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Updated: 41 min 12 sec ago

Big data on EE is the way to go with iPhone XS deals right now

Tue, 12/11/2018 - 07:12

The iPhone XS is, well...expensive, to say the least. Although it works out as one of the most pricey phones out there however, it is also by far one of the best on the market so it isn't really too hard to justify paying that price. And we're here to tell you what the best XS deals are right now, with the our favourite right now offering huge data on EE. 

This tariff came out around the Black Friday period and has been our Editor's Pick for XS deals ever since - nothing has managed to come along and beat it. So what are you getting here? 60GB of data with no upfront costs and just £58 monthly payments. While that might still sound like a lot, it's fantastic value such an expensive handset. 

If this deal has intrigued you then check out all of the details below including what makes the device stand out. But if this wasn't the XS deal you were looking for then don't worry, we have gathered all of the very best iPhone XS deals for you to check out, too.

This big data iPhone XS deal in full: So what's so good about the iPhone XS?

There is a good reason for the iPhone XS's lofty price. Extremely powerful and full of features, it's clearly one of the best phones on the market right now. And Apple's near infinity display (that notch still blocks a full screen) looks amazing. Although it hasn't been hugely improved on from the previous model it's about as high-end a phone as you can get right now and especially for this price. You can read more in our full iPhone XS review.

Categories: Tech News

Cheap broadband deal alert: less than £20 p/m and a £55 Amazon.co.uk Gift Card

Tue, 12/11/2018 - 06:46

TalkTalk is currently offering one of the cheapest internet plans in the UK. Just £19.95 per month, guaranteed for a year and absolutely nothing to pay upfront. As far as broadband deals go, they don't get much better right now.

But wait, there's more! We've spoken to the good people of TalkTalk and persuaded them to throw in an added extra for TechRadar readers. So when you sign up to its Fast Broadband plan before midnight this Thursday December 13, it will also give you a £55 Gift Card to one of four major shops.

The highlight has to be Amazon.co.uk, which requires no introduction or explanation from us. But music fans might prefer to choose Ticketmaster instead. Or perhaps you'd find that £55 would go further for you at Tesco or Argos?

To get your hands on this deal you'll have to go to this GiftCloud page and enter your email - you won't be eligible if you head straight to the TalkTalk site. You will then be guided through the process of getting your new broadband with that added £55 incentive. That page also has full terms and conditions of the offer. But remember, you don't have long left to claim...

Our EXCLUSIVE TalkTalk broadband deal in full:

Not fast enough internet for you? Or maybe you just want to consider your options. Well you can head to our all-encompassing broadband deals page to see what else is on offer at the moment Or simply check out the price comparison below. 

Categories: Tech News

Adobe Camera Raw now supports a host of new cameras, including Nikon's Z6

Tue, 12/11/2018 - 06:34

We've seen a number of new cameras launched since Adobe last updated its Camera Raw editor, and if you've just treated yourself to a new camera (or smartphone for that matter) such as Nikon's fabulous Z6 or its D3500 beginner DSLR, you may have been a little frustrated that your raw files couldn't be read by Photoshop or Lightroom.

The good news is that Adobe has announced that Adobe Camera Raw has been updated for December 2018 to support a host of new models, and the update is free for Creative Cloud subscribers.

Newly supported cameras and phones include:

For a full list of supported cameras, head to Adobe's dedicated page, which lists all cameras supported by Adobe Camera Raw.

If you haven't signed up to Adobe's Creative Cloud, you can find prices for the Photography Plan here – it's a subscription service, and you can pay either monthly or annually. It provides access to Photoshop CC, Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic CC. If you fancy trying out Lightroom CC, Adobe is offering a free trial here.

Categories: Tech News

Innovation that inspires: small businesses tackling big challenges

Tue, 12/11/2018 - 06:30

When most people think about innovative companies, they tend to reference the tech giants such as Apple, Google and Amazon.  Innovation is part of the DNA of these companies.  But for me, some of the most interesting innovation comes from smaller companies with big ideas.  

My attention was drawn to the Innovator of the Year category, as part of the Amazon Growing Business Awards.  What strikes me about many of the companies shortlisted is both the simple genius of some of the ideas and the impact that they could have on society.   

Redefining parking in cities 

Take combatting climate change.  Research has shown that as many as 30% of all cars in cities are looking for parking spaces – essentially travelling unnecessarily because of friction in the marketplace between available parking spaces and cars seeking parking.  The winner of the award, Just Park, has created an app that helps people find parking spaces more quickly.  This will positively impact pollution levels and emissions in cities.

Helping people to remain independent

Another finalist was Alcove, which offers 21st century telecare for older people.  The company aims to use technology to help people live independently for longer.  With the World Health Organisation reporting that average global life expectancy grew by more than five years between 2000 and 2016 alone, Alcove looks to have a bright future ahead of it.

Zapping weeds

Rootwave is using electrical power to kill weeds, aiming to reduce the world’s dependency on chemical herbicides.  The company combined visual recognition that identifies weeds in crops and electrical power to precisely kill them.  This reduces the risk of herbicides being used inappropriately as well as removing some of the environmental side effects of spraying crops.

Turbo charging

Perhaps my favourite company on the shortlist was Zap & Go.  The company is a spin out from the University of Oxford which has a simple vision – to produce better batteries.  The vision is to obliterate charging times – for a mobile phone this would mean reducing charge time from hours to seconds.  The company promises electric vehicle batteries that charge in the same time it currently takes to fill up a car with fuel.  The potential of this technology is immense.  One of the limiting factors for electric vehicle take up is the limited number of people that have space at their home to install trickle charge power units.  Imagine a world where your electric car simply pulls up at a charging point (like a fuel station today) and shortly afterwards is ready to go.

I have written extensively about how innovation is changing: technology is enabling smaller businesses to compete on a more level playing field with the traditional business titans.  Another key aspect of successful innovation is the positive impact it can have – on people and on the planet.  Significant global issues need to be addressed now and in the future – from climate change to the ageing population.  Innovators are ready, willing and able to take them on. 

Simon Webster CEO of CPA Global 

Categories: Tech News

Taking compute performance to the next level with cold computing

Tue, 12/11/2018 - 06:30

When it comes to computing, hardware manufacturers are always looking for new ways to keep their chips running at lower temperatures. This lets them get even more performance using the same chips while using less energy and producing even less heat.

While keeping a laptop or desktop cool proves no challenge, cooling larger systems such as data centres and supercomputers generally proves more difficult. TechRadar Pro spoke with Rambus’ Chief Scentist Craig Hampel to learn more about cold computing and how researchers are using this technique today.

Craig Hampel, Chief Scientist at Rambus

Categories: Tech News

Mobile HDR: where you can you actually find quality videos for your phone?

Tue, 12/11/2018 - 06:24

HDR is the hottest video tech of the moment, as it makes colors look richer and contrast punchier, while the brightest areas of an image look far more natural.

It's being pushed onto nearly every big-screen TV out there these days, and many brands are recording and streaming in the format, designed to let you see more of the action and improving the overall quality of what you're viewing.

There are currently two main formats being used: HDR 10 and Dolby Vision, with each offering slightly different quality levels (but largely being the same to your eye).

The good news is you can now get HDR content on your phone, with so many starting to support the impressive format.

New iPhones have HDR screens, and so do many Androids, including the Samsung Galaxy S9, Google Pixel 3 XL, Asus ROG Phone, Sony Xperia XZ3 – and the tech has even started trickling down to more affordable models like the Nokia 7.1.

There’s just one thing you need to know before you can start watching the more impressive, and that's where you can find HDR content to take advantage of your phone’s advanced screen. Helpful as ever, we've done the legwork for you, and here are the top providers of HDR movies and shows…

Netflix

The most popular paid streaming service is, no surprise, also one of the best for HDR content. Netflix added its first HDR videos in 2016, starting with the TV mini-series Marco Polo. 

As of November 2018, there were around 100 HDR movies and TV series on Netflix. 

The bad news: you have to pay extra for 4K and HDR. You get these higher-end streams with the $9.99 / £9.99 / AU$17.99 a month plan, not the £7.99 / $7.99 / AU$13.99 one. 

The good news: you can use four concurrent streams with this plan, which is particularly handy if you live in a shared house with people of differing tastes. 

Not all HDR-compatible phones can use Netflix HDR, though. The following phones and tablets are supported, as of December 2018:


  • Honor 10
  • Huawei Mate 10 Pro

  • Huawei P20

  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone MS Max
  • iPhone XR
  • LG G6

  • LG G7

  • LG G7 One

  • LG V30

  • LG V35

  • LG V40

  • Razer Phone

  • Samsung Galaxy Note 8

  • Samsung Galaxy Note 9

  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S3

  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S4

  • Samsung Galaxy S9

  • Sony Xperia XZ Premium

  • Sony Xperia XZ1

  • Sony Xperia XZ2

  • Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium

  • Sony Xperia XZ3

The takeaway here is that the Honor 10 is the most affordable way to get mobile HDR. Head to the Netflix website to see the latest mobile compatibility list. 

Amazon Prime Video

Amazon’s video streaming service is not seen as the behemoth that Netflix is by some. However, it made the move into HDR early, before its arch rival. 

The first HDR titles were on the service way back in 2015, although Amazon Prime Video does seem to have fewer than Netflix at present. 

Spiderman: Homecoming, Moonlight and the Bosch TV series are some of the HDR highlights you can check out.  

The best thing with Amazon in the HDR game is you don't need to pay extra to get the quality. It’s $119 / £79 / AU$59 a year for Prime, or just $8.99 a month in the US or £5.99 a month in the UK for the video service without other Prime benefits like free Amazon delivery. 

Support for different phones isn't great, though. 

The Sony Xperia XZ Premium, Xperia XZ1, Samsung Galaxy Note 7, Galaxy 8, Galaxy 8 Plus and Galaxy Tab S3 are listed on the Amazon website. That’s it - you may find others will still be able to display it - although we wouldn't bank on it.

YouTube

YouTube is the best way to try out HDR video without paying anything. There’s a lot of HDR content on the service, and you can easily see in the app whether you're watching an HDR stream or not. 

While watching a video, press the three-pip settings button to bring up the video sub-menu. Under the Quality setting you should see the resolution of the video, and it’ll be followed by 'HDR' if it's a high dynamic range clip. 

YouTube doesn’t yet offer much in the way of navigation to help you find HDR clips. It may do when HDR phones are more common, but for now you need to take note of the channels that post a lot of HDR content. 

The HDR Channel is, not surprisingly, one of the best. This carries a decent amount of travel footage, which is added to regularly, and you’ll also find some gaming and promotional clips in its library. 4K HDR Media posts HDR clips from movies, for a completely different flavor. 

Some of the most downright pretty HDR content comes from Jacob + Katie Schwarz. This is the channel of a video production company based in Utah, USA, and it claims to have worked with YouTube’s own engineers to bring some of its footage to the platform. A lot of their footage is quite beautiful – it's our favorite HDR YouTube channel right now.

YouTube seems to have the widest support for HDR phones too – if yours has a genuine HDR screen, it should be able to play the service's 4K content. 

iTunes

Apple’s iTunes is not the cheapest way to get your movie fix. Just a couple of rentals adds up to the cost of a month of Netflix. 

However, it does offer great-quality streams for iPhone owners, including movies in higher-spec Dolby Vision HDR as well as HDR 10. 

iPhones from the iPhone 8 generation and newer can display HDR and Dolby Vision content. Apple’s OLED phones make HDR content looks its best, as they have both the best peak brightness and contrast of any iPhone models – the iPhone XS Max is the obvious pick if you want the ultimate in smartphone HDR. 

You don’t have to pay extra specifically for HDR in iTunes. However, you're far more likely to find high dynamic range versions of newer films, which tend to cost more to rent and buy. 

Brought to you in association with Nokia and Android One, helping you make more of your smartphone. You can learn more about the new Nokia 7.1 here, and you'll find more great advice on getting the most from your phone here.

Categories: Tech News

Best full-frame camera 2018: 10 advanced DSLRs and mirrorless cameras

Tue, 12/11/2018 - 06:16

Full-frame cameras are aimed at photographers who want the best image quality possible and the good news is that there's never been more choice. Read on to find out the best full-frame cameras you can buy right now.  

There's a bit of a buzz around full-frame cameras right now. Photokina (the industry's big trade show) saw Panasonic announce it would soon be entering the full-frame market with two new models, while Canon and Nikon have both recently launched full-frame mirrorless cameras as well. This is on top of both manufacturers full-frame DSLR cameras that they already offer, as well as Sony's extensive range of FF cameras. 

What makes a full-frame camera so special? Most entry-level and mid-price DSLR and mirrorless cameras sport an APS-C sized sensor, with the physical dimensions of the chip measuring 23.6 x 15.7mm. 

A full-frame sensor on the other hand has larger dimensions of 36 x 24mm - the same size as a frame of 35mm film, hence the name 'full-frame', and offering a surface area 2.5x larger than an APS-C sized sensor. 

This allows for larger photosites (pixels to you and I) on the sensor, delivering better light gathering capabilities, which in turn means better image quality - especially at higher sensitivities.

Full-frame DSLRs used to be the preserve of professional photographers, but as the costs have dropped and lower-cost models have started to appear, many serious amateurs and enthusiasts can now enjoy the benefits of full-frame photography. 

But it's no longer just DSLRs that enjoy full-frame sensors. Sony muscled in on the full-frame market with its Alpha A7 range of full-frame mirrorless cameras, and as we've just touched upon, both Canon and Nikon have recently launched rival full-frame mirrorless cameras (supplementing but not replacing each company's DSLR range). Panasonic is the latest company to announce it will be launching a full-frame mirrorless camera, but we'll have to wait a bit longer until these cameras hit the shelves. 

To get an idea of what kind of DSLR or mirrorless camera you can get at different price points, try Best DSLR and Best mirrorless camera buying guides. Otherwise, here's our pick of the best full-frame cameras, both DSLR and mirrorless, you can buy right now:

Our top ten list of best full-frame camera starts just below, but we wanted to highlight a camera that, while it's not the the latest and greatest, we still think is a great buy. Sony's Alpha A7 II has since been replaced by the A7 III (which is in our top ten below), but is a great option if you're on a bit more of a budget, or you want to spend more money on lenses. Still available (as is the even more affordable Alpha A7), the A7 II includes a great 24.2MP full-frame sensor, a high-resolution electronic viewfinder and a very capable AF system. Handling isn't quite as refined though as the newer camera, but for the incredibly tempting price, this can be overlooked. You'll be hard pressed to find a better full-frame camera for your money.

Best full-frame cameras in 2018

Nikon's Z6 is the newest camera here and jumps straight in at the top of our best full-frame mirrorless camera chart. It's our pick thanks for a brilliant blend of features, performance, handling and price. The 24.5MP sensor delivers beautiful results with great color reproduction and fine detail, while the 273-point AF system is more than up to the job. There's also an impressive 12fps burst shooting speed, sensibly laid out controls and a lovely large and bright electronic viewfinder. Existing Nikon user? The FTZ adapter means you'll be able to use your existing F mount lenses too (though check compatibility for older lenses). All this makes the Z6 a brilliant choice for the enthusiast photographer or pro photographer looking for a second body. 

It may be pricey, but the Nikon D850 is the ultimate full-frame DSLR you can buy right now and possibly the most complete DSLR we've ever seen. A bold statement, but when you look at the spec, you can see why. The 45.4MP full-frame sensor delivers detail-rich images with brilliant dynamic range and excellent high ISO noise performance, while the advanced 153-point AF system is hard to beat. Add in 7fps burst shooting, a rock-solid build and refined handling and the D850 is pretty much at the top of its game for any subject you want to shoot. A brilliant piece of kit that won't disappoint. 

The Alpha A7 III might be the entry-level full-frame camera in Sony's mirrorless range, but it's no poor relation. This is a brilliant camera for both enthusiasts and professionals thanks to the excellent 24.2MP full-frame sensor, advanced 693-point AF (borrowed from the flagship Alpha A9) and 10fps burst shooting should mean you'll never miss another shot. It can also shoot uncropped 4K video, features a very good 5-axis image stabilization system and high-resolution electronic viewfinder. Until recently, our pick of the 'entry-level' mirrorless cameras, but it's just been pipped by the Nikon Z6. 

Nikon's first full-frame mirrorless camera along with the Z6, the Z7 is triumph. As a first-generation camera we should expect the odd hiccup, but the Z7 has been crafted with consideration and it behaves far better than we should expect. A solid sensor, combined with effective image stabilization, together with a beautiful EVF, excellent handling, very competent AF performance and great response throughout form the bones of what make this camera such a pleasure to use. Nikon has smashed our expectations.

Like the look of the A7 III but want more pixels? Then the 42.2MP Alpha A7R III is the answer. Not only is the resolution double, but Sony's managed to keep the burst rate at 10fps. And while the 399-point AF system isn't quite as advanced at the 693-point system used in the Alpha A9 and A7 III, it's still performs brilliant - especially with the camera's EyeAF mode that locks onto your subjects eye. Like the Nikon D850 at the top of the list, the Alpha A7R III means you no longer have to sacrifice performance for resolution or vice versa. This is a camera that would be equally at home perched on a mountain as in a studio or shooting action.

The EOS 5D Mark IV pretty much tweaks and improves on everything the Mark III offered. This includes a brilliant new 30.4MP sensor that delivers pin-sharp results, an advanced and sophisticated 61-point AF system, a pro-spec performance, 4K video and some very polished handling. Put this all together, along with a host of other features and it all combines to make the EOS 5D Mark IV one of the best DSLRs we've seen. Now overshadowed by the mighty D850 as our full-frame DSLR of choice.

The EOS R is Canon's first full-frame mirrorless camera and features a completely new RF lens mount, though if you're an existing Canon user, there are three EF mount adapters available. The 30.3MP sensor delivers some great results, while the AF performance is excellent. The finish is also lovely (although somewhat prone to the same scuffing as some other matte-finish models) and handling overall is very good, but there's certainly room for improvement here. The lack of an AF joystick, the absence of a mode dial, and the questionable M-Fn control all frustrate. There's also the slightly under-baked 4K video, and the absence of in-body image stabilization. It should certainly satisfy many Canon DSLR owners looking for a solid mirrorless alternative. If we weren't bound by a system, however, we'd find it hard to recommend the EOS R over its rivals. 

Until the arrival of the Alpha A7 III, the Nikon D750 was our pick of the more affordable full-frame options out there. It's starting to show its age, but the D750 is still a very well-rounded DSLR that has a lot to offer. This includes a cracking 24.3MP sensor, decent weatherproofing, an advanced 51-point AF system and useful tilting screen. Its continuous shooting speed of 6.5fps isn't quite as fast as some may have hoped for, while video is only Full HD, but on the whole the Nikon D750 is a well-equipped, well-priced choice for enthusiast photographers.

Canon has certainly made some significant improvements over the outgoing EOS 6D, packing in a host of new features including a fresh sensor, a faster processor, a much more credible AF system and a stronger burst rate. It's a much more well-rounded and better specified camera than the EOS 6D, but it's not without its issues. These niggles dull what is otherwise a very nice full-frame DSLR that's a pleasure to shoot with. It will certainly please Canon users looking to make the move into full-frame photography, but others might be better served elsewhere.

The D5 is Nikon's latest flagship DSLR, and it certainly doesn't disappoint. 20.8 megapixels might seem a bit stingy, but it means the D5 can shoot at 12fps continuous shooting, while the extended ISO range of ISO 3,280,000 has never been seen before in a camera. That's even before we get to the autofocus system - with a coverage of 173 AF points (99 of which are cross-type), the sophistication and speed of the AF is staggering. The ability to shoot 4K video is restricted to three minutes however, but that aside the D5 is a phenomenal camera that's used by professionals the world over.

Not sure whether to buy a DSLR or mirrorless camera? Check out our guide video below.

Categories: Tech News

AI is helping people regain mobility and control over their lives

Tue, 12/11/2018 - 06:14

Artificial Intelligence is an intriguing prospect on many levels, but it’s where AI directly affects people and improves their lot where things get really exciting. Case in point is the collaboration between Hoobox Robotics and Intel, which has seen the conception, design and eventual creation of the world’s first motorized wheelchair package powered by facial recognition technology.

Hoobox has managed to harness the power of Intel’s AI technology and produce the Wheelie 7, its latest incarnation of an add-on kit that allows a motorized wheelchair user to move forwards, turn and stop without the need for body sensors.

Smart solution

Hoobox claims that it will take just seven minutes to install the Wheelie 7 kit. Central to the way the system works is a 3D Intel RealSense Depth Camera SR300. This is mounted to the wheelchair and is subsequently used to stream data taken from the facial gestures of its user.

In turn, AI algorithms process that data in real time, and it’s this that allows the user to take control of their own wheelchair movements. The accompanying software is able to recognize several different facial movements, including a full or half smile, a wrinkled brow, someone making a kiss gesture as well as tongue-out or puffed cheeks. These gestures can then be assigned to actions, which allow the user to go forwards and backwards, left or right and stop the wheelchair too.

At the core of this ingenious idea is the use of Intel’s Open Visual Inference & Neural Network Optimization toolkit (or OpenVINO as it’s better known). The package is already being used to develop smart solutions for a range of applications, including surveillance, smart cities and manufacturing, but the world of healthcare is where it’s being enlisted to great effect for something like the Wheelie kit.

OpenVINO includes a deep learning deployment toolkit, a model optimizer and inference engine plus computer vision algorithms. In other words, it allows a company like Hoobox Robotics to develop a unit that tackles a real human need much more rapidly that it could have done before.

Building blocks

While there is obviously a lot of development work involved in producing something like the Wheelie kit, Intel’s package comes with pre-trained data models and code samples, meaning that developers can produce their prototypes more quickly.

“It’s important to recognize the ways technology can help people regain mobility and control of their lives. The Wheelie 7 kit from Hoobox Robotics is a great example of using AI to enable people with limited mobility to move around using natural facial movements,” said Anna Bethke, leader of AI for Social Good at Intel when the Wheelie 7 was unveiled last week during International Day of Persons with Disabilities. 

There’s no doubt that the demand for AI to deliver high-tech solutions for people with disabilities is high. In the United States, the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center estimates there are approximately 288,000 people in the country living with spinal cord injuries, and about 17,700 new cases every year.

It’s important to recognize the ways technology can help people regain mobility and control of their lives

Anna Bethke, Intel

However, one of the biggest hurdles of using a motorized wheelchair in the past has been the need for complex sensors to be placed on the body, which in turn can be difficult and unwieldy to use, or require help from someone else in order to work efficiently. The AI used to power Wheelie 7 does away with all of that.

Hoobox Robotics also says that the Wheelie 7 doesn’t need any degree of training. In fact, thanks to the way the system can handle real-time analysis and functions with a high degree of precision, a user can quickly enjoy the benefits of this out-of-the box solution. In addition, it requires very little in the way of setup. The package is comprised of an on-board computer, a 3D camera, a navigation sensor, a camera gooseneck for optimum positioning and the latest Wheelie software needed to run the system. Crucially, there’s also ‘The Gimme’ – hardware developed by Hoobox that lets you robotize any electric wheelchair.

Tech pioneers

Hoobox Robotics says that currently there are more than 60 people in the United States who are testing the AI solution, but the company is quick to reiterate the importance of the help they’ve had from Intel with its computing power and the OpenVINO tookit to get the idea from conception to creation.

“The Wheelie 7 is the first product to use facial expressions to control a wheelchair,” said Dr Paulo Pinheiro, co-founder and CEO of Hoobox Robotics. “This requires incredible precision and accuracy, and it would not be possible without Intel technology. We are helping people regain their autonomy.”

The Wheelie 7 is the first product to use facial expressions to control a wheelchair

Dr Paulo Pinheiro, Hoobox Robotics

Perhaps the only downside to the Wheelie 7 kit is the fact that it is currently only available as a subscription-based package, which according to the Hoobox Robotics website is $300 (about £250, AU$400) a month based on a 12-month plan. That does seem like a lot, but given the freedom that it might be able to offer people in wheelchairs then perhaps it’s actually good value.

However, for anyone who can’t afford that kind of outlay then it must be hugely frustrating. While AI is indeed a great thing, tackling the affordability aspect to provide accessibility for everyone must surely be the next breakthrough that’s needed.

Categories: Tech News

PlayStation Classic now supports wireless DualShock controllers thanks to 8Bitdo

Tue, 12/11/2018 - 05:44

Sony's PlayStation Classic retro console certainly takes its inspiration from Nintendo's miniaturized machines – right down to the 'nostalgia factor' of bundling the box with old-school wired gamepads. Wired gamepads, might we add, that have cables so short you'll be sat right next to your TV – a recipe for the square eyes our parents warned us about.

Accessory makers 8-BitDo have come to the rescue however – it's opening up pre-orders for a USB adaptor that lets you use all manner of wireless pads, lag free, with the mini console.

That opens up the newer DualShock 4 and DualShock 3 pads for use with the console. But that's not all – the dongle can be used with the Nintendo Switch, Windows, Mac and Raspberry Pi machines, and can also support the Nintendo Switch Pro, Switch Joy-Cons, Wii Mote, Wii U Pro and a number of other lesser-known wireless USB pads, giving all the mentioned computers and consoles use all manner of other pads.

A real classic?

It's a pity then that the PlayStation Classic itself is a bit of a disappointment. Though its external design is a great mini mimic of the original groundbreaking console, its pre-installed game library is missing out on some of the "classics" to make it justify its name.

The console also uses a lackluster emulation system that sees some games run in ways inferior even to Sony's own previous emulation efforts with the PSP, PS Vita and PlayStation 3.

Still, if you've got that retro bug and want the comfort of a wire-free life in the near future, pre-orders are open now at $19.99 (around £16 / AU$28).

Categories: Tech News

Leak reveals powerful Nvidia RTX 2060 GPU for laptops (along with Max-Q variant)

Tue, 12/11/2018 - 05:39

A new leak has pointed to the existence of a Max-Q spin of Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card aimed at laptops, and the alleged spec of this GPU – and the vanilla RTX 2060 Mobility – has been spilled.

This comes from prolific leaker TUM_APISAK, who shared the details on Twitter, after having found them via the 3DMark database of benchmarks, in an entry for a Lenovo 81HE laptop (as spotted by Tom’s Hardware).

Apparently, Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2060 Mobility will run with a base clock of 960MHz, and it will be equipped with 6GB of GDDR6 video memory clocked at 1,750MHz.

As for the RTX 2060 Max-Q variant – which is Nvidia’s tech for optimizing the overall design and power consumption of the GPU to better fit into thin and light laptops – this will up the base clock speed to 975MHz, but the 6GB of memory will be clocked slower at 1,500MHz.

That’s assuming these benchmarks are on the money – as ever, this comes with all the usual caveats related to rumors.

Note that as Tom’s Hardware observes, a previous Geekbench leak has pegged the base clock of the RTX 2060 at a lesser 1,200MHz, but as ever, slightly different figures are often flying around with these pieces of pre-release speculation (what with GPUs being tested, and of course, the possibility of some leaks being fabrications).

3DMark result

At any rate, TUM_APISAK kept the other spec details hidden, but he did let us know that the RTX 2060 hit a score of around 19,000 in the 3DMark 11 benchmark (on Performance), meaning it sits above the GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, but is slightly slower than the vanilla GTX 1070 for laptops. Apparently a better score was recorded that wasn't shared, so performance could be pretty nippy indeed...

This leak is also interesting because previous speculation has indicated that there wouldn’t be a Max-Q version of the RTX 2060, and that Nvidia would only be going this route with the RTX 2080 and 2070 (although a 2060 Ti has been mentioned in the more distant past).

More options are always welcome, assuming all this is correct. We shouldn’t have long to wait to find out, as Nvidia is expected to reveal these new laptop graphics cards at CES in January.

Categories: Tech News

Microsoft's latest Windows 10 19H1 build hints at what 2019 has in store for Windows

Tue, 12/11/2018 - 05:36

Microsoft has released a new Windows 10 19H1 build for people who are signed up as Windows Insiders on the Fast Ring, which means they get a chance to test out upcoming Windows 10 updates before they are officially released.

The new build (18298) features several new changes that give us an idea of what we can expect for Windows 10 in 2019.

While Microsoft hasn’t had the best track record of late with its Windows 10 updates, we remain cautiously optimistic that for those of us who aren’t signed up as Windows Insiders will see this update, and the changes it brings, soon.

What’s new

This update brings some tweaks to the interface, as well as usability improvements to some classic features of Windows.

First of all, the File Explorer icon has been updated, and it now looks better when used with Windows 10’s new light theme.

The update also makes the Download folder sort files by date they were downloaded by default. This is a handy move, as it makes it easier to find recent downloads in a folder that can often get crammed with unhelpfully-named files.

The Start menu has also seen improvements, and users will be able to quickly unpin groups and folders that have previously been pinned to the Start menu. By pinning a folder or group, it remains in the main part of the Start menu for easy access. By being able to right-click and select ‘Unpin’, users can now more easily organise the Start menu.

The new build will also make typing on a touchscreen much better, which will be good news for people who have a Windows 10 tablet and use Windows 10’s Touch keyboard to type.

The Touch keyboard should now be more accurate for fast typers, with Microsoft revealing that “we will now dynamically adjust the hit target of each key, based on prediction of what letter most likely will be typed next”.

Narrator, the Windows 10 tool that reads what’s on screen for people with visual impairments, has also been improved, with a new Narrator Home window that groups together all the tools and settings when you use Narrator.

Windows stalwarts Console and Notepad have seen improvements that make them easier to use and more useful than ever before.

Build 18298 also consolidates sign-in options in an improved Sign-in options window, so it should be easier to set up how you log into Windows 10 and various other services.

There’s a huge range of other improvements, including a new Gallery mode in the Game Bar, which can be read in Microsoft’s extensive changelog.

If you are a Windows Insider and want to test out the new features, check the Windows Update app to download the latest build. For the rest of us, we’ll have to hold tight until the new year, but this early version at least gives us an idea of what Windows 10 has in store for us in 2019.

Categories: Tech News

Google Fit gets a major update with new homescreen widgets

Tue, 12/11/2018 - 05:33

Google Fit has received a major overhaul – just in time for tracking the excesses of the festive period. According to Android Central, the app now shows your daily progress (including steps, calorie intake and time spent active) via smart widgets on your phone's home screen, which should provide motivation to avoid that second wedge of Christmas cake.

Your most recent workout will also appear on your phone's home screen, and when you log a workout in your journal manually, you'll be able to set a custom activity level. This enables the app to analyze it more accurately and produce Heart Points (a reward for increasing your heart rate during exercise).

Shaping up nicely

Google Fit received its last big update in August, when it was redesigned to follow Google's Material Design style and altered to focus on heart rate rather than duration of exercise. The changes were based on recommendations from the American Heart Association and World Health Organization.

Despite their usefulness, widgets were removed during the August redesign, so it's good to see them making a return.

It's not all work, either; the redesigned Google Fit for Wear OS watches now offers new breathing exercises to help you keep your cool during the last-minute Christmas shopping frenzy.

Categories: Tech News

Facebook seeks patents for tech that predicts your every move

Tue, 12/11/2018 - 05:28

If you allow Facebook access to your smartphone's location settings, chances are the app already has a pretty good idea of where you are in the world at any given time.

But what if Facebook could predict where you are going next? That's exactly what could happen in the future according to a patent filed by the social media giant for an application called 'Offline Trajectories'. 

According to the wording of the patent, the application could theoretically use your previous location data as well as that of other users to make predictions on where you may be headed next.

Take, for example, a typical Tuesday afternoon – perhaps you normally head to the gym straight from work. If the application determines that you are currently at your work address, it could then infer that you are likely to go the gym that afternoon, calculating the probability of you doing so. 

Where are you going?

Why would Facebook want to do this? Well, if your 4G connection at the gym is prone to dropping out, it might preload your news feed, so you never have to go without your social media fix. 

But how could Facebook use the data of other users habits to predict your next move? Another patent for a similar application, named 'Location Prediction Using Wireless Signals on Online Social Networks' could do just that by examining the habits of users in comparable demographics to you. 

For example, if you're visiting Berlin on holiday, Facebook could look at where other users of a similar age group tend to go in the city. Although the company hasn't revealed why this data would be useful to them, the likelihood is that knowing where you are likely to go means it can display targeted ads specific to your likely destination. 

As with any patent application, it's important to remember that these plans may never even come to fruition. A spokesperson for Facebook told Buzzfeed News that, "we often seek patents for technology we never implement, and patent applications -- such as this one -- should not be taken as an indication of future plans."

Whether the proposed technology is ever implemented or not, one thing is for certain – Facebook is always looking for ways to better personalize its applications. And whether that's a good or bad thing remains to be seen.

Via Engadget

Categories: Tech News

Sage: Get ready for a new era of payments

Tue, 12/11/2018 - 05:25
What trends are you currently seeing in mobile payments?

Firstly, non-card payment types in digital wallets are starting to emerge, which means merchants will be able to bypass interchange fees from the card providers. However, Payment Service Providers will need to support these new payments types, which will ultimately slow down their adoption as they seek to adapt their own technology. Also, since the TfL launched its contactless card payment option, contactless has continued to grow outside the M25 and we’re witnessing similar systems being implemented in other cities, such as on Manchester buses.

Do you foresee a growth in contactless mobile payments?

In 2016, contactless mobile payments accounted for 19% of all card transactions, while in 2018 they have accounted for 49% of all card transactions, overtaking chip and pin. It is likely this growth will continue as customers are now adding their usual credit and/or debit cards to their mobile wallet to make payments, rather than using new payment types. I estimate that around 20% of digital wallets will overtake physical cards in two to three years’ time.  

What do you think is driving the growth of contactless payments?

This change is being driven by the wave of younger, more technologically inclined audiences, which is reflected in the demographics of those making payments. People aged 65 or older are the least likely to make contactless payments, with only 40% of people in this age group doing so. This contrasts with 60% of the 25-34 age bracket.

Mobile payments give consumers an all in one solution that offers them improved convenience. Consumers undoubtedly appreciate the added value and freedom which they get from being able to make payments from the same device that they use to manage the rest of their digital lives, from checking their emails to taking photographs. 

In the future, do you think there will be a wider spread of market share when it comes to mobile payments?

Mobile payments are currently dominated by Apple Pay and Google Pay. However it’s possible third party companies will develop wallet apps that operate in a similar way, as long as they aren’t blocked by either Apple or Google. It could be possible on Android, but Apple has applied API restrictions, meaning it is the only provider able to use near field communication with Apple Pay today. 

Unless digital wallet providers can use contactless EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa), which is the standard used for the chips in cards, such as a barcode system, we’re not likely to see a wider spread of adoption because the customer experience will be clunky and the services will remain niche.

How does WiFi connectivity affect mobile payments?

Internet connectivity is essential for customers if they are performing ecommerce digital wallet transactions, especially with the upcoming 5G connectivity. However, this does not apply for contactless EMV in stores, unless their payment device is powered by their smartphone or a WiFi connected device. Ubiquitous, reliable WiFi would help to increase the adoption of mobile payment transactions, so merchants should treat this as an essential utility when building their operations.  

What advice do you have for merchants looking to avoid issues with mobile functions not working?

Merchants should view connectivity as an essential utility when building their operations and a key business priority, in the same way they would a card reader and other basic infrastructure, to ensure that they don’t unnecessarily lose valuable business. This means that a reliable internet connection should be in place, whether it is 5G or WiFi. If necessary, they should have alternate avenues for backup payment acceptance, either via Ethernet or GPRS/3G if things do go wrong.


Liz Leigh-Bowler is Director of Product Marketing – Worldwide Payments & Banking, Sage 

Categories: Tech News

NHS majorly lacking in cybersecurity knowledge

Tue, 12/11/2018 - 05:15

The NHS has put itself at risk of suffering more major cyberattacks due to a lack of proper skills and training.

An FOI request has uncovered large disparities among NHS trusts across the country when it comes to cybersecurity protection in the health service, which could leave the service open to attacks.

The request, submitted by security firm Redscan, found that on average, NHS trusts employ only one qualified security professional per 2,582 employees, with nearly a quarter (24 out of 108 trusts) having no employees with security qualifications despite some employing as many as 16,000 full and part-time personnel.

This was in spite of trusts spending an average of £5,356 on data security training, although this did not include free in-house NHS Digital tools. Despite NHS Digital demanding that 95 percent of all staff must pass free Information Governance training every 12 months, currently only 12 percent of trusts had met this.

NHS cybersecurity

The NHS' lack of cybersecurity protection was highlighted last year after the WannaCry attack cost the service an estimated £92m. 

This led the Government to increase cybersecurity funding by £150m and also introduce a number of new security policies, however without the skills needed to utilise these properly, this may be only papering over the cracks.

“These findings shine a light on the cyber security failings of the NHS, which is struggling to implement a cohesive security strategy under difficult circumstances,” explained Redscan director of cybersecurity, Mark Nicholls. 

“Individual trusts are lacking in-house cybersecurity talent and many are falling short of training targets; meanwhile investment in security and data protection training is patchy at best. The extent of discrepancies is alarming, as some NHS organisations are far better resourced, funded and trained than others.” 

Categories: Tech News

OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition vs OnePlus 6T

Tue, 12/11/2018 - 05:10

The OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition was far from a well kept secret, but the 'salute to speed' is now official and it’s everything you'd probably expect from a OnePlus and McLaren crossover.

But is it much different to or much of an upgrade on the OnePlus 6T? After all, that’s still a fairly recent flagship and the McLaren Edition isn’t a completely new entry in the range, rather it’s a reworked version of the 6T.

With that in mind we’ve created this article, highlighting all their similarities and differences, covering the design, power, price and more to get you up to speed on this speedy new flagship.

OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition vs OnePlus 6T design

The standard OnePlus 6T has a fairly plain glass back

The OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition looks a lot like the standard OnePlus 6T from the front – both have an almost all-screen design with a teardrop notch above it.

Flip the phones over though and it’s a very different story. For the most part you can get the OnePlus 6T in either a glossy ‘Mirror Black’ or a matte ‘Midnight Black’. Either way you’re getting a fairly plain black glass back. Though there is also a ‘Thunder Purple’ version with a two-tone finish on the back.

Regardless, the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition kicks things up a gear as while the back is still black, it has a carbon fiber pattern based on the “groundbreaking carbon fiber” that McLaren uses in its cars.

The McLaren Edition adds a carbon fiber effect and orange edging

The back is also designed to let light streak across it, and the bottom edge is ‘Papaya Orange’ (McLaren’s signature color), a shade which streaks part way up the sides before disappearing.

The other design difference, of course, is the McLaren logo, which is found at the bottom of the back. Overall there’s a lot more going on in the McLaren Edition’s design and we suspect the orange color won’t suit everyone, but it’s sure to appeal to fans of the brand.

OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition vs OnePlus 6T display

Both phones have a big screen and a teardrop notch

There’s no difference in the screen - both of these phones have a 6.41-inch 1080 x 2340 AMOLED display with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio and 402 pixels per inch.

Resolution aside it’s a screen we were impressed by in our OnePlus 6T review so the same will probably hold true for the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition. Both phones also have a fingerprint scanner built into the screen.

OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition vs OnePlus 6T OS and power

The only real specs difference between the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition and the standard OnePlus 6T is that the McLaren Edition comes with 10GB of RAM, while the standard OnePlus 6T tops out at 8GB. Whether that will make much real difference when 8GB is already more than most phones have remains to be seen.

The OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition also comes with 256GB of storage. You can get that much with the standard OnePlus 6T but it’s the top size – many models come with just 128GB.

The extra RAM in the McLaren Edition might make it a multi-tasking machine

Other than that, the core specs and power are much the same, with both phones using a Snapdragon 845 chipset. Both phones also run Android 9 Pie overlaid with the OxygenOS UI, however, the McLaren Edition does have some exclusive McLaren-inspired software animations.

OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition vs OnePlus 6T camera and battery

There’s no difference between the cameras on these phones, meaning that both handsets have a dual-lens camera on the back, with 16MP and 20MP lenses, and both have a 16MP single lens camera on the front.

They also both have a 3,700mAh battery, but there’s a difference in the charging speeds, as while the OnePlus 6T supports fast charging, delivering up to a day’s power in half an hour, the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition uses a technology called ‘Warp Charge 30’, which supposedly provides a day’s power in 20 minutes.

The OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition has an orange charging cable

It does this through integrated circuits in both the charger and the phone, and "finely tuned power management software", which allows it to consistently deliver 30 watts of power.

It's worth noting also that the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition's charger has a Papaya Orange braided cord cable, to match the orange on the phone.

OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition vs OnePlus 6T price and availability

The OnePlus 6T is of course out now and starts at $549/£499 (around AU$770). However, that's for a version with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. To get close to the specs of the McLaren Edition you need to spend $629/£579 (roughly AU$880) for one with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.

The OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition meanwhile will be available in the UK and the US from December 13, at a cost of $699/£649 (approximately AU$970, though it's unlikely to get an official release in Australia).

Whichever version you go for you'll pay less than most flagships cost

So you're paying around $70/£70 more for the McLaren Edition. Or more precisely you're paying that much more for an extra 2GB of RAM and a different finish on the back of the phone.

Having said that, you do get some extras with the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition, as it comes with both a book, celebrating the history of the two companies, and a McLaren Speedmark logo made out of carbon fiber.

Takeaway

Ultimately the main differences between the standard OnePlus 6T and the McLaren Edition are that with the latter you get an extra 2GB of RAM and a different design on the back of the phone. 

You’ll pay an extra $70/£70 for that, which is actually not too massive a price difference and ensures the McLaren Edition still undercuts most flagships.

This is probably mostly one for McLaren fans and if that’s you then the Speedmark and book should help the jump in price feel even less significant.

If you're not a McLaren fan but like the design then the new phone could still be worth buying, but if you already have a normal OnePlus 6T you're probably not missing out on much.

Categories: Tech News

OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition officially unveiled

Tue, 12/11/2018 - 05:09

The OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition smartphone has been officially unveiled during an event held at the performance car maker's British HQ. 

The headline features for the McLaren Edition of the OnePlus 6T include a new color variant, with McLaren's signature 'Papaya Orange' wrapping around the bottom edge of the handset and fading to black as it reaches the top, 10GB of RAM and a new fast charging technology.

OnePlus has also created a carbon fiber-like pattern under the rear glass, plus the McLaren logo also sits on the back of the phone.

With 10GB of RAM, the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition adds two extra gig to the 8GB, top-spec standard 6T. You still get 256GB of storage though, like the top-spec 6T model.

A day's power in 20 minutes

The OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition debuts a new technology for OnePlus, Warp Charge 30. Building on the brands Dash Charge technology, OnePlus claims Warp Charge 30 can give you a day's power in 20 minutes. That's down from 30 minutes with Dash Charge, making Warp Charge 38% faster.

It's called Warp Charge 30, because 30 Watts of power will flow into the handset when charging.

The OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition release date is set for December 13 in Western Europe and North America, with availability in India, China and the Nordics soon after. 

The OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition price is set at $699 (£649), which is $70 (£70) more than the 8GB+256GB top-spec configuration of the standard OnePlus 6T.

Considering the price of Huawei's Porsche Design and Oppo's Lamborghini edition handsets, the price increase for the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition is relatively modest, although the upgrades provided here are relatively minimal.

You do, however, get a McLaren Speedmark logo in the special presentation box as well, made of the same carbon fiber as the firm's F1 car.

This is likely to be a limited edition handset, although it's currently unclear how many unit will be available.

Categories: Tech News

Xiaomi Mi A1 now receiving Android 9 Pie update

Tue, 12/11/2018 - 00:09

After Nokia, it’s now Xiaomi’s turn to receive Android 9 Pie software updates, starting with the Mi A1 and A2. Other Xiaomi phones that have started receiving the update include the Poco F1, as well as the Mi 8 which is yet to release in India.

The Mi A2 has already been receiving the Android 9 Pie update globally over the last few weeks. So far, only the Chinese variant of the A1 (called the Mi 5X) had the added feature of FM Radio, which will now be available to A1 users globally through the software update. Users can also expect a slew of other features via the Pie update, most notably Pixel’s Pill button gesture-based navigation, adaptive battery and brightness, App Slices and Actions, and Digital Wellbeing.

Other smartphones running Xiaomi’s MIUI are expected to receive Android 9 Pie-based updates to the existing Mi OS starting next year, although there is no set date for the rollout to begin.

Categories: Tech News

Instagram Direct introduces walkie-talkie voice messaging

Mon, 12/10/2018 - 20:25

Sick of typing out Instagram Direct messages like a chump? Well, you're in luck, because the latest version of the popular photo sharing app (ver. 73.0.0.22.185) now allows users to send their friends quick voice recordings. 

All you have to do in order to start communicating walkie-talkie style, is open any Direct message thread, then tap and hold the microphone icon to begin the voice recording process.

Once you've offered your two cents, release your finger from the recording icon to send your voice message. This will work with either individual or group message threads.

Unlike walkie-talkies, your messages will stick around, allowing your buddies to reply to your recordings at their leisure. The new feature arrives just six months after the introduction of video calling on the platform. 

Instagram Voice Messaging is available now for both iOS and Android devices. 

Image via TechCrunch

Categories: Tech News

Sigma announces the official release of its 70-200mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Sport lens

Mon, 12/10/2018 - 20:00

At Photokina 2018 in September, Sigma revealed five new lenses to the world, including a large aperture telephoto zoom lens. At the time it was, perhaps, the most anticipated Sigma lens reveal, and we were told to expect it on shelves in December.

The Japanese photography company has kept its promise and announced that the flagship 70-200mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Sports lens will be available on shelves later this month. However, it's already up for pre-order.

While the new 70-200mm f/2.8 lens is called a “Sports” lens, its optical formula is similar to that of Sigma’s Art range. The build is a magnesium alloy body that’s both dust- and splash-proof while also sporting a water- and oil-repellent coating on the front glass.

It features an 11-blade aperture diaphragm to perfect bokeh captures, and boasts built-in image stabilization to keep images sharp.

It also incorporates Sigma's Intelligent OS, with an acceleration sensor that's capable of detecting panning in all directions.

On a budget

Priced at $1,499 (about £1,194/AU$2,085), Sigma's 70-200mm option joins two other f/2.8 lenses to complete a pro-zoom trio – the 14-24mm and 24-70mm Art lenses.

Like most of Sigma’s lenses, this price point makes the 70-200mm Sports lens cheaper than its Canon and Nikon counterparts. It’s about $600 (around £480/AU$830) cheaper than the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 III IS USM lens and about $1,000 (£800/AU$1,400) more affordable than Nikon’s 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR lens.

The Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Sports lens comes in Canon EF,  Nikon F and Sigma mounts.

Categories: Tech News

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