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Best rugged hard drives of 2019: top drop-proof storage

Mon, 08/12/2019 - 16:18

Welcome to our guide to the best rugged hard drives on the market in 2019. On this page you'll find the best rugged hard drives that can withstand high temperatures, liquid spills and knocks and drops, all while keeping your important information safe and secure.

The best rugged hard drives will function similarly to any other hard drive, but they have extremely durable builds that allow them to withstand knocks and drops, and many will also be protected from extreme temperatures, water and dust.

The best rugged hard drives will therefore grant extra protection to your important files and documents, so if you’re often on the road, or you work outdoors, then these storage solutions are essential.

Even if you’re not on the road all that often, or if you work in a normal office, a rugged hard drive can still come in handy.

The best rugged hard drives come in every shape and size, and they’ll come with a wide variety of tools and features, so we went ahead and gathered up the best rugged hard drives to help you find the perfect match.

If you're not too concerned with rugged hard drives, check out our list of the best external hard drives instead. 

The Buffalo MiniStation Extreme NFC is very flexible, and comes with a rugged case that's dust and water resistant, along with a built-in USB 3.0 cable. It's actually our top choice in our best external hard drive list as well.

Not only is your data kept protected from knocks and drops with the rugged shell, but it's also got 256-bit AES security features and NFC (Near Field Communication) features as well.

Essentially it allows you to unlock the drive to get to your files quickly and easily by tapping the supplied NFC card onto the drive's body. Pretty neat!

The Adata SE730 makes our list of the best rugged hard drives thanks to its clever casing that uses a concealed port to ensure it's water-resistant, so splashes and even very quick drops into water won't faze this drive. It has an IP68 rating, so it's also dust-proof, and it has been drop tested to check that it complies with MIL-STD-810 military standards. It features a solid state drive, so it's nice and quick as well as rugged.

The Transcend StoreJet 25M3 is encased in three layers including a shock absorbing silicone shell, and reinforced outer case. It has also been drop-tested to US Military standards, and it shows. This is a seriously sturdy hard drive that can take most knocks and drops - ideal if you often take your external hard drive travelling with you. It also comes with plenty of additional features, such as a one touch Auto-Backup button, and a quick reconnect button to make sure there's no issues when you unplug it.

The Adata SD700 will suit those looking for a rugged storage device that can provide ample capacity without costing too much. It performs superbly well and remains the only SSD we’ve seen that is IP68 rated. 

Thanks to the solid state drive that resides in this external hard drive, it's a lot faster than external drives that use traditional spinning hard drives - so you're getting great transfer speeds as well as rugged protection.

It also comes in capacities up to 1TB, so you don't have to worry about missing out on storage space just because it uses an SSD - this drive really does hit all the right notes.


The Silicon Power Armor A80 proves that you don't need to be big and bulky to be rugged and waterproof. It's an impressively compact hard drive that manages to fit in plenty of storage space, and IPX7 waterproofing, allowing it be be submerged in up to 1m of water for up to 30 minutes. It's also dust proof and can withstand up to 300kg of pressure.

If you want something small, but still extremely durable, then the LaCie Rugged Mini might be the best rugged hard drive for you. LaCie is an extremely trusted brand when it comes to external hard drives, and its expertise shines through with this device. It’s not an SSD, but it still performs extremely well when it comes to raw transfer speeds, and its small size means it’s easy to carry around. But, its diminutive stature also means it’s not the most durable drive on this list, but for everyday usage, this is one of the best rugged hard drives you can buy today. 

The Adata HD710 is certainly an eye catching rugged hard drive, and it's also one of the best, thanks to a durable case made of a unique silicone material that includes military-grade shock resistance that's also waterproof and dustproof. It can withstand being submerged in up to 1.5 meters of water for up to 60 minutes, and with a 1TB capacity, it also offers plenty of storage space.

If you need to protect a huge amount of data, with incredibly fast data transfer speeds, then the Lacie Rugged RAID is the best rugged hard drive for you. With two hard drives set up in RAID 0 configuration, this drive is capable of an impressive 240MB/s speed. You can also use it in RAID 1, which mirrors your data give essentially gives you a built-in backup in case one drive gets damaged. It's also built to last with a case that's water, dust and drop protected.

Categories: Tech News

Best microSD cards of 2019: flash memory for cameras, drones and more

Mon, 08/12/2019 - 16:16

Welcome to our pick for the best microSD cards in 2019. On this page, you'll find the best microSD cards that you can insert into your camera, smartphone or drone, and which will expand the storage capacity of those devices while also offering fast data transfer speeds.

When buying the best microSD card for your needs, one of the most important considerations is transfer rates. The best microSD cards will offer high speeds that are essential when moving large files to and from the card – as well as recording video in Ultra HD (4K) resolutions, as your device will be writing a lot of data.

And, obviously, you want to make sure you find a microSD card that has plenty of extra capacity for your devices, so you’re not always running out of space for your files.

These days, there are so many devices that use these little memory cards, from phones and cameras, to laptops and even the Nintendo Switch – so our list of the best SD cards money can buy can help make sure you’re getting the most out of all of your tech. 

The best microSD cards of 2019

The best SD card you can buy is technically a microSD card, albeit one that can be used full-size when married to the proper hardware. Despite not being the most resilient SD card on the market, the Samsung Evo Plus’ 100 megabyte per second (MB/s) read and 90MB/s write speeds are impressive nonetheless. Not only that, but there is a wide variety of sizes to choose from too, so whether you need 32GB of storage or 128GB, rest assured you’re in good hands.

If you do a lot of filming, especially in 4K, then you're going to want a reliable microSD card that can write large amounts of data fast, which is exactly what the Samsung Pro+ can do. It features a U3 rating and read/write speeds of 95MB/sec and 90MB/sec. The kind of speeds the Samsung Pro+ microSD card can handle will be largely wasted for day-to-day tasks, such as being installed in a smartphone, but for 4K video, this is a fantastic buy.

SanDisk claims this microSD card can read up to 95MB/s and write 90MB/s, and in tests it came pretty close to those speeds. This makes it a very fast card, and with smaller files it's even faster, which means this is a great card for action cams, drones or burst photography. Again, it's a bit on the pricey side, but if you don't mind spending a bit above the odds, you'll get a great microSD card for your needs.

The Lexar 1000x isn't the fastest microSD card here, but it has a lot going for it. For example, its read speeds are still some of the fastest around, and it's priced cheaper than many of its competitors. While it falls short with its write speeds, the difference won't be too noticeable for many people. It also comes with a microSD to USB 3.0 adapter, which makes it easy to transfer your files to a PC.

As you can probably tell from the number of entrants it has in our best microSD list, Samsung is excellent at producing fast, efficient and dependable microSD cards. The Samsung Evo Select is another great all-rounder that can happily sit in a digital camera, drone, phone or Nintendo Switch games console. While it doesn't necessarily excel in any one task, it is a strong performer that does the job well. Currently Samsung Evo Select microSD cards are only available from Amazon. While that makes hunting for a bargain a bit more tricky, it at least means you can buy with confidence from a reputable seller.

The SanDisk Ultra microSD is a brilliant microSD card for people who are looking for large capacities, with the latest version offering up to 400GB of storage space. That should give you plenty of room for storing high resolution images and video files. Write speeds are good, but they are not the fastest we've seen. If you shoot in 4K, that might be an issue, but for many people the slightly slower speeds are worth it for the amount of storage space you get.

If you're looking for a microSD card to put inside an action camera, like the Go Pro, then you want something that can record data quickly, while also being able to withstand drops, shocks and splashes. This is where the Kingston microSD Action Camera comes in - it's designed especially for action cameras. This means it has an incredibly robust design, as well as good read and write speeds. It's a bit overkill if you're just going to use it in a smartphone, so one of the other microSD cards in this list could be better suited to your needs.

Many microSD cards are low capacity, which is fine if you just need an extra bit of space in your smartphone or tablet, but if you're taking lots of high resolution images, or you want to take advantage of modern smartphone's support for microSD cards up to 2TB in size, then the Integral 512GB microSDXC Class 10 Memory Card is definitely worth considering, offering a huge 512GB of storage space. Of course, you can also get versions with less space if you don't need as much, but for those of you who need to store large files, this is the microSD card for you.

How to choose your microSD memory card
  • It's not worth looking for memory cards with capacities smaller than 4GB simply because the price premium you pay for twice or four times the storage is tiny.
  • Make sure you include the delivery price when doing the numbers as quite often you end up paying more for the postage than the drive itself, particularly for low-cost models.
  • If you plan to opt for large capacity cards (32GB or more), make sure that your device is SDXC compatible.
  • If you plan to move files to and from portable devices (tablets or smartphones), consider a microUSB card reader such as the Leef Access.
  • Avoid buying your memory cards from vendors with few feedbacks on auction websites as these drives might turn out to be fake. All the vendors listed below are tried and trusted ones.
  • For 128GB and above, SD cards are generally cheaper as users usually settle for 64GB as this matches the maximum supported capacity of most portable devices. In general, microSD cards with an adaptor cost less than the equivalent SD card.
  • Note that all the capacities are likely to be much less than stated when they are formatted.
  • SD cards are usually divided into classes which gives a rough idea of the minimum performance to be expected. A Class 4 card is guaranteed to deliver at least 4MBps while a Class 10 should surpass 10MBps.
  • Similarly, many vendors report their speeds in terms of "x" rating which is a multiple of 150KBps (the read speed of a standard CDROM drive). A 100x card can be expected to deliver more than 14MBps.
  • If you plan to buy microSD cards simply to store data, don't. Memory sticks, being cheaper and more robust, are a better choice.
Categories: Tech News

The Morning Show trailer, cast, release date and where to stream

Mon, 08/12/2019 - 15:36

When Apple announced its plans for a new streaming service called Apple TV Plus, The Morning Show was one of the first titles it announced. Starring Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carell and Reese Witherspoon it promises to be one of the biggest draws of the new service and, now that we have the first teaser trailers available on YouTube, the hype has never been higher.

So what, exactly, can we expect from the new drama? We know Apple has already ordered two seasons of the show and will draw - at least partially - from Brian Stelter's book Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV. It’s Steve Carell’s first lead in a TV show since The Office, and Aniston’s first major TV role since Friends back in the early Aughts. 

We also know who’s in charge of the show - that’s showrunner Kerry Ehrin. Ehrin is a longtime TV veteran, working on a number of series including Bates Motel, Friday Night Lights and The Wonder Years, the latter of which won her nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award in Outstanding Drama and Comedy Series, respectively.

Can’t wait to watch Apple’s inside look at the morning newsroom? Here’s what we know so far - or, if you want to hear about other upcoming show, check out our guides to Stranger Things season four, The Game of Thrones prequel and Netflix’s The Witcher

Cut to the chase 
  • What is it? Apple’s first big drama series
  • Where can I watch it? Apple TV Plus  
  • When will it be released? Autumn 2019 (September through November) 
The Morning Show trailers 

We caught our first glimpse of The Morning Show at Apple’s April press event, but we didn’t get a full teaser until mid-August. 

The trailer (embedded below) focuses on the conversations and tone we can expect from the series. We can overhear the characters talking about the fame and prestige that comes along with the show and how that stands in respect with their duty as journalists, and plays at ideas of truth in the news. It doesn’t really showcase the show’s talent all that much, but it does set expectations. 

The Morning Show release date 

The Morning Show might not have an exact release date just yet, but it does have a release window: Fall 2019. That’s when Apple said it plans on launching its streaming service, and it would make sense that this would be one of the first shows available on the service. 

We’ll update this section when we get a final release date from Apple.

What is The Morning Show about? 

Although it sounds like The Morning Show is Apple’s rival to Good Morning America, The Morning Show is a lot closer to The Newsroom than any of the morning news shows. That is to say it will be dramatic and dark with tons of character conflict. Expecting fluff segments with animal trainers? You won’t find that here. 

The best description we have of the series comes from series star Reese Witherspoon, who told the audience at Apple TV Plus’ April debut that the show “pulls back the curtain on the power dynamic between men and women in the high-stakes world of a morning news show.” 

So far we know that Aniston and Witherspoon both play leads in the show, with Carell playing a co-anchor named Mitch Kessler. Also listed on the IMDB page for the show is Billy Crudup (Big Fish, Watchmen, Almost Famous) and Nestor Carbonell (Bates Motel, LOST) among a number of other actors and actresses.

Where can you watch it?

For now, the only place you'll be able to stream the show is Apple TV Plus. Apple says it's a launch exclusive for the streaming service, but didn't say whether the show would remain there indefinitely or if it would eventually come to other networks. 

That's something we'll learn more about when the show debuts later this year.

Categories: Tech News

Researchers find over 40 security flaws in kernel drivers from AMD, NVIDIA, Intel and others

Mon, 08/12/2019 - 15:27

At this year's DefCon security conference, security researchers from Eclypsium revealed in a presentation that they have discovered common design flaws in over 40 kernel drivers from 20 different hardware vendors.

The design flaws found in the drivers could allow low-privileged applications to use legitimate driver functions to execute malicious actions within the most sensitive areas of Microsoft's Windows including the Windows kernel.

Principal Researcher at Eclypsium, Mickey Shkatov provided more details on the firm's discovery in an email to ZDNet, saying:

"There are a number of hardware resources that are normally only accessible by privileged software such as the Windows kernel and need to be protected from malicious read/write from userspace applications. The design flaw surfaces when signed drivers provide functionality which can be misused by userspace applications to perform arbitrary read/write of these sensitive resources without any restriction or checks from Microsoft." 

According to Shkatov, bad coding practices that don't take security into account are responsible for the flaws. Instead of making a driver only perform specific tasks, hardware vendors often write their code to be more flexible which in turn puts the security of systems using the drivers at risk.

Driver security flaws

Eclypsium has notified all of the hardware vendors whose drivers allow userspace apps to run kernel code and so far the list of affected companies includes American Megatrends International (AMI), ASRock, ASUSTeK Computer, AMD, Biostar, EVGA, Getac, GIGABYTE, Huawei, Insyde, Intel MSI, NVIDIA, Phoenix Technologies, Realtek Semiconductor, SuperMicro and Toshiba.

Shkatov points out that some vendors such as Intel and Huawei have already issued updates while independent BIOS vendors like Phoenix and Insyde are releasing updates to their customer OEMs. However, Eclypsium has not yet named all of the impacted vendors as some need extra time to address the issue.

Microsoft offered further clarity on the matter in a statement, saying:

"In order to exploit vulnerable drivers, an attacker would need to have already compromised the computer. To help mitigate this class of issues, Microsoft recommends that customers use Windows Defender Application Control to block known vulnerable software and drivers. Customers can further protect themselves by turning on memory integrity for capable devices in Windows Security. Microsoft works diligently with industry partners to address to privately disclose vulnerabilities and work together to help protect customers." 

For those interested in learning more, Eclypsium has published all of the details about its findings in a blog post on its site.

Via ZDNet

Categories: Tech News

iPhone 11 Pro would be the competitor Samsung doesn't want for the Note 10

Mon, 08/12/2019 - 14:22

What would be worse for Samsung this year? A new iPhone 11, one that garners a lot of attention and sales but sticks down the same tried-and-tested routes for Apple... or a less-popular iPhone 11 Pro?

The latter has been mentioned online in a recent leak, and it's got tongues wagging: what would the iPhone 11 Pro look like? What would it do? Why does it suddenly exist? Should that be the phone I should wait for?

For Samsung, these are the questions it doesn't want consumers asking - and for good reason following the wave of interest the Note 10 has garnered since launch.

But surely the South Korean giant shouldn't be worried? Apple and Samsung have long since fought in the same space and found that there's room for both - so why would the addition of a tiny word like 'pro' at the end of the name make any difference here?

The Note is no longer alone

Firstly, let's examine what the iPhone 11 Pro would be. Actually, before that it's worth noting (sorry) that this rumor has emerged based on a single tweet (admittedly, from a source with heritage in announcing new iPhone names). So we're going to be mostly working with conjecture here, rather than any cold, hard facts.

But stepping aside from the meager nature of the source, there are plenty of reasons to suggest that Apple could well be preparing the iPhone 11 Pro... or at least a Pro version of the phone for the future.

Firstly, we've seen (reported) prototype phones leaked onto the web in 2016 that sport the same three-pin dock connector as used on the iPad range to snap on a smart keyboard - so it's very likely Apple has been observing the market for the power user for a while.

The 'iPhone 7 Pro' leaked in 2016

However, the brand has been keen to keep things simple in its range, with the formula of a single device only spreading to two variants in 2014. Apple moved to three models in 2017, with the iPhone X joining the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus on stage - but it could be argued that the iPhone XS and XS Max are essentially the same phone, with the larger screen and battery the only differentiator.

Apple's iPhone sales are diminishing at the moment, falling where they were previously in explosive growth. That's partly the reason to push the price of the handset up - Apple being the first mainstream brand to make a smartphone costing over $1,000 to buy - as it sought higher margins to offset the drop in sales.

However, even though other parts of the business are growing to make up the market share, Apple still needs a solid iPhone business to keep itself as one of the world's top brands.

The iPhone 11 Pro would be a great elixir in that respect - a device that would cost more, but would offer something different. Smart covers, a greater range of accessories, quicker charging (given it would almost certainly use a USB-C connection) and a more powerful chipset would be real draws on the shelf.

The only thing is this feels a little too soon - we've not heard many leaks around such a device, and even Apple is more porous these days - so the hunch would suggest the iPhone Pro is for 2020.

That would be the phone that would utterly suit 5G connectivity, a larger or higher-res screen or (whisper it) the first foldable phone from Apple. 

That would all spell troubling news for Samsung.

Why would Samsung care?

The Samsung Galaxy Fold could get a real competitor

The Samsung Galaxy Note has been something of a revelation for the brand over the years - where it was once seen as a curio for the businessperson, with the Note 5 not even launching in Europe due to the belief that this market wouldn't care for a stylus, the Note 8 topped 10 million sales worldwide.

With the Galaxy Note 10 Plus leading a range that's predicted to come close to that number, Samsung has found a new section of smartphone user that might not be interested in the standard Galaxy S range.

While there are a number of other brands - notably from China - muscling in on this territory and offering huge screens with loads of power, if Apple joined the fray it would have an obvious impact on Samsung's sales for its most powerful (and expensive) device at a time when the smartphone market is declining.

That decline is precisely the reason brands are offering new features and phone ranges to entice users to upgrade. The same device with some new features isn't that exciting, but if the range offers something else - a more powerful phone to enrich your life, or cheaper device with similar features to save cash - it can keep users in the ecosystem.

We're pretty sure that there's not going to be an iPhone 11 Pro this year - if there is, Apple's managed to keep it smartly under lock and key from all but the most secure parts of the supply chain.

But the mere possibility of its existence lingers - and while it might be a threat to Samsung, it would offer users (and especially those wanting something new in the iPhone ecosystem) something extra to consider. 

After all, there were those recent rumors of an iPhone finally supporting the Apple Pencil...

Categories: Tech News

The AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT gets hot – but it's supposed to

Mon, 08/12/2019 - 14:10

The AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT has been out for about a month now, and while it's delivering some great 1440p gaming experiences, the graphics card has a tendency to pump out some noticeably high temperatures.

However, in a blog post Team Red released, it details that AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT graphics cards that hit 110 degrees Celsius are operating within specs and are totally fine. This is due to how these graphics cards measure temperatures. Rather than throttling at an average temperature, like most GPUs, the RX 5700 XT will only throttle when the hottest part of the GPU hits the 110 degrees Celsius thermal junction temperature.

AMD states that this allows these Radeon graphics cards to "offer much higher performance out of the box, while maintaining acoustic and reliability targets." Team Red also assures customers that they'll have access to both the peak temperature of the chip, along with a more standard average temperature, so they'll have insight as to how their graphics card is performing.

So, while some users might not be comfortable with their graphics cards hitting triple-digit temperatures, AMD claims that this is working as-expected. And, given how its processors operate at high temperatures, too, that shouldn't be too surprising. 

Heating up

One thing that might be looking at however, is the effect this could have on the rest of your system. Sure, the graphics card is more than capable of handling these high temperatures, but if the air its shooting out is overheating other components, like the chipset, there could be some problems. However, this is just pure speculation on our part.

However, there are already plenty of third-party AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT graphics cards showing up, so if you're not comfortable with high temps, there should be a third-party option available to you that keeps things a bit cooler. 

At the end of the day, though, AMD does say these high temps are normal and are nothing to worry about. So, if you've been seeing high temperatures on your graphics card, you can rest assured that it's not about to melt in your PC case

Categories: Tech News

Monster Hunter World: Iceborne - there's no cooler time to jump into the franchise

Mon, 08/12/2019 - 14:10

When Monster Hunter World first released in 2018, I somehow missed the boat. While the hype around Capcom's latest addition to the monster slaying series was deafening, as sometimes happens, life managed to get in the way and by the time I could get involved in the bestiary antics, it felt like perhaps it was too late. 

Therefore, when Capcom announced the upcoming expansion 'Iceborne', the fear once again set in that perhaps I had missed my chance at ever knowing the wholesome friendship of a Pimlico or the camaraderie of a hunt. But it seems I was wrong.

In fact, Iceborne is perhaps the best time for new players (like myself) to jump into Monster Hunter World. 

Breaking the ice

What you need to know about Monster Hunter World's massive new Iceborne expansion is that it essentially adds a whole new area to the game - a frosty one at that. With this new area comes new chilling monsters, gear, quests and hunting features - among other things.

I played both the E3 2019 and latest build of Monster Hunter World: Iceborne at a recent event and, while the mechanics can prove difficult to initially get to grips with, I found myself oddly at home in the New World. 

Iceborne's story centers around flying-blue creatures called the Legiana, who seem to be migrating to ice-capped regions previously unexplored. Of course, it's up to you to find out why. 

If you are jumping in to Monster Hunter World for the first time then it's worth noting that you cannot make the most of Iceborne's story and quests until you have completed the main storyline and reached Hunter Rank 16. However, while potentially frustrating for some, this is definitely for the best. 

Iceborne's new monsters such as the Big-Horned Banbaro who gouges the earth with its horns and the rush-attacking Tigerex are not for the feint-of-heart. Instead, forcing players to learn the basics about slaying monsters (and the strategy required) through the main story is applauded. Plus, you have the added benefit of knowing you have a whole new world of content once you have finished the main story. Win, win. 

Personally, when I attempted to slay some of the new monsters, the lack of basic knowledge really knocked me for ten. Instead, spurring me to want to work up to the challenge.

While the challenge of new beasties is a definite drive, the possibility to explore Iceborne's beautiful new ice-kissed areas is enticing enough in itself. Rime beetles roll snowballs while you crunch through the snow, scooping up chillies to make hot drinks that will fend off frostbite. It's a truly breathtaking atmosphere.

No time better than the present

Another major draw to playing Iceborne is the new quality-of-life features that the expansion brings - that even new players can take advantage of. 

Perhaps the biggest changes are to weapons. The Slinger, for example can now be used while your main weapon is drawn, regardless of the weapon type. There's a new feature for this weapon called the Clutch Claw that allows you to grapple onto monsters and hack at them up close and personal (it's a lot of fun). 

All 14 weapon types also have new combos and elements, allowing you to create and customize a play style that works for you in particular. If anything, you've got a more complete game to sink your teeth into, with more content than veteran players had. 

It's also worth remembering that the new Iceborne expansion will see lots of new players flood into Monster Hunter World. It's highly unlikely you won't find a bunch of newbies like yourself (and me) looking for a squad to go on hunts with.

Categories: Tech News

Hurry! Vodafone's ridiculously cheap fibre broadband deals end on Tuesday

Mon, 08/12/2019 - 13:39

If you've been doing your research into broadband deals over the last couple of weeks and are determined that it's time to go for fibre, then you will have surely encountered Vodafone's barely believable £19.99 per month offer.

You haven't? Then allow us to fill you in - so for monthly bills of a penny shy of £20 and not a thing to pay upfront, Vodafone will deliver its 35Mb average speed fibre optic broadband for the next year. Erm...that's it. It's really that simple.

Click here to head straight through to the Vodafone broadband website

And don't worry - there are no hidden delivery charges or usage caps. Nothing extra to pay for line rental. And Vodafone even guarantees its speeds to a minimum of 25Mb (so downloads of over 3MB per second), with money back if it fails to deliver.

The only but here is that you need to get a shift on if you want to sign up for the UK's most affordable widely available fibre broadband deal. We're told by the provider itself that pricing will go up in price on Wednesday. So Tuesday, August 13 will be your last chance for now to get Vodafone Superfast 1 for just £19.99 a month.

Vodafone's cheap fibre broadband deal in full:  Want more with your broadband?

While this is one of the best, affordable fibre broadband deals around, you can get even cheaper bills. You may not have heard of the ISP, but Onestream's Jetstream Lite Fibre costs a mere £18.99 per month. You do have to pay a tenner upfront though, so it works out as roughly the same as Vodafone in the long run. Plus, this deal does also offer the lowest average fibre speeds on the market at 17Mb.

While for those who want an added extra with their internet, BT could be the way to go. It costs £31.99 a month but comes with a £60 BT reward card and a £50 M&S voucher on top of its faster 50Mb fibre speeds.

Read more:

Categories: Tech News

The Roborock S6 ushers in a new generation of robotic vacuums

Mon, 08/12/2019 - 13:36

Cleaning your house probably isn’t your favorite thing to do – but it’s still something that needs to be done. Vacuuming in particular can be a real pain, especially if you have a vacuum that’s mostly designed to work on carpets and not hard floors – as it means that you have to turn to other methods for your hard floors. That, however, is where the new Roborock S6 comes in -- which is available at a pretty heavy discount on Amazon from August 12 to August 18.

The Roborock S6 is part of a new generation of robotic vacuums, which are more powerful, quieter, and more versatile – and it can easily replace your manual vacuum cleaner and even your broom and other tools you use to manually clean your floors.

Perhaps the best thing about the Roborock S6 is that it can effectively be used without human interference. In other words, your floors will remain relatively clean without you really having to do anything at all, freeing up your time to be more productive, more relaxed, or to get better at your hobbies. You could even take a nap instead of cleaning – given the fact that the Roborock S6 is 50%quieter than previous-generation models -- meaning that it’s now quiet enough to have a normal conversation without getting too distracted.

There are plenty of other benefits to the Roborock S6, other than the fact that you don’t really need to do anything to keep your floors clean. Namely, if your floors are cleaned automatically, then they’ll likely be cleaned more often – and that’s great news for those with allergies, given the fact that it will reduce the number of allergens in your home. Not only that, but pet owners can spend more time with their pets than having to clean up their pet’s hair all the time. 

The Roborock S6 is pretty spectacularly-designed too, featuring a classic round design, which is available in white, black, or rose gold -- all of which look great. It has even won an iF product design award for design excellence. It’s super smart as well – it’ll roam around your home on its own, and uses a huge sensor array, accelerometer, odometer, infra-red sensors, compass, and more, to navigate through your home without falling off stairs or getting trapped. You can even program virtual walls into the device, ensuring that it doesn’t go too close to objects in your home that might be fragile. It even has a map-saving feature – so it can create a map of your home, ensuring that it never misses a spot and cleans things quickly and effectively. 

The Roborock S6 goes beyond being just a vacuum too – from time to time you might need it to mop instead of vacuum, and it can do that too. Simply attach the mop attachment and tell the vacuum how much water to use – after which it will be able to mop and vacuum at the same time. That’s a pretty smart setup, and means the device should be able to handle all of your floor-cleaning needs.

Of course, you might be wondering about the Roborock S6’s cleaning power – and it’s pretty powerful. The vacuum has enough suction to lift items as heavy as AA batteries, meaning it’s more than capable of handling dirt and hair off hard floors and sucking it up from deep inside carpets.

While the easiest thing to do would be to set the vacuum up to automatically clean when you leave the home, sometimes you need a more immediate clean – and you’re covered there too. It’s easy to activate the Roborock S6 straight from the Roborock app, or you could save a few steps and simply ask Alexa on your Amazon Echo device to start cleaning – and it’ll kick into action. 

If you’re interested in checking out the vacuum for yourself, it’s well worth acting quick -- as there’s a one week launch promotion for the black model, which is valid from Monday August 12 to Sunday, August 18 -- and allows you to get the vacuum for only $579.99, which is a hefty $70 off the regular price of $649.99.

Interested in checking out the Roborock S6 for yourself? You can do so by heading straight to the Roborock website. Alternatively, if you’re convinced, the Roborock S6 can be purchased straight from Amazon

Categories: Tech News

Windows 10 Pro vs Windows 10 Home: All the differences explained

Mon, 08/12/2019 - 13:27

When you count all the different ways Windows 10 will be available, there are actually ten editions: Windows 10 Home, Pro, Pro for Workstations, Enterprise, Enterprise LTSC, Education, Pro Education, Windows 10 in S mode, IOT and Team, leaving you with lots of choice.

The various options break down into device or situation specific in order to suit the needs of the user, business or education system. Windows 10 Home, Pro, Enterprise and Education are the main editions with all the bells and whistles Microsoft has to offer but there are more stripped out versions that offer benefits too.

Windows 10 in S mode is one of the newer addition types which is designed to offer a more lightweight version of the OS for the most efficient performance. As such this feature-limited Windows 10 is ideal for affordable devices used in situations like education. This also works well as a less process intensive platform for older hardware and mobile devices like tablet computers. 

So there are lots of versions to pick from and you may be wondering which is best for you, fret not. In this article, we'll go through the exact details of each version.

Windows 10 Home

The version of Windows 10 that you're most likely to get if you buy a new PC, tablet or 2-in-1 is Windows 10 Home, which has the key features of Windows 10, from the latest Start menu to the Edge browser, to the Windows Hello biometric login feature that uses your face or fingerprint instead of a password, to a now-mandatory Cortana – the voice-controlled assistant.

Windows 10 Home includes game streaming from Xbox One, which lets you play games from your Xbox One on your PC instead. To keep home users more secure, updates like the massive Anniversary Update overhaul from Windows Update, and you don't get the option not to install critical and security updates.

Windows 10 Home includes the Continuum feature for tablets. This is the tablet mode that simplifies the taskbar and the Start menu, and makes your apps full screen – you can split your screen between two apps, but this is much simpler than the way Windows 8.1 let you arrange windows on-screen.

Windows 10 Pro

If you use your PC for business, Windows 10 Pro has extra features over Windows 10 Home – the most important of which is being able to join a domain, including Azure Active Directory for single sign-on to cloud services (and have group policy applied as part of that).

You also get Hyper-V for virtualisation, BitLocker whole disk encryption, enterprise mode Internet Explorer, Remote Desktop, a version of the Windows Store for your own business, Enterprise Data Protection containers and assigned access (which locks a PC to running only one modern application, to use like a kiosk). Pro users can get updates from Windows Update for Business, which includes options for scheduling updates so they don't reboot PCs at important business times.

There are ways of connecting Windows Home PCs to a server, but if you want the familiar business PC experience, Windows 10 Pro is what you need. It is a free upgrade from the Pro versions of Windows 7 and 8.1 (which includes Windows 7 Ultimate as well as Professional, and Windows 8.1 Pro and Pro for Students), you'll be able to upgrade to it from Windows 10 Home, and some desktops and notebooks designed for business will come with Windows 10 Pro.

Windows 10 Pro for Workstations

As the name suggests this is Windows 10 Pro at its core but rather than being built for all work scenarios this is specifically tailored to high-end hardware. This is, as Microsoft says, the most powerful Windows yet. That means this supports very intensive tasks and as such works well with the likes of Intel Xeon, AMD Opteron and AMD Epyc processor. You can bolt together up to four CPUs and this will help you take advantage of all of them. You also get support for up to 6TB or RAM, the ReFS file system for safe storage that fights against corruption, Non-Volatile Dual In-line Memory Module and remote direct memory access.

This OS uses fewer CPU cycles meaning you end up with more capacity so you can multitask lots of processes at the same time without costing you on performance. The use of persistent memory support also means this OS will let you access your files even if you shut down the system. The Remote Direct Memory Access means you can transfer files between server, PC and SMB Direct quickly with low latency on network requests. 

Windows 10 in S mode

Formerly Windows 10 S, now Windows 10 in S mode, this is a feature limited version of Windows 10 that purposely comes with certain elements disabled. As a result this is aimed at more affordable devices, making it ideal for school age education scenarios. The key here is that Windows 10 in S mode only allows for software to be downloaded and installed via the Microsoft Store, making it more secure and safe. This can be unlocked to full Windows 10 but this is permanent and cannot be switched back.

Locked system settings mean the Microsoft Edge browser is the standard using Bing as its search engine. The OS comes with a one-year subscription to Minecraft: Education Edition for free. Windows 10 in S mode could be compared to Chrome OS in terms of closed system simplicity and safety. 

Windows 10 Enterprise

Windows 10 Enterprise has all the business features of Pro, and adds a number of more powerful features designed for larger companies: Direct Access for connecting without a VPN, AppLocker for whitelisting apps, BranchCache for sharing downloads and updates with other PCs using a peer-to-peer connection, and group policy for controlling the Start Screen.

There's also Credential Guard and Device Guard features for protecting Windows logon credentials and locking down which applications a PC can run, and the option of keeping a PC on the Long Term Servicing Branch where it gets only security updates (ideal for systems you need to have working reliably for years without being affected by new and changing Windows features).

The free Windows 10 upgrade doesn't apply to Windows Enterprise; that's because you can only get it with a volume licence (and you have to already have a Windows Pro licence for each PC), and if you have a volume licence you already have the option of Software Assurance, which includes upgrades.

Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC

This is the Long-Term Service Channel version of Windows 10 Enterprise meaning it's a more long-term support system with a released update scheduled for every two to three years. That gets you security updates for 10 years after its release also.

This edition does not feature the Microsoft Store or any bundled apps. This is aimed at situations where the functionality won't change over long periods of time, so for medical systems like MRI and CAT scanners, industrial process controllers and air traffic control.

Windows 10 Education

Windows 10 Education is a more recent SKU, designed for large academic organisations like universities that want the security, management and connectivity features of Windows 10 Enterprise (it's common for students to need to join the domain to use official printers, for example).

The feature list is almost identical to Windows 10 Enterprise but it doesn't have the Long Term Servicing Branch and instead of having to upgrade from Windows Pro, you can upgrade directly to Windows 10 Education from Windows 10 Home. That means educational establishments can easily make Windows 10 Education available to students bringing in their own PCs.

Windows 10 Pro Education

The idea behind this version of Windows 10 Pro is to offer the Education extras at a discounted rate to those with a K-12 academic licence. So you get most of the Windows 10 Pro features with some options deactivated by default to suit educators. The likes of Cortana, Microsoft Store suggestions and Windows Spotlight are all disabled as standard. 

There are also great options that make setup and deployment easier in an educational system. In fact you can set everything up using a USB flash drive thanks to the Set Up School PC app.

Windows 10 IoT

If you have a Raspberry Pi 2 or an Intel Galileo or a range of other 'maker boards' you can get a free version of Windows 10 for them that can run universal apps. There are also versions of Windows 10 that OEMs can put on more traditional embedded devices like point of sale systems, cash tills, ATMs and other machinery.

This actually breaks down into IOT Core and IOT Enterprise versions with Core aimed at x86, x64 and ARM systems and the Enterprise version only for x86 and x64. The former is for things like digital signage, smart buildings, gateway, HMI, smart home and wearables. Enterprise is more for industry tablets, retail, kiosks, medical devices, manufacturing devices and Thin Client.

Windows 10 Team

This version of Windows 10 is a device specific version of the OS. It is made for the Surface Hub and comes with that as standard. The Surface Hub is a standalone interactive whiteboard with a 55-inch or 84-inch multitouch display aimed at business use. 

This OS works with 3D modelling to allow for quick viewing of objects from different perspectives using touch to move. This also supports Skype for Business video conferencing and Microsoft Office for the likes of PowerPoint, Excel, Word and you also get OneNote for on-screen drawing. 

Categories: Tech News

Microsoft Office perpetual licenses are no longer part of the Home Use Program

Mon, 08/12/2019 - 13:24

The days of buying software once and having a perpetual license to use it are coming to an end as businesses including Microsoft have embraced a subscription model.

The US software giant will no longer sell one-off licenses for Office 2019 as part of its Home Use Program (HUP)  as it tries to encourage customers to opt for an annual subscription instead. HUP is a program which allows employees at eligible companies to buy the same Microsoft products they use at the office for their homes.

In the past, employees were offered discounted rates for perpetual licenses but now they will have to purchase a subscription with a 30 percent discount which means that a year of Office 365 Personal will cost them $48.99 while a similar subscription to Office 365 Home will cost $69.99.

In a revised FAQ regarding the HUP program, Microsoft confirmed the change, saying:

"Office Professional Plus 2019 and Office Home and Business 2019 are no longer available as Home Use Program offers." 

Home Use Program

Now if an employee purchases a subscription through HUP, it will extend any existing Personal and Home plans they may already have. Additionally after buying a subscription at the discount all future renewals will be at the lower price and this is even true if the buyer no longer works for the organization through which they initially purchased their subscription.

According to the FAQ, the only requirement to remain eligible for a HUP discount is that “you maintain recurring billing on your subscription”.

Microsoft continues to offer perpetual licenses in several forms and the company has said that there will be at least one more follow up to Office 2019. 

However, the subscription model isn't going away any time soon and it has now become a requirement for businesses and individuals who want to continue using the software they're familiar with.

Via Engadget

Categories: Tech News

Why your next TV should be an LG OLED

Mon, 08/12/2019 - 13:07

TVs are surrounded by terms that sound like jargon. But OLED is one word you need to get to grips with when buying a new TV. 

LG’s OLED TVs are some of the best in the world. And part of that excellence comes from the way the technology works. 

OLED TVs have emissive pixels. Each is its own light source, so when you dim the lights for a movie night, the areas of black in a Star Wars or Gravity space scene look absolutely, completely dark. Spend as much as you like, you can’t get this with any LCD TV or projector, even those used in your local cinema. 

This is OLED’s super power. There are many other benefits too. 

LG’s OLED TVs have a response rate of up to 0.01 millisecond, up to 1000 times faster than an LCD. This tells you how quickly the display can shift from one colour or tone to another. OLED’s amazing speed rules out the chance of any response-related smearing or motion blur. It makes fast action scenes much clearer, and punchier-looking. 

A universe of colours

There’s more to TV colour than you might expect too. 

One half of the LG OLED colour performance is simple: the more colours a TV can display, the better. LG’s OLED TVs can handle a billion of them, from the deepest reds to the bright subtle haze of a morning city skyline. 

You also need pro-grade colour calibration to get accurate colour rather than just vivid colour. And every LG OLED TV has incredible colour tuning. 

You’ll often notice this most in the tones of a character’s face, or the grass of a football pitch. A too-red skin tone or foliage that looks fluorescent are giveaways a TV can’t handle colour as well as an LG OLED.

The last World Cup was a good test for a TV. Remember Messi’s bright green boots? An LG OLED TV can bring out the day-glo lime green of them while keeping the surrounding grass look worthy of a nature documentary. You want punchy colour, but with the fidelity to make sure scenes look realistic. 

There are other real practical benefits to an LG OLED TV. Viewing angles matter if, like most, you have a living room setup where most people don’t get to see the TV dead-on. 

LG’s OLED TVs offer a 178-degree viewing angle. The screen won’t seem dim, of its colours off, if you’re the one who gets the worst seat in the house. 

Dolby Atmos: Sound advice 

The highlights aren’t restricted to image quality either. Sound is a highlight too. LG’s OLED TVs have Dolby Atmos, the same technology built into the newly refurbished Odeon Luxe cinema in London’s Leicester Square. It lets you perceive the position of objects in movie soundtracks in 3D. 

We’re not talking about simple stereo anymore, or even standard surround. You can tell the height of a helicopter in the sound field, and cars tearing past will seem to extend far further than they would through a simple stereo mix. It’s “object based” audio, where the boffins who mix a movie’s audio track can position sound in a 3D space.

Dolby Atmos uses psychoacoustic processing to achieve this without making you splatter your living room ceiling with speakers. Psychoacoustics is the study of how we perceive sound: LG OLED TVs more-or-less have a PhD in the subject. 

Atmos isn’t just for film anymore, either. Sky and BT now broadcast important sporting events in Dolby Atmos. It is like being there, but without the drizzle and overpriced snacks. 

LG OLED TVs shine when you feed them the best content on offer today. 4K video looks incredible on these displays. But they are prepped for the low-quality stuff too. 

LG’s AI Picture technology analyses whatever you watch, from a programme broadcast on BBC One HD to an old DVD you’ve wanted to re-watch for ages. It brings out more image information in the shadow areas, and makes the picture sharper, clearer and more lifelike. 

As much as we’d like everything we watch to be in 4K, with an amazing Atmos soundtrack, a truly great TV needs to be prepped for the content equivalent of comfort food that we all like to unwind to after a day at work. 

You’ll find all of these innovations in LG’s 2019’s OLED TVs, from the C9 and E9 families. Prices start from £2499 at ao.com

Categories: Tech News

Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft crack down on loot boxes – what it means for you

Mon, 08/12/2019 - 12:39

Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony will require video game publishers to disclose drop rates for all games that include loot boxes in order to be released on the big three's consoles.

In other words, publishers will have to tell us what the chances are of players receiving certain items from loot boxes in their games – otherwise their games won't be released on those manufacturers' consoles. 

The policy is part of an initiative that was announced by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) on August 7, during a Federal Trade Commission workshop titled 'Inside the Game: Unlocking the Consumer Issues Surrounding Loot Boxes' (via GamesIndustry.biz). 

In a follow-up statement, the ESA explained that the initiative is designed to strengthen the video games industry's relationship with players – primarily when it comes to "trust".

"To further that effort, several videogame industry leaders are announcing new initiatives to help consumers make informed choices about their purchases, including loot boxes," the ESA's statement reads. "The major console makers – Sony Interactive Entertainment, operator of the PlayStation platform, Microsoft, operator of Xbox and Windows, and Nintendo, operator of the Nintendo Switch gaming platform – are committing to new platform policies that will require paid loot boxes in games developed for their platforms to disclose information on the relative rarity or probability of obtaining randomized virtual items.

"These required disclosures will also apply to game updates, if the update adds new loot box features. The precise timing of this disclosure requirement is still being worked out, but the console makers are targeting 2020 for the implementation of the policy."

What does this mean?

The disclosure of drop rates will, according to the ESA, "apply to all new games and updates to games that add such in-game purchases and will be presented in a manner that is understandable and easily accessed".

Simply put, this means players should easily be able to see the odds of getting a rare item (for example) before they choose to spend real money on a loot box, allowing them to make a more informed decision as to whether or not to make a purchase.

The ESA says several of the major publishers who are members of the association either "already disclose the relative rarity or probability of obtaining in-game virtual items from purchased loot boxes", while "other major publishers have agreed to do so no later than the end of 2020".

Some of the publishers who have signed up to the initiative include Activision Blizzard, Bandai Namco Entertainment, Bethesda, Bungie, Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Take-Two Interactive, Ubisoft, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, and Wizards of the Coast.

However, publishers aren't bound by this agreement, and there are potential loopholes – more on that shortly. And some publishers will likely be less enthusiastic about complying than others, as it could mean less revenue from loot boxes.

Here's why it's such a big deal

That's why it's important that Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft are now on board. While previously publishers were essentially left to their own devices, the new initiative puts serious pressure on publishers to disclose drop rates.

If any choose not to disclose drop rates then they won't see their games published on the likes of the Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 (or next-gen consoles), which would mean huge losses in revenue.

It's also encouraging to see the three gaming titans take a stance on the controversial loot box issue, as to date there's been a lack of leadership.

What the big three have to say

What do each of the gaming titans have to say about the new initiative? In response to a request for comment by TechRadar, a Microsoft spokesperson told us:

“We believe in transparency with customers and providing them information for making their purchase decisions. This is why by 2020 all new apps or games offering 'loot boxes' or other mechanisms on Microsoft platforms that provide randomized virtual items for purchase must disclose to customers, prior to purchase, the odds of receiving each item. In addition, we’re proud to offer robust family settings that offer further control over in-game purchasing.” 

Sony's response to TechRadar echoed that of Microsoft. "Sony Interactive Entertainment aims to ensure PlayStation users have access to information and tools, such as parental wallet controls, that will help them make informed decisions about in-game purchasing," it said. "We support industry efforts to disclose the probability of obtaining randomized virtual items, known as loot boxes, and are committed to providing consumers with this information for all games we produce and publish."

While Nintendo has not yet replied to TechRadar's request for comment, the House of Mario issued a statement to Eurogamer stating: "At Nintendo, ensuring that our customers can make informed choices when they play our games is very important. As part of our ongoing efforts in this area, Nintendo will require disclosure of drop rates in Nintendo Switch games that offer randomized virtual items for purchase, such as loot boxes. This requirement will apply to all new games and includes updates to current games that add loot boxes through in-game purchases.

"We also offer tools like our Nintendo Switch Parental Controls mobile app, which empowers parents to choose what works for their family, including managing in-game purchases and setting playtime limits."

What does it mean for future games?

When the policy comes into effect, every publisher who wants a game that includes loot box mechanics published on console will have to disclose the odds to players. If they refuse, the game won't be published on console. However, it seems this initiative won't be implemented until 2020. 

It's worth nothing that 2020 is when we're expecting the PS5 and Xbox Project Scarlett, so it's potentially easier for Sony and Microsoft to gate-keep the games being published on their next-gen consoles as they're essentially working with a clean slate.

Will current games be affected?

This is currently hard to say. The ESA stated that the disclosure initiative will "apply to all new games and updates to games that add such in-game purchases". But it doesn't specify what will happen with regards to games already published, such as Overwatch and Star Wars Battlefront 2. Will publishers have to disclose drop rates for these games?

When it comes to Microsoft, the company's statement specifically mentions "new apps or games", and Nintendo's statement echoes this. This would suggest that current games on these platforms, which include loot boxes, will not be required to disclose loot box drop rates.

Sony, however, doesn't specify "new" in its statement. TechRadar has followed up with the companies to seek clarification on whether this need for disclosure will be implemented in games already on their consoles.

But there are possible loopholes...

Here's where we have some concerns – this initiative doesn't necessarily mean that we'll definitely start seeing the probability of loot box drops being disclosed. Similar attempts in other countries to curb the loot box issue resulted in publishers just becoming more savvy about finding loopholes.

Back in 2011, Gacha mechanics began to appear in Japanese free-to-play mobile games. Simply put, Gacha is the root of the loot box mechanics. Based on those capsule machines you find in supermarkets, Gacha sees you putting money into something and receiving a random prize. Sound familiar? 

The problem with Gacha is it became  Kompu (or complete) Gacha. This encourages players to complete a collection in order to win a grand prize. So while you may like the prize you got, the game encourages you to keep investing money in hopes that you'll get lots of small prizes that will equate to one big prize (although the probability of getting this big prize was low). It's like being rewarded for completing a sticker book, but much darker.

When the Japanese government worked out that that Gacha was encouraging gambling (particularly in children), Japan's Consumer Affairs Agency ruled the mechanic as illegal in 2012. No more Gacha. Well, almost.

A trade body was set up by mobile developers that hoped to implement self-regulation before government legislation came in. Much like the ESA, this trade body encouraged publishers to disclose drop rates and probabilities. However, the publishers found a way around this and the body fell apart.

But how do you get around this type of legislation? A similar attempt to curb loot boxes in China showcases exactly how this can be done without airtight legislation.

In 2017, the Chinese government ruled that publishers must "promptly publicly announce information about the name, property, content, quantity, and draw/forge probability of all virtual items and services". In addition, publishers could not directly sell "lottery tickets" such as loot boxes.

Here's where the loophole became apparent. Blizzard China, instead of selling loot boxes in games like Overwatch, instead started to sell in-game currency for real money. The kicker being that by buying the currency, you got a free loot box. Essentially this meant that players aren't actually buying the loot boxes, but the currency instead – you just happen to get a loot box for free. The publishers also didn't have to share the drop rate for those loot boxes, because they weren't technically selling them, so no laws were being broken. 

Our worry is that the same issue could happen with this new initiative, with publishers finding new ways to sell loot boxes without ever having the disclose drop rates. For this new initiative to work, Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft will need to ensure that their policy is completely watertight, with no wiggle room that would allow determined publishers to get around the disclosure requirement.

Categories: Tech News

DSLR cameras could be at risk from ransomware

Mon, 08/12/2019 - 12:30

By exploiting security vulnerabilities in popular internet-connected digital DSLR cameras, hackers could infect them with ransomware to render the devices useless or to deploy other types of malware on larger networks according to new research from Check Point Software.

Digital cameras use Picture Transfer Protocol (PTP) to transfer digital files and the firm's researchers discovered how to exploit vulnerabilities in the protocol to infect a camera with ransomware, which they showed off at this year's Defcon security conference.

Check Point decided to use the Canon EOS 80D for its tests as the device has both USB and Wi-Fi connectivity along with an active modding community that develops open source software for the camera. However, Check Point warns that not just this camera but any internet-connected digital camera could be vulnerable to ransomware attacks.

The researchers downloaded the firmware for the Canon camera and by using tools from the open source community, they were able to reverse engineer the code. They discovered several vulnerabilities including buffer flows that enabled code execution. This could be exploited to take control of a camera remotely using a malicious firmware update that would allow ransomware to be deployed.

This attack could also be executed through physical access to the camera via USB or by tricking a user into connecting to a rogue wireless network.

DSLR ransomware

In addition to the threat of having all of the photos stored on a device locked as a result of a ransomware attack, malware installed on a digital camera could also be used to launch other attacks.

Security researcher at Check Point, Eyal Itkin explained to ZDNet how a compromised camera could pose a serious risk to businesses, saying:

"Once compromised, the attacker has full control over the camera, and they could brick it, use it as an espionage tool, or ransomware it as we demonstrated. These vulnerabilities are critical and could cause major harm to any business or industry that relies on digital cameras." 

Since PTP is used by many different devices, it is also possible that other cameras could be impacted by similar attacks.

Check Point disclosed the vulnerabilities it found to Canon and the company has issued a security update for all of its devices. This attack method has yet to be used in the wild but Canon still recommends that all users apply the update.

Via ZDNet

Categories: Tech News

Score a sub-£200 Huawei phone deal with this SIM-free P30 Lite bargain

Mon, 08/12/2019 - 12:08

For those looking to save money and invest in a budget smartphone, that will usually mean taking a big hit in specs and phone quality. But luckily, a recent cashback promotion from Huawei means being able to land a mid-range phone at a more than budget price tag.

The Huawei P30 Lite - the most affordable of Huawei's 2019 releases - normally sits at a price tag of £279 but, if you're willing to rely on a little bit of cashback you can see that price drop all the way down to £199.

Considering Huawei P30 Lite deals already feel like a pretty affordable option - especially with the specs you're receiving - this scaling down of the price tag makes it a hard option to turn down for those needing a more budget device.

We've listed all of the details of this cashback offer down below so you can see exactly what you're getting. Or, if you would rather see what else is available, check our guide to the best SIM-free phones.

This budget Huawei P30 Lite deal in full: What is the Huawei P30 Lite like?

Considering the ultimate price of under £200 with this offer, the specs you're getting are surprisingly excellent. 

The P30 Lite rocks a 6.15-inch Full HD+ display, a 3340mAh battery, 128GB storage and some pretty strong processing power considering its position as a mid-range device. Topping all of this off with a triple camera set-up, the P30 Lite is a phone punching above its budget price tag.

Read our full Huawei P30 Lite review

How to get your cashback

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

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

Where else can I make use of this Huawei cashback?

The Huawei phone deal above not working for you? There are still a range of offers available. You can get cashback on the Huawei P30, P30 Lite, P30 Pro, Mate 20 Pro and P20 Pro from these retailers- are read about them in more detail in our dedicated Huawei cashback phone deals article:

SIM-free:
- Amazon
- Argos
- John Lewis
- Very

Contracts:
- Affordable Mobiles
- BuyMobiles
- Carphone Warehouse
- e2save
- Fonehouse
- iD Mobile
- Mobile Phones Direct
- Mobiles.co.uk
- Sky Mobile
- Three
- Vodafone

Categories: Tech News

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 at Walmart: Preorder today and save up to $150

Mon, 08/12/2019 - 11:44

If you're looking to snag a deal on the newly released Samsung Galaxy Note 10, then you've come to the right place. Walmart is offering up to $150 in credits to spend at the Samsung Store when you pre-order a Samsung Galaxy Note 10 or Note 10 Plus. This offer is for an unlocked Galaxy Note 10 smartphone and ends on August 22.

The Note 10 is Samsung's newest galaxy smartphone that will officially go on sale August 23. The Note 10 is smaller and thinner than the Note 9, featuring a 6.3-inch display with a Full HD resolution. The Note 10 packs 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage and provides a 3,500mAh battery that claims to last all day.

If you're looking for a bigger phone and more storage, then the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus is the one for you. The S10 Plus features a 6.8-inch display that fills your entire hand and packs 12GB of RAM. The Galaxy S10 Plus includes your options of 256GB or 512GB of storage and provides an impressive 4,300mAh battery.

This limited-time offer from Walmart gets you a $100 Samsung store credit when you pre-order the Galaxy Note 10 and a $150 credit with the Note 10 Plus. After you receive your Galaxy phone, you'll download the Samsung app to register for the promotion. Once you're approved a code for the Samsung credit will be emailed to you within six to eight weeks.

Shop other offers with the best Samsung Galaxy Note 10 deals and plans happening now.

Learn more about the Note 10 with our hands on Samsung Galaxy Note 10 review.

If you're interested in the Note 10 Plus you can also read our hands on Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus review.

Categories: Tech News

Sony Xperia 2: what we want to see

Mon, 08/12/2019 - 11:41

The Xperia 1 was the start of a new flagship range from Sony, with a new aspect ratio and truly top-end specs. But it was announced in February, and while most companies leave a year between models, Sony isn’t most companies.

As such we may well see the Sony Xperia 2 before long, and we’re already starting to hear rumors about what it might offer.

We’ve also come up with a wish list of things that we want from the phone, so read on for our constantly updated guide to the handset, covering everything we’ve heard and everything we’re hoping for.

Cut to the chase
  • What is it? Sony's next flagship
  • When is out? Possibly September
  • What will it cost? It will have a high-end price
Sony Xperia 2 release date and price

The Sony Xperia 1 was announced in February 2019, but it didn’t actually go on sale until June. Those two things might make you think that we won’t get a Sony Xperia 2 until February 2020 or later, and that is entirely possible, but Sony’s track record suggests otherwise.

You see, the company usually launches two flagships each year, with the second coming in the third quarter, often announced at IFA (a tech trade show in Berlin, Germany). IFA 2019 runs from September 6 to September 11, so we may well see the Sony Xperia 2 during that period.

We’re really not sure though as the gap between announcement and going on sale was longer for the Xperia 1 than usual with Sony, meaning people won’t actually have had the phone for very long at all by September.

Whenever the Sony Xperia 2 lands, it’s sure to be expensive. Exactly how expensive is unclear for now, but for reference the Xperia 1 launched at $949 / £849 (roughly AU$1,365), so the Sony Xperia 2 may well have a similar price tag.

The Sony Xperia 1

Sony Xperia 2 news and leaks

Our closest look at what might be the Sony Xperia 2 comes from leaked case renders (below), which show a triple-lens rear camera running down the left edge (rather than being central like it is on the Xperia 1).

The design otherwise looks similar to the Xperia 1, with a plain back, a likely 21:9 screen, a right edge crowded with buttons, and a full bezel above the screen.

The design matches an earlier leaked render shared by CashKaro, with the source of this leak adding that the Sony Xperia 2 apparently has a 6.1-inch screen and measures 158 x 68.3 x 8.3mm (rising to 9.2mm at the rear camera bump). This would make it significantly smaller than the 6.5-inch Xperia 1.

The phone has also been rumored to have a Snapdragon 855 chipset, 6GB of RAM and a 3,000mAh battery with support for wireless charging.

Elsewhere, Sumahoinfo has spotted a user agent profile for a Sony phone believed to be the Xperia 2. It has a screen resolution of 1644 x 3840, which is the same as the Xperia 1, therefore also pointing to the same 21:9 aspect ratio.

Finally, LetsGoDigital has spotted a Sony trademark for something called ‘S-Cinetone’. We’re not sure what this is and there’s no guarantee it will come to the Sony Xperia 2, but from the name it sounds like something related to film-making, which is a feature Sony put a lot of focus on for the Xperia 1.

What we want to see

Along with what we’ve heard about the Sony Xperia 2 above, we also have a list of things we want from it. You’ll find this below.

1. A brighter screen

The Sony Xperia 1 could do with a brighter screen

The Sony Xperia 1 has a great screen in a lot of ways, but it falls short when it comes to brightness, which means content doesn’t look as good as it might otherwise. This is even more of a problem when using the phone in direct bright sunlight.

It seems like it should be an easy fix for Sony to make the Xperia 2 brighter, especially since most phones seemingly manage to have brighter screens, so let’s just hope Sony is aware of the problem and chooses to fix it.

2. A much bigger battery

The Sony Xperia 1 is a massive phone with a weirdly small 3,330mAh battery, which resulted in it struggling to last a day of moderate use in our tests. That’s really just not good enough, so we’d love to see Sony pack a bigger battery into the Xperia 2 and ensure the phone lasts longer.

The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus, Huawei P30 Pro, OnePlus 7 Pro and others all have batteries of 4,000mAh or more, so hopefully Sony will follow suit.

3. A slicker scanner

The Xperia 1's fingerprint scanner needs major improvements

We have two issues with the fingerprint scanner on the Sony Xperia 1. First, the big one: it just doesn’t successfully recognize our finger often enough. In fact, in our review we found it only successfully worked around 40% of the time, which really doesn’t cut it.

The other issue is the position of the scanner. It’s side-mounted, which actually isn’t a terrible place for it. It keeps it out of the way and makes it more accessible when the phone is on a desk than a rear-facing scanner. But in a world where many flagships have in-screen scanners it also feels a bit dated.

So we’d like to see Sony put the scanner in the screen for the Xperia 2, and we really, really want Sony to improve the reliability of the scanner.

4. An all-screen look

The fingerprint scanner placement isn’t the only dated aspect of the Sony Xperia 1’s design, it also has a full bezel above the screen and a fairly large one below it.

For the Xperia 2, we’d like to see Sony shrink the bottom bezel right down and replace the top one with a punch-hole or notch, or even get rid of it completely and use a pop-up or in-screen camera.

5. Camera upgrades

The Xperia 1's cameras are good but could be better

The Sony Xperia 1 has three rear lenses, but two of them are slightly flawed, with the wide-angle lens leaving pictures looking unnaturally stretched at times, while the telephoto lens only supports 2x optical zoom, which is less than we’d like.

These aren’t huge problems, but they’re also obvious places for improvement and with most people using their phones as their primary cameras they’re improvements that are sure to be appreciated.

6. Wireless charging

One flagship feature that the Sony Xperia 1 lacks is wireless charging. While it’s not quite alone in this, wireless charging has become a fairly standard feature at the top end so it’s disappointing that it’s missing here. Hopefully for the Xperia 2, Sony will implement it.

7. The same aspect ratio

We have mixed feelings about the Sony Xperia 1’s 21:9 aspect ratio, as while it’s great for watching videos on it’s arguably not so good for lots of other use cases. But it’s different to the vast majority of other phones, and we like that about it.

In a sea of near identical handsets, this more widescreen aspect ratio helps the Sony Xperia 1 stand out, so we’d like to see it return for the Sony Xperia 2.

Categories: Tech News

Intel Xe graphics cards release date, specs, news and rumors

Mon, 08/12/2019 - 11:27

Before Intel Xe graphics cards appeared on the horizon, the GPU market has been dominated by AMD and Intel alone. However, now we know that Intel graphics cards are going to be coming to market soon, to add a third player to the gaming graphics game. And, well, now that graphics cards like the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super cost much more than their previous-generation counterparts, we can't wait for this new competition to enter the scene. 

However, we have heard some rumors that Intel graphics cards are going to enter the mainstream market at first, so it's unlikely that we'll see an RTX 2080 Ti competitor right away. 

However, because these Intel graphics cards are still a little ways out, and we don't even know any specifics, there's a lot of speculation and rumors out there. Luckily we gathered all of this information in one place, so you can get caught up on Intel Xe graphics cards without having to do much digging. So, be sure to keep this page bookmarked, and we'll keep it updated with all the latest news and information. 

Cut to the chase
  • What is it? Intel’s line of graphics cards
  • When is it out? Sometime in 2020
  • What will it cost? No one knows yet
Intel graphics cards release date

Intel graphics cards seem set for release sometime in 2020 and that’s the only thing we can be sure about. The chipmaker itself has stated that it’s on track to release graphics cards in 2020 at least twice. We’re not sure of a much more accurate date beyond that, unfortunately. We’re hoping it’ll come sooner at the start of 2020. 

So, at GDC 2019, Intel showed off some renders of its future graphics cards. We still don’t know what kind of technology is going to be behind these cards, but it seems like Intel is on track for that 2020 release date. Coupled with Intel’s new graphics tuning software, it seems like Intel is going to slowly release GPU information over the next year. Of course, we could get radio silence until CES 2019, but we don’t think it’s going to play out like that.

Either way, we don’t know the exact release date for Intel’s graphics card until the company wants us to (or until the release date gets leaked, as is likely to happen).

Intel Xe prototype shroud design

Intel graphics cards price

Intel’s pricing for its graphics cards is ultimately going to boil down to what segment of the consumer market it plans to capitalize on it. We’re sure that there will be professional and datacenter GPUs that cost thousands of dollars, but we’re more interested in consumer or gaming graphics cards. 

There are some signs that Intel is going to compete with the likes of AMD. In an interview with Russian YouTube channel Pro Hi-Tech – that's been taken down – Intel senior vice president of architecture said Intel graphics cards would target the mainstream, which starts at $200 (about £165, AU$294). Since then, however, Intel has since come out and clarified that Koduri was talking about the mainstream market starting at that price point and not future Intel graphics cards starting at that price.  

However, it is possible that Intel would target the high-end enthusiast market, too. We've heard that Intel Xe graphics cards would feature baked-in support for ray tracing – something AMD hasn't caught up with. However, there is a chance that only high-end GPUs targeted at enterprise users would feature this capability

Obviously, this far out from the actual launch of Intel Xe graphics cards, it's hard to nail down how much we'll have to pay for Team Blue's GPUs. And, because this would be the first generation of Intel graphics cards, we can't exactly look to the past to try and suss out how much we'll be spending. 

At the end of the day, we don’t know what Intel is doing here, but we’re excited nonetheless. We’ll be keeping our ears to the ground on this one, waiting until more information starts surfacing — so stay tuned.

What can Intel Xe graphics cards do?

Intel graphics cards specs

Usually, this is the part of the story where we dive into past releases and try to guess what the future products are going to look like. But, we can’t really do that this time around – it’s been almost two decades since Intel has released a discrete GPU, and that didn’t end so well for team blue.

That doesn't mean that there isn't anything out there that we can take a look at. We have seen a leaked graphics driver show up on the Anandtech forums, possibly referencing several discrete graphics cards – and a rough idea on their specs. For instance, we saw a iDG2HP512, which looks like a bunch of random numbers and letters at first glance. However, if you take DG to mean 'discrete graphics' and the 512 to signify the number of EUs (execution units), we can get a rough idea of what it can do. 

These execution cores are essentially Intel's equivalent to Nvidia's CUDA cores, where the more you have, the faster the GPU is. For comparison's sake, in Intel's latest Ice Lake processors that sport Gen11 integrated graphics, the beefiest GPU only has 64 EUs. These discrete Intel graphics cards, if these leaks are at all reliable, should be an order of magnitude faster than the integrated Gen11 graphics on Ice Lake

Intel has also announced that its discrete graphics will support hardware-optimized ray tracing – but it's unclear whether or not this will be an enterprise-level feature. However, now that we know the PS5 and Xbox Project Scarlett will feature ray tracing, Intel may need to include this capabilities in its graphics cards, especially if they release alongside AMD's rumored Navi 23 graphics. 

Intel is taking some notes from its competition, when it comes to software, too. At GDC 2019, Intel launched the new Intel Graphics Command Center, which is the Blue Team’s equivalent to something like Nvidia’s GeForce Experience. This isn’t especially helpful right now, as integrated graphics aren’t the best for playing games, but it does mean that once Intel graphics cards do release, they’ll feature one-click game optimization.

At the end of the day, there are only a couple things we need to see in these new GPUs, they need to be capable of 4K gaming, and they need to be priced competitively. If Intel is able to hit these two marks, we could see Intel competing in the bloodthirsty GPU marketplace. But, we won’t know until Intel is ready to share.

Categories: Tech News

Intel’s Phantom Canyon promises RTX 2060 graphics in a tiny gaming PC

Mon, 08/12/2019 - 11:26

A fresh leak has popped up, suggesting that Intel is planning a ‘Phantom Canyon’ compact gaming PC, possibly out in 2020, which will pack discrete graphics in the form of an RTX 2060, or a GTX 1660 Ti.

To be precise, this will be an NUC (Next Unit of Computing) or miniaturized PC to follow on from the successor to the current Intel Hades Canyon (to give you an idea of the dimensions involved, that model is 8.7 x 5.6 x 1.54 inches).

The sequel to Hades Canyon is Ghost Canyon, which should be unleashed later this year, with a Core i9-9980HK processor and unspecified discrete graphics (as opposed to the integrated graphics seen on Hades Canyon – which were actually AMD-powered in the form of the Radeon RX Vega M GH).

According to leaked presentation slides and info gathered by Tech Powerup, Phantom Canyon will follow Ghost Canyon either late in 2020, maybe even early 2021, and will have a Tiger Lake CPU (a 28W part) with Gen 12 integrated graphics (Xe graphics) and PCIe Gen 4.

As mentioned, the discrete graphics are labeled in the slide as either the RTX 2060, or GTX 1660 Ti, with perhaps options on either.

Timing issues?

While an RTX 2060 sounds pretty powerful right now – for a small gaming box – if the release date of this NUC slides to 2021, it may not seem like quite such a big leap. Another interesting point is that apparently we’re looking at Intel’s Xe graphics as the integrated solution, but not a discrete Xe offering, which you would think the company might want to showcase given that they’re arriving in 2020.

Perhaps the timeframe didn’t quite work out here, which may point to a greater likelihood of seeing the Phantom Canyon box hit shelves in 2020 rather than the following year (as that would seemingly make things tighter with Intel’s Xe launch).

Other interesting specs the leak highlights include Wi-Fi 6, which you would expect, and a ‘custom vapor chamber’ on cooling duties, as doubtless cramming in that discrete GPU will call for some nifty trickery in terms of keeping temperatures down.

Categories: Tech News

OnePlus 7T won't launch on October 15 after all

Mon, 08/12/2019 - 11:15

A rumor has been circulating that the OnePlus 7T would be launching on October 15, but TechRadar can now confirm that the rumors are false.

A source close to the matter has confirmed to TechRadar that the company won't be launching its next phone on October 15, but were unable to confirm when - or even if - the phone would be released.

The original report came from information provided to Max J, a specialist in mobile phone leaks that often focuses on Samsung related products. TechRadar originally reported on the story, but can now confirm it's based on false information.

OnePlus has released T variants of its phones in either October or November each year since the OnePlus 3T was unveiled in November 2016. 

It's expected the company may introduce two new handsets titled the OnePlus 7T and OnePlus 7T Pro, which are likely to have similar designs to the counterpart phones launched earlier this year.

Each are expected to sport the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset that we saw in the OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7 Pro, but there's currently no hard and fast details on what spec we can expect.

We'll be sure to report on the actual launch date as soon as we hear more information, but for now we'll have to wait a little longer to hear when OnePlus will be ready to unveil a new handset.

Categories: Tech News

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