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Can’t quite find a TV that feels different from the rest? We’re not surprised: while the market is packed with countless television models in a variety of sizes, from 32-inch bedroom screens to 88-inch wall-fillers, most of them tend to stick to the same basic shape, casing, and colorings.
After all, the most important part of a TV is the picture, and to a certain extent the external appearance of the television is a side dish to the main meal on offer – if you get to the end of a 90-minute Netflix movie and all you paid attention to was the TV stand, something has clearly gone wrong.
That’s not to say there aren’t some innovative TV designs out there; the problem is that most of them just aren’t going to make it to market.
Nowhere is this clearer than with TCL, a Chinese electronics company that recently became the second-largest TV seller in the world (after Samsung), accounting for 11.6% of global TV shipments in 2018.
Notwithstanding its global scale and mass-production focus, TCL is also exploring a number of new design possibilities for its displays that use materials and form factors a world away from what you’ll find in your local electronics store: everything from reflective smart mirrors to TVs based in concrete.
But why, for the most part, can’t you find these products in your local Walmart or John Lewis? And why would TCL bother to make TVs that, for now at least, have little chance of making it into Western showrooms?
TCL's experimental designs have included this pet-inspired CRT TV, with ears and whiskers rounding out the body (Image Credit: TechRadar)
We spoke to TCL Electronics’ Senior Product Designer, Tiago Abreu, who has been tasked with forging the company’s design ethos over the past four years. According to Abreu, his team has “the budget for crazier concepts”, even if most of them don’t end up sitting on shelves.
One that did, however, was a collaboration with IKEA called the Uppleva TV, which was essentially a furniture cabinet with the TV and relevant ports built in. The Uppleva did sell in the UK and Europe, but disappeared pretty sharpish after buyers found that IKEA’s cheap and minimalist design philosophy didn’t translate well to picture quality. (You can still buy the Uppleva wall mount from Ikea’s website, but the TV is nowhere to be found.)
Back in 2014, TCL also showed off a seismic 110-inch curved television, named the China Star, which even today seems hugely excessive both in size and scope. At the time the largest curved television ever made, the China Star took things even further with side-mounted speakers and a subwoofer encased in concrete – yes, concrete, apparently for its “acoustic properties”. There aren’t many viewers with the space, or the inclination, to shift a giant television encased in concrete into their home, of course, and it’s no surprise that this set didn’t end up shipping to global markets.
TCL's China Star TV was the largest curved television ever made (Image Credit: TechRadar)
You could argue, however, that the development of the China Star did lead to the more reasonably-sized – and concrete free – 55-inch H8800 4K TV: a similarly curved set that we called “charmingly quirky” in our 2015 review (four stars). Even the crazier concepts can end up trickling down to more commercial sets.
Often these odder, more conceptual sets will be shown off first at annual tech expos. Many commercial TVs make their debut at CES every January, which is also a chance to receive and review industry feedback well in advance of any formal launch date, but companies will often also be showing off incredible feats of TV engineering – such as Samsung’s detachable MicroLED panels, or Hisense’s super-slim Sonic One – years before anything similar makes it to market. (Abreu expresses admiration specifically for LG’s rollable OLED shown off at CES 2019 earlier this year.)
Sometimes, says Abreu, it’s “just a concept, for TCL to make a statement. We are strong at what we do, and [the concept] is so consumers believe we can do something”.
TCL's high-end TVs use jutting metal bars to attach speakers to the wall mount (Image Credit: TechRadar)
The problem with a statement television is just that: it’s a statement, rather than a viable product in its own right. Abreu puts down the difficulty of pushing experimental designs to TCL “not being strong enough in the foreign market”.
That might sound surprising given TCL’s sales figures worldwide, but TCL is still seen as an upstart challenger in global markets compared to more established players like Samsung or Panasonic, which have been in the business for decades longer.
But it’s a different story in China, which seems readier to accept more unusual TV designs than the Western market – or at least, readier to accept them from an established Chinese brand. (We’re told by TCL’s CEO, Kevin Wang, that the company’s total profit is divided roughly equally between China and RoW .)
Abreu adds: “We’re strong [in China], and that allows us to work better locally, where we can collect more data on what audiences want.”
Domestically-sold sets are more likely to feature metal bars that jut out of the wall mount, or the XESS range’s 300-degree sound – something that TCL says no other TV brand in China offers.
“I think the Chinese market is more accepting of different form factors,” says Abreu. “People here are not shy to experience new things. They want something more catchy, more flashy, more evident. It is a very rich time for designers here.”
TCL's Quantum Dot 9700 makes a show of its built-in Harmon Kardon speakers (Image Credit: TechRadar)
There are signs of TCL’s more playful design ethos in products available in Western markets – such as the Quantum Dot 9700, which exposed the television’s speakers to better reflect the prominence of the audio, courtesy of Harmon Kardon. While a small touch, it still broke the usual rectangular shape of so many televisions, embodying what Abreu says is at the heart of smart design: “leveraging what you have in a striking way”.
TCL CEO Wang admits that “we show the concepts, but not all of them are released”, adding that “the US is more market-driven” and the sales strategy abroad is more about getting the numbers up, with the brand lacking the comfortable market position that would afford it the luxury of experimenting with more extroverted designs.
Pressed on the disparity between its concept TVs and what buyers actually able to buy, Wang concludes by insisting: “We’re not lying… we’re trying to build a dream.”
- New TCL TV: every set coming from the Chinese brand this year
BenQ has launched new monitors with an "ePaper" mode aimed to make reading text easier for some users, Liliputing reports.
BenQ has been considering the eyes of gamers and general users for years, with Low Blue Light modes in its monitors dating back some time. We saw the BenQ EW2440 offering an almost parchment paper-like mode back in 2015, and now the company is going further with this 'ePaper' mode.
The first new BenQ monitor to include the mode is the affordable BenQ GL2780. It's a 27-inch, Full HD monitor with a 75Hz TN panel. It also boasts a 1ms response time (gray-to-gray), BenQ's Flicker-Free Technology and a Low Blue Light mode.
All of this is to say that the GL2780 is made to be nice to look at, whether for gaming or general use. The new ePaper mode is meant to make it even easier on the eyes when going through large quantities of text.It's not actual ePaper, though
BenQ says this about the ePaper mode: "The simulated e-book mode provides clear black and white reading layout without distractions and suitable on-screen brightness for a comfortable reading experience with clear texts."
In other words, it is effectively a monochrome setting like that available on some Android smartphones. While this could be helpful when dealing with a lot of text, it's a considerably different technology than actual e-ink.
The BenQ GL2780 is a monitor like almost any other. E-ink monitors don't use back-lights, transparent layers or liquid crystals to display visuals. Instead, they have magnetized 'pixels' with a white and a black side, with the white acting like the paper and the black acting like the ink. They require no light source of their own and very little power.
But, e-ink displays are also expensive. The BenQ GL2780 may not be true e-ink, but it could have a similar effect on our eyes. And, with a price expected below $200 (about £160, AU$290), it's going to be considerably cheaper than something like the Onyx Boox Max 2 Professional, which costs several times more an has only a 13.3-inch e-ink display.
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Having your Instagram hijacked can be a nightmare – you try to log in, only to find that your username, profile picture and bio have been changed – but thankfully the photo-sharing service is now making it easier to get everything back under control.
It's currently testing a new recovery system that doesn't involve messing around with emails and support forms, then waiting for replies, like you do now.
Instead, as Engadget reports, you'll be asked for personal details such as your original phone number or email address. You'll then be sent a six-digit code to verify your identity and retake control.
Ultimately, it will be possible for all this to be arranged from within the app, keeping stress and hassle to a minimum at a distressing time when your carefully chosen profile pic may have been switched to a Disney character.Harder to hack
Instagram is also making it tougher for hackers to meddle with compromised accounts, locking down the ability to change username for a while after another major account change.
This feature has already been rolled out to all Android users and will be hitting iPhones over the coming days, but the easy recovery system is still in testing. Fingers crossed you'll never need it.
Usually when Virgin drops the price of one of its packages we're not entirely convinced. With such massive speeds and feature filled TV packages, a Virgin broadband deal is rarely cheap, even after a price cut. But bucking its own trend, Virgin's latest broadband and TV deal blends the phrases affordable, fibre and TV with ease.
The attention-grabbing feature of this offer is its price tag. Coming in at just £29 a month, Virgin has cut the price of its Big Bundle package by £9 a month (a total saving of £108 over the year).
With a price drop like that, we can't think of any better package for those wanting both TV and internet without spending a huge chunk of their monthly income. With average speeds of 108Mb (incredibly fast in other words!), over 110 TV channels and inclusive weekend calls, you're not even cutting back with this package to get that price.
Want to make use of this impressive price cut? You can find out more about it below. Or check out our guide to the best broadband deals to see all of the options the market has.
- All of today's best fibre broadband deals in the UK
We are now at the point where around 60% of the UK households are able to receive superfast Virgin broadband. It's easy to find out if you're one of the those lucky people. Head to our dedicated Virgin broadband deals page (or the price comparison chart at the bottom of this page), enter your postcode where indicated at the top of the page and if deals show as available then you're laughing.
If no results are returned, then head to our best fibre broadband deals page instead and do exactly the same thing to see whether you can get superfast fibre broadband with another provider, such as BT Superfast.
If you've been following the steady release of VR games over the past few years, you've probably heard of Beat Saber: a frenetic, rhythm-based lightsaber game that mixes up Guitar Hero gameplay with fluid VR motion controls, giving us the Kylo Ren teen rocker simulator we never knew we wanted.
Beat Saber launched to Early Access in May 2018, and quickly gained a following for its fast-paced gameplay, awesome soundtrack, and lightsabers (people love lightsabers, ok?). Players wield a 'saber' in each hand and whack incoming blocks to the beat of the music, though until now it's only been head on.
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As reported by RoadtoVR, anyone who's purchased Beat Saber on Oculus Quest, the latest wireless VR headset from Oculus, will be able to play the game in 360 Mode – which sends blocks towards you in random directions for a more challenging and chaotic experience. Already worried you were flailing your arms around like a maniac? That's about to get worse.
The reason it's only on Oculus Quest is the headset's six degrees of freedom (6DOF) motion sensor, which allow you to move around a room untethered and more fluidly control your perspective inside VR environments.
While most VR games are automatically designed for headsets unable to do this, the Beat Saber update showcases the capability of the Quest and the kinds of expanded VR experiences that will be possible with enhanced tracking technology.
Beat Games has said that they plan to bring a version of the mode to other, more static-view headsets, though it will likely be limited to 180-degree play.
You can see a gameplay trailer for 360 Mode above: so as not to completely screw you over, it seems to throw blocks from points generally in your eyeline, rather than having to continually spin back and forth to catch everything coming your way.
While the game is already included in our guide to the best VR games, its latest update has shown just what developers can achieve when growing a game's offering – even now that the game is technically out of Early Access.
- PlayStation VR 2: what we want to see in a PSVR hardware refresh
While the big Amazon shopping event is still weeks away, that doesn't mean you can't find Prime Day deals now on best-selling items. For example, right now you can get the latest model Apple iPad on sale for $328. That's a $100 discount and the lowest price we've found for the 128GB tablet. Walmart also has the 32GB Apple iPad on sale for $249.
The latest model iPad features a 9.7-inch Retina display and packs an impressive 128GB of storage. This allows you to store pictures, movies, and download apps and games without having to worry about filling up your tablet. The iPad also includes an A10 Fusion chip that results in a fast and powerful performance with the ability to experience the latest augmented reality apps.
The Apple iPad includes Touch ID and an upgraded 1.2MP front-facing camera that allows you to FaceTime in HD. Other features include Apple Pay, Apple Pencil compatibility, and an all-day battery life of 10 hours.
This pre-Prime Day discount is not only a rare deal but also a fantastic price for a newer model iPad. We don't think the price will go much lower than this, so you should snag this sale while you can.
If you don't need as much storage and want a lower price tag, Walmart has the 32GB Apple iPad on sale for $249. That's an $80 discount and the best price we've found for the 9.7-inch tablet.
If you're in the UK, we've also found a killer deal on a 32GB Apple iPad from John Lewis.
Interested in other iPad models? We've rounded up more of the cheapest iPad deals that are currently available.
Learn more about Prime Day with our guide on Amazon Prime Day: everything you need to know for the July deals event.
We might end up seeing a more premium X590 chipset, aimed at enthusiasts and overclockers.
AMD's X570 chipset for Ryzen 3rd Generation processors has already been announced, boasting PCIe 4.0 support, and bringing along some pretty expensive motherboards like the MSI X570 Godlike. But now, new premium X590 motherboards have been spotted by German site Computer Base.
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The AMD X590 chipset appeared in the BIOS code for the existing X570 chipset, and while we don't have any solid specs quite yet, we could see more PCIe 4.0 lanes, allowing for greater expansion.
And, assuming that this motherboard will also be using the AM4 socket that AMD Ryzen processors have been using since the beginning, we could see motherboard manufacturers include a more robust VRM, allowing for better overclocking. High-end motherboards, like those that would include a premium chipset, are aimed at hardcore enthusiasts, so better overclocking tools are a given.
That's essentially all the information that's out there right now, but given the elevated specs, we could see X590 motherboards getting extremely expensive. We're already starting to see AMD X570 motherboard prices leak out for more than $500 in the US, according to Wccftech.
Still, if you're planning on picking up the monstrous AMD Ryzen 9 3950X, you might want to wait until these motherboards hit the streets – assuming they actually hit the streets, of course.
Samsung Smart TVs have gotten a real upgrade this last year, thanks to the new Smart Hub operating system Samsung has embedded into its high-end, flagship series of QLED and 4K UHD TVs.
With so many new apps releasing all the time, however, it can be hard to figure out which apps are worth downloading. But that's where we come in. After testing dozens of Samsung TVs over the years, we've narrowed down a list of the must-download apps on the platform that will offer entertainment in spades.
Having a list at your side should make perusing the store a bit simpler and faster for those of you who already purchased a new QLED TV, and for those who are still on the fence about buying one, give you an idea of what you can expect.
That's why we've rounded up 10 of the most-essential apps for your new Samsung Smart TV. (Looking for a complete list of Samsung Smart TV apps? That can be found over at Samsung's website!)
If you need a new Samsung Smart TV, check out the Samsung Q9FN QLED, our favorite Samsung-made TV in 2018 and is still one of the best TVs on the market.
When it comes to online video streaming services, Netflix has been the gold standard since it invented the whole concept almost ten years ago.
As well as having an impressive selection of existing TV shows and movies Netflix is also investing heavily in its own exclusive productions including Bojack Horseman, Orange is the New Black, and the brilliantly quirky Russian Doll.
In terms of sheer amount of content, Netflix is the largest streaming service around, although there are significant differences in the content available on the UK versus the US store – even if the specter of Disney+ may take some of the best gems out of the library.
If you're new to video streaming, then there's no better starting point than Netflix – check out our round up of the best shows on Netflix for some inspiration.
Amazon may not have had the original streaming service, but it's no slouch when it comes to piping you the best TV has to offer. Recent years have seen a steady supply of exclusive shows, such as comedy The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and thrillers The Man in the High Castle and Vikings.
Besides exclusives, Amazon also has an impressive selection of TV, recently adding darkly comic biopic I, Tonya, and the second installation in the violent John Wick series.
Fortunately, unlike Netflix which forces you to have an account in order to view available titles, Amazon makes its Prime listings available directly on its website, meaning you can check that your favorites are available before paying for a subscription.
You can also read our round up of the best shows on Amazon Prime Instant Video for a taste of what's on Prime this month.
When Hulu finally updated its subscription tiers in 2017, it brought the service into line with competitors Netflix and Amazon Prime. It had previously offered two tiers, a free service supported by ads and a limited pool of content, and a paid service which offers an expanded selection (on which ads are still present).
Now, you can subscribe to a cheaper tier that keeps commercials, a more robust premium tier that cuts out commercials or the Hulu with Live TV bundle that offers limited commercials for on-demand content plus some live TV channels.
What really sells us on Hulu, though, is its exclusive offerings that includes shows like The Mindy Project, Bob's Burgers, and The Handmaid's Tale. Just be warned that no matter which tier you end up subscribing to, a small number of shows and series will still display ads – even when you're on the service's premium tier.
If you're not sure whether to sign up, don't miss our Hulu review.
The BBC has a reputation for producing some of the best TV shows in recent years such as Doctor Who, Sherlock and Luther, and, lucky for Samsung TV owners, they're available through the dedicated iPlayer app.
The (significant) catch is that the BBC only makes shows available for 30 days after their first broadcast, which means you're unlikely to ever be able to spend an afternoon 'marathoning' an entire series.
iPlayer makes up for this with possibly the widest selection of shows of any of the streaming services on this list, since it covers (with some small exceptions) everything broadcasted on the BBC. That means tentpole dramas such as Sherlock can be streamed alongside today's episode of long-running soap Eastenders or Sunday evening favorite Antiques Roadshow.
And yes, you legally need a TV license in the UK to use the service.
All 4 is Channel 4's version of iPlayer, and covers content from Channel 4, E4 and More 4. Unlike the BBC's iPlayer, however, more popular shows are available indefinitely on the service.
What this means is that if you want to sit down and watch every episode of the excellent Peep Show since it was its first broadcast in 2003, then there's nothing stopping you.
Other top picks include The IT Crowd, Black Books (both written by the excellent Graham Lineham) and guilty pleasure Grand Designs.
Our next pick is a little different from the other streaming services on this list. Instead of streaming videos from a service, PLEX allows you to curate a collection of your own on a media server and stream it to whichever device you want.
That said, while PLEX is available on nearly every device, it looks darn good on Samsung Smart TVs.
So why install PLEX if you have Hulu, Netflix, Amazon or any of the other streaming services on this list? Because PLEX is free. There are no monthly fees for the base version of the app, which allows you to build and maintain your own local video server.
If a DIY video streaming service sounds like a lot of work and a less-than-ideal experience, it will surprise you to know that PLEX has really improved in the last few years making it ultra-easy to setup and incredibly versatile as a streaming service.
HBO Go and HBO Now are both streaming services from the television network behind such classics as The Sopranos, The Wire and more recently Game of Thrones. No other network has produced quite as many classics as the Home Box Office has.
Many of HBOs top shows, such as the aforementioned The Wire or the sublimely crafted True Blood are available on Amazon Prime Video, but HBOs own apps get access to shows immediately after they're broadcast rather than when the boxset is available to everyone else. Put simply, if you want to stream Game of Thrones the day it's released, you're going to have to pay for either HBO Go or HBO Now.
So what, exactly, is the difference between the two services? HBO Go is the streaming service available exclusively to HBO cable subscribers, while HBO Now is available to anyone regardless if you pay for the premium channel or not.
Which one you opt for is likely to be a decision driven by whether you already have a cable subscription to the service, but the HBO Now app is generally reported to be a slightly more responsive piece of software.
YouTube used to be the place to get your fill of amateur footage of everything from skateboarding fails to cat videos, but in recent years the site has become host to a range of content, from scripted comedies to reality TV shows to documentaries.
It's a platform which is no longer defined by its amateur production values. Now content creators use teams of professional video production staff to produce a dizzying amount of content catering to every possible niche.
We're personally a massive fan of the PC hardware channel LinusTechTips (as well as our own TechRadar YouTube Channel) but there are channels catering to every possible interest from beauty and fashion to video games.
YouTube also carries full movies which can be rented for 30-days or bought outright.
The first major player in music streaming, and a go-to app for anyone wanting to play or find music through your TV. Here you can sign into your Spotify account and access all of the same songs, playlists, and library as you would on your laptop or smartphone. With over 40 million songs, and thousands more added every day, this is the most cohesive music streaming service out there.
While Spotify still has the crown for music streaming apps though, you'll only find it on Samsung smart TVs post-2015. For those with older sets, what you can access something called Pandora.
While you might remember Pandora as the internet radio station service, it's actually a much more interesting and versatile service than a lot of folks give it credit for. First off, calling it internet radio isn't quite right. It's like algorithmically generated personalized music stations. No need to shuffle in between stations as Pandora learns from your feedback: dislike a song and Pandora will skip it. Like a song and Pandora will play more like it.
VUDU is another video streaming service, however unlike Amazon Prime, Netflix and Hulu, it does not offer an all-you-can-eat monthly streaming subscription.
Instead titles are rented or bought on an individual basis, and the site runs frequent sales where you can grab a bargain. Rentals run from between $0.99 and $5.99, and purchases from $4.99 to $24.99.
While VUDU's library of movies is much smaller than Netflix's, its model relies on having titles available to stream as soon as the home release hits. This is opposed to Netflix who tend to feature older films in their library.
I would struggle to recommend that users exclusively rely on VUDU for all their streaming needs, but as a supplemental service to Netflix or Amazon Prime VUDU works well to fill in the gaps.
When you search for a song title using Google, the search engine will often display its lyrics in an information box at the top of your search results, along with videos, release date, song writers, and information on where to listen to it.
According to Engadget (who also reported on the story), the website claims Google is "not only hurting its traffic with its lyrics cards, but sometimes grabbing Genius' lyrics verbatim," which it says it can prove by looking at the apostrophes in the lyrics.
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This is because Genius alternated between straight and curved apostrophes "as a form of watermarking" – the website claims that there were "over 100 instances" were Google's search result-generated lyrics contained the exact same apostrophes.
Amusingly, these apostrophes have a secret meaning, reportedly spelling out 'red-handed' when converted to Morse code's dots and dashes.
Searching 'We Are The Champions' in Google brings up the song lyrics along with a video from YouTube. (Image credit: Queen Official / EMI)Google responds
Google has responded to the claims with a statement, saying: "the lyrics displayed in the information boxes and in Knowledge Panels on Google Search are licensed from a variety of sources and are not scraped from sites on the web."
"We take data quality and creator rights very seriously, and hold our licensing partners accountable to the terms of our agreement. We're investigating this issue with our data partners and if we find that partners are not upholding good practices we will end our agreements."
Genius says that Google is "both violating antitrust law and its terms of service", and claims that it alerted the search engine to the problem in 2017.
It's unlikely this case will ever make its way to court, as it's unlikely to go in Genius' favor – after all, Genius doesn't own the copyright to the song lyrics themselves, only having the right to display them.
For its part, Google doesn't admit to being caught 'red-handed'. However, the fact that it's investigating the issue with its partners, and is willing to end agreements with those who don't "uphold good practices" could bode well for Genius, whose traffic has suffered dramatically since Google started displaying song lyrics in its search results.
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Looking to improve your sleep quality with a sleep tracker? You may be doing more harm than good.
A number of sleep scientists, speaking to the New York Times (via Engadget), have warned against the reliability of commercial sleep trackers, saying that imperfect data and obsessive tracking may not be what we need for better sleep.
Dr Kelly Baron at the University of Utah spoke of the disconnect between the sleep that tracker users experienced and what their trackers were telling them, often causing them to seek medical help for nonexistent sleep conditions.
Dr Baron also co-authored a 2017 paper that coined the term "orthosomnia", meaning an "perfectionist quest to achieve perfect sleep" – but one that might ruin your sleep hygiene in the process.
Meanwhile, a research study by fitness tracker brand Fitbit showed that wearable sleep trackers were as accurate as "medical-grade monitoring equipment" 70% of the time, compared to 90% with human analysts.Late-night track
With the rise of wearable fitness trackers and growth of the health tech industry, sleep has increasingly become the target of commercial interests. Most recently, the Pokémon Company announced an incoming smartphone app called Pokémon Sleep – to help make sleep tracking more fun, we guess?
But turning your own sleep into another data-stream that you keep track of every day might just increase symptoms of anxiety and insomnia – while being glued to your phone before and after a night's rest might be what's keeping you awake.
That's not to say sleep trackers can't do you good; if you struggle to sleep at regular hours, or are struggling to figure out why your sleep is so restless, getting outside help with a smartphone app or wrist tracker might be a smart idea.
Dr Seem Khosla, who holds the position of medical director at the North Dakota Center for Sleep, says that "we need to understand sleep technology – including its limitations – without dismissing this potentially valuable resource.”
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Last Friday marked the first major test of Making Tax Digital (MTD) since it came into force on 1 April, mandating all VAT registered businesses with a turnover over £85,000 to keep digital transaction records and submit their VAT returns via specialised software. It was the day that businesses that submit monthly VAT returns had to file their first return in an MTD-compliant way through software, rather than through HMRC’s online portal. It assessed whether the new digital record-keeping and submission process truly works as intended.
For those who used the new process, all the reports suggest it went off without a hitch.
However, despite this milestone, research from strategic insight agency Opinium shows 11 per cent of SME senior decision makers polled in a recent survey weren’t aware of the new requirement to be MTD compliant.
Some of these business owners may have an accountant taking responsibility for the entire situation. But some won’t. There’s also an added complication that almost half – 46 per cent – of those polled who thought they were compliant were found not to be, while a quarter of compliant companies didn’t think they were set up correctly for the changes.
It is likely that there is an element of confusion at play; some businesses who already keep digital records, but only submit their VAT returns through their existing government gateway account, may think they are already MTD compliant. In fact, it will no longer be acceptable for them to file future VAT returns via the government gateway. Instead, they will need to use MTD-compatible software capable of securely transmitting data to, and receiving it from, HMRC without the need to manually type data on to a portal screen.
It is not uncommon for firms to be resistant to change, making them slower to adopt new ways of working, particularly when it comes to tax compliance. This is certainly what QuickBooks has found when it comes to MTD. There is no doubt that for some, achieving compliance marks a step change, but once they have made the change there are also countless advantages to making the move to digital record keeping, including access to near limitless reporting functionality giving a real-time view of financial health.
MTD is a huge opportunity to navigate digital adoption, to streamline operations, motor efficiencies and simplify tax. The same study found moving to being MTD compliant is for the vast majority either quicker (42 per cent) or only as time consuming (44 per cent) as anticipated, with just 13 per cent saying it took longer than they expected to prepare for the move.
As digital tax is embraced, our challenge is to help small businesses and accounting professionals digitize the engine of their business to help them supercharge productivity. By backing small business owners through the transition of MTD we can help accelerate cash flow management and allow them to get paid faster and run their companies more effectively.
Chris Evans is UK Country Manager and Vice President at Intuit QuickBooks
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After a promising start to Cricket World Cup 2019 with a win against South Africa and a strong showing against New Zealand, Bangladesh went on to suffer a 106 run loss against England and saw their last match against Sri Lanka washed out. They'll be wanting to get back on track against the West Indies who are on the brink with just three points from four matches following their stinging eight-wicket defeat to England.
No matter where you are in the world you can watch this crucial match by using our guide below to getting a West Indies vs Bangladesh live stream.
With the top four qualifying for the semi-finals, the West Indies now have a fight on their hands to displace one of New Zealand, Australia, India and hosts England. It's looking like they'll need to win each of their remaining group games if they're to stand a chance of reaching the last four.
The omens aren't good for them getting back on track - recent form has seen Bangladesh winning seven of the last ten games against each other including a bilateral series triumph last July. More worrying will be the their attack's poor display in their last match which saw them dismissed for just 212 by England at Southampton.
It's a must-win match for both sides, and its one you’ll be able to watch with ease from anywhere in the world if you follow our West Indies vs Bangladesh live stream guide below.
If you're in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, US or India and looking to find out how to watch the match, we've got all the details about the broadcaster in your region below.
If you're away from home country and looking to tune in you'll likely to find you won't be able to thanks to geo-blocking. Thankfully there's a way to alleviate that frustration. By using a VPN you'll be able to watch the game safely without having to take a chance on an illegal feed from a website that's likely infested with malware.How to stream West Indies vs Bangladesh live in the UK How to stream 2019 Cricket World Cup online in India How to watch the cricket in Pakistan How to watch West Indies vs Bangladesh: live stream in Australia How to watch West Indies vs Bangladesh: US live stream How to watch the game in New Zealand live stream
While coverage surrounding the US government's Huawei ban has focused primarily on how the Chinese tech giant will be affected, it's worth remembering that the company's US suppliers also stand to lose a great deal of money in the fallout of President Trump's executive order.
Now, it appears that US chipmakers, including Intel, Qualcomm and Xilinx Inc, have been quietly lobbying the US government in an effort to ease the Huawei ban, as reported by Reuters.
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Citing sources close to the situation, executives from Intel and Xilinx Inc reportedly met with the US Commerce Department in late May to discuss a response to the Trump Administration's decision to place Huawei on the 'entity list', effectively barring US companies from trading with the Chinese brand.
According to four other sources, Qualcomm has also reportedly met with the Commerce Department to discuss the issue. The Semiconductor Industry Association trade group has confirmed that it arranged meetings with US government on behalf of the chipmakers.
While the American chip suppliers don't deny the potential threat to national security that Huawei's 5G networking technology could present, the US companies also argue that the Chinese firm's servers and smartphones use commonly available components and are far less likely to pose a risk, sources also suggest.
Of course, the discussions are just that – a representative for the Commerce Department told Reuters that the governmental body “routinely responds to inquiries from companies regarding the scope of regulatory requirements,” but that the discussions do not “influence law enforcement actions.”Looking out for number one
One thing that shouldn't be confused is the real reason for the US chipmakers' interest in the matter, which is to prevent the potential loss of billions in revenue.
"This isn’t about helping Huawei. It’s about preventing harm to American companies," said one of Reuters' sources.
The report also states that of the "$70 billion that Huawei spent buying components in 2018, some $11 billion went to U.S. firms including Qualcomm, Intel and Micron Technology Inc."
Singaporean-owned (but US-based) chipmaker Broadcom has already reported a decline in Q2 revenues and has lowered its expectations for the rest of the year, citing the US Huawei ban as the chief cause.
The three-way struggle between criminal hackers, law enforcement and privacy-centric tech companies is constantly evolving. Today's smart devices have implemented increasingly tough security measures to protect users' personal data, while criminals seek to unlock them for various nefarious purposes, and authorities try to crack them for the sake of uncovering potential evidence.
Israeli forensics firm Cellebrite is responsible for creating such a tool – the Universal Forensic Extraction Device (UFED), and the security company now claims it can unlock almost of all of the latest Apple and Android smart devices thanks to its latest update.
Specifically, the latest version of the device (UFED Premium) is able to unlock and gain access to “Apple devices running iOS 7 to iOS 12.3” as well as “high-running Android devices including the Samsung Galaxy S6/S7/S8/S9 [and] models from Motorola, Huawei, LG and Xiaomi”.
The device will be available to law enforcement agencies “on-premise”, meaning they will be able to operate the machine themselves and get the results independently of Cellebrite. The tool promises “access to 3rd party app data, chat conversations, downloaded emails and email attachments, deleted content and more”.
This time last year, we saw the security-conscious Apple release a more aggressive version of its USB Restricted Mode in the iOS 12 update – a solution that supposedly plugged a loophole whereby certain tools (akin to UFED and GreyKey) could access data via an iPhone’s Lightning Port.
While it’s unclear which global law departments will make use of the Cellebrite technology, it was strongly suspected that the FBI used the company in 2016 to unlock the San Bernardino iPhone.
Although the latest version of iOS is technically 12.3, Cellebrite’s site doesn’t make it clear whether the new 12.3.2 update is included in this. Similarly, Samsung's latest Android phone family – the Galaxy S10, S10 Plus and S10e – aren’t listed among the handsets the firm claims to be able to unlock, so it appears some forms of device encryption are still proving elusive.
The Open Rights Group has analyzed the BBFC's Age-verification Certificate Standard, which outlines measures for AV providers to demonstrate that they will protect users' data, to reveal that the scheme provides little assurance to the 20m adults that are estimated to watch pornography online in the UK.
Executive Director at the Open Rights Group Jim Killock explained how the standard falls short in terms of data protection, saying:
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“On July 15, millions of Internet users in the UK will have to make a decision about which age verification providers they trust with data about their personal pornography habits and preferences. Due to the sensitive nature of age verification data, there needs to be a higher standard of protection than the baseline which is offered by data protection legislation.
“The BBFC’s standard is supposed to deliver this. However, it is a voluntary standard, which offers little information about the level of data protection being offered and provides no means of redress if companies fail to live up to it. Its requirements are vague and a ‘tick box’ exercise. This renders it pointless, misleading and potentially dangerous as advice to consumers seeking safe products.”Consumer privacy at risk
Pornography companies will have to apply age verification to all UK users beginning on July 15 but according to the Open Rights Group, there has been no government advertising to make the millions of users that view adult content online aware of the scheme.
In fact, a YouGov poll from March showed that 74 percent of the British public were not even aware that age verification is being introduced. In addition to not advertising its existence, the UK government has not offered any advice to consumers regarding what they need to do to keep their sensitive data safe.
Since age verification only applies to commercial providers of adult content, this means that those under 18 will still be able to access pornography on free sites or on social media.
Killock also explained how age verification could put UK citizens at greater risk of cybercrime, saying:
“A DCMS impact assessment outlined that this scheme could put UK citizens at risk of fraud and blackmail, which could have a devastating impact on individuals. We urge the Government to delay age verification until there are proper mechanisms in place to protect privacy."
- We've also highlighted the best VPN
In life, there is no reset button. I had to keep reminding myself of that while riding an electric scooter through downtown Los Angeles on the way to E3 2019 all week.
It felt exactly like a video game: I was in a sprawling open-world city, weaving my way through notoriously congested LA traffic, and listening to bits and pieces of dialogue from eclectic non-playable characters that lined the sidewalks – their words took on a familiar doppler effect as I sped by.
I thought 'This is Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Remastered for 2019'. I was able to easily commandeer my 'vehicle' from the popular electric scooter brands Bird and Lime, finding them on the sidewalk outside my hotel every morning. All it took to claim my ride was scanning a QR code via their respective apps (no actual GTA involved).
Image Credit: TechRadarThe good: a time, money and environment saver
Electric scooters represent a "last mile solution" to public transportation that can only get you so far, according to Boosted CEO Jeff Russakow. His company sells that idea via electric skateboards and now electric scooters to own.
Scooters, owned or rented, are thrilling, cost-efficient, and, importantly, time savers. Instead of my daily E3 commute taking 20 minutes to walk, I was consistently able to 'fast travel' to the Los Angeles Convention Center in just five minutes. This meant taking on more appointments and playing more [actual] video games.
Bonus round: both Bird and Lime sent push notification when I docked a scooter, thanking me for helping save the environment. It's tough to measure how much carbon you're actually preventing from going into the atmosphere, though we suspect driving a car or taking an Uber is considerably worse for the planet.
Image Credit: TechRadarThe bad: a first-gen 'video game'
E3 2019 turned me into an electric scooter believer, though this is very much akin to a first-gen video game. It comes with hard-to-ignore bumps in the road.
Pay-as-you-go electric scooters are easy to rent via a dockless system that lets you pick them up on demand and leave them anywhere. But it has littered Los Angeles sidewalks (and, at times, LA streets when they topple over in a domino effect).
Drivers aren't sure how to respond to scooters, and there are many first-time riders lured in by the $1 to start and $0.15 per mile rate. No one I saw on a scooter during E3 2019 had a helmet on, though it's repeatedly recommended by the apps. Instead, people loved to ride with AirPods in both ears (which is illegal even on a bicycle).
Not all electric scooters zoom down the road equally. Rentable scooters get beat up over time and max out at 15mph (24kmph). They don't have the durability or oomph like the foldable Boosted Rev. Sometimes it felt like I was left with a dud.
Electric scooters have become controversial in LA for these reasons. There are solutions to this last mile solution's many problems: mapping out preferred parking zones where pedestrians won't trip over scooters, slow zones where scooters slow down to 2mph in heavy foot traffic, and no parking zones where you can't lock the scooter.
The Los Angeles Convention Center, home to E3, is one of those no parking zones. But I found a very video game-like glitch: lag. My phone's GPS lagged behind, so I was able to park my first scooter in a geofenced no parking zone unknowingly, and other people did too. Worse, when I tried to park the scooter across the street correctly, I was unable to lock it until the GPS cooperated and realized I was out of the no-go zone. So I just had to... hang out for several minutes. Great.
TechRadarPlease press continue
Nearly every time I parked a scooter near the Convention Center, people asked me how I was able to rent it. There was genuine interest in how everything worked.
"I downloaded the Bird app," I said in one instance to a curious pedestrian. "I've been able to ride all week. Haven't topped up yet." He then repeated it to his family. "Can you believe it? He only spent $20 and he's been riding all week!" Sounded like he was looking for permission to get his family (or maybe just himself) onto scooters.
I spent $19.89 to travel nearly a mile twice a day during E3 – from the hotel to the Convention Center and back. It changed the way I was able to book appointments, write about the games I saw, network with our team, and even sleep. I saved 30 minutes everyday, and during a convention week, that's crucial. I'd sign up for a dockless scooter service in New York City, if it were available, to halve my commute.
Like a good video game boss battle, the many challenges faced by electric scooters are no match for the true hero of this story: not scooters, but a last mile solution. The concept seems to be more than a fad, even if scooters come and go.
- Game over: E3 2019: full games list and re-cap
We just don't know which way the 2019 US Open is going to turn next. Gary Woodland tops the leaderboard going in to Round 4, but there are some of golf's biggest names and best players chasing hard. Make sure you can watch all the action as we tell you how to get a US Open live stream from anywhere in the world - there's even a FREE option to enjoy the Pebble Beach golf, too.
Gary Woodland has the clear outright lead after Round 3, but second-place 2013 champ Justin Rose is favorite at the bookies at the time of writing. The big question of the week remains whether Brooks Koepka can be stopped after winning the last two editions of the US Open and coming off the back of an impressive PGA Championship victory - he's only a few shots behind.
But what of the resurgent Tiger Woods? He's surely too far away at this stage to make an impact. Tiger still has the record for the biggest ever winning margin in a major tournament at this very course at the 2000 US Open. But he's a few shots back at the time of writing.
And then there's previous major winners Rory McIlroy, Louis Oosthuizen, Henrik Stenson, Danny Willett and Adam Scott all in contention as well. Anybody could take top honours at Pebble Beach come Sunday evening.
The great news is that you can see exactly how it will all play out - the birdies, the bogeys and everything in-between. We can tell you how to watch all the Round 4 action, even if you're outside the United States. Keep reading to see how to get a 2019 US Open live stream from any corner of the Earth.
- See also: watch every soccer match with a Women's World Cup live stream
Well here's a stroke of good news (pun very much intended) if you're looking to casually follow the golf online. The official tournament website, USOpen.com, will be live streaming some of the best action.
But, it's very limited in what it can offer this week. The schedule currently says that it will be showing a US Open live stream of featured groups every single day, as well as shots at holes, 7, 8 and 17. That's great if you're only interested in following the players it selects for you, but not so good if you want full and proper coverage.
Aside from the USOpen.com live stream, we have more US watching options below.How to get a US Open live stream from outside your country
We're going to guess that if you've landed on this page, you're going to want something more extensive than that free stream described above. For you, we have full details on which networks are showing the golf in the US, UK, Canada and Australia.
Try to watch your domestic US Open coverage while out of the country however, and you'll soon be faced with a block. That's because broadcasters implement a geo-restriction to stop non-nationals from watching their coverage. Fair enough, but annoying if you've paid for a pricey subscription and still want to watch.How to watch the US Open golf in the US
- Hulu with Live TV $40 per month - Hulu with Live TV includes CBS, Fox, NBC and ESPN.
- FuboTV $35 for the first month - FuboTV gives you the first month at a discounted rate but after that the price increases to $45 a month. The service includes CBS, Fox, NBC and the NFL Network but does not come with ESPN.
- PlayStation Vue From $45 per month and the ideal choice for PS4 owners thanks to its access to the likes of ESPN, NBC, Fox, Disney and other essential networks. Crank up the price and you can add the likes of Showtime and HBO, too.
- DirecTV Now $50 per month - DirecTV Now includes CBS, Fox, NBC, ESPN and for $5 extra you can add the NFL Network.
- YouTubeTV $40 per month - YouTubeTV gives you access to CBS, Fox, NBC and ESPN.
If you're outside the US this week but want to access one of the above options, then you can use a US VPN to effectively transport your computer, phone or tablet's IP back to a stateside location.How to watch the US Open live: UK stream
The need to take card payments online and off has become paramount for the modern business. However, to do that requires payment processing, usually supplied by merchant service providers.
This can come in the form of a card reader for physical PoS (Point of Sale) transactions, in which even an app on your phone or other mobile device can run the transaction through. Additionally, or alternatively, you can also get credit card processing to run through an ecommerce site.
PoS processing fees tend to be cheaper, on the grounds that the customer is physically present and so the chances of fraud are less than anonymous online transactions. However, for PoS processing in a bricks and mortar store you may need to pay for additional equipment, not least the card reader itself.
Fees can also vary according to sales volume, and it's worth keeping an eye on transaction fees. While some merchant services may charge seemingly high monthly fees, these often come with very low individual transaction costs that make them very competitive.
Overall, the market for merchant services is a competitive one, and there's plenty of choice out there. The challenge is to find one that works best for your business model. To help you, we've identified the best in merchant services for both online and offline businesses.
- We've also highlighted the best payment gateways of 2019
Want your company or services to be added to this buyer’s guide? Please email your request to firstname.lastname@example.org with the URL of the buying guide in the subject line.
Image Credit: Helcim
Helcim offers an array of merchant services, including the obligatory credit card processing, merchant accounts, along with credit and debit terminals.
The company also distinguishes itself with multi-currency processing, and international card processing for businesses that operate overseas. As a show of confidence, Helcim is one of few companies that offers a 30-day free trial of its service.
The firm’s transparency when it comes to fees is appreciated, with the Retail plan costing $15 monthly, and the Online offering is $35 per month – although if you happen to be a business that does commerce in both spaces, there’s no bundle discount for taking both plans.
There are also additional fees that vary by volume. For example, a retail merchant with less than $25,000 in monthly volume pays a low additional 0.25% plus $0.08 per transaction.
Image Credit: Payline
Payline is a merchant service that promises to make it easy to accept credit card payments, and offers a variety of plans to suit any company's needs. It offers a variety of services including mobile, online, in-store, enterprise and integrated payments, and also Payline Medical for the healthcare field, and business loans as well.
Payline offers a Payline Gateway, that can be used as a plugin on a business website to accept payments, and also a ‘virtual terminal,’ that is used to manually enter payments received over the phone or through the mail.
Payline offers pricing based on the service. A swipe falls under Payline Start, which has a $10 monthly fee with an additional 0.2% per transaction, which now includes AMEX as well – note there is an additional $0.10 per transaction fee here.
For a keyed-in, or online transaction, Payline Connect is also $10 monthly, with a more expensive 0.3% plus $0.20 per transaction, with AMEX also included. With Payline Connect there’s a further option for the aforementioned Payment Gateway for an additional $10 monthly fee.
Image Credit: QuickBooks
QuickBooks Payments is another option worth considering, as the company has expanded from simply providing accounting software to the arena of online payment processing, and now full merchant services.
Options include a card reader for store purchases, phone payments, and online processing. What is especially useful is its direct integration into the QuickBooks accounting software, which means even POS purchases appear immediately in your accounts in real-time.
Charges are provided upfront and are relatively straightforward. There's a Pay-as-you-Go payment plan with no monthly fee, with transactions charged at 2.4% + $0.25 per swipe, dip, or tap, or 3.4% + $0.25 for keyed-in entries.
However, there is also a Pay Monthly subscription option available for desktop users, which costs $20 per month and reduces card swipe transactions to 1.6% + $0.30 and may especially benefit volume users. A free card reader is provided at sign-up for taking card payments, but if you'd also like to be able to deal with NFC payments from Apple or Android devices, you will need to buy the all-in-one card reader for $49.
Image Credit: PayPal
PayPal Merchant Services is the business version of the ubiquitous online transaction tool, and it claims to be in use with over 17 million firms.
It features the secure transactions that PayPal is known for including fraud protection and risk modeling, a customer service team, and allows a variety of payment methods including mobile and in-store credit cards. Logically, it also provides support for acceptance of PayPal from its 200 million account holders.
The service is better suited for a lower volume of transactions, and especially well developed for ecommerce. With no monthly fees the service is attractive to online start-ups and small businesses.
With a transaction fee of 2.9% plus $0.30, the service is competitive with similar services, though this may not be so true with higher sales volumes.
Image Credit: Square
Square (previously known as Square Payments Processing) is a merchant service designed to “start selling fast”. It will attract smaller and new businesses starting out with its promise of quick setup, no long term contracts and no monthly fees, and even includes a free mag-stripe reader.
Square offers a robust feature set including being able to send invoices (even from a mobile device) to customers for payment, storing the card information for regular customers, plus support for third-party e-commerce platforms such as Wix and Ecwid. It also boasts the ability to take keyed-in payments directly via the Square Virtual Terminal without a card reader, and an offline mode for those occasions when an internet connection is not available.
Square further offers a variety of card reader hardware, beyond the free mag-stripe reader, such as paid devices that can handle card chips, and NFC payments.
The pricing is simple, with a single tier, and only transaction fees. For a “swipe, dip or tap,” the cost is a fixed 2.75%, and keyed-in transactions are a steep 3.5% plus $0.15 per transaction.
Image Credit: Transparent Merchant ServicesOther merchant services to consider
Transparent Merchant Services offers a wide range of payment services for a monthly fee which starts from $49.97 for up to 500 transactions per month. Although that might sound a little high, this comes with interchange-plus pricing, which means each transaction costs cents, and could especially benefit those businesses charging for higher-worth products or services.
Fattmerchant offers a comprehensive suite of merchant tools for all payment types and situations, and has an especially good POS offering. It does charge $99 per month, but transactions are charged at interchange fees with no mark-up. This cost-plus pricing model means no high fees even for phone transactions, so costs can scale really well with volume compared to other providers.
Flagship Merchant Services allows business owners to take credit card payments online, in store, on the go, or over the phone. There are a range of pricing models available, but unfortunately Flagship is not transparent about fees on its website. However, Flagship won't hold you to a contract term and you can cancel at any time.
Dharma Merchant Services promotes itself as a low-cost, low-fee merchant service that can provide credit card processing in-store and online with a POS, virtual terminal, and even a mobile app. While the company does list its processing fees on the website, cost for the POS terminal and card readers aren't provided so you'll need to ask directly about those.
It's hard to remember a more dominant performance on football's biggest stage than the USWT's crushing 13-0 victory over Thailand during their opening game of the 2019 Women's World Cup on Tuesday.
There was no easing themselves into the tournament, with Jill Ellis's team asserting themselves on the tournament in emphatic style, ruthlessly scoring nine goals in the second half alone.
Surely Chile will pose more of a threat, but can they stop the USA from topping Group F? Read on to find out how you can catch a Chile vs USA live stream from anywhere around the world with our instructions below.
Having been criticised for not fully imposing herself on the tournament in her two previous World Cups, it'll come as some relief to Alex Morgan and her USA teammates that she's started France 2019 with a bang.
Five goals against Thailand (four coming in the second half) places her way in the front for the golden boot at this early stage of the competition.
Sunday in Paris provides another opportunity for Morgan to extend her tally further, with the USA set to face another unmatched opponent in the shape of Chile - at 39, they're a team placed five places lower than Thailand in the world rankings. Playing in their first ever World Cup, the South Americans lost 2-0 in the opening fixture to Sweden.
Will another clinical goal fest be on the cards for the USA or can Chile pull of a major shock? Don't miss any of the action by following the instructions below and grabbing a live stream of USA vs Chile wherever you are in the world.
If you're in UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, we've got your viewing options listed below. If you're out of the country for today's match, you may find that geo-blocking will prevent you from watching your regular domestic coverage from abroad. You don't have to risk watching the match on a dodgy stream, however.
With the option of using a VPN service, you can tune into the match no matter where you are in the world, and its super easy to set up.Live stream the USWNT in the US
- FuboTV $44.99 for the first month
- Hulu with Live TV $44.99 per month
- Playstation Vue starting at $44.99 per month
- DirecTV Now $50 per month
- Sling TV starting at $15 per month
- YouTube TV $49.99 per month
- Discover our pick of all the US's best sports streaming sites
As well as opening up your viewing options for the Women's World Cup, using a VPN allows you to watch all your domestic sports coverage from abroad.How to stream today's Women's World Cup match in the UK How to watch a FIFA Women's World Cup live stream in Canada How to watch Chile vs USA: live stream in Australia How to watch a Chile vs USA live stream in New Zealand
Sony’s newest premium handset, the Sony Xperia 1, launched at a whopping $949 / £849 price tag – that’s one of the highest prices of any Sony phone, and it puts it in league with the Samsung Galaxy S10, Samsung’s most recent flagship handset.
Both devices have high-end features like triple-lens rear cameras, novel screen tech, and the newest processors available, but they’re also different in a few ways – you can tell as much from the pictures.
We’ve compared the two premium handsets so you can see what the difference between them is, and work out if one of the devices is the next phone for you.Samsung Galaxy S10 vs Sony Xperia 1: price and availability
Both phones are available in most areas, but there are a few exceptions – the Sony Xperia 1 isn’t available in Australia, for example.
If you want your high-end smartphone as cheap as possible, you’re looking at the Samsung Galaxy S10, which costs $899 / £799 / AU$1,349 for its 128GB version – that’s a little more affordable than the Sony Xperia 1, which costs $949 / £849 for the same amount of storage space.
There’s only one version of the Xperia 1, but you can pay a lot more money if you want, as the Galaxy S10 has an option with more storage space. For 512GB you’ll be paying $1,149 / £999 / AU$1,699, and that’s if you decide against splashing out more for the phone’s bigger sibling, the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus.Design and display
You’re getting an intriguing screen on both the Samsung Galaxy S10 and Sony Xperia 1 – read into that word ‘intriguing’ as you will.
The Samsung Galaxy S10’s display is a 6.1-inch Dynamic AMOLED panel with a 1440 x 3040 resolution and HDR10+, which is a lot of jargon, but the gist of it is that the screen is one of the best we’ve seen on a smartphone. It’s bright with vivid colors, and images are crisp and clear.
The display is broken by only a small ‘punch-hole’ cut out for the front-facing camera, and so it takes up 93.1% of the front of the phone. With the Galaxy S10’s display you’re not getting anything unique, you’re just getting one of the best displays in the industry.
The Sony Xperia 1 does something a little different – instead of maxing out on screen specs, it uses a novel aspect ratio for its display, as the device has a 21:9 ratio instead of the 19:9 that most phones have. Sony’s reasoning is that films are in 21:9, so when you watch them on your handset you won’t have any black bars
The display is a 6.5-inch OLED, with a 1644 x 3840 resolution, which is sharp, but in other ways it’s not quite a Galaxy S10-level of quality, and we found the max brightness on it a little low.
The Xperia’s novel aspect ratio is echoed in its design, as it’s long and thin compared to the Galaxy S10, which has a more traditional design, though they’re both glass-backed and water-resistant. Some major differences include the fact the Xperia 1 has a side-mounted fingerprint sensor whereas the Galaxy S10’s is in-screen, and the latter phone also has a 3.5mm headphone jack.Camera
Whereas many smartphone manufacturers try to load out their smartphones with high megapixel count cameras, neither the Samsung Galaxy S10 nor the Sony Xperia 1 goes this route.
The Galaxy S10 has two 12MP cameras, one of which is the main snapper while the other is a ‘telephoto’ lens for optical zooming. It also has a 16MP ultra-wide angle lens for wider field of views. The Xperia 1 has similar lenses, but they’re all 12MP.
In general, we found the cameras rather equal at taking pictures – the scene optimization tools of both use AI to recognize what you’re pointing your camera at and tailor the image to it, like highlighting colors or upping the brightness.
With max resolutions of 12MP (aside from that one 16MP lens), neither smartphone will take pictures that you can blow up to billboard size, but they’re fine for social media posts or similar.
On the front of the Galaxy S10 there’s a 10MP selfie camera, which is a slightly higher spec than the 8MP one on the Xperia 1, but they’re generally equal, from the quality of pictures to the abilities of the portrait modes.Battery life, features and specs
The Samsung Galaxy S10 and Sony Xperia 1 have similar battery capacities, at 3,400mAh and 3,330mAh respectively, and as such they both last roughly the same amount of time with general use – that is, you’ll comfortably be able to use them for a day, but you might struggle with the battery life if you don’t charge overnight.
Differences begin to show when you watch media though. The TechRadar battery test consists of playing a 90-minute video at full brightness with Wi-Fi on and accounts syncing in the background, and seeing how far the charge drops from 100%. The Galaxy S10 lost 11% power but the Xperia 1 dropped 19%, which is a sizeable difference.
Another big difference between the two is charging – namely, wireless charging, as while the Galaxy S10 supports it, the Xperia 1 is actually a departure from other Sony handsets as the feature is absent.
There are some useful features in the Xperia 1 though, despite its weaker battery performance. It’s a phone designed for movie buffs, so there’s a range of features like RGB optimization and Dynamic Vibration to give as close to a theatrical experience as possible when you’re watching content.
Then there’s the Cinema Pro app, which uses tech from Sony Alpha cameras to let you film in 21:9 as you would do on one of Sony’s high-end video cameras – it’s an app that’s hugely useful for people that love to shoot their own films but can’t afford expensive equipment.
Inside both phones is a Snapdragon 855 chipset (or an Exynos 9820 in the S10’s case outside the US). These chipsets are as cutting-edge as you can get right now, and you can tell, because both phones run high-end games and AI functions snappily, and they’re both generally quick to use. The Galaxy S10 has 8GB RAM instead of 6GB in the Xperia 1, so it’s a tiny bit more powerful in that regard.Verdict
The Samsung Galaxy S10 has a range of features that put it above the Sony Xperia 1, like its battery life and superior screen tech, but the Xperia 1 has a saving grace – its movie-making and viewing features.
If you watch a lot of films on your phone, the Xperia 1 is one of the best devices out there for that, especially if you’re a budding film-maker, as you could create your first masterpiece on the device.
For all-round performance, however, the Samsung Galaxy S10 is probably the better handset, as it outperforms the Xperia 1 in a few ways.