Asus E402MA review

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Asus E402MA review

There was once a time when nothing but netbooks consumed the sub-£200 ($300/AUS$411) price bracket, but fortunately Microsoft and its partners have recently done a lot to drive down the price of larger, considerably more usable laptops.

 

With the advent of true cloud applications such as Office 365, and a variety of streaming services that have quickly overtaken locally-stored media, lean machines such as the Asus E402MA are making ground at the budget end of the market alongside similar notebooks like the smaller Acer Aspire One Cloudbook 11.

 

Packing a 14.6-inch screen, the E402MA has a relatively modest set of specifications: a quad-core Intel N3540 M processor clocked at up to 2.66GHz is paired with merely 2GB of RAM and a rather paltry 32GB of storage.

 

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Asus ZenPad S 8.0 review

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Asus ZenPad S 8.0 review

Asus brought one of the first Android Honeycomb 3.0 tablets to the market in 2011 in the form of the EeePad Transformer, and has been plugging away at the tablet scene ever since in an effort to create the fabled ‘iPad killer’ so many Android-lovers are looking for.

 

While the company has continued to impress, with some serious improvements in its Transformer line of tablets, few tablets other than the Google-branded original Nexus 7 have managed to sell in significant numbers.

 

Asus has the Apple iPad Mini 4 firmly in its sights with its latest attempt, the Asus ZenPad S 8.0, which carries a low price tag of £169.99 ($199 or AU$279) – that’s almost half the price of the cheapest 7.9-inch tablet from Apple.

 

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Acer Predator XB270HU review

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Acer Predator XB270HU

Monitors with the “gaming” tag slapped brazenly on their boxes aren’t necessarily a new breed. Along with the advent of 3D and super-high resolutions, gamers have been slowly working their way up through faster refresh rates to keep up with the incredibly powerful GPUs that drive gaming PCs.

 

Most of the gaming monitors we’ve seen so far have made do with a ‘twisted-nematic’ (a.k.a. TN) panel, which helps keep costs down for gamers who might already have spent a month’s wages on an insanely powerful GPU.

 

Rather than the older TN technology, the new Acer Predator XB270HU gaming monitor packs an IPS panel with a pixel-resolution of 2,560 x 1,440. Although it may not be a 4K screen, this super-fast monitor comes with Nvidia’s G-Sync technology, which claims to completely remove screen-tearing and lag by perfectly synchronising the refresh rate of the GPU and the screen.

 

Shop around and you can find the Acer XB270HU for under £600 (around $900 or AU$1,300), enough to buy you any number of the low-end 4K monitors on the market such as the Philips BDM4065UC.

 

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HP Pavilion Mini review

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HP Pavilion Mini

Ever since Asus launched the desktop answer to netbooks in the form of theEeeBox PC, the market for small-footprint PCs has grown to offer a wide range of options.

 

The HP Pavilion Mini 300-030na is one of the latest small, quiet and energy-efficient desktops to come to market, and it’s one of the nicest-looking mini PCs we’ve seen since the launch of the Apple Mac Mini.
 
With models starting at £249.99 ($269, AU$349) the Pavilion Mini is a competitively priced option, with ample storage space and enough power for day-to-day tasks.

 

The model we reviewed came complete with 1TB of storage space, a 1.9GHz Intel Core i3 processor and 4GB of RAM (which can be upgraded to 16GB if needed); a faster i5 model is available, as is a lower-priced option with a less capable Pentium 3558U processor and smaller 500GB hard drive.

 

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Gigabyte P55K V4 review

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Gigabyte P55K V4

Serious gaming on PCs has never been a particularly cheap hobby, but as powerful desktop rigs have become more affordable, so too have gaming laptops that pack enough power to satisfy all your gaming needs.

 

Gigabyte may be better known for its quality desktop motherboards than its laptops, but after releasing the less powerful Gigabyte P35K V3 into the wild earlier in the year, it’s back once again with the Gigabyte P55K V4. Featuring an Intel Core i7 CPU coupled with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M GPU, you can expect impressive performance at a bargain price that undercuts the HP Omen’s price tag considerably.

 

Whilst the specifications may be good value for money, there is just enough detail in the P55K’s design for it to stand out from other non-descript portable powerhouses and make it a genuinely appealing gamer’s machine.

 

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EE Rook review

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EE Rook
 

The introduction of the BenQ-manufactured EE Harrier and EE Harrier Mini was the start of a new breed of own-branded handsets from Britain’s largest network, continuing the ornithological theme that started with the EE Kestrel, built by Huawei.

 


The EE Rook is the latest addition to the flock. This time made by ZTE, it’s a smartphone that fills the ultra-budget end of the spectrum, and yet still features stock Android Lollipop 5.1, 4G connectivity and a quad-core processor for less than the price of a meal for two.

 

This is clearly somewhat of a my first smartphone. But even casual users is search of a no-frills experience expect a phone that never lets them down – and is that really possible at this price?

 

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Posted in: Mobile, Reviews

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Best UK Weather Apps: Top 5 Downloads for Android, iOS and Windows Phone

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Best Weather Apps

Are you planning a barbecue this weekend? Maybe you want to know how the weather’s doing in Weston-Super-Mare before road-tripping to the beach? If you are in need of an accurate pocket predication of the weather on your Android, iPhone or Windows smartphone (or tablet), then you’ll want to pick up one of these weather apps to make sure you choose the right clothes – and don’t get soaked or sun burned.

 

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10 notebooks, 2-in-1s and convertibles perfect for Windows 10

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Windows 10 is finally upon us, and while every manufacturer worth their salt is about to launch a fleet of new laptops into the market especially designed for Microsoft’s latest operating system, some have already been revealed.

 

Of course, there are also a variety of laptops on the market that may not come with Windows 10 straight out of the box, but will receive the upgrade in due course. They may be missing dedicated keyboard shortcuts, ultra-sensitive Cortana-compatible microphones and other little extras, but they’ll still run the latest incarnation of the world’s most popular operating system almost as soon as it’s available, thanks to the upgrade program Microsoft is offering.

 

Click through the gallery to see which notebooks, 2-in-1s and convertibles we’re recommending for your latest mobile computing upgrade.

 

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EE Harrier review

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EE Harrier
 

EE launched its first own-brand smartphone last year named the EE Kestrel. Also bearing an avian name, this handset was a rebrand of the Huawei Ascend G6, and was very much a contender at the low end of the market, baring little other than 4G connectivity.

 

This year, EE has debuted two new handsets that keep the bird-theme alive: the Harrier and Harrier Mini. I’ve been having a look at the larger of the two handsets to see whether it can find a foothold in the middle market.

 

The Harrier from EE may not be perceived as a rival to top flight handsets such as the Samsung Galaxy S6, but don’t let the lack of familiar branding fool you.

 

Pegged at the pay-as-you-go price of £199, the Harrier packs a pin-sharp 5.2-inch full HD screen, 16GB of storage (10.3GB of which is usable), a 1.5GHz octa-core Qualcomm processor backed by 2GB of RAM, 13MP rear camera and Android 5.0 Lollipop, which thankfully is not spoilt by any unnecessary third-party launchers.

 

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Posted in: Mobile, Reviews

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10 best iPad Air 2 cases 2015

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Besti Pad2 Cases

 

Apple released the iPad Air 2 to great fanfare in October last year, bettering its predecessor by shaving off precious millimetres to take it down to a dizzying 6.1mm thick; improving the screen’s colour and fidelity; including the Touch ID sensor, and bumping up the power with Apple’s latest A8X chip to round off the winning package.

 

Unlike previous iPads, the iPad Air 2 has exactly the same bezel sizes, but the thinner form means that many cases compatible with the original iPad Air simply won’t fit the new model.

 

With the new svelte form and lighter weight of just 437g, you’ll no doubt be tempted to whip it out at any available moment, so keeping that beautiful aluminium shell and glass screen protected is even more crucial than ever.

 

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Posted in: Opinions, Tablets

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Motorola Razr V3: the greatest phone of all time

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Razr V3

 

Motorola was there at the beginning, introducing the world’s first mobile phone – the Motorola 8000x – back in 1983. A symbol of new communication and fast-paced modern business, the 8000x became somewhat of a status symbol, with an eye-watering price of £3,000.

 

Motorola’s highly-successful MicroTAC came to market in 1989 and was the first mobile phone that looked less like a brick, and more like a modern mobile phone, with the StarTac claiming the title of ‘world’s smallest’ phone to date in 1996.

 

In the late 90s, whilst the rest of the world was switching to GSM, and Nokia was becoming increasingly popular, Motorola made the mistake of sticking to the analogue phones that had made its fortune, and needed something special to put the American giant back on top.

 

Its most popular handset to date – the Motorola Razr V3 – was that phone, selling over 50 million handsets between 2004 and 2006, and becoming the world’s biggest selling clamshell phone in the process.

 

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Posted in: Mobile, Opinions

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Linx 10 review

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Linx 10

 

Now that prices have significantly dropped, and Microsoft has dumped the woefully prohibitive version of Windows that was RT, Windows tablets are starting to become a purchase that warrants genuine consideration for many people.

 


The Linx 10 is one of this new breed, and at £160 (around $238, or AU$307), is not the very cheapest 10-inch tablet around, but it’s not very far off at all. If you’re thinking it looks rather familiar, well, that’s because it is – the Linx 10 shares almost identical hardware with the Schenker Element 10.1 that we looked at back in September last year. Save for a minor spec bump in the processor department from a 1.33GHz Intel Atom Z3740D to the newer generation Z3735F, which can burst at faster speeds of up to 1.83GHz, telling these two tablets apart is a tough task indeed.

 

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Acer Iconia One 7 review

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IMG_7644-650-80[1]Acer isn’t a newbie to the low end of the Android tablet market, having slowly carved itselves a niche as one of the better-known brands among a host of budget competitors. While early attempts at tablets bearing the Iconia label were relatively uninteresting, the latest addition to the range – the Acer Iconia One 7 – looks (at least on the surface) like it might be a little more appealing.

 

Running Android 4.4.4 KitKat straight out of the box, and powered by an Intel Atom processor, first impressions of this 7-inch tablet are pretty good for the low price of only £99 (US$146, $192 AUD). Easy comparisons can be made to the Google Nexus 7, though the One 7 has slightly smaller dimensions and a lower resolution 16:9 screen.

 

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Linx 8 review

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linx-8-alt-angle-650-80[1]

 

When you think of cheap tablets, the undeniable truth is that you’re probably thinking of a plastic Google Android tablet to keep your kids happy. If I had suggested just a few short years ago that buying a fully-fledged Windows tablet (not those awful Windows RT models) for less than £100 was even possible, I’d probably have been pointed and laughed at by all and sundry.

 

How about if I suggested that this was now entirely possible with the Linx 8, which can be easily found for less than £90 (around $134, AU$173). Fortunately for Microsoft, the age of cheap, capable Windows tablets has well and truly dawned, and Linx’s 8-inch offering is perfectly poised to steal a share from underwhelming Android alternatives like the Acer Iconia 7.

 

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Nokia’s 3310: the greatest phone of all time

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Nokia 3310

 

The success of the 3210 led Nokia to create the device that gets phone lovers the world over misty eyed: the 3310. This sleek, compact phone had all the features of the 3210, but in a smaller and lighter frame (133g vs 153g), many customisation options thanks to swappable front and rear panels, along with many other improvements to the internals and software.

 

It was the out-right resilience of this iconic handset that today puts it in the mobile phone hall of fame, that and the fact that it sold over 126 million units since its launch September 1st 2000.

 

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Posted in: Mobile, Opinions
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