, it’s perhaps one of the biggest game maps we’ve ever experienced. 

Far Cry 5 takes place in the middle of the Montana wilderness, and while it does feature a plot that involves cultists or something, that all falls into the background as you wander around and get lost in the massive world. We haven’t finished Far Cry 5, but we don’t think ‘finished’ exists here. 

And, we’re obviously not the only ones that love Far Cry 5. At the Game Awards 2018, Ubisoft announced Far Cry: New Dawn, a direct follow-up – a first for the classic shooter series.

Now that a ton of Yakuza games are coming to PC, PC gamers can finally experience the insanity that is so unique to the Yakuza series. 

Yakuza 0’s map isn’t as capacious as some of the other games on this list, but it is dense with activities. Everywhere you turn either has a mini game, a side quest, or some other kind of content that you can interact with. If you’ve never played a Yakuza game, do yourself a favor and try Yakuza 0 on for size – it’s unlike anything else you’ve ever played, we promise. 

Last year’s Assassin’s Creed: Origins already felt like a revelation of what an Assassin’s Creed game could be – replacing many of the gameplay mechanics with what felt more engaging, organic and even fun. However, Ubisoft wasn’t done – it has refined everything that made Assassin’s Creed: Origins so great and molded it into the best game in the series so far – Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey.

Placing you in the middle of ancient Greece as either Kassandra or Alexios, you take on the role of a mercenary trying to find their family. Everything else you do is completely up to you – you choose your alliances, you choose your missions, the world is your oyster.

The fantastic RPG mechanics from Origins make a return in Assassin’s Creed odyssey – with some much-needed improvements. In so many ways, this game perfects the legendary series’ formula – making for one of the best open world games of all time.

The best robot toy gifts 2018

Coding is an essential skill, but it can seem pretty dry to kids if they only see their creations on a screen. That’s why programmable robots are so popular, letting young engineers see the results of their work in the real world, roaming around the kitchen floor and chasing the family cat.

There are so many DIY bots around, it can be tough to choose the best one for the junior coder in your life, so we’ve rounded up the very best options for a range of budgets and ages.

Anki Cozmo

Cozmo is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, but despite its diminutive size it’s a surprisingly smart little bot. It’s aimed at kids aged eight and up, but there’s plenty to keep older children (and adults) entertained too.

Once it’s connected to a smartphone, you’re ready to start taking care of your new friend by attending to various ‘needs’, Tamagotchi-style. For example, its ‘Energy’ need can be satisfied by interacting with its three power cubes, while ‘Fun’ is fulfilled by playing with it, teaching it expressions and words.

Perhaps its best feature, however, is the Code Lab, which lets youngsters create their own programs using simplified building blocks. It’s a great way to introduce the fundamentals of coding in a way that never feels like homework.

Anki Vector

While the aforementioned Cozmo is an adorable little bot that provides a great gateway to coding, the Vector is less of a toy and more like a cross between a pet and a virtual assistant.

Vector is considerably larger than Cozmo, and doesn’t require a smartphone app (other than for the initial setup). Instead, all the processing happens within the robot itself, which connects directly to your home Wi-Fi network. 

In action, it has real personality (thanks to an animation expert from Dreamworks) and is capable of learning faces and playing games. Four near-field microphones enable it to respond to voice commands, and an imminent software update will make it compatible with Amazon Alexa. 

Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit

Open source platforms like Raspberry Pi have opened up DIY computing, but the learning curve is pretty steep – particularly for kids. That’s where LittleBits comes in, providing kits and instructions that let everyone enjoy the fun and challenge of building their own robot.

Not only can young engineers make their own R2-D2 using instructions provided in the companion app (accompanied by the iconic John Williams soundtrack), a recent update means they can also customize and re-program it using MIT’s Scratch code platform.

Ambitious droid builders can even incorporate other components into their projects, with impressive results. To get an idea of what’s possible, take a look at the LittleBits Droid Inventor Kit Competition. It’s inspiring stuff.

Sphero SPRK+

Orbotix, the company behind the enormously popular Sphero BB-8 toy, has branched out into DIY coding with SPRK+  –  a little bot that resembles a Raspberry Pi trapped in a hamster ball.

SPRK+ connects to a phone or tablet via Bluetooth (it’s compatible with iOS, Android and Kindle devices), and allows users to either run ready-made programs or create their own. There are also various challenges to complete, including a raft rescue (the ball is waterproof), and young programmers can share their creations with the SPRK+ community.

When it comes to coding, SPRK+ offers three levels of complexity: Draw (simply sketch a path for the bot to follow), Blocks (drag and drop chunks of code) and Text (write your own code from scratch). This is pretty unusual, and means this little bot will grow with its owner for years to come.

Mekamon V2

Reach Robotics, the company behind Mekamon, describes it as “Pokémon in real life”. The spider-like robot is controlled using a smartphone app, and can go into battle against other Mekamon or virtual enemies you can see on your phone’s screen.

Mekamon V2 is great fun, with bags of character, but you can add a personal touch with MekaMotion, which lets you use the robot like a stop-motion puppet. Pose the robot manually like a clay figure to create a series of ‘frames’, then replay them as an animation. The app is still in development, and new programming options will be coming very soon as well.

It’s quite a pricey device, but it’s solidly built and Reach is committed to backwards compatibility, so it’ll keep receiving new features and updates for years to come.

Fisher-Price Think and Learn Code-a-Pillar

This fun toy is designed for kids aged three to six, introducing the fundamentals of coding in a way that encourages them to think independently and solve problems by experimenting.

The Code-a-Pillar is made of detachable sections that represent chunks of code, and rearranging them will cause the cute bot to take a different route. The set includes one sound segment, three straights, two left turns and two right turns, but others (including a 180-degree turn and extra sounds) are available to buy separately once the little person in your life is ready to try something more complicated.

The Code-a-Pillar works equally well on hard floors and carpet. Provided you have enough floor space, it should give youngsters a head start in understanding programming principles, without even realizing they’re learning.

  • These are the Lego sets you’ll be wishing for this Christmas

How web hosting affects SEO

There’s a lot more to SEO than keyword optimization and link building. There are plenty of other things website owners can do that make a big difference in how your site ranks in search results. Choosing the right web host and designing your website the right way can boost your traffic tremendously. Here’s how. 

  • The best web hosting service for your website for 2019

User experience trumps everything

There’s a concept in the SEO industry that focuses on page-load speed: The faster the better. While it’s absolutely true that your website should load quickly, speed exclusively isn’t the point. At the end of the day, SEO is about the users who visit your site. It’s about their needs and whether your site actually delivers on what it promises. 

Did the visitor see what they wanted? Did the right stuff load quickly? Your website’s visitors should see your site’s core content quickly. Some of the ancillary content can take longer to load—that’s okay. This is a concept called First Meaningful Paint, and it’s a factor in how your site ranks because it’ keeps your visitors happy and Google likes that. 

So, while our actual page-load process may be three seconds long, your visitors may see all of your meaningful content in one and a half seconds. That’s because the elements that take longer to load are not essential to the immediate visitor experience. Sometimes the Facebook pixel loads really late, for instance. Or a tracking pixel loads later. And that’s perfectly okay. From the user’s perspective, the load time was still under 2 seconds. 

Once the user is on your site, keeping them there is really important. If Google sees users going to that page and then coming back right away within a certain amount of time, then that’s a signal that the website didn’t deliver what the user was looking for. Having a slow website or irrelevant content could bounce your users right back to the search results, and you don’t want that to happen. 

Uptime is central (and that means so is the right host)

Another critical aspect of providing a premium user experience is uptime. If Google or a user is requesting your site and it’s consistently timing out or the server can’t return a result, then your website’s user experience is lacking, to say the least. Ensuring that you have as close to 100 percent uptime is crucial to providing a great user experience for every visitor. 

Additionally, there are two load-time factors that Google uses to measure your site and both can be affected by your web host. The first is DNS lookup, and the longer it takes your host to complete DNS lookup the longer it takes for your host to begin loading your page. Long look up times can hurt your site rank.

Second is page load time. If your host uses a slow server, you’re in trouble. If your server takes longer than 100 milliseconds to load the first byte, that’s not good for your site traffic. The time it takes the server to answer a browser’s request should ideally be half of that, 50 milliseconds tops. 

Need a new SEO strategy? Here are some ideas

If you’re ready to create an SEO strategy that goes beyond keywords, do these four things: 

– Use clean code. Even the best host can’t save your website from poorly written code that slows down load times and ruins the user experience. Keep your code light and clean. Extra CSS, JavaScript, and files that aren’t necessary for your site to load don’t belong in your code. Also, ensure your code is W3C compliant by using a markup validation service.

– Keep your site secure. We’ve all seen it or heard the stories. An unsuspecting business owner gets hacked on a regular basis, hackers maliciously adding links to the site without the website owners’ knowledge. Google, of course, sees a website with these irrelevant links and penalizes the website’s search rank for it. You’ll have to work to proactively keep these bad links away or choose a hosting provider that can help you keep them at bay. 

– Measure your site’s loading times and time to first byte. Tools.pingdom.com is a free tool you can use to find out how long your site really takes to load and communicate with browsers. You can even test from different regions. GTMetrix and Yslow are also good and if you use Google Chrome, and are a bit more technical, Lighthouse is a great tool with list of actions items to increase performance. 

– Consider managed hosting. Having managed hosting can make managing your user’s site experience easier. It addresses a lot of the issues website owners commonly have. With managed hosting, you are paying someone else to worry about the SEO-critical backend of your site so you can focus on other things, like creating great content. 

It also means you’re prepared for the unforeseen, like a spike in traffic or a visit by hackers. Again, this allows you to hone-in on providing great content and doing great work for your users instead of keeping your website from breaking down. Given how important website performance is for SEO, it’s an essential piece to the puzzle. 

Ty Lampella is VP of Marketing for DreamHost.

  • The best free web hosting of 2018

5G is just the beginning for the future of smartphones

Smartphones have become so important nowadays that we can safely say that they are almost a part of us. Given the fact that the entire mobile industry is evolving at an incredibly fast pace, it’s important to analyse what is the current state of smartphones (both from a hardware point of view and from a software one) in order to better understand what will happen in the next couple of years. 

The development side

When it comes to architectural development, the mobile industry is incredibly hard to predict: if we take Apple into consideration, we can safely say that their development plans have been quite static, while its Chinese competitors (Huawei especially) have been pushing new technologies, embracing a more “desktop” approach in terms of both technologies and materials. 

With this in mind, we can still trace a general prediction line in terms of hardware development, especially given the fact that (as pointed out by many industry analysts) Virtual Reality and Machine Learning seem to be the biggest development trends that every major player wants to embrace in his future plans.

What’s so big about virtual reality?

We’ve seen a small introduction to VR applied to mobile with Apple’s Animoji, which are indeed a simplified version of SLAM (Simultaneous Localization And Mapping) applied to an internal mobile environment. Many mobile app development companies have stated the fact that Virtual Reality could be implemented in many technical, educational and entertainment-related apps. 

Although the main problem is related to the fact that, in order to properly experience VR, the currently available peripherals are pretty bulky and expensive, we can easily say that there are indeed several signals of startups within the mobile development industry moving towards this matter. 

The market value and the future of this industry

When it comes to industry insights, there are several aspects that should be considered, ranging from prices for tools, materials and everything in between. With this in mind, the mobile industry, of course, relies on the fact that there are several limitations due to the current state of processors, RAM and such. 

Today, the market value, within the mobile sector, is pretty much based on the fact that there are several startups who are covering just the software development side of the mobile industry. With all that being said, we can easily say that the future of mobile will pretty much be a startup matter.

Paul Matthews, Business Writer

  • Can’t wait for your next smartphone? These are our top picks for the best smartphone

Spyro’s big price drop makes it the perfect gift for the PS4 lover in your life

Still haven’t grabbed Spyro yet? Well now could be the perfect time in the lead up to Christmas.

Amazon is offering 20% off the Spyro Reignited Trilogy, meaning it’s only £23.99 rather than £29.99 – saving you £6 on the nostalgic platformer collection. While this may not seem like a huge saving, it’s the cheapest we’ve seen the title since Black Friday and Cyber Monday. 

The Reignited Trilogy includes HD remastered versions of the first three Spyro games: Spyro the Dragon, Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage! and Spyro: Year of the Dragon. That’s three titles for less than the price of one. Bargain. Plus, can you really put a price on nostalgia?

Best PS4 bundle deals

Haven’t got a PlayStation 4 to play Spyro on? Don’t worry, we have you sorted. Below are the best PS4 bundle deals right now:

  • The best cheap PS4 prices, deals and bundles for Christmas 2018
  • PS4 Pro vs PS4: What’s the difference?

The best Boxing Day sales 2018: what to expect before the January sales

The Boxing Day sales have turned into a special event to finish off the year in style for all those last-minute bargains. But with so many stores shouting about new deals it can all turn into a bit of a blur, or maybe that’s the eggnog and excessive amounts of turkey lulling us into a slumber.

The short version: you’ve got better things to be doing on the Christmas break than checking all the usual retailers and shifting through deals. So let us do it for you and roundup the finest ones right here!

When do the Boxing Day sales start?

Not a silly question at all. We actually saw lots of retailers push the button (probably with gravy on their fingers) quite early on Christmas Day. But it’s not unusual to see some stores unleash new deals a few days earlier too. With so many super fast delivery options available now, or in-store pickup, retailers are keen to keep the deals going right until the last possible moment before Christmas Day. And a good thing too given how many of us tend to buy late – we’ll start soon, honest. Maybe next week. 

If just before Christmas is the time to scramble for last-minute gifts, anytime from the day itself onwards is the chance to treat yourself or use those gift vouchers to make a great deal a truly spectacular bargain. Let’s do this!

When do the January sales start?

Expect an early start here too. Although if we’re going off the last few years, the January sales haven’t been particularly special. It’s been all about the Boxing Day deals really, although we’re pleased to report some of the better ones stayed online a good few days into January. January sales are more of a continuation of the Boxing Day sales so you can probably expect to see many stores simply rebrand the sales to ‘January’ ones from the day after Boxing Day on December 27th. 

Given many workplaces are off until around January 2nd, retailers are keen to show you the best deals as soon as possible while you’ve got time off at home rather than try to push deals on you while you’re heading back to work or nursing that New Year’s Eve hangover.

Who’s having a Boxing Day sale?

All the big stores get stuck in. With so many keen shoppers going online over the Christmas period in recent years, it’s just too good a chance for them to finish 2018 off with some extra money in the bank. Let’s take a look at the big hitters below and what you can nab from each.

Boxing Day sales retailer quick links

More a fan of browsing through the sales for your own special deals? Well, let us give you a head start. The links below will take you through to a wide range of retailers we’re used to seeing get stuck into the Boxing Day and January sales spirit.

  • Amazon
  • Argos
  • AO.com
  • John Lewis
  • Currys
  • Zavvi
  • Mobiles.co.uk
  • Carphone Warehouse
  • Boohoo
  • Next
  • Lovehoney

The best Boxing Day sales and deals from last year

Want a little taste of what to expect in the upcoming Boxing Day sales? Directly below you’ll find a selection of some of the best deals we saw last year. Naturally, these prices expired a long time ago, but they they could be even cheaper now too! We’d certainly keep our fingers crossed for lower prices each year too. 

Next year’s iPhones tipped to look a lot like this year’s iPhones

The iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR have only been with us for three months, but speculation about what their successors might look like has already started – and apparently, they’re going to look very much like the 2018 iPhones.

Analyst Anne Lee, with Japanese investment bank Nomura, is predicting that the design of the 2019 iPhones isn’t going to change much from the handsets that just launched, 9to5Mac reports. So the template set down by the iPhone X will get another outing: expect the same three display sizes and the same notch on top.

Considering this year’s iPhones weren’t vastly different in design from the iPhone X, Apple had been tipped to shake everything up a bit in 2019, but apparently that’s not going to happen – at least according to this analyst.

What happens next

While Lee isn’t one of the most well-known names in iPhone analysis, there is some sound reasoning here: Apple wants to wait for the next wave of internal tech – specifically 5G – before going to the trouble of redesigning its iconic smartphone.

Inside sources have already revealed that Apple is planning to add 5G capabilities to the iPhone in 2020, so that seems a good a time as any to give the overall design a refresh too. Exactly how Apple will evolve the look of its phones remains to be seen – perhaps the 2018 iPad Pros offer a few hints.

Anne Lee also says augmented reality is going to play a big part in upcoming iPhones – the AR features on the handsets are going to get upgraded in both 2019 and 2020 she says. By the time a new decade rolls around, we might even have some Apple AR glasses.

  • The iPhone XR is outselling both the XS and XS Max, according to Apple

Best Android phone 2018: which should you buy?

The best Android phones of 2018 are starting to look a lot more interesting, with some wild design changes showing up. Given the quantity of killer Android smartphones, it can hard to pick a winner, but we’ve had plenty of hands-on time with each, and have done the tough job of sorting for you.

For now, Samsung is still holding strong thanks to its talent for blending features, high specs, and a great design. But, with the way its competitors have been making quick advancements to their design and technology, the roster of best Android smartphones should get more and more interesting.

If you’re on the market for a new Android smartphone, be sure to check all of these devices out, as you might find some you’d never have thought of. You can also see the best phones and best unlocked phones to see how Android and iOS devices stack up. And, if you need mobile service to go with your phone, we can help you find the best unlimited data plan.

Now, let’s take a look at the best Android phones available right now.

While many try, it can be really hard to beat a Samsung flagship that nails just about every aspect of being a great Android smartphone. The Galaxy S9 Plus offers so much to meet the varied needs of just about any phone user.

The design of the Galaxy S9 Plus is great, with a nearly bezel-less display measuring 6.2 inches across. That screen is crisp with a high resolution, and it’s only made better by the Super AMOLED technology. And, let’s not forget about the inclusion of a 3.5mm headphone jack and an IP68 rating against water and dust ingress.

Pair that great design with powerful internals, ample storage that’s expandable via microSD card, and a suite of capable smartphone camera sensors, and you’ve got an easy winner. The pot is only sweetened by the lower price of the Galaxy S9 Plus compared to phones like the Mate 20 Pro, iPhone XS, and Galaxy Note 9.

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus

If it weren’t for the slightly bulkier design and the higher price, the Galaxy Note 9 would likely be at the top of this list. But, it still lands a neat second place behind the S9 Plus.

With a sharp, 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display, it’s offering a great viewing experience for anyone that’s on the go often. Inside, it’s powered by the same components as the Galaxy S9 Plus, but with larger storage capacities available, a bigger battery, and more RAM optional. 

The Galaxy Note 9 sets itself apart with the S Pen, which enables some handy hands-free features and smooth note-taking. The cameras on front and back are just as impressive as the Galaxy S9 Plus shooters. For everything that the S9 Plus offers and a little bit more, this is a winner if you have the wiggle room in your budget.

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Huawei’s Mate 20 Pro isn’t the easiest to get your hands on in the US, but that doesn’t make it any less impressive a phone. It’s the best we’ve ever seen from Huawei, and stacks up well against all other Android phones.

It’s QHD display measures 6.39 inches and supports HDR10 for a great visual experience, as long as notches aren’t an issue There’s a fingerprint sensor embedded underneath the display as well. Inside, it’s offering impressive performance with Huawei’s own Kirin 980 chipset and 6GB or 8GB of RAM. It comes with plenty of storage and a large battery as well. 

The camera offering on the Mate 20 Pro is truly impressive, with a combination of three cameras on the back and a super-sharp 24MP selfie camera. The rear camera system combines a 40MP wide-angle sensor, an 8MP telephoto sensor, and a 20MP ultra-wide sensor. The result is an incredibly versatile snapper with AI backing it up.

Read more: Huawei Mate 20 Pro review

Almost as impressive as the Mate 20 Pro is Huawei’s earlier P20 Pro, which took the company’s phones to the next level in terms of camera performance. The P20 Pro also features a versatile triple-sensor camera system on the rear, combining a 40MP, 20MP, and 8MP sensor with different Leica lenses to offer lots of flexibility.

Inside the P20 Pro is Huawei’s Kirin 970 chipset, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and a 4,000mAh battery to offer plenty of life. At the price, which is comfortably below the Mate 20 Pro, these specs feel right.

The design is also eye-catching, with a two-tone finish on the rear and a big 6.1-inch OLED screen on the front. 

Read our full review: Huawei P20 Pro

The Galaxy S9 just isn’t quite as exciting as some of the other new phones, and that sees it fall a bit lower than its larger siblings despite having similar looks and internals.

Like 2017’s model, it has a stunning 5.8-inch display that fills almost the entire face of the device, ridding you of needless bezels and (for better or worse) the home button. 

The rear fingerprint sensor has been better positioned over the Galaxy S8. But, with newer phones offering in-screen fingerprint sensors, it’s just not that exciting. Still, the flagship quality and performance of this phone are not to be overlooked, nor is the recent trend in price, which sees it competing more closely with the likes of affordable OnePlus phones.

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy S9

Google’s Pixel 3 XL is the best choice for anyone focused more on the camera than the phone. It’s the best camera phone on the market, and it does that with just one rear sensor, two front-facing sensors, and a whole lot of software optimization.

The design of the Pixel 3 XL isn’t quite as dazzling as the other offerings on this list, but it’s passable. It boasts a 6.3-inch OLED screen, but has a glaring notch at the top. The dual front-facing speakers help make up for that unsightly notch.

The internals are also competitive with the other flagship phones. And, with regular operating system updates guaranteed by Google, the Pixel 3 XL may have a longer life than some of the competition.

Read more: Google Pixel 3 XL review

For brilliantly high performance and the looks of a premium Android smartphone all at a fraction of the price of the competition, the OnePlus 6T is the phone to get. 

The new flagship from OnePlus has leapt ahead of some of its biggest competitors, Apple and Samsung included, to push forward a 6.41-inch display that has almost no bezel, a tiny notch, and a fingerprint sensor built into the display.

OnePlus’s cameras have also improved, making them close in quality to some of the best smartphone cameras around, if not quite as good. OnePlus also does a great job offering tweaks to Android that improve the experience without introducing a bunch of clutter.

Read more: OnePlus 6T review

LG may not be as present in the collective phone consumer consciousness as it once was, but it’s recent smartphones have been quality options. The LG G7 ThinQ is a testament to that.

Inside, the LG G7 is similar to other flagships, with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset and 4GB or 6GB of RAM depending on the device’s storage size. It has a 6.1-inch display with a sharp 1440 x 3120 resolution, and can offering a blazing 1000 nits when you really need to see the screen in direct sunlight.

The dual-sensor system on the rear offers both a standard camera and a super-wide-angle lens for versatile shooting. AI helps the cameras along as well, recognizing scenes and subjects to dial in the settings so you can get a good shoot.

Read our full review: LG G7 ThinQ

It may be older and running on 2017’s hardware, but the Galaxy Note 8 is still an impressive Android phone. And, it’s only getting more affordable.

The design is similar to the Galaxy Note 9, so no one needs to know it’s not the newer phone. And, the Snapdragon 835 or Exynos 8895 aren’t likely to feel slow too soon. The 6.3-inch screen is still plenty, and it offers a sharp resolution. The internals paired with the screen are still going to be great for gaming, and will compare favorably with the Note 9 for watching videos.

The dual-sensor camera on the back offer great bokeh in photography, even if they’re not quite as good as the newer cameras on the S9 Plus and Note 9. If you’ve got a tight budget, there will be plenty to like about the Note 8.

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy Note 8

If you hate the smartphone notch, you can still get the best smartphone camera without it. Google’s Pixel 3 comes in smaller and more affordable than its bigger sibling, but it offers the same best-in-class camera performance.

The design of the Pixel 3 isn’t quite up to par with the rest of the new flagships from 2018, as it has sizable bezels above and below the screen. It fits a 5.5-inch display with a resolution slightly above Full HD. 

Though it’s not winning any contests for its looks, the internals are up to the task, with a Snapdragon 845 and 4GB of RAM to power through most tasks quickly. Google’s phones also get timely and ongoing updates to the operating system, so the Pixel 3 may remain relevant longer than some of its competition.

Read more: Google Pixel 3 review