The Best Laptop 2018: Our pick of the best laptops you can buy

The Best Laptop 2018: Our pick of the best laptops you can buy

If you’re looking for the best laptop for your needs, then you’ve come to the right place, as we’ve listed the very best laptops money can buy in 2018. Very soon Microsoft will be officially releasing the Surface Laptop and the Surface Book in the Middle East and we expect them to join this list.Each these top laptops has been carefully tested by us, so we can give you our expert advice on what the best laptops of 2018 are. We’re constantly updating this list as well, so our best laptop list will feature the newest models. The most recent addition to our best laptops list is the 2018 model of the Dell XPS 2018, and once again it sits at the top of our list.So, read on for our list of the best laptops money can buy, which includes our own price comparison tool to make sure you get the very best deals for these amazing notebooks.
The best laptops of 2018:
The Dell XPS 13 has been the top of our best laptops list for three years in a row, and the 2018 revision of Dell’s flagship laptop continues that trend. This is a slimmer, more powerful version of the best laptop in the world, and it now comes with a stunning new 4K display and a gorgeous new color: Rose Gold on Alpine White model is on its way. It’s more expensive than previous version of the XPS 13, but the 2018 edition makes up for it with powerful 8th generation Intel processors, ranging from i5 to i7, along with a nigh-bezel-less ‘Infinity Edge’ display, which fits a 13.3-inch screen into an 11-inch frame, the Dell XPS 13 really stands out from its competition. Not only that, but the port selection is equally on point. Compared to Apple’s exclusive USB-C approach, Dell’s flagship notebook impresses with – in addition to USB-C – USB 3.0 along with the elusive SD card slot. It’s no wonder the Dell XPS 13 continues to be the most popular WIndows laptop in the world. Yet it gets even better. You also get the choice of a super high-res or multi-touch screen as well as a breadth of options for storage and memory. Or you can save on cash and opt for more conservative specs.Read the full review: Dell XPS 13
If you love the look of the Dell XPS 13 but you don’t want to pay the steep asking price, the Asus Zenbook UX310UQ is the best alternative. It costs substantially less – in fact it’s usually about half the price – while retaining a fabulous screen, excellent build quality and looks, plus top performance for everyday tasks. Because of this, it’s also a viable alternative to the 2017 Macbook if you want something super slim that’s not a Mac and doesn’t cost as much. Like most laptops of this kind, it comes in various specifications so the cheaper versions have Intel Core i3 CPUs and full HD screens while the most expensive options come with a super high res display and Intel Core i5. Whichever one you go for, though, you’re getting a fantastic laptop. Asus has long been a great brand for offering great value on these kinds of laptops so it’s not much of a surprise that in 2017 we find ourselves recommending another Asus laptop in this price bracket.Read the full review: Asus Zenbook UX310UASee more like this: The best Ultrabooks 20178
Some of the very best laptops in 2017 have been 2-in-1 devices, and Lenovo has added to that list with the excellent Lenovo Yoga 920. It features a wonderfully slim design, and its build quality is exceptional. The 360 degree hinge allows you to convert the laptop into a tablet-like device, making it flexible in all senses of the word. It’s cheaper than the Surface Book 2, and while it doesn’t offer quite the same quality when in tablet mode, it’s an excellent device with plenty of power and bags of battery life. It’s definitely a worthy alternative, and it’s easily one of the best laptops we’ve seen this year.Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga 920
If you’re after the latest and greatest laptop from Apple, welcome to the 13-inch Macbook Pro with touchbar. It’s the best laptop Apple has ever made, and builds new features into the classic design. Of course the headline feature is the touchbar – it’s a thin OLED display at the top of the keyboard which can be used for any number of things, whether that be auto-suggesting words as you type or offering Touch ID so you can log in with just your fingerprint. If you’re a massive fan of the Macbook Pro 2017 you’ll be happy with this model but there are some serious reasons why you should consider one of the Windows alternatives. For a start, this laptop is very expensive for what is is, especially considering the better value alternatives. On top of this, it’s not as powerful, the screen is lower-res versus the competition and isn’t touchscreen friendly, plus the battery is a bit disappointing too. So if you’re open to switching to a PC, definitely consider the XPS 13 as a more modern, cheaper alternative. But if you’re a steadfast Apple die hard, this is definitely the best laptop for you!Read the full review: Apple Macbook with touchbar (2017)See more like this: The best Macs and Macbooks 2017
Part of a new generation of Max-Q gaming laptops in 2017, the  Asus ROG Zephyrus is both ridiculously powerful and astonishingly thin and light. Make no mistake, this thing is large compared to a Macbook Pro or Dell XPS 13, but compared to gaming laptops of the past this effort from Asus is something of a holy grail achievement. Your expectations of a 15-inch gaming laptop will never be the same after seeing the Zephyrus in action. It’s expensive of course, but with powerful Core i7 CPU and GTX 1080 graphics it’ll be easily powerful enough to play the best games for many years to come on the built-in 1080p screen. It’s an ideal top-end desktop replacement that is, possibly for the first time ever, also extremely portable.Read the full review: Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501See more like this: The best gaming laptops 2017
If you’re after a new gaming laptop and you don’t have the kind of money that you need for the Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501 above, the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming laptop is your best option. It comes in at well under half the price and offers absolutely fantastic value for money. The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti graphics chip is easily powerful enough to lubricate the best games on the built-in 1080p display while general performance in Windows is super slick thanks to the Core i5 CPU. If you’re going to be moving around a bit, you’ll be pleased to know that the battery life on this laptop is also superb – we got nearly 8 hours out of it while watching HD video. A gaming session with Tom Clancy’s The Division on medium settings for two hours only dropped the battery to 66%. This is far better than similarly priced rivals. So in the reasonably-priced category, the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 is definitely the best laptop around at the moment.Read the full review: Dell Inspiron 15 7000 GamingSee more like this: The best gaming laptops 2017 
The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 is 2017’s best laptop for you if you’re looking for the perfect cross between a nimble Windows tablet and a fully functional laptop. The base version of the Surface Pro 4 is just a tablet – you get the main unit itself with kickstand but if you want the Surface Pen or the fantastic Type Cover keyboard you’ll need to pay extra for a bundle or buy it separately. Often the best value option is a bundle but even the tablet on its own represents pretty good value. The Surface Pro, alongside the also-excellent Surface Book laptop, is to Windows what the Pixel is to Google’s Android. It’s the benchmark Windows device, with software and hardware working together in perfect harmony. So if you need a new laptop and a tablet, the Surface Pro is the best does-it-all 2-in-1 option. If you want this but need something a little cheaper, check out the Acer Switch 3 below!Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Pro 4See more like this: The best 2-in-1 laptops 2017 
If you want the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 but you want to spend a lot less, the Acer Switch Alpha 12 is definitely the your best option. It’s designed around essentially the same concept as the Surface Pro and it’s a less capable thanks to slightly lower power innards, but for most tasks it’s a brilliant little machine. What’s more, to add further value this 2-in-1 laptop/tablet comes with the keyboard upgrade which means no little extras to pay for. As usual it comes in several different versions, with USB Type-C, 8GB RAM, an IPS display and Intel Core i3 7100U CPU coming with the more expensive option.Read the full review: Acer Switch Alpha 12See more like this: The best 2-in-1 laptops 2017 
If you love the look of the XPS 13 at the top of this list but need something a little bigger with more graphics power, the Dell XPS 15 2017 could be the best laptop for you. Packing the same InfinityEdge technology, the screen extends right to the edge of the machine which means it’s as small as it’s possible to make a 15-inch laptop in 2017. It’s quite pricey though, depending on which version you get. The very top end version has a 4K colour-accurate display which makes it perfect for graphic design, and gaming performance is decent as long as you play at either a lower resolution or on medium settings.Read the full review: Dell XPS 15
And finally – HP’s best 2-in-1 laptop is a really stunner. It’s super thin and light while packing in fantastic performance and a fast charging battery. It’s expensive, but for the money what you’re getting is the best ultra portable laptop available in 2017. As with many laptops on the list, this laptop comes in a number of different builds – with the bottom end one starting with a full HD screen while the top end model packs in a 4K one. Whichever one you go for though, you’re getting a fabulous laptop that you’ll love carrying around with you.Read the full review: HP Spectre x360See more like this: The best 2-in-1 laptops 2017 
Which type of laptop is best for you?
General laptops: Where the best cheap laptops are found, devices that focus more on practicality than style, portability or power. That’s not to say they can’t be fast, but you’ll typically find a non-Ultrabook clamshell laptop with an HD screen and spinning drive-based storage for less than $600 or £400.Ultrabooks: Where you’ll find thin-and-light notebooks sporting SSD storage and display resolutions that exceed 1080p. Paired with powerful, albeit mobile-centric components and especially long battery life, the best Ultrabooks will cost a pretty penny – $700 or £500 to $2,000 or £1,800.2-in-1 laptops: Where notebooks that double as tablets are located. The Surface Book 2 might be a ways off, but many of the best 2-in-1 laptops are available right now. Outfitted with both detachable and 360-degree rotating hinges, these hybrids are the most versatile way to experience Windows 10 (or Chrome OS) on a touchscreen.Gaming laptops: Need a laptop to play games (almost) just like a shiny desktop PC can? Then you’ll want one of the best gaming laptops. These machines generally cost from $800 or £600 to upwards of $3,000 or £2,800 and they’ll likely be the ones to take advantage of AMD’s laptop-grade Ryzen processors first.Laptop-tablet hybrids: Designed from the tablet-first approach to laptop-tablet hybrids, the best Windows tablets pack beyond-HD touchscreens, sometimes with kickstands in their frames or provided via keyboard covers. These generally shine with a stylus, and range from the budget to the premium price ranges.

The best iPhone games 2018

The best iPhone games 2018

It would take approximately 34,506,455 years to play through every single iPhone game on the App Store.Well.. that number might be fairly inexact, but such is the wealth of titles on the app portal, combined with the depth of some of those on offer, you could easily play happily on your phone for years without getting bored.The App Store is crammed with gaming goodies to keep thumbs busy, but not all iPhone games are born equal – which is why we’ve done the difficult job of playing through as many games as humanly possible in order to tell you which are best.

A bit of advice: make sure you think about what kind of game you want, and appreciate that some of them are more ‘session’ titles and some are those that you’d like to pull out and play in an odd five minutes.That’s important as we’re big advocates of people paying for games on the app portal – they help offset some of the free titles that are funded by in-app purchases.So if you’re going to pay £5 / $5 for a game, make sure you’ve got a daily commute or enough downtime to give it your attention. The beauty of being able to play an immersive game on the move – something that would have been console quality a few years ago – should never be under-appreciated.
The best controllers – and compatible games – for your iPhoneAlso think about a controller for some titles – while many games don’t support an external device, those that do are often brilliant to play without needing to resort to a touchscreen for interaction.And just to contradict ourselves: free games with in-app purchases are fine, and often give you a great experience without needing to pay up. However, when you get really good at them you’ll find that you’re constantly told when to stop, in order to regenerate something or get to the next level.However, if you’ve decided that you love RPG, fighting and strategy games, and like both options that you can dip into and play for hours, we’re here to help. After many trials and tribulations, we arrived at the list you’re about to dive into: the best games you can enjoy on your iPhone today.
New: Kick Ass Commandos ($2.99/£2.99/AU$4.49)

Kick Ass Commandos is a top-down twin-stick shooter that begins in conventional fashion. But as you blast through the jungle, you quickly happen upon a prisoner. He then tags along, also shooting all and sundry. Save more and you amass a tiny army, which blows everyone in their path into chunks of meat.This is a violent game, and also sometimes a stupid one. Despite the retro stylings, it can be a bit gross and occasionally tone-deaf; in one early scene, you mow down largely defenseless enemies in a shower block.Fortunately, Kick Ass Commandos isn’t without brains. It demands you think tactically and safeguard health – particularly of characters who must survive to the level’s end. If you can deal with the odd icky moment, there’s hours of breezy action-packed high-octane retro shooting here, with an interesting twist.
While you’re at it, check out the best iPhone apps aroundWatch our overview of the iPhone X below.
jodeo asks how a 2D creature might interact with 3D objects. Each level is introduced as an ‘experiment’, and that feels entirely appropriate as a little jelly critter is dropped onto a vector shape that morphs and spins. Your aim: to paint every edge.You start by tackling basic polygons, but the experiments become quite diverse, introducing a range of conditions. These include invisible shapes, objects that pelt the critter, and gravity unhelpfully being turned off.It can all be a bit finicky and random – irritating, even, when you keep missing the last bit of painting, fall off the shape, and are sent back to the previous checkpoint. But there’s a lot to like in this unusual miniature adventure – not least the permanently surprised and distressed expression of the protagonist.
Million Onion Hotel is crazy. But if you want specifics, it mixes Whac-A-Mole-style screen prodding and a highly strategic match mechanic. The aim is to make solid lines by tapping onions that appear randomly on a five-by-five grid.The simultaneous demand for speed and strategy clashes gloriously. Tap too slowly and you run out of time. Too fast and you secure only single lines, rather than the doubles you need to ramp up your score and bonuses.And that’s before you take into account deranged boss battles, and an underlying story that encompasses onion soup, the mafia, quite a lot of hanky panky and an interdimensional wormhole.Just know Million Onion Hotel is a relentless assault on the senses that’ll leave you exhausted – but eager to dive in for another go, in part to try and make sense of what’s happening.
Super Samurai Rampage seemingly depicts the stabby breakdown of a legendary warrior, “provoked into a relentless rampage”. Quite how he was provoked isn’t made clear, but there’s no shortage of bloodshed in this lightning-fast slash ’em up.Swipe the screen and your samurai moves and attacks: up and he’ll leap; across, and he’ll slash his sword – not great for anyone in the vicinity at the time. The key is to chain kills to increase a multiplier that culminates in a brief period of murdery invulnerability.One hit and you’re dead, and although you’re given fair warning when an enemy’s going to attack, keeping track of everything on the busy screen is tricky. Still, get into the zone, and Super Samurai Rampage is a rewarding way to unleash your frustrations on hordes of little computer guys who should really learn to run away.
Dark Echo is a weirdly creepy horror game that manages to make squiggly lines scary. As you stomp about in the dark, sound waves are represented as abstract lines that rebound off of objects you can’t otherwise see.The soundtrack is all-important. Don a pair of headphones, and you can hear your footsteps, and the floor squelching beneath you. Flies buzz as you pass… well, it doesn’t bear thinking about. And then you hear things growling in the shadows, before one decides it fancies a snack.Dark Echo will helpfully suggest RUN! as you bolt for an exit – or end up devoured in a dead end. It’s a great example of how the imagination can give you bigger scares than any rendered CGI beast on your iPhone’s screen. That and you’ll never look at red zig-zags in quite the same way again.
Max & the Magic Marker – Remastered is a spruced-up take on a much-loved platform puzzler that first appeared on iPhone way back in 2010. Despite its age, the game still feels fresh today, offering a breezily fun and entertaining mix of leaping about platforms, collecting objects, and being a massive cheat by way of the titular marker.Actually, that’s not entirely fair on Max – it’s not like he can scribble a cheat code and skip to the end. But he can fashion shields to protect himself, slabs to drop on bounding monsters, and ad-hoc stairs to clamber up.Neatly, you can pause the game while working on your temporary artistic masterpieces – and that’s just as well, because to get three stars at level’s end, you must beat a timer, along with collecting all the floating bling.
The Talos Principle brings a much-admired open-world PC puzzler to your iPhone. It begins with you awakening in a garden, fresh from a deep sleep. A brief look at your hands reveals you’re a robot – which may come as a bit of a surprise – before a booming voiceover reveals you’re in some kind of facility for testing your abilities.Over the next 20 or so hours, you work your way through dozens of immersive puzzles, battling floating drones, and manipulating laser beams, all the while gradually finding the answers to your purpose, and what it means to be human.There are niggles here and there with the controls, which don’t always click on the touchscreen. But the game otherwise gels nicely with iPhone, looking great on the smaller screen (compared to noticeably rough edges on iPad), and enabling you to tackle an epic quest in bite-sized chunks.
Mikey Hooks is a speed-run platform game that plays out a bit like a stripped-back Super Mario Bros. in fast-forward – if Mario happened to be armed with a grappling hook he could used to swing past enemies.Each level is full of spikes, pits, monsters, and platforms, along with piles of gold coins to collect. You run left and right, and use virtual buttons to jump and slide through narrow gaps. The twist is the aforementioned ‘hooks’ bit, and it’s exhilarating to swing through the air, scooping up coins, missing a spike-headed roaming enemy by a whisker.There are 36 levels and a bespoke ‘race’ mode to tackle; and to keep you coming back for more, you can race against ‘ghosts’ of your fastest times.
Beat Sneak Bandit is one of the most audacious genre mash-ups you’re likely to find on an iPhone. Despite each level taking place on a single screen, the game manages to combine platforming, pathfinding, rhythm action, turn-based puzzling, and stealth.The premise is that the nefarious Duke Clockface has stolen all the clocks, throwing the world into disarray. Benevolent pilferer Beat Sneak Bandit vows to get them back.Amazingly, everything is controlled using a single thumb, which propels Bandit onwards. He must move on the beat, and you make use of walls to turn around, ensuring the rhythmic hero’s not spotted by a guard or security camera.The game’s full of character, along with devious level design that requires seriously twisty routes and deft timing to crack. Great stuff.
Missile Cards is a mash-up of classic defense game Missile Command and solitaire. During each round, a conveyor belt that deals the deck judders forward one space, revealing defense and hazard cards.When bombs and nukes reach the end of the conveyor, they reappear at the left of the screen, raining down on your little city. To stave off obliteration, you can equip, charge, and activate defense cards. It’s a bit bewildering at first, but everything becomes clear once you’ve played the tutorial and a few rounds.There is, perhaps, a little too much emphasis on luck. Sometimes, you’ll reach the end of the deck and lack the means to survive. But the game warns sacrifice is sometimes necessary, and with perseverance, you’ll likely come to love this interesting twist on a pair of classic games.
Super Crossfighter is a modern take on classic blasting action that harks back to Space Invaders. But instead of lobbing the occasional pot-shot at lumbering green beasts, Super Crossfighter is a neon-infused affair, with bullet hell aplenty, and a thumping techno soundtrack.There’s also the ‘crossfighter’ bit, which alludes to the way you can leap back and forth between the top and bottom of the screen. This can be handy for grabbing power-ups, un-sportingly shooting an enemy in the back, or simply escaping certain death when facing a hail of projectiles.The touchscreen controls work nicely, and there are over 150 waves and an upgrade system to sink your teeth into. The game’s perhaps a touch ‘relaxed’ in feel at times, rather than super-intense, but otherwise this is an excellent iPhone shoot ’em up.
Level 24 is a match puzzler, which tasks you with building a tiny civilization on a four-by-four grid. The tutorial is borderline incomprehensible, but the game’s worth sticking with, because it’s colorful, clever, and a bit different from everything else out there.The game centers around matching tiles of the same color. These are ‘sucked’ into whichever grid space you tap, and the face value of the resulting combined tile (usually depicting a building) increases based on how many tiles you combine. The idea is to make and then combine as many constructions as possible, in an attempt to reach an elusive value of 24.Chances are, you won’t do that for ages, not least because buildings above level 10 cannot be combined. But there are power-ups (in the shape of historical figures) to help you along, and many other interesting bits and bobs to discover.
Schattenspiel is a puzzle game about the interplay of light and shadow. Each level is based around a grid of dots, on which pillars and lamps can be dragged around. The aim is to replicate the image shown at the top of the screen by casting shadows using your lamps.More serene than showy, the game has a visual sleekness and gives no penalties for experimenting. A move limit exists purely as a per-level achievement, but you can also progress by bumbling towards a solution. This means Schattenspiel caters for casual and hardcore gamers alike.The entire production comes across as a simple concept, executed very well – a cheap, stylish puzzler that should keep you entertained for a good few hours before it’s time to turn out the lights.
Pigeon Wings is a deranged side-on racing game, featuring wide-eyed pigeons belting along in tiny planes. The backstory involves a rich nutcase aiming to destroy a city by way of a heavily-armed gigantic flying fortress; the birds race it out to decide who gets the chance to stop him.The game switches things up between strings of races and occasional battles. In the former, you slipstream rivals, bob and weave through the air by tilting your iPhone, and power up your craft through trophies won in-game.The shooty bits are brief and intense – a nice change of pace, despite the fact you’ll likely be blown to bits several times before claiming victory.Should you hanker after something marrying the intensity of ALONE… and the frantic racing of Mario Kart, Pigeon Wings is a must – in fact, you’d be bird-brained to miss it.
Wonderputt is what might happen if Monty Python-era Terry Gilliam was hurled through time and charged with designing an iPhone minigolf game. The single 18-hole course is an exercise in surrealism and imagination from the moment tiny meteors smash into the ground to fashion the first hole.Things then get weirder, with courses eaten into grass fields by cows (who are then whisked away by UFOs), and an impossible waterfall hole that looks like it’s escaped from a colored Escher print.Fortunately, the game is more than a visual delight – it plays well too. Notably, a ‘smart zoom’ feature ensures you don’t need a magnifying glass to see what’s going on in the visually arresting miniature landscapes.The only snag is there’s just that one course – but even if you only play it once, this game’s worth the outlay. And for perfectionists, there’s replay value in spotting visual details you may have missed, and getting all of the achievements.
Zen Bound 2 is a puzzle game of sorts, which has you wrap a length of rope around objects, in order to paint them.That all probably sounds horribly dull, but it turns out Zen Bound 2 is an engaging, unique, and oddly tactile experience.The blocky objects on the screen effortlessly shift and turn with a flick or drag, gradually acquiring color as the rope encases them, or blows up paint bombs. The rope obeys gravity, too, enabling you to twist your iPhone as you manipulate the challenge in front of you.The meditative and somewhat noodly feel is further enhanced by a lengthy soundtrack, and the remastered take released in 2017 ensures the game looks pin-sharp on every size of iPhone. So although Zen Bound 2 might be a game that’s been knocking around for years, it manages to remain distinctive and thoroughly modern all the same.
Linelight is a serene, smartly designed puzzle game set in a universe of lines. It vaguely resembles a stripped-back take on Tron, or perhaps a circuit board diagram as reimagined by a graphic designer with taste. Your task is to help a white line find its way through dozens of pathfinding puzzles.Movements are controlled by a virtual stick, which is one of the most effortless and elegant in any iOS game. The puzzles are similarly graceful and ingenious, gradually introducing new mechanics.These include enemies that amusingly bob along to the chill-out soundtrack’s beat. Said foes are colored lines that kill with a single touch; but when carefully directed, they trigger switches to help you across otherwise impassable divides.It might not be the longest experience on iOS, but Linelight deserves a place on your iPhone, due to being an engaging, beautiful experience, and a perfect example of how minimal design can have a soul.
Sidewords is a word game with a new twist. Each single-screen puzzle has a grid with words along the top and left-hand edges. You use letters from those (at least one from each edge) to create each new word.On selecting a letter, a line shoots into the grid; where lines from the left and top edges collide you get solid blocks, which display the words you create. Blocks can at any time be tapped to remove them.The aim is to fill the grid with these blocks – simple early on, but not when you’re staring at a seven-by-seven grid annoyingly full of gaps. At that point, the devious nature of Sidewords becomes apparent.But this game’s nonetheless also forgiving and relaxing – there’s no time limit, and the vast majority of puzzles are unlocked from the start. There’s replay value here, too, despite the static set-ups, since for each puzzle you can save a solution, clear the grid, and try to solve it in a different way.
Mini Motor Racing is a top-down racer featuring tiny vehicles that blast about twisty-turny circuits. They auto-accelerate, so you’re left with steering, and periodic use of a turbo that rockets your vehicle forward a few car lengths, leaving you unable to steer in the meantime.From the off, Mini Motor Racing is frenetic. The tracks are claustrophobic, and the cars respond (and even sound like) remote controlled vehicles – albeit ones seemingly driven by psychopaths. Once you’re a few dozen races into the game, it seems your opponents are keener on smashing into you than winning.That grumble leaves Mini Motor Racing languishing in the slipstream of the best top-down effort on iPhone, Reckless Racing 3, but it still manages a podium finish. And that’s because it’s packed full of content, has a great multiplayer mode, and in its ‘remastered’ 2017 form looks stunning.
Idioctopus features brainless lovesick octopus couples desperate to be reunited. One lurks somewhere in a single-screen maze of walls and hazards. It’s your job to direct their other half in a manner that doesn’t turn them into a seafood snack for a lurking predator.Your eight-legged lover ambles along automatically, and always turns right when possible. You can therefore to some extent predict their movements, and redirect them using draggable arrow tiles. With its bright colors and noodly guitar soundtrack, it’s all quite relaxing and sedate.And then you notice the achievements, and the fast-forward button. These are an extra challenge for those who want higher-speed puzzling, having you remember your solution and play it out at speed in the fewest possible moves. It’s a clever and entirely optional twist, transforming Idioctopus into two games in one.
Yankai’s Peak is a minimal puzzle game based around pyramids that trundle about platforms comprising triangular grids.The aim is to use your blue pyramid to nudge and spin colored pyramids to pre-defined resting places. It sounds simple. It really isn’t. Yankai’s Peak is like the crate-pushing classic Sokoban reimagined by a triangle fetishist who also happens to be a sadist.Right from the start, you’ll need to rewire your brain to understand how wildly different movement is when spinning pinned pyramids about an axis, or using one to shove several others ahead.Even early levels can baffle, and the later ones require serious planning and brainpower, even when taking into account the game’s unlimited undos button – which you’ll use often.But this one’s worth sticking with. It’s elegant and clever, and you’ll feel like a genius when cracking a puzzle you’ve been stuck on for days.
Ellie & Max is a landscape-twisting pathfinding puzzle game that in some ways echoes Monument Valley in its propensity for visual illusion. Here, tiny isometric worlds can be spun, but always appear side-on when stationary.In two dimensions, previously impassable gaps may suddenly disappear. Your aim is to reunite pet dog Max with his owner, Ellie, within the fewest ‘spins’ and steps possible.Visually, the game’s a treat, and over time you can collect all kinds of costumes, transforming Max into anything from a wolf to a polar bear. The puzzles are smartly designed too, gradually increasing in difficulty. The lack of an undo is a pity though, for when you inevitably leap into a situation you can’t recover from.The game does at least provide checkpoints, so you never need start from scratch when halfway through one of the more head-scratching challenges. Quite why Ellie gets lost so often, though, we’ve no idea; perhaps she’s the one that should be on a lead.
VVVVVV is a love letter to classic games. Its visuals and soundtrack recall the Commodore 64, and its platforming action (each single-screen challenge also being amusingly named) echoes much-beloved 1980s fare, like Manic Miner and Bounty Bob.However, VVVVVV’s speed and fluidity are thoroughly modern, as you zoom about a huge space station, trying to locate lost crew members. And unlike comparatively stodgy platformers of old, VVVVVV doesn’t have you leap over hazards – you instead invert gravity to flip between ceiling and floor in an excitingly disorienting manner.The spike and alien-infested twisty corridors awaiting you require serious dexterity to conquer. Fortunately, death is not the end, because you get unlimited lives, and there are frequent checkpoints.And in another nice nod to the old-school, even the 4:3 viewing area works in the game’s favor – you can control your character by swiping and tapping in black bars at the edges of your display, rather than covering up his on-screen exploits with your thumbs.
Coming across like an auto-scrolling stripped-back Lemmings, Micro Miners features a team of excitable, tiny miners that toddle along tunnels you dig with a finger. On encountering a deposit of gold, silver or coal, they’ll gleefully hack it to bits with their tiny pickaxes.At first, this all feels noodly and simple, but Micro Miners soon bares its teeth. You must commit each level’s layout to memory, in order to navigate underground hazards, often splitting and rejoining your little auto-running-team.Before long, you’re carving complex pathways through the dirt, so you can grab large deposits and huge gems, circumvent lava, and avoid ferocious giant worms that eat anyone daft enough to stray into their path. The result is a fun, sometimes chaotic, and unique iPhone gaming experience.
It might have a chill-out jazzy soundtrack and cute visuals, but Fish Fly Fever is a tough arcade game determined to make your thumbs – and by extension all your other parts – feel like gaming buffoons.In its tiny single-screen universe, a little fish fly scoots about, emitting a trail. When its bubbles hit another creature, that creature is transformed into a gem. Grab those and your score goes up, periodically sending you into a ‘fever’ mode (bigger trail), or pitting you against a boss (which will almost certainly kill you).It’s really tough. Despite the simplicity of what’s required and the controls (rotate left or right), you’ll initially die before you grab half a dozen gems. But persevere and, like the best arcade games of old, you’ll slowly master Fish Fly Fever. Over time, it may become a bit repetitive, but again like classic arcade titles, this one’s perfect for the occasional blast.
Games creator Zach Gage is seemingly on a mission to reimagine all those puzzle games that used to languish only in newspaper pages. With Typeshift, you get something that approximates anagrams smashed into a crossword.But unlike on paper, the word grid here isn’t static – you drag columns to try and form words in the central row. When every letter has been used, the puzzle is complete.For free, you get a smallish selection of puzzles, but many more are available via various IAP. If you’re at all into word games, you’re likely to devour them all.The best of them roll another aspect of crosswords into the mix – cryptic clues. In these brain-benders, you can’t almost brute-force solutions by dragging the columns about and finding weird words – you must figure out what a clue means, eke it from the grid, and after a few of those probably go for a little lie down.
If you’ve played Reigns, you’ll know what to expect in Artificial Superintelligence. Only rather than trying to juggle a demanding kingdom, Artificial Superintelligence finds you dealing with the press and investors in Silicon Valley as you build the world’s first sentient supercomputer.Decisions are made Tinder-style, with a left or right swipe. You hire and fire, interact with interested parties, and occasionally obliterate the world when it turns out the AI is in fact psychotic (as users of the developer’s CARROT apps will already be very aware).The game’s visual styles clash a bit, and the ‘decision switch’ is fiddlier than Reigns’ full-screen swipe, but there’s plenty to like here. If you’re a fan of oddball casual adventure puzzlers, you’ll not rest until you’ve found all 52 endings, including one where your cat enslaves humanity. Meow!
A friendly whale beckons a shipwrecked pirate to leap on its back. So begins their joint adventures, in Run-A-Whale, which is perhaps the iPhone’s most gorgeous endless runner.Really, endless swimmer is more like it, seeing as you’re a massive aquatic mammal speeding through the sea. You hold the screen to dive and release your finger to surface and leap, grabbing coins in a manner akin to Jetpack Joyride in reverse.But Jetpack Joyride was never this eye-dazzling, and Run-A-Whale is packed with wonderful moments, from soaring through the air after being blasted from a cannon, to zooming along as a volcano erupts in the distance.Occasionally, the game irks with its demands – obstacles in succession you have little chance of avoiding, or unskippable tricky missions – but for the most part this is a gem that’s not to be missed.
This neon-infused one-thumb single-screen shooter has you fire orbs into the void. When an orb stops, it expands into available space and is given a number. Hit it with subsequent orbs and the number decreases until the orb explodes, sometimes starting a chain reaction that obliterates its neighbors.Your main concern is an orb returning over the line of death above your cannon. Orbital  therefore rapidly becomes a tense battle of nerves, accurate aiming, and space management.Whichever of its three varied modes you try, it’s a gripping game, and there’s also a same-device two-player mode that pits you against a friend.
In this decidedly minimal take on platform gaming, you nurse a trundling square around the insides of a cube, aiming to gobble up all of the other colored squares. This would be simple enough if it wasn’t for gravity rather misbehaving throughout.In pocus, you see, gravity switches depending on where you fall and the face of the cube you’re currently positioned on. This means walls abruptly become floors, and previously innocuous slabs of black become traps you cannot escape from.There are 60 levels in all, gradually intensifying in difficulty as you progress. Each of them’s a miniature gem.
Part game, part exploratory toy, Vignettes is all about the joy of discovery. It’s based around colorful objects suspended in the air, which you manipulate by way of a finger. Spin them through a flat edge and they instantly become something new.This slice of magic initially mesmerizes, but the trick doesn’t wow for long. Fortunately, Vignettes is more than an interactive animation. Pathways between objects are more complex than they first appear, and hide all kinds of secrets.During more contemplative moments, there’s plenty to discover, too – many objects respond to taps and swipes. Also, unlike ostensibly similar fare such as Shadowmatic, Vignettes seems ideally suited to the smaller screen of an iPhone rather than demanding the larger play surface of an iPad.
Float initially appears to be something of a meditative arcade game. You tap nearby a lily to propel it through minimal landscapes, its movement akin to sliding atop a sleek ice-covered surface.The flower is fragile – any collision with the rocks that are dotted about, or mysteriously spinning bits of wood, and it disintegrates, forcing you to restart from the most recently passed checkpoint.In time, you realize there’s an edge underneath the tranquility: the subtle scrolling of the world that urges you onwards; the increasingly tricky sections that prove demanding regarding the precision of your taps. The journey is ultimately fairly short, but it’s satisfying in trying something different, and in its bite-sized nature that’s ideal for mobile.
To differentiate itself from a slew of Boggle and Scrabble clones, word game AlphaPit tries something a bit different. Although the aim is, as ever, to clear a grid of letters, there’s more to AlphaPit than simply dragging lines through the grid, making words to remove tiles.There are bonuses, which you can use strategically, to shuffle letters, or blow to pieces a tile that’s particularly annoying you. Spare letters also lurk, which can be swapped in at an opportune moment.Perhaps most importantly, though, AlphaPit isn’t random – instead, you get 200 predefined levels to work through. This proves rewarding, transforming the experience into a set of puzzles you know you can beat – if only you can figure out the solutions.
In Edge, you control a cube that finds itself within a minimal geometric clockwork universe. As the cube trundles about, the blocky world frequently shifts and changes, often thwarting your attempts to find the goal. When you do finish a level, Edge dispassionately awards you a rating, which will probably be rubbish.If you’ve got steely resolve, you’ll try again to see how rapidly you can speed through each isometric wonderland. If not, you’ll still have a great time exploring the dozens of varied worlds, regularly being surprised at how much imagination can be packed into landscapes comprising only cubes.And if in either case, you exhaust Edge’s levels, you can start all over again in equally impressive sequel Edge Extended.
Breakout – or ‘Pong for people with no friends’ – is one of the oldest videogames around. Still, the ‘use a bat to whack a ball at a wall of bricks’ mechanic is entertaining enough that game creators keep offering their own unique spin on it. And breakforcist is certainly unique.Here, a wall of bricks slowly marches down the screen. Said bricks primarily comprise possessed waffles and weaponized breakfast food power-ups.The manic nature of the production feels borderline unhinged, packing the screen with colorful explosions as you blast angry ghosts with a giant pancake ball, and use bacon lasers to hack back the tasty wall of doom. It’s ideal one-finger iPhone gaming fodder.
The thinking behind Stagehand is to flip platform games on their head. Instead of controlling the character, you control the stage. So as your little chap automatically ambles along, you drag chunks of landscape to give him a clear path, ensuring he doesn’t smack into a wall.From a visual standpoint, Stagehand feels like the sort of thing Nintendo would be happy to call its own. There’s also a superb soundtrack that tinkles away as you grapple with the weird means of staving off the hero’s untimely demise.If there’s any criticism, the controls can be a tad awkward, and Stagehand could have been improved with finite designed stages, rather than solely being an algorithmically generated endless runner.Still, it’s a clever twist on the genre and there’s plenty of polish and entertainment here for anyone wanting to make the Earth move – by dragging it with a finger.
If you’re old or well-versed in classic games, Boulder Dash might be a favorite. The fast-paced 1980s arcade game has its protagonist zoom about 2D caves, digging through dirt, grabbing diamonds, manipulating rocks, smashing up enemies, and heading for an exit. Captain Cowboy uses the same mechanics, but reimagines everything as a giant puzzle adventure.Instead of short, timed levels, Captain Cowboy offers a single massive maze in space. Although there are still moments of tension and excitement, this title’s more about the joy of exploration and discovery – finding your way blocked and figuring out a new route.There are lovely touches throughout, such as the CRT-style visual filter and the soundtrack dulling when floating through space or underwater. But mostly, Captain Cowboy is a must-have for its mobile-friendly mix of adventuring and arcade action.
Although it resembles a dungeon crawler running on a Game Boy, Warlock’s Tower is a cunning turn-based puzzler that plays out across 100 meticulously designed rooms.The backstory is the titular warlock is in a mood, thinks everyone’s shunned him, and has decided to obliterate the world. Enter Tim the mailman, carrying a letter saying everyone loves the warlock.But the tower is filled with magic, robbing you of life for every step you take. You must chart a (frequently convoluted) path to each exit, grabbing life-replenishing gems along the way, along with outwitting zombies and flying eyes.The retro aesthetic can be trying, as can the lack of an undo (mess up and you must start a stage from scratch); however, the puzzles are cleverly designed, often sending you down dead ends and making you properly think before you figure out a solution, leaving you suitably satisfied when you finally do.
Although Glitchskier is a fairly typical vertically scrolling shooter, it lives in its own strange little world that provides a unique sense of character.The conceit is Glitchskier is all happening inside an ancient PC. It begins with a clacking keyboard, PC hum, and icons to click. The shooty bit involves your little ship blasting chunks of code and squadrons of letter Vs, all intent on your destruction.A clever power-up system that restricts you to only holding the most recent two forces you to strategize. Power-ups also work as shields: get hit and you lose one, but the game world temporarily slows, Matrix-style, so you can get out of a scrape.It’s all very smart – but over far too rapidly, when you best the last of four bosses. But then you can enter an endless world, which is far more ferocious.
Precision platformer Bean Dreams is more bouncing bean than jumping bean. The edible hero, decked out in a natty sombrero, bounds about colorful environments, aiming to grab fruit, free a hidden axolotl (a Mexican salamander, if you didn’t know), and reach the exit without getting impaled. Your part in all this: guiding the bean by prodding left or right on your iPhone.Bean Dreams offers plenty of replay value – you can spend time learning each small level, but only on committing to memory every nook and cranny can you aim for the tiny number of bounces that unlocks a gold medal award.And to succeed in grabbing the axolotl or getting all the fruit, you’ll often need to play again, shaking up your approach.With plenty of variation in its stages, alternate beans with special powers, and devious puzzles lurking within, Bean Dreams is ample proof platform games can work on iPhone – when specifically designed for the system.
A novel take on a shooting game, Towaga plonks protagonist Chimù atop a tower, arms him with a beam of light, hurls hideous, deadly denizens his way, mumbles something about a ‘ritual’, and then sits back and waits for the sorcerer to get his face torn off.Suffice to say Towaga isn’t an easy game. Foes come from all directions, and need blasting until they glow. Once that’s done, they’re only vanquished when you lift your finger – at which point you temporarily stop shooting. You can see the problem: at any moment, all kinds of creatures are heading your way with a murderous glint in their eye and you have to stop shooting.But persevere with Towaga and what is, in effect, a twin-stick shooter with the movement stick removed starts to click. You learn patterns, how to best use a second, more powerful weapon, and feel like a boss on completing your task – right before you’re dumped into the next, tougher stage.
Mario on iPhone could have been a disaster – a lazy port of a DS title with virtual buttons. But that’s not very Nintendo. Instead, Super Mario Run rethinks Mario for touchscreen and mobile, in a manner that initially seems reductive – even regressive – but that in time reveals a clever game with surprising depth.In essence, it’s an auto-runner, where you tap to jump. But this isn’t Canabalt in Mario’s dungarees. Clever level design forces you to master – and subvert – perceived limitations should you want to scoop up all of the coins.This transforms each of Super Mario Run’s admittedly smallish number of stages into a compelling mix of puzzling, precision timing, and gradual mastery of the game’s tiny worlds.Undoubtedly, traditionalists will grumble, cheapskates will baulk at the price, and gamers on the go will rightly gripe at Nintendo’s infuriating decision to require an internet connection to play.But we nonetheless reckon Super Mario Run is a worthy addition to the Mario canon – and a polished, playable title for iPhone.
Highway Runners comes across a lot like someone fused classic arcade racer OutRun to the guts of an endless runner. As a result, it’s all pixelated visuals and cheesy audio as you tear along a seemingly endless road, weaving in and out of traffic.Periodically, your surroundings change, shaking things up a bit – a hilly desert stage is especially tricky, given that it’s packed with traffic and massive rocks in the middle of the road. And the game further echoes OutRun in occasionally allowing you to dart left or right to choose your route.The big change from classic racers is in Highway Runners pitting you against traffic rather than the clock. Three crashes and it’s game over – and you’ve no brakes. You’re also charged with grabbing coins to unlock bits of the game, which can make it feel grindy at times. But beyond that niggle, this is a refreshing, playable blast of arcade racing.
A criticism leveled at touchscreens since day one is how they robbed gamers of ‘proper’ controls. Touchgrind Skate 2 highlights how ridiculous such a statement can be, because rather than having you perform tricks on a little on-screen board by manipulating a gamepad, two of your fingers become legs that dictate how the board behaves.This is not an pick-up-and-play game, though. You really need to work through the tutorials and fully master them, before you try your hand at competition and jam sessions where you’re punished for mistakes, but greatly rewarded for strings of amazing moves.In a sense, it feels weirdly like the real thing in miniature – which is more than you can say when your hands are fashioned into claws, gripping a traditional console controller.
In our opinion, Threes! is the iPhone’s Tetris – that absurdly addictive puzzler that’s perfect for the hardware, with simple rules but enough depth that you can conceivably improve your skills over a period of years.It takes place on a four-by-four grid, within which you manipulate tiled cards. The aim is to merge matching pairs, which increases their face value and leaves an extra space for subsequent cards to appear.Subtleties in the rules keep Threes! head and shoulders above countless App Store pretenders, and it’s also infused with personality. Even when you’re in a fix, it’s hard to be mad at a game where all the cards on the board have cute faces and natter away to each other.
The original Eliss was an early App Store darling, defining the iPhone in terms of multi-touch gaming. Eliss Infinity takes the basic premise of the original and runs with it, cementing itself as a modern-day classic.The basic aim is to control (move; tear apart; combine) colored planets in order to fit into them into wormholes that sporadically appear. Should planets of different colors collide, your energy reserves are depleted – only replenished by mopping up space dust that appears after successful planet dumpage.Each of Odyssey mode’s 25 levels demands unique tactics to conquer. Best them all and there’s the manic Infinity mode, ready to tie your fingers in knots.
Although primarily a match-three game, Swap Sword adds a massive dollop of dungeon-roaming and turn-based strategy to the equation. The result is a fresh game that marries tension, planning and risk to great effect, adding energy and fizz to an otherwise tired genre.The mechanics are similar to the likes of Bejeweled (swap two items, aiming to construct a row of three or more); but you must also keep the hero safe from roaming monsters, and collect enough keys to open an exit to the next stage.At first, this is relatively simple, but later stages find you fending off insane numbers of foes, balancing power-ups, and figuring that colored gems have never had it this tough.
If you’re a massive basketball fan whose nose will be put out of joint when rosters aren’t entirely accurate, or the game you’re playing is a bit weird, skip this game description and head on to our next entry.Otherwise, try NBA JAM.This game’s an updated take on a mid-1990s arcade game, which features weird photorealistic characters playing two-on-two matches. Sportsmanlike behavior’s left in the dressing room, as they muscle each other off the ball, and a big-head version of the visuals is deeply unsettling yet oddly hypnotic.The controls are a bit of a virtual-joystick-and-buttons nightmare at first, but simple enough to grasp without sliding your fingers all over the place. And before you know it, you’ll be BOOM SHAKALAKAing it with the best of them. (Or hiding from the freaky oversized heads.)
Cartoonish graphics. Simple controls. An emphasis on catching ramps, much like in Tiny Wings. You might look at Pumped BMX 3 and think: Pah! Easy! Casual gaming! At which point, the game hurls you rudely over the handlebars, leaving you a crumpled, tearful mess, with grazed knees and broken pride.Pumped BMX 3, it turns out, is a deviously tricky but deliciously compulsive trials game, keen to punish any error, and yet reward those who take the time to master controls and courses alike.Your best bet is to carefully learn every nook and cranny of each course. Only when you can easily make it to the end unscathed should you start getting clever with the odd stunt, before finally winning the shiniest of medals with the kind of routine that would make BMX aficionados the world over break out into a cold sweat.
Card games have come a long way since the days when you completed a round of solitaire on a PC and were rewarded with said cards bouncing around the screen a bit. In Solitairica, you’re instead immersed in a fantasy world, where, for some reason, all battles take place by way of card decks. And your reward here is to not get horribly killed by some monster or other.The solitaire itself is ruthlessly simplified into a game of higher or lower, with you hoping for runs of cards in order to batter down your enemy’s defenses. Meanwhile, they’re lobbing all kinds of attacks at you, from pointy sticks to making cards grow beards that have to be hacked away.Cards also have energies, which you can collect to enable hurling of spells at your opponent; these can be upgraded during campaigns via the in-game shop.This all sounds terribly complicated, we’re sure, but really this is a gentle, amusing, entertaining card game with a fantasy twist. And cards with beards.
We’re very much in classic shooter territory with The Bug Butcher, which has your dinky soldier blasting away at all manner of squelchy foes. It’s a bit Space Invaders (death from above!), a little Pang or Asteroids (monsters inconveniently splitting apart when shot), and a touch Defender (with lurking idiots getting captured, and you having to rescue them).The game’s controls perhaps betray its origins on platforms that don’t favor touchscreens, but they just about work on an iPhone, enabling you to dart left and right, blast enemies, and reach for a bonus weapon as necessary. (Avoid playing on iPad, however, unless you’ve got incredibly flexible thumbs.)And although the gameplay might feel a little old-school, everything’s dressed up in smart, modern cartoon visuals, paired with some sassy scripting, as the hero berates the scientists who got everyone into this mess.
Based on the hit TV show, Mr. Robot (or Mr. Robot:1.51exfiltrati0n.ipa, to give it its full name), immerses you in a world of hacking as you accidentally become entwined with a shady group planning a mysterious world-changing event.It begins with a smartphone you find and quickly pocket, shortly before it’s hacked by its actual owner, the furious Darlene, who then press-gangs you into service. The game plays out by way of a messaging app, your replies selected from canned responses to progress you through the narrative.This simple structure is similar to the Lifeline games, and there’s a distinct feeling of being shoved along a particular story regardless of what you choose to say. However, it’s exciting bouncing between different message threads, and smart writing throughout infuses the game with palpable tension.
The core of Riptide GP: Renegade feels like it’s been wrenched wholesale from the unhinged water-based faction of 1990s arcade racers. Renegade, for the most part, matches their energy and spirit, as you barrel along splashy tracks atop a souped-up futuristic jet ski, performing death-defying stunts to accrue boost that catapults you along at even more breakneck speeds.The game’s packed full of content, from single races to a challenging career mode, and the premium price means you need skill rather than cash to succeed.There are times you wish the game would let go a little – the colors are drab and it at times takes itself too seriously – but when it fully unleashes as you blaze through factories or get hurled into the air by the wake from a rocket launch, Renegade is glorious.
Shooting games have more or less split into two factions. The more popular sees the player trudge about as some kind of soldier in a game that wants to be a movie but isn’t; the other harks back to when blasting was all about arcade thrills. Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions gleefully revels in everything that’s great about the second of those categories.This is a neon-infused twin-stick shooter that hurls waves of tiny foes about the screen with merry abandon with a relentless soundtrack urging you on at every moment. But throughout a 100-level adventure mode, Dimensions refuses to stand still. Levels warp into new shapes, and foist unknown challenges on you, such as having the walls close in, or, cheekily, temporarily relieving you of weaponry.Surprisingly, this all works wonderfully on smaller iPhone screens, and you can even play with a single digit, the game aiming and firing on your behalf for those tiring commuting moments.
 
Madcap racer Drift ‘n’ Drive somehow appears to have arrived from a 1980s home computer and yet feels perfect for mobile play. It’s an old-school overhead racer that pits you against a grid of crazed opponents, all fighting to get to the finish line first.The game only scrolls vertically, and the controls are simple: steer by tapping near a screen edge or prod the centre for a temporary boost of extra speed. Tracks snake left and right within the screen’s narrow confines, but sometimes do so abruptly, causing plenty of opportunity for massive pile-ups.Manage to not crawl in last and you move up the grid next time round. Place better and you start getting cash to upgrade your car. Before long, you’re laughing like an idiot while barreling along in a race of two-dozen tiny cars buzzing around the track like flies, boosting into walls, and occasionally wondering why modern racers are rarely this much giddy fun.
Slingshotting cartoon characters across your iPhone’s screen is a popular gaming pursuit. But if you’ve become bored rigid of catapulting miffed avians at kleptomaniac hogs (and, let’s face it, who hasn’t?), try Frutorious HD for something that’s somewhat familiar, but with far more spark and heart.The story is that an evil skull’s turned all the protagonist’s friends into fruits, and so he must bound up vertically scrolling levels, making use of handy levitating platforms and cannons to collect fruit and avoid various nasties ambling about.It’s a jolly, sweet-natured game with superb hand-made visuals that add plenty of character, and a slightly unhinged edge always lurking just beneath the surface.
Although I Am Level looks like it’s been wrenched kicking and screaming from a ZX Spectrum circa 1983, this is a thoroughly modern – if clearly retro-infused – flip-screen platform game.The retro bit isn’t only found in the visuals, with their eye-searing colors, and oddball screen names, but also the nature of the layouts. Each screen becomes a puzzle of sorts, as you figure out how to avoid the various lurking critters and collect the stars littered about.The modern aspect is primarily the controls. Rather than employ a hideous virtual joystick, I Am Level’s rotund protagonist rolls as you tilt your device and is fired across the screen when you tap to activate pinball-like flippers and plungers.The result is a charming and challenging title that’s among the best of its kind on mobile.
Harking back to classic console adventures, Vulture Island dumps a trio of friends on an island and then wryly says: “Get out of this one, then.”Although there’s plenty of leaping about suspended platforms, this isn’t a fast-paced Mario-style effort. Instead, it recalls more thoughtful retro adventures, such as Alex Kidd or even the likes of Dizzy.The non-linear nature of the game encourages exploration and experimentation, as you switch between characters, discover objects, and figure out where to use whatever you find.Occasionally, the game is a bit too opaque, and the manner in which screens reset once exited can irk, given that many require multiple lengthy steps to pass. However, there’s lots to love in Vulture Island’s visuals, ambition, and the devious nature of the puzzles, which will make you feel a bit dumb when you stumble across a solution you really should have figured out far sooner.
Gamebook-style text adventures have had something of a renaissance on mobile, and the adaptations of Steve Jackson’s Sorcery! series are among the very best. The fourth entry, suitably titled Sorcery! 4, again immerses you in a world of fantasy, with you attempting to ascend a mountain, infiltrate a fortress, and recover the Crown of Kings.If you’ve played previous games in the series, you’ll find a familiar set-up akin to a single-player board game. You drag your character about, respond to scenarios, bash up monsters, and can (thankfully) flip back to save points should you mess up and get horribly killed.But even for total newcomers, there’s a full standalone adventure here – one that perfectly marries and balances a book, interactive game, and touchscreen experience. (Note that should you fancy trying the rest of the series first, it’s available as a bargain-priced three-pack.)
 
Redbird, Greenbird and Bluebird aren’t birds in the conventional sense. They’re ‘snakebirds’ – grumpy worm-like feathered critters with a penchant for fruit. The tiny snag is they happen to live on tiny islands, and getting to the fruit (and then to the exits that propel them to the next fruity collection point) isn’t exactly simple.In fact, it’s pretty clear the creators of Snakebird have tried their best to drive you to the brink of insanity with this game. Even the earliest levels are hard going, with you twisting and turning your grumpy snakebird, trying to figure out how to wind it around a floating rock, grab an apple, and not end up tumbling into the sea.Eventually, you’re faced with multiple snakebirds per level, and increasingly deviously designed puzzles involving movable objects, teleporters, and snakebird-impaling spikes. All the way through, Snakebird sits on the edge of sadism, but you’ll feel like a genius when you crack one of its puzzles, only to realize there are dozens more waiting for your subsequent feeble efforts.We should hate the game, but Snakebird is superb – a properly brain-mashing puzzler that drives you to despair, but keeps you coming back for more.
Mimpi is a little dog with a big imagination, and in Mimpi Dreams he becomes a canine superhero as he snoozes. Within various dreamtime worlds, Mimpi fends off dragons, leaps atop projectiles blasted between pirate ships, and deals with the dastardly goings on in an evil pollution-spewing factory.This all plays out as a straightforward platform puzzler. The cheery pup pootles along and you prod and swipe at various contraptions to make them do things so Mimpi can continue. Most of the puzzles are gentle in nature, but hints are generously peppered about and give you an idea of how to proceed by way of comic-like speech balloons.Much of the joy in Mimpi’s Dreams, though, is immersing yourself in its sheer inventiveness. Only a few times does it slip, with the odd tedious maze to grind through; mostly, the game is a breezy, grin-inducing, vibrant romp through a charming cartoon world.
Bringing together the basic mechanics behind dating app Tinder and the decision-making involved in ruling an ancient kingdom(!), Reigns is an easy-to-grasp but surprisingly deep quick-fire strategy effort.On each step of your regal journey, you respond to demands and requests by swiping left or right, thereby making distinct decisions. The consequences of each action may affect one or more of the church’s support, the love of the people, the strength of your army, and the size of your gold reserves. If any of these falls too low, chances are you’ll soon be an ex-king.But death is not the end. Die and you play on as your heir, often finding yourself faced with similar problems, and perhaps taking a different path that time around. Underpinning this swipe-based royal oddness are dozens of side missions designed to propel your lineage onwards.We suspect Reigns might lack longevity, palling once you’ve played through enough times to crack the missions; but in the short and medium term, it’s a ludicrously compelling, novel and hugely entertaining title that deserves your attention.
Dog Mendonca is a witty and stylistic point and tap adventure that follows the eponymous supernatural detective as he solves a mysterious criminal case.Stunning visuals are sure to draw you into its comic-book world and the impressive writing will have you solving puzzles and chatting it up with shady characters just to find out what happens next. It’s like things all went a bit wrong for the Thundercats.
When the hero of your platformer is an elastic blob named Goo, the puzzles and interactions you have with your surroundings can get very interesting.Goo can also upgrade his abilities and stats by collecting crystals throughout each level of Goo Saga, each of which features beautiful cutscenes and an atmospheric soundtrack. Plus, you can even make your own levels and share them with the world if you’re feeling that creative.
Star Knight is a beautiful platformer that follows the journey of a lone knight who must defend his planet and restore its sun.Stylish levels are sure to catch your eye as you solve its puzzles, defeat diverse enemies, and overcome impressive boss battles with an array of cool weapons and abilities. Upgrade and unlock new skills, then put them to the test by taking on waves of enemies in its arena. >> Download: Star Knight
Fold+ is a smart puzzler that requires you to fold or expand shapes in order to finish each level with just one block of each color. Some shapes will drag others along when you fold them, so you need to plan out each move to ensure your last move gets you the desired result.This puzzler gets bigger and more complicated as you play its 160 levels, so just relax and concentrate. >> Download: Fold+ – Bulkypix
Orbit’s Odyssey is a one button strategy puzzler that requires you to collect coins and gems on 90 challenging planets and avoid getting captured by its enemies.You need to run against the planet’s rotation to ensure you don’t bump into any zombie-like foes and collect everything you need in the shortest amount of time.Levels get more challenging and introduce new features like teleportation rings and time-based mechanics, so you always have something new to look forward to.
Relive the action and excitement of all four of your favorite dinosaur films but with some of that familiar LEGO charm and humor in LEGO Jurassic World.Play through key moments in the films and control your favorite characters, each with their own unique abilities that make them invaluable during certain missions. You can also play as some familiar dinosaurs or make your own by splicing DNA you’ll pick up on your adventure.
Warbits may look colorful and cute from the surface, but don’t be fooled – this strategy game means serious business. Missions require you to control your tanks, infantry, and other units and make the right moves to ensure you have the advantage over your enemies.You need to think carefully where to position your troops, as scenarios get more challenging as you play. It’s a game that keeps on giving too, as its smooth multiplayer mode means you have reason to keep playing after your campaign is done.
Take a trip back to the ’80s in Retro City Rampage DX, a game that gives you an entire 8-bit open-world to discover with various missions to complete. Steal cars, beat up thugs who want your money, or take up some part-time gigs for extra cash.Plenty of arcade challenges, weapons, and customization options give you full control of your experience and its catchy soundtrack will keep you hooked.
Cloaked in shadows, Shadow Bug is on a mission to save his forest from evil by doing what he does best – slicing things up. This action platformer lets you unleash your ninja skills and slash your way through enemies as you collect glowing orbs in each level for that perfect score.You’ll have to think before you slash sometimes as your only way to get past certain dangers is to use your enemies as platforms – oh, the irony.
Fast and colorful, Chameleon Run is an autorunner that is sure to sharpen your reflexes. You’ll need to think fast and tap the screen to swap colors and match that of the platform you’re about to jump on or else you’re dead.Increasingly difficult levels further challenge you to pick up various collectibles and complete them with certain restrictions. Collect them all and you’ll unlock even more hidden trials – and we’re really digging the impressive visuals on offer with this one.
Pug’s Quest is a charming dungeon crawler puzzler that has you guiding a heroic little dawg all over a trap-filled castle to save his kidnapped friends.Each room randomly generates to keep the action flowing and the puzzles puzzling, so you never know what dangers await you each time you start.Press buttons, gather keys, and see how far you can go until you lose your last life and are forced to start over again…such is this dog’s life.
Love You To Bits tells the adorable story of a boy who goes out into the far reaches of space to find pieces of his beloved robot girlfriend after she gets blown to bits. Each planet you visit is a compact-sized that you must solve it in order to retrieve a missing part of your significant other.
Vertical Divide is one to test your division skills . This smart puzzler has you dropping blue numbered tiles on a grid. When you drop a tile on top of another, it’ll get divided, and the result will clear the same number of pink tiles below. Any remainders in your calculations will result in even more pink tiles so plan your drops carefully.
Assassin’s Creed Identity lets you create your own assassin and play missions in sandbox-like worlds of past games. Each mission gives you objectives to complete and employs tried-and-true gameplay like blending into crowds, parkour action, and distractions to ensure you get your mark and make it out alive. Gorgeous visuals, smooth animations, and classic series staples are a joy to see and play on mobile.
The Walking Dead: Michonne follows this mysterious and often taciturn character during her absence in the comic books between issues #126 and #139. This episodic game lets you make choices that can impact how Michonne and her newfound companions deal with obstacles, the undead, and the living.The Walking Dead’s Michonne’s emotional journey comes to a close in Episode 3 of this engrossing episodic adventure that explores the wounds of her past.Your choices carry over from the previous episodes and you’ll find out the fate of her newfound friends and what punishment Norma and her people have in store for them. Zombies are the least of your problems in this one.
A PlayStation masterpiece, Final Fantasy IX is now available on your iOS device, meaning it’s the perfect time to relive the adventures of Zidane and his friends in this moving RPG filled with action, love, and some of the most memorable moments from the series. Fully remastered character models bring a welcome update to this classic title.
Elegant and relaxing, Prism is a puzzler that captivates you with its hypnotic beauty. Each geometric shape is like a piece of origami, and you’ll discover even more puzzles inside with each corner you unfold. Its soft colors and pleasant soundtrack turn this puzzler into an enjoyable meditative experience.
A colorful and upbeat platformer, Super Phantom Cat is sure to put a smile on your face with its retro-inspired levels and unique brand of humor. Jump and make your way through various worlds to collect data and stars, avoiding enemies and uncovering hidden areas and characters. A smooth soundtrack, tricky platforming mechanics, and tons of secrets await you.
Leap into concentric circles in Circa Infinity, a platformer that’s as dazzling as it is dizzying. Each level requires you to get deeper inside all the spinning circles, but you need to jump at just the right moment to actually reach the next one. On top of that, demonic enemies soon appear within each circle. See if you can complete each level without dying once.
Crashlands is an engrossing story-driven RPG that lets you craft and battle your way through a hilarious tale of survival and package delivery. Build weapons and tools out of you the materials you get from your surroundings and complete various side-quests for the creatures you meet along the way. Fresh and addictive, the game is sure to keep you coming back for more crafting and hilarious one-liners that are sure to make you smile.
Tap your way through dozens of dungeons in the roguelike Dungelot: Shattered Lands. Each room you travel to requires you to tap its paths to uncover keys, treasure, or even monsters to battle. The objective is to make it to the exit in one piece but chances are you’ll die and try again until you get there. Its addictive format and leveling up features are sure to keep you coming back for more.
Combine cats and explosion and you have yourself a card game that’s quite the winner. Based on the physical card game, Exploding Kittens is a local multiplayer title that puts a feline twist on Russian Roulette. This means you don’t want to be the player who draws the kitten or else you’re done. Draw cards that help you avoid or move any possible explosions and figure out strategies to make sure you don’t blow yourself up.
The Westport Independent is essentially a censorship simulator that lets you see what the effects your choices in running a newspaper have on society. Will you choose to leave out the less favorable details from your front page story or will you lambast the Loyalist Party in the stories you publish? Your employees will be affected by what you publish and so will your country and its citizens.
We’ve been after a decent futuristic racer on the iPhone for some time, but none of them really felt right. AG Drive bucks the trend, echoing Wipeout and F-Zero: breakneck speed is married with pitch-perfect tilt controls and suitably shiny graphics. Also, there’s absolutely no IAP, so the only way you’re going to win is with mastery and skill.
Single-screen platformer Drop Wizard is infused with the soul of classics such as Snow Bros. and Bubble Bobble, but it’s also part auto-runner. You can only run left or right, and your wizard blasts magic on landing. Strategy, therefore, involves careful timing, to avoid and zap foes, and then kick them into a tumbling combo that will bounce about in a pleasingly destructive manner before turning into fruit. Because that’s what vanquished platform-game enemies all did in the 1980s.
If you’re looking for a hidden gem of a game, Framed has your name written all over it. It’s a unique puzzle game that makes good and novel use of the touchscreen.Each scene looks like a page ripped out of a comic book and it’s up to you to guide the character through it. Starting from left to right, you have to organize each panel so that you can run through and avoid harm.
An intriguing little game that lets you play detective, Her Story has received rave reviews for its incredibly engrossing gameplay. As a British woman is interviewed about her missing husband, it’s up to you to search through the clues and discover what happened. An impressive achievement.
Square Enix would have been on a hiding to nothing converting its free-roaming 3D game to touchscreens, and so it’s great to see the company do something entirely different with Hitman GO. Although still echoing the original series, this touchscreen title is presented as a board game of sorts, with turn-based actions against clockwork opposition. You must figure out your way to the prize, without getting knocked off (the board). It’s an oddly adorable take on assassination, and one of the best iOS puzzlers.
Time was racing games were all about ludicrous speed, gorgeous graphics, and the sheer rush of weaving through a sea of cars to the finish line. Horizon Chase briefly reverses back to such halcyon days, grabs the best bits from the likes of Lotus and Top Gear, before zooming back to the present as a thoroughly modern arcade racer.It looks gorgeous, with some stunning weather effects, and an odd but pleasing low-poly roadside-object style; it sounds great with veteran games musician Barry Leitch on soundtrack duties; but most importantly, it handles perfectly, and is a joy until the very last track.
Following in the footsteps of Hitman GO, which astonishingly managed to transform that series into an adorable board game, Lara Croft GO reworks the adventures of the world’s most famous tomb raider. It’s another turn-based affair, with lashings of atmosphere, finding Lara carefully working her way past traps crafted by an ancient civilisation with a penchant for blocky design and elaborate moving parts.There are also lots of snakes and deadly lizards about, which she’s quite keen on shooting in the head. The five chapters are quite brief, but savour the game rather than blazing through, and you’ll find something that merges early Tomb Raider’s sense of adventure and solitude, Monument Valley-level beauty, and bite-sized touchscreen gaming that’s perfect for iPhone.
Leo’s Fortune finds gruff hairball Leo in search of his gold, which has been dropped in a suspiciously trail-like manner across typically platform-game environments. As he scoops up coins, he finds himself whizzing round Sonic-style loops, solving puzzles by manipulating the environment, and negotiating increasingly complex and deadly pathways. It’s a beautiful game, full of character, and well-suited to quick bursts on your iPhone.
In Monument Valley, you journey through delightful Escher-like landscapes, manipulating the very architecture to build impossible paths along which to explore. It’s not the most challenging of games (nor one with the most coherent of storylines), but each scene is a gorgeous and mesmerising bite-sized experience that showcases how important great craft is in the best iOS titles.
Power Hover is an impressive action game that takes you through a beautiful world to recover a village’s stolen power. Hover through deserts, oceans, and highways, and grind on rails as you make your way to the finish line, chase down baddies, or play through arcade-style boss runs and challenge your friends for the best score. Collect dropped batteries to unlock even more gorgeous and thrilling levels.
A game of exploration, mystery, and puzzles, Spider: Rite of the Shrouded Moon once again stars an intrepid eight-legged protagonist and lets you unravel a subtle story with each clue you find. Trap insects in your web as you explore the enormous Blackbird Estate, and solve some puzzles along the way too. What’s more, the game uses your location, time, and local weather to add dynamic features to your experience each time you play.
Ah, Super Hexagon. We remember that punishing first game, which must have lasted all of three seconds. Much like the next – and the next. But then we recognised patterns in the walls that closed in on our tiny ship, and learned to react and dodge. Then you threw increasingly tough difficulty levels at us, and we’ve been smitten ever since.
Featuring more than just boxes to examine, The Room Three expands the format of the original just enough to create a uniquely tactile experience that definitely pulls you into the many nooks and crannies you’ll be entering to solve. Gorgeous box puzzles still play an important role in the game, but many other clever logic games are sure to tickle your brain and condition you to look closely at everything that could turn out to be a puzzle. Three’s a charm indeed.
There are two sides to TouchTone. The foundation is a topical story about intercepting communications, ostensibly to make the world safer. The game itself involves reflecting signals to receivers, using a tiled grid where every item on a row or column moves as one. The story gives you added impetus to keep going, even when you’ve been racking your brains for days to come up with a solution to a particular puzzle.
It’s always great when a savvy developer rethinks a genre and comes up with something that feels fresh. EightyEight Games welds auto-running to match-three in You Must Build A Boat.Deft fingerwork must be married with careful timing, matching keys as the hero approaches locked chests, or swords at the moment an incoming enemy prepares to get all stabby. Get shoved off of the left-hand side of the screen and you’re told YOU WIN!, because every step potentially adds to your coffers.There are missions to complete, abilities to power-up, and a cheeky sense of humour that sets the title apart from its frequently comparatively po-faced contemporaries.

8 best note-taking apps to help you remember and write everything

8 best note-taking apps to help you remember and write everything

The mobile revolution means its easier than ever to ditch a pen and paper for a smartphone or tablet when jotting down ideas, making records of meetings or simply articulating ideas.Advances in 4K monitor and mobile display technology ensure that reading notes from a device is just as good as a notebook, while a new wave of applications can make you more organised and productive, handle rich content.What’s more, there’s no scrambling for a pen or running out of paper, and the rise of cloud services and superfast mobile networks mean you can access your data anywhere you like on the device of your choice.Whether you’re looking for an app that’s suitable for sharing information with other people, is a good fit for storing research or merely offers a more pleasant writing environment than your current word processor, these are our picks of the lot.
You’ll want to run them on the best 2-in-1 laptop aroundEvernote (free)

Platforms: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, WebOS, Maemo, BlackBerry, Google WaveNo list of best note-taking apps is complete without Evernote, which is one of the oldest and most fully-featured. Evernote lets you create both simple and complex workflows using a combination of notebooks, notes and tags to keep everything organized.One of its best features for gathering research is the Web Clipper extension (supported in Chrome, Firefox and Safari), which lets you save entire webpages – including text, images and PDFs – with a single click. Notes can be accessed on laptops, mobile devices and the web, so you’re rarely left with a situation where you can’t retrieve what you’ve saved. Other features include the ability to set reminders, present notes PowerPoint-style, and merge them together.Recent additions include new tables and a Siri integration for those using the iOS edition.
OneNote (free)

Platforms: Window, macOS, Windows RT, Windows Phone, iOS, AndroidLike Evernote, OneNote lets you sync notes across various devices. While a free version is available on the Mac, the app is particularly useful on Windows 10-powered hybrid devices due to the interface’s close resembling of an actual notepad.Unlike Evernote however – which works more like a traditional word processor – OneNote lets you scribble on ruled pages with your device’s stylus, and you can position text boxes, images and tables anywhere on the page. It also has a few features you’re unlikely to find in other note-taking apps, such as the ability to record video and embed it in notes and embedding Excel spreadsheets and other Microsoft Office files. In fact, OneNote plays nicely with all of Microsoft’s Office suite, so it’s ideal if you’re already invested in it.
Ulysses (£35.99/$39.99 per year)

Platforms: macOS, iOSUlysses has been around for a while now, and it’s one of the most polished note-taking apps on Apple’s computing platform. (One that’s perfectly equipped for long-form writing, too.) Notes are written and stored in the app’s proprietary Markdown style, which allows for inventive (and colorful) use of headings. Added to that, images can be embedded in the form of links within documents; rather than displaying them in the body text, you can double click the links to preview image thumbnails. Ulysses also positions images in a sidebar that can also display a word count, mini notes and other information at a glance.Of course, you need to be invested in the Apple ecosystem to benefit as there’s no Windows or Android version available.
Google Keep (free)

Platforms: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, WebGoogle Keep is the simplest note-taking app on our list, both visually and how it operates. Think of Keep as your place for storing digital post-it notes, with each note dotted around the interface as if they were laid on a table in front of you.Notes can be given labels, pinned to the top, given a color, paired with reminders and collaborated on in real time. It’s much more minimal than other writing apps, which either works for or against it depending on your viewpoint. If you want to break away from your operating system’s notes app, but don’t want all of the features that come with other apps on our list, Google Keep is an, ahem, keeper.
Bear (free trial)

Platforms: macOS, iOSA relative newcomer to the note-taking app scene, Bear lies somewhere in-between Evernote and Ulysses, allowing you to create notes and sync them across various Apple devices through its subscription-based cloud service (a free trial is available too).Using a Slack-like three-pane interface, you can arrange notes by applying hashtags, which allows a subfolder style system. Bear uses rich Markdown for editing, so you can insert links into documents without having to display the full URLs in a similar manner to Ulysses. However, Bear, which is pretty easy on the eye, and one of the few polished Markdown apps that allow you to insert images directly into notes, which could make it a far more valuable app overall if images are a big part of your workflow.Bear 1.4 added Tag autocomplete, one of the most requested features for the app, so it’s even better.
Atom (free)

Platforms: Windows, macOS, LinuxSomething of a left-field choice, Atom is primarily an app used for coding, but its sheer range of customization options means that you can mould it into a useful text editor too. Because it’s based on common web standards, you can hack its CSS stylesheet to create just about any visual theme you can think of. Want to make it look and feel like Word 2016 with a Smooth Typing Animation-style effect? No problem. Want to write in Markdown with a solarized color scheme? Then download the Markdown Writer extension and choose from one of the hundreds of community-generated themes.Atom is far from perfect as a text editor due to its lack of one or two standard features – such as an automatic grammar changer – that have been standard in other note-taking apps for years. But it’s certainly one of the most interesting and capable when in the right hands.
Simplenote (free)

Platforms: Windows, Mac, iOS, AndroidSimplenote’s selling point is its clear, simple user interface, making it easy to keep track of notes. It is available for iOS, Android, Mac, Windows and Linux, with data synced automatically. There’s also a web app if a client can’t be downloaded.Tagging and search tools ensure users can find what they’re looking for and notes can be shared or published to others working in the same team or on a project. Simplenote backs up previous versions of documents so it’s always possible to revert to an earlier one.Simplenote doesn’t have many advanced features, but is an ideal candidate for simple note taking. And best, of all, it’s free.
Dropbox Paper (free to sign up)

Platforms: Windows, Mac, iOS, AndroidDropbox Paper launched in August 2016 and works across the cloud platform’s suite of PC and mobile applications. What separates Paper apart is its focus on collaboration, allowing teams to share their ideas, images and videos for projects.There are integrations with productivity apps such as Google Calendar and Slack as well as some more surprising tools like Spotify.Recent additions include new organisation tools such as the ability to create mobile folders on the go as well as improved delete and archive features. Dropbox also redesigned the Paper homepage which brings users Paper docs and Dropbox files together.Its enterprise features make it an ideal note taking app for businesses, but it goes without saying that you get the most out of it if you are already a Dropbox customer.

The best Presidents Day sales and deals 2018: where to find last-minute sales

The best Presidents Day sales and deals 2018: where to find last-minute sales

President’s Day sales and deals are coming to a close tonight, but we’re finding a lot of items still on sale in the US, extending the first weekend of savings in 2018. We’ve therefore updated our list of the best sales you can find below.What do 4KTV deals and discounted PS4 and Xbox One console have to do with George Washington’s birthday in February? Very little, but it’s America’s traditional savings holiday on everything from smartphones and tablets and big-screen TVs.Today (what remains of today) is officially President’s Day, but a number of deals started last week, and some have carried over. You’re just in time. Don’t be surprised if a few keep going after the holiday itself has ended.Just as we all hope for the winter to end and for the weather to get an upgrade, President’s Day sales offer plenty of options to get an upgrade to our personal inventory of gadgets and household tech. We’ve got the best President’s Day sales rounded up for you, so you can get a discount on a new laptop, an upgraded sound system, tablets for your kids or new cameras.You can jump straight to retailers President’s Day sales at the following links:
The best President’s Day sales stores (direct links)
Amazon Daily Deals Walmart President’s Day savings Newegg President’s Day saleSamsung President’s Day TV dealsDell President’s Day computing deals Sonos President’s Day speaker deals Microsoft President’s Day sale Adorama DealsB&H Photo DealsGameStop Daily Deals BestBuy 4-day President’s Day sales eventCDKeys Daily DealsWhen do President’s day sales events start?
President’s Day sales events actually started a few days ago ahead of the official February 19 start date. Deals may continue even to George Washington’s birthday, which is actually February 22.
President’s Day vs Black Friday
If all the hot ticket items you were eyeing on Black Friday and Cyber Monday sold out before you could get to them, the best President’s Day sales will give you a second opportunity to nap a new 4K TV or sneak off with a new computer at prices that may be just as good as November’s.Retailers may not be going as crazy with the sheer volume of deals for President’s Day as they did on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some golden President’s Day sales. If you keep a close eye on the President’s Day discounts (which you can easily do by checking back here often, as we’ll keep this page updated with the best deals we can find), you’re likely to find some great offers.
President’s Day TV deals
President’s Day sales smart home deals
The best President’s Day sales gaming deals
President’s Day smartphone deals
President’s Day tablet deals
President’s Day sales computing deals
President’s Day headphone and speaker deals
President’s Day sales camera deals
To see all the best President’s day sales and deals in 2018, be sure to check this page often, as we will continue to add new discounts whenever they begin.
Which stores are having President’s Day sales?
You’ll find all the biggest and best online stores are getting involved with the President’s Day sales event and while we’re busily finding the best deals for you, we know you’ll want to take a look for yourselves too. So here’s a handy list to take you straight to the President Day sale’s homepages at the following stores:
Daily Deals at AmazonPresident’s Day savings at WalmartPresident’s Day sale at NeweggPresident’s Day TV deals at SamsungPresident’s Day computing deals at DellPresident’s Day speaker deals at SonosPresident’s Day sale at MicrosoftDeals at AdoramaDeals at B&H PhotoDaily deals at GameStopPresident’s Day 4 day sale at BestBuyDaily Deals at CDKeys

Microsoft wants the Surface Pen to replace your mouse

Microsoft wants the Surface Pen to replace your mouse

Patents recently filed by Microsoft suggest some serious upgrades are coming to the Surface Pen – like a touch-sensitive retention clip, for example, which could mimic the role of a mouse’s scroll wheel and maybe tempt you to ditch your mouse device altogether.The patent particularly makes note of being able to use the upgraded clip to scroll through long documents and webpages, as MSPowerUser reports. You wouldn’t have to spend quite as long fiddling around trying to find the scroll bars at the side of the screen, or making huge swiping movements across the display.Other ideas explored in the new patent include a low-power mode, so the Surface Pen only starts running properly when it detects a touch on the side. Battery life would obviously improve, something that’s always welcome when you’re computing on the go.
Surface Pen patentThe Surface Pen isn’t included with the likes of the Surface Book 2 or the Surface Pro, so you need to buy it as an optional $99.99/£99.99 extra on top of your purchase. Maybe a few stylus upgrades would be enough to persuade more users to splash out on the accessory.However, as with any patent application, this only shows some of the ideas Microsoft is thinking about at the moment – there’s no guarantee that the upgraded Surface Pen will ever see the light of day. We’d say it’s fairly likely though, as Microsoft will want to make its stylus as appealing a purchase as possible.The recently upgraded Surface Pen that Microsoft sells right now boasts 4,096 different pressure points and comes in your choice of five understated colors. We wouldn’t bet against Microsoft holding another hardware event this year, so stay tuned.
Microsoft patents improved Surface Pen loop with charging chopsVia Windows Central

MacBook Air 2018 release date, news and rumors

MacBook Air 2018 release date, news and rumors

Time and again, it’s been said that the MacBook Air’s days are numbered. And, yet, here we are, speculating on the release of a MacBook Air 2018 release.That’s because, in spite of all the rumors and reports swirling around the death of arguably Apple’s most popular laptop in recent memory – including this one just in January 2017 – the MacBook Air is still here.In fact, the MacBook Air processor was just refreshed in June 2017, though it simply upped the clock speed of the existing, Intel Broadwell Core series chip inside. So, what gives?That’s exactly what we’re here to try and get to the bottom of. Join us and bookmark this page, as we’ll be updating it with the latest MacBook Air 2018 information if and when it arises.
Cut to the chase
What is it? A hopeful sequel to Apple’s most popular laptopWhen is it out? Likely June 2018 at the earliestWhat will it cost? Likely as much as – if not more than – current models
MacBook Air 2018 release date
Since the only rumor of a 2018 MacBook Air is actually foretelling its death, we have no idea exactly when the MacBook Air 2018 release date will be. Of course, that doesn’t mean we can’t speculate based on previous MacBook Air releases.Looking back at 2017, Apple surprised us in two ways regarding the MacBook Air. First, Apple refreshing the MacBook Air at all in June 2017 – just following its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) – was a surprise. Then, it was unfortunately surprising that the refresh was so … light.Before this, Apple hadn’t updated the MacBook Air since March 2015. That’s when the laptop got its first Broadwell-generation Intel Core processor.
Don’t expect much about the MacBook Air price to change year over year – its affordability is a huge part of its continued draw.Looking back further than this, the MacBook Air has received updates on an annual basis since its release in 2008, and in largely different months during those years. That said, June has been the most popular month for this laptop to receive upgrades.So, that leaves us with the most likely release month for a would-be 2018 MacBook Air being June, likely directly following a WWDC 2018 announcement. That would be a properly annual launch, and have the fanfare of Apple’s huge developer event behind it for a triumphant return.If Apple misses that time frame, the next likely debut window is October or November, just in time for the Christmas and holiday shopping craze.

MacBook Air 2018 price
Of course, without a mention of a MacBook Air 2018 rumor beyond its prophesied death, that leaves us with next to nothing regarding the price of such an Apple laptop. Those types of leaks don’t tend to crop up until we get closer to an expected release date.However, don’t expect much about the MacBook Air price to change year over year – its affordability is a huge part of its continued draw. Apple has already nailed the prices for its two MacBook Air models, starting at $999, £949 or AU$1,499.
It would be a surprise if Apple were to throw one of its newfangled T series processors (based on ARM architecture) inside a MacBook Air 2018.From there, you can double the starting model’s 128GB SSD capacity to 256GB for another $200, £150 or AU$300.If pricing were to change this year, we’d wager that Apple would simply make room for that rumored 13-inch, entry-level MacBook by either bumping up or knocking down this MacBook Air’s hardware and adjust accordingly. Though, it’s probably more likely that Apple would just shutter the laptop line altogether if that aforementioned MacBook is a reality.At any rate, this is purely speculation. Until we get more information, assume the MacBook Air pricing model for 2018 will remain largely unchanged from last year.

MacBook Air 2018 specs
Unfortunately, components is another field in which we have basically nothing to work with in terms of early information on the 2018 MacBook Air. That said, there’s a lot of space for Apple to work in with this laptop.But, honestly, it would be a surprise if Apple were to throw one of its newfangled T series processors (based on ARM architecture) inside a MacBook Air 2018. That’s purely because a remotely affordable price has become this laptop’s marquee features, and new silicon would throw a stick in those spokes.
From the processor to the ports and screen resolution, everything about the MacBook Air could do with updating.If anything, this is a prime opportunity for Apple to bring the MacBook Air up to speed with its siblings, performance-wise. Even just giving the laptop the latest Intel Core i series processors would be enough, but there’s much more that could be done.Of course, if the rumor that Apple won’t make any big MacBook changes this year rings true, the MacBook Air is likely the first for the firm to forget about when it comes to upgrades. 

What we want to see in MacBook Air 2018
Naturally, this 100% lack of any truly substantial information about the forthcoming 2018 MacBook Air gives us plenty of room to draw up a wishlist. So, here’s what we want to see from a MacBook Air for 2018.Up-to-date components all aroundThis is the most basic and essential of requests, but the MacBook Air could really use a soup-to-nuts upgrade. From the processor to the ports and screen resolution, everything about the MacBook Air could do with updating.The traditional keyboard staysFor as much as we appreciate the revised butterfly hinge keyboard in the MacBook and MacBook Pro, we’d really like to see at least one Apple laptop hold onto its traditional keyboard. There’s enough room inside the chassis, and giving fans a choice would be admirable.Fast charging, pleaseIt shouldn’t be difficult for Apple to maintain the same stellar level of battery life within the MacBook Air if all of its parts are upgraded in tandem. But, just to make the experience that much better, charging the laptop for 10-plus hours of use in a fraction of the time would be nice.iOS apps on MacBook ProNow that it’s been talked about for so long, the idea of iOS apps on macOS has grown on us. We’d enjoy seeing our favorite iPhone and iPad apps be accessible from our Apple laptops. However, without a touchscreen, Apple needs to figure out how this is going to work. 
These are the best Macs that 2018 has to offer so far

Overheating claims force Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 5 laptop recall

Overheating claims force Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 5 laptop recall

After receiving a few customer complaints regarding overheating of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon range, Lenovo has begun a voluntary recall of its fifth iteration of the laptop.An internal investigation conducted by the company has revealed that some of its ThinkPad X1 Carbon notebooks manufactured between December 2016 and October 2017 have an “unfastened screw” that could be damaging the battery, leading to overheating and “potentially posing a fire hazard”.The affected models – 20HQ, 20HR, 20K3, and 20K4 – were sold worldwide and Lenovo is advising owners to switch off their notebooks and not use them until a free service inspection, to be conducted by the manufacturer, can be undertaken.If you’re unsure whether your device is being recalled or not, you can head to Lenovo’s support page for your region and enter your notebook’s serial number. If your device is affected, are available as to how to proceed.
The best laptop 2018: our pick of the 15 best laptops you can buy this year

Microsoft Build 2018 tipped to start a day before Google IO

Microsoft Build 2018 tipped to start a day before Google IO

Microsoft may very well host its 2018 annual Build developer conference on May 7 through May 9 this year in Seattle, Washington, infamous Microsoft leaker ‘@h0x0d’ on Twitter claims.That’s just a day before the start of Google’s IO 2018 developer conference in San Francisco, set to run May 8 through May 10.The news of the potential dates for Microsoft’s long first came to light through a promotional image (seen below) seemingly obtained and shared by ‘@h0x0d’, a famed Microsoft leaker on Twitter. This leak was then corroborated by The Verge, which simply reported the news as an official announcement albeit without any verifiable source.
What does this all mean? At the very least, we know that Microsoft and Google are going to be fiercely competing for not only developer attendance but for their respective fair share of the tech news cycle on those days.We also doubt that this was done intentionally, as these events are mapped out and planned months of in advance of any public announcement – intentional or otherwise.As for what to expect, we’ll likely get in-depth previews of features to be released in the next late 2018 release of Windows 10, as what we now know as the Spring Creators Update could launch a month or more in advance of Build 2018, like the Creators Update of 2017 preceded its respective Build conference by about as much time.If the past few Build conferences are anything to go by, don’t expect to see any flashy new hardware at Build 2018 – this conference is normally reserved for the developers, not the customers.
This is everything we know about Windows 10 S todayVia MSPoweruser

Windows 10 S is becoming Windows 10 S Mode

Windows 10 S is becoming Windows 10 S Mode

Changes are coming to the stripped-down, lightweight operating system Microsoft produces and which has up until now been known as Windows 10 S: it’s getting a new name for a start, and will become Windows 10 S Mode in the not-too-distant future.That’s according to the Microsoft watchers at Thurrott and Neowin, who say the company wants to rebrand the software so it fits better into its portfolio of products. The new S Mode OS will soon be available on most versions of Windows, limiting users to apps downloaded through the Windows Store, with an unlock option available for the full version of the software.Apparently if you’re running Windows 10 Home in S Mode you’ll be able to upgrade to the full desktop experience for free, while those with Windows 10 Pro in S Mode are going to have to stump up $49 for the privilege of unlocking, though all this is yet to be confirmed by Microsoft itself.
To switch or not to switch
We don’t have a timetable for when this rejigged Windows approach is going to arrive, but it seems that Microsoft is planning to refresh its prices sometime in April, so it makes sense for the company to make an announcement on this switch at the same time.Thurrott is also reporting that 60 percent of users who buy a computer with Windows 10 S on it don’t upgrade to the full-fat version of the operating system. Of those who do upgrade, 60 percent do so in the first 24 hours, while those who don’t unlock Windows 10 in the first seven days are 83 percent likely to stick with Windows 10 S.We also have a hint that the next big update for Windows, Windows 10 Redstone 4, is going to be labelled the Spring Creators Update. It wouldn’t be the most original of names, but we’re expecting more details about the next iteration of the software in the coming weeks.
Microsoft tells us about its high hopes for Windows 10 SVia The Verge

iOS apps on Mac computers are still likely to appear in 2018

iOS apps on Mac computers are still likely to appear in 2018

Apple may be pushing back major iOS feature updates in favor of stability upgrades, but it’s still keen on getting iOS apps onto Mac computers this year, Axios reports.First revealed in a Bloomberg report late last year, this is one of the few major additions to Apple’s software lineup that is expected to sneak through this year, sources speaking to Axios anonymously have confirmed.Apple’s planned quality-of-life upgrades to macOS in 2018 also include security boosts as well as speeding up the waking and unlocking of Mac systems, according to the report.These stability and performance boosts through the next versions of macOS and iOS could make way for what might be one of the most important features to come to both operating systems in years.
Catching up with the competition
If Apple were to allow iOS apps to run on Mac systems, this would see the firm catch up to both Microsoft and Google in a big way. Before these reports, Apple had been known to draw firm lines between its two major OS products.Microsoft launched Windows 10 – in July 2015 – to run nearly seamlessly between PC systems, tablets and phones from the start, while Google brought its Google Play Store and Android apps to Chromebooks early last year.For the past few years, a clear trend has grown in breaking down the walls between phones, tablets and laptops or desktop computers, and it’s one that Apple appears to have been watching to learn how it can one-up previous efforts. Whether that tactic will end up playing out well for Apple or working against it, not to mention exactly how this implementation will work without touchscreens on Mac computers, won’t likely be answered until WWDC 2018, Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, which will be held later this year.
These are the best Macs – ready and waiting for iOS apps