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Updated: 1 hour 52 min ago

Get the Apple Watch Series 3 on sale at Walmart for $199

2 hours 6 min ago

If you're looking for a killer deal on the Apple Watch, then you're in luck. For a limited time, you can get the Apple Watch Series 3 on sale for $199 at Walmart. That's an $80 discount and lowest price we've found for the smartwatch. Walmart also has the Apple Watch 3 with Cellular on sale for $299.

The Apple Watch 3 is like having an iPhone on your wrist with bonus health features. You can track popular workouts, measure calories burned, and set goals to keep you moving throughout the day. The smartwatch also offers heart rate monitoring and will even notify you when an unusually high or low heart rate is detected. You'll also stay connected with the Apple watch with the ability to receive notifications, make calls, send messages and more. The waterproof smartwatch includes GPS technology and offers an impressive battery life of 18 hours.

This is not only a great deal but also a fantastic price for a feature-rich smartwatch. Amazon also has the Apple Watch Series 4 on sale but will still set you back $349. That makes the $199 price tag on the Series 3 extremely appealing. 

Apple Watch deals:

If you want your smartwatch to include LTE connectivity, Walmart also has the Apple Watch Series 3 with Cellular on sale for $299

Discover more Apple watch sales with the best cheap Apple Watch prices and deals that are currently available.

You can learn more about series 3 smartwatch with our Apple Watch 3 review.

Shop more deals with our guide on Amazon Prime Day: everything you need to know for the July deals event.

Save up to £210 on a new Samsung Galaxy A device with this excellent cashback offer

2 hours 16 min ago

Samsung's brand new A series devices (the Galaxy A40, A50 and A70) are a bit of a hidden gem of the budget phones world. While there are other phones out there you can get for cheaper prices, a compilation of offers from Samsung have shot the prices of these phones down to costs you really can't refuse.

There are three incentives Samsung is running that make these devices worthwhile. The first - and easily most persuasive - is a cashback scheme running until June 27. This gets you cashback of up to £60 on these already affordable devices, driving down the cost.

Throw in Samsung's trade-in scheme, offering discounts of up to £150 and you're looking at effective phone costs of as low as £109. Finally, with 0% finance options available through PayPal you can even split your costs onto a monthly basis.

With all of these factors put together, Samsung's Galaxy A devices are looking like the budget mobile phone deals to beat right now. Just make sure you get in there before the cashback offer ends on June 27.

  • Want to see the competition? Check out our guide to the best iPhone deals

These affordable Samsung phone deals in full: 

Read more:

How Lexus is using tea and origami to build your next car

2 hours 20 min ago

You tend to think of most modern production cars as being far from hand built. High-volume components are punched out or moulded before being assembled with lots of robots and a few technicians on a constantly moving production line. It’s not very organic. But Japanese car manufacturer Lexus likes to do things a little differently. 

Sure, it has factories, including the Miyata manufacturing plant in Kyushu, which is state-of-the art. Indeed, many of parent company Toyota’s modern manufacturing ideas have been followed by other carmakers around the world and it’s easy to see why. The place is clean, calm and as you’d expect, very orderly. It’s also able to deliver volume. At the same time it can produce a variety of models with a custom specification on the same line thanks to its just-in-time production strategy.

But for Lexus it’s all about the detail – and the Japanese are very big on details. Which is why the company recently got TechRadar sitting at the bar of the Yorozu Tea Salon, in downtown Fukuoka for a masterclass on the finer points of tea-making.

This is a place where old meets new and tradition rubs shoulders with the modern world. Lexus wanted to bookend our factory visit with lots of ‘engawa’ – an architectural concept adopted by the carmaker that expresses a smooth transition from interior to exterior. And to do that required a nice cup of tea.

Image credit: Rob Clymo

The tea we tried costs a small fortune, and our bowlful would set you back a few hundred dollars if you were to buy it. There isn't much to go around either, but that's why it’s the most expensive tea in the whole of Japan.

Yoruzo’s proprietor, Tokobuchi-san and his staff deliver three small servings of the brew, with the strongest first flush delivering lots of very distinctive ‘umami’ taste, and the weakest arriving last. We then eat the leaves with chopsticks – such is the value of the tea.

Fold by fold

To join up the dots, earlier in the trip we visited the Lexus design studio to see first-hand what its revered Takumi craftspeople are capable of. The facility is situated in the beating heart of Japanese car manufacturing, Toyota City located in Japan’s Aichi Prefecture and there was more evidence of the Lexus obsession with detail.

A perfect example of this is the cloth door panel and insert that has ended up inside the Lexus LS luxury saloon. These panels are hand-pleated, taking nspiration from origami, the ancient Japanese art of paper-folding. 

Image credit: Rob Clymo

Yuko Shimizu from Sankyo, whom Lexus hired for the creative exercise, told us she normally designs and pleats fine fabrics for curtains, fashion clothing and wedding dresses. Shimizu worked with textile manufacturer Seiren to develop the intricate door panel designs that have ended up in the LS.

On face value they’re very delicate looking pieces, but the panels obviously had to be durable. So while the illusion is that these items could be made of folded paper, they are actually finely stitched synthetic material. It’s a clever compromise between old and new.

Meanwhile, a glass-engraving artist was commissioned to produce a piece for the panel that goes around the door handle of the LS. He used what looked like a very basic grinding wheel and a handful of attachments to produce the work – we’ll actually call it art – on what was also a curved and pretty delicate piece of glass.

Lexus glass grinding

Lexus subsequently used the master to create the initial mould for the final production piece. It was quite something to see in an age where you expect anything intricate like that to be produced on a CAD machine.

Precision painting

Later, at the Miyata manufacturing plant we got a tour of the paint shop and also the assembly line. The former provided us with an interesting insight into how Lexus likes to blend the formulaic processes that robots do so well with a fair degree of human intervention. While the main body panels are painted by the robots, hard to reach areas like the door shuts are sprayed by hand.

As we peered through the large glass windows, it was particularly interesting to see how the robots could change colours for each car if they needed to. The hugely enthusiastic lady from Lexus fizzed with excitement as she explained that the robots can change colours in an instant by switching nozzles and paint cartridges as and when they’re needed.

You might think there would be overspray everywhere with a multitude of colours being fired into the atmosphere, but no. As the car bodies edged past, we saw blue, then red, then silver and then blue again. For a production line this gave the impression of a more personal painting experience than you might expect.

The production line also has been cleverly engineered to pull paint dust away from the cars, with running water below the line that removes much of the dust. Amazingly, the water is cleansed and the paint particles are extracted.

This cocktail of paint dust is subsequently used to create colored bricks that are used to make walkways around the factory. Lexus claims that the purified water that is returned to a river that passes by the plant is now cleaner than it was before it started using this process.

Final inspection

Later, out on the assembly line, we got to see more of the personalised production process that has gained Lexus its craftsman-built reputation. Naturally, there are automated parts of the process that help the company stay efficient., but Lexus also likes to take time on the good bits, so fit and finish is a critical part of the assembly area. Technicians could be seen poring over panels under bright white lights hoping to pinpoint a minor blemish or fleck of dust in the paintwork. 

For the most part there didn't seem to be much to spot. The Japanese attention to detail had clearly ironed out most of the possible problem areas earlier on in the process. And, as you’d expect, when something was found it was removed with the usual seamless, fuss-free efficiency that you find in every aspect of Japanese life.

Image credit: Lexus

Conversely, Lexus is also doing something decidedly unorganic and making the tailgate of its latest model, the UX compact crossover out of resin. It’s an interesting development. There are drawbacks for using the synthetic material as it can be a little bit too flexible used in the wrong place. But for the tailgate of the UX it makes a lot of sense, allowing the designers to shave off weight and reduce costs.

The company didn’t want to elaborate on whether or not the resin theme will end up being used on other panels in the future, but the humble car hood seems like an obvious candidate.

As we pulled out of the plant to the customary bows from rows of staff, it was hard not to feel a little humbled by the Lexus commitment to producing quality cars. And, we also got an overwhelming urge to have another go at origami. Over a nice cup of tea of course.

Intel Ice Lake performance leaks out – showing up AMD Ryzen

2 hours 20 min ago

Intel Ice Lake performance has appeared in a leaked PassMark result, showing faster performance than the AMD Ryzen 5 3500U, despite Team Red's chip having a higher base clock speed. 

This follows another leaked benchmark, which appeared back in May in Geekbench

This one via PassMark, spotted by famed hardware leaker TUM_APISAK and Notebook Check, shows the Intel Core i7-1065G7 scoring 10,316 points in PassMark's CPUMark test, compared to the Ryzen 5 3500U's 8,042 points. This PassMark result has been deleted, but that doesn't mean you can't find a cached version.

Digging into these results shows significantly better IPC (instructions per clock) performance on Intel's Ice Lake chip. This is a leak, so you should of course take it with a grain of salt, but the Intel Core i7-1065G7 has a base clock of just 1.3GHz compared to the 3500U's 2.1GHz, but manages to beat AMD's chip in the single-thread rating. 

It should be noted, though, that the AMD Ryzen 5 3500U is based on the Zen+ architecture, rather than the 7nm Zen 2. Intel claims that the 10nm Sunny Cove architecture will boast an 18% IPC improvement over Skylake, but AMD also claims 15% IPC improvement in Zen 2 over Zen+. 

Either way, we won't know how Intel Ice Lake mobile processors actually perform until we see them out in the real world. Luckily, they should be on their way out to retailers now, so we shouldn't have to wait too much longer to get our hands on Ice Lake.

Via Wccftech

The best cheap tablets and deals 2019: the top budget options

2 hours 41 min ago

If you're looking for the best cheap tablets around, you've come to the right place. 

Not everyone want's to pay hundreds for a slate, and these top budget tablets are great for web browsing, emails, video streaming and simple gaming.

They're great to have as a family device, or purely for the kids with a variety of parental controls available (especially on Amazon's offerings), or for those who want a bigger screen for tasks that are just a little too fiddly to do on a smartphone.

The best tablet in the world is the iPad Pro 11, while the best Android tablet is the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4, but both will set you back a lot of cash. Best budget tablets they are not. 

In fact, none of Apple's current fleet of slates manage to dip below the £250 mark we've set for our best budget tablets round up, but if it is iPads you desire check out our best iPad roundup. The most affordable option is the iPad 9.7 which starts at £319.

All hope is not lost though, as we've got the list of the best cheap tablets you can buy right now below - but let's make one thing clear. There aren't many to choose from.

It's slim pickings for anyone looking to pick up a cheap tablet these days as the market for low-cost slates has somewhat fallen away, but the ones below offer excellent value for money.

We're still waiting to see our first budget tablet launch of 2019 as well, which means there aren't any new entries in our round-up just yet - but the ones we do have below are still worth your consideration.

Image Credit: Lenovo

In a sea of slates and smartphones, crafting a device that has enough personality to stand out and enough quality to be worth caring about is a difficult proposition.

With the Tab 4 8 Plus, Lenovo has succeeded in producing something with a flavor of its own, and something that makes the mid-range Android tablet market worth attention once again.

If you already have an Android device, commute regularly and want something a little nicer than an Amazon tablet, this is the obvious next step.

Read the full review: Lenovo Tab 4 8 Plus

Image Credit: Amazon

If you have an Amazon Prime membership and you want a big screen tablet for watching movies and TV, reading, and a spot of gaming, the Fire HD 10 is a great option. If you also have a limited budget, then it’s your best option.

It's a great value package for a 10-inch screen tablet. It does have obvious weaknesses, like the plastic design and useless cameras, but they’re understandable in a tablet at this price.

Read the full review: Amazon Fire HD 10 (2017)

Image Credit: Amazon

The Amazon HD 8 was rebooted for 2018 with a slightly updated look, better front facing camera and a larger storage option.

They are useful upgrades and ensure it remains in our best budget tablet list. 

It's no tablet king, but it does what it sets out to well. Its crazy low price tag means it's perfect to hand off to the kids without the fear that they're wielding an expensive bit of kit around.

It may be too small for some, and the cameras aren't up to much, but the Fire HD 8 gives you the core tablet experience for not very much outlay, making it a budget tablet worth buying.

Read the full review: Amazon Fire HD 8

Image Credit: Amazon

If you're in the market for a low cost tablet with up to date specs then the new Amazon Fire HD 8 and HD 10 deliver.

They won't bless you with a stunning display, sultry design or slick performance - but they will give you enough grunt under the hood to play even the most demanding of games.

The heavily modified Android interface (known as Fire OS) may not be to everyone's liking, but for less tech savvy users it's arguably less cluttered and easier to use.

Read the full review: Amazon Fire 7 (2017)

Best email providers of 2019: Free, Paid and business services

3 hours 19 min ago

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:

Image credit: Proton Technologies

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. In late April 2019, elliptic curve cryptography was introduced, which adds additional security and faster speeds.

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 Professional 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.

Image credit: Google

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. Dynamic mail makes Gmail more interactive, with the ability to take action directly from within the email, like filling out a questionnaire or responding to a Google Docs comment. 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 $6 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.

Image credit: Microsoft

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 $7 a month on the single user Office 365 Personal plan or you can pay 70$ for a year.

Image credit: Yahoo

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 per mailbox per month, billed annually, and they drop as you add mailboxes – $1.59 for 5, $1.19 for 10, and for 20+ you'll need to contact them. Additionally, another pricing plan called Yahoo Mail Pro is available at $3.49 per month. This gives you ad-free inbox, priority customer support and additional features.

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.

Image credit: Zoho

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, although there's an extra 25 available if you can refer others to the service (update: Zoho is 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 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.

The best CD ripper 2019: back up your whole music library

3 hours 27 min ago

A CD ripper is an essential tool for archiving your music library. If you rip tracks from CDs using Windows Explorer (or any other regular media player), the quality of those files will never be as good as the original discs due to errors when data is read, and compression when it’s encoded.

Ideally, archived audio files should be as close to the original CD as possible, with complete and accurate metadata, encoded in a lossless format (usually Free Lossless Audio Codec, or FLAC). This requires a lot of space, the cost of which would once have been prohibitive, but the plummeting price of storage makes it feasible to keep those files as a backup, and make copies for everyday use. You can also encode copies using lossy codecs for playback on devices with limited storage.

A 'secure' CD ripper ensures audio files are free from errors by reading each sector of the disc several times, and comparing the results with data collected from other users. There aren’t many of these tools around, and here we’ve picked the CD rippers we’d trust with our own tunes.

Are CD rippers legal?

Although every Windows PC comes with software for backing up discs, using CD rippers isn't legal everywhere. For example, in 2014, UK copyright law was changed to make legalize personal backups, but that decision was overturned by the High Court in 2015. Make sure you check out intellectual property law in your country before you start ripping.

Image cIdit: Andre WiethoffAndre Wiethoff

1. Exact Audio Copy

The best free CD ripper for Windows if you have time to invest in the setup

Usually we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to software, with dozens of programs approaching the same task from different angles. When it comes to CD rippers, however, there are only two programs we recommend – one free, and one premium (but still reasonably priced).

Exact Audio Copy is the free option, and it's so good, many audiophiles prefer it to paid-for CD rippers. It takes a while to set up, so we've put together a full guide to get you started.

EAC employs a technology called AccurateRip, which uses data from users around the world to detect whether your rips are totally free from errors. No CD or DVD drive is perfect, and many will insert periods of silence into audio tracks where errors occur, so this verification is essential for making 1:1 copies of your discs.

EAC can also find metadata for your music from four different sources (complete with album art), rename files automatically, and normalize audio as it's processed. If you have the time to invest, you couldn't wish for more in a CD ripper.

Image credit: Illustrate

2. dbPowerAmp

A premium CD ripper that makes archiving and encoding music a breeze

dBpoweramp is a premium CD ripper (a license for a single PC costs $39/£31/AU$39), but you can try it free for 21 days to make sure it's the tool for you before buying.

dBpoweramp's main advantage over Exact Audio Copy is its clear interface, which helps simplify the process of ripping your discs. Otherwise, it’s very similar; it uses the same AccurateRip technology to ensure your files are as close as possible to the original CD, scanning and re-scanning for errors, and comparing the results with data from other users.

dBpoweramp uses all your CPU cores simultaneously for the fastest possible encoding, and can encode to multiple formats at once, saving you the effort of converting files for playback on other devices. 

dBpoweramp also includes an audio converter, with batch support for encoding files en masse – very useful if you need copies in a different format for a new device, or your everyday playback files have become lost or damaged.

The best wireless speaker 2019: find the best connected speakers for your home

3 hours 27 min ago

Best Speakers buying guide: Welcome to TechRadar's round-up of the best wireless, connected speakers and speaker systems in 2019. 

Everyone's listening tastes are different. You might be looking for big, bold, floor-standing speaker models that can rattle the walls with your thumping dance tracks or just a portable speaker that'll work whenever or wherever you take it for podcasts, pop music and everything else while you're on-the-move. Whatever you need a new sound system for, you've come to the right place - or you can get more granular with something like our round up of the best Bluetooth speakers.

This speaker round-up covers all of the best audio tech in all the different shapes and sizes you'd ever imagine – at least for the next few weeks until we update the list with our newest and latest favorites. 

Of course it's not just like you have big floor-standing systems and portable ones to choose from, between those two ends of the sound spectrum also lies wireless speakers, which are powerful chambers of sound that don't require a cable to setup. That means if you're not in the mood to string wires, this is the way to go.

  • [Update: if you're in the market for a new wireless speaker, don't forget Amazon Prime Day 2019 is coming up very soon. While we don't have the official release date, everything is pointing to a July 15 kick-off for the 48-hour long sale.]

Ideally, the speaker you choose for your home will have been made with a number of built-in amps and DACs and then custom-tuned to replicate music as close to the source as possible. 

On top of pristine audio playback, audiophiles (or wannabe audiophiles) should also be looking for speakers that pack in a whole host of features, such as smart assistant support, Spotify Connect and a built-in batter, all of which will help your speaker last you until the next big innovation in audio that we're hoping will come a few years down the road.

So here you have it, this is our list of the 10 best wireless speakers, ranked by their price-to-performance ratio.

Image credit: Sonos

If you're in the market for a cleanly designed, exceptional sounding connected speaker, you'll find none better than the Sonos One. Offering the best of both Sonos' multi-room speaker platform and both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant's smart home prowess, the Sonos One is the pinnacle of connectivity. 

Want to hear your favorite song from Spotify? All you need to do is ask! Want every speaker in the upstairs to play the same song? Group them together via the Sonos app and you'll have a house party in minutes. 

While there are more powerful (and more expensive) speakers listed down below, for the vast majority of folks, the Sonos One is the best deal in 2019.

Read the full review: Sonos One

Image credit: Sonos

Sonos was one of the first companies to get into the connected speaker business, and as a result has one of the most seamlessly integrated speaker systems on the market. 

The Sonos Play:5 is the company's flagship, and has the 

Unlike solutions which rely on Bluetooth or Google Cast, Sonos' speakers are controlled directly from its own app, which has built in integration for a number of streaming services, including Spotify, Tidal, Apple Music, Deezer, TuneIn a whole range of smaller services.

Since this is a multi-room setup, you can also add additional speakers such as the Sonos Play:3 and Sonos Play:1 to built up a complete surround sound system, but if you want to keep it simple, then you should find the Play:5 to offer more than enough sound. 

Read the full review: Sonos Play:5

Image credit: TechRadar

The Pure Evoke C-F6 isn't a flashy speaker – its modest (but refined) looks let it slip unassumingly into any decor, although it doesn't boast the premium multi-room options of pricier competitors on this list.

But that's also not really the point of the Evoke C-F6 – it's positioning itself to be the one-room, one-shop stop for all your audio playback needs. There's a dazzling array of audio source options on offer here, with the biggest draws being Spotify Connect, DAB, Internet radio, Bluetooth and old faithful CD playback.

With a solid app letting you control the speaker from across a room, and the Evoke C-F6 offering a warm and natural soundstage from its stereo speakers, it'll take pride of place on whichever bedside table or living room shelf you decide to pop it on.

Read the full review: Pure Evoke C-F6

Image credit: TechRadar

It's a tough call between this speaker and the Mu-So Qb for the best looking music player on this list, but the Zeppelin is certainly the most striking.

But as with all these speakers, the proof is in the pudding, and the Zeppelin sounds absolutely stunning no matter what volume you play it at. Its bass is distortion free, and its mid-range is nice and punchy. 

It's also backed by a complete swath of connectivity options, so you'll have no problem getting your more obscure apps playing through the speaker. 

The only problem is its price: $699 (£499 / AU$999). But while the sticker price ensures that only serious audiophiles will give it some consideration, it's a lot less pricey than the Mu-So Qb, and you get a similar level of sound quality. 

Read the full review: Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Wireless


You might not have heard of it before, but Naim audio is a company that produces some of the most stylish connected speakers in the business, and we think the Mu-So Qb is the best they've put out yet. 

It comes will a full suite of connectivity options including aptX Bluetooth, Spotify Connect and AirPlay, which means all of your music should be supported at its maximum resolution, no matter what device you're using. 

But even if you don't have your phone in hand, the speaker is still controllable using its sleek touch-screen which allows you to access internet radio stations, for example. 

It's got a premium price, but if you pluck for the Qb then you won't be disappointed. 

Read the full review: Mu-So Qb

Image credit: Samsung

Not content with dominating the TV world, Samsung now seems to have its sights set on becoming the number one brand for home entertainment audio, too. All this effort has already delivered outstanding results in the shape of both the HW-K850 and, especially, HW-K950 Dolby Atmos soundbars, as well as a range of ground-breaking multi-room wireless speakers.

But, above everything stands the South Korean manufacturer's HW-MS650. No other one-body soundbar has combined so much raw power with so much clarity, scale and, especially, bass, or excelled so consistently with both films and music. It’s the sort of performance that only genuine audio innovation can deliver - and with that in mind, it’s well worth its $450 / £599 price tag. 

Read the full review: Samsung HW-MS650 Soundbar

Image credit: Google

When it comes to stuffing a small apartment with Google Assistant devices, is too much of a good thing bad? As the Google Home Max proved to us, the answer is no. 

Although absolutely massive, the Home Max makes for a surprisingly versatile addition to a space of any size, thanks to its balanced, awesome sound delivery and Smart Sound function that helps it adjust to any environment you set it in. 

Google’s big speaker is more elegant than it has any right to be, what with clever touches like the moveable resting pad and orientation-friendly touch functions. It’s also appreciated that its looks stand out if you choose to notice it, but blend into the scene during everyday use. 


Read the full review: Google Home Max

Image credit: KEF

If you're looking for a pair of bookshelf speakers that handle wireless audio as well as having the traditional connections for your vinyl player, check out the KEF LS50 Wireless. While KEF's flagship speakers don't support every wireless standard on the market, they do support Tidal or Spotify, plus standard Bluetooth 4.0.   

In terms of sound quality,  they are staggeringly detailed and their stand-out sonic feature is their holographic imaging and instrumental layering: We could hear exactly where each instrument was coming from and each instrument sounded distinct and never blurry. Soundstage was expansive with good space to the side and above the listener. Resolution is excellent as the speaker can dig for the micro-details that get lost in lesser audio systems.  

If you're an audiophile who wants the convenience of wireless audio - whether that’s directly from internet streaming services like Tidal or Spotify or from a home server - the KEF LS50 Wireless should be at the top of your list. 

Read the full review: KEF LS50 Wireless

Image credit: TechRadar

Of its trio of new multi-room speakers, the Marshall Stanmore is the middle child. However, that doesn't mean it's the unloved sibling. 

While the larger Woburn is just a little too big for most rooms, and the smaller Acton has a number of connectivity issues, the Stanmore strikes a nice balance between the two with a sound that's big and punchy, without straying too far into 'overkill' territory (although mark our words, it will if you want it to). 

It features its own app for controlling it, but we were fans of how nicely it integrates with a host of other services including AirPlay, Google Cast and Spotify Connect, meaning you can stick to the apps you're familiar with while still controlling your new toy. 

But it's the on-board controls that impressed us the most. You're able to set presets from a number of different services, meaning you can happily switch between pre-defined Spotify playlists and internet radio stations with a twist of a vintage Marshall-styled brass knob. 

It's not got the most refined sound out of the speakers on this list, but the Marshall Stanmore is intelligently designed and simple to use. If you're looking for something to take on the road, check out our Marshall Tufton review – it packs the vintage Marshall look and rocking sound into a portable design.

Read the full review: Marshall Stanmore

Image credit: TechRadar

If we only rated the Apple HomePod on the merits of sound performance, the HomePod would likely hold the top spot on this list. But, as a connected speaker, it has a long way to go.

Overall, it delivers rich, clear sound that will impress anyone who listens to it, and every facet of the way it’s designed and delivers audio has been well thought through. But there are still a few little bumps in there that remove some of the gloss – Siri not being able to search the web, a lack of Bluetooth streaming, or being able to control your Apple TV or iPhone directly from the speaker are omissions that many would like to have. 

Once it builds out these features, we'll definitely revisit it and possibly award it a higher spot on this list. Until then, however, it's a speaker that only serves a niche audience - and even then not very well.

Read the full review: Apple HomePod

The best Android tablets of 2019: which should you buy?

3 hours 43 min ago

When it comes to searching for the best Android tablet, there are fewer options compared to a few years ago where Google's operating system was popping up on slates from almost every major manufacturer.

The tablet market slowed down since, and those still producing Android tablets have reduced the frequency of launches, but that means quality has improved as new devices are no longer being rushed out.

While the selection of new Android tablets isn't as large as it once was, and nowhere near as large as the selection of Android phones, there are still some great ones to choose from.

Android is one of the main rivals to Apple's tablet range which includes the iPad Pro 11 (2018), iPad Pro 12.9 (2018) and iPad (2018).

Some Android tablets have 10-inch screens, others seven, some land somewhere in between and a handful even push the boundaries past 10 inches. There are also big differences in battery life, processing power, RAM and even the software each slate is running.

And even once you know what specs you're after there are plenty of not so great options, so to help you avoid buying a dud we've put together this list of the best Android tablets around.

They cover a range of options and we've included a rundown of the specs, the pros and the cons, so you can see at a glance what's right for you.

Best Android tablets: which should you buy?

Image Credit: Samsung

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 is the best Android tablet available right now. It's not exactly cheap - although its price has dropped since launch - but it comes packing a whole hosts of features to ensure you're getting plenty of bang for your buck.

Unlike Apple's iPad Pro range, the Galaxy Tab S4 comes with Samsung's S Pen stylus included in the box, while under the hood you get the powerful Snapdragon 835 chipset alongside 6GB of RAM ensuring Android runs super-smoothly on screen.

That's only half the story though. Pair the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 with a keyboard and mouse and it'll transfer from Android into a desktop-like experience as it attempts to replace your laptop as well as your tablet.

The desktop aspect of the tablet is limited, but we fully expect it to improve with future software updates. In short, the Galaxy Tab S4 is the most versatile Android tablet around.

Read our Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 review

Image Credit: TechRadar

Samsung's Galaxy Tab S3 may have been replaced by the Galaxy Tab S4, but it's still a top tablet and one that's now more affordable.

This tablet is the second best Android slate in the world thanks to a powerful processor and an excellent display that's prepped to show you HDR content.

There's an S-Pen stylus in the box and you'll also have the option of buying a keyboard too, but that will cost you extra.

Read our Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 review

Image Credit: Asus

Nope, that's not an iPad you can see just above. That's the Asus ZenPad 3S 10 - and it's our third favourite Android tablet you're able to buy right now.

There's decent power inside this slate as well as a super bright and beautiful display to look at on the front.

The battery life and build quality aren't the best on the market, but considering the lower price point than the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 and Tab S3 above, we'd recommend picking this up if you're looking for something a touch cheaper.

Read our Asus ZenPad 3S 10 review

Image Credit: TechRadar

The Huawei MediaPad M5 8.4 is a strong Android slate and the combination of its small size and metal shell makes it a real alternative to the new iPad Mini.

This has more than just good looks though, as the MediaPad M5 8.4 also has impressive stereo speakers, and coupled with its sharp 1600 x 2560 screen that ensures it lives up to its name as a media machine.

It’s less good for gaming, and there’s no 3.5mm headphone port – so you probably will be relying on those internal speakers a lot, but if you want a very portable slate that’s great for movies and music then the Huawei MediaPad M5 8.4 is a top option.

Read our Huawei MediaPad M5 8.4 review

Image Credit: Lenovo

The Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro is packed full of media-focused features and sports a unique, distinctive design.

There's a built in stand to take the heft off your hands, while the integrated projector means you can enjoy big screen entertainment away from your TV, though the screen is sharp enough that you won't always feel the need to use a projector anyway.

All that tech does make it less portable than most tablets on this list and the UI could be better, but it's a fairly unique option.

Read our Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro review


There are plenty of reasons to invest in the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 - especially if you're after one of the best Android tablets on the market but at a cheaper price than the Galaxy Tab S3 above.

It's reading and web surfing-friendly, while the new 4:3 screen and general size and shape is better suited for most things. Videos work better on its predecessor thanks to its elongated aspect ratio - but they don't exactly look bad here.

You can pick the Tab S2 up in 8-inch and 9.7-inch variants, to challenge Apple's iPad and iPad mini ranges, with the smaller option being more portable and cheaper.

Almost impossibly thin, pumped full of power and with a slick version of Samsung's TouchWiz interface on board the Galaxy Tab S2 gives the iPad Pro 9.7 and Pixel C a real run for their money.

Read our Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 review

Image Credit: Amazon

This tablet will be particularly great if you have an Amazon Prime membership because it comes with a huge screen for watching movies and TV as well as reading ebooks.

It's a cheap option that still packs such high-end specs including a 10-inch screen, but don't expect it to feature the best features on the market like some of the tablets at the top of the list.

Read our Amazon Fire HD 10 (2017) review

Image Credit: TechRadar

The Amazon Fire HD 8 (2018) is among the best of the retail giant's tablets, as while it's in many ways lower end than the similar HD 10, the smaller screen is sharper as a result, and the price is lower.

It also delivers surprisingly strong gaming performance, with a decent amount of power for the money. The speakers aren’t great and the cameras are awful, but tablets aren’t for taking photos and you can always use headphones.

What you do get is solid if not spectacular performance, and tight integration with Amazon’s other services through Fire OS, all at a price that’s well below most of the non-Amazon branded competition. 

You should also note that if you already own the 2016 or 2017 version of this tablet, it won't be worth upgrading to the 2018 version as the differences are minimal.

Read our Amazon Fire HD 8 (2018) review

Image Credit: TechRadar

Tablets don’t get any cheaper than this – well, functional ones don’t anyway. The incredibly low price and sturdy design make the Amazon Fire 7 (2017) a great choice to give to a kid – in fact, Amazon’s even built a (pricier) version specifically for children.

But even for a grown audience the Amazon Fire far exceeds expectations, with a fairly bright 7.0-inch screen, acceptable speakers, solid battery life and even reasonable performance, with a snappy interface and the ability to run most games.

Fire OS won’t suit everyone and this isn’t a tablet that impresses once you take the price out of the equation, but for what the Amazon Fire costs it would almost be rude not to buy it.

Read our Amazon Fire 7 (2017) review

The best smart speakers 2019: which one should you buy?

3 hours 48 min ago

There was a time when many of us weren't sure whether the 'smart home' would really take off, but then smart speakers came along and everything changed. 

Smart speakers now dominate the smart home market. According to the latest stats, they're now owned by one in six Americans, while over the pond in the UK, ownership has doubled in six months, with a smart speaker occupying 10% of all households. It's (kinda) official: Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant are as important to most households as pets.

The popular virtual assistants are taking our homes by storm, with many now considering smart speakers to be the future of home automation, not only controlling your smart home devices (like your Philips Hue bulbs or your smart locks), but running everything from your fridge to your living room lights – sometimes without much help from you. 

Whether that's exciting to you, scary or just a bit gimmicky will depend on your view of new tech. But it's hard to argue that these devices aren't unbelievably handy. Imagine a world where you don't have to get up to change the thermostat or find the remote to change the channel. Imagine turning off your garden security lights using your voice or using Alexa or Google Assistant to pull up a live feed of your outside cameras.    

If you think that you can live happily without these features, then you're probably right. But we've found that once you've had them, even for a week or two, there's no going back. 

All of this and more is now possible. The only thing they can't do, it seems, is help you decide which one is right for you.  So, if you're not sure which smart speaker to buy, read on for our pick of the best available right now.

[Update: Amazon's latest smart display, the Echo Show 5 is now available to preorder and will start shipping in June and July.]

The Sonos One now supports Amazon's Alexa and Siri via AirPlay 2. Image Credit: Sonos. 

If you need help finding your next personal assistant, take a look at our guide below and find the smart speaker that suits your current setup, your budget and the aesthetics of your home – each of the speakers are hand-picked by our editors, and while each have pros/cons, all of them are great in their own way. 

Not seeing the perfect speaker for you? Don't worry. Be sure to keep checking back, as we'll be updating this list with the best smart speakers, as well as the top rumors about the new speakers to expect soon at the end. 

Don't forget – Amazon Prime Day 2019 is coming up very soon. While we don't have the official release date, everything is pointing to a July 15 kick-off for the 48-hour long sale.

So, it may be worth holding off until then if you're thinking of buying a smart speaker in the near future – after all, you might bag yourself a brilliant deal if you do. 

Best smart speakers FAQ: quick questions answered

What can smart speakers do? Smart speakers can do lots of things. First up they're speakers in their own right, from the fantastic-sounding Apple HomePod through to the simpler Amazon Echo Dot. 

But they also have lots of special features thanks to the smart voice assistants that are built-in. These smart assistants are voice-activated, which means you can literally ask them to do a range of things, including playing music, answering questions and controlling other smart home devices. And that's just the beginning. 

Which voice assistant is best? On the whole that's subjective. Some people have always liked Apple products the best and stay loyal to Siri. Others really like Alexa after snapping up an Echo as soon as the smart speaker was first launched. 

The general consensus seems to be that Google Assistant is, largely, the most accurate voice assistant. If you've got a lot of Apple products, of course Siri is the best and for overall compatibility, you're best opting for Alexa. But they're not hard and fast rules. 

Is Alexa better than Google? For starters, the choice might depend on which speaker you like the look of the most. Sure Amazon's Echo range is very similar to the Google Home, but the Show, Spot and Dot look quite different. 

When it comes to the smart assistants within the speakers, they're both extremely capable. Amazon's Alexa has many, many Skills, which set it apart from the rest. But Google has been a leader in the AI game for a long time now, well before the smart speaker market emerged. 

Is there a monthly fee for Alexa? No. You don't need anything other than the free Alexa app. However, you will get plenty of perks if you're an Amazon Prime member. 

The best smart speakers 2019

Sonos’ debut Alexa speaker is a cleanly-designed, feature-rich and great-sounding device that brings together the best of both ecosystems. You’ve got the ever-improving Alexa on the one hand, and on the other you’ve got Sonos with its own multi-room smarts and mostly unrivalled sound performance.

There's also a new feature in the mix that promises to change the game: AirPlay 2. With it, the Sonos One can talk to Siri and form a multi-room pairing with the Apple HomePod, making it the most versatile speaker on the list.

If there's anything holding the Sonos One back from greatness it's the fact that Google Assistant is still MIA after the update was postponed in November 2018 and is still nowhere to be seen nearly halfway through 2019. 

If Google Assistant support hits at some point this year (we hope), the Sonos One promises to become the market leader in smart home speakers.

If you like the Sonos range but you've felt a little underwhelmed by its designs to date, then you'll be happy to find out the brand has launched a new range of in-wall, in-ceiling, and outdoor speakers, the Sonos Architectural line.

The highly-anticipated Apple HomePod finally entered the smart speaker battle for your bookshelf in early 2018. 

The obvious benefit of an Apple HomePod over an Echo or Google Home device is that it'll play nice with your other Apple products. So if you're a die-hard Apple fan the HomePod may be a no-brainer. 

But it's worth asking the same question you should always be asking yourself when you want to splurge on a new Apple product: how much of a premium should you pay for owning a device that fits only seamlessly into the Apple ecosystem?

When we reviewed the device we were torn because we were really reviewing two things at once: how the HomePod weighs up as a premium speaker and how it fares as a smart home hub.

In the former category, the HomePod is excellent, as it boasts incredible sound and a very intuitive set-up. But in the latter, Siri is only middling in its implementation, and the fact that you're not able to break out of the Apple ecosystem for many key functions also rankles.

Apple is said to be working on the Apple HomePod 2, or a cheaper, more compact HomePod Mini, rumored to launch at some point in 2019 – we're halfway through now and we're still waiting. Fingers crossed it'll be worth it.

If you're after a smart speaker that's affordable and sounds good enough to play your favorite tracks, the latest version of the Amazon Echo is your safest bet. In fact it's our current top pick for the best smart speaker on the market right now.  

The newest, 2nd-generation Echo sounds better than Amazon's Echo Dot, but it's cheaper than the Echo Plus and Apple's HomePod. 

We don't think you should be using it to replace your hifi, but at the same time it's a really great place to start if you want to try out what the smart home life is like.

Amazon has also improved the Echo's style since the first version was released in 2015. The new fabric finishes will suit most living rooms better than the brushed aluminum of the original.

The only downside is the Echo doesn't have the neat volume dial of Amazon's Echo Plus. It's also worth mentioning that Alexa often doesn't seem quite as intelligent as Google Assistant. At the price, though, it's a great option that should suit most people's needs.  

For starters, you might never appreciate just how much music is on YouTube without buying a Google Home. We’re not saying Google Home is capable of playing any song you can think of, but after dredging the depths of the ’90s we still couldn’t find a tune Google Home couldn’t track down and start playing.

While Google Home excels as a DJ, it’s also a surprisingly intelligent smart home hub. It already hooks into some of the largest platforms now available by including Nest, Philips and Samsung’s SmartThings, and given a few months that number will grow even more.

But we're torn when it comes to recommending the Google Home. In some ways it's disappointing and doesn't live up to be the coveted center of the smart home Google has marketed it as. 

That's because it's just not there yet. It’s a little too rigid in its language comprehension, its list of smart home devices is growing but still a bit underwhelming, and, perhaps the biggest disappointment of all, it doesn’t have many of Google’s core services built into it.

It has the potential to develop to compete with Amazon's Echo in the future, but for now the Google Home is simply a smart novelty with access to YouTube Music, built-in Google Cast and the ability to save you a trip to the light switch. 

Over the past year, the Google Home has received a number of notable updates, including the fact you can now use the device to make calls to landlines in the UK. Google Assistant has also been updated to included bilingual capabilities, Continued Conversation and Multiple Actions. A more recent update has also brought Google Assistant to Nest Security alarm systems.

The Amazon Echo Plus is the higher-end choice among its tower speakers. You should consider buying one if you want decent sound quality but don't want the display of the Echo Show or Echo Spot

With the second generation model recently launched, the Echo Plus has ditched the two-tier look in favor of a subdued fabric design, more like the original Echo.

It's louder and bassier than the standard Echo, which is particularly useful for music. Does it sound as good as the Sonos One? No. But like Amazon’s other Echo gadgets, its price is competitive. It costs $149.99 (£139.99) with a Philips Hue bulb included to kickstart your smart home future.

Like other smart home systems, Amazon Alexa is a work in progress. However, it’s easy to recommend the Amazon Echo Plus. It’s a convenient one-stop solution for both audio, smart assistant functions and Internet of Things controls, with Alexa still going strong as the most feature-rich voice assistant.

But the strength of the Echo range, especially at the lower price tiers, still makes these top-of-the-line models a harder sell: the Echo Dot has comparable smarts for a fraction of the price, for example, it just doesn't sound as good. Likewise, the built-in smart hub is a great addition, but isn’t yet feature-complete, meaning committed smart home users may not want to make the jump just yet. 

In short, if you’re looking to enter the world of the connected home, the Echo Plus is a great place to start. Just be aware that more economical options may, for the time being at least, suit your needs just as well.

The best smart speakers with a screen 2019

With the recent onslaught of smart display devices from the big tech companies, there's more choice than ever if you want a screen included with your smart speaker.

The Google Home Hub is one of the latest crop of smart displays, and it certainly gives its closest rival, the Amazon Echo Show a run for its money, with intuitive voice control and well designed first party apps.

That being said, this is not a speaker for audiophiles - it works well enough to play music in the background while you do chores or read, but it doesn't pack big enough of a sonic punch to serve as your main speaker for listening to music. 

Where the Google Home Hub does excel, is as a control centre for your digital home, supporting over 5000 smart devices from 400 companies - plus, at around $80/£80 cheaper than the Amazon Echo Show (the difference in Australia is a whopping AU$150), it's pretty good value for money too. 

The updated Echo Show is a step in the right direction, with better design, a clearer screen, and superior sound, but it has limited support for third-party streaming services.

The touchscreen is 1280 x 720 px - so it won't blow you away up close, but it looks fine from a distance. It also features adaptive brightness, although the screen isn't the main way you interact with the Echo Show - it's optimized for voice activation via Amazon Alexa, and it's great for using while you potter about the kitchen.

Its not the cheapest smart display on the market, however, it adds value by combining devices you already have and ones you could buy at a lower price elsewhere – just look at the Amazon Echo Dot, for example. 

Put everything together though, and the new Show is a marked improvement on the original version, and if you're keen on watching cooking tutorials or listening to music as you cook, it deserves a spot on your kitchen counter.

[Update: The Amazon Echo Show 5 is now available to preorder – this diminutive third-gen smart display is less than half the price of the current second-gen Echo Show model, and will start shipping in June and July. 

Check out our Amazon Echo Show 5 release date, news, and rumors article for everything you need to know.]

In our opinion, the Amazon Echo Spot is the best-designed Alexa device Amazon has ever created – it’s a gadget you’d happily have in your bedroom, on your desk, in your kitchen, and pretty much anywhere else.

The Spot is versatile – it doesn’t have a chameleon-like ability to adapt to the room you put it in, but this is certainly not just a smart alarm clock, something Amazon has been very clear about. 

It does everything the Echo Show does, but it all feels better in this smaller form factor. The design is great – it's available in black and white – and we can easily see the Spot being used in the bedroom, kitchen or even on a desk. In fact, you may want it in all of these places.

That's the thing with the Amazon Echo Spot: much like other Echo devices, Amazon wants you to have a multitude of them in your home so you always have access to video chat no matter where you are. 

Essentially, it wants the Echo Spot to replace the Echo Dot. The Amazon Echo Spot is a little more expensive than the new Echo, though, and in turn much more expensive than an Echo Dot.

This is because of the addition of the screen. While we still haven't seen that killer Skill for the screen, it does enhance the look of the Spot and opens up the possibilities for it being much more than just a smart speaker.

We’re just hoping that Amazon’s Skills become much more video-friendly – once this happens, the Amazon Echo Spot will become an absolute must-have.

What could be coming soon?

Those are all of the best smart speakers on the market right now, but with the huge success of these voice-activated smart home assistants, this selection is likely to be just the beginning. 

Right now a number of other companies, including some of the biggest names in tech, are also working on their own smart home audio products. Whether they shake-up the market or turn out to be a load of hot air remains to be seen.

But in the meantime, here are just a few of the highly-anticipated upcoming releases and rumors circulating right now:

Image Credit: IKEA

IKEA + Sonos + Symfonisk

Everyone's favorite minimal home design superstore IKEA has teamed up with audio experts Sonos to produce a new line of smart speakers and audio solutions, called Symfonisk. There are lots of interesting products in the new range, but we're most excited about the Symfonisk Table Lamp. 

It looks a little like a HomePod with a big lamp bolted on the top  and that's, essentially, what it is. A smart speaker and lamp rolled into one. We knew the speaker was on its way, but the lamp is completely unexpected and feels like peak IKEA in that it’s unique, functional and, well, surprisingly cheap.

Like other Sonos speakers, it'll connect to your Wi-Fi and can be controlled through the Sonos app. The Sonos app integration allows the speakers to join any multi-room setup you already own, or can lay the foundation for a new one. So it's, technically, not a smart speaker, but it could shake up the market in a big way. 

It won't be available until August 2019 and in terms of pricing, the Symfonisk Table Lamp will only run you $179 (around £140, AU$250).


Spotify smart speaker

There are loads of speakers on the market that already allow you to connect your Spotify account. But that doesn't mean the popular streaming service can't make its own product to compete with the biggest names in tech.

Rumors suggest Spotify has been working on its own voice search interface, but it hasn't yet lifted the lid on a speaker that could compete with the likes of the Amazon Echo or Google Home. 

That hasn't stopped us from dreaming up what a Spotify smart speaker might look, sound and behave like. Read our Spotify speaker wish-list: what we want to see in a Spotify smart speaker

Samsung Galaxy Home smart speaker

This is now official, though details are still scarce – Samsung showed off the Galaxy Home smart speaker at its Unpacked 2018 event, promising high-quality audio alongside some integrated AI smarts provided by Bixby.

As yet we don't know a price or release date, though we're assuming it will work with Samsung’s SmartThings ecosystem. Samsung is promising more news at its developer conference later in the year.

The speaker had been rumored for some time, primarily in a report from Bloomberg, with sources telling the publication that 2018 will be the year Samsung’s smart speaker would be announced and be available to buy.

Everything is a smart speaker

Maybe the future isn't about which smart speaker you should buy after all, but will be much more focused on integrating voice-activated smart assistants into other products. 

Earlier this year at CES 2019, lots of manufacturers were boasting of voice assistant integration; Alexa and Google Assistant found their way into cars, bathroom mirrors, and even smoke alarms.

While that may sound a little gimmicky, it actually solves one of the major niggling points of the smart home: you want to have access to your voice assistant in every room but don’t really want to fill your home with speakers.

The new Kindle Oasis is here with color adjustable front light

3 hours 56 min ago

Amazon announces the new Kindle Oasis in India. While the previous generation model was already one of the best e-readers in the market, the latest version further ensures what we all have been asking for - an adjustable warm light for color tone adjustment.

This small addition on the Kindle Oasis 2019 is to offer healthier reading experience at night, where users can set the apt temperature and tone as per their comfort.

Otherwise, it's still the same 7-inch, 300ppi E Ink display that we've seen on the previous version of the Kindle Oasis. The design is the same too, with color options restricted to Graphite or Gold.

That design is IPX8 waterproof meaning you'll not have to worry about getting it wet but note that it's only able to handle 2 meters depth for 60 minutes at a time. Of course, you don't take a kindle on a swim, but you would be able to get this wet when you're sat near a pool or in your bathtub. 

Other specs include 8GB of storage on the standard version, but if you want to add audiobooks (which you can listen to over Bluetooth), you may want to opt for the 32GB variant.

How much does the new Kindle cost?

The Kindle Oasis 2019 will start shipping August 19 and is available for pre-order today here for Rs 21,999 for the 8GB version, and Rs 24,999 for the 32GB version. The new device comes in graphite and champagne gold color options.

Your Tesco shop could save you money on your new mobile phone deal and bills

4 hours 1 min ago

Tesco has announced some good news for its Clubcard holders that are in the market for a new smartphone or looking to save on their bills. You can now spend Clubcard points at Tesco Mobile, including buying a new phone. 

The best bit is that Clubcard points are worth double when spent on Tesco Mobile phone deals. All you need to do is redeem the Clubcard points as vouchers, head to the Clubcard website or app and convert them into a Tesco Mobile Partner voucher which will then be worth double.

You can read more about the offer at Tesco's website.

This new credit can be used to reduce the cost of a new phone or to lower a monthly bill payment. How much you get breaks down like this:

  • 200 Clubcard points = £2 Clubcard voucher or £4 saving off at Tesco Mobile
  • 300 Clubcard points = £3 Clubcard voucher or £6 saving off at Tesco Mobile
  • 400 Clubcard points = £4 Clubcard voucher or £8 saving off at Tesco Mobile
  • 500 Clubcard points = £5 Clubcard voucher or £10 saving off at Tesco Mobile
  • 600 Clubcard points = £6 Clubcard voucher or £12 saving off at Tesco Mobile

Claire Lorains, CEO of Tesco Mobile, said: "Customers love having the very latest handsets and we want to make them as affordable as possible with our exciting new ways to save.

"Clubcard customers can now access even more brilliant savings and pay less for the latest phone, with every shop at Tesco adding up to savings at Tesco Mobile". 

Best smartwatch for iPhone: Apple Watch, Wear OS, Tizen and more

4 hours 16 min ago

So you want to know the best smartwatch for your iPhone? The great news is there are a lot of choices right now packed full of interesting features while also sporting luxurious designs that will ensure your wrist always looks fashionable.

The bad news is you're going to have a very hard decision to make choosing the best smartwatch to use with your iPhone. Things have moved quickly in the smartwatch space since the release of the original Apple Watch in 2015.

We've had an updated version called the Apple Watch 2 that was quickly discarded in favor of the newly-released Apple Watch 3. There's now even the Apple Watch 4 that comes sporting an edge-to-edge display, new sizes and an ECG heart monitor.

On top of that, there's a plethora of other smartwatches that also play nice with your iPhone including Google's own Wear OS and Samsung smartwatches too.

To help you decide, we've made a guide to explain which watches will work with your iOS device. We've also recommended our favorite watches and highlighted why each is a great companion for your iPhone.

What watch should you use with your iPhone?

Although Wear OS and Tizen - a rival OS to Apple and Google - watches work with iPhones, the best watches right now are the Apple Watch 4 and Apple Watch 3.

Both of these devices are tailored for the iPhone experience, with watchOS working perfectly with iOS, so it makes sense to buy one of these. There's also the Apple Watch 2 and Series 1, which we'll explain more about down below.

You can get a selection of both Tizen and Wear OS watches that work with the iPhone too, and we've put together the list below to show you the best for battery life, features and style on the market right now.

For all the options below, you'll need an iPhone 5S or later that's running iOS 12 software to ensure you'll get all of the benefits of owning a smartwatch.

Best Apple Watch: what are the choices?

The very best Apple Watch you can buy is the brand new Apple Watch Series 4 that was announced in September 2018 alongside the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR.

You won't receive it until September 21, but it's up for pre-order now and it comes with 1.78-inch OLED display that's notably larger than we've seen on any watch from the company before.

We particularly like that the speaker is now louder, it still sports a premium yet lightweight design and the new ECG heart rate tech looks to be an exciting upgrade too (although we haven't been able to properly test this yet).

All in all, if you're after an Apple Watch the fourth iteration is going to be the best that money can buy right now. It may be expensive, but if you want a top-end smartwatch that can work away from your phone (only the LTE version) the Apple Watch 4 is designed for you.

Read our full Apple Watch 4 review

The Apple Watch 3 was of course the best smartwatch to use with an iPhone... but it's not the best anymore. Even though you can now buy the Apple Watch 4, this is still a fantastic smartwatch.

The Series 3 has a bright, high-quality screen, built-in GPS, waterproofing, optical heart rate monitoring and well over a day of battery life, plus all the things that make the Apple Watch 2 great, like a stylish design, water resistance and enough fitness features to cater to most users.

It’s a great all-rounder then, with style and substance, suited to both the office and the gym. There’s even an LTE model – though at a higher price. And of course, being an Apple Watch, it works perfectly with iPhone.

Read our full Apple Watch 3 review

Image Credit: TechRadar

There's a lot going for the Apple Watch 2. It's water-resistant, which means it's more durable than many of the other devices on this list and you won't have to worry about getting it wet in the rain when you're out for a jog.

With GPS onboard and watchOS 5 software running on it, if you own an iPhone this is a great choice, and a touch more affordable than the Apple Watch 3 or 4. 

Apple itself has stopped selling it, so the Watch 2 is now hard to find and often if you do spot it at a third-party retailer it'll be around the same price or sometimes even more expensive than the watch just above this one.

Read our full Apple Watch 2 review

Image Credit: TechRadar

Perhaps you're looking for an Apple Watch, but want something a little more affordable? Fitness features are a little more limited as there's no GPS sensor like there is in the Apple Watch 2, 3 and 4, but the original Apple Watch does cost a lot less. 

If you buy the original Apple Watch you're less likely to be supported for as long as if you buy a more up to date Apple wearable, but if budget is a deal breaker than it may be worth it for you with that cheaper price.

Read the full Apple Watch review

Wear OS and Tizen watches

A variety of other devices work with your iPhone too. We've listed them below including watches that are running both Wear OS and Tizen software.

Earlier this year, Google renamed its Android Wear platform to Wear OS and said a good amount of the most recent devices running the software will be toting the new name in the coming months. 

It's all an effort from Google to make it clear these watches run just as well on iPhone, and you don't need to own an Android device to have one of these on your wrist. 

There's also Tizen as well, which Samsung uses for its smartwatches and that plays nice with iPhone now as well. Below you'll find a selection of our favorite Wear OS and Tizen watches.

The latest Samsung watch is our favorite money can buy right now, but it's not our favorite to recommend alongside an iPhone. We found the Galaxy Watch to work best with Samsung phones, but if you own an iPhone it'll still work really well and will offer top-end fitness features alongside its premium look.

We particularly like the design of the larger Galaxy Watch, but you have the choice of either a 46mm or 42mm build. Each will sit large on your wrist but also offer a big, bright display.

Opt for the LTE version and you'll be able to get phone calls and notifications when you're on the move too. The rotating bezel around the outside is one of the main highlights, and the 46mm version also comes with four days of battery life from a single charge.

It may not be the best smartwatch to work with your iPhone, but it is still a fantastic choice if you like the design and look of the Galaxy Watch from Samsung.

Read the full Samsung Galaxy Watch review

Our favorite Wear OS watch right now is the Fossil Sport, which is cheaper than a lot of the watches you've read about above. 

It features the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 3100 chipset that offers enough power to run any of the apps you'll find in Wear OS, and in our experience we found the whole interface to be notably smooth.

It'll last for around two days from a single charge, and the design here feels premium on the wrist when you consider how much it costs compared to other Wear OS watches.

There isn't much uniqueness to the Fossil Sport, but it's good at pretty much everything you'd expect a smartwatch to do and it'll work with your iPhone too.

Read the full Fossil Sport review

You've likely read all about the Samsung Galaxy Watch above, and if you're looking for a smaller and less expensive version of that you're in luck here.

The Galaxy Watch Active is so-called because it has a slimmer design, there's no bulky rotating bezel and it's generally more comfortable to wear for when you're working out.

A lot of the features are the same including the latest Tizen software, NFC for mobile payments, lots of exercise tracking and solid battery life that'll see you through a whole two days.

The most interesting part of the Galaxy Watch Active is the price though, and if you're looking for a cheaper alternative to some of the more modern Apple Watch devices this could be for you.

Read the full Samsung Galaxy Watch Active review

The TicWatch E2 is one of the more affordable devices on this list, and it's worth noting that this isn't the most premium looking device. That said, it's still a fantastic Wear OS watch.

It offers solid battery life as well as built-in GPS, an accurate heart rate sensor and sleep tracking as well.

The latest Wear OS software is running on the watch too, but you won't be able to get contactless payments as there's no NFC on this watch.

Read the full TicWatch E2 review

Our favorite Wear OS watch is the TicWatch Pro, which you can use easily with your iPhone. TicWatch is a little known brand so far, but this watch comes with two different displays that helps it stand out from the rest of the crowd.

There's a transparent LCD display at the top with a full color OLED panel below it. That means you can get a full Wear OS watch experience with the TicWatch Pro, but when the battery dies off you can then still get some details like heart rate, date and time through the secondary display.

That's a great feature - but there's lots else to love here including GPS, NFC for Google Pay and the Snapdragon Wear 2100 chipset we've seen in almost all the Wear OS watches on this list.

The best part is the lower price than a lot of other top-end smartwatches, which makes this one of the best Wear OS choices to use alongside your iPhone.

Read the full TicWatch Pro review

Other alternatives

There are quite a few devices you can use with your iPhone including some running Fitbit OS and others that you may not even refer directly to as a smartwatch. Read on about them all below:

A second attempt at the smartwatch from Fitbit has seen the brand create one of its best devices in years. The Fitbit Versa is slimmer and smaller on your wrist than an Apple Watch, but offers a lot of great fitness features including swim tracking and HIIT coaching.

The watch is also cheaper than Fitbit's other watch called the Ionic (which you'll find coming up in this list) making it an attractive option for your wallet as well as your wrist.

Fitbit OS isn't as fully fledged as the Wear OS or Apple Watch devices above in this list as there are still a limited amount of apps available to you, but if you want to have a watch as a fashion piece and focus on the fitness elements you'll enjoy the Versa.

It allows you to listen to music on the move, plus you have Fitbit Pay so you can do contactless payments when you're out jogging too. Our main gripe with the Versa is the lack of GPS technology, but if you plan to exercise with your phone in your pocket or strapped to your arm it's unlikely you'll find this to be an issue.

Read the full Fitbit Versa review

Fitbit’s answer to the Apple Watch’s fitness threat piles all of its best fitness-tracking features into a highly functional smart timepiece. 

There’s GPS, continued heart rate tracking, excellent multi-day battery life and the ability to track multiple activities. 

That being said, the Fitbit Ionic runs off the bespoke Fitbit OS so it doesn’t offer the full fat smartwatch features of watchOS or Wear OS.

There’s also a shortage of apps available right now, you can download around 300 songs and connect Bluetooth headphones for phone-free exercise. Also, the design’s a bit controversial and very much has the look of a first-gen smartphone.

Read the full Fitbit Ionic review

If you’re seeking a powerful fitness companion rather than a wearable extension of your smartphone, they don’t come much better than the Garmin Forerunner 735XT

The multi-sport GPS watch, designed with triathletes in mind, features an optical heart rate sensor and reams of deep data insights into your performance. 

Runners, for example, will glean metrics like ground contact time, balance, stride length, vertical ratio and much more. There’s a VO2 max estimator, race predictor and recovery adviser too.

Read the full Garmin Forerunner 735XT review

Image Credit: Withings

This hybrid watch used to be called the Nokia Steel HR, but it has now been rebranded as the Withings Steel HR.

It features a built-in digital display that’ll show your heart rate in real time, as well as step progress and limited smartphone notifications. It has the neat analogue dial showing process towards a daily movement goal and can automatically track activities like running and swimming. 

There’s no GPS so you can’t expect hyper-accurate distance tracking, but the Steel HR is still a fantastic, stylish watch with great battery life that you can wear around the clock.

Read the full Withings Steel HR review

Looking for a smart running watch?

You should also check out our extensive range of devices to help you run - in our cunningly named best running watches round up - as many of these offer incredibly battery life as well as smart notifications from your wrist.

For instance, the Garmin Forerunner 935 will last almost 10 days on a single charge while running every day, allow you to take or reject calls and control your music - plus it's one of the most gifted exercise companions we've seen.

So if you're thinking of getting fitter - check out the burgeoning world of running devices to help you out.

What kind of laptop do you need for college work, really?

4 hours 42 min ago

When you’re out there looking for a student laptop, it’s easy to feel tempted by the latest and greatest hardware. You’ll see the new MacBook Pro with up to an Intel Core i9 processor (CPU) and 32GB of memory (RAM) – not to mention the beefy AMD Vega graphics – and likely assume you need that power to get through your school work effectively.

Luckily, you probably don’t.

Sure, there are some students that really need that kind of horsepower. Engineering students are going to need a ton of graphics processor (GPU) and CPU power to get their school projects off the ground, likewise anyone that’s doing video or 3D course work. But, if you’re just trying to get that term paper done for your English class, a Chromebook with just 4GB of RAM will likely be enough.

We’re going to take a deep dive into the kind of hardware you’re going to need to get your schoolwork done, paying special attention to the different kinds of workloads that students are likely going to run into on a daily basis. The good news? You may come out of this and save some cash by getting a more appropriate laptop for your specific studies. 

Microsoft's Surface Go should be an affordable dream for liberal arts students. (Image Credit: TechRadar)

 You don’t need a powerful laptop for writing 

Here at TechRadar, we do a lot of writing, so you can take it from us: you don’t need an absolute beast of a laptop to get your writing done. As long as you have 8GB of RAM – even 4GB if you're cash-strapped – you should be more than fine most of the time. This is especially true if you’re only working on one or two projects at a time, as individual Google Docs tabs won’t really eat up too much of your system resources. 

However, we will acknowledge that there are certain people that like to have 30 browser tabs open while listening to Apple Music (we’re certainly guilty). If that’s a luxury you can’t live without, the bump up to 16GB of RAM is worth the price of admission.

Then, let’s talk about your processor. If you’ve been shopping around for a laptop for a while, you’ve likely seen plenty that advertise an Intel Core i7 or Core i9 processor, likely coupled with a four-figure price tag.

You don’t need one of those, either.

For most people, an Intel Core i5 processor is going to be more than enough to get your work done, especially if you get an 8th-generation Intel Kaby Lake Refresh or Whiskey Lake Ultrabook chip. You’ll get four cores and high enough clock speeds to power through whatever you need to do.

Case in point: the Microsoft Surface Go is one of our favorite laptops for students – especially those majoring in liberal arts fields. It’s not exceptionally powerful, but it still has enough umph to get through your general schoolwork. It doesn’t hurt that the Windows tablet is basically designed to work perfectly with Windows, since it was designed by Microsoft, but it still serves as proof that a less-powerful laptop is more than good enough.

And, don’t feel like you’re locked into macOS Catalina or Windows 10, either. The best Chromebooks make for awesome general student laptops, as they pack only what’s necessary. If all you do for school is within a web browser, you really don’t need anything more than a Chromebook. Plus, there are plenty of them out there these days that have gorgeous displays that are great for catching some Netflix in your downtime.

The latest Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon is a powerhouse. (Image Credit: TechRadar)

 Blinded by science 

However, there are plenty of scenarios where you might actually need more power. Not everyone’s college workload begins and ends with writing a paper.

Heavy compute workloads, like those that Engineering and Computer Science students are going to run into will require, well, heavier computing. For these students, picking up a laptop with a powerful CPU and even a strong graphics processor is a must. While this does mean that Engineering students have an excuse to go with one of the latest gaming laptops, but there are plenty of laptops that are designed with compute-heavy workloads.

Laptops like the Lenovo ThinkPad P73 mobile workstation come equipped with Nvidia Quadro graphics and Intel Xeon processors to better facilitate compute-heavy workloads. They’re kind of pricey, and not the most attractive devices, but a mobile workstation might be perfect for engineering students.

The same goes for any students who need to cut their teeth on creative workloads, too. If you’re doing a lot of video editing or 3D work, a thin and light Ultrabook just isn’t going to cut it. You’re going to need a workstation-class device in that situation as well.

We get that students don’t have the money to drop on a pro-level device, though, so something like the Dell XPS 15 or a 15-inch MacBook Pro should be able to get the job done, too.

The brand-new Razer Blade is a stylish gaming beast. (Image Credit: TechRadar)

 Have some fun, though 

College isn’t all about getting school work done, though, we know that. If all you did was put your head down and get work done, you’d get burnt out pretty quickly, and no one should have to go through that. So, you should also take entertainment into consideration.

If you need to sit down and watch Netflix to give your brain a break, there’s absolutely no shame in that. Luckily, these days most laptops are capable of powering Netflix, so the trick will be to find one with a display that’s up to your standards. If you’re a resolution snob like we are, there are plenty of laptops with 4K displays so you can watch your favorite shows in all their glory. Even if the laptop you pick up doesn’t have a 4K display built in, pretty much every laptop on the market will let you connect to your dorm room TV and support 4K over HDMI or USB-C.

But, what about gaming? If PC gaming is more your speed, one thing you need to realize right out of the bat is that picking up a laptop with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 is going to be very expensive. However, if you just want to play some Overwatch in 1080p between classes, you can pick out a laptop with a GTX 1660 Ti or GTX 1650, and that will be plenty. If you have the cash to burn, we won’t judge you for picking out the best gaming laptops, so you can play PC games like Cyberpunk 2077 with ray tracing enabled. 

You don’t need to buy the most powerful laptop to get your schoolwork done, but there’s no shame in admitting that you want the most powerful laptop. Life is more than schoolwork, so, like, enjoy yourself.

Looking to save cash? Try a Chromebook. (Image Credit: TechRadar)

 So, what should I buy? 

If there’s one thing you take away from this, it’s that you should consider what you actually need before you jump on the hype train for that new MacBook that everyone else has. You can save a ton of money by just picking up what you actually need. 

That being said, if you want to do some heavier computing stuff for fun, there’s no shame in picking up a beefier computer. Just realize that opting for more power will often result in an inflated price tag.

At the end of the day, there is a lot of misinformation out there about what you need to get your work done. If your budget is just a few hundred bucks, there are plenty of options out there for you. Keep in mind that the best Chromebooks still exist in 2019, and might be the perfect choice for your schoolwork needs, especially if you just need to do some word processing in Google Docs.

You could win a Samsung Galaxy S9 and Sage accounting software worth £900 when you answer this survey

4 hours 44 min ago

TechRadar Pro has partnered with Sage to give you the chance to make your business more financially savvy and own one of the best Samsung smartphones ever, the Samsung Galaxy S9.

The past year has seen the introduction of Making Tax Digital (MTD), perhaps one of the single biggest changes to UK VAT legislation in recent history. Since April 2019, most VAT-registered businesses with a taxable turnover of £85,000 need to keep digital records using approved software and file their tax returns online.

Now, we want to know how business owners use their accounting devices, how MTD has been received nearly 100 days after its introduction and a few more things. We've put together a short survey to help us find out more.

Everyone completing the survey will be entered into a draw to win prizes worth nearly £900.

Our competition winner will get:

The Samsung Galaxy S9 (Image courtesy: Samsung)

  • A Samsung Galaxy S9 smartphone worth £600

Sage logo (Image courtesy: Sage)

  • A Sage Business Cloud package for small and medium businesses worth £274

So what are you waiting for? Click the link below to be in with a chance of winning!

Terms and Conditions: The competition is open to residents of UK and Republic of Ireland. Future reserves the right to offer a prize of similar value. You must be 18 or over to enter. The competition closes at 11:59 BST, on 30/07/2019. One winner will be selected at random from all eligible entries received and will be emailed details on how to obtain the prize bundle.

Any personal details collected will only be used to send the prize and not for any marketing purposes unless you have opted in to receive them. Use of the prize may be subject to the prize supplier's end user licence agreement. Future shall have no liability in connection with the winner's use of the prize. There is no cash equivalent and the prize is non-transferable. For full terms and conditions, please visit http://www.futureplc.com/competition-rules.

Openreach CEO: Boris Johnson's 2025 fibre goal is a 'stretch'

5 hours 13 min ago

Clive Selley, the CEO of Openreach, has called Boris Johnson’s call for full fibre coverage across the UK by 2025 “a stretch” given the practical realities of deployment.

Openreach’ fibre rollout target recently increased to 15 million properties by the mid-2020s, while the government has touted 2033 as a potential data to switch off the UK’s copper network.

However earlier this week, the Conservative Party leadership candidate said the current goals were “laughably unambitious” but did not elaborate on how he would acheive nationwide rollout any quicker.

Openreach fibre rollout

Speaking at Connected Britain, Selley said that although Openreach had the ability to accelerate the speed of rollout, it depended on other factors such as legislation and favourable regulatory policies.

“I think those targets should be regarded as ‘stretch numbers’,” he said. “[But] they’re not unrealistic and I applaud ambition. [In the past few years] there has been a sea change at Openreach and we have every capability in place to accelerate.

“We are absolutely on target for revised target of March 2021. We feel we have capabilitiy to hit or exceed the 15m target in mid-2020s. We just need government and regulators to pitch in.”

Selley’s views were echoed by new Hyperoptic COO Simon Holden.

“If [everyone in the UK] could just go away on holiday for a year then [fibre rollout] would be done by the time you get back,” he said, acknowledging that the technical capabilitiy of expanding deployment was not the issue.

“We know how to do it. Everyone else in the world has done this. We know the technology works

One of the biggest gaps in Johnson’s logic is that it won’t be economically viable to cover everyone in the UK with full fibre. Mobile operator Three is heavily pushing the idea of 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) broadband to help fill in the gaps, while Selley also believes other connection methods will play a role.

“I do think we will cover the overwhelming majority of the UK with full fibre infrastructure but there are other technologies that will contribute like FWA and Low Earth Orbit Satellite, he added. “I think we should be open minded.”

Hasselblad X1D II 50C confirmed

5 hours 20 min ago

Following a fake leak and a teaser campaign that showed off a few curves and details, Hasselblad has confirmed the Hasselblad X1D II 50C.

The X1D II 50C is a medium format mirrorless camera with a 50MP CMOS sensor at its heart, which promises images with 14 stops of dynamic range.

It arrives as an evolution of the first model in the series, the X1D-50c, which was announced back in 2016. That camera remains the only other model in the line.

Key upgrades over the previous model are a new 3.6-inch LCD screen with a 2.36 million-dot resolution, as well as a 3.69 million-dot OLED electronic viewfinder with a 0.87x magnification. 

There's also a new processing engine that's said to both reduce start-up time by 46% and shorten shutter lag compared to the original X1D-50c, while also boosting burst speeds to 2.7fps and giving the viewfinder an increased refresh rate. 

Hasselblad has also revised the body design for better handling, and has made adjustments to the user interface for better operation. 

Other features include a 3400mAh battery which can be charged through the USB Type-C port around the side of the camera, and Wi-Fi and GPS.

New zoom lens

The new camera arrives alongside the XCD 3.5-4.5 / 35-75 lens, a 35-75mm optic designed for various applications. Hasselblad isn't shy about its capabilities, stating in its press release that it "really is the best lens Hasselblad has developed", with its optical quality said to be on a par with prime lenses in the XCD line.

The original X1D was lauded at the time of its release for offering a medium format sensor inside a diminutive body, although it gained a rival just a few months after its release in the Fujifilm GFX 50R. That line has since welcomed the GFX 50S and more recent GFX 100 models.

The model will go on sale from July, priced at $5,750 in the US and £4,500 in the UK, with the XCD 3.5-4.5 / 35-75 priced at $5,175 / £4,050. Pricing for Australia is still to be announced.

Payments is a journey, not a destination

5 hours 39 min ago

With Worldpay predicting over half of all global online transactions will be made with an alternative payment method (APM) by 2021 – and with bank transfers tipped to be the second most popular APM –  travel vendors now have more of an incentive than ever to change their practices in order to offer their customers more powerful payments choices.

This revolution brings a range of new B2C challenges to vendors and forces them into offering more bespoke payment services populated by market-relevant APMs. However, like any move designed to change consumer behaviour, it’s not as simple for travel vendors as “build it and they will come”.

The trick for vendors is to successfully balance a great user experience while educating customers about the different available payment options as they make a purchase. Without either a choice at the checkout or smooth customer experience, vendors are likely to be left behind by competitors that embrace and cater for the variety of customer payment preferences.

Image credit: Pixabay

Payments in the travel industry

Worldpay’s Global Payments Report highlights the opportunities and challenges facing travel vendors. While it’s vital to offer consumers a number of payment options over traditional card purchases, vendors can best set themselves up for success by offering bespoke options for their customers dependent on behaviours and location. Taking a closer look at how consumers are paying for travel right now makes clear that there’s still no single payment method to rule them all. Therefore, travel vendors must cater to a wide audience to keep customers coming back.

In reality, payments preferences differ dramatically across the world, as organisations such as KLM Royal Dutch Airlines are aware of: “The way people pay is ingrained in their culture and you have to tap into that to make a difference,” says Maarten Rooijers, senior customer payments manager at KLM. The Dutch airline operates online in 85 countries around the world, and has developed a localised payments mix in every single market. “It is not about offering as many payment options as possible – it is about offering the relevant options per market,” says Rooijers.

Rooijers’ advice is especially salient when we compare it with the three key takeaways in Trustly’s recent travel insights paper, The New Way to Pay:

Localise payment options

The World Bank Group estimate levels of credit card ownership to be roughly 65% in the USA and UK. Yet in Sweden and France, the figure hovers around the 40% region. The travel industry needs to find a balance between serving customers’ local payment preferences and educating them about innovative real-time options.

Adapt for local economic and financial realities

According to Worldpay, around 80% of individuals based in UK and Sweden own smartphones and pay for bills and purchases online. In India, 29% of individuals own smartphones and just 4% pay for bills and purchases online. The travel industry can’t ignore the economic realities of some of the world’s largest markets, where digital adoption is playing catch-up.

Better understand consumers’ incentives to make payments

Australian consumers favour travel-related benefits, US consumers prioritise simplicity, and Chinese consumers stick with what feels most familiar. While global payment trends are clear, the travel industry must never ignore local habits.

The importance of understanding and acting on these key takeaways becomes even more important for travel vendors in light of these statistics:

  • 27% of modern travellers have downloaded a travel app to book flights or accommodation, according to Travelport
  • 74% prefer to book using a digital device, according to We Are Marketing
  • 36% are frustrated if they can’t use their preferred payment method, according to ACI Worldwide
  • 66% are frustrated by unclear pricing, according to ACI Worldwide

Image credit: Pexels

Age also plays a role

It’s not just where your customers are based that shapes their payment preferences – when they were born also plays a role. Worldpay’s latest Global Payments Report reveals millennials in emerging markets such as Mexico and China are more likely to shop online than their counterparts in the US and UK. The same research found that 28% of millennials have used a mobile wallet at the point of purchase, compared to a global average of 20%.

Further, research from Trustly’s Ecommerce report, Rethink Your Refunds, Perfect Your Payments, confirms that choice at the checkout is crucial for purchase success. The report found that 77% of customers agree that the payment methods available to them at the checkout affects their decision to shop with an online retailer. In fact, 66% of consumers want more payment choices when shopping online.

Mike Parkinson, General Manager and Director of Travel at Trustly UK 

Samsung Galaxy Fold is ready to launch, according to a company exec

5 hours 45 min ago

There has been a long wait for the Samsung Galaxy Fold – while it was announced in February and originally set to launch in April, as various issues with the handset have caused delays. But the wait might almost be over according to a Samsung Display executive.

According to The Investor, Samsung Display Vice President Kim Seong-cheol said “most of the display problems have been ironed out, and the Galaxy Fold is ready to hit the market.”

The claim, which was made during an industry conference on June 18, certainly suggests that the Samsung Galaxy Fold will go on sale soon – though we’d hope all the display problems would be ironed out first, rather than just “most” of them.

Conflicting reports

However, it’s a claim that seems at odds with another recent official statement, which suggested “little progress” had been made and that the phone wouldn’t land in June or July – meaning we might not see it until after the Samsung Galaxy Note 10, which is likely to be announced in early August.

It’s a confusing state of affairs and right now we’re not sure which seemingly official statement to believe.

We’ll update you as soon as we hear more, but at least these delays might lead to an impressive handset. As well as saying the phone is mostly ready, Kim also apparently said “the Galaxy Fold, when released, will receive a lot of attention in the market.” With any luck we’ll find out soon whether that’s true, and whether it gets the right kind of attention.

England vs Japan live stream: how to watch today's Women's World Cup 2019 match from anywhere

5 hours 46 min ago

Having clocked up wins over Scotland and Argentina, Phil Neville’s side are already into the last 16 and will be hoping to maintain their 100 per cent Women's World Cup 2019 record against second-in-the group Japan. Will the Lionesses carry on their perfect start, or will Japan nab top spot in Group E? Find out below how you can catch an England vs Japan live stream from anywhere around the world with our instructions below.

Having lost to Japan in agonising fashion at the last World Cup, losing 2-1 in the semi-finals via an injury-time own goal, England will be out to make amends.

The Lionesses go into the game boosted by the news that Barcelona forward Toni Duggan is fit again after missing the opening two matches due to a thigh injury, but will coach Phil Neville feel tempted to rotate a side that appears to be gelling at just the right time?

On the evidence of their first two group matches, Japan's youthful squad don't look quite as capable as they were in the last Women's World Cup, but will likely provide a sterner test to England than Argentina and Scotland. They need a point to ensure they make it through to the next round.

Don't miss any of the action by following the instructions below and grabbing a live stream of England vs Japan wherever you are in the world.

Watch a FIFA Women's World Cup 2019 live stream from outside your country

If you're in UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, we've got your viewing options listed below. If you're out of the country for today's match, you may find that geo-blocking will prevent you from watching your regular domestic coverage from abroad. You don't have to risk watching the match on a dodgy stream, however.

With the option of using a VPN service, you can tune into the match no matter where you are in the world, and its super easy to set up.

How to stream today's England game in the UK 

How to watch England vs Japan: live stream in Australia

Live stream England vs Japan in the US

- Discover our pick of all the US's best sports streaming sites

As well as opening up your viewing options for the Women's World Cup, using a VPN allows you to watch all your domestic sports coverage from abroad.

How to watch a FIFA Women's World Cup live stream in Canada

How to watch an England vs Japan live stream in New Zealand