Samsung Galaxy Tab S4: what we want to see

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 is a genuine iPad Pro alternative, and one of the best Android slates around. It has similar productivity potential to Apple’s slates, but with a stylus bundled in, saving you some money, and with a Super AMOLED screen.

This is impressive stuff, but the Tab S3 isn’t without faults, so we’ve come up with a list of things we’d like to see improved for the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4.

We’ll also use this article to collect all the news and rumors about the Galaxy Tab S4 as they come in. Samsung’s next slate is little more than a whisper so far, but we’re sure to start hearing things soon, and in the meantime we’ve got some theories of our own about when it might land and what it might offer.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Samsung’s next flagship tablet
  • When is it out? Probably 2018
  • What will it cost? Likely at least $599/£599 (around AU$780)

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 release date and price

Samsung hasn’t been giving its flagship slate range yearly upgrades, with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 hitting stores in September 2015, but the Galaxy Tab S3 not landing until March 2017.

So there was around 18 months between them. If Samsung keeps that up then we won’t see the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 until roughly September 2018. But whether early or late in the year we’d expect to see a new model sometime in 2018.

Pricing will probably be in line with the Tab S3’s, if not higher. That slate launched for $599/£599 (around AU$780), and for that money you also got a stylus, but the keyboard costs extra.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 news and rumors

There’s nothing to see here yet, but there are a few things we can take an educated guess at. The screen is sure to be Super AMOLED again for a start, since most Samsung displays use that tech.

It will probably also support HDR content, since the Tab S3 does and it’s unlikely that Samsung would remove a major feature.

The size will probably stay at 9.7 inches, though since the range seems to be designed directly as a competitor to the iPad it might get larger, given that the iPad Pro range is offered in 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch sizes.

You can also expect a powerful but possibly not cutting-edge chipset based on past form, so perhaps the Snapdragon 835, which is found in US models of the Samsung Galaxy S8 and is top of the range right now but won’t be by the time the Tab S4 launches.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4: what we want to see

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 is one of the best tablets money can buy, but it’s still a long way from perfect. Here’s how the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 can get closer.

1. Better multitasking

As much as Samsung might want you to ditch your laptop and just use the Galaxy Tab S3, it’s not quite up to the task, and that’s largely down to clunky multitasking.

There’s no proper dock for easy app switching, the recent apps menu is a slow alternative, and the screen is arguably a bit cramped if you want to have two apps running side by side.

Improvements to all these things for the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 would be great to see, and may be necessary if it wants to compete with the iPad Pro range, as that offers larger slates and iOS 11 is set to boost their multitasking skills well beyond what the Tab S3 can manage.

2. A cheaper keyboard

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 is designed in part as a productivity device like the iPad Pro, and like Apple’s slate you need an expensive keyboard accessory to get the most out of it.

In Samsung’s case, the official keyboard launched for $129/£119 (around AU$170), which is almost as much as some Chromebooks cost. For the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 we want to see the keyboard bundled with the slate, or at the very least offered for a lot less money.

3. Keyboard tweaks

Speaking of the keyboard, there’s room for improvement in its design too. There are no function keys and no home button for example.

It could also do with stronger magnets, and the flap should be magnetic, both to keep it shut and to turn off the screen when closed. These should be easy fixes for the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4’s keyboard.

4. Water resistance

Samsung’s flagship phones have offered water resistance in recent years, but its flagship tablets still don’t, and that’s a shame.

We’d bet any number of people want to use their tablet by the pool, in the bath or while cooking, and a lack of water resistance could put them off – or lead to a very expensive accident, so we want the Tab S4 to be built for all occasions and environments.

5. A 4K display

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 has a great screen. It’s a good size at 9.7 inches, it uses Super AMOLED and it supports HDR. But it’s not 4K.

It’s fairly sharp at 1536 x 2048, but if the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 has a 4K resolution, while still packing in all the same tech as the S3’s and the same speaker setup, it could be the ultimate tablet for media.

6. Flagship power

While the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 isn’t exactly lacking power, its Snapdragon 820 chipset is a generation behind the Samsung Galaxy S8’s Snapdragon 835 one, despite launching around the same time.

So for the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 we want a cutting-edge chipset, plenty of RAM and performance that can rival the iPad Pro 3 (or whatever Apple’s latest slate is at the time).

7. More storage

Invest in a hefty microSD card and you’ll have plenty of space to play with on the Galaxy Tab S3, but it only comes with 32GB of storage built-in, which is a paltry amount for a high-end tablet, since you’re likely to want to fill it up with games, apps and videos.

The iPad Pro 10.5 for comparison starts at 64GB and goes all the way up to 512GB. Granted, there’s no microSD card slot in Apple’s slate, but opt for the largest size and you’ll have far more room than even the biggest supported card (256GB) allows on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3.

So we want more storage in the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4. The Samsung Galaxy S8 has 64GB, so that should be the minimum, but as the S4 will be newer and bigger we ideally want even more than that.

      

How to download HD videos from YouTube and Vimeo

According to YouTube, it’s currently serving up more than 5 billion video views every day and the average viewing session is 40 minutes. That’s a lot of skateboarding cats, but it’s also a lot of data to download. If you’re on a capped mobile data plan, have a sketchy internet connection or will be travelling in places where getting online isn’t likely, that’s a problem.

A stream is only as good as your internet connection, and if that connection is slow, patchy or congested then you’ll spend more time buffering and uttering expletives than you will get to spend actually watching anything.

In many cases even good internet connections don’t deliver full quality all the time. That’s because video sites use a technology called adaptive streaming, which automatically adjusts the video bitrate according to network conditions. You might find that if you live in a busy street the quality of your video streaming drops considerably at peak times. That’s because everybody’s going online at the same time, causing the electronic equivalent of rush hour traffic.

The good news is that there’s a solution. Instead of streaming videos every time you want to watch them, why not download them once and view the download instead?

Is downloading YouTube or Vimeo videos legal?

The short answer is ‘uhhhh…’ and the longer answer is ‘maybe’. If it’s a publicly available video and you’re downloading it purely for personal use then you probably won’t end up wearing an orange jumpsuit and making weapons out of toothbrushes.

However, unauthorized downloading is very much against YouTube’s terms of service, which state clearly that downloads are only permitted if YouTube itself offers them via a download link.

Vimeo is a bit less clear in its terms, conditions and guidelines, noting that while it respects content owners’ rights to choose whether or not to offer downloads of their videos it’s up to them to pursue any piracy.

It’s worth asking what you want to do with the video you’re planning to download. Are you downloading it so that you can share it with others on a peer to peer network? Don’t do that, because it’s illegal: you’re actively distributing other people’s content without permission, and that’s against the law pretty much everywhere. If you want to spread the word about a video it’s much easier – and actively encouraged by YouTube and Vimeo – to do it legally and use the site’s built-in share buttons, which you can use to email or embed videos or to share them on your favourite social networks.

Ultimately unauthorized downloading is something you do at your own risk: if you do it a lot, Google may kill your account or your ISP may impose restrictions.

HD video formats and quality

YouTube used to deliver video in Flash, which was a real pain: downloaded .FLV files didn’t play nice with the most common media players. Now, though, it produces video content in a range of formats and resolutions, and that makes it easy for third party apps to offer a range of download options.

In most cases the best video quality you’ll find on YouTube is 1080p, which is 1920 x 1080 resolution. That’s full HD. Next best is 720p (1280 x 720), which is the lowest resolution that can call itself HD. Many videos are in much lower resolutions, especially if they’re quite old.

YouTube has supported 4K video since 2010, but it has very specific requirements: if your browser doesn’t support the VP9 codec, YouTube won’t give you 4K video. On Vimeo you’ll find some videos in 2K resolution, which is twice Full HD (2048 x 1080), but most download services and apps don’t go beyond Full HD.

For most downloaders the best format to use is MP4, which works on pretty much anything, but the quality you get depends on the quality of the original upload. For example, as we write this we’re watching a Linkin Park video; its maximum quality is 360p because that’s the resolution it was uploaded at. Avoid formats such as 3GP/3GPP unless you’re downloading for use on a fairly old phone: 3GP files are tiny because they were designed for 3G mobile phones, and they look pretty rotten on more modern devices.

Unless you’re on an unlimited data plan, don’t download on a mobile data connection: you’ll hit the cap in no time and out-of-plan mobile data is frighteningly expensive. Wait until you’ve found a decent Wi-Fi connection and do your downloading over that.

Can you download video without sound, or sound without video?

Yes. Many downloaders such as Save It Offline enable you to download video-only or audio-only. As with normal downloads, the available quality depends on the original upload. Don’t expect to get high-res audio from a 360p video.

If you’re wondering why anybody would want an audio-free video, it’s handy if you want to use video clips in a documentary or presentation that already has audio in it, or if you’re making a mashup of multiple sources, or if you’re intending to use your own audio in place of the original. And audio-only clips are useful because for many people YouTube is their number one source of new music: why download the video bit if you want to listen, not watch?

What you need to know about YouTube video downloaders

The big problem with doing something on the internet you probably shouldn’t be doing is that the people who make the relevant software often do things they probably shouldn’t be doing either. Many YouTube video downloaders are perfectly well behaved, but even the best apps can suddenly develop issues. The key ones are privacy and unwanted software, or even malicious software.

An app that looks brilliant today may end up with an installer stuffed with unwanted software tomorrow; an online service that respects your privacy this week may change its mind or its advertising provider the next. If you work on the assumption that the site is tracking you or that the app installer is going to add eleventy billion toolbars to your web browser you’ll be pleasantly surprised if the worst doesn’t actually happen. It goes without saying that you should make sure your security software is up to date and that you’re wearing clean underwear before installing any unfamiliar app. Ad-blockers can help with the online services too, which is poetic justice when you think about it: you’re preventing them from making money from other people’s content. You’re practically a saint!

How to download HD videos from YouTube or Vimeo

Let’s assume you have the permission of the copyright holder to download a video. How do you do it?

1. Find some HD video

We’ll stick with YouTube for the time being, because it’s increasingly packed with HD video. If you’re not sure whether something is HD or not, click on the Settings icon – the gear shape in the bottom right hand corner of the video – and you’ll see an option labelled Quality. Many videos default to Auto 360p but if you click on that you’ll see the other available options, which in this case include 720p HD and 1080p Full HD.

Not everything labelled HD is actually HD. Sometimes that’s because people don’t know what they’re doing, so they’ll export a 360p clip at 1080p resolution, and sometimes it’s because people are trying to game the system by making promises they can’t keep.

2. Copy and paste the link

Once you’ve found your video, paste the link into your downloader. In this case we’re using 4K Video Downloader, which is available for both PC and Mac, and which automatically grabs the copied link when you click on the Paste Link button. When you enter the link you’ll be given a range of options for downloading. We want the 1080p version, so that’s what we’ll choose.

It’s worth noting that some downloaders don’t offer 1080p, others only do if you pay for a Pro version, and still others won’t download videos that have a musical soundtrack – presumably because of copyright fears.

3. Make a cup of tea

Downloading takes time, especially when it’s HD: a few minutes of HD video will take up around a gigabyte of space.

4K Video Downloader has the ability to download multiple streams simultaneously to improve download speeds, but ultimately it’s a lottery: some downloads come down the tubes at high speed, others not so much. On our super-speedy fibre connection, one of our YouTube downloads crawled at 584kbps.

4. Find your download

In most cases, you can watch your downloaded video by double-clicking on it from within the app. 4K Video Downloader creates own folder inside Movies and puts the downloads in there, ready for you to preview, play or import into your favourite video app.

You’ll see in our screenshot that the colours are a little overcooked and the rocks in the foreground a bit smeary, but that’s in the original video. What you get is only as good as what YouTube was given in the first place.

      

More truly awful movies you shouldn’t be streaming on Netflix and Amazon Prime

It’s finally happened. Amazon and Netflix’s algorithms have caught up with my bad movie watching and now they are delivering dross to me on a daily basis. When I first started writing Not On My Watch, I had to dive deep into both services to unearth the terrors within. I saw myself as as one of those mystical freedivers who swim to the bottom of an azure ocean to find that big ol’ oyster shell that contains a majestic pearl.

The difference being that I am no beautiful freediver but a mere failed film journalist sitting in my pants late at night, the seedy belly of streaming services my azure ocean, the crud of the movie crop my pathetic pearl.

Now these awful movies are served to me wearing a frayed bow. My Netflix and Amazon homescreens are covered in curated crap. I have to now explain to my wife quite why such classics as Milfs Vs Zombies, Strip Club Massacre and Werewolf Bitches from Outer Space are now in my ‘recommended for you’ section. Joy of joys.

I’m in too deep, folks, there’s no way out so I may as well continue offering up you lovely bunch of Not On My Watchers the very worst movies on Amazon Prime and Netflix you can view with your own eyes.

A word of warning: this is my life now, but you can still get out while the going’s good. I cannot. I am a trader of the terrible, a hawker of the horrible, a vender of the vile. And, with that, on the menu this week are vampiric samurais, abysmal animated animal antics and the worst parody movie you will ever see – so much so I’m convinced it’s a parody of parody movies, made with the sole intention of making all other parody movies, even Meet The Spartans, look like Oscar contenders. Enjoy. Endure. Adieu.

Shira The Vampire Samurai

The Premise: Shira is part vampire, part samurai, all sass. She’s meant to be the future leader/mother of day walking vampires but some idiot named Kristoff is hell-bent on making sure that never happens.

Shira The Vampire Samurai begins at a frenetic pace. There’s a lot of running, everyone is running, so much running and drumming, drumming and running. Then, once the cameraman gets everything into focus – it takes a while – it’s revealed that it’s ninjas and samurais that are running, chasing each other. At this point I’m hooked. Ninjas! Samurais! I’ve got this movie all wrong, it’s not a B- movie but a portentous overview of the class system of feudal Japan in 1100AD, where the ninjas are the kick-ass lower class and the samurai are militia of a better stock.

How wrong I was. The title sequence kicks in and lasts so long I thought the tape was stuck, then remembered we don’t use tape anymore but ones and noughts, and everything falls apart. You see there are two things Shira is: a vampire and a samurai. And one thing she is not: an actress. As well as sucking blood, she sucks the life out of this entire movie. And the plot doesn’t help either. Instead of staying in historic Japan, things shift to the modern world where Shira tries out as a stripper, has sex with a man with flesh-coloured balloons for arms (they maybe muscles, if they are they’re weird muscles) and meets Kristoff who makes whiny noises when he fights. And that concludes how to make a movie with samurai, ninjas and vampires, well, suck.

Best watched when: you’re a vampire, have been alive for centuries and watched and read everything the world has to offer. Only then should you buy a Prime subscription and take this one for a spin.

Crying Wolf

The Premise: A sleepy village in England has a terrible secret: it’s filled with werewolves… and people who think they are filmmakers but are definitely not.

Crying Wolf begins with two middle-aged people dropping double entendres aplenty in an antique shop about a book. They manage to equate buying a book to sex, with classic lines such as (said in hushed sexy tones): “I love her for her prose” and “I buy second hand versions of her books because the new ones are wrapped in plastic to protect their posterity”. Hubba hubba.

We then get a homage to a James Bond credit sequences of old, where silhouettes of ladies dance to a tuneless theme. But this time the silhouettes contain piles of offal and blood. Beautiful. And just like a James Bond movie, the cast eventually say the name of the movie, or at least a version of it, with the fantastic line: “Being a serial prankster, no one listened to him. Andy had cried wolf once too often.”

That is the extent of fun you will have with Crying Wolf, a horror comedy so insipid that its real frights will make you laugh and its jokes will scare you off. Wait, that means it’s actually doing its job as a horror comedy… now I don’t know whether to love it or hate it.

I’m so confused.

Best watched when: you’re the director and you have to watch the rushes as you are making the film.

Stan Helsing

The Premise: A video guy gets lost delivering movies and subsequently turns into a monster hunter.

This film offends me on many levels. I grew up with all the horror characters Stan Helsing parodies. Freddy was my friend at secondary school, Jason and his machete saw me through college and Chucky was the doll I cuddled at night. So, seeing these horror icons in a movie as bad as Stan Helsing is just plain wrong. The film tries to lampoon the horror genre, seemingly forgetting Scary Movie did the same thing seven years previous, but it backfires so badly that it ends up being more of a mess than what happens to your average non-virgin teenager visiting Camp Crystal Lake.

It’s not a movie, it’s a set of skits stuck together by a gunk of toilet humour and sex jokes. Stan Helsing is seemingly void of actors and a script. It’s as if the camera crew turned up and just demanded random people did something in front of the camera, while someone dressed as Leatherface mucks around in the background with a leaf blower and Chucky pretends to give someone head.

To put it into context: this movie is worse than Jason X.

Best watched when: you have just been slaughtered by Freddy’s knife glove.

Pegasus Vs Chimera

The Premise: Pegasus has a fight with a chimera, hilarity ensues.

For the most part of Pegasus Vs Chimera,Pegasus is just a white horse. The filmmakers don’t even mask the fact that they are just filming a white horse do horse things, such as canter and trot and neigh a bit. Then there is one glorious moment when Pegasus takes to the skies and develops wings, scribbled on wings. Harryhausen stop-motion this is not – it’s a scene that’s been animated by someone who has never seen a horse before, but had one described to them a few years ago by the medium of mime. It’s mesmerising to watch.

When Pegasus does eventually fights the CG Chimera, it’s a scene packed with so much slow-mo, if they took it out the whole film would be 20 minutes long. And that’s what cemented this movie for me as being the greatest telling ever of this Greek myth.

Best watched when: you want to understand the Greek myth of Pegasus, but need it told through the medium of the scribblings of a 10-month old baby.

Marc Chacksfield is a former film journalist (and TechRadar’s global managing editor) who is already regretting agreeing to watch terrible movies for the sake of his column Not On My Watch.

      

The best iPad Pro cases for your Apple tablet

It’s been over a year since Apple launched the iPad Pro 9.7, complementing its even-older plus-sized 12.9-inch model with a more on-the-move friendly sibling that doesn’t compromise on power.

Both of these slates are still powerfully popular, and the larger one has even been refreshed with the new iPad Pro 12.9 (2017), which handily fits the same cases as the original iPad Pro 12.9.

With that in mind we’ve created this list of the best cases – with and without keyboards – for your 9.7-inch or 12.9-inch pro-grade Apple slate.

You’ll find cases of all different styles and fit for all different budgets, most of which are available for both size iPads. The one thing they all have in common is that they’re all great.

Note: we’ve ranked these from cheapest to most expensive according to prices at time of writing. We also plan to have a selection of iPad Pro 10.5 cases enter this list in the coming weeks.

If the decision to go iPad Pro left you shorn of a few quid too many, then this tan PU leather case from Mofred is a no-brainer purchase. Its dark matt outer finish looks and feels a lot more expensive than it is, as does the tan inner microfibre lining inside.

The case neatly flips into a portrait or landscape stand with three grades of angle and the magnetic strip sleeps/wakes your iPad Pro on closing/opening. A pouch on the outside is just big enough for a few key A4 documents; Mofred even tucked in a screen protector to boot.

Overall this case is a great way to keep your premium device safe from everyday knocks and bumps without coughing up a lot more cash for the convenience.

There’s something about Incipio’s Octane Pure case that just feels fun. It has a rubbery impact-absorbing TPU bumper that’s well-molded around the ports and buttons, and it runs around a transparent plastic shell that shows off the rear of your tablet.

The flip-over cover has a suede microfiber lining that does its bit to shield the screen, and it also folds up as a dual-angle kickstand for media viewing and typing.

With a vegan leather cover suitable for those fond of our four-legged friends, the case comes in black as well as crazy blue, pink and purple candy colors.

The magnetic lock on this slim case is probably the strongest we’ve come across and handily puts the iPad Pro to sleep at a close, as all Smart Covers should. The variable-angle stand is a bit flimsy if you tend to jab your device’s screen, but users with a light touch should find it adequate.

VRS Design calls it a ‘leather case’ but it’s actually lined in PU leather, which is a split leather backing covered with a layer of polyurethane.

Whether or not that’s a minus is down to personal preference – we haven’t had it long enough to cast judgement on its durability in the long term. Otherwise the case feels soft, it’s good-looking and offers easy access to ports and buttons.

Another case that lets you show the world you’ve got great tablet taste, even if you’ve plumped for the rose gold tablet, Speck’s SmartShell Plus lets you make the most of the iPad’s looks as well as its core grunt and solid combination of work and play-friendly abilities.

Showing off your iPad’s color while keeping it safe from everyday knocks and scratches, the transparent rear sports cut-outs in all the right places, with openings for Lightning connector, speaker and camera, volume buttons, plus a gap along the side that lets you pair the case with Apple’s own Smart Keyboard.

Reinforced edges and corners keep everything safe from drops without adding unwanted bulk to your pleasingly slimline slate.

There are iPad Pro 9.7 cases, and then there is this, a bag specifically designed for your tablet. A luxurious one at that, having been crafted from genuine leather.

It has a wallet-size pocket on the outside and a classy case for your Apple Pencil, while the soft sleeve has all the right cut-outs, the sleep/wake smart function works as advertised, and the case folds over for ideal typing and viewing angles.

The inner pockets mean it’s not the slimmest case by any stretch, but it’s elegant while also providing fine protection. The shoulder strap is a welcome touch for those regularly on the move, whilst a variety of fun colors will appease those tired of the classic brown leather look.

We’ve seen Pipetto’s Origami case for a number of iOS device models and its design never fails to impress. This version for the Pro user comes in a variety of stylish colours (the royal blue is particularly striking) and feels unique, thanks to Pipetto’s use of soft PU for the outer shell and a furry suedette lining making things snuggly inside.

It’s not unlike Apple’s own Smart Cover for the iPad Pro, and even turns the device on/off when opened/closed; the difference is that the Origami has a rear flap that folds into four stand modes all of which offer an alternative viewing angle depending on your needs (typing, viewing etc). We like.

If you’ve owned a Gumdrop case before then this should be familiar territory. The Hideaway boasts the company’s classic impact resistant dual-layer silicone/polycarbonate design with reinforced corrugated rubber bumpers around the edges of the screen for uber-protection.

There’s also a built-in kickstand on the back that adjusts to viewing or typing modes.

What won’t be so familiar perhaps is the neat Apple Pencil ‘pocket’ that sits lengthways at one corner and has two holes, one to stand up the input device when you’re busy typing and another for sliding it in parallel to the case when you’re on the move. Super handy!

It’s fine to show off your inner nerd, and we don’t just mean with a fun background on your super slate. This R2-D2-inspired Casetify offering is ideal for any hardened Star Wars fan.

It’s about more than mere fun factor though. The Saffiano leather body offers a durable protective coating that’s as hardwearing as it is easy on the eye, while a reinforced plastic inlay gently hugs your tablet and keeps it safe from drops.

It’s versatile too, with four different stand positions letting you optimize your tablet’s position to your current needs, be that typing, movie watching or a nice session with your Pencil in hand.

The iPad Pro is a simply stunning bit of kit. As much as you want to protect it from the rigors of daily life then, it feels a shame to hamper its good looks by wrapping it in a mass of plastic, rubber or leather. The OtterBox Statement helps keep your prized tech possession safe and secure without cramping its sleek lines.

While the case’s slimline body is finished with black, blue or maroon genuine-leather accents, the clear polycarbonate rear panel keeps your tablet’s effortless elegance on display.

That’s not all, reinforced rubber corners help boost the case’s drop-protection credentials, while a slightly lipped front keeps that stunning, Pencil-friendly screen safe from face-down fumbles.

Waterfield’s zippered Travel Express Case is a stowaway’s dream: it can store a charging cable with plug attached, an Apple Pencil, and even a Smart Keyboard alongside your iPad Pro, all with room to spare for earbuds etc. You don’t have to worry about damaging your gear either, as soft-lined pockets keep each item safely separated.

The waxed bag is beautifully made, and with a self-locking zipper to keep things inside and an optional strap available, it’s a great solution if you’re often on the move. Sure, it’s weighty when full, but the excellent design and fit keeps bulk to a bare minimum.

If you often struggle to angle your iPad’s screen using the fixed positions of typical stand cases then Logitech has the ideal solution.

Inside the rear of this hard case is a smooth-glide hinge with a 60-degree range that sits dead centre of your iPad: just snap your device into the top fixture and bring the screen down to the desired angle and it stays put, even against the poke of heavy-handed tappers.

The hard rubberised fabric on the outside of the case feels plenty protective, with decent-sized slots for button access. It even has Smart Cover smarts, so the screen sleeps and wakes when you open/close it.

Traditional bookbindery finds another home in this handcrafted case, which features an elastic loop that holds an Apple Pencil securely when not in use. A sturdy plastic tray inside keeps your iPad in place and protects the edges when closed without hindering access to ports and buttons.

The case is described as multi-angle, but the stand can’t quite take the weight of an iPad Pro and tends to slide down into the default position (which is fine in itself). All in all, it’s a heavy old thing, but offers solid defence for your Apple device.

As much as you’d like to keep your iPad Pro’s sleek lines and metal body on show for the world to see, sometimes hardcore device-saving protection needs to come before style.

That doesn’t mean you have to completely do away with easy-on-the-eye appeal though. Griffin’s all-terrain Survivor case offers plenty of protection while letting you custom color the case to your tastes.

Despite boasting a relatively slim profile, this hardy add-on offers protection from drops up to 6.6 feet, making it ideal for the ultra-clumsy or those using their tablets in unforgiving environments. The defenses continue inside, too, with a foam-lined polycarbonate frame that’s shatter-resistant and encased in silicone.

A Touch ID-friendly built-in screen protector and plugs for all the ports finish the look, while ensuring dirt, sand and rain have no easy route in. What’s more, an included clip-on stand for hands-free use makes your iPad Pro ready for whatever nature, or you, can throw at it.

The iPad Pro is a professional bit of kit, so it’s time to treat it as such. Knomo’s Full Wrap Folio case doesn’t just give the device a business-ready full-grain leather makeover, it also boasts a couple of business card holder slots on the inside cover.

This isn’t a case just for on-the-move estate agents though. While a smooth internal microfiber lining will help prevent your tablet’s screen succumbing to scuffs and scratches, the case’s folding, lipped design means it can double as a stand.

This is perfect whether you’re looking to enjoy a relaxing video viewing session or pair your tablet with a separate Bluetooth keyboard for quicker typing.

Available in black, gold and rose gold, as a helpful finishing touch every Knomo case comes with a unique identifying code too, so, once registered, if you ever misplace your prized possession those honest folks who stumble across it can easily get it back to you. Aren’t people nice.

This is more of a sleeve than a case, so it protects your iPad Pro when you’re not using it. With that out of the way, know this: Joli design is a thing to behold. The full grain waxed leather of this made-to-order product feels and smells delightful, and twinned with the wool inner lining really looks the part.

The fit feels tight at first, but after a bit of use we found the sleeve relaxed just a little and sliding an iPad Pro in and out soon required less force. The impeccable stitching kept the device more than secure though, so we can’t fault it. It might not be cheap, but it’s the loveliest handcrafted case we’ve seen.

This slender case is cloaked in a traditional bookbinding material called Buckram, which makes a satisfying crack like the well-worn spine of an archive journal when you fold it over into the stand position.

Two sturdy ridges in the opposing soft-grip liner offer two comfy viewing angles, while the clean-release 3M adhesive holds in your iPad Pro nice and securely.

The on/off magnetic smart cover is kept closed with a Moleskine band and does a fair job of protecting the device’s edges. The outward indent of the fold is prone to wear but ends up adding to the overall vintage library book feel. A fine case indeed.

Moleskine is an iconic brand famed for making luxurious paper pads that truly stand the test of time and travel. While your iPad might have replaced those traditional paper innards, this luxurious iPad Pro case means you can still benefit from the same combination of style and hardiness.

Offering uncompromising daily protection, the black polyurethane case is finished with a soft microfiber inlay to keep your slate’s screen and sleek metal lines safe from scuffs and scratches.

Beyond ticking all the right knock and drop saving boxes, this case is about more than being a sophisticated, easy on the eye option.

As well as featuring Moleskine’s signature elastic band closing mechanism, the case doubles as a handy tablet stand and even comes with an inbuilt loop to keep your Apple Pencil from disappearing when not in use.

While Apple’s official keyboard case is impressive, it’s not perfect. Not only will its price tag give your already depleted wallet another sizeable kick in the bits, but there’s nowhere to store your Apple Pencil when not in use. Don’t worry though, that’s where Logitech’s effort comes in.

Utilizing the iPad’s Smart Connector, this keyboard case boasts backlit keys for improved after dark typing, while a special Pencil loop will keep your additional iPad accessory safe and secure.

More than just a rapid response email enabler, the case, which comes in black, blue or red, offers hearty tablet protection, both front and back, and will auto wake your iPad when opened.

While it won’t drain your tablet’s battery, only drawing power when placed in a typing position, keys assigned specifically to utilize a number of key iOS features have been slotted in, bonus.

When it comes to iPad protection, Apple, having designed the slate itself, has a solid starting point for keeping it safe. While its Smart Cover is a classic and the rear-protecting Silicone Case the best for protecting against bumps, it’s the official Smart Keyboard case that’s arguably Apple’s best iPad Pro accessory.

As well as protecting the screen from scratches when chucked in your bag, the case fits in its own physical QWERTY keyboard, transforming your powerful tablet into a true laptop replacement.

The keyboard-enhanced case isn’t just about being able to knock out email replies or last-minute work documents in double-quick fashion either. When work’s done, it can transform into a tablet stand, letting you enjoy a hands-free Netflix binge.

      

Top 8 best portable laptop battery chargers and power banks in 2017

There’s nothing worse than having your laptop run out of battery and you’re far away from a power socket. Thankfully,a new generation of portable laptop charger battery packs means that you won’t be stuck without your trusty laptop anymore.

They can even replace your original laptop charger altogether, providing you with an uninterruptible power supply wherever you happen to be.

In this article we’ve lined up the best of the bunch, highlighting the top portable laptop battery chargers and power banks you should consider purchasing.

Backed by a two-year warranty, this emergency battery for your laptop comes with 10 connectors to cover most of the notebooks on the market. With a 23Ah/85Wh capacity and a maximum power output of 90W (20V, 4.5A), it tips the scale at just under 560g which makes this device great when travelling by plane. The marketing blurb even mentions ‘anti-explosion’ batteries.

As expected, there are no USB Type-C connectors and you will need to carry its very own 40W (20V, 2A) power supply unit – with a proprietary connector – to charge it on the go.

Advances in computer component technology mean that newer laptops now need less juice to work. This is particularly true for high-end models like the latest Apple MacBook, HP Elite x2 1012 G1, the Huawei MateBook or Dell’s popular XPS 13 family.

The common point for all of them is the fact that they have a USB Type-C connector. RAVPower can deliver up to 30W (20V, 1.5A) of power which should be enough for the target products. You can recharge it using a 30W wall charger that can also be used to power compatible laptops – very handy indeed.

Here’s the perfect example of a vendor that went the extra mile to make sure that its product matches the expectations of the audience. The MaxOak has all the hallmarks of an Apple device – without bearing the logo – but with the matching brushed aluminium finish.

It has the second-highest capacity of all the battery chargers on this list, but these beefy reserves come with a big disadvantage – it has such a large capacity that at least one airline has banned it, so bear that in mind if you plan to use this peripheral to satisfy your long haul travels. It is relatively heavy at almost 1kg and will cater for most recent Apple laptops (MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and MacBook) but nothing else.

This is the only charger in this list that targets Microsoft’s popular Surface range by offering the appropriate DC output voltage (12V and 15V). It comes with a generous five ports, four of which allow you to charge other 5V devices (that includes anything from other power banks to tablets and smartphones).

Of particular interest is the support for fast-charging courtesy of Qualcomm’s Qi technology. You will be able to charge the new MacBook as well, but no traditional laptops that rely on a 19V DC output. Just be aware that its capacity, 35Ah, may get it banned on some airlines, just like the MaxOak devices above and below.

The K2 is the world’s second highest mountain and it is fitting – to some extent – that MaxOak named this battery after that lofty peak. After all, at 50Ah, this is the biggest battery on our list and one that is also the heaviest of the lot. It supports laptops up to 60W (3A, 20V) as well as fast-charging.

Note that it takes up to eight hours to charge the battery and that can only be achieved via a proprietary charger. Sadly, it doesn’t carry a USB Type-C connector – which makes it useless for newer laptops – and you won’t be able to lug it around on the plane (as with the previous two peripherals, the massive capacity here may mean it’s banned on some flights).

Sandberg’s Powerbank is neither the cheapest nor the most powerful around. However, it does come with a couple of features that make it a rather enticing option. It outputs to a number of voltages (12V, 16V, 19V and 20V), automatically choosing the right one depending on the device which is connected.

There are also two USB ports and these are obviously hardwired to output 5V on both. You get 12 different charge tips but sadly none would fit our Dell XPS 13, and they won’t be useful for USB Type-C models like the XPS 13 from 2016.

There are a couple of things that differentiate this from most of its rivals: it uses a brushed, premium aluminium finish, with bright blue LED status lights that clearly indicate the amount of juice left (or how close the battery is to being charged).

If you are looking for a versatile laptop charger, then do consider this RavPower offering. It is by far the most expensive model on our list, but this Reddot award winner carries a feature that no one has replicated till now. It has an AC output that can deliver up to 100W of power – yes, this could even power a TV if needed.

Note that you will probably need an adaptor (there’s one bundled) because the power bank can only accommodate two-prong plugs. You will be able to take it on a commercial flight, but you will not be able to recharge it via USB.

Dell sells the Power Companion with various battery capacities. It is more compact than the RAVPower models, and the unit looks like a Dell power brick that charges your laptop. When you’re at your desk, you can daisy-chain to recharge the Power Companion and your Dell laptop by connecting your Dell charging brick to the Power Companion, and then connecting it to your notebook.

Dell’s Power Companion is a far sleeker battery pack if your office relies on Dell Inspiron, Latitude, XPS or Venue laptops and tablets, with the added benefit that it has extra USB ports should you need them.

      

Top 10 best business laptops in 2017

Having the right laptop for your business needs is essential these days – especially if you do a lot of work away from the office. The good news is that when it comes to brilliant laptops for business, you’ve got no shortage of options.

That’s why we’ve highlighted our favourite business-focused laptops, while taking into consideration a number of key factors including power, battery life, feature set and sheer value for money based on actual value as opposed to RRP (recommended retail price).

This means that we’ve selected a wider range of laptops to suit most if not all budgets and hopefully all tastes; there’s a mix of cutting-edge products and old favourites here.

Almost all of them come with the professional version of Microsoft Windows to enhance their business credentials.

Remember that you can upgrade from any recent version of Windows Home/Personal (7, 8.1 and 10) to Windows 10 Professional for £99.99 (although you will need to upgrade to Windows 10 Personal for Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 first).

Likewise, most business laptops come with the ability to downgrade to Windows 7 should your organisation want to do that.

Where to buy business laptops

HP

The 255 G5 is HP’s entry-level business laptop and is a solid candidate should you be looking for a straightforward, reliable, workhorse at a bargain price. Don’t expect any fireworks as it is a basic model; it just does the job without much ado. One thing that works for this machine though is its price – the G5 battles with Lenovo for the best-value business laptop on the market.

TODO alt text

Believe it or not, Dell classifies the XPS 13 as a business laptop, albeit one that is geared towards a home office environment but businessmen (and women) will love the design. This ultraportable laptop – as Dell puts it – punches above its weight with Windows 10 Pro across the entire range as well as rather attractive pricing.

This award winning laptop (it won best laptop of the year from us and many others) manages to pack a 13.3-inch display into the chassis of an average 11.6-inch model.

The laptop can be upgraded to 16GB of RAM and a 1TB M2 SSD drive. Battery life is exceptional as well with almost 22 hours of continual use when using productivity applications.

Portege

So, you want the most powerful system on the market with plenty of connectivity but don’t want to compromise on size or portability or battery life. Mission impossible? Well, not really. Take this Portege laptop from Toshiba. The Japanese manufacturer managed to squeeze an extraordinary amount of components in this device including a VGA port, a fingerprint reader and even a 4G/LTE modem and A-GPS!

Thinkpad X

Lenovo took an existing form factor and refined it to deliver the new 2016-2017 ThinkPad E470. Powered by the 7th generation Intel Core processors, this particular SKU has a 14-inch FHD anti-glare display, powered by a discrete Nvidia Geforce 940MX 2GB GPU.

Equipped with a spill resistant keyboard, a TrackPoint and a 3+2 buttons click pad, the E470 has more than enough ports and expansion capabilities to keep the average user happy. Shame that it doesn’t do DisplayPort, so no 4K output.

Lenovo-b51

If you are willing to sacrifice portability for sheer power, then this laptop is worth considering. Oddly enough, although it is part of Lenovo’s B-series (essentially aiming for the SMB market), it comes with Windows Home rather than Professional. Other than this, the B51 is a very decent all-rounder that hits almost all the right notes: from the powerful CPU to the full HD display and the discrete GPU.

elitebook

HP was the only one of the three big laptop vendors who didn’t have a flagship thin-and-light laptop: Dell has the XPS 13 and Lenovo, the Yoga 900.

That is now no longer the case with the introduction of the HP Spectre Pro 13 G1. This is a device that not only oozes luxury with a combination of colours and a clever design but also one that packs some incredible components.

Despite being just over 10mm thick and weighing just over 1.16Kg, it manages to pack a proper Core i7 CPU with a full HD 13.3-inch display, a massive 4-cell 38Whr battery and three USB Type C connectors.

elitebook

Should a member of Apple’s award winning MacBook Pro family be included in a best business laptop shortlist? Certainly as it hits all the right notes especially as IBM has boosted Apple’s credentials as an enterprise player.

And Apple’s top of the range models are certainly not overly expensive compared to their Windows-based counterparts, especially if you buy them from trusted third-party websites.

The new generation introduces a Touch Bar and Touch ID functionality as well as a plethora of USB Type-C ports in lieu of more traditional ports.

fujitsu

This is the other Japanese laptop company that we often hear about and while Fujitsu is rarely seen as an innovator, its newest range of notebooks may well change that perception by bundling a lot of features that are often regarded as optional by the competition. From the two-year standard warranty to the massive battery and 4G/LTE integrated modem, there’s a lot to love about this machine.

latitude

Dell managed to deliver a magnificent piece of kit which it says is the most secure, most reliable and most manageable business-class laptop.

That Latitude 5480 does come at a hefty price though and compared to the competition, this notebook may feel underwhelming.

However, Dell’s forte lies in its services and aftersales. That particular model comes with a 7th generation Intel CPU, one that is an actual four-core CPU.

While it has a far higher TDP than most of its peers (45W vs 15W), it is likely to be more powerful than even a top of the range Core i7-7600U.

thinkpad

Lenovo calls the newest member of the ThinkPad T-series family the ‘new standard for highly mobile laptops’. What makes it so special is the fact that it blurs the line between traditional business devices and more powerful mobile workstations. The top-end spec highlighted here boasts some of the highest configuration levels we’ve seen on any laptop and yet manages to pack everything into a very portable and elegant Ultrabook-esque form factor.

      

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