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) The least Googley Google phones ever

When is a Google phone not a Google phone? When it’s actually called a Google phone.

What are we on about? Well, first some history: Google’s Nexus phones were peak Google in that they were geeky and kinda cool without really trying. Plus, they were really cheap because actually their purpose was to make lots of money off you by getting you to use other Google products such as Android and Chrome. And that’s a totally Google trick.

But the new Pixel phones - despite being the first to bear the Google logo - are the exact opposite of all that. Design-wise they’re a lot more mainstream: think iPhone and you're pretty close, basically. They’re also pretty pricey - £599 for the bottom-of-the-range 32GB Pixel.

So they’re rubbish, then? Well no, not at all. As our reviews of the Pixel and Pixel XL make clear, there’s plenty to like about them, such as their superb cameras, fast, stutter-free operation and pin-sharp screens. These are mostly excellent phones - they’re just not very Googley. We still want one anyway. 

4) The return of the darkest TV show on earth

Alright, so maybe Black Mirror isn't the actual darkest show on TV - that would be The Real Housewives of Cheshire - but for anyone as tech-obsessed as we are, Charlie Brooker's clever tales of modern life can make for profoundly unsettling viewing.

Freshly moved from Channel 4 to Netflix, it now has a bigger budget, longer run (six episodes) and more time in which to spin its tales of tech-gone-wrong: there's no ads now, of course, plus the final episode is feature-length.

The whole season debuts is available on Netflix today (Friday 21 October), so may we suggest you turn off your phone and settle down to watch it. Though you may not want to turn your phone back on again afterwards.


3) The most exciting game of 2017

68 seconds isn’t very long. About the time it takes to eat a Cadbury’s Creme Egg, maybe, or to be talked over, insulted and tweeted at 3am by Donald Trump. But short or not, Rockstar Games managed to fit an entire trailer for Red Dead Redemption 2 into that time span - and what’s more they left us with plenty to be excited about.

We won’t list it all here - you can watch the trailer yourself above - but trust us when we say that it is worth giving up just over a minute of your time to enjoy it. You can always eat a Creme Egg at the same time if you like. 

2) The most futuristic turntable ever

Back To The Future Part II is a great film. Not great in the way that the first movie is, but still clever, funny and packed with ideas. But despite all that, it got life in 2015 hopelessly wrong.

Hoverboards? We’re still waiting. Flying cars? Not even Google’s working on them. Well the Mag Lev is what turntables would be like if BTTF Part II were real life - and we want one.

See that platter in the picture above? Yep, it’s floating. How? By way of magnets - or more precisely, electromagnets. Why? BECAUSE IT LOOKS AMAZING, ALRIGHT.

It’s only a Kickstarter project right now, but it’s already smashed its US$300,000 goal, so a 2017 release looks plausible. And besides, that’ll give you time to save up the US$1400 one will cost you. So if you’re reading this, Robert Zemeckis, please start working on BTTF IV, set it in 2017 and make the Mag Lev the star. Thank you. 

1) The first truly modular games console

Modular phones are all the rage this year but modular games consoles? Surely not. Yet that's exactly what Nintendo is giving us with the new Nintendo Switch.

Formerly known as the NX, the Switch was unveiled yesterday via a three-minute video which gave us plenty of info about how it'll be used but almost no details in terms of specs. No matter - because we're excited enough about what Ninty's shown us so far that we're prepared to give it the benefit of the doubt and assume it'll be rocking Xbox Scorpio-beating innards and true 4K output. Maybe.

What we do know is that you'll be switch between using it at home and on the go with the minimum of fuss. The core console looks like a tablet, with a screen that we estimate to be around 7in in size. At home it slots into a TV-connected base, and you use wireless controllers called Joy-Cons to operate it. 

Time to catch the bus? You remove the console from its dock, snap the Joy-Cons on to the sides and hey presto! You now have a handheld console. 

It won't be out until March and how good it is will also depend massively on what the games are like, but right now we're excited. And it's a long time since we've been able to say that about a Nintendo console.

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