Friday, November 22, 2019

Sony Xperia E5

The Sony Xperia E5 is one of Sony's cheapest Android smartphones; however, the Japanese electronics giant has never done budget particularly well. [Update: The Xperia E5 price has recently dropped, making it a more attractive budget offering.] It's a premium brand – and the entry-level Android smartphone space has never been more competitive, so the Xperia E5 had its work cut out to make an impression. Expectations of what you can get for your money in the budget sphere have changed dramatically in the last couple of years, with the Moto line and a flood of Chinese newcomers offering increasingly impressive handsets at ever-decreasing prices. The MediaTek processor, 1.5GB of RAM and 5-inch 720p display are slightly below par for its price tag, but the 13MP main camera is a pleasant surprise, while the classic, industrial Sony design is classier than some of the competition. Sony Xperia E5 price and availability At launch, the Sony Xperia E5 price was £150, which put it up ..

Xiaomi Mi Band 2 review

Any fitness tracker worth its salt covers the basics of tracking steps, distance and calories, and now even budget models are adding heart rate monitoring too, previously the exclusive domain of higher-end wearables. With so many trackers offering a similar set of features, how do you pick the right device for you? Chinese tech giant Xiaomi has always tried to differentiate its wearables by offering them at rock bottom prices - the original Mi Band went for just $15 in the US - and it's looking to repeat the trick with the Mi Band 2. Despite its low price, the Mi Band 2 brings with it just about everything you could want in a fitness tracker without straying into smartwatch territory: all the basics are covered, plus sleep tracking, movement reminders, and basic phone notifications. But is it enough to convince you to choose Xiaomi over Fitbit? Xiaomi Mi Band 2 price and availability Costs around £28/$35/AU$50Available to buy now The price of the Mi Band 2 makes it ideal if you..

Sennheiser Momentum 2 On-Ear Wireless

The Sennheiser Momentum 2 On-Ear Wireless headphones are wireless Bluetooth headphones made using fancy materials and loaded with features that shouldn't be confused with the full-size Momentum Wireless headphones. These ones have pads that sit on your ears rather than cups that fit around them, making them a more compact - and portable - pair of cans. Their good looks, decent sound and active noise cancellation would make them a great choice if it wasn’t for one thing: their higher-than-expected price. When they launched, they came in at $399/£300/AU$238 - which was damning. Much cheaper headphones sound about as good, and when the active noise cancellation isn’t close to that offered by the Bose QuietComfort 35 in terms of sheer noise-zapping effectiveness, it was hard to justify that price. Now that the price has dropped some, these are becoming a better bargain. They're still not the top-tier performers - for that you should look at the new Sony WH-1000XM2 -but they�..

Microsoft Surface Book

Hybrid. Powerhouse. Influencer. These are but a few words that describe the Surface Book, the first-ever laptop to come from the offices of Microsoft in Redmond, Washington. Since entering the market in October 2015, it’s seen not only success both critically and commercially, but it’s also inspired other hardware makers to tackle similar ideas. Buy Microsoft Surface Book (Intel Core i7 256GB) at Amazon Marketplace for $1,149.99 Two years later, the Surface Book is still a fine choice for a laptop and, though it’s been succeeded by the new and improved Surface Book 2, the fact that it’s cheaper should you purchase it refurbished makes it a compelling sell. It’s not available new anymore, so you won’t get the shiny new box, but you will get a fascinating laptop that doubles as a tablet. The 3:2 aspect ratio may be alien to some, but Apple users will feel right at home while using the Surface Book, and it won’t take long for Windows veterans to get the hang of it either. Meanwhile, the..

Windows 10

Since Windows 10 landed on our PCs for the first time back in 2015, we’ve benefited from three separate, and massive, updates that only “Windows as a Service” could provide. That is what Microsoft has been calling its post-chronologically numerical Windows updates after all, and it’s what we’re going to start seeing a lot more of in 2018. Next year, building onto the Anniversary Update, Creators Update and Fall Creators Update that came before it, we’re going to see Redstone 4, a revision to Microsoft’s OS for PCs that will likely be called something completely different by the time it comes out. We don’t know much about what it will entail, but we’ve heard we’ll see full-on eSIM compatibility for always-connected devices – such as those that rely on LTE for internet usage. Today, the currently newest Windows 10 Fall Creators Update has continued to show Microsoft making good on the plans it unveiled to us two years ago. On top of that, the Anniversary Update that came out last year b..

Microsoft Surface Book 2 (15-inch)

Although we loved it, you can’t deny that the original Surface Book was divisive to say the least. The dynamic fulcrum hinge deserved the spotlight for some, but for others, it was a wonky design choice that made Microsoft’s first laptop, regrettably, harder to love. The bad news is that the hinge is back in full force. The good news is that not only is it sturdier, but the Surface Book 2 is wholly better than its predecessor. Not only that, but you can now get it in both 13-inch and 15-inch configurations, of which there are seven in total. They cost less than a MacBook Pro with Touch Bar to start, but the price can be hiked immensely from there. That’s especially the case with the 15-inch version, which we’ve reviewed here, though we’ve also reviewed the 13.5-inch Surface Book 2 for the sake of comparisons. In the following paragraphs, you may be shocked to find out that the difference is more than 1.5 inches of display real estate. There are some major spec differences to be had he..

MSI Trident 3

Over the years, MSI has introduced some amazingly small PCs, including a game-ready Mac Pro competitor and a VR-ready backpack PC. Still, even among all of these achievements, the MSI Trident 3 stands out as MSI’s sleekest gaming PC to date. Marketed as a console-killer, the MSI Trident 3 is about the size of an Xbox One S but packs a ton more power than even the PS4 Pro. This is thanks to its desktop Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia GTX 1070 graphics. It’s a tantalizing package – and at a reasonable price, too – which makes the Trident 3 one of the best gaming PCs to have in your living room. Price and availability The MSI Trident 3, in the configuration you see above runs for $1,599 (about £1,160, AU$2,040). This particular unit MSI sent us is a limited-edition Arctic edition of the Trident 3, which comes with a special white paint job and a Nvidia GTX 1070 you’ll only find on this model. Shoppers can pick up the standard black version of the Trident 3 with the same processor a..

V-Moda Crossfade Wireless II

V-Moda has a history of building exceptional-sounding headphones and the Crossfade Wireless II is no exception. While its styling (and lack of active noise cancelling) may not be for everyone, these are lovely sounding headphones. Like Apple’s Beats line of headphones, V-Moda manages to bring style and even better sound than what Apple offers. While Beats are no longer a mess of muddy bass, headphones like the Beats Solo3 Wireless still can’t stand up to V-Moda when it comes to sound quality. That said, if you’re looking for a Beats alternative, the V-Moda Crossfade Wireless II should be at the top of your list: They’re built like a tank, sound great, and don’t take themselves too seriously. While you won’t find modern features like active noise cancellation (ANC), the Crossfade Wireless II are still solid headphones that last long, look great, and offer fun sound. So what’s the problem with them? Well, at $330 (£300, about AU$435) for the black and white models and $350 (£330, about..

Apple MacBook

Three years ago, we were anticipating the release of a Retina MacBook Air. But, whereas that device never came, we were lucky enough to be graced with a 12-inch MacBook but a few months later. Although it bears most – if not all – of the qualities we would have put on our Retina MacBook Air wishlist, it’s still not clear where this MacBook fits in the Apple family. Nevertheless, we’re glad that it does. It may have the controversial limitation of just one USB Type-C port that’s still yet to be updated to Thunderbolt 3, and it costs as much as a MacBook Pro. Yet, despite its few remaining shortcomings that have yet to be addressed, we’re otherwise content with the state of the 12-inch Retina MacBook. As of 2017, it’s shied away from its Broadwell roots, introducing Intel Core “i” processors to Apple’s now-smallest MacBook for the first time ever, albeit in the form of Kaby Lake-Y. The best part is that, unlike Apple’s mobile handsets, its MacBooks remain available in four different col..

Sonos Play:3

Sonos has been leading the wireless multi-room music revolution since before anyone really knew what wirelessly streaming music was. The idea being that you can stick a speaker in every room and wirelessly play your digital music tracks on any or all of them at once. The company's flagship wireless speaker unit, the Play:5, is an excellent piece of kit but the one thing that it lacks is an affordable price tag. Enter the Sonos Play:3, a speaker set offering the same great functionality in a smaller, cheaper package. Speaking of cheap - a single Sonos Play:3 will set you back $249/£259 which may sound like a fair lump of cash, but it's fairly reasonable compared to the Play:5 units, which sell for around $100/£100 more. The beauty of the Sonos system is that you can start with one speaker, and later add more to the system in different rooms – as many speakers as you like up to 32 (in case you happen to live in a palace). Once you have speakers all over you house, you can contr..

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