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Windows 10 first-impressions review

Windows 10 Desktop

The most eagerly awaited new version of Windows since -- well, since the last new version of Windows -- has finally arrived. Windows 10 is rolling out to consumers, and it’s a free upgrade for users of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. So, what’s it like and has it been worth the wait? Here are our first impressions.

There are four main versions of Windows 10: Home, Pro, Enterprise and Mobile. The differences have been well documented elsewhere so we’ll skip the detail here, but most people will encounter the Home or Pro versions. This review is based on Windows 10 Home.

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Huawei P8: The best flagship smartphone you've never heard of [Review]

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Huawei is not, perhaps, a name that springs immediately to mind when you think about smartphones. But with this latest model the Chinese manufacturer is making a bid for a slice of the top end market dominated by the likes of the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy.

You get the impression of quality from the moment you receive it. It comes in a smart, black plastic box with a cardboard slip case; the phone sits in this with a shiny edge uppermost so it’s like opening a piece of jewelry.

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Intel Compute Stick Review -- How does the $150 (Rs 9,999) computer fare?

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It's no secret that computers are becoming smaller. What used to gobble up voluminous space once -- think about a couple of rooms -- are now available in miniature form factor. But how powerful are these USB flash drive-shaped computers? We tested the Intel Compute Stick and here is how it fared.

Intel has an ambitious plan. It claims that its tiny computer will suffice the basic computing needs for most. The tiny computer in question is called the Compute Stick. It is powered by the company's own entry level Atom chipset dubbed Z3735F, its own HD graphics card HD audio card coupled with 2GB of RAM.

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Montar Universal Car Mount long-term review

Montar Universal Car Mount with Apple iPhone 6 Plus mounted

There is no place where I can safely store my iPhone 6 Plus while driving, without leaving it in a bag. It does not comfortably fit in any of my pockets, and the car does not even have a single cup holder between the seats. It pretty much stays in a bag, and I have to take it out every time the need calls for it. And then hold it. That's not very safe nor very convenient.

In my case, the best option is a smartphone car mount. I could easily place it on the middle of the dash. My iPhone 6 Plus would work great for navigation, and I would not have to hold it to see who is calling or what notifications I have received the rest of the time. A long-term test of Montar Universal Car Mount, over the course of a couple of months, reveals it to be just want I need.

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Edifier Exclaim Connect e10BT speakers [Review]

Edifier Exclaim Connect e10bt

On the whole speakers tend to be quite dull-looking pieces of kit. There's no way you can level that criticism at the Exclaim Connect though, a pair of speakers which have rather unique style.

They feel nicely weighty, the upright parts are metal and the bottom ball-like segments have a smooth rubbery finish. They look like a piece of modern sculpture or something out of a 1950s science fiction comic.

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TP-Link Archer D9 AC1900 modem router review

Tp-Link Archer D9 AC1900 modem router

Most home or small business users never even think about upgrading the router that was supplied by their internet service provider. But by simply sticking with the default box you may well be missing out on the extra features and performance of a more sophisticated router.

The Archer D9 from TP-Link offers a smart design and decent performance but at a price that undercuts much of the competition. So, is this a good choice or a budget manufacturer trying to punch above its weight?

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Vodafone Smart ultra 6 review

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Not so very long ago each new mobile phone that launched would be smaller than its predecessor whilst packing in more features. In recent years though we’ve come full circle and phones have started to get bigger again, offering more screen real estate for apps and improved image quality for multimedia use.

Bigger doesn’t necessarily mean more expensive though and the Smart ultra 6 from Vodafone appears to offer a lot of phone -- both physically and technically -- for just £125 on pay-as-you-go. Let’s see how well it delivers.

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Logitech MX Anywhere 2 -- the portable mouse of your dreams [Review]

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Many people do not have the luxury of having a dedicated work space in their homes. Because of this, you will often see people working in coffee shops with their laptops. I am one of these people, but I have a major issue -- I hate notebook trackpads! I can get by with them, but they are not my favorite. Because of this, I choose to use a mobile mouse.

Unfortunately, many of these mice are full of compromises, so I am constantly looking for something better. Today, I am looking at the Logitech MX Anywhere 2 -- one of the most promising mobile mice I've seen in some time. Will I finally find my dream mouse?

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Could 13-inch MacBook Pro Retina Display with Force Touch trackpad be right for you? [Review]

MacBook Pro 2015

Reviewing most any MacBook Pro is a pointless exercise, because this year's model isn't much different from the previous—or the one before. That's why I typically buy refurbished rather than new. But I broke with that practice last month, after a sudden electrical calamity laid my wife's laptop to rest. Fried and died it is. With Apple releasing new versions of iOS and OS X and launching a streaming music service, a summer sojourn seemed opportune.

I considered going Windows 10, which arrives later this month. But most of my BetaNews colleagues are headed that way, so I set out down the Apple reviews track. Again, I probably wouldn't have done so if not for my wife's computer catastrophe. I lent her my Chromebook Pixel LS and purchased a new MBP. She will never give up the Google laptop, BTW.

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Samsung Galaxy S6 -- Android at its finest [Review]

Samsung Galaxy S6 Verizon black

Samsung is the undisputed king of Android smartphones. Other than Apple, no company commands the audiences of the Galaxy handset maker. Quite frankly, Samsung deserves its attention, as it makes really great smartphones that consumers love -- a simple recipe for success.

This year, however, the company took some arguable missteps, by removing both the removable batteries and expandable memory found on its previous flagships. As an Android purist, I was initially upset with this. Luckily, Samsung was correct to remove these features, since the cloud and USB battery packs are better options. In this case, less is more, as it forces the user to think differently -- a very Apple-esque approach. Amazingly, using Apple's design philosophy, Samsung's device outdoes the iPhone.

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LuguLake-24 Bluetooth speaker -- style over substance? [Review]

LuguLake-24

Bluetooth speakers usually need some sort of distinctive feature to help them to stand out from the crowd. In the case of the LuguLake that distinctiveness is in the way it looks.

The first thing that strikes you is the funky design, it's about the size of a tennis ball, or an apple if you prefer, with a shiny black finish and a sort of suspended saucer over the speaker cone itself. On the top of this is a touch pad that acts as a volume control as well as allowing you to pause and skip tracks, and answer calls so you can use it as a speakerphone.

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More than just a USB hub -- Inateck HB4009 [Review]

Inateck HB4009

USB hubs are commonplace and, let's be honest, not especially exciting pieces of kit. Inateck’s HB4009 is a three-port USB 3.0 hub, but it also has an extra trick up its sleeve. It has a Magic Port, allowing you to link two systems together for file transfers or establish a client/host link using the USB On-The-Go (OTG) standard.

This makes it a versatile little device as you can link Windows, Mac OS and Android devices to their own kind or to each other. You can also attach another USB device like a flash drive or camera to a system, such as a tablet, that might not otherwise have a suitable port.

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Sond Audio Bookshelf Speakers: Quality Bluetooth speakers for the home [Review]

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We review -- and get asked to review -- a lot of Bluetooth speakers. While the ones we look at might be from different makers, and of varying quality, they all share one thing in common. They’re small, and portable. Not so the Sond Audio Active Bookshelf Speakers.

The twin speakers are large, and designed to sit in the one place. This could be a bookshelf, provided you have one that’s deep enough to accommodate them, or the floor. If you enjoy listening to music, and the sound quality delivered by portable speakers doesn’t cut it for you, then the 180w these speakers offer could well be what you’re looking for.

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Five into one will go -- ARCTIC Smart Charger 8000 [Review]

ARCTIC Smart Charger

Most of today's gadgets seem to use USB for charging their batteries so you inevitably end up with a whole stack of cables and the mains power adapters to go with them.

If you're looking to simplify things the Smart Charger 8000 from Swiss company ARCTIC may be the solution. It's a little box with five USB ports that allows you to charge a number of devices at the same time. It intelligently detects the devices connected to it in order to provide the best charging speed for each one.

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I bought a $200 Android 'flagship' smartphone and it changed everything

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A few weeks ago my one-and-a-half-year-old Nexus 5 started to misbehave. Its power button wasn't holding up well, forcing the phone to switch off a dozen times, while also making it a chore to turn the phone back on again. I realized the phone was on its last leg. I also have an iPhone 5s, but I mostly use it to listen to podcasts, take phone calls, and take photos. Suffice to say I'm an Android guy. With OnePlus announcing its plan to release the successor of its One flagship in Q3 later this year, and LG reportedly working on the successor to Nexus 5, I decided to purchase a cheap phone running Google’s software to keep my boat floating until these much-anticipated smartphones begin to trickle up on the market. This led me to purchase the recently launched $200 Mi 4i smartphone from Chinese conglomerate Xiaomi. After using it for a couple of weeks, I don't think I want to upgrade to a new phone this year.

The smartphone market has seen many new forces arrive in the last couple of years. These new players have changed the landscape entirely, pushing new phones with top-notch capabilities at an increasingly competitive price point. We now have plenty of options in both the low and mid-tier categories. The dirt-cheap $100 Moto E is a decent entry-level smartphone, and the $180 Moto G entices users looking for a more efficient phone. The Lenovo A7000 offers 4G LTE capability for less than $150, and $100 Android One smartphones from Micromax, Karbonn Mobiles, and Lava offer the up-to-date software and reasonably good specs. But I wanted a phone that offers a high-end processor and top-of-the-line hardware modules; Xiaomi was offering me just that.

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