The Stuff Hot Five

Counting down the five things that have rocked our world this 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) Halo Wars 2 brings a new kind of strategy to Xbox One

Before you run a mile at the mention of a strategy game, this clever caper for your Xbox looks to be quite the title.

Less well-known than many an Xbox exclusive, we got hands-on with Halo Wars 2 this week and were thoroughly impressed by the tactical tightrope it requires players to walk.

More accessible than your average plan-and-attack thinker, there are several ways to get in on the game, including a new online Blitz mode - essentially a five-minute capture the flag session, which adopts a card system based on energy collection. Easier played than explained, suffice it to say it soon becomes dangerously addictive.

Still, it’s the large-scale battles where Halo Wars 2 continues to truly excel, offering frenetic action that requires as much brain as brawn to overcome. We’ve only had a taste, but we reckon it could be up there with some of the genre’s best titles.

4) Bragi builds Bluetooth buds at a better price

Want in on the AirPods hype, but can’t face flinging more of your hard-earned cash at Apple? We met Bragi’s wireless Dash earbuds last year - and, now, the maker has stripped out the activity-tracking tech to cut costs, giving us the Bragi Headphone. If you’re wandering where the ‘s’ went, so are we.

Surprisingly comfortable despite their size, the Headphone also sounds - on first listen, at least - more balanced and robust than the AirPods. There were no dropouts or disconnects, either, during the limited listening time we spent with them.

They’re water-resistant, too, so a bit of rain shouldn’t hurt, while tiny physical controls on the right unit mean phone-free interaction - trumping the AirPods - though it can be tricky to hit the buttons.

If you’re the sort that worries about in-ears blocking out too much sound on a commute, the Bragi buds also have nifty transparency tech built-in, so you can control how much of the outside world gets in. All for US$149. Beat that, Apple.

3) Misfit makes a simple, subtle tracker that’s anything but average

From ears to wrists, we’ve been putting Misfit’s latest tracker - the Phase - to the test and it’s quite the stylish number.

A traditional, analogue design means it doesn’t scream smartwatch, while a brilliant battery life and subtle notification alerts make it a useful thing, too.

In fact, Misfit’s channelled plenty of the pared-back brilliance of its Shine and Ray fitness trackers into the Phase, avoiding a heart-rate sensor and GPS in favour of straightforward, hourly movement reminders.

Yes, you can get watches that do more for the same money and fitness tracking is basic at best but, if you want a handy helper rather than a full-blown smart assistant on your wrist, this is no bad bet.

2) This Kickstarter kettle that’s more than a fancy spout

Coming home to a freshly boiled kettle isn’t nearly as satisfying as a good cuppa sitting there waiting - but it’s halfway there, which is good enough for us.

Meet the Stagg EKG+, a Bluetooth-equipped kettle looking for funding on Kickstarter. Set the temperature remotely, hit the button and it’ll get boiling in a jiffy.

What’s more, it’s got a clever ‘hold’ function which will keep the water at the desired temperature for up to 30 minutes, which is great if you’re a three cup kind of drinker.

It also happens to look suitably space-age, with the sort of spout that would make a Danish person proud. In fact, it’s designed for precision pouring, to achieve the optimal flow rate - whatever that might be. Begavet indeed.

1) Fuji crams its stellar X-T2 into a smaller, cheaper shell

We like the Fuji X-T2. We like it a lot. Which is why we also like the XT-20. A lot. Why? Because it’s basically an X-T2 in a smaller, cheaper body.

And cheaper doesn’t mean worse: the X-T20 is stuffed with tech, including the same 24.3MP APS-C sensor as the X-T2, alongside 4K video recording up to 30fps and a touch-sensitive 3in LCD display.

Better still, despite being pretty much pocketable, it doesn’t sacrifice on the full manual controls that keen snappers look for, except for an absent ISO dial. OK, so it’s not waterproof, but how many people will actually get splashy with it?

Some people won’t like the plastic shell, but it still looks retro chic enough to carry the £799 price tag. Yes, that’s a lot for a plastic body with no lens, but is also much less than the £1399 an XT-2 will cost you - and it’s got a lot of the same features. We can’t wait to try it out.