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Get ready for a monitor _____. ______

and a Bluetooth speaker in one ---------------.....
The Philips Moda 2 combines stunning visuals with
the convenience of a Bluetooth speaker system
in one refined package. Easily stream your music
and take calls from the powerful Bluetooth speaker
system, to expand your experience.

Moda 2 monitor


Editor Jim Martin

Group Managing Editor Marie Brewis
Art Director Mandie Johnson
Production Editor Rob Woodcock
Multimedia Editor Dominik Tomaszewski
Consumer Tech Editor Chris Martin
Senior Staff Writer Ashleigh Allsopp
Staff Writer Lewis Painter
Technical Editor Andrew Harrison
Associate Online Editor David Price
Associate Editor Karen Haslam
Associate Editor Neil Bennett
Forum Editor Peter Thomas
Editor-In-Chief Matt Egan
Intern Roberta Alidori

Contributors uk
Windows 10 is here
Martyn Casserly, Aryeh Klein, Mikael Ricknas. Agam Shah, Mohamed Wahid
After all the waiting Microsoft's latest OS has arrived
Business Director Helen Clifford-Jones helen_cIifford-jones@i t last, t he countdown is at an end: Windows 10 is here. Whether
Account Director Tom Drummond
Account Director Jonathan Busse
Campaign Support Manager Chris Brown
A you're reading this just a few days before it launches or in the
days and weeks after, the new operating system represents a
big mi lestone for Microsoft.
Not only does the company need to repa ir its reputat ion damaged
Marketing Manager Ash Patel
Head of Marketing Design James Walker by Windows 8, it also needs to get bus inesses on board. It's a milestone,
Marketing Software Manager Letitia Austin t hough, because it's the first opera t ing system it's effectively giving away
Subscriptions Customer Services
for free. Yes, you' ll get Windows 10 when you buy a new PC, laptop or tablet,
Online but upgrades have never been free for users wanting to move to the latest
Online Development Manager Adrian Black version of Windows on their existing hardware.
Web Developer Victor Chong Junior Developer John Copsey
Web Developer Dominik Koscielak As you'd expect, we've dedicated a big chunk of this month's issue to
everyt hing Windows 10. As well as our fu ll review - starting on page 50
-we explain everything you need to know about the hardware you need
Financial Director Chris Norman
Credit Controller Dawnette Gordon to run Windows 10, which version you're entit led to and the differences
Management Accountant Parit Shah bet ween Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro.
We've covered everything from downloading and install ing the OS
Publishing Director Simon Jary to using its new features inc luding Cortana- the helpful new assistant-
Managing Director Kit Gould plus vi r tual desktops, the new Edge web browser and how to customise
the new Start menu so it's arranged j ust the way you want it.
You can find out about the features you'll lose by upgrading (page
68) and how to downgrade back to Windows 7 or 8.1 if you decide you
prefer your old operating system (page 67). If you're running XP or Vista,
t here's still a way to upgrade: find out how on page 66.
There's also Windows 10 Mobile, which wi ll launch later this year on
phones -you can find out al l about it on page 54. If you can't wait, the
Subscribe online: Subscribe to digital editions: preview version is availab le for a wide range of Lumia handsets and we magazines show you how t o inst all it on page 64.
Subscribe by phone: Subscription enquiries:
Talking of phones, they're becoming our go-to device for photography
0844 844 0232
and video. So it pays to choose a phone with a great camera that you can
CWO DD use every day as wel l as on special occasions: holi days, birthdays and
12 issues 37.99 35.88 weddings, for example. We gat hered together nine of the best smartphones
Six issues 24.99 19.99 around right now to find out how their cameras performed in varying
Europe (12 issues) 100 100 cond itions, including se lfies. You can see the results start ing on page 92.
Rest of world (12 issues) 125 125 If you haven't already upgraded your laptop or PC with an SSD, now's the
t ime. We've reviewed six of the best drives on page 82, with capacit ies up to
lTB and prices starting at just 69 so even if your budget is sma ll, you can
What do you think of this issue of PC Advisor? We welcome feedback
- email Jim Martin at and include the stil l have this super-fast storage tha t wil l give any PC a big speed boost. And
issue number in the subject heading if you're about to install Windows 10, it rea lly is t he ideal ti me to buy one.


abc talkingnewspapers and magazines

PCAdvisor is published by IDGUK

IDG UK, 101 Euston Road, London NWl 2RA. Tel: 020 7756 2800
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KINGDOM August 2015 3


6 Latest technology news

9 Wearable tech saves lives

10 HP's Windows 10 switch

11 Meet Fairphone 2

12 Sony's 4 K camera

13 Next-gen phone networks

14 Fingerprint sensors

15 Alternative mobile OSes

16 GSM switch off

17 Formula-e must go faster


3 Welcome TEST

20 New Products
26 Schenker XMG P505 66 How to upgrade from Windows XP or Vista
112 Cover Disc+ 28 App le MacBook with Retina 67 How to downgrade from Windows 10
display (15in, 2.5GHz, mid 2015) 68 Missing features in Windows 10
30 Apple iMac with Retina 69 How to get tech support
5K display (m id 2015) 70 How to customise the Start Menu
32 EE Harrier 72 How to use Continuum
34 EE Harrier Mini 74 How to use Co r tana
35 Samsung Galaxy A3 76 How to use Universal Apps
8nmpoo ~ 36 Ulefone BeTouch 78 How to use the Edge web browser
WlnOptlmlzcr 11 up J'<lUI )'( "' l,lptop 38 UMI eMax 80 How to use Virtua l Desktops
40 LG Watch Urbane
42 Raumfield One S 84 Crucial MX200
116 Subscribe 43 TP-Link 300Mb/s AV500 85 Intel SSD Pro 2500
Wi-Fi Powerline Extender 86 Kingston HyperX Savage
146 0utbox 43 RHA MA750i 87 OCZ Arc 100
44 Creative Sound Blaster JAM 88 Samsung 850 PRO
45 Emie Power Note 5200mAh 89 SanDisk Extreme Pro
45 Emie Power Blade 8000mAh
46 Project CARS
48 The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

50 Windows 10 review
54 Windows 10 Mobile
58 Windows 10 vs Windows 8
60 Wi ll my PC get Windows 10?
62 How to install Windows 10
64 Install Windows 10 on your phone

4 September 2015







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119 Laptops
120 Budget laptops
121 Ultraportable laptops
122 Chromebooks
123 Gaming laptops
124 Family PCs
127 Gaming PCs
128 All-in-one PCs
129 Smartphones
130 Budget smartphones
131 Phablets
132 7- and Sin tablets
133 9- and 10in tablets
134 Smartwatches
135 Activity trackers
136 Budget printers/Printers
137 Wireless routers/
Powerline adaptors
~ 138 NAS drives/External hard drives
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139 SSDs/Projectors
140 Budget graphics cards/
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Graphics cards
141 Budget f lat-panel displays/
Flat-panel displays
142 e-book readers/Media streamers
143 Games console/
Budget portable speakers
106 144 Budget headphones/Headphones
82 92 145 Power banks/Desktop chargers

September 2015 5


All change at Redmond as former Nokia CEO leaves tech giant for pastures new

Microsoft has shuffled its executive ranks,

giving Windows chief Terry Myerson more
responsibilities and casting out former
Nokia CEO Stephen Elop (pictured). It's
been calculated that Microsoft's 14-month
'rent' of former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop
cost the firm at least $18 mill ion, or about
$1.3 million each month.
The Redmond firm also reduced the
number of major engineering divisions
from four to three. Two of these existed
prior: Cloud and Enterprise (C&E) , led
by 18-year veteran Scott Guthrie, and
Applications and Services (ASG), headed
by Qi Lu. Guthrie's group is getting
Dynamics, Microsoft's Customer Relationship
Management (CRM) and Enterprise
Resource Planning (ERP) software,
which previously was in its own division.
Terry Myerson, who previously directed
the Operating System group, will continue
to do that, while also picking up the Devices
team, which Elop had run since his return
to Microsoft after the $7.9 billion Nokia it "One Microsoft," and touted it as an brought back by Nadella in April as the
acquisition finalised last year. Myerson's new efficiency move that wou ld make the firm head of corporate strategy and planning,
group, a mash of his OS team and Elop's nimble r in a market quickly skewing towards wi ll continue in that role.
Devices division, will be called Windows and mob il e, which Microsoft has largely missed. Neither Moorhead nor Helm viewed
Devices Group, or WDG for short. Several long-time lieutenants of Ballmer the changes as indicative of a switch in
The creation of Myerson's WDG was and cofounder Bill Gates before that were strategies at Microsoft. Nadella's email,
a return to how Microsoft organised its put in place to provide advice to Nadella, in fact, trumpeted the same mant ras that
engineering efforts immediately after the Helm said . But many of them have since have become writ at the company, including
mid-2012 launch of its Surface and Surface moved on; the removal of others was simply "productiv ity serv ices and platforms" and
Pro tablets, the company's first-ever persona l another part of the same process. "mobile-first, cloud first world."
computer. Then, Julie Larson-Green, who Several top-level executives will leave Although Wa ll Street has often urged
was later shunted to a different role after the company in the coming months. These Microsoft to divest itself of the Nokia
Elop came aboa rd, ran the engineering of include 25-year veteran Eric Rudder, vice business, there was no clue of such a move
Microsoft's OSes and its hardware. president of advanced techno logy and in the executive game of musical chairs, said
"That's a massive group," said Patrick education; and Kirill Tatarinov, who had Moorhead. "What will be interesting, though,
Moorhead, principal ana lyst at Moor Insights been running Dynamics. is who leads the hardware under Myerson,"
and Strategy, in an interview today. "I think it Also out is Mark Penn, the former po litical he said. "Microsoft needs a star hardware
might almost be too big to manage." advisor who joined Microsoft in 2012. He person. If they do that, then no, [Microsoft
But Rob Helm, an analyst at Directions ran the anti-Google 'Sc rogg led' campaigns, won't dump Nokia]. But if they put a long -
on Microsoft, saw it differently. "I think this and was most recently the company's chief time softwa re person under Myerson [to
underlines the fact that Microsoft's hardware insight officer, a role that was never clearly head hardware], then maybe."
business is going to be the first and best defined. Penn will found a new digital Earlier this year, Microsoft filed
customer of Windows," he argued. marketing equ ity firm, Stagwell Group, that documents with the US Securities and
Moorhead viewed the rearrangement has ra ised $250 million in capital, some of it Exchange Commiss ion (SEC) that implied
of executives' chairs as a continuation of from Ballmer's billions. the company wou ld soon t ake a massive
the massive reorganisation that Ballme r Kurt DelBene, who was pushed out in write-off of its Nokia acquisition that cou ld
instituted in July 2013. The then-CEO called 2013 by the Ballmer reorganisation but run into the billions.

6 September 2015

Keep up to date with PC Advisor news:
>> >> >> >>
>> >> >>

Intel announces that its first chips based on the new architecture will arrive in the first week of August

Fancy a Mac or Windows 10 PC with Intel's convenient. With that in mind, Intel has
new processors codenamed Skylake? That talked about 'wire-free' technologies in
will soon be possible: Intel is set to launch Skylake, so PCs could charge and transfer
its first chips based on the new architecture data to peripherals wire less ly.
in the first week of August. De ll, HP and Asus wil l ship Windows 10
The first Skylake chips will be high-end PCs based on Skylake in the second half of
gaming processors that can be overclocked, this year. It's not clear when the new chip
and will be launched during the Gamescom will reach Apple Macs.
conference in Cologne, Germany, which runs Some Skylake features are already known.
from 5 to 9 August, according to a source Asus recently showed off ail -in-ones and
familiar with the company's plan. mini-desktops based on Skylake, with support Skylake also has new virtualization, boot,
Intel will also shed more technical details for the new DDR4 memory and USB 3.1 data system management and lockdown features,
about Skylake at its Intel Developer Forum transfer protoco l. PCs based on Skylake wil l which will be detailed in technica l sessions.
(IDF), due to be held between 18 and 20 also have ports based on Thunderbolt 3, a Intel has hurried to get Sky lake to PCs,
August in San Francisco. The chipmaker new technology that runs on USB Type-C so it can close the curtains on the troubled
will talk about how Skylake wil l improve the cables and can transfer data at 40Gb/s. predecessor Broadwel l chips, which were
experience of using Microsoft's Windows 10. One interesting technical session at IDF delayed due to manufacturing issues on the
The first Skylake chips will be branded will detail overclocking the Skylake gaming 14-nanometer process.
'Sixth Generation Core' processors and desktop chips. In other sessions, Intel wi ll Skylake will take on AMD's chips -
offer "great performance and reduced demonstrate Sky lake PCs running Cortana codenamed Carrizo - which are now reaching
power consumption," Intel said on an IDF and Windows Hello, a new Windows 10 PCs. AMD is rushing to release its next-gen
technical session page. The company's goal biometric feature in which faces, fingerprints chips based on a CPU core codenamed Zen,
with Sky lake is to make PC usage more or eyes can replace passwords. which will be in PCs next year.

AMD aims to revolutionise the gaming industry

AMD focuses on the PC and virtual reality gaming world with new graphic cards

Chipmaker, AMD, has unve il ed a new range space. " It gives our partners the chance to
of graphic cards that aim to revolutionise the sel l something different, and the channel
gaming industry. This announcement comes is keen to have something new. This range
off the back of the recent launch of its new changes the type of PC you can build and
graphics processing unit, the Radeon 'Fiji' it's also a place in the market that nothing
GPU chip. Prior to this, its last major release else competes," he said.
in this segment was in October 2013. According to Huddy, there are plenty of
This new array of graphic cards, opportunities for the company's channel
consisting of the Radeon R9 Fury X, R9 partners to build PCs but also to move
390X, R9 390, R9 380, R7 370, and R7 into the virtual reality space. "It goes
360, all address the demands placed on beyond traditional gaming methods and
newer graphic cards. there's opportunities beyond the typical
VR gaming, HD virtual reality, and 4K demographic. Imagine what virtual reality
video are just some of these demands. AMD can do in the education space, for example.
chief gaming scientist, Richard Huddy, said You don't have to explain to them the
the products wil l be sold through the channe l, world from the ancient romans to how the
giving these businesses an opportunity to pyramids were built; you just have to give
differentiate in a fast-changing graphics card them a VR headset and show them."

September 2015 7

B News

BT set to go 4K this summer

BT Sport goes 4K with Ultra HD channel and YouView set-top box

BT is really taking the fight to Sky when it comes

to sport coverage with a new channel dedicated to
Sky announces Now 4K Ultra HD content and a new 4K set-top box to go
TV set-top box with it. John Petter, chief executive of BT Consumer,
Designed for non-Sky customers, said: "This is a new chapter for European football
mostly those with Freeview. Now on TV. BT Sport will show hundreds of live matches
TV launched back in 2012 but throughout the tournament using the very latest
Sky is pushing on with both a technology. Our presenters and experts will also
new media streaming box and provide the smartest insight and ana lysis."
the best value way of getting As part of its big announcement for 2015 sports
Sky Sports on Now TV to date. coverage, BT Sport has confirmed it is the 'new
Once again based on a Roku- home' of European football with 351 matches from
player, the new Sky Now TV the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa
Box for 2015 will be available in League. The new BT Sport Europe channel will be quality channel will be the first in Europe with
August and will cost 14.99. The
the place to catch all the action with Gary Lineker, The Community Shield schedu led as the first 4K
new box includes an ethernet
Jake Humphrey and Rio Ferdinand presenting the event followed by selected games from the UEFA
port instead of just Wi-Fi and
live Champions League coverage. New signings Champions League, Barclays Premier League, FA
a processor that is five times
include Steven Gerrard, Harry Redknapp, Glenn Cup and Aviva Premiership Rugby.
faster. Roku said that while it's
Hoddle and Howard Webb, plus there will be a BT will also launch a new BT TV Ultra HD set-top
Roku-powered, the new Now TV
Box isn't like-for-like with any of new 'Goals' show presented by James Richardson, box to go with it although there are few details
its range of streamers. which will provide news and action across all eight on this at the moment. It will, of course, provide a
There are also changes to Champions League games as they happens. 4K resolution and come with 1TB of storage. You' ll
the user interface which will There's even more good news as BT Sport need BT Infinity to watch BT Sport Ultra HD. We'll
supposedly make it easier for announced it will launch a dedicated 4K channel update this when more info is avai lable but you
customers to find content. in August called BT Sport Ultra HD. The higher can register your interest here.


Vodafone offers cheap UK broadband

Vodafone's new broadband service available from 2.50 per month

Vodafone Connect has launched in the UK offering

customers cheap UK broadband and home phone
services. There are three packages to choose from
offering different speeds. Vodafone customers will
get a 50 percent discount for the first year meaning
broadband will cost just 2.50 per month. The
Apple Music most expensive package will cost 20 per month.
As per usua l, line renta l is not included in that
launches in UK price and costs 16.99 per month. However, you can
Apple Music was launched
save 20 percent by paying a lump sum of 163.10.
on 30 June in 100 countries
Vodafone Connect is available initially to As you might expect with a broadband service,
as part of the iOS 8.4 update.
existing mobile customers but will also be Vodafone will provide a free router. Worth 130, it
You'll be able to use it on
offered to non-Vodafone customers later this year. " utilises the latest Wi-Fi technology, allowing priority
an Android device when the
It says the fibre optic network is 'business-grade' to be given to a chosen device - supercharging Wi-Fi
Apple Music app launches in
the autumn. The service will and already reaches exchanges which pass nearly for seam less video streaming and gaming", the firm
cost 9.99 per month, but the 20 million premises across the UK. says. A Vodafone Connect companion app will allow
first three months will be free. The mobile network says its broadband customers to easi ly the password, manage users and
For 14.99 up to six family can provide down load speeds of up to 76Mb/s. make use of features such as 'boost' and 'beam'.
members can have their own That speed is the fastest, available via the Boost lets customers give Wi-Fi priority to a
individual account. Ultrafast Fibre Broadband package. Superfast se lected device for up to two hours and 'Beam'
MORE: Fibre Broadband provides up to 38Mb/s and supposedly focuses the Wi-Fi signal where it is
Broadband ADSL wi ll serve up to 17Mb/s. needed for compatible devices.

8 September 2015


Rowena Heal reveals how we could be using wearable tech to help the elderly and save lives

or many consumers, wearab le tech notifications, roadside assistance and the detect motion in the room. It can then phone
is sti ll a gimmick, sitting somewhere 'Family Guardian,' which notifies parents an emergency number for assistance and
between the realm of trendy fashion when the driver exceeds the speed limit. is enhanced by a voice-activated function
items, kids' toys and fitness accessories. The US and Japan have so far led the asking the user how they are feeling. If
For years its role focused on the way on developing and adopting wearable they respond, the alarm will cance l, so it
lucrative fitness markets, meaning it has tech in healthcare, aimed at helping won't go off if they decide to just take a nap.
largely missed out on opportunities to offer chronically ill and older people. In the UK, For older people, the cost of going into
positives in healthcare and law enforcement. however, the elderly are only now being a home can be startling. Residential care
It's no rea l surprise, as the va lue of wearab le properly included in the debate. for older peop le costs tens of thousands
tech in the fitness market alone could exceed Wearable technology has a huge part of pounds each year, and anything that
$16.1bn this year, but around a third of people to play in helping people in later life, but can help them stay in their own home for
buying a wearab le product will likely abandon it will be up to developers to capitalise on longer can only be a positive thing.
it within six months. Suggesting a new this and appeal to the older demographic. Wearable technology has a huge part to
approach is needed to ensure consumers Panic buttons, wearable emergency cal l play in helping them in later li fe and it wi ll
continually use their products. bracelets and neck chains already save be up to the developers to help capitalise
UK police have been wearable video lives and are vita l for older peop le living on this and prove it can play a key role in
recording devices for the past 10 years and on their own. This technology, however, benefiting lives. Whether it's reminding
the New York Police Department have been has been around for a long time and has someone to take medication, monitoring
pi loting Google Glass since last year, largely far-reaching potential; helping the elderly their sleep patterns, knee braces with
due to an increased need for accountability - live longer and more independently, a stress sensors or movement recorders, the
highlighting two great examples of extremely trend often called 'aging in place.' potential of wearable tech in healthcare is
positive uses of wearable technology. Auto-dialling panic alarms fitted into vast. Techno logy developers clearly want
Volkswagen recently announced an app the phone, can then by activated by Wi-Fi to target lucrative markets and fitness
for the Apple Watch allowing parents to pendants, which are cheap and useful. A step certainly is that, but as the population
monitor the driving habits of their teenage up is fall-detection systems, that use ceiling ages, more people could benefit from a
children. Car-Net offers automatic incident mounted optica l and acoustic sensors to refreshed focus from developers. [ill

September 2015 9


One of HP's first products to get Windows 10 will be the Sin Pro Tablet 608 G1. Agam Shah reports

cting quickly to move away 10 on its PCs from 29 July, while Acer and The PC maker is pa rticu larly keen on

A from Windows 8, HP wil l start

preinstalling Windows 10 across its
Lenovo will soon fol low.
Microsoft is providing free upgrades to
bringing Windows 10 to its hybrids as the
new operating system is better at adapting
old and new PCs and tab lets within days of Windows 10 from Windows 7 and 8.1 for one to different PC usage models. Hybrids
the release of the new OS on 29 July. year. HP wasn't sure when Windows 10 would running the OS will be ab le to automatica lly
One of HP's first products with the new be released, so it made sense to keep PCs switch between tablet and desktop
operating system wil l be the Bin Pro Tablet ready for the new OS, Nash said. interfaces, based on a device's position. It's
608 G1, which will ship in July with Windows But there's a difference between also more sophisticated at analysing sensor
8.1 and from August come with Windows 10 upgrading to Windows 10 and having the data, which helps identify whether the
preinstalled. Customers buying the tablet in new OS preinsta ll ed, particularly on PCs. device is in laptop or tablet mode.
July will be ab le to upgrade the OS Upgraded systems will have Windows 10 With the 608 G1, HP sees potential
for free. The screen displays images as the default OS, but they wil l stil l have advantages from packaging Intel's new Atom
at a 2048x1536-pixe l resolution, and Windows 8.1 as the recovery operating chips code-named Cherry Trail with the new
its ability to display more content onscreen system. PCs with Windows 10 preinstalled OS. The chips provide faster application and
could make note-taking more convenient. won't have a trace of Windows 8. graphics performance than previous Atom
Other PC makers are also expected to HP has worked closely with Microsoft chips. The tablet is 8.35mm thick and has
move quickly to preinstal l Microsoft's new on building drivers, user interfaces and a USB Type-C port for charging and data
operating system on their desktops, laptops BIOS-related features related to Windows 10, transfers. It has a 2Mp front and 8Mp rear
and tablets. De ll is expected to offer Windows explained Nash. camera, and up to 128GB of storage. El

10 September 2015


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Photography by Fairphone

Mikael Ricknas reports on the Fairphone 2: Fairphone's second-generation

socially responsible smartphone that will start shipping later this year

airphone, the Dutch company that be addressed for upgrades to be possib le, Positives inc luded that it's easy to open
aims to sell socially responsible Hebert said without delving into the details. up the device and access the components.
smartphones, is work ing on a A second goa l was to build a device However, the glass is fused to both the
second mode l that can be repaired with little that doesn't easily break. Most current display and the disp lay frame, which
hass le and won't easi ly break. The company smartphones are simply too fragile, increases repair costs - a mistake t hat
is also sticking with its goa l of using conflict- according to Hebert. The Fairphone 2, on Fairphone has learned from.
free or fair trade minera ls. the other hand, should survive a drop of In general, today's high-end smartphones
One of t he company's key aims with t he about 2m on to concrete. The robustness is are a mixed bag when it comes to ease of
Fai rphone 2 was to extend t he longevity of in part possible t hanks to a rubber rim t hat repair. Apple has a reputation for build ing
the product. Making it easy to repair is part wraps around the screen. Fairphone decided products that are difficult to fix, but the
of that. Fo r example, it wil l be possible to against making the phone comp lete ly sealed iPhone 6 and 6 Plus both got a 7 out
replace the disp lay on the Fairphone 2 in to keep out water and dust. as doing that of 10 score on iFixit. The company stil l
less than a minute, the company prom ises. conflicted with other design goals, especially uses proprietary Penta lobe screws, and
After removing the case and ba t te r y, the the ability to open and repair t he device. it doesn't share repair information wi t h
two clips that lock the display in place are The aim is sti ll to manufacture a independent repa ir shops or consumers.
slid towards each other, and then the entire smartphone that doesn't use minera ls from But the disp lay assemb ly comes out easi ly
unit can be taken out, CTO Olivier Hebert conflict zones, is recyclable, and is made by and the battery is easy to access.
said in a blog post on Tuesday. workers who are treated we ll. The Fairphone For people who want a high-end Android
The receiver, rear came ra and speaker 2 wil l be avai lable for preorder before the sma rt phone tha t 's easi ly repaired, the G4
units can be repa ired with the he lp of a end of August. and t hen ship during the from LG is a good option. It was awarded an
screwdriver. To gu ide users, each unit is following coup le of months, the company impressive 8 out of 10. The on ly drawback
connected to t he chassis wi t h a set of said. Pricing wasn't announced. is that the glass and LCD w il l need to be
colour-coded screws. Fai rphone is betting Hardware specs include a Qualco mm replaced t ogethe r if one or the other breaks.
that buyers wi ll sacrifice slimness for a Snapdragon 801 processor and a 5in, Fu ll HD Two othe r top-of-the-range smart phones,
smartphone t hat's easier to repair. The screen. The camera has an 8 Mp resolution the Ga laxy S6 from Sa msung Electronics and
resu lt is a phone that's llmm thick. and there is 32GB of storage that can be HTC's One M9, didn't fair as well, scoring 4
The hardware architecture also opens the expanded using a microSD card. The LTE and 2 out of 10, respective ly. Strong adhesive
doo r for future upgrades. All of t he individua l smartphone also has 2GB of RAM and two on the rear glass makes it very di ff icu lt to
components can be replaced, provided they SIM slots. The OS wi ll be Android 5.1. gain entry to the S6's innards. On the One
fit within the des ign of the original unit and The first model, of which Fairphone sold M9 adhesives make many components
can use the ex isting electrical interfaces. 60,000, scored 7 out of 10 for repai rability difficu lt. and even dangerous, to remove
However, software complexities need to in a teardown test by repair website iFixit. and replace, iFixit sa id. IZl

September 2015 11

B News: Analysis

Sony has a new Exmor sensor chip that will bring 4K to more of its cameras Agam Shah reports

ony has revea led an ambitious

s plan to bring 4K video-shooting

capabilities to a wide range of its
point-and-shoot and SLR cameras over time,
and a new sensor developed by the company
will help make that possible.
The Japanese firm introduced its first
three digital cameras capable of shooting 4K
video at a recent press event in New York.
The cameras are based on a new Exmor
sensor, wh ich can shoot highly sensit ive
images at up to 42.4Mp.
The sensor, a big improvement over
its predecessors, gives Sony the basic
capabi lity to bring 4K video to al l its point-
and-shoot cameras ove r time, revealed
Da isuke Goh, product planner at Sony.
Two of the new cameras introduced were
new Cybershot models, which are targeted
at consumers. It's hard to predict when other
pocket-fi tt ing Cybershots wi ll get 4K video,
but according to Goh, Sony's goal is to bring
4K video recording capabi lities to more
cameras as soon as possible.
The Japanese tech giant wants to move images temporari ly, which helps
quickly to 4K across its product lines, and effectively capture slow-motion video. The
wan ts to tie t he f unct ionality of its digital new cameras also boast improvements in
cameras closer to its TVs, Goh added. The cameras introduced in New York image stabilisation, ISO and shutter speeds.
The company already offers video are capable of shooting 4K video at high The more advanced Exmor R sensor
cameras capable of shooting 4K movies, framerates, which the company's Xperia is in the Alpha 7 R II camera, which can
but its stills cameras mostly capture film at phones are not capable of yet. The new capture more detailed images and can
resolutions of up to 1080p. But by moving to Exmor sensor makes major advances in render pictu res 3.5 times faster than its
4K, Sony is tak ing a step to increase demand technology, with the abi lity to capture predecessor. With a new Bionz X image
for its digital cameras. Digital camera li ght more effectively, which helps deliver processing engine, the SLR camera can
shipments have declined in recent years, pictu re readouts faste r. The sensors can fine-tune images to look more na t ural. The
with smartphones and tab lets being used also capture more detail, and stacked camera can record 4K movies in ful l-frame
to take more pictures and videos. DRAM chips are capable of buffering format, and capt ures 1.8 times as many
pixels as required for 4K movies.
The new Cybershot cameras are not as
advanced as the SLR model. The 20.2Mp
Cybershot RX10 II and 20.1Mp RX100 IV have
the Exmor RS sensor, which is a modified
version of the Exmor R senso r, bu t for lower-
reso lution cameras. The RX10 II can shoot
up to 29 minutes of 4K video in one session,
whi le the RX100 IV can capture up to five
minutes. The cameras are designed to
capture slow-motion video, and the sensors
can capture high-frame-rate 4K video at
960 frames per second. [8]

12 September 2015

News: Analysis lj

f operators are to build 5G mobile Technologies and Samsung Electronics both combination of good physical characteristics
networks with download speeds at talked up pilot studies of other technologies and good prospects for international
10Gb/s and above, they are going they have conducted. harmonization, while taking into account
to need a lot more spectrum, but getting it For the potential of spectrum above 6GHz current use, according to Hudson.
won't be easy. to be realised, a new generation of antennas A final decision on what - if any - bands
The amount of spectrum allocated to will be required, capable of directing multiple will be allocated isn't expected until 2019.
5G will determine how fast networks based beams of data to different users at the same After technical and regulatory challenges
on the technology will eventually become. time. New systems will likely also need new have been overcome, the networks also
Until recently, only frequencies below 6GHz modulation schemes to encode the data on have to be rolled out. If extreme speeds
have been considered for mobile networks, the radio waves more efficiently. are the upside of frequencies over 6GHz,
mostly because they are good for covering There are ways for mobile networks poor coverage is the downside. These
large areas. But there's now a growing to increase download speeds using high frequencies don't have good reach
need to unlock new spectrum bands in existing spectrum, including using carrier and aren't very much use if you want
the 6- to 100GHz range too, attendees aggregation or sharing spectrum with Wi-Fi to penetrate walls. To get around these
at the recent LTE and 5G World Summit networks. But at the end of the day, none of weaknesses, mobile operators will have
conferences in Amsterdam heard. these options come close to the potential to install lots of smaller base stations,
The use of spectrum in these bands is that as-yet-unused frequency bands above but finding enough places to put even
immensely important for 5G networks to be 6GHz offer. There is nowhere else to go but the current generation of small-cell base
able to offer multiple gigabits per second, up, according to Samsung. stations has already proved difficult.
Robert DiFazio, chief engineer at wireless Rolling out networks isn't just about So taking full advantage of spectrum
R&D company lnterDigital Communications, hardware and software, according to bands above 6GHz won't be easy, but
said. By raising communication speeds, they regulators. "We have made clear our if equipment and device vendors want
are also expected to help lower latency in intention to make large quantities of 5G to become something more than an
mobile networks. spectrum available in these frequencies, incremental upgrade over the LTE networks
Even though spectrum from 6- to which is increasingly also the view of other that exist in 2020, all technical and political
100GHz won't be used in cellular access regulators around the world," said Andrew challenges have to be overcome.
networks for at least another five years, Hudson, director of spectrum policy at The first commercial networks using
vendors are keen to show they can handle all British regulator Ofcom, who spoke on the 5G technologies are expected to go live in
the technical challenges those frequencies subject at the Amsterdam conference. 2020, but will initially use spectrum below
present. The development of WiGig, which The current focus of Ofcom's work isn't 6GHz because the infrastructure is already
uses the 60GHz band, has already showed whether to make spectrum available, but out there for those bands, according to
that using such high frequencies works, and how to identify the best spectrum in this DeFazio: Networks using the new frequency
on the show floor in Amsterdam, Huawei range. This involves finding bands with a bands will only arrive later. [8]

September 2015 13

B News: Analysis

Cheaper sensors and broader software support will make fingerprint authentication
more accessible to app developers and service providers, reveals Mikael Ricknas

ingerprint authentication will " The market is hot, and the adoption of the sw ipe sensors Fingerprint Cards and
become a lot more com mon on rate across a broader range of products Synaptics had deve loped. It took six- to nine
smartphones of all prices as sensors will grow faster now," said Anthony Gioe li, months to regroup, Lantto sa id.
get cheaper, and Google's integration of t he vice pres ident of marketing for Synaptics Beyond App le and Samsung, many
techno logy in the next version of Android wi ll biometrics business unit. Chinese vendors have been adding
make it much easier for app deve lopers and Goog le adding native support for fingerprint sensors to their smartphones.
service provide rs to make use of them. fingerprint senso rs in And roid M is a major Huawei wi ll certain ly offer it in more future
Today, fingerp rint sensors are main ly reason why the technology has started mode ls, accord ing to a spokesman at t he
ava ilable on high-end mode ls from Apple and to take off on a larger scale. The native company. Using fingerprints as opposed to
Samsung Electronics. But that is about to support wil l make it easier for sma r tphone PI Ns or patterns has proved idea l fo r heavy
change, according to sensor manufacturers manufacturers to integrate fingerprint smartphone users, he said . Fingerprint
Synaptics and Fingerprint Cards. sensors in their devices. It will also make life Cards has recently added Yu long and
The latter has seen a growing interest easier fo r developers, who can use Andro id Gionee to it s list of customers.
in its technology from smartphone AP is to integrate f ingerprint recognition Many of the more estab li shed vendors,
manufacturers in recent months, as wel l as in their apps instead proprietary ones such as LG Electronics and Sony, are stil l on
a strong increase in orders. As a resu lt, the developed by the senso r makers, Lantto said. the fence. HTC recently launched t he One
company has raised its revenue est imate Deve lopments on the hardware side M9+ for the Chinese market.
for the yea r from about 1.5bn- (115m) to are also lowering the bar for finge r print Mobile payments wi ll also like ly
2.2bn Swedish Krona (191 m). recognit ion . Pr ices have co me down by help fuel the availab ili ty of fingerprint
"This market is rea lly starting to take off," about 25 percent in the past year, and recognition on more devices. If Goog le
said Jurgen Lan t to, CEO at Finger print Cards, they wil l continue to drop as volumes wan t s its upcoming Android Pay serv ice
who anticipates tha t ha lf of all smartphones inc rease, Gioe li said. It 's already poss ible to take off, it needs to convince mo re
so ld next year will have the feature. to build a 75 smart phone with fingerprint vendors t o integrate the technology.
Finger print Cards sensors are already recognition, according t o Lantto. Allowing Google to offe r the same
used in the Ascend Mate 7 from Huawei The launch of the iPhone 5s with Touch functionality as Apple Pay. Just adding
Technologies and Oppo's R7 Plus, which ID proved to be a blessing and a curse, at fingerprint recogn ition to this year's Nexus
was launched in May. Synaptics, which least a short-term one. On t he plus side, smart phones won 't be enou g h. The same
makes the sensor in the Samsung Galaxy it helped increased awareness. But many goes for Samsung. If the company wants
56 and 56 Edge, is equally sure that competing smartphone vendors wanted a Samsung Pay to be successf u l, more dev ices
smartphones with fingerprint sensors touch sensor, j ust like App le had got f rom than t he Ga laxy Sand Note product s wi ll
wi ll become more popular. its 2012 acquisition of AuthenTec, instead need to be equ ipped with the techno logy. 181

14 September 2015

News: Analysis lj

An increased focus on affordable smartphones running Android
has left smaller operating systems behind. Mikael Ricknas reports

he future doesn't look very bright

T right now for alternative mobile

operating systems Firefox OS,
Tizen and Ubuntu.
It's always been difficult to attract
deve lopers to these platforms, and now
smartphones powered by the OSes are also
fa ll ing behind affordable Android devices
on hardware specs. So not on ly must their
users put up with a smaller selection of
apps, but also with less powerful devices.
Struggling to compete with Apple in the
high-end of the smartphone market, the
Android camp has increasing ly turned its
attention to mid-range and low-end products.
While this has been good for consumers
looking for more affordab le products, it has
turned up the competitive heat on Firefox
OS, Tizen and Ubuntu. developer Canonical are trying to step up camera. Whi le the launch is a st ep in the
Case in point: Samsung Electronics' Tizen- hardware efforts. right direction, the smartphone lacks LTE
based Z1, which after many delays premiered Mozilla is working to ensure future and features a low-end quad-core 1.3GHz
t his year in India, a country with a low Firefox OS smartphones meet or exceed Cortex-A7 processor from Med iaTek.
smartphone penetration. But others also saw expectations in terms of performance One deve lopment that would he lp all the
the opportunity, and today competition in and reliability, at all price points, CEO OSes is wider support from smartphone
India and many other developing countries is Chris Beard sa id in a recent emai l to t he manufacturers, but up and coming vendors
even more heated than in Europe and the US. community. As part of this reboot, Mozilla such as Xiaom i and India's Micromax
The Z1 has a 1.2GHz dua l-core processor CTO And reas Gal, who co-c reated Firefox OS Informatics have showed little interest in the
and a 4in, 480x800-pixel sc reen. There is a and wrote the f irst lines of code, is leaving newcomers, preferring Android inst ead.
3Mp camera on the back and a VGA camera Mozilla this week. The push to build 25 Xiaomi has its own MIUI user interface
on the f ront. The price tag in India is now smartphones hasn't been as successful as and Micromax is collabo rating with
about 5,000 rupees (51). the organization had hoped. The lesson Cyanogen. The alternative operating
For the same money, the new Honor is that Firefox OS phones have to offer systems don't have enough sca le. When
Bee from Huawei Technologies has a something mo re than just a low price. even Mic rosoft is st ruggling to compete,
1.2GHz quad-core and a 4.5in, 480x854- Meanwh il e, Canonical is working with it's hard to see how the smaller platforms
pixel screen. The main camera has an 8Mp Spanish hardware maker BQ on a high- can make a difference, Micromax
resolution and there is a 2Mp for selfies. end Ubuntu-based smartphone designed cha irman Sanjay Kapoor said in an
The Bee, wh ich runs Android, has tw ice the to double as a PC when connected to an interview ear lier th is year.
storage at 8GB. Consumers wi ll ing to spend external screen and keyboard, according To help with growth, Samsung has
anot her 30 on a more advanced model get to Cristian Parrino, vice president of Mobi le installed Tizen on smartwatches and TVs.
a bigger HD screen and LT E. and On line Services at Canonical. The latter is a product category Mozilla is
Firefox OS sma r tphones are also It will also be the first Ubuntu device going after, as well. Panasonic has started
struggling to compete. Japanese mobi le that's not based on a prev iously re leased rolling out its f irst Firefox OS Viera TVs.
operator KDDI and LG Electronics have Android smartphone. "For once we'd like to Success won't come easier in these two
developed the FxO, a Firefox OS-based come out with a device at the same time as sectors, but it could help raise t he profile
phone with a 4.7in HD screen and LTE. But it it comes out on Android," Parrino said. of the two operating systems.
costs Y49,680 (266), while Android-based For example, BQ launched recent ly its Still, with a combined market share of
smartphones in the sa me price range in second dev ice running Canonica l's OS, the less t han 0.4 percent, all three operating
Japan offer bigger fuii-HD screens, faster 200 (143) Aquaris E5 HD Ubuntu Edition, systems face an uphill battle, and if they
processors and more storage. whose Android edition started shipping disappear, it wou ld be a loss for consumers,
There are signs that at least Firefox OS last yea r. The smartphone has a 5 in HD because it wou ld mean less competitive
deve loper Mozi ll a Foundation and Ubuntu screen, a 13Mp rear camera and a 5Mp front pressure for App le and Google. ISl

September 2015 15

B News: Analysis

Asian and US operators are more aggressive than their European counterparts. Mikael Ricknas reports

arriers around the world are its announcement last year, it said GSM devices shipping today rely on GSM, Machina

c converging on 2017 as the year to

turn off their GSM networks, with
accounted for less t han 1 percent of traffic.
The reasons for t urning off GSM networks
Resea rch CEO Matt Hatton exp lained.
Upgrading the net work wi ll be worth
three operators in Singapore announcing are technical and financial. Turning them it, though, accord ing to AT&T. The higher
Monday their plans to reuse t heir GSM off means the spect rum can be reused by speeds offered by 3G and 4G net works wi ll
spectrum for other serv ices. more efficient 3G and 4G networks, which enab le enterprises to deliver better M2M
The end of GSM will free up more can use the same bandwidth to carry more applications. For examp le, video cameras
bandwidth fo r faster 3G and 4G network data or serve more customers - and hence for rea l-time stream ing and driver dash
techno logies - but will also force users of generate more revenue. Having one less cameras for fleet trucks wil l be possib le.
older connected devices that depend on network to manage should also result in Not al l operators are as aggressive in
GSM networks to upgrade or rep lace them. lower costs for operators. their plans to t urn off GSM. In general,
On Monday Singaporean operators M1, The rapid pace of phone rep lacement European operators are be ing a bit more
Singte l and Sta rHub became the latest means most phones in use are ready for the cautious. For French net work operator
operators to set a ti metable fo r turning off switch to 3G or 4G - but t hat's not the case Orange, there wil l no big sw itch off, accord ing
their GSM networks. They wil l do so on April for many connected devices, wh ich tend to Yves Bellego, director of Technica l and
1, 2017, following in t he footsteps of Te lstra to have far longer working lives. Because Net work Strategy at the French operator.
in Aust ra lia, which plans to do so by the end of its low cost and good cove rage, GSM is Norwegian operator Teleno r plans to turn off
of 2016, and AT&T in the US, which wil l flip a popular option for so-ca ll ed machine-to- its 3G network in 2020, and its GSM net work
the switch on 1 January 2017. machine (M2M) connections used to link in 2025, it recently announced.
For many mobile users, the switch-off vehic les, alarms, vending machines and The reticence to make the move isn't just
could pass almost unnoticed. Today, the a host of other connected devices. There down to wanting to support existing M2M
majority of mobile customers have phones were abou t 160 m il lion of the m by t he end devices. The Eu ropean operators st ill have
that also connect to 3G and 4G networks; of last year, according to Machina Research. lucrative roaming businesses and could run
only a small percentage of subscribers sti ll A new generation of chipsets is laying the into some regu latory issues if they decide to
use GSM-only phones, according to the groundwork for cheaper LTE modems for turn off GSM networks in the next couple of
Singaporean operators. When Telstra made such applicat ions, but the majority of M2M years, accord ing to Hatton. [8

16 September 2015

News: Viewpoint lj

Petrolhead Jim Martin enjoyed switching to battery-powered racing. But the tech needs to improve

ecently something new and never look that quick on track. Even less so on TV It would have made more sense - to me

R seen before happened in central

London: 10 motors port teams
than up close in the f lesh.
Plus, they sound like a group of radio-
at least - to have two shorter sprint races
where battery power isn't such a worry. The
descended on Battersea Park as it was controlled cars being played with by kids in a car could then be recharged between races.
converted from a place of tranquil lity into a car park. It will take longer for petrolheads to Don't get me wrong. I thoroughly enjoyed
racing circuit. come around than it has for the switch from my day at Battersea Park watching the race,
Strangely enough, it was the eclectic V8s to V6 turbos in F1. Formula-e bosses meeting some of the drivers and getting up
mix of jazz and dance music pumping from might prefer to build a new audience and close to the cars in the pitlane. It may also
the trackside PA system that broke the avoid comparisons with F1, but given the have been more easily accessible -to me -
silence, rather than the cars. Because, you number of ex-F1 racers in the series as we ll than Silvestone, but it wasn't as exhilarating
see, this is Formula-e. as some of the teams, it's unavoidable. or spectacular as being at the British Grand
E stands for - you guessed it - electric. Formula-e races lack the excitement you Prix (even the practice).
The series is all about promoting the get from other racing series, caused by a This, though, is just the start for
sustainability of zero-emission vehicles to variety of factors. The lack of speed is partly Formu la-e. As battery technology improves,
the watching public and the cars emit little due to the nature of the narrow street - or it will be interesting to see whether the
more than a high-pitched whine as they park - tracks, but also because drivers have two-car dance is retained or race distances
scamper around narrow street circuits. to conserve battery power. are increased. I can imagine some will prefer
The London E-prix was the fina l event the former in order to see drivers using the
(two events, in fact) of a long season that Why Formula-e needs to go faster maximum speed and performance of the car
began way back in September 2014 in It's particularly odd that the decision without holding back to save energy.
Beijing. There's just one event per month, was taken to make races twice as long as Whatever happens, I hope Formula-e
which means fans have had to be patient batteries can last. This doesn't paint electric can prove beneficial to the development of
between races. However, Formula-e needs to cars in the best light: a lack of range is still the electric cars we'll all be driving in a few
up its game if it's to convince people of the one of their biggest limitations. Drivers have years' time. There are flashes of brilliance
benefits of EVs and to win a bigger audience. to pit around lap 15 and jump into a second, in the Tesla and BMW i8, but until batteries
The main problem, one among many, is fully charged car. (For safety reasons, there's don't degrade to the point their range is
speed. While the identical Renault cars are a minimum pit-stop time meaning there's close to useless, and prices come down, I for
capable of up to 140m ph, they just don't none of the frantic action you get in F1.) one won't be making the switch. GJ

September 2015 17

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Price TBC

20 September 2015


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September 2015 21

B News: New products


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Schenker XMG P505

XMG is the gaming sub-brand of
German laptop maker Schenker. And
within the XMG range lies a choice
Specifications of three levels - Advanced, Core and
15.6in (2880x1620, 212ppi) Pro - which correspond to the entry-
IPS matt anti-glare; level, midrange and flagship series.
Windows 8.1; 2.6GHz Intel So the XMG P505 is a gaming
Core i7-4720HQ (3.6GHz laptop from the top tier that
Turbo) 4C, 8T; nVidia Schenker says can deliver- unless
GeForce GTX 980M with you want to step up to the Ultimate
4GB GDDR5 and Intel HD Series. This takes a desktop-class
Graphics 4600; 16GB (Zx CPU and all the trimmings, making
8GB) 1866MHz DDR3; it more of a fire-breathing desktop-
gigabit ethernet; 802.11ac replacement PC; less of a notebook
2x2 MIMO; Bluetooth 4.0; you'd want to place upon your lap.
3x USB 3.0, 1x eSATA/USB This 15in gaming laptop serves
3.0; Zx Mini DisplayPort 1.2, as a platform to host nVidia's
HDMI 1.4; Kensington lock newest 900 Series mobile graphics The standard 15.6in screen This case is a heavy-duty chunky
slot; SD, SIM card slots; processors, namely the GeForce GTX is 1920x1080 resolution, IPS construction, satin finish black
stereo speakers; webcam. 965M, 970M and 980M. We tested technology, and finished with a comprising an aluminium lid back
array microphone; 3.5mm a configuration with the top 980M, matt anti-glare coating. You can and top deck area, and a black
headphone jack. 3.5mm allied with the laptop motherboard's also trade up to a 4K UHD panel plastic bottom on the model we
line in. 3.5mm S/PDIF; single choice of CPU, an Intel Core of 3840x2160, although since tested. Ironically, if you choose the
60Wh lithium-ion. non- i7-4720HQ running at 2.6GHz. This even the wor ld's finest GPUs for cheapest nVidia GTX 965M graphics,
removable battery; chip packs 6MB cache and can laptops struggle at four-times the you shou ld get a metal bottom
180W mains charger Turbo up to 3.6GHz. fui i-HD resolution, we suggested plate, too. The plastic bottom is
with IEC C13 inlet; a 2880x1620-pixel panel as the reserved for models with GTX 970M
385x273x29.5mm; 2591g Configurations and options best compromise, driven by the top and 980M, which require a more
The starting price for the XMG P505 GTX 980M graphics processor with powerful cooling system. Coo ling is
is 891, although at this price you 4GB of GDDRS video memory. undertaken by three fans, two on the
don't get any internal storage, let Storage opt ions get very GPU and one for CPU.
alone an operating system to install interesting, as the P505 can accept There's no bui lt-in optical drive,
it on, nor any wireless connectivity. up to two traditional SATA drives, and like many modern laptops
Performance: Visit the laptop's product page and either 2.5in hard disk or SSD up the battery is not designed to be
Value: **'*** you'll find that Schenker UK has a
base model with a 500GB hard disk
to 9.5mm thick each, plus two
M.2 form-factor drives. One of the
changeable by the user. Inside is a
lithium -ion battery pack with 60Wh
and budget 11ac Wi-Fi card for a price latter can be a PC ie-attached f lash energy capacity. In our standard
of 939, although you' ll still need to drive, using four lanes of PCie 2.0, video-rundown test, this let the
pay 65 for Windows. whi le the other is fixed to a SATA P505 survive off the mains for
Memory is fully configurable, bus only. But this SATA-only M.2 three hours 11 minutes.
from a single 4GB RAM card of card slot can also potentially take The laptop weighs a not ungainly
Crucial Ba llistix Sport, up to 32GB a cellular data modem, which is 2.59kg in this configuration , bu t
Kingston HyperX Impact. The given why chassis manufacturer Cleve you' ll need to factor in another
options are for 1866MHz clock includes a SIM -card slot on the 1.05kg for the 180W mains power
memory, higher than Intel's official laptop's side. Our samp le was supply should you need to travel far.
specification for this processor of configured with a single drive, a The keyboard, trackpad and
1600MHz. Schenker UK tells us that Samsung XP941 PCI3 2.0 x4 card display are all of a very high
even higher-clocked RAM can be with 512GB capacity. quality, with special mention for the
used, up to 2133MHz, although this For wireless communications, unusually precise trackpad with its
isn't stable. we added the option for Qualcomm two real buttons, and the first-class
We specified 16GB of Crucial Killer dual-stream 802.11ac. Despite IPS display on the model we tested.
memory. There's a total of four slots the size of the laptop, there's no
for SO -DIMM memory modules, with third antenna in the chassis to allow Ports and components
the preinsta lled RAM positioned on a ful l 3x3 MIMO Wi-Fi card. With such a capable graphics
the reverse side of the motherboard. processor under the bonnet you may
There's a way in through the Build and design be inclined to connect additiona l
keyboard, to swap this out without Like most customisable laptop display, made easy by the choice of
a lengthy teardown of the entire designs, Schenker relies on pre- two Mini DisplayPort v1.2, which can
machine. You can also add two more built and semi-stuffed chassis from channel up to 3840x2160 pixels at
memory cards easily to slots on the Taiwan maker Cleve, and here the 60Hz; and an HDMI1.4 port good for
top side of the motherboard when XMG P505 is using a Cleve P651G 2560x1600 (or higher to 4K UHD
the bottom plate is removed. case and display assembly. but with slow refresh rate).

26 September 2015


Three USB 3.0 ports are joined also recorded for 512kB size data, Display
by a fourth on the backplane that 644- and 778MB/s respectively for The 2880x1620 IPS display available
doubles as an eSATA port. For audio reads and writes. to this laptop is an unusually fine
there are three 3.5mm jack sockets, In the important 4kB random example of the technology. In lab
designed for S/PDIF, mic input and read/write tests we saw speeds of measurements it may not look too
headphone output. Sound quality 24- and 76M B/s respectively for remarkable, its 94 percent sRGB
from the built-in stereo speakers reads and writes, rising to 326- and coverage missing the full coverage
with 2W amplifier is perfunctory, but 275MB/s using a 32-depth queue. some IPS panels provide, and
sufficient for lo-fi music playback. These are great results, unheard contrast ratio reaching a middling
of from a single drive, though still best of 510:1.
Performance behind what we've seen from a Colour accuracy was good but
The Core i7-4720HQ is a popular RAID'd pair of SATA SSDs. again nothing exceptional with Delta
choice for gaming laptops at the E average of 1.34. What impressed
moment -four out of six machines Graphics with this Panasonic-made display
in our last group test all used the As we found with the last gaming was the subjective impression of
same Intel chip. Our benchmark laptop using the top nVidia GeForce image quality. Despite the measured
results for the P505 followed the GTX 980M graphics processor, it results, black looked very deep
scores from those laptops, returning is possible to play graphics-heavy and inky, type and images were
3545 points in Geekbench 3, and action games up to their highest incredibly detailed; and, of course,
13,336 with eight Hyper Threading detail, and usually even beyond with clear viewing angles as wide as
virtual cores engaged. fuii-HD 1920x1080 resolution. the screen.
Cinebench 11.5 scored this laptop Our simplest test for gaming
with 1.58 points single-core, and 7.38 laptops of Batman: Arkham City Verdict
points multi-core, which is at the at 1920x1080 and High detail was The Schenker XMG P505 is a
top end of scores we've seen with quickly dispatched at an average very accomplished game player,
laptops using this quad-core chip. framerate of 95fps. This fell to fuelled by its top-of-the-range
Similarly, Cinebench 15 returned 89fps at Very High and 80fps at nVidia mobile graphics processor.
figures of 139- and 681 points, which Extreme detail settings. The Cleva platform to support
is just above results of comparable Given the nVidia chips clear this is standard chunky games
gaming laptops. fluency, we rose resolution all the machine fare, although the all-up
For OpenGL graphics way to screen native 2880x1620, weight of around 2.6kg is modest
performance, version 11.5 played at where the game averaged 72fps by the standards of the breed.
59.5fps while Cinebench 15 rose to at High detail and only fell to This laptop is distinguished by its
90fps. The latter score is good, but 62fps at the Extreme setting. premium IPS display, solid build
some way behind the 108fps we saw Tomb Raider 2013 sped by with and the graphics chip required
from the Gigabyte P37X using the even greater ease, at 217fps with to drive modern Windows games
same CPU/GPU combination. Normal detail and fuii-HD screen at their highest settings without
PCMark 7 rated the P505 with resolution. We ratcheted up the fuss. And as a general PC, it feels
6217 points, an exceptionally high detail to High (150fps) and Ultra commensurably quick, helped along
score for any PC. The PCMark 8 (111fps) before hitting Ultimate by its 1GB/s-class PCie solid-state
Home results of 2771 (conventional) and a still remarkable 76fps. drive. 121 Andrew Harrison
and 3276 points (accelerated) were Having proved its mettle, we
more disappointing, when the again went up to native '3K' panel
Gigabyte P37X scored 3300 and resolution. This time Tomb Raider
4049 points in the same test. The averaged 79fps with High detail,
Work results of 3018- and 4328 57fps at Ultra and an accomplished
points were also some way behind 41fps at maximum Ultimate preset.
the 3478- and 5156 points of the Presented with Metro: Last
latter gaming machine sporting Light, the XMG P505 could
the same Intel and nVidia parts. It's play at an average framerate of
worth mentioning that the Gigabyte 108fps in our standard fuii-HD
resolves its performance storage in High test, tumbling to 36fps at
a different way, using two mSATA our top Very High settings.
SSDs in RAID 0 rather than a single
PCie x4 SSD, which give broadly the
same level of performance.

Thanks to the Samsung XP941
PCie solid-state drive, the P505
we benchmarked was capable
of very fast data transfers, up to
977MB/s sequential reads in our
tests. Sequential writes were close
at 891MB/s, and high speeds were

September 2015 27

B Reviews


Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display (15in, 2.5GHz, mid 2015)
The new 15in MacBook Pro for 2015
has arrived, picking up a trio of
component upgrades on the way.
Specifications App le's best laptop features the
15.4in (2880x1800, 220ppi) same design and layout as the first
LED-backlit widescreen Retina notebook that launched in
display; OS XYosemite; 2012, and once again two models
512GB PCie-based flash are available- here we focus on the
storage; 2.5GHz quad-core top model with 2.5GHz processor
Intel Core i7 processor and AMD graphics.
(Turbo Boost up to 3.7GHz) Apple pioneered the trackpad
with 6MB shared L3 cache; on laptops back in the early 1990s,
16GB of 1600MHz DDR3L when Windows laptop factories
onboard memory; Intel were still fitting upside-down-
Iris Pro Graphics; 720p mouse trackballs or little rubber
FaceTime camera; pointing sticks in the middle of Apple does not seem too partisan Comparing the AMD chip with
802.11ac Wi-Fi networking; the keyboard. The trackpad is when it comes to favouring either of nVidia's graphics is not easy, as its
4 IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n now al l but ubiquitous as the way today's two makers of PC graphics architecture is slightly different,
compatible; Bluetooth to interact with every notebook processors, tending to oscil late with a specification listing shading
4.0; 1x Mag Safe; Zx computer of any faith. between fitting either nVidia or units (384) and render output
Thunderbolt 2; Zx Under Apple's stewardship, the AMD's graphics adaptors. Since processors (16) besides a count of
USB 3.0; 1x HDMI; lx concept has seen trackpads grow the 15in MacBook Pro with Retina 32 texture mapping units. However,
headphone; SDXC slot; larger in size, increase in precision disp lay was introduced back in the previous nVidia GTX 750M did
18x358.9x247.1mm; 2.04kg and sensitivity, and notably gain 2012, there has been a build using have a slightly faster core-clock
multi-point touch recognition to discrete nVidia graphics in addition speed of 926MHz, the same size
allow new hand gestures to guide to low-power integrated Intel 128-bit memory bus, and a faster
the user through a computer's GUI. graphics, starting with the nVidia memory clock of 1254MHz.
The new Force Touch trackpad GeForce GTX 650M for the Mark I; Apple reports that the new
is something of a departure and for the past two refreshes, the AMD graphics are faster than
though, and even though the slightly better GTX 750M. the outgoing nVidia solution, and
trackpad looks identical on Now we see the pendu lum swing these claims were borne out in
the surface, it is now a fixed back to AMD, with the inc lusion our testing in every instance, up
unmoving construct, relying on of a Radeon R9 M370X graphics to and including a 70 percent
Performance: strain gauges, electromagnet processing unit. It is fitted with 2GB performance increase in one game.
Value: solenoids and additional processors of GDDR5 video memory, the same Before the graphics benchmark
and algorithms to do its work. quota as the outgoing nVidia part. results, it's worth reiterating that
Superficially, the same as it was in the CPU is the same as when we
the first Unibody MacBook of 2008 Graphics last tested the breed in summer
it may be, but still waters run deep. You won't find this AMD graphics 2014. We ran the usua l processor
As we found with first the 13in processor on other laptops though tests anyway as part of our
MacBook Pro and then the new as the part seems to be custom- comprehensive routine to ensure
little MacBook, the Force Touch built for Apple. Note that like all nothing unexpected had arisen ,
trackpad allows you to control the GPUs that Apple has fitted to its and found figures that were within
strength of the 'click' for normal professiona l-labe l MacBook Pro 1 percent tolerance of last year's
clicks (Light, Medium, Firm); and notebooks ever since the line was results. This means a single-core
additionally to register an extra , launched in 2006, the 2015 MacBook Geekbench 3 score of 3717 points,
deeper click when you press Pro takes a consumer-grade rising to 14,325 points in multi -core
slightly longer and more firmly. graphics adaptor, here bearing the mode; Cinebench 11.5 with resu lts of
The Force Touch concept works Radeon name. 1.54- and 6.41 points respectively for
well on the MacBook Pro, all owing The AMD Radeon R9 M370X the two modes; while Cinebench 15
you to deep click on the fast-forward looks to be based on a 28nm reported 132- and 602 points.
and rewind buttons in QuickTime architecture codenamed Cape For reference, Dell's comparable
Player, for example. The harder Verde that dates back to 2012, copycat computer is the Precision
you press, the faster the speed- and this particular version runs M3800, which runs an Inte l Core
up. Another useful benefit, if one an 800MHz GPU clock, 1125MHz i7-4712HQ at 2.3GHz, and g ives
that takes some mental training to memory clock (4500MHz effective benchmark scores around 5 percent
get used to if you've been driving speed, after the quadrup ling slower in Cinebench, and up to 18
trackpads for years, is that you can properties of GDDR5 RAM) and percent slower in Geekbench.
press anywhere on the trackpad 128-bit memory bus. It has 640 Cinebench will also test
surface with equal pressure to stream processors for parallel graphics rendering performance
elicit a click, rather than along processing and 40 texture with an OpenGL routine, and
just the front edge. mapping units. in our tests of the mid-2015

28 September 2015

Reviews B

MacBook Pro with its new AMD improvement) and from 31- to 49fps of 2000MB/s, peaking at 2077MB/s,
graphics we found 12.5- and 16 at High detail (or a 58 percent lift). and averaging 2050MB/s for data
percent improvements over the With the help of QuickRes sized 20- to 100MB. Sequential write
previous nVidia model. Specifically, (,) we also pushed speeds were lower as is typical for
Cinebench 11.5 framerate rose from the graphics to their size limit, SSDs and averaged 1542MB/s.
48- to 54fps, while Cinebench 15 expanding screen resolution Small-file random reads were
advanced from 54- to 63fps. beyond what OS X normally allows, almost disappointing, the weakest
Turning to gaming, we started to the MacBook Pro's native in measurement at 37MB/s for 4kB
with Batman: Arkham City and 2880x1800 pixels. At this point, random reads, while 4kB random
found it would play around one- you cannot expect to have playable writes hit 118MB/s. Averaged across
third faster. At the low setting of framerates from anything but the all small files from 4- to 1024kB,
1280x720 pixels and Medium detail, best graphics cards. For the nVidia random reads were 533MB/s and
nVidia gave us 61fps, while AMD 750M, it averaged 9fps in Tomb random writes averaged 948MB/s.
played at 83fps (36 percent faster). Raider, while the AMD R9 M370X Compared to 2014's best, which
Set to 1440x900 size - arguably showed us a much better, if still too came in at 199MB/s for averaged
the best resolution for this MacBook slow, 18fps. That's what statisticians random reads and 351MB/s for
Pro's 2880x1900-pixel display -the and marketeers would call a 100 averaged random writes that's
game rose from 50fps through percent improvement. roughly a three-fold increase since
nVidia GeForce GTX 750M, to 66fps the last refresh, and one that will
through the AMD Radeon R9 M370X, Performance really make the Retina MacBook
for a 32 percent improvement. We've already seen some Pro fly in real-world usage.
Unigine Heaven is a synthetic significant improvements in storage We have seen a clear evolution
gaming benchmark, and here the performance in this year's Apple in Mac storage performance in the
AMD graphics showed around Mac refreshes, building on the past two years; a revolution in terms
20 percent improvements on the 2013 refresh when Apple kicked of the shake-up to the PC industry.
previous nVidia- moving from 35- to out SATA and introduced PCie- Up until the MacBook refreshes of
42fps (1280x800, Medium), and from attached flash drives to the world. 2013, the best SATA SSDs had read
29- to 35fps (1440x900, Medium). This year saw this strategy speeds capped by SATA interface
Most impressive gaming developed again by the use of four at little over 500MB/s.
performance lifts were found in the rather than two lanes of PCI Express. Then Apple replaced SATA with
2013 reboot of the classic Tomb So in the case of the new 13in PCie, giving a 50 percent read speed
Raider game. In our experience MacBook Pro with Retina display, increase to 750MB/s. Then earlier
testing Windows machines, this sequential read speed from the this year it used twice as many PCie
game typically works better through PCie-attached flash drive doubled lanes, doubling that 750 figure to
AMD graphics hardware- right down from around 750- to 1500MB/s. 1500MB/s. And now the lanes have
to the added TressFX graphics API This year's 15in Retina MacBook been widened to expand the top
for DirectX, which optionally shows Pro also gains from the doubling in speed to 2000GB/s.
Lara's hair more realistically, each PCie bus lanes, again from two to Last year's MacBook Pro (Retina,
strand rendered separately with four. But it also adds another trick 15in, mid 2014) with the same
the help of the AMD Graphics Core that takes sequential read speed 2.5GHz Core i7 processor lasted
Next architecture. Sadly this feature up to a staggering 2000MB/s. In for seven hours 57 minutes, in our
has not been ported to the OpenGL place of the venerable PCie 2.0 test of streaming an MPEG-4 HD
version of Tomb Raider for Mac. standard, we now have a flash film over Wi-Fi, with screen set to
Set to a modest 1280x800- drive using four lanes of PCie 3.0. 120cd/m 2 (an 11.75 setting on the
pixel resolution and Normal detail, The newer standard has nominal 0-16 brightness range available
framerate was lifted from 40fps speed of 8GT/s (giga transfers through OS X).
under nVidia to 65fps under AMD per second), a bump up from the This year's model with the same
(63 percent faster). At 1440x900, previous 5GT/s of PCie 2.0. CPU ran for eight hours 58 minutes,
Normal detail moved from 33- to Using QuickBench, we measured which we're happy to call 'nine-hour
56fps (the vaunted 70 percent storage transfer speeds in excess battery life'. If we had to guess
the 'how', we'd wager it was either
improved power-saving techniques
in the Samsung-made flash drive
controller; reduced quiescent
current draw from the AMD graphics
processor; or it could be a little of
both, combined with some under-
bonnet changes in the OS.

Apple's latest 15in Retina MacBook
Pro maintains its place as a premium
mobile workstation laptop, with
great performance and a stylish
design. E1 Andrew Harrison

September 2015 reviews 29

B Reviews


iMac with Retina SK display (mid 2015)

27in (5120x2880) Retina
display with IPS
technology; 3.3GHz quad-
core Intel Core i5
processor (Turbo Boost
up to 3.7GHz); 8GB (two
4GB) of 1600MHz DDR3
memory; four SO-DIMM
slots. user accessible
(configurable to 16GB or
32GB); lTB (7200rpm)
hard drive (configurable
to 3TB hard drive). 1- or
3TB Fusion Drive. or
256GB. 512GB or lTB of
flash storage (SSD);
FaceTime camera; lx
headphone; 1x SDXC; 4x
USB 3.0; 2x Thunderbolt
2; gigabit ethernet;
802.11ac Wi-Fi wireless
networking; IEEE
802.11a/b/g/n compatible;
516x650x203mm; 9.54kg

When Apple launched the first iMac and slot for SD cards up to SDXC SO-DIMM modules, and you can
with Retina display last October, it specification and a headphone jack. easily upgrade this yourself from
stood alone in terms of competition In place of the 3.5GHz Intel a removable hatch on the back
from the usual Windows suspects, Core i5 quad-core processor is a In our tests of the main
Performance: since no PC maker had anything slightly slower processor clocked processor, we saw close to the
Value: **"*** close in design and performance.
But it was also launched as
at 3.3GHz. It's from the same
generation, a Core i5-4590 instead
same speed as from the 3.5GHz
processor, with benchmark scores
a solitary mode l in the Apple of Core i5-4690. Both chips have around 5- to 6 percent lower.
catalogue, listed as just one separate processor cores on the From Geekbench 3, the new iM ac
standard configuration, although same die, and include Intel Turbo with 5K Retina scored 3699 points
there was some limited scope Boost 2.0 technology which here with one core, and 11,792 while
to upgrade to better processor, mildly overclocks up to 3.7GHz, running four cores. Those figures
graphics, storage and memory.
Now we have an additiona l off-
the-shelf Retina 5K iMac with 400
shaved off the 1,999 (now reduced Your 1,599 can buy an iMac with the same ultra-
to 1,849) price of the original. Your
1,599 can buy an iMac with the
high resolution screen and all the usual trimmings,
same ultra-high resolution screen with savings made this time in the main Intel chip
and all the usual trimmings, with
savings made this time in the main where the faster processor can are around 5 percent lower than
Intel chip, the storage and graphics. reach up to 3.9GHz. the 3877- and 12,418 points from
These are regular four-core the original iMac 5K.
Build and design chips. In both cases, the processor Cinebench 15 scored the 3.3GHz
In every respect this is the same is fixed at working on four threads, iMac with 134- and 515 points for
iMac with Retina 5K display, using in contrast to the mobile-class its two modes, this ti me 6- and 5
the same chassis with the same processors found in most variants percent behind the first model's
formidable bui ld quality, and the of Apple MacBooks, which include scores (143- and 544 points
same line of ports and connectors Hyper Threading Technology to respectively). The earlier version
along the back. There's two give the effect of doubling the of Cinebench 11.5 reported the
Thunderbolt 2 ports for high-speed number of real cores. The memory same story, dropping 5- and 6
peripherals and externa l displays, quota and specification is the percent (1.64 down to 1.56 points,
four USB 3.0, gigabit ethernet, same as before, 8GB from two 4GB and 6.15 down to 5.79 points).

30 September 2015

Reviews B

At first glance, we have the same older 11.5 benchmark (56.3- beating Compare this to the PCie-
graphics processor driving all those 45.1fps, for a 20 percent better attached flash drives in other
14.7 million pixels with 60 refreshes score in the cheaper Mac). Macs, which would average
each second. But there's something around 300MB/s in the same
different in the designation, a Storage latter test - a tenfold difference
certain X missing from the end of As standard the original iMac with in speed , which would be even
the device's name. Where the first 5K Retina display comes with a 1TB marked when the queue-depth
iMac 5K has an AMD Radeon R9 Fusion Drive, a hybrid flash and disk (number of paralleled storage
M290X, the second has an R9 M290. system that works seamlessly to 1/0 operations) is increased.
Technical differences between them give you most of the benefits of a That 's not to say the disk-
are not revealed and we've asked fast solid-state drive, and the bulk only iMac is too retarded to use
Apple if it can explain how they capacity of a traditional hard disk. comfortably. However if you're
are different. Until we hear more, The new entry-level version used to using a MacBook Air,
and based on the tiny measured iMac is equipped with just a simple for instance, you may find a
differences in performance between 1TB disk, which does make this disk-based iMac even with its
GPUs, we'd guess it could be model feel slower in general use. 3.3GHz quad-core processor
something as minor as a difference Start-up time is lengthened, even may feel subjectively a little
in the core or memory clock speeds. if this yardstick from the Windows slower in daily use.
Graphics processors can be PC world is almost insignificant
'binned' by selecting the best silicon here since Macs excel at sleep Verdict
from the fabrication process at time mode; and don't demand restarting For a pound under 2,000
of manufacture, and setting these every Tuesday to apply weekly the first iMac with 5K
parts to run with the highest clock security patches from Microsoft. Retina display
speeds. Those parts that don' t work But there is some inevitable actually
with stability at the top speeds lag in the system interface, offers
are set at slower clock speeds, noticeable when applications take decent
and used in lesser graphics cards. a few more bounces in the Dock value, especially
before they launch. with nothing like it to
Graphics The Seagate hard disk inside compare, short of gaffer-taping a
As with Intel processor performance, this new iMac is fast though as 4K UHD display onto a Windows
the change of graphics processor disk technology can allow. With the tower PC. The new entry version
see a small drop in the results we drive nearly empty, it could reach undercuts it by a useful 400,
measured from the original 3.5GHz sequential speeds up to around bringing only around 5 percent
iMac 5K. Batman: Arkham City at 210MB/s (with reads and writes slower application and 10 percent
1920x1080 pixels and High detail effectively the same speed); the graphics performance. It does lose
still played perfectly at 84fps, where drag really starts to show when out with the slow disk-only storage
first model managed 89fps. multiple demands are made upon though, so you might like to consider
When pushed to a Retina-mode the disk drive, and in small-file configuring it with a Fusion Drive
resolution of 2560x1440 however, random read/write speeds. Averaged or pure 256GB flash drive, either
we saw a more significant drop in with data from 4- to 1024kB, we saw option adding 160 to the price.
framerate, even if 66fps instead of speeds of around just 30MB/s. IEl Andrew Harrison
85fps is still perfectly usable to play
the game without visible glitches.
Tomb Raider was strangely faster
at fuii-HD resolution when played on
the new 3.3GHz model, averaging
64fps against 59fps, for a nearly 7
percent improvement. But pushed
to 2560x1440 size again it fell back
by 10 percent, hitting 42fps instead
of 46fps from the original 5K iMac.
The Unigine Heaven synthetic game
benchmark was similarly around
10 percent down, but still able
to play the test at 27fps even at
2560x1440 and Medium detail.
Cinebench's OpenGL test
pushes the graphics processor
while rendering an animated car-
chase scene, and here the new
iMac was just 1.4 percent behind
the original in version 15 (90.4
versus 91.7fps); and again we saw
an anomaly where the non-X-rated
iMac turned in a higher score in the

September 2015 31

B Reviews


EE Harrier
The fact the 199 Harrier is available
on EE's 4G network is exciting not
only because it's fast, but because
Specifications later this year the phone will also
5.2in fuii-HD (1920x1080, benefit from EE's Wi-Fi Calling
424ppi); 1.5GHz Oualcomm service. This eliminates mobile signal
Snapdragon 615 octa-core problems by allowing you to route
processor; 2GB RAM; 16GB calls and texts over Wi-Fi, without
storage; microSD slot; 13M p you even realising it's happening.
rear camera with LED At this price, you can't expect a
flash. 1080p video premium build. On the plus side, the
recording; 2Mp front bezels are extremely thin, the phone
camera; Android Lollipop; is reasonably slim for a budget
4G up to 150Mb/s; Micro- model and also lightweight, and the
SIM; Wi-Fi Calling coming 5.2in fuii-HD (1920x1080, 424ppi)
soon; 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi; screen is fantastic under 200.
Bluetooth 4.0; NFC; With an IPS display, the EE
2500mAh non- Harrier offers realistic screen
removable battery; colours, decent viewing angles
74.5x8.9x147mm; 145g and it's usefully bright. At 5.2in -
large but not too large - it 's also
a great fit for watching movies
and viewing photos, which isn't operate the Harrier. Sadly, for EE, are significantly cheaper than the
often something we can say about this reviewer is right-handed, but Harrier, but while you might save
phones at this price point. (Gaming, lefties will love it. money buying phones from China
not so much, but casual games will (the EE Harrier is also made in
play fine on the Harrier.) Hardware and performance China, but sold in the UK through
EE has made an effort to spruce On the inside, the Harrier is EE), you could also get hit with
things up, with a brushed-metal- equipped with a 1.5GHz Qualcomm additional customs charges, and if
effect rear (it's still plastic) and Snapdragon 615 octa-core processor, you need to return a faulty device
a gold camera surround; as an 2GB of RAM and 16GB storage, which you could have trouble. By buying
own-brand phone you'll also find a can be expanded via a microSD slot direct from EE, you should be
silver EE logo on the back cover. The -and you'll want to do so. Having able to get any problems sorted
Performance: slightly curved rear and rounded installed our benchmarks less than relatively quickly and easily.
Value: **"*** corners make the Harrier fit
naturally in the hand, too.
half the capacity was available
(and they really aren't that big). A
In Geekbench 3, which measures
processor performance, the EE
But a few things give away 2500mAh non-removable battery Harrier recorded 640 points in the
this phone's mid-range price. First keeps it all going. single-core test, and 2042 in the
and foremost, it's entirely plastic, That sounds like a reasonable multi-core one. That makes it a little
and that brushed-metal-effect specification for a mid-range phone, slower than the ZTE Blade S6 (2420)
rear does little to conceal the but during testing we found that and 56 Plus (2095), but faster than
fact. The removable cover adds to the Harrier would take a second or the Doogee F1 Turbo Mini (1947) and
this cheap feel, with the Harrier two to think before doing whatever Bluboo X6 (1940). Comparing it to
creaking a little in use. Given that you had asked of it, whether that some other phones with which you
the battery is not removable, we'd was launching an app or opening may be more familiar, it's slower
have preferred to have seen a side- the Settings menu. Remember, than an LG G2 (2271), but faster
loading tray for the Micro-SIM and though, that this is a 200 phone. than the HTC Desire 816 (1503) and
microSD card, and a fixed rear. We're used to reviewing super-fast new Moto E 4G (1463). Importantly,
The button placement is bizarre. handsets such as the Samsung it's much faster than EE's previous
Unusually, EE Harrier is far more Galaxy 56, which cost three own-brand 4G phone, the Kestrel,
comfortable to use in the left hand times the price, and what seems which recorded 1152 points (at half
than it is in the right. Held in your like an interminable wait to us the price, mind).
left hand, the thumb falls naturally an average user wouldn't batter Next up is SunSpider, which
over the power button and fingers an eyelid at. For that reason, we measures JavaScript performance
over the volume rocker; held in the also measure performance using (and in which a lower score is
right hand, the distance between several benchmarks. better). We run this benchmark in
the two is simply too great, and all In our benchmarking of the Chrome to ensure a fair test across
the steps EE has taken to make the Harrier, we found performance phones, and saw 1275ms for the
phone comfortable to use in one similar to that of Chinese phones Harrier. That places it very much in
hand quickly become forgotten as such as the ZTE Blade 56 and 56 Microsoft Lumia or Windows Phone
you struggle to adopt the awkward Plus, Doogee F1 Turbo Mini and territory, with the 640 scoring
hand contortions necessary to Bluboo X6. Some of these devices 1201ms, the 7351217ms, the 435

32 September 2015

Reviews B

1284ms and the 535 1295ms. In you which apps might be causing select Auto, Night or Panorama
comparison to Android phones, excessive battery drain. modes, while HDR is on or off, and
it's in the Huawei P6/P7 and HTC no real-time filters are availab le.
Desire 610's domain - not amazing, Connectivity The resu lts, as you can see in
but by no means atrocious (the Sony A key selling point of this phone is our test shots below, aren' t bad. But
Xperia Tipo stil l wins that award with its 4G connectivity. At 100 that you' ll want to switch on HDR (as
5781ms). wou ld be impressive; at the 200 the seen in the second shot), and even
A new test for us is AnTuTu, Harrier costs, it's a nice extra - not then detail is lacking. Colours are
in which the Harrier recorded all phones at this price have it, but natura l, though , and for the money
29,154 points. We have few neither is it a surprise, and especially the resu lts are acceptable.
inhouse results with which to not in an own-brand EE handset. We also ran a video test using
compare this, but according One of the perks of buying an EE the primary camera, but found the
to othe r results in the An TuTu phone, though, is Wi-Fi Ca lling. This footage to be jerky.
database that makes it faster than is not yet available to the Harrier, When it comes to its operating
the original HTC One (M7), but but it wil l be later this year. Wi-Fi system, the Harrier runs a very plain
slower than the Nexus 5 and LG G3. Calling is a god-send if you often implementation of Android Lollipop,
Graphics performance comes find yourself without mobile signal, and even uses the Nexus launcher.
next, for which we use GFXBench allowing the Harrier to route your There is, however, a lot of bloatware
3.1. In the T-Rex test, EE Harrier ca lls and texts over a Wi-Fi- rather slapped on top, and none of it can be
recorded 15fps, which is slight ly than a mobile network. You won't uninstal led. Additiona l extras include
faster than the Kestre l (14fps), and even notice the difference, and the Lookout, My EE, Amazon Kind le,
on a par with the HTC Desire 610, minutes and texts you use simply Local, Music and Appstore, Deezer
LG G2 mini and Sony Xperia M2. In come out of your month ly all owance. and Games & Apps. By the time
Manhattan we saw just 6fps, which In other respects all the usual we had installed our benchmarks,
is the same score we saw from connectivity bases are covered. just 7.89GB of the Harrier's 16GB
the new Moto E 4G. This phone There's 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth of storage was available.
hasn' t been designed with gaming 4.0 and NFC but, unlike many
in mind, but you shou ld find it Chinese-made phones, the Harrier Verdict
capable of handling casual titles. is not dua i-SIM . At 200, EE's Harrier offers 4G
Finally, we measure battery On paper, the 13Mp camera connectivity, a great 5.2in fuii-HD
life performance, and for this we fixed to the rear of the Harrier is IPS screen and the promise of Wi-Fi
again turn to Geekbench 3.0. As excellent. It has an LED flash, and Cal li ng. For many that will make
with AnTuTu, this is a relatively a gold camera surround makes it it an excel lent deal. But a number
new test to the PC Advisor lab, and all seem a little bit specia l. It can of issues prevented us gett ing too
we have few scores with which to capture 1080p (fuii-HD) video, and excited about this smartphone:
compare the Harrier's performance. there's also a 2Mp se lfie/Skype there's a load of bloatware,
However, of the scores we do have, camera at the front. re latively sluggish performance,
the phone turned in by far the Very few camera contro ls are unremarkable battery life, some
worst performance with 1424 points available, but you do get smile-, awkward ly placed buttons, a plastic
(03:33:20). Even its little brother, voice- and touch-activated capture, build, and the camera performance
the Harrier Mini (see page 34), plus a countdown timer. You can isn't great. 181 Marie Brewis
performed better, with 2163 points
(05:24:10). While you might assume
this difference could be put down to
the lower-spec hardware on the Mini,
the phone that scored the highest
in this benchmark was the Samsung
-> ''
Galaxy 56, which has a much higher-
resolution screen, significantly faster
0 ' .....

hardware and on ly 50mAh extra in ~ c, ..,

:::; .,--

,.... ~ ..,.
the battery department. (/"

(I) ...,-.. -
...; 11111111111 "
With moderate real-world use, 0...
'' :
~ i
I ....1:!
the Harrier should get you through
the day, but expect nothing more I
...... :T'
~~ '
~ .. I I

beyond that. Sm art battery options orb ' :

ff '~1)- I I
let the Harrier automatical ly turn
off Wi-Fi and data connectivity when

., Q, J
the screen is off. You can set th is ~ff = '
to occur only between certain 'off-
... ..
(()) ~
a.n Q
peak' times, such as overnight when Olll t o;

you don' t want to be disturbed, or

to happen all the time. However, if
you want people to be ab le to get
hold of you, that's perhaps not the
best idea. The Harrier can also show

September 2015 33

B Reviews


EE Harrier Mini
At 99, the Harrier Mini offers although there is still
a cheap entry point for a phone the same interminable
capable of fast 4G data download wait when launching
Specifications speeds. It's identical in design to its the camera or other
4.7in (1280x720, 312ppi) bigger brother, the Harrier (see page apps, or even just
IPS HD screen; 1.2GHz 32), but with smaller dimensions waking the screen.
processor; Android 5.0 and a more modest spec. We ran the Harrier
Lollipop; 1GB RAM; 8GB Both are plastic phones, although Mini through our usual
storage (3.69GB available); the manufacturer (BenQ) has benchmarks, starting
microSD card slot; attempted to add a tou ch of flair with Geekbench 3, which
Bluetooth 4.0; Wi-Fi with a brushed-metal-effect rear measures processor
Calling; 8Mp rear (with cover. There's also a gold camera performance. In the
LED flash), ZMp front surround, shiny silver EE logo and multi-core component
camera; ZOOOmAh non- a silver speaker grille at the rear. It it recorded 1549 points,
removable battery; pulls off the look much better than making it faster than
138x67.9x9.5mm; 124g its bigger brother, and on looks its predecessor, the
alone you wouldn't easily guess EE Kestrel (1152), but cutbacks, although its 8Mp rear- and
that this was a 99 phone. slower than the Harrier, which 2Mp front camera setup with LED
The screen bezels are similarly recorded 2042 points. flash is very good at this price.
slim, but as with the Harrier there Geekbench 3 also includes a HDR is not on by default.
is a rather large vacant area below battery life test, which we have although in our experience you will
the screen. Rather than using this to recently begun using for the phones want to switch it on. Our first shot.
house the three Android-standard that pass through our lab. We were taken without HDR, was very dark
Home, Back and Options buttons, interested to find that the Harrier and underexposed on what was a
these occupy the bottom row on the Mini performed better in this test relatively sunny day for the UK.
screen itself. Even so, with smaller than did the Harrier, despite its Although the results were much
overall dimensions the Harrier Mini smaller-capacity battery (2000mAh better with HDR, it's clear a lot of
is far easier to operate in a single vs 2500mAh). This is more than detail is sti ll missing.
hand, and even the sli ghtly odd likely due to the less demanding The Harrier Mini can also shoot
button placement that felt awkward hardware. We recorded 2163 points fuii-HD (1080p) video from its rear
on the Harrier feels natural here. for the Harrier Mini, and just 1424 camera, although we found it jerky
In the hand, the Harrier Mini feels for the Harrier. Don't expect to get and strugg ling to focus, with the
good. The slight ly curved rear is a more than a day's usage from that same exposure issues as sti ll shots.
Performance: good fit for the palm, and it doesn't battery before needing a top-up. The camera app itself is basic,
Value: **"*** creak under pressure. You can prise
off this panel to reveal microSD
You get the same power-
management options as with the
matching that found on the EE
Harrier. Very few camera controls
and SIM slots, but it's a shame the Harrier, which means you can turn are available, but you do get
battery isn't also removable. off Wi-Fi and mobile data when the smi le-, voice- and touch-activated
Given that the Harrier Mini costs screen is off, or schedule this to capture, plus a countdown timer.
half the price of the Harrier, some occur only during a set period, such You can select Auto, Night or
cost-cutting has been necessary. as overnight. If you want people to Panorama modes, but no real-
Whereas the Harrier is fitted with a be able to get hold of you then it's time filters are available.
5.2in fui i-HD pane l, the Harrier Mini perhaps not the best so lution to The software setup is identica l to
has a 4.7in HD variant. Both are IPS prolonging battery life, however. that of the Harrier. You get a very
panels with good viewing ang les Another test we run is GFXBench, plain implementation of Android
and generall y realistic colours, but within which we use the T-Rex Lollipop, comp lete with the Nexus
while the Harrier Mini's screen is and Manhattan benchmarks to launcher. However, there is a lot of
very sharp for a budget phone you gauge graphics performance. bloatware slapped on top, and none
will notice the difference between The Harrier Mini recorded 10- and of it can be uninstalled. Additional
it and the Harrier. We also found it 4fps respectively, which is by no extras include Lookout. My EE,
a little dull without turning up the means great. but the phone wi ll Amazon Kindle, Loca l, Music and
brightness, but doing so had the be capable of casual gaming. Appstore, Deezer and Games &
negative effect of making co lours With the exception of NFC, Apps. By the time we had installed
seem a little washed out. the Harrier Mini has the same our benchmarks, only 3.69GB of the
Don't expect to be blown away connectivity options as the Harrier. Mini's 8GB of storage was available.
by this phone's performance, with That means you get 802.11b/g/n
a lowly 1.2GHz processor and just Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0, plus the Verdict
1GB of RAM. Oddly, the Harrier promise of Wi-F i Ca lling- it's on ly We're much keener on the Harrier
Mini felt faster than the Harrier in a shame it wasn't available to the Mini than we are its bigger brother.
real-world use, with no lag when Harrier and Harrier Mini at launch. Performance is slower and the
switching between home screens Photography is another area screen isn't as good, but it's still a
and scro lli ng through menus, in which the Harrier Mini sees great deal. 0 Marie Brewis

34 September 2015

Reviews B

Samsung Galaxy A3
We've already reviewed the Galaxy A5, but you 'd be
A5, which turned out to be a nicely wrong. Yes, there's
built mid-range Android phone, but the same Snapdragon
Specifications too expensive given the mediocre 410 processor with the
4.5in Super AMOLED components inside it. But what Adreno 306 GPU, but
(960x540, 244ppi) screen; about its smaller brother, the A3? you get only 1.5GB of
Android 4.4.4 KitKat; Not everyone wants a phone with RAM instead of 2GB and
Oualcomm Snapdragon a huge screen and the A3 offers a only an 8Mp camera at
410; 1.2GHz quad-core 4.5in qHD Super AMOLED display. To the rear instead of 13Mp.
processor; Adreno 306 unpack the acronyms, this means it Wi-Fi is single-band in the
GPU; 1.5GB RAM; 16GB has a resolution of 960x540 pixels, A3, so unlike the A5 it
internal storage; microSD which is a quarter of the number in won' t be able to connect
card slot (up to 64GB); a full HD screen (1920x1080). to 802.11n routers on
13Mp rear camera with LED Many phones have LCD displays, 5GHz. It's a non-issue for
flash; SMp front camera; but Super AMOLED is completely most people, of course.
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n (single- different. Like other OLEO displays, The front camera is
band); Bluetooth 4.0 individual pixels emit light rather the same at 5Mp, and
LE; non-removable than there being a backlight which there's Bluetooth 4.0,
1900mAh battery; illuminates an entire LCD screen. GPS and NFC. There's
130x66x6.9mm; 110g This means contrast is better also 4G LTE support
and AMOLED screens also have as well as 3G. The A3
more vivid colours, in general. is one of few phones
So, given its price, the A3 has with built-in ANT+
a relatively low resolution but support, which could be
good-quality screen. Some will think useful if you have any
it looks a little blocky or fuzzy if ANT+ fitness gadgets.
coming from a phone with a higher- U ns u rpri singly,
resolution screen, but the 244ppi the A3 is more or less
pixel density means it's acceptable. exactly as fast as the A5.
As with the A5, the A3 has an In our tests, it returned iPhone 6's 8Mp camera, but snaps
aluminium unibody much like an roughly the same scores and in are respectable enough to share
iPhone. It looks stylish and is slim general day-to-day used proved with family and online.
and lightweight at 6.9mm and fast enough. The problem is that Bear in mind that both cameras
Performance: just 110g. There's a physical home it's not really good enough for the default to a 16:9 aspect ratio, which
**~ button, with touch-sensitive back
and recent buttons either side of it.
price: you can buy the Motorola
Moto E for just 109, which has
means they take lower resolution
photos (6Mp rear, 3.7Mp front)
Micro-USB and headphone sockets the same processor, supports 4G unless you change the settings to
can be found on the bottom edge and has basically the same screen use their native 4:3 aspect ratios.
and iPhone-style trays hold a nano size and resolution. Also, the front camera defaults
SIM and up to a 64GB microSD The battery is rated at 1900mAh to selfie mode which itself
card on the right-hand side. The which is a lot less than the automatically retouches your face
sleep/wake button is above the 2300mAh cell in the Galaxy A5. In giving a strange plastic look. With
trays, and the volume rocker is on general usethough,wefoundthe this disabled, photos from the front
the left. Mounted centrally on the A3 would last a full day with no camera are very good. Along with
back is a camera that's flanked by an problems. There's the same Ultra the handy options for automatically
LED flash and the main speaker. Power Saving mode as the A5, which taking selfies when holding up your
You get the same choice of four extends standby time for over a day palm and a wide-selfie mode, the A3
colours: white, black, gold and silver. even if you're down to 10 percent. is a good choice if you take a lot of
Like the A5, the A3 runs Android In our battery test, the A3 photos of yourself.
KitKat. That's strange given that lasted just a couple of minutes shy
the new version - Lollipop has been of six hours. That's only quarter Verdict
around for six months now. However, of an hour less than the Galaxy Samsung's RRP is 249, but you
an update to Android 5.0 for both A5, despite the smaller battery. can buy the Galaxy A3 SIM-free for
phones is rolling out right now. Overall, it 's a decent result. a little under 200 if you search
Samsung's TouchWiz interface One area where the Moto E around online. If you do want it
masks most of Android anyway, so 4G shows its budget nature is the on contract, there should be no
the upgrade won't be as noticeable plastic body. But the low-resolution up-front cost. But as we've said, it 's
as on a phone running plain Android. cameras also let it down. In this possible to get a phone with similar
It's still worth having Lollipop respect the Galaxy A3 is much specifications for a lot less, so it's
though for its other features. better. Photos have a decent hard to justify spending the extra
You might expect the A3 to amount of detail and are sharp. on the A3 for its cameras or even
have the same internals as the Don't expect quality to rival the Samsung's software. [] Jim Martin

September 2015 35

B Reviews


Ulefone BeTouch
Ulefone's BeTouch is a Chinese
phone that's available to buy in
the UK through Geekbuying for
Specifications just 147 at the time of writing.
5.5in HD (1280x720, 267ppi) Bear in mind that Geekbuying
IPS 2.50 Arc screen with ships the BeTouch from China, so
Corning Gorilla Glass 3; you may also incur import duty. If
Android 5.0 lollipop; 1.7GHz you do decide to take the plunge
MediaTek MTK6752 (ARM and purchase the Be Touch, you
Cortex-A53) octa-core absolutely won't regret your choice.
64-bit processor; 3GB With a 5.5in HD (1280x720)
LPDDR3 RAM; 16GB storage screen, the Ulefone is a large
(plus microSD up to 64GB); phone and what we refer to as
Mali-T760 MPZ dual-core a phablet - somewhere between
GPU; 4G FDD-LTE/3G a phone and a tablet. However,
WCDMA/GSM; duai-SIM the aviation-grade stainless steel
dual-standby (1x full-size. frame and aluminium-magnesium
1x Micro-SIM); dual-band mid-frame help keep down the
802.11b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi; weight to just 160g, while the curved
Bluetooth 4.0; OTG; GPS; screen edges and slim bezels make
A-GPS; GLONASS; one-handed use possible.
fingerprint scanner; 13Mp Despite the metal frame, the
Sony Exmor IMX214 rear Ulefone's rear cover is plastic. It's
camera. dual-LED flash. 4K a removable cover that, usefully,
video recording; 5Mp front affords access to an also-removable The beauty of this fingerprint only by the fastest Android phones
camera with 80-degree battery and the duai-SIM and scanner, and something we haven't we've ever tested, the Samsung
wide-angle lens; 2550mAh microSD slots. It sits flush to the been able to say about any of the Galaxy 56 and 56 Edge. (And the
removable battery; case, which prevents it feeling fingerprint scanners found on rival UMI eMax, although the Ulefone
77.4x8.6x158.1mm; 160g cheap or creaking in the hand. cheap Chinese phones, is that it shows better performance in other
The 13Mp camera protrudes works. Using touch- rather than tests.) In the single-core component
a little from the rear - it's not swipe input, we found the BeTouch the Ulefone scored 794 points,
something we particularly like, but recognised our fingerprint every which places it in between the UMI
it is becoming increasingly common single time, and that means we're eMax and UMI Hammer.
Performance: with today's ever-slimmer flagships. actually likely to use it. It's fast, In SunSpider, which measures
Value: While the BeTouch isn't as skinny too, recognising your fingerprint in JavaScript performance, the
as some phones on the market, at a fraction of a second, even when BeTouch did a good job for
8.6mm it's thin for a budget phone. your hand is wet. an Android phone, with this
Our sample came in metal Six small holes on the Be Touch's benchmark's scoreboards dominated
grey, although the BeTouch is also bottom edge allow sound to escape by the various iPhone models.
available in silk white. The fully from the built-in speaker. It's a We ran SunSpider both on the
laminated display is prone to picking preferable approach to a rear- browser that came preinstalled
up fingerprints, but the HD IPS mounted speaker that can fire on the Ulefone, in which it scored
display below looks good. At this sound into your palm, although 915ms, and in Chrome, which we
size and resolution, the screen is a front-facing would be even better. use to ensure a fair test across all
good fit for viewing media, and it With a 1.7GHz octa-core Android phones, in which it scored
displays realistic colours and useful processor from MediaTek, 3GB of 975ms. In SunSpider a lower score
brightness, with good viewing angles RAM and Mali-T760 MP2 graphics is better, which means it actually
to boot. You can also invert the inside, the Ulefone BeTouch is a did a better job here than did the
screen colours if you find the display capable smartphone. In real-world aforementioned S6 and 56 Edge.
easier to read in this manner. use, we found it very smooth, and GFXBench is used to measure
The power button and volume this is no doubt thanks to not only graphics performance, and the
rocker are found on the phone's left the hardware but a lack of bloatware Ulefone recorded 25fps in T-Rex
edge, which can be a bit of a stretch slowing it down. and 12fps in Manhattan. Both are
for right-handed users. However, one We ran the Ulefone BeTouch very good scores for a phone at
of several useful gestures allows you through our usual benchmarks, this price point, and in line with
to wake the screen with a double- and the results make for pleasant flagship phones such as the LG
tap, so we didn't find the positioning reading - particularly in Geekbench G4 and Nexus 6.
a problem in real-world use. Options 3, which measures processor Two new tests we've recently
and back software buttons sit performance. In the multi-core begun using in the PC Advisor lab
below the screen, either side of a component of this test, the Be Touch and for which we currently have
home button that incorporates a scored a staggering 3817 points. And few scores to compare are AnTuTu
fingerprint scanner. that really is incredibly fast, beaten and the battery life test built into

36 September 2015

Reviews B

Geekbench 3. In An TuTu, the Be Touch Be Touch stretches to ISO 1600 for fit on a single page of the Nexus
recorded 41 ,661 points, which is better low-light pictures, while the launcher app tray- amazing.
a little below Ulefone's claims of rear camera also supports up to 4K The only changes Ulefone has
45,000 points-plus, and put its video recording at 30fps and has made are for the better: there's
performance somewhere between a tracking autofocus for capturing the aforementioned option to
the Samsung Galaxy 55 and Nexus 5. moving objects. Around the front invert screen colours in the Quick
In Geekbench 3's battery test is a 5Mp selfie camera with an settings drop-down, plus you can
the Ulefone recorded 2540 points 80-degree wide-angle lens. set custom gestures that allow you
(04:38:40), which is a little behind Both cameras support real-time to launch an app of your choice
the LG G4. Arguably, though, even application of filters, plus various from standby simply by drawing a
the best phone battery will quickly modes including picture in picture, letter on the screen. The ability to
be drained by a heavy user, so how live photo, motion tracking, beauty, wake the screen with a double-tap
fast the phone can recharge its flat panorama and multi-angle. You can also eases managing this phablet
battery is also important. Using trigger a shot with a gesture, smile in a single hand.
the included charger the Be Touch or voice command, although in
can reach 35 percent in just 15 doing so the camera switches off its Verdict
minutes. This is a two-pin plug, but anti-shake feature. Face detection is Ulefone's Be Touch is an unrivalled
Geekbuying will also supply a UK also supported. deal at 147. It's fast, it's dual-
adaptor in the box upon request. HDR is not automatic, but we S 1M with 4G connectivity, it has a
Also pleasing is the fact the found photos look better with it working fingerprint scanner for
Ulefone BeTouch's 2550mAh battery turned on (see our test shots above). security, the screen is large and
is removable, which means you The Android Lollipop operating with an HD resolution plenty crisp
could carry a spare. system preinstalled on this phone is enough for the money, and there
With the exception of NFC, the exactly as Google intended, and that is absolutely no bloatware. A few
BeTouch has all connectivity bases makes a refreshing change. There is minor quibbles aside, it's genuinely
covered, with dual-band 802.11ac zero bloatware preinstalled, and we difficult to fault this phone at this
Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, A-GPS and found all but one of the shortcuts price. [] Marie Brewis
GLONASS and OTG. Plus, not only is
it duai-SIM, with one slot supporting
a full-size card and the other Micro-
SIM, it supports 4G. And, unlike
some Chinese phones, wireless
updates are available, making it
easy to install software updates.
Slapped on the back of the >
Be Touch is the same 13Mp Sony TO O' IOT A :;-
Exmor IMX214 camera that is found -
on the rear of many Chinese phones.
That's not a bad thing, though, I "'?!:::

I "
and the photos it takes are much >
I ::>

better than you have any right to ~

expect at 150.
The camera is quick to focus
once you've launched the app,
although a dedicated camera button
would make doing so even faster.
There's a dual-LED flash and the

September 2015 37

B Reviews


UMI eMax
We've been impressed by what we've
seen from Chinese phone maker
UMI so far, having recently reviewed
Specifications both the Zero and Hammer. This UMI
5.5in fuii-HD (1920x1080, eMax is an altogether more powerful
401ppi) IPS display; beast, with an octa-core processor,
Android 4.4 KitKat with a standout 5.5in fui i-HD screen and
Rootjoy; 1.7GHz MediaTek a massive 3780mAh battery that
MTK6752 octa-core 64-bit can even serve as a power bank for
processor; 2GB RAM; 16GB other phones.
storage, with microSD The best bit about the UMI
support up to 64GB; ARM eMax is its price, and right now
Mali-T760 MPZ GPU; duai- it's available for just 115 from
SIM: GSM 850/900/1800/ That's amazing value
1900MHz, WCDMA 900/ for money. Bear in mind, though,
1900/ZlOOMHz, 4G-FDD that this phone ships from China,
800/1800/2600MHz; dual- so you may also incur import duty
band 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi; when purchased in the UK.
Bluetooth 4.0; OTG; GPS; Unlike the Zero and Hammer
A-GPS with EPO; HotKnot; before it, the UM I eMax is a
13Mp rear camera with relatively plain-looking, unassuming
LED flash, f/2.2 aperture, device. With a 5.5in screen this is a We're not so keen on the way battery life test. The eMax aced
dynamic HDR 0.3s fast phablet, but it's sti ll just 148g and the phone's 13Mp camera sticks out both - and the latter is certainly
autofocus and six-piece with slim bezels reasonably easy to at the rear, but this is becoming no surprise, given the capacious
lens; 5Mp front camera, operate in a sing le hand. increasingly common in today's 3780mAh cell found inside. With
f/2.2 aperture, 1.12um pixel From the front, the phone is ever-thinner phones. And this is one OTG support (and an adaptor
size; 3780mAh non- marred only by the always-visible of them: at 7.9mm thick, you'd never included in the box), the eMax can
removable battery; legends for the Home, Back and guess the eM ax costs just 115. As is even be used as a power bank to
152.3x7.9x76.5mm; 148g Options buttons. Switch on the the case on the Samsung Galaxy S6, charge another phone- it wil l fill
screen, though, and you instant ly though, this camera is centred and an iPhone 6 twice, says UMI. So,
don't care: with a fu ii-HD resolution squareish, so it won't rock nearly so you can expect several days' life
this IPS panel is crystal clear, and as much when placed f lat on the table with normal use.
sharp as many flagship Androids at as, for example, the iPhone 6. The reigning champions of our
Performance: 401ppi. You absolutely should not Also at the base of the rear is a Geekbench 3 tests are the Samsung
Value: expect a fui i-HD screen at this price. speaker grille. Usually this is a no-no Galaxy 56 and S6 Edge, with the S6
Colours are bright and rea listic, even for us, muffling sound as it fires scoring 4438 points in processing -
with the brightness turned down, it into your palm , but th is phone's and 4136 in battery performance,
and viewing angles are very good. phablet dimens ions stopped this and the S6 Edge 5076- and 4011
From the rear, the eMax is less being a problem in our testing. points. The UMI eMax got incredibly
attractive, but by no means ugly. close to those scores performance,
We're confused by the Chinese- Hardware and performance with 4101 points in processing-,
Eng lish translation in the eMax's Insid e the eMax is a 1.7GHz MediaTek and 4006 in battery performance.
marketing materials, which states: MTK6752 octa-core 64-bit processor, By comparison, in processing
" The one piece art of frame battery 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage and performance the UMI Hammer
cover is made by Polycarbonate an ARM Mali-T760 MP2 graphics recorded 2203 points and the
with 200 times processing brushed processor. We have seen this setup Kingzone Z1 3689. We also ran the
stainless steal [sic]." This phone before, such as in the Kingzone Z1, Kingzone through the batt ery life
looks and feels very much like while the Ulefone BeTouch (page test, and it scored 3074 po ints.
a plastic device to us, although 36) adds an extra gig of RAM. But An TuTu is another new test to
there is a subt le brushed-meta l the eMax appears to have put its the PC Advisor lab, and with few
effect to the rear. hardware to the best use - at least if resu lts with which to compare
The rear cover is non -removable, our benchmarks are to be believed. devices for now it's rather difficu lt
with side-loading trays for the And therein lies the catch: to understand what the scores
two SIM slots and microSD card. A benchmarks can't always be trusted. are telling us. However, through
power button and vo lume rocker Nevertheless, we found the UMI An TuTu's own database we can see
are also found on the eMax's r ight eMax smooth and responsive in that the UMI eMax's 41,799-point
side, while there's a headphone jack real-world use, with no sign of lag . score is faster than both the Nexus
at the top and Micro-USB charging In Geekbench 3.0, the eMax gave 5 and LG G3, but slightly below last
port at the bottom. Despite its its standout performance. We use year's flagship Samsung Galaxy S5.
plastic feel the eMax feels very this test to measure processing It also performed better than the
sturdy - not as tough as the performance, but have also recently UM I Hammer (32,506) and Ulefone
Hammer, but tough nonetheless. begun including results from its BeTouch (41,661).

38 September 2015

Reviews B

Graphics performance in The UMI eMax is a duai-SIM there's no need to stick with the
GFXBench showed something to be phone that operates in dual-standby Android 4.4 KitKat OS preinstalled
desired, and rather than delivering mode, accepting two Micro-SIMs. out of the box unless you want to.
scores to match the flagships the It's a 4G phone, which is very An upgrade to Lollipop is available,
UMI eMax put in a performance good at this price, but if you're or you can load up Rootjoy on a
similar to that of other budget- and buying the eMax in the UK, check Windows PC or laptop, hook up
mid-range phones, including the EE that it will work on your network your phone and then install a
Harrier, Sony Xperia M2 and Moto first. The eMax operates on GSM custom OS of your choice. Rootjoy
E 4G. Casual games will be easily 850/900/1800/1900MHz, WCDMA also lets you load updates, install a
playable on the eMax, but scores of 900/1900/2100MHz and 4G-FDD custom Uland back up your data.
15fps in T-Rex and 6fps in Manhattan 800/1800/2600MHz. Stick with KitKat, though, and
are nothing to shout home about. you won' t be disappointed. This
Our final test is SunSpider, which Cameras is a stock implementation of the
measures JavaScript performance. As with virtually every Chinese Android operating system, with
We ran this test both in the phone we see, the UMI is fitted with full access to Google Play and
preinstalled browser, in which it a 13Mp camera at the rear, with Google apps. Very little bloatware
recorded a very good 734ms, and in f/2.2 aperture and an LED flash, is preinstalled, and you may find
Chrome to ensure a fair test across and a 5Mp selfie camera with f/2.2 additional apps such as ToDo and
Android phones. Its Chrome score aperture and 1.12um pixels. File Manager useful. SuperCieaner's
of 840ms is still very good (lower The primary camera focuses effect is debatable, but it aims
scores are better), and in line with in 0.3 seconds, and we found it to clear away junk files, help you
the likes of the Honor 6, Sony Xperia did a decent enough job when we manage your apps and startup items
Z3 and Samsung Galaxy S5. switched on HDR, although some and more to boost performance.
detail is missing when you zoom in. In common with the majority
Connectivity You can see our test shots with and of Chinese phones we review,
Connectivity-wise there's support without HDR above. customisable gestures are present.
for dual-band 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi Real-time filters are available Not only can you double-tap to
and Bluetooth 4.0. For positioning, at the composition stage for both wake the screen, but you can draw
you get both GPS and A-GPS with cameras, and both also benefit a letter onscreen in standby mode
EPO, with the separate GPS sensor from a Beauty mode and Picture-in- to automatically launch an app
claimed to offer faster results and picture. Switch to the main camera of your choice. The sooner this
improved accuracy. and you get more options, including becomes a standard feature of
NFC is missing, but you do HDR, live photo, motion tracking, Android, the better.
get HotKnot, which is MediaTek's panorama and multi-angle capture.
equivalent. This lets you share There's support for smile-, gesture, Verdict
files and web pages, play games and voice-activated capture, too, The eMax offers superb value for
and more with other HotKnot- plus a 40-shot burst mode. money. It's not as good-looking as
connected phones. Note, however, that the full other UMI phones we've reviewed,
OTG support is perhaps more 13Mp is available only in 4:3 but it has a big and bright fuii-HD
useful in the UMI eMax than it is format; in the phone's default screen for enjoying media and
other Androids, given the large- 16:9 stills top out at 9.5Mp. more, and showed very capable
capacity battery. You could even use We also tested the video camera. performance in the majority of our
the eMax as an emergency charger Playback was fine on the phone, benchmarks. Photography is decent
for powering other devices. OTG also but developed a stutter when we at this price, and enthusiasts will
lets you hook up external storage downloaded it to our computer. appreciate the Rootjoy support.
devices, and an adaptor is handily Given that the UMI eMax is sold At 115, you can't go far wrong with
supplied in the box. rooted and with support for Rootjoy, the UMI eMax. 0 Marie Brewis

September 2015 39

B Reviews


LG Watch Urbane
With its design and build superior to read it easily indoors '*
most Android Wear smartwatches, and out. However, t
the LG Watch Urbane fetches you'll probably
Specifications a higher price. While most cost want to switch the
Android Wear; lZGHz between 150 and 200, the Urbane always-on feature
Oualcomm Snapdragon will set you back 259, although it's to save battery
400; 4GB storage; 512MB still cheaper than the entry-level since there's no
RAM; Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 4.1 Apple Watch, which costs 299. ambient light
LE; 1.3in POLED screen Looking very much like its sensor for
(320x320, 245ppi); Voice predecessor, the G Watch R, the automatically
mic; stainless steel cover; Urbane has been upgraded to a adjusting
genuine leather strap; full metal casing, and is available brightness.
Corning Gorilla Glass 3; in a silver option and a more There's
410mAh battery; IP67- blingtastic gold. also 512MB
rated; 46x52x10.9mm; 67g A watch like this is supposed of RAM, the
to be big and heavy, and if that's same heart-rate
what you're looking for then great, monitor on the '
but some may find this device underside and other J
too bulky and unwieldy for their sensors including 1
wrist. Weighing 67g and measuring a barometer, l
46x52x10.9mm, the Urbane is hardly accelerometer and
svelte, though it's thinner than the compass. The Watch
G Watch R because it doesn't have Urbane lacks GPS, though. i
the dished bezel around the screen. As with other heart-rate monitors
The silver model comes with a on watches, taking a reading is very
black leather strap, while the gold much hit-and-miss, so you often
option is paired with a brown strap. need to press the watch firmly on
You can swap them out for any strap to your skin to help it out. of battery life, you'll get just over a
with 22mm pins, which is handy. A big new addition is built-in day, but if you turn off the 'always-
As expected, the leather is stiff at Wi-Fi, which means you can still on' function, then the screen will
first but softens over time making use the Watch Urbane even without consume less power and you'll get
it more comfortable. having it connected to a companion a couple of days from the Watch
Like its sort of predecessor, device- minus any phone-specific Urbane if your usage is light.
Performance: the Urbane has an IP67-rated notifications such as calls and text As well as Wi-Fi connectivity,
Value: **~ design meaning it's waterproof. messages, of course. You can select the Watch Urbane has more tricks
LG warns that you shouldn't keep this option when setting up the up its sleeve thanks to the recent
it submerged longer than 30 watch with the Android Wear app. Android Wear update. The menu is
minutes though, or take it to a The 410mAh battery is the same now split into three sections, which
depth greater than 1m. size as that found in the G Watch R contain apps, contacts and available
The design is the big change here and is charged via a magnetic dock commands. It's a welcome change
when compared to the G Watch R. -that 's why there are five circu lar and makes using the operating
The hardware and specs remain the metal contacts on the rear. In terms system a lot easier than previously.
same, so you'll get a 1.3in (320x320) The apps menu will display
P-OLED screen, a Qualcomm recently used ones at the top, but
Snapdragon 400 processor and don't get too excited about the
4GB of internal storage. LG Call apps because the watch
The screen is crisp and has doesn't have a speaker so it's
decent brightness, so you can just for initiating a call on your
connected phone.

There's a lot to like about the
LG Watch Urbane with it's Wi-Fi
connectivity and the new version of
Android Wear. Since in essence, it's
the same device as the G Watch R in
terms of hardware, your purchase
hinges on the design. It's expensive
and bulky, and we can't see it
appearing to the masses, so the G
Watch R is still our recommended
choice. 0 Chris Martin

40 September 2015

Reviews B

Nintendo 3DS
The new 3DS might not look too
different from its predecessor ~new :
at first g lance, but several small NINTENDB3 DSN
Specifications hardware changes make this hand-
Lower screen. 3.33in held gaming console everything the
(320x240) touchscreen original 3DS shou ld have been.
LCD; 253g Upper screen. When we first picked up the new
3.88in (800x240); 0.3Mp conso le, which Nintendo says has 3D
resolution cameras; Wi-Fi; face tracking to help improve the 3D
stereo speakers; infrared experience, we were dubious. This
communication; NFC; feature worked on the o r iginal 3DS
microSD slot; AC only if you sat directly in front of
adaptor; audio jack the device. Within seconds, however,
80.6x142x21.6mm (when we found ourselves cranking the 3D
closed); 253g slider up to maximum. It's fantastic.
The 3D improvements have
been made possible thanks to the
introduction of a tiny camera next
to the main front-facing camera, buttons into their games t hey could different games to help you add new
which tracks where your face is and be a real boon and offer fur t her characters or customise them, get
adjusts the image accordingly. control and gameplay features. special bonuses, level up characters
The second of the main changes and more. The number of compatib le
is the introduction of the C Stick Performance games is growing, wi t h Super
and two new buttons: ZL and ZR. The new 3 DS is much faster than Smash Bros for 3 DS and Xenoblade
Many garners have been cr ying out its predecessor. Opening and Chronicles 3D set to arrive soon.
for a second joystick on the 3DS, closing apps is now incredibly fast. Aside from the aforementioned
particularly for games that require That's thanks to improved CPU new buttons and C Stick, the
you to rot ate the screen in addition performance, which means loading overall design of the 3DS is in
to moving your character - it can get times have been reduced, too. essence the same. There are two
tiresome having to reposition your What's more, Nintendo says that mode ls available: the 3DS with
hand to use the touchscreen for "several upcom ing ga mes" wil l be a 3.53in top disp lay and a 3.02 in
screen rotation, that's for sure. bu ilt from scratch specifica lly for the bottom disp lay, and the 3DS XL
Nintendo offered a solution new 3DS t o t ake advant age of t he (p r iced 179), which is slightly less
Performance: for owners of the original 3DS in power boost it's been given. port able but offers bigger screens
Value: **"*** the form of the Circle Pad Pro, an
attachment that added a second
Nintendo has also updated
the 3DS's web browser to all ow
at 4.88in and 4.18in, so arguab ly a
better experience ove rall.
joystick and two add itiona l buttons, for a better browsing experience The 3DS is ava ilable in white or
but also added bulk and weight when using the internet. You' ll be black. There are also replaceable
to the otherwise supe r- portab le able to use the ZL/ZR buttons t o cover plates available to al low you
device, so it's less than idea l. switch tabs, and use the C Stick to to comp letely customise your device.
The new 3DS, however, has a tiny zoom in on pages, which we found The other slight difference
C Stick bu ilt in, something we wish to be int uitive. between the original 3DS and the
Nintendo had thought of four years The original 3DS' camera isn't new mode l is the coloured buttons,
ago when the 3DS came out. br illiant and nor is the new conso le's repositioned game slot, stylus and
The ZL and ZR buttons, wh ich offering, t hough it has been sl ightly vo lume slider, and repos itioned
you' ll find fal l beneath your index improved for photos in low-light Start and Select buttons.
fingers beside the already present conditions. There's a camera on the
L and R buttons, are anothe r extra front of the device for 2D images, or Verdict
that isn 't particularly useful right you can capture 3D images viewable If you consider the new 3DS's price
now, but we imagine t hat when on the device's display using the from a broader perspective, taking
developers begin integrating the dua l rear-facing cameras. into consideration the price of other
The device now has games consoles, it does seem a bit
NFC built in, which pr icey. You can buy the Sony PS
means you' ll be able Vita (2014 edition) for around 150,
to play with Amiibo and even the Nintendo Wii U for
f igures on you r 3DS 160. For most ga mers, though, its
as we ll as your Wi i value lies in the games ava ilable, so
U, simply by placing for Monster Hunter fans, Pokemon
the f igure on the fans or fans of Nint endo's many
lower 3DS display. classics, paying the 150 or 180
These figures for the new 3DS is a no-brainer.
work with various 0 Ashleigh Allsopp

September 2015 41

B Reviews


Raumfeld One S
Raumfeld is an audio brand that
you might not have heard of
before, but it's now owned by the
Specifications long running German loudspeaker
90mm mid-woofer; specia list, Teufel. Whether you've
20mm tweeter; 2x 95mm heard of either, Raumfeld products
passive bass radiators; are now easily avai lable in the UK
2x Class-D amplifiers; and we've taken a look at the firm's
ethernet port; USB port; pint-sized multi-room speaker.
Spotify compatible; Although the Raumfeld One S is
Tidal compatible; small, that doesn't mean it's cheap.
Tuneln Radio compatible; This little speaker will set you back
180x130x110mm; 1.4kg 199, although it's the most budget
of the brand's wire less speaker
line-up. You might want to make a
stereo pair with two and you can
save 50 if you buy this way. speaker and adding more as and a few, Amazon Music, Google Play
The price, size and features mean when you choose (or can afford Music and Deezer are all missing.
that the One S has some tough to). If you have more than one If you're happy with Spotify
competition in the ever expanding Raumfeld speaker, you can place and/or Tidal, then the sound
multi-room audio market. Sones them in different rooms around quality of the One S is very good.
is recognised widely as one of the your house and choose what music Although Teufel has been making
leading brands and is something of to play on each - or synchronise loudspeakers for decades, the
a benchmark. Its latest speaker- the them to play the same tunes. speaker uses a Class D amp, which is
Play:1 - costs 169 and is a fantastic We found that the system works a shame but also not a surprise.
little speaker, so let's see whether we ll, and you can control everything The One S uses a two-way coax
it's worth paying extra for the One S. with the free app for iOS and system with a 90mm mid-range
Like the Sones range, the Android. The app is decent but not driver and a 25mm tweeter. These
Raumfeld is availab le in black or a patch on the polished Sones app. are joined by side-mounted 95mm
white, with the latter being the It's intuitive to use and we like the passive bass radiators (one on either
company's classic opt ion. The design virtua l volume dial and the addit ion side). The resu lt is we ll -rounded
is square and industrial with straight of an EO, even if it is limited to and suits the vast majority of music
Features: ic. ic. ic. ic. U lines, which is different from Sones' simple bass, mid and treble sliders. genres but sounds muddy at times.
Performance: ic. ic. *~ approach but may fit in better with There are physical buttons on the With the two Class D amps
Value: the style of your home. top of the Raumfeld One S, which output a maximum of 40W RMS, and
The One S measures just 18cm are under a rubber cover (to keep we were impressed with how loud
wide and weighs 1.4kg, so if space any moisture out if you're using it in you can pump the One S without
is limited, then it 's well suited a bathroom or kitchen). You've got losing sound quality and introducing
to squeezing into narrow and volume control as you would expect distortion. Even with a lower quality
tight gaps. We like the simplistic and four other buttons simply radio stream, you' ll won't believe the
appearance with the fabric wrapping labelled 1 to 4. These work like a sound is coming from this tiny box.
around to the sides. The build car stereo and al low you to create Pairing two speakers into a stereo
quality is exce llent and there are pre-sets. Long pressing one while pair creates a huge sound stage.
some nice details such as the spun listening to a radio station, album or With the EO you can tweak
finish on the power button. playlist wil l assign it then in future the sound to suit your taste, the
A major advantage of the One you can just press the button to room your in or the music you're
S is that's it's designed to work in start it up. It's a shame not to have listening to, but most of the time we
bathrooms and kitchens thanks to a play/pause or skip buttons, though. found little need. The mid and bass
humidity resistant design. A rubber Whether you connect your One frequencies tend to dominate at
cover seals all the physical ports on S to the network via ethernet or default settings, so we recommend
the rear, although you won't be able Wi-Fi, you can stream music from boosting the treble a little.
to use any apart from the power various different sources including
cable when this is attached. computers on your network or Verdict
There's an ethernet port that is the device you have the Raumfeld The Raumfeld One S is impressive
part ly for set up, but you can use it app installed on. It's much more with its sleek design and decent
for connectivity if you like. There's clunky than Sones, but works. sound performance. Preset buttons
also a USB port, but it's downward It's easy to listen to radio are handy and the humidity
facing which is something of a stations with Tuneln, but things are resistant design make it perfect
design flaw since there's not enough somewhat limited when it comes for the kitchen . However, it's more
room for a normal sized flash drive. to other services with just Spotify expensive than the Play:1, lacks
Like other multiroom systems, and Tidal available, both require some music services and the app
you can simply start by buying one subscriptions. This means, to name cou ld be improved. 0 Chris Martin

42 September 2015

Reviews B
TP-Link 300Mb/s AVSOO Wi-Fi Powerline Extender =:J
The TP-Link 300Mb/s AV500 Wi-Fi fast internet access.
Powerline Extender is a neat starter The ethernet ports
kit of Powerline adaptors that both and cab les are ra ted
Specifications give you near-ethernet speeds in 10/100, so like most
Base unit has two 10/100 rooms away from your internet Powerline adaptors, the
ethernet ports, secondary router and create a second Wi-Fi AV500 was never going
adaptor has one; claimed hotspot in your home. to beat 100Mb/s in the f irst
300Mb/s WiFi speed It consists of two adaptors. The place. TP-Link isn't alone in ..
base unit is one of the smallest over-claiming network speeds, and
we've seen. This is the one you plug much depends on your home set up. We recorded
into a power socket near your router We tested the AV500 in a speeds of up to 92Mb/s,
and connect to the router with one Victorian house with old wiring and though the house average was
of the two supplied ethernet cables. the usual array of electronic devices 68Mb/s using Powerline and
The second adaptor is a little (TV, Sky+, hi-fi, lamps, computers, ethernet. This was one of the faster
larger, but by no means chunky. It's and so on) plugged into the power average speeds we've achieved
located in the second room where lines. The internet router was from a power line adaptor, and is
you want to connect devices such as sit uated in the office on the second sufficient for most users, and we
smart TVs, games consoles, Sky+, f loor, and we used Powerline to test downloaded HD TV with few pauses.
Tivo, App le TV and othe r set-top data speed on the ground floo r. When we tested the second Wi-Fi
boxes. These can be connected First, we must emphasise that hotspot we got speeds of 57Mb/s,
using the other ethernet cable or despite TP-Link's claims of speeds which again were above average.
via the new Wi-Fi hotspot it creates of 300Mb/s these are theoretical
in the room - handy for laptop, maximums, and you wi ll never see Verdict
smartphone and tablet users. such speeds via Powerline. Indeed, The TP-Link AV500 is one of the
Performance: The second ethernet po rt on you'll be lucky to get 100Mb/s. But fastest sets of Powerline adapto rs
Value AA A ~ the Wi-Fi adaptor is we lcome don't fret as th is is fine for most we tested . It's not too big but
as many homes now have more needs, such as watching catch-up offers both Wi-Fi and more than
than one device that requ ires TV or down loading large fi les. one et hernet port. 0 Simon Jary


RHA MA750i
RHA impressed us with its budget Like some high-end headphones,
MA450i headphones tha t punched the MA750is have moulded cab les
above the ir weight for sound quality. that are shaped to be looped over
Specifications The MA750 is are almost tw ice the the top of your ears to help prevent
Frequency response: 16- price, taking RHA well out of budget the extra weight pu lling the tips out.
to 22,000Hz; nominal territory, but again you get a lot Some peop le find this fidd ly and less
impedance: 16 ohms; for your money. comfortable than standard in-ear
sensitivity: lOOdB; three You can fee l t he quality the headphones, so it's something to
button in-line remote and instant you unwrap the thick, consider before buy ing. We quickly clear and well-defined, but if you're
microphone; lOx pairs of heavyweight 1.35m cable from its got used to it, but note that the after the kind of punch you get
ear tips; carry case; 1.35m home in the box. The stainless steel slider to keep the wires together with Bea ts, you're certainly looking
cable; driver enclosure driver housing is similarly strong can only go up as far as the bottom in the wrong place.
made from 303grade and heavy, plus t he gold-plat ed of the remote control, so you can't Theses headphones are all about
stainless steel 3.5m m connector has a spring to hold the wires in place behind you r flat response, so no frequency
help prevent cable damage. head as with Shure's. Not that you're overpowers any other. Because
The drivers are handmade, say likely to be using t he MA750i live on of this, sound quality is fai rly
RHA, and there's no doubting the stage, but it's worth know ing. neutral, and that 's exact ly what
stylish, purposeful design. We'd far As with a new pair of shoes, you you want if you're after reference
rather be seen with the MA750i than have to use the MA 750i for a while sound on a budget.
some of garish cans out there. to get used to them. For examp le,
In the box, you get a metal holder bass is dependent on using tips that Verdict
and zip case for the 10 pai rs of tips. are a snug fi t for you r ears. This We like the MA750i, wh ich
Th is is a lot more than you usually app lies to most in-ear headphones, are well made and offer great
see, and should ensure you can get but it's especially noticeable wit h clarity. We'd prefer more bass,
Performance: the ideal fit for your ea rs. Most are these. Unless there's a good seal, but that wou ld go against t he
Value: silicone, but there are two pairs of you won't hear any bass. natural sound reproduction that
memory foam tips, so you' ll have to But even with the best-fitting RHA has striven for with these
try them to see which suits you best. tips, bass isn't t hat powerfu l. It 's headphones. 0 Jim Martin

September 2015 43

B Reviews


Creative Sound Blaster JAM

A pair of wire less headphones
will liberate you from trailing
headphones and getting yanked
Specifications back when they catch a door handle
Ultra lightweight. with or any other protruding object. If
soft ear cushions for long you've ever pulled the cab les too
listening comfort; 32mm hard and broken your precious
neodymium drivers; headphones you'll appreciate the
hidden omni-direction freedom of Bluetooth audio. There
microphone for good are compromises on sound quality,
voice pick up; Bluetooth so it's important to select the right
4.1; SBC; FastStream headphones if you value your audio.
Bluetooth Profiles: A2DP Often price is an indicator, and
(Wireless Stereo at less than 40, the Sound Blaster
Bluetooth); Bluetooth JAMs suggest that sound quality
remote control; won't be great. Our initial concerns
150x65x170mm; 109g were unfounded though, because
audio quality was very good. Indeed,
it wasn't a million miles from our
favourite Bluetooth headphones,
the 125 Sennheiser MM 400-X.
The Creatives offer good overall
tona l balance, with enough weight
in the bass to give a comfortable full
sound. There is a slight roughness
in the treble, but without overly
exaggerated treble that would
otherwise make them too wearing.
We hardly expected these
headphones to be the last word in
detail, but at this price, it's excellent.
Its neodymium drivers can handle are lightweight, and don't clamp You can also attach the
Features: ic. ic. ic. ic. U frequency response of 20Hz to too tightly yet feel secure in place headphones to a PC/Mac via
Performance: ic. ic. *~ 20kHz. The level midrange means - sitting well on the ears. We prefer USB for enhanced sound quality
Value: vocals are neither recessed nor headphones that will fold up to as - handy when watching a movie or
pushed up too loud, and these fast small a size as possible, and these TV programme on your laptop. When
and dynamic headphones have an don't do that - although they're paired to a phone via Bluetooth, the
excellent wide stereo with natural small enough to fit in a coat pocket built-in microphone blocks out some
spread between the ears. or take up little space in a bag. of the ambient noise and echo.
Overall, these are very Built into the right earcup are the The Sound Blaster JAM features
impressive as budget headphones, main controls for the headset power, Near Field Communication (NFC)
let alone as wireless models using volume, Bluetooth connection, wireless connectivity for easy one-
the most basic lossy audio codec. audio play/pause and calls. You touch pairing- although this isn't
We are fans of the ergonomics, can also boost the bass by tapping yet supported on iPods or iPhones.
too. Weigh ing just 109g, the JAMs the Bass button on the earcup. Battery life is another factor to
consider when buying Bluetooth
headphones, and the Sound Blasters
lasted a decent length of time before
requiring recharging, which is done
using the included Micro-USB cable.

The Creative Sound Blaster JAM
Bluetooth headphones offer
fantastic value for money as they
outperform expectations on both
audio quality and comfort. Incredibly
lightweight, you'll hardly notice
you're wearing them, and while they
don't fold for ultra portability they
are small enough to fit in a coat
pocket. IZI Simon Jary

44 September 2015

Reviews B

Ernie Power Note 5200rnAh

If you're a student or you carry If you are using an iPad or
a ringbinder for work, its built-in iPhone, a USB output lets you attach
binder holes and Micro-USB cable your own Lightning cable. Note,
Specifications make the Power Note an ideal device however, that the Emie's max output
5200mAh lithium-polymer for easy charging on the go. This is 12W, so with both outputs engaged
power bank; lOW (5V, ZA) 5200mAh power bank is also slim neither will run at full power.
Micro-USB input; 12W (5V, and lightweight, with an aluminium Whether you use the USB output input on the device's bottom. How
2.4A) USB output. plus chassis that is reassuringly tough and or built-in cable, the Power Note can quick the Emie charges depends on
built-in Micro-USB cable does a great job of dissipating heat. output 12W to charge your attached your adaptor, but with a 10W input it
with 12W (5V, 2.4A) The Power Note ships in its own phone or tablet. That's plenty for should be reasonably fast.
output; max total output little ringbinder, and its user manual even the fussiest tablets, and will So how do you know when the
12W (5V, 2.4A); is held in place by the clipped-in ensure as quick a charge as the battery is empty? We've expressed
passthrough charging; power bank. Even if you don't use device can handle. our dislike of LED status indicators
four LEOs denote power a ringbinder, the ultra-slim (7mm) Don't expect to have 5200mAh in power banks before, much
status; no auto-on/-off; power bank will slip easily into a of power to charge your devices, preferring an LCD for an exact
no carry case; laptop bag or handbag, and it's mind. Most power banks average readout, but at 5200mAh four LEDs
170x95x7mm; 200g; tough enough that no carry case is around 70 percent efficiency, with are sufficient for telling you at a
six-month warranty required to protect it. some power lost through voltage glance how much power remains.
Our review sample came in black conversion and heat generated. In These will activate when you push
with orange accents; the Power Note such a circumstance, you may find the small button beside them, which
is also available in blue and orange only around 3640mAh available, is also used to begin charging.
or white and orange. Better suited which for most Android phones is a
to Android- and Windows Phone little over one full charge. Verdict
users than iOS fans, an orange When the Emie runs out of juice We love the Emie Power Note. It
Performance: built-in Micro-USB cable runs neatly a USB cable is included in the box offers fast charging and a handy
Value: up the right edge and clips securely for refilling it. You simply attach one built-in Micro-USB cable, too,
into the side, so you don't need the end to your phone or tablet charger, meaning you can leave the cable
hassle of carrying additional cables. and the other to the Micro-USB clutter at home. 0 Marie Brewis


Ernie Power Blade 8000rnAh

We were in awe of the Power Note's 10.5W (5V, 2.1A) for fast charging
premium aluminium alloy design, of your connected devices, and
with its unique binder holes along the Power Blade offers adaptive
Specifications one edge of the ultra-slim power charging with one port optimised
Frequency response: 16- bank used to effortlessly secure it for iOS devices and the other for
to 22,000Hz; nominal into a ringbinder, and its handy built- Android and other devices.
impedance: 16 ohms; in Micro-USB cable (see above). The With 8000mAh on offer, and an
sensitivity: lOOdB; three- Power Blade features those same average efficiency rate of 70 percent
button in-line remote and binder holes along its left edge, and for most power banks, expect to when the Emie was not connected to
microphone; lOx pairs of while it lacks the built-in cable you find at least 5600mAh available for the mains, it was a case of plugging
ear tips; carry case; 1.35m do get a felt case for protecting it charging your phone or tablet. That in the device and the Power Blade
cable; driver enclosure on the road. A handy front pocket would provide our Samsung Galaxy sprang into action. However, while
made from 303-grade lets you also carry the supplied S6 (2550mAh battery) two full there is auto-on, there is no auto-off.
stainless steel Micro-USB cable, along with a pair of charges with some power to spare. You'll need to unplug your phone or
headphones or whatever you like. Four LEDs are activated at the tablet once charging has finished
The Power Note is slim at just press of the small power button to to ensure no power is wasted. This
7mm, but Emie claims the Power show you how much juice remains. small power button can also be held
Blade is the slimmest power bank When the power bank is empty, the down for three seconds to put the
in the world at just 5.2mm. It's a Emie can refill its own battery at Emie into adaptive charging mode.
little larger than the Note, given the lOW (5V, 2A), given a compatible
increased capacity available, but it's charger (you can use whichever Verdict
remarkable how Emie has achieved adaptor came with your phone or The Power Blade is expensive for an
such a thin-and-light design. tablet). We found the Power Blade 8000mAh power bank, but we think
To connect a USB cable, you was able to simultaneously charge it's worth the outlay with a unique
must first push forward the top edge itself and a connected device. thin-and-light design, dual-output
Value: of the USB output to slide out the In passthrough charging mode, adaptive charging and high-end
metal casing and enlarge the port. we needed to press the power features such as passthrough
Both USB outputs are specified at button to begin charging our S6, but charging. 0 Marie Brewis

September 2015 45

B Reviews


Project CARS
Project CARS is a driving game for
PS4, Xbox One, Wii U and PC that
had a very interesting development
Specifications process - it was crowdfunded by
Available for PlayStation gamers and driving fans. Slightly
4, Xbox One. Wii U and Mad Studios, the developers of the
PC; 60 tracks; dynamic game let backers decide highly
time and weather important aspects of the game
system; 60fps including the cars and tracks. The
result? A highly diverse driving
simulator that stands separate
from the likes of The Crew. looking to progress throughout the Snetterton, Oulton Park, Brands
Though referred to as a game, ranks of motor racing. The mode is Hatch and, of course, Silverstone.
we'd class Project CARS as more of classed as a 'career', and one would Many tracks also have alternate race
a racing simulator. Why? Because assume that means starting from layouts that bring new challenges to
games usually include some kind of the bottom and working your way courses you may know well.
story mode where you unlock cars, up, but instead Project CARS lets One aspect of Project CARS
parts or new tracks - Project CARS you select whatever class of racing that everyone mentions is graphics.
doesn't have this. There are no car you want from the get go. There is We were teased with a series of
upgrades, unlocks, story line or progression as you move up from beautiful clips and screenshots
extras for doing a race particularly the selected tier after winning prior to the release, depicting
well, much to our disappointment. championships and unlocking new beautifully high definition cars and
We like to notice progression when contracts, but we're not too sure if the most realistic weather system
playing a game, and while this is we like the idea behind this. we'd ever seen in a game. This
evident by moving up in classes, As you'd imagine, the better the got us very excited to go hands
this isn't earned - you can join any class, the more fun the cars are to on, but when we did we were met
racing class, even if you've just drive. It's also true of the opponents with an overwhelming feeling of
started playing for the first time. in our experience - lower class AI disappointing. Don't get us wrong,
There are four racing modes: drivers seem to be extra sluggish, the graphics are far from terrible,
Solo Race, Online, Career and Driver with one of our wins coming with a but they're far away from what was
Network. The Solo Race is where 30-second lead without adjusting shown prior to its release.
you have complete freedom over the the AI difficulty. It shouldn't be as You can tell that a lot of work
conditions of the race - you choose easy as it was either, as we rarely has gone into the car models, as
the car, track, restrictions, settings saw another competitor once they're hands down the best-looking
and even the weather conditions. we reached first place. It's only element of the simulator. It's a
It's where you can practice with after you progress through the shame that this level of attention to
any car and is where you can really various vehicle classes that the AI detail wasn't applied to the tracks,
hone your driving skills. becomes more challenging. as we noticed that certain elements
Online is where you'll be facing The Driver Network is where of tracks were surprisingly low-
real-life opponents from around you can get an overview of your res as we drove around them. We
the world. It brings a whole new Project CARS activity, including know that many people won't pay
aspect of gameplay as you have to your performance in races and your attention to background models
look at what cars your competitors online reputation. If you've saved like trees and bushes, but we think
have selected and decide what can any photos or replays during races, it makes a difference whether they
keep up (or beat) them. But it's not this is where you can find and share are pixellated or not.
just about speed - you have to take them. The best part is the Time The in-car POV view is a favourite
into consideration other things Trials, as the network stores both of racing-sim fans, so it was
including how many turns there the lap record for every player on important for Slightly Mad Studios
are, how long the course is and every track and the ghost data that to get it just right. We think the
even the current weather. details how they achieved it. This developers hit the nail on the head
The only frustrating part of the is then used in time trials, meaning with the in-car graphics, as every
online experience is, oddly, the other you can race a player's 'ghost' to dial is responsive, mirrors actually
players. For those of us that like improve your own lap time. show you what's behind you (unlike
to play racing games properly and other driving games where it's
enjoy the precision of racing, having Tracks blurred) and you can appreciate the
someone ram into the side of you As we mentioned earlier, backers level of detail available.
to cause you to spin out and loose of the simulator had a huge say However, we noticed that the
your lead is incredibly frustrating. It in certain elements, including graphics varied between consoles-
doesn't happen with every race, but which courses would be featured the PS4's graphics were acceptable,
it's rage inducing when it does. in Project CARS. It has over 60 but those produced by the PC
Career mode is where you courses, including popular UK version were much better. There are
assume the role of a racing driver courses Cadwell Park, Donington, reasons behind this, mainly down to

46 September 2015

Reviews B

hardware as PCs can usually handle

much more than the 'next-gen' PS4 D~<-J a yLP

and Xbox One.

There is one impressive aspect
with regards to graphics - the
dynamic weather system. Though,
like the car graphics, it looks
nothing like the teaser we saw,
but it's stil l done beautifu ll y we ll.
We've started off a race in a
torrential downpour (which makes
corners tricky), but as the race
progressed, you could see the rain
receding and it was soon replaced
with sunshine. The most impressive
part was that when it was raining,
we couldn't see a thing and had to
put the windscreen wipers on (we
were using the POV camera angle)
- it adds an extra level of realism to in races take the enjoyment away start - a position that no driver
the simu lator, further backing up the from us. We've had more than a wants to be in.
simulator vs game argument. handful of experiences where we've As well as offering many tracks
However it's not as dynamic only slightly gone outside the lines and cars. there's another aspect of
as the DriveCiub weather system, and we've had penalties given to us, Project CARS that has many options:
which takes into consideration and with no rewind/replay option, camera angles. There's the standard
how rain droplets react with the we found ourselves restarting races third-person view from outside
cars movement, speed and force - over and over again. If we had one the car and first-person view from
Project CARS doesn't do this. You feature to add to Project CARS, inside driver's seat, but there are
can even see individual droplets rewind would definitely be it - if others on offer, too.
running down the car in DriveCiub, you're trying to qualify for a race There's a GoPro-style angle from
which is amazing. and get penalised at the last corner the roof of the car, as well as a POV
Sunsets look gorgeous, especially for clipping the back of a slower car, shot from inside the riders helmet
on tracks with great scenery. The its more than annoy ing. - the best part of the riders helmet
orangey-red hues of a sunset make Racing enthusiasts wi ll be happy view is that audio is distorted as
the perfect backdrop for Project to hear that you're able to edit your 'you' are wearing a helmet. Slightly
CARS and quickly became our Tuning Setup in Project CARS. We're Mad Studios has also announced
favourite time of day to race. not talking about spoilers and a that the simulator is compatible
So, is it the best-looking racer new paint job, but instead tweaking with both Oculus Rift and Project
ever? Probably not. While the elements such as tire pressure and Morpheus -something that will add
cars look great, some areas of the brake balance, which can give you an extra dimension to the game.
track are still blocky and low-res, the edge when racing. There is one element to the
not something you'd expect from simulator that we particularly
a 2015 racing simulator. With this Racing dislike, and that's the menu system
being said, the graphics are far from Driving in Career mode is fun, but (see above image). The idea of
being classed as being 'bad' and we found it repet itive after a while. Project CARS is to let you go from
shou ldn't detract from the overall For the majority of races, you have one race to the next quickly and
experience of the simu lator. two practices of 10 minutes (rea l- easi ly, and while this is technically
Lets get down to the most time) each , which is supposed to true, the layout of the system takes
important aspect of the simulator help you learn the course. After the a lot of getting used to.
- the handling. It's very difficult to practice, you have two qualifiers When we first started playing,
comment on the handling of the that last 10 minutes each and then we weren't even too sure how to
cars as Project CARS has done a you finally have the lap-based start races in Career mode. The
great job of making each car handle races that count towards the races you must join in Career mode
differently. It adds another level Championship. You can get the full are displayed as a calendar- but all
of realism to the simulator as you racing experience and extend the races for every class are displayed
can feel the handling vary between 10-minute time limit. on the calendar, and even though
the different cars and classes of Although we must admit that applicable ones are highlighted, it
cars, and it's both exciting and doing practise runs did help us nail still initially took us by surprise and
cha ll enging. We found that we'd get some particularly difficult corners, it were unsure where to go.
comfortable with a car and then also became very boring. The same
have to move on to a different one, bends and corners again and again, Verdict
which forced us get used to the lap after lap. You have the option of Project CAR is a fun to race but
handling all over again. skipping the practises and qualifiers unless you're a dedicated racing fan,
While learning to properly control once you've done two laps, but it'll you may soon find yourself getting
a variety of cars is fun, restrictions put you in last place for the race's bored. [2] Lewis Painter

September 2015 reviews 47

B Reviews


The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

The Witcher 3 is one of the most
anticipated game releases of 2015.
Available on Xbox One, PlayStation
Specifications 4 and PC, it has a huge open world
Available for PlayStation to explore along with a great combat
4, Xbox One. PC system and more enemies than you
can shake a stick at.
It starts, as many games do, with
a tutorial that introduces players
to the mechanics of the game and
the combat system. Despite being a
bit slow to start, with conversations
that you want to skip to get into the
action, the tutorial gave us a taste
of what was to come- and we liked
it. It also introduced us to the main
characters in Witcher 3: Geralt,
Yennifer and Ciri, which is great for story task when it was in fact a side produce a unique experience filled
those of you (like us) who didn' t play quest. Though farming berries is a with everything from taking down a
Witcher 1 and 2 because there are (rather tedious) part of a handful griffin to sword fighting with a group
more characters in Witcher 3 than of side quests, they 're much more of outlaws. Combat aside, there
you'll be able to remember. than that. are many locations to exp lore and
One fantastic aspect of The Side quests usually produce scavenge, some that even require a
Witcher 3 is the cause-and-effect unimpressive rewards, but every boat to access.
style system it uses. You're now and again you get some Exploration is only improved by
constantly interacting with people fantastic goodies. For example, we the dynamic time and weather. It's
and the choices you make in these helped someone save her daughter interesting how a slight change in
conversations can have adverse by brewing a Witcher potion and weather or time can greatly change
effects not only for the person in return she gave us a book about the look of a particular environment.
you're speaking to, but whole vampires. You can read the book One island, for example, is ominous
communities at times. to add the entry to your Bestiary, at night, with ghouls and drowners
It can also effect how people act accessib le via the main menu, to roaming around a half-dead forest
towards you, both positive ly and find out more information about surrounding a dilapidated tower.
negatively. For example, early on your opponents in battle including However, once morning comes
in the game you have the choice of its weaknesses. and you see the rays of sunshine
whether or not to accept coin from Though that by itself may not through the trees, the scene
a merchant that you'd just saved. sound impressive, on the next story changes and suddenly the on-edge
We chose to reject the money from quest we came across a vampire feeling we had disappears.
the (poor) merchant and he, in that we had to slay. How do we kill Sunrises and sunsets are
return, gave us information about it? What are its weaknesses? Oh particu larly gorgeous and the rain
the location we were looking for wait, we can just check the Bestiary looks and sounds realistic. Though
and even offered a huge discount on and find out. The point is that even it may not have the leve l of detai l
any items in his store. It pays to be though it may not be amazing at as, say, DriveCiub, it's more than
nice sometimes guys! the time, even the sma ll est rewards enough and adds to the level of
We were surprised about the can come in handy and give you realism that you feel when playing a
variety of side quests avai lable. the upper hand at vital moments ro le-p laying game such as this.
Wherever you go, you'll be greeted throughout the game. We reviewed The Witcher 3 on a
with secondary tasks that range gaming PC with an nVidia Geforce
from bare knuckle fighting to Open world environment GTX 960 GPU and were able to run it
slaying a ghost that has been The Witcher 3 is open wor ld, and at fu ll 1080p in 'U ltra' leve l graphics.
tainting the vi ll age well. Though it's huge - we've yet to explore the Also, by setting the framerate to
most of these can be found via map in its entirety after over 40 'unlimited', we got beautiful results
notice boards in towns and villages, hours of gameplay. It's not all similar averaging around the 80- to 90fps
some only pop up when you're near either, there's a huge variety of mark. These two factors produced
them, while others depend on your environments and each reg ion has gameplay that was stunning.
actions in conversation . its own unique characteristics, be We expected the framerate to
However it's not only the variety it the war-torn region of Vizima or drop when in a crowded area, such
of side quests that surprised us, it's the vast city of Ve len. as in the city of Velen, but for the
about the quality of the side quest. The sheer scale of the open most part this wasn' t the case.
They could easily pass for main world combined with side quests There's just one single place (that
story quests - in fact, at times we mean that exploring in The Witcher we know of) that reduced the frame
thought we were undertaking a main 3 is extremely fun. It'll almost always rate slightly, and that's at Crew's

48 September 2015

Reviews B

Perch when walking through the

village inside the castle walls. We're
not too sure why this is the case, as
we've been in other locations with
many more NPC's with no issue, but
it's one we came across time and
time again in that one area.
However, while we suffered
framerate lag, the drop was
insignificant (80/90fps to around
50/60fps) compared to the
console version of The Witcher 3.
The Witcher 3 on Xbox One and
PlayStation 4 offers 30fps gameplay,
which is fine, but not when you
walk into an area full of NPC's
and have the framerate drop even
lower. Though PCs can have more
powerful graphics than both next-
gen consoles (depending on spec),
we'd expect more from the next gen
consoles and the game itself. to switch up their gaming style in before trying to influence high-level
order to defeat them. opponents. If you do upgrade the
Controls and combat However, any minor issues we ability, you'll find it pretty useful in
The combat system is, at the same had with the combat system were tense situations - particularly when
time, one of the best and most eclipsed by the hugely frustrating there are groups of men that want
frustrating we've used recently. controls when riding Geralt's horse, to confront Geralt.
Prior to its general release, we Roache. This is, the worst part of As well as upgrading Geralt's
were teased by YouTube videos the game, but such an integral one abilities, it's important to keep him
showcasing highlights of the combat at the same time. Exploring such protected with armour and strong
system including blocking hits, a huge and varying environment weapons. He has two swords, one
dodging/jumping and using Signs would prove a task even for the steel sword for human enemies and
to gain the upper hand in battle. most experienced Witcher, so Geralt one silver sword for non-human
Our first experience of the has his horse Roache to take him enemies. You can craft new, better
combat system during the tutorial wherever he needs to go. swords once you find the engram
was a far shout from this, with You trot along a little bit faster for it and bring the correct supplies
uncoordinated attacks and blocks than walking pace by default, then to a blacksmith or you can simply
that almost ended up with a dead by holding Shift, you go into a buy one instead.
Geralt. However we powered faster trot before heading into an You can also craft potions, which
through, as getting used to a games all out gallop, which consumes your you can do yourself instead of
controls and perfecting them horses stamina. The good news is needing a third party. Potion effects
instantly is something that very that if you're on a path, Roache will can range from increasing your
rarely happens. automatically follow the path and damage output or allowing you to
After narrowly missing death in his stamina won't decrease, making see in the dark, and are primarily
a handful of battles, the controls it much easier to get around (in made up of berries, which you pick
just 'cl icked' for us and we found theory). Unfortunately, this wasn't throughout the open world. The
ourselves able to block with the case. Sure, Roache's stamina only frustrating part of the crafting
precision, knocking enemies off stayed full but he had serious issues process is that while you may know
balance before unleashing a flurry with following the path, venturing what ingredients/berries you need,
of fast and hard attacks. From off at almost every turn in the road. you're given no idea as to where
that point onwards, the combat Character progression is a huge to find them. However, once you've
system was amazing - you can fight part of The Witcher 3 and without created your potion, you never
multiple enemies at once, once upgrading your characters abilities need to craft it again.
you've got the timing right. and equipment, you'll quickly find
There are a variety of fighting yourself struggling to defeat even Verdict
styles that you can adopt to keep low-level enemies. You get points The Witcher 3 is phenomenal
the combat system fresh. You can to upgrade Geralt's characteristics value for money. We sunk over 40
play it safe and hold the block with every level up, which you can hours into it and were nowhere
button to block incoming attacks, use to upgrade everything from the near finishing. The graphics and
you can time it to parry the enemy amount of health and stamina that dynamic weather effects are great
and knock them off guard, or you Geralt restores to the power and additions and the sheer size of
can even use a Sign to burn them or speed of his fast attack. the open world means that you'll
knock them down before executing You can also influence people have many, many interesting and
them. Many enemies have a specific using one of your Signs (Axii), but unscripted experiences while
weakness, which forces the player you'll quickly need to upgrade it exploring. E1 Lewis Painter

September 2015 49

B Reviews: Windows 10 superguide


Free Windows 10
Windows 7 and 8.1 users
99 inc VAT (Home)
189 inc VAT (Pro)


1GHz or faster processor;
1GB for 32-bit or 2GB for
64-bit Windows 10; 16GB
drive space for 32-bit or
20GB for 64-bit; DirectX
9 or later graphics card;
1024x600 pixels or
higher display

In late 2014, Microsoft took the apps, as they used to be called. Or could pin a particular email or
wraps off the Technical Preview of Metro apps, if you want to go right conversation thread from Mail or
its next Windows operating system, back to the beginning. Facebook, or pin a certain journey
and in doing so it took everyone But this time the Start menu is (your commute, typically) in a travel
by surprise. We expected the next improved, and it may even make app. It saves a lot of time, believe us.
generation of Windows: we just Windows apps useful. Look to the
didn't expect it to be called Windows left and you'll see a list of your Search and Cortana
10. None the less here is Windows most-used apps, just as in Windows Instead of placing a search box
Ease of use:
10: the next operating system for 7. At the bottom we see an 'All apps' in the Start menu, or hiding it
PCs and laptops, smartphones and shortcut, plus shortcuts to File completely as is the case in Windows
tablets. And, indeed, an OS for Explorer, Settings and - conveniently 8, Windows 10 sticks it front and
Performance: servers and all points in between. - shut down and standby. centre on the Taskbar. This is a
Value: Microsoft said that Windows 10 And Microsoft has retained the smart move, as it's always there
is built from the ground up for a functionality of the Windows 8 ready to serve up whatever you
world in which mobile- and cloud Start screen over on the right, with need to find or what to know.
computing are key. Execs from the resizable Live Tiles, so that you can The first time you click on the
company said it was committed to immediately check unread mail or box, you' ll see a prompt to enable
making Windows 10 friendly for the Calendar appointments. The Start Cortana. That's because Cortana
enterprise, ideal for keyboard and Menu is customisable, too- you and search are pretty much one
mouse users, but also optimised can resize it, and rearrange the and the same in Windows 10. In
for touch. Oh, and the operating tiles, create groups of tiles, and fact, search is just part of the
system will put the same interface also revert to the Windows 8 Start virtual assistant's remit.
on devices with displays ranging Screen, should you wish to. If you've ever used a phone
in size from 4- to 80in. "One The full-screen start menu is running Windows Phone 8, you'll
product family, one platform, one really meant for tablet use, where probably know Cortana already.
store," says Microsoft. it makes most sense, but you can The beauty is that you can type
Given the lukewarm reaction to choose to use it on a PC or laptop or talk to her and it's the same in
Windows 8, these seem like bold without a touchscreen if you like. Windows 10. It's much faster to tap
claims. They are necessary, though. We're fans of the tile concept, the microphone button (or even say,
Also necessary was Microsoft's if not the inelegance with which "Hey Cortana ") and reel off your
decision to make Windows 10 the they're currently presented. As request than to type it.
most beta-tested product it has with Windows Phone, it's what Sticking with search for a minute,
ever released. The operating system you can pin that matters. Instead you can type in a single word and
was tested by over 4 million people of merely adding shortcuts to Windows 10 will return a list of
around the world before its launch. apps, you can pin tiles which are matching apps, settings and files,
shortcuts to specific functions or plus apps in the Windows store. It
What's new? features within apps. will also show a list of web results.
Critically the Start Menu is back. It This makes life a lot more But there's lots more you can do,
contains standard Windows software convenient when you begin pinning as all the features from Windows
and Windows apps. Modern Ul the right stuff. For example, you Phone are now in Windows 10.

50 September 2015

Reviews: Windows 10 superguide B

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So you can type or ask, "What's weather, information about your Windows 10 makes it easier to
the weather going to be like this daily commute, sports scores and find your recently used fi les and
weekend?" and Cortana will more. If you allow it, Cortana can frequently visited folders. Th is is
display a forecast. You can also access information from emails, because File Explorer replaces the
say "Remind me to fi ll in my tax such as fl ight numbers and warn Favourites section in the left-hand
return tomorrow night" and you'll you if there's a delay or if there's pane with Quick Access.
get a reminde r at the appropriate heavy t raffic on the way to the This makes finding fi les you've
time. Reminders go even further, as airport and you need to leave earl ier wo rked on faster and easier, without
Cortana can tie them to people and than you might have. If Cortana having to manua lly pin things to
places. So you can also say "Remind can't answer a question directly, the Taskbar or add folders to the
me to ask James about that money it wil l launch the new Edge web Favourites section manual ly. It also
he owes me" and Cortana will ask browser and display search results. means you don't have to use the
whether you want to be reminded at Finally, Cortana can set alarms, 'last modified' colu mn to sort and
a specific time or place. record notes, play specific music, find that fi le you j ust downloaded or
For places, you can say "Remind launch apps and give you directions edited yesterday.
me to get milk and bread when I get on a map. We think Cortana is
to Tesco" or "Remind me to water great, and one of Windows 10's Task View and
the plants when I get home". biggest draws. Lea rn how to use virtual desktops
Cortana wi ll show the top news her capab ilities, and you'l l sure to To the right of the search box you'l l
stories, identify music playing and be more productive. notice an unfamiliar icon. Click it
has a 'Daily Glance' which displays a Ret urning to sea rch and staying and Task View wi ll open. It's a lot like
summary of your meetings, today's with the productivity theme, the view you get in Windows 7 or 8

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September 2015 51

B Reviews: Windows 10 superguide

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when you press A it+Tab. You can still you've snapped an app, Snap Assist unique features. As well as the
use A It+Tab in Windows 10 but the will display an AI+ Tab view of some reading mode you may already be
shortcut for Task View is Win+ Tab. of the remaining open apps so you familiar with from other browsers,
Along the bottom of the screen, can quickly fill the entire screen. which strips away page furniture so
beneath the app thumbnails is a new You can still snap apps to fill the you can focus on the content, there's
bar showing virtual desktops. This is whole screen, or the left- or right- a new annotation feature that lets
a feature that many Windows users hand side, and the same shortcuts you high light things and add notes
have hankered after, but been forced apply as with Windows 7 and 8. and crop to a certain area of the
to resort to third-party software page before sending them to others.
such as Dexpot in previous versions Notifications Having these capabilities natively
of the operating system. Although Windows 8 had pop-up in the browser is a compelling
Now in Windows 10, you can notifications, things are much reason to use it over Google
create virtual desktops right out better in Windows 10. There's the Chrome or Firefox. It has also been
of the box. It 's a simple case of equivalent of Windows Phone 8's a decent performer in our testing.
clicking the Add desktop button and Action Centre, complete with toggle Edge has been designed to
you've got a new, blank desktop buttons for common settings. have a minimal interface, leaving
on which to launch apps. Then you If you miss a pop-up notification as much screen real estate as
can quickly flip between desktops - they appear in the bottom-right possible for web pages: the whole
using Ctri+Win+left cursor or corner - you can swipe in from the reason you're using a browser is
Ctri+Win+right cursor. This is much right on a touchscreen to display the to view them, of course.
faster than using A it+Tab and trying Notifications bar. Like most similar
to find one Word document from systems, it divides notifications Built-in apps
20 open windows. What's important by app and you can clear them Some may mourn the loss of
to note is that unlike in Windows individually or in one fell swoop, Windows Media Centre in Windows
8.1 you can use the new-style apps the latter being one feature that's 10, but few people have PCs with
from within the Desktop area. This frustratingly absent in iOS. built-in TV tuners and few laptops
removes some of the pointless Buttons at the bottom of the (and no tablets) come with optical
division in Windows on X86 systems. bar include toggles for tablet and drives for playing DVDs.
It also helps Microsoft make good desktop mode, brightness, battery You do get media playback
on its claim that Windows 10 will feel saver mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, rotation apps, of course. Instead of the
familiar to Windows 7 users. lock, location, flight mode and more. Xbox branding which proved a
You can expand or collapse the menu little confusing in Windows 8 ,
Snap Assist depending on how much room you the apps are simply called Music
Unlike in Windows 8- where a want it to occupy. and Movies & TV.
snapped app takes up half the The Music app combines your
screen - with Windows 10 up to four Microsoft Edge local music with any stored online
apps can be snapped per screen, There's a new web browser in in your OneDrive Music folder. Plus,
each occupying a quarter. When Windows 10, and it offers some it also integrates Microsoft's music

52 September 2015

Reviews: Windows 10 superguide 3

streaming service called Groove- isn't included - it was only ever feature in Windows 7 or Windows
formerly Xbox Music - whi ch you can bundled with Windows RT - you do 10 that you can't live without (see
access by buying a Music Pass. This get the Mail and Calendar apps. page 68) then the new features
costs 8.99 per month, or 89.90 Mail is a clean -looking email combined with the familiarity of
for an annual subscription, making client, which has the ability to Windows 7 make the new operating
it a bit cheaper than Apple and handle multiple emails accounts system very attractive.
Spotify 's alternatives. including, Google, It's even better if you have
The Movies & TV app allows iCioud and Exchange (plus pretty several devices that can run
you to buy or rent videos from much anything else, as long as you Windows 10- particularly a phone-
the new Microsoft Store but, like can configure the settings yourself). as the tight integration means you
Apple, Microsoft currently lacks a OneNote is also part of Windows can set reminders on the go and pick
streaming service to rival Netflix 10. If you haven't used it, you them up on your PC, say, when you
and Amazon Prime Instant Video. should certainly try it out. It's a get home or into the office. That's
The app is split into three sections: powerful Evernote-style app which just one tiny example, of course.
Movies, TV and Videos, the latter of lets you create notes that are If you use OneDrive to store your
which monitors your Videos folder a mixture of text, lists, images, music, photos, videos, notes and
and shows them in the same easy- maps and more. Again , OneDrive documents, you'll be able to easily
to-use interface. integration means that you can access them from anywhere.
Photos has been updated, but access your stuff from other devices Bear in mind that the 'final'
will be familiar to Windows 8 users. -even if it's an Android or iPhone. version of Windows 10 Microsoft
The old Windows Photo Viewer is Maps has been improved, too. launches on 29 July isn't final at
still there if you prefer, and you're Microsoft has added Streetside -the all. It's just the beginning: new
prompted to choose a default app equivalent of Google's Street View features, including DirectX 12
the first time you open a JPEG. -so you can take virtual tours of support, will be added over the
It's worth using the Photos app, places, as well as getting directions next weeks and months.
however, as in addition to a decent and finding nearby places of interest. The bottom line is that Windows
viewing interface, it also lets you For directions, you can choose 10 is a great operating system.
edit photos and pulls in photos driving, walking or public transport. Indeed, it's fair to say even at
from your OneDrive. this early stage that it's the best
It should be no surprise that Verdict Windows yet. It's not perfect, of
Skype is preinstalled, now it's owned For the majority of home users, course, and there will undoubtedly
by Microsoft. This means it's easy Windows 10 is free and this means be bugs that need fixing, so expect
to call or video chat with friends, that there's really no reason not to patches and updates soon after
family and colleagues. While Office upgrade. Unless there's a specific launch. 0 Jim Martin

Home Apps Games Mus1c Movies & TV


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September 2015 53

Feature: Windows 10 superguide

54 September 2015

Feature: Windows 10 superguide B

With the launch of Microsoft's upcoming operating system, we'll soon be waving goodbye to Windows
Phone. But how do the two compare? In our preview, Chris Martin explains everything you need to know

Instead of moving to Windows Outlook Calendar

Phone 10 - which would be the most Calendar will be a universal app and it will be
logica l choice as far as Microsoft's integrated into Outlook, too. As you'd expect,
In box
strange num berin g choices go - the next the app wil l synchronise across all your
version of t he mobile operating system will be Dakota, Dianne, ... Me Windows 10 devices. This means it doesn't
cal led Windows 10 Mobile. As far as we know, Can someon~ share the latest spring catalog? matter which one you enter an event on , it
that is. Here, we'll look at every aspect of Thanks. in advance for sharing! 1:30p will show up everywhere.
Windows 10 Mobile, including its new features, One view in the Ca lendar app wi ll give you
Shaun, Dianne
apps and user interface. UpdJted budget proposal
an overview of the week, ind icating how busy
Before we dive in, it's important to Pease review the budget First Up Consultant 124Sp each day is, with details of specific entries
note that no-one wil l be getting the below in chronological order.
update on 29 July when Windows 10 Me, ... Brenda
Re: Great News!
launches. Microsoft is still very much in the Thill"ks for sharing! What il great opportunity i2:13p Office
deve lopment phase and has only said that There are new universal apps for Word, Excel
it needs "more time to deli ver the optimal Bruce Vandiver, ... Brenda Edwards and PowerPoint. They are optimised for
fAction required. Revrew sales forecast
experience for mobile devices and you We need the sa es iorecast finalized by this 10"41p touch-based input and will include the Office
can expect Windows 10 Mobile to release Ribbon, which means it should be familiar to
broad ly later this year". {Draft) Dianne Lambert, Shaun Wo just about anyone using Office 2007 or later
Take a look e~t this wflen you he~ve a cha nee
It's also crucial to point out that not on their PC or laptop. Your recent documents
The designer rs comang to the store to review '0.33a
a great dea l is changing in terms of the list will also be available across all your
interface. Windows 10 Mobile wil l look and Windows 10 devices. As you'll see on page
Dakota Lack, Dianne Lambert ,..,..
work much the same as Windows Phone 8. Sales and Ma(keti ng Mon thly status r .....

. 76-77, your edits will appear almost instantly
There are lots of tweaks and improvements, l'h s s tlow sales are s.hap ng up th1s OUTLOOK if you have the document open on more than
but the biggest differences wi ll be much one device.
tighter integration with Windows 10 on your to the 4in disp lay on a phone. They can
PC. Part of that is Windows apps - previously submit the app once to the Windows Store Photos
called universal apps- which wi ll be available and Microsoft wil l do the crunching to make The updated Photos app will also work across
in the new unified Windows Store and wil l it work on any device running Windows all your devices, and has been improved
work on all your devices running Windows 10. 10. Developers wi ll have to decide how the with better editing and management tools.
You can read more about universal Windows interface should look on a given screen size, This makes it easier to find the image you're
apps on page 76. but th is change should mean that we' ll see looking for and give it a few tweaks before
When you first use the OS, you' ll find more apps than ever avai lable on phones sharing it. The app automatically enhances
that it introduces a number of new options running Windows. photos and removes duplicates, too.
compared to Windows Phone 8.1. These However, just because it's the same
include fu ll-size art for the Start screen, operating system as used by laptops and
an improved Action Center, interactive desktops, it doesn't mean you can run x86
notifications, better dictation (and a genera lly programs (old Windows software) on your
better Cortana) and an enhanced Photos app. phone. You can't.
The operating system wi ll be a free upgrade
for many Lumia smartphones - see page 64 App updates
for details of those included in the preview Outlook/Mail
versions. Smartphones running Windows 10 Outlook is one of the first 'universal apps',
out of the box will arrive later this year, and meaning it wil l run across your PC, laptop,
will include the Lumia 640 and 640 XL. phone and tablet, with the same experience
We've been running the preview of - although with a different interface for
Windows 10 Mobile since February, on a the smal ler screen of a phone. It wil l
Lumia 830, alongside a laptop and Surface synchronise everything seamlessly. As long
Pro 3 running Windows 10. Some things are as you're connected to the internet in one
bound to change in the interface, but here's way or another all the information wil l be
how it stands at the moment. updated instantly. You cou ld, for example,
start replying to an emai l on your laptop,
What happened then finish it on your phone while you're on
to Windows Phone? the go. In general this is the same for any
Windows 10 is the first version of Windows universal app.
built to run on computers, tablets and There's full Gmail support, as we ll as other
phones (as we ll as servers and other webmai l services including iCioud. In fact,
devices you probably don' t care about). there's much better support for all webmail
This means that developers wi ll be able to services, so you don 't have to be an Out look
build an app which wi ll run on everyt hing user with an Outlook address to benefit from
from a huge TV or projector screen, down the stock emai l app.

September 2015 res 55

B Feature: Windows 10 superguide

the content in one conversation thread view Edge browser

- whether it's a regular SMS message or from Just as in the desktop version, Edge is
Skype. Users can also quickly exit the thread Microsoft's new web browser for Windows
and call the person easily. 10 Mobile. It has an interface much like the
Furthermore, the re lated People app desktop version, but doesn't have the same
(where you store al l your contacts) will support for annotation, drawing and clipping
allow you to choose a preferred method - not yet at least. What it does have it a
of communications - whether that 's email, customisable reading mode that supports
text- or internet messaging. PDFs and a reading list, which wil l show up
on all your Windows devices. There will also
Cortana be support for background downloading in
Microsoft's digital assistant- Cortana - is the final version, and you'll be ab le to check
more powerful and has with more skills and the status of files being downloaded in the
language support in Windows 10 Mobile. Action Center.
As we hoped, dictation has been opened
up to more uses, such as sending emails. User interface changes
The feature lets you use natural language Many of the changes in Windows 10 Mobile
so you can tell Cortana to send an email to relate to the user interface. As we've
mentioned already, it's not a massive
CORTANA departure compared to Windows Phone 8, so

0 existing users will have no problems finding

their way around, but will benefit from the
Hello, Miranda. tweaks and improvements listed below.
What can I do for you ?
Recently installed apps
Daily routine The usua l apps menu sits to the right of
the Start Screen and still shows all of your
I've gathered a look at the day
On the video side of things, you can easi ly apps in alphabetica l order. However, a new
for you.
scrub through a clip if you're trying to find a section will appear at the top called 'Recently
particular bit without having to simply guess Innovative ways to teach computer Installed' showing newly instal led apps.
science to kids ...
how far in it is. Photos displays your shots in See more top headlines
chronological order in the same tiled layout New tile art
as that found in Windows Phone, 8 and you Since smartphones are persona l, Microsoft
Partly cloudy in current location
can choose whether or not to show photos Today 70"/51", Precipitation 0% has made various improvements to the
and videos from your OneDrive. This means Start Screen on handsets to make it more
you won't need to head to it as a separate customisable. For example, you can select an
app to access that content. Interview new consultant image that will appear full-screen behind the
One feature that's set to be introduced is Fourth Coffee ti les and the apps menu. Tiles that don't have
Albums. This will enable you to group photos 2:00pm to 3:00pm

into themes, edit them and then share them

with friends without using Facebook or photo News
sharing sites such as Flickr.
Here's the latest in financial news.
The current situation for mapping on mu ltiple people, a subject line and the body
Windows Phone 8 is somewhat confusing, text. You can then use your voice to make
with both Maps and HERE Maps (developed corrections if there are any errors.
by Nokia) onboard. Going forward things The blue circle that represents Cortana
will be different in Windows 10 with a Maps on the screen will also change, depending on
universal app. what you ask and different situations - the
The experience will be the same across all aim being to give it 'personality'.
your Windows 10 devices. Bing Maps will be As with many features in Windows 10, the
used for its search results, Streetside views idea is to have consistency across devices.
will offer 3D imagery and there will be new So if you set a reminder on your phone,
navigation options. it will pop up on your desktop at the right
moment. That means you can use your
Messaging and Skype phone while you're in the car to remind
There's a big change when it comes to yourself of something when you get to the
messaging because Microsoft has decided office or back home and you' ll see it right on
to combine phone calls, text messages and your desktop- minimising the chance that
Skype (both messages and ca lls). There's a you'll miss the reminder.
new dialler, but Messages is the focus for The more you use Cortana, the better
Windows 10 on phones. it gets to know you, and the more accurate
In a similar way to iMessage and Google its responses will be. At least, that's what
Hangout, the Messages app will display all Microsoft tells us.

56 es September 2015

Feature: Windows 10 superguide B

a solid colour are semi-transparent. so you Llt :$

can see the image behind.

One-handed mode
For phones with 5in screens and larger, you Bluetooth Cellular data All scUit'9S
can now hold on the Windows button and the
screen will slide down to bring things at the Dear a 1 X Expaod v

top into reach. Sound familiar? It's the same

as 'Reachability' in iOS 8.
Joshua Murphy 10:08 AM
1 ~ I s " th 1 y p ty7 v
Improved Action Center and
Dianne Lambert 11:24 AM
Interactive Notifications I l hr nr til IJU t rnved .....
We were glad of the arriva l of the Action
Center on Windows Phone 8 and Microsoft
has made some nice improvements in
Windows 10 for phones.
More Quick Actions are available, so
when you pull the bar down from the top of
the screen you'll see the usual set of four. ~[_R_ep_J_y_us_in_g__M_e_ss_e_ng_e_r__________~J ~
There's also a new expand button, which
shows eight additional Actions when clicked, Face book
or when you drag down from the top a
Laura Cattaneo 9:01AM
second time. Previously there was a simple I t t t t 10 -..1~ ,

link to all settings and you can still select ACTION CENTER
which four you wish to be the primary ones.
Brand new is a much-requested Quick Action rid of one on your phone, then you shouldn't
for turning on the LED flash so you can use it have to deal with it again if you switch to
as a torch without needing a separate app. Windows 10 on another device. That's a real Verdict
Action Center is also where you pick up boon and something that we've been wanting There are some nice user interface tweaks
all your notifications and whi le they are on iOS and Android for some time. in Windows 10 Mobile which make it much
displayed in the same manner, they are now easier to use, but we're not talking about a
interactive. This means you can do various New Settings menu massive departure from Windows Phone 8.
things straightaway. For example, you can Long suffering Windows Phone users wil l Key to its success are universal apps, which
dismiss an alarm, and when it comes to be pleased to hear that the Settings menu will- supposedly- work seamlessly across
things such as text messages, you can reply has received a much needed overhaul. The all Windows 10 devices. That sounds great if
inline via the keyboard or voice. existing one has been split into 'system' you're going to jump in headfirst and commit
Another new features is that you won't and 'applications', which is no bad thing as to Microsoft's new operating system. 121
need to dismiss notifications twice. If you get the massive list of options was extremely
difficult to navigate with no apparent order
or method.
The new Settings menu is divided into
10 sections for things such as system ,
personalisation, accounts and privacy. It
makes much more sense, and under each
heading you can see what type of things
you'll find there. A search bar at the top lets
you type in the first few letters to quickly find
what you're looking for.

New keyboard with joystick

The keyboard is largely the same in Windows
10 compared to Windows Phone 8, but
there's a new feature that you might not
even spot at first.
If you remember the way old IBM
laptops had a tiny joystick in the middle of
the keyboard for moving the cursor, well
that's exactly what Microsoft had added to
Windows 10 for phones in a virtual way.
Rather than sitting in the middle of the
keyboard, it's on the left-hand side between
Shift, Z, the 123 button and semicolon. If you
tap and hold it a little D-pad pops up and you
can slide your finger around to move the
cursor - it's pretty neat.

September 2015 57

B Feature: Windows10 superguide


What's the difference between Windows 10 and Windows 8? Matt Egan explains

indows 8 isn't everyone's cup of outright, you wil l have to shell out. A standa rd about upgrading now. Even if you jump
t ea. We use it day in, day out at Windows 8.1 upgrade li cence wi ll cost you only to Windows 7, Windows 10 wi ll be free.
PC Advisor, generally avoiding around 100, while a Windows 8.1 Pro licence Upgrading to a newer PC or laptop may be a
the modern interface and sticking to the is priced 190. better option, however, as machines running
trad itional desktop. We think it's a perfectly When we went to press, Microsoft had XP and Vista are already long in the tooth.
good and usable OS, but Windows 10 is said only that Windows 10 will cost the same
markedly better. Here's why. as Windows 8 does now. Those prices are Devices
from Microsoft's on line store, but you' ll There are three different types of operating
Price pay less if you shop around - Amazon is system t hat cou ld reasonably be cal led
If you buy a new PC or laptop before the end cheaper, for example. 'Windows 8'. Fou r, if you count 64- and 32-bit
of July 2015, it wil l almost certainly come Of course, most peop le won't have to versions. Windows 8 itse lf is x86 software
wit h Windows 8 (version 8.1 these days). As pay thanks to the free upgrade for existing bui lt fo r use with PCs and laptops, as we ll
an end user, you will not know how much Windows 7, 8.1 and Wi ndows Phone 8 users as some tablets. Then there is Windows RT,
your PC's manufacturer paid for the OS, but (many of them, anyhow). So if you are a which is for use on other tablets. Finally,
if you purc hase an upgrade or buy a licence Vista or XP user, you may want to think there is Windows Phone 8 (which exp lains
itself). Windows 10 will, at least in principle,
do away with these divisions.
Microsoft claims that its new OS wi ll run
on al l Windows PCs, laptops, tab lets and
phones. More importantly, all Windows 10
apps will work across al l of t hose devices.
It's a bold claim, and an exciting one. As of
launch day, though, Windows 10 mobile won't
be availa ble except in a beta form, and very
few 'universal ' apps are availab le to test out.

Start Menu
The Start Menu is back in Windows 10, in
more of a way than it is within Windows
8.1. This is a key change to the desktop.
In Windows 10, it's been improved, in such
a way that it may make Windows apps
useful, even without the ab ility to use them
across all Windows devices. The Start Menu
includes a list of frequently used apps and
sho rtcuts to PC sett ings. Here you wi ll also

58 September 2015

Feature: Windows 10 superguide B

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has the potential to be a killer productivity
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Task View, virtual desktops, Alt-Tab

find documents and pictures folders. At the web for information to inform its interactions Another useful and visual productivity
bottom there is an 'All apps' shortcut. with you. And it learns from your behaviour, enhancer is the way that Task View al lows
Microsoft has retained the functionality contacts and so on, in order to better serve you to create a kind of multi-monitor setup
of the Windows 8 Start screen over on your needs. Cortana on Windows Phone is with in a sing le monitor. As with previous
the right, with resizable Live Ti les, so that pretty great. And it improves with use. So the versions of Windows, you can use Alt-Tab
you can immediately check unread mail or inclusion of Microsoft's digital assistant is a to shuffle between windows. The difference
Calendar appointments. The Start Menu big boost over Windows 8. here is 'virtual desktops', virtual displays into
is customisable - you can resize it and which you can snap multiple apps. So you
rearrange the tabs. You can also revert to the Search improvements could keep your email and web browser on
Windows 8 Start page, should you wish to. Universal search in Windows 8 is a much- one desktop that you hide away when you
undervalued feature. It's been in Microsoft's are working on an Excel spreadsheet.
Xbox OS since Vista, but came to maturity in For some people, this wi ll be reason
Finally, Microsoft is attempting to make use Windows 8. Searching to load up apps and enough to upgrade to Windows 10, but others
of the awesomeness that is Xbox, within files is much more efficient than navigating may have to force themselves to use them to
the dreary world of Windows. Whereas via apps and file systems. The tech giant has understand why they're such a boon.
Windows 8 users can install an Xbox app on made strides in this area in Windows 10.
to Windows PCs, it really doesn't offer much The new OS has added a search button Verdict
of the true Xbox experience. In its upcoming to the taskbar, which is also used for We've covered the major feature differences
OS, Microsoft aims to change that. Cortana. This pulls one of the few important here, but the additions mean that it's a no-
With Xbox on Windows 10, the tech giant aspects of the Windows 8 Start page into brainer to upgrade if you have one or more
is attempting to add the best features from the desktop. Search and Fi le Explorer now systems running Windows 7 or 8 .1. If you're
Xbox Live and the Xbox console. It comes display your recent fi les and frequent ly in the position of having to pay for a licence,
with its own built-in Xbox app, offering a visited folders, which makes finding files it's worth putting the money towards a new
unified view of your games, the activity of you've worked on faster and easier. laptop or PC if yours is getting old. 0
your friends, and your own gaming activities.
For the latter, there's Game DVR, which lets
you record videos of your gaming sessions
- and take screenshots - and watch them
alongside clips from your Xbox One.
Windows 10 also bakes in Xbox Live, so
that the more than 50 million players can
connect across multiple devices in new ways.
Best of all, Xbox One games can be
streamed to your Windows 10 devices - such
as PCs, laptops and tablets - so you can play
games even if your TV is being used for other
purposes. Th is will be a literal game changer.
And a massive improvement over Windows 8.

Another key new feature of Windows
10 not available in Windows
8 is Cortana - Microsoft's
semantic digital assistant.
A kind of super Siri, which can engage you
in conversation. More than simple speech
recognition, Cortana constantly scours the

September 2015 59

B Feature: Windows10 superguide

Windows 10 is coming on 29 July and here's everything you need to know about reserving your copy,
the minimum hardware requirements and how the upgrade will work. Jim Martin reports

ome Windows computers are of its launch. What does this mean, we hear or 8.1 Update as shown in the next section,
already nagging users to upgrade you ask? Put simp ly, the new OS will be right. Enterprise versions, or volume
to Windows 10, while others haven't downloaded in the days before 29 July, so licence versions, don 't count.
made so much as a peep about it. Here that you're guaranteed to be able to update
we'll explain which versions of Microsoft's on that day. There won't be any overloaded Which versions of Windows will get
operating system are eligible for the free servers, nor delays in down loading and a free upgrade to Windows 10?
update and which aren't. Plus, we'll outline upgrading. The download is 3- to 4GB. To find out which version of Windows you
the system requirements, so you can tell To reserve Windows 10, click on the white have, open Control Panel and go to System.
whether your PC or laptop is powerfu l Windows logo, which will appear near the The precise Windows version will be listed. It
enough to run Windows 10. clock in the Taskbar (be low left) and then doesn't matter if it's 32- or 64-b it.
follow the instructions on screen. Only the following versions are eligible
How to reserve Windows 10 If you don't see the icon, make sure that for the update:
If your PC or laptop is running one of the Windows is up to date by using Windows
qualifying versions of Windows, you'll be able Update and installing all the available Windows 7 SPl (Service Pack 1)
to reserve your copy of Windows 10 ahead updates, including optional ones, but not Windows 8.1 Update
the optional language packs. The update Windows Phone 8.1
responsible for the icon (and GWX.exe
program) is KB3035583. You' ll also need These versions are not eligible (some just
to be running a genuine copy of Windows 7 require updating to the versions above):

60 September 2015

Feature: Windows 10 superguide B

Windows 7 RTM (this can be updated to Windows 10. However, if you wiped your hard speech experience' you will need a 'high
SP1 for free) drive to install the preview, you'll have to opt fidelity microphone array'.
Windows 7 in to the updates, or reinstall Windows 7 or 8.1 Windows He ll o is a new way to log
Windows 8 (this can be updated to 8.1 in order to get the upgrade to Windows 10. into the operating system using facial
Update for free) recognition or a fingerprint. For that,
Windows 8.1 RTM (this can be updat ed to What are the system you 'll need either a specia l infrared
8.1 Update) requirements for Windows 10? camera or a fingerprint reader which
Windows RT (the version of Windows Just because your computer, tablet or supports Windows Biometric Framework.
used on the Microsoft Surface and phone runs one of the eligible versions of Continuum is where Windows 10 will switch
Surface 2 - cannot be updated) Windows this doesn't guarantee it will get between laptop and tablet modes (see our
Windows Phone 8.0 (updates may be the update. There are some hardware and feature on page 72). There will be a manual
available from your mobile operator software requirements as well. switch in all Windows 10 editions, but on some
or Microsoft) These are the minimum hardware devices it will switch automatically, or be
specifications needed to run Windows 10: configurab le to switch automatically.
In terms of specific versions, the
upgrade will work on a 'like-to-like' basis: Processor: 1GHz or faster processor Windows 10 Home vs Windows
RAM: 1GB for 32-bit or 2GB for 64-bit 10 Pro: what's the difference?
UPGRADE FROM WINDOWS 7: Hard disk space: 16GB for 32-bit or Alongside Education and Enterprise
From Edition To Edition 20GB for 64-bit versions wi ll be Home and Pro editions. All
Windows 7 Starter Windows 10 Home Graphics card: DirectX 9 or later versions of Windows 10 include Cortana
Windows 7 Home Basic Display: 1024x600 pixels or higher but will lack Windows Media Centre- and
Windows 7 Home Premium (virtually all devices have this) therefore the ability to use a TV tuner in
Windows 7 Professional Windows 10 Pro your PC - and you will need to download
Windows 7 Ultimate Willi lose my files and programs third-party software if you want to watch
by upgrading to Windows 10? DVDs on your machine.
UPGRADE FROM WINDOWS 8 : Your files, settings and app lications will be For the majority of users, the differences
From Edition To Edition kept, but some settings and applications between Windows 10 Home and Pro will
Windows 8.1 Windows 10 Home won't be 'migrated' as Microsoft puts it. For be negligible, as both provide pretty much
Windows 8.1 Pro Windows 10 Pro example, anti-virus software won't be moved. everything you need for everyday computing.
Windows 8.1 Pro Student Windows 10 should keep your anti-virus While Windows 10 Home is focused firmly
Windows 8.1 Pro WMC Windows 10 Pro settings and install the latest vers ion of on the consumer, the Pro version is more
Windows Phone 8.1 Windows 10 Mobile your AV software after the update, assuming for power users, and those running small-
your subscription is current. If it isn't, to medium businesses. This can be seen
Windows Defender will be enabled instead. in the advanced security features found
What about Windows 10 Insiders Other apps which may not be moved in the Pro package.
testing the preview builds? include those installed by your computer Bitlocker has been an integral part of
Microsoft has announced that people running manufacturer, as well as those which aren't the professional-level Windows operating
the preview version of Windows 10 will be compatible with Windows 10. systems since Vista. In Windows 10 Pro
upgraded to the final version for free. There As before, you'll get a li st of any such Bitlocker allows users to encrypt individual
are two options here. If you clean installed issues before beginning the actual update, so files and keep them alongside unencrypted
the Windows 10 preview, then you'll need to you can choose whether or not to proceed ones. Plus they can now be used in the
continue on the Insider program and receive with it. Most applications that run in Windows same way on USB sticks, improving the way
future builds and updates to test and try out 7 and 8 will work fine in Windows 10, so there in which files can be shared between those
before the are released to the genera l public. shouldn't be many problems in this area. with the proper clearance to read them.
As you would expect from a Pro version
there is also support for Remote Desktops,
Hyper V virtua lization, Group Policy
For the majority of users, the differences between Windows Management, and access to the Windows

10 Home and Pro will be negligible, as both provide pretty 10 Business Store. Microsoft also lists the
abilit y to join Azure Active Directory, with
much everything you need for everyday computing a single sign-on to cloud hosted apps,
plus support for Domain Join, Assigned
This means there is a kind of loophole Which features will Access 8.1, Enterprise Data Protection, and
by which you can have a copy of Windows I lose during the update? Windows Update for Business which Microsoft
10 even if you don't own a version of the You will lose some apps, games and features. claims wi ll reduce management costs.
operating system that qua lifies for the free For a full list see our Worst Windows 10 Ultimately, Windows 10 Home edition
upgrade. You will have to install a Windows sacrifices article on page 68. will suffice for the vast majority of users
10 preview build before 29 Ju ly, though. who just want to browse the web, do a
Microsoft's blog clarifies that this is not Willi get Cortana, Windows little work, and manage their media files.
intended to be a path by which you can freely Hello and Continuum? There's certainly plenty of benefits for the
upgrade your XP or Vista machine, though. Cortana will be available on Windows 10 Pro version, with its focus on security and
If you upgraded a genuine qua lifying for the United States, United Kingdom, compatibility, but, of course, the va lue of
version of to the Windows 10 preview, you China, France, Italy, Germany and Spain. these features will come down to whether
can get the final version on 29 July and then For speech recognition, you will need you actually intend to use them or not. 0
opt out of future preview bui lds and enjoy a microphone of course, but for 'better

September 2015 61

B Feature: Windows10 superguide

You can install Windows 10 in two different ways. Jim Martin explains your options

or the first time, you won't need With Windows 10 you'll be ab le t o onscreen instructions and you shou ld
to buy a licence to upgrade to download the ISO file and keep it handy for see the option to remove eve rything
Windows 10 - so long as you future reinstalls. However, you can't wipe and reinsta ll Windows.
have a genuine ve rsion of Windows 7 or your ha rd drive (or use a new one) and
8.1 of course. That means you don't have insta ll Windows 10 from the ISO fi le. Before you upgrade
a licence key, which in turn makes things a Instead, you'l l need to run the EXE Since even an in-place update is a major
little complex when it comes to insta ll ing file once you've turned the ISO file int o a operation, you must back up any and al l
(or reinstalling) Windows 10. boatable drive (or disc) and upgrade your files that you can' t afford to lose. Clearly,
existing operating system. When Windows you wi ll lose everything if you do a clean
Windows Update 10 is instal led it wil l act ivate onl ine. inst all, so make sure you 've successfully
A lot of people will have reserved Windows Then and only then can you begin the cop ied your fi les, emai l, music, photos,
10 and this means the upgrade wi ll happen clean insta ll by us ing the Reset function videos, deactivated any software t hat
t hrough Windows Update. Even if you in Windows 10. You'l l find it at Start> requ ires it (suc h as Adobe Creative Su ite)
haven't reserved your copy, you st ill have Settings> Update & Security> Recovery and exported any settings and favourites
t he choice to let Windows 7 or 8.1 upgrade > Reset this PC (Get Sta r ted). Follow the from web browsers and the like.
itse lf using Windows Upda te to download
and insta ll the necessary files.
The process is simi lar to the regu lar
Windows updates in that you won't have # Rufus 2.:.2.668 L= I J!! ~ Head to Microsoft's website
to do much except allow the upgrade Device .. ( and
to happen. Your fi les, appl ications and IJ_CCSA_l(64FRE_EN-GB_DV5 (F:) [8GB) I look for a link to download
settings will be preserved, and everything Partit ion scheme and target system type Windows 10. There are 32- and
should work fine when Windows 10 is I MBR partition scht mt for BIOS or UEfl-CSM I 64-bit versions, so make sure you
Ale system
instal led, since even Windows 7 drivers are get t he r ight one. Most peop le will
compatible w ith the new operat ing system.
INTFS I need t he 64-bit version. If you're
Clusttr siu
When Windows 10 is installed, you will unsure, go to Control Pane l > System
end up wit h a Windows.o ld fo lder on your
14096 bytes (Default) I and Security> System and look at
Ntwvolume Iabtl
C: drive containing your old operating J_CCSA_)C64 FRE_EN -GB_DV5 the System type fie ld to see which
system. You can remove th is wi t h t he Format Options [<v) version is currently insta lled on
Windows Cleanup too l if it's t aking up [] Check device for ba d blocks [1Pass ... ] t he computer you 're upgradi ng. The
10 Quiclc format
too much space. 64-bit version is roughly 4GB, while
10 Create a bootable disk using [!SO Image 1[.2. ]
fl] Create extended label and icon files t he 32-bit is a bit smaller.
ISO file
For many people, Windows 10 is an
opportunity to sta rt afresh and ditch years I READY

of junk that has accumu lated on t heir PC or

laptop. A 'clean' insta ll is the type we always
[ About. .. I ILog I I Start I[ Oos e I
do here at PC Advisor, and it's what we 1 devic~ found 00:15:14

recommend you do to.

62 September 2015

Feature: Windows 10 superguide B

El Now you have a bootable drive, navigate to it and run

setup.exe. The first screen will ask if you want to get the

Jl Ubr~rlu

E:J Documents
- '
latest updates - it's worth doing this.

P Jt Music
11 '~!!_ PKturc
!I 1!1 !hleos
4 Horn~group
" ~ Comput~
. . 0$(10)
o "'-- Softd nlisk (O:J
ll u OATA {E:)
F "'=
.Dc= ;:-I

Download Rufus from, which is the tool you'll

B use to write the ISO file to a USB drive or writable DVD.
You'll need at least a 4GB USB flash drive.
Run Rufus and check your flash drive or DVD drive is correctly
selected at the top. Then choose ISO image next to 'Create a
bootable disk using' and click the little button to the right and
navigate to the Windows 10 ISO you downloaded. Click Start and
the tool will get to work.

Accept the licence ~ Click install and your PC will reboot. You'll see a Windows logo,
terms and if you ~ followed by a language selection. Keep an eye on the install
chose to, the installer as it will reboot your computer and if you don't remove the DVD or
will download the latest flash drive, it might try to boot from it instead of your hard drive.
updates. Then, it will
check to make sure
your system meets the
minimum requirements,
and if it does, will show
a 'Ready to install'
screen explaining that
your settings, files and
apps will be kept.
You may see a 'What needs
your attention' screen explaining
any reason why Windows 10
can't be installed and what
you can do about it. For us, it
was just a warning that the
language would be changed.

When you finally get to the Windows 10 desktop, allow a bit

of time for the operating system to search for drivers for
your hardware. The screen resolution may be wrong, but after a
few minutes the correct resolution should be appear. [8]

~ Windows 10 will boot, ask you a few questions and then ask
aill you to sign in with your Microsoft ID.

September 2015 63

Feature: Windows 10 superguide

If you have the right Lumia, you can get Windows 10 on your phone now. Chris Martin explains how

indows 10 launches this month Supported devices

but you can already try it out on The Lum ia 520, 525, 526, 530, 530 Dual
your smartphone. The opera t ing Sim, 535, 620, 625, 630, 630 Dual Sim,
system runs across all devices, inc luding 635, 636, 638, 720, 730, 730 Dual SI M, 735,
PCs, laptops, tab lets and smartphones, and 810,820,822,830,920,925, 928,1020,
wil l take over f rom the Windows Phone OS. 1320, 1520 and ICON, and the Mic rosoft
New features include full-size art for the Lumia 430, 435, 435 Dual SIM, 435 Dual
Start screen , more settings in Action Center, SIM DTV, 532, 532 Dua l SIM , 535 Dual SIM
int eractive not ifications, better speech -to- and 640 Dual SI M.
text and an improved Photos app. There's Microsoft stresses that bugs may cause
also un iversal apps versions of Word, Excel some devices to be removed from the list
and PowerPoint, Mail and Calendar. and fixes may add others.

64 September 2015

Feature: Windows 10 superguide B

Head to the Store on your Windows Phone device and ~ Once it's installed, launch the app and select the 'Get preview
download the Windows Insider app. . . . builds' option.

B You'll need to enrol

on the Windows
Before you can install
Windows 10 on your

Insider programme to
get preview builds of the
phone you have to accept
the terms and conditions
You are installing experimental and early prerelease
software and you have two of the Insider Programme. software and services, which might not be fully
tested .
options, Insider Slow or Most importantly, it could
Insider Fast. Fast will get void your warranty and You may void your warranty (check with your
device/service provider)
you updates quicker but have bugs that make your
It is not intended as a substitute for your primary
they have the potential to device unusable in some means of telecommunications .
In some circumstances, you may not be able to
be more buggy and crash. ways. We don't advise
place cal ls (including calls for emergency services).
The Slow option will involve installing it on your main It may damage your device, causing it to stop
working permanently.
you waiting longer but phone. If the device is your
You may experience increased data charges .
receiving a more stable main phone and you really You might experience crashes, security
build. Select the one you want to install Windows 10,
prefer and hit the arrow button at the bottom of the screen. opt for the Slow Insider option to ensure a more stable build.

Once the update

has downloaded
Update successful
and installed, your
phone will reboot and There's one more step to get your phone
migrate some data. ready to update to Windows 10 Technical
Preview for phones. We'll handle this for you
You'll then be given if you leave your phone plugged into AC
a 'success' message power and we'll notify you when the update is
but you're not quite ready. If you'd like to start the process now,
simply launch the Windows Insider app and
done. As it says, you select your preview build again. This will
can leave the phone reboot your phone and initiate the update to
plugged into the mains Windows 10 Technical Preview.

and let it do the rest or

head to the Insider app to complete the upgrade. [ill
check for updates

~ Once you've accepted the terms, go to the 'phone update'

~ section of the system settings and hit Check for updates.

September 2015 65

B Feature: Windows 10 superguide





Windows XP is still running on many PCs around the world. If you're one of the people realising that it's
probably time to upgrade, Jim Martin shows how you can get Windows 10 on your PC or laptop

et's get the bad news out of the Another great upgrade is an SSD. such as Magica l Jellybean Keyfinder to
way first. Windows XP and Vista Solid-state drives are much, much faster search the Windows Registry for these
aren't eligible for the free update than traditional hard disks and can give a codes, and then write them down.
to Windows 10. That means you will have to new lease of life to a system you thought If you keep your email inbox or any
buy a licence. was destined for the scrap heap. (See our archives, be sure to back these up as well,
The second piece of bad news is that round-up of the best SSDs on page 82.) and export internet bookmarks and other
you'll have to do a clean installation of If you have a machine that's over seven settings that you want to keep.
Windows 10, as there's no way to upgrade years old, it may be a better idea to save the Then , and only then, can you begin the
and keep your fi les, sett ings and applications. money on a Windows 10 licence (and an SSD) actua l installation of Windows 10. There's
It isn't a limitation of Windows 10 but of XP and put the cash towa rds a new laptop or PC. no guarantee that all your programs
and Vista: even if you wanted to upgrade to will be compatib le with the new version
Windows 7 from XP you'd have to wipe your Update XP to Windows 10 of Windows, nor your old peripherals-
hard disk and start again. If you decide it is worth splashing out specifically printers and scanners- so it's
on Windows 10 Home or Pro, you'll have worth checking online to see if there's any
Price the option of a physical disc or a digital information about their compatibility with
For versions older than Windows 7, or non- download. It's unclear whether you will be Windows 10. If a Windows 7 driver exists
genuine versions, you'l l have to buy Windows ab le to run the downloaded version from for your particular mode l, it should work
10 Home or Professional, which will set you within XP, but even if this is an option, it will in Windows 10.
back 100 and 190, respectively. erase everything on your PC's hard drive
before installing Windows 10. Upgrade to Windows 10
Should you buy So, before you begin the upgrade, you wil l from XP or Vista for free
a new PC or laptop? need to copy everything you want to keep Microsoft has said that everyone testing
As we often say, you'd be surprised at how to an externa l hard drive, USB thumb drive Windows 10 on the Insider program wil l get
much your PC appears to speed up when or a cloud storage service such as Dropbox, to keep on using Windows 10 after the 29
you instal l Windows afresh. Starting from a Google Drive or OneDrive. July launch date since the program isn't
clean hard disk means there's no bui ld-up of Also, you'll need to f ind your software stopping. This means you can sign up to be
programs that start with Windows, slowing installation discs and licence keys. If you an Insider before 29 July, insta ll the preview
it down and using up precious memory. have misplaced the keys, use a free program and get upgraded to the final version (and
subsequent preview versions) without
paymg a penny.
This wil l be good news for some, but
Microsoft has said that everyone testing Windows 10 on the bear in mind that you'l l be using what is in

Insider program will get to keep on using Windows 10 after essence beta software again when the next
preview build is installed after the launch
the 29 July launch date since the program isn't stopping. version of Windows 10. G1

66 September 2015

Feature: Windows 10 superguide B

If you've upgraded to Windows 10 and want to return to Windows 7 or 8, there's a built-in tool that
makes the process effortless. Martin Casserly explains how to return to your old version of Windows

he preview of Windows 10 has on the icon in the bottom left of the screen. Before Windows starts the process, it

T been an excellent way to try out

Microsoft's new version of Windows.
Select Settings from the menu.
Now you'l l see on option for Update &
gives you a couple more opportunit ies to
cancel , and also reminds you that if you
It's free, has some great new features and Security. Click this. had a password on your previous version
is easy to install. If you've already taken the of Windows then you'll require it once
plunge, but feel that you wou ld prefer to the process is fin ished. If you're happy to
return to a previous version of the operating ,~! ... proceed, click Next, then put the kettle on.
\ ..../
system, then there is a fast and easy way Ease of Accm Update & security
Narrator, magn~fier. W1ndows Update,
built int o the OS that can restore your old high contrast
loc.atlon, camera
recowry, backup

system. In this feature we' ll show you how.

Before you begin

The first step is, of course, to back up any On the next page you'll find a list of
information you currently have on your PC options on the left, one of which is Recovery.
that you want to keep. Changing an operating Click this and the main pane will display a
system is a big thing, and data can often be variety of choices. The one you want is 'Go
lost along the way. You can use external hard back to a previous vers ion of Windows'. Advanced startup

drives, thumb drives, or some of the various Click 'Get started' to begin. If you're using
on line cloud storage such as OneDrive, a laptop you'l l also need to connect it to a Windows will now rol l back your system to
Google Drive, Dropbox or Tresorit, that offer power source or the option won't work. how it was before the preview was installed.
lots of space for free. When you've safe ly
removed any documents, video, photo, or Remove everything and rei nstall Windows Tidying up
other important data you need, you're safe If you want to recycle your PC or start over completely, you can
On our test machine, which had very little
reset it to its factory settings.
to begin. Remember that this may also take installed on it, the whole process took about
Get started
a little time, so don't start if you have plans 10 minutes and was pretty much trouble
for the immediate future. free. The on ly thing we needed to change
Go back to a previous version of W indows
You can go back to the version of Windows that used to be on this
was the shortcut to Windows Explorer in
Using the Update PC without losing your documents, photos, and other personal files. the taskbar, which had stopped working. To
and Security settings Get started
fix this, we simp ly right-c licked on the icon,
When you install the Windows 10 technical unpinned it from the taskbar, then searched
preview on a PC that already has a Windows, You' ll now be presented with a blue screen for Windows Explorer in the Start menu,
the old version is stored away in a folder (no death involved) asking you why you're dragged it to the taskbar, and everything was
called 'Windows.old'. While this takes up downg rading? Take a moment to fill this in, as working again. All of our data was intact and
space, it also means that you can restore t he it's a he lpful tool for Microsoft in gauging the in the right place, and the on ly other reboot
version via Windows 10 itself. To do this first user 's experience with Windows 10. Click Next needed was for Windows to install a few
open the Windows Start menu by clicking when you're done. updates. Fine work Microsoft. !Zl

Why are you going back?

My apps or devices don't work on Windows 10

The old version of Windows seemed easier to use

The old version of Windows seemed faster

The old vers1on of Windows seemed more reliable

II For another reason

Seorth the web and Wndows

September 2015 67

B Feature: Windows10 superguide

Windows 10 will introduce a raft of exciting new features, but some will also be lost. Matt Egan reports

e are excited about Windows saying goodbye to Windows Media Center. yourse lf for a loss. In Windows 10, t here
10: a free upgrade for virt ually The largely unloved entertainment centre of are no Desktop Gadgets. None.
all Windows users, and one that your PC wil l be despatched, to be replaced by
will bring with it a raft of new featu res and a series of native media -playing capabili ties Discs are destroyed
functiona lity. But there are some down sides and apps that don't requi re a separate This may not be the biggest issue, but if you
to the upgrade, and it is like ly to be a tough 'Center'. In almost all ways this is unlikely are currently using floppy disks on Windows,
one to avoid. Here, we outline t he five worst to be too much of a pain, but we have heard you wi ll have to install new drivers when you
Windows 10 sacrifices. You wil l miss them f rom peop le testing the beta build that in the upgrade to Windows 10. I rather expect that
when they are gone. current iteration of Windows 10 there is no this wi ll affect only a few people.
support for TV t uners, for instance. Perhaps more users wi ll be distressed
Automatic updates This sounds plausib le. As we outl ine to know that according to Microsoft anyone
Not a missing feature, but a change few will below DVD playback capability is not native who wishes to watch a DVD on their
welcome. Although the Pro and Ente rprise to Windows 10, and it is likely that on ly a few Windows 10 PC or laptop will have to install
editions of Widows 10 wi ll both give the end people use a TV tuner in a world in which separate playbac k software. Microsoft has
user or network admin the opportunity to most television content is available online. hinted that it will address this issue at some
decide when updates are installed , Windows But tha t doesn't mean no-one wil l miss point , but fro m t he get-go if you wan t to
10 Home users have no control. Windows those features. watch a disc, you wil l need to install VLC
Updates will be downloaded and installed player or something si milar. A pain, but
au toma t ical ly as soon as they're ava ilable. No more Hearts probably a minor pa in. 0
This probably makes sense for the entire Look. There is no other way of te lling
herd to be immune from security flaws, but you this. It's not you, it's Microsoft. The
end users wil l not like being forced to install tech giant has removed the card ga me
updates at Microsoft's wi ll. Hearts from Windows. That's right: install
We will reserve judgment until we see Windows 10 and you wi ll no longer be able
how it works, but for now we wil l say that to play Hearts. We're Heartsbroken.
the idea of automatic Windows Updates
sounds like a rec ipe fo r horror and disaster. Desktop Gadgets begone
Remember Windows 7's Desktop Gadgets?
Goodbye Windows Media Center No. The chances are you probably don't.
Less painful than automatic updates to But if you are the one person who uses
the operating system , upgrading will mean Desktop Gadgets, you need to prepare

68 September 2015

Feature: Windows 10 superguide B

Having problems with Windows 10? Matt Egan shows how to get help after you've installed the OS

indows 10 won't be perfect, and it

will be different to what you are
used to. For a lot of people that
difference will cause problems - Microsoft is
What can we help you with?
not famed for guiding people through change
in quite the way that Apple or even Google is.
So here we outl ine three great ways
My device
to get help with Windows 10. If you have a
Device, Windows, and other software issues.
problem, the answer is here.

Microsoft account & billing

We wouldn't recommend you go down th is Go to the account website.
route for just any minor complaint, but
when you just can't find the help you need Microsoft online services
Microsoft has provided a safety net. In Skype, OneDrive and Office 365, etc.
recent builds of Windows 10, the tech giant
has added an app called 'Contact Support.
Just as you might imagine, this gives you
an easy way to contact Microsoft's Windows schedule a call at a convenient time. Again, to respond to what we think wil l be the
Support when needed. we wou ldn't suggest you always go to the biggest gripes of new users who suddenly
The simplest way to access the app is Contact Support app. But when times are find Windows 10 thrust upon them. You can
to type Contact Support into the search really bad, it is a great final call. find our tutorials at
box. Microsoft promises that once the
app launches, in just a few quick clicks Top Windows 10 tips and tutorials Independent Windows forum
you will be connected by chat or phone to We would, of course, recommend our own Last, but very far from least, is the PC
Microsoft Answer Desk. This is a one-on- extensive Windows 10 tips and tutoria ls. Advisor Windows Help forum (
one connection with what Microsoft calls Of course we would. psjbln2). Our forums are Europe's largest
a 'Windows 10 expert'. Our editors have spent months using technology help resource, peopled by more
From this app you can also connect with the Windows 10 preview builds, putting than 300,000 forum angels, happy to help
Microsoft's own Windows community forums, together simp le guides and tips and tricks users with prob lems large and sma ll. The
or chat online with an Answer Tech. And if to help you to get to grips with Microsoft's Windows Help forum is the place to discuss
things are very bad, you can request a ca ll new operating system. We've focused on new features and compatibility issues with
back so you don't have to wait on hold or petty irritants and new features, trying all Windows operating systems. Fix problems
with Windows 10, but also XP, Vista, 7 and 8.
Search the forum for the answer to your
question, or post your own question dealing
Microsoft promises that once the Contact Support app with an issue with Windows 10 -whether on

launches, in just a few quick clicks you will be connected by Windows PC, laptop, tablet or phone. Our
experts will be delighted to he lp with any
chat or phone to Microsoft Answer Desk Windows problems you are having. IZl

September 2015 69

B Feature: Windows10 superguide

The Start menu is back in Windows 10, and this time it is much more customisable than in Windows 7.
You can change its colour, organise shortcuts and even group apps together. Mohamed Wahid shows how

any people hated the Start screen on the Windows logo at the bottom-left you want to remove. You should see four

M in Windows 8. For most, it was

too jarring a change from the
corner of the screen, too (see below left).
To move a tile (in the right-hand area)
options on you screen, click on the option
'Unpin from start'. If live tiles bother you,
traditional desktop. Microsoft has addressed click and hold the tile you want to move and just choose 'Turn live tile off' and it will
this by bringing the old start menu back the start menu should dim down. You can revert to a static tile.
from Windows 7, but this time with a fresh now drag the tile to the new position. Here Resize a tile
design and more options that allow you we've moved the Mail ti le (see below right). To resize a ti le it's the same process.
to customise the menu to your liking. This Add a tile Right-click on the ti le and then click or
start menu has a simi lar design to Windows Either use the search box to find the app tap on the Resize option, and select the
7 but integrates the ti les from Windows you want to add, or click on the all apps size you want. Not all sizes are avai lable for
8. Here we' ll show you how to customise link at the bottom left of the screen . all ti les, though.
the Windows 10 Start menu by adding and Right-click on the app in the list and some Rename a Start menu group
removing tiles, resizing them, creating options will pop up, select the 'Pin to Start' To rename a group, click (or tap) on the
groups and changing the colour. option. The tile will then be added to the text that's already there and change it to
Move tiles menu on the right. something more meaningful. If there's no
To open the start menu, press the Windows Remove a tile text, as with a new group, tap or click on
key or the Windows logo on a tablet or hybrid Some of the default tiles may not be those the area where the text would be and the
device. You can, of course, just tap or click you'll ever use. Right-c lick on the tile editing box will appear.

70 September 2015

Feature: Windows 10 superguide B





Choose a colour
Automatically pict. an accent COIOU{ from my background
) Off
ChOose your accent cotour

Create a new group

To add a new group, you must cli ck and drag
an existing t ile to t he top or bottom of the
sta rt menu. Once you see a change in colour
Ask me anything
(as in the image, right), you can re lease the
button to allow the new group to be creat ed.
Change the colour of the start menu
By default, Windows 10 will pick an 'accent'
colour from your wallpaper. In thi s case, t he
khaki tone isn't to our taste. But it's fixab le.
On the start menu, click on the Settings
button. In the new Settings menu, click on
Persona li sation. On the Persona li sation
menu, click on colours, then turn off the
'automatically pick an accent colour f rom my
background' setting and choose the colour
you want f rom the palette (see above).
Once you have picked a co lou r, scroll down
to and turn on the setting called 'show colour
on Start, taskbar and act ion centre. This will
change the co lour of the taskbar and the
action centre as well as the Start menu to the
colour you have just chosen. 0


September 2015 71

B Feature: Windows10 superguide

Windows 10 has a clever feature called Continuum that knows which device you're using and switches
the user interface to make it suitable for PCs, 2-in-1 devices, tablets, or even turns your phone into a
PC. Martyn Casserly explains how it works and why it's so useful

t's fair to say that Microsoft made versa. It's simple and keeps out of the way, or mobile interface without the need to
some bad choices in Windows 8, just like good software shou ld. launch a separate version.
paramount of which was the touch- It isn't just Windows itself that changes
optimised interface. Forcing this strange and to suit your hardware; applications will How to use Continuum
clunky method of control on the user was, also adjust to offer the best way to interact As Continuum comes bui lt in to all versions
in the most part, unwanted and certainly with them on the platform you're using. of Windows 10 there isn't much to do in
unwelcome. Windows 10 fixes most of these Microsoft has made this possible in a terms of setup. If you have a traditiona l
issues with a new feature called Continuum, large part by the introduction of Universal desktop or laptop your system will always
which makes sure you always have the best Apps, which share the same underlying use the same interface. For owners of tablets
interface for your device at all times. In this code (as do the various version of Windows and hybrid devices there are options for
article, we explain what Continuum is and 10) and are ab le to adapt to either a desktop controlling how your device responds to a
how to use it on your tab let, touchscreen
laptop, and Windows phone.
Settings 0 X
@ SYSTEM I Find a settmg P I
What is Continuum? Display
Tablet Mode
Continuum is a way for Windows to detect the Notifications & actions
Optimise the system for tablet and touch usage by enabling Tablet
hardware you are using and ensure that you Apps & features
~ Off
always have the optimum interface on your
Multi-tasking When I sign in
machine. If you are using a desktop with no
touchscreen , then Windows wi ll now know Tablet Mode
I Keep the mode I was in previously v I
Never prompt me and always stay in my current mode
this and present the traditional mouse and Battery saver

keyboard interface that works best on that Always prompt me to confirm

Power & sleep
setup. For those with a hybrid device, such Never prompt me and always switch modes
as the Surface Pro 3, Continuum will monitor tK) On
whether a keyboard is attached or not and Offline maps

provide either a tablet or touchscreen laptop

Default apps
interface. If you then remove the keyboard
this will be detected and the interface
adjusted accordingly by the system, and vice

72 September 2015

Feature: Windows 10 superguide B

"] s~u~s Se11ings

@ SYSTEM I find a setting SYSTEM I Find a senrng
Display Display
Tablet Mode Tablet Mode
Notifications & actions Notifications & actions
Optimise the system for tablet and touch usage by enabling Tablet Optimise the system for tablet and touch usage by enabling Tablet

Apps & features lmmediatety enter Tablet Mode Apps & features Immediately enter Tablet Mode

Multi-tasking Take me to the desktop Multi-tasking Take me to the desktop

Keep the mode I was in previously Keep the mode I was in previously
Tablet Mode Tablet Mode

Banery saver When my device wants to switch modes Banery saver When my device wants to switch modes

Power & sleep

I Always prompt me to confirm Power & sleep
I Always prompt me to confirm
Hide app icons on the taskbar when in Tablet Mode Hide app icons on the taskbar when in Tablet Mode
Storage Storage
. , On . , On

Offline maps Offline maps

Default apps Default

change of hardware, such as removing or setting where you are asked every time if you very quick, easy to use, and feels a long way
adding a keyboard_ want to switch modes, and the third is the from the pain of Windows 8.
In Windows 10 when you remove a automatic switching option. Experiment with
keyboard, for example, the system will which one works best for you , and of course Turn your phone into a PC
pop up a dia log box asking if you want to you can change it at any time. One of the most exciting parts of Continuum
enter tablet mode. Tapping this will then The other setting in this menu allows you is the way it can turn a Windows Phone
adjust the interface. Of course, the reverse to instruct Windows 10 which interfa ce is the into a PC. Microsoft recently demonstrated
is true when you reattach the keyboard . default one you want when you sign in. how connecting a phone to an external
Rather than be prompted every time, you monitor, keyboard, and mouse turns the
can select an automatic response so that Switching between modes universal apps on the phone into fully
Windows knows what you want it to do. Whenever you switch between modes you'll fledged versions of Office, Out look, or other
To find this open the Start Menu and go find that the interface has different options. Microsoft applications. You can even run
to Settings > System >Tablet Mode. Under Entering tablet mode will mean that tapping two things at once, independently on the
the heading 'When my device wants to switch the Start button (the Win dows icon in the phone screen and external display, so your
modes' you'll see a drop-down menu. Tap this bottom-left corner) will launch the Window kids can watch Netflix while you answer a
and you'll see the following three options: 8 style fully-expanded Start Screen. Menus call or catch up on emails.
are also available by swiping in from the left Due to the new Qualcomm chips required
Never prompt me and always remain in or right. The Charms bar is no longer around for this advan ced feature, Continuum on
current mode in Windows 10, so swiping in from the right Windows Phone will be restricted to new
Always prompt me to confirm reveals the Notification Centre instead. device models set to be launched with
Never prompt me and always switch modes To exit tablet mode you eit her reatta ch Windows 10. Expect to see reviews of
a keyboard or tap the Tablet Mode option at these devices, and a full explanation of
The first is in essence turning off t he the bottom of the Notification Cent re, which how Continuum works on them, as soon
Continuum feature, the second is the defau lt then asks you if you want to switch. It's all as they are released. IEJ

September 2015 73

B Feature: Windows 10 superguide

Microsoft's digital assistant is now on the desktop. Jim Martin shows how to use Cortana in Windows 10


Click the search box next to the Start

button (the Windows symbol) and a
window similar to the Start menu will
appear. Cortana should offer up her
services: just tap or click 'I'm in' to
start the setup process.
If you agree with the terms and
conditions, click 'I agree'. If not, you can't
use Cortana. There are privacy settings
you can adjust - we'll get to those later.
Finally, decide if you want to be able to
say "Hey Cortana" to invoke the assistant
without having to click in the search box.
~~arch the web and Windows


daily routine

li daily glance daily routine best nearby

Commute, calendar and more Get recommendations for nearby places to see,
di.scover shop, ea~ dnnk and hang out based on
. . getting around
IIIJTraffle info and transit ideas
Foursquare popularity, newness. bun and more

eat+ drink
Get suggestions for places to go at meal times
~ headline news food
Jilll Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

tchatole' veteran travel musrc

U.S. strike n trip planner
~ Flights, airport traffic and weather news




~k me anythong


Next type in your name or a nickname and stories to begin with. You can then type typed "What's the weather going to be like
click 'Use that'. You'll then see Cortana's or tap the microphone icon to enter a this weekend?" and Cortana displayed the
default view, which displays the top news question or command. For example, we forecast for Saturday and Sunday.

74 September 2015

Feature: Windows 10 superguide B

For Cortana to be truly useful- and
personal - she needs to know more
about you. Click the hamburger (the
three horizontal lines) at the top-left
corner of the Cortana window to show
the menu. In fact, the menu is always
on display; clicking the hamburger just
shows you what each icon does. You can
see the menu descriptions in the left-
most image below.
To tell Cortana about your interests,
click the Notebook section. Each item in
Note that I left my car on level 3 in the
here is customisable, and you can include area.
more categories by clicking the '+' button
at the bottom. When you do, you'll see a You can add as many of these as you like. notifications. However, this is still (as it is
list of categories. We clicked 'food' and got Click Sport in the category menu and in Windows 8) very limited in the UK. You'll
the two options shown on the far right. you can add your favourite team to get find football teams but not much more.


To fine-tune Cortana and choose privacy

settings, click the cog icon in the left-
Here's what the weather"s up to
hand menu. You can change your name, this weekend.

choose how Cortana pronounces it and

more. Under the tracking section, you
SAT 20/06
low 13
20% u
can set whether or not you r emai ls, text
SUN 21/06 0
messages and calendars are mined for lowu 10%
information. If you allow it, Cortana can
tell you when to leave for a meeting or libya says 'uncatchable' veteran

milhant killed in U.S. strike

about traffic delays that might make you Revt:M 1 ho..., ago
Show weather updates for this crty

miss a flight, for example.

News ftom the web I> See more resuJts on
You can use Cortana to make quick
See all headlines
notes (a feature not working in this build
- see the middle screenshot above), and london. Englond !Wl 1
What's the weather going to be like this
Ask me anything weekend?
to set reminders by place, time or person.

A ham sandwich walks into a bar My name comes from Curtana, the
and the bartender says, "Sorry, we legendary sword.
If you want to know what music is
don't serve food in here." playing, tap the musical notes icon
Try saying 'Surprise me!' to help wrap up the and Cortana will listen and identify the
mystery! I> See more results on
track. Previous searches are shown in a
f> See more results on list, too (below, right).
As on Windows Phones, you can have
a bit of fun with Cortana as well. You can
ask her to tell you a joke, or even ask
about her. Oddly, her answer was different
from that on a Windows Phone when
asked what Cortana means. You can also
get it to set alarms, which will sync with
What does cortana mean? your Windows Phone (as long as it too
has Cortana), ask for directions to places
and search the web. 121

September 2015 75

B Feature: Windows 10 superguide

Windows 10 Universal apps work on PCs, laptops, Windows Phones, tablets, and even your Xbox One.
Martyn Casserly takes a look at these cross-device apps explains how to use them

ith the release of Windows 10 great idea on how to improve a document

Universal apps test :~: ,0+ ~
mobile just around the corner, it you were working on that morning. Simply
won't be long now until you can pull out your Windows Phone, launch the
This is a test to see how useful universal
try out the new Universal apps across all new Word app and you'll be able to edit,
apps really are.l
their devices. We've had a play with some
early versions and here explain how to use
create, or format the document there and
then . When you get back to your PC all
Universal apps in Windows 10 and which apps the changes should already be applied and
you can expect to see in the near future. you can carry on where you left off.
Of course, this principle isn't entire ly
What are Universal Windows Apps? new, as web services and cloud syncing have
Universal apps (or Windows Apps as Microsoft already made these kind of the features
recently renamed them) are ones that can available in Google Docs, Apple's Pages
work on any Windows 10 machine- be it a and a variety of other third-party products.
PC, tab let, phone, or even your Xbox One But if you have a combination of Windows
once the Windows 10 update arrives in the 10 products you will now be able to take
autumn for the console. The tech giant advantage of universal apps right out of

has made this possible by using a common the box as Music, Maps, Photos, Outlook Home v

Windows core across all the new devices, Mail, and Calendar will all come preinsta lled
Calibri (Body) 11

B I u
Universal apps (or Windows Apps as Microsoft recently
renamed them) are ones that can work on any Windows 10 V Highlight

machine- be it a PC, tablet, phone, or even your Xbox One A Font Colour >

which makes it a lot easier for developers to on new devices once Windows 10 is launched, Font formattino >
create apps without needing to rewrite them with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint included
for each platform. This could quickly close up on mobile devices. PC users will also have At the moment, One Drive seems to be the
the perceived app gap on Windows Phone, the simplified tablet versions of Office glue that holds many of these apps together,
and see a thriving ecosystem evolve on available to download for free from the with the Office suite saving to the cloud
Microsoft's mobile platforms. now unified Windows App Store, although service by default. Whether this remains true
The principle behind Windows Apps is the fully featured Office suite will still be a for non-Microsoft software remains to be
one of convenience. Let's say, for example, paid for option - one compatib le with the seen, although Dropbox has already re leased
that you're out and about and you have a mobile versions. its universal app and obviously that uses its

76 September 2015

Feature: Windows 10 superguide B


B I -u A - 1-
11 v -
:z -
- v Heading 1 Heading2 No

This is a test to see how useful universal apps really are.

What happens if I start typing I

own cloud storage service, so the indications Apple also has a similar 'universal' system
are that it could be an open platform. that it calls Continuity, and at the moment
_ Universal apps test :~: A. ~

it seems to work a bit better than Universal

This is a test to see how useful universal
Experimenting with Word Windows apps. This is because when you're
apps really are.
To try out this new version of Office we working on a document or an email on your
visited the Windows Store on a PC and iPad or iPhone, just bringing the device close What happens~ I start typing on my PC?
smartphone, both of which have the Windows to your Mac will give you a gentle prompt
10 previews installed. Downloading the Word in the dock (OS X's taskbar) to let you know
preview, we found that the layout was clean that there is something synced.
and similar on both devices. To test the Clicking on this prompt will open the
syncing features we first opened the phone relevant app and display the thing you were
app, created a new document and began working on. It's very clean and feels that bit
writing. Tapping the three dots at the bottom more automated than the current Windows
of the screen opened up the formatting offering. You don't even need to have saved
menu and allowed us to easily highlight the the document you're working on, as the
sentence we had written. operating system works out what you're
We then opened the Word preview app doing. That's not to say it's perfect, and
Home v
on our PC, looked in the recent documents we experienced a few apps not opening up
section of OneDrive, and found the file we while conducting this test. Calibri (Body) 11
began on the phone. After loading it up Obviously Windows 10 is still being
we were presented with the same format
and highlighted text - as you 'd expect.
polished, but hopefully Microsoft will
enable this kind of helpful compatibility. For
B I u
We then added another sentence, now though, a single app store, with fully _t? Highlight
while keeping the app open on our phone, compatible offerings across all devices, is
and seconds later the changes appeared something that we're looking forward to A Font Colour >
on the mobile app. It was all very simple, spending a lot more time with.
trouble free, and easy to use. Font formattina >
Which apps are available?
Haven't we seen this all before? It can be a little difficult to work out which
In short, yes. Google Docs has long worked apps in the store are universal, as searching
in this way, although it's a web service, so for the term only returns offerings with already outlined a wide range of its own
as long as your device has a web browser the word in their title. We're hoping that apps, with the Office suite, Music, Outlook
and a live internet connection, it can access Microsoft will create a section similar to Mail, Photos, Calendar, and OneNote. Other
Google Docs. The brilliance of Google Docs the one Google uses in its Chrome Store big players are lining up their own with
is that it not only works across multiple to denote which apps can be used offline. Adobe releasing Photoshop Express, and
devices, but multiple users can collaborate This would certainly make life easier various notable creations from Dropbox,
on one document in real-time, with changes for the user. In terms of apps we know Foursquare, Autodesk Pixlr, Netflix, Twitter,
appearing on every user's screen instantly. about, as we've stated above, Microsoft has and plenty more. !Zl

September 2015 77

B Feature: Windows 10 superguide

Edge is Microsoft's replacement for Internet Explorer in Windows 10. Fast performance and smart looks
combine with advanced features such as web page annotation and reading lists. Martyn Casserly walks
you through how they work and reveals why you'll want to use them

n Windows 10, Microsoft has away the distractions when you're trying to Reading List
broken with tradit ion and read an artic le, and this si mple tool opens Keeping up with all the interest ing articles
included a brand new browser up a reformatted version of the page you're you find, or that people share with you,
to accompany Internet Explorer. The Edge reading, removing everything except the text can be a Herculean task. Leaving various
browser is a fast, modern, feature-enhanced and associated images. It doesn't work on browse r tabs open so you can come back
approach to the internet, which could tempt every site, but you'll see an icon when it is. to them later is one way to keep trac k, but
users back from Google's increasingly To access t he mode, you' ll need to click on it's hardly ideal. In recent years apps such
popular Chrome browser. Edge was st ill in an art icle - remembe r th is won't work on a as Pocket and lnstapaper have given you
beta when we wrote this, but it wil l in clude home page, as that has lots of links to other the ability to save these art icles until you
Microsoft's Cortana search assistant, content and wi ll just confuse the browser have time to read them; now you can do
alongside read ing list and reading mode - t hen go to the upper right section of the t hat directl y from the Edge browser t hanks
capabilities, plus the ability to annotate browser where you'l l see an icon t hat looks to the Reading List feature.
and share web pages. like an open book. If the Reading mode is To use it, navigate to the web page that
avai lable it wi ll be in bold , otherwise it wil l interests you, then click on the star at the
Reading Mode be greyed out. Cli ck on this and you 'll now far right of the search/add ress bar. A pop-up
One of the most useful new fea t ures is t he have a clean and easy to read window with box wil l appear with two options along the
Read ing mode. Somet imes you want to strip the artic le inside. top - Favourite and Reading List. Click on

m* ra121
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was Leaked by Amazon ln the US and is now o( Tbe Xbox One J:ot~
wiJJ ao on slae on lhe same day as Microsoft's E3 J:OtS media breifing so
015 ahead of E3 2015

here's what wt know about it releue date, price and tpea. what we know about the console's
ox One continues to banlt Sony's PS4 in the console market but

78 September 2015

Feature: Windows 10 superguide B

tr? How to watch's

New Xbox One 2015: Release date and price Xbox Bnefin& at E3 2015

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Reading List, give the article a name you'll of Reading List, which looks like a square Using the Highlighter
remember, then click Add. with a pen inside. You'll see that the top In similar fashion to the Pen , the Highlighter
Then when you find you've got a few bar has now turned purple (no doubt to has a drop-down menu with colour and sty le
minutes to spare, click the icon to the right emulate Microsoft's OneNote colour scheme) options. It also operates in the same way,
of the Reading List (the one that looks like and a few new icons have appeared on the marking anything you drag the cursor over
a folder with a star). At the top of the box left-hand side. We'll look at each in turn.
that appears you' ll see four icons - a star, a Using the Eraser
pile of lines, a clock, and an arrow- click on Using the Pen feature When we tested the browser, the Eraser was
the pile of lines to access the Reading List The first option is a pen that allows you to rather erratic. In principle, you treat it as you
and you'll find your saved articles. scribe whatever you please on the web page. would expect, by selecting the tool then using
Clicking on the icon brings down a menu from it to remove any erroneous annotations. We
Annotate and share a web page which you can select the colour and thickness expect this to be fixed by the fina l release.
Another impressive feature of Edge is of the lines the pen will make. When you've
the ability to annotate web pages without made your choice, you can scribble things on Using Typed Notes
needing a plug-in or add-on. If you want the page. If you have a touch-enabled device, To the right of the Eraser, you'll see a speech
to highlight and share something, or or a Microsoft Surface, then you can draw box with an 'A' inside. This is a useful way to
maybe just a particular detail you want to using your fingers or a stylus; otherwise your make notes on a page without drawing all
remember, then click on the icon to the right mouse or trackpad will work just fine. over it. Select the tool and your cursor will
turn into a cross. Click in the position that
you want the marker to appear, then add
Add to
your thoughts in the linked text box.
Using the Clipper
pnce X1
Name The last annotation tool is a straightforward
new Xbox One 2015 would go on I f#eb Notes on New Xbox One 201 5 1 x clipper. With this selected you can highlight
any part of the page and copy it into
date as 16 June in the US and RE
Create in the clipboard. Then you can paste it into

for the new Xbox One 2015

I Favorites documents, emails or a variety of other apps.

pae1 will cost $399. It also said the Ht Cceate new foldec Saving your annotated web page
nont in the us and 'selected or On the right-hand side of the purple bar you'll
Add Cancel find a couple of icons. The first is a diskette
'immediately' and the 299 with which you can save your annotated web
How speech recognition page. Click on this and you 'll be given the
technology can uansform
your working life choice of adding it to either your Favourites
folder or Reading List. !Zl

September 2015 79

B Feature: Windows10 superguide

If you're constantly switching between apps, virtual desktops will help. Martyn Casserly reports

irtua l desktops have been around

v for a long time on Linux and Mac

OS X. In fact they've also been built
- - -'
into Windows for many years, but gaining + Welcome to OneNole fQr iPad
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If you have a sing le monitor attached to your
PC or use on ly your laptop's built-in screen,
you have one screen - the desktop - on
wh ich to run all of you r software. This is fine
if you only hop between a browser and a
prog ram such as Microsoft Office, but if you
have lots of appli cations open t hings can get
a bit confusing or just plain cumbersome.
Vi rtual desktops are a bit like having lot s
of monitors: you can create different
workspaces (screens) where you can arrange
apps; so if you want one for work-related
apps and another for leisure, you can do that.
As t hey're virtual they still share all the
same data, fi les, everyt hing, and you can
move apps between them eas il y. It's just a
convenient way of grouping together re lated
app lications and t asks. You can't break
anything with them, and they can be very
handy, so it's worth giving them a go.

Creating a virtual desktop

In the taskbar of Windows 10, you'l l see a new
icon to the right of the search bar that looks
like a rect angle with two smaller ones sl ightly
behind it. This is called Task View, and clicking
it wil l give you a thumbna il view of all the
programs that are running. The same thing
can be ac hieved by using t he key combination
of Win+ Tab. When in Task View mode, you' ll
see an option in the bottom-right corner
t hat has a la rge '+' sign with 'New Desktop'
written below. Clic king on th is wi ll create a

80 September 2015

Feature: Windows 10 superguide B


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new desktop, one that looks and behaves features and hopefully some of these
identically to your normal one, but has no limitations will be removed.
apps running on it. How to use Snap Assist
The benefits When it comes to arranging what's on your
How to switch between desktops People use virtual desktops in a variety screen, Windows 10 has improved 'snapping'.
You can easily switch between these different of ways, and by experimenting with them In Windows 7 and 8 it was possible to
environments by either clicking on them in we've no doubt you'l l find your optimum automatica lly res ize windows to cover half
the Task View menu or using the combination arrangement. We've often seen setups that the desktop by simply clicking and holding
of Ctri+Win+either the left- or right arrow have productivity apps -such as Office, on the top part of a window and dragging
key. Jumping straight to an app is the same OneNote, and email - in one desktop, and it either to the left, right then letting go.
as it ever was, with the A It+ Tab combination then a browser, music app, or even gaming In Windows 10 the feature is cal led Snap
showing all apps open on al l desktops. in another. Remember that while you can't Assist and has new tricks.
At the moment, you can create multiple have two copies of a web browser open in Now when you're in an app and press
desktops, but functionality is somewhat different desktops, you can always drag Win+either the left- or right arrow, you'll see
limited. You can't change the wa llpaper of an open tab down until it turns into a new the app take up half the desktop and show
one desktop without all of them changing, window, then open the Task View and drag you all the other open apps that can join it
and clicking on an app that is running the new window to the other desktop. on the other side of the screen. To select a
in another desktop will simply ta ke you Another option is to install another type of partner just click on it and you'l l have a split
there rather than launch a new instance. browser, such as Opera, Firefox or Chrome, screen with the two apps nestled side by side.
Microsoft wil l no doubt continue to add and run that in your other desktop. If you prefer to use a mouse, click and
drag an app using its top bar to the middle
-~ , .,. = lt<hnG x 'ICNol [l ~ x M l~ x ~~----1
+- C L 18 ~ Q) f 0 '!i. = of the left- or right-hand edge.
[ :: ~ CJ ltch Q fOG CJ l~wne S.CV"ty 0 AchoGacy Cl \Vt\llf\9 D Soon CJ MCWI.~tS That's not all , though. When you have a
::: PC ADVISOR Q. window selected you can also press WIN+up,
down, left, or right and it wi ll resize to either
the whole side of the screen or a quarter, and
you can move it around to the different sides
of the screen using the keys. This allows you
to create a grid that has four windows open,
~ I filt bpiOttr - 0 X each one occupying a quarter of the display.
't OJidt: l((tu p To do this with a mouse, simply drag
frequent folders (9) the application to one of the corners until
a D*::ot~ ,. Oulrtop
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of arranging apps shou ld become a regu lar
part of your workflow. IZl

September 2015 81


If you're thinking of upgrading your PC, a solid-state drive is a great option if

you want to boost its performance. Andrew Harrison looks at six of the best

olid-state is standard-issue PC users may stil l batt le over who has the

s for storing data in tablets and

smartphones, where it's relied upon
fastest processor or the hottest graphics
card, but SSD performance is more about the
for its tiny size and knock-proof nature. overall user experience- app lications launch
Those same assets can be handy in desktop almost instantly, web pages spawn faster, and
and especially laptop PCs too, but traditional files copy in a fraction of the time.
computers also have the pace to really Put simp ly, and regard less of whether
unlock SSDs' most talked-about virtue- your processor has the number 3, 5 or 7
their incredible speed. after the 'i', the whole computer responds
Instead of a fragile magnetised disk so much better to your touch. The main
whirring at 90- or 120 times every second, drawback in the past has been the
SSDs store binary data on shock-resistant extortionate price of entry to the premier-
silicon chips. Some people use the word class storage club.
'memory' when they mean storage, but Until recent ly anyway. It's taken six years
the lines are confused with NAND flash or more, but we are now at t he state where
technology, which is non-volatile memory. the solid-state drive, the SSD, is a truly
In other words, RAM that keeps its memory affordab le component for any computer
even after you switch off the power. user. And if your wallet won't even st retch to
And besides being physical ly robust, 100, just juggle your byte budget instead
silent, and smaller and lighter than any and get a 256GB drive for 70 or less.
hard-disk drive, the big incentive to go f lash Performance has swel led over the years
remains sheer data-hurtling performance. -not just in the drag-race test of copying big
The bits can simply be read and written files, but crucially with the way t hat sma ll
hundreds and thousands of times faster files are handled. And also in the way that a
from electric flash memory. This speed drive maintains itself, forever pruning and
factor is about so much more than go-faster sweeping up the garbage of deleted files in
bragging rights, though. Old-schoo l desktop the background.

82 September 2015 PC ADVISOR TEST CENTRE



Photography by Dominik Tomaszewski

Much of the background housekeeping limit, far from it, but the Serial ATA interface today, as well as some cheaper models that
of a modern PC operating system is with the between the flash and your computer is now juggle the value factor rather than best-in-
incessant background reading and writing an increasingly narrowing bott leneck. class performance figures.
of small files of 4kB or less. It's the random Pioneered by Apple, and now finally When buying an SSD, look out for long
access to these all over the platters that can trickling into the Windows world are solid- warranties and high write limits if you
choke old disks that need to physically move state drives that put SATA in the waste bin, prize data integrity, although with the
a pickup head across spinning platters. f lash storage drives that hook more directly help of proper backup routines, data loss
We have reached a point where just about into the PC's native PCI Express bus. But is less of an issue today. Different SSDs
any SSD you put into a computer to rep lace a App le Macs take a proprietary version of demand more or less power in active use
hard disk wil l transform your experience. But these cards that are not availab le to buy or when idle, and there are different power
for performance seekers such as professional or upgrade; and Windows PCs that are ratings again for when a laptop is in a
workstation users, there's still a case for now available with the necessary M.2 PCie sleep or hibernation mode. Unfortunately,
finding the fastest. And that fastest metric is attachment are current ly thin on the ground. we don't have the capability to measure
now more about smal l-file transfers, which So for the moment, if you're building power consumption in-house, and each
we can measure by the number of input and or upgrading a PC, chances are you' ll manufacturer has its own way to present
output operations capable in one second - be turning to the old tried-and-tested its numbers in the best light, so we can't
otherwise known as lOPS. The best SATA- Seria l ATA Revision 3.0 interface; often give a meaningful rundown of which has
based flash drives are returning peak figures mistakenly cal led SATA Ill. This bus has a the best power economy.
around 100,000 lOPS, made possible by 6Gb/s (750M B/s) nominal speed, but circa- Do look out for manufacturers that
the way that datastreams can be paralleled 550MB/s real-world ceiling. provide accessible support with firmware
together, a major asset of flash over disks. Despite current SATA SSDs' shortcomings updates possible on the platform of your
and converging performance specs, we have choice. Most storage brands are still firmly
Buying an SSD for your computer tested the speed of this group of six, both in routed in the Wintel world, although with the
Performance - in terms of the speed with large-file sequential transfers and small- decline of that platform more drive makers
which data can be read and written - has now file random access, as differences do exist are making cross-platform upgrade tools
in effect plateaued among the best SSDs. between brands and models. Our selection avai lable, in the form of boatable ISO images
It's not that flash memory has reached its covers the highest-performing SATA SSDs you can download from their support sites.

PC ADVISOR TEST CENTRE September 2015 83

Group test: Solid-state drives


301 inc VAT Overall

Crucial has become one of the go-to brands for SSD upgrades since we tested; presumab ly because additional parallelism and over-
the technology became relatively affordab le around five years provisioning make it unnecessary he re.
ago. Over that time, we've seen the C300 launch in 2010, the M4
the following year, then the M500 in 2013 and M550 in 2014. More Performance
recent ly, the MX100 was quickly foll owed by this year's MX200 In basic sequential data t ransfers the Crucia l MX200 comfortably
and BX100 toget her- splitting the single line into two products. exceeded the 500MB/s ma rk, reaching 548MB/s for reads and
The BX100 is aimed at the budget end of the market; the MX200 514MB/s writes using the simple ATTO disk benchmark test.
meanwhi le now stands as the brand's best SSD at this time. A run with CrystaiDiskMark confirmed what has long been
A winning formu la was devised ear ly on in al l the above drives, apparent with Crucial's choice of Marvell contro ller, that there is no
using NAND flash chips from the brand's parent Micron Technology, slowdown in performance when faced with incompressible data like
run by a Marvell cont roller, and with Crucial's own fi rmware on the MPEG and JPEG files: when writing randomised data, the Crucial
control ler. In the case of the MX200, we have the same Marvell cou ld read and write at around 438- and 480MB/s respective ly.
88SS9189 controller that powered both the MX100 and the M550, Tested with 4kB random data, the Crucial showed reads at the
now allied to 16nm Micron mu lt i-layer cel l (MLC) NAND f lash. typica l 29 MB/s leve l, while 4kB random writes were the highest in
As with the previous generation there is Adapt ive Therma l our tests at 131MB/s. When stacked up to 32 queue depth the drive
Protection, which wi ll reduce performance when internal sensors didn't scale as we ll as others, turning in just 102MB/s reads where
detect high temperatures, while Power Loss Protection is des igned other models cou ld reach 300- or 400MB/s. This transla ted into
to reduce the chance of data loss in the event of a sudden switch-off, weak read lOPS results of around 26,100, although the 90,100 write
using sma ll onboard capacitors t o maintain power long enough to lOPS resu lt was closer to the rest of the pack.
write data f rom DRAM cache to NAND. Turn ing to AS SSD, which uses 64 threads of incompressible data,
Redundant Array of Independent NAND (RAIN) is said to protect the Crucial reported slightly better results of around 68k read lOPS
your data at the component level, simi lar to how RAID is used with and 79k write lOPS. The benchma rk's final nomina l sco re of 954
mu ltiple hard drives. The need for this may be greater than ever points is good but here in the lower half of resu lts in th is group of six.
with the tiny 16nm-process NAND, since the downsizing process also
leads to lower re liabi lity. VERDICT: When we tested the Crucial M550 last year, it had a price/
New to the MX200 series is Dynamic Write Acceleration, a way storage quotient of 37p/GB. The latest MX200 is avai lab le for around
to include a faster write cache using single- layer cell (SLC) f lash. 30p/GB, but other than that li ttle has changed, except the newer
This is availab le on the sma ller 128- and 256GB capacity drives drive has smaller process 16n m flash. It's stil l a good drive, but it's
only though, and not included on 512GB nor the largest 1TB sample lost a little headway against higher-performing compet itors

84 September 2015 PC ADVISOR TEST CENTRE

Group test: Solid-state drives _.___.

INTEL SSD PRO 2500 240GB Value
126 inc VAT Overall

Intel was an early prime mover in solid-state drive technology, ATTO and 530MB/s write speeds. CrystaiDiskMark showed relatively
applying its semiconductor know-how to make some respected SSDs fast results here too in its zero-data mode, just shy of 500MB/s for
in the days before they became more affordable and popular. Today's reads and writes. When the benchmark was set to its default random
Intel SSDs have forsaken innovation and are more derivative, and in dataset we saw the usual slowdown experienced by SandForce-based
the case of the SSD Pro 2500, we find that Intel is no longer using drives, with sequential write speed dropping to 291MB/s.
its own silicon anywhere. For the main NAND flash chips it is buying With the small 4kB random tests the Intel was reading at 31MB/s,
from South Korean Hynix, while the key controller technology is a typical result, with writes reaching 70MB/s, which is at the lower
supplied by Seagate SandForce. end of what's possib le with moderns SSDs. When loaded with 32
The SSD Pro 2500 is aimed at business users and consumers that threads these figures swelled to 302MB/s reads but just 252MB/s
want to add an extra layer of security with a self-encrypted drive writes, where most drive we test tend to exceed 350MB/s.
(SED). This is available with most SSDs as an encryption routine that Looking at input/output operations per second, CDM gave us
is accessed through the BIOS of PCs running Windows or Linux, but 77,300 read lOPS and 64,600 write lOPS, while AS SSD reported
is perhaps not the easiest way for an unskilled user to secure their even lower with 50,100 and 52,900 lOPS respectively. This led to
computer. Microsoft is making this easier for Windows users with the latter benchmark returning an overall nominal score of 721
its eDrive initiative, which allows Bitlocker to work with hardware points, the lowest on test.
encrypting SSDs built to the later TCG Opal 2.0 and IEEE 1667 It's worth remembering that the poor benchmark results are a
standard. Drives like the SSD Pro 2500 here, which is available in a d irect result of the SandForce control ler and its low write speed when
wide range of capacities, namely 120-, 180-, 240-, 360- and 480GB. processing incompressible data. This would be most manifest in real-
Furthering its business credentia ls, Intel tells us is designed to world use if you were working heavi ly with media files such as JPEG,
meet an Annualized [sic] Failure Rate of below 1 percent, and like or even plain ZIP files. For general office tasks this may be less of an
many modern drives it is covered by a five-year warranty. issue and the drive should perform at closer to its headline speeds.
The drive can be managed by Intel's SSD Toolbox software for
Windows. This allows diagnostic scans, SMART reports and secure VERDICT: The Inte l SSD Pro 2500 is designed for Winte l business
erasure, as well as firmware updates. For Linux and OS X users, there computing, where its Opal 2.0 compliance may interest IT managers.
are just boatable ISOs for firmware bug fixes. However this security feature is not unique to business SSDs and
can be found on, for example, Crucial and Samsung drives too, at a
Performance lower cost. Where the Intel SSD may excel is in its use of older but
In straightforward sequentia l testing with synthetic benchmarks the well-tested components, promoting reliabil ity and freedom from
Pro 2500 proved to be a fast mover, reaching up to 555MB/s reads in issue inherent with newer hardware and firmware.

PC ADVISOR TEST CENTRE September 2015 85

Group test: Solid-state drives

185 incVAT Overall

Kingston Memory has been catering for the general user with its Where many modern SSDs are simple constructions fashioned
SSDNow drives for several years, providing decent perfo rmance f rom li ghtweight pressed aluminium, the Savage has a heavier case in
with entry-leve l pricing. But the company also knows how to market ma tt black metal, with a red and silver design covering its top skin.
to PC garners and computer enthusiasts with its more raci ly named
si licon memory components. We've seen macho names like Ballistix, Performance
Predator, Impact and Beast bandied around by Kingston. Now, under It's far from t he most important metric of overall performance,
the HyperX performance-tuned banner, we have the Savage SSD. but the HyperX Savage returned the joint highest sequential read
It stands at the top of Kingston's range of performance SATA speed on our PC test rig, reaching 564MB/s, and nudged into the
storage, although if you have a desktop PC you cou ld also take highest write speed, too, of 543MB/s. It's here that we can sense
advantage of the full-size PCie card Predator drive, boasting up to the limiting effect of the SATA interface, nominally 6Gb/s (750MB/s)
1400MB/s read speeds. The Savage though takes the traditiona l but in effect around 560MB/s in real -world data transfers.
SATA Revis ion 3.0 connection with its nominal 6Gb/s speeds, in the The simi lar results from CrystaiDiskMark with and without
usual slim 7mm enclosure. compressible data showed the Phison control ler is not using any
What is less usual, even unique in our testing experience, is the data-reduction techniques, both tests returning resu lts of around
choice of contro ller in the Savage. Th is is an S10 controller from 490MB/s (read) and 480MB/s (write).
Taiwan flash-memory specialist Phison, now infamously known as the At the high 32-thread queue depth, we saw random 4kB reads at
maker of USB controll er ICs that can be comprom ised by t he BadUSB 358MB/sand rando m writes at 370MB/s, t ranslat ing into good ove rall
explo it. The controller here is based on a quad-core ARM processor lOPS figures of 91,600 and 94,800 lOPS respectively. Turning to AS
with eight data channels, with 19nm NAND flash supp lied by Toshiba. SSD and its ve rsion of t he test wi t h 64 threads, the Kingston showed
To maintain its SSDs Kingston makes its own SSD Toolbox a st ronger bias towa rd read perfo rmance as it just nudged the
software for Windows, although this only supports its older drives 100,000 lOPS figure, while random writes fel l slight ly to 83,400 lOPS.
based on SandForce contro ll ers. At time of testing the re was no The AS SSD benchmark gave this drive an overa ll nominal score of
software avai lab le for th is Phison-based SSD. 1140 points, just behind the leading Samsung 850 PRO drive.
The Hyper X Savage is avai lable as just a bare drive, or an
install ation kit with various accessories to help migrate from an VERDICT: The HyperX Savage turned in a so lid performance among the
existing drive. This includes a portab le drive enc losure with USB 3.0 leaders of the pac k, and the flashy looks may appeal to those wishing
with support for UASP mode in Windows 8 and OS X, SATA cable to pimp up their rig. Its overa ll performance is just behind best from
and screws fo r desktop PCs, and a screwd river with interchangeable Samsung and San Disk, and with a price t hat exceeds these drives, it
Phil ips 00 and 1 cross-head tips. just loses out on any overa ll recommendation.

86 September 2015 PC ADVISOR TEST CENTRE

Group test: Solid-state drives _.___.

OCZ ARC 100 240GB Value

The OCZ company appeared early in the history of SSDs as a OCZ offers its own software for Windows and Linux with which
specialist in performance drives, and still makes high-specification to update and optimise the drive, SSD Guru. For Mac users there's
drives under its new owners Toshiba. But the ARC 100 is a value- a boatable ISO for down load, which can be written to an optical
focused so lid-state drive, bringing enough of the virtues of PC flash disc or USB drive.
storage to woo potential disk upgraders, at a most attractive price.
We were sent the 240GB version of the ARC 100 to review, which Performance
at the time of writing could be found for just 69. Even in this smaller We were not expecting the fastest speeds from this budget drive, so
capacity that represents a price of just 28.8p per gigabyte, making it were pleasantly surprised by some of the results that placed the ARC
the best value in this group of six. You can also f ind the ARC 100 in 100 ahead of more expensive products. In the simple sequential test,
120- and 480GB sizes. the OCZ did prove to be the slowest, the only drive not to peek above
Before going bankrupt in 2013, OCZ had a reputation for dying the 500MB/s parapet, although this should be of little concern on
and defective SSDs. However, since Toshiba bought the company in dai ly use. Sequentia l reads reached 489MB/sand writes 447MB/s.
2014, it has been groomed into a professional, consumer-focused As promised by OCZ, the lndilinx Barefoot controller does not
company with an impressive after-sales policy. use any on-the-fly compression tricks to accelerate speed, and
OCZ calls this the ShieldPius warranty, extending for three years Crysta iDi skMark reported practica ll y the same speeds for random
for this model. In the event of a fault, there's no need for your and compressible data: to wit, 426- and 427MB/s for reads, and 431-
receipt, just quote the serial number, and if the support team deem and 432MB/s for sequential writes.
the drive as defective you'll get an advance replacement SSD sent Small file performance was very good, with 4kB random reads at
out with free shipping, before you need to return your dud unit. 27MB/s - a little lower than most but only by a megabyte or th ree per
Whi le most SSDs are using controllers made by Marvel l, with second- whi le 4kB random writes were actually the highest on test
Sand Force still popular with some brands, OCZ is pressing into at 127MB/s. That's a clean-drive result which will likely drop once the
service the expertise it bought with the acquisition of lndilinx. drive reaches steady-state leve l, but still impressive.
Variants of the lndilinx Barefoot 3 are used in al l its SATA-based For lOPS t he ARC 100 was in good company, approaching 100,000
drives, and here it is backed with 512MB of DDR3 DRAM as cache; lOPS for random writes at 90,300 lOPS, and around 80,000 lOPS for
although OCZ has not revealed this latter specification. random 4kB reads at the same 32 queue depth.
This controller is designed to deli ver good sustained performance
in long-term use, and does not suffer from slowdowns when VERDICT: This may be only OCZ's budget drive but it offers great
presented with incompressible data. For flash-memory silicon, OCZ is performance with plenty of all-important support to provide peace
using its parent company's toggle NAND with a 19nm process size. of mind to anyone concerned about moving to solid-state storage.

PC ADVISOR TEST CENTRE September 2015 87

Group test: Solid-state drives

365 inc VAT Overall

Samsung has two series of SSDs available for computer upgraders, to offer one of the longest guarantees avai lable, 10 years, matching
both designated 850 and then divided into 850 PRO and 850 EVO the offer first made by SanDisk with its Extreme PRO SSD.
ranges. As may be evident f rom the naming scheme, the former PRO Samsung has also been working on the power efficiency issue,
mode ls are designed for highest performance, while the EVO range and with the help of a specia l sleep state that can be used by some
trades a little speed and endu rance for a lower entry price. laptops, publishes a lowest-in -class power consumption figure of just
What both have in com mon is the core silicon architecture that is 2mW when in this DEVSLP mode.
now based on 3D NAND, or V-NAND, where the Vis for vertical. This
is the application of three-dimensiona l integrated circuit construction Performance
techniques, which just like human cities overcome the problem of The 850 PRO stro ll ed through our read/write tests, reach ing
over-crowding by building not sideways, but upwards. 564MB/s for reads and 534MB/s writes in the ATTO benchmark test.
Using 3D lithography, flash cells are built layer by layer on top of Compa ring t he CrystaiDiskMark results for standard random and
each other, 32 layers high here, giving a higher density of storage compress ible zeroes, we see the same leve l of performance at around
that means that even for the 1TB sample we tested, for examp le, the 510MB/s sequent ial reading and 480MB/s writing.
PCB inside on ly takes up two-thirds of the large 2.5in SATA case. The 4kB single-thread random 10 test s place the Samsung ahead
As with the 840 Series, the difference between PRO and EVO in the 4kB random-read list with 36MB/s, whi le the 89MB/s write
models is the type of flash cell employed; the 850 PRO uses more speed is impressive, a trend that continued when the SSD was
res ilient mu lti-layer cell (MLC, and in particu lar the two-bit vers ion) stretched when field ing t he high queue-dept h test- t he 403 MB/s
whi le the 850 EVO takes the latest three-layer cell (TLC), which random reads and 366MB/s random writes makes the 850 PRO the
allows more storage pe r square cent imetre of si licon wafer, but top of the lOPS with 103,200 read lOPS and 93,700 write lOPS.
loses out in long-term longevity and is slower to write to. When running the comparable test fro m AS SSD it remained in t he
The 850 PRO is a great example of how Samsung can build an over-achievers class with 96,800 read lOPS and 81,400 write lOPS.
ent ire SSD with pa r ts it makes itself to its own specification. So The AS SSD benchmark awarded the Sa msung 850 PRO an ove rall
we have a Samsung-made MGX Controller chip based on a three- nom ina l score of 1145 points, the best overa ll resu lt in this group.
core ARM processor, 1GB of Samsung low-power DDR2 RAM and, of
course, t he NAND f lash pi led up to in Samsung 's new semiconducto r VERDICT: The 850 PRO arrived j ust too late for last year's round-up
process, st ill unique in f lash memory. of SSDs, but even a year later it st ill has little serious competit ion. It
The process size has actually gone up, from the 19- or 20nm may be left for dust by more modern PC ie drives like Samsung's own
common to other brands, up to 40nm, potentially conferring greater XP941, but if you have a SATA-based PC and want to fit it with the
longevity wh ile de livering better speed. This has inspired Samsung best storage, ta ke the closest look at the 850 PRO.

88 September 2015 PC ADVISOR TEST CENTRE

Group test: Solid-state drives _.___.

Support 1c 1c A. A. -k
172 inc VAT Overall

Like Crucial/Micron, Samsung and Toshiba, SanDisk sits at the updates are easily executed here, too. One feature will not work
big table for flash memory dealers. It has a range of SSDs for though, Crypto Erase, since the Extreme PRO does not include
consumers and business, with the Extreme name reserved for the any onboard hardware encryption. SSD Dashboard just needs
top solid-state drive for persona l computers. The SanDisk Extreme a tick-box setting to switch off in-line advertisements, since we
PRO builds on the already excellent Extreme II SSD, adding a larger use the program to operate the SSD, not shop for more SanDisk
DRAM cache and revised firmware. products and those of third parties.
Like the previous Extreme II it replaces, the Extreme PRO San Disk stands behind its top consumer SSD by being the
relies on the Marvell 88SS9187 control ler running SanDisk's own first company to offer a 10-year guarantee. Whether there will be
custom firmware. This combination is backed with a generous 1GB many PCs supporting SATA Revision 3.0 drives in another decade
of DDR3 memory for the largest 960GB capacity model, and also is another question.
the 480GB size that we tested.
The main flash chips are again San Disk's own, the second Performance
generation of its 19nm-process NAND. And now sitting between The San Disk Extreme PRO easily clears the low hurdle of high
the volatile dynamic RAM cache and the more permanent NAND sequentia l speeds as measured by ATTO Disk Benchmark, with
storage chips is a new version of the non-volatile cache that 556MB/s reads and 525MB/s sequential writes. It also pul ls off a
SanDisk now calls nCache Pro. similar feat with CrystaiDiskMark, which is usually a tougher judge
SanDisk's nCache Pro is based on fast and resilient single-layer here, with 511MB/s reads and 478MB/s writes; mirrored closely in
cell (SLC) flash and acts as a halfway house for saving up smaller speed when using random data here, too.
chunks of data at high speed before consolidating and then flushing When presented with 4kB single-threaded datastreams it kept
them out to the main MLC flash banks. up the pace, just behind the Samsung with 32MB/s 4kB random
Three capacities of drive are again offered, only this time they've reads and 88MB/s random writes. As the queue depth increased to
been moved up in size by a factor of two - so the entry-level SSD is 32 threads the SanDisk remained unfazed, ending in a read lOPS
now 240GB rather than 120GB, and a 960GB is the new large. Only figure just shy of the nominal watershed of 100,000 lOPS, and
the traditional 2.5in SATA form factor is offered at present. in the write performance at around 79k lOPS.
now-standard 7mm height. so no mSATA or M.2 SATA alternatives.
To maintain and oversee this San Disk SSD, the company VERDICT: San Disk's top consumer SSD is backed by a confident 10-year
offers its SSD Dashboard program for Windows. We found this guarantee, and its clear high performance a great value at around
to be simp le yet we ll -featured, clearly laid out and able to 36 pence per gigabyte make this one of the top SSDs you can find
secure erase, sanitize and TRIM the drive on demand. Firmware today, even a year after its launch.

PC ADVISOR TEST CENTRE September 2015 89

Group test: Solid-state drives

In the earlier days of solid-state upgrade random read/write figures, for instance, if best value drives we've seen, it also turned
drives, Intel was one of the prime movers, this drive wasn't the most expensive on test in some great performance resu lts.
but the silicon specia list seems to have lost after the Intel. Its support is also lacking The two leading SATA SSDs of today are
its interest and early lead, and now recycles somewhat, both in availability of software both a year old, but have not been surpassed
other company's components. The Pro 2500 and in length of warranty. by anything in the same category since. The
Series is based on a rel iab le platform, using Crucia l's SSDs have been a favourite for SanDisk Extreme PRO was the first SSD to
an old but still reliable SandForce contro lle r, PC upgraders, although with the MX200 receive a 10-year gua rantee, which shou ld
adding hardware encryption as a near- we can't help fee ling the rea l benefactor in give any user the confidence to go solid-
necessity for a drive that otherwise wou ld this season's upgrade is Crucial alone. The state; the Samsung 850 PRO launched a few
be slowed t oo much due by its compression drive performs little better and in our tests weeks later in June last yea r and was also
dependency in a sole ly software-encrypted typically just behind the previous M550 upgraded to a 10-year support scheme.
OS. The result is the rather poor value Pro model. Its construction quality is visibly Both offer state-of-the-art performance
2500, which nevertheless was found to cheapened and the flash stock has shrunken , on a SATA connection , and can be found
perform confidently well in most areas, and both moves to maximise corporation profits. for around 36p/GB, depending on capacity.
is backed by a five-year guarantee. In its favour the Crucial MX200 is good value We highly recommend the SanDisk drive,
Kingston's performance-inc lin ed HyperX in price-per-gigabyte terms and the brand's and award the Samsung our Gold Award
Savage continues the company's marketing SSDs are ably supported with firmware and for its breakthrough in 3D semiconductor
theme of brash colours and brasher names, tools to apply it on any platform. manufacture, which combined with the larger
but there is a little less substance below this The erstwhile enthusiast brand of OCZ 40nm process should ensure this drive is
gamer-friendly styling. We would be less has a surpr ising cracker in its portfolio with going fast and going strong even after the
concerned about the relatively poor 4kB the ARC 100, which is not only one of the decade counter rol ls over.

Product name MX200 SSD Pro 2500 HyperX Savage

Capacity tested 1TB 240GB 480GB

Price per gigabyte 30.1p 52.5p 38.5p

Other capacities 250-, 500GB 120-, 180-, 360-, 480GB 120-, 240-, 960GB

Memory cache 1GB DDR3 Unknown 256MB

Controller Marvell 88SS9189 SandForce SF-2281 Phison PS3110 S10

Flash 16nm Micron MLC 20nm SK Hynix MLC 19nm Tosh iba A19 MLC

Firmware Crucial St orage Executive; Intel SSD Toolbox for Windows;

update support boatable ISO for Linux/OS X f irmware update tool for OS X/Linux

Warranty 3 years 5 years 3 years

Weight 53g 62g 99g

533-/514M B/s 555-/53 0M B/s 564-/543M B/s
(peak sequential)
413-/466M B/s 499-/495MB/s 494-/479MB/s
(Seq OxOO)
438-/480MB/s 485-/291MB/s 489-/478M B/s
(Seq rnd)
29-/131 M B/s 31-/70MB/s 26-/59MB/s
(4kB rnd)
102-/352MB/s 302-/252MB/s 358-/370M B/s
(4kB QD32 rnd)
AS SSD (lOPS) 67,700/79,100 50,100/52,900 100,000/83,400

90 September 2015 PC ADVISOR TEST CENTRE

Group test: Solid-state drives _.___.

ATTO peak sequential How we test

(read/write, M 8/s)
600 ~--------------------------------- We assessed most aspects of a drive's performance
with industry-standard benchmark tests for
Windows, namely ATTO Disk Benchmark, HD Tune
400 Pro, HD Tach, CrystaiDiskMark and AS SSD.
Measured speeds for storage products are typically
in megabytes per second (MB/s) for large files;
200 and input/output operations per second (lOPS) for
para lleled smal l-file transfers. [RJ

Crucial Intel Kingston ocz Samsung SanDisk

CrystaiDiskMark 4k8 rnd ASS SO

(read/write, M 8/s) (lOPs)



Crucial Intel Kingston ocz Samsung SanDisk Crucial Intel Kingston ocz Samsung SanDisk


69 inc VAT (57 ex VAT) 365 inc VAT (304 ex VAT) 172 inc VAT (143 ex VAT)

Arc 100 850 PRO SSD PRO 2500

240GB 1TB 480GB

28.8p 36.5p 35.8p

120-, 480GB 256-, 512GB 240-, 960GB


lndilinx Barefoot 3 M10 Samsung MCX Marvell 88SS9187

19nm Toshiba A19 MLC 40nm Samsung V-NAND MLC 19nm SanDisk MLC

OCZ SSD Guru for Linux and Windows; Samsung SSD Magician for Windows; SanDisk SSD Dashboard for Windows;
bootable ISO for OS X boot able ISO f or OS X and Linux boot able ISO fo r Linux and OS X

3 years 10 years 10 years

104g 52g 58g

489-/447MB/s 564-/534M B/s 556-/525MB/s

426-/431 MB/s 515-/481MB/s 511-/478M B/s

427-/432MB/s 508-/482M B/s 513-/490MB/s

27-/127MB/s 36-/89MB/s 32-/88MB/s

309-/340MB/s 403-/366M B/s 401-/357MB/s

76,600/77,000 96,800/81.400 96.400/78,600

PC ADVISOR TEST CENTRE Sept ember 2015 91


; .


Photography by Dominik Tomaszewski

These days being able to take decent photos is a must for smartphones. With
this in mind, Jim Martin has put nine flagship models through their paces to
find out which performs best for photos, videos, selfies, macro and in low light

or many people, a phone's cameras of even a budget DSLR lens because they're in good light outdoors, poor light indoors,
are one of the biggest priorities so small, and you'll only be able to get in close-ups, for video and also for selfies
when choosing a new handset. blurred backgrounds using software effects. using the front camera .
Since you carry your phone everywhere, However, phones have their own special Around half of the phones here can
you're more likely to use it to take photos effects. They vary from model to mode l, but shoot video at 4K, though you' ll need a 4K
than a separate camera. Thanks to the fact you can expect to find burst shooting, slo-mo monitor to view the video clips at their full
that phones have become rather talented at video, time-lapse, automatic selfie capture detail. However, you'll still benefit from the
taking photos and videos, they might even when you smile or say "cheese", and even extra reso lution even on a 1080p screen,
be better quality than your current camera. light painting on the new Huawei P8. but beware that you need a fairly powerful
There are, of course, a few downsides, We've gathered together as many of the laptop or PC to play back 4K video smoothly.
one of which is that you won't get a zoom latest flagships as we could lay our hands Note that the Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact
lens for getting in close when you can't on, including the Samsung Galaxy 56, LG G4, share the same front and rear cameras, so
physical ly move. Even the best phone Huawei P8 and both of the current iPhones, you can use the photo examples here to
cameras struggle to match the quality so you can see how their cameras perform judge both phones.

92 September 2015 PC ADVISOR TEST CENTRE


iPhone 6 8Mp 1.2Mp 1080p at 60fps No Dual-t one LED No

iPhone 6 Plus 8Mp 1.2Mp 1080p at 60fps Yes Dual-t one LED No

Google Nexus 6 13Mp 2Mp 2160p at 30fps No Dual-LED ring No

HTC One M9 20Mp 4Mp 2160p at 30fps No Dual-t one LED No

Huawei P8 13Mp 8Mp 1080p at 30fps No Dual-LED No

LG G4 16Mp 8Mp 2160p at 30fps Yes LED No

Nokia Lumia 930 20Mp 1.2Mp 2160p at 30fps Yes Dual-LED Yes

Samsung Ga laxy S6 16Mp 5Mp 2160p at 30fps Yes LED No

Sony Xperia Z3
20.7Mp 2.2Mp 2160p at 30fps No LED Yes

PC ADVISOR TEST CENTRE September 2015 ews 93

Group test: Smartphone cameras

Apple iPhone 6
Most phone cameras excel in bright conditions and low
contrast, so it's no surprise to see the iPhone 6 performing
well here. We also like the aspect ratio and wide-angle lens.

Apple iPhone 6 Plus

There's little to choose between the two iPhones here.

Google Nexus 6
The Nexus 6's white balance is a bit off, leading to a cooler-
looking photo compared to the warm iPhones. Where it shines
is the high-resolution sensor which captures lots of sharp
detai l, and the lens is sharp to the edges.

94 Sept ember 2015 PC ADVISOR TEST CENTRE

Group test: Smartphone cameras ~

HTC One M9 Nokia Lumia 930

Worse than the Nexus 6 's auto white balance is the One M9's. It has As with the 930's other photos, this one exhibits slight
also blown out the highlights in the clouds. Aside from this, though, underexposure and a bit too much contrast - made obvious when you
it's a nice sharp image with lots of detail. compare it to the Galaxy S6. The white balance isn't right either.


Samsung Galaxy 56
If we had to pick a winner for the St Pancras photo, this wou ld be
it. Despite having a 16:9 sensor, the wide-angle lens means more of
Huawei P8 the scene is captured than the LG G4, and there's more sharp detai l
This is a well-exposed image with reasonably accurate colours. The throughout the photo. White balance is also spot on.
wide field of view means it captures more than most phones, too.
Plus, there's very little evidence of compression artifacts with plenty
of detai l in the brickwork of St Pancras hotel.

t '

LGG4 Sony Xperia Z3 Compact

Exposure and white balance are good, and we marvelled at the A slightly coo l white balance, but the Z3 Compact does a good job
level of detail in the 16Mp image when zooming to 100 per cent. in bright light. The image is well exposed and nice and sharp. At
We'd prefer something other than a 16:9 sensor, but there's enough 100 percent there's evidence of compression, but most people wi ll
resolution to crop off the sides and sti ll end up with plenty of detai l. be happy with the Z3 's performance.

PC ADVISOR TEST CENTRE September 2015 95

Group test: Smartphone cameras

iPhone 6
One of the iPhone's strengths is that colour accuracy is always
excellent. There's a lack of detail when you zoom in due to the low-
resolution sensor, but they're fine for printing out or sharing on line.

Apple iPhone 6 Plus

The 6 Plus excels in good light, with sharp detail and fantastic co lour
accuracy. The default camera app also has an automatic HDR mode,
which increases the dynamic range for high-contrast scenes.

Google Nexus 6
It doesn't have the bright greens of the iPhone photos, but
the Nexus 6 does a decent job here. Highlights are clipped,
but it's far from the worst photo in this group.

96 September 2015 PC ADVISOR TEST CENTRE

Group test: Smartphone cameras ~

HTC One M9 Nokia Lumia 930

On its own, you'd be hard pushed to criticise the One M9's park The 930 appears to have a limited dynamic range given that the sky
photo. It's well exposed and only when you zoom in do you notice the is blown out, yet the trees appear as if the photo was taken when
slightly soft focus. But again, there's a colour cast that turns the path the sun went in. But as you can see from the shadows on the path,
here almost beige when it should be grey. conditions were the same for the other cameras.

Samsung Galaxy 56
Once again, the 56 flexes its photographic muscles and delivers a
Huawei P8 stunning photo with great co lours, lots of sharp detai l and good
In attempting to avoid losing detail in darker areas, the P8 has over dynamic range. Yes, the clouds are blown out, but no phone's
exposed this photo and the clouds are blown out and lack detail. camera here can do better without using its HDR mode.
White balance and detail are both good though.

LG G4 Sony Xperia Z3 Compact

The G4 has also blown out the clouds, but as with the Huawei P8, The Z3 again shows that it can't keep up with the best here. The
it's stil l a pleasing photo with accurate co lours. At 100 percent, details photo is fractional ly overexposed and white balance is on the cool
are a little sharper than the P8's, too. side. Detail levels and sharpness are impressive, though.

PC ADVISOR TEST CENTRE September 2015 97

Group test: Smartphone cameras

Apple iPhone 6
It doesn't have the best macro capabilities of our group of phones
here, but the iPhone 6 can easily hold its own. Detai ls are sharp
and- just as importantly- colours are wonderful.

Apple iPhone 6 Plus

Once more, it's virtua ll y a carbon copy of the iPhone 6, and we're
more than happy with the iPhone 6's macro photo

Google Nexus 6
The Nexus 6's macro photo shows poor white balance, but it's able to
focus slightly closer than the iPhones.

98 September 2015 PC ADVISOR TEST CENTRE

Group test: Smartphone cameras ~

HTC One M9 Nokia Lumia 930

Not a bad photo at all from the HTC, although it isn't the sharpest The Nokia 930 can't focus as close as the rest of the group, but its
photo in the group. macro photo is sharp and wel l exposed.

Huawei P8 Samsung Galaxy 56

The P8 almost managed to focus as close as the LG G4, but it's hard It can't match the LG here, but the Galaxy 56 yet again proves it can
to tell when it 's in focus using the stock camera app. Highlights on capture sharp detail and sumptuous colours.
the petals are clipped, too.

LGG4 Sony Xperia Z3 Compact

The G4 impressed us with its macro abilities: focus is crisp and the White balance is a problem for the Z3, and it can't focus particularly
delicate pink petals are perfectly exposed. close either. Detail levels aren't as good as the Samsung or LG either.

PC ADVISOR TEST CENTRE September 2015 99

Group test: Smartphone cameras

Apple iPhone 6
Low light is one of the areas where you can clearly see the difference
in the capabilities of the two iPhones' cameras. It isn't as obvious
unless you zoom in and look at the images at 100 percent, but
suffice to say that the 6 simply isn't as good as the 6 Plus.

Apple iPhone 6 Plus

Aside from the muted colours, this is a good result. There's very
little noise- far less than the LG G4- but the photo isn't as sharp.

Google Nexus 6
You might think we haven't tried hard enough with the Nexus 6,
but no matter what we did, we couldn't get a sharp photo in these
li ghting conditions. It does a good job of suppressing noise, though.

100 September 2015 PC ADVISOR TEST CENTRE

Group test: Smartphone cameras ~

HTC One M9 Nokia Lumia 930

The M9 doesn't embarrass itself in low li ght thanks to great co lour Once again a little underexposed, but the 930 is eminently capable in
reproduction. However, zoom in and you'll see details are smeary, low light. Detai ls are sharp and there's hardly any noise.
which appears to be due to over-enthusiastic noise reduction.

Huawei P8 Samsung Galaxy 56

Not a great show from the P8 again. Co lours are undersaturated A little soft. but overall a respectable result from the Samsung.
and there's evidence of heavy-handed noise reduction when you Colours are good and there's very little noise.
zoom in, meaning detail levels are reduced.

LGG4 Sony Xperia Z3 Compact

The G4 almost aces this test. delivering a sharp photo with amazing The Z3 Compact isn't great in low light. The colours are a bit
colours. The only niggle is noise, which is evident when you zoom undersaturated, but the biggest issue that focus is very soft and
in, but it's much harder to see when looking at the overall photo. therefore there's a distinct lack of sharp detail.
A fantastic effort here.

PC ADVISOR TEST CENTRE September 2015 101

Group test: Smartphone cameras

Apple iPhone 6
In selfie land, the iPhones show their weakness: the low-resolution
1.2Mp camera. Although well exposed, there's a distinct lack of detail.

Apple iPhone 6 Plus

As you'd expect, you get the same result with the iPhone 6 Plus as it
has an identical front camera.

102 September 2015 PC ADVISOR TEST CENTRE

Group test: Smartphone cameras ~

I ;A- I




Google Nexus 6 HuaweiP8

A pretty good result from t he Nexus 6's front camera, with good skin An overly sharp shot f rom the P8, wit h unflattering skin tones.
tones and detail.


The One M9 's se lfie is pretty good, with warm sk in tones and Oddly the G4 defaults to a mirrored mode, which is why this photo is
enough sha rp detail without bringing out skin textu res (w rinkles, f lipped vertically. Skin tones are exce llent.
pimp les, frec kles) you might rather stay hidden.

PC ADVISOR TEST CENTRE September 2015 103

Group test: Smartphone cameras


Samsung Galaxy 56
This was taken with the 56's Beauty mode at level 2 (fairly low), but
it still smooths out detail too much for our liking. The 56 has a very
capable front camera, however.


Nokia Lumia 930 Sony Xperia Z3 Compact

Another underexposed photo from the Lumia 930. Skin tones are A dismal, ghostly effort from the Z3 here.
good, but the 1.2Mp resolution means there's not much detail.

104 September 2015 PC ADVISOR TEST CENTRE

Group test: Smartphone cameras ~

r ......


Apple iPhone 6 HTC One M9 capture 4K at 30fps with the update, though.
Considering it has no optica l stabi lisation This was the most disappointing 4K Even so, the 1080p footage was mediocre
and is limited to 1080p, the iPhone 6's footage. Not only does the HTC One M9 at best. There was a surprising lack of detail
footage is very good. It has a good level lack stabilisation, which led to shaky video and colours weren't as natural as we'd like.
of detail, but more importantly it doesn't - don' t forget this will be magnified on
struggle to focus thanks to its magical a large TV- but it also showed up poor Samsung Galaxy 56
Focus Pixels and has natural-looking colours white balance with a strange magenta cast. The Samsung Galaxy 56 comes in a close
second to the G4 here. Its 4K video looks
Apple iPhone 6 Plus Huawei P8 great on a large TV, with realistic, life-like
No surprise that the 6 Plus's footage is The P8's video is much poorer than we'd colours and good stabi lisation.
virtua ll y identical to the 6's. The advantage is expected. It's limited to 1080p but even
that it has optical stabilisation, which gives a so, there's much less detail than the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
more cinematic feel, just as Apple claims. iPhone 6 and 6 Plus capture. The Z3 Compact's 4K footage is also detailed
but the lack of stabilisation lets it down.
Google Nexus 6 LGG4
Like all phones capable of shooting 4K The best on test for video, capturing loads
video, the Nexus 6 captures a lot of detail of sharp detail and overcoming shaky
considering how highly it compresses hands thanks to great stabilisation.
footage. While exposure and colour
accuracy are good, it was annoying that Nokia Lumia 930
the camera kept refocusing even though Our 930 didn't have the Denim update, so
we weren't moving the phone. was limited to shooting at 1080p. It can

See PC Advisor online to watch the videos:

There are two clear winners here: the LG To make this comparison fair, we set up many Android phones default to 16:9,
G4 and Samsung Ga laxy S6. Both take each phone to the highest resolution which chops the top and bottom off the
excel lent photos and videos, and are also avai lable for photos and videos. We also photo for phones with 4:3 sensors. (Note,
great phones. If you want us to declare took each shot within a minute or so of we made a mistake with the HTC One M9,
only one winner, then the G4 narrowly pips each other to ensure lighting conditions shooting at 16:9 instead of 10:7 because
the S6 to the post by virtue of its excellent were as similar as possible. it isn't obvious which is the highest
three-axis stabilisation. All photos and videos were taken resolution. Rather than reshooting later
There's a lot more to consider than just handheld, rather than on a tripod because in different light conditions, we decided to
photo and video quality when picking the that's how you'll use the phone in real life. use the cropped images instead)
best phone camera, of course. The screen It also allowed stabilisation systems to One of the most interesting
resolution and brightness play a part, as prove their worth, and we ensured they observations during the test was how
does the camera app itself, which determines were all turned on where present. We much the experience of taking photos
the features and settings on offer. selected automatic modes and didn't tap and videos differed with each phone.
Only two phones here have dedicated the screen to choose focus or exposure For example, the Samsung Galaxy S6's
shutter buttons: the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact since none of our test shots was designed bright AMOLED screen made it easy to
and Nokia Lumia 930. However, neither can to trick the cameras: they shou ld all frame photos in sunny conditions.
challenge the best cameras here, so it isn't a perform well with automatic exposure. The LG G4's screen wasn't as easy
reason to choose them instead. Again, most people will rely on auto mode to see, but the ext ra resolution meant
Naturally, you shouldn't only consider to capture the moment. it was easy to see whether a macro photo
the camera when buying a phone: the As you can see in our shot of St would be blurry or not before taking
operating system, screen size, battery life Pancras, the field of view varies between the shot. By contrast, the Z3 Compact's
and price will also be factors. phones. These were all taken from 720p screen made it impossible as the
We can't tell you which phone is best for precisely the same spot, so it's easy to detail simply wasn't there.
you, but hopefully these comparisons have see which have 16:9 and which have 4:3 All the photos in this group test
proved helpful in making your choice. sensors. In each case, we made sure we can be viewed on the PC Advisor website
used the highest resolution available - at

PC ADVISOR TEST CENTRE September 2015 105


With new versions of iOS and Android due this autumn, we've decided to compare the two. Matt Egan reports

n June, Apple announced iOS 9, then see a rapid roll out to all compatible Compatibility
the next-generation of its iPhone devices: Android M will appear first on other This is one of the fundamental differences
and iPad operating system. It will Nexus devices, and within a few months make between iOS and Android. Because Apple
go head-to-head with Google's Android M at the move to flagship phones and tablets makes both software and hardware, it roll s
the top of the Android phones and tablets made by third-party OEMs such as Samsung, out its new software in a quick and efficient
market, so we decided to compare and LG and Sony. Unless you are a Nexus guy, manner. Thus every iPhone and iPad that
contrast the two leading mobile platforms. don't expect to get Android M on your now runs iOS 8 wil l be able to upgrade to
device until late 2015 or even early 2016. iOS 9, the day it comes out. And un like
Release date previous iOS updates, Apple promises that
We now know definitively that both iOS 9 Betas this time around, the update file won' t be as
and Android M are in the works. What we For the first time I can remember, Apple is big as your iPhone's availab le storage. Older
don't know is when exactly they will launch. running a public beta of its iOS update. You iPhones won't all get some features, though.
But we can make some good guesses: iOS 9 can try out the iOS 9 beta in a few months, (If your phone doesn 't have an NFC chip, you
will launch in 'Fall 2015', according to Apple. but you can sign up now by signing up at won't be able to use Apple Pay, for instance.)
It wasn't specific because it doesn 't want to Developers can download the Android M's compatibility will be more
give away the date of the next iPhone and first beta of iOS 9 immediately, though. scattered. Because Google can make the
iPad launches, which will like ly be the same Similarly, if you want to get your hands software available to its OEM partners, but
day. But expect a new OS in September 2015. on Android M now, you can down load the they are not forced to push the upgrade out
Meanwhile, at 1/0 2015 Goog le unvei led Android M Developer Preview, but only if to end users. So whi le Nexus devices are
an Android M Developer Preview, confirming you have a Nexus 5, 6, 9 or Player. As with pretty much guaranteed an over the air (OTA)
the existence of the next flagship Android the iPhone equiva lent, it should be said that upgrade to Android M, those with phones
OS. The final version of Android M will launch developer preview software is really only for, made by other people have no guarantee.
with a new Nexus phone in October or er, developers. Expect bugs and frequent However, if you have a flagship phone from
November this year. But un like iOS, we won't updates, as well as missing features. 2014 or 2015, it is most unlikely you won't get
the upgrade at some point.

Apple Pay vs Android Pay

As with the iPhone equivalent, it should be said that developer Both iOS 9 and Android M share one major

preview software is really only for, er, developers. Expect bugs new feature: NFC-enabled contactless
payments. With Apple Pay and Android Pay,
and frequent updates, as well as missing features you wi ll be able to use your phone like a

106 September 2015


contactless credit or debit card . (Your wal let when it launches iOS 9. App le says its feature runner game. Wel l Android M is going to
will now have a batte r y life, but at least you shou ld provide up to t hree hou rs of extra change that with the abi lity to pick and
have to carry on ly one device.) use, on t op of the extra hour or so you'll get choose wh ich permissions you're happy with
Apple Pay is first out of the blocks. At the simply from updating to iOS 9, which is more for each individual app. You'l l also be able
time of writing, it was due t o hit the UK on power efficient than iOS 8 (Apple says). to accept or deny a specific permission as
14 July, with support from eight major banks Turning to Android M and we find and when an app requests it.
and retailers such as Costa, Boots, Waitrose something similar in what Google calls If you send links, photos or files to
and the London Underground. Apple Pay 'Doze mode'. Doze monitors when the device the same contacts, then And roid M wil l
first launched in the US on 20 October 2014 isn't being used to put it into a deep sleep, start adding them to the Share menu to
and now it is coming here. This despite a which uses less power and can double your speed up the process. It's a bit like having
new set of regulations from the European battery life - according to Google. favourite contacts when you open the
Union Council of Ministers that some thought The SystemUI Tuner in Android M allows Dialler app to call someone.
cou ld throw a spanner in the works. (These you to customise t he Quick Settings to the Not only is Do Not Disturb (DND) part
t ighter regu lations could require additional ones you want to you the most and in the of Quick Settings in And roid M, the vo lume
authorisation processes.) layout which suits you. Another small but contro l has been tweaked for the better. You
Despite this, Apple said that 70 percent handy change is the ability to uninsta ll apps can now easily control the volume of cal ls,
of credit- and debi t cards in the UK will straight from the home screen. You now get notifications and alarms with three separate
be supported by Apple Pay at launch. At the choice between simply removing the sliders- simple but effective.
WWDC 2015, it showed a graphic which shortcut/icon or actua lly uninstalling the Okay, it's a hardwa re feature but Android
name-checked all the major high street app from the device entirely. M supports USB Type C, which is good news
banks, with the exception of Barclays. In Google Now is a great feature of Android for future devices - potentially starting with
terms of retai lers, the origina l list inc ludes and it gets even better in Andro id M. Now the Nexus 5 2015. You can plug it in either
McDonalds, Lid l, Marks & Spencer, Boots, on Tap means you can long press the home way around, it wi ll charge your device quicker
Wa itrose and Costa Coffee. button wherever you are you call up Google and even allow you to charge other devices.
This is very much a score for Apple Now. Better st ill, you don't need to navigate
Pay, as there is no news as yet as to when away from the app you're using and it wi ll Verdict
Android Pay will make it to the UK. At al ready have a good idea of what help you It is too early to make a definitive judgment
present al l Google has said is that t he service need based on what you've been doing, but the old truths are likely to remain. If
will be launching in the next few months, such as Directions to a specific location after you want ultimate polish, and are prepared
though this wi ll apply to the US rather, wit h chatting to a f riend about meeting up. to sacrifice your freedom to shop for apps
the UK to fol low some time la ter. We've already got fingerprint scanners on and media outside of Apple's wal ls, then iOS
At the Google 1/0 presentation in which numerous devices so it might not seem like a 9 is for you. It is a prison, but a beautiful,
Android Pay was announced all of the new feature, but Android M natively supports comfortable one. Meanwhile on the Android
companies listed as partners - either banks, them. This means you'll be able to use them side of the house the days when Goog le's
shops, or mob ile phone carriers - were US- to authorise payments via Android Pay and platform was hard to use are long gone.
based, and there was no mention of a UK or confirm Play store purchases. Deve lopers can But it is probab ly still fa ir to say that iOS is
European version. It wi ll happen, but it wi ll also use the functiona lity within the ir apps. a margina lly more shallow learning curve
take a while. So if contactless payments is One annoying thing about Android is for beginners. If you asked me to choose,
your t hing, the iPhone is the device for you . tha t down loading an app requi res you to I would plump for Android, but it real ly is
agree to al l its permissions, which might a personal choice. And Apple Pay being
New features inc lude things you don't agree with, such as available is a big win for iOS 9. Let's see
Let's take a look at some of the ot her new access to you r contacts when it's an endless what the autumn brings. []
features that may tempt you into the arms
of eit he r iOS 9 or Android M. Key features
iOS 9
of iOS 9 include a major Siri update and
deep-links in search results.
Apple says it has made Siri more
proactive. The new features are intended
to give iPhone users the same sort of
functiona lity as Android owners already
have in Google Now. And this new proactivity
isn't only part of Siri but also of sea rch.
Spotl ight search wil l display information
such as imminent events from the Calendar
app, locations nea rby that might interest
you, boarding passes for f lights you' ll be
boarding that day and more.
Split-screen multitasking is part of iOS 9,
too and there's a picture-in-picture mode that
allows you to watch videos while you do other
t hings, though these features are iPad only.
As we wi ll see when we discuss Android
M features, lots of Apple's competitors offer
softwa re-based battery-saving modes for
their devices, and Apple will do the same

September 2015 107


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First up, this isn't an article explaining every last detail about well as in search results.
sea rch engine optimisation (SEO). There are ent ire books on It's also good to get listed on the big directories includ ing
the subject, and it is we ll worth reading up on SEO to more ful ly Thomson Local and Ye ll. Both sites offer free listings - tinyur l.
understand it. Here, we'l l explain the basic principles of how to com/q2zf5o7 and, respect ively. However, you
ensure your website gets found by more customers. can pay for a more prominent list ing in Yell's listings. The cost will
Most search engines wil l automatically pick up your site, so depend on the prominence you want and the loca l areas you want
there's no need to manually add it using their online forms. But if to reach. It's possible to hagg le on price, so you may be able to save
you want to be listed at the top of the search rankings, it's most on the figure you're quoted online.
important to ensure that your site meets the current requirements. One way to ensure your listing is always up to date across
For examp le, Google recent ly started penalising sites that don't multiple directories is 1&1's List Local service (
work properly on mobile devices. So if you haven't checked how The basic 9.99 per month package doesn't include Thomson loca l
your site looks on a phone, you should. and the Pro version isn't cheap at 29.99 per month. You'll also
If it doesn't work, you'l l need to put things right. The website need the Pro package if you have more than one business location .
builder tools included with most hosting packages shou ld be up
to date and will make your site compatible with all screen sizes, Your website
but if yours doesn't it could be ti me to change hosting providers Given that many sma ll businesses have no website at all, it's worth
or change the settings in your provider's online dashboard. having even a basic site with your contact information, a photo
Yet another important factor is having lots of links to your of your office, unit o r shop front, opening hours and any ot her
site from other websites. If there are none, you may have to relevant details. It isn't hard to produce a modern-looking site using
submit your site to Google manually. the site-bui lding tools we mentioned earlier. Some, including 1&1
MyWebsite 8 (, will even pre-fi ll a lot of the text
Local searches for you, so it won't take long to make it specific to your business.
For some types of business, attracting local custom is your top Even more important than the site looking good is to make
priority. There's little point in a London-based driving instructor sure you give each page a title that describes the page properly.
being found by someone searching for driving lessons in Edinburgh. This will help to improve your Google ranking. Look for an option
That's where business directories come in, as well as Google's or setting somewhere in your site builder dashboard for title and
local listings. You can submit or correct details held about your meta descriptions: this is the information which will be shown in
business by going to When you profile on Google listings, which is why the description is also important. !Zl

108 September 2015


Windows makes it surprisingly easy to work with multiple monitors, Since you want to duplicate the screens and have the same
but in most cases you'll be working with two, or perhaps three at image on both, make sure 'Duplicate these displays' is selected in
a push. Two is great for having several applications visible at once, the Multiple displays drop-down menu (see bottom-left image).
while three is great for gaming- if your graphics card is up to the Note that duplicating disp lays is often a compromise if the
job. Here we're using Windows 8.1, but the process is almost identical screens have different resolutions or aspect ratios. For example,
in Windows 7. if you hook up a 1024x768 projector to a laptop with a 1366x768
screen, both will run at 1024x768, and you'll end up with black
Duplicate screen on multiple monitors bars on the left and right on your laptop screen.
When you first connect a second monitor, Windows should detect
it and automatically duplicate the screen on both displays. This is Extend the desktop across multiple monitors
the case regardless of whether you have a PC with two monitors Assuming you're not using a projector, which is when it makes
or a laptop with a screen or projector attached . sense to duplicate the screen, then you probably want to extend
If you don't see an image on the second screen, look for a the desktop to have different things on each screen. To do that,
function key on the top row of keys on your laptop which shows choose 'Extend these displays' instead of ' Duplicate these displays'.
two monitors. Press the Fn key and the appropriate function key
(F5 on the laptop below, for example) and it should toggle through p

the various configurations: laptop display only, laptop and external Change the appearance of your displays

screen, and external screen only. You can also try pressing the
Windows key and P at the same time for the same effect.
If you still have no image, go to the Windows desktop, right-click
and choose screen resolution. If you see only one screen in the drop- Oisptey: 2. Philtps 272.P.o~ ""

Resolution: [ 2560 x 1440 {RecOO'll'nended} ... J

down Display list, try clicking the Detect button to force Windows
to scan for the second screen. If it has detected it, you can use the
other options in this window to choose how Windows dea ls with Thi~ i\ =~ryo

multiple monitors. PtojKtto":~dl~;~~]logok<y= P}

Ma~ tW 4nd othet 1lMU l.a1ger 01 sn\

Wht 6spiy Jdtlngs 'hould 1~7

w ( Detect
G) 1 tdentay 1

- II You can select a monitor in the diagram at the top and drag
Displ~ [ 1. Mobile PC Oisptay v it to the position it's in on your desk. Here we've put the second
Resolution: [1366 x 768 (Recommended) v] monitor on the left of the laptop because it defaults to the right.
Orientation: [Landscape You can move the smaller screen up and down, too.
You'll also notice you can select different resolutions for each
Advanced settings screen , but you have to se lect each screen in turn. Only one of
the monitors can be your main display. In Windows 7, that means
Make text and other items larger or
What dlsplay setbngs should I c hoo-se?
it will be the only monitor with a task bar and start button. In
Windows 8 .1, you get those on all screens, but on ly the notification
OK Cancel ] Apply
area and clock on the main screen . [8]

September 2015 109

B How to: Get all the bandwidth on a shared connection

Using applications such as Skype, Netflix, YouTube or online Ideally, you would connect your PC or laptop via an ethernet
gaming requires a fast internet connection to run smoothly. This cable into your router, looking to see if there is a Gigabit port
can be hard to maintain if you share your connect ion with family marked on the unit. It's on ly worth looking for a Gigabit port if
o r flatmates who also want to download large files, stream music your laptop or PC has a Gigabi t network adaptor of course.
or watch iPiayer. Here we'll show you how to get all, or at least a This tip won't give you priority over other users, but will
premium slice, of the bandwidth on a shared network. eliminate random elements in your house that cou ld cause you
to have a reduced service. Qu ite obviously, it's not relevant for
Ask others to stop using the internet smartphones or tablets without ethernet ports.
Before you delve into the technical solutions fo r these problems,
you cou ld always talk to the people you live with. If you want to Use Powerline devices to
call someone on Skype, but find that the video keeps freezing extend the range of the network
because Tom in the next room is mainlin ing the new series of Routers aren't always positioned in conven ient places, and rea ll y
House of Cards, you can always arrange beforehand to have the should be in the centre of the house to prov ide the best coverage
connection free for a whi le. for everyone. So if you can't plug directly into the router itself,
Of course, t his works both ways, so you 'll have to stay offline you cou ld always use powerline adaptors, which use the mains
at some point to return the favour. Do consider the fact tha t the wiring in your home to communicate.
connection is shared, so expect ing others to keep off the internet The princip le is simp le, you buy a couple of powerline devices
every night just so t hat your ping rate on Call of Duty stays as (pict ured right), plug one into the wa ll socket nearest t he rout er
low as possible won't make you a good f latmate. and the other in the socket nearest your computer, then connect
each adaptor to t he router or PC with an ethernet cable. Now
Switch from Wi-Fi to ethernet it's like you're plugging direct ly into the router, even though you
One way to improve the consistency of your connection is to plug might be on the other side of the house.
d irectly int o the router. Wi-Fi may well give you freedom, but an
ethernet cable gives you stabi lity and avoids the various obstac les, Tweak your router settings for quality
such as walls, which can hamper your Wi-Fi experience. To get of service, prioritisation, and dual-band
technical , ethernet is full duplex, but Wi-Fi is only half-duplex. In It's a sad truth that most of us will spend many hundreds of
essence Wi-Fi is much slower than ethernet. pounds, thousands even, on our electronic equ ipment and then

110 September 2015

How to: Get all the bandwidth on a shared connection B

connect to t he internet via the free router that was given to us by movies/TV, while also streaming music, playing games or surfing
our ISP (or was already in the house). Don't get us wrong, some are the internet at the same ti me.
very good, but often these devices are old technology and certain ly Replacing your cheap or old router with a newer, more powerfu l
not top of the line. Getting the optimum performance out of them mode l is an obvious choice, especially if you can convince your
is essentia l then, and can be done with a few tweaks. family or flatmates to chip in as everyone wi ll benefit. This part
First, you'll need to ascertain the various capabilities of your of the market is often changing, so it's best to read up on reviews
service and equipment. To check your connection speed open to see which routers offer the best bang for buck. Bear in mind
a browser and go to Here you' ll be able to run a though, that to get the best out of the latest 802.11ac standard
simple test that wi ll show you how fast your net connection is. A that new models offer, you' ll need to check that your computers
recent report stated that the average speed for home broadband and devices support 802.11ac otherwise they'll behave pretty
in the UK was a little over 10Mb, so if you find you're in that bracket much the same way they did on the old router.
you should be able to use video, gaming and streaming services In fact, it's even more complex, since it isn't enough to merely
wit hout too many issues. If you're below 5Mb, then it might be support 802.11ac. There's also t he number of antennas and streams
worth see ing if there are any services, such as BT Infinity or Virgin to consider. Your new router might support as many as four
Media, that are offered in your area as there isn't much that a simultaneous streams, but you r laptop, say, won't be able to take
router can do if t he supply it receives is slow. advantage if it has an 802.11ac rad io t hat supports only one stream.

Dual-band settings The future

Ideally, you'll want to have a dual-band router, as these allow you In the next year or so, we will see the introduction of advanced
to allocate different devices or applications to different bandwidth. technologies such as MU MIMO (Mu lti-user Multiple Input Multiple
For exa mple, 802.11n can run on 2.4GHz and 5GHz: routers that Output), which looks set to make huge improvements to the way
support both are known as dual-band. You must get one that routers handle the distribution of information to mu ltip le devices
supports simultaneous dual-band so it can operate on both at the same time. Qualcomm's new Streamboost analyses the
frequencies at the same time. types of data going throug h the router so it can automatically
Assuming that your wireless devices support 5GHz (many don't), priorit ise more demanding app lications - a sort of Smart Quality
you can connect those you want to use for streaming, gaming and of Se rvice, and new triple band rout ers also offer more capacity
other things that requ ire low latency to the 5GHz network. Because for congest ed connections. These cutting-edge innovations mig ht
fewer devices (including those owned by your neighbours) use the only be available on a handful of devices at the moment (such as
5GHz network, it's generally less congested and faster. the Linksys EA8500, TP-Link AC3200, and ZyXEL Armor Z1), but
Some routers let you contro l bandwidth to specific IP addresses. as t hey become more common pl ace we shou ld see an easier way
It's quite technical, but it means you can set a device on which you to share our digital habits in the future. IZl
want lots of Wi- Fi bandwidth to a static (fixed) IP address, and then
set the minimum bandwidth to high f igures. Strangely, TP- Li nk uses
'Ingress' and 'Egress' rather than 'In' and 'Out', or 'Download' and
'Up load'. The act ual number you can use might be found only using
tria l and error. This should improve your Wi-Fi performance.

Quality of Service settings

Another important setting to adjust is that of Quality of Service.
If your rout er has this feat ure, it will allow you give priorit y to
certain types of applica t ions and/or specific computers. Again,
the interface will vary depending on your router, with TP-Link
calling it Bandwidth Control.
The internet is your friend, and a quick search for Qua lity of
Service settings, plus your router model or manufacturer, shou ld
~ ( d
find a tutoria l for your specific router. TP-Link has introduced an ! ( 3
app for Android and iOS called Tether that allows you to control - 'r (
your settings via an easy interface on your phone or tablet, and -- e 'I "~/t.r I
Linksys is doing somet hing similar in t heir new range.
Depending on the router and model, QoS might on ly deal
wi th out going traffic. This is why it's helpful when playing
online games wh ich are t ime-critical.
Generally, your ISP will control prioritisation of data from the
- 'li Ill
internet to you r home, so there's little you can do to ensu re you
have no buffering issues when ot hers are also using the internet.

Consider a new router

As we mentioned above, it's very common for most of us never
to even consider replacing our free routers with more advanced
models. In a recent survey conducted by Linksys, it was discovered
that nearly 50 percent of respondents were using routers that
were running versions of Wi-Fi t hat were at least 12 years old.
Th is becomes an issue when the same survey reported that 84
percent of those interviewed stated that they regularly streamed

September 2015 111


Panda Internet Security 2015


Security products need to evo lve t o

Installation details keep up with new malware infections
Go to My Computer, and th reats. Panda Security 2015
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112 September 2015

Cover disc+: in-depth lj

Ashampoo WinOptimizer 11

We all like fast and secure computers,

Installation details but only constant system
Go to My Computer. maintenance and time-consuming
Right-click the disc optimisations will keep them that
icon and open the way. Those who like to invest time
disc. Select Files and effort in keeping up with the
242\Ashampoo latest developments may hand le
WinOpti mizer 11 those tasks using default Windows
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16 September 2015. For the rest of us there's
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Speed up any application launch
with Live Tuner as background task
Improved user handling through
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Manage system restore points
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Wizard-driven optimisation
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Automate optimisation runs
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Save and restore all changes
with Backup Manager
Excellent gaming performance
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Manage system po li cies easily
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September 2015 113

B Cover disc+: in-depth
Xara Web DesiQner Silver

Xara Web Designer Silver gives you

Installation details complete design freedom over your
Go to My Computer, website. It's a tota lly WYSIWYG
right-click the DVD icon, solution and requires no HTML or
and open the disc. Select coding skills. You can lay out your
Files 242\Xara Web text, graphics, photos and widgets,
Designer Silver and and publish your pages, with no Read Me First
This b., .shoft tvtMiol, and o wortin.s ~b-Jir~t ctowment yov C:Oli4'Jip~immr OIJ.
open the install file. third-party software required. 1r you're teaditlt thli rt1 W8 ~ltfltr thffl te.t rt~ tO>tll~t enclt)JIItlr'e w
fc-iotl.iftl ot tho prov.,... H VOtJ'te rea~n1 till$ u a -...c> ~ tll< ttlli I' an eumple
of what you codd ~ pKKudn!l with Xara Web Oeslsner.
Designs can be created from
Online registration
required: Follow the
scratch, or you can make use
of the large selection of fu lly
Th1S ts hOw to crHotf tmt tooll.1nt WdlS.tle 'In 6 HIS)' s.tfl)$.

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'*- tbn' t actu.UI)'
~1nt Xart Web

Me<! Ul do this. bauso tMI clocum~mt a alf~ady open. It''

instructions within custom isable templa tes supplied.
bawd 01' tlw template dcoMpl caUN '8c.ota'. You

c:-. - all tlw templat" by
INIYII\t your rl'Ciu~ 01!'1' the 'DHitM Gall)'' l&btl ()I) tllot r1&t!t \ldt oA lM

the program before
16 September 2015. Features
, . . Pri YitW)'OI.Ir ~h:e: Sf4Kt F'lll . ,. Prw!tw WtOJlte 01 J...St cUck 1hl$ tcon ontht top flir, Tl\11 ti!Aton nu 11
~ ny-ou~ ' \hOWW!tlwo options. Til~ fin-t prcvl"'""" Jl4l tho current PliO fq~UI I ~ ocher prii!'YWws the ..mote
~tle. Tty it IICM' to~ wfla.t lhls ~ite toob Uk~ II\ I '<"<ll!'~. t 0-

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tn the Pt~ wlncJow dlf<k out th bt.lttom ~the tOP, Mil)~~ tnt v~ Obleen. W~:h u the pitl01
Genuine WYSIWYG web design bo'.-e rif"'t, or did the Unb, sud! .-s the on~ IIWiledhucly betow her to w:e vanous lyw f'l'fKU.

System requirements No HTML skills required

2) Edit t h@The-1M Colors
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... ~ ..
~the II'IOIM I)Oii1-W OYH t~ lift t!M Of ~(otCW IW~e It tllC bOttom OIIM kiHII ~d CIJd. Of\ If?' Of tilt' ~f~

Windows XP/Vista/7; Complete design freedom cotor ~>"~ StiKt 'Edit' to dl$91y t~ cotor f'Ciitor, ~you CMI ~w Mlt<t cJifttrtnt cotOtS. For tt. btU rt'IIJiu
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256MB RAM; 200MB Professional-quality website and , __ _. . COIOt $(tltfnfo$. lO ll'l.klt e<ll.ot t'dltlnt Htn tsltt' WI proYidlt son'~~ ,.l~f'I'INit Coloor
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114 September 2015

The Galaxy Gear Is a mixed bag. We love the Stvlt
design and nice screen. It's packed with handy
features. but performance and potentially poor
battery life are concerns. You can use it with only
a handful of Galaxy smartphones, and it's pricey.

'IBkJn fot fre. wil tempt more users 10 upgrade to

the p,..,..,..._ MMce.
$pc:J(.Iy Wid be . . . &o lsten 10 their
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The &m ~ atsodiQC)pi~ lhe

~Imposed on users ot iiS

While Spotity ts av111at1te on

iOS end AndrOid StNIItpfiOM$
and tablets. thefe are no apps fot
Windows """""8 .... BlackSeny.
Access your documents, YOU CAN
music and more from any'

r ce
Why Microsoft's latest
tablet beats any laptop

---... & LAPTOPS f11'S"/J:ftol2~1~"""~2#:r..J

239 "' < .1()1~ ~
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Why every laptop & PC
']\ijll,\11~; ~~~ i deserves a 4K display


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121 122

128 130

. ..
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- .
... ~ - .
132 133 134 135

. ..

136 137 138 139 140

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141 142 1
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Our recommendations are for guidance only.
Star ratings and Gold, Recommended and
Best Buy badges are awarded at the t ime of
the original review and given in relation to the
market competition at that time.
144 145 145

118 September 20 15

Top 5 charts B


Price 1,720 inc VAT 1,100 inc VAT 1,599 inc VAT 2,116 inc VAT 999 inc VAT


Launch date Sep14 May 15 June15 Jan15 June15

Build rat ing

**** ****j ****j ****j ****j
Features rating
*~ **** ***~ ****j ***~
Performance rating
****j **** ****- ****j ****
Value rating
**** **** *** ****
Overall rating

****' ****j
2.4GHz Intel Core i74860HQ 2.4GHz Intel Core i75500U
2.2GHz Intel Core i7
2.1GHz Intel Core i54600U
2.7GHz dual-core Intel Core i5


Storage 1TB HOD, 3x 128GB SSD 256GB SSD 256GB SSD 256GB SSD 128GB SSD

Screen size 17.3in matt 13.3in matt 15.4in matt 14in matt 13.3in matt

Screen resolution 1920x1080 1920x1080 2880x1800 1920x1080 2560x1600

Graphics 2x nVidia GeForce GTX 860M nVidia Geforce GTX 860M Intel lris Pro Graphics Intel HD Graphics 4400 Intel Iris Graphics 6100

Video memory 8GB 2GB N/A N/A N/A

Wireless 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 802.11ac 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 802.11a/b/g/ac 802.11a/b/g/n/ac

Ethernet Gigabit Gigabit Gigabit Gigabit Gigabit


USB 3x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0 3x USB 3.0 2x USB 3.0 2x USB 3.0 2x USB 3.0

Fire Wire X

Thunderbolt X X X

DisplayPort X X





Media card slot ./

Audio Headphone jack, mic Headphone jack, mic Headphone jack, mic Headphone jack, mic Headphone jack, mic

Optical drive N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

Extras HD webcam 2Mp webcam 720p Face Time 0.9Mp webcam 720p Face Time

Operating system Windows 8.1 64-bit Windows 8.1 OS X Yosemite Windows 7 Professional OS X Yosemite

Bundled software None None None None None

Gaming scores 189/157fps in Tomb Raider 89/64fps in Tomb Raider Not tested 49/33fps in Tomb Raider Not tested

Battery 74.7Wh lithium-polymer 52Wh lithium-polymer 74.9Wh lithium-ion 42Wh lithium-polymer 74.9Wh lithium-ion

Battery life 1hr 48 mins 10 hrs 20 mins 8 hrs 58 mins 5 hrs 41 mins 17 hrs 5 mins

PCMark7 score 6304 5429 Not tested 4783 Not tested

Dimensions 425x303x24.5mm 328x235x26.7mm 358.9x247.1x18mm 338x232x17.3mm 314x219x18mm

Weight 3.24kg 1.97kg 2.04kg 1.556kg 1.58kg

Warranty 2-year return-to-base 1-year collect-and-return 1-year return-to-base 2-year return-to-base 1-year return-to-base



September 2015 reviews 119
B Top 5 charts


Price 399 inc VAT 269 inc VAT 219 inc VAT 239 inc VAT 410 inc VAT


Launch date Jan15 Jan15 Sep14 Dec 14 Jan15

Build rating
***-.j **** **** ****" ***
Features rating
**** **** **** ****
Performance rating
***i ****-.j **** **** ****
Value rating
***-.j ****i **** ****
Overall rating

1.7GHz Intel Core i34010U
Intel Celeron
2.1GHz nVidia Tegra K1
1.4GHz Intel Celeron 2955U
2GHz Intel Core i34158U


Storage 1TB HOD 16GB SSD 32GB SSD 16GB SSD 500GB HOD with 8GB flash

Screen size 15.6in gloss 13.3in IPS 13.3in 11.6in glossy 13.3in matt

Screen resolution 1920x1080 1920x1080 1920x1080 1366x768 1366x768

Graphics nVidia GeForce 820M Intel HD graphics nVidia Kepler Intel HD Graphics Intel Iris Graphics 5100

Video memory 2GB N/A N/A N/A N/A

Wireless 802.11b/g/n 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 802.11a/b/g/n 802.11a/b/g/n

Ethernet Gigabit Gigabit Gigabit Gigabit Gigabit

Bluetooth ./

US B 1x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0 1x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0 2x USB 3.0 2x USB 3.0 1x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0

FireWire )C )C )C )C )C

Thunderbolt )C )C )C

Display Port )C )C )C )C )C


DVI )C )C )C )C )C

VGA )C )C )C )C

eSATA )C )C )C )C

Media card slot

Audio Headphone minijack Headphone minijack Headphone minijack Headphone minijack Headphone minijack
Optical drive DVD Writer None None None None
None Webcam Webcam Webcam None

Operating system Windows 8.1 Google Chrome OS Google Chrome OS Google Chrome OS Windows 8.1

Bundled software None None None None None

Battery 41Wh Lithium-ion 9 hrs 9 hrs 20 mins Lithium 48Wh Lithium-ion

Battery life 4 hrs 58 mins Not tested 660ms 7 hrs 17 mins 6 hrs 35 mins

PCMark 8 Home score 1959 Not tested Not tested N/A 2358 (3396 Work)

Batman (Low/High) 33/29fps Not tested Not tested N/A 29/24fps

Dimensions 382x265x27.5mm 320x214x19.3mm 18x327x227.5mm 295x201x24mm 327x227x20.6mm

Weight 2.4kg 1.35kg 1.5kg 1.3kg 1.5kg

Warranty lyear return-to-base 1 year 1year 1-year depot lyear return-to-base



120 September 2015
Top 5 charts B

Price 999 inc VAT 2,116 inc VAT 849 inc VAT 1,099 inc VAT 639 inc VAT


Launch date June 15 Jan15 April 14 Mar 15 Oct 14

Build rating
****j ***~ **** ****j ****j
Features rating
***j ****j **** **** ****j
Performance rating
**** ****j **** ***~ ****.
Value rating
**** *** **** ***j
Overall rating

2.7GHz Intel Core iS
2.1GHz Intel Core i5-4600U
1.6GHz Intel Core iS
2.4GHz Intel Core i7-5500U
Intel Haswell Core i3


Storage 128GB SSD 256GB SSD 128GB SSD 256GB SSD 64GB SSD

Screen size 13.3in matt 14in matt 13.3in glossy 13.3in IPS 12in ClearType

Screen resolution 2560x1600 1920x1080 1440x900 3200x2000 2160x1440

Graphics Intel Iris Graphics 6100 Intel HD Graphics 4400 Intel HD Graphics 6000 Intel HD Graphics 5500 Intel HD Graphics 4400

Video memory N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

Wireless 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 802.11a/b/g/ac 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 802.11ac 802.11a/b/g/n/ac

Ethernet Gigabit Gigabit None Gigabit None


USB 2x USB 3.0 2x USB 3.0 2x USB 3.0 2x USB 3.0 1x USB 3.0

FireWire )C

Thunderbolt )C )C

DisplayPort )C )C )C

HDMI ../ )C )C )C )C

DVI )C )C )C )C

VGA )C )C )C )C )C

eSATA )C )C )C )C )C

Med ia card slot ../ ../

Audio Headphone jack, mic Headphone jack, mic Headphone jack, mic Headphone jack Headphone jack, mic

Optical drive N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

Extras 720p FaceTime 0.9Mp webcam 720p FaceTime 720p webcam 5Mp webcam

Operating system OS X Yosemite Windows 7 Professional OS X Yosemite Windows 8.1 64-bit Windows 8.1 Pro

Bundled software None None None Microsoft Office 2013 Trial None

Gaming scores Not tested 49/33fps in Tomb Raider Not tested 40fps Batman: Arkham City Not tested

Battery 74.9Wh lithium-ion 42Wh lithium-polymer 38Wh lithium-ion 52Wh lithium-polymer 8000mAh lithium-ion

Battery life 17 hrs 5 mins 5 hrs 41 mins 12 hrs 49 mins 6 hrs 12 mins 9 hrs

PCMark 7 score Not tested 4783 Not tested Not tested Not tested

Dimensions 314x219x18mm 338x232x17.3mm 300x192x17mm 304x200x15mm 292x201.3x9.1mm

Weight 1.58kg 1.556kg 1.35kg 1.3kg 800g

Warranty 1-year return-to-base 2-year return-to-base 1-year return-to-base 1-year next business day 1-year return-to-base



September 2015 121
B Top 5 charts


Price 269 inc VAT 219 inc VAT 239 inc VAT 259 inc VAT 249 inc VAT


Launch date Jan15 Sep14 Dec14 Sep14 Jan14

Build rating
**** **** **** **** ****
Features rating
**** **** **** **** ****
Performance rat ing
****j **** **** **** ****
Value rating
**** **** ****
Overall rating

Intel Celeron
2.1GHz nVidia Tegra K1
1.4GHz Intel Celeron 2955U
1.4GHz Intel Celeron 2955U
1.4GHz Intel Celeron 2955U


Storage 16GB SSD 32GB SSD 16GB SSD 16GB SSD 16GB SSD

Screen size 13.3in IPS 13.3in 11.6in glossy 14in glossy 11.6in glossy

Screen resolution 1920x1080 1920x1080 1366x768 1366x768 1366x768

Graphics Intel HD graphics nVidia Kepler Intel HD Graphics Intel HD graphics Intel HD graphics

Video memory N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

Wireless 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 802.11a/b/g/n 802.11a/b/g/n 802.11a/b/g/n

Ethernet Gigabit Gigabit Gigabit Gigabit Gigabit

Bluetooth ./

USB l x USB 3.0, lx USB 2.0 2x USB 3.0 2x USB 3.0 2x USB 3.0, lx USB 2.0 lx USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0

Fire Wire )( )( )(

Thunderbolt )( )( )( )(

DisplayPort )( )( )( )( )(


DVI )( )( )( )( )(

VGA )( )( )( )( )(

eSATA )( )( )(

Media card slot ./ ./

Audio Headphone minijack Headphone minijack Headphone minijack Headphone minijack Headphone minijack
Optical drive None None None None None
Webcam Webcam Webcam Webcam Webcam

Operating system Google Chrome OS Google Chrome OS Google Chrome OS Google Chrome OS Google Chrome OS

Bundled software None None None None None

Battery life 9 hrs 9 hrs 20 mins 7 hrs 17 mins 7 hrs 50 mins 6 hrs 7 mins

SunSpider score Not tested 660ms 465ms 470ms 502ms

Peacekeeper score Not tested Not tested 2468 2478 2453

Browsermark score Not tested Not tested 3732 3643 3698

Dimensions 320x214x19.3mm 18x327x227.5mm 295x201x24mm 20.5x345x239mm 19.1x288x204mm

Weight 1.35kg 1.5kg 1.3kg 1.7kg 1.35kg

Warranty 1 year 1year 1 year 1 year 1year



122 reviews September 201 5
Top 5 charts B


Price 1,720 inc VAT 1,100 inc VAT 1,299 inc VAT 1,750 inc VAT 2,100 inc VAT


Launch date Sep14 May15 May15 May15 Jan15

Build rating
**** ***~ **** ***j ****
Features rating
****j **** **** **** ****j
Performance rating
****j **** **** ***j ****j
Value rating
***. . **** **** ***j
Overall rating

****j ****j
2.4GHz Intel Core i7-4860HQ 2.4GHz Intel Core i7-5500U
**** ****
2.6GHz Intel Core i7-4720HQ 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-4720HQ
2.4GHz Intel Core i7-4860HQ

RAM 16GB DDR3 8GB (2x 4GB) DDR3 16GB (2x 8BG) DDR3 16GB DDR3 16GB DDR3

Storage 1TB HOD, 3x 128GB SSD 256GB SSD 1TB HOD, 128GB SSD 2x 128GB SSD, 1TB HDD 2x 256GB SSD

Screen size 17.3in matt 13.3in matt 15.6in matt 17.3in matt 17.3in matt

Screen resolution 1920x1080 1920x1080 1920x1080 1920x1080 1920x1080

Graphics 2x nVidia Geforce GTX 860M nVidia Geforce GTX 860M nVidia Geforce GTX 965M nVidia Geforce GTX 980M 2x nVidia GTX 870M

Video memory 8GB 2GB 3GB 8GB 6GB

Wireless 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 802.11ac 802.11ac 802.11ac 802.11a/b/g/n/ac

Ethernet Gigabit Gigabit Gigabit Gigabit Gigabit


USB 3x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0 3x USB 3.0 3x USB 3.0 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0 3x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0

FireWire )C )C

Thunderbolt )C )C )C

DisplayPort )C

HDMI ../ )C

DVI )C )C )C )C


eSATA )C )C )C )C )C

Med ia card slot ../ ../

Audio Headphone jack, mic Headphone jack, mic Headphone jack, mic Headphone jack, mic Headphone jack, mic

Optical drive N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

Extras HD webcam 2Mp webcam 2.1Mp webcam 0.9Mp webcam HD webcam

Operating system Windows 8.1 64-bit Windows 8.1 Windows 8.1 Windows 8.1 Windows 8.1 64-bit

Bundled software None None None None None

Gaming scores 189/157fps in Tomb Raider 89/64fps in Tomb Raider 123/82fps in Tomb Raider 221/153fps in Tomb Raider 221/170fps in Tomb Raider

Battery 74.7Wh lithium-polymer 52Wh lithium-polymer 48Wh lithium-ion 78Wh lithium-polymer 74.7Wh lithium-polymer

Battery life 1hr 48 mins 10 hrs 20 mins 2 hrs 49 mins 4 hrs 2 mins 1 hr 48 mins

PCMark 7 score 6304 5429 6241 6305 6474

Dimensions 425x303x24.5mm 328x235x26.7mm 389x265x20.3mm 415x286x23.2mm 425x303x24.5mm

Weight 3.24kg 1.97kg 2.04kg 2.89kg 3.24kg

Warranty 2-year return-to-base 1-year col lect-and-return 2-year return-to-base 2-year 2-year return-to-base



September 2015 123
B Top 5 charts

Price 799 inc VAT 668 inc VAT 799 inc VAT 799 inc VAT 780 inc VAT


Launch date Jul13 May 14 May14 May14 May14

Build rating
**** ****' **** ****' ***"1
Features rating
** ***.._ ***** ****"1 *~
Performance rating
****"1 ****.._ ***** ****"1 ****"
Value rating
**** ****~ ****
Overall rating

3.2GHz Intel Core i5-4570
3.4GHz Intel Core i5-4670
3.5GHz Intel Core i5-4690
3.4GHz Intel Core i5-4670
3.5GHz Intel Core i5-4690

RAM 16GB DDR3 8GB DDR31600MHz 16GB DDR3 1600MHz 16GB DDR3 1600MHz 8GB DDR3 1600MHz


Motherboard Asus B85M-G Asus B85M-G Asus B85M-G MSI B85M-E45 Gigabyte H97M-D3H

CPU cooler Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro Standard Intel Cooler Standard Intel Cooler Standard Intel Cooler Standard Intel Cooler

Power supply 600W CiT SOOW FSP 500W FSP SOOW FSP 500W CIT

Screen 23in liyama X2377 24in AOC E2495Sh 23in Asus VS239HV 24in liyama E2483HS-B1 24in liyama E2483HS-B1

Screen resolution 1920x1080 1920x1080 1920x1080 1920x1080 1920x1080

Zotac nVidia GeForce

Graphics AMD Radeon R7 265 AMD Radeon R7 265 nVidia GeForce GTX 750 Ti nVidia GeForce GTX 750 Ti
GTX 650 Ti

Video memory N/A 2GB 2GB 2GB 2GB

802.11b/g/n, Gigabit ethernet,

Connectivity Gigabit ethernet Gigabit ethernet Gigabit ethernet
gigabit ethernet 802.11b/g/n
3x USB 3.0, 6x USB 2.0, 2x 3x USB 3.0, 6x USB 2.0, 2x 4x USB 3.0, 8x USB 2.0, 5x USB 3.0, 3x USB 2.0, 2x
USB 3x USB 3.0, 6x USB 2.0

Media card slot None None None None None

Sound On board Onboard On board On board On board

Speakers 2x Logitech LS220 None None None None

Fractal Design Core 1000

Case Cooler Master Force 500 Zalman Z3 Plus Zalman Z3 Plus Zalman Z3 Plus
Logitech MK270 Logitech MK270 Gigabyte KM6150
Keyboard Logitech MK260 Octigen wireless combo
(wireless combo) (wireless combo) (wired combo)

Optical drive LG BO-ROM/OVORW LiteOn OVO RW Lite On BO-ROM/DVO RW 24x OVO RW None

Operating system Windows 8 64-bit Windows 8.1 64-bit Windows 8.1 64-bit Windows 8.1 64-bit Windows 8.1 64-bit

Bundled software None None None None None

Sniper V2 Elite score

147/59/14fps 240/76/18fps 240/76/18fps 195/68/16fps 196/83/20fps
Alien vs Predator score
(720p/1080p) 52/27fps 83/44fps 83/44fps 71/37fps 102/53fps

PCMark 7 score 6177 3938 5953 7304 6431

5-year labour. 2-year 3-years labour (2-year parts,

Warranty 2-year collect-and-return 2-year return-to-base 3-year labour (2-year parts)
collect-and-return 3-months free C&R)


124 September 2015
Helios i5 5200U ULTRABOOK

Intel Core i5-5200U Processor

13.3" Full HD ( 1920x 1080) IPS Display
8GB 1333MHz DDR3 Memory
250GB Samsung 850 EVO M.2 SSD

- - - -- - - - -

~/i /~~~;'!',)III I~l:l: Il" \: .

Intel Dual Band Wireless Card
720P HD Webcam FINANCE
- "" -- .
325mm x 219mm x 18mm AVAILABLE ON
Microsoft Windows 8. 1 ALL SYSTEMS OVER 250*
\ FROM 699 INC VAT Terms & Con ditions apply.
Credit sub ject to statu s a nd affordab ility.

Fusion Nano Fusion Pharaoh Fusion Wolf Fusion Orion i7

Inte l Core i5-4690K Processor Intel Core TM i5-4690 Processor Intel Core i7-4790K Processor Intel Core i7-4790 Processor
Corsair H55 Liquid Cooler A sus B85M-G Motherboard Corsair H80i GT Liquid Cooler Asus B85M-G Motherboard
Asus Z971-Pius Motherboard 16GB 1600MHz DDR3 Memory Asus Z971-PLUS Motherboard 16GB 1333MHz DDR3 Memory
16GB 1600MHz DDR3 Memory AMD Radeon R7 270 2GB GPU 16GB 1600MHz DDR3 Memory GeForce GT 620 1GB GPU
GeForce GTX 9704GB GPU 120GB Samsung 850 EVO SSD GeForce GTX 980Ti 6GB GPU 2TB 7200rpm Hard Drive
250GB Samsung 850 EVO SSD 1TB Sea gate 7200RPM Hard Disk 256GB Samsung M.2 PCie SSD 24x DVD-RW Optical Drive
1TB Seaga te SSHD Hybrid Drive Microsoft Windows 8.1 2TB Seagate SSHD Hybrid Drive Microsoft Windows 8. 1
Microsoft Windows 8.1 23" Asus VS239HV IPS LED Monitor Microsoft Windows 8.1
Logitech Keyboard and Mouse

The UK's most awarded PC Builder** Cre-dit subje-ct to status and affordabilily. Cre-dit is provided by a panel of lenders with whom we have a comme-rcial relationship -
we- are- not able to provide Independe-nt advice-. Te-rms & Conditions apply. Credit subje-ct to status and affordablllty.
But don't just take our word for it ... Chlllblast won more- awards In the le-ading IT press publlcaHons PC Pro, PC Advisorand Computer Shopper combined than any othe-r
retaile-r 2010-2013
-Five time winner of PC Pro Excellence Award! World ' s faste-st PC as te-ste-d by PC Pro Magazine- http:/ revlewsj desktops/ 371152/ chlllblast-fvslon-photo-oc-lv
- Four time winner of PC Advisor Best Desktop Brandl Intel. the Intel Logo. Inte-l Inside-. Intel Core-, Core- Inside-, Pentium. and PenHum Inside are trademarks of Intel Corporation In the U.S.
and/or other countries.
-Builder of the World's Fastest PC!
Te-rms and conditions are on the website. All trademarks are acknowledged. Pictures are lor illustration only.
-Computer Shopper & Expert Reviews Best PC Manufacturer 2012 Prices are correct at time of going to press (06-07-15) E&OE
iPad & iPhone User magazine is the
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Every new feature


Every issue is full of the latest app reviews,

gaming, tutorials, buying advice & more
Top 5 charts B

Price 999 inc VAT 999 inc VAT 999 inc VAT 749 inc VAT 999 inc VAT


Launch date Mar 15 Mar 15 Mar 15 Mar 15 April15

Build rating
***** ****~ ****~ ***~ *****
Features rating
***** *** ic. ****~ *** ****~
Performance rating
**** **** ****~ ***~ ****j
Value rating
**** ***~ ***j
Overall rating
3.5GHz Intel Core i5-4690K
3.5GHz Intel i5-4670K
****~ ****j
3.5GHz Intel Core i5-4690K
3.5GHz Intel Core i5 4690K
Processor 3.5GHz Intel Core i5-4690K
(OC 4.4GHz) (OC 4.6GHz) (OC 4.2GHz) (4.2GHz OC)

Cooler Master Seidon SilentiumPC Fera 2

CPU cooler Zalman CNPS11X Extreme Be Quiet Pure Rock BK009 Corsair H55 Water Cooler
120mm RL-S12M-FLNN-Sl Heatpipe Cooler

Memory 16GB HyperX Savage 8GB DDR3 8GB DDR3 8GB DDR3 8GB DDR3

Storage 2TB HOD + 250GB SSD 1TB HOD + 120GB SSD 1TG HOD+ 120GB SSD 1TB SSHD 2TB HOD + 240GB SSD

Power supply 550W XFX Core Edition 450W Corsair 600W Cooler Master 600W Corsair 600W Aerocoollntegrator

Motherboard Asus Z97-K Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming 3 Gigabyte H81M-S2H Gigabyte Z97-HD3 MSI Z97M-G43

Operating system Windows 8.1 Windows 8.1 Windows 8.1 Windows 8.1 64-bit Windows 8.1

Screen 26in HKC 2615 24in liyama GE2488HS-B1 24in AOC E2470SWDA None supplied 23.6in AOC 12476VWM

XFX AMD Radeon R9 Palit nVidia GeForce MSI nVidia GeForce

Graphics MSI GeForce GTX 960 MSI nVidia GTX970 4GB
285 DO Edition GTX 690 GTX 970

Sound On board Onboard Onboard Onboard On board

Connectivity Gigabit ethernet Gigabit ethernet Gigabit ethernet Gigabit ethernet Gigabit ethernet

6x USB 3.0, 4x USB 2.0, 2x 6x USB 3.0, 3x USB 2.0, 6x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, 2x
Ports 6x USB 3.0, 4x USB 2.0 6x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0
PS/2, D-Sub, OVI-D, 6x SATA 2x DVI, HDMI, DP DVI, HDMI, DP, PS/2

Optical drive Sam sung DVD + RW None None None DVDRW

Case XFX Type 1Bravo NZXT Source 340 NZXT Source 340 Black NZXT Source 340 CIT Kube Case

Cooler Master Storm Cooler Master Devastator Gamdias Ares Keyboard

Keyboard & mouse Corsair None
Devastator Set Keyboard and Mouse and Mouse
Chillblast Family Software
Other None Corsair Raptor Bundle None None
pack (optional)

PCMark 7 score 7931 7090 5945 5823 6244

Alien vs Predator score

(720p/1080p) 111.4/59.8fps 103.4/54.7 167.8/89fps 104.2/55.2fps 1169.2/89.6fps

Final Fantasy XIV

(Maximum) 91fps 86fps 120fps 86fps 137fps

Sniper Elite V2
(Low/Medium/Ultra) 292.1/106.8/26.5fps 285.6/123.6/28.9fps 281.1/192.9/48.1fpsfps 289.3/123.8/29fps 429.4/204.3/49.1fps

Power Consumption 76/432W 77/310W 48/261W 50/277W 72/369W

2-year parts, 3-year return- 5-year labour (2-year 1-year RTB (3-year labour
Warranty 3-year return-to-base 3-year PromoCare
to-base, 30-day C&R collect-and-return) only), 90-day C&R



September 2015 127
B Top 5 charts


Price 1,999 inc VAT 799 inc VAT 1,299 inc VAT 799 inc VAT 900 inc VAT


Launch date Dec 14 Dec14 Dec14 Dec 14 Dec14

Build rating
***** ***j *** ***j ****
Features rating
* **j ** **** *
Performance rating
**** ***j ***** **j **j
Value rating
***~ **** ***
Overall rating

3.9GHz Intel Core iS-4690
2.7GHz Intel Core i5-4460T
4GHz Intel Core i7-4790S
2.6GHz Intel Core i5-4200U
3.2GHz Intel Core i7-4785T


Storage lTB Fusion Drive lTB HDD lTB SSD lTB HDD lTB HDD

Screen 27in 23in touchscreen 24in 23in touchscreen 23in touchscreen

Screen resolution 5120x2880 1920x1080 1920x1080 1920x1080 1920x1080

Graphics card AMD Radeon M9 M290X nVidia GeForce GT 840M nVidia GeForce GT 750M Intel HD Graphics 4400 Intel HD Graphics 4600

Video memory 2GB 2GB 2GB N/A N/A

Wireless 802.11b/g/n 802.11b/g/n 802.11b/g/n 802.11b/g/n 802.11b/g/n

Ethernet Gigabit Gigabit Gigabit Gigabit Gigabit

Bluetooth X X X X X

USB 4x USB 3.0 2x USB 3.0, 3x USB 2.0 4x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0 3x USB 3.0, 3x USB 2.0 2x USB 3.0, 4x USB 2.0

Fire Wire X X X

Thunderbolt X X X X


Media card slot

Optical drive None DVD Writer Blu-Ray Combo DVD Writer DVD Writer

2Mp webcam, Freeview Wireless keyboard and

Final Cut Pro X, Logic 1Mp webcam, wireless Logitech MK520 wireless
Other TV, wireless keyboard and mouse, Beats Audio stereo
Pro X, Aperture keyboard and mouse keyboard and mouse
mouse speaker system (8x 12W)

Operating system OS X Yosemite Windows 8.1 64-bit Windows 8.1 64-bit Windows 8.1 64-bit Windows 8.1 64-bit

Power consumption
(idle/max) 46/215W 46/91W 35/177W 33/69W 43/81W

Sniper V2 Elite
Not tested 47.7/18.7/S.lfps 91.5/41.2/10.5fps 31.4/7.8/Sfps 27.7/7.4/5 fps

PCMark 8 Home score Not tested 2906 3776 2828 2702

Dimensions 650x203x516mm 540x489x579mm 585x200x450mm 571x359x50-214mm 563x143x413mm

Weight 9.54kg 8.8kg 14.6kg 9kg 8.4kg

5-year labour 1-year limited parts, labour.

Warranty 1-year return-to-base Not stated 1-year return-to-base
(2-year collect-and-return) and pickup-and-return service



128 reviews September 201 5
Top 5 charts B
.. --
11 :oo

Price 349 inc VAT 349 inc VAT 500 inc VAT 479 inc VAT 579 inc VAT


Launch date Apr 15 Sep14 May 15 May14 Mar 15

Build rating
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Features rating
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Performance rating
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Value rating
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Overall rating

OS (out of box)
Android 5.0 Lollipop
And roid 4.4 KitKat
Android 5.1 Lollipop
Android 4.4 KitKat
Android 5.0 Lollipop

Processor 2.1GHz Exynos 7420 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801 Snapdragon 808 six-core 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801 Snapdragon 810 octa-core


Storage 32/64GB 16GB 32GB 16GB/32GB 32GB

MicroSD support No Up to 128GB Up to 128GB No Up to 128GB

Graphics Mali-T760 GPU Adreno 330 Adreno 418 Adreno 330 Adreno 430

Screen size 5.1in 4.6in 4.5in 5.5in Sin

Screen resolution 1440x2560 720x1280 1440x2560 1440x2560 1080x1920

Pixel density 577ppi 319ppi 538ppi 534ppi 441ppi

Screen technology Super AMOLED IPS IPS IPS IPS

Front camera 5Mp 2.2Mp 8Mp 2Mp 4Mp (UitraPixel)

Rear camera 16Mp, LED flash 20.7Mp, LED flash 16Mp 13Mp, LED flash 20Mp

Video recording 4K 4K 4K 4K 4K

Cellular connectivity 4G 4G 4G 4G 4G

SIM type Nano-SIM Nano-SIM Micro-S IM Micro-SIM Nano-SIM

Duai-SIM as standard No No No No No

Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band

Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.1 Bluetooth 4.0 Bluetooth 4.1 Bluetooth 4.0 (aptX) Bluetooth 4.1 (aptX)

GPS GPS, Glonass A-GPS, Glonass A-GPS, Glonass A-GPS, Glonass GPS, Glonass

NFC Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

USB OTG Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Heart-rate sensor, Waterproof, 24-bit/192kHz audio, 24-bit/192kHz audio,
Extra features BoomSound speakers
fingerprint scanner P$4 Remote Play rear key rear key
Geekbench 3.0 (single) 1347 Not tested Not tested Not tested 1160

Geekbench 3.0 (multi) 4438 2800 3513 2465 3378

SunSpider 1048ms 944ms 715ms 959ms 867ms

GFXBench: T-Rex 30fps 41fps 25fps 20fps 50fps

GFXBench: Manhattan 14fps 26fps 9fps Not tested 24fps

Battery 2550mAh, non-removable 2600mAh, non-removable 3000mAh removable 3000mAh, removable, Qi 2840mAh, non-removable

Dimensions 143.4x70.5x6.8mm 64.9x127x8.6mm 64.9x127x8.6mm 75x146x8.9mm 70x145x9.7mm

Weight 138g 129g 155g 149g 157g

Warranty 1year 2 years 1year 1 year 1year


September 2015 129

B Top 5 charts



Price 109 inc VAT 79 inc VAT 99 inc VAT 140 inc VAT 117 inc VAT


Launch date Feb 15 June15 June 15 Sep14 May14

Build rating
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Features rating
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Performance rating
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Value rating
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Overall rating

OS (out of box)
Android 5.0 Lollipop
Android 5.0.2 Lollipop
Android 5.0 Lollipop
Android 4.4 KitKat
Android 4.4 KitKat

Processor 1.2GHz Snapdragon 410 1.2GHz Snapdragon 410 1.2GHz 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400


Storage 8GB 8GB 8GB 8GB 8GB

MicroSD support Up to 32GB Up to 64GB Not stated Up to 32GB Up to 32GB

Graphics Adreno 306 Adreno 306 Not stated Adreno 305 Adreno 305

Screen size 4.5in 5in 4.7in 5in 4.5in

Screen resolution 540x960 720x1280 720x1280 720x1280 720x1280

Pixel density 245ppi 294ppi 312ppi 294ppi 326ppi

Screen technology IPS IPS IPS IPS IPS

Front camera 0.3Mp 2Mp 2Mp 2Mp 1.3Mp

Rear camera 5Mp 8Mp 8Mp, LED flash 8Mp, LED fl ash 5Mp, LED flash

Video recording 720p 1080p 720p 720p 720p

Cellular connectivity 4G 4G 4G 3G 4G

SIM type Micro-SIM Micro-SIM Micro-SIM Micro-SIM Micro-SIM

Duai-SIM as standard No No No Yes No

Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n 802.11b/g/n 802.11b/g/n 802.11b/g/n 802.11 b/g/n

Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.0 Bluetooth 4.0 Bluetooth 4.0 Bluetooth 4.0 Bluetooth 4.0

GPS GPS, A-GPS, Glonass A-GPS A-GPS, Glonass A-GPS, Glonass A-GPS, Glonass

NFC No No No No No

USB OTG No Yes Yes Yes Yes

Double-twist launches
Extra features FM radio WiFi calling Stereo speakers None
camera, lockscreen alerts
Geekbench 3.0 (single) 464 464 Not tested 340 334

Geekbench 3.0 (multi) 1463 1401 1549 1144 1168

SunSpider 1301ms 1301ms 1880ms 1526ms 1504ms

GFXBench: T-Rex 13fps 9.4fps 10fps 11fps 11fps

GFXBench: Manhattan 6fps 3.8fps 4fps 4fps Not tested

Battery 2390mAh, non-removable N/S, non-removable 2000mAh, non-removable 2390mAh, non-removable 2070mAh, non-removable

Dimensions 66.8x5.2-12.3x129.9mm 141.65x71.89x9mm 138x67.9x9.5mm 71x142x11mm 66x130x11.6mm

Weight 145g 155g 124g 155g 143g

Warranty 1year 1 year 1year 1 year 1year



130 September 2015
Top 5 charts B


Price 599 inc VAT 500 inc VAT 479 inc VAT 229 inc VAT 499 inc VAT


Launch date Sep14 May15 May14 Jul14 Oct 14

Build rating
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Features rating
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Performance rating
**** **** ****~ **** ****
Value rating
**** ***~ ****~ ***~
Overall rating

OS (out of box)
Android 4.4 KitKat
Android 5.1 Lollipop
Android 4.4 KitKat
Cyanogen 11S (Android 4.4)
Android 5.0 Lollipop

Processor 2.7GHz Snapdragon 805 1.82GHz Snapdragon 808 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801 2.7GHz Snapdragon 805


Storage 32GB 32GB 16GB/32GB 16GB/64GB 32GB/64GB

MicroSD support Up to 128GB Up to 128GB No No No

Graphics Adreno 420 Adreno 418 Adreno 330 Adreno 330 Adreno 420

Screen size 5.7in 5.5in 5.5in 5.5in 5.96in

Screen resolution 1440x2560 1440x2560 1440x2560 1920x1080 1440x2560

Pixel density 515ppi 538ppi 534ppi 401ppi 493ppi

Screen technology Super AMOLED IPS IPS IPS IPS

Front camera 3.7Mp 8Mp 2Mp 5Mp 2Mp

Rear camera 16Mp, LED flash 16Mp, LED flash 13Mp, LED flash 13Mp, LED flash 13Mp, LED flash

Video recording 4K 4K 4K 4K 4K

Cellular connectivity 4G 4G 4G 4G 4G

SIM type Micro-SIM Micro-SIM Micro-SIM Micro-SIM Nano-SIM

Duai-SIM as standard No No No No No

Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band 802.11b/g/n/ac, dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band

Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.1 Bluetooth 4.0 Bluetooth 4.0 (aptX) Bluetooth 4.0 Bluetooth 4.1

GPS GPS, Glonass A-GPS, Glonass A-GPS, Glonass GPS, Glonass GPS, Glonass

NFC Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

USB OTG Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Fingerprint, UV, heart-rate 24bit/192kHz audio, 24bit/192kHz audio,
Extra features None None
sensors, S Pen stylus rear key, IR blaster rear key
Geekbench 3.0 (single) Not tested Not tested Not tested 969 Not tested

Geekbench 3.0 (multi) 3272 3513 2465 2570 3304

SunSpider 1367ms 715ms 959ms 877ms 791ms

GFXBench: T-Rex 27fps 25fps 20fps 29fps 27fps

GFXBench: Manhattan 11fps 9fps Not tested Not tested 12fps

Battery 3220mAh, removable 3000mAh, removable, Oi 3000mAh, removable, Oi 3100mAh, non-removable 3220mAh, non-removable, Oi

Dimensions 78.6x153.5x8.5mm 76x149x6.3-9.8mm 75x146x8.9mm 75.9x152.9x8.9mm 82x159x10.4mm

Weight 176g 155g 149g 162g 183g

Warranty 2 years 1 year 1year 1 year 1year



September 2015 131
B Top 5 charts
- .

Price 199 inc VAT 319 inc VAT 299 inc VAT 239 inc VAT 319 inc VAT


Launch date Aug13 Aug14 Sep14 Oct 13 Oct 14

Build rating
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Features rating
****~ ****~ ****~ **** ****
Performance rating
****~ ****~ ****~ ****~ ****~
Value rating
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Overall rating

OS (out of box)
Android 4.3 Jelly Bean
Android 4.4 KitKat
Android 4.4 KitKat
iOS 8.2
Android 5.0 Lollipop

Processor 1.5GHz Snapdragon 54 Pro Exynos 5420, octa-core 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801 Apple A7, Apple M7 2.3GHz nVidia Tegra K1


Storage 16GB/32GB 16GB/32GB 16GB/32GB 16GB/32GB 16GB/32GB

MicroSD support No Up to 128GB Up to 128GB No No

Graphics Adreno 320 ARM Mali-T628 MP6 Ad reno 330 Apple A7 192-core Kepler

Screen size 7in 8.4in Bin 7.9in 8.9in

Screen resolution 1920x1200 2560x1440 1920x1200 2048x1536 2048x1536

Pixel density 323ppi 359ppi 283ppi 326ppi 287ppi

Screen technology IPS Super AMOLED IPS IPS IPS

Front camera 1.2Mp 2.1Mp 2.2Mp 1.2Mp 1.6Mp

Rear camera 5Mp 8Mp, LED flash 8.1Mp 5Mp 8Mp, LED flash

Video recording 1080p 1080p 1080p 1080p 1080p

Cellular connectivity 4G version available 4G version available 4G version available 4G version available 4G version available

Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n, dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band

Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.0 Bluetooth 4.0 Bluetooth 4.0 Bluetooth 4.0 Bluetooth 4.1

GPS GPS, Glonass GPS, Glonass A-GPS, Glonass A-GPS, Glonass GPS, Glonass

NFC Yes No Yes No Yes

USB OTG Yes Yes Yes No Yes

Fingerprint scanner No Yes No No No

Waterproof No No Yes No No
PS4 Remote Play,
Extra features None Stereo speakers None BoomSound speakers
stereo speakers
Geekbench 3.0 (single) Not tested Not tested Not tested Not tested 1904

Geekbench 3.0 (multi) Not tested 2765 2708 Not tested 3352

SunSpider 1136ms 1089ms 1017ms 397ms 955ms

GFXBench: T-Rex Not tested 14fps 28fps Not tested 48fps

GFXBench: Manhattan Not tested 3fps 11fps Not tested 22fps

Battery 3950mAh, non-removable, Qi 4900mAh, non-removable 4500mAh, non-removable 6470mAh, non-removable 6700mAh, non-removable

Dimensions 200x114x8.65mm 126x213x6.6mm 213x124x6.4mm 134.7x7.5x200mm 153.7x228.3x8mm

Weight 299g 294g 270g 331g 425g

Warranty 1year 1 year 1year 1 year 1year



132 September 2015
Top 5 charts B



Price 399 inc VAT 399 inc VAT 369 inc VAT 319 inc VAT 389 inc VAT


Launch date Oct 14 Aug14 Mar 14 Oct 13 Oct 12

Build rating
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Features rating
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Performance rating
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Value rating
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Overall rating

OS (out of box)
iOS 8.2
Android 4.4 KitKat
Android 4.4 KitKat
iOS 8.2
Android 4.2 Jelly Bean

Processor Apple A8X, Apple M8 Exynos 5420, octa-core 2.3GHz Snapdragon 801 Apple A7, Apple M7 1.7GHz Exynos 5250


Storage 16GB/64GB/128GB 16GB/32GB 16GB 16GB/32GB 16GB/32GB

MicroSD support No Up to 128GB Up to 64GB No No

Graphics Apple A8X ARM Mali-T628 MP6 Adreno 330 Apple A7 ARM Mali T604

Screen size 9.7in 10.5in 10.1in 9.7in 10.1in

Screen resolution 2048x1536 2560x1600 1920x1200 2048x1536 2560x1600

Pixel density 264ppi 288ppi 224ppi 264ppi 300ppi

Screen technology IPS Super AMOLED IPS IPS IPS

Front camera 1.2Mp 2.1Mp 2.2Mp 1.2Mp 1.9Mp

Rear camera 8Mp 8Mp, LED flash 8.1Mp 5Mp 5Mp, LED flash

Video recording 1080p 1080p 1080p 1080p 1080p

Cellular connectivity 4G version available 4G version available 4G version available 4G version available No

Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n, dual-band 802.11b/g/n, dual-band

Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.0 Bluetooth 4.0 Bluetooth 4.0 Bluetooth 4.0 Bluetooth 4.0

GPS A-GPS, Glonass GPS, Glonass GPS, Glonass A-GPS, Glonass GPS, Glonass

NFC Yes (for Apple Pay) No Yes No Yes

USB OTG No Yes Yes No Yes

Fingerprint scanner Yes Yes No No No

Waterproof No No Yes No No

Extra features None Stereo speakers PlayStation certified None None

Geekbench 3.0 (single) 1816 Not tested 967 1487 Not tested

Geekbench 3.0 (multi) 4523 2769 2719 2703 Not tested

SunSpider Not tested 1079ms 1099ms 400ms 1329ms

GFXBench: T-Rex 48fps 14fps 27fps 23fps Not tested

GFXBench: Manhattan Not tested 3fps Not tested Not tested Not tested

Battery 7340mAh, non-removable 7900mAh, non-removable 6000mAh, non-removable 8600mAh, non-removable 9000mAh, non-removable

Dimensions 240x169.5x6.1mm 247x177x6.6mm 266x172x6.4mm 240x169x7.5mm 264x178x8.9mm

Weight 437g 465g 439g 469g 603g

Warranty 1year 1 year 1year 1 year 1year



September 2015 133
B Top 5 charts

Price 195 inc VAT 199 inc VAT 189 inc VAT 199 inc VAT 159 inc VAT


Launch date Nov14 Oct 14 Sep14 Jan15 Jul14

Overall rating
****~ ****~ ***~ ***~ ****
Operating system Android Wear Android Wear Android Wear Android Wear Android Wear

Compatibility Android Android Android Android Android

Display 1.3in 320x320 P-OLED 1.56in 290x320 LCD 1.6in 320x320 LCD 1.6in 320x320 AMOLED 1.65in 280x280 IPS

Processor 1.2GHz Snapdrgon 400 Tl OMAP 3 1.2GHz ARM V7 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400

RAM 512MB 512MB 512MB 512MB 512MB

Storage 4GB 4GB 4GB 4GB 4GB

Waterproof Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Battery 410mAh 320mAh 420mAh 1.4Wh 400mAh

Dimensions 46.4x53.6x9.7mm 46x11.5mm 36x51x10mm 51 x39.9x7.9-9.4mm 37.9x46.5x9.95mm

Weight 62g 49g (leather band model) 45g 75g 63g

Warranty 1year 1year 1year 1year 1year


Price 179 inc VAT 1251nc VAT 1691nc VAT 991nc VAT 260 inc VAT


Launch date Sep14 Jun13 Apr 14 Dec 14 Apr 14

Overall rating
**** **** ****' **** ***~
Operating system Proprietary Proprietary Tizen Proprietary Tizen

Compatibility iOS, Android Android Samsung phones iOS, Android Samsung phones

Display 1.26in 144x168 E-Paper 1.6in 220x176 LCD 1.6in 320x320 Super AMOLED 1.01in 96x16 OLEO 1.6in 320x320 Super AMOLED

Processor Not specified Not specified Dual-core Not specified 1GHz dual-core

RAM 512MB Not specified 512MB Not specified 512MB

Storage Not specified Not specified 4GB Not specified 4GB

Waterproof Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Battery 130mAh Not specified 300mAh Not specified 300mAh

Dimensions 46x34x10.5mm 42x41x9mm 58.8x37.9x10mm 43x43x12.7mm 36.9x58.4x10mm

We ight 156g 123g 55g 52g 68g

Warranty 1year 1year 1year 1year 1year



134 September 2015
Top 5 charts B


Price 119 inc VAT 199 inc VAT 79 inc VAT 169 inc VAT 99 inc VAT


Launch date Jan15 Jan 15 Jan14 May15 Nov 14

Overall rating
****~ ****~ ****~ ***~ ****
Compatibility iOS, Android, Windows iOS, Android, Windows iOS, Android iOS, Android, Windows iOS, Android, Windows

Display OLEO Touchscreen OLEO TFT OLEO

Pedometer Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Heart-rate monitor Yes Yes No Yes No

Sleep tracking Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Alarm Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Third-party app synching Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Call notifications Yes Yes No Yes Yes

Waterproof Yes Yes No Yes Yes

Battery life 5+ days 5 days 10-14 days 2 days 7-10 days

Dimensions, weight 21.1mm, 26g 34mm, 51g 35.5x28x9.65mm, 8g 11x33mm, 60g 21.1mm, 24g


Price 169 inc VAT 29 inc VAT 89 inc VAT 39 inc VAT 99 inc VAT


Launch date Apr 15 Feb 15 June15 Nov 14 Mar 14

Overall rating
***~ ****~ **** **** ***~
Compatibility iOS, Android iOS, Android iOS, Android iOS, Android iOS, Android

Display E-lnk No No No No

Pedometer Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Heart-rate mon itor Yes No No No No

Sleep tracking Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Alarm No Yes Yes No Yes

Third-party app synching No No Yes Yes Yes

Call notifications Yes Yes No No No

Waterproof Yes Yes Splashproof Splashproof Splashproof

Battery life 4 days 30 days 7 days Six months, non-rechargable 7 days

Dimensions, weight 33x43x10mm, 51g 157-205mm, 13g 220x11.5x3-8.5mm, 25g 27.6x27.6x9.8mm, 6.8g S: 19g, M: 22g, L: 23g



September 2015 135
B Top 5 charts

GO, -l

Price 100 inc VAT 60 inc VAT 91 inc VAT 68 inc VAT 70 inc VAT


Launch date Mar 14 Apr 14 Mar 15 Aug 14 Jul14

Overall rating
****~ **** ****~ **** ****
Technology Mono laser Colour inkjet Mono laser Mono laser Colour inkjet

Max print resolution 1200x1200 4800x1200dpi 1200x1200dpi 1200x1200dpi 4800x1200dpi

Actual print speed B=17.1ppm B=11.8ppm C=8.7ppm B=22.2ppm B=18ppm B=9.7ppm C=3.8ppm

Scan/fax facilities 1200x1200 scans 1200x2400 scans None None 1200x2400 scans/fax

Supported interfaces USB 2.0, 802.11b/g/n, NFC USB 2.0, 802.11b/g/n USB 2.0, 802.11b/g/n USB 2.0, 802.11b/g/n USB 2.0, 802.11b/g/n, AirPrint

Cost per page B=3.8p B=2.4p C=4.8p B=2p B=5p B=2.7p C=4.8p

Media card/auto duplex XX x../ x../ XX x../

Input capacity 150 sheets 100 sheets 250 sheets 150 sheets 100 sheets+ 30-sheet ADF

Dimensions 406x360x253mm 455x369x148mm 379x293x243mm 332x215x178mm 458x385x200mm

Weight 7.4kg 6.3kg 7kg 4kg 8.5kg

Warranty 1year 1year 1year 1year 1year


Price 200 inc VAT 320 inc VAT 330 inc VAT 548 inc VAT 275 inc VAT


Launch date May15 May14 Jan15 Aug14 Aug 13

Overall rating
****~ ****~ **** ****~ ****~
Technology Colour inkjet Mono laser Colour inkjet Colour laser Colour inkjet

Max print resolution 4800x1200dpi 1200x600dpi 5760x1440dpi 2400x600dpi 2400x2400

Actual print speed B=18.9ppm B=24ppm B=8.5ppm C=4ppm B=30ppm C=30ppm B=42.9ppm C=15.8ppm

Scan/fax facilities None 600dpi scanner, 33.6Kb/s fax 1200dpi scanner, 33.6Kb/s fax None None

Supported interfaces USB 2.0, ethernet, 802.11b/g/n USB 2.0, ethernet, 802.11b/g/n USB 2.0, 802.11b/g/n USB 2.0, ethernet, 802.11b/g/n USB 2.0, ethernet. 802.11b/g/n

Cost per page B=1.1p B=1.5p B=0.2p C=0.4p B=lp C=5.9p B=1p C=4.3p

Media card/auto duplex x../ x../ XX x../ x../

Input capacity 250 + 80 sheet 250 +50 sheet + 50 ADF 100 + 30 sheet 750 sheets+ 50 sheet 500 + 50 sheet

Dimensions 3461x442x284mm 390x473x431mm 474x377x226mm 410x495x445mm 517x399x414mm

Weight 11.4kg 19.1kg 6.2kg 28.3kg 17.1kg

Warranty 1year 1year 1year 1year 1year


136 September 2015

Top 5 charts B



Price 169 inc VAT 150 inc VAT 108 inc VAT 90 inc VAT 160 inc VAT


Launch date Jan14 Sep 14 Sep 14 Jan 14 Jan 14

Overall rating

Standards supported

Frequency modes 2.4GHz/5GHz (concurrent) 2.4GHz/5GHz (concurrent) 2.4GHz/5GHz (concurrent) 2.4GHz/5GHz (concurrent) 2.4GHz/5GHz (concurrent)

Antennas 6x internal 3x external 3x external 3x external, 3x internal 3x external, 3x internal

Built-in modem X X X X X

Manufacturer's rating 1300/450Mb/s 1300/600M b/s 1300/600Mb/s 1300/450Mb/s 1300/600Mb/s

WPS X .(

Por ts Gigabit WAN, 3x gigabit LAN, USB Gigabit WAN, lxUSB3.0, 1xUSB 2.0 Gigabit WAN, lx USB 3.0, lxUSB2.0 Gigabit WAN. 4x gigabit LAN. 2x USB 2.0 Gigabit WAN, 4xgigabit LAN, 2x USB2.0

Average power use 8W 9W lOW N/A N/A

Max speed (ll n/llac) 171/572Mb/s 171/592Mb/s 171/625Mb/s 110/505Mb/s 98/610Mb/s

Dimensions, weight 98x168x98mm, 945g 285x186x45mm, 750g 247x190x47mm, 745g 32.5x243x160mm, 508g 160x83x220mm, 640g

Warrant y 1year N/S N/S 3 years 2 years



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Price 43 inc VAT 41 inc VAT 119 inc VAT 88 inc VAT 88 inc VAT


Launch date Nov 14 Mar 14 Sep14 May15 Apr 14

Overall rating

No of adaptors in kit
1(2 required)

Max throughput 1200Mb/s 600Mb/s 1200Mb/s 1200Mb/s 500Mb/s

Near test result 410Mb/s 146Mb/s 357Mb/s 500Mb/s 100Mb/s

Far test resu lt 107Mb/s 71Mb/s 126Mb/s 200Mb/s 65Mb/s

Ethernet ports 2x gigabit 1x gigabit lx gigabit 1x gigabit 3x fast

Passthrough socket Yes No Yes Yes Yes

Wireles s hotspot No No No No Yes

Encryption 128-bit 128-bit 128-bit 128-bit 128-bit

Di mensions 62x122x41mm 55x87x58mm 130x66x42mm 230x190x100mm 126x64x42mm

Weight Not specified 90g Not specified 898g Not specified

Warranty 2 years 3 years 3 years 1year 1year


September 2015 137

B Top 5 charts

Price 320 inc VAT (diskless) 83 inc VAT (diskless) 190 inc VAT (diskless) 205 inc VAT (diskless) 270 inc VAT (diskless)


Lau nch date Mar 14 Feb 15 Dec14 May 15 Jan15

Overall rat ing

Drive bays 4

Processor ZGHz Marvell single-core 800MHz Marvell Armada 370 1.6GHz Marvell single-core 1.3 GHz Marvel Armada 385 1.2GHz Mindspeed Concerto

Memory 1GB DDR3 256MB DDR3 512MB DDR3 1GB DDR3 512MB DDR3

Remote access ./ ./

eSATA 2x X X 1x

USB port 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0 2x USB 2.0 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0 2x USB 3.0 1x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0

Raid opt ions 0/1/5/6/10/JBOD None 0/1/JBOD 00/1/JBOD 0/1/5/6/10/JBOD

Software Backup Station DSM 5.1 HD Station My Cloud DSM 5.0

Dimensions 177x180x235mm 71x161x224mm 302x220x41mm 216x109x148mm 184x168x230mm

Weight 3kg 700g 1.5kg 3.5kg 2.2kg

Wa rranty 2 years 1year 2 years 3 years 3 years


Price 70 inc VAT 76 inc VAT 90 inc VAT 99 inc VAT 269 inc VAT


Launch date Feb 15 Feb 15 Feb 15 Feb 15 Feb 15

Overall rat ing

Capacity test ed

Capacity range 500GB, 1TB, 2TB 500GB, 1TB, 2TB lTB, 2TB 500GB 500GB, 1TB, 1.5TB, 2TB

Disk size 2.5in 2.5in 2.5in 2.5in 2.5in

Spin speed 5400rpm 5400rpm N/A 5400rpm 5400rpm

Transfer speed 135MB/s 117MB/s 114MB/s 49MB/s 115MB/s

Encryption 256-bit AES 256-bit AES 256-bit AES N/A 256bit AES-XTS

Other interfaces USB 3.0 USB 3.0 USB 3.0 USB 3.0 USB 3.0

Software Transcend Elite None WD Drive Util ities Seagate Dashboard Security utilities

Dimensions 130x82x19mm 111x79x21mm 110x80x19mm 123x82x7mm 120x85x20mm

Weight 234g 207g 241g 178g 200g

Warranty 3 years 2 years 3 years 2 years 2 years


138 September 2015

Top 5 charts B

Price 338 inc VAT 125 inc VAT 155 inc VAT 320 inc VAT 202 inc VAT

Website Crucial.comluk Crucial.comluk Samsung.comluk Seagate.comlgb

Launch date May 14 May14 Aug13 Nov 13 May 14

Overall rating

Capacity tested

Price per GB 34p 52p 32p 43p 43p

Memory cac he 1GB LP OOR2 512MB 512MB OOR3 1GB LPOOR2 NIA

Cont roller Marvell 88SS9189 lndilinx Barefoot 3 MOO Marvell 88SS9187 Samsung MEX (3-core ARM) Link A Media Device

Encryption AES 256-bit AES 256-bit AES 256-bit AES 256-bit None

Flash Micron 20nm MLC NAND Toshiba 19nm MLC Micron 20nm MLC NAND Samsung 19nm Toggle NAND Toshiba 19nm MLC

Firmware updated via Boatable CD OCZ Toolbox, boatable ISO boot disc SSD Magician for Windows Seagate Firmware, boatable

ATTO peak sequential R: 563MBis; W: 514MBis R: 557MB1s: W: 534MBis R: 539MB/s; W: 433MB/s R: 554MB1s; W: 537MB/s R: 555MBis; W: 474MB/s

COM peak lOPS 100 I 91.7 92.9 I 94.7 89.8k (read) 104K (read) 96.8 I 88.6

COM 4kB rnd 30199 25197 NIA NIA 28/78

Warranty 3 years 5 years or 91TB writes 3 years 5 years 3 years


Price 512 inc VAT 730 inc VAT 4581nc VAT 5251nc VAT 778 inc VAT

Website Viewsoniceurope.comluk

Launch date Feb 15 Jun14 Jul14 Sep14 J ul14

Overall rating

Projection technology

Resolution (pixels) 1280x800 1920x1080 1280x800 1280x800 1280x800

Brightness, Cont rast 800, 120,000:1 2000, 10,000:1 3400, 15,000:1 3300, 15,000:1 3500, 10,000:1

Image size 100in 300in 300in 300in 150in

Supported aspect rat ios 16:10 native 16:9 native 16:10, 16:9, 4:3 16:10, 16:9, 4:3 16:10

Noise levels (dB) 34 (32 eco) 33 (30 eco) 29db 32db (30 eco) 33 (39 bright mode)

Connections VGA, HOMI, USB VGA, 2x HOM I, USB, 30 VGA, HOMI, Mini-USB, 30 2x VGA, HDMI, USB, ethernet 2x VGA, 2x HOMI, USB

Lamp/la mp life 90WI30000 hrs 240W/6000 hrs 190W/10000 hrs 278WI3500 hrs 278WI8000 hrs

Di mensions 175x52x138mm 330x257x128mm 315x223x102mm 292x220x108mm 368x268x97mm

Weight 0.83kg 3.4kg 2.5kg 3.7kg 3.6kg

Warrant y 3 years 3 years 2 years 1year 3 years


September 2015 139

B Top 5 charts

Price 130 inc VAT 125 inc VAT 91 inc VAT 110 inc VAT 120 inc VAT


Launch date Dec 13 Jul14 May14 Sep14 Aug14

Overall rating

Graphics processor
AMD Radeon R9 270X
AMD Radeon R9 270
AMD Radeon R7 260X
AMD Radeon R7 265
nVidia GeForce GTX 750 Ti


Memory interface 256-bit 256-bit 128-bit 128-bit 128-bit

Core clock/boost 1030MHz/1120MHz 900MHz/975MHz 1175MHz/none 900MHz/925MHz 1033MHz/1111MHz

Memory clock/Effective 1.4/5.6GHz 1.4/5.6GHz 1625MHz/6.5GHz 1.4/5.6GHz 1.35/5.4GHz

Stream processors 1280 1280 896 Varies 640

Texture units 80 80 56 64 40

Power connectors 2x 6-pin 1x 6-pin 1x 6-pin 1x 6-pin N/A

Direct X 11 11.2 11.1 11 11.2

Digital interface 2x DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort 2x DVI, HDMI, DP 2x DVI, HDMI, Mini-DP 2x DVI, 1x HDMI, lx DP 2x DVI, 2x HOM I

Warranty 2 years 3 years 3 years 2 years 3 years


Price 200 inc VAT 200 inc VAT 280 inc VAT 28Sinc VAT 680 Inc VAT


Launch date Aug13 Mar 14 Apr 14 Mar 15 May14

Overall rating

Graphics processor
nVidia GeForce GTX 770
AMD Radeon R9 280X
AMD Radeon R9 290X
nVidia GeForce GTX 960