|The Best Deals on iPods|
6 hours 43 min ago
The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 may be a glimmer in its maker’s eye, but we’re already looking at what the Korean tech giant has in store for its next Note handset. Hear that sound outside your window? That’s the rattle of consumerism, rolling its merry way down your street. Rattle rattle, rattle rattle.
With Apple’s iPhone X kicking up a lot of excitement about facial-recognition technology and end-to-end screens, what can we expect from the Samsung Galaxy Note 9? Here is what we know, or largely guess, so far.
New renders show under-display fingerprint sensor
Mobile reporter Benjamin Geskin has mocked up a set of renders for the Galaxy Note 9, based on a handful of early rumours about what specs the handset may include.
If you look at pictures of the Galaxy Note 8, you’ll see that Geskin has stretched the display on that device to totally eliminate the top and bottom bezels. There have indeed been reports that Samsung may be working on a new form of screen, although the patents unearthed about that particular direction hint at a similar “notched” display to the iPhone X.
Geskin’s render also shows an under-display fingerprint sensor. Will Samsung want to develop this hardware, knowing that Apple has effectively dumped its fingerprint sensor in favour of a new Face ID system? Which brings us to…
Will the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 have facial recognition?
There’s currently no evidence to suggest whether Samsung will or won’t push facial recognition as a stable of the Note 9. Seeing as the company already has a form of the tech enabled in its handsets, it seems like likely that it will try to out-face Apple with its future handsets.
Could the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 be something completely different?
Based on this year’s releases, it would be easy to predict that all smartphones will look largely identical come 2020. That pattern may be bucked, however, with a whole new concept based on foldable technology.
A foldable phone from Samsung has been long-rumoured, with reports centred on a device dubbed the Samsung Galaxy X. A new handset line makes a lot of sense, but could Samsung instead decide to premier its new foldable approach with the Note 9?
The president of Samsung’s mobile division, Koh Dong-jin, has said the company is aiming to release a bendable flagship in 2018. Given the benefits this could bring to a phone with a large form factor, it may very well be the case that the Korean company wants the Note 9 to be a phablet that can be folded into your pocket.
Of course, all of this is guesswork. We’ll be updating this page with more concrete news are it surfaces over the coming months.
Posted on 20 September 2017 | 9:42 am
6 hours 50 min ago
Price when reviewed
Fresh leaks have finally confirmed what we’ve suspected for some time – Google is making a pint-sized version of its excellent Google Home. This Echo Dot-like digital butler will be a good deal cheaper, smaller and a bit less feature-packed than its larger sibling.
READ NEXT: Google Home vs Amazon Echo vs Apple HomePod
It’s about time, too. The Echo Dot has so far been a fantastic alternative to those pricier digital assistants, and it’s been in dire need of some competition. This move to a smaller device was inevitable, and it’s sorely needed.
Despite the initial leak, coming to us from Droid Life, not much else is known about the Google Home Mini. We’re yet to receive any official details from Google themselves, although a launch event – along with the grand unveiling of the Pixel 2 – is scheduled for 4 October 2017. This article will be regularly updated as new information is released.
Here’s absolutely everything we know so far about Google Home Mini, including UK price, UK release date, specifications, features and design.
Google Home Mini UK release date: When’s it coming out?
The Google Home Mini is scheduled for a grand unveiling on 4 October, during the firm's “Made by Google” event. Starting at 5pm, Google will finally spill the beans on the Google Home Mini and lift the lid on the Pixel 2, Chromebook Pixel and new Daydream View.
Google Home Mini UK price: How much will it cost?
According to the Droid Life leak, the Google Home Mini will retail for $50 (~£37). That’s a good $80 cheaper than the regular Google Home and just $5 more than the latest Echo Dot.
Google Home Mini features: What’s so special?
But what’s the difference between the Google Home Mini and its regular-sized alternative? Well, aside from it being smaller and cheaper, this mini version scraps the high-quality speakers of its bigger brother, with the focus solely on Google Assistant.
The devices are also said to need a power adapter and aren't intended to be portable, just like the Echo Dot.
Google Home Mini design: What does it look like?
The hockey puck-like Google Home Mini comes in three colours: chalk, charcoal and coral. You won’t be able to swap colours or buy different base textures like you can with the regular Home, so choose wisely.
Google Home Mini: Early verdict
At first pass, the Google Home Mini looks like a step in the right direction. We don’t all have £129 to spare for a digital helper, so offering a cheaper alternative is more than welcome.
Whether or not the Google Home Mini will be a better purchase than the Echo Dot is anyone’s guess. One thing's for sure: we’ll find out very soon.
Posted on 20 September 2017 | 9:35 am
14 hours 8 min ago
The last few years have seen a huge resurgence of interest in astronomy - fuelled by popular scientists like Brian Cox and events like Stargazing Live. Observatories and local clubs are working hard to help kids and adults experience the cosmos. If you’re keen to get involved, the good news is that great telescopes have never been so affordable.
Here we’re focusing on telescopes for astronomy, rather than terrestrial viewing or bird-watching, though some models can do both. We’re also concentrating on more affordable models: if you’re splashing out a few thousand pounds on a serious scientific instrument, you’ll need more detailed technical advice.
You don’t need to spend nearly that much to see amazing things, however. Even with a budget ‘scope, you can see details of the moon, Jupiter and Saturn, and a range of nebulae and clusters. You might not attain the kind of Hubble-level views you’ll see on TV, but you’ll get the very special experience of exploring the universe with your own eyes.
How to buy the best telescope for you
What types of telescope are there?
Telescopes come in two basic types: reflectors and refractors. A reflector telescope uses a large parabolic mirror to harvest and reflect the incoming light to another mirror, which in turn reflects that light into the eyepiece. A refractor uses one or more lenses to do the same job.
What are the key differences between the two?
Both types have their strengths: refractors are sealed, which means dirt can’t get in and you can get a sharper image, particularly of bright, near-sky objects like the moon or planets. However, they’re more likely to suffer from chromatic aberration, where bright objects – like a star – appear surrounded by a halo of different colours.
Reflectors don’t have this problem, but the mirrors may need to be manually adjusted, and unless you have a special eyepiece, the view will be upside-down. While reflectors are generally better for viewing deep-sky objects (galaxies, nebulae and the rest) they might not offer such clear, bright views of nearer objects and planets.
Are there any other types I should know about?
If you want to get into the details, there are three variations of the reflector. Cassegrain reflectors add a curved secondary mirror to the classic design, which means they’re more compact. Schmidt-Cassegrain or Maksutov-Cassegrain reflectors place a thin lens over the front of the telescope, to combine the advantages of a reflector and a refractor. Finally, Dobsonian reflectors use the standard Netwonian design, but in a larger form with a heavy rotating mount at the base. The design is easy and cheap to manufacture, even with a larger aperture mirror, so Dobsonian reflectors tend to give you a lot of telescope for your money.
Why is aperture size so important when choosing a telescope?
One crucial factor when choosing a telescope is aperture size. The larger the aperture of the primary lens or mirror, the more light the telescope can harvest, and the more objects and detail you’ll be able to see. This is the big advantage of reflector telescopes: it’s much easier and cheaper to make a bigger mirror than a bigger lens. If you’ve got a choice between a refractor with an 80mm objective lens and a reflector with a 114mm mirror, the reflector will – in most cases – give you better views of a wider range of celestial stuff. Move up to a 130mm or 150mm mirror, and the differences only grow.
Does the mount matter?
Most entry-level and mid-range telescopes come with a bundled mount, but the quality varies enormously. A good mount will give you stable views even at high magnifications; with a wobbly one, it may be hard to keep far-off objects in the frame.
If you have that problem, you can always splash out on a better mount. These come in two basic types; the first is called an alt-azimuth (“alt-az”) mount. This has two axes of movement – up and down (altitude) and left and right (azimuth). It’s a simple system, but it has a downside: as the world turns, you’ll need to keep adjusting both the azimuth and altitude to keep what you’re trying to look at in view. This isn’t a problem for ordinary viewing, but it makes things difficult if you’re trying to track an object or photograph it.
The solution is an equatorial mount, in which one of the adjustment axes (the “right ascension”) is set to match the angle of the earth’s rotation; the other, the “declination”, runs perpendicular to it. Once you’ve found what you want to look at, you only need to adjust the right ascension to keep it in view as the earth turns.
It’s also possible to buy a mount with a computerised motor, to automatically drive the right ascension for you and keep things stable. However, this involves a level of work and a fair bit of learning, and you still have the challenge of finding the things you want to look at in the first place. For an easier life, consider a GoTo mount. These work with a dedicated handset (or a companion app) to automatically point your telescope at whatever object you want to view. Some astronomers regard this as cheating, but if you have limited time and want to get the most from your telescope, it’s a sensible idea - though it will inevitably add to your budget.
What other features should I look out for?
All telescopes come with one or more eyepieces; these, along with the focal length of the telescope itself, determine the overall level of magnification you’ll see. Most entry-level to mid-range telescopes will come with two eyepieces, usually one in the 7mm to 10mm range and one in the 20mm to 25mm range; that gives you a good low-magnification eyepiece for general use, and a higher-magnification eyepiece when you want to get in closer.
Telescopes also come bundled with other accessories, such as a star-pointer or red-dot finder to help you get objects in the view, and astronomy books or software to help you get moving. Perhaps the most useful, though, is a 2x Barlow Lens. This attaches to your eyepiece and instantly doubles the magnification, giving you even more choice and power, right out of the box. If you don’t get a Barlow bundled in, consider one as a quick, easy upgrade later.
The best telescopes to buy
1. Orion 10012 SkyScanner: The best telescope under £100 – and a top pick for beginners
It might be a small, squat-looking telescope on a miniature Dobsonian mount, but the 10012 SkyScanner gives you a lot of aperture for a very reasonable price. With a 100mm parabolic primary mirror and 20mm and 10mm eyepieces, this little beauty can give you great views of the moon and Saturn, plus a selection of stars and deep sky objects - which is more than you can say for the competition. It’s also very easy to set up and use, and can be attached to a standard photo tripod if you fancy taking it away from home. Don’t expect miracles at this price point, but for under £100 this is the best start in astronomy you can get.
Key specs – Type: 100mm reflector; Mount: Mini-Dobsonian alt-az; Eyepieces supplied: 10mm (40x), 20mm (20x); Extras: EZ Finder II finder, Starry Night software
2. Celestron Travelscope 70 Telescope Kit: The best low-cost travel telescope
The Celestron Travelscope hasn’t got the light-gathering power of the Orion SkyScanner, but it’s an extremely portable and versatile telescope; with a 70mm aperture and 10mm and 20mm eyepieces you can still get decent views of the moon and the planets, plus the brighter clusters and nebulae. The best part is that the telescope and (rather flimsy) tripod pack up into a lightweight rucksack, with the whole shebang weighing well under 3kg - so if you live in the city, you can easily take it out of town to somewhere with an unobstructed view and seriously dark skies. It’s a good, very affordable option for novice astronomers; if you want to get slightly more ambitious, an extra £20 gets you a kit with an additional eyepiece and a 2x Barlow lens.
Key specs – Type: 70mm refractor, Mount: Alt-azimuth mount on photographic tripod; Eyepieces supplied: 10mm (40x), 20mm (20x); Extras: Finder, Sky X – First Light Edition software, Custom backpack
3. SkyWatcher Explorer 130M: The best beginner’s telescope for under £200
Price: £184 – Buy from Wex Photographic
The SkyWatcher Explorer 130P is a classic beginner’s telescope, giving you a 130mm parabolic primary mirror for the same kind of price as most 114mm reflectors or 90mm refractors. The Explorer 130M’s real draw though is its motor-driven equatorial mount. This makes it much, much easier to keep objects in the eyepiece, and it’s great for astrophotography, as you can attach a smartphone or a camera to the telescope and get brilliant blur- and trail-free shots. It comes with 10mm and 25mm eyepieces, plus a x2 Barlow lens, giving you magnification options from 36x to 180x, so you can see deep-sky objects and get fantastic views of the moon and planets. If your budget will stretch to it, this is the beginners’ telescope to buy.
Key specs – Type: 130mm reflector; Mount: Motorized equatorial mount; Eyepieces supplied: 10mm (36x), 25mm (90x); Extras: Red dot finder, 2x Barlow lens
4. Orion SkyQuest XT8: The best value telescope for under £300
John Dobson’s classic 1960s telescope design aimed to make high-powered telescopes more affordable, and Dobsonian telescopes still offer the most bang for buck today. The SkyQuest XT8 gives you a whopping 200mm mirror at the bottom of a 1.25m tube at a pretty affordable price. This is a big, heavy telescope, nearly 20kg in weight, but the simple alt-az mount makes it simple to setup and use. With the bundled 25mm eyepiece delivering 48x magnification, you can get impressive views of galaxies, nebulae and other deep-sky objects, or take a more detailed look at Saturn’s rings or the craters on the moon. You simply won’t get better views of celestial objects without spending a whole lot more.
Key specs – Type: 8-inch Dobsonian reflector; Mount: Dobsonian alt-azimuth mount; Eyepieces supplied: 25mm (48x); Extras: EZ Finder II reflex sight, Collimation cap, Starry Night software
5. SkyWatcher Star Discovery 150P: A great telescope for under £400
Price: £358 – Buy from Harrison Telescopes
It’s a little more expensive than the average 150mm reflector, but the Star Discovery 150P comes with an alt-azimuth GoTo mount on a basic tripod - plus a SynScan v4 handset you can use to find any one of nearly 43,000 celestial objects. The 25mm and 10mm eyepieces give you 30x and 75x magnification straight out of the box, giving you superb views of the moon, planets and many nebulae and clusters. Use the bundled 2x Barlow lens and you’ll see even more detail, with a camera adaptor to get you started in astrophotography as well. If you can’t quite afford the Celestron NexStar 6SE, this is the next best thing.
Key specs – Type: 150mm reflector; Mount: Alt-azimuth GoTo mount; Eyepieces supplied: 10mm (75x), 25mm (30x); Extras: SynScan v4 controller, 1.25in rack and pinion focuser, red dot finder
Posted on 20 September 2017 | 5:43 am
11 hours 31 min ago
After a whole year of waiting, Apple’s most eagerly anticipated phone has finally landed. And with its HD display, wireless charging capabilities and the new all-glass body, which is reinforced with aluminium to make it the most durable ever, iPhone fans are in for a treat. But as with every update, all that new technology comes at a price – and the price isn’t cheap.
An iPhone will always set you back a little more than most other phones, but the good news is that the iPhone 8 doesn’t have to cost any more than the iPhone 7, so it’s really not hard to justify the upgrade. In fact, it’s already possible to pick one up for less than its predecessor if you do your research. To make things easier, we’ve pulled out all of the best iPhone 8 deals below.
As with the 6, 6s and 7 series, the iPhone 8 Plus comes with a slightly higher price tag than the smaller model, but you’ll get much more than just a bigger phone for your money. The iPhone 8 Plus has a better battery life, dual cameras (like the iPhone 7 Plus) and True Tone technology for a sharper display. Many networks are now offering heftier data packages, too, so you can make the most of the new specs.
Take a look at our pick of the best iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus deals below. We’ll be updating them regularly as new deals and tariffs are released, so you can get the best price on your next upgrade.
The best iPhone 8 UK deals
Save up to £150 on a brand-new iPhone 8
You don’t have to be on a monthly contract to save on your next upgrade. Trade in your old phone and you can save £150 on a brand-new phone at Carphone Warehouse, including the iPhone 8.
Unlimited minutes and texts | 26GB (4G) data | Total cost: £1,242
You’ll get an extra 10GB of data thrown in on this Vodafone tariff, which is only available from Carphone Warehouse. And that data won’t go to waste – you can now use it in 110 countries.
EE: iPhone 256GB, £48/mth + £280 upfront
Unlimited minutes and texts | 25GB (4G) data | Total cost: £1,432
This EE deal comes with a massive 25GB of data but will only set you back £10 more than the 8GB tariff, saving you £280 off the network’s advertised price. If that’s not enough, you’ll also get 24 months of BT sport and six months of Apple Music thrown in.
Sky Mobile: iPhone 8 64GB, £47/mth
Unlimited minutes and texts | 10GB (4G data) | Total cost: £1,128
Sky Mobile's Swap24 lets you automatically upgrade your handset at the end of the 24-month contract, so you never have to worry about having the latest phone again. And if you're already Sky TV customer, you can save £10 per month on your tariff.
O2: iPhone 8 64GB, £27/mth + £270 upfront
Unlimited minutes and texts | 3GB (4G) data | Total cost: £918
This may well be the cheapest iPhone 8 deal around. For little more than the cost of the handset only, you can get 3GB of data and unlimited calls and texts for two years.
Three: iPhone 256GB - £65 /month + £79 upfront
Unlimited minutes and texts | 100GB (4G) data | Total cost: £1,639
This brand-new deal from Three comes with a huge 100GB of data, so you can enjoy almost-endless downloads and live streaming in any of Three's 60 Feel At Home destinations worldwide. It's available at this introductory price for a limited time.
The best iPhone 8 Plus UK deals
Save up to £100 on an iPhone 8 Plus
If you prefer to buy the handset outright, don't miss this amazing deal from Carphone Warehouse. They'll give you up to £100 off your new phone when you take out a SIM-only deal.
Virgin Media: iPhone 8 Plus 256GB, £25/mth + £929 upfront
5000 minutes | Unlimited texts | 20GB (4G) data | Total cost: £954
This incredible one-month contract will give you the largest iPhone 8 Plus handset and a month of data, minutes and texts for less than the cost of buying the phone outright.
EE: iPhone 8 Plus 256GB, £48/mth + £360 upfront
Unlimited minutes and texts | 25GB (4G) data | Total cost: £1,512
EE's 24-month plan will give you the network's fastest 4G speed, and 25GB of data to make the most of it. You'll also get the Roam At Home Max plan, which lets you use up to 15GB of monthly data around the world.
Unlimited minutes and texts | 3GB (4G) data | Total cost: £1,038
It will be hard to find a more affordable tarriff on the iPhone 8 Plus without splashing more upfront, but you'll still get 3GB of data as well as unlimited calls and texts on this plan from O2.
Sky Mobile: iPhone 8 64GB, £57/mth
Unlimited minutes and texts | 5GB (4G) data | Total cost: £1368
There's absolutely no upfront cost with this iPhone 8 deal from Sky Mobile. Best of all, it's on the Swap24 plan, which means you'll get to automatically upgrade your handset at the end of your contract.
Three: iPhone 8 Plus 64GB, £70/mth + £79 upfront
Unlimited minutes and texts | 100GB (4G) data | Total cost: £1,759
Gone are the days when you could only get 30GB of data per month – now you can get nearly the same amount per week thanks to Three’s new 100GB data plan. Right now you can make the most of the introductory price on the new iPhone 8 Plus and enjoy this new tariff along with your new phone.
Posted on 20 September 2017 | 4:53 am
1 day 7 hours ago
On launch, the Xbox One X is set to support more than 100 titles – with more to come post-launch. Many of the titles on offer won’t come as much of a surprise – think Halo 5, Forza 7, Gears of War 4 – but it’s nice to see strong support from developers for the Xbox One X’s launch.
What does Xbox One X enhanced mean?
Due to the extra power that the Xbox One X has compared to the Xbox One S, developers can leverage the excess performance to “enhance” their games. Think of it as similar to how PS4 Pro can “boost” PS4 games to help them perform better at 1080p or, if a developer has enabled it, allow them to run at 4K resolutions.
For Xbox One X, it’s unclear whether all of the 100 launch games will run in 4K natively, or if they just benefit from a performance boost at 1080p.
Xbox One X enhanced games: the complete list
Posted on 19 September 2017 | 9:29 am