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The first real test of GDPR

Latest Tech News - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 12:00

The fine issued to Google by France’s data protection regulator, is the first significant fine to one of the large tech giants, for failing to comply with Europe’s general data protection regulation (GDPR).  

GDPR was designed to increase the protection for all EU citizens, eliminate confusion by harmonizing the many data privacy laws and change businesses approach to personal data by introducing explicit transparency. It came into effect on May 25th 2018 and is the biggest change in data protection laws for 20 years, replacing the Data Protection Directive of 1995. Importantly, its impact is not restricted to EU organisations, but it will have implications for any company in the world that holds data on the continent or on any individual living in the EU – hence the fine issued to Google. 

Considering some of the data related breach’s that individuals have experienced in the past, GDPR is welcomed as great news for individuals, however it may present some complex challenges for companies. Particularly since any organisation found in breach of the new directive could face fines up to €20,000,000 euros, or up to 4% of the company's profits from the previous year, whichever number is higher.

Enforcement of GDPR

Generally, the EU is notoriously slow at both legislating and at enforcing its rules.  However, since it took effect in May 2018 three enforcement actions were issued that same year.

  • October 2018 - a local business in Austria was fined €4,800 for a CCTV camera that captured video from a public space, more than was necessary.  
  • November 2018 - In Germany, a social media platform was fined €20,000 for data storage practices, as opposed to a full breach because they were storing user passwords in plain text without hashing.  
  • December 2018 - The most significant fine under GDPR in 2018 was a Hospital near Lisbon, Portugal.  They were fined €400,00 because Staff at the hospital used bogus accounts to access patient records.

We all know that the ICO issued fines to both Facebook and Uber in 2018 after GDPR went into effect.  However, both incidents occurred before the new ruling and thus there were only fined €500,000 and €385,000 respectively. Paltry sums considering the fact that a company like Facebook made $13.2 billion in revenue in the first quarter of 2018 and the figure could have been far higher if the breaches had occurred after the GDPR came into force, as Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham explained

“We considered these contraventions to be so serious we imposed the maximum penalty under the previous legislation. The fine would inevitably have been significantly higher under the GDPR,"

So this means that Googles fine of €50,000,000 issued in January 2019 was the first issued to one of the large tech giants after GDPR went into effect.  We cannot ignore the significance of this because there is an unsaid but generally accepted view, that GDPR was prompted by concerns, that the tech giants like Google and Facebook, could abuse their power with the limitless collection of people’s personal data.  One would think therefore, that on the face of it, these tech giants would have the most work to do in order to comply. 

Image Credit: Pixabay

Effects of GDPR on SMBs

Ironically, the new regulations, seem to have ended up hurting smaller firms rather than the Googles and Facebooks of this world, contrary to EU officials’ expectations.  Evan Spiegel CEO of Snap is known to have said, “There are times in history when regulation has actually entrenched big companies because they’re the most capable of complying…”  and Mark Zuckerberg, Facebooks CEO, echoed the same sentiment to the U.S. Congress.

Complying with GDPR may be a little onerous for companies that don’t have the financial or engineering resources of Facebook or Google.  Companies can expect to pay between $1m and $10m (According to a range of online sources) in order to make the necessary changes and comply with GDPR. 

Despite this, the real test of GDPR would come when complaints are raised against the tech giants and whether or not the new rules would be enforced. The extent of this test is further amplified by the notion that some people believe that the large technology organisations may be too big to take down, an important parallel to the banks labelled too big to fail after the 2008 financial crisis and subsequently getting away with not fully complying. Chairman of NYOB, the organisation that logged the google complaint said “Following the introduction of GDPR, we have found that large corporations such as Google simply ‘interpret the law differently’ and have often only superficially adapted their products.” 

EU makes Google an example

Several complaints have been logged against Google in late 2018 and now that they have actually been issued a fine by France’s regulator due to a lack of transparency and consent in advertising personalization, as well as a pre-checked option to personalize ads. This is potentially sending a wakeup call to all of the tech giants.

I must note that it only marks the beginning, the fine is nowhere near as big as the maximum 4% of annual global turn over and true to form, despite issuing the statement that the company is “deeply committed to meeting the high standards of transparency and control that people expect of it”, they have also announced that they plan to appeal the fine appeal the fine.

It is really interesting to see what happens next. GDPR does still feel like a work in progress and its ultimate effectiveness will depend on how well it is enforced on the tech giants and on whether it will succeed in forcing them to adhere to the regulations.

Mike Bugembe, Chief Analytics Officer at Just Giving

Categories: Tech News

Get IObit Advanced SystemCare 12 Pro free, exclusively for TechRadar readers

Latest Tech News - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 11:52

IObit is giving TechRadar readers a one-year license for Advanced SystemCare 12 Pro completely free. The premium PC optimization software usually retails at $19.99/£19.99/AU$32.99 per year.

To claim your free license, download IObit Advanced SystemCare 12 Pro and enter the registration key 7BC09-96375-90E61-0A054.

You must register your software before February 17, 2019.

Faster performance

IObit Advanced SystemCare 12 Pro offers a one-click scan that will check your PC for junk files, potential security threats, spyware, broken shortcuts and many more problems that can slow down your PC and pose a risk to your privacy.

Once the scan is complete, you can review the items it's found and clean them all up with just one more click, which could have a noticeable effect on your PC's startup speed and overall performance. A widget on your desktop shows your PC's CPU and RAM usage in real time, so you can see the effect immediately.

Image credit: IObit

That's not all, though. More experienced users can perform more thorough scans and delve into advanced optimization settings to eke out even more speed.

Best of all, after the initial scan, IObit Advanced SystemCare 12 Pro can perform regular checks automatically – at scheduled times, or whenever your PC is idle.

For more details, check out our full IObit Advanced SystemCare 12 review.

Categories: Tech News

Some Withings Pulse HR fitness trackers are cracking, but will be replaced

Latest Tech News - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 11:43

A production fault with early units of the Withings Pulse HR has meant the case can be fragile and prone to cracking without you dropping or striking the tracker in some way.

After our review of the Withings Pulse HR, our reviewer at TechRadar continued to wear the tracker for a few weeks and found it cracked at both the top and bottom of the front of the body of the tracker without any noticeable hits or drops.

You can see the exact damage in the images above and below. We also know of at least one other case where the tracker has cracked in a similar way after a few weeks of usage.

If you've also had the same issue Withings has confirmed it will be offering replacements for all customers affected.

A spokesperson for Withings told TechRadar, "Our team has received feedback from a select number of customers concerning the fragility of their Pulse HR band case. The problem has been identified as affecting a small number of units from our first round of production. 

"Withings is offering replacements to any customers experiencing the problem and is continuing to monitor the situation to ensure our excellent standards of quality control are maintained.  We extend our sincere apologies for any inconvenience this has caused."

As Withings has confirmed, this issue is only affecting the first batch of units released by the company so it's unlikely if you buy the tracker today you'll find the same problem.

If you do - or you've found your existing Withings Pulse HR has similar damage - you can contact Withings by logging into your account on its official website and citing the problem you've had.

Basil Kronfli also contributed to this story

Categories: Tech News

The Outer Worlds: release date, news and trailers

Latest Tech News - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 11:16

Fallout: New Vegas developer Obsidian Entertainment and publisher Private Division officially announced new single-player sci-fi RPG The Outer Worlds at The Game Awards 2018

Set on the frontier of space, The Outer Worlds sees you awakening from hibernation amidst a conspiracy to destroy Halycon – a colony residing at the edge of the galaxy  driven by big-brand corporations. It's up to you how you play, with your actions influencing how the story unfolds and the fate of Haylcon itself.

Interested? So are we. Here's everything we know so far about The Outer Worlds.

[Update: We get a closer look at The Outer Worlds' combat gameplay in a video from GameInformer.]

Cut to the chase
  • What is it? Obsidian's new single-player sci-fi RPG
  • When can I play it? 2019
  • What can I play it on? PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC

Image credit: Obsidian Entertainment

The Outer Worlds release date

We know The Outer Worlds will release for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC in 2019, but Obsidian hasn't given us a firm release window or date yet. However, it's likely we will see the title in mid to late 2019. 

The Outer Worlds trailers

In this Game Informer video, The Outer Worlds' co-director Tim Cain and lead designer Charles Staples show off some combat gameplay:

Obsidian announced The Outer Worlds at The Game Awards 2018 with an official announcement trailer. You can check it out below:

The Outer Worlds news

Lots of character customization, little screen time

While you'll get to customize your character's appearance, it seems you won't even have a voice. In an interview with Polygon, co-creator  Leonard Boyarsky revealed the team has taken an "old-school" approach to the game to allow resources to be focused on a complex narrative.

You can play the way you want

In the same interview, Obsidian revealed The Outer Worlds is a player-driven game, which means you essentially have the freewill to choose whether you want to be a hero, villain or anything in-between through branching dialogue options. 

Companions

Once you progress far enough in the game you will receive your own star ship and crew. These crew members can act as companions as well as offering their own opinion on current events and choices. There's no romance options, though (you can save that stuff for Dragon Age 4).

Image credit: Obsidian Entertainment

Brand awareness

As a story centred around corporations, it's no surprise The Outer Worlds will offer various weapons and items to purchase from 10 different brands. Where will your (brand) loyalties lie?

Alternative consequences

Rather than take the immediate consequence of something like a critical wound, you have the option to accept a flaw instead. This is a permanent negative debuff which will remain with you throughout the game.

The Outer Worlds: what we want to see

We're sure to get more details over the coming months in the run-up to The Outer World's release (whenever in 2019 that is). In the meantime, here's everything we're hoping Obsidian delivers with the final product.

A gripping main storyline (with some meaningful choices)

Blending real player freedom with a structured narrative is a difficult juggling act. Few games have managed this as well as the original Mass Effect trilogy, so we'll be eager to see whether Obsidian can repeat the trick for their own sci-fi RPG.

A working game engine

You'd think we wouldn't have to put this, but so many big studios are ending up shipping unfinished games because of the scale of their enterprises (Assassin's Creed Unity, Fallout 76, etc). Obsidian's track record, though, and the smaller size of its team, suggests they'll be working within their means.

Image credit: Obsidian Entertainment

Some actual space exploration

Sure, having giant planets looming in the sky is cool, but if we don't actual get to enjoy exploring the stars it's little more than wallpaper. Here's hoping Obsidian gives you an environment to explore, rather than making a game that could just have easily been set back on Earth.

The beginning of great things to come

With Microsoft having recently acquired Obsidian, there's no telling what that injection of cash could do to the development team's ambitions. If The Outer Worlds proves a hit, we could be seeing a lot more of it down the line, with the resources to really make it galactic.

(Image credits: Obsidian Entertainment)

Categories: Tech News

Best Usenet providers of 2019

Latest Tech News - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 10:48

You might think, given that most ISPs no longer provide direct access to it and the majority of the free Usenet providers online have disappeared, that the venerable service has died a slow death. But that's not entirely true; there are still many, many active discussion areas in the bigger groups.

But let's be realistic: the real reason to lean towards Usenet in the current age is for file sharing (made popular by Bittorrent - just make sure you remain anonymous using a good torrenting VPN) – the groups below alt.binaries.* are very active, carrying many downloadable files of all kinds usually available through Usenet search.

But to gain access to the large amount of Usenet bandwidth you'll need in order to collect these files, you'll have to pay as quality bandwidth is expensive.

The key if you're looking at binary newsgroups is, due to Usenet's distributed server architecture, in finding a provider whose servers are fast, and who retains copies of binary files uploaded to Usenet for as long as possible. So with that – and many other – considerations in mind, here’s our breakdown of the best Usenet providers for 2019.

[58% Off] Newshosting (Official Promotion) - Get up to 58% Off TechRadar's #1 Rated Usenet Provider 

Newshosting is the best Usenet provider as tested and vetted by our experts. If you want a strong all-rounder of a Usenet service, then look no further than this provider. 

It sports the industry’s best retention, runs its own US and European server farms, and also offers uncensored access to 120,000 newsgroups. You can also get some high-quality newsreader software that includes search, not just for Windows and Mac, but Linux as well.  

Through an exclusive TechRadar promo, you will be able to grab a free, albeit rudimentary, zero-log VPN account for extra security and privacy in addition to 256-bit SSL connections already included with the service.

Newshosting tested the fastest as far as download speeds go. It also passed our tests in retrieving old binaries with flying colors as well. Are there any negatives at all here at all? There’s very little to complain about, save for the VPN client being a little basic and for support being only in English, but this doesn’t actually reflect on the core Usenet service you get.

Newshosting is competitively priced, which you can try for yourself with a 750 GB free trial, exclusive to TechRadar visitors, the largest Usenet free trial offered anywhere.

[22% Off] Eweka (Official Promotion) - Get up to 22% off + Free High Speed Upgrade 

Eweka is an impressive operation indeed, running its own data centre in Amsterdam with its own server farm.  The firm has its own trans-Atlantic backbone which allowed us to get the full download speed offered (although no US servers as yet).

There’s a lengthy 3,369 days of retention offered here (growing daily), which is among the strongest Usenet offerings in that respect, and while you only get up to 20 connections maximum, which is less than many rivals, we found performance to be very speedy in our tests. And really, that’s what counts.

There’s plenty more to like with Eweka besides, including the fact that the service performed well when it came to our retention testing (grabbing old files). Eweka users also get free access to the premium Newslazer newsreader, which includes a powerful search tool.

There’s also an unrestricted seven-day trial (if you do not signup through the official TechRadar promotion) to give the service a whirl, and this doesn’t require you to enter any payment details, either. Considering what you get here, the service is reasonably priced, too.


Supernews is a veteran Usenet provider having been in operation since the mid-90s, and it has servers across the US and Europe. You get 2,357 days of binary retention and 5,021 days of text retention, and access to over 110,000 newsgroups.

What’s more, Supernews keeps multiple copies of articles across its network, and the firm claims that this helps to ensure a 100% completion rate.

And on the performance front, you get unlimited speed, with the provider guaranteeing that your connection won’t be throttled in any way, shape or form.

Supernews keeps things pleasingly simple when it comes to plan choices, as well, because there’s only one: a straightforward unlimited plan with a monthly fee. It’s not the cheapest subscription around, but this is a quality service, and you get a three-day trial to test it out first. Also note that with the TechRadar Pro offer in place at the time of writing, you get your first month at half price.

Newsgroupdirect offers an impressive retention level of 3,370 days, and maintains its own network. As with the previous provider, it makes a big promise on the completion rate front, guaranteeing users 100% completion. And furthermore, 100% uptime is also promised.

You get a plentiful 50 connections even with the most basic plan, along with SSL encryption, and access to the Ghost Path VPN service for extra security and privacy on top. Again, the VPN comes bundled with all plans, which is good to see. Customer support is another strong suit here, as well.

While there is no free trial, Newsgroupdirect does offer a seven-day money-back guarantee, so if you’re not satisfied in the first week, you don’t lose anything – although note that you must not have used more than 15GB of bandwidth.

Subscription plans are competitively priced, although it’s slightly disappointing that you don’t get much better value for signing up to the annual plan compared to the six-month option.

Easynews is a slick operator that differentiates itself by offering the ability to access Usenet directly from within your web browser as well as supporting mobile access. That’s obviously a commendably hassle-free way to do things, and the web interface is well crafted, plus it also means you can access the service across all your devices (with no software installation necessary).

Retention rates vary, but with the top-end plan you get 2,950 days retention via the web interface (3,364 days retention via NNTP), although considerably less on some of the more basic plans. That Big Gig Plan also gives you a bundled Zero-log VPN service (albeit with a rather basic client).


There’s also good news when it comes to Easynews’ privacy policy, which is very concise and makes it crystal clear what data is kept by the provider. Performance is good too, although the range of plans is somewhat confusing, and the basic subscriptions are more suited to those with light downloading needs.

Also handy is a 14-day free trial which lets you experience the service before you pay for a subscription (note that there is a 10GB bandwidth limit). However, this provider isn’t cheap, particularly if you want unlimited data, and in that case things get pretty expensive.


Resellers are quite common in the Usenet world, and for good reason: by purchasing a large amount of bandwidth from a major service provider, they can negotiate better terms and sell on that access to you for a vastly discounted rate. One of the biggest providers to resellers is Omicron Media, which counts nearly 30 clients operating from its vast server backbone.

Omicron Media reseller NewsDemon is our pick of the bunch, offering 50 simultaneous connections and unlimited SSL-secured transfers from European and US servers for a more-than-reasonable £3.60 ($4.70) per month – or perhaps less, we've seen different prices listed during different visits. There are also block accounts available.



There's the bonus of a VPN connection if you're willing to spend a bit more, or transfer-capped block accounts for a little less. If you're employed in education, charitable work, or certain media outlets NewsDemon will even offer you free access – though in the interests of disclosure we should be clear that we've not taken advantage of this offer.

GigaNews is amongst the most expensive Usenet providers, but its price reflects the sum of its parts. Alongside access to newsgroups – naturally – a $24.99 (£19) per month Diamond subscription gets you the use of GigaNews' own Mimo Usenet browser and search engine, SSL access to its servers, and the pro version of Golden Frog's multi-faceted VyprVPN service.

Whatever you're using it for – and even if you're doing something else online entirely – the extra layer of privacy offered by a quality VPN has to be reassuring.


GigaNews' server availability is another plus, with multiple redundancy on US and EU servers owned and run by the company itself. The real question, however, is whether you plan to use all of the features GigaNews offers. If you're looking to Usenet access for the conversations this is absolutely overkill, and for binary downloads it's still rather expensive, but if quality is your top priority, then it’s a good choice.

Astraweb is another of Usenet's big mainstays, having run since 1998. Sign up and you're actually gaining access to two distinct services – its download servers in the US and the Netherlands are run as separate companies, and one server may contain files that the other does not. Essentially Astraweb gives you a main server and a backup server for the price of one.

Users have reported that its quality has declined over the years. Whether or not you believe this is up to you, but Astraweb's longevity in the market does earn it some brownie points, and it does not resell its services meaning you should see a consistent download rate from its servers.


Retention is one of the highest we've seen at over 3,000 days, with a claimed 99% availability. Seeing as the 1% that's missing could be the one critical part of a binary you need, Astraweb – even with its dual servers – is probably best used with a block account on hand.

This is a European Usenet provider which offers solid core features, and it’s a fairly priced service to boot. One interesting point to note is that there is a VPN bundled here, although it only comes with the most expensive plan.

We found performance to be impressive with TweakNews with fast download speeds, and it was also good to see that the included VPN (which is Omicron Media-based) managed a commendable turn of speed. In fact, it was comparable to a good specialist VPN provider.


On the downside here, retention isn’t great, and when we encountered an issue with the service, we found that tech support was on the sluggish side.

In terms of cost, there’s plenty of flexibility, and if you sign up for annual billing, there are some good value deals to be had – and you can benefit from block subscriptions, too, if that’s the route you prefer to take. There’s also a free trial which gives you 10GB of data to play with (but it has a limit of eight connections).

If you want a dependable Usenet offering with a good core service, then look no further than this affordable provider – although be warned, it isn’t for newsgroup novices.

UsenetServer gives you plenty of retention at 3,371 days, a promised 99% completion rate, and no restrictions such as data limits or throttling of your download speeds. 

A slight weak point is that you can only have a maximum of 20 connections, which is less than many services, but that said, in testing we found UsenetServer to offer 150+ Mbps download speeds performance levels anyway, so this likely won’t matter.


What may matter for beginners is that UsenetServer is rather shaky when it comes to help but offers good tech support, and while it does offer a bundled zero-log VPN for extra security, the Windows client for the latter is a poor piece of work. But if you’re an experienced user who knows what you’re doing, all this is likely moot, because you’ll find your own way around the service just fine anyway.

The other strength here is that this is a relatively wallet-friendly provider, particularly when you consider that with the annual plan, the zero-log VPN service is bundled in. There’s also a free 14-day trial (with a 10GB data transfer limit).

Categories: Tech News

The Fitbit Charge 3 gets a $20 price cut at Walmart

Latest Tech News - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 10:47

As spring is fast approaching, now is a great time to shop for an activity tracker and lucky for you Walmart has the popular Fitbit Charge 3 currently on sale. You can get the newly released Fitbit on sale for $129.95. That's a $20 price cut and the best price we've seen right for the popular activity tracker.

The Charge 3 is the latest release from the Fitbit Charge models and is available in black and granite or a light blue color with rose gold. The swimproof activity tracker does it all; monitors your heart rate 24/7, track calories burned, active steps and even personalized guided breathing based on your heart rate. The Fitbit Charge 3 can also help keep on track with your health and fitness goals by providing a 15+ goal based exercises such as running, swimming, yoga and more. The Charge 3 will also connect to with your phone's GPS to help track your pace and distance during outdoor runs. The activity tracker also takes calls and messages, gets app alerts and offers a 7-day battery life.

The most significant differences between the Fitbit Charge 2 and Charge 3 are the design and a couple of new features with the Charge 3. The Charge 3 has a slightly smaller and lighter wristband and a larger screen than the previous generation. Unlike the Charge 2, the Charge 3 is also swimproof (up to 50M) and features a longer battery life.

See more updated deals on the best cheap Fitbit sale prices and if you aren't sure what Fitbit is right for you, make sure to read our review on the best Fitbit. There are plenty of other offers at multiple retailers this weekend too for the Presidents' Day sales.

Categories: Tech News

Canon EOS R vs EOS RP: 10 key differences you need to know

Latest Tech News - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 10:00

Canon's EOS R is a camera that's blessed with some highly impressive features, but at over £3,000 / $3,000 for the body alone it will only be the lucky few who get to appreciate them. However, Canon's announcement of a significantly cheaper alternative, the EOS RP, should open up its nascent R system to a much wider audience. 

The EOS RP carries over many features from its big brother, although in order to be able to launch it at such a low price point Canon has inevitably had to make some concessions. So what are those concessions, and what does the EOS RP offer by comparison with is pricier sibling? Here's what you need to know. 

Canon EOS R vs EOS RP: resolution

Both models are fitted with full-frame sensors, but the one inside the EOS R has a few million more pixels. Credit: TechRadar

One of the main differences between the two models is their sensors – there's a 30.3MP (effective) sensor in the EOS R, and a 26.2MP (effective) one in the EOS RP. 

This is a much smaller difference than we're used to seeing between two models in the same lineup, so if one suits your needs then the other may well do too. Incidentally, while it appears that the EOS RP's sensor has simply been lifted from the EOS 6D Mark II DSLR, Canon has confirmed that this isn't quite the case.

Canon EOS R vs EOS RP: burst shooting speed

It may not be intended for sports photography, but the EOS R can still capture a decent action shot. Credit: TechRadar 

The EOS RP's 5fps burst speed is fairly pedestrian, and when you activate Servo AF (to keep moving subjects in focus) it only manages 4fps. This is easily bettered by the 8fps burst shooting mode on the EOS R, although once you enable Servo AF on that model the rate drops more sharply, to 5fps.

It's fair to say that neither camera is the most suitable option for the sports or action photographer, but we'd be very surprised if Canon doesn't add such a camera to its range at some point. 

Canon EOS R vs EOS RP: AF system

While both cameras have been equipped with a Dual Pixel CMOS AF setup to perform speedy phase-detect AF from the main imaging sensor, the working range of the EOS R is a tiny bit better by comparison.

Canon states that the EOS R can work down to -6EV, while the EOS RP is rated at -5EV. That's still very impressive, but it does mean the former model should retain a slight edge when it comes to focusing in more problematic light. 

Both systems do, however, occupy the same stretch of the frame, namely 88% vertically and 100% horizontally.

Canon EOS R vs EOS RP: EVF

The EOS R's viewfinder is excellent. Image Credit: TechRadar

The EOS R's 0.5-inch, 3.69 million-dot EVF is undoubtedly one of its finest features – its big, bright and clear, and makes scrutinizing fine details a doddle. We were hoping this would make the cut on the EOS RP too, although when you consider the camera's significantly cheaper asking price it's understandable that it should pack something a little more humble. 

And that's exactly what we get: a 0.39-inch viewfinder with a 2.36 million-dot OLED panel. This is the same viewfinder that had been previously designed into the EOS M50, and one that can still very much hold its own.

Canon EOS R vs EOS RP: LCD screen

The LCD screens on both models move in the same way, but the one on the EOS R (above) is both larger and higher-resolution. Credit: TechRadar

Another thing we love about the EOS R is that glorious 3.15-inch LCD screen, with its 2.1million dots. Given that other manufacturers are now pushing through screens with similar specs, we'd expect nothing less at this level.

Sadly, the newer EOS RP is not blessed with such a display, with a more standard 3-inch LCD with 1.04 million dots in its place, although like the EOS R's panel it also spins around to face the front and all sorts of positions in between, and can be controlled by touch where required.

Canon EOS R vs EOS RP: maximum shutter speed

Both models have mechanical shutters, although the EOS R's is a little more sprightly. Credit: TechRadar

A further difference between the two cameras is that the EOS R's mechanical shutter allows for a top speed of 1/8000 sec, while the EOS RP is limited to 1/4000 sec.

This is a more minor difference than some of the others here, but if you use wide-aperture lenses in bright light with any regularity, it may well be significant.

Canon EOS R vs EOS RP: size and weight

Spot the difference: Canon EOS R (top) and EOS RP (bottom). Image Credit: TechRadar

One of the most surprising aspects of the EOS RP is just how petite Canon has managed to make it. With dimensions of just 132.5 x 85 x 70mm, it's a whole lot smaller than the 135.8 x 98.3 x 84.4mm of the EOS R. 

Likewise, the EOS RP's body-only weight of 440g without its body or memory card is 140g lighter than the EOS R, and even once you pop those into the body it still weighs an impressive 485g, as opposed to the EOS R's 660g. 

Canon EOS R vs EOS RP: battery performance

The EOS R arrived with a CIPA-rated battery life of 350 frames when using the EVF, and 370 when using the LCD screen. That's pretty standard for a mirrorless camera, although short of some of its peers. 

Sadly, the EOS RP is significantly worse here, with a battery life of just 250 frames, although Canon hasn't stated whether this is when using the LCD or the EVF.

Canon EOS R vs EOS RP: video features

Both cameras can capture video footage in 4K and Full HD quality, although there are differences elsewhere. 

The Dual Pixel AF system can be used when capturing videos on either camera, but it's not available when shooting 4K footage on the EOS RP. The EOS RP is also limited to capturing 4K footage at a maximum 25p, while the EOS R can shoot at up to 30p (and beyond if you opt for Full HD recording). 

Both cameras are also subject to a crop when shooting in 4K, which has the obvious disadvantage of making wide-angle framing more difficult.

Canon EOS R vs EOS RP: external controls

The M-Fn bar, shown here just above the thumb, only appears on the EOS R body. Credit: TechRadar

Canon chose to drop the EOS R's M-Fn bar when designing the EOS RP, and also left out the multi-purpose dial from the top plate that works in conjunction with the small LCD to its right-hand side. 

Instead of these, the EOS RP has a more conventional mode dial on the top plate with exposure modes clearly marked, and no top-plate LCD screen at all.

The smaller viewfinder inside the EOS RP also means the camera has a flatter top plate than the EOS R.

Categories: Tech News

You can now get Oppo phone deals on contract thanks to iD Mobile

Latest Tech News - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 09:48

Like Huawei before it, Oppo is a Chinese phone manufacturer that's here to shake up the UK mobile phone market. Even if it's half as successful as the former, Oppo has a great chance to make a dent in a market still dominated by iPhone deals and Samsung phone deals.

Since its UK launch in late January, the three available Oppo handsets have only been available to purchase on a SIM-free handset only basis. But now Carphone Warehouse's iD Mobile network has made them available for those on a budget, not wanting to spend hundreds of pounds upfront for their new mobile phone deal.

iD is stocking all three models - the flagship Find X, mid-range Oppo RX17 Pro and budget RX17 Neo. And with prices starting from £15.99 per month, they're well worth a look if you're after an affordable alternative to those aforementioned premium brands.

We've got our pick of iD's best Oppo phone deals below, or scroll to the bottom of the page and check out our hands-on price comparison.

Read more: TechRadar's Oppo Find X review and Oppo R17 review

Categories: Tech News

HoloLens 2 could have wider field of view according to yet another patent

Latest Tech News - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 09:40

A couple of fresh patents have been unearthed which detail technology that could potentially be used in a future iteration of HoloLens – perhaps even the sequel which is due to be revealed at MWC 2019 – with the most interesting one again hinting that Microsoft intends to improve performance in terms of field of view.

That would be an obvious improvement to make, as the narrow field of view is one of the most common criticisms levelled at the current HoloLens. And indeed we heard last June that Microsoft was looking into ways to improve it using a MEMS laser scanner.

This new patent, published yesterday and spotted by Windows Latest, adds further fuel to the fire that this is an area Microsoft is seeking to better with its headset.

The patent specifically talks about revamping the waveguide display device – in other words, the holographic lenses – to widen the field of view, while avoiding the potential danger of making the hardware bulkier.

The field of view can be made wider by employing “layered switchable Bragg gratings to create spatially separated diffraction elements that have a combined field of view that is greater than a field of view of a single diffraction element”, the patent observes.

Image Credit: USPTO

The drawback, however, is that (obviously enough) creating the space for this separation means a thicker waveguide, and thus a potentially bulkier headset. Luminance non-uniformity issues – distractingly varying light levels – may also be gremlins in the works when it comes to looking at approaches for increasing field of view in this manner.

At any rate, Microsoft’s patent proposes a solution to provide “a near-eye display device with a wide field of view through the use of angularly multiplexed holographic recordings to form gratings for the waveguide”.

The idea is that those angularly multiplexed holographic recordings (good job that isn’t a mouthful) can be spatially overlapped, thus minimizing any increase in size compared to using layers of gratings.

The net result should be a headset with an impressively wider field of view, that isn’t bulked-up to the extent that it detracts from the comfort of wearing a mixed reality device for longer periods of time.

The eyes have it

The second patent discovered relates to eye-tracking in head-mounted displays, and pertains to technology that facilitates a “streamlined and efficient design” for use in such hardware, avoiding common pitfalls.

Those pitfalls of conventional eye-tracking systems mentioned include adding unnecessary bulk and weight, not to mention additional cost for the end hardware. Stray light from the light source of the eye-tracking system is also cited as a problematic bugbear.

Of course, enhancements on any or all of those fronts are more than welcome, particularly when it comes to affordability – which can certainly be an issue in terms of higher-end VR or mixed reality headsets.

Just as with any big tech company, Microsoft files these sort of patents routinely and sometimes speculatively, so there’s no guarantee that any of the aforementioned technology will ever actually be used in a finished headset.

Categories: Tech News

The best email provider of 2019

Latest Tech News - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 09:35

Getting hold of an email account is easy. Sign up with an ISP and you’ve got one account for starters. Creating an account with Google and other big names will get you more. Buy a decent web hosting package and you'll probably get enough email addresses to power a large business, all for no extra charge.

Getting the right email account is more difficult, as there's a lot to consider. What are the spam filters like? How easy is it to keep your inbox organized? Can you access the account from other email clients? And what about using the service with a custom domain and address of your own (yourname@yourdomain.com)?

Keep reading and we'll highlight some of the best email providers around. All have decent free services, perhaps with ads and some limits, but we'll also talk about their business-friendly commercial products which deliver the power, functionality and enterprise-level extras that demanding users need.

The best email services of 2019 are :

First released back in 2004, Google's Gmail has become the market leader in free email services with more than a billion users across the globe.

Gmail's stripped-back web interface is a highlight. Most of the screen is devoted to your inbox, with a minimum of toolbar and other clutter. Messages are neatly organized via conversations for easier viewing, and you can read and reply to emails with ease, even as a first-time user.

There's plenty of power here. Messages can be automatically filtered into tabbed categories like Primary, Social and Promotions, helping you to focus on the content you need. Leading-edge spam blocking keeps your inbox free of junk, you can manage other accounts from the same interface (Outlook, Yahoo, any other IMAP or POP email), and there's 15GB storage for your inbox, Drive and photos. You can also access Gmail offline, although you'll need Google Chrome for that to work. Furthermore, there is a neat snooze feature that allows you to, well, snooze an email for a specified amount of time (it also automatically labels that email as important).

Other features are more questionable. Instead of organizing messages into folders, for instance – a simple metaphor which just about every user understands – you must filter them using a custom labelling system. This works, and has some advantages, but isn't popular with all users. Still, Gmail is an excellent service overall, and a good first choice for your email provider.

Google makes a paid business-oriented version of Gmail available in the shape of its G Suite product.

This more professional product drops the ads and allows using a custom email address on your domain (yourname@yourcompany.tld). Business-oriented migration tools can import mail from Outlook, Exchange, Lotus and more. Storage space doubles to 30GB on the Basic plan, and you get unlimited group email addresses, 99.9% guaranteed uptime and 24/7 support.

G Suite is Google's answer to Microsoft Office, so of course you also get apps for working with documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Shared calendars keep you better organized, there's video and voice conferencing for online meetings, and again, there’s 24/7 support to keep your system running smoothly.

This more Office-like power makes for a more expensive product than the email-only competition, with prices starting at $5 (£3.60) a user for the simplest plan. You're getting a lot for your money, though, and if you'll use G Suite's features then it could be a smart choice. A 14-day free trial provides an easy way to help you find out.

Outlook's web interface follows the same familiar style as its desktop incarnation, and most other email clients: folders and organizational tools on the left, the contents of the current folder in the center, and a simple preview pane on the right (with adverts in the case of the free account).

A toolbar gives you speedy access to common features, and right-clicking folders or messages shows you just about everything else. If you've ever used another email client, you'll figure out the key details in moments.

Despite the apparent simplicity, there's a lot going on under the hood. The service automatically detects important emails and places them in a Focused Inbox, keeping any distractions out of sight. Events including flights and dinner reservations can automatically be added to your calendar. It's easy to share that calendar with other Outlook.com or Office 365 users, or you can save your events to a Family calendar that everyone can access.

Excellent attachment support includes the ability to directly share OneDrive files as copies or links. You can also attach files directly from your Google Drive, Dropbox and Box accounts, and a chunky 15GB mailbox allows storing plenty of files from other people.

This all worked just fine for us, but if you're unhappy with the service defaults, there's a chance they can be tweaked via Outlook.com's Settings dialog. This doesn't have quite as many options as Gmail, but they're well organized and give you plenty of control over layout, attachment rules, message handling and more.

If that’s still not enough, Microsoft offers a bunch of app-based integrations to take the service further. You get built-in Skype support via the beta, and apps give you easier access to Evernote, PayPal, GIPHY, Yelp, Uber and more.

Upgrading to Office 365 gets you an ad-free inbox, 50GB mail storage and a vast 1TB of OneDrive storage. Extras include offline working, professional message formatting tools, phone or chat-based support, file recovery from malicious attacks like ransomware and more. Oh, and the latest versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint. All this can be yours for the equivalent of $7 (£5) a month on the single user Office 365 Personal plan or you can pay 70$ (£52) for a year.


Yahoo Mail doesn't make the headlines so much, these days, but its latest version is a polished and professional service which stands up well against the top competition.

The well-designed interface resembles Gmail, at least initially, with a large view of your inbox, one-click filters for common messages and content (Photos, Documents, Travel), and easy browsing of all the emails in a conversation. But you can also organize mails into custom folders, and the layout can be tweaked to display a message preview in a couple of clicks. Mobile users have some additional features like the option to unsubscribe to newsletters and such, without ever leaving the Yahoo Mail inbox.

A powerful underlying engine can integrate with Facebook, supports sending SMS and text messages, is accessible via web, POP and (in some situations) IMAP, and can forward email to another address. Valuable extras include disposable email addresses to protect your privacy, and a mammoth 1TB of mailbox storage means you can keep just about everything you receive, for a very long time.

Demanding users might find issues, over time. Mail organization can't quite match the flexibility of Gmail's labelling scheme, for instance, and there aren't nearly as many low-level tweaks, settings and options as you'll often see elsewhere. But overall, Yahoo Mail is an appealing service which needs to be on your email shortlist.

As with other providers, Yahoo offers a Business Mail plan with more features. The highlight is an option to use the service with a custom domain (yourname@yourdomain.com), although there are other advantages, too. The service can import contacts from Facebook, Gmail, Outlook and more. You can view all your mailboxes on the same screen, and there are all the usual business-friendly productivity tools (multiple calendars, document handling, analytics and more).

Prices start from $3.19 (£2.30) per mailbox per month, billed annually, and they drop as you add mailboxes – $1.59 (£1.15) for 5, $1.19 (£0.85) for 10, and for 20+ you'll need to contact them.

There's even a free domain name included, and not just the initial registration: Yahoo will also renew it for as long as your subscription is active.


Signing up with an email provider will often involve some privacy compromises. Yahoo Mail asks for your name and mobile number, for instance. Gmail and other services might scan your messages to carry out useful actions (such as adding events to calendars), and just about everyone serves you with ads.

ProtonMail is a Swiss-based email service which focuses on privacy above all else. You can sign up anonymously, there's no logging of IP addresses, and all your emails are end-to-end encrypted, which means there's no way ProtonMail (or anyone else) can read their contents. Also, address verification (which allows you to be sure you are securely communicating with the right person) and full support for PGP email encryption is available.

There are some significant limits. The free product has a tiny 500MB storage space, only supports sending 150 messages a day, and is distinctly short in terms of organizational tools (no folders, labels or smart filters). As the end-to-end encryption is specific to ProtonMail, it also ensures that you can't use the service with other email clients.

Still, it seems a little unfair to complain about a service which is no-strings-attached free, and doesn't even show ads. In reality, ProtonMail is a specialist tool which is intended for use alongside services like Gmail – not to replace them – and overall it performs its core tasks very well.

If you do need more, ProtonMail's $5 (you can choose to pay in USD, Euro and CHF) a month (or 48$ yearly) Plus account gives you 5GB storage, a 1,000 message-per-day allowance, custom domains (you@yourdomain.com) and support for folders, labels, filters as well as some addition features like contact groups.

A further Business plan brings more storage, email addresses and a second custom domain, as well as adding a catch-all email address and multi-user support. It's priced from $8 per month per user (75$ yearly), which is reasonable if you need ProtonMail's security, although it's also notably more expensive than the business accounts of the big-name competition.


Zoho Workplace is a business-oriented email service which throws in an online office suite, document management, and a host of collaboration tools and other extras.

Zoho's free plan supports up to 25 users (there's an extra 25 available if you can refer others to the service. Update: they are currently remodeling the referral program so this isn't available at the moment), each with 5GB of mailbox storage, and can be used with one domain of your own. These are features you'll normally only find in commercial products, and when you factor in the spreadsheet, word processor, presentation and other tools, it looks like a real bargain.

The email service is easy-to-use, and provides a decent set of features to help organize your emails: folders, tags, filters, smart searches, and more.

The free plan is still a little basic. It gives you web access only, for instance, and there's no support for email forwarding.

Fortunately, the Zoho Standard plan fixes that. A mere $3 (£2.3) per user (paid annually) gets you IMAP and POP access, email forwarding, active sync, multiple domain hosting, domain aliases, 30GB storage, a 30MB attachment limit (up from 25MB with the free plan) and some major improvements elsewhere (the ability to send cloud files to non-Zoho users, for instance). You also have Lite plan which is a cheaper Standard plan ($1 per user) with less features, and a Professional ($6 per user) plan which adds more features.

A number of these features are available elsewhere for free, of course, but businesses or anyone who will use the custom domain support or Office tools will find a lot to like here. Well worth a closer look.

Categories: Tech News

OnePlus integrates Google Duo natively into OxygenOS for video calls

Latest Tech News - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 01:40

Google Duo is one of the best and simplest apps to initiate video calls from your smartphone. On Friday, in a post on OnePlus Forums, the company announced that with the upcoming OxygenOS update, Google Duo will become the native video calling app.

The integration of the app comes as a result of a research study conducted by OnePlus back in 2018. The survey was conducted with OnePlus users across India on video calling wherein Google Duo ranked the highest in video call quality. The app as a native function has been integrated deeply into OxygenOS in functions such as Call logs, Contacts, Dial pad and Messaging.

Stable OxygenOS updates for OnePlus 6T, 6, 5T and 5

However, users will be able to switch to OnePlus' standard video calling app under the See All option when selecting a contact:  Contact >Select contact >See all >Choose video call 

The stable OxygenOS 9.0.12 update on the OnePlus 6T and OxygenOS 9.0.4 for OnePlus 6, 5 and 5T will add Google Duo as a native video calling option. This functionality will also make it to the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T as a part of the Android Pie update.

Categories: Tech News

Here’s how to pre-order the Samsung Galaxy S10 in Australia

Latest Tech News - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 23:46

The launch of Samsung's highly-anticipated Galaxy S10 series is almost upon us, with the Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10 Plus and Galaxy S10e expected to be unveiled at the South Korean tech giant's upcoming Unpacked event on February 20

Buying the Galaxy S10 outright

While the flagship phones haven't been officially revealed yet, you can already pre-register your interest in the devices on Samsung Australia's website – this will notify you when the handsets are ready to be pre-ordered, essentially giving you a head start if you're planning to purchase the phones from Samsung outright.

Of course, the Samsung Galaxy S10 will also be available to buy elsewhere – so those who are planning to buy the phone outright would do well to keep an eye on the likes of Amazon Australia and other leading retailers, as they're likely to have some great deals on offer next week. 

Planning on a plan?

Of course, if you aren't looking to drop thousands of dollars on a new smartphone in one go, you could opt to pick the Galaxy S10 up on a contract through one of Australia's major carriers – Telstra, Optus and Vodafone are all expected to offer a variety of plans when the Galaxy S10 pre-orders officially open.

As the Galaxy S10 has yet to be announced, none of the carriers have revealed their information regarding available models, colours and storage sizes yet, but we'll be bringing you that information as soon as it's available. 

Categories: Tech News

A Doctor Who short film is the BBC's next virtual reality project

Latest Tech News - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 19:01

You may not know it, but the BBC is one of the most interesting publishers making virtual reality content right now. The British broadcaster has just announced one of its upcoming projects, and it's set to be a standalone Doctor Who adventure.

Coming later in 2019, a new story called Doctor Who: The Runaway will see you become The Doctor's assistant and help out on an exciting adventure in a 12 minute short film.

The experience is set to feature the voice of the Thirteenth Doctor with Jodie Whittaker returning to the role, but it's set to be an animated adventure. 

DaVRos to Cybermen

The BBC has yet to announce an official release date for The Runaway or what headsets you'll need to be able to play it.

Recent virtual reality projects from the BBC have been released on both Oculus Go and Samsung Gear VR, so it's likely these will be the two headsets to choose from to be able to watch the new Doctor Who adventure.

Zillah Watson, head of BBC VR Hub, said, “Our team at the BBC VR Hub has been creating new experiences with the goal of helping to usher virtual reality into the mainstream, and Doctor Who is exactly the sort of series that can help more people to try this new technology. 

"The show has been pushing boundaries for over 55 years, and VR enables Doctor Who to explore a whole new dimension of storytelling.”

Doctor Who is a series that makes sense to adapt into a virtual reality experience as you can zip around the universe and time in the comfort of your living room. 

Does this mean we're set to see even more BBC properties adapted into VR adventures? We don't currently know, but if The Runaway proves to be a success we can expect to see even more VR projects from the broadcaster. 

Categories: Tech News

Windows 10's first 2020 update has already started beta testing

Latest Tech News - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 16:09

Microsoft has begun beta testing for a major update to Windows 10 that won't launch until early 2020, codenamed '20H1', the company announced today.

This is way early considering that Microsoft's next major Windows 10 patch, the April 2019 Update, is just now approaching ready-to-manufacture (RTM) status. Heck, public beta testing for the forthcoming October update codenamed '19H2' won't even begin until sometime this spring. 

But, there's a reason Microsoft is getting way ahead.

"Some things we are working on in 20H1 require a longer lead time," Dona Sarkar, Microsoft's head of its Windows Insider beta testing program, wrote in Microsoft's blog post.

This version of Windows 10 20H1 (called "Skip Ahead") is the earliest build that beta testers can access, and is by far the least stable of Microsoft's Windows 10 beta tests. The idea is for enthusiast users to help crowdsource the company's quality assurance process, essentially.

Of course, Microsoft hasn't yet revealed any major features that the 20H1 update will bring, but we should expect to hear word soon enough if testing is already under way. And, if testing is starting this far out from launch, we're hoping for some absolutely massive changes.

Categories: Tech News

JP Morgan launches bank-backed cryptocurrency

Latest Tech News - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 13:53

While 2018's cryptocurrency boom may be over, US investment bank JP Morgan has launched its own digital coin to help settle payments between its clients as part of its wholesale payments business.

JPM Coin, the first digital currency backed by a major US bank, runs on blockchain technology and has already successfully been used to move funds between the bank and a client's account.

JP Morgan plans to use digital coins to help reduce risk and enable instant transfers for its customers despite the fact that its chief executive Jamie Dimon has publicly criticized Bitcoin in the past.

The bank's JPM Coin is not intended for retail customers and the cryptocurrency will be used internally by the company to handle transfers of payments between institutional accounts.

JPM Coin

To use JP Morgan's new cryptocurrency, a client first has to deposit money into an account and then those funds are converted into an equivalent number of JPM Coins. Clients can use the coins to perform transactions over the bank's blockchain network Quorum and once they are completed, JPM Coins can be redeemed for US dollars from the bank.

However, critics of JP Morgan's digital currency bring up the fact that blockchain is decentralized by design with no one party controlling transactions sent over the network. JPM Coin works the opposite way as the bank has complete control over any transactions made using its cryptocurrency.

In the future though, JP Morgan envisions a network where clients, such as large banks, can move coins between themselves on the network without the bank being able to see the transactions.

To use JPM Coins, clients will first have to be approved by regulators and pass money laundering checks to ensure that no illegal activity is being conducted.

Time will tell if JPM coin is successful though its launch could help spur another round of interest in cryptocurrency after Bitcoin's price plunged last year.

Via The BBC

Categories: Tech News

Amazon cancels new NYC HQ

Latest Tech News - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 13:08

After a lengthy public bidding process, e-commerce giant Amazon decided that it would build its new headquarters in not one location but two with its new offices split between Washington, DC and New York City.

However, following opposition from residents and local lawmakers, the company has just announced that it is canceling its plans to build a second headquarters in NYC.

Amazon explained its decision to abandon its New York headquarters in a statement announcing the cancellation, saying:

“After much thought and deliberation, we’ve decided not to move forward with our plans to build a headquarters for Amazon in Long Island City, Queens. For Amazon, the commitment to build a new headquarters requires positive, collaborative relationships with state and local elected officials who will be supportive over the long-term. While polls show that 70% of New Yorkers support our plans and investment, a number of state and local politicians have made it clear that they oppose our presence and will not work with us to build the type of relationships that are required to go forward with the project we and many others envisioned in Long Island City.”

NYC backlash

Amazon will not be choosing another location for its HQ2 and instead the company will move forward with its existing plans to build out its presence in Northern Virginia and Nashville.

The company's plans to establish a headquarters in Queens were discussed behind closed doors without input from local lawmakers. To make things worse, the city of New York agreed to give Amazon major concessions including $1.5bn in incentives in exchange for creating 25,000 jobs.

However, these jobs would not be filled by local residents and instead outside talent would be needed to fill the roles. This influx of new people would drive up costs and could even push out long-time residents that are already dealing with gentrification and rising costs.

Amazon would likely have had a difficult time getting development started without local support and the project's costs could have ballooned as a result of legal battles opposing its new headquarters.

Via The Verge

Categories: Tech News

Sorry, a 3GB Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti graphics card is unlikely

Latest Tech News - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 12:29

We’ve seen more than a few Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti models leak out, but these new 3GB variants are a curious development.

Asus has apparently registered nine models of the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti featuring 3GB video memory with the Eurasian Economic Community

This seems a bit strange as Ti-cards often tune the best performance you can possibly get out of a GPU. Halving the video memory of what we’ve heard to be in a traditional 6GB GTX 1660 Ti – and all of these new Asus models are listed in 6GB VRAM capacities as well – so far seems antithetical to Nvidia’s strategy so far. 

Another potential wrench this this rumor mill is the fact that the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 was also listed by the EEC in six different variants with 6GB, 4GB and 3GB of video memory that could have been either GDDR6 or GDDR5. However, when the card officially released, Nvidia’s mid-range Turing GPU ended up launching in only one SKU. We’ve also yet to see any of these other registered models come to market.

It’s much more likely that Asus is just covering its bases by trademarking every potential version of its GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics cards. Whether the gaming hardware maker has any intention to actually produce these 3GB variants seems unlikely.

Via Videocardz

Categories: Tech News

This AI-controlled bed adjusts its own temperature so you sleep deeper

Latest Tech News - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 12:16

The Pod is a smart bed that doesn't just monitor your sleep – it actually makes it more restful. The mattress dynamically adjusts its temperature to make sure you're comfortable all night, and each side can heat and cool itself independently so you don't end up fighting with your partner over the covers.

People understand that nutrition and fitness is not enough for your health – sleep is just as important, and they need to start taking care of it

Matteo Franceschetti, Eight Sleep

It's the latest device from Eight Sleep – a company that wants to use technology to control every possible factor that can affect the quality of your slumber.

"I was a typical entrepreneur, super stressed out, working almost 24/7, and my sleep was suffering at the time," Eight Sleep's CEO Matteo Franceschetti tells TechRadar.

"I started wondering why we have self-driving cars and space travel going to Mars, but we still spend one third of our lives on traditional beds that don’t leverage technology to improve my health."

Rather than just lying awake worrying, Franceschetti began investigating ways to embed technology into a bed, letting people monitor their sleep without the need to wear a watch or change any of their habits.

"The reason is that if it’s right there, and you use it every day," he says, "and that’s the time for your body to really recharge and recover."

Sleep for health

Franceschetti believes there are three 'pillars' of health – diet, nutrition and sleep –and the latter has only recently started getting the attention is deserves. Sleep tracking is now a standard feature for sports watches that once only monitored steps and distance, and there's a growing selection of devices that slip under your mattress and gather data throughout the night.

Franceschetti compares this surge in interest to the rise of fitness in the 1990s.

Image credit: Eight Sleep

"People started to train and started working out and going to the gym," he says. "There was a big movement about the importance of exercise for your health, and that applied also to nutrition, but it wasn't applied to sleep. Sleep is something that just started, I would say, three to five years ago. People understand that nutrition and fitness is not enough for your health – sleep is just as important, and they need to start taking care of it.

Just tracking your sleep phases isn't enough, though; you need to do something with that data, and it's not as straightforward as taking more steps or drinking more water throughout the day. Good quality sleep depends on a host of factors that are largely out of our control during the night – and temperature is one of the biggest.

Warm or cool

If you find yourself throwing the covers off in the middle of the night to cool down, or curling into a ball to get warm – possibly to the annoyance of your partner? You're not alone. According to Franceschetti, 43% of couples argue about the temperature when they're trying to sleep.

Image credit: Eight Sleep

"The Pod brings us one step closer to our vision of adjusting any factor that can affect your sleep performance," he says. "Temperature is the biggest, so that’s why we decided to tackle that first."

Ultimately, Eight Sleep hopes to control every factor that affects your ability to sleep well (such as noise, for example), optimizing every night so it's as restful as possible. That's the dream, anyway.

Categories: Tech News

Broken Withings Pulse HR? You may be able to get a free replacement

Latest Tech News - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 12:12

A production fault with early units of the Withings Pulse HR has meant the case can be fragile and prone to cracking without you dropping or striking the tracker in some way.

After our review of the Withings Pulse HR, our reviewer at TechRadar continued to wear the tracker for a few weeks and found it cracked at both the top and bottom of the front of the body of the tracker without any noticeable hits or drops.

You can see the exact damage in the images above and below. We also know of at least one other case where the tracker has cracked in a similar way after a few weeks of usage.

If you've also had the same issue Withings has confirmed it will be offering replacements for all customers affected.

A spokesperson for Withings told TechRadar, "Our team has received feedback from a select number of customers concerning the fragility of their Pulse HR band case. The problem has been identified as affecting a small number of units from our first round of production. 

"Withings is offering replacements to any customers experiencing the problem and is continuing to monitor the situation to ensure our excellent standards of quality control are maintained.  We extend our sincere apologies for any inconvenience this has caused."

As Withings has confirmed, this issue is only affecting the first batch of units released by the company so it's unlikely if you buy the tracker today you'll find the same problem.

If you do - or you've found your existing Withings Pulse HR has similar damage - you can contact Withings by logging into your account on its official website and citing the problem you've had.

Basil Kronfli also contributed to this story

Categories: Tech News

Fujifilm broadens X series with new XF16mm f/2.8 R WR lens

Latest Tech News - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 11:51

Fujifilm has officially announced a new wide-angle lens for its X-series cameras, the XF16mm f/2.8 R WR. 

Launched alongside the X-T30 mirrorless camera, the optic provides X-series users with an effective focal length of 24mm in 35mm terms. The optic was first added to the X-series roadmap last year.

Set to be available in black and silver options to complement the X-series bodies, the 10-element / 8-group lens boasts a pair of aspherical lenses among its optical array, while a nine-bladed diaphragm is said to produce a rounded opening for smooth and natural bokeh.

The focusing system is based around a stepping motor, with focusing possible as close as 17cm away from the subject (from the sensor) and focusing performed internally to keep the length and centre of gravity unchanged throughout operation. At its closest focussing distance, magnification is 0.13x. 

Fujifilm has crafted the lens with both a physical aperture ring and a focusing ring – a design that's consistent with other optics in the series – and can have its aperture adjusted to a minimum f/22 setting. 

The optic measures 60mm in length and 45.4mm width, and has a weight of just 155g without its rear and front lens caps. The internal components are protected through a dust- and moisture- resistant design, while filters with a diameter of 49mm can also be screwed into the front of the lens.

The Fujinon XF16mm f/2.8 will be available for £349 in the UK and $399 in the US, and will arrive later this year. 


Categories: Tech News

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