Exclusive broadband deal: the UK’s cheapest internet, one year for only £140

Here it is – the cheapest way you can currently get the internet in the UK. If you begrudge spending a penny more than you have to for home broadband, then this is the deal for you. And it’s exclusive to TechRadar readers.

For the next 10 days, you can sign up for this unprecedented low price for a year’s worth of Origin broadband. Pay £139.99 upfront and get unlimited home internet for a year, with no bills to pay whatsoever. That’s the equivalent of a mere £11.67 per month, which is over £7 a month cheaper than any other broadband deals right now – a massive £87 saving over the course of the year!

Keep reading for more information about this incredible exclusive offer for your new broadband package. And if the thought of splashing out all at once for your internet doesn’t appeal, we have some pay monthly cheap broadband options that may suit you instead.

The UK’s cheapest broadband deal – a TechRadar exclusive:

Other great Black Friday broadband deals:

      

Currys PC World starts Black Friday early with major deals on Surface Pro and a half-price Lenovo laptop

Currys PC World has bargains aplenty on offer in what the retailer says is its biggest ever Black Tag deals event, which begins today – right now in fact – and includes some compelling discounts on notebooks, not to mention PC games and accessories.

If you’re thinking of buying one of Microsoft’s hybrids, then the good news is that the new Surface Pro Core i5 with 128GB of storage and a bundled Type Cover has been reduced from £1,099 to £849, a cool saving of £250.

But if you want a less expensive notebook, the other big offer here is the Lenovo IdeaPad 320 (14IKBN), which has had its price practically slashed in half from £700 down to £399.

This laptop has a Core i5-7200U processor (dual-core, up to 3.1GHz), 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD, with a 14-inch anti-glare screen that has a resolution of 1366 x 768.

PC stands for Price Cuts

Currys/PC World is also knocking 30% off the marked price of all PC games and peripherals, although that excludes console headsets, and also Steam cards.

Naturally, come Black Friday at the end of the working week, you can expect a whole new set of what the firm describes as ‘best-ever’ deals to be unleashed, and these will go live from midnight on the retailer’s websites.

And if you want to take a gander at more bargains, we’ve got the full lowdown on all the best early Black Friday deals.

      

Surface Book 2 teardown reveals another tricky to repair glue-happy hybrid

The teardown experts at iFixit have got their gadget-dismantling paws on the Surface Book 2, and the unsurprising news, given Microsoft’s previous track record with repairability ratings, is that the hybrid performed badly.

Overall the Surface Book sequel scored 1 out of 10 for ease of repair, which at least on the bright side (or perhaps the slightly-not-as-gloomy-side is a better way of putting it) was more than the Surface Laptop, which managed a big fat zero after it was released back in the summer (actually iFixit said it would give the device a score of -1, if that was possible).

The Surface Book 2 is flamed in the usual departments, including the use of strong glue to hold various components in place, such as the batteries, and the cover for the base.

The display was also criticized as being difficult to remove and replace, and further pot-shots were fired at the processor and RAM for being soldered onto the motherboard.

The positive point in terms of upgradability is that the SSD can be replaced (although it’s not easy to get to it in the first place). Interestingly, the SSD was also iFixit’s main positive point when it came to the Surface Pro 4 teardown two years ago (that device scored slightly better at 2 out of 10).

Slim but sticky

All that said, Microsoft is hardly alone in manufacturing products which suffer from these issues. Just look at Apple’s MacBooks, which are another famous offender with their iFixit ratings and overuse of glue (the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar also got a 1 out of 10, for example).

Of course, when it comes to these ultra-slim laptops, achieving thinness – and still fitting in a battery that gives solid longevity – can often mean making these kind of compromises on repairability and upgradability that affect the potential overall life of the machine.

Hopefully, if you do buy a Surface Book 2, you’ll never have any problems with it anyway. Microsoft is certainly talking up the increased reliability of its products of late.

And the Surface Book 2 is certainly a cracking hybrid notebook, as we found in our recent review: it’s well-designed, powerful, and manages a very impressive level of battery longevity.

Via: MS Power User

  • One of Microsoft’s Surface hybrids makes our best laptops list

      

Save $30 on Kindle Paperwhite – big Amazon Black Friday deals are here

We’re still a few days away from official Black Friday deals in the US, but Amazon is already offering big bargains that will leave you feeling thankful by the time Thanksgiving rolls around.

Amazon Black Friday deals have already started, even though the actual Black Friday date falls on November 24. Amazon, however, is getting the party started early with slashed prices across the board for its Kindle and Fire lines.

Also, if you’re looking for deals well under $5, you might want to check out Amazon’s prices for its Dash Buttons that let you immediately order new household products like laundry detergent with just the click of a button. They’re currently 50% off, costing $2.50 each.

All of the deals listed are live now, and they’ll remain valid until midnight PT on Cyber Monday (November 27). This is just the beginning, however, as even more Amazon Black Friday deals are on the way, followed closely by Amazon Cyber Monday deals.

Early Black Friday quick links

Save now with Amazon Black Friday deals

As you might expect, most of Amazon’s early Black Friday deals center around its own products.

The Kindle e-reader in particular remains one of Amazon’s most-loved devices even after all these years, so these deals make today and the week to come an excellent time to pick one up if you’re new to the line, or simply seeking to upgrade.

Black Friday deals are just getting started

There’s already an impressive selection of early Amazon Black Friday deals to see aside from these, although just as with these tablets, more impressive deals should be popping up as we get closer to Black Friday.

You can count on us as TechRadar to sift through the deals as they show up and update our pages accordingly.

      

Get 40% off Lightworks Pro – exclusively for TechRadar readers

We’ve teamed up with EditShare, the creator of the brilliant Lightworks video editing suite, to offer TechRadar readers 40% off a monthly license to Lightworks Pro using the discount code TECHRADAR_LW_PRO_MONTH_2017.

Rather than the usual price of US$24.99/£17.99 (about AU$35), you’ll pay just US$14.99/£10.79 (about AU$20).

To use your discount code, register for a Lightworks account, sign in and visit the Lightworks shop. Paste the code TECHRADAR_LW_PRO_MONTH_2017 into the input field above the shopping card and click ‘Submit’. The field will only be visible if you’re signed in.

Professional video editing for everyone

Lightworks has been used to create films including The King’s Speed and Road to Perdition, and EditShare has just won a 2017 Emmy for Technology and Engineering for its work in pioneering post-processing.

The offer applies to a monthly license, not a subscription or recurring payment, and the code is valid until January 31 2018.

      

The first laptop with a Ryzen processor has gone on sale in the UK

AMD revealed its Ryzen mobile CPUs a few weeks back, and now the first laptop that has one of these processors has gone on sale in the UK.

The HP Envy x360 (model number: 15-bq100na) is powered by the Ryzen 5 2500U and is on sale at both Amazon and Very, although the bad news is that it seems to be out of stock at both retailers as of the time of writing. Hopefully that situation will change very soon, though.

The other not-so-great news is that this laptop doesn’t come cheap, and it will set you back £930 at both retailers.

Cushty convertible

So what do you get for the money? A convertible 15.6-inch notebook with the aforementioned Ryzen 5 2500U quad-core (eight-thread) processor with a base clock of 2GHz and boost to 3.6GHz, along with integrated Radeon Vega M graphics.

The display has a Full HD resolution, and you get 8GB of system RAM and a 128GB SSD plus 1TB hard drive for storage. Battery life is claimed at up to 10 hours.

So this should be a pretty nippy laptop, particularly given that the benchmarks we’ve seen for Ryzen mobile CPUs show them outpacing Intel’s latest 8th-gen processors for notebooks.

  • You can buy the HP Envy x360 with Ryzen CPU at Amazon or Very

The Ryzen-toting HP Envy x360 went on sale in the US at the start of the week (at Best Buy), so it’s good to see the UK is not far behind – that isn’t always the case when it comes to hardware winging its way across the Atlantic.

      

The best Usenet providers of 2017

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

But let’s be realistic: the real reason to lean towards Usenet in the current age is for file sharing – the groups below alt.binaries.* are very active, carrying many downloadable files of all kinds. But to gain access to the large amount of Usenet bandwidth you’ll need in order to collect these files, you’ll have to pay.

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

  • Also check out our

    If you want a strong all-rounder of a Usenet service, then look no further than this provider. Newshosting sports ample retention, and runs its own server farms in the US and Europe, offering more than a hundred thousand newsgroups.

    You also get some high quality client software not just for Windows and Mac, but Linux as well. You can add Newshosting’s VPN offering to your package, for extra privacy and security online beyond the basic SSL encryption which you get by default.

    In terms of performance, this Usenet provider impressed us with fast download speeds. It also passed our tests in retrieving old binaries with flying colors, as well. Are there any negatives at all here? There’s very little to complain about, save for the VPN client being a little basic, but that doesn’t actually reflect on the core Usenet service anyway.

    Newshosting is competitively priced, particularly with the deal in place at the time of writing, and you can try it out for yourself before committing with a 14-day free trial.

    Eweka is an impressive operation indeed, running its own data centre in Amsterdam, and the firm has its own trans-Atlantic backbone, too (although no US servers as yet).

    There’s a lengthy 3,356 days of retention offered here, which is among the strongest Usenet offerings in that respect, and while you only get up to 20 connections maximum, which is less than many rivals, we found performance to be very speedy in our tests. And really, that’s what counts.

    There’s plenty more to like with Eweka besides, including the fact that the service performed well when it came to our retention testing (grabbing old files). There’s also an unrestricted seven-day trial to give the service a whirl, and this doesn’t require you to enter any payment details, either. Considering what you get here, the service is reasonably priced, too.

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

    What’s more, Supernews keeps multiple copies of articles across its network, and the firm claims that this helps to ensure a 100% completion rate. And on the performance front, you get unlimited speed, with the provider guaranteeing that your connection won’t be throttled in any way, shape or form.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    UsenetServer gives you plenty of retention at 3,363 days, a promised 99% completion rate, and no restrictions such as data limits or throttling of your download speeds. A slight weak point is that you can only have a maximum of 20 connections, which is less than many services, but that said, in testing we found UsenetServer to offer good performance levels anyway, so this likely won’t matter.

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

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

          

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