Florida players tweet thinking-face emojis in unison right as Chip Kelly rumors swirl

It’s either a well-coordinated trolling attempt or a sign that something’s happening. You decide which.
The Florida Gators are hiring Chip Kelly, maybe. They’re also maybe not.
I’m not sure which it is, though rumors flew all Sunday that the Gators are closing in on the former Oregon head football coach to fill the same job in Gainesville.
Then, around 8 p.m. ET, a bunch of Gators started to tweet, as flagged by 247Sports’ Thomas Goldkamp:

players —>
— Thomas Goldkamp (@ThomasGoldkamp)

Those are all “thinking face” emojis. That’s a versatile type of emoji. You can use it for deep thought during problem-solving exercises, or you can use it to ironically suggest that someone’s said something stupid that needs to be pondered in full. Personally, I use the thinking face to indicate general oddity.
I choose not to believe that more than a dozen teammates would tweet the exact same suspense-inducing emoji at the same time by sheer coincidence. There are also some Florida recruits using the emoji, like blue-chip, class of 2018 QB Matt Corral:

— M A T T Y (@corral_matt)

Also going on throughout Sunday:
Sleuths figured out Florida’s administration had been in New Hampshire, where Kelly lives:

Others on plane from New Hampshire to Ocala were associate ADs Lynda Tealer, Laird Veatch, Steve McClain, Mike Hill and President Kent Fuchs.
— Ryan Young (@RyanYoungSEC)

And earlier in the day, Kelly had joked on ESPN about the whole situation:

Chip Kelly’s response when asked about the Florida job on SportsCenter
— Saturday Down South (@SDS)

Also, shortly before the surge of emojis:

As of Sunday, Chip Kelly has agreed to be the 27th head coach for the University of Florida football team. Welcome to Chip.
— Tyler Fawbush (@fawbusht)

The source of that:

Son of Florida UAA President (Who is on the search committee) https://t.co/UX2QvX0cxu
— Mark Wheeler (@ideTheGators/status/932404965204791296?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>November 20, 2017

Landing Kelly would be an extra big deal for Florida, though UCLA’s likely in on the race as well.

Florida’s fan base is intoxicated by offense, almost to a fault. To blame are people like Steve Spurrier, Danny Wuerffel, Tim Tebow, and Urban Meyer. When Florida has won, it has been with an offensive identity. Ask Will Muschamp and Jim McElwain what happens when you lose on top of doing so in as ugly a way possible.
Spurrier piloted the program to an Orange Bowl berth in 1966 as a quarterback. He won the Heisman and led the team to a 9-2 record (the second time in the program’s history the Gators had won that many games). There wasn’t much more success until the violation-ravaged late 1980s gave way to Spurrier’s return in 1990. From there, Florida torched scoreboards en route to one national title and six SEC titles. He was a vanguard of the forward pass in the SEC.
When Urban Meyer came to town in 2005, he brought his own ingenuity in the form of a modern spread. Behind a motivational-speaking, battering-ram QB, the Gators again asserted national prominence, with offense as the star. Florida won two more championships with Tebow, one with him starting.
Defenders Wilber Marshall and Jack Youngblood are in the school’s ring of honor, but don’t resonate like the signal callers, three of whom have statues outside of Florida’s stadium.

If you want to follow Goldkamp’s helpful list of UF players for more emojis, it’s here:

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Nolito: ‘Comments hurt you and your family. Being insulted isn’t part of the job’ | Football

Nolito says he was “joking”, which he often is, as another cheeky grin sweeps across his face and he starts laughing again. “Bloody hell,” he says, which is something he says a lot – or its slightly ruder Spanish equivalent anyway. And then he continues: “But it was for real, eh! I had to give her vitamin D, the poor thing. We’d go outside but the sun just never came out. Even I ended up pale …” A quick glance up and he adds, giggling: “Just like you!” And just like his daughter Lola, aged nine, and one-year-old twins, Lara and Alegría.
Towards the end of his first season in England, by which time he knew it would be his last, the former Manchester City player, now back in Spain with Liverpool’s Champions League opponents Sevilla, said his daughter had changed colour. “She looks like she’s been living in a cave,” he said then; “it got misinterpreted,” he says now. “It was just a joke, a throwaway line. And it was true: there was no sun and the paediatrician said: ‘Try this’…

“Maybe there are some people with no sense of humour but no City fan has ever heard me talking down Manchester. It has positive things but it is like that: at 5pm it’s dark and it’s cold, the philosophy of life is different. Why do lots of English come to Marbella? To Gibraltar? Even to my home town, Sanlúcar? They come, drink wine and eat jamón in their socks. They eat de puta madre, they live de puta madre, feel de puta madre.”
Roughly, de puta madre means effing fantastic, which is another thing he says a lot.
It is November in Seville, almost 2,000km south of Manchester, less than 100km from home, and Nolito is in a T-shirt. He says his daughter has got her colour back. Slowly he is getting his football back as well, or trying to. He talks about “feeling like a footballer again” but it is not easy when, through absence and injury, you’ve gone virtually seven months without playing. And when you are from Sanlúcar de Barrameda, where there are 1,500 hours of sunshine a year more than in Manchester, and a third as many rainy days, where the average temperature never drops to single figures, the north-west can be quite a leap.
“That’s the principal problem: almost all footballers are people,” Nolito says. Almost all? There are some that aren’t? “Well,” he grins, “there’s a bit of everything on God’s earth. But, yeah, we’re people: every player has his story, things going on in his life, which is why I stopped reading things, listening. Comments hurt you and hurt your family. People can say: ‘That’s part of the job.’ Yeah, right, but being insulted isn’t part of the job. One day, I’ll retire and it’s the person who’s left.” For Nolito, the problem was that mostly there were not things going on – on or off the pitch.

If it gets dark at 5pm then at six it’s like it’s 10 o’clock and you even start to get tired

“We lived close to [David] Silva and to Edu, a physio friend who worked at City. We’d have lunch together, dinner at home, go down and have a coffee, but it didn’t quite work. If it gets dark at 5pm then at six it’s like it’s 10 o’clock and you even start to get tired. You think: ‘Bloody hell, it’s only six!’” At times, his brother came to visit, but that didn’t work either. “He didn’t hang around,” Nolito says, swiftly. “Three, four days and then …” He dusts off his hands. “‘Flight to Gibraltar!’ ‘Flight to Gibraltar!’ I was like: ‘Stick around. I’ll pay you, hahaha.’ Nah, it’s a joke, but even if I had offered it he wouldn’t have lasted 10 days. He was the same [when I was] in Vigo. He was used to life in Sanlúcar. He came to England three or four days, saw a nice game, and he was off, with the shirt.”
Unused, normally. Because while the lifestyle was different, it was the football that really decided Nolito’s destiny. “My daughter spoke English, so did my wife; I was the only one that didn’t, and I took classes with Jesús [Navas],” he says. “They adapted well; it was just a shame I didn’t play in the last few months.”
By mid-October Nolito had played nine times, scoring five and all seemed well. A regular starter, from his arrival to the end of the year, he played 21 games; from the turn of the year he played nine, mostly as a sub. The League Cup tie against Huddersfield Town in February was the final time he started a match.
So, what happened? “You’d really have to ask the míster,” he says. “I arrived there full of hope, the best place in the world to play football. He called me, convinced me and in the beginning things worked well.

Nolito gets to grips with Marko Petkovic of Spartak Moscow. ‘No coach could ever say I haven’t worked hard, and never will,’ he says. Photograph: Aitor Alcalde Colomer/Getty Images

“The football surprised me at first: seeing a striker getting pulled all over the place by a big defender and the referee not giving anything. You see some hits …” Nolito makes a gesture that says: wallop! “Sometimes you know it’s coming and you can jump out the way but, if they catch you: phwwwww! Players dive and they’re strict on that but someone goes right through you and [there’s] nothing. But in the end, it’s still football. If you’re not happy because you haven’t adapted, that can transmit to the pitch but at the start I was happy and playing well.
“And then, suddenly, he clipped my wings a bit. It’s true that City are a very good team with very good players but I think I didn’t deserve those last four months. I deserved to play more. That’s my opinion but these things happen. When you go four or five games without playing – in the stands, on the bench, 20 minutes, no minutes – it’s a radical change. You think: ‘Bloody hell, what happened?’”
Did he ask? “No.” Why not? “Because. No words are needed. There’s not much you can ask that you don’t already know. If in 10 games you play three, you get the message.”
As Nolito talks and laughs and jokes, an idea forms. Has that personality counted against him? Is he seen as not serious enough? And is Pep Guardiola too serious? “Well, yes,” he grins, “but that’s like lots of coaches. And, look, it’s not that I don’t take it seriously, [even if] I do take it differently: there are people who, if they don’t win, don’t eat. You have to eat, you’ve got to get up the next day. It saddens me that they suffer more than they need to because in the end it is a game.

You do things with [Guardiola] on the training ground you’ve never done and later think: ‘Bloody hell, he was right!’

“I am what I am: I love to attack and what I like the least is defending, haha! I [also] like a joke. But that doesn’t mean anything. When you have to pull on your work overalls, you do. No coach could ever say I haven’t worked hard, and never will. You can train happy or you can train sad or you can train bitter,” Nolito says, pulling a face. “You only live once.
Football’s there to be enjoyed. It can’t be that one day you are useless if you don’t score and the next day you’re a superstar if you do. I try to enjoy myself every time I play.”
There were few opportunities for enjoyment, Nolito watching the second half of his only season from the stands, his mind made. By the time he watched City knocked out of the Champions League by Monaco – “the manager was destroyed and so were the players; maybe we didn’t have the intensity and desire we should have had that night, but they were flying” – the decision had long been taken. “I’ll always be grateful to Pep: he gave me my debut for Barcelona and signed me for City. I don’t know if he then changed his mind, if he didn’t think the way I thought, but I never had a problem with him and don’t now. I wish him the best, and the team.”
Now, watching from afar, he sees continuity in City’s model. But he sees change, too. Nolito learned and thinks Guardiola has learned too. “You do things with him on the training ground you’ve never done and later think: ‘Bloody hell, he was right!’ Coaches sometimes just say: ‘That’s the way it is’ and don’t explain. He’s the coach, right? But Pep would say: ‘This is how it is, because of this, this, this and this. And if you do it, then this is what’s going to happen.’ And often that’s exactly how it works. He’s a wizard, one of the best in the world easily.
“He was at Barcelona and they played effing fantastically. He’s been at Bayern. Then he went to England and perhaps the first year didn’t turn out so well. It’s not easy arriving there where it’s more physical, more intense, where they hit you harder. You give away one corner and they score. [For the players] it’s difficult to adapt to a new philosophy. If you’re 30, you think: ‘Bloody hell, I’ve never done that.’ It takes time but, bit by bit, they changed and now they’re flying. The míster is very stubborn, very headstrong and they have to do what he wants. [But] I think he’s adapted to English football, too. I’m not in his head but maybe he’s realised you have to be stronger, quicker. You see that in signings like [Kyle] Walker and [Benjamin] Mendy.”
Yet it is Kevin De Bruyne who has most stood out for many – if not for Nolito. “He’s a magnificent player: he scores goals, works hard, has everything. He’s young but is one of the best in the league. If you make me choose, though, I’m going for Silva,” he says.

Nolito describes David Silva, right, as ‘a magician … the best in the Premier League.’ Photograph: Robert Ghement/EPA

“Silva is a magician and he’s underrated,” Nolito says. “He doesn’t get the praise he deserves. People don’t talk about him, others get raved about more. If he was English maybe it would be different. But I think Silva’s the best in the Premier League. He doesn’t score the most goals but what he does every week no other player does. There are players who are powerful, quick, strong, but they don’t do what Silva does. They can’t move as if the ball’s tied to their boot. They don’t have that calmness, that pass.”
Maybe Silva’s low profile goes against him; the fact that he doesn’t appear to be a leader? “He’s an effing great guy, who looks after his friends,” Nolito says. “And a great team-mate too. He keeps himself to himself. Maybe he doesn’t want to be leader but he has all the qualities. And he’s the best in the Premier League without receiving the recognition – without doubt.” Do City lack leaders? “No,” Nolito says, laughing. “The leader is the míster. The leader is Pep Guardiola. He is in charge. And that’s enough leadership …” He laughs again, another true word said in jest?

It would be tempting to watch City succeed now, to see them top, to miss Silva and question the decision to go. After all, they are, in Nolito’s words, like “motorbikes” right now. But he insists that is not his case nor has he given up on a place in Spain’s World Cup squad or the Champions League final. He says he would pay to be there and face City, joking as he starts the bidding at “50,000 euros … 100,000 euros”.
“It was good, the experience was good but the decision to leave was made a long time back and I don’t regret coming here. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to play in the Premier League at a great club but I wasn’t playing and I wanted to play. Now I feel like another player at Sevilla. I’m close to home and I want to get back to the level I had in Vigo, helping the team and enjoying myself. There’s always hope [for Russia]. It’s difficult but there are seven to go; Euro 2016 was difficult too and look. I’ll keep going, like a steam hammer. I feel like a kid again. I want to enjoy this for as long as I can, then retire happy.
“I won’t go on forever. And when I’m finished …” he says, dusting off his hands, “let the young ones come and play instead. I’ll go back to my village, go fishing with my brother, maybe train the kids, play for the veterans, a bit tubby.”
Just not yet. “Life goes on: the sun comes out every day,” he says, grinning as he gets up to leave Sevilla’s training ground. “At least in Spain it does.”

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Richard Sherman is out for the season (boo), but now his Twitter game is on fire (yay)

We’re sorry he’s out for the season with a torn Achilles, but we’re glad Sherman is tweeting more.
The league is without one of its best cornerbacks since Richard Sherman’s season ended with a torn Achilles in Week 10 against the Cardinals. But if there’s a silver lining, it’s that it’s given one of the sharpest players in the NFL more time to tweet about football.
Sherman’s a big talker on the field, but his Twitter account is usually pretty tame. But he wasn’t shy about sharing his thoughts on Sunday’s games with us on Twitter.
Sherman wasn’t a big fan of the Bills starting Nathan Peterman
Sherman’s no different from every other NFL fan. He was not impressed by the Bills’ decision to bench Tyrod Taylor for rookie Nathan Peterman.

So they bench my guy and the guy they bring in has already thrown 2picks with 10mins left in the 1st. Great decision
— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25)

Sean McDermott announced that Peterman would get the start against the Chargers after Taylor went 9-of-18 for 56 yards and a pick in the Bills’ 47-10 loss to the Saints in Week 10. In Week 11, the Bills had to yank Peterman from the game after .

Wonder what they are gonna say after this game about …. one bad game and he’s benched. Do you cut the new guy after this half?
— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25)

The Bills only had one passing touchdown on the day. Sherman would like to remind you that Peterman didn’t throw it.

Score out of hand but first passing TD of the day….. ‍♂️
— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25)

The Bills were 5-4 and in the playoff hunt heading into Sunday’s game against the Chargers. But the loss has them at .500 and on the outside looking into the playoff picture right now.
Sherman pointed out what an obvious mistake it was for the Bills to throw Peterman into starting this week.

I love the NFL. Very difficult to hide bad decisions especially regarding personnel. The fire of the NFL exposes all.
— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25)

The Bills’ best shot at winning is to start Taylor. If they don’t, Sherman will probably have some things to say about it.
Richard Sherman watched Sunday Night Football, just like us
Sherman was like the Twitter version of Tony Romo during the Eagles’ 37-9 win over the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football.
He gave us smart football insight:

Great Defense force offense to divert from their successful philosophy. That’s what’s happening in this game. Both offenses built to run and pass after establishing the run. They haven’t been able to so they are using out of rhythm plays.
— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25)

And pointed out mistakes:

Philly D is creating turnovers and giving O great field position. Gotta be able to capitalize and get points in games like this or it will come back to bite you in the end
— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25)

The defense was carrying the Eagles in the first half, harassing Dak Prescott relentlessly and forcing him, uncharacteristically, into turnovers. But the offense kept turning those chances into punts instead of points. Maybe the Eagles saw Sherman’s tweet at halftime — they went on to outscore the Cowboys 30-0 in the second half.
Sherman thinks the NFL’s roughing the passer rule is dumb
Sherman understands the NFL rulebook better than most refs probably do. He chimed in with former Giants and Raiders defensive end Justin Tuck to complain about the flaws in the league’s roughing the passer rule.

Very stupid. Hey stay away from the guy with the ball! Don’t hit him high! Don’t hit him low! And if you hit him in the middle don’t drive him into the ground! Sounds like football to me
— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25)

While Sherman’s commentary was mostly spot on, he wasn’t right every single time.

I think this Dallas vs Philly Game is going to be a lot more competitive than ppl think. Division games are always tough. Teams know one another well so it comes down to the little things
— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25)

You can’t win them all.
Sherman had successful surgery to repair his Achilles last week, and he’s on the mend. While he’s healing up, we’ll definitely be keeping an eye on his tweets on game days for the rest of the season.

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Huawei Mate 10 Pro Now Available In UK

Paul Briden

20/11/2017 – 12:21pm

The Huawei Mate 10 Pro is now up for grabs from UK networks and retailers

Huawei Mate 10 Pro UK sales have gone live, with the handset being available for purchase from UK networks Three and Vodafone, as well as retailers such as Clove.
If you want to buy the Huawei Mate 10 Pro straight up, Clove sells it for £770 SIM-free with 128GB of onboard storage and 6GB RAM – it is only available in grey. 
Vodafone has the black coloured edition, also with 128GB, with a range of contracts; the cheapest per month cost is £36pcm but this will set you back £300 up front. On the other end of the spectrum you can pay as little as £10 up front with monthly tariffs ranging from £46pcm to £64pcm depending on the data and calls plan you go for. A middle-road option costs £150 up front and £40pcm with a 1GB per month Red Extra data allowance, global roaming, unlimited texts and unlimited minutes. The first 1,000 customers will also get a free Huawei Watch 2.
Three has the grey 128GB model with a range of contracts, the entry-level being a £79 up front fee with a tariff of £27pcm. Alternatively you can get it on pay-as-you-go for £699.99 up front with a minimum £10 spend on top-up credit. Three will also throw-in a free Huawei Band 2 Pro and a £20 gift voucher.
The Huawei Mate 10 Pro features Huawei’s own HiSilicon Kirin 970 processor, which is insanely fast, particularly when coupled with the 6GB of RAM onboard. There’s also the expansive 18:9 aspect ratio 6in AMOLED 1080p display, IP67 water and dust proofing, a dual-sensor 20MP + 12MP Leica-branded main camera, and a premium aluminium and glass bodyshell.

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Hands on with Apple’s new flagship phone

The iPhone X – pronounced iPhone “Ten” – is the expensive flagship handset Apple developed to mark the tenth anniversary of the original iPhone and it’s startlingly similar to the Samsung Galaxy S8.
Yet labeling the iPhone X as little more than a look at what Samsung is doing in the smartphone space is a little unfair. Apple may not have invented the technologies it lays claim to, but it has been ert_main_wide_image/public/2017/11/iphone_x_8.jpg?itok=brdsumN_” alt=””/>

The iPhone X is available in white with a chrome silver trim, and black, with a shiny dark grey trim, and is reminiscent of the iPhone 3GS in look if not build quality. This is a bold move away from its range of previous colours. There’s no gold or rose gold option anymore and neither model quite gives the phone the same stand out quality. iPhones are used (and have been sold as) statement handsets and they’re ert_main_wide_image/public/2017/11/imgp6540.jpg?itok=uI_6a1yq” alt=””/>

The unsightly notch mentioned before, which encroaches from the top edge of the screen, replaces the Touch ID home button and it brings with it a new form of biometric authentication: Face ID.
Powered by Apple’s so-called TrueDepth camera system, this includes a number of sensors designed to recognise a person’s face, including a dot projector, infrared camera and flood illuminator (a fancy name for what is effectively a flash), all of which work together to scan your face when you look at it for the purposes of unlocking the phone and authenticating Apple Pay transactions.
READ NEXT: What is Face ID and how does it work?
I was cynical at first but Face ID is incredibly slick and swiping up from the bottom of the screen as the phone unlocks soon becomes second nature. Setting up Face ID is far simpler than adding a fingerprint too, you simply roll your face in a circle, and it’s amazing just how smoothly all those sensors work with such little interaction.
Face ID works effortlessly with glasses and without, and even performs in dim or dark conditions. By comparison, Samsung’s iris recognition tech doesn’t work at all if you’re wearing glasses.  Although we’ve had more failures with Face ID in the dark than at any other time, we’ve had only a small handful of failures in the two days we’ve been using it.

Still, that’s a small complaint, and for the most part the camera works brilliantly. Portrait mode works as nicely as ever and, for the first time, this mode is available using the front-facing 7MP camera; a way to turn your selfies into professional-looking snaps at the touch of a button. It’s not as good as the rear camera at producing flattering photos but it’s certainly a positive addition.
iPhone X review: Display quality and performance

Early third-party benchmark tests of the iPhone X have been unanimously positive. In fact, Displaymate, which runs exhaustive tests on phone displays, says the iPhone X has the best display it has ever tested.
Our own tests echo Displaymate’s findings. The iPhone X’s 2,046 x 1,125 OLED screen is sharp, it’s incredibly colour accurate and it’s bright, too. In fact, we’d say the OLED screen is near perfect. Plus, there are no problems with viewing angles and odd-looking colours (Google Pixel 2 XL, we’re looking at you).  
As for speed and responsiveness, well that’s unimpeachable as well. The iPhone X uses the new Apple A11 Bionic chip to power it along and this, coupled with 3GB of RAM, produces very similar benchmark results to the iPhone 8 Plus. Basically, alongside its more humdrum siblings, the iPhone X is the fastest phone on the market.

More important than all-out speed is battery life and although we’ve only had the phone a few days, it is possible to draw some early conclusions on this. The first is that it doesn’t last very long during video playback. In our battery benchmark, which involves playing a video on loop in flight mode until the battery dies, the X lasted a mere 9hrs 22mins, which is a disappointing result, certainly when compared with Android rivals. The iPhone 8 Plus with its larger battery lasted far longer at 13hrs 54mins.
That’s not to say the phone won’t last you a day or even more in real-world use – we’ll add our thoughts on this when we’ve had the chance to use it for longer – but it’s safe to say that it won’t last as long as the iPhone 8 Plus.
iPhone X review: Sound quality
The speakers on the iPhone X continue Apple’s trend of high-quality audio tech in its phones and iPads. They’re louder than previous models and less tinny, meaning music from the phone is more comfortable to listen to without headphones. There’s still no headphone jack, and there’s still no official hi-res support within iTunes though, even if Apple claims it supports FLAC on its website through the My Files app. 
Bass on the speakers is detailed and treble is rich and the iPhone X plays song with various instruments and levels better than any other smartphone we’ve used. There have been reports of some users experiencing a crackling and squeaky sound on the iPhone X and Apple is said to be looking into the issues.
iPhone X review: Verdict
The iPhone X doesn’t feel like an iPhone at all, and that’s not a criticism. It feels luxurious, sturdy and expensive – which, at £999, it is – with some subtle Android-style features that close the gap between the two ever so slightly.
I personally love the Samsung S8 Edge but I wouldn’t buy it purely because of the software. I’m an iOS fangirl; I find it easier to use and less cluttered than Android plus, for better or worse, I’m thoroughly entrenched in Apple’s ecosystem. These little changes to the iPhone X introduce the parts of Android I like without removing what I like about iOS reducing the temptation to make the jump.
Some of the physical design changes that move it closer to Samsung, for example, don’t excite me as much. After just two days I was feeling nostalgic for my iPhone 8 Plus with its familiar white front and larger keyboard.
That said, there are enough innovations and differences here to make a buyer seriously consider upgrading from the iPhone 7, or there would be if it weren’t for that sky high price; because it’s the sheer cost of the thing that puts me off.
With prices starting at £999 for the 64GB version and £1,149 for the top-spec 256GB model this is a phone that’s almost as expensive as a MacBook and that’s a laptop that some people say is overpriced. Samsung’s Galaxy S8, by comparison, is currently half the price, while larger Galaxy Note 8 (which was criticised for its high price when it first launched) costs around £870.
Tim Cook recently said that this high price was justified given just how much tech is inside the device (a claim that doesn’t punch quite as hard when reports suggest the phone itself costs £280 to build, even if that is the highest manufacturing costs of any iPhone) but it’s still hard to stomach. In short, while the performance, display and the camera combine to make this Apple’s best ever phone, it is isn’t significantly better than its rivals to warrant the huge jump in price.
If you’re desperate to buy a new iPhone, do yourself a favour and buy an iPhone 8 Plus instead. You might not be getting the latest and greatest Apple has to offer, but you’ll be saving plenty of cash, getting a phone that’s nearly as good, and one that – according to SquareTrade – is a lot less breakable, too.
iPhone X review: Key specifications

5.8in Super Retina (2,436 x 1,125 @ 458ppi) AMOLED display with True Tone

64-bit hexa-core A11 Bionic processor with M11 motion coprocessor and “Neural engine”

64GB and 256GB

Dual 12MP rear-facing cameras, f/1.8 and f/2.4 with OIS and sapphire crystal lens cover, 7MP front-facing camera

iOS 11

£999 (64GB) – from £48/mth on 2yr finance; £1,149 (256GB) – from £55/mth on 2yr finance

Wireless charging, dust and waterproof (IP67 rating), no 3.5mm headphone jack

27 October 2017

Release date
3 November 2017

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Star Wars: Jedi Challenges review: The must-have Christmas gift for the Star Wars obsessed

Any Star Wars fan who says they haven’t dreamed of being a Jedi or Sith is lying to you. Flat out lying. Being able to wield a lightsaber has such a strong allure it’s become a sport in its own right. Aside from buying one of those big expensive real-effects lightsabers, though, there’s never really been a way to realise that dream – until now.
Thanks to a partnership between Disney and Lenovo, Lenovo has released Star Wars: Jedi Challenges. This is no simple game, however, it’s a complete be-your-own-Jedi kit that comes with Lenovo’s ingenious Mirage augmented-reality headset and replica lightsaber. It may seem ridiculous at first, but for any avid Star Wars fan, it’s a dream come true.
With anything like this, there’s always the danger that it winds up being little more than a child’s plaything. But, rest assured, there’s an awful lot more to Lenovo’s £250 Star Wars: Jedi Challenges than meets the eye and it’s likely this will be one of the hottest gifts this Christmas.

Buy Star Wars: Jedi Challenges now from Argos

Star Wars: Jedi Challenges review – Hardware specs
Lenovo’s Star Wars: Jedi Challenges bundle is so much more than just a toy; it’s a technical marvel. It takes some incredibly simple technologies and combines them to make a device that works incredibly well, even though it really shouldn’t.
Lenovo’s Mirage AR headset makes up the bulk of the Star Wars: Jedi Challenges bundle, (and before I go any further, it’s worth noting this isn’t the same as its Windows mixed-reality headset, the Lenovo Explorer). As headsets go, it’s rather chunky and plasticky but it’s meant to be. It’s made to be worn comfortably and to survive bumps and scrapes. Its front is a huge piece of curved plastic, allowing you to look through and see your environment clearly around you, and there’s plenty of ventilation so it feels less claustrophobic and uncomfortable than the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. It’s on par with the PlayStation VR, but isn’t as heavy on the head.
What makes the Mirage headset so interesting isn’t its design, it’s the technology that makes it work. As Star Wars: Jedi Challenges runs solely on a mobile app, Mirage only requires the addition of a compatible smartphone to work. The headset’s twin fish-eye inside-out tracking cameras work out spacial positioning by tracking the lightsaber’s blue tip and a node light you drop on the floor in front of you. Your phone does all the processing and handles motion via its gyroscope and it’s amazing how well it works.
The way it creates an AR “mixed reality image”, combining the real-world environment around you with images created by your phone is even more clever. Again, there’s no wizardry involved, it’s just simple physics but it’s surprising just how well it all comes together.
The headset uses your phone’s display and a two-way mirror to reflect an image onto two transparent lenses placed in front of your eyes. This gives the illusion of a projected image floating in mid-air, and it looks fantastic, particularly in this context. With Jedi Challenges, Lenovo has played to the Mirage’s strengths, making the projections look like holograms from Star Wars, meaning it doesn’t really matter that image is slightly washed out, nor that image quality and brightness will change depending on the phone you’re using to play with and the environment you’re playing in.
The lightsaber, which is included in the package, is also meticulously put together. Its fingerprint-prone chrome finish is gorgeous and, while it’s a little light, it feels sturdy enough to survive the odd battle or two. When Lenovo and Disney announced Star Wars: Jedi Challenges they said the lightsaber would be of collector-grade quality and I have to say it does look and feel like that’s the case.

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Star Wars: Jedi Challenges review – Gameplay
The real joy of Star Wars: Jedi Challenges comes from actually playing with the thing. Sliding headset over your head and seeing all the challenges unfurl from a mechanical box on the floor in front of you is amazing. You quickly forget it’s just your phone running the whole experience as you see your lightsaber’s blue blade erupt from its hilt right before your eyes.
Taking on Sith in Jedi battles really does feel tense, watching their holograms dance around you in your living room. The basic controls are relatively straightforward, with on-screen prompts helping you line up where you need to block incoming blows and highlighting opportunities to strike. This isn’t frantic slashing; it’s the art of a Jedi battle, and it’s exhilarating even if you’re really just waving a plastic lightsaber around in an empty room.
Star Wars: Jedi Challenges won’t let you dive right into facing off against a Sith Lord, that would be foolhardy. Before you can go up against the likes of Darth Maul or Vader himself, you need to take on two combat trials against increasingly difficult foes. These trials usually take the form of waves of enemies approaching your position. You can employ your lightsaber to deflect bullet fire (this is very, very satisfying) and make use of The Force to throw enemies around your virtual battlefield.
If you’d like a slower pace of play there’s an interesting Strategic Combat mode to delve into. Here you lead an army of rebel forces in a bid to crush the Empire in RTS-style play. Think of it as a mix of tower defence and a watered-down Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds.
Finally, there’s an even more relaxed mode to get to grips with: Holochess. It’s wonderful fun, if not accidentally impossibly hard if you’re not very good at tabletop strategy games, and an interesting take on an AR game, although I’m not convinced by its the control method. To pick and move pieces, you use the lightsaber a bit like a wand.
If these three different game variants sound a bit short on depth, don’t worry too much because there’s loads to do. Star Wars: Jedi Challenges takes place across five planets and one final level at the galaxy’s core. Each planet ups the difficulty of the games contained within and each planet also contains three levels in each of the three modes to complete. Doing the maths reveals that you’re left with 54 levels to work your way through if you want to totally complete everything.
Thankfully, Star Wars Jedi Challenges doesn’t punish you if you don’t fancy playing any Holochess or Strategic Combat. If all you want to do is work your way through lightsaber battles, you can do just that.

Buy Star Wars: Jedi Challenges now from GAME

Star Wars: Jedi Challenges review – Verdict
Now comes the tough question, is it worth it? It’s undeniable that Star Wars: Jedi Challenges is a lot of fun, but asking £250 for the privilege is a bit much. If Disney and Lenovo had managed to bring the price down to £100, or even £150, it would be a definitive yes without hesitation. As it is, £250 is quite the leap of faith for a product that – so far – is geared towards just one game.
If Lenovo can work with other partners, or Disney once more, to create new experiences using the Mirage AR headset, it will be a different matter. I hope that will be the case, especially if they can think of other uses for the lightsaber, too. For £250, Lenovo has built the best AR headset I’ve ever used. Its field of vision is fantastic, it’s incredibly lightweight and it works perfectly as an entertainment tool. Heck, I could even see it working well as an educational tool given the right applications.
Despite my concerns about price, it’s obvious that many Star Wars fans will pay up, simply for the opportunity to be a Jedi. But if you’re simply curious about AR, I’d advise waiting until Lenovo or Disney make it clear they’re going to support the Mirage AR headset with more titles.

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Rainbow Six Siege Getting Zombie Mode?

Ubisoft has just made some major announcements for its third year of Rainbow Six Siege content, confirming one rumor that many gamers had regarded as being too far-fetched. During the Pro League livestream today, studio officials have now confirmed a brand new in-game co-op event called Mission Outbreak. The event will last at least a week, and from its initial description, the upcoming Rainbow Six Siege event sounds an awful lot like Call of Duty‘s zombie mode.

The event will take place in Season One of the just-announced Year 3 content, which introduces two new biohazard specialist operators in Operation Chimera. Instead of getting a new map that ties in with the operators, Ubisoft is diverting from its traditional content schedule and adding a 3-player co-op event called Mission Outbreak. The studio officials remained mum on further details but implied that the biohazard specialists had a large role to play in the PVE event – and given that it takes place during something called Operation Chimera, we expect some suitably monster-ish enemies to feature.

Ubisoft had thought about adding new game modes in the past but struck these ideas down in favor of focusing on its brand of 5-on-5 multiplayer combat. None of the game’s post-launch content has ever toyed with this formula, so a 3 player co-operative experience against some kind of biohazardous enemies is quite a change of pace. The event is only slated to run at least a week, but should it prove popular, there’s no telling if it will come back as a more permanent fixture.

Players who delve into Mission Outbreak will be able to unlock exclusive collectibles for doing so, which will reportedly fit in with the setting of the in-game event. This means gamers who miss out on Mission Outbreak during its week-long run simply won’t be able to utilize whatever uniforms, headgear, charms, or weapon skins become unlocked for those who participate. This is a structure that has used by the studio via its Ubisoft Club challenges, which keep players coming back to unlock exclusive charms and in-game currency.

Ubisoft will reveal more about Operation Chimera and Mission Outbreak during the Six Invitational, an eSports competition that got off its feet earlier this year. The second iteration of the tournament is due to take place in Montreal from February 13-18 in 2018, with more information about the supposed zombie mode likely to drop near the finals of the invitational.
Rainbow Six Siege is available now on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

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Google Pixel 2 XL Sample Images

Ahead of our full review, here are some sample images taken with the new Google Pixel 2 XL flagship smartphone at the recent England vs Brazil international football match, played at Wembley Stadium, London on 14th November.
Google Pixel 2 XL is available on EE from the 15th November. EE is the exclusive direct UK network partner for Google Pixel 2 XL in the UK – www.ee.co.uk/pixel2xl
A gallery of sample images taken with the Google Pixel 2 XL smartphone.
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Top tips and tricks for the Samsung Galaxy J3, J5 and J7 (2017)

All smartphones have a range of hidden features, or at least features that would be hard to find for an untrained eye. While the knowledgeable, the ever curious and the DIY enthusiasts like to delve into the device’s innards to find them, others don’t have the patience and prefer to search for a list online. Here’s ours: our tips for the Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017) and its brothers, the J5 (2017) and J3 (2017).

Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017)
Deactivate the Always On Display mode
This trick is a real classic for Samsung devices. By default, the manufacturer activates the Always On Display mode, a feature which always displays the date, time, battery percentage and notification icons. This display mode can be annoying but, we promise, it can be configured. To do this, just go to Settings and select Always On Display in the menu at the top of the screen. You can then change the appearance (for example, change the clock to analog) or deactivate the feature completely.

Not interested in this feature? Deactivate it! © ANDROIDPIT

Samsung Galaxy J3 (2017), J5 (2017) & J7 (2017)
Use the screen with just one hand thanks to the Home button
The Galaxy J7 is far from a compact smartphone. It measures 5.5-inches diagonally, so using it with just one hand is quite difficult, perhaps even impossible. Fortunately, Samsung kept this in mind and offers a way to use the smartphone with one hand. What’s even better is that you can configure the Home button to adapt to the screen size.
Go to Settings and search for Advanced Features. Select “One-handed use mode”. Select “Touch”. However, by tapping the Home button three times successively, you’ll be able to place it on either side of the screen.
Activate the easy mode
This feature has existed on Samsung smartphones for a while now but, while it’s practical for some, it is quite overlooked. Most users want to use their phone in this mode, but some who are reluctant to use technology (you could call them technophobes) simply want a screen displaying the basic functions without the screen getting cluttered up with files and the (too) many annoying shortcuts.
To activate the easy mode, go to Display Settings. Then, you just have to activate Easy mode and that’s all there is to it!

Easy mode to the right, one-handed mode to the left. © ANDROIDPIT

Test out the hardware
It’s easy to tell if your device is working well or not, but often, after a fall or being drenched in a cup of tea, you might have to run some tests. Just enter the code *#0*# into the phone to access several types of tests, ranging from the color display to touch recognition.

Does the touch screen work? © ANDROIDPIT

Take photos without touching the screen
It has happened to us all. When you have to take a photo quickly and by the time you unlock your smartphone, open the camera app and press the camera button to take the photo, the object that you wanted to capture has disappeared. Luckily, the manufacturers have taken this into consideration and have provided more simple ways of opening the camera and taking a photo. On the J7, and on all Samsung smartphones, you just have to double tap on the Home button to open the camera and use either of the volume buttons as a shutter button to take the photo. Simple, right?
Activate the multi-window mode
This mode is well known among Android fans, but rookies don’t really know much about it. It’s a shame because it can be very handy. You can display two applications at the same time (one on the left-hand side of the screen and one on the right-hand side, when the smartphone is held horizontally, of course). Just go to Settings, Advanced Features, Multi-screen and activate the Activate split screen display option. Then, go to an app and press the multi-tasking button (to the left of the Home button). Your screen will then be divided into two sections. You’ll be able to load the other application that you want to open in the blank section.

You can send an email while watching a YouTube video. © ANDROIDPIT

Do you know any other interesting features on these devices? Which trick is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!

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17 STEM-focused gifts to inspire kids to learn coding and love robotics

This is the third year we’ve run a STEM-focused gift guide — and if you’re intending to buy a child something fun and quasi-educational in holiday season 2017 it’s fair to say there has never been so many programmable bots and kits to choose from, all pledging to spark or sustain an interest in coding and electronics.
This year’s guide reflects this boom in ‘educational’ techie toys — featuring programmable and controllable robots of all stripes and shapes, as well as some fully fledged learn-to-code computers and a few lower tech alternatives for variety (and those not wanting to give yet another gadget).
Gadget makers are piling into this space because of the ability to charge top dollar for toys that can claim a few STEM smarts. And it’s clear the line between connected devices and learn to code tools is being increasingly blurred — although the jury’s still out on how much lasting educational value any of these gizmos can offer vs more structured learning and guidance.
The impact of a STEM toy will obviously vary from child to child. But the theory at least is that if kids are having fun with technology they’re more likely to be inspired by the topic and want to learn more.
Click that right arrow key to view the gallery (or, if you’re on mobile, just scroll) to see our round up of 2017 gift ideas for budding coders and would-be roboticists. We’ve aimed to cover a full spectrum of age ranges, as well as including options to suit different budgets. Expect robots, lots and lots of robots…

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