Category Archives: Tech

Cyber Monday 2017: everything you need to know about this year's UK deals

The 2017 edition of Cyber Monday is not to be if you like a tech bargain – which is all of us. Marking the end of the biggest shopping weekend of the year, following the US Thanksgiving holiday and Black Friday, Cyber Monday sees hordes of keen shoppers fire up their computers and browsers to peruse some of the best deals on offer.

The term “Cyber Monday” was coined more than a decade ago to encourage people to do more shopping online – web retailers offered more discounts, shoppers picked up more stuff, and the cycle has continued to get where we are today.

Last year was another record-breaker, according to the stats: the $3.45 billion that users spent online on Cyber Monday 2016 made it the biggest day in US ecommerce history, according to Adobe Digital Insights.

In the UK a quarter of all consumers were planning to pick up a discounted deal on Black Friday and Cyber Monday last year, and that strong interest shows no signs of abating just yet. Brace yourself for another busy day of online shopping this year.

When is Cyber Monday 2017?

The weekend of discounts begins with the Thanksgiving holiday on the Thursday, then Black Friday the day after, and Cyber Monday three days after that. Cyber Monday 2017 is going to be on November 27.

Unlike Black Friday, where the focus is traditionally on high street stores as well as online retailers, Cyber Monday is more about shopping on the web. In fact the marketing term was first dreamt up as a way to get people to buy more of their stuff online, at a time when web shopping wasn’t as familiar and as straightforward as it is now.

The whole weekend is seen as the last few days of major discounts before the run up to Christmas, and so people are often tempted to splurge the cash on gifts for themselves or friends and family – the total spending from last year was reportedly close to £6 billion in the UK (over both Cyber Monday and Black Friday).

Cyber Monday has become Cyber Monday because of good timing: shoppers are either clicking away back at work after a Thanksgiving break, or surfing the web during an extended holiday off the back of the weekend.

For the purposes of working out when Cyber Monday is scheduled to happen, remember that Thanksgiving always falls on the fourth Thursday in November in the States, and Cyber Monday then marks the end of that weekend. While the holiday isn’t as widely celebrated over here in the UK, the same big shopping days now apply on both sides of the Atlantic.

Why Cyber Monday matters

Cyber Monday is a win-win for shoppers and retailers alike, driving a strong uptick in sales as the holiday shopping season starts, and giving all of us some very tempting offers at the same time. It’s really no surprise that Cyber Monday continues to grow in scale every year.

And in the opinion of Dom Joseph, CEO of ad tech firm Captify: “What works very much in Cyber Monday’s favour is that it is the last significant retail ‘day’ before Christmas, in which people have the opportunity to pick up a heavily discounted bargain.”

Black Friday is an important influence as well as well, because without Black Friday there’s no Cyber Monday. If you’ve missed out on the weekend sales or not had time to get online, then you’ve still got Cyber Monday to fall back on, with shoppers taking up the last opportunity to land a deal before December starts.

Cyber Monday just keeps getting bigger and bigger – or at least that’s how it feels – and so many consumers now deliberately wait for the day (and Black Friday) to come around, saving their cash beforehand. That makes the battle between retailers even more competitive, which in turn should give us some very appealing deals to pick from.

Shopping on Cyber Monday 2017

All the usual benefits of online shopping apply to shopping on Cyber Monday 2017: you can do it from the comfort of your own home, you can compare dozens of products and prices in seconds, and you can purchase your goods almost instantly.

There’s only one small downside, which is you might not get your gadgets immediately, but even so, with delivery times getting faster and faster and the risk of wasting your time queueing on the high street, many people would consider that a trade-off that’s well worth it.

While a few Cyber Monday deals have some kind of time restriction on them, a lot are going to be running all day, stats from previous years show. You don’t necessarily have to sneak out of the office to get your order in.

According to the experts, Cyber Monday also sees a broader range of deals across each individual retailer, so it’s less about one-off discounts and more about lower prices across the board. That said, some stores will follow-up Black Friday discounts with further reductions on Cyber Monday if they still need to shift some stock.

The best Cyber Monday deals from last year

For the last few years we’ve been scouring the web on your behalf for the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, helping you nab the best tech at the best prices. These were some of the highlights from Cyber Monday 2016.

Sony PS4 Pro

The PS4 Pro had only just arrived on the scene last year but retailers were still happy to knock a serious chunk of change off it – Amazon was knocking $60 off the console in the US, for example, one of several deals around.

Xbox One S

Sony’s console wasn’t the only one that online stores were happy to flog for a discount, because the Xbox One S featured in many a deal too: on Amazon you could pick up an Xbox One S and two games for less than £200.

Dell discounts

Dell was definitely getting into the spirit of Cyber Monday 2016, knocking a significant 12% off all of its laptops and computers (including one of our favorites) with the code SAVE12. Look for more of the same this year.

Gaming laptops

Speaking of laptop deals, Cyber Monday shoppers could get a bumper £200 knocked off the cost of the ASUS GL552VW 15.6 inch Gaming Laptop, down from £999.99 to just £799.99 during the course of the day.

iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus

Retailers weren’t leaving Apple products out of their Cyber Monday 2017 discounts – certain models were being knocked down on contracts so there was no up front cost to pay, just the monthly contract price.

What to expect from Cyber Monday 2017

With each passing year, online retailers get savvier when it comes to planning their Black Friday and Cyber Monday campaigns, but shoppers are getting more discerning too – as we’ve said, it’s already a win-win deal for both sides, but both sides are still continuing to try and get the best deals possible.

You can expect deals to be in place well before November as retailers and manufacturers get their ducks in a row, but they won’t go live until the actual day of Cyber Monday. That said, some deals will carry over from Black Friday, and some might go live on Sunday, so it’s a question of checking in as often as you can for discounts.

In recent years we’ve seen a pattern of sales and discounts continuing across the whole of December, so you can think of Cyber Monday as a starting gun for the Christmas sales – you don’t necessarily have to panic if you miss out on Cyber Monday itself.

Sales were up 12.1% on Cyber Monday 2016 compared with the year before, IBM analysts say, and we’re expecting another strong day of business in 2017. One trend to look for is more people buying from smartphones than on the desktop, making snapping up the bargains even more convenient.

Predicting the best Cyber Monday deals of 2017

Games consoles

Consoles are always primed for discounts come Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and 2017 should be no different. We’re expecting to see some deals done on the PS4 Slim, the PS4 Pro, and maybe even Microsoft’s Project Scorpio – if it’s out in time. Whether or not the new Xbox is around for Cyber Monday 2017, the old ones could well be discounted too.

4K HDR OLED TVs

TV tech continues to advance rapidly, with 4K and HDR now becoming the norm – given that pace, and the fact that expensive new models get out of date quickly, Cyber Monday 2017 could be the perfect time for you to pick up some hefty discounts on a brand new flat screen for your living room. A number of stores will probably be running TV deals.

iPhone 8

It sounds like Apple is planning something very special indeed for the iPhone 8, and given that Apple products are always popular on Cyber Monday, we’d expect to see some decent offers for Cyber Monday 2017. Look for network operators reducing the up-front cost of Apple’s new handset, and Apple itself dishing out gift cards and special offers for the day.

Samsung Galaxy S8

If you’re not taken with Apple’s line in smartphone handsets then you can always look out for a deal on the Samsung Galaxy S8 or the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus. Again, the simple reasoning is that these are very popular products, and very expensive products, so any knock-down is going to have people rushing for the buy button on Cyber Monday 2017.

DSLR cameras

DSLR cameras are similar to big screen TVs in some ways – expensive bits of kit that people don’t necessarily rush to replace very often. With a slew of new models already out this year and due to arrive before the end of 2017, Cyber Monday could be the perfect opportunity to save a few pounds or a few hundred pounds on that camera you want.

Cyber Monday 2017 FAQ: what it is, when it happens and where to get the best deals

What is Cyber Monday?

Cyber Monday is the first Monday after the Thanksgiving Thursday, marking the end of four straight days of eye-catching deals and the start of the holiday shopping season.

When is Cyber Monday 2017?

Cyber Monday 2017 will be Monday, November 27 this year, so get your credit and debit cards primed for the occasion.

So what’s Black Friday 2017?

Black Friday is the Friday before Cyber Monday, just after Thanksgiving. The two days bookmark the weekend and are often pretty similar in terms of discounts.

Are Cyber Monday deals genuine?

Most of the time, yes, though keep your wits about you and make sure you’re checking a reputable guide (such as this one) for some tips. Many deals have been planned and agreed in advance, though you will sometimes get stores announcing spontaneous discounts in response to market demand.

Where can I find the best Cyber Monday deals?

Here on TechRadar we’ll be doing our very best to pick out the cream of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals for you, so you don’t have to refer to any other guide – stick with us and we’ll bring you all the hits and some of the misses from the store sales.

How do I get the best Cyber Monday 2017 deals?

Try not to get too carried away with the thrill of bargain hunting and work out how much you have to spend in advance. Also, do your research online to find out how much goods were selling for before Cyber Monday – sometimes those discounts aren’t quite as huge as they might appear.

There’s nothing wrong with being spontaneous, as long as you can afford it, but the more planning you put in the better – then you can tell which sales are worth going for and which aren’t (watch out for outdated tech that the stores are trying to shift. Finally, keep this page bookmarked for the weekend.

Can I get cashback on Cyber Monday deals?

Sometimes, yes. Your debit card or credit card may offer cashback on purchases, and sites such as Quidco often offer cashback for new customers of big-name online shops. It’s definitely worth looking into, not just for Black Friday but for any online shopping.

Am I protected when I buy on Cyber Monday?

Yes, as with any other day. In the UK, purchases made from a company online are covered by a wealth of consumer protection legislation, including the Consumer Contracts Regulations, which cover areas like delivery and returning faulty goods.

How can I stay safe on Cyber Monday?

Wherever there’s a crowd, the scammers gather too, so stay safe out there. Make sure you’re doing your browsing through a modern, updated browser on a modern, updated operating system with your security tools carefully configured, and avoid any sketchy-looking emails (or indeed Facebook posts) promising Cyber Monday deals that are too good to be true or lead to sites you’ve never heard of.

The best Walmart Cyber Monday deals 2017

Walmart’s Cyber Monday deals for 2017 are only weeks away. They land the Monday following Black Friday. With the growing popularity of the online shopping holiday, Walmart’s Cyber Monday could offer some of the biggest deals around.

While Black Friday and the week leading up to it will offer plenty of deals, Cyber Monday has been growing into the bigger shopping day, and it serves as one of the best and final chances to land a load of discounts before the winter holidays. Thanks to the online nature of Cyber Monday, finding great discounts and getting products doesn’t involve any fist fights over the last item on the shelf.

Walmart carries all sorts products, from TVs and computers to game consoles and spare tires. We’ll be keeping a close eye on all the deals leading up to Cyber Monday and on the day itself, so you can get your hands on an Xbox One X or a new smartphone at the best price possible.

Expect the latest video game titles like Call of Duty WW2 and Destiny 2 to come with awesome discounts or for free in console bundles. Upgrading to a new 4K TV will also be extra affordable when Cyber Monday 2017 comes around.

Here’s what we expect to see on sale for Walmart Cyber Monday 2017, including some items currently on sale as a good preview of what’s to come.

Early Walmart deals and Cyber Monday ad leaks

The Cyber Monday date is on November 27, which is the last Monday in 2017. Right before that day, we expect to see Walmart Cyber Monday ads leak. This means we’ll see what’s going to be on sale ahead of time.

Until the Walmart ad leaks, we have a bunch of items on sale today (below), and they’re all likely to be even cheaper come Cyber Monday. It’s usually how the holiday shopping process works.

Google Chromebooks start at $149 Chromebook discounts have grown with the popularity of Google’s back-to-basics laptop. It’s a real threat to Windows 10 laptops with prices falling anywhere from $149 to $250 on discount.

Dell Desktop Computers at $457 give you enough power in a clean all-in-one design that used to cost a fortune. It’s close to dropping into the Under $400 category, and it’s a safe bet Walmart’s Cyber Monday deals will take it there.

50-inch Philips HDTV for $378 is a big-screen television that gives you a 1080p resolution without falling for 4KTV prices. Walmart will have those too for Black Friday, but this deal is is still plenty affordable right now.

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 starting at $749 is now the last-generation Surface 2-in-1, but has long been one of our favorites – made even more excellent by this deal.

Expected Walmart Cyber Monday deals

Cyber Monday is going to feature the above deals at even better prices, as well as new deals not yet seen below. At least those are our advance Cyber Monday Walmart predictions.

(Image: © Microsoft)

PS4 and Xbox One Cyber Monday deals: Sony and Microsoft wage a consumer-benefiting battle to price drop their respective home consoles during the online shopping period, and we could see another $50 off the systems in addition to multiple free games included.

Google Home deals: Walmart sells Google Home and it made it even cheaper during Cyber Monday last year by reducing the price by $30. The best part is it seems Walmart carries this out of spite for Amazon Echo from its chief rival.

4KTV deals during Cyber Monday: You can’t go wrong with buying a 4KTV on discount, and Walmart is going to be a major retailer that price drops televisions this upcoming holiday. It’s going to be a must-have if you’re stuck in 1080p.

Walmart drones deals for Cyber Monday 2017: Drones with HD camera will be just as popular this holiday season as they were last year, and we hope to see another DJI Phantom that was over $1,000 and went down to $447.

More Walmart Cyber Monday deals to come

Cyber Monday is the semi-relaxed online shopping day where you don’t have to go in to Walmart in order to find the very best deals. That’s a relief to everyone who wants to avoid ‘The people of Walmart.’

These deals listed are just a preview of what’s likely to come from the No. 1 retailer in the US. It may be known for its stores, but the website is what’s popular come Cyber Monday every year.

Best 55-inch 4K TVs of 2017: the best medium-sized screens for any budget

When you’re looking for the best 55-inch 4K TVs in 2017, you’ll need to look for one that really strikes a balance between size, price, and all the high-end tech that’s in style right now. With winter around the corner and the temperatures start to chill things out, sending us all scrambling back indoors, we’ll turn to our TVs more and more. If your current TV is starting to get older, the free-falling cost of 4K HDR TVs may make today the best time to find a replacement.

TVs of this size are popular, and that results in TV companies paying plenty of attention, boasting all the best features and screen technology. That means there will almost always be a 55-inch TV that easily caters to all of your specific needs, particularly if you want to get on the 4K train.

From LCD, LED, OLED and QLED, you’ll find just about every type of display technology at 55 inches coming from television manufacturers like Sony, Samsung, LG and Panasonic. Even better, they offer 55-inch TVs loaded with new smart features.

Here are our recommendations for the best 55-inch 4K TVs you can buy today, with all the details you need to know about what makes them worth buying. 

1. The best 55-inch TV of 2017: LG OLED55C7

Stunning pictures at an affordable price puts OLED back on top

Screen size: 55-inch | Tuner: Freeview HD | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Panel technology: OLED | Smart TV: webOS 3.5 | Curved: No | Dimensions: 1,225 x 714 x 48.9 mm

Stunning contrast-rich pictures

Gorgeous ultra-thin design

Excellent operating system

Lacks brightness vs LCD

The LG OLED C7 is the clear winner of the best 55 inch 4K TV game – available in a 55-inch iteration as well as a 65-inch. It’s at the top because it delivers better brightness and light control than last year’s C6 (something that up until now, we thought impossible), making it a high dynamic range performer that doesn’t sacrifice OLED’s class-leading standard dynamic range capabilities. It delivers these new beautiful picture capabilities at a price that finally makes OLED a financially viable alternative to top-end LCD sets  making it, beyond a doubt, one of 2017’s most desirable TVs.

There are other OLEDs worth considering this year (see: Sony’s A1E OLED or LG’s B7 and W7) but when we think about just how much LG’s OLED C7 offers for its price, there’s just no panel from 2017 that can top it.

Read the full review: LG OLED55C7

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Best 55 inch TV

2. The best mid-range 55-inch TV: Sony XBR-55X900E

Sleek, capable and almost what we’d consider affordable

Screen size: 55-inches | Tuner: Freeview HD | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Panel technology: Direct-lit LCD with local dimming | Smart TV: Android TV | Curved: No | Dimensions: 1225.0 x 710.0 x 44.3mm

Excellent motion handling

Great contrast

HDR isn’t the brightest

Remote doesn’t feel as premium

While LCDs haven’t quite achieved the same black levels as their OLED rivals, the Sony X900E’s HDR performance comes stunningly close. 

This is possible because of the set’s direct LED backlight, which allows it to achieve a level of brightness uniformity that edge-lit displays just can’t reach. 

And with the fantastic detail and motion handling, the Sony BRAVIA XBR-55X900E (called the KD-55XE90 in the UK) maintains an unbelievably balance between price and performance for mid-range 4K TVs and is well worth considering … even if its Android TV interface can feel a little clunky, and its remote a little flimsy. 

Read the full review of the 65-inch version: Sony BRAVIA XBR-65X900E

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best 50 and 55 inch TVs

3. The best budget 55-inch TV: TCL 55P607

TCL’s 55P607 is simply the best budget TV of 2017

Screen size: 55-inch | Tuner: N/A | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Panel technology: LED | Smart TV: Roku TV | Curved: No | Dimensions: 1,239 x 717 x 36 mm

Bright, colorful HDR

Roku TV is amazing

Upscaling isn’t world-class

Poor black level performance

For years TV manufacturers have been trying tirelessly to find a way to bring a great performing Television at an affordable price, and so far they’ve been unsuccessful. Until now. 

TCL’s P-Series 55P607 does just that – it packs amazing technology under the hood, including support for Dolby Vision and WCG, in an affordable package and the price will only continue to drop once the seasonal sales start in November.

If you like your TVs bright, colorful and well-stocked with the latest display technologies, the TCL P-Series 55P607 should be at the top of your list.

Read the full review: TCL P-Series (55P607)

Philips 55PUT6400

4. The best premium 55-inch TV: Sony BRAVIA A1E OLED

Sony’s brand-new flagship TV for 2017 is returning to OLED

Screen size: 55-inch | Tuner: Freeview HD | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Panel technology: OLED | Smart TV: Android TV | Curved: No | Dimensions: 773 x 1239 x 266mm

Gorgeous picture quality

Innovative and excellent sound

It’s not very bright

Android TV is clunky

If you have the money to bankroll them, the 55A1E – and the A1E OLED series overall – are crowd pleasers in just about every way. Their ‘picture only’ design has been beautifully realized, managing to be simultaneously subtle and dramatic. Their vibrating screen delivers a far more powerful and effective sound performance than we’d ever thought possible.  

The real stars of the show here, though, are the A1’s exquisitely detailed, contrast-rich and colorful pictures. These prove emphatically what we’ve long suspected: More brands using OLED technology can only lead to good things. 

Read the full review: Sony Bravia OLED A1E

Panasonic TX 50CX802B

5. For bright HDR pictures: Samsung QE55Q9FAM

1,500 nits peak brightness really brings out the best in HDR

Screen size: 55-inch | Tuner: Freeview HD | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Panel technology: QLED | Smart TV: Tizen | Curved: No | Dimensions: 687mm x 1121mm x 211mm

Fantastic color levels

Very bright screen

HDR color banding can occur

Backlight clouding can be an issue

Samsung was the first brand to introduce an HDR-compatible screen way back in 2015, but it’s not been resting on its haunches ever since. 

It’s latest flagship, the QN55Q9F (QE55Q9FAM in the UK), is a perfect example of this. It ups the brightness to 1500 nits, 50% higher than the level required for UHD Premium certification, making it one of the brightest TV we’ve ever tested. 

Outside of an impressive-sounding number this brightness has a real impact on the set’s image quality. Detail is preserved in even the brightest areas of the image, and colors are exceptionally vivid and bright. That means even non-HDR content looks fantastic thanks to Samsung’s SDR upscaling technology. 

No TV is perfect, and the Q9F can occasionally suffer from some backlight clouding around bright objects and some settings cause color striping in HDR colors, but in all other respects this is the best television around at the moment. 

Read the full review: Samsung Q9F QLED TV

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Hisense 50K321

6. The best entry-level OLED: LG OLED55B7

LG’s entry level OLEDs continue to impress

Screen size: 55-inch | Tuner: Freeview Play, Freeview Satellite | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Panel technology: OLED | Smart TV: webOS 3.5 | Curved: No | Dimensions: 702 x 1124 x 247mm

Excellent all-round image quality

Complete HDR support

No Dolby Atmos passthrough

Mediocre onboard audio

LG’s ‘B’ line of OLEDs has consistently offered a great entry point into the display technology without compromising on what makes it so exciting. 

And the B7 series is no different. 

Contained within the TVs is exactly the same panel that’s powering the more expensive C7, E7 and yes even the W7 LG televisions, which means an exceptional bump over last year’s OLED panels at a much lower price. 

So where has LG saved the money? In a word, sound. The B7’s downward firing speakers are the worst all the company’s OLED TVs. Not only that, but the set is also currently unable to pass Dolby Atmos to an external sound system over HDMI (although a firmware update to fix this is on the way). 

If however, you’re content to put up with a standard surround sound experience, then the B7 is a fantastic entryway into a piece of TV tech that still feels futuristic in 2017. 

Read the full review: LG OLED55C7

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Best 50 and 55 inch TVs

7. For a full cinema experience: Philips OLED 901F

Philips’ OLED shines brighter than most other 55-inch TVs

Screen size: 55-inch | Tuner: Freeview HD | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Panel technology: OLED | Smart TV: Android TV | Curved: No | Dimensions: 1115 x 707 x 316 mm

Stunning picture quality

Spectacular, premium design

No Dolby Vision or 3D

Lacks brightness versus LCD

AV enthusiasts living in the UK have it good. Not only do you have access to great OLEDs from Sony and LG, but Philips and Panasonic each have their own line of infinite contrast screens that are exclusive to your neck of the woods.

Of them, one of our favourites is the Philips 55POS901F: a gorgeous looking 55-inch TV built around an OLED panel. The screen makes a stunning first impression thanks to the radiance of its three-sided Ambilight system and the gleaming metallic purity of its bodywork. 

It’s much more than just a pretty face, though. 

By the time you’ve added to the 55POS901F’s heady 4K HDR picture mix OLED’s ability to be watched from wider angles than current LCD TVs without losing colour and contrast, you have on your hands one of the best TVs on the market, even in the especially competitive 55-inch screen space.

Read the full review: Philips 55POS901F

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Panasonic TX 50CS520

8. For budget-conscious buyers: Sony XBR-55X850E

A 55-inch 4K HDR TV that doesn’t destroy your bank account

Screen size: 55-inch | Tuner: Freeview HD | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Panel technology: LED | Smart TV: Android TV | Curved: No | Dimensions: 690 x 1126 x 230mm

Great value

Good HDR pictures

HDR isn’t very bright

Android TV is frustrating

By introducing its exceptional X1 video processor further down its TV range than ever before and being brave enough to dial down the brightness a bit to deliver a more even, immersive backlight experience, Sony’s struck mid-range gold with the XBR-X850E (KD-55XE8596 in the UK). 

While it’s not the brightest or most colorful TV on the list, the simple fact is that few TVs we’ve seen in recent times have balanced price, contrast, brightness and color quite so all-round effectively as Sony’s mid-range hero.

All that said, US customers will have to upgrade to Sony’s 65-inch iteration of the X850E if they want the mid-range price break, while UK residents get to happily enjoy this one in the smaller 55-inch size.

Read the full review: Sony XBR-55X850E

Sony's Xperia Touch is here to turn your walls into touchscreens for a big price

Ever wanted your dining room table to become a big touchscreen tablet computer? That’s now possible, sort of, now that Sony’s Xperia Touch projector is finally available in the US. (It’s been available in the UK since June.)

But, that said, at $1,700/£1,300 (around AU$2,185), it’s not exactly an everyman’s device. For that price you get a portable gadget that acts as both a projector and a Google Assistant-powered smart speaker in one nifty package that transforms any flat surface into what’s essentially a moderately functional Android touch tablet. 

Most of the time you’ll probably just use it as a 23-inch touch display on surfaces like counters and coffee tables, although you can expand that to 80 inches for viewing movies or games on the wall. Quality obviously suffers the larger you make the display, though, as it’s only capable of a 1366 x 768 resolution.

As we said in our hands-on from February, it’s also kind of dim, as it offers only 100 lumens of brightness and a 4,001:1 contrast ratio. Sony likely reined in the brightness in order to extend the battery life, which nevertheless only lasts a pitiful hour without access to a direct power source.

Not quite Holochess

Still, it’s about as responsive as a regular tablet, thanks in part to its impressive 13-megapixel camera that captures your movements and interprets them at 60fps in infrared light.

Remarkably, you don’t even have to touch the wall’s surface to interact with the projection, as holding up your finger in front of the camera usually suffices.

It’s a cool concept – and one that might have some cool implications for the future – but for now it’s probably better seen as a rough draft of the technology.

As we said in February, “Essentially, if Sony created an Android tablet at the size of the iPad Pro that you could use around the house, it would have all the benefits of the Xperia Touch without the lack of brightness you get with a projector.”

Clearly someone doesn’t mind slinging around this kind of cash for such a futuristic toy, though, as it’s already sold out on Amazon. With any luck, you’ll also be able to pick it up at Sony Square New York City and some T-Mobile outlets in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Miami. 

Can't find a SNES Classic in Australia? If you're quick, you can snag one today

Previously known as Catch of the Day, the Australian retail website Catch will be celebrating its 11th birthday by hosting a 24-hour sale today (October 12) that will see a number of discounted and hard-to-acquire items on offer. 

The most sought-after item on that list? Why, that would be the SNES Classic Mini, which is currently sold out pretty much everywhere in Australia.

Thankfully, Catch will have 1,000 units of Nintendo’s new retro console up for grabs throughout the day, with the first batch of 500 consoles going on sale at 11am AEST, and the remaining 500 units going on sale at 6pm AEST. 

Unlike most of the deals listed on the site, the console will be sold at its usual retail price ($119), though we suppose you can’t really expect a huge discount on an item that’s in such high demand.

The rest of the deals that Catch will be offering for its 11th birthday bash will begin at 10am AEST today. We suggest getting on the site early so you don’t miss out.

Amazon is reportedly seeking ways to deliver packages inside your house or car

Image credit: Phrame

Tired of having your Amazon packages stolen? Sick of seeing them destroyed by rain? How would you feel if you could let Amazon’s delivery team inside your house or your car’s trunk to deliver your stuff? What could go wrong?

Amazon appears to have some confidence the concept could work, though, as a new report from CNBC claims Jeff Bezos’ giant e-commerce company is already at work developing a “smart doorbell” to facilitate entry into your inner sanctum.

If you’re a little put off by the thought of letting someone into your home, you could have the packages delivered to your car’s trunk. The report claims Amazon is also currently seeking a partnership with Phrame, which already makes “smart license plates” that essentially let you slip your normal license plate into what’s essentially a remotely opened safe on the back of your car.

In this case, the courier would arrive at the car and enter a code into a smartphone, causing the Phrame plate to flip up and grant access to a little pocket where you’ve stashed your keys. Alternatively, you could activate the plate remotely with your own phone. 

Once the package is delivered, the courier puts the keys back in place, closes the license plate, and everyone’s happy. 

Or, so we hope. Phrame claims it attempts to keep this process safe by allowing only “secured one-time and time-limited access,” and presumably Amazon is working under the same principle in the development of its “smart doorbell.”

Steal of a deal 

None of this is as far-fetched as it may sound. As TechCrunch reported last month, Walmart is already attempting something similar with smart lock company August, which allows employees to deliver packages into customers’ homes or even food directly into a freezer.

Perhaps it’s worth the risk, if you can bring yourself to trust a courier to walk around inside your home while you’re not there. 

Following a survey of 1,001 US homeowners from last year, August claimed that as many as 11 million homeowners had packages stolen last year. It also claimed that 69% of American homeowners believed that letting someone into their houses to deliver packages was preferable to leaving the packages outside.  Letting strangers into your house opens up a whole other dimension of concerns, though, ranging from more theft to worries about whether pets will attack the courier.

Smart locks and similar devices are increasing in popularity with every month, and earlier this year we compiled a list of our favorites

You're about to start seeing a lot more esports on Hulu

The rise and rise of esports continues with the news that Hulu has ordered four new original shows centering around competitive video gaming. All four series will be made through esports content and tournament producer ESL, reports Variety.

If you’re a Hulu subscriber you can look forward to a game-style talk show called Player v Player, a docu-series following the Counter-Strike-playing Immortals team called Bootcamp, a general esports show called Defining Moments, and a tournament recap show called ESL Replay.

Production on the shows, which mark Hulu’s first dip into the world of esports, are starting straight away and they’ll premiere later in the fall. Some of the shows will have just five days’ turnaround between filming and broadcast to keep them fresh.

The price is right

Meanwhile another Variety report announces a drop in the price of the lowest Hulu plan to $5.99, with commercials – apparently a limited time offer designed to boost subscriber numbers as the fall season gets underway. The price drop was actually trialled last month but is now widely available for new subscribers.

The deal is available to new or returning subscribers until January 9, 2018, and lasts a year. After that year is over, the price goes back up to the usual $7.99 monthly fee, the same price as the lowest tier on Netflix.

If you like your esports and you’re keen to save a couple of bucks a month then now might be the time to sign up for a year of Hulu. The other packages remain the same: $12 a month for commercial-free access, and $40 a month for the live TV plan.

InfoWatch’s new ‘Hi-Tech’ phone to prevent data leaks

 

InfoWatch Group, a Russian company that produces end-to-end enterprise cyber-security solutions, will showcase its new Taiga smartphone at GITEX Technology Week 2017, which the company claims is designed to prevent data leaks.

The technology behind the smartphone has been worked on by experts at InfoWatch and Taiga Systems for four years, and will protect against leakage of sensitive data like contacts, SMS, geodata, photos, videos and documents stored on an employee mobile devices.

“With the rising risk of data leaks through consumer mobile devices, smartphone manufacturers, and software developers, the best way for corporations to reliably protect their information on a mobile device is the Taiga system that eliminates software backdoors and integrates DLP (Data Loss Prevention) Software,” said Kristina Tantsyura, General Manager of InfoWatch Gulf.

While the specs of the smartphone is yet unknown, it is at least said to be running on a “proprietary Android 6.0 firmware”.  

Duolingo made me 26% fluent in idiot

I like to think that I’m not a genuine simpleton. I can tie my own shoelaces. I can do my times tables. Some people – OK, my mother – have called me clever. But in Spanish I can barely string together a sentence, and when I do, it’s usually about horses drinking milk.

I don’t know how much of the blame lies with me, and how much lies with Duolingo. I really don’t want to lay into the language learning platform because it’s brilliant. It genuinely is. 

If you went back twenty years and told people that there would be an app that sits in your pocket that can teach you over 20 different languages for free (including High Valyrian), you wouldn’t believe it. 

If you took all of the elements of Duolingo and made them into a physical object, you would be carrying around textbooks, stacks of images, CDs, a veritable tonne of learning fodder. But Duolingo distills it all down and puts it in a free app. 

Winning at learning

It not only does teaches you other languages, it does it in a way that feels like a game. 

Each unit is broken down into small sections, each represented by a cute cartoonish icon, each step of your progress punctuated by congratulatory professions of an adorable little green owl called Duo.

What’s more, Duolingo also tells you what percentage fluent you are in that language so that you can put it on your LinkedIn profile. I was so proud when I got to 26% fluent in Spanish. But can I have a conversation in Spanish? No. You know what no is in Spanish? No.

How romantic (no pun intended)

Let me just put it into context. I was surprising my wife with a honeymoon to Mexico. I had this plan in my mind that I was going to do a few months worth of Spanish learning, and blow her away with my virtuoso conversational skills. 

What actually happened was that we arrived in Mexico, and I couldn’t understand a single word anyone was saying. 

Wait, no. That’s not exactly true. Once every five minutes I heard a single word flying past me, creating a feeling akin to thinking I’ve spotted someone I’ve recognized on a train as it goes whizzing past me at a platform. 

How I longed for a happy little green owl to pop up and tell me I’m doing a good job. For the function that allows me to play the phrase again, and again slower if I didn’t quite get it first time round. But no, the locals continued to spit out words at the speed of a sprinkler on full power. 

I don’t care how much sauce she has! Where’s the toilet?

And I think that’s ultimately what was missing from my learning. The speed and fluency of a natural speaker testing me, forcing me into an application of my knowledge. 

Trapped in a glass cage of failure

It’s not that I didn’t know any Spanish, I just didn’t know any useful Spanish, or how to apply the Spanish I did know. Our taxi driver couldn’t have cared less that my wife cooks soup (Mi esposa cucina la sopa) or that turtles read books (Las tortugas leen los libros). 

I felt a strange sensation, a little like being caged in, where I knew that I had the tools to make a key, but no experience of key making. In actual fact, my wife (who is fluent in Italian) managed to speak to the locals pretty easily by the end of the holiday, while I was still mumbling ‘No mas’ into my napkin.

It turns out that 26% fluent doesn’t mean I’m fluent but with 26% of the vocab, it means I’m 26% of the way to being fluent, which it turns out isn’t very much.

I’ve not given up, and one day I’m going to stun my wife with my latino verbosity, but my honeymoon wasn’t it. 

  • Andrew London is a laughable excuse for a human being, barely held together with string and sticky tape. In Tech Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself he will be sharing with you the different technology that he uses to try and pass for a proper functioning person.

Logo design courtesy of FreePik

Samsung Galaxy S8 and Note 8 smartphones can now run Windows 10 more easily

You can now run Windows 10 desktop on Samsung’s latest flagship smartphones, the Galaxy S8, the S8+ and the Note 8 far more easily than before.

While the service was available when the Galaxy S8 and its docking station, DeX, launched earlier this year, this time around Ingram Micro, the world’s largest distributor of technology products, has teamed up with Samsung and Amazon to deliver a simplified solution that allows Samsung DeX customers to access a full Windows Desktop from their mobile devices.

Ingram Micro Cloud’s solution automates the setup of Amazon WorkSpaces and Microsoft Windows Desktop as a Service (DaaS) for the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+ and DeX prosumers so that they can set up and run a virtual desktop on their smartphones in just a few easy steps.

By using the Samsung DeX Station, Galaxy Note 8 and S8/S8+ users can connect to any type of display with an HDMI port and use a mouse and keyboard to obtain a full desktop experience right from their smartphone. 

Surprising tie-up with AWS

It’s worth noting that Amazon Web Services rather than Microsoft’s very own Azure provides with that solution, another indication perhaps, that after the recent Cortana and Alexa, Amazon and Microsoft are warming up to each other despite their rivalry in cloud computing.

When Samsung Dex is combined with Amazon Workspaces, users can have access to a full desktop experience complete with their own Microsoft Windows virtual desktop that allows them to use all of their files and applications.  

This is the first mobile device-based Windows cloud DaaS being offered directly to Samsung DeX customers and now students, freelancers and entrepreneurs can access a full Windows-based desktop directly from their Samsung DeX station and smartphones.

A 30-day free trial of Amazon Workspaces will be available to all Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and Galaxy S8/S8+ users in Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Netherlands, New Zealand, the US and the UK so that they can try it out for themselves.

The offer can only be accessed through the Windows Desktop Free Trial DeX App on the Samsung Galaxy App Store.