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Updated: 5 min 47 sec ago

PlayStation Plus deal: don't miss this massive discount on a 12-month subscription

Mon, 03/18/2019 - 07:48

Want a load of free games, exclusive discounts and access to online multiplayer on your PS4? Then you'll not want to miss the big discounts available on these PlayStation Plus deals for 12-month subscriptions.

PlayStation Plus memberships can be pricey if you pay full price or accidentally let the auto-renew settings pay for a year as soon as your current sub ends. We can do much better for you here at TechRadar Deals though. Today we've found the absolute cheapest PlayStation Plus prices for a 12-month membership. Better still, you don't have to wait for your current sub to end, you can stack this one on top straight away. With prices this low, there's no need to hang around for big events like Amazon Prime Day.

Take a look at the links below, where we've called out the latest prices from CDKeys.com and Amazon who currently have the cheapest prices going in the UK and USA respectively, massively undercutting the regular prices. The codes will be sent digitally to you within minutes of the purchase, so you don't have to sit around waiting for it in the post.

We compare PlayStation Plus prices and deals all year, so we know a great set of prices when we see them and we love these ones! If you also have an Xbox One console, we've rounded up the cheapest Xbox Live Gold deals for subscriptions too.

Categories: Tech News

The Tesla Model Y will have a tow bar for all-electric adventures

Mon, 03/18/2019 - 07:47

The forthcoming Tesla Model Y will have a tow bar, according to chief designer Franz von Holzhausen, making it a more practical choice for family vacations.

The news comes via Norwegian site Elbien, which spoke with von Holzhausen at the Model Y's launch event in California last week. The designer also confirmed that the Model 3 will be getting a tow bar soon, but didn't elaborate before disappearing back into the crowd.

Presumably that means the Model Y will come with a dedicated towing mode, like the Model X, which actively monitors trailer sway, and adjusts wheel braking and speed to compensate.

Follow the leader

The tow package for Tesla's larger SUV, the Model X, includes a 2-inch hitch receiver that's able to tow up to 5,000lb on 20-inch wheels, or 3,500lb on 22-inch wheels.

Few electric vehicles have enough batter capacity to make towing feasible; in fact, the Model X was one of the first. We expect the smaller Model Y won't have quite the same pulling power (the AA noted a 17% drop in range when towing with a Model X), but it might surprise us.

Categories: Tech News

OnePlus 7 case leak backs up reports of pop-up selfie camera

Mon, 03/18/2019 - 07:47

A leaked image that’s claimed to show a OnePlus 7 case has given us a better idea of what to expect from the upcoming flagship – but also raises some questions.

Posted on Twitter by user Ice universe, the picture hints at several potential features of the handset. We can see a large gap for several rear cameras, two gaps to the left of the device and one to the right that’ll house the volume rocker, power button and likely the alert slider – although in what order we don’t know for sure, as OnePlus tends to change the design between models. 

The most interesting feature of the case, however, is a barely visible hole at the top, as most phones don’t have a feature on the top that would require this. It could be for a relocated alert slider, but we’ve heard rumors that the OnePlus 7 will feature a pop-up selfie cam, which would account for the position of the hole.

This leaked case image isn’t necessarily the real deal, but it does back up other OnePlus 7 leaks and rumors we’ve heard.

A perfect match?

Leaked renders said to be of the phone itself showed a three-lens rear camera setup, with the pop-up front-facing snapper rounding out the device’s cameras. The leaked case image looks like it would fit the button and camera layout on these renders perfectly, which suggests they could be accurate.

Lots of what we’ve heard about the upcoming OnePlus 7 relates to features it won’t have – OnePlus CEO Carl Pei suggested the phone won’t have wireless charging, while a leaked price and spec sheet seemed too good to be true.

If previous years are anything to go by, OnePlus will launch the OnePlus 7 around the middle of this year, so we’ve a while to wait before learning what features it will or won’t have, but we’ll keep you updated with all the latest rumors, leaks and news until then.

Categories: Tech News

Why rely on others to protect our data, when we can start to do it ourselves?

Mon, 03/18/2019 - 07:30

Today, our digital lives are just as important as real life. The personal data you store in your online accounts and the footprint you leave behind via search and browsing history is attached to your identity, and it’s yours to protect. 

When it comes to our digital lives, last year was an extraordinary one - not only in the sheer quantity and scale of hacks and data breaches, but also in the magnitude of trust lost between the internet and the world that relies on it. In just a few months, the three biggest internet companies, Facebook, Google, and Amazon, all announced they had been hacked.

Arguably, our data and information is increasingly less secure, online transactions are far from seamless, and the legitimacy of news is something we now question. Instead of being a tool that empowers good - inspiring more human connections, knowledge sharing, and big ideas - the internet has in some cases become a source of frustration and sometimes fear.

So how do we help consumers protect themselves against these problems?

The internet doesn't belong to anyone, it belongs to everyone. And this creates a unique challenge when it comes to fixing its issues. Governments can have a positive impact on the situation with the implementation of regulation, such as GDPR. However, we also know the answer to building a better digital world is by empowering people, all of us.

We are using more and more online accounts in our everyday lives, and that number doubles every five years. Managing passwords for all these tools has become incredibly hard. Most of us react to this problem with indifference and tend to use the same password everywhere. We bury our heads in the sand and think that everything is fine; until we get hacked. You may not be able to control the security architecture of the digital services you use every day that hold so much of your data, but you can take measures to make sure you have optimal password hygiene to secure your accounts. This approach is the digital version of the "containment" doctrine.

First steps for security your digital identity

This National Consumer Protection Week, we can all take some simple, initial steps to secure our digital accounts.

First, have a unique password for every account. This ensures that even if one account is breached your other accounts will be secure. Some breaches aren't discovered or disclosed for years, as was the case with the Yahoo breach that happened two years ago. You never know when your information might be vulnerable. We’ve found that the average user has over 150 accounts, so it’s impossible to remember every password - password managers do this job for you.

 Make sure all your passwords are strong. The ideal password is one that is a unique and random string of letters and numbers. Again, this is where password managers are critical as they can quickly generate strong and secure passwords for all your accounts.

 Lastly, you should regularly change your passwords as breaches often go undetected for months, sometimes years, so you never know when your account might have been exposed. Using tools called password changers are critical for this process as they can instantly change your passwords for 100’s of top sites in a single click. This makes it extremely easy to ensure that your accounts are always being safeguarded against unknown threats. 

We know the answer to building a better digital world is empowering people, all of us, to take back control of our own digital identities, allowing us to keep our personal data in our own hands and no one else's. Only then will we be able to live in a safe digital world, and once again use the internet for good, in the way that was intended.

Emmanuel Schalit, CEO of Dashlane

Categories: Tech News

The best wireless headphones 2019: our pick of the best ways to cut the cord

Mon, 03/18/2019 - 07:24

Best Wireless (Bluetooth) Headphones: Welcome to TechRadar's guide to the best wireless and Bluetooth headphones you can buy in 2019.

Years ago, we might've tried to dissuade you from buying a pair of wireless headphones. At the time, the technology had issues with wireless connectivity over Bluetooth and sound quality took a dive as a result. On top of all that, the batteries that were put into these headphones only lasted an hour or two, max.

Thankfully, we've left those days behind us and are now living in the golden age of wireless. Thanks to advancements in Bluetooth (thanks, aptX), the latest batch of wireless headphones not only stay connected in every situation, but they sound just as good as they're wired counterparts to boot. 

Sure, a wireless pair of headphones might cost a bit more than a similar wired model, but wireless headphones offer greater freedom of movement - making them perfect for a trip to the gym or a great companion for phones like the iPhone X and Pixel 2 that simply lack a 3.5mm aux port to connect with.

Whatever your reason for upgrading, we're here to help you pick out the best wireless headphones, regardless of your budget. What you'll find below are the top headphones we've reviewed with a mix of in-ear, over-ear and on-ear headphones, plus some with neat features like noise-cancellation - all vetted by our staff so you can shop with confidence.

Can't decide which headphones to buy? Check out our guide video below:

The best over-ear wireless headphones

For the last three years, the Sony 1000X series of headphones have been our favorite wireless headphones on the market. They sound great thanks to a combination of superb wireless codecs - aptX and Sony's proprietary LDAC tech - and keep outside noise at bay thanks to Sony's ever-improving noise-cancellation algorithms. 

While the Sony WH-1000XM3 might not be a massive improvement over last year's WH-1000XM2, they're still a cut above their rivals, the Bose QC35 II, in nearly every way: they sound better, they block out noise better and have better features like Quick Attention mode that lets in all outside noise without taking off the headphones. (The latter is perfect when giving a drink order on a plane or speaking to a coworker for a brief moment before diving back into your work.) 

Great-sounding and feature-packed, the Sony WH-1000XM3 are great travel companions and all-around excellent wireless headphones.

Read the full review: Sony WH-1000XM3

Bose took the already-excellent QC35 and updated with Google Assistant. The headphone is identical in every way save for the new Google Assistant button. This means you still get the class-leading noise cancellation Bose is known for, good sound quality, and incredible comfort. Said simply, they sound great and their battery life is long enough for all but the longest of flights.

If you're looking to save some money, however, consider the original Bose QuietComfort 35. They can also be found for far cheaper these days, and if you're not fussed about having Google Assistant built into your headphones then you can save yourself some money while you save up for QC35 II. 

Read the full review: Bose QuietComfort 35 II

The Beyerdynamic Amiron Wireless are the best-sounding wireless headphones you can buy, period. Sound is spacious, detailed, and makes you want to rediscover your music library. Their bulky design and average noise isolation make them terrible for travel but if you’re looking for the best sound from a wireless headphone, this is it.

Read the full review: Beyerdynamic Amiron Wireless

Audio-Technica has a long history of producing high-quality headphones, microphones, and turntable accessories, and with the release of the ATH-M50xBT, it delivers studio-quality audio without the cord.  

The ATH-M50xBTs are designed for really high-end audio performance, with 45mm drivers and a frequency response range of 15-28,00 Hz, and it shows - we were very impressed with the warm, well-rounded sound.

The ATH-M50xBT headphones also performed well in terms of battery life and Bluetooth connectivity, however the microphone isn’t particularly strong, and you may struggle to make phone calls using them - still, that’s probably not the reason you would purchase a pair of studio grade headphones in the first place. 

Read our full review: Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT  

Although they're a much better looking, and sounding, pair of headphones, the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless (not to be confused with the smaller, cheaper, Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear Wireless) are kept off the top spot of the list by their premium price point, which puts them out of reach of all but the most committed of music lovers. 

But for those that can afford them, these are a no-holds-barred wireless headphones are oozing with positive qualities. They're comfortable, hard-working set of headphones that will likely last for years.

Read the full review: Sennheiser Momentum Wireless

If you're a frequent traveler you're probably all too familiar with headphones that can't hold a charge and can't block out sound, let alone sound very good. Let us introduce you to the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2, one of the few headphones on the market that can do all of the above and cost less than half as much as one of the bigger names like Beats, Bose and Sony. 

They also include a neat little feature that allows them to automatically turn off when you're not wearing them, meaning you're able to easily maximise their battery life without much effort. 

If we had to boil it down to its core, the BackBeat Pro 2 offers an excellent travel headphone with incredible battery life, supreme comfort, the ability to pair two device as once and, most importantly, good sound quality for the cost.

Read the full review: Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2

The AKG N60NC Wireless sound like a pair of headphones that should be much more expensive than they are. 

At their mid-range price point the headphones offer fantastic value for money, with great sound quality and a level of noise-cancellation performance that's on a level with the much more premium entries on this list. 

Our biggest issue with these headphones is the fact that they're on-ear rather than over-ear, meaning that we found that they got uncomfortable over longer periods. 

Regardless, the benefit of this is that this is a fantastically compact pair of headphones, and if you're willing to make the trade-off then these are great for the price. 

Read the full review: AKG N60NC Wireless

If you want a pair of wireless headphones without breaking the bank, and you don't fancy the in ear Optoma's above, your next best bet is the Jabra Move Wireless. 

These headphones may look like a budget buy, but don't let that fool you: this set of on ear Bluetooth headphones is nothing but an all-around stellar product. From the fun and edgy design to excellent performance, these cans come recommended for anyone interested in wireless on the cheap.

Read the full review: Jabra Move Wireless

Overall, Microsoft’s Surface headphones are surprisingly good, with a stunningly warm sound, and generous bass frequencies, which means your music will sound great whether you’re listening to subby hip-hop or acoustic singer-songwriters.

One criticism of this warm sound is that it can take some of the attack away from lower-mid frequencies, which some users may find a bit underwhelming. However, if sharp trebles and mids tend to give you listening fatigue, these could be the perfect headphones for you.

The calling card of these headphones is the active noise cancellation, which we felt worked really well, and we loved how easy it was to control this using the inbuilt dials on each housing. 

Although we were initially unconvinced by the high price (particularly when you can buy quality cans from heritage audio brands for less), the features work so seamlessly that it feels justified.

Image credit: TechRadar

The Grado GW100s sound great with a wide soundstage, clear highs, smooth mids, and extended bass frequencies. They also sport a kitsch, retro design that recalls Grado’s humble beginnings in 50’s Brooklyn.

Although the Bluetooth connection works very well, the need for a wireless pair of open-back headphones can be unclear; particularly if the design makes them unsuitable for commuting or  listening in communal areas. 

Saying that, having the option to listen wirelessly is undeniably convenient when you’re pottering around the house, and you can use these cans with an AUX cable if you're something of an audiophile who prefers a wired connection.

Overall, we feel the Grado GW100s are designed for a fairly niche market of audiophiles who crave a wide, natural sound, and who do the majority of their music listening at home. If that sounds like you, you will probably love the Grado GW100s. If not, you may want to look at closed-back models instead. 

Read the full review: Grado GW100 Wireless headphones review

The best in-ear wireless headphones

Here's where things get a bit murky - the term 'wireless headphones' is often used interchangeably with 'Bluetooth headphones' - i.e. headphones that don't use a 3.5mm jack to connect to your phone, but still have a wire running between them. While we contemplated leaving these off our list entirely, Bluetooth headphones are still well-worth considering - even if it means having a wire wrapped around your neck. 

That being said, if we had to pick a pair of Bluetooth headphones to go with, it'd be the NuForce BE Sport4 headphones: They're an incredible value for a pair of wireless headphones that sound good, last all day, have a bulletproof build and incredible noise isolation. While they're not the most dynamic or resolving headphones, NuForce shows us that the future of Bluetooth is a bright one.

Read the full review: Optoma NuForce BE Sport4

When you think of noise-cancelling headphones you probably picture bulky over-ear cans like the Bose QuietComfort 35 or the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless, but three years ago Bose turned its noise-cancelling chops to in-ear headphones, and the result was the excellent Bose QuietComfort 20i.  

Soon after that came the Bose QuietControl 30 (QC30, for short). These neckbuds offer the best noise cancellation of any in-ears we’ve tried and are comfortable enough to wear around your neck for long flights. Add to that the fantastic wireless capabilities of these headphones and you have the recipe for success. 

While we'd love to see a true wireless pair of headphones from Bose, the QuietComfort 30 are a tried-and-true stopgap that you'll enjoy all the same. 

Read the full review: Bose QuietControl 30

If you don't mind rocking a neckband, the Moto Surround hits all the high notes in terms of price, performance and battery life. After spending some time with the RHA MA390 Wireless, we came away extremely impressed with the package RHA has come up with. The headphones are built extremely well, have a vibrant sound signature, and are hardy enough to take anywhere -and all at an affordable price. 

It’s main rival, the OnePlus Bullets Wireless, are also excellent, however we give the nod to the RHA MA390 for its more dynamic sound and better build quality. 

Read the full review: RHA MA390 Wireless

Audiophiles may complain about the sound performance of Beats headphones, but the inclusion of Apple's proprietary W1 chip has been a boon for the strength of their wireless connectivity. 

The Beats X make up for their overly bassy sound with a rock solid connection and a pairing process that, on iOS devices at least, is as painless as it's possible to be. 

Functionally that makes these wireless earbuds a joy to use, just don't expect the most detailed or broad soundstage. If you’re shopping for a no-fuss pair of earbuds that charge in 5 minutes and don’t mind spending a little extra money on them, the Beats X are for you.

Read the full review: Beats X

The best true wireless headphones

Although the TrueConnect is RHAs first true wireless headphone, the company showed they did their research and development by making it one of the best true wireless headphones on the market today. The combination of sound quality, battery life, and wireless reliability means these are a pair of headphones you can rely on everyday. 

The Jabra Elite 65t set the standard for what true wireless headphones should be and, regardless of what RHA has done here with the TrueConnect, they’re still great headphones. Compared to the RHA TrueConnect, the Jabra has more features with its useful ambient noise mode to help with situational awareness and an app that lets you tailor sound. 

The RHA doesn’t have either of those features but we didn’t miss them, thanks to better sound quality and wireless reliability. The RHA also feels more like a premium product than the all-plastic Jabra. 

All said, if you’re shopping for a pair of true wireless headphones, the $170 (£150, about AU$265) RHA TrueConnect should be at the very top of your list.  

[Looking for a more stylish design? It comes at a price, but the Earin M-2 true wireless earbuds look as good as they sound.]

Read the full review: RHA TrueConnect

You might have expected to see the Apple AirPods on the list. While Apple's true wireless earbuds are fine for certain folks - cough, iPhone users exclusively - they're not the best for everyone. If you're looking for an egalitarian pair of true wireless earbuds, you can do no better than the Jabra Elite 65t. 

Not only are these competent Bluetooth buds for use around town, with a long-enough battery life and good sound quality, but they are easily some of the best true wireless earbuds on the market, offering a perfect balance of usability, features, and sound quality. If you’re in the market for the ‘ultimate’ set of true wireless headphones and don’t mind paying for them, then they are a strong choice.    

Read the full review: Jabra Elite 65t True Wireless

The NuForce BE Free5 wireless earbuds show just how accessible truly wireless headphones can be nowadays. For around $100 (about £75, AU$134) they feature a more polished design than the more expensive BE Free8, and even sound better to boot. However, we found the left earbud would drop out briefly more than we’d like, and we hope NuForce can address this issue.   

The connection dropouts combined with the frustrating controls keep it from claiming the top spot on our list, but the BE Free5 offer undeniable value in the truly wireless headphone market,, making them a great option for your first pair. 

Read the full review: Optoma NuForce BE Free5

Apple AirPods undeniably popularised the true-wireless format. They work seamlessly with an iPhone, sound good in terms of their form factor, and have excellent connectivity and battery life.

But, move away from an iPhone and all these benefits are lost.

Other headphones allow you to control your music more quickly, and more easily. Siri is no match for a dedicated in-line remote (and isn't the best of voice helpers), and it feels counter-productive having to constantly take your phone out of your pocket to control music.  

There’s no getting away from the fact that these are an expensive pair of headphones, and for that kind of money we think that you can find better products elsewhere – especially if you're looking to pair with anything other than an iPhone. Read on for our favorite alternatives...

From the minds behind the Ticwatch Pro, Ticwatch S and Tichome Mini , the TicPods Free have been cited as a more flexible alternative to the AirPods, coming in a range of colors, and enabled for Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, as well as Siri.

When we tested them, we thought the audio quality was impressive, and although guitars sometimes sounded a little distorted, it’s a small price to pay for the amount of sonic power you get with these in-ears. 

These in-ears are unlikely to appeal to true audiophiles but if you’re a casual listener, the TicPods Free will do just fine, and for a great price.

Read the full review: TicPods Free review

Sony’s first pair of true wireless headphones, the Sony WF-1000X, were divisive -some users thought they didn’t offer enough bass, while others said they had too much. Some said they cut out or unpaired periodically. Others simply never had that problem. 

Criticisms came from all corners of the internet and the only reasonable conclusion one could make after sifting through all of the noise was that Sony’s headphones just couldn’t please everyone.

Now, Sony’s second-generation true-wireless headphones – the Sony WF-SP700N – are here to try it again. These true wireless headphones are better tuned for the low-end and they’re stable in almost every situation. They still offer very modest active noise-cancellation tech and a sweat-resistant PX4 rating, and the new charging case is aesthetically pleasing if not radically different in functionality from before. 

Read the full review: Sony WF-SP700N

Let’s get one thing out of the way – the B&O Beoplay E8 are one of the nicest-looking and most expensive wireless earphones you can buy. 

At $299 (£259, AU$449, AED 1,199) you can throw in a bit more cash and splurge for one of our favorite noise-cancelling headphones, the Bose QuietComfort 35 $349 (£259, AU$499, AED 1,449), which give you better battery life and a richer sound. But if you’re looking for a something to take to the gym and have the cash burning a hole in your pocker, then the Beoplay E8 might be just what you’re looking for.   

While they don't feature noise-cancellation, you will find a longer-lasting battery life of around four hours alongside Bluetooth 4.2. The E8 come with a stylish carrying case, and you can tweak the sound to your liking using the accompanying Beoplay app on Android and iOS.

Even without tinkering around with ToneTouch, the E8 sounds crisp and clear. Bass feedback will depend on how snug you’re wearing the E8s, but was acceptable for earphones of this size. If you’re able to look past the price point, then then Beoplay E8 is a great investment. It’s super compact, offers great audio, and looks great – what more could you ask for?  

Read the full review: B&O Beoplay E8 Wireless Earphones

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Categories: Tech News

Best true wireless earbuds: the best truly wireless AirPod alternatives around

Mon, 03/18/2019 - 07:13

Headphone cables may be falling out of fashion. Wireless audio sounds better than ever, compression formats for Bluetooth 5.0 are more reliable, flagship smartphones are shipping without headphone jacks, and listeners of all kinds are starting to see the benefits of cordless audio. True wireless just goes that extra step further.

True wireless earbuds are those without any cables between earbuds, meaning there's no wire or neck band to contend with. Nothing to get tangled in your pocket or caught on your zipper, nothing to whack around your neck in the middle of that cardio class, and also nothing to keep your singular earbuds together.

True wireless headphones may be a bit more expensive, sure, but that additional upfront cost pays for the convenience of living cable-free. 

We have our picks of the best true wireless earbuds out there – but first, let's address the elephant in the room...

Apple AirPods undeniably popularized the true-wireless format. They work seamlessly with an iPhone, sound good in terms of their form factor, and have excellent connectivity and battery life.

But, move away from an iPhone and all these benefits are lost.

Other headphones allow you to control your music more quickly, and more easily. Siri is no match for a dedicated in-line remote (and isn't the best of voice helpers), and it feels counter-productive having to constantly take your phone out of your pocket to control music.  

There’s no getting away from the fact that these are an expensive pair of headphones, and for that kind of money we think that you can find better products elsewhere – especially if you're looking to pair with anything other than an iPhone. Read on for our favorite alternatives...

[Update: We've been reporting on rumors of an AirPods 2 release date for some time now, but could today be the day?

The Apple Store is down, with the page saying "updates are coming to the Apple Store", which is something that happens right before Apple launches new products. 

We'll continue to update this page as more news comes in, but for now, we'll have to wait and see whether the AirPods 2 will be released before the end of the day.]

Although the TrueConnect is RHAs first true wireless headphone, the company showed they did their research and development by making it one of the best true wireless headphones on the market today. The combination of sound quality, battery life, and wireless reliability means these are a pair of headphones you can rely on everyday. 

The Jabra Elite 65t set the standard for what true wireless headphones should be and, regardless of what RHA has done here with the TrueConnect, they’re still great headphones. Compared to the RHA TrueConnect, the Jabra has more features with its useful ambient noise mode to help with situational awareness and an app that lets you tailor sound. 

The RHA doesn’t have either of those features but we didn’t miss them, thanks to better sound quality and wireless reliability. The RHA also feels more like a premium product than the all-plastic Jabra. 

All said, if you’re shopping for a pair of true wireless headphones, the $170 (£150, about AU$265) RHA TrueConnect should be at the very top of your list.  

[Looking for a more stylish design? It comes at a price, but the Earin M-2 true wireless earbuds look as good as they sound.]

Read the full review: RHA TrueConnect


If you want a pair of high quality truly wireless earbuds that aren’t the Apple AirPods, then the Jabra Elite 65t should be at the top of your list. 

After spending over a month with them, we came away impressed with the well-rounded package that Jabra managed to create: The earbuds offer a subtle, mature look and a reliable wireless connection, which isn’t always the case with truly wireless earbuds. Plus, they sound great compared to the competition. 

If you only have the budget for one of these, go for the Elite 65t. 

Read the full review: Jabra Elite 65t


If you're more the athletic type, the Jabra Elite Sport are currently the ultimate true wireless earphones for runners and other kinds of athletes. There’s a heart rate sensor on the right earpiece, letting it monitor your exertion level as you exercise. 

A Jabra companion app lets you track your exercise, and you can kick off a workout by pressing a button on one earpiece, and the heart rate tracker is more reliable than most wrist-worn models... as long as you fit the Elite Sport buds properly. 

The Jabra Elite Sport don't perch in your ears, they fill them rather like a custom molded earphone. As a result, sound isolation is excellent and the fit is very secure. 

To sweeten the deal, Jabra recently updated the Elite Sport to boost stamina to a better-than-average four-and-a-half hours per charge – more than enough to get you through your weekly workouts – before hanging up the towel. 

Read the full review: Jabra Elite Sport


The NuForce BE Free5 wireless earbuds show just how accessible truly wireless headphones are today. For around $100 (about £75, AU$134) they feature a more polished design than the more expensive BE Free8, and even sound better to boot. However, we found the left earbud would drop out briefly more than we’d like, and we hope NuForce can address this issue.   

The connection dropouts combined with the frustrating controls keep it from claiming the top spot on our list, but the BE Free5 offer undeniable value in the truly wireless headphone market. 

Read the full review: Optoma NuForce BE Free5


Sennheiser enters the race with its Momentum True Wireless earbuds. An extension of its reputable Momentum range, these cordless buds offer Sennheiser's trademark high-fidelity audio in a gorgeously sleek package.

You only get four hours of charge in the earbuds, but the carry case will be able to charge them two times over on top of that, giving you 12 hours in total when on the go.

The main thing holding these back is the price: at £259 / $299 (about AU$400) they're almost double the cost of the Apple AirPods. You do get a range of touch-based controls to stop you reaching for your phone every time you want to skip or pause a track, but the act of prodding things in your ear could be more comfortable – while the volume control is oddly imprecise.

Overall though, Sennheiser's first true wireless earbuds combine style and sound like few others.

Read the full review: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless review

Sony’s first pair of true wireless headphones, the Sony WF-1000X, were divisive. Some thought they didn’t offer enough bass. Others said they had too much. Some said they cut out or unpaired periodically. Others simply never had that problem. Criticisms came hard and fast from all corners of the internet and the only reasonable conclusion one could make after sifting through all of the noise was that Sony’s headphones just couldn’t please everyone.

Now, Sony’s second-generation true-wireless headphones – the Sony WF-SP700N – are here to try it again. These true wireless headphones are better tuned for the low-end and they’re stable in almost every situation. They still offer very modest active noise-cancellation tech and a sweat-resistant PX4 rating, and the new charging case is aesthetically pleasing if not radically different in functionality from before. 

Read the full review: Sony WF-SP700N


Considering it's still rare to get noise-cancellation in wired earbuds at all, the fact that Sony has managed to pack it into a pair that are not only wireless, but true wireless is very impressive indeed. 

The Sony WF-1000X manage to offer a level of noise-cancellation that's very good for a pair of earbuds – it won't offer the same isolation as a pair of over-ear cans, but if you're after a sleek form factor then the compromise is worth it. 

Beyond the noise-cancellation the earbuds continue to impress. Battery life is an acceptable three hours (acceptable for true wireless that is), with a further six provided by the charging case, and sound quality is rich and full.

Our only real reservation with the headphones is an occasional spotty connection between the two earbuds themselves (which rarely lasts for as much as a full second), and a lack of volume controls on the earbuds themselves (instead your options are limited to playing, pausing, and skipping your music).

Still, if you're after noise-cancellation and decent sound quality with your earbuds, then the WF-1000X are the way to go. 

Read the full review: Sony WF-1000X


Let’s get one thing out of the way – the B&O Beoplay E8 are one of the nicest-looking and most expensive wireless earphones you can buy. 

At $299 (£259, AU$449, AED 1,199) you can throw in a bit more cash and splurge for one of our favorite noise-cancelling headphones, the Bose QuietComfort 35 $349 (£259, AU$499, AED 1,449), which give you better battery life and a richer sound. But if you’re looking for a something to take to the gym and have the cash to burn, then the Beoplay E8 might be just what you’re looking for.   

While you won't find noise-cancellation here, you will find a longer-lasting battery life of around four hours alongside Bluetooth 4.2. The E8 come with a stylish carrying case, and you can tweak the sound to your liking using the accompanying Beoplay app on Android and iOS.

Even without tinkering around with ToneTouch, the E8 sounds crisp and clear. Bass feedback will depend on how snug you’re wearing the E8s, but was acceptable for earphones of this size. If you’re able to look past the price point, then then Beoplay E8 is a great investment. It’s super compact, offers great audio, and looks great – what more could you ask for?  

Read the full review: B&O Beoplay E8 Wireless Earphones

Image credit: TechRadar

It feels as though Samsung has finally got it right with the Galaxy Buds, and they represent serious competition for the Apple AirPods in terms of design, sound, and ease of use. 

We loved the pearlescent effect on the buds outer housing and the sleek design of the case, and we found they felt comfortable and secure. 

The sound quality offered by these true wireless buds is also very good indeed, with deep bass, and a wide open soundstage; although, audiophiles may want to look elsewhere for a more natural sound treatment, as the Galaxy Buds do sound very warm.

The downside here is that other features that are available on the app like ambient noise and the equalizer presets are useful to have, but didn’t always work as effectively as we hoped. These features are also pretty much out of bounds for iOS users, as you can only download the app on devices running Android 5.0 or later. 

Categories: Tech News

How to detect and defend against insider threats

Mon, 03/18/2019 - 06:30

Insider threats are not the only security challenge faced by security and risk professionals. They do, however, persist as one that is troublesome. There are various reasons as to why this is the case and too many to elaborate on in a single article. It is generally agreed upon in the security community that insider threats persist due to a lack of understanding over exactly what an insider threat is, how it manifests and what basic steps can be taken to mitigate it. 

Annually, our insider threat analyst team performs assessments across our global customer base to produce our insider threat intelligence report, which is free and openly available to the security community. The report provides education about the different types of insider threats out there. It reveals some of the most high-risk insider threat trends and behaviours. Most importantly, it provides steps on how to reduce related risks.

Insider threats, who they are

This year, we identified three primary insider threats types.

The first were malicious users. These individuals use their access privileges to intentionally harm their organisations. They account for 23 per cent of the incidents we observed.

The next were negligent users. This group is comprised of people who do not intend to cause any harm. They end up placing their organisations at risk via mistakes, poor decisions and a lack of education and understanding regarding what smart security decisions are. They are responsible for 64 per cent of the incidents we identified.

Finally, we witnessed additional cases of compromised users. This group are those who have had credentials stolen or abused by nefarious sources. They account for 13 percent of the trends we spotted.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

The trends

Since commencing with this annual report, we’ve witnessed changes in incident types. This year there were some dramatic shifts that are worthy of noting.

  • Data in the cloud - Ninety-eight per cent of assessments discovered sensitive and confidential information exposed and available online and in the cloud. Exposed data was found primarily in Dropbox, Google G Suite, and Microsoft Office 365. This was an increase of 20 per cent over 2018.
  • Insecure data transfer - One-hundred percent of assessments detected sensitive and confidential data transfers taking place via unencrypted and encrypted USB drives, personal email accounts, and cloud applications. This was an increase of 10 per cent over 2018, which looked at transfer via unencrypted USBs only.
  • Changing lanes - Ninety-seven per cent of assessments detected employees who were flight risks. This class of insider that often steals data or IP and acts with a decreasing sense of allegiance to the companies from where they’re departing. This was an increase of 59 per cent over 2018.
  • Sidestepping - Ninety-five per cent of assessments detected employees attempting to bypass or circumvent security controls via anonymous browsing, VPN and TOR usage. This was an increase of 35 per cent over 2018.
  • NSFW surfing - Seventy-six per cent of assessments detected employees engaged in high-risk internet surfing. This included visiting pornography, questionable gaming and gambling sites. This was an increase of 9 per cent over 2018.

There were more insider threat activities taking place than just these five. I’ve highlighted them here as they represent a cross section of incidents caused by the three types of insider threats we track — malicious, negligent and compromised. This grouping also shows areas where threats that frequently place data and systems at risk are on the rise.

Key takeaways

Just knowing what some of the more alarming trends are isn’t enough to reduce associated risks. Understanding how to address them is where the real security value is gained. In the case of each of these trends, there is a solid set of security best practices that can greatly reduce the chances of any of them showing up inside of organisations.

First, set enforceable and realistic security and compliance policies. All of the rules in the world will end up meaning nothing if employees, contractors and other third parties who have access to networks don’t follow them and if they can’t be enforced effectively. It may be very unrealistic to create a rule that forbids anyone from using a cloud sync-and-share drive. It is, however, far more likely that employees will follow security protocols if they are provided with the ability to use such productivity tools along with a set of user-friendly security guidelines.

Next — educate, educate, educate. Let’s face it, organisations may never be able to actually create an overall cybersecurity-conscious culture. Thinking “security” is typically reserved to those of us who are active or familiar with the profession. Companies can increase the likelihood of users adopting more secure habits if, at first, they know what those habits are and how to practice them. One of our clients, CIO Graeme Hackland of Williams Formula 1 Racing, is a major proponent of security education. He frequently holds “town hall” style meetings with employees to educate them on best practices. An approach he says works tremendously well.

Finally, understand behaviours. There are various ways of gaining insight and visibility of user behaviours and activities taking place within environments. Many solutions and techniques, in practice, do end up collecting a fair amount of data. Unfortunately, information collected and poured over frequently provides more false alarms than real actionable insights. To truly understand what activities all users are engaged in, programs need to give analysts the ability to quickly get to the heart of high-risk behaviors and determine who is behind them.

Katie Burnell, Insider Threat Specialist at Dtex Systems

  • We've also highlighted the best antivirus to help protect your business from the latest cyber threats
Categories: Tech News

iPad Mini 5 release date, news and leaks

Mon, 03/18/2019 - 06:15

Update: The Apple Store is down, which could be a hint that the iPad Mini 5 is about to land.

The iPad mini 5 release date is expected in 2019, and Apple may launch it in the next month or so, or perhaps even today (March 18) according to the latest leaks regarding the long-awaited tablet.

It couldn't come sooner for those clamoring for an upgrade to the last 7.9-inch iPad – it launched back in 2015. It has really been that long since we got the old iPad Mini 4.

We're also anticipating an entry-level iPad 9.7 in March or April, so Apple could unveil both new iPads at the same time. How Apple will price them remains a mystery though.

The iPad mini 5 will have to come cheap due to its smaller screen size, but it's said to offer new features, including Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil support.

Intrigued? Here are all of the major iPad Mini 5 rumors so far.

Cut to the chase
  • What is it? Apple's next mini tablet
  • When is it out? March or April 2019 expected
  • What will it cost? Probably under $329 / £319 / AU$469
iPad Mini 5 release date

Hottest leaks:

  • March or April anticipated
  • Could land on March 18

All of the recent iPad mini 5 leaks point to a first-half 2019 iPad mini 5 release date, with T3 suggesting that the new tablet could launch in early 2019.

Our prediction is for a March or April release date. Why? Well, Apple introduced new iPads in March over the course of the last two years. It could happen again in 2019.

More specifically we might see the iPad Mini 5 on the week commencing March 18, or even on March 18 itself (that's today at the time of writing), as the Apple Store went down on that day, which is often a hint that new products are launching.

On the other hand, mid-April is when we expect Apple's video streaming service to go live. The company could tie the iPad Mini 5 and video service into one big launch event.

Even if the video platform goes live in April, the launch event could still happen in March because Apple doesn't have a video streaming service it's replacing. It can afford a longer lead time vs products in which people will stop buying the old one.

Indeed, Apple is holding an event on March 25 where the video service might be announced. So we could also see the iPad Mini 5 there.

Simply knowing that the iPad mini 5 is coming, according to respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is good enough for most people who have been waiting for four years.

iPad Mini 5 price

Hottest leaks:

  • A starting price of under $329 / £319 / AU$469

The iPad mini 5 price leaves Apple is an interesting quandary. The iPad 9.7 (2018) is already exceptionally cheap (for an iPad) and has a fairly big screen to boot. 

In fact, the iPad 9.7 is cheaper right now, starting at $329 / £319 / AU$469, while the iPad mini 4 starts at a premium $399 / £399 / AU$579 (albeit that's for a hefty 128GB of storage, which is the only size it's currently sold in).

We're left wondering if the iPad mini 5 will cost more than the iPad 2018 (and maybe the iPad 2019), despite the fact that it has a smaller screen size.

iPad Mini 5 design

Hottest leaks:

  • A similar design to the iPad Mini 4
  • A redesigned antenna

There aren’t many iPad Mini 5 design rumors, but we have now seen photos that might show it from the rear.

Pictured below, you can see that the main difference to the iPad Mini 4 is that rather than having a big antenna block on the cellular model, there's just a slim line. That improves the look, but might be the only change on the back.

Everything else looks similar, including a headphone port on the top edge, speakers on the bottom, and volume buttons on the right. The images also suggest you'll be able to buy it in gold. We would however take these images with a pinch of salt, as this is our first sighting of the slate.

Beyond that, there’s a good chance that it will have a lot in common with the iPad Mini 4, which basically means you can expect a slim metal shell.

Apple may aim to make it even slimmer and lighter than the 6.1mm thick and 299g iPad Mini 4 though, based on past form. There’s been some suggestion that Apple could even slim it down to just 5mm thick – though the source of this rumor is unclear, and the rumor itself is old, so we’d take it with a huge helping of salt.

The iPad Mini 5 is also likely to retain the home button, large bezels and Touch ID, even though the iPad Pro 11 ditched those things. That's because reports suggest this will be positioned as a fairly affordable option, so we'd expect it to have more in line with the iPad 9.7 (2018) and indeed the iPad Mini 4.

Having said that, there has been some talk of a 7.9-inch iPad Pro model, perhaps set to be called the iPad Pro Mini, in which case it might get a redesign, but this rumor is very old, so we doubt it.

iPad Mini 5 screen

Hottest leaks:

  • A lower-cost 7.9-inch panel

The only screen rumor so far comes from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who says the slate will have a "lower-cost panel." That likely means an LCD one rather than the OLED panels found on the likes of the iPhone XS, and it also probably won't have fancy features like the 120Hz refresh rate found on Apple's latest iPad Pro slates.

One thing we can be fairly confident of is that the iPad Mini 5 will have a 7.9-inch screen. Apple’s stuck with that size on all its mini slates and there’s no room for it to change much without encroaching on either the 6.5-inch iPhone XS Max or the 9.7-inch iPad 9.7 (2018).

It’s also likely to stay at a 1536 x 2048 resolution, given that this amounts to a pixel density roughly the same as the iPhone XR and higher than Apple's other slates.

Some things might change though, with True Tone for example being a likely addition. This automatically adjusts the color temperature of the screen depending on the ambient light and it’s a feature we’ve seen on other Apple devices.

iPad Mini 5 camera and battery
  • A single lens rear camera
  • It may or may not have a flash

The main camera rumor so far comes from the photos above, which show a single lens camera with no flash.

However, a case supposedly for the slate has also been photographed and shared by SlashLeaks and ITHome. You can see this below, and note that the case has a cut-out big enough for a flash. We wouldn't count on a flash, as the iPad 9.7 (2018) doesn't have one, but the iPad Pro 11 does, so it's possible.

Credit: SlashLeaks / ITHome

Our best guess is that it will have the same cameras as Apple's latest budget 9.7-inch iPad, which itself has the same ones as the iPad Mini 4, namely an 8MP f/2.4 rear camera and a 1.2MP f/2.2 front-facing camera.

However, there's an outside chance that it will instead get the same cameras as the iPad Pro 11 (a 12MP f/1.8 rear camera with a flash and a 7MP f/2.2 front-facing one), or something even better.

There’s no news on what size the battery will be. There’s a 5,124mAh one in the iPad Mini 4 and there’s a good chance Apple will stick with something similar, though if it further slims the slate down some battery size may be sacrificed.

iPad Mini 5 OS and power

Hottest leaks:

  • An upgraded processor

Apple’s iPad Mini range doesn’t always have the most cutting edge chipsets, so while the iPad Pro 11 is using Apple's brand-new A12X Bionic chipset, the iPad Mini 5 may well stick with something slightly older, like the A10 Fusion from the iPhone 7 and new iPad (2018), or the A11 Bionic from the iPhone X.

The only news on that front comes from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who says the iPad Mini 5 will have "an upgraded processor", which doesn't tell us much, since we'd be very surprised if it didn't.

And it may not get any improvement in RAM at all, as the iPad Mini 4 already has 2GB of the stuff – the same amount as the iPad 9.7 (2018). That's less than some Apple devices, but this isn't likely to be a top-end device.

Assuming the iPad Mini 5 launches fairly soon it's also sure to run iOS 12.

iPad Mini 5 other features

We're not expecting many new features from the iPad Mini 5, but it might support the Apple Pencil, given that the iPad 9.7 (2018) does, despite not being a top-end slate. Of course, that's if Apple doesn't decide the Mini 5 is too small to work well with a stylus.

There's also a chance that we could get more and better speakers for improved sound, much like the Pro range has, and a Smart Connector for attaching a keyboard, though these additions are probably less likely than Apple Pencil support.

It's a real long shot but there's also an outside chance that the iPad Mini 5 will get Face ID. This has been included on the iPad Pro 11, but we expect Apple will keep the feature for its more expensive range of slates.

Categories: Tech News

Chrome will soon make it harder for websites to spy on you

Mon, 03/18/2019 - 06:02

A new feature coming to Chrome in the near future will allow users to limit the kind of data certain websites collect about them by blocking access to motion and light sensors on their device.

Laptops, smartphones and tablets have a number of sensors, such as gyroscope, accelerometer and light sensors, which websites can access to collect data about what kind of device you’re using, where you’re using it and even how you’re using it.

For anyone who is uncomfortable with websites accessing this kind of information, there’s some good news: Google is working on adding a feature to its popular Chrome web browser that will allow users to quickly and easily block access to these sensors.

Coming soon

The new feature appears in the latest Chrome Canary build, which is an early version of Chrome that allows people to test out upcoming releases and check for any bugs or issues.

The feature will alert you if you visit a website that wants to access your sensors. A pop-up window will appear saying “This page is using motion or light sensors” and offers you the choice of allowing access to the sensors or blocking access on a page-per-page basis.

Chrome allows you to block websites accessing your device's sensors (Image Credit: TechRadar)

This is on the desktop version of Chrome, which is used on laptops and PCs. There is also an option for blocking access to the sensors on Android, but at the moment this is only a simple switch that blocks access for all websites, not just ones you’ve selected.

If you’re using Chrome Canary, you can access the settings at chrome://settings/content/sensors. According to MSPowerUser, the feature should be coming in Chrome 75, which will be made public in a few months.

Via TechDows

Categories: Tech News

This robot brain can teach other machines to pick up unknown objects

Mon, 03/18/2019 - 06:02

With all the progress we've seen in artificial intelligence over the last few years, you could say that machines are getting smarter all the time.

Even so, most of the robots in our factories still require a fair amount of preprogramming for them to recognize the objects they handle. 

That could soon be a thing of the past as researchers at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have developed a system that allows robots to identify, pick up, and handle objects they haven't encountered before.

According to The Robot Report, "the team’s major insight was to look at objects as collections of 3D keypoints that double as a sort of “visual roadmap.” 

The system, which is called kPAM (Keypoint Affordance Manipulation), enables robots to carry out tasks like hanging mugs on a rack or putting shoes on shelves, without having seen the objects before. 

The study's senior author, Russ Tedrake, explains that "understanding just a little bit more about the object — the location of a few key points — is enough to enable a wide range of useful manipulation tasks."

Researchers at the same laboratory created this robot hand recently.
Image credit: Jason Dorfman / MIT CSAIL

The Robot Report says that "the team next hopes to get the system to be able to perform tasks with even greater generalizability, like unloading the dishwasher or wiping down the counters of a kitchen."

While kitchen-cleaning robots sounds like an attractive proposition, the technology developed in this study could have a huge impact on factory machines, reducing the need for pre-programming, and making the manufacturing process more efficient. 

Still, the technology is still in its early stages, so we aren't likely to see kPAM integrated into factory machines for a few years at least.

Via The Robot Report

Categories: Tech News

The Holi Splash Sale could be the best time to shop for your favourite MSI laptop

Mon, 03/18/2019 - 05:58

Gaming laptop specialist MSI has announced its Holi Splash Sale in India. The sale period lasts until April 30, 2019. 

On the purchase of MSI RTX Laptops / GF75 / Prestige Series Laptops, consumers can redeem special bundled gifts:

On purchase of any Prestige Series Laptops (P65 / PS63 / PS42) from MSI India authorized retail / online sellers, consumers will get an Extra 1 Year Domestic Warranty + Standard Mouse

  •  On purchase of any GT, GS, GE series gaming laptops with GeForce RTX Graphic Cards from MSI India authorized retail / online sellers, consumers can redeem a Gaming Mouse + Elite Case as special bundle gifts
  • On purchase of any GL73 with GeForce RTX Graphic Cards or GF75 from MSI India authorized retail / online sellers, consumers can redeem a Lootbox + Gaming Backpack as special bundle gifts
  • On purchase of any Prestige Series Laptops (P65 / PS63 / PS42) from MSI India authorized retail / online sellers, consumers will get an Extra 1 Year Domestic Warranty + Standard Mouse

Last month, MSI launched a line of gaming laptops with the  Nvidia GeForce RTX GPU in India. This included the MSI GS65 Stealth, MSI GT Titian, MSI GE75 Raider and the MSI GL. MSI also launched two new prestige series laptops, aimed at professionals, and dubbed MSI PS63 and P65 Creator.

The GS series began at Rs 79,990, while the Prestige laptops were priced at Rs 77,990  onwards. They are available offline at MSI stores in New Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata and Pune, as well as with online retailers Flipkart and Amazon. 

Categories: Tech News

Xiaomi Mi Band 4 is coming later this year

Mon, 03/18/2019 - 05:50

The Xiaomi Mi Band 3 may not be the most comprehensive fitness tracker on the market but it's remarkably popular due to its low price, so it's not a huge surprise that Xiaomi wants to follow it up with the Mi Band 4 later this year.

When asked in an earnings call whether the company planned to release a new fitness tracker in March or April, David Cui, Chief Financial Officer at Huami (a brand owned by Xiaomi) confirmed the Mi Band 4 is happening.

It won't be as soon as either March or April though. Cui said, "For Mi Band 4, it's going to be in this year. It will be in 2019. But I'm not sure, it's going to be in March and April. It is going to be in this year."

We don't yet know what new features the company will bring to the Mi Band 4 fitness tracker, but Cui did confirm that the company plans to introduce new highlights to attract you to upgrade.

Cui said, "Each generation we learn something, we always do better." That's all we're getting for now, which is a big tease on what the Mi Band 4 will be able to do.

Don't expect game-changing features on the Mi Band 4 though. Xiaomi's fitness trackers are all about offering the cheapest possible product with enough features to justify wearing a device around your wrist.

That's likely to be the same here with the Mi Band 4, but we'll have to wait until later in 2019 to find out.

Via XDA Developers

Categories: Tech News

Apple could be about to launch the iPad (2019) and iPad Mini 5

Mon, 03/18/2019 - 05:47

It looks like Apple could be about to launch a new iPad, maybe even as soon as today (March 18), as the Apple Store is down. That’s something that happens right before Apple launches new products, and indeed the page currently says that “updates are coming to the Apple Store.”

It doesn’t say what those updates would be, but the iPad (2019) is due, as the last two entries in Apple’s 9.7-inch iPad range landed in March of the previous two years.

Not only that, but we’ve previously heard rumors that both the iPad (2019) and iPad Mini 5 would land in early 2019, so there’s a chance the latter is coming too.

Plus, Mark Gurman – a writer for Bloomberg who has shared Apple information in the past – has tweeted a suggestion that both a new iPad and iMac announcement would be coming this week.

This could mean two Apple events in two weeks, as Apple is confirmed to be holding an event next Monday (March 25). That’s the only reason to doubt that one or more new iPad models are coming this week (and potentially today).

But the latter event is supposedly software focused, so if Apple wants to keep hardware out of that event and still launch a new iPad in March then today would seem optimal, in order to spread out the events and announcements as much as possible. 

Stay tuned, because we’ll be sure to cover anything Apple announces.

Via 9to5Mac

Categories: Tech News

A technical overview of Making Tax Digital for VAT

Mon, 03/18/2019 - 05:30

Currently, the HMRC’s online service accounts for 90% of all VAT submissions, but in a few short weeks, this service will be removed for those over the threshold, and all businesses will be driven to either use an advisor (who must use software) or use software that is API-enabled to perform the submissions.

It’s all part of the Making Tax Digital (MTD) for VAT initiative, but many businesses are still unclear as to how MTD for VAT really differs from the current VAT submissions processes. There are also many firms looking for information around how MTD interfaces with accounting systems, and how exactly accountants will need to change their systems to accommodate MTD for VAT while supporting their clients. 

Here are some of the key questions we’re being asked more and more frequently by practices as the April deadline approaches:

Will we need to become more engaged with the technical side of accounting applications? 

When MTD states that VAT return data must be kept and filed digitally, it means that the software that businesses use must be capable of providing information to HMRC and receiving information from HMRC digitally. The emphasis should not be on the ins and outs of the technical side of the applications as software suppliers should be making this easy. 

However, what practices will need to focus on is understanding what they do today - how do you currently process VAT returns on behalf of clients? For example, do you use spreadsheets, do you take figures from one place and type them into another? 

Practices will also need to understand whether they can continue to process their client’s return in the same way, or whether they need to make changes to their processes or even look to use a new solution. HMRC has a clear guide that all businesses should read which clearly sets out what can and cannot be done. 

Image Credit: Pixabay

What about bridging applications? Stopgap or real alternative? 

It’s no secret that the journey to filing via the HRMC online portal can often involve spreadsheets, and you will have seen this debated in discussions surrounding MTD for VAT compliance legislation. While the vision of an end-to-end fully digital filing journey is on the horizon, many advisors have significant legacy calculations and formulae within spreadsheets for specific clients that may require some thought and planning. 

Spreadsheets are usually used in instances of complexity, where bookkeeping software could require manual adjustment, or in situations where requirements are so straightforward that it’s simply cheaper and easier to use spreadsheets. Either way, when companies or advisors have been using spreadsheets for some time, it’s because they are efficient. 

So, it’s good news that in mid 2018, the government gave notice that spreadsheets can still be used in MTD for VAT on the basis that they are used along with software that can be submitted to HMRC digitally. How will it work? A transition to bridging software or API-enabled spreadsheets will be used to digitally submit VAT return data to HMRC when using Excel in the VAT process.

So, Excel can still be used for calculations as long as bridging software or API-enabled spreadsheets are used for submission. Therefore, bridging software is not to be seen as a stopgap, but an important part of the process that will allow companies and advisors to maintain VAT processes as closely as possible with the transition to MTD. 

While MTD is encouraging firms to move to fully digital accounting software, which may in many instances be cloud based software, it’s essential to walk before you can run, and advisors will need to understand how the digital link from these spreadsheets to the VAT filing tool will work in practice as they make the transition to MTD.

Are the new technical requirements going to change the business/accountant relationship? 

MTD for VAT should be seen by advisors as an opportunity to offer new services, to strengthen their relationships and attract new clients.  

It’s a great opportunity for advisors to discuss the services on offer, and very importantly, to customise these services to support the differing needs of the client. For example, in some cases clients may want to file themselves, however they may want advisors to provide a validation and checking service before they do so. 

Overall, it’s recommended that advisors get familiar with the solutions they’ll be using to file VAT returns well ahead of the first submission deadline in order to make sure everything is set up correctly. The digitalisation of the UK tax system is a real opportunity for businesses and practices alike to streamline filing, and to improve accuracy and save time. With the right technology in place, the transition to MTD for VAT should making filing more straightforward for all concerned.

Phil Thornton, Senior Product Manager at Wolters Kluwer

Categories: Tech News

Xiaomi announces Redmi 7 in China

Mon, 03/18/2019 - 04:58

On the heels of its launch in India, the Redmi Note 7 Pro has been launched along with the Redmi 7 by Xiaomi in China. The Redmi 7 succeeds Redmi 6 which was one of the bestselling budget smartphones in India last year. While there is no official word on the launch of the Redmi 7 in India, we wouldn't be surprised if the company launches it here in the next couple of months.

Xiaomi Redmi 7 specifications

From a 5.4-inch 18:9 aspect ratio display on the Redmi 6, the Redmi 7 features a bigger 6.26-inch HD+ (1520 x 720 pixels) display with a u-shaped notch that we have previously seen on Redmi Note 7 series. This makes for an 83% screen-to-body-ratio thus providing a bigger screen estate to users.

It rocks the Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 chipset with an octa-core CPU and is paired with 2GB/3GB/4GB of RAM with 16GB/32GB/64GB onboard storage.

The Redmi 7 features a dual camera setup consisting of a primary 12MP camera with an aperture of f/1.29 and a secondary 2MP depth-sensor. The notch on the front houses an 8MP selfie camera. Xiaomi has also incorporated several AI-based features like scene detection, Beautify mode among others to ease the process of creating pictures from the camera.

It also has a fingerprint sensor embedded onto the polycarbonate rear panel and will be available in red, black and blue colours. Redmi 7 is powered by a 4,000mAh battery to boot.

With the Redmi 7, the Redmi Note 7 was also announced in China during the same event. 

Xiaomi Redmi 7 price and availability

Redmi 7 is priced starting at 699 Chinese Yuan for the base variant which has 2GB RAM and 16GB storage, 799 Yuan for the model with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage and 999 Yuan for the 4GB RAM variant with 64GB storage. Seeing its price in China, we expect the company to price it similarly under Rs 10,000 when it launches in India.

Categories: Tech News

Anthem loot rate drop improved by update as Bioware shooter fights back

Mon, 03/18/2019 - 04:43

What's a persistent online shooter without a decent loot system? Doomed, that's what, and Anthem developers Bioware seem to have noticed that.

The sci-fi jetpack-fuelled shoot-em up has got off to a rocky start after years of hype, with players finding that worthy in-game loot drops were not only rare, but in some instances absolutely pointless too, given that the game scales a player's power in an unusual way after levelling up.

A new update is launching for Anthem to address this. Rolling out server-side (meaning you won't have to download an update or new version of the game yourself), the drop rate of powerful items will be "increased" during "specific scenarios".

'Tuning update'

"In the latest server-side update, we've made some notable changes to the loot drop rate in specific scenarios, which will take effect immediately in a server-side tuning update," the team said on publisher EA's website.

"These changes include: Masterwork & Legendary drop rates have been increased for Grandmaster 2 and Grandmaster 3 difficulty levels, and Masterwork & Legendary drop rates have been increased for harder enemies at all difficulty levels. This includes: Legendary Ancient Ash Titan, Elite Ancient Ash Titan, Legendary Fury, Legendary Ursix and Legendary Luminary."

Will it be enough to allay the fears of the game's frustrated community? That's hard to say. Anthem's problems run deep, from networking issues to a lack of endgame content and the story telling that Bioware's games are known for. However, it has also been designed to last and improve over multiple years. Here' hoping this is the first of many meaningful improvements.

Categories: Tech News

Everything you need to know about Intel-K processors

Mon, 03/18/2019 - 03:37

If you’re looking to build the ultimate gaming PC that can handle the most demanding games of today – and tomorrow – then you’ll want to make sure you’ve got a Intel® Core™ K processor.

These processors, which have that all-important ‘K’ at the end of their model names, are unlocked, which means they have higher clock speeds – and can turbo up to even higher speeds – than regular processors, and Intel's new processors can give your gaming PC uncompromising performance when playing the very latest games.

Intel’s K-Sku processors can also be overclocked to eke out extra performance. Essentially, you’re getting a free boost when you apply an overclock, which can lead to higher frame rates in games, and a speedier feeling PC when multitasking.


9th Gen Intel® Core™ K processors bring unlocked, overclocking performance to a range of chips, so no matter what your budget is for your PC build, they’ll be an Intel® Core™ K processor for you.9th Gen Intel® Core™ K processors bring unlocked, overclocking performance to a range of chips, so no matter what your budget is for your PC build, they’ll be an Intel® Core™ K processor for you.

Building a PC for everyday tasks and want smooth powerful performance without breaking the bank? Then the Intel® Core™ i3-8350K is the ideal processor for you. With a base clock speed of 4GHz over four cores, this chip is ideal for productivity machines that will power your day-to-day computing, including creating and editing media and watching 1080p videos.

But, if you’re after more power, then Intel’s 9th generation Core™ i5-9600K is an ideal mid-range choice. With six cores, six threads and a max turbo frequency, the i5-9600K is a chip that’s perfect for gamers and content creators. With competitive online games like Fortnite, high frames per second (FPS) can make the difference between life and death, and the unlocked Intel® Core™ i5-9600K can be overclocked to give you that competitive advantage.

For the ultimate performance in gaming, or a CPU that can handle seriously heavy workloads, then the 9th generation Intel® Core™ i7-9700K processor is the chip you’ll want to have in your rig. Boasting eight cores, eight threads, a base frequency of 3.60GHz and a max turbo frequency of 4.90GHz, the i7-9700K is the ideal multi-tasking processor, allowing you to get unrivalled gaming performance while simultaneously broadcasting your gameplay on platforms like Twitch and YouTube. It’s the perfect showcase for displaying your gaming prowess.

However, if you’re an enthusiast gamer that demands the very best performance, Intel’s pair of Core™ i9 processors are the ones you want.

For desktop enthusiasts, the 9th generation Intel® Core™ i9-9900K processor is the one to go for. It features eight cores and 16 threads running at a base frequency of 3.60GHz, and a max turbo frequency of 5GHz, and can support up to 128GB of DDR4 RAM, making it the ideal processor for future-proofing your PC. Install an Intel® Core™ i9-9900K, and you won’t have to worry about upgrading again for a very long time.

Meanwhile, the Intel® Core™ i9-8950HK brings unlocked and uncompromising performance to mobile devices, bringing six cores and 12 threads, and a fully unlocked K-series SKU, to top-of-the-range laptops.

For people who are looking for a laptop that can handle gaming, virtual reality and next-level content creation, and blistering speeds with recording and broadcasting 4K media, then look out for laptops that sport an Intel® Core™ i9-8950HK inside.

So, no matter what kind of PC you’re building or buying – and what budget you have – adding an Intel K-Sku processor will give you the unlocked performance and future-proofing that can take your gaming and content creation to the next level.

Image credit: Intel

Categories: Tech News

Best camera phones under Rs 20,000 in India for March 2019

Mon, 03/18/2019 - 01:39

It is exceptional as to how advanced mobile photography has become in recent times. A good camera is a much sought after feature for consumers when they're out in the market looking for their next phone. As such, it's a no-brainer for smartphone makers to double down on their camera tech and make to make it further accessible, the features trickle down to more affordable phones.

With the rise of dual and triple cameras on a phone, the sub-Rs 20,000 budget category has perhaps the largest range of products for users to choose from. But not every phone that's marketed as a camera phone has decent cameras which is why we have prepared a list of smartphones with impressive cameras under Rs 20,000.

  • If you are looking for a phone under 25K that has a balanced set of features, we've got you covered. Check our list of best phones under 25K.

Starting at Rs 13,999, the Redmi Note 7 Pro offers a great camera which appeases photography enthusiasts. Further, it brings down the Sony IMX586 sensor to the budget segment which allows the camera to create pictures with 8000 x 6000 pixels resolution effectively translating to 48MP.

The camera on the Note 7 Pro preserves good amount of details with textures, accurate colours and contrast. It is able to capture great dynamic range and with the inclusion of AI-based features such as scene detection among others, the Note 7 Pro definitely sets a benchmark in mobile photography.

Read our full review of the Redmi Note 7 Pro


The Mi A2 succeeds the very successful Mi A1 from Chinese phone maker Xiaomi. Similar to its predecessor, the highlight feature of the Mi A2 is its camera, which has been rated as the best low-light camera under a budget. 

Not just that, the Mi A2 competes against much pricier handsets when it comes to camera. The Mi A2 captures some really impressive images in good light, and doesn't disappoint in low-light either. It manages to click well exposed photos with good detail and optimum saturation.

Read the review here: Xiaomi Mi A2 Review 

The POCO F1 is, again, from Xiaomi's family. It's the most talked about budget flagship around the globe, which brought the flagship level hardware as low as Rs 19,999. It not just offers a powerful chipset, but also consists of an impressive set of lenses for photography. To recall, it is the same handset that beat the likes of iPhone XS in MKBHD's blind test. 

The camera results are somewhat close to what Mi A2 has to offer, but the results aren't as natural. It is a wise choice if you are looking for a camera that can produce social-media friendly pictures and don't want to get into the nitty gritty of tones, colors and details. 

Read full review: POCO F1 review

The Asus Max Pro M2 is the successor that the M1 deserved. More so, because the camera on M1 was one are where it was relatively fell short against the competition. The Max Pro M2 brings major improvements in the camera department and is one of the best cameras one can get at this price. On top, you get a great set of hardware, massive battery and a good UI. 

Need to buy a good looking phone with a camera that impresses in good lighting conditions? The Honor 10 Lite is the best in the range. It offers a staggering range of shooting modes – from Automatic, to AI mode for advanced scene detection, right through to semi-automatic and a 100% manual mode, called Pro Mode. 

The social media addicts will find the 24MP front camera well suited for good looking selfies. 

Read full review: Honor 10 Lite

Categories: Tech News

Two-thirds of Android's antivirus apps found to be completely useless

Sun, 03/17/2019 - 23:05

According to rigorous new tests undertaken by AV-Comparatives, two-thirds of the antivirus apps available for Android devices offer no protection whatsoever. 

In its ongoing mission to offer systemic testing of security software, the independent organization put 250 Android antivirus apps through their paces, finding that all but 80 of them failed to meet even the site's minimum requirements for basic security.

According to the site's 2019 test, less than a third of the apps examined managed to detect at least 30% of 2018's malicious apps with zero false alarms – many of the apps that failed to meet the site's standards regularly found popular genuine (clean) apps to be harmful, and malicious ones to be safe. 

Where did they go wrong?

That ineffectiveness, in large part, stems from the apps not actually scanning code. Many were discovered to be working from outdated and dubious blacklists and whitelists, failing to detect malicious packages if their names sounded like trusted apps (e.g. 'com.facebook' or 'com.whatsapp').

Of course, the apps that did manage to pass with flying colors included many big names from well known and respected antivirus companies, such as Kaspersky Lab, McAfee, Avast, AVG, Trend Micro and Symantec.

For a complete list of the apps that failed and passed AV-Comparatives’ latest tests, you can head over to the organization's 2019 results page

Categories: Tech News

Google+ public posts will be saved forever thanks to the Internet Archive

Sun, 03/17/2019 - 20:26

Following the decline in popularity of its failed social media platform, and a spate of security breaches, Google announced it would be deleting all data from Google+ beginning in April, but there are those out there that intend to preserve its somewhat underwhelming legacy.

It’s the Internet Archive’s goal to conserve large swathes of the internet in a vast online library so that our rich digital history isn’t at the mercy of various website authors and server hosts that otherwise preside over the data. “Our mission is to provide universal access to all knowledge”, the Archive’s website claims.

As such, the task of preserving the legacy of all the public Google+ posts has been put to the Internet Archive, and in a public announcement via Reddit, the organisation revealed it had commenced the archival process using automated scripts to trawl through the social platform.

Don't want your comments to be immortalized?

Naturally, there are some limitations being enforced in order to manage the undertaking – only posts currently labeled as ‘public’ will be archived, comment threads will have a hard cap of the first 500 comments, and videos and images won’t be stored in their original full resolution.

If you happen to have signed up for a Google+ account at some point and have made some public posts over the years you don't want the world to know about, you should get down to removing these now – or mark them as private. 

There is, however, a chance your public post has already been archived, in which case the Internet Archive has laid down a procedure for you to follow to request your post be removed from the site.

Categories: Tech News

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