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Can’t get enough Anthem? A short film is coming from District 9's director

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 14:57

BioWare’s upcoming game Anthem is in need of serious exposition, so District 9 director Neill Blomkamp made a prequel short film titled "Anthem: Conviction" that will debut on February 14.

The partnership between EA and Blomkamp’s experimental film house Oats Studios was announced on Tuesday alongside a short one-minute teaser trailer. 

The prequel takes place a few decades before the start of Anthem and shows the city of Fort Tarsis where players spend time in between missions. You’ll also get to see some live-action footage of the game’s freelancers battling the head of the evil Dominion faction, the Monitor, that should help flesh out the world BioWare has been working on these last few years.

Why did Blomkamp choose Anthem? Apparently, the director – whose credits include District 9, Elysium, and Chappie – was “blown away by this incredible world BioWare created” and wanted to make a film set in that universe with his Oats Studios label. 

The full short will be available on Thursday, February 14 on Oats Studios’s YouTube channel, but you can catch a clip for the short below.

For whom the Anthem tolls

Of course, if you want to save every little detail until after you've played the game, we don't blame you. 

And, thankfully, you won't have to wait much longer to make that happen: Anthem is available to Origin Access Premier members on PC starting on Friday, February 15 with a full roll out on Friday, February 22.

  • Anthem is going to look great on the PS4 Pro
Categories: Tech News

Project Ara not dead? This Google patent hints at a modular smartphone

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 14:41

The Google Pixel 4 may not be the only new smartphone that the search giant is working on. A new patent application from the company details a modular device that blurs the lines between the old Project Ara modular smartphone design and a simpler approach like Motorola's Moto Z phones with Moto Mods or the modular LG G5. The patent was spotted by T3

This new patent shows a device that doesn't have quite the same level of granular customization that the Project Ara smartphone was aiming to offer. But, it still shows a design that offers far more variety than the Moto Z family of smartphones.

Image credit: Google

Patent images show of a number of modules that can slot together to make a complete handset. We see a main housing module that allows two other modules to slot in. The patent describes users' ability to "customize and modify the device by attaching different electronic accessory modules to the electronic device to create new and changing devices with unique features. Additionally, different housings can be used with the electronic device to create customized device experiences."

This opens the possibility of a device that can have its display, sensors, system on a chip, chassis, and camera all swapped in and out. The patent describes a module that could include anything from extra scanners, auxiliary battery or memory, an extra display, or different types of cameras. The patent also doesn't limit itself to the smartphone form factor.

This degree of modularity for a device has the benefit of allowing customers to kit the product to their needs while also switching components as they become outdated, malfunction, or are simply unneeded on any given day. The implications for e-waste are also positive, as consumers would no longer dispose of whole device when upgrading.

Of course, as we've seen Project Ara gather dust over the years, it's just as possible that this patent will never lead to a new device from Google. And, while we could hope for the Google Pixel 4 or some new smartphone line to get this functionality, we'll just have to wait and see.

Categories: Tech News

Lenovo launches TruScale as-a-Service

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 14:32

Lenovo is making it easier for businesses to access data center hardware and services with the launch of its TruScale Infrastructure Services which allow organisations to use and pay for them without having to purchase the equipment.

As technology rapid evolves, businesses require the ability to integrate new technologies and workloads efficiently and seamlessly. Lenovo's new as-a-service offering allows them to do just that so they can focus on innovating within their organisation.

The company's new Lenovo TruScale Infrastructure Services is a new take on procuring IT resources via a consumption-based, subscription model where customers never take ownership of the hardware or other IT assets and instead pay for what they use each month as part of their operating expenses.

Lenovo's ThinkSystem and ThinkAgile product portfolios are available through its new offering which includes hardware installation, deployment, management, maintenance and removal.

Lenovo TruScale

TruScale offers a true consumption-based model with no required minimum capicty commitment and customers only pay for capacity when their workloads are actively running.

Additionally, capacity can either be scaled up or down to accommodate business needs which ensures that IT infrastructure is the right size all the time. Lenovo's new offering provides the advantages of cloud-like economics with the added security of on-premise hardware.

Lenovo Data Center Group's SVP and Chief Customer Officer, Roderick Lappin explained the company's decision to offer infrastructure as-a-service, saying:

“Lenovo is accelerating our customers’ Intelligent Transformation and digital journey by providing them with a new way of securing and deploying infrastructure. By eliminating the capital expense of purchasing IT equipment and replacing with a subscription model, customers can now focus on supporting their business growth, knowing that they’ll have the right flexibility across their environment. Lenovo TruScale Infrastructure Services combines the economic flexibility of cloud with the security of on-premise data, giving customers more agility, efficiency and simplicity in how they operate.” 

Lenovo TruScale as-a-service is available through the company's sales representatives and channel partners across the globe and interested businesses can learn more here.

Categories: Tech News

Print-related data breaches affected 60% of businesses last year

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 13:26

Reliance on print in the workplace is causing security concerns for businesses worldwide according to the results of Quocirca's latest Global Print Security Report.

The study found that print-related breaches are costing an average of over $400,000 per year with 60 per cent of organisations experiencing at least one print-related data loss in the past 12 months. However, the majority of these breaches stem from accidental actions by internal users or insider threat.

Despite a reported 11 percent of all security incidents being related to print infrastructure, Quocirca's research found that attempts to mitigate print risks lack maturity with only 27 per cent of businesses achieving print security leader status in the firm's Print Security Maturity Index.

Even as businesses undergo their digital transformations, 91 percent of organisations consider print to still be important and 87 percent expect its importance to continue over the next two years.

Perception gap

Quocirca's study also found a perception gap where print security risks are concerned. The top perceived risk is malware according to 70 percent of organisations despite the fact that the most common cause of actual breaches is accidental actions of internal users accounting for 32 percent of incidents.

This perception gap could easily lead organisations to place too much focus on some risks while neglecting others.

Quocirca's Research Director Louella Fernandes provided further insight on the findings of the report, saying:

“Print infrastructure is vulnerable to all the threats associated with IoT devices, but also to risks linked to hard copy output. The number of print-related of breaches reported by the organisations we surveyed is concerning and the lack of security maturity shows that businesses can and should do more. With the financial, legal and reputational consequences of data breaches escalating, print security is intrinsic to an organisation’s security posture and a risk that should be managed at boardroom level.”

One way that Quocirca suggests businesses can improve their print security is by turning to a managed print service (MPS) with its research showing a positive link between businesses that use MPS and improved security.

Categories: Tech News

BioWare is 'definitely not done with Mass Effect'

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 12:37

The future of BioWare's sci-fi RPG series Mass Effect has been up in the air for some time now. Following the lacklustre reception to Mass Effect Andromeda in 2017, BioWare Montreal became a "support studio" while the series was put on an indefinite hiatus - which had fans questioning whether we would ever see another Mass Effect game at all. 

However, thanks to a studio profile by Polygon (via PCGamer), we now know the future isn't completely dark for Commander Shepherd and crew. We just might not see it return for some time.

  • Anthem release date, trailers, hands on preview and news
  • Here's everything we know so far about Dragon Age 4
  • Best PC games 2019: the must-play titles you don’t want to miss

When asked about the Mass Effect series, BioWare executive producer Mark Darrah assured fans that the developer isn't done with the franchise quite yet.

“We’re definitely not done with Mass Effect," Darrah told Polygon. "There’s a lot of stories to be told. We could pull on the threads we put down with Andromeda; we could pull on threads from Mass Effect 3. There’s a lot of interesting space to be explored.”

Image credit: BioWare

In addition, BioWare general manager Casey Hudson reiterated the team's intention to return to the series when it's possible.

“In my mind, it’s very much alive,” Hudson explained to Polygon. “I’m thinking all the time about things that I think will be great. It’s just a matter of getting back to it as soon as we can.”

However, we could be waiting a while, as BioWare is currently focused on the release of online multiplayer shooter Anthem and the upcoming Dragon Age title. So don't hold your breath....

Categories: Tech News

Nearly half of UK SMBs think a cyberattack could end them

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 12:36

Almost half of small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in the UK believe a cyberattack would put their business at risk of closure according to new research from the cybersecurity firm Webroot.

Additionally 48 percent of organizations have also begun to shift their priorities away from activities that would help grow their business in order to address cybersecurity.

Webroot's report, titled “Size Does Matter”, sheds light on the challenging climate UK SMBs are currently facing in a time of rapid political, economic and social change. After Brexit, cybersecurity threats are the biggest source of uncertainty for UK SMBs.

To deal with growing cyber threats, SMBs are spending almost an entire working day (18% of their time) a week on cybersecurity related tasks.

Targeting SMBs

Of the businesses surveyed by Webroot, almost half (48%) said they had suffered a cyberattack or data breach in their lifetime with more than one in seven saying this happened more than once.

To make matters worse, of those businesses that had been targeted, 70 percent were used as an entry point into a larger enterprise system they supply to. Nearly half (48%) of the cases negatively impacted relationships with 22 percent of SMBs admitting they are no longer a supplier as a result.

Webroot's Senior Director of Product Strategy, Paul Barnes encouraged SMBs to use their nimble size to their advantage, saying:

“SMBs can no longer consider themselves too small to be targets. They need to use their nimble size to their advantage by quickly identifying risks and educating everyone in the business of how to mitigate those risks, because people will always be the first line of defence. Working with the right cybersecurity partner or managed service provider (MSP) to develop the right strategy for their size will allow smaller businesses to prioritise the activities that matter most and help them grow.” 

  • Protect your business from the latest cyber threats with the best antivirus
Categories: Tech News

Manchester United vs PSG live stream: how to watch today's Champions League 2019 football online

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 12:27

Well things have certainly changed somewhat since Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain were drawn together in the Champions League last 16 back in December. What looked like it might be a one-sided affair now looks very tasty indeed, and with this guide you can live stream Man United vs PSG no matter where you are in the world.

Cast your mind back almost two months ago when the names Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain came out next to each other, and you would have seen a despondent Jose Mourinho at the helm of a faltering United. One day later he was sacked, and the Red Devils haven't looked back since. Caretaker manager and club legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer remains unbeaten in his 11 matches in charge and has the likes of Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford playing the high quality football that everybody knew they could. They've gone from no-hopers to Champions League contenders in a matter of weeks.

PSG's fortunes have headed in the opposite direction thanks to some terribly timed injury woes. Two of their star men - Neymar and Edinson Cavani - are sidelined, leaving manager Thomas Tuchel to make some creative choices...expect Dani Alves to start in midfield, for example. But don't forget that this is a side 10 points up with two games in hand in Ligue 1, and boasting superstars like Kylian Mbappe, Gianluigi Buffon and ex-United winger Angel Di Maria. And they'll be up for the fight.

It's poised to be a fascinating first leg of the Champions League last 16 knockouts, so make sure you follow the instructions below for how to live stream Manchester United vs PSG from wherever you are in the world.

Use a VPN to watch Champions League football outside your country

If you're away from your country but are desperate to get around geo-blocking from your home broadcaster, don't sweat. Thanks to the tools provided to you by a VPN service, you can tune in no matter where you are in the world. And best of all, it's really easy to do.

Stream the Man U game live in the UK 

How to watch Man United vs PSG: US live streams

How to live stream Manchester United vs PSG in Canada

How to live stream Man United vs Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League: Australia

How to watch Champions League football in New Zealand

How to live stream the UEFA Champions League football in India

Categories: Tech News

Google launches G Suite recruitment tool

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 11:45

In an effort to make it easier for businesses to recruit the best talent for their organisations, Google has announced that its G Suite recruitment app Hire is now available in the UK and Canada.

The search giant first launched its recruitment app for the US market back in July 2017 and now it is extending the service to the UK and Canada where its success could possibly lead to a global rollout later down the line.

Hire helps organisations by making it easy to collaborate on identifying talent, building strong candidate relationships and allowing them to efficiently manage the end-to-end interview process within their existing workflows.

Google's recruitment app also integrates seamlessly with other G Suite apps such as Gmail and Google Calendar by enabling customers to run an efficient recruiting process alongside G Suite's other familiar tools.

Recruiting with Hire and G Suite

Hire and G Suite were designed to work so well together that an organisation's recruitment team can focus on their top priorities as opposed to wasting time copying and pasting across tools.

Using Hire, businesses can recruit directly from within Gmail and the emails will sync automatically in both services. The app also allows users to schedule interviews that automatically sync to Google Calendar

Businesses can also track candidates in Hire and then use Google Sheets to analyze and visualize the data.

Companies that are already using G Suite in their day to day operations can easily take advantage of Hire and we could see Google expand the service to more countries if it is successful in the UK and Canada.

Categories: Tech News

Devil May Cry 5: everything you need to know

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 11:36

Stuff your open worlds and your battle royales – sometimes you just want to put on some studded leather gloves, dust off your New Rock boots and slice seven shades of sin off a demon with a bum for a face.

Enter Devil May Cry 5 – what’s being considered to be the first true sequel in the hack-and-slash series for over a decade, if you skip counting the DmC: Devil May Cry reboot of 2013. Except, it’s sort of a sequel to Devil May Cry 2 due to some time-jumping plot elements, we think based on what we’ve seen so far...which actually makes it a prequel to Devil May Cry 4? Sorta?

Stop thinking – you’re here for bombastic special moves, outlandish monsters and more combo options than a hot wings and wedges sharing platter.

Cut to the chase
  • What is it? The next entry into the Devil May Cry series, a hack-and-slash monster-slaying adventure
  • When can I play it? March 8, 2019
  • What can I play it on? PC, Xbox One and PS4
Devil May Cry 5 trailers

Devil May Cry 5, after months of teasing from director Hideaki Itsuno, was finally revealed during Microsoft’s press conference at E3 2018. A whole slew of trailers have followed since: here’s a playlist direct from Capcom that not only includes the latest Devil May Cry 5 trailers, but also some gameplay playthroughs too. Plenty to rest your eyes on here.

Devil May Cry 5 release date

Devil May Cry 5 will release on March 8, 2019. The last Devil May Cry game, DmC: Devil May Cry, was released back in 2013, but being a reboot isn’t wholly considered part of the core series. In some respects then, this is the first ‘proper’ Devil May Cry release in over a decade, since 2008’s Devil May Cry 4.

Devil May Cry 5 story

The fifth core entry into the Devil May Cry series, DMC 5 introduces a new mystery man, ‘V’. He’s tasked returning heroes Dante and Nero with taking out a tremendous new enemy that threatens the world, and is laying waste to the London-like Red Grave City. The game opens with Dante being beaten to within an inch of his life, but giving Nero just enough time to escape.

Fast-forward a month, and we’re with Nero, who’s working his way through Red Grave City one demon infestation at a time, working on monster-slaying contracts out of a camper van with his new buddy, the chain-smoking inventor Nico. Where the action will take us beyond that point remains a mystery, but you will get to play as Dante, Nero and V throughout the course of the adventure, with Nico acting as your upgrade repository.

Devil May Cry 5 gameplay and characters

If you’ve played a DmC game in the past, you’ll be familiar with its core loop of combo rushes and boss battles. Both Nero and Dante return, and again they’ll work through a library of close-combat, ranged and air-juggling attacks to smash through foes – not only progressing the story, but earning them improved rankings for each level, making the game as much a leaderboard chase as it is a narrative adventure.

V, however, is an all-new take on combat in Devil May Cry. Looking something like Star Wars Kylo Ren if he’d been dragged through a My Chemical Romance mosh-pit, the tattooed and cane-wielding character doesn’t attack foes directly. Instead, he summons a ghostly panther to do close-combat attacks on his behalf, and a raven for ranged attacks. V is vulnerable up close, and only comes in to deliver finishing blows on baddies, recharging his pet’s powers by reading from a magical book. Build up enough power from battles and he can also summon a massive golem heavy character to take on tougher baddies, which V can ride to take direct control over.

It’s a very different approach to combat for Devil May Cry, making it far more about tactical planning than direct button-mashing prowess. Over the course of the game we can imagine V’s levels being a welcome change of pace.

Dante and Nero have some new tricks up their sleeves too though. Nero still has his Red Queen sword and Blue Rose revolver, but now has a new assortment of ‘Devil Breakers’ – robot arms to replace the one he lost earlier in the series. These can do everything from freezing enemies to dragging them in from a distance, as well as dropping devastating explosives. You can swap these out mid-mission too, giving you some tactical-load out options as you play.

Dante has his familiar Rebellion and Sparda blades, but gets two new Devil Arms, a pair of weapons that look a bit like buzzsaws and can combine to become a motorcycle. His Swordmaster, Gunslinger, Trickster and Royalguard move sets from Devil May Cry 3 return – a point some fans consider the series at its best. 

And so, when you throw in each characters’ individual branching upgrade paths, there’s plenty to sink your teeth into, as well as plenty of potential for replayability across multiple playthroughs. It’s going to be a wild, bloody ride.

Devil May Cry 5 Cameo system

Here’s an interesting addition to the series. DmC 5 has levels in which the characters you’re not currently controlling duke it out alongside you. Whereas many games would have this work with purely an AI companion, Capcom is introducing a kind of asynchronous ghost-mulitplayer option here. 

As you’re playing, you’ll get a note stating that the Cameo system has been triggered, and that one of the other characters, as previously controlled by another player, is battling through the level. We’ve yet to see this in action, and how much it will change the moment-to-moment gameplay remains to be seen. But adding a dash of community to what is otherwise a solitary gameplay experience sounds like an intriguing concept at the very least.

Devil May Cry 5 in-game purchases

The game has courted some controversy over the decision to include in-game purchases. You’ll be able to spend real-world money to buy in-game orbs, used to upgrade the game’s characters. However, Capcom has stressed that this doesn’t affect the game’s natural progression system, and that players will not be penalised in any way for opting not to splash extra cash. 

Put simply, it’ll just be a way for lazy gamers to speed through to some of the more extravagant upgrades that everyone else will naturally earn as they play, so be still your beating hearts.

Categories: Tech News

New Apple TV 2019: what we want to see

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 11:33

Can we expect a new Apple TV for 2019? Or is Apple happy with the most recent 4K edition pushed out in 2017? We're certainly ready for more, and we've collected all the rumors and our personal wishes for the new device right here.

To put the Apple TV 2019 in context, it's been a tough road for the Apple TV as a whole. Labeled a “hobby” project by Steve Jobs, the idea of a set-top box was very much on the back burner at Apple for many years.

The 4K-enabled Apple TV that arrived last year finally saw the streamer meet the promise it’s always held, boasting super-high resolution playback, some fun gaming options and voice control that actually worked.

So what will the follow-up look like? Here's what we might see from the Apple TV 2019, which would be the 6th generation of the box.

Cut to the chase
  • What is it? A new version of Apple’s set-top box
  • When is it out? We’d expect an announcement in September 2019
  • What will it cost? Hopefully around the price of previous models
Apple TV 6 (2019) release date

As ever with unannounced Apple products, outside the annual iPhone release, it’s hard to know when, if ever, a new product will hit stores. But we can make educated guesses based on previous models’ release dates.

The fifth-generation, 4K-capable Apple TV model was revealed on September 12, 2017, almost two years to the day that the 4th generation Apple TV was announced. 

By that reckoning, a September 2019 reveal is most likely, giving time for TV technology to progress enough for Apple to have something new to discuss. An Apple TV in 2018 might just not be worth it for Apple – though we're got our eyes on the new iPhone launch event today in case they get in an announcement early.

Of course we now know that WWDC 2018 came and went without any mention of a new Apple TV. Maybe next year.

Apple TV 6 (2019) price

Of course, without a confirmed spec sheet, it’s difficult to speculate on cost. Apple knows that messing with the formula too much might hurt sales, though.

It's worth bearing in mind that as far as set-top boxes have gone in the past, Apple’s has always commanded a premium price. 

For the sake of context, the current-gen Apple TV costs £179 / $179 / AU$249 for the 32GB version, while the 64GB option costs £199 / $199 / AU$279. The Apple TV 2018 (or 2019) would be around that, we think.

Apple TV 6 (2019): what we want to see

The Apple TV line has made some solid steps forward over the last two generation revisions, but there’s still room for improvement should a 6th-generation Apple TV ever hit stores. 

Apple’s approach to content and voice control still frustrates at times, and it’s in these areas we’re mostly looking for some progress with a new Apple TV, what with the underlying hardware being reasonably solid at this period in time.

An open approach to apps and third-party video

The walls of Apple’s closed garden have been slowly eroding over the years, but it’s still quite picky about what makes it to its TV-based app store. That’s particularly clear when you’re comparing the Apple TV with something like Android TV-based set-top boxes, where a wide range of applications (including some more controversial options like Kodi) are available.

It’d be great to see Apple take a similarly open approach to its TV viewing options in the future. Tastes across the globe vary, and a wider variety of programming and streaming options (as well as ways to play back your own media) would go down a treat if they were included in the Apple TV 2018.

More gaming options

The last two generations of Apple TV have seen the company dip its toes deeper into the world of gaming – something that, outside of the iOS app store, it’s been reticent to do in a home space in the past. 

But with the 5th-gen release and the partnership with Thatgamecompany for its game Sky, it started to seem like it was finally taking home gaming seriously.

However, outside of Sky’s release, Apple TV gaming still hasn’t been particularly high profile. Its clearest rival in this respect is the Nvidia Shield, which takes gaming very seriously with built-for-purpose console conversions for its hardware, and a cloud streaming gaming service. 

It’d be great to see Apple get more high-quality developers onboard – which shouldn’t be as hard as it's making it seem, considering the relationship that it already has with mobile developers.

Deeper voice control with Siri

Controlling your TV with voice commands is still a thrill, but Apple’s Siri lags behind the capabilities of Google’s Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa. 

The TV space would be a great area for it to invest in, given the relatively narrow contextual window it has to work within. 

We’d love to see Siri integration really dive deep with the 6th-gen Apple TV 2018 – perhaps scheduling a calendar notification for your favorite show release date, for instance.

Better HomePod syncing

Apple’s smart speaker can frustrate thanks to Siri’s sometimes weak recognition capabilities, but one thing that is undeniable about the hardware is its sound quality. 

It’s easily the best-sounding smart speaker on the market – if among the most expensive of them, too.

Now that HomePod speakers support stereo pairing and multi-room, would it be possible to get the HomePod to automatically set up in a surround sound configuration if multiple speakers and the TV box are present? 

It’d be great to be enveloped by an epic Hollywood soundtrack through those speakers.

Better exclusive content

Apple’s been investing in exclusive content for a few years now, and while Carpool Karaoke still has a relatively loyal following, there wasn’t much fanfare around its reality TV Planet of the Apps Show. 

Compare that to what Amazon is producing for its Prime service and Fire TV devices, and it seems majorly lacking. 

Apple needs to do better to pull in big name TV and movie directors if it’s going to compete with Jeff Bezos’s service and Netflix. Perhaps this could be integrated and subsidized by the long-rumored Apple TV subscription service that the company has been allegedly trying to iron out for years.

Categories: Tech News

The best free collage maker 2019

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 11:30

You could make a collage by piecing images together using a photo editor like Photoshop or GIMP, but it requires a lot of careful resizing and measuring, and really isn’t much fun. It’s much better to use a dedicated free photo collage maker, and there are some fantastic tools that make the job as simple as dragging and dropping, and make the process of creating an original design a real joy.

Modern phone cameras can take stunning print-quality photos, and you probably have some real gems stored on your handset right now – so why leave them there?

These are the tools – both web apps and desktop software – that will help you make gorgeous collages in moments, ready to print to canvas.

Image credit: Fotojet

1. Fotojet

Feature-packed and fun; the best tool for making print-ready collages

Online photo collage maker Fotojet looks very much like Fotor and Canva (below), but is more flexible and fun to use than either, making it our number one choice.

To get started, click 'Collage' and choose either a grid or an illustrated design (in our opinion a simple grid-based layout shows off your photos better). Those marked with a crown are available to premium account holders only, but you can resize the image frames in any grid, so this isn't much of a drawback. You can also adjust the spacing and roundness of the boxes, and pick an aspect ratio for your canvas.

Click 'Add photos', then drag and drop them into the template. Once you’ve inserted an image you’ll be presented with a list of customizable Instagram-style filters to give your collage a bespoke look, plus advanced options for tweaking exposure, brightness, contrast, saturation, and hue. There’s a good selection of backgrounds to choose from too (either plain colors, or tasteful geometric patterns), plus clip art and text.

Once you’ve finished, you can save your creation as a JPG or PNG file (there’s no PDF option) at a compression setting and size to suit you. You can also share it via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Tumblr, or even print it directly from the browser. It's great fun to use, and easy to master.

Try it online: Fotojet

Image credit: Canva

2. Canva

For printing to canvas, this online photo collage maker is a great choice

Like all the other browser-based collage makers here, most of Canva’s photo collage templates are free to use, but there are also premium designs available for a fee. These are clearly marked, so there’s no need to worry about creating a design, then being unable to export it without parting with a handful of cash.

To begin, set a new username and password, or sign in with your Facebook or Google account. Select "Personal use" and you’ll be presented with a menu of project types, including social media graphics, banners, book covers, and presentations. Select "Photo collage," then "See all collage templates" to see the full set of free options available. Alternatively, click "Elements" and choose a grid, then start adding the images, borders, icons, and other items that will make up your collage. 

To add your own pictures, click "Uploads" and drag them from your desktop. You can then drag them straight onto your collage canvas. You can also add images from Facebook, or from Canva’s own library of free pictures. If you’ve chosen a grid layout, they will be resized and cropped to fit automatically.

Once you’re done, you can save your collage as a printable PDF, PNG, or JPG file, or make it public for others to use. You can even add crop marks and bleed space – an option that’s very useful for professional printing, and absent from most free collage makers.

The only drawback of Canva is that you can’t set the resolution of the output file (although you do have a choice of standard or print-quality PDFs). Beyond that, it’s a truly superb free collage maker.

Try it online: Canva

Image credit: Fotor

3. Fotor

Not just a great photo editor, browser-based app Fotor also has a module dedicated to making stylish collages from your best pictures

There are currently two versions of Fotor’s collage maker – one that uses Flash, and another built with HTML5. The former will soon be phased out in favour of the latter, but they work the same way.

Fotor's design isn’t quite as intuitive as Canva’s, but it’s still much quicker and easier than creating a collage from first principles. All of Fotor’s essential features are free, with extras available for a subscription fee. Premium membership also removes ads from the collage creator.

To get started, click "Sign in" and either create a new account using your email address, or log in with Facebook (you’ll need an account in order to save your work as you move between tools). Once that’s done, click "Collage", pick a template (those marked with a diamond icon are only available to premium account holders) and upload your pictures using the "Import" button on the right. Click "Fill in" on the left, and the spaces in your chosen template will be populated with the uploaded pictures – cropped and resized to fit automatically. It’s incredibly simple, and the quickest way to create a collage if you don’t mind letting the web app make creative decisions for you. Stickers and text let you give your design a personal touch before it’s exported. Unlike Canva, Fotor lets you choose the aspect ratio and resolution of your finished collage before saving it in JPG, PNG or PDF format.

Fotor is an excellent free collage maker, though its design is a little less intuitive than Canva, pushing it into a respectable third place.

Try it online: Fotor

Image credit: NCH Software

4. PhotoPad

A desktop-based free collage maker that’s fast, if a little utilitarian

PhotoPad is a desktop collage maker, making it faster and more flexible than its browser-based counterparts. You don’t have to relinquish your email address or Facebook username to use it, either. Unfortunately, it looks a little dated, and lacks some of the features that make online collage makers so much fun, including stickers and filters.

Click "Collage" to begin, and set up your canvas by choosing a size for the finished print. Next, pick the background that will show behind your images. Most of the patterns provided here are quite cheesy, but you can also use your own picture or a solid color.

Once that’s done, it’s time to choose a layout. There’s a great choice of grids (none are locked away behind a paywall), and you can customize the spacing between photos and roundness of the corners using a pair of sliders.

Click a space in your grid to add a photo from your PC. They will be resized to fit, and you can adjust the area to be cropped by clicking and dragging. Unfortunately there’s no way to add text or shapes within the collage editor, and neither are there any filters to give your pictures a fresh look before finalizing your design. If you really want to add extra elements, you’ll have to re-open the saved collage using PhotoPad’s main photo editor and make the alterations manually.

Download here: PhotoPad

Image credit: Digital Palette LLC

5. piZap

A fun way to create collages for Facebook, but not the best for wall art

Unlike other browser-based free photo collage makers, piZap doesn’t ask you to part with your email address before you start creating your first design; just get stuck straight in. This is a handy time-saver, but has the disadvantage that you can’t save your progress and edit your creation at a later date.

First, pick a free design; there are options based around rectangles (our preferred choice), hearts, circles, and other shapes like stars. The latter options are better suited to greeting cards than wall art, and risk detracting from the impact of your photos. We’d also avoid the themed options, which are all rather cheesy.

Once you’ve picked a template, simply click each frame in turn to insert a photo. Not only can you upload images from your PC, you can also grab pictures from Facebook, Instagram, Dropbox, and Flickr. The now-defunct Google Picasa is also listed.

Once your photos are in place, you can set a background color, adjust spacing, and add a drop shadow. There’s a good range of filters available, though they can only be applied to the entire canvas, not individual photos, and the clip art options lack subtlety. The remaining tools (paintbrushes and meme text) are fun for creating something silly to share online, but not for stylish wall art. 

Once you’ve finished, the free collage maker only gives you one export option – a standard resolution JPG that’s fine for a small print, but not for a large canvas. Overall, piZap is best for making fun compositions to share on social media. If you want something to hang on your wall, the other tools here are much better choices.

Try it online: piZap

Categories: Tech News

Apple TV 4K vs Apple TV: prices, specs and features compared

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 11:30

Update: Could a new model of the Apple TV be around the corner? Head to our new Apple TV 2019 page to see what we want from a new iteration on Apple's streaming set top box. Otherwise read on for our comparison below...

Apple is finally joining the civilized world of 4K Ultra-HD with its new Apple TV 4K, a new streaming box that can output the higher resolution in conjunction with HDR

It’s something that probably should’ve happened back in 2015 when Apple announced the new-and-improved Apple TV, but hey, it’s better late than never, and now Apple can make use of the newer standards that have emerged in the meantime. 

If you just purchased the original Apple TV or are looking to buy into the Apple streaming video ecosystem for the first time, you might be wondering which of the two sets are right for you. Conversely, if you're new to streaming video devices entirely, you might even be considering something else – like, say, a Roku or Amazon Fire TV – and we’ll walk you through those options as well.

With so many devices at your fingertips and two of them branded with an Apple logo, it can be hard to sort out which ones you actually need. But we’re here to help. Not sure if you absolutely need an Apple TV 4K? Read on to figure it out.

Resolution – 4K/HDR vs HD/SDR

One of the easiest qualifiers of whether you need an Apple TV 4K is whether you actually own a 4K HDR TV or not – as that’s probably the new box’s biggest selling point. 

Only the new Apple TV 4K supports the new technologies, and a lot of its functionality is redundant if you don't have a television that supports it. 

But wait. Just what, exactly, is the big deal about 4K HDR? 

4K, also known as Ultra-HD or by its technical resolution of 3,840 x 2,160, simply means that the Apple TV can output around four times the amount of pixels than standard HD boxes can. The HDR part, however, is a bit more important. HDR, also known as high dynamic range, is a technology that allows for TVs to display better, more colorful and much brighter pictures. 

Going from SDR to HDR is like upgrading from a box of eight Crayola crayons to the awesome 16-crayon box: there are more colors available to choose from and those colors are be brighter and more vibrant than the ones you’re used to.

If you don’t own a 4K/HDR TV (and trust me, you’ll know if you do) or don’t plan on upgrading to one in the near future, you’re probably best sticking with the old hardware. If you do, then the Apple TV 4K is probably a worthwhile upgrade.

Simple, right? Well before we move on, it’s worth mentioning the neat little feature called Dolby Vision – a souped-up version of HDR that allows for even higher (and lower) levels of brightness and richer colors. Like HDR and 4K, you’ll need a Dolby Vision TV to actually see the images in the new and better format. 

Specs – Apple A8 vs A10X

The other major change besides resolution is the hardware under the hood of the new system. Namely that change is an upgrade from the old Apple A8 processor (the one found inside the Apple iPhone SE) in the Apple TV to the newer Apple 10X (the one found in the iPad Pro) in the Apple TV 4K. 

According to benchmarks run by Apple, the upgraded chip helps the Apple TV 4K perform at twice the speed of the original Apple TV and offers four times the performance with games and apps. 

The bottom line? If you’re going to use your Apple TV as a faux game console or can’t stand buffer times, you should consider shelling out for the extra power. 

Unfortunately, though, if you want a bit more space to store those games and apps, you won’t get any advantage by upgrading to the Apple TV 4K. In fact, both the Apple TV and the Apple TV 4K offer the same storage options – 32GB and 64GB. And considering that games and apps can now be as big as 4GB each, those storage options might run out rather quick.

As for weight, size and every other physical characteristic (including the amount and types of ports offered) the two are almost identical in every way with the minor exception that Apple TV offers a USB-C port on the back.

Price differences

We never thought we’d utter these words but, everything considered, we’re a bit surprised Apple isn’t charging more for the Apple TV 4K – especially considering the price of the original. 

For the record, the original Apple TV will set you back $149 (£129, AU$269) for the 32GB model. The new Apple TV 4K starts at only $30 more and will come in at $179 (about £135, AU$225) for the 32GB model. That said, if you want more space, the 64GB model of the TV 4K is only $20 more and will be available for $199 (about £149, AU$249). 

Based on price alone it’s tempting to upgrade from a 32GB Apple TV to a 32GB Apple TV 4K and from a 32GB version of the Apple TV 4K to the 64GB version. Well played, Apple.

Where Apple’s pricing model falls apart, however, is when it’s compared to the other options on the market. Roku has a 4K Ultra HD HDR player for $99 called the Roku Premiere+, as does Amazon in the form of the new Amazon Fire TV. For a bit more than the $99 sticker price, you can get a Nvidia Shield, which offers 4K HDR and doubles as a PLEX server, and for $30 less, you can get the Chromecast Ultra which offers 4K HDR for $69 (£69 or about AU$90). 

So, is it worth buying the new Apple TV 4K?

Let’s wrap this up in a nice little bow, shall we? If you’re dead-set on buying into the Apple ecosystem and own a 4K HDR TV with plans on doing some gaming on it, the Apple TV 4K is absolutely the system you need. No questions asked. 

Even if you don’t own a 4K HDR TV right this second but would like one in the near future, it’s probably worth shelling out a little bit extra now to upgrade to the Apple TV 4K and save yourself the headache down the road.

But, all that said, if you’re not 100% sure about the Apple ecosystem or would like to save significantly on your 4K HDR streaming video player, it might be worth checking out some other options like the Roku Premiere+, Amazon Fire TV and Chromecast Ultra first before you make any decisions one way or the other.

The advantages of the Apple TV models are their integration with other Apple technologies like HomeKit and AirPlay. If your whole household already uses Apple products, this might justify the price premium of the streaming boxes over the competition. 

Categories: Tech News

Pokemon Go is getting an AR photo mode

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 11:24

Pokemon Go is getting a new enhanced AR photography feature, which will allow players to take photos of Pokemon in the real world. 

Go Snapshot will allow players to pose and take pictures of Pokemon in any real world location they choose. Essentially hosting your very own Pokemon photo shoot – but keep it clean.

How does Go Snapshot work?

Image credit: Niantic Inc

Go Snapshot seems pretty straight forward. You simply choose a Pokemon from your collection, scan your real-world surroundings, pose the chosen Pokemon, take your photograph and share it with your friends. 

Even better, the Pokemon will be scale to their environment – so no Godzilla Pikachu or tiny Growlithe. 

It may not be Pokemon Snap but it's a feature fans have wanted for some time now, considering images of Pokemon in the real-world could only be taken during battles previously - when you're not exactly worries about how they're posing.

Niantic hasn't announced when we will see the new feature, but we do know it's "coming soon".

Categories: Tech News

Apple AirPods 2 reportedly not coming until end of 2019

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 11:23

If you were holding your breath for an early 2019 release for Apple's AirPods 2, you could be in for a disappointment – if well-known leaker OnLeaks' latest tweet is anything to go by.

Citing an "unconfirmed but seemingly reliable source", he claims that "brand new AirPods + new color(s) [are] likely to be unveiled this Fall".

You can see the original tweet below:

If the rumor proves to be true, the AirPods 2 release date could coincide with the iPhone 11's predicted launch date in early September. 

This, of course, contradicts previous rumors of an early 2019 release date for the second gen earbuds, as outlined in a recent report from Digitimes.

Rumor has it

OnLeaks also claims that a wireless charging case for the AirPods could be coming to consumers first, and will ship with the original true wireless earbuds. 

However, it does back up a report from My Smart Price that claims we could be getting some new color options with the AirPods 2, saying that Apple will be offering the AirPods 2 in "two colors: Black and White".

The report from My Smart Price also claimed that the long-awaited AirPower wireless charging mat would finally be released in the next few months, alongside a "wireless charging case for the first-generation AirPods".

The source behind the My Smart Price report says that Apple is working on a few “exclusive features” for the AirPower, but that they will "not be available until iOS 13 is released". They also claim that, the AirPower wireless charging pad is "likely to be priced around $150 (£115 / AU$210) at launch".

As with any rumor, we can't be 100% sure if it's true, and with no firm indication from Apple, we can only speculate about a release date for the Apple AirPods 2. 

Categories: Tech News

Google ramps up processor design efforts with new India hub

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 11:00

Google is working toward completely designing its very own processors, for both servers that power its services and the mobile devices that it sells to consumers, with the opening of a hardware design hub in Bengaluru, India, Reuters reports.

Alphabet Inc, Google’s still-fresh parent company, has reportedly hired more than a dozen silicon engineers in Bengaluru in recent months with plans to quickly hire more. Reuters collected its report via LinkedIn profiles, job postings and speaking with two anonymous industry executives.

According to Reuters, Google’s new processor design team is known internally as ‘gChips’ and contains expatriates from Broadcom, Intel, Nvidia and Qualcomm.

This team is likely tuning and testing silicon chip designs made by Google’s existing hardware team in its Silicon Valley offices, and is likely to grow to up to 80 staff by the end of 2019, Reuters reports.

Google declined to comment on Reuters’s report.

Why design your own processors?

It should be noted that Google has been working on its own server processor parts and smartphone image processing parts since 2014. The company’s Tensor Processing Unit has been popular in machine learning applications for years.

Also, Apple and Facebook (and even Adobe) have been reported to be following similar paths toward designing 100% of the processors that power their products and services.

The obvious reason for companies designing their own processors is cost. Why license processors and other components from Intel, Nvidia, Qualcomm and other component producers when you can spend a bit more than that upfront and reinvest in your business?

Another reason is optimization, an advantage we’ve seen Apple play to incredible effect with its iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch lines of products. A Google-made smartphone with a 100% Google processor inside could be much better prepared to combat the next iPhone than one with yet another Qualcomm Snapdragon processor inside designed for every phone.

It will be a long time before we see the fruits of Google’s labor, but don’t be surprised to eventually see Google touting its own processors much like Apple does every year it launches a new phone.

Via Hexus

Categories: Tech News

Meet Ai-Da, the world's first humanoid robot portrait artist

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 10:59

A life-like robot capable of drawing portraits from real life, Ai-Da is an artist and a work of art. Ai-Da ‘sees’ through a camera in her eye and responds without human intervention, isolating her subject from the background, interpreting it and drawing it by hand. Her preferred medium is pencil or ink (and her creators hope she’ll soon be able to paint as well).

“I didn’t have an epiphany,” Ai-Da’s creator, art director Aidan Meller, tells TechRadar. “It came out of a number of things. I’ve been involved in the art world for years, but one thing I wasn’t involved in was the creation of art. I decided that on the 20th anniversary of my involvement in art, I wanted to get involved in creating it.”

Meller began considering the idea of an AI artist while playing with Lego with his 11-year-old son. 

“There I was, holding a machine in my hand, and it made me wonder if it was possible for them to be creative,” he says.

Ai-Da, named after computer programmer Ada Lovelace, is the result. 

“She interrogates the subject that she sees, and we can vary that algorithm tremendously,” Meller says. “The style can be very experimental, or it can create very tight drawings, or it can be quite abstract.”

Building Ai-Da

Ai-Da doesn’t just draw – she’s also a performance artist. Her body was built by UK-based robotics company Engineered Arts, using the company’s expressive RoboThespian robot body, which is specifically designed for performances in public spaces. Her Mesmer head is finished with silicone skin, 3D-printed teeth and gums, and integrated eye cameras.

Ai-Da uses Engineered Arts' Robothespian hardware. Image Credit: Guy Bell

The seven-month build was an intense process – and an expensive one. Meller put his own money into the project, but it was also funded by pre-selling art for her first show, Unsecured Futures. 

“We’ve sold over £1 million worth of artwork,” Meller says.

“There were 10 people at Engineered Arts, 15 people programming the AI for creating art at Oxford University and Goldsmith’s College in London, and two people at the University of Leeds doing the arm,” says Meller.

Speaking for herself

Ai-Da’s first exhibition will launch on May 9, but first she’ll take to the stage at Oxford University to give her own press conference – responding to questions and interacting with the audience. She will also perform an homage to Yoko Ono's performance work Cut Piece.  

“She did a very influential piece where she sat on the stage, and people came up and cut pieces of her clothing away in a statement about the perception of the female body,” Meller says

Ai-Da's performance will be the opposite: “Ai-Da will be on stage, and people will put clothes on her until you can’t see her at all.”

Ai-Da has been in construction for seven months. Image Credit: Guy Bell

The aim is to highlight how little we understand the AI systems we’re coming to rely on, which are often black boxes.

“We want to push the boundaries of what AI can do,” says Meller. “We’re using her to question how we are using AI today – are we just using it for profit, where it can have a damaging impact on humans and lower the quality of life for animals, for example, or are we using it for good?"

Categories: Tech News

Nearly 620 million stolen accounts for sale on dark web

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 09:56

Hundreds of millions of stolen online accounts have been found for sale on the Dark Web.

As many as 617 million accounts from 16 popular websites were detected on the Dream Market website on the notorious Tor network.

For the equivalent of $20,000 in Bitcoin, hackers could get hold of information including account names, email addresses and passwords - although the latter appear to still be hashed, meaning they still require cracking to be able to be used.

Stolen accounts for sale

The haul was highlighted to The Register by the apparent seller, who provided the site with sample records from the collection.

Some of the worst hit sites were Dubsmash (162 million accounts) MyFitness Pal (151 million) and MyHeritage (92 million), with other victims including dating sites, ecommerce stores and gaming studios.

The database was put up for sale by a single hacker, who according to The Register, claimed the information was stolen during 2018. The hacker cracked security vulnerabilities within web apps to be able to deploy remote-code execution, allowing them to easily extract user account data.

The Register contacted MyHeritage to see if the sample information it was provided was real, as the site had suffered a data breach last year, with the genealogy site confirming the data was legitimate.

The hacker claimed to already have secure one buyer, with more potentially to come.

  • Keep your data private online with the best VPN of 2019
Categories: Tech News

Pokemon Go update: all the news and rumors for what's coming next

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 09:51

Pokemon Go: the world's first augmented reality app to become a household name. Niantic's mobile AR game is still going strong two years after it first released, with a constant drip of events and updates keeping budding trainers glued to their phones and pounding the streets.

And while it hasn't managed to top the peak of its popularity in 2016, it's still going strong and finding plenty of new ways to improve its player experience.

So what's the latest news for Pokemon Go? As you'd expect, brand new features are being added all the time – with Team Battles recently released and Let's Go: Pikachu and Eevee for Nintendo Switch likely to tie in to the mobile AR game in numerous ways.

So without further ado, here's our guide to all the new updates, rumors and tweaks promised by Niantic so far. 

[Update: Pokémon Go now lets you fight other players, so you can battle your friends.]

Latest Pokemon Go updates

Pokémon Go finally has a player-versus-player (PvP) mode called Trainer Battles.

Trainer Battles allow you to participate in real-time Pokémon battles with other players and Pokémon Go team leaders. 

To compete in Trainer Battles you need to create a custom Battle Party, made up of three Pokémon. This will then be your party to challenge other players and team leaders. 

You can invite nearby players to participate in friendly Trainer battles through the battle code invitation system, which sees you scanning another player's unique battle code - or vice versa. There's also an option to partake in remote battles, but you can only invite someone to a remote battle if your in-game friendship has reached the ultra friends level or higher.

Trainer Battles also introduces a new charge attack for your Pokemon and a protect shield to defend against powerful attacks. After a Trainer Battle finishes, both players will receive a prize, as well as a chance of getting rare evolution items.

To keep players from becoming frustrated, a maximum cap has also been placed on participating Pokémon's strength - so you can't necessarily use your strongest.

Image credit: Niantic

Back in September a furore around Pokemon Go happened around a suspiciously unfamiliar 'hex nut' shaped Pokemon that appeared at a community Pokemon Go event in Japan, named simply '???'. Nintendo's official Pokemon Twitter account followed up with a short video announcing the new Pokemon as 'Meltan' – ending with a reference to the Let's Go games and possibly hinting at a crossover event in the future.

Image credit: Niantic

But one of the most awaited updates finally came to Pokemon Go earlier this summer – one that now lets players trade within the Pokemon Go app.

Along with the introduction of a Friends system, you'll now be able benefit from having real-world pals, offering each other gifts, or making swaps on unwanted items.

Just making use of the trading system alone bags you free Candy for attracting the pocketable beasties, as well, of course giving you the opportunity to trade for rare and sought-after Pokemon.

However, it seems it's a feature for more hardcore players to begin with – you'll only be able to trade if you're between levels 30 and 40, so you're going to have to put some hours in first before becoming a wheeling-and-dealing Pokemon trader.

Recently, Pokemon Go also began to enter the latest generation with the addition of some Alolan Pokemon. It won't be brand new Alolan Pokemon you'll see, but instead Niantic has announced that players will see the Alolan forms of some Kanto Pokemon – recently the likes of Diglett and Geodude. 

Image credit: Niantic

When's the next Pokemon Go event?

The next Pokémon community day is on February 16, and promises to let players learn a new event-exclusive move – as long as you can evolve your Swinhub Pokémon. 

Gamespot says that, "if you manage to evolve it into its final form, Mamoswine, up to an hour after the event ends, the Pokemon will know the Rock-type attack Ancient Power."

The last community day was on January 12, and it gave players the chance to catch a Shiny Pokémon for the first time. 

Pokémon Go update: what's next?

Trainer Battles has just released, but we don't know what is on the horizon next for Pokemon Go.

Want to buy yourself a Pokémon Go Plus wearable? Check some of today's best deals down below.

Categories: Tech News

Moto G7 vs Plus vs Power vs Play: which budget Motorola phone is for you?

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 09:30

Motorola’s new range of budget smartphones has been announced, with the Moto G7, G7 Plus, G7 Play and G7 Power, all seeing improvements over their G6 series counterparts. 

While all the devices sit towards the lower end of the price spectrum, each is designed for a different type of user, with particular specifications and capabilities. So while all the new Motos are very capable devices, there’s likely one particular variant that’s perfect for you. 

We’ve pitted the four smartphones against each other to see where they differ, and what features they have in common, and to look at their pros and cons. 

Moto G7 vs Plus vs Power vs Play: design and display

Unlike their predecessors the G7 phones have a notch at the top of the screen, although the Power and Play have larger notches, and the screen on each device takes up noticeably more of the phone’s front that on the G6 range. All the G7 devices have a 3.5mm headphone jack at the top of the handset, as well as a fingerprint sensor on the rear built into the Moto logo and a USB-C port for charging. 

Beyond that, the devices vary in size and build quality. The G7 Play is a rather dainty device, weighing just 151g and having a 5.7-inch 1512 x 720 display and plastic black cover. 

The Moto G7 Play is a petite device. Image credit: TechRadar

It’s the smallest of the G7 phones, with the Power, Plus and G7 all sporting 6.2-inch displays. This gives the Play a sleek and compact feel, and it won’t take up too much space in the pocket.

The mid-sized devices are the G7 and G7 Plus – their 6.2-inch 2270 x 1080 screens and curved glass backs make them a little weightier and bulkier than the Play, while the glass rear gives them a nicely streamlined feel, although they’re a little easier to drop than the plastic-backed Play. The G7 weighs 172g, while the G7 Plus weighs 176g.

The G7 Power is a bulkier device than the G7 and G7 Plus, and considerably more so than the G7 Play – it weighs in at almost 200g and is roughly 1mm thicker than the other devices, due to the massive 5000mAh battery inside. As with the G7 and G7 Plus, it has a 6.2-inch display, although its resolution is only 1520 x 720. Its increased size means it’ll be less manageable for those will smaller hands. 

While the G7 Power does feel a little hefty, and the G7 Play a little delicate, all four phones feel comfortable to handle, although the G7 and G7 Plus are the most premium offerings in terms of look and feel.

Moto G7 vs Plus vs Power vs Play: camera

Despite the fact these are affordable handsets, Motorola hasn’t cut corners with the cameras on its new phones. 

The G7 Power has a 12MP rear and 8MP front snapper, while the G7 Play has the same selfie camera but marginally betters the Power’s rear camera with 13MP. Both cameras on both phones are single-lens, which will be fine for most users, but photography aficionados should look to the other two G7 phones for their fix. 

The G7 gets a 12MP main camera supplemented with a 5MP depth sensor, and an 8MP front-facing snapper. The real powerhouse of the series, however, is the G7 Plus,  which boasts a 16MP main camera and 5MP depth sensor on the rear, and a 12MP front camera. 

The Moto G7 Plus has the most powerful camera of the bunch. Image credit: TechRadar

Each member of the G7 family comes with a suite of features for correcting and enhancing your photos, so you won’t miss out if you have one of the lower-resolution phones. 

These include an AI function that straightens skewed pictures, auto smile detection, and a high-res feature that takes multiple pictures when you zoom in, in order to create a more detailed picture.

Moto G7 vs Plus vs Power vs Play: battery 

The G7, G7 Plus and G7 Play all have a 3000mAh battery, and the former two ship with TurboPower fast chargers for speedy top-ups. This is a respectable enough battery capacity, with all-day battery life promised for the G7 and G7 Plus.

If maximum battery life is important to you, however, then you’ll want to look at the G7 Power with its 5000mAh battery. Motorola claims the Power is good for 60 hours of mixed use between charges, and it also comes with a TurboPower charger in the box, which is claimed to provide nine hours of usage from only 15 minutes of charge. 

We’ll be sure to scrutinize these claims in our in-depth review, but 5000mAh should be enough for even the most demanding power user.

The Moto G7 Power has the largest battery of the pack. Image credit: TechRadar

For heavy phone users, who’ll be using their device intensively or who are on the move, with limited opportunities for charging, the G7 Power is by far the most useful device. The Power’s extended battery life is its only unique selling point though, so if endurace isn’t a concern then this likely isn’t the phone for you.

Moto G7 vs Plus vs Power vs Play: specs 

The Moto G7, G7 Power and G7 Play all run the Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 chipset 1.8GHz octa-core CPUs, giving them equal processing power and, on the face of it, enabling them to multi-task efficiently. 

The Moto G7 Plus, though, goes one better with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 chipset, which we’ve seen in phones like the Nokia 7.1.

Both the G7 and G7 Plus have 4GB RAM and 64GB storage, but the Moto G7 Play and G7 Power are lightweights by comparison, with 2GB and 3GB of RAM respectively and just 32GB storage. 

Each device supports microSD cards up to 512GB, so you can expand your storage, which you’ll almost certainly want to do if you go for one of the 32GB options.

The Moto G7 is one of two phones in the series that has near-field communication. Image credit: TechRadar

While the G7 Play and G7 Power are the weaker devices in terms of specs, they should suit less-intensive users who don’t need bags of processing power, and they should enjoy better battery life. Only the G7 and G7 Plus have near-field communication, however, so if you’re going to be relying on your mobile for contactless payments you’ll need these devices.

Moto G7 vs Plus vs Power vs Play: price 

The Moto G7 Play is cheapest of the new quartet at $200 (£149, AU$270), while the Moto G7 Power will set you back $249 (£179, around AU$330).

The Moto G7 is an Amazon-exclusive device (in the UK at least), so don’t expect to pick it up from your local phone shop or other online vendors – it’s priced at $299 (£239, around AU$437). The top-shelf device is the Moto G7 Plus, which isn’t launching in the US; in the UK it’s priced at £269, which converts to around AU$490. 

Moto G7 vs Plus vs Power vs Play: verdict 

If you’re on a tight budget and don’t need the best camera you’ll want then the Moto G7 Play, but if you’re a heavy phone user it’s worth spending a little extra to get the Moto G7 Power and its expanded battery. 

The Moto G7 and G7 Plus both have even better specs and features, and are great for those looking for all-rounder phones or handsets that are closer to high-end smartphones with the lofty price tag

Categories: Tech News

Best gaming laptops in Australia: the top gaming laptops we've reviewed in 2019

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 01:06

While gaming laptops used to be niche enough that it was a little easily to search for the one that happened to be packing the best processor, GPU and RAM assortment, the field has exploded since then and it can be a little harder to determine the best gaming laptop.

The gaming laptop we're used to seeing – thick chassis with RGB and tapered flares – isn't the only option any more, with a variety of advancements (such as Nvidia's Max-Q technology) allowing the sleeker ultrabook form factor to harbour some incredible grunt as well.

Regardless of if you're in it for the stealthy, sleek numbers to slip in your satchel on the go, or an all-in-one replacement for a desktop rig, we've sifted through what's on offer to bring you the best gaming laptops available in Australia.

It used to be that the best gaming laptops were thick, bulky devices that were necessary to experience the best PC games on the move. Those days are over. The Gigabyte Aero 15 packs a 6-core 8th-generation Intel Core i7 processor and a GTX 1060 into a package that allows it to pass as an Ultrabook. And, thanks to that beefy 6-core processor, it’s not just the best gaming laptop right now – it’s one of the best laptops, period.

Read the full review: Gigabyte Aero 15

If you want to play some of the best PC games on the move, but you don’t want everyone to know you’re playing games, the MSI GS65 Stealth is the best gaming laptop for you. Coming in at just 17.5mm thick and featuring impressive hardware like Intel Coffee Lake processors and Nvidia GeForce GTX 10-series – refreshed with RTX 20-series graphics at CES – the MSI GS65 Stealth packs a ton of power into a very svelte package. There’s nothing you won’t be able to throw at this thing that’ll slow it down. And, thanks to the subdued design, you’ll be able to bring this beefy rig everywhere you go, making it on of the best gaming laptops on the market right now.

Read the full review: MSI GS65 Stealth 

The 15.6-inch Razer Blade might still have an unbearably edgy name, but now that the 2018 version is here, it’s fitting – it’s still on the cutting edge. Beyond its insanely high-end specs and beautiful chassis, it can fit up to a 4K Ultra-HD display, with the specs to actually back it up. That’s not to mention the expandability that the Razer Core X opens up. It might be expensive, but if you’re a Razer fan looking for the best gaming laptop, it might just be for you.    

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Thin and light gaming laptops are everywhere right now, but if you don’t care about that, and want a thick, heavy and monstrous laptop that can demolish any game you throw at it – the Asus ROG G703GI is for you. This is a massive – and expensive – laptop, but it justifies its size and price with gaming performance that rivals the best gaming PCs. Just don’t think you’ll be able to haul it along with you to your local coffee shop without its two power bricks – or awkward stares.

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If you want one of the best gaming laptops, but don’t want to miss out on the ultra-portable craze, you need to consider the Dell XPS 15 2-in-1. Packed with an Intel Kaby Lake G-series processor, this gaming laptop can keep up with its competitors rocking a GTX 1050 without featuring truly discrete graphics. And, when you combine that gaming horsepower with a chassis that looks this good, it’s a total win – even if you have to endure some fan noise to get there. 

Read the full review: Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 

While there are other gaming laptops opting for the sleekness and subtlety of an ultrabook, the HP Omen 15 offers up aesthetics that are unashamedly on the louder side of gaming. Thankfully, this is matched with a solid, sturdy chassis and some seriously solid performance to back it up. In fact, for the price, the Omen 15 performs remarkably well with either its GTX 1060 or 1070, and all of its configurations will offer up something of value to those who buy it.

When you’re setting out to buy one of the best gaming laptops, one of the first things you’ll likely notice is how expensive they can get. Luckily, the Dell G3 15 is not just extremely affordable, but it punches above its weight class with great 1080p gaming performance. With up to an Nvidia GTX 1060 GPU, you’ll be able to play all the latest games at 1080p without breaking a sweat, even if it’s not at max settings all the time. And, that blue on black color combo is quite a looker, if that’s your aesthetic. 

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While there are a handful of laptops in the budget space that offer great gaming solutions for those who are tight on cash, the Acer Nitro 5 is this year’s budget-laptop to beat. Whether it’s the entry level offering that doubles the RAM allocation to 16GB and throws in an additional 16GB of Intel Optane system memory/storage, or the mid-tier option offering a Nvidia GTX 1060 GPU, the Acer Nitro 5 is really showing up the competition in the budget gaming space

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Although the Predator Helios 500 from Acer might be almost as big as some desktop rigs, it's sporting an awesome 17.3-inch screen and has the performance to back it up. With a 144Hz refresh rate and G-Sync, this huge display matches up with a GPU that performs considerably better than other laptops with the same configurations. As long as you're not having to carry this one too far, the Predator Helios 500 is a great choice.

Read the full review: Acer Predator Helios 500

Kicking Nvidia’s Max-Q technology off right, the Asus Zephyrus GX501 combines the heralded thinness of an Ultrabook with the performance of a gaming PC to bring the best of both worlds to your fingertips. Despite exhibiting subpar times in our battery life benchmarks, this svelte powerhouse of a notebook is one for the books when it comes to both portability and style. Plus, it’s virtually silent if noise is a cause for distraction in your everyday routine.

Read the full review: Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501

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