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No Man's Sky Beyond: everything to know about the game changing update

Thu, 08/15/2019 - 13:13

Cast your mind back to 2016 - Beyoncé's Lemonade was the world's best selling album, Rogue One dominated the box office, the Nintendo Switch was just a codename and a bunch of rumors, and No Man's Sky had arguably gaming's roughest launch.

Built up by creator Sean Murray of Hello Games, alongside Sony, the then PlayStation 4 exclusive launched with billions of planets to explore, but little to do on them. It was a galaxy inhabited by millions of players, but you wouldn't see any of them. A combination of unrealistic expectations placed upon a small team and an over-zealous publisher, No Man's Sky left people more than disappointed - many were angry.

In a world where every company seems to have an active social media feed, and in an industry focused on appeasing shareholders, it was strange to see Hello Games retreat into radio silence. After an unprecedented media blackout of several months, Hello Games plotted a course for redemption for their project that at one point seemed hopelessly lost in space.

In July 2018, No Man's Sky Next update took the title to Xbox One, while also adding new multiplayer functionality, improved base building, and full third-person mode for the original PS4 version. This, combined with earlier updates, helped bring No Man's Sky closer to it's creators' original vision.

Of course, the story hasn't ended there, as players have been abuzz with the recently released Beyond update. Here's a quick guide to the update, and why now is as good a time as ever to jump into No Man's Sky.

When is the Beyond update launching?

No Man’s Sky’s Beyond update hit all platforms on Auguts 14, 2019. It’s available to download now.

How much does the Beyond update cost?

No Man Sky’s Beyond update is available for free for anyone that owns No Man's Sky on any platform. So if you haven't played in some time, you've nothing to lose by jumping in.

What's in the Beyond update?

Quite a lot, actually. Sean Murray previously stated that ‘Beyond’ is an amalgamation of three "pillars" - each with a wealth of associated content and changes. Originally intended as three updates, they've now been bundled together.

No Man's Sky Online
The first of these pillars is No Man's Sky Online. As you can imagine, this is an extension of the previous multiplayer update in many ways. Players can now visit a social space called The Nexus, where you can interact with other players and purchase items (no microtransactions, don't panic). 

You can teleport directly from the Nexus to a friend's base, and also pick up Multiplayer Missions with new co-operative activities with varied objectives. On console, eight players can now explore together (up from four), while PC players can now take their four player group and expand it to a whopping 32 players.

No Man's Sky VR
The second pillar of the Beyond update is No Man's Sky VR - which from the name is likely pretty self-explanatory. This isn't some virtual reality focused addendum to the existing game though - this is the entirety of No Man's Sky playable in VR, and is compatible with existing saves made before the update too. 

That means you can go from a planet's surface, into your ship, to the Nexus and back again all within VR. As you can imagine, this is for PlayStation VR players and PC VR owners, so Xbox fans won't be able to take part. If you can though, you'll be able to interact with non-VR players on your chosen platform.

Excitingly, controls have been tweaked too. You can play with a controller, or use a PlayStation Move controller as your ship's throttle. It changes the game entirely.

Loads more
The final pillar doesn't have a name, and is a little bit nebulous at present. What we do know is that there's plenty of options to be added, many of which will likely only be discovered after months of exploration.

Some alien creatures can be tamed now, for example, while your Last Jedi blue-milk simulator isn't far away either with milkable creatures and a new cooking system. New environment types are being added too, and base building is being expanded on each planet. Quite simply, there's a ridiculous amount to be added. 

Aside from the new content, you'll also find a wealth of quality-of-life improvements. These range from improvements to the game's tutorials to the previously taxing inventory limitations. With a large portion of players being turned off by the seemingly endless grind of No Man's Sky, Hello Games are trying to welcome new players and returning ones alike. In fact, much of the game's UI has been completely redesigned.

That is a lot, anything else?

Actually, yes. The entire game has been updated to support Vulkan - overhauling the graphics API. This was actually done back in April, but PC players will now have the ability to change graphics settings without needing to restart the game. Performance is improved too, as is HDR support.

Categories: Tech News

Forget Windows, Linux or MacOS: Our choice of the best alternative operating systems

Thu, 08/15/2019 - 12:39

If you're fed up with Windows, Linux, or macOS, you'll want to know if there's a great alternative desktop operating system that's worth using. 

While there are no absolute definitive answers here – everyone's use case is different, after all – we've discovered ten distinct examples that fall outside the usual bounds.

Our list even includes a few true outsiders, independent operating systems built from the ground up which serve mainly to prove just how difficult it is to create an entire functioning OS without a large number of brains working on it.

Everything here can be tested reasonably within a virtual machine, so if something grabs your interest don't hesitate to download and give it a try.

ArcaOS is an operating system based on the last IBM release for OS/2. While OS/2 barely survives as a legacy system, even after being extended for a while as eComStation, ArcaOS is still being actively developed with Spanish and German language editions expected to be released in the next update.

ArcaOS includes a robust Unix compatibility subsystem, featuring a variety of ported OSS Linux apps and some drivers, but still features the OS/2 Workplace Shell. 

ArcaOS is a 32-bit OS that runs on the x86 processor architecture, so should be compatible with some particularly old PCs. Though it's native file system is JFS, it can still work with FAT12, FAT16, or FAT32 formating.

There are two editions available: Personal, which retails for $129 per license, and Commercial, which retails at $229 per license though volume discounts are available. The personal edition includes 6-months support and maintenance, while the commercial edition includes one-year of priority support and maintenance.

We're a bit sad that BeOS didn't take off. A stylish multitasking OS that introduced a whole host of features that Windows, Linux and macOS would later adopt for their own, BeOS was a true multimedia innovator that left the market with a whimper when its rights were sold to Palm in 2001.

Despite being closed source, the spirit of BeOS lives on in the form of Haiku, an open source re-implementation which began development immediately after Be's demise, and it has been developed since.

Built as open source software from the ground up but designed to be backward-compatible with its classic quarry, Haiku follows BeOS' lead in its entirely modular design, allowing different components of the OS to be developed concurrently. It last saw a major release over three years ago, but you can try nightly builds to test out current developments.

It's worth playing with just for the cleanness of its desktop, and there are working web browsers and media players, although it's still rather experimental and many of the features of BeOS haven't quite been fully realized as yet.

Linux, as you may know, is a ground-up reinterpretation of UNIX. ReactOS does the same for the Windows NT architecture upon which all modern Windows versions are based. It's completely open source, using no proprietary Windows code, yet ReactOS is designed to be (and in some cases actually is) compatible with Windows drivers and applications.

Your mileage may vary – it's certainly not going to play nice with high-end games or software, and ReactOS isn't quite up to the Windows 10 level yet. It's currently aiming at full compatibility with Windows Server 2003.

So it's clearly a bit behind the times, but ReactOS does have its uses. Incorporating parts of noted Windows emulator Wine, it runs LibreOffice, Firefox, Opera and more quite happily, and can even manage (earlier) commercial applications like Adobe Photoshop.

Given that it's free, it's certainly worth a test to see if any of your older business-critical applications are compatible – setting up workstations without Windows licensing is a tempting prospect, although we can't vouch for its resistance to attacks.

A ridiculous amount of business software relies on MS-DOS, even to this day. We're still seeing bespoke, newly-developed text-mode apps that run directly from the shell, probably because the complexity and potential for disaster that graphical interfaces add to the mix is not worth the risk in situations that demand 100% uptime.

That business-critical software may rely on MS-DOS, but it doesn't have to know you're actually running FreeDOS. It's an entirely compatible but completely free and open source remake of DOS that can handle just about everything its predecessor can do. That does, of course, mean no multitasking, no protected mode, no GUI, but it'll run your games and can even manage Windows 3.1 as long as you're running it in standard mode.

As you might expect, it's not a static recreation of the final commercial DOS release in 1995, and indeed hasn't been static since FreeDOS first emerged in 1998. In fact, FreeDOS remains in active development, and features a number of integrated improvements compared to its rather archaic ancestor.

We're cheating a little, here, seeing as Chrome OS is built upon the Linux kernel, but it would be a shame to ignore Google's operating system on a technicality. Besides, when using Chrome OS you essentially run an expanded version of the Chrome browser and nothing else. Yes, you can drop to a terminal if you know how, but the desktop itself is a pure feat of HTML5 wrangling.

It's testament to the maturity of the web that there's not a huge amount you can't do with Chrome OS, at least as long as you know where to look online. And it's not an OS that's exclusive to Chromebooks, either – you can build a version of Chromium OS (the open source development from which Google gleans its final code) on top of Ubuntu 14.4 then install it on your own hardware.

One of the more professionally assembled operating systems on this list, Chrome OS is good for an experiment, and a solid choice if you're handing a laptop to someone who's likely to break any other OS. But perhaps it's a bit limited for production use.

While Linux is a recreation of UNIX, FreeBSD is more of a continuation. It was initially developed by students working from a Research Unix source license obtained by the University of California Berkeley – the 'BSD' bit stands for Berkeley Software Distribution. The only reason it's not called BSD Unix is that pesky trademark and licensing gremlin.

The OS runs on its own kernel, and all of its key components have been developed as part of a single whole. Linux, on the other hand, is just the kernel; the rest of it is supplied by third parties so it lacks BSD's overall coherency.

This is a highly complete and very reliable operating system, perfect both for server applications and desktop use. That said, it doesn't come with a GUI by default – the X-window system is thankfully straightforward to install, and there are ports of Linux window managers like Gnome and KDE available.

One final note: BSD forms the core of perhaps the most polished and stable desktop operating system out there in macOS, so you know you're in good hands here.

Sun Microsystems' SunOS – which evolved into the rechristened Solaris – began as a proprietary UNIX distribution designed to support Sun's SPARC processors. Its hardware reach widened as it grew, and in 2005 Sun released the source code in the form of OpenSolaris, leading to advanced community development. And then Oracle purchased Sun, renamed the OS once more to Oracle Solaris, and decided to cease source releases, effectively closing the source once again.

That's a long story made much shorter, but it's a good explanation of exactly what Solaris offers: long development, a period of community improvement, and the backing of a large tech company that makes it perfect for systems with high demand and support requirements. You can download and use it for free, although the license terms state that you'll need a support contract from Oracle if you wish to use it commercially.

Solaris installs with a version of the GNOME desktop by default, and there's built-in support for Linux binaries if you need to extend it further.

Whether the extreme religious doctrine behind it interests you or not, our final selection is an interesting example of a completely independent, unique OS. It's been made and maintained with extreme dedication by one man, Terry A. Davis, over the course of ten years.

TempleOS – programmed entirely using Davis' own language, the excellently named HolyC, which you also use to interact with its shell – deliberately includes no networking and absolutely no hardware support beyond that which forms the core PC system. So what's the point?

TempleOS has been built from the ground up with what seems like no hang-ups on existing operating systems. The entire thing is hyperlinked, meaning you can quickly burrow down to the source of a program just as easily as you can find its dependencies, and it's super-quick; there's no paging, so the whole OS gets up and running within a second or two.

It's unlikely you'll be able to use TempleOS for anything solid, and Davis' well-documented mental health struggles haven't helped its standing in the community. But it includes a huge number of interesting ideas, particularly the blurring of the division between document and program, which could impact more traditional operating systems. Check out Davis' quick tour of the OS below to see what it's all about in more detail.

Gone but not forgotten: other Operating Systems

It's worth noting that there have been a number of other operating systems that were previously popular but have since been discountinued. One of the most famous of which is AmigaOS, used in Amiga personal computers during the 1990's and which had a reputation for solid stability. 

However, here are a couple more than you may or may not have come across before now.

9. eComStation

OS/2 may not have set the world on fire, but it actually maintained a decent industrial and commercial install base long after its desktop aspirations died. eComStation was a derivative OS that uses classic OS/2 technologies on modern hardware.

Much like its ancestor it's been developed with security and stability in mind for commercial applications. We see the claim 'zero downtime' repeated all over the place, and while it's theoretically possible to lock up your hardware with the wrong application, this is something that could have been a real killer feature.

There's a host of open source software ported to eComStation including Firefox, OpenOffice, VLC and more, and it's capable of running DOS, Java and OS/2 applications. You almost certainly don't need it, but if there's something system-critical and OS/2-only that your business relies on, running this on bare metal is a much more reliable idea than setting up a VM.

As eComStation hasn't been updated for some years, if you're looking for OS/2 support and development it might be best to look at ArcaOS in the above list.

10. Syllable Desktop

Developed between 1994 and 2001, AtheOS – initially planned as a clone of AmigaOS but later following its own path – was the work of a lone Norwegian programmer, Kurt Skauen. After Skauen abandoned the project, its GPL-licensed source code was picked up by the community and Syllable Desktop was born.

The majority of it is composed of unique code, although certain components have been pulled from the vast library of open source Linux programs; there's also a Server version, which is more traditionally Linux.

Syllable's key selling point – ignoring the fact that it's free – is its speed and lightness. The creators recommend a Pentium CPU with 32MB of RAM, which should give you an idea of how lightweight it is. Slap this on a modern PC and you'll likely never have seen an OS so quick.

Syllable does lack the ports that make other indie operating systems attractive, though it contains a number of native apps for web browsing, email, VNC and more. We're not entirely positive that it's still active – the last official update was some time in 2012 – but if there's a very, very old PC you need to resurrect with reasonably modern system architecture, try this.

11. SkyOS

The development of SkyOS has sadly been halted, but it's still worth looking at as an example of an OS constructed from scratch. Developed initially as an open source project by coder Robert Szeleney, SkyOS was based on concepts gleaned from other platforms but didn't originally borrow their code.

That said, a few components are based on other packages – there's no sense, for example, developing an entirely new compiler when GCC already exists, and the SkyFS filesystem is forked from OpenBFS. Later in its life, Szeleney appears to have experimented with a version of SkyOS built on top of a Linux kernel in an attempt to help with driver compatibility.

The source was closed midway through its life, and Szeleney continued development based on feedback from a popular (paid) public beta program. Unfortunately the struggle to keep up with ever-diversifying computing standards became too much for the lone coder, and development was halted in 2009, with the most recent beta made publicly available in 2013. 

It's obviously incomplete, and not suitable for any kind of business environment, but as a curio to run within a VM it's very interesting.

Categories: Tech News

Chrome OS now allows virtual desktops

Thu, 08/15/2019 - 12:17

Google has added a number of new features to the latest version of Chrome OS, but the most notable highlight is the addition of virtual desktops.

Chrome OS users will now be able to switch between up to four different desktops each with their own window layouts.

To activate the new feature, simply swipe up to view all windows in the overview mode and a new button labeled “New Desk” will be visible in the upper right corner. Clicking on the button will allow you to create a new space where you can drag windows in a similar way to how you activate Mission Control in Apple's macOS.

Since Google is constantly updating Chrome OS with new versions, the search giant has also launched a new web app called “What's New” to help users become familiar with the latest features available in each new release. The new web app will also soon begin to appear in a notification on Chromebooks.

Chrome OS 76

Virtual desktops are a huge addition to Chrome OS but Google decided not to emphasis the new feature in its release blog and instead highlighted other new features including automatic clicks, improved media controls and the ability to manage Google accounts on Chromebook.

Automatic clicks is an accessibility feature that lets users trigger a mouse click by hovering their mouse pointer over a specific object. Google has also added better media controls to Chrome OS and now users will have an easier time managing sound inside Chrome tabs. There is even an overview of all tabs making noise in the system menu which should help to identify any tabs that are auto-playing videos or music for example.

There are so many changes in Chrome OS 76 that Google didn't even mention of all them in its release blog. One very convenient new feature that was left out is the ability to send a URL from Chrome OS right to your smartphone.

Finally Google is ending support for Flash and making it easier for users to see when a web page can be installed as a progressive web app on their device.

The “stable” version of Chrome OS 76 is rolling out to users now but as is the case with most big OS updates, not everyone will receive it at once but it should be coming to your Chromebook any day now.

Via The Verge

Categories: Tech News

Now is the time to bag P30 Pro deals thanks to Huawei's big cashback offer

Thu, 08/15/2019 - 11:41

Along with making some of the world's top smartphones, Huawei seems to have another trick up its sleeve to keep its phones selling at an alarming rate. The Chinese company almost always seems to be running a promotion at any given time.

Currently, it is offering cashback of up to £100 across a range of its handsets, helping to slash down the prices of its somewhat pricey phones. This is especially important when it comes to the Huawei P30 Pro, the most expensive (and best) Huawei phone out right now.

If you combine that cashback with an affordable Huawei P30 Pro deal (don't worry, we've already found you one) then you can land yourself one of the world's best handsets at a surprisingly affordable price tag.

You can find our choice for the best value Huawei P30 Pro deal down below, perfect to combine with this cashback. And we've even tracked down a cheaper P30 for those who want some even cheaper bills.

How to get your cashback:

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

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

What's the Huawei P30 Pro like?

As our pick for the second best smartphone on the market right now, it's safe to say we're big fans of the Huawei P30 Pro. Whether it's the 6.47-inch OLED screen, 8GB ram processor or the 4200mAh battery, Huawei has crammed this device with specs.

And not to mention the thing Huawei's P30 range is known for - its cameras. There's a triple camera set-up offering 50x zoom, wide-angle lenses and a range of other features.

Read our full Huawei P30 Pro review

Categories: Tech News

How to buy the best Amazon backpack for school: our top picks

Thu, 08/15/2019 - 10:35

Picking out the best backpack for school is an important decision for any prospective student. It needs to be functional, comfortable, affordable and for some people, even fashionable. To help you find the best option for your needs, we've put together a list of the top backpacks for school from Amazon.

Our picks include the top-rated Amazon backpacks that offer specifications specifically for students. These features including padding to protect laptops, multi-compartments for school supplies, adjustable and padded straps, waterproof materials, and stylish designs. Whether you're looking for a laptop backpack to protect your tech, a sporty bag to haul all your stuff, or a fashionable backpack that's also functional, we've got you covered with a variety of different choices.

We also know that price is also an important factor and lucky for you the backpacks from Amazon are incredibly affordable. Our list includes a price range of $18/£13.89 -$59/£68.40, so there's a backpack for every budget.

Our selections, ranked from cheapest to most expensive, take into account online reviews, brand reputation, product capability and unique features, to help you pick through the maze of choices available to you.

These are products that we haven't had in our test labs, but based on our experts' opinion and knowledge of the most reputable brands around, we think these are worth looking at.

The best Amazon backpacks for school:

If you're looking for a no-frills backpack with a classic design, then the Amazonbasics school backpack is a fantastic option. The lightweight backpack features a laptop sleeve in the main compartment with a pocket on the backside to securely stash your things. The backpack also includes a front compartment for school supplies and two side pockets for quick access.

The durable backpack comes in six different color choices, and features padded adjustable shoulder straps for added comfort. Perhaps the best feature is the cost, currently priced at just $18/£14..

The Amazon's Choice XDesign backpack is packed with features that are perfect for high school and college students. The large capacity backpack features a laptop pocket for computers up to 16-inches and multiple pockets for extra storage. The XDesign bag includes an external USB port so you can you can plug a mobile power hub into on the inside and charge your devices on the go. The backpack also provides a headphone jack so you can listen to music hands-free .

The lightweight backpack is lined with durable yet breathable oxford fabric, and the outer material is water-resistant to protect your school supplies. The bag also features a front buckle for additional security and an anti-theft pocket on the backside. The best part about this backpack is that it will only set you back $19.99.

The Mancro backpack was designed for college students with over ten different compartments for all your school supply needs. The backpack can fit a 15.6-inch, 15-inch or 14-inch laptop and includes main compartments for your iPad, charger, binders, books, and more. The bag also features a built-in USB charger on the outside and a built in charging cable inside, so you can plug a mobile power hub into the inside for quick and convenient charging.

The waterproof backpack is made of durable nylon fabric, and the curved padded shoulder straps offer support for all-day wear. We've left the best feature for last which is the lock that's included with the bag. This allows you to keep all your possessions secure, whether for school or travel.

This top-rated AmazonBasics backpack has over 4,000 reviews online is our top pick for laptop backpacks. The backpack fits up to 17-inch laptops and features a padded sleeve to protect while you're on the go. The bag also offers several compartments of different sizes, so you have a space to carry your charger, phone, keys, pencils, and more. There's even a smaller pouch specifically designed for a tablet.

The AmazonBasics backpack also provides side mesh pockets so you can easily store water bottles or your phone for easy access. Because the bag is designed for carrying laptops, the shoulder straps are heavily padded and adjustable for added comfort throughout your school day.

The SwissGear 1900 Scansmart is not only an excellent backpack for school, but it's also perfect for travel. The backpack features lay-flat technology which protects a 17-inch laptop and opens quickly for a hassle-free airport experience. There's a second sleeve for an iPad and several other compartments to store your phone, keys, charger, notebooks and more. The SwissGear backpack also includes a large front zip pocket for quick access and two large mesh side panels to store oversize water bottles or a change of clothes.

The durable backpack is made of weather-resistant polyester material to withstand heavy everyday use and harsh conditions. The bag also features adjustable contoured shoulder straps and a padded back panel with airflow ventilation technology.

Didn't find the right backpack for you? We've listed other popular brands below from Amazon for you to check out.

Interested in other back to school deals? You can see our roundup of the best back to school sales: deals on laptops, tablets, smartwatches & more.

If you're looking for a new laptop you can see our roundup of the best laptops under $500 and our 10 tips for buying a back to school laptop.

Categories: Tech News

Motorola One Action leak teases mysterious 'Action Cam' rear lens

Thu, 08/15/2019 - 09:57

Motorola is really embracing the Motorola One series, as the Motorola One Vision was released in May 2019 and we've already heard rumors about its two successors. The first is the Motorola One Zoom, and the second is the Motorola One Action, which we've just heard a lot of information about.

The leak comes courtesy of website Winfuture, a website that regularly posts leaked phone information, and while it's not clear where Winfuture got the information from, it's a fairly trustworthy source in itself.

The headline feature of the Motorola One Action, according to the leak, is the 'Action Cam', a 16MP camera that's designed to work like an action cam that you can buy specifically for recording video when on a day out or participating in sports. It's said to record 4K video, which not all phones can do.

This action cam joins a 12MP main sensor and a 5MP depth sensor, so there's no dedicated ultra-wide or telephoto lens, although action cams often have wide fields of view. Indeed, this one is said to be 117 degrees.

Another novel aspect of the Motorola One Action is its 21:9 aspect ratio, a feature shared with the One Vision but more commonly seen in recent Sony smartphones. This is the same aspect ratio as feature films you'd see in a theatre, and is used to best replicate that experience on a mobile device.

According to the leak, the display will be a 6.3-inch LCD screen with a 2520 x 1080 resolution. It seems to have a punch-hole cut-out for the 12MP front-facing camera.

The chipset is said to be an Exynos 9609 from Samsung – it's pretty rare for non-Samsung smartphones to have Exynos chipsets, but the One Vision has the same chip. In addition, the phone is said to have a 3,500mAh battery and a 3.5mm headphone port.

With regards to price, Winfuture puts it at €259 (around $290, £240, AU$430), so roughly around the same price as the One Vision – of course this price could be different in different regions, but this should give you a rough ball-park figure.

Take this leak with a pinch of salt, as there's no source cited, but we'd expect to see the Motorola One Action soon if it can be leaked in this much detail.

Categories: Tech News

Still mourning Silent Hill: P.T.? Trademark teases more Konami horror is on the way

Thu, 08/15/2019 - 09:31

It's been a while since we've seen a new Silent Hill game. While we got a taste of Konami horror back in 2014, with Silent Hill: P.T., there hasn't been a core Silent Hill game released since 2012 – but it looks like that could be about to change.

Back in July, Konami Entertainment filed a trademark with the Canadian government for Silent Hill, stating the trademark would be for "videogames; computer games services" (via Game Rant).

The full service description states the trademark will be used for:

"Providing online videogames; providing online computer games; providing information in the field of videogames; providing information in the field of computer games; arranging, organizing and conducting videogame competitions; arranging, organizing and conducting computer game competitions."

Return of the fog

This trademark filing suggests that we could be be seeing more Silent Hill games in the future, which isn't necessarily surprising considering the latest resurgence of reboots and remasters.

Konami could opt to follow in Capcom's steps by remaking one of the more popular Silent Hill games, such as Silent Hill 2, or even remastering some of its titles. However, there's also the possibility the company will choose to give the franchise a modern reboot.

The mention of competitions suggests the latter is a possibility as, to date, Silent Hill hasn't had any competitive or multiplayer aspects that could warrant competitions.

However, it's worth noting that Konami could simply be filing the trademark to keep Silent Hill in the family, as the company hasn't revealed that it's working on anything Silent Hill-related. 

Categories: Tech News

Cisco's service provider unit will have to wait for 5G boost

Thu, 08/15/2019 - 08:20

Concerns about the short-term prospects of Cisco’s service provider business and fears of an ongoing trade dispute between the US and China have led to the company posting a lower than expected forecast – concerning investors.

The company reported fourth quarter revenues of $13.4 billion, an increase of 6 per cent, and annual income of $51.7 billion – a rise of seven per cent.

Hardware, which has long been Cisco’s bread and butter, was up six per cent to $7.8 billion for the quarter, while software rose 11 per cent to $1.49 billion  and security increased 14 per cent to $714 million.

Cisco service provider

"Our Q4 results marked a strong end to a great year.  We are executing well in a dynamic environment, delivering tremendous innovation across our portfolio and extending our market leadership," said Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins.

"We are committed to providing our customers ongoing value through differentiated solutions, and we are well positioned to take advantage of the long-term growth opportunities ahead."

These figures are some of the strongest that Cisco has posted in recent years, but a predicted growth rate of 0 – 2 per cent for the next quarter has resulted in a drop in the firm’s share price.

Robbins said declining income from service providers contributed to the weak forecast. Having already expanded beyond networking into software and cloud services, Cisco has made a major play for the telecoms market with a 5G portfolio comprising services, infrastructure and automation.

Service provider income may not recover until mobile operators begin to make major investments in their core infrastructure to support enterprise applications that require high reliability and ultra-low latency.

The initial focus is on coverage, which means investments have been on radio access equipment (RAN) – markets sewn up by the triumvirate of Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia.

The majority of Cisco’s revenues come from the Americas and Europe, with just a fraction coming from China. However amid ongoing tensions, Chinese operators are now not entertaining bids for business. Revenues from Asia as a whole were down by 5 per cent.

Categories: Tech News

The best cheap Fitbit sale prices and deals in August 2019

Thu, 08/15/2019 - 07:57

We've got you covered all the latest cheap Fitbit deals today with loads of sale prices compared at top retailers for every model still available. We'll tell you all about the standard Fitbits for adults and kids alike, along with the enhanced fitness trackers that also function like smartwatches too.

The competition in the fitness tracker world is ever-growing, which is actually good news for lower Fitbit prices as the brand has to push hard to remain competitive in price. And with each fresh iteration of its fitness trackers or smartwatches we see further improvements, showing that corners aren't being cut to keep prices down either. New versions usually mean cheaper Fitbit prices on older models too, so there's always a bargain to be had somewhere.

If you're not quite sure which Fitbit is right for you. We've gone into detail about each one and you can also find a handy breakdown of the specs for a quick look at the vitals of each one as you scroll down throughout our guide. We're sure you'll be able to find one you like.

The Fitbit Inspire looks set to eventually replace the Fitbit Alta as a fantastic entry-level fitness tracker that's not too light on features (yes, we're talking abut you, Fitbit Flex 2). The new Inspire is priced similarly to the Alta yet has a bigger screen. It's a proper touchscreen too, instead of the less user-friendly tapscreen on the Alta. There's a new button on the side to act as a 'Back' button in the menus, so navigation of the trackers features are much easier to cycle through.

The Fitbit Inspire is better in the wet and can actually be worn while swimming too rather than just being splash and rain-resistant. The casing around the face is now plastic, rather than aluminium, but this makes for a more comfortable wear on the wrist and it's a touch lighter. All in all, while we're seeing the Inspire priced at a similar level to the older Alta, the Inspire is the clear winner.

Like the Fitbit Inspire mentioned earlier, the Fitbit Inspire HR looks set to replace our previous budget-friendly option in the Alta HR. As the name suggests, the main difference between this and the other Inspire model is the inclusion of a heart-rate monitor. It's not a lot of extra money to spend on the feature in all honesty and can be useful in tracking your fitness levels. If that's a feature you could live without though, because you're very aware of your your heart-rate because you can hear it thundering between your ears when running up that hill, then you may as well save yourself some money. The screen on the HR is ever so slightly bigger if you're looking for the right nudge to opt for the upgrade though.

The Fitbit Charge 3 is a marked improvement over the still-impressive Charge 2. The thinner design with softer angles on all sides make it a more comfortable wear. There's a proper touchscreen this time too rather than a tap-to-cycle one. The Charge 3 is waterproof up to 50m, meaning it's absolutely fine to wear while swimming and it has tracking features to use while you do. Add in a heart-rate tracker, multiple apps for loads of different sports and a seven-day charge time (two days longer than before) and the Fitbit Charge 3 prices start to look like excellent value for money. The prices below are for the standard version, if you want to see the special edition version with its woven or silicon straps and Fitbit pay functionality we've rounded up the prices for that one on this guide for every edition of the Fitbit Charge 3.

While the official MSRP/RRP of the new Fitbit Versa Lite is quite a bit less than the starting price of the more feature-rich original Fitbit Versa we've found that the later if often available for a very similar price to the Lite. In these situations is just makes much more sense to go for the full-fat version.

However, prices will drop eventually and that's when you should consider the Lite if you don't need the full suite of features. We absolutely love the blue and magenta versions the Lite is available in too. 

As for features, you get connected GPS via your phone, water resistance up to 50m and a range of fitness apps. However, compared to the regular Versa, you don't get Wi-Fi, onscreen workouts, floor/swimming lap tracking or music storage. So take a look at the latest prices and compare them with the regular Versa if these are features you'd want.

While its feature set isn’t quite on par with that of its bigger brother the Ionic, the Fitbit Versa feels like the same watch but with a lighter and friendlier design and a much lower price point. It brings a clear, bright and beautiful screen, a new and improved heart rate sensor that will apparently be updated with even smarter functionality via a firmware update, smart notifications, contactless payment capabilities, and all the features Fitbit users will have come to know and love.

The upgraded Fitbit Ace 2 is much improved over the previous version if you need a child-friendly Fitbit. There's extra protection around the screen to better protect against bumps and scratches. The Ace 2 can be worn while swimming too as the water-resistance has been improved. You're still getting a bunch of child-friendly versions of the tracking apps and incentives to keep active. Separate kid or parent view modes allow you to have a deeper dive on the stats to track activities if you want too.

The colourful and chunky designs might not be for everyone though and depending on how old (and clumsy!) your child is, it might be worth opting for the more feature-rich and more mature stylings of the Fitbit Inspire (mentioned earlier on this page), which is the same price at most retailers.

The Fitbit Alta is a fetching, form-fitting fitness tracker that looks more like a bracelet. But don't let its looks fool you too much. Underneath, it packs in the same Fitbit smarts, like step, exercise and sleep tracking functionalities. 

To top it off, the battery life is astoundingly good. The display, while quite small offers much more feedback than the LED lights of the cheaper Fitbit Flex 2. For us, this is the best cheap Fitbit option if you don't want to spend a lot on one. The Flex 2 is just too basic on its own.

The Fitbit Alta HR takes the fetching formula of the original and adds heart rate monitoring into the mix. During use, we found it to be surprisingly accurate and the OLED display shows the metrics in a simple, easy-to-read fashion.

Much of this package is also available on the Alta, like the usual Fitbit smarts, including step, exercise and sleep tracking functionalities. To top it off, the battery life is astoundingly good. 

Opt for this model if heart rate-based exercise is important to you. It's mostly the same as the original Alta, but the added functionality for not much extra cash down is a good thing in our book.

The Fitbit Ace is aimed at the kids' market, or more likely, fitness-conscious parents. Thankfully, Fitbit hasn't gone too far down the targeted design route (unlike the newer Fibtit Ace 2 mentioned earlier) and the Fitbit Ace actually looks very similar to the design of the Fitbit Alta rather than opting for zany colours or ugly armour casing.

The Fitbit Ace fitness apps inside have been simplified a little though to make it much more child-friendly and there are star badges to 'gamify' exercise a bit more and give them incentives to be more active. There's a decent level of waterproofing too as the Ace will withstand splashes, rain and even showers - although it won't stand for being submerged in the bath or the swimming pool. The smaller wrist-strap can be a better fit for smaller children too.

If your child is a bit older, tech-savvy or growing fast, it may be worth skipping the Fitbit Ace and looking at the Fitbit Inspire as we find it's generally around the same price nowadays and it's fully waterproof for swimming too (as is the Ace 2).

Fitbit Charge 2, another modern spin on a Fitbit classic, is packed with improvements and thoughtful tweaks over the original to make it worth your consideration. First off, the screen has been blown out to display even more information than before, including smartphone notifications – even if the feature is a bit limited. 

In addition, the Charge 2 features multi-sport tracking through the comprehensive Fitbit app that we know and love. This Fitbit isn't the cheapest model out there, but if it's multi-sport tracking data and on-screen information you seek, the Charge 2 will fit the bill. Better yet, with the Charge 3 out as well now, prices will start to fall on this version.

If the Apple Watch and Android Wear (and now the Fitbit Ionic) smartwatches have caught your eye, but you don't want to sacrifice fitness know-how (or hundreds of dollars), the Fitbit Blaze may be the wearable for you. It boasts a vibrant display that showcases fitness metrics and a healthy share of smartphone notifications. This is one of the most versatile Fitbits that you can purchase at the moment. This model is splashproof, but not waterproof. But, the Fitbit Charge is much smarter than most and is one to consider if being connected is important to you. Connected GPS allows you to track run routes if you have your phone with you too.

The Fitbit Ionic marked Fitbit's move deeper into smartwatch territory. It combines the best Fitbit goal-tracking software with all of the major features of a smartwatch, and it's a little cheaper than an Apple Watch. Plus, it works with both iOS and Android. 

The built-in GPS technology also means you don't have to take your smartphone out with you to track a route on a run either. You can also upload music to the device and pair it with some wireless headphones for tunes on the go.

Another of Fitbit's wearables is an update to one of its oldest: the Fitbit Flex. The latest Fitbit Flex 2 doesn't do a whole lot to change the familiar look, but the innards have been refreshed to make this the one worth buying over the original. It's smaller, more fashionable, and most importantly, it's water-resistant, which was a first for Fitbit at the time. 

The lack of a screen might be a bother for some, but if you can adjust, this fitness tracker compensates by being remarkably low-profile. You don't even need to take it off before you hop in the shower. If a no-fuss tracker is on your list, this is your match. We'd give some serious though to spending a bit more and going for one of te alta models mentioned above though instead as the addition of a screen makes things much easier.

If you're someone who works out a ton, you'll want to know about the Fitbit Surge. Competing against Garmin's high-end trackers, the Surge is Fitbit's most robust offering, packing in a long 7-day battery inside, along with a GPS sensor that can track your run or walk for up to 10 consecutive hours. 

It costs more than many other wearables in the Fitbit range, but it is generally better value than most smartwatches boasting similar specs. The inclusion of GPS, its splashproof design and a battery that can last up to 7 days makes it a smart option for workout enthusiasts.

Categories: Tech News

Nikon Z6, Fujifilm X-T3, Canon EOS RP and others grab the gongs at the EISA Awards

Thu, 08/15/2019 - 07:22

Many of the biggest photo players have scooped awards for their most recent products and innovations at this year's Expert Imaging and Sound Association (EISA) Awards.

Each year, 55 journalists and editors from a raft of magazines and websites across the world come together and vote on the photo and audio products that deserve special commendation – and there's been no shortage of photography products to consider this year, given the wealth of new camera systems launched in the past 12 months, with an abundance of optics alongside them.

Scooping the EISA Camera of the Year award is the Nikon Z6, which still takes pole position in our Best Camera buying guide. Joining it on the podium was the Panasonic S1R, which took the prize for EISA Advanced Full-Frame Camera, while Fujifilm celebrated a double camera victory, with its X-T3 being named EISA Advanced Camera 2019-2010, and the GFX 100 grabbing the Camera Innovation award.

Panasonic's S1R impressed the judges enough to grab the EISA Advanced Full-Frame Camera award

Canon wasn't overlooked either, with the Canon EOS RP grabbing the EISA Best Buy Full Frame Camera trophy, while the Sony A6400 secured the EISA Photo/Video Camera prize. Sony also won an award for its Real Time Eye AF feature, which has appeared on recent models like the Alpha A9 and Cyber-shot RX100 VII.

Lenses have also been recognized, with Canon's latest RF-series of glass doing particularly well. The RF 50mm f/1.2L USM was named EISA Standard Prime Lens, while the RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM grabbed the EISA Standard Zoom Lens award and the RF 28-70mm f/2L USM was named EISA Lens Innovation. Canon's EF line also got some love, with the EF 600mm f/4L IS III USM awarded the prize for EISA Super-Telephoto Prime Lens 2019-2020.

The Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM won the Portrait Prime Lens award

Sony's optics also impressed the judges, with its FE 135mm f/1.8 GM, FE 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS and FE 24mm f/1.4 GM all winning in their respective categories, while Nikon grabbed the EISA Professional Standard Zoom Lens gong for its NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S

Third-party manufacturers Tamron and Sigma grabbed two awards each, Tamron for its 35-150mm f/2.8-4 Di VC OSD and 17-28mm f/2.8 Di III RXD and Sigma for its 60-600mm f/4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM | Sports and 70-200mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM | Sports

A full list of the awards is below.

EISA Awards 2019-2020 winners (Photography Expert Group)


  • EISA ADVANCED CAMERA 2019-2020 - Fujifilm X-T3  
  • EISA ADVANCED FULL-FRAME CAMERA 2019-2020 - Panasonic Lumix DC-S1R  
  • EISA CAMERA INNOVATION 2019-2020 - Fujifilm GFX100  
  • EISA CAMERA OF THE YEAR 2019-2020 - Nikon Z6  
  • EISA COMPACT CAMERA 2019-2020 - Sony Cyber-shot RX100 VI  

Lenses and others

  • EISA PORTRAIT PRIME LENS 2019-2020 - Sony FE 135mm F1.8 GM   
  • EISA STANDARD PRIME LENS 2019-2020 - Canon RF 50mm F1.2L USM  
  • EISA STANDARD ZOOM LENS 2019-2020 - Canon RF 24-105mm F4L IS USM  
  • EISA SUPER-TELEPHOTO PRIME LENS 2019-2020 - Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS III USM  
  • EISA TELEPHOTO PRIME LENS 2019-2020 - Sony FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS  
  • EISA WIDEANGLE PRIME LENS 2019-2020 - Sony FE 24mm F1.4 GM  
  • EISA WIDEANGLE ZOOM LENS 2019-2020 - Tamron 17-28mm F2.8 Di III RXD 
  • EISA BEST BUY ZOOM LENS 2019-2020 - Tamron 35-150mm F2.8-4 Di VC OSD  
  • EISA LENS INNOVATION 2019-2020 - Canon RF 28-70mm F2L USM 
  • EISA PROFESSIONAL STANDARD ZOOM LENS 2019-2020 - Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S  
  • EISA PROFESSIONAL TELEPHOTO ZOOM LENS 2019-2020 - Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 DG OS HSM | Sports 
  • EISA TELEPHOTO ZOOM LENS 2019-2020 - Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM | Sports  
  • EISA PHOTO INNOVATION 2019-2020 - Sony Real-time Eye AF  
  • EISA PHOTO SOFTWARE 2019-2020 - Skylum Luminar  
Categories: Tech News

Capital One hack may have been bigger than thought

Thu, 08/15/2019 - 07:15

The hacker behind the Capital One data breach may have also been responsible for attacks on multiple other companies, law forces have said.

Paige Thompson may have stolen data from more than 30 other organisations, according to US officials investigating the case after uncovering more evidence.

The information of around 106 million Capital One customers in the US and Canada had their personal details stolen in the attack, with information such as names, addresses and phone numbers all at risk.

'Criminal conduct'

In new court documents revealed this week, US prosecutors said they were widening their investigation into Paige A. Thompson, a 33-year-old former software engineer, suspected of carrying out the attack.

Ex-Amazon worker Thompson was reported to police by a GitHub forum users after she apparently boasted of the attack online.

The other affected companies are unknown, but some reports have named the likes of Unicredit, Vodafone, Ford, Michigan State University, and the Ohio Department of Transportation among possible victims.

"The government's investigation over the last two weeks has revealed that Thompson's theft of Capital One's data was only one part of her criminal conduct," a memo from law officials said.

"The servers seized from Thompson's bedroom during the search of Thompson's residence, include not only data stolen from Capital One, but also multiple terabytes of data stolen by Thompson from more than 30 other companies, educational institutions, and other entities."

US prosecutors said the "data varies significantly in both type and amount," but, based on currently available information, "much of the data appears not to be data containing personal identifying information."

They added that the case against Thompson seems open-and-shut, stating, "the evidence that Thompson committed this crime is overwhelming."

In total, Capital One believes the breach affected approximately 100 million individuals in the US, as well as six million more in Canada. 

Around 140,000 US social security numbers and 80,000 linked bank account numbers are thought to be compromised, with about one million social insurance numbers belonging to Canadian credit card customers also affected.

Aside from names and dates of birth, the hacker also managed to obtain credit scores, limits, balances, payment history and contact information.

Via ZDNet

Categories: Tech News

Microsoft Edge now speaks to you like a real person

Thu, 08/15/2019 - 07:03

Microsoft Edge can now read websites aloud to you using voices so natural, they could be mistaken for real people.

The new voices are included in the latest Edge Insider builds, and we expect it to appear in the release version very soon. To give them a try, grab either the Developer or Canary build, navigate to a site, select a chunk of text, right-click and click 'Read aloud selection'.

You'll be given various voices to choose from. Some of these sound a little clunky and robotic, but the new options marked 'online' sound surprisingly lifelike. According to Microsoft, "Powered by deep neural networks, these voices are the most natural sounding voices available today."

That's because they use the JavaScript SpeechSynthesis API, which lets developers create realistic speech online. You'll need an internet connection to use the new voices, but since you're already browsing the web, that shouldn't be a problem.

The voices are still in testing, so you might run into a few issues, but in our tests they worked flawlessly.

Listen up

A speaking browser can make everyday web browsing much easier if you have dyslexia or a vision impairment. It can also be handy if you're learning a second language, or just have your hands full and want to catch up on the news while you're busy with something else.

Many other applications (such as Amazon Kindle for PC and Microsoft Office) can also read text out loud, but if your favorite apps don't support it, check out our guide to the best free text-to-speech software.


Categories: Tech News

Best full-frame camera 2019: 10 advanced DSLRs and mirrorless cameras

Thu, 08/15/2019 - 06:57

Full-frame cameras are aimed at photographers who want the best image quality possible without having to resort to medium format models. So what's the best full-frame camera right now?

It used to be a fairly easy decision to make, as full-frame DSLRs were only made by two manufacturers – and you were lucky if you could afford them. Slowly, other brands joined, and full-frame cameras got cheaper and cheaper, before full-frame mirrorless cameras arrived and changed everything.

Today, Sony rules the full-frame mirrorless roost with the most models, but it's been joined by the likes of Canon, Nikon and Panasonic in the past year, all racing to get their systems populated with tempting camera bodies and high-performing lens options to match. There's no doubt that full-frame photography is not only more exciting than ever, but more accessible too.

So what makes a full-frame camera so special? Most entry-level and mid-price DSLRs and mirrorless cameras sport an APS-C sized sensor, with the physical dimensions of these measuring around 23.6 x 15.7mm. A full-frame sensor, on the other hand, has larger dimensions of around 36 x 24mm. That's the same size as a frame of 35mm film, hence the name 'full-frame', and is around 2.5x larger than an APS-C sized sensor. 

This allows for larger photosites on the sensor, which deliver better light-gathering capabilities, which in turn means better image quality – especially at higher sensitivities.

Full-frame DSLRs used to be the preserve of professional photographers, but as the costs have dropped and lower-cost models have started to appear, many serious amateurs and enthusiasts can now enjoy the benefits of full-frame photography, whether it's in DSLR or mirrorless form. You can even get full-frame compact cameras, although these are both niche and pricey.

We reckon the best full-frame camera right now is the Nikon Z6, thanks to its blend of excellent performance, light body, masses of features and a relatively low price. It's just as great for video as it is for stills and we love the way to handles.  

To get an idea of what kind of DSLR or mirrorless camera you can get at different price points, try our Best DSLR and Best mirrorless camera buying guides. Otherwise, here's our pick of the best full-frame cameras, both DSLR and mirrorless, you can buy right now.

Our top ten list of best full-frame camera starts below, but we wanted to highlight a camera that, while, not the the latest and greatest, is still a great buy. Sony's Alpha A7 II has since been replaced by the A7 III (which is in position 2, below), but it's a great option if you're on more of a budget, or you want to spend more money on lenses. Still available new (as is the even more affordable Alpha A7), the A7 II includes a great 24.2MP full-frame sensor, a high-resolution electronic viewfinder and a very capable AF system. Handling isn't quite as refined as the newer Mark III version, but for the incredibly tempting price this can be overlooked. You'll be hard pressed to find a better full-frame camera for this kind of money right now.

Best full-frame cameras in 2019

Nikon's Z6 was the first of two cameras in Nikon's Z system, and while it's no longer the newest model around, it retains its spot at the top of our best full-frame camera list. It's our pick thanks to a brilliant blend of features, performance, handling and price: the 24.5MP sensor delivers beautiful results with great color reproduction and fine detail, while the 273-point AF system works very well and has excellent frame coverage. There's also an impressive 12fps burst shooting mode, sensibly laid-out controls, and a large, bright electronic viewfinder. Existing Nikon user? The FTZ adapter means you'll be able to use your existing F mount lenses too (though check compatibility for older lenses). All this makes the Z6 a brilliant choice for the enthusiast photographer or pro photographer looking for a second body. We can't wait to see where this system goes from here.

The A7 III has become a firm favourite among enthusiasts and pros these last couple of years, and for good reason. In contrast to the more niche A7R IV and A7S II, the A7 III is a camera for everyone, whether they shoot stills or videos, action or static subjects, indoors or out. The sensor has a modest 24MP but its backlit design makes for better light gathering, while the advantage of sensor-based stabilization means you don't need to worry about this being in your lenses, which is something many other mirrorless cameras don't have as standard. Add to that a 710-shot battery life – impressive for a mirrorless camera – a slew of video-specific features and the EyeAF feature for tack-sharp portraits and you have yourself quite some camera.

Nikon's first full-frame mirrorless camera along with the Z6, the Z7 is triumph. As a first-generation camera we should expect the odd hiccup, but the Z7 has been crafted with consideration and it behaves far better than we would expect. A solid sensor, combined with effective image stabilization, together with a beautiful EVF, excellent handling, competent AF performance and great response throughout form the bones of what make this camera such a pleasure to use. The fact that Nikon allows you to use F-mount lenses through the FTZ adapter also makes the journey from DSLR to mirrorless relatively painless if you've already built up a collection of lenses. Like what you see but cash is tight? The 24MP Nikon Z6 (position 1) deserves your attention.

The D850 may have had some of its thunder stolen by the similar Z7 (position 3) but it retains a lot of appeal. It's one of the most advanced DSLRs we've ever tested, with the winning combination of a 45MP full-frame sensor and 7fps burst shooting at its heart, and a wonderful 153-point AF system that makes light work of keeping up with moving subjects. Videos are recorded in 4K quality and are top notch, while build and design are as close to perfect as it gets right now. Its weight and size make the Z7 a little more desirable for most users, but if you're shooting sports or other moving subjects and plan on getting the most out of that focusing system, it's a cracking option.

Like the look of the A7 III but want more pixels? Then the 42.2MP Alpha A7R III is the answer. Not only do you get twice the number of pixels, but Sony has managed to keep the burst rate at 10fps. And while the 399-point AF system isn't quite as advanced at the 693-point system used in the Alpha A9 and A7 III, it's still performs brilliantly – especially with the camera's Eye AF mode that locks onto your subject's eye. Like the Nikon D850 (position 4), the Alpha A7R III means you no longer have to sacrifice performance for resolution or vice versa, while it's versatility means it's just at home perched on a mountain as it is in a studio or out shooting action.

The EOS 5D Mark IV pretty much tweaks and improves everything the Mark III offered. This includes a brilliant 30.4MP sensor that delivers pin-sharp results, together with an advanced and sophisticated 61-point AF system, a pro-spec performance, 4K video and some very polished handling. We have a few reservations, such as the crop factor and inefficient Motion JPEG option when shooting 4K videos, while the 30MP sensor resolution and 7fps burst rate aren't as competitive at this price point as they used to be when the camera was first launched. Still, if you're a Canon user looking for the very best DSLR for a wide range of purposes, this is still very much it.

Canon's first full-frame mirrorless camera, the EOS R, delighted in some ways and frustrated in others, but the EOS RP made a much more positive impression. While technically a more junior model and not as fully featured, its much smaller and lighter body, together with a far nicer price, means that it's far more accessible for those who were hoping to make the jump to mirrorless but didn't want to stretch all the way to the EOS R. Without only around 4MP difference between the two you're not really sacrificing much in terms of sensor resolution, while the responsive touchscreen, fast autofocus and deep buffer makes it a pleasure to use in all kinds of situations. Let's hope Canon fills out the lens range with some smaller and more affordable options, as most current options aren't quite the most suitable partners. 

By the standard of today's DSLRs and mirrorless camera, the D750 is somewhat dated. It employs Nikon's older (but respected) 51-point AF system, for example, and it can't capture 4K video, only Full HD clips to 60p. It doesn't even have a touchscreen, but it's still well worth its place on this list thanks to its excellent build, great handling, solid 24.3MP sensor and affordable price. If you don't need the tricks of modern DSLRs but you just want something reliable that produces excellent images in good light and bad, the D750 is well worth considering – particularly at this price.

The S1R offers some very impressive tech in a supremely rugged body. The 5.7million-dot viewfinder is, without question, the most impressive on the market right now, while stellar video quality, great image stabilisation and a huge buffer all put a big smile on our face too. At the time of its release, the 47.3MP sensor had the highest number of pixels on any full-frame mirrorless camera too, although it's now been beaten by the Sony A7R IV. Its main party trick, however, is the ability to output 187MP images; quite how often you'll need to print your images to the size of a small country is another matter, but this clearly gives you massive scope for extreme cropping, enlargements to all sizes and homing in on the smaller details in the scene. We have some reservations with the autofocus system, and it's a little on the beefy side too, but for its combination of build, features and overall execution, the S1R scores many points.

If you're a Canon user that's itching to get into full-frame shooting, but you can't quite stretch to the EOS 5D Mark IV, the EOS 6D Mark II is one of your best options. It might not shoot 4K videos and but its has a respectable 26.2MP full-frame sensor, the excellent Dual Pixel CMOS AF systems for swift and fluid focus, and a touch-sensitive LCD screen that flips all the way around to face the front. Other sweeteners include Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth, and compatibility with hundreds of older lenses, both from Canon and third parties. Not sold? The other option is the EOS RP mirrorless camera, which is only a touch pricier right now when bought with its EOS-to-RF adapter, which allows you to keep using EF lenses on Canon's latest breed of mirrorless camera.

Also consider...

Nothing from the above take your fancy? There are a couple of other options that you may want to look at.

The A9 may now be two years old, but for sports and action shooters it's still pretty much the best option around. Part of that is down to the core specs, which include a superb 693-point AF system, a huge buffer, oversampled 4K video recording and 20fps burst shooting with no viewfinder blackout. But another reason is because of how Sony has continued to support it throughout its lifetime, recently blessing it with firmware that radically improves the stickiness of the autofocus system. The camera is capable of not just keeping an excellent lock on subjects as they move around, but also maintaining this as obstacles present themselves, and that huge buffer lets you keep shooting for extended periods of time. It's not cheap, but if you're shooting action, you won't find a better mirrorless body right now.

Now over three years old, but the D5 is still Nikon's flagship DSLR and a formidable performer when it comes to capturing action. The 20.8MP sensor might seem a bit stingy, but it means the D5 can shoot at 12fps continuous shooting, while the extended ISO range of ISO 3,280,000 has never been seen before in a camera. That's even before we get to the autofocus system; with a coverage of 173 AF points (99 of which are cross-type), the sophistication and speed of the AF is staggering. The ability to shoot 4K video is restricted to three minutes, however, but that aside the D5 is a phenomenal camera that's used by professionals the world over.

Not sure whether to buy a DSLR or mirrorless camera? Check out our guide video below.

Categories: Tech News

Here’s more evidence Dell is working on a laptop with a foldable display

Thu, 08/15/2019 - 06:54

Another Dell patent has emerged which indicates that the firm is working on some kind of a laptop with a foldable display, or in this case, a dual-screen affair – concepts which are more or less the same thing, although their implementation is obviously different.

In the case of using a pair of separate screens – as opposed to a continuous OLED film as highlighted in a previous Dell patent – the key is obviously to make the device’s displays blend together as seamlessly as possible when unfolded, and this fresh patent, spotted by Windows Latest, is for a hinge which aims to do this.

The design proposed is a “narrow width dual axes” hinge (complete with a gear assembly that’s attached to each screen) which would leave “minimal spacing” between the two displays.

Presumably the idea, then, is that this very minimal gap will contribute to the illusion of the device being just a single screen when it’s unfolded flat on a table or other surface.

As noted in the patent, any hinge mechanism has to be robust for reliability ends, and normally this would interfere with the goal of trying to keep the displays as close together and as seamless as possible – but the key is in Dell’s implementation here.

Dell explains: “Separating a synchronized hinge assembly from a torque mechanism lets width between the axles be driven by gear size independent of torque needs. The torque mechanism shifts away from the gear mechanism to reduce cap size at gear mechanism, providing a cleaner and more eloquent system appearance.”

Weight of evidence

Of course, just because a patent has been filed doesn’t mean Dell actually intends to use this technology – it could just be a concept the company has played around with, which won’t ever be used in an actual product that hits the shelves.

However, the growing weight of evidence certainly suggests Dell has some kind of laptop with a foldable display in the works, and indeed the company has recently indicated this is the case – although there are still problems to be solved with the execution of such a device.

So, this particular hinge mechanism might just be part of the puzzle of a broader foldable solution.

Rival laptop maker Lenovo already has a ThinkPad X1 tablet with a foldable OLED 2K display that we’ve had the opportunity to play with.

Categories: Tech News

England vs Australia 2nd Test live stream: how to watch Ashes cricket from anywhere

Thu, 08/15/2019 - 06:48

Ashes Cricket is full of traditions. A second Test at Lord's. The ceremonial ringing of the bell. And rain...lots of it. As far as spectacles go, the first encounter will take some beating. But that won't bother the players from England and Australia, who will happily win ugly at Lord's. And for our part, we've put together this guide to watching an England vs Australia 2nd Test live stream from wherever you happen to be in the world.

Every match of an Ashes series is crucial of course, but Australia's fast start really piles the pressure on to the hosts. At 1-1, England would have momentum with them to carry on to the rest of the Test matches. At 2-0, any hope of winning back the Ashes feels like a monumental task.

Steve Smith saved his Australian teammates on day one of the 1st Test before then driving them to the win. The two centuries weren't only a welcome return to the Test fray after his little sandpapering misdemeanour, but also got some pundits talking about him as modern cricket's best batsman. His prized wicket will be a narrative that runs throughout this year's Ashes series.

Aussie skipper Tim Paine isn't resting on his laurels and has decided to rotate his starting team by resting James Pattinson from the seam attack. Other than that it will be an unchanged eleven for the 2nd Test. Joe Root has been forced to replace legendary seamer Jimmy Anderson with new kid on the block Jofra Archer. And Moeen Ali has been mercifully dropped for this one, allowing Somerset spinner Jack Leach to see what he can do to turn fortunes England's way.

Follow the instructions below to watch all of the coverage of the Ashes from Lord's. We'll tell you how to grab an England vs Australia 2nd Test live stream from pretty much anywhere on Earth.

Watch the 2nd England vs Australia Test away from your country

In the UK, Australia, India or the US and looking to find out how to watch the second Ashes Test? We've got all the details about the broadcaster with the rights to show the series in your region below. 

But if you're away from home country - maybe abroad on business or on holiday - but still want to tune in to your domestic Ashes coverage then you'll run in to issues. Because of broadcaster geo-blocking, you won't be able to watch online from overaseas. By using a VPN however, you'll be able to watch the game without having to resort to watching a potentially illegal feed from a dubious website.

How to watch the Ashes 2nd Test in the UK

Live stream the 2019 Ashes 2nd Test in Australia for FREE

How to watch England vs Australia: live stream in India

How to live stream England vs Australia in North America

How to get an Ashes 2nd Test live stream in New Zealand

Categories: Tech News

Huawei Mate X release date pushed back, but next version may have even more screens

Thu, 08/15/2019 - 02:37

The foldable Huawei Mate X is unlikely to come out before November, which means a delay from the previously slated September launch, TechRadar learned at a press event at Huawei’s Shenzhen headquarters today.

There's no possibility of a September launch date anymore, which leaves the door open for the Samsung Galaxy Fold to be the first foldable to market. However, the company is certain the Mate X will launch before the end of 2019.

We also got wind of more exciting news: the next Mate X could have more screens, and it might come out as soon as next year.

Where will the Huawei Mate X follow-up fit more displays? By swapping out the steel rear cover in the current Huawei Mate X with a glass back, and those glass surfaces could become usable, touchable displays. 

It’s a big engineering challenge to say the least – it might end up being years before the issues are worked out and we get glass backs on foldable phones. We don't even have them on the upcoming Mate X's 8-inch front display yet.

The Huawei Mate X release date is likely being pushed to November – but ideally not any later, as the company wants to get it out in time for the holiday shopping window before the Chinese Spring Festival in early 2020.

Mate X changes – and some that didn't pan out 

At Huawei’s Shenzhen HQ, we saw an earlier ‘cert’ version of the Mate X, one that's slightly different from the phone spotted in the hands of Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei in late July. The only changes coming to the final version are a slimmer lock button that runs flush when the phone is placed flat, and refinements in the 'Falcon hinge' - but the hinge won't be carbon fiber, as some have predicted.

Here's another plot twist that almost went down: the Mate X engineering team had tried other refinements – including replacing the steel back with an aluminum one, which would have saved 20g off the final weight.

Unfortunately, when the team tried this a few months ago (testing it out sometime between February and today), the aluminum material wasn’t strong enough. The steel back will remain in the final Mate X after all.

But the Mate X engineering  team had a bunch of other ideas, too. One of those is the aforementioned glass back. Another is an 'sheet' display - think of it like a roll-out sun shade - that could extend from the bottom of the phone. The tech for that is still years out (even up to a decade) from being feasible, but it shows where the Huawei engineering team is thinking. 

But, right now the Mate X front display is covered in plastic, as glass simply doesn't fold – yet.

There are clearly big challenges standing in the way, especially in the assembly process. The engineering team would need to deal with new gluing complications given the additional glass surfaces (and presumably their touchable display properties). 

Categories: Tech News

Father’s Day gift ideas for 2019: 15 great gifts for the tech-savvy Aussie dad

Thu, 08/15/2019 - 02:11

We know that it’s hard to shop for dad, but that doesn’t mean you need succumb to the temptation of a multipack of socks and undies, or a necktie he's probably never going to wear. There’s a different tack you can take – and it doesn’t involve his favourite aftershave, the best outdoor barbie or the most convenient gift card you can find. 

Everyone loves laying their hands on the latest tech, so we recommend you find a cool new gadget to gift dad this Father's day so you can help transform how he spends his free time or gets his work done.

And while it's easy to suggest a range of power banks and storage devices, we're trying something different and have put together a list of 15 gizmos we know any father would love. Our recommendations are across a range of price points, so there'll be something suitable for every budget and whatever you decide to get him, it's sure to make him feel like the superdad he is.

In fact, you might even find a little something for yourself in our list – after all, there's no rule that says you can't treat yourself to something special on Father's Day.

  • If there's nothing on our list that tickles your fancy, our colleagues at Australian T3 magazine have put together a free digital gift guide that you can download as an ebook.
Bose Frames

They may look like any old retro-style sunglasses, but there's more to the Bose Frames than meets the eye. There's tiny speakers hidden in the arms of the glasses that will serenade dad with his favourite tunes and people around him will barely even realise! There's also audio augmented reality features on-board, with apps available that make excellent use of the tech on the Frames – there are apps for the golfer or a tourist looking for information on a city's major landmarks. Dad can even get on stage with Elvis if he's a fan. There's three hours of battery life, after which, sadly, the Bose Frames go back to being regular sunglasses. Authorised prescription lenses are currently not available, but Bose is in talks with third parties to make the appeal of the Frames more mainstream.

Read more: Bose Frames review

Nanoleaf Canvas

Smart lights aren't new any more, but then there's really nothing quite like the Nanoleaf Canvas on the market. These light panels are are touch- and voice-sensitive, and come with Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri support. Once up set up in dad's (or your) chosen design, they convert any boring wall into an interactive canvas of fun, colour and life. The Canvas has a rhythm module built in, so the lights will 'dance' to the music playing or, to spice things up, the family can play games on it together. If there's smart lights already set up, and they work with HomeKit, then each Canvas panel can be used a control button for different lighting scenes.

Read more: Nanoleaf Canvas review

Amazon Kindle ereaders

If your dad is an avid reader, give him the convenience of carrying his entire library around with him. The latest version of the Kindle Paperwhite is the best yet. With Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity globally, downloading books anywhere is a breeze. The screen light is easily adjusted to suit the reading environment and the battery generally lasts a couple of weeks between charges, even with the light on. And it’s the most cost-effective Kindle, too.

To truly pamper your book-loving dad, however, you might want to step up to the latest edition of the Kindle Oasis. It offers the best e-reading experience money can buy, and features a very easy-to-use navigation system in a beautifully designed device that now comes with adjustable hues for the reading light to make night-time reading a more pleasant experience.

Read more: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2018) review | Amazon Kindle Oasis hands-on review

Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Earbuds

If dad likes to shut the world out when he listens to his favourite music, podcasts or audiobooks, he doesn’t need to wear a massive set of cans on his head. If he doesn’t like the feel of over- or on-ear headphones, but still would like the best noise-cancelling headphones money can buy, then look no further than the brand-new Sony WF-1000XM3. These true wireless ‘buds boast a great design, have very good battery life and best-in-class noise cancellation to boot. 

Read more: Sony WF-1000XM3 review

Bose QC 35 II

Does dad feel insecure wearing true wireless ‘buds? If he thinks they’ll fall out any moment, then perhaps you’ll want to get him one of the best and the most popular noise-cancelling over-ear headphones money can buy. And for that, you’ll be looking for the Bose QuietComfort 35 II. The ability to call on a voice assistant is on-board, as is Bose’s new audio AR tech, which allows users to access the same apps they would on the Bose Frames mentioned above. It makes the Bose QC35 IIs a lot more feature packed than its competition, and a lot more fun to use.

Read more: Bose QuietComfort 35 II review

Sonos One

Smart speakers are flooding the market, but there is none better than the Sonos One. Where this speaker stands out is in its excellent sound quality and the ability to call on not just one but two voice assistants. Sonos has now added both Alexa and Google Assistant support to the Sonos One and, if dad already has an existing Sonos speaker in the house somewhere, he can very easily have a multi-room setup with the two. With voice assistants on board, it’s of course easy to control all smart home devices while having his Spotify playlists crooning as well.

Read more: Sonos One review

Lenovo Smart Clock

If you think smart speakers are so, well, last year, then perhaps you’d like to get dad a smart display instead. However, they can be rather large if space is an issue. So how about an unassuming smart clock instead? The Lenovo Smart Clock is an affordable device that will not just wake dad up every morning but will handle voice commands for connected gadgets as well. And it will work as a bedside speaker too! Dad can also charge his phone, thanks to the USB charging port on the clock. And he won’t need to worry about privacy in the bedroom as there’s no built-in camera on the display.  

Read more: Lenovo Smart Clock review

UE Boom 3

For those who love to have their tunes blasting through the house to “boom! shake-shake-shake the room” – or just in the shower – one of the best portable Bluetooth speakers is the UE Boom 3. With an IP67 water- and dustproof design, powerful bass and a lightweight body for portability, it’s one of the best companions during life’s spills and thrills, be it at the beach or the pool. And if it takes a dunk in the water, it will float, so dad won’t have to take a deep dive to retrieve it. It has a wireless range of 15 feet and a battery life of 20 hours to keep the party rocking.

Read more: Ultimate Ears Boom 3 review

Nintendo Switch

There’s no age restrictions when it comes to playing video games, they’re for everyone to enjoy. And if dad loves a spot of gaming, then Nintendo’s hybrid console – if he doesn’t already have it – makes for an excellent gift. It offers the best of both worlds – for both home use and for playing on the go. And with an ever-growing library of amazing titles to choose from, dad will never have a dull moment. 

However, the new Nintendo Switch Lite is already up for pre-order, if you think dad would be willing to wait for a belated Father’s Day gift. It’s designed solely for handheld gaming, with no video output to TV. 

Read more: Nintendo Switch review

DJI Spark

Has dad ever tried flying a drone? If he’s found it intimidating in the past, introduce him to this pint-sized quadcopter from DJI. The Spark is small enough, and safe enough, to take off and land on the palm of your (or dad’s) hand, and can be controlled with gestures. Taking selfies, getting it to take off and land – it’s the closest thing there is to feel like a Jedi. There are plenty of modes on the app to explore the world from the air, making this perfect for beginners to get started with aerial photography. Being so small and light does have a drawback, though – just make sure dad isn’t flying this little fella around when it’s windy.

Read more: DJI Spark review

Canon EOS RP

Full-frame mirrorless cameras are all the rage these days, with manufacturers trying to outdo each other with their latest snappers. While most of them new cameras are expensive, Canon has one that’s under $2,000. So if dad is into photography, and you really would like to get him something special, the Canon EOS RP won’t disappoint. While it’s no secret that some people love it while others think Canon has made too many compromises, we really don’t have too many complaints with the camera. While you get what you pay for, the image quality is superb and Canon has never disappointed when it comes to colour reproduction. And with the R-mount lens adaptor also available, it’s possible to use the older EF lenses with the EOS RP.

Read more: Canon EOS RP review

Philips Hue lights

Smart things were designed to make our lives easier, and a smart lighting system does more. They add ambience, allowing you to change the hue and the colour of the light, provided you have a bulb that supports those features. More importantly, they actually save money in the long run, reducing energy consumption and thus the energy bill. And one of the best smart lighting systems money can buy is from Philips Hue. If dad hasn’t already begun to set up a smart light system, there are starter kits to choose from – one where the hue of the light can be changed between white and yellow, while another that adds coloured bulbs to the system. They all need the Hue Bridge to work, which is connected to the home’s modem, the setup is simple and quick and makes a world of difference to the home’s ambience.

Read more: Philips Hue review

Samsung Galaxy Watch

There are plenty of smartwatches to choose from these days, but the Samsung Galaxy Watch stands apart from the crowd by looking like a sophisticated, classic wristwatch. Its fitness tracking is one of its best features, and it’s got a rather decent four-day battery life. Its rotating bezel will take you on a tour of its user interface which, may we say, is one of the slickest operating systems we’ve seen. More importantly, it works with both Android and iOS phones, although it should be noted that iOS support is limited.  

Read more: Samsung Galaxy Watch review

Tile Mate Bluetooth tracker

If dad is someone who constantly keeps misplacing his keys or wallet, you could make it easy for him to locate his belongings by gifting him a Bluetooth tracker. And the best ones are from Tile. The Tile Mate is the most affordable option and can locate any item that’s about 150 feet away from your dad’s phone. That battery lasts about 12 months and can easily be replaced. The Tile Mate now also comes with digital assistant support, so locating lost keys is as simple as asking, “Hey Google, ask Tile to find my keys” or “Alexa, ask Tile to find the remote”.

Audio-Technica AT-LP60 turntable

It’s time for dad to get those dusty vinyls he’s been hoarding in the garage or shed. If he loves his old records, get him an easy-to-use turntable that won’t burn a hole in your pocket. The AT-LP60 from Audio-Technica is completely automatic, so it will queue an LP and then return the arm to its resting position without dad needing to lift a finger. It has a built-in phono preamp and the needle can be replaced if it wears out. It’s by far the best turntable there is for beginners.

Categories: Tech News

Apple claims controversial iPhone battery warning is a ‘safety’ feature

Wed, 08/14/2019 - 22:13

Last week, it was discovered that iPhone users would lose Battery Health functionality when replacing their battery via a third-party service, leaving them unable to see diagnostics on how the battery is performing day-to-day and more broadly.

iPhone users who have had the batteries on their devices replaced by third parties were receiving the following blatant error message, even if a genuine battery was installed: ”Unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine Apple battery. Health information not available for this battery”.

Apple responds

Apple has now responded to criticism that the message is purely designed to direct customers to its own, typically more expensive, replacement program by claiming that it’s a matter of user safety.

Speaking to The Verge, an Apple spokesperson said, “This information is there to help protect our customers from damaged, poor quality, or used batteries which can lead to safety or performance issues. This notification does not impact the customer’s ability to use the phone after an unauthorized repair.”

It could be reasonably argued that the inability to view the health, performance, and life expectancy of a battery does impact the customer’s ability to use the phone to its full extent.

As for Apple’s case, however, it could also be argued that the company can’t guarantee that the diagnostic data it’s displaying is accurate when the replacement has been undertaken by a third party, even if the battery itself is authentic.

Other controversies

The legal implications for Apple if it were to display the diagnostic data from batteries replaced by a third party are unclear and would, likely, vary from region to region.

Last year, in Australia, Apple was fined AU$9 million by the country’s consumer watchdog after it told customers they weren’t entitled to repair or refund for their bricked iOS devices due to them having undergone third-party repairs.

The court found that “the mere fact that an iPhone or iPad had been repaired by someone other than Apple did not, and could not, result in the consumer guarantees ceasing to apply, or the consumer’s right to a remedy being extinguished”.

At the end of 2017, Apple also began to offer cheaper battery replacements for older iPhones due to a controversy dubbed BatteryGate. 

Essentially, the more recent versions of iOS would throttle the CPU on older iPhones in order to maintain reasonable battery life, but Apple didn’t make this clear enough to users. It’s one of the main reasons the tech giant first implemented the Battery Health feature in iOS 12.


As for the current controversy, Apple has told The Verge that users who are getting the ‘unauthorized’ warning message but believe that their battery is in fact authorized should take their device back to the service that replaced it in order to verify it.

This should re-enable the Battery Health functionality, but for those that have had their battery replaced by a third-party business, Apple currently isn’t offering a solution.

Categories: Tech News

Upcoming GoPro Hero8 action cams shown off in new leaked images

Wed, 08/14/2019 - 21:53

GoPro has become a name synonymous with action cameras and, historically, each year the company has launched a new range of its superb snappers in September. The GoPro Hero6 Black arrived late September 2017, while the GoPro Hero7 Black (along with its cheaper siblings, the Hero7 Silver and the Hero7 White) came along exactly a year later in 2018.

So it should probably come as no surprise that rumors and leaks of the next generation of GoPros have begun to emerge from the woodwork.

Today, photography news site Photo Rumors has unearthed images of what appears to be a GoPro Hero8 snapper. While the leaked images aren’t particularly sharp, a grey figure 8 on the side of one does strongly hint that this is the next generation of GoPro camera. The pictures also indicate that GoPro has redesigned the Hero8 in order to accomodate new optional accessories, including a microphone, an external display and an LED light.

We have previously heard hints of a redesign. Back in May, GoPro CEO Nick Woodman revealed that the company was looking to refresh the entire range across all the price points. That could also imply we’ll see not just a radically revised GoPro Hero8 Black, but possibly a Hero8 Silver and Hero8 White as well.

Expect even more buttery-smooth video

The upcoming GoPro Hero8 range will retain its predecessors' 4K video shooting capabilities, but rumors suggest it will double the ante, with the Hero8 Black potentially capable of recording at up 120fps at 4K (as opposed to the 60fps on the Hero7 Black), while Full HD 1080p videos could be shot at up to 480fps.

It's also anticipated that the eighth gen action camera will house the brand new GP2 processor under the hood. If that’s the case, we should see a marked improvement in performance over the (admittedly already excellent) GoPro Hero7 Black. The new processor could potentially improve the camera’s low-light performance and make the superb HyperSmooth image stabilization feature even more silky.

A 360-degree view

While discussing the company's Q1 2019 earnings results in May, Woodward also mentioned that it's expecting to announce a next-generation spherical camera in the fourth quarter of 2019. If that’s true, that's likely to be a successor to the GoPro Fusion that was released in mid-2018.

We haven’t had any word on what the Fusion 2 will be like, but the original is capable of shooting 5.2K resolution videos at up to 30fps. However, the current camera’s ‘over-capture’ feature – which converts 360-degree footage into regular widescreen videos – is quite time-consuming, meaning it's a product perhaps best suited to professionals. Hopefully, GoPro will make a follow-up more user-friendly to give it mainstream appeal.

All this is still speculation, of course, but if GoPro sticks to its usual routine, we’ll likely have an official announcement for the eighth-generation action cameras (and perhaps even the Fusion 2) sometime next month.

Categories: Tech News

Currys is offering the Surface Laptop 2 for just £8.79 to A-Level students

Wed, 08/14/2019 - 19:01

There are loads of Back to School deals out there, but this might be the best one we’ve ever seen, with Currys PC World offering A-Level students the chance to buy the Surface Laptop 2 for just £8.79 – a huge saving of 99%!

Of course, there are some caveats to this incredible deal. First of all, you must be a student who has just got their A-Level results – and you’ll need to scan in proof of your results to claim the deal.

Stock is also incredibly limited, with just 10 Surface Laptop 2 devices available for the deal. When they’re gone, the deal is over.

To get the deal, students need to visit a special website that Currys PC World has created for the promotion, and scan in and upload their A-Level results by 11:59PM Thursday August 22. Then, 10 lucky students will be picked to buy the Surface Laptop 2 for just £8.79.

This deal is only available to A-Level students, but if you're not comfortable uploading your results, or you're not one of the 10 lucky students picked for this deal, then Currys is running other Back to School offers for students getting ready for college and university.

This includes 10% off all Surface devices, including the Surface headphones, and starting August 14, the Surface Laptop 2 and Surface Book will get 10% discounts.

While this is technically more a competition than a deal, the chance to get a Surface Laptop 2 to take to university for so cheap is certainly tempting...

Categories: Tech News