The Stuff Hot Five

Counting down the five things that rocked our world last week

What do we really care about? And what should you really care about?

Each week, we'll be counting down the five most important things in our world right now. The new gadgets that we're excited about - and that you should be excited about too. The games and apps we're desperate to play - and that we want you to enjoy too. The best phones and tablets and cameras and laptops and smartwatches and all the rest that we've reviewed that week - and that you should go out and buy.

Think of it as a condensed version of the whole site. But don't forget to read the rest of it too, eh?

5) THE APPLE WATCH JUST BECAME A LOT MORE APPEALING TO CYCLISTS

Strava is the perfect app for the Apple Watch because it serves the same needs: simple fitness tracking and showing off. This week the relationship became a true marriage thanks to an important update – the ability to get full Strava on your Apple Watch Series 2 without needing an iPhone present.

That’s because the cycling and running app can now use the built-in GPS of an Apple Watch Series 2 (and of those Android Wear 2.0 watches that have GPS), rather than needing to cling to your smartphone’s apron strings. We haven’t seen so much excitement in the Stuff office about an app update since WhatsApp started supporting gifs. Just don’t start using it to beat our segment records, okay?

4) A posthumous tribute to Steve Jobs at the Apple Park in Santa Clara Valley

Envisioned by the tech giant’s legendary founder Steve Jobs, the Apple Park is being touted as the place-to-be, come April.  The 175-acre campus, situated in Santa Clara Valley will open in April, we’ve already updated our resumes and booked an appointment with the embassy for a work Visa.

Steve Jobs was known to be a fanatic for detail in design and to honour his vision for the new campus, a brand new hill-top located auditorium is being constructed that will be known as the Steve Jobs Theatre. Opening later this year, the 1000-seat auditorium is something we’re looking forward to visiting soon in the coming months to give you a better review. Of course, the review is just an excuse – we’re dying to set foot in the coolest office campus in the world.

It’s going to be cool in more ways than one. Going the eco-friendly way, Apple Park will be powered by 100 percent renewable energy. It will run one of the largest on-site solar energy installations in the world. It’s also the site of the world’s largest naturally ventilated building, projected to require no heating or air conditioning for nine months of the year.

 

 

3) KTM’s trio of Dukes make our hearts beat three times faster

In its 2017 avatar, the crown jewel of KTM’s Duke trio, the 390 Duke comes with a significant number of upgrades, the slick new styling being the most noticeable change. Important bits include the engine dishing out 43.5PS power and 37Nm torque with sweet additions like ride-by-wire. A larger 320mm front disc is kept in check by Bosch ABS and a slipper clutch rounds up essential safety equipment. The most tech-tastic feature is the multi-colour TFT display console that bowled us over.

A new member to team Duke, the 250 bridges the gap between the 200 and 390 to ensure no stone is left unturned in recruiting every motorcyclist to team orange. It also inherits the 390’s unapologetically edgy design.

The most affordable entry into the Duke family is the 200 Duke. Although it retains old hardware, evidently nudging the entire motorcycling community to upgrade to potent new models, it does get a new set of clothes. We can’t wait to swing a leg over the new Dukes to see what all that new tech translates to on the streets.

 

 

2) MASS EFFECT IS BACK - AND IT’S BRILL

Following its first announcement at E3 way back in 2015, fans have awaited the arrival of Mass Effect: Andromeda - through several delayed launches - with eager anticipation. Now, finally, its arrival is just weeks away - and we’ve been lucky enough to get hands-on with space’s greatest action-RPG. What do we think? It seems to be everything we were hoping for and more.

Set between Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3Andromeda sees you take on the role of a Pathfinder searching for a new home for humanity in a distant, alien galaxy.

And, while the deep character relationships of the original trilogy are very much a part of the latest game, Andromeda also feels much, much bigger - in fact, it’s developer BioWare’s biggest game ever.

Graphics and narration are truly cinematic, while gameplay itself is both refined and offers as much depth as you’re willing to handle. From crafting to combat to dialogue decisions, this is the most explorative and open Mass Effecthas ever been - and that’s without mentioning the Nomad, a six-wheeled off-roader that you can hoon through sandy plains. Oh, and you can jump with a jetpack now, too.

We can’t wait to play the full thing.

1) STICKING POINTY THINGS INTO MECHANICAL ANIMALS IS A LOT OF FUN

We all moan about the constant churn of gaming sequels, which is why when something shiny and new gets announced we all get more excited than a puppy in a ball pit. The good news is that with Horizon Zero Dawn the excitement has not been misplaced.

True, this is a game that borrows from many that have gone before but, while that does occasionally result in a dose of déjà vu, it also results in a sort of ‘best of’ experience.

And for all of the bits there are borrowed, there’s also plenty that’s unique, from the Zoid-like mechanical animals - which are brilliantly designed and often fantastically challenging to take down - to the excellent, slowly revealed sci-fi story of a dead civilisation. Our dead civilisation.

It’s also got a great blend of action and RPG, with the stealthy stalking of the machines (and sometimes humans) being enhanced by a levelling and equipment system that adds depth without being overwhelming.

In short, there’s something for everyone here. At least, everyone who has a PlayStation 4, because this is an exclusive. One that looks extra lovely if you’re playing on a Pro.