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Animal Crossing on Nintendo Switch: release date, news and features

Latest Tech News - Tue, 02/19/2019 - 10:18

Nintendo has finally given the fans what they want. During a Nintendo Direct in September 2018, the company announced (via a short teaser trailer) that Animal Crossing is coming to the Nintendo Switch sometime in 2019.

While the trailer didn't give any details of new gameplay mechanics, or even which characters would return from previous games, it did give us an announcement - which is more than we had previously.

Logic told us it was just a matter of time until Nintendo made the announcement – Animal Crossing is a very popular series for Nintendo that helps shift a lot of hardware after all – but a new Animal Crossing title on the Switch guarantees to entice players new and old. 

That’s not only because Animal Crossing is already popular and successful, but because the game is a perfect match for Nintendo’s hybrid console. Animal Crossing’s sandbox nature makes it ideally suited to long play sessions on your TV, as well as shorter on-the-go bursts on the Switch’s handheld mode. 

While we don't have a ton of details on the game, here's what we know so far.

Animal Crossing Switch release date

As vague as it is, all we know right now is that Animal Crossing on Nintendo Switch will be available sometime in 2019. We'll likely hear more about the game in the run up to E3 2019.

Animal Crossing Switch news and rumors

Officially announced

Nintendo officially announced Animal Crossing for the Switch during a Nintendo Direct in September, 2018. 

Nintendo Switch arrives in Animal Crossing Pocket Camp

Okay, so this isn't really a direct sign that an Animal Crossing game will be released for Nintendo Switch but it has set our rather desperate minds into a swirl of conspiracy theorising. The Switch item was put into the Animal Crossing Pocket Camp game as a daily bonus item to encourage players to log in day after day.  It feels like a tease but there's a good chance it could mean nothing but what it is – the addition of a relevant and interesting item to a mobile game trying to keep players coming back. 

The (almost certainly fake) leaked images

The most recent sign that there’s an Animal Crossing release coming to Switch is in the form of some leaked images which claim to show the game. There are two images in total: one which shows what’s supposed to be the game’s opening screen and another which shows the actual game. 

Unfortunately, both are almost certainly fake. Still, it’s evidence that there's high fan demand for a Switch release. Admittedly, we are definitely intrigued by the idea of an Animal Crossing Globetrotter.

You can see both images below:

Nintendo’s trademark

In January 2018 it was revealed that Nintendo had applied for a new Animal Crossing trademark in Japan for a wide range of purposes, including software for a home video game machine, portable electronic game machine, and smartphone devices. Now, we already have the smartphone device application in the form of Animal Crossing Pocket Camp, but we’ve yet to see the portable and home game machines. A Nintendo Switch release would tick both of those boxes. 

As well as this, the trademark also covers stuffed animals, game machine controllers, board games, playing cards, protective carrying cases, and trading card games, so it’s clear that Nintendo still has big plans for the series. 

It’s been a long time since the last mainline release 

The last mainline Animal Crossing release was New Leaf all the way back in 2012. That’s now six years ago and, given before this the usual release gap for mainline titles was around three to five years, we’re inclined to say we’re due a new game.

What’s also interesting is that the Wii U never received a mainline title (no, Amiibo Festival absolutely does not count) despite the fact that many fans expected to see one. It’s possible that Nintendo started work on an Animal Crossing Wii U or settled on waiting to launch one for the Switch, and although we can’t be sure of this, we think it’s likely that a Switch launch is coming. Regardless, the core Animal Crossing team finished up with Splatoon 2 development a while ago – so they must have something new in the pipeline. 

The success of previous releases

Previous DS and 3DS Animal Crossing releases have sold extremely well for Nintendo – both Wild World and New Leaf each surpassed 11 million sales. While there is the caveat that previous home console releases for GameCube and Wii haven’t done nearly as well, we’re inclined to say that the Switch will buck the trend here thanks to its hybrid nature, and Nintendo will have a hit on its hands. Given one of Nintendo’s most staunchly handheld titles, Pokemon, is now confirmed to be coming to the Switch, we don’t think it’s likely the company will keep Animal Crossing languishing on the 3DS for much longer. 

What we want to see from Animal Crossing on Switch

Wider, more dynamic, cast

We love our Animal Crossing neighbors, but there’s no denying that they can become somewhat samey. It's a problem that’s not helped by repetitive interactions. We’d love to see a new Animal Crossing introduce even more new faces to the neighborhood and perhaps include a few more ways to get to know them. Seeing more dialogue and more well-rounded personalities would make us very happy players.

More furniture 

Decorating in Animal Crossing is one of the biggest and best parts of the series (just look at Happy Home Designer for evidence of that). But, we’d like to see even more pieces of furniture appear in a new game. New styles and themes would be welcome, perhaps with more customization options.

Bigger spaces or more areas

With the power the Switch offers, we think we could get the biggest and most expansive Animal Crossing ever. Although we love that Animal Crossing is all about being in a small town, we also enjoyed the move towards a city vibe that came with New Leaf. In Animal Crossing on Switch we wouldn’t like to take this a lot further, but it’d be nice to see some new areas or districts in town that offered a few more amenities or places to visit.

More chances to craft your own story

Moving into the mayoral role was one of the best aspects of New Leaf, but we’d like to see something a little different in the next installment. Perhaps more choice in what role you play in the town. Pocketcamp allows players to take up the role of a holiday camp owner, so perhaps in a new mainline game we could see a few more career options. 

Of course, for those interested in continuing along the mayor route that would still be there, but it’d also be exciting to see shopkeeper or cafe owner paths open up. Creating your own designs or crafting furniture to sell to the locals, or collecting ingredients from your town and others to add some interesting flavors to your cafe menu – all of these sound like enjoyable pursuits in an Animal Crossing world. 

Mobile tie-in

Animal Crossing Pocket Camp was a welcome release after we hadn’t seen anything from the series in a while, but it doesn’t scratch the itch quite enough for us due to its shallowness. However, that doesn’t mean we’d like to see the mobile game abandoned entirely when a mainline release launches. 

It’d actually be nice if Nintendo managed to tie the mobile and console releases together in some way so that players can get more depth out of the mobile game, and give us another way to enjoy the console release. Whether that’s unlocking and transferring items, earning money or improving relationships, we’d just like a way to keep playing even on days where we can’t carry our Switch. Now that we've seen it's possible with Pokemon Let's Go, our hopes are even higher. 

Categories: Tech News

Gears 5 release date, news and trailers

Latest Tech News - Tue, 02/19/2019 - 09:38

The Microsoft exclusive Gears of War series is arguably one of the most popular to hit Xbox, with the Lancer and its chainsaw bayonet being about as recognizable as Halo’s iconic Warthog. As if there was any doubt the series would continue, Microsoft confirmed it during E3 2018.

Called Gears 5 rather than Gears 'of War' 5 (for no other significant reason than that it's more streamlined and in line with what fans are calling it) this new game in the series will have a female protagonist, Kait. Marcus Phoenix will still appear, but Kait will take the starring role as she takes her team on a personal mission which will continue on from the emotional ending of Gears of War 4. 

Here's everything we know so far about the upcoming Gears 5.

Cut to the chase
  • What is it? The fifth game in the main Gears of War series, potentially acting as the middle chapter in a second trilogy 
  • When’s it out? 2019
  • What can I play it on? Xbox One, and PC (maybe. See below for more details) 
Gears 5 trailers

Microsoft and The Coalition studio head Rod Ferguson have confirmed Gears of War 5 during the Xbox Keynote at E3 2018. To go alongside the announcement we got a new trailer starring Kait Diaz, Marcus Fenix and the rest of the Gears crew. Locusts will again play a major role in the series when the game comes out in 2019.

Can't wait until then? There will be two other Gears games coming soon - Gears Pop and Gears Tactics. The former is a mobile spin-off of the franchise that will be developed alongside Funko while the latter will be a tactical game similar, most likely, to the XCOM franchise.

You can check out the Gears 5 announcement trailer below:

Gears 5 release date

Now that Gears 5 has been announced, we know that it'll be coming some time in 2019. There's nothing more specific than that just yet. 

Gears 5 news and features

XO18 show

During the XO18 show in November, 2018,  The Coalition studio head Rod Ferguson promised "a bunch of innovations, a bunch of changes, a bunch of things that are really exciting and different but still feel like Gears of War" (via GamesRadar).

Cult of personality

During the XO18 show in November, 2018, The Coalition studio head Rod Ferguson
explained the studio wants to prove it can still provide "an authentic Gears of War experience" and that Gears 5 will be about "bringing The Coalition’s personality to the game" (via GamesRadar).

E3 2018

Gears of War 5 was confirmed during E3 2018, and will be called Gears 5 to be released in 2019. Following on from the ending of Gears of War 4, this game will follow Kait as the star of a new trilogy. Breaking her chain of command, the game will follow Kait as she breaks the chain of command and takes her squad on a decidedly personal mission. 

There could be three Gears of War games announced at E3

You know how it goes, you wait for something and then a bunch of them come at once. There are rumors that the Xbox press conference in E3 could see the announcement of three new Gears of War games. According to Polygon fans could see Gears of War 5, a battle royale Gears of War, and a real-time strategy Gears of War all announced on the same night. Though naturally not all for the same release date. We don't know whether these rumors are true but we don't have long to find out. 

Job listings 

Several recent job listings at Splash Damage have set the rumor mill in motion, suggesting that work on Gears of War 5 is now underway. 

Splash Damage is the studio that worked on the multiplayer side of Gears of War 4 and it's now looking to fill roles such as associate art director, storyboard artist, cinematic artist and cinematic lead.

Given that the job listings explicitly state the work is for the Gears of War franchise, there's good reason for fan hopes to be high. That said, it's not impossible that they could be for a non-numbered addition to the franchise, like Gears of War: Judgement.

At the very least, Gears of War fans using Xbox Game Pass will be happy to know that any future game in the franchise will be included on their subscription following Microsoft's confirmation that all first-party exclusives, current and future, would be included on the service.

PC Gaming

Microsoft has been pushing its PC Play Anywhere program, that sees you able to take your Xbox games and play them on Windows PCs. Gears of War 4 made use of it way back in 2016, so there’s no reason why Microsoft would drop the service for a sequel. (Which is a nice change, considering Gears of War 2 and 3 never saw releases on PC.)

Story 

Gears of War 4 ended with an air of expectation. Rather than eradicating a threat, the game ended with the establishment of a new enemy: the Swarm, an evolution of the original trilogy’s locust. Everything was being set up for a greater conflict between this new race and the last vestiges of the human factions on Sera - the COG and the Outsiders, two groups that were at odds with one another.

Gears of War 5 would have to continue that conflict, revealing the larger aim of the Swarm and see the two human factions forge a union to combat the growing threat.

What we want to see from Gears 5

Unanswered questions

Gears of War 4 ended with JD and Kait fighting their way through the Swarm to try and save Reyna, Kait’s mother, only to find it was too late. Reyna wasn’t dead but the Swarm were trying to integrate her into their hive and removing her would kill her. But, at Reyna’s request, JD and Kait tear her away from the Swarm. 

Before she does, Reyna teases a great mystery: she gives Kait a necklace that she says she was given by her own mother, Kait’s grandmother. The symbol is one Gears fans will recognize looks remarkably similar to one worn by Queen Myrrah of the Locust, your nemesis in original trilogy. A Gears sequel would have to explore this further – are Reyna and Kait descendants of the Locust? 

There are hints that Adam Fenix, Marcus’ father, JD’s grandfather was close to Myrrah before the wars, so there’s a chance that Locusts and humans coupled but it would be new territory for a Gears of War game to explore.

Wish List

Besides continuing the campaign story, we’d like to see more of the changed world we were introduced to in Gears of War 4. Taking place 25 years after the original trilogy, the sequel is set in a world where humans were forced to abandon fossil fuels and collect together in small martial law-governed encampments and violent windstorms sweep the land, tearing up anything left unprotected. 

Gears of War 5 should explore that further, showing us how desperate humans are trying to fight off the Swarm on a planet that is trying to kill them.

The Coalition worked to make Gears of War 4’s battlefields more dynamic places, giving you the ability to pull enemies out of cover and leap forward with short range charges. A sequel should continue this, giving players greater freedom of movement and ways to break stalemates between human and Swarm forces.

The original Gears of War cemented the cover shooter as a subgenre, now its sequels have to rattle its foundations by taking away the safety of sitting behind a low wall.

(Image credits: The Coalition/Microsoft)

Categories: Tech News

This super cheap Samsung Galaxy S9 deal is the perfect alternative to a pricey new S10

Latest Tech News - Tue, 02/19/2019 - 09:35

With the official launch of Samsung's latest and greatest - the Samsung Galaxy S10 - dropping tomorrow we can imagine that you are in one of two camps. Either, you've done your research and are now waiting patiently to get your hands on the phone. Or, you've seen the expected price of around £800, and gave up on the idea of owning this new release.

If you're in the latter camp then don't worry, as, we have the perfect antidote to end those expensive phone blues and it comes in the form of an incredibly cheap Samsung Galaxy S9 deal. 

How cheap you ask? Well if you apply our exclusive 10OFF code at the checkout you can get this S9 deal for just £40 upfront and £23 a month with 3GB data. That works out at just under £600 over the two years or in other words, an incredibly cheap price for one of Samsung's top devices.

This cheap Samsung S9 deal in full

Looking at our above pick and shaking your head at the idea of us calling it perfect? We understand...perhaps you have an aversion to O2 or simply need more data than 3GB every month. In that case, take a look at our price comparison below to discover more of today's best tariffs, or head over to our dedicated Galaxy S9 deals page for some more handpicked plans across a range of networks and data points.

Categories: Tech News

Realme 3 launch imminent in India as the company posts first teaser on Twitter

Latest Tech News - Tue, 02/19/2019 - 08:38

Realme, the spin-off brand from Oppo has started teasing the Realme 3 on its official Twitter account. On Tuesday, a tweet went out from Realme Mobiles which asked readers to “put 1 and 2 together.” While the obvious reference here is the Realme 3, there has strangely been no information regarding the upcoming smartphone.

The image accompanying the tweet showcases the retail boxes of both the Realme 1 and Realme 2 and makes it fairly obvious that it is regarding the next phone in the lineup, the Realme 3.

Being a 9-month-old company, Realme has five products in its smartphone catalog along with a couple of complementing accessories. Realme smartphones have received a good response with its first phone, the Realme 1 going on to sell more than 400,000 units in just the first month of launch. It’s successor, the Realme 2 met with an even better response, selling over 200,000 units in 5 minutes on the day of its first sale.

Realme 3 specifications

As the company gears up to launch the Realme 3 in India, company CEO Madhav Sheth disclosed in an interview with The Indian Express that the company wasn’t going to jump the triple-camera bandwagon anytime soon as they didn’t see any value in that.

We expect the Realme 3 to carry forward the waterdrop style notch design on the front with dual cameras on the back. Picking up from the Realme 2 Pro, there’s a possibility that the twin cameras on the back are upgraded for the Realme 3. The company could also offer two cameras on the front and a larger battery.

The Realme 3 could have a plastic built like the Realme 2 Pro with different finishes on the back to make it stand out. We will know more as we near the official launch of the Realme 3 in India.

Categories: Tech News

You may want to hold off buying a 5G phone until 2020

Latest Tech News - Tue, 02/19/2019 - 08:25

We know that 5G will officially launch in 2019, but the first 5G phones to hit the market this year could be quickly outshone by 5G devices launched towards the end of 2019 and into 2020.

Smartphone chipset maker Qualcomm has announced its second generation 5G modem, the Snapdragon X55, which it claims is the world's first capable of 7Gbps.

What does that mean for you? Even faster internet speeds, allowing you to download movies, apps, TV shows, games and music in seconds, although you're unlikely to see that top-end 7Gbps speed instantly as networks continue to develop their 5G experience.

However, the more exciting feature of the X55 is its flexibility. Whereas Qualcomm's first 5G modem (the Snapdragon X50) was developed with smartphones in mind, the Snapdragon X55 is designed to work in pretty much any application.

That means we could see the second generation 5G modem make its way into a host of phones, Wi-Fi hotspots, laptops, tablets, autos, IoT devices and more - helping the premise of 5G being something that can connect far more items than just phones and tablets.

Super support

The Snapdragon X55 is also the first modem to support standalone 5G networks, allowing your phone to carry out all its tasks over the speedy connection.

Most 5G phones which arrive in 2019 and use the X50 or rival modems will be non-standalone, where they connect to both the 5G and 4G connections, with the former used for data and the latter for the phone's main connection to the network.

The X55 also supports virtually any band in any region around the world, which means manufacturers shouldn't have to produce different variants for different regions to cope with specific network demands.

Qualcomm expects the first Snapdragon X55 devices to hit the market before the end of the year - so we could see it feature in handsets such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 or Google Pixel 4, but the X55 will likely really take hold in 2020's flagship devices.

Categories: Tech News

Keeping ahead of the curve: understanding threat intelligence

Latest Tech News - Tue, 02/19/2019 - 04:00

In cyber security, the more information you have about potential threats against your organisation, the better equipped you are to defend against them. Threat intelligence does exactly that and it’s fast become an essential part of any effective security programme.

The SANS institute describes threat intelligence as ‘knowledge about security threats, threat actors, exploits, malware, vulnerabilities, and compromise indicators’. It consists of several layers – including sources, feeds, and platforms – which help organisations compile, analyse and act upon threat data. 

Sources: The raw data

Sources are the raw data for threat intelligence, which can be sorted, analysed and compiled into intelligence feeds (the second layer). For most organisations, the best approach is to use a combination of in-house sources combined with commercial or public feeds. Typical in-house feeds include threat analytics from a security operations centre (SOC), professional communities, security news/blogs and dark web research. 

On the other hand, commercial and public feeds primarily draw from customer telemetry, the dark web, open source repositories, malware processing and manual security research and event analysis.

Image Credit: Pixabay

Feeds: Putting the pieces together

A threat intelligence feed comprises data from one or more sources, packaged up into a coherent collection. The majority of feeds tend to focus on one main area, such as botnet activity, domains or malicious IP addresses.  

The real-time nature of threat intelligence feeds means as soon as a new threat or malicious entity is discovered, the information is packaged into the feed format and streamed to subscribers. Time is of the essence, as a user’s primary aim is to defend against imminent attacks before they happen.  

Security professionals can use these feeds in a variety of ways. Some security tools, such as firewalls, accept feeds directly, meaning any new discovery can be immediately accounted for. Alternatively, feed data can be saved to a Security Information Event Management (SIEM) or User Event Behavioural Analytics (UEBA) solution, which can correlate threat data with internal security events and generate alerts when any relevant threats are found. Analysts can also manually review information and while this can be useful, it’s often extremely time consuming.  

Platforms and providers: Making sense of it all

Threat intelligence platforms provide the means to compile, organise, store, analyse and compare multiple feeds simultaneously. They can then correlate these feeds against internal security events and create prioritised alerts for analysts to review. While it has many other uses, a SIEM also functions in this way. A few examples of popular threat intelligence platforms are ThreatQuotient, Anomali ThreatStream and Palo Alto Networks AutoFocus, each of which has a slightly different focus, depending on what is required by the organisation in question.

Image Credit: Pixabay

Threat intelligence isn’t without challenges

While threat intelligence has become increasingly important in the defence against cyber-attacks, it isn’t without its challenges. Primary examples include:

  • Data overload – Many security analysts are already drowning in data before threat intelligence is added to the mix. Without effective planning and prioritisation, the huge amount of additional data can very quickly lead to analysts becoming overwhelmed. 
  • Context – While threat intelligence often provides important security information, without the relevant context it can be meaningless. 
  • Specialist processes and skills – Feeds are not useful by themselves, they require careful analysis by trained professionals to identify actionable insights. The current global shortage of security professionals is well known, meaning many organisations struggle to recruit the people they need to make the most of threat intelligence. 
Optimising threat intelligence data 

Going a stage further, modern SIEM platforms now feature numerous technologies that can help organisations make the most of threat intelligence data and mitigate the inherent challenges. Modern SIEMs are designed from the ground up to work with threat intelligence. Primarily, automation and analytics capabilities mean they can provide the most useful data, exactly when it’s needed: 

  • Automation – Automated incident response, for example, gives analysts the ability to gather data from hundreds of tools, automatically identifying incidents, referencing them with threat intelligence data, and orchestrating containment and mitigation steps, significantly reducing data overload. 
  • Analytics – Using analytics to identify anomalous behaviour – correlating this with threat analytics data to identify the type and source of an attack – is a huge benefit for security professionals. In the past, when carried out manually, this has taken up the majority of skilled security professionals’ time – a resource many organisations cannot afford to waste.

When utilised correctly, threat intelligence provides a wealth of invaluable information about almost every aspect of an organisation’s cyber security operations. Like any technology, it isn’t without its challenges, but many of these can now be mitigated through the use of modern SIEM platforms, leaving organisations with all of the benefits on offer and none of the drawbacks.

Categories: Tech News

Does sports content hold the key to 5G adoption?

Latest Tech News - Tue, 02/19/2019 - 04:00

Over the coming weeks and months, 5G will transform from an idea into a reality. The first compatible handsets will be unveiled at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona and operators will be detailing the brand-new consumer applications they hope will drive adoption.

One of the earliest use cases has been immersive content. Indeed, the ultrafast speeds, greater capacity and ultra-low latency of next-generation networks are perfect for Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technologies.

And just as sport has been used a key driver of pay-tv subscriptions and new television technologies, it is being viewed as a way to create interest in 5G networks.

5G Sport

New research from Amdocs and Ovum has suggested that the first time many consumers will interact with a 5G network will be through watching a sport event at home or in the stadium – and most likely in 2020.

Ninety-one per cent of the world’s leading mobile operators plan to trial 5G at sporting venues before the end of 2020, while two thirds plan to offer 5G-enabled VR and AR sporting experiences to supporters.

This might be instant VR replays, 360-degree streams, or AR-powered statistic applications that overlay graphics on top of live content. Others are planning to use the enhanced capabilities of 5G to power new multi-screen streaming services.

Tellingly, 37 per cent of operators plan to coincide their 5G launches with major sporting events. A quarter will do so for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo and 28 per cent will do so in time for European football championships in the same year.

The figure is even higher among European operators, 88 per cent of which plan to launch in time for Euro 2020, which will take place across the continent.

Sporting content

“It’s essential for operators to find successful use cases for 5G given the investment levels. Amdocs’ research has revealed that major live sports events could hold the key to consumer adoption of 5G,” said Gary Miles, Chief Marketing Officer at Amdocs.

“Operators have identified these events as the springboard for rollout of a whole range of new interactive and immersive services. This will give consumers their first real taste of what 5G can deliver and allow operators to showcase the capabilities of their next-generation networks.

“Expect to see the first of these new services and applications rolled out in conjunction with the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo and soccer tournaments in Europe, among other big events in the sports calendar. We will also see operators becoming integral to the growth of esports with 5G opening the door to future investment and revenue opportunities.”

Intriguingly a third of the operators surveyed said they might even look to own a sports team if it helps their 5G efforts. While it’s unlikely we’ll see Vodafone United competing in the Premier League, or athletes competing for Swisscom at the Olympics – it shows the importance of content in the 5G era.

Tellingly, operators are also planning to subsidise 5G devices to get them in the hands of consumers. Ovum says 43 per cent of operators will subsidise the cost of 5G smartphones and a third will do so with tablets.

Both Three and Vodafone have made Mixed Reality (MR) a key focus in their early showcasing of 5G to the public, but 5G will also make it easier to produce traditional sports content.

5G broadcasting

5G allows broadcasters to deploy wireless and autonomous cameras around the arena and beyond, reducing the number of cameras and cameramen required, and offering a wider range of creative options.

5G is far more suited to broadcasting than 4G because of the enhanced capacity and because operators will be able to use network slicing to guarantee a minimum standard of speed and throughput. What’s more, 5G make outside broadcasts far more efficient. At present, broadcasters use on-site trucks and fibre connections to capture images and audio and for production.

EE used 5G to broadcast the Wembley Cup, while Intel and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) held trials of 5G broadcasting at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics earlier this year. Golf is another sport looking to see how 5G can enhance its broadcasts.

“5G is not just a new wireless technology from a network equipment provider, it’s a fundamental transformation of mobile networks, infrastructure and business models,” said Ed Barton, chief analyst, consumer and entertainment at Ovum.

“It will drive the creation of new applications and services, which in turn will require new operating and business models, force changes across operator technology setups and emphasizing the need to integrate the new with the old. Our discussions with the World’s leading operators prove that it’s already a challenging journey. The industry has two years or less to get it right if it is to hit the ground running.”

Categories: Tech News

Vivo iQOO gaming smartphone with Snapdragon 855 and 12GB RAM spotted in the wild

Latest Tech News - Tue, 02/19/2019 - 03:24

Vivo’s newly minted sub-brand iQOO which will focus on offering flagship features in an affordable package has teased the launch of their first product. Under the iQOO sub-brand, Vivo is expected to unveil a gaming smartphone with buffed up specifications. The company has released a teaser image of the phone in question and we now know a bit about what’s coming from iQOO.

According to the teaser image, the upcoming iQOO gaming smartphone will be powered by top-of-the-line Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset and will be backed by 12GB of RAM with 256GB of storage. Recently, a phone bearing model number vivo V1824A made it to Geekbench and we think it is the same phone in the teaser.

The picture also reveals that the phone will support Super HDR playback and will have a 4D feedback feature which will be helpful for gamers. Other than that, it has a 4,000mAh which supports 44-watt fast charging. Theoretically, it could recharge the phone from 0% to 100% in a matter of just 60 minutes.

There's also rumours of a triple camera setup on the back, but it remains to be seen which sensors the phone utilities.

Additionally, it is expected that the phone will have a premium build comprising of either metal unibody or glass. We will know more as the launch date nears and whether or not the phone will make its way to India.

Categories: Tech News

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus pre-orders: what should you expect to pay in Australia?

Latest Tech News - Tue, 02/19/2019 - 00:18

It's looking likely that the 2019 line-up of Samsung handsets will include a Galaxy S10 Plus, and that means it'll probably be one of the most expensive and powerful Android handsets money can buy!

Like the S9 and S9 Plus, we're expecting the S10 Plus to share many of its traits with the smaller S10 sibling (check out our Galaxy S10 news, rumours and leaks page for more info there). But naturally, a few key improvements will arrive in this larger model. We're expecting a bigger screen, up to 1TB of on-board storage and up to 12GB of RAM on this unit.

With the announcement date looming, we're more eager than ever to get our hands on this big-screened powerhouse of a phablet and run it through its paces, but how much will it cost, and when is it actually available?

On this page, we'll take a look at the prices, plans and pre-order dates for the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus, but if you're interested in more detail on what we think we know so far, give this Galaxy S10 Plus page a spin.

See also: Galaxy S9 review | Galaxy S9 Plus review

When can I pre-order the Galaxy S10

As we've mentioned on our outright pre-order page, the new range of Samsung Galaxy S10 flagship handsets will be unveiled at the company's February 20 Unpacked event in San Francisco at 11am, which works out as February 21, 5am AEST for Australia.

Traditionally, pre-orders have opened up simultaneously with the launch event, so we can expect it to be the same this year around. In the US, Samsung has promised users who pre-order the handset that they will be receiving it on March 8, and based on previous years, we can likely expect the same timeframe.

For a more detailed look at how to order your handset outright, check out our Samsung Galaxy S10 pre-order page.

Samsung Galaxy S10 price predictions

In Australia, we didn't see any Galaxy S9 Plus models launch for less than $1,349, and given the trends of smartphone pricing, and the introduction of a new affordable option into the lineup (the Galaxy S10e), we're not expecting the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus to be cheap.

In fact, if the rumours of upgraded RAM, storage and processor are true, we're fully expecting it to cost the same as last year's Galaxy Note 9, which started in Australia at $1,499 for the lowest storage configuration.

Based on the trends over the years, we're likely going to see Telstra, Optus and other major carriers bring out the lower storage model handset on 24-month contracts starting from around $100 per month on a relatively low-data plan (4-6GB), with better value offerings sitting in the $110-120 bracket.

While our estimations here are based on years of evidence and carefully watching the smartphone market, we're still hanging out for the all-important facts to be unleashed. Stay tuned here for all the latest on Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus plans and pricing.

Categories: Tech News

Australia's best cheap headphones, discounts and deals in February 2019

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 21:18

With headphones of all types, colours and styles flooding the market, it’s hard knowing which ones to pick – do you go for the premium model you’ve always wanted, or are you better off just grabbing a cheap set from the discount bin?

Well, it’s worth remembering that cheap headphones are cheap for a reason, so even if saving money is priority we can’t recommend those $2 discount-bin variety that you find all over the world. And, as you’ll find out below, you don’t always have spend a lot of dosh to snag a great set of headphones either.

To save you the time and effort, we’ve put together this dedicated guide to the best bargains on great-sounding headphone. We constantly monitor major Aussie retailers and go a-huntin’ to bring you the most worthwhile deals on a variety of sets – from in-ear buds to noise-cancelling cans – so check out our continually updated list below to discover the best current headphones deals in Australia.

Best cheap over-ear headphones this week Best cheap in-ear headphones this week

The best deals on our favourite headphones

To help you decide which headphones work best for you, we've decided to put together a little buying guide with a list of our favourite recommendations. 

The headphones you'll find here have tons of features to help you to get the most out of your music, or any other form of audio-visual entertainment you prefer, however you like to listen to it.

For the most part, when shopping for noise cancellation headphones we've gotten used to making a compromise between shutting the world out and wanting great sound performance. But no longer. Sony's WH-1000XM2 cans are a great redesign of the already-excellent MDR-1000X and offer not just perfect noise cancellation but also score top marks in sound quality. These headphones easily outclass Bose's flagship QC35 II in terms of both soundscape and feature set.

Read more: Sony WH-1000XM2 review

The very popular and excellent Bose QC35s underwent an upgrade and now come with Google Assistant at your beck and call. For a premium price, not only do you get Bose's world class noise cancellation and good sound quality, you also get a personal butler and an incredibly comfortable set of cans. And with up to 40 hours of battery life, you'll get through any long-haul flight.

Read more: Bose QuietComfort 35 II review

For a little over $100, it's hard to recommend a better sounding pair of 'buds than the 1More Triple Driver in-ears. It's hard to fault the headphones, if you can put up with the rubber cable and the plastic remote. Even that is just us nitpicking. For the price, it's our top recommendation of in-ear headphones if your phone still has a headphone jack or you don't mind using an adaptor.

Read more: 1More Triple Driver in-ear headphones review

If you're a frequent flyer, or commute long distances daily, you'll understand the need for a great pair of noise cancelling headphones. Unfortunately, most of them cost a pretty penny. But not the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2. These headphones offer not just good sound and shut the world out, but do it at pretty much half the cost of the usual suspects of Sony, Bose and Beats. They also have a useful feature that turns the headphones off when you're not wearing them, saving battery. And did we mention you can pair two devices at once as well? If that isn't great value, then we don't know what else is.

Read more: Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 review

With headphone jacks fast disappearing from flagship handsets, wireless headphones is the way to go. But not everyone likes the feel of a set of cans on their head and cables, no matter how small, can get annoying. If that's describing you, then true wireless 'buds are the answer to your prayers. While most of them compromise on sound quality, the Jabra Elite 65t not only sound good but offer ambient noise isolation as well. They're an excellent substitute if you aren't too keen on the other-worldly look of Apple's AirPods.

Read more: Jabra Elite 65t review

It's hard to find the Optoma NuForce BE Sport4 wireless 'buds, but if you're after a set of no-frills headphones that don't compromise on sound quality, you'll want to look for these. They do an excellent job of isolating sound when in a noisy environment and boast up to 10 hours of battery. And with a 15-minute quick charge, you'll get an additional two hours of playback out of them.

Read more: Optoma NuForce BE Sport4 review

If you're after more information on headphones in different form factors, take a look at some of our other dedicated audio articles:

Categories: Tech News

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice release date, trailers and news

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 14:21

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is an upcoming action-adventure in development by FromSoftware - AKA the studio that brought us Dark Souls and Bloodborne. 

Set in ancient-Japan, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice sees you take on the role of shinobi Sekiro as he seeks revenge on the samurai who left him for dead and kidnapped his lord.

From what we've seen, Sekiro looks to be a stunning, dark and violent single-player which will please fans of Dark Souls as well as those who enjoy a game with a bit of edge.  

So, without further ado, here's everything we know so far about Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.

Cut to the chase
  • What is it? New action-adventure from the studio behind Dark Souls
  • What can I play it on? PS4, Xbox One and PC 
  • When can I play it? March 22, 2019
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice release date

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is due to release for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on March 22, 2019.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice trailers

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice was revealed at E3 2018.

You an watch the reveal trailer below: 

PlayStation Undergound treated us to an extended look at gameplay in the video below: 

Want to know why Sekiro is on a mission for revenge? Here's a closer look the Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice's story:

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice news and features

No RPG elements

Unlike FromSoftware's Souls series, Sekiro will not feature any role-playing elements  such as character creation, classes, or gear upgrades. Instead it's a fairly straight-forward hack n' slash.

No multiplayer

Sekiro is entirely a single-player title, so don't expect to be slicing up enemies with a friend anytime soon..

There are stealth elements

If you get within range of an enemy without being spotted then you an land a fatal blow. It's not as simple as it sounds...

Shinobi deathblow

This is an instant fatal attack. Deathblow techniques are unlocked are acquired throughout the game.


Combat

Combat requires a little more patience and strategy than you may be used to. While the aim is to take down an enemy's health, really you want to get them out of posture to make them vulnerable and give yourself an opening for a fatal death blow. 

Tools

While the right-hand katana is fixed, you will have a range of prosthetic tools to attach to the other hand such as a torch and grappling hook.

Categories: Tech News

DOOGEE S90 modular rugged smartphone smashes Kickstarter target

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 13:27

Chinese smartphone maker DOOGEE has successfully concluded the Kickstarter campaign for its new rugged modular smartphone, the DOOGEE S90, with a total of $354,412 raised across two months.

The company's latest device gained the attention of 935 backers on the crowdfunding site and the S90 is now available on AliExpress, Amazon and its own website.

The DOOGEE S90 brings swappable modules to a rugged device for the first time through the use of magnetic force and 24 metal points. 

Users can easily turn the S90 into a powerful night vision camera, professional rugged walkie-talkie and even a gaming phone using the company's modules. There is also a 5000mAh power bank module available that can extend the S90's battery life to up to 26 hours.

Toughest smartphone

In addition to its new modular design, the S90 is also DOOGEE's toughest smartphone to date and the new device is waterproof, dustproof and shockproof with IP68 protection. The S90 is even fully functional when submerged in water up to 1.5m for two weeks.

By combining metal and polycarbonate, the S90 can survive extreme temperatures, drops, transport shocks, humidity, mold, salt spray corrosion, explosive gas, vibration and other hazards.

DOOGEE is also developing a brand-new 5G module which will launch in Q3 2019 to allow customers to use the device on 5G networks.

The DOOGEE S90 is now available for $375 for the device itself or for $509 with the power bank, night vision and walkie-talkie modules.

Categories: Tech News

Origin might be showing your real name – here's how to fix it

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 13:08

EA's Origin client might be showing your real name online, even if you deactivated the feature.

According to a Reddit post by user Legendairr (and Dutch website 4gamers.be), some Origin users who had initially deactivated the 'show real name' privacy setting on the client are finding the feature has recently been activated automatically – allowing other online users to see their real name rather than their nickname. 

How do you hide your real name on Origin?

So how do you know if your real name can be seen on Origin? And how do you turn it off if you would rather people didn't see it? 

In the Origin client, click 'Origin' then 'EA Account and Billing'. Choose to open your 'My Account' page in a browser window. Then select 'Privacy Settings'.

You'll then see a 'Who can see my profile' option. In the drop-down menu you can choose if your Origin profile is viewable to just friends, no one or everyone. 

Image credit: Origin/EA

But you'll also see a 'Show my real name on my profile' setting. If you want to allow people to see your real name, tick the box beside this setting – be warned, though, that this will allow anyone who sees your profile to see your real name.

If you don't want anyone seeing your real name then make sure this box is unticked.

 As EA hasn't officially announced it would be changing this default privacy setting, many users expressed concern over the change, with some claiming it's a breach of the GDPR data regulations.

TechRadar has reached out to EA for comment, and we'll update this story if we receive a response.

Check out EA Help for more information on updating your Origin privacy settings and email preferences.

Categories: Tech News

Best email hosting providers of 2019

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 12:30

Getting hold of an email account is easy – sign up with an ISP, register with Google, buy a website hosting account – but free and standard packages won't always deliver the quality that professional users need.

Email hosting plans are an easy way to get a more efficient and reliable service. Exactly what's included depends on the provider, but you might get support for larger attachments (up to 50MB), 50GB or more storage space for your inbox, online storage for easy file sharing, bundled apps like Microsoft Office online, Exchange and Active Directory support for business users – not to mention 24/7 support if anything goes wrong.

Your email will work with a custom domain (address@yoursite.com), and it's typically straightforward to set up. You can use an email hosting plan to effectively replace your web host's service, or you can try one without having any hosting at all.

With quality services priced under £3 ($4.20) a user, and free trials available, it's easy for anyone to check out the email hosting market. Whether you're after an individual account or would like to cover your entire business, read on for five great providers that you might want to check out first.

The best email hosting services of 2019 are : 

Rackspace remains one of the top email hosting provider in the market

Texas-based cloud computing giant Rackspace has a wealth of hosted business-oriented email products for all levels of users.

Even the bottom-of-the-range Basic plan is well-specified, with 25GB mailboxes, spam and virus filters, and it’s accessible via Outlook, webmail, or by mobile users. Mailboxes are priced at $2 (£1.45) each per month with a minimum of five required per order, but there are no long-term contracts, just monthly bills which you can cancel whenever you like.

The next-step-up Plus account brings 30GB of cloud storage, ActiveSync support, Office-compatible apps and instant messaging for $3.50 (£2.50) a month, which is also better value than most.

An extended Plus account adds unlimited storage space via archiving. That might be handy if you think a 25GB inbox is too small, but we're unsure if it's really worth the $6.50 (£4.65) price tag.

More demanding users can check out Rackspace's Hosted Exchange 2016 plans. Specs include 100GB inboxes and support for 50MB attachments, and the starting price of $7.99 (£5.70) a user looks good to us.

There are cheaper services around, but quality matters, too, and Rackspace does better than most. All plans include a 100% uptime guarantee, and top-quality 24x7x365 support via chat, ticket or phone to quickly solve any issues that might crop up.

Fasthosts is part of the formidable United Internet family which also includes 1&1

Email hosting can seem expensive, and that's largely because the big companies are forever competing to offer the largest amounts of inbox and file storage space. That's great if you need it, but not so much for light email users looking for a bargain.

Fasthosts Standard Email plan is a stripped-back email hosting plan which offers the bare essentials for a very low price.

Signing up gets you five Mail Lite accounts with a tiny 100MB inbox and a maximum of 10MB attachments, and two Mail Extra accounts with 2GB inboxes and support for attachments of up to 15MB. Both products give you webmail access only. That's limited, but look at the price: just $2.60 (£1.99) a month on the annual plan (at the time of writing, you can get 50% off). If your users genuinely don't need the gigabytes available elsewhere, Fasthosts more basic package could make a lot of sense.

Fasthosts also offers a more capable Exchange Email product with a 25GB inbox, access via Outlook's web app, and even a free domain for the first year. It's priced at $6.50 (£4.99) per month for 5 or more users with the annual contract. You can also choose a 50GB inbox for $13 (£9.99). As before, Fasthosts is focusing on price more than power, but if you only need a basic Exchange account, there's plenty of value here.

Office 365 BE is a surprising third in our email hosting provider shortlist

Microsoft Office 365 isn't just a powerful suite of productivity apps. It also throws in a very capable email package, and for less money than some providers charge for email alone, which could make the service worth a place on your shortlist.

Microsoft Office 365 Business Essentials offers support for 150MB attachments, for instance, three times the size allowed with even some premium competitors. 50GB of storage per user (and a custom email domain address) means you'll be able to keep your messages for a very long time, and there's 1TB of online storage available in your OneDrive account.

Access to Office Online enables working with Word, Excel, OneNote and PowerPoint documents from within your browser, and there's a whole range of business-friendly extras: calendars, online conferencing, intelligent search, workflow automation and more.

If you don't have Office 365 already, the Business Essentials price of $5 (£3.90) a month (for annual billing) looks like good value to us.

If you're solely interested in business class email, though, Microsoft's Exchange Online Plan 1 provides Exchange accounts for $4 (£3.10) per user per month on the annual plan.

India-based Zoho might not be a household-name but its offerings pack a lot of punch.

Zoho Mail – now known as Zoho Workplace – is a hosted email service with a bundled online office suite, and a stack of other extras.

A free plan gives you 25 mailboxes with up to 5GB per user, a 20MB attachment limit and webmail access. A referral scheme could get you support for a further 25 mailboxes (at the time of writing the referral program wasn't available due to remodeling).

If that's too basic, the Standard plan gets you IMAP and POP support, 30MB attachments and 30GB of storage, 5GB file storage space, and support for working with multiple domains. That's more capable than some of the premium competition, and includes the same productivity tools as the free suite, yet still only costs $3 (£2.30) per user per month, billed annually.

Zoho's Professional plan gets you 100GB of storage (per user), 40MB attachments, support for Active Directory groups, and more. It's yours for $6 (£4.70) per user per month (billed annually), not bad at all for the storage space and features you're getting. Also, Lite plan is available with less features, but it's only $1 per user per month, billed annually.

Liquidweb is based in the US and provides with an attractive low price for its offering.

Liquid Web is probably best known for its comprehensive managed and dedicated server packages, but the company also provides an interesting email hosting service for what could be a very low price.

Note that you will need to buy LW's Premium Web Hosting in order to get their email service. They do not sell it as a stand alone service.

The baseline Standard plan offers POP, SMTP and IMAP access, supports 50MB attachments and gives you a decent 25GB of storage space. The ability to import contacts from Gmail, Outlook and more gets you set up quickly, spam protection is handled via top quality Cloudmark technology, and you're able to set up custom email filters and rules as required.

Liquid Web charges a flat $10 (£7.15) a month fee for your account, but after that, each Standard plan mailbox costs only $1 (£0.70) more. If you need five or more mailboxes, that's going to be very good value, especially for the high level of support on offer.

The Plus plan enhances the service with 30GB of cloud storage, mobile sync for contacts and calendars, and online editing of spreadsheets and documents. This also includes a one-off $10 (£7.15) service fee and is $3 (£2.40) per mailbox, potentially a very good deal if you're catering for a lot of people.

A final Microsoft Exchange plan gets you 100GB mailboxes, ActiveSync compatibility and Active Directory support, and even throws in a free copy of Outlook.

Its price of $10 (£7.15) a month isn't quite as impressive value as its low-end cousins, but Liquid Web does allow you to include Exchange and Starter or Plus accounts in the same order. You could have 10 Starter mailboxes and two Exchange for only $40 (£28.55) a month, for instance, and that competes well with even big-name budget providers.

10 things to look for in your next email hosting

If you want to host email accounts together with your website, then you should look at these email features before signup.

Most hosting companies will offer the ability to host your own email (something like email@yourdomain. com). Your package will include a number of email accounts – usually between 1-10 for basic hosting.

You’ll be given access to your own email control panel to set up your accounts. Using email requires two things: an email server and an email application, this could be an email client such as Outlook, or alternatively access to Webmail like Gmail or Yahoo.

The email server is a piece of software that runs on the server and is constantly connected to the internet. It receives and processes any mail sent to it and sends out any mail you send.

The email client is an app that runs on your PC, phone or tablet and enables you to send, receive and organise your emails, e.g. Microsoft Outlook. The client checks the mail server for messages and downloads them for viewing. It is a control panel for reading and writing messages.

The good news is that most email clients can connect with most email servers, you can even connect multiple email servers to work with multiple email accounts.

So your work and personal emails can be accessed from the same email client. The more popular email clients such as Outlook give you more features (calendars, tasks etc.) than using webmail.

Webmail is a web-based email interface that can be accessed in a web browser is often faster and more convenient because it accesses the stored data more directly without the user having to download software locally.

Emails can be checked from any device with access to the internet. Email protocols are a set of rules that help the client to send the information to or from the mail server. Two of the most common email protocols are POP and IMAP:

1. POP (Post office protocol) Applications like Outlook will use POP to download emails from the server to your computer and then delete them on the server.

2. IMAP (Internet message access protocol) IMAP is more advanced than POP, with IMAP, emails are stored in the mail server and can be accessed from any clients anywhere if they all use IMAP. 

Mail data is kept on the server as well as your computer, until you delete the mail. When comparing hosting packages, be sure to choose one with full IMAP support.

Exchange Exchange is the gold standard email protocol – the most expensive option of the three, but for good reason. It’s a Microsoft protocol that gives you the power to sync tasks like IMAP does, but with the added ability to share contacts and calendars among employees.

If you can afford to pay the extra cost (around $9.99 per month per mailbox), you will reap the benefits of its advanced functionality and tools which can be used even when you are on the move. 

You might also want to check out our other website hosting buying guides:

Categories: Tech News

Samsung confirms it's stopping Blu-ray player production

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 12:03

Samsung has confirmed that it will not be making any new Blu-ray players, having not announced a new player since the launch of its UBD-M9500 4K player at CES 2017.

The news was first reported on by Forbes who claimed that the company is  "no longer going to be making any new models of 4K Blu-ray player". 

Samsung later released a statement confirming the news to CNET, saying "Samsung will no longer introduce new Blu-ray or 4K Blu-ray player models in the US market." 

Streaming dominates

Samsung's last player, the UBD-M9500 4K Blu-ray player impressed with its high-quality built-in display and great multimedia features, but dwindling sales of physical media has likely spelt the end for the company's Blu-ray ventures.

In the age of streaming, DVD and Blu-ray sales have dipped dramatically, with unit shipments for the global Blu-ray player market expected to decrease from 72.1 million in 2017 to 68 million in 2023, according to market researchers.

With only three new Blu-ray players launched at CES 2019, the preference for streaming over physical media is becoming ever more apparent – but that doesn’t mean companies like Panasonic and Sony aren’t still innovating in the Blu-ray player market. 

There are actually quite a few benefits to watching films on Blu-ray as opposed to streaming; whether it's the uncompressed video and audio quality and the additional special features of a Blu-ray disc you're after, or if you are looking to upscale standard definition or 1080p content to Full HD or 4K respectively, a great Blu-ray player can deliver a truly cinematic experience.

Still, if streaming continues to get better and physical media sales continue to fall, Samsung may not be the only company to halt Blu-ray player production this year. 

Via What Hi-Fi?

Categories: Tech News

Australian government and opposition hacked in major cyberattack

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 12:03

Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison has revealed that in addition to the cyberattack launched against the Parliament House computer network several weeks ago, the country's political parties have also suffered attacks by a “sophisticated state actor”.

Sources familiar with the matter have described the level of sophistication as “unprecedented” though it is still unclear as to which foreign government was behind the attack.

The attacks are believed to carry the digital footprints of China but Australian authorities are concerned that another state could have replicated the tactics used by Chinese intelligence to shift the blame towards them.

The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) discovered that the networks of some political parties including Liberal, Labor and Nationals were also affected while investigating the parliamentary hack that occurred several weeks ago.

Australian hack

The Australian government believes that a sophisticated state actor is behind the attacks but at this time only China, Russia, Israel and the US are believed to be capable of such a high-level attack.

The attacks against Australia's political parties resemble the 2016 election interference campaign against the US by Russia when the Democratic National Committee was hacked and damaging information was released during the presidential campaign.

In his address to the Australian parliament, Mr. Morrison explained that the ACSC is prepared to handle any malicious activity ahead of the country's election, saying:

"I have instructed the Australian Cyber Security Centre to be ready to provide any political party or electoral body in Australia with immediate support, including making their technical experts available. They have already briefed the electoral commissions and those responsible for cyber security for all states and territories. They have also worked with global anti-virus companies to ensure Australia's friends and allies have the capacity to detect this malicious activity. We have acted decisively to protect our national interests."

Via The Sunday Morning Herald

  • We've also highlighted the best antivirus to keep your devices protected from the latest cyber threats
Categories: Tech News

Chelsea vs Manchester United live stream: how to watch FA Cup football from anywhere

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 12:02

Feels a bit like history repeating itself, doesn't it? Chelsea and Manchester United met in the FA Cup last year as well - it was the final then and the fifth round now. It should be a cracker of a tie, with United seeking to get revenge for the defeat they suffered last season. And the great news is that it's on free-to-air TV in the UK. We'll tell you how to get a Chelsea vs Man United live stream wherever you are.

It was Eden Hazard's penalty that divided Chelsea and Man U in last year's 1-0 FA Cup Final, and he's likely to be one of the stars of the show today at Stamford Bridge, too. But other than that, so much has changed since last May.

Both clubs have a new manager for a start. Enigmatic Maurizio Sarri is under pressure at Stamford Bridge, failing to get his team to fire on all cylinders. A 6-0 thumping at the hands of Manchester City capped a miserable few weeks, and a big FA Cup tie victory could be just what he needs to get their Premier League season back on track.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over just before Christmas after José Mourinho was finally given his marching orders. It's been an incredible couple of months, with a resurgent United winning 10 of their last 12 games. His prolific start to his time as manager has helped to get the best out of the likes of Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford and earn them a place back in the league's top four.

Considering their league positions, it feels like this year's FA Cup is as important as ever to Chelsea and Manchester United. Below we're going to talk you through the best ways to watch the FA Cup action in the UK and the rest of the world so you can ensure you can easily live stream the match.

How to live stream the FA Cup in the UK for free: Live stream Chelsea vs Manchester United from anywhere in the world

In the US? Then keep scrolling, as we have your viewing options below.

But if you're abroad for the game and find that you can't watch your home coverage online because it is geo-blocked, we have a handy alternative to allow you to watch as if you were back on your sofa.

How to watch the FA Cup: live stream in the US for FREE

Categories: Tech News

Considering a Samsung Galaxy S10? These phone deals may make you change your mind

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 11:52

You know you want a Samsung Galaxy S10, you've read the leaks and have researched what Samsung has to offer. But are you aware of what else is available at that price range?

The price of Galaxy S10 deals are currently shaping up to be around the £800-mark for a SIM-free handset - you don't need us to tell you that isn't cheap. While it is expected to be one of Samsung's greatest phones yet, that price tag lands you directly in the middle of some of the best phones out right now. When you're paying over £800 you want the absolute best your money can get you.

Below, we've picked out our picks of the top four mobile phone deals in the same price range as the S10, ranging from Apple to Google to the lesser known Oppo. Each of these phones stands out for different reasons but they are all considered some of the best phones available right now. So have a read through and see which one suits your needs the most.

The Apple alternative - iPhone XR The one with the top camera - Google Pixel 3 Features galore with the Huawei Mate 20 Pro The unexpected choice - Oppo Find X
Categories: Tech News

Diablo Immortal: everything there is to know about Blizzard's mobile RPG

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 11:46

Click. Hack. Click. Slash. Click. Loot. Repeat. Welcome to the world of Diablo, the world’s premier action RPG series, the game that spawned many an imitator but few that can truly compare to its addictive dungeon-crawling, gear-gathering grind. 

Having blown away the competition on PC and finally made won over console players with Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition, developers Blizzard are now finally looking to bring the demon-slaying franchise to smartphones with Diablo for smartphones – Diablo Immortal.

It’s been a controversial decision, one that’s split the game’s hardcore fanbase. But could Diablo Immortal actually be a genuine antidote to all the horrible Diablo clones that plague mobile game stores? 

Here’s hoping. Read on for everything we know so far about Blizzard’s much-anticipated Diablo Immortal.

Cut to the chase – Diablo on phones
  • What is it? A mobile, touchscreen-controlled take on the classic Diablo ARPG formula.
  • When can I play it? There’s no set release date yet, but we’re hoping late 2019
  • What can I play it on? Android and iOS devices are the platforms announced so far
Diablo Immortal trailers

Two trailers have been revealed for Diablo Immortal – one a relatively extensive look at gameplay, the other a cinematic focussing on the story. Feast your eyes on both below:

Diablo Immortal release date

Diablo Immortal doesn’t have an official release date yet beyond a “coming soon” placeholder. We had been expecting a 2019 release, but a statement in February of 2019 from Blizzard CFO Dennis Durkin, aimed at easing investor expectations, stated that the company had no major releases planned for 2019.

It’s possible that as Diablo Immortal is (for the time being at least) only being considered a mobile release, that this is not considered a big mainline title for Blizzard, and could still fall into the 2019 window. But as the first all-new release in one of the company’s most storied franchises, it’s hard to imagine it not being considered a major title.

Diablo Immortal gameplay and story

It may be a mobile game, but for the most part this is going to be the same Diablo you already know and love, albeit with controls designed to make the most out of a phone touchscreen rather than a mouse or controller.

Developed cooperatively between Blizzard and Chinese devs at NetEase (the company which co-operates Overwatch, Diablo 3 and Warcraft in China), the game will be set 5 years after the events of Diablo 2, and will explore what happened after the Worldstone was destroyed in that game, and the path taken to the dismal world of Diablo 3. The likes of Tyrael, Malthael, and Leah and Deckard Cain will all feature in the story, as will the demon hunters Valla and Josen who appeared in Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm. In terms of foes, expect appearances from Diablo’s buddy Baal and Skarn, the Herald of Terror. Story beats will be dished out via non-playable characters, with additional storylines landing through updates to the game.

Built from the ground-up, Diablo Immortal will introduce new abilities and techniques not yet seen in a Diablo game. While six familiar classes will be present (Barbarian, Demon Hunter, Monk, Necromancer, Crusader and Wizard – with the Witch Doctor notably absent at this stage), they’ll be able to work together in all new ways. Abilities will be able to be combined to make cross class co-operative play more exciting. A Wizard for instance will be able to freeze a foe with ice crystals before firing a beam called the Ray of Frost into the crystal. When used individually, the Ray of Frost and ice crystals can only take down one baddie, but if the ray is fired at the crystal, it fragments the beam so it can hit multiple enemies.

Projectile and melee attacks will also be more clearly directional now  – many attacks will include a a directional cone within which to fire them off, which will likely be handy when attempting to trigger the combo moves described earlier.

The other big change for the game will be the amount of players who can team up together. Previously, this has topped out at four for Diablo 3. But footage of Diablo Immortal shows as many as ten players banding together to battle foes. Early reports indicate that these large scale battles will be locked to open world areas, with instanced dungeons (and the boss specific loot they offer) instead tied to four-player maximum parties.

There also seems to be a greater emphasis on environmental and platforming obstacles in Diablo Immortal. The gameplay clip showed levels in which players had to abseil down a chasm while battling the forces of darkness, and another where they travelled along what appeared to be a river in a raft, taking on baddies along for the ride.

Those changes aside, expect Diablo Immortal to be very similar to previous Diablo games. You’ll fight enemies, levelling up to acquire new skills while dearly wishing that the next felled foe will drop a more powerful weapon, armour piece or accessory to make your coming battles easier. It’s one of the most addictive loops in all of gaming, and what has made Diablo one of the most revered franchises in all of gaming.

Reception and controversy

Diablo Immortal’s announcement was met with, at best, a mixed reception. It’s been several years since Blizzard released a mainline Diablo game, and so the trailer seemed a tease for those expecting a full PC or console release. As such, the backlash was immediate, with some accusing Blizzard of cashing in on fans’ goodwill, and that the game was merely a reskin of co-developers NetEase’s previous mobile ARPG titles.

Blizzard has looked to allay fears, saying that it’s taking as much care with Diablo Immortal as any of its titles, and assuring fans that it’s an all-new game worth their time.

However, so great has been the animosity that Blizzard has had to show its hand for further titles earlier than expected. While it hasn’t explicitly stated that Diablo 4 is in development, it has said that Immortal is not the only Diablo game currently in the works. So expect, sooner or later, another fully fledged Diablo game to be revealed.

Diablo Immortal pricing and in-game purchases

Just exactly how Blizzard will be selling Diablo Immortal is yet to be revealed. While many fans are hoping for a one-off, single payment, that seems unlikely given how the lucrative mobile gaming market has been established.

We’d imagine that Diablo Immortal will be free to play, and will include some sort of in-app purchases, be that access to additional classes or, more likely, stat buffing items and cosmetic adornments for your heroes.

Image Credits: Blizzard Entertainment

Categories: Tech News

Best VPS hosting providers of 2019

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 11:35

Standard shared website hosting packages are cheap and user-friendly, but they're also slow, inflexible, and don't have the power or functionality that professional and business users often need.

If you need more than a basic host but can't afford a dedicated server or don't want to deal with the complexity of these beasts, VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting could be a smart choice.

Buying a VPS plan means that you get your very own virtual server environment. You have full control over the operating system, the extensions and apps you install, and all their settings. Each physical server will still host multiple VPS customers, but not as many as with shared hosting, and typically each VPS will be allocated a share of key resources – RAM, storage space, CPU cores – for their use alone.

This can be easier to manage than you might think. Many VPS plans include standard tools like cPanel to help monitor and configure your site. Some hosts will manage the service for you, monitoring for problems like a crashed service, and fixing them as soon as they're detected.

VPS prices and specs vary from a few dollars a month to hundreds, depending on your requirements. There's a lot of choice out there, but don't panic – our list of five best VPS providers will point you in the right direction.

Namecheap's VPS plan might be affordable but they're all but "cheap".

Shopping for a VPS host often means staring at some huge product comparison table and trying to figure out which of its many plans works for you.

Namecheap makes life easier by providing only two plans, and making it extremely clear exactly what you're getting in each case.

Prices start low at only $14.07 per month on the annual plan, but that still gets you 2GB RAM, two CPU cores, 40GB of storage, 1000GB bandwidth and one dedicated IP.

Buying add-ons can improve these baseline specs. If you need more dedicated IPs, for instance, you don't have to upgrade to a new plan – Namecheap will add extra IPs to your product for only $2 each.

The service isn't quite as cheap as it sounds. The starter plans aren't managed, for instance (the host doesn't look after them for you), and they don't include a cPanel licence. Adding both of those capabilities will cost you an extra $36 a month.

Still, Namecheap does provide some exceptionally configurable VPS products for users who know what they're doing. Even if you're a beginner, checking out the various options on offer here will help you understand the factors you need to think about when choosing a VPS provider.

InMotion is one of the more popular web hosting providers out there and it is no surprise that they're secured a spot here

Check out a few VPS hosting providers and it's easy to be tempted with low headline rates, but don't be fooled – companies use a range of tricks to keep their charges down.

The hardware specs of a starter product are often kept unrealistically low, for instance, to keep the price right down. Important items – backups, cPanel – may be expensive extras. And even then, the headline rate may only apply if you pay for two or three years upfront, increasing dramatically on renewal.

InMotion Hosting is refreshingly different. Its baseline VPS-1000HA-S plan doesn't have the most eye-catching price at $27.99 per month over two years, but it's easy to see why the company asks this much. The product has a better specification – 4GB RAM, 75GB storage, 4TB bandwidth, 3 dedicated IPs – than some high-end plans from other providers, backups and a cPanel licence are included for free, and there's a 90-day money-back guarantee.

There's an unusual feature in what InMotion calls "unlocked CPU cores". Rather than having access to one or two cores only, you're able to spread your processing load across all cores on the server, a major performance boost for tasks involving a lot of simultaneous processing.

Welcome bonus touches include a feature called Launch Assist, which essentially means you get two hours of free time with one of InMotion's server administrators. Whether you need to change domain settings, configure cPanel, migrate WordPress or database files, they can help you get the job done.

Put it all together and you're getting a very capable set of VPS hosting plans. If you'd prefer a package which comes with unexpected surprises, rather than hidden catches, we'd give InMotion a try.


Some VPS hosts focus on first-time users, others go for big business, but Hostwinds does its best to appeal to everyone with no less than 10 different VPS hosting plans.

The low-end Tier One plan looks a little underpowered to us, with just 1GB RAM, one CPU core, 30GB of disk space and 1TB traffic. But it's cheap at $9.89 per month for the initial term, $10.99 on renewal, and you can extend it significantly without spending a huge amount (adding basic server monitoring and cloud backups costs an extra $6 a month for both).

The more realistic Tier Four includes 6GB RAM, 100GB drive space, two CPU cores and 2TB of traffic. It's also significantly more expensive at $31.49 a month for the starting term, $34.9 a month afterwards, but still competitive with other providers.

Meanwhile the top-of-the-range Tier Ten product gets you 96GB RAM, 16 CPU cores, 750GB storage and 9TB of traffic for an initial $339.29 a month, $376.99 on renewal. You probably don't need anything like that, but this does show there's plenty of scope for upgrading your site over time.

Every plan has some appealing configuration options. In particular, along with support for the usual Linux variants – CentOS, Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian – you can choose Windows Server 2008, 2012 or 2016 for only a $5 a month premium. That's very good value, and if you're more familiar with Windows than Linux, it could save you from lots of management hassles later on.


Liquid Web is a premium web hosting provider which has been offering top quality managed solutions for more than 20 years, and now handles 500,000 sites for more than 32,000 customers worldwide.

The company doesn't try to beat the competition on price, instead focusing on delivering comprehensive products which will deliver quality results.

The cheapest Liquid Web plan may cost $59 a month, for instance, but that gets you 2GB RAM, 40GB storage and a very generous 10TB of bandwidth.

There are lots of configuration options. Instead of just telling you that you're getting CentOS 7, Liquid Web allows you to select CentOS 6, Debian 8, Ubuntu 14.04 or 16.04, and often with multiple options of their own: cPanel, Plesk, CloudLinux and more.

This is a managed product, too. Liquid Web fully supports the base operating system, and the support team will proactively restore failed services as soon as they're detected. Getting a managed VPS with other providers could cost you an extra $30 a month, or more.

If your VPS still has issues, there's speedy 24x7x365 support from knowledgeable professionals who will do their best to solve your problems at speed.

Liquid Web may not have the most appealing headline prices, but it's still cheaper than many others considering the features you get, and the excellent support will help keep your site running smoothly down the line.


OVH is a budget web host which offers straightforward VPS products for some of the lowest prices around.

The range starts with the VPS SSD 1 plan, which gets you one CPU core, 2GB RAM and 20GB of SSD storage for only $4.20 a month for the first year, $5.60 on renewal.

The VPS SSD 2 plan doubles the RAM and storage allocation for $6.30 a month, and the VPS SSD 3 plan doubles it again and gives you an extra CPU core for $14.20 a month.

As you might guess, there are reasons why the price is so low. Forget 24x7x365 support by any means, for instance: there's UK-based phone support, but it's only available from Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm UK time.

Speeds are limited, too, with a 100Mbps connection. Many VPS plans will give you 10 times that as standard.

OVH does offer some plus points, though. You can have your VPS hosted in the UK, US, Australia, Singapore or several locations in central Europe. A dedicated proprietary control panel allows for managing your VPS, without the cost of a cPanel licence, and there's simple DDoS protection thrown in.

On balance, OVH isn't a service we would recommend for beginners or anyone who needs rock solid reliability and full-time support. But if you're a technical user looking for a cheap way to explore the VPS world, OVH will have a lot of appeal.

You might also want to check out our other website hosting buying guides:

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