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The insane economics of Sky Now TV

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Sky Now TV

A few months ago, after one price rise too many and a waning interest in top-flight football, I decided to cancel my subscription to Sky Sports.

I still get the urge to watch the odd game, and so this weekend – with my once-beloved West Ham giving title-chasing Liverpool a hoof for their money – I decided to investigate Sky Now TV, the broadcaster’s internet TV service. After ten minutes, I was left scratching my head at the sheer insanity of its pricing.

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Windows Phone 8.1 video: hands-on

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

We’ve been given a video preview of many of the new features available in Windows Phone 8.1.

Among the features you’ll see in the video are:

  • The new six-column design of the Start screen
  • The option to change the Start screen background
  • Action Centre: a new drop-down screen for notifications and shortcuts to settings
  • Shape Writing: the new swipeable keyboard design that means you don’t have to type every letter
  • The new Battery Saver, Storage Sense and Wi-Fi Sense apps, the latter of which allows you to let friends use your home Wi-Fi without giving them your password
  • Synchronisation with other Windows devices

Click here for more details of Windows Phone 8.1’s new Siri-like assistant, Cortana, and other new features

Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet review: first look

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet

When Sony unleashed the first Tablet Z back at MWC 2013, it was the thinnest, lightest tablet around; now it’s the Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet’s turn to take over. Sony’s new top-end Android tablet is lighter and slimmer than the original, and by a noticeable margin.

In fact, at 426g, the Wi-Fi version of the Z2 weighs a full 69g less than the Z, and itmeasures 0.5mm thinner, at 6.8mm from front to rear. Quite how Sony’s engineers have managed it, we’re not sure.

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Nokia XL review: first look

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Nokia XL

The Nokia X made all the headlines in the build-up to MWC, but it’s the largest of the company’s three new smartphones – the Nokia XL – that makes the most sense.

It runs the same mangled version of Android as the Nokia X, and features the same limited 4GB of storage expandable via the microSD slot, but for only €16 more, you get a bigger 5in screen and 256MB more RAM (at 768MB).

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Samsung Galaxy S5 review: first look

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Samsung Galaxy S5
Samsung has launched its latest Galaxy S5 smartphone at the Barcelona MWC trade show, boasting a smart new design and a number of new features. Surprisingly, the firm has chosen not to boost the screen resolution of the phone, sticking with 1,080 x 1,920, and has only slightly increased the size of the display, from 5in to 5.1in.

Instead, Samsung is pinning its hopes on going “back to basics” with the new handset. “We’ve decided to … focus on the features and things that matter the most to our customers – namely the camera, ability to view and download data and content quickly, and their health and wellbeing,” said Simon Stanford, of Samsung UK.

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Turn an old smartphone into an in-car entertainment system

Friday, February 14th, 2014

Dashboard satnav

We’ve all got an old smartphone that’s keeping a box of matches and the instruction manual for the washing machine company in a kitchen drawer. Why not put the thing to good use and turn it into an in-car satnav and entertainment system?

You can use pretty much any last-generation smartphone for this project, either Android or iPhone, although there are a couple of specialist pieces of equipment you’ll need for the perfect set-up.

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Apple’s OSes set to surpass Windows

Friday, February 14th, 2014

If anyone doubts how substantially Apple and the mobile revolution (or whatever you want to call it) have changed technology, here’s a chart for you, nicked from analyst Benedict Evans:

BenedictChart

This shows sales of all Apple iOS and OS X devices — iPads, iPods, iPhones and Macs — versus sales of PCs running Windows (the orange line), and versus Windows PCs and Windows Phone handsets combined (the blue line).

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Stone Classmate 3 review: first look at the Intel-designed hybrid

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

IMG_1735Intel recently updated the reference designs for its Classmate PC series — small, tough laptops designed for students.

British PC maker Stone was one of the first to show off hardware based on the updated designs with the Classmate 3 – a “semi-rugged” 10in hybrid device that runs Intel’s Bay Trail T processor and Windows 8.1 Pro. Since it’s aimed at students, Stone debuted the new laptop at educational technology show BETT, where we took a look at the device.

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Dell Chromebook 11 review: first look at the £159 laptop

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Dell Chromebook 11 three quarters

The Dell Chromebook 11 represents the company’s first foray into Google’s OS, and it’s being cautious: this isn’t a laptop aimed at the mass market but at schools, colleges and universities. That’s why its debut show is the education technology show BETT, where we got our hands on it.

Even though it’s being marketed as an education device, it will be on sale from Dell direct, and for an incredibly cheap £159 if the original press release is to be believed. (Just note that it’s £159 plus VAT, this being an education-targeted machine.)

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Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1 review: hands-on

Friday, January 10th, 2014

DSC05948

Panasonic’s Toughpad FZ-G1 won our heart back in 2013, and now it has a little brother to keep it company – the 7in FZ-M1. Cut from the same ultra-tough, ruggedised cloth as its 10.1in stablemate, the FZ-M1 delivers Core i5 processing power, Windows 8.1 and a range of accessories that allow it to adapt to almost any situation.

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