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While the ability to directly interact with a device’s display via touch has become near-ubiquitous, Microsoft is looking to extend this user interaction further by exploring touch sensitivity in other materials.
According to a patent submission recently uncovered by Windows Latest, Microsoft is looking to introduce smart fabrics into some of its product lines in order to act as an extra user interface alongside existing touchscreens and trackpads.
The patent describes using touch sensors integrated into fabric as an interface, with this 'smart' material then embedded into a wide variety of products, ranging from tablets and headphones to wearable devices, sweatbands and even couches.
Given the images and descriptions filed in the patent, it seems likely that such surfaces will act as a gestural interface – for instance, swiping forward and back on the side of what appears to be a HoloLens in order to change the displayed overlay, or adjusting the volume when wearing a ‘smart’ headband and headphones simultaneously.
While the patent takes care to avoid specifically mentioning any product, going as far to be deliberately broad with many of its depictions, it isn’t too much of a stretch to imagine the technology’s application to the existing fabric-clad Surface range.
The first of such figures shows two zones on either side of a tablet, predominantly on the rear of the device where the fingers of either hand grip may hold it, and continuing around to the face of the tablet where either thumb would grip the bezel.
In this situation, the hands are in an excellent position to navigate such gestures as volume control, switching apps, or even potentially using a cursor on a Surface Pro 6 or similar device.
Naturally, these are just patents at this point, but here’s hoping we’ll see Microsoft launch a smart couch with an embedded remote control.
We're a little over a week away from Samsung's official reveal of the Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10 Plus, and Galaxy S10E, which means it's time for the more convincing leaked renders to land online ahead of launch.
Posted on Twitter by noted tipster Evan Blass, the latest leaked images show what's assumed to be the Galaxy S10 Plus in a variety of color variants, with the expected black option joined by two new shades: the first is green, while the second appears to be a fetching pearlescent white.
Just days ago, Blass leaked renders of the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10E, each in black, giving us our best looks at the handsets' triple-lens and dual-lens cameras, ultra-thin bezels, and much ballyhooed 'pinhole' cameras.
Each phone in the Galaxy S10 lineup is expected to boast either Snapdragon 855 or Exynos 9820 processors (depending on region), with the most high-end model offering up to 1TB of storage and 12GB of RAM.
Of course, Samsung has yet to confirm any details surrounding its upcoming Galaxy S10 lineup – we'll have to wait until its launch on February 20 to get any concrete information.
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Amazon announced today that it's buying eero, a popular mesh router start-up that has made easy-to-setup whole home Wi-Fi without dead zones.
It's a move that "helps customers better connect to smart home devices," according to Amazon's press release, but really, it's another way to counter Google's smart home initiatives, one of the only ones Amazon didn't have an answer for in 2019.
Eero became one of the first companies to sell simple mesh routers in 2016, with identical routers hubs and beacons that could blanket Wi-Fi throughout a home.
- Hands-on with the newest smart doorbell: Ring Door View Cam
- See the best mesh routers you can buy today
- We test the small, cute Amazon Echo Spot
Later that same year, Google launched Google Wifi, a rival mesh router that worked the same way out-of-the-box. Little techie knowledge was needed to set it up, too.
Of course, pioneering mesh Wi-Fi technology is nothing when you're going against the likes of Google, so an Amazon acquisition seems to make sense for all parties.What will Amazon do from eero on out?
Today's press release notes that the eero team will be "joining the Amazon family" and "bring eero systems to more customers around the globe."
For now, it sounds like eero will remain a separate company, sort of like Amazon did with Ring. Amazon acquired the smart doorbell maker this same month last year.
But one way for Amazon to ensure eero's mesh Wi-Fi tech reaches the masses would be to integrate the idea into popular Amazon Echo speakers around a house.
It's not such a crazy idea. The Alexa-enabled Asus Lyra Voice is a wireless tri-band Wi-Fi router already doubles as a smart speaker and is being sold on Amazon today.
In the immediate future, you may see Amazon push the existing eero 2nd gen router hubs and beacons, especially in the lead up to Amazon Prime Day.
- A cheap phone for you? Our hands-on Moto G6 review
If you would have asked us to find the best gaming laptop a few years ago, the answer would have been to find something with an Intel Core i7 CPU, dedicated graphics and 8GB of RAM. A lot has changed in the last few years, though, and the best gaming laptops come in every shape and size. Because it’s harder than ever to find the best gaming laptops, we’ve picked out a few of our favorite devices.
And, while plenty of gaming laptops look like ordinary office devices, you shouldn’t ignore them. Thanks to Nvidia Turing Max-Q graphics for laptops, revealed at CES 2019, the best gaming laptops are stealthy – like the aptly named MSI GS65 Stealth. Don’t worry, though, there are still huge desktop replacement laptops like the MSI GT75 Titan if that’s more your style.
So, no matter what kind of games you like to play, and no matter what your budget looks like, you can find a traditional thicc gaming behemoth, or a cheap gaming laptop under $1,000/£800/AU$1,400 like the Dell G3. You’ll find all the best gaming laptops right here. And, because we’ve tested all these laptops ourselves, you can be confident that you’re getting something worth your time.
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 .69 inches 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 the best gaming laptop on the market right now.
Read the full review: MSI GS65 Stealth
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 feet. 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
If you’re looking for a gaming laptop that doesn’t pull any punches, and can run any game you can throw at it without a care in the world, you’ll want to look at the MSI GT75 Titan. It’s a titanic desktop replacement rocking 6-core Intel Coffee Lake CPUs, tons of RAM and GTX 1080 graphics. You’re not going to be able to carry it around with you, and it’s not going to be something you’ll want to be caught with in a coffee shop, but if raw power is what you’re after, look no further. Just be ready to break open your piggy bank.
Read the full review: MSI GT75 Titan
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.
Read the full review: Asus ROG G703GI
The 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.
Read the full review: Razer Blade
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
It may not boast the most innovative design, substituting the usual black and red aesthetic for one that makes it feel like Halloween all year round (no complaints here). But, it’s undoubtedly one of the best when it comes to gaming in 1080p. In fact, we were able to crank the setting s all the way up in Overwatch without ever straying below 60fps. It doesn’t feature the longest battery life, but the screen, power and onboard sound system more than make up for it.
Read the full review: Asus ROG Strix GL502
- This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Alienware 17 R5
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.
Read the full review: Dell G3 15
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 one of the best gaming laptops – it’s one of the best laptops, period.
Read the full review: Gigabyte Aero 15
Ever since Intel unveiled its i9-8950HK, we just knew that it would find its way behind the best gaming laptops 2018 had to offer, and we’ve been proven right heading into 2019. The Alienware 17 R5 is a beast of a gaming laptop with the aforementioned CPU and an overclocked GTX 1080. If you’re willing to get an absolute tank of a laptop that weighs nearly 10 pounds, this hulking computer will demolish any and all games you throw at it. Just don’t expect to throw it in a bag without some severe back pain.
Read the full review: Alienware 17 R5
- Image Credit: TechRadar
Gabe Carey and Bill Thomas have also contributed to this article
- Want more choices? Check out our list of the best laptop 2019
These days, the best PC games can take you to places and let you do things that you never thought possible, which is why you should think about picking up one of the best gaming monitors to bring your experience to the next level.
But, what separates the best gaming monitor from any old monitor. Well, it usually depends on the kinds of features you need and your own personal preferences. There are all kinds of gaming monitors out there, and what you need will vary greatly on what kind of games you usually play.
If you just want to get absorbed into your favorite single-player games like Resident Evil 2 or Metro Exodus, you may be interested in a 4K Ultra-HD gaming monitor with HDR. However, if going head to head with strangers on the internet in eSports titles like Overwatch or CS:Go is more your speed, you’ll want one of the best gaming monitors with a high refresh rate and response times.
This is a lot to take in, but we have you covered. We've gathered up all the best gaming monitors we’ve ever used. So, no matter what kind of games you’re into, we’ll help you find the best monitor for gaming.
HDR has been a major selling point for the best TVs for a little while now, but it has been suspiciously absent from the best gaming monitors. Until now. The BenQ EX3501R takes HDR and runs with it, crafting a curved ultra-wide that is not only what we would deem ‘attainable’, but beautiful as well. BenQ bills this monitor as a ‘video enjoyment monitor’, but from the moment you launch your favorite HDR-enabled games, you’ll see straight away why it tops our list of the best gaming monitors.
Read the full review: BenQ EX3501R
The Alienware AW3418DW is one of the few ultra-wide monitors that can offer the level of immersion that only 21:9 monitors offer, while also featuring a high refresh rate. With a gorgeous 3,440 x 1,440 display, lightning fast 4ms response times and a stunning 120Hz refresh rate, the AW3418DW is the best of both worlds. However, all these features come with a high price, so it may not be the best choice if you’re looking for a bargain. Still, it’s not hard to see why it’s one of the best gaming monitors 2019 has to offer.
Read the full review: Alienware AW3418DW
The AOC Agon AG352UCG was already one of the best gaming monitors we’d used, so when we heard that a new revision was coming out, with a higher refresh rate and better contrast, we couldn’t wait. The AOC Agon AC352UCG6 Black Edition takes everything the original did well and turns it up to 11, making it one of the best ways to experience ultra-wide gaming. It’s pricey, yeah, but if you have the hardware to back it up, you’re doing yourself a disservice by not buying it.
Read the full review: AOC Agon AG352UCG6 Black Edition
The Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ may just be the most advanced and best gaming monitor out there – as long as you have the cash. Not only does it feature a gorgeous 4K Ultra-HD resolution and HDR, but it also features G-Sync and a 144Hz refresh rate. These specs make for one of the most impressive gaming monitors that’s ever existed – and when you see it in action, your mind will be blown. The only thing that holds this thing back from true greatness is the insane price tag. But, then again, if you have this kind of cash lying around, you should be able to afford a PC powerful enough to drive it.
Read the full review: Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ
The BenQ PD3200U is primarily targeted at CAD professionals, but it’s still one of the best gaming monitors out there. This is because it has a rock-solid focus on graphic design, so it’s able to offer fantastic viewing angles – meaning your friends can watch you play in comfort. Plus, unlike a lot of 4K monitors on the market, you don’t need to mess around with the settings in order to get the best picture – every unit is individually calibrated by BenQ before it’s shipped. This is one of the best gaming monitors out there, even if it’s not actually a gaming monitor.
Read the full review: BenQ PD3200U
There’s a certain subset of PC gamers out there that need the absolute best hardware money can buy, and the Acer Predator X27 may be the best gaming monitor for them. The list of high-end features packed into the panel is almost as long as our arm – 4K resolution, HDR-10, G-Sync, 144Hz refresh rate – you’d be hard pressed to find a more advanced monitor. And, once you get a look at this monitor in person, you’ll be sold. That is, until you see the price tag – at two grand, only recent lottery winners need apply. Still, there’s nothing wrong with dreaming.
Read the full review: Acer Predator X27
You might not believe it at first glance, but the BenQ Zowie XL2540 is every bit the gaming monitor that the other monitors on this list are. And though it may not seem it from the outside looking in, it does its job remarkably well too, sacrificing dazzling lighting effects for a zippy 240Hz refresh rate and nigh-instantaneous 1ms response time. There’s no G-Sync or FreeSync, as this monitor assumes you already have a rig that’s plenty capable of eliminating screen tears on its own. Instead, this monitor keeps it simple by supplying you with lots of visual presets, an “S Switch” control pod for managing those presets and even a pair of adjustable light screens. If you're a professional gamer, then this is the best gaming monitor for you.
Read the full review: BenQ Zowie XL2540
With this display, Samsung not only brings QLED to gaming monitors in a big way, but they also offer the widest ultra-wide monitor on the market today. Coming in at 49.5 inches, this behemoth will take up a lot of space, likely peeping over the sides of your desk, but with its impressive 3,840 x 1080 resolution and HDR, you’ll at least be blown away by the image. Even if you decide not to play in this resolution (it will require a beefy rig), you can still use all of the extra screen real estate to have a browser or a movie playing on the same screen. The only real drawback is the monstrous price tag. But for a display this premium, it may very well be worth it.
Read the full review: Samsung CHG90 QLED
If you have a powerful graphics card that you want to take full advantage of, and you don’t mind missing out on 4K Ultra HD, Samsung’s got something just for you. The Samsung CHG70 is a curved 1440p monitor with a blazing fast 1ms response time and 144hz refresh rate, which makes this one of the best gaming monitors you can buy in 2018. And, considering it’s regularly going on sale, this screen is a bargain as well. Check it out.
Read the full review: Samsung CHG70 QLED
When you’re playing competitive shooters like Overwatch or Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, you’re going to need speed more than anything to stay on top of the leaderboards. That’s where monitors like the MSI Optix MAG271CR come in. With a 1080p resolution, 144 Hz refresh rate and 1ms of latency, you’re going to have fast, smooth gameplay as long as you have the hardware to drive it. After all, 60 Hz panels are so 2014 – the best gaming monitors embrace high refresh rates.
Read the full review: MSI Optix MAG271CRHow to buy the best gaming monitor in 2018
When you are shopping for the best gaming monitor 2018 has to offer, there are a few things that you should consider before you decide on what display should grace your desk.
By studying the following terms and specifications, you can make sure you pick the best gaming monitor for your needs – which also means you're not paying extra for additional features that you don’t need.
Screen size: When shopping for the best gaming monitor, one of the most crucial things to think about is screen size. Larger display sizes can contribute to more immersive gaming experiences, as the game fills more of your field of vision, but you'll need to make sure you have the room to feature a large monitor. It also goes without saying that larger monitors will usually mean a higher price.
Aspect ratio: The aspect ratio of a gaming monitor determines the width and height of the screen. Most widescreen monitors have an aspect ratio of 16:9, while older monitors had a more square 4:3, which will likely look pretty outdated in 2018. Ultra-wide monitors with aspect ratios of 21:9 are quickly gaining prevalence – they offer a wide view of your games, and many ultra wides have made our list of the best gaming monitor 2018.
Resolution: Another important factor when looking for the best gaming monitor for your needs is resolution. Here, the higher the numbers, the sharper the picture.. You will, however, need a more powerful graphics card for anything over full HD (1,920 x 1,080), even if many gaming monitors feature resolutions as high as 2,560 x 1,400 (WQHD) and 3,840 x 2,160 (4K).
Refresh rate: When you’re looking to primarily play Counter-Strike, or shooters like it, refresh rate is especially important. The higher the refresh rate, the more frames per second (fps) it can support, which lends to a smoother experience on high-refresh-rate displays. A 60Hz refresh rate is most common, with refresh rates rising to 144Hz and even 200Hz.
Response time: The best gaming monitors have low response times, which means the action remains fast and fluid, with little to no input lag. The lowest response time for TN monitors (we explain this in the next section) is 1 millisecond, whereas the newer IPS monitors usually have more delayed, 4ms response times. When you’re playing games competitively, it’s crucial to keep this number as low as possible in order to combat lag.
Panel type: This is where things get a little technical. The type of panel the gaming monitor uses will largely contribute to its response time and image clarity. TN panels (twisted nematic) have the lowest response times, and they are usually cheaper as well, but they generally don’t have great viewing angles. IPS panels (in-plane switching) have fantastic viewing angles and color reproduction, but usually higher response times. Meanwhile VA panels (vertical alignment) sit between the two, though the slow response times makes these panels rare amid the best gaming monitors.
Viewing Angle: Most people play games while positioned in front of their gaming monitor, but this may not always be the case, particularly when you’re among spectators. A monitor’s viewing angles tell you what angle you can look at the monitor from and still clearly make out the image. The closer these numbers are are to 180, the better your viewing experience will be when standing further to either side of the monitor or looking at it from above or below.
G-Sync and FreeSync: You'll likely notice that many of the best gaming monitors in 2018 come with either G-Sync or FreeSync technology – sometimes both. This helps keep frames per second (fps) smooth, combats screen tearing and diminishes input lag. G-Sync is developed by Nvidia, so you'll need an Nvidia GPU, and the tech is built into the monitor, which can bump up their price tag. Meanwhile FreeSync was developed by AMD but, as it is free to use by manufacturers, the monitors usually cost less.
Check out our HDR Explained video below.
- Image Credit: TechRadar
Gabe Carey and Bill Thomas have also contributed to this article
- Looking for a more general monitor? Check out our list of the best monitors
After hiding them away in a private screening room at this year’s CES, Samsung is finally ready to show its next-generation QLED TVs to the public.
To that end, you can expect four new series of 2019 QLED TVs – the Q90, Q80, Q70 and Q60 – to offer 4K HDR support as well as totally new features like AMD Radeon FreeSync support via Samsung’s Real Game Enhancer feature and a dedicated iTunes app on the Tizen store.
- Don't forget, Samsung's 2019 TVs will let you access your computer remotely
- These TVs will also use AI to get smarter, faster
- These were the best Samsung TVs from last year
Like last year, you can expect Bixby to make a reappearance on the 2019 QLED series as well as a larger selection of Ambient Mode content.
In terms of screen sizes, this year’s models will (unsurprisingly) be bigger than any year previously with all four series sporting 65-, 75- and 82-inch screen variants - though, if you’re looking for something smaller, the Q70 will be available in 49- and 55-inches while the Q60 drops all the way down to 43-inches.
Here's a full breakdown of the prices for this year's models, based on information from Samsung's US website:
Samsung Q60 QLED TV: $1,799.99 (65-inch), $1,199.99 (55-inch)
Samsung Q70 QLED TV: $2,199.99 (65-inch)
Samsung Q90 QLED TV: $3,499.99 (65-inch)
Unfortunately, no UK or AU pricing has been announced yet.Plus tech TV buffs will appreciate
While the new TVs are pretty feature-heavy, Samsung has introduced a few crucial upgrades on the display side like adding Direct Full Array lighting to its mid-range Q70 this year alongside the Q80 and Q90 (a.k.a. the 8FN and Q9FN equivalents for this year).
There's also a new technology called ‘Ultra Viewing Angle’ now found on the Q90 and Q80 restructures the TV’s panels to reduce glare and enhance colors at wider viewing angles. We hope it will help make LCD-LED TVs more competitive with OLED when it comes to viewing them off-axis.
Other new additions include AirPlay 2 support – a huge boon for Apple aficionados – and a far-field microphone-equipped remote that will allow you to use voice commands from anywhere in the room.
Speaking of voice commands, we can’t forget Bixby support (although we wish that we could) that will also be available on this year’s QLED TVs.
Samsung has yet to announce release date for the TVs, but pre-orders are available starting today at Samsung's website.
- Not sure what to buy? Here's a complete guide to Samsung's 2019 TVs
Cyberattacks are growing in volume and the average number of breaches in the UK has increased according to Carbon Black's second UK Threat Report.
The endpoint security firm surveyed over 250 UK CIOs, CTOs and CISOs from organisations across a range of industries to compile its report which builds on its first survey conducted in August of last year.
Carbon Black found that 88 percent of UK organisations reported suffering a breach during the last 12 months with the average number of breaches per organisation over the past year reaching 3.67, up from 3.48 in its last report.
- Over 59,000 data breaches reported in EU since GDPR
- Remote working is leading to a rise in data breaches
- The true cost of a data breach
Additionally, 87 percent of organisations have seen an increase in attack volumes and 89 percent said that attacks have become more sophisticated which is why 93 percent of organisations plan to increase their spending on cyber defense.Rise in breaches
Carbon Black's Head of Security Strategy, Rick McElroy provided further insight on the findings of the report in a statement, saying:
“We believe our second UK threat report underlines that UK organisations are still under intense pressure from escalating cyberattacks. The report suggests that the average number of breaches has increased, but as threat hunting strategies start to mature, we hope to see fewer attacks making it to full breach status.”
The report also found that humans are often the weakest link in cybersecurity and phishing attacks appear to be at the root of one in five successful breaches.
Malware remains the most prolific attack type in the UK with more than a quarter (27%) of organisations saying it was the attack type they most commonly encountered while ransomware took second place at 15 percent.
Carbon Black's report also shed light on how organisations are utilizing threat hunting and 95 percent of those surveyed said that the practice had helped strengthen their defenses.
- Protect your organisation from the latest cyber threats with the best antivirus
Even if you have one of the best gaming PCs already, you shouldn’t ignore the best gaming chairs. You don’t want to walk away from your gaming session crouching over like Igor from Young Frankenstein. With the best PC gaming chair, you can bring your gaming and sitting experience to the next level. Because, if you’re going to dive into the best PC games for hours at a time, why not be comfortable while doing it?
That’s why we decided to gather up the best gaming chairs you can buy in 2019. Some may end up looking like your dad’s office chair, with all-black ‘real leather’ designs – others fully embrace the gamer style with RGB lighting and loud, clashing colors, so you can look like some kind of race car driver from the future.
We’ll help you find the perfect gaming chair for your set up, so you can spend more time sitting and gaming, and less time shopping. Because – let’s be honest – we do our own fair share of sitting here at TechRadar, and we’re very familiar with the best gaming chairs.
It’s no exaggeration to call the Noblechairs Epic Real Leather the best gaming chair. From the cross-thatched embroidery to the real leather of its namesake, if you’re looking for a no-compromises gaming throne, this is it. Plus, it’s surprisingly quick and easy to set up. And, once the set-up is complete, the Epic Real Leather is a dream to sit on – and you can customize your position however you want. Just do us a favor, and read the instructions while you’re setting it up.
If you want to play games all day in comfort, but you don’t want a chair that looks like you’re playing games all day, the Autonomous ErgoChair 2 is for you. Marketed as an office chair, the ErgoChair 2 has a very modern and stylish aesthetic to it that will appeal to anyone that doesn’t use RGB as a personality trait. It’s not all style either, as the ErgoChair lets you adjust basically every part of the chair, so that no matter how your body is built, you’re guaranteed to be comfortable while gaming.
- This product is only available in the US at the time of this writing. UK and Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Respawn 115
Leather and fabric have their advantages, namely to comfort and texture, but sometimes a mesh office chair is best – especially if you live in a warmer climate, where breathability is of utmost importance. The Respawn-300 combines the racing-seat design and lumbar support and mesh material from some high-end office chairs. It really does take comfort to another level and is one of the best PC gaming chairs you can buy today.
- This product is only available in the US at the time of this writing. UK and Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Noblechairs Epic Real Leather.
Corsair is known for making popular and high-end PC components and gaming peripherals. It’s only fitting, then, that they dip their toes into the gaming chair game – and they may have made one of the best gaming chairs yet. Covered top to bottom in breathable PU leather with neck and lumbar pillows wrapped in microfiber, you’ll be able to game both in comfort and style. And with its rollerblade-style wheels, you’ll be able to move it around on any surface without having to worry about scratching up your floor.
Noblechairs is well known for crafting some of the best gaming chairs out there – and the Noblechairs Icon makes it clear why. While it’s more affordable than the flagship Epic Real Leather, it’s still extremely comfortable and one of the best PC gaming chairs out there. This is thanks to its nice lumbar pillow, which you can easily remove if you don’t like it.
The Edge GX1 is a gaming chair that actively avoids the popular racing style that is increasingly popular with modern gaming chairs. Rather than sticking to a form factor that’s designed to limit your movement, the Edge GX1 instead aims to give an ergonomic experience, where comfort is the priority – while also providing a premium chair. And when we say premium, we mean it, with the Edge GX1 costing £800, a huge amount for a gaming chair. It’s hand-crafted in the UK, and there’s some great touches, such as inflatable lumbar support. It’s a huge asking price, but we’ve been using it for a while now, and it is very comfortable. You’ll have to adjust a bit, but once you get it right, it’s worth the high price. It ships worldwide from the UK, but US and Australia readers should beware the high shipping costs.
You can only buy this chair direct from Edge
There’s a certain subset of the PC gaming community that needs to have the absolute best of everything, at whatever the cost. These people are going to be absolutely enamored with the Vertagear Triigger 350 SE. It features over 350 individual components with a mix metal, mesh, leather and high-end plastics to create the ultimate PC gaming chair. If you have the money to spare, and you can’t stand to have anything less than the best, you might want to give this chair a look.
Another day, another Noblechairs gaming seat – and the Noblechairs Epic is the best gaming chair for the classier gamer. It features a faux-leather covering inspired by car seats, combining both comfort and a high-end design to make it one of the best gaming chairs you can buy today. And, if you’re the type that shies away from the ‘gamer aesthetic,’ the Epic’s subtle black design is far more elegant than some of the more brightly-colored seats on this list.
For the gamer looking for some extra room in their seat, the Vertagear Racing Series PL6000 is a must-have. Specially designed to provide both added width and height, this is the best gaming chair for anyone with a larger frame – no matter how tall you are, the adjustable headrest means you’ll never experience discomfort. However, this is a complicated chair to assemble, so use the buddy system to build this masterpiece.
The Nitro Concepts C80 is a gorgeous, comfortable gaming chair that could easily blend in in an office environment – it looks more expensive than it is. Nitro Concepts made one of the best gaming chairs by keeping the price down, while keeping compromises to a minimum – like using polyurethane instead of leather. And, no compromises were made in the build quality, either – this is an impressively sturdy gaming chair. Just make sure you get a friend to help you put it together – constructing this thing had us tearing our hair out.
- This product is only available in the UK at the time of this writing. US and Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Noblechairs Icon
- Image Credit: TechRadar
For companies still using Internet Explorer (IE), now is the time to move on to a new modern web browser according to Microsoft which has issued a warning regarding the security implications of continuing to use its once ubiquitous browser.
IE is often used by enterprises and organisations that wish to run legacy web apps, as the outdated browser still supports them, but choosing the easy way out now could come back to haunt businesses later.
In a blog post titled “The perils of using Internet Explorer as your default browser”, Microsoft senior cybersecurity architect Chris Jackson explained how using its legacy browser is increasing the “technical debt' of organisations.
- Internet Explorer 10 set for termination in January 2020
- Microsoft releases emergency security patch for Internet Explorer
- Microsoft joins OpenChain platform
Basically, by continuing to use IE as opposed to a more modern web browser, organisations are creating additional costs for themselves later by choosing the easiest, most convenient solution now as opposed to the best long term approach.The case for modern browsers
In his post, Jackson does not call on users to make the switch to Microsoft Edge (which will soon be Chromium-based) or to use Chrome or Firefox. He only highlights the fact that developers are no longer testing their sties for IE which could lead to security as well as stability issues.
IE is no longer even really a browser in Jackson's opinion which he explained, saying:
“You see, Internet Explorer is a compatibility solution. We’re not supporting new web standards for it and, while many sites work fine, developers by and large just aren’t testing for Internet Explorer these days. They’re testing on modern browsers. So, if we continued our previous approach, you would end up in a scenario where, by optimizing for the things you have, you end up not being able to use new apps as they come out. As new apps are coming out with greater frequency, what we want to help you do is avoid having to miss out on a progressively larger portion of the web!”
The days of IE's dominance have come and gone and if your organisation has not done so already, now is the time to make the switch to a modern browser before it's too late.
- We've also highlighted the best VPN
The best unlimited data plans in the US keep on changing as carriers switch around their prices, offer new features and perks, or even cut down on what they have to offer without reducing the price (we're looking at you, Sprint).
With all the different plans available from major carriers, small carriers operating on the bigger networks, and fine print details that would drive anyone mad, it can be daunting to figure out whether an unlimited data plan is actually good, or even really unlimited. Some carriers call their plans unlimited but will slow the data to near dial-up speeds after a certain amount is used.
Fortunately, you can count on us to help clarify what the best data plans are actually offering. If you're on the market for a new mobile plan, we've got you covered.
From a huge range of small MVNO carriers to everything from AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint, we've sorted through all the unlimited data plans offered in the US in 2019. The best unlimited data plans will combine limitless data with all the talking and texting you could dream of each month. But, the ones that truly stand out won't slow you down for nothing, don't charge too much, and support features like mobile hotspot.
We want to save you the trouble of having to figure out what a carrier is actually offering. We know how straining all the fine print can be on the eyes.
So, after culling through all the unlimited data plans on offer, we’ve narrowed down the results by cutting out carriers that majorly throttle your data speeds at a certain point. This means only carriers that rely on throttling to address network congestion have made it through. Everything else fails to fit our definition of the word “unlimited”.
We’ve also focused simply on the base tier of unlimited data plans for individual customers: no family plans making it seem like a carrier has a good deal, when in fact you need three more people to sign up with you; just the lowest cost plan that offers unlimited data, talk, and text. This means deals on phones and the value of extra perks like free Netflix or HBO aren’t factored into the rankings.
Now that we’ve cleared up how we picked, let’s get straight to the rankings.Best value unlimited plans:
Best deal: MetroPCS unlimited plan for $50 (runs on T-Mobile network)
MetroPCS offers the best value unlimited plan on the market right now. For mobile phone users that want to pay as little as possible while getting as much data as possible, MetroPCS is the right carrier.
MetroPCS runs on T-Mobile’s powerful network (though sometimes spotty in rural areas, in our experience). And it’s unlimited plan costs $50 with all taxes and fees included in that price. Users can stream DVD-quality video and use as much data as they want. They can also call and text to their hearts’ content. MetroPCS has even upgraded this plan by adding in 5GB of high-speed hotspot data.
There are some limitations to the plan. Users who exceed 35GB of data use in a month can see their speeds throttled during times of network congestion. Still, the plan remains highly competitive, with a soft data cap much higher than a lot of its similarly priced and even more expensive competitors.
Alternative pick: Visible unlimited data plan (runs on Verizon's 4G LTE network)
Boost Mobile's Unlimited Gigs plan used to hold this spot for its extra hotspot data at the same price as MetroPCS, but we've found the plan from a new carrier called Visible to be a better option for budget-minded shoppers.
Visible offers a value-focused plan with unlimited texting, calling, and data on Verizon's LTE network. The plan has a great price at $40, and that's inclusive of all taxes, fees, and other charges. Your bills will be straight forward.
Visible has no point at which it will begin to throttle data speeds, however the company does keep a cap on speeds at all times. Users will be kept at a max of 5Mbps, which isn't crazy fast, but is enough for almost all mobile needs. Visible makes up for that limit by allowing unlimited video streaming and unlimited mobile hotspot on these plans.
While some carriers limit the speeds of certain activities, like online gaming or music streaming, Visible just caps everything at 5Mbps. At the price, the only competition we could find was Teltik, which is only available to businesses and self-employed customers.
Other contenders in this category:
- Walmart Family Mobile (very close to MetroPCS, but not better)
- Boost Mobile (lower cap than MetroPCS, but same price and more hotspot data)
- Teltik (best option for business users)
- Simple Mobile
- Virgin Mobile (high value for iPhone buyers)
- Cricket Wireless
- Straight Talk
- Page Plus Cellular
3. Best offer: T-Mobile ONE plan for $70
At first glance, the T-Mobile ONE plan doesn’t look like it’s the best deal, but we factored everything in, and it added up. One big point in T-Mobile’s favor is that the $70 monthly fee is exact: all taxes and fees are already included. Sprint's plan appears cheaper at first, but its plan has some more limits that keep us from recommending it over T-Mobile.
T-Mobile has the highest soft data cap of all four major carriers, tying with Sprint. It won’t begin deprioritizing T-Mobile ONE customer data speeds until after they’ve used 50GB. That means customers who truly plan to get their money’s worth of unlimited data will get more mileage from T-Mobile. One constraint is that video streaming is limited to DVD quality.
There are extra perks as well. Tethering is allowed at up to 3G speeds. Customers can use their phone while traveling in Canada and Mexico with unlimited talk and text and 5GB of 4G LTE data, along with some usability in more than 140 other countries. Plus, T-Mobile throws in a free Netflix subscription that didn’t even factor into our consideration (because it requires two lines, so individuals can't get it).
Better still, for customers that don't need a international features, the T-Mobile One Prepaid Domestic Only plan is much the same as the One Plan, but costs just $50 plus taxes and fees.
4. Alternative pick: Sprint Unlimited Basic plan for $60
Of the big four carriers, Sprint offers the lowest base price for its unlimited data plan. We do have some gripes with it, though. Sprint discontinued the Unlimited Freedom plan and introduced a new tiered plan system. The Unlimited Basic plan is the cheapest at $60, but has additional taxes and fees.
While the price is the same as the old Unlimited Freedom plan, Sprint has reduced the mobile hotspot data from 10GB down to 500MB. It also only allows 480p video streaming, whereas before it offered HD video. There has been an upgrade to its data allotment though, as now customers can use 50GB of high-speed data before data deprioritization during network congestion.
Sprint also throws in a free subscription to Hulu, and allows for some services abroad, including free texting and basic data in over 200 countries and full service with 5GB of LTE data in Mexico and Canada.
Base plan: Verizon GoUnlimited plan for $75
Verizon's base unlimited data plan is a bit more expensive than the competition, and the $75 starting price for individual plans doesn't factor in taxes and fees. But, with that price comes uncapped data, calls, and texts, and 4G network coverage that consistently ranks higher than all of the other major carriers.
Verizon's GoUnlimited plan offers DVD-quality streaming, and it allows unlimited Wi-Fi hotspot usage at 600Kbps. Customers can also use their service for data, calls, and texts in Canada and Mexico.
Though this is a true unlimited data plan, customers may experience reduced data speeds when the network is congested. And, that's regardless of how much data they've used in a month.
With a price higher than it's competitors, we don't like that the plan has so many limitations.
Base plan: AT&T Unlimited &More plan for $70
AT&T's base Unlimited &More data plan starts at $70 for a single line when auto-pay and paperless billing are enabled. Taxes and fees are an additional price. But, the cost gets you onto AT&T's network, which ranks highly in the US and works with many of the best unlocked phones.
That AT&T '&More' in the plan name also has some meaning for customers. AT&T adds in over 35 live TV channels on the service via the WatchTV app, giving customers access to thousands of shows and movies they can stream without ever running out of data.
The plan doesn't allow Wi-Fi Hotspot usage, limits streaming to DVD quality, and can see reduced data speeds during times of network congestion. But, customers do get unlimited texting to over 120 countries, and free roaming in Canada and Mexico.
AT&T does have a value option in the Prepaid Unlimited plan, which starts at $55 a month with AutoPay. It's comparable to the Unlimited &More plan while coming in at a lower price.
We must be getting close to the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti’s launch as not one, not two but three different third-party variants of graphics card have appeared online.
All three cards and, from what we can tell, all variants of the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti will reportedly be released on February 22, which is a little later than the February 15 launch rumored not too long ago.
- See our review of the latest graphics card, the AMD Radeon VII
- Nvidia isn’t the only one working on new GPUs, AMD Navi is still in the works
- We also can’t wait for new Ryzen 3rd Generation processors to get here
The images of the retail packaging seem to confirm a few rumors we’ve known about the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, including the GPU’s Turing-based shaders and 6GB of GDDR6 video memory.
There isn’t a single mention of ray tracing, so that would support the theory that these graphics cards won’t pack this feature.
Although the photos seem to include a mix of stock and original images, doctoring box images of graphics cards wouldn’t be terribly hard – and it just so happens the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 is available in each of these rumored models.
Regardless, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti release date (well, the rumored one) is fast approaching, so we’ll soon learn if this GPU is real or not.
- These new graphics cards will hopefully make building a PC a lot cheaper again
Samsung's foldable phone will be shown off on February 20 after the South Korean firm posted a teasing video which pretty much confirms it, on Twitter.
The clip, which lasts 15 seconds, features the words "the future unfolds" and the date "02.20.19" which, for those of you who have been living under a rock recently is the Samsung Galaxy S10 launch date.
- Arriving on February 20: Samsung S10
- Galaxy S10 Plus also set to launch on same day
- We may also see a 5G phone from Samsung
There's also Korean text which wraps around an invisible block, hinting at a curved, foldable display on the the yet un-named Samsung foldable phone. You can see the video below.Galaxy X? Galaxy F?
We've heard a couple of different naming rumors regarding Samsung's foldable phone, with Galaxy X and Galaxy F being hinted at in various leaks.
Samsung Galaxy X is probably the more likely of the two, with more rumors focusing on this name, but there's always a chance that it ends up being called something completely different.
We'll be able to tell you what the name ends up being as soon as it's announced though, as we'll be reporting live from Samsung's Unpacked event in San Francisco on February 20.
David Lumb contributed to this article
Shared website hosting means exactly what it says – you share a server with other users who are running their own websites from that hardware. Every customer gets a portion of that physical server for their own use.
The main strength here is that this is a cost-effective solution, and because you’re prepared to share hardware with other folks, you’ll naturally be playing less than the outlay for dedicated hosting.
By the same token, however, you’re also sharing resources with others, and that means that the performance you’ll get will likely be a fair bit slower (and indeed generally less consistent).
That might be fine for sites which don’t have a lot of traffic, but it could be a problem if your bandwidth needs are greater, or reliable and consistent performance is a priority for your website.
So, obviously bear all that in mind, but if you do want to go the shared hosting route in an effort to make some serious savings, which are the best providers to plump for? Read on and find out.
Don’t fret that this popular web host’s plans are marketed as ‘business’ products, because they’re applicable to individual users as well as companies. There’s a good range of choice here, and shared hosting starts from just $3.99 (£3.1) per month (2-year plan).
What’s also good to see here is that InMotion incorporates features into its shared hosting plans which other providers charge extra for – like hack and DDoS protection, a system of basic backups, and a WordPress-based website builder.
Another strong suit here is the way that this web host provides full details of all its services at-a-glance on the website, and makes it easy to compare features, and make your decision when taking the plunge with a subscription.
You also get cPanel and Softaculous-powered hosting, a sterling level of technical support, and in our testing, we found this provider delivered some impressive performance levels when it came to site loading speeds. All in all, there are lots of reasons to go with InMotion, and a 90-day money-back guarantee doesn’t hurt, either.
1&1 IONOS (in the late October 2018, 1&1 changed their name to 1&1 IONOS) is a big web hosting player, vying with GoDaddy for world domination, and is the biggest player in Europe. Located in Germany, it offers a bewildering array of services with prices starting from as little as $0.99 per month excluding VAT (although that rises to $7.99 after the first year).
On top of that, this shared hoster provides some smart freebies (a free domain, SSL certificates across all plans, free web design software (NetObjects Fusion 2013), 24/7 phone and email support, a graphics archive, a 30-day money-back guarantee, transparent replication (the company calls it geo-redundancy) and a whopping 300Gbps network connectivity. Also, you get a personal consultant, free of charge
The US-based web hosting company is one of the largest in the game and probably the best known one as well. It is also the biggest domain name registrar in the world with tens of millions of domain names in its portfolio. GoDaddy’s cheapest web hosting package is $7.99 per month (at the time of writing, there was a special price for the first year - $5.99 per month).
This provider offers free backup and restore, an uptime guarantee (99.9%), unlimited storage (although there’s only 100GB for the Economy package), as well as unlimited bandwidth and a free domain with the annual shared hosting plan.
A pretty nifty feature provided by GoDaddy on all its packages is the ability to increase hosting capacity on demand (e.g. when you experience a sudden surge in traffic) from within your hosting account.
If you want to do web hosting on a budget, then as this provider’s name suggests, it aims to be inexpensive. You get some impressive value-for-money with Namecheap, particularly with an initial discount for the first year, and there are some heavyweight plans here.
However, note the starter ‘value’ plan only gives you 20GB of hard drive space and 30 email accounts, but you get that at the price of just $2.88 per month.
Namecheap offers a 99.9% connectivity guarantee, and is a very easy service to set up, with an initial welcome email that points you in the right direction for everything you might need (backed up by some impressive FAQs). It also plays host to an excellent searchable knowledgebase.
To round things off, testing proved that this company generally offers above average speeds compared to rivals, making this a great hosting provider for those who aren’t keen on doing too much damage to their wallet.
Based in London, bang in the middle of startup territory (Shoreditch), UK2 offers an impressively cheap starting shared hosting package at around $2.5 (£1.95) per month excluding VAT (although that rises to $7.8 (£5.95) a month on renewal). It also offers affordable unlimited packages with unlimited emails, bandwidth, a free SSL certificate (great for improved security and search visibility), a free domain and a dedicated IP.
Prospective customers will appreciate the lack of setup fees or hidden charges, the 30-day money-back guarantee, plus 24/7 UK-based phone support on a freephone number and UK-based data centres.
This is another web host which caters for the more budget-minded, and of course that’s never a bad thing. Although do note that you only get the really cheap prices when signing up for longer contracts with HostGator, so something of a commitment is required for the best savings here.
For example, the cheapest shared hosting plan is $2.64 (£2) per month if you sign up for 36 months, but $4.48 (£3.38) per month if you sign up for one year.
The good news is that you get plenty for your money, and no annoying limitations, so even the basic plan allows for unlimited bandwidth, web space, email accounts and more. A 99.9% uptime guarantee is also good to see.
Customer support is generally pretty good – although it falls down in a few areas, for example the web help forums aren’t moderated by the company itself – and we found performance was better than average in terms of site loading times.
SiteGround offers some low-end shared hosting plans which may cost a little bit more than some budget rivals you’ll find on this page, but the upside is that they include all the core features that you’ll likely need.
The firm’s StartUp account is $3.95 a month initially (with the cost rising when you renew), and with that you get unlimited traffic, email accounts and databases, not to mention one-click installation of apps like WordPress. It also bundles features that rival firms often charge for as extras like daily backups or CDN capabilities (Cloudflare).
Another nifty touch is the provider’s SuperCacher system which caches frequently-accessed data in RAM, aiming to improve site performance. This could certainly help busy websites.
Not everything is rosy here, though – for example the basic account limits you to 10GB of web space. Also, website support via the company’s knowledgebase is a rather shoddy experience, but there are other avenues of tech support which perform much better.
This is a premium web hosting outfit with a well-featured ‘Essentials’ plan which offers a great deal of functionality, and is ideal for those looking to host multiple websites (or those who want plenty of room to grow).
With prices starting from as little as $1.99 per month for the shared hosting basic plan (via an offer at the time of writing), iPage gives you unlimited web space and bandwidth, unlimited email addresses, MySQL databases and even domains.
Not only that, iPage incorporates some very smart extras like a drag-and-drop page builder, with a basic shared SSL certificate thrown in for good measure. This provider also offers good quality tech support via live chat and email (although other support avenues aren’t as strong).
Performance levels seems solid, and this is certainly a web host to bear in mind for experienced users who are dealing with large numbers of sites.
One of the smaller web hosting outfits in this listing, PlanetHippo has managed to keep its prices at a lower level compared to most of the competition. Its One Account Linux shared hosting costs just $1.33 (£1) per month (excluding VAT), and it’s an appealing budget package. The firm’s Unlimited plan offers ‘unlimited everything’ for $8 (£5.99) per month (and that includes a free domain).
As with other web hosts, you get a 30-day warranty, 24/7 UK-based support (and it’s of a good quality – although there’s no option to use the phone) and all of PlanetHippo’s servers are based in the UK. Throw in a smartly designed hosting panel, and you won’t go far wrong with this particular provider.
This is another UK-based provider, and Tsohost also plays the value card, with an entry-level Startup shared hosting plan which starts at $3.8(£2.92) per month (providing you sign up for two years – it’s $4.15(£3.16) per month if you commit for just one year). That plan limits you to 15GB storage and you do get unlimited bandwidth, Let’s Encrypt SSL and a hundred mailboxes.
Tsohost’s technical support may not be the fastest out there in terms of response times, at least in our experience, but it did provide clear and accurate answers to queries. Performance levels are also solid, and the company offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- And we consider the merits of shared hosting vs dedicated hosting here
You might also want to check out our other website hosting buying guides:
US President Donald Trump is preparing to sign an executive order that would have federal agencies dedicate more resources and investment into artificial intelligence (AI) research, training and promotion.
Under the American AI Initiative, agencies would be directed to prioritize AI investments in research and development while also increasing access to federal data and models needed to facilitate research.
While there was no specific funding announced for the initiative, an administration official did reveal that it called for improved reporting and tracking of funds spent on AI research and development.
- US and China take worldwide AI lead
- AI is transformational for businesses of all sizes
- AI took over the world in 2018
The American AI Initiative aims to ensure that the US retains its research and development advantage in AI and other emerging technologies such as quantum computing and advanced manufacturing.AI research and investment
During his recent State of the Union speech, President Trump said that he would work with lawmakers to increase investment into future technologies.
During a conference call a senior administration official highlighted AI's increasing role in our daily lives, saying:
“AI is something that touches every aspect of people’s lives. What this initiative attempts to do is to bring all those together under one umbrella and show the promise of this technology for the American people.”
The race for AI dominance is heating up and other countries will likely make similar investments into AI and other emerging technologies to remain competitive.
Update: Both LG and Huawei have confirmed that they'll show foldable phones at MWC 2019 in February. The LG one will reportedly be the LG V50 ThinQ, while Huawei's will fold.
In much of the world – including the US and UK - we will see 5G networks launch in 2019. They'll be faster than 4G, but you won't be able to utilize the new speeds with your current handset. You'll need a 5G phone.
However, the majority of phones launching in the near future won't support the fifth generation network. That's not a huge problem because 5G coverage won't be widespread for a while, but if you want your next phone to be future-proofed then you'll want it to work with 5G.
During CES 2019 at the start of the year, smartphone chip-maker Qualcomm said it expects to see over 30 5G devices launched in 2019, with most of those being smartphones.
While the rollout of 5G networks may take some time, you should at least have a choice of 5G phones to whet your appetite.
With that in mind we've created this guide to the various confirmed and rumored 5G handsets.
You'll find everything we know about these phones, including when and where they’re likely to launch, and we'll be constantly updating our 5G phones list with all the latest information.
- What is 5G? Everything you need to know
Image Credit: TechRadar
This could be one of the most exciting – not to mention most expensive – 5G phones of 2019, with rumors additionally pointing to it having a 6.7-inch screen, four rear cameras, two front-facing snappers, a 5,000mAh battery and 10GB or 12GB of RAM.
The Galaxy S10 X is currently rumored to go on sale in South Korea on March 29, with a US launch also likely at some point, but it may not be available anywhere else according to reports.
We should learn more about it soon, as it's likely to be announced alongside the rest of the Galaxy S10 range on February 20.Huawei 5G foldable phone
Image Credit: TechRadar
Nothing else is confirmed, but this doesn't come as a surprise, since the company had previously said that it's working on a 5G foldable phone.
This seems to be a slight change of plan though, as back in 2018, Huawei revealed that it planned to launch a 5G phone in June 2019 - however this could be the date the handset goes on sale.
Shortly after that revelation an exec told T3 that either the Huawei P30 or Huawei Mate 30 would support 5G, though that doesn't entirely line up with claims that it will fold, as we wouldn't expect the company's main flagships to do so.
There's no word on which countries Huawei's first 5G phone will be available in, but don't count on being able to buy it in the US, since most recent Huawei phones aren't available there.OnePlus
Image Credit: TechRadar
OnePlus has spoken numerous times about a 5G handset, and it could be one of the first to launch one, as the company wants to be the first to launch a 5G phone in Europe.
We also know specifically that it will be coming to the UK, as OnePlus has confirmed that UK network EE will stock it.
We'd expect to see it in the US too, given that OnePlus phones typically land there, but it might not be officially launched in Australia. It's not clear exactly when the phone will launch, but to be the first in the UK it would likely need to land within a few months.
OnePlus has confirmed that it will reveal a 5G concept phone at MWC 2019 at the end of February, which may give us some idea of what the firm is working towards.
Either way, it's going to cost more than you might expect a OnePlus handset to. The company's CEO has confirmed that it will be around $200 (roughly £155/AU$275) to $300 (approximately £235/AU$415) more than a typical OnePlus handset.LG
Image Credit: TechRadar
LG could also be one of the first companies to launch a 5G handset, having said that it's aiming to make the first one available in the US.
The phone is set to be a Sprint exclusive in the US, and will land at MWC 2019 on February 24, complete with a Snapdragon 855 chipset and a 4,000mAh battery. That much is confirmed.
Beyond that, it's rumored that this will be the LG V50 ThinQ, and that it will go on sale in March in the US and Europe.
The V50 ThinQ is said to have a 6-inch screen and may retail for between 1.3 million won (around $1,170/£890/AU$1,600) and 1.5 million won (roughly $1,350/£1,025/AU$1,850).
Image Credit: TechRadar
Given that Huawei is working on a 5G phone it's not overly surprising to hear that Honor is too, given that this is a sub-brand of the company.
Honor's president said – according to Android Authority – that not only will Honor launch a 5G phone in 2019, but that it will be the first to market with a 5G handset.
It has a lot of competition for that achievement, but it certainly sounds like the phone will be coming soon then, though we have no idea which countries it will be sold in.iPhone 12
Image Credit: TechRadar
Apple will of course eventually launch a 5G phone, but it's not likely to be one of the first companies to do so.
As of January 2019, the latest news on that front is that Apple is currently deciding which company's 5G modem chips to use, which further suggests a 5G handset is a way out, as that's a decision we'd expect to be made way before launch.
The good news though is that whenever Apple launches its 5G iPhone it's likely to be globally available, since iPhones are sold in most countries.Motorola
Image Credit: TechRadar
Motorola has taken an odd approach to 5G, as initially rather than a 5G phone from the Lenovo-owned company we're going to see a 5G Moto Mod, one which would be compatible with the already-available Moto Z3.
We don't know exactly when the 5G Moto Mod will land, but the vague window of early 2019 has been put forward, which could in a sense make the Moto Z3 one of the first 5G phones once the Mod does launch.
Note however that the Moto Z3 is a US and Verizon exclusive, so even once the 5G Moto Mod lands there won’t initially be a widely available 5G Motorola handset.Xiaomi Mi Mix 3
Image Credit: TechRadar
The Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 has already been announced, and while the standard version doesn't support 5G, a 5G model is set to arrive sometime in mid-2019. There's no news on US or Australian availability, but you will be able to buy it in Europe, so the UK might well get it.
Other specs of the phone include a Snapdragon 855 chipset, up to 10GB of RAM, up to 256GB of storage, and a 3,200mAh battery.
The Mi Mix 3 also has a 6.39-inch Full HD+ display with almost no bezel, a slide-out dual-lens selfie camera, and a dual-lens rear camera. So this is a high-end phone, yet it's likely to undercut most early 5G handsets in price.Oppo
Image Credit: TechRadar
Oppo is yet another company that claims to be aiming to launch the first 5G handset, so based on that we'd expect to see one from the company in early 2019.
Back in December the company even showed off a 5G prototype, one which used the high-end Snapdragon 855 chipset. However, we don't know much else about the phone, or where it will be available. It very possibly won’t be sold globally, since Oppo doesn’t have a big presence in much of the world.ZTE
Image Credit: TechRadar
ZTE is also likely to launch a 5G phone in 2019 but it probably won’t be one of the first, with the company saying it will land in the second half of 2019, according to Android Authority. We don’t know much else about the phone, or what countries it will be available in.Vivo
Image Credit: TechRadar
Vivo is also known to be working on a 5G phone, but as yet we don't know much about it and it won't be one of the very first, with the company aiming for a commercial launch in 2020, according to GadgetsNow.
We also wouldn't count on the phone being widely available, since most Vivo handsets aren't.Royole FlexPai
Image Credit: Royole
The foldable Royole FlexPai launched globally during CES 2019 at the start of 2019, and while it's not 5G enabled right now, a software update later in the year will unlock support for the fifth generation of network.
You can buy the FlexPai now, however it's expensive and we found during our hands on time with the phone that the software needs some serious polish before we'd be able to think about recommending it as a viable everyday device.
Rural residents face being excluded from the economic, social and personal benefits of the digital economy because of poor mobile network coverage, warns a new report from Rural England.
The State of Rural Services report claims that it is impossible to make a phone call on all four networks in a third of all rural buildings – a figure that compares unfavourably with the 3 per cent rate for urban premises.
What’s more, the report says 4G is inaccessible in 58 per cent in rural buildings compared to just one sixth in urban areas.
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According to Ofcom’s Connected Nations 2018 report, almost all properties can receive a good indoor 4G signal from at least one operator while 77 per cent are covered by all four major networks – EE, O2, Three and Vodafone – up from 65 per cent last year.
However, while 83 per cent of urban premises receive what could be classified as “good” coverage, only 41 per cent of rural properties do, and in some areas there is no coverage at all.
While the improvements made by all major operators in their networks is welcomed, Rural England says rural areas risk being cut off. Poor connectivity means it is difficult to build a business, there is limited access to new entertainment and education services, and people will have access coping with a ‘digital-by-default’ approach to government services.
This, the report argues, is being compounded by cuts to public services, such as transport and libraries, and a declining high street.
“These findings confirm that the situation for people living in rural England is not improving,” said Graham Biggs, chief executive of the Rural Services Network. “The country faces a time bomb if nothing is done to address their needs. Rural areas have been ignored for long enough. It is time for all policies to be rural proofed. Rural communities deserve better than they currently get, they deserve the chance to thrive.”
Ofcom is looking at 5G licence coverage obligations to address the issue, as well as the feasibility of spectrum sharing. This would allow multiple users of the same frequencies. For example, if an operator had a licence for certain spectrum but wasn’t using it, a local mobile operator could take advantage.
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Smart speakers are dominating the smart home market and are now owned by one in six Americans, while over the pond in the UK, ownership has doubled in six months, with a smart speaker occupying 10% of households.
The popular virtual assistants are taking the home by storm, with many now considering smart speakers to be the future of home automation, not only controlling your smart home devices (like your Philips Hue bulbs or your smart locks), but running everything from your fridge to your living room lights – sometimes without much help from you.
We know how it sounds, but these devices can be unbelievably handy. Imagine a world where you don't have to get up to change the thermostat or find the remote to change the channel. Imagine turning off your garden security lights using your voice or using Alexa or Google Assistant to pull up a live feed of your outside cameras.
If you think that you can live happily without these features, then you're probably right. But once you've had them, there's no going back.
All of this and more is now possible. The only thing they can't do, it seems, is help you decide which one is right for you - so, if you're not sure which smart speaker to buy, read on for our pick of the best. But we certainly can.
The Sonos One now supports Amazon's Alexa and Siri via AirPlay 2.
If you need help finding your next personal assistant, take a look at our guide below and find the smart speaker that suits your current setup, your budget and the aesthetics of your home – each of the speakers are hand-picked by our editors, and while each have pros/cons, all of them are great in their own way.
Not seeing the perfect speaker for you? Don't worry. Be sure to keep checking back, as we'll be updating this list with the best smart speakers, as well as the top rumors of the new speakers to expect soon at the end.
Sonos’ debut Alexa speaker is a cleanly-designed, feature-rich and great-sounding device that brings together the best of both ecosystems. You’ve got the ever-improving Alexa on the one hand, and on the other you’ve got Sonos with its own multi-room smarts. There's also a new feature in the mix that promises to change the game: AirPlay 2. With it, the Sonos One can talk to Siri and form a multi-room pairing with the Apple HomePod, making it the most versatile speaker on the list.
If there's anything holding the Sonos One back from greatness it's the fact that Google Assistant is still MIA after the update was postponed in November 2018.
Once Google Assistant support hits early this year (we hope), the Sonos One promises to become the market leader in smart home speakers.
[Update: Sonos has launched a new range of in-wall, in-ceiling, and outdoor speakers, the Sonos Architectural line.]
- Read our full review here: Sonos One
The highly-anticipated Apple HomePod finally entered the smart speaker battle for your bookshelf in early 2018.
The obvious benefit of an Apple HomePod over an Echo or Google Home device is that it'll play nice with your other Apple products. So if you're a die-hard Apple fan the HomePod may be a no-brainer.
But it's worth asking the same question you should always be asking yourself when you want to splurge on a new Apple product: how much of a premium should you pay for owning a device that fits only seamlessly into the Apple ecosystem?
When we reviewed the device we were torn because we were really reviewing two things at once: how the HomePod weighs up as a premium speaker and how it fares as a smart home hub.
In the former category, the HomePod is excellent, as it boasts incredible sound and a very intuitive set-up. But in the latter, Siri is only middling in its implementation, and the fact that you're not able to break out of the Apple ecosystem for many key functions also rankles.
Apple is said to be working on the Apple HomePod 2, or a cheaper, more compact HomePod Mini, rumored to launch in early 2019.
Update: In September announced a HomePod update, adding a way to search for lyrics, additional Siri languages (Spanish and Canadian French) and a feature that allows you to set timers. You can also now make calls directly from the HomePod.
- Read our full review here: Apple HomePod review
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If you're after a smart speaker that's affordable and sounds good enough to play your favorite tracks, the latest version of the Amazon Echo is your safest bet. In fact it's our current top pick for the best smart speaker on the market right now.
The newest, 2nd-generation Echo sounds better than Amazon's Echo Dot, but it's cheaper than the Echo Plus and Apple's HomePod.
We don't think you should be using it to replace your hifi, but at the same time it's a really great place to start if you want to try out what the smart home life is like.
Amazon has also improved the Echo's style since the first version was released in 2015. The new fabric finishes will suit most living rooms better than the brushed aluminum of the original.
The only downside is the Echo doesn't have the neat volume dial of Amazon's Echo Plus. It's also worth mentioning that Alexa often doesn't seem quite as intelligent as Google Assistant. At the price, though, it's a great option that should suit most people's needs.
- Read our full review here: Amazon Echo Review (2018)
For starters, you might never appreciate just how much music is on YouTube without buying a Google Home. We’re not saying Google Home is capable of playing any song you can think of, but after dredging the depths of the ’90s we still couldn’t find a tune Google Home couldn’t track down and start playing.
While Google Home excels as a DJ, it’s also a surprisingly intelligent smart home hub. It already hooks into some of the largest platforms now available by including Nest, Philips and Samsung’s SmartThings, and given a few months that number will grow even more.
But we're torn when it comes to recommending the Google Home. In some ways it's disappointing and doesn't live up to be the coveted center of the smart home Google has marketed it as.
That's because it's just not there yet. It’s a little too rigid in its language comprehension, its list of smart home devices is growing but still a bit underwhelming, and, perhaps the biggest disappointment of all, it doesn’t have many of Google’s core services built into it.
It has the potential to develop to compete with Amazon's Echo in the future, but for now the Google Home is simply a smart novelty with access to YouTube Music, built-in Google Cast and the ability to save you a trip to the light switch.
It's also worth mentioning a more recent update: Google Home can now make calls to landlines in the UK! This was a feature unveiled at last year's Google IO, and has now finally made its way into the home. Google Assistant has also been updated to included bilingual capabilities, Continued Conversation and Multiple Actions.
- Read our full review here: Google Home Review
It's louder and bassier than the standard Echo, which is particularly useful for music. Does it sound as good as the Sonos One? No. But like Amazon’s other Echo gadgets, its price is competitive. It costs $149.99 (£139.99) with a Philips Hue bulb included to kickstart your smart home future.
Like other smart home systems, Amazon Alexa is a work in progress. However, it’s easy to recommend the Amazon Echo Plus. It’s a convenient one-stop solution for both audio, smart assistant functions and Internet of Things controls, with Alexa still going strong as the most feature-rich voice assistant.
But the strength of the Echo range, especially at the lower price tiers, still makes these top-of-the-line models a harder sell: the Echo Dot has comparable smarts for a fraction of the price, for example, it just doesn't sound as good. Likewise, the built-in smart hub is a great addition, but isn’t yet feature-complete, meaning committed smart home users may not want to make the jump just yet.
In short, if you’re looking to enter the world of the connected home, the Echo Plus is a great place to start. Just be aware that more economical options may, for the time being at least, suit your needs just as well.
- Read our full review here: Amazon Echo Plus Review
With the recent onslaught of smart display devices from the big tech companies, there's more choice than ever if you want a screen included with your smart speaker.
The Google Home Hub is one of the latest crop of smart displays, and it certainly gives its closest rival, the Amazon Echo Show a run for its money, with intuitive voice control and well designed first party apps.
That being said, this is not a speaker for audiophiles - it works well enough to play music in the background while you do chores or read, but it doesn't pack big enough of a sonic punch to serve as your main speaker for listening to music.
Where the Google Home Hub does excel, is as a control centre for your digital home, supporting over 5000 smart devices from 400 companies - plus, at around $80/£80 cheaper than the Amazon Echo Show (the difference in Australia is a whopping AU$150), it's pretty good value for money too.
- Check out our full review of the Google Home Hub
The updated Echo Show is a step in the right direction, with better design, a clearer screen, and superior sound, but it has limited support for third-party streaming services.
The touchscreen is 1280 x 720 px - so it won't blow you away up close, but it looks fine from a distance. It also features adaptive brightness, although the screen isn't the main way you interact with the Echo Show - it's optimized for voice activation via Amazon Alexa, and it's great for using while you potter about the kitchen.
Its not the cheapest smart display on the market, however, it adds value by combining devices you already have and ones you could buy at a lower price elsewhere – just look at the Amazon Echo Dot, for example.
Put everything together though, and the new Show is a marked improvement on the original version, and if you're keen on watching cooking tutorials or listening to music as you cook, it deserves a spot on your kitchen counter.
- Read our full review: Amazon Echo Show Review
In our opinion, the Amazon Echo Spot is the best-designed Alexa device Amazon has ever created – it’s a gadget you’d happily have in your bedroom, on your desk, in your kitchen, and pretty much anywhere else.
The Spot is versatile – it doesn’t have a chameleon-like ability to adapt to the room you put it in, but this is certainly not just a smart alarm clock, something Amazon has been very clear about.
It does everything the Echo Show does, but it all feels better in this smaller form factor. The design is great – it's available in black and white – and we can easily see the Spot being used in the bedroom, kitchen or even on a desk. In fact, you may want it in all of these places.
That's the thing with the Amazon Echo Spot: much like other Echo devices, Amazon wants you to have a multitude of them in your home so you always have access to video chat no matter where you are.
Essentially, it wants the Echo Spot to replace the Echo Dot. The Amazon Echo Spot is a little more expensive than the new Echo, though, and in turn much more expensive than an Echo Dot.
This is because of the addition of the screen. While we still haven't seen that killer Skill for the screen, it does enhance the look of the Spot and opens up the possibilities for it being much more than just a smart speaker.
We’re just hoping that Amazon’s Skills become much more video-friendly – once this happens, the Amazon Echo Spot will become an absolute must-have.
- Read our full review here: Amazon Echo Spot Review
Those are all of the best smart speakers on the market right now, but with the huge success of these voice-activated smart home assistants, this selection is likely to be just the beginning.
Right now a number of other companies, including some of the biggest names in tech, are also working on their own smart home audio products. Whether they shake-up the market or turn out to be a load of hot air remains to be seen.
But in the meantime, here are just a few of the highly-anticipated upcoming releases and rumors circulating right now:
Spotify smart speaker
There are loads of speakers on the market that already allow you to connect your Spotify account. But that doesn't mean the popular streaming service can't make its own product to compete with the biggest names in tech.
Rumors suggest Spotify has been working on its own voice search interface, but it hasn't yet lifted the lid on a speaker that could compete with the likes of the Amazon Echo or Google Home.
That hasn't stopped us from dreaming up what a Spotify smart speaker might look, sound and behave like. Read our Spotify speaker wish-list: what we want to see in a Spotify smart speaker.
Samsung Galaxy Home smart speaker
This is now official, though details are still scarce – Samsung showed off the Galaxy Home smart speaker at its Unpacked 2018 event, promising high-quality audio alongside some integrated AI smarts provided by Bixby.
As yet we don't know a price or release date, though we're assuming it will work with Samsung’s SmartThings ecosystem. Samsung is promising more news at its developer conference later in the year.
The speaker had been rumored for some time, primarily in a report from Bloomberg, with sources telling the publication that 2018 will be the year Samsung’s smart speaker would be announced and be available to buy.
Everything is a smart speaker
Maybe the future isn't about which smart speaker you should buy after all, but will be much more focused on integrating voice-activated smart assistants into other products.
While that may sound a little gimmicky, it actually solves one of the major niggling points of the smart home: you want to have access to your voice assistant in every room but don’t really want to fill your home with speakers.
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The global economy is faltering. Small businesses need to be quick to react. The twin engines of global economy – the US and China – are slowing. As the Brexit talks go down to the wire, the UK economy is stalling. Italy has tipped in to recession. Small businesses are often the first to feel the chill winds of an approaching economic winter.
Here are five simple ways you can make your small business more financially resilient:
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Becoming more ecologically conscious can be a great way to cut costs. This could involve switching to LED bulbs, installing a smart heating thermostat, or simply turning down your existing thermostat by a degree or two.
Going paperless doesn’t just save on paper. It also saves businesses on printers, toner, postage, filing cabinets and office space. Ask staff to use email whenever possible. Some still think documents like contracts need to be printed, signed and posted. Yet most contracts can be signed digitally and exchanged electronically.
Switching off servers and computers at the end of the day is a simple way to reduce your carbon footprint. If people keep forgetting, use timers. Make sure monitors and devices are set to their most eco-friendly settings. Motion sensors can ensure lights are only on when needed. When buying electrical equipment, pay attention to the energy rating.
Image Credit: Pexels2. Hire flexibly
Hiring contract and freelance workers can bring a wealth of benefits to businesses. Staff numbers - and skills - can be rapidly tailored match to work flow fluctuations. Offering flexible working conditions can help with staff retention. Remote working can reduce the amount of office space you need.
In an uncertain economic environment, using freelance and temporary employees can prove a valuable advantage. SMEs can take on temporary staff to complete ambitious contracts, without over-committing financially for the long term.
Think outside your time zone. When completing a project to a tight deadline, a software developer in Delhi can get the job done while you sleep – often for a fraction of the cost of a local developer.3. Automate your admin
Payroll software can radically reduce admin costs, facilitate supply chain management and help ensure that companies are both tax compliant and tax efficient. The administrative burden of taking on new staff is reduced: Hiring freelancers is a breeze when you have the right software. The right technology can help your business become more adaptable.
In the age of Alexa, Siri and Cortana, virtual assistants are part of daily life. Voice recognition can mean that typing services are no longer required, as lengthy documents can be drafted by voice.
Your marketing and social media presence can also be automated. Software exists that provides cross-platform integration, analytics, content management and customer targeting. Social media posts can be timed for maximum impact across multiple platforms.
Image Credit: WeWork4. Share office space
Rent is often an SME’s biggest overhead. An increasingly popular solution is using a shared office space. This could involve moving to a co-working environment such as WeWork, Work Life or The Office Group.
Alternatively, businesses can team up with one another to hire an office space that can house multiple companies under one roof. This also means businesses can share costs such as heating, cleaning, printing and reception staff.5. Shop around
Reduce your monthly overheads by shopping around for the best deals. While price comparison websites can help reduce utility and insurance costs, don’t forget to look for better quotes from suppliers such as software providers or accountants. A quick email sent to a few competing firms could yield significant savings. Even if you want to stay with your current provider, a better offer from a competitor could produce a fruitful renegotiation.
The costs of banking and finance should not be overlooked. Refinancing loans to lower interest rates can yield substantial savings.
Taking simple steps to reduce costs will help you adhere to that most elemental law of business: earning more than you spend.
Julian Pilling, CEO of Solutio
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We here at TechRadar get a little bit excited when a cheap Samsung Galaxy S9 deal comes around - it is one of our favourite phones after all. But this SIM-free deal from Fonehouse has especially blown us away.
Offering up the device for a fraction of its RRP, you can currently get yourself a Galaxy S9 for just £474.99. We've done the research and can safely tell you that you won't get a brand new SIM-free S9 any cheaper from any other major retailer.
You can see this deal in full below or if you would rather look into a new Samsung device on a contract or SIM-free, you can check out our best Samsung phone deals page to see all of your options across Samsung's massive range.
This cheap Samsung S9 deal in full
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An incremental update on Samsung's previous model, the S8, the Samsung Galaxy S9 is still one of the best Android phones around. Whether that be because of its beautiful infinity screen, speedy biometric security or powerful processor, there is a lot to love with this device.
So if you want to get a SIM-free Samsung Galaxy S9, then click the link to see just how good this price is. Prefer to grab it on contract? Then simply cast your eyes down to our dedicated Samsung S9 price comparison: