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Huge Currys sale: This weekend only, save big on Samsung, Canon, Apple products and more

Rachel Erdos

4 days 12 hours ago

Currys PC World has just launched a huge sale with hefty savings across a range of products including soundbars, TVs, cameras, MacBooks and cookers.

Top brands including Samsung, Apple, Panasonic, Canon and Nikon are offering savings of as much as £150 as part of a weekend flash sale.

The sale launches at 8pm today, Friday 16 February, and ends at 11.59pm on Monday 19 February.

Here's our pick of the best deals on offer. The discounts are only valid when using the promotional codes listed below:

Samsung soundbar (select models)... Save £150 (SAM150)

Belling range cookers... Save £100 (BELLING100)

Panasonic wireless soundbar... Save £70 (PANA70)

Rangemaster range cookers... Save £70 (RM70)

Apple MacBooks and iMacs (select models)... Save £50 (MAC50)

Nikon D5300 DSLR camera... Save £50 (DSLR50)

Large-screen TVs (select models)... Save £50 (LSTV50)

Canon 1300D DSLR camera... Save £30 (DSLR30)

Samsung MS6500 soundbar... FREE 4K Blu-ray player and bracket worth £49 (SAMBRACKET)

To take advantage of the discounts, you'll need to add the promotional code specific to the product you want to purchase. You'll be asked to add the code in the "Add a voucher" field after you've entered your delivery details.

We've reviewed a number of the products featured in the Currys sale. See what our experts think of the Samsung MS650 soundbar, the Nikon D5300 camera and the Canon 1300D camera.

Posted on 16 February 2018 | 10:01 am

 

Canon Pixma MG4250 review: A low-cost all-in-one inkjet with a great set of features

Darien Graham-Smith

1 day 18 hours ago
Price when reviewed 
58

Canon’s low-cost Pixma MG4520 has been knocking around for several years, but it remains one of the most popular personal inkjet printers around – and there are good reasons for that. It produces very respectable photo prints, and has a great set of features including Wi-Fi and a built-in scanner.

Canon Pixma MG4250 review: What you need to know

The Canon Pixma MG4250 is a compact, low-cost all-in-one colour printer, with support for double-sided and borderless printing. It also includes a 1,200 x 2,400dpi A4 flatbed scanner, a 6.2cm colour LCD display (although this isn’t a touchscreen) and an SD card slot. It can be connected directly to a PC or Mac via USB, or hooked up to your home network via 802.11n Wi-Fi.

READ NEXT: The best inkjet printers, laser printers and all-in-ones you can buy in 2018

Canon Pixma MG4250 review: Price and competition

The Pixma MG4250 is cheap to buy, costing just £58. As always with printers, though, it’s vital to factor in the cost of consumables. The MG4250 takes two cartridges – one for black ink and one containing cyan, magenta and yellow – and the XL supplies are rated for 600 and 400 pages respectively. They cost £19 each, so you’re looking at 3.2p for a typical mono A4 page and 7.9p per colour page. A 10 x 15cm colour photo works out to around 13p, not including the cost of glossy paper. You can save a few quid on ink by buying a twin-pack, containing both black and colour cartridges, for £35.

If that seems steep, you could step up to the £70 Pixma MG5750, which has a similar set of features, but slightly lower print costs – so for regular use it should work out cheaper overall.

Or, for those who want to minimise their initial outlay, Canon’s Pixma iP7250 again produces slightly cheaper prints, and costs about the same as the MG4250 – although it has no scanner. Another option is the HP Photosmart 5520; it’s cheap, but be warned that photo-printing quality isn’t up to Canon’s standards.

Canon Pixma MG4250 review: Features and design

The Pixma MG4250’s matte finish gives it tasteful, understated look. The dinky LCD display at the left edge of the device tilts up for easy access, and the controls sit below it. There’s no fewer than 15 clearly labelled buttons, so it’s easy to kick off scanning tasks, cancel jobs and tweak settings.

Canon Pixma MG4250 review:

When it comes to features, the Pixma MG4250 ticks a lot of boxes. It can handle double-sided printing, and as we’ve mentioned, you can also scan and photocopy with the built-in scanner. There’s no sheet feeder, though, so if you want to digitise a multi-page document you’ll have to manually scan each page in turn.

Alongside USB and Wi-Fi connectivity – all recent versions of Windows and macOS are supported – the printer also supports Apple AirPrint, and there’s an SD card reader at the front so you can print photos directly from flash media. (There’s also a slot for Sony’s MS Duo media, but almost no-one uses that these days.)

The printer itself isn’t huge, measuring just 449 x 304 x 152mm, so paper handling options are limited. For home use though it’s fine: the front tray will take up to 100 sheets, and you can use paper, envelops and labels at weights up to 105gsm. For photo prints you can also use Canon-branded photographic stock at up to 300gsm, in either A4 or 10 x 15cm formats.

Canon Pixma MG4250 review: Print speed and quality

For regular text documents, the Pixma MG4250 is a speedy performer. We found mono pages flew out at a solid 18.2ppm in normal mode, and slightly faster in draft mode. Print quality is great too, with thick black text and no visible spidering, and although solid areas showed a few speckles, it’s more than acceptable for document work.

Colour output is quite a lot slower, with A4 pages emerging at only 3.5ppm in our tests and high-quality 10x15cm photo prints taking around 44 seconds to print. We noticed that the reds were a little on the pale side, and photographs didn’t quite match the overall vibrance of more expensive Pixma models with individual inks. Overall though we were perfectly happy with the results.

Scanning speed is acceptable: you can scan a page in around 14 seconds, or make a colour photocopy in roughly 20 seconds. Digitised photos looked vivid and fairly detailed, although if you really want the best scan quality then HP devices tend to beat Canon.

Canon Pixma MG4250 review: Verdict

Although the Pixma MG4250 is cheap, its running costs aren’t the lowest in the game. If you have a lot of photos to print, it may make sense to pay a bit more for a printer that takes individual colour ink tanks: you could save money in the long run, and the colour quality will probably be slightly better too.

If that’s not a major concern, though, you can’t go wrong. The Pixma MG4250 is a very attractive and versatile all-in-one printer, with a great range of features you wouldn’t expect to find at this price.

Posted on 16 February 2018 | 7:33 am

 

HP Elite Slice review: A good mini PC, but not a great one

Computer Shopper

1 day 18 hours ago
Price when reviewed 
1150

2015 saw the release of the Acer Revo Build, a modular PC that allowed you to add various bits of hardware by stacking block-shaped, clip-on modules on top of each other like an expensive sandwich.

The idea never really took off (it certainly hasn’t changed how we customise and upgrade traditional PCs), but the concept was sound. Perhaps the sleeker, flatter, more powerful HP Elite Slice will have better luck.

READ NEXT: The best desktop PCs you can buy in 2018

This is, strictly speaking, a business PC, which means you get Windows 10 Pro instead of Windows 10 Home, and security features, such as built-in drive encryption. Performance has also been prioritised, as there’s both a 256GB NVMe SSD for faster booting and application loading, and a quad-core 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-6500T CPU.

The latter is a full-fat desktop processor, rather than a mobile chip as used by many other mini PCs. Don’t expect the same kind of horsepower as the standard Core i5-6500 processor, though. The “T” suffix indicates that some speed has been traded off for lower power consumption.

HP Elite Slice review: Modules

As for its modular system, it echoes the Revo Build in that each module shares the same length and width, as well as the matte black finish, as the PC proper – this ensures a pleasantly consistent look, helped further by the fact that each module is fairly thin, so building an unsightly tower is impossible. Modules are added to the bottom of the preceding one, connecting via a physical port. They feel pretty secure, only coming apart when you flip an unlocking switch on the underside of each module.

The catch is that there are only three modules currently available, two of which were included in our review kit (the missing one was a VESA mount so that you can attach the Elite Slice to the back of a monitor). Specifically, we got the Bang and Olufsen Audio Module, which adds three-way speakers and a dual microphone array, and a DVD-RW drive.

Although the former still isn’t much better than your average laptop speakers in terms of warmth and depth, it’s great for voice calls (fittingly, considering the Elite Slice’s enterprise ambitions). The march of digitisation means the DVD-RW drive might be a little more niche, though it could be useful for creating Windows recovery media in a pinch.

We also had the Collaboration Cover installed. It’s not another clip-on module, but instead replaces the PC’s top panel with one that includes capacitive buttons for calling, muting the microphone, raising and lowering volume and hanging up. This sits neatly with the Audio Module, which is perhaps why HP sells them in a bundle.

HP Elite Slice review: Price

The closest we could get to our test spec was £1,150 for the Elite Slice, the Collaboration Cover and the Audio Module, with the Disk Drive Module adding another £66, for a total of £1,216. Alternatively, you can get the vanilla Elite Slice (with the same internal specs but no Collaboration Cover) for £1,040, then add the two clip-on modules for a grand total of £1,177.

In any case, this is one very expensive mini-PC indeed – far more so than any of its rivals, even accounting for the extra components needed to get barebones systems such as the MSI Cubi 3 Silent working.

HP Elite Slice review: Performance

Performance is, at least, higher than most alternatives; the HP Elite Slice completed our 4K benchmarks without incident, scoring 91 in the image test, 84 in the video test, 36 in the multitasking test and 61 overall. That’s 22 points clear of the Asus VivoMini, and 36 points higher than the Cubi 3 Silent.

True, the Zotac Magnus ER51060 is vastly superior for multitasking, thanks to its full-fat Ryzen 5 1400 processor, but the Elite Slice’s image- and video-editing capability helps it come out on top. It packs its power into a much smaller form factor as well.

Despite its business credentials, the PC also did well in our 720p Dirt Showdown benchmark, averaging 31fps on the game’s High settings. Dropping down to Low quality pushed this all the way up to 52fps.

Again, though, this performance (which still isn’t anywhere near what you’d get from a full-size £1,000-ish desktop) comes at a high cost, and other aspects of the Elite Slice are relatively lacking. There are only two full-size USB 3.1 ports, for instance; connectivity isn’t all bad, as you also get both HDMI and DisplayPort outputs, and two USB Type-C ports help make up the numbers, but it feels all too easy to run out of room for accessories and peripherals. It helps that there’s a wireless mouse and keyboard set in the box, which can share a single USB receiver, but neither are particularly responsive or comfortable to use.

In addition, while the 256GB SSD is fast, it’s awfully low capacity to serve as your main drive. On the bright side, you can help rectify this yourself by opening up the Elite Slice; doing so grants access to an empty 2.5in drive tray, which can hold either an SSD or compact hard disk. Two M.2 slots are also accessible, though these are already occupied by the main SSD and an 802.11ac Wi-Fi card.

HP Elite Slice review: Verdict

There are reasons to consider the HP Elite Slice: it’s fast by mini PC standards, and the modular system is the best we’ve seen on any Windows device. Hopefully more modules are still to be released, as the current selection is a bit sparse.

However, although this can be a good PC, it’s not a great one. The only thing that makes its high price more palatable is its performance, but if that’s your chief concern, the Magnus ER51060 beat the Elite Slice’s multitasking benchmark score by more than double. If, on the other hand, you can get by with more basic processing power, the Asus VivoMini is a more well-rounded mini PC at a better price.

Posted on 16 February 2018 | 5:33 am

 

Best Android phones 2018: From flagship killers to brilliant budget Android smartphones

Vaughn Highfield

4 days 17 hours ago

Android is the world's most popular smartphone platform. If you’re not shackled to an iPhone – or one of the few still using a BlackBerry device – it's the obvious choice.

And the range of Android phones out there is enormous. That means you're sure to find something to suit you perfectly – as long as you know what you're looking for.

Here's our buying guide to Android phones, with advice on choosing the perfect handset for you and our pick of the absolute best Android smartphones out there in 2018.

READ NEXT: The best smartphones in 2018

How to buy the right Android phone for you

When it comes to picking a new smartphone, there’s a multitude of features to consider. While aesthetics are important, you should certainly pay attention to features and performance. Most flagship phones (which tend to cost upwards of £600) will be more than satisfactory in all areas, but cheaper devices may come with various compromises. You can boil the key considerations down to five key questions.

What's the best smartphone display for me?

A high-resolution display is nice, but on a device this size you probably won’t notice any difference between a 1080p screen or a 1440p one – and 4K is completely pointless. What's much more important is contrast and colour reproduction. 

AMOLED displays always look fantastic, with perfect contrast and excellent sRGB coverage. Budget phones tend to opt for standard IPS LCD screens, usually at around 1080p or 720p, but that's still fine if you don’t plan to do a lot of photo editing or movie watching on your device.

READ NEXT: The best budget phones out there right now

How much storage do I need?

You'll need space to store your apps, and you might want to keep photos and music on the device too. That's less of an issue than it used to be, though, as apps like  Google Photos and Google Music mean your personal media can live in the cloud. Internal storage sizes tend to start at the 32GB mark on flagships and around 16GB on budget devices; many handsets let you use a microSD card to cheaply expand this.

What's the best version of Android?

These phones are all Android devices, but they can look and feel quite different. Some manufacturers –  notably Huawei, LG and Samsung – put their own customised "skin" on top of the OS, while the likes of Google and OnePlus use stock Android to deliver a clean and crisp experience for its users. They'll all run the same apps though, so it’s mostly a case of personal preference.

What's the best smartphone camera?

A decent camera is a great feature – it means you can always capture the moment without having carry around a dedicated camera, and share your snaps in a few taps. Most flagships have excellent built-in cameras, but this certainly isn't something you can take for granted in a mid-range or budget phone. If photo quality matters to you, make sure you investigate the camera before investing.

What is the best smartphone for battery life?

Smartphone battery life has improved over the years, but we’re still living in a world where a charge may only just get you through the day. Bigger phones tend to have better longevity, though – since they can pack in bigger batteries – and some budget phones also have impressive stamina for their size and price. Do your research and, as a general rule, go for the highest-capacity battery you can find.

READ NEXT: Best phone battery life

The best Android phones you can buy in 2018

1. Google Pixel 2: Hands down the best phone camera

Price: £629 | Buy it now from Carphone Warehouse

Google’s own-brand Android smartphone – now in its second generation – is a great showcase for the platform. In most regards it's on par with other companies' flagships; what sets it apart is the camera, which is simply in a class of its own. Although it has just a single lens, it's capable of capturing absolutely stunning photos that put other cameras to shame.

You can also opt for the larger (though more expensive) Pixel 2 XL which comes with the same fantastic camera and a 2,560 x 1,440-pixel screen.

Read our full review for more details

Key specs – Processor: 2.45GHz Snapdragon 835; Screen: 5in 1,920 x 1,080; Camera: 12.2 megapixel; Storage: 64/128GB; Operating system: Android 8

2. Samsung Galaxy S8: The near-perfect all-rounder

Price: £679 | Buy it now from the Smartphone Company

The Galaxy S8 is, hands down, the best high-end smartphone on the market today. It looks gorgeous, with its curved screen, huge display and sumptuous glass back – and while the camera isn't quite a match for the Pixel 2's, it's still a superb snapper, capable of taking sharp, vibrant photos in all conditions. As we've come to expect from Samsung, the Galaxy S8 also boasts a brilliant, high-resolution display with perfect contrast and dazzling colour accuracy, so it's a joy to use whatever you're doing.

Read our full review for more details

Key specs – Processor: 2.3GHz Samsung Exynos 8895; Screen: 5.8in 2,560 x 1,440; Camera: 12 megapixel; Storage: 64GB; Operating system: Android 7

3. OnePlus 5T: Best mid-price Android phone

Price: £449 | Buy it now from Laptops Direct

OnePlus' mission is to produce phones that rival the best on the market, at significantly lower prices. The OnePlus 5T undeniably hits that goal: it's not exactly cheap, but it’s  incredibly slick for the price, with a gorgeous 6in edge-to-edge AMOLED display, the latest Snapdragon 835 processor and a solid dual-camera setup for impressive low-light photography.

Read our full review for more details

Key specs – Processor: 2.45GHz Snapdragon 835; Screen: 6in 2,160 x 1,080; Camera: 20 megapixel, 16 megapixel; Storage: 64/128GB; Operating system: Android 7.1

READ NEXT: The best smartphone deals in 2018

4. Xperia XZ1 Compact: Ideal for fans of smaller screens

Price: £500 | Buy it now from The Smartphone Company

Smartphones seem to be getting bigger and bigger; if you’re not a fan of that trend, Sony’s 4.6in Xperia XZ1 Compact is perfect for you. It's loaded with all the same flagship features and specs as the larger Xperia XZ1, but in a more pocket-friendly format. For anyone seeking the undiluted Android experience in a smaller frame, this is the one to go for.

Read our full review for more details

Key specs – Processor: 2.45GHz Snapdragon 835; Screen: 4.6in 1,280 x 720; Camera: 19 megapixel; Storage: 32GB; Operating system: Android 8

5. Samsung Galaxy J5: The best budget smartphone

Price: £240 | Buy it now from The Smartphone Company

Compared to high-end phones like the Pixel 2 and Samsung's own Galaxy S8, the J5 is terrifically affordable. Nothing about it feels cheap, though: it offers a monstrous battery life, a dazzling Super AMOLED display and performance that’s on par with far pricier models. It's proof that you don’t have to spend monstrous amounts of money to get a decent smartphone.

Read our full review for more details

Key specs – Processor: 1.6GHz Exynos 7870; Screen: 5.2in 1,280 x 720; Camera: 13 megapixel; Storage: 16GB; Operating system: Android 7

Posted on 14 February 2018 | 10:46 am

 

Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra review: An excellent, albeit huge phone

Edward Munn

6 days 16 hours ago
Price when reviewed 
379

The Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra was just one of a handful of phones launched at CES, along with its smaller sibling the Sony Xperia XA2. Most manufacturers, including Sony, opted to hold back their flagship devices until later in the spring, but that doesn’t mean the Xperia XA2 Ultra isn’t worthy of your attention. If you go ahead and buy one today, it’s unlikely you’ll regret it, not least because you’ll save a fair bit of money compared to buying the Xperia XZ Premium.

READ NEXT: The best budget smartphones of 2018

Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra review: What you need to know

Like many of today’s mid-range handsets, the Xperia XA2 looks every bit like a flagship device at first glance, and it’s not too far behind in terms of specs either.

For starters, it has a large 6in (1,920 x 1,080) screen, and there’s also a 23-megapixel rear camera and a dual front-facing camera (which features 16-megapixel and 8-megapixel sensors). A mid-range octa-core Snapdragon 630 processor powers things, with 4GB of RAM and the choice between a 32GB and 64GB model, both of which are expandable via microSD card. The phone also has a sizeable 3,850mAh battery and runs Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box.

Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra review: Price and competition

At only £380, the Xperia XA2 Ultra is £80 more expensive than its smaller alternative and launches later this February.

The stiffest competition probably comes from the OnePlus 5T, which is a smidge more expensive at £450. Other decent handsets at this price range include the moddable Moto Z2 Play (£365), the Honor 7X (£270), Honor 9 (£300), and HTC’s U11 Life (£345).

Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra review: Design

The first thing you’ll notice about the Xperia XA2 Ultra is its considerable size. There’s an enormous 6in screen on the front, which makes it a perfect device if you stream lots of Netflix, BBC iPlayer or Amazon Video on your commute.

However, it’s also the largest and weightiest smartphone I can ever remember holding. It’s 163mm tall, 9.5mm thick and tips the scales at an almost absurd 221g. While the bezels to the left and right of the display are suitably thin, its top and bottom bezels are considerably chunky by modern standards, too.

Despite this, you can just about hold the thing one-handed, and the phone looks and feels solid. It has rounded sides, making it easier to grip, and chamfered edges at the top and bottom, which although a little sharp, look great. Gorilla Glass 4 protects the front and the back is coated in a matte plastic, so it doesn’t pick up fingerprints as easily as say, the Honor 9. 

On the bottom of the handset, there’s a USB Type-C port with Quick Charge 3.0 support and on the right side, you get a volume rocker, the circular power button and a dedicated camera shutter button. The microSD and nano-SIM slots are on the left, beneath a removable flap.

Finally, at the top is a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a circular fingerprint reader is placed just below the camera on the rear of the phone. There’s NFC too, so you can use it for contactless payments, but what the Xperia XA2 doesn’t offer is any kind of dust or water resistance.

It’s available in silver, gold, blue and black, and looks nice in all but the gold that we were sent to review, which has an odd greenish tint when it catches the light and looks like it belongs in a Bond movie or a hip hop video - I’m not sure which.

Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra review: Display

Sony is yet to adopt the trendy long-tall 18:9 aspect-ratio display we’ve seen other manufacturers slowly move towards over the last year. Instead, the XA2 Ultra uses the old-fashioned 16:9 aspect ratio and in many ways that’s not a bad thing – after all, it allows for more space for my fat thumbs when typing.

The Ultra’s 5.2in display may only be capable of reaching a Full HD resolution, but in the flesh, the screen looks great. Images are sharp, colours are punchy and a contrast ratio of 1,607:1 is fantastic.

Place our X-Rite colour calibrator on the screen, and you’ll see why. Engage the slightly-saturated “Ultra-Vivid” colour mode and the screen returns a coverage of 92.3% of the DCI-P3 colour space, which is excellent and the display is also capable of reaching a sunlight-friendly 616cd/m2 peak brightness. This is a pretty darn fancy screen for a sub-£400 phone.

Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra review: Performance and battery life

With the XA2 Ultra ticking all the right boxes so far, there had to be some kind of compromise, and CPU performance is its biggest foible. With a Snapdragon 630 processor and 4GB of RAM, this is hardly the quickest phone on the market, and even compared to other mid-range handsets like the OnePlus 5T and Honor 9, it feels pretty sluggish.

However, the 1080p display keeps things reasonably smooth in casual games and the silver lining to its slower processor is that the XA2 Ultra has a decent battery life – its 3,850mAh battery means it can comfortably last almost a day and a half with moderate use, and it recorded an impressive 16hrs and 54mins in our video rundown test.

Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra review: Camera

The Xperia XA2 faces strong competition in terms of camera performance, and it fends of its rivals in terms of specifications, at least. On the rear is a 23-megapixel snapper with an f/2.0 aperture, a decent-sized 1/2.3in sensor, phase-detect autofocus and a single-tone LED flash.

The front-facing camera arrangement combines two cameras – one with a resolution of 16 megapixels and an aperture of f/2.0 and the other an 8-megapixel snapper with an f/2.4 aperture. They’re also supported by single LED flash, which can help brighten your shots in low light.

In good light, the rear camera is great. It consistently outperformed the OnePlus 5T at sunrise, especially with HDR mode enabled, perfectly reproducing the winter sun’s golden tones. Things weren’t quite so good in low light, unfortunately, especially compared to the OnePlus 5T, which captured much cleaner images.

The dual front camera setup lets you capture both regular and wide-angle selfies, but unfortunately the quality of both cameras was also somewhat disappointing, especially in low light. As for video, you can capture 4K, but not in the main part of the video recording app. There’s also no image stabilisation in the phone's 1080p 60fps mode, but you do get HDR video at 1080p and very good stabilisation.

It’s important to remember that the Sony Xperia XA2 costs only £380 - not £580 - so in this context, its cameras still represent excellent value for money.

Sony Xperia XA2 review: Verdict

There’s little you can fault with the XA2 Ultra. It’s great to look at; the rear camera produces excellent-quality stills and video; and it’s got a really solid battery life. When it comes to your next smartphone upgrade, those are three of the most important boxes ticked, especially for a mid-range handset, where you can’t necessarily have everything.

But personally, I find it slightly too big and weighty, so I’d much more likely opt for its smaller sibling, the XA2, which has more or less the same features, with the exception of its smaller battery and single front camera.

And it’s also worth remembering that Honor produces an 18:9, 6in smartphone for £100 less than the XA2 Ultra. Although its battery life and performance aren’t quite on par, it’s slimmer and lighter, so might have the edge depending on your tastes.

Posted on 14 February 2018 | 8:57 am