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The best TechRadar reads you may have missed

(Image credit: Future)

Amid the flurry of technology news arriving every single day on our timelines and smartphones, it can be hard to keep track of the stories actually worth reading.

In this weekly roundup you'll find the latest and most pressing breaking news, new reviews, and in-depth analysis of the stories of the week – from a killer new feature on Sony's true wireless earbuds to Microsoft Edge hunkering down on your PC for good.

There are plenty of opinions on the PS5 ahead of its launch in late 2020, too, and you should scroll down to see what our writers are making of its 3D audio potential – as well as how Sony's exclusivity strategy is angering fans (and us).

Or would you rather listen to TechRadar's dulcet tones, straight to your ears? Scroll down to the end of this article to find the latest episode of our Noise Cancelling Podcast for in-depth commentary on the latest tech news, too.

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The Silence of the Jams: Sony's new WH-1000XM4 over-ears stop me from singing

Gerald Lynch

"They’re the best noise cancelling headphones in the world – that much is now certain, after we posted our 5-star awarding Sony WH-1000XM4 review. Packed full of smart feature additions, with excellent audio performance and improved noise-cancelling techniques over their predecessors (the Sony WH-1000XM3), they’ve been awarded a very rare perfect score from TechRadar.

But the most useful feature that’s been added to the Sony WH-1000XM4s brings with it an unintentional side effect."

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Can a 5G phone give my whole flat high-speed internet?

Tom Bedford

"When 5G started rolling out, I was one of the many, many people who didn’t understand why we needed even faster data – and even after testing many 5G phones, and experiencing their snappy connection speeds, I still wasn’t sold.

That's changed, though, after an extensive test to see how powerful a hotspot a 5G phone could really be – with a result that I bet will be handy for plenty of other people too in the long run.

Discussions around 5G mostly focus around video calling on the go, mobile gaming and quick movie and TV show downloads. But when I found myself without home internet access for a month, I was forced to explore the wonders of 5G hot-spotting. Here’s how that happened."

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PS5 3D audio

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Why the most important PS5 feature could be one you can’t even see

Adam Vjestica

"I can’t stop thinking about one PS5 feature that, frustratingly, can’t be judged unless it’s experienced first hand: and that’s 3D audio. I’m cautiously optimistic about its potential, and believe it might just give me that “wow” factor I’m searching for with the next-generation consoles.

Great sound matters to me, but after sampling various spatial surround sound technologies such as Dolby Atmos and DTS Headphone: X, I’ve found that both leave a lot to be desired. They’ve never lived up to the promise of being able to hear objects distinctly from above and below, which would honestly be a game-changer for so many titles.

The PS5’s ‘Tempest 3D Audio Engine’, though, could finally deliver."

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Everyone’s least favorite web browser will soon be impossible to uninstall

Joel Khalili 

"The new Chromium-based version of web browser Microsoft Edge will soon be impossible to uninstall from Windows devices.

The new Edge browser was launched in January, replacing the outdated HTML-based version now known as Edge Legacy. Until now, Microsoft has opted for a phased approach to the rollout, but will soon push the new browser to all users.

However, according to a Microsoft blog post, once the transition to the new version is complete, users will no longer be able to remove Edge Chromium from their computers – at least not via the traditional avenue."

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Google Pixel 4a

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Google Pixel 4a review

John McCann

"The Google Pixel 4a gives you the best of Google in an affordable, one-hand-friendly package.

There's slick Google Assistant integration, a clean Android interface with three years of guaranteed updates, and a seriously impressive photography experience considering the Pixel 4a has just one rear camera.

If you're looking for maximum bang for your buck, and features galore, the Pixel 4a is unlikely to whet your appetite. That said, its compact size, clean interface and great point-and-shoot camera will appeal to those looking for an affordable, reasonably sized handset with enough grunt for social media, web browsing and emails, plus the ability to capture some excellent pictures."

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Marvel’s Avengers Spider-Man exclusivity deal

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Spider-Man is being held hostage in Marvel's Avengers by Sony, and it has to stop

Samuel Roberts

"Sony has announced that Spider-Man DLC will be exclusive to the PS4 version of Marvel’s Avengers, the latest blockbuster superhero adventure game to hit shelves from Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix. That means you won’t be able to play as Spidey on Xbox One or PC, as he’ll solely reside on PlayStation 4 hardware.

Now let me make it clear, I have nothing wrong with exclusive games. It’s the reason I buy Nintendo’s new hardware every generation, and it’s why the PS4 is held in such high regard. God of WarHorizon: Zero Dawn and Ratchet & Clank are some of the best games I’ve played this generation, and I still believe in the power of great exclusive games. 

However, what I don’t believe in is when a platform holder pays a small ransom to hold part of a third-party game hostage. It seriously devalues the product on other platforms, to the point that most gamers would do right to spend their money elsewhere. It also begs the question: if you knew you’d only push one version of the game, why bother releasing it elsewhere?"

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TikTok and WeChat face imminent US ban after Trump signs executive order

Dan GardinerJasmine Gearie

"US President Donald Trump has issued an executive order that appears to ban Americans from doing business through TikTok and WeChat, two popular apps operated by Chinese technology companies ByteDance and Tencent, respectively. 

The order specifically prohibits any “transactions” between any US citizen and the apps – although the specifics of what falls under that term are currently unclear.

The President issued two separate orders on August 6, one for each app, which will come into effect in 45 days.

In both the TikTok and WeChat orders, Mr Trump asserted that the Chinese-owned apps posed a threat to the country’s security, and stated “steps must be taken to deal with the national emergency”. But what did TikTok and WeChat do?"

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Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and Google Pixel 4a: Noise Cancelling podcast episode 24

Can't find the time to keep up with tech news? Looking for some awesome lockdown listening? We have you covered with the Noise Cancelling podcast, which is brought to you by TechRadar and our sister sites Laptop Mag and Tom's Guide.

The show is presented by Gareth Beavis, Global Editor in Chief of TechRadar, and features Sherri L. Smith, Editor in Chief of Laptop Mag.

This week our guests are Matt Swider, TechRadar's Managing Editor, and Chris Barraclough of Tech Spurt, who join us (remotely, of course) to talk about the last seven days in tech.