Sunday, January 3, 2016

IT News Head Lines (Techradar) 04/01/2016

Techradar



Buying Guide: 10 best Ultrabooks 2016: top thin and light laptops reviewed
Buying Guide: 10 best Ultrabooks 2016: top thin and light laptops reviewed

Best Ultrabooks

Ultrabooks have come a long way since they were first introduced to compete with the MacBook Air world. They're thin and light while featuring powerful Intel Core processors, fast SSD storage and superb battery life. But more than anything else they represent the bleeding edge of laptops; case in point the size shrinking Dell XPS 13, the unbelievably light Lenovo LaVie Z and Microsoft's own addition with the Surface Book.
Of course, this all means Ultrabook also come at a premium. Don't be surprised with prices that start at $999 (around £584, AU$1,064) just for the low-end and nearly $2,000 (around £1,169, AU$2,131) at the very high end.
It's an arms race in the Ultrabook world and there's no room for losers in this space, as such it's hard not to find a great machine. But if you're looking for the very best cream of the crop, you've come to the right place.
Best Ultrabooks

1. Dell XPS 13

Possibly the best laptop on the planet, Dell's latest is a masterpiece
CPU: 2.2GHz Intel Core i5-5200 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5500 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 3,200 x 1,800 | Storage: 230GB SSD | Connectivity: 802.11 AC, Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: 720p | Weight: 2.8 pounds
Gorgeous display
Super lightweight
No ethernet port
Off-centre webcam
The new Dell XPS 13 has a 13.3-inch screen, but it has the small footprint of an 11-inch notebook. Fortunately for us, the XPS 13 isn't all beauty and no brains. This laptop features the horsepower to make work and play enjoyable, and more than enough battery life to never die on you. Regardless of whether you choose to upgrade to the touchscreen quad HD+ version, or if you stand pat with the full HD model, the Dell XPS 13 will provide you with a delightful experience for years to come. And in case you're not already on-board, there are also newer models with Skylake processors.
Read the full review: Dell XPS 13
Best Ultrabooks

2. Asus ZenBook UX305

A truly excellent ultrabook at a very agreeable price point
CPU: 800MHz Intel Core M 5Y10 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5300 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch 1920x1080 | Storage: 256GB SSD | Connectivity: 802.11n + Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: 720p | Weight: 2.6 pounds | Dimensions: 12.8 x 8.9 x 0.5 inches
Very thin and light
Incredible performance
Wonky video driver
Tinny speakers
The ZenBook UX305 is a superbly-built, fully metal machine that's thin, light and very attractive. This lightweight system can easily take on any task whether its browsing the web, watching video or editing images. What's more, you get excellent battery life out of this machine all while doing. The most striking thing about the UX305 is that it comes priced at $699 or £649 (about AU$902). While it isn't exactly a shining symbol of innovation in the Ultrabook space, it's the most affordable Ultrabook out today and it won't disappoint you.
Read the full review: Asus ZenBook UX305
Best Ultrabooks

3. Surface Book

The heavy duty performance Ultrabook
CPU: 2.4GHz Intel Core i5-6300U | Graphics: Intel HD graphics 520; Nvidia GeForce graphics | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.5-inch, 3,000 x 2,000 PixelSense Display | Storage: 256GB PCIe3.0 SSD | Connectivity: 802.11ac 2x2 MIMO Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 LE | Camera: Windows 8MP rear-facing autofocus camera (1080p HD), 5MP front-facing Hello face-authentication camera (1080p HD) | Weight: 3.48 pounds | Dimensions: 12.3 x 9.14 x 0.51-0.90 (W x D x H)
Futuristic design
Seamless tablet separation
Battery life falls well below promises
A bit heavy set
The Surface Book is both the world's most powerful and thinnest Windows 10 PC in the world as well as an excellent laptop. This is all thanks to its ability to swap between being a really terrific notebook and tablet. Plus with all the power of an Intel Skylake processor and a discrete Nvidia GPU, this machine outpaces almost every other Ultrabook. The only thing users might find annoying is how it's heavier and bigger than most 13-inch laptops thanks to its 3:2 aspect ratio and 13.5-inch screen.
Read the full review: Surface Book
best ultrabook

4. Lenovo Yoga 900

Performance meets design, Lenovo's latest flagship is a jewel
CPU: 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-6500U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch QHD+ 3,200 x 1,800 IPS display | Storage: 512GB SSD | Connectivity: Intel Wireless-AC 8260; Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: 720p webcam | Weight: 2.84 pounds | Dimensions: 12.75 x 8.86 x 0.59 inches
Gorgeous display
Slim design
Shallow keyboard
Display drivers issues
If you're all about style and want power to back it up, things don't get much better than Lenovo's latest flagship hybrid Ultrabook. It's much more punch than its Intel Core M-toting predecessor thanks to trading in Core i5 and i7 CPUs, and it has bigger batteries to boot. Though it's no longer one of the lightest Windows laptops to date, the Yoga 900 still retains an incredibly sharp and thin design. Although it comes at a steep price, such panache will be worth it for style nuts.
Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga 900
Best Ultrabooks

5. Asus ZenBook Pro UX501

An attractive alternative to a certain fruit-flavoured laptop
CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-4720HQ | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, 3840 x 2160 IPS Display | Storage: 512GB PCIe x4 SSD | Connectivity: Intel PRO Wireless AC 7260 + BT Wireless LAN Combo | Camera: Built-in 720P Video Camera | Weight: 5.0 pounds | Dimensions: 15.08 x 10.04 x 0.84 inches
Bright, vibrant screen
Excellent performance
Feels heavy
Mediocre battery life
If you're looking for a laptop with a little more meat on its bones but don't want to break the bank, the Asus ZenBook Pro UX501 is a stylish contender. It features a bright, vibrant 4K display and simply flies with the fastest storage drive around. While it's not the lightest Ultrabook around, it comes with a very capable processor and a dedicated graphics card to handle some light gaming too. The UX501's meaty innards and affordability make it an attractive option for content creators and media buffs alike.
Read the full review: Asus ZenBook Pro UX501
best ultrabook

6. Lenovo LaVie Z

The lightest Ultrabook in the world
CPU: 2.40GHz Intel Core i7-5500U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphic 5500 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch WQHD (2560 x 1440) LED anti-glare | Storage: 256GB SSD | Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 ac and Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: 720p HD | Weight: 1.87 pounds | Dimensions: 12.56 x 0.67 x 8.35 inches
Core i7 processor
Excellent WQHD screen
Mediocre battery life
Astronomical price tag
By creating the 1.87-pound LaVie Z, Lenovo has created the lightest laptop in the world. Aside from its lightweight chassis, the Lavie Z offers performance and display are among the best available today. However, the laptop's somewhat questionable build quality, inferior battery life, and inflated price tag are qualities that could turn many off from what is an otherwise splendid device.
Read the full review: Lenovo LaVie Z
best ultrabook

7. HP EliteBook Folio 1020 G1

A thin, attractive business laptop posing as an Ultrabook
CPU: 1.2GHz dual-core Intel Core M-5Y71 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5300 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: value | Storage: 256GB M.2 SSD | Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0; dual-band 802.11ac (B/G/N), dual-band Wi-Fi | Camera: 720p webcam | Weight: 2.68-pound | Dimensions: 12.2 x 8.27 x 0.62-inch
Sleek design and tough construction
Fingerprint scanner, enterprise security
Underpowered Intel Core M performance
No full-sized SD card reader
Although it has the look and body of an Ultrabook, the HP EliteBook Folio 1020 G1 is very much a business laptop in disguise. Underneath its MacBook Air like exterior, this machine packs plenty of enterprise perks including fingerprint scanner, enterprise security and the durable build quality to meet a Military Specifications certification. At the same time though, the HP Folio 1020 G1 has a gorgeous aluminum and fanless design that's atypical of business-class notebooks. Add in a gorgeous QHD screen, comfortably ergonomic keyboard, and this premium business machine is well worth its slightly upscale price tag.
Read the full review: HP EliteBook Folio 1020 G1
Best Ultrabooks

8. Acer Aspire S7

Acer's luxurious laptop is an ultraportable star
CPU: 2.4 GHz Intel Core i7-550U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5500 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 touchscreen | Storage: 256GB SSD | Connectivity: value | Camera: value | Weight: value | 12.72 x 8.78 x 0.51 | Dimensions: 12.72 x 8.78 x 0.51 inches
Attractive glass design
Full-day battery life
Screen limited to 1080p
Too much bloatware
If you have a passion for white electronics, the Aspire S7's looks alone may seal the deal, but the laptop is more than just a pretty face. Acer packs in Intel's Broadwell Core i7 processor, a battery that lasts close to a full work day, plenty of storage and RAM all into a sleek body. The Aspire S7 is an attractive and powerful laptop, but not one without compromises. If you're willing to invest a little time to removing bloatware and can live with a keyboard with the shallow key travel, then the Aspire S7 rewards you with a very capable computing experience that also looks stunning on your desk.
Read the full review: Acer Aspire S7
Best Ultrabooks

9. Toshiba Kirabook

A high-res Ultrabook that's easy on the eyes
CPU: 2.4GHz Intel Core i7-5500U | Graphics: Intel® HD Graphics 5500 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3 inch 2560 x 1440 WQHD touchscreen | Storage: 256GB SSD | Connectivity: Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7265 + Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: HD webcam | Weight: 2.9 pounds | Dimensions: 12.4 x 8 x 0.37 inches
Stylish design
Good battery life
Expensive
Dim, bendy screen
The Toshiba Kirabook (otherwise known as the Kira in the UK) sits at the higher end of the Ultrabook spectrum. It offers a high-res screen and a fully metal body that feels so premium, it even gives the MacBook a run for its money. While there were a few missteps with the annoying keyboard and dim screen, you'll be pleased with this long lasting machine that's easy on the eyes.
Read the full review: Toshiba Kirabook
Best Ultrabooks

10. Toshiba Satellite Radius 12

The best 4K screen available on an Ultrabook today
CPU: 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-6500U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, 4K Ultra HD (3,840 x 2,160) TruBrite LED backlit touchscreen | Storage: 256GB SSD | Connectivity: Intel Dual-Band Wireless-AC 7265; Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: HD webcam | Weight: 2.9 pounds | Dimensions: 11.8 x 8.2 x 0.61 inches
Smart design and ergonomics
Incredibly colorful screen
Strange keyboard layout
Dismal battery life
High resolution screens have become synonymous with Ultrabooks but few have a true 4K screen and that's where the Toshiba Satellite Radius 12 comes into impress. Packing a vibrant and very color accurate screen, this 12.5-inch hybrid notebook is one of the new Technicolor-certified devices on the market making it an excellent choice for photographers and those in media production. That said, it has a few flaws including a shrunken keyboard and competitively shorter battery life.
Read the full review: Toshiba Satellite Radius 12











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Review: Updated: Toshiba Satellite Radius 12
Review: Updated: Toshiba Satellite Radius 12

Introduction and design

Toshiba notebooks and 4K screens almost seem mutually exclusive. Just about every laptop in the Japanese electronic firm's portfolio comes with an Ultra HD (UHD) option.
The Satellite Radius 12 comes as the company's latest and smallest convertible laptop yet to go 4K. The 12.5-inch Ultrabook features a stunningly vibrant and sharp screen with a claim to fame of being Technicolor certified.
Of course, in today's Ultrabook world, high-resolution displays have become commonplace, with stiff competition from the Dell XPS 13 and Lenovo Yoga 900. Although all three notebooks are outfitted with nearly the same hardware, down to an identical Intel Core i7 processor, the Toshiba Satellite Radius 12 comes out on top in some regards.
However, this small convertible notebook also has a handful of disappointing missteps that hold it back from Ultrabook perfection.
Toshiba Satellite Radius 12 review

Design

Much like its larger sibling, the Satellite Radius 15, the Radius 12 is a gorgeous, modernly designed machine. The exterior is completely wrapped with dark, brushed aluminum.
The all metal body is also accented with bits of black, rubbery plastic you'll find along the edges. The extra bit of rubber at the rear of the Radius 12 is an especially nice touch, as it adds a soft and grippable texture for towing around the laptop.
On the interior of this notebook, the bottom lip of the screen juts out enough to comfortably rest your thumb against it while using the device as a tablet. Thanks to its small, 12.5-inch screen size and relatively light, 3-pound weight, this is one hybrid device you'll be able to use regularly as a Windows 10 tablet, too.
The laptop's overall look is stately, reserved and sophisticated. From a distance, it looks like a plain and uncommonly thin business laptop. The Radius 12 won't catch much attention in the office, and that's not something I can say about the flashier Dell XPS 13, with its unique 11-inch chassis or the Lenovo Yoga 900's blinged-out watchband hinge.
Toshiba Satellite Radius 12 review

Bad touch

Although Toshiba made some smart decisions with the Radius 12's aesthetic and ergonomics, this machine has a quirky keyboard.
Given its 12.5-inch screen, the keyboard is understandably smaller, but the keys are frustratingly short both in terms of key travel and the physical shape of the keys. Every letter and punctuation mark key seems a bit squished – but there's plenty of room along the sides and above the top of the keyboard deck for larger buttons.
Even the keyboard's layout has been rearranged in an odd fashion, starting with the tilde key, which has been repositioned beside the left alt key. Meanwhile, dedicated page up and down keys were haphazardly jammed just above the arrow keys into the space typically reserved for the right shift key.
Toshiba Satellite Radius 12 review
Thankfully, the trackpad was spared any size reduction and it's actually spacious and responsive for navigating the laptop's 12.5-inch screen. That said, this broad pointing device is only made with plastic, so it lacks the same smoothness of a glass touchpad found on Ultrabooks like the Dell XPS 13 or the Surface Book. Instead, the touchpad is actually textured with a brushed finish.
The coarse pattern is a helpful touch to inform you of any accidental cursor movements should you accidentally glide your fingers across the touchpad.

Specifications and value

The Radius 12 is one tight little package and, thanks to it 12.5-inch screen, is a bit smaller than other 13-inch Ultrabooks. The notebook's overall footprint is only 11.8 x 8.2 x 0.61 inches or 300 x 208 x 15mm (W x D x H). By comparison, the 12.75 x 8.86 x 0.59-inch (323 x 225 x 15mm) Lenovo Yoga 900 is larger. Meanwhile, the Dell XPS 13 is a bit wider but narrower than the Toshiba 2-in-1, measuring 11.97 x 7.87 x 0.35 0.59 inches (304 x 200 x 9-15mm).
In terms of weight, all three laptops are so closely matched to the point where a few fractions of a pound won't matter much. Weighing in at 2.9 pounds (1.32kg), the Radius 12 is a light machine that won't drag you down like a MacBook Pro. It even beats out the XPS 13's weight by 0.03 pounds (0.01kg) but it's heavier than the Yoga 900 by 0.06 pounds (0.03kg).
Toshiba Satellite Radius 12 review

Spec Sheet

Here is the Toshiba Satellite Radius 12 configuration sent to techradar for review:
  • CPU: 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-6500U (dual-core, 4M Cache, up to 3.1 GHz with Turbo Boost)
  • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520
  • RAM: 8GB LPDDR3 (1,600MHz)
  • Screen: 13.3-inch, 4K Ultra HD (3,840 x 2,160) TruBrite LED backlit touchscreen
  • Storage: 256GB SATA SSD
  • Ports: 1 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 3.0 w/Sleep and Charge, 1 x USB Type C, SD card reader, headphone/mic combo jack
  • Connectivity: Intel Dual-Band Wireless-AC 7265; Bluetooth 4.0
  • Camera: HD webcam with TruTalk dual microphones
  • Weight: 2.9 pounds
  • Size: 11.8 x 8.2 x 0.61inches (W x D x H)
The Toshiba Radius 12 is priced as a premium Ultrabook, and for the configuration you see, it'll cost you $1,249 (about £999). In Australia, the only 4K screen model available comes with a 512GB solid-state drive for AU$2,799.
The good news? This particular hybrid is more affordable, with a $1,599 (£1,149, AU$2,499) Dell XPS 13 getting you almost all the same specs save for a lower-res 3,200 x 1,800 display. The Lenovo Yoga 900 configured identically as the Dell Ultrabook (again, save for a 3,200 x 1,800 screen), comes in a 2-in-1 laptop shell for $1,199 (£1,299, AU$2,399) – just a tad less.
Toshiba Satellite Radius 12 review
If having an Ultra HD screen to gawk at isn't a priority, there's also a Full HD and Intel Core i5-powered version of the Radius 12 that could be had for $1,099 (£849, AU$2,399). There's isn't a comparable less-than-4K version of the Yoga 900, but the XPS 13 is also available with a 1080p screen and the same processor for $1,099 (£949, AU$1,999).
Though the Radius 12 isn't as affordable as the Yoga 900, it's not that much more expensive. Plus, for the extra cheddar, you get a more vibrant and sharper screen and slightly faster performance. The Dell XPS 13 still remains to be one of the best laptops in existence. If the whole convertible craze means nothing to you, that's the machine I would recommend above all else.

Performance and features

Toshiba's Radius 12 is a lithe beauty on the outside, it's a beast when it comes to performance. The machine's Intel Core i7 processor had more than enough power to drive the 4K screen without the slightest hints of slowing down, even when using multiple applications, including editing photos in Lightroom.
Furthermore, our benchmark testing revealed the Toshiba 2-in-1 to be a touch faster than the Dell XPS 13 and Lenovo Yoga 900, despite both machines having to power a lower-res screen.

Benchmarks

Here's how the Toshiba Satellite Radius 12 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:
  • 3DMark: Cloud Gate: 5,707; Sky Diver: 3,484; Fire Strike: 797
  • Cinebench CPU: 317 points; Graphics: 37 fps
  • GeekBench: 3,191 (single-core); 6,797 (multi-core)
  • PCMark 8 (Home Test): 2,340 points
  • PCMark 8 Battery Life: 3 hours and 42 minutes
Toshiba Satellite Radius 12 review
Although all three of these laptops come with nearly identical hardware inside, the Radius 12 leads the benchmark race in processing power. The 12-inch convertible churned out a PCMark 8 score of 2,340 points, just a little ahead of the Dell XPS 13's 2,276-point score, while the Lenovo Yoga 900 trails behind with 2,261 points.
On the graphics end, the Radius 12 is also in the lead, as it achieved a Sky Diver score of 3,494 points. By comparison, the Dell Ultrabook turned in a 3,462 point performance, while the Lenovo hybrid came dead last, with a score of 2,931.
Overall, this is a tight race and there aren't too many outstanding discrepancies in performance to make a significant difference. Each machine is just as quick as the other at everything from loading web pages to rendering movies.
Toshiba Satellite Radius 12 review
That said, the Radius 12's most glaring deficiency is battery life. The 12-inch convertible only lasted for 3 hours and 42 minutes on our PCMark 8 battery test, meanwhile the XPS 13 kept chugging along for 4 hours and 39 minutes. The Lenovo Yoga 900 outlasted both, finally clocking out after 5 hours and 6 minutes.
Just 4 hours and 22 minutes was the longest runtime I was able to squeeze out of the Radius 12 during our own battery rundown test via local video loop. If you're looking for a longer lasting machine, you're better off with the Lenovo Yoga 900, which ran for an impressive 7 hours in the same test. The Dell XPS 13 can also get you through a long flight, with 5 hours and 51 minutes of local video playback.
Toshiba Satellite Radius 12 review

Photography-grade screen

Though the Radius 12 has some impermissible flaws between its odd keyboard and short battery life, almost all could be forgiven with its excellent display. The 4K screen on this hybrid is one of the most colorful displays I've ever seen, resolving so many more distinct shades of color while offering excellent contrast to boot.
It's been a dream to work with an almost 100% color accurate screen for the last few weeks while editing photos in Lightroom. Beyond media production, the screen is simply amazing for watching movies at a much higher level of sharpness and color depth.
And to top off the picture quality, the Harman Kardon speakers conduct a rich audio experience filled with plenty of bass, if you're a fan of explosions and hot beats.

Verdict

The Toshiba Satellite Radius 12 seems like such a promising laptop, incorporating a powerful processor, 4K screen and all the versatility of a hybrid laptop packed into a small Ultrabook. However, basic flaws hamper this machine in a big way, making it hard to recommend for anyone but creative types with the keenest eye for color accuracy.

We liked

The 4K screen is simply spectacular. Whether you're a photographer or just looking to watch some movies on this laptop, the vibrancy and color accuracy of the Radius 12's screen is among the best I've ever seen.
At the same time, the solid performance you can get out of this machine shows that 4K Ultrabook have at last come into their own as reliable devices for life and work. Well, so long as this particular laptop is plugged into a wall socket.

We disliked

Although I really enjoy playing around with Radius 12, it suffers from some glaring issues that hamper everyday use namely the keyboard for starters. Layout issues aside, the keys themselves are simply too small to comfortably type on for long stretches, and there's no reason for the buttons to be as short as they are.
I'm not a fan of the short battery life, either. With an Ultrabook, you come expecting a battery life of five hours at a minimum, and the Radius 12 doesn't deliver on this. Instead, you'll be lucky to get four hours of usage out of this 12-inch convertible, while some key competitors can last for nearly twice as long.

Final verdict

The Toshiba Satellite Radius 12 is an attractive little package, with its reserved looks and one of the industry's best 4K displays. While this laptop is clearly batting in the Ultrabook major leagues, it simply suffers too many flaws to compete with nigh-perfected systems, like the Dell XPS 13 and Lenovo Yoga 900. Both machines, hands down, offer better keyboard and much longer battery life to boot.
Though the Dell XPS 13 is the most expensive option, this Ultrabook is also one of the best designed machines that's currently hard to beat. The Radius 12 appeals most to creative professionals who need a super portable laptop with an extremely color accurate screen. Otherwise, I would strongly recommend the refined, longer-lasting Yoga 900 as a lower-cost convertible alternative.











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DJI's new software update keeps your drone in line
DJI's new software update keeps your drone in line
Personal drones are some of the hottest gadgets of the moment - but how do drone makers ensure their customers aren't flying drugs into prisons, illegally spying on their neighbours or interfering with manned aircraft?
Geofencing software seems to be the best idea we have right now: code built into the drone that identifies its location and prevents pilots from flying the unmanned aerial vehicles somewhere that they shouldn't.
Now Chinese manufacturer DJI has pushed out a beta version of a geofencing system that it hopes will keep drones away from airports, military bases, protected wildlife spots and so on.

Drone rangers

Right now the beta software is an optional upgrade for its Phantom 3 and Inspire 1 drones, though a full and release is expected soon. The new update can be downloaded direct from the DJI website and the feature is likely to be integrated into all future models.
"Users will have access to live information about areas temporarily restricted from flight due to forest fires, major stadium events, VIP travel and other changing circumstances," says DJI. "The system will also show restricted areas around locations like prisons, power plants and other sensitive areas where drone flight would raise non-aviation security concerns."
It is possible to unlock certain regions if you're a verified user - in other words, if DJI knows who you are and can hold you accountable for any dangerous drone flying you might partake in. Some high-security areas, such as Washington DC, can't be unlocked at all.











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The Oculus Touch VR controllers won't launch with the Rift
The Oculus Touch VR controllers won't launch with the Rift
It's going to be a big, big year for virtual reality, with next-gen headsets from the likes of Oculus, HTC and Sony all scheduled to go on sale to consumers during the next 12 months.
Nevertheless you can still expect some bumps along the VR road: Oculus has announced that the Touch controllers that were originally intended to accompany its Rift headset are now going to be delayed until the second half of the year.
The controllers were unveiled with much fanfare back in June and let you interact more naturally with virtual reality worlds. As for the Rift itself, Oculus promises pre-orders are coming very soon, with an on-sale date pegged for Q1 2016 - you're just going to have to make do with the bundled Xbox One controller to begin with.

Touchy feely

"On Touch hardware, we've made significant advances in ergonomics, and we're implementing many changes that make Touch even more comfortable, reliable, and natural," says Oculus in its blog post. "We're also implementing changes that improve hand pose recognition."
"We're also outputting larger numbers of pre-production runs, which means we can get a lot more Touch hardware in the hands of developers who need it," the post continues. "The feedback on Touch has been incredibly positive, and we know this new timeline will produce an even better product, one that will set the bar for VR input."
"Sometimes you have to make tough calls and do the right thing," tweeted out Oculus founder Palmer Luckey as the news broke. "The design and capabilities of Touch will flow through to future generations of hardware - setting the right bar is important."











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How to get more from Windows 10
How to get more from Windows 10

How to get more from Windows 10

How to get more from Windows 10
Windows 10 is a powerhouse of an operating system. Simply put, it's Microsoft's best yet, with great new features – some of which you're probably already using every day.
Fortunately, there are many other features hidden away. If you're not using these tools you're just scratching the surface of what your computer can do.
For example, did you know that you can do away with a lot of the keyboard and mouse work you're used to, simply by using the super intelligent built-in voice recognition assistant called Cortana? This is no Paper Clip 2.0 – Cortana can help you be seriously productive with very little effort on your part.
There are plenty of other hidden secrets too, and some are so simple you'll be kicking yourself you didn't know about them sooner!

1. Use your voice to control your PC

How to get more from Windows 10
The Taskbar searches for things on the internet or your machine. But typing is a nuisance – why not just verbally ask for what you want? Activate Cortana voice control by tapping the mic button in the search box.
You can also start it by saying "Hey Cortana". To do this, click inside the search box, hit 'Notebook > Settings' and toggle next to 'Let Cortana respond to Hey Cortana'.

2. Leverage the power of Cortana

How to get more from Windows 10
Now that you've learnt how to activate Cortana easily, you'll want to find out what you can do with it. One of our favourite commands is to set a reminder for something.
For example, launch Cortana and say, "Remind me to buy some milk on [date] at [time]" to set a reminder. Find out what else Cortana can help with simply by saying "Help" when you ask for Cortana next time.

3. Choose when you want to restart

How to get more from Windows 10
A major Windows 8 irritation was the sudden restarting of your machine after an update – greatly inconvenient if you were in the middle of something.
Windows 10 allows you to select when you want your PC to restart. Type 'update' into the search box and select 'Windows Update Settings'. Now choose a restart time. To get a restart notification, go to Advanced options.

4. Change the way Windows looks

How to get more from Windows 10
Windows 10 is one of the best-looking operating systems around, but you can make it look just how you like. Right-click the desktop and select 'Personalise'.
In the left hand menu you can choose from a variety of visual settings. Choose a different background, change the accent colour, or a different theme, pre-installed or from many available on the Microsoft site.

5. Make the Start menu yours

How to get more from Windows 10
Beyond making the desktop look great, you can also customise the Start menu. Again, go to the Personalisation settings menu (as in the previous step) and click 'Start' in the menu.
You can change the way apps appear in the menu, and – most importantly – you can make the Start menu full screen when you click it by toggling 'On' next to 'Use Start full screen'.

6. Create multiple desktops

How to get more from Windows 10
You can create multiple, separate work environments. For example, you can have work and play desktops. To create a new desktop, hit the 'Task View' button in the Taskbar and click the 'New desktop' button. When you open a window in an individual desktop, it will only appear there.
Hit the 'Task View' button again to explore each desktop.

7. Record anything

How to get more from Windows 10
The Game DVR mode allows you to grab videos of your screen while playing a game, or capture videos within any application on screen.
So, if you're having a problem and you want to show a friend what's going on, you can easily record it. Just hold the Windows key and press 'G' to bring it up. Then hit the red button to start recording. Do the same to stop it.

8. Use Tablet mode

How to get more from Windows 10
To get a feel for what Windows 10 is like on a tablet, sample Tablet mode on your laptop or desktop PC. Click on the 'Start menu > Settings > System' and select Tablet mode in the left hand menu.
Toggle the switch under 'Make Windows more touchfriendly...' to turn it on. For super-quick access to Tablet mode, click the 'Action Centre' icon in the Taskbar and select 'Tablet mode'.

9. Bypass the login screen

How to get more from Windows 10
The login screen is handy for those wishing to prevent other people from accessing Windows, but if you don't need it, you can get rid of it, allowing quicker desktop access.
Right-click the Start button and select 'Run' from the menu that appears. Type 'netplwiz' and hit OK. Uncheck the box where it says 'Users must enter a username and password to use this computer'.

10. Manage your hard drive

How to get more from Windows 10
Apps, games and large files such as photos can quickly fill up your hard drive. Thankfully, you can see what's taking up the most space and manage it.
Open the Start menu, click 'Settings > System' and click 'Storage' in the left-hand menu. Click on your hard drive for a storage overview, and click on each area to see individual programs or files. You can uninstall from there.











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Buying Guide: 15 best laptops you can buy in 2016
Buying Guide: 15 best laptops you can buy in 2016

Best laptops

Laptops are on the rise again thanks to Windows 10's arrival, Nivida's efficient Maxwell graphics cards, and fresh new Skylake processors from Intel. Notebooks once thought to be replaced by tablets are more plentiful and diverse than ever between gaming laptops that hook up to liquid-coolers, thin and light Ultrabooks to incredibly affordable Chromebooks. Even Microsoft has gotten into the game with the Surface Book, the company's first ever laptop.
With so many options to choose from, picking the best laptop for your needs is more important than ever. Those who crave fast boot up times and a lightweight machine to carry might drool over an Ultrabook. Serious gamers will gravitate towards gaming laptops tailored to their graphical and processing needs, meanwhile those after flexibility might fancy a convertible laptop-tablet hybrid.
It might seem overwhelming at first – what with all of the available choices – but we're here to help you find the best laptop for you. Believe us when we say that there is a perfect laptop out there for you. With this guide, you'll find the absolutely best machines.
Best laptops

1. Dell XPS 13

Dell's latest laptop is a masterpiece ahead of the curve
CPU: 2.2Ghz Intel Core i5-5200 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5500 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch 3,200 x 1,800 UltraSharp QHD+ touch display | Storage: 256GB SSD
Gorgeous display
Super lightweight
No Ethernet port
Off-center webcam
The Dell XPS 13 isn't just an astonishingly thin and light laptop, it's a revolution in design. Fitting a 13.3-inch screen into a 11-inch laptop frame is no small feat, but Dell has pulled off a miracle creating a nearly borderless infinity display. This is also one powerful and long lasting machine that only gets better with the new Skylake processors, 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.
Read the full review: Dell XPS 13
Best laptops

2. Asus ZenBook UX305

Better than the MacBook and at a fraction of the price
CPU: 800MHz Intel Core M 5Y10| Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5300 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD 1,920 x 1,080 (matte) | Storage: 256GB SSD
Thin and light
Vibrant matte screen
Tinny speakers
Troublesome video driver
The Asus ZenBook UX305 might look like a MacBook Air from every angle, but it's a better machine in almost every way. It's thinner, lighter and even more attractive in some ways with its purple-tinged aluminum body. With a sharp display, a hearty helping of storage space and a fanless design to make it thin and silent, this machine is one hot ticket. Most importantly, though, you can get this great package at a very affordable price.
Read the full review: Asus ZenBook UX305
Best laptops

3. Asus Chromebook Flip

A premium Chromebook that backflips on command
CPU: 1.8GHz Rockchip 3288-C | Graphics: ARM Mali T624 | RAM: 2GB LPDDR3 SDRAM | Screen: 10.1-inch, WXGA (1,280 x 800) IPS multi-touch display | Storage: 16GB eMMC
Fully metal construction
Excessive battery life
Large screen bezels
When most people think of Chromebooks they might expect some cheap, plastic device that's only just good enough to get them by through a day of surfing the web. Asus on the other hand offers the fully metal Chromebook Flip that doubles as a tablet just for the heck of it. The 10.1-inch, 2-in-1 Chromebook is an exceedingly light laptop that feels premium to the touch. Thanks to a little known Rockchip processor, it can also outrun most other Chrome OS machines and out last them with its eight hour battery life.
Read the full review: Asus Chromebook Flip
Best laptops

4. 13-inch MacBook Air (early 2015)

Light and faster than ever
CPU: 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 6000 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, LED-backlit glossy display (1440 x 900) | Storage: 256GB SSD
Excellent battery life
Nippy storage
Dated design
Low-res display
While the latest MacBook Air sticks to its guns with a dated design and low-resolution screen, it's not showing any signs of slowing down on the performance front. Thanks to a capable CPU, this thin and light machine can handle everything from simple web browsing to serious number crunching and even some light gaming. Sure the New MacBook is lighter and thinner, but it does not come with the Air's spread of full-sized ports nor a 13 hour battery life to last you though an entire day.
Read the full review: 13-inch MacBook Air (early 2015)
Best laptops

5. Surface Pro 4

The best iteration in Windows 10 tablets
CPU: 2.4GHz Intel Core i5-6300U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 12.3-inch, 2,736 x 1,824 PixelSense display | Storage: 256GB
Larger, sharper screen
Vastly improved Type Cover
Type Cover still sold separately
Battery life hasn't improved much
There's a new reigning king of Windows tablets and its name is the Surface Pro 4. Building on everything the last iteration got right, this new slate introduces a larger and more sensitive touchscreen perfected for everything from penning documents to painting images. Thanks to a newly redesigned island keyboard, tapping away on the Type Cover feels almost as good as a real laptop keyboard and the glass trackpad feels simply superb. Internally the new model also features a faster processor and storage, all in a shell that's actually lighter and thinner than the Surface Pro 3. Overall, these improvements make the Surface Pro 4 an affordable Windows tablet that really can replace your laptop.
Read the full review: Surface Pro 4
Best laptops

6. Surface Book

The ultimate Windows 10 hybrid laptop
CPU: 2.4GHz Intel Core i5-6300U | Graphics: Intel HD graphics 520; Nvidia GeForce graphics | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.5-inch, 3,000 x 2,000 PixelSense Display | Storage: 256GB PCIe3.0 SSD
Futuristic design
Seamless tablet separation
Battery life falls well below promises
Major updates are still in tow
If you're looking for a more traditional notebook, Microsoft knocked it out of the park with its first ever laptop, the Surface Book. Though it has a peculiar 3:2 aspect ratio and 13.5-inch screen that's outside of the norm for most Ultrabooks, it's one of the best designed convertible laptops ever created. As a standalone tablet, otherwise known as the Clipboard, it's the most powerful and thinnest Windows 10 computers in the world. Then docking the screen into the keyboard base affords it even more performance by way of a discrete GPU.
Read the full review: Surface Book
Best laptops

7. Toshiba Chromebook 2

One of the best full HD Chromebooks
CPU: 2.16GHz Intel Celeron N2840 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, 1920 x 1090 TruBrite TFT display | Storage: 16GB SSD
Gorgeous 1080p screen
Thin and light
Blinding screen glare
Mismatched casing parts
If a long lasting machine is what you seek, you should invest in a Chromebook. The Toshiba Chromebook 2 lasts for six and a half hours and packs a wonderfully colorful full HD screen to boot. It's a better package compared to most Windows laptops you can pickup at this low, low price. Although the Toshiba Chromebook 2 is looking a bit old now with its last generation processor, it can still hold its own, and even today it remains to be one of the more attractive Chrome OS machines - better yet, Toshiba has announced it updated the Chromebook 2 with Broadwell Celeron and Core i3 processors.
Read the full review: Toshiba Chromebook 2
Best laptops

8. New MacBook 2015

Gorgeous, thin and light
CPU: 1.1GHz dual-core Intel Core M | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5300 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 12-inch, 2,304 x 1,440 LED-backlit IPS display | Storage: 256GB SSD
Terrific design
Surprisingly good speakers
Runs sluggish at times
Expensive
If you want a real bombshell of a laptop, look no further than the extremely slender MacBook. It's come a long way from the days of being the MacBook Pro's rounded, plastic underling. Apple reintroduced the MacBook as one of the world's thinnest and lightest laptops featuring a razor sharp aluminum unibody design and high-resolution Retina display, which still hasn't made its way into the MacBook Air. The nigh travel-less keyboard takes a little getting used and forget about using ports without an adapter, but if you can get over these humps, this machine will turn heads and make your friends jealous.
Read the full review: New MacBook
Best laptops

9. Lenovo Yoga 900

A thoughtfully refined 2-in-1 convertible
CPU: 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-6500U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch QHD+ 3,200 x 1,800 IPS display | Storage: 512GB SSD
Gorgeous display
Slim design
Shallow keyboard
Display drivers issues
Whereas the Lenovo Yoga Pro 3 had a winning design and underwhelming performance, the Yoga 900 is the full package. By integrating more powerful Intel Core I-series processors and a larger battery, Lenovo's latest flagship convertible can stand toe-to-toe with most Ultrabooks and even Microsoft's latest Surface Book. All this extra power has only made the Yoga 900 slightly thicker and heavier, however, it still largely retains a very thin and flexible frame that folds back into tablet mode.
Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga 900
Best laptops

10. HP Spectre x360

Striking the perfect balance between a laptop and tablet
CPU: 2.2GHz Intel Core i5-5200 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5500 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 FHD Radiance LED-backlit touchscreen | Storage: 256GB SSD
Superbly thin Excellent performance and battery life
Too heavy for tablet usage
Weirdly wide trackpad
The HP Spectre x360 comes easily as one of our most recommended 2-in-1 hybrid laptops. It's one of the best looking and most powerful hybrid notebooks out today, and the vibrantly bright display doesn't hurt either. Although it weighs nearly as much as a 13-inch MacBook Pro Retina, its dimensions put it more in line with a MacBook Air and the fully metal body is a nice touch too, even if it ends up making it a tad bit too heavy for prolonged tablet use. Users who want even more power should look to the Bang & Olufsen limited edition version, which comes with newer Skylake processors.
Read the full review: HP Spectre x360
Best laptops

11. MacBook Pro 13-inch with Retina display (early 2015)

Robust and stunning, the MacBook Pro is as good as old reliable
CPU: 2.7GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 | Graphics: Intel Iris Graphics 6100 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch IPS, 2,560 x 1,600 pixels| Storage: 128GB SSD
Faster Processor
Superb battery life
Underdeveloped Force Touch
Unchanged design
The MacBook Pro is a tried and true road warrior. Whether you're a student, graphic designer, desk jockey, photographer, DJ or a simple everyday user, this is one of the most versatile and best laptops ever made. Along with delivering great performance and amazing battery life, this latest MacBook Pro comes with Apple's new fangled Force Touch trackpad giving you access to more gesture commands. It's an even more enticing option when you add up all the bundled freebies including office programs and software upgrades.
Read the full review: MacBook Pro 13-inch with Retina display (early 2015)
Best laptops

12. HP Spectre x2

A budget Windows tablet filled to the gills with tech
CPU: 1.2GHz Intel Core m7-6Y75 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 12-inch, 1,920 x 1,280 WUXGA+ IPS WLED-backlit touchscreen | Storage: 256GB SSD
Ultrathin design
Exceptional Core M performance
Massive bezels
Recessed kickstand
While the Surface Pro 4 has established itself as one of the very best Windows 10 tablets in the market, the HP Spectre x2 is another standout device that comes at a very attractive price. This Intel Core M-powered 12-inch tablet is a smidge thinner while offering long battery life. Aesthetically, the Spectre x2 feels like an even more premium device with a solid metal body and stylish bar-shaped kickstand. It also comes jam packed with tech including a quadruple speakers and a total of three cameras – that said, if you're looking for the best stylus experience, the Surface Pro 4 still takes the cake.
Read the full review: HP Spectre x2
Best laptops

13. Dell Inspiron 13 7000

A great all-around laptop-tablet hybrid for discerning students
CPU: 2.4GHz Intel Core i7-5500 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5500 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 FHD IPS touchscreen | Storage: 256GB SSD
Attractive and sturdy design
Speedy powerful performance
Lackluster battery life
A little hefty
Then again for those who don't need the latest tablet on the block and rather stick to their guns with something more traditional, the Dell Inspiron 13 7000 is a lovely fit. With a metal chassis coated in soft-touch rubber, this Special Edition 13-inch laptop hardly feels like a budget machine. Aside from the more than serviceable computing experience you'll get out of this notebook, the screen also flips back giving you a 1,080p tablet experience.
Read the full review: Dell Inspiron 13 7000
Best laptops

14. Acer Chromebook 15 C910

This 15-inch Chromebook has it all
CPU: 2.2GHz dual-core Intel Core i5-5200 | Graphics: Intel HD 5500 | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 15.6-inch full HD (1,920 x 1,080) | Storage: 32GB SSD
Speedy performance
Sleek diamond texture
Too heavy
Awkward keyboard
Who says Chromebooks can be big too. While the mass majority of Chrome OS machines come in the shape of low-powered 13- to 10-inch laptops, the Acer Chromebook C910 is the 15-inch big daddy. Not only does it come rocking a vibrant 15-inch, 1080p display, it also has a substantially more powerful Intel Core processor for some more heavy duty Cloud computing. You might think all this added power would take a chunk out of the battery life, but this Chromebook colossus can last for nearly nine hours.
Read the full review: Acer Chromebook 15 C910
Best laptops

15. Lenovo LaVie Z

This skinny kid can fight
CPU: 2.40GHz Intel Core i7-5500U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphic 5500 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch WQHD (2560 x 1440) LED anti-glare | Storage: 256GB
Core i7 processor
Excellent high-res display
Mediocre battery life
Astronomical battery life
A laptop as light as a tablet? It's not as crazy as you think with the Lenovo LaVie Z weighing less than two pounds. Aside from its lightweight chassis, the Lavie Z offers better performance and a higher resolution screen than most of its 13-inch Ultrabook competitors. Still, this machine has a few unfavorable characteristics including a squishy build quality, inferior battery life and inflated price tag; major turn offs for what is an otherwise splendid device.
Read the full review: Lenovo LaVie Z











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Buying Guide: 10 best gaming laptops 2016: top gaming notebooks reviewed
Buying Guide: 10 best gaming laptops 2016: top gaming notebooks reviewed

Gaming laptops we recommend

Updated: We've added the Acer Predator 15 to our list of the best gaming laptops money can buy.
You don't even need to tell us what happened when you told your friends that you want to buy a gaming laptop. Their inner elitist got the best of them, and bashed you for not just building an outright gaming desktop. But we get you. Building a gaming PC takes knowledge and dexterity that you just don't have or care to develop.
That's where the gaming laptop shines, as a fast lane to PC gaming. No need to build a case or even buy a monitor. Of course, that convenience usually comes with a hefty price tag. Most vendors start their asking prices at around $1,400 (about £901, AU$1,894) for 13 and 14-inch products, whereas the biggest and beefiest 17 and 18-inch models can skyrocket upwards of $3,000 (around £1,931, AU$4,059).
If you're ready to accept that a gaming laptop will almost never be as affordable or offer the same level of performance as a comparably-priced gaming desktop, then your decision is already made. But again, the gaming notebook is a device of convenience and portability over raw power. Without further ado, here are our favorite gaming laptops that we've reviewed thus far.
Best Gaming Laptops

1. Origin EON15-X

A desktop-grade CPU in an unbeatable gaming laptop
CPU: 4GHz Intel Core i7-4790K | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M (8GB GDDR5 RAM), Intel HD Graphics 4600 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080 LED Backlit Matte Display | Storage: 240GB SSD; 1TB HDD (5,400 rpm) | Connectivity: Intel PRO Wireless AC 7265 + Bluetooth Wireless LAN Combo | Camera: 2MP Video Camera | Weight: 7.5 pounds | Dimensions: 15.2 x 10.31 x 1.40 inches (W x D x H)
Great value
Desktop-grade performance
Razor thin viewing angles
Origin EON15-X is a real head turner. It packs a desktop processor into a fairly compact 15.6-inch laptop that, while smaller, offers even more performance compared to other, bigger hardcore gaming rigs. This extra CPU power is handy for users who need to edit video and other processor intensive tasks that a mobile chip can't handle. You'll also get an extra kick of performance in no matter what game you're running. This machine is definitely worth consideration over all others.
Read the full review: Origin EON15-X
Best Gaming Laptops

2. Aorus X3 Plus v3

A slim and light gaming machine
CPU: 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-4710HQ Processor | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M GDDR5 6GB | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 14-inch QHD+ 3200 x 1800 Wide Viewing Angle LCD | Storage: 2 x 256GB SSD, RAID 0 | Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: HD webcam | Weight: 4.12 pounds | Dimensions: 12.9 x 10.3 x 0.9 inches
Highly portable
Blazing performance
Trackpad is a weak link
4K screen makes text tricky to read
High-res gaming machines are a tough nut to crack whether you have a baller PC tower and even more so with portable laptops. So it comes as a pleasant surprise to see the Gigabyte build out the Aorus X3 Plus v3 as a machine that can fly even with a 4K screen in tow. This 14-inch gaming laptop can pull off this feat largely thanks to its beefy video card and dual SSDs. The Aorus X3 handles the latest graphics-heavy games such as Elite Dangerous with ease at 60 fps even in the most frantic space combat.
Read the full review: Aorus X3 Plus v3
best gaming laptops

3. MSI GT80 Titan

An outrageously sized and powerful gaming laptop
CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-4720HQ | Graphics: 2 x Nvidia GTX 980M SLI (16 GB GDDR5); Intel HD Graphics 4600 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 18.4-inch WLED FHD (1920 x 1080) Anti-Glare Display | Storage: 256GB SSD; 1TB HDD (7,200 RPM) | Optical drive Blu-Ray Burner | Connectivity: Killer DoubleShot Pro 11ac + Bluetooth 4.1 | Camera: Full HD type (30 fps, 1080p) | Weight: 9.9 pounds | Dimensions: 17.95 x 13.02 x 1.93 inches
Authentic mechanical keyboard
Easily upgraded
H-E-A-V-Y
Impossible to use on your lap
The MSI GT80 Titan goes above and beyond to give gamers a desktop experience in a notebook with a complement of high-performance parts to a built-in mechanical keyboard. However, weighing in at nearly 10 pounds and measuring roughly two-inches thick, this laptop is seriously pushing the limits of what you can call portable. For all the strain it'll put on your back and wallet, though, this 18.4-inch gaming laptop absolutely plow through almost any graphically intense game you try to run. This gaming behemoth proved to be a monster with the best in class mobile GPUs so we can't even fathom what it could do with a Nvidia GTX 980.
Read the full review: MSI GT80 Titan
Best Gaming Laptops

4. Gigabyte P55K v4

An excellent gaming laptop for budget-conscious players
CPU: 2.7GHz Intel Core i7-5700HQ | Graphics:Nvidia Geforce GTX 965M; Intel HD Graphics 5600 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 15.6-inch full HD 1,920 x 1,080 LCD | Storage: 128GB SSD, 1TB HDD | Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: HD webcam | Weight: 5.51 pounds | Dimensions: 14.96 x 10.59 x 1.34-inches
Speedy performance
Great virtual surround
Large screen bezels
Average battery life
If you're looking to jump into PC gaming on a budget, the Gigabyte P55K v4 offers plenty of performance without breaking the bank. For the same price as the new 12-inch Apple MacBook you get a super-speedy Intel Core i7 processor with discrete graphics to boot. There's enough power on tap to easily surpass the 60 fps holy grail in almost any game so long as you knock your settings a peg or two below Ultra. To top it off P55K v4 features a great, colorful IPS screen and an immersive Dolby Digital Plus Home Theatre sound system to make this one of the nicest self-contained gaming platforms we've ever reviewed.
Read the full review: Gigabyte P55K v4
best gaming laptop

5. Alienware 17 (2015)

The Alienware 17 is an impressive refinement for this series of gaming laptops
CPU: 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-4710HQ | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M (4GB GDDR5 RAM), Intel HD Graphics 4600 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 17.3 inch, 1,920 x 1,080 IPS anti-glare display | Storage: 256 GB M.2 SATA SSD + 1TB HDD (7,200 rpm) | Connectivity: Killer 1525 802.11ac 2x2 WiFi + Bluetooth 4.1 | Camera: 2MP Full HD webcam | Weight: 8.33 pounds (3.78 kg) | Dimensions: 16.93 x 11.49 x 1.35 inches (W x D x H
Flexible desktop mode
Excellent large screen
Still quite expensive
Slightly bottlenecked Amplifier performance
The Alienware 17 is one of those few outrageously priced gaming laptops that's actually worth it. The notebook is a fully capable gaming machine on its own, but with the added power of desktop graphics through the GPU Amplifier it can play almost any game on Ultra settings.If you're looking for something smaller, the Alienware 13 also works with the optional GPU box.
Read the full review: Alienware 17 (2015)
best gaming laptop

6. MSI GS60 Ghost Pro

The best thin-and-light gaming laptop
CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7 6700HQ | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M, Intel HD Graphics 530 | RAM: 16GB DDR4 | Screen: 15.6-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 eDP Wide View Angle | Storage: 128GB SSD; 1TB HDD | Connectivity: Killer N1525 Combo (2 x 2 AC) Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 4.1 | Camera: FHD webcam | Weight: 4.2 pounds | Dimensions: 15.35 x 10.47 x 0.78 inches (W x D x H)
Performance pusher
Stupendous keyboard
Fleeting battery life
A bit expensive
High on mature styling and light on weight, the MSI GS60 Ghost Pro is one of the thinnest gaming laptops you can buy. Don't think this svelte machine has sacrificed performance for the sake of cutting weight. It still comes packed with a high-end Intel Skylake processor and graphics card to make it a one of the strongest platforms we've ever tested. Just make sure to stick with a 1080p resolution and medium to high visual settings.
Read the full review: MSI GS60 Ghost Pro
Best Gaming Laptops

7. Aorus X7 Pro-Sync

Fully-loaded machine with everything you'll ever need
CPU: 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-4870HQ | Graphics: 2 x Nvidia GTX 970M SLI + Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 17.3-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 Wide Viewing Angle G-Sync LCD | Storage: 512GB SSD | Connectivity: Wireless LAN: 802.11ac + Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: 1MP HD camera | Weight: 6.6 pounds | Dimensions: 16.85 x 12 x 0.9 inches
Thin and fully-loaded
Record breaking performance
Hard to click trackpad
Tornado-producing fans
The Aorus X7 Pro-Sync is a 17.3-inch gaming laptop that packs a ton into thin body. With no less than two graphics cards and a heady processor too, the X7 is overflowing with performance. What's more, thanks to some newly added Nvidia display technology, gamers can be confident they're getting the highest frame rates without any bothersome jitter and tearing issues. In the future, this Aorus X7 will come packing Nvidia's desktop graphics for even more performance.
Read the full review: Aorus X7 Pro-Sync
best gaming laptop

8. HP Omen

A most sophisticated and attractive gaming laptop
CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-4720HQ | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M (4GB GDDR5 RAM), Intel HD Graphics 4600 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080 Full HD WLED-backlit IPS touchscreen | Storage: 512GB SSD | Connectivity: Intel 802.11ac WLAN and Bluetooth | Camera: HP TrueVision Full HD WVA Webcam with Dual Digital Microphone | Weight: 4.68 pounds | Dimensions: 15.07 x 9.67 x 0.78 inches
Bold, unique design
Sublime screen
Pricey compared to competition
Lacking screen brightness
If you want a machine that doesn't follow the crowd with glowing alien heads and flaming decals, the HP Omen has a style unto its own. Steeply tapered edges give way to a plenty of lights and other little details to make this one of the industry's most sophisticated and attractive gaming laptops. Beyond looks, the HP Omen packs enough processing brains to handle anything from everyday task to hardcore PC gaming. As a mid-range system, it straddles the line of excellent power efficiency while still offering enough performance to handle the latest games.
Read the full review: HP Omen
Best gaming laptops

9. Acer Predator 15

The ultimate over-the-top gaming laptop
CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-6700HQ | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M (4GB GDDR5 RAM), Intel HD Graphics 530 | RAM: 32GB DDR4 | Screen: 15.6-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 Active Matrix TFT Color LCD | Storage: 512GB SSD, 1TB HDD | Connectivity: Killer Wireless-AC 1535 , Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 4.2 | Camera: Front-facing 1,280 x 720 webcam | Weight: 7.5 pounds | Dimensions: 15.4 x 11.8 x 1.5 inches
Gorgeous screen
Surprising battery life
Heavy
Loud
The Acer Predator 15 is a monster of a gaming laptop in both presence and performance. While most gaming notebooks have become thinner and lighter, this 15-inch rig buck the trend, opting to pack in some of the best graphics and CPU parts on the market today. Thanks to an modular DVD drive bay, users can choose between equipping this gaming notebook with either an optical drive or an extra fan for extra cooling.
Read the full review: Acer Predator 15
Best gaming laptops

10. Origin EON17-X

Desktop performance in a 17-inch gaming laptop
CPU: 4.0GHz Intel Core i7-6700K | Graphics: Nvidia GTX 980M (8GB GDDR5 RAM), Intel HD Graphics 530 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 17-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 IPS matte display with G-SYNC | Storage: 250GB SSD, 1TB hybrid-hard drive | Connectivity: Killer Wireless AC 1535 dual band + Bluetooth | Camera: 2MP webcam | Weight: 8.6 pounds | Dimensions: 16.46 x 11.1 x 1.52 inches
Top-end performance
Attractive display and speakers
Power hungry
Big price tag
The Origin EON17-X is a true desktop replacement packing desktop processor. As the EON-15-X's bigger brother this 17-inch notebook comes outfitted with a more spacious display and an even better sounding set of speakers plus an additional subwoofer. Equipped with a top-end Skylake processor you won't find many other mobile rigs or even desktops that can offer the same level of performance. That said, Origin has arguably made the most powerful portable gaming desktop by outfitting its EON17-SLX with a desktop Skylake processor and Nvidia GTX 980.
Read the full review: Origin EON17-X











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iOS Tips: How to change your iMessage phone number
iOS Tips: How to change your iMessage phone number
Got an Apple, Mac or iOS tech question? We have the answer.
When it comes to iMessages and the iPhone Messages app, it should be a simple matter to change the phone number or email address that's associated with them. But in this article, we have a reader for whom the normal way isn't working. Here are the steps you can take to fix the problem.

Question

I'm trying to send iMessages from my iPhone 6, but when I do, it says they're coming from my iCloud email rather than my phone number. When I try to change it I can see my number, but I'm not able to click it or choose it. How can I fix this problem?

Answer

Normally, you can just go to Settings > Messages > Send & Receive to change which phone numbers and email addresses are tied to your iMessage account. However, when your phone number is greyed out in this section, it means that you have not verified this number with Apple as an iMessage account. Fortunately, there are some steps that you can perform to get this working:
1. Open the Settings app and navigate to Messages.
2. Turn the iMessage switch off.
3. Power down the iPhone and wait at least 5-10 minutes.
4. Power on then iPhone and and re-enable iMessage by going to Settings > Messages and turning the iMessage switch to the on position. This should re-activate iMessage.
Disable iMessage
The reason you turn off iMessage in step 2 is so that Apple can send the device an SMS-based activation, which happens in the background. Once iMessage has been turned on again, try selecting your device's phone number again in the "Send & Receive as" section of the Messages settings.
Note that by default, the "You can be reached by iMessage at" section should automatically includes your phone number; however, the Start New Conversations From section will let you choose between your phone number or registered email addresses.
Got an Apple tech question? Email ask@maclife.com.











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Week In Tech: New year, new tech: the best of everything and what's coming next
Week In Tech: New year, new tech: the best of everything and what's coming next
We've got good news and bad news. The bad news is that this is the last ever Week in Tech for 2015 - but the good news is that the first Week in Tech of 2016 is literally just one week away! You're excited. We can tell.
So what does the tech world have in store as 2015 shuffles off?
It's preparing to show off stacks of new stuff at CES, working on a new version of Google Glass, stuffing new VR games into Oculus Rifts and making highly accurate and not at all satirical predictions for 2016.
Holy Hogmanay! It's Week in Tech!

Yeahhhh yeah-uh, our CES is on fire

New Year can mean only one thing to tech fans: CES!
The annual tech extravaganza hits Vegas next week, and we're already tracking the hottest news and rumours to find out what you'll be excited about in the coming year. Highlights include gesture-controlled cars, a "very big" tech breakthrough involving the HTC Vive VR headset and, er, an R2-D2 fridge.

Glass! Ah-ahh!

Remember Glass, the Google wearable that was supposed to change the world but that got canned after widespread mockery and the odd mugging? Well, it's back. Back! BACK! And this time it's serious.
The new, foldable Google Glass has leaked via the US Federal Communications Commission, and it's designed primarily for workplace use in sectors such as healthcare and engineering. Is it Google Glass 2? That's not clear: there may be a consumer version in the works too.

A free gift with every Rift

It still hasn't got a release date, but at least we know that when it ships we'll have something to play on it: this week we discovered that the Oculus Rift VR headset will ship with a free copy of the platformer Lucky's Tale.
There will also be a copy of space dogfighting game EVE: Valkyrie. The release is apparently still on track for Q1 2016 and should be announced shortly after New Year, possibly at CES.

Snooping bill to tackle trolls

New information suggests that the UK's new surveillance bill , dubbed a "snooper's charter" by critics, will be used to fight more than terrorism and organised crime: it'll be used to track people who say bad things on the internet too.
That's according to Home Secretary Theresa May, who says that the legislation could be used against trolls and cyberbullies. As Hugh Langley explains, "While May's remarks put a more positive spin on the bill, it's unlikely to give opponents a change of heart. The bill will still be opening up the UK to mass surveillance, with ISPs logging internet records of all users."

All aboard the blunder bus

Every silver lining has a cloud, and every year has a fair old bunch of tech blunders. 2015 is no exception, and we've collated a list of the biggest tech blunders of the year.
Stare in horror at Microsoft's inability to make up its mind! Look askance at the firms expecting you to be a human guinea pig! Weep at the internet of things' apparent inability to get even the simple stuff right!

Meet the tech that transformed 2015

You've met the losers, now meet… yes! The winners! There were five innovations that won 2015, and while you might be able to guess some of the finalists some of our choices may surprise you.
But while the products are very different they all have one thing in common: they're changing the way we use technology and they're inspiring other firms to follow in their footsteps. Christian de Looper tells you what they are and why they matter.

You want the best, you've got the best

They're simply the best. Better than all the rest. Better than anyone we ever met. Yes, it's the very best of Techradar 2015, featuring enormous fondleslabs, post-apocalyptic wastelands, Star Wars and a cat. Michelle Fitzsimmons explains: Our editors combed through the pages of techradar to bring you the stuff we enjoyed writing the most in 2015.
And what a year it was: we tested the latest tablets, interviewed movie directors and went to the first-ever VR film festival. We completed a triathlon (training all the way with tech), asked experts how to make the ultimate PC and discovered that, yes, you can build a real-life Death Star.

2016 and all that

In February, Tim Cook will unveil the iPad Vapor, an even slimmer, bigger iPad Air. Sounds far-fetched? You should see the other predictions Kate Solomon makes in her highly accurate guide to the tech of 2016.
Thanks for reading, watching, listening and commenting in 2015.
We hope you have a very happy New Year, and we can't wait to share the tech of 2016 with you.











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Roundup: The apps to help you burn off those Christmas calories
Roundup: The apps to help you burn off those Christmas calories
We all know that Christmas is a time for stuffing your face without too much thought for the consequences. Then several days later you find yourself surrounded by chocolate wrappers and empty bottles wondering how on earth you're going to get back into shape.
But fear not, we're on hand to help you start burning off the calories as you enter 2016. These fitness and health apps will aid you in working off the Christmas pounds.

LifeSum

lifesum
The hardest thing about dieting is working out what you should actually eat and in what proportions. This is where LifeSum comes in handy. It lets you manage your water and food intake, gives you feedback on what foods to go for, advises you on what to avoid and offers reminders and motivation right throughout the day.
You can also work out what type of diet suits your eating habits and health needs. These include the 5:2 diet, the high protein diet, the low carb, high fat diet (LCHF) and the isocaloric diet. In other words, just about any diet you could think of.
Available: Android and iOS, free

Racefully

Racefully
One of the best ways to lose weight and get in shape is by going for a run, be it just around the block or for a 5K. However it's never the same without a friend or two to keep you company. On your own, you can feel alone and demotivated.
We can't all be in the same place at the same time, but the Racefully app gives you the ability to connect with runners from all across the globe who want to run and compete with each other in real-time.
Additionally, the app ensures fair competition with others based on differences in route, gradient and weather.
Available: iOS and Android, launching in Jan 2016

Farmdrop

farmdrop
In order to live healthy, you need a balanced diet. Easier said than done. Just opting for the odd over-priced salad isn't as effective as you might have convinced yourself. Meanwhile you're surrounded by plenty of unhealthy temptations.
Farmdrop, an online marketplace offering up fresh food and groceries directly from local farmers and producers, aims to make choosing the right foods a little easier.
Using the app, you're able to browse seasonal recipes, search for products using a wide range of food categories, select top picks and get inspired by the produce and ingredients of over 70 independent British producers. Once you've found something, you can place an order and get it delivery straight to your home.
Available (only in the UK): iOS, free

Bounts

Bounts
Dieting takes a lot of motivation, energy and time. Bounts wants you to think positive and coaxes you to continue on your healthy lifestyle journey with special credits that you can exchange for rewards such as vouchers and gift cards.
You just have to show you're actually exercising, which the app will know by tracking when you enter fitness venues like gyms, while also following activity on apps like Fitbit and RunKeeper. It also records data from connected gym equipment from the likes of Life Fitness and Technogym, via GPS and bluetooth.
Available: Android and iOS, free

Fitnet

Fitnet
Unable to hire a physical personal trainer to help you get rid of that beer belly? No problem - Fitnet can help. The app lets you work out to videos from personal trainers while it uses your device's front-facing camera to analyse your performance.
It then provides you with real-time feedback. Other features include up-to-a-minute calorie tracking, 5/7 minute workouts to suit busy schedules, the ability to set goals and compatibility with Apple TV and Chromecast.
Available: Android and iOS, free

Sworkit

Sworkit
As well as being costly, personal trainers can also be timely. So why not digitalise the experience with Sworkit? Costing completely nothing, it provides you with video routines covering areas such as cardio, yoga and pilates that last from five to sixty minutes, meaning there's a lot of flexibility if you're busy.
You can also set the times you can work out, and the app adapts to your schedule.
Available: Android and iOS, free

Bike Hub Cycle Journey Planner

Bike
Just like running, cycling is another great way to keep fit. However, planning where to actually go on your bike isn't easy if you're a newbie. This is where the Bike Hub Cycle Journey Planner (no, it doesn't exactly roll off the tongue) enters the mix.
It's essentially a sat-nav for cyclists, allowing you to create routes using roads as well as cycle paths. What's great is that the app automatically omits dual carriageways and motorways, and you can opt for routes based on how quick they are and if there are any hills. Currently, the app is only available in the UK.
Available: Android and iOS, free

Eat this, Not That! The Game

Eat this
Who said losing weight has to be boring? Eat This, Not That aims to make shedding those pounds fun by gamifying the experience. To be fair, you don't actually do much exercise. Instead, the idea is that you sit in your favourite armchair while tapping through round after round of food items.
Your job is to work out which food is the healthiest. Once you've tapped, the "eat this" and "not that" labels are revealed - and hopefully you will have learned something. The game is split into several categories: breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert.
Available: Android and iOS, free

Weight Watchers

WW
Let's be honest, going to your local Weight Watchers event and admitting you need to lose weight can be a tad daunting. However, the world renowned weight loss programme is available in app form.
It lets you connect with a Weight Watchers expert to get one-to-one advice, and you can track your food, activity and weight, search for thousands of foods and recipes, keep updated with your weight-loss progress by using a built-in interactive chart, add custom recipes, and scan barcodes to find out which foods are good or not. You should be on your way to losing weight in no time, as long as you can learn to lock those chocolate biscuits away.
Available: Android and iOS, free











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The top ten games to look out for in 2016
The top ten games to look out for in 2016

The games to look out for in 2016

Games of 2016
Okay, we know you're still trying to clear a backlog that happens to include The Witcher 3, Mad Max, Just Cause 3 and a little life-eater called Fallout 4, but there's another 365 days of gaming incoming.
After lengthy delays on a slew of big names, 2016 is going to be seriously busy and there's only January to try and clear that pile of shame.
Add in the launch of all the big name VR headsets this year and we're going to spend a significant chunk of time with our eyes on a screen of some variety. Here's our pick of the biggest games of 2016 to whet your appetite.
One question: are your thumbs ready?

Far Cry Primal

Games of 2016
Platform: PC / PS4 / Xbox One
Ubisoft still appears to be deaf to our Jurassic Park obsessed cries of 'Dinosaurs!' but we're definitely getting closer with this chunk of stone age open world chaos. This time we're behind the eyes of hunter Takkar who must kill or be killed in an environment that has far bigger teeth than anything the series has seen before.
Sabretooth-tigers, enormous bears and wooly mammoths are just some of the savagery on offer but you can also tame a selection of the local wildlife to help you take on rival factions in the world. Dino DLC anyone?
Release date: February 23

Tom Clancy's The Division

Games of 2016
Platform: PC / PS4 / Xbox One
It's been a long time since it was announced all the way back at E3 2013 but Ubisoft Massive's open world, gun-packed, RPG is finally handing over control of pandemic struck New York. On none other than Black Friday - we knew it was a bad thing - a virus infects the city, effectively collapsing society.
Tactics and online co-op are key as you and your fellow special agents reclaim control. The game uses the Ubi developed Snowdrop Engine that focuses specifically on environmental realism to bring even more bite to those infamous New York winters. Wrap up warm for this one.
Release date: March 8

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

Games of 2016
Platform: PS4
Nathan Drake's final gun-toting adventure from Naughty Dog will be here in a matter of months. In March we'll be back in control of his half untucked-ness as he joins his presumed dead brother and returns to treasure hunting after three years in retirement.
Drake's latest promises not only to deliver a fitting farewell for the PlayStation action hero but even offers dialogue trees, and an explosive multiplayer with the interesting addition of mystical items that mean you can literally set ghosts on your enemies. Handy.
Release date: March 18

Quantum Break

Games of 2016
Platform: Xbox One
Got time to kill? You do now. This long-awaited Xbox One exclusive from Max Payne and Alan Wake devs Remedy sees leading man Jack Joyce both freeze and speed up time while dishing out bullet packed justice.
This is no mere fancy shooter either. Remedy has, err, shot more than an hour and a half of live action footage starring actors such as Game Of Thrones' Aiden Gillen and Lost's Dominic Monaghan. These mini star-packed episodes will play as cutscenes that are dependent on decisions you make throughout the game.
Release date: April 5

Dishonored 2

Games of 2016
Platform: PC / PS4 / Xbox One
Because, deep down, you knew this was how that little princess would turn out; a powerful Empress who can travel using tentacles… This sequel from Arkane Studios sees the return of Emily Kaldwin and, of course, original stealthy assassin Corvo.
Kaldwin has been displaced by an 'otherworldly usurper' and the mysterious Outsider has returned and gifted her with a handy new set of powers to reclaim her throne. Both Corvo and Emily will be playable and once again it will be possible to sneak through the new area of Karnaca without killing a soul, but where exactly is the fun in that?
Release date: Spring 2016

No Man's Sky

Games of 2016
Platform: PC / PS4
Just what we need right in the middle of the year; an infinite game with endless possibilities. This space survival sim would allegedly take five billion years to visit every procedurally generated planet in its universe so maybe one to leave until a long weekend.
There is a main goal to No Man's Sky as you journey to the centre of the universe in your spaceship but there's many, many ways to get there and the game never truly ends. Planets can be mined, wildlife obliterated, resources sold, new players met, and there's even a unique periodic table to discover and craft.
Release date: June

Horizon: Zero Dawn

Games of 2016
Platform: PS4
If you thought gaming bows were so 2013, tribal hunter Aloy is bringing them back for 2016 in this action RPG that just happens to feature killer robot dinosaurs. Killzone devs Guerilla Games have gone and destroyed humanity again, with the game set 1000 years after the fall of life as we know it.
Yet this new stone age isn't about sabre-toothed tigers. We'll be taking on a slew of robot animal hybrids that include a T-Rex style monster known as the Thunder Jaw that shoots barrages of missiles. Surviving means Aloy needs to find new and inventive ways to hunt the myriad techno-beasts that stalk the open world. With inspirations for her character including Game Of Thrones' Ygritte and Alien's Ripley, it looks like she's up to the job.
Release date: TBC

Doom

Games of 2016
Platform: PC / PS4 / Xbox One
Yes, it's been 12 years since Doom 3 and yes, we feel really old too. Previously known as Doom 4 but now just going back to the roots of the shooter that defined the genre, this is the ultimate gory comeback from original devs id Software.
While everything you've loved from the series is here - shotguns, chainsaws and veritable rivers of blood - there's all new melee attacks and a double jump to add even more chaos into the mix. Sprinkle in classic enemies such as Pinkie Demons, Barons of Hell and Zombiemen and we're going to have one hell of a good time.
Release date: Spring 2016

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Games of 2016
Platform: PC / PS4 / Xbox One
We definitely did ask for this, although maybe not all these delays. Adam Jensen will now return in August 2016 as part of an international police team known as Task Force 29 who are taking on rogue groups of augmented humans.
While Human Revolution restricted your choice when it came to ways to play, Eidos Montreal wants players to be able to do exactly what they want and fully non-lethal playthroughs are possible this time around. With Jensen's fist-mounted electroshock tools, they don't even have to be fully stealth based. Ideal for some guilt free violence.
Release date: August 23

Mass Effect: Andromeda

Games of 2016
Platform: PC / PS4 / Xbox One
And so the show goes on without Commander Shepard. *salutes* We've not seen much of Bioware's Mass Effect: Andromeda - note, the important lack of a 4 - but we do know that the follow up to Shepard's pioneering trilogy will have a brand new main character and cast.
Eagle-eyed fans have spotted the name 'Rider' in the latest trailer so we might already have a name for our hero who will be exploring the Andromeda galaxy. Research and exploration will apparently be key and we'll be seeing the return of Mass Effect's Mako vehicle which Bioware has confirmed will be far more fun to steer. Reassuring.
Release date: Winter 2016











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Quiz: Tablet or table: possibly one of the hardest quizzes ever
Quiz: Tablet or table: possibly one of the hardest quizzes ever
Tablets are getting even bigger. This year we've seen both the iPad Pro with a 12.9-inch screen and the Samsung Galaxy View with a 18.4-inch display.
Last year, Ideum started selling a coffee table with a 46-inch touchscreen on the top blurring the lines between apps and a place to eat your dinner, ensuring both thrills and spills.
Now we're in a world that none of us can understand, a place where you're unsure of whether what you're seeing is a dream or reality. Who among us hasn't picked up an iPad and shouted 'IS THIS A TABLET OR A TABLE?
There's more to it than an extra T on the end. You need some keen detective skills, the ability to tell the difference between speaker grills, a headphone jack plus large touchscreen and a largely wooden structure with four legs.
We know you're already a cut above other readers, but we want to really test your mettle. So we've created this little quiz below.
So, is it a Table or Tablet?











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Facebook's free internet program shuts down in Egypt
Facebook's free internet program shuts down in Egypt
Facebook announced that Free Basics, its program for providing free internet for over 30 developing nations, will no longer be available in Egypt.
Developed under Facebook's Internet.org branch, the service had over 3 million users in Egypt, a third of which were first-time users. The hiatus of Free Basics in Egypt comes just two months after telecom provider Etisalat Egypt began offering the service.
"We're disappointed that Free Basics will no longer be available in Egypt," said Facebook in an official statement to the Associated Press. "More than 1 million people who were previously unconnected had been using the Internet because of these efforts."
While the reason behind Egypt's ban is still unclear, it more than likely has to do with the criticisms concerning Free Basics and net neutrality. Such was the case for India, the only other country so far to have put down a freeze on the program alongside Egypt.
According to The Times of India, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India will reconsider the service after it is clarified "whether a telecom operator should be allowed to have differential pricing for different kinds of content," a chief concern for proponents of a neutral internet.
Since Free Basics would only be providing access for Facebook's pre-approved list of sites, putting the rest behind a paywall, many critics believe the service to violate net neutrality, as well as mask an possible ulterior motive for Facebook. (Facebook and its standalone Messenger app are included in Free Basics, after all.)
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg vehemently disagreed with these claims, saying that "If we accept that everyone deserves access to the internet, then we must surely support free basic internet services."
"Instead of recognizing the fact that Free Basics is opening up the whole internet, [critics] continue to claim – falsely – that this will make the internet more like a walled garden," said Zuckerberg in a published opinion piece. "What reason is there for denying people free access to vital services for communication, education, healthcare, employment, farming and women's rights?"
While Free Basics is currently on ice in Egypt and India, the program could make a comeback after regulators in each country have a chance to examine it. While Free Basics toes the line with net neutrality, it is hard to argue the benefits of bringing more people to the modern age, making the issue a worthwhile discussion for each nation in the program.











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Best iPhone 6S cases - 19 to choose from
Best iPhone 6S cases - 19 to choose from

The best iPhone 6S cases

Optrix
The iPhone 6S is a decent-looking and powerful phone and has been flying off the shelves in its millions since September, and there's every reason to think they'll be a huge going into 2016.
The iPhone 6S's big new feature is 3D Touch, which enables the interface to react differently to variations in pressure when you touch the screen and even respond with tactile feedback. Apple's latest and greatest iPhone is also faster, it shoots 4K video and has a more awesome camera.
Other than that, the iPhone 6S isn't hugely different from the previous iPhone 6, and looking at the two handsets you'd think they're identical. But in fact, the 6S is 11 per cent heavier, due to the technical wizardry packed into that 3D Touch display.
Heavier handsets tend to hit the floor harder, which is why iPhone 6S owners should definitely consider a decent case - and it's also an expensive and fragile device, so keeping it protected is key to seeing it safely through the two years of a contract.
Fortunately as it's so popular there are already a large number of cases available for it and we've filtered through them to find ten of the best.
We've plucked some of the very best from the market that not only serve to protect, but also bring out the style in Apple's flagship device. And spoiler: the new Apple battery pack isn't in here...

iPhone 6S Leather Case

iPhone 6S Leather Case
Price: £35 / $45 / AU$69
If you want to be sure you're getting an iPhone 6S case as high quality as the phone itself going straight to Apple is probably a good start.
The Leather Case is, as the name suggests, made of leather, and it's available in five colours- Midnight Blue, Saddle Brown, Rose Grey, Brown and Black.
It's a simple shell which covers the back and sides of the phone, but as it's leather it looks and feels high end, plus it's slim enough that your iPhone 6S still appears thin even with the case on.

Spigen Liquid Crystal Case

Spigen Liquid Crystal Case
Price: £9.99 / $14.99 / around AU$21
Sometimes less is more, especially when we're talking about a phone as nice-looking as the iPhone 6S. It would be a shame to keep it hidden away in a case and that's the thinking behind the Spigen Liquid Crystal Case.
It's transparent so you can still see your new phone in all its glory and it's thin enough to maintain the handsets look and shape, yet strong enough to provide protection against scratches and bumps.

Griffin Identity Wallet Case

Griffin Identity Wallet
Price: Around £26 / $39.99 / around AU$57
When is a case not a case? When it's also a wallet. With the Griffin Identity Wallet Case not only can you keep your iPhone 6S surprisingly well protected, thanks to shock-absorbing rubber, raised edges to protect the screen and a bumper which can survive 4-foot drops, but you can also store up to 3 cards and currency in it.
So you'll never need to carry around a separate wallet again, leaving space in your pocket for sweets and marbles.

OtterBox MySymmetry Case

OtterBox MySymmetry Case
Price: £24.99 / $46.90 / around AU$66
If you don't want the same old case day after day the OtterBox MySymmetry Case might be for you. At its heart it's a clear case with tough bumpers, but you can get inserts for it, each of which have a different design.
There are quite a few available so you should be able to find some you like and if you grab a few then you can change the design whenever you feel like it. Sadly you only get one with the case itself, so you'll have to spend a little extra to build up a collection.

Spigen Tough Armor Case

Spigen Tough Armor
Price: £18.99 / $34.99 / around AU$49
The iPhone 6S is expensive and fragile, so you'll probably want to keep it well protected. In which case the Spigen Tough Armor Case would be a good choice.
With MIL-STD 810G 516.6 level defence and Air Cushion technology for protection against drops it should keep your phone safe in day to day life and even through tougher scenarios like...erm...hiking and camping.
It's chunky but stylish and it's even available in Rose Gold, to match the new iPhone shade.

i-Blason Transformer Holster Case

i-Blason Transformer
Price: £8.96 / $19.99 / around AU$28
The i-Blason Transformer Holster Case is rubberised and textured, so your iPhone 6S will be in no danger of sliding out of even the greasiest hands.
But there's a lot more going on here than that, as the Transformer Holster also features a kickstand, so you can prop your phone up on a surface, and a belt clip for those who don't believe in pockets. All that and it's still fairly slim.
Although we would recommend you think about whether a phone clipped to your belt is a great look...

OtterBox Strada Case

OtterBox Strada
Price: £39.99 / $49.99 / around AU$70
If you like the look of the official iPhone 6S Leather Case but want a bit more protection you might want to consider the OtterBox Strada.
It too is leather but unlike Apple's offering this one also wraps around the screen, for 360 degree protection.
Its inner shell is impervious to everyday knocks, drops and tumbles thanks to Otterbox's long-established Drop+ protection, but it looks so swish you'd never know it was so rugged.
A vertical card slot keeps stashed cards safely inside, while a discreet magnetic latch keeps the case securely closed in a pocket or handbag. You'll just want to stroke your phone with this case on. It even smells great too.

Caseology Wavelength Textured Pattern Grip Cover

Caseology Wavelength
Price: £8.95 / $15.99 / around AU$23
The Caseology Wavelength Cover is something a little different. It provides all the drop protection you'd hope, with air cushions providing shock absorption.
But on top of the TPU shell there's a textured fabric finish, making it comfortable to hold and giving it an eye catching look, particularly in combination with the two-tone colour scheme.

Supcase iPhone 6S Armband

Supcase Armband
Price: £12.95 / $16.99 / around AU$24
If you're a runner then you're going to want easy access to your phone when on the move, which counts out digging around in your pocket.
An armband is far more ideal and the Supcase iPhone 6S Armband is a strong option. Its silicone case keeps your phone protected and an adjustable Velcro strap ensures it can fit almost any arm size. It's even got a reflective mark to keep you visible when running in the dark.

iPhone 6S Silicone Case

iPhone 6S Silicone Case
Price: £25 / $35 / AU$55
The iPhone 6S Silicone Case keeps things simple, providing a basic slim silicone cover but with the fit-based confidence that comes from buying a case made by Apple itself.
It's available in eleven different colours, so you'll be able to find one to match or contrast your iPhone 6S and it gives your phone basic protection without adding too much bulk.

Moshi iGlaze Napa

iGlaze
Price: £35/$53/AU$74
Moshi's well-groomed Napa case takes the best features of your iPhone and accentuates them - slick button pads sit on its rounded bezel and the back's elliptic cavities for camera flash and Apple logo are perfectly placed.
The inner shell is lined with felt and the shatter-proof polycarbonate outer is backed by vegan leather, which might not have the smell or texture of the real thing, but makes up for it with perfect seams as well as being easy to clean.
The Napa comes with a decent limited lifetime warranty, and if you're eco-conscious, the packaging is recycled; it's even printed with Soy ink. The case is fully compatible with iGlaze's slide-on Ion battery pack, too.

Griffin Survivor Summit

Griffin
Price: £33/$50/AU$70
Found yourself in a sandstorm recently? Griffin has a phone case for you. The Summit's removable belt holster feels nice and solid, and even doubles up as a stand. The grippy shell keeps a slim profile compared to previous Griffin protectors too, despite offering a concrete-defying 10 feet of drop protection.
The quality of the seal is the best we've seen. Pulling up a tab on the top of the case opens it up to slot in your device, which gets a scratch-proof screen guard that doesn't hinder TouchID, while keeping rain and dirt at bay. Make no mistake, this case is hard. Very hard.

RhinoShield Crash Guard Bundle

Rhinoshield
Price: £33/$50/AU$70
Not satisfied to fall back on standard polycarbonates for its products, Evolution Labs created its own polymer blend for increased impact absorption, and this bumper bundle has it in spades. We mean literally – you could whack your handset with a spade and it wouldn't even blink with one of these cases on it.
It's super-light too, adding just 12g to the 143 grams of an iPhone 6S, and yet the bezels of the Crash Guard reassuringly envelope the handset. Needless to say, its slim profile is completely disarming. It's hard to know just how much its amazing protection is due to the well-publicised inner honeycomb structure, but who cares when it's this stubbornly effective?

Cover-up #WoodBack Explorer

Woodback
Price: £17/$26/AU$36
If you prize style and craftsmanship over über-protection then check out these cases from Cover-up. The #WoodBack Explorer range marries a discreet rubber outer shell and polycarbonate inner body with a real wood, laser cut 'skin'.
That means each case has a unique, textured grain like no other, but all of them share the same super-smooth feel, thanks to a hand-sanded finish and a protective coating made from a blend of vegetable waxes and oils to complete the back-to-nature vibe. Lovely.

Pad&Quill Bella Fino

Bella
Price: £40/$60/AU$83
This luxuriant thin wallet case is a masterclass in cool. Its real full-grain leather cover and perfectly hemmed seam along the outside edges are the epitome of craftsmanship, but the interior is just as impressive.
Five leather pockets and a full-size wallet offer plenty of space for driver's licence, notes and bank cards, while a clean-release, residue-free adhesive keeps your iPhone securely in place, even after multiple detaches.
Bella Fino comes in six understated colours and a 25-year leather warranty. How's that for long lasting?

Optrix Body Glove Pro

Optrix
Price: £112/$169/AU$235
If you're a surfer, diver, stunt rider, or just like the idea of being able to capture photos and footage in extreme environments, then consider Optrix's Body Glove case for your iPhone 6S.
It's drop-proof to 20 feet for a start, with rugged sealed hinges that allow your handset to be safely submerged in liquid up to 10 metres. Its all-action smarts also include an integrated mount system that makes it ready for Optrix's separate selfie Monopod, Super Suction cup (for surf boards etc.), chest strap and Tripod Flex.
Not only that, it comes with four interchangeable lenses, including wide angle, telephoto and macro. Granted, the Body Glove Pro isn't your everyday case, but it could make your iPhone a whole lot more exciting to use on vacation…

Mophie Juice Pack Air

Mophie
Price: £90/$136/AU$189
iPhone battery life has never been spectacular. Fortunately companies like Mophie offer decent solutions for handsets in need of a juice boost, and the Air for 6S finds the sweet spot between extra life and additional bulk.
The extra 100 grams of weight just over doubled our standby and yapping time, while the included headphone adaptor and micro USB cable ensured a fast charge and minimal connection faff (unless you want to charge just the handset, which unlike earlier models requires that you remove the phone).
The case itself is a tad slippy but the Air still protects well against knocks and bumps.

Distil Union Wally Wallet

Distil
Price: £33/$50/AU$70
Wallet cases don't get more minimalist than this offering from Distil Union. Its polycarbonate bumper casing is quite simple, providing decent edge buffering for your phone with a clean matte finish, but the soft, genuine leather covering on the back is where it's at.
The low-profile stash holds up to four cards or a fistful of notes, and it even has a discreet tab that pulls out to reveal the contents. It's the perfect 'smart' wallet, if you like.

Zagg ShockGuard

Shockguard
Price: £20/$30/AU$41
Style and added protection come together in almost-perfect harmony with the slimline ShockGuard. A raised edge keeps the screen safe when face down, while shocks are absorbed and redistributed throughout the case, enough for it to meet the sort of hardhat military specs that we usually only expect from the likes of Griffin or Otterbox.
Twin it with Zagg's legendary InvisibleShield screen protector and this has all the makings of a bad-ass case. It's just a shame it's a bit of fiddle to get at the mute button once it's on.











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This is where home entertainment will go in 2016
This is where home entertainment will go in 2016

Introduction

home entertainment 2016
This past year was another big one for the living room. For starters, we finally got 4K players worthy of our expensive TVs in the Roku 4 and new Amazon Fire TV.
Plus, HDR has evolved from a buzzword thrown around at CES 2015 to a tangible, toggle-able part of the Amazon Instant Video experience.
In the same year, we've seen Steam Machines, like the Alienware Alpha and Origin Omega, one of the long-promised VR headsets (Samsung Gear VR) and A/V receivers capable of delivering Dolby Atmos and DTS: X surround sound.
But work in the living room is never done.
CES 2016 will bring a slew of new products for the space, such as new Ultra HD televisions, multi-room speakers and the further expansion of Android TV. Here's everything that you can look forward to seeing in your entertainment center once the clock strikes 12 on December 31.

4K TVs, OLED and otherwise

home entertainment 2016
Let's start with the shining star of the living room: your TV. In 2016, your rectangular window into the entertainment world is going to get bigger, brighter and sharper than ever.
How's your TV going to take it to the next level? Quantum dots, OLEDs and additional lighting zones that will help bring more uniformity to the backlight of modern-day screens.
Without going too far down the rabbit hole, quantum dots are electrically controlled filters that can radically improve the color of your screen. OLEDs, or organic light-emitting diodes, eschew the traditional backlight for a series of thin, light-emitting films that can individually be turned on and off.
This year, expect LG to make another leap forward with both technologies, while companies like Samsung, Panasonic and Hisense use the year to overhaul their respective 4K line-ups.

Audio in every room of your house

home entertainment 2016
At one time, Sonos was the only name in multi-room audio. If you wanted a classic crooner's song playing in your living room and, say, a swanky swing tune going on in the kitchen simultaneously, Sonos was the only game in town.
But, in 2015, everything changed when Chromecast Audio delivered a solution for high-definition streaming audio for around the cost of a few CDs. Elsewhere in the industry, LG and Samsung launched their own solutions to the problem with Music Flow and the Radiant speaker system, respectively.
In 2016, you can expect these products to drop significantly in price, as other companies come into the fray to steal some more of Sonos's pie. Though, Google's solution has already set the price ceiling at an all-time low, so we'll see just how significant those drops are.

VR invading the living room

home entertainment 2016
Traditional televisions and stalwart stereo systems have long been the pillars of the living room. But, come January 1, you can add living room gaming PCs and virtual reality headsets to that list.
Starting with the latter, VR is set to explode in the new year. What's our proof? Two of the biggest products in the category, the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, are very nearly living room ready.
The only hurdle to our Ready Player One-esque destiny is price. Neither system has a solid price point and while the world economy has definitely taken a turn for the better in the past few years, scientists are still hard at work creating the long-desired money tree.

Rise of the (Steam) Machines

home entertainment 2016
If you like your video games flat and directly in front of you, don't fret. There will always be a home for the traditional systems next to the TV.
The big change coming to consoles this year is the further expansion of Valve's living room initiative that took a nascent form all the way back in 2013. The program, called Steam Machines, came to fruition late this year when the Steam Controller launched, finally tying the proverbial room together.
In 2016, you can expect the living room PC format to start picking up Steam (sorry) when more branded boxes from manufacturers, like Asus, make a dash for the living room.

Ultra HD Blu-ray

home entertainment 2016
Separately, Ultra HD and Blu-ray are impressive technologies. Combined, they spell the future format for physical media in home entertainment.
After several iterations and many long-winded debates about standards, Ultra HD Blu-rays are almost ready to take the helm as the new video standard in 2016.
While you might not be overly excited to ditch DVDs and replace your entire movie collection yet again, the reason for the switch is a practical one: higher resolution video needs more storage space than Blu-rays or DVDs alone can provide.
The format's lowest-end specs are 50GB discs encoded at up to 82Mbps, while at the upper limit of the technology, 100GB discs can support 128Mbps encoding. For reference, DVDs range in bitrate from 3Mbps to 9.5Mbps.
In short, it's going to be a massive upgrade in quality.

Streaming services surpass cable

home entertainment 2016
This one's more of a prediction than a set-in-stone guarantee. But, with the way things are going for Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video, chances are good that 2016 will be the year that streaming services surpass cable if not in subscriber base then, at the very least, content.
Netflix recently announced that it plans on doubling the amount of original content it produced this year, with 31 new shows coming in 2016. Naturally, Hulu, Amazon and Sling TV have their own plans for dominating the streaming space.
And while quantity doesn't always mean quality, Netflix and Amazon together garnered an unreasonably high 46 Emmy nominations this year for shows like Orange is the New Black, House of Cards and Transparent. That's on par with NBC's 41 Emmy nominations and even slightly more than the 35 FOX got.
Extra competition from the streaming side might make longstanding cable companies rethink their strategy, leading the top providers to slash prices to keep subscribers from cutting the cord. Of course, it's more likely that they'll continue to do what they do best in 2016: charging exorbitant amounts of money for hundreds of channels you don't want or need.











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Twitter to bring back archive for politicians' deleted tweets
Twitter to bring back archive for politicians' deleted tweets
Twitter announced today that it has come to an agreement to revive Politwoops, the public archive of tweets deleted by politicians.
The announcement came after a decision earlier this summer to shut down Politwoops over concerns around Twitter's API Terms of Service. The decision was met with criticism from the Sunlight Foundation and The Open State Foundation, the nonprofit organizations behind Politwoops.
"Politwoops is an important tool for holding our public officials, including candidates, accountable for the statements they make," said Sunlight Foundation communications director Jenn Topper. "We're glad that we've been able to reach an agreement with Twitter to bring it back online both in the US and internationally."
Politwoops chronicles deleted tweets swept under the rug by public officials, primarily developed to boost transparency between political figures and the public. According to Topper, Politwoops will resume operation over course of the coming weeks.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey believed the move to exclude Politwoops was a misstep in hindsight, with The Verge reporting his apology and refocused efforts for the social media hub.
"We have a responsibility to continue to empower organizations that bring more transparency to public dialogue, such as Politwoops," said Dorsey at the company's Flight conference in October. "We need to make sure we are serving all these organizations and developers in the best way, because that is what will make Twitter great."











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CES 2016: CES 2016: our most anticipated products of the show
CES 2016: CES 2016: our most anticipated products of the show

CES 2016 predictions

After stockings have been stuffed and presents have been collected, tech fans the world over are given one final gift at the start of the new year: CES.
The mother of all gadget conventions unites all technophiles for the common goal of seeing the latest and greatest companies like Samsung, LG, Sony and more have to offer.
There's one problem: with dozens of beautiful, black bezel screens, around a hundred handsets and more speakers than a football stadium, it's easy to lose track of the coolest upcoming products.
So, to that end, we've put our power-loving, speed-infatuated, shiny screen-addicted minds together to list out all the products we're most excited for and the ones we think you should be excited for, too.
ces 2016

Huawei Mate 8 – John McCann, Phones & Tablets Editor

Off the back of the well-received Nexus 6P, the Chinese firm is finally getting its name out there.
The hope is the 6P will help shake Huawei's "budget phone" reputation, and the Mate 8 will look to build on the success of its partnership with Google. The handset has already launched in China, but we fully expect the international version to appear in Las Vegas.
Expect the Mate 8 to basically be a beefed up version of the 6P, with a similar premium metal finish and that circular rear-mounted fingerprint scanner. Could this be the point where Huawei goes from challenger brand to worldwide contender?
ces 2016

Samsung Smartthings – Marc Chacksfield, Content Team Lead

Samsung buying Smartthings back in 2014 was meant to be the kickstart the smart home arena needed. But it hasn't turned out that way. Yet.
I am really hoping that Samsung shows off an enhanced version of Smartthings that showcases the true power of the connected home. At the moment, smart homes are basic – no one has really connected all of the dots, linking your thermostat with your security camera with your car and so on. Smartthings has the power to do this, we just haven't seen it yet.
ces 2016

Surface Book accessories – Kevin Lee, Associate Editor, Computing

The Surface Book is one of the best hybrid laptops I reviewed last year, but – oh boy – is it hurting for some accessories. While there are always big product announcements at CES, a large portion of the show floor is actually occupied by smaller companies that make accessories.
I'm hoping to see a few things including an Surface Dock that's actually affordable or a third-party charger from Zolt (hint). Maybe even a monitor arm that interfaces with the Surface Books Clipboard to make it a makeshift desktop.
ces 2016

More wireless earbuds – Cameron Faulkner, Assistant Editor

Wireless earbuds do currently exist, but more as an expensive and rough proof of concept than anything you'd actually wear on a day-to-day basis. It makes sense that this is technology that's tough to crack, what with the challenge of cramming the battery, Bluetooth receiver, as well as modern controls and possibly even a microphone inside something small enough to fit into your ear. But, I'm hopeful that 2016 is the year for wireless earbuds.
ces 2016

Chevrolet Bolt – Tuan Huynh, Editor, Car Tech

Chevy is supposed to show off the production-ready Bolt electric vehicle (EV) at CES. The all-new EV promises 200-miles of range at a sub-$30k price after the $7,500 federal tax credit. As an owner of a 2015 Nissan Leaf, the Bolt's range solves my annoyances with the Leaf and is a candidate for a potential replacement.
Combined with Chevy's support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, I'm hopeful the Bolt will be the car to propel EV's to larger market adoption, and the infotainment system won't suck.
ces 2016

Project Christine (pretty please?) – Joe Osborne, Senior Editor

Hey, remember that concept for a fully modular gaming PC that Razer put out way back at CES 2014, Project Christine? Call it a pipedream, but it sure would be grand to see the firm make good on the vision.
After building my own gaming PC for the first time in almost 20 years, there are few things I wouldn't have done for a plug-and-play method. Of course, Christine still hangs on whether chip and part makers would come on board. And, let's be real, we have a better chance of seeing Half-Life 3 at CES than we do a market-ready version of Christine.
But a man can dream, can't he?
ces 2016

A cheap Panasonic OLED – Dave James, Home Technology Editor

OLED is a stunning piece of visual technology. Paired with a quality 4K Ultra HD source and high dynamic range support, the experience can be almost transformative. But, sadly, pretty much every OLED TV is of the curved variety. Only LG's recent EF950 series has brought the tech to the flat panel.
Panasonic's first foray into the wider world of OLED was a $10,000 beast, but an absolutely gorgeous one, though again was only available with the divisive curves. I'm desperate to see Panasonic's Ultra HD and HDR image processing skills brought to bear on a more affordable flat screen TV.
ces 2016

A new Lenovo laptop – Juan Martinez, Senior Editor, techradar pro

Last year, Lenovo rocked CES by introducing the Lenovo LaVie Z laptop and convertible. Both devices were the lightest notebooks in the history of their respective classes. It'll be interesting to see if Lenovo has another weight loss trick up its sleeve, or if it'll be changing the game in other ways.
Although the LaVies weren't the best mobile computers introduced at CES (see: Dell XPS 13), they were revolutionary and helped to improve the overall laptop landscape. You can't always be the best, but being avant garde certainly has its merits.
ces 2016

HTC Vive – Nick Pino, Associate Editor, Home Entertainment

If we're being honest, I'd really like to see Nintendo's next system, codenamed the Nintendo NX. But since the house of Mario has displayed a serious aversion to attending the king of all technology shows for years now, my second pick is the consumer-ready version of the HTC Vive.
I'm excited to ditch the lackluster Samsung Gear VR which, currently, is the only consumer-friendly entryway into virtual reality. CES will be our final look at the Vive until it releases in April of 2016, e.g. four short months from now. The time's a' ticking, so a good showing next week would alleviate many of our fears about launch day.
ces 2016

4K TVs and VR headsets – Patrick Goss, Editor-in-Chief

I'm looking forward to seeing a genuinely decent 4K television that isn't going to break the bank, although it remains to be seen if it's Samsung, LG or old warhorse Sony that manages to pique my interest.
2016 is definitely the make or break year for VR, and I'm expecting this to be reflected at CES. The HTC Vive is definitely garnering huge praise, but Facebook-owned Oculus is still the front runner, narrowly ahead of Sony's PlayStation VR.
Maybe there will be a wearable that I actually need – but I'm not holding my breath...
ces 2016

A new Fitbit – Matt Swider, Editor, Mobile Devices

I don't expect major smartphone announcements, outside of the Huawei Mate 8 that John already covered. The Samsung Galaxy S7 and HTC One M10 are supposed to show up at MWC 2016.
Instead, I'm hoping to see one of my favorite phone-connected wearables: A new Fitbit. It's been an entire year since the Fitbit Charge came out, and both the Fitbit Charge HR and larger Fitbit Surge launched in early 2015. Is it time for a refresh at Fitbit's scheduled keynote on January 7? I hope so, and I'm hoping for a waterproof Fitbit Charge HR and Surge sequel.











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BBC websites and iPlayer were downed by massive DDoS fire
BBC websites and iPlayer were downed by massive DDoS fire
You may have noticed that the BBC's websites (and indeed the iPlayer service) were out of action first thing this morning – well, it turns out that this major outage was due to a cyber-attack.
Problems began at around 07:00 GMT this morning, and BBC.co.uk was down with an 'Error 500 - Internal Error' when we visited the site at just before 10:00. (Not everyone was having these issues though – another techradar staff member found he could visit the site just fine).
At first, the BBC Press Office tweeted that this was due to a technical problem, but sources within the Beeb have now admitted it was DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) fire which took its websites out (though an official confirmation of this has yet to be issued – we guess the investigation is still underway).
The downtime lasted until around midday, when the Beeb's Press Office tweeted: "The BBC website is now back up and operating normally. We apologise for any inconvenience you may have experienced."
Some Twitter users still complained that while the BBC websites seemed fine, iPlayer still wasn't functioning properly even after this announcement that everything was back to normal.
The next obvious question is who organised this major volley of DDoS? Earlier this year, Anonymous threatened to pelt Auntie Beeb with DDoS over the whole Jeremy Clarkson sacking affair.











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Review: Acer Predator 15
Review: Acer Predator 15

Introduction and design

Thinner and lighter than ever, modern gaming laptops borrow heavily from the styling cues of modern supercars and high-tech fighter jets. The Acer Predator 15, however, resembles something more akin to tank. Heavy and huge, it cuts an aggressive figure that symbolizes the real essence of the performance beast that lies within.
The Predator easily justifies its monstrous stature, being full of features that don't immediately come to mind when thinking of a high-end gaming laptop. Yes, it has tons of hard drive space and RAM. Its Skylake-generation Intel processor is top of the line, and the Nvidia GPU performs wonderfully. But these are perfectly complimented by an impressive cooling system, fantastic speakers and a rugged build that feels like a piece of military equipment.
Acer Predator 15 review

Design

The Predator will not be winning any beauty contests. In fact, it almost looks like a throwback to an earlier time in laptop history. The screen bezel is thick the entire way around, with its thickest point at the bottom of the screen measuring 1.25-inches.
All that bulk is not without merit. This laptop is thick and heavy, yes, but it moves air like no one's business. In fact, it even comes with a modular CoolerMaster FrostCore cooling unit that swaps out with the Blu-ray drive.
Acer Predator 15 review
Better yet, the sound system is phenomenal. The speakers, located on the front of the laptop, are helped along by a subwoofer on the bottom. Both the sound and cooling systems no doubt add to the overall thickness of the laptop, but they both work so well it wouldn't be worth cutting them in exchange for reduction in size.
Another contributing factor to the Predator's tank-like aesthetics is its eight-cell, lithium-ion 6,000 mAh battery. The huge-capacity battery is worth the weight, though, as it offers some of the longest battery life in a high-end gaming laptop.
Acer Predator 15 review
The notebook's size means there's also plenty of room for a full-sized keyboard and a large trackpad. The chiclet-style keyboard is one of the most comfortable I've used, with smooth-travelling, solid keys spaced perfectly apart. The right and left mouse buttons on the trackpad have the exact same travel and feel as the keys on the keyboard, a small detail that I didn't realize I wanted until I experienced it first-hand.
On top of angles and accents that scream "I am a gamer, and this is my computer," the Predator 15 includes light-up elements no decent gaming laptop would go without. This includes two narrow strips and a backlit logo on the lid, as well as a two-tone backlit keyboard. The arrow and WASD keys are colored red, making them easy to pick out from the rest of the black keyboard.
Acer Predator 15 review
The Predator lacks the colorful customization options seen on many other gaming rigs, which is a bit of a disappointment. The color customization goes as deep as turning off and on different lighting zones throughout the laptop. Personally, I like the ability to change colors on my keyboards, but the reality is I do it once and then forget about it, so it's not a deal breaker.
A small, mirrored strip of plastic on the hinge houses the hard drive, battery, and power lights, and shows through even when the laptop is closed. It almost looks like the glowing bar on the front of Knight Rider's KITT, or the row of lights below the viewscreen on the Enterprise. The LEDs aren't animated or anything, but it's a nice use of the space and adds to the futuristic war-machine aesthetic.
Acer Predator 15 review
A row of six macro buttons are located on the upper left side, directly above the function keys, and can be programmed using the Predator Sense software included with the laptop. Up to three sets of five macros can be assigned, and the first group are already assigned to handy functions, like turning off and on sticky keys and enabling or disabling the fans. Like everything else your fingers will come in contact with, the macro keys have a pleasing feel and a satisfying click.
In addition to the programmable macro keys, there's also a dedicated button directly adjacent to the trackpad that disables it and the Windows key. It's another one of those things I never knew I wanted before, but being able to play Call of Duty in its proper WASD configuration without constantly losing my place, thanks to accidental trackpad contact, is a welcome feature. Pressing it also brings up a quick icon on the screen to let you know it been activated, along with changing the LED on the button from green to red.
Acer Predator 15 review

Stain-resistant

Many modern, high-end laptops include a microfiber cloth to deal with the smudges and smears that come with ordinary handling. The matte-black body of the Acer Predator 15 has a finish that feels almost like hard rubber.
This soft-touch paint finish is usually a magnet for grease, but the Predator 15 is is extremely resistant to picking up fingerprints or stains. It's actually difficult to leave noticeable fingerprints on any part of the Predator, including the keys and trackpad. Kudos to Acer for creating a gaming laptop that looks good and stays that way without much maintenance.

Specifications and value

The Acer Predator 15 weighs a whopping 7.5 pounds (3.4kg) and measures 1.5 inches (3.8cm) at its thickest point when closed. Compare that to the MSI GS60 Ghost Pro, which is a positively svelte 0.78 inches (1.9cm) and weighs just 4.2 pounds (1.9kg). It weighs as much as the Origin EON 15-X, but its overall dimensions are larger than the Predator 15. The real difference there is the Origin houses a full-fledged desktop CPU, whereas the Predator sports a completely mobile chipset.
The weight of the Predator it one of its biggest drawbacks. With so many computers racing to the bottom as far as mass is concerned, a 7.5-pound laptop almost seems unfashionable. Add in the little extra weight of the AC adapter and the FrostCore cooler, and the Predator makes its presence known to your back, if you're carrying it in a laptop bag. Sitting it on your lap isn't too terrible, but if you're used to a lightweight notebook, it will surprise you when try to adjust it on your lap.
Acer Predator 15 review

Spec sheet

Here is the Acer Predator 15 configuration sent to TechRadar for review:
  • CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-6700HQ (quad-core, 6MB cache, up to 3.5GHz with Turbo Boost)
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M (4GB GDDR5 RAM), Intel HD Graphics 530
  • RAM: 32GB DDR4 (2133 MHz, expandable to 64GB)
  • Screen: 15.6-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 Active Matrix TFT Color LCD
  • Storage: 512GB PCIe NVME SSD, 1TB HDD (7,400 RPM)
  • Ports: 4x USB 3.0, 1x USB 3.1/Thunderbolt 3, HDMI, DisplayPort, Ethernet, SD reader, headphone jack, microphone jack
  • Connectivity: Killer Wireless-AC 1535 , Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 4.2
  • Camera: Front-facing 1,280 x 720 webcam
  • Weight: 7.5 pounds (3.4 kg)
  • Size: 15.4 x 11.8 x 1.5 inches, 39.1 x 30 x 3.8 centimeters (W x D x H)
Acer Predator 15 review
As big as the Acer Predator 15 is physically, its price is also quite heavy. At $2,499 (about £1,249, AU$2,999, though not as well equipped abroad) as configured, this is a serious machine. However, just as its size is justifiable for everything Acer managed to fit into it, the price is also a fair reflection of everything it includes.
The price tag seems exactly right for this machine. It's a premium piece of hardware, but it doesn't feel like a "luxury" item. Every part of it is designed to fit a gamer's needs, and the price point reflects that.
The Predator 15 is neck and neck with the EON15-X as far as price, but the EON15-X beats the Predator in performance. This is no doubt due to its desktop processor and 8GB of GDDR5 RAM, compared to the 4GB GDDR5 in the Predator. While the EON15-X is able to best the Predator in every performance test, the Predator beats it in other categories that still make it a good value.
Acer Predator 15 review
It also comes with a larger 512GB solid-state drive (SSD) and a 1TB, 7,400 rpm hard drive, beating both the GS60 and the EON15-X. An SSD makes all the difference in games like Just Cause 3, which is notoriously heavy on load times when running off a traditional hard drive. Black Ops 3, Just Cause 3, and Grand Theft Auto 5 – which are all fairly recent, top-selling games – each take up 40GB of room, SSD space goes fast on other computers, but the Predator has room to spare.
Other, less expensive configurations of the Predator 15 exist, with the entry-level version dropping down to a 128GB SSD and a GeForce 970M with 3GB of GDDR5 RAM. That version costs $1,499 (£1,249,AU$2,999).
The cheaper version comes with only 16GB of RAM. I say "only", because the configuration we tested includes 32GB. All models are upgradeable to 64GB, however, and all the machines in the Predator line-up have the same Skylake processor and 1TB hard-drive standard in the US.

Performance and features

With a whopping 32GB of RAM and programs loading from the SSD, along with its Core i7 CPU, I never encountered a situation through regular use where the Predator really struggled. In fact, it breezed along as if nothing was wrong. I tend to leave a dozen or more processor-heavy, Ajax-enabled sites like Gmail, Facebook, and Twitter open at any given time, and even with a few videos on pause, I was able to jump in and out of games without issue.
The SSD makes a big difference in games with lots of loading. I never experienced any of Just Cause 3's dreaded, ultra-long loading time issues. The GeForce 980M had no problem running the game at decent settings, and I couldn't help myself but to plug it into my television and play on the big screen for a while. Again, even in a two-screen configuration, I didn't experience any problems with performance.
Acer Predator 15 review

Benchmarks

Here's how the Acer Predator 15 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:
  • 3DMark: Cloud Gate: 22,590; Sky Diver: 21,829; Fire Strike: 8,277
  • Cinebench CPU: 673 points; Graphics: 66 fps,
  • GeekBench: 3,668 (single-core); 13,255 (multi-core)
  • PCMark 8 (Home Test): 3,378 points
  • PCMark 8 Battery Life: 3 hours and 17 minutes
  • Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (1080p, Ultra): 67 fps; (1080p, Low): 140 fps
  • Metro: Last Light (1080p, Ultra): 33 fps; (1080p, Low): 114 fps
The performance of the Predator falls short of the EON15-X, as Origin's machine really thrives from having a desktop processor and having a GPU with double the RAM. The Cinebench score speaks to the superiority of the EON15-X, with that laptop scoring 874 points, compared to the Predator's 671. In fact, performance-wise, the Predator is much closer to the GS60 Ghost Pro, narrowly beating it out in all but the PCMark 8 Home Test. Even then, it lost by a negligible 15 points.
Metro: Last Light and Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor were able to run at a competent frame rate, even on Ultra settings. Mordor on Ultra was able to average 67 fps, while Metro reached just half that number, at 33 fps. With games set to their optimal settings, either through the GeForce software or the games themselves, graphics and framerate will satisfy any gamer's wants.
For modern games, the Predator does well. Just Cause 3, with its huge open world and physics-based, movie-realistic explosions, was a real treat. After reading about performance issues with the game, I was worried it would be a slog on a laptop rather than a dedicated desktop, but I'm happy to report the Predator handled it well. The only time I saw a real chug was when I was playing on battery power, but even that was brief and largely a result of so much happening on-screen.
Acer Predator 15 review

Display

The Predator has support for G-Sync monitors, but the display on the machine itself isn't G-Sync enabled. While that would certainly add to the already steep price for the tricked-out Predator 15, it would be appreciated to at least have the option.
That's especially since the display is such a pleasure to behold. I had to check several times during testing where the screen needed to be set to 50% brightness, because even at half its capacity, the screen shines brightly.
High-definition movies look fantastic, at a level of clarity that somehow seems to rise above its quoted 1,920 x 1,080 resolution. Games, too, look wonderful, with vibrant colors that look alive. Even games with relatively dull color palettes, like Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, have an an extra dimension of graphical fidelity, thanks to the bright, colorful screen.
As great as the screen looks, an UHD option would have been a nice addition, something to take an already great machine to the next level. However, pushing all those pixels while remaining competitive in performance is a task for any GPU, so it's understandable why Acer chose to skip the option. Adding a second GPU could have been another possibility, but it too would have inflated the already high price and weight.
Acer Predator 15 review

Battery

Where the Predator shines compared to its competitors is in its battery life. A PCMark 8 Battery Life score of 3 hours and 17 minutes puts it an hour above both the EON15-X and the GS60.
Watching Guardians of the Galaxy on a loop at 50% screen brightness, listening through a pair of headphones, the GS60 made it to 2 hours 28 minutes, just barely enough to finish the movie. The Predator, on the other hand, running the same conditions, lasted an impressive 4 hours 22 minutes.
The EON15-X lasted just over 2 hours through practical use, while the Predator made it 3 hours and 5 minutes of me jumping back and forth between Just Cause 3, Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 and regular internet surfing. I left all my tabs running while I gamed, and the screen was at 50% brightness, but I also left the fans running as they normally would.
All that battery life makes the Predator a stand-out among its peers. Merely watching movies on it, you could almost make it from one coast to the other on an airplane before it needed to be plugged in.
And that movie experience would be without a big trade-off. The screen at 50% is still a comfortable brightness, and I'd be willing to wager with some more tweaks, the battery life could be stretched even further.
Acer Predator 15 review

Cooler runnings

The cooling on the Predator is exceptional. Playing Just Cause 3 for extended sessions with the graphics optimized via GeForce Experience had the fans spinning constantly. The Predator is able to move so much air with the help of the FrostCore cooler that my legs were actually starting to feel cold from the breeze.
The vents on the bottom and back of the laptop are large and facilitate the air flow. Under normal use, simply browsing the internet, I was able to shut the fans down entirely, and never once did I find the laptop uncomfortably warm.
Another feature of the Predator's cooling system – and it really cannot be overstated how well the cooling works – is the Acer Dust Defender feature. It can be manually activated, but under normal use, every three hours the Predator will spin its fans in reverse to help get rid of accumulated dust trapped inside.
Unfortunately, all that cooling comes at the expense of constant fan noise. When they're spinning, they're loud. It's nice that the Predator has a built-in macro for turning the fans off, but who wants to shut off their fans while running a graphics-intensive game?
The fan noise is an extra bummer when juxtaposed against just how excellent the speakers sound. The two front facing speakers produce a rich, clear sound with no distortion. And the subwoofer on the bottom adds some boom to the bounce, making this the best-sounding laptop I've tested.
On top of sounding fantastic, this laptop also gets loud. At no point did I ever want to play a game at 100% volume. Seriously, it's loud.

Verdict

The Predator 15 is a tank. It feels solid, it performs well and its battery life is superb for a gaming laptop. While this notebook doesn't hit the graphical high notes of comparably priced competitors, it makes up for it in RAM, disk space and top-notch cooling.

We liked

All that space on the SSD means there's plenty of room for today's huge AAA games. Just Cause 3 has an install size of 42.5GB, and Black Ops 3 comes in at 45GB. It's getting to the point where a large SSD will be a requirement, rather than a luxury, but the Predator's 512GB SSD is way ahead of the curve.
The fact that the Predator can stay cool even when processing all the explosions and carnage of Just Cause 3 is impressive. Its auto-reversing fans ensure the laptop will remain at peak cooling capacity. Even during normal, non-gaming use with the fans off, this notebook remains comfortable enough to keep on your lap.
But it's the notebook's huge battery is what really sets the Predator above its peers, however. Almost 4.5 hours of battery life (while running Guardians of the Galaxy on loop) is practically unheard of with such a powerful laptop. Whereas most gaming laptops can't go far from a wall outlet, the Predator is relentless.

We disliked

All the unique features, like the enormous battery and cooling, make the Predator 15 a heavy machine. It makes itself known from the minute you pick it up, and while its battery may make it ideal for taking along on short flights or train rides, you might not want to burden yourself with it.
The fan noise can't be ignored. When the cooling system is working its hardest, the noise it produces is distracting, making it a double-edged sword.

Final verdict

The Predator 15 is a heavy hitter in the world of gaming laptops. Its performance and host of features make its otherwise steep price tag feel like an appropriate fit.
Among its peers, Acer's latest isn't the most powerful gaming laptop. But, the notebook makes up for that by remaining cool under pressure and sporting phenomenal battery life.
Programmable macros, a comfortable and punchy keyboard, one-button trackpad disabling and great speakers further add to the value of the Predator 15. This gaming laptop hits practically every note a gamer could desire.











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Pirates apologise for leaking The Hateful Eight, but say they did Tarantino a favour
Pirates apologise for leaking The Hateful Eight, but say they did Tarantino a favour
The movie pirates who recently leaked a selection of movies, including Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight, have apologised for their actions.
The group, Hive-CM8, released copies of several movie screeners that had been sent out to judges for award consideration.
Now the group has put out a statement saying it is "sorry for the trouble" it caused, while claiming that the screeners were obtained from "a guy on the street".
The note, which was posted to Reddit and also sent out in the nfo file attached to torrented copies of The Big Short, states that the group "never intended to hurt anyone" and recommends people watch these movies on the big screen as intended.
"The producers need the money from ticket sales to get back the production costs," the group insightfully commented.

Hateful or ungrateful?

The statement makes particular reference to Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight, calling it an "excellent, thrilling and entertaining Western" and an "unforgettable film".
However the group refuse to eat the entire humble pie, adding that it believes its actions have helped create added hype to the movie.
"This will push the cinema tickets sale for sure," says the statement. We're not sure the studios will see it that way.
The group originally announced that it would release 40 pirated movies - making this an unprecedented leak - but now says that it will not release anymore movies before their cinema release date, falling short of the promised total.











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