We see a lot of products every week here on Stuff. But come Friday, which are the ones we actually want to take home with us?
Every week, we condense all of the many products we see into the Hot Five — the definitive list of the best new gadgets to lust after, buy and use. These are the best products, the top apps and games, and the best tech accessories to blow this week’s savings on.
Read this, and you’ll have absorbed the best of the week on the Stuff website! But please, do also read the rest of the website.
Listen as we debate the Hot 5
Every week we discuss the Hot Five and decide what's going to win in the Stuff Gadget Podcast. Listen to this week's episode below via Soundcloud, subscribe in iTunes, or search for 'Stuff Gadget podcast' in your favourite podcast player.
5) ZTE Axon M shows the power of two (screens)
A folding phone, you say? A relic of the pre-iPhone Dark Age of mobile communication, surely – something we left behind with clamshells, Symbian and pressure-based touchscreens?
Nuh-uh, says ZTE, which has just ripped the wrappers off the decidedly non-old-fashioned Axom M, a hinged handset with twin 5.2in 1080p displays. Unfold the phone and the two combine to form a single 6.75in 2160 x 1920 screen. Sure, there’s a hinge down the middle, but how else are you going to fit this thing in your pocket?
It’s an Android phone, unsurprisingly, and outside the screen the specs are decidedly mid-range, but we can’t help but be dazzled by ZTE’s novel approach to maximising display size. Well, it’s an alternative to slimming down the bezels, we suppose.
4) Surface Book 2 offers the best of both worlds
Microsoft announced the second generation of its Surface Book laptop/tablet hybrid this week, and it’s packing the sort of specs that’ll leave performance-hungry PC users salivating.
The flagship 15in model is a particularly beautiful beast packing a GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card and 8th generation Intel Core i7 CPU, giving it more than enough grunt to run the latest games at high settings and perform intensive tasks at a brisk pace. And that’s before we get to the design, which retains the sort of graceful lines, slim dimensions and overall sexiness that paint the Surface Book 2 as the ultimate no-compromise convertible. Oh, and there’s a stonking battery stuffed in there too, promising up to 17 hours of use on a single charge.
The downside? A fully-loaded 15-incher will drain your bank account to the tune of almost £3,000. Oof, as they say.
3) Pixel 2 XL: the best Android experience bar none
We ran the Stuff rule over Google’s new flagship smartphone this week – and we’re mighty impressed. “How impressed?”, you ask. Impressed to the tune of five whole stars, that’s how impressed!
The first-gen Pixel XL had a killer camera – perhaps the best around at the time – but its sequel improves upon it. You’ll find no dual-sensor tricks in this 12MP setup, but plenty of behind-the-scene machine learning shenanigans that ensure exposures are even, crisp and supremely impactful. Video gets a boost too, courtesy of both electronic and optical image stabilisation. Android-likers will perhaps be just as excited by the Pixel XL 2’s stock Android Oreo platform, which offers the stock OS plus all of Google’s own touches. It’s the definitive Android experience, basically – Oreo as the makers intended.
Add in the searingly speedy performance, gorgeous display and superb audio and you’ve got a Pixel phone that you can truly love. We’re smitten.
2) Sonos One’s Alexa boost is (mostly) a winner
The Sonos Play:1 is one of our favourite wireless speakers – and now it’s available with added Alexa seasoning in the form of the (somewhat confusingly-named) Sonos One. £199 apiece and handsomely compact, has the inclusion of Amazon’s voice assistant turned this into the ultimate smart speaker?
Well, not quite. Not yet, anyway. The One is probably best viewed as a work-in-progress, being that Alexa is only the first piece of smart tech inside (and still technically in beta, which means it’s not as responsive as on an Echo speaker). Future updates should see Alexa refined, and Google Home added to the AI roster, which should go a long way towards ironing out any creases there. There’s also no Spotify integration, which makes playing tunes from the most popular of subscription services a bit trickier than we’d like.
We don’t have any quibbles about the sonic performance or the companion app, however. Read our full review below to get the whole picture.
1) Mate, this 10 Pro is a real looker
Huawei unveiled its Mate 10 Pro smartphone this week, this year’s flagship model from the Chinese giant – and it’s packed to the brim with promise.
From the mammoth 6in OLED screen (rocking the now-fashionable 18:9 aspect ratio and accompanying barely-there bezels), to the AI brain that helps the Leica-designed dual rear camera take better photos, to the curved glass backside, this looks every bit a handset that can go toe-to-toe with the heavy hitters from Samsung, LG, Apple et al.
The highlight for many might be its capacious 4,000mAh battery, which will (fingers crossed!) hold sufficient charge for a full two days of use. Look out for a full review of this Android Oreo-equipped beast later this month.