Becoming a big name in smartphones is not easy. Just ask Wileyfox, Panasonic and Amazon.
OnePlus managed the trick, seemingly in a matter of months. It was a Harry Potter grade work of magic.
How? With clever viral marketing and phones that can go head-to-head with the best from Samsung, Sony and LG but are hundreds of dollars cheaper.
Let’s take a little trip into the tech time warp to remember how not-so-little OnePlus got where it is today.
It was 2014. Donald Trump was just a pouting TV show host. HTC, Samsung and Sony were still fighting for the Android top spot. Heck, HTC released the all-time classic HTC One M8 that year.
Then OnePlus came along. It started dropping teasers online about a new high-end phone shortly after the company formed in December 2013, along with the 'Never Settle' hashtag.
No one had heard of OnePlus. Within a few months, it seemed everyone had. Everyone who visited TechRadar, gadget forums or Reddit, anyway.
OnePlus whipped up a frenzy of excitement we haven’t seen since. When the phone launched in June 2014, it was so popular you couldn’t get hold of one without an invite. OnePlus handed them out online like Willy Wonka golden tickets.
The best part: it was probably the best value phone of the year.
The OnePlus One took the simple effectiveness of the budget Moto G series from the year before and re-framed it for the high-end buyer. It had a top-end Snapdragon 801 chipset, 3GB of RAM, a large 3,100mAh battery and a decent 13MP camera.
It stacked up bizarrely well next to that year’s Samsung Galaxy S5. The camera wasn’t as good, sure, but it had a bigger screen, the same CPU and more RAM. And it started at $299/£229 (around AU$390), with a bargain $50/£40 (roughly AU$65) upgrade option for the 64GB storage model.
That was around half the price of the Galaxy S5.
OnePlus also introduced the 'sandstone' finish, which would be a company signature for a few years. This finish did have a tendency to rub off after a while, but it had a slightly fuzzy feel. Like a phone teddy bear.
- Read our in-depth review: OnePlus One
OnePlus jumped right into the annual phone release cycle right from the off. The OnePlus 2 arrived in August 2015. Re-treading the previous year’s tactic, it was teased to death online before launch. Just like most of today’s phone launches.
Once again, you needed an invite to buy a OnePlus 2. They were a little easier to get hold of this time around, but it still helped if you were part of the OnePlus cult or had a friend who bought one.
Thankfully, the invite system was dropped a few months after launch in December 2015, as demand leveled off to meet supply.
OnePlus was no longer a mysterious outsider, but thousands of phone geeks wondered: can this company really do it again? Sure enough, it did.
The OnePlus 2 felt like a higher-end phone than the original. It still had that furry sandstone finish, but the sides were magnesium alloy rather than coated plastic. The phone also added a fingerprint scanner, below the screen.
Core specs-wise, OnePlus followed the trend for high-end phones of the time, upgrading to a Snapdragon 810 chipset.
The big news for camera fans was OIS (optical image stabilization). This micro-tilts the rear camera to let it use longer exposure times when you shoot in low light without resulting in blurry shots. It added 'laser' focus too. This uses an IR beam to judge how far away your subject is.
Like the original OnePlus, the second phone offered amazing value for money. It started at $329/£239 (around AU$440).
- Read our in-depth review: OnePlus 2
Just a year and change on from OnePlus’s debut, it diversified its phone range. The OnePlus X was a 'budget' alternative to the OnePlus 2.
It was smaller, with a 5-inch screen instead of a 5.5-inch one, and used the previous year’s Snapdragon 801 chipset rather than the 810. The OnePlus X arrived roughly three months after the OnePlus 2.
In the UK it cost just £199, or $250 in the US (around AU$365). If it had the latest version of Android, we’d be pretty happy with its spec even today.
The OnePlus X had glass on the front and back, anodized aluminum on its sides. We’d see this style repeated many more times by other phone makers in the years that followed.
Sure, in some ways it really wasn’t a match for the OnePlus 2. Pictures from its rear sensor didn’t look nearly as good in daylight, and night shots weren’t great at all. However, that is still the case with phones at the price nowadays.
Just like the OnePlus 2, the OnePlus X went on sale with an annoying invite system, but this was dropped in early 2016. The phone was discontinued in mid-2016, less than a year after its launch.
In hindsight the OnePlus X was an experiment, one OnePlus hasn’t replicated since. However, it was not a failed one in our eyes.
It’s likely OnePlus found the two phones split their audience rather than adding a whole new group of 'budget' buyers who couldn’t quite afford the OnePlus 2.
- Read our in-depth review: OnePlus X
It was all change for OnePlus in 2016. Some of its signature moves were rejected entirely with the OnePlus 3.
The invite system that made the phones seem even more desirable? Dumped. The fuzzy sandstone finish? Replaced with a more familiar aluminum shell.
That said, you could still get a sandstone case for it if you were a fan.
The OnePlus 3 was also the first time the company teamed-up with phone networks to sell on the high street, rather than just through the OnePlus store. It sold through O2 in the UK, Elisa in Finland. The message was clear: OnePlus isn’t a startup phone maker anymore. It was finally playing the same phone game as Samsung and LG.
This is a project OnePlus is still working on, though. It doesn’t have the network power of the big names yet, and in most countries is still sold direct to us buyers.
You didn’t lose out too much on the value factor that made the previous phones such killer buys, either. It cost $399 in the US and £309 in the UK (around AU$565), although the price rose to £329 after the EU referendum thanks to a fall in the value of the pound.
A more expensive phone might get you a higher-resolution screen, as the OnePlus 3 had (like every OnePlus) a 1080p display. However, the series continued to deliver top-end specs even though it was no longer a purely 'direct to consumer' operation.
The OnePlus 3 has a Snapdragon 820 chipset, a mammoth 6GB of RAM and a 16MP camera with OIS. Many other phones had switched to using large 12MP sensors by this point, but it was still a good performer in just about all conditions.
This was also the point OnePlus introduced the Dash charger. It’s based on Oppo’s excellent charge tech (Oppo and OnePlus are owned by the same company), and uses high current rather than high voltage, which makes it easier to keep charging temperatures down.
- Read our in-depth review: OnePlus 3
2016 was the year OnePlus got serious in a new way. And this led to the OnePlus 3T, an update to the OnePlus 3 that arrived just six months later in November 2016.
This was arguably the least exciting phone the company had made.
However, we did get a bump up to the Snapdragon 821 chipset, a higher-resolution 16MP front camera and a slightly larger battery. These changes do not really merit a full upgrade, though. So why did OnePlus make the move?
It gave the company a chance to nudge up its prices again without turning it into a PR blunder. The OnePlus 3T sold for $439/£399 (roughly AU$730). It’s a substantial increase, particularly in the UK where the EU referendum vote had caused the pound to go into freefall.
Despite the bump, the OnePlus 3T was still ultra-competitive. Samsung and HTC sold mid-range phones at this price, not ultra-high-end ones.
This may not have been a particularly intriguing phone, but it was still one of the best of the year.
- Read our in-depth review: OnePlus 3T
What happened to the OnePlus 4? There wasn’t one. The number four is a homophone for the Chinese word for death. It’s considered unlucky.
So we got the OnePlus 5 instead, which has a nice ring to it.
It arrived just over half a year after the OnePlus 3T, in mid-2017. This marked the arrival of dual rear cameras in the series. One was a normal camera, the other a 'zoomed-in' 20MP one. There was a bit of a fuss that the zoom lens didn’t have a 2x focal length, using software trickery to get to the 'lossless 2x' claim OnePlus made at launch.
This isn’t as good a zoom camera as the top iPhones. But it was a neat feature.
There was a disappointing part to the camera array, though. The OnePlus 5 got rid of optical image stabilization, reducing low-light performance compared to the OnePlus 3T.
Other upgrades were pretty predictable. The OnePlus 5 got the bump up to the year’s flagship Qualcomm CPU, the Snapdragon 835, and there was an option for 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.
The price creep continued too, originally starting at $479/£449/AU$599. Remember where we started in 2014? $299/£229. Of course, other manufacturers were also increasing prices at the same time, with the Samsung Galaxy S8 costing $725/£639/AU$1,200 at launch.
- Read our in-depth review: OnePlus 5
The OnePlus 5T was a much more obvious upgrade then the OnePlus 3T a year before. It switched the display style to an 18:9 aspect, getting rid of most of the border above and below the screen.
It was a must for any phone that wanted to look current and it let OnePlus fit a 6.01-inch screen into a mobile only 1mm wider and 2mm taller than the OnePlus 5, which had a 5.5-inch display.
Other than that and facial recognition, the 5T was mostly the same as the 5. There was no change to the chipset, the RAM or the camera. Even the battery stayed the same, which was a bit of an eyebrow-raiser when the display was larger.
However, we found both phones lost 12% of life in our 90-minute video playback test. The extra chunk of display didn't seem to make much of a difference.
- Read our in-depth review: OnePlus 5T
The latest OnePlus smartphone arrived in May 2018 in the form of the OnePlus 6.
It sported a new glass body, the biggest screen the firm had ever put into a phone, a whole heap of power, slow motion video capture, 4K video recording and the latest Android software.
The 6.28-inch full HD display features a notch at the top, although it can be 'hidden' in the settings menu, while the dual biometrics from the 5 and 5T are retained with both fingerprint and fac unlock options.
This is also the first OnePlus device to come in a 256GB configuration alongside 8GB of RAM, although you can also choose from 6GB/64GB and 8GB/128GB variants if you want to spend a little bit less.
The phone has experienced a small price hike over its predecessor, but the OnePlus 6 is still comfortably cheaper than its rivals from Samsung, Apple, HTC, LG and Sony.
- Read our in-depth review: OnePlus 6
Well we don't know about you, but our excitement is rising to almost dangerous levels. There isn't long to wait now until potentially one of the most exciting UEFA Champions League finals in recent memory - or at least since Istanbul 2005. We're guessing you must be pretty giddy, too, and you're already keen to find out how to live stream Liverpool vs Real Madrid for free this coming Saturday.
The stage is set for an absolute classic. Both Liverpool and Real Madrid have been scoring goals for fun during their respective Champions League campaigns. And when there's talent like Mohamed Salah, Cristiano Ronaldo, Sadio Mané and Karim Benzema all likely to start, there just have to be a hatful of goals on the way. When Gareth Bale is struggling to make the first XI, you know there's some serious footballers on the field.
Liverpool will be seeking to recapture the magic from that remarkable Champions League final win from 13 years ago. But Real Madrid are going for their fourth crown in five years, so they're going to take some stopping - good luck Loris Karius! Can they bring a second European title to Madrid in less than a fortnight.
It's almost impossible to predict the result of this year's Champions League final. But thankfully figuring out how to watch it is much easier. And the good news is that you can live stream Liverpool vs Real Madrid absolutely free of charge. Keep reading to find out how.
The free BT Sport Champions League live stream is only accessible within the UK - if you're abroad you'll be told that you're not allowed to watch. Annoying, but there's a very easy way to get around it. The trick is to download and install a VPN to change your IP address to one in the UK and then go to the BT Sport website or YouTube to watch. Here's how to stream the Champions League final live and for FREE from anywhere in the world with a VPN:How to watch the Champions League final for free in the US
There are several options for live streaming Liverpool vs Real Madrid in the US, and they all have free trials that you may find worth a look. Fox and ESPN are the official broadcasters, so if you already have access to them and want to watch at home or on the go with their apps, then you're laughing.
If you don't have them, then try Fox Soccer Match Pass, Fubo or Sling TV. All do shorter term subscription options and, crucially free trials. And if you already subscribe but are outside the US, then be sure to grab a VPN service and port into a US location.How to watch Liverpool vs Real Madrid in Canada
Broadcasters TSN and RDS have the Canadian rights to show the Champions League final. If you're a cord cutter then your next best option is to grab a one month subscription from BeIN Sports for $19.95.
But there is still a free way to live stream. Yep, you've guessed it by now - install and download a VPN as explained above and you can get hold of BT Sport's excellent coverage without paying a single cent.Live stream the Liverpool vs Real final in Australia
Well it's going to be an early one, but if you're an obsessive Liverpool or Los Blancos supporter then we suspect that you'll be setting your alarm for around 4.30am (AEST) on Sunday morning. Well the good news for you is that BeIN Sport offers a free two week trial in Australia, or $19.99 per month after that.
Rather not sign up to the trial (or used it before)? Then there's always our little VPN workaround. Take a look at the instructions above.
Main image courtesy of uefa.com
FreedomPop, a wireless carrier operating in the US and UK, has announced a new MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) that’s the direct result of Sprint and T-Mobile’s joint decision to merge.
It’s called Unreal Mobile, and compared to other MVNO options, like Cricket and Boost Mobile in the US, and Sky Mobile and Tesco Mobile in the UK, it includes more features in its unlimited plans, which start at $15 per month.
Beyond 4G LTE coverage, Unreal Mobile will provide to its users a VPN, ad blocking, and the flexibility of using phone numbers on phones, tablets or computers by leveraging VoIP, a severely underutilized technology on the carrier side.
FreedomPop stated that Unreal Mobile couldn’t have happened without the Sprint and T-Mobile merger underway in the US, as regulators are now “compelled to accept MVNO models and pricing that historically would have been seen as too competitive…”, according to statement provided to PhoneScoop.
The new MVNO hasn’t launched its service just yet, but is supposed to in the coming months. If you’re interested, you can check out the site here and sign up for more info by providing your email address.
- Here are the best unlocked phones
It's best practice to use a different password for all of your online accounts, but remembering them all can be nearly impossible – particularly if you want to use strong logins that are difficult to crack. However, there is a solution to both of these problems: a secure password manager that will generate strong passwords for you using a combination of letters, numbers and special characters, and store them all in an encrypted vault.
Once you’re logged into the manager, these programs will automatically fill your username and password each time you visit a site that requires them – taking the guessing game out of surfing the internet.
Some password managers and generators store your encrypted login info on your hard drive, while others will upload your details to their own servers, enabling you to access them from any internet-connected device. With this list, we’ve gathered the best of both worlds in order to bring you a comprehensive list of the best password managers you can use today. Say goodbye to lost password anxiety.
LastPass comes in two different flavors – free and premium. Either will generate and store any number of different logins in a secure vault that’s protected by your master password, with multi-factor authentication for added security. This includes hardware authentication via YubiKey for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android.
The free version of LastPass also offers secure storage for text notes, syncing of credentials across browsers, and access to your secure vault from any internet-connected device via LastPass.com. It will refuse to autocomplete forms on known phishing websites, and you can export your data at any time, if you decide to switch to a rival password manager.
The premium version adds secure cloud storage for files, advanced multi-factor authentication, and the ability to set up a contingency plan so your loved ones can access your accounts in an emergency.
The only downside of LastPass is its popularity, which makes it a popular target for criminals, but exploits are rare and there haven't been any cases of users' encrypted logins or master passwords being stolen.
For sheer convenience and ease of use, LastPass is hard to beat.
Dashlane is LastPass's closest competitor and, like LastPass, it's completely worth checking out, featuring one-click password generation, world-class security, breathless ease of use and ability to store notes for future reference.
It’s not just a Windows desktop program either; there are browser plugins and mobile versions, and similar to LastPass there's a premium version of Dashlane that includes unlimited sharing and syncing.
Dashlane Premium costs $39 (about £30, AU$50) per year, but the free version features all the essentials: you get the core password manager, autofill and digital wallet features, all of which work flawlessly. Don't settle for LastPass without trying Dashlane first, and vice versa.
Plus, if Dashlane’s newly announced Project Mirror works out, we might see a future where we never have to deal with pesky passwords again.
RoboForm claims to be the best password manager in the world, and not unreasonably so. After a recent update, they’ve added support for storing a limitless amount of logins in the free version. It also boasts application logins, secure storage of notes, multi-platform support, and the ability to gain emergency access.
RoboForm Everywhere allows you to sync across devices, cloud backup and the ability to gain emergency access yourself. If you decide to buy a premium license, it’ll cost $19.95 or £15.95 (about AU$25) for one year, $49.95 or £39.95 (about AU$65) for three years, or $74.95 or £59.95 (about AU$95) for five years. There are also family subscriptions available for up to five users.
RoboForm might not be able to claim the same robust feature lists as their rivals, Dashlane or LastPass, but it's a very good password manager regardless and the free mobile apps are fantastic. Its password generator is particularly strong, allowing you to exclude similar characters and specify which special characters you need to meet specific password requirements.
Roboform is available for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android, and is a good option for anybody who wants a simple and secure way to sync passwords between laptop, desktop and mobile platforms.
It isn't the most aesthetically pleasing password manager in the world, but KeePass Password Safe offers robust security, multiple user support and downloadable plugins to expand its feature set.
KeePass's secure password generator can produce logins suitable for those annoying sites with very specific requirements, and clearly indicates any options that might make the generated password weaker.
The password manager features a portable installation, allowing it to run from USB without installing on a PC, it can input from and output to a wide range of file formats, and there are tons of customization options to play with.
The fact that KeePass Password Safe is open source means anyone can inspect the code for potential weaknesses, which means that any security issues can be identified and fixed quickly. It's a great app, if a bit intimidating for beginners.
Sticky Password comes from the team behind AVG Antivirus, so you can be sure that security is its top priority.
There are two editions of Sticky Password: free and premium. The premium edition adds cloud syncing and backup and costs $29.99 or £19.99 (about AU$40) a year. There's also a lifetime license available for $149.99 or £96.99 (about AU$200) – an option not offered by any other premium password manager.
Both versions of Sticky Password include a generator that can create secure logins for you while you're registering for new online accounts. It's straightforward to use, but doesn't offer as many customization options as the other services here.
The app works on PC, Mac, Android and iOS, supports fingerprint authentication on mobile, is available as a portable USB version and offers lots of sync options including Wi-Fi syncing with local devices.
Browser extensions are also available for Firefox, Chrome, Opera and Internet Explorer, but not Edge.
The days of worrying about remembering passwords in the workplace may soon be at an end thanks to Okta.
The security firm has today announced the launch of a new platform that will allow companies to do away with passwords altogether in favour of much stronger authentication options.
Okta ThreatInsight, revealed today at the company's Oktane 2018 event in Las Vegas, combines context-specific information with real-time analysis from internal risk assessment teams to block threats.
This, the company says, provides a more secure experience that should mean businesses, as well as their employees, partners and customers, stay safe online.No more passwords
Due to be released in the second half of 2018, Okta, which counts the likes of Nordstrom and 20th Century Fox among its customers, says the new tool will allow companies to do away with passwords as their main authentication option.
Instead, the platform can detect possible security risks by analysing information such as the location of an IP address attempting to access a corporate network. The platform can also identify known devices, and if they are attempting to connect from an unfamiliar location, can block access.
“The best password is no password at all. Today’s threat actors are targeting the weakest point of your company’s security – your people – and too many are successfully compromising employee accounts due to poor or stolen passwords,” said Okta CEO and co-founder Todd McKinnon.
- Check out our list of the best business antivirus of 2018
A great cheap laptop deal can be hard to find with so many options on the net. That's where we come in. Our team of dedicated deal hunters are on the lookout every day to find the best laptop deals from the most reliable retailers on the net. So, for the best value cheap laptops, with genuine discounts over the trumped up fake 'deals' take a look below.
This week we've found a cheap laptop offer for under £140 for a 10-inch laptop and a Google-friendly Chromebook for under £200. Or how about a bundle with a laptop, security package and bag for under £300? Looking for something more powerful? We have lots to show you here too with a fine selection of models with SSDs, plenty of RAM and powerful processors for well under £500 from some of the best laptop brands in the business. We've even found some powerful gaming laptops with heavy discounts.
We're looking for cheap laptop prices all year round so you don't necessarily have to wait for the sales. We're always on the lookout for the best up-to-date laptop voucher codes too.
If you're after a cheap laptop for web browsing and other simple tasks, or you need a new laptop for school or work, or you simply need a really powerful laptop for as little money as possible, we have options for you.
At the top of the page you'll find our selection of the very latest and best cheap laptop deals of the week followed by a selection of popular quality laptops that retailers like to discount on a regular basis. Underneath those laptop deals you'll find our pick of the latest best laptops and the best available prices.
We'll continue adding the best laptop deals in the latest sales as we find them. Up next, you'll find the latest prices on some of the most popular laptops around, followed by the best deals on TechRadar's favourite laptops.Where to find more cheap laptops:
- Amazon: retail giant is often the cheapest in the UK.
- Currys: the retailer that's seemingly always having a sale.
- Argos: home delivery or pick up a cheap laptop locally today.
- AO: lots of cheap laptops at this growing electronics specialist.
- John Lewis: models come with at least two-year guarantee.
- Very: often has plenty of voucher codes or 'buy now pay later' options.
- Tesco: bag some extra Clubcard points on a cheap laptop.
- Laptops Direct: specialist UK store has a huge selection of laptop deals.
- Dell: Get a great laptop deal direct from Dell.
There have been some generous offers lately for this popular Lenovo laptop series. Any choice between the 4GB and 12GB RAM options should run multiple applications at once. Hard drive sizes vary from 256GB SSD to 1TB in regular form. Some options also include dedicated Nvidia GeForce GTX 940MX graphics.
At around £200, the HP Stream 14 is decent value if you're after something to cover the basics like web browsing or document editing. It's competitively priced again the cheaper Chromebooks out there despite the 14-inch screen and Windows 10 operating system.
There's some hefty grunt under the shell of these HP 250 G4 and G5 models and there are some great prices this week. The Intel Pentium processor and 4GB/8GB of RAM mean this laptop will whip through pretty much any day-to-day activity you can throw at it without the juddering performance of cheaper laptops. Hell, it'll even have a decent crack at playing a few of the less demanding games out there.
A sturdy choice for a study laptop for school/college/uni. The HP Pavilion 15 has more power that the average pupil needs while keeping the costs sensible. If you're not needing extra power of an expensive laptop for video/photo editing, this is more than enough for web browsing, playing some tunes on Spotify and editing coursework.
From afar, this laptop might be mistaken for a MacBook Pro which tells you a lot about its level of quality. Don't expect a full metal chassis at this price, but this is probably one of the best looking plastic bodies in its category. There are plenty of ports (old and new), 4GB of RAM and a massive 1TB hard drive. The cheapest models have a respectable i3 processor, but you can get the more powerful i5 versions for not much more if you need that extra kick. Asus saw it fit to include a DVD writer as well as a 15.6-inch full HD screen. Despite this large display and the presence of a numeric keypad, it's just a tad thicker and heavier than an Ultrabook.
This is the newer version of the Asus Transformer Mini series. This upgrade includes a fingerprint sensor and double the RAM at 4GB for speedier performance. For your money, this is one of the most impressive two-in-one transformer models out there.
This is one of the larger Chromebook experience out there for someone looking for a full-sized laptop with an excellent screen at a super low cost. The 4GB of RAM running the Chrome OS is super fast and will allow you to really pile up tabs and apps without slowing down. The battery will easily last the best part of a day for most users too.The best deals on our favourite laptops
We've reviewed loads of laptops over the years: we've seen the good ones, the great ones and the ones to avoid. Sometimes the best laptops pop up online at some truly deal-tastic prices. So in this section, we list the very best laptops out there and the best deals on each one.
The Dell XPS 13 is, bar none, the best laptop you can buy today. It features a revolutionary design that's astonishingly thin and light. Fitting a 13.3-inch screen into such a small frame means Dell has created a nearly borderless Infinity display. It's a powerful and long lasting machine even by today's Ultrabook standards. The XPS 13 comes outfitted with Intel's latest Skylake processors plus lighting, quick storage and memory, all while coming in at a very affordable starting price. For these reasons, it easily takes the top slot as the best Ultrabook, the best Windows laptop and the best overall laptop.
Looking for a quality gaming laptop but want to keep things under that unappealing £1000 mark? Then Dell has you covered with the Inspiron 15 Gaming range.
The Asus Chromebook Flip isn't perfect, but it's an impressive little piece of kit. Plus, it's so affordable that you might want to pick one up just to have a Chromebook on hand – even if you already own a MacBook or Windows laptop. Aside from the budget price tag, the Flip is one of the best-built Chromebooks to blaze the trail onward for more convertibles. Touchscreen functionality feels more logical, with a screen that actually rotates. The Flip meets all the core tenants of an ideal Chrome OS device.
This 10-inch hybrid comes packing a surprising amount of goods considering its small size. It's outfitted with an HD screen and more than enough power to get you through a simple day of web browsing and even image editing. When you're ready kick back with some media streaming, you can pop off the 10-inch tablet.
The Asus Strix GL502 is undoubtedly one of the best gaming laptops around for gaming in 1080p. It'll run with the settings cranked with games like Overwatch not dipping below 60fps. The battery life isn't the best, but the display, performance and built-in sound system more than make up for it.
Lenovo has crafted a brilliant, forward-thinking device that could very well create a subcategory in computing all of its own. The modest specs hold it back from taking on the big boys in terms of raw power, but the innovative digital touchpad keyboard and drawing surface look like trendsetters to us. The Android version is currently about £100 cheaper than the Windows one.
Can a tablet really replace your laptop or home PC? That's still up for debate, but the best tablet trying to make that happen is the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 - and it does a fine job with the full blown version of Windows 10, an integrated kickstand and optional keyboard attachment. Great for for creative professionals, students and everyday folks alike - it's only the premium price that push it down the list, but if you're willing to pay for it, you're getting a lot of power. A LOT.
Samsung is rumored to be switching its smartwatch software from Tizen to Google's Wear OS for its next generation watch, and a new report has added more credence to those previous leaks.
According to trusted Twitter leaker @Evleaks (Evan Blass) Samsung employees have now been spotted wearing smartwatches that are running Wear OS software rather than Tizen.
Blass didn't reveal any details on who spotted the smartwatches, where it was, or when, but we're inclined to believe him and the previous information he's provided about the rumored Samsung Galaxy Watch considering his track record with leaks.
Samsung previously used Android Wear software for its first smartwatch in 2013, but it soon switched to Tizen OS for future generations including last year's Samsung Gear Sport.
We originally thought we'd see either the Samsung Gear S4 or Samsung Gear Sport 2 launch in September this year, but a new trademark application from the company spotted earlier this month suggested it'll be called the Samsung Galaxy Watch instead.A switch to Galaxy
The fact Samsung employees have been spotted testing out the software suggests the company is well into development for the next watch.
We're hoping that means we'll hear more about it at IFA 2018, which will be a year after the Gear Sport launch.
Blass's tweet didn't provide any details on the Samsung Galaxy Watch such as what it looks like or whether there are any clear new features, but the upgraded software is exciting news.
PDFs are mostly designed for sharing, but sometimes, just occasionally, you may want to grab some or all of the content for use elsewhere. By, say, converting the document into a DOCX file which you can open in Microsoft Word, or any other editor which supports the format.
If you've got Word already then you could just use it to open your source document. But try that with anything complex and you'll probably notice some major issues, like missing content, text which reflows in very different directions, and a final document which might not look anything like the original.
There are plenty of good general-purpose PDF applications which can help. Several of the apps in our lists of top PDF readers and PDF editors include conversion tools which might deliver what you need.
You'll get the highest quality and most accurate results from a specialist conversion service, though, and in this article we're going to highlight five of the best.
- Also take a look at our top picks for best free PDF to Word converter
The iLovePDF website offers a comprehensive set of free PDF processing tools, covering file conversions, watermarking, rotation, merging, splitting, compression and more.
The conversion features enable converting PDFs to and from Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents, and we tried out the PDF to Word option.
The website impressed us immediately when we realized it didn't just accept PDFs by browsing locally, dragging and dropping: we could import them directly from Google Drive and Dropbox, too.
The site displayed a thumbnail of our test document's front page almost as soon as it uploaded - handy as confirmation that we had the right file, and as a check that the conversion was going to deliver the results that we needed.
This service continued to surprise with its download options. While most converters just have a single download button or link, this time we could save the document back to Google Drive or Dropbox, and even create a custom link for downloading the file. If you're running the conversion for someone else, email them the link and they can download it themselves.
What really matters here, though, is conversion quality, and iLovePDF is hard to beat. All our test file content was transferred and there were no obvious errors or issues. Open the exported document in Word and you'd be ready to work with it immediately.
iLovePDF's standard plan has some limits - in this case, the source PDF can be no larger than 10MB, any download link is only available for one hour and can be used a maximum of five times - but these can be increased.
Just handing over your email address gets support for 15MB files, 2 hours of link life and 10 downloads. The commercial Premium plan supports 40MB files and up to 200 downloads of the converted document over a 24-hour period, all for 3.99 Euros (£3.50, $4.75) a month (this also gets you access to all the other conversion and PDF management tools).
A good first step in evaluating any PDF conversion service is to check who is providing the underlying technology. Clicking the About Us link on the SimplyPDF website reveals that the site is powered by the excellent Solid Documents, the veteran developer who is also behind iLovePDF, which immediately tells us the service is likely to deliver great results.
The SimplyPDF web interface looks basic at first glance, but it's actually packed with high-end functionality. For example, although the page will convert from PDF to DOCX files by default, it can also import Excel and PowerPoint documents and export to RTF.
Tapping More Options enables taking vast control over the conversion process. By default, for instance, SimplyPDF will try to detect lists, tables, headers and footers in the source PDF and convert them to those objects in the Word document.
If your document includes images with what looks like text, it uses OCR to try and extract this. These defaults normally work very well, but if they fail and the exported document isn't quite as you expect, adjusting SimplyPDF's conversion settings will often help you fix the problem.
Our tests suggested you won't need this level of tweakability very often, as all our sample documents were converted without any real issues at all. But if you regularly work with complex documents, or you've had previous problems with the accuracy of PDF converters, SimplyPDF's fine-grain control over the process could make it worth a try.
FormSwift is a free online PDF to Word conversion service with a very unusual extra.
At first glance the website looks like many others. The interface is simple, and there are options to drag and drop or browse to the PDF you'd like to convert.
What's interesting here is that once the document has been uploaded, FormSwift displays it in a simple PDF editor. It's not exactly crammed with features, but you can still add, edit, or highlight text, insert or move images and apply a handwritten signature.
Perhaps most usefully, the editor enables deleting elements of the document that you don't need. Simplifying a PDF in this way can improve the chances of an accurate conversion, and it's well worth a try if other converters aren't producing good results.
Our tests suggest you may not need to spend much time playing around with your documents, though, as the FormSwift conversion engine produces excellent results with even the most complex of files.
In particular, the service did a great job with our sample newspaper page, accurately rendering the columns, colors and images. There was an issue with text spacing, but that was only because our system didn't include the font used in the source PDF, forcing FormSwift to substitute another. This was easily fixed in Word, and overall FormSwift performed very well.
HTMLPublish is a website which offers a free service for converting PDF files to Word and HTML.
The conversion interface is feeble by the standards of the competition, and doesn't even support drag and drop. All you get is a header and an Upload button.
The annoyances continue when the converter is finished, and the website demands you close any ad blocker before you can see the file. HTMLPublish is the only PDF conversion website we've seen which does that.
We restarted the process in an ad blocker-free browser, and this time the document was displayed in its HTML form after the conversion was complete. Why, when we only wanted to download it? In order that the website could display some ads, it seems, two of which included Download links of the firm's own, presumably in the hope that users will click them accidentally.
We found and clicked the real download link in the header, which took us to yet another page, with more ads, and another download link. Clicking that link opened the PDF in a web page with yet more ads, and finally we could save it to disk.
Put this all together and HTMLPublish is one of the most cumbersome PDF services to use. But we're recommending it anyway because it delivered some of the best and most accurate conversions of our test files. If other services fail, HTMLPublish is well worth a try, and if you hate the ads, the developer's PDF-To-Word application gives you hassle-free conversions on your Windows desktop for only $19.95 (£14.25).
UniPDF is a commercial PDF conversion utility for Windows. Launch the program and you're able to drag and drop as many source files as you need to convert. (Unlike most online converters, there are no limits on the size or number of files you can process at one time).
By default UniPDF will export your converted documents as DOCX files, but it can also save them as RTF, HTML, images or plain text.
In our tests, the conversion results were mixed. Our sample documents kept their content and basic layout, and looked much better than if we'd imported them using Word's own PDF converter. But font and text layout weren't always reproduced correctly, and it would take some time to fix these issues before we could begin any real editing tasks.
There's a further complication with the trial version, as it only supports converting the first three pages in any document. If your source files start with a title page, a blank page and a table of contents, you won't get to see what the program can do with everything else.
If UniPDF appears to do what you need, spending $29.97 (£21.40) gets you a license to use the program on a single computer in a non-commercial environment. A Business license looks expensive at $99.97 (£71.40), but that covers commercial usage on multiple systems across your company - it's not just for you.
A 30-day money-back guarantee is available if you discover any problems that the trial build didn't reveal.
Vietnam based smartphone maker Mobiistar has made its debut in India with the launch of Mobiistar XQ Dual and Mobiistar CQ budget smartphones in its Selfie Star series. Both the devices will be available exclusively from Flipkart starting May 30.
The Mobiistar XQ Dual has been priced at Rs. 7,999 and the low-end Mobiistar CQ has been priced at Rs. 4,999. The XQ Dual is a selfie focused smartphone and features a dual camera setup up front. The Mobiistar CQ is aimed at first time and low-end smartphone buyers. While the Mobiistar XQ Dual has a fingerprint sensor, the CQ does not sport the sensor, which is alright considering its price.Mobiistar XQ Dual Specifications
The Mobiistar XQ Dual runs on Android 7.1.2 Nougat and features a 5.5-inch full HD 2.5D curved glass display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, an aspect ratio of 16:9 and Asahi Dragontrail protection. While 18:9 displays are trending these days, Mobiistar has decided to use a 16:9 aspect ratio display for its device.
In terms of performance, the Mobiistar XQ Dual is powered by an octa core Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 SoC coupled with Adreno 505 GPU. In terms of memory, the device features 3GB RAM and 32GB of internal storage which can be further expanded up to 128GB via a microSD card.
Coming to the camera department, the main highlight of the device is its dual camera setup at the front. It features a 13MP primary camera with f/2.0 aperture and an 8MP secondary camera with f/2.2 aperture plus a 120-degree wide-angle lens. At the back, the device sports a 13MP camera with f/2.0 aperture and dual LED flash.
The Mobiistar XQ Dual is powered by a 3,000mAh battery and connectivity options on the device include 4G VoLTE, ViLTE, Bluetooth 4.1 WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, GPS, micro USB port, FM Radio and a 3.5mm audio jack.Mobiistar CQ Specifications
The Mobiistar CQ is aimed at first time and low-end phone buyers. In India, the device will compete with the likes of Xiaomi Redmi 5A and the Tenor D which have similar specifications. It runs on Android 7.1.2 Nougat and features a 5-inch HD 2.5D curved glass display with a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels and an aspect ratio of 16:9.
In terms of performance, the Mobiistar CQ is powered by the quad core Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 SoC coupled with Adreno 308 GPU. In terms of memory, the device features 2GB RAM and 16GB of internal storage which can be further expanded up to 128GB via a microSD card. The Xiaomi Redmi 5A and the Tenor D are also powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 SoC.
Coming to the camera department, the Mobiistar CQ features an 8MP primary camera with LED flash. On the front, the device sports a 13MP secondary camera for selfies. It has seven level beauty mode to help users take proper selfies.
The Mobiistar CQ is powered by a 3,000mAh battery and connectivity options on the device include 4G VoLTE, ViLTE, Bluetooth 4.1, FM Radio, GPS and a 3.5mm audio jack.Pricing and Availability
The Mobiistar XQ Dual and CQ are priced at Rs. 7,999 and Rs. 4,999 respectively and will be available exclusively from Flipkart starting from May 30. Both the smartphones come with Flipkart mobile protection at Rs. 99 and Rs. 2,200 cashback offer from Reliance Jio.
From attracting and retaining donors to organizing fundraising events and campaigns, the operational challenges that come with running a nonprofit are varied and abundant.
Just as in the business world, maintaining relationships and revenue streams are vital to survive, but in the world of nonprofits the pressure to do so in an efficient, cost-effective manner – looking after those precious donations made in good faith – is perhaps even greater.
Thankfully, there is a wide array of software tools to help nonprofit organizations with this very challenge. While some traditional CRM platforms may work for charities as they do with businesses, we’ve focused on software specializing in supporting nonprofits. Let’s take a look at the best on the market right now.
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NeonCRM puts all your data and tools in one place, helping nonprofits to improve efficiency and organization so they can “focus on the work that really matters”, to quote the NeonCRM team itself.
Many of the platform’s creators come from a non-profit background which means they understand the administrative and operational pain points of running such an organization, and should help them design a service catered to these specific needs. Users are able to create online forms, engage donors, plan events, manage members, track volunteers, and get insights from built-in metrics dashboards.
The platform is comprehensive and pretty straightforward to use, but if problems do pop up, a host of tutorial guides are on hand to walk you through any issues. These are particularly useful in the early stages of getting acquainted with the NeonCRM platform.
The price point – starting at $50 (£37) a month – may perturb smaller nonprofits, but this is not the most expensive offering of its kind, and comes highly recommended if budget allows.
Little Green Light
Little Green Light is a sophisticated fundraising and donor management system that does a lot of the digital legwork for nonprofits. In the words of its creators, “timely insights that the data provides mean fundraisers work smarter – not harder – to connect supporters to their mission.”
A wealth of features are on offer here, including a fully customizable dashboard, customizable reporting, constituent and contact management, the creation of acknowledgment messages and receipts, integrations with other software platforms you may be using, and customized, trackable mailings.
The automatic categorization of donors (top donors, most active, and so forth) is a particularly handy feature, enabling users to home in on certain targets without sifting through reams of data to identify them in the first place.
With so many tools on offer, it may be worth utilizing the extendable free trial to fully get to grips with the platform and make sure it’s right for the needs and skillset of your staff. A further boon is a user-friendly design, plus a heap of video tutorials to help the unacquainted acclimatize to the system, and make good use of its numerous features.
CharityTracker enables different charitable organizations in the same community to collaborate with one another to improve the efficiency of their services.
The creators came up with the idea for the platform off the back of the Hurricane Katrina relief effort in 2005. They noticed the scarcity of communication between different agencies trying to help displaced families in their home town of Florence, Alabama, which led to duplicated operations and poor management of resources.
CharityTracker address these issues by enabling users to communicate in real-time – with each other, and with their communities. Features include a shared client case database, tracking and reporting, post bulletins and referrals.
An extremely easy-to-use interface is one of the key plusses here. Navigation across different features is simple, which should save time training users. With many of these users potentially being volunteers with little knowledge of IT and data entry, this is an invaluable aspect of the platform. Its round-the-clock tech support is excellent too, so any problems that do arise should be nipped in the bud swiftly.
For the data-heads who like to really get under the bonnet with their analyses, the reports may seem a little limited and cumbersome, but there is little else to fault with this well-priced service.
Bloomerang helps nonprofits reach, engage and retain donors with its feature-packed platform. The company claims to have worked with “high-level thought leaders in philanthropy” to create a service that makes it easier than ever to build strong relationships with donors.
The software’s core features include a dashboard that displays the organization’s donor retention rate along with suggestions on how to improve that, as well as future incoming donations.
Users can also manage reports and accounts, while a social media hub monitors what constituents may be tweeting about your organization. It’s a shame Facebook and Instagram aren’t enabled, but lots of platforms don’t have this tool built-in at all, so we’re not complaining.
Design is a strong point, with campaign progress showed as soon as you log in, while a clean, user-friendly design is employed throughout. You don’t have to be a software expert to make use of the platform, and it’s also been optimized for mobile for those who wish to log in on the move.
Bloomerang boasts an impressive array of features but it is slightly less customizable than other services, which can be frustrating when trying to tailor the platform to the specific needs of each user within the organization. Given the higher price point demanded here, this is something of a drawback.
DonorPerfect is a one-stop-shop for fundraising and donor management. It promises to “supercharge your nonprofit’s fundraising initiatives and cultivate your most valuable relationships” via its software platform.
The roster of features include the ability to manage constituent contacts and donor development, send personalized communications, report and analyze results, integrate with other products and services, as well as being able to collect donations and information online.
A standout feature of DonorPerfect is its extremely attentive support team. Unlike many other services, there is always somebody ready to help at the end of the phone. Sometimes scanning tutorials just doesn’t answer your question, and long waits for assistance can be frustrating, so the ability to speak directly to someone about an issue is a strong selling point.
DonorPerfect doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of other services we’ve covered here, but it remains very comprehensive, and only really hard-core users will exhaust the options at their disposal.
Operating on a slightly smaller scale? Then perhaps Continue To Give is the platform you need. With pricing starting at $30 (£22) per month, this service helps small to medium-size nonprofits collect donations across multiple avenues via the web, email, mobile, and social media crowdfunding.
Wild Apricot is an all-in-one membership management solution which already serves over 16,000 associations, nonprofits, and clubs. Key features include full membership database management, a drag-and-drop website builder (including easy integration with your existing website), online event registrations, automated emails and much more.
By bringing together supporter engagement and constituent relationship management software in one integrated platform, Salsa CRM supplies nonprofits with all the online and offline tools they need to engage communities, raise funds, rally supporters, and thus, in the words of the company, “change the world.”
Focusing on events and volunteer organization, InitLive enables users to efficiently manage their teams. The cloud-based web platform boasts tools for event planners to recruit, assign staff, copy shifts, and reuse or export data.
DonorSnap allows fundraisers to capture, organize and store donor contacts effectively. Using a customizable database with user-defined fields, you can track relationships and affiliations, manage memberships and accept event registrations.
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For decades, the DSLR (digital SLR) has been the top choice for anyone who wants to take their photography to the next level. Whether you're a beginner or a pro, a DSLR offers three key ingredients: manual controls, excellent picture quality and interchangeable lenses.
Mirrorless cameras are another option of course. They're smaller (in most cases at least), mechanically simpler and, like DSLRs, they take interchangeable lenses. If you want to know more about how they compare, read this: Mirrorless vs DSLR cameras: 10 key differences. Or, if you want to know more about different camera types in general, check out our step-by-step guide: What camera should I buy?
A DSLR is still the cheapest way to get a camera with interchangeable lenses and a viewfinder (you'll find entry-level mirrorless cameras don't have viewfinders) and, at the other end of the scale, almost all professional sports, press and wildlife photographers choose full-frame DSLRs over every other camera type.
In between entry-level and full-frame DSLR are a whole range of models aimed at different users, different levels of experience and different budgets. Here's our pick of the standout DSLR cameras you can buy right now:
If you're looking for the ultimate DSLR right now, then the Nikon D850 is it. This full-frame monster of a camera might be pricey, but for the cash you get a stunning camera that won't disappoint. The huge 45.4MP sensor delivers images with stunning detail and noise performance even at high ISOs, while the highly sophisticated 153-point AF system is borrowed from Nikon's flagship D5. Add in 7fps burst shooting and a host of advanced features, wrap it in a durable magnesium alloy body and you've got a camera that's pretty much at the top of its game for any subject you want to shoot. A brilliant piece of kit.
Read our in-depth Nikon D850 review
Watch our hands-on video below
Canon's EOS 5D series of cameras has a rich heritage – the original EOS 5D bought full-frame photography to the masses, the Mark II unleashed Full HD video capture for the first time on a DSLR, and while the Mark III became a firm favourite amongst photographers. The EOS 5D Mark IV pretty much tweaks and improves on everything before it, with a new 30.4MP sensor and advanced 61-point AF system. A brilliant DSLR that was until recently our top pick, but the arrival of the D850 means it slips a place down to number two.
Read our in-depth Canon EOS 5D Mark IV review
Nikon has taken its flagship D5 DSLR and most of its high-end features and distilled all of this into a smaller, but still very durable metal body. The full-frame sensor is replaced by an 20.9MP APS-C sized chip that allows the D500 to shoot at a rapid 10fps and deliver a great high ISO performance. A brilliant all-rounder with a brilliant 153-point AF system means it excels at fast action like sports and wildlife photography, but still has the chops to shoot landscapes and portraits. If the cost is a bit steep, then take a look at the D7500. It sits below the D500 and inherits many of its tech, including the 20.9MP sensor.
Read our in-depth Nikon D500 review
Cheaper than the D500 and while it doesn't offer quite the same pro-spec performance, the Nikon D7500 packs in the same excellent 20.9MP sensor, but in an even more compact and affordable body. The new camera may not get the 153-point AF system from the D500, but the enhanced 51-point system in the D7500 still puts a lot of rival systems in the shade, while the 4K video capture, tilt-angle touchscreen display and 8fps burst shooting are some of the highlights. The D7500 is bound to be a tempting prospect for both new and existing users. Alternatively, take a look at the 24.2MP D7200 - it may have been surpassed by the D7500, but it's still one of the best enthusiast DSLRs out there.
Read our in-depth Nikon D7500 review
Watch our video review of the Nikon D7500 below
The EOS 80D is Canon's high-end enthusiast DSLR and while it might be getting on a bit, is still a great buy. It features a fast and effective 45-point autofocusing system, while the clever Dual Pixel CMOS AF system for Live View shooting delivers snappy focusing speeds. The camera's handling is excellent, promoting creative shooting as well as making setting adjustments quick and easy. It also has a high quality 24.2MP sensor that is able to capture a good level of detail while keeping noise under control. A great enthusiast DSLR that packs a decent performance.
Read our in-depth Canon EOS 80D review
At the opposite end of the spectrum to some of the full-frame DSLRs here, the D3400 is cheap as chips, has one of the sharpest APS-C sensors there is and a neat retracting kit lens. It's proof that you don't have to pay a fortune to get a great camera, and we say its sheer value for money makes it just as impressive as much more advanced (and much more expensive) alternatives. It has a great 24MP sensor and although the controls are designed to be simple for novices, in the right hands the little D3400 is a match for cameras costing far more. A great DSLR for the first-time user.
Read our in-depth Nikon D3400 review
Costing a bit more than the Nikon D3400, but offering quite a bit more in the way of features, the Canon EOS Rebel T7i (known as the EOS 800D outside the US) is a great entry-level DSLR. The new sensor impresses, as does the 45-point autofocus system backed up by excellent live view AF, while the newly designed graphical interface will certainly make this camera even more appealing to new users. The absence of 4K video and the quality of the exterior materials disappoint, but this aside, if you're looking for a well-rounded and easy to use camera for your first DSLR the EOS Rebel T7i / EOS 800D is certainly a very good bet.
Like the look of Nikon's D850 further up the top, but don't want to shell out quite that much, then look no further than the 24MP full-frame D750. It doesn't have that magnificent 45.4-megapixel sensor that the D850 does, but its 24-megapixel alternative still delivers top quality results, especially at high ISO settings. The D750 also features a decent 6.5fps continuous shooting speed, a handy tilting screen and a pretty attractive asking price.
Read our in-depth Nikon D750 review
Just like D500, the EOS 7D Mark II borrows many of its features from its big brother, the EOS-1D X (that's now been replaced by the EOS-1D X Mark II), bringing 10fps shooting and a professional autofocus system to the amateur market. Now you can shoot action and sports like the pros, but at a price within the reach of enthusiasts. The EOS 7D Mark II isn't just a high-speed specialists, it's a terrific all-round camera. It's tough, with an alloy body and weather-sealed controls, it has a great sensor with an advanced dual-pixel hybrid autofocus system, and it's a powerful video camera too.
Read our in-depth Canon EOS 7D Mark II review
Now overshadowed by the D850, the D810 is still a great buy. It's built like a tank, it handles beautifully and it doesn't cost the earth - well, when compared to competition that is. While the 36.3MP resolution has been eclipsed by the Canon EOS 5DS and Sony Alpha A7R II, it still delivers stunning results with huge amounts of detail. If you're into sports, action and wildlife photography, the modest 5fps burst shooting might be a bit restrictive, but otherwise, the D810 is still a great DSLR that's now better value than ever.
Read our in-depth Nikon D810 review
Toshiba has announced that its new dynaEdge AR smart glasses solution, which is coupled with a mini PC running Windows 10 Pro, is now available in the US at a starting price of $1,900 (£1,420, AU$2,520).
The package is a full hands-free solution consisting of the dynaEdge AR100 smart glasses (developed in conjunction with Vuzix), along with the dynaEdge DE-100 Mobile Mini PC, and accessories (including a carrying case, USB-C lead and cable clip).
The PC is a lightweight ‘edge computing’ device with an Intel Core vPro processor (Skylake), and a swappable battery with a longevity of 6.5 hours.
Carl Pinto, vice president, marketing and engineering, Client Solutions Division at Toshiba, commented: “For the first time, a Windows-based PC can be worn to provide augmented reality for the job site, and operated using voice and touch HMD technologies, keeping hands free for hands-on work.”Interesting development
Toshiba will also offer a pair of Developer’s Kits in both ‘basic’ and ‘performance’ configurations, for those who wish to design their own custom software for the smart glasses. Pricing will start at $2,400 (£1,800, AU$3,180) for these kits, with the buyer able to specify different CPU, memory and SSD storage options for the DE-100 Mini PC.
Toshiba’s provided Vision DE Suite facilitates a range of remote usage scenarios and is integrated with Skype for Business. The software will allow those in the field to record and stream live video, or send photos and share files with those back in the office, or indeed engage in video calls via Skype.
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If your mobile phone contract has just expired, or you're looking for a great value SIMO to slot into a new handset you've just bought, then you'll want to give us a few minutes of your attention. Because Carphone Warehouse's in-house phone network iD has just launched a SIM only deal that offers sensational value.
It's not unusual for iD Mobile to offer cheap SIM only plans, but its latest 10GB for £10 per month may just be the most impressive its ever offered. 10GB is a plentiful data allowance for surfing the net, streaming music and navigating with Google Maps on the go.
The only way anybody else can get close at the moment is by offering big cashback that you have to claim over the course of the 12-month contract - check out today's best SIM only deals page to see what we mean.
With iD's offer, you don't have to bother with any of that faff to get the great price. And you aren't tied in for a whole year either, as iD goes with a one month rolling model giving you flexibility if your circumstances ever change and you need to look at other options.
You may not be that familiar with iD - it's not necessarily a household name like networks such as O2 or Vodafone. But in addition to its ridiculously cheap prices, there are other reasons why iD could be a good fit for your next SIM card:
Flexibility As we say above, iD is popular with a lot of people for offering 30 day contracts rather than the one year commitments offered by most big networks.
Data rollover This is a lovely little innovation, which could come in very handy now you'll be on 10GB a month. If, for example, you use only 6GB of data one month it means that you'll have 14GB to play with in the next 30 days. Handy if you're expecting to be away from the Wi-Fi a lot in the future as you can save your data up to use when you most need it.
4G calling If phone reception is rubbish where you live or work, you can utilise iD's 4G prowess to make calls using data rather than your call allowance. That's particularly handy when you consider you only get 300 minutes a month with the above deal.
Capping One of those people who always seems to go over their data or call allowances and ends up with a whacking great bill every month. Then we reckon you'll want to take advantage of iD's capping feature, which puts a limit on your spend. But with that healthy 10GB of data to use, you hopefully won't need to rely on the cap too much anyway.
Sony has laid out an ambitious three-year plan that's designed to see the company become "the top brand in the overall camera market" by 2021.
The plan, which was picked up by SonyRumors from the company's mid-term strategy paper, is certainly a bold and bullish statement. It's not quite clear though what Sony means by 'top', which could be interpreted in a couple of ways. It could refer to out-and-out camera sales (volume or value), or perhaps how the Alpha brand is perceived – but either way Sony has Canon and Nikon squarely in its sights.
With impressive launches like the Alpha A9, A7R III and A7 III in the last 12 months, Sony's already turning up the heat on its rivals. Sony has recognized that competing brands are becoming more aggressive in the market (with Sony’s Senior General Manager of its Digital Imaging Business, Kenji Tanaka predicting we'll see mirrorless launches from Canon and Nikon soon), and intends to strengthen its products further, particularly its mirrorless range of cameras.Expanded lens range
Another key initiative from Sony is expanding its lens range over the next three years. While Sony has done well to grow its range from the ground up there are still a few gaps, and this is certainly an area where Canon and Nikon have an advantage over Sony, with both brands offering a expansive range of lenses.
Another key area that Sony is looking to develop is its professional market, by focusing on expanding its pro support services worldwide. This is another area where Canon and Nikon are well established, offering on-site support at sporting and other major events for photographers wanting kit serviced or loaned to them.
All this can only be good news for photographers, as it promises to promote healthy competition between these huge brands, and hopefully it will lead to some really exciting new products in the near future.
Welcome to our list of the best laptops you can buy in 2018. Here, you'll find the top laptops that have been carefully tested by the TechRadar editorial team. We've also just updated this guide with a new top spot for the very best laptop of 2018: the Huawei MateBook X Pro.
While the MateBook X Pro is now our pick for the best laptop in the world, in the rest of our list of the best laptops you'll find a wide array of choices, from the best gaming laptops, top budget choices, as well as the best 2-in-1 laptops that are virtually everywhere in 2018. That means you’re sure to find exactly what you’re looking for right here on this list.
Because every single laptop in this guide has been used and reviewed by us, you can be confident that only the best laptops make it on this list. Our very own price comparison tool will also make sure you get the very best deals for these top-rated laptops.The best laptops of 2018:
The Huawei MateBook X Pro is our new pick for the best laptop money can buy in 2018, after years of this list being dominated by the (still excellent) Dell XPS 13, which is now in second place. While Huawei hasn't been making laptops for as long as more established manufacturers in this list, it has absolutely knocked it out the park with the MateBook X Pro. This is a gorgeously-designed laptop with a stunning screen (albeit with a rather odd aspect ratio), and it comes packed with cutting edge components that allows it to perform brilliantly, and a battery life that runs rings around many of its rivals. It also has a very competitive price, giving you features, design and performance for quite a bit less money.
Read the full review: Huawei MateBook X Pro
Although the Dell XPS 13 has been knocked into second place by the excellent MateBook Pro X, it is still an absolutely brilliant laptop. There's a good reason why it was at the top of our best laptops list for three years running. The 2018 Dell XPS 13 is a slimmer, more powerful version of the award-winning laptop with a stunning 4K display and a gorgeous Rose Gold on Alpine White color option. Packing an 8th-generation Intel Core i5 or i7 CPU and a bezel-less ‘Infinity Edge’ display, this Dell XPS 13 is more expensive, but its still worth every penny. It’s no wonder the Dell XPS 13 continues to be the most popular Windows laptop in the world. Better yet, there’s a wide range of customization options, so you can make the Dell XPS 13 the best laptop for you.
Read the full review: Dell XPS 13
If you're after a cheap laptop that offers something a bit special, look no further than the Lenovo Yoga Book. As with all Yoga devices, the screen folds flat so you can use it either as a tablet or a laptop. To add more versatility, Lenovo has now added the option to buy it with either Windows 10 or Android 6.0 onboard - which one you choose will depend how you're more likely to use the device. The screen on this thing defies the cheap asking price and the keyboard and capacitive touch-keyboard are both fantastic too. This is a great option if you want something cheap for basic computing tasks, for creating art using the built-in Wacom digitizer or a train device for watching movies. But for more heavy lifting you'd be better off choosing one of the options above as the Intel Atom CPU in this thing is great at saving power and making the battery last for ages but not so good at super speedy processing.
Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga Book
If you're after the latest and greatest laptop from Apple, we suggest you welcome the 13-inch Macbook Pro with Touch Bar. Despite Microsoft’s claims that its Surface Book 2 is twice as powerful as Apple’s flagship MacBook Pro, it’s also more expensive at the starting level. Of course, the headline feature is the Touch Bar – it's a thin OLED display at the top of the keyboard which can be used for any number of things, whether that be auto-suggesting words as you type or offering Touch ID so you can log in with just your fingerprint. If you're a massive fan of the Macbook Pro 2017, you'll be happy with this model but there are some serious reasons why you should consider one of the Windows alternatives. As we said before, it's not as powerful, the screen is lower-res versus the competition and isn't touchscreen friendly, plus the battery is a bit disappointing, too. So, if you're open to switching to a PC, definitely consider the XPS 13 as a more modern, cheaper alternative. But, if you're a steadfast Apple diehard, this is definitely the best laptop for you!
Read the full review: Apple Macbook with Touch Bar (2017)
The new MSI GS65 Stealth has knocked our previous choice of the best gaming laptop, Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501, off this list, thanks to its excellent array of cutting edge components, which includes an 8th-generation Intel Core i7-8750H CPU and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 GPU. It's also more reasonably priced than the Zephyrus GX501, and its subtle design means that it can double as a work or study laptop without raising any eyebrows. If you're looking for a more affordable gaming laptop, however, check out the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming below.
Read the full review: MSI GS65 Stealth
Last year’s Dell XPS 15 was already one of the best laptops you could buy, but now that Dell has taken the beautiful redesign of the Dell XPS 13 and applied it here – while also making it a convertible. Well, it’s amazing. Not only do you get one of the most aesthetically pleasing 15-inch laptops on the market, but it also packs one of those new Intel Kaby Lake G-series CPUs featuring ‘discrete-class’ Radeon graphics. This means that this laptop packs serious power – even if it can get a little loud.
Read the full review: Dell XPS 15 2-in-1
If you’re looking for a thin and light gaming laptop, but you gasp whenever you see the price of the Razer Blade, the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 might be for you. Not only does this laptop pack a powerful CPU, it now includes a Nvidia GTX 1060 Max-Q – capable of running all of the latest games – in a laptop less than an inch thick. You won’t find a Nvidia MaxQ equipped laptop cheaper than the Dell Inspiron 15 7000, and it looks good, to boot.
Read the full review: Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming
When it comes to the best Chromebook laptop, you have a choice between two stark alternatives. There's the premium Chromebook Pixel, which we list further down this page, and then there's the excellent Asus Chromebook Flip C302, which combines premium features in a much more affordable package. For many people, Chromebooks are excellent and affordable laptops that are perfect for students, and the Asus Chromebook Flip C302 is easily one of the best Chromebooks, and one of the best laptops, money can buy. It comes with an Intel Core processor, full 1080p display, touchscreen, backlit keyboard and USB-C port.
Read the full review: Asus Chromebook Flip
With the Surface Book 2 (13.5-inch), Microsoft has crafted one of the most powerful 2-in-1 laptops in the world. The Surface Book 2 has some powerful enough components to handle most day-to-day tasks, and even some light gaming and video editing if you go for a model with a dedicated graphics card. Brilliant build quality and excellent battery life makes this a wonderful device for using as either a laptop, or as a powerful Windows 10 tablet. It also comes in a 15-inch version, which is more powerful and with a larger screen. If you're after a more affordable 2-in-1 device, then the Acer Switch 3, below, is well worth checking out.
Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Book 2 (13.5-inch)
If you want the Microsoft Surface Book 2 but you want to spend a lot less, the Acer Switch 3 2017 is definitely the your best option. It's designed around essentially the same concept as the Surface Book 2 and it's a less capable thanks to slightly lower power innards, but for most tasks it's a brilliant little machine. What's more, to add further value this 2-in-1 laptop/tablet comes with the keyboard upgrade which means no little extras to pay for. As usual it comes in several different versions, with USB Type-C, 8GB RAM, an IPS display and Intel Core i3 7100U CPU coming with the more expensive option.
Read the full review: Acer Switch 3
This year's iteration of the MacBook is another win for Apple, and it's once again won us over with a gorgeous design, excellent performance and best-in-class battery life. Apple has updated the processors with Intel's 7th-generation Kaby Lake range, which means you get improved performance and longer battery life without sacrificing the thin and light design that the MacBook is famous for. While the MacBook 2017 is not designed as a pure productivity machine, like the more powerful and versatile MacBook Pro above, or as a gaming machine like the Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501, it's still one of the best laptops in the world right now thanks to being a super slim and light MacBook that you can take anywhere without even noticing the weight, and being a powerful showcase for macOS High Sierra. If you're after a MacBook, this year's model is easily one of the best.
Read the full review: Apple MacBook
Designed for users hoping to avert the complicated nature of a Windows PC or Mac, Chromebooks have been a raging success in recent years as a result of their accessibility. The Google Pixelbook is no exception. Although it’s double the price of the average Chrome OS device and doesn’t come with a stylus as you might expect, the Pixelbook is built to withstand the future. It has a pair of Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports for accessories and super fast file transfers, a hinge that flips inside out for watching movies on planes and – perhaps best of all – Android app support. Now, there are still some kinks to work out, but you can access the entire Google Play store on the Pixelbook, from playing Sonic the Hedgehog to watching videos in VLC. And, with a battery life of 7 hours and 40 minutes in our own testing, you can do so for a while without recharging. If you're after a cheaper Chromebook, the Asus Chromebook Flip (which is higher up this page) is an excellent choice.
Read the full review: Google Pixelbook
Some of the very best laptops in 2017 have been 2-in-1 devices, and Lenovo has added to that list with the excellent Lenovo Yoga 920. It features a wonderfully slim design, and its build quality is exceptional. The 360 degree hinge allows you to convert the laptop into a tablet-like device, making it flexible in all senses of the word. It's cheaper than the Surface Book 2, and while it doesn't offer quite the same quality when in tablet mode, it's an excellent device with plenty of power and bags of battery life. It's definitely a worthy alternative, and it's easily one of the best laptops we've seen this year.
Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga 920
While you may have been convinced that ‘budget Ultrabook’ was an oxymoron up until this point, the Acer has turned this common misconception on its head with the Swift 3. That’s because the company has taken the all-aluminum chassis of the Acer Swift 7 and stuffed some more affordable components inside for everyone to enjoy. It doesn’t run macOS, but the Acer Swift 3 does put the age-old MacBook Air to shame in about every other regard, including the nigh-unbeatable price tag. Of course, in the process of demolishing the competition, Acer did have to cut a few corners in order to keep the price so impressively low. So although you can’t expect much in the way of an Ultra HD display or quality onboard sound, the performance benchmarks alone give even the Surface Laptop a run for its money.
We've also had a glance of the upcoming 2018 edition of the Swift 7 at CES 2018, which comes with boosted graphics and processing specs. It could be a shoe-in for a place on this list when it launches later this year.
Read the full review: Acer Swift 3
While it may not have the best keyboard in the world, the Samsung Notebook 9 is still one of the best laptops you can buy in 2018. Packed with more horsepower than the MacBook Pro, but at a much lower price, Samsung has crafted a laptop that has just as much substance as it does style. Plus, on top of its killer specs, it’s lightweight and thin, making this one of the most portable 15-inch laptops you can buy today.
Read the full review: Samsung Notebook 9Which type of laptop is best for you?
General laptops: Where the best cheap laptops are found, devices that focus more on practicality than style, portability or power. That’s not to say they can’t be fast, but you’ll typically find a non-Ultrabook clamshell laptop with an HD screen and spinning drive-based storage for less than $600 or £400.
Ultrabooks: Where you’ll find thin-and-light notebooks sporting SSD storage and display resolutions that exceed 1080p. Paired with powerful, albeit mobile-centric components and especially long battery life, the best Ultrabooks will cost a pretty penny – $700 or £500 to $2,000 or £1,800.
2-in-1 laptops: Where notebooks that double as tablets are located. The Surface Book 2 might be a ways off, but many of the best 2-in-1 laptops are available right now. Outfitted with both detachable and 360-degree rotating hinges, these hybrids are the most versatile way to experience Windows 10 (or Chrome OS) on a touchscreen.
Chromebooks: Where you’ll find the best Chromebooks running Chrome OS. These do much of what Windows and macOS can in the browser, focused on cloud storage over local, while recently getting Android app support for touchscreen models. They generally cost less than $300 or £200 and some can even withstand a slight tussle.
Gaming laptops: Need a laptop to play games (almost) just like a shiny desktop PC can? Then you’ll want one of the best gaming laptops. These machines generally cost from $800 or £600 to upwards of $3,000 or £2,800 and they’ll likely be the ones to take advantage of AMD’s laptop-grade Ryzen processors first.
Laptop-tablet hybrids: Designed from the tablet-first approach to laptop-tablet hybrids, the best Windows tablets pack beyond-HD touchscreens, sometimes with kickstands in their frames or provided via keyboard covers. These generally shine with a stylus, and range from the budget to the premium price ranges.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond wants ‘full fibre’ connections to be available to most homes and businesses by 2025, in a pledge that could aid the mobile sector’s plans to build high capacity 4G and 5G networks.
In a speech at the annual CBI dinner, Hammond once again made technology a pillar of his post-Brexit economic vision for the UK, reiterating support for startups and research into artificial intelligence (AI) and connected car technologies.
“My most important long-term challenge is to ensure that the UK continues to be at the forefront of that technological revolution, leading the world in innovation.,” he said.Full fibre Britain
However he said investment in fibre to the premise (FTTP) technologies was as essential as the construction of canals, railways and motorways in previous centuries.
The vast majority of the UK’s superfast broadband infrastructure relies on fibre to the cabinet (FTTC), which uses copper for the final few hundred metres of the connection, slowing down the theoretical maximum speed. FTTC coverage is now at 95 per cent, whereas only one million properties have FTTP access.
“If we are to achieve our ambition of a truly high-speed economy, and keep up with our competitors, then we need a step change in our approach,” he continued. “So I am now setting a new target to see full-fibre to the premises connections being available to 15 million premises, that’s the majority of homes and businesses, by 2025.”
Hammond admitted this was an ambitious target, but noted that 70 per cent of all FTTP connections had been achieved in the past 18 months.
Several companies, including Virgin Media, CityFibre, Gigaclear and Hyperoptic are building full fibre networks in part of the country. Even BT Openreach, which has faced criticism in the past for relying on FTTC, has plans to deliver ‘ultrafast’ broadband to more than 13 million properties by 2020.
However just three million of these will be FTTP and the remainder will be achieved using G.Fast, a technology which speeds up copper connections.
“We share the Chancellors’ full fibre vision for Britain,” said Openreach CEO Clive Selley. “This year we’ll double our FTTP footprint and by 2020, we will have built it to 3 million homes across the UK. We want to reach 10m premises by the mid-2020s, and believe we can ultimately fully-fibre the majority of the UK under the right conditions.”
Hammond said he would ensure the most favourable market conditions possible and even suggested there might be a day when the UK’s copper infrastructure could be deactivcated, with plans for a “full fibre” network by 2033.
Mobile operators have long called for more fibre, which can support micro network infrastructure such as small cells in urban areas, and provide backhaul for new and upgraded sites in rural areas.
At the SCWS World small cell event in London this week, several cities and businesses have noted how increased fibre availability will be essential for 5G networks given the propagation characteristics of mmWave spectrum that will be used to deliver high capacity.
- Check out the best broadband deals for May 2018
It seems that the Windows 10 April 2018 Update is starting to feel reminiscent of the Anniversary Update – in other words, lots of problems seem to be cropping up with the upgrade, and the latest gremlin is a disappearing desktop.
Yes, that’s a pretty worrying sounding one, but according to threads on Microsoft’s ‘answers’ support forum and Reddit, along with comments elsewhere online, some Windows 10 users are finding that their desktop has literally vanished after installing the update.
After rebooting and letting the April 2018 Update configure itself, affected users are left facing a completely blank desktop, with all their icons having gone walkies, and an ominous sounding error message displayed:
C:\WINDOWS\system32\config\systemprofile\Desktop is unavailable
The cause of the issue is where things get a bit sticky. As The Register reports, a computer repair shop (in the US) is pointing the finger at Avast’s antivirus software.
Although even that source admits this isn’t confirmed, and that not everyone experiencing the problem is running Avast – a fact also backed up by some affected users on Microsoft’s support forum, who don’t use that particular antivirus program.
But equally, the repair shop personnel posting on Reddit claim that 99% of the users who have reported this issue have confirmed they are running Avast Antivirus, and the shop suspects that a recent update to Avast caused this problem (which first popped up a week ago).
All this has to be balanced against the fact that Avast has come forward with a statement, telling The Register that: “We have tested this and couldn't identify any problems affecting Avast Antivirus consumer users specifically. Online user comments show that many are unfortunately experiencing problems updating to Windows 10 ‘1803’.
“We cannot rule out that a small number of Avast users may be having difficulties updating, too, but we don't see any indications that this is caused by Avast.”Investigating the issue
So where does that leave us? Obviously enough, Avast’s assertion seems pretty concrete, but then again, it’s possible the firm has missed something. Microsoft, too, is investigating the problem, so hopefully we’ll hear something from the software giant, defining exactly what the issue is, before long.
If you’re concerned about this, for the time being, you could always delay the April 2018 Update (Microsoft allows you to pause updates for up to 35 days on Windows 10 Home), although this isn’t an ideal solution in that you’re missing out on all the goodies delivered in the upgrade.
The other suggestion is to uninstall Avast before you fire up the April 2018 Update, as a precaution to help ensure that nothing is likely to conflict in any way, or cause this problem to potentially manifest itself (although a seemingly small number of folks running other antivirus products have experienced it, as noted).
If you’ve already upgraded, and are running Avast but haven’t seen any adverse effects, there’s no need to worry.
Although if you have been hit by this problem, a number of potential solutions are discussed in both the Reddit thread and on Microsoft’s help forum, although not having used them, we can’t vouch for their accuracy (and as ever, mileage may vary from system to system anyway).
Meanwhile, as mentioned, hopefully we’ll hear something official from Microsoft soon, as one thing is clear enough: this issue is affecting a number of people, and it’s a nasty one.
This matter aside, if you’ve hit any kind of bugbear with the Windows 10 April 2018 Update, then check out our extensive troubleshooting guide to solving common problems here.
- These are the best laptops of 2018
This is all part of Smart Home Week, which is in its second year, and while its got some serious names attached to it (including Ring, Yale, Philips Hue, Amazon, Google, and Tado) it's not something that's made too much of a splash. But maybe that's all about to change thanks to the savings attached to it.
There are a pretty vast range of retailers that are taking part, including Amazon, Argos, and John Lewis, but as always, we've rounded up some of the deals that we think are worth your attention below.Deals for days
As it currently stands, there are some great deals to be had on individual items, and even better discounts to be had if you bundle items together.
These are just a few of the deals available, and if Amazon's offerings aren't to your taste, you'll find discounts on Google Home speakers over at Argos.
We're reliably informed that these discounts will be running until June 5, with more deals being added as the days go on, so keep checking back to see if your desired gadget gets its price slashed.
- Want to know what the best gadgets in the world are right now? Check out: Best gadgets 2018: the top tech you can buy right now
It looks like Microsoft is continuing to work on its oft-rumored Surface Phone, with code found in the newly-released Windows 10 17672 SDK making reference to a “Factory OS Andromeda Device”.
The code, which was found by Twitter user WalkingCat, suggests that not only is Microsoft working on the Surface Phone, but that progress could be quite advanced, perhaps with a final version of the hardware ready to be tested internally.
Of course, a lot of this is guesswork based on some lines of code in Windows 10, but for many people the prospect of Microsoft continuing to work on a smartphone/laptop hybrid, and fully realising Windows 10’s mobile ambitions, is an exciting one.What is Andromeda?
The Andromeda OS that the code refers to is an upcoming version of Windows 10 that will be a modular operating system, allowing Microsoft to add or remove features that are tailored specifically to the device the software will be running on.
This follows rumors we’ve heard that the Andromeda OS would be aimed at mobile devices initially – such as the Surface Phone.
According to the code spotted by WalkingCat, Andromeda OS will support both ARM and x86 hardware. ARM hardware is usually low-powered mobile devices, while x86 is more common computing components. It looks like the Andromeda Device mentioned in the code will be an ARM device, another hint that it could be a smartphone.
The code also mentions WindowsCoreOS, a version of Windows 10 for IoT (Internet of Things) smart devices, and Polaris, the desktop interface that the OS will run.
We’ve heard nothing concrete from Microsoft about the existence of the Surface Phone, but the rumors we’ve seen so far makes it look like it could be a very interesting device, if it does actually exist.
If it does, let’s hope it’s more successful than Microsoft’s previous attempts to crack the smartphone market.
Recently we saw video evidence that a phone believed to be the Xiaomi Mi 8 had an in-display fingerprint scanner, and now we know that the Mi 8 will be announced on May 31.
Xiaomi has posted the date on Twitter and there’s no uncertainty about which phone it’s for, as the Mi 8 is mentioned by name.
That said, while we know the Xiaomi Mi 8 is coming on May 31, the presence of an in-display fingerprint scanner is still just a rumor for now, but it’s a believable one, since the Vivo X20 Plus UD, Vivo X21 and Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS already have one, so it’s a feature that’s clearly starting to appear on phones.
There are even rumors that the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 will have an in-screen scanner, in which case this could be a major, mainstream feature by the end of the year.Cheap and powerful
But if the Xiaomi Mi 8 has one it won’t just get there earlier but could also be a lot more affordable, as Xiaomi’s flagships typically undercut rivals – the Xiaomi Mi 6 for example landed at $360/£380 (around AU$480), and that’s this phone’s direct predecessor, as there is no Xiaomi Mi 7.
The Xiaomi Mi 8 could be worth getting excited about for other reasons too, as other rumors point to it having a Snapdragon 845 chipset, up to 8GB of RAM, a 4,000mAh battery, 64GB of storage, 3D facial recognition and wireless charging, which would make it a truly top-end phone.
Of course, being a Xiaomi phone it might be tricky to buy in some regions, but in the UK at least Xiaomi’s phones will finally soon be officially sold.