Best camera 2017: The best compact, CSC and digital SLR cameras from £199

Buying a camera can be a daunting process, with a huge range of different shapes, sizes, specs and features to look out for. In this guide you’ll find everything from hulking semi-pro DSLRs to pocketable compacts, and while some of the cameras here are getting on a bit, that doesn’t mean you should discount them completely – older models are even more likely to be available for bargain prices.
If you’re not sure which one is right for you, then be sure to read our complete in-depth buying guide on page two. There’s something for everyone here, from tiny compacts that will slip into your pocket right up to the best budget DSLRs, so it pays to make sure you’re choosing the right camera for your purposes. We’ve summarised the key points and specifications you need to know, but there are also quick links to our full reviews where you’ll find the results of our in-depth testing, including a selection of sample photographs for each camera.
To make this article easier to browse, and to make it easier for you to find the camera you’re after, we’ve split it into two. On this page you’ll find our favourite DSLR cameras and Compact System Cameras (CSCs), and over on page 2 you’ll find our pick the best Bridge cameras, Ultra-zoom cameras and Compact cameras. On page three we have a detailed buying guide, which will help you choose the right kind of camera for your needs. 
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The best cameras to buy in 2017
The best CSC, digital SLR and high-end compact cameras
If you want the ultimate image quality and flexibility, a digital SLR or Compact System Camera is for you. There’s a lot of variation in this category, from hulking semi-pro DSLRs to fairly compact budget CSCs, but all of them have interchangeable lenses so you choose the best tool for the job. Generally speaking, sensor size is far bigger than on a compact camera, with this being the best, simple indicator of image quality, although big sensors do restrict zoom multipliers. Most of these cameras have plenty of manual controls, for those who want to fine-tune their exposures, though this isn’t always the case with the more budget CSC offerings.
1. Canon G7 X Mark II: The best compact camera you can buy
Price when reviewed: £599

An update to the brilliant G7 X, one of our favourite cameras of 2015, this new model has astounded us by being better yet. The core concept is still the same, take a 1in sensor and marry it with a bright lens in order to provide SLR kit lens quality in a far smaller and more portable package.
The small camera still fits into most pockets. Inside there’s a faster processor for quicker shooting and a better grip on the front, which is greatly appreciated for those times you’re holding a £500+ camera with a single hand. The LCD screen on back now tilts up and down, it’s still a touchscreen, so entering settings can be done using this and with the lens ring around the front, alongside a wealth of other dials and buttons.
It’s photo quality that really stand out, though. The 20-megapixel sensor and f/1.8-2.8 lens produce incredible results in almost all lighting conditions. There’s also a fairly wide 4.2x zoom range, bigger than most SLR kits lenses, so framing shots is a breeze too. The results are packed with detail, with great colours in JPEGs and a lack of noise that’s surprising for such a small camera.
The G7 X Mark II is already a strong contender for our camera of the year, if you need something more portable than a CSC or SLR this is the camera to buy.
Read our full Canon G7 X Mark II review
Key specs – Sensor resolution: 20 megapixels, Sensor size: 1in, Viewfinder: None, LCD screen: 3in (1,040,000 dots), Optical zoom (35mm-equivalent focal lengths): 4.2x (24-100mm), 35mm-equivalent aperture: f/5-7.7, Weight: 319g, Dimensions (HxWxD): 64x108x42mm
2. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV: A stunning DSLR, if you can afford it
Price when reviewed: £3,599

It’s not like the 5D Mark III was a bad camera – it was one of the best high-end DSLRs money could buy. But as you’d hope, Canon has revisited its legendary DSLR and pushed it to ever-greater heights. You now get impressively crisp 4K video recording as part of the package, and autofocus – traditionally a weak point – is now good enough that you can rely on it in most situations. This is a huge step forward for shooting video, but the quality of the photographs you get from the 5D Mark IV is better than ever.
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The upgraded 61-point autofocus sensor is a welcome addition; the full-frame sensor now has 30.4 megapixels to play with; and continuous shooting now hits 7fps, up from the 6fps on the previous model. Apart from a few nit-picks, this is a DSLR to be reckoned with. Whether you’re a deep-pocketed amateur or a professional that’s looking for an upgrade on an older model, this is one purchase you’re unlikely to regret.
Read our full Canon EOS 5D Mark IV review
Key specs – Sensor resolution: 30.4 megapixels, Sensor size: 36x24mm (Full frame), Focal length multiplier: 1x, Viewfinder: Optical TTL, LCD screen: 3.2in (1,620,000 dots), Lens mount: Canon EF, GPS, Wi-Fi, Weight: 800g, Size (HxWxD): 116x151x76mm
3. Fujifilm X-T2: The best CSC camera serious money can buy
Price when reviewed: £1,357

Fujifilm’s X-T1 was frustratingly close to perfection, and now the X-T2 has taken everything that made its predecessor so great and improved on it. You still get a pleasingly old-school design which is both weather-sealed and reassuringly robust, but the quality of the video capture has taken a huge leap forwards – this is now a superbly capable all-rounder for taking on both stills and video work.
There are still chinks in that somewhat dauntingly expensive armour, such as the slightly unreliable autofocus in burst stills and video modes, and Fujifilm should definitely look to give the next generation model a faster turn of speed in single drive mode.   
That said, the X-T2 is a fantastic camera that delivers fantastic results in a wide range of challenging shooting conditions. For many people, that’s well worth paying a premium for.  
Read our full Fujifilm X-T2 review
Key specs – Sensor resolution: 24 megapixels, Sensor size: 23.6×15.6mm (APS-C), Focal length multiplier: 1.5x, Viewfinder: Electronic (2.36 million dots), LCD screen: 3in (1.04 million dots), Lens mount: Fujifilm X Mount, Weight: 507g, Dimensions (HxWxD): 92x143x51mm

4. Sony RX100 V: A stunningly capable compact at a not-so-compact price
Price when reviewed: £943

It’d be easy to mistake the Sony RX100 V for a mere compact camera. Take one look at the photos and videos captured by this miniature wonder, however, and you’ll realise that you’re in the company of something very special indeed. There’s only one catch: you won’t get much change from £1,000.
Pay your money and you’ll be rewarded with the fastest camera we’ve ever encountered. The RX100 V grabs 23.1 images per second and is capable of keeping that up for 170 JPEGs or 72 RAW photos before slowing down – if you’re sick of missing that perfect shot, you’ve got no excuse with the Sony. 
That speed wouldn’t be much good if it weren’t partnered with great image quality, and thankfully the RX100 V delivers the goods. The 24-70mm zoom is admittedly too short for sports and wildlife snapping, which is a touch disappointing, but photo and video quality is spotless. 4K video is crystal clear and photos retain impressive amounts of detail even in poor lighting conditions. 
If you want a superlative camera that you can pop in a pocket, then the Sony is well worth considering – but with highly capable rivals such as the Canon PowerShot G7 X II costing substantially less, we’d think long and hard before taking the plunge.
Read our full Sony RX 100 V review
Key specs – Sensor resolution: 20 megapixels, Sensor size: 13.2×8.8mm (1in), Viewfinder: Electronic (2.4 million dots), LCD screen: 3in (1,228,800 dots), Optical zoom (35mm-equivalent focal lengths): 2.9x (24-70mm), 35mm-equivalent aperture: f/4.9-7.6, Weight: 298g, Dimensions (HxWxD): 60x104x41mm
5. Fujifilm X-T10: Superb photos, but video isn’t so great
Price when reviewed: £595

With retro designs and hands-on controls for enthusiasts, Fujifilm’s X-series cameras have built a solid following, mainly those who fondly remember the days of film cameras. it doesn’t matter if you like the look though as the cameras also have stunning image quality for their price, and the Fujifilm X-T10 is no exception.
This is the cheaper model in the current range, so there’s no metal body or weather-proofing here. You do still get plenty of dials and switches to play with, great ergonomic design and a well-thought-out control system. Still image quality is stunning, among the best you’ll see from an APS-C based CSC. Video isn’t its strongest point though and neither is raw speed, but pictures look great. At this price it’s something of a bargain, shooting pictures just like cameras twice the price.
Read our Fujifilm X-T10 review for details
Key specs – Sensor resolution: 16 megapixels, Sensor size: 23.6×15.6mm (APS-C), Focal length multiplier: 1.5x,Viewfinder: Electronic (2,360,000 dots), LCD screen: 3in (920,000 dots), Optical zoom (35mm-equivalent focal lengths): 3.1x (24-75mm),35mm-equivalent aperture: f/5.2-8.4, Lens mount: Fujifilm X Mount, Weight: 576g, Size (HxWxD): 85x130x116mm
6. Panasonic G80: The best CSC under £1,000… for now
Price when reviewed: £799

Panasonic has taken its brilliant G7 and pushed it to new heights – the G80 adds a weather-sealed body, bigger viewfinder, sensor-shift stabilisation and a posher kit lens. The £799 price is pretty reasonable by CSC standards and places it squarely between entry-level models such as the Canon EOS M3 and premium-priced cameras such as the Fujifilm X-T2, but the impressive thing is that it performs more like Fujifilm’s high-end rival in most respects. The G80’s performance, handling, features and range of controls are all top-notch, and its video performance is better than pretty much anything out there. Fujifilm’s X-T20 may yet knock it off its perch, but for now the G80 is flying high.

Read our full Panasonic G80 review for details

Key specs – Sensor resolution: 16 megapixels, Sensor size: 17.3x13mm (Micro Four Thirds), Focal length multiplier: 2x, Viewfinder: Electronic (2,360,000 dots), LCD screen: 3in (1,040,000 dots), Optical zoom (35mm-equivalent focal lengths): 5x (24-120mm), 35mm-equivalent aperture: f/7-11.2, Lens mount: Micro Four Thirds, Weight: 715g, Size (HxWxD): 79x137x130mm

7. Canon EOS 750D: A great mid-range DSLR 
Price when reviewed: £617

The new Canon EOS 750D eschews fancy features to concentrate on what’s truly important from a camera – consistent image quality. Images from its new 24-megapixel sensor are consistently brilliant, with the camera’s new metering system providing enviable results in practically any conditions -measuring the brightness across the frame at 7,560 points, with 19 autofocus points.
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It’s got a great liveview mode too, handy for those making the leap from compact cameras or smartphones, with responsive subject tracking for sharp shots of moving subjects. It also comes with built-in Wi-Fi and NFC to make sharing photos easier via your smartphone. It’s the perfect SLR for those buying their first one or upgrading from an older model.
Read our full Canon EOS 750D review for details
Key specs – Sensor resolution: 24 megapixels, Sensor size: 22x15mm (APS-C) Focal length multiplier: 1.6x, Viewfinder: Optical, LCD screen: 3in (1,040,000 dots), Optical zoom (35mm-equivalent focal lengths): N/A, Lens mount: EF-Mount, Weight: 771g (body-only), Size (HxWxD): 104x132x148mm
8. Nikon D610: A superb full-frame DSLR 
Price when reviewed: £1,449 

Full-frame photography took a price crash last year, with both Canon and Nikon selling such cameras for around £1,500 for the first time. We preferred the Nikon D600 over its Canon rival, but then it started to suffer problems with dirt on the sensor. Now the problem wasn’t critical but it did through a spanner in the works of a great camera.
So now we have the D610, essentially the same camera but with the problem well and truly fixed. There have been a number of other minor tweaks, notably faster continuous shooting of 6fps, up from 5.5fps, and a new quiet continuous mode at 3fps.
Most things stay the same then, but that’s not a problem. Image quality is sublime, with colours that both sizzle and subtly recreate skin tones with ease. There’s barely any noise, even at high ISO speeds. There are all the controls you need and this should be high on your list if you’re serious about buying a DSLR.
Read our full Nikon D610 review for details
Key specs – Sensor resolution: 24.2 megapixels, Sensor size: 35.9x24mm, Focal length multiplier: 1x, Viewfinder: Optical TTL, LCD screen: 3.2in (921,000 dots), Optical zoom (35mm-equivalent focal lengths): , 35mm-equivalent aperture: , Lens mount: Nikon F, Weight: 850g, Size (HxWxD): 113x141x82mm
9. Canon EOS 70D: An ideal DSLR for enthusiasts
Price when reviewed: £999 

The Canon EOS 70D is the new top-end model in Canon’s APS-C range, so if you’re looking for a great DSLR but aren’t ready to move to professional-class full frame cameras then this is a good choice. It’s extremely consistent with features, image and video quality all impressing. It has a new sensor-based autofocus which makes it far easier to use in live view (and for video) plus an articulated screen for shooting at unusual angles.
The new sensor has 20 megapixels, automatic exposures were brilliantly judged and the details were precise. Noise levels were low up to ISO 5000, but it’s not the best performer in this area admittedly. The consistency of the images it produces is the real highlight here, plus its flexibility as both a stills and video capture device. It’s our narrow favourite though pure photographers should seriously consider the Nikon D7100 as well.
Read our full Canon EOS 70D review for details
Key specs – Sensor resolution: 20 megapixels, Sensor size: 22x15mm (APS-C) Focal length multiplier: 1.62x, Viewfinder: Optical, LCD screen: 3in (1,040,000 dots), Optical zoom (35mm-equivalent focal lengths): N/A, Lens mount: EF-Mount, Weight: 755g (body-only), Size (HxWxD): 104x139x79mm
10. Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4: The best CSC for 4K video 
Price when reviewed: £1,299

The GH series has long stood out among CSCs. Rather than use a mirrorless design to simply reduce the size of the device, Panasonic has concentrated on the technology’s leaning toward video capture. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 then builds upon its predecessors’ reputation for excellent video quality and features with support for 4K footage, which looks stunning.
Even if you’re not yet in a position to enjoy such video, shooting in 4K has its advantages. When you downsample 4K footage to Full HD the new camera is capable of twice the colour resolution of previous efforts. Shooting this way also lets you crop into the frame in editing without a big noticeable loss in quality. There’s loads of video quality options, mic inputs and outputs, and uncompressed video can be streamed from the HDMI port.
As a camera, it’s also impressive, though you’ll find better examples at this price admittedly. Still it keeps up with most CSCs and image quality is solid and consistent rather than outstanding. For video though it has no peers given its price and portability, so if you’re a video enthusiast looking for a new camera, look no further.

Read our full Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 review for details

Key specs – Sensor resolution: 15.9 megapixels, Sensor size: 17.3x13mm (Micro Four Thirds) Focal length multiplier: 2x, Viewfinder: Electronic, LCD screen: 3in (1,036,000 dots), Optical zoom (35mm-equivalent focal lengths): N/A, Lens mount: Micro Four Thirds, Weight: 560g, Size (HxWxD): 95x144x84mm

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Samsung and Microsoft’s Odyssey headset has me excited for VR in 2018

At the beginning of 2017, I wrote about what I thought might be the year’s most important virtual reality technology: tracking cameras that would work from inside, not outside, a VR headset. And the results weren’t great. Almost every inside-out tracking system I tried was uncomfortable, most of them were barely functional, and none of them seemed anywhere near as good as more traditional high-end headsets. It seemed like VR would have to take a step back before it could move forward. At the end of 2017, there’s still no inside-out headset that’s as polished as the Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR, or HTC Vive, which use external tracking systems. But Microsoft and Samsung have convinced me that one might be on the way.
The Samsung HMD Odyssey is one of five headsets based on Microsoft’s Windows Mixed Reality platform, and unlike the platform’s earliest wave of development kits, it comes bundled with Microsoft’s motion controllers. It works on computers running the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, as long as they meet the requirements that are posted here. The list price is $499, which is slightly less than the $599 Vive and more than the $399 Rift — making the Odyssey the most expensive of Microsoft’s partner headsets.

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Like all Windows Mixed Reality headsets, the Odyssey tracks head and controller motion with two front-mounted cameras. You plug in the Odyssey’s USB and HDMI cables, then launch a “Mixed Reality Portal” built into the Creators Update. To draw a boundary, you just drag the headset around your available space. It detects visual features that it can use as reference points, then calculates your motion based on them. The process is easy compared to the Rift or Vive, because there’s no extra hardware to set up — you don’t need power outlets for tracking towers, platforms for cameras, extra USB ports, or any of the other accoutrements of a traditional VR room.
(“Windows Mixed Reality” refers to both Microsoft HoloLens, which adds virtual objects to the real world, and headsets like the Odyssey, which almost any other company would call “virtual reality.” This is stupid and confusing, so here, the term just refers to Microsoft’s VR headset platform, not its entire range of “mixed reality” products.)

A great core experience in a less-than-great package

My experience with earlier Windows Mixed Reality demos has been positive, and so far, the Odyssey meets my expectations. The headset requires a moderately lit room and some level of visual detail around the tracking area, i.e. furniture. I can’t say exactly how much detail is required, due to a lack of giant empty spaces in the Verge offices, but it’s easier to find a room with furniture than one with exactly the right furniture layout for external tracking device placement. The controllers feel as precise and responsive as the Rift’s or Vive’s, and usually reflect my hand movement well, using half-moon strips of LEDs as tracking marks.
The biggest problems I found were ones that plague externally tracked headsets as well. The controllers’ movement stalls if you put them directly behind your head or body, but that’s still far better than a two-camera Rift setup, which won’t let you turn around at all. Having people moving around you seems to throw off the tracking, but that also happens with the Rift and Vive — although I haven’t tried the headset in a densely populated area, so I can’t judge its worth for developers at crowded public demo events.

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Microsoft isn’t the only company with solid inside-out tracking; I’ve gotten good results this year from Oculus and Google prototype headsets, although Google hasn’t shown off tracked controllers. But Windows Mixed Reality is the only system I’ve used unsupervised for hours. The headset isn’t fully wireless, unlike Oculus’ and Google’s designs, but that also means that it slots neatly into the existing world of high-end VR — rather than requiring specially optimized experiences for lower-powered built-in computers.
Unfortunately, I’m not fond of the main Windows Mixed Reality interface, which consists of a fancy cliffside house with screens plastered to the walls. (There’s also a more conventional pop-up menu.) It’s cute to see your apps in different “rooms,” but quickly gets annoying. And I don’t think seamless VR access to Windows desktop apps is much of an advantage right now, although it’s a nice option. Specific tasks like 3D modeling benefit from visual immersion, but otherwise, working in VR is an exercise in pointless misery. You can spread out lots of windows, but they’re grainy and eye-straining, even with the Odyssey’s 1440 x 1600 resolution per eye, which is significantly higher than the Rift’s or Vive’s. You’ve got a distracting weight on your forehead. You can’t see your mouse or keyboard. Designers are working to fix all these problems, but the technology just isn’t there yet.

Please don’t use a VR headset as a monitor — yet

And the Odyssey’s overall design is pretty mediocre. It’s better than, say, Acer’s flimsy-feeling Windows Mixed Reality headset. But the shiny front collects fingerprints, and the controllers’ black plastic looks and feels cheap. The whole headset is a hefty 645 grams, compared to around 470 grams for the Rift or Vive, and 610 grams for PlayStation VR. Its adjustable head ring looks a lot like the PlayStation VR’s, but it doesn’t feel as comfortable or well-balanced.
The Windows Mixed Reality controller design, meanwhile, feels paradoxically inadequate and overcomplicated. It takes some good cues from Oculus Touch, with two controllers that are molded for each hand, powered by removable batteries, and feature a front trigger and a secondary grip button. But besides a start and menu button, the only controls are a thumb stick and a trackpad, which sit right beside each other on each controller. You’re supposed to be able to click each corner of the trackpad, but it’s too small and mushy to do this consistently, so it’s only effective as a redundant analog stick.

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Despite all this, the core VR experience is roughly as good as the Rift or Vive — and that’s really saying something. I used it to play Fallout 4 VR, and the experience was what I would have expected from any other high-end tethered headset, with a lot less headache. I did have to redraw the boundaries multiple times, because the furniture in my test room got significantly rearranged between sessions, but that only takes a minute or two. And while Windows Mixed Reality doesn’t have a lot of exciting exclusive content, it has something arguably better: support for SteamVR, which could make it a reasonable Vive substitute for casual users. (Sadly, it still doesn’t play Rift games.)
If you’re holding off on a tethered headset because they seem uncomfortable or don’t have enough content, the Odyssey won’t be a huge improvement. It’s supposed to work with more low-end computers than other tethered headsets, but individual VR experiences still have different requirements — if your PC can’t run a graphically demanding game well on a flat screen, the same will likely be true in VR. And if you’re invested in one platform already, Windows Mixed Reality may not add a lot. But the Odyssey suggests that you can cut out some of the most irritating, onerous parts of using a VR headset, without losing serious experience quality in the process. It’s not ushering in the next generation of VR headsets, but it makes that generation feel a lot closer — just in time for 2018.
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Source: https://www.theverge.com/2017/12/27/16821518/microsoft-samsung-hmd-odyssey-windows-mixed-reality-vr-headset-review

New iPad UK release date, price and specs: Apple’s next tablet ISN’T the iPad Air 3

Yesterday Apple announced a brand new iPad, and you’ll be forgiven for calling it the iPad Air 3. Unlike most product releases, the new iPad had no launch event or release date, and was instead quietly unveiled in Apple’s online store.
From the outside at least, the new iPad or iPad Air 3 as it’s been called is identical to the last tablet, but inside it hosts a range tiny tweaks that make it that bit better. So what’s the new iPad, and how’s it different to the iPad Air 2? Keep reading to find out. 
New iPad: Release date and price
We expected the Apple iPad Air 3 to be released sometime this month, because the iPad Air 2 was announced the same time last year. Sure enough, Apple unveiled its new tablet yesterday, and it’s going to be on sale from Friday 24th March.
The new iPad costs a good amount less than the model it replaces, and starts at a fairly reasonable £339 pounds  – £60 less that the original iPad. In fact, that makes the new ‘iPad Air 3’ the cheapest Apple tablet you can buy right now; the iPad Mini 4 costs £419.
The larger 128GB Wi-fi only model of the iPad costs £429, while you’ll £469 for a 32GB cellular iPad and £559 for the larger, 256GB cellular model.

New iPad: Design and specs
On the outside at least, the new iPad looks exactly the same as the previous iPad – and that’s probably why it’s going to be referred to as the iPad Air 3, whether Apple’s wants us to call it that or not. Interestingly though, the new iPad is 1mm thicker than the previous model, and that could be due to it’s slightly updates internals.
The new iPad features a A9 process instead of the previous models A8X, and that means we should see some big improvements in performance. If you’ve heard of that processor before, that’s because it’s the same one used in the iPhone 6S and iPhone SE.
The new iPad is a little different in terms of storage space, too. It’s now available in both a 32GB and 128GB, so you’ll need to upgrade to an iPad Pro if you want 256GB.

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Kelvin Benjamin’s overturned touchdown is going to cause problems for the NFL

The catch rule strikes again, and it’s causing powerful people to question it as well as the NFL’s central replay system.
The Buffalo Bills were as close to a halftime lead over the New England Patriots as they could possibly get, but officials determined a pass to Kelvin Benjamin was incomplete after it was originally ruled a touchdown.
Needless to say, the decision to overturn the touchdown gave fans who dislike the NFL’s catch rule more ammunition for their argument. It even had Bills’ owner Terry Pegula weighing in on the issue in the days after that.
No matter your rooting interests or thoughts on the call, there’s no doubt that it was razor close either way.

Benjamin made a great catch in the back corner of the end zone and got both feet down — another angle confirmed his left foot dragged briefly — but the question is whether or not he had control before his left toe lifted off the field.
Even with the various replay angles, it was difficult to determine conclusively if Benjamin had it or not.
Why was Benjamin’s touchdown overturned?
The officials ruled it a touchdown, but after a review, the league’s central replay center decided that he did not have both feet down at the time of control.

In , when Kelvin Benjamin gains control, his left foot is off the ground. The receiver only has one foot down in bounds with control. Therefore, it is an incomplete pass. -AL
— NFL Football Operations (@NFLFootballOps)

After the incompletion, the Bills settled for a field goal to go to halftime tied with the Patriots, 13-13.
Bills coach Sean McDermott and Tyrod Taylor spoke with deep judge Mark Hittner after the call to overturn the touchdown was made.
“That’s a hell of a throw, and a catch, I thought,” Hittner said to them.
When McDermott asked why it got overturned, Hittner replied “I don’t know.”

Sean McDermott: “How is that not a catch?!”
Ref: “I don’t know.”
— John Barchard (@JohnBarchard)

Buffalo did get a lead on the opening possession of the second half after driving 63 yards and settling for a field goal from New England’s 12-yard line. The Patriots answered that on the next drive, and from there held the Bills scoreless for the rest of the game while piling on another 21 points on their way to a 37-16 win.
The owner criticizes the NFL’s decision
During a Tuesday radio appearance, Terry Pegula echoed how most fans feel about the catch rule after their team’s been burned by it.
“They obviously weren’t looking at the same television the rest of the country was looking at, were they?” the Bills owner said.

“But everybody I talked to — and they’re not Bills fans and they’re not necessarily anti-Patriots — they’re all baffled by that call, which just wasn’t consistent with what replay [should be].”
The call on the field was overturned by the league’s central replay office. All replay decisions are centrally made now, a new rule the NFL adopted in the spring. Intended as a way to standardize how rules are applied, it’s generated more controversy as the season’s gone on.
Calls on the field can only be overturned if there is indisputable evidence to do so. Critics of the new system have argued that its application has blurred the standard for what constitutes indisputable evidence and erased the standard for overturning calls.
“Replay was developed by this league to correct obviously mistakes,” Pegula said. “And if you got to look at that play 30 times from five different angles, and keep looking at it, and looking at it and looking at it, you go with the call on the field. That’s what the league has been doing ever since replay started. As a matter of fact, Dean Blandino, who was the head of replay last year, said last year that was a touchdown.”
The catch rule, possibly even the centralized replay system itself, might be getting another look from the NFL competition committee and owners this spring.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, who’s previously been supportive of the rule, called for its reevaluation after his team had a potential game-winning touchdown overturned against the Patriots.
Pegula wants the league to take another look at it too.
“I don’t know what’s going on, but we have to fix it. And I’m not saying that as the owner of the Bills; I’m saying that as a football fan. We can’t have stuff like this happening in our league.”

There were heavy playoff implications for both teams with Buffalo fighting the Tennessee Titans and Baltimore Ravens for a Wild Card berth, and the Patriots trying to hold off the Pittsburgh Steelers and Jacksonville Jaguars for the top seed in the AFC.
A touchdown would’ve put the Bills in great shape to pull off the upset, maybe. Now, the Bills need a win against the Dolphins this week and either a Ravens loss or losses (or ties) by the Chargers and Titans.

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Beer, arrows and a hell of a Christmas party: a world darts night at Ally Pally | Andy Bull | Sport

It should take around 12 hours to drive from Frankfurt to London, unless you set off early and travel non-stop. Which is what David and Lucas did. They left at two in the morning, caught the ferry at dawn and arrived at Alexandra Palace, utterly exhausted, 10 hours later. “It was a horrible mistake,” Lucas says. “We were too stingy to pay the €150 for the flights – but it was absolutely worth it.” David cuts in. “An hour ago we were so, so tired but then we picked up our tickets and now we’re just absolutely pumped.” At this point a passing but hardly passable priest, half-cut, leans in close and screams: “C’mon!” in David’s face. “Yes!” David says, grinning from ear to ear. “This is why we are here! For the party!”
The Professional Darts Corporation put the tickets for its annual world championship on sale at the end of July. There were 68,000 available and most went within the first two days of the release. Back then no one had any idea who was playing when, or exactly what they were paying to watch, because the draw had not taken place. The night Lucas and David were there was supposed to be one of the least exciting sessions of the tournament. Simon “the Wizard” Whitlock, the 10th seed, was top of the bill. Old hands among the darts fans warned it would likely be a dull sort of night. David and Lucas didn’t care. Nor did any of the other 2,000 or so people there.

The world championship has become a Christmas ritual, the adult equivalent of a trip to the panto or ice rink. Which means it’s another good excuse to get decked up in fancy dress and drink and sing and shout. It has only been 10 years since the tournament was moved to Ally Pally from the Circus Tavern in Purfleet but the PDC’s chief executive, Matt Porter, says it is already an “iconic” event. “It’s become synonymous with Christmas, in the same way that everybody knows it’s Wimbledon in early July and everybody knows it’s the FA Cup final at the end of May,” Porter says. “And Alexandra Palace is like a pilgrimage. It’s become the spiritual home of darts.”
Porter says the PDC has a simple formula. “Modern darts is a combination of sporting excellence and a superb atmosphere.” And those who know agree that the standard of play has never been so high. However, they also say that if you really want to appreciate it you are better off watching on television because that “superb atmosphere” Porter mentioned is essentially a euphemism to describe how pissed everyone is. It’s hard to overstate this. Outside of the family stand, the crowd are smashed, sloshed, plastered, stewed and soused.
They will cheer a 180, in the same way people celebrate the sixes at the T20, but a couple of hours into the evening it almost doesn’t much matter what is happening on the stage at the front of the arena. It may as well be a lecture on ancient painted vases or a PowerPoint presentation on trends in the insurance industry for all the attention some of the fans at the back are paying to it. They are too busy downing pints, singing songs and chanting abuse at the people who paid extra for tabled seats. It’s a hell of a party if you are into that sort of thing.

This year fans in Europe bought a third of the tickets for the PDC World Championship and Germany is the sport’s second-largest market. Photograph: Tom Jenkins for the Guardian

You wouldn’t necessarily guess it but there are rules. The signs by the door warn: “Drunken behaviour will not be tolerated and perpetrators may be asked to leave.” I hear two stewards talking. “You won’t believe what just happened, someone puked over the back of the stand, all over my coat,” one says. “Nothing surprises me any more,” his mate replies. They are quick to toss out anyone who tries to start a fight, as drunk people invariably will, and as the night wears on the stands thin out. There are empty patches where especially boisterous groups have been asked to leave.
The irony is that darts is a game of subtle skill, intricate precision and intense focus. “A decade ago the older players would have told you: ‘We can’t deal with this, we want respect and order’ but that doesn’t exist any more,” Porter says. “Now it’s up to them to manage it because ultimately there’s a reason why the prize money is at the level it is, why we sell the number of tickets we do, why we have the number of broadcasters that we have and why we have queue of sponsors. And that reason is the atmosphere that’s created to go along with the show the players put on up on the oche.”

Too many sports dictate to their audience. We know what our audience want and we deliver it
The PDC’s Matt Porter

That atmosphere sells well. This year fans in Europe bought a third of the tickets. Germany is the sport’s second-largest market and David and Lucas aren’t the only two who have made the journey over. Marvin and Florian have come, too, by plane. Of course they are wearing lederhosen. “We’re staying for four days and we’ll see London, the big city and bright lights, and all the boring stuff while we’re here,” Marvin says. “But that’s not why we’ve come: this is.” Odd thing is, the Germans do not even have a top-10 player. They just love the culture.
“It’s the same template wherever we go in the world, Auckland, Las Vegas, Shanghai, Dubai, it’s exactly the same show,” Porter says. “It’s up the players to go up there and perform, and the crowd to turn up and create an atmosphere.” In 2015 the PDC held its first event in Tokyo. No one was sure what to expect. “But the effort that they went to with fancy dress, the atmosphere they created, it was all phenomenal,” Porter recalls. “That was from a standing start but they’d seen it on TV and they wanted to emulate what they’d seen.”
The PDC has affiliated tours in Russia, Scandinavia, Australia, New Zealand and China. It is launching an Asia-wide tour next year. This night, there’s a 19-year-old kid from Dandong playing, Xiao Chen Zong. It was his debut at Ally Pally but he seemed completely unfazed by it all. He had seen it all before on YouTube. Zong used to play snooker but switched sports two years ago. He has decided to defer his place at university to play here. Porter says there “are a lot more kids just like him”.

Xiao Chen Zong from China made his debut at Alexandra Palace. Photograph: Tom Jenkins for the Guardian

Porter’s main achievement has been to develop an infrastructure beneath the PDC’s elite events. “It’s a full pathway from the moment you first pick up a dart to becoming world champion. Until a few years ago there were probably only a dozen to 20 players making a full-time living from darts, you know; now there’s probably a hundred.” The PDC has brought in an academy system, a junior tour, a challenge tour and a qualifying school for the professional circuit. “You don’t need to play in a pub any more, you don’t need to be part of a pub team even. It’s all different now.”
Not all. The crowd are still out for a good time. “Too many sports dictate to their audience,” Porter says. “We know what our audience want and we deliver it. Nobody leaves here thinking it wasn’t a good night’s entertainment. Nobody.” By 11pm the road down to the station is littered with discarded Santa hats. A group of lads, all dressed as mimes, are yakking about how they were thrown out by the bouncers. One is complaining about the way he was unceremoniously yanked from the stands and shoved through the door. “Yeah, yeah,” agrees his mate, “it’s not right.” He pauses for a minute. “Great night, though, wasn’t it?”

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2018 World Juniors: The best highlights from Day 1 in Buffalo

The tournament has already given us some show-stopping moments.
The 2018 IIHF World Junior Championships have officially begun in Buffalo, and with it it has brought some incredible highlights and moments. International competitions are usually full of poignant moments and tense situations, but this one featuring hockey players age 20 and under is often a standout tournament for its big moments.
While the biggest question on many people’s minds is if the United States can repeat for World Junior gold and a chance at history, there are so many other threads to follow. Will Team Canada’s goaltending hold up? How will Russia fair now that this is their biggest international showing thanks to the Olympic ban?

This time of year, however, can get pretty busy, so if you don’t have time to catch every bit of World Junior hockey you don’t need to look any further! Here are the best, biggest, and brightest highlights from the first day of World Junior competition in Buffalo.
Russia gave us the first standout goal right out of the gate

And we’ve got a spin-o-rama goal already
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn)

It didn’t take long for the World Juniors to get funky. Marsel Sholokhov’s first period goal for Russia just 10 minutes into the game gave us a taste of what was to come. The Russians lost to the Czech Republic by a score of 5-4, but this goal was a standout.
Canada benefits from a so-so call

This one is iffy
— Flintor (@TheFlintor)

The Canadians took down Finland by a score of 4-2, but this opening goal from Boris Katchouk was a bit controversial. The puck only crossed the goal line after it was dislodged by Katchouk, but the referees ruled it a goal anyway.
Goalies are strange, wonderful people

Everyone knows goalies are weirdos.. Carter Hart proved it today. Has to be the last one off the ice, waited for the Finnish backup tendy for over a minute before heading to the room.
— Shayne Pasquino (@shaynepasquino)

Before Canada’s matchup, goaltender Carter Hart involved himself in a strange superstition of being the last player to leave the ice in warmups. Hart ended the night with 29 saves on 31 shots.
Hart did need some help, though

Hockey is a game of inches.
— TSN (@TSN_Sports)

Canadian defenseman Cal Foote came to Hart’s rescue after batting this puck away with his hands at the goal line. The move saved a sure-fire goal, and one that would have moved Finland closer in the closing moments of the third period.
Casey Mittelstadt shows his hands

Behold the soft touch of Casey Mittelstadt
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn)

The United States cruised to an easy victory on Tuesday, as they bested Denmark by a score of 9-0. The eighth overall pick from the 2017 draft showcased his talent with a real nice goal to put the Americans off to a strong start.
Canada fans got in the spirit early

Double fisting at a World Junior game? Doesn’t get much more Canadian than that!
— Shayne Pasquino (@shaynepasquino)

The World Juniors truly are the best time of year, folks.

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6 Hidden iPhone X Features You Need To Know

Michael Grothaus

19/12/2017 – 4:13pm

Are YOU using the iPhone X to its fullest?

I’ve written before how surprised I was about just how good of a phone the iPhone X is. I was one of the naysayers who dismissed it as too little too late when it was unveiled, but upon actually holding and using the device I’ve had to eat my words. It is without a doubt the best phone Apple has ever made and it is easy to argue it is one of the best smartphones ANYONE has ever made. And one of the best things I’ve found is the iPhone X gets even better the more you use it because Apple has built in a lot of smaller features to the device that they just haven’t decided to highlight to the general public. Here are the ones I’ve found so far.
Tap To Wake
With the Home button gone, there are one fewer ways the iPhone X has to wake itself up. Yes, you can still press the side button–but many people think that’s it. Not so, however. Apple has built a tap to wake function into the iPhone X’s display. Simply tap it once to wake it up.
Swipe To Switch Between Apps
Another great feature Apple hasn’t spotlighted is the ability for users to swipe through active apps to switch between them. The way this works is, in an open app at the bottom of the screen where the new swipe bar is at, simply swipe left or right to move through your active apps. It’s a great way to quickly bounce between apps and is a nice compliment to the redesigned app switcher.

Dim Your Screen When Not Looking At It
Similar to the feature above, since the iPhone X knows when you are looking at your display or not, it has the ability to instantly dim your screen the second you look away from it and it also automatically returns the brightness to your standard settings once you look at your screen again. This is great for saving battery life.
Quickly Disable Face ID
Depending on where you live, the police may be able to legally insist you unlock your smartphone on the spot via its facial recognition features. For some reason, facial biometrics aren’t protected in the way fingerprints and passcodes are in some localities. That’s why Apple has built in a feature that lets you quickly disable Face ID in a pinch without going into your settings. Just press the side button five times and Face ID will be disabled and you’ll need to enter your passcode instead to gain access to your phone.

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The contents of this article are sourced from: http://www.knowyourmobile.com/mobile-phones/iphone-x/24814/6-hidden-iphone-x-features-you-need-know

How to change ringtone on iPhone with and without iTunes

Take a walk down a busy street and you’ll hear the same chipper tones of the trademark Opening ringtone playing out from every single person’s iPhone. 
Where have the days of the early 2000s gone, where people used to change their ringtones every week? Or even the 1990s when people programmed in their own ringtones?
There is still a way to stand out from the crowd with a ringtone that actually reflects your personality, without the faff. Here we break down how to change ringtone on an iPhone, how to import a new ringtone and how to assign a ringtone to a contact.
How to change ringtone on iPhone
1. Go to Settings | Sounds & Haptics
2. Tap on Ringtone
3. You can tap on each different ringtone to hear what each one sounds like
4. Just tap whichever one you like and it will be set as your new ringtone
How to assign a ringtone to a contact on your iPhone
What about if you want to set a specific ringtone for one of your contacts? That’s also relatively easy. Here is how to change the ringtone of one of your iPhone contacts:
1. Open Contacts on your iPhone 
2. Tap on the contact you want to set a custom ringtone for 
3. Tap Edit
4. At the bottom, select Ringtone, choose one you like or one you’ve made yourself and then tap Done 
How to import a ringtone onto your iPhone for free 
 If you want to change your ringtone to one that isn’t a default Apple ringtone, the iTunes Store has an enormous catalogue of ringtones made by professionals and amateurs, meaning you can change your ringtone to an 8-bit rendition of the Game of Thrones theme song or a rock ballad of Hedwig’s Theme from the Harry Potter series.
However, if you don’t want to pay out for a 30-second long ringtone, you can add ringtones to your iPhone for free. You’ll have to use iTunes on your computer to do so. This way you can add an MP3 or AAC file and make it your ringtone, whether that’s a song or someone talking, it’s all possible although a fairly laborious process.
1. Firstly, make sure your MP3 or AAC file is in your iTunes library.
2. In your iTunes library, right click the song or clip and select Get Info or Song Info. 
3. Select the ‘Options’ tab and tick the Start and Stop boxes. 
4. Enter the start and stop times in the song or clip, making sure it doesn’t exceed 30 seconds and click ‘OK’.
5. If you’re using a version of iTunes that’s before 12.5, right click on the file once again and select ‘Create AAC version. It will then be converted into a duplicated track in iTunes which lasts 30 seconds or under. 
6. If you’re using iTunes 12.5 and above, the process is a little trickier. Select the song or file once, go up to the File menu, click on Convert and then select “Create AAC version”. 
If you aren’t able to find the ‘Create AAC’, your settings are likely not configured correctly. To configure your settings, do the following: 
– Click Menu at the top of iTunes and select Preferences. 
– Click Import Settings and choose “Import using AAC Encoder”. 
– If you’re using anything above iTunes 12.4, select Edit in the menu bar, click Preferences and follow the same steps. 
7. Right-click on the newly created AAC track and press “Show in Windows Explorer” on Windows and “Show in Finder” on a Mac. 
8. Right click on the file in the new window and choose Rename. 
9. Change the file extension from .m4a to .m4r. 
10. Click Yes when you are prompted to change the extension. 
11. Enable the Tones section by clicking on the Music button and hitting Edit, then ticking the box next to Tones. If that doesn’t work, then click on the three dots and choose Tones from the menu. Open the Tones section in iTunes and drag the file from Windows Explorer or Finder into Tones. If you have iTunes 12.7, please skip ahead. 
12. Connect your iPhone to your PC or Mac with the USB cable.
13. Drag the ringtone from Tones onto the icon of your phone and it should sync across.
How to add ringtones in iTunes 
1. Connect your iPhone to your PC or Mac with the USB cable.
2. Click on the icon of your phone in iTunes, expand the section and click on Tones. 
3. Copy the M4R file from Windows Explorer or Finder and copy the track. 
4. Paste it into iTunes in the Tones section. 
5. It will now sync to your iPhone. 
Now your custom tones will appear at the top of your Ringtone settings on your iPhone. 

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The content sourced from: http://www.alphr.com/mobile-phones/1008011/how-to-change-ringtone-on-iphone

The best Android apps of 2017

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Best messenger apps for Android
Studies have shown that smartphone users message each other back and forth much more than they make calls. Users need a good messenger app. It’s a big choice, so here are two of our favorites.
WhatsApp
WhatsApp, the ubiquitous chat app, has been installed on over one billion smartphones. And it’s always improving user experience, adding new features and becoming more secure. What makes it number one? Everyone uses it, simple as that. If you already use WhatsApp, then you should check out our favorite WhatsApp tips and tricks.

WhatsApp Messenger

Telegram
No messaging app comes close to the number of users WhatsApp has, but there are some great alternatives out there. Telegram is one of them. The free app has end-to-end encryption, does group chats and is a pioneer of chatbots. Unlike some other messengers, you can use it on multiple devices. Read our full review of Telegram.

Telegram: a powerful communication tool. / © AndroidPIT

Telegram

Best keyboard apps for Android
Typing on mobile can be frustrating or awkward for many of us, and that’s a shame because most users don’t think about installing a different keyboard from the default. A new keyboard can really change your life when it comes to how comfortable you are using your phone.
Fleksy
This keyboard is one of the best for fast, accurate typing and it’s our new company favorite. Many of us have adopted Fleksy because it’s big, it’s clever and once you use it for a couple of hours, you realize how useful some of the smaller details are.
For example, most keyboards use a “press and hold delete key” gesture to delete words, Fleksy uses a super-quick backward swipe. Be sure check out some of the extensions like invisible keyboard too — it works surprisingly well. Download it from the Play Store for free now. 

Because of its size, Fleksy is primed for use with two thumbs on bigger phones, if that’s your thing. / © AndroidPIT

Fleksy + GIF Keyboard

SwiftKey
Whoever is looking for a very special virtual keyboard for Android will find one here. SwiftKey works wonderfully with tablets, and if you simply want a good Android keyboard, it offers intuitive operation, very good spell check and word recognition.

SwiftKey Keyboard

Best weather apps for Android
Morecast
There are plenty of great weather apps available that are more accurate and better looking than the ones that come pre-installed on your Android device. 
MORECAST is our current favorite weather app here at AndroidPIT because it has one of the best-looking interfaces, with a clear and sensible layout. It’s also one of the most advanced apps of its kind, featuring such options as side-by-side weather comparisons for two cities, and accurate weather information for a particular route or journey. MORECAST is the right way to make a smartphone weather app, and best of all, it’s free. 

MORECAST is a useful weather app and widget, which also looks fantastic. / © AndroidPIT

Morecast USA Weather & Radar

Weather Timeline
Available for $1.49 on the Play Store, Weather Timeline could be the best money you ever spend. It brings genuinely useful and interesting features together into a wonderful interface and library of widgets.
The app gets its name from its primary function, which is a card-based timeline of the weather, but there’s a lot more on offer. You can select from five different weather services, and there are notifications that warn you of impending weather changes. Then there’s the moon viewer, so you always know the werewolf forecast, and several radar maps, letting you see visualizations of the cloud and rain to come. On top of all that, there are also several interactive graphs showing data on things like temperature, precipitation and pressure. 
The depth of data and an elegant and simple interface makes this app one of our top choices.

Weather Timeline is our favorite weather app on Android. / © AndroidPIT

Weather Timeline – Forecast

Best photo apps for Android
PhotoDirector
There are plenty of useful photo apps on Android to help you up your picture game, but PhotoDirector is the whole package. It has everything you could possibly need to edit your photos. The tools range from simple text bubbles and filters, to more complex things such as HSL and curves, and they’re all heavily adjustable, helping you get the best out of your photos. It’s for messing around on and seeing what you end up with.
The app is developed by CyberLink, a large Taiwanese multimedia software company, so they have the money to splash on an app, and it shows. Highly recommended for novices and pros-on-the-go alike.

PhotoDirector’s array of features is impressive, to say the least. / © AndroidPIT

PhotoDirector Photo Editor App

Google Camera
With a clean layout and intuitive controls, Google’s Camera app has been getting better and better both for beginners and pros alike. But it’s really Nexus and Pixel owners who will get the most of this app since these are the only phones that support Google’s own HDR+ mode. HDR+ adds low noise to it’s processing and is capable of creating some of the most stunning smartphone imaging available yet, even in the darkest lighting conditions.
You can also take panoramic pictures and use Photo Sphere, a walk-in spherical panorama function that makes immersive viewing possible in Google’s Photos app. The Nexus or Pixel motion sensors work wonders but true 360-degree cameras are still better suited for such shots.

Google camera offers the extensive Photo Sphere function. / © Google

Google Camera

Best apps for music
Downloading free music
Google Play Music is our favorite app for downloading free music right now. Though there are many music download apps available in the Play Store, they are often quickly removed because of their copyright-impinging functionality. Google Play Music provides you with a totally legit, ever-changing list of free tracks from major artists to download.
Spotify has an excellent paid subscription service, and SoundCloud has a multitude of tracks readily available to stream, but for actually downloading tracks to your phone, Google Play Music is as good as you can get. 
Alternatively, head to the link below for some less common free music downloading apps. 

Google Play Music always has a selection of popular tracks for free. / © AndroidPIT

Google Play Music

Best music player
The Walkman and the iPod are as good as dead, because our smartphones have taken over as powerful music players. While the default music apps on your Android device probably do a fine job, if you want to crank up the bass or other aspects of your music, you’ll need something more.
One of the best music player apps for Android is Poweramp. It’s a great way to enjoy your favorite music, with a ton of options and support for almost any type of file. You can’t go wrong with Poweramp.

With themes galore, Poweramp can be whatever you want it to be. Just grab a new skin ASAP. / © AndroidPIT

Poweramp Music Player (Trial)

Best apps for movies and TV
Hulu
Hulu is an excellent app for watching movies and TV shows for free on Android. It’s a free service that relies on ads, but there are some great shows available. You need to pay a subscription fee to access all of the content, but there is a range of excellent shows available without subscription, including classic comedies such as Family Guy, Seinfeld and South Park. 

Hulu features a number of classic US TV shows and movies. / © AndroidPIT

Hulu: Watch TV & Stream Movies

Crackle
Crackle is a hugely popular free app, which is updated monthly with new TV shows and movies. Created by Grouper but later bought by Sony, the app features ads which run at regular intervals throughout the content, the trade-off for which is that you get an excellent selection of media and a well-maintained app.
Crackle, like Netflix or Amazon, has picked up some original content that’s getting more popular. The most famous of these is ‘Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee’ starring Jerry Seinfeld. It’s on it’s eighth season and has featured some major guests like Will Ferrell, Ricky Gervais and Barack Obama.

Crackle – Free TV & Movies

Best security/antivirus apps for Android
Mobile Security & Antivirus from Avast
Android security is a contentious subject and arguments about the safety of the system crop up frequently. If you are in the market for an antivirus app, our current favorite is Mobile Security & Antivirus from Avast. 
Mobile Security & Antivirus keeps you safe from malware threats with its excellent virus detection software, which can search through your browser history, microSD card, and internal storage space. What’s more, it employs anti-theft features such as location tracking and remote data wipe, which work even if your device is not currently in your possession. 
As far as free mobile security is concerned, Avast’s app is about as comprehensive as it gets. 

Avast is a well-known name in antivirus, and you can wipe your device remotely if necessary. / © AndroidPIT

Mobile Security & Antivirus

McAfee Mobile Security & Lock
McAfee is a well-established anti-virus and security package on the desktop, and with its Android app it brings a whole lot of that protection to your mobile. That means you get anti-virus, app lock, Wi-Fi and web protection and protection from loss and theft.
So, in addition to a basic antivirus, you’re protected during your day-to-day surfing. But, what about when the worst happens? If your phone gets stolen, this app will help you locate and retrieve it while keeping your data locked down in the mean time.
Plus, anytime someone tries to unlock your phone but enters the wrong pin code, it snaps their photo. McAfee calls this feature CaptureCam. There’s also app lock, which keeps people from accessing any apps you choose by protecting them with a 6-digit pin code. For the premium version, it costs around $25-30 per year, which is a great value.

McAfee Mobile Security

Best apps for personalizing your Android
Action Launcher 3
Launchers offer a simple way to customize the look and feel of your Android phone. They often combine new icons, a new app drawer layout, a new homescreen and new wallpaper to make your device fit a certain style or theme.
You have to try them out to appreciate how fun they can be and the one we recommend right now is Action Launcher 3. This is an excellent introduction to launchers because it provides clear and intuitive interface changes without adding so many that it becomes off-putting.  
With Action Launcher 3 you can perform simple tweaks such as changing the app drawer layout, changing app icons, and even altering the way you use your homescreen folders. It offers genuinely useful interface improvements and it’s free; download it from the link below.  

This is the Action Launcher 3 app Quickdrawer. / © ANDROIDPIT

Action Launcher 3

Nova Launcher
iOS is a fierce rival to Android and offers a range of great apps and features, but it doesn’t offer everything that Android does. Nova Launcher is one of our favorite Android-exclusive apps because, in many ways, it underlines what is so great about Android. 
Nova is an alternative launcher compatible with Android 4.1 onward. It lets you customize the entire look and feel of your operating system, from changes to font size, to the number of apps that can appear on the lock screen, to the way in which your app drawer scrolls. Nova Launcher is a prime example of how Android can be molded to suit individual tastes and preferences, in a way that iOS cannot.
If you wish you could make a few simple changes to your current interface, then give the free version of Nova a try. Nova even lets you adopt the look of any other phone – Galaxy, Xperia, HTC, LG, even iOS if that’s your thing.

Nova Launcher

Next Lock Screen
Lock screen apps are awesome – you can do things on your smartphone or tablet without even having to unlock it. From checking notifications, calendar reminders, music controls, missed calls, Quick Settings and more, Next Lock Screen lets you take control of your locked phone. Next will even suggest apps based on your location.

Next by Microsoft brings a whole bunch of functionality to your lock screen. / © AndroidPIT

Next Lock Screen

Best dating apps for Android
Online dating has come a long way from the easy punchline it used to be, and nowadays it’s pretty common to meet that special someone on a dating app. However long your connection might last, you need a good app to get started in the dating game. Here our favorites.
Tinder for sheer number of potential matches
For those who wish to jump straight into the larger dating pool, Tinder is a massive app with tons of potential matches available. It’s claimed that 26 million matches happen through Tinder every day. 
Aside from numbers, another advantage is that Tinder uses Facebook authentication to try and keep its potential matches honest. It’s not a flawless system, as it is possible to get a fake Facebook account but it’s more difficult than getting a random email address.
Tinder is mostly free but if you want to get some premium features you will need to pay. These include ‘rewind’ (see a profile you just swiped away), getting a boost to your visibility and getting more ‘super likes’ (get someone’s attention before they see you by chance), but it is entirely possible to use Tinder without these and have a great dating experience for free.

Tinder shows you local singles using a large database. / © AndroidPIT

Tinder

Bumble puts women in control
Bumble offers an interesting take on the dating app format. You swipe through matches in a manner reminiscent of Tinder, but with a twist-men aren’t allowed to message. Women have make the first move. For women who are frustrated with tons of messages by men who barely look at their profiles, or men who get stuck on trying to craft that perfect opening line, this can be a great way to make dating less stressful (of course, for women seeking women, it’s basically online dating as usual, and men seeking men are still best served with Grindr).

As well as dating, Bumble has additional modes for networking and friendships. / © AndroidPIT

As an additional twist, matches on Bumble expire after 24 hours if they don’t talk, so no one has to spend days wondering whether it’s too soon to send a message, or if you’re going to get one. You get it together soon, or you move on.

Bumble — Meet, Date & Network

Best health and fitness apps for Android
Of course, you might want tone up a little for all that dating you’re going to do with the above apps. Or maybe you just need a little help with motivation or organisation when it comes to keeping in shape. Fitness apps are great because you can keep your device close to you while you’re on the move. Let’s take a look at the best.
RunKeeper for a comprehensive experience
RunKeeper has a good reputation, not just for the number of features in its own app but also the number of third-party services it plugs into (it works with both Google Fit and Apple Health). If you’re a keen runner, there aren’t many better options than this one.
You can plot your runs on a map via GPS tracking, monitor distance covered and calories burned, set personal goals, integrate your indoor activities and more. Despite the name, this app can handle bike rides and gym workouts as well as running, so it’s a comprehensive monitoring app.
Don’t underestimate the power of community. There are social aspects to the app as well. You can share achievements with your friends, join and create running groups and use the chat feature to keep each other motivated. The app is free, but also has ads and optional in-app purchases.

RunKeeper offers maps and statistics. / © AndroidPIT

Runkeeper – GPS Track Run Walk

Google Fit for simplicity
Google’s own health and fitness app is no longer so sparse in the features department. It now can aggregate info from other apps, including Nike+, MyFitnessPal, Lifesun, Basis, Withings, Xiaomi Mi bands, and three from this list: Runkeeper, Strava and Sleep as Android. It is tightly integrated with Android and Android Wear, so it’s a convenient option as well. A web interface is available at https://fit.google.com.
Weight, heart rate, steps and activity time can all be logged automatically, and if you have the time to tell Google exactly what you’re up to, you can choose from a long list of activities, from snowboarding to horse riding. You can set simple daily goals as well and get an alert when you’ve reached them. In addition to real-time stats, Google Fit will also give you personalized recommendations and coaching to help you reach your goals.

Google Fit: Android’s default fitness app. / © AndroidPIT

Google Fit – Fitness Tracking

This has been our pick of the cream of the crop when it comes to the best Android apps of 2017, but if you’re still hungry for more, check out one the links below:
What are your favorite Android apps? Any that you think are better than our selection here? Let us know in the comments!

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The content sourced from: https://www.androidpit.com/best-android-apps

Edward Snowden’s new app turns any Android phone into a surveillance system

NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden is among the backers of a new surveillance app that helps guard against computer hijackings.
Haven is an open source app that will run on any Android phone, particularly inexpensive and older devices. It operates like a surveillance system, using the device’s camera, audio recording capability and even accelerometer to detect movement and notify a user. The idea is that, even with the best encryption in the world, a device is vulnerability to physical, in-person tampering — also known as “evil maid” because literally a hotel maid could access it.
The app was developed by The Guardian Project, Freedom Of The Press and Snowden to offer eyes and ears to prevent, or at least increase awareness, of whether a device has been tampered with.
So, for example, you’d set up a burner Android device in a hotel safe alongside your laptop. Haven could then be set to broadcast any audio or movement, basically if anyone opened the safe it will snap a photo, record audio and detect motion. Alerts can be sent via SMS, Signal or to a Tor-based website.

Writing for The Intercept, Micah Lee, a member of Freedom Of The Press who help set up and test the app, admitted that the app does have some shortcomings — such as maintaining constant internet access for notifications, preventing battery drain and false positives — but it offers something new for those who would welcome the peace of mind from additional surveillance. While beyond helping keep hardware secure, it could also have other uses.
“Haven can also be used as a cheap home or office security system to detect break-ins or vandalism while you’re away, positioning the phone to send you photographs when someone walks within range. Or you can use it to monitor for wildlife in rural areas, or to capture evidence of human rights violations and disappearances,” Lee wrote.
Or even something more festive…

“When the lead developer explained the project to his young children, they found another use for it: ‘We’re going to catch Santa!’ ” https://t.co/Beangjk90g
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden)

Haven can be downloaded via Google Play and open source Android app store F-Droid.
Snowden, who remains exiled in Russia, previously helped develop an iPhone case that detects when a device is transmitting data that can put users at risk of detection, and he’s been very vocal about services that he believes are problematic for privacy. He previously advised that people get rid of Dropbox and avoid using Google and Facebook and has spoken at length on why data collection is “the central problem of the future.”

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The content sourced from: https://techcrunch.com/2017/12/24/edward-snowden-haven-app/?ncid=rss