Farmers say poor rural connectivity is leaving them behind

The National Farmers Union (NFU) says it plans to hold the government to its pledge to improve rural connectivity after a new report highlighted the persistence of poor mobile and broadband coverage in remote areas.

A survey of NFU members found that 93 per cent of farmers consider a reliable mobile signal to be important for their business, but just 38 per cent said this was the case. Only 19 per cent said they had a reliable indoor signal in all locations, a figure which drops to 17 per cent for outdoor.

Nearly all farmers own a mobile phone, with 83 per cent having a 4G smartphone, and 96 per cent have access to the Internet. However, three quarters of all farmers are connected via copper – and eight per cent via satellite – and 45 per cent say speeds are not sufficient for their business.

Rural mobile coverage

Just 16 per cent have access to superfast broadband (a rise from four per cent in 2015) and 42 per cent have less than 2Mbps.

NFU Vice President Steve Robbins reiterated calls for Environment Secretary Michael Gove to keep his promise of £200 million in funding for rural fibre, arguing poor connectivity was hampering farmers’ ability to adopt digital technology and agricultural innovations.

“The benefits that farmers receive from applying full connectivity are many; from optimising the use of inputs to decreasing farm costs and improving productivity as a result,” said Robbins. “With the industry facing so much uncertainty, it is clear that farmers need as many tools as possible to maintain business resilience, and having access to digital connectivity is paramount if they are to compete with our international neighbours in the global market.

“Decent telecommunication and 4G coverage is also essential for health and safety with farmers often working long hours alone in isolated areas. Too often we see the consequences of farming’s poor safety record. It should be a given that if an accident happens, farmers have access to reliable mobile coverage in all farm locations to call for help.”

To improve rural mobile connectivity, Ofcom is considering coverage obligations for the winners of 5G spectrum licences, while plans for a Universal Service Obligation (USO) that would allow anyone in the UK to demand a decent broadband connection of 10Mbps or greater are advanced.

  •  Here are the best broadband deals for January 2019

Avoiding unwanted tracking online

Businesses and consumers alike have grown increasingly concerned with protecting their privacy online. Whether it’s avoiding falling victim to a data breach or even a ransomware attack, the tactics used by cybercriminals have become quite sophisticated. However, while we’ve been busy protecting our privacy from hackers, many of us have forgotten about how ISPs, governments and even businesses track our activities online by following the websites we visit and the apps we use.

To help protect consumers from unwanted tracking online, Winston Privacy has launched a new device that sits between a home modem and a wireless router to block users from ads and hackers as well. TechRadar Pro sat down with the company’s CEO Richard Stokes to learn more about its product and how consumers can protect their privacy online.

Richard Stokes, CEO of Winston Privacy 

  • We’ve also highlighted the best internet security suites

Best waterproof speakers 2019: 10 outdoor adventure speakers for any budget

Heading to the beach or the pool? Maybe you’re just overdue a long shower (no judgement here), and if you want to take your music with you, you totally can with a waterproof speaker – as long as it’s got an IP67 rating that is.

We’re still waiting for flying cars and near-sentient robot house cleaners, but waterproof and wireless Bluetooth speakers are one device that technology has already delivered on.

While no one ever really intends to get their portable speakers wet, accidents and bad weather can happen, and if kids are any part of your life you’ll know mishaps can be very difficult to avoid.

So even if you’re not planning on taking a swim with a Bluetooth speaker strapped to your back, you’re still going to love the peace of mind that a waterproof speaker can bring, which is why we’ve gathered up the best ones for you.

Our aim here is to help you get the most for your money. We’ve tested a not-so-insignificant amount of portable speakers in our time, and have found a handful that can resist the wonders (and terrors) of the great outdoors. 

Stick with us and we’ll be sure to find a waterproof speaker that works for your budget and requirements.

What is a waterproof (or water-resistant) speaker?

While waterproof and water-resistant aren’t synonymous, they roughly translate to “water won’t ruin it”.

Waterproof is the better of the two, as it usually carries an IP67 rating that means it can withstand to float in around a meter of water for a half-hour before it bites the dust. Water-resistant, on the other hand, means it could survive a splash or two, but it’s not the kind of thing you’d just want to casually throw in the pool.

When hunting for the best waterproof speaker for the great outdoors, look for its IP rating. This is how water resistance gadgets are categorized. You’ll see that IP mark, followed by two numbers – IP67 is one of the most common, and means the speaker can be submerged in water for up to 30 minutes. This is the one you want. 

Of course waterproofing isn’t the only thing we looked for when picking out this list of top portable speakers. We also considered factors such as sound quality, price and feature set, all of which helped establish a set of criteria that we could measure all speakers against.

What you see below is the result of that effort – our definitive list of the 10 best wireless portable waterproof speakers.

Best waterproof speaker: Denon Envaya DSB-250BT

Best waterproof speaker: Denon Envaya DSB-250BT

If you want a waterproof speaker that doesn’t look like a waterproof speaker, get the Denon Envaya DSB-250BT.

It’ll fit into a classy living room but has IP67 water resistance, letting it withstand a full-on dunk. This is also the best-sounding speaker of its size, with meaty bass and audio balance you might expect from a hifi master like Denon. There’s an Envaya Mini if you want something smaller, too.

Any complaints? To make the water resistance work, the speaker has rubbery panels instead of clicky buttons, and they aren’t half hard to depress sometimes. But if that isn’t a minor quibble, what is?

Read the full review: Denon Envaya

Best waterproof speaker: UE Wonderboom

Best waterproof speaker: UE Wonderboom

No speaker begs for the pool as much as the UE Wonderboom, because this waterproof unit comes with a little inflatable ring in the box to let it bob around in the swimming pool on your holiday.

It also stands well above its weight class, with weighty bass for a speaker so small, and music that sounds balanced and rich. You can even pair the Wonderboom with two devices simultaneously.

It may not have the largest soundstage and doesn’t have a speakerphone option, but the Wonderboom still ticks a lot of the right waterproof speaker boxes.  

Read the full review: UE Wonderboom

Best waterproof speaker: JBL Charge 3

Best waterproof speaker: JBL Charge 3

The JBL Charge 3 presents an incredibly attractive package. This speaker features a battery that can last more than 20 hours – and can even charge your phone in a pinch – and it also features the meatiest bass out of all the waterproof Bluetooth speakers in this list.

The JBL Charge isn’t exactly the most lightweight speaker in the world, but if you’re a bass head and you don’t mind adding a bit of weight to your bag, the Charge 3 might just be for you. 

Read the full review: JBL Charge 3

Best waterproof speaker: UE Boom 2

Best waterproof speaker: UE Boom 2

The UE Boom 2 is the UE Wonderboom’s big brother, offering even more precious decibels and finer detail.

This waterproof speaker also lasts about 25% longer than the Wonderboom and has useful features, like NFC and aux-in, for older devices. It’s a little bigger and heavier, but with that added bulk it does offer longer battery life.

Oh, and if you want even more umph, the Megaboom – again from Ultimate Ears – is a pretty great choice, as well.

Read the full review: UE Boom 2

Best waterproof speaker: Fugoo Style

Best waterproof speaker: Fugoo Style

If you still don’t know about Fugoo, you’re certainly missing out on some of the best waterproof speakers in the world. The Fugoo Style not only offers the longest battery life of any speaker on this list (40 hours!), but it also comes in at a tiny one pound.

Fugoo’s design philosophy is to offer different ‘jackets’ (Style, Tough or Sport) to fit around its ‘core’ speaker to fit different styles. The Fugoo Style waterproof speaker offers a great blend of size, sound fidelity and battery life for an affordable price.

Read the full review: Fugoo Style

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

Best waterproof speaker: JBL Pulse 3

Best waterproof speaker: JBL Pulse 3

In terms of sheer audio prowess, the JBL Pulse 3 was a pleasant surprise. While it’s light show may lead you to believe that it’s all a gimmick, the Pulse 3 actually offers a very well balanced tonal balance: Highs have good extension but are a little rolled off. Bass offers good slam and texture, but bleeds into the mids a little.

If you’re not an audiophile, none of this matters – it sounds darn good and gets loud, making it the perfect companion for your next pool party. If you want a great sounding Bluetooth speaker that’s both waterproof and a conversation piece, the JBL Pulse 3 is the speaker to get. 

Read the full review: JBL Pulse 3

Best waterproof speaker: UE Megaboom

Best waterproof speaker: UE Megaboom

The UE Megaboom is at the very peak of Ultimate Ears’ line of waterproof Bluetooth speakers. Its larger size means that the Megaboom can get loud and can last up to 20 hours at a sensible volume.

Bass is stronger and richer than its smaller UE Boom 2 and Wonderboom brothers, and this is the speaker for anybody who wants to really blare their music at a party. For people who want to save some cash, however, the JBL Charge 3 is half the price and performs similarly.  

Read the full review: UE Megaboom

Best waterproof speaker: Bose SoundLink Color II

Best waterproof speaker: Bose SoundLink Color II

Bose is well known for making fantastic sounding audio equipment, and the SoundLink Color II is no different. This small speaker packs a stealthy punch, providing deep bass with a nice impact, but it obviously can’t match the sound of the larger waterproof speakers in this list.

Now, while the SoundLink Color II sounds great, you should note that it’s not entirely waterproof. It’ll survive splashes and rain, but you don’t want to drop it in the bath, so be aware of that before buying.

Read the full review: Bose SoundLink Color II

Best waterproof speaker: UE Roll 2

Best waterproof speaker: UE Roll 2

The UE Roll 2 offers a unique disk form factor that’s perfect for taking to the pool. The waterproof speaker comes with its own float, which lets you listen to and control your tunes in the pool, something no other speaker on this list can do.

It might not sound quite as good as the UE Wonderboom, as it’s lacking in the bass department, but it’s still a solid sounding speaker. If you don’t care about the form factor and float, however, the UE Wonderboom is the better buy. 

Read the full review: UE Roll 2

Best waterproof speaker: Fugoo Go

Best waterproof speaker: Fugoo Go

The Fugoo Go is a unique waterproof Bluetooth speaker that comes with a built-in bungee cord, like the UE Roll 2, to help you mount it to different things. The Go can also pair with another Go speaker to play in stereo, something that other speakers on this list can’t do.

Sure, UE allows you to pair up multiple speakers for more volume, but you won’t get true stereo playback. While we recommend the Fugoo Style for its class-leading battery life and excellent sound, the Fugoo Go is a good alternative for a lower price if you need a waterproof speaker.

Read the full review: Fugoo Go

  • This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the UE Roll 2 

Best Nintendo Switch games: must-have games at home and on the go

What is a console without its games? As novel and versatile as the Nintendo Switch is as a piece of hardware, it’s the software that makes it, and the last two years has seen a steady release of AAA blockbusters, indie darlings, and everything in-between come to the Switch eShop for gamers to enjoy.

The likes of Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, Splatoon 2 and Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle all helped the Nintendo Switch make a statement in its first few months on sale, and the games selection has only got better since then. Most recently, Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee graced our Nintendo portable to bring us back to the schoolyard days, and Super Smash Bros Ultimate is due out any day now.

All these first-party games are great, and if Nintendo used to have problems getting third-party titles on board, that’s not the case anymore. From the open-world Skyrim and gore-fest Doom to smaller experimental titles like Little Nightmares and Owlboy, the Nintendo platform has blossomed to host a wide array of incredible games.

But with so many great titles out there, how can you narrow down your options? Well, we’ve done our best to bring together the very best titles to have come to the Switch so far – all of which are available to download or buy right now.

If you’re not seeing a game that’s grabbing your attention today, we’re constantly trying the latest and greatest Nintendo Switch games, so do keep checking back for updates as we expand the list.

  • Looking to enhance your experience? Check out our picks of the best Nintendo Switch accessories
  • Not got the console yet? These are the best Nintendo Switch deals around

Watch our review of the Nintendo Switch below!

  • Want to know what the best Pokemon game is as well? 

Have you ever had one of those moment where you’ve done something really cool, and there was no-one around to see it? 

That’d be a bit like Nintendo’s 2012 release, New Super Mario Bros. U for the Wii U. The culmination of six years work which had kicked off with the New Super Mario Bros on the Nintendo DS in 2006, reimagining the classic 2D side-scrolling Mario titles, New Super Mario Bros. U was an under appreciated joy upon its release. This was simply by virtue of the Wii U console itself shifting so few units.

New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe resurrects an under-appreciated platforming star on Switch, bringing Nintendo’s signature charm, a scalable challenge based on the characters you play as, and sits up there with the best 2D Mario games ever released. Whether you pick it up on the Nintendo Switch or are inspired to dust off a Wii U console, it deserves to be played.

If the idea of throwing around the ol’ Pokeball gives you the warm and fuzzies, check out Pokemon Let’s Go: Pikachu and Eevee. Basically a re-imagining of Pokemon Yellow Version, Pikachu and Eevee take you through the Kanto region on your quest to become the Pokemon Master. Eight gym leaders, four elite masters and dozens of members of Team Rocket stand in your way, but as long as you can keep the rock, paper, scissors-esque battling system in mind, these games are a light-hearted stroll down memory lane. 

That said, it’s not the perfected version of the formula that Pokemon Stars could be when it releases in 2019, but for now it’s hands down the best Pokemon game on the Nintendo Switch, and one that will easily keep us entertained for the next few months until we hear more Pokemon news at E3 2019. 

Fan of old-school 16-bit RPGs? Wish they could get a HD facelift without losing the pixel-perfect magic of the 90s era? Octopath Traveller may be the Nintendo Switch game you’d dreamed for a time machine for as a kid.

Channeling the magic of the early Final Fantasy games (and published by Square Enix, naturally), it melds pixel art with polygonal environments, like a love letter to the role playing games of old.

Picking up the story of one of 8 uniquely-talented adventurers, there’s an epic world saving story to follow, a clever turn-based combat system to master and a great voice-acted script to enjoy too. Fantastic fun.

While we’re all waiting for a new Metroid Prime game to land on the Nintendo Switch, you can still get your side-scrolling Metroidvania fix with the superb Hollow Knight.

You know the score – you’re placed in the center of a sprawling map that slowly reveals its scale as you unlock new abilities to traverse increasingly difficult traps, and take on ever-more monstrous foes. Secrets sit around every corner, and the sense of satisfaction you get when you backtrack to a previously-inaccessible location once armed with the right skills is unsurpassed in all of gaming.

Hollow Knight separates itself from other Metroidvania titles with its distinct art style (mysterious underground bug city? Count us in), and its nods to the Dark Souls series, with tough boss fights and the strangely aloof citizens of its subterranean setting. Easily one of the best Nintendo Switch games around.

Captain Toad Treasure Tracker is a real gem in the Nintendo Switch game pile. A re-release of the well-received Wii U title, Captain Toad is an action puzzle game that puts you in the shoes of the Mushroom Kingdom’s most lovable sidekick.

While puzzles are a bit on the easier side for older ‘kids’ who might be playing (a term we’ll use loosely here), pint-sized adventurers will have to use their noodle to collect items without running into the paths of enemies. It’s good, clean, IQ-enhancing fun – which is the best kind of fun! 

Freshly-added to the Nintendo Switch line-up of games, if Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy is just half as popular on the Switch as it was for the PS4 it’s bound to do very, very well. Maybe it’s everyone’s current love of nostalgia from their earlier days?

Whatever the case, the remaster of Crash Bandicoot is very likely to pull at your heart strings. It has everything you knew and loved from the original game, but enhanced and revamped, and there are plenty of new levels and adventures that have been added to make this a better experience than ever.

Mario and his crew are some of the most talented fictional characters in the known universe. They can golf, they can compete at the Olympics, some of them are doctors, plumbers and princesses. And now they play tennis, too, in this excellent Nintendo Switch game.

Mario Tennis Aces has been heralded as a combination of Super Smash Bros. and the old Mario Tennis games released on the Nintendo GameCube and N64. To that end, gameplay is lightning-quick and requires superb reflexes. 

The big changes this time around are the new super moves that cause rackets to break and balls to fly to nigh unreachable spots on the court. They add a new layer of strategy to the long-running Mario sport franchise and fun, too. Pick this one up at your earliest opportunity.

Golden bananas, rickety minecarts and cranky kongs – the king of the gaming apes, Donkey Kong, is back! And it’s already one of the best Nintendo Switch games out there.

If you’ve previously been a Wii U owner, this may well feel like a very familiar adventure, as Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is actually a remake of that system’s simian-themed platformer. 

The Switch version is easily the definitive version of the game though, bringing not only with it the Switch’s signature handheld play, but also a new ‘Funky Mode’ that lets you take control of Funky Kong, a returning character who is just that little bit faster and able to leap just that little bit further, making a very challenging platformer a tad easier for the smaller cheeky monkeys in your family.

Star Allies is Kirby’s debut on Switch – and it’s a good one, even if it is largely your familiar Kirby fare. Fans of Kirby’s previous adventures will recognize the colorful side-scrolling platformer gameplay and enemy absorbing powers, but there’s a new mechanic which allows Kirby to throw hearts at enemies and recruit up to three of them to his side to be controlled by either AI or real-life friends. 

Though it’s not the most engaging single-player game, and might not leave long-time fans as satisfied as they might have hoped, Star Allies is a co-op experience that shouldn’t be missed, especially if you’re looking for a game to play with your kids. 

Part software, part hardware, Nintendo Labo is a must-have for anyone who enjoys Nintendo’s more quirky and play-focused ideas.

Build your own cardboard toys, play games with them, explore how they work and reprogram them to do what you want. With Nintendo Labo the only real limit is your patience and imagination: build a fishing rod and catch a shark, build a piano and control a musical cat choir, built a robot and, well, become a robot. It’s all possible with Labo. 

Nintendo Labo is certainly one of the more original and even educational releases we’ve seen in years and it can only be played on the Nintendo Switch. It’s easily one of the best ‘games’ for the device.

Not everyone would have had the chance to enjoy Bayonetta 2 when it was first released back in 2014, thanks to its Wii U exclusivity. Fortunately, it’s now a Nintendo Switch game too, finally giving it the reach it deserves. 

Bayonetta 2 is an excellent game, with fast-paced and satisfying combat, jaw-dropping animations and frankly outstanding fashion choices. Even better, when you purchase a physical copy of Bayonetta 2, you’ll also receive a free download code for the original game.

More than anything, this is a great way to prepare for Bayonetta 3, which has been confirmed as being in development for the Switch. 

Super Mario Odyssey is Mario’s first real outing on the Nintendo Switch and he makes his debut in style. Odyssey is a 3D sandbox adventure that sees Mario travel between a wide range of worlds to save Princess Peach from the nefarious and maritally-minded Bowser. 

Giving the old formula a bit of a refresh, this game sees the traditional Power Ups replaced with a new companion for Mario called Cappy. This sentient hat is Mario’s weapon and friend and he can be used to possess enemies and objects to solve puzzles and defeat foes.

In our full review for Super Mario Odyssey we called this game “one of Mario’s finest adventures in recent memory” and recommend that you play it now – it’s instantly one of the best Nintendo Switch games out there.

If you decide to pick the game up for yourself, don’t forget to check out our tips and tricks guide to help you get started.  

Even for a series like The Legend of Zelda which rarely puts a foot wrong, Breath of the Wild is an absolutely phenomenal game on the Nintendo Switch.

While past Zelda games have stuck pretty closely to the formula established by Ocarina of Time (the series’ 3D debut), Breath of the Wild throws much of the established wisdom away. 

Rather than having a pre-defined order you must use to approach each major mission, Breath of the Wild opens the entire map up to you almost immediately, allowing you to approach the game in whatever order you see fit. You can spend hours just climbing trees and brewing elixirs, or you can even head straight to the game’s final boss if you’re feeling a little more confident. 

Away from Breath of the Wild’s unique structure, it’s the puzzles themselves that make the game feel the most satisfying. While previous games rigidly allow for a single solution to each puzzle, BotW’s physics-based problem solving means that there are often multiple solutions to each challenge depending on how you combine your various skills. 

The result is a game that feels incredibly broad in scope, with so many little touches to discover that it’s hard not to fall in love with this long-running series all over again.

  • Check out everything you need to know in our Breath of the Wild tips and tricks guide

Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U was already one of the best entries in the franchise, and the Nintendo Switch version is no different.

At its core the game offers the same excellent racing as the Wii U original, but there are also a number of new additions for this version of the arcade racer. 

You’ve got the return of battle mode, new characters, all the previously released DLC tracks, and the ability to hold two special items at a time to add an extra layer of strategy to your racing.

The new game is also a great way of playing the game in multiplayer. You can play online, in split-screen with up to four players, or link up to eight consoles together to play multiplayer wirelessly (where you can also play with up to two players per console). 

It’s a versatile release, and well worth picking up for anyone who missed out on Mario Kart 8 the first time around.

  • Get ahead of the competition with our Mario Kart 8 Deluxe tips and tricks

If you want to satisfy your arcade racing itch then Fast RMX is the game for you, and is a fantastic fit for the Switch. 

With one part Wipeout and two parts F-Zero, the game has you racing futuristic hovercraft round a series of implausible tracks at breakneck speeds. 

Fast RMX’s main gimmick is that at any point your craft has either an orange or a blue polarity, which match with speed power-ups that are spread around the track. By switching your polarity as you race, you can maximize the benefits these power-ups bring. 

It’s a neat feature, but it’s overshadowed by how technically capable this game is. It looks fantastic whether you’re playing it in portable or console mode, where it will run at a solid 60 frames-per-second. 

It might not have the charm of its Mario-themed competitor, but Fast RMX is a great game for anyone seeking fast-paced arcade racing thrills.

Splatoon was the closest Nintendo has ever allowed itself to get to an online shooter, and it did so by fundamentally turning the genre on its head. 

That means no guns, no bullets, and ultimately no death. Instead, you play as characters with paint guns tasked with covering the map in your team’s colors. 

You can kill (well, ‘splat’) your enemies, but you do so only in service of buying yourself time to paint more of the map without your opponents (and their painting) getting in the way. 

While Splatoon 2 is technically a sequel, in truth it’s more of the same. 

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. The original game was tightly designed and well-balanced, and while the sequel makes some minor tweaks to the gameplay, the same Nintendo charm is still present in spades. 

If you never played the original then Splatoon 2 is an easy game to recommend, but even if you did then it might be worth jumping in again to revisit it on Nintendo’s portable system. For our money it’s certainly one of the best Nintendo Switch games you can pick up.

  • If you want to get ahead of the competition then our Splatoon 2 tips and tricks guide will help you do just that. 

If ever there was a game to show off how useful the new Joy-Con controllers can be it’s SnipperClips. 

Best enjoyed in co-op mode, the game tasks you with cutting pieces out of your geometric-shaped partner in order to solve physics-based puzzles. 

Although the puzzles themselves deftly tread a fine line between approachability and challenge, the real joy in the game is the slapstick that results as you muddle your way through each level. 

You’ll never conclusively beat a level; it will always feel as though you’ve barely scraped through, but the tension this creates makes for some fantastic fun.

Bandai Namco’s Little Nightmares is a big adventure on Nintendo Switch. First released on consoles and PC in 2017, this new take on the horror genre is a welcome addition to Nintendo’s portable console. 

Players take up the role of a young girl called Six, who is trapped in the Maw, a terrifying place filled with monsters that are larger than life. Across a range of platforming levels, players must help Six overcome her small stature and escape the Maw.

Little Nightmares is a game with a palpable atmosphere – the different levels and their respective monsters are grim and frightening, and we frequently found ourselves tense and holding our breath as we tried to get through a level. It’s unusual to get such a thrill from such thoughtful and quiet gameplay. 

The Nintendo Switch release of the game is the Complete Edition, and contains all three DLC releases, the last of which was launched in February 2018. 

Anyone who loves classic point-and-click adventure stories such as Broken Sword and Monkey Island will certainly want to direct their attention towards this recent release from LucasArts veteran Ron Gilbert.

Mechanically, the game works like the classics of the genre with lots of slow-paced obtuse puzzle solving and verb-list clicking. Even visually it’s very similar to the games that have influenced it. 

If you’re tired of playing the same classics on repeat, pick up Thimbleweed Park for your Nintendo Switch for an excellent new addition to the point-and-click genre. You’ll travel back to 1987 for a neo-noir adventure that you won’t want to leave.

It’s tough to know what genre to describe Arms as: at its core, the game is a fighting game where you attempt to land punches on your opponent using giant extendible arms. Punch-Out this is not. 

What first appeared to be a slightly gimmicky title made to show off the Nintendo Switch’s motion-sensing controllers actually turned out to have a surprising amount of depth and strategy to it, leading to some frantic multiplayer battles. 

Nicely, the whole game can also be played with more traditional buttons rather than control schemes, so you don’t have to get caught flailing your arms around on the bus when you play it as a portable game. 

  • Having trouble landing your punches? Check out our Arms tips and tricks guide

Over twenty years after its original release it’s hard to know what more can be written about one of the most influential fighting games of all time. It easily jumps int our list of the best Nintendo Switch games you can buy right now.

Ultra Street Fighter 2 is essentially the same Street Fighter 2 that’s been continuously re-released on every console under the sun. Technically this version is based on Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo from 1994, which added super and air combos to the base game, but unless you’re a die-hard fan this likely won’t mean too much to you. 

So don’t go into this expecting a wildly different game from what you’ve played before. This is a traditional Street Fighter experience through and through, and the console’s form-factor makes it perfect for quick multiplayer sessions. 

Overcooked was one of the breakout indie hits of 2016, and now it’s come to the Nintendo Switch in fantastic style. 

There game is best played with a group of friends, which is perfect considering you always have at least two controllers with your Switch. 

But what do you actually do? In essence you play as a group of chefs trying desperately to cook meals without your customers getting angry or your kitchen catching on fire. 

With each person only able to do one thing at a time, and most meals requiring multiple stages of preparation, this forces you to split tasks up between you. The problem is that every task proceeds at a slightly different pace, meaning you’re constantly having to change your plans to deal with problems as they arise. 

It’s frantic, it’s great with friends, and it’s a perfect fit for the Switch – one of the best experiences we’ve enjoyed on the console.

Shovel Knight is not a new game – it saw its first release way back in 2014 on the PC after it was funded on Kickstarter, and since then versions have appeared on everything from the Vita to the PS4, the Nintendo 3DS and the Wii U. 

But that doesn’t make it any less of a great game on the Nintendo Switch, where its 2D side-scrolling is as tight and responsive as ever. 

Chances are you’ve played Shovel Knight on one system or another in previous years, but if you’ve yet to take the game on the go, or better yet if you’re looking to try its newest expansion pack, ‘Specter of Torment’, then the Switch is as good a place as any to satisfy your Shovel cravings.

Another home console classic now given a new lease of life on Switch is LA Noire. It’s unusual to see 18-rated games on Nintendo consoles, but it’s nevertheless exciting that the Switch is building up a more mature library.

Created by Rockstar, LA Noire is a 1940s detective title which puts players in the smart leather shoes of Cole Phelps. As Phelps, you’ll dive into the seedy underbelly of LA, solving a variety of cases across the LAPD’s Homicide, Vice and Arson divisions.

Aside from letting you take a great game on the go, the Switch version of LA Noire has some neat features such as motion control support. This means you can pick up evidence at crime scenes and inspect it from every angle using the Joy-Con controllers. 

Read more of our thoughts on LA Noire for the Nintendo Switch. 

The legendary and hugely addictive dungeon-crawler finally come to the Switch. Sure, you’ve been able to play the game on PC, Xbox and Playstation for a good few years now – with over 30 million copies sold across all platforms, and a rumored Netflix TV series in the works – but this is the first time Blizzard’s medieval fantasy RPG has gone portable.

You pick one of seven distinct character classes and begin your wayward journey to take on the lord of terror himself, Diablo. Somehow accessible with satisfying depth to the gameplay, Diablo 3 strikes a perfect balance between hardcore and more casual gaming.

The addictive loot system and character upgrades will keep you coming back again and again. And with the newly-added convenience of carrying about wherever you are, the Switch port makes a great case for grinding on the go. 

Whether you’re new to the series or just want another Diablo fix, this is one of the best titles available on the Switch right now.

This crossover has surprised a lot of people, us included. Though Nintendo’s Mario and Ubisoft’s Rabbid rabbits doesn’t seem like a combination that should work it really does.

This is a turn-based tactical game and it’s incredibly fun to play thanks to gameplay that’s satisfyingly complex and deep without being overly difficult – though the difficulty increases, it’s in a gradual way that doesn’t result in feelings of being overwhelmed. 

Mario Rabbids is also just a lovely game to look at – the level design is consistently fantastic and the world and its characters are adorable and colorful. Joining up with Mario lends Ubisoft’s Rabbids a charm they’ve lacked until now, while Mario and co benefit from the partnership by gaining a bit more of a silly sense of humor which really benefits the Nintendo image. 

With this partnership, Nintendo has managed to secure another appealing exclusive for the Switch, and one of the top games for the console.

Stardew Valley is one of those games that always felt like it was supposed to be on a Nintendo console, and we couldn’t have been happier when it was released recently for the Switch.

If you’ve ever played a Harvest Moon game, you’re already familiar with the premise of Stardew Valley: it’s an addictive farming simulator which sees you interact with townees to the point where you can literally marry them.

Stardew Valley isn’t just one thing though, it’s a whole bunch of things at once. You can engage in crafting, fishing, cooking and even exploring procedurally-generated caves to mine for items and even take on monstrous enemies. 

However, do keep in mind your health and energy, as you’ll need to make sure your character is in tip-top shape in order to avoid suffering from exhaustion – lose health and you lose a considerable amount of money and items you’ve worked hard to attained. Stardew Valley will have you hooked for hours on end, for better or worse. (Better, definitely better.)

Skyrim might be a game that’s six years old, but the portability of the Nintendo Switch makes it feel fresh again. What was once an exclusively home console and PC experience can now be played on your commute and there’s no denying that holding the wild world of Skyrim in the palm of your hand is exhilarating. 

For a touch of novelty, the game also supports the console’s Joy-Con motion controls so you can swing your sword and draw your bow in real life. It’s a whole new way to play.

This is the full open world Skyrim experience for the Nintendo Switch, including all DLC, so we’re very confident in declaring it one of the best Switch games right now.

Read more about our thoughts on Skyrim’s arrival on Switch.

It’s not often you get to put a free game on the Nintendo Switch list but Fortnite Battle Royale is giving us this chance. We’d be amazed if you hadn’t heard of it, but Fortnite: Battle Royale is the free-to-play hit from Epic Games which throws you into an online Battle Royale where you must fight and build to be the last person standing. 

The game was announced and launched on the Nintendo eShop during E3 2018. If you’ve not had the chance to play the Battle Royale phenomenon, the Nintendo Switch offers one of the most convenient ways to do it – especially if you find a smartphone screen just a little bit too small to truly play at your best. And if you already have an account you can move seamlessly between your Nintendo Switch, smartphone, PC and Xbox console. 

If you’re a fan of Final Fantasy, then you’ll love this new version that’s just landed on the Nintendo Switch. It’s specially developed for the Switch (hence the ‘Pocket Edition’ in the title) and allows you to explore the world and characters from the fantasy franchise across ten different chapters that follow the story of Noctis, the crown prince of Lucis, on an adventure to his wedding to the Lady Lunafreya of Tenebrae.

And last in our list of the best Nintendo Switch games currently competing for your money, we have Super Mario Party. When it comes to casual co-op gaming there’s not much better out there, and it shows the Switch game catalog continuing to grow and get stronger over time.

This is the latest in a long line of Super Mario Party games of course, but the 3D board game mechanics remain tight and engaging, and the game hides plenty of secrets and surprises along the way for you to discover. Most importantly, it’s enjoyable to play, and keeps you coming back.

What is a Google Chromebook?

You’ve probably seen the term Chromebook mentioned on the internet, and you might be wondering what they are, and how they differ from regular laptops.

In this guide we’ll explain what a Chromebook is, list the pros and cons of the devices, and help you decide whether or not a Chromebook is right for you.

If you’re after in-depth buying advice on specific models, check out our Should I Buy a Chromebook? and Best Chromebook guides.

What is a Chromebook?

Let’s begin with a quick overview of what a Chromebook is. Essentially, Chromebooks are light and cheap laptops that run Google’s ChromeOS operating system.

Most laptops run Windows 10 as their operating system, unless you have a MacBook, which uses macOS. ChromeOS is a lightweight OS, which means it’s not as fully featured as Windows 10 or macOS. In fact, when ChromeOS was first released in 2011 it was extremely barebones, and you needed an internet connection to use apps such as Google Docs.

ChromeOS has evolved since then, so you can now install apps – including Android apps – and use it without an internet connection, but it’s still more limited than Windows 10 and macOS. However, that’s one of the reasons why Chromebooks are so appealing to many users.

Because ChromeOS is a lightweight operating system, it doesn’t need powerful components to run, and it can use hardware that Windows 10 or macOS would struggle to run on. This enables Chromebooks to be much more affordable than other laptops.

It also means Chromebooks have impressively long battery lives, easily lasting a whole work day on a single charge.

The first Chromebooks were released by Samsung and Acer in May 2011. While we sometimes refer to the devices as ‘Google Chromebooks’, a number of major laptop manufacturers make Chromebooks, with the likes of Dell, HP and Asus joining Samsung and Acer.

Of course, Google has released its own Chromebooks over the years as well. Interestingly, while most Chromebooks are affordable alternatives to Windows and Mac laptops, Google’s Chromebooks, like the Google Pixelbook, are premium devices that show that a Chromebook can be as powerful, and as beautifully designed, as any MacBook or Windows laptop.

What software can a Google Chromebook run?

Because Chromebooks run ChromeOS, you can’t simply install and run Windows or Mac programs. Instead, you use Chrome apps, or online apps that you can run through the Chrome browser, such as Google Docs.

There’s a decent selection of Chrome apps, and using online apps like Google Docs means you don’t need to mess around installing apps, which means many Chromebooks only need small hard drives – which again helps to keep their price low.

Chromebooks are now also able to run Android apps, giving Chromebook users access to thousands of apps through the Google Play Store. Most modern applications have a version for Android devices, which means Chromebooks can run a huge range of software, from office suites like Microsoft Office to photo editors and even games.

Chromebooks can also run Linux applications, further bolstering the productivity benefits of the devices. Compatible Chromebooks can now use programs that were created for Linux, the open source desktop operating system.

While ChromeOS used to be seen as a limited operating system, the scope of the software you can now run on a Chromebook is truly impressive.

ChromeOS is also a lot less prone to viruses and malware compared to Windows 10; malicious users are more likely to attack Windows 10 devices due to their popularity. Using cloud-based services on a Chromebook also limits the number of files you download and install, and ChromeOS is automatically updated with the latest security patches to keep you safe and secure.

Chromebooks and education

Because of the affordability, long battery life and security of Chromebooks, they’ve become increasingly popular in the education sector.

They’re ideal laptops for students, as they come with pretty much all the software they would need, including word processors and presentation programs. The use of cloud services such as Google Docs also allows for online collaboration between students and teachers, and several manufacturers have made Chromebooks that are specially designed for students, with durable bodies that can survive being tossed into a backpack and carried around all day.

The Chrome Education License also enables schools to provide Chromebooks to students and easily manage the devices centrally, ensuring that only approved apps are installed.

Parental controls can also ensure that students are kept safe from inappropriate online content.

So, to answer to the question ‘What is a Google Chromebook?’ Essentially, they’re affordable laptops with simple designs, that can surprise you with how flexible and adept they are for many day-to-day tasks.

  • AMD processors are coming to a Chromebook near you

Apple’s new battery cases give iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max longer battery lives

Apple has launched a lineup of new battery-packed phone cases for the iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max, as spotted by 9to5Mac. For anyone who has  suffering from short battery life on the newest iPhones, these cases are a convenient way to extend device uptime without needing to carry around a battery and cable.

The new Apple Smart Battery Cases cost $129 (around £100,  AU$179) across all three phone models. You can pick one up in either black or white.

Apple claims each case is capable of offering the following extensions on each phone’s battery life:

  • iPhone XS – 33 hours talk time, 21 hours internet use, 25 hours video playback
  • iPhone XS Max – 37 hours talk time, 20 hours internet use, 25 hours video playback
  • iPhone XR – 39 hours talk time, 22 hours internet use, 27 hours video playback.

Apart from the convenient addition of power to the iPhones, they also protect the phone by covering up the back glass completely, with a simple cutout for the cameras. The silicone material fits snugly and is easy to slip on the phone, with a microfiber lining on the inside and a soft-touch exterior.

Since the cases are official Apple products, they should seamlessly integrate with your iPhone. Apple notes the phones will display an intelligent battery status while the cases are in use, so you know how much life is left. Each case also supports Qi wireless charging, fast charging with USB-PD chargers, and connectivity with accessories that use the Lightning Connector.

Pre-orders for the Smart Battery Cases are open now, with delivery starting Friday, January 18 on the two iPhone XS models and later in the month for the iPhone XR model.

  • Not a fan of battery cases? Check our list of the top power banks for alternatives

Best PS4 games: essential PlayStation 4 releases

The Sony PlayStation 4 is an incredible console, and possibly even Sony’s greatest achievement to date (at least until the PlayStation 5 arrives). To make the most of it though, you need a library filled with the best PS4 games, and that’s where we come in.

With more apps and features than any other console, the power to show you both incredible gameplay and entertainment thanks to 4K UHD and HDR, and some of the greatest games to ever grace a Sony console, the PlayStation 4 is an impressive package.

At the end of 2017, it was revealed that more than 73 million users worldwide had bought a PS4, and now we’re in 2019 that figure will likely be significantly higher. In comparison, sales of the Xbox One were believed to be around the 30 million mark at the same time – though that hasn’t been officially confirmed. 

A huge part of the success of the PS4 has been due to the exclusives Sony has offered.

For example, it’s the only console on the market with the likes of Spider-Man, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Shadow of the Colossus and God of War, all of which are available right now, and games like The Last of Us Part 2, Death Stranding and Ghost of Tsushima that are all expected to be released over the next few years.

Aside from the first-party franchises, don’t forget the fantastic PlayStation 4 games from the likes of EA, Ubisoft and Epic Games that are available too, all of which contribute to a pretty monumental catalogue on the PS4. Whether you’re lording it over your mates with the premium 4K PS4 Pro, or happily fragging away with an original PS4 until the PS5 launches, the PlayStation 4 has a game for everyone.

So, to help you sort out which games are worth your while, we’ve compiled a list of the newest and best PS4 games – a round-up of the very best PS4 games. We’ve done our best to include something from every genre, from AAA down to indie gems and have posted our findings here for you to enjoy. 

Should you not find something to binge here today, check back in with us in a few weeks – with every new release we’re updating and revising our choices! 

  • Looking to enhance your PS4 experience? These are the best PS4 accessories you can get
  • Looking ahead? These are all the latest PS5 rumors
  • Upgraded to a PS4 Pro? These are the best PS4 Pro games out there
  • Need some more space to store all these great games? Don’t miss our guide on how to upgrade your PS4, PS4 Slim and PS4 Pro hard drive
  • Here are the best PS4 headsets

Trying to decide which PS4 set-up to get? Watch Jon and Gerald discuss the differences between the PS4, PS4 Pro and PS4 VR.

Wild wild west

Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption 2 has taken 2018 by storm, giving us the gun-toting, western open-world we were hoping for. You play as Arthur Morgan, a gunslinger in the notorious Van Der Linde gang as he navigates the trials and tribulations of the changing west. 

Red Dead Redemption 2 is certainly game which will keep you busy. Between story missions, mini-games, activities and side quests, you will find yourself sinking plenty of hours into this title without even noticing it. And with Red Dead Online in beta testing it won’t be long until players can properly team up with a posse of friends to play.

  • Red Dead Redemption 2 hunting guide
  • Red Dead Redemption 2 fishing guide
  • Red Dead Redemption 2 Easter Egg guide

A Grecian epic

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is the latest edition to the epic action RPG franchise. Odyssey is set during the Peloponnesian War and sees you stepping into the sandals of either Alexios or Kassandra as they try to uncover the truth about their history while navigating the turbulent world of Ancient Greece as a mercenary. 

Odyssey is a graphically stunning PS4 game which will take you to the heart of Ancient Greece – easily securing it a place in our collection of the best PlayStation 4 games. Just make sure you have the time to play it because there’s over 100 hours of content to enjoy here.

Check out our Assassin’s Creed Odyssey review diary for more.

PS4 Pro Support? PS4 Pro enhanced.

Amazing, spectacular and sensational

Swinging its way onto our best PS4 games list, Marvel’s Spider-Man is likely the best comic book-based video game in the entire PS4 library by a country mile (sorry, Batman: Return to Arkham). 

While Arkham did a great job bringing the brooding caped crusader to life on our home consoles, it failed to provide us any insight about Bruce Wayne’s actual life when he takes off the cowl.

This is different, if only because it shows us two sides of the same hero – the affable Peter Parker and the heroic, self-sacrificing Spider-Man – in the same game. Tie into that the best traversal mechanics since Spider-Man 2 on the PS3, and you have all the markings of a spectacular (and dare we say AMAZING) Spider-Man game.

Don’t miss our full Spider-Man review! 

PS4 Pro support? 4K HDR.

There’s something strange in the neighborhood

Strange Brigade is an action-packed third-person co-op shooter which enables you to team up with friends online.

Pairing Monty Python-esque humor with mythological creatures, Strange Brigade tasks players with exploring ancient tombs and solving puzzles, while also fending off some supernatural beasties at the same time.

A definite for those who want a fun, action-packed co-op PS4 game which doesn’t take itself too seriously.

PS Pro support? 1440p, larger draw distance and improved screen space reflections.

Making the old feel new again

After a year away, Assassin’s Creed is back and bigger and better than ever. In Assassin’s Creed Origins you go back to ancient Egypt, before the brotherhood and before the Templars, where you play as the original assassin Bayek. 

Assassin’s Creed is a series that was growing increasingly stale, but with Origins the formula has been refreshed with new RPG mechanics, story-driven side quests and a far more free-flowing combat system.

Whether you’re new to the series or a seasoned fan, Assassin’s Creed Origins is absolutely worth playing and really earns its place on our best PlayStation 4 games list.

Read our full review of the game and our tips and tricks guide. 

PS4 Pro support?  HDR.

Jump into the trend

Fortnite Battle Royale has had a meteoric rise since its release in 2017, and it’s not hard to see why. The free-to-play battle royale PS4 game offers players an energetic and enjoyable online multiplayer experience , with a concept that pretty simple to get to grips with: just be the last person standing. 

Constant content updates keep Fortnite feeling fresh over a year since its launch so it easily gets a place on the best PlayStation 4 games list.

PS Pro support? Yes – 60 fps.

A refreshing jump back in time

In Battlefield 1 for the PlayStation 4, DICE takes players back in time to World War One and by doing so completely rejuvenates the once stagnating franchise. 

Battlefield 1’s historical setting helps it to stand apart from the rest of the modern military shooters on the market, with all new weapons, vehicles, and level designs that feel fresh and capture the chaos and brutality of war.

The game offers a poignant and entertaining single-player campaign that sets a new standard for first-person shooter. Broken into six sections, each following a different character and front line location, the campaign never feels dull or repetitive.

The single player campaign even feeds neatly into Battlefield 1’s multiplayer mode which, while familiar, also benefits from the much-needed breath of life that the change in setting gives.

Graphically impressive, entertaining, and sometimes touching, Battlefield 1 is a return to form for the series. 

PS4 Pro support? Increased resolution and detail. 

Hope you don’t have a swear jar

From Software’s enigmatic and notoriously challenging Souls titles all hold critical and fan acclaim, but none are as stylistically interesting as the quasi-Industrial era Bloodborne.

It plays like an RPG set indelibly on a hidden difficulty mode with all the helpful text pop-ups removed – which is to say it requires more than a modicum of patience from the player.

But that’s the point: in Bloodborne for the PS4, you get out what you put into it. Victory’s all the more rewarding when you’ve watched your enemy, memorized his attack patterns, struck at the opportune moment and prevailed via the game’s impeccable melee combat.

PS4 Pro support? No.

A welcome dose of nostalgia

Crash Bandicoot is one of the classic gaming IPs and a revered figure on the PlayStation platform. We were absolutely delighted, then, when he made his debut in a PlayStation 4 game with the remaster of the N. Sane trilogy. 

If you like your nostalgia in big dollops, Crash Bandicoot N. Sane trilogy is a remaster well worth picking up. This is the same levels, gameplay, and the iconic music is still there but it’s been given a lovely new lick of paint. At TechRadar we think it’s a great example of the way classic games should be resurrected.

PS4 Pro support? Yes. 1140p at 30fps.

An out-of-this-world online multiplayer

Dark Souls is an iconic series in the gaming world and with this PS4 remaster you have the chance to go back to where it all started in 2011, but with improved visual fidelity and performance – all the better to see those horrific and punishing enemies that are coming relentlessly for your blood. 

This is the same original game with all of its DLC, but that’s no bad thing. Dark Souls is a fantastic, must-play title and it’s great to see it as one of the best PS4 games around (in part because the frame rate bump to 60 fps makes it a much smoother and more exhilarating gameplay experience).

PS4 Pro support? Yes. 4K at 60 fps.

A smart, stealthy, steampunk adventure

Following the surprise 2012 hit Dishonored wasn’t going to be an easy task, but Dishonored 2 has more than lived up to its expectations as one of the best PS4 games we’ve ever had the pleasure to play.

Picking up 15 years after the events of the original, Dishonored 2 takes players back to the Victorian Steampunk city of Dunwall. This time, though, you have the choice of whether or not you want to play as the original title’s protagonist Corvo, or his equally-skilled protegee Emily. 

Dishonored 2 doesn’t differ wildly from the first game, but there was nothing wrong with Dishonored in the first place. What we get is a vastly improved and close to perfected take on it. 

Anyone who likes their games filled with atmosphere, character, and a bit of wit and intelligence will find Dishonored 2 worth picking up for the PlayStation 4.

You can read our full review here.

PS4 Pro support? Yes. 2560×1440 at 30fps. 

Still the best football sim money can buy

FIFA is, for many console owners, a highly anticipated annual event. The latest and arguably greatest instalment in the football sim series has arrived in the form of FIFA 18, and it’s straight into our list of the best PS4 games.

Whether you’re looking to play against others online, build up a management career on your own or play a cinematic story mode that’ll give you an insight into the dramatic life of a premier league footballer, FIFA has a game mode just for you. 

The best thing is, there’s always more than enough to throw yourself into and agonize over until the next game rolls around with further incremental improvements to convince you to upgrade.

You can read our full review of FIFA 18 right here and make sure you’re the best on the pitch using our tips and tricks guide. 

Since we first compiled this list, we’ve been treated to FIFA 19 too – which we would of course also recommend as one of the best PS4 games out there.

PS4 Pro support? Yes. 4K and HDR.

The JRPG genre at its best

Final Fantasy 12 is one of the most underappreciated and anomalous Final Fantasy games, first released in 2006. With this remake, Square Enix gives players a chance to take a second look at the game, this time running much more smoothly, with fewer obvious faults and cracks.

In The Zodiac Age you’ll find a beautiful game world, fast and exciting combat, and a sweeping storyline that’s an example of the JRPG genre at its best. Whether you’re a fan of Final Fantasy or not, 12 is enough of a series outlier that it’s a good place to dip in and see what you might be missing. It’s a PlayStation 4 exclusive, too.

PS4 Pro support? Yes. 2560×1440 resolution.  

Of heists and men…

Not only is it the best sandbox game on the PlayStation 4 platform, GTA V is also the best golf game, the best tennis sim, the undisputed virtual yoga champ, one of the best racers… it’s even a pretty serviceable MMO.

We’re used to scale and scope from Grand Theft Auto, but what Trevor, Franklin, and Michael bring us is a staggeringly well-realised city seen from three entirely different perspectives.

Trevor, the maniacal rampage killer whom we discover to be in all of us when we play a Rockstar game; Franklin, the classic rags-to-riches character with street smarts and the ability to pull off a bandana; and Michael, the troubled criminal with a dysfunctional family and a beer gut to show for his life of violence.

However you play GTA V – a multiplayer muckabout, a story-driven third-person actioner, a flight sim – it reveals itself to be the best game on both this generation and the last. One of the very best PS4 games.

PS4 Pro support? No.

A powerful, poignant and unforgettable game

One of the most highly anticipated PlayStation 4 exclusives of 2018, God of War has lived up to the hype. Taking Kratos from Greek to Norse mythology, making him a father, and focusing on narrative as well as completely revamping combat has made God of War a welcome refresh for the franchise.

In our full review, we called God of War “the best game in the series” for many reasons, but the stand-out is that this is a game with heart and it’s not to be missed if you’re interested in the best PS4 games.

PS4 Pro support?  Yes. 4K at 30 fps and HDR. 

Say hello to the triple indie

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is developer Ninja Theory’s first attempt at publishing its own game and it’s quite an achievement. The game follows Senua, a Celtic warrior suffering from psychosis who travels to Hell to rescue her lost lover.

The game uses an interesting mix of binaural audio and innovative visual techniques to communicate Senua’s experience with her psychosis to the player, resulting in a game that’s likely to be quite different from anything else you’ve played recently. 

Disturbing, insightful and extremely enjoyable to play, this is a game worth taking a look at if you’re interested in the best PS4 games.

You can read all about our experience with the motion capture tech behind Hellblade right here. 

PS4 Pro support?  Yes. Dynamic resolution adaption for stable frame rates. 

Guerrilla Games’ new IP is one of the PS4’s best games

Horizon Zero Dawn is the first-party open-world game that Sony has desperately needed. While Uncharted and The Last of Us have long given PS4 players a fantastic linear experience, Horizon Zero Dawn – developed by Guerrilla Games – gives you the keys to a massive, detail-rich and utterly jaw-dropping open world.

Set in an aesthetically prehistoric post-apocalyptic environment inhabited by robot dinosaurs, the game puts players in the shoes of Aloy, who hunts these creatures and scraps them for parts. It’s part Jurassic Park, part 10,000 B.C. and part Asimovian sci-fi epic all rolled into one.  

Once you get through the sprawling campaign, check out The Frozen Wilds DLC that sends Aloy up north to the frozen wastes of The Cut, the home of the Banuk Tribe. The Frozen Wilds elevates an already exceptional PS4 game and is well worth the price of entry.

PS4 Pro support? Yes. 4K, 30fps and HDR support.

How many Snakes does it take to change a lightbulb?

Okay, so Hideo Kojima’s last game for Konami – and his last ever Metal Gear game – might be a little tough for the MGS n00b to get to grips with, but it’s still one of the best stealth-action games ever crafted. It’s undoubtedly worth a spot on our list of the best PS4 games.

The open-world shenanigans will satisfy all your behind-enemy-lines / Rambo fantasies and probably confuse you with crazy plot twists and a million characters all with the same gravel-toned voices.

But hey, that’s all part of its charm, right?

PS4 Pro support?  No.

Friends who slay together, stay together

Monster Hunter is a classic franchise that’s been going for a long time, but with its return to console it’s been given a new lease of life and dragged kicking and screaming into 2018. 

Whether you want to play solo or team up with a group of up to three friends, this game has you enter a stunning game world that feels genuinely dynamic and alive in order to hunt down monsters. For research, of course. 

There’s a learning curve here, and the Dark Souls-style combat has the potential to frustrate, but this is the most accessible Monster Hunter game we’ve seen in years. If you’ve been looking for a chance to break into the series, this is it. 

In our review we called the game “a bold and confident new chapter” and gave it a “play it now” recommendation. Thinking of becoming a Monster Hunter yourself? Make sure you check out our full survival guide. 

PS4 Pro support?  Yes. Can choose between 60 FPS, 4K resolution, or prioritized graphics. All with HDR support. 

Seeking fun, weirdness and excellent combat? Look no further 

If you want to play a game that will feel different to anything else you’ve played recently, we heartily recommend NieR: Automata as one of the best games for PlayStation 4 right now.

Though it’s a sequel to 2010 game Nier, you don’t have to have played the first game to enjoy this one. Set in a dystopian future, the story of the game revolves around a war between machines created by alien invaders and the remnants of humanity. Humanity has fled Earth to seek refuge on the Moon, but has sent combat droids down to fight for them.

You play as one of these droids, 2B, accompanied by another droid called 9S. Combat in this game is intensely satisfying, the game world is stunning with a huge sense of scale, and the story is strange (sometimes to a fault) but incredibly entertaining. You won’t be disappointed, trust us.

PS4 Pro support? Yes. 1080p at 60 fps. 

Our 2016 game of the Year

Overwatch has without a doubt been one of our favorite games to come out of the last year. 

It’s a classic team arena shooter from Blizzard, setting two six-person teams of wildly different characters against each other in a bright and cartoonish science fiction universe. 

Great graphics, tight maps, and a good roster of characters to enjoy playing. Overwatch is good old fashioned fun and we thoroughly recommend it.  

PS4 Pro support? Yes. 1080p with 60 fps. 4K UI overplay. 

A chilling return to form

Your gaming collection isn’t really complete if it doesn’t have a quality horror title and if we had to suggest one for our best PS4 games list it’d be the newest instalment in the Resident Evil franchise. 

Resident Evil is the franchise that put survival-horror games on the map and though it lost its way slightly in later titles, the newest game is a return to form for Capcom. 

By going back to the survival-horror basics and getting them dead on, Capcom has made Resident Evil 7 a genuinely frightening and exhilarating gaming experience. If you have the stomach for the gore, it’s absolutely worth playing.

The PlayStation 4 version of the game has an added bonus for PS VR owners – a virtual reality adaption of the game which Capcom has absolutely nailed. However, you’ll need to be brave to play it all the way through. 

Don’t miss our full review of the game.

PS4 Pro support? Yes. 1080p supersampling and HDR. 

Lara’s origin story finally makes its way to the PS4

Has it really been 20 years since we first saw Lara in action? How the time flies when you’re upgrading from a 32-bit resolution to upwards of 4K. But no matter how many years go by, Lara still manages to find a place in our hearts.

Despite being the sequel to a prequel about the young life of the Lara Croft, Rise of the Tomb Raider feels like the pinnacle of the series. The reboot – which saw a brave new direction for the franchise – seemed a lot of the time to be little more than a bit of light Uncharted cosplay, but Rise is a far more accomplished game.

There’s now a genuine open world which feels like there is always something to do, and something more than just harvesting up collectibles in exchange for a light dusting of XP.

There are also tombs. Yes, that might seem a fatuous thing to say given the name, but the previous game gave them short shrift. In Rise though they are deeper and more plentiful. Plus, on top of everything else, it’s got VR support, which is pretty neat considering that there aren’t many PlayStation VR titles around these days. 

Welcome back to PlayStation, Lara, we’ve missed you. 

PS4 Pro support? Yes. 3 display modes available; choose between 4K at 30 fps, 1080p at 60 fps or 1080p at 30 fps with enriched visuals. 

A classic lovingly recreated

Shadow of the Colossus is a classic PlayStation title, a game that performed graphical marvels when it was released on the PlayStation 2 in 2005. Now it’s been remastered with 4K and HDR support, and this time around the game world is more beautiful than ever, while keeping the original’s emotional weight and gameplay.

It’s an easy pick for our best games for PS4 list.

For those looking for a gaming experience quite unlike any other, Shadow of the Colossus is a must-play. In our full review of the title we called it “a journey well worth taking once, and somehow even more worthwhile second time around”

PS4 Pro support?  2 modes: cinematic with 4K, HDR and 30 fps or performance with 60 fps. 

They had the technology to rebuild him, better than before

The original Titanfall was a great game, but unfortunately it didn’t come to the PlayStation. Fortunately, its sequel, Titanfall 2, improves on it every conceivable way: the motion is more fluid, there are more distinct titans to choose from and, hold onto your hats here, there’s actually a single-player campaign that might take the cake for the best first-person shooter story of the year. 

This game’s pedigree is inherited from one of this generation’s smartest and most unusual shooters. The original Titanfall married ninja-fast on-foot combat to the gloriously thuggish thrill of piloting giant mechs, which are summoned from orbit a few minutes into each match.

The skill with which Respawn has balanced this mix of styles in the sequel is remarkable – Titans have firepower in excess but they’re easy to hit, and maps offer plenty of places for infantry to hide. These ideas coalesce into one of this year’s most remarkable entries in the genre and is well-deserving its own shot in the spotlight as well as a Game of the Year nomination.

PS4 Pro Support? Yes. Higher resolution and more stable frame rates.

Naughty Dog’s best, made better

Many games have offered us post-apocalyptic visions of the future, but none have been as brutal, as believable, or as touching as Joel and Ellie’s story.

It was near-perfect on PS3, but with current-gen’s increased performance ceiling Naughty Dog found ways to ramp up the visual fidelity to ‘drop the controller and stare’ levels. A radical tonal departure from Uncharted’s jovial treasure-hunting escapades, The Last Of Us Remastered demonstrates the California studio’s ability to strike a darker mood, populating the overgrown ruins of its setting with a cast characterised by murky morals but still getting you to care for them like your own bessies.

If you love this one, make sure you keep an eye on all the latest news surrounding its sequel: The Last of Us Part 2. It’s likely to be another cracking PlayStation 4 game.

PS4 Pro support? Yes. Choice of 4K at 30 fps or 1080p at 60 fps with HDR. 

Stories don’t come bigger than this

Geralt didn’t have the smoothest of entries to PS4, but after some heavy patching and a lot of angry words about visual downgrades, we’re left with an RPG boasting tremendous scope and storytelling.

Oh, and combat. And don’t forget Gwent, the in-game card game. And there’s the crafting to get stuck into. And the alchemy.

You’re rarely short of things to entertain yourself with in The Witcher 3’s quasi-open world, then, and all the better that you’re in a universe that involves the supernatural without leaning on the same old Tolkien fantasy tropes. It’s invigorating stuff.

Netflix has announced it’s working on a Witcher TV series with Henry Cavill taking on the role as Geralt, so if you haven’t jumped into the fantasy RPG then now is the perfect time.

PS4 Pro support? Yes. 4K resolution or improved performance at 1080p. 

The end of the long and dusty road

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End hasn’t been out for very long, but we can already tell that this is going to be a Game of the Year contender come December. The game was tasked with an impossible task by bringing a satisfying close to Naughty Dog’s classic adventure series and delivered something well above our expectations. Exceptionally high production values, an engaging story about a wayward brother and an adventure to remember, Uncharted 4 has them all in spades.

Though Naughty Dog’s Uncharted journey has finally reached its destination, you’re guaranteed to treasure the memories it created forever.

If you’re a PS4 owner, it would be criminal not to take this ride. It’s undoubtedly one of the best PS4 games there is.

PS4 Pro support? Yes. 2560 x 1440 resolution with HDR and 30 fps in single-player. 

Superb in every sense

Looking for an incredible single-player shooter for PS4? Look no further than the 2017 wonder that was Wolfenstein II. Picking up from where the original game left off, this game is a timely social commentary and a superbly silly adventure all rolled into one well-written package.

With tight mechanics and a story worth caring about this is one of the most satisfying first-person shooters we’ve played in a long time. In our full review we called it “expertly crafted” and recommended that you play it now. 

PS4 Pro support?  Yes. 2560x1440p.

Probably the most fun you’ll ever have playing a racing game

This bundle of anti-gravity goodness features some of the best versions of Wipeout from over the years. It’s not an exhaustive collection of the different games, but it is a great, remastered trio of games that brings you the best of Wipeout racing and chaotic car combat. Multi-player mode is fantastic, but the game’s AI improves as you do, meaning some of the later levels are eye-watering challenges. 

Here’s some Wipeout Omega collection tips and tricks to get you started with this excellent PS4 game.

PS4 Pro support? Yes. HDR and 4K at 60fps.

A strong narrative and emotionally compelling

Life is Strange is an episodic graphic adventure which tells the story of Max, who moves back to her hometown and reunites with her best friend Chloe – someone who is a bit more rebellious than she remembers. 

On top of trying to navigate the difficulties of teenage life, Max discovers that she has the ability to rewind time at any moment and only she can prevent a storm on its way to destroy her hometown.

Rather than focusing on combat, the crux of Life is Strange is the choices Max (AKA you) makes and the effect these choices have on the overall story. 

A stunning PS4 game for those who appreciate an engaging story. The prequel, Life is Strange: Before the Storm, is equally mesmerising. 

PS4 Pro support? No.

Cook up a storm

Fans of the original Overcooked will not be disappointed by the second instalment in the chaotic couch co-op series, with all new challenges, recipes, and characters to take on with up to three other people.

This time your task is to defeat the ‘Un-Bread’ (zombie baked goods) that have taken over the Onion Kingdom, by battling through brand new recipes including sushi, pizza, and burgers in increasingly chaotic kitchens. To add to the frantic fun, you must battle obstacles including random fires, collapsing floors, and interfering passers by, all while getting your orders out to the pass in time. 

Things get complicated incredibly quickly, and relationships, friendships, and family bonds will be tested as you work together to complete your recipes on time, making it a fun and challenging couch co-op game that will make you truly understand the meaning of “too many cooks spoil the broth”.

PS4 Pro support? No.

A true coming-of age-tale

Night in the Woods is an unconventional side-scrolling adventure game that follows on 20 year-old Mae, who drops out of college to move back home with her parents. 

With a story based on dialogue choices and tasks, it’s a classic coming-of-age tale, with stunning minimalist graphics and laugh-out-loud interactions that will leave you completely hooked on this charming indie game. 

PS4 Pro Support? No.

The new rules of customer engagement in 2019

The way that businesses engage with their customers has changed a lot over the past few years. The consumer of 2019 not only expects, but demands flexibility and personalisation, and wants to speak with a businesses with the ease with which they talk to their friends and family.

Thanks to giants of the gig economy (such as Uber and Airbnb) customers today have different expectations about the way in which businesses communicate with them – they’ve become accustomed to contextualised and seamless communications. Today, whether they’re ordering a taxi, calling to make a complaint or looking for an update on the status of an order, they won’t settle for less. The rules of engagement have changed.

Enterprises are beginning to take note and, as such, the contact centre as we once knew it has become obsolete. Instead, cloud-based contact centres enable businesses today to not only provide more personalised communications, but also future-proof for the emergence of new channels, technologies and user preferences.

Bridging the gap

Yet, there is still work to be done if businesses are to keep pace with their customers’ needs. In fact, research conducted by Twilio has revealed that is a major communications divide: Nearly seven out of ten businesses think they’re communicating with their customers effectively, while only two out of ten customers agree. 

At Twilio, we’ve worked closely with leading brands such as Airbnb, Uber, WhatsApp, TransferWise, and M&S to power their communications and authentication solutions. Based on our experience with customers and developers, we believe there will be a few marked changes in the way businesses engage with their customers as they look to bridge this gap.

1. Customer service agents will play a more strategic role as machine learning based applications become widely adopted

Customer service agents often get a bad reputation for simply reading a script or transferring customers from person to person without a resolution. This is largely due to the outdated tools they are using to find information and present it to the customer.

In 2019, as machine learning is applied and AI becomes integrated into contact centre technology systems, customer service agents will be able to focus on having more intelligent, authentic conversations with customers, rather than performing rote actions. Instead of being replaced by presumed artificially intelligent technology, human agents will be critical members of the broader team bringing interactions to life. Agents will participate by training new machine learning based applications built to complement them, leading to better experiences for consumers.

2. 2019 will be the year of the application platform

Application platforms will usher in an entirely new way for developers to consume and customise enterprise software. Application platforms deploy like a SaaS application, integrate like an on-premises-based solution, and iterate at the pace of API-based platforms.

With application platforms, developers benefit from the low cost and scalability of the cloud, but are no longer limited in their ability to customise like they often are with SaaS. We expect an explosion of new ideas from developers, starting in the contact centre industry, who finally have the tools they need to innovate enterprise software.

3.  Businesses will be more visible on messaging apps like WhatsApp, Apple iMessage and Facebook Messenger

While these apps are still predominantly used for consumer to consumer communication, 2019 will be the year when business use-cases will accelerate. Businesses will use these apps as new channels to engage customers in real-time conversations.

4.  As tech innovation rapidly grows, security will continue to be left behind

Tech innovation moves extremely fast. With the emergence of driverless cars, connected medical devices and artificial intelligence, security has been sacrificed for the sake of speed. As an example, countless startups are popping up, but are lacking the resources to ensure the security of their products.

5.  The conversation around data breaches will need to shift from “who had a breach” to “who is managing their risks effectively.”

Every company has vulnerabilities and I believe we’ll see more companies talking about the processes that are in place to understand and mitigate their risks and how much effort they have spent to reduce risks.

6.  Consumers will slowly but increasingly follow those companies who take a leadership position around data privacy and care

Data is the currency of the internet and the single most important asset for businesses.

However, we have not cared for it, accounted for it or protected it the way we do financial currency. The backlash is here and, in the future, companies who take a leadership position around caring for customer data will see economic advantage over those who do not.

Nils Puhlmann, Chief Trust and Security Officer at Twilio

Devang Sachdev, Director of Product Marketing and Solutions at Twilio

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The mysterious Vivo “Waterdrop” phone confirmed to be unveiled on January 24

Vivo has teased a new smartphone on its official Weibo handle which is alleged to be the Apex 2 or the “Waterdrop”.  The teaser poster clearly shows a waterdrop in the center with Chinese text that reads “What is the future of mobile phone? Come see 1.24”. The message clearly indicates that the company is planning to announce a new smartphone on January 24 in China. 

Image source- Weibo

New design concept?

According to GizChina, the teaser is speculated to be for the launch of Vivo Apex 2. Some Chinese media sources suggest that the internal codename for Vivo Apex 2 is “waterdrop” and the model number is EKI1831 as revealed the email info in the Vivo community forums. After looking at the teaser, it’s almost certain that the phone is going to sport what the company is calling a “waterdrop” design. 

Additionally, Chinese tipster Ice Universe had also claimed that a new Vivo phone with a completely new design is slated to launch soon. He also shared two images saying, “this phone will subvert people’s past perception of smartphones”. According to his tweet, the images shared were of the back and side of the phone. The images look more like a concept phone with a pebble-like design that’s void of joints and buttons.

Image source- Ice Universe (Twitter)

Vivo has shown a glimpse of its technological prowess by introducing many ‘first in a smartphone’ technologies like a pop-out camera and in-display fingerprint. Now it seems like the Chinese OEM is looking to bring something new into the market, supposedly in the design department. 

We are expecting the handset to be a concept phone like last year’s Apex, but it’s too early to say more about the mystery phone. More details about the phone will be revealed on January 24. Until then, we’ll keep a close eye at what’s cooking around the matter. 

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Google Fi is adding RCS Chat, the successor to SMS

After integrating Rich Communications Services (RCS) into Android Messages almost two years ago, and talking up the advantages of the SMS successor at last year’s MWC, the company just announced that it has added RCS to its mobile pseudo-network, Google Fi.

In short, RCS has a lot of the features we already enjoy on iMessages, WhatsApp and other data-based messaging services. These include higher-res images and video, indicators to show when a partner is typing, group chatting, read receipts and messaging over Wi-Fi/data.

What RCS doesn’t have is end-to-end encryption like security-minded services like iMessage or Signal have achieved, as The Verge pointed out. 

RCS is coming

Instead of half-heartedly releasing yet another messaging app, Google has been quietly pushing RCS for years to establish a new standard. In April 2018, the company had reportedly planned to call its newly-backed standard “Chat” and got dozens of telecoms and phone manufacturers backing up its quest for greater adoption.

By not relying on one app or service, Google will have to get all players involved for Android phones to enjoy the same rich features that iPhone (and iPad) users have been able to enjoy for years, thanks to Apple’s absolute control of devices that run iOS.

Thus, RCS remains fragmented for the Android ecosystem, even with Google’s news today: If you’re using a phone designed for Google Fi, “RCS will be automatically enabled,” according to Google’s post. Check this branching list to see if your phone/provider combo is compatible.

As a secondary announcement, the company has upgraded Google Fi service in 33 countries to faster 4G LTE coverage (on phones designed for Fi, at least). These are mostly in Europe from the UK to Greece, but also include Israel, Kuwait, Kazakhstan and Hong Kong.

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Via Android Authority