The best games console: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and more fight it out

Back in the day, it was easy to figure out which console was the best. Often there were just one or two on the market that were really viable to buy, and the decision was made by which games you wanted to play – Mario fans always went Nintendo and Sonic fans went Sega. Done! 

But these days picking out the best console from the current lot is hard. Sure, there are still exclusives, but 95% of all games that come out are multi-platform. Add to that mid-generation upgrades and technological advancements that promise 4K HDR with some apps and games but not others, and it can be confusing to figure out which console is worth buying.

The good news for gamers is that there are sites (just like the one you’re on now) to help you narrow down the options. We don’t play favorites and we don’t have a preference for one set of titles over another. We’re just here to play by the numbers and give you all the details on the best and brightest new hardware.

That said, we have a few questions to get the ball rolling: Do you need or want 4K? Is there a franchise you feel particularly close to? Do you want something you can play on the go? What’s your budget? 

Gamers who want 4K should consider the Xbox One X, PS4 Pro and Xbox One S, while HD gamers can stick to the PS4 Slim and Nintendo Switch. If you’re a racing or a shooting game fan, Xbox has a lot of first-party titles that cater to that genre while Sony has tons of great action-adventure and RPG titles. Nintendo has a mix of everything, but you should go for Nintendo if you can’t live without an annual Pokemon and Mario title in your life.

To help make things a little less complicated, we’ve compiled this guide to the latest consoles on the market and weighed up their most notable pros and cons. We’ve also provided links to our other hubs of information in case you want to dive even deeper with your research. 

[Update: While Xbox and PlayStation are still the online gamers’ paradise thanks to their stable infrastructure and large pool of players, Nintendo is finally ready to enter the great cloud computer in the sky with its Nintendo Switch Online service that’s set to debut in the second-half of September. The online service will allow you to save games to the cloud in case something happens to your local file and offer a rotating selection of downloadable games from the NES era. We’ll update this article again when the service goes live, but for now it’s definitely worth noting that Nintendo is in the running as an online-ready console competitor.]

PlayStation: the affordable all-rounder

Available in standard or slim versions, the PS4 is the baseline console offering from Sony. 

Since it launched 4 years ago, the PlayStation 4 has been a firm fan favorite, boasting incredible sales figures. 

The console’s single biggest strength is its exclusive games – in world of increasingly service-based online titles, PlayStation continues to push narrative-driven single-player titles such as Uncharted, God of War, Horizon Zero Dawn, and The Last of Us. 

It’s also the only console at the moment that offers access to virtual reality experiences (though you will have to purchase the PlayStation VR headset separately if you want to take advantage of this capability).

If you’re interested in the new 4K resolution everyone’s talking about, you won’t find that here. While even the budget Xbox One S offers 4K upscaling, the base PS4 is resolutely 1080p. PlayStation also isn’t great when it comes to backwards compatibility so if you’re hoping you’ll be able to play your old PlayStation 3 library with ease, you won’t.

If you’re looking to enter the latest console generation in the most affordable way possible and you like what games PlayStation has to offer then this is the console to go for. 

Buy this if you want: the latest generation games but don’t need 4K, you want PlayStation exclusive games, console VR, and a console for under £250/$250.

Key reads: Make sure you check out our full PlayStation 4 review and our picks of the best PS4 games. Think it’s the console for you? These are the best PS4 deals you can get right now. 

Anything the PlayStation 4 can do, the PlayStation 4 Pro can do slightly better. If you’re invested in the 4K resolution revolution and HDR makes you hot under the collar, this is the Sony console for you. 

The PlayStation 4 Pro plays all the same games as the standard PlayStation 4, so if you’re upgrading you won’t have to start your library afresh and you won’t need to pay any more for new 4K games either. You may, however, see an improvement in how they look and perform compared to the standard PS4. 

The PlayStation 4 Pro is the most powerful console in the PlayStation lineup at the moment, capable of outputting native and upscaled 4K in games that have been patched to make that possible. Even games that haven’t been specifically patched can make something of this console’s greater power – you’ll find images look a little sharper and games will overall run more smoothly thanks to the PS4 Pro’s Boost Mode. 

Like the standard PS4, this console has an excellent library of games and some fantastic exclusives as well as Playstation VR support. 

Though it’s capable, it’s not every game that will output native 4K on the PS4 Pro – many of them will be upscaled as the console just doesn’t have quite the degree of power required to maintain native 4K resolution and run a large game with consistent frame rates. 

The PS4 Pro also has the same problem as the PS4 in that there isn’t good backwards compatibility for previous console generations. There’s also no built-in Ultra HD Blu-ray player so if you’re looking for a console that will play your physical 4K media, this isn’t the one. It will, however, still play standard Blu-rays and DVDs, and can stream in 4K from compatible services. 

If you don’t have a 4K HDR TV and super sharp visuals aren’t something that will drastically improve your enjoyment of a game then this console might not actually be worth the extra cash you’ll splash on it, particularly if you already own a standard PS4 console. 

If you are coming into the new console generation for the first time and a 4K HDR TV is something you’re seriously considering purchasing, then the Pro will at the very least future-proof you.

Buy this if you want: Native 4K and HDR gaming, PlayStation exclusives, VR gaming, native 4K for under £350/$400.

Key reads: Check out our full PS4 Pro review as well as our list of the best games for the console. Think you might make the jump to 4K? These are the best PS4 Pro deals at the moment. 

Xbox One: the multimedia monster

Looking for an entry level console but not interested in what PlayStation has to offer? Why not look at Microsoft’s Xbox One S. This console has superseded the original Xbox One for many reasons – it has a much smaller and sleeker design, and it’s just that little bit more powerful.

Something this console can do that the standard PS4 console can’t is upscaled 4K. The Xbox One S’s 4K capabilities aren’t at the same level as the PS4 Pro or Xbox One X as the 1080p images are largely just stretched to fit a 4K screen without any clever checkerboarding but this rudimentary upscaling is reasonably impressive in a console with price starting from only £170/$190. 

To make up for a lack of good exclusives, Xbox consoles do have much better backwards compatibility capabilities than PlayStation consoles. On Xbox One S you’ll be able to purchase and play original Xbox and Xbox 360 titles, many of which have become key classics. 

If you ever owned an older Xbox console and you still have the games from that, or you really want to catch up on a bunch of excellent titles you missed out on then the Xbox One S is a great way to do this. 

An area where Xbox completely outstrips PlayStation is overall home entertainment – while both consoles are able to stream from a variety of entertainment apps like Netflix and Amazon, the Xbox also has a 4K Blu-ray player built in. 

This is a feature Sony was criticized for not having in the PlayStation 4 Pro, so if you have a large physical Ultra HD Blu-ray collection and it’s important to you that you’re able to play it then the Xbox One S will definitely win your favor here. If you’ve been thinking about picking up an Ultra HD Blu-ray player anyway, then this console is one of the cheapest ways to do so. 

One issue Xbox has compared to PlayStation is exclusive games. Where PlayStation has quite a robust collection of exclusives, Xbox is somewhat lacking. Franchises such as Halo, Gears of War and Forza might call this platform home, but their critical reception hasn’t quite hit the heights of Horizon: Zero Dawn and Uncharted. 

Though it does offer upscaled 4K, the Xbox One S’s upscaling method is far less intelligent than the checkerboard method used by the PlayStation 4 Pro so if you’re looking for a truly polished 4K experience, it’s best to splash the extra cash on the PlayStation 4 Pro or the next Xbox console in our round up. 

Buy this if you want: Affordable but upscaled 4K, an Ultra HD Blu-ray player, excellent backwards compatibility, a console for under £250/$250.

Key reads: Make sure you read our full Xbox One S review as well as our picks of the best Xbox One games to see what you could be playing. Think this is the console for you? These are the best Xbox One S deals right now.

If power is the be all and end all for you, then you won’t find a more powerful console than the brand new Xbox One X. Do bear in mind, though, that you also won’t find a more expensive console either. 

The Xbox One X is Microsoft’s answer to Sony’s PS4 Pro and it’s safe to say it’s a pretty good one. Just like the PS4 Pro this console outputs native and upscaled 4K as well as HDR on games that have been patched to support these features. But because of its much better specs the Xbox One X offers native 4K on many more games than the PS4 Pro. And it’s often more consistent in maintaining  a 4K output. If you’re looking for the best 4K gaming experience possible on a console, the Xbox One X should be your choice.

Like the Xbox One S, this console has excellent backwards compatibility support as well as a built-in Ultra HD Blu-ray player for your physical media collection. 

However, also like the Xbox One S, it suffers from a lack of console exclusives that really show what it can do. 

It’s also the most expensive console on the market by a large amount. As a result, if you don’t have the AV set up to do it justice it’s hard to justify paying quite so much, particularly as the library of exclusive games is rather thin at the moment.

Something also worth noting is that you may find you have to purchase a sold-separately external hard drive for this console. While its 1TB of built-in storage seems like a lot, 4K game files are large and it’ll quickly fill up. 

Buy this if you want: Native 4K and HDR support, Ultra HD Blu-ray player, future-proofed gaming, the highest specs around.

Key reads: Read our full Xbox One X review to dig into the details and peruse our list of games that take advantage of the console’s power. Think the king of consoles is the one for you? These are the best Xbox One X deals right now. 

Nintendo: the portable paragon

The Nintendo Switch is the new kid on the console block now more than a year old, it’s still proving to be very popular. 

This is the most unique option on the market at the moment as you can use it both as a handheld and home TV console. 

On Switch you’ll find a quickly growing library of games that’s the most diverse offering from Nintendo in years. From thrilling exclusives like Super Mario Odyssey to essential indies like Stardew Valley, Nintendo’s Switch offers all kinds of experiences.

It doesn’t have nearly the same power as the standard PlayStation 4 and Xbox consoles and it certainly won’t play games in 4K or support HDR (in fact its screen is a pretty low-res 720p) so if you’re looking for a console that will win the spec wars you won’t find it here.

You’re also less likely to find the latest and greatest third-party games on this console. While it now has titles such as Doom, Skyrim and LA Noire, many of these have been available on other platforms for months, if not years. We’re slowly watching that change but the latest and greatest releases may still not make it here purely due to a lack of power. 

Of course, where PlayStation offers VR, Nintendo has its very own something special in the form of Nintendo Labo. This cardboard peripheral is one of the most innovative things we’ve seen in years and it has the potential to be great. 

It’s also worth being aware that you’re likely to need to purchase a separate microSD card for this console at some point as its internal memory is restrictive. 

Buy this if you want: a console that can be played on your home TV and taken on the go, access to Nintendo exclusive games, and you don’t need the highest resolution and the most powerful specs.

Key reads: Looking to know more about the console? This is our full Nintendo Switch review. We also have a list of the best games the console has to offer. Think you’re ready to Switch it up? These are the best Nintendo Switch deals at the moment. 

While the Switch is by far the most powerful and multifunctional Nintendo console on the market at the moment, the 3DS and 2DS XL are still excellent handheld-only options. 

Their lightness and portability make them perfect for the busy commuter but if you’re buying a console for a slightly younger gamer then the 3DS and 2DS XL are also great choices. 

They have an extremely large and diverse library of games to play and they’re more affordable than ever. In addition to this, they’re probably the most sturdy option – dropping your Switch would be a catastrophe but dropping the clamshell DS is less likely to end in a cracked screen.

These are definitely the least powerful options on the market right now and you certainly won’t find the latest games on this platform. 

Though Nintendo has vowed to continue to support these consoles, it’s worth noting that their age and increasingly inadequate power means developers are likely to stop releasing their latest games on them. 

The Pokemon series, for example, which has always been exclusively on Nintendo’s handhelds will no longer be released on the DS platform and will move to the Switch for the next release. 

Buy this if you want: a sturdy console for younger gamers, a portable handheld, some of the best Nintendo exclusive games, a console for under £150/$150.

Key reads: Make sure you check out our full 2DS XL and 3DS reviews and scan through the best games for both consoles. Positive about the portable? These are the best deals right now. 

Cast your votes for the T3 Awards Gadget of the Year 2018!

It’s almost time for the 12th annual T3 Awards, and you can now cast your vote for one of the biggest prizes in tech: the Gadget of the Year 2018. 

This year the T3 Awards – hosted by TechRadar’s publishing company – are ditching the black ties and taking over London’s legendary Ministry of Sound on September 27. So, expect a night filled with performances from rock royalty, DJ sets, and of course a celebration of the best in tech this year.

Although most of the winners will be announced via Twitter, the following categories will be saved for the night itself: Gadget of the Year, Phone of the Year, Brand of the Year, Retailer of the Year, and Innovation of the Year, and the Tech Innovation for the Future Award (in Association with Honor). 

Voting is open!

The latter is a very special prize, open to students and recent graduates, and the winner will be awarded the grand sum of £10,000. 

The shortlist for Gadget of the Year includes favourites such as the Apple iPhone X, Oculus Go, Microsoft’s XBox One X, and many more fantastic releases from the last 12 months.

Don’t forget to vote!

ARM declares war on Intel in the battle for laptop processors

ARM has come out with some fighting talk when it comes to how its processors stack up against Intel’s in the world of laptop CPUs.

In a processor roadmap shared in a press release on the topic of ‘accelerating laptop performance’, ARM said it’s expecting to deliver performance improvements of 15% year-on-year going through to 2020.

Noting that this is a trajectory which surpasses Moore’s Law, ARM also shared a graph which showed that its freshly-revealed Cortex-A76 is roughly on par with Intel’s Core i5-7300U laptop CPU – and that the upcoming Deimos (2019, 7nm process) and Hercules (2020, 7nm and 5nm) chips will comfortably blaze past the level of performance of the Core i5.

However, as Engadget (which spotted this) points out, ARM is obviously fudging things slightly here by not offering a comparison with Intel’s latest 8th-gen family of mobile processors, and furthermore by cherry-picking one particular benchmark to highlight.

Of course, a marketing angle is expected in these sort of releases, but it’s clear that ARM is moving swiftly in the right direction, and the details shared could give Intel’s engineers cause for concern when it comes to the notebook market.

The levellers

ARM said that down the line it expects to “level the performance playing field against mass-market laptop CPUs from the competition”.

The firm further added that: “Arm POP IP is already helping to enable laptop-class performance in 7nm SoCs based on Cortex-A76 by giving our partners the opportunity to push the clock-speed past 3.0GHz and up to 3.3GHz within power envelopes around half that of today’s mass-market x86 processors.”

Naturally, ARM also took the time to underline the fact that we are swiftly moving towards a 5G world, and that the likes of ARM-based always-connected laptops with Snapdragon SoCs will increasingly offer more in terms of not just performance, but better power efficiency and longer battery life, along with the ability to potentially drive slimmer and lighter notebooks and 2-in-1s.

There’s still some way to go though, looking at the current crop of Snapdragon portables, such as the Asus NovaGo (pictured), which we weren’t hugely impressed with in terms of its actual performance figures, and some elements of the hardware, most notably the keyboard.

  • We’ve picked out the best laptops right here

Best movies on Netflix UK (August 2018): over 100 films to choose from

Netflix isn’t just one of the best (okay THE best) streaming platform for movies on the web, but it’s consistent too. So each and every week without fail there are plenty of new movies added. And, unlike some other streaming services (we’re looking at you Amazon Prime) there’s always a selection of mediocre movies, classics and really great flicks. 

[UPDATE: This week Netflix has added LOADS of great movies and our favourites are Alfonso Cuaron’s spectacular space thriller Gravity, romantic comedy with plenty of laughs Crazy, Stupid Love and David Fincher’s classic crime thriller Seven. So whether you’re feeling full of awe and want to float around space with Sandra Bullock, just want to laugh away your worries with Steve Carrell or want a heart-stopping terrifying serial killer thriller with Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman at the helm, this week, you’re covered.]

This huge selection of great, brand new movies is good news for film fans, but it also means that many of us spend our first hour of downtime scrolling through everything the service has to offer.

And, as many of us are all too aware, often the dilemma of so much great stuff to choose from (which is known as ‘decision fatigue’ in psychology circles) leaves us feeling fed up. 

In an attempt to put an end to what we’re coining ‘Netflix fatigue’ once and for all, we’ve created this extensive list to the best movies that Netflix UK has to offer you right now. That’s right. No more endless scrolling and no more movie-induced anxiety that you’ve made the wrong choice.

If you’ve been signed up to Netflix for more than a few months, you’ll know there are lots of mediocre movie choices. But if you only have time for the best of the best, don’t waste those all too precious minutes searching through the site’s extensive and exhausting back catalogue. Instead, delve straight into this guide.

We’ll be updating this cinematic hall of fame at least once a week, so be sure to keep it bookmarked so you can find out what’s hot and ready to be watched on Netflix in the UK right now. 

The best movies on Netflix

To make life even easier, we’ve divided over 150 movie recommendations up into categories to suit every taste. We’ve got indie and thriller through to kids and documentaries.

Be sure to keep checking back. Unlike its TV output, which seems to stay on Netflix for longer, movies on the streaming site tend to appear and disappear quickly. Enjoy! 

Want to know more about Netflix’s take on binging? Here’s what we found out when we visited Netflix HQ:

  • If you are a TV fan, then check out our best shows on Netflix feature.
  • Check out what the rivals are up to with the best movies on Amazon Prime
  • Best Netflix sci-fi movies: fantastic films to stream on Netflix and Amazon now
  • Best horror movies: scary films to stream right now
  • Our weekly guide to upcoming things on Netflix

King of comedy Steve Carell joins forces with Ryan Gosling in this laugh-out-loud romantic comedy about a newly single man who has to (begrudgingly) face of the prospect of being single again. Luckily he has a hot, young smooth-talker to help him out. No prizes for guessing who plays who. 

David Fincher’s Seven is a classic for all the right reasons. It’ll keep you on the edge of your seat every step of the way, it’s smart, it’s gruesome and it’s got some top acting from Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman and a stellar supporting cast too. It follows the investigation of a serial killer who’s killing his victims based on the seven deadly sins – hence the title. And that’s all we’ll say in case you’ve somehow never seen it before and don’t know how it ends. 

Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity is a cinematic masterpiece. We’re pretty sure you could watch it without sound or subtitles and still be in absolute awe of the aesthetics. But if you did that you’d also be missing out on a well-paced drama starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock full of twists and turns all about things not going quite as planned in space. It also has an exceptional soundtrack and visual effects. It’s one to turn all the lights off for and watch on the biggest screen in your house – you won’t be disappointed. 

Arguably one of Tarantino’s best movies, The Hateful Eight is a gory Western set some time just after the American Civil War. As you’d expect from a Tarantino flick, the cast is one of the best bits. Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Michael Maden, Tim Roth and Kurt Russell take the lead roles as a ragtag bunch of criminals, bounty hunters and who knows what else who take refuge in a stagecoach stopover during a blizzard. 

When Warcraft first came out it received mixed reviews and in many ways was a financial disappointment. But this action movie, based on the video game of the same name, from Duncan Jones is really compelling for fans of fantasy, monsters and otherworldly evils. Don’t expect flawless performances, but do expect your fair share of magical spells, orcs and sprawling battle scenes.

Not every superhero movies takes itself too seriously. Deadpool is the poster child for irreverent superhero fun. Ryan Reynolds plays the lead, a slightly mad, katana-wielding character who blurs the line between hero and villain. It’s the jokes we’re here for, though. And a lot of them packed in. 

This South Korean action movie is about Sook-hee, a trained assassin with a thirst for revenge who uncovers secrets about her dark past. Not one for the faint-hearted, Sook-hee leaves a trail of gore, violence and plenty of bodies on her quest. It’s been applauded for its action choreography and has been described as Kill Bill meets La Femme Nikita. 

Not every Marvel film is about superheroes with otherworldly powers. Guardians of the Galaxy’s lead Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is closer to Han Solo than Superman. He’s a law-breaking rogue, not a saviour of civilisations. The result is a film with more of a sci-fi inflection than other Marvel adaptations. It’s packed with humour too. You don’t have to care about comic book lore to get on-board with this blockbuster. 

This star-studded war film features Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Peña, Jon Bernthal and Jason Isaacs, and follows US tank crews in Nazi Germany during the last days of World War II. Based on real experiences by the crews of these machines, Fury is a powerful and moving account, that was very well received by critics and audiences alike.

A biographical war drama directed by Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge tells the true story of conscientious objector Desmond T. Doss (Andrew Garfield). Despite refusing to bear arms through his service during WW2, Doss won the Congressional Medal of Honor and adoration and respect of his peers for his bravery and selflessness in the conflict.

Ridley Scott’s bombastic tale of US soldiers caught behind enemy lines when their helicopter crashes in Somalia is frenetic and relentless. You’ll have as much fun watching it as spotting the young actors who you kind of know but don’t know – including Hugh Dancy, Ioan Gruffudd and Ewen Bremner. It’s a bit jingoistic and the bloodshed is sometimes over the top but it’s a superb watch.

A masterpiece in both filmmaking and fight choreography, Ang Lee’s superb Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon tells the tale of a Chinese warrior who steals a sword off of a master swordsman and the cat-and-mouse chase that ensues. Chow Yun-Fat may have been the star of the movie when the was first released, but it is Michelle Yeoh and Zhang Ziyi that steal the show. A follow-up was produced by Netflix, which is worth a watch but has none of the charisma of its enigmatic predecessor.

Quentin Tarantino’s bloody brilliant kung-fu opus should have been one big movie. But its distributors got cold feet, which meant we actually got two quite different films. The first is pure Shaw Brothers schlock. A revenge tale that follows Uma Thurman’s Bride looking to kill people on her hit list, for murdering her husband and family on her wedding day and leaving her for dead. The second film is a touch more subdued, but no less brutal – starting with a flashback of the infamous wedding and then furthering The Bride’s mission to ‘kill bill’. If you can, watch them together as it’s an epic movie that should be consumed in one sitting.

Saoirse Ronan plays a teen assassin, who has been trained relentlessly in the Finnish wilderness by her ex-CIA dad, played by Eric Bana. She’s tracked down by a CIA agent, played by Cate Blanchett, who seems hellbent on killing her. Well, unless Hanna can do it first. 

Watch on Netflix now.

Oh, Paul Verhoeven how we’ve missed you. Elle brings back everything the director is famed for – controversy, satire and, well, more controversy. Elle sees the fantastic Isabelle Huppert play a businesswoman who is raped and decides to exact revenge on her rapist, except she doesn’t know who it is. Elle never goes the way you think it’s going to go and, despite the subject matter, is genuinely funny in places. It’s occasionally a tough watch but doesn’t offer the gratuity that some of Verhoeven’s other films are famed for. It’s Hupert here that makes the movie. She is subversive and simply superb. 

Natalie Portman takes the lead role in this biographical drama about the life of Jackie Kennedy, which takes place after her husband John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963. It’s a compelling but difficult watch at times, all about grief, trauma, consoling her children and Jackie’s struggle to create a legacy for her husband after his tragic death. As well as Portman, the movie has a great cast, including Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup, Peter Sarsgaard and John Hurt – it was the final film that was released just before Hurt passed away in 2017. 

From the writer of Arrival comes another alien invasion picture that has one of the more interesting twists that we have seen in a while. The whole thing plays out as a pretty simple affair. Micheal Pena is a factory worker who is plagued by visions and finds himself at the centre of a looming apocalypse. Some great set pieces manage to lift what is quite a tepid script – stick with it as the end is something else.

Beach Rats follows the story of Frankie, a teenager with a girlfriend and a seemingly ‘normal’ life who secretly meets up with older men to have sex and take drugs. He doesn’t identify as gay or bisexual to his partner, friends or family. So this is a very powerful yet somehow dream-like look at his adolescent turmoil as he learns more about himself, the world and his sexuality. 

Some of the themes of the movie, as well as the visual aesthetic, have been compared to the likes of Moonlight and Beau Travail, so if you were a fan of either or both of those films then give this a watch.

Historical drama denial is based on on a book call History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier by Deborah Lipstadt. It’s about a case called Irving Vs. Penguin Books Ltd in which Lipstadt, a scholar specialising in the atrocities of the Holocaust is sued by David Irving, a Holocaust denier, for libel.

Starring Greta Gerwig, Ethan Hawke and Julianne Moore, the story follows Maggie (Gerwig) who has decided she wants a baby and wants to raise it all on her own. But everything goes a bit wrong when she falls for John (Hawke) who is married to, you guessed it, Moore’s character Georgette. A complicated, at times funny and emotional love triangle ensues. 

An original Netflix film, Kodachrome follows the story of Matt, played by Jason Sudeikis, and Ben, played by Ed Harris, and estranged father and son duo who embark on a road trip joined by Ben’s assistant, played by Elizabeth Olson, to the last place to develop Kodachrome film in the US – a small photo shop called Dwayne’s Photo in Kansas.

Watch on Netflix now.

The Social Network is a biographical drama about the rise of Mark Zuckerberg and the early days of Facebook, as lawsuits, controversies and various other problems rolled in on the journey to it becoming a household name.

There’s been some controversy about the movie, especially considering Zuckerberg and no one else from the Facebook team were involved in its making. But it received many highly positive reviews, which is down to all aspects of the movie, from the performances from the cast through to David Fincher’s directing and Aaron Sorkin’s compelling script. 

This generated a nice bit of buzz at Sundance and for good reason: Bad Day For The Cut is a grim, gripping Irish thriller about a farmer looking to avenge the death of his mother. First-time Writer/Director Chris Baugh knows how to ratchet up the tension and it certainly knows how to hit some nasty notes. Yes, you’ll probably guess where things are going to go, but it’s still a decent watch.

Personal Shopper is a strange, but captivating movie. It shows off the acting prowess of Kristen Stewart who is superb as an American ‘personal shopper’ living in Paris who caters to the needs of an infuriating supermodel. And it just so happens, Stewart’s character is also a medium who starts to interact with what she believes is her not-long dead brother. Personal Shopper is one movie which doesn’t let you really know what it wants to be until the end – and that is what makes it great.

Mudbound proves that Netflix is getting serious with the movies it is producing. This superb ensemble drama focuses on two brothers (Garret Hedlund and Jason Clarke) back from the second World War and the struggles they face adjusting back to ‘normal’ life. The film pulls no punches when it comes to tackling racism and sexism, both rife in 1940’s Mississippi, but layers these heady issues with a fair amount of levity and brevity. The cast are superb – Better Call Saul’s Jonathan Banks is riveting as always but Jason Mitchell is standout here – but it’s the tight script and wonderful, sweeping direction by Dee Rees that makes this movie truly and Oscar worthy.

It’s rare that Tom Cruise gets upstaged in his movies but that’s what happens in Rain Man. This is because Dustin Hoffman puts in a performance of a lifetime as Charlie’s (Cruise) autistic brother Raymond. In the film we see Hoffman recite dates of airline crashes when he doesn’t want to fly, and this brings the brothers on a road trip after their father passes away. Cruise’s character in unlikeable for the most part but his softening to Hoffman’s Raymond is a beautiful watch – sometimes hilarious, sometimes tender. 

Director Adam McKay was known for creating big belly laughs before The Big Short came out. And that’s what makes this movie such a surprise. It is funny in places, but it’s also a super-sharp look and – shock, horror – endlessly entertaining look at those who betted big the the housing bubble in the US would burst  in the mid 2000s. Filled with fantastic characters (played by Brad Pitt, Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling and Steve Carell) and a superb script, this is a must see.

Dope was a revelation when it was released in 2015. Part coming-of-age drama, part hip-hop homage, the movie is about a group of teenagers who go to a party and end up tangled up in drug dealing. While that sounds all very gritty, the film plays it for laughs more than often, punctuated by moments of drama.

A heartfelt and considered look at Martin Luther King Jr’s struggle to gain equal voting rights, campaigning in racially-charged Alabama, Selma was one of the finest films of 2014 and was rightly nominated for a Best Picture Oscar as a result. It may have missed out on the top gong, but David Oyelowo’s performance as the civil rights leader is a powerful one, with a supporting cast recreating the inspiring story with great respect.

Don’t let the title or, for that matter, the plot put you off, Warrior is a fantastic movie, centred on two brothers who find redemption and solace in the biggest MMA tournament ever held. A superb script and superb performances from Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton as the brothers and Nick Nolte as the alcoholic father, make this a must see.

Not only did Network spawn one of the greatest lines shouted in a movie – “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” – it also shone a light on US network television and its constant push for higher ratings. The plot is great: longtime anchor Howard Beale finds out that he is about to get fired, so to drive ratings he announces he will commit suicide on air. What ensues is a harsh look at TV that’s still prescient today.

Nicolas Winding Refn is one of the most divisive directors around and he’s not looking to change that with The Neon Demon. Like Only God Forgives and the slightly more accessible Drive, Neon Demon is stylish, blood soaked and, well, cold. It features a fantastic central performance by Elle Fanning and never compromises – this makes for a difficult but ultimately rewarding watch.

Anyone who doubts the acting caliber of Tom Hardy needs to watch Bronson immediately. Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn who found fame with Drive and the divisive Only God Forgives, Bronson is a fragmented, surreal look at one of the UK’s most famous prisoners, Charles Bronson. Hardy commands the screen as the titular inmate, bulking on the body mass and belting out charisma and chaos in equal measure. It’s not for everyone, thanks to its obscure storytelling, but this is a unique film and one that demands your attention.

Pulp Fiction is Quentin Tarantino at his finest. Endlessly quotable and always a refreshing watch, Tarantino re-invents what a crime movie should be. He does this be interlocking seemingly unrelated stories in a non-linear way, riffing on pop culture and breathing new life into old actors – including John Travolta, Bruce Willis and Samuel L Jackson. This film deserves all the accolades it’s garnered over the years. It’s just a shame Tarantino has never bettered it.

Okja is a fantastic movie that proves Netflix really does know what it’s doing when it comes to commissioning films. Made by Bong Joon Ho, one of the greatest directors around, the film is the strange tale of a little girl and her best friend, a giant animal called Okja. The friendship is threatened when a CEO (a superb Tilda Swinton) wants to take Okja for nefarious means. The whole movie may well be an ode to animal activism but it’s such a refreshing movie that you don’t mind it preaching to you on occasion. Now you have this on-board Netflix, can you please grab the UK rights for Snowpiercer – another superb Bong Joon Ho movie that never saw the light of day in Britain.  

This is a movie that was close to not being made. Just as shooting began, funding was pulled and it means that star Matthew McConaughey may have had to drop out, as he needed to put all the weight on he had lost for playing Ron Woodroof, an electrician diagnosed with Aids. Money was found, though, and we’re glad it was as this is a sometimes harrowing but strangely uplifting account of someone who goes to the extra mile to get their hands on an experimental Aids drug that can lessen the effects of the disease. McConaughey is fantastic as the makeshift drug runner while his partner in crime is Jared Leto as Rayon, a trans woman who helps him on his journey. Despite the budget cut, there was Oscar nominations aplenty for the film with it winning Best Makeup. Considering the makeup was done on $250 budget, this is an impress feat.

A quirky tale about a man called Harold Crick (played by Will Ferrell) who lives a normal, kinda dull existence and one day begins to hear someone narrating his life. Everything about the narration is super accurate, but when it reveals he’s doing to die soon he tries to find the author to stop her, well, killing him off. 

Some Like it Hot is a classic, and for good reason. Winner of numerous Academy Awards and Golden Globes, and featuring three of Hollywood’s greats at the top of their game, it’s a hilarious movie, with unforgettable central performances.

After witnessing the Valentine’s day massacre, two male musicians try to escape town in disguise, as women. 

If you’ve never watched it, treat yourself. If you have, you don’t need any convincing to watch it again. 

Watch on Netflix Now

This laugh-out-loud, yet totally heart-warming, comedy from Judd Apatow is perfect for easy Sunday watching. It’s about a TV presenter, played by Katherine Heigl, who has to navigate the tricky ins-and-outs of having an unplanned pregnancy with the unemployed and kinda immature Ben, played by Seth Rogen. 

Watch on Netflix now. 

Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 satirical dark comedy classic has landed on Netflix. This dark comedy explores the fears around the Cold War between the US and Soviet Union, and the threat of impending nuclear disaster. 

Directed, produced and also co-written by Kubrick, the story centres around a US Air Force general who decides to order a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union. It then follows the action of a bomber after it’s set off, as well as the heated debates about calling off the whole operation before the general brings about the end of the world. 

Okay, so it might not be the light and easy watch you were looking for on a lazy, hungover Sunday. But it’s a classic that’s one of Kubrick’s best. 

The World’s End is the worst of the Cornetto Trilogy but that’s only because the other two are the superb Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz. The premise is great: Gary King (Simon Pegg) gets his old friends together to relive a pub crawl of their childhood. The only problem is, everyone has grown up into self-respecting adults except him. But none of this matters when the group of lads get themselves into a very strange situation. Full of fantastic sight gags that made Baby Driver the success it was, The World’s End doesn’t quite hit the high notes it should but it has a lot of fun trying in the process. 

What a brilliant film. Pride manages to weave ‘message’ with entertainment effortlessly, charting the true tale of gay rights activists in the UK that help raise money for a small mining town when the strikes are happening. There’s superb performances by all but it’s the ever-brilliant George MacKay whose standout.

The plot for this one is fantastic. It’s a road movie centred around two teenage bike thieves who go on an adventure after they get word that seven tonnes of cocaine has been shipwrecked off the coast of Ireland. Their plan is to get some of it and sell it for a better life. This is one of the funniest comedies to come out of Ireland for a while. It’s got a distinct Adam & Paul feel but is thankfully a bit lighter. Young Offenders is a coming-of-age story with oodles of charm. 

A classic Jim Carey comedy, Ace Ventura Pet Detective follows a PI who specializes in missing animals cases. When the mascot for the Miami dolphins goes missing he’s in for the case of his life. Expect a madcap adventure with a lot of energy and laughs.

Richard Linklater’s latest is a bedfellow to Dazed and Confused. Instead of the ’80s, though, the ’70s is used as a backdrop instead and the focus here is very much what it is like to be a boy growing up into an adult. As with most Linklater movies, not much happens in the movie but the characterisation is so spot on, that it really doesn’t matter.

One of the best films you probably missed in 2016, The Nice Guys is cult director Shane Black at his best. Achingly funny and whip-smart, too, the film is about a private eye and a heavy in the ’70s and the shenanigans they get up to. While Black went full Hollywood with Iron Man 3, The Nice Guys sees him back where he belongs – among the indie elite. 

A comedy all about three retired men who go to Las Vegas to throw a bachelor party for their last remaining single friend. Sure that might not sound like the recipe for the best movie, but it’s worth a watch because it’s stars Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline. 

We don’t really need to tell you the synopsis of the 2016 Ghostbusters reboot, do we? A load of paranormal enthusiasts/hunters all come together to stop an otherworldly threat. You know the drill. The great bit about the 2016 remake is it’s a female-fronted ghostbusting team, featuring comedians and actors Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon. Critics were pretty divided when this version came out, with many praising the fresh approach but not being too keen on some of the story and script. Then again, it was always going to be near impossible to create a story so similar to the original.

A cult comedy horror made in the same vein as Shaun of the Dead, Tucker and Dale vs Evil is a whole lot of fun. Hillbillies Tucker and Dale head out to a cabin in the woods for a vacation and, well, all horror breaks loose. With barrels of laughs and buckets of blood, don’t expect award-winning performances but it’s a lot of fun.

Alexander Payne proves once again that he is one of the best directors around with Nebraska, a film that follows elderly Woody Grant (Bruce Dern) who embarks on a 750-mile journey to Nebraska to cash in the supposed winnings of a sweepstake. Nebraska is full of heart but also home truths when Woody arrives back in his hometown after years away.

Based on Bret Easton Ellis’ tale of greed, capitalism and serial killing, this 2000 dark comedy-meets-horror flick has a stellar cast, including Christian Bale, Reese Witherspoon and Willem Dafoe, among many others. It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s a deep and intense rollercoaster ride through sprawling monologues, 80s pop tunes and murder. 

Martin Freeman stars in this Australian post-apocalyptic thriller that’s based on a short film of the same name. It’s about a world overtaken by a zombie virus and a husband and wife who are trying to survive with their young daughter. They’ve managed to stay uninfected so far because they’ve been living on a houseboat, but as you can imagine, that all changes. It’s been mostly praised by critics, who enjoy its refreshing take on the zombie genre, its emotional depth and Freeman’s performance.

A series of murders has ravaged London, which leads many of the locals to believe there’s only one explanation: the mythical Golem must be to blame, a mythical creature from darker times. But, as you’d probably expect, it turns out it isn’t a creepy monster that’s to blame after all. 

It’s the perfect horror setup: 10 strangers are stranded in a motel thanks to a rainstorm. At the same time a murderer is about to be executed, only for his psychiatrist to make a last-ditch effort to keep him alive. So, how are these two tales linked? Well, that would be telling. Directed by The Wolverine’s James Mangold, Identity may think it’s brainier than it is but at least it’s a whole lot of fun.

Creep was a mini indie marvel when it came out a few years back. Ultra low budget, it starred  Mark Duplass and was base on his story about a videographer who puts an ad on Craiglist which leads to some terrifying home truths. In the sequel, Duplass is back and this time he lures someone to his home by claiming to be a serial killer. What ensues is a tense, brilliant low-fi ride.

Joining Stephen King’s Carrie on Netflix comes another classic story from the horror author’s creepy collection: Misery. Bringing the tale of the story, which will be making anyone who has seen it wince right now, straight to your living room. The movie follows a famous author who is rescued from a car crash by a fan. We won’t spoil what happens next, but you can probably guess it’s not exactly the warm, homely kind of recovery you’d expect after you’ve had an accident. It’s certainly not one for the faint-hearted, so prepare to hide behind a cushion for about 50% of the running time. 

Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula is an under-appreciated gem. It uses some old-school cinematic techniques to give the movie a classic feel and it really works – having back projection for some of the special effects offers up a really unnerving look at Dracula. Gary Oldman is fantastic as the titular character. The only let down is Keanu Reeves who is utterly miscast. If you can put up with that, though, then what you have is one of the most lavish horror movies ever made.

The Purge is low budget but brilliantly high concept. The idea is that there is one day a year when the world can go a bit crazy murdering and looting and it’s all completely legal. This makes for a fantastic adrenaline rush of a movie that’s modelled on John Carpenter style 80s heist movies. It’s really good fun, as is a number of the sequels. 

Gerald’s Game is one of Stephen King’s leaner novels, with the majority of the action taking place in one room, with one woman (Jessie Burlingame) alone, handcuffed to a bed, after a night of passion goes awry, with just her thoughts, her dead husband, and a number of things that go bump in the night for company. With this in mind, director Mike Flannigan has managed to pull off an adaptation that could have been very one note, by creatively bringing Burlingame’s – a fantastic Carla Gugino – thoughts to life. It’s a bit too melodramatic at times and does suffer from the King curse of never knowing how to properly end his stories, but there’s a lot to like about this Netflix exclusive.

This horror story is all about a robbery gone wrong. The three thieves hoping to steal money from a blind veteran’s home are in for a terrifying surprise when they realise he’s much more violent, unpredictable and aware than they originally thought. 

Blair Witch, the kind of remake, quasi sequel to the scare classic The Blair Witch Project was a big surprise when it first announced. Director Adam Wingard had made the film covertly with the title The Woods and then when it premiered at San Diego Comic-Con, they announced its link to the Blair Witch story and the crowd went, well, crazy. The film is a worthy addition to the franchise. It keeps the shaky cam stuff but also adds in some modern day twists such as drones and GPS. It takes a while to get going but once the scares start they are relentless. 

This super-smart horror from Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard is a movie that tries its hardest to turn the horror genre on its head, with continual knowing nods to movies of the past and a post-modern spin of the well-worn ‘cabin in the woods’ theme. Don’t go into this movie expecting a normal film-watching experience but do expect to have fun watching a highly original script at play.

Thanks to Netflix’s sometimes surprising rights, Under The Shadow has popped on to the service around the same time as the movie’s Blu-ray release. We’re glad it has. It’s a fantastic horror film set in Tehran in the ’80s, focusing on a mother and daughter seemingly terrorised by otherworldly beings in an apartment block. The dread in this film is slow release but palpable, making it a terrific, scary watch. 

This ultra low budget movie comes from the Duplass Brothers and is one of the most inventive chillers in years. The plot is slight, it focuses on a man who answers a Craiglist ad to film what he thinks is a video for the person’s unborn son. And that’s all we will say about the plot as it twists and turns in on itself, terrifying the viewer repeatedly in the process.

Stephen King’s classic tale of the trials and tribulations of high school, fitting in, oh and having extremely powerful telekinetic powers has landed on Netflix, bringing the unforgettable and gruesome bloodbath of the 1976 imagining to the small screen. 

Hush has a brilliant premise. Directed by Mike Flanagan it revolves around a killer who tries to get the best of a girl in the house on her own. So far so ‘every horror movie ever made’, but the girl who is being stalked happens to be deaf. Yes, the home invasion genre is getting tired, but Hush manages to quietly breathe new life into it.

One of the more high-concept horrors on the list, Would You Rather is about a group of seven people who are invited to a millionaire’s house to play a game of ‘Would You Rather’. The game turns out to be one of the most sadistic around.

Justin Lin directs the latest instalment of Star Trek with bombast. And thank goodness he does, because the explosions and flash camera angles manage to mask some of the cracks in this film. Don’t get us wrong: Star Trek Beyond is a lot of fun, but feels a little smaller than the first two rebooted movies. There’s more humour, though, and the cast still shine. Next time, though, more Bones please!

Alex Garland is a master of sci-fi. He directed Ex Machina, wrote 28 Days Later, and has now directed Annihilation. It has skipped past a wide cinema release, heading direct to Netflix. This sharp supernatural thriller sees Natalie Portman play a botanist investigating a mysterious, and expanding, wall of light in the deep south of America. 

Netflix surprised everyone when it revealed it had the streaming rights to the third instalment of the loose Cloverfield franchise, the Cloverfield Paradox, and now it has the original film. Each Cloverfield film is different, and the original uses the ‘found footage’ narrative device to document an attack on New York by a huge alien monster. While the Cloverfield Paradox didn’t quite capture the magic of the original, the first film is definitely worth catching while it’s on Netflix.

Given it was made in 1985, the effects of Back To The Future still stand up today. Actually, so does everything about the movie. It’s a fantastic old-school romp that showcases Michael J Fox as one of the most affable actors around. Spielberg may have only produced the movie but his fingerprints are all over it. Back To The Future is a classic that is endlessly fun and rewatchable.

The effects may look a tad dated now but The Abyss was SFX filmmaking at its best when it was released in the late ’80s. Directed by James Cameron, sandwiched between Aliens and Terminator 2 in his oeuvre, the film is about a diving team looking for a lost nuclear submarine but instead encounter something wholly different. It’s a thought-provoking slice of sci-fi that’s more thriller than action.

In the not-so-distant future, people are ranked, judged and given jobs not based on their abilities and interests, but on their genetic makeup. Gattaca follows the story of a man with less-than-perfect DNA (Ethan Hawke) who is desperate to travel into space, which is a privilege only reserved for the perfect. With the help of another man with 10/10 DNA (Jude Law), he tries to game the system to bag himself a seat on the next mission to the stars. As you’d expect from this clever sci-fi story, there are lots of challenges, problems and interesting twists along the way.

Jim Carey has always been an actor that takes things to extremes – whether it’s his face gurning or physical comedy. But nothing was quite like what he did in Man On The Moon, the Milos Foreman directed biopic of Andy Kaufman. Mixing exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes footage of Carey that the studios didn’t want released, this is one revealing documentary about the things people do to make people laugh.

Full of hubris that you can only get when a documentary crew gets more than they bargained for (see also: The Jinx), Weiner follows the mayoral campaign of Anthony Weiner only for him to be embroiled in a sex scandal as the cameras are still shooting. And the best bit about it is, the documentary was meant to be about Weiner’s comeback after another sex scandal that happened in 2011. It’s a tough but compelling watch. 

Director Martin Scorsese may well be known for his Hollywood productions but he has a decent sideline in rock documentaries. The latest to hit Netflix focuses on George Harrison, knitting together archive footage with interviews and home movies. It’s a warm, revealing portrait of arguably the most talented Beatle and one that came out 10 years after his untimely death.

With nuclear war still a threat today (and a growing one at that), a documentary on how atomic warfare came to be was always going to feel prescient but The Bomb feels like more than that. It’s a full-on assault on the senses that weaves archive footage together to create a non-linear, experimental piece that’s more mosaic than montage, with a message that’s pretty clear: we need nuclear disarmament and we need it now. The Bomb toured the film festival circuit with live band The Acid and was even shown at Glastonbury’s Shangri-La. While it’s no doubt not as potent as it was in a live space, it’s still well worth a watch. And if you need a non-Netflix companion piece, then check out Storyville, Atomic, Living in Dread and Promise by Mark Cousins.

“Metal on metal / It’s what I crave / The louder the better / I’ll turn in my grave.”

Like a real-life Spinal Tap, the story of Anvil, the oft-forgotten heavy metal pioneers is as tragic as it is funny and uplifting. A huge influence on the likes of Metallica and metal’s megastars, Anvil never got to enjoy the success of their peers, resigned to the axe-wielding history books.

Except…Anvil never went away. Continuing to shred on the toilet circuit, the documentary follows the ageing rockers as they make one last attempt at hitting the big time.

Throw up the horns, but keep a hanky at the ready – Anvil: The Story of Anvil is as good as a rock-doc gets.

The White Helmets is, quite rightly, the winner of Netflix’s first-ever Oscar. It was directed by the only British winner of the 2017 Oscars, too. Orlando von Einsiedel directs this stunning look at the day to day operations of the Syrian Civil Defense, volunteers who assist neighbourhoods that have been bombed, helping find survivors amongst the devastation. It may only be 40 minutes long, but the bravery and tragedy you witness will stay with you forever. 

Netflix bagged its first Bafta thanks to this stunning documentary. 13th looks at race and the US criminal justice system, showcasing numerous injustices in the way African Americans have been treated in the system. The documentary was made by filmmaker Ava DuVernay, who also made the superb Selma.

Some Kind of Monster is a intimate look at one of the most successful heavy metal bands ever, Metallica. This unflinching doc focuses on the band as they hit  a crossroads – the departure of their bass player. We see a band that’s been together for 20 years talk through their emotions and pain points. By enlisting the help of a therapist, the documentary is a fascinating fly-on-the-wall look at a rock group in group therapy.

One of the most important documentaries of the decade, Blackfish charts the life of killer whale Tilikum, who sadly died recently. Kept in captivity as a ‘performance mammal’ at SeaWorld, the doc explores the unsightly side of why keeping whales in captivity is a terrible idea. Blackfish had such an impact that SeaWorld decided to phase out its orca shows and rebrand itself. Powerful stuff.

This Netflix exclusive documentary is a heart-wrenching look at one of the greatest singers of all time. While the highlights are definitely seeing Simone sing live – there’s a huge amount of never-before-seen archive footage – it’s the eye-opening truths about her troubled life that hit home hardest.

Always one for a conspiracy theory – just watch JFK to see how creative his jigsaw-like thinking can get – Olive Stone was the perfect choice to direct Snowden – a film about Edward Snowden, arguably the most prolific leaker the US has ever had. Charting his life from his cut-short army career to his desk job in the NSA, focusing on cyberwarfare, the story humanises a person who already feels like a myth and adds bones to why he decided to go against the US government and uncover a truth that included mass surveillance and more.

We know, we know, it sometimes doesn’t feel quite right when a cult classic like OldBoy gets remade. Especially one that’s been so popular over the years because it’s so surreal, dark and chilling. How do you even begin to remake that sense of dark, skin-crawling unease? Well, Spike Lee gave it a good go in 2013. Josh Brolin plays the lead character, who is kidnapped and imprisoned for 20 years and then goes on a mission to find out why. Not for the faint-hearted, it’s a decent remake, but as you’d expect didn’t excite critics or gain cult status like Park Chan-Wook’s original. 

Leonardio DiCaprio plays the notorious high rolling stockbroker Jordan Belfort in this award-winning flick from Martin Scorsese. At times it’s deadly serious, laugh-out-loud funny and in many ways a fable about the slippery slope a life all about money can send you down.

Steven Spielberg’s classic 1975 thriller has arrived on Netflix, telling the story of a giant, man-eating shark who likes to snack on people in New England. There was no doubt that Jaws would make our list given that it’s often considered one of the greatest movies ever made. In fact, it was the highest grossing movie of all time for a few years until Star Wars hit the scene.

In this hard-hitting crime drama Johnny Depp plays the notorious American mobster James “Whitey” Bulger. The story follows the infamous criminal career of Bulger as he heads up the Winter Hill Gang of South Boston.

Martin Scorsese’s flick Taxi Driver follows the story of a lonely veteran (played by Robert DeNiro) living in New York who becomes a taxi driver and slowly descends into madness watching the corruption and depravity of the city around him. It’s not an easy watch, but it’s a true classic and considered one of the greatest movies of all time.

In this thrilling crime drama set in Hong Kong, a policeman goes undercover in order to expose a detective who has been leaking important police business to his contacts in the criminal underworld. The mole doesn’t know who it is that’s tracking him, so ensues a cat and mouse game guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat. If the plot sounds familiar, that’s because Martin Scorcese’s The Departed was based on this movie. 

Starring Brad Pitt and Robert Redford, this crime thriller is about a veteran spy who takes on a dangerous mission to try and free his protégé who has been taken as a political prisoner in China. 

It’s the movie which finally won Leonardo the Oscar and for good reason – The Revenant is a ferocious looks at mankind’s survival against the odds. And when those odds include soldiers, bears and inhospitable lands they are definitely no in your favour. Shot entirely with available light, this is a stark movie but one that demands to be seen on the biggest screen possible. 

Before Denis Villeneuve was wow-ing us all with Sicario, Arrival and Blade Runner 2049, he directed Prisoners. It’s a crime thriller with a stellar cast, including Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal, about a child abduction. You’ll be on the edge of your seat the whole time. 

This crime thriller flick might not be award-winning, but boy does it keep you on the edge of your seat. Elizabeth Banks plays a woman who is sent to prison on a murder charge she denies, which leads her husband, played by Russell Crowe, to hatch a daring and detailed plan to break her out of prison. 

Watch on Netflix now.

The Stephen King renaissance continues with 1922, a movie based on a little-known short story by the horror author taken from his 2010 Full Dark, No Stars compilation. It’s an assured film with a great central performance by Thomas Jane, who plays a farmer in the 1920 who murders his wife, a crime that sparks off a strange string of events. It’s slow burning but when the horror finally creeps in it’s a tough but mesmerising watch.

Ben Affleck’s directorial debut is a superb, taut thriller that’s based on every parent’s worst nightmare – the disappearance of their child. Ben’s brother Casey Affleck and Michelle Monaghan star as two detectives who take on the missing person’s case, even though they have little experience in a case of that type. Based in Boston, the film manages to showcase the heart of the city (where the Afflecks are from) as well as tell a tragic tale in the most human way possible.

Kathryn Bigelow is one of the greatest action filmmakers around, so was perfect for helming Zero Dark Thirty. Based on the hunt for Osama Bin Laden, the movie keeps the terrorist mostly in the background and instead focuses on the people who were key to bringing him to justice. No one would like to see Bin Laden caught more than Jessica Chastain’s Maya, an operative who has spent most of her career chasing him. Whatever your take on the War on Terror, this is riveting stuff.

With Twin Peaks: Season 3 currently trying to out weird the world, it’s a perfect time to immerse yourself in the delicious nastiness of Blue Velvet once more. The film is a triumph of oddness – based around a seemingly wholesome man (Kyle MacLachlan) who gets embroiled in the underworld thanks to his infatuation with a mysterious women. This is David Lynch at his finest.

Antonio Banderas! Adrien Brody! John Malkovich! The cast for Bullet Head is an exciting mix of three great actors that you’d think would light up the screen with slick dialogue and electrifying performances alone, but instead Bullet Head throws them all in a warehouse that for some reason is really hard to just, walk out of, with a killer dog. And that’s the rather strange, rather ridiculous but somehow still very entertaining premise of Bullet Head. This movie ain’t gonna win any awards, but if you’re craving a bit of mindless action and drama with three familiar faces at the helm, then Bullet Head might just be your perfect movie for hangovers and lazy Sundays. 

Calvary is an intense, disturbing and at some points darkly funny story about a priest in a small, rural town in Ireland who receives a mysterious death threat. While waiting to find out who the shady, would-be killer is, the priest continues about his daily business, which reveals that criminal acts, racism and domestic abuse run rife in the community. It’s whatever the opposite of easy watching is, so be prepared. But it’s a very well-made and captivating move in which Brendan Gleeson really shines as the protagonist priest.

One of the first movies to be made under the Netflix banner, Beasts of No Nation sees Idris Elba on fine form as a commandant fighting in a civil war. But the biggest praise has to go to Abraham Attah’s Agu – a boy soldier caught in the fighting. Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga – who made the first season of True Detective the masterpiece it was – this is a harrowing but great watch.

Fargo is the perfect Coen Brothers film. Funny enough to make you chuckle, it’s also filled with some ridiculously dark moments, most of which involve Steve Buscemi’s bumbling hitman and William H Macy as the cowardly corrupt Jerry Lundegaard. The star of the film, however, has to be Frances McDormand’s heavily pregnant, inquisitive and just darn tootin’ nice detective.

Brian De Palma is a magpie filmmaker. His style apes that of his hero, Alfred Hitchcock, and he loves to make remakes. Blow Out is one of his best. A re-imagining of the seminal ’60s film Blow-Up, De Palma moves the action from London to the US and focuses on sound not photography as Travolta stars as a sound effects producer who believes he has caught a real murder on tape.

Also consider: Carlos The Jackal | The Purge: Anarchy | Gone Baby Gone | The Spy Who Came In From The Cold | We Need To Talk About Kevin | The Parallax View | Rear Window | Serpico | Natural Born Killers

The ultimate romantic film? Perhaps. It’s definitely one of the best watches you are likely to have. When Harry Met Sally is an all-time classic, brimming with confidence that only comes when you nail the acting, script and direction. Sally is played by Meg Ryan, someone who has been friends with Harry (a pristine Billy Crystal) for years but lost contact. They meet up again, when their lives are a little different, and the rest is history. Rob Reiner does a fantastic, subtle directing job here but top marks go to the script by the late Nora Ephron. 

Director Damian Chazelle (Whiplash) does it again with La La Land, creating a fantastic musical romance about two creatives trying to make it big in Los Angeles. One is an aspiring actress (the fantastic Emma Stone), while the other (Ryan Gosling) is a jobbing jazz musician hoping for his big break. The song and dance routines are a wonder to watch, but this isn’t just a film that relies on gimmickry – it’s a well told modern day love story.

Yes, it was made to capitalise on the huge success of Indiana Jones, but this is no rip off. Directed by the brilliant Robert Zemeckis and blessed with two of the most charismatic stars of the 80s Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner, the movie is an absolute blast. It’s a film about a romance author who heads to Columbia to find her kidnapped sister, only to find herself face to face with an adventurer Michael Douglas. With equal measure action and comedy, Romancing the Stone is full of the fun only a rock-solid 80s flick can muster. 

If you’re looking for a feel-good movie this weekend, check out About Time. It’s a genre-defying film that’s about time travel, romance and has a big helping of laughs thrown in for good measure. Domhnall Gleeson plays a man who finds out he can travel through time, so decides to go and win the woman of his dreams. But, as with all time travel tales, things aren’t as straight-forward (and not-to-mention chronological) as they seem. 

Watch on Netflix now.

The 2005 version of Jane Austen’s classic tale of romance lands on Netflix this week. This particular treatment of the period drama stars Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen as the young, stubborn and witty Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy.

Wes Anderson’s quirky directing is a perfect fit for Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Fox. Lovingly crafted using stop animation that’s voiced by Anderson alumni, and George Clooney, the film works well as a kids animation, but it’s adults that will get the biggest kicks. Director Anderson is going back to stop animation for his next feature – let’s hope it’s half as good as the fantastic Fantastic Mr Fox.

Charlie Brown and his dog, Snoopy, are iconic cartoon characters, and in this new computer-generated film, which was co-written and co-produced by Charles Schulz’s son and grandson, is a brilliant continuation of that legacy, pleasing existing fans and winning over new ones in a tale that sees Charlie Brown try to impress Little Red-Haired Girl. It’s the first Peanuts feature film in 35 years, but the wait was worth it.

Yes it may be from the late 80s and nowadays robots should like more like the Westworld hosts rather than a big ol’ pile of junk, right? But Short Circuit 2 is still an enjoyable sequel for the whole family. 

It’s about Johnny Five, a sentient ex-military robot who is trying to help a robot inventor who is in some hot water with a bunch of bad guys. 

It’s not going to win any awards for the story or the acting or anything else, really, but if you want to introduce your kids to fictitious robots from times gone by, this is a fun weekend watch.

This movie may have not performed particularly well at the box office when it was first released, but it’s still a magical movie suitable for all the family. It follows the story of Alice years after she first ventures down the rabbit hole. She’s spent years at see and this time finds her way back to Wonderland when she comes across a magical looking glass. When she arrives she quickly embarks on a mission to save the Hatter, who is acting madder than ever. 

Are remakes always a bad idea? On paper the 2016 The Jungle Book sounds like a recipe for a dud. It’s a new take on the Disney 1967 animated The Jungle Book, but with less music and more CGI. However, it also fills out the story’s world and adds more backstory for protagonist Mowgli. And, guess what, It works. 

The BFG is brought to (larger than) life brilliantly by Stephen Spielberg and the acting talents of Mark Rylance. While the film may be a little too slow for younger viewers, it’s a mesmerising watch. Full of the scatological humour of the book, but also slathered in beautiful imagery that blends the real world and CG seamlessly. Spielberg has done wonders to bring Roald Dahl’s big classic to the big screen.

Directed by Katsuhiro Otomo, who made the greatest Anime around Akira, Steamboy is a superb Victorian-London infused tale about a young inventor who has to do everything he can to make sure his granddad’s inventions don’t fall into the wrong hands. It looks amazing, but is sometimes let down by its storytelling. It’s definitely worth a watch, though, even if it does get a little too silly.

Roald Dahl’s greatest book, Matilda, is given a great adaptation, thanks to director and star Danny DeVito. While brilliant at playing one of Matilda’s awful parents, it’s his direction that’s key here – weaving together hyperreal imagery, a faithfulness to the book and the right balance of comedy and unpleasantness.

Muppet madness ensues in The Dark Crystal – yet another classic brought to life by the majesty of Jim Henson and his puppet creations. It may not be as loved as Labyrinth but it’s still a brilliant children’s tale about the search for a crystal that once brought balance to the world. 

Battlefield 5 release date, trailers and news

After the huge success of Battlefield 1 in 2016 and a break in 2017, the Battlefield franchise will return in 2018 with a brand-new game called Battlefield V (or Battlefield 5 if you’re not into the roman numerals style). This time players will go back to WW2 with a range of single-player and multiplayer missions that will take them through the war and immerse them in the time.  

Battlefield V will be out on October 19 2018 – just one week after Call of Duty Black Ops IIII hits stands. While the two have always gone head-to-head in sales and often comb the same fertile battlegrounds for inspiration, the two could not be further apart this time around – Battlefield V will take on WWII while Black Ops will press on with its near-future take on high-tech warfare.

That means, if you’re after classic military conflict with biplanes, mortar shells and good ol’ boots on the ground gameplay, Battlefield V is the only place to get it.

Update: EA has just unveiled the official Gamescom trailer for Battlefield V – called Devastation of Rotterdam. In the clip, we see a mix of gameplay and pre-recorded content, interspersing the game’s beautiful scenery and destructive vehicles between the shots. Check out the trailer for yourself:

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? The next instalment in EA DICE’s first-person shooter series 
  • What can I play it on? PS4, Xbox One and PC most likely 
  • When can I play it? Early Access players will get access on October 11, those who pre-order the Deluxe edition will get access from October 16, and the standard version launches October 19.

Battlefield 5 release date

EA has now confirmed that Battlefield 5 will have a staggered release. EA and Origin Access players will be able to play on October 18, those who pre-order the Deluxe edition will have access from October 16 while the Standard edition will launch last on October 19. 

Battlefield 5 trailers

During E3 2018 we were treated to a brand new multiplayer trailer for Battlefield 5 which you can watch below:

The game’s launch brought us a new trailer to pore over, which was much needed after that incredibly short 12 second teaser. 

The biggest trailer so far is a loud and chaotic look into all the things you can do in the game and looks like an insight into the new co-op mode Combined Arms. This trailer shows players being dropped behind enemy lines in a team of four, fighting for their lives to survive. It shows new gameplay elements like lying on your back and back peddling while shooting, jumping through windows, and reviving each other. 

The first trailer for the new Battlefield was very short indeed – just 12 seconds long in fact. You can watch it for yourself below. It doesn’t really tell us much but the costume for the character we see and the Union Jack and German Balkenkreuz icons at the top of the screen do seem to suggest a WW2 setting.

Battlefield 5 confirmed features

Battle Royale is coming

During EA Play, it was confirmed that Battlefield 5 will be joining the Battle Royale fray with a mode of its own. Not much is known about it at the moment but the development team are trying to do something different and put their own distinct Battlefield spin on it. 

Getting deep into Tides of War

EA has laid out its long term plans for Battlefield 5’s online mode Tides of War in a recent blog post. 

In this mode, which EA has stressed will be completely free, players will create companies made up of completely customizable  soldiers, weapons and vehicles. All of these will be available across the multiplayer modes in the rest of the game. 

It will be possible to have one company per faction, two of which will be available at launch (Britain and Germany).

Soldiers will belong to one of four classes – Medic, Scout, Assault or Support – and these can be further customized and specialized into an Archetype as players gain experience through  gameplay. For example, your basic Support Soldier can then become more focused on engineering. More Archetypes will be added over time. 

EA has said that Tides of War is to be “an evolving journey featuring a new narrative every few months. Each chapter of Tides of War will focus on a particular aspect of the era, with unique gameplay experiences to drive players forward,” EA said. “We will use content, soldiers, visuals, and narrative to immerse our players deeper into the gameplay.” 

No lootboxes

It’s a controversial subject for EA games at the moment, but it seems that Battlefield 5 won’t have any lootboxes. Speaking to Polygon, EA Games said that all items will be unlocked through gameplay and that cosmetic items will have no impact on gameplay progress. There will be an option to buy an in-game premium currency with real money, but this currency will only go towards purchasing cosmetic items. It can also be earned through grinding. 

Single-player War Stories will feature

As was rumored (and probably widely hoped) Battlefield V will keep its single-player mode and build on War Stories from Battlefield 1. Locations will take players across the global front and will include the freezing cold of Norway, the dry heat of North Africa and the expanse of the French countryside. 

One story that’s been teased via a very short trailer is the story of a Norwegian resistance fighter who is trying desperately to protect her family during the 1943 German occupation. As was the case in Battlefield 1, War Stories will be a mode that tries to inject a good deal of emotion into the Battlefield experience. We were told by developers working on the game that the team have taken feedback from players following Battlefield 1 and tried to make improvements for the single-player mode this time around.  

There’s a new co-op mode called Combined Arms

A new multiplayer mode and it’s not a battle royale? Say it ain’t so! Combined Arms is an interesting addition to Battlefield V – a mode that sits somewhere between the focus and intimacy of a single-player experience and the chaos and scale of a large multiplayer mode. Combined Arms will take up to four players and ask them to work together closely as a team behind enemy lines. 

You’ll be given objectives, but this is a high stakes mode where you don’t want to leave any man behind. It’s all about working together as a team to do as well as you possibly can. 

For those that do love the classic big online multiplayer experience, however, that will return and you’ll be able to play through modes like Conquest, Death Match and Domination that you’ve come to know and love.

You can create a Company and customise it

In Battlefield V you’ll be able to create your very own company of soldiers and customise them, from their appearance to the weapons they use and the vehicles they have access to. T’ll be possible to choose both your own and their gender, change faces, apply war paint, and change clothing. 

You’ll also be able to visually customise vehicles and weapons with skins and parts as well as level them up in a way that suits the how you like to play. 

Customization options aren’t exactly ‘historically accurate’. There are many costumes which you find during the second world war, of course, but you also have the option to wear some cool leather jackets, style your hair in creative ways and go practically bare chested onto the battlefield. 

New ways to revive

Reviving other players and being revived is a much more personal affair in Battlefield V. Anyone within a squad can revive another member and they have to physically approach them to do so. Though Buddy Reviving is back, though, Medics will have some advantages. If a medic revives a player, they’ll be much faster and able to fully restore their health, while an ordinary squad member will be slower and only able to partially restore health. 

If you’re trying to restore a squad member lying in the middle of the option, you’ll be able to drag their body into cover to heal them where it’s safe for both of you. 

As far as health regeneration goes, that won’t be automatic and you’ll have to find supply stations or get help from your squad. 

You can build fortifications

This is an interesting one. In Battlefield V you’ll be able to restore destroyed buildings on the battlefield and use them for cover as well as use items like sandbags, barbed wire and trenches to create your own fortifications. Now, you won’t be able to rebuild an entire house in full, but you will be able to turn it into a serviceable bit of cover when things get dire.  

Towing the big guns

A new feature that could keep predictable maps a little more interesting is the ability to tow big guns anywhere you like. You can pop them onto a vehicle and keep them moving or take them from one stationary position to another. Either way, you’ve got a feature that could cause some serious chaos in the right (or wrong) hands. 

Premium Pass is being replaced by a live service called Tides of War

You won’t have to buy new modes or maps anymore – Battlefield V is stopping player segmentation with an ongoing live service. 

Called Tides of War, this online mode will allow players to journey and progress with their personalised Company through World War 2. There will be an evolving narrative with new gameplay, new items, and new events added over time. 

It appears that Tides of War content updates will be split into chapters, with each chapter lasting a few months and featuring time-limited experiences, participating in which will allow players to earn special rewards which will include new weapons, vehicles, dog tags and emblems, and soldier and weapon skins. 

Grand Operations is an ever-changing, narrative multiplayer experience

A part of Tides of War will be Grand Operations, a mode which builds on Operations from Battlefield 1. Grand Operations is a large, live, events-based multiplayer experience which will see players play long missions over several in-game days, with each day taking players to a new map within the mission (this could be around an hour of your real life overall).

Grand Operations will have an overarching narrative and player action on one day will impact the next day. We were told, for example, that if players are tasked with taking out as much enemy artillery as they can on day one, the degree of their success will affect how many resources, vehicles and soldiers they have when they start their offence on day two. 

On day three, one team could achieve a decisive victory but if things seem evenly matched, players will be pitched into a day four death match. In this final day it’ll be high stakes gameplay with no respawns, no Buddy Revives and a fight to the death. 

Each Grand Operation will be active for a limited time and players will be able to earn unique rewards for taking part in them.

It’ll also be possible to earn currency to get new items in Tides of War by completing daily orders and longer-term special assignments through the game’s other multiplayer modes. 

What we’d like to see from Battlefield 5

A campaign mode as good as Battlefield 1’s

It can be hard to get a campaign mode on a first-person shooter right, and most of the time we don’t expect very much from them. Perhaps that’s why we were so pleasantly surprised by what Battlefield 1 had to offer.

It was short and it wasn’t sweet, but the episodic emotionally-charged missions that took players across the different conflicts of WW1 hammered home the tragedy and global scale of the conflict. We really hope that if the next Battlefield is set in WW2 it follows a similar pattern – we wouldn’t object to it being longer, either. 

Keep the lootboxes cosmetic

We hope the reports that Battlefield 5’s lootboxes will be cosmetic are true. At this point it seems futile to expect that games don’t include some form of in-game spending, so we’d like to see EA opt for the version that’s least likely to rub players the wrong way. Cosmetic items are harmless, don’t disrupt gameplay and feel genuinely optional. 

Take advantage of the setting

Another of the great things about Battlefield 1 is that it stayed true to the kinds of weapons and vehicles that would have been available during the First World War, but that was also kind of limiting. If the next title is set during WW2 we’re looking forward to seeing things opened things up a bit more – we could see naval battles and aerial dogfights, as well as land-based combat.

  • The best Xbox One games to play right now

PlayStation VR sales hit 3 million units, two years after launch

After a slower-than-expected start, PlayStation VR is finally picking up steam.

On a post today on the PlayStation Blog, Sony says that PlayStation VR has just crossed the 3 million unit sales mark, adding that over 21.9 million experiences – games and apps – have been sold along with the headset.

The post details some of the platform’s best-selling games – which includes Skyrim VR, Resident Evil 7 Biohazard and Farpoint – and highlights two upcoming titles (Creed: Rise to Glory and Evasion) that are coming in the next two months. 

While the landmark sales number gives Sony something to celebrate, its effect on the larger VR ecosystem remains … well, rather ambiguous. 

VR by the numbers

The biggest problem is that, while Sony has been forthcoming about its sales numbers, HTC and Oculus are dead-silent about total number of units sold. 

In a blog post in July, HTC claimed it raked in around 35% of the global revenue so far in 2018 for VR headsets with its HTC Vive, HTC Vive Pro and China-exclusive Vive Focus. And while that number kind of tells us HTC is the market leader with a positive trajectory in the VR arms race, it doesn’t tell us how it stacks up apples-to-apples with Sony. 

As for Oculus, analysts estimate that Facebook’s VR brand sold around 229,000 Oculus Go VR headsets in the last three months, but can’t place how many total Oculus Rift units have been sold. 

While the industry should stop and applaud Sony for its results – 3 million units is nothing to sneeze at – the vaunted milestone has cast a light on an industry that’s all too happy to hide its numbers in the shadows.

  • What does PSVR have to offer? Here’s our round-up of the best PlayStation VR games

Hear me now: the future of voice and how it’s the new OS

It’s jaw-dropping how quickly voice assistant technology has been adopted by both gadgets, and by gadget-lovers in the home. The technology is now seen as the natural way to control the smart home, thanks to the low-cost ability to add voice to your setup. To understand how we got here, though, you have to look to the past – and to a rather familiar name. 

Siri was the first to catapult voice technology into the mainstream, when it launched with the iPhone 4S back in 2011. At the time, having a voice assistant felt frankly futuristic – because of this it came riding an uneasy wave of Terminator / GLaDOS references – but the reality was somewhat different. 

Yes, Siri was perfectly functional, but the scope of what could actually be done with it was rather limited – not just because it was beta technology, but because it was restricted to the phone. 

There was another problem: it was a victim of its own popularity. In a piece that outlines the troubled history of Siri, Cult of Mac points out that: “Bugs and other problems reportedly began almost from the time Apple acquired the voice system back in 2010. Part of the problem was Siri’s instant popularity. 

“The backend servers weren’t prepared for the demand coming from millions of iPhone users. The company has struggled ever since to make Siri’s code more efficient.”

  • Do you have a brilliant idea for the next great tech innovation? Enter our Tech Innovation for the Future competition and you could win up to £10,000!

Apple’s Phil Schiller announcing Siri on stage at the iPhone 4S launch event in October 2011

For all its niggles, Siri paved the way for the voice assistants of today, and instantly proved that controlling things with you voice was a feature consumers wanted. 

Of course, Siri is still very much around, and is now used in myriad products, from iPads to Macs to the Apple Homepod. But while Siri got everyone used to speaking to a synthetic voice – and there are rumblings that it’s about to get a whole lot better – right now it’s Google, and, in particular, Amazon, that are making most of the running in this space.

Hearing the Echo

Google Assistant, to begin with, was much like Siri – using natural language processing it would interpret a query posed by the user, use the big data trench that is Google search to find the answer, and surface it. 

But just this year – and this is where it gets really interesting – Google revealed an extension of Assistant called Google Duplex. This technology is designed not just to answer questions and make lists, but to become a bona fide assistant. It will phone restaurants on your behalf, mimicking conversational language, and do this fully autonomously.

Watching this in action – see the video below – can be chill-inducing, and it’s one of those ‘Oh, computers can actually do that?’ moments that has many privacy and ethical implications. Google has played down how this tech could be used going forwards, but it’s certain that we’ll see it being more widely adopted in the months and years to come.

And that leads us to Alexa. Where Apple and Siri planted the acorn for voice assistant tech, Alexa is the oak tree. Amazon has used its might to make sure Alexa is a piece of technology that’s available to all, no matter what their budget. And it’s a strategy that’s worked. But perhaps it’s how it offered this voice tech to millions – and that’s through the humble speaker.

Reports vary, but it’s thought that between 40-50 million people now have access to a smart speaker – and when we say smart, we really mean Alexa. Amazon’s range of products means you can have fully-fledged speakers with Alexa built-in, or, with the Amazon Echo Dot, you can make any speaker you have smart. 

The voice OS has also made its way to Amazon tablets and, through third parties, is in everything from fridges to robots.

A photo of the Amazon Echo speaker

Amazon’s Echo was the original smart home speaker

The smart home is a complex web of disparate products, but Alexa simplifies your setup by bringing them all together. The smartest thing Amazon did with Alexa was to take it out of the Amazon ecosystem, and open it up to as many partners as possible.

Being prevalent doesn’t always mean a technology’s future is secure, though, and there’s a lot to do yet before voice becomes the natural OS of choice.

The future of voice

Natural is the key word here. While Alexa and its bedfellows manage to serve you up the right information most of the time, improvements are being made that will make voice assistants even smarter.

Their voices, for a start, are getting more work. While the sound of a voice changes in different countries, within those countries there are also regional dialects and this is something that’s being worked on.

Speechmetrics, a British-based company, has spent 12 years looking into speech recognition and accents, and has come up with a language pack that should help to address the issue.

“We realized that we [needed] to come up with what we like to call ‘one model to rule them all’ – an accent-agnostic language pack that is just as accurate at transcribing [an] Australian accent as it is with Scottish,” Speechmatics CEO Benedikt von Thüngen told VentureBeat.

The result is thousands of hours of speech data that could form the backbone for future voice assistants.

There’s also the issue of catering for those who have disabilities that mean voice just isn’t a viable option. A recent Alexa mod solved this issue, and while it’s by no means official it proves that Alexa and other assistants could use visual data as well as text and voice. Google Assistant can also use visual cues via the Google Lens app.

The true future of voice assistants, however, could lie in the end of our addictive relationship with our smartphones. What do we actually use our phone for? Information, games, communication, and perhaps actually phoning people once in a while. Voice assistants want to do that and more. 

If you use your smartphone as an alarm, then the Echo Spot wants to take that reason away and add a little bit of smarts to your wake-up call, offering a particular song or radio station to wake up to. Couple this with Routines and your lights can be switch on, the coffee machine fired up and the weather read to you, all just by you
saying something as simple as “Good morning”. 

This isn’t the future, but now. Alexa and other smart assistants already do this, but the processes need to be simplified still further, and more things need to be connected, before we can feel comfortable enough to truly leave our phones in our pocket. 

The future isn’t us looking down and scrolling, but doing two things that are far more instinctive: speaking, and listening.

TechRadar’s Next Up series is brought to you in association with Honor

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2nd Generation release date, news and features

In April 2018 AMD launched its Ryzen 2nd Generation processors, and completely blew the first generation out of the water in terms of performance. It now appears that AMD plans to do the same thing with Ryzen Threadripper 2nd Generation to produce the very best high-end desktop processors you can buy in 2018.

Just like the move from Ryzen to Ryzen 2nd Generation, we’ve seen a huge leap in performance with Ryzen Threadripper 2nd Generation. From better power management to higher clock speeds, plus the addition of massively inflated core-counts.

Although AMD has made its official announcement and opened up pre-orders, there is still plenty to be revealed. So, be sure to keep this page bookmarked – we’ll keep it updated with any Ryzen Threadripper Generation 2 news that comes our way. 

Cut to the Chase

  •  What is it? AMD’s next generation of high-end desktop CPUs
  •  When is it out? August 13
  •  What will it cost? $649 (about £500, AU$880) for the 2920X – $1,799 (£1,639, AU$2,679)

Ryzen Threadripper Generation 2 release date

Since Computex 2018, we’ve known that Ryzen Threadripper Generation 2 CPUs would be released sometime in the second half of 2018. Following the official announcement, we now know the Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX will be the first to be release on August 13.

The Ryzen Threadripper 2950X will then release on August 31. Meanwhile, AMD has announced the Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX and 2920X will release sometime in October 2018.

Ryzen Threadripper Generation 2 price

 Ryzen Threadripper proved to be a much more affordable line of high-end desktop processors than Intel Skylake-X, and it appears these 2nd Generation chips will continue the trend.

Here’s the pricing of the AMD Threadripper Generation 2:

  • Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX: $1,799 (£1,639, AU$2,679)
  • Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX: $1,299 (about £1,000, AU$1,755)
  • Ryzen Threadripper 2950X: $899 (about £690, AU$1,210)
  • Ryzen Threadripper 2920X: $649 (about £500, AU$880)

Although Ryzen Threadripper 2nd Generation introduces two higher-end SKUs to the series, AMD’s new HEDT chips (processors for high-end desktop computers) are actually more affordable than the ones they’ve replaced.

The $899 (about £690, AU$1,210) Ryzen Threadripper 2950X is notably $100 cheaper than the Ryzen Threadripper 1950X that initially launched with a $999 (£845, AU$1,359) price tag. Likewise, the Ryzen Threadripper 2920X runs for $649 (about £500, AU$880) and is also more affordable than its predecessor, the $799 (£689, AU$1,069) Ryzen Threadripper 1920X.

At the top-end of the series, the $1799 (about £1,380, AU$2,430) Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX remains more affordable than Intel’s flagship $1,999 (about £1540, AU$2,700) Core i9-7980XE.

Ryzen Threadripper Generation 2 specs

Thanks to moving to the same Zen+ 12nm architecture used in the recent Ryzen 2nd Generation processors, Ryzen Threadripper 2nd Generation gains better power management, higher clock speeds and most notably a huge increase in possible core counts.

Here’s a quick spec breakdown of the current Ryzen Threadripper 2nd Generation lineup:

  • Ryzen Threadripper 2920X: 12-cores, 24-threads, clocked at 3.5GHz to 4.3GHz
  • Ryzen Threadripper 2950X: 16-cores, 32-threads, clocked at 3.5GHz to 4.4GHz
  • Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX: 24-cores, 48-threads, clocked at 3.0GHz to 4.2GHz
  • Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX: 32-cores, 64-threads, clocked at 3.0GHz to 4.2GHz

Of course, the highlight of AMD’s Ryzen Threadripper 2nd Generation lineup has to be the 32-core and 64-thread 2990WX. What’s more impressive is that the CPU is apparently capable of running up to 4.2GHz – a noticeable upgrade over the 1950X top speed of 4.0GHz with half as many cores and threads.

Some may point out that the 28-core processor that Intel showed off at Computex hit 5GHz, but we’re still not 100% sure of the particulars (i.e. cooling setup) surrounding that demo and Intel later clarified it achieved that speed with overclocking. 

You may have also spotted the WX suffix at tail end of AMD’s two top-end HEDT processors, and this is to signify a new series of consumer workstation-grade processor meant for creators and innovators. AMD is specifically targeting these two CPUs at creators and innovators such as video editors, those in design and general media creators.

Meanwhile, the X-series Threadripper 2nd Generation processors, the 2920X and 2950X, cater towards streaming gamers who need that extra processing power to drive 4K livestreaming as they game. Once again AMD flexes the strength of its 12nm architecture, by giving us an 2950X that’s 0.3-0.5Ghz faster than the 1950X it replaces, and we haven’t even gotten to overclocking yet.

Luckily, AMD is also sticking to the same TR4 Socket, so anyone looking to upgrade once Threadripper Generation 2 drops shouldn’t have to worry about buying a new board. However, unlike the Ryzen 2nd Generation jump to an X470 chipset, AMD isn’t introducing a new chipset to replace the existing X399 platform – at least in name anyway.

Instead, users will find a few new Ryzen Threadripper 2nd Generation-ready X399 motherboards designed with improved overclocking performance and power consumption. Thankfully, though, older motherboards are compatible after installing the latest BIOS, and it won’t require you to boot them with an original Ryzen Threadripper CPU or UEFI Boot Kits.

Ryzen Threadripper 2nd Generation features

Although Ryzen Threadripper 2nd Generation hasn’t jumped to a new chipset, it has got a new bag of tricks thanks to enhanced features and even one that’s brand new.

Precision Boost originally controlled CPU frequencies down to 25MHz increments. Now with version two, AMD has sprinkled in an algorithm that ensures the processor intelligently runs at its thermal and electrical limit whenever tasked. 

Extended Frequency Range 2 (XFR2) has also seen a significant buff allowing it to enable 16% additional processor performance across any number of cores and threads. On the previous generation of Ryzen Threadripper chips, XFR could only influence a small number of cores.

Lastly, Precision Boost Overdrive (PBO) is a brand new feature that allows AMD’s newest HEDT CPUs to exceed their specifications and max out their power draw from the abundant VRMs on X399 motherboards. Though users will technically void their warranty by doing so, PBO can help users achieve overclocks hitherto undreamt of.

AMD itself achieved a 5.1GHz overclock across all 32-cores with a liquid-nitrogen cooled processor.

  • Best processors 2018: top CPUs for your PC

The best projectors 2018: 10 projectors to consider for your home cinema

Best Projector Buying Guide: Welcome to TechRadar’s guide to the best home cinema projectors – featuring both 4K and HD models. 

Projectors have long held a vaunted position in the home cinema. That’s because while TVs are more than adequate to deliver 4K HDR content, you’ll likely need to refinance your house if you want a picture larger than 75-inches. But 75-inches is just the beginning for the cinema world.

Whether you want to splash Blu-ray movies across a large white wall, magnify your gaming experience, or throw photos and slides from a mobile device onto a 100-inch plus screen, a home cinema projector should be your first choice of display.

Unfortunately while most AV enthusiasts dream of the day they bring home a beamer for their living room, few tend to follow through. They have the misconception that projectors are hard to setup (they’re not), hard to maintain (they’re not) and cost significantly more than a TV (they don’t). 

To that end we want to dispel the myths perpetuated by non-cinephiles out there and help you pick a fantastic-looking projector without breaking the bank. To that end, we’ve rounded up the best projectors we’ve tested throughout the last year or two and have ranked them below.

Looking for something cheaper? Don’t miss our guide to the best projector deals that gets updated each and every month!

For the last 10 years, JVC has been the projector brand to follow for black levels that will beat your local cinema screen. It’s all thanks to JVC’s D-ILA technology, which rival DLP and SXRD models just can’t touch. 

Native contrast of 40,000:1 makes blacks looks truly black. That is, if you treat your cinema room to a nice, dark paint job. 

This year one of the main upgrades is HDR performance. The punchiness of HDR won’t challenge an ultra-bright LCD TV, but here you’ll get an image several times the size. 

One thing to note before buying is the JVC DLA-X5900 does not have native 4K projector panels inside. Instead it uses JVC’s eShift technology, which projects two different 1080p images sequentially at 120Hz frequency, making up the detail of a native 4K display. 

Clever, right? And in person you’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference between this and 4K. 

Sony VPL-VW300ES

For that proper cinematic feel it’s hard to beat a big screen projector, especially one that’s capable of filling a wall with 4K images.

First, there’s great colour and black levels, whatever the ambient light levels. Secondly, awesome Reality Creation tech that brings out Maximum detail from native 4K sources, Blu-ray and even DVD. Thirdly, the exemplary Bright Cinema and Cinema Film 1 & 2 presets and, finally, the hugely flexible optical zoom/lens shift options that make set-up a cinch.

If you’ve got the money, the space and the 4K source, the VPL-VW300ES is a shoo-in to become the centrepiece of your next home cinema.

Read the full review: Sony VPL-VW300ES

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Even in the company of excellent competition, the Optoma HD39Darbee is a high-value crowd-pleaser. It’s not always possible to satisfy movie fans and gamers, but this model scores more than it misses. It’s an effective gaming display, does a fine job with films and is bright enough to make your next sporting event a real social occasion.

That said, the Darbee technology can be a bit polarizing. In case you’re unfamiliar with it, Darbee processing applies variable picture enhancements to create a snappier image. It bumps brightness , adds extra edge emphasis for more detailed images and pumps up colors. It’s the equivalent of a sugar rush for your favorite films and TV shows.

We don’t mind admitting it leaves us a little conflicted. Sometimes we like it, other times we don’t, it rather depends what we’re watching. Cartoony games and anime all benefit from higher color saturation, dramas on Blu-ray less so.

Still, if you like eye candy, it’s definitely worth having on board.

Read the full review: Optoma HD39Darbee

BenQ W1070+

There was a time when a decent home cinema-grade projection system would have cost well north of £1,000, and take-up a considerable amount of space too.

Edging ever closer to the plummeting price of a decent flatscreen TV, the BenQ W1070+ DLP projector offers enough brightness to be used in daylight as well as the all-important Full HD resolution.

If you’re wondering whether to take the plunge and make a projector your go-to display for films and games, the W1070+ is a certainly bold and bright enough – and easily one of the best value entry-level projectors around.

Read the full review: BenQ W1070+

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Best home cinema projector

Many people use a projector as an accompaniment to a TV. It makes sense when DLP lamps last a few thousands hours rather than the 100,000 you might expect from a modern LCD TV.

You could use the Optoma UHD65 as your main video source if you like, but its sensible price makes it a good fit to wheel out on sports and movie nights. Its ultra-sharp 4K images, created using a pixel shift technique and clever motion modes make it particularly well-suited to sports like football and tennis. 

More of a movie fan? You don’t get the amazin black level and contrast as the top Sony or JVC projectors here. However, unless you can watch regularly in a very dark, light-controlled room, you may not notice that much of a difference. 

Read the full review: Optoma UHD65

If you want big screen home entertainment but don’t have the space, or funds for a large flatpanel TV or home cinema projector, then LG’s DLP LED Minibeam PH450UG Ultra Short Throw (UST) could be the answer. 

It needs only a dozen centimetres or so to cast a huge image onto a white wall or screen and, even better, it’s also ridiculously compact and relatively affordable at $650 (£529, around AU$864). 

There is a catch of course: The PH450UG has a resolution of just 720p. If you need more, LG has the PF1000U, a slightly larger 1080p UST model, that sells for $1,399 (£999). There are other projectors in this price range capable of 1080p – like the class-leading BenQ HT670 – but if you’re committed to the small form factor, the PH450UG is the way to go.

Read the full review: LG PH450UG Minibeam Projector

Epson EH-LS10000

The Epson EH-LS10000 is an excellent home cinema projector. Blistering black levels, great colours, a huge amount of convenience features and some nifty frame interpolation help produce some of the most fluid, colourful and realistic Full HD images from any projector out there.

However, there’s no getting away from the fact that even with the awesome power of Epson’s 4K Enhancement feature – which really does work – the native 4K trickery of the Sony VPL-VW300ES, available for exactly the same price, means that the slightly less detailed Epson EH-LS10000 must take a back seat, at least for now.

Read the full review: Epson EH-LS10000

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Optoma HD36

For those who think that home cinema is an occasional luxury that is just not affordable or practical, the ultra-affordable HD142X is serious food for thought. 

Despite its lean price tag, it has a full 1080p (1920 x 1080) resolution, 3,000 ANSI lumens of brightness, 23,000:1 high contrast ratio and built-in 10-watt speakers. It even supports 3D video to boot. 

Optoma says that the lamp life for the HD142X is somewhere in the ballpark of 8,000 hours – and claims that it would last around 10 years if you watched a two-hour movie every single day. Input-wise the HD141X offers 2 x HDMI (1.4a 3D support) + MHL v1.2, perfect for hooking up a PS4 or 3D Blu-ray player. 

Read the full review: Optoma HD142X

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Best home cinema projector

We’re pretty big fans of the affordable BenQ TH670. It might not be the top of the line from the highly lauded projector manufacturer, but it strikes the perfect balance of price to performance to be worth an audition in your living room.

The TH670 has a Full 1080p (1920×1080) resolution, 3,000 ANSI lumens of brightness, 10,000:1 high contrast ratio and built-in speakers. Those speakers could be a hair bit more powerful, but for the price it’s hard to complain too much. The projector is capable of images spanning from 60 to 120 inches across and its lamp is rated for 4,000 – 10,000 hours depending on which modes you primarily use. Input-wise it offers Computer in (D-sub 15pin) x 2 (Share with component), Composite Video in (RCA) x 1 and HDMI. Win! 

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Midway though the Movie of the Week, you’ll struggle to remember that the HD27 is a cut-price beamer – its images have genuine cinematic appeal. It’s also tremendous as a gaming display: Hook up a PS4 or Xbox One, find a big white wall large and giant screen theatrics can be yours. 

While you can get better performing projectors, you’ll pay significantly more and will probably struggle to match the convenient form factor. The HD27 may not represent the leading edge of tech, but it is at the cutting-edge of fun.

Read the full review: Optoma HD27

AMD vs Intel: which chipmaker does processors better?

Now that the battle between Coffee Lake and AMD Ryzen has died down a bit, and the war between Ryzen 2nd Generation and Cannon Lake is about to begin. It’s also time for us to dive into the perennial deathmatch: AMD vs Intel.

Essentially acting as the brain of your computer, the best processors are behind everything your PC does. This is why it’s so important to find the one for your specific needs – you don’t want to pay for features you don’t need. 

If you’ve followed the frenetic war of Intel vs AMD as closely as we have over the years, you likely already know that AMD and Intel have traditionally focused on different parts of the CPU market. Where Intel has focused on higher clock speeds and efficiency with low core counts, AMD has focused on upping its core counts and boosted multi-threading performance.

However, it’s still possible for AMD and Intel to coexist while catering to entirely different audiences, with some room for direct competition in between. If you’re not quite sure where your loyalties lie just yet, continue to the next slide for a constantly updated glance at the AMD vs Intel CPU war.

Gary Marshall originally contributed to this article

For bargain shoppers on the prowl for the next hottest deal, it used to be assumed that AMD’s processors were cheaper, but that was only because the Red Team did its best work at the entry level.

Now that Ryzen processors have proven AMD’s worth on the high-end, the tide has ostensibly turned. Now Intel reigns supreme in the budget CPU space, with its $64 (about £46, AU$82) MSRP Pentium G4560 offering far better performance than AMD’s $110 (about £80, AU$140) MSRP A12-9800.

Even among mid-range, current-gen chips, Intel is leading the pack by offering 8th-generation Coffee Lake CPUs as low as $117 (about £83, AU$152) for the Core i3-8100T. 

Much of this is due to the Advanced Micro Device company’s reluctance to move beyond simply iterating on its antiquated Bulldozer architecture and onto adopting the current-generation ‘Zen’ standard it’s already introduced with pricier CPUs. 

Still, on the low end, Intel and AMD processors typically retail at about the same price. It’s once you hit that exorbitant $200 (around £142, AU$252) mark where things get trickier. High-end Intel chips now range from 4 up to 18 cores, while AMD chips can now be found with up to 32-cores.

And, thanks to some recent price cuts you can find the AMD Ryzen 5 2400G and the Ryzen 3 2200G for $160 (around £129, AU$208) and $105 (around £84, AU$135), respectively.

While it was long-rumored that AMD’s Ryzen chips would offer cutting-edge performance at a lower price, benchmarks have demonstrated that Intel is remaining strongly competitive.

If you can get your hands on one, the Core i7-8700K is $359 (about £260, AU$420) MSRP, while the still less-capable Ryzen 7 2700X is priced at $329 (about £230, AU$420)  MSRP. And, if you want to get your hands on the new hotness, the Intel Core i7-8086K is available for $425 (£380, about AU$560).  

For anyone looking to dip their toes into the realm of the HEDT processors, AMD and Intel are very close right now, especially on the heels of the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX CPU, at $1,799 (£1,639, AU$2,679). That might seem like a lot, but compared to the $1,999 (£1,649, AU$2,729) Intel Core i9-7980XE, it’s a downright bargain – especially given that AMD’s offering has nearly double the cores. 

If you’re building a gaming PC, truthfully you should be using a discrete graphics card, or GPU (graphics processing unit), rather than relying on a CPU’s integrated graphics to run games as demanding as Middle Earth: Shadow of War.

Still, it’s possible to run less graphically intense games on an integrated GPU if your processor has one. In this area, AMD is the clear winner, thanks to the release of the Ryzen 5 2400G that packs powerful discrete Vega graphics that outperforms Intel’s onboard graphic technology by leaps and bounds. 

Yet, as we mentioned before, Intel has officially started shipping its high-end H-series mobile CPU chips with AMD graphics on board. In turn, this means that hardier laptops powered by Intel can now be thinner and their accompanying silicon footprints will be over 50% smaller, according to Intel client computing group vice president Christopher Walker.

All of this is accomplished using Embedded Multi-Die Interconnect Bridge (EMIB) technology, along with a newly contrived framework that enables power sharing between Intel’s first-party processors and third-party graphics chips with dedicated graphics memory. Even so, it’s too early to tell whether this is a better solution than the purebred AMD notebooks slated for the end of this year.

Intel might be aiming to shake things up though as it has announced that it’s planning on releasing a GPU aimed at gamers by 2020. And, if we could see Intel putting some of that effort into improving integrated graphics.

Still, if all you’re looking to do is play League of Legends at modest settings or relive your childhood with a hard drive full of emulators (it’s okay, we won’t tell), the latest Intel Kaby Lake, Coffee Lake or AMD A-Series APU processors for desktops will likely fare just as well as any forthcoming portable graphics solution.

On the high end, such as in cases where you’ll be pairing your CPU with a powerful AMD or Nvidia GPU, Intel’s processors are typically better for gaming due to their higher base and boost clock speeds. At the same time, though, AMD provides better CPUs for multi-tasking as a result of their higher core and thread counts – not to mention that AMD Ryzen processors offer more PCIe lanes, which can translate to better graphical performance by slotting in more GPUs.

In the HEDT space, things are heated right now, as we wait for Intel’s answer to the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX – with its 32-core, 64-thread design, it is wiping the floor with the Intel Core i9-7980XE, at a lower price. Intel did show off a 28-core HEDT processor back at Computex 2018, but we’ll just have to wait and see how that’ll perform in the real world.

While there is no clear winner in the graphics department, survey says AMD is the better option for integrated graphics, while hardcore gamers who don’t mind shelling out the extra cash for a GPU will find that Intel is better for gaming alone – although with Ryzen 2nd Generation AMD is closing that gap. Meanwhile, AMD is superior for carrying out numerous tasks at once.

If you’re building a gaming PC, truthfully you should be using a discrete graphics card, or GPU (graphics processing unit), rather than relying on a CPU’s integrated graphics to run games as demanding as Middle Earth: Shadow of War.

Still, it’s possible to run less graphically intense games on an integrated GPU if your processor has one. In this area, AMD is the clear winner, thanks to the release of the Ryzen 5 2400G that packs powerful discrete Vega graphics that outperforms Intel’s onboard graphic technology by leaps and bounds. 

Yet, as we mentioned before, Intel has officially started shipping its high-end H-series mobile CPU chips with AMD graphics on board. In turn, this means that hardier laptops powered by Intel can now be thinner and their accompanying silicon footprints will be over 50% smaller, according to Intel client computing group vice president Christopher Walker.

All of this is accomplished using Embedded Multi-Die Interconnect Bridge (EMIB) technology, along with a newly contrived framework that enables power sharing between Intel’s first-party processors and third-party graphics chips with dedicated graphics memory. Even so, it’s too early to tell whether this is a better solution than the purebred AMD notebooks slated for the end of this year.

Still, if all you’re looking to do is play League of Legends at modest settings or relive your childhood with a hard drive full of emulators (it’s okay, we won’t tell), the latest Intel Kaby Lake, Coffee Lake or AMD A-Series APU processors for desktops will likely fare just as well as any forthcoming portable graphics solution.

On the high end, such as in cases where you’ll be pairing your CPU with a powerful AMD or Nvidia GPU, Intel’s processors are typically better for gaming due to their higher base and boost clock speeds. At the same time, though, AMD provides better CPUs for multi-tasking as a result of their higher core and thread counts.

While there is no clear winner in the graphics department, survey says AMD is the better option for integrated graphics, while hardcore gamers who don’t mind shelling out the extra cash for a GPU will find that Intel is better for gaming alone. Meanwhile, AMD is superior for carrying out numerous tasks at once.

When you buy a new computer or even just a CPU by itself, it’s typically locked at a specific clock speed as indicated on the box. Some processors ship unlocked, allowing for higher clock speeds than recommended by the manufacturer, giving users more control over how they use their components (though, it does require you know how to overclock).

AMD is normally more generous than Intel in this regard. With an AMD system, you can expect overclocking capabilities from even the $129 (about £110, AU$172) Ryzen 3 1300X. Meanwhile, you can only overclock an Intel processor if it’s graced with the “K” series stamp of approval. Then again, the cheapest of these is the $180 (£160, AU$240) Intel Core i3-8350K.

Both companies will void your warranty if you brick your processor as the result of overclocking, though, so it’s important to watch out for that. Excessive amounts of heat can be generated if you’re not careful, thereby neutralizing the CPU as a result. With that in mind, you’ll be missing out on a few hundred stock megahertz if you skip out on one of the K models.

Intel’s more extravagant K-stamped chips are pretty impressive, too. The i7-8700K, for instance, is capable of maintaining a 4.7GHz turbo frequency in comparison to the 4.2GHz boost frequency of the Ryzen 7 1800X. If you’ve access to liquid nitrogen cooling, you may even be able to reach upwards of 6.1GHz using Intel’s monstrous, 18-core i9-7980XE.  

In the end, the biggest problem with AMD’s desktop processors is the lack of compatibility with other components. Specifically, motherboard (mobo) and cooler options are limited as a result of the differing sockets between AMD and Intel chips.

While a lot of CPU coolers demand that you special order an AM4 bracket to be used with Ryzen, only a handful of the best motherboards are compatible with the AM4 chipset. In that regard, Intel parts are slightly more commonplace and are often accompanied by lower starting costs, too, as a result of the wide variety of kit to choose from.

That said, AMD’s chips make a little more sense from a hardware design perspective. With an AMD motherboard, rather than having metal connector pins on the CPU socket, you’ll notice those pins are instead on the underside of the CPU itself. In turn, the mobo is less likely to malfunction due to its own faulty pins.

As for availability, four months after the release date of Intel’s 8th-generation processors, both Intel Coffee Lake and AMD Ryzen processors are widely purchasable from major retailers. Whereas there’s a shortage on graphics cards due to the cryptocurrency surge, most CPUs can be found at or below their sticker price.

That includes everything from the Intel Core i7-8700K to the freshly released AMD Ryzen 3 2200G and Ryzen 5 2400G. Even the recently-announced Intel 8th-Generation T-series CPUs should be popping up for pre-order across the internet any minute now. Now we just have to wait for AMD’s Ryzen 2nd-generation CPUs to freshen up the market once more.

Future speculation 

It really shouldn’t come as a surprise that AMD had a great year in 2017 with its Ryzen processors – especially the high-end Threadripper processors. And, now that the Ryzen 2nd Generation CPUs have been released, AMD is claiming more and more of Intel’s market share, up to 50% at the time of writing.  And, if AMD keeps putting out processors as good as the Ryzen 5 2600X and the Ryzen 7 2700X, we think this trend will only continue.

We’re expecting the AMD Ryzen Threadripper Generation 2 CPUs to arrive this fall. The rumored Threadripper 2990X, for instance will supposedly rock 32 cores and 64 threads, and will cost about $1,700 (£1,300, AU$2,300) according to recent speculation. We’ve also seen some leaks suggesting that the Ryzen Threadripper 2970X is on the way as well, featuring 24 cores and 48 threads, and a base clock of 3.5GHz. 

If these leaks are true, Intel is going to be put under even more pressure to deliver new HEDT processors – which makes us even more excited for the Basin Falls (Refresh) and Skylake-X processors Intel is rumored to be releasing.

Intel isn’t going to stand by and let AMD have all the fun with Ryzen though. Not only is Intel planning on launching its 9th-generation processors with Coffee Lake-S Refresh, but we’ve seen a wealth of leaked roadmaps that suggest Intel is refreshing every part of its lineup in late 2018/early 2019. That’s not to mention Cannon Lake, which might finally come out next year.

Even in the shadow of the devastating Meltdown and Spectre exploits in Intel processors – which have been fixed (although a new strain has been found by Google and Microsoft) – Intel is still experiencing huge growth in every sector outside of desktop processors – which only goes to show how much of an impact AMD Ryzen has had on the market.

AMD also now has its own exploits to deal with, as Israeli security firm CTS labs has released a white paper to the press detailing vulnerabilities in AMD’s current CPUs. However, AMD has followed this up by promising that it will fix these issues as soon as possible.