Which Sonos Speaker Should You Buy?

Which Sonos Speaker Should You Buy?

Here at WIRED, we like Sonos speakers. Throughout the last five years, we’ve reviewed everything from its small Play:1 speaker to its soundbars and recommended every one of them. But it’s not cheap to turn your home into a Sonos-powered shrine to sound. Like Apple products, Sonos speakers only work with other Sonos speakers, and don’t come cheap, starting at $200 for the least expensive, smallest model. But which ones should you buy? Read on for our recommendations.

What’s WIRED about Sonos speakers

After flooding my home with every Sonos model you can buy (and filling all remaining space with the boxes of said speakers), I’ve learned that not every Sonos speaker is the same, but they have an elegant synergy and sound that no other speaker system seems to have. There’s an additive effect, as well—the more speakers you connect to your home Wi-Fi, the richer your home audio becomes. If you have a few speakers in a room, it’s almost hard to tell where the sound is coming from. The crystal clear music can completely engulf you. Here are the top reasons to buy into Sonos:

Easy streaming: There isn’t another speaker system that lets you string together multiple speakers as easily, or connect them up to stream in different rooms of your home while keeping the audio perfectly in sync. The Sonos ecosystem can also handle home theater applications, and can support a full surround sound setup. It’s also incredibly easy to set up these speakers. The Sonos app guides you through the process of starting a new system, or adding speakers to an existing system. AirPlay 2 and Siri control are also on the way in 2018.

They sound amazing: Sonos speakers are all high quality and deliver a fairly consistent, appealing sound signature. It’s easy to argue that Sonos hardware is too expensive, but it’s difficult to fault the products’ sound quality.

Spotify on Alexa: Spotify can now be accessed using Alexa voice control on the Sonos One, the speaker with Amazon’s voice assistant built in. If you have one of these speakers, you can set Spotify as your default music service in the Alexa app. Then, when you ask Alexa to play something, it plays from Spotify.

What’s TIRED about Sonos speakers

As amazing as all Sonos speakers sound, and as seamlessly as they connect together, they still have some limitations, both in application and technology. We don’t think these are dealbreakers (yet), but you might.

Aging Connectivity: The tweeters and woofers inside Sonos speakers still sound amazing, but the way they connect to your network (or TV) is dated. Sonos speakers only have 2.4GHz Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g, which means that they cannot connect on the sometimes faster/cleaner 5GHz frequency commonly used today. I have yet to notice loss in fidelity or have dropouts on a Sonos, even in a Manhattan apartment, but the lack of support for today’s Wi-Fi standards, including n/AC, may eventually haunt these speakers. Both of Sonos’s soundbars also rely on optical cables and they lack modern ports like HDMI needed for Dolby Atmos.

No Batteries or Bluetooth: None of the speakers have battery power or Bluetooth, so you cannot use them outside of your home. You can unplug and move them from room to room, but it’s not exactly encouraged—the app has you tune their sound to each space and give them names like “Kitchen.”

You Must Use the Sonos App (mostly): Sonos has done an admirable job updating its speakers with new features through its app, but the app is also the only way to listen to many sources of music. Sonos is slowly freeing services from its app, allowing you to directly broadcast to any speaker within the normal Spotify and Pandora apps. But for everything else, you’re still stuck using the Sonos app, which functions fine, but isn’t ideal. Sonos promises direct control for Tidal by the end of 2017 and several more apps in 2018, including Audible and iHeart Radio.

The Best Sonos Speaker

Sonos One

(November 23-27 Sale: $175 ($25 off) on Sonos and Amazon)

The Sonos One is just about the smallest Sonos speaker, but it still packs enough oomph to fill most rooms, and its new hands-free Alexa integration is a lot of fun. Sonos took the time to make Alexa sound great, and because of the voice commands, the Sonos One has become my go-to speaker. It holds the premiere spot in my kitchen, where I like to listen to tunes the most each day. Alexa works like normal, and can play music, tell you the weather, find a recipe, and answer simple questions. Amazon keeps adding Skills to Alexa, making it more useful all the time. Support for Google Assistant is promised for 2018. The Sonos One is also the first third-party Alexa device that lets you use voice control to stream Spotify.

sonos

It’s the same price as the similar Play:1 speaker ($50 off for the rest of 2017), and a lot better thanks to its added skills and touch controls. If you already own an Amazon Echo, it can be used to control a Sonos system, but if you’re buying an expensive speaker, why not get the better one?

I’ll recommend other Sonos speakers in this guide, but you also can’t go wrong just buying 2-4 Sonos Ones to fill your house up. They’re much more affordable and their small size means you can hide them in any room.

The Best-Sounding Sonos Speaker (a +1 for your pad)

Sonos Play:5 ($500 on Sonos and Amazon)

If you really like to party, I recommend adding a Sonos Play:5 to your setup. It has enough of a kick to dial a party up to 11, or really annoy your neighbors. I placed mine in the largest room of my apartment and it’s honestly more power than I need. Sonos boasts that this model has six Class-D digital amplifiers: three tweeters, three mid-woofers, and a phased speaker array. In practical terms, it will fill a very large room, or basement with ease. Out of the four standard Sonos speakers I tested, this one delivered the largest range of sound, with enough thump to satisfy fans of any genre.

sonos

Avoid the Play:3: The medium-sized Play:3 is an older model that hasn’t gotten an update in years. It still sounds decent, but it doesn’t have the depth of the cheaper Sonos One, despite carrying a bit more bass. It sounds noticeably worse, in some ways. Even at its $250 holiday 2017 sale price, you’re better off buying a second Sonos One or the monstrous Play:5, both of which have newer touch control, look nicer, and carry better sound.

The Best Sonos Speaker for Your TV

Sonos Playbar

(November 23-27 Sale: $600 ($100 off) on Sonos and Amazon)

A soundbar can make all the difference in a home theater, and costs a lot less than a full surround sound setup. Sonos has two options for your television. After listening to both of them extensively, I prefer the Sonos Playbar. With more mid-woofers, it delivers deep bass. Overall, it has more balance and depth than the Sonos Playbase (also on sale for $100 off), which does sound a little sharp when you hear high treble sounds, like cymbals. The Playbar is one of the best soundbars you can buy at any price.

SOnos

Truth be told, both sound fantastic, and there are very practical reasons you might want to choose one over the other. The Playbase sits perfectly under a standing TV with a base that measures about 28 inches wide, 15 inches deep, and around 2.5 inches tall, giving it a very thin profile. But if your TV is mounted on the wall, it won’t work. The Playbar is built to hang on a wall, but at just over 3-inches tall and 5-inches thick, it can also sit in front of most TVs without hassle.

The Sonos Sub is Worth It ($700 on Sonos and Amazon): If you can spend another $700 (yeah, it’s a lot), buy the Sonos Sub and set it next to, or under, your couch. You could also add speakers for surround, but buy the Sub first. The Playbar with Sub combo is a better combination.

The Best Sonos Surround Sound Setup

Sonos Playbar, Sub, and 2 Sonos Ones

(November 23-27 Sale: $1,650 ($150 off) on Sonos and Amazon)

To enable surround sound with one of its soundbars, Sonos requires two extra speakers, one for the left and one for the right. I’ve used two Play:5 speakers, but it’s overkill. Two Sonos One speakers are a better match. You simply place them to the left and right of your couch. They don’t add as much benefit as you get from the Playbar soundbar and Sub combo, but if you watch a lot of movies and want to hear things like TIE Fighters flying over your head in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, you’ll like the extra juice a couple of Ones provide. You can buy the speaker combo piecemeal or in a bundle, but Sonos doesn’t discount bundles.

sonos

As mentioned previously, Sonos speakers can be configured to output 5.1 surround sound, but the company’s products are not currently equipped to deliver Dolby Atmos. Still, this is one of the easiest surround sound systems to set up. You just open up the Sonos app, say you want to add a surround speaker, and start hitting the Next button while it sets everything up for you. It takes less than 10 minutes, as does setting up almost any Sonos product.

If you don’t have a table on each side of your couch to set these speakers on, Sonos sells Sanus Speaker Stands for $100 and Wall Mounts for $60. I have not tested these, but I don’t see any red flags.

Don’t Buy Play:1 for Surround Unless… If you can find significantly cheaper Play:1 speakers used or on sale, those will work perfectly fine. They don’t have Alexa (no microphones), but you don’t really need a voice assistant in a surround system. Sonos sells a surround sound package with two Play:1s, a Playbar, and Sub (Sonos/Amazon). But again, don’t buy them unless they are significantly cheaper than the Sonos Ones, or you already own an Amazon Echo. Eventually, you may want voice assistant functionality, so it’s best to buy the newer product.

When you buy something using the retail links in our buying guides, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Read more about how this works.

Source: https://www.wired.com/story/best-sonos-speakers-buying-guide/

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Feds Indict Iranian for HBO Hack—But Good Luck Arresting Him

Feds Indict Iranian for HBO Hack—But Good Luck Arresting Him

Four months ago, HBO faced a punishing series of leaks of unreleased episodes, scripts, and even celebrities’ contact information. On Tuesday, the Department of Justice named the alleged culprit behind that extortion campaign: An Iranian hacker named Behzad Mesri. By indicting Mesri, prosecutors have sent a message that even anonymous cybercriminals in countries as distant as Iran can be tracked down and unmasked.

The more muted part of that message: Stay in Iran, and you’ll probably never face a US trial.

The Justice Department’s indictment charges 39-year-old Mesri, also known as “Skote Vashat” or “Mr. Smith” to his victims, with computer fraud, wire fraud, identity theft, and the rarer charge of using a computer for extortion. The indictment describes how Mesri stole HBO’s data—totaling no less than 1.5 terabytes, by his measure—demanded $6 million in bitcoin from HBO, and released a series of damaging data dumps to coerce the company to pay. Those dumps included draft scripts for unaired episodes of Game of Thrones, full, unaired episodes of shows including Ballers, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and The Deuce, emails, contracts, and even cast and crew contact lists that included actors’ personal phone numbers.

“Mersi allegedly organized his hacking scheme from halfway around the world, in Iran,” Southern District of New York district attorney Joon Kim told reporters at a Tuesday press conference. “He now stands charged with federal crimes, and although not arrested today, he will forever have to look over his shoulder until he is made to face justice.”

FBI

The United States, however, has no extradition treaty with Iran. And even as it announced those charges, the Justice Department seemed to admit that it would likely never actually lay hands on Mesri. “Because Mesri is in Iran we are unfortunately unable to arrest him,” Kim said flatly.

The feds could have strategically kept the charges against Mesri sealed until he could be lured out of Iran, detained, and extradited, but apparently viewed that scenario as a long shot. “We made the determination we were not likely to get him,” Kim said. “We weighed that against sending a message. That was the balancing we did, and we decided now was the right time to do it.”

As one might expect from such an audacious intrusion, Mesri is no ordinary criminal hacker. According to the indictment, he worked at times on the behalf of the Iranian military to hack other countries’ military systems, nuclear software systems—exactly what kind isn’t clear—and Israeli infrastructure. Aside from that state-sponsored hacking, he was also allegedly a member of a group known as the Turk Black Hat Security Team, which is responsible for defacing hundreds of website in the US and elsewhere.

But the penetration of HBO that Mesri is accused of carrying out went far beyond mere website defacement. The indictment states that starting with reconnaissance activities in May, he compromised HBO staffer accounts to gain deep access to the company’s network. In late July, he began releasing his stolen data, along with a series of ransom letters sent to HBO’s executives and to the press. A message in one video he is alleged to have created and shared with press, including WIRED, read, “Leakage will be your worst nightmare…So make a wise decision!” The video adopted the “Winter is Coming” warning from Game of Thrones, adding “HBO is Falling,” and ended with an image of the “Night King”—the archvillain in the show—with his arms raised, the word “standing” in one hand and “falling” in the other.

Despite Mesri’s ties to the Iranian government, the indictment doesn’t include any claim that the HBO extortion was a state-sponsored campaign. But by publicly linking Mesri’s past hacking to the Iranian government, the Justice Department may have made it even less likely that Tehran will cooperate with US law enforcement, or prosecute him in Iran for his alleged criminal hacking.

“I suspect that the Iranian government wouldn’t want to lend credence to anything the US government has said,” says J. Michael Daniel, who served as the Obama administration’s cybersecurity coordinate when the Justice Department indicted seven Iranians for cyberattacks on US banks and a New York dam. None of those hackers ever faced trial in the US. Will Mesri? “I wouldn’t expect it to be overly likely,” Daniel says.

But Daniel still argues that charges against hackers in non-extradition countries, like those against Mesri, serve a purpose. “There are ultimately other ways you can make use of an indictment,” Daniel says. “It’s a signal to other potential hackers that if we can get to you, you might end up in a US courtroom. It’s still a deterrent in that sense.”

One element of that deterrent message may be the use of the extortion charge in particular against Mesri, says Tor Ekeland, an attorney who frequently defends high-profile hacker cases. He sees the indictment as a warning to the growing number of ransomware-focused hackers that they can also be identified and charged—and they may not be as geographically insulated as Mesri. “One thing they’re signaling is that they’re going to start aggressively prosecuting ransomware, and they don’t care where you are in the world,” Ekeland says.

But for Mesri, like so many Russian, Chinese, and North Korean cybercriminals, that threat may not mean actual time in a US prison so much as a severe limitation on foreign travel, given that the US Justice Department has often nabbed indicted criminals when they so much as vacation in a country with a US extradition treaty. “Pragmatically, it just means he can’t travel to anywhere the US can grab him. They’ve imprisoned him in his own country,” Ekeland says of Mesri. “They’ve made him a marked man.”

In his press conference Tuesday, Kim crystalized that threat. “The memory of American law enforcement is very long,” he said. “For hackers who test our resolve in protecting our intellectual property – even those hiding behind keyboards in countries far away – eventually, winter will come.” For Mesri, at least, there will be no more tropical vacations abroad to escape it.

Source: https://www.wired.com/story/feds-indict-iranian-for-hbo-hack-good-luck-arresting-him/

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Microsoft confirms Surface Book 2 battery drain problems while gaming

Microsoft confirms Surface Book 2 battery drain problems while gaming

The Microsoft Surface Book 2 is a pretty impressive device, but you’ll be in for a surprise if you crank its Power Mode slider up to the highest settings while playing games with high system demands.

As it turns out, the battery on the Surface Book 2 will start draining at a rate of roughly 10% per hour if you’re playing a game, like Destiny 2, on the highest settings. A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed this in a statement to The Verge.

“The Surface Book 2 Power Mode Slider is provided as a means to give the user control over the range of performance and battery life,” the spokesperson said. “In some intense, prolonged gaming scenarios with Power Mode Slider set to ‘best performance’ the battery may discharge while connected to the power supply provided in-box with Surface Book 2. However, through power management design, the battery will never drain entirely, ensuring that users are able to keep working, creating or gaming.”

Importantly, the spokesperson prefaced the statement by emphasizing the Surface Book 2’s merits as a creative professional’s device. 

“Surface Book 2 was designed to deliver unmatched power and performance for anyone who needs a powerful machine to work and create, making it a great option for STEM professionals (designers, developers, engineers),” the spokesperson said.

Sour power

Essentially, the root of the problem is that the charger only supplies 95 watts of power to the device, and that’s not enough when you’re trying to get the most out of both the graphics card and the CPU. Pushed to its limits, the graphics card alone reportedly demands somewhere between 70W and 80W.

The Surface Book 2 itself will throttle the card when it’s set to ‘Best Performance’ or ‘Best Battery’ modes, but The Verge discovered that Destiny 2 in particular suffers under these restrictions.

Want better gaming performance? Sounds like picking up a beefier rig may be your destiny.

Still, it’s a little disappointing, especially considering that 15-inch version of the device already costs a whopping $2,499 (about £1,847, AU$3,288) at its entry point. Not to mention that Microsoft explicitly included its Xbox Wireless radio inside the 15-inch model for native connectivity with Xbox One controllers. 

If the issue proves unpopular enough, perhaps we’ll see Microsoft release an optional charging cord for the device with a larger power brick in the future.

Source: http://www.techradar.com/news/microsoft-confirms-surface-book-2-battery-drain-problems-while-gaming

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The best projectors of 2017

The best projectors of 2017

If you want your home entertainment super-sized – and trust us, you do – you’re going to need a great projector. Whether you want to splash Blu-ray movies across a large white wall, magnify your gaming experience, or want to throw photographs or slides from a mobile device onto a 100-inch plus screen, a home cinema projector should be your first choice of display.

(Update: The year isn’t over yet folks, and with Black Friday and Cyber Monday right around the corner, now is the best time to be thinking about a new projector. We’ve recently added a full review for the Optoma HD142X, one of our favorite – and most affordable – projectors of the last few years.) 

To help bring the big-screen home we’ve tested some of the top models of home cinema projector. They range from budget-oriented HD beamers right up to cinema-grade 4K Ultra HD models; the surprisingly affordable to reassuringly expensive. The days of fuzzy old school projectors are thankfully long gone.

With HD now ubiquitous, you can get great results from 1080p source material. And as more Ultra HD content becomes available from media streamers like the new Amazon Fire TV and the Nvidia Shield, as well as the upcoming Ultra HD Blu-ray revolution, the future’s looking great.

Sony VPL VW300ES

1. Sony VPL-VW300ES

“This 4K SXRD projector just refuses to put a foot wrong.”

Projection system: SXRD | Resolutions: 4096 x 2160 | Brightness: 1,500 lumens | Video inputs: 2x HDMI 2.0 (1x HDCP 2.2), 1x S-Video, 1x VGA | Dimensions: 496 x 195 x 464mm

Fast response times
Excellent upscaling
Very high price

For that proper cinematic feel it’s hard to beat a big screen projector, especially one that’s capable of filling a wall with 4K images.

First, there’s great colour and black levels, whatever the ambient light levels. Secondly, awesome Reality Creation tech that brings out Maximum detail from native 4K sources, Blu-ray and even DVD. Thirdly, the exemplary Bright Cinema and Cinema Film 1 & 2 presets and, finally, the hugely flexible optical zoom/lens shift options that make set-up a cinch.

If you’ve got the money, the space and the 4K source, the VPL-VW300ES is a shoe-in to become the centrepiece of your next home cinema.

Read the full review: Sony VPL-VW300ES

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BenQ W1070

2. BenQ W1070+

“Full HD images that impress even in ambient light make BenQ’s latest a bargain beamer for all seasons.”

Projection system: DLP | Resolutions: 1920 x 1080 | Brightness: 2,200 lumens | Video inputs: 2x HDMI (1x MHL), 1x RCA, 1x Component, 1x VGA | Dimensions: 312 x 104 x 244mm

Clean, detailed Full HD
Bright enough for daylight
Lacks convenient lens shift

There was a time when a decent home cinema-grade projection system would have cost well north of £1,000, and take-up a considerable amount of space too.

Edging ever closer to the plummeting price of a decent flatscreen TV, the BenQ W1070+ DLP projector offers enough brightness to be used in daylight as well as the all-important Full HD resolution.

If you’re wondering whether to take the plunge and make a projector your go-to display for films and games, the W1070+ is a certainly bold and bright enough – and easily one of the best value entry-level projectors around.

Read the full review: BenQ W1070+

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Best home cinema projector

3. Optoma UHD60

“Rewriting the 4K HDR projector rule book.”

Projection system: DLP | Resolutions: 4096 x 2160 | Brightness: 1,800 lumens | Video inputs: 2x HDMI | Dimensions: 495.6 x 195.3 x 463.6 mm

Incredible price for 4K
Sharp, bright pictures
Surprisingly effective HDR mode
Slightly high input lag

They may have taken their own sweet time getting here, but 4K projectors using DLP technology are finally starting to arrive. Colours, in particular, look much more vibrant and rich in saturation, immediately making the image look more solid, three dimensional and natural, as well as more flat-out beautiful. Plus, while it’s becoming easier almost daily to find native 4K content to feed the UHD60, if you do find yourself having to revert to HD Blu-ray on occasion again the UHD60’s got your back. Its HD to 4K upscaling, for starters, is pretty much exemplary, adding plenty of detail and crispness without excessively exaggerating noise or introducing overt colour errors. 

Read the full review: Optoma UHD60

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Epson EH LS10000

4. Epson EH-LS10000

“4K Enhancement, a mathematical fudge or remarkable innovation? Definitely the latter.”

Projection system: 3LCD laser | Resolutions: 1920 x 1080 | Brightness: 1,500 lumens | Video inputs: 1x HDMI 1.4, 1x HDMI 2.0 (HDCP 2.2), 1x Composite, 1x Component, 1x VGA | Dimensions: 550 x 225 x 553mm

Eye-popping colour
Convincing black levels
Huge physical size
High price tag

The Epson EH-LS10000 is an excellent home cinema projector. Blistering black levels, great colours, a huge amount of convenience features and some nifty frame interpolation help produce some of the most fluid, colourful and realistic Full HD images from any projector out there.

However, there’s no getting away from the fact that even with the awesome power of Epson’s 4K Enhancement feature – which really does work – the native 4K trickery of the Sony VPL-VW300ES, available for exactly the same price, means that the slightly less detailed Epson EH-LS10000 must take a back seat, at least for now.

Read the full review: Epson EH-LS10000

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Optoma HD36

5. Optoma HD142X

Optoma’s HD142X from 2016 is a solid runner-up

Projection system: DLP | Resolutions: 1920 x 1080 | Brightness: 3,000 lumens | Video inputs: 1x HDMI 1.4a, 1x S-Video, 2x VGA, 1x Composite, 1x DVI-D | Dimensions: 386 x 162 x 280mm

Full 1080p image quality
23,000:1 contrast ratio
Only two HDMI ports

For those who think that home cinema is an occasional luxury that is just not affordable or practical, the ultra-affordable HD142X is serious food for thought. 

Despite its lean price tag, it has a full 1080p (1920 x 1080) resolution, 3,000 ANSI lumens of brightness, 23,000:1 high contrast ratio and built-in 10-watt speakers. It even supports 3D video to boot. 

Optoma says that the lamp life for the HD142X is somewhere in the ballpark of 8,000 hours – and claims that it would last around 10 years if you watched a two-hour movie every single day. Input-wise the HD141X offers 2 x HDMI (1.4a 3D support) + MHL v1.2, perfect for hooking up a PS4 or 3D Blu-ray player. 

Read the full review: Optoma HD142X

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Best home cinema projector

6. BenQ TH670

This is the best cheap projector we could find.

Projection system: DLP | Resolutions: 1920 x 1080 | Brightness: 2,000 lumens | Video inputs: Composite Video In x 1, Component Video In x 1, HDMI x 3 | Dimensions: 380.5 x 121.7 x 277 mm‎

1080p resolution
10-watt speaker
Not a ton of input lag
Contrast ratio could be better

We’re pretty big fans of the affordable BenQ TH670. It might not be the top of the line from the highly lauded projector manufacturer, but it strikes the perfect balance of price to performance to be worth an audition in your living room.

The TH670 has a Full 1080p (1920×1080) resolution, 3,000 ANSI lumens of brightness, 10,000:1 high contrast ratio and built-in speakers. Those speakers could be a hair bit more powerful, but for the price it’s hard to complain too much. The projector is capable of images spanning from 60 to 120 inches across and its lamp is rated for 4,000 – 10,000 hours depending on which modes you primarily use. Input-wise it offers Computer in (D-sub 15pin) x 2 (Share with component), Composite Video in (RCA) x 1 and HDMI. Win! 

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Viewsonic LightStream PJD7830HDL

7. Acer H5380BD

“Bringing up the rear is Acer’s entry-level H5380BD”

Projection system: DLP | Resolutions: 1920 x 1080 | Brightness: 3,200 ANSI Lumens | Video inputs: 2x HDMI 1.4, 1x Composite, 1x RGB input, 1x Video out | Dimensions: 362 x 109 x 231mm

17,000:1 contrast ratio
3,000 lumens of brightness
1280 x 720 native resolution
2-watt speakers

At one time, Acer’s H5380BD was king of the world with its 1280 x 720 resolution and 2-watt speakers. But now there’s a new king in town rocking 10-watts of audio prowess and Full HD. That doesn’t mean you need to relegate Acer’s entry-level home theater projector to the dustbin, however, it’s still plenty capable for most folks looking for something cheap. 

The H5380BD has a 720p (1280 x 720) resolution and puts out 3,000 ANSI lumens of brightness. It has a 17,000:1 contrast ratio, and 2-watt speakers. That said, the projector is capable of images spanning from 300 inches across and its lamp is rated for 4,000 – 10,000 hours depending on which modes you primarily use. Input-wise it offers HDMI, Composite Video, S-Video and two VGA ports.

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Optoma HD26

8. Optoma HD26

“Fresh-looking, Full HD detail with strong colour and black levels.”

Projection system: DLP | Resolutions: 1920 x 1080 | Brightness: 3,200 lumens | Video inputs: 2x HDMI (1x MHL) | Dimensions: 315 x 114 x 224mm

Great value
Colours and black level
Slightly soft images
Some motion blur

It says something about the advancements in home cinema projectors that this great value HD beamer isn’t our favourite entry-level projector around.

Odd, because it’s got everything going for it; excellent images, a compact size, quiet operation, and a superbly low price. It’s great for gaming, and at its best when watched in dimly-lit, traditional home cinema conditions (and it even has a backlit remote control).

However, with brighter projectors around that can offer all of this and more detail during the day as well as in a blackout, and with both a bigger choice of ins and outs and optical image shift options for maximum versatility, the HD26 struggles to hold up against the competition.

Read the full review: Optoma HD26

Source: http://www.techradar.com/news/home-cinema/projectors/tr-top-10-best-home-cinema-projectors-1291490

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The Best Black Friday Home and Lifestyle Deals We’ve Found

The Best Black Friday Home and Lifestyle Deals We’ve Found

Shopping at a brick-and-mortar might get your heart rate up, but it’s not technically a sport—at least, not yet. In addition to our favorite Black Friday deals, the gear team here at WIRED has scoured the web for topic-specific home and lifestyle bargains that you can order from the safety and comfort of your living room.

(Be sure to also check out our main Black Friday Deals Guide for a lot more sales.)

Black Friday Ads for 2017 for Home & Lifestyle Deals

Outdoor and Fitness Deals

Samsung Gear S2 Classic – $230 ($70 off)

Date: Available Now

Buy on Samsung

One of Samsung’s first and best smartwatches, the sleek, intuitive design of the Gear S2 classic is currently available at a new low price.

Garmin Vivoactive HR Smartwatch – $120 ($130 off)

Date: Nov. 24

Buy on Best Buy

The most reliable name in the GPS business has now created a smartwatch that can keep track of your movements and heart rate, whether you’re running, biking, skiing, golfing and more.

Fitbit Charge 2 – $100 ($50 off)

Date: Nov. 24

Buy on Microsoft

Fitbit’s midrange tracker can help you monitor your multisport workouts and track your heart rate, all on the large, attractive, OLED display. It will even record weight-lifting sessions!

TRX Minimal System – $65 ($35 off)

Date: Nov. 24

Buy on Huckberry

The Navy SEALS developed this lightweight, body-suspension workout method, and whatever works for them will definitely work for you. You can take this small, lightweight system with you while traveling.

Kammok Roo Hammock and Straps – $90 ($38 off)

Date: Nov. 23

Buy on Huckberry

A hammock is an indispensable piece of camping equipment. Who wants to carry sleeping bags and sleeping pads just to plunk down on the cold, hard ground when you could be swinging lightly in the air? Kammok makes some of the sturdiest, most attractive hammocks around and this is a great price for one of them.

Raden A22 Carry Hunter Matte – $206 ($88 off)

Date: Nov. 26 only

Buy on Huckberry

If you have any holiday travel coming up, it’s hard to find a better smart suitcase than a Raden. Ease the pain of the inevitable airline delay with a built-in battery and two USB ports. It’s also one of the best-looking smart suitcases out there.

Peak Design Everyday Backpack 20L – $217 ($72 off)

Date: Nov. 26-27

Buy on Huckberry

We recently gave the Peak Design Backpack high marks for being attractive, endless customizable and easy to use. This is a great price to pick up an everyday commuter or photography bag that can suit all of your varied needs.

Trono Chair – $60 ($20 off)

Date: Nov. 23-27

Buy on Huckberry

Who said that camp chairs have to be tiny, tipsy and uncomfortable? Tronos’ inflatable chairs deflate to a manageable two pounds and, more importantly, feel like something that you might actually want to sit in.

Smarthome and Home Appliances

KitchenAid Classic Stand Mixer – $199 ($161 off)

Date: Available Now

Buy on Amazon, Walmart

If you bake, this is an indispensable piece of kitchen equipment–as well as a perennial Christmas or wedding present. Pick one up for for the new homeowner in your life.

Google Home Mini – $29 ($20 off)

Date: Nov. 24

Buy on Walmart

Google’s latest and tiniest helper device is small enough to put in every room, whether you want to control Spotify in the kitchen or find out the weather in your bedroom. On Black Friday, it will be affordable enough to buy several.

Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal Plus Allergy – $449 ($250 off)

Date: Available Now Dyson’s more powerful upright vacuum gets a great discount this week, making it 36% cheaper than normal. These vacuums don’t get deep discounts very often since the Dyson name tends to hold value, but if you’ve got pets or allergies or both, now’s the time to get a new upright vacuum!

Buy on Amazon

Dyson Ball Multi Floor 2 – $249 ($150 off)

Date: Available Now If you don’t need the power of the Big Ball Animal Plus Allergy, the Cinetic Ball is also on sale. This light, corded vacuum is designed for maximum suction and maneuverability.

Buy on Amazon

Samsung POWERbot Wi-Fi Robot Vacuum – $599 ($200 off)

Date: Available Now

Buy on Samsung

You can control Samsung’s powerful robovac via your smartphone, Samsung Connect, Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. This deal puts the robovac within the spectrum of moderately-priced WiFi-enabled robovacs.

Crock-Pot Wi-Fi-enabled Slow Cooker – $84 ($66 off)

Date: Available Now

Buy on Amazon

You know what’s better than coming home to a big pot of steaming, slow-cooked chili? Being able to schedule, delay, or modify the cooking time from the office so that chili is absolutely perfect.

Masterbuilt 30″ Digital Smoker – $100 ($50-$100 off)

Date Available: Nov. 24

Buy on Walmart or Amazon

This smoker earns fantastic ratings for maintaining perfect cooking temperatures, incorporating a built-in meat thermometer and having replacement parts readily available online.

Schlage Keyless Lock – $140 ($40 off)

Date: Nov. 24

Buy on Amazon

This heavy, attractive option has a touchscreen that will let you go out for a quick run, or let your pet sitters in to walk your dogs, with minimal stress and effort. It also works with Alexa for voice control.

When you buy something using the retail links in our stories, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Read more about how this works.

Source: https://www.wired.com/story/black-friday-cyber-monday-home-outdoors-deals/

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‘Stranger Things’ Is Based on a True Story. Kinda

‘Stranger Things’ Is Based on a True Story. Kinda

Demogorgons, inverted worlds, really bad psychokinesis-induced nosebleeds—a lot of really unbelievable things exist in the world of Stranger Things. Hence the name. But that doesn’t mean everything in Hawkins, Indiana is fiction. At least not entirely. In fact, Hawkins itself has real-world roots.

“It’s based on a place in Montauk, New York called Camp Hero,” says Stranger Things star Gaten Matarazzo (aka Dustin). “There was, like, rumors of secret government spies doing human experiments to fight in the Cold War. It’s based on that one government lab.”

OK, so maybe Eleven isn’t actually out in the woods somewhere fighting monsters, but it does show there’s more truth to the mysteries on Netflix’s show than you might think. Other things Matarazzo and his costar Joe Keery (Steve) reveal in Google Autocompete Interview above? Well, for one, they say it might not be good for children—“Depends on the kid,” Matarazzo says—and that Stranger Things passes the Bechdel Test.

Want to know more, including whether or not Keery is currently pregnant? Click play on the video above.


More Stranger Things

Source: https://www.wired.com/story/stranger-things-internet-questions/

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Best computer speakers 2017: the best audio system for your PC

Best computer speakers 2017: the best audio system for your PC

Choosing great computer speakers is almost as delicate of a business as choosing a great computer. Alongside the price and the aesthetic, there are other more technical things to consider. 

Do they deliver excellent clarity? Are the low, mid and high frequencies well balanced, or is there too much high, making it sound tinny? Does the stereo or surround sound have spatial separation? Is it already fatiguing after an hour of listening? Can you get them for a sweet Black Friday deal?

Beyond that, you also want to think about what you’ll be using them for. Are you a gamer looking for a gloriously immersive experience? Or are you simply looking for a decent pair that are as impressive as the latest superhero flick?

We appraised some of the most popular on the market and picked out ten of the best ones for you to consider. 

Audioengine A2+

Big things come in small packages

Weight: 1.6kg left, 1.4kg right | Size: 6in x 4in x 5.25in | Drivers: 2.75-inch Kevlar woofers, ¾-inch silk dome tweeters | Supported Connectivity: Wireless with Audioengine’s W3 adapter | Audio Inputs: USB, RCA, 3.5mm stereo mini-jack | Outputs: RCA

Built-in digital-to-audio converter
Uncompressed audio through USB
No included subwoofer

Though it came out in 2013, Audioengine’s A2+ is still arguably one of the best on the market. These sleek speakers accept digital audio from your computer’s USB port for uncompressed audio input and pushes the sound quality up another notch through its built-in digital-to-audio converter. This combination allows this pair to deliver the highest sound quality with great clarity and an impressive bass. 

Considering that these small six-inch speakers don’t come with a subwoofer, they’re indisputably giving you a lot of bang for your buck. Be warned: they might need subwoofer for low bass and bass-heavy sound at higher volume. Good thing they come with an RCA output so you can connect one. And a few little more money, you can even invest on a pair of stands for a more improved sound.

Logitech Z623

More ounce for your bounce

Weight: 0.95kg left, 1kg right; 7kg subwoofer | Size: 7.7in x 4.6in x 5.0in speakers; 11.2in x 12in x 10.5in subwoofer | Drivers: 2.5-inch front-firing, sealed drivers, 7-inch bass-reflex subwoofer | Supported Connectivity: none | Audio Inputs: 3.5mm jack, RCA | Outputs: headphone jack

Fantastic quality for an affordable value
Powerful subwoofer
Bass heavy

Logitech’s higher end speaker system, Z623, might be a little more than what you’d expect pay for the brand’s speakers. But considering that it’s still very much affordable, you’re getting fantastic audio performance as well as a powerful subwoofer, so these are actually a steal.

The pair delivers great mids and highs, though it’s a little bass heavy, which might be a plus to some people. Its subwoofer produces a thundering sound that can be easily dialed up or down depending on your need and preference. And it offers a great soundstage for a more immersive gaming and movie watching experience right on your desktop.

Aperion Allaire

Quality comes at a price

Weight: 3.62kg | Size: 8.625in x 6in x 6.75in | Drivers: 1-inch dome tweeter, 4-inch Woven Fiberglass woofer | Supported Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0 | Audio Inputs: PCM or Optical, Analog | Outputs: subwoofer

Full, balanced sound 
High price

While slightly large and a little expensive for a pair of computer speakers, Aperion’s classic-looking Allaire is packed with pros that justify its price. These babies produce controlled, rich bass; a full, balanced sound; and great, non-harsh high end. They’re equipped with an optical input, which allows you to connect to not just your PC but also other devices like Blu-ray players and game consoles. This input also delivers a slightly better sound quality than a USB—though it’s worth noting that you might not notice the difference.

This pair doesn’t come with a subwoofer, but it does come with a sub output. Other extras include a USB charging port, an aluminum remote control, and Bluetooth connectivity.

  • This product is only available in the US as of this writing. UK and Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Audioengine A2+. 

Vanatoo Transparent Zero

The speaker of your dreams, if you’ve got the dough

Weight: 2.04kg | Size: 7.5in x 4.75in x 7.75in | Drivers: 1-inch soft dome tweeter, 4-inch aluminum cone woofer, 4-inch long-throw passive radiator | Supported Connectivity: Bluetooth | Audio Inputs: Optical, USB, Analog, Bluetooth | Outputs: : Subwoofer, RJ50

Beautifully refined sound 
High-quality drivers
Very pricey

Vanatoo’s Transparent Zero boasts the powerful, beautifully refined sound of a big speaker packed in a mid-size package all thanks to its high-quality drivers. Though it comes in a boxy, plain aesthetic, this pair delivers great clarity with more presence in the lower mid tones  as well as a lot of smooth high-end range so the sound is brighter but not harsh.

They also offer great sound imaging for an immersive experience and an extended base range. Last but not least, they’ve got a great selection of inputs – optical, USB, analog, and Bluetooth, making them extremely versatile. These are not cheap, but if you’ve got the funds, they’re certainly worth the investment.

  • This product is only available in the US as of this writing. UK and Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Audioengine A2+.  

Harman Kardon Soundsticks III

Great sound in a cool, aesthetically pleasing package

Weight: 2.04kg | Size: 10in x 2x satellites; 10.8in x 9in subwoofer | Drivers: four 1-inch full range transducers | Supported Connectivity: none | Audio Inputs: 3.5mm jack | Outputs: none

Futuristic look
Tons of bass power
Limited controls

If you stare at it long enough, the Soundsticks III might start to look like some kind of glowing alien jellyfish. These translucent babies, designed by Harman, seem more like a set of modern art installation than a functional speaker system until you step back and let it do its thing.  This speakers and bass combo boasts extra bass power thanks to its subwoofer while still producing crisp highs so you’re getting excellent sound at only $170, making it ideal for music fans with a mid-range budget.

Keep in mind its few minor cons however—it doesn’t have a headphone jack, its bass volume control is not accessible, and the LED lights cannot be turned off.

Edifier E25 Luna Eclipse

Futuristic-looking beauties with an even more gorgeous sound

Weight: 3.6kg | Size: 4.8in x 8.35in x 8.74in | Drivers: ¾-inch silk dome tweeter, 3-inch full-range bass driver | Supported Connectivity: Bluetooth | Audio Inputs: Bluetooth, 3.5mm jack | Outputs: USB port for charging, headphone jack

Gorgeous design
Excellent overall sound quality
A bit bass-heavy

Sure, the Edifier E25 Luna Eclipse can be a bit bass-heavy, but these gorgeous Bluetooth speakers produce a surprisingly excellent sound for something that looks like it must have stepped straight out of Wall-E with its gimmicky space age design. The Luna, which comes in red, white, and black, offers a powerful but controlled bass, great balance with slightly pronounced mids, and good stereo separation. Using DSP and DRP technologies, the pair delivers excellent quality with minimal distortion even at louder volumes.

Its other perks include touch sensitive controls and a fancy little remote. Purchase its stands for an even better sound quality and the Jetsons look, if you’re into that.

Logitech MX Sound

Dual Bluetooth speakers with plenty of juice

Weight: 1.72kg | Size: 6.30in x 6.30in x 3.28in | Drivers: not available | Supported Connectivity: Bluetooth | Audio Inputs: Bluetooth, 3.5mm jack | Outputs: headphone jack

Excellent soundstage and powerful audio 
Easy wireless connectivity
Bass can overpower mids and highs

These Logitech speakers are a thing of beauty with their elegantly eccentric circular design and silver accents. And at $99 a pop, they certainly deliver a little more than what you’d look for in speakers. Before we talk about MX Sound’s pros however, let’s discuss its important con – while the brand is proudly advertising an extended bass range, thanks to its unique, rear-facing port tubes, the bass can sometimes overpower the mids and highs, making the audio a bit muddy.

That said, it does deliver an excellent soundstage and powerful audio, which makes it great for gaming. It’s got a few cutting edge aces up its sleeves as well: the dual Bluetooth connectivity so you can connect two devices simultaneously, and the backlit motion sensor controls so a light touch is all it takes to connect a device and adjust the volume.

Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 THX

THX-certified speakers that pack a punch

Weight: 0.95kg satellite; 5kg subwoofer | Size: 8.5in x 4.2in x 5.67x satellite; 9.5in x 9.8in x 10.2in subwoofer | Drivers: ¾-inch Poly compression tweeter, 6.5-inc side-firing, long-throw fiber composite cone woofer | Supported Connectivity: none | Audio Inputs: MP3 two-channel soundcard miniplug | Outputs: headphone jack

THX-certified, home theater-quality sound
Stunning value
Misses some low ends

The Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 speaker system promises enchanced sound for versatile use so that whether you’re watching movies, gaming, or listening to music, you’re in for a great experience. And it does. These THX-certified speakers boast power, a wide frequency range (31 Hz to 20kHz), and a detailed audio quality with punchy bass, maximum clarity, and great balance. It’s powerful enough to replicate that home theater quality. 

That’s a lot punch for $160, even if it means having to tolerate the fact that the sub stops at 31 Hz so there’s no low end rumble.

  • This product is only available in the US as of this writing. UK and Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Logitech Z623.   

Dell Wireless 360 Speaker System AE715

A 360-degree Bluetooth speaker that doubles as a conference speakerphone

Weight: 1.18kg | Size: 7.5in in diameter | Drivers: three 2.25-inch full-range drivers | Supported Connectivity: Bluetooth | Audio Inputs: 3.5mm jack | Outputs: USB port for charging, headphone jack

Decent 360-degree sound
Built-in mic for conference calls 
Low, low price

Dell’s AE715 may not be the most powerful speaker in the market. It produces a decent 360-degree sound that, while is fairly common in portable audio, is a rarity with computer speakers. For it’s low, low price, this Bluetooth speaker is nothing amazing; not a lot of bass and there’s a bit of delay, but the audio quality good enough if your listening standards aren’t quite as demanding. 

However, what you’re getting in exchange are its wireless functionality, the USB charging port so you can charge the device, and the built-in mic so you can use it for conference calls. It’s definitely a great portable, wireless solution.

  • This product is only available in the US as of this writing. UK and Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Jabra SPEAK 510.    

Mackie CR4BT

Computer speakers for multimedia use

Weight: 6kg | Size: 11.6in x 9.4in x 17in | Drivers: three 2.25-inch full-range drivers | Supported Connectivity: Bluetooth | Audio Inputs: Bluetooth, RCA, ¼-inch, 1/8-inch | Outputs: headphone jack

Professional-grade tuning 
Isolating acoustic foam bases
Thin mid range and missing high bass

Mackie CR4BT promises professional-grade performance, which is a lot more than what its competitors offer. The question is, does it really do that? Well, they sound good for a premium pair of speakers, but there are drawbacks including thinner mid range, and high bass cut off at 70 Hz, which means while there’s good bass presence, you might be missing the really low stuff.

The pros, however, include the acoustic foam pads to isolate the speakers from the surface it’s standing on, and the front auxiliary input. Overall, these aren’t your run-of-the-mill computer speakers. They are useful for multimedia creation and production as well.

  • This product is only available in the US as of this writing. UK and Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Logitech MX Sound.     

Source: http://www.techradar.com/news/best-computer-speakers

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Best external hard drive 2017: the best portable drives for your PC or Mac

Best external hard drive 2017: the best portable drives for your PC or Mac

We’re storing an increasing volume of important data on our external hard drives, so it’s essential you buy the best external hard drive that suits your needs. 

This means making sure you get an external drive with the right amount of capacity – you don’t want to run out of space, but nor do you really want to pay for storage you’re not going to use.

You’ll also want to think about data transfer speeds – if you’re moving a lot of large files to your external hard drive then you’ll want something that can move them quickly.

However, the best external hard drives are also dependable and reliable, so you can safely store your data or backups without worry. The best external drives will be portable, with large capacities and robust designs that keeps your data safe when they are being moved around.

There’s a huge range of external hard drives on offer, so we’ve put together this list of the best external hard drives to help you find the perfect one for your needs.

best external hard drives

1. Buffalo MiniStation Extreme NFC

Wireless security

Capacity: 2TB | Interface: USB 3.0

NFC security
Rugged design
Not the fastest drive

An external hard drive you can buy without breaking the bank, Buffalo’s MiniStation Extreme NFC could be your match made in heaven.

With compatibility for both Mac and Windows machines, the Buffalo MiniStation Extreme NFC is very flexible, and comes with a rugged case that’s dust and water resistant, along with a built-in USB 3.0 cable.

Not only is your data kept protected from knocks and drops with the rugged shell, but it’s also got 256-bit AES security features and NFC (Near Field Communication) features as well.

Essentially it allows you to unlock the drive to get to your files quickly and easily by tapping the supplied NFC card onto the drive’s body. Pretty neat!

Seagate 5TB

Western Digital My Passport 4TB

Fast speeds

Capacity: 4TB | Interface: USB 3.0

Large capacity
Good data transfer speeds
WD backup software is basic

The latest generation of the Western Digital My Passport range of external hard drives has landed, coming in sizes from 1TB to 4TB. It features cloud storage and 256-AES encryption, along with WD’s own backup software.

Best of all, it is a very good performer when it comes to data transfer speeds, beating many of its competitor. Unsurprisingly, it doesn’t reach the top speeds of solid state external drives, but for external hard drives based on traditional HDDs, this is the drive to get.

Seagate 5TB

3. Adata SD700 External SSD

A terabyte in the palm of your hand

Capacity: 256GB, 512GB or 1TB | Interface: USB 3.0

Great performance
IP68 rating
No USB Type-C

The Adata SD700 will suit those looking for a rugged storage device that can provide ample capacity without costing too much. It performs superbly well and remains the only SSD we’ve seen that is IP68 rated. 

Thanks to the solid state drive that resides in this external hard drive, it’s a lot faster than external drives that use traditional spinning hard drives – so you’re getting great transfer speeds as well as rugged protection.

It also comes in capacities up to 1TB, so you don’t have to worry about missing out on storage space just because it uses an SSD – this drive really does hit all the right notes.

TODO alt text

4. WD My Book Duo 16TB

The most space you can get

Capacity: 16TB | Interface: USB 3.0 x 2

Huge amounts of space
RAID support
Need two USB 3.0 ports free

If you’re looking for the absolute largest capacity external hard drive, then the WD My Book Duo 16TB is the one to get, offering a huge 16TB of storage space over two hard drives.

If you don’t mind sacrificing some of the ample storage space you can set the drives up in a RAID array, so you have file backups of your files should one of the drives die.

This USB 3.0 drive has many of the features of a fully-fledged NAS device (including a high price), and if you have a router with a USB 3.0 port you could use this as a network attached storage device in its own right.

The device, which comes with two-year warranty, has 256-bit AES hardware encryption, and automatic backup software (WD SmartWare Pro).

Worth noting that the enclosure used is fully serviceable and that WD ships the drive already pre-formatted for Windows users (NTFS).

5. OWC ThunderBay 4 Mini

Super-fast storage

Capacity: 1TB/2TB/4TB/8TB or empty enclosure | Interface: Thunderbolt 2 x 2

Great build quality
Very good speeds
No use to non-Thunderbolt devices
Free software is Mac-only

If you work with a lot of large files, such as videos, then the OWC ThunderBay 4 Mini is an excellent external storage solution. It supports up to four 2.5-inch drives, and can be bought with SSDs already installed, or as an empty enclosure.

It comes with two Thunderbolt 2 ports for extremely quick read and write speeds, so you can edit files on the OWC ThunderBay 4 Mini’s hard drives as quickly and smoothly as if they were located on your internal hard drives. You can also daisy chain a number of OWC ThunderBay 4 Minis together using Thunderbolt 2 cables for even more storage.

The price we show above is for the empty enclosure.

Read our full review: OWC ThunderBay 4.

6. Seagate Innov8 8TB

Combines capacity and portability

Capacity: 8TB | Interface: USB 3.0 and USB Type-C

High capacity
No need for power supply with USB-C
USB-C support still in infancy

The Seagate 8TB Innov8 range is worth a mention. It is a normal-size 3.5-inch desktop hard disk drive but doesn’t need an external power supply to run.

Instead, it needs to be powered via a USB Type-C connector without which it won’t work. It does pave the way for customers to move staggering amount of data around without being tethered.

What sets the Innov8 apart from the competition is the design. All metal with fins to keep the drive cool and a minimalist approach to the drive’s construction.

If absolute performance coupled with ease of use is what you are yearning for, then for a small business user or someone working in the creative industry, the Innov8 is a no-brainer.

Others will probably settle for far cheaper but less elegant options like the WD My Book mentioned previously.

Read our full review: Seagate Innov8 8TB external hard disk drive

7. Seagate Backup Plus Desktop Drive 5TB

Best performance

Capacity: 5TB | Interface: USB 3.0

Very fast data transfer speeds
You pay more for the Mac-formatted version

If you want to combine speed and capacity, then the Seagate Backup Plus Desktop Drive 5TB is definitely worth considering. It comes in a range of sizes up to 8TB and it beats the competition when it comes to read and write speeds as well.

On top of this storage and speed, you get a decent amount of peace of mind thanks to Seagate’s lower than average failure rates, especially in bigger capacity hard drives.

You also get backup software, and the drive is compatible with both Windows and Macs, though it’s formatted for Windows out of the box unless you go for a Mac-specific hard drive – though these are more expensive.

8. Western Digital My Passport Wireless Pro

Wireless wonder

Capacity: 2TB | Interface: USB 3.0 and Wi-Fi

Wireless AC
USB 3.0 support
Good battery life
Expensive due to Wi-Fi features

Though our feelings were lukewarm on the My Passport Wireless of yesteryear, the 2016 “Pro” variant of the HDD restores faith in the Western Digital name. The design, for instance, has been overhauled and no longer resembles the My Passport Ultra nor My Passport for Mac. Instead, there’s now a more premium feel to the My Passport Wireless Pro. It resembles an external DVD drive, but considering the onboard SD card slot (and a dedicated SD transfer button), don’t worry about getting it confused with anything else. For photographers, this is the Wireless Pro’s killer app.

For everyone else, there’s a massive 6,400mAh battery built into the device. This lets the drive be used completely free of wires over 2.4GHz or 5GHz channels. When it’s wired up, however, don’t expect cutting edge connection tech, as the My Passport Wireless Pro uses only USB Type-B to Type-A. Completely absent is the latest and greatest USB-C connection.

Where the My Passport Wireless Pro compromises on affordability, it’s able to benefit in just about every other area. Of course, not everyone needs a wireless hard drive or SD card support, but for those who do, it’s almost essential.

Read the full review: Western Digital My Passport Wireless Pro
 

9. LaCie Porsche Design Mobile Drive 4TB

USB-C star

Capacity: 4TB | Interface: USB-C

Fast USB-C connection
Great design
You need USB-C ports to take advantage of speed

You may have stumbled upon the LaCie Porsche Design Mobile Drive when perusing the Apple website for USB-C accessories. There’s a reason for that: the Porsche Design ships with both USB Type-C to Type-A and USB Type-C to Type-C connectors, making it a worthy candidate regardless of your setup.

It’s expensive for an external hard drive, don’t get us wrong, especially if you’re in the market for the top-end 4TB option. On the other hand, this is an HDD that could theoretically output speeds of up to 5Gbps, if it weren’t hindered by the limits of SMR (Shingled Magnetic Recording) technology.

Comprising five 800GB platters in a 15mm form factor, the LaCie Porsche Design Mobile is an excellent challenger to the Seagate M3, though it’s notably bigger in both weight and dimensions.

Sure, it packs an extra convenience factor in the form of USB-C, but it should be noted that the Porsche Design Mobile is still limited to USB 3.0 speeds. Plus, even an aluminum finish can’t prevent it from clashing with your Rose Gold MacBook. Nevertheless, LaCie’s offering is the best USB-C external HDD money can buy, at least for the time being.

Read our full review: LaCie Porsche Design Mobile Drive 4TB
 

10. iStorage diskAshur 2TB

Best for security

Capacity: 2TB | Interface: USB 3.0

Physical security
Rugged design

Typically, iStorage hard disks cater best to governments and multinational organizations around the world, for good reason too – they offer tight security like no other drives around.

If someone tries to tamper with your iStorage drive, you can configure it to self-desturct. What’s more, the data is encrypted by the 256-bit AES protocol, with multiple forms of protection in place to ensure the bad guys don’t get in no matter how persistent. When you consider all that extra security, the prices won’t scare you away either.

Sure, it’s still expensive, four times the price of an equivalent 2TB drive, and unlikely to be the most nimble performer. But, you’re paying for a product that’s virtually uncrackable. Bear in mind, though, you’ll get no help from the manufacturer if things go awry and you lose your password.

Read our full review: iStorage diskAshur DT

Gabe Carey and Matt Hanson also contributed to this article

Source: http://www.techradar.com/news/best-external-desktop-and-portable-hard-disk-drives

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Best printer 2017: 15 top inkjet and laser printers

Best printer 2017: 15 top inkjet and laser printers

Looking for the best printer money can buy in 2017? You’ve come to the right place, as we’ve listed the top printers for home and office use. You can rest assured that only the very best laptops are in this list, and we regularly update it with the latest models.

We’re here to make things easier when choosing the best printer for your needs, and we cut through all the jargon. Because there are so many decent multi-purpose printers at very competitive prices, you’re spoilt for choice when looking for a new printer, so use our best printer list to help you pick the right one.

We’ve also split this list into the best inkjet printers and the best laser printers, and we include standard printers as well as multi-function ones. No matter what type of printer you’re after, we have one for you, and our price comparison tool makes sure you get the best deals as well.

Best inkjet printers

HP

1. HP Deskjet 3630

Small, affordable and smartly designed

Print speed: Varies depending on document | Paper sizes: A4, A5, A6, B5, Borderless A4, Borderless A5, Borderless B5 | Paper capacity: 60 sheets | : | Weight: 4.2kg

Cheap to buy
Ink can be expensive
Basic paper handling

The Deskjet 3630 is a decent printer for the price, offering reasonable print speeds and the ability to connect to mobile devices without breaking the bank. Just be wary as its ink cartridges can be priced when picked up from shops. It doesn’t quite have the build quality of HP’s more expensive Envy models, but if you’re looking for an initially cheap model that catches the eye when sat on a shelf, the Deskjet 3630 is a great option.

Read the full review: HP Deskjet 3630

Epson WorkForce Pro WF 4630 review

2. Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4630 review

Economical print costs for volume printing

Print speed: ISO 20 ppm in black or colour | Print resolution: 4,800 x 1,200 | Paper sizes: A4, A5, A6, B5, C4 (Envelope), C6 (Envelope), DL (Envelope), No. 10 (Envelope), 9 x 13 cm, 10 x 15 cm, 13 x 18 cm, 13 x 20 cm, 20 x 25 cm, 100 x 148 mm, 16:9, LT, HLT, LGL, User defined | Paper capacity: 330 sheets | Dimensions: 461‎ x 422 x 342 mm (Width x Depth x Height) | Weight: 14.35 kg

Fast print speeds
Cloud-connected
Uninspiring design

The WorkForce Pro WF-4630 is a solid printer for small businesses and workgroups given its fast print speeds, solid print qualities and remote printing and scanning capabilities. Using the larger XL print cartridges, the WF-4630 delivers economical print costs that rival laser printers.

Read the full review: Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4630

HP

3. HP OfficeJet Pro 6830 e-All-in-One

Cheap colour all-in-one for the small business

Print speed: ISO 18ppm black, 10ppm colour | Print resolution: 4,800 x 1,200 | Paper sizes: A4, A5, A6, B5(JIS), 13 x 18cm, 10 x 15cm, Envelope C5, Envelope C6, Envelope DL | Paper capacity: 225 sheets | Dimensions: 461.85 x 387.65 x 224mm (Width x Depth x Height) | Weight: 8kg

Robust inkjet engine
Instant Ink service
Single paper tray
Single-sided scanning

A very quick colour all-in-one bristling with print, copy, scan and mobile printing options the Officejet Pro 6830 is also very affordable, especially if you opt for the pay-per-page Instant Ink service.

Read the full review: HP OfficeJet Pro 6830 e-All-in-One

Epson WorkForce WF 100

4. Canon Pixma TS8050

High quality, all-in-one printer

Print speed: 15 ppm black, 10 ppm colour | Print resolution: 9,600 x 2,400 | Paper sizes: A4, A5, B5, DL (Envelope) | Paper capacity: 100 sheets | Dimensions: 372 x 324 x 139mm (Width x Depth x Height) | Weight: 6.5kg

Great print quality
Expensive to run

Great for the traveling professional or someone who needs a small printer for occasional use, printing photos or using the scanner function. It’s a bit pricey to buy – and to run – but the flexibility and quality of the printouts is excellent.

epson1

5. Epson EcoTank ET-4550

A printer that comes with two years’ worth of ink

Print speed: 33ppm | Paper sizes: A4, A5, A6, B5, Envelopes (C4, C6, DL, No. 10), 9 x 13cm, 10 x 15cm, 13 x 18cm, 13 x 20cm, 20 x 25cm, 10 x 14.8cm | Paper capacity: 150 sheets | Dimensions: 515‎ x 360 x 241mm (Width x Depth x Height) | Weight: 7.4kg

Money saving EcoTank ink system
Three-year warranty
Not the fastest printer
Small paper tray

Consumables are usually expensive when it comes to printers. So it is quite surprising that one vendor, Epson, single-handedly decided to challenge that status quo by allowing users to refill their printer using ink bottles. What’s even more surprising is that Epson includes two years of ink with the package; no more expensive cartridges and instead, you have enough material to deliver 11,000 pages worth of black and colour inks (that’s 700ml worth of liquid). Oh and there’s even a three-year warranty making this a great choice for bean counters fixing the TCO of their printers. The ET-4550 lacks the features found on cheaper competitors – it is relatively slower (although it has a higher printing resolution) and has a small paper input tray.

Canon Pixma

6. Canon PIXMA TS9150

Amazing print quality – for a price

Print speed: ISO 15ppm black, 10ppm colour | Print resolution: 4,800 x 1,200 | Paper sizes: A4, A5, B5, LTR, LGL, 20x25cm, 13x18cm, 10x15cm, 13×13, Envelopes(DL,COM10) | Paper capacity: 120 sheets | Dimensions: 372 x 324 x 140 mm (Width x Depth x Height) | Weight: 6.7g

Great print quality
Lovely design
Slow to print

If you’re looking for a great all-round printer which doesn’t skimp on print quality for your photographs, then we don’t think you will be disappointed by what the PIXMA TS9150, Canon’s flagship printer, has to offer.

While it’s certainly more expensive than some of the cheap two in one printers you can pick up, it’s not a bad price for something which produces high quality prints, especially if you only need to print at A4 or below.

Best of all, the print quality here is stunning, and it also has an attractive design. While the looks of your printer may not seem that important, it does mean you don’t feel the need to try and hide it away out of sight if you’re using it at home.

Brother DCP J4120DW

7. Brother MFC-J6530DW

Brother’s versatile printer can handle A4 and A3 sizes

Print speed: Up to 35ppm black, 27ppm colour | Print resolution: 4,800 x 1,200 | Paper sizes: A4, LTR, EXE, A5, A6, Photo, Indexcard, Photo-2L, Com-10, DL Envelope, Monarch | Paper capacity: 250 sheets | Dimensions: 681 x 568 x 430mm (Width x Depth x Height) | Weight: 23.9kg

Very good print quality
Inexpensive to run
Bulky design

This is a big and bulky printer, that would look more at home in an office than a house – but it’s a fantastic performer that can handle both A4 and the larger A3 sizes. It’s cheap to run, and most importantly, the print quality is very good, making this a worthwhile investment if you’re looking for a fast and flexible printer.

HP Envy 5540 All in One printer

8. HP Envy 5540 All-in-One printer

A cheap and cheerful colour inkjet for low volume printing

Print speed: ISO 12ppm black, 8ppm colour | Print resolution: 4,800 x 1,200 | Paper sizes: A4, A5, B5, DL, C6, A6 | Paper capacity: 125 sheets | Dimensions: 454 x 503 x 156mm (Width x Depth x Height) | Weight: 6.82kg

Smartphone support
Easy to install
A bit slow
Expensive for mono printing

We’ve come to expect simple setup and operation from Envy printers, and this one is no exception. It’s quiet, packs in a lot of features and delivers excellent print quality, especially on photo paper. We particularly like the ability to use smartphones as well as computers, and to connect wirelessly without a router.

Read the full review: HP Envy 5540 All-in-One printer

Epson PictureMate PM 400

9. Epson PictureMate PM-400

The easiest printer to use. Ever.

Print speed: 36 seconds for 4 x 6-inch borderless photo | Print resolution: 5,760 x 1,440 | Paper sizes: 3.5 x 5-inch (8.89 x 12.70cm), 4 x 6-inch (10.16 x 15.24cm), 5 x 7-inch (12.70 x 17.78cm) | Paper capacity: 50 sheets | Dimensions: 249 x 384 x 200mm (Width x Depth x Height) | Weight: 1.81kg

Build quality
Lightweight
Slow print speed

Once you’ve got the PM-400 up and running, you’ll have a ton of fun running off image after image. Although the print quality won’t win any awards for print quality, you’ll be proud to hang any of its prints on your wall or sit them on your desk.

The PM-400 is a delight to look at – not that this should heavily factor into which printer you should buy. It’s got a pretty bone white frame that tucks away neatly, and the 4-pound printer can be easily transported wherever you go.

Read the full review: Epson PictureMate PM-400

HP DeskJet 1010 review

10. HP DeskJet 1010

This printer is as cheap as the replacement ink

Print speed: ISO 7ppm black, 4ppm colour | Print resolution: 600 x 600 | Paper sizes: A4, A5, A6, B5, DL envelope | Paper capacity: 60 sheets | Dimensions: 423 x 509 x 254mm (Width x Depth x Height) | Weight: 2kg

Affordable price
Compact size
No scanning
No wireless

You won’t get fancy features like wireless printing, duplexing or scanning, but if you don’t need all the frills of an all-in-one printer, the HP DeskJet 1010 offers solid print performance and quality at an unbeatable price in a compact package.

Read the full review: HP DeskJet 1010 review

Best laser printers

Samsung M2885FW 4 in 1 Multifunction Xpress

1. Samsung M2885FW 4-in-1 Multifunction Xpress

Excellent image quality, connectivity and flexibility for a low price

Print speed: 28ppm | Print resolution: Effective 4,800 x 600 | Paper sizes: A4, A5, A6, Letter, Legal, Executive, Folio, Oficio, ISO B5, JIS B5 | Paper capacity: 250 sheets | Dimensions: 401 x 362 x 367mm (Width x Depth x Height) | Weight: 11.3kg

Superb print quality
Good connectivity
Multi-purpose tray only holds one sheet
Fiddly control panel

This temptingly priced printer offers 28ppm printing at up to 4,800 x 600 dpi (effective, rather than optical, resolution). With wired (Ethernet/USB) and wireless (Wi-Fi/NFC) connectivity, duplex printing, decent eco settings and support for a wide range of media, the Samsung is an excellent all-rounder, although the multi-purpose tray can only handle one sheet of media at a time. The main cassette has a more useful capacity of 250 sheets.

Samsung Xpress M2070W

2. Samsung Xpress M2070W

A wallet-friendly MFP with a smart Eco system

Print speed: 20ppm | Print resolution: Effective 1,200 x 1,200 | Paper sizes: A4, A5, Letter, Legal, Executive, Folio, Oficio, ISO B5, JIS B5, Envelope (Monarch, Com10, DL, C5), Custom | Paper capacity: 150 sheets | Dimensions: 406 x 359.6 x 253mm (Width x Depth x Height) | Weight: 7.4kg

Clever Eco mode
Reasonably quick
Duplexing is manual
No high yield cartridge option

The M2070W delivers a lot of bang for your business buck – there’s NFC printing from compatible smartphones, online document sharing, and a clever Eco system that supplements the usual toner saving mode with a feature to remove images from documents by replacing bitmaps with sketches.

Factor in claimed speeds of 20ppm, a clever scan to mobile feature and an effective print resolution of up to 1200dpi and you’ve got a multifunction printer that’s well worth considering.

Brother DCP 9020CDW

3. Brother DCP-9020CDW

An excellent all-rounder for mono and colour printing

Print speed: 18ppm | Print resolution: 600 x 600, Effective 600 x 2,400 | Paper sizes: A4, Letter, B5 (JIS), A5, A5 (Long Edge), A6, Executive, Legal, Folio | Paper capacity: 250 sheets | Dimensions: 410 x 483 x 410mm (Width x Depth x Height) | Weight: 23.2kg

Cloud service integration
Automatic duplexing
Colour cartridges can be pricey
Scanner isn’t the best

The DCP-9020CDW is a baby Brother – it’s an entry-level all-in-one aimed at small offices, and with claimed speeds of 18ppm and a resolution of up to 2,400 dpi (effective) it has a decent spec for the price. It can upload to cloud services such as Dropbox and OneNote, it’s wireless with WPS authentication and wireless direct printing, and its running costs are competitive. It also offers automatic duplex printing and its colour screen makes it easy to install and operate. This device is a solid all-rounder for PCs and mobile devices alike.

dell1

4. Dell C1760NW

A neat and simple colour laser printer

Print speed: 15ppm | Paper sizes: A4, A5, A6, ANSI A (Letter), Legal, Executive, Folio, Envelopes (Com-10, C5, Monarch) | Paper capacity: 150 sheets | Dimensions: 394 x 300 x 225mm (Width x Depth x Height) | Weight: 10.6kg

Surprisingly compact
Good workhorse for everyday printing
No USB host connectivity
Not the biggest paper capacity

This is a colour laser printer, plain and simple. It has a relatively small footprint on the desk thanks to a surprisingly compact design. The printer is fitted with a 150-sheet main paper tray and a 100-sheet output tray, with an integrated drum/fuser unit and manual duplexing capabilities. Controls are adequate, with a two-line LCD display and a number of buttons for basic menu navigation. The C1760NW also offers an Ethernet connector, 802.11n Wi-Fi and a USB 2.0 port; although there is no USB host connectivity. The printer is aimed at office or small workgroups and has a high-rated speed of 15ppm for black and colour. This is a good workhorse for everyday printing, where colour isn’t a major part of the mix.

Brother HL 3140CW

5. Brother HL-3140CW

A budget bargain if you don’t need Ethernet or duplexing

Print speed: ISO 18ppm | Print resolution: 600 x 600, Effective 600 x 2,400 | Paper sizes: A4, Letter, B5 (JIS), A5, A5 (Long Edge), A6, Executive, Legal, Folio | Paper capacity: 250 sheets | Dimensions: 410 x 465 x 240mm (Width x Depth x Height) | Weight: 17.4kg

Good mono and colour printing
Cheap to buy, fairly cheap to run
No duplexing
No Ethernet

At the time of writing (January 2016), this Brother was Amazon’s best-selling laser, and with good reason – for very little cash you’re getting a superb wireless colour laser. However, at this price don’t expect rock-bottom running costs – it’s a printer for livening up documents with the occasional flash of colour, not constant photo printing.

It doesn’t have automatic duplexing or an Ethernet port, but the HL-3140CW delivers superb print quality, reasonable mono running costs and good wireless features for a very low price.

Source: http://www.techradar.com/news/computing-components/peripherals/best-printer-16-top-inkjet-and-laser-printers-934172

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The best mobile phone deals for Black Friday 2017

The best mobile phone deals for Black Friday 2017

This year’s best Black Friday mobile phone deals so far:

  • Get £10 off the upfront cost of any mobile phone deal (except the iPhone X) at Mobiles.co.uk with our exclusive 10OFF discount code

More great Black Friday deals:

So here they are – the lowest prices on the very best phones on the market. This is the place where you can easily find the best mobile phone deal for your needs and budget. So sit back, relax and prepare to bag a bargain – especially with Black Friday just around the corner.

We’ve rooted out the cheapest deals on the best handsets from the major UK networks. Use TechRadar’s custom made price comparison chart above to find your ideal phone and contract – simply pick your desired handset, budget and allowances and we’ll tell you the very best phone deal around.

Below, you can browse through our individual handset guides for all of the best mobile phone deals out there, whether you’re after the new iPhone X, Samsung Galaxy Note 8 or something a little older (and cheaper!). Want a free phone? Lots of data? The lowest possible monthly cost? We’ll help you find the perfect deal. We’ve even picked out the best SIM only deals, in case you’re not quite ready to part with your current handset.

Buying a mobile phone – what you need to know

Of course you want to find the cheapest price for your new smartphone – and our comparison chart at the top of the page will narrow that down for you – but we know there are likely to be dozens more questions you’ll want answering. Keep reading below, where we answer some of the key commonly asked questions about buying a new mobile.

Can I keep my old number?

You can indeed, and it’s really easy – so no need to send one of those texts to everybody in your phone book telling them your new digits.

What you need to do is grab a PAC – or Porting Authorisation Code – from your old network. We’ve listed the direct numbers you need for the four major networks below. As soon as they’ve sent it to you, which should be within a day or two, you just need to give it to your new network. Voila – brand new phone with the same old number. Easy.

It becomes slightly less easy if the deal you pick out above is on the same network as your current one. They won’t let you keep your number, so you have to use this workaround. Buy a free pay-as-you-go SIM from any other network and tell your network that you’re moving. They’ll release the PAC code, which you then give to the substitute network. Then, you immediately get another PAC code from them. Take that to your old network, and they’ll move your number to your new contract. Long winded, but worth it.

  • EE 07953 966 250
  • O2 0344 8090202
  • Vodafone 03333 040 191
  • Three 0333 300 3333
  • ID 0333 003 7777
  • GiffGaff 43431 from your handset
  • Virgin 0345 6000 789
  • BT 0800 800 150
  • Tesco 0345 301 4455
  • Sky 03300 412 524
  • Asda 0800 079 2732

Which phone network is best?

Loyalty is an admirable trait, but could end up costing you money when it comes to the perfect phone deal. If you don’t mind leaving your comfort zone, you may find that heading to one of the other major networks may well be worth it…

Despite what Richard Branson’s adverts might suggest, EE is the Usain Bolt of phone networks. Nobody else can come close to EE’s 4G speeds in the UK. So if you rely on fast internet while away from WI-Fi, then EE is the obvious choice. Plus, EE gives you three free months of BT Sport (or more if you get a Max plan) when you sign up, as well as six months of Apple Music. The EE coverage checker will confirm how strong it is where you live.  

The biggest lure to O2 is the network’s Priority rewards (well, that and Sean Bean’s mellifluous tones). From cheap lunches and free coffees to first refusal on big gig tickets, O2 is the network for regular goodies. Plus, they have 1000s of Wi-Fi hotspots in shops and cafes that you can connect to. Use the O2 coverage checker to see whether you’ll be able to access 4G.  

Good news for jet-setters – Vodafone lets you use your data, calls and texts allowances in 50 countries around the world without charge. But things really start to get good when you splash out on its bigger Red Entertainment data plans, as Vodafone will give you your choice of a NOW TV Entertainment Pass, Spotify Premium or Sky Sports Mobile subscription. Click to check if Vodafone covers your home.  

3 remains the king of the big data deals, and still the only one of the big four networks to offer unlimited, uncapped, all-you-can-eat delicious data. We also like that you can use 4G to make calls and texts via the dedicated Three inTouch app, and you can connect to Wi-Fi in the London Underground if you ever find yourself in the capital. But 4G coverage isn’t as strong as the other networks – check whether your postcode is covered with the Three coverage checker.  

What phone contract length should I get?

Well if you’re buying a new phone plan with a contract, you haven’t got much choice. It’s 24 months or nothing, these days. If you don’t want to be tied down to that kind of commitment, then you’ll have to go down the SIM only route and buy the handset separately – we’ve rounded up the best SIM free phone deals to help you make your chocie.

How much phone data do I need?

The answer to this one will be different for everybody. If you only really carry your phone for emergencies, then go for the minimum amount of data and save a packet. If you like to scroll through Facebook on the bus and stream Spotify, you’ll need a bit more. And if you frequently stream videos and download masses of files, then 30GB or even unlimited may be worth paying extra for.

As well as checking your phone to see how much you tend to use a month at the moment, the below guidelines will also help you pick out the perfect plan:

  • 1GB Some networks offer 500MB plans, but realistically we think you should get at least 1GB. It won’t be much more expensive (if at all) and will afford you a little bit of Google Mapping, WhatsApping and emailing when you need them.
  • 2-3GB If you like to scroll through your social media feeds and emails while out and about without fear of extra cash to pay on your monthly bill, then up your data.
  • 4-8GB The likes of Spotify and Apple Music have promised us all our favourite tunes wherever we roam. Kit yourself out with a bit more data and you’ll have plenty for music streaming and the occasional video, too.
    10-16GB This should be more than enough for most users. Loads of data for streaming music, downloading podcasts and enjoying social media videos. Because there’s no such thing as too many cats falling into bins.
  • 20-30GB Big data for the big phone user. Perfect for watching Netflix videos, downloading content and streaming loads of music. And these plans often have extra freebies thrown in, too.
  • Unlimited The 3 network is still the only one of the ‘Big 4’ to offer unlimited data. It can be really pricey though, so think long and hard whether you really need it.

Should I get unlimited calls and texts?

Actually these days, the vast majority of phone contracts feature unlimited calls and texts. We do see some of the cheaper plans sometimes limit them, but even if they do, you can use your data allowance on popular apps like WhatsApp, Skype and Hangouts to make calls and texts if your minutes run dry.

How much phone memory do I need?

You’re likely to be one of two kinds of person:

Person 1: You like all your photos, music, downloads and other media to be saved directly on to your phone. If that sounds like you, 16GB or 32GB handsets may not be enough and you should use our comparison chart to find the most affordable 64GB, 128GB or 256GB models.

Person 2: You’re a stream demon. You’ve got subscriptions to Spotify and Netflix and you save all your Word docs and snaps into the cloud. Save your money and go for a cheaper, lower memory handset.

OK person 3, calm down – you fall somewhere between the two, right? If you can afford to get a smartphone with more memory, that is probably safest. But don’t forget that most phones do allow you to insert an additional SD card if you run out of space – most phones apart from iPhones, that is.

Are refurbished phones good to buy?

Refurbished phones can provide a alternative to a new handset if you’re budget is a shoestring. ‘Refurbished’ often means that the previous owner simply changed their mind about the phone soon after buying it, so it’s still practically brand new – and the potential savings can be substantial.

If you do spy an unbelievable deal on a refurbed phone, the main thing to make sure of is the warranty. Double check that you are properly covered for a decent length of time. A year’s warranty is preferable.

TechRadar’s unbiased and independent mobile phone deals comparison

Thanks for visiting TechRadar’s mobile phone deal comparison page! Our price comparison system includes 2.47 million mobile phone contracts from all of the major networks and resellers so that you can always find the one that suits you best.

Unlike some other major sites, our philosophy is to always display you with the absolute cheapest deals for the criteria you select. So you’ll always be able to see the cheapest prices for the best phones with contracts with the most generous data allowances.

How does TechRadar make money from affiliates?

If you buy a phone after visiting this page, TechRadar will be paid a small commission by the network or reseller you buy from. This money is paid by the site you buy from and thus does not affect the amount you pay for your phone contract. If you go direct to the site you buy from, you would pay the same amount.

The money that TechRadar makes from this free service allows us to improve our product comparison tools and pay the editors who trawl through all the sites and select the best deals every month.

While some sites out there will be paid larger fees for pushing people to specific deals that aren’t necessarily the cheapest, TechRadar will always find you the absolute cheapest deal. Trust and integrity is important to us, so if you ever think we’re not displaying the very best deals let us know.

How do we order these mobile phone deals?

Our mobile phone deal comparison tools sift through millions of different deals and surfaces the ones we think are the very best. Essentially that means finding deals that work out the cheapest over a 24 month contract while still supplying at least 1GB of data, as you’ve told us that 1GB is your absolute minimum. If you need more data, use the filters and we’ll display the cheapest prices for your increased amount.

On this specific page, we have many mobile phone options displaying in one comparison table. In this case, we try and find you a balance between paying the cheapest price and getting the best phone for your money.

How do the mobile phone deals comparison tools work?

The comparison tools you find on the page above will hopefully be very easy to use. You can select what your budget is, whether it be upfront cost or monthly fee or both. And you can say how much data you need or how many minutes and texts. You can even filter by network if you really want to be on a specific carrier. The deals will automatically update as you drill down in your search, always favouring the cheapest options over the more expensive ones. If you ever want to refresh and start your search again, simply select the ‘CLEAR ALL FILTERS’ option to begin again from scratch.

What is TechRadar?

TechRadar is Europe’s largest technology reviews website with over 22 million visitors every month. It’s our aim to provide you with the very best buying advice, always. If you’d like to read reviews of the mobile phones you see on this page, you can visit TechRadar’s reviews homepage.

How do we select which networks and resellers to display?

TechRadar strives to include all mobile phone deals from all UK networks and resellers so that you can search through all the available deals in the UK without having to look on all the websites separately. However, for sites to be included they need to supply us with a feed of their deals. This is the only reason why a phone reseller or network wouldn’t appear in our system – but the vast majority do.

mobile phone deals smartphone deals phone deals

Best value mobile phone deals of the month:

Our editors look at all of the available deals for all of the best smartphones every week of every month of every year – not just when the going is good around Black Friday. In this section, we’ve picked out the best deal available right now for each phone, as well as a link through to the ‘best deals’ guide for each individual handset.

mobile phone deals smartphone deals phone deals

z5 deals

iPhone X deals

We know it’s a word that bugs a lot of people, but please let us use it this once – GAMECHANGER. After years of incremental gains and upgrades, Apple finally unveiled a radically improved handset to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the first iPhone.

We’ve found the best iPhone X deals

mobile phone deals smartphone deals phone deals

z5 deals

iPhone 8 deals

It’s really the iPhone 7S by another name, as it’s little more than an incremental upgrade on the iPhone 7. And it has had its thunder stolen by the iPhone X somewhat. Wireless charging is the big new feature – the first time we’ve seen it on an Apple phone.

Here are the best iPhone 8 deals and iPhone 8 Plus deals

mobile phone deals smartphone deals phone deals

Samsung Galaxy S8 deals

We were a little surprised by how expensive Samsung’s latest flagship was on release, but prices have fallen significantly since then. If you need something bigger and can’t stretch to the Note 8, the even larger Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus is closer to a phablet.

See more Samsung Galaxy S8 deals and Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus deals

mobile phone deals smartphone deals phone deals

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 deals

Big in stature and price tag, this 6.3-inch monster will only appeal to people who use their phone as a multimedia hub. It has a QHD+ display and 6GB Ram – phones like the Note 8 don’t come around too often.

See more Samsung Note 8 deals

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cheap iphone 7 deals

iPhone 7 deals

Prices on Apple’s recently surpassed flagship phone are now finally starting to fall to more palatable levels. We’ve seen prices as low as £22.99 a month on the UK’s fastest 4G network EE!

Discover more iPhone 7 deals and iPhone 7 Plus deals

LG G6 deals

LG’s new flagship phone has a longer screen with a rather fetching rounded-corner design. A fine alternative to the Galaxy’s Edge screen and for a lower price.

Discover more great LG G6 deals

iPhone SE deals

iPhone SE deals

By far, the cheapest way to get an Apple smartphone, you’ll find the iPhone SE for £17.99 (and sometimes even lower!). It has all the power of iPhone 6S with the design of iPhone 5S. A brilliant bargain.

Read our guide: iPhone SE deals

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Samsung Galaxy S7 deals

Samsung Galaxy S7 deals

It may now have been superseded, but the Samsung Galaxy S7 is still a brilliant phone. And now it’s a year old, it means you can get big data deals for a reasonable price.

Get more great Samsung Galaxy S7 deals and Galaxy S7 Edge deals

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google pixel phone deals

Google Pixel and Pixel XL deals

The Google Pixel replaces the Nexus 5X, comes with a 5-inch 1080p display, 4GB of RAM, 12 megapixel camera and we’ve seen prices for less than £17.99 a month. The Google Pixel XL is larger and more premium but dearer.

Read our guide to Google Pixel and Pixel XL deals

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iphone 6s deals

iPhone 6S deals

Grab the best possible deal on the still excellent iPhone 6S with our dedicated page. You can get very attractive plans for well under £30 per month.

See our other iPhone 6S deals and iPhone 6S Plus deals 

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iphone 6

iPhone 6 deals

Prices just absolutely dived on the iPhone 6. Great news, considering it remains an excellent way to own an awesome Apple phone for meagre amounts of money.

See more ace prices with our best iPhone 6 deals and iPhone 6 Plus deals

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Nokia 8 deals

If the Nokia 3310 is a fun bit of nostalgia, then the Nokia 8 means business. It’s The Finnish brand’s first rue flagship for a few years and it’s well worth a look if you’re on a budget.

Learn more about the best Nokia 8 deals

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Nokia 3310 deals

Had you told us last year whether we’d be featuring Nokia 3310 deals on these pages, we would have laughed you right out of the building. But it’s back and it costs an unfeasibly reasonable £39 from Vodafone.

Learn more about the best Nokia 3310 deals

mobile phone deals smartphone deals phone deals

Nokia 8 deals

We’re big fans of the Honor 9. It’s a genuinely good, new Android mobile at a price you’d expect to pay for a Samsung Galaxy a few generations old. The design is a treat and the 20MP main camera is better than we could have dreamed of.

Learn more about the best Honor 9 deals

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HTC U11 deals

Much has been made of the new HTC U11’s Edge Sense technology, but some of the tariffs available are also newsworthy. Click the link below to find the best deals.

For more deals and free handset offers, head to our HTC U11 deals

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The best Sony Xperia XZ deals

Sony Xperia XZ deals

The Sony Xperia XZ is a great handset offering everything you’d expect from a brand new flagship phone. Want something more powerful? Then you can pay extra for the XZ Premium.

Pick your own Sony Xperia XZ deals or Sony Xperia XZ Premium deals

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BlackBerry KeyONE deals

Blackberry spent many years in the wilderness, but its return with the BlackBerry KeyOne is a massive return to form.

Click for more brilliant BlackBerry KeyONE deals

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samsung galaxy s6 is the best phone

Samsung Galaxy S6 deals

Like the older iPhones above, the Samsung Galaxy S6 presents an ideal way to get a superb mobile for a much lower tariff. use our dedicated deal pages to see tariffs for less than £600 over two years.

More Samsung Galaxy S6 deals, Galaxy S6 Edge deals and Galaxy S6 Edge Plus deals

mobile phone deals smartphone deals phone deals

mobile phone deals

iPhone 5S deals

All it takes to get this classic iPhone 5S is around £17 a month. Other than that, it’s completely free, with no upfront costs. You can upgrade it to Apple’s latest iOS 10.3.2, so you’ll have the latest software on your cheap, cheap iPhone.

Read our guide to the best iPhone 5S deals

mobile phone deals smartphone deals phone deals

The best Sony Xperia X deals

Sony Xperia X deals

Sony worked hard to strike a balance between top-of-the-range premium features and affordable prices – it hit gold with the Xperia X and smaller Xperia X Compact.

Follow the link for more Sony Xperia X deals and Xperia X Compact deals.

mobile phone deals smartphone deals phone deals

cheap htc 10 deals

HTC 10 deals

HTC’s follow up to the One M9 was a worthy upgrade. In fact, we still think it’s brilliant, and a genuine alternative to the newer, pricier U11.

Read our guide to the best HTC 10 deals for more cheap prices

mobile phone deals smartphone deals phone deals

cheap lg g5 deals

LG G5 deals

Get modular with LG’s innovative former flagship phone. And if you just want to pick up a cheap handset that runs Android, these LG G4 deals are still worth a look, too.

Get stuck in to the best LG G5 deals

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iphone 6s deals

HTC One A9 deals

The HTC One A9 is a brilliant budget smartphone that could well do the job if you don’t want to spend the earth.

Discover even more cheap HTC One A9 deals

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Moto X Style

Moto X Style deals

If you want a 20MP camera and 2K display without busting your bank balance, then the Moto X Style is worth considering.  

All the best Moto X Style deals in one convenient place

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z5 deals

Sony Xperia Z5 deals

Sony’s Z5 range put the iconic Japanese tech company back on the mobile phones map. You can’t get them on contract any longer, so you’ll have to team your Z5, Z5 Compact or Z5 Premium handset with a cracking SIM only deal.

Cheapest prices on the Sony Xperia Z5, Xperia XZ Compact and Xperia XZ Premium

mobile phone deals smartphone deals phone deals

SIM only deals

If you need to plug the gap between iPhone launches or are simply happy with the phone you already have, grabbing a free SIM card may be the best option. If you have the cash, you may even find that teaming up a cheap SIM only deal with a new handset is a cheaper way of getting your new smartphone, with tariffs as low as a fiver a month for 1.5GB of data.

Visit our dedicated round-up of the best SIM only deals

Wondering what phone to choose?

If you can’t decide what phone your should buy, check out our best mobile phones buying guide. On that page you should find everything you need to make the choice of handset.

Source: http://www.techradar.com/news/mobile-phone-deals

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