Virgin Media customers can soon get BT Sport in 4K for free

Are you a Virgin TV customer that already gets BT Sport? Soon you’ll have the 4K UHD channel for no extra cost.

From July 30, Virgin TV Full House and VIP bundle customers will get the 4K version of the BT Sport channel added to their package at no extra cost.

You’ll need to have a 4K UHD TV and the Virgin TV V6 box to be able to make the most of it though.

First time on Virgin

If you’re not a customer with one of those top-end packages, you can add the full BT Sport roster to a new or existing package for £18 extra a month. That’ll give you BT Sport 1, 2 and 3 as well as BT Sport ESPN and the new BT Sport UHD channel.

The 4K channel has been available on BT Sport since 2016, but this marks the first time you’ll be able to access it directly from your Virgin Media TV.

It means you’ll be able to watch all 351 UEFA Champions League & UEFA Europa League games in UHD as well as 42 live Premiere League matches. BT also has the FA Cup, European Rugby Champions Cup, boxing, MotoGP and much more.

  • Best 4K TV 2018: 7 awesome Ultra-HD TVs you need to see to believe

Surface Go Type Covers are now available to pre-order

If you were wondering when Microsoft’s accessories for its freshly revealed wallet-friendly Surface Go tablet would be available, then we’ve got good news on the Type Cover front, because the detachable keyboards are now up for pre-order.

You can bag yourself a plain black Type Cover, or a ‘Signature’ Alcantara Type Cover in burgundy, cobalt blue or platinum, and the accessories will be on sale at the same time as the tablet itself, as you would expect.

That’s on August 2 in the US, August 23 in the UK, and August 27 in Australia.

In the US, the black Type Cover will set you back $99.99, with the Signature keyboards being slightly more expensive at $129.99.

In the UK, the price is £99.99 and £124.99 respectively, and in Australia, you’ll fork out AU$149.95 and AU$199.95 respectively. Those in the education sector (teachers, students or parents) and members of the armed forces will get a small discount of a fiver or just over.

Surface Mobile Mouse

Mouse matters

Don’t forget that Microsoft launched a new Surface Mobile Mouse alongside the Surface Go, which is also up for pre-order. According to Microsoft’s online store, that peripheral will go on sale on August 2 in the US costing $34.99, and August 22 in the UK priced at £29.99. In Australia, it will be available on August 27 with a price tag of AU$54.95.

In other words, the same date as the Type Covers, except in the UK when the mouse mysteriously appears a day earlier (although that could be a mistake on the site).

  • Microsoft Surface Go hands-on review

Via On MSFT

Virgin Mobile UAE offering up to 50% discount on yearly mobile plans

Earlier this month, Etisalat announced a suite of annual add-ons that offered its postpaid users flexible payments for big data. Now Virgin mobile has jumped on the bandwagon by unveiling a new suite of yearly plans that offers its users even more choice and flexibility. 

Users can now opt for six month or twelve month mobile plans with one time payments that can net them up to 50% in mobile bill savings – a first for the region. For instance, your previous plan of 10GB data and 500 local minutes that cost AED 299 per month will cost just AED 149.50 per month on Virgin’s yearly plan and around AED 209 per month on the six month plan.

The only downside to these plans is that you’ll be locked into the plan for that period of time and won’t be able to switch things up every month which was one of Virgin Mobile’s most attractive benefits.

Virgin Mobile’s new yearly and six month plans are limited time offers available across all of Virgin’s 125 customisable plans and can be subscribed to exclusively through the Virgin Mobile app on iOS and Android.

The best Amazon Prime Day deals 2018

Our early Amazon Prime Day deals list has been updated again for Tuesday, with all of today’s best discounts focused on a cheap 4KTVs, GoPro Hero cameras and, of course, Amazon Echo speakers. There’s also a new DJI drone deal.

  • Jump to Amazon’s Prime Day homepage US | UK | Australia

Technically, Prime Day 2018 in the US begins next week, Monday, July 16 and it ends at midnight Tuesday, July 17, but as you can see we’re already curating this Tuesday’s readily available deals: $40 off Amazon Fire tablets and smart locks with cloud camera bundled to save you $70.  

Those deals are all available right now, and all are listed below. We also have news on Amazon Prime Day deal previews, one that have leaked in advance, including a $40 discount on the Kindle Paperwhite ereader. That’s going to be a popular seller.

Amazon is giving your budding smart home a makeover, too. The Amazon Echo Show speaker (the one with a screen) has a $100 discount,  TCL 4KTV deals are at least 10% in many cases, and headphones have can’t-miss price drops.

This is all just a preview of what’s to come on Amazon.com before Prime Day. It’s shaping up to be a real rival to Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

  • Early deals: Here’s where Amazon Prime has already started in the US

But you may be asking questions: How long will Amazon Prime Day last? What time does it start? What items will see the deepest discounts? What are the best Prime Day deals for 2018? We’ve created an in-depth guide in time for July 16.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos will likely make record profits with Prime Day, and it’s a great way to install Echo speakers, Fire tablets, and Fire TVs in your home, all in an effort to continue having you pay for that ever-important Amazon Prime subscription.

Here’s how to get the best prices out of your Prime membership this month.

When is Amazon Prime Day?

Early Amazon Prime Day deals for Tuesday, July 10

We’re less than one week before the start of Amazon Prime Day, but the company has already begun discounting products with early deals. What are the best deals? So far, we like a few 4KTV deals (if you don’t have a new TV yet) and savings on the most expensive Echo speaker, with a $100 discount on the original list price.

  • More early Prime Day deals (they sell out quickly, so we can’t list them all)

Big Prime Day deals to come next week

What deals can we expect on Prime Day 2018?

The best Amazon Prime Day always surround its own products, so that means we’re in for deals on Amazon Echo speakers. We anticipate all-time low priced for $50 Echo Dot ($25 maybe?) and the Amazon Echo Spot (fingers crossed for $80). The latter will be entering its first-ever Prime Day.

Besides nearly guaranteed Amazon Echo deals, you can anticipate other Amazon gadgets on sale: Kindles, Fire TV Sticks, and Fire Tablets. The unmentioned goal of Prime Day is to sneak as many Amazon products and services into your home as possible.

That said, you may also see Amazon’s chief rival, Google, compete with a price match on the Google Home smart speaker, as we predicted: Why Amazon Prime Day will also be the best time to get a Google Home Mini. Google is playing the same game with its Echo-rivaling smart speaker.

And that Amazon Fire TV Cube that was just announced in the US for $119.99 could get a warm reception on Amazon Prime Day, luring new customers into the Amazon Prime family. We predict Amazon may have an epic discount if you buy two of these, as it has done for Echo Show speakers in the past. We’ve hold off on buying, as we’ve noted in Why we’re waiting until Amazon Prime Day to buy the Fire TV Cube.

Nintendo Switch may be getting its first big discounts for Amazon prime Day even though it was only recently that it was  nearly impossible to buy in stores. We’re even more certain that PS4 and Xbox One console bundles will see a price drop, or at least come with more value-added games to sweeten existing bundle deals. Microsoft’s Xbox One X and Sony’s PS4 Pro are competing heavily, which is no doubt good for everyone else on a day like Prime Day 2018. That’s why we’ve also written about waiting for an Xbox One X Prime Day deal.

Philips Hue bulbs are a great way to upgrade your home into a smart home. That can be expensive at full price, so we’re waiting until July 16 and 17 to see how many of the multi-colored lighting solutions we can scoop up.

Cheap 4K TVs are a staple of every sales holiday, and Amazon Prime Day is no different here. We’re already running a US cheap TV page. Expect even lower prices from manufacturers like Samsung, LG, and TCL, to name a few..

The Echo and Echo Dot were the most-bought items last Prime Day

What is Amazon Prime Day?

Amazon Prime Day is the retailer’s big members-only summer sale and it’s been a massive success in the few short years it’s been going. If you want to get involved with the best discounts though, you’ll need to be a member of Amazon Prime. With free next-day delivery on thousands of items and the excellent Amazon Instant Video streaming service being just two of the membership’s key highlights, millions of you are already signed up.

Brilliantly though, you can always sign up for a free 30-day trial to take advantage of the sale and other membership benefits. And if you don’t want to continue the service after Prime Day, just cancel the trial before the 30 days are up. Amazon know too well that many shoppers will find it hard to say goodbye to those super perks though.

More people signed up for Prime on Prime Day last year than on any other day in Amazon’s history. As of April 2018, Amazon confirmed it had passed 100 million subscribers for Amazon Prime, that’s up from around 80 million before Prime Day last year and 58 million in 2016. That’s some pretty incredible year-on-year growth for the last few years. We wouldn’t be surprised to see Amazon Prime’s 2018 numbers grow dramatically again by the time Prime Day arrives.

Amazon also reported that sales via the Amazon app more than doubled year-on-year and “tens of millions of people” used the app to buy items last Prime Day.

So is Amazon Prime Day just another Black Friday? Actually, no. As Amazon puts it, Black Friday is largely about gifts for other people (it’s ok, we had a laugh at that too) – it takes place just at the start of the Christmas shopping season – but Prime Day is all about treating yourself.

The overwhelming majority of decent deals on Prime Day were on things you might buy for yourself or for your home. As you’ll see from the best sellers there were lots of smart home devices sold to Prime customers as well as quite a lot of kitchen gear. There were good deals on laptops and consoles too of course, but they were alongside deals on hammocks, juicers, robot vacuum cleaners and pressure cookers.

Amazon Prime Day 2018: how long will it last?

We know what you’re thinking: Amazon turned Black Friday into Black Friday Deals Week, so there’s no way it would limit Prime Day to just 24 hours. And you’d be right. Last year’s Prime Day was 30 hours long starting at 9pm the night before and lasting until 3am the day after. We wouldn’t be surprised to see Prime Day 2018 last even longer. Prime Day 2022 may well start before Prime Day 2021 finishes.

Prime Day: do Amazon’s rivals respond?

They did. It was Free Slurpee Day at 7-Eleven and Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-fil-A, which offered free food to anybody in an animal costume. Meanwhile eBay threw some shade, with a front page claiming that “Their Prime Deal Is Our Everyday Deal”.

According to research firm Bazaarvoice, 76% of US Prime Day shoppers visited rival retailers to check whether they were getting the best deals. And as PwC Consumer Markets analyst Steve Barr told CNBC, “We are seeing other big box retailers use Prime Day as an opportunity to capture shoppers’ appetite for deals and as way to compete against Amazon for share of wallet and mindset.” 

So we won’t just be calling out the best Prime Day deals at Amazon, we’ll keep an eye on all your favourite retailers to see what bargains they have. At the very least we expect some sneaky price matching from many stores like Walmart, Newegg and Jet in the US.

So are Prime Day deals really real?

As with any sale, some products are end of line stock or things that just aren’t selling (like all those shoddy TVs idiots fight over in supermarkets on Black Friday), but many deals are genuine. Let’s take a look at the US bestseller, the Instant Pot DUO80 pressure cooker. On Prime Day it was $90, and if you check its price history on CamelCamelCamel.com you’ll see that it was tracking at $129 for most of 2017. The camel site is pretty reliable and a great way to check how good a deal really is and it works. It’ll also show you how likely a price is to come back around again, meaning your spending budget might be better spent on something with a rarer discount on Prime Day itself.

There’s one big blip in the graph, though: on the 2nd of July it went up to $209.10, dropping back to $129 the following day. If you’re comparing the Prime Day price to the 2nd of July price then the saving is clearly illusory – but compare it to the normal selling price and it’s clearly still a good deal.

Checking other devices can be illuminating, though. Amazon’s Echo Dot is usually $49.99, but it dropped to $39.99 last June, May, December and on Black Friday. The Kindle Paperwhite price goes up and down more often than a kangaroo on a bouncy castle, moving from $119.99 to $99.99 every fortnight or so.

The lesson here, other than “don’t buy Amazon devices at full price”, is that you really need to know the value of what you’re looking at. Some deals, such as the pressure cooker, are genuine (and no doubt arranged with the supplier way in advance to trade margin for volume). Others aren’t necessarily deals you need to race to get, because the devices will be discounted again soon. And as with any sale, forget the RRP/MSRP when you’re looking at the sale price – especially on big ticket items such as televisions. The RRP on those only exists to give retailers a laugh.

Were there any Prime Day problems last year?

As you’d expect from an event this big, not everything went according to plan on Amazon Prime Day last year. Twitter featured many irate users who found that deals didn’t appear at the specified times, while others suggested that Amazon had a “bot problem” with some deals being oversubscribed instantly. Still, others had problems with the app, where deals weren’t sold out but the App’s Add To Cart button didn’t work. There were concerns over some of the deals too. Some deals were more expensive on Prime Day than they were normally, while other deals simply reproduced deals that had been available the day before. And still others were laughable: would an incredible four cents off the $1,799.99 price of a soundbar tempt you to buy? Problems didn’t end at the ordering stage either. While Amazon boasts about the fastest-ever Prime Day delivery of just 14 minutes between ordering and delivery, many of us saw our next-day or two-day deliveries become even longer.

Pro tip from us here at TechRadar: if any of your Amazon Prime delivery dates are longer than they should be, complain to Amazon and you might get something back. A free month of Prime added to your sub for example.

The Fire TV Stick was down to $34.99

Could Amazon do better?

We think so. One of the biggest problem with Prime Day was actually finding the deals, which involved wading through lots of irrelevant products: Amazon ordered its deals by categories, so for example you could choose Computers & Accessories but you couldn’t narrow the selection further to specific kinds of computers or accessories.

Finding interesting deals meant looking past an awful lot of Lightning cables. We’re here to make things easier for you though as we’ll provide a guide to the very best Amazon Prime Day deals, as it can be a right pain browsing the site if you’re not used to navigating it every single day like we are. 

We were a bit disappointed to see deals we did want, such as Philips Hue bulbs, limited to single orders per customer. Presumably it’s to stop them ending up on eBay at a higher price, but Hue’s a system for smart homes, not a single smart lampshade.

The biggest problems were with availability and delivery, though. Amazon or its logistics partners appeared to underestimate demand, and while part of us thinks “fair enough”, the whole point of Prime is its fast delivery. And seeing Lightning Deals disappear before you had time to read them was particularly frustrating. Not everybody is accessing Amazon on a super-speedy broadband network, and logging into the mobile app at the right time to see the deal had already sold out was a particular torture for phone users.

What can we learn about Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

The short answer: not much. Prime Day may be a big deal, but it’s still small potatoes compared to the annual holiday extravaganza – and you can be sure that while many people still won’t have heard of Prime Day, they’re very familiar with Black Friday and maybe Cyber Monday too. Amazon isn’t going to let the Black Friday / Cyber Monday opportunity pass it by: Black Friday 2016 was the first billion-dollar shopping day for mobile payments, with a total of $3.34 billion sold in the US alone. Expect Amazon to be just as enthusiastic about Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2018 as it was for the last few years. Although truth be told, we reckon the Amazon device deals on Prime Day will be slightly better than Black Friday.

Last year tens of millions of Prime members made a purchase on Prime Day. That was a 50% increase year-on-year

What were the best Prime Day deals last year?

As ever, you can count on us to find the very best Amazon Prime Day deals. Last year’s best Prime Day deals included the PS4, high quality headphones and Oral-B  toothbrushes. Other top deals included:

  • Amazon Devices: Echo speakers, Kindles, Fire TV Stick 
  • Pressure cooker: the Instant Pot Duo80 cooker was $40 off 
  • Philips Hue: smart bulbs were 50% off in US
  • LG OLED TV: $700 savings on 65-inch LG OLED TVs in the US

Amazon’s warehouse workers had a huge task ahead of them last year with an incredible number of items needing to be shipped for next day delivery via Amazon Prime.

  • Amazon Prime Day sales last year:
  • 3.5 million toys
  • 50,000 TP-Link smart plugs
  • 200,000 dresses
  • 300,000 lightbulbs
  • 100,000 Amazon Launchpad items
  • 45,000 pairs of headphones
  • 32,000 electric toothbrushes
  • 52,000 kitchen items
  • 37,000 power tools

Prime Day on Twitter:

As you can probably imagine, the reaction to Amazon Prime Day on Twitter featured snark and moaning in roughly equal measures. Jeff Grub encouraged everyone to consider the true meaning of Prime Day, Marky Bummers mourned what we’ve lost, and Mila expressed herself through the medium of Muppets. Reverend Scott marvelled at Amazon’s marketing, Christine Hennessey spotted the significance of it all and Jacqueline Herrera stressed the importance of reading the reviews.

Come back to TechRadar on Amazon Prime Day 2018 where we’ll once again be listing the best deals so you don’t have to suffer the pain of navigating the Amazon website! 

The best Samsung Galaxy S9 cases

Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus cases are pretty much an essential given the fact that the Android phone has an all-glass slippery design to it.

It’s now time to suit it up in a stylish, trusted case. It might not be what you want to hear, but unless you have Samsung Care, you’ll want to invest in an affordable case.

Below, you’ll find several recommendations that cover a wide range of budgets and style preferences. While some of these options are untested, they are each a cut above the rest due to their value and design, and are backed by positive consumer feedback.

Note: we’ve ranked these from cheapest to most expensive at the time of writing

Tudia Arch S case

Coming in at $15 and below on Amazon (about £10, AU$20), the Arch S case provides nothing but the basics. It fits snug around the S9 and S9 Plus, and does well not to step on Samsung’s flagship design.

The case is made from Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU), which gives it a soft feel, but Tudia has worked some grippy grooves around the case’s edges to make it grippy.

If you need a quick, cheap option, this one should do you well.

Mous ‘Real’ Case

Mous is ready to line your Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus with high-impact ‘Air Shock’ material, which is basically thousands of micro air pockets that acts as tiny springs. It offers maximum protection with a minimalist design and comes in three finishes: Aramid Carbon Fibre, Black Leather, and the light Shell Case. Don’t worry, it still supports wireless charging and comes with a screen protector to boot.

MNML thin case

MNML makes cases that boast a minimalist aesthetic, hence the name. Think of it this way, if the phone manufacturers offered a case for their devices in-box, they’d probably include something super flattering like what MNML makes. 

It’s clean, light, thin and best of all, it fits right to the form of the S9 and S9 Plus. It’s not the most protective case out there by a long shot, but if you take good care of your phones, this one will protect against the day-to-day scuffs and scratches just fine.

Spigen Wallet S Case

If you’re looking for utility, you probably want a folio case. Spigen makes one of the most affordable options on the market with its Wallet S folio. It’s made with synthetic leather, but has a smooth, supple feel and suave look. Flipped open, it has room for two cards, or one and some cash.

If you want to watch some video entertainment, the folio can be folded to make its very own kickstand. Beyond this, basically every part of the S9 or S9 Plus is protected, making this a smart buy for those who want more from a case.

Incipio Folio case

It’s tough to find a folio case that’s equal parts durable, versatile and good-looking. For a surprisingly low asking price, Incipio’s does all of this.

The cover is grippy and suave, revealing a softer material used on its back to provide delicate protection for your S9 or S9 Plus’ big screen.

You’ll find a pocket to store cash, a credit card and a bus pass, which links up to a translucent casing that doesn’t hide the phone’s slick design.

This is a pretty no-frills folio case, but if that’s what you’re after, this won’t disappoint.

Otterbox Symmetry Case

This option is one of the few rugged cases out there for the new S9 that excels at looking like a slimline case. Available in a variety of colors, as well as build materials, the strong design language of the S9 and S9 Plus shine through with these options.

We’ve gotten our hands on a clear option, as well as a matte black Symmetry case. Despite their visual differences, each looks to provide a good amount of protection from dropping at every angle.

At $39 (£29, about AU$43), we feel that Otterbox’s most slick case is a good value.

Hyperknit Cover Case

One of the cooler-looking, albeit still unannounced first-party cases from Samsung, the Hyperknit has a knitted design, which provides a benefit to users both in terms of how it looks (stunning) and how its feel (grippy and protective).

This case will retail for $41 (about £29, AU$52), according to MobileFun. That’s a bit expensive considering that it doesn’t cover the S9’s face. Though this option looks to be available in each of the S9’s launch colors, so it could make for a nice complement to your purchase.

Lifeproof Slam Case

We haven’t tested a case that feels more durable than Lifeproof’s Slam case. That’s pretty shocking, given how low-profile its design looks and feels.

Installing the case takes a bit of effort, as it requires the included key to pop the plastic back off. Needless to say, once things are installed, it feels incredibly snug and secure from all angles.

For $49, this seems like one of the better deals on this list, though the color options might not do it for you.

Alcantara case

If you’re looking for the most premium slimline case on the market, you’ll want to direct your attention over to Samsung’s own Alcantara case.

Just like the smooth, resilient fabric used on the Microsoft Surface Laptop, Alcantara yields an equally grippy, yet soft feel here for the S9 and S9 Plus. Since it’s designed by Samsung, you can be assured that all of the design highlights brought by its phones remain in full effect, and are almost accentuated by this case.

Bodyguardz Trainr Pro case

It sounds strange to run around with the S9 or S9 Plus strapped on your arm, but Bodyguardz’ low-profile case with strap combo makes it feel anything but.

While not the cheapest case offering, this one offers versatility not seen in the other options above. The strap can snap onto the sides of the case to let you go for a jog without the phone jumbling around in your pocket. 

Should you not want to run around with the strap, we also enjoy that this case hugs the S9’s curves tightly, letting the design shine through its translucent back.

Kerf wood case

Wood-covered tech might be baffling to some, but once you cover up your S9 or S9 Plus in the premium-priced (but totally worth it) handmade wood case from Kerf, you’ll see the appeal.

Kerf uses responsible sourced wood for its cases, lines them in suede to make your device fit perfectly with responsive wooden buttons, and even tacks on a lifetime warranty. Its cases aren’t cheap – starting at $59 – but if you’re looking for a case with a one-of-a-kind element, this is definitely one to check out.

  • Check out this case for the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus
  • Take a look at the Samsung Galaxy S9 colors

Should I buy August Home smart locks?

The bottom line

August’s Smart Lock and Smart Lock Pro are wirelessly connected deadbolts aimed at making it easier for you to come and go. 

Neither model replaces your existing deadbolt, so you can still use your keys on the outside. But, both smart locks add an easy way for you, your family, or your friends to unlock the door with a phone, and the devices can automatically lock up behind you.

The base August Smart Lock is more affordable at $149 (about £110), but requires a separate August Connect Wi-Fi Bridge for more advanced features.

The August Smart Lock Pro has more features, and it comes bundled with the August Connect Wi-Fi Bridge, giving it even more functionality out of the box. But, it’s starting price of $279 (about £210) is steep.

August Smart Locks: what you need to know

August’s Smart Lock is slick looking, and the Smart Lock Pro is goes even further. The locks are also subtle, as both locks can mount onto existing single-cylinder deadbolts, replacing the locking mechanism on the interior side of the door while the keyhole on the exterior remains the same. So, someone looking at your lock from the outside wouldn’t know it’s a connected smart lock.

Both locks let you use your phone as the key, with Bluetooth, GPS, and the August app working together to automatically unlock the door when you get home. The locks can also automatically lock when you leave. 

Helpfully, August’s DoorSense will determine if your door is actually closed and locked, or if it’s been left ajar.

August’s Connect Wi-Fi Bridge adds more functionality to each lock, but only the Smart Lock Pro comes with it bundled into the package. The Bridge gives the Smart Lock support for Amazon Echo and Alexa, Google Home and Google Assistant, and remote control of the lock when you’re out of Bluetooth Range. The Pro model goes further, with support for Apple HomeKit and Siri.

For smart home fans looking to integrate a smart lock into their existing ecosystem, the Smart Lock Pro’s support for Z-Wave Plus will make it a better choice.

Users can share access codes with friends and family, so they won’t need a key to get in. And, August’s app also has integration for apps like Airbnb, making it easier to get in without having to worry about lost, stolen, or copied keys. The August app will also let you keep track of who has come in.

Should I buy it?

Shoppers looking to just get a smart lock have a good pick in the base August Smart Lock. It’s affordable price, nice design, and potential for upgrades make it a good starting point for anyone.

The August Smart Lock Pro is a harder sell, given the high price. But, shoppers hoping for an easy-to-install, easy-to-use smart lock with great looks, support for the most popular voice assistants, and remote control over the internet, the Smart Lock Pro is a complete package.

  • Best smart locks
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