Tech News

OnePlus 7 Pro confirmed to have a 'super-smooth' display and 5G, but cost more

Latest Tech News - Mon, 04/22/2019 - 11:07

Your decision between the forthcoming OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7 Pro just a little bit easier to make, thanks to fresh specs confirmed by the company's CEO today.

The OnePlus 7 Pro will feature a new display that 'stunned' CEO Peter Lau, who has described it as "super-smooth and very crisp," according to an interview with The Verge.

Previous rumors suggest that the OnePlus 7 Pro display will sport a 90Hz refresh rate, and that appears to be exactly what Lau is translating in this interview.

The piece also indicates that 5G will be offered by the OnePlus 7 series, making it one of the first 5G phones in the world, though it also tempers 5G expectations. That's very not different from many of the first 5G phones we tested.

Two reasons the OnePlus 7 Pro display matters

We've seen smartphone screens with higher-than-60Hz refresh rates before: 90Hz from the Asus ROG Phone and even 120Hz from the Razer Phone and Razer Phone 2. They are silky smooth when gaming and even when scrolling a webpage.

However, if the OnePlus 7 Pro indeed has a 90Hz refresh rate, it'll be the first inside of a more mainstream phone, not a gaming-centric handset for a niche audience. 

That's an important development that could push Samsung and Apple to finally adopt similar screen technology. But, equally important is how it'll effect the price.

The OnePlus interview suggests that the company is paying three times as much for the cutting-edge display in the OnePlus 7 Pro. For OnePlus fans used to a cheap phone with flagship-level specs, this is going to be a different sort of game changer.

Categories: Tech News

iPad Pro 12.9 (2018) vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S4: what’s the best premium tablet available now?

Latest Tech News - Mon, 04/22/2019 - 10:00

Some people want a tablet as a cheap laptop-lite, but others are looking for a processing powerhouse with an impressive display and other cutting-edge features, and both Apple and Samsung have this corner of the market covered with the iPad Pro 12.9 (2018) and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4, two top-end tablets.

Both companies have designed devices that could easily trump many laptops in terms of specs and design, but they also sit at the top of the food chain in terms of price, and you’ll have a hard time spending more on a slate than you can on these two tablets.


But which premium tablet is the best you can buy right now, the Android or iOS powerhouse? We put the two head-to-head to figure it out.

Price

One massive difference between the iPad Pro 12.9 and Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 is the price. The Galaxy Tab S4 comes in two variants, one with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, which will set you back $650 / £509 / AU$979 for a Wi-Fi-only connection or $730 / £559 / AU$1,179 for LTE, and another with 256GB storage which costs $750 / AU$1,179 for Wi-Fi and AU$1,379 for LTE – this larger size isn’t available in the UK or with cell connection in the US.

You can buy the iPad Pro with four different amounts of memory – 64GB, 256GB, 512GB, and a massive 1TB model – and after that you can choose Wi-Fi-only or LTE, and on top of that the Apple Pencil ($129 / £119 / AU$199) and Smart Keyboard ($169 / £169 / AU$299) aren’t included, whereas the S Pen is for the Galaxy Tab S4, which will all add up quickly.

For a full breakdown of all the iPad Pro 12.9 prices check out the graph below, but just know you could be spending between $999 / £969 / AU$1529 and $2,197 / £2,157 / AU$3,367 depending on the size of the tablet and how many peripherals you include – that’s a considerable amount more than the Galaxy Tab S4.

The iPad Pro 12.9 (2018) image prices. Image credit: TechRadar

Display

The iPad Pro 12.9 has a significantly bigger display than the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4, which at 10.5 inches is closer in size to the aging iPad Pro 10.5

The iPad Pro 12.9 has an LCD display with Apple’s ‘Liquid Retina’ LCD tech, which is nearly as sharp and colorful as a typical OLED display, and colors shown on it were bright and clear, although black wasn’t exactly as dark as it would be on an OLED screen.


The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 has an AMOLED display, which displays colors just that little bit better, and has a higher max brightness as well. 

However, you’re getting 2.4 inches less of that high-quality display than the iPad Pro, and pixel density is similar, with the 1600 x 2560 Tab S4 coming in at 287 pixels per inch, while the iPad’s 2048 x 2732 screen is 265 pixels per inch, so it’s up to you which is better for content and work.

Design

With a bigger screen comes a bigger body, and fittingly the iPad Pro 12.9 is a much bigger tablet than the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4.

With a  280.6 x 214.9 x 5.9mm body, the iPad Pro 12.9 (2018) is very wide, although it’s actually thinner than the Galaxy Tab S4, which has dimensions of 249.3 x 164.3 x 7.1 mm, though 7.1mm is still thin as handheld devices go. There’s a big weight difference though – while the iPad Pro 12.9 weighs 631g for the Wi-Fi model and 633g for LTE, the Galaxy Tab S4 is much lighter at 482g and 483g respectively.


In terms of overall appearance, though, the iPad Pro 12.9 (2018) and Galaxy Tab S4 are probably the most similar an iOS and Android tablet have looked – they both have button-less fronts with screens that go nearly to the edge, and they both have rears that are rather clean save for a camera (the Galaxy Tab S4 has one that’s central, whereas the iPad Pro’s is in a corner).

One difference that may make a difference to some is regarding headphone ports – the iPad Pro 12.9 (2018) doesn’t have one and you’d have to use an adaptor with its USB-C port if you want to use wired headphones, whereas the Galaxy Tab S4 comes with a 3.5mm headphone jack alongside its USB-C connector.

Peripherals

Both the iPad Pro 12.9 and Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 have a pen and keyboard peripheral to change how you use the tablet.

You can get the S Pen, the Galaxy Tab S4’s stylus, included with the tablet, however the Apple Pencil for the iPad Pro costs $129 / £119 / AU$199. We found the S Pen great for purpose – unlike the Apple Pencil it doesn’t require charging, has a holster on the keyboard, and has a protrusion on the side so it doesn’t roll away, so it’s probably the better tablet stylus.


You have to buy both the Smart Keyboard ($169 / £169 / AU$299) for the iPad Pro and the Book Cover Keyboard ($150, roughly £115, AU$210) for the Galaxy Tab S4, but we found the latter too fiddly, with loads of unnecessary buttons, and it slowed down our workflow, so we can’t recommend it as a useful addition.

Battery life

The iPad Pro 12.9 has a 9,720mAh battery while the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4’s power pack is only 7,300mAh – on the surface it would seem that the former would last far longer, but that’s not necessarily the truth.

The iPad Pro 12.9 (2018) didn’t feel optimized for everyday use, and it lost charge rather quickly for its battery size, whereas the Galaxy Tab S4 seemed to last a lot longer in our experience.

When we put them both through our battery test, in which we play a 90-minute video at full brightness with Wi-Fi on and accounts syncing in the background, the iPad Pro lost 22% charge while the Galaxy Tab S4 only dropped 12% – that shows the latter is optimized a lot better for media use, and can play games or stream content for longer.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4. Image credit: TechRadar


Charging was quicker on the iPad Pro though, as it took two and a half hours to charge to full instead of three and a quarter. Neither supports wireless charging, which is a shame because of how convenient the feature is, but also understandable given the confusing logistics of balancing a tablet on a wireless charger.

Features

The biggest difference between the two tablets is that the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 runs the Android 9 operating system whereas the iPad Pro 12.9 runs on Apple’s iOS 12 – both have fans and people who dislike them, but ultimately they run rather similarly.

In terms of specs, the iPad Pro 12.9 (2018) knocks its competitor out of the water. While the Galaxy Tab S4 runs on a mid-to-high range Snapdragon 835 chipset, and has 4GB of RAM, the iPad Pro has the superior A12X Bionic processor with 4GB of RAM (unless you get the 1TB version with 6GB). This extra processing power gets you a faster framerate in games, quicker video rendering, and a whole other range of features.

iPad Pro 12.9 (2018). Image credit: TechRadar


Other than that, the tablets run in pretty similar ways – both support face recognition to unlock, both can support split-screen modes so you can run multiple apps at the same time, and both are just as useful as media players as they are work tools.

Verdict

The biggest thing to decide if you’re split between an iPad Pro 12.9 (2018) or a Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 is the price – the cheapest iPad Pro model costs quite a bit more than the Galaxy Tab S4, and the most expensive model costs a lot more.

Whether the extra price will provide extra value depends on what you’re looking for in a tablet – the extra screen space, better specs and access to iOS (which, if we’re being honest, is a little better suited to tablets) is a blessing, but if you just want a ‘big phone’ you don’t need to shell out that much.

Categories: Tech News

UK government adds 12,000 snippets of info to Alexa and Google Assistant

Latest Tech News - Mon, 04/22/2019 - 09:30

The more precise Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant can be, the more useful they are – and with that in mind the UK government has added a hefty 12,000 pieces of information to the digital assistants.

That means not only can you ask your smart speaker how the weather forecast is looking or how tall the Tower of London is, you can also ask when the next bank holiday is scheduled for or what the current minimum wage is.

The data also covers questions like "what age can I retire?" and "how do I apply for a passport?" – all the sort of stuff you might search a government website for (the Gov.uk sites are the primary source for the new data).

"This is all about making life easier for people who need to access information about government services," Minister for Implementation Oliver Dowden said in a press statement. "And with millions now using smart speakers, I want government to keep up and work smarter too."

More on the way

The new information data dump is the result of six months of testing, planning and preparation, and should be live now on devices enabled with Alexa or Google Assistant – there's no need to run a manual update.

Government agencies say more information is on the way too, and smart speakers could soon be able to give you details of how to get married and how to renew your car tax.

It's more evidence of the growing intelligence of these smart assistants, which to begin with could run basic web searches for data and that was about it.

Nowadays they're far more nuanced and comprehensive – but the most accurate and useful results come when information is specifically organised and added, as is the case with the UK government here.

Via Android Police

Categories: Tech News

Realme 3 Pro vs Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Pro

Latest Tech News - Mon, 04/22/2019 - 09:09

Celebrating its first anniversary, Realme Mobiles unveiled their top-of-the-line Realme 3 Pro that is going to take on the Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Pro in India. In just a short span of one year, the company has managed to take the fight to mid-range champions. Realme 3, which was launched just last month, has sold more than 600,000 units and has garnered a positive response. 

On the other side, we have Xiaomi’s crown jewel in the mid-range market, the Redmi Note 7 Pro which is the best phone one can get under Rs 15,000 in India. 

So, does the Realme 3 Pro manage to do one better than the Redmi Note 7 Pro? We find out in our specifications based comparison of both the phones.

Price and availability

Realme 3 Pro and Redmi Note 7 Pro are priced at the same mark- Rs 13,999 with 4GB RAM and Rs 16,999 with 6GB RAM. 

While the Redmi Note 7 Pro is selling like hot cakes both offline and online, Realme 3 Pro is set to go on its first sale on April 29 on Flipkart and Realme India Store.

Design and Display

Built out of polycarbonate, the Realme 3 Pro is 8.3 mm thick while the Redmi Note 7 Pro beats it at 8.1 mm even after having a glass built. There’s a layer of Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and back of the Note 7 Pro, while the Realme 3 Pro has it on the display.

The Redmi Note 7 Pro comes in three gradient color options- red, blue and black while the Realme 3 Pro will be available in grey, blue and purple hues.

Both the phones have a 6.3-inch IPS display with Full HD+ (2340 x 1080 pixels) resolution, topped with Gorilla Glass 5. The two phones implement a similar u-shaped notch design, giving the screen a 19.5:9 aspect ratio.

Given the asking price, the display on the Redmi Note 7 Pro is just good, as we noted in our review.

Camera

Realme 3 Pro brings the Sony IMX519 sensor with its dual camera setup. There’s a primary 16MP camera with an f/1.7 aperture which is assisted by a 5MP depth sensor.

Redmi Note 7 Pro has a dual camera setup on the rear which consists of a primary 48MP sensor and a 5MP secondary camera for depth-sensing.

On the front, the Realme 3 Pro sports a 25MP snapper whereas the Note 7 Pro has a 13MP selfie camera.

The phones pack in really advanced photography hardware and we really impressed by the Redmi Note 7 Pro during our time with it. As for the Realme 3 Pro, we will be using its camera for some more time to have a verdict.

Performance and battery

Powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, the Realme 3 Pro has an octa-core CPU and Adreno 616 as its graphics processor. The Snapdragon 710 is usually found on phones priced upwards of Rs 20,000 but the Realme 3 Pro brings it down to the mid-range segment.

Under the hood, Redmi Note 7 Pro is powered by Snapdragon 675 chipset with an octa-core CPU and Adreno 612.

Both the phones are offered in two variants- 4GB RAM with 64GB storage and 6GB of RAM with 128GB onboard storage.

Realme 3 Pro has a 4,045mAh battery which supports fast charging via VOOC 3.0 charging solution. The VOOC 3.0 20W adapter is provided in-the-box and can charge the battery upto 50% in around 30 minutes.

The Note 7 Pro is fitted with a 4,000mAh battery and supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 4 but the fast charging adapted isn’t provided in-the-box and has to be purchased as a separate accessory.

We’ll be using the Realme 3 Pro and will update this comparison with our overall experience soon.

Categories: Tech News

Best HR outsourcing of 2019

Latest Tech News - Mon, 04/22/2019 - 09:00

Handling employee paperwork can be a nightmare maze of tax and legal compliance issues. It's time consuming work that offers little obvious reward, and takes your attention from simply growing your business.

For small business owners, it can be an welcome headache to tackle it directly, but even with larger businesses this means having to invest in HR managers and software which may not necessarily seem cost-effective, especially in the short-term.

Luckily, there are a number of HR outsourcing options available. Some are full service providers, and cover everything from recruitment to payroll, to tax deductions and legal compliance. This can be especially beneficial for businesses that lack HR expertise or might find it expensive to build and accommodate their own HR team. Outsourcing allows another company to deal with all those complexities and liabilities for you.

Others providers allow you to pick and choose which HR service you'd like to outsource. This is especially the case where a business may want to provide extra support for its existing HR department. After all, HR isn't all about tax and insurance, but also about employee recruitment and providing training provision. Third parties may be able offer these services to add another layer of expertise without having to introducing an administrative burden on your business.

Some HR outsourcing companies are certified by the IRS or accredited by the Employer Services Assurance Corporation (ESAC), which can provide guarantees to the level of service, not least for avoiding double-taxation penalties. This can be especially important for large businesses. However, smaller HR outsourcing companies may not come with either credentials, but that doesn't mean they may be any less capable, especially when dealing with less complex small business needs.

To help you choose between HR outsourcing providers, we've featured the five best below.

  • Want your company or services to be added to this buyer’s guide? Please email your request to desire.athow@futurenet.com with the URL of the buying guide in the subject line.   

Image Credit: ADP

ADP Comprehensive Services is designed for larger businesses that want to focus more on strategy, or else could benefit companies undergoing a merger or acquisition. The Comprehensive Services package allows a business to outsource either all of its HR services to ADP, or just selected HR services.

The services available include employee recruitment, retention, and engagement, with performance management and compensation benchmarking. ADP can also handle all aspects of benefits administration, from carrier connections and eligibility reporting, to open enrollment administration, as well as new hire and life event enrollments, and all administrated under COBRA guidelines. ADP can also ensure compliance with legal frameworks, not least ACA and FMLA.

Of course, ADP can also take on board payroll administration to reduce compliance risk, not least in dealing with managing time and attendance, but also with regards to federal and state tax changes, as well as offering proactive guidance on best practices.

Overall, ADP is one of the biggest names in HR outsourcing, yet the Comprehensive Services package for HR outsourcing is designed for businesses with anywhere between 1-1000+ employees.

Image Credit: G&A Partners

G&A Partners' Full-Service HR Solution provides an outsourced alternative for businesses to manage and administrate HR services, payroll, and employee benefits. They run this using their own HR technology platform, Worksight, which offers SaaS (Software as a Service) that works with SSO (Single Sign On) technology. 

Using Worksight, G&A are able to cover all aspects of recruitment, onboarding, time and attendance, performance management, benefits enrollment, and performance management. For recruitment, G&A use an applicant tracking system (ATS) which allows them to search online applicant databases in order to create job descriptions and compensation packages suitable to the post. G&A can screen applicants, and allow them to communicate through the recruitment process.

The Worksight platform allows all employment forms to be signed and stored directly in the system, and provides real-time updates on the employee onboarding process. The time and attendance system allows for employees to clock in digitally, and also manage all aspects of creating and managing schedules, as well as vacations and sickness. 

G&A Partners also provides expert guidance on a range of other issues, not least safety at work compliance, healthcare reform, and benefits administration tailored to weighting these to the most needed positions as required.

Overall, G&A Partners provides a wide range of services, which can be packages together as a single solution or worked with individually depending on which actual HR services you need.

Image Credit: Insperity

Insperity offers HR outsourcing solutions according to two main plans: the first being 5-149 employees, and the second for 150-5000 employees. Both cover all the HR basics, not least HR admin and payroll, risk-management and compliance, benefits, as well as employee training and management. The main difference between the programs is a case of where the put the focus of the service, and of course the price.

The first plan for small businesses is a full-service solution focused on providing a strong, stable, and supported HR management plan in the first place, while being able to offer insurance benefits normally expected with a Fortune 500 company. Insperity also uses its own software platform to manage all aspects of payroll, accounting, and cost administration, not to mention tax filing. As expected, they also provide support and advice for compliance and liability issues, as well as performance management.

The second plan for medium to large businesses provides the same services while putting the focus on productivity and profitability, not least to work to prevent IT sprawl and inefficiencies that necessarily plague business systems the larger they get. The aim is to provide detailed cost inventory and manage them to ensure budget certainty. This is especially relevant where a business may be involved in a merger or acquisition and needs to integrate employees from different payroll systems into one.

In all, Insperity provide a wide-ranging solution, and although two different plans have been mentioned, Insperity also provide individual HR services as required.

Image Credit: Paychex

Paychex offers both human resources consulting as well as HR outsourcing and PEO services. This means you can look at different levels of service according to your business needs, from simply asking for guidance on how to better streamline your existing HR workflows, to completely outsourcing all of your HR and employment needs to Paychex.

As expected, Paychex provides all the expected services in terms of HR management, payroll and benefits administration, as well as compliance and legal services. Where Paychex differs from the competition is its focus on digital streamlining where possible, in order to ensure maximum efficiency and productivity in all aspects of human resources management. 

For example, with Paychex Flex you can easily manage your business health insurance, section 125 plans, 401(k) and other employee benefits from a single online platform. Changes can be made in real-time, and set up so that employees can easily access the information without having to ask for it.

The whole process means less time is spent on low-value administrative tasks, while streamlining existing procedures. Additionally, it's also easier to search for actionable insights to improve efficiency, with analytics automated to work through the Paychex HR management system to reveal trends and provide custom reporting. 

Altogether, Paychex is another strong company with a strong suite of services, and even better in that you can easily select the right level of service for your business.

Image Credit: TriNet

TriNet offers a range of HR services, including HR consultancy, benefits management, payroll services, risk mitigation, all run through a single software platform. They can also provide mobile apps for employee expenses, time management, wages and benefits statements. These services can be taken packaged together, as individual outsourced services, or even a full-service PEO (Professional Employer Organization) as required. 

What makes TriNet standout a little more from its competition is that its advisers have specialist industry experience, not least in architecture & engineering, consulting, financial services, life sciences, manufacturing, marketing, retail, technology, and nonprofits. The aim is to make sure this expertise translates into actionable insights specific for your business, and therefore help improve some aspect of efficiency, workflows, or productivity.

Another advantage of TriNet is that it charges on a per-employee basis, rather than as a percent of payroll. This means your HR costs are predictable and consistent, which can be especially advantageous to small businesses who need to have a very clear idea of costs. TriNet is also able to work comfortable with businesses of different sizes, tailoring plans accordingly, though some services may require an employee minimum to make them financially worthwhile.

Overall, TriNet is a flexible provider that could offer industry insights while providing a comprehensive range of HR outsourcing services.

Categories: Tech News

Don't get fooled by scammers sending WhatsApp verification messages

Latest Tech News - Mon, 04/22/2019 - 08:08

The Telecommunications Authority of the UAE has issued an advisory on Twitter for WhatsApp users and warned that they should not reply to code verification messages unless it is triggered by the subscriber. Many WhatsApp accounts have been hacked through this method.

Nicolai Solling, Chief Technology Officer at security solutions provider Help AG Middle East, told TechRadar Middle East, that this is a widespread phenomenon and it is known as “social engineering”.

“Scammers have hacked many accounts globally and their main intention is to gain control over WhatsApp accounts. What the scammer does is that he or she sends you a code on WhatsApp and tells the user to reply by clicking a link to verify the phone number,” he said.

Normally, when you install WhatsApp on a device, WhatsApp sends a verification code to check if you are the owner of the phone number and it is done automatically. However, in this case, the scammer is sending you a WhatsApp code and a link.

“If you click the link, you are confirming that it is you on behalf of the scammer. By that way, the user can lose control of the WhatsApp messages and the scammer can read and send messages on your behalf."

If a user hasn't requested for a WhatsApp code, they should not click on any conformation links on WhatsApp.

Categories: Tech News

Huawei Band 4 Pro: what we want to see

Latest Tech News - Mon, 04/22/2019 - 07:00

The Huawei Band 4 Pro is likely to land later this year and it could shake up the fitness tracker scene by providing a plethora of features at a budget price.

At least, it has got the potential to if it builds on what the Huawei Band 3 Pro offers without building on the price too much.

For now we don’t know much about it, but we’d expect rumors to start rolling in soon and will add them to this article as soon as they do. And in the meantime we’ve come up with a list of features and improvements that we want to see, along with educated guesses at when it might land and what it might offer.

Cut to the chase
  • What is it? The successor to the Huawei Band 3 Pro
  • When is it out? Possibly around October
  • What will it cost? Likely at least $69.99 / £79.99 / AU$110
Huawei Band 4 Pro release date and price

The Huawei Band 3 Pro was announced in October 2018 so there’s a fair chance we’ll see the Huawei Band 4 Pro in or around October of this year (2019), especially as the Huawei Band 2 Pro landed in the second half of 2017 – so there was roughly a year between the previous two wearables.

There’s no news on exactly when the Huawei Band 4 Pro might be announced, but with the Band 3 Pro being unveiled alongside the Huawei Mate 20 range we might see the Band 4 Pro alongside the Huawei Mate 30 range.

We don’t know what it will cost either, but the Huawei Band 3 Pro retails for $69.99 / £79.99 / AU$110, so we’d expect the Band 4 Pro would cost at least that much.

Image Credit: TechRadar

Huawei Band 4 Pro news and rumors

There aren’t any Huawei Band 4 Pro rumors yet, but we’ll be sure to update this article as soon as we hear anything credible about the wearable.

We can take an educated guess at some things though. For example, it will almost certainly sport full GPS, a heart rate monitor, water resistance and a reasonably low price, given that the Huawei Band 3 Pro has all those things.

What we want to see

Below you’ll find the main things that we’d like to see from the Huawei Band 4 Pro. Some may well happen, others are less likely, but we want them all.

1. A comfier fit and a sleeker design

The Band 3 Pro is a bit bulky. Image Credit: TechRadar

The Huawei Band 3 Pro isn’t a bad looking wearable. In fact, with its glass and metal build it’s arguably quite nice, but it’s rather chunky, which isn’t ideal, especially for something we’d be working out while wearing.

More problematic though is how it feels on the wrist, as in our review we found that it’s just not quite as comfy as some rival bands like the Fitbit Inspire HR, so we’d like to see both the size and comfort improved for the Huawei Band 4 Pro.

2. A breathing mode

A breathing mode on a fitness band is almost a standard feature at this point, but it’s one that the Huawei Band 3 Pro didn’t have (despite the fact that the Huawei Band 2 Pro does have one).

So for the Band 4 Pro we’d like to see it reinstated, and if they can improve it – by adding multiple different guided breathing exercises for example – then all the better.

3. Slicker GPS

We don't want to wait to work out. Image Credit: TechRadar

Getting full GPS at all in budget fitness bands is far from guaranteed, but we’re almost certain the Huawei Band 4 Pro will have it since the Band 3 Pro does.

However, the Huawei band 3 Pro’s GPS takes longer than average to lock on in our experience, so we’d like to see it work faster on the Huawei Band 4 Pro. After all, if you’re trying to work out the last thing you want is to be left standing around.

4. Auto brightness

The Huawei Band 3 Pro has a bright, colorful screen, but late at night or when in the cinema you don’t necessarily want it to be bright, and while the brightness can be adjusted this has to be done manually – there’s no auto brightness. It’s an obvious feature that we’d really like to see added to the Huawei Band 4 Pro.

5. Wireless charging

The Huawei Band 3 Pro has a clip-on charger like many wearables, but for the Band 4 Pro we’d like to see support for wireless charging, and not of the proprietary kind.

Not only would that be convenient, but that way if we need to juice it up when we don’t have the charger with us there’s a solid chance someone will have a wireless charger we can use.

6. More watch faces

The Band 3 Pro doesn't have many faces. Image Credit: TechRadar

The Huawei Band 3 Pro only comes with a selection of three different watch faces. Now, by fitness tracker standards that’s not awful, but given that many smartwatches give you thousands to play with we’d like to see a greater selection offered on the Huawei Band 4 Pro. That way you’d be better able to tailor it to your style.

7. An ECG

This is one of our more unlikely hopes for the Huawei Band 4 Pro, but with the Apple Watch 4 and Withings Move ECG sporting an ECG (electrocardiogram) it’s not totally out of the question.

This feature goes beyond merely monitoring your heart rate and can potentially detect some serious heart issues, such as atrial fibrillation, so it would be great to see it on more devices.

Categories: Tech News

Realme 3 Pro and Realme C2 launched to take on Xiaomi Redmi 7 series in India

Latest Tech News - Mon, 04/22/2019 - 05:35

Realme Mobiles has announced its latest smartphone, the Realme 3 Pro in India on Monday. It was the much-awaited phone from the company as it aims to take on the mid-range smartphone segment competing with the likes of Redmi Note 7 Pro.

Alongside the Realme 3 Pro, the company also announced a budget phone, the Realme C2 in India.

Realme 3 Pro: specifications, price and availability

Realme 3 Pro features a 6.3-inch Full HD+ (2340 x 1080 pixels) IPS panel which is topped by 2.5D Gorilla Glass 5 for added protection against regular wear and tear.

It is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 chipset with an octa-core CPU and Adreno 616 as the graphics processor. This is backed by 4GB/6GB of RAM with 64GB/128GB storage. There's an option to increase the storage via microSD card by upto 256GB. Under the hood, the phone runs on Android 9.0 Pie with ColorOS 6.0 interface.

Coming to the camera, the Realme 3 Pro sports two sensors on the rear. The dual camera setup consists of a 16MP primary camera powered by Sony IMX519 sensor with an f/1.7 aperture along with a 5MP snapper with f/2.4 aperture that will assist in depth sensing.

On the front, the Realme 3 Pro sports a 25MP selfie camera with an aperture of f/2.0.

The Realme 3 Pro has a 4,045mAh battery which supports 20W fast battery charging via VOOC 3.0 adapter provided in-the-box.

Realme 3 Pro starts at Rs 13,999 for the variant with 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage and goes up to Rs 16,999 for the model with 6GB RAM + 128GB onboard storage.

Realme Mobiles will host the first sale of Realme 3 Pro on April 29 at 12 noon on Flipkart and Realme India Store. In addition, the company is also hosting its first pop-up store on April 27 at Pacific Mall, New Delhi from 4:30 PM IST, where attendees can get a chance to experience the Realme 3 Pro before making a buying decision.

Realme C2: specifications, price and availability

Image Credit: Realme Mobiles

Along with the Realme 3 Pro, the company also announced the Realme C2 in India. It features a 6.1-inch HD+ (1560 X 720 pixels) display with a waterdrop notch on the front and is powered by MediaTek Helio P22 chipset.

The rear panel of the C2 has diamond-cut design and house dual camera system. It consists of a primary 13MP camera assisted by a 2MP depth-sensor. Additionally, there's a 5MP selfie camera housed within the waterdrop notch.

It runs on Realme's custom UI ColorOS 6.0 which is based on Android 9.0 Pie.

Realme C2 has a 4,000mAh battery to boot which, given its pricing, is more than what one could ask for.

The C2 will be available in two variants- either with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage or with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage. This can further be expanded by upto 256GB using a microSD card.

Realme C2 with 2GB of RAM is priced at Rs 5,999 while the 3GB model will be up for grabs at Rs 7,999. The first sale is scheduled for May 15 at 12 noon on Flipkart and Realme India Store.

Categories: Tech News

Samsung reportedly puts its Galaxy Fold launch events on hold in China

Latest Tech News - Mon, 04/22/2019 - 05:30

Samsung is reportedly pushing back its planned Galaxy Fold launch events in China this week – and though a last-minute hitch with venues is being blamed by insider sources, it also gives Samsung a little more time to investigate screen issues with the device.

As SamMobile reports, several events have been postponed, including ones in Shanghai and Hong Kong, although Samsung is promising that the April 26 Fold launch in the US will go ahead as planned.

In response to a number of press review units developing glitches around the display hinge, Samsung previously said it was ready to "thoroughly inspect" the broken units to see what had gone wrong.

Some of the problems seem to have stemmed from the removal of a protective plastic layer on the display – it may look like an optional screen protector but it's actually essential to the smooth operation of the folding screen.

Fold on hold?

Perhaps a few extra days will give Samsung chance to make it clearer that the screen cover shouldn't be removed under any circumstances (don't forget this if you're planning to pick up a Galaxy Fold of your own).

After unveiling the innovative folding phone, Samsung said it had undergone rigorous testing, and that the handset was ready to withstand 200,000 folds – or around five years of regular use.

We'll have to wait and see what Samsung's investigation turns up, but as yet there's no indication that the phone won't go on sale across the world as originally planned.

The Galaxy Fold retails for $1,980 in the US, €2,000 in mainland Europe and £1,799 in the UK. It's just one of several foldable phones we're expecting to see on the market in the next few years.

Categories: Tech News

5G deployment will be the hottest topic of discussion at ITU conference in Egypt

Latest Tech News - Mon, 04/22/2019 - 02:46

New frequency bands for 5G deployment will be the hottest topic of discussion when ITU (International Telecommunications Union) members meet at the World Radio Communication Conference (WRC) 2019 in Egypt.

The WRC takes place between October 28 to November 22 and is organised by the ITU to review and revise radio regulations.

Tareq Al Awadi, Executive Director for spectrum management at the TRA and chairman of Arab Spectrum Management Group, told TechRadar Middle East that WRC is an important event for the industry where regulators decide on allocating spectrum around the world and who gets to use what frequencies- including satellite operators and broadcasters.

The vital C-band

Much of the focus will be on the C-band (3.3GHz-3.8GHz), where satellite operators use these frequencies, apart from the higher frequency bands, also known as millimetre wave.

The millimetre wave operates within the 24.25GHz to the 86GHz range and most of it are not used by satellites.

ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao said that the conference will fix the basic standards and the spectrum for 5G and “we can have a much better idea on how to fix the rules and other issues.”

The ITU hopes that satellite operators will cooperate in moving from analogue to digital in a bid to free up any unused spectrums as digital occupies less radio spectrum. “We encourage satellite operators to have good cooperation and coordination with the ITU as the satellite providers have made huge investments since the 1970s,” he said.

Al Awadi said that satellite operators in the UAE such as Thuraya and Yahsat have some difficulties in the C-band but have made technical arrangements to protect their air stations.

“We don’t have much problem in the UAE. Even in the Arab group, C-band has been assigned for any 5G deployment by 2020. Some countries have issues with 3.4GHz and 3.8GHz but the frequency bands for both the telecom operators in the UAE have been allocated in the C-band.

Moreover, he said that TRA has already assigned a number of frequency bands for 5G last year in the C-band and port operators such as DP World are currently using 100Mhz in the C-band. 

“By the end of this year or beginning of 2020, port operators will have between 200MHz and 250MHz in the C-band.

Revenue potential with 5G

According to a recent report by Swedish telecom company Ericsson, Telecom operators in the UAE stand to gain an additional $3.3 (Dh12.1) billion in revenues by 2026 from the digitalisation of industries with 5G technology.

The report states that growth potential in the UAE is being driven by the digitalisation of the manufacturing sector, expecting it to contribute 18% of the potential revenues by 2026, followed by energy and utilities with 16% and public safety by 12.5%.

Al Awadi said that the 5G business model is completely different from 3G/4G and the UAE is ready for the fourth industrial revolution. “Some countries have already started at 700MHz for lower bandwidth and some countries, including the Arab countries, are also interested in the L band (1-2GHz),” he said.

In the next two to three years, he said that the UAE will start 5G in mobile and fixed-line businesses and that is where the devices will be available. 

“The devices for verticals such as manufacturing, utilities, healthcare, retail, agriculture and Automotive, etc. are not yet ready but the network will be ready. These new use cases are the ones which will make 5G a success. 5G will be available initially in certain hotspots and will take years to have full coverage” he said.

Categories: Tech News

APC's May 2019 issue is on sale now!

Latest Tech News - Mon, 04/22/2019 - 00:34

 

Microsoft's latest Windows 10 update is packed with irresistible enhancements. Take a tour of them all in the new issue of APC, and learn how to get your PC running just the way you like it.

Gunning for the best in gaming laptops? APC has the newest Nvidia RTX-powered machines in the Labs in a quest to find the ultimate gaming laptop.

Get into Linux with APC's Getting Started Guide, covering all the major distros, their history and which one could be best for you. This is the perfect time to get Linux running, perhaps on a second PC and discover the joys of this powerful and affordable OS.

The May issue of APC is on sale from Monday, April 22 at all good newsagents.

Grab your copy today!


Subscribe to APC's print edition and save!

Subscribe to the print edition of APC magazine and you'll enjoy a greatly-reduced cover price, plus free delivery directly to your door. Visit techmags.com.au for full details:

Get the digital edition for your tablet

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Brought to you by the same team behind APC mag, the TechRadar Australia newsletter provides twice-weekly digests of the most important tech news, plus exclusives offers and discounts for Aussie readers!

Contact APC

Got a question for the APC editorial team? You can get in touch with us by sending an email to apcmag@futurenet.com.

Categories: Tech News

How to watch Game of Thrones season 8, episode 2 stream online from anywhere

Latest Tech News - Sun, 04/21/2019 - 17:48

Last week we were finally gifted with the return of Game of Thrones. As excited as we were to finally get to watch Game of Thrones again, it pales in comparison to how we're feeling about season 8 episode 2.

While last week's episode got us feeling the GoT shivers once again, it didn't quite swing into the all out warfare the finale is promising, but promo trailers for season 8 episode 2 show that everything is about to change. With conflicts between pretty much every character you can think of being advertised, you are not going to want to miss this second episode.

Luckily for you, you're in the right place for all your how to watch Game of Thrones episode 2 know-how. We've tracked down the streaming services, costs and times for the second episode so you can be ready with your bowl of popcorn before it starts - you can find a full guide for several countries down below.

We would attempt to catch you up on seasons 1-7 in preparation for the new episode but considering there's 2 days, 15 hours and 30 minutes worth of content...it might take us a while. Just know, this season is going to be big! 

So with the first episode now live and the second imminent, this is the place to be to see how to watch Game of Thrones season 8, episode 2, no matter where you live. 

Watch Game of Thrones episode 2: stream from outside your country

Want to watch Game of Thrones season 8, episode 2 in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, India, UAE or New Zealand? We've found all of your best options and listed them below.

But, if you find yourself in the unfortunate circumstances where you've booked a holiday over the air time of the first episode, then things get a bit more difficult. For those unlucky fans, all hope isn't lost yet. You will find that watching it won't be an option thanks to geo-blocking. This means that broadcasters do tend to try and stop you from watching in other countries, putting up some virtual roadblocks.

But, thanks to a little bit of working around, there is still a way to catch all the episodes while you're away. By using a VPN, you will still be able to catch up on the show by changing your IP address to a location back where you live, allowing you to watch that important first episode (assuming that doesn't breach any TS&Cs, of course) - and that's without finding some dodgy stream on Reddit.

Watch Game of Thrones episode 2 online in the USA

Watch Game of Thrones episode 2 online in the UK

Watch Game of Thrones episode 2 online in Canada

Watch Game of Thrones episode 2 online in Australia

Watch Game of Thrones episode 2 online in New Zealand

Watch Game of Thrones episode 2 online in India

Watch Game of Thrones episode 2 online in the UAE

Categories: Tech News

Can I use a tablet as a replacement for my smartphone?

Latest Tech News - Sun, 04/21/2019 - 12:00

There are two pieces of tech that are arguably vital for a connected existence in the modern world; smartphones are part of our daily routine, as a tool to communicate with the wider world (as well as serving as a portable entertainment device), while for many, a laptop or computer is crucial for work.

Tablets are meant to fit both these tasks – they’re portable like smartphones and share the same operating systems, but they’re large enough to comfortably run word processors and spreadsheets like a computer.

But can you actually use a tablet as a replacement for a smartphone? To find out I locked my smartphone away, and spent a few days using my iPad (2017) as my only form of portable tech. 

Walking on com-mute

When I’m commuting, I always use my phone to stream music or podcasts on Spotify, but since my tablet had to go in my bag rather than my pocket, my headphone cable couldn't reach it. So, I walked to work in silence, sans tunes, and sans casts.

I say silent, but my music would normally allow me to ignore the horrible sounds of London’s Euston Road, so I swapping my smartphone for a tablet made me more in-tune with my surroundings – which wasn't a good thing.

Taking the London Underground was a whole different story however – while previously I’d squinted at ebooks or Netflix shows on my phone, with a tablet I had a portable cinema on my lap, and I made sure to make the most of it.

I always loaded up the tablet with the best Netflix shows I could find (which were always longer than my commute, annoyingly), and since people often bring laptops onto the tube I felt no shame having my moderate-sized handheld.

A size above. Image credit: TechRadar

Work hard

Ditching my laptop in order to work on an iPad felt like a real trial by fire, as it’s a very different beast to a laptop. 

Typing on the iPad’s on-screen keyboard took a while to get used to, as when I touch-typed on it like I would a laptop keyboard, I’d often lose letters in words or accidentally swipe down on keys, selecting symbols instead of letters. 

You definitely can’t use tablet keyboards in the same way as physical ones, although my tablet typing pace definitely got closer to my usual keyboard-enabled speed after a while.

The iPad was a blessing when it came to working in different places though – it’s always a chore having to assemble and boot up a chunky laptop when working on the go, but with the iPad I could whip it out and have it running in a matter of seconds.

I also really enjoyed the lack of distraction brought about my ditching the smartphone – the absence of a gadget to fiddle with and browse on meant I was more focused on work and less likely to lose large chunks of time to doing nothing.

Playing it call

The biggest issue with using a tablet as a phone, is that a tablet isn’t exactly a portable texting and calling device  and while that’s certainly true, who really needs to text and call nowadays?

All my communication is done through WhatsApp, emails, Slack, video calls and actual human face-to-face interaction, and I’d estimate that I only make or receive one phone call a week.

That’s not a lot, and after my tablet-exclusive time I didn't have a single missed call or text, which shows how unimportant these phone features have become to me (of course I had WhatsApp calls and messages, but I rarely if ever dip into my phone contract). 

Who texts now anyway? Image credit: TechRadar

Using a tablet did reduce my communication in one major way, as the inability to whip out my phone and scroll through apps meant I spent a lot less time on social media – but I’d say that’s actually a good thing, and I spent more time on non-phone activities and real-life conversations.

Play hard

I’m a big mobile gamer, and have been known to disappear into a quick game from time to time of something light like a puzzle game or sometimes heavier fare, like PUBG Mobile.

Having an iPad didn’t change that, but it was like playing a HD remaster of a childhood classic – the bigger screen made games play quicker, look better, and feel more immersive. 

For the few days my tablet was my only piece of portable tech, I probably played more games than I usually would on my phone, because the experience was more like playing on a console with a big TV screen.

The iPad was superior for all kinds of media too – as I’ve already said it was like having a portable theatre for watching content at all times of day, so much so that sometimes I’d stay in bed to watch Netflix instead of making my way to the living room TV (I have a very active lifestyle, I know).

Doesn't exactly blend in, but a great speaker anyway. Image credit: TechRadar

Similarly audio quality was great – I love using my smartphone as a speaker when I’m cooking, cleaning or showering, and the audio quality on my iPad was better that on most phones I’ve used.

What did I miss?

I quickly got used to not having a phone, but there were a few things I did miss about my smartphone.

I’ve recently got into smartphone photography, but the iPad (2017)’s 8MP camera, and its massive footprint, didn’t exactly lend itself to taking photos.

One of these is better than the other, try and guess which. Image credit: TechRadar

Flicking through social media, games and work apps while in bed wasn’t very easy with a tablet that weighed double that of a phone, and I dropped it on my head multiple times while trying to have a leisurely browse.

Some apps that work great on phones aren’t optimized for tablets either, and they looked pretty horrible with tiny windows on a massive screen.

Overall though, I quickly forgot what it was like to use such a small and dainty device like a smartphone as my regular handset, as my tablet all but consumed my life, and its lack of portability meant I spent way less time looking at screens and way more time staring into the distance instead.

I'd really recommend putting down your phone once in a while to see if a tablet is good for you – of course that's a big ask, what with the price of tablets, but if you're looking for an upgrade from your old phone, maybe a tablet is the way to go.

Categories: Tech News

These Google Pixel 3 XL deals beat everything else on the market

Latest Tech News - Sun, 04/21/2019 - 11:45

For the past couple of months we've seen Google Pixel 3 deals drop in price to quickly become the budget flagship of choice. But while the camera phone extraordinaire has been enjoying cheap bills, its older brother, the Google Pixel 3 XL has refused to budge in price - until now.

Popular mobile phone retailer Mobiles.co.uk has taken the Pixel 3 XL and cut the hefty price tags. Offering two 5GB data Vodafone offers, costing £24 a month or £26 a month with differing upfront costs. Upgrading to the bigger model Pixel 3 doesn't have to suck the life from your bank balance right now. 

You can see both of these offers below with their exact costs. Or if a Google device doesn't quite fulfil what you need from a phone, check out our guide to the best mobile phone deals.

These unbeatable Google Pixel 3 XL deals in full: Why choose a Google Pixel 3 XL?

Google has built up a reputation as the best camera phone on the market and it really doesn't disappoint! Offering unique camera software to best the rest of the market, snaps from this phone are not easy to compete with.

Combine that with Google's clever AI features, powerful processor and competitive battery life and you've got a phone worth far more than the prices you'll see above.

Read our full Google Pixel 3 XL review here

Categories: Tech News

APC full-version software downloads

Latest Tech News - Sun, 04/21/2019 - 10:01
Full-version commercial software for APC magazine readers (for a limited time only)

May 2019 - Issue #467

Please note that these exclusive downloads will only be available for a limited time, from 22/04/2019 to 16/06/2019.

Abelssoft Undeleter


One hasty mouse click at the wrong time – and instantly you’ve lost important files. 

But not if you have a recovery tool like Abelssoft Undeleter at hand. 

Undeleter lists all recently deleted files which can be found in a specified drive, partition or folder. 

The user can also set filters for the search, specifying which file format they’re after, or to search for a particular word in the file names. 

Photos, documents, layout files, music or videos: thanks to the search filter you can stay clear of the vast, unorganized mass of deleted files. 

Once the desired file is located, a mouse click is all it takes to restore what would otherwise be lost forever. 

Download link: Abelssoft Undeleter (11MB)

April 2019 - Issue #466

Please note that these exclusive downloads will only be available for a limited time, from 25/03/2019 to 12/05/2019.

Abelssoft File Organizer


 

Downloads, new photos, current documents: For many users, these files first end up directly on the desktop. This is where the naked chaos soon breaks out. The new Abelssoft File Organizer ensures order – fully automatically.  

File Organizer creates its own icon on the desktop: if the user drags a file onto this icon it will be processed automatically according to previously set rules. 

Depending on the file type or certain letter sequences in the file name, the files can be moved to a certain folder and thus automatically sorted away. 

Files can also be compressed, copied or deleted automatically.

Download link: Abelssoft File Organizer (3MB)

March 2019 - Issue #465

Please note that these exclusive downloads will only be available for a limited time, from 25/02/2019 to 21/04/2019.

Abelssoft ScreenVideo


 

With ScreenVideo, you can create videos of everything on your screen with just one click. You decide whether you want to record the whole screen or just a part of it. 

To explain something to someone, a video is ideal. The practical moderator function uses picture-in-picture technology to integrate you directly into the corner of your screen video. 

All you need is a webcam and off you go!

Download link: Abelssoft ScreenVideo (47MB)

February 2019 - Issue #464

Please note that these exclusive downloads will only be available for a limited time, from 28/01/2018 to 08/04/2019.

Easy Backup 2019


 

EasyBackup is the perfect zero-click solution for all your backup needs. 

EasyBackup backs up the data all by itself, as soon as a previously defined USB stick or an external hard disk is connected to the computer. The medium is recognized and the backup will start. It is a fast backup tool that can be used by every person immediately and is ready for everyday use in seconds.  

Download link: Easy Backup 2019 (4MB)

January 2019 - Issue #463

Please note that these exclusive downloads will only be available for a limited time, from 31/12/2018 to 17/02/2019.

Abelssoft AntiLogger


Abelssoft AntiLogger is especially developed to detect and neutralise spyware. 

To harden your system against unwelcome Intruders in the future, the background guard provides a permanent protection.

Since not every suspicious application is a harmful spyware application, AntiLogger provides the option to treat each piece of flagged software individually. 

This application has been optimised for Windows 10.  

Download link: Abelssoft AntiLogger (4MB)

Christmas 2018 - Issue #462

Please note that these exclusive downloads will only be available for a limited time, from 3/12/2018 to 20/01/2019.

Abelssoft Find My Files


Find My Files impresses with high speed and accuracy, based on a specially developed search syntax for NTFS index technology. 

New methods of data forensics are used, which are also used by ministries and investigative authorities. 

The search program has a helpful Search-As-You-Type function, which provides you a suitable result in real time while entering the search term. 

External hard disks can also be included in the search, and the result list can be sorted by important information with a single click.

Download link: Abelssoft Find My Files (5MB)

December 2018 - Issue #461

Please note that these exclusive downloads will only be available for a limited time, from 5/11/2018 to 23/12/2018.

Abelssoft FileFusion


FileFusion is an innovative tool that can clear up to 31% of disk space. 

On each PC there are many files, such as images or system files, which are duplicated, but with the innovative FileFusion technology this can be reversed, through the three-stage process of deduplication. 

FileFusion is a quiet background operation and users won't notice any difference in their daily computer usage, except when they check their hard drive space! 

Download link: Abelssoft FileFusion (25MB)

November 2018 - Issue #460

Please note that these exclusive downloads will only be available for a limited time, from 8/10/2018 to 2/12/2018.

Abelssoft PC Fresh


PC Fresh optimises computers — and now, with its open-with-Manager, file associations too! 

Windows does what it pleases — and that’s usually far too much. PC Fresh cuts the fat off, ending unnecessary Windows services, pruning startup programs, and resolving system slowdowns. 

Additionally, the software finds lost application serial numbers hidden on the system and allows the user to customise various aspects of Windows. 

PC Fresh also includes manager for easily assigning file associations, such as opening .txt files with WordPad. 

Download link: Abelssoft PC Fresh (6MB)

Categories: Tech News

The Xbox One S All-Digital Edition - why pay more for less?

Latest Tech News - Sun, 04/21/2019 - 10:01

While the shift from physical media has changed the world of music, movies and PC gaming in recent years, console gaming has been a bit more stubborn. After much speculation though, Microsoft is finally trying to give us a not too subtle push towards a digital-only marketplace for our games with the imminent release of the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition. The thing is, you'd be a fool to buy into it at this time.

PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo fans have always been quite vocal on reasons for fearing a digital-only future, and as Deals Editor of TechRadar, I can see why. And nostalgia for a collection of physical games doesn't really fit into it as much as it used too either.

Quite simply, it's all about the prices for both hardware and software. Microsoft (and plenty of other publisher partners) haven't quite grasped the concept of fair pricing for digital games and now the hardware seems to be following suit. And when you look at the overall bang for your buck and game-buying options delivered by the new Xbox One S All-Digital Edition, it's an underwhelming piece of hardware, representing poor value for money.

The Xbox One S All-Digital price

When considering a digital-only console, it needs a hook to really tempt us away from the traditional disc-based versions. There are at least a few bundled games to get you going in Minecraft, Sea of Thieves and Forza Horizon 3. But how about some technical improvements inside promising slightly quicker loading, or less power consumption? Getting rid of a the disc-drive would surely provide an opportunity to reimagine the chassis of the console for a more compact design too of course? Yeah, you're getting none of that. 

The new Xbox just has a forlorn blank white space where the disc slot used to be, effectively gagging your gaming options for a huge back-catalogue of games and blu-rays. And why bother with expensive redesigns, when you can spend 30 seconds in PhotoShop? It worked out ok for Deadpool after all...

Image credit: 20th Century fox

The Xbox One S All-Digital Edition will cost $249 in the US and £199 in the UK. Microsoft claims that's cheaper than the $299 MSRP / £249 RRP of the current S model, which is technically true. But decent retailers, ones that you'd have to be seriously unlucky to be unaware of, haven't charged those prices for a long, long time. 

Before all the digital-only console rumours really starting emerging over the last few months, the Xbox One S had already become one of the best-priced gaming consoles on the market as Microsoft discontinued the older 500GB models in favour of making the 1TB one the new standard, while keeping the prices the same - the 1TB models used to be $50/£50 more expensive.

At the time of writing, over on our Xbox One deals (UK) page you could pick up a standard 1TB Xbox S, a digital copy of The Division 2 and a physical copy of Forza Horizon 4 for just £209.99 at Amazon. And it's not a rare sight to see the console on its own go for around £190. Over on the Xbox One deals (USA) guide you'll find highlights from just $199 including either Minecraft or Battlefield V. And don't forget it's only April, a time of year when console deals are usually a bit, well, awful.

To say goodbye to discs, or more precisely having the option of using discs at least, Microsoft needs to really up its game with a better deal. So naturally, for basically the same amount of money (or less!), we'd certainly advise picking up the regular Xbox One S, instead. 

Why rob yourself of the opportunity of buying a physical disc when you spot a bargain online or at your local store for both new and pre-owned games? Or maybe you'll want to play both regular and 4K blu-rays (the Xbox One S is a very reasonably-priced 4K blu-ray player). Even if you love the idea of a clutter-free disc-free future, there's zero incentive to shut off the past with the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition at the current price.

The Xbox Game Pass could make this interesting...

Before the initial Xbox One S All-Digital announcement was revealed (and priced), I was actually intrigued to see what we'd get as Microsoft has been absolutely killing it lately with its not so secret weapon - the Xbox Game Pass.

Like many for the current console generation cycle, the PS4 is my main gaming machine, while my Xbox One would have been slung on eBay a long time ago if delivering heavy boxes and dealing with randos on the selling site wasn't such a hassle. I haven't bought a physical game for it since Rise of the Tomb Raider and Quantum Break before that, with only a a steady supply of Xbox Live's Games with Gold and the need to finally finish the backwards-compatible Fallout: New Vegas giving me any reason to turn it on. And then I tried the Game Pass free trial.

This is as close as we've ever got to a genuine 'Netflix for Games.' Sure you download titles rather than stream them, but given how much broadband speeds can vary, not to mention game-streaming is much more data-intensive than movie streaming (we're still hyped for Google's upcoming Stadia service though) that's totally fine for us as once a title is on our hard-drives we never need to dread a buffering pause. 

The clearest comparison to Netflix though, in addition to a wide choice of nearly 200 titles now, is the value. At $9.99/£7.99 a month (or less if you buy a larger amount upfront in a deal) it simply wipes the floor with any of the rival gaming subscriptions services, especially Sony's laughably over-priced PlayStation Now. Add in the fact that Microsoft has been adding its latest exclusives to the service, on the day of release no less, and it's one of the best gaming deals we've ever seen. Which is why it's baffling to not see the console released with a free six or 12-month subscription at this price. 

The other elephant in the room though when looking at digital-only consoles is the outrageous pricing for new games on digital stores. When a new game is released on disc, you'd generally expect to pay $60/£40 for it, maybe a bit more for the likes of Red Dead Redemption 2 or the newest FIFA. Take yourself over to the PSN and XBL stores on your console and you'll find a trap for the overpaid and uninformed. 

Although we have to admit the pricing disparity is more of a UK issue nowadays as standard versions of digital version of the games regularly cost £60 compared to £40 for a physical version. In the US, things have improved and we're more used to seeing $60 for both physical and digital versions. But still, shouldn't digital games be cheaper than physical ones? We've been asking that question for years though.

Physical copies of games of course carry extra value in that they can be resold by the buyer and prices drop on them much sooner than digital thanks to the more open and competitive retail landscape. PC gaming is pretty much all digital now, but even with Steam's dominance in the digital marketplace, there are at least other stores selling game keys too, ensuring at least some competitive pricing on the scene. 

Could the all-digital Xbox One be a good option though?

If you already have a PS4, but have fancied an Xbox One for a while, the All-Digital Edition could potentially be worth a look. The lack of a physical disc-drive isn't as much of a concern when you can still buy discs for your PS4, and the small number of exclusives on Microsoft's platform are available quite cheaply in digital format, or are found on the Game Pass. And quite simply, if you have no intention of buying the Game Pass, then I see little reason to pick up this console. 

But still, I can't recommend this console as things stand today. You save no money and it'll cost you even more than the disc version at most stores stores. But let's not forget though, the Black Friday deals are coming.

This will give Microsoft the opportunity to price the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition at at a level it should have been from the start. Honestly, we want to see this for $150/£99 to really tempt us to going all in on digital. And even then, it probably won't cost much more to get a Black Friday discount on the disc-based version.

Nobody knows your buying habits better than you though. We just want you to get the best bang for your buck. So even if you've already stopped buying physical games, we'd still wait a while for the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition to drop in price.

How it could affect the next console generation?

Microsoft has fallen Sony behind this generation. The Xbox One consoles have undersold compared to Sony's runaway machine. The exclusives have been few and far between and recent ones like Sea of Thieves and Crackdown 3 have turned out to be disappointments not worth the long wait. It didn't help that the messaging was such a disaster before the Xbox One even launched - remember the always-online/no preowned fiasco? Oh and forcing the 'essential' Kinect camera on gamers made for an overpriced launch that made the decision even easier for gamers.

Xbox Game Pass is Microsoft's hottest innovation in years though and the more members it can build up now, the better its chances of making gamers consider the Xbox Two, instead of a PS5 if they know there is going to be an affordable service to give them lots to play on the console. 

A super low price on the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition right now would have given Microsoft a chance to show off to gamers how strong the company's future is looking and urge them to stick with Microsoft next-gen. We can only hope that by the time this disc-less console reaches an attractive price point we haven't lost interest as we may be too busy saving our cash for a PS5 or Xbox Two if this year's E3 convinces us the next-gen consoles are coming next year. 

A discount announcement during E3 week could make things much more interesting though - don't make us wait until Black Friday, Microsoft. For now though, we'll keep you updated on the latest prices for all three versions of the Xbox One console via our deal pages below. And be sure to bookmark our E3 page too for all the latest news as it happens live from LA.

Categories: Tech News

Leaked case dummies give us another look at the iPhone 11 models

Latest Tech News - Sun, 04/21/2019 - 09:30

The number of rumors and leaks we're getting on the iPhone 11 continues to grow: yesterday we heard some new analyst predictions and today we've got some new case dummies to examine.

Shared on social media and reported by SlashLeaks, the dummies look like they've been manufactured to help case designers get ready for the new batch of phones in September.

iPhone 11 leak (credit: SlashLeaks)

If these enclosure models are genuine – and there's always an "if" with a leak like this – they don't tell us much we don't already know, but they back up previous rumors.

There are indeed "iPhone XI" and "iPhone XI Max" versions, supposedly 6.5 inches and 5.8 inches in terms of display dimensions. What we don't get a look at here is the follow-up to the iPhone XR, but who knows how Apple will label that.

What we think we know so far

The triple-lens rear camera setup that we've heard so much about is in evidence again, so it looks a good bet that this is indeed the way Apple's going this year.

All will be revealed in full in September – like last year, the rumors suggest three iPhone 11 models will be on show, with three different screen sizes.

Two-way wireless charging is something that Apple is being tipped to introduce to the iPhone range in 2019, while we've also heard unofficial whispers that the battery is going to get significantly bigger too.

On top of all that you can expect the usual bump in speed and performance as Apple tries to keep pace with rival handsets, including the Google Pixel 4.

Via AppleInsider

Categories: Tech News

This Now TV offer will let you watch every episode of Game of Thrones, including season 8

Latest Tech News - Sun, 04/21/2019 - 09:24

Now TV deals and Game of Thrones are a perfect match this weekend, and just because season 8 kicked off last week, doesn't mean it's too late to get involved. Not only can you still watch that first episode on demand ahead of episode two tonight (or tomorrow morning if you will), but you'll also find the entire box sets for seasons 1-7 are available to stream right now. You could be watching just minutes from now.

We've been rebinging them again lately and it's fantastic fun watching old episodes with knowing eyes, looking out for early clues to larger events later on. We'd certainly rather do that than watch a five-minute summary of it all on YouTube. If you're going to do that (maybe you want to let a few episodes of the new season build up for a proper session first), just be look out for spoilers from your friends/colleagues/randoms on the bus/talking trees and the like.   

This really is the best Now TV pass deal we've seen for quite some time and perfectly timed for Game of Thrones fans. You can watch live at the same time the show broadcasts in the US at 2am each Monday or watch it later on at a more sensible hour. Or both.

You'll find the free Now TV app on a huge range of devices. Smart TVs are most convenient if they have the app available, but you'll also find it on PlayStation and Xbox consoles, Chromecasts, Roku sticks and boxes, Apple TV, EETV, modern Youview boxes, mobiles, tablets or simply login with your PC or Mac. 

If you want to check out the full range of services offered by Now TV, head on over to our Now TV deals and offers guide. And if you've been meaning to upgrade your TV, be sure to have a peak at our roundup of the best cheap TV deals.

And if you happen to be outside the UK but still desperate for your GoT fix, then you'll need a VPN in order to get around pesky geo-blocking. Our favourite is ExpressVPN, thanks to its speed, security and simplicity to download and use.

So now all you need to figure out is whether your're going to stay up and watch or catch it at a more reasonable hour!

Categories: Tech News

Flagship phones have gone completely mad and it's all our fault

Latest Tech News - Sun, 04/21/2019 - 07:00

I can't watch it again. I just can't. Won't. You can't make me. Please.

I don't care about the Samsung Galaxy Fold's inconvenient, well, 'fold' down the center of its magic expand-o-screen. Or that some other reviewers' Folds reportedly broke after just a few days. Or that it'll cost nearly two grand and is a bit fat. It's the "Galaxy Fold: Unveiling" video on Samsung's official YouTube channel that's squelching my adrenal gland like a spider choke-holding a satsuma. 

We begin in darkness. Then, the eerie gloss of some… thing fades into view. A woman starts singing: "Come with me, and you’ll be, in a wooorld of pure imagination" - but in that sort of creepy lullaby voice that's best juxtaposed with footage of a serial killing clown sharpening his tools or shaky-cam footage of a zombie outbreak. Bursts of static. People screaming. "Come with meeee…" The camera falls sideways. The screen cracks. A wailing man is dragged out of shot by tearing, grasping hands. Buy Samsung.

It's terrifying. It's also mad. Brad-Pitt-Chanel-advert mad. "We didn't just change the shape of the phone. We changed the shape of tomorrow," Samsung proclaims. You changed Friday? Into what? A cube? What else did you do? I wasn't there for the Fold's announcement, but I can imagine the Brand High Priest onstage with his hands raised addressing the flock. "We didn't just create a folding phone. We deleted Tuesday," he declares. One seventh of the audience immediately disappears. The rest are on their feet, shouting in tongues, applauding and rending clothes.

The video ends with a hashtag imploring us to, "#DoWhatYouCant". Which I can only interpret as, "buy our unaffordable phone". But I haven't had time to check that with the auguries yet.

The Galaxy Fold launch event. (Image Credit: Samsung)

Hashtag hypnotism

Apparently, this is what it takes to sell a flagship smartphone in 2019. It's the natural end-point of Steve Jobs' coming-down-from-the-mountain Apple press conferences (often with literal tablets). You can't just sell a phone anymore: you have to spritz it with a magical glamour and Derren Brown people with hashtag hypnotism. It isn't a phone: it’s a statement. A lifestyle. A talisman of beauty and wealth. That makes phone calls.

And while Samsung's Fold is the device currently flexing self-consciously in the limelight, all this sparkly nonsense really did begin with Apple. In his book, The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google, NYU professor Mark Galloway expertly dissects how Apple leapfrogged the total dominance of its competition to become the 'it' brand. It's a long book and only a quarter of it is about Apple, but basically: Apple didn't sell phones; Apple sold luxury. Even more basically: Apple sold sex.

"Since men are wired to procreate aggressively, the caveman in us hungers for that Rolex, or Lamborghini - or Apple," Galloway writes. "And the caveman, thinking with his genitals, will sacrifice a lot (pay an irrational price) for the chance to impress."

'Irrational' barely starts to cover it. Today, the most expensive iPhone you can buy - the iPhone XS Max, with 512GB of storage - costs one-and-a-half-thousand pounds ($1449, AU$2,369). The first iPhone, which launched in 2007, cost £269 ($599 in the US for the 8GB model). 

Which, if you adjust for inflation, might help take your mind off the fact you just spent £1500 on a telephone. Like an eighties Wall Street tycoon. Or a Kardashian. Or Donald Trump.

The iPhone XS Max is big in size and price. (Image Credit: TechRadar)

What do you get for your £1500 with the iPhone XS Max? The Apple website simply can't contain itself. It doesn't have videos: it has "Films", describing in nebulous buzzword-ery just what each model will deign to provide for your money. 

Technologically speaking: smartphones are done. We've finished them. We can stop now.

You get surgical-grade stainless steel (as you'd expect from a phone that's just gouged your eyes out), an "Intelligent A12 Bionic" chip with a "Neural Engine" (either an upgraded processor or one of those eggs that trap people in virtual reality in Black Mirror), and wireless charging. What's that? Does the outside use an advanced physical vapor deposition process for colors and reflectivity? Um, of course it does, grandad. Why else would it cost so much?

And therein lies the rub. Right there, in the messianic advertising rubbish. It's not technological breakthrough that's driving every major brand to release more blindingly flash smartphones year-on-year. It's us. The cavemen. And our throbbing caveman genitals. Because the truth is, technologically speaking: smartphones are done. We've finished them. We can stop now.

Top Trumps

Remember Steve Jobs' insistence that the iPhone would always have a 3.5-inch screen, because that was the "perfect size for consumers"? Well, OK, he was wrong about the number - but Apple (along with everybody else) does since seem to have settled on a new "perfect", which hovers somewhere around six inches. 

Until we evolve bigger hands, six inches just is about the right size to hold comfortably. You can make bigger phones - the XS Max, the Galaxy Note 9, for example - but you'll reliably sell fewer of them than those phones which conform to the post-Jobsian standard. 

And if you go too big, then you've stopped making phones and started making tablets. Which is fine. Unless you're a company that already makes tablets, in which case you've added yourself to your own list of competitors.

So, what else can you tweeze into your flagship smartphone to justify both a high price and the mandatory twelve-month update? Well, that £1500 iPhone XS Max managed to swallow 512GB of storage. Which would totally hold all your music and TV shows and films (proper films, Apple - not ones of models taking photos on sand dunes for some reason). Or at least it would, if Apple wasn't simultaneously pushing Apple Music and Apple TV Plus, which covers all three of the above - as do Netflix, Amazon Prime, Google Music, Spotify and so on.

Resolution? That can always go up, right? Right. Except, again, screen size can't. So sooner or later, you inevitably reach the point where the human eye can't tell the difference between one screen's clarity and another, even if one is technically 1000 times sharper. And unless you're projecting the contents of your Instagram feed onto a field from a circling blimp, the same goes for camera resolutions.

Do you  project the contents of your Instagram feed onto a field from a circling blimp? (Image Credit: TechRadar)

So, what are you actually selling when you launch/unveil/conjure a flagship smartphone today? Numbers, mostly. 512GB of this. 20MP of that. Words, too: "bionic", "neural", "bokeh", "surgical". Not technically meaningless - just meaningless in the practical sense. 

Small incremental increases, year-on-year, in what boils down to an incredibly expensive game of Top Trumps. The digital equivalent of those diver's watches that can survive depths that would crush a human torso into giblets for isopods.

Or, you can make a phone that folds. Or rolls. Or makes toast. It doesn't really matter - so long as your audience is just a bunch of horny cavemen playing Top Trumps. It's only if those cavemen ever put your new phone, your last phone and a print-out of their bank statement next to each other that you have worry about being clubbed.

Categories: Tech News

Netflix tests a random episode mode to help you decide what to watch

Latest Tech News - Sun, 04/21/2019 - 05:30

The amount of choice on Netflix can feel overwhelming at times, and if you're looking for recommendations about what to watch, there might soon be a new way of finding it: a random episode mode.

Spotted by Android Police, the experimental feature might better be described as a popular episode mode, serving up an episode that a lot of other users have watched.

According to a sample screenshot, the mode could pick out an episode of Our Planet or The Office for you. A random episode button appears on the playback screen too.

For the time being this seems to be just another test for Netflix, which hasn't announced anything officially. It may never roll out to everyone, but it's interesting to see the sort of tweaks Netflix is trying.

More competition

Diving deep into the middle of a series might not be the best way to start watching something but Netflix would appear to think it has potential.

Of course the streaming service already offers plenty of ways to get you started on something new, including trailers that auto-play on the home screen and an advanced recommendation engine.

If the random or popular episode option does indeed get added as a feature for everyone, it's something else to make use of when you don't know what to watch.

With Apple and Disney launching their own on-demand TV and movie services this year, Netflix knows it has to keep innovating to survive – and this might end up being one small way of doing that.

Categories: Tech News

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