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January, 2013

BlackBerry Z10 review: first look

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

BlackBerry Z10

The BlackBerry Z10, launched alongside the new BlackBerry 10 operating system, has been a hell of long time in the making. Finally, the company looks to have a smartphone to compete with the iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S III.

The specifications only tell part of the story, but notably they do bring RIM’s new baby – sorry, make that BlackBerry’s new baby – level with the competition. As expected, the Z10 has a 4.2in, 1,280 x 768, 356ppi touchscreen, and a quick perusal of the rest of its vital statistics reveals few areas of significant weakness. The phone measures 130 x 65.6 x 9mm, and inside there’s a dual-core, 1.5GHz processor, with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage to back it up. The rear camera is an 8-megapixel unit capable of shooting 1080p, and the front-facing camera is 2mp capable of shooting 720p.

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How to add Media Center – and DVD playback – to Windows 8 Pro for free

Friday, January 25th, 2013

Windows Media Center on Windows 8 Pro

If you own Windows 8 Pro, you have precisely six days to claim your free Media Center upgrade – the main advantage of this is that it allows you to watch DVDs on your PC, because a DVD codec is part of the package.

Plus, if you have a TV tuner already installed or fancy buying one in the future, you can also watch and record live TV.

But – and it’s a big but – this free upgrade offer expires as of 31 January 2013.

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Microsoft buys Dell: PC Pro’s April Fool comes true

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

Dell Latitude Z back

The Times is reporting this morning that Microsoft is poised to buy a $3 billion stake in Dell, as the PC maker attempts to go private. For us here at PC Pro towers, the news prompted a sudden wave of deja vu.

In 2009, our own Jon Honeyball penned an April Fools’ joke column, depicting the wildly fantastical scenario that Microsoft had bought Dell (the full column is reprinted below). While it would take more than $3 billion to buy Dell outright, today’s news isn’t a million miles away from our four-year-old jape.

“Dell hasn’t been doing that well recently,” Jon wrote, “and the global economic downturn is certainly contributing to its woes. Few companies are prepared to splash out on new hardware when money is tight, especially without a clear indication that it really will run the latest version of Windows in a satisfactory way.” Sound familiar?

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Posted in: Newsdesk

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Were we unfair on Microsoft Security Essentials?

Friday, January 18th, 2013

white blank book brochure

If you’ve read the latest issue of PC Pro, you’ll have seen one of the conclusions of our latest round-up of security suites: Microsoft Security Essentials isn’t doing a great job of protecting against current malware threats, especially not brand new “zero-day” ones.

Microsoft isn’t happy about this conclusion, and it’s published a blog post challenging the research carried out by AV-Test.org to which we refer in our Labs.

The post doesn’t seek to claim that the test results are actually incorrect. It accepts that Security Essentials (and its business-oriented Forefront Endpoint Protection package, which uses the same engine) failed to protect against 28 out of 100 genuine zero-day attacks, as well as 9% of a huge collection of recent malware, representing almost 20,000 missed samples.

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Tactus first look: the screen technology that adds a physical keyboard to a tablet

Friday, January 11th, 2013

We wouldn’t have believed this if we hadn’t seen it with our eyes, but Tactus has created a way to add a genuine, physical keyboard to any touchscreen device. The cleverest bit: it appears when you’re typing and disappears when you no longer need to enter text.

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Poor service killed Jessops, not the internet

Friday, January 11th, 2013

Olympus E-P3

Jessops has announced the closure of all of its stores. The story on administrator PriceWaterhouseCoopers’ website points to obvious factors such as competition from the internet and supermarkets, and the fact that it has been in financial trouble before. But there is another story and it’s the one told by the consumers.

I am a professional photographer and, as such, walking into high street photographic stores used to mean receiving good advice from like-minded and competent individuals who were not trying to “pull any wool”. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case, and online retailers or specialist stores are the only places where I feel that the technical support actually has something to offer above and beyond my knowledge.

Aside from technical competence, I really want to see a company that is hungry to please me as a consumer and keen to offer something extra on delivery, and perhaps even bail me out when I need urgent help.

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Posted in: Rant

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Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S review: first look

Friday, January 11th, 2013

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S main view

There are a lot of them at CES 2013, but is this the Windows 8 convertible Ultrabook you’ve been waiting for? Built using the same innovative design as the Yoga 13, the IdeaPad Yoga 11S’s screen flips around a 180-degree axis, allowing you to use it as a full-powered laptop when you want it and then move to tablet mode in a single, slick movement.

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3D printing: what’s out there and how much does it cost

Friday, January 11th, 2013

MakerBot printing

3D printing suggests an intriguing future: forget going to the shops to buy an item, simply design and print your own.

For the present, however, 3D printers – which “print” items by layering liquid or melted plastic – continue to be just out of reach for all but the most enthusiastic early adopters, because of high prices and the skills needed to use CAD software.

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Best and worst robots of CES 2013

Friday, January 11th, 2013

Giant Spider

Robots are one of the promises of the future — like flying cars — that just don’t seem to be happening. Where’s our robobutler, eh?

While we don’t yet have a multitalented robot to act as personal assistant, there are many on show here at CES 2013 that have mastered specific tasks — one will clean the gutters on your house, for example, while another crawls over your back for a massage. While that may not sound as impressive as the sci-fi movies imagined, on the upside these single-minded bots are unlikely to overthrow humanity and stomp us out of existence.

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Posted in: Random

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Lenovo IdeaPhone K900 not-review: hands off

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

Lenovo IdeaPhone K900 under glassLenovo was showing off six new Android phones at CES 2013, but the most enticing of them all is the IdeaPhone K900. So enticing that it was protected from prying fingers by a screwed-down glass cabinet.

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