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Super Mario Odyssey on Nintendo Switch: best secrets and tips

Super Mario Odyssey can be summed up in a few words: fun, delight, inventiveness. It earned a rare perfect 10 in the WIRED review, and it seems players have agreed on its merits – it’s instantly become the fastest-selling Super Mario game in Europe, ever.

To really understand what makes the game such a joy though – and as an excuse to use some of the captures we’ve taken using Odyssey’s addictive photo mode – requires examining some of the most impressive, charming, and heartfelt moments Nintendo has worked into this modern masterpiece.

If you’re still working your way through Mario’s globe-trotting adventure with his new pal Cappy, be warned though – spoilers lay ahead!


Super Mario Odyssey may be a trek around Mario’s world, but it’s also a journey through his past. The game is packed with nods and references to previous games, sometimes even remixing elements. For instance, graffiti of Cat Mario and Cat Peach from Super Mario 3D World can be found dotted around the worlds, but rendered in pixel art form representative of Mario’s earliest 8bit outings. His 2D roots get a regular homage too, in the form of sections where warp pipes can lead to flat platforming sections built into the very walls of the 3D world. A particularly nice touch is seeing these 2D retro-style Marios all rendered in whatever costume you may have Mario wearing in 3D


Nowhere is Mario’s heritage more evident than in New Donk City, the central area of the Metro Kingdom. Not only is the city run by Mayor Pauline – Mario’s first girlfriend, from his barrel-hopping, giant ape-stomping days – but the end of that area’s local storyline culminates in a festival reimagining the original Donky Kong game as a sprawling, gravity flipping mega-level wrapped around the three-dimensional buildings of New Donk. With Pauline and her band belting out Jump Up, Superstar, the signature song of Super Mario Odyssey, it’s a joyous experience that never fails to bring a smile to your face.

Really Surreal


One of the most surprising aspects of Odyssey is how it flirts with reality in a way the series has never really done before. New Donk City itself really brings this home, a sprawling metropolis full of realistic buildings and cabs, populated by humans without exaggerated proportions, all wearing formal business attire. It gives the whole place a sort of 1940s vibe, completely at odds with the colourful worlds Mario usually visits, but in doing so delivers something entirely new. My personal theory is that New Donk City is, decades later, Nintendo’s gentle rebuttal to the (dreadful) Super Mario Bros. movie, showing how the realistic and the animated can co-exist.


Perhaps realism is the wrong term though, and it’s Odyssey’s level of detail, and the juxtaposition it creates against Mario’s cartoonish frame, that really makes the game pop. A battle with a gargantuan lightning dragon in a kingdom that looks like a Dark Souls side project is hardly ‘realistic’, after all. Yet with the dragon’s individually detailed scales rain-slick and glistening from the storm you fight under, and its malevolent eyes that follow you around even after you’ve defeated it, it creates an experience unrivalled in other Super Mario games, and one all the more striking for its contrast.

Bitter Bosses

If there’s one criticism that can be levelled at Super Mario Odyssey, it’s that it’s a bit too easy. While none of its bosses will prove particularly challenging, that doesn’t take away from their sheer inventiveness. From defeating giant Aztec-styled godhead Knucklotec by capturing his own rocket-propelled stone fists and punching him in the face to swimming up Cookatiel’s streams of pink lava-vomit as a living fireball, each fight brings a new way of thinking about the game and its mechanics.


One of the best examples is the final (story-driven, at least) battle against Bowser’s new rabbitoid minions, the Broodals. Having pestered you throughout the game one-on-one, they eventually team up to pilot a giant Broodal Bot. Unfortunately, they built it out of wood, and Mario can possess Pokio – a sort of woodpecker that can use its long beak as a pole to fling itself up wooden surfaces. It’s one of the trickier battles too, making it a nice test of players skills while offering a unique solution.

Super Mario Dogessey


There are tons of dogs flitting about Odyssey’s kingdoms, even in the most unlikely places. Just like Mario, these adorable Shiba Inu puppers roam around wearing a variety of hats. They think they’re people! Canine sartorial choices are adorable enough, but one of the game’s best elements is that you can play with these dogs, mostly for no greater reason than “just because”.


Some will go digging, tracking down buried Power Moons for you to ground pound to the surface, but they’ll also just follow you around being playful. You can even play fetch with them, throwing Cappy for them to bring back. The doggos are the sort of added detail that Nintendo does so well – no real impact on gameplay, totally missable if you’re not looking, but a real delight if you take the time to stop and notice them.

Dino Crisis


You’ll first encounter one of Super Mario Odyssey’s disturbingly realistic Tyrannosaurus Rexes in the Cascade Kingdom, taking a nap in the sun and primed for you to take control of with Cappy – with a satisfying roar of power the first time you do. A more sinister encounter awaits in the Wooded Kingdom, where one lurks in the murky depths of the dense forest, attacking unsuspecting travellers. Any time you cross paths with one of these mighty beasts is a thrill, and Nintendo gets the balance just right – common enough encounters to please, not so many you become bored.


By far the best use of the terrible lizard king though comes in a Power Moon mission in the Metro Kingdom. Riding a scooter, Mario has to outrun a ferocious T-rex, swerving out of its hungry, snarling jaws, all while making daredevil bike jumps to collect coins along the way. Of course, just as the residents of New Donk City are decked out in 1940s era attire, so to is the T-rex dressed for the setting – with a pair of oversized period aviator goggles, of course. Why pilot attire for the famously stubby-armed dinosaurs? No idea, but it’s a brilliantly surreal touch to one of the best Power Moon challenges in the game.

Buds with Bowser


Are Mario and Bowser really arch enemies? Sure, Mario and Cappy spend the majority of Odyssey chasing the Koopa king after he kidnaps Peach and tries to force a wedding on her, but in the end, there are some hints the pair have a begrudging friendship. After their climactic throwdown, everything is literally falling apart. Mario could have left Bowser behind as he makes an escape with Peach but instead captures Bowser, using his immense physical power to escort all three of them to safety.


Later, when Peach rejects a marriage proposal from both Mario and Bowser – simultaneously adding credence to the long-running fan theory that she’s actually dating both of them – Mario even consoles a despondent Bowser. Terrifying, fire-breathing turtle demons covered in spikes have hearts to break, and Mario is there for him. Mario, Bowser – let the healing begin.

Gone Home

Along Mario and Cappy’s journey, you’ll find paintings hidden around the kingdoms. Not just another nod to the Super Mario series’ history – reminiscent of the paintings in Peach’s Castle in Super Mario 64, which lead to each level – in Odyssey they serve as links between realms. Each one leads to a remote area in another kingdom, with a Power Moon reward waiting for having found them.

One is truly special though. Without any indication through the majority of the game that the Mushroom Kingdom was ever going to be featured – much of Odyssey takes after Super Mario Sunshine, with new locations and creatures to uncover – you can find a painting portal in the Luncheon Kingdom that leads you there early. You can’t explore at this point, with the portal popping you out on a remote island (home to a certain other dinosaur-type creature in Mario’s life) but it’s a tantalising peek at what awaits you in the end-game content.


When you finally get to the Mushroom Kingdom proper, another treat awaits. Sat in an egg on top of Peach’s Castle awaits Yoshi. In gameplay terms, Yoshi’s there to gobble up apples, earning you another three Power Moons, but Nintendo went the extra mile with the character’s inclusion, letting you capture and control the friendly dino.

As Mario-Yoshi, you have access to the familiar flutter-jump, as well as a new way of climbing walls and trees using Yoshi’s extendable tongue. Just running aroung the Mushroom Kingdom like this is a joy, but also helps grab a few more Power Moons by using Yoshi’s specific skills to complete some trickier platforming challenges. A lovely nod to a fan-favourite character.

No end in sight


Best of all, Super Mario Odyssey keeps on giving. After taking you around the world and beyond, delivering a bevy of incredible experiences along the way, there’s still more to do once you’ve interrupted Bowser and Peach’s wedding. Even after Mario delivers a heart-melting “Thank you for playing my game!” at story’s end, there are friends to revisit and new challenges to complete. Even Better, with Bowser’s threat once again (temporarily) contained, all the weird and wonderful people you’ve met along the way start visiting each other’s kingdoms, leading to wonderful moments like the one above.


The pinnacle may just be reaching the Darker Side of the moon, where almost everyone you’ve met is having a party in space, praising your efforts and urging you on to greater challenges still hidden. With Pauline and her band rocking out again, it’s a beautiful coda to the game – and possibly not even the last secret it holds.


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OnePlus 6T McLaren Version: No need for speed

Last year’s OnePlus 6T made quite a statement. The definitive flagship killer remains the best-ever OnePlus phone to date and offers 99% of what its rivals can do at roughly 60% of the price. If there ever was a case against spending upwards of four figures on the latest handset, well, this was it.

OnePlus 6T McLaren Version

Final yr’s OnePlus 6T made fairly an announcement. The definitive flagship killer stays the all-time OnePlus telephone thus far and presents 99% of what its rivals can do at roughly 60% of the worth. If there ever was a case in opposition to spending upwards of 4 figures on the most recent handset, effectively, this was it. OnePlus 6T McLaren Version Review is here.

Besides there’s now a brand new OnePlus to shake issues up a bit. This particular McLaren Version of the OnePlus 6T, which prices an additional £150 over the bottom mannequin, is a slightly-beefier handset with 10GB of onboard RAM as a substitute of the same old 6- or 8GB configurations.

Purchase OnePlus 6T McLaren Version

It additionally features a fairly uncommon McLaren-inspired design, with a shiny carbon fibre-like rear and light “papaya orange” accents across the again edges of the underside half of the telephone, which mimics a Method 1 race automotive’s velocity trails.

However the variations between the two finish there. Sure, it should finally arrive in your doorstep in a particular presentation field together with some McLaren-branded knick knacks (which I’ll get onto later) however elsewhere this “restricted version” smartphone is far the identical as earlier than.

OnePlus 6T McLaren Version

Not that that’s a nasty factor. Like its non-McLaren branded counterpart, this new OnePlus 6T continues to be powered by Qualcomm’s fastest-ever cell processor, the octa-core 2.8GHz Snapdragon 845 chipset, which additionally retains issues ticking alongside on most of its flagship counterparts. It additionally features a large 256GB of onboard storage, albeit with no area for a microSD card – not that you just’ll essentially want it. Actually, that implies that though it’s £150 greater than the bottom OnePlus 6T, it’s solely £70 greater than the 8GB and 256GB mannequin.

So  is 2GB extra RAM value £70? Effectively, a smartphone with 10GB of RAM is principally overkill for almost all of smartphone customers – you received’t discover any discernible variations in day-to-day use, and it doesn’t actually add something to the telephone’s total efficiency. The OnePlus 6T McLaren Version obtained nearly an identical scores within the Geekbench four assessments

In real-world use, although, juggling a number of purposes and video games did really feel just a little bit snappier in comparison with the common OnePlus 6T. If for some motive, you’re continually pushing your telephone to its limits and will do with all the grunt you may get your arms on, there’s merely no different different in the meanwhile.

Fortunately, the added RAM doesn’t seem to have negatively affected the telephone’s stamina. The OnePlus 6T McLaren Version’s battery life stays largely unchanged, reaching a complete of 21 hours in our steady video playback check earlier than needing to recharge. The telephone additionally advantages from what the agency calls “Warp Cost 3.0”, which prices the OnePlus to 50% from empty in simply 20 minutes.

The remainder of the telephone’s particulars additionally stay the identical. The 6.41in AMOLED display continues to be 2,340 x 1,080 in decision and contains the little drop notch on the prime for the embedded selfie digicam. This association hasn’t modified both; the front-facing digicam is a 16-megapixel unit, which works with the 2 rear-facing 16- and 20-megapixel snappers.

Digicam high quality is an space the place the OnePlus 6T excels, and the McLaren version isn’t any totally different. Supplied you may have loads of mild (low-light pictures do undergo from some heavy-handed compression artifacting), photographs look sharp and detailed, with a pleasingly-natural color palette.

The telephone can be working the most recent model of Google’s ever-popular cell working system, Android 9.0, albeit with OnePlus’ personal Oxygen OS excessive. Don’t fear, so far as software program tweaks go that is the least intrusive of the lot, and the expertise feels very very similar to inventory Android. There’s a particular McLaren theme with this mannequin, although, with black backgrounds and orange textual content – however it may be turned off for those who don’t prefer it.

OnePlus 6T McLaren version: Added extras

OnePlus 6T McLaren Version

Let’s discuss that particular presentation field and McLaren-branded gubbins, then. Open the lid, and the very first thing you’ll spot is a elaborate McLaren “Salute to Velocity” e book, which works into plenty of depth in regards to the racing agency’s historical past and notable successes.

The e book additionally features a spot of AR performance. When organising the telephone, you’ll be able to level the rear digicam on the pages and reveal supplementary video diaries and even an in depth 3D picture of a Method 1 race automotive. It’s fairly enjoyable, and particularly fascinating for those who’re a eager racing fanatic. The handset itself can be discovered contained in the e book.

Sitting beneath is the McLaren-branded telephone case, in addition to the telephone’s charger and USB-C to three.5mm headphone adapter. Lastly, there’s additionally a fairly neat carbon fibre McLaren emblem, which is constructed from the Surrey-based racing workforce’s MCL33 Method 1 race automotive (which was pushed by Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne) and encased in glass for show in your shelf.

OnePlus 6T McLaren Version evaluation: Verdict

Is any of this additional stuff truly well worth the added value? Effectively, not precisely, and particularly not for those who aren’t a giant Method 1 fan. The RAM improve doesn’t provide a lot in day-to-day use, whereas the included McLaren-branded merchandise is fascinating at first however will in the end find yourself gathering mud on a shelf.

Purchase OnePlus 6T McLaren Version

If you’re a eager follower of McLaren’s Method 1 appearances, nonetheless, and just like the look of the telephone’s particular design, there is definitely a powerful case to be made for paying the additional value.

However, with the added £150 bringing the worth of the OnePlus 6T McLaren version to a not-so-mid-range £649, the telephone strikes dangerously near nearly all of top-shelf Android flagships. It fails to achieve pole place in consequence.

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BlackBerry Key2 LE review: Party like it’s 2002

It feels odd to say this, given TCL Communications has sent us a phone with a physical keyboard in 2019 but, in a strange way, the Chinese company is listening. It’s not that people are buying BlackBerry handsets in huge numbers any more.

BlackBerry Key2 LE

It feels odd to say this, given TCL Communications has sent us a phone with a physical keyboard in 2019 but, in a strange way, the Chinese company is listening. It’s not that people are buying BlackBerry handsets in huge numbers any more. That ship well and truly departed a decade ago. But, with the Blackberry Key2 LE, the company has fixed our main issue with the KeyTwo: the, uh, “optimistic” pricing.

To do so, TCL has had to make a number of concessions but overall they’ve been made in the right place to bring the BlackBerry Key2 LE to a price that shouldn’t leave you in total disbelief.

Unless you happen to think that buying a BlackBerry in 2019 is a mad thing to do, which is a point it’s pretty hard to argue with, considering the quality of the opposition.

BlackBerry Key2 LE review: What you need to know

It’s the third outing for the reborn, keyboard-based BlackBerry. No, it’s not still made by Canadian firm RIM but by TCL Communications, the firm that’s also recently brought back Palm in a pique of retro fever.

The second keyboard-based BlackBerry, the KeyTwo impressed us well enough last year but the price felt a bit high considering the distinctly middle-of-the-road innards. Suffice to say you were paying a premium price for a keyboard.

The Key2 LE (“Light Edition”) fixes that, knocking a cool £229 off the price. To do that, TCL has cut the processor speed, RAM and battery capacity and included a slightly less appealing keyboard.

BlackBerry Key2 LE review: Price and competition

With that kind of specification surgery, you’d better hope the price is low and, gratifyingly, it is. While the original BlackBerry KeyTwo came in at £579, only £20 less than the LG G7 Thinq, the Key2 LE is a far more reasonable £350.

If specifications are all you care about you can still do better for the price, though. The Pocophone F1 is £330, and it comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, a chip that, bluntly, wipes the floor with the Snapdragon 636 inside the Key2 LE.

But, let’s assume you want a physical keyboard (why else would you be reading a BlackBerry review in 2019?) What alternatives are there? Well, there’s the original BlackBerry KeyOne, of course, which now goes for around £230. My advice, though, would be to look at buying a Samsung Galaxy S8, and pairing it with Samsung’s keyboard cover. It’s the most powerful BlackBerry-like experience you’ll get in 2019 by some distance.

Samsung hasn’t made the keyboard cover for the S9, so I can only assume nobody was buying them, though.

BlackBerry Key2 LE review: Design

Buy you’ve presumably ruled out buying a Samsung flagship, so let’s talk about BlackBerry. The Key2 LE’s design is actually rather smart and I’ve found myself growing rather fond of it over the time I’ve spent using as my main phone.

It’s certainly different. A 3:2 aspect-ratio display in an era where phone screens are favouring 18:9 or greater is a bold move, although not quite as bold as occupying the bottom two-fifths of the front with a 35-key keyboard. It’s separated from the screen by a bezel filled with off-screen capacitive navigation keys.

As for the rest of the design, that’s quite nice, too, and echoes the layout of the Key2. The top of the chassis is neatly squared off, the bottom has curved corners so it shouldn’t catch on the lining of your pocket and the whole phone is framed in a smart, champagne gold trim.

Flip it over and you’ll find a nicely rubberised back that feels wonderfully grippy in the hand and a genuine breath of fresh air when compared with what BlackBerry hopes will be its rivals. The familiar BlackBerry logo is embossed in silver two-thirds of the way up and a dual-camera sits at the top.

You can buy a dual-SIM version and it supports microSD cards up to 256GB in size. It isn’t waterproofed – there are quite a lot of gaps between those little keys – but it does maintain the headphone jack, like the good old days.

BlackBerry Key2 LE review: Keyboard

There’s no getting around it: I have big hands and, as such, I’ve never seen the appeal in poking at tiny buttons like I’m playing the world’s most tedious minature game of Whack-A-Mole.

Actually, I’m not really a big fan of typing on smartphones, full stop. I only type on my phone as an absolute last resort: WhatsApp Web is a Godsend. That said, I’ve actually found the BlackBerry Key2 LE keyboard a pleasant surprise. I can certainly see the appeal, even if part of that appeal is the clickity-clack of looking important while you hammer out a tiny email.

The keys are decently spaced enough that typos are rare, although it has the strange side effect of making me watch my fingers, rather than the words appearing on the screen. Additionally, adding commas and question marks requires you to press the tiny “alt” button first, which is tedious if you’re the kind of bore that insists on perfect grammar in your texts. (Solidarity, reader: I’m one of you.)

Still, generally the predictive text jumps in at exactly the points where you would want it to, offering suggestions which generally make sense and adding apostrophes to save you the frustrating alt-key dance. The fingerprint reader is also embedded in the spacebar, which is a very nice touch and works well. It’s a pity that said space bar doesn’t double up as a home button but you can’t have anything.

But remember how I said the keyboard was one area where BlackBerry had cut corners with the LE? It’s no longer touch sensitive. That means you can’t use it as a touchpad for scrolling through webpages and it doesn’t allow you to flick your fingers upwards at the words you want to pick. You can still set keys to act as shortcuts to launch apps, which is a nice touch, if a little pointless given your favourites are easily accessible in a touch-friendly interface an inch away.

Would I pick this over a touchscreen keyboard? Absolutely not but it was a closer call than I thought it would be before I picked up the BlackBerry Key2 LE. The deciding factors are twofold: first, I miss swiping my words, which I still find the quickest way of entering text in a hurry. Second, I found that to type with any kind of speed on the BlackBerry, I need to use two thumbs. That makes texting and walking nearly impossible, which is a real pain if you’re running late and need to tell someone pronto.

BlackBerry Key2 LE review: Screen

Two years ago, phones switched up their aspect ratios, most moving to a long and thin 18:9, rather than the dumpier 16:9 of old. The resurrected BlackBerrys don’t play these games at all, providing a 3:2, 4.5in touchscreen placed just above the keyboard.

Does that make interacting with apps a bit more awkward? You betcha. Even pressing the home, back or menu buttons requires you to lift your thumb above the keyboard, which is as fiddly as it sounds.

But hey, you know what you’re signing up for when you buy a BlackBerry, so how does the display perform on a technical level? Really well, as it turns out. It’s an IPS panel, with a resolution of 1,620 x 1,080 meaning you get a decent pixel density of 434ppi.

Better still, it performs better than the more expensive BlackBerry KeyTwo. It covers 98.5% of the sRGB colour spectrum, up 5% on its pricier sibling and it reaches a peak brightness of 470cd/m2 compared with the KeyTwo’s 397cd/m2. Contrast is slightly weaker but, at 1,239:1, it would be churlish to moan too much.

It’s still not the perfect screen for binge-watching Netflix shows on, thanks to the ruddy great keyboard poking out of the side but it’s actually pretty good for what it is.

BlackBerry Key2 LE review: Performance

So far, so good then: £230 off the price of the original BlackBerry KeyTwo, with only minor keyboard annoyances to contend with. How about the reduction in core specifications?

The new BlackBerry Key2 LE comes with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 processor, while it’s more expensive sibling features the 660. Both are octa-core chips but there’s a 400MHz clock speed difference between them. Piling on the pressure for the upcoming benchmarks is the loss of 2GB RAM between versions. While the KeyTwo had 6GB, the Key2 LE has to make do with 4GB.

So, what does that mean in practical terms?

The good news is that it’s not too far behind the non-LE version. You may come up against a memory ceiling now and then. The software warned me at one point that I needed to close things to make it perform better. Generally, however, the difference shouldn’t be all that different. Not £230 different, anyway.

BlackBerry Key2 LE

The elephant in the room is how much better you can do for the money with a non-BlackBerry phone. Off both the charts above is the Xiaomi Pocophone F1, which comes in £20 cheaper. The Nokia 8.1 is £30 more expensive than the BlackBerry Key2 LE and beats it comfortably.

The Samsung Galaxy S8, a handset fast approaching its second birthday, is significantly faster and can be made BlackBerry-like by adding the official Samsung keyboard cover.

Battery life is equally underwhelming, comparatively speaking, with the Key2 LE lasting only 13hrs 18 mins in our video playback test. Confusingly, this is 12 minutes longer than the KeyTwo despite it having a 500mAh smaller battery.

Of course, there’s more to phones than just benchmarks and one of the things that has most impressed me about the Key2 LE is the software. Don’t worry, you don’t have to learn/relearn BlackBerry OS; this is a nicely skinned version of Android with some BlackBerry-specific flavours.

Some of these are purely cosmetic. I like the charging bar that snakes around the edges of the screen when you plug the phone in, and the tiled apps that appear when you tap the menu button, but other features are a hell of a lot more useful.

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BlackBerry Messenger may be a peculiar throwback in 2019, but DTEK by BlackBerry is a useful privacy and security checker, and there are other brilliant tools built in for the privacy and business conscious. Privacy Shade makes the entire screen pitch black, except for a single-line window that you can drag along with your finger, meaning sensitive emails are safe from people reading over your shoulder. Redactor is equally useful, allowing you to paste thick black lines over text in screenshots before sending them, removing secrets from prying eyes.

BlackBerry Key2 LE review: Camera

For those easily bamboozled by specifications, the camera specs look slightly better on paper than the original KeyTwo but, make no mistake, this is a downgrade disguised as an upgrade. Yes, it’s now 13 megapixels compared with the original’s 12 megapixels, but the aperture was a larger f/1.8 and it’s now a smaller f/2.2. Worse, the sensor size has shrunk from 1/2.3in to 1/3.1in, which means considerably less light gathering potential.

Despite this, the performance here isn’t too bad but the complaints we had with the KeyTwo are repeated here: a smoothing effect seems to apply in post-processing which gives things an unnatural look.

As you can see in the comparison shots with the Nokia 8.1, it’s getting plenty of detail, but said detail is lost with aggressive processing that leaves areas of similar colour looking smudged.

The quality of images isn’t too bad for the price but the real issue I have is with the actual day to day use of the camera. You have to remain perfectly still in the second after pressing the capture button. If you don’t, the result will be a blurred image. Suffice to say, this makes my Instagram hobby of cat photography almost impossible but maybe BlackBerry users care more about emails than feline photography.

BlackBerry Key2 LE review: Verdict

Should you buy a BlackBerry in 2019? I wouldn’t personally. Touchscreen keyboards have come a long way in the last decade and a physical keyboard feels like a relic that’s more likely to get in the way than prove genuinely useful nowadays.

But if you do long for a handset that’s a little different then you could do worse than the BlackBerry Key2 LE. On the whole, the cuts made over the original KeyTwo don’t add up to £230 less value in my eyes.

And yes, you could add a keyboard cover to the Samsung Galaxy S8 for a better overall Android experience but if you prefer everything with a BlackBerry taste, then the Key2 LE is worth a nibble.

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Google to remove Android apps requesting SMS and Call Log access

Google has said it will begin removing Android apps that seek unjustified access to the device owner’s call and text message logs.

Google to remove Android apps

Google has said it will begin removing Android apps that seek unjustified access to the device owner’s call and text message logs.

The company is requiring apps that request this highly personal information from users’ devices must fill in a permissions declarations form to explain why, or revoke the permissions in a new version of the app.

Developers that fail to do either will be removed from the Play Store automatically, as will those who fail to provide sufficient reasoning.

The news comes from Paul Bankhead, who is the director of product management at Google, who points out that many apps, such as diallers or messaging tools, require such access as part of their basic functionality.

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In a blog post (via The Register), he wrote: “We take access to sensitive data and permissions very seriously. This is especially true with SMS and Call Log permissions, which were designed to allow users to pick their favourite dialler or messaging app, but have also been used to enable many other experiences that might not require that same level of access.

“Our new policy is designed to ensure that apps asking for these permissions need full and ongoing access to the sensitive data in order to accomplish the app’s primary use case, and that users will understand why this data would be required for the app to function.”

Developers affected by the policy change have already been emailed and have been given 90 days to either remove those permissions or submit the aforementioned form. The company says each submission will be evaluated by its review teams. It says tens of thousands of devs have already resubmitted apps to support the new policy, or submitted a form.

“Over the next few weeks, we will be removing apps from the Play Store that ask for SMS or Call Log permission and have not submitted a permission declaration form,” Bankhead added.

Those apps subject to removal must submit a new version of the app without these permissions or submit the firm before March 9.

Does Google do a good enough job of keeping app permissions under control? Let us know @css0cder on Twitter.


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