Intel’s Wigig could be the wireless VR experience we’ve been waiting for

If this past year had been the entire year of VR, 2018 would be the 12 months of cordless digital reality. Certain there’s mobile headsets like Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream to help keep everyone else happy but also for upper end experiences like Fallout 4 or Skyrim VR, the ultimate way to roam a wasteland or fight off a dragon would involve less tripping over cords. 

And thanks to the newest Wigig wireless solution from Intel and HTC, we’ll be doing just that … in the course of time. The product was established at Computex and is being demoed in the E3 showfloor for reporters. 

There’s no solid launch date quite yet apart from early next year, and firm facts about the device remain in the works. But the demo has shown HTC has discovered solid ground with lovers Intel and DisplayLink. 

Wigig wins the wireless reward … so far

Initially, it cann’t appear to be a computer device that can manage wireless VR. The Wigig sits directly on top of your head while you wear an HTC Vive with several cables poking down, and just just like the Oculus Santa Cruz model, there is an abundance of black colored electric tape to help keep the leading part secure. 

In comparison to photos and movie regarding the DisplayLink XR at Computex, the technology seemed somewhat smaller, and while the Wigig wasn’t somewhat heavy but there was a noticeable heftiness. That’s something Intel’s Kim Pallister said the group is taking care of, and future iterations would be a great deal smaller and less cumbersome. 

Actually, they truly are still not really sure Wigig will sit on top of one’s head. 

Pallister noted that or perhaps a unit could clip onto your part or whether it attaches to your top, sits in your pocket, or hangs from your gear like an old college beeper should be determined.

The way the form element will impact the battery pack life can also be up floating around. Pallister told us your device had been running fine all day long for a complete charge, along with other reports declare that battery life sits at couple of hours – but which could all improve once the Wigig device undergoes developmental modifications.

The very last refinement Intel continues to be wrapping its head around is the way the Wigig on your own mind will communicate with the computer. Pallister said the elements could just be built directly into computers in the future like integrated Wi-Fi, but that’s much further down the line. For the time being, Wigig could connect via an additional slotted component you pop into the back of your computer or perhaps a tiny, adorable router that sits on your own desk.

Currently, however, WiGig (on the basis of the 802.11ad standard) runs on the 60GHz musical organization to enable a decreased latency wireless connection from headset to Computer and guarantees lower than 7ms latency constantly. 

Pallister stated within an meeting with TechRadar that you’ll get less disturbance from multiple Wi-Fi products permitting “a much tighter sign integrity.” This higher regularity also lets you carry more bandwidth and, based on Pallister, “you won’t have to make compromises with display resolution, you can make use of the full Vive quality.”

This is put to the test throughout a brief demo of Space Pirate Trainer. 

For those who haven’t played the overall game before, you’re fundamentally rebuffing wave after revolution of robots as you twirl around to shoot them. While it’s perhaps not the absolute most graphically intense game, plenty is occurring. 

Regardless of the chaos, the Wigig was able to maintain without issue. There was no wait or stuttering therefore played as well as tethered experiences in the home.

Who’s in the wireless game?

At the moment, there are numerous contenders attempting to make VR cordless. Universities like MIT and smaller businesses like Quark VR have made headlines within the past year nevertheless those prototypes continue to be being developed. 

It’s nearly clear exactly how well these cordless solutions will continue to work since they have actuallyn’t been demoed however if they’re any such thing like Wigig, then it’s safe to express they’re on the right track. One other cordless unit that’s closest release a is an HTC accessory from TPCast. It’ll function as very first hitting households – but just in China with no word for a worldwide launch.  

Then there’s the Santa Cruz prototype from Oculus. As self-contained VR headset, it is distinguishable from exactly what HTC and Intel want to launch however remains an similarly exciting untethered device. While there have been updates on the tech which makes Santa Cruz tick, it won’t be observed on shop racks any time in the future. 

The greatest questions regarding cordless solutions today are exactly how companies will cost the accessories and exactly what battery pack life would be like. 

Pallister didn’t discuss this info and said the last choices on cost, just how to bundle these devices and perhaps the Vive would be totally rebranded is totally around HTC. 

Here’s hoping we won’t have to keep spending an arm and a leg to have VR without messy cords. 

  • E3 may be the planet’s largest event for the games industry, stuffed saturated in the most recent and best games, consoles, and video gaming hardware. TechRadar is reporting live from la all week to create you the latest through the show floor. Head to our devoted E3 2017 hub to see all brand new releases, along with TechRadar’s world-class analysis and buying advice towards the following year in gaming.

LG G6 now provides key freebie against Samsung Galaxy S8

Given the high price of flagship phones, it is more likely now than ever that you’ll be utilizing it for more than 12 months–the typical duration of the manufacturer’s’ warranty. LG recognizes this and has now established that it’s expanding coverage the LG G6 for the additional 12 months in the usa.

Although the new “LG G6 2nd Year Promise” doesn’t cover accidental happenings, such as a cracked display screen or right back panel, LG’s warranty covers any problem that takes place beyond your control. 

If you were an early adopter of LG’s latest smartphone, don’t fret. The extended warranty covers both current and future clients. To sign up, you’ll should register your unit on LG’s internet site and in case you will need solution in the first year of ownership, you’ll return it on carrier in which you bought it. After 12 months, you’ll need to work through LG itself to really make the swap. 

Smartphones release at a breakneck speed and while you will find certainly those that will follow every single one, LG’s 2nd Year Promise helps to ensure that those people who have invested in its almost bezel-free phone are taken care of for longer than nearly all other manufacturers.

This extended warranty pertains simply to the usa, though those in the united kingdom have enjoyed 24 months of coverage for a while. We’ll need certainly to wait to see if LG does this having its phones moving forward like the LG G7 and LG V30, however it’s good first step into the right way.

LG G6 now comes with 1 extra year of warranty for free (US only)

LG today announced an “LG G6 Second Year Promise” program, which extends the G6’s limited warranty from 1 year to 2 years. The program is available only in the US, includes all G6 smartphones purchased from any mobile carrier or authorized retailer, and requires registration on LG’s official website.

If you’ve bought your G6 before today (June 15, 2017), you’ll have to register within 12 months of purchase, and provide a proof of purchase, plus your phone’s IMEI/MEID and serial number. If you’re getting an LG G6 today, or after today, you’ll have to register within …

The best mobile phone deals in June 2017

On this page you can compare mobile phone deals on all of the best handsets and from all the best UK networks! You don't have to wait until Black Friday to find the cheapest prices. At the top of this mobile phone deals page you'll find a price comparison chart – simply pick your desired handset, budget and allowances and we'll tell you the very best phone deal around.

Underneath that you can browse through our individual handset guides for all of the best mobile phone deals out there. Whether you're after the new iPhone 7 or Samsung Galaxy S8, a free phone, lots of data, the lowest possible monthly cost or all of the above, we'll help you find the perfect deal. We've even picked out the best SIM only deals, in case you're not quite ready to part with your current handset.

Save £10 on any deal: use the code 10OFF at to save £10 on the upfront cost of any phone (Samsung Galaxy S8 aside)!

Buying a mobile phone – what you need to know

Of course you want to find the cheapest price for your new smartphone – and our comparison chart at the top of the page will narrow that down for you – but we know there are likely to be dozens more questions you'll want answering. Keep reading below, where we answer some of the key commonly asked questions about buying a new mobile.

Can I keep my old number?

You can indeed, and it's really easy – so no need to send one of those texts to everybody in your phone book telling them your new digits.

What you need to do is grab a PAC – or Porting Authorisation Code – from your old network. We've listed the direct numbers you need for the four major networks below. As soon as they've sent it to you, which should be within a day or two, you just need to give it to your new network. Voila – brand new phone with the same old number. Easy.

It becomes slightly less easy if the deal you pick out above is on the same network as your current one. They won't let you keep your number, so you have to use this workaround. Buy a free pay-as-you-go SIM from any other network and tell your network that you're moving. They'll release the PAC code, which you then give to the substitute network. Then, you immediately get another PAC code from them. Take that to your old network, and they'll move your number to your new contract. Long winded, but worth it.

  • EE 07953 966 250
  • O2 0344 8090202
  • Vodafone 03333 040 191
  • Three 0333 300 3333
  • ID 0333 003 7777
  • GiffGaff 43431 from your handset
  • Virgin 0345 6000 789
  • BT 0800 800 150
  • Tesco 0345 301 4455
  • Sky 03300 412 524
  • Asda 0800 079 2732

Which phone network is best?

Loyalty is an admirable trait, but could end up costing you money when it comes to the perfect phone deal. If you don't mind leaving your comfort zone, you may find that heading to one of the other major networks may well be worth it…

Despite what Richard Branson's adverts might suggest, EE is the Usain Bolt of phone networks. Nobody else can come close to EE's 4G speeds in the UK. So if you rely on fast internet while away from WI-Fi, then EE is the obvious choice. Plus, EE gives you three free months of BT Sport (or more if you get a Max plan) when you sign up, as well as six months of Apple Music. The EE coverage checker will confirm how strong it is where you live.  

The biggest lure to O2 is the network's Priority rewards (well, that and Sean Bean's mellifluous tones). From cheap lunches and free coffees to first refusal on big gig tickets, O2 is the network for regular goodies. Plus, they have 1000s of Wi-Fi hotspots in shops and cafes that you can connect to. Use the O2 coverage checker to see whether you'll be able to access 4G.  

Good news for jet-setters – Vodafone lets you use your data, calls and texts allowances in 50 countries around the world without charge. But things really start to get good when you splash out on its bigger Red Entertainment data plans, as Vodafone will give you your choice of a NOW TV Entertainment Pass, Spotify Premium or Sky Sports Mobile subscription. Click to check if Vodafone covers your home.  

3 remains the king of the big data deals, and still the only one of the big four networks to offer unlimited, uncapped, all-you-can-eat delicious data. We also like that you can use 4G to make calls and texts via the dedicated Three inTouch app, and you can connect to Wi-Fi in the London Underground if you ever find yourself in the capital. But 4G coverage isn't as strong as the other networks – check whether your postcode is covered with the Three coverage checker.  

What phone contract length should I get?

Well if you're buying a new phone plan with a contract, you haven't got much choice. It's 24 months or nothing, these days. If you don't want to be tied down to that kind of commitment, then you'll have to go down the SIM only route and buy the handset separately – we've rounded up the best SIM free phone deals to help you make your chocie.

How much phone data do I need?

The answer to this one will be different for everybody. If you only really carry your phone for emergencies, then go for the minimum amount of data and save a packet. If you like to scroll through Facebook on the bus and stream Spotify, you'll need a bit more. And if you frequently stream videos and download masses of files, then 30GB or even unlimited may be worth paying extra for.

As well as checking your phone to see how much you tend to use a month at the moment, the below guidelines will also help you pick out the perfect plan:

  • 1GB Some networks offer 500MB plans, but realistically we think you should get at least 1GB. It won't be much more expensive (if at all) and will afford you a little bit of Google Mapping, WhatsApping and emailing when you need them.
  • 2-3GB If you like to scroll through your social media feeds and emails while out and about without fear of extra cash to pay on your monthly bill, then up your data.
  • 4-8GB The likes of Spotify and Apple Music have promised us all our favourite tunes wherever we roam. Kit yourself out with a bit more data and you'll have plenty for music streaming and the occasional video, too.
    10-16GB This should be more than enough for most users. Loads of data for streaming music, downloading podcasts and enjoying social media videos. Because there's no such thing as too many cats falling into bins.
  • 20-30GB Big data for the big phone user. Perfect for watching Netflix videos, downloading content and streaming loads of music. And these plans often have extra freebies thrown in, too.
  • Unlimited The 3 network is still the only one of the 'Big 4' to offer unlimited data. It can be really pricey though, so think long and hard whether you really need it.

Should I get unlimited calls and texts?

Actually these days, the vast majority of phone contracts feature unlimited calls and texts. We do see some of the cheaper plans sometimes limit them, but even if they do, you can use your data allowance on popular apps like WhatsApp, Skype and Hangouts to make calls and texts if your minutes run dry.

How much phone memory do I need?

You're likely to be one of two kinds of person:

Person 1: You like all your photos, music, downloads and other media to be saved directly on to your phone. If that sounds like you, 16GB or 32GB handsets may not be enough and you should use our comparison chart to find the most affordable 64GB, 128GB or 256GB models.

Person 2: You're a stream demon. You've got subscriptions to Spotify and Netflix and you save all your Word docs and snaps into the cloud. Save your money and go for a cheaper, lower memory handset.

OK person 3, calm down – you fall somewhere between the two, right? If you can afford to get a smartphone with more memory, that is probably safest. But don't forget that most phones do allow you to insert an additional SD card if you run out of space – most phones apart from iPhones, that is.

Are refurbished phones good to buy?

Refurbished phones can provide a alternative to a new handset if you're budget is a shoestring. 'Refurbished' often means that the previous owner simply changed their mind about the phone soon after buying it, so it's still practically brand new – and the potential savings can be substantial.

If you do spy an unbelievable deal on a refurbed phone, the main thing to make sure of is the warranty. Double check that you are properly covered for a decent length of time. A year's warranty is preferable.

TechRadar's unbiased and independent mobile phone deals comparison

Thanks for visiting TechRadar’s mobile phone deal comparison page! Our price comparison system includes 2.47 million mobile phone contracts from all of the major networks and resellers so that you can always find the one that suits you best.

Unlike some other major sites, our philosophy is to always display you with the absolute cheapest deals for the criteria you select. So you’ll always be able to see the cheapest prices for the best phones with contracts with the most generous data allowances.

How does TechRadar make money from affiliates?

If you buy a phone after visiting this page, TechRadar will be paid a small commission by the network or reseller you buy from. This money is paid by the site you buy from and thus does not affect the amount you pay for your phone contract. If you go direct to the site you buy from, you would pay the same amount.

The money that TechRadar makes from this free service allows us to improve our product comparison tools and pay the editors who trawl through all the sites and select the best deals every month.

While some sites out there will be paid larger fees for pushing people to specific deals that aren’t necessarily the cheapest, TechRadar will always find you the absolute cheapest deal. Trust and integrity is important to us, so if you ever think we’re not displaying the very best deals let us know.

How do we order these mobile phone deals?

Our mobile phone deal comparison tools sift through millions of different deals and surfaces the ones we think are the very best. Essentially that means finding deals that work out the cheapest over a 24 month contract while still supplying at least 1GB of data, as you’ve told us that 1GB is your absolute minimum. If you need more data, use the filters and we’ll display the cheapest prices for your increased amount.

On this specific page, we have many mobile phone options displaying in one comparison table. In this case, we try and find you a balance between paying the cheapest price and getting the best phone for your money.

How do the mobile phone deals comparison tools work?

The comparison tools you find on the page above will hopefully be very easy to use. You can select what your budget is, whether it be upfront cost or monthly fee or both. And you can say how much data you need or how many minutes and texts. You can even filter by network if you really want to be on a specific carrier. The deals will automatically update as you drill down in your search, always favouring the cheapest options over the more expensive ones. If you ever want to refresh and start your search again, simply select the ‘CLEAR ALL FILTERS’ option to begin again from scratch.

What is TechRadar?

TechRadar is Europe’s largest technology reviews website with over 22 million visitors every month. It’s our aim to provide you with the very best buying advice, always. If you’d like to read reviews of the mobile phones you see on this page, you can visit TechRadar’s reviews homepage.

How do we select which networks and resellers to display?

TechRadar strives to include all mobile phone deals from all UK networks and resellers so that you can search through all the available deals in the UK without having to look on all the websites separately. However, for sites to be included they need to supply us with a feed of their deals. This is the only reason why a phone reseller or network wouldn’t appear in our system – but the vast majority do.

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Best value mobile phone deals of the month (June 2017):

Our editors look at all of the available deals for all of the best smartphones every week of every month of every year – not just when the going is good around Black Friday. In this section, we've picked out the best deal available right now for each phone, as well as a link through to the 'best deals' guide for each individual handset.

mobile phone deals smartphone deals phone deals

cheap iphone 7 deals

iPhone 7 deals

Prices on Apple's latest flagship phone are now finally starting to fall to more palatable levels. You can now get the iPhone 7 for just £22.99 a month on the UK's fastest 4G network EE.

Discover more iPhone 7 deals and iPhone 7 Plus deals

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Samsung Galaxy S8 deals

Samsung's only gone and improved on its best phone ever and now O2 is offering a brilliant price on 10GB of data a month. If you need something bigger, the even larger Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus is closer to a phablet.

See more Samsung Galaxy S8 deals and Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus deals

LG G6 deals

LG's new flagship phone has a longer screen with a rather fetching rounded-corner design. A fine alternative to the Galaxy's Edge screen and available for less than £30pm for 6GB a month.

Discover more great LG G6 deals

iPhone SE deals

iPhone SE deals

By far, the cheapest way to get an Apple smartphone, the iPhone SE is now an incredible £13.99 a month. It has all the power of iPhone 6S with the design of iPhone 5S. A brilliant bargain.

Read our guide: iPhone SE deals

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Samsung Galaxy S7 deals

Samsung Galaxy S7 deals

It may now have been superseded, but the Samsung Galaxy S7 is still a brilliant phone. And now it's a year old, it means you can get deals like this one on Three for £29pm for a massive 30GB of data.

Get more great Samsung Galaxy S7 deals and Galaxy S7 Edge deals

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google pixel phone deals

Google Pixel and Pixel XL deals

The Google Pixel replaces the Nexus 5X, comes with a 5-inch 1080p display, 4GB of RAM, 12 megapixel camera and is now available for less than £30pm. The Google Pixel XL is larger and more premium but dearer.

Read our guide to Google Pixel and Pixel XL deals

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iphone 6s deals

iPhone 6S deals

Grab the best possible deal on the still excellent iPhone 6S. We think you should go for this O2 deal, which gives you 6GB data at £27pm. That's a really handy amount of data at a very reasonable monthly spend.

See our other iPhone 6S deals and iPhone 6S Plus deals 

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iphone 6

iPhone 6 deals

Prices just absolutely dived on the iPhone 6. Great news, considering it remains an excellent way to own an awesome Apple phone for meagre amounts of money. This for £17.99pm from EE is the pick of the bunch.

See more ace prices with our best iPhone 6 deals and iPhone 6 Plus deals

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Nokia 3310 deals

Had you told us last year whether we'd be featuring Nokia 3310 deals on these pages, we would have laughed you right out of the building. But it's back and it costs an unfeasibly reasonable £39 from Vodafone.

Learn more about the best Nokia 3310 deals

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HTC U11 deals

Much has been made of the new HTC U11's Edge Sense technology, but some of the tariffs available are also newsworthy. You can pay only £29 per month for 6GB data with £50 cashback, for example, after the £169.99 initial spend..

For more deals and free handset offers, head to our HTC U11 deals

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The best Sony Xperia XZ deals

Sony Xperia XZ deals

The Sony Xperia XZ is a great handset offering everything you'd expect from a brand new flagship phone. We've picked out a superb 16GB deal from Vodafone, which gives you a free phone for £34pm and £156 cashback.

Pick your own Sony Xperia XZ deals or Sony Xperia XZ Premium deals

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BlackBerry KeyONE deals

Blackberry spent many years in the wilderness, but its return with the BlackBerry KeyOne is a massive return to form. The best deal out there bar none is this one on O2 where you get 6GB of data for £27 per month.

Click for more brilliant BlackBerry KeyONE deals

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samsung galaxy s6 is the best phone

Samsung Galaxy S6 deals

Like the older iPhones above, the Samsung Galaxy S6 presents an ideal way to get a superb mobile for a much lower tariff. Carphone Warehouse's iD network has it for less than £600 over two years.

More Samsung Galaxy S6 deals, Galaxy S6 Edge deals and Galaxy S6 Edge Plus deals

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mobile phone deals

iPhone 5S deals

All it takes to get this classic iPhone 5S is £17 a month. Other than that, it's completely free, with no upfront costs. You can upgrade it to Apple's latest iOS 10.3.2, so you'll have the latest software on your cheap, cheap iPhone.

Read our guide to the best iPhone 5S deals

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The best Sony Xperia X deals

Sony Xperia X deals

Sony worked hard to strike a balance between top-of-the-range premium features and affordable prices – it hit gold with the Xperia X and smaller Xperia X Compact – both still perfectly decent and available for only £17.99 a month.

Follow the link for more Sony Xperia X deals and Xperia X Compact deals.

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cheap htc 10 deals

HTC 10 deals

HTC's follow up to the One M9 was a worthy upgrade. In fact, we still think it's brilliant, and a genuine alternative to the newer, pricier U11. The best HTC U10 deal around is undoubtedly £30pm for 16GB data from Vodafone.

Read our guide to the best HTC 10 deals for more cheap prices

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cheap lg g5 deals

LG G5 deals

Get modular with LG's innovative former flagship phone. The best value option is 8GB of data for £33pm from Three. And if you just want to pick up a cheap handset that runs Android, these LG G4 deals are still worth a look, too.

Get stuck in to the best LG G5 deals

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iphone 6s deals

HTC One A9 deals

The HTC One A9 is a brilliant budget smartphone that could well do the job if you don't want to spend the earth. Go for this £23 a month deal and get £10 off at the checkout with the code 10OFF.

Discover even more cheap HTC One A9 deals

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Moto X Style

Moto X Style deals

If you want a 20MP camera and 2K display without busting your bank balance, then the Moto X Style is worth considering. Pay more than the minimum and you can get 16GB of data and a free handset for £29pm.  

All the best Moto X Style deals in one convenient place

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z5 deals

Sony Xperia Z5 deals

Sony's Z5 range put the iconic Japanese tech company back on the mobile phones map. You can't get them on contract any longer, so you'll have to team your Z5, Z5 Compact or Z5 Premium handset with a cracking SIM only deal.

Cheapest prices on the Sony Xperia Z5, Xperia XZ Compact and Xperia XZ Premium

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SIM only deals

If you need to plug the gap between iPhone launches or are simply happy with the phone you already have, grabbing a free SIM card may be the best option. If you have the cash, you may even find that teaming up a cheap SIM only deal with a new handset is a cheaper way of getting your new smartphone, with tariffs as low as a fiver a month for 1.5GB of data.

Visit our dedicated round-up of the best SIM only deals

Wondering what phone to choose?

If you can’t decide what phone your should buy, check out our best mobile phones buying guide. On that page you should find everything you need to make the choice of handset.

Skull and Bones vs Sea of Thieves: comparing the big pirate adventures of E3

E3 2017 has revealed that come 2018, we’ll have not one, but two big pirate games to choose from: Rare’s Sea of Thieves and Ubisoft’s Skull and Bones.

Though it’d be easy to assume that these games will be going blade to blade as direct competitors on the market, having been hands-on with both titles at E3, we at TechRadar are inclined to say there’s room for both of them.

Yes, they share many similarities, but there are distinct differences between the games and it’ll entirely depend on what you want from a piratical adventure which one you choose; you might even opt for both. 

Visuals and tone 

As far as graphics, visuals and overall tone are concerned, Skull and Bones and Sea of Thieves couldn’t be more different. 

Sea of Thieves not only has that signature Rare stylized cartoonish look, it’s also filled with quirky features. You eat bananas to regain health, and our character even had an accordion in their inventory which we were big fans of busting out and playing at the slightest provocation. Our teammates were not amused. 

Skull and Bones is clearly aiming much more for a realism that borders on simulation. Its visuals err more on the side of cinematic than cartoonish and compared to Sea of Thieves' Monkey Island-inspired color palate, Skull and Bones is much more muted and akin to Assassin's Creed Black Flag. 

When it comes to Skull and Bones, there are far fewer silly laughs to be had. Instead you’re more likely to be darkly chuckling as you sink an enemy ship and steal its loot. 

All for one and one for all gameplay

Though Skull and Bones does posit itself as a pirate game, at the moment there’s less focus on you as an individual pirate and more focus on you as a collective pirate ship. 

In the 5-versus-5 match we played, you pick a pirate ship class based on what kind of combat style you prefer (whether that’s long-range cannon fire or effectively being a floating battering ram) and you can then upgrade it and improve it in an RPG-style system.

From what we understand, Skull and Bones will revolve around building a strong fleet of ships which you can customize and direct to take down other groups of pirates, with the overall aim of becoming the most powerful presence on the high seas.

Meanwhile, Sea of Thieves is much more of a cooperative experience. You each play as a single crew member, and none of you are able to do everything you need to do to keep the ship afloat alone. From manning the cannons, to steering the ship, and patching up the hull with planks of wood, everyone will need to tackle separate tasks if you want to survive. 

Combat and tactics

Skull and Bones seems less focused on encouraging exploration of the open seas as it is on encouraging domination of them. Considering the game’s origin is the naval combat elements of Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag this heavy emphasis on combat isn’t entirely surprising. 

The combat revolves around using your ship's cannons to take down enemy vessels and though you can board enemy ships, this sequence is automated and you don’t actually engage in any hand-to-hand combat. 

Sailing and combat in Skull and Bones are fairly tactical; there’s a wind direction system located in a mini map in the bottom right hand corner of your screen and to pick up a decent amount of speed in order to escape enemies (or chase them down) you have to be sailing with the wind rather than against it. 

Moving along to Sea of Thieves, there are certain similarities. You need to be aware of the wind’s direction and pitch your sails accordingly, and you’ll also find yourself caught up in combat situations on a fairly regular basis. 

However, there are a couple of crucial differences. 

Though combat is present it’s hardly the game’s main focus. You’ll spend much more of your time simply sailing the open seas looking for adventure, and searching for that sweet sweet booty. 

Then, once you actually get into combat, you’re given much more freedom with where you can go and what you can do. You can either sit tight on your own ship, or you can jump into one of the canons and fire yourself across to the enemy’s ship and take the crew members on directly. You can even jump into the sea itself, although we wouldn’t recommend this unless you want to shortly find yourself in Davy Jones’ Locker.

Teamwork makes the dream work

Like Sea of Thieves, Skull and Bones involves playing online with others. We played a five-versus-five match in our E3 demo, but according to Ubisoft there’ll also be modes where you’ll be able to play online alone. 

In our match it was important to coordinate with your team to take down enemy ships and escape with as much loot as possible. As victory revolves around loot rather than the amount of ships destroyed, there’s a definite encouragement of cooperative play. 

If there’s a ship on your team with more loot than any other, it’s important that you help them escape at the end of the level (even if it means sacrificing yourself) as they’re you’re best chance at winning. 

It’s a similar story with Sea of Thieves, although here you’ll be cooperating within a single crew rather than across different ships. From manning the sails to firing the cannons, everyone has their own job, and you’ll need to work together to avoid sinking. 

That said, if you don’t want to work with as big a team, smaller ships which need a smaller number of people to crew are also available. 

More to come

Skull and Bones is still in the early stages of development at the moment, so we’d be wary of judging it too much at this point. We were told by Ubisoft that there would indeed be other modes when the game is released, so whether or not the game will explore beyond naval combat and perhaps allow the player to leave their ship as an individual avatar and explore is unclear. 

Sea of Thieves is much further along in development, and has been in closed beta for a number of months now. However, the game is still changing on a regular basis, as developers Rare take feedback and data from the community to change and develop the game. 

However, it seems at this point that Sea of Thieves is a much broader experience than Skull and Bones which encompasses all aspects of piracy rather than simply naval combat. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s definitely going to be the better game, as Skull and Bones may benefit from this much more focused approach. 

Both games are offering creative and interesting takes on what it means to be a pirate, and it’s great to see the setting being explored by two world-class developers. 

One advantage Skull and Bones might have over Sea of Thieves is that the latter is an Xbox exclusive with Windows 10 compatibility, while Skull and Bones will be available to PlayStation, Xbox and PC owners.

Overall, we found that Skull and Bones seems like the ideal game for players looking for gritty realism and a focus on tactical navy combat rather than the light-hearted and romantic exploration offered by Sea of Thieves. 

But, as far as we’re concerned, there’s plenty of space in the wide world of gaming for both games to get us our pirate fix. 

  • E3 is the world's largest exhibition for the games industry, stuffed full of the latest and greatest games, consoles, and gaming hardware. TechRadar is reporting live from Los Angeles all week to bring you the very latest from the show floor. Head to our dedicated E3 2017 hub to see all the new releases, along with TechRadar's world-class analysis and buying advice about the next year in gaming.

Android loses ground, iPhone 7 and 7 Plus still top smartphone sales in the US, Q1 data shows

Kantar Worldpanel ComTech released today its Q1 statistics on smartphone OS data, indicating stronger performance for iOS on local ground in the US, compared to the same period, last year. However, iPhone and iOS sales marked drops in Asia, while Samsung and Android did not perform too well on the other side of the globe, in the US.

The US market was dominated by iOS sales that accounted for up to 36.5% of smartphone sales in the country – a 5.8% increase from last year. In this spirit, iPhone 7 and its larger brother, 7 Plus, remained at the top of the sales …

Facebook is finally letting us add GIFs in comments

GIF images and animations have been around for the last 30 years, but only recently have they become a popular way for expressing thoughts and emotions, mainly thanks to social media. And they seem to be a hit on Facebook. Do you know that people send nearly 25,000 GIFs on Messenger every minute? Тo celebrate the 30th anniversary of the GIF as well as the popularity of the image format among its users, the company is finally letting everybody add GIFs in comments, effective today, June 15th.

You know that you can already post GIFs in Facebook’s status updates, …

Google Hangouts is getting iOS CallKit support, a couple of bug fixes

Google’s messaging and voice calling app Hangouts recently received a small update, which brings a long-awaited new feature and a few bug fixes.

Hangouts 16.0.0 is already available for download via App Store. The new app brings support for Apple’s CallKit, which enables VoIP services to make and receive calls using the iPhone’s dialer and phone app.

The new feature can be enabled or disabled from the Settings menu by tapping the Answer option on lock screen. After the update, users will be able to make calls using Siri commands, while the stock iOS call UI will allow them to receive incoming calls.

Aside from the options to receive incoming calls and make outgoing calls using the default phone app, the update includes a couple of fixes.

For starters, the update is supposed to address the photo pinch zoom in preview issue that many users have reported about lately. Lastly, an issue that would crash video calls should be fixed as well.

Microsoft to discontinue Skype apps on Windows Phone after July 1

Windows Phone is dead in its current form, but that doesn’t mean that Microsoft won’t try to resurrect the obsolete OS in the not so distant future. Until then, the Redmond-based company is closing all services that might eat up resources that would be better spent for different purposes.

After discontinuing the Skype WiFi apps at the end of March, Microsoft announced that the Skype apps would no longer work on Windows Phone effective July 1.

So, if you’ve previously used Skype on Windows Phone 8, Windows Phone 8.1, or the Messaging app for Windows 10 Mobile, then you should know that Microsoft will be permanently retiring these Skype apps next month. After July 1, you’ll notice that you won’t be able to sign in to these versions of Skype.

On a side note, the Messaging app for Windows RT and TVs will be discontinued after July 1, 2017, as well. The only way to continue to use Skype after that date would be to migrate to another device that supports Microsoft’s Skype services.

Nubia Z17 may be the first to support Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 4.0+, but you won’t be able to use it

Qualcomm announced an enhanced version of its quick charge technology last week and confirmed the first smartphone to feature Quick Charge 4.0+ is the Nubia Z17, a high-end smartphone recently launched in China.

Unfortunately, it turns out that Quick Charge 4.0+ won’t be usable with the Nubia Z17, at least at first. The Chinese company confirmed that its top tier smartphone comes with a Quick Charge 3.0 charger in the retail box, which doesn’t support the new technology.

Although the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset inside the Nubia Z17 has Quick Charge 4.0+ support, it looks like there are no chargers available for the new technology.

According to Qualcomm, Quick Charge 4.0+ is an improved version of the previous technology, and it’s supposed to allow a smartphone to go from empty to 50% in just 15 minutes.

Also, the new quick charge technology comes with enhanced Dual Charge functionality, Intelligent Thermal Balancing, and advanced safety features. All these improvements have been explained in our original story about Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 4.0+ technology, so make sure you check it out for more details.

As far as the Nubia Z17 goes, there’s no telling whether or not the Chinese company will eventually provide buyers with additional chargers compatible with Qualcomm’s new Quick Charge 4.0+ technology.