TechRadar

The best iPad Pro cases for your Apple tablet

It’s been over a year since Apple launched the iPad Pro 9.7, complementing its even-older plus-sized 12.9-inch model with a more on-the-move friendly sibling that doesn’t compromise on power.

Both of these slates are still powerfully popular, and the larger one has even been refreshed with the new iPad Pro 12.9 (2017), which handily fits the same cases as the original iPad Pro 12.9.

With that in mind we've created this list of the best cases – with and without keyboards – for your 9.7-inch or 12.9-inch pro-grade Apple slate.

You'll find cases of all different styles and fit for all different budgets, most of which are available for both size iPads. The one thing they all have in common is that they're all great.

Note: we've ranked these from cheapest to most expensive according to prices at time of writing. We also plan to have a selection of iPad Pro 10.5 cases enter this list in the coming weeks.

If the decision to go iPad Pro left you shorn of a few quid too many, then this tan PU leather case from Mofred is a no-brainer purchase. Its dark matt outer finish looks and feels a lot more expensive than it is, as does the tan inner microfibre lining inside.

The case neatly flips into a portrait or landscape stand with three grades of angle and the magnetic strip sleeps/wakes your iPad Pro on closing/opening. A pouch on the outside is just big enough for a few key A4 documents; Mofred even tucked in a screen protector to boot.

Overall this case is a great way to keep your premium device safe from everyday knocks and bumps without coughing up a lot more cash for the convenience.

There's something about Incipio's Octane Pure case that just feels fun. It has a rubbery impact-absorbing TPU bumper that's well-molded around the ports and buttons, and it runs around a transparent plastic shell that shows off the rear of your tablet.

The flip-over cover has a suede microfiber lining that does its bit to shield the screen, and it also folds up as a dual-angle kickstand for media viewing and typing.

With a vegan leather cover suitable for those fond of our four-legged friends, the case comes in black as well as crazy blue, pink and purple candy colors.

The magnetic lock on this slim case is probably the strongest we've come across and handily puts the iPad Pro to sleep at a close, as all Smart Covers should. The variable-angle stand is a bit flimsy if you tend to jab your device's screen, but users with a light touch should find it adequate.

VRS Design calls it a 'leather case' but it's actually lined in PU leather, which is a split leather backing covered with a layer of polyurethane.

Whether or not that's a minus is down to personal preference – we haven't had it long enough to cast judgement on its durability in the long term. Otherwise the case feels soft, it's good-looking and offers easy access to ports and buttons.

Another case that lets you show the world you’ve got great tablet taste, even if you’ve plumped for the rose gold tablet, Speck’s SmartShell Plus lets you make the most of the iPad’s looks as well as its core grunt and solid combination of work and play-friendly abilities.

Showing off your iPad's color while keeping it safe from everyday knocks and scratches, the transparent rear sports cut-outs in all the right places, with openings for Lightning connector, speaker and camera, volume buttons, plus a gap along the side that lets you pair the case with Apple's own Smart Keyboard.

Reinforced edges and corners keep everything safe from drops without adding unwanted bulk to your pleasingly slimline slate.

There are iPad Pro 9.7 cases, and then there is this, a bag specifically designed for your tablet. A luxurious one at that, having been crafted from genuine leather.

It has a wallet-size pocket on the outside and a classy case for your Apple Pencil, while the soft sleeve has all the right cut-outs, the sleep/wake smart function works as advertised, and the case folds over for ideal typing and viewing angles.

The inner pockets mean it's not the slimmest case by any stretch, but it's elegant while also providing fine protection. The shoulder strap is a welcome touch for those regularly on the move, whilst a variety of fun colors will appease those tired of the classic brown leather look.

We've seen Pipetto's Origami case for a number of iOS device models and its design never fails to impress. This version for the Pro user comes in a variety of stylish colours (the royal blue is particularly striking) and feels unique, thanks to Pipetto's use of soft PU for the outer shell and a furry suedette lining making things snuggly inside.

It's not unlike Apple's own Smart Cover for the iPad Pro, and even turns the device on/off when opened/closed; the difference is that the Origami has a rear flap that folds into four stand modes all of which offer an alternative viewing angle depending on your needs (typing, viewing etc). We like.

If you've owned a Gumdrop case before then this should be familiar territory. The Hideaway boasts the company's classic impact resistant dual-layer silicone/polycarbonate design with reinforced corrugated rubber bumpers around the edges of the screen for uber-protection.

There's also a built-in kickstand on the back that adjusts to viewing or typing modes.

What won't be so familiar perhaps is the neat Apple Pencil 'pocket' that sits lengthways at one corner and has two holes, one to stand up the input device when you're busy typing and another for sliding it in parallel to the case when you're on the move. Super handy!

It’s fine to show off your inner nerd, and we don’t just mean with a fun background on your super slate. This R2-D2-inspired Casetify offering is ideal for any hardened Star Wars fan.

It’s about more than mere fun factor though. The Saffiano leather body offers a durable protective coating that’s as hardwearing as it is easy on the eye, while a reinforced plastic inlay gently hugs your tablet and keeps it safe from drops.

It’s versatile too, with four different stand positions letting you optimize your tablet’s position to your current needs, be that typing, movie watching or a nice session with your Pencil in hand.

The iPad Pro is a simply stunning bit of kit. As much as you want to protect it from the rigors of daily life then, it feels a shame to hamper its good looks by wrapping it in a mass of plastic, rubber or leather. The OtterBox Statement helps keep your prized tech possession safe and secure without cramping its sleek lines.

While the case’s slimline body is finished with black, blue or maroon genuine-leather accents, the clear polycarbonate rear panel keeps your tablet’s effortless elegance on display.

That’s not all, reinforced rubber corners help boost the case’s drop-protection credentials, while a slightly lipped front keeps that stunning, Pencil-friendly screen safe from face-down fumbles.

Waterfield's zippered Travel Express Case is a stowaway's dream: it can store a charging cable with plug attached, an Apple Pencil, and even a Smart Keyboard alongside your iPad Pro, all with room to spare for earbuds etc. You don't have to worry about damaging your gear either, as soft-lined pockets keep each item safely separated.

The waxed bag is beautifully made, and with a self-locking zipper to keep things inside and an optional strap available, it's a great solution if you're often on the move. Sure, it's weighty when full, but the excellent design and fit keeps bulk to a bare minimum.

If you often struggle to angle your iPad's screen using the fixed positions of typical stand cases then Logitech has the ideal solution.

Inside the rear of this hard case is a smooth-glide hinge with a 60-degree range that sits dead centre of your iPad: just snap your device into the top fixture and bring the screen down to the desired angle and it stays put, even against the poke of heavy-handed tappers.

The hard rubberised fabric on the outside of the case feels plenty protective, with decent-sized slots for button access. It even has Smart Cover smarts, so the screen sleeps and wakes when you open/close it.

Traditional bookbindery finds another home in this handcrafted case, which features an elastic loop that holds an Apple Pencil securely when not in use. A sturdy plastic tray inside keeps your iPad in place and protects the edges when closed without hindering access to ports and buttons.

The case is described as multi-angle, but the stand can't quite take the weight of an iPad Pro and tends to slide down into the default position (which is fine in itself). All in all, it's a heavy old thing, but offers solid defence for your Apple device.

As much as you’d like to keep your iPad Pro’s sleek lines and metal body on show for the world to see, sometimes hardcore device-saving protection needs to come before style.

That doesn’t mean you have to completely do away with easy-on-the-eye appeal though. Griffin’s all-terrain Survivor case offers plenty of protection while letting you custom color the case to your tastes.

Despite boasting a relatively slim profile, this hardy add-on offers protection from drops up to 6.6 feet, making it ideal for the ultra-clumsy or those using their tablets in unforgiving environments. The defenses continue inside, too, with a foam-lined polycarbonate frame that's shatter-resistant and encased in silicone.

A Touch ID-friendly built-in screen protector and plugs for all the ports finish the look, while ensuring dirt, sand and rain have no easy route in. What’s more, an included clip-on stand for hands-free use makes your iPad Pro ready for whatever nature, or you, can throw at it.

The iPad Pro is a professional bit of kit, so it’s time to treat it as such. Knomo’s Full Wrap Folio case doesn’t just give the device a business-ready full-grain leather makeover, it also boasts a couple of business card holder slots on the inside cover.

This isn’t a case just for on-the-move estate agents though. While a smooth internal microfiber lining will help prevent your tablet’s screen succumbing to scuffs and scratches, the case’s folding, lipped design means it can double as a stand.

This is perfect whether you’re looking to enjoy a relaxing video viewing session or pair your tablet with a separate Bluetooth keyboard for quicker typing.

Available in black, gold and rose gold, as a helpful finishing touch every Knomo case comes with a unique identifying code too, so, once registered, if you ever misplace your prized possession those honest folks who stumble across it can easily get it back to you. Aren't people nice.

This is more of a sleeve than a case, so it protects your iPad Pro when you're not using it. With that out of the way, know this: Joli design is a thing to behold. The full grain waxed leather of this made-to-order product feels and smells delightful, and twinned with the wool inner lining really looks the part.

The fit feels tight at first, but after a bit of use we found the sleeve relaxed just a little and sliding an iPad Pro in and out soon required less force. The impeccable stitching kept the device more than secure though, so we can't fault it. It might not be cheap, but it's the loveliest handcrafted case we've seen.

This slender case is cloaked in a traditional bookbinding material called Buckram, which makes a satisfying crack like the well-worn spine of an archive journal when you fold it over into the stand position.

Two sturdy ridges in the opposing soft-grip liner offer two comfy viewing angles, while the clean-release 3M adhesive holds in your iPad Pro nice and securely.

The on/off magnetic smart cover is kept closed with a Moleskine band and does a fair job of protecting the device's edges. The outward indent of the fold is prone to wear but ends up adding to the overall vintage library book feel. A fine case indeed.

Moleskine is an iconic brand famed for making luxurious paper pads that truly stand the test of time and travel. While your iPad might have replaced those traditional paper innards, this luxurious iPad Pro case means you can still benefit from the same combination of style and hardiness.

Offering uncompromising daily protection, the black polyurethane case is finished with a soft microfiber inlay to keep your slate’s screen and sleek metal lines safe from scuffs and scratches.

Beyond ticking all the right knock and drop saving boxes, this case is about more than being a sophisticated, easy on the eye option.

As well as featuring Moleskine’s signature elastic band closing mechanism, the case doubles as a handy tablet stand and even comes with an inbuilt loop to keep your Apple Pencil from disappearing when not in use.

While Apple’s official keyboard case is impressive, it’s not perfect. Not only will its price tag give your already depleted wallet another sizeable kick in the bits, but there’s nowhere to store your Apple Pencil when not in use. Don’t worry though, that’s where Logitech’s effort comes in.

Utilizing the iPad’s Smart Connector, this keyboard case boasts backlit keys for improved after dark typing, while a special Pencil loop will keep your additional iPad accessory safe and secure.

More than just a rapid response email enabler, the case, which comes in black, blue or red, offers hearty tablet protection, both front and back, and will auto wake your iPad when opened.

While it won’t drain your tablet’s battery, only drawing power when placed in a typing position, keys assigned specifically to utilize a number of key iOS features have been slotted in, bonus.

When it comes to iPad protection, Apple, having designed the slate itself, has a solid starting point for keeping it safe. While its Smart Cover is a classic and the rear-protecting Silicone Case the best for protecting against bumps, it’s the official Smart Keyboard case that’s arguably Apple’s best iPad Pro accessory.

As well as protecting the screen from scratches when chucked in your bag, the case fits in its own physical QWERTY keyboard, transforming your powerful tablet into a true laptop replacement.

The keyboard-enhanced case isn’t just about being able to knock out email replies or last-minute work documents in double-quick fashion either. When work’s done, it can transform into a tablet stand, letting you enjoy a hands-free Netflix binge.

from TechRadar – All the latest technology news http://www.techradar.com/news/best-ipad-pro-cases

Sony enters under Rs 30k smartphone league with its Xperia XA1 Ultra

After unveiling it’s flagship smartphone Xperia XZ Premium, Sony has launched its mid-ranger Xperia XA1 Ultra today in India. The smartphone was first unveiled at the Mobile World Congress earlier this year alongside the Xperia XA1, which is already up for sale in India at Rs 19,990. 

Priced at Rs 29,990, the Xperia XA1 Ultra will be available across all Sony Centres and major offline retail stores in the country. You’ll find it in White, Black and Gold colour variants. 

The Xperia XA1 Ultra comes packed in a polycarbonate shell with the iconic slate shaped Xperia design. It comes in a phablet sized form-factor having a 6-inch full HD (1080p) edge-to-edge IPS display with undefined version of Gorilla Glass protection on top. Despite being priced at around 30k, the smartphone is devoid of a fingerprint sensor. Although, it carries a dedicated camera shutter button and a silver power and lock key on the right. 

The display and other features are quite similar to the Xperia XA1, which comes in a smaller form factor. The specifications include an octa-core MediaTek Helio P20 processor clocked at 2.3GHz, coupled with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage, which can be expanded up to 256GB using a microSD card. 

On the camera front, the XA1 Ultra offers a 23MP camera with f/2.0 aperture, phase detection, laser autofocus and LED flash accompanied by a 16MP front camera with OIS. 

The dual-SIM smartphone runs on Android Nougat and supports 4G and VoLTE. It has a 2700mAh battery that comes with fast charging support and also has Sony’s proprietary intelligent charging feature for prolonged battery life. It basically learns from your charging habits and adapts accordingly. Customers will get a quick charger UCH-12 in the box.

Connectivity features include A-GNSS (GPS + GLONASS), WiFi Miracast, Bluetooth 4.2, Google Cast, NFC and USB Type-C port for data syncing and charging. 

from TechRadar – All the latest technology news http://www.techradar.com/news/sony-enters-under-rs-30k-smartphone-league-with-its-xperia-xa1-ultra

Christopher Nolan chooses Blu-Ray over Netflix for his movie watching

In an interview hosted by the Film Society of Lincoln Center, Dunkirk director Christopher Nolan has said that he “rarely” uses Netflix when watching films at home, as he prefers Blu-Ray over the streaming giant. While he didn’t elaborate on why, it’s interesting to hear about the viewing habits of one of our generation’s finest filmmakers.

Nolan is no stranger to criticizing Netflix, having previously taken issue with the distribution model that it follows. In an interview with IndieWire he said, “Netflix has a bizarre aversion to supporting theatrical films, they have this mindless policy of everything having to be simultaneously streamed and released, which is obviously an untenable model for theatrical presentation.”

As a filmmaker who creates theatrical films, he is understandably invested in the theatrical release model. He drew direct comparison to Netflix rival Amazon, highlighting that a streaming service doesn’t necessarily have to be at odds with theatrical distribution: “You can see that Amazon is very clearly happy to not make that same mistake,” he said. “The theaters have a 90-day window. It’s a perfectly usable model. It’s terrific”

You should feel small and humble

The director isn’t the first to side with theatrical presentation over Netflix. At the Cannes film festival in May, Spanish director Pedro Almodovar got into a heated debate with Will Smith over Netflix having films nominated for the Palme D’or prize saying, “The size of the screen should not be smaller than the chair you’re sitting on, you must be feel small and humble in front of the image.”

So for theatrical films, digital distribution is obviously threatening, but hearing that Nolan chooses not to watch Netflix at home has us asking further questions. Is it a case of the higher audio visual quality that you get from watching an Ultra HD Blu-Ray? Or is it perhaps just a continuation of his personal stance on Netflix that's driven him towards this decision?

While the number of 4K titles available on Netflix is still fairly limited, and access to the service is dependant on the bandwidth of the user, these limitations don't seem to be slowing down its progress. It recently announced that it has over 100 million subscribers. 

It will be interesting to see whether Blu-Ray becomes a vinyl-like market, with a small pool of devoted purists still using the format, with a larger pool choosing the easier, while arguably worse quality, streaming option. 

Via Deadline

from TechRadar – All the latest technology news http://www.techradar.com/news/christopher-nolan-chooses-blu-ray-over-netflix-for-his-movie-watching

The best free iPhone games on the planet

The days when you had to buy a dedicated gaming rig and spend a load of cash for a quality gaming experience are long gone. Thanks to the iPhone (and iPod touch) and the App Store, you can get an excellent mobile gaming experience for just a few bucks (or quid, for that matter), or even less.

In fact, a lot of the games out there are free. But can you get great games for nothing at all, or is the ‘free’ section of the App Store just a shoddy excuse to bombard you with in-app purchases?

The answer is, of course, both. The trick is finding the gems amongst the dross, and what follows are our picks of the bunch: our top free iPhone games, presented in no particular order, including both long-time classics and brilliant cutting-edge recent releases. We’ve even included a VR game for you… aren’t you lucky?

Crazy Taxi is a port of a popular and superb Dreamcast/arcade title from 1999. You belt around a videogame take on San Francisco, hurling yourself from massive hills, soaring through the air like only a crazy taxi can, and regularly smashing other traffic out of the way.

Given the ‘taxi’ bit in the title, fares are important. Getting them where they want to go in good time replenishes the clock. Excite them and you’re awarded bonuses. Go ‘crashy’ rather than ‘crazy’ and the fare will take their chances and leap out of your cab, leaving you without their cash.

Crazy Taxi looks crude, but still plays brilliantly, and even the touchscreen controls work very nicely. For free, you must be online to play, however – a sole black mark in an otherwise fantastic port (and one you can remove with IAP).

Yeah Bunny is an enjoyable platform game featuring a speeding rabbit, who blazes along in a cartoon world, collecting carrots, grabbing keys, and trying to not get impaled on the many spikes some irresponsible dolt has left lying about.

It’s an auto-runner, so controls boil down to tapping the screen to jump at the most opportune moments. This nonetheless affords you plenty of control, such as double-jumping in mid-air for extra distance, or wall-jumping like a bunny ninja.

The game looks superb, with plenty of neat touches like the smoke trail behind the rabbit. And although it can be frustrating when the furry hero is spiked yet again, you can always continue your progress by watching an ad or dipping into your reserve of collected carrots.

In Fish & Trip, you command a single smiling fish, happily swimming in the ocean depths. Using your finger, you direct the fish towards eggs and other stragglers, the latter of which join you to gradually form a school. Unfortunately, everything else in the sea is hungry for a fish dinner.

At first, you’ll spot spiky anemones and the occasional sluggish green fish with big teeth. But eventually, you’ll be zig-zagging through claustrophobic seas, trying to find new friends to keep your school alive, and avoiding massive sharks that show up to the theme from Jaws.

It’s all rather simple, and may eventually pall. But in the short term at least, Fish & Trip is one of those wonderful and rare iPhone games pretty much guaranteed to plaster a smile on your face.

Topsoil, like its subject matter of gardening, is something that only really works if you’re willing to put in the investment. And that’s because it’s a puzzler that’s easy to grasp within seconds, but that rewards long-term play, as you slowly master new strategies to lengthen your games.

The board is a four-by-four grid, into which you add plants. Every four moves you can harvest a plant – or group of adjacent plants – which turns the soil. A reckless approach soon leaves you with non-contiguous chunks of land and no chance of removing loads of plants at once.

Even when planning ahead, the game’s inherently random nature can rapidly end a game. But Topsoil’s charm and gradual drip-feeding of new items to plant makes for a leisurely and enduring brain-teaser ideal for filling spare moments.

There’s a lot going on in 3D racer NASCAR Heat Mobile. There’s the racing bit, obviously, which is rather nicely done. You find yourself on an oval of tarmac, attempting to slipstream and weave your way to the checkered flag, avoiding a horrible pile-up along the way. It all looks rather smart, even if vehicle movement is occasionally suspect; the controls are simple and responsive too.

Away from the racing, you can delve into a meta-game of sorts, erecting buildings to generate resources that support your little race team’s efforts. This can be a bit of a distraction, but adds depth to the game.

And while the entire package doesn’t hold a candle to the madcap racing in the likes of Asphalt, it works nicely if you fancy speeding along in a manner that’s a bit more grounded.

rvlvr. is an easy game to dismiss. Despite the pleasant piano soundtrack and clear visuals, it doesn’t seem like anything special. You get a bunch of interlocking circles with dots on, and must select and rotate them so the puzzle matches the image at the top of the screen. Easy!

Only rvlvr. is anything but. Once you’ve blazed through the initial levels, everything becomes a mite more complicated. You end up staring at half a dozen or more rings with dots liberally sprinkled about, realizing one wrong move might wreck everything you’ve to that point worked so hard for.

This mix of progression and challenge, alongside rvlvr’s quiet elegance, will keep it rooted to your home screen. And that you can skip any of the 15,000(!) puzzle combinations is a nice touch, ensuring you won’t remain stuck on a single test you can’t get your head around.

There’s ambition at the heart of Full of Stars, which so easily could have been yet another run-of-the-mill tap-based survival game.

Much of your time is spent in space, tapping screen edges to deftly weave your ship through space debris. When possible, you scoop up stardust to charge up your weapons system and a hyperdrive that blasts you towards your destination at serious speed.

But Full of Stars is also a role-playing game of sorts, finding you immersed in a plot that puts humanity on the brink. Along with your deft arcade skills, you’ll need to manage resources and make vital decisions to ensure your survival.

It can get repetitive, and the arcade sections are sometimes harsh, but Full of Stars is a commendable effort at trying something different – a story-driven journey that demands both arcade and strategic smarts.

Swordigo is a love letter to the classic side-scrolling platform adventures that blessed 16-bit consoles. You leap about platforms, slice up enemies with your trusty sword, and figure out how to solve simple puzzles, which open up new areas of the game and move the plot onwards.

The plot is, admittedly, nothing special – you’re embarking on the kind of perilous quest to keep evil at bay that typically afflicts videogame heroes. But everything else about Swordigo shines.

The virtual controls are surprisingly solid, the environments are pleasingly varied, and the pace ranges from pleasant quiet moments of solitude to intense boss battles you’ll struggle to survive. All in all, then, a fitting tribute to those much-loved titles of old.

It appears we’ve got to the stage where taping up boxes is considered a viable subject for an iOS game. Bizarrely, though, Tape it Up! appeals.

It takes place on an endless scrolling conveyor belt, with your little dispenser leaping from box to box as you swipe. It’s easy to grasp, but tough to survive when everything’s moving at breakneck speed.

Grab enough coins and you unlock rather more esoteric dispensers that give the game a surreal edge. You might end up sealing boxes with milk, while cows moo in the background, or controlling a little console-style dispenser while an exciting-looking shoot ’em up taunts you by playing itself below.

Ah well – everyone knows taping up boxes is more fun than blowing up spaceships, right?

Playing football on your own can be dull – that is, unless you’re the sporty hero of Footy Golf. As ever, scoring is the main aim – and there’s a goal to be found somewhere on each course. But along the way, you can also collect coins someone’s generously left lying around.

The controls are straightforward (aim with a directional arrow and then let rip); much of the challenge comes in trying to maximize your star rating by reaching the goal using the fewest possible kicks. You’ll also have to navigate increasingly complex courses as you move through a city, caverns, a factory, and a scorching desert. 

The game’s a bit ad-infested, with a mildly hateful level unlock mechanism that encourages grinding, but played in bite-sized chunks, it’s definitely more ‘match winner’ than ‘own goal’.

You know when a game’s entire App Store description is “an exciting new thumb-sport” that you’re probably not heading for a title with oodles of depth.

And so it proves to be with Jelly Juggle, which is more or less a one-thumb take on Pong that you play by yourself.

Here, a little fish swims in a circle whenever you press the screen, aiming to keep a square jelly in play. If you don’t think that’s hard enough (and, frankly, it is – this game’s like juggling at speed), crabs eventually mosey on in to complicate matters, and new levels open up where you’re juggling multiple jellies.

A simple title, then, but one with immediacy (given how simple it is to grasp) and relentless intensity. Plus, games are short enough that you can probably have several attempts to beat your high score while waiting in a queue at the grocery store.

It’s always the way: there you are, a mage, supplying everything for your town’s increasingly slovenly citizens, when the ruckus from a particularly rowdy party causes a beaker of something potent to fall into your cauldron, blowing up your tower and turning you into a living skeleton. A typical Friday, really.

In Just Bones, the skeleton appears to be in a kind of Groundhog Day scenario, collecting up his various parts across tiny 2D platform game worlds, before flinging himself into a portal and repeating the process somewhere new.

It’s all very silly, but also a novel take on a platform game; and for those who like a challenge, there are some seriously tough speedrun targets to beat.

In this auto-running platformer, titular hero Yobot dodders about cavernous rooms within a robot manufacturing plant. Using his not-very-super powers of jumping and being able to stop a bit, you must help him to the exits, grabbing switches and keys along the way.

The stopping aspect of Yobot Run is complicated by you only having limited stop power – you can’t just sit there for ages, waiting for a moving platform to be just so.

The result is a game where you’re always anxiously searching for a route to the next waypoint, trying to avoid dying on one of the plant’s many hazards.

(Although, frankly, someone needs to have a word with the architect, given the number of spikes the plant has, and the exits being on impossible to reach platforms.)

Although, at its core, this is a fairly standard lane-based survival game (swipe to avoid traffic; don’t crash), Dashy Crashy has loads going on underneath the surface. It’s packed full of neat features, such as pile-ups, a gorgeous day/night cycle, and random events that involve maniacs hurtling along a lane, smashing everything out of their way.

It also cleverly adds value to mobile gaming’s tendency to have you collect things. In Dashy Crashy, you’re periodically awarded vehicles, but these often shake up how you play the game. For example, the cop car can collect massive donuts for bonus points, and an army jeep can call in tanks – just like you wish you could when stuck in slow-moving traffic.

Flinging a plastic disc about isn’t the most thrilling premise for a game, which is why it’s a surprise Frisbee Forever 2 is so good. The game finds a little toy careening along rollercoaster-like pathways, darting inside buildings and tunnels, and soaring high above snow-covered mountains and erupting volcanos.

You simply dart left and right, keeping aloft by collecting stars, and avoiding hazards at all costs – otherwise your Frisbee goes ‘donk’ and falls sadly to the ground. Grab enough bling and you unlock new stages and Frisbees.

This game could have been a grindy disaster, but instead it’s a treat. The visuals are superb – bright and vibrant – and the courses are smartly designed. And even if you fail, Frisbee Forever 2 lobs coins your way, rewarding any effort you put in.

Pixel Craft takes no prisoners. No sooner have you found your feet in your little auto-firing spaceship than hordes of aliens blow you into so much stardust.

Before long, you clock formations and foes, learn to dodge huge arrows fired by a massive space bow, figure out how to avoid kamikaze ships, and discover how to best an opponent that’s apparently ambled in, lost from arcade classic Caterpillar. Then you face a massive boss and get blown up again.

It’s staccato at first, then – even grindy. But Pixel Craft has a sense of fun and urgency that makes it worth sticking with. The aesthetics and controls are impressive, and death always feels fair – to be blamed on your fingers failing you.

But with perseverance comes collected bling and ship upgrades. Then you’re the one dishing out lessons in lasery death!

(At least until you meet the next boss.)

Depending on your way of looking at things, Narcissus is either a weird platform game for one or an amusing 50-level leapy game for two.

The basics are essentially based on the game Canabalt – Narcissus leaps from platform to platform, lest he fall down a gap and go splat. But if you recall your Greek mythology, Narcissus had a reflection; in this game, the reflection is visible on the screen.

The snag is the world in which the two characters jump isn’t a mirror image. For the single player, this makes for a tough challenge, keeping track of two tiny leapers, who often need to jump at different times. With a friend, it’s easier, so long as you don’t hurl your iPhone at a mirror should one of you badly mis-time a jump.

If you’ve played Super Dangerous Dungeons, you’ll be well aware developer Jussi Simpanen knows how to make a cracking platform game. Even so, Heart Star is a disarmingly charming treat.

You aim to guide two friends to a goal in each of the 60 tiny single-screen levels. The chums are typically surrounded by platforms, spikes, and switches – and that’s before you consider the perilous drops into a bottomless void. Also, there’s usually no obvious way for both to reach the goal.

It’s a head-scratcher until you start utilizing Heart Star’s world-swapping. Prod a button to switch character, whereupon the other friend’s platforms vanish. With a combination of brainpower, deft finger-work, and having the friends collaborate – often by one hopping on the other’s head – a solution should present itself, allowing you to continue on your journey.

It’s another vertically-scrolling endless survival game, where you’re pursued by a world-eating evil, but Remedy Rush is novel in subject matter and the way in which it plays.

The basics are familiar: you direct the protagonist by swiping about, aiming to keep ahead of your inevitable demise for as long as possible. But in Remedy Rush, you play as an experimental remedy (such as a cookie or sunglasses) exploring a grid-like infected body.

As you scoot about, toxins are destroyed to open up pathways, and health bursts can be collected to take out any cells and germs that are in your way. Over time, the host gets sicker and the fever more ferocious; when the end comes, you can try again with a new remedy, each one having its own game-altering side-effect.

King Rabbit has some unorthodox enemies. Having kidnapped his rabbit subjects, said foes have dotted them about grid-based worlds they’ve filled with meticulously designed traps.

Mostly, this one is a think-ahead puzzler, with loads of Sokoban-style box sliding. But instead of being purely turn-based fare, King Rabbit adds tense swipe-based arcade sections, with you running from scary creatures armed with rabbit-filleting weaponry.

Really, this isn’t anything you won’t have seen before, but King Rabbit rules through its execution. Visually, everything’s very smart, from the clear, colorful backgrounds to the wonderfully animated hero (and the little jig he does on rescuing a chum). But the puzzles are the real heroes, offering a perfect balance of immediacy and brain-scratching.

This one’s not freaky, nor is it even a racing game – so, sorry for luring you in with that. Instead, Freaky Racing is an endless runner of sorts. With visuals that appear to have lumbered in from 1981, the game has you steer a blocky black car along a vertically scrolling track. The problem is, you haven’t got any brakes – and things speed up really quickly.

Before long, you’re weaving through chicanes, avoiding your doddering racing chums, and trying to avoid going near the road edges, which are apparently made from some kind of material that makes cars instantly explode. Chances are, you won’t last long in Freaky Racing’s strange little world, but it’s a weirdly compelling title that’ll keep you coming back for more.

There’s a bit of cheating going on in Moveless Chess. Although your opponent plays a standard game, you’re some kind of wizard and apparently don’t want the hassle of moving pieces.

Instead, you’ve limited action points, which are used to transform pieces you already have on the board. (So, for example, with three points, you can cunningly change a pawn into a knight.) The aim remains a game-winning checkmate, and, presumably, avoiding the ire of your non-magic opponent.

It’s chess as a puzzler, then, and with a twist that’ll even make veterans of the game stop and think about how to proceed at any given moment.

After all, when you get deep into the game’s challenges, you might find wizarding powers don’t always make for a swift win when you can’t move your pieces.

We’re sort of in Crossy Road territory here, but instead of a chicken hopping along an endless landscape of roads and rivers, Redungeon finds a little knight dumped in a seemingly infinite dungeon full of traps.

Credit to whoever wanted to make the knight suffer, because said traps include endless inventive ways to kill someone, from squelching blobs of goo to massive metal panels that slam together, squashing flat anyone daft enough to get in their way.

As ever, you’re being chased by some kind of unrelenting evil (here depicted by loads of spooky red eyes) and so can’t hang about.

As such, you’ll mostly fail by swiping the wrong way when in a panic, thereby impaling your knight. Still, grab enough bling on your journey and you can upgrade your character (and unlock new ones), giving them a fighting chance – well, at least an extra 30 seconds.

In Icarus – A Star’s Journey, you help a fallen star get back to the heavens. To make each little leap upwards, you drag back and release to catapult the star, like a celestial Angry Bird. Over time, energy is used, your star eventually exploding; to avoid that, you temporarily lurk inside other stars for a quick top up.

Much of the challenge involves successfully navigating hazards – usually spinning shapes you awkwardly ricochet off of – before you burn through your health.

Grab enough orbs along the way and you can lengthen subsequent attempts through leveling up and gaining extra health. If only you could burn through the ads, too, since they obliterate the tranquil vibe – but, inexplicably, there’s no IAP for that.

Given Laser Dog’s tendency to make infuriatingly difficult games, Don’t Grind at first seems like a departure. You control a little cartoon banana, keeping it in the air – and away from massive saw blades – by tapping the screen and swiping to move a bit. It’s like a pleasant keepie-uppie effort – for a few seconds.

After that point, all hell breaks loose, with your worried-looking fruit having to escape a squishy, painful death by avoiding laser guns, rockets, and all manner of other hazards intent on shoving it towards the blades.

Collect enough stars while tapping the screen and you can unlock new victims. If you’re terrible, there are no shortcuts to bolster your collection either – the only IAP is to get rid of the ads. Brutal.

With eye-searing colors and jagged pixels, Tomb of the Mask looks like it’s escaped from a ZX Spectrum, but this fast-paced twitch maze game is very much a modern mobile effort. In a sense, it feels a bit like a speeded-up and flattened Pac-Man 256, with you zooming through a maze, eating dots, and outrunning an all-devouring evil.

But the controls here are key – a flick hurls you in that direction until something makes you stop. Hopefully, that’s a wall. If it’s a spike or an enemy, you’re dead.

The procedurally generated Arcade mode increasingly ramps up the intensity as you strive to reach the end of each tomb, while a stage-based mode pits your flicking finger against 60 deviously designed set challenges.

If you’re a fan of knocking metal balls about, you’re likely frustrated with iPhone pinball. Even an iPhone Plus’s display is a bit too small, resulting in a fiddly experience replete with eye strain. Enter PinOut!, which rethinks pinball in a manner that works perfectly on the smaller screen.

In PinOut’s neon-infused world, you play against the clock, hitting ramps to send your ball further along what’s apparently the world’s longest pinball table. Rather than losing a ball should it end up behind the flippers, you merely waste vital seconds getting back to where you were. When the clock runs out: game over.

The result is exciting and fresh, and the relatively simple mini-tables are ideal for iPhone. Moreover, the game’s immediacy makes it suitable for all gamers, overcoming pinball’s somewhat inaccessible nature.

One of those games happy to repeatedly punch you in the face, Nekosan is a brutal single-screen platformer. The premise is that the mice have stolen all the stars, and hidden them in a dungeon. It’s up to the heroic Nekosan to retrieve them.

The snag is that, unlike most platform games, Nekosan only affords you control by way of tapping anywhere on the screen. Depending on where the kittie’s positioned, said tappage might fling him into the air, have him leap from a wall, or help him bound on a mid-air switch.

You must therefore figure out how to traverse each puzzle-like level, using perfect timing to ensure the jumping feline isn’t killed. And while you do, suitably, get nine lives, you’ll find they disappear extremely rapidly.

At a glance, Super Cat Tales looks like it’s arrived from a 1980s console. Bright colors, chunky pixels, and leapy gameplay put you in mind of a Mario or Alex Kidd adventure.

But although Super Cat Tales twangs the odd nostalgia gland, the controls make it a thoroughly modern affair. Character movement happens by tapping the left or right screen edge – hold to move or double-tap to dash. While dashing, your moggie will leap from a platform’s edge; and if sliding down a wall, a tap in the opposite direction performs a wall jump.

At first, this feels confusing, as muscle memory fights these unique controls. Before long, though, this smart design dovetails with succinct levels packed with secrets, collectible cats with distinct abilities, and gorgeous aesthetics, to make for one of the best games of its type on mobile.

The Mikey series has evolved with every entry. Initially a speedrun-oriented stripped-back Mario, it then gained swinging by way of grappling hooks, before ditching traditional controls entirely, strapping jet boots to Mikey in a kind of Flappy Bird with class.

With Mikey Jumps, the series has its biggest shift yet. Scrolling levels are dispensed with, in favor of quick-fire single-screen efforts. Now, Mikey auto-runs, and you tap the screen to time jumps so he doesn’t end up impaled on a spike or plummet to his death.

It sounds reductive, but the result is superb. Devoid of cruft and intensely focused, Mikey Jumps is perfect for mobile play, makes nods to previous entries in the series (with hooks and boots peppered about) and has excellent level design that sits just on the right side of infuriatingly tough.

Minimal arcade game Higher Higher! is another of those titles that on paper seems ridiculously simple, but in reality could result in your thumb and brain having a nasty falling out.

A little square scoots back and forth across the screen, changing color whenever it hits the edge and reverses direction. Your aim is to tap a matching colored column when the square passes over it.

The snag is that the square then changes color again; furthermore, the columns all change color when the square hits a screen edge.

To add to your troubles, Higher Higher! regularly speeds up, too, thereby transforming into a high-octane dexterity and reactions test. Combos are the key to the highest scores and, as ever, one mistake spells game over.

Satellina Zero is a somewhat abstract game that borrows from endless runners and rhythm action titles. You play as a white hexagon, sliding left to right to scoop up green hexagons streaming in from the top. You can also tap, which jumps you to the relative horizontal location while simultaneously switching deadly red hexagons to green (and greens to red). It sounds complicated, but it really isn’t.

Survival is reliant on observation and quick thinking, where you must constantly ensure whatever hexagons are coming up are the right color, jump across at the perfect moment, and slide to scoop them all up. Last long enough and you unlock new modes and music.

It would have been interesting to see choreographed levels with percentage scores, rather than games comprising semi-randomized waves that always end on a single missed hexagon; nevertheless, Satellina Zero is a fresh, compelling arcade experience.

Blokout is a furious, high-speed color-matching game that punishes you for the slightest hesitation. The initial mode plonks you in front of a three-by-three grid, and you have to swap colored squares, Bejewelled-style, to make complete lines, which then vanish.

The timer is the key to the game. A clock sits in the upper-left of the screen and rapidly counts down, giving you only a few moments to complete a line. If the timer runs dry it's game over; make a line and it resets, giving you another few seconds.

The intensity is therefore always set to maximum, nicely contrasting with the game's friendly, bold colors (which amusingly turn stark black and white the instant you lose); and if you stick around, you'll find further challenges by way of boosters and tougher modes.
 

There are few arcade games as refined and perfectly considered as Forget-Me-Not – and we're talking across all platforms, not just iPhone.

The game places you in procedurally generated dungeons, tasking you with eating all the flowers, grabbing a key and making for the exit. All the while, you auto-shoot ahead, blasting away at each dungeon's denizens.

What sets the game apart from its contemporaries is its energy, vitality and variety. Multiple modes shake up strategies, and the many different foes that beam in have distinct personalities to keep the gameplay varied.

Some relentlessly home in on you, whereas others are content blowing anything around them to pieces – including the maze. Suitable for one-thumb play in portrait or landscape, Forget-Me-Not is an arcade classic.

Aptly named, given that it has loads of platforms and aims to make you panic, Platform Panic is a high-speed single-screen platform game. Whenever you enter a new screen, you’ve a split second to work out what’s going on before you forge ahead, trying to beat its various traps. As is so often the way on mobile gaming titles, a single slip up spells death.

There’s auto-runner DNA in Platform Panic, since your little character never stops running – although you can change their direction with a swipe and, crucially, leap into the air. Over many games, you’ll figure out how to beat each screen, and then it’s just a question of chaining together a number of successful attempts.

This is easier said than done, mind. Scores of over a dozen are something to be proud of in Platform Panic’s world. Still, games are short enough that when your little cartoon avatar is rudely impaled, there’s always time for another go.

One of the most absurdly generous deals we’ve ever seen on the iPhone, Cally’s Caves 3 is a monstrous platform adventure that’s given away entirely for free. Many dozens of levels across eight zones find the titular Cally searching for her parents, who’ve managed to get kidnapped by an evil genius – for the third time.

Unsurprisingly, Cally’s not overly chuffed with this turn of events, and she also happens to be worryingly heavily armed for a young pigtailed girl. She leaps about, blasting enemies, finding bling, and making for an exit, in tried-and-tested platforming fashion.

This is a tough game. Although you can have endless cracks at any given level, Cally’s Caves 3 is based around checkpoints, forcing you to not just blunder ahead. But smart level design and a brilliant weapon upgrade model keep the frustration to a minimum and ensure this is one of the best games of its type on the iPhone.

Apparently turned off by chess’s commitment to beauty, elegance and balance, the developer of Really Bad Chess set out to break it. You therefore start your first game with a seriously souped-up set of pieces: several queens, and loads of knights. Your hapless computer opponent can only look on while lumbered with a suspicious number of pawns.

One easy win later and you’re full of confidence, but Really Bad Chess keeps switching things up. Rather than the AI getting better or worse, the game changes the balance of your set-up. As you improve, your pieces get worse and the computer’s get better, until you’re the one fending off an overpowered opponent.

It’s a small twist on the chess formula, to be sure, but one that opens up many new ways of playing, whether you’re a grandmaster or a relative novice.

In Maximum Car, you careen along winding roads, smashing your chunky car into other similarly Lego-like vehicles. When possible, you lob missiles about with merry abandon, boost, drift, and generally barrel along like a lunatic. It’s a bit like a stripped-down Burnout or a gleefully violent OutRun.

Your terrorising of other road users (through near misses and blithely driving on the wrong side of the road), rewards you with coins to spend on powering up your ride. Do so and Maximum Car speeds up significantly, veering into absurd and barely controllable territory.

Takedowns (as in, smashing other cars off of the road) are also positively encouraged; destroy the same car over enough races and it’ll be unlocked for purchase.

Along with a tongue-in-cheek commentary track, this is all very silly entertainment – great for quick bursts of adrenaline-fuelled racing, and absolutely not the sort of thing to play before a driving test.

This third entry in the Dots series, Dots & Co, will be familiar to anyone who’s played the previous efforts. The aim is to collect a pre-set number of colored dots on each level, which is achieved by dragging out paths through dots of the same color. Manage to draw a square and all dots of the relevant color vanish.

Complications come by way of odd-shaped levels that often leave you with small groups of dots stranded within awkward shapes, and obstacles that need clearing. Cartoon ‘companions’ help a bit here, blasting away at the board once you’ve powered them up, and there are also a few special powers to make use of.

It’s here the charms of Dots & Co fade slightly – as the game progresses, you can’t help but feel you’re being given impossible tasks, and that an awful lot of luck is required to beat levels without resorting to buying tokens to spend on powers or extra moves. Despite this, Dots & Co remains a pleasant and engaging time sink.

They don’t come much simpler than Kubix, which sums up the aim of the game in what follows the hyphen in its full App Store name: ‘Catch the white squares and avoid the black ones’. There is, fortunately, a bit more to it than that. As you’re tilting your device to sneak past black squares and scoop up white ones the latter add to an ever-depleting energy reserve.

You’ll also regularly see squares with a question mark barging their way into the arena. Catch one when it’s white and you’ll get a nice surprise, such as all of the squares temporarily turning white. Grab one when it’s black and you’ll be in for a nasty time, trying to survive in a sea of black squares, or avoid such pixels of evil while piloting a suddenly awkwardly unwieldy white circle.

Two games in one, Big Bang Racing offers a breezy single-player trials experience on trap-filled larger-than-life tracks, and then multiplayer races across similarly crazy courses. The visuals are very smart, with your odd little alien rider imbued with plenty of personality; the controls work well, too, with two pairs of buttons for moving and rotating your bike.

The game’s infested with the usual trappings of modern freemium titles – chests; timers; in-game gold; in-app purchases – but, surprisingly, this doesn’t make much difference nor really impact negatively on the experience. With a little patience, you can play a few races every day, gradually improving your bike, winning races, and mastering courses.

Collect enough bits and bobs from chests and you can even have a go at creating and sharing your own tracks, using an excellent built-in editor.

Poker and Solitaire have been smashed together before, in the excellent Sage Solitaire, but Politaire tries something new with the combination.

At all points, you can see the next three cards from the draw pile. You then swipe away unwanted cards from your hand with the aim of those remaining and any newcomers forming a poker hand, which then vanishes, automatically bringing in more new cards.

When possible, you want to score 'combos', through multiple hands subsequently occurring with you doing nothing at all. Naturally, this requires a little luck, but there's also plenty of skill here, in terms of managing your cards and figuring out what's coming in the pile.

It sounds confusing, but give it time and it'll dig into your very soul.

For free, you generously get the entire main single-deck game, which rapidly becomes furiously addictive. Splash out for the one-off IAP ($1.99/£1.99/AU$2.99) and you unlock double-deck mode and alternate card designs, along with getting rid of occasional ads.

illi is a quaint one-button puzzle platformer that simply requires you to tap the screen to jump from ledge to ledge and collect all the crystals in a stage.

Its beautiful visuals will draw you into its simplistic yet engaging gameplay, while its puzzles will challenge you with bonus requirements and unique tricks. And there’s the 60 levels too that are sure to mesmerize and impress as you dodge through this cheeky little title.

Loop Mania is an addictive arcade game that is sure to challenge your reflexes and timing skills. In order to increase your score you need to collect as many dots as possible as your circle races around a circular loop, while avoiding bigger balls on its path.

The trick is to tap the screen to launch your ball onto the others to destroy them for extra points. Just don't tap at the wrong time or your race is over.

Choose your own path and explore the gothic avenues of the Victorian city of Fallen London. Define your destiny and craft your character’s fate with each choice you make and quest you complete.

This literary RPG boasts excellent writing that is sure to pull you into its dark yet comedic world as you befriend the locals and choose the path you think you want to go on.

Spellspire rewards you for having a large vocabulary as each dungeon you plunder requires you to come up with as many words as possible to defeat its enemies and reach that elusive treasure at the end.

The money you get from all that looting can then be used to upgrade your spells and weapons to make each word you spell deal even more damage. How many levels can you clear?

As its name implies, Looty Dungeon tests your survival skills as you loot your way through endless dungeons teeming with traps, bosses, and falling floors.

Pick up coins to purchase additional heroes, each with different powers and stats, keeping the game fresh. Hidden dangers can easily put an end to your looting, so tread carefully and carry a big sword – which is just good advice for life really, isn’t it?

Well, maybe not a sword. Perhaps a sense of self-confidence… life can sometimes be about metaphors too.

PKTBALL takes ping pong and turns into an endless arcade addiction. Outsmart your opponents to get the best score you can, get money, and unlock lots of colorful playable characters, each with their own court and soundtrack.

Once you’ve mastered the basics you can challenge your friends in local multiplayer matches or simply smash your way to the top of the leaderboards. This is the kind of game that you’ll start playing while making dinner and only look up from when the fire brigade are breaking down your door.

A kingdom of Disney characters can be unlocked in this alternative look at the popular road-crossing game – intelligently titled Disney Crossy Road.

It's a 'magical take' on a game that has been downloaded over 50 million times, and designed to attract a new raft of players.

Cross as many roads as you can and collect coins to purchase even more stars spanning various Disney films, each with their own music and world for all you film fans out there.

And as you can imagine (if you've played the 'normal' Crossy Road before), you'll see how far you can survive with your favorites from Toy Story, Lion King, Zootopia, and many more.

Colorful, casual, and addictive, Slide the Shakes is a game that stays true to its name and challenges you to slide various milkshakes onto specially marked areas on a counter without tipping them over. Simply pull back and send your glass flying and hope it lands where you want it to.

Sparkwave is a simple yet addictive game where you guide a spark of light through an endless path composed of traps, collectibles, and power-ups. You’ll need to have fast fingers if you want to stay alive as obstacles will spawn seconds before you rush into them. You can also pick up crystals to unlock new sparks and power-ups which can completely change the way you play.

The classic run-and-gun franchise takes on the tower defense genre in Metal Slug Attack. Missions in this colorful title ultimately come down to destroying your enemy’s stronghold using your own deck of troops. You can also play online with others, and go on missions to rescue prisoners, weapons, or items that can aid your campaign.

Tennis Champs Returns is a robust remake to the 1995 Amiga tennis game and brings with it plenty of great additions and mobile-friendly controls. You can move up the ranks in career mode and challenge the computer to increasingly difficult matches. Or, compete with opponents all over the world in quick bouts. Daily challenges and mini games help to keep the interest levels going.

Bring some color into a drab world in Splash Cars, a racing game that lets you drive around literally painting the town red, green, and other colors while avoiding the cops. Pick up gas to keep driving and collect coins to unlock power-ups that make completing each level’s paint requirements a whole lot easier.

A beautifully pixelated adventure, Sky Chasers requires you to use your fingers to guide your character along side-scrolling paths collecting coins and completing side-quests for his friends. Your cardboard ship has a limited fuel supply, so you’ll occasionally have to stop by checkpoints to refuel and avoid any pesky enemies that add an element of danger to your otherwise peaceful trip. Solve simple puzzles and upgrade your ship as you enjoy its rich colorful worlds.

Rust Bucket turns the concept of a turn-based game into a puzzle-like roguelike that is a blast to play. Each level requires you to navigate your way through a dungeon to reach its goal, but with every step you take, your enemies also move in different patterns. Strategy is key to surviving since you don’t want to step in front of an enemy knowing it may kill you in your next turn.

Planet Quest is a rhythm-based arcade game that has you play as an alien who abducts animals to the beat of some catchy music. Time your taps well for perfect abductions, but avoid zapping any flowers since aliens apparently don’t like them very much. Over an hour of electronic, techno, and diverse music await your ears as you aim for a better score each time you play.

Learn about clean energy as you play through beautiful worlds in The Path to Luma, a puzzler that has you traveling from planet to planet to power them back up. Rotate entire planets and use the power of natural energy like sunlight and wind to power up switches and open the way forward to your next destination. With a little hard work, dying planets come alive as you play through 20 relaxing levels.

Searching for his lost grandpa, a little boy gets lost underneath a lighthouse and now must escape from a labyrinth filled with traps and secrets. Each inventive dungeon must be rotated in order to guide the boy to the tunnel leading to the next one. You’ll need to prepare yourself for spikes, levers, crumbling platforms, and other challenges that amp up the difficulty as you try to survive Beneath the Lighthouse.

What do bears and artwork have in common? Not much, but this pairing makes for a great puzzler starring a bear whose mission is to take down various art galleries that have invaded his woods. Bears vs. Art gives you dozens of levels where you’ll need to destroy paintings, bowl over snooty patrons, or a mixture of both. A ticking clock, limited moves, and even artful traps will change things up and challenge you as you play rough.

Does Not Commute is a curious puzzler that requires you to drive cars to their destination, but the catch is that previously-solved routes play live as you figure out the next one. A timer is constantly ticking down, so not only will you need to be mindful of the traffic, but you’ll also need to be fast and pick up power-ups to extend your commute. Your driving and logic skills are sure to be tested.

Choose from one of five races and classes and take on an expansive world in Order & Chaos 2: Redemption, a robust MMORPG that is made for mobile play. Whether you team up with friends or go it alone, Redemption’s plethora of rewarding quests will keep you coming back for more as you explore the beautiful and menacing kingdom of Haradon. Daily quests, challenges, and PvP duels are sure to keep you on your toes no matter how you play.

Collect teddy bears and use them to aid you in making words in the adorable Alphabear. Daily boards and challenges require you to come up with words with the letters that appear on your screen. Each time you do, bears will populate the board and get bigger the more letters you use around them. Make the biggest bear you can and rack in the points and the bragging rights.

Down the Mountain is a bit like Crossy Road, but you’re not crossing any streets or dodging traffic. Instead, you’ll need to guide your intrepid mountaineer down blocks a la Q*bert and avoid dangerous flooring, bears, and other random obstacles that will end your descent. Open presents along the way and gather coins to unlock more colorful characters to climb down with.

Dominate your friends or random strangers in Capitals, a friendly word game that takes some strategy to master. Each time you challenge someone, you need to use the letters around your “capital” to expand your area of influence. If your enemy uses your letters, he’ll capture them and slowly start to take over. A good grasp of vocabulary and some quick thinking skills are your best tools to conquering everyone’s capital.

No one really knows why the chicken crossed the road, but Crossy Road doesn’t feature just chickens, and the reason why you’ll be crossing each dangerous street is to climb that leaderboard. Time your jumps carefully, and tap and swipe the screen to move as you collect coins to unlock new characters and hilarity. Just be sure to avoid traffic, cannon balls, gaps, and so many other random bits of danger that can end your travels in an instant.

Homage to 16-bit platformers of the past, Super Dangerous Dungeons is sure to bring you back in time with its pixelated visuals and SNES-inspired soundtrack. Forty-eight colorful levels that feature classic traps are sure to keep you challenged as you solve puzzles, turn on switches, and find that elusive key to open the door to the next one. Avoid those bottomless pits and dangerous water and you’ll be fine.

Make words as fast as you can in this fast-paced game that combines falling blocks with a bit of wordplay. The object of Coolson’s Pocket Pack is to survive for as long as you can while you make words of a set length using the letters that start falling down. Think fast and move letters around to make your way through consecutive words for extra chain combos, but take too long and the screen will overflow – game over.

We’ve seen quite a few spot-kick flick-based efforts on the iPhone, but Tiny Striker also brings to mind old-school arcade footie like SWOS. It’s all goalmouth action here, though, with you scoring from set-pieces, initially against an open goal, but eventually by deftly curling your ball past walls of defenders and a roaming ‘keeper.

The wee knitted chap from LittleBigPlanet lands on iOS, in yet another endless runner. We should yawn and hit delete, really, but Run SackBoy! Run! is absolutely gorgeous, with stunning scenery based on the LittleBigPlanet titles. The gameplay’s intuitive and simple, but inventive level design will keep you coming back time and time again.

You know that popular Fallout 4 game we’ve all been getting excited about? Why not get in the post apocalyptic mood with this Bethesda made spin-off game? Fallout Shelter sees you take control of a Vault from the game series as you try to keep all its dwellers happy whilst protecting them from the horrors of the outside world. It’s a funny little way to get excited about the upcoming game whilst also being great in its own right.

You have to give Stranded: Mars One a little time to properly get its hooks into you. At first, it appears to be yet another auto-runner. The blocky retro graphics are cute, but, well, we've seen it all before. But then you notice the smart level design, and the way in which you have to keep your little astronaut's speed up, lest they run out of oxygen. Sliding, jet-packs and wall-jumping are lobbed into the mix as the game flings increasingly complex caverns in your direction. The result ends up akin to an 8-bit Rayman in space — and that's before you've even delved into async multiplayer races!

You can’t help but get a sense of having seen it all before when first playing Fallen. Pretty soon, though, you’ll be hypnotised by its subtly engaging mix of pachinko and colour-matching, along with a pleasing soundtrack that feels like someone’s sneaked Kraftwerk into your iPhone. The game itself is simple: balls drop from the top of the screen and you must rotate your coloured wheel so they hit the right bit. Three errors and you’re done. Spin all the way round between hits and you get coins that can be spent on boosting upgrades that occasionally fall from the top of the screen.

This sweet survival game is full of character, as you assist a Victorian gent, out for his evening constitutional. The problem is it’s a bit windy, and the gent’s hat is in danger of blowing away during a gust – press the screen and he holds it in place. Each step increases your score and also the chances of seeing thoughtful comments from the hatted chap.

The Boulder Dash series has a long pedigree, but this is the first time its co-creators have teamed up since the classic 1984 original. It’s also the first time (in several attempts) the game has worked on iOS. The game itself is business as usual: dig through dirt; avoid boulders and enemies; grab gems. But it looks great, controls well, and even includes the original caves as an optional IAP.

Sky Force 2014 celebrates the mobile series’s 10th anniversary in style, with this stunning top-down arcade blaster. Your little red ship, as ever, is tasked with weaving its way through hostile enemy territory, annihilating everything in sight. The visuals are spectacular, the level design is smart, and the bosses are huge, spewing bullet-hell in your general direction.

We imagine this Crazy Taxi rethink will alienate some fans of the original series, but plenty of the classic time-attack racer’s feel remains intact. You zoom through city streets, picking up and dropping off fares against the clock; only this time, everything’s largely on rails. It’s sort of Crazy Taxi meets Temple Run, with plenty of upgrades and mini-games to master.

At some point, a total buffoon decreed that racing games should be dull and grey, on grey tracks, with grey controls. Gameloft’s Asphalt 8: Airborne dispenses with such foolish notions, along with quite a bit of reality. Here, then, you zoom along at ludicrous speeds, drifting for miles through exciting city courses, occasionally being hurled into the air to perform stunts that absolutely aren’t acceptable according to the car manufacturer’s warrantee.

Logic? Pah! Sanity? Pfft! We care not for such things, yells Super Monsters Ate My Condo. It then gets on with turning the match-three genre and Jenga-style tower-building into a relentless time-attack cartoon fest of apartment-munching, explosions, giant tantrums and opera. No, really.

Most developers create games from code, but we’re pretty sure Hero Academy‘s composed of the most addictive substances known to man all smushed together and shoved on to the App Store.

The game’s sort-of chess with fantasy characters, but the flexibility within the rule-set provides limitless scope for asynchronous one-on-one encounters. For free, you have to put up with ads and only get the ‘human’ team, but that’ll be more than enough to get you hooked.

Three bushes make a tree! Three gravestones make a church! OK, so logic might not be Triple Town‘s strong suit, but the match-three gameplay is addictive. Match to build things and trap bears, rapidly run out of space, gaze in wonder at your town and start all over again. The free-to-play version has limited moves that are gradually replenished, but you can unlock unlimited moves via IAP.

While Asphalt 8 aims squarely at arcade racers, Real Racing 3 goes for the simulation jugular. Its stunning visuals drop you deep into high-quality racing action that sets new standards on mobile devices. Plenty of cars and tracks add longevity, although do be aware the game is a bit grindy and quick to hint you should buy some in-app cash with some of your real hard-earned.

Few free games are quite as polished as Hearthstone, but then this is a Blizzard game, so we hardly expected anything less.

There are dozens of card games available for iPhone, but Hearthstone stands out with high production values and easy to learn, difficult to master mechanics, which can keep you playing, improving and collecting cards for months on end. Matches don’t generally take too long either so it’s great for playing in short bursts.

Think you know stress? You haven’t experienced stress until you’ve played Spaceteam, a cooperative multiplayer game that requires you to all work together as a crew (and bark orders at your friends). Sounds easier than it is; failure to cooperate will probably end with your ship getting sucked into a black hole.

If brutally difficult old-school games are your thing, Alice in the Secret Castle will appeal. The game boasts 64 rooms of NES-style hell, with a curious game mechanic that hides walls when you hold the ‘A’ button. Progression therefore becomes a case of mastering taxing and relentless (but rewarding) puzzle-oriented platforming.

In this game, golf met solitaire and they decided to elope while leaving Mr. Puzzle Game to fill the void. What’s left is an entertaining bout of higher-or-lower, draped over a loose framework of golf scores, with a crazed gopher attempting to scupper everything. You get loads of courses for free with Fairway Solitaire Blast and can use IAP to buy more.

You know, if infinite zombies were running towards us, we'd leg it in the opposite direction. Not so in Into The Dead, where you battle on until your inevitable and bloody demise. The game's oddly dream-like (well, nightmare-like), and perseverance rewards you with new weapons, such as a noisy chainsaw. VVRRRMMM! (Splutch!)

The clue's in the title – there's a quest, and it involves quite a lot of punching. There's hidden depth, though – the game might look like a screen-masher, but Punch Quest is all about mastering combos, perfecting your timing, and making good use of special abilities. The in-game currency's also very generous, so if you like the game reward the dev by grabbing some IAP.

We’ve no idea what’s going on in ElectroMaster, beyond a bored girl trying to avoid responsibility by killing everything in sight with electro-blasts. The game’s sort of like a twin-stick shooter but you tap-hold to charge and then release to let rip, dragging your finger about to fry your foes.

Games are short, but this is one of the most thrilling blasters on the system, despite it costing nothing at all.

Social management games are big business, but are often stuffed full of cynical wallet-grabbing mechanics. While Tiny Tower does have the whiff of IAP to speed things along a bit, its tower-building and management remains enjoyable even if you pay nothing at all, and the pixel graphics are lovely.

The hero from the insane ElectroMaster returns, but this time she appears to be tasked with feeding sentient houses roaring “HUNGRY!” in a fairly rude manner.

Local monsters amble about, which can be snared by swiping over them with a surprisingly deadly pixie dust trail, whereupon they’re handily converted into food to be collected. Much like ElectroMaster, HungryMaster feels like someone found a lost classic arcade game and squirted it into your iPhone, but forgot to charge you for it.

Take dozens of classic goals and introduce them to path-drawing and you’ve got the oddly addictive game of Score! World Goals. As you recreate stunning moments of soccer greatness, the game pauses for you to get the ball to its next spot. Accuracy rewards you with stars; failure presumably means you’re compelled to take an early bath.

Tap! Tap! Swipe! Rub! Argh! That’s the way this intoxicating rhythm action game plays out. Groove Coaster Zero is all on rails, and chock full of dizzying roller-coaster-style paths and exciting tunes. All the while, you aim for prodding perfection, chaining hits and other movements as symbols appear on the screen. Simple, stylish and brilliant.

This latest rethink of one of gaming’s oldest and most-loved series asks what lies beyond the infamous level 256 glitch. As it turns out, it’s endless mazey hell for the yellow dot-muncher. Pac-Man’s therefore charged with eating as many dots as possible, avoiding a seemingly infinite number of ghosts, while simultaneously outrunning the all-devouring glitch. Power-ups potentially extend Pac-Man’s life, enabling you to gleefully take out lines of ghosts with a laser or obliterate them with a wandering tornado.

Although there’s an energy system in Pac-Man 256, it’s reasonably generous: one credit for a game with power-ups, and one for the single continue; one credit refreshes every ten minutes, to a maximum of six, and you can always play without power-ups for free. If you don’t like that, there’s an IAP-based £5.99/$7.99 permanent buy-out.

The endless rally game Cubed Rally Redline is devious. On the surface, it looks simple: move left or right in five clearly-defined lanes, and use the ’emergency time brake’ to navigate tricky bits. But the brake needs time to recharge and the road soon becomes chock full of trees, cows, cruise liners and dinosaurs. And you thought your local motorway had problems!

There’s something delightfully trippy and dreamy about Whale Trail, which features a giant mammal from the sea traversing the heavens, powered by rainbow bubbles, collecting stars with which to attack menacing angry clouds. The game’s sweet nature disguises a challenging edge, though – it takes plenty of practice before your whale stays aloft for any length of time.

This is more like Plants vs Zombies 2 vs freemium grinding. But if you can look past the forced repetition of stages and irksome IAP, there’s a lot to like in EA’s horticulture/zombie defence sequel, including loads of new stages, a bunch of new plants, plenty of unique features, and a smattering of time travel.

Dots looks and feels like the sort of thing Jony Ive might play on his downtime (well, ignoring the festive theme, which is probably more Scott Forstall’s style). A stark regimented set of coloured dots awaits, and like-coloured ones can be joined, whereupon they disappear, enabling more to fall into the square well. The aim: clear as many as possible – with the largest combos you can muster – in 60 seconds.

In Smash Cops, you got to be the good guy, bringing down perps, mostly by ramming them into oblivion. Now in Smash Bandits it’s your chance to be a dangerous crim, hopping between vehicles and leaving a trail of destruction in your wake. The game also amusingly includes the A-Team van and a gadget known only as the Jibba Jabba. We love it when a plan comes together!

If you’re of a certain vintage, you probably spent many hours playing Solitaire on a PC, success being rewarded by cards bouncing around the screen. Sage Solitaire‘s developer wondered why iOS solitaire games hadn’t moved on in the intervening years, and decided to reinvent the genre. Here, then, you get a three-by-three grid and remove cards by using poker hands.

Additional strategy comes through limitations (hands must include cards from two rows; card piles are uneven) and potential aid (two ‘trashes’, one replenished after each successful hand; a starred multiplier suit). A few rounds in, you realise this game’s deeper than it first appears. Beyond that, you’ll be hooked. The single £2.29/$2.99 IAP adds extra modes and kills the ads.

from TechRadar – All the latest technology news http://www.techradar.com/news/phone-and-communications/mobile-phones/60-best-free-iphone-games-on-the-planet-669893

Intel’s 12-core i9-7920X processor lags behind Ryzen Threadripper rival

In a freshly-released price list for some of its meaty Core X-Series processors, Intel has revealed some new tech spec info on the Core i9-7920X that’s expected to be available next month, including the base clock speed of this 12-core CPU which is pegged at 2.9GHz.

This has raised quite a number of eyebrows across the net, mainly because it’s surprisingly low – dipping under the 3GHz mark – when compared to both the 10-core 7900X (which runs at 3.3GHz base) and in particular the comparable rival Ryzen Threadripper 12-core model (1920X) which has a base clock of 3.5GHz.

In other words, these dueling dozen-core offerings have a large gulf of 600MHz between them in AMD’s favor, at least when it comes to the base clock.

Of course, what Intel hasn’t revealed in these pricing details is the Turbo speed of the 7920X. This could potentially be up there with its Ryzen rival which has a boost clock of 4GHz.

For example, if we look at the 7900X, as mentioned it has a base speed of 3.3GHz but Turbo to 4.3GHz (and a single-core boost even further to 4.5GHz). The 8-core 7820X is also capable of Turbo to 4.3GHz, from a base clock of 3.6GHz in this case.

Guessing game

So without this boost figure, it’s impossible to guess exactly how these rival chips will stack up. And even beyond having the core specs, we can’t truly judge anything until the Threadripper and Core i9 processors are fully put through their paces by testing and benchmarking.

That said, the base clock of 2.9GHz for the 7920X is still a surprising revelation, without a doubt.

Whatever the story ends up being in the performance stakes, AMD already appears to have won the battle on the pricing front. While Intel’s 7920X will retail at $1,189 (around £920, AU$1,500), the Ryzen Threadripper 1920X is priced at $799 (around £620, AU$1,010).

Don’t forget that the latter could include a bundled water-cooler, if rumors are correct, meaning far more potential for overclocking this chip into a true Gigahertz monster.

Unless Intel has some true architectural magic up its sleeve when it comes to benchmarking time, it’s easy to imagine why the company has been getting defensive regarding AMD of late.

Via: Videocardz

  • Maybe Black Friday will see some hot deals on Core i9 CPUs

from TechRadar – All the latest technology news http://www.techradar.com/news/intels-12-core-i9-7920x-processor-lags-behind-ryzen-threadripper-rival

Spider-Man for PS4 has a lot to live up to after the PS2’s web-slinging success story

I’m a big fan of story in games. Though I understand good gameplay is key to creating a great game, it’s rare that I’ll place it over an engaging plot and a well-constructed narrative in my list of priorities for enjoyment. An exception to this not-quite-a rule though is the Spider-Man games. 

That’s why I’m finding myself much more interested in the news that combat and web slinging mechanics have been improved in the upcoming Spider-Man game for PS4, rather than the news that the game’s story will give me an insight into an older and more seasoned Peter Parker and be completely separate from the film. 

The thing is, there are plenty of places I can go to get a good, exciting and well-crafted Spider-Man story but really I can only go to a game to be Spider-Man. 

Well, I mean I could also go to a lab where they perform genetic experiments on animals and hang around the spider department but the odds that I will get the results I want from that venture are web thin. 

Be the spider

I go to a Spider-Man game because I want to explore the highs and lows of New York city at high speeds with control and fluidity like a city-slicking Tarzan. 

I get excited to play as Spider-Man because he takes down bad guys with a light-footed and sharp-minded finesse that doesn’t rely on having the biggest guns or having the largest muscles. As diverse as games are becoming these days, that's still something of a rarity in combat.

Even in the Assassin's Creed games where I'm supposed to be some kind of knife-wielding shadow, more often than not I end up barreling into a room like a bull wearing a hood fitted with red blinders.

There have been a lot of Spider-Man games across a lot of different platforms. That’s plenty of opportunities to craft excellent web-slinging gameplay. It’s also plenty of opportunities to come up with some more creative game names than a straightforward 'Spider-Man'. 

The Spider-Man game that stands out to me most for achieving the former (but admittedly utterly failing when it comes to the latter) is Spider-Man 2 from 2004. It's this game that I want Spider-Man for PlayStation 4 to spiritually succeed.

Spider-Man 2 was released on GameCube, PlayStation 2 and Xbox and it made the most of the increased processing power of these systems to open up Peter Parker’s New York for exploration in a way we hadn’t seen before. 

Gone were the side-scrolling beat ‘em ups of the 90s and the 3D but conveniently cloudy streets of the original PlayStation game. Spider-Man 2 was swinging in after Grand Theft Auto III as a great example of where the open world genre was going.

Into the open world

Though I first played it on PlayStation 2, I recently played Spider-Man again on GameCube. The first time I played I hadn’t been to New York and it was essentially the only way I ever saw myself being able to see the Statue of Liberty, never mind scale it. 

I have since visited New York (I know, check me out) but playing again I was just as impressed. A little less awestruck, certainly, but still impressed by the realism, scale and level of detail that Treyarch achieved with the game. 

Though the visuals are outstanding, it's the actual experience of playing the game that makes it so exhilarating. Web-slinging feels like an actual skill. It's incredibly satisfying to see a web you fire connect with a building and support your weight and it's fun to leap from tall buildings and free fall before saving yourself at the last minute.

This physics-based web-slinging wouldn't be nearly as impactful without the fact that Spider-Man's character design makes him feel like an athletic, organic human capable of performing these feats of fluidity, rather than a rock on a string more likely to break a skyscraper’s window than use it as a point to ricochet. 

Together, these factors make for a game where the simple act of moving is fun and different from what most games are able to offer and that's what I want Spider-Man for PS4 to achieve.

Thanks to an RPG-style upgrade system, combat was an evolving and creative experience in Spider-Man 2. With the PlayStation 4 version featuring a more experienced Spider-Man and full-interactive environments I'm anticipating being even more impressed by Spider-Man for PS4

Spider-Man 2 definitely had its flaws, though. Namely in its repetition. Namely in its repetition. Namely in its repetition. The world might have been free to explore but story progression required completing a limited range of side missions that very quickly became tiresome. 

Frequent fun

No matter how fun a game feels to play, doing the same things over and over to get somewhere new is extremely grating and you couldn’t help but feel incredulous that the people of the wild city of New York found themselves facing the same six crises over and over again. 

This is where I don't mind the PlayStation 4 version of the game diverging from the formula of Spider-Man 2. The game will apparently be open and fully explorable from the start which should really add to the sense of being a powerful superhero in the city they call home. 

That said, I absolutely would not object to the pizza delivery missions making a reappearance.

Spider-Man 2 remains one of the best examples we have of a game capitalizing on a film release without attempting to be overly cinematic itself and re-visiting it has genuinely ramped up my excitement for the PlayStation 4 version of the game. I'm withholding judgement on the new game until I play it obviously, but as long as it trusts the player to know how to have fun on their own terms the way Spider-Man 2 did I can see it being a success. 

I'm admittedly mildly concerned that there'll be an over-reliance on creating 'cool' cinematic sequences that wrest control from the player and limit them to reaction-based button pushing. 

Too many moments like this have the potential to dramatically undermine the sense of freedom to be Spider-Man in your own way that the game's open world and fully interactive environments clearly aim to create but I'll just have to wait and see.

Even though it was far from perfect as a whole game, I could see past most of Spider-Man 2's flaws because it got the core web-slinging experience so right – I kept going back because it was an exhilarating gameplay experience I couldn't get anywhere else. 

If Insomniac manages to get a similarly addictive web-slinging mechanic nailed down and create the greater sense of freedom that I craved in Spider-Man 2 it could very well be the game that takes me away from my real life once and for all. 

If Spider-Man 2 is what we were capable of doing with Spider-Man two generations of consoles and 13 years ago just think about what this new game could achieve. 

  • Emma Boyle is taking a look back at games gone by (some of them older than she is.) Follow her time traveling adventures in her bi-weekly Retro Respawn column. Got any games you'd especially like to see her revisit? Let her know on Twitter @emmbo_ 

from TechRadar – All the latest technology news http://www.techradar.com/news/spider-man-for-ps4-has-a-lot-to-live-up-to-after-the-ps2s-web-slinging-success-story

The best iPad 2017: how to choose the right Apple tablet for you

For many, the word tablet is synonymous with the word iPad, but even if you've decided that Android and Windows slates aren't for you that's only half the battle, as Apple's ever growing range of portable powerhouses provides a lot of options.

Do you want a compact 7.9-inch screen, a well-rounded 9.7 inches, the new 10.5-inch variant or a massive 12.9-inch monster?

Get past the best iPad screen size for you and there are more questions. Do you need top tier power or are you fine with more modest specs? Are you looking for a laptop replacement or just a convenient way to browse the web?

Whatever the case there's an iPad for you, and to make it easier to sift through them and find the right one we've highlighted all the choices, in a clear, concise way, so boot up your old tablet one last time, read through our rundown and get ready to upgrade.

And if you prefer to watch than read, we've also put four of the best options head to head in a video showdown.

For everyone else (or if four options aren't enough), you'll find a rundown of all the readily available iPads below, including the brand new iPad (2017) and second generation iPad Pro duo.

These come complete with full spec lists, their good and bad points and a look at what makes them tick, so you can make an informed purchase decision.

  • Looking for an Android tablet instead? Check out our best tablet ranking.

Apple's latest iPad isn't its best, but it might just be its best value. The new iPad (2017) replaces the iPad Air 2 in Apple's lineup, slotting in below the Pro range.

As such it lacks their Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil support and misses out on some of their power, but its A9 chipset is still very speedy and the 9.7-inch 1536 x 2048 screen is sharp, bright and high-quality.

It also has the same luxurious metal unibody as the rest of Apple's iPad range, though notably it's slightly thicker than the iPad Air 2 or iPad Pro 9.7 at 7.5mm.

With Touch ID included, iOS 10 under the hood and up to 10 hours of battery life when web browsing or watching videos, the new iPad (2017) is a great media player and a strong tablet choice if you're not planning to use it heavily for productivity.

When you consider that it starts at just $329/£339/AU$469 too that makes it a real bargain.

Read the full iPad (2017) review

It's a tough decision over whether the new iPad Pro is the best iPad, or the more recent (and more basic) iPad – but the new Pro is in second solely on its higher price.

If you can see past that, or you really need a tablet that can truly keep up with any app you want to throw at it while using a dedicated Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard, this should be the device you look at.

The new ProMotion screen adds an impressive layer of fluidity to daily use – if not strictly necessary – and the smaller bezels means you're getting far more display in a footprint not much bigger than last year's 9.7.

It's an iPad for the professionals – but also one that media munchers will adore using.

Read the full review: iPad Pro 10.5

iPad Pro 9.7

For the average user the iPad Pro 9.7 is one of the best all-round options, or it is if money is no object anyway, as it starts at $599/£549/AU$849 and if you want more than 32GB of storage or cellular connectivity the price rises steeply.

But it does a good job of justifying that outlay, as the iPad Pro 9.7 is the greatest entry in Apple's 'main' line of slates.

The 9.7-inch screen strikes a great balance between being big enough to get far more out of than a phone screen and small enough to still be fairly portable.

And although Apple has ditched the Air moniker, at 240 x 169.5 x 6.1mm and 437g the iPad Pro 9.7 is every bit as thin and light as the iPad Air 2.

But it lives up to the Pro name, with plenty of power afforded by its A9X chipset and 2GB of RAM, four speakers for serious media potential, a beautiful True Tone screen, which adapts the color and intensity to your environment, and of course the ability to use the Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil with it, if you want to use the slate to actually get things done.

The iPad Pro 9.7 also comes with up to 256GB of storage if you're prepared to pay, so you needn't feel limited by the lack of a microSD card slot, and it's likely to remain a powerful and versatile tablet for years to come, so while it's expensive you might not feel the need to upgrade for a long time.

Read the full iPad Pro 9.7 review

iPad mini 4

Big screens aren't for everyone, and that's where the 7.9-inch iPad Mini 4 comes in. The screen size means it's far more portable than Apple's larger tablets, especially as it's light at 299g. It's not quite small enough that you can use it one handed, but you can comfortably hold it for a lot longer than most of Apple's slates, or throw it in a bag and forget about it.

It's also big enough to enjoyably browse the net or watch videos on when you're away from home and bigger screens, but it's obviously not quite as strong an experience for most visual media as Apple's larger 9.7 and 12.9-inch slates.

The small size and lack of Smart Connector also makes it worse for productivity than the iPad Pro range, but this isn't designed as a laptop replacement.

It's still fairly powerful thanks to 2GB of RAM and the aging but still impressive Apple A8 chip, while the screen is sharp, rich and easy to see even in bright sunlight.

The iPad Mini 4 is also a fraction of the price of Apple's Pro range, starting as it does at $399/£379/AU$569 and with up to 128GB of storage you needn't be terribly limited in that area – though it's no match for the 256GB you can get in the iPad Pro.

Read the full iPad Mini 4 review

iPad Pro

The iPad Pro 12.9, or simply the iPad Pro as it's sometimes known, is in many ways a bigger and better version of the iPad Pro 9.7.

It matches that slate's four powerful speakers, accessory options and storage capacity, but at 12.9 inches the screen is significantly larger, while its 2048 x 2732 resolution ensures it retains the same 264ppi pixel density. It's also more powerful than its smaller sibling, combining the same Apple A9X chipset with a massive 4GB of RAM.

That power is undeniably a good thing, but the screen size will be more divisive, as while all that space is great if you plan to use it as a real laptop replacement, for running apps in split screen, or for watching a lot of movies, it leaves it a little unwieldy in other ways, especially as it makes the slate a hefty 713g. If you want the ultimate in portability this isn't it.

But if you can afford the high price and want the very biggest and most powerful tablet Apple has to offer there can be no other choice than the iPad Pro 12.9.

Read the full iPad Pro 12.9 review

iPad Air 2

The iPad Air 2 is the predecessor to the iPad Pro 9.7 and the difference in name gives a hint of what it's lacking – namely compatibility with the Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil, along with the four powerful speakers found on the Pro range.

It's not as strong for productivity then, but in many other ways the iPad Air 2 can almost match up to the iPad Pro 9.7 and all for a much lower price.

For one thing it has the same premium metal body, along with the same weight and dimensions, leaving it a slim and light 6.1mm thick and 437g.

It also has the same size and resolution 9.7-inch 1536 x 2048 screen, though behind the scenes more vivid colors and the True Tone tech (for dynamically adjusted white balance) in the iPad Pro 9.7 make the display altogether more impressive.

But when the screen is already so good on the iPad Air 2 you might not miss those things, especially if you've not seen them in action.

The slate sports plenty of power too, matching the iPad Pro 9.7 for 2GB of RAM and finding a middle ground between that and the iPad mini 4 with its A8X chipset. In short, if you don't need the productivity potential of the iPad Pro and can live with slightly dated but still solid specs, the iPad Air 2 is a strong choice.

Read the full iPad Air 2 review

iPad mini 2

Apple no longer sells the iPad Mini 2, but it was only discontinued recently and it's still available from some retailers.

And it's easy to see why. The iPad Mini 3 (which has also been discontinued) offered little that the Mini 2 didn't, only really adding Touch ID, and in being so conservative secured a mediocre 3-star review from us.

The iPad Mini 2 though was and is impressive. It's every bit as powerful as the iPad Air and has a compact 7.9-inch display, with the same resolution as the iPad Mini 4. The overall quality isn't quite as high, but it's still a strong tablet screen.

At 7.5mm thick and 331g it's not quite as slim and light as Apple's latest Mini, but it's still compact enough to comfortably cart around with you and it sports a similarly premium design.

It has an older chipset and half as much RAM, which combined with its age means you might feel the need to upgrade sooner rather than later if you do invest in the iPad Mini 2.

But right now it still offers a quality experience and is an ideal option if you want a highly portable and low cost tablet, just as long as you can live without the secure convenience of Touch ID.

Read the full iPad Mini 2 review

from TechRadar – All the latest technology news http://www.techradar.com/news/mobile-computing/tablets/best-ipad-2016-how-to-choose-the-right-one-for-you-1322489