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Author: Andrew Castillo

Next-gen autonomous cloud capabilities to steal limelight at Oracle OpenWorld

Next-gen autonomous cloud capabilities to steal limelight at Oracle OpenWorld

More than 60,000 attendees and over 250 exhibitors and speakers from more than 90 countries are expected to take part in the Oracle OpenWorld 2019 event.The four-day event, with over 2,200 educational sessions, will take place from September 16 to 19, at Moscone Centre in San Francisco, California, US.This year, Oracle is bringing a more human-centred focus to its products and solutions with a focus on digital transformation, led by demos and hands-on labs.The main absence from the event will be its co-Chief Executive Mark Hurd, who is taking a leave of absence from the company for health reasons, and his duties will be shared by co-CEO Safra Catz and Oracle co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Larry Ellison.The year looks better for the cloud industry due to the global economic instability as organisations are moving to the cloud to cut costs and improve operational efficiency by using artificial intelligence and cognitive technologies.According to research firm Gartner, worldwide IT spending is forecast to reach $3.74 trillion in 2019, an increase of 0.6% from 2018 while the enterprise software market will experience the strongest growth in 2019, reaching $457 billion, up 9% from $419 billion in 2018 and another 10.9% in 2020 to total $507 billion.The worldwide public cloud services market is projected to grow 17.5% in 2019 to total $214.3 billion, up from $182.4b in 2018,While SaaS represents a $95 billion market in 2019 compared to $80b in 2018, the biggest out of the cloud spending, it will grow to $143.7b in 2022.
Autonomy gains traction
Oracle’s cloud-related success mostly lies with SaaS [software as a service] applications, so Oracle, a services company rather than a product company, will focus on IaaS [infrastructure as a service] and next-generation autonomous cloud database at the event.An autonomous database is a cloud database that eliminates complexity, human error and manual management associated with database tuning, security, backups and updates; tasks traditionally performed by the database administrators (DBAs).According to research firm International Data Corporation’s Public Cloud Services Tracker in April, Oracle gained the most market share globally out of all enterprise applications SaaS vendors for three years in a row.In fiscal 2018, the company’s revenue from applications totalled $11 billion and its co-CEO Hurd said that it could be doubled to $22 billion by migrating its existing on-premises business to SaaS platform.With a focus on autonomous database, Oracle will unveil updates to Oracle Database 19c, which runs both on-premises and in the cloud and reveal more details about its partnership with Microsoft in a bid to improve interoperability between Azure and Oracle’s IaaS, known as Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.”Autonomy is the defining attribute of a Generation 2 Cloud,” said Ellison.”The autonomous database is the most successful new product in Oracle’s history. We added more than 500 new autonomous database cloud customers in the first quarter and expect to more than double that in the second quarter. We now have over 2,000 customers, paying customers, for the autonomous database.”
Next growth phase
The US software giant, with decades of database software and technologies and having a strong penetration in the enterprise space, is gearing up for the next growth phase in cloud services. “Oracle’s response to autonomous is a critical element for dealing with enterprise-wide security as it gives a greater level of agility for organisations to differentiate and optimise their business, well beyond the competition,” Richard Smith, senior vice-president, UKII, ECEMEA and South Clusters for Technology at Oracle.Oracle’s competitors offer the ability to automate scaling and backups but what Oracle is offering is intelligent and self-managing database by eliminating human administrative access with the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning in a bid to bring a high degree of automation to routine administrative tasks.Oracle offers two types of autonomous databases – Autonomous Data Warehouse (ADW) and Autonomous Transaction Processing (ATP). “Autonomous Data Warehouse is a capability that we are seeing now in the cloud. ATP, which will be launched soon, will allow customers to deal with autonomous capabilities and also deploy in a very scalable environment to allow customers to scale up or down, with their computing requirements around transaction processing,” he said.Based on deep machine learning and artificial intelligence, he said that autonomous capabilities are built on every component of the portfolio. “Data is the new battleground but businesses are struggling to keep up with tight IT budgets and the volume of data growing exponentially”, Smith said and added that Oracle is built on data applications portfolio more than four decades ago.According to KuppingerCole, Oracle has been named as this year’s overall leader in database and big data security.
Oracle aims to move all of its on-premise customers in MEA on to cloud in two yearsOracle sees autonomous database as a ‘game-changer’CIOs losing visibility and control over apps and workloads in the cloud

IoT devices still major target for cyberattacks

IoT devices still major target for cyberattacks

During the first half of 2019, cybercriminals increased the intensity of both IoT and SMB-related attacks according to a new report from F-Secure.The firm’s “Attack Landscape H1 2019” report highlighted the threat unsecured IoT devices can pose to businesses and consumers as well as the continued popularity of Eternal Blue and similar exploits two years after the WannaCry ransomware was released on the world.F-Secure uses decoy servers called honeypots to lure in attackers to collect information on their activities and this year its honeypots measured a twelvefold increase in IoT and SMB-related attacks compared to the same period a year ago. This increase was driven by traffic targeting the Telnet and UPnP protocols, which are used by IoT devices, as well as the SMB protocol, which is used by the Eternal family of exploits to spread ransomware and banking Trojans.
IoT devices becoming an increasing security riskMirai botnet returns to target IoT devicesOlder Windows devices at risk of classic hacksTelnet, UPnP and SMB traffic
The largest share of traffic during H1 2019 was led by Telnet with over 760m attack events logged or around 26 percent of traffic. UPnP was the next most frequent with 611m attacks followed by SSH, which is also used to target IoT devices, at 456m attacks.IoT devices that have been infected with malware such as Mirai are likely sources of this traffic as Mirai was the most common malware family observed by F-Secure’s honeypots. Mirai targets and infects routers, security cameras and other IoT devices which use factory default credentials.F-Secure also found that traffic to SMB port 445 accounted for 556m attacks. The high level of SMB traffic indicates that the Eternal family of exploits, which were first used in 2017’s WannaCry ransomware outbreak, are still being used by cybercriminals looking to target millions of machines that have not yet been patched.Principal researcher at F-Secure, Jarno Niemal provided further insight on the report’s findings, saying:“Three years after Mirai first appeared, and two years after WannaCry, it shows that we still haven’t solved the problems leveraged in those outbreaks. The insecurity of the IoT, for one, is only getting more profound, with more and more devices cropping up all the time and then being co-opted into botnets. And the activity on SMB indicates there are still too many machines out there that remain unpatched.” 
We’ve also highlighted the best antivirus software of 2019

The best 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray movies

The best 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray movies

Update: Apocalypse Now: Final Cut has landed on the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray format in time for the film’s 40th anniversary, and it is seriously stunning. This region-free 4K edition is available now in the US and will arrive in other territories in the near future.The best 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray movies can give you an experience that’s the closest thing you can get to having a movie theater in your living room.In fact, we’d bet with the advent of HDR, Dolby Vision and readily available Dolby Atmos sound systems, it’s arguably better – especially because you don’t have to fight over the arm rest at home. That’s not to mention that the best 4K Ultra-HD Blu-rays will absolutely demolish anything you can stream online.  
Need a player? Here are the best 4K Blu-ray players you can buy right nowAnd don’t forget the best 4K TVs to make the most of your filmsWhile it’s true that some streaming services, like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video do offer a good amount of content in 4K – Netflix Originals for instance – you’ll be sorely out of luck if you’re trying to find the newest movies in 4K with HDR on those platforms. And even among older titles, finding titles that are compatible with both technologies will be rare indeed.These streaming services might have a lot of amazing content that takes advantage of your 4K TV, but you it might take you a long time to be able to find the same amount of content offered by the best 4K Ultra-HD Blu-rays. And even if you do decide to just wait it out, the image quality of streaming video doesn’t even come close to the fidelity offered by 4K Ultra-HD Blu-rays.With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the best 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray movies you can buy today. Each of the discs on this list, regardless of how good the actual films are, can be considered ‘reference quality’ and we’ve exhaustively tested each to ensure they’re truly worthy of our recommendation. Best of all, every 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc is region free, so anyone with a 4K Blu-ray player can enjoy these films.Read on to find out which 4K Ultra HD Blu-rays have made the list – and keep checking back for new updates.
X-Men Series
Image credit: 20th Century FoxWith the exception of the recently-released X-Men: Dark Phoenix, it’s now possible to separately purchase every entry in the main X-Men series on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray (fans will have to keep waiting for spin-offs X-Men Origins: Wolverine and The Wolverine, however, Logan and both Deadpool films are also available on the format). Fans will be x-static (sorry) to hear that each film in the series holds up incredibly well in Ultra HD, with the first two films in the saga, X-Men and X2: X-Men United (a.k.a. X-Men 2), receiving brand new 4K scans which achieve terrific results. Keen-eyed viewers will notice bolder colors across the board thanks to an impressive HDR-related upgrade. Blues and reds, in particular, appear more vibrant – witness, for instance, the glowing red beams that shoot from Cyclops’ eyes, or the steely blue interiors of Professor X’s Cerebro room. We also get richer yellows and greens, such as the lining in Wolverine’s costume and Toad’s sickly skin. In X-Men 2, the uptick in resolution offers some incredible clarity, particularly in close-ups of Nightcrawler’s face, which show additional detail in the swirling scars etched in the character’s skin. Of course, the blues in his and Mystique’s skin also appear more clearly defined, with their particular shades appearing slightly more individual. 
 Image credit: 20th Century Fox With the addition of Beast in X-Men: The Last Stand, HDR gets another workout with yet another eye-popping shade of blue skin, along with the added bonus of bright blue hair to accompany it. As you might expect, detail is astonishing, with The Last Stand’s upscaled 2160p transfer offering increased sharpness, allowing viewers to spot the individual strands of hair that have been meticulously applied to the character by the film’s makeup department.Thanks to a boost in contrast, we also get deeper blacks and improved shadow detail, which significantly helps to enhance the mood of the films. As the earlier entries in the saga were shot on 35mm film, a fine layer of grain is present which helps ground the fantastical films with a modicum of realism while also providing a richer filmic appearance.Also upscaled from a 2K digital intermediate is X-Men: First Class, which arrives on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with some noticeable improvements over the standard Blu-ray edition, but perhaps isn’t quite the standout that X-Men and X-Men 2 are. 
 Image credit: 20th Century Fox Thanks to some HDR tinkering, we get bright colors that pop with added vibrancy, particularly when it comes time for the characters to don their blue and yellow ’60s-era costumes. Skin tones appear healthy and lifelike, with some spectacular highlights in the form of Emma Frost’s diamond-encrusted epidermis proving especially striking.The film’s big climax, which sees the mutants intervening with the Cuban Missile Crisis by lifting a submarine out of the ocean, is expectedly a visual standout, looking even better in Ultra HD than it did on previous releases. With X-Men: Days of Future Past, the main series finally moves into the digital era, with the time-traveling sequel captured at 2.8K resolution and finished with a 2K digital intermediate. While Days of Future Past is an upscaled release, it looks quite good on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, with the benefits of HDR shining through to provide additional color vibrancy and increased black levels.The film’s dark opening sequence, which shows a grim Terminator-esque future where the world has been ravaged by machines, dazzles with its deep blacks and vibrant neon highlights. Later, during the film’s daytime finale, we get a significant boost in clarity, particularly when the more colorful X-Men like Mystique and Beast are on screen.
Image credit: 20th Century FoxX-Men: Apocalypse was originally captured at 6K in the Redcode RAW format, which offers filmmakers an increased level of post-production control, making it perfect for HDR post processing. Finished on a 4K digital intermediate, X-Men: Apocalypse comes to 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with no loss to visual fidelity whatsoever. A visual effects showcase if ever there was one, the end result, pardon the pun, is x-traordinary.From its Ancient Egypt opening through to its apocalyptic finale, X-Men: Apocalypse dazzles in Ultra HD. Costumes and makeup benefit greatly from the added resolution afforded by the format, opening our eyes to the incredible work that goes into their creation. There’s an immediately noticeable increase in detail, as well as an added depth of texture.As you would expect from a movie in which characters frequently shoot beams of energy from their hands/eyes/sceptres, lighting effects are a particular highlight here. Increased contrast and a wider color gamut mean that light blooming appears much more natural, avoiding the usual blocky-glow that plagues images with a lower color depth. It’s also an extremely colorful movie, with numerous blue and purple characters on its roster. While each release surprisingly lacks Dolby Atmos audio in favour of DTS-HD 5.1 tracks, the discs are a no-brainer for those who don’t already own the films. In our estimation, X-Men, X-Men 2 and X-Men: Apocalypse provide enough of an upgrade over their Blu-ray equivalents to warrant a double dip for devoted fans, while the rest still offer the definitive version of each film to watch at home. Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: 2160p (X-Men / X-Men 2 / X-Men: Apocalypse: native 4K masters, X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men: First Class, X-Men: Days of Future Past: upscaled from 2K masters), Audio: English DTS-HD 5.1 (primary), Aspect ratio: 2.39:1 (all films)
Captain Marvel
Image Credit: Marvel StudiosOne of the top-grossing movies of the year so far, Captain Marvel was the first female-led Marvel movie to date, which already makes it a must-watch in our books. Luckily it’s a truly fantastic movie too – and might be one of our favorite across the whole MCU.Set in the 90s, this fantasy superhero movie really lends itself to the best 4K HDR tech. All of the strong primary and secondary colors are rich, they look like they ‘pop’ from the screen, and the whites are vibrant. Some of the CGI, fantasy elements look the most impressive, like when Vers visits the Supreme Being. It’s also worth mentioning that there are quite a few close-up shots throughout the movie, and this version renders the detail well. You can see the finest details in sets, the characters’ physical features and the costumes. Technical specs: Codec: HEVC, Resolution: 2160p/24, HDR: HDR10, Dolby Vision, Audio: English Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1, English/Spanish Dolby Digital Plus 7.1, 1080p Blu-ray: DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1, Aspect: 2.39:1, Runtime: 124 minutes
Aquaman
Image credit: Warner Bros.With the arrival of DC’s Aquaman on 4K Ultra HD Blu-Ray, the format has received another reference-quality disc that will surely be used to show off brand new televisions for years to come. Despite being upscaled from a 2K master (which proved more than suitable in cinemas, we might add), Aquaman offers a pristine transfer that’s stuffed to the gills (we went there) with onscreen activity – all of which is presented with incredible detail.It’s no secret that 4K releases presented in the full IMAX aspect ratio are utterly spectacular to watch on a high-end television set (you hearing this, Disney?), and Aquaman may very well be the best example of this yet. According to director James Wan, approximately 90% of the movie is shown this way, and while that might be a slight exaggeration, almost all of the film’s major sequences do take advantage of your entire display, exhibiting immense clarity and color. Speaking of color, Aquaman is a true showcase for high-dynamic-range (both HDR10 and Dolby Vision are available), with its vibrant underwater world offering enough eye candy to put you in a visual sugar coma. We have glowing purples, oranges and greens piercing through the deep blue sea – Aquaman’s first trip to Atlantis is a show-stopping sight to behold – with realistic specular highlights reflected in armor and tridents. Rays of light also shine through the ocean surface with impressively subtle color gradation.Later in the film, a scene shows Arthur and Mera being attacked by The Trench while travelling via tugboat, and if ever there was an argument for the importance of increased resolution and contrast, this is it. The set piece unfolds at night during heavy rainfall while hundreds of snarling CGI creatures attack our heroes, and it is positively bursting at the seams with visual information. Thankfully, Aquaman’s 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray handles the complex scene with ease, and looks especially good on TVs capable of deep, inky blacks. A must-have release for fans of superhero films.Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: 2160p (upscaled from a 2K master), HDR: HDR10, Dolby Vision, Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), French (Canada) Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, Aspect ratio: 2.39:1, 1.78:1, Runtime: 143 minutes
Deadpool 2
Image credit: 20th Century FoxAs one of the first major titles to hit 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, the original Deadpool impressed with a pristine transfer based on a true 4K digital intermediate. While its sequel, Deadpool 2, was finished at 2K and then upscaled for this 4K release, the disc still looks great, with a noticeable upgrade in detail and color over the regular Blu-ray.Sporting a steely-blue look and feel for most of the film, Deadpool 2 isn’t quite as vibrant as its predecessor. That said, there are several moments here where colors really pop, including the film’s violent opening montage, Cable’s explosive prison attack and the film’s big chase scene. Like the first entry’s 4K disc, Deadpool 2 has received HDR10 color grading, though Dolby Vision is absent. Once again, specular highlights benefit greatly from the high-dynamic-range tinkering that the film has received, particularly in the light reflecting from Colossus’ shiny metal body. Thanks to the resolution uptick provided by the format, object definition looks wonderful here — the stitching and texture of Deadpool’s costume is the standout on this disc, along with the incredibly-detailed visual effects work that has gone into creating Cable’s cybernetic arm and chest. As an added bonus, Deadpool 2’s 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray includes two versions of the film, with the Theatrical Cut and Super Duper $@%!#& Cut each housed on their own 4K disc. Needless to say, fans of Deadpool 2 will definitely want to pick the film on the format.Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: 2160p (upscaled from a 2K master), HDR: HDR10, Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), Spanish Dolby Digital 7.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Aspect ratio: 2.39:1, Runtime: 134 minutes
Avengers: Infinity War
Image credit: Marvel StudiosThe kind of cinematic event that 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray was made for, Avengers: Infinity War explodes onto the format with show-stopping HDR10 and Dolby Vision visuals and a fantastic Dolby Atmos audio track. Though Avengers: Infinity War was finished on a 2K digital intermediate (possibly due to the sheer amount of visual effects on display), it was captured at 6.5K, so the upscaled end result looks exceptional regardless. We see incredible definition and wonderful detail throughout the entirety of Infinity War, particularly in any scene featuring the towering computer-generated character, Thanos. Thanks to the incredible work of the film’s animators, Thanos’ face reveals outstanding textures and lines, with the added clarity of the film’s resolution uptick providing additional gravitas to Josh Brolin’s riveting motion capture performance. Elsewhere, the Infinity War shines thanks to HDR10 and Dolby Vision color grading, which gives the movie incredible vibrancy and contrast. Highlights, for instance, are incredibly strong here, with Thor’s thunder-summoning abilities proving to be a standout. Skin tones also appear warmer and more natural, particularly during daylight scenes, such as the film’s climactic battle. Topping off the film’s astonishing visuals is a punchy Dolby Atmos track which offers impressive bombastics and atmospherics, providing a convincing three-dimensional soundscape in the process. While we would’ve loved for Avengers: Infinity War’s full-frame IMAX sequences to have been included on the disc, it’s hard to argue with what we did get here. Barring an unlikely 4K release of the film’s IMAX version, this release is easily the best way to watch Avengers: Infinity War at home for the foreseeable future. Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: 2160p (upscaled from a 2K master), HDR: HDR10, Dolby Vision, Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), Spanish Dolby Digital 7.1, French (Canada) Dolby Digital 5.1, Japanese Dolby Digital Plus 7.1, Aspect ratio: 2.39:1, Runtime: 149 minutes
The Avengers
Image credit: Marvel StudiosDue to its bright, clean cinematography and TV-friendly 1.85:1 aspect ratio, The Avengers makes for an ideal 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray candidate. Everything that was great about the film’s regular blu-ray is magnified here, with vibrant HDR10-tuned colors, improved contrast, brighter highlights and greater detail across the board. If you have a high-end television that’s capable of intense color and brightness, you’re going to want to pick this disc up — The Avengers dazzles in this regard, with the red, white and blue of Captain America’s costume, along with the Hulk’s green skin, looking especially vivid here. Night-time scenes, such as the forest battle between Iron Man and Thor, look especially good here — Thor’s lightning bolts burn with white hot intensity against inky black backgrounds, and there’s no sign of any crushing to within the darkness.Like Avengers: Infinity War, The Avengers was mastered at 2K, though you’d never know it based on its Ultra HD Blu-ray transfer — fine detail is extraordinary here, particularly in costumes and character close-ups. Along with its excellent Dolby Atmos track, which delivers impressive bass and directional sound effects, The Avengers has made a fantastic debut on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. If you’re a fan of the film (and really, who isn’t?), you won’t be disappointed by this stellar release.-Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: 2160p (upscaled from a 2K master), HDR: HDR10, Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), Spanish Dolby Digital 7.1, French (Canada) Dolby Digital 5.1, Japanese Dolby Digital Plus 7.1, Aspect ratio: 1.85:1, Runtime: 143 minutes
Black Panther
Image credit: Marvel StudiosCaptured at 3.4K resolution and then finished at 4K, Marvel’s Black Panther arrives on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with a disc that easily outclasses its 1080p counterpart thanks to additional accuracy in its color palette and a more natural appearance overall. Right off the bat, the film impresses with its CGI introductory scene. We are given a quick history of Black Panther’s country Wakanda, starting with the vibranium meteorite that gifts the African nation with the world’s most precious (and technologically useful) metal. The level of detail in the animation is very high, and we’re able to really appreciate the light and shade benefits that HDR allows for. Admittedly, the disc is less impressive during the night-time jungle rescue that comes shortly after, showing some muddiness in the darkness, something that may or may not resolve itself when viewed on an OLED screen. That said, later scenes set at night look glorious, including a car chase through Seoul that sees vibrant neon signs shimmer off the various luxury vehicles featured in the action-packed set piece. But really, detail and color are the standouts on this disc, with the film’s flamboyant costumes looking especially eye-popping — witness, for instance, the ritual combat ceremony scene, in which each tribe gathers in their traditional garb to watch the country’s top warriors battle for the right to be king. Clarity is also astounding here, with the various textures and fibers of each costume exhibiting jaw-dropping detail. A truly wonderful disc and a must-have for Marvel fans. Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: 2160p (from 4K master), HDR: HDR10, Dolby Vision, Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French (Canada) Dolby Digital 5.1, Aspect ratio: 2.39:1, Runtime: 135 minutes
Justice League
Image credit: Warner Bros.Though the film was finished on a 2K digital intermediate, that doesn’t stop Justice League from looking astonishing on Ultra HD Blu-ray. Part of this is due to its 1:78.1 aspect ratio, which films the entire frame of your television (no black bars here), making these heroes look larger than life in the process. Like all of Zack Snyder’s movies, Justice League was shot on film (35mm to be precise, though it was then blown up to 70mm using IMAX’s digital media remastering), so you can expect incredible detail and additional texture to be found here. Costume detail looks absolutely extraordinary on this transfer, particularly in the texture of Batman’s costume and the various surfaces of The Flash’s super-complex outfit. When it comes to digital effects, Justice League also benefits on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. For instance, Cyborg’s CGI body, which is made up entirely of shiny metal, lights and wiring, looks especially intricate and impressive here — particularly when it comes to specular highlights. As expected, shadows and dark areas (this is a Snyder film, after all) benefit greatly from the film’s HDR color grading, and fans will be happy to know that the disc offers both HDR10 and Dolby Vision support. As for the film’s soundtrack, the disc’s Dolby Atmos track is muscular and bombastic, with deep bass and clean dialogue that works well within three-dimensional soundscape.If you’re a fan of the film, the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray of Justice League is a must-buy, as it will likely become your reference disc for the foreseeable future.Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: 2160p (upscaled from 2K master), HDR: HDR10, Dolby Vision, Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French DTS 5.1, Spanish DTS 5.1, Portugese DTS 5.1, Czech Dolby Digital 5.1, Polish Dolby Digital 5.1, Aspect ratio: 1:78.1, Runtime: 120 minutes
Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Image credit: 20th Century FoxArriving on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with an upscaled transfer based on a 2K digital intermediate, Kingsman: The Golden Circle shines on the format thanks to some terrific HDR color depth and a significant uptick in fine detail across the board.Colors are incredibly rich here, with the film’s many sets and costumes looking particularly vibrant on the format. Explosions, in particular, look especially vivid and hot, while flesh tones look appropriately realistic and warm.Though not sourced from a 4K master, the detail here is excellent, with fine lines and wrinkles looking particularly clean. Clothing looks pristine, with fibres and stitching clearly visible, giving the film’s presentation a more immersive look overall. Kingsman: The Golden Circle looks best however, during its many slow-motion action sequences, in which we really get a good look at all of the extra detail afforded by the format. Elsewhere, more fast-paced and kinetic action scenes, such as the film’s opening car chase, look astonishingly crisp. Visual effects also benefit from the added resolution and visual clarity, with the film’s robot dogs receiving added complexity in their moving parts. Overall, if you liked Kingsman: The Golden Circle, this is easily the best way to watch it in your own living room.Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: 2160p (upscaled from 2K master), Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French DTS 5.1, Spanish DTS 5.1, German DTS 5.1, Italian DTS 5.1, Czech Dolby Digital 5.1, Polish Dolby Digital 5.1, Aspect ratio: 2.39:1, Runtime: 141 minutes
Wonder Woman
Image credit: Warner Bros.Making her stunning debut on the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray format, Wonder Woman looks, well, wonderful. Shot on a combination of 35mm film and using the Arri Alexa 65 digital camera, Wonder Woman receives an unbelievable boost in visual fidelity, even if its digital intermediate was mastered at 2K.Color reproduction and contrast are where Wonder Woman really shines, with the former looking especially beautiful during the scenes set on Diana’s home island of Themyscira. Blues and greens are especially lush here, really selling the warm, sunny paradise setting. This is juxtaposed brilliantly against the grim and gray World War 1 tone that comprises much of the film’s second half.This is where contrast becomes particularly important, as much detail is revealed in the dark, dirty environments surrounding the main characters. The smoke-covered battlefield of No Man’s Land is especially breathtaking, with its layers of smoky depth creating the illusion of an atmosphere that you can all but touch. Dirt and debris flies as Diana marches into the line of fire, with every speck clearly visible and contributing to the feel of the scene. Then there’s Wonder Woman herself, whose famous red, blue and gold costume stands out gloriously against her war-torn surroundings.For the film’s fiery, explosion-filled finale, Wonder Woman’s HDR color grading really delivers when it comes to highlights in the fire effects and sparks that populate the scene. At every turn, Wonder Woman is a fantastic example of how this format is ideal for this type of movie. Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: 2160p (upscaled from 2K master), Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 kbps), Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1, Aspect ratio: 2.39:1, Runtime: 141 minutes
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Image credit: Marvel StudiosJames Gunn is in no small way responsible for Disney and Marvel finally hopping aboard the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray train, the landmark director insisting that his visually-spectacular new film, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, be released on the only format that could do it justice. And, what a first title! A reference quality disc if ever there was one, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is the kind of film that will make doubters of the young format stand up and take notice. The film’s opening credits, in which Baby Groot dances in the foreground while a whole lot of intergalactic action takes place in the background, is frankly breathtaking, making full use of the format’s superior level of detail. See the neon lettering that decorates each name in the credits, now bursting with a super bright and realistic glow. Behind Groot, you’ll spot a near constant flurry of rainbow-like bursts of mist and thousands of multi-colored particles, now even more vibrant thanks to the disc’s increased resolution and the wider color palette that HDR brings in. Detail is also amazing, with animated characters like Rocket and Groot looking especially detailed – just look at Rocket’s realistic fur and the woodgrain texture that Groot exhibits. Costumes also get a notable boost in texture – it’s now possible to see fuzzy fabric and stitching. What’s really impressive is that the entire movie keeps its level of visual chaos up without ever dropping the ball. As the film gets more out there in terms of locations and visual effects, the number of show-stopping 4K HDR scenes continuously grows, making this a disc that will floor viewers from beginning to end. Contrast and color levels have been impeccably chosen, too, with the disc avoiding the blown-out brightness that some releases on the format have unfortunately had. If there’s one downside to the 4K release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, it’s that the film’s IMAX sequences are not presented full-frame in that eye-popping shifting aspect ratio like they are on the 3D Blu-ray. Star Trek Into Darkness sported this kind of presentation on its 4K release and left our jaws glued to the floor, so it would’ve been great to see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 presented in the same way.Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: 2160p (from 4K master), HDR: HDR10, Dolby Vision, Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Aspect ratio: 2.39:1, Runtime: 137 minutes
Logan
Image credit: 20th Century FoxFox does it yet again with another fantastic superhero-themed 4K Blu-ray, only this time, the movie on the disc is shooting for a sense of gritty realism, making it more than ideal for the Ultra HD treatment. From the very beginning, Logan’s opening night-time sequence sets the tone for what we’re going to get from this HDR presentation. Despite being a low-light scene, we have no trouble seeing pristine detail in the Logan’s black limousine and the surrounding desert.When it comes to the color representation, Logan exhibits a realistic palette that faithfully renders the dusty, western-style environments the film is mostly set in. The blistering New Mexico sun also looks amazing in this presentation, with impressive HDR-enhanced highlights. As the film goes on, we also start to see a lot of wear and tear on Logan’s attire and his skin, with bloody wounds that look quite realistic. This is no doubt an advantage the 4K Ultra HD presentation has inherited from its true 4K digital intermediate. If you’re in the UK or US, you may have also received a 4K version of Logan Noir, a black and white feature created just for the film’s home release. However, we were unable to test this monochromatic version of the film, though it would be interesting to see how HDR can improve something in black and white.Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: 2160p (from 4K master), Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, Aspect ratio: 2.38:1, Runtime: 137 minutes
Deadpool
Image credit: 20th Century FoxSpeaking on the 4K Blu-ray release of his film, Deadpool, director Tim Miller told TechRadar that “the Ultra HD is f***ing amazing in the level of detail.” Having thoroughly inspected the disc for ourselves, we absolutely have to agree. Shot at 3K on the Arri Alexa camera and then finished at 4K, Deadpool’s Ultra HD Blu-ray closely resembles the film’s theatrical presentation, only with the added bonus of HDR – which is exclusive to the film’s home release.Immediately evident from first viewing, Deadpool at 4K offers a much greater level of visual detail than the film’s regular Blu-ray. By far the film’s most eye-popping element, Deadpool’s suit shows more fine detail in its fabric and stitching, and the wider color gamut offered by HDR makes the costume’s various shades of red not only stand out more, but also blend together more naturally. As with most CGI and green screen-heavy films, the added resolution gives the film a slightly-heightened vibe, one that seems fully intended by its filmmakers. The film’s fully computer-generated character, Colossus, also looks better, with HDR allowing for improved specular lighting on the character’s reflective metal body.Add to this a punchy and immersive Dolby Atmos soundtrack, and Deadpool becomes one of the format’s first must-own discs.Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: 2160p (from 4K master), Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Aspect ratio: 2.39:1, Runtime: 108 minutes
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition
Image credit: Warner Bros.As director Zack Snyder typically shoots on 35mm film stock, his films can be scanned at 4K without any real loss in visual fidelity. With Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Snyder also opted to capture certain sections of the movie with 4K digital cameras, and on 70mm film stock using Panavision 65 cameras. The film was then finished on a 4K digital intermediate, which makes its Ultra HD Blu-ray release pretty close to what most people would’ve seen at their local multiplex (if not what they might have seen at IMAX and 70mm screenings).Admittedly, the movie itself is quite grim, dark and muted in its presentation, but that doesn’t stop its 4K Blu-ray from being super impressive – the disc’s added resolution and color depth mean that Batman v Superman looks as good as it possibly can at home. HDR support allows for tremendous contrast and vivid colors (when they do appear). Fire in particular, looks vibrant and lifelike, achieving a level of brightness that makes it look even more incandescent. Everything else on screen has finer definition, allowing you to really appreciate the detailed texture of Batman’s suit, for instance.If you’re a fan of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, this 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray is a no-brainer – along with its inclusion of the more brutal and violent director’s cut, the disc is also a testament to how 4K and HDR can improve the overall viewing experience.Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: 2160p (from 4K master), Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Italian Dolby Digital 5.1, Aspect ratio: 2.40:1, Runtime: 182 minutes
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Image credit: Sony PicturesMuch like Batman v Superman, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was shot on 35mm film and later scanned and transferred to a 4K digital intermediate. Whatever you may think of the film itself, its Ultra HD presentation here is utterly sublime. Vibrant and colorful throughout, TASM2 especially shines during its effects-heavy set pieces.Watching Spidey swing through New York on sunny days is a real treat – the film’s beautiful blue skies really pop on this transfer, presumably aided by some HDR tinkering. The red and blue of Spider-Man’s costume shimmers in the sunlight in a realistic manner, and the added resolution makes the spandex’s rippling in the wind much more noticeable.The real standout though, is the villainous character of Electro. With his translucent blue skin, constantly changing shades and pulsing with electricity, Electro’s presence throughout the film is a real show-stopper. The scene in which he reveals his new form in the middle of Times Square, surrounded by the area’s huge electronic billboards, is one of the most dynamic scenes I’ve personally witnessed on a television screen. Thanks to HDR, the scene’s many colorful lights emit a more naturalistic light bloom that never shows signs of bleeding into the background.Best of all, this Ultra HD presentation of the film manages to achieve all of this without losing its filmic appearance. A truly exceptional disc.Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: 2160p (from 4K master), Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Aspect ratio: 2.39:1, Runtime: 142 minutes
Alita: Battle Angel

A film that’s bound to receive a wider audience on home video, Alita: Battle Angel soars on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray thanks to some incredible HDR10+ and Dolby Vision support, and a transfer that’s sharper than Alita’s Damascus blade.Despite being upscaled from a 2K digital intermediate, Alita: Battle Angel looks expectedly astonishing in this 4K release. For starters, contrast and color depth is off the charts here, with inky-blacks and incredible color vibrance lending the film an eye-popping level of spectacle.As the format does with most VFX-heavy science fiction films, the disc’s higher resolution allows viewers to truly experience and appreciate the incredible design work and craftsmanship that goes into creating such a convincing futuristic word. It helps that Alita: Battle Angel is a film that’s bursting at the seams with detail, from the largely computer-generated world of Iron City, to the many cyborg characters who inhabit it. Witness, for instance, the character of Zapan (pictured, right), whose entire robotic body is comprised of intricate metal parts, and whose only human feature is his face – you’d be hard-pressed to find a more detailed and visually-arresting cyborg design in any other sci-fi film that’s come before. And then there’s Alita herself, with her oversized and extremely expressive eyes providing the character with an (intentionally) uncanny appearance. Simply put, Alita is a visual marvel, and while you’ll never forget that she’s entirely CGI, your eyes will be glued to her at all times.When you factor in that the film’s 4K release is one of the few titles to arrive on the format that actually includes the 3D Blu-ray in the package, it’s easy to recommend Alita: Battle Angel for home AV enthusiasts looking for demo-worthy discs – even those who don’t particularly like the film. But for those who are fans (this writer included), Alita: Battle Angel is one of the best releases the format has seen to date. Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, HDR: Dolby Vision / HDR10+, Resolution: 2160p (upscaled from 2K master), Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0, French DTS 5.1, Spanish DTS 5.1, German DTS 5.1, Italian DTS 5.1, Russian DTS 5.1, Czech Dolby Digital 5.1, Cantonese Dolby Digital 5.1, Thai Dolby Digital 5.1, Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1, Polish Dolby Digital 5.1, Aspect ratio: 2.39:1, Runtime: 122 minutes
Bumblebee
Image credit: Paramount PicturesExploding out of the gate with the most visually spectacular scene of any Transformers movie, Bumblebee is a sight to behold on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, making it easy to forget Michael Bay’s last few films in the franchise. Taking up the entire screen thanks to the film’s 1.78:1 presentation, Bumblee delivers a clear uptick in detail quality despite being upscaled from a 2K master. Making good use of both Dolby Vision and HDR10, the film exhibits fantastic contrast and shadow detail during dark scenes, such as the opening battle on Cybertron, while also sporting fantastic highlights and colors in sparks, laser blasts and explosions. Once the film’s action transitions over to Earth, Bumblebee’s 4K presentation continues to shine in settings that are far more brightly lit. Though the film is a visual effects showcase, the vast majority of its running time is spent in real-world locations  while our titular character interacts with humans. Once again, the disc’s resolution boost and high-dynamic-range capabilities lead Bumblebee straight into showcase territory, with skin tones that feel true to life and landscapes that appear extra beautiful. Highly recommended.Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, HDR: Dolby Vision / HDR10, Resolution: 2160p (upscaled from 2K master), Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English: Dolby Atmos, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), Czech Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish (España) Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish (Latinoamérica) Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, French (Canada) Dolby Digital 5.1, Italian Dolby Digital 5.1, Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1, Polish Dolby Digital 5.1, Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1, Russian Dolby Digital 5.1, Thai Dolby Digital 5.1, Turkish: Dolby Digital 5.1, Aspect ratio: 1.78:1, Runtime: 114 minutes
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Image credit: Lionsgate FilmsLuc Besson knows a thing or two about crafting incredible science fiction visuals (or any visuals for that matter), having directed the classic film The Fifth Element. With Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, the French auteur kicks things up a notch, creating off-world visuals so arresting, they alone warrant this disc a place in the collection of any serious Ultra HD enthusiast. Similar to James Cameron’s Avatar, the film exhibits an overwhelming amount of crystal clear CGI, and while that may give the film an artificial look, there’s no denying the level or detail and artistry evident in every frame. Witness, for instance, the scenes that take place on the pearl planet (pictured above), which are rendered entirely in a computer. There’s an outstanding level of beauty on display here, with the scenes deep blues and bright highlights making great use of the format’s HDR/Dolby Vision capabilities. Clarity is off the charts, with an impressively sharp transfer – you’d never guess Valerian was finished on a 2K digital intermediate. The rest of the film, which is packed with high-octane spaceship chases and interplanetary action scenes, also looks outstanding, with the uptick in resolution revealing an astonishing level of detail throughout the film.If you’re looking for your next visually spectacular reference quality 4K showcase disc, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is it – well, at least until Aquaman arrives on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray.Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, HDR: Dolby Vision / HDR10, Resolution: 2160p (upscaled from 2K master), Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), English Dolby Digital 2.0, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital Plus 5.1, Aspect ratio: 2.39:1, Runtime: 137 minutes
They Live (4K Collector Edition)
Image credit: UniversalCONSUME! CONFORM! OBEY! Ever felt like the world around you is subliminally pushing secret messages to you? That perhaps your work colleagues and those in power aren’t quite what they seem? Just because you’re paranoid, it doesn’t mean they’re not after you…That’s the crux of the brilliant premise behind John Carpenter’s superb satirical sci-fi film They Live, in which pro wrestler ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper discovers that the world is slowly being taken over by alien invaders, which can only be seen by wearing special sunglasses.The eminently-quotable 1988 cult classic has been lovingly restored for this very special collectors edition 4K release, which saw the original camera negative scanned at 4K resolution before being newly color graded by renowned cinematographer, Gary B. Kibbe.It results in the best-looking edition of the film to date, and that’s before you start looking at all the extras thrown in here – you’re looking at the UHD disc alongside a HD Blu-ray presentation and HD special features disc, a CD soundtrack, a superb poster, five art-cards and a 48 page book that fans of Carpenter and the movie alike will lap up. It’s a dream package for fans of the film, while hardcore John Carpenter fans will also want to pick up the new 4K restorations of his other classics The Fog, Escape From New York and Prince of Darkness – each given a similarly-exquisite boxset release.Technical specs: HDR: Dolby Vision, HDR10, Resolution: 2160p (from original camera negative scanned at 4K /16bit), Audio: English 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio (subtitles in German, French), Aspect ratio: 1.78:1, Runtime: 94 minutes
2001: A Space Odyssey

What’s there to be said about 2001: A Space Odyssey that hasn’t already been said? Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, Stanley Kubrick’s visionary exploration of space, the future and the nature of life in this universe is as powerful today as on its day of release.Often heralded for its groundbreaking visual effects work, it’s incredible just how well the film holds up under the added scrutiny of this stunning 4K remaster. With this year seeing a release of a newly restored 70mm print (using elements made from the original camera negative) this re-release piggybacks off that work, with the 4K UHD HDR image mastered itself from the 65mm original camera negative. The Warner Bros team have gone as close to the source as possible here, giving an all-new UHD sheen to a marvellous film.From the opening sun-rising glare to the decent into another dimension towards the film’s end, the UHD presentation brings vibrant life to the dramatic range in the color palette. HDR visuals add depth to the dark expanses of space, punctuated by amazing miniature model work, with Dolby Vision support particularly well executed here. What’s sadly missing is a Dolby Atmos soundtrack – what better way than to hear ‘Also Sprach Zarathustra’ in space than both above and around you? Alas, we’ll have to wait longer. Still, the soundtrack has also been given a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 revamp, as well as there being the option to listen to the original 6-track theatrical audio mix, now formatted for DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1.As a gift package it’s lovely too – there’s an excellent array of special features included on the disc, as well as great booklet and art cards within the sleeve. Whether a long time fan of the film or coming to it for the first time, it’s a wonderful way to experience it.Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, HDR: Dolby Vision, HDR10, Resolution: 2160p (from 4K master), Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Portuguese 2.0, Spanish 5.1, French 5.1, German 5.1, Italian 5.1, Polish VO 2.0, Aspect ratio: 2.20:1, Runtime: 149 minutes
Solo: A Star Wars Story
Image credit: DisneyThe second Star Wars film to arrive on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, Solo: A Star Wars Story faithfully represents the film’s beautiful theatrical presentation, even if its image is slightly flatter than we’re used to seeing on the format.Like The Last Jedi before it, Solo boasts a true 4K digital intermediate, meaning that no upscaling has gone into the making of this release. As you’d expect, detail is exceptional here, though you won’t find a lot of depth in the cinematography of Solo. While some 4K releases carry a clean, almost three-dimensional appearance, Solo’s tendency towards darkness, haze and muddy environments mostly prevents this outside of a few bright outdoor scenes (Solo’s confrontation with Enfys Nest is a particular highlight in this regard).That said, color comes up especially well here thanks to some fine HDR10 tinkering (Dolby Vision is unfortunately absent from this release), allowing for scenes that pop with a surprising amount of vibrance out of the film’s dark environments. Witness, for instance, the Kessel Run sequence, in which the Millennium Falcon must travel through a space storm filled with whirling colors and spectacular highlights. Elsewhere, the disc displays some standout color in Lando Calrissian’s stylish yellow shirt. It’s worth noting that your enjoyment of Solo’s 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray may be affected by the television you use to watch it — on OLED or QLED displays with local dimming, there’s a more noticeable depth evident in the film’s darker scenes. Though it’s unlikely to be considered a reference quality disc by Ultra HD enthusiasts, Solo looks as good as can be on the format thanks to its faithful presentation and HDR color tuning. Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, HDR: HDR10, Resolution: 2160p (from 4K master), Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), English Dolby Digital Plus 7.1, Thai Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 7.1, French Dolby Digital Plus 7.1, Aspect ratio: 2.39:1, Runtime: 135 minutes
Predator 3-Movie Collection
Image credit: 20th Century FoxIn an effort to make up for past mistakes, 20th Century Fox has brought the Predator franchise (that’s the standalone movies — the less said about Alien vs Predator, the better) to 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with a long-awaited new transfer for the film that started it all. One of the most beloved action sci-fi films of the 1980s, the original Predator has surprisingly been shown very little love in the past when it came to its HD releases. As one of the worst examples of DNR (digital noise reduction) run amok, Predator’s previous Blu-ray had all of its film grain scrubbed to the point where Schwarzenegger and his crew looked more alien than the titular creature itself. Thankfully, the team behind Predator’s Ultra HD has finally given fans a home video release that’s faithful to the film’s original, grain-heavy look. That isn’t to say that Predator now looks like a new movie — given the film’s harsh jungle setting and rugged shooting conditions, Predator can appear a little rough around the edges at times. Detail, even in close ups, isn’t particularly high, which is probably why DNR was employed so heavily the first time around. That said, there’s a pleasing, healthy grain present throughout the film’s running time, and occasionally, there are some particularly well-lit scenes that look extraordinarily vibrant and crisp on the 4K format. This is definitely the best that Predator is likely to look for the foreseeable future.Moving on to what is arguably the standout disc in this 3-movie collection, Predator 2  looks fantastic thanks to the added richness of color afforded by HDR. The film’s opening, set on the blisteringly hot streets of a crime-ridden Los Angeles, burns with extra intensity on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. You can almost feel the heat of the scene, with every drop of sweat realised with added detail thanks to the resolution uptick. Likewise, there’s now extra clarity in the scenes which feature the Predator’s thermal vision, with the reds, blues, yellows and greens looking especially vibrant here. As the only movie in this collection to be shot digitally (and the only one made in the last decade), Predators looks expectedly good on the Ultra HD format. Upscaled from a 2K digital intermediate, Predators appears clean and sharp at all times, with close-ups revealing plenty of wrinkles and fine details thanks to the boost in resolution. Colors also appear more refined here than in previous releases, with the movie’s interesting lighting choices offering a wide range of hues and tones. It’s safe to say that you won’t be disappointed with the appearance of Predators on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray.Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, HDR: HDR10, Resolution: 2160p (Predators upscaled from 2K master), Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French DTS 5.1, Spanish DTS 5.1, German DTS 5.1, Italian DTS 5.1, Czech  Dolby Digital 5.1, Polish Dolby Digital 5.1, Aspect ratio: 2.35:1, 1.85:1, 1.84:1, Runtime: 107 / 108 / 107 minutes
Ready Player One
Image credit: Warner Bros.The kind of film that begs to be seen at the highest quality possible, Ready Player One explodes onto 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with one of the most impressive discs we’ve ever reviewed — a surprise, given it comes with a 2K digital master. Set in a futuristic world where people’s virtual lives have become their primary ones, Ready Player One adopts an otherworldly, heightened visual style which lends itself to the 4K HDR format. Characters and environments look incredibly detailed and highly animated, with Spielberg’s sweeping camera movements capturing the chaotic in-game world of The Oasis in a way that other filmmakers could only dream of. A visual feast, Ready Player One’s heavy use of color figuratively explodes from the screen thanks to the disc’s terrific use HDR10 and Dolby Vision grading. An early scene, in which the lead characters must compete in the most over-the-top race this side of Speed Racer, is bursting with hidden details and visual grandeur. In fact, it might be the most visually spectacular sequence to hit the format to date.Outside of The Oasis, real-world sequences look fantastic, too, with perfectly-tuned skin tones and added detail in costumes and sets. Add to this a roaring Dolby Atmos track offers incredible three-dimensional sound, and what you have in Ready Player One is a new reference quality disc to demonstrate your home theater with. Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, HDR: HDR10, Dolby Vision, Resolution: 2160p (upscaled from 2K master), Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French (Canada) Dolby Digital 5.1, Italian DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1, Czech Dolby Digital 5.1, Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1, Polish Dolby Digital 5.1, Russian Dolby Digital 5.1, Thai Dolby Digital 5.1, Turkish Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Digital 5.1, Aspect ratio: 2.39:1, Runtime: 140 minutes
Star Wars: The Last Jedi 
Image credit: DisneyDuring the film’s opening moments, and depending on your television, you may find yourself taken aback by Star Wars: The Last Jedi’s first foray into HDR territory, with its familiar opening crawl taking place on a space background that looks a little more gray than we’re used to seeing — especially in contrast to the pitch black bars above and below the film’s 2.39:1 frame. Don’t fret — as soon as the action kicks in, you’ll find an exceptional transfer worthy of such a mammoth release. Colors are greatly enhanced by the disc’s HDR10 and Dolby Vision tinkering, exhibiting additional vibrance and brightness throughout the entire feature presentation. Skin tones appear more natural, costumes appear more vibrant, lightsabers look brighter and hotter than ever… there’s no end to the visual improvements that come from the inclusion of high-dynamic-range. Perhaps the most standout sequence of the film, at least in terms of visuals, involves a lightsaber battle against a group of Praetorian Guards in Supreme Leader Snoke’s red throne room (pictured above). The blood-red backdrop is vivid as can be, without displaying any color leakage or over-saturation. HDR brings a lot to the table here, showing incredible light-to-dark blending without obvious color gradations cropping up and ruining the image. As this release is based on the film’s 4K master (no upscaling here), the increased detail here is also worth writing home about. We’re now able to appreciate the incredible costumes, makeup and visual effects work more than ever before, from the stitching in Finn’s jacket, to the strands of fur all over Chewbacca’s body. Add to this an extraordinary Dolby Atmos audio track which makes great use of spacial audio and the film’s bombastic score, and you can chalk up Star Wars: The Last Jedi as yet another reference-quality 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, HDR: HDR10, Dolby Vision, Resolution: 2160p (from 4K master), Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), English Dolby Digital Plus 7.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 7.1, Aspect ratio: 2.39:1, Runtime: 152 minutes
Blade Runner 2049
Image credit: Warner Bros.Perhaps not as immediately mind-blowing as the 4K release of Ridley Scott’s masterpiece, Blade Runner (though that probably has to do with the film’s steady format progression over the last 35 years), Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049 shines on Ultra HD Blu-ray nonetheless. Roger Deakins’ incredible cinematography takes center stage here, with the film’s futuristic locations receiving increased texture thanks to some smoky atmospherics, moody lighting and heavy rain. Flesh tones and costume detail also get a significant uptick here, with the higher resolution offering a significant increase in clarity over the film’s 1080p presentation. Boasting a true 4K digital intermediate (no upscaling here), Blade Runner 2049 looks almost as great at home as it did in the theater — we say ‘almost’ because the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray would’ve benefitted from the inclusion of expanded IMAX sequences (with shifting aspect ratios that show bigger images during key scenes), which many filmgoers witnessed during the film’s theatrical run. Other 4K releases have blown us away by including IMAX presentations (such as Dunkirk, The Dark Knight and Star Trek Into Darkness) as that added detail and clarity translates magnificently at 2160p resolution. Still, we can’t argue with what we have here, which is an exceptional HDR-supported disc that makes the best of the film’s dark photography and neon-drenched settings. We also have to commend Blade Runner 2049 exception Dolby Atmos audio track, with the film’s bombastic score setting the mood magnificently. Spacial audio is magnificent here, bringing plenty of dimensionality to the film’s sound effects. A truly great audio presentation. Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, HDR10, Resolution: 2160p (from 4K master), Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French (Canadian) Dolby Digital 5.1, , Aspect ratio: 2.40:1, Runtime: 164 minutes
War for the Planet of the Apes
Image credit: 20th Century FoxOne of the most impressive 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray releases to date, War for the Planet of the Apes is ape-solutely spectacular on the format (sorry). We all know how astonishing the film’s visual effects are (read more about how they were created in our Weta Digital VFX report), but its photo-realistic apes hold up magnificently under the increased scrutiny of 4K and HDR (despite being upscaled from a 2K digital intermediate). Unsurprisingly, fur looks especially good here, looking completely natural at all times, particularly with light shining through it. Facial textures also receive increased detail, with the various wrinkles in the apes faces looking extra defined. Though the disc’s increased resolution is a boon for video enthusiasts, the real showstopper here is the wider color gamut afforded by its HDR presentation. Much of the film is spent in darkness, yet we now get to see more detail and definition in those dark areas. Small details in costumes and props are now much clearer because of it. The overall palette looks richer, too, with the film’s forest settings feeling more lush and its white snow looking brighter and more tangible. Skin tones in humans also receive an uptick, looking warmer and more natural than they did in the cinema. War for the Planet of the Apes is a must-own for fans of the series, thanks to its exceptional fine detail quality, deep blacks, and terrific use of HDR. Stay tuned for reviews of the other two films in the series, Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, HDR10, Resolution: 2160p (from 4K master), Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, German Dolby Digital 5.1, Italian Dolby Digital 5.1, Polish Dolby Digital 5.1, Czech Dolby Digital 5.1, Aspect ratio: 2.40:1, Runtime: 139 minutes
Blade Runner: The Final Cut
Image credit: Warner Bros.Remastered from a 4K scan, Blade Runner: The Final Cut looks absolutely astounding on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. We’re not just saying that it looks good for an old film – it looks amazing regardless of when it was filmed. The transfer reveals an exceptional level of clarity in what is generally a dark and smoky film. The noirish, rain-slicked, neon-soaked streets of futuristic Los Angeles look more detailed than ever, with the HDR-enhanced visuals giving us our best look at Rick Deckard’s world to date. Witness, for instance, the staggering level of detail found in the film’s miniatures – one particularly shot showing the Tyrell building will blow you away with its clarity, revealing all the intricacies of the model in question, including the many glittering lights all over the structure giving you the illusion of thousands of offices within. You won’t even mind that the illusion is slightly broken by the obviousness of the miniature work, because you’ll be too busy appreciating the spectacular craftsmanship and on display. Elsewhere, the whole film gets a visual uptick, with HDR helping significantly when it comes to the smooth gradation of colours and lighting. Clothing, skin textures and hair all look better in this version, and the various extreme close-ups of eyeballs all show extra detail now. If you’re a fan of Blade Runner, chances are that you already own The Final Cut of the film on Blu-ray. While it’s highly likely that both releases come from the same 4K digital intermediate, this 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray version blows previous Blu-ray and HD DVD releases of the film out of the water. This is the best that Blade Runner has ever looked, period. Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, HDR10, Resolution: 2160p (from 4K master), Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0, French Dolby Digital 5.1, German Dolby Digital 5.1, Italian Dolby Digital 5.1, Polish Dolby Digital 5.1, Russian Dolby Digital 5.1, Aspect ratio: 2.40:1, Runtime: 118 minutes
Alien: Covenant
Image credit: 20th Century FoxThough it’s been upscaled from a 2K digital intermediate (much like the 4K release of director Ridley Scott’s previous film, The Martian), Alien: Covenant looks expectedly magnificent on the Ultra HD Blu-ray format. As this is a dark film with a muted palette (despite its many outdoor daytime scenes), an emphasis has been placed on HDR’s ability to provide deeper, more lifelike contrast, much to the benefit of Alien: Covenant’s astounding cinematography. Colors appear richer, too, standing out even more against the film’s greyish blue tones. The alien itself also looks magnificent, with its inky-hued skin receiving added translucence and detail, benefitting from the disc’s improved contrast and wider color gamut. Those of you with OLED TVs will get an even better viewing experience, with the technology’s infinite contrast taking full advantage of the film’s tenebrous atmosphere.But it’s not all about the Xenomorphs – the film’s human characters also look terrific thanks to the 4K release’s bump in resolution and enhanced colors, with faces revealing extra definition and skin tones looking warmer and more naturalistic than the film’s SDR presentation. Adding to the film’s immense visuals is a beefy Dolby Atmos track that focuses on atmospherics with occasional moments of bombast. Admittedly, we wish the disc offered a DTS Headphone:X track, as that would’ve made for an appropriately nerve-jangling experience akin to the recent video game release, Alien: Isolation. Still, we can’t complain, as Alien: Covenant’s 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release is hard to fault when it comes to the film’s video and audio presentation. If you’re a fan of the film, consider this a must-have.Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: 2160p (upscaled from 2K master), Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Aspect ratio: 2.39:1, Runtime: 122 minutes
Ghost in the Shell
Image credit: Paramount PicturesAs you might expect, Ghost in the Shell looks glorious on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, with its neon-drenched cyberpunk setting really popping on the format. Though much of the film takes place in dark areas, the disc impresses throughout, particularly during scenes where vibrant colors are juxtaposed against dark environments. We were also blown away by how well the special effects stand up in this increased resolution, given that the film was finished at a 2K resolution. Still, you only have to watch the film’s first major action sequence (pun intended), in which Scarlett Johansson’s Major character applies active camouflage and blasts through a window to shoot down some haywire robot geishas, to get an idea of how impressive this presentation is. The scene is bursting with color and HDR-enhanced highlights, with reflective glass flying through the scene and slow-motion gunfire at every turn. Still some viewers might be taken aback by the film’s many dark scenes, though they truly come alive when combined with OLED’s capacity for infinite contrast. This is truly a demo-worthy disc in that regard. Also, while some film buffs may scoff at a film that isn’t presented in the letterbox format, Ghost in the Shell looks fantastic as its 1.78:1 aspect ratio fills the entire frame – particularly impressive during overhead shots of the film’s futuristic cityscape.Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: 2160p (upscaled from 2K master), Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1, Aspect ratio: 1.78:1, Runtime: 116 minutes
Passengers
Image credit: Sony PicturesShot at a resolution of 6.5K and then finished with with a 4K digital intermediate, Passengers soars on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. An ideal candidate for demonstration purposes, the format allows the viewer to truly absorb the impeccable craftsmanship that went into the film’s exception production design and special effects work. Taking place entirely on an enormous spacecraft. Passengers offers ample opportunities for glorious space gazing and futuristic interior design. There are times in this 4K presentation when the photographic clarity of the film is so high and lifelike, it almost feels like you’re watching a play. Other times, the digital photography is so clean and sharp, that it gives the film an unreal quality, almost like it’s partly animated. Of course, this is completely intentional and only serves to make Passengers look even more astounding on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. Of course, the film’s HDR colors contrast level keep everything in check.Skin tones are remarkably true to life, and while the film’s stars come across a little too beautiful at times (seriously, no one can look that great at all times) Passengers is exactly the kind of film that the 4K Ultra HD format was made for. It’s a showcase for gorgeous people hanging out on stunning sets doing remarkable things with the help of magnificent visual effects. Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: 2160p (from 4K master), Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Italian Dolby Digital 5.1, Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1, Thai Dolby Digital 5.1, Aspect ratio: 2.39:1, Runtime: 116 minutes
Lucy
Image credit: UniversalArriving on Ultra HD Blu-ray with an absolutely stunning transfer sourced from a 4K digital intermediate, Lucy demonstrates the strengths of the format by showcasing immense fine detail, exceptionally-realistic skin tones and textures, and truly-dynamic color reproduction throughout.From the film’s opening scene, which features Lucy the primate in a prehistoric setting, this presentation solidifies its place as one of the format’s best reference-quality discs. The detail in the hominid’s face and fur is utterly astounding, as are the colors and textures in its surrounding habitat. As was mentioned earlier, skin tones and textures are also incredible on Lucy’s 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, looking supremely lifelike at all times. Seriously, if you can find pores and imperfections on the face of someone as beautiful as Scarlett Johansson, you know you’ve reached an unparalleled level of clarity. Likewise, as the film starts to veer into true science-fiction territory, the disc continues to shine, displaying vibrant HDR-enhanced colors and terrific contrast. Even if you only have a passing admiration for Luc Besson’s trippy action film, you owe it to yourself to check out Lucy on 4K Blu-ray.Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: 2160p (from 4K master), Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Aspect ratio: 2.39:1, Runtime: 89 minutes
Oblivion
Image credit: UniversalAs a science-fiction film with a very sleek and minimalistic art design, Oblivion makes an ideal candidate for the added resolution of 4K. Though the transfer was taken from a 2K digital intermediate (common with visual effects-driven films), Oblivion looks sharp and clean, if not immediately mind-blowing. With that said, as the film enters its darker scenes, the impressive color gamut and contrast afforded by the film’s HDR grading give the film a real sense of depth and vibrancy, particularly in the film’s indoor drone shootout sequence. Bloom lighting and sparks from the scene’s many explosions burn white-hot, showcasing the brilliant brightness that 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray is capable of. Likewise, close-up shots of the drones show a wonderful level of detail.Though the film has a mostly washed-out grey and blue tone, skin tones appear quite naturalistic and at times appear to be the most vibrant thing on screen. Facial textures also excel, showing fine details like pores and individual hairs in Tom Cruise’s five o’clock shadow. Grime, cuts and bruises also look benefit from the format’s added clarity.Giving the film a visual uptick in every category over the standard Blu-ray edition, for fans, this is by far the best way to experience Oblivion.Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: 2160p (upscaled from 2K master), Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Aspect ratio: 2.39:1, Runtime: 125 minutes
Pacific Rim
Image credit: UniversalThe reference-quality Blu-ray disc of Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim threatens to stomp the rest of your Blu-ray collection and land itself at the top of the pile for visual quality. Though the film was finished on a 2K digital intermediate, much like Star Trek Into Darkness, this does not stop Pacific Rim from looking utterly sensational on Ultra HD Blu-ray. Shot in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio, your entire television screen will be used to display the film’s many giant robot vs monster set pieces. Thanks to some HDR tinkering, the film’s colors and contrast now look even better than they did when the film was in theatres. Witness the rainswept battle that opens the film to see how good its vivid colors look against the inky blacks of a night-time sky. The added resolution afforded by 4K Blu-ray makes the rain look more detailed and realistic. Sparks that fly within the Jaeger cockpit are also more clearly defined and burn hotter than ever before.Though the entire film is a showstopper, anyone that has seen Pacific Rim will know that its mid-film Hong Kong monster battle is the best-looking section of the film, and believe us when we say that it has never looked better than it does on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. The city’s neon-soaked skyline radiates with beautiful and realistic bloom lighting, making the best of the film’s high-dynamic-range upgrade.
Even if you already own Pacific Rim on 3D Blu-ray, you owe it to yourself to see how incredible the film can look on 4K Ultra HD. This is absolutely a reference quality disc. Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: 2160p (upscaled from 2K master), Audio: English Dolby Atmos, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1, Aspect ratio: 1.85:1, Runtime: 131 minutes
Independence Day: Resurgence
Image credit: 20th Century FoxSourced from a true 4K digital intermediate, Independence Day: Resurgence roars onto 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray without losing any detail whatsoever – in fact, the film’s presentation is improved by the inclusion of HDR (that said, the ultimate way to watch a film of this magnitude will always be on the biggest cinema screen possible). A much darker and gloomier picture than its predecessor, Independence Day: Resurgence features many scenes surrounded by inky blacks that would look exceptional on an OLED display. Unfortunately, we didn’t have access to one for testing purposes, so we can only say that the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray’s increased contrast and vivid colors make Independence Day: Resurgence look fantastic on any HDR-compatible TV.Its various scenes of computer-assisted citywide destruction unfurl on screen with an extreme level of visual clarity and detail, acting as a showcase of what the 4K format is capable of. Many times, the film’s turquoise alien tech takes centre stage, glowing with a naturalistic light bloom that never shows obvious signs of color gradation (see the film’s opening scene to see how well light fades into darkness). If you’re a fan of the film, there’s no better way to watch Independence Day: Resurgence than on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray.Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: 2160p (from 4K master), Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Aspect ratio: 2.39:1, Runtime: 120 minutes
Chappie
Image credit: Sony PicturesDirector Neill Blomkamp (District 9) is known for his knack for seamlessly blending science fiction elements into everyday scenarios, offering a uniquely down-to-earth view of a world filled with robots and aliens. His film Chappie is no exception. Set mostly around the slums of Johannesburg, Chappie’s mostly daytime action allows this 4K HDR presentation to really pop.Shot by Redcode RAW (5K) cameras and finished on a 4K digital intermediate, Chappie’s 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray practically mirrors what was shown in theatres, only with HDR providing improved contrast and more naturalistic colors. The detail in the titular robot character is astonishing, with the steely greys and blues of his frame making the orange highlights of his arm and antenna stand out even more. You can also see details in Chappie’s dirty, scratched body that just weren’t visible on the film’s regular Blu-ray. Best of all, the expressive LED lights on Chappie’s face now show much finer detail, making the character seem even more like a real world object, and not just a marvel of computer-generated wizardry.Though the film can be quite grimy at times, it’s got a lively, vibrant undercurrent to it, employing a Day-Go style thanks to Chappie’s co-stars, the rap-rave group Die Antwoord. The group brings its signature art style to the film’s costumes and set design, all of which looks fantastic when aided by HDR’s wider color gamut. Now, bring on District 9 and Elysium in 4K!Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: 2160p (from 4K master), Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Aspect ratio: 2.40:1, Runtime: 120 minutes
Star Trek
Image credit: Paramount PicturesThough it’s been ‘upconverted’ from a 2K digital intermediate (which is what you likely saw in theatres upon release), J.J. Abrams’ first Star Trek movie looks absolutely wonderful on 4K Blu-ray – the release actually lends some weight to argument that Ultra HD discs don’t need to come from a true 4K source in order to impress.Director J.J. Abrams’ may be guilty of relying a little heavily on his ‘lens flare’ technique on both of his Star Trek films, but the effect looks better than ever here thanks to HDR’s increased color gamut and contrast levels. Light blooms looks completely natural, avoiding harsh shade transitions entirely. Elsewhere, the Ultra HD Blu-ray offers amazing detail when it comes to facial textures on the film’s many creatures and alien races – Eric Bana’s Romulan character Nero looks especially good, with the disc’s increased resolution showing just how great the film’s Oscar-winning make-up and facial prosthetics are.While Star Trek’s Ultra HD Blu-ray disc may be outclassed by its sequel’s truly (inter)stellar 4K release (listed below), this is by far the best way to experience J.J.’s first voyage on the USS Enterprise at home.Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: 2160p (upscaled from 2K master), Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1, Aspect ratio: 2.40:1, 1.78:1, Runtime: 132 minutes
Star Trek Into Darkness
Image credit: Paramount PicturesWhen it comes to the visual quality, the Ultra HD Blu-ray for Star Trek Into Darkness is absolutely mind-blowing – we’d even go as far as calling it the most impressive 4K release on this list. With over 30 minutes of the film shot in the IMAX format, J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek Into Darkness cuts back and forth between a traditional 2.40:1 letterbox presentation for its non-showy scenes, and the more vision-encompassing 1.78:1 aspect ratio for the film’s spectacle-driven moments (this presentation is exclusive to the film’s Ultra HD release). Though the film looks great throughout (despite being sourced from the film’s 2K digital intermediate), the level of detail displayed in these IMAX scenes is absolutely astonishing.From its very first scene (pictured above), in which Kirk and Bones are chased through a vibrant red forest by the primitive Nibiru tribe, Star Trek Into Darkness will make an instant believer of any 4K/HDR naysayer. Witness, for instance, the cracked, flaking skin on the faces of the Nibiru tribes people, shown up close and in great detail. Marvel at the naturalistic skin tones, visible pores and wrinkles shown on actors Chris Pine and Karl Urban’s faces, offering a level of immersion that 3D just cannot compete with.Another scene, in which Spock drops down into a volcano, is also a showstopper – with its swirling specks of fire and ember, and contrast enhanced greatly by HDR, the scene becomes a showcase for the emerging 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray format. Until more IMAX-enhanced films start to be released, consider Star Trek Into Darkness your go-to 4K reference disc.Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: 2160p (upscaled from 2K master), Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1, Aspect ratio: 2.40:1, 1.78:1, Runtime: 132 minutes
Trolls
Image credit: DreamWorksLooking like a cotton candy machine exploded in a glitter factory, Trolls is one of the most vibrant and colorful films currently available on the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray format. And, as you’d expect, there are huge HDR-related benefits to owning the film in 4K over the still admirable regular Blu-ray version. First off, the colors are astonishing. This is visual eye candy to the max, and while you might expect the vibrancy to be dialled up significantly on the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release, the disc’s HDR allows for more naturalistic blending and shading. Combined with improved brightness and color, the overall presentation achieves a richer, more nuanced color palette that avoids looking sickly sweet and garish, and manages to do so without losing its vividness. Then comes the disc’s fine detail, which receives a tremendous uptick at the 4K resolution. Each of the trolls in the film has a furry, felt-like texture that comes across even stronger when you can see fine hairs swaying on their arms and faces. Of course, their big colorful troll hair looks even more realistic than ever before. An impressive release that demonstrates the subtleties of HDR’s wider color gamut, Trolls is the most impressive animated 4K release to date. Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: 2160p (upscaled from 2K master), Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French (Canada) Dolby Digital 5.1, Aspect ratio: 2.35:1, Runtime: 92 minutes
Labyrinth
Image credit: Sony PicturesStarting with an outdoor scene shot in natural light, Jim Henson’s classic family film Labyrinth does not immediately impress on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. Looking soft and full of grain, you’d be forgiven for thinking that not a lot of work has gone into this transfer. However, once these initial minutes pass, and as the film moves into studio sets with professional lighting and controlled environments, the real Ultra HD magic begins. It’s at this point that Labyrinth’s brand new 4K scan (sourced from the original 35mm negative) becomes truly mind-blowing.Taking advantage of the format’s added resolution, Labyrinth shows extraordinary detail in the film’s many puppets. Fur looks sublime, with individual strands of hair becoming clearly visible. Quite frankly, they look so good, it’s almost as if you could reach out and touch them. The film’s fantastic makeup work and matte paintings also hold up magnificently under the increased scrutiny of 4K. Though Labyrinth’s 4K Blu-ray provides an incredible visual upgrade in all areas, perhaps the most important thing about this release is that it manages to keep the film’s original filmic texture, with no digital noise reduction to speak of. Though we’re watching a digital scan, the presentation always feels film-like. Labyrinth has never looked better than it does here, and while this presentation can’t top the likes of Star Trek Into Darkness in terms of spectacular visual clarity, for a 30-year-old film populated mostly by puppets, this release is a triumph.Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: 2160p (from 4K master), Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), Czech Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, German Dolby Digital 5.1, Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1, Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1, Polish Dolby Digital 5.1, Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1, Russian Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, Italian Dolby Digital 2.0, Aspect ratio: 2.40:1, Runtime: 101 minutes
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
Image credit: Paramount PicturesBoasting incredible detail and rich, vibrant colors, the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is a noticeable step up from its already impressive regular Blu-ray release. Look closely and you’ll notice that each of the turtles has realistic, scaly skin textures that make you understand just how much work has gone into bringing these characters to life – heck, you can even see the enamel on their teeth!Other digital characters also look fantastic. Notice the individual textures given to Bebop and Rocksteady, giving each creation its own unique look and texture. Splinter also impresses, with the added resolution on display allowing you to see individual hairs and whiskers that weren’t as noticeable in regular HD.Though most impressive during its daytime scenes (which include the film’s spectacular, effects-heavy finale), TMNT: Out of the Shadows also impresses in the darker subterranean moments set within the turtles’ sewer lair. The color palette and contrast on display are exceptional, adding a real depth to the image. Fans should consider this 4K Blu-ray release as the definitive way to watch the turtles’ latest big screen adventure.Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: 2160p (upscaled from 2K master), Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1, Aspect ratio: 2.40:1, Runtime: 112 minutes
The LEGO Movie
Image credit: Warner Bros.One of the things that immediately strikes you about The LEGO Movie’s Ultra HD presentation is that the film has received a significantly brighter and more vivid color palette. Not only that, contrast has also increased by leaps and bounds, making the film’s characters look even more like real, stop-motion minifigs – even fingerprints are visible, despite everything on screen being computer generated. Touches like this are what makes 4K and HDR so important to our overall immersion in the film.Notice the deep blacks in any scene featuring Batman, or the beautiful, naturalistic bloom lighting found in the Old West portion of the film, or how about the gorgeous orange light emitting from film’s spaceship (SPACESHIP!!) finale?Though this release has been upscaled from a 2K master (the film was captured at 2.8K), The LEGO Movie looks incredible in Ultra HD. Vibrant colors and wonderful contrast levels make this 4K release an essential purchase for fans of the movie.Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: 2160p (upscaled from 2K master), Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1, German Dolby Digital 5.1, Dutch Dolby Digital 5.1, Catalan Dolby Digital 5.1, Flemish Dolby Digital 5.1, Aspect ratio: 2.39:1, Runtime: 101 minutes
Apocalypse Now: Final Cut

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the landmark war film Apocalypse Now, director Francis Ford Coppola has revisited his masterpiece for the second time, creating a brand new cut that’s longer than his original theatrical cut but shorter than the slightly bloated ‘Redux’ edition from 2001. Now, Coppola has delivered his preferred version of the film, complete with a brand new 4K remaster with tweaked color timing and sound design for maximum impact. The results are spectacular. Available in a new 6-disc Collector’s Edition that also includes 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray copies of the film’s theatrical cut and Redux version (reportedly based on the same remaster), Apocalypse Now: Final Cut is a must own for fans of the film. From the haunting opening shot (which sees a large portion of jungle bombarded with napalm, producing enormous orange fireballs that burn with incredibly intensity), the benefits of Ultra HD Blu-ray become immediately apparent. Simply put, the inclusion of HDR10 and Dolby Vision breathe new life into the film. While the transfer’s overall presentation exhibits a slightly greener tinge than previous releases of the film, it’s the contrasting colors that truly stand out – witness, for instance, the increased vibrancy of the pink smoke grenade scene, or the blues of the jungle at night.Of course, it’s worth noting the inky darkness found in numerous scenes throughout the film, particularly towards the end – owners of OLED screens will truly appreciate the appearance of pitch black shadows throughout the movie.Along with a general uptick in resolution that still manages to retain a healthy amount of filmic grain, a powerful new Dolby Atmos track manages to create a more intense, suffocating atmosphere (new tweaks like delayed explosion noises are a very nice touch, too). If you love this film, we imagine this will be the definitive release for the foreseeable future.Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, HDR10, Dolby Vision, Resolution: 2160p (from 4K master), Audio: English Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), English Dolby Digital 2.0, Aspect ratio: 2.39:1, Runtime: 183 minutes  (Final Cut), 153 minutes (Theatrical Cut), 202 minutes (Redux)
Black Hawk Down
Image credit: Sony PicturesArriving on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with a brand new transfer (based on a true 4K master), this release of Black Hawk Down’s utterly destroys its dated regular Blu-ray. Dialling up the contrast on the film significantly, the new transfer boasts an incredibly striking image with some of the deepest black levels and shadows we’ve seen on the format. We’re talking Army Rangers appearing as silhouettes against the blinding Mogadishu (actually Morocco) sunlight.  That it manages to achieve such strong highlights while also reaching pitch black levels of darkness, all without a hint of crushing, is just a testament to the quality of the film’s new scan and the power of high-dynamic-range.Purists will be pleased to hear that Black Hawk Down’s intensely gritty appearance has been maintained on this UHD release, with the healthy presence of film grain lending the film an increased sense of frantic authenticity. Detail is astonishing, particularly in close-ups where faces reveal individual pores and grains of dirt. Explosions and flying debris also look spectacular thanks to the uptick in resolution.Easily one of the best catalogue releases we’ve seen on the format to date, Black Hawk Down’s 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray is a must-buy for fans of the film and well worth double-dipping if you already own a previous version.Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, HDR10, Resolution: 2160p (from 4K master), Audio: English Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), French (Canada): Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Italian Dolby Digital 5.1, Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1, Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish (Castilian) Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish (Latin American) Dolby Digital 5.1, Russian Dolby Digital 5.1, Thai Dolby Digital 5.1, Aspect ratio: 2.38:1, Runtime: 152 minutes  (Director’s Cut), 144 minutes (Theatrical Cut)
Widows
Image credit: 20th Century FoxShot on 35mm film and then finished on a true 4K digital intermediate, Widows arrives on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray looking as great as it could possibly look. Without sacrificing its filmic presentation, Widows receives a terrific transfer that embraces healthy grain while offering improvements over the standard Blu-ray across the board.Exhibiting deeper contrast and excellent shadow detail, the film looks especially good during its numerous nighttime scenes. Witness, for instance, a heist scene that takes place late in the film – despite being set late at night in an indoor environment without a whole lot of lighting, it’s very easy to follow the action and know exactly what’s going on at all times. Although the film is relatively muted and steely from a color standpoint, the colors that are there manage to punch through the darkness with added vibrancy thanks to the disc’s HDR10+ color tuning. If you’re a fan of adult thrillers, you should definitely consider adding Widows to your 4K collection. Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, HDR10+, Resolution: 2160p (from 4K master), Audio: English Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French DTS 5.1, Spanish DTS 5.1, German DTS 5.1, Italian DTS 5.1, Czech Dolby Digital 5.1, Polish Dolby Digital 5.1, Aspect ratio: 2.39:1, Runtime: 130 minutes 
Bad Times at the El Royale
Image credit: 20th Century FoxA rain and neon-soaked noir thriller, Bad Times at the El Royale lends itself nicely to the detail-focused 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray format. Thankfully, its true 4K transfer does not disappoint, offering the definitive way to watch this multi-threaded film.Though Bad Times at the El Royale takes place almost entirely at a single location, there’s plenty of visual variety to be found during its hefty running time. Thanks to inclusion of HDR10+ support (sorry, no Dolby Vision to be found here), the film excels during early daylight scenes, exhibiting a warm and pleasing image that feels lifelike and cinematic at the same time. Of course, the film mostly takes place at night (mostly), and that same HDR10+ tinkering allows for some exceptional shadow detail and contrast that lets us see additional details buried within the darkness in some scenes.As you might expect, colors also pop with added vibrancy, particularly in the presence of neon lighting and the film’s funky late-sixties set decorations, however, the most impressive instance of HDR’s importance may well be attributed to skin tones, which appear healthy and natural at all times. Throw in a wonderful Dolby Atmos audio track which provides the film with a truly convincing three-dimensional soundscape, and it’s clear that Bad Times at the El Royale is a must-own title for fans of the film.Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, HDR10+, Resolution: 2160p (from 4K master), Audio: English Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Aspect ratio: 2.39:1, Runtime: 142 minutes
Bohemian Rhapsody
Image credit: 20th Century FoxJust like Queen’s music, the musical biopic Bohemian Rhapsody soars on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with incredible picture quality and a triumphant Dolby Atmos audio track that will rattle your living room with its stomp-inducing power. Captured at both 6.5K and 3.4K resolutions (though we’re unsure of which resolution the film was finished at), Bohemian Rhapsody’s 4K Ultra HD presentation is one of fantastic clarity and depth, with fine details like facial hairs and lines receiving increased visibility and sharpness. Thanks to the inclusion of the advanced HDR10+ standard, the film’s colors are exceptionally vibrant and lifelike, with increased shadow detail and impeccable contrast balancing things out for a truly eye-popping image overall. Though Dolby Vision is specified to be part of the film’s cinematographic process, the format is sadly not included on this disc. Regardless, it’s hard to fault this release of Bohemian Rhapsody. Not only does it look sensational, arguably improving upon the film’s theatrical presentation, it also sounds the business, too – both Dolby TrueHD 7.1 and Dolby Vision audio options are available, with the latter offering enhanced nuance and directionality.If you love Queen’s music and want a disc you can sing along to, you owe it to yourself to make Bohemian Rhapsody part of your 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray collection.Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, HDR10+, Resolution: 2160p (master resolution unknown), Audio: English Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French DTS 5.1, Spanish DTS 5.1, German DTS 5.1, Italian DTS 5.1, Czech Dolby Digital 5.1, Polish Dolby Digital 5.1, Japanese DTS 5.1, Aspect ratio: 2.39:1, Runtime: 135 minutes
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri 
Image credit: 20th Century FoxWhile not the kind of film that immediately screams to be owned in 4K, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is a good example of how the benefits of Ultra HD Blu-ray can make the viewing of a great movie more enjoyable. Thanks to some subtle HDR color tuning, Three Billboards feels warmer and more true to life in its appearance than it does on the film’s standard Blu-ray release. Skin textures display a more lifelike hue, with the additional detail found in fine lines and wrinkles bringing the characters’ weariness right to the forefront. Environments also receive a boost in color and detail, which is particularly noticeable in the green grass and trees surrounding the film’s titular billboards (which themselves appear less saturated than they did in theaters).Contrast is another area in which the film has improved on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray — a night time scene in which one of the characters attacks the town’s police station with molotov cocktails truly comes alive thanks to some exceptional shadow delineation, making the scene’s red hot flames look more vibrant in the process. Sure, it’s not as visually splendid as something like The Shape of Water, but Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri absolutely looks better on the format, making it the definitive way to watch the film at home for the foreseeable future. Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, HDR10, Resolution: 2160p (Upscaled from 2K master), Audio: English DTS 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French DTS 5.1,Spanish DTS 5.1, German DTS 5.1, Italian DTS 5.1, Czech Dolby Digital 5.1, Polish Dolby Digital 5.1, Japanese DTS 5.1, Aspect ratio: 2.39:1, Runtime: 115 minutes
Murder on the Orient Express
Image credit: 20th Century FoxWhat a surprise this turned out to be! Shot on Panavision’s large 65mm format (captured at 6.5K and finished at 4K), Murder on the Orient Express looks unexpectedly sublime on Ultra HD Blu-ray. Detail is, quite frankly, amazing in Murder on the Orient Express. From the exquisite fabrics of the cast’s period-accurate costumes, to the lines in their faces and the whiskers in their (absolutely huge) moustaches, the bump in resolution brought by this 4K disc is exploited for every pixel it’s worth here — and we’re super happy about it. Colors are also more vivid and natural-looking here, with the disc’s HDR10 tuning working wonders on the film’s rich palette. Skin tones are true to life, and the film’s expert lighting from cinematographer Haris Zambarloukos (who worked with director Kenneth Branagh on the first Thor) comes across beautifully on this transfer.If you have an OLED television, you’ll likely marvel at the film’s night scenes, in which the dark corridors of the Orient Express’ carriages disappear into inky darkness, showing you additional detail if and when the film chooses to do so. Topping it all off is a wonderful Dolby Atmos audio track that creates a convincing soundscape as the train chugs along, and a subtle score that adds to the film without succumbing to overpowering bombastic music. Highly recommended for fans of the film and Poirot stories. Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, HDR10, Resolution: 2160p (from 4K master), Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English DTS 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French DTS 5.1,Spanish DTS 5.1, German DTS 5.1, Italian DTS 5.1, Czech Dolby Digital 5.1, Polish Dolby Digital 5.1, Aspect ratio: 2.39:1, Runtime: 114 minutes
It
Image credit: Warner Bros.The latest adaptation of Stephen King’s terrifying novel It arrives on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with an exceptional transfer (despite being upscaled from a 2K master) that is improved by the inclusion of HDR10 and Dolby Vision. Though a lot of the film takes place in dark and dank environments, visibility is always high in It, with some perfectly-judged HDR and Dolby Vision tinkering letting you see all the detail in the shadows without sacrificing all that creepy darkness. Detail also receives a huge boost thanks to the added resolution of this 4K presentation, most evident in the crackling clown makeup on Pennywise’s forehead, and the exquisite detailing of his freaky costume. Admittedly, some CGI elements become more obvious in 4K, but the trade-off is totally worth it when it comes to the disc’s high dynamic range presentation and the increased detail seen here. It also packs one of the most bombastic and effective audio tracks of any 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray released to date, with perfectly balanced Dolby Atmos and DTS tracks that will scare the pants off of you. You’ll hear every creak, every noise, and every scream with the utmost clarity, depth and dimensionality.One of the best 4K discs released to date, It is a must-have for horror fans, especially those with access to TV that supports HDR10 or Dolby Vision.Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, HDR10, Dolby Vision, Resolution: 2160p (Upscaled from 2K master), Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English DTS 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Aspect ratio: 2.40:1, Runtime: 135 minutes
Dunkirk
Image credit: Warner Bros.The best film of 2017? It’s got to be up there. Christopher Nolan’s take on the harrowing evacuation of Dunkirk at the height of the second World War is a masterclass in tension, practical effects and historical storytelling.Playing with time and the sequence of events over the nail-biting rescue, Nolan takes full advantage of the IMAX format to bring an epic scale to the horrors of war, with a soundtrack that melds scraping atonal notes with the sounds of the death-dealing machinery bearing down on the troops. You’ll be on the edge of your seat from the moment the very first shot is fired until the credits roll. It’s not to be missed then, and it’s a particularly impressive disc to have in your 4K UHD Blu-ray collection. With the majority of the film shot in 70mm for IMAX screens, your full screen will often be taken over by the lapping waves and grim beaches of Dunkirk, presented with a fine sharpness that brings out the incredible detail in the recreated period piece. HDR visuals also make the action sequences really pop, bringing an added depth to what may have appeared as a muted, almost watercolor-like presentation in digitally projected cinemas.That soundtrack isn’t undersold either (it really has to be heard to be believed, at as loud a volume as the neighbours can stand), but note that Dolby Atmos is not supported here.If you’re a fan of Christopher Nolan, all his other movies (barring Memento) are now available in 4K HDR too. As many are older titles, you need to be ready for a slightly softer upscaled presentation, but the HDR benefits remain clear to see. You’ll find The Prestige, The Dark Knight Trilogy, Interstellar and Inception in stores alongside Dunkirk.Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: 2160p (4K master), Audio: English DTS:HD Master Audio, Dolby Digital, Aspect ratio (variable): 2.2:1 & 1.78:1, Runtime: 106 minutes
Patriots Day
Image credit: Lionsgate FilmsHere’s a film that doesn’t need a blockbuster scope or enormous amounts of CGI to dazzle on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. Patriots Day recounts the devastating events surrounding 2013 Boston Marathon bombing in a very naturalistic and matter-of-fact kind of way. The film aims to put you right there during not only the explosions that changed everything, but the eventual chase to capture the assailants responsible. In this regard, the film’s cinematography succeeds magnificently in capturing a sense of realism, thanks to some incredibly sharp digital photography (captured in 3.4K with a 2K digital intermediate) and exceptionally lifelike HDR color grading. Skintones are as close to reality as I’ve seen from any film on the 4K Ultra HD format. Lines and pores are clearly visible, and make it even easier to read the emotions displayed on the characters’ faces.Later in the film, during an extended night-time firefight in suburbia, the disc jumps to another level of clarity entirely. Shadow detail gets a huge boost, making it easier to follow the action in what would normally be an underlit setting. In fact, we’d go as far as to say that Patriots Day acts as a showcase for what HDR can bring to a films lighting and color palette, with fire taking on an especially important role. Surprising as it may be, this is a demo-worthy disc. Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: 2160p (Upscaled from 2K master), Audio: English DTS:X, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), English DTS Headphone:X, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Aspect ratio: 2.40:1, Runtime: 133 minutes
Hacksaw Ridge
Image credit: Lionsgate FilmsThough sourced from a 2K digital intermediate, Hacksaw Ridge arrives on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with a gloriously-detailed transfer that’s bolstered by a terrific HDR color gamut. In its first half, the film radiates with natural-looking light and the kind of clear cinematography that only digital cameras can achieve. Though the disc’s increased resolution makes it easy to spot green screen work on a couple of occasions, the added clarity that’s made possible by the Ultra HD format far outweighs these minor infractions.Later, the added detail provided by the format’s higher resolution, as well as the wider color gamut it offers, brings a shocking level of detail and an added feeling of authenticity to the film’s many gruesome war scenes. If you find intense scenes involving bloody viscera and shredded appendages hard to stomach, you’re going to have an even harder time experiencing them on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray.Elsewhere, high-dynamic-range allows the film’s cinematography to really shine, showing very realistic color and light reproduction, especially in dark scenes. At times, Hacksaw Ridge’s war scenes forego realistic color palettes in favour of a stylised, almost monochromatic look. Here, HDR allows you to really notice the different shades at work, rather than simply looking dull and grey. These scenes are also punctuated by a barrage of explosions, juxtaposing bright bursts of color over a bleak battlefield.Top this off with a dynamic and concussive Dolby Atmos audio track, and what you have in Hacksaw Ridge is one of the best releases on the format.Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: 2160p (Upscaled from 2K master), Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, Aspect ratio: 2.39: 1, Runtime: 131 minutes
The Neon Demon
Image credit: Broad Green PicturesOne of the few 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray titles that doesn’t come with HDR enhancements, Nicolas Winding Refn’s horror thriller The Neon Demon looks utterly glorious on the format nonetheless. If you want to get your hands on the film in razor-sharp 2160p, you’ll have to import this English-friendly German release, which includes all the special features found on the regular Blu-ray in the US and UK – don’t you just love how all 4K UHD discs are region free?With regards to the disc’s lack of HDR, you may be surprised to learn that the famously-visual director is actually quite color blind. An inability to see midtones has led Refn to favour high contrast and extreme colors throughout his career, as evidenced by the films Drive and Only God Forgives. Because of this, it’s probably safe to assume that he wouldn’t get much out of the high-dynamic-range experience.Sourced from a 4K master (but shot at 3.4K), The Neon Demon looks incredible on Ultra HD Blu-ray, with its high resolution offering a noticeable uptick in detail over the 1080p version included in this package. Aside from its 4K resolution, deep blacks and scorchingly vibrant colors are the big selling point here – though we were unable to test the film on an OLED television, the promise of individually-lit pixels beaming and pulsing out of the pitch black darkness of certain scenes has us giddy at the possibilities on hand. Essentially a feature-length exercise in immense style and cinematography, it would be hard to imagine a film more suited to the 4K Ultra HD format. Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: 2160p (from 4K master), Audio: English DTS HD-Master Audio 5.1, German DTS HD-Master Audio 5.1 Aspect ratio: 2.35: 1, Runtime: 118 minutes
Deepwater Horizon
Image credit: Lionsgate FilmsBased on the devastating true story of an enormous oil rig disaster that occurred in 2010, often cited as one of the largest man-made disasters in history, it is perhaps in bad taste to describe Deepwater Horizon as a tremendously visceral and visually spectacular film, given the lives that were lost on that fateful day. Regardless, we must still call ’em like we see ’em, and Deepwater Horizon looks incredible on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. Director Peter Berg (The Kingdom, Lone Survivor) brings his tough and gritty film to the format with exceptional results. Though the film was finished on a 2K digital intermediate, Deepwater Horizon delivers strong detail and impressive dynamics, with its HDR enhanced presentation offering great depth and color reproduction. Witness, for instance, the fantastic textures in the many scenes featuring actors smeared in oil and covered in dust and debris. Likewise, the film’s many explosions burst with astonishing clarity thanks to the format’s higher dynamic range. Fire is so bright that you can almost feel the heat emanating from your screen.  Visuals aside, Deepwater Horizon’s audio presentation also receives top marks, with a Dolby Atmos presentation that will shake your living room once those aforementioned explosions start. The film’s audio dynamics will bounce around your room, placing you right in the action. Helicopters flying overhead are particularly impressive here, making Deepwater Horizon a reference quality disc in both video and audio categories. Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: 2160p (upscaled from 2K master), Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), Aspect ratio: 2.40:1, Runtime: 107 minutes
The Shallows
Image credit: Sony PicturesProviding even more proof that you don’t need a 4K master to get exceptional 4K UHD Blu-ray results, the entertaining shark attack movie The Shallows has emerged on the format with an absolutely sublime audio and video presentation.Upscaled from a 2K master, The Shallows looks astonishingly crisp, with the film’s digital photography lending immense clarity to the film’s many surfing scenes. Witness, for instance, star Blake Lively’s resting ‘beachface’, which reveals detailed pores, fine lines and even the salty texture of someone who’s spent all day swimming in the ocean and soaking in sun rays. Unsurprisingly, the waves look spectacular, too.Also complementing The Shallows’ incredible visual presentation is an amazing Dolby Atmos track which faithfully reproduces the film’s clever sound design. It’s a muscular track that really puts you in the action, handling all of the film’s audio dynamics with ease. Scenes where Lively is submerged make your living room feel like it’s underwater, and one particular moment where an underwater GoPro shot breaks through the surface makes your ears pop like the real thing. Occasionally, the added resolution of the disc makes some of the film’s shark attack scenes look a little fake, but overall The Shallows is one of the best looking and sounding releases that the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray format has produced. Highly recommended.Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: 2160p (upscaled from 2K master), Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), Czech Dolby Digital 5.1, French (Canada) Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, German Dolby Digital 5.1, Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1, Italian Dolby Digital 5.1, Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1, Polish Dolby Digital 5.1, Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1, Russian Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, Thai Dolby Digital 5.1, Turkish Dolby Digital 5.1, Aspect ratio: 2.39:1, Runtime: 86 minutes
The Revenant
Image credit: 20th Century FoxAs close to a flawless 4K presentation as the format has so far produced, The Revenant looks utterly fantastic on Ultra HD Blu-ray. Shot digitally at resolutions of up to 6.5K (and finished on a 4K digital intermediate) using only natural light sources, The Revenant offers a very natural-looking presentation, giving the audience a more authentic idea of what it must feel like to be in the freezing wilderness alongside Leo and Co.Compare the The Revenant’s 4K disc to the regular Blu-ray packaged with it, and you’ll notice that the discs provide quite different presentations of the film. This is because director Alejandro G. Iñárritu and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki re-graded the entire film in HDR exclusively for this UHD release. By comparison, the regular 1080p Blu-ray looks much cooler, with more dominant blues and greys taking centre stage. Meanwhile, the 4K disc offers more naturalistic skin tones and a warmer overall palette, making the film’s many icy landscapes appear whiter and more true to life.Speaking of landscapes, the added resolution and contrast of The Revenant’s 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray makes them appear more grand and breathtaking, offering more fine detail and depth. Improved bloom lighting also lets the sun shine without bleeding into obvious and distracting shade transitions. A reference disc if ever there was one, The Revenant belongs in everyone’s 4K collection.Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: 2160p (from 4K master), Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French DTS 5.1, Italian DTS 5.1, German DTS 5.1, Aspect ratio: 2.39:1, Runtime: 156 minutes
The Meg
Image credit: Warner Bros.Look, no one’s ever going to mistake The Meg for a great film, but it is great looking, meaning fans of the giant shark extravaganza should be more than satisfied about its terrific presentation on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. Thanks to its bright transfer and colorful palette, The Meg shines on the format, despite being upscaled from a 2K master. Color is impressive across the board, particularly during the film’s many deep sea and under water set pieces, with the various shades of blues predictably fairing quite well thanks to HDR’s wider color gamut. Of course, the uptick in resolution also allows us to appreciate The Meg’s impressive visual effects and production design, which all looks quite expensive. The titular megalodon is also a sight to behold, especially if you have a large television. As for the film’s human characters, we get some very naturalistic skin tones and a nice amount of detail when it comes to fine lines, pores and stubble. Highlights also impress, particularly when it comes to underwater lighting. If you’re a fan of The Meg, there’s really no reason to pass the film up on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, as it’s unlikely to look any better than this for the foreseeable future.   Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, HDR: Dolby Vision / HDR10, Resolution: 2160p (upscaled from 2K master), Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1, English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 16-bit), English Dolby Digital 5.1French (Canada) Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, German Dolby Digital 5.1, Italian Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish (Castilian) Dolby Digital 5.1, Czech Dolby Digital 5.1, Hindi Dolby Digital 5.1, Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1, Polish Dolby Digital 5.1, Russian Dolby Digital 5.1, Thai Dolby Digital 5.1, Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1, Aspect ratio: 2.39:1, Runtime: 113 minutes
Mission: Impossible – Fallout
Image credit: Paramount PicturesOne of the greatest action blockbusters of the last decade has arrived on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray in Mission: Impossible – Fallout, and thankfully, the disc’s presentation is as spectacular as the film itself. The disc’s transfer, which is based on a true 4K master, predictably shines in the film’s many action sequences. However, it’s worth noting that the film has a fairly significant filmic grain throughout most of its non-IMAX scenes (more on those shortly). This was a deliberate choice from director Christopher McQuarrie, who shot most of M:I – Fallout with 35mm anamorphic film cameras with the intention of giving it a more gritty look than its predecessor. While the whole film looks great, it’s not understating things to say that the film’s two IMAX sequences, which are faithfully presented here in the full 1.90:1 aspect ratio, are utterly sublime. The first sequence, which sees Tom Cruise perform a dusk-set HALO (high altitude, low open) parachute jump, is a brilliant example of what HDR can bring to darker scenes, showing incredible detail in the darkness and making great use of the format’s wider color gamut in those sunset hues. The star or the show (aside from Tom), however, is the film’s climactic helicopter chase, which sets the bar in terms of thrilling IMAX showcase sequences. The aspect ratio opens up as soon as the scene begins, and there’s a noticeable jump in quality where the picture becomes crystal clear, exhibiting not even the slightest hint of grain. Quite frankly, there’s a huge uptick in visual clarity overall during this sequence, which is especially detectable due to the well-lit nature of this daytime chase. If you love this film, there really is no reason to pass up this stellar 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release. It’s worth it for the IMAX sequences alone. Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, HDR: Dolby Vision, HDR10, Resolution: 2160p (from 4K master), Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French DTS 5.1, French (Canada) Dolby Digital 5.1, Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1, Aspect ratio: 2.39:1, 1.90:1 (IMAX), Runtime: 147 minutes
The Shape of Water
Image credit: 20th Century FoxA release that expectedly leans into the green, teal, aqua and blue portion of the color spectrum, The Shape of Water looks beautiful on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, managing to totally convince in regards to its immaculate costuming, set decoration and makeup effects work, despite its increased resolution and tweaked HDR colors. Those aforementioned greens, teals, blues and aquas? They actually take on a more naturalistic appearance on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, with the disc’s high-dynamic-range tinkering giving the film’s colors a more true-to-life quality than it displayed in theaters. This is particularly noticeable during The Shape of Water’s underwater sequences, which now look richer and show no signs of obvious color gradation or banding. While the film is visually sublime in every respect, its warm cinematography displaying a masterful use of light and darkness, the real highlight is the creature that captures our lead heroine’s heart. The uptick in fine detail afforded by the disc’s increased resolution allows us to marvel at the creature’s stunning makeup, despite the fact that the film has been upscaled from a 2K digital intermediate.  For fans of The Shape of Water, this truly is a must-have release. While it would’ve been nice to have a Dolby Atmos track (imagine how great the flooded apartment scene would sound with three-dimensional audio), it’s hard to fault this reference quality disc. Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, HDR: HDR10, Resolution: 2160p (upscaled from 2K master), Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French DTS 5.1, German DTS 5.1, Italian DTS 5.1, Czech Dolby Digital 5.1, Polish Dolby Digital 5.1, Japanese: DTS 5.1, Aspect ratio: 1.85:1, Runtime: 123 minutes
Atomic Blonde
Image credit: UniversalOne of the most stylish films of the year, Atomic Blonde screams onto 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with an incredibly vibrant and neon-soaked transfer that burns with intense reds and is cooled again by striking blues. As you’ve probably come to expect from the format, color reproduction is extraordinary here, with HDR making the ’80s-inspired cinematography a real boost in the vividness department. Clothing, hair, skin tones all look realistic here, despite the muted color palette of some scenes in this Cold War spy movie. Oh yeah, and the various cuts, bruises and scrapes acquired by lead star Charlize Theron as she kicks butt across Berlin also look appropriately gnarly, too. Though it lacks a Dolby Atmos track, the DTS:X Master Audio one featured here does a terrific job of pummelling your ears with various explosions, gunshots and an expertly-crafted playlist of thumping ’80s tunes. If you loved John Wick, this is definitely one for your collection. Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, HDR10, Dolby Vision, Resolution: 2160p (Upscaled from 2K master), Audio: English DTS:X, English DTS 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), Spanish DTS 5.1, French DTS 5.1 French (Canada) DTS 5.1, Portuguese DTS 5.1, Aspect ratio: 2.39:1, Runtime: 135 minutes
The Fate of the Furious
Image credit: UniversalThe eighth film in the blockbuster Fast and Furious franchise sings the praises of 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray thanks to incredible HDR-enhanced brightness, driving home just what the format is capable of (see what we did there?)Flesh tones look astonishing on this disc, as do the HDR-enhanced explosions that litter the film. Colors also impress – witness the opening race in sunny Cuba to see how much of a difference HDR makes to this kind of film.Another show-stopping scene involves a prison riot, with vibrant orange prison uniforms standing out even more than on the film’s regular blu-ray. The disc also presents the film in Dolby Vision as well as HDR10, which should be exciting for people who own TVs that can support the format and the added color depth that it brings. For everyone else, the disc defaults to standard HDR, which is still very impressive.Perhaps the film’s most standout sequence though, involves a huge frozen lake and a submarine. The white ice that surrounds this setting really allows the film’s HDR/Dolby Vision presentation to flex some real muscle, with bright highlights getting a good workout. Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: 2160p (Upscaled from 2K master), Audio: English DTS:X, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), English DTS Headphone:X, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Aspect ratio: 2.39:1, Runtime: 136 minutes
John Wick: Chapter 2
Image credit: Lionsgate FilmsImmediately exhibiting the benefits of increased resolution and the wider color gamut afforded by the inclusion of HDR in its presentation, John Wick: Chapter 2 comes out of the gate firing on all cylinders with a visually-sensational night-time chase through Manhattan (actually Montreal). Surrounded by lights and colorful billboards, the disc’s HDR-enhanced contrast allows viewers to peer into the darkness and clearly see objects and details that they’d normally normally miss in regular high definition. Witness, for instance, the film’s show-stopping shootout inside the catacombs in Rome – the characters are enveloped in darkness and yet we can clearly see everything that’s going on thanks to some terrific lighting and high-dynamic-range magic. Immediately prior to that scene, a night-time concerto amongst the ruins of the Baths of Caracalla in Rome demonstrates incredible highlights, with red and blue LED lights surrounding the stage as spotlights swirl around in all directions. The incredible visuals just keep on coming with this release. We have a shootout in a museum where vibrant red blood splatters over a number of statues, a neon-enhanced ‘hall of mirrors’ battle inspired by Enter the Dragon, fight scenes taking place in a dark and vivid underground metro, and the list goes on and on. One of the most dynamic releases on the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray format, this is absolutely the best way to experience John Wick: Chapter 2.Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: 2160p (Upscaled from 2K master), Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Aspect ratio: 2.40:1, Runtime: 122 minutes
Mad Max: Fury Road
Image credit: Warner Bros.Mad Max: Fury Road’s 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release brings with it some enormous expectations, as the film is one of the more visually dazzling action blockbusters in recent memory. Thankfully, Fury Road absolutely delivers, despite having been upscaled from a 2K digital intermediate. This might seem like a bummer, but that’s how the film was presented in theatres, and it looked pretty freakin’ good there, didn’t it?With its colors undergoing a re-grading process in HDR, Fury Road looks more sensational than ever in Ultra HD. The film’s many explosions now burn with added intensity, and improved contrast and increased resolution give the film a more painterly appearance, especially in the film’s huge storm sequence.Some might argue that this makes Mad Max: Fury Road’s CGI stand out more, I believe it only adds to the film’s artistic quality. Elsewhere, you’ll find more realistic skin tones and textures, brilliant lighting, richer landscapes and shinier chrome. Mad Max: Fury Road’s Ultra HD release is definitely worth the upgrade for fans, though we’d love to see what the added resolution of 4K and HDR could do with the film’s new Black and Chrome version.Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: 2160p (upscaled from 2K master), Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1, German Dolby Digital 5.1, Aspect ratio: 2.40:1, Runtime: 120 minutes
Warcraft: The Beginning
Image credit: UniversalThough you’d expect HDR to make films more vibrant and colorful, Warcraft’s presentation has taken a more subtle approach to the film’s coloring. Less garish than its regular Blu-ray counterpart, Warcraft’s Ultra HD presentation offers more naturalistic colors, especially when it comes to orc skin tones. That’s not to say that this presentation is muted in any way – Fel magic looks spectacularly vivid and bright, giving the film a suitably other-worldly and fantastical appearance.As expected, the real show-stoppers here are the orcs, lovingly realised through terrific motion-capture performances and CGI wizardry (as opposed to the other kind of wizardry seen in the film itself). Lead orc Durotan’s facial expressions are more detailed and realistic, thanks to the disc’s bumped-up resolution. Getting to actually see fine lines, wrinkles and textures in these characters’ faces make them much more believable (though the illusion is still broken whenever they’re standing next to the film’s human characters). Other CGI creations, like the Gryphon Lothar rides during the film’s climax, or the kingdom of Azeroth itself, exhibit an exceptionally high level of detail.While it is another example of an upscaled film sourced from a 2K digital intermediate, Warcraft’s 4K presentation nonetheless offers enhanced clarity, improved contrast and naturalistic tones. This Ultra HD release is definitely the best way to watch Warcraft: The Beginning in 2D.Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: 2160p (upscaled from 2K master), Audio: English Dolby Atmos, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Aspect ratio: 2.39:1, Runtime: 123 minutes
Sausage Party
Image credit: Sony PicturesThe idea behind Sausage Party was for Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg to create a hilariously filthy R-rated animate comedy with Pixar-level animation. While it doesn’t quite reach those lofty heights, the film looks fantastic on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray nonetheless. Finished at 2K and then upscaled to 4K, Sausage Party still manages to eek out a whole lot of extra detail over its regular Blu-ray counterpart. This is largely thanks to some HDR tinkering, which gives the film’s colors and lighting a more detailed and pleasing look overall. Certain foods gain extra details in their textures, with the sausages themselves looking like real objects that you can touch. In fact, the move to high-dynamic-range makes everything look more realistic (while still keeping that stylised animated look). Sure, there are better-looking CGI animated films available on this blossoming format (just look at our Trolls entry in the family movies section), but Sausage Party still looks good enough to eat. For fans of the film, this is as good as it’s ever going to look. Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: 2160p (upscaled from 2K master), Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 16-bit), Czech Dolby Digital 5.1, French (Canada) Dolby Digital 5.1, Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1, Polish Dolby Digital 5.1, Russian Dolby Digital 5.1, Aspect ratio: 1.85:1, Runtime: 89 minutes
Planet Earth II
Image credit: BBCOkay, so we’re cheating a little bit here, as BBC’s Planet Earth II is a documentary series, not a movie. However, much like how the first Planet Earth series was a showcase for the Blu-ray format, Planet Earth II proves to be an astounding demo disc that easily highlights the 4K Ultra HD format’s greatest strengths.With numerous locales spread over six episodes, Planet Earth II gives the viewer a whole lot of variety in the eye candy department. In the first episode alone, the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean are juxtaposed against the volcanic majesty of the Galapagos islands, offering lifelike HDR visuals at both ends of the color spectrum. Creature close-ups are astonishing in their sharpness, exhibiting high detail in faces and fur. Just as impressive are the series’ signature drone shots, which give you a bird’s-eye view of various landscapes, including mountains, jungles and even cities in the final episode. A major selling point of Planet Earth II is that it was all captured in Native 4K and is presented here exactly as intended by its creators. Add to this the otherworldly feel attributed by the use of slow motion photography, and what you have is the definitive 4K Ultra HD disc to make people’s jaws drop. A must-have addition to any serious 4K collection.Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: 2160p (from 4K master), Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1  (48kHz, 16-bit) Aspect ratio: 1.78:1, Runtime: 300 minutes
Blue Planet II
Image credit: BBCAlthough we’re still waiting for the BBC to show any signs of actually broadcasting 4K content (occasional iPlayer experiments notwithstanding), the veteran broadcaster has made some first steps into the format by shooting a couple of its prestige nature documentaries in Ultra HD. Blue Planet II is the second such documentary (after Planet Earth II, above), and focuses on the wildlife that can be found in our planet’s oceans. The whole documentary is stunningly presented, with the sheer richness of the ocean’s colors a sight to behold. The HDR10’s wide color gamut is put to fantastic use with the rich hues present throughout each episode, and we were particularly fond of the HDR highlights found on the show’s florescent deep-sea creatures. Other discs might offer technically superior visuals with mastering of up to 4,000 nits, but for us nothing will compare to the raw beauty of nature captured in uncompromised 4K. Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: 2160p (from 4K master), Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Aspect ratio: 1.78:1, Runtime: 360 minutes 

Huawei Mate 30 packshot and alleged specs have leaked online

Huawei Mate 30 packshot and alleged specs have leaked online

With Huawei’s upcoming Mate 30 range officially banned from using Google apps and services, there’s a great level of mystery surrounding the Chinese company’s first Google-free flagship. While we’ve heard rumors of unusual camera arrangements and curvy screens, not much information has been divulged about the handsets’ specs. That said, we’re fairly certain that the Kirin 990 chipset announced at IFA 2019 will probably power the Huawei Mate 30.Now, an alleged spec sheet for the Mate 30 Pro has leaked online via Twitter courtesy of Finnish SlashLeaks contributor @RODENT950.
Curiously, the specs sheet lists the Huawei Mate 30 Pro as having a 6.6-inch or 6.8-inch (which one is it?) AMOLED ‘Waterfall’ display with a 1,176 x 2,400 Full HD+ resolution, suggesting an apparent step down in quality from the QHD+ screen featured on last year’s Mate 20 Pro.The leaked specs sheet also notes the Mate 30 Pro will carry 8GB/12GB of RAM and up to 512GB of storage, along with the aforementioned Kirin 990 chipset and an enormous 4,500mAh battery with 40W ‘SuperCharge’ and 27W ‘SuperWirelessCharge’ capability.
Huawei ban: the global fallout explainedPrefer Apple? Check out the new iPhone 11 rangeDo the new iPhone 11 cameras bring anything new to mobile photography?Like we’ve reported previously, the Huawei Mate 30 Pro is said to sport four cameras on its rear, with a 40MP main sensor to be accompanied by a 40MP wide angle lens, an 8MP telephoto lens and a Time of Flight (ToF) camera sensor to round it all out. On the front, the Mate 30 Pro will supposedly feature a 32MP main selfie camera and an additional ToF sensor.Surprisingly, the leak states that the Mate 30 Pro will feature Android 10 (via Huawei’s own EMUI10), albeit without Google apps.
Box on display
Additionally, leaked images have arrived on the Chinese social media website Weibo which convincingly show the the retail box for the standard Huawei Mate 30 (not the Mate 30 Pro, to be clear), with a second image revealing a unit with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. 

Of course, you should take all of this information (particularly the spec sheet) with a grain of salt for the time being, as none of it has been confirmed by Huawei. That said, we won’t have to wait much longer for official details, as the Mate 30 range will launch next week on September 19.
Hands on: iPhone 11 Pro review

iOS 13: release date and features list

iOS 13: release date and features list

The iOS 13 release date is next week, and it’s Apple’s way of updating the software on your existing iPhone, even if you don’t plan on upgrading to a new device.When it launches on Thursday, September 19 – one day ahead of the official iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro series release date – your old iPhone will change for the better.Sure, the iOS 13 update played second fiddle to new hardware at Apple launch event – the official release date wasn’t even mentioned on stage. But it’ll be big news soon. That’s because the new iOS 13 features are coming to a lot of new iPhones out there, specifically every iPhone since the iPhone 6S. A lot of people will benefit from it.You don’t have to wait to get iOS 13, as the public beta, launched in late June, is still available to download. We have instructions on how to download and install it with a step-by-step video below. 
We’ve touched it! Check out our hands-on iPhone 11 reviewNeed a bigger new iPhone? Read our hands-on iPhone 11 Pro reviewVideo: How to download iOS 13 right now (without having to wait):
What are the new iOS 13 features? Is is worth jumping through hoops to get iOS 13 early? It really depends on how badly you want to experience the new Dark Mode.Dark Mode the standout iOS 13 feature in 2019 – it inverts those bright white-screen backgrounds with more black and dark gray hues, making the display easier to read at night. It’s a difference maker in your day-to-day or night-to-night iPhone use.The new QuickPath swipe keyboard is a big highlight too, and the new ways to edit photos has made us open Lightroom a lot less. It’s plenty powerful compared to the native photo and video editing tools of iOS 12.4. Note: iOS 13 is strictly for the iPhone (and iPod Touch). iPadOS is debuting for iPad with exclusive productivity features for the bigger tablet screen on September 30.Video: The best iOS 13 features we’ve tested so far:
iOS 13 release date and time
iOS 13 release date: Thursday, September 19 (usually after 10am PST)iOS 13 golden master version: It’s out now for beta testers iPadOS comes out later: Monday, September 30You can still download the iOS 13 beta right nowThe official iOS 13 release date is Thursday, September 19, a little over three months after the first beta in which we got to test out the software early.The iOS 13 release date is later than usual. Apple has previously launched its mobile operating update on the Monday or Tuesday following its new iPhone launch event.But you don’t have to wait until then, technically – the iOS 13 public beta is still out there and has been through a few iterations after launching on June 24. It’s technically up to iOS 13.1… iOS 13 has been through a lot already, in fact.Here’s the iOS 13 timeline as we saw it:
1. iOS 13 developer beta: First launched at WWDC  2019, this a version restricted to paid Apple developers, and initially required Xcode or macOS 10.15 to install. The second developer beta fixed that with an over-the-air (OTA) update. Simply put, it was not meant for average consumers, but for serious app developers.2. iOS 13 public beta: Apple’s larger-scale features test began on June 24, and has gone through 8 versions, culminating, oddly, with a beta for iOS 13.1 (before iOS 13 is even out). The public beta is the version to download if you’re curious – it’s often a more refined version of the iOS developer beta, although it can still be rough, and never includes all of the features implemented in the final version of the software.3. iOS 13 golden master: Out now, this is the final version of the iOS 13 software for beta testers. It has launched one week early and is very stable. it gives app makers nine days to adapt before the final software launches to the masses.4. The official iOS 13 release date and time: Apple will launch the iOS 13 software in its final, stable form on Thursday, September 19. That’s just 24 hours ahead of the iPhone 11 delivery date. 5. What time will iOS 13 launch? Apple likes to time its new software updates for 10am PST (its local time in Cupertino), but that sometimes gets a bit delayed (see last year by 90 minutes), and it can slowly roll out to people, as everyone is trying to download it at once. Apples servers get jammed.
iOS 13 compatibility list
iOS 13 requires iPhone 6S or later, iPad Air 2 or later, the new iPad mini 4 and iPhone SEIt won’t come to older devices that support up to iOS 12: iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air, iPad mini 2 and mini 3iOS 13 compatibility requires an iPhone or iPad from the last four years (depending on the device category). That means phones like the iPhone 6 won’t be getting iOS 13 – if you’ve got one of those devices you’ll be stuck with iOS 12 forever.
iOS 13 sheds several old devices (Image credit: Apple)You’ll need an iPhone 6S or later, the iPad Air 2 or later, and the new iPad mini 4 or later, or the iPod touch 7th generation. No surprise, the new iPod Touch 7th gen is the only devices of its class that gets iOS 13 support.The iPhone SE fits into an odd category, as it has iPhone 6 era specs, but came out after the iPhone 6S. Don’t worry, everyone’s favorite little iPhone will get iOS 13.
iOS 13 features exclusive to iPhone 11 phones
Camera UI buttons / wheel toggle between ultra-wide and telephotoHolding photo shutter button captures video (no longer for burst photos)Front camera takes wide-angle selfies in landscape, 4K60fps video and ‘Slofies’We thought we knew all about iOS 13 in June, but it turns out there were a few new features geared toward the newly announced iPhone 11 phones. 

Since the iPhone 11, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max are almost all about the new cameras, the iOS 13 software lends itself to the new ultra-wide lens and special night mode.Switching between the cameras lenses (two lenses on the iPhone 11 and three on the iPhone 11 Pro series) is supposed to be seamless, with quick taps or a wheel to transition between zoomed-in and zoomed-out perspectives. Holding down on the familiar shutter button in iOS 13 start recording video, akin to the Snapchat and Instagram UI. Apple claims it’s new handsets offer the highest-quality video ever in a smartphone, so it’s putting a big emphasis on how easy it is to shoot video. On any other iPhone running iOS 13, holding down the same shutter button captures burst photos.The front TrueDepth camera on a iPhone 11 phones can capture wide-angle selfies when held in the landscape orientation, and record up to 4K60fps video. Before, we were all deprived with 1080p60fps selfie videos.Sure to be the ire of everyone older than millennial age, you’re going to starting to see ‘Slofies’. Love it or hate it (because of the name), this iPhone 11-exclusive iOS 13 feature captures epic-looking slo-mo video from the front camera. It works best when you have long hair to capture in motion.
iOS 13 Dark Mode
Overdue Dark Mode is coming to iOS 13 and iPadOSWe saw macOS get a system-wide Dark Mode in 2018Shortcut to black-and-dark-gray UI lives in Control CenterDark Mode in iOS 13 a system-wide, meaning it changes the hues from bright white and light grey to black and dark gray on all supported apps.
It’s a nice feature when you’re using your iPhone at night and want to avoid bright white hues shining in your face. It may also save battery life on the OLED-equipped iPhones, from the iPhone X onward. Apple didn’t talk about this at all, but we know that OLED displays essentially ‘turn off’ pixels when rendering blacks.Turning on iOS 13 Dark Mode can be done in Control Center inside the Display slider (right next to the Night Shift and True Tone toggle), according to Apple, or you can set it automatically to turn on at night through a schedule or custom time.The yellow-tinting Night Shift mode finally gets a bright-light dimming companion, and a lot of people couldn’t be happier.
How to enable Dark Mode on iOS 13 and iPadOSiOS 13 offers ‘FaceTime attention correction’
This is an interesting one. There’s now an option for FaceTime Attention Correction, and it’s as wild as it sounds.What does it do exactly? It makes it so that it appears as if you’re looking straight into the front-facing camera during a FaceTime video call, when you’re actually looking at the adjacent screen. That distracted look could be a thing of the past soon.
iOS 13 on iPad is iPadOS, and it’s a big change
Some of the biggest changes for iOS 13 on the iPad are actually coming in an update called iPadOS. Apple is signaling that the iPad needs its own platform.That means big improvements to your iPad workflow, starting with the home screen redesign. Pinned Widgets, as we predicted in our iOS 13 rumors roundup, lets you add widgets from the Today View screen (that left-mode screen on your iPhone and iPad). So far, it’s iPad-exclusive, and not coming to iOS13 for the iPhone.Slide Over lets you have multiple apps open and cycle through them like rolodex. You can also fan to preview them all at once with a swipe gesture, kind of like the recents menu on many phones and tablets. It’s multi-tasking made easier.

Split View has been enhanced to let you open one app on both sides of the screen (it wasn’t possible before), and Apple demoed this by showing Notes side-by-side with Notes. You can also pair an app with more than one app – so now Safari can be paired with Pages in one space and Safari can be paired with Mail in another. App Expose is new to the iPad software, letting you see all of the space you have open. There’s an App Expose icon on the Dock, requiring only a single press to get into the convenient overview mode.New copy, paste and undo gestures are coming to iPadOS. Three fingers scrunched down was shown to copy text, three fingers expanding (in the opposite direction) dropped the text on the page, and sliding three fingers across the screen undid the last action. We’ll have to see how this performs when the software lands.Apple’s keyboard can float around the screen in a smaller form, and it’s debuting a swiping gesture keyboard, which it calls QuickPath Typing. There are also more keyboard shortcuts (a lack of shortcuts was a complaint we had about previous iOS versions).There are actually too many iPadOS changes to detail here in the iOS 13 explainer, so we’ve spun the full rundown off into a separate iPadOS release date, news and features article.
iOS 13 features a QuickPath keyboard
With iOS 13, Apple’s default QuickType keyboard will be incorporating swipe-to-type, a popular way of sliding across the keyboard to form words. We’ve used this in prior iOS keyboard extensions like Google’s Gboard and SwiftKey.
Here’s QuickPath keyboard in action (Image credit: Apple)You can use the QuickType and QuickPath methods of typing interchangeably, and so far supported languages include English, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, German, French, Italian, and Portuguese is now included.
iOS 13 debuts new ‘Find My’ app
Apple combined Find My Friends and Find My iPhone in iOS 13, and the union lets you locate your friends and missing gadgets with a faster, easier-to-use interface.
Find My iPhone and Find My Friends come together in one app (Image credit: Apple)What’s really neat is that it use a crowd-sourced encrypted Bluetooth signal to help you track down devices that aren’t connected to Wi-Fi or cellular. That’s mostly a big help for Macs, but it could also help with an iPhone in rare cases, too.Best of all, while Find My Friends didn’t always work for us, Apple seems to be making a bigger push to get location tracking right with this new iOS 13 app now in the limelight.
iOS 13 makes your old iPhone faster, last longer
More people are holding onto their iPhones for longer, and that’s something Apple seems to recognize – and the company is speeding up iOS 13 to accommodate them.The most important iOS 13 stats: app launch speed is up to twice as fast according to Apple, and Face ID unlocking will be 30% faster than before. Apple also found a way to make app downloads smaller, up to 60% on average; iOS 12 gave us a faster update, and iOS 13 looks to build upon that.Battery life is also something Apple is tackling this year. Its aim is to slow the rate of battery aging by reducing the time your iPhone spends fully charged. iOS 13 is supposed to learn from your daily charging routine so it can wait to finish charging past 80% until you need to use it.
Reminders gets a big overhaul
Of all the built-in apps, Reminders has gotten the biggest iOS revamp. It’s better organized, and includes shortcuts that make it easier to add reminders.
Reminders has gotten the freshest reimagining among iOS 13 apps (Image credit: Apple)Big, color-coded buttons for Today, Scheduled, All and Flagged categories offer you a better oversight of your pressing tasks, while the keyboard when you’re in this app has a top-line Quick Toolbar that acts as a shortcut to easily add times, dates, locations, flags, photos and scanned documents.Making plans in Messages? Siri will step in to suggest reminders that can be created, like a personal assistant who chimes in at all the right times.
Camera and Portrait Mode changes
The iOS 13 offers important changes to camera features, starting with enabling you to change the intensity of light in Portrait Mode, which is something we’ve wanted for a while. Portrait mode is also getting a new monochromatic effect called High‑Key Mono.
The new Photos tab in the iOS 13 Photos app – Apple sees it as becoming your photo diary (Image credit: Apple)The Photos gallery is becoming what Apple called “a diary of your life”, with a new tab designed to document your best photos by day, month and year. You’ll also have more pinch controls to zoom in and out of the Photos gallery.Photo editing is refined with iOS 13, adding adjustment controls and filters, while the video editing portion mirrors this almost entirely: nearly every photo tool and effect – including filters, rotating and cropping – makes it over to video. If you’re not good at tinkering with video, there’ll even be an ‘Auto’ adjustment button. 
New Siri voice sounds more natural
A new Siri voice debuts with iOS 13, and it sounds more natural than before – we’ve heard a sample and the tone is the same, but it sounds less robotic. It uses advanced neural text‑to‑speech technology, according to Apple, and you’ll particularly notice this when Siri says longer phrases, like reading the Apple News aloud or answering knowledge questions.The timing is good, because Siri can also do a lot more talking if you wear AirPods – Siri can read incoming messages and pipe them through the buds, which is convenient. One more new Siri perk: your voice assistant on HomePod will understand the voices of the various family members in your home. This should mean, for example, that asking “What’s on my Calendar?” won’t bring up someone else’s irrelevant information.
Memoji gets makeup, Messages gets info sharing
Apple has put more of ‘Me’ in Memoji, allowing one trillion configurations: new hairstyles, headwear, makeup, and piercings to name a few categories. Examples on the WWDC stage showed that these personalized Animoji masks allow for such granular accessory detail as eyeshadow, braces and even AirPods.
Memoji gets better in year two (Image credit: Apple)Memoji Stickers are something entirely new – iOS 13 brings more iPhone and iPad users into the Memoji fold, TrueDepth camera or not. You can customize a Memoji and iOS 13 will automatically create a fun-looking sticker pack that lives in a sub-menu on the keyboard, which you can use in Messages, Mail, and third‑party apps.You can share your personalized Memoji with contacts through iMessages, but only when you grant them access. The same applies to sharing your name and photo with contacts, so you can chose how people see your name, for example. According to Apple, you can decide whether you want your profile shared with everyone, with only your contacts, or just once.
New HomePod features
You might not know this, but the HomePod is part of the iOS family, and it has gotten iOS 13 updates too.First, you can transfer songs from your iPhone by simply holding your phone closer to the HomePod speaker. Previously, you had to tell Siri to do this, but now this hand-off feature is a bit easier, and you don’t have to talk to do it.The HomePod also introduce Live Radio – you can ask Siri to play 100,000 stations from all around the world. And HomePod will allow you to recognize who in your family is talking, and personalize the response – great with Apple Music, where selections will be based on your taste and history. It goes beyond Music, Messages, Notes, Reminders, and more. 
Sign-in with Apple
Apple wants app developers and sites to use its sign-in feature, and there are some perks for user privacy, too (Image credit: Apple)Apple is taking on Facebook Connect, Google and other platforms that allow you to conveniently sign in to third-party accounts. Sign-in with Apple is poised to protect your privacy more than Facebook and Google do.What’s neat is that if you don’t want to fork over your email to an app developer or website, Apple will create a unique random email for you, and the email will be unique to that site or app.
Maps get revamped
iOS 13 Maps looks a lot better, even if everyone likes to hate on it. Will it ever be better than Google Maps? No, probably not. But for people who want Apple’s pre-loaded maps app on iOS 13, it’s much better.
360-degree city tours are coming to Apple Maps (Image credit: Apple)There’s way more detail here by way of Apple rebuilding maps from the ground up. There’s more realistic detail for roads, beaches, parks, and buildings, and you can now explore cities with a 3D 360-degree experience.Favorites were a part of Maps before, but iOS 13 makes these saved locations easier to navigate to with one tap – they appear at the very top of a search menu. Sometimes Google Maps on iOS doesn’t get this right (but does better on Android). That’s one reason to keep Apple Maps installed, even if you’re a Google Maps person.
Text formatting in Mail
Mail is getting some changes when it comes to writing out properly formatted email. You’ll have more control over font style, size, color, alignment, indenting and outdenting text, and numbered and bulleted lists.What we’re really hoping to see one day in iOS 13.1 or iOS 14 is the ability to insert a hyperlink into some text in an email. On both iOS and Android devices, that’s just not possible in their default mail clients (that we’ve seen) – you have to paste long URLs, and that’s not a computer, no matter what you call your operating system.
Connect to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth from Control Center
This is huge – and we’ve been asking for it for several years. You can now select Wi‑Fi networks and Bluetooth accessories right from Control Center.Android has had this for years, and it was always convenient to connect to new Wi-Fi networks or Bluetooth earbuds without having to navigate away from your current app and dive into five Settings submenus. Apple is finally coming around in iOS 13.
Xbox One and PS4 game controller support
If you’re going to play games on your phone, you might as well do it with one of the two best controllers available (and maybe something you already own).Enter PS4 and Xbox One game controller support for iOS 13. Apple didn’t say if all games will support this or if it’ll be limited to Apple Arcade, but whatever the case may be, we’re happy to be able to put our PS4 controller to use everywhere we roam.
Silence Unknown Calls
Nuisance SPAM calls drive us crazy every day, and iOS 13 wants to fix the issue with the help of Siri, which scans your Contacts, Mail and Messages to see if you’ve previously been in contact with the caller.Silence Unknown Calls sounds fairly smart, if you’re not expecting business numbers cold-calling you for work. Those that do call you and aren’t on your personal ‘VIP list’ will go straight to voicemail.

Best laptops under Rs 40,000 in India for September 2019

Best laptops under Rs 40,000 in India for September 2019

Just like smartphones, it is becoming more and more difficult to choose a laptop these days as the number of options available from different companies make it difficult to select the best one. If you are in the market for a laptop priced under Rs 40,000 and wish to get one without compromising on any features, there are many options to choose from.The sub-Rs 40,000 segment is also the most asked price segment when it comes to notebooks. From students to office-goers, everyone can easily get a laptop that does basic day to day tasks with ease in this range.If it’s about the add-ons, many of them offer a dedicated graphics card or multimedia features, but that’s certainly not enough power to suffice the needs of a video editor or a graphic designer. There are many configurations available, some with newer processors and some with older ones. In this post, we have listed some of the best laptops available under Rs 40,000 in India.
Best laptops for students for under Rs 40,000
Asus X509 features a 15.6-inch Full HD display and is powered by Intel 7th gen. Core i3 processor with upto 12GB RAM and support for dual storage options. The laptop can be configured with upto 1TB HDD and 256GB/512GB SSD.It weighs around 1.9Kg and has a 32Whr battery capacity. The Asus X509 is available starting from Rs 30,990 in silver and grey colours.Read our review of the Asus 15 X509 review

HP has several affordable options when it comes to laptops with an integrated graphics card. The HP 15-DA0326TU features a 15.6-inch Full HD backlit LED display, along with the full set of connectivity options that you need in a laptop. Dual speakers and HP’s Truevision HD webcam round up the specs of the laptop.

The first Dell entrant in this list, the Inspiron 3567 comes with the Intel’s Core i5 processor coupled with integrated Intel HD graphics. It has a minimalist design and offers six hours of battery life, which is good enough in this range. The Inspiron 3567 features a 15.6-inch HD display, but comes with half the RAM compared to its competitors at this price. You will have to decide whether you want the a powerful processor or more RAM.

The Acer Aspire 3 is one of the best options in this list, featuring a Full HD LED display, Intel Core i5 8th generation processor, NVIDIA Geforce MX130 graphics, 8GB RAM and a 1TB HDD. It is a feature packed device that has been priced very competitively.While MX130 is not capable of handling heavy games, it is decent enough for some light gaming. If you are looking for a decent laptop for work or studies, the Acer Aspire 3 is worth considering.

The Dell Inspiron 15 5000 is powered by the Ryzen 5 processor coupled with AMD Radeon Vega 8 Graphics. It features a 15.6-inch full HD display, offering a vivid visual experience to the users.It is a powerful device and at this price point, offers excellent value for money to its users. It runs on Windows 10 and sports dual stereo speakers with MaxxAudio Pro support, for an enhanced audio experience. 

The Lenovo Ideapad 130 is another laptop powered by the eighth generation Intel Core i5 processor. It is equipped with NVIDIA Geforce MX110 to offer a decent gaming experience.The Ideapad 130 features a 15.6-inch HD LED display, so if you are looking for a laptop that has a decent display, the Ideapad 130 may not be the best option for you. However, if you want a powerful processor with dedicated graphics and are willing to settle with a HD display, the Ideapad 130 is worth considering.

Acer has another E5-575 laptop with the Core i5 7th generation processor with integrated Intel HD graphics. It comes with 8GB DDR4 RAM and all the basic connectivity options. Considering its current price, the E5-575 Core i5 is a good machine to consider, compared to the Dell Inspiron 3567.

The Dell Vostro 3468 with 7th Gen Intel Core i5 processor is next in this list. The laptop comes with Window 10 and has a plenty of ports including 1 x USB 2.0, 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x HDMI port and 1 x VGA port. Weighing  at 1.96kg, the laptop is lightweight which makes it highly portable for the users. If you are in the market for a portable laptop with a decent processor at an affordable price, the Dell Vostro 3468 is a good option for you.
The best laptops for gaming under Rs 50,000

This app helped me get front-row sound from the back of a festival

This app helped me get front-row sound from the back of a festival

For years, musicians Mike Einziger and Ann Marie Calhoun wanted to provide music fans a better sound experience when they were on tour. Sure, fans who got front-row seats had a great experience, but what about the fans who sat behind the speakers or those sitting in the back? Most of the time all those folks can hear is the people around them.It was a problem that plagued Calhoun and Einziger when they were on tour with Hans Zimmer, and one that didn’t seem to have a good universal solution that could work in every venue around the world. So they made one. The culmination of Calhoun and Einziger’s work is called Mixhalo – a software solution that interfaces directly to a venue’s soundboard and broadcasts the mix locally to anyone with an app at the show through a private wireless network. It’s a platform that could radically change how you’ll listen to artists at venues all across the US – and, if things go well, all across the world.
Music for the masses 
The benefits of Mixhalo are pretty obvious to anyone who’s ever sat in the back of a crowded arena during a show: the app allows you to hear more of the music and less of the crowd. But, according to the two co-founders and its CEO Marc Ruxin, it’s more than that: It’s not only about balancing the scales of auditoriums and giving everyone a chance to hear quality music, but it also allows fans to still hear the music if they need to get up out of their seats and, at a big festival like Coachella, Lollapalooza or Outside Lands, to hear what’s happening on other stages.And so far, it seems people like what they hear – the company has already announced a $10.7 million Series A financing led by Foundry Group and has worked with globally recognized acts like Bruno Mars and Metallica – the latter of whom, Calhoun and Einziger told us, actually used Mixhalo to showcase every individual instrument by creating a separate stream in the app.
Mixhalo antennas were attached to the poles in the center of festival as well as the outer edges.The magic behind Mixhalo is the local wireless network that it sets up at each venue. Once you’re within range of the network, the free downloadable app on your phone will show you the different stages available, and you can connect to a live feed from the soundboard. Plug a pair of headphones into your phone and you’ll hear the music from the stage in real time. The technology’s biggest public demonstration happened earlier this year at Aerosmith’s live show in Las Vegas where Mixhalo teamed up with audio brand THX, but the team plans on taking it festivals all across the US – including last month’s Outside Lands festival in San Francisco where we were able to go hands on with the audio app and meet its co-founders.
Front-row sound from the back of a festival 
So how exactly can you use the app? Well before anyone arrived at the festival Mixhalo and its core team arrived to setup. They needed to install a number of antennas in sections of San Francisco’s iconic Golden Gate Park and create the network that we’d later use to hear the bands on stage through the app.“Knowing the challenge of building a technology platform that could deliver this experience to every fan in venues of all sizes, I was skeptical it could be done,” said Ryan McIntyre, managing director of Foundry Group, the company that’s helped Mixhalo raise funding. “However, once I experienced Mixhalo at the tiny Fox Theater in Boulder and then at the Aerosmith show in Las Vegas, I was convinced of the technology.”Situated all around the show’s main stage and two side stages the antennas would provide a sort of wireless mesh for the app to tap into. As long as you stood within the covered area and had the app turned on, you could tune into any one of the venue’s stages. Unfortunately that means that you’re unable to tune into a concert while you’re at home but, according to Mixhalo’s team, it’s better like that as they’d have to negotiate streaming rights for every show.By the time we arrived at Outside Lands, everything was setup and fully functioning and all we needed to do is pop open the app the see the stages. Once we picked a stage, we popped on a pair of headphones and could hear the music coming from that stage in real-time and seemingly Hi Res quality. It’s a pretty elegant solution for a complex problem… mostly.

It’s not all music to our ears 
Of course, setting up a wireless network the size of Golden Gate Park comes with its own set of challenges – some of which Mixhalo is still ironing out the kinks for. One of its biggest issues is that the antennas that broadcast the signal are obviously limited in number and range – meaning in some areas the app has spotty reception and in others there’s no reception at all. When that happens the Mixhalo app will tell you that you’ve lost connection and tells you to move closer to an antenna.Mixhalo, both the company and the app, also needs to borrow a small amount of bandwidth from the venue that’s hosting the event. In the case of Outside Lands, the team piggybacked off the vendor network, a good solution, but one that could present a challenge in which there’s limited connectivity.You also can’t ignore that the antennas are a big part of the solution. They’ll need to be at every show that wants to use Mixhalo – which means they’ll need to be transported and setup ahead of the show. That means planning time, coordination and collaboration between Mixhalo’s team and the venue.That said, all this falls on the shoulders of Marc Ruxin’s team – besides the dropped signal, these aren’t things that you as a concert-goer have to care about; as long as there’s signal, you get front-row sound anywhere in the venue.
It’s nice to be able to walk away to grab a beer or use the bathroom and still hear the music.The future of live audio 
The Mixhalo demonstration we went to centered around live concerts, which makes sense given its founders backgrounds – Calhoun is a world-renowned violinist and key collaborator with Hans Zimmer for a number of his movie soundtracks while Einziger is the lead guitarist and co-founder of the band Incubus. And yet, while live concerts present a good opportunity for Mixhalo, both founders say that concert venues are just the beginning – they see a future in using Mixhalo as a way to listen to sports games, eSports tournaments, business conferences and other public events, all of which could make use of Mixhalo.There’s also been talk of integrating the Mixhalo app into a pair of headphones, though, Calhoun and Einziger still encourage people to bring their own headphones for the time being. “We don’t want to force people to spend a lot of money to get this experience,” Calhoun told us. “We want everyone to be able to access it with whichever headphones they already own.”With that said, if you see pairs of headphones at the next festival you go to, you’ll know why.
Speaking of headphones, here are the best headphones in 2019

iPad OS: release date, features and public beta details

iPad OS: release date, features and public beta details

The iPadOS public beta has officially launched with a host of new features that from Apple that make your iPad distinct from an iPhone running iOS 13, and we’ve now had the first beta of 13.1 as well.We have a list of the best iPadOS features you’ll be able to experience in public beta 1 and 2. Sure, there are shared a lot of changes. After all, it “builds on the same foundation as iOS,” according to Apple, but expect iPadOS to grow more into its own operating system over time.iPadOS brings a variety of critical improvements to the tablet UI. Some of these make better use of screen real estate while others introduce new gesture controls (and even mouse support) for a better tablet experience. In short, iPad users won’t just run an upsized iOS any longer.
iPadOS release date and public beta timing
The iPadOS public beta release date landed on June 24, and it contains a lot of the features Apple shows us at its WWDC 2019 keynote. Since then, Apple has pushed a new version out to enrolled tablets, with iPadOS public beta 2 made available from July 8. From there we’ve had the first iPadOS 13.1 public beta, as the new changes move forward ahead of the impending ‘full’ release.We’ll see more features when the final version of the software exits beta, likely in September.In previous years September has been the month in which Apple rolls out its new software to the public to coincide with the launch of its new iPhones, and we expect the same activity around the iPhone 11 this year, which we now know is going to be unveiled on September 10.
Which iPads will work with iPadOS?
Apple has confirmed that the “iPad Air 2 and later, all iPad Pro models, iPad 5th generation and later, and iPad mini 4 and later” will all get the iPadOS update when it releases later this year.So which iPads are missing out this year, after getting iOS 12 in 2018? Well it’s the end of the update road for the original iPad Air, iPad Mini 2 and iPad Mini 3. It’s unclear if older iPads will be getting iOS 13 or if they’ve been completely left behind.The following iPads will get an update to iPadOS in (likely) September and October)(As a reminder, it’s always best to avoid using the beta version of software on a primary or daily-use device, as there can sometimes be erratic elements within the system  – wait until the final version lands in the near future.
iPad Pro 12.9 (2018)iPad Pro 12.9 (2017)iPad Pro 12.9 (2015)iPad Pro 11 (2018)iPad Pro 10.5 (2017)iPad Pro 9.7 (2016)iPad Air (2019)iPad Air 2iPad (2018)iPad (2017)iPad Mini (2019)iPad Mini 4Here’s everything Apple unveiled at WWDC 2019New iPadOS home screen
Today View alongside a tighter grid of apps on the new iPadOS home screen. Image credit: AppleThe first big change over you’ll notice in iPadOS is on the new home screen. The grid of app icons is tighter, allowing you to fit more on the screen and reducing the amount of dead space on the display.With a tighter grid of apps, there’s now an option to show Today View alongside them, for a more useful overview screen.It can be added to the Home screen for quick access to widgets with a simple swipe from the left side of the screen, and you can switch out the widgets pinned here to display the ones most relevant to you.
Sidecar is a big new change
If you’re wondering what the biggest feature of iPadOS might be, Sidecar is a real contender. It natively bakes in wired (or wireless) support for using your iPad as a Mac second screen, bringing with it a whole host of functionality.
How to use Sidecar with MacOS CatalinaThis mode effectively turns any iPad into a portable monitor, one with a powerful internal battery, allowing apps and multiple windows to be dragged onto its screen and interacted with using a mouse, keyboard or Apple Pencil.You can’t mess around with the resolution just yet, so you can’t work in super fine detail and may want to wait a little while until the final software launch appears in late September – but even at this early stage, Apple fans will find they’ve suddenly got a new screen for their Mac right in another pocket of their backpack.
iPadOS has a new way to multitask
Slide Over in iPadOS in action, with a side view of Messages over Safari. Image credit: AppleMultitasking also gets an upgrade on iPadOS is a few ways. First up, you’ll be able to use Split View to see two app windows at a time for the same app, or two different apps. iPadOS uses a drag-and-drop interface here, making switching between apps and windows easy.Slide Over lets you quickly pull up an app in a side window, over the top of another app – allowing you to quickly check things such as emails, messages or reminders without having to exit the current app you’re using.Dragging up from the bottom of the screen will allow you to move between apps in the Slide Over panel.Apple has also brought the Mac’s Exposé feature to iPadOS, allowing you to get an overview of all your open apps – making it easy to jump between them, and close down any you no longer need running in the background.
These are all the new features coming to iOS 13iPadOS gets USB drive and SD card support
USB drive and SD card support arrives in iPadOS. Image credit: AppleExternal storage fans rejoice! iPadOS will allow you to plug a USB drive or SD card reader into your iPad, and the Files app will be able to read the plugin and allow you to easily manage data between the iPad’s internal storage and the external drive.Files gets a Column View to better take advantage of the iPad’s wide screen, and the iCloud Drive allows folder sharing, and will show content from a USB drive or SD card if they’re plugged in.There’s good news for photographers too, as support is being built into iPadOS to allow you to plug your camera into your iPad and import images directly into editing apps such as Lightroom.
iPadOS performance boost
Your current iPad could get a performance boost when iPadOS arrives, with Apple claiming that its tablet-specific operating system is quicker than iOS 12.It says Face ID unlocks are up to 30% faster, while apps launch up to twice as fast as on iOS 12 – and apps themselves should be smaller in download size (by up to 50%), taking up less of that precious storage space. 
Desktop-quality websites and browsing on iPadOS
The Safari web browser is also improved with iPadOS, because it’s no longer purely tied to iOS and a mobile ecosystem. That’s right: you’re no longer just viewing mobile sites, as iPadOS views websites in a modified desktop view that’s a bit cleaner and optimized for touch.It doesn’t just work with Apple’s websites either – the likes of Google Docs and WordPress web apps will also work better with Safari on iPadOS.Apple’s browser will also get a download manager, 30 new keyboard shortcuts, and improved tab management when iPadOS lands later this year.
New iPadOS gestures
One of the bigger features across the whole of iPadOS are the new gestures. The ones we’ve seen are pretty simple: three-finger pinch to cut, three-finger splay to paste, three-finger swipe to undo. Easy.In some apps, you’ll also be able to two-finger-pinch the keyboard to shrink it to iOS mobile size and move it around. Plunk it next to the side of the screen and boom: you can type on it with one thumb. Add to that the new gestures for the home screen and multi-tasking, and there may be a learning curve required to get used to all the new interactions which come with iPadOS. 
Markup and much more on iPadOS
Markup also gets an update, and you’ll be able to mark up entire web pages, documents and emails. A simple swipe up from the corner with your Apple Pencil launches markup and brings up the newly-redesigned tool palette, which can be dragged around and repositioned anywhere on the screen.And speaking of the Pencil, Apple has reduced the latency of its input from 20ms to 9ms, which means you’ll get a more natural, pen-like experience when using it.Plenty of new features that are coming to iOS 13 are also headed to iPadOS, like Dark Mode, custom fonts, the new Photos organized by machine learning, and the SwiftKey-like slide-and-type QuickPath keyboard feature.
Mouse support for iPadOS
iPadOS does supports connecting a mouse to your iPad, though it’s not something you’ll find front-and-center on the official iPadOS features list.Developer Steve Troughton-Smith initially tweeted out instructions he’d discovered to connect a mouse through new Accessibility settings, and Tom’s Guide successfully activated a mouse on an iPad. While it doesn’t seem to be the smoothest thing, we’re excited for a serious leap in the iPad family’s productivity potential and accessibility. 

Dell Australia is flogging laptops and 2-in-1s for up to 50% off

Dell Australia is flogging laptops and 2-in-1s for up to 50% off

When investing in something expensive and long-term, like a new laptop, it’s always good to shop around – after all, there are always bargains to be found. And Dell Australia frequently offers some great discounts on its online storefront on a large range of gaming and business laptops, 2-in-1s and desktop PCs.One of our favourite ultrabooks is a Dell device and we can’t recommend the XPS 13 highly enough. However, that’s not the only machine in Dell’s catalogue that’s worth considering, especially if you can snag one for less.There’s plenty of bargains to be found a wide range of laptops, 2-in-1s and desktops – with up to 45% off some devices – on Dell’s site at the moment, but it can be hard to decide on which one to opt for. So we’ve done the hard work for you and hand-picked a few of the best deals on offer during Dell’s Cyber Sale, with these offers ending Thursday, September 12.
Our picks of Dell’s best deals

Best DSLR cameras under Rs 50,000 in India for September 2019

Best DSLR cameras under Rs 50,000 in India for September 2019

If you are looking to practice beginner level photography and need a feature-rich DSLR,  cameras under Rs 50,000 can suffice. Fortunately, Canon, Nikon and now Sony do have their best offerings in the price range in India. As this is a more beginner segment, ease of use is also prioritized as these could be your first DSLR with a changeable lens. These companies have some real value for money DSLR cameras under Rs 50,000, with some good bundled kit lens to get you started. But if you know your specific use cases, it could be a better deal to just get a camera body, skip the included kit lens and invest that saving into a better lens.Decent quality DSLR cameras start at around Rs 30,000 from companies like Canon and Nikon. For a beginner, these mid-range cameras are good to test waters with. However, once you move into the enthusiast category, these mid-range DSLRs may not cut it, and you may want to look for some high-end options.You can get several great DSLR cameras under Rs 50,000 in India these days – often, you can score a great deal after discounts and cashbacks. Let’s take a look at some of these options to help you decide.

The Canon EOS 200D II is one of the best beginner DSLRs available in India that does not break the bank. Equipped with a 24.1MP CMOS sensor with the new Digic 8 iage processor, it can deliver great quality images that are fairly easy to edit too.The dual pixel CMOS AF paired with eye-detection AF allows users to achieve fast autofocus with the continuous shooting speed of 3.5fps during Live View and video. Further, it can deliver impressive videos in full HD quality at 60fps and even at a 4K resolution which is rare in this price segment. In addition to this, you now get crisp images in low lighting conditions as the camera offers an ISO speed of up to 25600.The camera also sports a 3-inch articulating touchscreen LCD monitor and has a user-friendly interface which comes handy for first time users.Read the full review: Canon EOS 200D II / 250D / Rebel SL3

Arguably the best DSLR camera under Rs 50,000, the Nikon D5600 offers great bang for your buck. It features a 24.2MP CMOS sensor and the EXPEED 4 processor which give you improved autofocus, lesser noise and more details.The D5600 has a mid-range DX format camera that offers an ISO range of 100-25600 along with 5 frames per second burst shooting. Nikon has also thrown in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC support for quick and effortless connectivity. If you are looking for a DSLR under Rs 50,000 keep an eye out for this one.Read the full review: Nikon D5600

Another mid-range DX format option from Nikon, the D5500 was launched in 2015 but continues to offer good value for money. Featuring a 24MP CMOS sensor and support for ISO up to 25600, the D5500 can also shoot subjects in 3D. This camera offers a shutter speed of up to 1/4000 sec, and comes with a 3.2-inch display.Read the full review: Nikon D5500

Offering a slightly better feature set, the Sony Alpha A68 comes with a 24.2MP Exmor CMOS sensor. The Alpha A68 has a BIONZ X processor that processes at three times the speed compared to its predecessor. Additionally, it also has another trick up its sleeve – while the other cameras in the list offer 3D subject tracking, the Alpha A68 supports 2D, 3D and 4D tracking. It also offers up to 8 frames per second shooting with autofocus tracking, 79-point phase detection autofocus and an Indian colour profile, optimised for the local environment.Read the full review: Sony Alpha A68

The Canon EOS 750D features a 24.2MP CMOS sensor along with DIGIC 6 image processor that promises to deliver high quality images as compared to other mid-range DSLRs. It has 19-point all cross type AF system and Hybrid CMOS III AF system which offers rapid auto focusing in Live View. The camera also comes with in-built Wi-Fi and NFC support that allows users to connect the camera to their smartphone or tablet. Read the full review: Canon EOS 750D

The entry-level DSLR of choice from Nikon, the D3500 is the upgrade to the D3400. While it still doesn’t have a touchscreen, it has connectivity in the form of Bluetooth (but no WiFi). The D3500 offers a blend of easy handling, solid performance and image quality far beyond what you can expect from a smartphone or most compact cameras, and it’s a budget buy. Read our in-depth Nikon D3500 review

With the only real difference in EOS 1500D over the EOS 1300D being the upgrade of the sensor from 18MP to 24.1MP. It’s a great option for beginners at DSLR photography with its intuitive features. But it would have been more appealing with an uprated AF system with Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF and touchscreen control, along with beginner-friendly graphical interface.It retails for Rs 26,347 on Amazon.
Best DSLR cameras of 2018: Top 10 cameras for any budget in India