Category Archives: Electronics

Amazon Prime members can get over 30% off of new Fire tablets

Apple may have been quiet about tablets this week, but Amazon isn’t doing likewise. The new Fire 7 and Fire HD 8 tablets from Amazon are a pair of incredibly affordable tablets that aren’t half bad, especially the Fire HD 8, and Amazon is currently giving Prime members a discount of over 30% on each.

Jump straight to the deals:

The Fire 7 is a no-frills tablet with a 7-inch display at a resolution of 1,024×600 pixels. The screen and camera are no killers, but the tablet comes with dual-band wi-fi for good connectivity, and it features one of Amazon’s most popular recent creations: Alexa.

At $50 for the 8GB model with Amazon special offers displayed on the lockscreen, the Fire 7 is a super low-budget tablet with a smart assistant thrown on top. At that price, it’s already one of the cheapest ways to get an Alexa-enabled device. But Prime members can get the Fire 7 for $15 off, making it an incredibly cheap $35.

The Fire HD 8 deal is even sweeter

The Fire HD 8 may be $30 more than the Fire 8 at their base prices, but it has more to offer. On top of a slightly bigger screen with a resolution of 1,280×800, the Fire HD 8 also has double the storage of the Fire 7. It also has Alexa baked in.

The Fire HD 8 starts at $89, which makes it a good buy, but with Amazon’s $25 discount for Prime members, the Fire HD 8 is just $64 right now. There are plenty of other tablets with higher specs and bigger screens, but it’s hard to beat the value of the Fire 7 and Fire HD 8 when a deal like this is going.

      

The 8 best 13-inch laptops in India for September 2017

Best 13-inch laptop

Thirteen inches. Arguably, it’s the perfect size for a laptop screen. Not too big nor too small, the best 13-inch laptop will sidestep the flimsiness and squint-inducing terror of a smaller notebook, absent the need to intimidate with a gargantuan form factor.

They’re not all Windows laptops either; Apple fans will rejoice at the fact that the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air continue to stun in 13-inch flavors. Whatever the case, you ought to find a notebook that – at the very least – incites interest. Whether it’s a 2-in-1 or a traditional clamshell you’re after, we’ve encapsulated the spice of life in our list of the very best 13-inch laptops.

For a broader view, take a gander at the best laptops in the world today, and if it’s thin and light you’re after, you can also find the best Ultrabook from TechRadar. But, whatever you do, be sure to read on to find our favorite 13-inch picks of the past few months in no particular order.

Best 13-inch laptops:

  1. Dell XPS 13
  2. HP Spectre x360
  3. Acer Aspire S 13
  4. Lenovo Yoga 910
  5. 13-inch MacBook Air
  6. 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display

Now graced with 7th-generation Intel Core i processors, Dell has struck (rose) gold with the XPS 13. The lush design, lengthy battery life and even the SD card slot are still intact, only now it’s souped up with improved internal specs and sleeker appearances reminiscent of the MacBook and HP Spectre lineups. What’s more, the full-size processor and 13.3-inch display are crammed into an 11-inch frame made possible by Dell’s own nearly bezel-less InfinityEdge display technology.

Read the full review: Dell XPS 13

The HP Spectre x360 is the one you introduce to your parents. It’s strikingly well-crafted, boasting a silvery design that makes it every bit as cutting-edge on the outside as it is within. Given the choice between a 7th-generation i5 or i7 Ultrabook-class processor and a 1080p or 4K screen, HP has gives plenty of room for customization. It’s not underpowered, nor does its battery life suffer from overcompensation. In fact, in our own movie test, the HP Spectre x360 lasted a whole 8 hours and 45 minutes. The only real catch is that, like a lot of its competitors, the Spectre x360 also lacks an SD card slot, opting instead for a pair of USB Type-C ports.

Read the full review: HP Spectre x360

That’s not a typo you just read on the specs sheet – the Acer Aspire S 13 truly is a beast. Replete with a Skylake Core series processors shoved inside a tiny, 13.3-inch body, the Aspire S 13 can handle practically anything you throw at it productivity-wise. Unfortunately, the catch is that with all this power comes a distinct shortage on battery life. It may be an Ultrabook, but the Aspire S 13 only managed 3 hours and 12 minutes in our PCMark 8 battery test. Luckily, the Acer Aspire S 13 also comes with the benefit of USB 3.1, all but a boon in this awkward early age of USB-C.

Read the full review: Acer Aspire S 13

The Lenovo Yoga 910 is all about second chances. It throws away many of the signature design traits of the previous model, the Yoga 900, in favor of a more pristine outward appearance and a heavy duty Intel Core i7 processor as well as the option of a 4K display. Lenovo also managed to squeeze a larger, nearly 14-inch screen into the same 13-inch chassis of the Yoga 900 without compromise. Not to mention, even with the implementation of USB-C ports, the Lenovo Yoga 910 doesn’t completely neglect USB Type-A, dragging the precious connection standard of the past along with it.

Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga 910

Best 13-inch laptop

In a market densely populated with slim-line laptops from a massive range of manufacturers, Apple’s MacBook Air fights on admirably – though it started showing its age on the outside a long time ago. It has Intel’s fifth-generation Core-series processors rather than the newest Skylake variants, but it’s still a capable machine; even more so since Apple made 8GB of RAM standard across the line. If you don’t like the look of its lowly 1,440 x 900 pixel-resolution display, there’s always the 12-inch MacBook – and new MacBook Air models are expected to launch this summer.

Read the full review: 13-inch MacBook Air

best 13-inch laptop

Though it may not have the 12-inch MacBook’s slick design, the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina features Apple’s Force Touch track pad that uses different levels of sensitivity instead of mechanical buttons to make clicks. Even without the fancy Touch Bar, the MacBook Pro exceeds expectations with two Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports, quieter fans, louder speakers and even a battery life exceeding 7 hours in our anecdotal testing. Despite a controversial keyboard mechanism, the MacBook Pro is thinner, lighter and ready to travel.

Read the full review: Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch, Late 2016)

      

Some iPad Pro models just got more expensive

There was lots of big news from Apple yesterday, headed by the announcement of the iPhone X, but one thing the company didn’t draw much attention to is the fact that some iPad Pro models have just gone up in price.

The 256GB iPad Pro 10.5 has gone up from $749 (£709, AU$1,129) to $799 (£769, AU$1,199) and the 512GB iPad Pro 10.5 has risen from $949 (£889, AU$1,429) to $999 (£969, AU$1,499).

Similarly, the 256GB iPad Pro 12.9 (2017) has been hiked from $899 (£859, AU$1,349) to $949 (£919, AU$1,419), and the 512GB 12.9-inch model has gone from $1,099 (£1,039, AU$1,649) to $1,149 (£1,119, AU$1,719).

For now however the 64GB models have remained the same, and some stores don’t seem to have updated their prices yet, so if you act fast you may still be able to get a larger storage capacity at the old price.

Rising memory costs

While Apple has given no explanation for the price rises, sources speaking to 9to5Mac report that it’s down to a dramatic increase in the cost of NAND flash storage.

That increase may have partly been caused by Apple itself though, as the company has apparently caused NAND supply shortages through sourcing large quantities of it for the iPhone X and iPhone 8.

Whether other Apple devices will rise in price as a result of this, and whether prices will drop again if and when the price of NAND drops, we don’t know, but for now a product that could never have been accused of being cheap is just that bit harsher on the wallet.

      

Twitter’s adding hundreds of hours of premium video-streaming content just for Aussies

At the “All That Matters” conference – Asia-Pacific’s “Business-2-Business-2-Fan” event in Singapore – Twitter announced that it will add hundreds of hours of premium live- and in-streaming video content to the micro-blogging site.

The company has partnered with over 35 content providers in the Asia-Pacific region, including Fox Sports, Riot Games, the ARIAs and Bloomberg Asia-Pacific to provide content across sports, news and entertainment.

These partnerships will give Aussies on Twitter access to live streams of the Australian Open, the Ashes and major eSports events, amongst others.

Twitter has already begun offering in-streaming video advertising in Australia, before rolling it out to the rest of the region.

In a statement, Twitter confirmed that the content will include an extension of its current global deals as well as new always-on premium content to advertisers in the Asia-Pacific region.

      

Telstra’s new eSIM support will keep your wearables online, no phone needed

Telstra hasn’t wasted time in announcing its integrated eSIM technology, with the news coming just hours after Apple launched the LTE-capable Apple Watch 3, the Cupertino-based firm’s first eSIM-supported smartwatch.

The Aussie telco’s aptly named Telstra One Number eSIM will enable customers to share the same number and mobile data plan across their wearable and smartphone, allowing customers to take calls and texts directly on their smartwatches. This should make managing gadgets easier than having separate SIM cards for all of your devices.

“Up until now, customers have had to pair their smartphone with their wearable devices using Bluetooth to access calls, messages and notifications on their wearables,” said Telstra’s Executive Director of product innovation, John Chambers. “The ability to connect a wearable device directly to a mobile network and integrate a customer’s existing mobile number will make these devices even more powerful companions.”

Good things come in small packages

eSIMs are tiny, non-removable SIM cards – much smaller than a regular nano-SIM – that will connect the wearable and the handset to Telstra’s mobile network. Once connected to the network, customers need not worry about leaving their phones at home for the day, with their smartwatches giving them call, text and app support.

Telstra hasn’t released any pricing information yet, but has confirmed that it will be made available across various devices, with companies like Apple, Huawei, Sony, LG, Microsoft and Samsung supporting the technology. It will, however, be made available to postpaid customers first, with no mention of a timeline.

Telstra is not alone – Optus, too, could bring eSIM technology to Australia, having first discussed it in a blog post from early May. We’ll let you know as soon as Vodafone joins the bandwagon as well.

      

Top 5 best credit card processing companies and PayPal alternatives

If your business relies on receiving debit and credit card payments from customers, then it’s worth investing time and money on an effective card processing service.

We can’t help you pay for it, but if time isn’t on your side we can certainly make choosing the right solution for you very quick and easy. In this article, we’ve picked out five potential card processing services for your company.

To compile the list, we’ve looked for card processors that make life easier and safer for both you and your customers. So that means processing services that go to extra lengths on usability and security. It probably won’t comes as a surprise to see PayPal included, but there are other services that include different features and and array of price points. By the time you finish reading, you’ll be ready to commit to one of the providers. So let’s get straight to it…

  • You must have been living under a rock for the last couple of decades if you haven’t heard of PayPal. We don’t think it’s an over exaggeration to say that for 99% of people, PayPal will be the first card processor that comes to mind. It’s used by multitudes upon multitudes of retailers and service providers around the world.

    And if your business is small, it’s absolutely free to sign up. That’s for the standard package that includes fraud protection, one-click purchasing and an optimised experienced for mobile visitors. The focus is on fast, simple payments from anybody, regardless of whether they have a PayPal account or not.

    As well as the free option, you can pay $30 (£20, around AU$38) a month to upgrade to PayPal Payments Pro. That allows you to customize your checkout and ensure that your customers stay on your website when they pay.

    Rather than a one size fits all approach to card processing, from the outset Square looks to mould its solution to suit your business. Whether your specialty is culinary, beauty, service provision or simply retail, Square will direct you appropriately.

    The interface (whether on desktop or via Square’s mobile app) is clean and simple to understand, and the commissions for each payment are a flat rate for all transactions instead of on a sliding scale. If you have a shopfront or office where you accept payments, you can also order its Square Reader hardware so that you can quickly take card payments in person, rather than faffing around with the online portal every time.

    There are no monthly payments to get Square, unless your transactions are going to amount to more than $250,000, then you’ll have to speak to Square to find out its rates.

    Worldpay’s online payment gateway is the one to go for if you’re expecting payment from all corners of the globe. You can accept payments from more than 100 currencies worldwide – from Rand to Rupees, Pesos to Pound Sterling.

    Worldpay takes the ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ approach to PayPal – it accepts payments from PayPal members, as well as the usual standalone card payments from non-PayPal users. We like that it includes reporting tools to keep track of your invoices and transactions and the company makes a lot of its advanced fraud protection. Clearly, Worldpay suits larger and growing businesses with greater needs.

    Sorry, but we can’t give you specific details on pricing. You have to speak to a member of its sales team if you want to sign up to Worldpay.

    If Intuit QuickBooks Payments sounds familiar, that’s because Intuit makes some of the oldest and most respected accounting software out there.

    The Payments strand of Intuit’s service is focussed on the fast payment of invoices that you issue to customers, allowing you to add a ‘Pay now’ button to make it quick and easy for the payer. And because Intuit is so accounts inclined, it’s no surprise to see that it makes a lot of the automatic invoicing and bookkeeping features you get access to. If you already use Intuit, it makes sense to sign up for Payments too.

    Again, there are no monthly fees to pay. You can check out the Intuit QuickBooks Payments commission structure here.

    Compared to some of the merchant services above, Stripe is a young pup – it only came into being in 2011. But what it lacks in years of experience, it makes up for in a slick, youthful design.

    But Stripe isn’t merely style without substance. It states that you can start accepting payments within 10 minutes of signing up. And that pretty much sums up Stripe’s raison d’être – a stripped down and straightforward card processing service. It also goes to great lengths to make integration on your website as easy as possible, with lots of help and guidelines to developers. And there are easy-to-navigate reporting suites, too.

    It’s another free service to subscribe to Stripe, with commission payable on each transaction.

          

macOS High Sierra’s release date locked in for September 25

During its iPhone 8 and iPhone X event – not on stage, but on its website – Apple has at last revealed the macOS High Sierra release date: September 25.

Apple’s latest version of macOS will be available for everyone to download through the Mac App Store in just two weeks, like so many versions of the operating system (OS) before it.

This, of course, is not the first time anyone has had access to the OS. High Sierra has been available to everyone that was interested through a public beta test that has seen several revisions since its reveal during WWDC 2017 and subsequent seeding.

Though, you had to jump through a few hoops (i.e. a special beta program sign-up) to get it, and the builds were never as stable as this final release will – or should – be.

This is how Apple announced the macOS High Sierra release date

What’s all the fuss?

Nevertheless, people have been clamoring for the latest version of macOS for a few key reasons. Well, beyond the fact that we’ve all grown quite accustomed to a shiny new Mac computer OS every September or October.

The most notable of reasons for the hype is the long-anticipated debut of Apple’s brand new file system, dubbed the Apple File System or APFS. This new approach to cataloging and typifying files replaces Apple’s longstanding Hierarchical File System or HFS, and aims to make all Macs past, present and future that much faster for it, with faster metadata operation.

High Sierra also brings with it HEVC, or H.265, video compression to Mac, which will make for much stronger and faster video streaming, especially at 4K resolution, not to mention far less space eaten up by compressed video files that are locally stored.

Other major improvements include overhauling the Photos app with stronger sorting tools as well enhancements to Safari to thwart ad tracking – not to mention official support for external graphics cards and virtual reality. However, the latter is not set to truly launch until spring 2018.

While these are mostly tweaks and enhancements to the existing macOS platform, these changes could have far deeper impact on the whole Mac experience than most. That possibility alone is worth getting hype – just try to contain yourself until September 25.

  • Don’t worry, all of the best Macs will support High Sierra, too

      

Bluetooth vulnerability could potentially affect billions of devices

A new vulnerability has been discovered that could allow an attacker to take control of a device using Bluetooth. As long as the victim has bluetooth activated and the attacker is within 32 feet, that is all that’s necessary to facilitate the attack.

That’s right, at no point would the victim need to pair with the attacking device, authorize transfer, or click on any boxes. Being a ‘clickless’ attack means that ii would be easy for an attacker to go undetected throughout the entire attack.

The good news is that this vulnerability (dubbed Blueborne) has been created by Digital Security firm Armis, meaning that it isn’t yet out in the wild. That said, it’s probably still worth updating your operating system.

Complete control

For a demonstration of the control a Blueborne attacker would have over your phone, check out this video from Armis demonstrating an attack working on an Android device:

Unlike previous clickless exploits, Blueborne grants an attacker a startling amount of control over devices. This is especially true of Android and Linux phones, given the high system privileges that Bluetooth functionality has in those devices.

The good news is that according to Ars Technica, a patch has been released for this exploit. If you’re an Apple user make sure you’re updated to at least iOS 10. Google provided manufacturers with a patch last month – Pixel and other Google branded phones now have access to the patch, and as we hear more about other Android manufacturers we’ll let you know.

      

Broadband deal of the week: £20 per month for superfast fibre from Vodafone

You’re being well and truly spoilt at the moment. As if Sky’s £15 per month standard broadband discount and our exclusive £40 M&S voucher with BT broadband weren’t enough, Vodafone has just knocked 20% off its already competitive fibre broadband deal.

That brings the price of Vodafone Unlimited Fibre broadband down to just £20 per month. That’s an incredible price for a superfast 38Mb connection – as you’ll see from our best fibre broadband deals round-up, the next best monthly price is Plusnet’s £24.99pm.

And if you’re worried about being hit with a big cost upfront, then fear not! Vodafone’s unlimited fibre packages are completely free upfront. There’s nothing to pay for set-up, or even for delivery of the router.

Vodafone’s £20 per month fibre broadband deal

Vodafone Unlimited Fibre 38 | 18 months | Up to 38Mb | Line rental inc. | FREE activation | £25 £20 per month
It may be more famous for Vodafone mobile deals, but the company has been aggressively pushing its broadband packages in recent weeks. That’s brilliant news for you, as it means some incredible offers.

We can’t recall ever seeing unlimited fibre broadband as cheap as £20 per month. You may be locked into the deal for 18 months, but at this price why should you care!? And assuming you already have a BT Openreach phone line like most households, there isn’t a penny to pay upfront. Total cost over 18 months £360

View this super-cheap Vodafone broadband deal

38Mb is pretty darn fast. With download speeds of up to 4.75MB per second, it’s more than double the speed of a traditional ADSL connection. But if you need even more speed, you can pay an extra £4 a month to upgrade to Vodafone Unlimited Fibre 76.

Cranking up the speeds to around 9.5MB per second, paying the extra is well worth it if you have a house full of regular internet users all battling for bandwidth at the same time. Plus, if you stream a lot of 4K content, you’ll get a much smoother viewing experience with Vodafone’s 76Mb plan. £24 per month for this much speed is a bargain.

Existing Vodafone broadband customers

If you signed up for Vodafone broadband last week (or even yesterday!) we know you must be kicking yourself at missing out on the discounted rate. We feel your pain. So we asked Vodafone whether existing customers can claim the improved deal, too. They told us that:

The discounted tariff is available to new and existing customers. However, the price would not go down for existing contracts. You would need to cancel and take out a new contract.

So if you have indeed recently grabbed Vodafone broadband, it would be well worth giving them a call to see if you can cancel your old contract and start a new one at the better price. The only obvious thing to watch is that you’ll be committed to Vodafone for a further 18 months.

Best broadband deals

Trust us when we say that you can’t beat Vodafone broadband purely on price at the moment. But if you want an all-singing, all-dancing package that features broadband and TV or inclusive calls from your landline, Vodafone can’t help you. It’s only dealing in broadband at the moment.

But with TechRadar’s price comparison tool you can compare and contrast all of the best deals available on the market right now. Head to our best broadband deals page, pop in your postcode, filter your requirements and we’ll spit out the best deals on the market for you.

      

Microsoft wants your business to try Windows and Office 365 for free

Microsoft has just launched a new project aimed at trying to lure customers into upgrading to Windows 10 services designed for enterprises.

The new program called “Windows Insider Lab for Enterprise” or WILE for short is an invitation only-program that will allow IT professionals to test-drive current and pre-release services and features first to improve the user experience for other Windows users.

WILE is essentially a sandbox where users can try out Windows Enterprise without fully committing the back-end resources of their organisation to the endeavor.

Users chosen by Microsoft to participate in the program will be able to conduct tests and demonstrations, work with Office 365 documents and monitor the defenses of other systems connected to their network.

The company has even created a pretend enterprise called Olympia Corp. for participants of the WILE program.

They will receive an Olympia corporate account as well as an “name@olympia.windows.com” email address to use with Outlook which will provide them with a free license to Office 365 when signed in via their new account.

The added security features of Windows 10 Enterprise will also be accessible which include Windows Defender Application Guard, Windows Information Protection and Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP).

Microsoft will also allow all WILE participants to upgrade their Windows 10 Pro PCs to Enterprise, saying:

“Since certain features such as Windows Defender Application Guard are only available on Windows 10 Enterprise, we recommend you to upgrade.”

As long as your devices remain enrolled in the WILE program, their Enterprise licenses will remain valid which should encourage users to continue to participate or consider fully upgrading to the Enterprise edition of Windows 10.

Organisations or IT professionals interested in the program can sign up by completing a short survey after which Microsoft will decide if they are eligible to test-pilot the WILE program.