Tech News

Amazon India Mi Days 2019: best deals and offers on Xiaomi products

Latest Tech News - Fri, 08/16/2019 - 04:53

Amazon India is currently hosting Xiaomi Mi Days sale that's going to go on until August 18. Smartphones, power banks, earphones, wearables from Xiaomi are up on sale at discounts upto Rs 7,500.

Besides, buyers can also exchange their old smartphones and get upto Rs 2,000 off on trading it in.

For ICICI Bank customers, Amazon India is offering an instant discount of upto Rs 1,500 on EMI transactions done via credit or debit cards.

Mi Days August 2019 sale: best deals and offers
Categories: Tech News

At least 1.5% of online passwords are compromised, Google has found

Latest Tech News - Thu, 08/15/2019 - 22:11

Early this year, Google introduced the Password Checkup extension to its Chrome web browser, enabling users to automatically detect if the login details used online have been compromised.

New research from the tech giant has found that, in just the first month of the extension operating, 1.5% of the users (316,000) that installed and used the extension were using logins known to be unsafe – but Google is looking to change that.

When you take into consideration the billions of users that didn’t install the extension, and the likelihood that their login details are compromised as those that did, this is a rather alarming figure.

Regular checkups

The Password Checkup extension works by notifying users if they try signing into any website “using one of over 4 billion usernames and passwords that Google knows to be unsafe due to a third-party data breach”.

Both the checking of user login details, and the cross-referencing with the database of compromised details utilizes encryption to ensure that no information is stored locally or remotely with Google.

Currently, users wishing to use this feature will need to install the extension themselves and opt-in, and the functionality is limited to platforms that support extensions at all (Chrome for Android doesn’t, for instance).

However, as discovered by 9to5Google, the Chromium Bug Tracker is showing evidence that Google will integrate this feature into Chrome directly (specifically, in October’s release of Chrome 78), allowing it to become available by default to many more users.

Chrome, though, isn't the first browser to boast a tool like this. A similar feature (Monitor) already exists in Mozilla’s Firefox web browser, in partnership with the website and database HaveIBeenPwned, and it was recently discovered that improved integration with Monitor and the browser’s password manager will roll out in a future release.

Categories: Tech News

Kogan's flogging a 55-inch QLED TV for just $800

Latest Tech News - Thu, 08/15/2019 - 20:56

Getting yourself a brand-new television set that boasts QLED technology means you'll need to shell out at least a couple of thousand dollars, if not more. And bigger the panel, the heftier the price tag.

Kogan, however, has just debuted its own QLED smart TV at just a fraction of the cost to help "Aussies save thousands of dollars". The company's new 55-inch QLED TV is up for pre-order for just $799.99 – making it the most affordable QLED TV available in Australia right now – and will begin shipping out to customers on August 30.

Although this is just the pre-sale price, Kogan is throwing in free shipping to sweeten the deal. The offer expires August 30, after which the price will go up by $100 to $899.99. While this is still pretty cheap for a QLED TV, click on the green button below if you want to save a massive bundle on a brand-new 4K telly.

Feature-packed

Despite the low price point, Kogan's new QLED TV boasts a 4K UltraHD almost bezel-less display with 3,840 × 2,160 resolution at 60Hz.

Quantum dot is the same technology that's used in several popular television sets, including those from Samsung and LG, and ensures picture quality is crisp, with vivid colour reproduction and intense contrasts. 

While the new Kogan QLED TV promises excellent image quality, it's important to note that you're likely just paying for the display panel. It would be wrong to compare the performance of the Kogan TV with the likes of Samsung, as the user interface and the processing power will vary greatly.

Yet, the new 55-inch Kogan QLED TV comes equipped with apps for streaming Netflix, YouTube and all the free-to-air channels, and runs on the Linux Smart operating system. The remote also comes with YouTube and Netflix buttons for quick access to your favourite streaming sites.

On the back of the telly are six ports – four HDMI and two USB – alongside Wi-Fi and LAN connectivity. 

All that for under $800 is a steal!

Categories: Tech News

Get 40% off Adobe Creative Cloud with this special, limited-time deal

Latest Tech News - Thu, 08/15/2019 - 19:01

Adobe is offering huge discount on Adobe Creative Cloud All Apps slashing 40% off an annual subscription for a limited time.

With this deal, you'll pay just £30.34 per month for Adobe's entire suite of creative software, down from the regular price of £49.94. That's a saving of over £200 over the course of a year.

For that, you'll get unlimited access to Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, Premiere Pro, Illustrator, InDesign and many others. You'll also receive 10GB cloud storage, plus access to Adobe Fonts, Adobe Portfolio and Adobe Spark with premium features.

Adobe rarely cuts more than 20% off its regular prices, so if you've been thinking about signing up for Creative Cloud then this is the perfect time. The deal ends on August 23, so don't hang around.

Categories: Tech News

iPhone 11 (likely) launch date is found buried within iOS 13 beta code

Latest Tech News - Thu, 08/15/2019 - 17:09

Ready for the next round of iPhones? The new iPhone 11 launch looks like it's been outed - and it's exactly as we predicted.

As iOS 13 beta 7 lands for the public today, developers have been hard at work finding out what's hidden inside. While we haven't cracked through it yet, iHelpBR has found something revealing about the new iPhone.

Located deep inside the code is a placeholder called 'HoldForRelease' - showing a homepage image with the calendar icon showing Tuesday, September 10.

That's exactly the date we predicted for the iPhone 11 launch, fitting in perfectly with what we've seen rumored already and fitting with the previous launch cycle Apple has adhered to.

iHelpBR pointed out that the same placeholder image was used last year in iOS 12 to show when the phone would be launched, displaying Wednesday September 12 (which turned out to be accurate), so we're pretty confident the same will be happening this year.

So, if you're interested in finding all about the new iPhone as it launches, make sure you're not doing anything on September 10 - it'll be an iJamboree across the tech sphere.

But what will we see?

Now, here's the tricky bit. What will actually be shown on stage might seem obvious but there are a number of different things conflicting about what will be unveiled on September 10.

We're almost certain we'll see a refresh of the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR - but what they'll be called is up for debate.

Current theory - based on a tweet and a case manufacturer's placeholder entry for the new phones - suggests that we'll get an iPhone 11 (replacing the 11R), and an iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max to sit in place of the XS and XS Max.

The new iPhone is set to look rather similar

This seems unlikely for a couple of reasons: firstly, Apple doesn't seem to be adding enough to the new phones for the name 'pro' to be appended. Were that to happen, we'd expect larger screen sizes, more power and ways to connect a greater number of accessories - things we've not seen a lot of so far in the leaks.

Equally, the iPhone 11 Pro Max seems an incredibly clunky name - Apple's already teetering on the edge with things like the iPhone XS Max, so throwing a 'Pro' moniker in there simply doesn't scan for a brand that revels in beauty so much.

What does seem likely is that we'll get an upgraded battery, and there could be a rainbow, shimmering color to bring a new flavor to the iPhone range.

Apple will be hoping this - along with the much-vaunted triple rear camera - will be enough for consumers to consider it more than just a mild upgrade, which is what many analysts are starting to predict.

TechRadar will be bringing you total coverage of the new iPhone launch as ever, so make sure you bookmark our roundup page to get all the info as it happens.

Categories: Tech News

Is this the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Super? New Nvidia graphics card appears

Latest Tech News - Thu, 08/15/2019 - 16:29

Fresh off the release of its Super RTX graphics cards, Nvidia might not be done giving AMD a run for its money. According to Tom’s Hardware, the Santa Clara company is working on an all-new graphics card that will likely surpass or match its most powerful models.

Nvidia hasn’t revealed any plans to design a Super version of its incredibly powerful Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti, but these new details certainly highlight the possibility.

AIDA64, a system information, diagnostics and benchmarking solution for Windows, recently added data in its changelog regarding a previously unannounced “Nvidia GeForce RTX T10-8” graphics card, teasing a graphics processor (GPU) that could be joining Nvidia’s highly popular gaming line.

It’s all about the die

Unfortunately, not a lot of information is available about this Nvidia GeForce RTX T10-8 card at this time. What we do know is that it’s based on Nvidia’s TU102 die, the very same found in the RTX 2080 Ti and GeForce Titan RTX, and that its current moniker highly suggests that it might be intended for the gaming market.

This new card could possibly be a ‘Black’ version of the GeForce Titan RTX, and boast a faster factory clock speed or more memory (as that card already uses a maxed-out TU102 die). 

However, it’s also likely that the GeForce RTX T10-8 will be something akin to a GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Super, which will put in it between these two cards as far as price and performance.

If this is indeed the Super version of the RTX 2080 Ti, we’re expecting more CUDA cores and faster memory at the very least, just like what Nvidia pulled with the RTX 2080 Super. To make it worth the upgrade for many users, however, we’d like to see a considerable performance boost. 

Ultimately, we don’t want to see another Nvidia RTX 2080 Super, which has been a bit of a letdown, as the performance increase it offers just isn't enough to blow our minds. 

Will this Nvidia GeForce RTX T10-8 GPU end up being the most powerful RTX card yet, or will it live somewhere in between? Only the inevitable spec sheet and price will tell. 

Categories: Tech News

Many Surface Pro 6 and Surface Book 2 models are suddenly being throttled

Latest Tech News - Thu, 08/15/2019 - 16:03

Microsoft's Surface Pro 6 and Surface Book 2 are running into some crippling issues, as processor (CPU) clock speeds throttle down incredibly low speeds, TechRepublic reports. The report comes from user complaints that indicate their machines' Intel processors are slowing down to as low as 400MHz.

For reference, the lowest-spec Surface Pro 6 runs an Intel Core i5-8250U processor, which normally clocks at 1.6GHz. That's four times faster than the throttled speed users have experienced. And, that CPU can boost up to 3.4Ghz, more than eight times faster than the reduced clock speed.

The culprit for the throttling is unclear, but the systems in these instances are reporting a "BD PROCHOT" CPU flag that indicates that some component inside the computer is running too hot, which results in the CPU throttling to decrease the temperatures inside the computer. Unfortunately, the throttling doesn't stop, as the 400MHz clock speed remains for some even after shutting down and rebooting the computer.

But, which component?

Normally, you'd hope for the computer temperatures to go down and have CPU return to normal speeds after the component that raised the flag stops overheating. But, in this case, it's not clear that any component actually is overheating. 

Some users did suggest the throttling stopped when disconnecting a Surface Dock or AC adapter, while others suggest antivirus software may be at fault. What may be the root of it all is a firmware update. One was recently released for the Surface Pro 6.

This wouldn't be the first time an update caused issues for Microsoft's machines. Just recently, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth drivers were hit with issues, and the Windows 10 May 2019 update has caused problems for the Surface Book 2.

A Microsoft spokesperson told TechRepublic, "We are aware of some customers reporting a scenario with their Surface Books where CPU speeds are slowed. We are quickly working to address via a firmware update."

Categories: Tech News

The updated Nintendo Switch battery is a major upgrade from the original

Latest Tech News - Thu, 08/15/2019 - 15:42

Nintendo will have a new Nintendo Switch Lite model to offer in September, but it now has a refresh version of the original Nintendo Switch that can offer improved battery life over its predecessor. And, it has shown a substantial increase in playtime in a test by our sister site, Tom's Guide.

The test they conducted involved running two Nintendo Switches, an old model and a new model, side by side at maximum brightness for an endless Super Smash Bros. Ultimate match of eight computer-controlled characters with increased AI and all items enabled.

The result of the test was 4 hours and 50 minutes for the updated Nintendo Switch and 2 hours and 45 minutes for the original Nintendo Switch. It's worth noting that the original had been purchased and in use since 2017, so the battery may have seen some degradation in charge capacity.

But, the results still speak strongly to the increases in battery life of the revised model. Nintendo rates the original Switch battery life at 2.5 to 6.5 hours, and the new Switch at 4.5 to 9 hours. The test showed both devices falling within Nintendo's suggested ranges.

Efficiency over size

Interestingly, the size of the Nintendo Switch's battery hasn't changed between the revisions. The new model still has the original 4,310mAh battery capacity.

And, since Nintendo doesn't details the specifics of other internal components, it's unclear where exactly the battery life gains are coming from. But, there had been some early suggestions that the new Switch would be more efficient. This test seems to prove it, and it could come down to an improved version Nvidia's custom Tegra X1 processor that powers the Switch.

If you're in the market for a Nintendo Switch, make sure you pay attention to whether you're getting the new or original model, as it will make a big difference in your mobile gaming experience.

Categories: Tech News

Walmart has the Apple Watch Series 3 on sale and back down to $199

Latest Tech News - Thu, 08/15/2019 - 15:33

If you've been waiting for the price to drop on the best-selling Apple Watch, then you're in luck. Walmart has the Apple Watch Series 3 on sale and back down to $199. That's an $80 discount and the lowest price we've found for the smartwatch. If you're looking for a bigger display, Walmart also has the 42mm Apple Watch 3 on sale for $229.

The Apple Watch 3 is loaded with health-focused features while also keeping you connected to the outside world. The smartwatch tracks popular workouts, calories burned, everyday activities, and offers heart rate monitoring. The Apple Watch will even notify you when an unusually high or low heart rate is detected.

The waterproof watch includes GPS technology and provides an impressive 18-hour battery life. The Apple Watch also offers basic smartwatch features such as the ability to stream music, send messages, receive notifications, and more.

The Apple Watch 4 is also currently on sale but will still set you back $349. This makes the $199 price tag on the Series 3 extremely appealing. We don't know how long Walmart will have the smartwatch back on sale, so you should take advantage now before it's too late.

Discover more Apple watch sales with the best cheap Apple Watch prices and deals that are currently available.

Interested in other smartwatches? We also have the best cheap Fitbit sale prices and deals that are happening now.

Categories: Tech News

Millions of workers are "unaligned" with their organization's strategy

Latest Tech News - Thu, 08/15/2019 - 15:00

A new survey from Slack has revealed that millions of employees are “unaligned” and this puts them at odds with their organization's strategy, vision and operating principles.

To compile its new “State of Work Report” the company behind the popular online collaboration tool worked together with the market research firm GlobalWebIndex (GWI) to survey 17,000 global knowledge workers, managers and executives.

Slack wanted to learn more about their experiences in the modern workforce and did so by asking them what do aligned workers look like, why does having aligned workers matter and how do companies attract and retain aligned workers.

The report found that 1 in 10 global knowledge workers believe they are “unaligned” while 15 percent of UK workers believe they are completely unaligned with their organization's mission.

Aligned vs unaligned workers

Slack's research discovered that only 34 percent of unaligned workers believe their organization's teams are working toward a shared vision. Of the unaligned workers surveyed, 70 percent either “agree” or “strongly agree” that they would like to feel more aligned with their company's vision, values and operating principles.

Aligned workers on the other hand, are the most connected to a company's vision and strategy which leads them to approach their work with optimism and they are more likely to focus on high-value business activities. 

According to the report, the difference between aligned and unaligned workers has a significant impact on business prospects. Aligned workers in the UK are nearly twice as likely as unaligned workers to expect “significant growth” in their company's revenue and workforce. Unaligned workers in the UK though are three times more likely to expect “significant decline” in their company's revenue and growth.

Slack suggests that organizations can help nurture alignment by implementing a clear and frequently communicated strategy with a thoughtful approach to information overload.

Categories: Tech News

Google employees refuse to work on border agency cloud contract

Latest Tech News - Thu, 08/15/2019 - 14:00

Protests within the tech industry are gaining momentum and now Google employees are petitioning the search giant not to bid on a cloud contract with US Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

A new petition, which began circulating inside the company and on Medium, was created by a group of employees who called out immigration officials for “penetrating a system of abuse and malign neglect” at the US border.

The employees also highlighted the Trump administration's family separation policy as well as the recent deaths of immigrant children at the border as reasons why Google should end its work with CBP.

Just a few hours after the petition was released, hundreds of employees publicly signed the document to show the company how important this issue is to them.

CBP cloud computing contract

In the petition, the employees call on the company to end its work with CBP while also stating that they will not work on the contract if it is awarded to Google, saying:

“It has recently come to light that CBP is gearing up to request bids on a massive cloud computing contract. The winning cloud provider will be streamlining CBP’s infrastructure and facilitating its human rights abuses. It’s time to stand together again and state clearly that we will not work on any such contract. We demand that Google publicly commit not to support CBP, ICE, or ORR with any infrastructure, funding, or engineering resources, directly or indirectly, until they stop engaging in human rights abuses.”

This is just the latest in a series of protests within the tech industry as a whole and inside Google where employees have begun to question the moral implications of how their work will be used. Previously, Google employees successfully protested the company's plan to work alongside the US government on an AI system designed to analyze drone footage called Project Maven.

Google has yet to publicly respond to the petition but we'll keep following this story as it develops to see whether or not this latest protest ends up being a success as well.

Via The Verge

Categories: Tech News

No Man's Sky Beyond: everything to know about the game changing update

Latest Tech News - Thu, 08/15/2019 - 13:13

Cast your mind back to 2016 - Beyoncé's Lemonade was the world's best selling album, Rogue One dominated the box office, the Nintendo Switch was just a codename and a bunch of rumors, and No Man's Sky had arguably gaming's roughest launch.

Built up by creator Sean Murray of Hello Games, alongside Sony, the then PlayStation 4 exclusive launched with billions of planets to explore, but little to do on them. It was a galaxy inhabited by millions of players, but you wouldn't see any of them. A combination of unrealistic expectations placed upon a small team and an over-zealous publisher, No Man's Sky left people more than disappointed - many were angry.

In a world where every company seems to have an active social media feed, and in an industry focused on appeasing shareholders, it was strange to see Hello Games retreat into radio silence. After an unprecedented media blackout of several months, Hello Games plotted a course for redemption for their project that at one point seemed hopelessly lost in space.

In July 2018, No Man's Sky Next update took the title to Xbox One, while also adding new multiplayer functionality, improved base building, and full third-person mode for the original PS4 version. This, combined with earlier updates, helped bring No Man's Sky closer to it's creators' original vision.

Of course, the story hasn't ended there, as players have been abuzz with the recently released Beyond update. Here's a quick guide to the update, and why now is as good a time as ever to jump into No Man's Sky.

When is the Beyond update launching?

No Man’s Sky’s Beyond update hit all platforms on Auguts 14, 2019. It’s available to download now.

How much does the Beyond update cost?

No Man Sky’s Beyond update is available for free for anyone that owns No Man's Sky on any platform. So if you haven't played in some time, you've nothing to lose by jumping in.

What's in the Beyond update?

Quite a lot, actually. Sean Murray previously stated that ‘Beyond’ is an amalgamation of three "pillars" - each with a wealth of associated content and changes. Originally intended as three updates, they've now been bundled together.

No Man's Sky Online
The first of these pillars is No Man's Sky Online. As you can imagine, this is an extension of the previous multiplayer update in many ways. Players can now visit a social space called The Nexus, where you can interact with other players and purchase items (no microtransactions, don't panic). 

You can teleport directly from the Nexus to a friend's base, and also pick up Multiplayer Missions with new co-operative activities with varied objectives. On console, eight players can now explore together (up from four), while PC players can now take their four player group and expand it to a whopping 32 players.

No Man's Sky VR
The second pillar of the Beyond update is No Man's Sky VR - which from the name is likely pretty self-explanatory. This isn't some virtual reality focused addendum to the existing game though - this is the entirety of No Man's Sky playable in VR, and is compatible with existing saves made before the update too. 

That means you can go from a planet's surface, into your ship, to the Nexus and back again all within VR. As you can imagine, this is for PlayStation VR players and PC VR owners, so Xbox fans won't be able to take part. If you can though, you'll be able to interact with non-VR players on your chosen platform.

Excitingly, controls have been tweaked too. You can play with a controller, or use a PlayStation Move controller as your ship's throttle. It changes the game entirely.

Loads more
The final pillar doesn't have a name, and is a little bit nebulous at present. What we do know is that there's plenty of options to be added, many of which will likely only be discovered after months of exploration.

Some alien creatures can be tamed now, for example, while your Last Jedi blue-milk simulator isn't far away either with milkable creatures and a new cooking system. New environment types are being added too, and base building is being expanded on each planet. Quite simply, there's a ridiculous amount to be added. 

Aside from the new content, you'll also find a wealth of quality-of-life improvements. These range from improvements to the game's tutorials to the previously taxing inventory limitations. With a large portion of players being turned off by the seemingly endless grind of No Man's Sky, Hello Games are trying to welcome new players and returning ones alike. In fact, much of the game's UI has been completely redesigned.

That is a lot, anything else?

Actually, yes. The entire game has been updated to support Vulkan - overhauling the graphics API. This was actually done back in April, but PC players will now have the ability to change graphics settings without needing to restart the game. Performance is improved too, as is HDR support.

Categories: Tech News

Forget Windows, Linux or MacOS: Our choice of the best alternative operating systems

Latest Tech News - Thu, 08/15/2019 - 12:39

If you're fed up with Windows, Linux, or macOS, you'll want to know if there's a great alternative desktop operating system that's worth using. 

While there are no absolute definitive answers here – everyone's use case is different, after all – we've discovered ten distinct examples that fall outside the usual bounds.

Our list even includes a few true outsiders, independent operating systems built from the ground up which serve mainly to prove just how difficult it is to create an entire functioning OS without a large number of brains working on it.

Everything here can be tested reasonably within a virtual machine, so if something grabs your interest don't hesitate to download and give it a try.

ArcaOS is an operating system based on the last IBM release for OS/2. While OS/2 barely survives as a legacy system, even after being extended for a while as eComStation, ArcaOS is still being actively developed with Spanish and German language editions expected to be released in the next update.

ArcaOS includes a robust Unix compatibility subsystem, featuring a variety of ported OSS Linux apps and some drivers, but still features the OS/2 Workplace Shell. 

ArcaOS is a 32-bit OS that runs on the x86 processor architecture, so should be compatible with some particularly old PCs. Though it's native file system is JFS, it can still work with FAT12, FAT16, or FAT32 formating.

There are two editions available: Personal, which retails for $129 per license, and Commercial, which retails at $229 per license though volume discounts are available. The personal edition includes 6-months support and maintenance, while the commercial edition includes one-year of priority support and maintenance.

We're a bit sad that BeOS didn't take off. A stylish multitasking OS that introduced a whole host of features that Windows, Linux and macOS would later adopt for their own, BeOS was a true multimedia innovator that left the market with a whimper when its rights were sold to Palm in 2001.

Despite being closed source, the spirit of BeOS lives on in the form of Haiku, an open source re-implementation which began development immediately after Be's demise, and it has been developed since.

Built as open source software from the ground up but designed to be backward-compatible with its classic quarry, Haiku follows BeOS' lead in its entirely modular design, allowing different components of the OS to be developed concurrently. It last saw a major release over three years ago, but you can try nightly builds to test out current developments.

It's worth playing with just for the cleanness of its desktop, and there are working web browsers and media players, although it's still rather experimental and many of the features of BeOS haven't quite been fully realized as yet.

Linux, as you may know, is a ground-up reinterpretation of UNIX. ReactOS does the same for the Windows NT architecture upon which all modern Windows versions are based. It's completely open source, using no proprietary Windows code, yet ReactOS is designed to be (and in some cases actually is) compatible with Windows drivers and applications.

Your mileage may vary – it's certainly not going to play nice with high-end games or software, and ReactOS isn't quite up to the Windows 10 level yet. It's currently aiming at full compatibility with Windows Server 2003.

So it's clearly a bit behind the times, but ReactOS does have its uses. Incorporating parts of noted Windows emulator Wine, it runs LibreOffice, Firefox, Opera and more quite happily, and can even manage (earlier) commercial applications like Adobe Photoshop.

Given that it's free, it's certainly worth a test to see if any of your older business-critical applications are compatible – setting up workstations without Windows licensing is a tempting prospect, although we can't vouch for its resistance to attacks.

A ridiculous amount of business software relies on MS-DOS, even to this day. We're still seeing bespoke, newly-developed text-mode apps that run directly from the shell, probably because the complexity and potential for disaster that graphical interfaces add to the mix is not worth the risk in situations that demand 100% uptime.

That business-critical software may rely on MS-DOS, but it doesn't have to know you're actually running FreeDOS. It's an entirely compatible but completely free and open source remake of DOS that can handle just about everything its predecessor can do. That does, of course, mean no multitasking, no protected mode, no GUI, but it'll run your games and can even manage Windows 3.1 as long as you're running it in standard mode.

As you might expect, it's not a static recreation of the final commercial DOS release in 1995, and indeed hasn't been static since FreeDOS first emerged in 1998. In fact, FreeDOS remains in active development, and features a number of integrated improvements compared to its rather archaic ancestor.

We're cheating a little, here, seeing as Chrome OS is built upon the Linux kernel, but it would be a shame to ignore Google's operating system on a technicality. Besides, when using Chrome OS you essentially run an expanded version of the Chrome browser and nothing else. Yes, you can drop to a terminal if you know how, but the desktop itself is a pure feat of HTML5 wrangling.

It's testament to the maturity of the web that there's not a huge amount you can't do with Chrome OS, at least as long as you know where to look online. And it's not an OS that's exclusive to Chromebooks, either – you can build a version of Chromium OS (the open source development from which Google gleans its final code) on top of Ubuntu 14.4 then install it on your own hardware.

One of the more professionally assembled operating systems on this list, Chrome OS is good for an experiment, and a solid choice if you're handing a laptop to someone who's likely to break any other OS. But perhaps it's a bit limited for production use.

While Linux is a recreation of UNIX, FreeBSD is more of a continuation. It was initially developed by students working from a Research Unix source license obtained by the University of California Berkeley – the 'BSD' bit stands for Berkeley Software Distribution. The only reason it's not called BSD Unix is that pesky trademark and licensing gremlin.

The OS runs on its own kernel, and all of its key components have been developed as part of a single whole. Linux, on the other hand, is just the kernel; the rest of it is supplied by third parties so it lacks BSD's overall coherency.

This is a highly complete and very reliable operating system, perfect both for server applications and desktop use. That said, it doesn't come with a GUI by default – the X-window system is thankfully straightforward to install, and there are ports of Linux window managers like Gnome and KDE available.

One final note: BSD forms the core of perhaps the most polished and stable desktop operating system out there in macOS, so you know you're in good hands here.

Sun Microsystems' SunOS – which evolved into the rechristened Solaris – began as a proprietary UNIX distribution designed to support Sun's SPARC processors. Its hardware reach widened as it grew, and in 2005 Sun released the source code in the form of OpenSolaris, leading to advanced community development. And then Oracle purchased Sun, renamed the OS once more to Oracle Solaris, and decided to cease source releases, effectively closing the source once again.

That's a long story made much shorter, but it's a good explanation of exactly what Solaris offers: long development, a period of community improvement, and the backing of a large tech company that makes it perfect for systems with high demand and support requirements. You can download and use it for free, although the license terms state that you'll need a support contract from Oracle if you wish to use it commercially.

Solaris installs with a version of the GNOME desktop by default, and there's built-in support for Linux binaries if you need to extend it further.

Whether the extreme religious doctrine behind it interests you or not, our final selection is an interesting example of a completely independent, unique OS. It's been made and maintained with extreme dedication by one man, Terry A. Davis, over the course of ten years.

TempleOS – programmed entirely using Davis' own language, the excellently named HolyC, which you also use to interact with its shell – deliberately includes no networking and absolutely no hardware support beyond that which forms the core PC system. So what's the point?

TempleOS has been built from the ground up with what seems like no hang-ups on existing operating systems. The entire thing is hyperlinked, meaning you can quickly burrow down to the source of a program just as easily as you can find its dependencies, and it's super-quick; there's no paging, so the whole OS gets up and running within a second or two.

It's unlikely you'll be able to use TempleOS for anything solid, and Davis' well-documented mental health struggles haven't helped its standing in the community. But it includes a huge number of interesting ideas, particularly the blurring of the division between document and program, which could impact more traditional operating systems. Check out Davis' quick tour of the OS below to see what it's all about in more detail.

Gone but not forgotten: other Operating Systems

It's worth noting that there have been a number of other operating systems that were previously popular but have since been discountinued. One of the most famous of which is AmigaOS, used in Amiga personal computers during the 1990's and which had a reputation for solid stability. 

However, here are a couple more than you may or may not have come across before now.

9. eComStation

OS/2 may not have set the world on fire, but it actually maintained a decent industrial and commercial install base long after its desktop aspirations died. eComStation was a derivative OS that uses classic OS/2 technologies on modern hardware.

Much like its ancestor it's been developed with security and stability in mind for commercial applications. We see the claim 'zero downtime' repeated all over the place, and while it's theoretically possible to lock up your hardware with the wrong application, this is something that could have been a real killer feature.

There's a host of open source software ported to eComStation including Firefox, OpenOffice, VLC and more, and it's capable of running DOS, Java and OS/2 applications. You almost certainly don't need it, but if there's something system-critical and OS/2-only that your business relies on, running this on bare metal is a much more reliable idea than setting up a VM.

As eComStation hasn't been updated for some years, if you're looking for OS/2 support and development it might be best to look at ArcaOS in the above list.

10. Syllable Desktop

Developed between 1994 and 2001, AtheOS – initially planned as a clone of AmigaOS but later following its own path – was the work of a lone Norwegian programmer, Kurt Skauen. After Skauen abandoned the project, its GPL-licensed source code was picked up by the community and Syllable Desktop was born.

The majority of it is composed of unique code, although certain components have been pulled from the vast library of open source Linux programs; there's also a Server version, which is more traditionally Linux.

Syllable's key selling point – ignoring the fact that it's free – is its speed and lightness. The creators recommend a Pentium CPU with 32MB of RAM, which should give you an idea of how lightweight it is. Slap this on a modern PC and you'll likely never have seen an OS so quick.

Syllable does lack the ports that make other indie operating systems attractive, though it contains a number of native apps for web browsing, email, VNC and more. We're not entirely positive that it's still active – the last official update was some time in 2012 – but if there's a very, very old PC you need to resurrect with reasonably modern system architecture, try this.

11. SkyOS

The development of SkyOS has sadly been halted, but it's still worth looking at as an example of an OS constructed from scratch. Developed initially as an open source project by coder Robert Szeleney, SkyOS was based on concepts gleaned from other platforms but didn't originally borrow their code.

That said, a few components are based on other packages – there's no sense, for example, developing an entirely new compiler when GCC already exists, and the SkyFS filesystem is forked from OpenBFS. Later in its life, Szeleney appears to have experimented with a version of SkyOS built on top of a Linux kernel in an attempt to help with driver compatibility.

The source was closed midway through its life, and Szeleney continued development based on feedback from a popular (paid) public beta program. Unfortunately the struggle to keep up with ever-diversifying computing standards became too much for the lone coder, and development was halted in 2009, with the most recent beta made publicly available in 2013. 

It's obviously incomplete, and not suitable for any kind of business environment, but as a curio to run within a VM it's very interesting.

Categories: Tech News

Chrome OS now allows virtual desktops

Latest Tech News - Thu, 08/15/2019 - 12:17

Google has added a number of new features to the latest version of Chrome OS, but the most notable highlight is the addition of virtual desktops.

Chrome OS users will now be able to switch between up to four different desktops each with their own window layouts.

To activate the new feature, simply swipe up to view all windows in the overview mode and a new button labeled “New Desk” will be visible in the upper right corner. Clicking on the button will allow you to create a new space where you can drag windows in a similar way to how you activate Mission Control in Apple's macOS.

Since Google is constantly updating Chrome OS with new versions, the search giant has also launched a new web app called “What's New” to help users become familiar with the latest features available in each new release. The new web app will also soon begin to appear in a notification on Chromebooks.

Chrome OS 76

Virtual desktops are a huge addition to Chrome OS but Google decided not to emphasis the new feature in its release blog and instead highlighted other new features including automatic clicks, improved media controls and the ability to manage Google accounts on Chromebook.

Automatic clicks is an accessibility feature that lets users trigger a mouse click by hovering their mouse pointer over a specific object. Google has also added better media controls to Chrome OS and now users will have an easier time managing sound inside Chrome tabs. There is even an overview of all tabs making noise in the system menu which should help to identify any tabs that are auto-playing videos or music for example.

There are so many changes in Chrome OS 76 that Google didn't even mention of all them in its release blog. One very convenient new feature that was left out is the ability to send a URL from Chrome OS right to your smartphone.

Finally Google is ending support for Flash and making it easier for users to see when a web page can be installed as a progressive web app on their device.

The “stable” version of Chrome OS 76 is rolling out to users now but as is the case with most big OS updates, not everyone will receive it at once but it should be coming to your Chromebook any day now.

Via The Verge

Categories: Tech News

Now is the time to bag P30 Pro deals thanks to Huawei's big cashback offer

Latest Tech News - Thu, 08/15/2019 - 11:41

Along with making some of the world's top smartphones, Huawei seems to have another trick up its sleeve to keep its phones selling at an alarming rate. The Chinese company almost always seems to be running a promotion at any given time.

Currently, it is offering cashback of up to £100 across a range of its handsets, helping to slash down the prices of its somewhat pricey phones. This is especially important when it comes to the Huawei P30 Pro, the most expensive (and best) Huawei phone out right now.

If you combine that cashback with an affordable Huawei P30 Pro deal (don't worry, we've already found you one) then you can land yourself one of the world's best handsets at a surprisingly affordable price tag.

You can find our choice for the best value Huawei P30 Pro deal down below, perfect to combine with this cashback. And we've even tracked down a cheaper P30 for those who want some even cheaper bills.

How to get your cashback:

So you've ordered your new phone and now you want your money. Understandable, and luckily very easy to sort.

Simply head to this link at least 14 days after your phone has arrived and complete the online form. Your cashback will then be yours within 30 days.

What's the Huawei P30 Pro like?

As our pick for the second best smartphone on the market right now, it's safe to say we're big fans of the Huawei P30 Pro. Whether it's the 6.47-inch OLED screen, 8GB ram processor or the 4200mAh battery, Huawei has crammed this device with specs.

And not to mention the thing Huawei's P30 range is known for - its cameras. There's a triple camera set-up offering 50x zoom, wide-angle lenses and a range of other features.

Read our full Huawei P30 Pro review

Categories: Tech News

How to buy the best Amazon backpack for school: our top picks

Latest Tech News - Thu, 08/15/2019 - 10:35

Picking out the best backpack for school is an important decision for any prospective student. It needs to be functional, comfortable, affordable and for some people, even fashionable. To help you find the best option for your needs, we've put together a list of the top backpacks for school from Amazon.

Our picks include the top-rated Amazon backpacks that offer specifications specifically for students. These features including padding to protect laptops, multi-compartments for school supplies, adjustable and padded straps, waterproof materials, and stylish designs. Whether you're looking for a laptop backpack to protect your tech, a sporty bag to haul all your stuff, or a fashionable backpack that's also functional, we've got you covered with a variety of different choices.

We also know that price is also an important factor and lucky for you the backpacks from Amazon are incredibly affordable. Our list includes a price range of $18/£13.89 -$59/£68.40, so there's a backpack for every budget.

Our selections, ranked from cheapest to most expensive, take into account online reviews, brand reputation, product capability and unique features, to help you pick through the maze of choices available to you.

These are products that we haven't had in our test labs, but based on our experts' opinion and knowledge of the most reputable brands around, we think these are worth looking at.

The best Amazon backpacks for school:

If you're looking for a no-frills backpack with a classic design, then the Amazonbasics school backpack is a fantastic option. The lightweight backpack features a laptop sleeve in the main compartment with a pocket on the backside to securely stash your things. The backpack also includes a front compartment for school supplies and two side pockets for quick access.

The durable backpack comes in six different color choices, and features padded adjustable shoulder straps for added comfort. Perhaps the best feature is the cost, currently priced at just $18/£14..

The Amazon's Choice XDesign backpack is packed with features that are perfect for high school and college students. The large capacity backpack features a laptop pocket for computers up to 16-inches and multiple pockets for extra storage. The XDesign bag includes an external USB port so you can you can plug a mobile power hub into on the inside and charge your devices on the go. The backpack also provides a headphone jack so you can listen to music hands-free .

The lightweight backpack is lined with durable yet breathable oxford fabric, and the outer material is water-resistant to protect your school supplies. The bag also features a front buckle for additional security and an anti-theft pocket on the backside. The best part about this backpack is that it will only set you back $19.99.

The Mancro backpack was designed for college students with over ten different compartments for all your school supply needs. The backpack can fit a 15.6-inch, 15-inch or 14-inch laptop and includes main compartments for your iPad, charger, binders, books, and more. The bag also features a built-in USB charger on the outside and a built in charging cable inside, so you can plug a mobile power hub into the inside for quick and convenient charging.

The waterproof backpack is made of durable nylon fabric, and the curved padded shoulder straps offer support for all-day wear. We've left the best feature for last which is the lock that's included with the bag. This allows you to keep all your possessions secure, whether for school or travel.

This top-rated AmazonBasics backpack has over 4,000 reviews online is our top pick for laptop backpacks. The backpack fits up to 17-inch laptops and features a padded sleeve to protect while you're on the go. The bag also offers several compartments of different sizes, so you have a space to carry your charger, phone, keys, pencils, and more. There's even a smaller pouch specifically designed for a tablet.

The AmazonBasics backpack also provides side mesh pockets so you can easily store water bottles or your phone for easy access. Because the bag is designed for carrying laptops, the shoulder straps are heavily padded and adjustable for added comfort throughout your school day.

The SwissGear 1900 Scansmart is not only an excellent backpack for school, but it's also perfect for travel. The backpack features lay-flat technology which protects a 17-inch laptop and opens quickly for a hassle-free airport experience. There's a second sleeve for an iPad and several other compartments to store your phone, keys, charger, notebooks and more. The SwissGear backpack also includes a large front zip pocket for quick access and two large mesh side panels to store oversize water bottles or a change of clothes.

The durable backpack is made of weather-resistant polyester material to withstand heavy everyday use and harsh conditions. The bag also features adjustable contoured shoulder straps and a padded back panel with airflow ventilation technology.

Didn't find the right backpack for you? We've listed other popular brands below from Amazon for you to check out.

Interested in other back to school deals? You can see our roundup of the best back to school sales: deals on laptops, tablets, smartwatches & more.

If you're looking for a new laptop you can see our roundup of the best laptops under $500 and our 10 tips for buying a back to school laptop.

Categories: Tech News

Motorola One Action leak teases mysterious 'Action Cam' rear lens

Latest Tech News - Thu, 08/15/2019 - 09:57

Motorola is really embracing the Motorola One series, as the Motorola One Vision was released in May 2019 and we've already heard rumors about its two successors. The first is the Motorola One Zoom, and the second is the Motorola One Action, which we've just heard a lot of information about.

The leak comes courtesy of website Winfuture, a website that regularly posts leaked phone information, and while it's not clear where Winfuture got the information from, it's a fairly trustworthy source in itself.

The headline feature of the Motorola One Action, according to the leak, is the 'Action Cam', a 16MP camera that's designed to work like an action cam that you can buy specifically for recording video when on a day out or participating in sports. It's said to record 4K video, which not all phones can do.

This action cam joins a 12MP main sensor and a 5MP depth sensor, so there's no dedicated ultra-wide or telephoto lens, although action cams often have wide fields of view. Indeed, this one is said to be 117 degrees.

Another novel aspect of the Motorola One Action is its 21:9 aspect ratio, a feature shared with the One Vision but more commonly seen in recent Sony smartphones. This is the same aspect ratio as feature films you'd see in a theatre, and is used to best replicate that experience on a mobile device.

According to the leak, the display will be a 6.3-inch LCD screen with a 2520 x 1080 resolution. It seems to have a punch-hole cut-out for the 12MP front-facing camera.

The chipset is said to be an Exynos 9609 from Samsung – it's pretty rare for non-Samsung smartphones to have Exynos chipsets, but the One Vision has the same chip. In addition, the phone is said to have a 3,500mAh battery and a 3.5mm headphone port.

With regards to price, Winfuture puts it at €259 (around $290, £240, AU$430), so roughly around the same price as the One Vision – of course this price could be different in different regions, but this should give you a rough ball-park figure.

Take this leak with a pinch of salt, as there's no source cited, but we'd expect to see the Motorola One Action soon if it can be leaked in this much detail.

Categories: Tech News

Still mourning Silent Hill: P.T.? Trademark teases more Konami horror is on the way

Latest Tech News - Thu, 08/15/2019 - 09:31

It's been a while since we've seen a new Silent Hill game. While we got a taste of Konami horror back in 2014, with Silent Hill: P.T., there hasn't been a core Silent Hill game released since 2012 – but it looks like that could be about to change.

Back in July, Konami Entertainment filed a trademark with the Canadian government for Silent Hill, stating the trademark would be for "videogames; computer games services" (via Game Rant).

The full service description states the trademark will be used for:

"Providing online videogames; providing online computer games; providing information in the field of videogames; providing information in the field of computer games; arranging, organizing and conducting videogame competitions; arranging, organizing and conducting computer game competitions."

Return of the fog

This trademark filing suggests that we could be be seeing more Silent Hill games in the future, which isn't necessarily surprising considering the latest resurgence of reboots and remasters.

Konami could opt to follow in Capcom's steps by remaking one of the more popular Silent Hill games, such as Silent Hill 2, or even remastering some of its titles. However, there's also the possibility the company will choose to give the franchise a modern reboot.

The mention of competitions suggests the latter is a possibility as, to date, Silent Hill hasn't had any competitive or multiplayer aspects that could warrant competitions.

However, it's worth noting that Konami could simply be filing the trademark to keep Silent Hill in the family, as the company hasn't revealed that it's working on anything Silent Hill-related. 

Categories: Tech News

Cisco's service provider unit will have to wait for 5G boost

Latest Tech News - Thu, 08/15/2019 - 08:20

Concerns about the short-term prospects of Cisco’s service provider business and fears of an ongoing trade dispute between the US and China have led to the company posting a lower than expected forecast – concerning investors.

The company reported fourth quarter revenues of $13.4 billion, an increase of 6 per cent, and annual income of $51.7 billion – a rise of seven per cent.

Hardware, which has long been Cisco’s bread and butter, was up six per cent to $7.8 billion for the quarter, while software rose 11 per cent to $1.49 billion  and security increased 14 per cent to $714 million.

Cisco service provider

"Our Q4 results marked a strong end to a great year.  We are executing well in a dynamic environment, delivering tremendous innovation across our portfolio and extending our market leadership," said Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins.

"We are committed to providing our customers ongoing value through differentiated solutions, and we are well positioned to take advantage of the long-term growth opportunities ahead."

These figures are some of the strongest that Cisco has posted in recent years, but a predicted growth rate of 0 – 2 per cent for the next quarter has resulted in a drop in the firm’s share price.

Robbins said declining income from service providers contributed to the weak forecast. Having already expanded beyond networking into software and cloud services, Cisco has made a major play for the telecoms market with a 5G portfolio comprising services, infrastructure and automation.

Service provider income may not recover until mobile operators begin to make major investments in their core infrastructure to support enterprise applications that require high reliability and ultra-low latency.

The initial focus is on coverage, which means investments have been on radio access equipment (RAN) – markets sewn up by the triumvirate of Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia.

The majority of Cisco’s revenues come from the Americas and Europe, with just a fraction coming from China. However amid ongoing tensions, Chinese operators are now not entertaining bids for business. Revenues from Asia as a whole were down by 5 per cent.

Categories: Tech News

The best cheap Fitbit sale prices and deals in August 2019

Latest Tech News - Thu, 08/15/2019 - 07:57

We've got you covered all the latest cheap Fitbit deals today with loads of sale prices compared at top retailers for every model still available. We'll tell you all about the standard Fitbits for adults and kids alike, along with the enhanced fitness trackers that also function like smartwatches too.

The competition in the fitness tracker world is ever-growing, which is actually good news for lower Fitbit prices as the brand has to push hard to remain competitive in price. And with each fresh iteration of its fitness trackers or smartwatches we see further improvements, showing that corners aren't being cut to keep prices down either. New versions usually mean cheaper Fitbit prices on older models too, so there's always a bargain to be had somewhere.

If you're not quite sure which Fitbit is right for you. We've gone into detail about each one and you can also find a handy breakdown of the specs for a quick look at the vitals of each one as you scroll down throughout our guide. We're sure you'll be able to find one you like.

The Fitbit Inspire looks set to eventually replace the Fitbit Alta as a fantastic entry-level fitness tracker that's not too light on features (yes, we're talking abut you, Fitbit Flex 2). The new Inspire is priced similarly to the Alta yet has a bigger screen. It's a proper touchscreen too, instead of the less user-friendly tapscreen on the Alta. There's a new button on the side to act as a 'Back' button in the menus, so navigation of the trackers features are much easier to cycle through.

The Fitbit Inspire is better in the wet and can actually be worn while swimming too rather than just being splash and rain-resistant. The casing around the face is now plastic, rather than aluminium, but this makes for a more comfortable wear on the wrist and it's a touch lighter. All in all, while we're seeing the Inspire priced at a similar level to the older Alta, the Inspire is the clear winner.

Like the Fitbit Inspire mentioned earlier, the Fitbit Inspire HR looks set to replace our previous budget-friendly option in the Alta HR. As the name suggests, the main difference between this and the other Inspire model is the inclusion of a heart-rate monitor. It's not a lot of extra money to spend on the feature in all honesty and can be useful in tracking your fitness levels. If that's a feature you could live without though, because you're very aware of your your heart-rate because you can hear it thundering between your ears when running up that hill, then you may as well save yourself some money. The screen on the HR is ever so slightly bigger if you're looking for the right nudge to opt for the upgrade though.

The Fitbit Charge 3 is a marked improvement over the still-impressive Charge 2. The thinner design with softer angles on all sides make it a more comfortable wear. There's a proper touchscreen this time too rather than a tap-to-cycle one. The Charge 3 is waterproof up to 50m, meaning it's absolutely fine to wear while swimming and it has tracking features to use while you do. Add in a heart-rate tracker, multiple apps for loads of different sports and a seven-day charge time (two days longer than before) and the Fitbit Charge 3 prices start to look like excellent value for money. The prices below are for the standard version, if you want to see the special edition version with its woven or silicon straps and Fitbit pay functionality we've rounded up the prices for that one on this guide for every edition of the Fitbit Charge 3.

While the official MSRP/RRP of the new Fitbit Versa Lite is quite a bit less than the starting price of the more feature-rich original Fitbit Versa we've found that the later if often available for a very similar price to the Lite. In these situations is just makes much more sense to go for the full-fat version.

However, prices will drop eventually and that's when you should consider the Lite if you don't need the full suite of features. We absolutely love the blue and magenta versions the Lite is available in too. 

As for features, you get connected GPS via your phone, water resistance up to 50m and a range of fitness apps. However, compared to the regular Versa, you don't get Wi-Fi, onscreen workouts, floor/swimming lap tracking or music storage. So take a look at the latest prices and compare them with the regular Versa if these are features you'd want.

While its feature set isn’t quite on par with that of its bigger brother the Ionic, the Fitbit Versa feels like the same watch but with a lighter and friendlier design and a much lower price point. It brings a clear, bright and beautiful screen, a new and improved heart rate sensor that will apparently be updated with even smarter functionality via a firmware update, smart notifications, contactless payment capabilities, and all the features Fitbit users will have come to know and love.

The upgraded Fitbit Ace 2 is much improved over the previous version if you need a child-friendly Fitbit. There's extra protection around the screen to better protect against bumps and scratches. The Ace 2 can be worn while swimming too as the water-resistance has been improved. You're still getting a bunch of child-friendly versions of the tracking apps and incentives to keep active. Separate kid or parent view modes allow you to have a deeper dive on the stats to track activities if you want too.

The colourful and chunky designs might not be for everyone though and depending on how old (and clumsy!) your child is, it might be worth opting for the more feature-rich and more mature stylings of the Fitbit Inspire (mentioned earlier on this page), which is the same price at most retailers.

The Fitbit Alta is a fetching, form-fitting fitness tracker that looks more like a bracelet. But don't let its looks fool you too much. Underneath, it packs in the same Fitbit smarts, like step, exercise and sleep tracking functionalities. 

To top it off, the battery life is astoundingly good. The display, while quite small offers much more feedback than the LED lights of the cheaper Fitbit Flex 2. For us, this is the best cheap Fitbit option if you don't want to spend a lot on one. The Flex 2 is just too basic on its own.

The Fitbit Alta HR takes the fetching formula of the original and adds heart rate monitoring into the mix. During use, we found it to be surprisingly accurate and the OLED display shows the metrics in a simple, easy-to-read fashion.

Much of this package is also available on the Alta, like the usual Fitbit smarts, including step, exercise and sleep tracking functionalities. To top it off, the battery life is astoundingly good. 

Opt for this model if heart rate-based exercise is important to you. It's mostly the same as the original Alta, but the added functionality for not much extra cash down is a good thing in our book.

The Fitbit Ace is aimed at the kids' market, or more likely, fitness-conscious parents. Thankfully, Fitbit hasn't gone too far down the targeted design route (unlike the newer Fibtit Ace 2 mentioned earlier) and the Fitbit Ace actually looks very similar to the design of the Fitbit Alta rather than opting for zany colours or ugly armour casing.

The Fitbit Ace fitness apps inside have been simplified a little though to make it much more child-friendly and there are star badges to 'gamify' exercise a bit more and give them incentives to be more active. There's a decent level of waterproofing too as the Ace will withstand splashes, rain and even showers - although it won't stand for being submerged in the bath or the swimming pool. The smaller wrist-strap can be a better fit for smaller children too.

If your child is a bit older, tech-savvy or growing fast, it may be worth skipping the Fitbit Ace and looking at the Fitbit Inspire as we find it's generally around the same price nowadays and it's fully waterproof for swimming too (as is the Ace 2).

Fitbit Charge 2, another modern spin on a Fitbit classic, is packed with improvements and thoughtful tweaks over the original to make it worth your consideration. First off, the screen has been blown out to display even more information than before, including smartphone notifications – even if the feature is a bit limited. 

In addition, the Charge 2 features multi-sport tracking through the comprehensive Fitbit app that we know and love. This Fitbit isn't the cheapest model out there, but if it's multi-sport tracking data and on-screen information you seek, the Charge 2 will fit the bill. Better yet, with the Charge 3 out as well now, prices will start to fall on this version.

If the Apple Watch and Android Wear (and now the Fitbit Ionic) smartwatches have caught your eye, but you don't want to sacrifice fitness know-how (or hundreds of dollars), the Fitbit Blaze may be the wearable for you. It boasts a vibrant display that showcases fitness metrics and a healthy share of smartphone notifications. This is one of the most versatile Fitbits that you can purchase at the moment. This model is splashproof, but not waterproof. But, the Fitbit Charge is much smarter than most and is one to consider if being connected is important to you. Connected GPS allows you to track run routes if you have your phone with you too.

The Fitbit Ionic marked Fitbit's move deeper into smartwatch territory. It combines the best Fitbit goal-tracking software with all of the major features of a smartwatch, and it's a little cheaper than an Apple Watch. Plus, it works with both iOS and Android. 

The built-in GPS technology also means you don't have to take your smartphone out with you to track a route on a run either. You can also upload music to the device and pair it with some wireless headphones for tunes on the go.

Another of Fitbit's wearables is an update to one of its oldest: the Fitbit Flex. The latest Fitbit Flex 2 doesn't do a whole lot to change the familiar look, but the innards have been refreshed to make this the one worth buying over the original. It's smaller, more fashionable, and most importantly, it's water-resistant, which was a first for Fitbit at the time. 

The lack of a screen might be a bother for some, but if you can adjust, this fitness tracker compensates by being remarkably low-profile. You don't even need to take it off before you hop in the shower. If a no-fuss tracker is on your list, this is your match. We'd give some serious though to spending a bit more and going for one of te alta models mentioned above though instead as the addition of a screen makes things much easier.

If you're someone who works out a ton, you'll want to know about the Fitbit Surge. Competing against Garmin's high-end trackers, the Surge is Fitbit's most robust offering, packing in a long 7-day battery inside, along with a GPS sensor that can track your run or walk for up to 10 consecutive hours. 

It costs more than many other wearables in the Fitbit range, but it is generally better value than most smartwatches boasting similar specs. The inclusion of GPS, its splashproof design and a battery that can last up to 7 days makes it a smart option for workout enthusiasts.

Categories: Tech News

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