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Updated: 1 hour 57 min ago

The Samsung Galaxy Fold just changed the future of smartphones

Wed, 02/20/2019 - 20:04

“Buckle your seatbelt, the future is about to begin.”

Those were the words of Samsung’s CEO DJ Koh on stage at Samsung Unpacked, the launch event for a phone that’s going to shape the way we use smartphones for the next decade.

Koh was actually talking about the new Galaxy S10 range when he said the above, but it’s far more pertinent to today's real showstopper: the Samsung Galaxy Fold.

It might sound overzealous, but the Fold is going to be one of the iconic devices of the next 10 years, something that sets the tone for not just phones but portable electronics in general. 

Koh alluded to the problem on stage tonight: that there’s a belief there’s nothing left in the smartphone world to inspire users. That's probably true with the current form factor.

There’s no magical, pinch-and-zoom interface that the iPhone brought. There’s no incredible battery life or awe-inspiring camera. Everything is the much-maligned black rectangle.


But what we saw on stage tonight in the Galaxy Fold, a handset that folds outwards to show a large 7.3-inch screen, was the Promethean phone that we’ll look back on in years to come, a device that sparked a change in the desires of phone buyers.

There’s a hankering for something new, something innovative, the next ‘big thing’ that’s never satisfied in phone buyers - and a handset that folds out, that’s both a smartphone and a tablet in one, is just the thing for that. 

This claim sounds like jumping the gun a little bit, and that’s understandable. The Galaxy Fold is an ugly device when folded down in ‘phone mode’, after all - the 4.7-inch screen sits between two huge bezels, which are even more pronounced given most phone manufacturers are trying to remove them altogether, Samsung included.

Bezel-haters, look away now...

The thin screen dimensions make the phone look longer than it really is, but it has to be that way to accommodate the large screen inside, the thing that really sets this Galaxy Fold apart. 

The main draw is being able to start a task on the 'phone' screen and seamlessly open up the phone to continue on the large 'tablet' portion - it looks so impressive, but that doesn’t mean design compromises weren’t made. It looks thick when folded down, in a world of thin smartphones.

We’re talking about a phone that no member of the media got to touch or test - while the handset on stage looked slick and fluid, it could still be full of bugs. That would make sense given you’ll have to wait at least two months to own one, and the demonstrator might have been under strict instructions to only show certain, working elements. 

Were that to be true though, it would draw an interesting parallel with the first demo of the iPhone, where Jobs reportedly had to press buttons in a very specific order to stop the phone from crashing.


Perhaps you’re wondering why Samsung is being given the credit for changing the way smartphones. After all, it’s offered a very restricted demo of a too-thick phone with an ugly front.

It’s not the first to bring out a flexible smartphone, and in a month it’ll be joined by a host of other smartphone manufacturers in showing off a foldable phone. 

But Samsung has been working on flexible displays for years now, and was the first to demo the technology on stage last year (albeit in a weird, silhouetted fashion).

It’s also got the reputation - if the biggest smartphone manufacturer in the world brings out a radical new concept, people outside of early technology adopters are going to sit up and take notice. 

The flexible phone concept needs to be drip-fed into the mainstream, and only brands like Apple and Samsung are capable of doing that at the moment (although it will be interesting to see the impact Huawei has when it shows off its flexible phone next month).

Ouch.

It’s a bold claim to say the Galaxy Fold will be the genesis for the next wave of smartphones, but it seems inevitable that in the future we’ll all be sporting these flexible devices.

Not today though. Not this year. Probably not for half a decade, really. The Samsung Galaxy Fold seems likely to get a limited release worldwide, given the brand didn’t outline big plans for a global release on stage.

What it did say was that the Samsung Galaxy Fold price would start at an eye-watering $1,980 (around £1,500 / AU$2,700). That’s too expensive, and one wonders if it’s on purpose, a way to ward off the masses from buying - and then decrying - a new form factor that needs a few kinks worked out. Early adopters are usually far more forgiving because they have what they want: the new thing.

Even if it was slightly staged, that demo was impressive. The speed of the device was night and day compared to the buggy experience of the world’s first foldable phone, the Royole Flexpai

That was a phone that folded outwards, only had one screen, and got confused easily between open and closed modes. It’s also expensive, and it’s certainly not going to be a mainstream device. 

What the Flexpai did do is bring that buzz, that feeling of something new and groundbreaking. Seeing a display curve and fold was simply incredible, and Samsung possesses the marketing clout and reputation to get the world to take notice.

So sure, the Samsung Galaxy Fold isn’t going to sell in the millions. Perhaps it won’t even sell in the tens of thousands - but that doesn’t matter. In a decade, when we’re all using flexible electronics as part of our daily lives, it was days like today that put us on that path.

The 'three app' multi-tasking does seem too much for a smartphone

There’s no reason to believe that just because it’s created the Galaxy Fold, Samsung will ‘win’ the foldable war. Apple will certainly have something to say when the technology is mature enough, and there are reams of technologically-capable Chinese brands who will want to bring out something even more impressive.

That doesn’t stop the notion of a phone that opens up to a tablet being super cool right now. You might not buy a foldable smartphone today, but today’s launch could well be the reason you own one in the future.

All image credit: Samsung

Categories: Tech News

Best running headphones 2019: our top 10 choices to soundtrack your workouts

Wed, 02/20/2019 - 19:17

Running headphones, a lot like your time in a 10K, are always improving. The latest headphones offer superior connectivity, a more comfortable fit and, best of all, improved sound to make your workout jams sound their absolute best.

That said, thanks to improved technology, the best wireless headphones are giving their wired counterparts a run for their money, so you no longer have to worry about tripping on your headphone wire while running. The best workout headphones will tie the latest and greatest wireless technology with the high battery life you'll need to get you through a long run or day of training.

The best running headphones also go one step further with features like heart rate monitors and AI personal trainers that make the best running headphones the best running gadgets on the market in 2019.

Plus, to top off all of this awesome tech, there is actually plenty of research that proves that music can make you run better. So, with that all out of the way, let’s get started on our list of the best running headphones for every budget.

[Update: Want the latest running headphones on the market? We've just reviewed the V-Moda Bassfit Wireless Earbuds that offer some of the best fits of any headphone we've tried. If your headphones are always falling out, they're absolutely worth checking out.]

While lacking some of the newest running headphone technology, these earbuds more than make up for it in comfort, durability and their inexpensive asking price.

One of the most annoying issues when you’re running is when your earphones come loose or, worse still, fall out. The iSport Victory stay securely snug in your ear throughout your run, thanks to the rubber ‘wings’ and a surprisingly wide variety of ear tip options. Naturally, they’re sweat resistant and, at only 15g, they’re the most lightweight headphones on this list.

And, with 10-hours of Bluetooth battery life, they could feasibly get you through your workday and your post-work run. Sound quality doesn’t quite cut it for regular use and it’s lacking a heart rate monitor but, for the price, they’re still a great simple option for most runners.

Our sole on-ear entry hails from the relatively obscure start-up 66 Audio and stands out in several key facets. Firstly, the BTS Pro earphones offer a ludicrous 40+ hours of continuous playback from a single charge along with an stunning wireless range of 100-feet.

Most Bluetooth headphones give you about 30-feet of leeway, but thanks to the aptX 3D antenna tech you can wander much further away from your mobile device, which is especially handy for track sessions.

For runners who like as much control over sound equalization as they do their fitness levels, the Motion Control app allows effortless control of the sound output.

The native apps (there’s also one for Apple Watch) also have a useful ‘Find My Headphones’ feature too. But most importantly, the sound is phenomenal for the relatively low price and they offer noise-cancelling microphones. 

  •  This product is only available in the US at the time of writing. UK and Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Aftershokz Trekz Titanium Headphones 

Replacing the AfterShokz Trek Titanium is the newer Air model. These are a touch more expensive, but they're lighter and we've found the sound quality has improved as well.

AfterShokz specialize in making wireless options designed in a way that particularly suits urban runners. Sound is delivered through your cheekbones, thanks to bone conducting tech which leaves your ears open, free to hear the traffic around you.

You can keep chatting with those around you easily and if you're in a race you'll be able to hear the cheering from the sidelines too.

What really sets these headphones apart is they're one of the few sets that are 'race-legal' in some countries, as they allow you to hear the commands of marshalls and traffic on open-road courses. If you want to run with music in smaller races, these are really your only option.

We found the Air to be more comfortable than previous AfterShokz models so if you don't mind shelling out a little extra money these will be one of the best for you. Plus they're sweat-proof, have a good secure fit and they can't fall out when you're jogging either as there aren't any earbuds.

The compact, durable and affordable Jaybird X2 in-ear buds proved mighty popular among runners. The new Jaybird X3 neckband offers improvements across the board with an even more favorable price point.

Despite being slightly smaller, they’ve retained the sweat-proof design and surprisingly great sound. Greater control over the audio is also possible due to a new companion MySound app, while the abundance of fitting options means they stay secure in your lugholes.

They’ve also been updated to Bluetooth 4.1, which means longer battery life, although we struggled a little with intermittent Bluetooth dropouts.

Alternatively if you're after an even more premium experience, the Jaybird Tarah Pro earbuds offer higher-quality audio and materials for a somewhat higher $159 (£139/AU$229) price tag.

Read our full Jaybird X3 review

Whoever came up with the expression ‘jack of all trades, master of none,’ never used the KuaiFit Sport headphones. With 8GB of storage they’re a music player, fitness tracker, heart rate monitor, real-time running coach and a pair of wireless headphones all in one.

KuaiFit sells fitness plans created by Olympic athletes and verified coaches as part of its offering, and its headphones will store and deliver voice notifications based on your progress towards goals – all while leaving your phone at home.

The KuaiFit app for iOS and Android will store all your data and, if you want to link up to your phone, play music from Spotify too - although we do wish that was supported offline too...

  • This product is only available in the US at the time of this writing. UK and Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Bose SoundSport Wireless Headphones 

If you need your power song to give even more umph, then the Bose SoundSport might give you exactly that extra push you’re looking for. With the unmistakable sound signature of the US audio heavyweight, these lightweight earbuds feature a comfortable and secure fit thanks to the StayHear+ tips.

For runners with NFC-enabled smartphones and music players, the SoundSport buds can be paired in the blink of an eye. The Bose Connect app also allows music sharing with more than one pair of earbuds, ideal if you’re out running with a buddy (and we love that they name which device is connected, something that's great if you're carrying around a phone, media player and tablet).

The SoundSport range comes in two flavors. For an extra $50 you can pick up the Pulse edition which features a built-in heart rate monitor. Depending on your training method, this could be a worthwhile investment as we've found their heart rate monitor to generally be fairly precise from the ears with these.

Under Armour’s first foray into headphones entrusts the audio tech to a worthy partner: JBL. With a built-in heart rate monitor you can finally ditch the chest strap, while also summoning voice updates on your progress with a simple tap on the right bud.

When paired with the UA Record app you can even configure these updates to be read out at predetermined intervals, so you know whether you’re hitting your zones. The over-the-ear buds also feature 5.8mm dynamic drivers and JBL’s PureBass Performance tech on board.

Combined with JBL’s TwistLock tech, the firm is guaranteeing you a custom and secure fit, meaning you’ll never have to deal with the faff of them falling out mid-run.

Leading the way in a new generation of ‘hearable’ tech, the LifeBEAM Vi combines a voice-powered personal running coach with top-class Harman Kardon audio. The on-board AI uses your heart rate and body temperature to adapt to your fitness level and goals.

If it knows if you’re near a personal best, Vi will spur you on to get you over the line. It will challenge you to match your running cadence with a beat, and will learn your effort levels to offer feedback on your pace.

It can also use your running history to suggest how hard you should push. If you’ve been running the same pace and distance over time, it will suggest ways to shake things up. It even provides contextual advice based on your location and weather conditions.

Voice controls are two-way and you can request things like your heart rate. The buds pull out from a flexible, comfortable neckband that can be worn all day and used for handling calls. It has an iOS and Android Vi Fitness companion app and will sync with Spotify to ensure your power playlist is seamlessly integrated.

  •  This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Bose SoundSport Wireless Headphones 

There’s wireless, and then there’s true wireless. The top-end Jabra Elite Sport are the latter. Beyond the cordless design, the headline feature is the Hear Through tech that allows you to alter the way the buds filter out ambient noise.

If your run takes you from a park to a busy road, a quick button press enables you to pick up your surroundings as well as your tunes. They’re also designed for calls, allowing you to wear one at a time if you desire. Each bud offers two microphones, which help to filter out background noise for the person on the other end of the line.

The on-the-go charging case provides 13.5 hours of battery life in total (similar to Apple’s AirPods), but with just 4.5 hours available from a single charge slower marathoner and ultra runners will probably want to jog on - although for 99% of your training this won't be an issue.

Although not marketed for swimming, they’re also IP67 certified water resistant. The companion app also utilizes the built-in heart rate monitor to enhance your workouts, along with the internal accelerometer to monitor your reps of squats, lunges and the like.

These are expensive buds, but the amount they can do is incredible - for many, they'll be your go-to choice.

The PowerBeats 3 running headphones are yet another pair for of headphones from Beats that aim to keep your tunes pumping while you keep your legs pumping. They may come with the high price that is a signature of the Beats and Apple brands, but they offer a lot for runners, and especially for Apple users.

With a 12-hour battery life and quick charging that can add an hour of battery life in a few minutes, the PowerBeats 3 should rarely run out of juice in the middle of anything short of an insane ultra-marathon. They’re also ready for all the sweat from your brow, and can even handle a run in the rain.

While they may not top some of the other wireless headphones on this list for features, the PowerBeats 3 headphones will truly shine for major Apple lovers. They feature Apple’s W1 chip, which makes the Bluetooth pairing process with multiple iCloud-linked devices incredibly easy in addition to boosting wireless range.

Read the full review: Beats PowerBeats 3

Check out our videos below for a roundup of the best headphones available.

Categories: Tech News

Samsung's new Galaxy Fit and Fit E are cheap, but basic, fitness trackers

Wed, 02/20/2019 - 18:47

Samsung has decided fitness trackers aren't far from dead - the new Samsung Galaxy Fit and Galaxy Fit E bring new features to your wrist, to help you stay healthy.

In many ways they seem pretty similar to the Samsung Gear Fit 2, but are shorn of some of the key features and specs of that model.

Update: We've had more information through on the Galaxy Fit, as well as confirming the existence of the Gear Fit E.

The new Gear Fit is only 23g (as light as a strawberry, Samsung tells us) which means it'll be pretty comfortable to wear... but it doesn't pack much in the way of innovation.

The Gear Fit E is even lighter at 14g, but packs a smaller screen and a smaller battery to help it hit that air-like level.

Like the newly-announced Galaxy Watch Active, the Galaxy Fit and Fit E are water resistant (to 5ATM for enhance swimming) and can track your steps and heart rate on the go.

There's a slim Super AMOLED screen that you can swipe through on the Gear Fit, which comes in at 0.95-inches and has a resolution of 120 x 240. The Fit E has a passive matrix OLED (PMOLED) 0.74-inch screen, which is smaller and lower-res at 64 x 128 - but should lead to event more impressive battery life.

Both use something new called 'Realtime OS' from Samsung, rather than Tizen, and the Galaxy Fit offers a gyroscope, which the Fit E lacks, which will limit its tracking somewhat.

Sleep tracking and stress management are on board - the former simply analyzes your sleep (and we've seen that for years) and the stress management tool is useful, but it will be interesting to see if that brings deep insights or just tells you to breathe deeply once in a while.

Image credit: Samsung

The Galaxy Fit E can track six different exercises automatically, although we're not sure which at this time, but that's useful if you're someone who likes to cycle and run around a bit but hate swiping at your wrist to get going.

You'll also be able to manually add in exercises so you can put all your efforts into the Samsung Health app and see how healthy you're getting day by day... or failing with nothing to add.

The good news? The Samsung Galaxy Fit will last 'about' a week on a single charge, according the brand, and we expect the same for the Fit E. It's got a lot less to power, but the battery is 70mAh compared to the larger 120mAh of the Fit.

The Galaxy Fit release date has been set for May 21... which is a rather long time to wait after launch in February.

The one thing that changes the game here is the price: the Samsung Galaxy Fit comes in at $99, which we expect to translate to £95 in the UK (around AU$170). This fits with the rumored pricing, which means the Galaxy Fit E could be an ultra low $35 (around £25 / AU$50) - given the functionality on board, that could be a really attractive device for those that just want a basic fitness tracker.

Categories: Tech News

Remote code execution vulnerability discovered in WordPress

Wed, 02/20/2019 - 18:31

Security flaws often remain unpatched while companies work on a fix for the issue but cybersecurity researchers at RIPS Technologies GmbH have discovered a critical remote code execution vulnerability in WordPress that remained accessible to potential attackers for six years.

The vulnerability, which affects all previous versions of WordPress before version 5.0.3, can be exploited by a low privileged attacker with an account level of “author” or above by using a combination of both the path Traversal and Local File Inclusion vulnerabilities that exist inside WordPress' core code.

The fact that an attacker must have at least an author account does help to mitigate the severity of the vulnerability slightly but a content contributor or an attacker, that managed to gain author's credentials, could still take advantage of it.

The researchers reported the vulnerability to WordPress' security team late last year and updating to the latest version of WordPress will prevent attackers from exploiting it.

Remote code execution attack

RIPS Technologies GmbH researcher Simon Scannell detailed the teams findings in a blog post where he explained how the attack takes advantage of the way WordPress' image management system handles Post Meta entries which are used to store description, size, creator and other meta information uploaded with images.

Scannell discovered that either a rogue or compromised author account can be used to modify an images' meta data and set them to arbitrary values. This leads to the Path Traversal vulnerability and when used together with a local file inclusion flaw in theme director could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code on a WordPress blog's server.

The attack itself can be executed within seconds to gain complete control over a vulnerable WordPress blog but thankfully it became non-exploitable in WordPress versions 5.0.1 and 4.9.9 when another vulnerability was introduced.

Scannell explained that the Path Traversal vulnerability can still be exploited by hackers though, saying:

“However, the Path Traversal is still possible and can be exploited if a plugin is installed that still allows overwriting of arbitrary Post Data. Since certain authentication to a target WordPress site is needed for exploitation, we decided to make the vulnerability public after 4 months of initially reporting the vulnerabilities.”

Via The Hacker News

Categories: Tech News

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Wed, 02/20/2019 - 18:20

The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus is Samsung’s latest flagship phablet, but it wasn’t all that long ago that the company launched the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, which is also big and also high-end.

So what’s new and different for the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus? What’s the same? And is the S10 Plus much of an upgrade?

To help answer all of those questions we’ve compared the specs, features and prices of these two big-screen beasts.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus vs Galaxy Note 9 design

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9. Image Credit: TechRadar

The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus and Samsung Galaxy Note 9 both have a curved screen, a metal frame and a glass back. They also both have their rear cameras arranged horizontally.

There are a lot of differences too though. The Galaxy Note 9 has bezels above and below the screen, while the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus has almost no bezel at the top but instead has a cut-out for the dual-lens front-facing camera.

On the back meanwhile you’ll find a fingerprint scanner on the Note 9, but not on the S10 Plus, as it’s instead built into the screen.

As for dimensions and weight, the Galaxy S10 Plus comes in at 157.6 x 74.1 x 7.8mm and 175g, while the Galaxy Note 9 is 161.9 x 76.4 x 8.8mm and 201g. So the Galaxy Note 9 is a taller, thicker, heavier phone than the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus vs Galaxy Note 9 display

The Galaxy S10 Plus has tiny bezels. Image Credit: TechRadar

Both of these phones have a 6.4-inch screen, both use AMOLED, and both are curved. However, the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus has a 19:9 aspect ratio, while the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is 18.5:9.

There may also be a difference in the resolution, though all Samsung has said so far is that the S10 Plus has a QHD+ resolution. The Galaxy Note 9 meanwhile is 1440 x 2960, which is an example of a QHD+ resolution, so if there is a difference it’s likely to be small.

One way in which the screen on the S10 Plus definitely sounds better is in its support for HDR10+, which is an upgrade on the HDR10 supported by the Galaxy Note 9. As noted above, the Galaxy S10 Plus has smaller bezels, but it also has a cut-out in the top right corner of the screen for the camera.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus vs Galaxy Note 9 camera and battery

The Galaxy S10 Plus has three rear cameras. Image Credit: TechRadar

Speaking of the camera, the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus has three on the back, specifically a 12MP f/2.4 telephoto camera with optical image stabilization (OIS), a 16MP f/2.2 ultra-wide-angle camera (with no OIS), and a 12MP camera which has OIS and can switch between f/1.5 and f/2.4 apertures.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 on the other hand has a dual-lens camera, with both a 12MP f/2.4 telephoto lens and a 12MP lens that can switch between f/1.5 and f/2.4. Both lenses also have OIS.

So the key difference is that the Note 9 doesn’t have that third 16MP lens offered by the S10 Plus, but the other two lenses sound much the same on both phones.

There are differences to the front-facing cameras too, as the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus has both a 10MP f/1.9 lens and an 8MP f/2.2 one, while the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 has just a single 8MP f/1.7 one.

And the Galaxy Note 9 has two rear cameras. Image Credit: TechRadar

There might not be as much different when it comes to the battery though, as the Galaxy S10 Plus has a 4,100mAh one and the Note 9’s is only slightly smaller at 4,000mAh.

We’ll let you know how the one in the S10 Plus holds up once we’ve tested it fully for our review, the Note 9’s though lasts quite a long time in our tests.

One difference in the batteries is their charging skills though, as while the Galaxy Note 9 supports both fast charging and fast wireless charging, the Galaxy S10 Plus improves on the wireless speeds with Fast Wireless Charging 2.0.

It also sports Wireless PowerShare, which lets you use some of the juice from that massive battery to wirelessly charge other devices.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus vs Galaxy Note 9 OS and power

Both phones run Android. Image Credit: TechRadar

The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus has a high-end octa-core chipset. The specific chipset should be either the Exynos 9820 or the Snapdragon 855, but Samsung hasn’t yet confirmed what regions will get which. The phone also comes with either 8GB or 12GB of RAM, so it should be very powerful.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is powerful too, but on paper it’s not quite a match for the S10 Plus. It has a Snapdragon 845 (if you’re in the US) or an Exynos 9810 (in most other places). Those are the previous generations of the two chipsets, so they were top-end in 2018 but aren’t quite any more.

It also has either 6GB or 8GB of RAM depending on what model you opt for, so again at the top end at least that’s not a match for the Galaxy S10 Plus, but it’s still a hefty amount.

The Galaxy Note 9 benefits from its S Pen. Image Credit: TechRadar

As for storage, the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus comes with a choice of 128GB, 512GB or 1TB, while the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 comes with 128GB or 512GB. Both phones have a microSD card slot, though.

Both phones also run Android, with the S10 Plus shipping with Android 9 Pie and the Note 9 shipping with Android 8 Oreo – but it can be updated to Android 9, so there’s not much difference there.

There are some differences in how you will interact with the phones though, since one of the standout features of the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is its S Pen stylus, which makes it easier to sketch and write by hand on the phone’s screen. The Galaxy S10 Plus doesn’t come with a stylus, despite having the same size display.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus vs Galaxy Note 9 price

The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus costs $999 / £899 (roughly AU$1,400) for a version with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. It’s £1,099 if you want 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage, and £1,399 for 12GB of RAM and 1TB of storage. Full US and Australian pricing is still to be confirmed at the time of writing.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 meanwhile launched at $1,000 / £899 / AU$1,499 for a model with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, climbing to $1,250 / £1,099 / AU$1,799 for 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage.

So the pricing – at least at the bottom end – is actually very similar, but having said that, many stores now stock the Galaxy Note 9 for a fair bit less than it launched at and we wouldn’t be surprised if prices drop further now that the Galaxy S10 Plus is available.

The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus. Image Credit: TechRadar

Takeaway

The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus has more in common with the Galaxy Note 9 than is usual for the two ranges, thanks largely to the fact that they have the same size screen.

Still, there are a number of differences between them. The Galaxy S10 Plus looks to be an upgrade in a lot of ways, with a newer chipset, an in-screen fingerprint scanner, smaller bezels, more camera lenses and potentially more RAM and storage.

However, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is the cheaper of the two and it comes with an S Pen stylus, making it potentially better suited to creatives and note-takers.

Categories: Tech News

Here's everything that launched at Samsung Unpacked 2019

Wed, 02/20/2019 - 17:25

Samsung has kicked off its 2019 in a big way, as the company has just announced a wealth of new devices.

Headlined by the Samsung Galaxy S10 range, the launch also included other phones and wearables too.

If you missed the livestream though, don't worry, because you’ll find all the information below about everything announced.

We’ve been at the event getting hands-on with everything we can, so once you’re done here make sure to check out our hands-on reviews, versus articles and other coverage.

Samsung Galaxy S10

Image Credit: TechRadar

The Samsung Galaxy S10 is undoubtedly the headline announcement, and was the most highly-anticipated.

Samsung’s newest flagship has a lot of impressive specs, from its 6.1-inch QHD+ Dynamic AMOLED curved screen, to its triple-lens rear camera, made up of a 16MP f/2.2 ultra-wide lens, a 12MP f/2.4 telephoto lens and a 12MP lens that can switch between f/1.5 and f/2.4 apertures.

The Galaxy S10 also has a refreshed design, with a punch-hole in the screen for the 10MP front-facing camera. The world's first ultrasonic fingerprint scanner is also built into the display, so bezels are kept to a minimum.

The Samsung Galaxy S10 is powerful too of course, with a top-end chipset, 8GB of RAM and up to 512GB of storage, while a 3,400mAh battery keeps it running. All that power doesn’t come cheap though, with the Galaxy S10 set to start at $899 / £799 (around AU$1,450).

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus

Image Credit: TechRadar

Alongside the Galaxy S10, Samsung has also announced the larger Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus. This has a curved 6.4-inch QHD+ AMOLED screen, but the screen size isn’t the only difference.

This phone also has a second camera on the front, with an 8MP snapper joining the 10MP one. Its battery is a lot bigger too, coming in at 4,100mAh, and you can get it with up to 12GB of RAM and 1TB of storage.

The need to add in a second front-facing camera has led to a slightly different design, with more of a pill shaped cut-out in the screen, but otherwise the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus has the same look and specs as the standard model.

This included a triple-lens rear camera and an in-screen fingerprint scanner. It starts at $999 / £899 (roughly AU$1,640), so if you're after one of these phones then you'll need to get saving quickly. Unless you're filthy rich, then maybe buy 10 just to demonstrate your wealth.

Samsung Galaxy S10e

Image Credit: TechRadar

If you gawped at the price of the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10 Plus, then you might be more interested in the Samsung Galaxy S10e, a phone which aims to capture the essence of its siblings at a lower price.

It has a 5.8-inch Full HD+ AMOLED screen that’s flat rather than curved, but sports an otherwise similar design, complete with a punch-hole selfie camera.

There are two rather than three cameras on the back though, namely a 16MP f/2.2 ultra-wide one and a 12MP variable aperture one – so it lacks the 12MP telephoto lens of its siblings.

The Samsung Galaxy S10e also comes with 6GB or 8GB of RAM, up to 256GB of storage, a 3,100mAh battery and a fingerprint scanner that’s on the side rather than in the screen. So it’s not quite as impressive on paper, but at a starting price of $749 / £669 (around AU$870) it doesn’t need to be.

Samsung Galaxy S10 5G

Image Credit: TechRadar

This is the most premium of the Samsung Galaxy S10 models and, as you’ve probably guessed from the name, it supports 5G.

That aside, other highlights of the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G include an enormous 6.7-inch screen, a 4,500mAh battery and four rear cameras, consisting of the same three as the main S10 range.

On top of that there's also a 3D depth-sensing camera, useful for augmented and virtual reality, as well as facial recognition.

There’s also a 3D depth-sensing camera on the front, alongside a normal 10MP snapper. That combination means it has a bigger camera cut-out than the rest of the range.

The Galaxy S10 5G also has 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage and a microSD card slot. So it doesn’t have as much RAM as the S10 Plus can potentially come with, but that aside it’s essentially a bigger and seemingly even better version of that phone.

It won't be launched until later in the year though, when the networks start rolling out their 5G signal across the globe.

Samsung Galaxy Fold

Image Credit: TechRadar

The Samsung Galaxy Fold is even more ambitious than the Galaxy S10 range, seeing as how it’s the company’s first foldable phone.

It has a 4.6-inch screen when folded and can open out to a 7.3-inch display, big enough to allow for three-app multitasking, and app continuity allows you to instantly pick up where you left off when switching between screens. 

So it fills the role of both a phone and a tablet, and there’s no shortage of power, with a top-end chipset and 12GB of RAM.

The Galaxy Fold also has six cameras – three on the back, two on the inside and one on the front. There’s 512GB of storage, a 4,380mAh battery to keep it going, and optionally 5G support.

It’s the first big-name device in a new smartphone category, but exciting as the Galaxy Fold is it has a prohibitive price, starting at $1,980 / €2,000 (with UK and Australian pricing and availability yet to be confirmed).

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active

Image Credit: TechRadar

That’s the phones out the way, but handsets aren't all Samsung has unveiled, as we’ve also seen the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active.

It’s essentially a sportier alternative to the Samsung Galaxy Watch, and it has a round face, a heart rate monitor (that can also measure your stress), and water-resistance to depths of 50 meters. It can also track sleep and it’s made from a lightweight form of aluminum, so the watch won’t weigh you down like others from Samsung in the past.

It runs Tizen but with a bit of a makeover, as it includes Samsung’s new One UI, which hasn’t been used on a wearable before. It’s more than just a fitness band too, as it can also access apps and receive smartphone notifications.

That said, we're not really sure how much of an upgrade it is - check out more in our in-depth look below (linked below).

Samsung Galaxy Fit / Galaxy Fit E

Image Credit: TechRadar

If all you actually need is a fitness band then the Samsung Galaxy Fit or Galaxy Fit E will probably be more your speed.

The Galaxy Fit is a basic tracker that’s incredibly light at just 24g and it can track your heart rate and steps. It’s also water-proof to 50 meters.

The Galaxy Fit can automatically track six different exercises and you can track sleep and stress with it too, with a rectangular Super AMOLED screen being your window onto all of that. Supposedly its battery will last around a week as well, so you won’t be charging it all the time.

The Samsung Galaxy Fit E is smaller, lighter (just 15g) and generally lower end, but with many of the same features, including a heart rate monitor and 50-meter water resistance... and rumored to have a much lower price as Samsung finally brings out a budget wearable.

Samsung Galaxy Buds

Image Credit: TechRadar

Last but not least, Samsung has also announced the Samsung Galaxy Buds. These are wireless earbuds that are seemingly set to compete with the likes of the Apple AirPods.

They come with a case which can charge them (and which itself can be charged with or without wires). 

The Buds themselves supposedly last for 6 hours of music or 5 hours of calls between charges, you can access Samsung’s AI Assistant Bixby through them, and they cost $149 / £139 (around AU$210).

Categories: Tech News

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active vs Samsung Galaxy Watch: what's the difference?

Wed, 02/20/2019 - 17:11

Samsung has just announced a sporty new smartwatch dubbed the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active, but this isn't the company's only recent wearable.

In fact, it has a very similar name to the Samsung Galaxy Watch. So what else is similar? And what's different?

We've compared the two wearables to answer your top questions and help you decide which watch is for you.

Design and display

The Samsung Galaxy Watch has either a 1.3-inch or 1.2-inch 360 x 360 circular Super AMOLED screen that comes in at around 278 pixels per inch.

The screen size you get depends on the watch size you pick, with both 46mm and 42mm versions available. The size you pick also affects the strap, with 22mm straps used for the larger model and 20mm for the smaller. While it comes with a silicone strap, you can swap that out for any standard pin-based watch strap.

The body of the watch is metal, and it has a handy rotating bezel to help with navigation. It's a substantially-sized thing at either 41.9 x 45.7 x 12.7mm or 46 x 49 x 13mm (depending on whether you go for the small or large option), but it undeniably looks high-end.

Everything is a little simpler for the newer Galaxy Watch Active. There's one size, which is a 40mm body with a 1.1-inch display. You'll get a 20mm strap with that, but we don't currently know what the precise dimensions of the watch are.

The interesting change here is there's no rotatable bezel. That allows for a smaller overall design than the Galaxy Watch, and that's partly why Samsung is considering this as a more fitness-focused device.

Fitness

 Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 

While the standard Galaxy Watch isn't as focused on fitness as the Galaxy Watch Active, nor is it lacking in that area, as it has a heart rate monitor, GPS, an altimeter, a barometer, and it's waterproof, so you could wear it in the pool if you so desired.

It can track 39 different exercises, with six of them auto-tracked, and it can also track your sleep, measure your stress and vibrate on your wrist to remind you to move more.

The Galaxy Watch Active can do all of that as well, but it also comes with a new (seemingly helpful) stress monitoring feature that uses the heart rate tracker to give you a clear picture of your stress levels throughout the day.

Stress monitoring on the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 

If your stress levels peak, the watch will nudge you to perform a few breathing exercises to try and bring them down. It's more of an overall health feature rather than a fitness innovation.

The company has also said the wearable comes with a blood pressure monitoring feature, but we're yet to understand how that fully works and it wasn't something we were able to test out on our limited time with the Galaxy Watch Active.

Battery and features

The Samsung Galaxy Watch is a wearable that just keeps on going, with battery life of around four days in our tests. At least, for the larger model with its 472mAh battery. The smaller model has just a 270mAh battery, and despite its smaller screen, it's only rated for around three days between charges.

As for features, highlights of the Galaxy Watch include NFC, which lets you make use of Samsung Pay for contactless payments. It also has Samsung's AI assistant Bixby baked in, and optionally comes with LTE, meaning you can get calls and texts on it without it being connected to your phone.

We don't yet have a clear picture of the specs that are available on the Galaxy Watch Active, sadly, though we'd be surprised if any from Samsung's prior smartwatch weren't included in its new fitness version. 

OS and power

Both the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active and Galaxy Watch run Tizen, which is a rarity on smartwatches - pretty much only Samsung devices, really - but it's an operating system that we like a lot. It also has access to over 60,000 watch faces and a variety of apps.

The Watch Active has a slightly different look as it's a more recent version of the software but it may be Samsung decides to bring that look to its existing watch in the near future anyway.

As for power, both watches have a 1.15GHz dual-core Exynos 9110 chipset and 768MB of RAM. If you're going for the larger Galaxy Watch it'll come with 1.5GB of RAM.

That's because that watch has LTE, which isn't available on the Watch Active. All the watches come with 4GB of storage though.

Price

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active

The Galaxy Watch Active is set to cost £229 / $199.99 (about AU$415) and we've yet to learn how much it will officially cost in Australia. That's cheaper than the Galaxy Watch cost at first, and it's an especially good price in the US.

If you opt to pre-order the watch in the US directly from Samsung you'll be able to get a free wireless charging pad.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch launched at $329 / £279 / AU$499 for the 42mm model and $349 / £299 / AU$549 for the 46mm version. If you want LTE it costs $379 / AU$599 (around £290) for the 42mm model or $399 / AU$649 (roughly £305) for the 46mm one. Though you can often now find it for a bit less than those prices.

Takeaway

The Galaxy Watch Active is cheaper than the standard Galaxy Watch, and while it may have lost its rotatable bezel - one of its core selling points - it still looks to have a premium design.

We're not 100% sold on the fitness features of the wearable just yet, and the Galaxy Watch itself is already a solid sports watch for the average fitness fan. If you're looking to save on your smartwatch and you don't mind the slightly limited design, the Galaxy Watch Active may be a strong choice for you though.

We can't yet fully recommend the Galaxy Watch Active until it goes through our full review process, which we hope to get underway in the coming weeks.

Categories: Tech News

Amazon's Galaxy S10 deal will net Aussies the Samsung flagship fast

Wed, 02/20/2019 - 17:04

If you’re a keen early adopter of new tech, then you’ll know that to get a newly released handset you either need to stand in line outside a flagship store or authorised retailer, or you’ll need to spend time online trying to pre-order it through your chosen carrier. There’s no guarantee, though, that you’ll get the phone on day one.

There is, however, an easier way to ensure you get the brand-new Samsung Galaxy S10 range before anyone else does.

Samsung has chosen to partner with Amazon Australia so customers Down Under can pre-order their new Samsung Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10 Plus or the more affordable Galaxy S10e directly via the e-commerce giant with just a few easy clicks.

Pre-orders on Amazon Australia are now open and are available until midnight March 7. Delivery of the device will begin on March 8, the day Samsung releases the handsets. 

You don't need a Prime cut

While Amazon has always given priority to its Prime members when it comes to shipping costs and delivery, the online marketplace won’t be discriminating this time round.

Anyone who pre-orders the 2019 Samsung handsets before midday on March 6 will receive priority shipping, whether or not you are a Prime member. Amazon will deliver the new Galaxy S10 phones to its customers on March 8, with 90% of the country’s population covered under that promise.

And here's what you'll be paying to snag one of the Galaxy S10 smartphones: 

Samsung has added an incentive for Australians to pre-order its brand new flagship handsets. Each pre-order will receive a bonus set of its new Galaxy Buds true wireless headphones valued at $249.

Anyone pre-ordering via Amazon will receive the Buds along with their phones in the same shipment.

All things Samsung

The new phones and the Galaxy Buds aren’t the only Samsung goodies you can buy on Amazon. The shopping giant is also stocking the entire range of original Samsung accessories for the new handsets, which won’t be available anywhere else other than the manufacturer’s own flagship stores.

Amazon now also stocks the South Korean company's wearables and tablets, making it a convenient one-stop shop for all things Samsung.

Categories: Tech News

Samsung Galaxy S10 vs S10 Plus vs S10e: which Samsung flagship will suit your needs?

Wed, 02/20/2019 - 16:45

Samsung has announced the Galaxy S10 range of smartphones: the S10, S10e and S10 Plus. The S10 and S10 Plus are upgrades over the respective Galaxy S9 handsets, while the S10e is the ‘budget’ device of the trio – there was no similar S9 device (we did, however, see a Galaxy S8 Lite).

As these are flagship devices from one of the biggest brands in the smartphone business, they’re all sure to be great phones, but we’re here to help you decide which of the three is best suited to your needs – and your budget.

Here, we’ll run through the S10 trio to help you decide which should be your next smartphone: the Galaxy S10, S10 Plus, or S10e.

Samsung Galaxy S10 vs S10 Plus vs S10e design and display 

The key difference between the devices is their size – both the screen size and the overall dimensions. As the name suggests, the Galaxy S10 Plus is a little bigger than the other devices, whereas the Galaxy S10e is a rather petite handset. 

The S10e measures 142.2 x 69.9 x 7.9mm and weighs 150g – it’s a slender device that’ll easily fit in your pocket. It has a 5.8-inch AMOLED screen, which is a little small compared to other flagship devices, but nothing to turn your nose up at. 

The next device up is the Galaxy S10, which is a little larger at 149.9 x 70.4 x 7.8mm and tips the scales at 157g – so other than its length it’s not much bigger than the S10e, and is actually thinner, and it’s barely any heavier. Despite not being that much bigger overall it has a noticeably larger AMOLED screen at 6.1inches. 

The big boy of the bunch is the Galaxy S10 Plus, which measures 157.6 x 74.1 x 7.8mm and has a bigger 6.4-inch screen. Even more apparent than the difference in size is the weight difference – at 175g it’s quite the bulky device. This added heft is, of course, down to the higher spec, particularly the more advanced camera and bigger batteries, both of which we’ll get to later on, but if you’re a fan of dainty devices you may find the Plus a bit too Plus-y.

Samsung Galaxy S10 vs S10 Plus vs S10e camera 

There’s a clear progression with regards to the camera on the Galaxy S10 devices: with each better phone, you get an extra camera.

The Galaxy S10e comes with a 16MP ultra-wide lens and 12MP optically stabilized lens on the rear of the device and a dual-pixel 10MP camera on the front. Given this is the ‘budget’ handset of the range, a dual-lens rear setup and powerful front camera is a pretty great deal.

On the Galaxy S10, you get all of the above, with an extra 12MP lens on the rear, and when you step up to the Galaxy S10 Plus you get a second, 8MP, front-facing camera. That’s five lenses split between the front and rear for the S10 Plus which, as we’ve been finding in our hands-on time with the phone, deliver some pretty amazing photos.

If it’s the absolute best camera experience you’re after then, we’d have no hesitation in recommending the Galaxy S10 Plus as the phone to go for – although any of these devices will deliver some pretty great pictures. 

Samsung Galaxy S10 vs S10 Plus vs S10e battery 

As with the camera, the higher up the S10 range you go, the better the battery you get.. 

The Galaxy S10e comes with a 3,100mAh battery, the S10 is packing 3,400mAh, while there’s a whopping 4,100mAh power pack in the Galaxy S10 Plus. 

Across the S10 range these capacities are slightly better than competing phones – compared to the S10 Plus’s 4,100mAh, for example the iPhone XS Max’s 3,174mAh and Pixel 3 XL’s 3,430mAh look relatively puny. 

Each of the devices comes with wireless charging and wireless power sharing, enabling you to use your handset to charge another Galaxy device.

Samsung Galaxy S10 vs S10 Plus vs S10e specs 

Each of the Galaxy S10 trio is powered by the same processor in each region in which the phones are released. Samsung hasn’t announced what that chip (or chips) is yet, other than the fact it’s an octa-core chipset – the previous Galaxy devices were powered by different processor in different regions, so it’s possible the S10 handsets will follow suit.

There are different memory sizes for each variant, so you’ve got plenty of choice here – if you can get your head around the various options. 

The Galaxy S10e is available  with either 6GB RAM and 128GB internal memory, or 8GB and 256GB. 

The Galaxy S10 comes in 8GB/128GB and 8GB/512GB variants, while the Galaxy S10 Plus has 8GB/128GB, 8GB/512GB and 8GB/1TB options. Each device also has a microSD slot which supports cards up to 512GB. 

Samsung Galaxy S10 vs S10 Plus vs S10e price 

The Samsung Galaxy S10e is the most affordable of the trio at $749 / £669, which is around AU$1,050, for the 6GB/128GB option. Compared to the iPhone XR, which cost $799 / £799 / AU$1,299 with the same amount of memory, it represents a decent saving, particularly if you’re buying the phone in the UK.

It’s then quite a step up to the Galaxy S10, which costs $899 / £799, or roughly AU$1,250) for the 8GB/128GB model. That’s exactly the same price the 128GB Google Pixel 3 another competing device, launched for. The 8GB/512GB version, meanwhile, costs £999, which is roughly $1,099 or AU$1,500.

Not surprisingly the Galaxy S10 Plus is also plus-sized when it comes to its price tag. The cheapest option is 8GB/128GB, which costs $999 / £899, or around AU$1,400; if you want more storage you’ll have to shell out £1,199 (about $1,560 or AU$2,200) for the 512GB handset, or £1,399 (roughly $1,800 or AU$2,500) for the top-of-the-range 1TB model.

Takeaway

The best Samsung Galaxy S10 device for you depends wholly on your budget. 

If you want all the benefits of the S10 range without breaking the bank, the S10e is your best option. Despite its lower price tag it still has the same sleek design and quick processing as its bigger siblings, and even has a pretty powerful battery and camera too.

The core of the range is the Galaxy S10, with all the features you need in a phone. It's a little more expensive, but for this price you get a flagship device that's better than most and sure to last you a long time.

If money is no issue, however, you might want to upgrade all the way to the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus. Its bigger screen, massive battery and crazy number of cameras make it a luxury item that'll let you indulge in all your video-watching, game-playing, photo-taking needs. 

Categories: Tech News

Samsung Galaxy S10 vs Galaxy S9: should you upgrade your Galaxy handset?

Wed, 02/20/2019 - 16:24

Samsung has announced the newest batch of Galaxy S smartphones, the S10 range, led by the titular flagship device. 

The Samsung Galaxy S10 is - at least on paper - an improvement on the Galaxy S9, and the middle child of the S10 Plus and S10e – and, unless you’ve got money to burn or can only consider the ‘affordable’ device of the trio, it’s probably the handset you’ll be looking at buying.

But with each new generation of smartphones, you have to ask yourself the question “should I make this upgrade?” Older phones aren’t always worse, and sometimes a technical upgrade between devices doesn’t justify the increased cost.

To help you out, we’ll run through all the features of the new Samsung Galaxy S10 and its predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy S9, in order to help you decide whether an upgrade is worthwhile or not.

Samsung Galaxy S10 vs Galaxy S9 design and display

The difference in body size between the S9 and S10 devices is pretty small – the former was 147.7 x 68.7 x 8.5mm in size, and the latter is barely bigger at 149.9 x 70.4 x 7.8mm. While the Samsung Galaxy S10 is slightly bigger, it’s nothing like the difference between the S10 and Galaxy S10 Plus, for example.

Despite the similar dimensions the Galaxy S10’s screen is actually bigger, at 6.1 inches instead of the S9’s 5.8-inch display. Both use AMOLED screens, so there won’t be a huge variation in quality between the two, but a bigger screen will still be useful when it comes to watching videos or taking pictures.

One noteworthy change between the handsets is that the S10 is marginally lighter than the Samsung Galaxy S9, at 157g instead of 163g, despite having a bigger battery, a wider display and more features. This is a great change for anyone who likes their devices as light as a feather.

Samsung Galaxy S10 vs Galaxy S9 camera

The Galaxy S9 prided itself on its single-lens 12MP camera – instead of cluttering up the rear of the device with as many cameras as possible, like other phones do, it used a single lens that could change apertures in order to adapt to the context and type of picture that needed to be taken. In our review we found the quality of pictures taken with the device was surprisingly high.

Samsung decided to ditch this novel approach with the Galaxy S10 however, as it has a tri-lens rear setup which consists of a 16MP ultra-wide lens and two 12MP lenses, one of which has a variable aperture, just like the lens on the S9. This trio of lenses may improve the pictures taken with the device, but it’s a shame to see Samsung abandon its attempts to make single-lens digital cameras work.

In terms of front-facing selfie cams, the Samsung Galaxy S10 is a small step up at 10MP instead of 8MP – it’s not a huge increase, but keen selfie-takers may notice a difference.

Samsung Galaxy S10 vs Galaxy S9 battery

Image credit: TechRadar

We were a little disappointed by the Galaxy S9’s battery, as at 3,000mAh it was exactly the same size as the Galaxy S8’s, although system optimization meant the S9 lasted a little longer despite having the same sized battery. 

Thankfully the Galaxy S10 does have a bigger battery, with a 3,400mAh power pack that will likely last a lot longer than the Galaxy S9. It’s also likely Samsung will have further optimized the operating system, so the difference in battery life could be noticeable.

Both devices facilitate wireless charging, but the Samsung Galaxy S10 also allows for wireless power sharing between similar handsets, which may or may not be useful depending on how many friends you have that use an S10.

Samsung Galaxy S10 vs Galaxy S9 specs

Since the Samsung Galaxy S9 had a different chipset in different regions, and the Galaxy S10 hasn’t even had its chipset(s) confirmed, it’s hard to say for sure if the S10 will be a significant step up or just a slight upgrade.

What we do know is that the Galaxy S9 had 4GB of RAM yet the S10 will have 8GB, and instead of coming in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB internal memory sizes like the S9, the Samsung Galaxy S10 is available in the bigger sizes of 128GB and 512GB, so the device is an upgrade in terms of memory.

Samsung Galaxy S10 vs Galaxy S9 price

At launch the Samsung Galaxy S9 cost $719.99 / £739 / AU$1,199 for the 4GB/64GB size, however of course you can get it a lot cheaper now. We’ve got a Galaxy S9 deals page which you can use to find all the cheapest contracts and SIM-free handsets, if the S9 is something you’d consider buying.

Compared to that the 8GB/128GB Galaxy S10 is quite a step up, setting you back $899 / £799 (which roughly translates to AU$1,300). 

The Samsung Galaxy S10 has quite a few improvements over the Galaxy S9 including its bigger battery, extra cameras and wider screen. However, whether you’re willing to pay an extra $180 / £60 / AU$100 for the cheapest version of the phone depends on whether you think these features justify the increased price.

 Samsung Galaxy S10 vs Galaxy S9 verdict

The Samsung Galaxy S10 is a step up in all ways from the Galaxy S9 – it has better camera capability, a bigger battery, and a wider screen. Samsung wouldn't put out a worse device, after all!

However the S10 is also quite a step up from the S9 in terms of price, and it's worth considering whether these extra features are worth the cost. If all the new features appeal to you it's definitely worth it. But if you're only looking for a bigger battery on the same device, or better camera capability on its own, you may want to wait for the S10 to reduce in price when it's on sale.

Categories: Tech News

Today's best deal: save on the TP-Link Smart Plug at Amazon

Wed, 02/20/2019 - 15:47

Today's best deal from Amazon is the top-rated Kasa WiFi Smart Plug by TP-Link. Amazon has discounted the smart home device down to only $13.98/£19.99 - that's the best price we've seen for this popular smart plug.

The TP-Link Smart Plug works with Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant so you can turn any device into a hands-free experience. You can control your appliances and electronics with your voice or with the Kasa app from your smartphone, tablet or laptop. You can also schedule devices to switch on and off when away, or customize it by a specific time. The compact smart plug can also give you peace of mind by turning off appliances remotely that you think you've left on.

This is an excellent and cheap way to make any device have smart capabilities, so snatch up this rare deal while you can.

Shop more of the best cheap smart home devices and gadget deals and find out the best plugs and switches for your smart home.

Categories: Tech News

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus

Wed, 02/20/2019 - 15:43

After months of leaks and rumors the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus is finally here, but was it worth the wait and the hype?

After all, the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus is readily available and has a lot in common with Samsung’s new phone, as well as a lower price.

So just how do these two plus-sized handsets compare? To answer that we’ve put them head to head, looking at their design, display, camera, power and more.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus design

Image Credit: TechRadar

There are some major similarities in the designs of these two phones – both have a glass back and a metal frame for example, along with a curved screen.

But there are just as many differences. The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus has a dual-lens camera cut into the screen, which in turn means it can get away with almost no bezels, while the S9 Plus houses the camera in a bezel at the top, as well as having a larger bezel below the screen.

Flip the phones over and – as well as the extra lens on the Galaxy S10 Plus – you’ll also notice that the camera is oriented differently. The lenses are arranged horizontally on the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus while they’re stacked vertically on the Galaxy S9 Plus.

The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus. Image Credit: TechRadar

The S9 Plus also has a fingerprint scanner underneath the camera, which is nowhere to be seen on the Galaxy S10 Plus, because it’s built into the screen.

Their dimensions and weight also differ. The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus is 157.6 x 74.1 x 7.8mm and 175g, while the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus is 158.1 x 73.8 x 8.5mm and 189g.

So the Galaxy S9 Plus is slightly longer, thicker and heavier. All of which means that – while appearance preferences are somewhat subjective – the Galaxy S10 Plus has a more modern, arguably more refined look.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus display

Image Credit: TechRadar

Buy the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus and you’ll get a phone with a 6.4-inch display. That’s the same size as the Samsung Galaxy Note 9’s. It’s curved, with a 19:9 aspect ratio, uses Dynamic AMOLED and has a QHD+ resolution.

The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus meanwhile has a slightly smaller 6.2-inch Super AMOLED screen with a 1440 x 2960 resolution (which makes it QHD+) and an 18.5:9 aspect ratio.

Another difference is that while the Galaxy S9 Plus supports HDR10, the S10 Plus supports the improved HDR10+.

Still, other than the size and the smaller bezels on the S10 Plus, the two screens sound fairly similar. We’d expect the S10 Plus’s screen will be better, but we’ll let you know for sure in our full review. The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus already has a great screen, but will the S10 Plus massively improve?

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus camera and battery

Image Credit: TechRadar

The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus has five camera lenses in all – three on the back and two on the front.

Starting with the rear sensors, there’s a 16MP f/2.2 ultra-wide-angle one, a 12MP f/2.4 telephoto one with optical image stabilization (OIS), and a 12MP one which can switch between an aperture of f/1.5 and f/2.4. That lens also has OIS.

The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus on the other hand has just a dual-lens rear camera, with a 12MP f/2.4 telephoto zoom, complete with OIS, and a 12MP variable aperture lens that can switch between f/1.5 and f/2.4, and also has OIS. In other words, its lenses have the same core specs as two of the ones on the Galaxy S10 Plus, but it lacks the 16MP lens.

It also lacks a lens on the front, with just a single 8MP f/1.7 selfie camera, while the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus has both a 10MP f/1.9 and an 8MP f/2.2 lens.

The Galaxy S9 Plus only has two rear cameras. Image credit: TechRadar

As for the battery, that’s 4,100mAh in the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus and 3,500mAh in the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, so the new phone brings a lot more capacity.

Both phones support fast charging and wireless charging, but the S10 Plus has Fast Wireless Charging 2.0, so it should be quicker to juice up when not using wires than the S9 Plus.

It also supports Wireless PowerShare, which means the phone can be used to charge other devices - that's a skill the Galaxy S9 Plus certainly can't match.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus OS and power

Image Credit: TechRadar

The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus has either a Snapdragon 855 chipset or an Exynos 9820 depending on what country you're in. These are both brand-new, top-end, octa-core smartphone chipsets and offer around 30% more power.

The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus meanwhile has the previous generation of those chips – the Snapdragon 845 in the US and the Exynos 9810 elsewhere.

They’re both octa-core, but they’re also both 10nm, whereas the Exynos 9820 is 8nm and the Snapdragon 855 is 7nm, making the new chips smaller and more efficient. They’re also more powerful than either chipset in the S9 Plus, as you’d expect.

The Galaxy S9 Plus runs Android 9 Pie. Image Credit: TechRadar

The Galaxy S10 Plus also generally comes with 8GB of RAM, but there’s also a version with a massive 12GB. That’s probably overkill though, particularly when you consider that the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus ‘only’ has 6GB of RAM.

As for storage, the S10 Plus comes with a choice of 128GB, 512GB or 1TB, while the Galaxy S9 Plus comes with 64GB or 128GB, so there’s potentially an enormous amount more in the Galaxy S10 Plus. Both phones also have a microSD card slot.

Both run Android of course. The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus ships with Android 9 Pie, but while the Galaxy S9 Plus comes with Android 8 Oreo out of the box, it can be updated to Android 9.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus price

We don’t have all the pricing details of the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus yet at the time of writing, but we know that it starts at $999 / £899 (around AU$1,400) for 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.

It rises to £1,099 if you want 8GB of RAM paired with 512GB of storage, and £1,399 for 12GB of RAM and 1TB of storage (with US and AU prices for those configurations yet to be confirmed).

That’s higher than the $840 / £869 / AU$1,349 launch price of the Galaxy S9 Plus, a phone which can often now be found for a lot less than that.

The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus is also available to buy now of course, while the Galaxy S10 Plus can be pre-ordered from February 21 and hits stores on March 8.

Image Credit: TechRadar

Takeaway

The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus is an expensive phone, even compared to its predecessor, but it’s also clearly a big upgrade in a lot of ways.

It has two extra camera lenses, more power, more storage, an in-screen fingerprint scanner, a refined design with smaller bezels, a bigger battery and a larger screen.

We’ll let you know how it all holds together in our full review, but on paper a lot has changed here for the better.

Of course, the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus is still a great phone too, and while it lacks the high-end innovations of the S10 Plus, the impending price reductions could make it far more of an impressive buy - remember, it's still one of our best phones.

  • Lots more phones are about to land at MWC 2019
Categories: Tech News

First Look: HTC Vive Cosmos

Wed, 02/20/2019 - 15:40

After a teaser showing at this year's CES 2019, HTC has just dropped a ton of new information on its website about its next consumer-facing VR headset, the Vive Cosmos. 

As announced earlier, the Cosmos will indeed be the next evolution for the Vive series of headsets, offering next-level gaming in virtual reality. Unlike the original Vive and Vive Pro, the Cosmos will use a new version of HTC's tracking system that will allow you to bring the headset with you from one place to the next. 

In addition to next-gen tracking that presumably uses those two side-facing cameras, the headset will use new light bar-equipped controllers and a screen that, according to HTC, will minimize the screen door effect that plagues low-resolution headsets.

On top of all that, HTC says the headset will be the easiest yet to setup - a huge boon for those of us who know how hard it can be to get a VR headset setup.

The last feature HTC is touting is the new flip-up design that will allow you to raise the headset when you want to jump in the game, and quickly flip it up when you need to see what's happening in the real world. The new design should make it easier to wear for hours... but we'll need to wear it for ourselves to verify that claim.

Here's a closer look at the controllers:

All that said, HTC is still being reclusive about the release date and potential price for the next-gen headset. For HTC right now, it's all about building hype.

Design

It’s surprising how similar the Cosmos looks to the HTC Vive Pro - they both share the darker blue coloring and two front-facing cameras. Those striking visual similarities might mean that we can expect the Pro’s specs inside the Cosmos… but maybe not. HTC just isn’t ready to talk resolution, field of view or any of the other hard details.

What we do know for sure is that the headset has side-facing cameras and second-gen controllers that look nearly identical to the ones Oculus made for the Rift. HTC says that the Vive Cosmos won't need any sensors for it to work, which likely means that the cameras located on the fronts and sides will be responsible for tracking. 

Speaking of tracking, what you might notice is that the controllers have a unique light ring along the outside - a neat visual addition that might have something to do with the way the Cosmos tracks the controllers... not that HTC had that info on hand.

We also know that the Cosmos is going to be a wired headset and that it will at least, at some point, connect to your PC. We say “at least” because HTC, rather cryptically, said that this headset will transcend the computer… somehow. 

“The product will work with more than your PC,” says Dan O’Brien, General Manager at HTC. “But we’re not saying what that is just yet.”

“Over the next few months we’re going to give out all the details on this products … but we wanted to tell consumers that we have a new headset that’s going to be easy to set up. We’ve heard from a lot of our consumers that headsets are tough to setup and that they can’t take it with them. That’s what we’re trying to solve with this product.”

It’s almost certain to work with a smartphone too, as a slide showing a phone nestled next to the Cosmos was shown off. We’re not sure why HTC didn’t make a big deal of that one.

Performance

Unfortunately because the Cosmos wasn’t available to try, it’s hard to give any real impression of the hardware outside of what we could see and what we heard from HTC executives; HTC announced it here to build the hype and says that it will provide more details on what it will be like later this year. 

Trying to squeeze some sort of information out of O’Brien, however, we were able to get some crucial information. The first piece is that the headset will work with the PC and… well, something else, likely your mobile phone or another device. 

That’s obviously and purposely oblique, but it could mean different levels of performance depending on what the Cosmos is plugged into.

When asked about where the Cosmos would fit into the Vive hardware lineup, O’Brien wouldn’t quite say - but says that info will be coming at some point in the near future. 

While HTC also announced an eye-tracking headset at the show - the HTC Vive Pro Eye - the Cosmos won’t have the ability to know where you’re looking and therefore won’t support foveated rendering - one of Oculus’ biggest advantages in the headset war.

If the Cosmos turns out to be a headset that can be plugged into whatever device you have around - your phone, your tablet, your PC, whatever - it could be a neat solution. But without knowing exactly what the Vive Cosmos is and what it can do, it’s all a big question mark.

Early impressions

HTC is being purposely oblique with the Cosmos. It’s a new headset that will work with a PC... “and other devices” with that last part often said with a smirk. 

What we know for sure is that it’s HTC’s peace offering for consumers - a sign that HTC still cares about gamers and VR socialites and should give them something to get excited for in the months to come. 

The only question remains over whether it’s enough of a sign, given how little was announced about it.

  • Check out all of TechRadar's CES 2019 coverage. We're live in Las Vegas to bring you all the breaking tech news and launches, plus hands-on reviews of everything from 8K TVs and foldable displays to new phones, laptops and smart home gadgets. 
Categories: Tech News

Intel invites you help it develop its future graphics cards

Wed, 02/20/2019 - 14:19

Intel graphics cards aren’t here yet and won’t be for awhile, but Intel is already trying to build up a community around them.

Today Intel has launched a new community program it calls “The Odyssey,” which will allow users to discuss and share their ideas of how the company should develop its upcoming graphics cards.

In its mission statement, Intel officially says that The Odyssey is a “community-based program designed to facilitate two-way conversation where Intel will listen, engage and bring along a genuinely passionate community on a journey into a better visual experience.

"Participants will have the opportunity to learn about the latest advancements in hardware and software platform technologies, as well as industry collaborations that’ll enhance the content creation and gaming experience.”

  • Nvidia vs AMD might not be the only fight in the graphics world for long
  • With Turing, Nvidia is comfortably in first place with the latest graphics cards
  • The Radeon VII is the AMD first high-end graphics card in a long time
GPUs for the people, by the people

AMD and Nvidia both have their respective groups of followers, but Intel appears to be extending an open hand to getting its community onboard even as it’s developing its future products. Hopefully we’ll hear more about Intel’s graphics cards in the near future.

Initially, The Odyssey will function as a mailing list and anyone can sign up for the program here. Intel is also holding a kick-off community event at the Gaming Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco on March 20th. 

In the future, the Intel will also inform those on its Odyssey mailing of the latest developments as well as invites to company-sponsored events. At these online and offline events, users will be able to speak with Intel executives and developers.

Categories: Tech News

Samsung Galaxy Fold release date, news and features

Wed, 02/20/2019 - 14:18

The Samsung Galaxy Fold has been officially unveiled on stage at Samsung' s Unpacked 2019 launch event.

It's the first foldable phone from the firm and today we got our first proper look at the device after a sneak peak was given to us during Samsung's Developer Conference towards the end of 2018.

On the front of the Galaxy Fold there is a 4.6-inch display, but open the phone up and you'll find a 7.3-inch Infinity Flex display which transforms the phone into a tablet.

The Galaxy Fold will be available in four colors, silver, black, green and blue. Depending on the color you choose, you can also personalize the hinge as well.

The large screen supports three app multi-tasking, allowing you to have three apps open on the display at the same time.

App Continuity allows you to continue your app experience as you fold between the two displays. 

Apps such as WhatsApp and Microsoft Office have been specially adapted to work with the Galaxy Fold's 7.3-inch display.

The Galaxy Fold packs 12GB of RAM and a high-end 7nm processor, making it one of the most powerful phones on the market. It also comes with 512GB of internal storage and support for UFS 3.0, allowing the handset to read data even faster.

The Samsung Galaxy Fold packs two batteries which work as one unique power source.

It has a total of six cameras, with three on the rear, one on the front and two above the 7.3-inch display inside the fold.

There's a side mounted fingerprint scanner on the Galaxy Fold.

Samsung says a luxury device needs luxury packaging, and it'll include a pair of its new wireless buds in the box.

Samsung's Galaxy Unpacked launch event is happening right now and we'll be updating this article with all the details on the Galaxy Fold as they're announced on stage.

Cut to the chase
  • What is it? Samsung's first folding smartphone
  • When is it out? April 26 (US), May 3 (Europe)
  • What will it cost? $1,980 (€2,000)
Samsung Galaxy Fold release date and price

The Samsung Galaxy Fold price is a staggering $1,90 (€2,000) and will be available from April 26 in the US and May 3 in Europe. 

Previous Galaxy Fold leaks and rumors

Samsung Galaxy X leaks and news

Our clearest look yet at the possible Galaxy X comes from Samsung showing off the Infinity Flex display it will be using. It's a clamshell design that can be unfolded to provide you with a big tablet screen, or folded down to more of a smartphone size.

Images (which you can see below) have also now leaked showing a phone with a similar design. Notably the handset here has a large notch in the top right corner, with a dual-lens camera.

You can also see a metal frame, small top and bottom bezels, and a speaker and USB-C port on the bottom edge.

Note also that the phone is called the Galaxy Fold in one of these images, adding evidence that this is what the phone will launch as. We would however take these images with a pinch of salt.

In another leak we've seen a teaser video which shows a phone of a similar design, though it looks more polished. It's slim and has tiny bezels. We only see it for a couple of seconds though and it's possible that this is a concept device rather than the actual Galaxy X that Samsung is set to launch.

Prior to all that, in November 2017 we got a look at the possible interface of the Galaxy X, revealing a familiarly Samsung UI, but where each half of the display shows a different screen, rather than just making everything bigger or smaller.

This interface was shown in a patent, which also gave us another look at the possible design of the phone, showing something with a laptop-like design, but a second screen where the keyboard would be.

The Samsung Galaxy X could essentially have two screens instead of one (credit: KIPRIS)

The announcement of the Galaxy F seems to be on schedule, as in early 2018 an industry source claimed Samsung would likely start producing the phone - which will apparently have a 7.3-inch display - in November 2018, with a launch likely in December or early 2019. That matches what DJ Koh has since claimed.

However, given that we only just got a partial look at the phone, a proper launch in early 2019 seems more likely than December.

But apparently prototypes of the folding phone had already been shown off behind closed doors back at CES 2018, which took place in January.

Meanwhile Samsung's Q4 2017 financial results included claims that foldable OLED panels and phones could be a big money-maker for Samsung in 2018 and beyond - which is yet more evidence that the Galaxy Fold is coming soon.

In May 2018 we heard that Samsung had apparently changed the phone's codename from 'Valley' to 'Winner' and that the final handset will be made up of three 3.5-inch screens, which can be opened out to tablet size or folded like a book.

Apparently the screens for this device will be ready by November 2018 and Samsung has created a curved battery for the phone with a capacity of between 3,000mAh and 6,000mAh.

That claim is at odds with a newer rumor though, which says the phone will actually have two 3,100mAh batteries, for a 6,200mAh capacity in total. Either way though it sounds like the Galaxy X will have a lot of juice.

Recently we've also heard that the Samsung Galaxy F - which could be the launch name for the phone - will have 512GB of storage, dual-SIM support, and the model number SM-F900U. Apparently the firmware is also in testing, which suggests it's coming soon.

Another source meanwhile has said there could be either 512GB or 1TB of storage along with 12GB of RAM.

Additionally, the Samsung Galaxy X might have a triple-lens rear camera according to one source. They say that it will offer similar performance to the rumored triple-lens camera on the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus, and that it will include a super wide-angle lens.

Another report, this time out of the Wall Street Journal, says that the internal name for the phone is the Samsung Galaxy Flex, so that also could be what it launches as.

Samsung Galaxy X: 8 years in the making

The idea of a foldable phone isn’t new to Samsung, in fact way back in 2011 the company showed off a prototype of exactly that.

The device looked chunky and awkward, but even back then it somewhat worked, remaining intact after 100,000 folds, with only a 6% drop in brightness at the center, where all the folding action happened.

A foldable phone (not the Galaxy X) shown off by Samsung in 2011

This clearly wasn’t a commercial product, but later that year Samsung launched a concept video (see it below) of a fully bendable (and transparent) mobile device.

It could fold out from a phone-sized screen to a tablet-sized one, showing Samsung's ambitions for the technology. Now, technology hasn't advanced quite this far, so don't expect the Samsung Galaxy Fold to be just a folding screen - but the vision is an interesting one.

While a device like the one in the video above is still years away, by 2012 Samsung was already hard at work trying to launch the first generation of flexible or foldable phones, but a report late in the year claimed that problems with the production of flexible screens would hold the first bendy display back until at least 2013.

That didn’t stop Samsung showing off another video of a foldable future though, highlighting all sorts of transparent screens, made from plastic that’s thin, light and flexible enough to fully fold or roll.

And as 2012 came to a close it seemed Samsung might be overcoming its production problems, with another report claiming that its flexible plastic screens were in the final stage of development, with the first phones sporting them likely to land in mid-2013.

Samsung's foldable display on stage at CES 2013 (credit: Engadget)

Samsung’s bendy plastic screens got a more real-world debut at CES 2013, along with a name – they were now called 'Youm', though it was clear from the flexible prototype on show that Samsung was still far from putting a Youm display on a commercial device.

That was made even more clear when the tech was reportedly hit with new manufacturing issues in April 2013. 

Supposedly the previous problems had been solved, but now Samsung was apparently struggling with the encapsulation technology, which protects the screen from moisture and air damage.

The Samsung Galaxy Round - the starting point for the Samsung Galaxy X?

The closest thing we actually got to a foldable phone from Samsung in 2013 was the Samsung Galaxy Round. This was far from the prototypes and concepts we’d seen, but as the world’s first curved screen smartphone it was a big step in the right direction.

That was followed up by the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge, which curved in a now more familiar direction, one which Samsung has since fully embraced and features in its latest flagship handsets including the Galaxy Note 9, Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus.

These are still far from being foldable, and while a Samsung executive did promise a truly bendable device by the end of 2014, whatever he was referring to never appeared.

Talk of foldable phones went a bit quiet until mid-2015, when it was rumored that an upcoming phone codenamed Project Valley could be foldable.

At this point little was known about the device, which would apparently have two screens, but it was said to be in early development, so was unlikely to arrive for a while, if at all.

In September 2015 an "insider" claimed that we’d see a bendable phone in January 2016. It wasn’t clear whether this was Project Valley or not, but apparently it would come in both mid-range and high-end flavors. Though, of course, it didn’t arrive at all.

In May 2016 Project Valley got a new name – the Samsung Galaxy X, which was believed to be the name it would release under.

According to reports at the time it would be ready for release in 2017 and would have a foldable 4K display, so that the resolution would remain high even when the phone was folded.

We were sceptical about that launch date at the time, and were right to be, as we're now in 2018 and still haven't seen it - though we might be about to.

Samsung's roll-up, non-touch display at SID 2016

But that’s not quite the full story so far. At SID 2016 Samsung showed off a roll-out display (above) – but one which didn’t have a touchscreen layer, which would be pretty vital for a smartphone.

Then in June 2017 "people familiar with the matter" reported that we might see two foldable phones from Samsung in 2017 - backing up those previous Galaxy Fold reports.

Supposedly one would fold out from a 5-inch handset to an 8-inch tablet, much like the concept video Samsung showed back at the beginning of our story, while the other would fold in half like a cosmetic compact, along the lines of a folding phone patent we'd already seen.

This 2017 launch didn't happen, but Samsung was clearly on the right track, with another patent looking to solve one of the biggest problems with folding phones – the ability to fold without damaging any internal components.

The patent described an "artificial muscle", which would move in time with the screen bending to protect other components.

Is this the Samsung Galaxy X? (credit: GalaxyClub)

Another patent, spotted by GalaxyClub, highlighted a long device, with a shape more like a remote control than a smartphone, but one which could fold down to half the size.

The shape doesn’t seem particularly practical, so we doubt this is the form the Galaxy X will take, but it’s vaguely along the lines of the phone-to-tablet convertible we’ve been hearing about, and a similar design has popped up since.

(credit: LetsGoDigital)

One of the more recent bits of information that may point to the foldable X looks different than previous info. Much like the ZTE Axon M that came out in 2017, images from a patent filing (shown above) show off a bezel-licious device that folds in a clamshell design. 

So there were lots of signs of the phone being developed, and according to some sources, more than 100,000 units were going to roll out in the third quarter of 2017 - though they added that plans for a 2017 launch could apparently be changed, which has clearly happened if any such plans ever existed.

That gelled with a tweet from tipster @mmddj_china, who claimed the Galaxy X would land in Q3 of 2017 - which again, obviously, did not happen.

Elsewhere we were hearing that Samsung would only have a prototype ready by then, and supply chain sources speaking to DigiTimes said that a small production of foldable handsets would be made in Q4 of the year, but technical issues may mean we wouldn't see mass production before mid-2018 - yet another false prophecy.

Other sources similarly said that several thousand dual-screen prototypes might land in 2017, but that a commercially available product wouldn't.

One of Samsung Display's own engineers has claimed we haven't seen a foldable phone yet "because the bezel-free display currently sells well, we still have enough time to develop foldable display. The technology is expected to be mature around 2019."

Although more recent news comes direct from Samsung's mobile boss, and is a little better, as he claimed the company was aiming for a 2018 launch, assuming it could overcome certain unspecified problems. Though he's since slightly backtracked on those claims.

More recently still he's said that rather than being the first the company's goal is to make meaningful products and "roll out new products worth paying for".

A polished product is probably worth waiting for, but it seems the wait might almost be over, because, as noted above, Samsung has now shown off aspects of its folding phone, which is a good thing too, as the foldable Royole FlexPai phone is already available.

Categories: Tech News

Google fesses up to Nest Secure's undisclosed microphone

Wed, 02/20/2019 - 14:02

Google is facing some backlash today after failing to disclose the existence of a microphone in its Nest Secure platform and Nest Guard smart home hub. 

Suspicions were raised earlier this month when Google announced Google Assistant support on the devices, which until then had never mentioned that they contained a microphone, and is now apologizing for that mistake.

In statements sent to both Business Insider and TechCrunch, a Google representative said "The on-device microphone was never intended to be a secret and should have been listed in the tech specs. That was an error on our part."

Google has since updated the product page for the Nest Secure to say that the system includes a microphone and claims that the microphone’s main purpose was to alert you if the system heard a troubling noise like the sound of glass breaking.

The always-listening Internet of Things 

Why the news is causing a stir - besides the obviously misleading nature of failing to disclose a microphone in a security device - is that it raises questions about how Google is handling all of the voice data it’s collecting through its devices. 

Google’s lack of transparency on the issue is, at best, frightening, and at its worst the beginning of a dystopian novel where all your devices are constantly monitoring you and using the collected data for nefarious means. 

In its defense, Google says that the Assistant never listens in without being prompted by the wake word (“OK Google”) and, in the case of the Nest Secure, never had its microphone enabled before the Google Assistant feature rolled out in early February.

All that said, the advent of always-listening devices is an important time in history: Without universal ground rules for data collection, each company has its own set of policies - only some of which are publicly made available.

Long story short, if data security is your number one concern, maybe the Nest Secure isn’t the best option for you.

Categories: Tech News

Samsung Galaxy S10 release date, price, leaks and news

Wed, 02/20/2019 - 13:42

The Samsung Galaxy S10 launch event is today, February 20, but pretty much all of the information has leaked onto the internet, so we're pretty sure what we're going to see from the new flagship phone and its siblings.

We're currently reporting live from Samsung's Unpacked event - so check out our Galaxy S10 launch live blog to stay up to speed with everything that's happening. 

We've got all the hot leaks on the phone below, but if you're in something of a rush, here's the main elements of today's launch that we expect, based on the multiple rumors that have leaked onto the internet.

  • It looks almost certain that the Samsung Galaxy S10 will arrive alongside the Galaxy S10 Plus and more affordable Galaxy S10e, and rumors persist around a 5G-enabled Galaxy S10 X and foldable Galaxy X (although it sounds like this will be known as the Galaxy Fold).
  • Multiple leaked pictures suggest a large, all-screen display with a punch-hole camera in the top right of the phone, giving a more immersive experience than ever before.
  • The fingerprint scanner is tipped to be under the screen, allowing users to open the phone easily without the loss of screen real estate.

We're live from the Galaxy S10 launch (Image credit: TechRadar)

  • We're expecting this phone to launch on March 8 - that's the date Samsung itself is giving for those that want to pre-reserve the phone ahead of the launch.
  • We're expecting the Samsung Galaxy S10 price to start at £799 (around $779, AU$1,400) for the 128GB model, but more expensive variants will likely be launched.
  • We've seen multiple pictures that tip a USB-C connector, triple cameras on the rear, a single camera in that punch-hole and a 3.5mm headphone jack remains.
  • We're expecting a larger battery than ever before, with around 3,300mAh to 3,500mAh on the cards. With the new One UI and the expected Android Pie 9 on board, this could be one efficient handset.
  • As expected, more power than ever before will probably be on show, with around 6-8GB of RAM as well as up to 1TB of storage on board - if it's like recent years, the latest chipsets (in the shape of the Exynos 9820 or the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 will be used).

That's a whistle-stop tour of all the major specs we're expecting from the Samsung Galaxy S10 today - but there are plenty more interesting morsels that we've rounded up below from around the web over the last six months, so have a read through to whet your appetite.

Cut to the chase
  • What is it? Samsung's next Galaxy S flagship
  • What will it cost? It's sure to be very expensive
  • When is it out? February 20 launch, March 8 release

The key thing to note about the new Samsung Galaxy S10 is that it's going to set the tone for the entire smartphone market this year. While many of the rumored specs aren't new in themselves, we often see the top brands marry together innovation with strong design - so here's what we're expecting this year:

Samsung Galaxy S10 release date

Hottest news:

  • Samsung Galaxy S10 launch date: February 20
  • Samsung Galaxy S10 release date: March 8

Image Credit: Samsung

The Samsung Galaxy S10 launch date is confirmed as Wednesday, February 20 (that's today!), meaning we'll see the smartphone days before MWC 2019, which takes place from February 25-28.

The Galaxy S10 will be unveiled at 11am PT (2pm ET, 7pm GMT) at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco.

We now also know the Samsung Galaxy S10 release date, which is March 8, after Samsung opened up pre-orders on its US website.

That fits with earlier rumors pointing to a March 8 Galaxy S10 release date in South Korea and Italy.

That's for the three main models (the S10, S10e and S10 Plus). However the source adds that the Galaxy S10 5G variant - which might be called the Galaxy S10 X - will land in stores on March 29.

The Samsung S10 is likely to be sold by EE in the UK, as the network already lets you register for updates on it. That said, we'd expect just about all networks to offer one or more models of the S10.

Image Credit: TechRadar

Samsung Galaxy S10 price

Hottest leaks:

  • Samsung Galaxy S10 price expected to rise to $779 / £799

When the Samsung Galaxy S10 does go on sale, it's sure to cost a lot - although not as much as other high-end handsets on the market. 

One Samsung Galaxy S10 price rumor suggests the cost of the handset will rise to £799 (around $779, AU$1,400) for the 128GB variant and £999 for 512GB of storage.

Another source points to a price of €929 (around $1,055 / £820 / AU$1,475) for the standard Samsung S10 with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, rising to €1,179 (around $1,340 / £1,040 / AU$1,875) for a version with 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. 

More recently, an extensive leak has the Samsung Galaxy S10 price starting at €899 for the 6GB/128GB configuration and rising to €1,149 for the 8GB/512GB model.

In short, the Samsung Galaxy S10 price is all but guaranteed to rise over the asking price of the Galaxy S9 - so you might want to start saving.

In the UK? Read more about our Samsung Galaxy S10 deals predictions and pre-register your details at the links below to get all the best early pre-order prices sent straight to your inbox:

Samsung Galaxy S10 design and display

Hottest leaks:

  • Camera cut-out in the screen
  • 19:9 aspect ratio and 1440 x 3040 resolution

One of our best looks at the likely design of the Samsung Galaxy S10 comes from a series of photos showing it alongside the Galaxy S10 Plus.

You can see these below. Details about the standard S10 include a single-lens punch-hole camera on the front, tiny bezels above and below the screen, a triple-lens camera on the back, and a USB-C port, 3.5mm headphone port and speaker on the bottom.

Most recently we've seen a picture of the Galaxy S10 shared by renowned tipster Evan Blass, which gives us a full look at the front and the back of the phone. If you want to know what the Galaxy S10 will look like, here you go.

Samsung Galaxy S10 leak (credit: Evan Blass)

Further Galaxy S10 leaks, which you can see below, show off the S10 in a pearly white shade, as well as both the S10 and S10 Plus in black.

The shots of the phone in black are apparently non-functioning dummy units, but the design should be accurate.

We've also seen a render from Samsung itself that possibly shows the phone. You can see this below and note the curved screen, tiny bezels and pinhole camera.

This was posted in an article on Samsung Newsroom, then quickly replaced with a more generic picture, suggesting it was an accident.

This could be an accidental official look at the Samsung Galaxy S10. Image Credit: Reddit / qgtx

These leaks match previous case renders which include parts of the phone. You can see them below and will note that there's a cut-out in the top left corner of the screen for a single-lens camera, while on the back there are three cameras. That back looks to be glass and the frame is likely metal.

Meanwhile, a benchmark for a mystery Samsung phone which could be the S10 points to a 19:9 aspect ratio, which would make it taller than the 18.5:9 Galaxy S9.

Along with that the benchmark suggests a resolution of 1440 x 3040, which would be a slight boost, and there's every chance that to achieve those things Samsung would slim the bezels, fitting a larger, sharper screen into the same size body.

When it comes to the Samsung Galaxy S10 screen size, the most consistent rumor we've seen pegs it at 6.1 inches.

That would make the screen on the Samsung S10 bigger than than 5.8-inch offering on the Galaxy S9, giving you more display real estate to play with.

The latest screen size rumors again put the Galaxy S10 at 6.1 inches, adding that it will have a 1440 x 3040 resolution, a 550ppi pixel density and will use Gorilla Glass 6, as well as being able to hit 800 nits of brightness.

Will Samsung Galaxy S10 be a foldable phone?

One thing you shouldn't expect is a foldable phone. Not from the flagship Samsung Galaxy S10, at least. 

The Infinity Flex Display concept Samsung showed off on November 7, 2018 made it clear: the company's foldable phone design is very much that: a concept.

Samsung could launch a foldable variant to the Galaxy S10, however, and the long-rumored Samsung Galaxy X is rumored to launch in 2019 (or, more likely, the Samsung Galaxy Fold if new rumors are to be believed). 

Whether it changes its name to bring in more in line with the Galaxy S10 brand remains to be seen, but this is the closest we've ever been to a folding phone.

A foldable display is clearly the next big idea for Samsung, but it's starting from scratch with thick bezels, according to the steeped-in-shadow prototype we saw at the Samsung Developers Conference.

Samsung Galaxy S10 biometric security

Hottest leaks:

  • An in-screen fingerprint scanner
  • An improved 3D face scanner

One rumor we have seen pop up numerous times is the presence of an in-screen fingerprint scanner.

This would go nicely with the all-screen design that's being tipped for the phone, and would see the Galaxy S10 follow in the footsteps of the likes of the OnePlus 6T and Huawei Mate 20 Pro.

The latest and best evidence of this is code found in the Samsung Pay app, which mentions both an in-display scanner and the Galaxy S10 (by a codename). It's mentioned because the presence of such a scanner would mean moving the "payment flow window" higher up the screen, so it's not blocked by the scanner.

But there's plenty more evidence of an in-screen scanner too. For example, a report claims that it will use an ultrasonic Qualcomm scanner, and that Samsung has felt pressured to include it due to Vivo and Huawei both having phones with in-screen scanners.

Reliable leaker Evan Blass has also spoken of an ultrasonic scanner, and multiple separate sources who spoke to The Bell have said as much too, adding that Samsung will also look to ditch the iris scanning tech in the Galaxy S10 in favor of an improved 3D face scanner - much like the one found on the iPhone X.

We've heard a similar thing from South Korean media, but it suggests that we'll only see an in-display fingerprint scanner as the main way of unlocking the Samsung Galaxy S10. Either way, it's likely the iris scanner will be dropped.

An earlier rumor also talks about an in-screen scanner, stating that while an in-screen scanner wouldn’t be ready in time for the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, it would be ready by sometime next year, making the Samsung Galaxy S10 a candidate for one.

Samsung could be moving the scanner in-screen

And we now have an idea of why it took so long to be ready - because reportedly Samsung is using an ultrasonic scanner, rather than an optical one, as while the latter could apparently have been implemented years ago it's said to not be as good.

More specifically, Samsung has been rumored to use a third-generation ultrasonic scanner from Qualcomm. This generation has only recently been announced and not yet used on a phone, but it could mean Samsung's in-screen scanner is the best found on any phone.

Another recent report has added that while the two top-end Samsung Galaxy S10 models will apparently get an ultrasonic scanner, the most basic model will get an optical one.

But Samsung might go even further and also put the speakers in the screen, as just such a display has been shown off by Samsung Display, according to OLED Info.

And the earpiece could go in the screen too, as Samsung is said to be planning a 'sound-emitting display' for use in a phone early next year, having already shown off the tech at an industry expo.

Samsung Galaxy S10 camera

Hottest leaks:

  • Triple-lens rear camera
  • 12MP, 13MP and 16MP lenses
  • A single-lens front-facing camera

An analyst reckons Samsung is considering a triple-lens camera for the Samsung Galaxy S10, along with a 3D sensor for augmented reality content.

Analyst chatter isn’t always that reliable, but the sheer volume of Galaxy S10 leaks since which all point towards a triple camera setup on the rear of the handset means we're confident this is accurate.

More recently we've heard more details on the possible specs of the triple-lens camera, with it apparently consisting of a 12MP wide-angle lens, a 16MP super wide-angle lens and a 13MP telephoto lens.

An even newer report echoes those camera specs, but adds that the 12MP one will be an f/1.5-f/2.4 variable aperture lens , just like the camera on the Samsung Galaxy S9, while the 16MP lens will have an f/1.9 aperture and a 123-degree field of view, and the 13MP lens will have an f/2.4 aperture.

That said, one report points to the telephoto lens being 12MP rather than 13MP, so there's still a bit of disagreement.

Elsewhere, leaker Evan Blass has said to expect a triple-lens camera with one wide-angle lens, one telephoto and one standard lens.

We have an idea of the front camera specs now too, with a leaked specs list pointing to a single-lens 10MP f/1.9 lens on the Samsung S10.

The S10 and S10 Plus might also have GoPro-level anti-shake and AI-powered scene recognition on their rear cameras, according to one source, while the front cameras might have optical image stabilization and be able to shoot video in 4K. 

Samsung Galaxy S10 battery

Hottest leaks:

  • Samsung Galaxy S10 may have 3,500mAh or 3,300mAh battery

One battery rumor reveals a possible capacity for the Samsung Galaxy S10 battery, with the image below supposedly revealing cases with battery sizes scrawled on them for all three S10 phones.

If accurate, the Samsung Galaxy S10 will pack a 3,500mAh battery, which would be a sizable increase over the 3,000mAh battery in the S9.

Image Credit: @UniverseIce

The 3,500mAh battery has been rumored more than once as well, so it may well be accurate.

Having said that, we've heard a conflicting Galaxy S10 rumor from a certification listing which states the Galaxy S10 will have a 3,300mAh battery.

Since then yet another leak has emerged, this time listing a 3,400mAh battery, so it sounds like it will be somewhere in the mid-3,000's, but we're not sure more specifically than that.

The Samsung Galaxy S10 may well benefit from a boost to its wireless charging speeds, with reports linking the upcoming flagship with wireless Quick Charge 2.0.

Not only that, but it might also support reverse wireless charging, that is, working as a charging pad for other devices. 

At least, that's what the leaked image below seems to suggest, showing the rumored Samsung Galaxy Buds in their charging case placed on the rear of an S10.

Image Credit: WinFuture

There's now even more evidence of that feature, thanks to a video that seemingly shows official Galaxy S10 cases, with the back of the box mentioning 'Wireless Power Sharing' (and suggesting that you'll need to take the case off to use this feature).

Samsung Galaxy S10 power

Hottest leaks:

  • An Exynos 9820 or Snapdragon 855 chipset
  • 6GB or 8GB of RAM
  • 128GB to 1TB of fast storage

We also have an idea of what might be powering the Samsung Galaxy S10, as Samsung has announced the Exynos 9820, which is likely to power the phone in most regions outside the US.

This is an octa-core chipset built on an 8nm process. That makes it smaller than the 10nm Exynos 9810 found in the Galaxy S9 and with that size reduction comes a 10% reduction in power consumption.

The Exynos 9820 also offers up to 20% better single core performance, up to 40% better power efficiency, and up to 15% better multi-core performance than the Exynos 9810.

Gamers meanwhile should see an even bigger benefit, with the GPU offering up to 40% better performance or up to 35% more power efficiency.

The Exynos 9820 also has an integrated NPU (neural processing unit), which allows AI-related tasks to happen up to seven times faster than on the 9810.

It also supports video recording at up to 8K at 30fps, displays of up to 3840 x 2400 or 4096 x 2160, single lens cameras of up to 22MP, or dual-lens ones of up to 16MP. Though don't take that as meaning the S10 will necessarily have those specs.

As for mobile data download speeds, those can apparently reach up to 2Gbps, despite this chip seemingly not supporting 5G. Having said that, there is rumored to be a version of the Galaxy S10 that will support 5G, so that will presumably have to use a different chipset.

Since announcing the Exynos 9820, Samsung has now talked in more detail about some of its capabilities. These include support for HDR10+, which should help HDR content look better, and support for five camera sensors, which, along with an advanced image signal processor, should improve photography.

Other highlights include the ability to compress 8K video files so they take up less space, improved security, the power for a desktop-like experience, lower latency, and a more widespread use of AI.

We've also now seen a benchmark seemingly for the Galaxy S10 model powered by the Exynos 9820 and it has a high score, but not as high as we'd have hoped. It beats most current Android handsets, but comes in lower than the latest iPhones and lower than a benchmark for the Snapdragon 855.

Another benchmark has also now emerged courtesy of AnTuTu, again showing the Exynos chip beaten by the Snapdragon 855. 

However, a newer Geekbench result shows the Exynos scoring slightly higher than the Snapdragon 855, so it's unclear whether there will be much difference between them or not. Speaking of which...

In the US? Then you'll likely get the recently announced Snapdragon 855. This is a 7nm chipset, which is smaller and likely both more powerful and more efficient than the Snapdragon 845 found in many of 2018’s flagships. It's also smaller than the Exynos 9820.

Qualcomm claims it also offers up to twice the performance of another unnamed 7nm chipset, presumably meaning either Apple's one used in the iPhone XS range or Huawei's in the Mate 20 range.

The chipset also supports 5G and has a chip dedicated to processing photos and videos. This is called a 'computer vision image signal processor' and it's a world first.

An early leaked benchmark for the chipset showed it beating any other smartphone chip for power, including the A12 Bionic in the iPhone XS and the Exynos 9820 benchmark mentioned above.

The RAM could also be a big upgrade, as Samsung has announced that it has developed an 8GB RAM chip built on a 10nm process. This, while not confirmed for the Galaxy S10, apparently has a data rate that's 1.5 times as fast as current flagship RAM chips and can also reduce power consumption by up to 30%.

One odd report has suggested the phone may sport 12GB of RAM too, that's a claim that we've now heard a second time, but it seems excessive, so we're inclined to believe the above about an 8GB RAM chip. It's also likely to be reserved for the S10 Plus model if it happens at all.

Onboard storage could also be faster for the Galaxy S10, as Samsung is set to start using UFS 3.0 storage in early 2019. This is supposedly two times faster than current phone storage modules and takes up less space, so there's more room for other components.

Plus, the minimum size it comes in is 128GB, so if the S10 uses it then all models will have to have at least 128GB of storage. A couple reports even say that there could be up to 1TB of RAM in the phone, which would be far more than any other handset.

However, the most basic S10 model might have more basic specs, with one source saying it will come with either a Snapdragon 845 or 855 chipset and a choice of 4GB or 6GB of RAM and 64GB or 128GB of storage.

Elsewhere, we've heard that the standard Galaxy S10 will have 6GB of RAM and 128GB or 256GB of storage.

The Galaxy S10 could also be faster on Wi-Fi than other phones, as it will reportedly support 'Wi-Fi 6' (a brand new Wi-Fi standard).

Beyond the core specs, Samsung might further boost the gaming skills of its flagship, as a Samsung patent points to a 'Neuro Game Booster' feature.

As for the interface, it's likely that Samsung will use its recently-announced One UI Android overlay. Indeed, exactly that has been rumored.

A rumor also talks about an AI-powered "life pattern" mode, which would automate and adjust aspects of the phone based on how you use is.

Samsung Galaxy S10 vs S10 Plus vs S10e
  • Samsung Galaxy S10 - the standard Samsung flagship
  • Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus - a bigger screen and potentially better cameras
  • Samsung Galaxy S10e  - a less powerful, smaller, cheaper model

The Samsung Galaxy S10 is unlikely to arrive alone, with a trio of handsets tipped to launch at the firm's next Unpacked event.

While we've become used to seeing a pair of Samsung flagships launch together each year as far back as the Galaxy S6 in 2015, this time around all the Galaxy S10 leaks are pointing towards three or more phones.

There's the standard Samsung Galaxy S10 that's detailed here, along with the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus and a new entry in the Galaxy S10e - a smaller, low resolution and likely lesser powered handsets at a hopefully more affordable price point. 

Samsung has seemingly now confirmed that the phone will land as the Galaxy S10e (and that the S10 and S10 Plus will be called exactly that), following rumors of the same. But before that we'd also heard that the Lite model might simply be called the Galaxy S10, as might the model above it, but that would seem confusing.

Several leaks and rumors suggest the Galaxy S10e could have a dual-lens rear camera, with 6GB RAM and 128GB memory and a 3100mAh battery, which would put it behind the S10 and S10 Plus in several ways.

On top of that renders of a Canary Yellow edition of the S10 E show a dazzling design, and suggests the device will launch in a range of interesting colours, with green and blue variants suggested too.

But wait – we could even get a fourth Galaxy S10 handset, as rumors of a big-screened, 5G variant have also begun to crop up. And, of course, Samsung teasing is almost certainly going to be teasing its foldable phone at the S10 launch event.

Categories: Tech News

Github raises bug bounty prize

Wed, 02/20/2019 - 13:05

GitHub is making things easier for researchers looking for bugs on its code-hosting site by removing the cap on its bug bounty program's top payout and offering new legal protections for white hat hackers.

After five years, the Microsoft-owned company has decided to revamp its bug bounty program by providing higher rewards for serious bugs and opening up more of its products to bug hunters.

GitHub has removed the limit on the maximum amount it will pay researchers for discovering critical bugs and they can now expect to be rewarded between $20,000 and $30,000 for each critical bug.

The company's bug bounty rewards have also been raised at lower levels and high-severity bugs will earn researchers between $10,000 and $20,000, medium-severity rewards will earn them between $4,000 and $10,000 and low-severity rewards are now between $617 to $2,000.

Legal protections

GitHub is also removing some of the legal risks researchers participating in its bug bounty program have been exposed to for violating the site's terms. The company has added a new set of Legal Safe Harbor terms to its site policy.

Researchers will now be protected from violating the terms of the company's site if their actions are carried out specifically for bug bounty research. They will also now be exempt from GitHub's Enterprise Agreement restrictions on reverse engineering and the company vows not to sue them should they overstep the scope of the bug bounty program.

Additionally, all of GitHub's first-party services including GitHub Education, GitHub Leaning Lab, GitHub Jobs and the GitHub Desktop application will be open to researchers searching for bugs.

The company's Phil Turnbull explained why it decided to raise its bug bounty rewards in a blog post, saying:

“We regularly assess our reward amounts against our industry peers. We also recognize that finding higher-severity vulnerabilities in GitHub’s products is becoming increasingly difficult for researchers and they should be rewarded for their efforts. That’s why we’ve increased our reward amounts at all levels.”

Via ZDNet

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

Best Wi-Fi extenders of 2019: top devices for boosting your Wi-Fi network

Wed, 02/20/2019 - 12:13

Welcome to our list of the best Wi-Fi extenders that can make sure your wireless network reaches every corner of your home or office.

In this list you'll find the very best Wi-Fi extenders which have the sole goal of boosting your Wi-Fi network, ensuring that your devices can securely and reliably connect to the internet, no matter how far away they are from the router.

The best Wi-Fi extenders can help if you find your devices are suffering from slow network connections - or the connection is dropped altogether - without you having to spend a fortune nor having to resort to routing network cables through your property.

Wi-Fi extenders work by placing them in areas where the Wi-Fi network starts to break down. They connect to the original network, the extend the signal so that you have more wireless coverage.  

The best Wi-Fi extenders on this list are worth considering for anyone who lives or works in a large building, as you’ll find that your Wi-Fi network can get weak – or disappear entirely – in the furthest reaches of the building.

So, if you want to super-charge your Wi-Fi network, read on for our list of the best Wi-Fi extenders you can buy in 2019.

Over the last few years, Netgear has basically become a household name in the networking world. And, they’ve put their extensive expertise to fantastic use with their AC1200 Wi-Fi Range Extender EX6150. This fantastic extender is a simple device that you can inconspicuously plug right into any electrical outlet, and is our current choice for the best Wifi extender in 2018.

As an added bonus, the EX6150 features quick and simple installation, free of any hassling installation software. Just follow the easy-to-read instructions, and before you can even blink, you’ll have fast and reliable Wi-Fi covering the entire home or office. It’s just that easy.

D-Link's Wi-Fi Dual Band Range Extender (DAP-1520) is tiny and inconspicuous, meaning that while it has extremely robust performance boosting your Wi-Fi network throughout your home or office – it’s virtually invisible to anyone who isn’t explicitly looking for it.

The unassuming and straightforward design does come with some inherent issues, however: it doesn’t feature an Ethernet port for extending a wired connection. Also, contrary to some of the best Wi-Fi extenders, the antennae are internal, and while that does allow it to disappear into the background, it does mean range is somewhat reduced. Despite this, it is still one of the best WiFi extenders money can buy.

Sure, TP-Link is a Chinese networking company that has been slowly been gaining recognition in the west, and with good reason. With devices like the TP-Link RE350 AC1200 Wi-Fi Range extender, it’s easy to see their worth: it does the job well, and it’s cheap. It might not be the fastest Wi-Fi extender in the world, but with the range this extender offers at the price it’s available at it’s a steal. Plus, thanks to an LED signal indicator on the front, installation is simply a breeze. 

The Linksys RE6500 AC1200 is an yet another Wi-Fi extender that looks more like a router. The more sturdy design allows Linksys to include four gigabit Ethernet ports, which means that you are empowered to expand your network to internet-connected devices that need an ethernet connection.

It also has an audio output jack which allows you to connect it to speakers or an audio system, allowing you to stream digital music from your PC to your audio receiver. This is a pretty robust and flexible device, and one of the best WiFi extenders for the money.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive way to beef up your Wi-Fi network, and you’re ok with making a few concessions in performance and features, then the D-Link DAP-1320 Wireless N300 Range Extender is a great device for you. This tiny device doesn't include any Ethernet ports, and it doesn't feature dual bands or 802.11ac, presently the fastest form of Wi-Fi.

Still, it is designed well and built to last, and it's a quick, easy and cheap way of bolstering your Wi-Fi network as long as you’re not anticipating too much network traffic.

  • This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the TP-Link RE350 

The Linksys Velop makes a sound argument for a wireless mesh network’s ease of setup. With the aim of replacing both your router and your now-antiquated range extender, the Velop arrives at a time when companies like Google and Netgear are doing the same thing. The main way Linksys hopes to differentiate its contender in the wireless mesh networking space is with a user-friendly setup that anyone with a smartphone can understand. With just a visit to the App Store or Google Play marketplace, you’ll have the Linksys Velop running in a matter of minutes. It's certainly a worthy addition to our list of the best WiFi extenders in 2018.

Read the full review: Linksys Velop

If you’re looking for a great way to upgrade your network to have great coverage no matter where you go in your house, a powerline adapter is a fantastic choice. Not only do they maintain the same functionality that the best Wi-Fi extenders can afford, but the TRENDnet Wi-Fi Everywhere Powerline might just be a dream come true. It may not be aesthetically pleasing, and the price tag may be a tad high, but this unit more than makes up for those issues with sheer performance. And, unlike other powerline adapters, the TRENDnet Wi-Fi Everywhere comes equipped with a clone button that will, well, clone the SSID and WPA key of your network so that it can double as a Wi-Fi extender. An expensive Wi-Fi extender. 

Read the full review: Trendnet Wi-Fi Everywhere powerline 1200 AV2 

  • This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Linksys Velop 
Categories: Tech News

The Last of Us 2 release date, news, and rumors

Wed, 02/20/2019 - 12:04

As endings go, The Last of Us's was pretty conclusive. But as it turns out, that hasn't stopped The Last of Us developer Naughty Dog from cranking out a sequel in the form of The Last of Us 2 – or, The Last of Us Part II if we're using its proper name. 

Given the first game was hailed by players and critics alike as a masterpiece with excellent, emotional storytelling and engaging, realistic characters, we have to admit that the decision to release a follow-up isn't particularly shocking. We'd probably have been more surprised if there wasn't one. And yet, when The Last of Us 2 was first announced, we'd be lying if we said our heart didn't skip a beat. 

The Last of Us 2 was first announced by Naughty Dog at PlayStation Experience in 2016 alongside a teaser trailer and as we're now into 2019, we're now hoping to hear an official release date any day now. 

Although we got a closer look at the game, Sony didn't give us any hints during E3 2018 when we'd see the game, but it's looking more and more likely that we'll have to wait until 2019 to see what becomes of Ellie in the brutal post-cure world.

Cut to the chase
  • What is it? The sequel to the critically acclaimed post-apocalyptic game The Last of Us
  • When can I play it? It’ll be a while from now, late 2019 or early 2020
  • What can I play it on? PlayStation 4
The Last of Us 2 trailers 

The most recent trailer we have for The Last of Us 2 was shown during E3 2018. This trailer finally gives us a look at Ellie in an intimate scene before cutting away to some of the brutal but stealth-based combat we can expect to see in the game when it's launched.

The gameplay sequence gives us a look at Ellie fighting for her life in the wild. Success in a fight appears to require the right balance between stealth and all out attack as damage seems to have a more realistic impact. Ellie can move quietly between areas, taking weapons from bodies and crafting, before bursting out and taking down her enemies. 

See the gameplay for yourself below.

The Last of Us Part 2 had another trailer drop during PSX 2017. During a panel it was confirmed that the game will be set in the city of Seattle and the darker themes we know are coming were touched upon. You can watch the panel for yourself below:

Another trailer for the game was shown at Sony's press conference during the 2017 Paris Games Week. This trailer is around 5 minutes long, focusing on conflicts between the human factions in the game. It shows part 2 is going to have a dark story, perhaps even darker than the first, and the trailer is fairly harrowing to watch. 

Visually impressive though it is, do note that it's gory before you watch it for yourself below. 

The first look at the game came with its announcement at PlayStation Experience in 2016. Despite the fact that the game is early in development, the trailer showed a full (non-gameplay) scene that features both Ellie and Joel. You can watch it below:

The Last of Us 2 release date

As Naughty Dog has said the game is still in the early stages of development, we imagine it’ll be a while before we get to play The Last of Us 2. 

We don’t even have a rough release window yet, though considering Naughty Dog has seen the bad side of promising a solid release date and missing it before it’s hard to blame them for not committing at this stage. 

In a recent interview with Vorterix, the game's composer, Gustavo Santaolalla, said that it's going to launch in 2019. Naturally, this hasn't been confirmed so we'd take it with a pinch of salt. However, it doesn't seem all that implausible as a release window given that in-game footage was only shown as recently as Paris Games Week 

What we know so far

Definitely coming to E3

Sony has confirmed the time and date of its E3 conference as June 11 at 6pm PT/ 9am BST. And Sony Worldwide Studios boss, Shawn Layden, has confirmed during a PlayStation Blogcast that the Last of Us 2 will feature. Layden said that Sony has decided to "refresh and remake its show" and that fans can expect to see "deep dives", gaining a better understanding of where Naughty Dog is and plans to go with the title. 

Mocap is underway

Things have been quiet on the official news front for The Last of Us 2 but we've been glad to see some studio insiders and actors from the game posting images on social media which show that the game's motion capture is well underway. Actors Ashley Johnson and Shannon Woodward have both posted images of themselves wearing mocap suits. They didn't give much away but the fact that Naughty Dog is this far into the motion capture process suggests we might at least be closer to hearing about a possible release date. 

Troy Baker is impressed

The Last of Us 2 is still in the works, but we now know that one of its lead voice actors, Troy Baker, has had an in-depth look and he thinks the game is 'awesome'. It's not clear whether Baker just saw some gameplay or had the chance to go hands-on himself but according to GameRant he said during MCM Comic Con at Birmingham “It’s a fantastic story. It’s a fantastic game. We just finished a playtest. It’s looking awesome. I can’t for it to be on shelves.” Though we can't be sure where exactly in the development process it is (during PSX, it was said that Naughty Dog had reached around the 50 to 60% mark) this playtest is an encouraging sign. 

Directors

With Neil Druckmann having been promoted to Vice President of Naughty Dog, The Last of Us 2 now has two confirmed directors. Druckmann will, of course, still be heavily involved in the creation of the game but it's now being headed up by Anthony Newman and Kurt Margenau, both of whom were lead designers on Uncharted 4. 

Story

Although it was no slouch in the gameplay department, it was the story told by The Last of Us that stuck with us for months afterwards. Naturally Naughty Dog had to give us some kind of hint about where the sequel would go. 

At the moment we know The Last of Us 2 will take place in the city of Seattle, five years after the end of the original game, with a 19 year old Ellie taking the starring playable role. Joel will still appear in the game but if the teaser trailer is anything to go by, he could be a much more passive presence. 

This time around, Ellie is extremely angry about...something. From what we saw from the teaser trailer she wants revenge, which to her appears to be a dish best served deadly. 

She does, after all, promise to “kill every last one of them.” It’s not clear who “them” is but it could signal that the Fireflies, the first game's well-meaning but morally grey antagonists, will make a return. Anger, hate and revenge are going to be key themes this time around so expect to be in for an emotionally heavy ride. 

As Joel is such a passive presence in the trailer there’s been speculation that he’s actually dead, appearing in Ellie’s mind’s eye, and Ellie’s anger and vengeance will be directed at those who caused his death. This isn’t entirely unlikely but it’s purely speculation at this point. It is worth pointing out, however, that Neil Druckmann did reveal in an interview with PlayStation Lifestyle that this announcement trailer footage is not a scene that will actually take place in the real game. 

In the trailer for the game shown at Paris Games Week in 2017, we got a look at how dark the game is likely to be. The trailer focuses on the opposing relationships between human characters in the game and features some seriously cringe-inducing violence. 

It doesn't tell us much about any new characters of how they'll relate to one another but it does confirm that we're going into a dark game world in The Last of Us part 2. 

In a recent panel at PSX both Druckmann and Gross said that though the game's story will indeed be dark and there'll be a focus on the theme of hate, "there is hope" and there will be "lighthearted moments." 

We can't pretend we're not relieved to hear this after the game's controversial Paris Games Week trailer which, Druckmann said, was intended to highlight the game's exploration of the pursuit of justice.

Ellie is one of the most real and refreshing characters we’ve seen in gaming so it’s exciting that Naughty Dog are going to take her story further and put her in center stage. 

The creative director of the game, Neil Druckmann has said that the story will be about Ellie and Joel’s relationship and that though the story would be complementary to the story of the first game, it would be much larger. 

When asked at a PSX panel whether or not Joel or Ellie may die, Druckmann responded that "no one is safe" highlighting that the game's story really could go anywhere. 

Hopes are particularly high for this larger story as it’s been revealed that one of the writers of Westworld, Halley Gross, will be co-writing the game’s story. Having someone who’s written scripts for such an incredibly popular and successful show should be a boon for the game's story. 

Gameplay

Not much is being said about gameplay at the moment. Neil Druckmann said at a PSX Panel that there would, however, be some differences as a result of Ellie being the playable character rather than Joel. 

“Ellie plays differently than Joel [...] Some things are evolution, some things are reinvention, but there will be a gameplay reveal down the road.”

It’s hard to glean much from this, but if Naughty Dog take the approach that’s frequently taken with playable female characters, Ellie will probably be more swift on her feet than Joel was but perhaps less able to take damage. 

This won't be the first time we've had the chance to play as Ellie, after the first game put us in her shoes for a short mission, but here the purpose of the mission was to make her feel weak in comparison to Joel. We can only hope her abilities will be expanded for the sequel. In the Paris Games Week trailer she certainly looks far physically stronger than she did in the first game. 

We expect to see much more in terms of gameplay from E3 2018 after Druckmann stated in the PSX panel that more details for the game would emerge at that event. 

What we'd like to see from The Last of Us 2

A new setting

Given that time has moved on 5 years from the end of the first game, it’d be nice to see Joel and Ellie in a new location too. It doesn’t necessarily have to be far from the setting of the first game but considering we have the two lead characters and their relationship to keep us tied to the first game, it’d be nice to play in a new location to keep things feeling fresh and make the introduction of new characters feel more plausible. 

Druckmann has said that this game’s story will be larger than the story of the first game and we imagine this necessitates a slightly more expansive setting.

More frightening enemies

The infected in the first game are terrifying and threatening and we want to see more of that. Things don’t have to change too much but new classes of enemy, new character designs and new ways to defeat them would be excellent. 

Considering we’ll be playing as Ellie now rather than Joel we imagine players will have to learn to take a different approach to combat anyway as it’s been said she’ll play differently.

It’d also be great to see more human enemies as well as the infected. We saw more than a few morally grey factions make an appearance in the first game so to expand on this and maybe introduce some more elements would be interesting. 

The exploration of the morality of humanity in post-apocalyptic scenes is always interesting, particularly considering in games you’re interacting with it directly and feeling its impact more strongly than in most mediums. 

The Last of Us 2 has the chance to make a real emotional impact through the human areas it presents us with.

The return of multiplayer

Multiplayer in The Last of Us was surprisingly good so we wouldn’t be averse to seeing it return here. If the game’s main story is going to be as heavy as we expect, it’d certainly be nice to have the option to break free for a while without leaving the game world and connect with others online. 

(Image credits: Naughty Dog)

Categories: Tech News

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