Tech News

Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti graphics for laptops could be in the works

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/25/2019 - 12:20

Hotly following the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti that just launched days prior, apparently we can expect a laptop version of the graphics card to come out soon.

A new mobile Nvidia GPU codenamed 'N18E-G0' popped up in Notebook Check’s database, and the outlet strongly suspects this could the GTX 1660 Ti-class GPU meant for laptops. The codename lines up with those for existing notebook-based graphics processors, including the RTX 2060 (N18E-G1), RTX 2070 (N18E-G2) and RTX 2080 (N18E-G3).

Unfortunately, Notebook Check doesn’t list any specific specs for this rumored GTX 1660 Ti for notebooks. However, we can make some assumptions based the original desktop version. The chip is almost guaranteed to be built upon a 12nm Turing architecture and feature GDDR6 memory – but, it probably lack any ray tracing or tensor processing cores.

Currently, one of the most inexpensive gaming laptops featuring RTX graphics is the $1,499 MSI GL63 in the US, and that’s on a model with only an Intel Core i5-8300H CPU, 16GB of memory and a 256GB drive. Internationally, the most-basic MSI GL63 runs for a little more at £1,649 in the UK and AU$2,499 in Australia, thanks to having a higher-tier Intel Core i7-8750H CPU inside.

Comparatively, a laptop featuring a mid-range Nvidia GTX 1060 from the Pascal line of mobile GPUs could be had for as little as $1,099 (about £820, AU$1,450), as with the Acer Predator Helios 300.

Although it's far from confirmed, we hope a mobile version of the GTX 1660 Ti will help bring down the price of Turing-powered gaming laptops to more approachable levels.

Categories: Tech News

Lenovo teases first 5G laptop powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/25/2019 - 12:14

Lenovo may very well be the first out of the gate with a laptop using Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx processor, the company teased during an MWC 2019 press conference.

The company kept mum about the product in the works beyond the fact that it will use Qualcomm’s new 5G connectivity modem for the 8cx platform, Anandtech reports. Given how premium (and pricey) the projected slate of 5G-supporting phones and other products have been, expect Lenovo's device to be expensive.

And yet, ever since the Snapdragon 8cx's debut in December 2018 during Qualcomm’s Tech Day event in Hawaii, and even following CES 2019, we haven't heard of any Snapdragon 8cx products in the works until this Lenovo device. Which is very, very strange.

Given that following the initial announcement of Snapdragon on Windows 10 laptops – way back in late 2017 – was paired with not one but three devices using the technology, this is rather disconcerting.

Why so slow to start?

As to why we’ve not seen a single Snapdragon 8cx laptop on the market yet is anyone’s guess, but there are some likely causes. One, laptop makers are likely reticent to pick up on Snapdragon 8cx given the poor performance of the previous platform (Snapdragon 850) and the speed at which Qualcomm moved on from it to this version.

Two, many laptop makers likely were – and still are – waiting for 5G to truly take off before investing into Qualcomm’s latest PC platform. And, three, it’s likely that some laptop makers are waiting to see how competitors use Qualcomm’s processor before making a move.

Regardless, adoption of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx might be an uphill battle, especially if Lenovo’s first laptop to use the processor isn’t a slam dunk.

Categories: Tech News

Lenovo unveils new ThinkPads at MWC

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/25/2019 - 11:53

Lenovo has announced a number of new additions to its ThinkPad line at MWC 2019 alongside a new portable monitor and a pair of headphones designed for today's mobile workers.

The latest line of premium ThinkPad T and X laptops, which includes the T490s, T490, T590, X390 and X390 Yoga, continue the firm's efforts to drive innovation that matters to end users.

Today's mobile workers want truly connected devices and the latest ThinkPad laptops deliver with high performance Wi-Fi and optional LTE-A global WWAN capability. For users who need even greater roaming connectivity, the ThinkPad T490 includes Cat16 LTE-A support with 4X4 Ultra Connect antenna configuration for up to Gigabit speeds and maximum signal strength.

The ThinkPad T490S, X390 and x390 Yoga also feature Intel's new Wi-Fi 6 Gig+ technology with Bluetooth 5.1 for premium Gigabit wireless connectivity.

Added security with ThinkShield

To help its users stay protected wherever they are and to secure its devices throughout their entire lifecycle, Lenovo has included its end-to-end security solution ThinkShield.

The Match-on-Chip fingerprint reader on all of its latest ThinkPad laptops enhances the privacy of fingerprint information by ensuring the biometric image never leaves the chip which allows it to deliver a more secure identification for both login and online transactions. 

The company's new devices also include a physical camera cover called ThinkShutter that is available on both RGB and IR webcams to protect users from malicious webcam hackers while ThinkPad PrivacyGuard activates screen privacy at the touch of a button and can PrivacyAlert can even warn you if someone is snooping over your shoulder.

Lenovo has also made significant improvements to the ThinkPad BIOS by updating it with a new modern GUI and implementing new manageability enhancements. Administrators can now set remote supervisor or privileged access passwords for better BIOS-level security and they can also restrict port access, delete all data from the hard drive suing Secure Wipe or remotely manage system deployment with WiFi PXE Boot or HTTPs Boot.

However, the new BIOS' most impressive ability is its new self-healing feature that will revert to a known good backup copy in the event of BIOS corruption or a malicious attack.

MWC (Mobile World Congress) is the world's largest showcase for the mobile industry, stuffed full of the newest phones, tablets, wearables and more. TechRadar is reporting live from Barcelona all week to bring you the very latest from the show floor. Head to our dedicated MWC 2019 hub to see all the new releases, along with TechRadar's world-class analysis and buying advice about your next phone.   

Categories: Tech News

The best iPhone 7 deals in February 2019

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/25/2019 - 11:31

It may now be in its terrible twos, but Apple's iPhone 7 remains one of the best mobiles we've ever used and the price of iPhone 7 deals is way less than its successors.

So forget those iPhone 8 deals. Laugh in the face of iPhone XS deals and move on from those iPhone XR deals If you like the idea of buying an iPhone but aren't that enthusiastic amount the kinds of costs attached to them, then the iPhone 7 could be an ideal middle ground.

That said, other than the fantastic 20GB+ tariffs knocking around on EE and O2 and a few standout three deals however if you were hoping for Vodafone deals you will be sad to hear that they're just not so competitive right now.

On this page you'll find all of the best iPhone 7 deals you can get right now. Whether you're looking for unlimited data, a free phone or any other type of tariff, you can use our comparison chart below to choose the cheapest option out there. Scroll down to find the best deal for you.

And don't forget that you'll get £10 off the handset cost if you get your iPhone 7 from Mobiles.co.uk - you just need to enter our exclusive 10OFF discount code when you get to the checkout.


See also: iPhone 8 deals | iPhone 7 Plus deals | iPhone 7 SIM-free | Samsung Galaxy S8 deals | Best mobile phone deals | iPhone deals 

Top 5 best iPhone 7 deals in the UK today

At the top of our guide you'll see what we've chosen as this month's best value iPhone 7 deals in the UK. These are chosen purely on the basis of value - unlike some other sites we don't manipulate the order of these deals for commercial gain! And if you're loyal to a particular network, we've picked out the best deals on the four major networks - those being EE, O2, Three and Vodafone. 

Vodafone has a habit of having great iPhone 7 deals one day and then removing them all in a instant so if you don't see any Vodafone deals then it is likely they are in one of those times.

Categories: Tech News

Best blogging platforms of 2019

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/25/2019 - 11:20

The popularity of blogging (which originally derives from ‘personal web log’) continues, whether for profit, or just to have a voice on the web, since over a decade ago when it first captured the internet as the ‘next big thing’. Some blogs are standalone sites, but others are a more personal section that fits into a larger, corporate web site.

In order to blog, a blogging platform is required, which takes care of formatting the content in the form of text and images, and provides a framework for getting it onto a website. The blogging platform also makes it easier for a search engine to categorize the blog entries, and to be able to take advantage of marketing and advertising opportunities.

So before you start cranking out posts, and welcoming your virtual visitors from around the world, you need to choose the best blogging platform to suit your needs. Check out these great options.

Blogger

Ask any old-time blogger about what platform they started their blog with, and chances are they'll answer that it was Blogger. To this day, Google’s offering in the blogging space still retains several advantages, including that your existing Google account already means you have a Blogger account.

A broke startup blog will appreciate that it is free to use, and it will even provide the blogspot.com domain name, as well as the option for a custom domain name. It is also one of the easier platforms to use, and provides a choice of templates that can be flexibly modified.

As it is a Google offering, it easily integrates with other Google products, including Google Analytics that can provide information about your website’s visitors that should be used to help grow traffic. Also, your blog can be integrated with Google’s Adsense, that will analyze your content, and display relevant ads to monetize your blog, so you can pay for the coffee as you sit in Starbucks and blog into the night.

With all that going for it, is there any reason not to use Blogger? Well, the problem is that as your blog grows, its simplicity means that you may outgrow Blogger at some point. In addition, it can be difficult to transition from Blogger to another platform. 

WordPress

WordPress is a popular blogging platform which is used on a claimed 30% of web sites, that offers an excellent balance between ease of use, and more powerful options.

They can handle all the details, and take care of the domain name, the security and the hosting for a one stop shopping option. WordPress offers hundreds of themes, with flexibility in fonts and options for a custom look. They also offer expert support, and credit card payments can be accepted via an available plugin.

Pricing starts at the Personal plan for $5 (€4, £4) monthly billed annually, which removes all WordPress advertising. There is also a free tier available, which is suitable for a noncommercial blog as there is WordPress advertising, and no way you can monetize it. 

Jekyll

The latest version of Jekyll (3.8.5) is a “simple, blog-aware, static site generator.” Content gets created in TXT files, which get placed into folders. Then you build your site via Liquid language templates. Jekyll then merges the content and the template together, and voila, a website is generated that can be uploaded to a server. For those that need a host, there is integration with Jekyll to host the website for free on GitHub.

While there is a comprehensive ‘quick-start guide’ on the Jekyll website, it hardly offers the simplicity of some competing blogging platforms that can do this all from a web interface. However, the benefits that Jekyll offers are the advanced features, which include options for paginating posts, available plugins, templates, and community maintained themes. It also supports blog migration from other platforms.  

The plus here is that there is no cost to the platform, but the downside is that there is only community support, and the work takes place in the Ruby development environment, so many newbies will be put off. 

Tumblr

While some blogs are well developed, and blur the line between a blog, and a full fledged website, at the other end of things we have Tumblr. It seems to be doing something right as it claims a staggering 450+ million different blogs.

It focuses on the more concise end of the spectrum, with an emphasis on shorter content, like just an image, or link, that can appear as more of an alternate social media platform. Content is definitely more short-form, with posts consisting of a variety of material, for example, pics, jokes, quips, Spotify tracks, and video (just remember that adult content is no longer welcome). Like a social media platform, you can also follow other blogs, and republish posts you like to your own blog.

The pro is that Tumblr is quite simple to use, costs nothing, and is ideal for use on a mobile device. However, this is not ideal for a more developed blog, as the content remains in the Tumblr ecosystem, and there is no way to monetize it.  

Typepad

Typepad is a fully developed blogging platform, designed for the professional blogger. It offers a ton of flexibility, including the ability to publish from email, a web browser, or mobile. It also easily integrates with Google Analytics, and has its own affiliate plan.

Typepad supports design customization with a Theme Builder for a custom look, and the option for creating your own custom template or modifying a theme with custom CSS. Typepad is also fully hosted, and has support available. 

After the initial 14-day trial, plans start at $8.95 (£8) per month for up to four blogs with unlimited storage. 

Categories: Tech News

Best camera flash 2018: dedicated flashguns for Canon and Nikon DSLRs

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/25/2019 - 10:45

The same flashgun won’t suit everybody. Some of us want something small, lightweight and simple to use, others might want a high-end model that’s really power-packed and full of advanced features. It’s equally true that some flashguns are vastly more expensive than others and, if you’ve got an entry-level DSLR, it doesn’t make sense to spend more on your flashgun than your camera.

Whatever level of sophistication and price point you decide on, a flashgun is an amazingly versatile accessory. It’s supremely portable and can make a huge difference to the quality of lighting in almost any scenario, from night-time shots and gloomy interiors, to portraits on a bright sunny day. 

With TTL (Through The Lens) flash metering, dedicated flashguns can team up with your camera to enable automatic exposures in all sorts of shooting conditions. It’s generally easy to apply flash exposure bias if necessary, to fine-tune the power setting, or to use fully manual flash power if you prefer to be in control.

Mid-range and high-end flashguns tend to have motorized zoom heads. These can automatically track the focal length or zoom setting of the lens you’re using, narrowing the beam of light for telephoto shots to make more flash power available. For extra wide-angle coverage, a flip-down reflector is usually included in the head of the flashgun.

Most flashguns also have bounce and swivel heads. These enable you to bounce the light output off walls and ceilings, instead of firing it directly at the subject

Most flashguns also have bounce and swivel heads. These enable you to bounce the light output off walls and ceilings, instead of firing it directly at the subject. This can give a much softer quality of light that’s vastly more flattering for portraits. The softness of the light increases with the size of the light source so, if you bounce the light from a small flashgun off a large surface like a white wall or ceiling, it effectively becomes much bigger. The trade-off is that the intensity of the light reaching the target is reduced, so a flashgun with a larger maximum power rating or ‘Guide number’ become preferable.

Another option is to use the flashgun off-camera. This enables the creation of ‘modelling’ with shadows, which gives images a much more three-dimensional look, rather than typical ‘flashgun’ lighting which can appear very flat. Many modern flashguns feature wireless master/slave connectivity for off-camera flash. This enables you to trigger the flashgun via an infrared link from a compatible DSLR, or in some cases from an RF (Radio Frequency) wireless trigger, as well as using multiple wirelessly connected flashguns to create more exotic lighting effects. Let’s take a closer look at the top 10 flashguns for both Canon and Nikon DSLRs.

Best Speedlites for Canon DSLRs in 2018

Canon makes a range of Speedlite flashguns to suit a range of price points and requirements, ranging from small and simple models to fully pro-grade options. We’ll look at all of those first, in price-ascending order, and then move on to the most appealing Canon-dedicated flashguns from independent manufacturers, including Hahnel, Metz, Nissin and Phottix.

Small enough to slip into a spare pocket, this is a seriously downsized flashgun, running on two AA batteries instead of the usual four. It also lacks an LCD screen and onboard controls, so you need to make all adjustments from the host camera’s flash control menu. Even so, it’s compatible with high-speed sync and rear-curtain modes, and enables TTL flash exposure compensation and the use of manual power settings. There’s a manual push-pull mechanism for selecting either 28mm or 50mm zoom settings but no swivel facility, so you can’t bounce the flash off the ceiling if you’re shooting in portrait (upright) orientation, at least when the flashgun is mounted in the camera’s hotshoe. On the plus side, wireless slave mode is featured for off-camera flash. Performance is good overall and, in our tests, maximum output power isn’t much less than from the bigger Canon 430EX III-RT at corresponding zoom settings. One drawback, however, is that recycling after a full-power flash takes more than twice as long, at just over five seconds.

A sizeable step up from the Canon 270EX II, this flashgun has a full set of onboard controls and an LCD screen, enabling intuitive and versatile operation without resorting to in-camera menus. It also adds a motorized zoom head with a 24-105mm range, and complements the 0-90 degree bounce facility with 150/180 degrees of swivel to the left and right respectively. Useful supplied accessories include a carrying pouch and stand, diffusion dome and colour-matching filter for balancing flash output with tungsten lighting. Flash modes include high-speed sync and rear-curtain options, but there’s no programmable repeat mode. The biggest update over the Mk II is the addition of RF (Radio Frequency) communication, while the previous infrared slave mode is also retained. However, if you want to use the new flashgun as a wireless master, you can only do so in RF mode, which rules out pairing it with most Canon flashguns, as they only support optical transmission. There’s a little more power on tap than from the 270EX II and recycling after a full-power flash is more than twice as fast, at 2.2 seconds when using NiMH batteries.

In fully automatic ‘AI Bounce’ mode the 470EX-AI utilizes artificial intelligence to move its motorized head through 120 degrees of vertical rotation and a full 180 degrees to the left or right. It’s compatible with cameras launched in or after the second half of 2014, and works by firing a pre-flash pulse directly at the subject, then tilting vertically upwards and firing a second pre-flash pulse at the ceiling. The flashgun then calculates the optimum bounce angle and moves the head correspondingly. There’s also a semi-automatic AI Bounce mode, in which you can manually point the flash head in your desired direction. In other respects, the 470EX-AI is quite conventional. It lacks the RF (Radio Frequency) communication of the 430EX III-RT and both editions of the 600EX-RT. For wireless off-camera flash, it can therefore only operate via an optical link, and only as a slave, not a master. It also lacks a programmable repeat flash mode and a pull-out reflector card. Maximum output is slightly higher than that of the Canon 430EX III-RT and recycling is similarly swift, but batteries only last about two-thirds as long.

Built to satisfy the demands of busy professional photographers, the 600EX II-RT has a robust, weather-sealed construction. Upgrades over the 430EX III-RT include a power rating of Gn 60, a bounce range that dips to -7 degrees as well as covering the more usual 0-90 degree range, extended swivel to 180 degrees in both left and right directions, and a bigger zoom range of 20-200mm. A crucial addition is that the 600EX II-RT can work in master as well as slave wireless modes, with both infrared and RF options. RF linking increases the range from around 10m to 30m, with the extra benefit of being able to work around corners or through obstacles, as well as being more reliable than infrared in bright, outdoor conditions. The Mk II is cooler-running than the original edition, boosting continuous shooting stamina by as much as 50 per cent. As with most pro-grade flashguns, you can also connect an external power pack to keep the flashgun going for longer. A programmable repeat mode enables stroboscopic output, unavailable Canon’s lower-grade flashguns.

This Hahnel flashgun is available on its own or as part of two optional kits. The ‘Wireless Kit’ adds a hotshoe-mounting Viper RF trigger, and the ‘Wireless Pro Kit’ comprises two flashguns plus the RF trigger. The flashgun itself has a built-in RF transceiver enabling it to work in wireless RF mode as both a master and slave, over an impressive range of up to 100m. The addition of the Viper hotshoe-mounted trigger, with its on-board controls and LCD display, enables you to use one or more flashguns off-camera in RF wireless mode. A big difference compared with most flashguns is that the Hahnel is powered by a rechargeable Li-ion battery pack, instead of the usual four AA batteries. This enables a whopping 550 full-power flashes between recharging, and very rapid recycling speeds of just 0.7 and 1.5 seconds after a half-power or full-power flash respectively. Useful features include a 20-200mm motorized zoom head, a flip-down 14mm wide-angle diffuser and a pull-out catchlight/reflector card. There’s a full set of advanced flash modes, including high-speed sync, rear curtain and programmable repeat (multi-flash during a single exposure).

At first glance, this Metz flashgun looks a bit basic without any onboard controls. The reason for this is the inclusion of an intuitive touchscreen interface, which reduces button clutter around the back. The motorized zoom head has a 24-105mm range, with the usual reflector card and wide-angle diffuser built in, although swivel movement in the right-hand direction is limited to 120 degrees. For off-camera and multi-flashgun setups, the Metz includes both master and slave wireless modes. Typical of flashguns at this price point, there’s no programmable repeat flash mode. During our tests, maximum output was noticeably down on the specified Gn 52 rating, more similar to that of the Canon 430EX III-RT. Recycling speeds are a little pedestrian too, taking just over four seconds after a full-power flash when using NiMH batteries. Overall, however, it’s an attractive flashgun at the price.

This is Metz’s most sophisticated dedicated flashgun, with a host of up-market features and a powerful Gn 64 output rating. Highlights include a 24-200mm zoom range, a -9 to 90-degree bounce facility, and the availability of both master and slave wireless operation. There’s also an unusual secondary sub-flash module, which is great for adding fill-in lighting when you’re using the main head in bounce or swivel mode. Like the Metz 52 AF-1, intuitive on-board control is based on a touchscreen but, this time, it’s a colour rather than mono screen. Pro-grade enhancements include a programmable repeat flash mode and a socket for an optional external power pack. When using NiMH batteries, recycling speed is pretty quick after a full-power flash, at 3.4 seconds, but recycling takes more than twice as long with alkaline cells.

On the face of it, this Nissin flashgun looks pretty basic, with on-board controls that boil down to a single Set button and control wheel. Rudimentary adjustments can be carried out, like TTL flash exposure compensation but, for almost everything else, you’ll need to resort to the host camera’s menu system. A big attraction of this kit is that it comes complete with Nissin’s sophisticated ‘Air 1 Commander’ RF transmitter that slots into your camera’s hotshoe. The flashgun itself works in both infrared and RF slave modes. Additional, optical slave modes include ‘digital’ and ‘film’ options, both with manual power settings. The digital option disregards pre-flash pulses when triggering, whereas the film mode triggers on the first pulse of light, more useful when slaving from studio flash heads. High-speed sync and rear curtain sync are available, but there’s no repeating flash mode for sequential bursts within a single exposure. There’s plenty of power on tap, with a generous Gn 60 rating and a lengthy zoom of up to 200mm. Recycling speeds are super-fast, at around two or three seconds when using NiMH or alkaline batteries respectively. 

The price might be budget, but the spec of the Pixel X900 certainly isn't. Featuring an impressive Gn 60 rating at its longest zoom setting of 200mm, the head also has -7 to 90-degree vertical bounce and full 180-degree swivel in both lateral directions as well. Like the Hahnel Modus 600RT, the Pixel X900 sports a rechargeable Li-ion battery instead of the more typical four AA batteries. This sees the Pixel X900 able to fire a staggering 700 flashes at full-power before needing to be recharged. Recycle times are quick as well at just under 1.5 seconds for a full-power flash. Another useful feature is the built-in 4W LED light on the front of the flashgun should you want to illuminate your subject with constant light. The X900 can be used as a master flashgun for wireless shooting, it's also compatible with Pixel's KingPro transceiver. As you'd expect, there's a full set of advanced flash modes on tap, including high-speed sync, rear curtain and programmable repeat (multi-flash during a single exposure).

This high-end flashgun from Phottix boasts a Gn 58 rating at its longest zoom setting, although that only stretches to 105mm rather than the now often-featured 200mm. The head also has -7 to 90-degree vertical bounce and full 180-degree swivel in both lateral directions. Competing with own-brand, pro-spec flashguns, a programmable repeat flash mode is available, and the robust build features a weather-sealed mounting foot. There’s RF wireless connectivity with both master and slave modes. This is thanks to a built-in radio frequency transceiver, rather than a more simple receiver. The RF working range is 30m, and linking is compatible with Phottix Odin and Stratos radio triggers, as well as other Mitros+ flashguns. Recycling speed after a full-power flash with NiMH batteries is 3.5 seconds but recycling takes twice as long when using alkaline batteries.

Best Speedlights for Nikon DSLRs in 2018

Nikon markets its own range of Speedlight flashguns, ranging from small and simple models to fully pro-grade options. We’ll look at all of those first, in price-ascending order, and then move on to the most appealing Nikon-dedicated flashguns from independent manufacturers, including Hahnel, Metz, Nissin and Phottix.

If you like travelling light, you’ll love the SB-300. It’s only about half the size of most flashguns and less than a third of the weight. Even the power source is downsized, as it runs from two AAA cells instead of the usual four AA batteries. It’s not all good news, however, as the baby Nikon is also a lightweight when it comes to maximum power output, with a lowly Gn 18 rating. And while there’s a generous 120 degrees of bounce angle, so the flash can literally bend over backwards, there’s no manual or motorized zoom facility, and no lateral swivel. The latter means that you can’t bounce the flash off a ceiling if you’re shooting in portrait (upright) orientation, when the flashgun is mounted in your camera’s hotshoe. There’s no wireless slave mode either, so off-camera operation relies on a cable connection or separate wireless triggering system. As is often the case with super-small flashguns, there’s no LCD screen nor onboard control buttons, so all adjustments need to be made from the host camera’s menu system.

Although bigger than the SB-300, this Nikon flashgun is still smaller and lighter than most, and runs from two rather than four AA batteries. Drawbacks of the reduced size include the lack an LCD screen, which is substituted with basic status LEDs. There’s also no zoom head and no built-in wide-angle diffuser panel, nor a pull-out reflector card. On the plus side, the SB-500 does feature an additional LED ‘constant’ lamp, which is handy for shooting video and close-up stills. The wireless slave mode is a bonus (channel 3 only), but the commander mode only works with recent mid-range and up-market cameras from the D5500, D7200, D750 and D810 onwards. Maximum output is pretty respectable, representing a sizeable step up from the SB-300, although recycle speed is still sluggish, at nearly five seconds after a full-power flash when using NiMH batteries.

There are plenty of high-end features packed into the SB-700, including a switchable range of illumination patterns, a powerful 24-120mm motorized zoom range and a full set of wireless commander and slave modes. That said, wireless connectivity is limited to infrared and lacks the radio frequency option of the SB-5000. The control panel is wonderfully intuitive, except for the fact that you can only switch from TTL-BL (Balanced Light) mode to standard TTL flash by changing the metering mode on the host camera body. Maximum output isn’t quite as powerful as in some independent flashguns at similar prices, but should prove sufficient for most shooting scenarios, even in bounce/swivel mode. Recycling speed is nearly twice as fast as in the SB-500, at 2.7 seconds after a full-power flash when using NiMH batteries. However, recycling takes twice as long with alkaline cells.

Easily beating the SB-700 for maximum output, the SB-5000 has a powerful Gn 55 rating. It also boasts a bigger 24-200mm zoom range, adds a programmable repeat mode, and has a more comprehensive set of on-board controls. For rapid-fire operation, there’s a new integral cooling system that enables more than 100 continuous shots even at the full-power setting. Wireless connectivity gets a boost from the addition of RF as well as the more usual infrared linking. However, you can’t use the flashgun as a commander in RF mode, as it’s only fitted with a built-in receiver rather than a transceiver. Despite the generous maximum power output, recycling speeds are very fast at 2.3 seconds with NiMH batteries and just under three seconds with alkaline cells. If you want the best own-brand Nikon flashgun on the market, then look no further. However, there’s fierce competition from the likes of the Hahnel Modus 600RT, Metz Mecablitz 64 AF-1 and Phottix Mitros+ TTL Transceiver flashguns.

This Hahnel flashgun is available on its own or as part of two optional kits. The ‘Wireless Kit’ adds a hotshoe-mounting Viper RF trigger, and the ‘Wireless Pro Kit’ comprises two flashguns plus the RF trigger. The flashgun itself has a built-in RF transceiver enabling it to work in wireless RF mode as both a master and slave, over an impressive range of up to 100m. The addition of the Viper hotshoe-mounted trigger, with its on-board controls and LCD display, enables you to use one or more flashguns off-camera in RF wireless mode. A big difference compared with most flashguns is that the Hahnel is powered by a rechargeable Li-ion battery pack, instead of the usual four AA batteries. This enables a whopping 550 full-power flashes between recharging, and very rapid recycling speeds of just 0.7 and 1.5 seconds after a half-power or full-power flash respectively. Useful features include a 20-200mm motorized zoom head, a flip-down 14mm wide-angle diffuser and a pull-out catchlight/reflector card. There’s a full set of advanced flash modes, including high-speed sync, rear curtain and programmable repeat (multi-flash during a single exposure).

At first glance, this Metz flashgun looks a bit basic without any onboard controls. The reason for this is the inclusion of an intuitive touchscreen interface, which reduces button clutter around the back. The motorized zoom head has a 24-105mm range, with the usual reflector card and wide-angle diffuser built in, although swivel movement in the right-hand direction is limited to 120 degrees. For off-camera and multi-flashgun setups, the Metz includes both master and slave wireless modes. Typical of flashguns at this price point, there’s no programmable repeat flash mode. During our tests, maximum output was noticeably down on the specified Gn 52 rating, more similar to that of the Nikon SB-700. Recycling speeds are a little pedestrian too, taking just over four seconds after a full-power flash when using NiMH batteries. Overall, however, it’s an attractive flashgun at the price.

This is Metz’s most sophisticated dedicated flashgun, with a host of up-market features and a powerful Gn 64 output rating. Highlights include a 24-200mm zoom range, a -9 to 90-degree bounce facility, and the availability of both master and slave wireless operation. There’s also an unusual secondary sub-flash module, which is great for adding fill-in lighting when you’re using the main head in bounce or swivel mode. Like the Metz 52 AF-1, intuitive on-board control is based on a touchscreen but, this time, it’s a colour rather than mono screen. Pro-grade enhancements include a programmable repeat flash mode and a socket for an optional external power pack. When using NiMH batteries, recycling speed is pretty quick after a full-power flash, at 3.4 seconds, but recycling takes more than twice as long with alkaline cells.

On the face of it, this Nissin flashgun looks pretty basic, with on-board controls that boil down to a single Set button and control wheel. Rudimentary adjustments can be carried out, like TTL flash exposure compensation but, for almost everything else, you’ll need to resort to the host camera’s menu system. A big attraction of this kit is that it comes complete with Nissin’s sophisticated ‘Air 1 Commander’ RF transmitter that slots into your camera’s hotshoe. The flashgun itself works in both infrared and RF slave modes. Additional, optical slave modes include ‘digital’ and ‘film’ options, both with manual power settings. The digital option disregards pre-flash pulses when triggering, whereas the film mode triggers on the first pulse of light, more useful when slaving from studio flash heads. High-speed sync and rear curtain sync are available, but there’s no repeating flash mode for sequential bursts within a single exposure. There’s plenty of power on tap, with a generous Gn 60 rating and a lengthy zoom of up to 200mm. Recycling speeds are super-fast, at around two or three seconds when using NiMH or alkaline batteries respectively. 

Despite having a relatively small and lightweight build, this Nissin packs a real punch with a Gn 60 power rating. There’s a particularly smart colour display around the back, with an intuitive pictorial interface. Further attractions include a 24-200mm motorized zoom head, full 180-degree swivel in both left and right directions, and a neat range of supplied accessories including a pouch, stand and diffusion dome. Nissin has also squeezed in a secondary, constant LED light for video capture or close-up stills. Infrared and RF wireless slave connectivity are built-in but, to make the most of the latter, you’d need to buy the ‘Air 1 Commander’ RF transmitter which is sold separately. The maximum power output through the zoom range matches that of Nissin’s bigger Di700A flashgun, although recycling speed after a full power flash is just over a second slower. Overall, it’s a very versatile and powerful flashgun, with a refreshingly compact build.

This high-end flashgun from Phottix boasts a Gn 58 rating at its longest zoom setting, although that only stretches to 105mm rather than the now often-featured 200mm. The head also has -7 to 90-degree vertical bounce and full 180-degree swivel in both lateral directions. Competing with own-brand, pro-spec flashguns, a programmable repeat flash mode is available, and the robust build features a weather-sealed mounting foot. There’s RF wireless connectivity with both master and slave modes. This is thanks to a built-in radio frequency transceiver, rather than a more simple receiver. The RF working range is 30m, and linking is compatible with Phottix Odin and Stratos radio triggers, as well as other Mitros+ flashguns. Recycling speed after a full-power flash with NiMH batteries is 3.5 seconds but recycling takes twice as long when using alkaline batteries.


Categories: Tech News

Amazon 4K TV deal: the TCL 65-Inch 4K Roku TV is at its cheapest price ever

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/25/2019 - 10:43

If you're looking to upgrade to a smart TV, then look no further than this fantastic deal from Amazon. Right now you can get the TLC 65-inch 4K Smart TV on sale for $829.99. That's a $470 discount and the best price we've seen for this Amazon's Choice Roku smart TV.

The TLC 65R617 offers smart capabilities and has the Roku TV built-in. This allows you to stream thousands of movies and TV shows from the home screen of your TV. You can access Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video and even your gaming console without having to switch inputs on the TV. The Roku also features an enhanced remote that allows you to use your voice to find movie titles, change channels, and even switch inputs. The 4K UHD TV features Dolby Vision HDR which delivers accurate colors and sharp contrasts for a powerful life-like picture.

This is a fantastic price for a 4K 65-inch TV with smart capabilities, and the lowest price we've seen from this TLC 6-series TV.  We don't know how long Amazon will have the TLC Roku TV discounted, so you might want to grab this deal while you can.

If you're looking for smaller screen size or a lower price tag, Amazon also has the TCL 55-Inch 4K Roku Smart TV on sale for $579.99. While that's not the lowest price we've seen for this TV, it's still an excellent deal for a 55-inch 4K smart TV and only $30 more than the Black Friday price.

Shop more of best cheap TV deals and sale prices that are currently going on and read our review on the TCL 6-Series Roku TV

Categories: Tech News

Tokina unveils affordable opera 16-28mm f/2.8 FF lens

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/25/2019 - 10:39

Tokina has confirmed full details of its latest wide-angle zoom lens, the opera 16-28mm f/2.8 FF.

The lens bears the same basic specifications as the company's existing AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 PRO FX, although it arrives with a smarter design and additional internal technologies. 

Like that lens, however, it covers the dimensions of a full-frame sensor and is set to be available in Canon EF and Nikon F fittings, making it compatible with the likes of the Nikon D850 and Canon EOS 6D Mark II.

Built around 15 elements arranged over 13 groups, the lens features three aspherical elements that include a large P-MO element towards the front of the optic. Three glass molded Low-Dispersion (SD) elements have also been included here, as are Multi Coatings on the elements to help improve light transmission.

Like the previous AT-X 16-28mm F2.8 PRO FX, the new lens has an integrated petal-shaped hood at its front, partly to block extraneous rays of light from causing aberrations such as ghosting and flare but also to protect the bulbous front element from any damage. 

On the inside, nine blades make up the diaphragm to help keep bokeh round and natural, while the focusing motor makes use of a Silent Drive module for fast and quiet focus, something that works with a new GMR magnetic AF sensor to boost speed and accuracy. Focusing itself is internal, with the familiar One-Touch Focus Clutch mechanism also allowing the user to quickly switch between autofocus and manual focus by snapping the focusing ring back and forth. 

The lens is capable of focusing 28cm away from the subject, and has a focus distance window with markings in both feet and meters designed into its casing. Tokina also states that the direction of the manual focusing ring's travel has been designed to match that of Canon and Nikon lenses. 

The Tokina opera 16-28mm f/2.8 FF will be available in Canon EF and Nikon F mounts from March. The lens is already available to pre-order, priced at $699 in the US and £699 in the UK; pricing for Australia has not yet been confirmed.


Categories: Tech News

Best e-commerce platform of 2019: get an online store now!

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/25/2019 - 10:25

The rise of the web has allowed countless businesses to reach a wider market. Not only that, it has given rise to countless new online-only businesses, fueled by the exponential rise of mobile connections.

It's not surprising, then, that one analyst claims that the SMB e-commerce platform market will break the billion dollar barrier.

There's no doubt that the web provides a huge opportunity for companies, but it’s important for organizations to make the most of that opportunity. In order to sell your products or services online, your website has to be appropriately equipped.

Building an online store from scratch is a mammoth task, and fortunately, an unnecessary one. Today, there is a huge variety of e-commerce platform packages from which to choose. 

Most e-commerce platforms will provide businesses with standard functionality such as the ability to showcase products in an online catalog, take payments online, manage customers and provide with after-sales.

Others will provide more sophisticated functionality, such as online marketing features, the ability to manage or integrate with in-store systems and the provision of APIs.

Which e-commerce software is best for your business depends entirely on your specific requirements. If you're an online-only outfit, then POS integration won't be necessary, but you may get a lot of business from overseas, in which case foreign currency support would be a requirement.

In this article, we’re going to highlight some of the best e-commerce platforms available right now, before moving on to consider other options you might want to explore in terms of creating your own e-commerce solution.

The best e-commerce platform packages


Shopify is perhaps the most well known e-commerce platform available. It was set up in 2006 by founders Tobias Lütke, Daniel Weinand and Scott Lake who, as the story goes, felt that there wasn't a simple-to-use e-commerce platform available and so built their own. The company claims that: "You don't need to have any technical or design experience to easily create a beautiful online store." 

According to Shopify, it's possible to get one of its online stores up-and-running within minutes. Users can choose from a wide range of templates, or they can design the look and feel of their store themselves. It accepts a comprehensive range of credit cards, has Level 1 PCI compliance and 256-bit SSL encryption for security, and it offers 24/7 support via phone, instant messaging or email.

The platform provides a full CMS with which users can manage the functionality and layout of their online store. Users can manage their store on-the-go using Shopify's mobile apps, and the platform itself is fully responsive, meaning the store will be optimized for visitors regardless of whether they access it from a desktop computer or a mobile device.

Shopify also offers users unlimited hosting for their stores, in-depth analytics of how visitors are using the store, and functionality for marketing such as SEO optimization, a discount and coupon engine, gift cards and email marketing tools. You can test out Shopify with a 14-day free trial.


Bigcommerce was established in 2009 and promises to "support your business, not just your store." In addition to offering support via phone, instant chat and email, it also offers articles and videos to help with e-commerce, and access to a team of e-commerce experts who can provide advice and guidance about online selling. Their experts are qualified in both Google Analytics and Adwords.

Like Shopify, Bigcommerce provides a variety of templates and themes to help stores look their best and get up-and-running quickly. Alternatively, users can design their own store or use Bigcommerce designers to do so. The platform incorporates a full-featured CMS that allows users to run an entire website, rather than just a store.

Users can benefit from detailed and flexible product management, optimized search engine rankings, along with a variety of integrated marketing tools and analytics. Payments can be accepted via 40+ pre-integrated gateways and shipping details can be customized as per the business's requirements. As of late, some new features have been added like support for Amazon Import and Link and Shopping in Instagram Stories. The platform offers automated order processing, flexible tax rules depending on where orders are made and shipped, and support for multiple currencies. You can test out Bigcommerce with a 15-day free trial.


Volusion has been around for almost two decades, having been set up in Texas over in the US in 1999. The company touts its platform as being an "all-in-one e-commerce solution", and offers a free 14-day trial (no credit card required).

As with other e-commerce platforms, users are offered a variety of templates from which to choose, and can also customize templates if they so wish. Should a more complex design be required, Volusion offers a custom design service that can incorporate branding and a firm's social media presence.

The platform provides the site and product management tools you'd expect, marketing functionality for SEO, social media, and affiliate outlets, along with emails and order management functionality for fast order processing, accepting payments, tax calculations and POS integration.

In addition to its platform and associated services, Volusion offers apps from its partners, support for users and a knowledge-base for help with e-commerce. Users can draw upon blog posts, guides and webinars. As of October 8th 2018, there are no more transaction fees.


CoreCommerce was set up in 2001 and focuses on providing e-commerce services to small and medium-sized businesses. The company places an emphasis on simplicity and transparency, promising that its platform is easy-to-use and that customers will not fall foul of any hidden charges.

Perhaps CoreCommerce's most unique aspect is that all of its features are offered to all customers regardless of what plan they are on. Price plans are determined by the number of products, the number of email addresses, the amount of bandwidth and the amount of storage required by the user (and higher-end plans also benefit from additional support).

As with other e-commerce providers, CoreCommerce offers functionality for store design, product management, order processing and marketing. Of its headline features, the platform offers unlimited product customization options, a built-in blogging engine, and secure hosting that is provided by Rackspace and comes with a 99.9% uptime guarantee. You can try CoreCommerce out with a 15-day free trial.


Having been founded in 1997, 3dcart is the oldest of our featured providers here. It was set up with a view to incorporating as many of the most requested e-commerce features into one platform as possible.

The company says it has six core values by which it operates: ongoing innovation, good service, simple solutions, fostering trust, keeping employees and customers happy, and stimulating prosperity amongst employees and customers.

Some of the platform's innovative features include a module that users can install to offer gift-wrapping, a purchase order system, the option of running a loyalty program and the ability to offer recurring orders. Many of these features are very specific, meaning that stores can be highly tailored to the needs of each business.

Stores can be designed using one of the many templates offered by 3dcart, or users can design their own store. A quick edit bar means that making changes to the design of a store is simple. Product images are fore-fronted with 3dcart's auto-zoom feature and products can be sold via Facebook with its store integration. As with some other platforms, users can blog directly from 3dcart and tools are provided for setting up coupons, sending newsletters and affiliate marketing.

In addition to its platform, 3dcart offers a number of professional services. Users can request help with SEO, PPC, shopping feed management, social media, Facebook ads and conversion consulting. Help can also be provided to ensure that a user's store is set up to the highest standard. Services such as site cloning, setting up custom tracking, data migration and training are offered.

In addition, 3dcart can provide SSL certification. Hosting is guaranteed at 99.9% uptime and 24/7 support is provided via phone, email or online chat. You can test out the service with a 15-day free trial.

Also consider:

Alternative means

If you don’t want to go the route of using an off-the-shelf package, what other options are available for you to explore? That’s what we’re going to look at in the second half of this piece…


Is eBay right for your business?

Opening its doors in 1999, eBay UK now has over 14 million users, with over 10,000 people using the site for a business that is their primary means of income. It's not just about people selling unwanted goods - businesses have used the simplicity that eBay offers to set up lucrative operations. Even the larger brands such as Argos, Debenhams and House of Fraser are using eBay to sell online.

With sophisticated tools now available you can be up and running with your store in just a few hours. The eBay Seller Centre has all the information you need. Each store is managed via eBay's familiar user interface, and there are a number of eBay-provided tools to help manage, track and promote your shop once it's established.

Using eBay as the platform for your business could be ideal if your business wants to sell goods on a fixed price basis. The complete integration of the PayPal e-payments system into eBay takes care of this essential component of your store.

The key with eBay is to look closely at the costs involved and also the transaction fees that PayPal charge before moving forward and setting up your own store.

How to create your own e-commerce solution

Of course if you want complete control over every aspect of your new online store, building each page yourself will be the best course of action. Hiring someone to code your website is one option. If you decide to do this follow these steps:

  1. Ask the company for live examples of their work to look at
  2. Write a detailed brief of the site you want created. The more detail the better to avoid confusion
  3. Ensure you understand the price you are being charged and how many revisions this price includes
  4. Always have a signed agreement or contract before work commences
  5. Ask whether the designers will host your site and if you will be able to make updates yourself or if all updates must go through the design agency at an additional cost
  6. Ask for the copyright of your design to be assigned to your company, as your website is an important part of your business' intellectual property
  7. Put into your contract, details of how the agreement can be amicably dissolved if things go wrong


You also don't have to build your site completely from scratch. Buying a template can give you all the basic pages your site needs. You can then either modify them yourself using an application like Dreamweaver, or hire a coding expert to make the changes. Website templates are available from a number of vendors including Template Monster.

If you already have a website and want to add e-commerce functionality, this can be easily achieved with a number of applications including:

Final advice

Whichever route you decide to take when building your website always remember:

  1. You need to ensure your store can be easily updated and managed.
  2. Good professional web hosting is vital to ensure your site is always available.
  3. Look for payment and shopping carts that are intuitive and efficient to use.
  4. Customer service is king these days. Businesses shouldn't just efficiently take customers' money, but should also properly support them.
  5. Make sure that your store is fully integrated with all the leading social media sites.
  6. Put security first – shoppers are now more comfortable buying online, but always ensure your site uses SSL (Secure Socket Layer) which is now the industry standard for online payments.
  7. Above every other consideration should be your site's visitor experience. Don't forget your competitors are just a mouse click away in the world of e-commerce. 

Setting up your online store should be approached carefully and diligently to ensure you put a professional and efficient site live. Internet shopping continues to expand. Make sure your business doesn't miss out on a sales channel that shows no signs of slowing down.

Categories: Tech News

Soon you'll be able to stream 4K movies on multiple screens in your car

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/25/2019 - 04:02

In car connectivity is set to take another leap forward with the introduction of the Qualcomm QCA6696 automotive chip at MWC 2019.

It may not sound that appealing, but this chip provides new functionality which could change what's possible within your car.

The chip brings the next generation of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity to the automotive industry, including support for Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1.

Movies and more

The introduction of a Wi-Fi 6 connection in the car means you'll have access to even faster internet speeds, allowing you to stream 4K movies on multiple screens at the same time.

Meanwhile the Bluetooth 5.1 support brings with it Qualcomm aptX Adaptive audio which delivers high fidelity voice and streaming audio support.

What's more, the new chip will improve signal in built up and busy areas, which means you should be able to maintain a constant connection when you're in the middle of the city or sitting in a traffic jam.

Qualcomm claims the QCA6696 chip is capable of achieving download speeds of up to 1.Gbps, which is currently faster than many home broadband connections.

There is a little bit of a wait until we see the benefits of this new chip in action though, with the first vehicles to pack it expected to roll off production lines in 2021. 

At least by then 5G networks will be far more established, which means you should be able to get excellent performance pretty much anywhere you go.

MWC (Mobile World Congress) is the world's largest showcase for the mobile industry, stuffed full of the newest phones, tablets, wearables and more. TechRadar is reporting live from Barcelona all week to bring you the very latest from the show floor. Head to our dedicated MWC 2019 hub to see all the new releases, along with TechRadar's world-class analysis and buying advice about your next phone.

Categories: Tech News

Customer Experience ‘disconnect’ puts pressure on financial services to modernise

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/25/2019 - 04:00

The collective rise of the tech giants and challenger banks is placing significant pressure on traditional financial institutions. Disruptive digital savvy ‘newbies’ are designing their entire ethos around simplifying and enriching the customer experience, and anyone slow to respond could find themselves serving as another stark reminder of the pace at which customer loyalties can change. 

Essentially, the customer experience (CX) in financial services has reached an impasse. While a whopping 94% of financial services professionals see CX as a key differentiator in their crowded and competitive market1, only 30% of respondents see it as a business challenge that’s prioritised by the board – signalling a worrying disconnect between recognising the importance of CX and bringing it into the spotlight as a critical business imperative.

What’s more, only 13% of professionals indicate that their company takes an integrated, organisational-wide approach to CX. Failure to collectively prioritise customer experience, involve the entire business in its application, and give it a seat on the board is a false economy and represents an unnecessary additional risk during a time of considerable competitive market change. 

But encouragingly, many banks and financial institutions are now recognising the need to react in order to fend off the threats of digital disruption posed by fintech start-ups such as Ant Financial, Atom and Monzo, along with large, established businesses like Alibaba, Google and Amazon branching out into financial services. Industry and regulatory experience, together with a history of innovation and deep pockets to invest, will allow many institutions to catch up and leverage the rapidly increasing data-driven interactions with customers to bring new ideas and services to the table. 

From top to bottom, and from the outside in

While financial services incumbents still have the majority of customers on their side, many have been slow to transform. Complex and costly legacy IT systems are difficult to adapt and change, and with millions of customers calling or logging-in to access a wide array of services daily, incumbents need to walk a fine balance between change and stability. 

Our research shows that around 70% of organisations rely on either non-board level or divisional managers to own separate and disparate customer contact channels. Even more concerning is that nearly 10% of financial services professionals indicate there’s no ownership structure at all for customer experience.

And with only 28% of financial services professionals saying that all employees take accountability for delivering against CX guidelines, there clearly needs to be an improved ownership model of CX in order to ensure everyone is reading from the same book. For example, best practice shows that appointing a single person accountable for the customer experience across the organisation ensures the right structure and processes for delivery are in place across every customer touchpoint, which contributes towards an organisation-wide view of CX and a coherent CX strategy.

What’s more, we believe that CX can only work if it’s constructed from the outside in. A customer experience strategy has to be designed around the customer first, and distributed for organisation-wide buy-in second. This approach is proving the catalyst for disruptive financial services businesses looking to completely revolutionise customer engagement. They’re doing far more than merely revising processes and points of contact – they’re transforming their thinking and entire culture. 

Image Credit: Pexels

Automation, analytics and self-service mean technology is the differentiator

The explosion of automation, data analytics, and self-service solutions is allowing many forward-thinking financial services organisations to build next generations platforms to ensure rich and rewarding digital experiences for their customers. When asked to identify the top three trends being prioritised by their CX team, analytics (44%), digital business transformation (39%), and self-service solutions (36%) were the most common technology changes underway.

Automation, particularly in terms of operational efficiency, is critical for financial services companies looking to not only improve costs, but also to drive increased customer analytics and business intelligence. It’s cyclical; using automation to improve one area will invariably have a positive impact on another. Whether that’s by reducing queues and waiting times in call centres through enhanced interactivity and service accessibility, or providing live-servicing video banking platforms – there’s no doubt the application of automation and advanced analytics is unlocking some real transformative potential.

Nonetheless, research indicates there’s still significant value in traditional face-to-face customer interactions, so companies must be careful of not tipping the balance too far in favour of technology and putting themselves at risk of becoming a faceless and untrusted corporate machine.

Strategy first, technology second

Technological advantage is nothing without the right customer-centric business strategies and attitudes. With almost one in five companies operating without a formal CX strategy, it comes as no surprise that so many organisations are seeing low net-promotor scores and little commercial improvement, despite investing heavily in new digital channels.

It's equally clear that far too few financial services organisations are engaging directly with their customers or using data analytics to transform customer data into market intelligence. While bringing all areas of the business into the same conversation should be seen as the starting point, the lack of a coherent CX strategy that’s fully focused on the customer will leave many organisations struggling to remain relevant as the financial services world continues to undergo such rapid and dramatic change.

Steve van den Heever, Group Sales Director of Financial Services at Dimension Data

Categories: Tech News

HTC 5G home hub gets you ready for superfast internet

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/25/2019 - 03:01

HTC is helping users get ready for 5G with the launch of a new smart home hub that could take the hassle out of getting connected.

The HTC 5G Hub, revealed today at MWC 2019 in Barcelona, does pretty much what it says on the tin, acting as a central portal for all your devices to hook up to the superfast next-generation 5G networks.

Built with both work and play in mind, the hub looks to cut down on the hassle of getting all your devices online, meaning you can say goodbye to unnecessary wires and extension leads cluttering up your home or office.

(Image credit: HTC)

Designed to replace existing home routers, users can monitor their data usage and speed of their connections via a 5in HD screen, and the hub can even be disconnected to keep you connected on the go.

Thanks to its high-speed connectivity, the hub is able to stream 4K videos to a second screen with no drop-off in quality. 

It can also act as a mobile hotspot for up to 20 users, meaning multiple devices can get in on the action, making it the perfect gaming companion - particularly if you got your hands on HTC's Vive VR headset.

HTC has already signed up a number of major operators around the world to support the new hub, including Three UK and Deutsche Telekom, with more hopefully on the way soon.

The HTC 5G Hub will go on sale in the next few months through selected retailers, however there's no news on price just yet.

“HTC is proud to bring to market the world’s first 5G mobile smart hub,” said Cher Wang, Chairwoman and CEO of HTC. 

“5G will be the game-changer for VR and AR, and the new HTC 5G Hub will seamlessly deliver the great bandwidth of 5G to our devices, driving our vision of Vive Reality—a boundless, immersive environment where human experiences will come to the forefront.”

MWC (Mobile World Congress) is the world's largest showcase for the mobile industry, stuffed full of the newest phones, tablets, wearables and more. TechRadar is reporting live from Barcelona all week to bring you the very latest from the show floor. Head to our dedicated MWC 2019 hub to see all the new releases, along with TechRadar's world-class analysis and buying advice about your next phone. 

Categories: Tech News

Mobile and train operators urged to improve coverage on railways

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/25/2019 - 03:01

Mobile operators and train companies have been urged to improve the state of railway connectivity after nine in ten passengers reported difficulties in accessing voice, text and data services.

Research from uSwitch found that 88 per cent of people had issues connecting the Internet, with 56 poor cent struggling to maintain a 4G or 4G signal. More than half said they had experienced dropped calls, while 38 per cent had been unable to send a text message.

There have been moves by operators to improve coverage along major rail routes, while the government has also sought to identify ways to improve the situation – including 5G. There has also been a suggestion that Network Rail’s fibre network could be used to provide the necessary backhaul.

Mobile railways

However, improving cellular connectivity is challenging because signals tend to bounce off train carriages rather than penetrate them. Most train operators have therefore turned to Wi-Fi to alleviate the issue, but this has proved an unsatisfactory solution. Two thirds of passengers say they find train Wi-Fi difficult to connect to.

One of the other intriguing findings from uSwitch’s report is that the most popular applications are social media and music streaming. This shows that it isn’t just commuters frustrated by the lack of coverage.

“[Train] Wi-Fi connections are rarely as fast or reliable as the broadband people enjoy at home, which limits the performance of data-demanding apps and services people have become accustomed to using all the time,” said Ru Bhikha, mobile expert at uSwitch.

“On top of that, free networks which aren’t password protected are increasingly susceptible to fraud - it doesn’t take much for a potential hacker to mimic the name of a train network, encouraging the user to route all their unencrypted and sensitive data through this phony hotspot.

“Combined with the fact that many rail operators have introduced time limits caps - some of which are as little as 15 minutes - means that these WI-FI networks are often both unfit for purpose and a possible security hazard.

“This, coupled with patchy 3G or 4G reception en-route, can make for frustratingly intermittent connectivity during the morning commute.

“Both network providers and rail operators should work together to deliver the infrastructure needed to serve the vital arteries carrying Britain’s workforce.”

Categories: Tech News

Sony Xperia 1 release date, price, news and features

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/25/2019 - 02:45

Sony has issued a new flagship phone every six months for the last few years, and the company has done so yet again with the brand new Xperia 1.

This is the flagship phone following up the Xperia XZ3, but instead of the long-rumored Xperia XZ4 name the company has decided to slim down its branding for a more easy to understand Xperia 1 name.

The company isn’t starting from the bottom in terms of hardware though – this is the most advanced Sony phone yet, taking a lot of what made the Xperia XZ3 great, mixing in a little of the Xperia XZ Premium and adding a few extra features and quirks we’ve never seen before on a Sony phone.

We’re soon set to try out the phone at MWC 2019 and we’ll be sure to share all of our first impressions of the phone, but for the time being you can find all of the details we know so far about Sony’s flagship choice below.

Sony Xperia 1 release date and price 

Image Credit: Sony

We've yet to find out exactly when the Sony Xperia 1 will be on sale, but it's expected to land at some point in Q2 2019. As for what it will cost, the UK price is set at £849, which is around $1,110 / AU$1,550.

That makes it more expensive than the Xperia XZ3, which cost £699 / $899 (around AU$1,260) at launch.

Sony Xperia 1 display 

The big upgrade here is a brand new aspect ratio, though not everything else is new, as once again Sony is using a super-sharp 4K display.

The Xperia 1 comes with a 6.5-inch display, and while on paper that may sound huge it’s unlikely to feel as big in the hand because of the new aspect ratio the company is using, which is 21:9.

It’s an OLED display with the company’s own BRAVIA tech division working toward improving the panel so it should be at least a match for the display on the Xperia XZ3.

The company has adopted the 21:9 aspect ratios to give you a wider display for watching films and when you’re looking at photos. The reasoning here is because most filmmakers make their projects in 21:9, so it makes sense to watch in that same aspect ratio on your phone.

If you’re watching other content in a different aspect ratio it will appear with black bars along the edges of the phone, but the company says that shouldn’t happen a lot as almost 70% of films on Netflix are apparently 21:9. Lots of content on other streaming services is also available in 21:9.

Films you buy from Sony’s own virtual store can also play in that aspect ratio, but if you’re watching TV shows that weren’t originally shown in that aspect ratio it’s unlikely they’ll play on your phone without black bars down the sides.

Sony Xperia 1 design 

Image Credit: Sony

Because of the aspect ratio, the Xperia 1 is a much longer phone than others you’ve seen on the market. It has dimensions of 167 x 72 x 8.2mm, but we don’t currently know how much it weighs.

Corning Gorilla Glass 6 is used to protect the glass panel on the rear of the phone, and there’s a long border (rather than a notch) at the top of the display to house the important front-facing camera tech.

You’ll have the choice of black, grey, white or purple colors for the phone. The Xperia 1 doesn’t feature a 3.5mm headphone jack, but it is IP68 water resistant, so you’ll be able to let this slip into the sink without worrying about the internals flooding.

There is a fingerprint scanner on the Xperia 1 but it’s built into the side of the handset on the right edge. There’s no in-screen fingerprint scanner technology here.

Sony Xperia 1 OS and spec 

Under the hood you'll find the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset, so you’ll get all the benefits of the top-end processor working behind the scenes, but it’s important to note that this phone isn’t capable of connecting to 5G.

Sony has yet to unveil when it plans to move into the world of 5G, but if you buy the Xperia 1 you’ll have to upgrade your phone in future to make use of that technology.

Alongside its top-end chipset, the phone has 6GB of RAM which should be more than enough to keep this phone chugging along. There’s also 128GB of storage so you can fill it up with apps and media. 

If you want more space for the movies you’re going to watch on this widescreen display you’ll be able to make use of the 512GB microSD card capacity.

When it comes to audio, the Xperia 1 has Dolby Atmos Hi-Res audio built into it and the speakers are, according to Sony, some of the best the company has ever made. We’ll be sure to push them to their limits during our full review.

The phone also has NFC and Bluetooth 5.0. And of course it runs Android 9 Pie.

Sony Xperia 1 battery and camera 

Powering this phone along is a 3,330mAh battery with fast-charging support, but there’s no wireless charging here if you were hoping to avoid using the USB-C jack.

As for the camera, this is the first time we’ve seen Sony embrace a three sensor rear setup. The company has also dropped the megapixel count in its camera, opting to use three 12MP sensors at the same time.

There’s a 12MP wide-angle lens combined with a super wide-angle 12MP lens and a 12MP telephoto shooter. All three parts of the camera are set to work in tandem, and the idea here is that you’ll be able to get super wide shots that are easy to view on the 21:9 display.

There’s also 4K video recording with a variety of other features including a new mode called Cinema Pro. The idea here is that you can film and edit video like a professional using the app that’s supplied directly on the handset, and we’ll be sure to test this out further soon.

On the front of the phone sits an 8MP front-facing camera, which doesn’t sound like much but considering Sony’s recent history we’re hoping it’ll be a suitable selfie shooter.

Be sure to check back soon for our hands on review of the Sony Xperia 1, and if you haven’t read them already read our hands on Xperia 10 review and our hands on Xperia 10 Plus review too.

MWC (Mobile World Congress) is the world's largest showcase for the mobile industry, stuffed full of the newest phones, tablets, wearables and more. TechRadar is reporting live from Barcelona all week to bring you the very latest from the show floor. Head to our dedicated MWC 2019 hub to see all the new releases, along with TechRadar's world-class analysis and buying advice about your next phone. 

Categories: Tech News

Sony Xperia 1 and Xperia 10 bring cinema-like ratio screens for your Netflix binges

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/25/2019 - 02:45

Sony’s latest range of smartphones are all about watching films, video and TV with a 21:9 aspect ratio display.

The Xperia 1 – that’s the flagship for Sony's latest range – as well as the Xperia 10 and Xperia 10 Plus all come with the widescreen display, which are the first phones to be announced with a 21:9 aspect ratio.

A lot of other manufacturers currently offer 18:9 or 19:9 aspect ratio displays, but Sony is offering this taller display so you can watch films on your phone in their original format.

A tall order

Sony claims almost 70% of all films on Netflix are in a 21:9 aspect ratio, and you'll be able to watch them in that format here alongside content from Sony's own store and Amazon Prime Video.

If the content isn't filmed in 21:9, you'll still be able to watch it with black bars down the sides of the display.

It's not just about watching video either as the company claims the aspect ratio enhances gaming as well as offering a better format for viewing photos you've taken with the phone's cameras.

You can read our hands on Xperia 10 and Xperia 10 Plus - the new mid-range devices in Sony's range - and we have more information on the Sony Xperia 1 that you can read ahead of our upcoming hands on review.

MWC (Mobile World Congress) is the world's largest showcase for the mobile industry, stuffed full of the newest phones, tablets, wearables and more. TechRadar is reporting live from Barcelona all week to bring you the very latest from the show floor. Head to our dedicated MWC 2019 hub to see all the new releases, along with TechRadar's world-class analysis and buying advice about your next phone. 

Categories: Tech News

Oppo foldable concept phone looks eerily similar to Huawei Mate X

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/25/2019 - 01:12

Oppo is working on its own version of a foldable phone which seems to take a couple of lessons from the Huawei Mate X, the latest foldable phone on the block. 

After Samsung announced its Galaxy Fold last week, Huawei entered the race just yesterday when it showcased a foldable phone with minimal bezels.

On Monday, Brian Shen, VP at Oppo took to Weibo and gave us our first look at their yet unnamed foldable phone. 

Shen noted that the company doesn’t think that a foldable phone brings about a whole lot of improvement in user experience, which is why Oppo is not mass producing its foldable phone just yet as it wants to observe the response from consumers first. 

The Weibo post was accompanied by a couple of close-up shots of the phone in question which reminded us of the Mate X. 

Image Credit: Brian Shen

Inspired by Huawei Mate X?

Taking little cues from the Mate X, it looks like Oppo's foldable phone has a bigger screen when it opens up to a tablet. The bezels on the Oppo foldable are a bit more in comparison to the Mate X. 

Even the camera implementation looks similar to the Huawei counterpart as it uses the rear cameras to shoot selfies. It also features a sidebar-like design on the back which houses the dual-camera setup and the branding near the bottom edge. The top edge of the sidebar also seems to house the power button.

There’s just no information regarding the internals of the Oppo foldable phone and it looks like it may be a while before we hear anything official from the company.

Categories: Tech News

Intel 11th-generation iGPU benchmarks leak, promising AMD-slaying speeds

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/25/2019 - 00:13

Last December, Intel revealed its new Gen11 integrated graphics solution at its Architecture Day event, and now we might have an idea of what the chipmaker's upcoming iGPU (Integrated Graphics Processing Unit) is truly capable of.

Spotted by a Reddit user over the weekend, some in-depth benchmarks for a Gen11 part have leaked online, with the results from GFXBench and CompuBench indicating an iGPU that effectively outperforms other 15W chips – that includes AMD's current Ryzen 7 2700U and Ryzen 5 2400G, and Intel's own Core i5-8250U.

As reported by Tom's Hardware, the Gen11 chip in question boasts up to one teraflop of 32-bit and two teraflops of 16-bit floating point performance right from graphics processor integrated into the CPU – no standalone graphics card necessary.

The Gen11 Iris Plus Graphics 940 iGPU that's been tested is roughly 62.97% faster on average than the AMD Vega 10 (as seen in the aforementioned Ryzen 7 2700U) in the GFXBench 5.0 benchmark test. Admittedly, that number is due in large part to the older Manhattan test, which returns an abnormally high score. When that's removed from the equation, that number drops to a more reasonable 44.81%.

Of course, these benchmark scores are completely unofficial for the time being, and are likely not a true reflection of Gen11's real-world gaming performance. That said, they are incredibly impressive results – for a complete rundown of the Gen11 benchmarks, head over to Tom's Hardware.

Categories: Tech News

Synology Active Backup for Business is your one-stop centralised backup solution

Latest Tech News - Sun, 02/24/2019 - 22:28

Perhaps it’s not surprising that half of all small businesses are still unprepared for data loss. The complexity of backing up multiple environments using multiple tools with multiple licenses makes both setting up a new backup regimen (or updating an existing one) a modern-day Herculean trial. But Synology’s new Active Backup for Business is here to help. 

The company known primarily for NAS storage devices – that work with multiple providers and myriad technologies – has now leveraged that experience to create a single backup solution. This manages remote and local servers, virtual machines and PCs – plus the applications on them – with one central software environment that requires neither local client installs nor separate, expensive licenses. In short, with Active Backup for Business, Synology has become a fully-fledged backup service provider.

To find out more about why backup is still so critical (yet overlooked) and how Active Backup for Business makes it super-simple to self-manage, we spoke to Jenn Yeh, Product Marketing Manager at Synology.

Advanced Backup for Business provides a centralised management console where you can see the status of all your devices and backup jobs.

TechRadar: We hear the same stories about hacking, ransomware and businesses failing to back up properly all the time. Why aren’t things getting better?

Jenn: The main things that stop businesses from operating complete backup protection are having a mixed-backup environment and a limited budget. They are slowly becoming aware of the importance of robust backups but the cost and complexity of backing up data that’s distributed across various clouds, plus virtual and physical systems, is very challenging. To reduce expenditure, some businesses apply file-level backup instead of system-level backup. Others back up data without  proper restoration policies which leaves them at great risk of cyber-attacks and data loss.

TechRadar: A major perceived pain point for business backup strategies is that it requires multiple solutions to accommodate multiple vendor technologies. Is that still true?

Jenn: Generally speaking, it is true. A 2016 Spiceworks survey found that organisations use an average of 4.1 backup solutions. What’s more, many companies are still inclined to purchase their storage servers and backup software separately when setting up their IT infrastructure. This increases the time and expense of procurement, configuration and ongoing technical support.

The compact DiskStation DS918+ supports Advanced Business Backup with up to 50 PCs or VMs.

TechRadar: What is Synology Active Backup for Business?

Jenn: Active Backup for Business is an all-in-one, license-free, business-grade data protection solution which centralises protection across diverse IT environments. It protects across virtualised environments, physical servers, file servers and personal computers and is based upon our award-winning DSM operating system. Admins can single-handedly deploy all of their desired protection via a centralised admin console. On top of this, we also offer Active Backup for Office 365 and G-Suite to protect workloads stored on public cloud. These are license-free as well.

TechRadar: How does it differ to previous offerings?

Jenn: Before launching Active Backup for Business, Synology’s own software solutions, Snapshot Replication and Hyper Backup, helped users to back up data stored on a Synology NAS to remote sites. Synology Drive and Cloud Station could also help sync and backup data to NAS but business users were unable to manage their mixed backup environment with a simple-but-centralised solution. Now that’s changed. By allowing business users to back up their distributed workloads to Synology NAS, they can also achieve what we call a “3-2-1 backup” strategy (three copies: two media types, one offsite) to ensure data security. Bare metal backup is also available. 

TechRadar: How is the pricing model cheaper than the competition and their license fees?

Jenn: Costs can be significantly reduced. Unlike other solutions we, as a storage server provider, have a greater advantage when developing and bringing integrated backup solutions like this to our users because there are no additional licensing costs.

You can restore system backups to a virtual machine first to ensure they meet your full requirements before finally deployment.

TechRadar: How does the pricing change for SMB versus enterprise?

Jenn: Active Backup for Business is an all-in-one backup solution. Businesses do not need to worry about any ballooning costs stemming from licensing that’s linked to the size of a userbase. The only cost to our users – SMB and enterprise – is the hardware (NAS) expense. 

TechRadar: It backs up PCs, servers, virtual machines and cloud services. What can’t it backup?

Jenn: We started out by supporting the platforms and environments that held the largest market share; such as VMware and Windows. But we don’t support Hyper-V and Linux yet: these represent the next milestones on our road to continuous improvement.

TechRadar: Do Changed Block Tracking (CBT), Windows VSS and global deduplication work with all backup tasks?

Jenn: Active Backup for Business leverages CBT and Windows VSS (the native Windows snapshot service) to ensure the reliability of incremental backups on PC, servers and VMs. This allows businesses to only back up incremental data, saving transfer time, network bandwidth and the storage volume. For global deduplication, it works at block-level across devices, platforms and versions. This dramatically optimizes storage capacity and we’ve seen amazing deduped rates range from 40% to 60% in many of our customer sites.

File and folder versioning provides multiple copies of your backups in case you need to go back further.

TechRadar: Does Active Backup for Business count as onsite backup, offsite backup or both?

Jenn: With our forthcoming feature, it will be both. In the next update, Active Backup for Business will enable the replication of backup files to an additional Synology NAS. Even when the primary backup server is out of action, you can still re-link the backup tasks via the second NAS, completing your recovery plan. 

TechRadar: Why do people need to backup Office 365 and G-Suite email and applications?

Jenn: Backing up Office 365 and G-Suite data to a Synology NAS helps preserve important documents that need to be legally held. It’s not easy to obtain old, deleted company emails directly from Google or Microsoft!

Human error is usually responsible for unintentional data loss in these scenarios so an on-premise backup solution makes sense. Businesses also needn’t worry about having insufficient cloud storage space to hold large amounts of data. More and more businesses are recognizing the benefits of storing their data separately.   

TechRadar: How does VMware agentless backup work? How does it get through security intrusion detection?

Jenn: Integrated with VMware official SDKs, Synology Active Backup for business asks users to verify their VMware account before starting the backup tasks.

For those looking to support a larger organisation, the DS1618+ will let you backup up to 200 PCs or VMs.

TechRadar: Synology is still known for its hardware NAS devices. Which product works best with Active Backup for Business?

Jenn: It is hard to select one best product for Active Backup for Business as this is a flexible package and users can customize their own backup strategies based upon their existing storage capacity and personal needs. It’s widely supported on our Intel-based, 64-bit NAS devices running on a BTRFS file system.  

TechRadar: Does Synology use its own technology?

Jenn: Of course! Our IT administrators used to back up virtual machines by writing scripts. Now, Active Backup gives our IT administrators more resilience by offering scheduled backup and centralized management features. In addition, we haverun our official website and internal services on Synology Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) since 2017. Our software engineers run their build machines on VMM too. In essence, we are our own customers and this helps with leveling-up the reliability and performance of our products.

TechRadar: Finally, how do you expect Active Backup for Business to change the market?

Jenn: Backup shouldn’t mean expensive, recurring costs to your businesses. Through Active Backup for Business, we’d like to raise awareness of the importance of data protection to the greater, business market. This integrated and modernized backup solution will benefit budget-constrained businesses with just a one-off hardware cost. We are confident that our users will be able to protect their workloads more efficiently and with a lower barrier to entry.

  • If you’d like to learn more about Active Backup for Business, plus how it can help streamline and enhance backup for your organisation, click here to find out more.
Categories: Tech News

5 security resolutions for 2019 you need to implement right now

Latest Tech News - Sun, 02/24/2019 - 21:20

Most of us will usually start the New Year with some resolutions. You promise to yourself to that you will drink less, eat better, exercise more and perhaps start saving a little bit of money towards a well-deserved holiday.

Few of us, however, put data security at the top of our New Year resolutions - but prevention is better than cure, especially since ensuring the devices in your household are secure could save you time, money and a lot of grief.

It can be done easily and quickly simply by following our checklist, so here’s all you need to know to stay safe.

1. Make sure you have security solutions on all your devices

Having a security solution in this day and age is no longer enough to keep hackers and cybercriminals out. You’ll need to make sure that you have a security solution on all of your devices and ensure that the security suite runs scans regularly. On top of all that though, don't forget to install the latest version of your security solution which not only contains updated features but also usually runs faster and can tackle the latest online threats.

(Tip: Rather than buying one antivirus per device, why not save with a family pack? You can protect your family with Bitdefender Family Pack for less than $0.25 per day to secure up to 15 devices)

2. Check if you have the latest version of your browser, operating system, and applications

Your OS (Operating System) powers your devices, so make sure that it is also up to date across your smartphone, tablet and PC. Windows 10, for example, regularly issues both minor and major upgrades, as do Apple and Google (for Android and Chrome). Although they usually are automatic, they do require restarts and often users just postpone these ad infinitum. 

If this applies to you, just do the right thing: restart your device, and even if it takes an hour or so for everything to settle down, this will ensure you are ready to face external threats.

(Tip: Look for a centralised security portal like Bitdefender’s Central which allows you to manage security on your devices remotely and access support team directly)

3. Install a VPN to protect your privacy

A VPN protects your online presence by encrypting all your internet traffic, making you almost invisible even on unsecured public wireless networks. This shields you not only from third parties but also from criminals and hackers, keeping your personal data truly private.

(Tip: Bitdefender security solutions all come with basic, free VPN for life)

4. Change your passwords if your emails are on the naughty list

Nearly 6.5 billion accounts have been compromised in various cyber attacks over the past decade according to popular security website, haveibeenpwned.com. The site has one purpose: to let you know whether your email address (and password) was found amongst the list of compromised accounts. Just put your email in to find out. Takes a few seconds and consider yourself lucky if you get a green light for a clean bill of health.

(Tip: Get a password manager to help you secure your passwords and other sensitive data in a private vault. Security suites, like Bitdefender’s Internet Security 2019, usually include one for free)

5. Keep your files safe from ransomware

Ransomware is one of the biggest threats to your data, which is why you need to make sure that your personal files, photos, and documents are safe from this file-encrypting threat. While having a backup is more than recommended so that you can quickly recover in case of an infection, it’s probably best that you avoid ransomware altogether by installing a security solution that has multiple layers of security specifically built to protect against ransomware. From using machine learning to detect new and unknown ransomware samples, to setting up protected folders that ransomware can’t get into and encrypt your files, make sure that your security solution is built for the task.

(Tip: Bitdefender has multiple layers of protection against ransomware that can safeguard your documents, pictures, videos, and music against any kind of ransomware attack.)

Categories: Tech News

5 security resolutions for 2019 you need to implement right now

Latest Tech News - Sun, 02/24/2019 - 20:56

Most of us will usually start the New Year with some resolutions. You promise to yourself to that you will drink less, eat better, exercise more and perhaps start saving a little bit of money towards a well-deserved holiday.

Few of us, however, put data security at the top of our New Year resolutions - but prevention is better than cure, especially since ensuring the devices in your household are secure could save you time, money and a lot of grief.

It can be done easily and quickly simply by following our checklist, so here’s all you need to know to stay safe.

1. Make sure you have security solutions on all your devices

Having a security solution in this day and age is no longer enough to keep hackers and cybercriminals out. You’ll need to make sure that you have a security solution on all of your devices and ensure that the security suite runs scans regularly. On top of all that though, don't forget to install the latest version of your security solution which not only contains updated features but also usually runs faster and can tackle the latest online threats.

(Tip: Rather than buying one antivirus per device, why not buy family packs? You can protect your family with Bitdefender Family Pack for less than 1p per day across up to 15 devices)

2. Check if you have the latest version of your browser, operating system, and applications

Your OS (Operating System) powers your devices, so make sure that it is also up to date across your smartphone, tablet and PC. Windows 10, for example, regularly issues both minor and major upgrades, as do Apple and Google (for Android and Chrome). Although they usually are automatic, they do require restarts and often users just postpone these ad infinitum. 

If this applies to you, just do the right thing: restart your device, and even if it takes an hour or so for everything to settle down, this will ensure you are ready to face external threats.

(Tip: Look for a centralised security portal like Bitdefender’s Central which allows you to manage security on your devices remotely and access support team directly)

3. Install a VPN to protect your privacy

A VPN protects your online presence by encrypting all your internet traffic, making you almost invisible even on unsecured public wireless networks. This shields you not only from third parties but also from criminals and hackers, keeping your personal data truly private.

(Tip: Bitdefender security solutions all come with basic, free VPN for life)

4. Change your passwords if your emails are on the naughty list

Nearly 6.5 billion accounts have been compromised in various cyber attacks over the past decade according to popular security website, haveibeenpwned.com. The site has one purpose: to let you know whether your email address (and password) was found amongst the list of compromised accounts. Just put your email in to find out. Takes a few seconds and consider yourself lucky if you get a green light for a clean bill of health.

(Tip: Get a password manager to help you secure your passwords and other sensitive data in a private vault. Security suites, like Bitdefender’s Internet Security 2019, usually include one for free)

5. Keep your files safe from ransomware

Ransomware is one of the biggest threats to your data, which is why you need to make sure that your personal files, photos, and documents are safe from this file-encrypting threat. While having a backup is more than recommended so that you can quickly recover in case of an infection, it’s probably best that you avoid ransomware altogether by installing a security solution that has multiple layers of security specifically built to protect against ransomware. From using machine learning to detect new and unknown ransomware samples, to setting up protected folders that ransomware can’t get into and encrypt your files, make sure that your security solution is built for the task.

(Tip: Bitdefender has multiple layers of protection against ransomware that can safeguard your documents, pictures, videos, and music against any kind of ransomware attack.)

Categories: Tech News

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