Memorial Day sales 2018: What to expect

Although Memorial Day commemorates our fallen military men and women, it has also come to symbolically mark the start of summer. It’s also one of the biggest shopping weekends, with Memorial Day sales being some of the most popular retail events of the year. As with other big shopping days, you’ll see just about everything on sale, from clothing to appliances and everything in between.

When it comes to consumer tech, the best deals will be on older models as stores begin to make a concerted effort to clear out old stock in time for the winter holidays. If you don’t mind last year’s televisions or laptops, you could score a good deal.

The best deals, though, will be on appliances, specifically things for the kitchen. It’s the best time of the year to buy a new refrigerator, as well as small appliances. Department stores and home improvement stores like Home Depot, who had discounts of up to 50% off last year, will offer some of the best prices of the weekend.

When will Memorial Day sales begin?

This year Memorial Day falls on May 28, but that doesn’t mean you’ll have to wait until to shop Memorial Day sales. Unlike Black Friday, stores will unveil their deals days  —  if not weeks  —  before the actual holiday. In fact, some stores have already begun to roll out their Memorial Day deals, which you can check out below.

Memorial Day sales retailer quick links

  • Home Depot
  • Walmart
  • Amazon
  • Sam’s Club
  • Jet
  • Sears
  • JCPenney
  • Macy’s
  • Kmart
  • Costco
  • Lowe’s
  • Office Depot & Office Max
  • Kohl’s

Top Memorial Day sales

Best Memorial Day appliance deals

Steam Link app hits Android today in beta, iOS at a later date

When we heard Valve was making an app version of the Steam Link, we were surprised – shocked, really, that Valve would have the audacity to shrink the hardware it worked so hard on to the size of a mobile app. And yet, here it is, available to download … at least in beta on Android.

If you head over to the Google Play Store right now, you can find the Steam Link app, which has the ability to stream games over your local network from your PC to your smartphone or tablet. 

While the Android version of the app is available now and will spend the next week in beta before officially launching on May 21, Valve says the iOS version should be coming soon, but is “pending further review with Apple”.

Both the iOS and Android version are free to download and use – Valve has no plans, at this point at least, of charging for any of it.

Steam library at your library? Unfortunately, no

“My whole Steam library on mobile,” you say, “that’s great!” 

It is, but before you pack your bags and head out the door prepared to play games like Grand Theft Auto V or The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on your daily commute, there are some limitations to what the Steam Link app can do: First and foremost of those is that it only works with a PC that’s on the same network. Head outside and out of range from your Wi-Fi, and you won’t be able to access Steam.

Speaking of Wi-Fi, Valve heavily recommends that you use the app only on a 5GHz Wi-Fi connection or connected via an Ethernet adapter to your router – try to use a 2.4GHz signal, and you might not get the most optimal streaming experience.

The Android version of the Steam Link app is supported on devices running Android 5.0 and higher, while iOS users will be expected to run  iOS 10 or newer, and any Apple TV running tvOS 10.3 or newer – yes, it even works on Apple TV.

The app itself is free to download on both iOS and Android, starting with Android, and we’ll update this story once the iOS version hits the App Store.

  • Need some new Steam games to celebrate? Here are the 40 best PC games

Nvidia Turing release date, news, and rumors

Will the real next-generation Nvidia graphics card architecture please stand up? Like, seriously.

As of today there are three different architectures rumored to be behind the GeForce GTX 11 series of graphics cards between Volta, Ampere and Turing – and we’d have to put our money on Turing. We were kind of hoping Nvidia would reveal the identity of the architecture behind the next generation of GeForce cards at GTC, but we only saw some AI and autonomous car information – but, everything is pointing to the GTX 1180 launching in July, so we might just see it teased at Computex 2018 next month.

Similar to previous generational leaps, like Maxwell to Pascal, we’re expecting the Nvidia GeForce GTX 11 series GPUs to bring efficiency, and maybe PC gaming as a whole, to an entirely new level with true 4K, 60 frames-per-second gaming with a single GPU.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Nvidia’s next generation graphics cards for gamers
  • When is it out? Rumored for July 2018
  • What will it cost? Hopefully not much more than Pascal 

Nvidia Turing release date

Word on the streets, from multiple sources points to Nvidia’s next generation graphics cards releasing this summer, with the GTX 1180 Founders Edition set to launch in July. Sources say that Nvidia will be sending the GPU and memory to partners around June 15. It’s happening.

If these rumors are true, the soonest we may see an announcement would be Computex in June. However, we believe it’s more likely that we’ll see the GTX 11 series make its debut at Gamescom in August. Still, we haven’t heard any concrete information to suggest Tom’s Hardware’s information is correct.

We’ve also seen reports of Turing-powered laptop GPUs launching by the end of 2018. Whether or not this points to when the desktop graphics cards will be getting their launch remains to be seen.  

Nvidia Turing price

Given the current state of GPU prices in a cryptocurrency-crazed world, we can’t but help to predict higher prices for graphics cards in the near future. Especially given that the Pascal graphics cards came at a slightly higher premium over the last-generation Maxwell cards they replaced.

With that all in mind, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the price of Turing GPUs take a slight uptick over these following Founders Cards that are currently available:

  • Nvidia Titan Xp – $1,199 (£1,099, AU$1,950)
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti – $699 (£679, AU$1099)
  • Nvdia GTX 1080 – $599 (£600, AU$925)
  • Nvidia TX 1070 Ti – $449 (£419, AU$759)
  • Nvidia GTX 1070 – $379 (£379, AU$699)
  • Nvidia GTX 1060 – $199 (£279, AU$429)

Nvidia Turing specs

Given that Nvidia has already introduced its new 12nm manufacturing process with Volta, we expect it to trickle down to the company’s consumer-facing Turing line. Beyond that, however there aren’t really any confirmed details about the details surrounding Nvidia’s next line of graphics cards.

That’s not to say we can’t speculate, however. An entry for the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1180 has popped up on the TechPowerUP GPU database, with a ton of details about the unreleased card. This is all rumor, but more evidence keeps popping up every day that the GTX 1180 will run with 3,584 CUDA cores, 224 TMUs and packs double the VRAM of the GTX 1080 – with 16GB of the GDDR6 VRAM found on the Nvidia Titan V.

That’s not all, either. We’ve also seen some speculation pop up on Wccftech about a possible GTX 1170 with massively better specs than the GTX 1070, including 2,688 CUDA cores, 168 TMUs and a whopping 9.75 TFLOPS. 

Whatever the case, we fully expect Nvidia to deliver with new GPU technology that pushes the envelope for PC gaming as it always has.

  • Meanwhile, this the latest in AMD Vega

Intel Cannon Lake release date, news, and rumors

Remember how Intel was going to release Cannon Lake in 2016? And, then when it got pushed back to 2018? Well, according to Intel’s Q1 financial results we won’t see the long-awaited follow-up to Kaby Lake until 2019 – at least in a consumer-ready state.

But before we dive into all the juicy details (and speculation) about Cannon Lake, we need to take a step back, because Intel’s recent releases have been confusing, to say the least. So, traditionally, Intel followed a predictable ‘Tick-Tock’ release schedule, where generations would switch between introducing a new die process and architecture. This is why Skylake was expected to be succeeded by Cannon Lake in 2016. 

However, that didn’t happen. Intel switched things up when they pushed Cannon Lake back and released Kaby Lake instead, an “optimization” in a new ‘process-architecture-optimization’ release schedule. Ok, so the 10nm Cannon Lake would follow after Kaby Lake, right? Well, that’s what you would think, anyway. Instead Intel released its 8th-generation Kaby Lake R and Coffee Lake processors, the fourth and fifth releases using Intel’s 14nm process. 

If you find this to be confusing, trust us, you’re not alone. Now, the good news is that we’ve seen a listing for the first Cannon Lake processor. It’s just a 10nm laptop chip with no graphics, but, hey, it’s a start – Cannon Lake is actually real. Now we just have to wait until 2019.

At the end of the day, we don’t have a lot of concrete information to go off of, but that doesn’t mean we can’t speculate using our CPU expertise. Just keep this page bookmarked, as we’ll keep it updated with any new Cannon Lake information that comes our way.

Cut to the Chase

  • What is it? Intel’s next generation, 10nm CP1U lineup
  • When is it out? Sometime in 2019
  • What will it cost? TBD 

Release date

 We were supposed to get Cannon Lake twice already. The presumably 9th-generation Intel CPUs were initially supposed to follow Skylake in 2016, then Kaby Lake in 2018. But according to Intel’s Q1 2018 financial report, it’s “currently shipping low-volume 10nm product and now expects 10nm volume production to shift to 2019.” So, we’re not getting Cannon Lake in 2018. 

But, when in 2019 will we see it? Well, we can look back at past Intel releases for some guidance here. Coffee Lake was released back in October 2017, Intel is probably not going to make consumers wait two years for new processors, so we think we’ll see Cannon Lake CPUs pop up in Q1 2019, much like their Kaby Lake counterparts.

Price

Intel probably isn’t going to rock the boat too much here. We expect prices to fall in line with the current lineup of 8th-generation Coffee Lake processors. We’ve taken the liberty of listing some of the prices here.

  • Intel Core i7-8700K – $350 (£290, AU$520) 
  • Intel Core i7-8700 – $313 (£290, AU$430) 
  • Intel Core i5-8400 – $190 (£183, AU$250) 
  • Intel Core i5-8600K – $257 (£190, AU$325) 
  • Intel Core i5-8600 – $213 (about £150, AU$277) 
  • Intel Core i3-8100 – $130 (£99, AU$145) 
  • Intel Core i3-8350K – $180 (£160, AU$240) 
  • Intel Core i3-8300 – $138 (about £98, AU$180)

Unfortunately, we won’t know until Intel actually releases pricing information, but between generations, Intel doesn’t generally shift its pricing all that much. 

Specs

This is where things are going to get interesting. It’s been a very long time since we’ve seen a die process shrink at Intel, but when Broadwell succeeded Haswell (yeah, it’s been that long), we saw 30% gains in efficiency. This will mean that battery life in the best laptops will surge, and we’ll be able to overclock even harder while keeping temps manageable.

Tom’s hardware has reported that a dual-core Cannon Lake CPU was shipped last year according to a Spectre microcode guidance document, but it’s highly unlikely that consumer units will be the same. Otherwise AMD would eat them alive for that. We’ll likely see higher core counts, as Intel is going to want to go up against AMD in a major way.

This dual-core chip was likely that Intel Core i3 8121U processor that was just listed by Intel. According to the product listing the processor features two cores and fou threads delivering 2.2GHz of base performance and boost clock of 3.2GHz. It also has a TDP of just 15W and a 4MB cache.

We’ve also seen a leaked document that suggests a new X399 chipset in the works that would support existing Coffee Lake CPUs and possibly Cannon Lake processors as well, suggesting enthusiasts won’t need to upgrade their motherboard to get on the Cannon Lake train.

Ultimately, we won’t know what performance advantages Cannon Lake CPUs will offer until Intel shares some more information about it, but because it’s been pushed back until 2019. It’s likely we won’t hear anything from the tech behemoth until CES 2019. But, don’t worry if anything changes, we’ll update this page. So, keep your eyes glued to this page.

See the OnePlus 6 Marvel Avengers limited edition phone in action

The OnePlus 6 is official, with three distinctive color variants; Mirror Black, Midnight Black and Silk White. However, for those fortunate enough to be in India or China, there’s a fourth version.

Say hello to the exclusive OnePlus 6 Marvel Avengers limited edition in Karbon Black. 

It’s a limited edition handset that’s only available in India and China, but we’ve managed to nab one so we can show you what you’re in store for/missing out on.

Pop the handset out of its limited edition, Avengers-embossed box, and you’ll notice that it has a few unique styling points. 

The alert slider on the right of the handset is gold, on the back you’ll find the Avengers logo and on-screen there are multiple Avengers wallpapers for you to choose from.

Take a closer look at the back and below the glossy Gorilla Glass 5 you’ll notice a carbon fiber-style finish, which is where the handset gets it ‘Karbon Black’ name.

OnePlus 6 Marvel Avengers hands on gallery

But wait, there’s more…

That’s not all, as there are a few goodies in the box too, including a chunky Iron Man protective case, Infinity Wars sticker in OnePlus red and a metal collectible.

The collectible in our box is gold, with Thor’s name and hammer on it. It’s not clear whether there will be a number of these to collect or whether every box contains a Thor calling card, but we’re checking with OnePlus on this.

Finally, the OnePlus 6 Avengers: Infinity War edition comes with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage – the maximum available from the standard range.

The OnePlus 6 Marvel Avengers limited edition will go one sale in India and China on May 29.

You can see the OnePlus 6 Marvel Avengers limited edition in action below

  • Read our in-depth hands on: OnePlus 6 review

Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao stresses importance of continuity ahead of departure

Vittorio Colao’s departure as Vodafone Group CEO was a surprise to just about everybody, not least  investors, as the drop in the company’s share price in the aftermath of the announcement testifies.

The Italian says it was a difficult decision but believes the Newbury-based firm is in good hands as it enters a new phase of its history. Continuity is something he reiterates several times during a meeting with the media in the City of London, just a few hours after his departure was confirmed.

Joined by his successor and current CFO Nick Read, and his replacement Margherita Della Valle, Colao explains that being part of being a strong leader is to nurture talent within an organisation, something he believes he has done during his ten-year tenure as chief executive.

Handing over control

During that period, Colao has navigated tricky regulatory waters and declining European revenues to transform Vodafone from a pure-play mobile operator into what could become a leader in converged networks.

The £19 billion Project Spring investment programme has seen it expand 4G coverage across Europe, while it has built and invested in superfast broadband across the continent. Meanwhile, it sold its 45 per cent stake in US giant Verizon Wireless for £90 million back in 2014.

Colao says he has no regrets, including not completing a possible takeover of Virgin Media, which he says was never on the agenda. What is clear is that the Vodafone he hands over to Read is in better shape then the one he inherited back in 2008.

“[I’ve had] ten amazing years as CEO and 20 [overall] with this amazing company,” he says. “In all cases, you need to be sure you have a great team for the next step of the journey.”

Vodafone’s board looked at other candidates before deciding on Read, who joined Vodafone in 2001 as UK Finance Director and was UK CEO before his rise to Group CFO in 2014. His initial priority will be to execute the changes initiated by Colao – even if the Italian quipped a more pressing concern would be the broken air conditioning in the chief executive’s office.

Converged champion

Only last week, Colao reached an €18.6 billion agreement with Liberty Global to acquire its cable networks in Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania – the largest acquisition of his reign – and last year, he reached a deal to merge Vodafone’s Indian business.

Colao denies that his departure is linked in that he waited until he completed the deals to cement his legacy, although he adds he feels he has a duty to do everything he can to help both deals be successful before he leaves in October – including negotiations with regulators.

Vodafone and Colao are adamant that the Liberty Global deal does not negatively impact competition, especially in Germany, and will instead help Europe when it comes to convergence and 5G.

“We’re moving to a new chapter and just started doing transformational things like Liberty Global and India,” he says. “We’ve got to get the clearance, integrate and find the synergies.

“For years we heard that Europe wanted pan-European telcos that can compete on full range of services everywhere. This is what we are delivering today and I expect this to be applauded as something stable and competitive.

“We are the biggest in Europe, but not in individual countries. We are a European champion but a challenger in countries everywhere except maybe Ireland.

“Will competitors be against us? Of course – if they want to be against competition and freedom of choice.”

His future and Brexit

As for Colao’s future, that is less clear.

“I’ve been incredibly busy. The honest answer is I don’t know,” he says. “I haven’t’ had time [to think] and I’m sure I’ll be busy over the coming months.”

Colao will be staying in the UK however: “My family is here and my children are in school. I think it was the first thing my children asked me, ‘are we staying?’”

Indeed, he is optimistic about the future of the UK technology market, but as a “proud European” and supporter of Britain he warns that it must get Brexit right.

“The potential of the right mix of incentives, immigration [policies] and academia … It’s an amazing place,” he says. “The potential is still there but we need to get Brexit right, [otherwise] it misses an opportunity.

“We need to get visas and [the free flow of] data right.”

“We have no plans to move HQ to Germany but we have the opportunity in the coming years to bring assets there. Does the UK have the potential to compete for that? Of course it does. But Berlin, Lisbon [and others can too].”

“Britain has an opportunity here. I really think we should get it right.”

  •  The best Vodafone broadband deals in May 2018 

Nvidia GTX 1180 Founders Edition looks set to rock PCs in July

It looks like Nvidia’s first GTX 11-series graphics cards will be launching in the next few months, with reports from unnamed sources hinting that the GTX 1180 Founders Edition will arrive in July.

This is according to people who have talked to Tom’s Hardware, and if true, it will be around two years after Nvidia launched the GTX 1080 Founders Edition, which debuted Nvidia’s 16nm Pascal GPU architecture.

The first of the Nvidia Turing cards has been a long time coming, and according to Tom’s Hardware, the Founder’s Edition cards will come first, with third-party cards by the likes of MSI and Asus expected to follow in August or September. Apparently, laptop versions of the cards will come later in the year.

Reading the cards

According to anonymous sources, Nvidia will be delivering the GPU and memory to its partners around June 15, pointing to a July launch for the Founder’s Edition.

As well as launching the GTX 1180, there’s also likely to be a GTX 1170 Founder’s Edition as well, with the GTX 1180 being the flagship, and the GTX 1170 being a more affordable GPU.

This follows rumors that suggest that the GeForce GTX 1180 could be faster than a Titan Xp, which is currently Nvidia’s most powerful consumer GPU.

The GTX 1180 will apparently run with 3,584 CUDA cores, compared to the GTX 1080’s 2,560, with 224 TMUs (versus 160 Texture Mapping Units on the 1080) and is built on a 12nm process (as opposed to 16nm).

It packs double the video RAM compared to the GTX 1080, with 16GB of faster GDDR6 memory, and the new card has a rated peak FP32 performance of around 13 teraflops.

We can’t wait to see what the next generation of Nvidia GTX graphics cards are capable of, so let’s hope these rumors are true, and we don’t have too much longer to wait.

  • These are the best graphics cards you can buy in 2018

The best smartphone of 2018: 15 top mobile phones tested and ranked

If you’re looking for the best smartphone, then you’ve come to the right place. A set of pages where you can browse all manner of top mobile phones and find the right one for you.

The reason we’re so confident that you’ll find something that’s right for you is that we test these phones so rigorously that we know that if there’s a flaw or something to laud, we’ll find it and let you know about it here to help you make an informed decision.

Now that we’re deep into May, we’re starting to see another slew of phones make it out onto shop shelves, and we’re expecting the Honor 10 and OnePlus 6 to make big waves on our list when our full reviews appear very soon.

What else do you need to know about the world of phones at the moment? Well, the key thing is knowing what you’re looking for in a handset if you’re after the best iPhone or best Android phone we’ve got a whole bunch of options for you there – heck, we’ve even got a list of the best Samsung phones, which makes a lot of sense given how many there are in this list.

We’ve limited our selection to just the 15 best phones around at the moment, but in reality we could have gone much wider given how many top handsets there are around at the moment, but we really want to help you pick through the noise and find the models that are just right for you.

The best smartphone around right now is the Samsung Galaxy S9+, which is a brilliant combination of all the things we look for: a great screen, top battery, excellent camera and strong performance. However, the new Huawei P20 Pro is an exciting addition near the top, and the iPhone X never fails to impress with its all-new form factor from Apple.

If that’s the kind of thing you’re here for, then we’re pretty sure you’ll find something for you (and if not, we’ve got our list of best cheap phones to be checking out too). 

The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus is a big phone that’s designed for big hands – and it takes the very best of what’s on the smartphone market and puts it together in a compelling package that we’ve loved testing, despite the strong competition on the following pages.

Screen: The Super AMOLED 6.2-inch display has been measured as one of the very best around right now, with super colours, great dynamic range and, essentially, the very best viewing experience you can have on a mobile phone.

Battery life: The battery life on the S9 Plus is better than that seen on the smaller S9, thanks to the 3,500mAh battery in the Plus model – although it’s probably the weakest part of the phone, not offering as much life as we’d have liked.

Camera: The camera on the Galaxy S9 Plus is among the best on the market, and the dual-aperture capability offers some startlingly good snaps when things get a little darker. 

Colours can look a tad washed out when the exposure is higher, but the power of the sensor, with memory built into it to make it smarter than most rivals, offers very low-noise shots.

Mini verdict: If you’re after a bigger phone with all the features that matter on board, the Galaxy S9 Plus is that and more.

Read more: Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus review

If you’re looking for the best smartphone around right now, it’s the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus (as you might have seen on the previous page) – but Apple’s latest effort comes mighty close.

The iPhone X (although it’s pronounced ‘ten’) is the redesigned Apple phone that iFans have been crying out for. It’s got an all new shape, the notch at the top and higher price… but it’s the best iPhone that’s ever been made too (as long as you don’t miss the headphone jack).

Screen: The 5.8-inch OLED screen is the best display Apple has ever crammed into an iPhone. It’s far ahead of the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus for so many reasons: the sharpness, the quality, the fact that it fills the whole front of the phone, and the color reproduction.

Battery life: The iPhone X’s battery life is pretty good but it’s by no means best in class. If you’re a very heavy user you might struggle to last more than 12 hours but for most users it’ll comfortably last a whole day.

Camera: Cameras on iPhones have always been superb, and the iPhone X is no different. The camera on the X is often stunning, delivering still shots that are rich with detail. Perhaps not quite as brilliant as the Pixel 2, but still right up there with the best.

Mini verdict: This is the phone to buy if you want to treat yourself to a high-end handset – a little extra per month for something you really enjoy taking out of your bag or pocket is worth it (if you can afford it). 

Read more: iPhone X review

The Huawei P20 is easily the best phone that the brand has ever produced, and it’s troubling the top of our charts. Huawei has got so much right on this phone, and it now truly its place in the same breath as Samsung and Apple as a top smartphone choice.

Screen: The 6.1-inch display is only Full HD, but that does help with battery life. This is actually probably one of the weakest parts of the phone, as it lacks the colour reproduction of its rivals, but it does come with a screen protector pre-fitted, which is a nice touch.

Battery life: The Huawei P20 Pro will get you a day and half of light to moderate use – it goes down after a full month’s effort, filling it with apps, but even still we’re getting a good day’s hard use, which is great.

Camera: The camera is the standout feature on the Huawei P20 Pro, offering three lenses… and they’re actually useful. The resolution is pin sharp thanks to brilliant image stabilisation, the software photo optimisation is excellent and having that 40MP sensor has been boosted well by Leica for good low light performance.

Mini verdict: The main issue you have to overcome with the P20 Pro is the fact you might not be familiar with the brand, but not only is Huawei a worthy competitor to Apple and Samsung, but it’s the most likely to get the bigger price drops first (which is worth checking out using our price finder below).

Read more: Huawei P20 Pro review

The Samsung Galaxy S9 isn’t quite the phone that the S9 Plus is – it’s only got a single camera sensor, for one – but it’s a more palm-friendly model that still packs the power and top screen quality of its sibling.

Screen: A QHD 5.8-inch screen takes up most of the front of the phone – and it’s still a stunning design. Brighter, more colourful and capable of showing the best of movies, the Super AMOLED tech is once again showing itself to be best thing to look at on a smartphone.

Battery life: Battery life is a little disappointing for a top-end smartphone, meaning you’ll need to think about a top-up during the day if you’re a harder user. Wireless and fast charging capabilities help with this though.

Camera: It’s only a single sensor on the rear of the Galaxy S9, unlike the Galaxy S9 Plus – meaning it’s not as good at photography. But don’t think the S9 takes poor photos, as they’re still stunning, and in low light it’s a sterling performer, with very little noise.

Mini verdict: The Galaxy S9 is a smartphone with all the top-end features you’d want, and more on top. It’s not quite at the level of the S9 Plus, and the iPhone X outranks it in some ways – but it seems that’s been noted, as we’re already starting to see more competitive pricing for this handset on contract as retailers look to galvanise interest, so have a look at our price comparison tool below.

Read more: Samsung Galaxy S9 review

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 was the first time the brand’s phablet range was seen as a real rival for the Galaxy S phones – the larger screen and more power starting to resonate with the average phone buyer. The S Pen is the real point of differentiation, and it’s cool to always have a notepad with you.

Screen:  The Note 8 maximises Samsung’s dual curved edge and nearly bezel-less Infinity Display to the point where this phone feels like a mini tablet from the future. It’s more squared off than the Galaxy S phones, but still lovely to look at. 

Camera: The camera on the Note 8 is superb and near the front of the pack for all round quality. On the rear its dual lenses allow for optical zoom as well as digital zoom, as well as live focus which enables you to do all kinds of effects including blurring the background – even after you’ve taken the shot.

Battery life: The battery in the Note 8 isn’t quite best in class – you can thank the large screen and slender design for that. But it’ll still last you all day unless you’re streaming a lot of video or using it with the brightness pumped up.

Mini verdict: It’s an expensive phone – only just behind the iPhone X in terms of out-and-out cost. It seems that with the Note 9 starting to be whispered about the cost is becoming less of an issue – John Lewis in the UK has an incredible SIM free deal for the phone, and other retailers are starting to discount it too, which sees it rise to fifth place in our rankings.

Read more: Samsung Galaxy Note 8 review 

The Huawei Mate 10 Pro is a phone that might not instantly be on your wish list, but the brand has made huge strides of late (just look at where the P20 Pro sits), and the battery life is something that outranks most on this list. If you’re feeling that it’s time for a change, this is worth checking out.

Screen: The Full HD screen is a match for the Pixel 2 but not its other Android competitors like the Galaxy S9 and Note 8 phones from Samsung. As such, the screen on the 10 Pro is very good…but not spectacular.

Battery: The biggest talking point of the Huawei Mate 10 Pro is its battery. Huge at 4,000mAh, it translates to impressive performance, with the possibility of stretching usage to two days from a single charge if you knock it to flight mode overnight.

Camera: On the rear, the dual camera setup is a solid point-and-shoot option, but it really excels if you dive into manual mode; if you’re a camera enthusiast who’s willing to spend time fine-tuning, you can get some great shots from the Mate 10 Pro.

Mini verdict: It’s not the best looking or bristling with the most features, but the Huawei Mate 10 Pro is a brilliant phone if you’re looking for a big screen and top quality battery life, and it’s starting to get even more competitive on contract, far undercutting the phones ahead of it in this list.

Read more:  Huawei Mate 10 Pro review 

The Pixel 2 XL is all about the camera, with a wider frame and more expansive screen for watching all manner of content. You’ll buy it for the pictures you can take, but the power and latest Android upgrades will impress too – Android P is getting pretty close and will bring some nice changes to this phone first.

Screen: The Pixel XL 2 has an expansive 6-inch display that’s decent for gaming and video playback (although a few issues have surfaced around its viewing angles), and it boasts an improved design over the smaller Pixel 2, with slimmer bezels housing its dual front-facing speakers.

Battery life: The XL has good battery life – you won’t have a problem with it. It will comfortably last you a full day under normal conditions and with normal use, and its ability to save power when it’s not doing anything means it’ll last a few days in standby.

Camera: Like the smaller Pixel 2, the camera on the XL is stunningly good. Photos look fantastic, and they’ll please both casual and more serious snappers alike. Low light conditions in particular are where this phone shines – perhaps not as competent as the Galaxy S9 pair though – and you’ll struggle to take a poor snap with this phone.

Mini verdict: This phone is for you if you want to go for a pure Android experience with the best camera on the market, and with a large, high-res screen. It’s a pricey phone but worth it if the above appeals. 

Read more: Google Pixel 2 XL review

The LG V30 is a quietly impressive phone, jam-packed with all manner of tech. It’s offering some of the top specs around and does it with a strong battery life, as well as being an audio marvel… perfect if you love listening to tunes on the go. 

Screen: The V30 sports the fashionable 18:9 aspect ratio complete with an attractive 6-inch OLED display with 2880 x 1440 (QHD) resolution. While there are still bezels at the ends, the phone looks and feels superb.

Battery life: The battery life is one of the LG V30’s best features, easily lasting a day and if you’re a light user it could potentially go two days between charging.

Camera: The V30’s camera is good – you’ll be able to take shots in all conditions and be happy with them. But it’s not quite as good as the camera on the Samsung S9 phones, the Pixel 2 or the iPhone X.

Mini verdict: The V30 is LG’s best ever smartphone. It’s got the most powerful processor around, a great camera and delivers one of the best sonic performances from a phone on the market right now, thanks to the dedicated Quad DAC inside. 

We’ve just seen the LG G7 ThinQ, which is quite the rival to this phone, so it might be worth holding on for a few more weeks to see how that phone gets on in our reviews.

Read more: LG V30 review

The Samsung Galaxy S8 looked space age when it was launched last year, and the Galaxy S9 apes it in many ways. It’s not the top phone in Samsung’s range any more, but it’s jolly close and costs a whole lot less.

Screen: The screen was the very, very best on the market and is still now a top performer, coming with the elongated, 18.5:9 ratio that stretches impressively up and down the phone. With powerful colour reproduction and contrast ratio that make everything look clear and crisp, it’s also got the QHD resolution that we expect from all the top phones.

Battery life: The battery life, despite being smaller than in previous devices from Samsung, is still pretty decent. It’s not amazing, but it’s not very far from the performance of the Galaxy S9 and will last around a day… although you might want a little top up wirelessly or fast charged.

Camera: The camera is still very strong, despite being usurped by the S9 – the auto mode offers clean, crisp and clear shots every time and combined with screen quality makes you want to show off your best snaps. There’s an easy-to-use pro mode as well to get the best out of your snapping.

Mini verdict: This is the phone to go for if you want a strong performer and don’t mind it’s a little older. As such, it’s much cheaper than it was at launch and thus offers fantastic value for money. It will do the job for years to come, too – so if you buy this phone you’ll manage a good couple of years out of it. 

Read more: Samsung Galaxy S8 review

The Galaxy S8 Plus wasn’t different enough to its smaller brother in 2017, and it remains more expensive, but it’s still one of the top phones around right now. You can get incredible photos in many conditions, the screen is pin-sharp and it’s just boosted a couple of places in this list thanks to a nifty price drop this week.

Screen: The 6.2-inch screen, actually called an Infinity Display by Samsung, spills to the edge of the phone, and is a well-made fusion of glass and metal. It feels great in the hand, thanks to a rolling design – and like the other Galaxies in this list, is water-resistant too, to an IP67 level.

Battery life: The battery life is superior on the Galaxy S8 Plus compared to the Galaxy S8 (obviously) and also the Galaxy S9 (more surprising), thanks to having a larger power pack in there without much more work to do – it’ll easily last most people a day or so.

Camera: The camera is a top fusion of auto mode and pro settings for those that like to dig a little deeper – the quality of the snaps is more often than not pin-sharp, and the screen quality really highlights your photos. It lacks the dual sensor and low-light capabilities of the S9 Plus, but it’s a terribly good performer for those that don’t need the highest-of-high-end smarts.

Mini verdict: Don’t let the age put you off – this is still an immensely powerful phone with a strong spec list. The screen, camera and design are still premium, and while not as good as the S9 Plus, it’s a lot a cheaper thanks to being on sale for longer.

Read more: Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus review

When it comes to the best Huawei phone, that’s clearly the P20 Pro, with the super fancy camera, dual speakers and incredible battery life. But that’s a phone for the power user, and if you like the design in a slightly smaller, more affordable package, then check out the P20.

Screen: The screen looks pretty good in most lights, with the brightness not going to eye-hurting levels. Out of the box it looks just fine, and the way it pushes to the edge of the bezels impresses too. It’s not the best on the market and is only Full HD, but we’re OK with that.

Battery life: The battery life, like the screen, is also just fine, making it to around 10PM on moderate use. That makes sense given the smaller power pack in there, and it’s still better than some other phones on this list.

Camera: The dual camera offer loads of effects, and the pictures are enhanced thanks to the inbuilt software making the best out of what you’re shooting. There’s also 960fps super slow motion video recording, which is what many top-end phones are bringing to the table.

Mini verdict: The Huawei P20 is a good phone with a strong design, and the kind of spec list you’d expect for the price. It’ll reward someone willing to play with the settings a little as it’s a very functional phone indeed.

Read more: Huawei P20 review

So the iPhone X is the phone to buy if you want the best from Apple right now, but if you’re more of a traditionalist you’ll love the familiar stylings of the 8 Plus. It’s got a strong camera and all the power of the X, as well as an easier-to-understand interface if you’re a long-time iOS user.

Screen: The 5.5-inch screen is great and includes important upgrades to the colour reproduction and the temperature too – so images look more clean and lifelike. It’s not as sharp as the screens on some of the best Android phones but the inclusion of True Tone tech, first seen on the iPad Pro, means you get some great quality.

Battery life: The battery life of the iPhone 8 Plus is good, but not amazing. You’ll normally be able to survive a full day without topping up but on those times when you have the screen fired from morning to night (watching video or using maps etc), you might find yourself just scraping by.

Camera: The camera on this phone is superb, with two 12MP lenses on the rear combining to deliver great images even in low light, and the double sensors creating some nice, refined blurred-background portrait shots.

Mini verdict: It’s still a top iPhone and perfect for anyone who wants to upgrade but doesn’t want to pay the eye-watering price commanded by the iPhone X. You won’t be disappointed by this iPhone, as long as you don’t mind the similar design to handsets from the last three years. 

Read more: iPhone 8 Plus review 

If you want a smaller phone, the iPhone 8 continues to fill that gap. It’s not the most mind-blowing in terms of some of the specs – it’s only got the single sensor camera, for instance, and the screen isn’t the highest-res – but it’s the perfect upgrade if you just want a no-nonsense, cutting-edge iPhone. 

Screen: The screen may not be as sharp as the big-hitting Androids in this list but the iPhone 8 still delivers excellent performance with some clever refinements to improve the visual quality – and crucially its size makes for an easier in-palm experience.

Battery life: The battery life of the iPhone 8 isn’t hugely impressive… but better than older iPhones. You’ll just about be able to squeeze a day out of it and if you’re upgrading from an iPhone 6 or 6S you’ll find it a lot better (and it packs wireless charging too).

Camera: The camera is pretty comparable to that of the iPhone 7, which was itself a great camera phone. So there’s not a huge step forward here, but you won’t struggle to take a great picture.

Mini verdict: The iPhone 8 pales in comparison to the iPhone X, and offers fairly minimal upgrades to the iPhone 7… but still has some nice design refinements and easier charging thanks to wireless capabilities.

Read more: iPhone 8 review 

The Pixel 2 is the palm-friendly version of the higher-rated 2 XL… and it’s got the same incredible camera on board. The screen isn’t as high quality as some rivals, but one of the key things that the Pixel range brings is access to the latest version of Android – so get ready for Pineapple Upside Down Cake or Popsicle soon.

Screen: Unlike its chief competitors, the Pixel 2 has a lower-res screen – it’s only a full HD resolution and so it’s outmatched by all the Samsung phones in this list. The screen-to-body ratio is not as sleek as the S8 or the iPhone X, with bigger bezels top and bottom – so it looks a lot less impressive visually.

Battery life: The Pixel 2 makes fantastic use of Android’s battery saving features and thus sports all-day battery life. It’s not top-end, but has good enough life and will last a day with medium usage.

Camera: The seriously impressive 12MP rear camera is by far the best feature of the Pixel 2. This phone has the best camera of any phone out there, whether in low light or taking stunning portraits, so if the snapper is the most important part of a phone for you, the Pixel 2 is the phone to get.

Mini verdict: The dual front-facing speakers are great for firing audio directly at you, while a Snapdragon 835 chipset and 4GB of RAM keep everything running smoothly – and its water-resistant body means the Pixel 2 will even survive a dip in the bath. The Pixel 2 is a great phone and it’s the camera that really stands out as best in class.

Read more: Google Pixel 2 review

  • Read more: Google Pixel 2 review

This is Sony’s latest flagship phone, bringing the best elements of the brand’s tech in one handset. The latest Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset lives under the hood, and there’s an interesting new haptic engine to ‘enhance’ your movie and music watching.

Screen: Sony always has excellent screen technology on its phones, and while it’s only 1080p the quality is still high. There’s HDR playback, a longer 18:9 screen format and it’ll upscale the stuff you’re watching, meaning you’re always going to get a strong experience for Netflix and more.

Battery life: Battery life on the XZ2 is good, if not the best on the market. It now offers wireless charging so you can top up easily on the go, and you’ll get a day out of most uses. There’s also Sony’s Stamina mode to extend things when needed, and Qnovo battery care means your phone’s power pack will go for months longer.

Camera: Sony’s camera tech has always been good, if not stunning, and while the XZ2 is an improvement over the XZ1 it’s not a huge leap forward. The intelligent scene recognition is the best we’ve seen it, there are some neat features inside to help you snap the right moment and there’s even a bokeh mode. Sadly it’s not dual sensor, but 4K HDR video recording is a first on a smartphone.

Mini verdict: Another good, solid phone from Sony that does everything well and brings some more advanced features than previous handsets from the brand. The design is a little chunky and the fingerprint scanner in the wrong place, but otherwise this is the top Sony phone around at the moment.

Read more Sony Xperia XZ2 review

You’re at the end of the guide, but that doesn’t mean we can’t help you still – if you’re stuck on which model is for you, we’ve got a tool that can compare all the phones together and you can decide which one suits you best based on the cost.

If you want to get all the info, then use the tool below or check out our full mobile phone deals page.

Enter price comparison

What is GDPR? Everything you need to know

GDPR has been all over the news recently, as companies of all size scrabble to make sure they are ready for the new regulations.

The new rules are set too come into force on May 25th 2018, meaning your business only has a few more days to ensure it is compliant.

But what exactly does GDPR entail? Here’s our guide to everything you need to know.

What is GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, (or EU Regulation 2016/679 if you want to be official) is one of the most significant and wide-ranging pieces of legislation ever passed.

Approved by the European Union in April 2016 and set to come into force in the UK on May 25th, 2018, GDPR  looks to bring together several existing laws and regulations to harmonise rulings across the European Union.    

Primarily, it replaces the UK’s 1984 Data Protection Act and the EU’s Data Protection Directive, which initially came into force in 1995, with new guidelines that are better adapted to the modern, technology-dominated world.

The main points of GDPR concern the privacy rights of everyday users and the data they create online, and will affect businesses of all sizes due to its effect on how they gather, store, and look after their data.

Under GDPR, companies will also need to give explicit notice when collecting the personal data of their customers. This will also mean that consent will need to be explicitly given, and that companies will have to thoroughly detail the exact purpose that this data will be used for.

This personal data will also need to be encrypted by default as part of a process known as pseudonymisation, meaning that it cannot be linked to a specific person without being accompanied by extra information.

Personal data applies to a wide range of information – effectively anything that could be used to directly or indirectly identify a person online. This could include names, email addresses, images, bank details, posts on social networking websites, medical information, or even a computer IP address.

Users will also have the right to know exactly what details a company or organisation holds about them, and also request that any of this information be deleted if they feel their rights to privacy are being infringed as part of the new “right to erasure”.

Companies that suffer data breaches, whether accidental or as part of a cyber-attack, will need to disclose this event to the relevant within 72 hours of it happening – although there is no requirement to notify users unless instructed.

Who does GDPR apply to?

Put simply,  if your business offers goods or services to anyone living within the European Union, then GDPR will apply to you.  

This means that companies outside of Europe will also need to ensure they are compliant with the rules, as they could also be subject to fines if found not to be up to speed.

If you have mailing lists for newsletters or promotions, and some of your prospects or customers are EU citizens, GDPR applies to you. 

  • Upgrading your IT? Here are the best laptops for businesses 2018

What do I need to do to be ready for GDPR?

As mentioned above, if you deal with customers within the EU, you’ll need to ensure that the way you gather, store and use their data is GDPR-compliant.

For starters, you’ll need to identify just exactly what data you currently own, and the means by which you acquired it. Many organisations may be unaware of the sheer mountain of information they own on their customers – much like their customers might be unaware how much info they have shared.

All the data will need to be properly secured to ensure it remains protected, so it is definitely worth instigating new policies to limit access to the most precious data to a few key team members. 

You should also be frequently backing up your data, as under GDPR, customers are able to request to view exactly what information you have on them whenever they feel like it.

If your business carries out large-scale data practices, you will also need to appoint a Data Protection Officer (DPO).

A DPO will be able to take responsibility for much of the heavy lifting when it comes to GDPR, including overseeing compliance and data protection.

Lastly, you’ll need to ensure that all your employees are clued up about what exactly GDPR means. The rules aren’t just the prerogative of the IT department, but could affect everyone in your organisation.

What happens if I am not GDPR-ready?

GDPR is a huge deal, and as such, the punishments for not complying are significant.

Any organisation found to not be conforming to the new regulation after the May 25th deadline could face heavy fines, equivalent to four per cent of annual global turnover, or €20 million – whichever is greater. 

It remains to be seen exactly how GDPR will be monitored, and if fines will be handed out to every company large and small.

For now, it seems that the best course of action is to prepare as much as you can.

  • Looking to stay secure for GDPR? Here’s the best antivirus software of 2018

What is Usenet? 5 things you didn’t know about it

If you’ve ever watched a live stream, downloaded through P2P file-sharing, connected to Tor, posted or responded to a discussion on a bulletin board, or got in a heated Reddit thread, then Usenet is for you. 

To those under 25, chances are you’ve never even heard of Usenet, but to the classic computer nerds of yore, Usenet’s the original social network. In the most basic sense, Usenet is a cross between a discussion forum and the ultimate file-sharing platform, but it’s still something else entirely.

Because Usenet is shrouded in secrecy, there’s an unwritten community rule very similar to Fight Club. The first rule of Usenet is: you do not talk about Usenet. That’s because Usenet is not as defunct as users want you to believe. In this article, we are taking an at-a-glance look at Usenet to see just what goods the community is keeping tightly under wraps.

  • We picked out the best Usenet providers right here

1. Usenet newsgroups predate the web

Before you accessed websites on the internet through a web browser, there was Usenet. It was an era when computing required the command line, and a computer weighed as much as a human being.

The alt.hypertext Usenet newsgroup is where Sir Tim Berners-Lee – then a humble contractor for one of the largest nuclear research labs in the world – first detailed his idea for what we know today as the “www” in a URL (Uniform Resource Locator) string; for example .

His initial internet project, appropriately called WorldWideWeb, aimed to help employees at the European Organization for Nuclear Research share data with one another instantly.

On August 6, 1991, at 14:56 GMT, he wrote:

“The WorldWideWeb (WWW) project aims to allow links to be made to any information anywhere. The address format includes an access method (=namespace), and for most name spaces a hostname and some sort of path…”

2. Usenet was originally made for academia

The Usenet landscape is like your old hometown: it’s familiar, but it looks nothing like it used to. While audio and video content has given new lifeblood to Usenet, it might be a surprise to learn that it was first built for university students, in text-only form.

In 1979, two graduate students at Duke University built the Usenet platform as a means to exchange messages and files through a network with colleagues at UNC-Chapel Hill. Then, similarly to The Social Network, Usenet spread through college campuses.

In 1993, AOL (remember AOL!?) began to offer Usenet access to its customers. The influx of AOL users became a majority, while academic users shrunk to a minority, and thus the culture was changed forever.

3. Usenet is home to many web culture references

Many of the terms we use online and occasionally ‘IRL’ were first popularized in Usenet newsgroups. How many of these are you guilty of using?

Spam: Before the 90s, Spam was just a canned meat and a Monty Python reference. But today, it’s the colloquial word for junk email advertising (and potentially still, physical junk mail advertising). The idea of Spam was first introduced en masse on Usenet in 1994 by the law firm Canter & Siegel. The firm posted in all of the Usenet newsgroups (a much more realistic feat in 1994) for its legal services relating to the green card lottery. The message: “Green Card Lottery – Final one?” A new kind of advertising had been born.

FAQ: A website and message board staple, the ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ acronym was introduced by NASA and adopted by Usenet newsgroups early on. The premise back then was similar to what it is now, only FAQs had to be reposted frequently to avoid getting buried in discussions. Not like Reddit or 4chan where FAQs can have static, ‘stickied’ posts. Over time, ‘.answers’ newsgroups like tv.answers, misc.answers, and sci.answers were added to collect the FAQs for cross-posting and easy access.

Emoticon: Your ability to substitute a bum for a peach can be traced back to Usenet. No, really. Before we had emojis, we called them ‘smileys’ and ‘emoticons’. The basic combinations for happy and sad –  🙂 and 🙁 – were invented in 1982 by Scott Fahlman from Carnegie Mellon University. He and fellow computer scientists chatted a lot through Usenet newsgroups, and they needed a way to differentiate jokes and sarcasm. We’d say it worked, so the smiley can be considered a ‘discovery’ by computer scientists :-).

ROFL: A cousin of LOL, ROFL (‘Rolling On the Floor Laughing’) and its many forms have early roots in Usenet. The expression ROFL (without the T for “the”) was first used in a 1989 Usenet post to rec.ham-radio, and ROFLOL was used in a post to the group alt.rock-n-roll in 1992. Today, it often precedes LMAO.

WTF: An incredibly popular acronym among teens and adults alike, WTF can be traced back to Usenet as well. Its first recorded instance was in the net.micro.mac titled ‘Ramblings’ on May 18, 1985. While the use of WTF rapidly grew, it’s always maintained a sense of ambiguity. Additional takes on WTF, in which the ‘w’ can stand for ‘what’, ‘why’, ‘where’, and ‘who’ have been in use since the mid-to-late 80s.

4. Usenet was text-only until the late 90s

Technically Usenet is still plaintext-only (we’ll discuss that shortly) but it wasn’t until after 1997 that binary content was transferred through the platform. As any file attachment limit can attest to, image, video, and audio files take up space. Binary data files, often called ‘binaries’ in the Usenet community, comprise that same space-taking content. That is, binary data is anything that is non-text. So, how does one put non-text files on a text-only platform? With some translating.

Encoders translate binary files to text-only code for easy sharing in, let’s say, the alt.binaries.boneless newsgroup. Then the person who wants to view the binary must convert the encoded text back to its natural form. The technology behind the encoding has improved over the years to make it more user-friendly, but the overall process is much the same.

5. Despite ‘vintage’ packaging, Usenet is here to stay

While much of the framework is hidden beneath a metaphorical layer of dust, Usenet is still thriving. The platform is reliable, safe, and easily integrates with third-parties; that allows it to withstand the tests of time. That’s because of the way files are shared and stored. Unlike other P2P file-sharing methods, binary files on Usenet are broken into multiple components before they’re sent to a decentralized network.

Most importantly, Usenet is actually a safer way to access video content than sketchy live stream sites, torrents, and the like. Unlike these other services, premium Usenet services will provide you with free SSL encryption which is essentially the same thing as OpenVPN, except you don’t have to download any software or connect to a client like you would with a traditional VPN service.

Just because Usenet was originally made for command line folks doesn’t mean the easy click-and-drag search style is unwelcome. If the look and feel of Usenet is over your head, that’s okay, too. Nowadays, Usenet providers offer all-in-one software that allows you to search, preview, filter, and download content the way you naturally would on the web.

If you’ve ever been the type to scroll through WinMX, Limewire, torrents, and the dark web, it may be time to give Usenet a shot. Sure, it’s a little clunky at first, and it’s not very beautiful to look at, but to some people, that’s just part of its charm.