CNET United Kingdom
Google Home already has one of HomePod Mini's best new features - CNET
Send a message to all your Google smart speakers or just one, and get replies with this walkie-talkie-like Broadcast feature.
The new Nest Audio gives you an excuse to expand your Google Home collection so you can Broadcast to every corner in your house. Juan Garzon/CNET Apple fans may have oohed and ahhed when the iPhone maker introduced the HomePod Mini last week with a feature that will broadcast a message to other Apple speakers, tablets and iPhones. But Google Home and Nest speakers can already do most of that, using a feature called Broadcast. If you have more than one Google smart speaker, live with at least one other person and haven't used Broadcast yet, I think you're going to love it. Basically, you record a message and Google Home plays it across all your speakers, which saves you from having to shout across your home or get up when you're comfortable. You can even target one specific speaker instead of the entire home, and if anyone wants to respond without leaving their seat, their message goes only to you -- not back across the whole house. The more Google Home or Google Nest smart speakers you own, the better Broadcast works, and with the new Google Nest Audio speaker now available, you couldn't have a better excuse to expand your collection (although we might suggest waiting for a Black Friday deal). However, even if you only have one Google Home or Nest smart speaker and it's far from where you are at the moment (e.g. you're in the garage and it's in the living room), you can still beam a message to it using your smartphone. The next time you're ready to announce that dinner's on the table, it's time to leave or whatever other information you want to relay to the other people in your home, here's how to use Google Home's Broadcast feature to get the message across. If a Google Home smart speaker is set to Do Not Disturb, like, for example, during homework time, it won't play a Broadcast message. Google Broadcast a message to the whole house Broadcast only works if the same Google account is signed in to all the Google Home speakers and Nest Hub displays in the house (it should be -- if not, why aren't you using Voice Match instead?) Also, if any devices are set to Do Not Disturb or Downtime, such as in kids' rooms while they're doing homework, they won't relay the message. Here's how to do it: Start with "Hey, Google" or "OK, Google," then say, "Broadcast," then speak the message you want to go out ("Time for dinner!") You can replace "Broadcast" with "Announce,""Tell everyone" or, if you're feeling frisky, "Shout" (unfortunately, however, it won't play any louder than normal). Some examples:
- Hey, Google, broadcast, "Pizza time!"
- OK, Google, tell everyone, "Nana and Pops are here!"
- Hey, Google, announce, "Time to do homework!"
- OK, Google, shout to the kitchen, "Is dinner ready yet?"
- Hey, Google, broadcast to the living room, "Is the scary part of the movie over?"
- OK, Google, announce to the bedroom, "Are you going to sleep all day, sweet pea?"
- Hey, Google, reply, "I'll be down in a minute."
- OK, Google, send a reply: "Did you get pineapple on the pizza?"
- Hey, Google, reply, "Five more minutes!"
Amazon Fire TV Stick 2020 review: Stuck in the middle with TV control - CNET
It's a fine device but spending $10 less (or $10 more) for a different Fire TV (or Roku) is a better bet.
Streaming TV continues to grow in popularity, with new services and options every day, and to keep up most of the major device makers released new 2020 products you can hook to any TV. Roku has a new Streambar and an Ultra, Google has the Chromecast with Google TV and Amazon has the cheapest new streamers of the bunch: the $30 Fire Stick TV Lite and an update to the $40 Fire TV Stick. I review the Fire Stick TV Lite in depth here, so for this review I'll be concentrating on the more-expensive Fire TV Stick. Compared with its 2019 Fire TV Stick predecessor, the latest Fire TV is 50 per cent faster and 50 per cent more efficient, according to Amazon. I don't test power consumption but I can report it's plenty quick. Like last year's version, the Stick's remote has buttons for volume, mute and power, allowing you to control those functions on your TV -- and maybe ditch your TV remote. Those remote buttons are the only real difference between the $30 Stick Lite and the $40 Stick, so you're basically paying $10 for TV control. With the existence of the cheaper Lite and the more capable Fire TV Stick 4K, which remains on sale at $50, the $40 Stick (2020) is the middle child, and both of the others are better choices overall. Yes, that TV control is nice, and the Fire Stick offers a lot for your $40, including integration with existing Echo devices, a fine selection of apps (though no HBO Max or Peacock) and a slick interface. But Fire TV still pushes its Prime Video store in search results, and the home screen can be a little too busy for people who know what they want to watch. For $10 more the Fire Stick TV 4K, Roku Streaming Stick Plus and Chromecast with Google TV all offer better features and value, and for $10 less the Lite is an unbeatable deal. What is it? Sarah Tew/CNET Fire TV Sticks are USB stick-sized devices that plug into a spare HDMI port on your TV. They stream audio and video content from dozens of different apps over your Wi-Fi connection. While anyone can use one of these devices, being an Amazon Prime subscriber allows you to watch added programming. The remote itself hasn't physically changed much since the first Fire TV was introduced, and it lacks the premium feel of the Roku remote or Google's new remote. The new Fire Stick remote does add the ability to control your TV volume, though it lacks the shortcuts to Netflix or other often-used services. Setting the remote up with a TV takes about 30 seconds and it can even control a receiver (I used it with a Sony TV and an Onkyo receiver without issue). Sarah Tew/CNET Alongside the Fire TV Lite, these are the first devices we've seen to offer HDR but not 4K resolution, and it raises the question of what kind of TV it's designed for. There are hundreds of 4K HDR TVs out there but I tried doing a search for 1080p TVs that can do HDR on Best Buy's site and found only four. For most people with 4K HDR TVs, we'd recommend getting a streamer that can actually do 4K instead of a 1080p streamer like the Stick. The stick comes with a power adapter and Amazon strongly recommends you use this. While you could use the USB ports on your TV to power the device, it means the unit could behave unusually. For example, Dolby Atmos content wouldn't work at all when the unit was plugged into a TV USB port, despite the device declaring it was outputting "Dolby Atmos" -- the sound came out as 5.1. Lots of streaming apps (but no Peacock or HBO Max) The Fire TV sports (get it?) dozens of streaming apps. Sarah Tew/CNET Like other streaming devices the number of services that Amazon Fire TV supports is improving all the time. It can access almost all of the major streaming apps, including Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Hulu, Sling TV, Crackle, Pluto TV, Tubi TV, Amazon Music, Pandora, Spotify and many, many more. With so many services supported it's almost easier to list the services the adapter doesn't have, namely NBC's Peacock and HBO Max (though it does have a vanilla HBO app). The Roku and Chromecast with Google TV platforms both offer Peacock and the latter also includes HBO Max. What it's like to use With only a couple of tiny features to separate them -- and the sticks even have the same S3L46N model number -- the Fire TV and Fire TV Lite behaved almost identically in my tests. Both offer a healthy complement of features, tightly integrated voice commands and relative speedy response times. Using the Fire TV Stick remote is easy, and Alexa searches with the microphone button were more responsive and relevant than using the Echo as a go-between. In contrast, Roku may not have the same robust voice capabilities, but text searches via the Roku remote are generally more targeted toward free or included programs rather than simply "buy now" links. Sarah Tew/CNET When it comes to user interfaces there are two different schools of thought: App-centric menus like the Roku and Apple TV ones just show you a grid of apps, so you can't actually browse for something to watch without clicking through to each app. Amazon Fire TV and Google TV take a more content-focused approach, surfacing lots of titles on the home page itself. If you like to graze for content, the Fire TV might be more appealing, If you know what you want already, or at least what app you want to watch, a Roku is probably a better choice, in part because Amazon's search results skews heavily toward its own (often user-pays-extra) content. Amazon has promised an interface update later in 2020, which will come first to both the Lite and the 2020 Fire TV. Amazon says it offers a redesigned main menu and improved browsing, plus a new section called Alexa Explore with new recipes, stock reports and similar things. Picture and sound quality were very similar between the Lite and the Fire Stick, and image quality was as good as I'd expect. On paper there's a difference in Atmos audio support: The Stick offers Dolby Atmos audio decoding while the Lite has Dolby Atmos pass-through. The practical difference between them is negligible, however, because an Atmos-capable receiver or soundbar is needed in both cases to hear Atmos audio. Whether the stick or the receiver does the decoding doesn't really matter. Also, in my testing I've found many services -- including Prime Video and Disney Plus -- require a 4K TV for Atmos to work anyway. In short, I don't consider this feature difference a big deal because most people with decent Atmos setups should (once again) be using a bona fide 4K streamer. Should you buy it? If you're in the market for a new $30 or $40 streamer it comes down to a choice between Fire TV's content-first approach versus Roku app-first one. If you're familiar with Roku's simple menu design the number of tiles and options on the Fire TV Stick's home page can be overwhelming. If you already have a Fire Stick, there's absolutely no reason for you to buy the 2020 version. Dolby Atmos and HDR are weird add-ons for 1080p devices, and if Amazon wanted to offer something unique at the price it should have included full 4K support. As it is, if you have a decent 4K TV then you should get a real 4K streamer -- it's just another $10. And if you want to save money, go with the LIte.
Amazon Prime Day 2020 deals now available in UK: Cheapest ever Echo Show 5 at £45 - CNET
Amazon's Prime Day deals kick off in the UK on Tuesday, Oct. 13, but you can snag some bargains right now.
Show more (1 item) This story is part of Amazon Prime Day, CNET's guide on everything you need to know and how to make sure you get the best deal. Amazon Prime Day officially kicks off in the UK this Tuesday, Oct. 13, and although it's called Prime "Day," the sales event runs for two days. Plus, you'll continue to find more deep discounts on huge numbers of products throughout the whole week, including tech like smart speakers, TVs, headphones, cameras and more. Amazon's own devices (such as Kindle, Echo and Ring) always offer sure-fire bargains, but you can expect big deals on other brands including Sony, Bose, Toshiba and many others. As the name suggests, you have to be an Amazon Prime member to take advantage of the savings. But while the big Prime Day sale isn't set to start until Tuesday, savvy UK shoppers can already find some great deals now and get a head start on their holiday shopping. Check out our picks of the best Amazon Prime Day deals below, and make sure to bookmark this page as we'll be highlighting the best savings on all things tech throughout the week. Note that pricing below assumes you have an Amazon Prime membership (£8 per month or £80 per year). Pricing was accurate at the time of publication but may fluctuate without warning. We'll be updating this story with the best UK Prime Day deals we find going into next week. Tyler Lizenby/CNETThe Echo Dot is Amazon's smallest and most affordable smart speaker, making it a great option for adding Alexa voice control to any -- or every -- room in your house. Chris Monroe/CNETThe Echo Show 5 is Amazon's smallest smart display, which uses its voice assistant, Alexa to let you play videos, manage your calendar, show weather reports and so on. At only £45, it's the lowest price we've ever seen. Chris Monroe/CNETWith an 8-inch display, the Echo Show 8 provides functionality identical to its smaller sibling's, but with a larger screen for more immersive video. Like the Echo Show 5, this discount is the biggest saving we've seen on this product. Rick Broida/CNETThe Blink Mini is one of the most affordable ways to add extra home security to your property. With a full HD resolution, night vision, microphones and motion detection, it provides a live feed to your phone to give you peace of mind when you're away from home. Chris Monroe/CNETAvailable with either a battery or as a wired option, this outdoor security cam has a built-in, motion-activated LED light to scare off intruders, while providing a full HD video feed in real time to your phone. Chris Monroe/CNETIf you've struggled to get a good Wi-Fi signal in the back bedroom of your house, then a mesh Wi-Fi system could help. By repeating the signal via the multiple base stations, your signal can extend much further around your house, providing a faster, more stable connection anywhere. This isn't the fancy new Eero 6 system, but even the older model is a good option at this price.
How to watch Mars rule the night sky in October - CNET
Mark your calendars for a Mars close approach on Oct. 6 and opposition on Oct. 13.
Mars will bright and beautiful in the October 2020 night sky. NASA Forget Halloween. This October is all about the glory of Mars. The glimmering red planet will put on a show in the night sky. You can enjoy Mars as a bright point of light all month long, but there are two special dates to mark on your calendar: Oct. 6 when the planet makes a close approach to Earth, and Oct. 13, when it will be in opposition. Spotting Mars Mars has a reputation as the "red" planet, but its color in the night sky is a little more on the Halloween side of the spectrum. It appears as a bright orange-red dot to the naked eye, like a little spot of glittering rust. Mars' distinctive color is one clue you've found it in the dark. Look to the eastern sky to catch it rising at night. It will look bright this month if your local weather cooperates to give you a good view. Close approach: Oct. 6 Tuesday, Oct. 6 marks a close approach of Mars to Earth. This would be a great time to grab a telescope and get a little better look. Give a wave to NASA's Perseverance rover while you're at it. The vehicle is on track to reach the planet in February 2021. NASA shared an artist's view of of the Tuesday, Oct. 6 close approach compared with the last time it snuggled up in July 2018. The apparent sizes look very similar. This year, Mars will have a minimum distance of 38.6 million miles (62 million kilometers), which is about 3 million miles farther away than in 2018. This artist's view shows the apparent sizes of Mars during close approaches in 2018 and 2020. NASA Opposition: Oct. 13 When Mars and the sun line up with Earth in the middle, the red planet is said to be in opposition. This is a perfect time to track Mars' movement across the sky. It will rise in the east as the sun goes down, move across the sky and then set in the west as the sun comes up. NASA describes opposition as "effectively a 'full' Mars." Tuesday, Oct. 13 is the time to enjoy opposition. You'll have to wait over two years for it to happen again. "The racetrack model of planetary orbits explains why. Earth and Mars are like runners on a track. Earth is on the inside, Mars is on the outside," NASA said in its What's Up blog for October. "Every 26 months, speedy Earth catches up to slower Mars and laps it. Opposition occurs just as Earth takes the lead." Mars isn't the only show-off in the sky for October. You can also look forward to a rare Halloween blue moon when our lunar neighbor is full on Oct. 31. It's not spooky; it's boo-tiful.
Humans are listening to your Google Home recordings again, but this time it's different. What to know - CNET
Google's human-review program is back up and running, but this time you have more than the power to say no.
NASA's Mars Perseverance rover: How to watch live as the mission launches - CNET
The epic journey to the red planet begins with a launch from Florida on July 30.
The Perseverance rover explores Mars in this artist's rendering. NASA/JPL-Caltech This story is part of Welcome to Mars, our series exploring the red planet. Launch day is just days away now. NASA's Perseverance rover is all packed away and ready to head for Mars on Thursday, July 30. NASA will livestream the event as the car-size rover takes off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket. Prelaunch coverage starts at 4 a.m. PT and the two-hour window opens at 4:50 a.m. NASA announced on July 22 that the mission had passed its flight readiness review, which includes a preparedeness assessment of the spacecraft, rocket, procedures and personnel. "Mars is a tough customer, and we don't take anything for granted," said the Perseverance mission's deputy project manager, Matt Wallace. The launch will depend on weather and technical factors. It was previously delayed from earlier in the month because of technical issues. It's been almost nine years since NASA sent off its previous rover, Curiosity, to Mars. Perseverance is the most advanced robot NASA has sent to the surface of Mars. Once it sets down in the Jezero Crater -- an area with a history of water -- the rover will kick off a mission to seek out signs of ancient microbial life. The rover isn't going alone. It also carries an experimental helicopter named Ingenuity under its belly. NASA's mission is one of several launching to Mars within a limited window of opportunity this year when the red planet is in a favorable position relative to Earth. Missing that window means waiting until 2022 for the next chance. Perseverance could potentially launch as late as mid-August if necessary. The United Arab Emirates successfully sent off its Hope probe on July 19, and China launched its own orbiter and rover on July 22. All three missions are scheduled to reach Mars in February 2021.
SpaceX launch of first South Korean military satellite delayed - CNET
The satellite will launch atop a Falcon 9, but not on July 14 as planned.
The Falcon 9 booster for the Anasis-II mission is a history-making rocket. It was the booster used to deliver NASA astronauts to the ISS in May. SpaceX SpaceX has postponed a Falcon 9 launch three times in the span of five days, with the latest delay affecting the Anasis-II mission to send a South Korean military satellite to orbit. The company tweeted Monday that it was pushing back blast-off "to take a closer look at the second stage, swap hardware if needed." Standing down from tomorrows launch of ANASIS-II to take a closer look at the second stage, swap hardware if needed. Will announce new target launch date once confirmed on the Range SpaceX (@SpaceX) July 13, 2020 SpaceX also postponed its latest Starlink launch last Wednesday and then again on Saturday. The Anasis-II mission will eventually lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. If it happens before the Starlink mission, which is currently awaiting a new launch date, it will be SpaceX's 12th launch this year, the 90th flight of a Falcon 9 and the second overall for this particular booster, which was first flown in May to deliver NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station -- the first time a commercial company has done so. Ergo, it's got some history. There is a backup launch window scheduled for the same time on July 15, but we'll have to wait and see how quickly the technical issues can be worked out. The payload, Anasis-II, is South Korea's first military communications satellite. Because of its use in the military, there's not a lot of information about Anasis-II, but for the fact it's based off the Eurostar E3000 satellite bus, according to the Everyday Astronaut. We'll update this post once we have a new launch date.
SpaceX launch of Space Force GPS satellite could break a record - CNET
Elon Musk's company conducts its third launch since sending NASA astronauts to the space station on May 30.
SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft, perched atop the company's Falcon 9 rocket, takes off from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, carrying two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station on May 30. SpaceX SpaceX sent a military GPS satellite into space Tuesday afternoon for the US Space Force using a Falcon 9 rocket launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. This is the company's third launch since its historic flight of NASA astronauts to the International Space Station on May 30, and for the first time it has landed and recovered one of its rockets after lifting a military satellite towards orbit. The Falcon 9 first stage landed on the droneship Just Read The Instructions eight minutes after launch. SpaceX also reported it was able to recover both halves of the fairing, or nose cone, for reuse on a future mission. The mission is the company's 11th launch of 2020. Continuing this intense pace of launches would allow Elon Musk's commercial space startup to pretty easily set a company record for most launches in a year. The company launched another military GPS satellite in 2018. At the time, the US Air Force determined that SpaceX would not be able to perform the needed flight trajectory and also land the first-stage booster, according to SpaceNews. Since then, SpaceX and the US military have negotiated changes in its GPS mission requirements and the cost of launch to enable SpaceX to attempt landing its first stage after lofting the satellite on Tuesday. More to come soon SpaceX had also scheduled its second Starlink ride-share mission for last week, but the launch was postponed, with July 8 as the new targeted launch date. "Team needed additional time for prelaunch checkouts, but Falcon 9 and the satellites are healthy," SpaceX tweeted a couple of hours before the scheduled launch time on Friday. Standing down from todays Starlink mission; team needed additional time for pre-launch checkouts, but Falcon 9 and the satellites are healthy. Will announce new target launch date once confirmed on the Range SpaceX (@SpaceX) June 26, 2020 SpaceX had its most active year so far in 2018 with 21 launches. It's now on pace to eclipse that mark in 2020, perhaps hitting 38 launches for the year if its plans pan out. The company hopes to continue packing its calendar with more liftoffs, aiming for 70 missions in 2023, according to a draft filing with the Federal Aviation Administration earlier this year. Many of the launches will be Starlink missions, as SpaceX looks to put tens of thousands of its small satellites in orbit this decade. The company has also begun conducting ride-share launches, making room for a few commercial payloads alongside a batch of Starlink birds. The next Starlink launch is set to be the second Starlink ride share, this time with two Earth-observing microsatellites for Black Sky, a company that provides high-def satellite imagery. SpaceX is trying expand the size of its growing constellation to nearly 600 satellites and closer to the threshold of 800 flying routers that Musk has said would allow for limited broadband service to begin.
Huawei P40 Pro Plus's camera is so good, you won't miss the Google apps - CNET
The 10x optical zoom really is great.
Andrew Hoyle/CNET Huawei's P40 Pro Plus is the phone I was waiting for. The company announced the P40 range -- which also includes the base P40 and P40 Pro -- in March and while the P40 Pro proved it can take decent images, it was the Pro Plus that really pushes boundaries with its imagery. It's the first phone to come with a 10x optical zoom lens, which lets you get much closer to your subject with little loss in quality. It puts the iPhone 11 Pro's 2x optical zoom to shame. Even the Samsung S20 Ultra's 4x optical zoom can't compete. It actually has five cameras: a standard 50-megapixel lens, a 40-megapixel ultrawide-angle camera, an 8-megapixel 3x optical zoom, an 8-megapixel 10x optical zoom and a time-of-flight depth-sensing camera. As a professional photographer, I was extremely keen to get my hands on this phone and take its cameras for a spin. Andrew Hoyle/CNET First up, these neat flowering boots found here in Edinburgh, Scotland. The phone's standard 50-megapixel camera has captured this scene with loads of details, a perfect exposure and spot-on colors. Andrew Hoyle/CNET The iPhone 11 Pro's version of the shot is also perfectly exposed with plenty of detail. The white balance is slightly different in each shot -- the P40 leans more on the magenta tones -- but not so much that either one looks wrong. Andrew Hoyle/CNET On Edinburgh's Calton Hill, the P40 Pro Plus has done a great job of exposing for both the bright sky and the more shadowy areas of the buildings. There is again a slight magenta shift in the white balance, but otherwise it's a cracking shot. Andrew Hoyle/CNET The white balance and colors look spot on in this image, and the overall exposure is again superb. Andrew Hoyle/CNET The same scene on the Galaxy S20 Ultra. The color saturation and contrast have both been lifted a touch, as is usually the case with images taken on a Samsung phone. Otherwise, there's little to separate them. Andrew Hoyle/CNET At 3x optical zoom, the P40 Pro Plus has still captured plenty of detail and managed to maintain its overall exposure. Andrew Hoyle/CNET By comparison, the S20 Ultra's 4x zoom has got a little closer, but the lifted shadow detail on the tree has resulted in this image looking somewhat fake. Huawei P40 Pro Plus, at 10x zoom. Andrew Hoyle/CNET Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, at 10x zoom. Andrew Hoyle/CNET With both phones shooting at 10x optical zoom, it's clear that in this example, the P40 Pro Plus has underexposed the scene, causing the church to fall too much into shadow. The S20 Ultra's shot still looks a bit fake, but at least the church is clearly visible. Huawei P40 Pro Plus, at 100x zoom. Andrew Hoyle/CNET Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, at 100x zoom. Andrew Hoyle/CNET Both phones can push their zoom limits all the way to 100x, and both are quite frankly terrible. Huawei P40 Pro Plus, at 100x zoom. Andrew Hoyle/CNET Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, at 100x zoom. Andrew Hoyle/CNET And the same is true here. Mushy details and an image that's completely unusable, beyond perhaps some kind of bragging rights, but I doubt even that would get you far. Sure, you could maybe try and zoom in on a celebrity you spotted in the distance, but their face would be so indistinguishable that you wouldn't be able to prove you saw them, no matter how much you boasted. Both these phones take great shots at 10x zoom, but it's not worth pushing it beyond that. Andrew Hoyle/CNET The 10x zoom on the Huawei is great to play with though. I loved being able to snag this picture of what I'm pretty sure is a great tit. Wildlife photography has never been the realm of phones, due to their inability to get close up on the creatures you're photographing, but the P40 Pro Plus would certainly let you get some cracking shots of the wildlife that visits your garden. Andrew Hoyle/CNET I also got close up on this plane descending to land. It's pretty dark, so I'm a little disappointed the phone hasn't brightened the subject up a bit. Huawei P40 Pro Plus, using super wide-angle lens. Andrew Hoyle/CNET iPhone 11 Pro, using super wide-angle lens. Andrew Hoyle/CNET Switching to the wide-angle camera, the Huawei P40 Pro Plus doesn't provide as wide a view as the iPhone 11 Pro and while the image is sharp, the iPhone's shot is more vibrant. Huawei P40 Pro Plus at 3x zoom. Andrew Hoyle/CNET iPhone 11 Pro at 2x zoom. Andrew Hoyle/CNET But it's the zoom skills that push the P40 Pro plus ahead. The iPhone 11 Pro's 2x maximum optical zoom doesn't really bring the statue into focus, while even at 3x on the P40 Pro Plus, it's becoming clearer that there's a figure in the water. Huawei P40 Pro Plus at 10x zoom. Andrew Hoyle/CNET At 10x zoom, the statue fills the frame, with great exposure and colors too. The iPhone 11 Pro is simply no competition to the P40 Pro Plus when it comes to zoom. Andrew Hoyle/CNET Back in the super wide-angle mode, the P40 Pro Plus and the iPhone 11 Pro seem to be pretty much neck and neck. In this example, I prefer the iPhone 11 Pro's shot; the sky is richer, with more noticeable cloud detail and the wider view it offers has really helped emphasize the mushrooms in the foreground. Andrew Hoyle/CNET But the P40 Pro Plus takes the wide-angle win here as it's been able to keep that bright sky under control, resulting in a much better looking image overall. The iPhone has completely overexposed that sky. Huawei P40 Pro Plus in low light. Andrew Hoyle/CNET iPhone 11 Pro in low light. Andrew Hoyle/CNET Galaxy S20 Ultra in low light. Andrew Hoyle/CNET In this low-light scene, using night mode on each phone, there's not much to choose between them. The iPhone 11 Pro's shot is the brightest of the three, but the Galaxy S20 Ultra's image is slightly sharper. That said, all three have done a great job of producing clear images in what was an extremely dark room. So far I'm very impressed with what the P40 Pro Plus can do. Shots from all its lenses look great and are up there with the best of today's super phones. The zoom really does put it in a league of its own and I'm keen to spend more time seeing what it can really do. I also want to test more of the video functions -- including night mode for video -- as well as the 32-megapixel front-facing camera. Stay tuned for more on the camera. Andrew Hoyle/CNET What's the P40 Pro Plus like as a phone? Beyond the great camera, the phone is packed with tons of top tech. The 6.5-inch display stretches right to the edges of the phone for razor-thin bezels, the Kirin 990 processor is a powerhouse and it supports 5G. It's got IP68 waterproofing too, as well as wireless charging, 8GB of RAM and a battery that'll comfortably last a whole day. It's basically got everything you'd expect from a top-end phone in 2020. What it doesn't have are Google services, however, due to the ongoing restrictions on Huawei imposed by the US government. That means no Chrome, no Gmail and no Google Play Store for your apps. Huawei does have its own app store with some big names such as Zoom, VLC, Snapchat and TikTok. Various other apps -- including Facebook and WhatsApp -- can be downloaded as apk files from their official websites. Still, those of you who rely on Google's apps would be best shopping elsewhere. Should I buy it? The lack of Google services on the phone is certainly a big issue to be aware of and will be a deal-breaker for many. However, unlike with the P40 Pro I've already looked at, the P40 Pro Plus's camera is so impressive that it makes the phone a contender for your attention. Andrew Hoyle/CNET But it needs to be cheaper. At 1,399 euros (which converts to £1,250, AU$2,280 or $1,580, although it won't be on sale in the US), it's not an affordable phone. That's a problem, as its nearest rival, the Galaxy S20 Ultra -- which has similar zoom skills, 5G and Google services -- costs less ($1,400, £1,199 and AU$1,999). There's no question Huawei's phone has got a lot going for it. The zoom would really appeal to those of you hoping to enjoy some garden wildlife photography. But if you're not in a hurry, it's worth waiting a little while after the phone's mid-June sale date to see if that price dips below the S20 Ultra. At the current prices, the Galaxy S20 Ultra is where my money would go.