Tech News

Best mirrorless camera 2019: 10 top models to suit every budget

Latest Tech News - Fri, 09/06/2019 - 09:14

What's the best mirrorless camera right now? It's not an easy question to answer but we reckon we can point you in the right direction – whatever your budget. 

Mirrorless cameras have evolved in countless ways ever since they came on the market 11 years ago, and there's little doubt that today's models are more exciting  than their DSLR rivals.

But what exactly is a mirrorless camera? Mirrorless cameras allow you to swap and change lenses like on a DSLR, but because the mirror that you normally find inside a DSLR has been removed, the camera can be made much more compact. 

No mirror means that instead of optical viewfinders to frame your subject, mirrorless cameras rely on electronic viewfinders instead. Be aware, however, that most cheaper mirrorless cameras don't come with viewfinders at all – instead, you compose the photo on the rear screen, just as you do with most compact cameras or smartphones.

You'll find that mirrorless cameras are also known as compact system cameras (or CSCs for short), with models ranging from the simple to use beginner models to sophisticated full-frame monsters that rival the very best DSLRs out there. 

Why are mirrorless cameras better?

Is a mirrorless camera better than a DSLR then? There are still quite a few pros and cons to both designs, so if you want to find out more, read this: Mirrorless vs DSLR cameras: 10 key differences 

Mirrorless cameras certainly offer more choice. If you're looking to buy a DSLR, there's only really two main players in the shape of Canon and Nikon. If you opt for a mirrorless camera, the choice is much broader, with the likes of Canon, Panasonic, Fujifilm, Sony, Olympus and Leica all offering a wide range of cameras to suit most budgets. 

Right now, every major camera manufacturer has something to shout about, and their latest models are different enough from their rivals to stand out in some way.

While it would be very easy to select 10 high-end models to make up our pick of the best mirrorless camera, we've tried to pick out some more affordable options as well. These models might not be dripping in features, but they represent great options for new users and those on a budget. That said, if you're looking specifically for a budget mirrorless camera, take a look at our best mirrorless camera for beginners buying guide

So whether you're after a better camera than the one featured on your smartphone or are looking for an advanced, high-end model to push your creativity even further, read on to find out what are the best mirrorless cameras you can buy right now. 

Best mirrorless cameras in 2019

2019 has already seen a raft of exciting new cameras from most of the big players.

Key releases include the Sony Alpha A7R IV, Olympus OM-D E-M1X, Panasonic Lumix S1R, Canon EOS RP and Fujifilm X-T30 – and there's no doubt more to come before the year is up. 

So what stands out most for us from the current selection? It's close but we reckon the best mirrorless camera right now is the Nikon Z6, for its excellent image quality, great videos, polished handling and overall performance. It's not without fault but for the money you get a whole lot of camera.

Sony may have got to the full-frame mirrorless market before the likes of Canon, Nikon and Panasonic, but now that all four are active in the sector, the playing field is starting to level a little. And our nod right now goes to Nikon's Z6, which combines a sound 24.5MP sensor with a super-sharp 3.69 million dot EVF and lovely 4K video into a compact shell. The beefy grip makes for great handling while the FTZ adapter that's either bundled with the camera or available separately means you can carry on using hundreds of F-mount lenses, with autofocus and auto-exposure maintained. It's not perfect, but a recent firmware update gave it a nice boost – and now that its price has fallen some way it's even more accessible than ever. We love it.

The Alpha A7 III may sit on the bottom rung of Sony's full-frame mirrorless camera range, its siblings being the pricier A7S II and A7R III, but it should no longer be seen as the poor relation to its pricier siblings. This is a brilliant choice for the enthusiast photographer or pro, and when you look at the specification, it's easy to see why. Sony has taken some of the best bits from its flagship Alpha A9 and A7R III cameras, and distilled them into a single camera that offers a fantastic mix of performance and image quality. The full-frame 24.2MP sensor is excellent in a range of lighting conditions, while the advanced 693-point AF looks set to get even better with a firmware upgrade in April. This is one advanced camera that's at a great price considering the features and performance on offer.

Like the sound of the Z6, but want more megapixels? Then the 45.7MP Z7 should do the trick. Sharing an identical design to the Z6, Nikon's first full-frame mirrorless camera is a real triumph. It may be a first-generation camera, but we think Nikon's knocked it out of the park with the Z7 right from the get-go. The densely populated 45.7MP sensor is brilliant, delivering some of the best results we've seen on a mirrorless camera, while the effective in-camera image stabilization also delivers. Factor in a beautiful EVF, excellent handling, very competent AF performance and great response throughout, and it's easy to see why the Z7 is such a pleasure to use. 

Sony's A7R line of cameras has been all about resolution, and the A7R III sure delivers a lot of it. With its 42.2MP sensor, it manages to match or better the majority of DSLRs out there, while 4K video recording, weather-sealing and a brilliant hybrid AF system show that it's got more than just a high pixel count to shout about. The most recent A7R IV update took things further with a fresh 61MP sensor, although we've not had the opportunity to review it yet. It looks very promising, but until we do, it's the A7R III that gets our vote.

Fujifilm's X-series of compact cameras has been a huge smash among enthusiasts, and the previous X-T20 was the company's best-selling X-series model yet. So how do you follow on from that? By blending the best bits from the high-end X-T3 (position 8) in a body that's just as convenient to carry around as before. In fact, you get more than you might expect from the X-T3 here, from the 26.1MP sensor and processing engine through to the option to record 4K-quality footage and a phase-detect AF system that covers almost the entire frame. It's beautifully designed and built, and is just at home shooting sports and action as it is capturing landscapes or videos.  

The OM-D E-M10 Mark III might not be a massive leap forward over the Mark II, with much of the camera's specification remaining the same. However, Olympus has refined and tweaked one of our favorite mirrorless cameras to make it an even more tempting proposition for new users and enthusiasts alike. Some will criticise the smaller Micro Four Thirds sensor format, but the effect on image quality is minor and it means that the lenses are as compact and lightweight as the camera itself. Sporting a 5-axis image stabilization system, a very decent electronic viewfinder, an impressive 8.6fps burst shooting rate and 4K video, it's no toy – the OM-D E-M10 Mark III is a properly powerful camera.

You don't have to go full-frame to get the benefit of Sony's great camera technology, and this APS-C format model makes a great choice for enthusiasts looking for an alternative to a more traditional DSLR. Sony's equipped the A6400 with a brilliant AF system that not only offers fast focus tracking, but a clever Eye AF system the locks focus on the eye. There's also an excellent electronic viewfinder that makes it easy to see when the subject is sharp and correctly exposed, while the touchscreen can be rotated round 180-degrees, making the camera a great choice for vloggers. Image quality is very high and there's built-in Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity to allow you to share images via a connected smartphone.

Fujifilm has long shown that you don't need a full-frame sensor to make a cracking camera, and the X-T3 is very much testament to that. With a fresh 26.1MP APS-C sensor, a revamped processing engine and a 425-point AF system spreads across the frame, the camera is happy enough to be shooting sports and landscapes as it is when out on the street. But there's plenty more, such as wonderful 4K video quality, a three-axis LCD, highly detailed EVF and twin card slots, all inside a weather-sealed body. The newer X-T30 (position 5) manages to deliver a lot of this for less, but if you fancy a better viewfinder, a more flexible LCD, faster burst rate and superior video specs, this is the model to go for. 

The S1R is the first of two camera's in Panasonic's S series, and it arrives with some mightily impressive technology. That 5.76million-dot viewfinder is streets ahead of the 3.69million-dot alternatives in rival bodies, while the rugged build, effective sensor-based stabilization and cracking 4K video show it to be a camera that excels in a wealth of areas. The 47.3MP full-frame sensor also manages to perform brilliantly in good light and bad, and the further option to output images at 187MP may seem a little crazy, but it opens up new possibilities for cropping and for macro work. We're very impressed.

The GFX 100 outguns every other model in the list for native resolution, and while it has a lofty price tag to match its beefy body, it's arguably in a league of its own right now. While it's not the only camera capable of outputting images this detailed, it's the fact that it does it as standard rather than through any trickery or need to use a tripod like many others that makes it special. Throw in a very competent autofocus system, sensor-based image stabilization, strong 4K video and the best EVF we've seen so far, and you have one supremely versatile camera. Sure, none of us can afford one, but Fujifilm deserves high praise for delivering this kind of performance at a price well below that of other high-resolution medium format cameras. 

Also consider:

Olympus wowed us with its OM-D E-M1 Mark II when it arrived back in 2016, and while some of its sheen has been rubbed away by the flashier OM-D E-M1X that arrived earlier this year, this model packs much of that camera's tech inside a much cheaper and lighter body. And the tech itself is very sound: a superb image stabilization system, strong 4K video recording capacities, lightning-fast autofocus and a highly impressive burst mode that captures 60fps at full resolution – and all in a weather-resistant body. Some may prefer a slightly different sensor as the  20MP Four Thirds version here is neither the largest nor the newest, but you really can't argue with that you're getting for your money. We've always had a soft spot for the E-M1 Mark II, and at this price we love it even more.

We may now be on the fourth generation of A7 cameras, but Sony has been smart enough to keep previous models available so that anyone who can't quite stretch to the latest versions can still grab themselves a top older model at a tidy price. And the A7 II is a great example of this, with its 24MP full-frame sensor, sensor-based image stabilization, Fast Hybrid AF system and compatibility with plenty of sweet Sony lenses to sway those on a budget. Sure, it misses out on a few mod cons like 4K video recording and a touchscreen, but neither is essential if you just want to get great images without having to eat beans for the rest of the month. 

Categories: Tech News

Huawei Mate X will launch in two variants with different power

Latest Tech News - Fri, 09/06/2019 - 09:06

The Huawei Mate X is edging closer to release. We already knew the Mate X release date is set for October/November and that it will pack Huawei's new Kirin 990 flagship chipset, but along with re-affirming these points, the firm's CEO has revealed another interesting point about the foldable phone.

In a briefing with other reporters at IFA 2019, TechRadar learned that Huawei will release two versions of the Mate X. The first to be available will apparently be the original Mate X we saw back in February at MWC 2019, powered by Huawei's Kirin 980 chipset.

That means the handset has plenty of power, but with Samsung upgrading the Galaxy Fold with a newer chipset just ahead of its September 6 release, Huawei is reacting with a second version of the Mate X boasting the Kirin 990.

That means if you're planning to pick up the Huawei Mate X, you may want to wait for the second, more powerful version to become available first. 

The Kirin 990 has a 5G modem inside, so it's likely to support the next-gen network technology, and we already know the original Mate X has 5G support, so we'd be surprised if Huawei removed it from the updated version.

Ready for launch

Launched at IFA 2019, the Kirin 990 is set to feature in the Huawei Mate 30 and is likely to be in next year's Huawei P40 as well.

It may also be ready for release in the Mate X as early as next month. Yu said, "In the beginning we wanted to sell the Mate X, to be honest, last month [August 2019]. We postponed that. Maybe next month [October 2019]."

That matches Huawei's previous statement that said it would be releasing its first foldable phone at some stage between September and November. 

While we are still waiting a firm release date from Huawei, there's no questioning that its first foldable phone is now just around the corner.

Categories: Tech News

Nintendo is encouraging us to get fit (again) but this time with a rubber ring

Latest Tech News - Fri, 09/06/2019 - 08:59

Nintendo has always had a penchant for trying to encourage us to exercise with its consoles, whether it was with Wii Fit, the Wii Balance Board or Fitness Boxing. 

It's not always been the most successful endeavour but, not one to be put off by our laziness, the House of Mario seems to once again be dipping its toes into the world of fitness – this time with a rubber ring.

Nintendo has released a new video teasing a "new experience for the Nintendo Switch". The video sees people in various countries around the world using what looks like a rubbery, plastic band to exercise.

Check out the video below:

The new Wii Fit?

While the video is just a teaser, and specified that more details will be revealed on September 12, we did pick up a few details from it. 

Firstly, this new "experience" definitely involves exercise. Some weird looking exercises it seems that involves bouncing up and down with said ring, squeezing it with your thighs and even using it like an archery bow. 

The plastic, rubbery rings seem to have a slot for your Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons, while another Joy-Con is strapped to your leg using a belt-type thing. We're assuming this is for movement tracking.

It also seems the new experience will be a pretty social one, much like Wii Fit was. While some people in the teaser video were using the ring alone, most were in groups partaking in odd activities that could be dubbed exercise (did you see Rome?).

It looks like we won't find out exactly what this new device is until next week, but it looks like it'll be the Wii Fit of this generation.

Categories: Tech News

Here's how to watch live Chandrayaan-2 landing online in India

Latest Tech News - Fri, 09/06/2019 - 08:40

You can watch the historical moment of Chandrayan-2 landing live online. Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) second lunar mission Chandrayaan-2 will touch down near the South Pole of Moon in the wee hours of September 7.

India's moon mission is particularly different from all the past lunar expeditions as the Chandrayaan-2 will attempt to land at 70-degree South latitude, making it the first country in the last 70 years to attempt this type of landing.

The lunar expedition was launched on July 22 from India and achieved orbital insertion on August 20. In the early hours of September 7, the Vikram lander along with Pragyan rover will attempt a soft descent on the surface of the Moon. 

After successfully landing the Vikram module, it will deploy the six-wheeled rover which will initiate chemical analysis and 3D mapping of the surrounding areas and relay its findings to Mission Control on Earth via lander and orbiter. 

The mission will go on for one lunar day (14 days on Earth) and the rover is equipped to be powered by solar energy.

Chandrayaan-2 has two primary objectives: to map the lunar surface using Spectroscopy and to study water ice in the South Pole region of the Moon.

Here's how to watch Chandrayaan-2 moon landing live in India.

Watch Chandrayaan-2 landing on Moon online

Chandrayaan-2's Vikram lander will begin the descent to the lunar surface between 1:30 AM and 2:30 AM on September 7.

The live telecast of Chandrayaan-2 landing is scheduled to begin from 1:10 AM (IST) on Doordarshan. Moreover, there's a National Geographic Chandrayaan-2 special program scheduled to start at 11:30 PM (IST) on September 6 with former NASA astronaut Jerry Linenger followed by the lunar landing from 1:30 PM.

For people watching online, Chandrayaan-2 landing will be streamed live on YouTube channels of ISRO and Doordarshan. Hotstar is also expected to host a live streaming party on its service, so you might want to check that out as well.

We're embedding the streaming links below for the convenience of our readers.

Categories: Tech News

Popular GPS trackers found to have major security flaws

Latest Tech News - Fri, 09/06/2019 - 08:32

Thousands of devices meant to help keep children safe could actually be putting them at risk, new security research has found.

A report from Avast has claimed that around 600,000 GPS tracking devices are exposing all the data they send to the cloud, including exact real-time GPS co-ordinates.

The flaw affects over 30 devices from Chinese manufacturer Shenzhen i365 Tech, including the popular T8 Mini GPS tracker, which are marketed as helping keep track of children, pets and elderly people.

Tracked down

Avast's researchers found that all of the requests originating from the tracker’s web application were being transmitted in unencrypted plain-text, with the website of i365 Tech served over HTTP protocol as opposed to the more secure HTTPS.

But in more troubling findings, Avast discovered that the device was able to issue commands beyond the intended uses of GPS tracking products, including the ability to call a phone number, which could enable a third-party to eavesdrop through the tracker’s microphone.

The device was also able to send SMS messages, which could allow an attacker to identify the phone number of the device and thus use inbound SMS as an attack vector, as well as using an SMS to allow a hacker to reroute communication from the device to an alternate server in order to gain full control of the device or spoof information sent to the cloud.

Lastly, the device could also share a URL to the tracker, allowing a remote attacker to place new firmware on the device without even touching it, which could completely replace the functionality or implant a backdoor

Avast says that its research should make the public to take caution when bringing cheap or knock-off smart devices into the home. 

“As parents, we are inclined to embrace technology that promises to help keep our kids safe, but we must be savvy about the products we purchase,” Leena Elias, head of product delivery for Avast, said. 

“Beware of any manufacturers that do not meet minimum security standards or lack third-party certifications or endorsements. Shop only with brands you trust to keep your data safe — the extra cost is worth the peace of mind.”

  • Keep your online habits private with the best VPN services of 2019
Categories: Tech News

WoW Classic cheat is spoiling the game for some players – so Blizzard is taking action

Latest Tech News - Fri, 09/06/2019 - 08:17

World of Warcraft Classic has been plagued with some controversy since launch over an exploit known as ‘layer switching’, and Blizzard has now issued an official statement on the matter, declaring that it’s a much smaller issue than some folks are making out – although countermeasures against it are incoming.

World of Warcraft developer Pazorax posted on the game’s official forum to say: “We’ve been monitoring players’ use of layers, and we agree that we should add a delay between subsequent layer transfers. Under the hood we have all the controls I talked about in the Reddit AMA before launch, a few secret weapons we haven’t discussed publicly, and we’re working on deploying some additional controls to further restrain layering from being exploitable.

“However, we also want to assure you that the issue is a much smaller problem than some people are claiming. We’ve been closely monitoring the effect layering is having on economies and other aspects of the game, and many of the stories we see posted are wildly inaccurate. We’ve seen screenshots of banks full of rare crafting materials, which we’ve investigated and proved false.”

The uninitiated might be wondering exactly what ‘layer switching’ or ‘hopping’ is.

Layering itself simply refers to splitting a server into different layers, which are effectively multiple copies of the world.

While this was never in the original World of Warcraft game way back when, it was introduced for WoW Classic because Blizzard feared that the hordes of players cramming into early-level zones would effectively make the game unplayable, as competition for resources and quests would be unbearably tough in a single world environment.

Splitting up the population into more manageable amounts over different layers was the solution to the problem of overcrowding given the huge amount of people flocking to WoW Classic initially.

Eventually, when many of the initial rush of players (remember, any subscriber can play) likely get bored of WoW classic, and the server populations thin out, as well as characters spreading out more over the level spectrum, overcrowding should become much less of an issue.

And as Dexerto reports, Blizzard has said it will remove the layering system when this sort of population scenario becomes a reality down the line.

Classic switcheroo

The current problem, though, is that folks are exploiting the fact that they can move from one layer to another intentionally by joining a party (because doing so switches you to the layer which that group is in).

This can be used to gain experience – clear an area of juicy mobs in one layer, then switch to another where they are still spawned, to do it again – or to farm rare resources in much the same way (harvest, switch layer, harvest again).

So the worry is that this practice could blow out the economy longer-term on a server, if some players are managing to gather unreasonably large amounts of super-rare stuff early on.

And that’s exactly why Pazorax mentioned the “wildly inaccurate” stories about this which are floating around, and clarified later in this post: “Rest assured that there are not people running around with banks full of (Thorium) Arcane Crystals or Black Lotus.”

Many folks have welcomed the developer’s comment, and are relieved to hear that the aforementioned tales aren’t true, and that countermeasures are being introduced.

Although equally, others have picked up on the phrase “additional controls to further restrain layering from being exploitable”, language which seems to confirm that engaging in layer switching is indeed an exploit – and therefore, the argument is that players who have done so should be punished for their transgressions.

It seems unlikely that punitive action will be taken, though, leaving those who feel strongly aggrieved at any layering abuse on their particular realm to sit tight, and simply await Blizzard’s implementation of these various controls to prevent layer switching for resource or levelling advantage.

Categories: Tech News

Moto E6 Plus is Motorola's new affordable smartphone with G7-tier cameras

Latest Tech News - Fri, 09/06/2019 - 08:06

If you like cheap phones the Moto E series is probably on your radar, and Motorola has just announced the newest entry: meet the Moto E6 Plus.

The Moto E6 Plus is an improvement on the Moto E6 shown earlier in 2019 (as you can probably tell from the name), but with more cameras, a bigger screen, and – a cheaper price tag?

The key feature of the Moto E6 Plus is its dual rear camera array, consisting of a 13MP main camera and 2MP depth sensor. That's almost like the 12MP / 5MP setup on the Moto G7, which is a pricier handset.

On the front of the phone you'll find its 8MP selfie camera, which sits in a notch in the 6.1-inch display. As smartphones go that's a relatively average size, but it's quite a bit bigger than the Moto E6's 5.5-inch screen. 

The battery is 3,000mAh, which isn't exactly huge, but that's not a huge problem since the Mediatek Helio P22 chipset is rather low-end, so it won't need much power to run. 

Performance won't exactly be impressive, especially given the 2GB / 4GB RAM (which correspond to 32GB / 64GB storage space models of the handset), but that's what you'd expect for a budget device.

And the Moto E6 Plus definitely is a budget device. You can pick it up in the UK for £99 (roughly $120, AU$180) from most retailers from late September. We're waiting to hear back about exact prices and availability in other territories.

So is this affordable Moto phone something you should look at if you're on the market for a new handset? We'll bring the device into the TechRadar labs to find out for sure.

Categories: Tech News

Huge Dell sale knocks 17% off deals sitewide: save big on laptops, gaming PCs, TVs and more

Latest Tech News - Fri, 09/06/2019 - 08:04

There's a seriously hot Dell sale happening right now folks. You can save 17% off 'sitewide' on all laptops, desktops, gaming PCs and monitors when you use the coupon code, SAVE17. This code can be even used on items that have already been discounted for extra large savings. Who says you have to wait for Black Friday deals?

There are big discounts to be had on a range of TVs too. You don't need any coupon codes for these deals though. 

Dell has a wide range of items across different price points. So whether you're after something basic for simple work tasks, a cheap Chromebook or something a lot more powerful, like the XPS line, there's a laptop with your name on it waiting for you.

If you're looking to treat yourself to a new gaming machine then you'll not want to miss out on the Alienware laptops and rigs. The G3 and G7 gaming laptops are looking might fine today too.

You might not usually think about the Dell store for TV deals, but you'll find some great offers from the likes of Vizio, LG, Samsung and Sony. Many of them are over 65-inches too. If you're going really big though, how about an $1100 discount on a 86-inch 4K LG TV? It comes with a $250 gift card if that helps? Time to get the tape measure out, right?

Let's take a look at our favorite offers so far. You'll find links to a longer list of deals after these hot picks.

Categories: Tech News

First look: Panasonic MegaCon 4K Dual Panel LCD TV

Latest Tech News - Fri, 09/06/2019 - 07:26

Before going any further, let’s clear up right away the thinking behind the rather unfortunate name Panasonic has given to the new screen technology it’s just introduced at IFA 2019 in Berlin.

‘MegaCon’ is a reference to Mega Contrast. It is not, in any way, a suggestion that there’s anything dubious or fake about Panasonic’s revolutionary new 55-inch screen.

On the contrary, its extraordinary talents are already blisteringly apparent, despite it currently only being at the ‘advanced prototype’ stage.

Down to the nitty gritty

The best way to start understanding what the MegaCon is all about is to look at its key specifications. First, it claims a contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1 – despite being based on LCD rather than OLED technology. Second, it claims a brightness of 1000 nits – and we’re not just talking about small areas of 1000 nits, here. The whole screen can reach and hold that level of brightness.

This achievement joins with the mammoth contrast ratio in clearly marking the screen out as very much designed to handle today’s high dynamic range (HDR) content. 

The MegaCon display is also reckoned to be capable of reproducing 99% of the so-called DCI P3 color spectrum that’s used in the world of digital cinema – and which is essentially the system currently used when creating most of today’s HDR content. 

Unlike most LCD TVs too, the MegaCon can be watched from a wide angle with minimal loss of contrast or color saturation. Most exciting of all, the MegaCon achieves pixel level dimming. 

Or, to put this in layman’s terms, even though it’s an LCD TV, its backlight system can deliver a separate amount of light to each and every pixel in the MegaCon’s 4K image. It's not the usual LED TV situation where a relatively small number of backlight zones have to share their light across large numbers of pixels, reducing contrast and causing issues with light ‘blooming’.

In fact, if you can make an LCD TV deliver light control right down to pixel level, you’re essentially replicating the self-emissive pixel situation of OLED TVs. Yet since the MegaCon is still an LCD TV, it can hit brighter HDR light peaks than OLED screens while remaining free of the permanent image retention issues that are still theoretically an OLED TV issue.

Not your average LCD

How has Panasonic managed to pull off this seemingly impossible feat? It’s all down to something Panasonic calls Dual Panel LCD technology.

If you look at the diagram of the MegaCon’s screen structure included above, the key bit to focus on is the last two stages on the right. These show a monochrome inner panel and a 4K outer panel, with the dimming panel being used to modulate the light coming from the backlighting array into individual pixels of light that are then fed into the final 4K color layer.

This approach to solving the traditional issues associated with LCD backlighting isn’t a completely new concept. Hisense, for instance, has shown off a Dual Cell ULED system which draws on the same basic concepts.

Panasonic’s take on dual panel LCD technology, though, looks and feels like nothing we’ve seen before. The screen is completely Panasonic’s own work, for instance. It uses panels manufactured by Panasonic, drawing on the knowledge of high-end ‘self emissive’ screen technologies that Panasonic has built up over decades of plasma and OLED screen experience.

It also uses a special system designed by Panasonic to perfectly align the monochrome inner and color outer layers, so that lines and pixels in the finished picture don’t suffer with ghosting or diffraction noise.

On the contrary, the MegaCon’s pictures look stunningly detailed and precise. Edges of sharply contrasting edges look pixel perfect and perfectly defined, with not even the slightest hint of any misplaced light you would expect to see with misaligned LCD layers.

The contrast between the brightest and darkest parts of the MegaCon’s pictures is unlike anything I’ve seen on an LCD TV before. Deep blacks can sit right alongside massively intense and bright peak whites and vibrant colors without any compromise. The bright picture parts don’t have to have their intensity reined in, while the inky black colors don’t have to succumb to areas of leaking light around the bright bits.

Essentially it’s like watching an OLED TV, except that bright highlights explode out of the screen with astonishing levels of punch.

You can watch the MegaCon from a viewing angle of around 60 degrees off axis without any major reduction in contrast and color too. In fact, colors look exquisitely natural and nuanced, as the screen’s remarkably wide color palette harmonizes beautifully with the screen’s pixel-level light control.

The MegaCon’s screen uses a matte finish that does a strikingly good job of absorbing reflections. This is very important for a monitor that prides itself on its handling of dark scenes, leaving you free to lap up its truly exceptional shadow detail reproduction.

Dark areas of the picture show no signs of the noise problems that can occur with many OLED TVs, either. In fact, there’s no hint of noise anywhere. Put all of these things together and you’ve got a picture performance that truly feels like it’s a generation ahead of where we are now.

Innovation comes at a cost

Before you rush out to buy one, though, you should know that Panasonic is currently only talking about the MegaCon as the next big thing in professional mastering monitors. It doesn’t have plans to launch the technology in consumer TVs. Partly, I suspect, because of the current difficulties associated with making such screens, and partly because finished products based on the MegaCon prototype will surely be eye-wateringly expensive. And then some.

As we’ve seen before, though (especially from Panasonic, actually), technology that starts out in professional mastering studios has a habit of eventually dripping down into the TVs in our living rooms. 

From what I’ve seen of even this early prototype of Panasonic’s next generation TV screen, that drip down effect can’t start happening soon enough.

Categories: Tech News

100 UK towns will be able to apply for faster broadband funds

Latest Tech News - Fri, 09/06/2019 - 07:07

As many as 100 towns across the UK will eligible for funding to improve broadband in their area as part of the government’s ‘Town Deals’ initiative.

The £3.6 billion fund is aimed to supporting town regeneration for areas with “industrial and economic heritage” that have not benefited from economic growth as much as other parts of the country.

The vast majority of eligible areas are located in the North and the Midlands – most of which voted to leave the EU in the 2016 Referendum.

Broadband funds

Improved connectivity is specified as one of the vehicles to drive economic growth, along with investments in transport, skills and culture. Up to £25 million will be invested in each location, with applications for funding set to open soon.

“Ensuring that prosperity and opportunities are available to everyone in this country, not just those in London or our biggest cities, is at the heart of the mission of this government,” said local government secretary Robert Jenrick.

“We want to level-up our great towns, raising living standards and ensuring they can thrive with transformative investment in transport, technology, skills and culture.”

The government has invested billions in government-assisted broadband projects over the past decade, helping bring superfast broadband to areas that would not have been otherwise commercially viable.

The most recent of these was the Universal Service Obligation (USO), which will allow anyone in the UK to demand a decent broadband connection.

The government wants full fibre coverage to be achieved by 2033, however Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he wants this target to be brought forward.

Categories: Tech News

Samsung Galaxy Fold pre-orders have been canceled... just before release date

Latest Tech News - Fri, 09/06/2019 - 06:08

After a long and winding road, the Samsung Galaxy Fold release is upon us – it's out now in Korea, and due to launch in other regions in the next couple of weeks. After it was launched in February, and slated for an April release date, a series of setbacks, breakages, and constantly-pushed-back release dates beset the foldable phone, but Samsung then announced a September release date for sure. However, it seems not everyone will get their handsets on day one.

That's according to several Twitter users from the US, who have reported that Samsung has canceled their Galaxy Fold pre-orders. We were expecting to see the foldable launch on September 27 there (a date not officially confirmed by Samsung, bear in mind), but these fans might have a hard time getting it.

In the email canceling the order, Samsung said it had to "rethink the entire customer experience," and this makes sense – since customers originally pre-ordered the device in February, it has gone through some drastic changes, and the new Samsung Galaxy Fold is a rather different device. Samsung likely wants customers to place their orders and know what they're getting.

Samsung also offers customers whose pre-orders were canceled $250 of store credit, which is a nice bonus. By the sounds of things, you can use it on any Samsung phone or product.

You can also place pre-orders for the new Galaxy Fold currently, so it's not that pre-ordering the device at all is finished.

That means Samsung's decision to cancel Galaxy Fold pre-orders likely isn't because the newer device is just as troubled as the first, but because the company doesn't want its customers to feel deceived or tricked. That seems like pretty good PR in our books.

We haven't heard about Samsung Galaxy Fold pre-orders getting canceled anywhere else around the world, so this may just be a US phenomena. The handset was released in South Korea on September 6, and pre-orders weren't canceled there, and we've no word on them getting canceled in the UK, where it's set to launch on September 18.

Categories: Tech News

Huawei P30 Pro just launched in two new colors

Latest Tech News - Fri, 09/06/2019 - 05:41

Huawei's P30 Pro may be half a year old, but that hasn't stopped the company introducing two new colors for its latest flagship smartphone.

Alongside the Kirin 990 and FreeBuds 3, Huawei has taken to IFA 2019 to introduce two new shades of the phone that are called Misty Lavender and Misty Blue.

They each offer a two-tone design with a reflective look on the top section of the rear of the device and a brushed metal effect on the bottom. That's as opposed to the multi-colored effect that you get on the Aura version of the P30 Pro.

Exactly when you'll be able to buy the new colors of the phone is currently unclear, but we're expecting to hear more from Huawei during IFA 2019.

Huawei is set to introduce the upcoming Mate 30 range at its own show in Munich on September 19. TechRadar will be in attendance and will give you the latest details as we learn them.

Categories: Tech News

Red Dead Redemption 2 PC could be riding over the horizon sooner than expected

Latest Tech News - Fri, 09/06/2019 - 05:27

Yet more evidence has emerged that Red Dead Redemption 2 is indeed inbound for the PC, courtesy of further data mining – alongside speculation that Rockstar might be ready to make an announcement very soon.

This comes from a post on the GTA Forums, made by VideoTech UK, who has been diving deeply into Red Dead Redemption 2’s files and uncovered various bits and pieces relating to PC (and monitor) settings.

There are references to DX12 (and DX11) support for the game, and an ‘ultra’ detail setting for texture quality, nuggets that were previously unearthed by rifling through the Red Dead Redemption 2 companion app – but the difference here is that these findings are direct from the game’s files rather than that secondary app.

There are references to various graphics settings including grass quality, shadows, particle settings, motion blur and so forth, as well as anti-aliasing (MSAA), and monitor refresh rate.

Growing weight of evidence

Of course, in the past we’ve seen quite a number of other fairly heavy hints that a PC spin on RDR2 is indeed in the pipeline, and other recent revelations including a leak from Rockstar Games’ Social Club source code that mentions RDR2 accomplishments for the PC.

So, given that this latest evidence is more compelling than the previous leak, being derived directly from the game’s files rather than the companion app, can we start to get more excited about an imminent revelation of a PC port?

Certainly the chatter on that GTA Forums thread indicates this is the case, with some folks backing the theory that an announcement of the PC version may be coming very shortly, and the reason for its delay is the fact that Rockstar had to focus on getting the big Red Dead Online summer update out of the way. That update arrives next week on September 10, adding various careers players can pursue (including bounty hunter).

So now work has finished on that major online addition, the theory is the PC port can be pushed on with, and some kind of announcement (hopefully including a firm launch date) will finally be made – possibly within the next month or so. We can but keep our fingers crossed.

Via Wccftech

Categories: Tech News

Huawei FreeBuds 3 are ready to take on Apple AirPods

Latest Tech News - Fri, 09/06/2019 - 05:25

Huawei has just announced the new FreeBuds 3 at IFA 2019 - a new pair of true wireless headphones that are set to compete with Apple AirPods and Samsung Galaxy Buds.

FreeBuds 3 come with active noise cancelling technology that should allow you to block out the world around you while you're listening.

We’ve had the chance to try the headphones, but we were unable to fully test the noise cancelling features. 

It’s something Huawei’s product has over the established true wireless headphones market, and it’s likely to be a big selling point for a lot of people.

Block out the world

The headphones themselves look similar to Apple AirPods with stems that come out of your ear. We found these to have a comfortable fit, but it’s unlikely these will be sturdy in your ears through vigorous exercise.

The FreeBuds 3 have a circular charging case that houses the two buds, so you can easily carry them as well as recharge them.

The headphones themselves are Bluetooth connected and sport around four hours of constant listening, according to Huawei. The charging case then allows for 20 hours more.

Huawei has put wireless charging technology into the case itself too, or you can use a USB-C connector on the bottom of the device.

We’ve yet to learn when the Huawei FreeBuds 3 will be available to buy or how much they’re set to cost, but we expect to learn more from Huawei during its press conference at IFA 2019.

Categories: Tech News

Firefox 70 gets a fresh new look and improved dark mode – try it now

Latest Tech News - Fri, 09/06/2019 - 05:24

Firefox 69 has only just landed, but you can already get a sneak peek of Firefox 70 and its new features by downloading the newly released beta. Bear in mind that this isn't a stable version, so may still have a few bugs and some elements may change before the final release.

One of the most striking differences between Firefox 69 and Firefox 70 is the improved dark mode. Now, when your operating system is set to dark mode, all of Firefox's internal pages will reflect that fact, including preferences and privacy settings.

This is also the first time we've seen the new, simplified Firefox logo on our desktops. The new branding replaces the iconic fox and globe with a stylized orange and purple swirl. Confused? Mozilla has created a video explaining how the new design came to be:

Firefox 70 isn't just a pretty face though – it also includes some small but handy tweaks such as the ability to jump to a specific menu option by typing the first few letters when the menu is open. So opening the main menu and typing 'LI' would move the focus to 'Library', for example.

There might be other changes when Firefox 70 is released on 22 October, so we'll keep you updated when we hear more.

Categories: Tech News

AMD and Nvidia on the rise, while Intel struggles in latest Steam survey

Latest Tech News - Fri, 09/06/2019 - 05:20

The latest Steam Hardware and Software survey has been released, giving us a glimpse of the what kind of hardware PC gamers are using – and it seems AMD and Nvidia have a lot to be a happy about, though the picture is less rosy for Intel.

Earlier this year we reported how the Steam Hardware survey had shown Intel increasing its dominance in the processor market, while AMD struggled, but the most recent Steam Hardware survey for August 2019 shows AMD has reversed its fortunes, with the number of people using AMD processors growing – at Intel’s expense.

AMD recently released its Ryzen 3000 series of processors to rave reviews (despite some controversy over their inability to hit promised boost speeds), which has likely helped AMD recover lost ground against Intel, with the share of people with AMD processors increasing by 0.96% compared to the month before, with Intel’s share dropping by the same amount.

This is certainly encouraging for AMD, though the company still has a long way to go, as despite Intel’s CPU market share amongst Steam gamers dropping, it still dominated with 81.04% of the market, compared to AMD’s 18.95%.

However, even with its dominant position, this month’s shift is something Intel will not want to become a trend.

Nvidia’s RTX graphics cards on the rise

On the graphics side of things, Nvidia continues to dominate, with the entire top ten of most popular GPUs being from Team Green. The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 continues to be the most popular GPU used by Steam gamers, followed by the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti and GeForce GTX 1050.

However, what should really please Nvidia is that its recent RTX line of graphics cards are slowly but surely increasing in popularity, with the GeFroce RTX 2070 being the most popular of the RTX cards, up 0.19% compared to last month.

The RTX 2060 and RTX 2080 also saw gains, which Nvidia will be pleased about, showing that gamers are gradually moving to its newer cards.

AMD only managed to get to number 11 with its most-used card, the Radeon RX 580, and that also saw a modest bump in market share with 0.07%.

While the Steam Hardware & Software Survey only logs Steam customers (and ones who have opted into the survey), due to the huge popularity of Steam, it gives us an excellent idea of what kind of hardware and operating system PC gamers are using, and this month both AMD and Nvidia will be pleased to see their products growing in popularity.

Intel, on the other hand, may not be so happy, and could be hoping its launch of its new Core i9-9900KS in October will reverse its decline in market share.

Via TechSpot

Categories: Tech News

TechRadar Pro Best for Business Awards 2019: Best communication and security services

Latest Tech News - Fri, 09/06/2019 - 05:10

Last month we gave our readers a chance to cast their vote to help us narrow down our extensive longlists of the best B2B tech and accessories for the TechRadar Pro Best for Business Awards 2019, in partnership with Avast Business. 

The votes have now been counted, and here are our picks for the best communication and security services in 2019.

Best Mobile SIM for Business: Vodafone 100GB Business Premier 36 Months

This year’s pick for the best mobile SIM for business is Vodafone’s 100GB Business Premier plan. In addition to 100GB of data per month, you also get unlimited minutes and texts as well as the ability to take your home plan abroad. Prices start from £24.30 a month, and worry-free roaming is built-in which makes it an excellent choice for business users as they can use their UK plan across Europe and in over 60 destinations around the world at no extra cost.

Best Wired/Wireless Broadband Package for Business: Virgin Media Business broadband 500Mbps

Virgin Media Business launched its Voom 500 business broadband earlier this year to help improve the connectivity of SMEs by offering download speeds of up to 500 Mbps and upload speeds of up to 35 Mbps. For just £62 per month, businesses get unlimited downloads, five static IPs and a Hitron WiFi router. You can also bundle a business landline package with your plan for just an extra £8 per month. 

Best Comms Solutions: Microsoft Phone System

Microsoft’s Phone System is this year’s choice for best comms solution. While cloud phone systems and PBX are deployed by many businesses, Microsoft’s Phone System is an add on to Office 365 which provides users with PBX capabilities without the need for complicated and expensive equipment. In addition to basic calling features, you can also configure the Auto Attendant feature to create a menu system for your business that allows both external and internal callers to place or transfer calls to different departments or members of your organization. 

Best Comms Hardware for Business: Cisco IP Phone 8861 VoIP phone

Although a cloud-based VoIP system may work for some companies, others still prefer making their calls from a physical device such as the Cisco IP Phone 8861. Not only does the Cisco IP PHone 8861 offer crystal clear voice communications all of your calls are also encrypted for enhanced security. A 5-inch widescreen color display makes it easy to see who’s calling and you can even connect the device to your router or pc using the built-in Gigabit Ethernet switch. To top things off, the Cisco IP Phone 8861 is even wall-mountable to keep your deskspace free of cords. 

Best Business Security Solution: Avast Business Antivirus Pro

When it comes to security, this year’s pick for the best business security solution is Avast Business Antivirus Pro. Avast has created a powerful and configurable antivirus app that runs on Windows, Mac and even Windows Server. Avast Business Antivirus Pro is simple to set up and the company even offers a 30-day trial build for you to test it out for yourself. 

Best VPN for Business: NordVPN

A VPN can be a valuable tool for any business looking to add an extra layer of security to their network or who has staff that travel frequently. NordVPN is this year’s pick for the best VPN for business because of its fast speeds and impressive list of features. With clients for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android and Linux, no matter what device you’re using NordVPN has you covered. You also get browser extensions for most popular browsers and the company’s no-logging claims have even been backed up by a third-party audit. 

Categories: Tech News

Kirin 990 chipset announced at IFA 2019, and it'll probably power the Huawei Mate 30

Latest Tech News - Fri, 09/06/2019 - 05:00

Huawei has just announced its next flagship chipset, called the Kirin 990, which is expected to be powering upcoming phones from the company including the Huawei Mate 30 Pro and Huawei P40.

It features improved performance over the last-gen chipset that featured in devices like the P30 Pro and Mate 20, as well as improved efficiency that should improve battery life when undertaking intensive tasks.

Huawei claims that single-core performance on this chip is 10% higher than the Kirin 980, while the multi-core performance is 9% higher than the last-gen chipset.

It features a 16-core Mali G76 GPU that Huawei claims performs better than its main competitors.

The big upgrade here is that Huawei will be including 5G within the chipset itself, which is something competitors haven't been able to do yet. That allows Huawei to make a smaller chipset that takes up less space in a device.

Like the Kirin 980, this is also a 7nm chip, which means it's one of the smallest chipsets around, allowing for more space inside your device for battery and other features.

5G and more

There's also a 4G variant of the chipset, so not all future Huawei devices will be 5G compatible, but we'd expect the 5G version in many upcoming flagship devices.

Huawei has yet to confirm what devices the Kirin 990 will be included in, but we expect to hear more on that in the coming months.

One thing Huawei has confirmed is that it's announcing a new handset on September 18, and it's very likely to be the Huawei Mate 30 Pro. TechRadar will be at the launch to give you the details as soon as we learn them.

Categories: Tech News

Google Pixel 4 video leak shows phone in full

Latest Tech News - Fri, 09/06/2019 - 04:54

There have been numerous leaked photos and renders of the Google Pixel 4, and now, inevitably, the handset has also been leaked in a hands-on video, showing every side of the phone.

Shared by Halo Mobile, the brief video gives you a look at the shiny glass back, which unlike previous models is all one color. It also shows the large top bezel that we’ve been expecting, rounded screen corners, and a square camera block on the back.

You can also see that the power button is a different color than the rest of the phone – white in this case, while the body is black, and that unsurprisingly there’s no 3.5mm headphone jack.

The screen is switched on in the video, and while it doesn’t reveal much, it does show that this is a functional handset rather than a dummy unit, which may suggest this is a final or near final model.

What’s not totally clear is whether this is the Pixel 4 or the Pixel 4 XL, though given the size in the user’s hand it’s likely to be the XL model.

Of course, as with any leak we’d take this with a pinch of salt. While it appears to be a functional phone it could be a convincing copy. But everything we’re seeing lines up with the extensive rumors we’ve previously heard, so it’s likely to be the real deal.

We should know soon, as the Google Pixel 4 range is likely to be announced in October, and we’ll be sure to bring you all the news as it happens.

Via TalkAndroid

Categories: Tech News

Netgear’s Meural Canvas II is a 27-inch screen to turn your home into a gallery

Latest Tech News - Fri, 09/06/2019 - 04:00

The Netgear Meural Canvas II has been shown off at IFA 2019, the huge tech show in Berlin, Germany. It’s a 27-inch, Wi-Fi connected digital screen that you can hang on a wall and can display artwork from a curated library of art that includes over 30,000 works from leading museums and image collections around the world.

You can also use it to display your own photos (which can be loaded via SD card or USB), turning it into a supersized version of those digital photo frames which were all the rage a few years ago.

The Canvas II is the first product released by Meural since the company was acquired by Netgear last year. You’ll need to be a subscriber to get access to the library of images (price to be determined), and you can switch between images using gesture control (by waving your hand in front of one of the embedded sensors), via voice control using an Amazon Alexa device, on a PC or laptop or using the Meural app.

Screen sizes

The Meural Canvas II comes in a variety of screen sizes, and each display has a matte finish, which will make artwork look more like traditional wall art and reduce reflection.

There’s a 19 x 29, 27-inch HD display in white or black for $599.95 (£779, around AU$880). It also comes in a dark or light wood frame for $699.95 (£829, around AU$1,000).

There’s also a 16 x 24, 21-inch HD display in black or white for $399.95 (£599, around $600) , and that also comes in a dark or light wood frame for $499.95 (£649, around AU$700).

You can also buy a swivel mount for $49.95 (£45, around AU$70), which allows you to easily change the orientation of the frames.

Those prices certainly make the frames more expensive in the UK than in the US (we’ve not got official Australian prices) – and remember you need to buy a subscription for access to the library of images.

The idea of hanging some of the most famous works of art in the world on our walls is certainly intriguing, though the fact that the displays are ‘HD’ and spread over up to 27-inches is a bit disappointing, as it means the images won’t be as sharp as we’d like.

Still, if you fancy one, they are now available for pre-order right now.

Categories: Tech News

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