The best cheap laptop deals in August 2018: prices start at just £139

If you’re looking for the best cheap laptop deals, then you’ve come to the right place. Many retailers are slashing prices for the summer sales, so our team of dedicated deal hunters are on the lookout to find the best laptop deals from the most reliable retailers. So, for the best value cheap laptops, with genuine discounts over the trumped up fake ‘deals’ take a look below.

If you’re after a cheap laptop for web browsing and other simple tasks, or you need a new laptop for school or work, or you simply need a really powerful laptop for as little money as possible, we’ve got you covered.

At the top of the page you’ll find our selection of the latest and best cheap laptop deals of the week followed by a selection of popular quality laptops that retailers like to discount on a regular basis. Underneath those laptop deals you’ll find our pick of the latest best laptops and the best available prices. If you’re an Apple fan, be sure to take a look at our cheap MacBook deals page too.

If you’re from the States or Down Under, be sure to check out our selection of the top laptop deals in the US or in Australia in our always-updated guides.

The best cheap laptop deal of the week

Other brilliant laptop deals this week

We’ll continue adding the best laptop deals in the latest sales as we find them. Up next, you’ll find the latest prices on some of the most popular laptops around, followed by the best deals on TechRadar’s favourite laptops.

laptop deals

Where to find more cheap laptops:

  • Amazon: retail giant is often the cheapest in the UK.
  • ebuyer: the UK computing specialists have some great promotions
  • Argos: home delivery or pick up a cheap laptop locally today.
  • AO: lots of cheap laptops at this growing electronics specialist.
  • Currys: the retailer that’s seemingly always having a sale.
  • John Lewis: models come with at least two-year guarantee.
  • Very: often has plenty of voucher codes or ‘buy now pay later’ options.
  • Laptops Direct: specialist UK store has a huge selection of laptop deals.
  • Dell: Get a great laptop deal direct from Dell.

laptop deals

Popular cheap laptop deals

laptop deals

cheap laptops at john lewis

There have been some generous offers lately for this popular Lenovo laptop series. Any choice between the 4GB and 12GB RAM options should run multiple applications at once. Hard drive sizes vary from 256GB SSD to 1TB in regular form. Some options also include dedicated Nvidia GeForce GTX 940MX graphics.

Flex 10

At around £200, the HP Stream 14 is decent value if you’re after something to cover the basics like web browsing or document editing. It’s competitively priced again the cheaper Chromebooks out there despite the 14-inch screen and Windows 10 operating system.

cheap laptop deals

There’s some hefty grunt under the shell of these HP 250 G4 and G5 models and there are some great prices this week. The Intel Pentium processor and 4GB/8GB of RAM mean this laptop will whip through pretty much any day-to-day activity you can throw at it without the juddering performance of cheaper laptops. Hell, it’ll even have a decent crack at playing a few of the less demanding games out there.

Satellite Click Mini

A sturdy choice for a study laptop for school/college/uni. The HP Pavilion 15 has more power that the average pupil needs while keeping the costs sensible. If you’re not needing extra power of an expensive laptop for video/photo editing, this is more than enough for web browsing, playing some tunes on Spotify and editing coursework.

Asus3

From afar, this laptop might be mistaken for a MacBook Pro which tells you a lot about its level of quality. Don’t expect a full metal chassis at this price, but this is probably one of the best looking plastic bodies in its category. There are plenty of ports (old and new), 4GB of RAM and a massive 1TB hard drive. The cheapest models have a respectable i3 processor, but you can get the more powerful i5 versions for not much more if you need that extra kick. Asus saw it fit to include a DVD writer as well as a 15.6-inch full HD screen. Despite this large display and the presence of a numeric keypad, it’s just a tad thicker and heavier than an Ultrabook.

Why not upgrade your storage with a cheap hard drive or SSD? See the best hard drive and SSD deals.

cheap laptops on ebay

This is the newer version of the Asus Transformer Mini series. This upgrade includes a fingerprint sensor and double the RAM at 4GB for speedier performance. For your money, this is one of the most impressive two-in-one transformer models out there.

This is one of the larger Chromebook experience out there for someone looking for a full-sized laptop with an excellent screen at a super low cost. The 4GB of RAM running the Chrome OS is super fast and will allow you to really pile up tabs and apps without slowing down. The battery will easily last the best part of a day for most users too.

The best deals on our favourite laptops

We’ve reviewed loads of laptops over the years: we’ve seen the good ones, the great ones and the ones to avoid. Sometimes the best laptops pop up online at some truly deal-tastic prices. So in this section, we list the very best laptops out there and the best deals on each one.

Best laptops

The Dell XPS 13 is, bar none, the best laptop you can buy today. It features a revolutionary design that’s astonishingly thin and light. Fitting a 13.3-inch screen into such a small frame means Dell has created a nearly borderless Infinity display. It’s a powerful and long lasting machine even by today’s Ultrabook standards. The XPS 13 comes outfitted with Intel’s latest Skylake processors plus lighting, quick storage and memory, all while coming in at a very affordable starting price. For these reasons, it easily takes the top slot as the best Ultrabook, the best Windows laptop and the best overall laptop.

Looking for a quality gaming laptop but want to keep things under that unappealing £1000 mark? Then Dell has you covered with the Inspiron 15 Gaming range.

Best Chromebook

The Asus Chromebook Flip isn’t perfect, but it’s an impressive little piece of kit. Plus, it’s so affordable that you might want to pick one up just to have a Chromebook on hand – even if you already own a MacBook or Windows laptop. Aside from the budget price tag, the Flip is one of the best-built Chromebooks to blaze the trail onward for more convertibles. Touchscreen functionality feels more logical, with a screen that actually rotates. The Flip meets all the core tenants of an ideal Chrome OS device.

cheap laptop deals

This 10-inch hybrid comes packing a surprising amount of goods considering its small size. It’s outfitted with an HD screen and more than enough power to get you through a simple day of web browsing and even image editing. When you’re ready kick back with some media streaming, you can pop off the 10-inch tablet.

Best gaming laptops

The Asus Strix GL502 is undoubtedly one of the best gaming laptops around for gaming in 1080p. It’ll run with the settings cranked with games like Overwatch not dipping below 60fps. The battery life isn’t the best, but the display, performance and built-in sound system more than make up for it.

Lenovo has crafted a brilliant, forward-thinking device that could very well create a subcategory in computing all of its own. The modest specs hold it back from taking on the big boys in terms of raw power, but the innovative digital touchpad keyboard and drawing surface look like trendsetters to us. The Android version is currently about £100 cheaper than the Windows one.

cheap surface pro deals

Can a tablet really replace your laptop or home PC? That’s still up for debate, but the best tablet trying to make that happen is the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 – and it does a fine job with the full blown version of Windows 10, an integrated kickstand and optional keyboard attachment. Great for for creative professionals, students and everyday folks alike – it’s only the premium price that push it down the list, but if you’re willing to pay for it, you’re getting a lot of power. A LOT.

Original Article

The best Kodi VPN in 2018

If you’re looking to add a VPN to your Kodi box, you’ve come to the right place! For those not familiar with Kodi, it’s one of the most, if not the most popular media players around thanks to its excellent interface, not to mention the fact that it’s free and open source – and boasts some impressive capabilities when it comes to add-ons which support various streaming services.

Some of those add-ons are perfectly legal, and others – not so much. Naturally, we, at TechRadar, we don’t endorse any form of piracy or illegally viewing copyrighted material.

The best Kodi VPN in 2018

 

 

[57% Off] IPVanish (Official Promotion) – Get up to 57% Off TechRadar’s #1 Rated VPN Service with IPVanish’s top-tier network delivering some of the fastest speeds in our tests. Zero logs gives you total privacy.

IPVanish provides superb performance levels complemented with a wide range of server locations. In testing, our download speeds improved by around 15% compared to our normal rates.

The service offers native clients for Windows and Mac, along with Android and iOS, plus it has setup instructions for other platforms. The native Windows client, in particular, is a sterling effort with an intuitive interface and a bundle of advanced features (although on the downside, we found it could potentially be susceptible to more network issues than rival VPN software).

IPVanish has a strict no logs policy and all the necessary security in place for a smooth and carefree VPN experience. If there’s one thing that somewhat spoils the fun, it’s the cost of the service as it’s a bit on the pricey side. There is no free trial available, but the three plans include a 7-day money-back guarantee. The 1-year subscription is the best and most affordable option. The packages available are:

 

 

This British Virgin Islands provider has an impressive collection of servers spread across 94 countries with some great performance. In our tests, we recorded good speed consistency with no fluctuations of any kind.

ExpressVPN offers quality clients for every major platform with setup instructions for various other devices. iOS and Android (which you can also install on Android TV) clients are especially well made and are very user-friendly.

On the security and privacy front, the service doesn’t disappoint either. The 256-bit encryption is available and you can choose from OpenVPN via UDP, OpenVPN via TCP, L2TP – IPSEC, PPTP or SSTP protocol. The service has a favorable privacy policy with zero logging of any kind.

The service is a bit pricier than most and there is no free trial, but you do get a 30-day money back guarantee. There are three plans available, with the yearly plan being the most affordable (you also get extra three months). The packages available are:

 

 

Streaming content requires a fast connection and it doesn’t get much better than VyprVPN in this respect. Our performance tests revealed that this provider offers superb download speeds – twice as fast as the rates we get with the VPN turned off, in fact. Add the firm’s widespread server coverage and you have a service tailored for HD and 4K content.

There are easy-to-use clients for all relevant platforms and devices, supported by strong security aspects. Along with the expected range of protocols and encryption, the provider’s own Chameleon technology aims to defeat VPN blocking and throttling for a faster connection. A kill switch, NAT Firewall, and VyprVPN’s own DNS solution complete the efforts on the security front. On top of that, there is no logging of traffic or online activities, but there is some logging occurring in the form of recording connection times and IP addresses.

Would-be users have a free 3-day trial at their disposal, which is particularly useful as VyprVPN doesn’t allow refunds. Commercial plans are based on monthly and annual billing, with the monthly plans carrying an expensive price tag. Your best bet is the Premium plan with annual billing as it includes all the bells and whistles (like the Chameleon protocol) for a reasonable price. The packages available are:

 

 

NordVPN offers an impressive level of overall server coverage, being one of the largest VPN networks around. Its performance is far from shabby, too, providing consistently fast connections throughout much of that expansive network.

This provider also has user-friendly applications for all major operating systems (there is also a dedicated app for Android TV). These are packed with useful features, along with plenty of beef on the security front. There’s Double VPN (double encryption) for maximum privacy, Onion over VPN, a CyberSec feature for blocking intrusive adverts and malicious online threats, an automatic kill switch, and more besides. NordVPN has a clear ‘no logs’ policy, too.

There is a free 3-day trial to take this VPN for a test spin, but it’s rather hidden away on the website. With the monthly billing being rather pricey, the cheap 3-year subscription provides the best value for your money. The packages available are:

 

 

TunnelBear is first and foremost a user-friendly service. You get a wide array of desktop and mobile software that focuses on keeping things simple. As such, more advanced users may be somewhat dismayed at the lack of low-level options, but bear in mind that these clients aren’t barebones – there are a few settings that you can tweak.

Performance-wise, the Canadian-based provider – now owned by McAfee – was speedy with local connections during our testing, although long-distance connections were slower, as is usually the case. Still, TunnelBear’s free plan delivered solid enough performance levels, and indeed it’s faster than some paid products.

The only restriction with the free plan is a cap on data usage, and the good news is you get full server coverage at your disposal. As for data, TunnelBear allows for 500MB of traffic each month, but you can tweet about the service to get an extra 1GB (plus TechRadar’s special offer ups the limit to an impressive 5GB).

As for security, this provider employs the standard security protocols, as well as its very own GhostBear protocol which aims to defeat VPN blocking. The privacy policy is transparent and clear, stating that there is no logging of any of its users’ online activity.

Aside from the free offering, there’s not much variety when it comes to commercial plans: there’s one subscription on a monthly or annual basis. If you’re happy to pay, the yearly plan offers the best value as it gets you unlimited data for a very reasonable price. The packages available are:

 

 

Windscribe offers a generous free plan that allows you 10GB of traffic on a monthly basis (if you register your email address, 2GB if not). As is the case with some other providers, tweeting about the service will earn you an extra 5GB of data, and you’ll get an additional 1GB each time you invite a friend to join.

You’re restricted to 11 server locations, although a major benefit is that you aren’t limited on the device front – you can connect as many devices as you wish. Performance isn’t anything to write home about, with this VPN offering average but acceptable speeds. There are clients for all major platforms, and some great browser extensions, too.

On the security front, you get 256-bit encryption and the OpenVPN protocol by default. The privacy policy goes into detail to explain that there’s no logging of historical sessions or records of incoming or outgoing IP addresses, or individual user activity.

For a free service, Windscribe is certainly a good option, but if you want more, the paid subscriptions don’t offer much choice. Your only option is the Pro plan billed monthly, yearly or biennially – it comes with unlimited data usage, and you get more locations to choose from (100+). The packages available are:

 

 

Speedify’s channel bonding feature uses multiple connections – Ethernet, Wi-Fi, a tethered mobile, and so forth – to boost overall performance. Assuming you have more than one internet connection, you’ll likely see the benefit, and we certainly did in our testing when the aforementioned turbocharging tech help speed things up nicely.

The free plan allows full access to over a hundreds servers in more than 20 countries, with the only restriction being the amount of data you can download: you get 1GB per month. You can get Speedify for all major platforms, and the native clients are pretty simple, with only a few available settings for tweaking the service.

In terms of security, this provider offers ChaCha-based 256-bit encryption, multiple VPN protocols, and an automatic kill switch. Speedify has a clear privacy policy stating that it doesn’t log any form of user activity.

Should you like the free service enough to want to upgrade, there are only two commercial plans available: you can subscribe and get unlimited data on a monthly or annual basis, with the latter offering the best value, as ever. The packages available are:

 

 

Coming from the people behind ProtonMail, the popular Switzerland-based encrypted email service, ProtonVPN Free’s main draw is unlimited bandwidth – you can use this freebie as much as you like. However, there are a few catches. You get just three locations to choose from (US, Japan, Netherlands), there’s support for only one device, and free users are bottom of the performance priority list, so speeds could be variable.

And our performance tests bore that out, as we saw some relatively speedy results at times (better than some commercial providers, in fact), but we also experienced low speeds in other instances. It’s a mixed bag, in other words, so prepare yourself for some inconsistency.

Native software is provided for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and iOS. Security shouldn’t be a problem, either, given that this VPN is delivered by a respected team with a lengthy track record in maintaining tight security. The company states its logging policy very clearly on the website: there is no tracking or recording of your internet activity.

With its unlimited data allowance, this is one free VPN that’s certainly worth considering. Although if you feel the need to upgrade, there are three paid plans, including a very pricey top-end product (Visionary) which boasts ProtonMail encrypted email with all features as part of the package.

Overall, this isn’t a cheap provider, although the Plus plan isn’t too expensive on an annual subscription, and will give you full access to the service. The packages available are:

 

 

This Singapore-based VPN proved to be consistent in our testing. The service delivered fast and reliable connections even over long distances with almost no difference compared to our regular download speeds. Ivacy’s desktop clients are novice-friendly, but also offer more than enough settings to tweak for more advanced users. Unfortunately, the mobile apps are a different story, being overly basic and rarely updated.

There are no logs kept here, and the service handles privacy and security quite well. Still, you may want to pay attention to the refund policy as there are some conditions attached to it. Namely, it doesn’t apply if you’ve used Bitcoin or Paymentwall to pay for the service.

Ivacy offers three subscriptions that could use a bit more variety, although they all have a 30-day money-back guarantee (except the monthly plan, which has a 7-day guarantee). The monthly plan aside, the subscriptions are quite affordable, especially the 2-year plan which is really cheap. The packages available are:

 

 

Hide.me has the smallest server selection of any VPN on this list, but makes up for it with great performance – in our tests, it actually increased download speeds by just a touch compared to our normal rates.

The service provides clients for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android and Windows Phone, and there are setup instructions for other platforms. The Windows client is compact and quite simple to use, and with just one click you can connect to the fastest server currently available. There is a strict no logging policy in place, too.

The service offers a 2GB per month free plan which is more than enough to properly test things out. If you want unlimited data, then you’ll need the Premium plan, but it’s rather expensive. Otherwise, the only other option is the Plus package which has certain restrictions (75GB data allowance, no port forwarding, a miserly one simultaneous connection, and other limitations). The packages available are:

How to choose the best Kodi VPN

As ever when it comes to streaming content – particularly if it’s HD – you want one of the best VPNs which gives you fast download speeds to avoid those dreaded pauses while the ‘buffering’ icon hogs the screen. A large web of server locations also helps as you’ll have more options to find the fastest connection possible.

And as always, you’ll want good levels of security and a ‘zero logs’ privacy policy. An intuitive dedicated client is highly desirable as there might be some initial tweaking and fiddling required. Those who prefer viewing on the go should look out for mobile device support, and preferably native clients for iOS/Android.

Original Article

The best VPN apps for Android in 2018

Google’s Android has the largest installed base of smartphones around the globe with more than a billion daily active users – so it’s no surprise that there are a lot of VPN apps which support the OS. Particularly when you consider that the devices which connect to these services are usually mobile ones.

Most of the best VPN providers have dedicated Android apps, while a smaller number let you set up their service via manual configuration – although, of course, some offerings don’t have mobile support at all.

A word of warning: make sure you avoid the dodgy ones on Google Play as quite a few free players promise to provide a free service but don’t mention the strings attached.

Our top picks for best VPN services for Android are

 

 

[Save 49%] ExpressVPN Special Deal – Get 3 months free with an annual plan on Techradar’s #1 Rated VPN Service.

 

 

There are many things to like about ExpressVPN for Android. The dedicated app is extremely user-friendly and straightforward, but also offers lots of advanced options. On the security front, it boasts AES 256-bit encryption, while the speeds we witnessed using the VPN were consistently fast.

ExpressVPN provides quality apps for a wide range of devices, and Android is no exception. The Android app provides access to high speed servers across 94 countries and is compatible across phones, tablets, Kindles and Android TV boxes.

After signing up for an ExpressVPN subscription, the website will provide instructions to install the app on your device (usually via Google Play or through an APK file). The website also features a wide array of handy content and video guides on using their apps, as well as 24/7 customer support by live chat in case you run into any issues.

ExpressVPN is definitely not the cheapest VPN out there, but it may be worth the price for those who want the best Android experience. The 30-day money-back guarantee lets you test the service with reassurance.

ExpressVPN offers three price plans, with the 12-month plan offering the biggest saving as you would expect (you get an extra three months). The packages available are:

 

 

The IPVanish app is good overall, although it’s missing a kill switch, a standard feature which instantly shuts down the internet connection in the event the VPN drops (to prevent your true IP from being revealed).

Still, that doesn’t detract from the impressive download speeds this VPN achieved during our testing. Furthermore, there’s no logging of the user’s activity here, plus you get 256-bit AES encryption with the OpenVPN protocol, along with 24/7 customer support.

However, the price might be the one negative element which drives folks away. There’s no free trial, although three available plans come with a 7-day money-back guarantee. The 1-year subscription is the best and most popular choice when it comes to the three packages which are available:

 

 

NordVPN has some impressive strengths including ‘Double VPN’ technology which passes your connection through two separate VPN servers, as opposed to just the one, for an extra layer of security (there are only a certain number of Double VPN servers, though). NordVPN also has a ‘zero logs’ policy, meaning it doesn’t track the user’s online activity.

While the focus is clearly on security and privacy, NordVPN doesn’t lag in other areas. The Android app is easy-to-use, but pretty basic and lacks configuration options, with the desktop app having a much better interface. The performance was good, although nothing spectacular. The app also provides a live chat feature for 24/7 customer support.

NordVPN is reasonably priced, too, and has a free 3-day trial (download the app from the Play Store and register with your Google Play account). There are four plans available, all with a 30-day money-back guarantee. The limited 3-year offer is clearly the best choice in terms of overall value. The packages available are:

 

 

[Save 40%] Get 40% off VyprVPN’s annual plans. VyprVPN is a fast, highly secure VPN without third-parties, all for as little as $36.00 for the first year. Get VyprVPN here

(25% Off) Exclusive VyprVPN Deal: TechRadar readers get 25% off VyprVPN annual plans ($45 USD for 1 year). VyprVPN is a fast, highly secure VPN without third parties. Get VyprVPN here

This Switzerland-based VPN provider offers a very sound Android VPN service. There’s a dedicated app that is extremely well optimized, and the service offers multiple protocols including OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, PPTP and Chameleon, the latter being the firm’s own tailored solution.

There are some potential issues with privacy, however, as the company keeps some logs in the form of connection times and IP addresses. Performance is impressive overall, and we saw some particularly good download speeds with the service.

VyprVPN offers two price plans with monthly and annual billing. Still, the service is not for those on a strict budget as its monthly billing is a tad pricier than most others.

The Basic plan supports three simultaneous connections and comes without all the goodies, so the Premium plan offers the most bang for your buck (with five simultaneous connections, the Chameleon protocol and more). Be aware that there are no refunds offered here, so use the 3-day free trial to the max. The packages available are:

 

 

TunnelBear is the go-to option for VPN newbies who want to protect their Android device. The native client is designed to be as simple as possible but still manages to incorporate a decent amount of features, including a GhostBear option that attempts to hide the fact that you’re using a VPN connection (to avoid being blocked), and a kill switch (which keeps your IP concealed if the VPN drops out).

We found this VPN’s performance was speedy on shorter (local) connections, but distant locations can be a lot slower – although still usable. The provider uses 256-bit encryption by default, as well as all the usual security protocols.

TunnelBear has a free offering which allows 500MB of bandwidth per month. You can upgrade to unlimited data with two paid plans, of which the annual plan is the far more affordable and better option. The packages available are:

How to choose the best VPN for Android

There are more than enough VPNs with great Android support. Ultimately, which one you choose might come down to some smaller details or personal preferences. When determining the best VPN for Android, you need to look out for a few things.

Obviously, a dedicated Android app helps to make things as hassle-free as possible. Next, it should be user-friendly and yet offer enough options to allow for some tweaking (particularly for more experienced users).

Other considerations are tight security, and of course a privacy policy and terms of service which are easily understandable, making it clear what logs and details are kept by the provider. Supported simultaneous connections and the subsequent speeds you can achieve with the VPN are also important, but not vital in this case.

Original Article

Moto G7 Plus: what we want to see

When Lenovo acquired Motorola in 2014, it shook the Moto G line up a little. Gone was the single phone, instead multiple models were launched, and of these the ‘G Plus’ model was the most important addition.

With specs that were distinctly not budget, but a price tag that certainly was, this moved the G line up into the bourgeoisie of the smartphone world. In 2018, the Moto G6 Plus was no exception to the rule, balancing a refined design, enough power and a quality experience to superb results.

The Moto G7 Plus is now on the horizon, promising more goodness at the point where budget meets mid-range, and expectations are running high.

Little is known about the G7 Plus yet, but we’ll fill this page with all the rumors as we hear them. In the meantime, you’ll find information about the price and release date below, as well as a list of things we want from the phone.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Moto’s next big-screen budget phone
  • When is it out? Probably March/April 2019
  • What will it cost? Up to around £300/$400/AU$500

Moto G7 Plus release date and price

We expect that the Moto G7 Plus will, as in previous years, be launched by Lenovo along with the rest of the G line-up in the latter half of April 2019 at the latest.

There’s no word on what it will cost, but the Moto G6 Plus launched for £269 / AU$499 (about $380), so the Moto G7 Plus will probably cost a similar amount, if not slightly more.

The next G Plus phone will probably land in March or April

Moto G7 Plus news and rumors

Given that there is still some time until its likely launch, news is thin on the ground at the moment.

Needless to say, there are certain things we can expect. First among these is the potential introduction of a notch. Although the dreaded occupier of screen space made its debut with the Essential Phone in 2017 and was popularized by the iPhone X, the G series managed to avoid its presence this year.

Despite that fact, in 2019 we may see the size of the displays increase, and that could come with a notch-shaped sacrifice. The venerable 3.5mm headphone jack may also go the way of the dinosaurs, if current design trends are anything to go by.

What we want to see

The Moto G7 Plus at the moment is a mere glint in an executive’s eye, but based on our usage of the range we’ve collected a few thoughts on what we would like to see in the next incarnation of the handset.

1. A HDR-enabled screen

A high-quality screen could help the Moto G7 Plus stand out

HDR tech is all the rage at the moment, supported by Netflix, YouTube and more, this fancy add-on is featured by a growing number of smartphones – allowing improved color, contrast and clarity when viewing optimized video.

Given that the screen size of the Moto G series, the Plus in particular, is always growing, we’d really like to see Lenovo go all out and bring a truly quality panel to the sub-£300/$400 price range, with HDR, AMOLED and all the other lovely flagship features.

2. Better audio output

At the high end of the smartphone market, teaming up with a known audio brand has become all the rage. Some have Dolby tuning, Samsung has its fingers wrapped around AKG. As such we’d like to see the Moto G7 Plus come with a powerful DAC in tow – maybe one tweaked to perfection by a famous audio brand.

This would allow those privileged few who own fancy headphones to rock out a little harder, but would also provide a better listening experience overall for the average Joe and his out-of-the-box earbuds. Perhaps the company could even follow HTC’s lead and offer a slightly fancier pair with the phone itself?

Paying some serious attention to the musical chops of its premium budget offering could really help Lenovo to draw attention to the G7 Plus in what is becoming an increasingly competitive segment.

3. Better biometrics

More and better ways to unlock the G7 Plus would be appreciated

At the moment, and there is nothing wrong with this, the Moto G Plus range comes with a standard fingerprint sensor beneath the display. It is functional, but nothing more – just another way to log in to your phone.

There’s also basic facial recognition on the G6 Plus, but we’d like to see a more advanced option from the Moto G7 Plus, something more like Apple’s Face ID or Samsung’s Intelligent Scan.

Certainly if the new device will make its way to us with a notch in tow, Lenovo could do little better than to add in an infrared biometric sensor – or indeed a fingerprint sensor embedded underneath the display itself.

The options are many, however a greater variety of options for logging in would provide some needed versatility to the security of the device.

4. A truly powerful chipset

For years now, what has really established budget phones as, well, budget, has been their choice of chipset. Although fine in general with the day-to-day business of swiping away notifications and general promenading around the UI, when things get tough these processors never really get going.

By adding a chipset with a little more oomph, something equivalent to the Snapdragon 660 found in the Nokia 7 Plus, or one of Qualcomm’s new 710 chips, Lenovo could really cause the average buyer to question the sanity of laying down over a thousand dollarpounds for the latest iDevice.

Adding such an chipset would also serve to future-proof the Moto G7 Plus against new updates and more, especially if tuned properly.

5. Moto mod support

The Polaroid Insta-Share Printer is one of many Moto Mods

Refining the design of the Moto G7 Plus and adding the necessary Moto mod connectors would open up the device, and a legion of consumers, to the weird and wacky world of Moto mods.

Style covers, pico projectors, boom boxes and more abound, this is a differentiator that only Lenovo has access to – and could be a real draw, especially as it has traditionally been confined to the flagship Z series. As such this would perhaps be at the expense of the Z Play series, but only a few would likely mourn the loss.

6. A brave new design

Lenovo is many things, but daring in design it is not. While the G series is dependably utilitarian in its looks, it isn’t what James Bond would take to a high-stakes poker game.

If the boat were to be pushed out a little, incorporating new materials, or a different design inspiration, the results could be what takes the Moto G7 Plus to new heights of success.

The glass sandwich is tried and true, but the time is right for something with a little more confidence and pizzazz, rather than relatively conservative and staid.

7. A more refined camera experience

When it comes to photographic quality, the Moto G6 Plus is no slouch. It produces lively, interesting images – but there is always room for improvement.

The camera app on Moto phones is renowned for having the same general responsiveness as the average person after a record Christmas dinner. Processing times are slow, for taking images as well as composing them.

Tightening up the software would do a great deal to improve the experience on the Moto G7 Plus.

We’d also like to see refinements to the image processing, which could use a little more nuance in low light scenes. Adding optical image stabilization would help a great deal to improve the imaging skills of the handset.

  • The standard Moto G7 is also likely on the way

Original Article

The best VPN for Windows 10 in 2018

Windows is the overwhelmingly most used computer operating system in the world, and one of the perks of having Windows 10 on your PC is that you have myriad options when choosing one of the best VPN services (or any software, for that matter).

Virtually every VPN caters to Windows users, which means you get your pick of options and features features. However, with a massive selection of possible VPN services, that only makes choosing one more difficult. Luckily, as ever, we are here to help.

Best VPN for Windows 10 in 2018

 

 

ExpressVPN is our top pick for the best all-round VPN and specifically for Windows 10. This British Virgin Islands-based provider offers an impressive level of server coverage with 148 VPN locations across 94 countries, and it’s a P2P-friendly service too. During testing, we witnessed outstanding performance for local servers, with slightly lower but still very decent results for long-distance connections.

 

 

The client boasts an excellent UI packed with a bunch of features including server recommendations, multiple VPN protocols, and kill switch technology.

A convenient bonus is the ability to control the VPN from browser extensions, and a special mention goes to the split tunneling feature, which is great for torrenting or restricting the VPN connection to a single browser.

On the security front, ExpressVPN also delivers in terms of protocols and strong encryption, while the privacy policy clearly states there is no gathering or logging of traffic data, connection IPs, or online activities. Professional 24/7 customer support is provided via live chat or email for any problems the user might encounter.

Price-wise, the service comes in a tad above other providers, but may be well worth it for users who want the best VPN experience for Windows. ExpressVPN doesn’t offer a free plan or trial but all the plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Out of the plan options, the annual subscription (with three bonus months) offers the best value-for-money. The packages available are:

 

 

This VPN features a well-designed client (although we did find that the client may be more susceptible to network issues than rivals) that offers a wide array of both basic and advanced settings, with enough options to satisfy even expert tinkerers. IPVanish is one of the best for torrenting and other P2P traffic, as well.

In our testing, we witnessed a significant increase in download speeds (close to 20%) which is fantastic, obviously. IPVanish has a firm no logs policy in place, and more than adequate protection with 256-bit encryption over OpenVPN, PPTP, and L2TP protocols.

The slight drawback is this is a little pricier than much of the competition, and there’s no free trial either. However, IPVanish does offer a 7-day money-back guarantee across all three of its pricing plans. The 1-year subscription clearly provides the best value. The packages available are:

 

 

NordVPN is a mainstay on many ‘best of’ lists for several good reasons – although the one that matters most is its tight security. The service offers a certain number of ‘Double VPN’ servers which pass your data through two separate VPN servers, not just one, which makes things even more secure. You can also route its encrypted traffic over the Tor network, adding another layer of security, along with the existing KEv2/IPsec, OpenVPN, PPTP, and L2TP protocols.

The client is easy-to-use, featuring a compact interface that has all the essentials and then some (although there are minor issues with the UI, so for example, you’ve got to resize the client window to access mid-European servers).

NordVPN is P2P-friendly and has a ‘zero logs’ policy. The performance of this VPN is above-average, too. There’s a free 3-day trial, and NordVPN is rather affordable (aside from the monthly subscription), offering four plans with a 30-day money-back guarantee. The best value option is the limited 3-year plan. The packages available are:

 

 

Hotspot Shield’s rather colourful client provides all the necessary basics which are simple enough to use, but lacks extra settings options. Some providers offer more server locations, it’s true, but what you’ll really like here is the performance levels. This VPN posted some excellent results in our testing, with only marginal latency increase and a bit faster upload and download speeds compared to our normal rates.

It also features the standard security protocols with an added bonus of cloud-based malware protection. The privacy policy is favourable, deleting data which might be recorded upon ending the VPN session.

Perhaps the most questionable aspect of Hotspot Shield is its pricing, although the 2-year plan is quite affordable. There are three plans, each with a 45-day money-back guarantee. The packages available are:

 

 

This Slovakian-based provider runs its own network, DNS servers, and infrastructure. And this definitely shows as the performance levels were well above-average and fairly consistent when we tested TigerVPN. The global choice of available servers certainly helps the cause here.

The dedicated Windows client is very user-friendly, too. However, it only offers some basic options, with advanced settings being few and far between – but that’s not likely to bother novice users. Another issue with the service is that you only get two simultaneous connections with the monthly plan, which means those looking for a genuine multi-device experience need to subscribe to the yearly plan.

TigerVPN is P2P friendly and while there’s no trial, there is a 7-day money-back guarantee. There are three packages to choose from, and subscribing for a three-year plan gives you the best savings, plus you get up to five simultaneous connections (rather than two on the monthly plan). The packages available are:

How to choose the best VPN for Windows

Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows 10, is a significant improvement in terms of security and protection. Even so, there are some widely discussed, controversial privacy issues pertaining to the OS, and what’s more you can never be ‘too’ secure, let’s face it.

When picking a Windows VPN service, you should look for good all-round performance with a little bit of everything – a friendly client, P2P support, clearly written and straightforward privacy policy, and so on.

Then there’s the matter of pricing as not every service is worth the money they’re asking. Sometimes paying a little bit extra ensures a superb experience, but other times a cheaper service provides the optimal quality.

Yes, there are some difficult choices to be made for sure, which is exactly why we’ve done all the legwork and selected our five best VPN services for Windows across various different categories. You won’t go wrong with any of these.

Original Article

This button on the 2018 VW Golf takes you from thrill ride to cushion of air

I noticed the button right away in the 2018 VW Golf R. A sporty hot hatch made for taking corners at top speeds – on the track or off – the Golf R is one of the most exciting small cars I’ve driven in a while, mostly because it’s light, has a 292-horsepower turbocharged engine, and is nimble and fun.

At $31,785 (about £31,300, AU$54,800), it’s also a bit more affordable than other hot hatch models, like the Mercedes-Benz AMG GLA 45 ($53,350, about £42,000, AU$73,400).

As you drive, you can press the Mode button to switch between Normal, Comfort, Sport, and Race. As Megan Closset, product manager for the Golf family of hatchbacks, explained to TechRadar, the modes are all software related.

2018 VW Golf

“Comfort uses [suspension] dampers in the softest setting,” she says. “Sport stiffens them up and Race stiffens them further. Normal cycles between soft and stiff depending on the circumstance, so while driving on the highway, it goes to a softer setting, but as soon as the system detects increased G-Force, like when you are cornering, then it stiffens the dampers. The system can actually vary rebound and compression damping during cornering.”

Seamless switching

Known technically as the Driving Mode Selection, the button also has other effects on how the Golf R actually drives, impacting how quickly the headlights move automatically around corners for night time driving, steering response, and transmission (for example, Sport mode locks out the seventh gear in the automatic transmission model and tightens the shifting for other gears).

Testing out the Race mode, the screen changed to show a lap timer, a G-Force indicator (how much force you experience on corners or accelerating), and turbo PSI (pounds per square inch). The screens are easy to read and use, even during a test on curvy roads.

Another interesting effect – when you switch between modes, the car sounds different. I noticed this when I used Race mode for most of a day. The exhaust was louder. VW calls this the Soundaktor setting, and it feels a bit more like a race car on a track.

2018 VW Golf

Fortunately, all of these settings are seamless – I was able to switch between them during a long day or driving, deciding to use the Comfort setting when I wasn’t interested in spirited driving, and then use race on a curvy country road in the middle of nowhere.

A flexible future

For future driving, the Mode button could have a few interesting implications. One is that we will have more and more control over how cars drive, and when we want to feel more comfortable in the driver’s seat versus feeling a bit more of the road with a stiff suspension. Other sporty cars, such as the Dodge Challenger, offer similar features for adjusting not only the suspension but even whether certain cylinders are used and tweaking the horsepower.

2018 VW Golf

However, as cars start driving themselves, we might be able to tweak comfort settings even more, almost like a performance chair you use in the office, tweaking the feel of the road, the cornering and suspension, and the interior lighting to suit our mood and preferences.

Interesting, too, that this is all done with software algorithms, adjusting the VW Golf R with the touch of a button, no matter your speed or the road surface. While I’m more inclined to stick with Race mode in almost every trip, it’s good to know we have plenty of options.

On The Road is TechRadar's regular look at the futuristic tech in today's hottest cars. John Brandon, a journalist who's been writing about cars for 12 years, puts a new car and its cutting-edge tech through the paces every week. One goal: To find out which new technologies will lead us to fully driverless cars.

Original Article

Parents beware: your kids can now feel peer pressure from robots

Everyone’s fallen victim to peer pressure at some point in their life, but German researchers have identified a uniquely modern twist on the phenomenon: children feeling subjected to peer pressure from robots.

Researchers at Bielefeld University replicated the ‘Asch Paradigm’, a series of tests developed by behavioral psychologist Solomon Asch to determine how people are affected by peer pressure in a group.

In the experiment, a group of subjects are shown a black line, and are given a choice of three other lines of different lengths. They’re then asked individually which of the three lines (1, 2, or 3) matches the original.

Fall in line

Actors placed in the group are instructed to pick the wrong line, despite the correct answer being obvious, which, Asch found, led to a number of participants being influenced by peer pressure to select the wrong answer.

In the new study, the actors were replaced by three robots – specifically, Softbank’s cutesy humanoid droid Nao. When the researchers compared the results of children and adults, they found that the children were far more likely than the adults to be influenced by the robots and select the incorrect answer.

Although the researchers were unsure why children went along with the robots more readily than adults, the results raise questions about robotic toys aimed at kids if the toys act erroneously or are hacked. For example, could kids be encouraged to buy accessories for their new toy without parental consent?

A growing concern

The Bielefeld University team has suggested that new regulations on robotic toys may be needed to address the issue. Speaking to Motherboard, lead researcher Anna-Lisa Vollmer said: “a regulatory framework for the social influence of robots, could for example, be similar to the one that is in place for advertisement”.

Robotic toys are growing in popularity, from AI powered droids like Anki’s Vector to the AR-enabled Mekamon fighting bot. Wi-Fi connected toys like Mattel’s Hello Barbie have previously come under scrutiny for security issues, and this latest research is unlikely to put parents’ minds at ease.

Via The Register

Original Article

Samsung: Why innovation and device ecosystem can overcome ‘challenging’ smartphone market

Samsung is a company in transition. It’s a consumer electronics giant (with a not insignificant B2B interest) that has benefited hugely from its mobile division in recent years.

It supplanted Nokia as the world’s largest manufacturer of mobile phones in the early part of the decade and has stayed there ever since, buoyed by seemingly never-ending demand for smartphones.

But the industry has run out of new markets to expand into and demand in developed ones have saturated. A perceived lack of hardware innovation and rising costs mean many people are content with the handsets they already have, and the sector actually contracted for the first time in 2018.

Other ventures to offset this decline have so far failed to materialise. The tablet market exploded with the advent of cheap seven-inch slabs, but again, demand has slowed, and the smartwatch has also failed to be the holy grail.

It’s amid this backdrop that Samsung launches the Galaxy Note 9, alongside the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 and the Samsung Galaxy Watch.

Market saturation

Samsung’s profits for the second quarter reached record highs but the performance of the mobile unit is still cause for concern, especially the performance of the Samsung Galaxy S9 flagship.

According to figures from IH Markit, Samsung suffered the biggest decline of the most recent quarter, with smartphone shipments falling by 10.8 per cent to 70.8 million – still enough for a fifth of the market.

“It’s a challenging market,” Kate Beaumont, director of commercial strategy at Samsung, admits to TechRadar Pro. “From a mobile perspective there is a lot of [market] saturation. People are holding onto their devices much longer and that’s creating an environment in which we have to keep on our toes.

“We’re seeing that the premium segment is growing year-on-year while the low-end segment is falling.”

One of the most interesting trends is that although the volume of handsets it sells has fallen, the average cost of each device is increasing. That comes as no surprise to anyone who has seen the price of the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 – it’s a very expensive phone.

Meanwhile competition in the mid-range segment is intense, with several manufacturers entering the market with aggressively-priced handsets stocked with features.

Innovation and competition

“One of the things Samsung does very well is that we have a broad portfolio where we can take down the premium features [from the Galaxy S and Note range] and bring them down,” she says. “It’s about finding a compromise between cost and innovation.”

Huawei’s critically acclaimed P20 flagship has seen it overtake Apple in the market (albeit with help from marketing), while the Galaxy Note series has earned a reputation for innovation over the past few years with features and design choices that break convention.

Huawei has the devices and the resources to mount the most serious challenge to Samsung date and It has also finally managed to gain an inroads into the UK market, so is Beaumont worried?

“I think competition is always good because it drives innovation,” she replies. “We don’t want to become complacent, so we look at our competitors, but they’re not driving our R&D. The UK is traditionally brand-conscious, and we have a really strong brand.”

But despite this, Beaumont doesn’t believe that innovation for innovation’s sake is the solution to driving growth in the premium sector.

“I think it’s about finding the right innovation,” she explains. “What we’ve done with S Pen is subtle but impactful. I think it’s about finding innovation that’s useful.”

Similarly, in the mid-range market, it’s about finding the right balance between cost and new features. For example, the R&D investment for the Galaxy S series can eventually be included in the A series at a later date.

The Samsung ecosystem

Samsung is committed to maintaining this choice, noting that customers who take a mid-range device might one day decide to upgrade to a premium handset. But it is also committed to growing its ecosystem.

“This is the first time we’ve launched three devices at the same time,” says Beaumont. “The relevance of this is how they work together. We want more interconnectivity and by 2020 we want our devices to be interoperable.

“We do know that we have high loyalty and we know that people buy multiple devices, but the reality is that it is an open ecosystem. It’s unlikely anyone will buy all three at the same time and the best thing about the watch is that it works with other Android devices and indeed iOS.

“Our SmartThings App works with 40 other brands. We recognise our customers might have different devices but the question is ‘how do you bring them all together?’”

Samsung’s decision to replace the ‘Gear’ branding for its smartwatch in favour of ‘Galaxy’ is notable. As the company’s flagship brand, Galaxy stands for its latest innovations, but Beaumont also explains it epitomises the internal changes at the company.

Previously the products were built by different teams, but the adoption of the Galaxy moniker helps contribute to the creation of the ecosystem that Samsung wants: “We’re moving away from sub branding.”

Who will buy the Note 9?

Speaking of branding, Beaumont emphasises the attachment that many of its customers have to the Galaxy Note brand: “The Note customer is a special group of customers for us,” she says. “They are our most loyal, they are early adopters and they’re looking for [innovative] tech.”

The productivity features are the Note 9’s biggest selling point and the updated ‘S Pen’ is something Beaumont is keen to emphasise, declaring it her favourite feature of the new device. The Note has a big following in the B2B sector, but Samsung doesn’t want to limit its appeal, noting that all of its devices are available to both consumers and businesses.

Samsung is also placing significant emphasis on customer service and has a dedicated team to help new owners of the Note 9 and S9 to switch from a rival operating system. But there is an acknowledgement that the main component of any strategy still has to be technology.

Earlier in the month Samsung announced it would invest 25 trillion won (£17 billion) in areas such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), 5G and components for connected cars as it seeks to protect itself against smartphone saturation. It plans to be a leader in the market for 5G chipsets and hopes to benefit from demand for the applications that next-generation networks will enable.

Beaumont says she is “really excited” about the investment and what it means for the future direction of Samsung smartphones.

“There’s a race to be first [with 5G] but we’re more interested in the consumer experience. You can do the technical piece, but if you can’t come up with experiences then you’ve wasted your time.

“I think the success for any manufacture can be measured in what they’re investing in.”

Original Article

HTC’s Viveport app store is adding support for Oculus Rift

HTC is adding Oculus Rift support to its Viveport app store. Developers can choose to mark their games as Rift-compatible from today, and Rift owners will be able to start using the service from September 4.

Viveport currently offers around 1,500 games and VR experiences for HTC Vive headsets – 500 of which are available via a Viveport subscription service that lets users play five a month to play for a flat monthly fee. That makes it a very tempting prospect for Oculus owners, who currently have no such service.

The change also gives developers an incentive to adapt more of their titles for Oculus Rift. “By adding support for Oculus Rift, we’re doubling the potential user base for Viveport developers,” said Viveport's president Rikard Steibe.

Not sure whether to take the plunge? Viveport also offers a generous free trial, so if you have a Rift and aren't sure whether to commit, you can grab five titles free of charge for 14 days.

Original Article

The Nvidia RTX 2080 reportedly costs only $649

Yep, that’s right. According to the latest report, Nvidia’s next flagship Turing-based GeForce graphics card will be slightly less expensive than a $699 (£699, AU$1,299) Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti.

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 may cost $649 (about £510, AU$890) according to information posted on Baidu from a user who claims to be familiar with an undisclosed board partner’s plans.

This information isn’t coming from a direct insider source, so these latest rumors are starting on a pretty shaky foundation. Such a low price would be shocking, especially compared to the astronomical prices of Nvidia's other Turing-based Quadro RTX graphics cards. That said, we’re holding out a little hope that the rumor is true for the sake of our collective wallets.

The same source also claims the Nvidia RTX 2080 will feature 3,072 CUDA cores running at 1,920MHz with the potential of overclocking up to 2,500MHz.

This new GPU will supposedly be faster than the Nvidia Titan V and, at least on paper, it seems to have the specs to beat the flagship Volta graphics card's rated 1,455MHz boost clock – though not the Titan V’s 5,120 CUDA core count. The Nvidia GTX 1080, meanwhile, features 2,560 CUDA cores and a boost clock of 1,733MHz.

Via Videocardz

Original Article