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Best of techradar 2015: our articles of the year

How the voices of Siri discovered they were inside your iPhone

By James Peckham, November 7

Voice of Siri

"When Siri was introduced on the iPhone 4S back in October 2011, no one knew the people they were speaking to, yet they fast became some of the most recognised voices in the world.

The only people who knew the voices speaking back at them were the voice actors themselves, and even they weren't certain at first. Apple didn't publicly reveal the names of the Siri voices, but the company also didn't see fit to contact the actors directly either - so it was a bit of a surprise when they discovered they were inside millions of phones."

You might actually survive Dark Souls 3

By Nick Pino, August 5

Dark Souls 3

"It's this method of rewarding its most resilient fans that makes developer From Software's series so beloved by a growing niche audience. For the rest of us - the ones that run from room to room haphazardly, missing the myriad treasure chests and secret doors - however, death comes quickly and relentlessly.

Getting to play Dark Souls 3, I expected it to be as hard as its two-year-old predecessor, Dark Souls 2. I expected that I'd need to take that careful approach; for my character's maximum allowed health to deplete after every death and restorative potions to be sparse.

How wrong I was."

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The first-ever VR film festival showed me the future of movies

By Lily Prasuethsut, September 19

Virtual Reality

"Tyler Hurd, director of Butts, never thought he'd be talking to a reporter about his animated short. Originally 2D, Hurd's coworkers at Double Fine wanted to make Butts for VR. Simple, hilarious and yes, even touching, the short was one of the first virtual reality films made.

Technically, he says the conversion is tricky, because VR is still in development, "There's a lot of things that break." Creatively however, it's "been fun to explore." Examples include directing the audience's attention to little moments with certain cues to look in different places since you "can't physically turn their heads" you have to provide visual and auditory hints."

The smartphone torture tests your handset has to pass

By John McCann, February 10

Huawei phone torture chamber

"Deep underground at Huawei's Shanghai campus lies a purpose-built facility designed to put the latest smartphones through extreme tests, ensuring the device which lands in your hand is capable of taking more than just a couple of knocks.

We were invited to China to check out Huawei's facility inside the city's longest building, stretching for one kilometre and the workplace for over 10,000 employees."

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Anyone can build a PC - here's how the experts do it

By Kane Fulton, March 26

8Pack

"Peering into the gaming PC's gargantuan case, the system's creator flicked away a spec of dust.

"When the customer said they wanted this colour," he begins, pointing to a water-cooling reservoir radiating an atomic yellow hue, 'I thought it would look awful - but it's turned out really well.'"

Talking techradar through the rig, a near £10,000 (around $14,900) dream machine called the Supernova, is Ian "8pack" Parry. A veritable T100 in a polo top sporting a thick Huddersfield, England accent, Parry is the creator of Overlockers UK's flagship 8pack gaming PC range."

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How I broke the 40 minute 10K barrier with tech

By Gareth Beavis, September 13

Shoes

"If the title of this piece seems a little like I'm bragging, then, well, I can't really deny that. But this is one of those instances in life that just feel like you have to make a big deal about, else they just get lost in the current with the rest of daily life.

Regular readers will know that I've been after the sub-40 minute 10K race for a long, long time now - and on Sunday I finally did it in London's Kew Gardens, and all thanks to some subtle training tweaks that were enabled through technology.

And, more importantly, Runner G completed her first ever race - getting people on the running train is way better than cracking times."

More picks by Gareth